Chapter 67 — The Unity of God; Religious Differences Are Divisive

Dasharata said, “O great sage, let my attendants go immediately to the mendicant’s cell and, having roused him from his meditation, bring him here in my presence.”

Vasishta replied:—

Great king, the body of that mendicant is now lying lifeless on the ground. It is pale, cold, covered with dirt, and has not even a bit of its vitality left in it. His life has fled from his body, like odor from the lotus of the lake. He is now liberated from the bonds of this life and is no more subject to the cares of this world. It has been a whole month that his servants have waited to open his door and they will see his emaciated frame. 5 Afterwards they will take out the body and bathe it in water, then having anointed it, they will place it for their adoration, as they do a defiled idol. The mendicant being freed from his body cannot be brought back to his senses. They have entirely left their functions in his mortal frame.

As long as one labors under the darkness of his ignorance, it is hard to evade the enchanting delusion of the world, but it is easily avoided at all times by one’s knowledge of truth. The fabrication of the world is untrue, just like making ornaments from gold. Creation is caused by the error of taking form as substance.

This delusion (maya) of the world is situated in the Supreme Soul like rows of waves upon the surface of the calm waters of the sea. So it is said in the Vedas that the moving worlds are like the fluctuations of the Divine Soul. 10 The intelligent soul, taking the form of the individual human soul, sees the phenomenal world just like he sees dreams one after another. All these vanish upon waking to sense and right reason. 11 As every man of understanding recognizes the original in its image, so the man of reason recognizes the original idea of the Soul in its forms of creation. An ignorant man who sees the world as a thorny bush or a confused jungle can have no idea of the all-designing Framer and his frame work of the universe.

12 The world is shown to every living being, as it was shown to the dreaming mendicant, in the form of the vibrations of the Supreme Spirit, like the fluctuation of waves on the surface of the sea. 13 The world first appears in the universal, collective mind of the creator Brahma, and in the same way those shadowy forms appear in the minds of all individuals who lack enlightenment. 14 To the clear mind this world appears like a fleeting dream, as it first appeared to Brahma. The multitudes of worlds that are discovered one after the other are no more than the successive scenes of passing dreams in the continuous sleep of ignorance.

15 All living beings in their various forms are subject to the error of believing the unreal world to be a reality, though they well know in their being that the world is no better than a continuous dream or delusion. 16 The animal soul, though possessed of intelligence, is yet liable to transgress from its original nature, thereby becoming subject to decay, disease, death and all kinds of woe. 17 The godlike intellect, at its pleasure, frames the celestial and infernal regions in our dreams by the slight vibrations of the mind, then takes delight in rambling over and dwelling in them. 18 Divine Consciousness by its own impulse takes the form of living souls upon itself. It wanders from itself to ransack over the false objects of the deceptive senses.

19 The mind is also the Supreme Soul. If it is not so then it is nothing. The living embodied is also the Supreme Soul, an expression of the Supreme Soul like a shadow of the substance. 20 So the Supreme Brahman is said to reside in the universal Brahman according to how men conceive of the one Brahman in whom all attributes unite, like water with water and sky with air. 21 Men live in this apparent physical form of Brahman, yet they think it is other than a reflection of God. It is like a child seeing his own reflection in a mirror and being startled thinking that another person is standing there.

22 Wavering understanding causes these differences which disappear of themselves after the mind resumes its steadiness in the unity of God. In that steadiness, differences are lost like offerings of butter are consumed in sacred fire. 23 After the true knowledge of God is gained, there is no more vacillation or dogmatism, no unity or duality. All distinctions dissolve in an indistinct Consciousness, which is as it is and is all in all. 24 When from the sum and substance of all reasoning it is understood that there is only the one Consciousness, which is the subject of all the many names that are applied to it, then there remains no more differences of the various religious faiths in the world. 25 Differences of faith create differences in men. Eliminating distinctions in creeds destroys all differences and unites all in one common faith in the Supreme Being.

26 Rama, you see differences because of your lack of understanding. You will get rid of them as you come to your right understanding. Ask anyone and you will find the truth of what I am saying and you will be fearless of any sectarian feeling or hatred. 27 In that state of fearlessness, the knower of Brahman finds no difference in the states of waking, dreaming, sound sleep or the fourth stage of meditation. He sees no difference in his earthly bondage or his liberation from it. All is equal to him.

28 Tranquility is another name of the universe. God has given his peace to everything in the world, therefore all religious divisions are the false creations of ignorance. No religious advocate has ever seen the invisible God.

29 The action of the heart and the motion of vital air cannot move the contented mind to action when the mind is devoid of desire, indifferent to the vibrations of breath and the heart. 30 The intellect freed from ideas of unity or duality, rid of its anxious cares and desires, has approached a state that is next to that of God. 31 The pure desire that exists in consciousness, like a stain on the moon, is no impurity but the solidification of condensed consciousness.

32 Rama, remain always in the state of your collected intellect because it concentrates everything in itself, and leaves nothing beyond it. This is the most faultless, perfect form of faith. 33 The moon-like consciousness, having the mark of no desire on it, is a vessel of ambrosia. A drink of that ambrosia drowns the thoughts of all that is and all that is not into oblivion. 34 Refer your thoughts of whatever you have or want to the region of your intellect. Taste your inner delight as much as you like. 35 Rama, know that the words vibration and inaction, desire and no desire, and such other spiritual or theological terms, only serve to burden and misled the mind to error. Keep yourself from thinking on these. Remain in your peace and quiet, whether you attain your perfection or otherwise.