Chapter 117 — Sage Manu Teaches King Ikshaku: Creation Is an Appearance

Vasishta said:—

Rama, know that the renowned King Ikshaku was the founder of your race. Learn, O descendant of that monarch, the manner in which he obtained his liberation.

Once upon a time when this monarch was ruling over his kingdom, he came to think upon the state of humanity in one of his solitary hours. He wondered what might be the cause of the decay, disease and death, and also of the sorrow, pleasure and pain, and likewise of the errors to which all living beings are subject in this mortal world. He reflected long upon these thoughts, but was unable to find out the cause he so earnestly sought. He happened to meet sage Manu one day, coming to him from Brahmaloka. King Ikshaku proposed the same questions to him. 5 Having honored the lord of creatures as he took his seat in his court, Ikshaku asked be excused for asking him some questions to which he was impelled by his impatience.

“By your favor, sage, I take the liberty of asking you a question regarding the origin of this creation and the original state in which it was made. Tell me, what is the number of these worlds and who is their master and owner? When and by whom is it said to be created in the Vedas? Tell me, how may I be freed from my doubts and false beliefs regarding this creation, and how I may be released from them like a bird from its net?”

Manu replied:—

I see, O king, that after a long time you have come to exercise your reasoning, as shown by your asking me a question as important as this.

10 All this that you see, nothing is real. They resemble fairy castles in the air and water in a mirage in sandy deserts. Anything which is not seen in reality is considered nothing in existence. 11 Even the mind which lies beyond the six senses is reckoned as nothing in reality. But that which is indestructible is the only thing that is said to exist, and that which is (tat sat) is the only being in reality.

12 All these visible worlds and successive creations are only unsubstantial appearances in the mirror of that real substance. 13 The inherent powers of Brahman evolve themselves like shining sparks from fire. Some of these assume the forms of luminous worlds while others appear in the shapes of living soul. 14 Others take many other forms which compose this universe. There is nothing like bondage or liberation here, except that the undecaying Brahman is all in all. There is no unity or duality in nature, except the diversity displayed by the Divine Mind from the essence of his own consciousness.

15 As the same water of the sea shows the various forms of its waves, so does Divine Consciousness display itself in everything. There is nothing else besides this. Therefore leave aside your thoughts of bondage and liberation and rest secure in this belief from the fears of the world.