Chapter 4 — Annihilation of Egoism

Vasishta continued:—

One abandons the world through diminishing one’s ego, like a lamp going out for lack of oil, and by knowing that all that can be perceived lies within the conscious soul. Abandonment of the world is not giving up actions but renunciation of the knowledge of the objective world. The subjective soul is without the reflection of the visible world, and the objective self is immortal and indestructible. After the knowledge of the individual self and “this” and “that” and “mine” and “yours” becomes extinct like an extinguished lamp, there remains only the intelligent and subjective soul. But he whose knowledge of himself and others, and of “mine” and “yours” and “his” and “theirs” has not yet abated in his subjectivity has no intelligence, tranquility, abandonment or extinction of himself.

After extinction of one’s egoism and selfishness, there remains the sole and tranquil and intelligent soul, beside which there is nothing else in existence. The egoistic part of the soul being weakened by the power of true knowledge, everything in the world wastes away and dwindles into insignificance. Though nothing is lost in reality, yet everything is buried with the extinction of the self. The knowledge of ego is lost under that of the non-ego, without any delay or difficulty. It being so easy to effect, there is no need to resort to difficult methods to remove the ego. The thoughts of ego and non-ego are only false conceptions of the mind. The mind being as empty as the clear sky, there is no solid foundation for this error.

No error exists unless it moves upon the basis of ignorance. It grows upon misjudgment and vanishes in the light of reason and right judgment. 10 Know all existence to be only Consciousness which extends like an unreal emptiness. Therefore sit silently in the empty space of Consciousness in which all things are extinct as nothing. 11 Whenever the idea of ego occurs to the mind, it should immediately be put down by its negative idea of non-ego, that I am nothing. 12 Let the conviction of non-ego replace that of ego. Ego is a meaningless term, as untrue as empty air or the flower of a tree rooted in the air. Being fixed like an arrow in the bow-string of holy meditation, strive to hit the mark of Divine Essence. 13 Always know that your ideas of ego and you and I are as unreal as empty air. Being freed from the false idea of every other thing, quickly cross the delusive ocean of the world.

14 How can a senseless and beastly man attain the highest state of divine perfection if he is unable to overcome his natural tendency towards egoism? 15 He who by his good understanding has been able to subjugate the six-fold beastly desires of his nature is capable of receiving knowledge of great truths, and not any other foolish man in human shape. 16 He who has weakened and overcome the inborn feelings of his mind becomes the receptacle of all virtue and knowledge. Such a person is called a man in its proper sense of the word.

17 Whatever dangers may threaten you on rocks and hills and upon the sea, you may escape them by thinking that they cannot injure your inner soul, though they may hurt the flesh. 18 Knowing that your egoism is nothing in reality, except your false conception of it, then why do you allow yourself to be deluded by it like the ignorant who are misled by their frenzy? 19 There is nothing here that is known to us in its reality. All our knowledge of things is as false as that of an ornament in gold. So our knowledge of the ego is lost by our forgetfulness of it.

20 Try to dislodge the thoughts that arise in your mind like constant vibrations in the air by thinking that you are not the ego and that your ego has no foundation at all. 21 The man who has not overcome his ego and its accompaniments of covetousness, pride and delusion listens to these lectures in vain. They are useless to him. 22 The sense of egoism and the other which abides in you is nothing other than the stir of the Supreme Spirit which stirs alike in all like motion impels the winds. 23 The uncreated world which appears like an act of creation is inherent and apparent in the Supreme Soul. In spite of all its defects and frailty, it is fair by being situated in the Supreme Soul.

24 The Supreme Soul neither rises nor sets at anytime, nor is there anything else existent or nonexistent besides that One. 25 All this is transcendental in the transcendent spirit of God and everything is perfect in his perfection. All things are quiet in his tranquility and whatever is, is good by the goodness of the great God. 26 All things are extinct in the ever existing spirit of God. They are quiet in his quiescence, and all good in his goodness. This extinction in the ever existing soul of God is no annihilation. It is understood like the sky, but it is not the sky itself.

27 Men may bear the strokes of weapons and suffer the pain of diseases, yet how is it that nobody can tolerate the thought of the extinction of his ego? 28 The word ego is the ever growing seed of the meaning of everything in the world. That egoism being rooted out of the mind, this world also is uprooted from it. 29 The meaningless word ego, like empty vapor or smoke, has the property of soiling the mirror of the soul, which resumes its brightness after removal of the mist. 30 The significance of the word I or ego is as force or fluctuation in the calm and quiet atmosphere. This force being still, the soul resumes its serenity like that of the unseen and imperceptible and one eternal and infinite air.

31 The significance of the word ego produces the shadow of external objects in the mind. That shadow being lost, there follows the serenity and tranquility of the soul which are the attributes of the unknowable, infinite and eternal God. 32 After the cloudy shadow of the sense of the word ego is removed from the atmosphere of mind, the clear sky of transcendent truth appears shining with serene brightness throughout its infinite sphere. 33 After the essence of the soul is cleansed of its impurity, without any alloy or base metal, it shines with bright luster like pure gold when purified from its mixture with copper or other metals.

34 As an insignificant term bears no accepted sense, so the unintelligible word ego bears no definite sense of any particular person. It is equal to the non-ego or impersonal entity of Brahman. 35 Only Brahman resides in the word ego. Brahman exists as named objects and materials, like calmness which is a reflection of being. 36 The meaning of the word ego, which contains the seed of the world in it, is rendered unsuccessful by our ceasing to think of it. Then what is the good of using the words “I” and “you” that serve only to bind our souls to this world?

37 The essence is the pure and blissful spirit which is afterwards soiled under the name of ego. Ego rises out of that pure essence, just as a pot is produced from clay, but its substance is forgotten under its form, just as gold is forgotten in its form of an ornament. 38 From this seed of ego, the visible plant of creation takes its rise and produces countless worlds as its fruit which grow to fade and fall away. 39 The meaning of the word ego, like the minute seed of a long pepper, contains the wonderful productions of nature consisting of the earth and sea, hills, rivers, and forms and colors of things with their various natures and actions. 40 Heaven and earth, air and space, hills and rivers everywhere are like the fragrance of the full blown flower of ego. 41 Ego, in its widest sense, stretches out to the edges of creation and contains all the worlds under it, just as daylight comprehends all objects and their action under it. 42 As early daylight brings the forms and shapes and colors of things to view, so our ego presents the false appearance of the world to our visual sight.

43 When ego, like a particle of dirty oil, falls into the clear water of Brahman, it spreads over its surface in globules that resemble worlds floating in the air. 44 At a single glance, ego sees multitudes of worlds spread before its visual sight, just as the blinking eye observes thousands of specks scattered before its sight. 45 Egoism being extended far perceives the furthest worlds lying stretched before its sight. But the unselfish soul without ego, like a sleeping man, does not perceive the nearest object, just as our eyes do not see the pupils lying within them.

46 We can get rid of the mirage of the world only through the force of unfailing reasoning and the total extinction of our egoistic feelings. 47 Only by our constant reflection upon our consciousness does it become possible for us to attain the great object of our ultimate end, the attainment of the perfection of our souls. Then we have nothing more to desire or grieve at, nor any fear of falling into error. 48 It is possible by your own endeavor, and without the help of any person or thing, to attain your perfection. Therefore I see no better means for you than the thought of the extinction of your egoism.

49 Now Rama, this is the summary of the whole doctrine: that you forget your ego and yourself and extend the sphere of your soul all over the universe and behold them all in yourself. Remain quite calm and quiet and without any sorrow, exempt from all acts and pursuits of the frail and false world, and think of the soul as one whole and not as a part of the universe.