Chapter 12 — Bhushunda on the Identity of Will & Its Work of Desire; Vasishta on the Four Quarters to Attain Liberation from Ignorance

Bhushunda continued:—

The supposition that an emptiness is a part of the universal emptiness is false, so the concept of an individual ego is altogether an error. The false conception of limited emptiness produced from unlimited emptiness has given rise to the mistaken belief of unreal and individual souls proceeding from the one universal and undivided soul of God.

Divine Intellect exists in the form of air in air which it takes for its body. It is manifest throughout the aerial sphere and therefore I am neither the ego nor the non-ego. The unity of subtle intellect is of such a nature that it contains the gravity of the immense world in the same manner as a heavy mountain is contained in an atom. The conscious intellect is of the form of air, empty and all pervading. The intellect, rarer than subtle air, thinks of the gross nature of unintelligent matter which exhibits itself in the form of the world.

It is well known to the spiritually minded person that our egoism and the materiality of the world are only expansions of intellect, just as the currents and swirls of streams in whirlpools are only expansions of water. When this process of intellect is stopped, the whole course of nature is at a standstill, just like the water of a lake without waves or the quiet sky without wind. Thus there is no cause of any physical action in any part of the world except what is derived from the agitation of Intellect, without which this whole is a shapeless void and nothing. The action of Intellect makes the world appear to us at all times and places, whether in the sky, water or land, or when we wake, sleep, or dream. 10 The action and inaction of the Intellect is imperceptible to our understanding because of the extreme subtleness of the mind, more transparent than clear sky.

11 The knowing soul is one with the Supreme Spirit. It is unconscious of pleasure or pain or the sense of its egoism. Melted down into Divine Essence, it resides as the fluidity of psychic fluid. 12 A wise man has no regard for any external intelligence, fortune, fame or prosperity. Having no desire or hope to rise or fear to fall, he sees none of these things before him, just as one in the gloom of night sees no object visible in broad daylight.

13 The moonlight of the intellect issues forth from the moonlike disc of the glory of God. It fills the universe with its ambrosial flood. There is no other created world, nor any receptacle of time or space except the essence of Brahman which fills the whole. 14 Thus the whole universe being full with the glorious essence of God, it is the mind which revolves with the spheres of the worlds on itself, like ripples on the surface of waters. 15 The revolving world is rolling on like a running stream to its decay with its ever rising and sinking waves and its gurgling and spiraling currents and whirlpools. 16 As moving sands appear like water and as distant smoke seems like gathering clouds to the deluded, so this world appears to them as a gross object of creation, a third thing beside Divine Spirit and mind.

17 As sawed off wood appears to be separate blocks, and as water divided by wind has the appearance of detached waves, so this creation in the Supreme Spirit seems to be something without and different from it. 18 The world is as un-solid and insubstantial as the trunk of a plantain tree, and as false and frail as the leaves of the tree of our desire. It is plastic in its nature, but as hard as stone in substance. 19 It is personified in the form of Viraj with his thousand heads and feet, and as many arms, faces and eyes, his body filling all sides with all mountains, rivers and countries situated in it. 20 It is empty within and without any core. It is painted in many colors and has no color of itself. 21 It is covered with bodies of gods and demigods, gandharvas, vidyadharas, and great naaga serpents. It is inert, moved by the all moving air of the all connecting spirit of God (sutratma). It is animated by the all enlivening vital life force of the Supreme Soul.

22 As the scene of a great city appears brilliant in a painting well drawn on canvas, so the picture of the world displayed by imagination in the retina of the mind appears charming to those who do not choose to consider it in its true light. 23 The reflection of the unreal and imaginary world which falls on the mirror of the fickle and fluctuating mind appears to swim upon its surface, like a drop of oil floating over the surface of water. 24 This world is covered with the network of feelings imprinted in the heart and interspersed with winding, whirling currents of mistake and misery. It runs with the flood of our affections and with silent murmurs of sorrow.

25 Common understanding is ready to attribute choice, the predicates “I” and “you” and so forth to the original and prime Intellect, but none of these is separate from the Supreme One, just as fluid is no other than water itself. 26 The luminous Intellect itself is called creation, or else there is no other creation or any creator. 27 As the power of impulse is inherent in every moving substance, like the blowing of winds and flowing of water, so the Intellectual Soul, being of a empty form, knows all things only in their empty or ideal states. 28 As seas and oceans become the seeming cause for separate countries by separating one land from another, though the vacuum remains ever the same, so delusion is the cause of different ideas and dreams of material objects, but spirit remains unchanging forever.

29 Know the words mind, egoism, understanding and such other words which signify the idea of knowledge proceed only from ignorance. They are soon removed by proper investigation. 30 Through conversation with the wise it is possible to remove one half of this ignorance. By investigation into the scriptures, we can remove a quarter of it. Our belief in and reliance on the Supreme Spirit serves to put down the remaining quarter. 31 Having thus divided yourself into these fourfold duties, and by each destroyed the four parts of ignorance, at last you will find a nameless something which is the true reality itself.

32 Rama said, “Sage, I can understand how a portion of our ignorance is removed by conversation with the wise, and how a quarter of it is driven away by the study of scriptures. But tell me. How is the remainder removed by our belief and reliance in the spirit? 33 Tell me sage, what do you mean by the simultaneous and gradual removal of ignorance? What am I to understand by what you call the nameless one and the true reality, as distinguished from the unreal?”

34 Vasishta replied:—

It is proper for all good and virtuous people who are dispassionate and dissatisfied with the world to have recourse to wise and holy men, and argue with them regarding the course of nature in order to get over the ocean of this miserable world. 35 It is also proper for intelligent persons to search diligently after passionless and unselfish men wherever they may be found, and particularly to find and revere such of them who possess knowledge of the soul and are kindly disposed to share their spiritual knowledge with others. 36 Finding such a holy sage takes away half of one’s temporal and spiritual ignorance by setting him on the first and best step of divine knowledge.

37 Thus half of one’s spiritual gloom is dispelled by association with the holy. The remaining two-fourths are removed by religious learning and one’s own faith and devotion. 38 Whenever any desire of any enjoyment whatever is carefully suppressed by his own effort, it is called self-exertion and it destroys one fourth of spiritual ignorance. 39 The company of the holy, the study of scriptures, and one’s own efforts tend to take away one’s sins. This is done by each of these alone or all of these together, either by degrees or all at once.

40 Whatever remains after the total extinction of ignorance, whether as something or nothing at all, is said to be the transcendent and nameless or unspeakable something or nothing. 41 This truly is the real Brahman, the undestroyed, infinite and eternal one. Being only a manifestation of the insubstantial will, Brahman is also understood to be a nonexistent blank. By knowing the measureless, immeasurable and unerring Being, rely upon your own extinction in nirvana and be free from all fear and sorrow.