1 Rama said, “Please sage, explain to me about the acts of men which become the causes of their repeated births, just as seeds are sources of future trees. Explain those acts described as divine dispensation, destiny, or fate (daiva).”
2 Vasishta replied:—
The meaning of daiva or destiny is as that of a potter producing pottery. It is the act of intelligence and not of blind chance or human effort. 3 How is it possible for any action to be done only by human effort without some effort of understanding directing human energy to action? It is this intelligent power that makes the world and all that it contains. 4 The prosperity of the world depends on understanding exerting itself with a desire to bring about some certain end. It ceases when understanding, the cause of the course of the world, ceases.
5 Mental indifference or lack of desire in the mind is called a negative act. The mind that merely moves on without engaging in any pursuit is like the smooth current of a stream without surges. 6 There is no difference between a thinking and unthinking soul except that the mind of one is moved by its imagination to invent some art or work. 7 As there is no essential difference between water and its waves, or between desire and its result, so there is no difference between the intellect and its function, nor is there any difference between actions and their agent.
8 Rama, know the action as the agent. The actor is the same as his action. Both are quite alike just as ice and coldness. 9 As frost is cold and cold the same as frost, so the deed is the same as its doer, and the doer is the same as the deed he does. 10 The vibration of Consciousness is the same as destiny which is also the agent of action. These are synonymous terms expressing the same thing. Destiny, deed and other words have no distinct meaning. 11 The vibration of consciousness is the cause of creation, just as the seed is the source of a tree. Lack of this vibration produces nothing. Therefore intellectual activity contains the seed of the whole world. 12 The Divine Mind contains in its infinite expanse all the ample space of time and place. Of its own nature, it sometimes fluctuates and sometimes is at a standstill, much like the vast ocean.
13 The causeless and un-causing seed of the Intellect, being moved by desire, becomes the cause of the precise details of material bones, just as the seed produces sprouts and plants. 14 All plant life, whether grass, vines or trees, grows from their particular seeds, and these seeds originate from the vibration of the Divine Mind, which is uncreated and without any cause. 15 There is no difference between the seed and its sprout, just as there is no difference between heat and fire. As you recognize the identity between seed and its sprout, so must you recognize the identity between man and his acts.
16 Divine Intellect exerts its power in the womb of the earth and grows the sprouts of unmoving plants as from their seed. These become great or small, straight or crooked as Divine Intellect would have them to be. 17 What other power is there beside that of the Intellect to grow sturdy oaks from soft clay and humid moisture that are the womb of the earth? 18 It is this Intellect which fills the seeds of living beings with vital fluid, like the sap inside plants gives growth to flowers and fruit on the outside. 19 If this all inhering Intellect were not almighty, say then, what other power is there that could produce the mighty gods and demigods in the air and the huge mountains on earth? 20 The Divine Mind contains the seeds of all moving and unmoving beings. They all have their being from the movement of this intellectual power, and from no other source whatever.
21 As there is no difference between the alternate productions of seed, plant and fruit from one another, so there is no difference in the reciprocal causation of man, his acts and vice versa. In the same way there is not even a shade of difference between the swelling waves and the sinking waters of the sea.
22 Shame on that silly and beastly being who does not believe in the reciprocity of man and his actions, or agent and his act, as taught in the Vedas. 23 The restless craving that is inherent in one’s consciousness is the embryonic seed of his reincarnation, just like the growth of plants. Therefore it is necessary to kill the seed by frying it in the fire of renunciation. 24 The learned say that detachment is performing an act, whether good or bad, without taking it to the mind. 25 It is also said that detachment is the destruction of desire which loosens a man from all connection to an act. Therefore try by all means in your power to create in your mind a total unconcern for everyone and an indifference to all things whatsoever.
26 In whatever manner you think it possible, get rid of your craving desires, whether by theoretical or practical yoga or your human efforts. You must root every desire from your heart in order to secure your best welfare and perfect bliss. 27 You must endeavor to the utmost of your human power to suppress some portion of your egoism in order to prevent the rise of selfish passions and desires within your heart. 28 There is no other way to cross the impassable expanse of the world except by the exercise of our human virtues, nor is there any other way of extinguishing our ardent desires except by the extinction of egoism.
29 The inherent consciousness of the ever existent Soul is both the prime seed as well as the first sprout of the world. It is the source of action and its cause and effect on men. The ever existent Soul is called destiny and the happiness and sorrow of all.
30 In the beginning there was no seed or sprout, nor any man or his action. There was no such thing as destiny or doom or any other prime cause, but all that existed was Supreme Intellect which is all in all. 31 There is no seed or sprout in reality, nor is there any action or its active agent in fact. There is only one Supreme Intellect in absolute and positive existence. It is under the auspices of this hollowed name that you see all these gods and demigods and all men and women performing their respective parts as actors on the stage of the world. 32 Knowing this certain truth and thinking yourself as the imperishable one, be free from your thoughts of agent and action. Give up all your desires and false imagination, and live to reflect only upon your self-consciousness.
33 Remain fearless, O Rama, and be graceful with the calm composure of your mind. Subdue all your desires and lay aside your fears with them. Rely on your clear intellect and continue to do your endless acts. Be full in yourself with the Supreme Soul, and thus you shall have the fullness of your desires fulfilled in you.