Chapter 30 — Sermon on Spirituality

Vasishta continued:—

Egoism is the greatest ignorance, an impassable barrier in the way of our ultimate extinction. Yet foolish people are seen to fondly pursue their final bliss through their egoistic efforts, which are no better than the attempts of a madman. Egoism is the sure indicator of the ignorance of unwise people. No cool headed and knowing man is ever known to have a concept of “I” or a sense that he is the agent of doing anything. The wise and knowing man, whether embodied or liberated, renounces the impurity of his egotism and relies on the utter nothingness of himself, which is as pure and clear as the emptiness of heaven, free from trouble and anxiety.

The autumn sky is serene and clear, and so are the waters of the calm and unperturbed sea. The disc of the full moon is fair and bright. But none of these is as cool, calm and full of light as the radiant face of the wise and knowing sage. The features of the sage and wise are ever calm and steady, like painted figures of warriors in battle array, even in the midst of business and trifles, and even when engaged in the commotion of warfare and fury of fight. All worldly thoughts and desires are nothing to a sage existing in nirvana. They are as imperceptible as the slender lines in a painting, and as lean as the rippling waves on the surface of the sea which are indistinct from its waters.

As the rolling waves of the sea are nothing other than its heaving water, so visible phenomena in the world are nothing other than the play of the spirit of Brahman in itself. Hence the soul that is undisturbed by wave-like commotions is freed from all worldliness. It is calm and quiet both inside and outside like the still ocean, and raised above worldly matters in its holy meditation. Ego rises of itself as an uncreated thing in the form of consciousness in the all comprehensive intellect of God, just as waves rise and fall in the waters of the deep and have no difference in their nature. 10 As rising smoke in the sky exhibits various forms of forts, chariots and elephants, and as none of them is anything other than the same smoke, so all these phenomena and ideas are in no way different from the nature of their divine origin.

11 By considering the fallacy of your individual ego consciousness, you will, my royal hearers, get rid of your error. Then you will exult in your knowledge of truth and be victorious over yourself. Do not despair, for you are wise enough to know the truth.

12 As the growing sprout conceives the would be tree with all its future flowers and fruit, so the ignorant man conceives in his vacant mind the false ideas of himself, his soul, his ego and of everything else according to its fancy. 13 The conceptions of the mind are as false as the sight of things, like seeing a circle in the twirling of a lighted torch. Though the presiding soul is always true, yet these thoughts of the mind are as untrue as its fancy of fairies in the orb of the moon.

14 Now my royal hearers, continue to enjoy your peace by considering, at your pleasure, the rise, end, and continuation of the world, and remain free from disease in all places and times. 15 Conduct yourselves with calmness in whatever turns to be favorable or unfavorable. Unless you behave like dead bodies, you cannot perceive the bliss of your final nirvana, the cessation of mental activity.

16 He truly attains the state of supreme bliss in this world who gives up his egoism and egoistic desires from his mind and renounces the animal nature of his life to live a life of consciousness. 17 Living the animal life leads only to sorrows and misery. Men thus bound by the chain of their animal desires are like big boats burdened with heavy loads of cargo. 18 Strangers to reasoning, addicted to the gross thoughts of ignorance, are never blessed with liberation. How is it possible to obtain in this life what is attainable only by the deceased in the next world? 19 Whatever a man fancies in this life and desires to have in the next, he dies with the same and finds them in his future life. But where there is no such fancy, desire or hope that is truly the state of everlasting bliss. 20 Therefore be fearless with the thought that there is no such thing as yourself or anyone else. By knowing this truth, you will find this poisonous world turned into a paradise.

21 Examine your whole material body composed of your outer frame and the inner mind. Say, in what part do you find your egoism situated? If nowhere, then accept the truth that you have no ego anywhere. 22 Seeing all and every part up to the seat of your egoism, and finding it seated nowhere, you see only an open space of which no part is ever lost or destroyed. 23 In this (attainment of liberation) you are required to do no more than to exert your courage to renounce your enjoyments, cultivate your reasoning powers, and govern yourself by subduing your body and mind. Therefore, you ignorant men who desire your liberation, delay no longer to practice self-control.

24 The learned explain liberation as meditation upon God without any desire of the heart or duplicity in the mind. They say this is not possible without the assistance of spiritual knowledge. But the world being full of error, it is necessary to derive this knowledge from spiritual works, or else it is very likely to be entrapped in the very many snares which are forever set all about this earth.

25 Knowing full well the unreality of the world and the uncertainty of one’s self, one’s body, friends, family, wealth and possessions, whoever is distrustful of them and identifies himself with his intelligence and pure emptiness, truly finds his liberation in this and in no other state whatsoever.