Chapter 31 — Sermon on the Means of Attaining Extinction

Vasishta said:—

He who has devoted his whole soul to the contemplation of Consciousness and feels it stirring within himself, knows in his mind the vanity and unreality of all worldly things. By habituating himself to this sort of meditation and seeing the outward objects in his perceptive soul, he sees the external world like an appearance in his dream. All this is truly the form of Consciousness represented in a different garb. Consciousness is more subtle than pure air, but collects and condenses itself as the solid world, then recognizes itself as such. The world is no other than the consolidated consciousness, and there is nothing beside this anywhere.

It has no dissolution or decay, nor has it any birth or death. It is neither emptiness nor solidity. It is neither extension nor lack of density, but it is all and the supreme one and nothing in particular. Nothing is lost by the loss of individual ego or this world. The loss of an unreality is no loss at all, just as the loss of anything in our dream is the loss of nothing. Nothing is lost at the loss of an imaginary city, which is altogether a falsity. So nothing is destroyed by the destruction of our egos and this unreal world. Our perception of the world comes from a nothing. If it is granted as such, then there is nothing that can be attributed to it, like a flower growing in the air. After mature thought with regard to this unreality, the conclusion is that you must remain as you are, as firm as a rock in the state in which you are placed and in the conduct appropriate to your station in life.

The world is the creation of your fancy as you wish it to be. There are particular duties attached to your station in all your wanderings through life. But all these immediately cease at the moment (of your realization in meditation), and this is the conclusion arrived at (by the scriptures). 10 All this is inevitable and unavoidable in life. It is avoided only by divine meditation, in which case the entire creation vanishes into nothing leaving no trace behind.

11 Unholy souls who view creation before them like the dreams of sleeping men are called sleeping souls. They see the world rising before them like waving waters in a mirage. 12 We do not know what to say about those who consider the unreality of the world as a reality, other than saying they are like the offspring of barren women.

13 The souls of those who have known the true God are as full as the ocean with heavenly delight because they do not look upon or even notice visible objects. 14 They remain as calm as the still air and as tranquil as the unmoving flame of a lamp. They continue to be quite at ease even if they are employed or unemployed in action. 15 As a minute atom makes a mountain, so the sage’s heart becomes full when it is employed in business. Yet the cold-hearted detachment of the wise seer continues the same as ever before.

16 The wish makes the man, though it is not seen by anyone. It is the cause of the world, though it is not perceived by anybody. 17 What is done by oversight or in ignorance is undone by the knowledge of it, just as, for example, thefts carried on in darkness are undone and disappear before the blaze of daylight. 18 All beings composed of fleshy bodies and the five elemental substances are altogether unreal, mere gross productions of only error. Understanding, mind, egoism and other mental faculties are of the same nature.

19 Leaving aside both the elemental and mental aspects of your body, you attain the purely intellectual state of your soul. This is called your liberation. 20 When attachment to consciousness and adherence to intellectual thoughts are secured, there will be an end to seeing phenomena and there will be no more appearance of any fancy in the mind, or any desire or craving rising in the heart. 21 But he who has fallen into the error of taking phenomena as true, his sight of the unreal prevents him from seeing true reality. In the end he finds that the phenomenal world is only a mirage, never faithful to anybody at any place. 22 He whose soul has risen to enlightenment finds the falsity of the world, but whoever happens to have any memory of the world in him comes to fall into the error of its reality again.

23 Therefore avoid your reliance on all worldly objects. Rely only on the one who is simply emptiness. Remember that it is good for you not to remember the world anymore, and that your forgetfulness of it altogether is best for you. 24 In your forgetfulness of the world you will find nothing to be seen or enjoyed in it, and nothing of its existence or nonexistence whatsoever. It is forever well, quiet and still as the calm and undisturbed ocean. 25 The whole visible world is Brahman himself. As such, the ocean of Brahman is to be understood as a positive reality. It is a bubble in his eternity, which is all quiet and calm after the absorption of bubbles and waves.

26 Meek and tolerant men are calm and dispassionate in their worldly transactions. They rest in the Supreme Spirit in their souls. 27 The saint whose soul is extinguished in God has only meekness remaining in him. Being devoid of all desire, he is unfit for all worldly concerns. 28 As long as one is not perfect in the extinction of his soul in God, he may be employed in his every day duties by being devoid of passions, hatred, and fear of anyone. 29 The saint being freed from his passions and feelings of anger, fear and other affections, and getting the tranquility of nirvana extinction in his mind, becomes as cold as snow and remains like a block of stone forever.

30 As the lotus contains the seed of the future flower, so the saint has all his thoughts and desires quite concealed in his innermost soul. He never gives any expression to them on the outside. 31 The mind wanders outside by thinking about the outer world. It remains confined within itself by meditation on the inner soul. Such is the contemplation of the Supreme Being, either as he is thought of or seen in spirit in the inner soul, or viewed himself to be displayed in his works of creation in the outer world. 32 The outer world is nothing other than an external representation of the delusive dream that is inside ourselves. There is not the slightest difference between them, just as there is none in the same milk contained in two different pots. 33 The motion or inertness and the fickleness or steadiness of the one or other are no more than the effects of our lengthened delusion. The state of one being the container of the other makes no difference in them, as there is none between the ocean and the waves it contains.

34 The dreams that we see in sleep are only operations of the mind, though in our ignorance they are supposed to be separate from ourselves. 35 He who remains in the manner of the Supreme Soul, quite calm and tranquil, free from all fancy and desires, becomes (extinct in) the very soul by thinking himself as such. He never becomes so unless he thinks himself to be so. 36 Perfect stillness of the soul is the divine state when there is not even a dream stirring in the mind, but what that state is or isn’t is incomprehensible to the mind and inexpressible in words. 37 Yet this state is made intelligible to us by the instructions of our spiritual guides, by entirely removing our error, and by our intense meditation of it. Otherwise, no one can explain what it really is.

38 Therefore it is proper for you to remain entirely extinct in the Eternal One and tranquil as the Divine Spirit by giving up all your fear and pride, your grief and sorrows, your covetousness, and all your other errors. You must also forsake the dullness of your heart and mind, that of your body and all its parts, together with the sense of your individual ego and the distinctions of things from the one perfect unity.