Chapter 33 — Sermon on the True Sense of Truth

Vasishta continued:—

Rama, if a man will not gain his wisdom by his own efforts, by his own reasoning, and by the development of his understanding in the company of good men, then there is no other way to it. If one tries to remove the false creations of his imagination by the prescribed remedies of the scriptures, he will succeed to change and correct himself, just as they remedy one poison with a counter poison. All fancies and desires are checked by un-imagining them, and this un-imagining or lacking desire is the cause of liberation. Renouncing worldly enjoyment is the first step to liberation.

First consider well the meanings of words, both in your mind and utterance of them, and all habitual and growing misconceptions will slowly cease and subside of themselves. There is no greater error or ignorance in one’s self than the sense of one’s own individual ego. Once this error of ego has subsided by disregarding of its accepted sense, then liberation is near. If you have the least reliance upon your body and individual ego, you surely lose the infinite joy of your unbounded soul. But by forsaking the feeling of your personality, you are freed from the bondage of your fondness for anything of this world and become perfected in divine knowledge and blissfulness.

Lack of understanding makes all these unrealities appear as real to the ignorant. But we venerate and bow down to the sage who remains as unmoved as a stone at all this. Who, from lack of any sense of external objects, remains as cold as a stone and remains at peace in the Supreme Spirit by meditation on the Divine Mind in his own mind, sees only an empty void both within and all around himself.

Whether visible phenomena exist or not, they tend to our misery. Only our thoughtlessness of them leads to our happiness. Therefore it is better to remain unconscious of them by shutting our senses against them. 10 There are two very serious diseases waiting on mankind because of men’s cares for this and the next world. Both are attended with intolerable physical and temporal pains to the patients who suffer them. 11 In this world, the intelligent are seen throughout their lives vainly trying to remove their diseases of hunger and thirst by their best medicines of food and drink. But there is no remedy whatever to heal their spiritual illnesses of sin and evil, or to prevent their inevitable fate of death and rebirths in endless succession.

12 The best sort of men are trying to heal their spiritual illnesses and prevent their future fate by means of the ambrosial medicines of dispassion, good company, and improvement of their understanding. 13 Those who are careful to cure their spiritual complaints become successful through their desire to get better and the best medicine of abstinence and refraining from evil. 14 This deadly disease of sin leads men to hellfire in the future. Say, what remedy is left to try after he has gone to the next world where there is no balm to heal the sickly soul? 15 Try all earthly medicines to prevent your life from being wasted away by earthly diseases, and keep your souls pure for the next world by the healing balm of spiritual knowledge in this life.

16 This life is only a breath, like a trembling dew drop hanging at the end of a shaking leaf, ready to fall down. But your future life is long and enduring under all its variations. Therefore heal it for the everlasting future. 17 By carefully attending to the treatment of spiritual diseases at present, you will not only be healthy and holy in your soul in the next world, but you will evade all the diseases of this life which will fly far away from you.

18 Know your conscious soul to be like a microscopic organism which evolves itself into the form of this vast world, just as an atom contains a huge mountain which in time evolves from its core. 19 As the evolution of your consciousness presents the forms that you have in your mind to your sight, so does the phenomena of the world appear in the womb of vacuum. They are no more real than a false fantasy.

20 In spite of the repeated deluge and destruction of the visible earth, there is no change or end of the false phantom of our mind where its form is neither destroyed nor resuscitated owing to it being a fantasy without any reality whatever. 21 Should you like to lift up your soul from the muddy pit of earthly pleasures and desires where it is drowning, then you must put forth your human virtues as the only means to this end, without which there is no other. 22 The man of uncontrolled mind and soul is a dull-headed fool fallen in the muddy pit of carnal desires. He becomes the receptacle of all kinds of danger and difficulty, just as the seabed is the reservoir of all the waters falling to it.

23 As boyhood is the first stage in the life of a man, an introduction to later stages for perfection of human nature, so the first step to one’s self-extinction is the renunciation of carnal enjoyments which leads to the subjection of passions.

24 The stream of a wise man’s life is ever flowing onward with the rising and falling of events, without overflowing its banks or breaking its bounds. It resembles a river drawn in a picture, flowing without the current of its waters. 25 The course of the lives of ignorant people runs with tremendous noise, like the swift currents of rivers. It rolls onward with dangerous whirlpools and flows on with rising and setting waves. 26 Continuous creations and courses of events transpire with the succession of our thoughts. They appear before us like the illusive series of our dreams, the false appearance of two moons in the sky, or the delusion of mirage and apparitions rising to the sight of children. 27 So the constant waves raised by the rising and falling waters of our consciousness appear like an endless chain of created objects, rising in reality to our view but, being taken into mature consideration, false and unreal as they seemed true and real to our false apprehension of them.

28 It is said that there are worlds and cities of gandharva spirits and spiritual masters contained in the hollow vault of the sky. It is supposed that the space of the sky is a reservoir of waters. But all these are only creations of the mind. There are no such things in reality. 29 Worlds are like bubbles of water in the ocean of the conscious mind. They are only the productions of the fanciful mind, things such as they are thought to be. Together with the idea of ego, all are only forms of our varying thoughts.

30 The expansion of consciousness unfolds the world. Closing consciousness conceals phenomena from view. Therefore these appearances are neither inside nor outside of us. They are neither realities nor altogether unreal either. 31 There is one thing alone of the form of Consciousness which is unborn and unknown, and the Lord of all without any decay. It is devoid of substance and property. It is called Brahman or immensity and tranquil spirit, which is as quiet and calm as the infinite void and is rarer than even the empty atmosphere. 32 There is no cause whatever which can be reasonably assigned to the agitation, consciousness, and creations of the spirit of Brahman which, being above nature, is said to have no nature at all. Its agitation is like that of the air whose cause is beyond all conception.

33 Brahman has his thoughts rising in him like waves in the ocean, like our consciousness of dreams rising in our soul. In reality, the nature of this creation is neither as that of his dream or the wave produced from his essence. 34 Only this much can be said of him. There is only an unknowable unity which is ever the same and never as quick as thought or as dull as matter. It is not a reality or unreality, nor anything positive or negative.

35 The yogi who remains in this detached tranquil state of Brahman, unaware of his own consciousness, is said to be the best of sages and saints. 36 Who becomes inactive and inert as a clod of earth, even while he is alive, who becomes unconscious of himself and the outer world and thinks of nothing, is said to be the best of sages and saints. 37 We lose sight of wished for objects by ceasing to wish for them. We get rid of our knowledge of ourselves and the world by our ceasing to think about them.

38 All things expressed in words have certain causes assigned to them. But the cause of their nature remains inexplicable. Only the knowledge of the cause of this prime nature leads to our liberation. 39 Nothing whatever has a nature of itself unless it is implanted by the intelligence of God, as if by infusion of the moisture of divine intelligence. 40 All our thoughts are agitated by inspiration of the breath of the great Intellect. Therefore know them as proceeding from the vacuum of the entity of the supreme Brahman. 41 There is no difference whatsoever between creator and creation, except the difference between air and its agitation, which are the one and same thing. The thought of any difference is as false as the sight of one’s death in his dream.

42 An error continues only as long as the blunder does not become evident by the light of reasoning. When the error is cleared of its falsity, it vanishes into the light and truth of Brahman. 43 Error, being the false representation of something, flies away before a critical insight into it. All things being only productions of our error, like our conception of the horns of a rabbit, they all vanish before the light of true knowledge, leaving only the entity of Brahman. 44 Therefore give up all your errors and delusions and thereby get rid of the burden of your diseases and decay. Meditate only on the One who has no beginning, middle or end, who is always clear and the same, and who is full of bliss and bliss. Assimilate yourself into the nature of the clear sky (in that supreme state of Brahman-space).