Chapter 34 — Sermon on the Practice of Spiritual Yoga

Vasishta continued:—

A man lost in the pleasure or pains that fall to his share in this life is lost forever for the future. But the scriptures pronounce that he who is not lost is imperishable. He who has his desires always rising in his mind is always subject to the changes of fortune. Therefore it is proper to give up desire at first in order to prevent alternating pains and pleasures.

The error that this is “I” and that the world does not attach to the immortal soul which is tranquil and unsupported, quite dispassionate and without decay. That this is “I”, that is Brahman, and the other is the world, are verbal distinctions that breed error in the mind by giving different names to the one, uniform and unchanging emptiness that is ever calm and quiet. Here there is no ego or world, no fictitious names of Brahman and other. The all pervading One is quite calm and all in all. There is no active or passive agent at all in this place. The multiplicity of doctrines and the plurality of terms used to explain true spirit and the inexplicable One are invalid and refutable. Among them, the word “ego” in particular is altogether false and futile.

A man absorbed in meditation does not see visible phenomena, just as a thoughtless person has no perception of a ghost standing in his presence, and just as a sleeping man does not perceive the dreams occurring to another sleeping by his side, or hear the loud roar of clouds in the unconscious state of his sound sleep. In this manner the courses of spirits are imperceptible to us, though they are continually moving all about us. It is our nature to perceive what you know and never know anything which is without or beyond our knowledge.

Knowledge, being like our soul, shows all things like itself. Therefore our knowledge of ego and the world is not separate from the soul and the Supreme Soul. 10 Our knowledge manifests itself in the form of the world before us, just as our dreams and desires represent themselves to us as true. These various manifestations of the inner soul are in no way different from the soul, just as waves and bubbles are nothing but the water in which they arise. 11 In spite of the identity of the soul and its manifestations of knowledge, concept, ideas and others, ignorant thinkers consider them to be distinct things. The learned make no distinction whatever between the manifestation and its manifesting principle.

12 As the indivisible soul becomes a component body by assuming all its organs and limbs, so the eternally undivided spirit of God appears to be multiplied in all parts of the world and in the various works of creation. 13 The intellect contains numberless thoughts in itself, just as a tray holds a great many golden cups. Whenever this intellect is awake, it sees innumerable worlds appearing before it. 14 It is Brahman himself who shines in his brightness in the form of this fair creation. He is dissolved throughout the whole in his liquefied form of Intellect, just as the sea shows itself in the changing forms of its waves. 15 Whatever the mind thinks, it appears in the form of the world. Formless thought takes a definite form. But what is not in the mind never appears to view.

16 The concepts of exercising the intellect and the lack of any thought are both applied to the Supreme Intellect because of its almighty power to assume either to itself. This sort of explanation is for the instruction of others. In reality, there are no such states appertaining to the ever intelligent soul. 17 The world is neither a reality nor an unreality, but exhibits itself as such by using the reasoning of the intellect. But as the world does not appear absent reasoning, the same is taught in this lecture. 18 Reasoning and its absence are like the agitation and stillness of the soul. If both are under your subjection, it is quite easy and never difficult for you to restrain yourself by remaining as still as a piece of stone.

19 An appearance which has neither essence nor substance, nor any assignable cause for its existence, is the very nature of this egoism of ours. We know not from where it appeared like an apparition before us. 20 It is very strange that this apparition of your ego, which is no entity in reality, should take such possession of your mind as to make you unconscious of yourself.

21 By accident one happens to observe the ego in the person of the impersonal Brahman, just as a man by deception of his eyesight comes to see a tree in the sky. 22 If my ego and the world are really the same as Brahman, then how can they have their production and dissolution, and what is the cause of our joy or sorrow in either of these cases? 23 This world of thought comes to be visible by the almighty power of God. But the absence of thought prevents its appearance to us. Thoughtlessness of the world avoids its sight.

24 By mere accident the empty mind of Brahman exhibits the ideal world in itself, just as any man dreams a fairy city, or sees the objects of his desire and fancy in his mind. How is it possible to separate the contained from the containing mind? 25 Creation abides in the Divine Mind like waves abide in the sea, a statue abides in the wood from which it is carved, and pots and other things abide in the clay from which they are made. So all things abide in Brahman.

26 As all things appear in their formless state in the insubstantial and transparent emptiness of the mind, so ego and this world also appears in the Divine Mind. 27 As air by its natural inflation breathes out in various sorts of breezes, so the one whose nature is unknown evolves himself in every form of ego of each individual and of the world. 28 As formless smoke presents forms of elephants, horses and the like in empty clouds, so the insubstantial spirit of God represent the formless ego, you and all things beside in itself. 29 Creation is a component part of the unknown body of Brahman, just as leaves and branches are component parts of a tree. Each contains both the other’s cause and effect.

30 Knowing the impossibility of the existence of the world other than in the self, the ever existent soul, remain at peace within yourself without trouble. Be free from attributes and errors. Remain as free and detached as the free, open and empty space. 31 Know that neither you nor ourselves nor the worlds nor the open air and space are ever in existence. Brahman alone is ever existent in his eternal tranquility, calmness and fullness. 32 Seeing the endless particulars in the universe, remain free from all particularities such as I, myself, you, yourself, and the like. Think yourself to be in the sole and Supreme One and you shall have your liberation. 33 Knowledge of particulars serves only to bind you to them. Your ignorance of particulars lends only to your liberation. Sit as you are and do your business in your state of tranquility totally unaware of everything. 34 Do not let anything visible attract your sight or allow their thoughts to absorb your mind. Thus the world disappears with your thoughtlessness of it. Say what else have you to think about?

35 The absence of the visible and its observer resembles the state of the waking sleeper. It will make the mind as void of thoughts as the autumn sky is devoid of clouds. 36 We distinguish between creation and creator because we assume the action of Divine Consciousness is distinct from the unchanging Brahman. In the same way, our knowledge of the difference between wind and air causes us to think they are different. Therefore, our liberation lies in the absence of making this distinction and the knowledge of the unity of Brahman. 37 The knowledge of the vibration of the Divine Spirit is truly the cause of our knowledge of the world. The absence of this knowledge of differences is called our nirvana or utter extinction in God.

38 As the seed is conscious that the sprout growing out of it is its own kind, so Divine Consciousness knows the world produced from it is the same as itself. 39 As a seed becomes a plant from its conception of the plant in itself, so Divine Consciousness becomes creation from its concept of creation. 40 As thoughts are only various modifications of the mind, so creation is a pattern of Divine Consciousness. All kinds of seeds serve as examples of having products of the same nature. 41 The world is the changeless form of the unchanging essence of one. Know it to be as unchangeable and without decay as He who is without beginning or end.

42 The Divine Soul is full of its innate will whereby it produces and destroys the world out of and into itself. This form of unity and duality is like the appearance and disappearance of an imaginary city. 43 As you have no distinct idea of the things expressed by the words sky and emptiness, so you must know that the words Brahman and creation bear no distinction from the Divine Spirit. 44 The great Consciousness or omniscience, which is the everlasting form of divine essence, has the knowledge of ego jointly eternal with itself, which men by ignorance assume to themselves. 45 There is nothing that ever grows or perishes in the mundane form of Brahman, but everything rises and falls in it like the waves of the sea, rising and falling in all ways and never to be lost in any way.

46 All things being of the form of Brahman remain in the same Brahman, just as all spaces remain in infinite space and all waves and billows rise and fall in the same sea. 47 Wherever you are placed and whenever you have time, attend but for a moment to the nature of the soul in your consciousness and you will perceive the true ego.

48 The sages, O Rama, have described two states of our consciousness, namely its sensible and insensible states. Now therefore, be inclined to that which you think is for your best good and never be forgetful of it.