Chapter 38 — Disquisition of Nirvana — Quietism

Vasishta continued:—

The intellect sees the world because of the fallacy of its understanding, just as a man sees mountains in the sky because of the delusion of his eyesight. The doctrines that the world is a creation of Brahman or of the mind are both alike in substance in that they regard the world in an immaterial and not physical sense. The world that exists in our consciousness of it is the same as its internal knowledge. It does not exist outside of our consciousness, although it appears to be situated outside. The outward appearance is only our inner thought.

In our opinion, there is no difference between the two systems of interior and exterior knowledge of the world. Both rely upon our knowledge of them and both deny any reality to an exterior form. Hence all things are the same as our intellectual knowledge of them. This knowledge is indistinct and unchanging in its nature, so the distinctions of the changing scenes of the world can have no place in it.

Therefore I adore that omniscience which is the soul of all, in which all things exist, from where all come to existence, which is all and displays all things in itself and pervades all infinity forever. When the subjective intellectual power becomes united with the objective intelligible world, through intrinsic consciousness, then the organs of sense get the sensation of objects and not otherwise.

The intellect alone is both the subjective as well as the objective, both viewer and the view, the seeing and the sight. It comes to the same effect that the knowledge of all these is derived from and dependent upon the main intellect. If the subjective and objective are not alike in the intellectual soul, then the subjective and intellectual soul can have no perception of the objective and material world. 10 Because the objective world is intellectual in nature, it is perceived in the subjective soul, just as a drop of water mixes with the body of waters owing to the similarity of their natures. This comes out of experience, not otherwise. Otherwise there is no combination of them, like two pieces of wood. 11 When there is no homogeneous affinity between two things, such as between intellect and a block of wood, there can be no union between them.

Two pieces of wood cannot know one another because they lack intellect. 12 As two pieces of wood have no knowledge of one another owing to their dull unconsciousness, so nothing unconscious can be conscious of anything, except the intellect which has knowledge of only intellectuals. 13 The great intellectual soul beholds the world as one with itself in its intellectual light. It sees material bodies settled like a rock in it, without properties of life or motion. 14 Life, understanding and other faculties are the products of the intellect’s reasoning. They arise spontaneously in itself. 15 The essence of Brahman exists and exhibits itself in the form of the quiet and unmoving universe. It is personified as the male agent of creation because his seminal seed resembles the minute seed of a fig fruit.

16 First there is a small seed which develops into a tree. But that first seed had another smaller seed from which it was produced. Thus the primary or initial seed is the smallest and is contained within and let out as an emanation of the Supreme Soul. 17 Brahman is the first and minutest soul of all which gives seed to innumerable souls. The inner souls abiding in the spirit of God are known as spirit. The grosser sorts known as things are wrongly considered as other than God, though they are of the same nature with their original. 18 Whether placed above or below, a thing is the same and not different from itself. Everything is the very same Brahman no matter what state or form it may appear to us.

19 As gold in various forms of jewelry is nothing other than gold, so the unchanging nature of the unchangeable spirit of God continues the same in all the changing scenes and varieties in nature. 20 As the clouds of shadowy dreams that hang over your mind are in no way related to you, so the great bustle of creation and its dissolution bear no relation to my empty soul, nor do they disturb the even course of my mind. 21 As the blueness and moistness attributed to the empty atmosphere of heaven are nothing in reality, and as the legions of spiritual masters spirits who are supposed to traverse the regions of air are only deceptions of our eyesight, so the spectacle of the world in only empty air and a fallacy of our vision.

22 The desire of the heart and the false fancy of the mind lead out from within us and bring forth the fruit of the world, just as dirty water at the bottom of the earth moistens the seed that in time produces a big tree. 23 A wise man who forgets his egoism becomes one with the Supreme Spirit. By reducing himself like a bit of rotten straw, he becomes a tiny particle of the Divine Soul.

24 I find no one among gods, demigods and mankind in the three worlds who wishes to approach the Great Spirit who has the whole world as a hair upon his body. 25 He who knows the unity of the soul of the universe is free from the thought of a duality in every state of his life and wherever he may be situated. 26 Who has a great soul and views the world and everything in it as a mere emptiness and nothing in reality, how can he have any desire for unspiritual and sensible objects? 27 He who is indifferent and unconcerned with the endless particulars of the world, who views the existent and nonexistent in the same light, is truly a great soul and beyond all praise.

28 There is no living being that lives or has any property forever. It is only the inner consciousness that shows the various appearances in the empty space of the mind. 29 In vain do men think of their life and death in this world of nothingness. Neither is anything in reality. Both are false as the flowing and ebbing of waters in the mirage of life. 30 Upon due examination, this error vanishes together with its cause, then it appears that there is nothing such as life or death outside the existence of the imperishable Brahman.

31 A man is said to have crossed the ocean of the world who has withdrawn from the sight of what can be seen, who is quiet and content with himself, and who while he is living reckons himself with the dead and as nothing. 32 Our nirvana extinction is said to be the cessation of our mental actions, like extinguishing a burning flame. Nirvana is assimilation into the quiescent spirit of God and continuation in the mental tranquility of a holy saint. 33 Again, he is called the liberated who finds no delight either in ideas or phenomena, but remains quiet and aloof from everything that is an intangible emptiness.

34 I speak of my ego because of my lack of reason, but reason proves there is no ego in me. Hence the word ego has no sense to me, and that makes the existence of the world quite invalid and void to me. 35 Intellect is a mere vacuum. Our consciousness gives us knowledge of the nature of our inner understanding. The mind views external appearances agreeably to its internal ideas.

36 The real entity of your soul will become truly blessed in itself when you get the mind freed from all its objects everywhere and always, and by doing every work in the name of God. 37 Whatever you do or eat, anything you give or offer in sacrifice, and whatever you see, kill or desire, know them all to proceed from God. 38 All that we call ourselves or yourselves or any other, what we name as space, time and sky, mountains and the like, all these together with all actions are supported and full of the power and spirit of God. 39 What we see with our eyes and the thoughts of the mind, the world and its three times, and all our diseases, death and decay are phenomena appearing in the emptiness of Divine Consciousness.

40 Remain if you can like a silent sage, unseen and unknown by men and without any desire, thought or effort on your part. Remain as a lifeless thing, and this is the extinction of a living being in Brahman. 41 Be freed from your thoughts and desires and remain fixed in the Eternal One without any care for anything. You may be busy or sit easy, like the air when it breathes or is calm and still. 42 Let your humanity be above feelings of desire or affections. Let your thoughts be directed by the rules of scriptures and your action by the motion of a clock. 43 Look on all beings without the show of fondness or disfavor to anyone. Be an inconspicuous light of the world, resembling a lighted lamp in a picture, never to be directed by the men of the world.

44 A man who has no desire or any object in view and who has no enjoyment in carnal or sensual enjoyments can have no delight except in his inquiries after truth by the light of the scriptures. He who has his mind purified by the teachings of the scriptures and the precepts of holy men finds the inscrutable truth shining vividly in his consciousness of it.