Chapter 42 — Lecture on Duality within Unity; Worship of God; to Remain Still Is to Be Like God; Mistaken Renunciation Makes Thinks Worse; True Nirvana
1 Vasishta continued:—
The mind is as calm and quiet as Consciousness. There can be no difference between them. When the Divine Mind is in its undeveloped and tranquil state, it is impossible to assign creation to it. 2 The burning lamp of understanding being extinguished, the false conceptions of the world vanish into the air. Sight and other mental operations are like waves in the water of consciousness.
3 The world bears the same relationship to the Supreme Soul as the fluctuation of the winds bear to air, and as the radiation of rays bears to light, which have no other causality except in themselves. 4 The world is inherent in the Supreme as fluidity is inherent with water and emptiness is inherent with air. But why and how they are so intimately connected with one another is quite inconceivable to us.
5 The world that is immanent in the vast emptiness of the great Intellect is manifest to our minds like brilliancy in a gem. 6 Therefore the world appertains to the Supreme Intellect in the same manner as liquidity is related with water, fluctuation with air, and emptiness with the infinite void. 7 As wind is related to air, so does the world relate to the Supreme Intellect. There is no reason to suppose a duality of any two to exist in the unity.
8 The world is manifest to the sight of the ignorant, but it is frail and nebulous in the estimation of the intelligent. However, the world is neither manifest nor mysterious to the wise who believe it to be an existence in the being of the self-existent unity. 9 It is well known through knowledge that there is nothing in existence other than the sole Intellect, which is pure intelligence and has no beginning, middle or end. 10 This is the great intellect of some and the holy spirit of others. It is the eternally omniscient Brahman according to some, and the infinite void of the vacuists. It is also called knowledge by the wise. 11 Some people understand this infinite and intellectual spirit in the sense of an intelligible being. Others suppose him to be knowable in themselves, and thus trying to know, become quite ignorant of him.
12 Without the intellect there is no knowledge of what can be sensed or any faculty of reasoning, just as there is no air without space or movement. 13 So it is the shadow of the great Intellect that makes our consciousness perceive the existence of the world. Whether the world is an entity or nonentity, there is no other cause of its knowledge except the intellect. 14 It is owing to the unity of this duality that this sense of their identity is verified. There is no one who can make unity or duality the all pervading emptiness. 15 There is only one universal, whole sphere of the empty sky, and the dualism of air and its winds is only words and nothing in reality.
16 The duality of the universe and its universal Lord is only a verbal and not a real distinction of the one positive unity of God. It is impossible for the self-existent soul to have a counterpart of itself, except its own consciousness. 17 That which has the appearances of the world is no world in reality but a shadow of it. That which is limited by space and time cannot be the infinite and eternal sphere. 18 As the different forms of ornaments are related to the substance of gold, so the world is related to Brahman whose unity admits of no duality or the attribute of cause and effect.
19 If the world is only a creation of the imagination, then it is nothing other than a nothing, the emptiness of space and the fluidity of water. 20 As the sky bears the appearance of the sky, so Brahman presents the sight of the world. Both of them being of the same kind of emptiness, there can be no duality or unity of the two in one. 21 Duality and unity are of the like kind, like the vast vacuum of itself. They are identical in their nature with the one all extended and transparent essence of the interminable Consciousness of God.
22 As all pebbles, clay dolls and marble statues have stony substance in them, and as there is no relation of cause or effect in anyone of them, so these varieties of beings have no difference in them from the nature of divine essence. 23 It is impossible for emptiness to be anything other than emptiness, and the reflection of light is no different from the light source, so this creation resides in and radiates from the great Intellect. 24 As images carved in a stone are of the same stone, so O wise Rama, upon insight, all these various forms of things in the world are lost in the substance of the all absorbing Consciousness of the great God.
25 The delusion of your mind presents all this bustle and commotion of the world to your sight. Upon your right inspection of them, they must remain as silent and motionless as a block of wood and as imperceptible as to a man with closed eyes. 26 As things absent from sight appear to be present in one’s thought of them, both in waking and sleeping states, so the misconception of the mind presents phenomena to the sight of the open-eyed man. 27 Hallucination of your mind makes you see absent objects as present before you, both when you are awake as well as asleep. But suppress your thoughts and you will be as inert as a stone, as if in the abstracted and sound sleeping states of your mind.
28 However, you must not allow your mind to become as unconscious as a stone. Remain in your natural state and employ it in the service of your adorable object with the best offerings of your reason on all things about you. 29 Adore the Supreme God of nature for the enlargement of your understanding. Worshipped with your right reason and good sense, He will soon reward you with the best boon of your transcendent bliss. 30 The adoration of Indra, Upendra and the other gods, as opposed to that of God in spirit, is like worshipping rotten straw. Offering flowers and sacrifices are nothing compared to cultivation of reason and association with wise and learned men. 31 The Supreme God, the giver of all blessings, being worshipped in the true light of the spirit in one’s own soul, confers his best blessing of liberation in an instant.
32 Why does the ignorant man resort to another when his soul is the sole Lord? Associate with the good, have your composure and content, and adore the Supreme Soul with your best reason. 33 The worship of idols, pilgrimages and all sorts of devotion, together with all your charities, are as useless as offering scentless sirisha flowers and as harmful as fire, poison and the wounds of weapons are to the body.
34 The actions of mean minded men are as useless as ash on account of their unreasonableness. Let them act with reason in order to render their deeds fruitful. 35 Why don’t you develop the reasoning powers in your mind through knowledge of the true natures of things and concentrate your desires in the Supreme Spirit? 36 Only by divine grace does the mind have the faculty of reasoning. Therefore the power of reasoning is to be cultivated in the mind by sprinkling the ambrosial water of self-control over it. 37 Until the fountain of error in the mind is dried up by the blaze of right knowledge, the tendency towards material things continues to run over it everywhere. 38 Equanimity overcomes the sense of shame, sorrow, fear and envy. The conviction of the nonexistence of the world and all material things removes the possibility of their existence at anytime.
39 If the world is the work of a cause, it must be the self-existent Brahman that is both cause and effect at once, just as the reflection is also the reflector, and the reflected knowledge of a pot or picture is nothing in reality. 40 Know this world to be the shadow of Consciousness, just as one’s feature is seen within a mirror, but the idea of the shadow vanishes when one is acquainted with the original.
41 For lack of the objects of objective knowledge, there remains the only unknowable one who has the form of everlasting bliss. This soul of the immaterial spirit extends all over infinite space in its form of perfect tranquility. 42 All knowledge, knowable and knowing are said to be quite mute and silent in their nature. Therefore it is necessary for you to remain as quite and calm as stones and the caves in rock.
43 Remain like knowing and wise man, both when you are sitting or doing anything, because wise men know the unknown and are the personifications of true knowledge. 44 Remain as clear as the sphere of the sky. Be content with whatever may happen to you, whether you are sitting quietly or moving about or doing anything, and in every state of your life. 45 Wise men do what they have to do and whatever comes in their way, or give up and renounce all and everything and remain with their quiet and peaceful minds at every place. 46 Whether sitting in solitude or in silent meditation, let the wise man remain as quiet as a statue or a picture. Having repressed his imagination, let him see the world as an imaginary city or an airy nothing. 47 The waking wise man sees the rising world as sitting down in his state of sleep. Let him see the manifestations before his eyes like a man born blind who has no sight of anything before him.
48 An ignorant man seeking his nirvana by renouncing the world has more cause for regret than peace of mind. Preaching good ideals serves to increase their ignorance rather than enlighten in the path of truth. 49 An ignorant man who thinks himself wise in his own conceit is deluded to greater ignorance by thinking himself successful with his ill success. 50 A man comes to ill success who strives to grow by improper means. The learned reckon all fanciful steps as no steps at all to success. 51 It is wrong to resort to renunciation because of some transitory mishap that is always happening to humanity. The wise know that true nirvana is when a man has full knowledge of the errors of the world, complete disgust and distaste of all worldly affairs, and is therefore indifferent.
52 Rama, as you delight at the recital of tales, so should you should take pleasure in spiritual instructions with a melted heart and mind. Unless you know the transparent intellect and see it as diffused in the form of the infinite world, you cannot attain your extinction in it.
53 The knowledge of God that you have gained from the Vedas is sheer ignorance and resembles the false notion of the world that is born blind on earth. Trample over that knowledge and do not fall into its errors. Know God in spirit and by your extinction into it, be exempt from future reincarnations.