1 Rama said. “Tell me sage, what is the cause of mere waking for nothing? How does a living being proceed from the formless Brahman? That is equivalent to the growth of a tree in empty air.”
2 Vasishta replied:—
O highly intelligent Rama, there is no work to be found anywhere which is without its cause. Therefore it is altogether impossible for anybody to exist here who is merely awake for nothing. 3 Like this, it is equally impossible for all other kinds of living beings to exist without a cause. 4 There is nothing that is produced here, nor anything which is destroyed. It is only for the instruction and comprehension of pupils that such words are used.
5 Rama asked, “Then who is it that forms these bodies, together with their minds, understandings and senses? Who is it that deludes all beings into the snares of passions and affections, and into the net of ignorance?”
6 Vasishta replied:—
There is nobody who forms these bodies at anytime, nor is there anyone who deludes the living beings in any manner at all. 7 There is only the self-shining soul, residing in his conscious self, which evolves in various shapes like water gliding on in the shapes of billows and waves. 8 There is nothing such as an external phenomenon. Consciousness shows itself as the phenomenon. It rises from the mind, like a large tree growing out of its seed. 9 O support of Raghu’s race, this universe is situated in this faculty of understanding just as images are carved in stone. 10 There is only one spiritual soul which spreads internally and externally throughout the whole extent of time and space. Know this world is the emanation of Divine Consciousness scattered on all sides.
11 Know this as the next world by suppressing your desire for a future one. Rest calmly in your celestial soul even here. Do not let your desires range from here to there. 12 All space and time, all the worlds and their motions together with all our actions are included under the province of the intellectual soul. The meanings of all these terms are never insignificant or nothing.
13 O Raghava! Only they who are well acquainted with the meanings of Vedic words and those keen observers who have ceased to look upon phenomena can comprehend the Supreme Soul, and not others. 14 It is impossible for those who have light minds buried in the depth of egoism to ever to come to the sight of that light of the Self. 15 The wise look upon the fourteen regions of this world, together with multitudes of their inhabitants, as members of this embodied spirit.
16 There can be no creation or dissolution without its cause, and the work must be consistent with the skill of its maker. 17 If the work is accompanied with its cause, and the work alone is perceptible without its accompanying cause, then it must be an unreality because we have no perception of its cause. 18 The product must resemble its producer, just as the whiteness of the seawater produces white waves and froths. The productions of the most perfect God must bear resemblance to his nature in their perfection. But the imperfect world and the mind not being so, they cannot be said to have proceeded from the all perfect one.
19 Therefore all this is the pure spirit of God, and the whole is the great body of Brahman. In the same manner one clod of earth is the cause of many a pot, and one bar of gold becomes the cause of many ornaments. 20 As the waking state appears as a dream in dreaming on account of the forgetfulness of the waking state, so the waking state seems as dreaming even in the waking state of the wise. 21 If what is seen is understood as a creation of the mind, it proves to be as false as water in the mirage. It proves at last to be a waking dream by the right understanding of it. 22 By right knowledge all material objects, together with the bodies of wise men, dissolve like the bodies of clouds in their proper season.
23 As the clouds disappear in the air after pouring their waters in rain, so the world disappears from the sight of men who have come to the light of truth and knowledge of the soul. 24 Like the empty clouds of autumn and the water of the mirage, the phenomenal world loses its appearance as soon as it is viewed by the light of right reason. 25 As solid gold is melted down to liquid by hot fire, so all phenomena melt away to an aerial nothing when they are observed by the keen eye of philosophy. 26 All solid substances in the three worlds become rarefied air when they are put to the test of a rational analysis, just like the stalwart apparition of a demon vanishes into nothing when the child awakes.
27 Endless thoughts of images rise and fall of themselves in the mind. The image of the world is only a concept of the mind. There is no reality in it, nor is there anything which has any density or massiveness in it. 28 Knowledge and ignorance of the world consist only in the conceptions of the mind. When the knowledge of the world’s existence disappears from understanding, then where is the idea of its massiveness anymore in the mind? 29 The world loses its bulk and solidity in our knowledge of the state of our waking dream. Its bulkiness turns to rarity, just as gold melts to liquid when put in fire.
30 Understanding becomes dull and dense by degrees, just as liquid gold when left to itself, becomes solidified in a short time. 31 Thus one who in his waking state considers himself to be dreaming and sees the world in its rarified state, comes to lessen himself with all his desires and appetites, just as a heavy cloud is uplifted in autumn. 32 A wise man sees all the visible beauties of nature set before him to be extremely subtle, like in dreams, so he takes no notice or enjoyment of them.
33 Where is this rest of the soul and where is this struggle for wealth? They abide in the one and same man like the meeting of sleep and wakefulness together, and the union of error and truth in the same person at the same time. 34 He who remains unaffected by the false imaginations of his mind acts freed from his false belief in the reality of the world. 35 Who is it, O high minded Rama, who takes pleasure in an unreality, or satisfies himself drinking the false water of a mirage? 36 The saintly sage who rests in his knowledge of truth looks upon the world an infinite emptiness surrounded by stars that shine like the light of a lamp set behind windows.
37 The waking man knows everything to be void and blank, so the wanderings of his mind cease and he does not long for the enjoyment of anything. 38 There is nothing desirable in that which is known to be nothing at all. For who runs after the gold that he saw in his dream at night? 39 Everybody desists from desiring that which he knows to be only his dream. He is released from the bondage which ties the beholder to the object of this sight.
40 The most accomplished man is not addicted to pleasure and is of a composed mind without pride. He is a man of understanding who is dispassionate and remains quiet without any care or struggle. 41 Distaste for pleasure produces a lack of desire, just as the flame of fire being gone, there is an end of its light. 42 The light of knowledge shows the sky as a cloudless and lighted sphere. But the darkness of error gives the world an appearance of a hazy fairyland. 43 The wise man neither sees himself nor the heavens nor anything besides. His ultimate view is fixed upon the glory of God.
44 The holy seer does not see himself or the sky or the imaginary worlds about him. He does not see the phantasms of his fancy, but sits quite unconscious of all. 45 The earth and other existences, which are gazed and dwelt upon by the ignorant, are lost in the sight of the sage who sees the whole as empty and is unconscious of himself. 46 There comes a calm composure and grace in the soul, resembling the brightness of the clear sky, and the yogi sits detached from all, as a nothing in himself. 47 Unmindful of all, the yogi sits silent in his state of self-seclusion and exclusion from all. He is set beyond the ocean of the world, and the bounds of all its duties and action.
48 The great ignorance which causes the mind’s apprehension of earth, hills, seas and their contents, though these things appear to exist before the ignorant eye, is utterly dissolved by true knowledge. 49 The wise sage stands unveiled before his light of naked truth, his tranquil mind freed from all skeptical doubts, and nourished with the nectar of truth. He is as firm and fixed in himself as a sturdy oak.