Chapter 61 — Creation and Destruction Are Only Memory and Forgetfulness of the Intellect

Vasishta continued:—

Our understandings catch the reflection of this universe from the face of Divine Consciousness, just like the waters of the deep receive the images of the clouds in the upper sky. It is this Consciousness which gives us life and guides our minds. Our living souls and minds are of the form of the clear sky. These countless worlds are productions of empty emptiness.

Rama asked, “Tell me sage. After the universal annihilation when all kinds of beings were entirely liberated from the bonds of their bodies and their souls, what is created again, and from where is it undone again?”

Vasishta replied:—

Hear me describe how at the great destruction or deluge, all things together with the earth, water, air, fire and sky, and the spheres of heaven vanish and are liberated from their respective forms, and how this universe comes to appear again to our imagination.

After the destruction, only the indefinable spirit of God remains which the sages call the great Brahman and Supreme Consciousness. This world remains in the heart of that being, from which it is altogether inseparable and indifferent. He is the Lord, and all this that passes under the name of the world is contained in the nature of this heart. By his pleasure he exhibits to us the idea that we have of the world, which is not his real form.

Considering this well, we find nothing created or destroyed by him. The supreme cause of all is imperishable by his nature, so we know his heart is also indestructible and the great kalpa ages are only parts of himself. Only our limited knowledge shows us the differences and dualities of things. But upon examination, these are not to be found and vanish into nothing. Therefore there is nothing of anything that is ever destroyed to nothing, nor is there anything which is ever produced from Brahman who is unborn and invisible and always rests in his tranquility. 10 He remains as the pure essence of consciousness in atoms of a thousandth part of the particles of simple emptiness.

11 This world is truly the body of that great Consciousness. Then how can this mundane body come to be destroyed without destruction of the other also? 12 As consciousness awakes in our hearts, even in our sleep and dreams, so the world is present in our minds at all times and presents to us its airy or ideal form ever since its first creation. 13 Creation is a component part of the empty intellect. Its rising and setting is only the airy and ideal operations of the Intellect. There is no part of it that is ever created or destroyed at anytime.

14 This spiritual substance of consciousness is never capable of being burnt or broken or torn at anytime. It is not soiled or dried or weakened at all, nor is it knowable or capable to be seen by those who are ignorant of it. 15 It becomes whatever it has in its mind and, as it never perishes, the idea of the world and of all things in its mind are neither created nor destroyed in any way. 16 It falls and revives only because of its forgetfulness and memory at different times. The rising and setting of an idea gives rise to the ideas of the creation and destruction of the world.

17 Whatever idea you have of the world, you become that yourself. Think it perishable, and you also perish with it. But know it as imperishable, and you become imperishable also. 18 Know then that the creation and great destruction of the world are only recurrences of its idea and forgetfulness, only two phases of consciousness.

19 How can the production or destruction of anything take place in the emptiness of airy consciousness? How can any condition or change be attributed to the formless intellect at all? 20 The great kalpa ages and all periods of time and parts of creation are mere attributes of consciousness. Consciousness is only an attribute of Brahman. They all merge into the great Brahman. 21 Consciousness is a formless and purely transparent substance. Phenomena are subject to its will alone. One sees an object appear according to the will or wish that he has in his mind, like the fairylands of imagination.

22 As the body of a tree is composed of its several parts of roots, trunk, branches, leaves, flowers, fruit and other things, 23 so the solid substance of the Divine Spirit, more translucent than the clear sky to which nothing can be attributed in reality, has creation and destruction as the different parts of its own essence. 24 The various states of pleasure and pain, happiness and misery, birth, life and death, and form and formless are only the different parts of the same spirit. 25 The whole body of this spirit is imperishable and unchangeable in its nature, so are all the parts and states of its being also.

26 There is no difference in the nature and essence of the whole and its parts, except that one is more tangible to sight by its greater bulk than the other. 27 Our consciousness is the root of existence of a tree, so our consciousness is the root of our belief in the existence of God. 28 This consciousness shows us the varieties of things as something in one place and another elsewhere. It shows us creation as a great trunk and all the worlds as so many trees. 29 It shows somewhere the great continents like the branches of these trees and their contents of hills and plains as their twigs and leaves. Elsewhere it shows sunshine as its flowers and darkness as the black bark of these trees. 30 Somewhere it shows the concavity of the sky as the hollow of the tree and elsewhere the dissolution of creation as a vast desolation. It shows in one place the council of gods as a cluster of flowers and in another beings, like bushes and brambles and barks of trees. 31 So all these are situated in formless and empty consciousness which is the great Brahman itself, and they all are nothing other than the same nature with Brahman.

32 There was a past world, here is the present one, and in another a would be creation in the future. All are only ideas of our minds known to us by our consciousness of them, which is as unchangeable in its nature as Brahman himself. 33 Thus there is no color or cloud or shades of light or darkness in the moon that can be attributed to the supreme and self conscious soul of Brahman that is as transparent as empty space.

34 How can there be the taint of anything in the transcendent and transparent space? How can first, middle or last, or far and near attach to infinity and eternity? 35 Lack of comprehensive and abstract knowledge is the cause of attributing such and other qualities to divine nature. It is removed by right knowledge of the most perfect one. 36 Ignorance, known as such by recognition of truth, is removed by itself, just as a lamp is extinguished by the air which kindles the light. 37 It is certain that knowledge of one’s ignorance causes its removal. Therefore knowledge of the unlimited Brahman makes him known as all in all.

38 Thus Rama, have I explained to you the meaning of liberation. Deliberate on it attentively with your intellect and you will undoubtedly attain it. 39 This network of worlds is uncreated and without its beginning, yet it is apparent to sight by means of the spirit of Brahman manifest in that form. Whoever contemplates the eight qualities of the Lord with the eye of his intellect becomes full with the Divine Spirit, although he is as mean as a straw in his living soul.