1 Rama asked, “Tell me sage, were you sitting in one place or wandering about in the skies when you saw all this with your empty and intellectual body?”
2 Vasishta replied:—
I was filled with the infinite soul that fills and encompasses the whole space of vacuum. Being in this state of omnipresence, how could I be wandering from one fixed place to another? 3 I was neither seated in any place nor was I moving about anywhere. Therefore I was present everywhere in the empty air with my airy spirit, and saw everything in my self.
4 As I see with my eyes all the members of my body composing one body from head to foot, so I saw the whole universe in myself with my intellectual eyes. 5 Though my purely empty and intellectual soul is formless without any part like my body, yet the worlds formed its parts, neither by the soul’s diffusion in them nor by their being of the same nature and essence in their substance. 6 An example of this is your false vision of the world in your dream. You retain a real memory of the dream though it is an airy nothing.
7 As a tree perceives in itself the growth of leaves, fruits and flowers from its body, so I saw all these rising in myself. 8 I saw all these in me as the profound sea views the various marine animals in its depths and the endless waves and whirlpools and foam and froth continually floating over its breast. 9 In short, as all embodied beings are conscious of their own bodies, I was consciousness of all existence in my all knowing soul.
10 Rama, I still retain the memories of whatever I saw on land and water, and in the hills and valleys, as they are embodied with my body, and I still behold the entire of creation as if it were pressed into my mind. 11 I see the worlds exposed before me lying within and without myself, just as they lay the inside and outside of a house, and my soul is full with all these worlds unified with my understanding.
12 As water knows its fluidity, frost has its coldness, and air its ventilation, so the enlightened mind knows and scans the whole world within itself. 13 Whoever has a reasoning soul in him and has attained a clear understanding is possessed of the same soul as mine. 14 After understanding is perfected by absence of knowledge of subject and object, there is nothing that appears to him except the self same intelligent soul which abides alike in all.
15 As a man sitting on a high hill sees distant objects many miles away, so from my elevation of yoga meditation I saw with my clairvoyance all things situated far and near and within and without me. 16 As the earth perceives minerals, metals and all other things lying inside it, so I saw everything as identical with and nothing other than myself.
17 Rama asked, “Be this as it may, but tell me, O brahmin. What became of that bright eyed lady who was reciting the arya verses?”
18 Vasishta replied:—
That aerial lady who recited in the arya meter came courteously towards me and sat beside me in the air. 19 But she being as aerial as myself could not be seen by me in her form of spirit. 20 I was of the aerial spirit and she also had an air-like body, and worlds appeared as empty air in my airy meditation in an aerial seat.
21 Rama asked, “The body is the seat of the organs of sense and action of breathing. Then how could a bodiless spirit utter the sounds of articulate words composed in verse? 22 How is it possible for a bodiless spirit either to see or think of anything? Explain to me these inexplicable truths about the facts you have related.”
23 Vasishta replied:—
Seeing sights, thinking thoughts, and uttering sounds are all productions of empty air as they occur in our airy dreams. 24 The sight of a thing and the thought of anything depend on the aerial intellect, as they do in our aerial dream. These sights and sounds are impressed in the hollowness of consciousness, both in waking as well as dreaming states. 25 Not only sight, but whatever is the object of any of our senses and the whole world itself are the clear and open sky. 26 The transcendent first principle has the form of unknowable intellect. It exhibits itself in the composition of the universe, which is truly its very nature.
27 What proof do you have of the existence of the body and its senses? Matter is mere illusion, and as it is with another body, so it is with ours also. 28 This is as that one, and that is as this. But the unreal is taken for the real, and the real is understood as an unreality.
29 As the uses that are made of the earth in a dream, its paths and houses, prove to be false upon waking, made in empty air, so the applications made of the words “my”, “your”, “his” and the like made in our waking are all buried in forgetfulness in the state of sound sleep. 30 All our struggles, efforts and actions in lifetime are as false and void as empty air. They resemble the bustle, commotion and fighting of men in dream, which vanish into nothing upon waking.
31 Do you ask where does this phenomenon of dreaming and all its different shapes and varieties come from? To this nothing further can be said other than it is the reproduction or memory of impressions. 32 In answer to this question, it can only be said that there is no other cause of its appearance to you other than the appearance of this world to you.
33 We have the dreaming man presented to us from the very beginning of creation in the person of Viraj. This being is situated in open air with its aerial body in the shape of the dreamer and dream mixed up together. 34 The word “dream” that I have used and presented to you is an example to explain the nature of the phenomenal world. It is to be understood as neither a reality nor an unreality, but only Brahman himself.
35 Now Rama, I approached that lovely lady who became my loving companion in the form in which I saw her in my consciousness. 36 I conversed with her ideal figure in my clairvoyant state, just as men seen in a dream talk with one another. 37 Our conversation was of that spiritual kind, as between men in a dream. Our conversation was as airy as our persons and spirits.
So Rama, you must know the whole world affair is only an airy and fairy play. 38 The world is a dream and the dream is an illusion of air. They are the same emptiness with only their names different. The illusion of waking daytime is called the world and the world of sleeping nighttime is called a dream. 39 This scene of the world is the dream of the soul, or it is empty air or nothing. The clear understanding of God or his own essence is so displayed.
40 The nightly dream needs a dreamer, and to see the “I”, “you”, “he” or anybody else needs a living person. But not so the day dream of the world which is displayed in the emptiness of clear Consciousness itself. 41 As the viewer of the world is the clear emptiness of consciousness, so its view also is as clear as its viewer. The world being like a dream, it is as subtle as the rare atmosphere. 42 The empty dream of the world appears of itself in the empty and formless intellect within the hollow of the mind and has no substantiality. Then how can it be said to be a material substance, when it is perceived in the same manner by the immaterial intellect?
43 When the vision of world in a dream of a physical being such as ourselves proves to be only emptiness, how do you take it for a material substance? It is contained in its immaterial form in the incorporeal spirit and intellect of God. Why not call it an empty air when it resides like a dream in Divine Consciousness? 44 The Lord sees this uncreated world appearing before him as in a dream, something designed without any material cause or support. 45 The Lord Brahma called Hiranyagarbha has framed this creation in air, with the soft clay of his empty consciousness. All these bodies with numerous cavities in them appear created and uncreated at the same time.
46 There is no causality, no created worlds, and no one occupying them. Know there is nothing and nothing at all. Knowing this, go on doing your duties to the end like a mute stone and care not whether your body may last long or be lost to you.