Chapter 63 — Identity of the Universe with the Universal Soul; Dreams within Dreams

Rama asked, “O sage, how could you converse with the incorporeal lady? How could she utter the letters of the alphabet without organs of speech?”

Vasishta replied:—

Of course, incorporeal bodies have no capability of pronouncing the letters of the alphabet, just as dead bodies are incapable of speech. Should there even be an articulate sound, yet there can be no intelligible sense in it and the sound must be unintelligible to others, just as a dream perceived by the dreamer is unknown to other sleepers in the same bed. Therefore, there is nothing real in a dream. It is really an unreality and the ideal imagery of Consciousness in empty air accompanied with sleep of its own nature.

The clear sky of the intellect is darkened by its imageries, like the moon by its blackness and the sky by its clouds. But these are as false as the song of a stone or the sound of a dead body. Dreams and images that appear in the sphere of the intellect are only appearances of itself, just as the visible sky is nothing other than invisible vacuum itself. Like dreams in sleep, this world appears before us in our waking state. In the same way, the invisible vacuum appears as visible. So the form of the lady was a shape of the intellect.

The very clever intellect in us exhibits all these varieties of exquisite shapes in itself, and shows this world to be as real and permanent as itself.

Rama asked. “Sage, if these be only dreams, how can they appear to us in our waking state? If they are unreal, why is it that they seem as solid realities to us?”

10 Vasishta replied:—

Hear how visionary dreams appear as substantial worlds. They are only dreams, never real, solid or substantial in any way.

11 The seeds of our ideas play at random like dust in the spacious sky of Consciousness. Some are of the same kind and others different, producing like and unlike results. 12 Some are contained one under the other, like the skin of plantain trees. There are many others that have no connection with another and are quite unconscious and unknown to others. 13 They do not see each other, nor do they know anything of one another, but as inert seeds they decay and moisten in the same heap. 14 These ideas, being as void as vacuum, are not like shadows in the visible sky nor are they known to one another. Though they are of conscious shapes, yet they are as ignorant of themselves as if under the influence of sleep.

15 Those who sleep in their ignorance find the world appearing to them during the day in the shape of a dream. Then they act according to what they think themselves to be. So asura demigods in their dream think they are fighting and are defeated by the gods. 16 They could not be liberated owing to their ignorance, nor were they reduced to the unconsciousness of stones, but remained dull and inactive within the imaginary world of their dreams.

17 Men laid up in the sleep of their ignorance, seeing the dream of the world before them, act according to their custom and observe how one man is killed by another. 18 There are other intelligent spirits who, being bound tightly to their desires, are never awakened or liberated from their ignorance, but continue to dwell in the imaginary world which they see in their daydream. 19 Rakshasa demons who lie sleeping in the imaginary world of their dreams are placed by the gods in the same state as they were accustomed to be. 20 Say then, O Rama, what became of those rakshasas who were slain in their dreams by the gods? They could neither obtain their liberation owing to their ignorance nor could they be transformed to stones with their intelligent souls.

21 Thus this earth and its seas, mountains and peoples seen situated in it are thought to be as substantial as we think of ourselves by our prior ideas of them. 22 Our imagination of the existence of the world is like that of other beings regarding it. They think of our existence in this world in the same light as we think of theirs. 23 To them our waking state appears as a dream and they think that we are dreaming men, just as we think they are. As we view their world to be imaginary, so they see ours as imaginary also.

24 As other people have the idea of their existence only from their memories, so we have ours and they have theirs from the omnipresence of the intellectual soul. 25 As dreaming men think of their reality, so others think of themselves likewise. So you are as real as anyone of them. 26 As you see cities and people in your dream, so they continue to remain there in the same manner to this day because Brahman is omnipresent everywhere and at all times.

27 By your waking from the sleep of ignorance and coming to the light of reason, these objects of your dream will be divested of their substantiality and appear in their spiritual light as manifestations of Brahman himself. 28 He is all and in all and everywhere at all times. So he is nothing and nowhere, not the sky or is he ever anything that is destroyed. 29 He abides in the endless sky and is eternal without beginning or end. He abides in the endless worlds and in the infinity of souls and minds. 30 He lives throughout the air and in every part of it, and in all orbs and systems of worlds. He resides in the heart of everybody, in every island and mountain and hill. 31 He extends all over all districts, cities and villages. He dwells in every house and in every living body. He extends over years and ages and all parts of time.

32 In him live all living beings, those who are dead and gone, and those who have not obtained their liberation. All the detached worlds are attached to him to no end and forever. 33 Each world has its people and all people have their minds. Again each mind has a world in it, and every world has its people also. 34 Thus phenomena having no beginning or end are all only false conceptions of the mind. They are nothing other than Brahman to the knower of God who sees no reality in anything other than Brahman.

35 There is only one consciousness that pervades this earth below and the heaven above, which extends over the land and water and lies in woods and stones and fills the whole and endless universe. Thus wherever there is anything in any part of this boundless world, they all inspire the idea of divinity in the divine, while they are looked upon as objects of the sense by the ungodly.