Chapter 67 — The Vidyadhari Praises Continued Practice, the Force of Habit

The vidyadhari continued, “If you, O sage, have any doubt about any part of my story, then please walk with me and see that home. There you will see many more wonders than what I have described.”

Vasishta said:—

Upon this, I said, “well” and traveled with her on an aerial journey, just as the fragrance of flowers flies with the winds to an aerial nothing in which they are both lost forever. As I passed far and wide in the regions of air, I met with multitudes of ethereal beings and saw their celestial abodes. Passing over regions traversed by celestials in the upper spheres of heaven, I arrived at a blank, white sky above the summit of Lokaloka Mountain. Then I passed into this pale sky and at last came out of it, just as the fair moon appears under the white canopy of heaven. Above me I saw the bright belt of the zodiac containing the golden spheres of the seven planets. As I was looking at that belt of the zodiac, I found it was like a crystal marble burning with fire. I could not discern any of the worlds that it encompassed.

Then I asked my lovely companion to tell me where were the created worlds, together with the gods and planetary bodies and stars, and the seven spheres of heaven. Where were the oceans and the sky with all its different sides? Where were the high and heavy bodies of clouds, the starry heaven, and the ascent and descent of the rolling planets?

“Where,” I asked, “are the rows of lofty mountain peaks and the marks of the seas upon the earth? Where are the circles and clusters of islands? Where are the sunny shores and dry, parched grounds of deserts? 10 There is no reckoning of time here, nor any account of actions of men. There is no delusive appearance of a created world or anything whatever in this endless and empty void. 11 There are no different races of beings, such as the gods, demigods, vidyadharas, gandharvas, and other races of mankind. There is no sage or prince or of anything that is good or evil, or any heaven or hell, or day or night and their divisions into watches and hours. 12 There is no calculation of time and no knowledge of merit or demerit. It is free from the hostility between gods and demigods and the feelings of love and hatred.”

13 While I had been talking in this manner in my amazement, that excellent lady who was my guide in this maze spoke to me, her eyeballs rolling like a couple of fluttering black bees.

14 The vidyadhari said:—

I also do not see anything here in its former state. I find everything presenting a picturesque form in this crystal stone, like image in a mirror. 15 Because of my preconceived ideas eternally engraved in my mind, I see the figures of all things in this. Your lack of preconceptions causes you to be blind to them. 16 Your habit of thinking regarding the unity or duality of the sole entity, and your forgetfulness of our pure spiritual and intellectual bodies, made you were blind to the sight of reality, while I had a dim glimpse of it.

17 By my long habit of thinking, I have learnt to look upon this world like a vine in the sky. I never see it as you do to be a reality, but as a dim reflection of the ideal reality. 18 Before, the world appeared conspicuously to my sight. Now I find it indistinct, like a shadow of it cast upon a glass.

19 Our prejudice in favor of an old false belief in the personality of the body makes us miss the ease of relying upon the spiritual body, and thus we have fallen into the deep darkness of delusion. 20 Whatever we are habituated to think in our minds, the same grows and takes deep root in the heart under the moistening influence of the intellectual soul. The mind becomes of that nature, like the force of early habit forms a youth. 21 There is nothing likely to be brought about by the lessons of the best scriptures or the dictates of right reason unless they are applied and constantly practiced.

22 Your false speech regarding the nonexistence of the world in this empty space proceeded only from your constant habit of thinking the reality of the false world, which was about to mislead me also. Now be wise that you have overcome your previous prejudice and known the present truth. 23 Know, O sage, that your habitual thinking of a thing as such makes it appear so to you, just as a mechanic master’s art is by his constant practice under the direction of his teacher. 24 The false conceptions of this thing and that, and of the existence of the material world, and the reality of one’s egoism and personality, are all prevented by the culture of spiritual knowledge and by force of a constant habit of seeing all things in their spiritual light.

25 I am only a weak and young disciple to you, and yet I see the stony world too well which you with your all-knowingness do not perceive. This is because of my habit of thinking it other than you are used to do. 26 See the effect of practice which makes a dunce into a learned man and reduces a stone to dust. Look at the force of an inert arrow hitting a distant mark. 27 In this manner the gloom of our ignorance and the disease of false knowledge are both dispelled by right reasoning and deep thinking, both of which are the effect of habit.

28 Habit produces an enjoyment in the tastes of particular articles of food. Some have a taste for what is sour and pungent, while others indulge in what is sweet and tasty. 29 A stranger becomes friendly by his continued stay in one’s company, and so is a friend alienated by his living in an alien and distant land.

30 Our spiritual body, perfectly pure, aerial, and full of intelligence, is converted to and mistaken for the gross material body by our constantly thinking of our materiality. 31 The impression of being a material body will fly away like a bird flies off in the air as soon as you come to know yourself to be a spiritual and intellectual soul, but it is the habit of thinking yourself as such that makes you really so.

32 All our meritorious acts are destroyed by a slight offensive act of demerit, and our prosperity flies away at the approach of adversity, but there is nothing which can remove our habit from us. 33 All difficult matters are made easier by practice. Enemies are won over to friendship and even poison is made as delectable as honey by virtue of habit. 34 He is reckoned as too mean and evil who does not accustom himself to practice whatever is good and proper for him. Without practice, he never acquires his object, but becomes as useless in the family as a barren woman.

35 Whatever is desirable and good for one is to be gained with repeated effort all through one’s lifetime, just as one’s life, which is his greatest good in the world, is to be preserved with care until the approach of death. 36 Whoever neglects to practice any act or art that is conducive to his welfare is prone to ruin and the torments of hell. 37 Those inclined to meditation of the spiritual soul easily cross over the swollen rivers of this world, although they may be attached to it in their outward and bodily practices.

38 Practice is the light that leads one on the path of his desired object, just as the light of the lamp reveals a lost pot or cloth. 39 The tree of repeated effort bears fruit in its time, just as the wish-fulfilling kalpa tree yields all the fruits of our desire, and as the hoarded capital of the rich is attended with great profit and interest. 40 Habitual inquiry into spiritual truth serves as the sunlight to enlighten the nature of the soul. Otherwise our soul lies hidden in the darkness of the sunless night.

41 All animal beings are in need of certain food for the support of their lives, and these they have to obtain by continued search, never without it. Therefore the force of habit prevails in all places like the powerful sunshine. 42 All fourteen kinds of living beings have to live by habit of their respective activities. It is impossible for anyone to get its desired object without real activity. 43 The repetition of the same action takes the name of habit, and habit is one’s personal effort. It is impossible for anybody to do anything without any effort. 44 Constant habit of action, joined with bodily and mental energy, is the only way to accomplish anything, and not otherwise.

45 There is nothing impossible for the power of habit, which is as powerful as the strong sunbeams which give growth to everything on earth. Only habitual energy gives prosperity and courage to the brave on earth and water and mountains, and in forests and deserts.