1 Rama said, “Sage, you have talked at length about our bondage and liberation, and also about our knowledge of the world as neither a reality nor an unreality, and that it neither rises nor sets but always exists as at first and ever before. 2 I have well understood all your lectures on these subjects, yet wish to know more for my full satisfaction with the ambrosial drops of your speech.”
3 “Tell me sage, how is there no truth or untruth to either a false view of the creation as a reality, or its view as a mere vacuum? 4 In such a case, I well understand what is the real truth. Yet I want you to say more about this for my comprehension of the subject of creation.”
5 Vasishta replied:—
All this world visible to us, with all its moving and unmoving creatures, and all things with all their varieties occasioned by differences of country and climate, 6 together with the gods Brahma, Indra, Upendra, Mahendra, and the Rudras, are subject to destruction at the great dissolution of the world. 7 There remains something alone which is unborn and uncreated and without beginning which is ever calm and quiet in its nature. To this no words can reach, and of which nothing can be known.
8 As a mountain is larger and more extended than a mustard seed, so the sky is much more than a mountain. But the entity of emptiness is the greatest of all. 9 Again as the dust of the earth is smaller than a great mountain, so the stupendous universe is a minute particle compared to the infinite emptiness of God.
10 After the long lapse of unmeasured time in the unlimited space of eternity, and after the dissolution of all existence in the transcendent vacuum of the Divine Mind, 11 the great empty Consciousness, unlimited by space and time, quite tranquil by being devoid of all desire and will, sees the minute world in aerial state in itself by its memory. 12 The intellect inspects this unreality within itself as it were in its dream. Then it thinks on the sense of the word Brahman and beholds the expansion of these minute ideas to their intellectual forms.
13 It is the nature of consciousness to know the minute ideas contained in its sensations. Because it continues to look upon them, it is called their looker. 14 As a man sees himself dead in his dream, and the dead man sees his own death, so consciousness sees minute ideas in itself. 15 Hence it is the nature of consciousness to see its unity as a duality within itself, and to remain of its own nature as both subjective and objective by itself. 16 Consciousness is of the nature of emptiness and therefore formless in itself. Yet it beholds the minute ideas to rise as phenomena before it, and thereby the subjective viewer becomes the duality of the objective view also.
17 Then it finds its minute self springing out distinctly in its own conception, just as a seed is found to sprout forth in its seedling. 18 Then it has a distinct view of space and time, and of substance and its attributes and actions. But as these are yet in their state of internal conceptions, they have not yet received names. 19 Wherever the particle of consciousness shines is called place, whenever it is perceived is called time, and the act of perception is called action. 20 Whatever is perceived is said to be the object. The sight of it is the cause of its perception, just as the light of a luminary is the cause of eyesight.
21 Thus endless products of consciousness appear before it, distinct from one another by their time, place, and action. All these appear as true, like the various colors in the sky. 22 The light of consciousness shines through different parts of the body. The eye is the organ whereby it sees, and the other organs of sense allow different sense perceptions.
23 The intellectual particle, shining at first within itself, has no distinct name except that of tanmatra or its inward perception, which term has no more significance than empty air. 24 But the shadow of minute consciousness falling upon empty air becomes the solid body which shoots forth into the five organs of sense owing to its inquiry into their five objects of form and the rest. 25 The intellectual principle, in need of retaining its sensations in the brain, becomes the mind and understanding.
26 Then the mind being moved by its vanity, takes upon it the name of egoism and is inclined to make imaginary divisions of space and time. 27 Thus the atomic consciousness (the jiva) comes to make distinctions of time by giving them different names of present, past and future. 28 Again, with regard to space, it calls one place as upper and another as lower and goes on giving different names to the sides of the one unchanging space in nature. 29 It then comes to understand the meanings of words, and invents words signifying time and space, action and substance.
30 Thus consciousness, having an empty form in the primordial vacuum, became the spiritual or subtle body of its own accord until it was diffused all over the world. 31 Having long remained in that state as it thought, it took the completely concrete material form through which it was transfused. 32 Though formed originally of air and perfectly pure in its nature, yet being incorporated in the false corporeal form, it forgot its real nature, just as solar heat in association with sand is mistaken for water. 33 It then takes upon itself, and of its own will, a form reaching to the skies to which it applies the sense of word head to some part and feet to another. 34 It applied to itself the sense of the words breast, sides to other parts by adopting their figurative sense and rejecting the literal ones. 35 By thinking constantly on the forms of things, such as this is a cow and that is a horse, and their being bounded by space and time, it became familiar with the objects of different senses. 36 The same intellectual particle likewise saw the different parts of its body which it called its hands, feet and the like as its outward members, and the heart and the like as the inner members of the body.
37 In this manner the bodies of Brahma, Vishnu, the Rudras and other gods are formed. The forms of men and worms are also produced from the conception of them. 38 But in fact there is nothing that is really made or formed. All things are now as they have ever been. All this is the original vacuum and primeval Consciousness. All forms are the false formations of fancy.
39 Viraj is the seed producing the plants of the three worlds, which are productive of many more, just as one root produces many bulbs. Belief in creation puts a lock on the door of salvation. The appearance of the world is as that of a light and fleeting cloud without rain.
40 This Viraj is the first male, rising unseen of his own will. He is the cause of all actions and acts. 41 He has no material body, no bone or flesh, nor is he capable of being grasped by anyone’s hand. 42 He is as silent as a sleeping man who does not hear the roaring sea and clouds, the loud roar of lions and elephants, or the uproar of battle. 43 He remains neither as a reality nor entirely as an unreality, but like an awaken man’s idea of a warrior seen fighting in his dream. 44 Although his huge body stretches millions of miles, yet it is contained within an atom together with all the worlds that lie hidden in every pore of his body. 45 Though thousands of worlds and millions of mountains compose the great body of the unborn Viraj, yet they are not enough to fill it completely, just as a large quantity of grain is not sufficient to fill a winnowing basket.
46 Though innumerable worlds are stretched in his body, yet they are only an atom compared to the infinity of Viraj, and all is contained in his body. Yet it occupies no space or place, but resembles a baseless mountain in a dream. 47 He is called the self-born and Viraj. Though he is said to be the body and soul of the world, yet he is quite empty himself. 48 He is also called Rudra and Sanatana, and Indra and Upendra also. He is likewise the wind, the cloud, and the mountain in his person.
49 The minute particle of Consciousness, like a small spark of fire, inflates and spreads itself at first, then by thinking its greatness, takes the form of the thinking mind which with its self-consciousness becomes the vast universe. 50 Then being conscious of its inspiration, it becomes the wind in motion, and this is the air form body of Viraj. 51 Then it becomes the vital breath from the consciousness of its inspiration and expiration in the open air. 52 Then it imagines an fiery particle in its mind, just as children fancy a ghost where there is none, and this spark assumes the forms of luminous bodies in the sky.
53 The vital breath of respiration is carried by turns through the respiratory organs into the heart from where it is carried on the wings of air to sustain the world, which is the very heart of Viraj. 54 This Viraj is the first principle of all individual bodies in the world and in their various capacities forever. 55 All individual bodies have their rise according to their different desires from this Universal Soul. As desires differ from one another in their outward shapes, so they are different also in their inner natures and inclinations.
56 As the seed of Viraj first sprang forth in the nature and constitution of every individual being, it continues to do so in the same manner in the heart of every living, agreeably according to the will of the same causal principle. 57 The sun, moon and the winds are like the bile and phlegm in the body of Brahma. The planets and stars are like the circulating breath and drops of that god’s spit. 58 The mountains are his bones and the clouds his flesh. But we can never see his head and feet, nor his body and skin.
59 Know, O Rama, this world is the body of Viraj, an imaginary form by his imagination only. Hence the earth and heaven and all their contents are only the shadow of his Intellectual emptiness.