Chapter 79 — After Dissolution, Vasishta Sees the Gods in Nirvana; Creation Linked to Desire

Vasishta resumed:—

Seeing the end of all, still I retained my seat in infinite emptiness. My eyes were captured by the sight of a glorious light shining like the sun’s morning rays. While I was looking at that light, I saw the great Brahma sitting like a statue carved in stone, intent upon his meditation of the Supreme One, surrounded by his transcendent glory.

I saw a multitude of gods, sages and holy persons: Brihaspati and Sukra, the preceptors of gods and demigods; the gods of wealth (Kubera) and death (Yama); the gods of water (Varuna), fire (Agni) and others, and companies of rishis, spiritual masters, sadhyas, gandharvas and others. They were all sitting in meditation, like figures in a painting. They all sat in lotus posture and appeared as lifeless and immovable bodies. Then the twelve suns met at the same center and they sat in the same lotus posture of meditation as the other gods.

Then after a while, I saw the lotus-born Brahma as if I saw the object of my dream after waking. Then I lost the sight of the gods assembled in the world of Brahma, just as when great minded men lose sight of the most important objects of their desire. Nor did I see the aerial city of my dream upon my waking. Then the entire creation, which is only a pattern of the mind of Brahma, appeared like an empty desert to me, the earth as a barren waste upon the ruin of its cities. 10 Gods and sages, spiritual masters and vidyadhari spirits were nowhere to be seen. They all had blended in the same void everywhere.

11 Then, seated in my ethereal seat, I came to know by my perception that all of them had obtained their nirvana extinction. 12 With the extinction of their desires, they also became extinct, just as sleeping dreamers come to themselves after they are awakened from their illusory vision. 13 The body is an aerial nothing appearing as a substantial something because of our desire. It disappears with the removal of our desire for it, like a dream vanishing from the sight of a waking man. 14 The aerial body appears as real like any other image in our dream. Nothing remains of it when we know its unreal nature and the vanity of our desires. 15 When we are awake in samadhi, we also have no consciousness of either our spiritual or physical bodies.

16 I use the example of something seen in our dream being false because it is well known to children and everybody and it is used in the Vedas and Puranas. 17 Only a great imposter would deny the falsity of his ideas in dreams and support the reality of visible sights. Such a one deserves to be shunned, for who can wake the waking sleeper? 18 What causes the physical body? Not the dream, because the bodies seen in a dream are invisible to the naked eye. This being true, it follows that there is no solid body in the next world.

19 Should there be other bodies after the loss of the present ones, then there would be no need of repeated creation of bodies if the original bodies were to continue forever. 20 Anything having a form is, of course, perishable. The position that there was another kind of world before is likewise untenable. 21 If you say that the world was never destroyed and that understanding is produced of itself in the body in the same way as spirit is generated in fermented liquor, 22 then your position is inconsistent with the doctrines of the Puranas, the Vedas, and other scriptures, which invariably maintain the destructibility of all material things.

23 Should you, O intelligent Rama, deny the acceptance of these scriptures, like the Charvakas, then tell me. What faith can be placed in the scriptures of those heretical teachings, which are as false as the offspring of a barren woman? 24 The wise do not favor these heretical doctrines because of their destructive tendencies. There are many discrepancies in them, as you shall know from the few that I am going to point out to you.

25 If you say the human spirit is like the spirit of liquors, then tell me what makes the departed spirit of a person who dies in a foreign country revisit his friends at home in the shape and form of a fiend? 26 To this they answer that the apparition is only a false appearance. Granting such, why not recognize our own appearances to be equally false? 27 It being so, how can you believe that the departed souls of men assume bodies in the next world, as said in the scriptures? 28 There is no truth in the proof of a ghost, just as there is no proof of spirit in liquor. Hence if the supposition of the former is untrue, what faith is there in a future body in the next world?

29 If the existence of spirits is granted from the common belief of mankind in them, then why not accept as true the doctrine of a future state of the dead, upon the testimony of the scriptures? 30 If belief that a person is suddenly possessed by an evil spirit is any ground for reliance, why then should he not rest his belief in his future state, which is confirmed by the dogmas of the scriptures?

31 Whatever a man thinks or knows in himself, he supposes it to be true at all times. Whether his belief be right or wrong, he knows it correct to the best of his belief. 32 A man well knowing that the dead will live again in another world relies fully upon that hope and does not care to know whether he shall have a real body there or not. 33 Therefore the nature of men is to have a preconceived opinion about their future existence. This with their growing desire to have certain forms of bodies for themselves, leads them to the error of seeing several shapes before them.

34 Abstaining from this desire removes the disease of the errors of looker, looking, and the look. Retaining this desire leads us to see this apparition of the world always before us. 35 So the feeling of desire led the Supreme Spirit of Brahma to create the world. But its abandonment causes our nirvana, while its retention leads us to the error of the world. 36 This desire first sprang in the Divine Mind of Brahma and not in the immutable spirit of Brahma. I feel this desire rising now in me, seeing the true and supreme Brahman in all and everywhere.

37 All this knowledge that you derive here is said to form nirvana by the wise. That which is not learnt here is said to constitute the bondage of the world. 38 True knowledge is to see God everywhere. It is self-evident in our innermost soul and does not shine without it. 39 Self-consciousness of our liberation is what really makes us so. The knowledge that we are bound to this earth is the source of all our sorrows and it requires great pains to remove it.

40 The awakening of our consciousness of the world is the cause of our being enslaved to it. Our highest bliss is the dormancy of such awareness in the trance of samadhi. By being awake to the concerns of the world, you find the unreal appearing as real to you.

41 Lying dormant in holy trance, without the sluggishness of unconsciousness, is called our spiritual liberation. Our wakefulness to the outer world is said to be our state of bondage to it. 42 Now let your nirvana be devoid of all desire, trouble, care and fear. Let it be a clear and continuous peace without consideration of unity or duality. Let it be like the spacious firmament, ever calm, clear and undisturbed.