Chapter 82 — All Phenomena Are Void; Shiva

Rama asked, “Sage, who is this goddess dancing her act of destruction? Why does she carry pots and fruit like flower garlands on her body? Are the worlds completely destroyed at the end, or do they become extinct in the goddess Kali and reside in her body? When does her dance come to an end?”

Vasishta replied:—

Neither is he male nor female, nor was there dancing by one or a duality of the two. Such being the case and the nature of their action, neither has any form. That which is without beginning or end is the Divine Consciousness alone which in the manner of infinite emptiness is the cause of all causes. The uncreated and endless light exists from eternity and extends over all space. This calm and quiet state of ethereal space is known as Shiva or tranquil, and its change to confusion at the end is called Bhairava or the dreadful.

It is impossible for pure and formless consciousness to remain alone and aloof from its association with plastic nature, just as it is unlikely to find any gold existing without some form or other. How can intellect exist without its intelligence, or pepper without its pungency? Consider whether there can be any gold without a form of a bracelet or something else, or how a substance can exist without its substantial property or nature? Say, what is the extract of the sugarcane unless it has sweetness? You cannot call it sugarcane juice unless you taste sweet flavor.

10 When the intellect is devoid of its reasoning, you can not call it the intellect. Nor is the empty form of the intellect ever liable to any change or annihilation. 11 Emptiness admits of no variety. It only retains it identity as emptiness. In order to assume diversity, the void must remain a void. 12 Therefore the unchanged and undisturbed essential essence must be without beginning and unlimited, full of all potency in itself. 13 Therefore the creation of the three worlds and their destruction, the earth, the firmament and the sides of the compass, together with all acts of creation and destruction are the random phenomena of emptiness.

14 All births, deaths, delusions and ignorance, being and not being, together with knowledge and dullness, restraint and liberty, and all events whether good or evil, 15 knowledge and its want, the body and its loss, temporariness and long durations in time, together with mobility and inertia, and egoism and you and all other things are That alone. 16 All good and evil, goodness and badness, ignorance and intelligence, together with durations of time and space, substance and action, and all our thoughts, fancies, and imagination, 17 the sight of the forms of things and the thoughts of the mind, the action of the body, understanding and senses, the elements of earth and water, fire, air and vacuum extending all about us, 18 these and all others, proceed from the pure intellectual emptiness of the Divine Spirit which resides in its empty form in everything and is always without decay and decrease.

19 All things exist in pure emptiness and are as pure as emptiness itself. There is nothing beside this empty air, though they appear as real as a mountain does in our hollow dream. 20 The intellectual spirit, which I have described as transcendent void, is the same as what we call soul (jiva), the everlasting, and Rudra, the eternal. 21 He is adored as Vishnu by some and as Brahma the great progenitor of men by others. He is called the sun and moon, and Indra, Varuna, Yama, Kubera and Agni also. 22 He is the wind, the cloud and sea, the sky, and everything that there is or is not, whatever manifests itself in the empty sphere of Consciousness.

23 In this manner all things appear under different names and are taken to be true by the ignorant eye. They all vanish into nothing in their spiritual light which shows them in their pure intellectual natures. 24 In the understanding of the ignorant, the world appears separate from the spirit. But to the intellectual soul, the emptiness of the intellect is known to be situated in the Divine Spirit. Therefore there is no distinction of unity and duality to the knowing mind.

25 The living soul is tossed about like a wave in the ocean of the world. It runs the course of repeated births and deaths until it comes to know the nature of the Supreme Spirit, when it becomes as immortal and perfect as the eternal soul and the same with it. 26 By this knowledge of the Universal Soul, the human soul attains its perfect tranquility. It no longer sees itself as a fluctuating wave in the ocean of the world, but sees itself and everything else to be as calm and quiet as the eternal and infinite spirit of God.