Chapter 86 — Vasishta Describes the Stone: Creation as Images in Unchanging God; All Things Are Repetitions of Themselves
1 Vasishta added:—
Rama, hear how this whole world resides in the infinite void and how the airy Rudra which rises from it is freed from his deluded body and finds his final rest in it.
2 As I stood looking upon that block of stone, I saw the aerial Rudra and the two upper and nether worlds marked over it, remaining quiet at rest. 3 Then in a moment, that airy Rudra saw the two partitions of the earth and sky within the hollow of vacuum, his eyeballs blazing like the globe of the sun. 4 Then in the twinkling of an eye and with the breath of his nostrils, he drew the two partitions to him and threw them into the horrible abyss of his mouth. 5 Having devoured both divisions of the world as if they were a morsel of bread, he remained alone as air and one with the universal air about him.
6 Then he appeared like a piece of cloud, then the size of a small stick, and afterwards the size of a thumb. 7 I saw him become transparent like a piece of glass which at last became as minute as to melt into the air and vanish altogether from my microscopic sight. 8 Being reduced to an atom, it suddenly disappeared from view and, like an autumn cloud, became invisible. 9 In this manner did the two gates of heaven disappear from my sight, the wonders of which I had been viewing with so much concern and delight.
10 The cosmos being thus devoured like grass by a hungry deer, the firmament was quite cleared of everything. It became as transparent, calm and quiet as the serene vacuum of Brahman himself. 11 I saw only one vast expanse of intellectual sky without any beginning, middle or end. It resembled the dreary waste of ultimate dissolution, a vast, desolate desert.
12 I also saw the images of things drawn upon that stone as if they were the reflection of things in a mirror. Then remembering the heavenly vidyadhari and seeing all these scenes, I was lost in amazement. 13 I was amazed, like a clown coming to a royal city, to see that stone again far clearer than ever before. 14 This I found to be the body of goddess Kali in which all the worlds seemed to be inscribed like on a slab of stone. I saw these with my intellectual eyes, far better than they appear to the supernatural sight of the gods. 15 On that stone I saw everything that ever existed in any place, though it seemed to be situated at a distance from me. Yet I recognized it as the very stone (Divine Consciousness).
16 I saw only this stone. There was nothing of the worlds it contained so clearly. The stone remained forever in the same unchanging state, with all worlds lying concealed in it. 17 It was stainless and clean, fair and clear as an evening cloud. I was struck with wonder at the sight, then started my meditation again.
18 I looked to the other side of the stone with my contemplative eye and found the bustle of the world lying dormant at that place. 19 I saw it full of the great variety of things, as described before. Then I turned my sight to look into another side of it. 20 I saw it abounding with the very many creations and created worlds, accompanied with their tumults and commotions as I had seen before. Whatever place I thought of and sought for, I found them all in the same stone. 21 I saw fair creation as if it were a pattern cast upon a mirror. I felt a great pleasure exploring the mountainous source of this stone. 22 I searched in every part of the earth and traversed through woods and forests until I passed through every part of the world, as it was exhibited in that stone. 23 I saw them in my understanding and not with my visual organs. Somewhere I saw the first born Brahma, the lord of creatures.
24 Then I saw his arrangement of the starry frame, the spheres of the sun and moon, and the rotations of days and nights and of seasons and years. I also saw the surface of the earth with its population here and there. 25 I saw level land somewhere and the great basins of the four oceans elsewhere. I saw some places quite unpopulated and unproductive and others abounding with sura and asura races.
26 Somewhere I saw assemblies of righteous men, with their manners and conduct as those of the pure Satya Yuga. Elsewhere I saw the company of unrighteous people following the practices and usages of the corrupt Kali Yuga. 27 I saw forts and cities of demons in certain places, with fierce and continuous warfare going on all along among them. 28 I saw vast mountainous tracts without a pit or pool in them anywhere. I saw elsewhere the unfinished creation of the lotus-born Brahma. 29 I saw some lands where men were free from death and decay, and others with moonless nights and bare headed Shivas in them. 30 I saw the Milky Ocean unchurned, filled with the dead bodies of gods, and the ocean horse and elephant, the Kamadhenu cow, the physician Dhanvantari and the goddess Lakshmi, together with the undersea poison and ambrosia, all lying hidden and buried therein. 31 I saw in one place the body of gods assembled to baffle the attempts of the demons and the devices of their leader Sukra. In another I saw the great god Indra entering into the womb of Diti, the mother of demons, and destroying the unborn brood inside.
32 It was on account of the unchangeable course of nature that the world was brilliant as ever before, unless some things were placed out of their former order. 33 The everlasting Vedas ever retain their same force and sense, and never did they feel the shock of change by the revolution of ages or even at the kalpanta dissolution of the world. 34 Sometimes the demons demolished parts of the heavenly abodes of gods and sometimes the paradise of Nandana Garden resounded with the songs of gandharvas and kinnaras. 35 Sometimes a friendship was formed between the gods and demons. In this manner I saw the past, present and future commotions of the world.
36 Then I saw in the body of the great soul of the worlds (Paramatma) the meeting of Pushkara and Avarta clouds. 37 There was an assembly of all created things in peaceful union with one another in one place. There was a collision of gods, demigods and sovereigns of men in the one and same person. 38 There was the union of the sunlight and deep darkness in the same place, without their destroying one another. There were dark clouds and their flashing lightning also in the same place. 39 There were the demons Madhu and Kaitabha residing together in the same navel-string of Brahma. There were the infant Brahma and the lotus bud in the same navel of Vishnu. 40 In the ocean of the universal deluge, where Krishna floated on the leaf of a banyan tree, chaotic night ruled the along with him and spread its darkness over the deep.
41 There was only one vast void in which all things remained unknown and undefined, as if they lay buried and asleep in the unconscious womb of a stony grave. 42 Nothing could be known or inferred of anything in existence. Everything seemed to be submerged in deep sleep everywhere. The sky was filled by darkness resembling the wingless crows and wingless mountains of old. 43 On one side the loud sounds of thunder were breaking down the mountains and melting them by the fire of flashing lightning. In another, floodwaters were sweeping away the earth into the deep. 44 In certain places there were the wars of the demons like Tripura, Vritra, Andha, and Bali. In others there were terrible earthquakes owing to the shaking of the furious earth supporting elephant in the regions below. 45 On one hand the earth was shaking on the thousand hoods on the infernal serpent Vasuki, which trembled with fear at the kalpanta deluge of the world. On the other the young Rama was killing rakshasa demons and their leader Ravana. 46 On one side was Rama frustrated by his adversary Ravana.
I saw these wonders, now standing upon my legs on earth, then lifting my head above the mountain tops. 47 I saw Kalanemi invading one side of the sky where he stationed the demons by ousting the gods from their heavenly seats. 48 In one place I found asura demons defeated by the gods who preserved the people from their terror. In another the victorious son of Pandu, Arjuna, with the aid of lord Vishnu, protected the world from the oppression of Kauravas. I saw also the slaughter of millions of men in the Mahabharata war.
49 Rama asked, “Tell me sage, how I had been before in another age, and who were these Pandavas and Kauravas who existed before me?”
50 Vasishta replied:—
Rama, all things are destined to revolve and return over and over again as they had been before. 51 As a basket is filled repeatedly with grains of the same kind, or mixed sometimes with some other sorts, so the very same thoughts and ideas with their same or other associations recur repeatedly in our minds.
52 Our ideas occur to us in the shape of their objects as often as the waters of the sea run in their course as waves beating upon the banks. Thus our thoughts of ourselves, yourselves and others frequently revert to our minds. 53 No thought ever comes to mind which has not been a previous thought in the mind. Though some seem to appear in different shapes, it is simply owing to our misapprehension of them, just as the same seawater seems to show various shapes of its waves. 54 Again, a delusion presents us with many appearances that never come to existence. This shows us an infinite series of things coming in and passing and disappearing like magic shows in this illusive world. 55 The same things and others of different kinds appear and reappear to us in this way. Thus they move around in cycles.
56 Know all creatures are like drops of water in the ocean of the world. They are composed of the period of their existence, their respective occupations, understanding and knowledge, and accompanied by their friends and properties and other surroundings. 57 All beings are born with every one of these properties at their very birth. But some possess them in equal or more or less shares, compared with others. 58 But all beings differ in these respects, according to the different bodies in which they are born. Though some are equal to others in many of these respects, yet they come to differ in them in course of time. 59 Being at last harassed in their different pursuits, all beings attain either to higher or lower states in their destined times. Then being shackled to the prison houses of their bodies, they have to pass through endless varieties of births in various forms. Thus the drops of living beings have to roll about in the whirlpool of the vast ocean of worldly life for an indefinite period of time, which nobody can gainsay or count.