Chapter 92 — Description of Air in Creation, the Universal Spirit

Vasishta continued:—

Now in my curiosity to know the world, I thought myself as transformed into the form of the current air, and by degrees extended my essence all over the infinite extent of the universe. I became a breeze with a desire to see the beauty of lovely plants all about me and to smell the sweetness of the fragrant blossoms of kunda, jasmine and lotus.

I carried about the coolness of falling rains and snows and dew drops, with a view to restore freshness to the exhausted limbs of tired and weary laborers. My spirit in the form of the current winds carried about the essences of medicinal plants and the fragrance of flowers, and carried away loads of grass, herbs, vines and plant leaves all around. My spirit travelled as the gentle warm breeze in the auspicious hours of morning and evening to awaken and lull lovely maids to sleep. Again, it took the tremendous shape of a tornado in storms, breaking down rocks and carrying them away.

In paradise it is covered with the reddish pollen of mandara flowers. In the mountains it is white with white frost and snows. In hell it burns in infernal fires. In the sea it has a circular motion with swelling waves and revolving whirlpools. In heaven it carries aloft and moves the clouds, both to cover and uncover the mirror of the moon hidden behind them. In heaven it has the name of prabha air and it holds up the starry frame and guides the course of legions of stars and the cars of their commanding generals, the post of gods.

It is considered to be the younger brother of thought owing to its great velocity. It is formless but moves over all forms. Though intangible, yet its touch is as delightful as cooling sandalwood paste. 10 It is old with the white frost it bears on its head, it is youthful spreading the fragrance of spring flowers, and it is young when it is quiet and still. 11 Here it travels at large, loaded with the fragrance of Nandana Garden. There it moves freely carrying the perfumes of the grove of the gandharva Chitraratha to tired persons and worn out lovers.

12 Though fatigued with its work of raising and moving the constant waves of the cooling and purifying stream of Ganges, yet it is ever alert to lull the work of others, being quite forgetful of its own weariness. 13 It gently touches its brides of spring plants bending down under the load of their full blown flowers, ever shaking their leafy hands, flitting eyes of fluttering bees resisting its touch. 14 The fleeting air, after drinking dew drops flowing from the moon and being fanned by the cool breath of lotuses, buried its weariness in its soft bed of clouds.

15 Like the swiftest steed of Indra, he carries the powder of all flowers to him in heaven and becomes a companion with Indra’s elephant, who is giddy with the fragrance of his ichor. 16 Then blew the winds with the soft breath of shepherd’s horns, driving clouds away like cattle, blasting showering raindrops that set down the dust of the earth. 17 It is perfumed with the fragrance of flowers flying in the air. It is the birth brother of all sounds which proceed from the womb of emptiness. It runs in the blood and humors, within the veins and arteries of bodies, and is the mover of the limbs of persons. 18 It dwells as life within the hearts of human bodies and is the only cause of all their vital functions. It is ever on its wing. Being omnipresent throughout the world, it is acquainted with the secrets of all the works of Brahma.

19 It is the plunderer of the rich treasure of scents and the supporter of ethereal cities. It is the destroyer of heat and, as the moon, darkness. This air is the Milky Ocean that produces the fair and cooling moon. 20 It forms islands and preserves the machine of living bodies by conducting the vital airs. 21 It is always present before us, yet it is invisible in itself, like an imaginary palace or oil in palm seeds or chains on the legs of infuriated elephants.

22 It blows away all the mountains at the end of the world in a moment. It marks waves with their whirls and collects the sands of rivers. 23 It is false in appearance as water in a cloud of smoke, or a whirlpool in it. It is as invisible as the streams above the sky and lotuses growing in the lakes of the blue ethereal sky. 24 In its form of wind gusts it is covered with bits of rotten grass. It opens lotus blossoms by its gentle breeze and showers down rains in its form of sounding blasts. 25 Its body is like a wind instrument at home, and like an elephant in the forest of the sky. It is a friend to the dust of the earth and a wooer of flowers in woods and gardens.

26 It is always busy in its various acts of solidification and drying, of upholding and moving, and of cooling the body and carrying perfumes. It is constantly employed in these six-fold functions to the end of the world. 27 It is as fleet as light and skillful in extracting juices like penetrating heat. It is ever employed in the acts of contraction and expansion of the limbs of bodies, at the will of everybody. 28 It passes unobstructed through the avenues of every part of the city of the body. By its circulation in the heart, distribution of bile, and blood vessels, it preserves the functions of life. 29 It is expert in repairing the losses of the great citadel of the living body by removing its excrements and replacing its gastric juices, and the formation of its blood and fat, and flesh, bones and skin.

30 I looked through every particle of the body by means of circulating air, just as I viewed every part of the universe by means of the encompassing air. I conduct this body of mine because of my vital airs. 31 The winds carry innumerable particles on their back, as if they were so many worlds in the air. In fact, nothing is carried by them when there is nothing but an utter negative emptiness everywhere.

32 I saw all bodies including those of the gods like Hari and Brahma and the gandharva and vidyadhara celestials. I saw the bright sun and moon, of fire and Indra and others. 33 I saw seas, oceans, islands and mountains stretching as far as the visible horizon. I also saw other worlds and the natures and actions of their inhabitants. 34 I saw heaven and earth and the infernal regions and noted their peoples and their lives and deaths. 35 I saw various kinds of beings composed of the five elements. In the form of air I traversed throughout the universe like a bee entering the petals of a lotus flower. 36 In my aerial form, I passed through bodies of all physical beings composed of earth, water, air and fire. I sucked the juice of all animal bodies and drank the moisture of trees drawn by their roots.

37 I passed over all cold and solid bodies and liquid sandalwood paste. I rested in the cool lunar disc and lulled myself on beds of snow and ice. 38 I tasted the sweets of all seasonal fruits and flowers in the tree gardens of every part of this earth. I drunk my fill in the flower cups of spring and left shelters for the honey drink of bees. 39 Then I rolled on the high and soft beds of clouds spread out in the wide fields of the sky, and I slept on soft and downy wings of clouds like a place bedded by heaps of butter. 40 I rested on flower petals, green tree leaves of trees, and on the soft bodies of heavenly nymphs without any lust on my part.

41 I played with lily and lotus blossoms in their beds and bushes. I joined with cackling geese and swans in their pleasure lakes. 42 I moved with the flow of streams and the rippling waters of lakes and channels. I carried the globe of the earth on my back, all her mountains like hairs upon my body. 43 The wide extent of hills and mountains and long streams falling from them, together with all the seas and oceans, were all like pictures reflected in the mirror of my body. 44 All the terrestrials and celestials that lived and moved at large upon my body appeared to be moving and flying about me like lice and flies.

45 By my favor the sun received the various colors with which he shines and which he diffuses to the leaves of trees in the different colors of red, black, white, yellow and green. 46 The earth is situated with the seven seas surrounding the seven great continents, like so many bracelets on men’s wrists.

47 I was delighted at the flight of celestial vidyadhari maidens, just as I see gladness within myself. 48 The earth’s rivers of pure water and its solid hills and rocks were like the veins and blood, and flesh and bones of my body. 49 I saw innumerable elephantine clouds and countless suns and moons in the starry frame of the sky, just as I see flights of gnats and flies in the emptiness of my mind.

50 In my minute form of the intellect, O Rama, I held the earth with its footstools of the nether regions upon my head. 51 I remained in my sole empty and spiritual state in all places and things at all times and as my own free agent, and yet without my connection with anything whatsoever. 52 In this state of my spirituality I had the knowledge of both the intellectual and material worlds, and of all finite and infinite, visible and invisible, and formal and formless things. 53 I saw a thousand worlds and mountains and seas in my own spirit. They appeared like carved statues and engravings in the empty tablet of my mind. 54 I carried many hidden and visible worlds in my spiritual body. They showed themselves as clearly to my innermost soul as if they were reflections of real objects in a mirror.

55 So in my empty soul I perceived the four elemental bodies of earth, air, fire and water in the same manner as we see the delusive objects of our dream in the emptiness of our intellect. 56 In that state of my trance, I also saw innumerable worlds rising before me in each particle of matter, appearing to fly before me in the hollow space of vacuum. 57 I saw a world in every atom flying in empty air, just as we see many creations of our dreams, and many creatures in those dreams.

58 I myself became the globe of the earth and the clusters of islands as their pervading spirit, though my spirit never comes in contact with anything at all. 59 With my earthly body I suck rainwater and the waters of the seas in order to supply moisture for trees to produce juicy fruits for the food of living beings.

60 When I came to pure understanding and the clairvoyance of my intellectual sight, I found that the millions of worlds and worldly things disappeared from my view and united in a single unity. 61 This is a miracle of the intellect that strikes wonder in us, that the miracles of the inner mind manifest themselves as external sights before our eyes.

62 I felt it painful to think of the existence of nothing anywhere. But I found out the truth, that there is nothing in reality except one spiritual substance which displays all these wonders in itself. 63 There is only one Universal Soul without decay and the continuous cause of all producing and living throughout the whole. As my soul awakened to knowledge, I saw this whole in the soul of Brahman. 64 Awakened to the knowledge of the Universal Soul as the all and everywhere, omnipresent and all supporting, I became unconscious of all objects and was myself lost in the all subjective unity.

65 Continuous creations appear to rise in the empty, wide vastness of pure Divine Spirit. But the extinction of these extinguishes the burning flame of worldliness in the mind and extends the knowledge of all these ideal particulars into that of one infinite and ever existent entity.