Chapter 94 — Conclusion of Siddha Story; Vasishta Travels like a Pisacha; Description of Pisachas, Origin from Brahma
1 Vasishta continued:—
Now as we were at a place of great extent, as bright as the golden sphere of heaven, I spoke to the siddha as a friend. 2 I said, “Sage, it is true what you said, that it is the lack of due attention which prevents our comprehensive knowledge of the present, past, and future. But it is a defect not only of yours and mine, but of the minds of all mankind in general. 3 I say so from my right knowledge of the defects and fallibility of human nature. Or else sage, you would not have to fall from your aerial seat. But pardon me, I am equally fallible also. 4 Therefore, rise from this place and let us go to the aerial abode of the siddha spiritual masters where we were seated before, because one’s own seat is the most pleasant to man and self-perfection is the best of all perfections.”
5 So saying, we both got up and rose as high as the stars of heaven. We directed our course in the same way as a flying traveler or a stone flung in the air. 6 Then we took leave of each other with mutual farewells and each of us went to the place that was desirable to him. 7 I have now related to you fully the whole of this story, whereby you may know, O Rama, the wonderful occurrences that happens to us in this ever changeful world.
8 Rama said, “Tell me sage, how and with what form of body did you did travel about the regions of the spiritual masters when your mortal frame was reduced to dust?”
9 Vasishta replied:—
Ah! I remember it, and I will tell you the details about how I wandered throughout these worlds until I arrived at the city of the Lokapala (Guardians of the World) gods and joined with the hosts of spiritual masters traveling in the regions of the midway sky. 10 I travelled in the regions of Indra without being seen by anybody because since losing my material frame, I was passing in my spiritual body. 11 O Rama, I had become of an aerial form in which there was neither receptacle nor recipient beside the nature of empty and intellectual soul. 12 I was neither the subject nor the object of perception by persons like yourself, who dwell on material objects alone. Nor did I make any reckoning of the distance of space or succession of time.
13 The soul (the aerial form) is concerned with the thinking principle of the mind, not the various material objects composed of earth and the other elements. The soul is like the meditative mind or ideal man that meddles with no material substance. 14 It is not pressed or confined by material things, but is always busy with its reflections. The soul deals with beings in the same way as men in sleep do with the objects of their dream.
15 Rama, know that the simile of dreaming to explain the doctrine of the reasoning intellect is quite irrefutable, although it is refuted by others. 16 As the sleeping man thinks he is walking and acting in his dream, without such actions being perceived by others, so I thought that I walked before and saw the aerial beings without their seeing me. 17 I saw all other terrestrial bodies lying manifest before me. But nobody could see me hidden from their sight in my spiritual form.
18 Rama asked, “Sage, if you were invisible to the gods, owing to your bodiless, empty form, then how could you be seen by the siddha in the Kanaka land? How could you see others without having eyes of your own?”
19 Vasishta replied:—
We spiritual beings view all things by means of our inner knowledge of them, just as other people see the things they desire to see and nothing for which they have no desire. 20 All men, though possessed of pure souls, forget their spiritual nature by being too deeply engaged in worldly affairs and unspiritual matters.
21 I wished that this siddha person could have sight of me. So according to my wish, I was observed by him, because every man obtains what he earnestly desires. 22 Men being negligent in their purposes become unsuccessful in their desires. But being strong to my purpose and never swerving from my pursuit, I succeeded in gaining my desired object. 23 When two persons are engaged in the same pursuit, or one of them is opposed to the views of the other, the effort of the stronger effort is crowned with success and that of the weaker effort meets with failure.
24 Then I travelled in my spiritual body through aerial regions of the Lokapala regents of the sky. Passing by the celestial city of the siddha spiritual masters, I saw people with manners quite different from my former habits. 25 Then I began to observe their strange manners in ethereal space and being unseen by anyone there, I distinctly saw everybody there and their mode of life and dealings. I was amazed.
26 I called them aloud, but they neither heard nor gave heed to my voice. They appeared to me like empty phantoms, like the images of our dreams and visions. 27 I tried to lay hold of some of them, but my hands could grasp none. They evaded my touch, just like the ideas of images in the human mind. 28 Thus Rama, I remained like a demoniac pisacha spirit in the abode of the holy gods. I thought I had been transformed into a pisacha spirit in the open air.
29 Rama asked, “Tell me sage. What kind of beings in this world are pisachas? What are their natures and forms? What are their states and occupations?”
30 Vasishta replied:—
I will tell you, Rama, what sort of beings the pisachas are in this world, because it is rude on the part of a teacher not to answer the questions of the audience.
31 The pisachas are a sort of aerial being with a subtle body. They have hands and feet and other body parts like you do, and they see all things as you do. 32 Sometimes they assume the form of a shadow to terrify people. At other times they enter peoples’ minds in an aerial form in order to mislead them to error and wicked purposes. 33 They kill weak bodied people, eat their flesh, and suck up their blood. They lay a siege about the mind and destroy men’s vitals, internal organs, strength and lives.
34 Some of them have aerial forms, some have the form of frost, and others are like imaginary men with airy forms that we see in our dreams. 35 Some have the form of clouds and others a nature like the winds. Some carry illusory bodies. But all of them possess mind and understanding.
36 They do not have any tangible form that we can hold or that they can use to hold anyone else. They are merely empty airy bodies, yet conscious of their own existence. 37 They are susceptible of feeling the pain and pleasure occasioned by heat and cold. But they are incapable of the actions of eating, drinking, holding, or supporting anything with their spiritual bodies. 38 They possess desire, envy, fear, anger and greed, and they are also liable to delusion and illusion. They are capable of being subjugated through the spell of mantras, the charm of drugs, and through other rites and practices. 39 It is likewise possible to see and control some of them by means of incantations, captivating exorcisms, amulets, and spirit chanting invocations.
40 They are all the progeny of fallen gods. Therefore some of them carry the forms of gods also. While some have human forms, others are like serpents and snakes in appearance. 41 Some have forms similar to dogs and jackals, and some are found living in villages and woods. There are many that reside in rivers, mud and mire, and hell pits.
42 I told you all about the forms and homes and doings of pisachas. Now hear me now tell you about the origin and birth of these beings.
43 Know that an omnipotent power of its own nature exists forever. It is unintelligible Consciousness itself and it is known as Brahman the great. 44 Know this as the living soul, which being condensed becomes ego. The condensation of egoism makes the mind. 45 This Divine Mind is called Brahma, which is the empty form of the Divine Will. Brahma is the insubstantial origin of this unreal world, which is as formless as the hollow mind.
46 So the mind exists as Brahma, whose form is that of formless emptiness. It is the form of a person seen in our dream, which is an entity without reality or physical body. 47 It was devoid of any earthly material or elemental form, and existed only in an immaterial and spiritual form. For how is it possible for the principle of will existing in empty air to have a material body?
48 Rama, as you see an aerial city in the imagination of your mind, so the mind of Brahma imagines itself as Virinchi, the creator of the world. 49 Whatever one sees in his imagination, he considers it to be true for the time. Whatever is the nature and capacity of any being, he knows all others to be of the same sort as himself. 50 Whatever the empty soul sees in its empty sphere, the same it knows to be true, just as the spirit and the mind of Brahma exhibit this ideal world as a reality. 51 Thus the contemplation of the present spectacle of the world as ever existing at all times strengthens the belief in its reality, like that of a protracted and romantic dream.
52 The long meditation of Brahma in his spiritual form of the creative power, presented to him the ideas of multitudes of worlds and varieties of creations, of which he became the creator. 53 The ideal, being perfected, grew compact and took a tangible form which afterwards was called the world and all the many varieties of which it is composed.
54 This Brahma, the creative mind, is the same as Brahman the Supreme Soul. These two are forever identical with the uncreated soul and body of the universe. 55 These two (Divine Spirit Brahman and mind Brahma) are always one and the same being, like the sky and its emptiness. They forever abide together in unity, like the wind and its movement.
56 The Divine Spirit sees the phenomenal world as a phantom, nothing real, just as you see the unreality of a figure of your imagination. 57 This Brahma then displayed himself in the form of a material body named Viraj consisting of the fivefold elements of earth, water and the rest as the five solid and liquid parts of his person. 58 As this triple nature (soul, mind and material frame) of the god is no more than the variation of his will, so it represented itself as the one or the other in its thought only, and not in reality. 59 Brahma himself is empty consciousness. His will consists in the emptiness of consciousness. Therefore the production and destruction of the world resemble the rise and fall of figures in the dreaming state of the human mind.
60 As the Divine Mind of Brahma is a reality, so its parts and contents are also real and its acts or productions of the sun, moon, and stars, as well as their rays, the Marichis, are also real. 61 Thus the existence of the world and all its contents is called the dominion of the mind which is only an unsupported emptiness, like the emptiness of the unsupported sky on high. 62 As a city seen in dream is insubstantial and a hill formed in imagination is a mere void, so both Brahma and his world are like the transparent sky, having no shape or substance of them. 63 So the world is only a reflection of Divine Consciousness. It is ever existent without decay. Belief in a beginning, middle or end of creation is as false as the sight of the ends and midpoint of skies.
64 Tell me, Rama, whether you find any material substance growing in the empty space of your mind or any other person’s mind. If you find no such thing there, then how can you suppose it to exist in the emptiness of Divine Consciousness and in the emptiness of the universe? 65 Then tell me why and from where feelings and passions, such as anger, affection, hate and fear, take their rise? All these are of no good to anybody, but rather harmful to many. 66 In truth I tell you that these are not created things, yet they seem to rise and fall of themselves, like our wrong notions of the production and destruction of the world. These are only eternal ideas, equally eternal with the eternal mind of God.
67 The vast extent of infinite void is full with the clear water of Divine Consciousness. But being soiled by our imaginary conceits, this produces the dirt of false realities. 68 The boundless space of Divine Consciousness is filled with the empty spirit of God which, being the primary productive seed of all, has produced these multitudes of worlds scattered about and rolling like stones in the air.
69 There is really no field and no seed which is sown there in reality. Nor is there anything which is ever grown or produced. But whatever there is exists forever as the same.
70 Now among the scattered seeds of souls, there are some that grow mature and put forth in the forms of gods. Others are of a bright appearance and become intelligences and saints. 71 Those that are half mature become human beings and naaga races. Still others are put forth in the forms of insects, worms and vegetables. 72 Those seeds which are bloated and choked and become fruitless at the end, these produce the wicked pisachas, which are bodiless bodies of empty and aerial forms. 73 It is not that Virinchi or Brahma made them so of his own accord or will. They became so according to the desire which they created in themselves in their prior existence.
74 All existent beings are as insubstantial as the Consciousness in which they exist. They all have their spiritual bodies which are quite separate from the material forms in which you behold them. 75 It is by your long habit that you have contracted the knowledge of their materiality, just as it has become habitual with us to think ourselves to be waking in our dreaming state. 76 All living bodies are accustomed to think of their physicality and to live content with their frail and base material forms. In the same way, pisachas are habituated to pass gladly in their ugly forms.
77 Some men look upon others and know them as well as villagers know and deal with their fellow villagers. But they resemble people living together as seen in a dream. 78 Some meet with many men, like in a city constructed in dream, and are quite unacquainted with one another because of their distant homes and different nationalities. 79 In this manner, there are many races of beings of whom we are utterly ignorant, such as pisachas, kumbhandas, pretas, yakshas and others.
80 As the waters on earth collect only in the lowlands, so pisachas and demons dwell only in dark places. 81 Should a dark pisacha dwell in bright midday light, upon a sunny shore or open space, it darkens that spot with the gloominess of its appearance. 82 Even the sun is unable to dispel that darkness. Because a dark demon is so delusive and evades human sight, no one can discover the place where he makes his home. 83 As the sun and moon and the furnace of a burning fire appear bright before our eyes, so on the contrary the home of pisachas is ever hidden by impenetrable darkness which no light can pierce.
84 The pisachas are naturally of a wonderful nature that vanishes like sparks of fire in daylight and become lighted again in the dark.
85 Now Rama, in the course of this discourse I have fully described the origin and nature of the pisacha race, and how then I had become like one of them in the regions of the regents of the celestials.