Chapter 95 — Description of Vasishta’s Bodies

Vasishta continued:—

Having my ethereal intellectual body, which was quite free from the composition of the five elements, I travelled about in the air like a pisacha ghost, seeing all and seen by none. I was not perceived by the sun or moon or by the gods Hari, Hara, Indra and others. I was quite invisible to the spiritual masters, gandharvas, kinnaras and apsaras of heaven.

I was astonished to realize, like any honest person who is a stranger in another’s house, that the residents of the place did not perceive me, though I advanced towards them and called them to me. Then I thought to myself that as these ethereal beings were seekers of truth like me, it was right that they should see me among them in their ethereal abode. Then they began to see me standing before them. They felt astonished at my un-thought appearance, just as the spectators are startled at the sudden sight of a juggler’s trick in some magic show. Then I managed myself as I should in the house of the gods. I sat quietly in their presence and addressed and approached them without any fear.

Those who saw me and were unacquainted with the details of who I was, thought that I was only an earthly being known as Vasishta. When I was in sunlight by the celestials in heaven, they took me for the enlightened Vasishta, who is well known in the world. As I was seen afloat in the air by the aerial spiritual master siddhas, they called me by the name of the aerial Vasishta. 10 The watery sages who rose from amidst the waters of the deep saw me and called me the watery Vasishta, from my birth in the water. 11 I came to be known under different names by different sets of beings. Some called me the earthly Vasishta, and others named me the luminous, the aerial, and so forth according to their own kind.

12 Then in course of time, my spiritual body assumed a material form which sprang from within me and of my own will. 13 That spiritual body and this material form that I have were equally aerial and invisible because it was only in my intellectual mind that I perceived the one and the other. 14 Thus my soul, the pure intellect, appears sometimes as emptiness and at others shining as the clear sky. It is transcendent spirit without any form. It takes this form for your benefit.

15 The liberated living soul is as free as the empty spirit of Brahman, although it may deal with others in its physical body. The liberated bodiless soul remains as free as the great Brahman himself.

16 As for myself, I could not attain the station of Brahma, though I practiced the rules to obtain my liberation. Being unable to attain a better state, I have become the sage Vasishta that you see before you. 17 Yet I look upon this world in the same light of being immaterial as the sage sees the figure of a person in his dream. It appears to him to have a material form, though it is a formless nonentity in reality. 18 In this manner the self-born god Brahma and others, and the whole creation at large, present themselves as visions to my view, without their having any entity in reality.

19 Here I am the self-same empty and aerial Vasishta appearing as an imaginary shape before you. I am habituated to believe myself over grown, as you are accustomed to think of the density of the world. 20 All these are only empty essences of the self-born Brahma, and as that god is no other than the Divine Mind, so is this world nothing more than a production of that mind. 21 The appearance of me, you and others, together with that of the whole world, proceeds from our ignorance. It is like the apparitions of empty ghosts before deluded children, appearing as solid realities to your sight.

22 Being aware of this truth, it is possible for you to grow wise in course of time. Then your delusion is sure to disappear, just as our worldly bonds are cut off by renouncing our desires and affections. 23 Our knowledge of the density and reality of the world is dispelled by true wisdom in the same way our desire of a jewel in a dream is dispelled upon waking. 24 The sight of phenomena immediately vanishes from view as we arrive to the knowledge of truth, just as our desire of deriving water from a mirage disappears with our knowledge of the falsity of the view.

25 Reading this Vasishta Maharamayana is sure to produce the knowledge of self-liberation in its reader, even during his lifetime in this world. 26 The man whose mind is addicted to worldly desires and thinks its vanities are his real good leads a life of misery like those of insects and worms. He is unfit to be born as a human being in spite of all his knowledge of this world and all his holy devotion. 27 The liberated man, while he lives, considers the enjoyments of his life to be no enjoyment at all. But the ignorant person only values his temporary enjoyments instead of his everlasting bliss. 28 By reading this Maharamayana, there arises a coldness in the mind resembling a frost falling on spiritual knowledge.

29 Liberation is the cold detachment of the mind and our bondage consists in the passions of our minds and hearts. Yet the human race is quite opposed to cold detachment and, in their foolishness, men diligently pursue only temporal welfare, much to the astonishment of the wise. 30 Here all men are subject to their senses and addicted to the increase of wealth and family, all to the injury of each another. Yet it is possible for them to be happy and wise, if they will only reflect well upon the true meaning of spiritual scriptures.

31 Valmiki says:—

After the sage had said these words, the assembly broke with the setting sun and mutual salutations to perform their evening devotion. They made their ablutions as the sun sank down into the deep, and again went back to the court with the rising sun at the end of the night.