Chapter 106 — Description of Intellectual Emptiness; the Impossibility of Material Creation

Rama said, “Tell me again, O venerable sage, about that intellectual emptiness which you say is Brahman. I am never satisfied listening to the holy words distilling like ambrosia from your lips.”

Vasishta replied:—

I have fully explained to you that the two states of sleeping and waking mean the same thing. The twin virtues of composure and self-control are both the same, though they are differentiated by two names. In reality there is no difference, as there is none between two drops of water. They are both one and same thing, as the empty essence of Brahman and Consciousness.

As a man travelling from country to country finds his self consciousness to be the same everywhere, Consciousness is the same, dwelling within himself in its empty form which is called the intellectual sphere. This intellectual sphere is as clear as the ethereal sky in which earthly trees display their greenness by drawing the moisture of the earth through their roots. Again, the intellectual sphere is as calm and quiet as the mind of a man who is free from desires and is at rest in himself, and whose composure is never disturbed by anything. Again, the intellectual sphere is like the quiet state of a man who is rid of his busy cares and thoughts and reposes himself at ease before he is lulled to the unconsciousness of his sleep.

As trees and plants growing in their season rise and fill the sky without being attached to it, such also is intellectual sphere, filled by rising worlds after worlds without being touched or related to any. Again, the intellectual sphere is as clear as a cloudless sky and as vacant as the mind of a saintly man wholly purified from the impressions of visible phenomena and from its thoughts and desires about anything in the world. 10 The intellectual state is as steady as those of stable rocks and trees, and when such is the state of the human mind, it is then said to have attained its intellectuality.

11 The intellectual emptiness, devoid of the three states of the view, viewer, and viewed, is also said to be devoid of any attribute and all change. 12 The intellectual sphere is where thoughts of various kinds of things rise, last and set in turn without any effect of change on its immutable nature. 13 The intellectual sphere is that which embraces all things, which gives rise to and becomes everything itself, and which permeates throughout all nature forever.

14 That which shines resplendent in heaven and earth, and inside and outside of everybody with equal blaze, is said to be the emptiness of the intellect. 15 It extends, stretches and bends through all, connected by its lengthening chain to infinity. The emptiness of the intellect envelops the universe, whether we see the universe as an entity or nonentity. 16 The intellectual vacuum produces everything and at last reduces all to itself. The changes of creation and dissolution are all the workings of this emptiness. 17 The emptiness of the intellect produces the world, just as the sleeping state of the mind presents its sights in our dreams. And as dreams are dispersed in deep sleep, so the waking dream of the world vanishes from view upon dispersion of its fallacy from the mind.

18 Know that the Intellectual Vacuum possesses its process of understanding and is quiet and composed in its nature. Its mere thought, in the wink of an eye, makes the world exist and disappear by turns. 19 The Intellectual Vacuum is found in the discussions of all the scriptures to be what is neither this nor that nor anything, and yet as all and everything in every place and at all times.

20 As a man traveling from country to country retains his consciousness untraveled in himself, so the intellect always rests in its place though the mind travels far in an instant. 21 The world is full of the intellect, both as it is or had ever been before. Its outward sight is dependent on its ideas within the mind, giving it the forms and figures as they appear to us. 22 In a slight winking of its eye, it assumes and appears in varied shapes, though the intellect never changes its form or alters the clarity of its empty sphere.

23 Look on and know all these objects of sense with your external and internal organs without any desire for them. Be ever wakeful and vigilant observing them, but remain as in a deep sleep with regards to them. 24 Be without desire for anything and indifferent in your mind when you speak to anyone, take anything, or go anywhere. Remain as deadly cold and quiet as long as you have to live. 25 But it is impossible for you to remain without desire as long as your eyes and mind are fixed upon the visible before you, and as long as you continue to see the mirage of the world and look upon its duality like two moons rising in the sky.

26 Know that the world is no production from any beginning. The lack of a prior cause precludes any such sequence and it is impossible for a material creation to proceed from an immaterial cause. 27 Whatever appears as existent before you is the product of a causeless cause. It is the appearance of the Transcendent One that appears visible to you. 28 The world as it stands at present is nothing other than its very original form. The same non-dual and undivided pure soul appears as a duality, just as the disc of the moon and its halo create the appearance of two moons. 29 Our false notion of duality has given us a strong bias towards the error of believing in the false and taking the shadow of a dream for reality.

30 Therefore the phenomenal world is no real production, nor does it actually exist or is likely ever to come into existence. Likewise it is never annihilated because it is impossible for a nonexistent to be nothing again. 31 Hence that which is only a form of serene vacuum must also be quiet calm and serene. This exhibits itself in the form of the world, but necessarily remains of its own nature quite clear and steady, imperishable through all eternity. 32 Nothing we see before us, nothing that is visible, is ever reliable as real. There is never any viewer because there is nothing separate to be viewed.

33 Rama asked, “If this is so, then O most eloquent sage, explain the nature of the visible, their view, and viewer. What are these that appear to our view?”

34 Vasishta replied:—

There being no assignable cause for the appearance of the visible, their vision can only be a deception. The hypothesis of scholars is that this is true. 35 Whatever appears as visible to the sight of the viewer is all fallacy, the offspring of the great delusion of Maya. The world in its concealed sense is only a reflection of the Divine Mind.

36 The intellect is awake in our sleeping state and shows us the shapes in our dreams like the sky shows changes and differences in its ample garden. Thus the intellect manifests itself in the form of the world and in itself. 37 Hence there is no formal cause or self evolving element since the first creation of the world. That which sparkles anywhere before us is only the great Brahman Himself. 38 It is the sunshine of the Intellect within its own hollow sphere that manifests this world as a reflection of his own being.

39 The world is an exhibition of the quality and unqualified emptiness of the Intellect, just as existence is the quality of existent beings, emptiness is the property of vacuum, and form is the attribute of a material substance. 40 Know that the world is the concrete counterpart of a distinct attribute of the transcendent glory of God. The world is a very reflection of God visibly exposed to the view of its beholders. 41 But in reality, there is no duality whatever in the unity of God. He is neither the reflector nor the reflection. Say, who can ascertain what he is, or tell whether he is a being or not being, or a something or nothing?

42 Rama asked, “If it is how you describe, that the Lord is neither reflector nor reflection, and neither viewer nor the viewed, then tell me. What is the difference between cause and effect? What is the source of all these? If they are unreal, why do they appear as realities?”

43 Vasishta replied:—

Whenever the Lord thinks on the manifestation of his Consciousness, he beholds the same at that same moment, then becomes the subjective beholder of the objects of his own thought. 44 The intellectual vacuum itself assumes the form of the world, just as the earth becomes a hill by itself. But it never forgets itself for that form, as men do in their dreams. Moreover, there is no cause to move it to action except its own free will. 45 As a person changing his former state to a new one retains his self consciousness, so Divine Consciousness retains its identity in its transition from prior emptiness to its subsequent state of fullness.

46 The thought of cause and effect and the sense of visible and invisible proceed from errors of the mind and defects of vision. False imagination frames these worlds and nobody questions or upbraids himself for his error. The states of cause and effect and those of visible and invisible are mere phantoms of error rising before the sight of the living soul and proceeding from its ignorance. Then its imagination paints these as the world and there is nobody who realizes his error or blames himself for his blunder.

47 If there is another person who is the cause, beholder, and enjoyer of phenomena, then tell me who it is and what are these phenomena? That is the point in question. Is it liable to proof?

48 The state of our sleep presents us only with the indiscernible emptiness of Consciousness. So how is it possible to show one soul as many without being blamed for it? 49 Only the self-existent soul presents the appearance of the world in the intellect. The ignorance of this truth has led to the general belief of the creation of the world by Brahma. 50 Ignorance of this intellectual phenomenon has led mankind to many errors called by various names of illusion, ignorance, phenomena and, finally, the world.

51 Manifestations in the intellectual vacuum take possession of the mind like a ghost. The unreal world appears as a reality, like the false phantom of a ghost takes a firm hold on a child’s mind. 52 Although the world is an unreality, yet in our empty consciousness we have a notion of it as something real. This is nothing more than the embodiment of a dream which shows us the forms of hills and cities in empty air. 53 Consciousness represents itself as a hill or a Rudra, or as a sea or as the god Viraj himself, just as a man thinks in his dream that he sees hills and towns in his empty mind.

54 Nothing that has any form can be the result of a formless cause. Hence the impossibility that the solid world exists, that the world is formed of atomic elements, that it was annihilated before its creation, or that there will be any world dissolution. Therefore it is evident that the world always and only exists in its ideal form in the Divine Mind. 55 The world is a mere uncaused existence inherent in its empty state in the empty Mind. What is called the world is nothing other than an emptiness appertaining to the empty Consciousness.

56 The minds of ignorant people are like glassy mirrors receiving the dim and dull images of things set before their senses. But those of reasoning men are like clear microscopes that spy the vivid light of the Divine Mind that shines through all. 57 Therefore, the best of men shun the sight of visible forms. They view the world in the light of intellectual emptiness, remaining as firm as rocks in the meditation of the steady Intellect, placing no faith or reliance on anything else.

58 Consciousness shows the revolution of the world in itself by its constant act of airy reasoning, just as the sea displays its circular movement throughout the watery world by the continual rotation of its whirlpools. 59 As the figurative tree of our desire produces and yields our wished-for fruits in a moment, so Consciousness instantly presents everything before us that is thought of. 60 As the mind finds its wished for gem and the fruit of its desire within itself, in the same manner the internal soul instantly meets with its desired objects in its empty self.

61 As a man passing from one place to another rests calmly in between, such is the state of the mind in the interval between its thoughts, when it sees neither the one nor another thing. 62 It is only the reflection of the Consciousness that shines clearly in variegated colors within the cavity of its own sphere. Though devoid of any shape or color, yet it exhibits itself in color like the blue in the emptiness of the sky.

63 Nothing unlike can result from empty Consciousness, only that which is empty as itself. A material production requires a material cause, which is lacking in Consciousness. Therefore the created world is only a display of the Divine Mind, like the appearance of dreams before our sleeping minds.