Chapter 139 — Vasishta Explains the Relationship between Mind and Prana; — the Unnamed Sage Describes Being Taken in by His Student’s Dream of Universal Flood

Vasishta related:—

Whatever the mind (chitta) wills regarding the creation of the world, the same immediately appears before it, whether producing something nonexistent to view, annihilating something that once existed, or the representing one as another. The mind is said to be subject to the vital breath (prana, subtle energy, life force) whenever it fancies itself as the vital breath, and can neither exist nor do anything without it being moved by the air of respiration. It thinks it cannot live long without the association of respiration, and it must come back to its life and its living action of thinking with the return of breathing.

Again, as the mind fancies that it is accompanied by vital breath in some living body, it finds itself instantly joined with such breath. It beholds the world rising to view like an enchanted city. The mind thinks of the convenience of its union with the vital breath and body. With this thinking it is pleased to remain forever as a triple being, combining intellectuality, vitality and materiality.

Know that false knowledge keeps the mind in suspense and is the cause of great sorrow to mankind. There is no way of getting rid of it except by the true knowledge of the Self. He who thinks there is a distinction between his self and another can have no correction from his error except by spiritual knowledge of the only spirit. There is no way to true knowledge except by inquiry into liberation. Therefore be employed with all diligence to inquire into the means of liberation. Truly the very conceptions of individual ego and “I” and another are false and proceed from utter ignorance. There is no other means to remove them except through liberation.

10 Hence any thought which is habitual to the mind comes to be firmly impressed upon it in time. Therefore the idea that the vital breath is one’s life and all makes his mind dependent upon the breath. 11 So also, when the body is in a healthy state with its vitality, the mind is dependent on it and has its free play. But being in bad health, it feels its life embittered and forgets to know itself in its true nature. 12 When the respiration is quick in discharging the duties of the body and the mind is engaged in its busy thoughts; then neither is capable of meditation unless they are repressed in the heart. 13 These two, mind and respiration, are related to one another like car and driver. What living being is there who is not driven along by them?

14 The Supreme Spirit ordained the mind and vital breath in this way at the very beginning of creation. Therefore, this law of their cooperation continues unaltered to this day. 15 Hence the mind and vital airs act in concert in all living bodies, conducting them at all times in all places in their stated course of action. 16 The equal course of both serves the regular conduct of the functions of life. But their unequal course produces dissimilar effects, like that of dreaming when the mind alone is active. The inactivity of both causes the inertness of the body and soul in the state of sound sleep.

17 When the intestines are blocked or controlled by the digestive juices of food taken into them and the breathing becomes dull and slow, then the mind also becomes calm and quiet. Then follows the blissful state of sound sleep. 18 When the stomach is filled with food and the lungs are weak with weariness, then breathing remains shallow, bringing on a state of sweet state of deep sleep (sushupti). 19 Again when the intestinal parts are cool and phlegmatic, or exhausted by loss of blood owing to some sore or wound, and breathing is stopped in the body, there comes the state of numbness of sleep.

20 The ascetic said:—

Then I had entered into his heart. It became all dark to me as night. He fell into a sound sleep from his satisfaction with the fullness of his food. 21 I was assimilated into his mind and lay in deep sleep with him without any effort of my own. 22 Then as the passage of his lungs reopened, after his stomach digested the food, his breathing resumed their natural pattern and he began to breathe slowly and softly in his slumbering state. 23 After the sound sleep had become light and airy, I saw a sunny world arising out of my heart and manifesting before me in my dream.

24 This world seemed to rise out of a troubled ocean and be filled with water on its surface. The water was released from the dark flood clouds which had enveloped the world like mists hanging over oceans. 25 There was a hurricane blowing over it, carrying rocks and stones in its whirling and uproarious course. It was carrying away uprooted trees with shrubs and grassy turf with them. 26 It was carrying away and hurling fragments of the last conflagration of desolation. It was blowing down pieces of celestial cities from high.

27 Then as I was looking at a certain place, I found myself situated with my wife in one of the houses of a splendid city rising at that spot. 28 As I was sitting in company with my wife and children, attended by my friends and servants and supplied with dishes and cups of food and drink, suddenly I was carried away by the waves of flood waters. 29 The deluge swept me away, together with the houses and the city in which we were situated. We were floating on the tops of mountainous waves, buffeted in the water.

30 There arose a loud dashing noise louder than the roaring sea. I was stunned by the harsh vibrating sound, unaware of the fate of my family. 31 Men were driven away and hurled down into whirling currents of water and buried deep in dreadful mud, wailing , crying loudly, and beating their breasts. 32 Houses and huts were breaking and cracking, their beams and posts splitting, pillars and supports bursting. Roofs were falling down while women were looking out fixed at the windows.

33 As I was looking at all this, affected by the sight and weeping sorrowfully, I saw the entire house falling down on the ground. 34 All four walls broke down, burying old and young and women occupants under them. Then these were carried away by the waves in the same way that an impetuous waterfall carries away shattered and scattered stones to a hundred different places. 35 Then I was blown away into the waters of the flood, leaving my family and friends behind and accompanied only by my mind and vital breath.

36 I was tossed about by waves and carried away hundreds of leagues. I was thrown upon a floating forest which roasted me by their burning wildfire. 37 I was dashed against floating planks and timbers and slashed in many parts of my body. Then falling into a whirlpool I was hurled into the depths of hell. 38 For a long time I was tossed all about, hurled up and down, buffeted by waves and waters and their gurgling, roaring and rumbling sounds. 39 Then I was buried under mud released by the friction between drowned mountains. Then I was again lifted upward like an elephant by another flood of water. 40 As I rested on a hill covered with foam and froth, immediately I was run over by a rush of water, like a man overtaken by his enemy. 41 Being overwhelmed by water and carried away wherever the waves and currents pleased, I lost sight of whatever I was seeing and was greatly dejected in my mind.

42 At this moment, I remembered that a certain silent sage was going to give a public lecture, that Vasishta was going to teach Rama. 43 I remembered my former state of samadhi and exclaimed, “O, I was an ascetic in another world. 44 I have entered the body of another person in order to see the sights in his dreams. All that I am now seeing is nothing more than a dream, a mere error of the mind and falsehood. 45 It is from our habitual bias to believe in what is present before us that I believed these falsehoods as true. In the dream I was troubled to see myself carried away by the flood. Now I feel happy to find it was only a dream.”

46 What I saw as water was whirling currents in the ocean of the universal flood, as false as water in a mirage. The hills and woods and cities and towns that were swept away by the flood were as false as any visual deception. 47 There were gods and aerials, men and women, and huge snakes carried away by the flood. Great cities and mansions of the rulers of men were all floating upon the waters. 48 I saw mountains merged and mixed up with the waters, battered and shattered by waves. I saw within myself the approaching dissolution of the world. 49 Even Lord Shiva with his three eyes was swimming upon and swept away like straw on the waves. O what a shame and pity that there is nothing impossible for destiny.

50 Fragments of houses floating upon the waters looked like lotus flowers displaying themselves under the sunbeams. 51 It was astonishing to see the bodies of gandharvas, kinnaras, men and naagas floating on the waters, like swarms of bees fluttering over lotus beds in a lake. 52 Fragments of the splendid palaces of the gods and demigods and others, decorated with the ornamental works of vidyadharas, were floating like golden vessels on the wide expanse of the ocean. 53 Lord Indra was floating on the clear water as if he were lying in his crystal palace. He mounted over waves as if riding on his elephant. He was swinging on waves like a cradle. 54 Waves rising to the sky washed the faces of the stars. Winds were scattering them all about, like flowers from the garden of Meru drop down on the mansions of the gods, or like men scattering flowers on the ground.

55 Waves as high as mountains rose to the sky. Breakers flying aloft like stones flung from slings fell upon the lotus seat of Brahma, turning it about with the god sitting upon it in deep meditation. 56 Clouds roared loudly with deep and appalling thunder and waves flashed like frightful lightning in the air. Elephants, horses and ferocious lions wandered in the atmosphere and forests as large as the earth floated in the sky. 57 Dark blue waves of overflowing waters pushed against one another with force so violent that it seemed as if the god of destruction was pushing them in an act of utter annihilation.

58 Gods, men and naagas, together with their homes in heaven, earth, and the regions below, were pulled down into the deep waters. 59 The irresistible flood covered all sides of earth, heaven and hell. The bodies of gods and demigods were all floating together like great numbers of fish. Their heavenly cars and vehicles were swimming on the surface of the waters like in a field of battle. 60 The dark blue waters resembled the blue form of Krishna. Their foaming froth resembled the milk white calves about Krishna. It became the reason for their being swept off to sea. 61 The waves pushed one another with a terrible sound that drowned everything. The women of both gods and demons wailed and howled loudly. 62 The loud cries raised by all at the destruction of their houses echoed over the waters on all sides. The clouds moving over the rolling waves appeared like the covers of fallen, floating domes.

63 Ah, it was pitiful to see how the whirling currents hurled down even the gods into the deep, and how Indra, Yama and Kubera breathed their last breaths in the form of flying and flimsy clouds. 64 Learned and saintly persons were carried away with the ignorant like dead bodies devoid of their pride. The cities of the gods Brahma, Vishnu and Indra were swept away, all broken and crushed to pieces. 65 The bodies of weak women were washed and carried over by the waves. There was nobody left to save them from the grasp of death which devoured them under his horrid jaws.

66 The floods which at first flowed with serpentine crooked courses into the caves of mountains, in the end flooded them to their tops. The cities of the gods which at first floated like boats upon the waters by the mountain tops, in the end were hurled to the bottom. 67 Gods and demons and all other beings, together with their homes in heaven and on the continents and mountains of earth, were all submerged and shattered like lotus beds by the waters. The three worlds were turned into a universal ocean and all their grandeur and splendor were swallowed up by time, together with all the sovereign powers of earth and heaven.