Chapter 142 — The Sage Continues: There Is No Karma; Pure-Born Souls; Religious Acts Useless

The sage resumed and said:—

Continuing in this journey of my false imagination, I was led to many such painful sights. Eventually they raised feelings of sorrow and sorrow in me and my curiosity gave way to weariness. Then I thought in my mind that it was merely a dream in the mind of another person which I had come to see from my seat within his heart. Therefore, I should refrain from such sights and curb my useless sorrow for them.

The hunter asked, “You entered the body of another person to investigate the nature of dream. Tell me then, what did you learn and how were your questions answered? How did you come to see the ocean in the heart which never existed there? How did you see the fire in the heart and the tornado in the bowels which are never to be found in any of those places? You said you saw the earth and sky and rivers, mountains and many other things in the mind. But how can these and the world itself be situated in the mind in any manner?”

The sage replied:—

All these things and the world itself are all mere nonentities as there was no preexistent material cause for the production of the world before it came into existence. Therefore neither the term creation nor its sense is in any way applicable to this world or the way we see it. Hence the world creation and its meaning proceed from ignorance of the Supreme Soul, which is immutable in its nature. Ignorance of this truth produces the false knowledge of creation.

Therefore I say, O you fortunate one, that after you come to your knowledge in this respect, your ignorance of his supremely pure nature is removed. Like me, you will no longer believe in the false impression of your consciousness. But you must come to know that this causeless and uncreated world is only the expanded reflection of your own mind.

10 Where is the body and the heart and where are these elements of water and the like? What is this dream and what are these conceptions and perceptions? What is life or death or anything else? 11 There is only one transparent Intellect everywhere, before which the subtle ether is gross and the biggest mountain is small. 12 Of its own nature, this intellectual emptiness reflects on something in its thought and sees the same as its body of air. This is what is called the world.

13 Because it is only our intellect that reflects itself in various forms in our dream, and because there is nothing other than the intellect that presents itself to our view, therefore this world is nothing other than the aerial form of the intellect. 14 This universe is a quiet emptiness without any stir or shadow of anything in it. The dimness of the blind eye of the intellect presents these false shapes to sight, like blind men seeing black spots in the clear sky. 15 To my sight the world is neither an entity nor a nonentity. It is not a mere void or the shadow or reflection of anything. It is only the formless infinity of empty Consciousness.

16 In the state of our sleep, pure consciousness sees itself in the various forms of its dream, without any cause whatsoever. In the same way, it sees everything in its own emptiness in the waking state also, without any external objects of sight or its act of seeing them. 17 It is something inexplicable, without beginning or end. It is an appearance of its own conceptions which are one with it. There is no duality in its nature. 18 As there is only one endless duration embracing the periods of creation as well as annihilation. As a tree comprehends all its parts, blossoms, and fruit, so Brahman is the Soul of all.

19 As one’s great building appears as an empty space to another, and as one’s sight of a castle in a mirage appears as nothing to another, so this visible world of waking people is the dream of sleeping persons rising on the ground of their imagination. 20 From time to time the transparent emptiness of consciousness exhibits itself in itself. We see things in our dream as we see them when we are awake, and we see things awake like we see them in our dreams. 21 As the fragrance of flowers lies hidden in the invisible air, so the world lies concealed in the invisible intellect which sees through every opening.

22 By shutting out thoughts of anything and everything from your mind, you may be quite pure in yourself. Only then can your infinite soul have its everlasting peace and rest, when it is freed from all cares, both within and without.

23 The hunter said, “Tell me sage, how can men get rid of their thoughts and cares of life when they are invariably accompanied by the acts and memories of their past lives? Tell me, what kind of men are subject to the tendencies of their past conduct and what kind are released from them?”

24 The sage replied:—

Those souls who are full of intelligence and have their spiritual bodies are never subject to renewed births or the consequences of their past actions. Such were the bodies of Brahma, Kapila and others who became manifest of themselves. Such also were the supernatural bodies of the gods and divine incarnations. 25 Their bodies were not of this world and were not subject to its dualistic illusory imaginations. They were forms of pure intelligence and of a subtle and spiritual nature.

26 In the beginning of creation, there was no primordial act of anybody to fashion his form or frame of mind. Only the sole and self-existent Brahman existed who manifested himself in the form of the world. 27 As the great Brahma and others were the manifestations of the supreme Brahman in the beginning, so there have been many thousands more who manifested from the same divine essence and are known as pure intelligences and a superior orders of beings.

28 But those who are deluded by their ignorance of truth to think they are other than Brahman, dull and unintelligent beings separate from the nature of God, 29 are born again because of their past actions. They are accompanied with the results of those acts, whereby they are confined in their unintelligent bodies in order to lead their unspiritual lives, quite forgetful of their divine nature and subjected to the false belief of their materiality.

30 But those who preserve the purity of their divine character by thinking themselves as inseparable from the Divine Soul are known here as uncontaminated by their former acts, like the divine trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. 31 All those who know the true nature of the soul remain with its purity in the spirit of God. But those who understand the soul in the light of a mere individual living spirit (jivatma) live in themselves as if detached from the Divine Soul. 32 Whenever one thinks he is merely a living being, he certainly is accompanied by ignorance. The soul takes the name of animal spirit or life, which means having knowledge only of the world in which it is situated. 33 But in course of time, as he comes to know the true and divine nature of his soul, he is reinstated in his real spiritual state and becomes one with the Supreme Soul of all.

34 As the fluidity of water in some waters exhibits itself in the form of whirlpools, so Divine Consciousness shows the nonexistent world as existent to those understandings who are ignorant of the nature of the Supreme Soul. 35 The world is the reflection of omniscience and not the representation of our dreaming or waking states. Therefore, when it is nothing in reality, it can have no action or property of itself. 36 In fact neither the knowledge of the world nor ignorance of it, or its action or motion or any of its properties, is anything in reality. All these are the results of our thoughts that represent the unreal as real to us.

37 Brahman, being the very creation or the great cosmos itself, is truly the soul of all beings. Therefore it is useless to suppose our prior acts as the cause of our births. That God is the creator of the universe is a mere assumption made from his omnipotence. 38 It is impossible for anyone to be bound by the chains of his prior acts at his first creation in the world. It only afterwards, through his ignorance, that he fabricated a fate or causality of his actions to himself for results in later lives.

39 Tell me, does the whirlpool of the sea have any action of its own? It is only whirling water, as Brahman himself is apparent in the form of this seeming world. 40 As people appearing in our dream have no prior acts for their appearance, so living beings when first formed are endowed with only pure understanding. 41 It is a mere supposition that they had a cause at first creation, and that ever since all living beings have been wandering bound fast by the chain of their prior acts.

42 This creation is no act of creation but truly the manifestations of Brahman himself. Such being the case, tell me, what can “acts” mean? From where do they proceed and where are they? 43 Only the ignorance of the Supreme Soul binds us to the bondage of acts. But its chains fall off from the believer of Brahman by his knowledge of truth.

44 Know the outward acts of faith proceed from ignorance of the universe. But as the wise man advances in his knowledge, he frees himself from the bondage of all religions and ceremonial acts and observances. 45 External acts of faith are entirely devoid of any substantial merit, so it is not difficult to get rid of them at once. Only our spiritual bond is our chief concern, beside which there is no bond whatsoever.

46 As long as there is fear of the dreadful illusion of this world, you do not attain wisdom. As long as you exhibit your wisdom, you do not fall into the whirlpool of worldly affairs. Therefore, you men of pure hearts and soul, always try to acquire wisdom and learning. There is no other way you can fly from the fears of the world, except by means of your right understanding.