Chapter 143 — The Philosophy that All Is within God Is Compatible with All Beliefs, but It Is Wrong to Confuse God to Be like the World; Various Thoughts Create Various Worlds

The (unnamed) sage continued:—

A wise man investigates the duties of religion and ceremonial acts and serves the welfare of men in both worlds. He shines in the assembly of the learned, just as the sun illuminates an assembly of lotuses. Learned and wise men attain heavenly bliss through spiritual knowledge. Compared to this ocean of bliss, even the wealth of Indra vanishes like rotten straw tossed by waves. I find nothing anywhere in the three regions of this earth, heaven above, or the netherworld which is comparable with the bliss and wealth of learning and wisdom.

The learned see the true state of all things as clearly as moonlight gives a clear view of the sphere of stars in a cloudless sky. The visible world soon vanishes from sight and turns into invisible Brahman by the knowledge of the wise, just as a rope, at first appearing to be a snake, upon inspection is soon found to be a rope.

Brahman, the God ever situated in his Godhead, is a truth evident by itself. His nature gives rise to the words creation, destruction, body and others. He to whom the existence of the world is nonexistent has no concern for acts or duties which are no more than meaningless words to him. It is possible to believe that the material world was produced from something if there were such a prior material cause. But without a prior material cause, there can be no material world. Therefore, without cause, the world itself is nonexistent and void. It is only the reflection of Brahman that takes the names of earth and all other things. It is not necessary for mere reflections to have any cause at all.

10 Men seen in a dream have no real cause other than the dreamer’s imagination. The same is true of men seen in our waking dreams. They are only mere reflections of our imaginations and not the products of their parents. 11 There is no causality of prior acts for the appearance of people in our dreams. Neither is there any actual cause for people seen in waking dream assuming the garb of humanity. 12 Neither prior acts nor desires are causes of living beings in different shapes in repeated births, just as prior acts or desires do not cause the production of people seen in our dreams. 13 Men appear as dreams and their impressions in the course of their births and deaths. They are conscious of this state or that as they think themselves either as the one or the other.

14 People appear to be as they think they are from their own consciousness of themselves. Their purpose and actions appear the same in dreams and when awake. 15 The desires and sensations of a dreaming man are like those when he is awake. The only difference is that a dream is dimmer and being awake is more distinct. A dreaming man derives the same satisfaction as an awake man obtaining the object of his wish, though the dream is more concealed and being awake is more of a manifest nature. 16 When our pure consciousness of things shines forth of its own nature in either of its two states of clearness or faintness, the reflection of one takes the name of waking and of the other is known as dream.

17 As long as consciousness continues to shine in anyone, from his first creation until his final emancipation, he is said to be a living being with repeated births and deaths. 18 The meaning of the words waking and dreaming is not at all different from that of consciousness. The irrepressible reflection of consciousness constitutes the essence of both states, just as light is the quality of heavenly bodies. 19 As heat is the essence of fire, motion is the quality of wind, fluidity of water is the quality of the waves, and coolness the essential nature of breeze, so consciousness is the essence our waking and dreaming states.

20 The whole universe is an undisturbed chasm and an unchanging unreality. The seeming reality of the world is united with its negative sense of nonexistence. 21 Brahman, in its external sense, is both the creation and the destruction of the world. The visible form and the idea of the world are equally alike. But being viewed in its inner meaning, it is seen only as pure Consciousness, the one alone that is forever calm and quiet and without decay in itself.

22 Whatever thought of causality or effect passes in the mind of Brahman at anytime, the same comes to take place immediately, just as men construct their houses in cities as they please. 23 The entire creation abides in the mind of God just like the city you dream is in your thought. Their cause and effect are the same in each case. 24 Both cause and effect are contained in the womb of dense Consciousness. These are exerted to create the world in the same way you construct your imaginary castle. 25 Divine Consciousness employs its will to cause its intended creation, just like you form a plan to construct your building. Thus causality and its effect are combined together in the one and the same mind. 26 The Divine Mind develops itself into the form of the sky and the world that is forever situated within. Then the mind is called the creation residing in the expanse of that sky.

27 The light which the sun of our consciousness is cast upon the imaginary city in the mind. What is called cause and effect is this light. 28 The forms in which the mind first displayed itself continues to exist in the same state ever since. These are called time, space, and the rest. 29 Whatever names are given to things exhibited in the emptiness of Consciousness, they are seen as realities, some under the names of causes and others as their effects. 30 Creation is first miraculously displayed in Consciousness in its ideal form as mere ideas. Afterwards, it receives the name of the world.

31 This triple world is an empty form. It is situated in the emptiness of Consciousness just as clear air innately contains its blowing vibration. 32 As vapors and clouds covering the face of the sky give the appearance of blueness to it, so the dizziness of ignorance misrepresents the clear Intellect in the form of the gross world. 33 But on receiving the true reflection of the spirit in the Intellect, by means of intense meditation, the idea of creation turns into that of non-creation, as the false sight of a snake in a rope is changed to that of the rope upon its realization.

34 The dead find a future world like what they used to see in their dreams. But that world, as well as this, are equally as formless as the vacuum of the Intellect.

35 The hunter said, “Tell me sage, why are men reborn in new bodies to suffer and enjoy future births? Tell me also, what are the principal and accompanying causes for our rebirths in this world? 36 If pious or impious acts done in our present destructible bodies destine us to their later retributions, then tell me. Why should our indestructible souls be brought to feel their results in other bodies? This seems to be very absurd to me.”

37 The sage replied:—

The words piety and impiety mean the same as our desires and acts. They mean causation, framing the living soul according to its own impressions. But these are mere suppositions. They are not the true causes of the doubts in our souls or the modes of our lives.

38 The mind is situated in the empty intellect. The mind has the power of thinking and it imagines various states of things and gives names to them accordingly. 39 The conscious soul, by means of its intellect, comes to know its own body in its empty self. After death it sees its body existing as in its dream or imagination. 40 The knowledge of the dead in the next world is also like a dream. Because this dream state of the soul continues for a long time, he assumes it to be real.

41 If another person frames a new body for a deceased person to enter, then how does the new born body have any memory of the past? How does this body be what the dead person had been before? As for his intellect, it is a mere emptiness and cannot pass from one body into another. 42 Therefore no one who is dead is born again or is to be reborn afterwards at anytime. It is only an idea of the mind that I was so and am reborn as such. It is a vain wish in emptiness to be born again in some form or other. 43 By nature and habits of thinking, men are impressed with the belief of rebirth, both by popular belief and scriptural evidence of a state of future retribution, which is altogether false and fanciful.

44 The soul is an aerial and empty substance that gives rise to the phantoms of visible phenomena in the forms of shadowy dreams in its spacious emptiness. The soul is forever seeing its births and deaths in this world in endless repetitions. 45 It sees every particular object in the illusive network spread in its ample sphere. It seems to see and act and enjoy everything without being in the actual enjoyment of anything. 46 In this manner millions and millions of worlds are constantly rising before its sight. They appear to be so many visible phenomena in its ignorance. But when viewed in their proper light, they prove to be the display of only one, all pervading Brahman.

47 No phenomenon ever occupies any space, nor does any ever exist anywhere in reality. There is only that one Brahman that spreads undivided though all and knows all these as an undivided whole, and yet everyone of them forming a world of itself.

48 Now all beings in these worlds are connected with one another in a common link. They appear as realities to the false sight of people, but when seen from the true perspective, they prove to be identical with the unborn one. 49 To the knower of the knowable, the one without decay is known as the true reality. What an enlightened sage understands to be unreal is believed to be true by the ignorant.

50 It is enough to reconcile these opposite parties by believing in one common faith, a universal philosophy of the one reality, that all things everywhere are real because they are all reflections of the same one reality. 51 Or, to determine whether the world as one sees it is real or unreal, let one consult his own consciousness and rely on its verdict whether the world is real or otherwise.

52 Who can doubt the evidence of consciousness with regard to the difference or identity of things, or their unity or duality? 53 Knowledge of the knowable God, in as much as we know it to be correct, establishes the identity of the knowable one with his knowledge. But it is false and mistaken to believe that the world of phenomena is the same as the unknown and invisible God.

54 The knowable one is not distinct from knowledge of him. But being seated in finite understanding, the ignorant have no knowledge of the knowable one who is then quite unknown to and apart. 55 The knowable one is known in proportion to our knowledge of him. But it is not so to those who are ignorant of him. As our knowledge increases, so the knowable soul spreads of itself over our souls. 56 Hence I know nothing about the unreal worlds that appear of themselves as real before the eyes of the ignorant. They are nonexistent and nothing to my sight. 57 Being rightly understood, all things are only forms of the one Intellect and equally void as the Intellect. The Intellect appears in a thousand different shapes to the understanding of the ignorant.

58 An intellectual soul assumes many forms to itself in its dreams, then absorbs them all again into one, single form of unity in sound sleep. In the same way, the Divine Soul appears in one or more forms to our intellects. 59 Thus God, though one and same, appears to our consciousness in various forms according to the various apprehensions of men, whether empty or with form, as our dreams and works of our imagination. 60 Men give the name of world to their consciousness of the dreams they have in the vacuum of their minds. But in deep sound sleep, the mind is unconscious of anything and that state is called the extinction or trance of the mind. This comparison applies equally to them.

61 This substantial totality of existences is only a mere perception of the mind. Whatever appears in any manner in any thought at anytime or place, the same seems to present itself in reality before us, even then and there. 62 It was only thought that first manifested itself in the forms of the primary elements of fire and water and earth at the beginning of creation. All this arose in the mind like dreams and the phantoms of its imagination.

63 Again the inner impressions of these things are preserved in the empty space of our consciousness. They unite of themselves and exhibit this world to us in the form we see it in our presence. 64 Our consciousness appears to us in both its transient and permanent states. In reality, it is no temporary thing, but continues with us even at the end of all transitory things and our transient lives. 65 Our consciousness accompanies us forever wherever we stay or go. Think about the example of traveling east or west. You see many things and cities on your way, but can never lose your memory of the past or the consciousness of yourself as you proceed onward.

66 Anything that the mind has seen or willed or is long practiced to do or think upon is never erased from consciousness, unless it be from numbness or unawareness of Consciousness. 67 You may wander wherever you please, either to the east or west, and you will find your consciousness continuing the same, never changing with the change of your location.

68 We have seen how a man of steady consciousness, by his firm perseverance, attains the object or state of his wish. By comparison, an unsteady mind is sure to lose both. 69 A man of steady consciousness is possessed of both the object or state of his wish regardless whether he goes to north or south. But one who is unsteady in himself and his purpose is deprived of both himself and his object. 70 The man of firm purpose who thinks he is both in heaven and earth has them both by fixing his mind upon one [heaven] while his body is placed in the other [earth]. In the same way, a man may travel both east and west by walking one way and thinking of the other. But the man of unsteady purpose is neither for this world nor the other. He neither walks one way nor the other.

71 By steadfast belief in the One, we find that only Intellect pervades the whole emptiness of space. But this One appears as many, many thousands to the understanding of ignorant skeptics. 72 Whether the body is destructible because of its materiality or indestructible because it is only a reflection of Divine Consciousness, in either case it is all merely appearance in the dream of the living soul, whether in this or in the future world.

73 Wizards invoke ghosts and spirits of foreigners and make them relate the incidents of their past lives. It is evident from these examples that men’s souls do not die with their bodies. 74 Men in foreign countries, long dead and burnt to ashes, disappeared with their living souls, are known to reappear before people and deliver their messages. 75 If it is impossible for departed souls to reappear like the living, which is what the Charvakas say, then let me ask them, why do they not believe their absent friends to also be dead and unable to return? 76 If the property of action is true of the living, why should it not be equally true of the dead?

77 The doctrine of the imaginary dream of the world is the established and irrefutable truth of Vedic scriptures. It is quite compatible with the doctrine of eternal ideas maintained in Indian philosophy. 78 These worlds are equally true as they are false, just as seeing shapes in the moon which appear real to the person seeing them although the shapes have no substance to them. 79 The subjective world is real because all its objects are parts of the true entity. The subjective mind is a reality, although it is composed of only pure ideas. The Intellect is true only as a reflection, and so they are all true without having any reality of themselves. 80 All these are immutable and quiet, lying unmoving in the emptiness of Divine Consciousness. They are unmovable and inconspicuous of themselves, lying immanent in the Divine Soul. 81 Steady consciousness is conscious of whatever it is fixed upon at anytime or place. It shows all things real or unreal that are inbred or inherent in it.

82 Let our bodies rise or fall, and let our destinies overtake us as they will. Let happiness or misery befall us as they are decreed. They cannot affect the serenity of the indifferent soul. 83 Hence it makes no difference to us whether these are realities or not, or whether it may be so or not so. Avoid your desire for anything. Be wise and at rest after all your wanderings.