Chapter 147 — The Sage Awakens within His Student, Becomes Absorbed in His Own Memories, and Forgets Himself; Unless One Cultivates Knowledge, One Relapses into Forgetfulness and Ignorance

The sage continued:—

Hear me now, O strong armed archer, how I awoke from my sound sleep and saw the sight of the world in my dream, just a man rising to the surface from the depth of the sea surveys the heavens above him.

I saw the heavens as cut out of the ethereal vacuum. I saw the terrestrials as sculptured out of the earth. I found them all to be fashioned out of the Divine Mind, or framed in that manner by my organ of sight. The world appeared like an early blossom of the tree of the eternal mind, or like the ceaseless waves of a vast ocean, or like phantoms of my deluded eyesight. It seemed to appear from the space of the sky above, or to have proceeded from all sides of heaven. Moreover, it seemed like masonry carved out of the mountains of all quarters of the sky, and also like a prodigy rising out of the earth. It also seemed to have sprung out of the heart like any of its feelings or affections. It appeared to have filled all the space of emptiness, just like the all pervading clouds of heaven. I also thought it was like the produce of a large forest, or like seeds or grains growing out of the earth.

As pictures of houses with apartments are painted upon the planes of level plates, so the figures of living beings are drawn upon the smooth flatness of Consciousness, together with all the limbs and organs of their bodies. These worlds appear to have sprung in some unknown part of Infinity, and to have presented themselves to our view like flying herds of distant regions coming to our sight, or as presents are brought to a prince from different lands, or as the retributions and rewards of one’s good or bad deeds in this life meet him in following reincarnations.

The world is only a blossom of the great tree of Brahman, or a little wave in the vast ocean of eternity. It is a carving on the colossal pillar of Consciousness without being carved or cast. Space is an ample field filled with an infinity of worlds that appear to be our earthly homes in an empty city of air. Like an infuriated elephant, the mind randomly wanders everywhere with an airy empty life as fickle and fleeting as a breath of air. 10 The building of the world has no foundation and is unsupported by any walls. The sky appearing so bright and variegated has no color or tint of its own. The magical power of the great magician displays these wonders and spreads a curtain of delusion over the ignorant and infatuated world.

11 Though creation always seems so exuberant everywhere, yet it is quite quiescent, unbounded by any limitation of space or time. Though it appears as having great variety, yet it is a single unity. Though seemingly having great diversity, yet is all only one unchanging uniformity.

12 A gandharva fairyland, for example, is exactly the same as this world in that both are unreal. The error that occurs to us in our dreams is the same that possesses us in our waking state of dreaming. 13 Only the reflection of the mind represents the absent past and future as already present before it, whether they relate to anything of time or place, or substance or action, or anything relating to its creation or its destruction.

14 There are numberless beings contained among every species of animal, which contain others without limit in their ovaries, bearing microscopic organisms like seeds of pomegranate fruit. 15 Rivers, forests, and mountains are seen surrounded by clouds of the sky and studded with the shining stars of heaven. The sea is heard to resound with the loud alarm of battle drums raised by warring winds with conflicting currents.

16 Then before me I saw a visible sphere in which I saw the village of my prior dream. I recognized my former home. 17 I saw all my former friends and relatives in the same place and of the same age as I had seen them before. I saw my wife and my children sitting in the very same house. 18 Seeing my fellow villagers and my former village scenes, my heart wished to meet them as violently as the sea waves swell to meet the shore. 19 I began to embrace all my relatives, feeling happy with our reunion. Being absorbed in my desire to see more and more, I utterly lost all my memory of the past.

20 As a mirror receives the reflection of whatever is present before it, so the mirror of the mind is wholly occupied with the objects of its future desires, and becomes unmindful of the past. 21 It is the emptiness (chidakasa) of Consciousness that has the knowledge of everything. There is no other principle of understanding beside Consciousness which ever exists by itself.

22 He who has not lost his pure understanding and his memory of himself is never misled by the demons of dualism and doubt to think of a duality. 23 He whose understanding is awakened by his constant inquiry into truth and divine knowledge, and by his study of good scriptures and attendance on divine sages, does not forget his enlightenment anymore. 24 He who is imperfect in his divine knowledge and whose mind is bound by worldly desires is liable to lose his good understanding, as if by the influence of an unfavorable planet or inauspicious star.

25 Know, O hunter, that your understanding, which is not yet cultivated by association with the wise, is liable to fall into the error of duality and thereby involve you in repeated difficulties.

26 The hunter answered, “It is all very true, O sage, that in spite of all your lectures, my understanding does not find its rest in the knowledge of the only true One. 27 My understanding still hangs in doubt as to whether it is so or not. Though I rely upon my conception of the truth as you have declared, yet my mind finds no peace in it. 28 Ah, though I fix my faith on the doctrine you have preached, yet I cannot rest secure in it as long as my ignorance reigns supreme in me. 29 Unless understanding is enlightened in the company of wise men by attending the doctrine of the best scriptures and due examination of their teachings, there can be no end to the errors of the world, nor any rest for the weary soul wandering continually in a maze of errors.”