Chapter 149 — Many People Sharing Same Event; Only Brahman Is a Possible “Cause”

The hunter asked, “Tell me, O sage! What then became of the world that you saw in your dream? Tell me all about it until its final extinction.”

The sage replied:—

Then listen as I tell you, O honest fellow, what then passed in the heart of the person in whom I had entered. Listen to the wonderful tale with proper attention.

As I remained there in that forgetful state of my transformation, I saw the course of time gliding upon me with its train of months, seasons and years passing imperceptibly by. I passed there a full fifteen years in my domestic life, happy with the enjoyment of my married life.

It happened there, once upon a time, that a learned sage came as a guest to my house. I received the venerable and austere devotee with honor within my doors. Being pleased with my honorable reception, he took his meal and he rested at ease. Then I asked him the following question regarding the happiness and sorrow of mankind.

“Sage,” I said, “you are possessed of vast understanding. You well know the course of the world and therefore you are not known to become angry at adversity or delight in prosperity. All happiness and sorrow proceed from the acts of men engaged in busy life in the world. The farmer reaps good or bad crops in autumn according to how well he cultivated his field.”

“So when all the inhabitants of a place suffer and fall under some severe calamity all at once, are they all equally faulty in their actions at the one and same time? 10 We see famine, drought, portents and catastrophes repeatedly overtaking a large portion of mankind at the same time. Say then, is it owing to the wickedness of the people at the one and very time?”

11 Hearing my words he stared at me. He looked as if he was taken by surprise and seemed confounded in his mind. Then he uttered these words of reverence and ambrosial sweetness.

12 The sagely guest said:—

O well spoken! These words of yours indicate your highly enlightened mind and how well you have understood the cause of phenomena, be it real or unreal. Tell me, how did you came to know it?

13 Remember only the Universal Soul and think nothing about what you are and where you sit. Reflect well in yourself, what am I and from where and what is phenomena, and whether it is anything substantial or only an ideal of the mind. 14 All this is the display of dream. How is it that you do not know this yet? I am an imaginary being to you, just as you are the phantom of a dream before me.

15 The world you see is a formless and nameless nothing, a mere formation of your imagination. It flashes with the glare of the crystal Intellect and is a glaring falsehood in itself. 16 Therefore all forms whatsoever that you think or take to be anywhere are the true, nonfictional, and omnipresent Intellect. 17 Now, in assigning a cause to things, you will find that the Intellect is the cause of all. In ascribing one cause to anything, you have the uncaused and un-causing Intellect for everything. 18 The Universal Soul spreads through all and in whom all living beings reside. It is known as the common soul of all. It is regarded as residing in us and it is known to be all individual souls linked together in a series.

19 There will be other living beings in the future, with the common soul pervading in all of them, and causing their happiness or sorrow according to their desires. 20 The soul is disturbed by the disorder of fluids in the body, then men’s limbs and other body parts become disturbed likewise. 21 Drought, famine and destruction may come upon mankind occurring simultaneously of themselves, because 22 it is possible, O good soul, that there are many persons living together who are equally guilty of some crime at the same time and are waiting for their simultaneous punishment, falling like the fire of heaven on a forest.

23 The mind that relies on the effectiveness of acts comes to feel the effects of its actions. But the soul that is free from such expectation is never involved in its acts or exposed to their results. 24 Whatever one imagines in any form at any place or time occurs to him in the same proportion as he expected it, whether that object be with or without its cause.

25 Imaginary appearances in dreams are in no way accompanied by their immediate or accessory causes, as all actual existences are. Therefore this imaginary world is the appearance of the everlasting Intellect of Consciousness, which is Brahman itself. 26 The world, appearing as a false dream, is only a causeless unreality. But considering it as the appearance of Brahman, it has both its cause and reality.

27 The casual occurrence of dreams deludes our consciousness of them. So the accidental appearance of the world is equally delusive of our understanding of it. Its extension is a delusion like the expansion of a dream. 28 Everything appears to be as caused or uncaused as we take it to be. 29 It is a deception of the understanding to take the imaginary world to be the product of a real causality. It is natural to the waking state to take the world as real which, in our sleep and dreams, appears quite calm and unreal.

30 Now hear me tell you, O great minded sage, that the one Existent Being, Brahman, is the sole cause of existence. What else can cause all nature and this all pervading vacuum? 31 Say, what can be the cause of the solidity of the earth and the lightness of air? What is the cause of our universal ignorance? What is the cause of the self born Brahman? 32 What may be the cause of creation and what is the origin of the winds, fire and water? What is the source of our apprehensions of things that are mere vacuum in empty intellect? 33 Tell me, what can be the cause of the rebirth of departed souls into the mass of material bodies? The course of creation is going on in this manner from the beginning. 34 Thus all things seem to be going on and reoccurring in this world, like wheels and spheres turning in air, because we have a constant habit of thinking and seeing them as such.

35 Thus the great Brahman himself, in the form of Brahma the Creator, spreads and moves throughout the world. Afterwards this Brahma receives as many different names as the different phases and forms he displays in nature, such as the earth, air and the like. 36 All creations move about like fluctuations of winds in the spacious firmament of the Divine Mind which conceives of itself various forms of things in its own imagination. 37 Whatever it imagines in any form or shape, the same receives the very form as a decree of fate. Since these forms are the very images or ideas of the Divine Mind, they are considered to form the body of God.

38 Whatever likeness the Divine Intellect first designed, it bears that same form and figure to this day. 39 But as the Divine Mind is all powerful and omniscient, it is able to alter them and make others anew by its great efforts. 40 Whenever anything is supposed to have a cause, it is also thought to be subject to the will of that cause. Wherever there is no hypothesis of a cause, there is no capacity or possibility of its alteration. 41 Like vibration in air, the world first existed as an idea in the Divine Mind. As it was insubstantial before, so it continues ever still.

42 They who amass the merits or demerits of their pious or impious deeds reap the good or bad rewards or results accordingly in this life. There are others who are crushed under a thousand disasters, falling upon them like showers of hailstones or the thunderbolts of heaven.