Chapter 150 — The Sage in the Dream Is the Sage Who Forgot Himself in the Dream: He Imagined Everything

The sage then said:—

It was through this kind of reasoning that my sagely guest made me acquainted with whatever was worth knowing. Then by pleading, I forced my guest to remain longer with me. He consented to stay at my house, which resembled the home of a dead, ignorant person. The sage who spoke those instructive words to me, bright and cooling as moonlight, behold him to be the same venerable person who is now sitting beside you.

Without me having to ask, the sage gave me the following speech to remove my ignorance. It was as if Agni, the god of sacrifice, had risen out of the fire pleased with my sacrifice.

Vasishta speaking:—

Hearing these words of the sage, the hunter was confounded with wonder. He could not understand how the sage who explained the theory of dreaming was the same sage sitting before him.

The hunter said, “O, it is a great wonder, inconceivable in my mind, that the sage who expounded the nature of dreams is now manifest before me. I wonder at this, O sage, that the sagely guest you saw in your dream and who explained the cause of dreams to you, should now be seen in this waking state. Say, how could this imaginary sage seen in your airy dream appear in a solid body and sit calmly here, like the fancied ghost of children? Please explain your wonderful story, in due order. Who is he and from where does he comes in this questionable form?”

10 The sage replied:—

Hear me patiently, O fortunate man. Let me relate this wonderful story. I will tell it briefly, but you must not be hasty about it.

11 This sage who now sits by you, who I had then met, told me that he was a learned man and had come to tell me his tale too long to relate. 12 As he said these words, he remembered his former nature, which was as bright and fair as the clear sky at the end of spring season.

13 O, I also remember that afterwards I became a sage with an expanded mind. My heart was swollen with joy and I remained amazed at my wonderful change. 14 In that state of my life, I was happy from my desire for the enjoyments of the world. But I had been deceived like a weary passenger pursuing a mirage with eager expectation of water. 15 Alas, that the phantoms of the phenomenal world should so attract even the wise, just as the tempting fiends of hell deceive mankind only to mislead them. 16 Alas, even I wonder at how I was misled by my own ignorance. I was misled by my false knowledge of the world to this state of life which is utterly devoid of every good. 17 Whatever I am, I find I am full of only errors. There is no truth whatever in me, yet it is the error of errors and the greatest blunder that we should be so deceived and betrayed by unrealities. 18 I am neither this nor that nor any other entity at all. Yet it is a wonder that all these false appearances should appear as realities.

19 Then what must I do now to break my bondage to these falsities? I see the germ of error lying inside me. This I must tear off and cast away from me. 20 If there is a primeval ignorance prevalent all over the world, she, being a mere negation herself, can do us no harm. Now I must try to get rid of my error of considering the unreal as real.

21 That this sage is my teacher and I am his student is all a mistake because I am in and am the very same Brahman and the person sitting next to me is like the man on the moon or in a cloud. 22 Then I thought of speaking to that great sage of enlightened understanding. So thinking, I addressed him saying, 23 “O great sage! I will now go out from the body of this person into my own body so that I may see what I may be doing there.”

24 Hearing this, that great sage said smilingly to me, “Ah! Where are those bodies of you two that are blown far away in their ashes? 25 You may go there yourself, if you please, and see the matter yourself. By seeing their present state, you will know everything relating to them.”

26 Being thus advised by him, I thought of entering my former body. To reach the place where it was located, I united my soul (jiva) with his vital air (prana) flow. 27 I told him, “Do remain here, O sage, until I come back here after seeing my former body.” So saying I became a breath of air and fled from my home.

28 Mounting on the wind, I wandered through the air, gently blown a hundred ways like the scent of a flower. For a long time I was carried rapidly all about by fragrant breezes. 29 Wandering long in this manner, I tried to enter that body through its lungs. But finding neither that or any other passage, I kept floating in the air. 30 Then with deep felt sorrow, I returned to my place and again became tied to that world by my returning affections for it. 31 Returned to my house in that place, I saw that venerable sage sitting before me, and earnestly asked him in the following manner.

32 “Tell me sage,” I said, “for you know all the past and future. Your all seeing sight allows you to know what all this is. 33 How was it that I could not find the person whose body I had entered or my own body? 34 I wandered throughout the vast expanse of the sphere of this earth, and searched among all fixed and living bodies there, but I could not find that opening of the throat from which I had come out.”

35 Being thus addressed by me, that high minded sage then said:—

It is not possible for you to find with your bright and brilliant eyes unaided by my advice. 36 If you should search after it with the light of your yoga meditation, then it is possible for you to find it out as fully as one sees a lotus placed in his palm. 37 Now therefore, if you wish to listen to my words, then pay attention to my advice and I will tell you all about it.

38 Know that just like sunlight expands lotus blossoms in a lake, Brahma’s enlightening beams develop the lotus of understanding. You can know nothing by yourself.

39 You once sat in meditation and dreamt your abstract reverie of entering into the heart of another person. You were confirmed in your consciousness of that belief. 40 You believed you saw the three worlds and the great sphere of heaven and earth contained in the bosom of the heart of that person you thought you had entered. 41 In this manner, as you were absorbed in your reverie thinking you resided in the body of another person, you happened to fall asleep and your hermitage in the forest suddenly caught fire and was burnt down.

42 The burning hut sent forth clouds of smoke to the sky. Blazing cinders flew to the sun and moon. 43 Flying ash covered the sky like a grey cloud or an ash-colored blanket, covering the blue vault of heaven with a canopy. 44 Wild animals fleeing from their caves and caverns let out horrible yells and growls. Bursting sparks filled the horizon. 45 Tall palm and other trees caught fire and appeared like trees of fire. Flying and falling fire cracked like clattering clouds. 46 The flames leaped high in the air and appeared like lightening fixed in the sky. The sky assumed a face like that of molten gold. 47 Fiery sparks flying far into the starry sky doubled the number of stars in heaven. Flashing fires in the open space of the sky delighted the eyes of ladies. 48 Blowing and booming fires, roaring in the hollow sky, startled sleeping foresters in the woods. They rushed out from their caves and caverns and wandered about in the forest. 49 Wild beasts and birds, half burnt in their caves and nests, fell and lay dead on the ground. Lakes and river waters boiled with heat and foresters were suffocated by fumes. 50 Young chauri bulls were burnt in the flames. The stink of burning fat and flesh of wild beasts filled the air with nasty stench. 51 This all devouring wildfire, raging like the fire at the end of the world, wholly consumed your hermitage, like a serpent devours its prey.

52 The hunter asked, “Tell me sage, what was the real cause of this fire? Why were the brahmin lads who dwelt in that ashram also burnt?”

53 The sage replied:—

The vibration or effort of the will or designing mind is the true cause or incentive for the production or demolition of a desired object. Its inactivity is the cause for the absence of the three worlds. 54 As a sudden fear or passion causes palpitations of the heart, so an effort or desire of the mind is the mobile force that causes the three worlds. 55 The vibration of the Divine Mind causes the imaginary city of the world together with its increase of population and its rains and draughts.

56 The will in the Divine Mind is the source of the creative mind of Brahma, which in turn gives rise to the minds of the first patriarchs who transmit it to others in endless progression. All of this proceeds from the first quiet and calm intellect through the medium of vacuum. 57 The learned well know that the brightness of the pure and empty Consciousness shines in the vacuum of their own intellects. But the ignorant think that it is what appears to them, which is not the reality.