Chapter 157 — The Minister Explains Creation and King Sindhu’s Tamasic Nature; the King Retires and Attains Nirvana

The hunter’s sage speaking:—

Then King Sindhu will say, “Tell me sage. What kind of a bad person was I? How ignorant was I that I still retain the evil propensities of my past life and am doomed to be reborn in this earth.”

The minister will say in his reply, “Hear me attentively for a while, O king. I will tell you this secret which you require me to relate. It will surely remove your ignorance.”

“There is a self existent and being without decay from all eternity, without its beginning or end. It is called the great Brahman and it is known here under the names of ‘I’ and ‘you’ and ‘this’ and ‘that.’ I am that self same Brahman by the consciousness of my self reflection. This becomes the living principle with the power of reasoning. This power does not forsake its personality. Know that this Consciousness is a spiritual substance with a form rarer and more transparent than that of the subtle ether. This is the only being in existence and there is nothing in it which is of a material substance.”

“This formless takes the form of the mind by being combined with the act of willing. It sees this and the next world in its state of life and death, and of waking and sleep. The mind, though formless, stretches itself into the form of the world of phenomena, just as the formless air expands itself in the form of vibration in all material bodies. The world is identical with the mind, just as the seeming and visible sky is the same as empty emptiness. So the material is the same as the intellectual and there is no difference whatever between the material and mental worlds. This network of worlds resides in the mind, in their immanent impressions in it. In reality, the outer world is only the formless mind. The cosmos consists of ideas in the formless mind. Its appearance of form has no real substance in it.”

10 “At first there arose the pure personality of the impersonal and Universal Spirit of God in the person of the creative power known under the name of Brahma. This personal god assumed to himself the name of Ego from his will of creation. The undivided spirit was divided into many impure personalities from its desire of becoming many.”

11 Then Sindhu will say, “Tell me sage, what you mean by impure bodies and personalities? How and from where come these names of the Supreme Being, the Indefinite One?”

12 The teacher-minister will reply saying, “As all embodied beings possess bodies with organs and limbs, so the bodiless spirit is comprised of an infinite variety of minor spiritual forms under it. These are known as good or bad spirits. 13 The very same one spirit then calls all these different parts of itself by various names. The incorporeal spirit assumes to itself an endless variety of material and land and water natures and names. 14 Thus the Universal Spirit continues to exhibit in itself all the various forms of this imaginary world at its own will. It gives a distinct name and nature to each and everyone of these representations of itself.”

15 “When the Divine Spirit decided to conceal itself into the personality of Brahma, and in those of me or you and other individualities, it became altered from its state of original holiness and purity to those of impurity and foulness, known as passion and inertia. 16 The unalterable pure nature of the holy spirit of God, being thus transformed to un-holiness, passed into different states of impurity in the living souls of beings.”

17 “The spirit of God is breathed as the living soul in an animal body. The soul that comes to perceive its imprisonment in flesh and its doom to suffering is said to be of the pure sattva nature. 18 Those who, while still living in the world, possess politeness and good qualities, are said to be of a sattva good nature. 19 Those who are born repeatedly, destined to the enjoyments of life until their final liberation at the end, are designated as having a rajas nature. 20 Those souls who are born in this lower world who are inclined to practice only their manly virtues are famed as having merely rajas nature. They are few in number.”

21 “Those souls who have been undergoing repeated reincarnations since the beginning of creation, and who are continually wandering in bodies of inferior beings, are said by the wise to belong to the species having the most impure tamas nature. Even so, it is possible for them to attain their salvation in the end. 22 Those who have been wandering in many births in the forms of vile animals, until they attain their salvation at the end, are designated as merely vile tamas nature by the wise who are versed in the distinction of classes.”

23 “Philosophers have classed the emanated souls of beings into many grades and species among which, O my respected sage, your soul is reckoned among the vilest of the vile tamas nature. 24 I know you have passed through many births of which you know nothing. These have been as various as they were filled with the different scenes of life. 25 In vain you have passed all your lives doing nothing that is useful, most particularly your late sky life with that gigantic body of yours. 26 Being thus born with the vile class of your soul, it is difficult for you to obtain your liberation from the prison house of this world.”

27 Sindhu will then say in his response, “Tell me sage. How can I divest myself of this inborn vile nature of my soul so that, by your counsel, I may learn to live and purify my soul to correct the conduct of my life? 28 There is nothing in all these three worlds that is hard to acquire through earnest endeavor and intense application. 29 As a failure of the previous day is corrected by its correction today, so one can purify the pristine impure soul by pious acts of the present day. 30 Whoever yearns for anything and labors hard is sure to gain it in the end. The negligent are sure to meet with failure. 31 Whatever a man is intent upon doing and tries to effect at all times, and whatsoever one desires with earnestness and is constantly devoted to its pursuit, he is to succeed and have his object without fail.”

32 The hunter’s sage related:—

The king being thus instructed by his minister, was determined to resign the burden of his state, and to renounce his realm and royalty even at that very moment. 33 He wished to retire to some far distant forest, and he asked his ministers to manage his kingdom. But they declined to take the charge, though the state was free from all its enemies.

34 He then remained in the company of wise men, enlightened by their discourses like sesame seeds became fragrant by being placed in a heap of flowers. 35 Then from his inquiries into the mysteries of his life and birth, and into the causes of his confinement in this world, he obtained the knowledge of his liberation. 36 Thus by means of his continued inquiries into truth and his continual association with the wise and good, the soul of Sindhu attained a sanctity so holy that compared to it, the prosperity of Brahma is like a bit of straw or the dried leaf of a withered tree tossed about by the winds of the sky.