Chapter 159 — Vipaschit (Bhasa) Wanders; Indra Says He Has Still to Become a Deer; Indra Cursed by Durvasa; Bhasa Explains How All Possibility Lies within Brahman
1 The god of fire added:—
Go now O wise Vipaschit, to your wished for abodes and with the steadiness of your mind, conduct yourself with proper behavior everywhere on earth. 2 Indra, the lord of the assembly of creatures, has been performing his hundred sacrifices in his celestial abode. There I am invited to attend by his invocation.”
3 Bhasa (Vipaschit) said:—
Saying so, Lord Agni disappeared from that place. He passed through the transparent ether like the electric fire of lightning. 4 Then I was led by my predestination to roam about in the air and direct my mind to the investigation of my allotted acts and the termination of my ignorance. 5 I again saw an innumerable host of heavenly bodies wandering about space, holding their positions in different worlds containing inhabitants of different natures and customs.
6 Some of these were of the same form and resembled floating umbrellas in the sky. Their shining appearance and slow motion attracted the hearts of men. 7 Some of them were of earthy substance, but shining and moving onward like mountains in motion. 8 Some were of woody appearance and others of a stony substance. But they were all airy bodies, all moving onward in their uninterrupted course. 9 I also saw some figures like carved stone statues standing in the open space of my mind, talking together all their entire days. 10 In this manner, for a long while I saw many such figures, like images in my dream. I was quite bewildered in my utter ignorance of them.
11 Then I intended to perform austere meditation to obtain my liberation. The god Indra appeared to me and said, “No, Vipaschit. You are doomed to become a deer again. You are not entitled to liberation now. 12 You are propelled by your previous inclination to prefer the pleasures of heaven. Therefore I must direct you to dwell in my paradise and wander there amidst my gardens of mandara trees.”
13 Being thus bid by him, I replied and said to him, “I am weary, O lord, with the troubles of the world, and want to get my release from them. Therefore ordain my immediate emancipation from them.”
14 The god listened to my prayer and said, “Emancipation attends on the pure soul, cleansed from all its desires. This has already been explained to you by the god of fire. Therefore ask some other boon,” said he. I begged him to tell me about my next future state.
15 Indra replied and said, “I find you fated to be changed into the state of a deer from the fond desire of your heart to wander about and feed freely in the fields. 16 By becoming a deer, you will have to enter the holy assembly of Dasharata where another deer like you has previously obtained his liberation by listening to the spiritual instructions I had delivered there. 17 Therefore be born with your pensive soul as a deer in some forest on earth. Then you will come to recollect your past life from listening to Vasishta describe it. 18 You will learn there that all this existence is only the delusion of a dream, the creation of imagination. You will hear the account of your future life depicted in its true color.”
19 “After being released from the body of the deer, you shall regain your human form and perceive rays of holy light shining in your inner spirit. 20 This light will dispel the long prevailing gloom of ignorance from your mind. Then you shall attain nirvana, like the calm and breathless wind.”
21 After the god had said so, I had the conviction of being a deer in this forest. I entirely forgot my human nature under my firm conviction of having become a deer. 22 Ever since I have been living in these woods under my impression of being a deer. Ever since I have been feeding upon the grass and herbs growing on the mountain top. 23 Once I saw a body of soldiers coming on a hunting excursion. Being frightened at the sight, I started to flee. 24 They laid hold of me and took me to their place where they kept me for some days for their pleasure. At last they brought me to this place before Rama.
25 Thus I have related to you all the incidents of my life and the magical scenes of the world too full of marvelous events. 26 It is the production of our ignorance that pervades all things and branches out into innumerable forms in everything that presents itself to our view. There is nothing whatever to dispel this darkness, except the light of spiritual knowledge.
27 Valmiki relates:—
Then, as Bhasa (Vipaschit) remained silent after speaking in this manner, he was approached by the well minded Rama with the following words. 28 Rama said, “Tell me sage. How can a person without any desire of his own see the object of another’s desire in himself? How could the deer which arose in your desire (sankalpa) be seen by others in Indra’s Paradise?”
29 Bhasa (Vipaschit) replied:—
Let me tell you that the earth where the huge carcass fell was once before trodden upon by Indra with the pride of his having performed a hundred sacrifices. 30 There, strutting along with his haughty strides, he met the hermit Durvasa sitting still in his meditative mood. Believing him to be a dead body lying on his way, he knocked Durvasa down with his feet. 31 At this the angry hermit threatened the proud god, saying, “O Indra! As you have dashed me with your feet by thinking I was a lifeless corpse, so will a huge carcass shortly fall upon this ground and slash it to pieces and reduce it to dust. 32 And as you have spurned me as a dead body, so are you cursed to be crushed on earth under the falling carcass.”
33 He who before was the king of kings was transformed into a deer. He remained in that appearance according to his ideas. 34 In truth, neither the actual world is a reality, nor the imaginary one an unreality. In fact, they are the one and same thing, whether we conceive it as the one or other.
35 Listen now, O Rama, to another explanation which clearly settles the point in question. 36 He in whom all things reside and from whom everything proceeds, who is all in all and who is everywhere in all must be the one that you may call All and beside whom there is none at all. 37 It is equally possible for him to bring forth whatever he wills to produce as it is for him not to produce whatever he does not wish to bring to existence.
38 Whatever anybody earnestly desires eventually must come to pass to him in reality. This is as true as the example of light always being accompanied by its shade. 39 If it is impossible for the desire and its act, which are opposite in their nature, to meet together in fact, then it would be impossible for the God of all forms to be all things both in being and not being. Therefore, the objects of our desire and thought are equally present with us as the real ones. 40 There is a reality attached to every form of existence. There is nothing which of itself is either an entity or a nothing.
41 O the great magic of illusion which is over everywhere and pervades all nature in every form and at all times and binds all beings in inescapable delusion. 42 The nature of the great God comprises the community of spirits in his spirit. It combines in itself all laws whether permissive or prohibitive acting in concert and eternal harmony. 43 His infinite power has displayed the ignorance which spreads over all the three worlds from time with or without beginning. Only our delusion depicts all things in their various forms to our view.
44 How could the creation that was once destroyed by the great deluge come to resuscitate again unless it were a rehash of the memory of the past one? The elementary bodies of water, air, fire and earth could not possibly be produced from nothing. 45 Therefore the world is nothing other than a manifestation of divine nature. This is the verdict of the scriptures and the conviction of mankind from the very beginning of creation.
46 Things which have no sufficient proof for their material existence can easily be proved to exist by being considered with proper understanding. 47 Things of a subtle nature, imperceptible by the senses, are known in their essence by the understanding of the learned. Hence the essence of Brahman is pure understanding, of which we are quite ignorant owing to our ignorance of the Intellect.
48 The world is obvious to us from its form, just as air is evident by its vibration. Hence nobody is born or dies here. 49 That I am living and the other is dead are conceptions of our minds. Hence death, being only the total disappearance of the visible world from our view, must be as pleasing to us as our own deep sleep. 50 If the life or rebirth of a man is his ability to perceive the visible, then there is nothing in the world which is commonly called the life or death of beings. 51 At a time, the intellect appears a duality, and at other an unity. Both are nothing but intellect.
52 It is the reasoning of Divine Intellect that infuses its intelligence into all minds. What is life without the intellect and the faculty of reasoning? 53 The intellect being free from pain, there is no cause of complaint in any intellectual being. The word “world” and all that it means to express are only manifestations of empty intellect.
54 It is wrong to say that the intellect is one thing and the body is another because the Unity is the Soul of all and pervades all diversity. As waves and whirlpools are seen in waters, so are all these bodies known to abide in the Supreme Being. 55 The universal permeation of divine essence, like that of the subtle air, is the Cause of causes and the sole Cause of all. Hence the world is also a subtle substance, being only a reflection of Divine Intellect.
56 It is wonderful how this subtle world appears to us to be a solid body. It is only our conception of it as such that makes it appear so. But conception is no substance at all. Therefore the world has no materiality in it. 57 The demon of error reigns over us in its aerial form, deluding us to take the shadowy world as substance. In fact, this creation of error is as nonexistent and void as the empty creation of the intellect. 58 Hence this nether world below and the ethereal worlds above are as void as the super-physical world of Divine Consciousness. All these, being only reflections of the Divine Mind, are exhibited in various ways. 59 The Intellect being a subtle entity, there is nothing like a solid substance anywhere. Phenomena are all insubstantial subtleties, though they appear to us as solidified realities.
60 The knowledge of true reality and unreality are so blended together that we must remain in mute silence, like a block of wood or stone, to pronounce anything affirmative or negative about either. 61 The visible whole is the infinite Brahman. This universe displays the majesty of the great God. All these bodies are various forms exhibiting the infinite attributes of God. 62 In this manner, the substance of Divine Consciousness displays in itself. It is the empty spirit of God that manifests this insubstantial world in its own emptiness.
63 The number of living beings since the beginning of creation is unlimited everywhere. Of these there are many that exist either in their corporeal or incorporeal forms. 64 There are spiritual masters and other spiritual beings living with their subtle natures and subtle forms in the Supreme Being. They live in groups in all elements, but never come to perceive each other even though they are of the same kind.
65 The liveliness of the visible world, being purely of aerial and empty form, is never seen in its true and intellectual light, except when it appears to us in aerial shapes in our dreams. 66 The world, being well known, remains as it does in our inner conception of it, like a hazy mist appearing to sight at the end of night. 67 When seen from a distance, the world is a dark and indistinct maze with nothing distinguishable in it. It becomes clearer from a closer view. By keeping far away you lose sight of it altogether.
68 As particles of water fly off and fall back into the sea, so do the atoms of consciousness in all living beings continually rise and subside in the vast ocean of the Divine Mind. 69 This grandeur of creation is like the crowding multitude of our dreams which lay slumbering in the hollow space of the Divine Mind. Therefore know these emanations of Divine Consciousness to be as calm and quiet as the undisturbed spirit of God.
70 I have seen infinite glories of creation and I have felt the various results of my deeds to no end. I have wandered for ages in all quarters of the globe. But I found no rest from the struggles and troubles of the delusive world, except in the knowledge of the vanities of the world. 71 Ignorance appears as true knowledge since it is carried inside himself by Brahman as knowledge.