1 Vasishta continued:—
The true sense of the word “soul” or “self” is to be understood from the title applied to it. This title of “soul” is borne out by the simile of a solid and transparent blue stone.
2 From the beginning of creation, the empty soul is diffused in itself. The reflection it casts in its own emptiness is what is called world or creation. 3 No river runs in it. No rock rises or falls in it. It is a mere emptiness existing in infinite void in which the intellect reflects itself without any action or bidding or command. 4 This reflection of Divine Consciousness is cast without any utterance of “word” and quite without its “will” or “thought.” It is without the device of any subsequent material, and this is the true sense of the word “soul” or “self.”
5 The soul itself is the whole world. There is no other expression for it. Being devoid of a name, it is expressible by no other name though they give many names to it. 6 Its name being nameless, whatever name they give it is not opposite but inappropriate. Therefore, what is the good of giving it a name or no name? 7 It’s all the same whether it is nameless or given a wrong name because all that is visible is nothing other than a display of the wonderful fabric of the Divine Mind. 8 Whatever shines in any manner and at any time in the empty space of the Divine Mind, the same shines forth even then and in that manner like the rays of that Intellect. 9 One calls it the soul, another nonexistence, and others nothing. All these are only the mystery of consciousness, but in fact, all are the attributes of soul. 10 The word itself conveys the meaning of “soul” or “self.” It is without beginning or end. No language can express it. In fact, it is an undivided whole.
11 Now listen to a long story which illustrates this subject. It will serve to gladden your hearts and ears by removing the duality from your sight and enlightening your understanding.
12 Know that there is a very large crystal stone which extends many thousands of leagues in space, stretching like the solid blue fabric of the sky all around us. 13 It is all one piece without any joint or parts. It is as dense and compact as a hard diamond. It is thick, big and bulky in size. But at the same time, it is as clear and far away as the face of the sky. 14 It continues from countless times and endures to endless duration. With its pleasant and translucent body, it appears like the clear sky or the blank vacuum on high.
15 No one ever knows its nature or kind because no one has ever seen anything like it. No one knows from when and where it has come into existence. 16 It does not contain anything substantial in it, such as the material elements. Yet it is as dense and solid as a crystal and as impossible to dissolve as a diamond.
17 Yet it has innumerable streaks and marks embodied in itself. These resemble the veins and fibers on lotus leaves, or the marks of conches, lotuses, maces and discuses on Lord Vishnu’s feet. 18 These marks are named air, water, earth, fire, and vacuum, though there are no such things to be found in that crystal stone except that it possesses a living soul which imparted its marks.
19 Rama asked, “Tell me sage, how could that stone of yours have life or consciousness in it? The stone is an unconscious thing which is unable to give names to the marks on its body.”
20 Vasishta replied:—
That immense and luminous stone is neither a conscious nor an inert body. Nobody knows its nature and state, and there is no other like it.
21 Rama said, “Tell me sage, who saw those marks imprinted on the surface of that stone? How could anyone ever break that stone to see its contents and its marks?”
22 Vasishta replied:—
It is difficult to break this hard stone. Nobody has ever been able to break it because it extends over infinite space and encompasses all bodies within its space. 23 It is full of numberless spots in its spacious cavity. These consist of the marks of mountains and trees and of countries, towns and cities. 24 There are small and large dots in it with many forms and figures. They serve to represent the forms of men, gods and demigods, just as an outline shows the images of things. 25 Drawn in the crystal stone is a long line in the form of a circle which represents the great circle of the visible horizon. This contains the two central points, signifying the sun and moon.
26 Rama said, “Tell me sage, who saw those marks of such forms? How it is possible for anybody to look into the cell of a solid or hollow ball?”
27 Vasishta replied:—
It is I, O Rama, who saw those marks of different forms in that impenetrable block. It is possible for you to look into it, if you will only like to do so.
28 Rama said, “How could you, O sage, look into those marks inside that solid stone which, you say, is as hard as a diamond and incapable of being broken or perforated by any means?”
29 Vasishta replied:—
I sat in the very heart of that stone, so I came to see those marks and penetrate into their meanings. 30 Who else is able to penetrate that rigid stone besides me? By my penetration, I have been able to pry and pierce into the mysteries of those hidden marks.
31 Rama said, “Tell me sage, what is that stone and what are you? Explain to me where you are and what you are saying? What are those things that you have seen and what is their meaning that you have penetrated?”
32 Vasishta replied:—
It is the Supreme Soul, the sole entity and calm reality. This is represented by a figure of speech as the great crystal stone that I have been describing. 33 We are all situated in the cavity of this Supreme Spirit. The three worlds form the flesh of this Great Being who is devoid of all substantiality.
34 Know that the spacious firmament is a part of this solid rock, and the ever flying winds are fragments of its body. Fleeting time and impermanent sounds, together with all our varying actions, desires and imaginations of our minds, are all only insubstantial particles of its substance. 35 Earth, air, water and fire, as well as emptiness and understanding, together with our egoism and sensibilities, are only portions of its totality. 36 We all are only bits of the great rock of the Supreme Soul. Everything whatever that is in existence proceeds from that source. We know of no other cause or causality whatsoever. 37 This large stone is the great rock of Divine Consciousness. There is nothing beside or beyond its intelligence. Tell me if there is any such thing and what it does?
38 All things, whether a pot or cot, a picture or anything else, are only mere ideas. They appear in us as our dreams and rise before us like waves in water. 39 All is the substance of Brahman and the essence of the great Consciousness which fills and pervades the whole. Therefore know that all these are one with the substantiality of the Supreme Spirit, and all is as quiet and calm as itself.
40 Thus all this fullness is situated in the space of the great rock of the Intellect. It is without beginning, middle or end and without any hole or doorway. Therefore it is only the Supreme Soul which contemplates in itself and produces this ideal creation of the universe which passes under the name of the visible or material world.