Chapter 167 — Words Cannot Describe Consciousness, Not Even Awake, Dream, Sleep or Turiya; Use Reasoning to Acquire Knowledge and Rest in Aum
1 Vasishta continued:—
The four titles under which the world is known in its different senses — namely, the self-styled, the misnamed, the nameless, and the otherwise named — are all meaningless to the knower of truth. 2 These different words do not disturb the mind of the knower of truth whose soul is at rest in the Supreme Spirit and who pays no regard to the use of words.
3 All that is visible rises from Consciousness and bears no name of its own. They are pure vacuum and appear to us in their simple, empty forms. 4 This soul and, and this its title, are all false conceits and creations of the brain. The spirit admits of no expression. Therefore, take no concern of any word but only the mind and its meaning. 5 Whatever appears to be moving or stationary or doing any action is as calm and clear as the empty air and as devoid of action as the Divine Soul. 6 All things, whatever noise they make, are as silent as the silent crystal stone I described. Though they seem to be always moving, they are always as quiet as the void of the sky, and as still as the inactive stone.
7 Though all things appear to be acting in their various ways, yet they are as motionless as unmoving emptiness. Though the world appears to be formed of the five elements, yet it is only a void without its own essence. 8 The world with its fullness of things is only a collection of your conceptions. It is full with the all-pervasive and transparent Consciousness that displays visions of great cities, like the empty sights in our dreams. 9 It is full of action and motion without any activity or mobility in it, like the passing city of our imagination. It is the air-built castle of our errors, like the fairyland in our dreams. 10 It is a false conception or idea of the mind, like the fading shadow of a fairy. It is the creation of our fancies, altogether insubstantial in its substantiality.
11 Rama asked, “I think of this world is a waking dream, a reproduction of our memories, because our memories present the absent to our view and bring outer objects to our awareness.”
12 Vasishta replied:—
No Rama, the world is the reflection which the glassy mirror of Consciousness casts before us. The same appears to us even then in its empty form. There is no idea or thought of anything that lays a firm hold on the mind or has its foundation there. 13 Therefore, phenomena always belongs to the ideals of the Supreme Spirit. Fluctuating phenomena always abide in it, like surging waves playing in the calm waters of the sea.
14 The uncaused world exists of itself in the Supreme Soul. It becomes extinct of itself in the emptiness of the Universal Soul. 15 Everyone sees the world in the same light as it is reflected in himself. Hence the ignorant are always at fault for having a wrong view of it. But not so the wise, who know it as nothing.
16 Again, the lord god Brahma himself has exhibited the clear nature of his being according to the four states or conditions which are natural to the soul. 17 These are the three states of waking, dreaming and sleep, together with a fourth called turiya or the state of sound sleep. These names are applied to the soul by the Supreme Soul itself. 18 But in reality none of these four states belongs either to the Divine or the living soul, which is always tranquil and of the nature of an indefinite void.
19 Or it may be said that the soul is either always wakeful or in its ever dreaming state, or in a state of continuous rest and sleep. 20 Or it is always in its fourth state of turiya, which is beyond all these triple states. But whether it is in this or that or whatever state, we know nothing as we are always in a state of anxiety and agitation. 21 We know nothing of the emptiness of the empty soul, whether it is like the chasm in foam or froth, or whether it is like the air in a bubble or spray, or whether it is like the gap between the waves of the sea, or what it is at all. 22 As a thing is known in imagination, so it is impressed in our conception of it. As anything appears either as real or unreal in a dream, we retain the same idea of it in our waking state. 23 All this is a display of our consciousness. Whatever reflection it exhibits to us, it is only an empty shadow in the hollow of the vacant mind residing in the emptiness of the empty intellect that pervades the infinite vacuum of the soul.
24 Consciousness is the core of empty Intellect, and it retains this form at all times. It neither rises nor sets. This world is inherent in it. 25 The creations in the beginning and the dark nights of dissolution are only parts of its body, like its nails and hairs. 26 Its appearance and disappearance, its clarity and dimness, are nothing other than the breathing air of the great Intellect. 27 Therefore what does it mean to say the soul is waking, sleeping, or dreaming? What does the term sound sleep or the turiya of the soul mean? So the word volition and lack of volition are meaningless when applied to the soul, which is always composed and indifferent.
28 Inner consciousness exhibits its inner concepts as outward objects. How then is there a duality or anything objective? What does the memory of extraneous matter mean? 29 All that appears to sight is without base or foundation. They are the reflections of our consciousness in open air, wholly devoid of any material object.
30 The external world is said to be real because it is a concept of the Divine Mind, out of which it has risen to view. Its cause is said to be memory because our memories of the first creation continue with us. 31 But there is no outward object at all because there is no material element, and there being no five material elements, there was no first creation. 32 Rabbits have no horns, trees do not grow in the air, a barren woman has no children, and there is no dark moon shining in the sky. 33 So this visible world and these personalities we think ourselves to be are misrepresentations of our ignorance. They are things invisible and nonexistent in themselves, seen and known by only the ignorant. 34 To the ignorant the world appears as a false body and they see the personalities and abstractions of persons. But there is nothing fictitious or abstract to the knower of truth who views all in one undivided Divine Spirit.
35 Consciousness, the nature or essence of the soul, exposes all these concepts to light. Consciousness is the manner in which it displays them to the imagination. That is how phenomena make their appearance to our sight. 36 Whenever our misconception portrays a concept in a material form, or gives a name and form to an airy nothing, we come to see in our imagination in the empty void of our mind.
37 The great Consciousness has the appearance of the sky for itself, which in ordinary language is expressed by the word “matter” consisting of the four elements. But the endless void is devoid of them. 38 The unchanging and un-decaying Consciousness bears only the form of air which it conceives by mistake to be the stable earth, just as imaginary men believe air-built castles to be real. 39 Consciousness, being an incorporeal substance, has neither this form nor that nor anything at all. It has vibration and rest in itself, like the breath and stillness of the winds in the air.
40 As consciousness manifests itself in its own sphere in the two states of its volition and no will, so the world seems to be in its states of motion and stillness taking place in the space of vacuum. 41 As the sphere of consciousness remains unchanged with the rise and fall of its thoughts, so emptiness remains unvaried with all the creations and dissolutions in its space.
42 The world is always in the same unvaried state, whether you call it so or otherwise. The seeming revolutions of bodies and succession of events are well known to be nothing to the learned and wise, but not to others. 43 The wise soul dwells in the hearts of all, which it views alike as its own self. But the ignorant soul, because it sees the outer world and knows the difference of bodies from one another, is unconscious of its identity.
44 What is there inside or outside? What is visible or invisible? All this, whether active or still, is in the Lord. Know all is Aum and rest quietly in that Aum.
45 There can be no reasoning without an insight into the meanings of significant terms. Consideration of both sides of a question leads to right judgment. Hence reasoning leads us to truth, just as light guides us through the darkness of night. 46 Therefore drive off the multitudes of diverse desires and doubts from your mind through the light of your understanding, and by your attention to the true interpretation of the scriptures. Then rise and fly above to the higher regions of light and truth and attain the highest, best and most perfect state of Divine bliss and self-liberation.