Chapter 168 — Forms of a Tree; the Value of Investigating Our Dreams; the Origin of Dreams & Creations Are Random; the Carved Image; the Process of Creation

Vasishta continued:—

Like an unconscious tree displaying various forms in its branches, so the unconcerned spirit of God exhibits the airy semblance of creation in air. Like the ocean describing whirlpools insensibly upon its surface, so the spirit of God exhibits these spinning worlds indifferently on the surface of its own emptiness where they are seen by all.

The Lord also gives internal faculties of the mind, understanding and egoism to the conscious part of his creation, and also many other powers under different names. The material world is the production of the unconscious Intellect, whose volitional faculties are as loose as the rolling currents of rivers and seas. The mind, understanding and all mental faculties proceed from Divine Consciousness in the same way as the whirlpools, currents, waves and surges rise on the surface of the sea. A picture is nothing other than its canvas. The world, which is no more than a painting, is drawn on the canvas of the intellect. This is an empty substance with the luminous reflection of the world in it.

I gave you the example of the unconscious tree and sea which produce branches and whirlpools. This example also applies to Intellect which shows creation rising in its emptiness, not by an act of its intention or will, but by ordinance of fate which governs all things. A tree exhibits various forms named like plant, shrub, flowers or vine. In the same way, the intellect displays its many features, like its flowers, called by different names like earth, air, or water. The branches and leaves of a tree are not different from the tree itself. The productions of the great Intellect are nothing other than its very substance. 10 There are many things made of the substance of a tree and having different names. The productions of the Intellect and the offspring of a living being also pass under different forms and names. 11 The offshoots of the Intellect are all the creatures that grow in and rise from the mind. They appear to be the works of the mind, as if the mind caused them. But they are no better than the dreams.

12 Should you ask why these conceptions of creation vainly arise in the mind, I would answer that they arise like dreams in sleep, which you cannot deny enjoying. 13 As a tree displays various forms in its productions, and as imagination presents different shapes to our mental sight, so the Intellect is employed realizing many such creations in empty air. 14 As the scents of flowers fly about invisibly in the open air, and as vibration abides inherent in the wind, so intellectual powers are intrinsic in the very nature of the soul. 15 These creations likewise are ingrained in the Divine Spirit, as fragrance is inborn in flowers, as emptiness is intrinsic in air, and as vacillation and speed are innate in winds. 16 As air, wind and a flower are receptacles of emptiness, vibration and scent respectively, so the Intellect is a container of creation, although it is literally only an empty emptiness.

17 Emptiness is nothing other than a vacuum, just as fluidity is not separate from liquids. Fragrance is as inseparable from flowers as movement is never separated from the wind. 18 Heat is not separate from fire, nor is coldness apart from snow. In this way, know that the world is in no way different or disengaged from the transparent, empty Intellect. 19 In the beginning, the Divine Intellect sees creation appear in itself like a dream rising in the mind. Thus, the world having no extraneous cause and being subject to the Intellect, it is no way a diverse mass or different from the Divine Mind.

20 The example of the dream is the best illustration of creation. You can judge creation well by the nature of the dreams you have every night. Say, what is there substantial in a dream other than it being essential to the Universal Soul? 21 A dream is not the effect of any impression in the mind, or the result of memories stored in the mind, because dreams show us many sights unseen and not thought of before. Say therefore, how does this happen? 22 If what is seen in a dream presents itself when we remember the dream, because it is not experienced, it implies that one thing is in two states. 23 Therefore these spinning worlds are like spinning whirlpools in the wide ocean of the infinite mind. They are the accidental appearances of chance. Whatever occurs in the mind afterwards passes for its dreams.

24 Creations are insensibly produced from the Divine Mind, like waves and whirlpools in the ocean. Afterwards creation receives its stability and continuity, just like whirling waters and ever rolling waves continue once started. 25 Whatever is born without its cause is equal to the unborn because the unborn are forever similar to those who have no cause for their birth.

26 As precious gems growing insensibly of themselves have their luster inherent in them, and as this brilliance is no substance or anything real at all, so the appearance of the world has no substantiality of itself. 27 Somehow or another, the world has its rise, like waves or whirling currents in a river, then it continues to go on like the continuous course of the stream. 28 There are numberless worlds of intellectual forms gliding in the vast emptiness of Consciousness, all passing like aerial dreams without any cause whatsoever. 29 All these again become causes and produce others. They are all empty forms, even the great Brahma and all other gods and angels. 30 All that is born in and produced from void (shunya) is nothing and void also. They grow in the void and return to emptiness.

31 Emptiness appears as fullness, as in the example of an empty dream that appears to be something. The man who denies his own perception is no better than a fool or a brute. 32 The unreal appearing as real is the fabrication of error and ignorance. But the wise man who knows the truth sees the world as the wonderful display of the Divine Mind. 33 Long standing and deep rooted prejudice produces the false conceptions of the creation and destruction of the world. Wisdom is to know it in its true light, and foolishness is to take a wrong view of it. 34 The light of the Divine Spirit, once seen in this causeless void of the visible world, continues forever before our sight, just as a dream seen in our vacant minds remains ever afterwards in our memory.

35 The intellect presents the accidental appearance of the world to our minds in the same manner as the sea shows its whirls and waves to our sight. 36 Such is the nature of the Intellect also. It shows itself in this manner and exhibits spinning worlds only in its own ethereal essence. 37 Then the aerial Intellect, by a retrospective view in itself, invented certain words afterwards, an expression of its mental and intellectual powers as well signifying material elements and their properties.

38 Rama said, “Sage, memories are impressions left on the mind. If it is true that everything is the spontaneous growth of chance, then how can the mental power of memory suddenly be produced without memories? Please explain this to me.”

39 Vasishta replied:—

Hear me, Rama, and I will destroy your doubt like a lion kills an elephant. I will establish the one unchanging unity like the broad daylight of the sun.

40 There is only a Universal Soul, invisible amidst the vacuum of his Intellect, like an un-carved doll remains unseen in the wood of every forest tree. 41 We can see a carpenter carving the puppet from wood, but we cannot see the Soul that carves the figure of the world from the great bulk of Consciousness. 42 The puppet does not appear in the wood unless and until it is carved by the skill of the carpenter. The hidden world does not appear in the Intellect unless and until it is brought to view by the talent of the Mind. 43 Yet the un-carved body of the world still appears in its aerial form, which is the original and genuine form in Divine Consciousness.

44 In the beginning of creation, the inventive Intellect forms of itself the concept of the future world, appearing as an airy dream in the sight of the soul. 45 Empty Consciousness conceives the airy ideal of the world as if it were a toy or doll gliding of itself in itself. 46 It conceives itself as the essential part of the great Brahman, the seed of the mundane system. Then it imagines itself as the source of life and the living soul and the receptacle of individual consciousness. 47 It imagines itself as understanding and the mind, the reservoir of space and time. It considers itself as the root of the knowledge of “I”, “you”, “he” and others, and as the essence of the five elements. 48 It sees in itself the collection of the inner and outward senses, as also of the eight faculties of the mind, and both the spiritual as well as the elemental bodies contained in itself. 49 It thinks itself to be the great trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. It sees the sun, moon and stars in itself. It considers itself as the whole creation and the interior and exterior part of everything.

50 All these are the imaginary creations of the Intellect. There is nothing whatever other than itself. But in essence, Intellect is quite transparent. There is no concrete matter in it. No memory of gross materials is ever attached to it. No duality whatsoever exists in the unity of its nature. 51 The world is a causeless, uncaused, and uncreated thing, in reality a nothing at all. Its creation is a dream and its appearance is like a delusive shadow in empty air. 52 It appears as a phantom in vacuum, and as an intelligence in Consciousness. It is intelligible as it is, and that is in the sense of a nothing.

53 What is the memory of a thing other than a dream of something, a nothing in reality? What is time of which we have no conception, except that it is an imagination of the mind in empty air? 54 What is contained inside the compact Intellect, the very same appears on the outside of it. But in reality, there is no substance to the exterior object of sight, just as there is nothing to the interior object of thought. All is only the glittering of Consciousness. 55 Whatever issues out of the bodiless and nameless something, which is forever still and calm in its nature, is considered to be a causeless and uncaused production that appears before blinded sight.

56 Therefore know that this world is to be viewed in the same intellectual light as you see the Supreme Brahman himself. Know that this world is a castle in the sky, like a dream in the empty space of your mind when you sleep. 57 There is no such thing as a visible or material world at anytime. Where can you find any dust on the watery surface of the sea? How can you see anything visible in the invisible spirit of Brahman? 58 If the world appears as anything at all to your sight, you must view it as the manifestation of God himself, in his unthinkable and incomprehensible nature. 59 The world is full of the glory of God. One is not derived from the other. The world is a full representation of divine splendor on the face of nature.

60 Though I have been repeatedly giving these lectures, yet the deluded minds of men are far from receiving them. They believe the world of their dreams as if they were awake. Even though they know the unreality of their own dreams, still they will never get rid of their rooted prejudice of being awake.