Chapter 174 — Nirvana Is Knowing God Is All and Nothing Else Exists; Only This Knowledge Yields Nirvana
1 Vasishta continued:—
Consciousness alone shined in the beginning with its thought of creation appearing before it like a vision in a dream. This was an image of the three worlds, a reflection of the light of Brahman himself. 2 These creations were like endless waves in the ocean of the Divine Mind rising from the flexibility of his omniscience. Hence there is no difference between the creation and its absence. Nor is there any sorrow in the one or bliss in the other.
3 Both dream and sound sleep of the soul belong to its sleeping state when the mind remains as vacant as empty air. In the same way, visible and invisible creation are both the same in the emptiness of Consciousness. 4 This world in our waking state, appearing like a city seen in our dream, is not worthy of reliance by the wise who are well acquainted with its nature of being an imaginary appearance. 5 Upon awaking we realize the falsity of the imaginary city we saw in our dreams. In the same way, in the end we realize our mistake of taking the world to be real. 6 As upon waking, we understand the falsity of all our efforts and desires in the imaginary city of our dream. So do we find, at last, that all our aims and attempts in our waking state in this world are equally false and fleeting.
7 If anyone assigns any other cause, then he should admit that what he says is mere fancy. 8 Guessing knowledge is no better than a dream of the world. The authority of what you can see is much stronger than that which you cannot see. 9 It is better to judge the soul and other attributes by examples that are nearer and more familiar rather than something remote. Otherwise it is like a fall from the top of a hill in a dream.
10 Perfect insensibility is complete inertness, a changeless state of body and mind. The nature of the world and the state of things in it are constantly restless and changing. Therefore it is impossible to attain samadhi in either of these two states. 11 Meditation in worldly life must be too sensitive and variable, while trance stupefies a man to a stone. True liberation consists neither in the changeableness of mind nor in its stone-like insensibility. 12 I think no liberation is obtainable from stone-like, apathetic trance any more than one gains liberation from deep sleep. 13 Only through consummate knowledge can reasoning men dispel their ignorance. He who has secured his liberation in his lifetime has no chance of his being born again.
14 Inflexible abstraction is said to have no bounds. It consists in sitting steadfast in profound meditation, without distraction or diversion. Such a posture is said to be all illuminating, the eternal sunshine of a yogi. 15 It is called the endless absorption of the soul, and this is the fourth or last state of contemplation. It is also called nirvana, or losing one’s self in one’s reveries. This is what they call liberation from all bonds and cares of the world.
16 Liberation is the density or depth of wisdom and the intensity of mental examination. There is a complete absence of any memory of phenomena in it. It is known as the state of perfect transcendentalism or glory. 17 It is not the stone-like inertness of some philosophers or the trance or sound sleep of others. It is neither the lack of choice of the Patanjalas or the nonexistence or utter annihilation of the Buddhist. 18 It is the knowledge of Brahman as the prime source of all and the nothingness of visible creation. It is knowing God as all and yet nothing that exists. Therefore it is to know him as he is in his all pervading spirit.
19 The consummate knowledge of all gives us our positive rest of nirvana, knowing that the world is the same as its nonexistence, 20 that all this variety is no variety at all, and that there is no entity in reality. All apparent realities are mere unrealities. It is the end of all our conceptions and inductions. It is the only reality. 21 The entire nothingness of the visible world is the state of nirvana. The settled knowledge of this in anyone constitutes his supreme bliss.
22 This state is attainable by one’s pure understanding and his habit of constant meditation, joined with a knowledge of the scriptures and scrutiny into the right sense of significant words and their meanings. 23 Constant study of this work is the best guide to liberation. It is attainable by no means other than enlightenment of the understanding. 24 Liberation is never attainable by pilgrimage or charity, sacred ablutions or learning, meditation or yoga contemplation, religious austerities, or sacrifice of any kind.
25 The world is only a delusion causing the unreal to appear as real. The world is only an empty void which presents the appearance of the world, like a dream in the emptiness of Consciousness. 26 No religious austerity or pilgrimage is ever able to remove our error of the world. At best, they can earn us the reward of heaven, but never secure to us our liberation or final beatitude. 27 Our error is eradicated only by the light of the scriptures and our good understanding. Above all, the best means to our liberation and final salvation is spiritual knowledge. 28 The vivid light of the scriptures is sure to destroy our error of the world, just as sunshine dispels the gloom of night.
29 Light, clarity, shade, creation, preservation and destruction appear by turns in the clear empty mirror of Consciousness, like the movement of air in a breeze or the fluctuation of waves in water. 30 The first principle of a future form is contained in the heart or embryo of everything. Air contains wind in constant motion within itself. The existence of the world is inherent in Divine Consciousness. Hence the world has its evolution and dissolution in Divine Consciousness, like the rise and fall of wind in empty air.