Chapter 175 — Manifestation of All as Intellect’s Dream; the Value of the Yoga Vasishta

Vasishta continued:—

The emptiness of Consciousness which first presented the shadow of a dream could not possibly assume the form of a causal and conscious body in order to be visible and form the visible world. How is it possible for an intellectual void to have a physical form at all?

O Rama, in the beginning of creation there was nothing except a shadow dream in the Intellect. There was no this creation or the next world in visible existence. The world appeared only in the form of an insubstantial idea of it. The empty intellect remained as quiet with its ideal world as the mind rests quietly with the nightmare in its dream. Such is the essence of the Intellect, translucent and without beginning or end. Though it is a clear void in itself, yet it bears the ideal model of the world in its mirror.

So long as this is unknown, the world appears as a gross substance. But being known as contained in the Divine Spirit, it becomes a spiritual substance. Since how is it possible for any gross matter to attach itself to the transcendent void of which there is no beginning or end? This pure and abstract knowledge of the world is like the dream of a city. Such being the state of the world before its creation, how can any earthly or other matter ever be joined with emptiness?

The light of the Divine Soul, shining in the emptiness of Consciousness, is called the cosmos or the universe consisting of, as it is supposed, matter, mind and faculties. Only the lack of understanding makes us suppose a thing such as a material earth spinning around like a whirlpool with the force of the wind. It has no basis or stability. Afterwards the same Divine Spirit (jiva), wishing to display its own glory in its personality of Brahma, thought of the ideal forms of the earth and other things. 10 Then the great mind of Brahma shone with a purer light of itself. This is called his creation which is of an aerial form and nothing else. 11 That pure light was nothing substantial of itself; but only the brightness of Consciousness shining with the radiance of the Divine Spirit. 12 This light is the body of the spirit shining as intellectual light in the void of Consciousness. It presented the appearance of the world in it like dreams floating before the empty mind.

13 There is no other inference that can be derived. There is no other cause that can possibly be assigned or produced. It is certain that in the beginning the Divine Spirit sees itself in the form of creation within the emptiness of its Consciousness. 14 This body of the world, having no property of a tangible body, is never fragile in its nature. But it is as void as the emptiness of Consciousness and as insubstantial as empty air. 15 The form of the world is that of the Supreme Being, which is without any form whatever. It is identical with the Divine form. The Supreme Being comprehends all bodies in itself and extends undivided as all in all in its own self.

16 This is better understood with the example of a dream which rises of itself and shows itself in various forms. But all these varieties are nothing but empty visions, so the diverse scenes and sights of the world are no more than shows of the Divine Spirit. 17 The Divine Soul of Brahman assumed to itself the state of the living spirit and, without forsaking its transparent form, became of the form of mind. 18 This power extends the universe in its ethereal form in air, which appears to be changed from its unchangeable state of transparency to that of a gross nature.

19 The mind is Brahman who gives an external and visible form to the world that was seated invisibly in his heart. It is continually employed in the process of repeated creation and destruction of all. 20 The immaterial mind of Brahman evolved the world from its living matter, which was originally seated in his heart. From there it appeared in a different form as a counterpart of the original, or as the formless representation of something in a dream. 21 The god Brahma, dwelling in himself with his formless mind in his embodied form of the triple world, is being diffused in endless forms of conscious and unconscious beings in the triple world. 22 But there is no earth and no material form, not even anything of a visible appearance in the world. It is only the mind of Brahma which exhibits itself in the form of the formless and empty world.

23 Then Lord Brahma thought that his mental form was nothing of substance as it did not appear to sight. It was only Consciousness which shone in this manner within itself, without solidity or substantiality. 24 This mental conception or abstract contemplation of the world cannot be described with words. Realization makes the meditator remain in mute astonishment and causes him to continue as dumb in this ordinary conduct in life. 25 The mind reflecting upon infinite and unlimited Consciousness is lost in infinity. Hence Brahma, having remained in a long silence, at last awakened to his knowledge.

26 After the unconscious mind of Brahma came to its sense, it revolved in itself with its thoughts, just like the liquid waters of the sea turns in whirlpools by agitation. 27 As unconscious air is moved by its internal motion, so all living souls, who are identical with the calm and quiet Supreme Soul, slide away like waters flowing from their main source. 28 As winds and waves are identical with the calm air and still water, yet blow and flow in all directions of themselves, so the minds of living beings, which are the same with the Supreme Intellect, run in different ways of their own accord. 29 Hence the empty intellect of all living beings is the same as the Divine Intellect. This, O most intelligent Rama, is otherwise also known as the Supreme Soul.

30 To us, the Divine Soul appears to be blinking its eyes, like the movement of air. Closing them causes the end of the world an opening exposes creation to view. 31 Its opening of eyes causes the visibility of creation. Closing its eyes makes it invisible or extinct to view. The absence of both these acts is equivalent to the formless void of the world. 32 Seeing the opening and shutting of its sight, or seeing the visibility and disappearance of the world in one unvaried light, makes existence and nonexistence the same in the mind and indicates the perfection of the soul. 33 Seeing and not seeing and their results of creation and extinction make no difference in Divine Consciousness which is always the same. 34 Therefore know this world is as calm and quiet as the Divine Soul. It is of the nature of the uncreated void which is ever the same and has no decay.

35 The sensing, conscious Intellect exhibits itself as the insensible and unconscious emptiness. The same Consciousness shows itself in the form of the world, which in a manner is its body and home. 36 Consciousness is neither born nor made, nor does it ever grow or decay. It is never visible or perceptible, nor do we have any idea of it. It displays its wonders in itself without any extraneous substance in it. 37 All that is called phenomena is the brightness of the blazing gem of the great Consciousness proceeding from the quarry of its emptiness, just as the sunshine which illuminates the world issues from the sun.

38 Brahman shines forth as creation, just as our sleep exhibits the imaginary world in its dream. All this creation is as quiet as sleep, yet it is full with the commotion of the slumbering world. 39 Whatever is known in any manner in the mind, whether existent or nonexistent in the world, is the reflection of Consciousness, whether it be an entity or nonentity.

40 Should the mystery of existence lead us to assume some cause, such as primary atoms or the like, then what cause can be assigned to the appearance of sights in our dream? 41 If the origin of the world is not ascribed to Brahman as the origination of dreams to consciousness, then neither is there any truth in the existence of the One nor in the appearance of the others, both of which cannot be true.

42 The minds of men are inclined towards the particular objects of their fancy. Hence those who believe and delight in God take him to be the origin of all things that appear to them. 43 Whatever is in the minds of men, and whatever is the object of constant devotion in their hearts, they know them as the only objects of their lives and the very essence of their souls. 44 He who delights in Brahman immediately becomes of the same mind. So anyone who is gratified in anything is united with that in his mind. 45 The man who has obtained his rest in God has found the highest bliss in his mind, though he shows himself as otherwise in his outward conduct and social dealings.

46 There is no reason to speculate about unity or duality when the entirety of existence is as I have taught. It is in vain to look at anything else. 47 There is nothing visible or invisible, or anything as formless or having a form. There is nothing as subject or object, nor anything of reality or unreality here. The whole is the very Brahman himself. 48 This world is without beginning or end and is known to the world as soul. But in fact, one Brahman rules over all without any fixed rule, like a path without a name.

49 That which is conceived as the serene Brahman is also called the bright Brahma or the creator god, just as what is known as the calm and clear sky is also called empty space. 50 Nebulae that seem to dim the face of the sky are something in appearance and nothing in substance. In the same way our mental faculties appear to flutter and obscure the clear atmosphere of Consciousness. They seem to be dualities and other than the serene intellectual principle. 51 But the mental, physical and all other perceptive and active powers of living beings are the common properties of the intellectual soul, just as the many gaps and hollows in various bodies are in common with the emptiness of the one universal vacuum.

52 As the quiet soul passing from its sleeping to the dreaming state retains its identity without change, so the Divine Soul passing into creation after its quiescence remains the same unchanged unity. 53 Thus the Supreme Spirit reflects the shadow of its great Consciousness in the forms of creation and dream. Hence neither this creation nor the sights in dreams are anything in substance other than a mere shadow of the picture in the Divine Mind. 54 The bright picture of the Divine Mind in the emptiness of the Great Consciousness exhibits its form and the ideal appearance as visible creation, like a fairyland in dream.

55 It is impossible for the world to appear by any of the means conjectured by different schools. From the lack of any prior cause, it must be that Consciousness saw itself exhibited in its own emptiness. 56 In the beginning of creation, the formless void of Consciousness showed itself in this visible and intangible form, representing itself as a picture of its mind or dream or its imagination. 57 Like a dream, it is a blank without any attribute. It is changeable but not breakable. Although it has the substance of intellectual emptiness, yet it is corrupted with the stain of our misapprehension of it, called ignorance. 58 Like a dream, it seems to possess some properties in its appearance, but in substance, it is wholly devoid of any. It is never different from the spiritual nature of the Lord, though it appears otherwise to our misconception of it.

59 The phenomenal world is like a mountain seen in dream and is inseparable from the soul in which it resides. Therefore the visible appearing in the emptiness of Consciousness is more empty than the vacuum of space. 60 That which is the Supreme Soul and is devoid of all form, the very same and of the same nature is all this which we call the visible world. 61 Whatever conception we have in our dream, the same is the display of our intellect. The cities and castles we see in the dreams are no real existences, only appearances presented to us by the intellect.

62 As the recognition of our acquaintance in dream and the memory of impressions in our mind are altogether insubstantial, so are the sights of the visible and the perception of things also quite unreal. 63 Therefore leaving these unrealities of our recognitions, perceptions and memories which are so much relied upon by the ignorant, we should take these forms in the light of the direct manifestations of God. 64 As waves constantly roll on the surface of the sea, so innumerable worlds continually revolving on the surface of the Supreme Soul are of the same nature as the Supreme Soul.

65 All laws and their exceptions and all varieties and complexities unite in harmony in the Divine Nature. 66 Therefore Brahman is all in all and there is none and nothing besides. He alone is the soul of all, as all these live in him.

67 The wandering mind thinks the world is wandering about with all its contents. But the steady minded take it to be quite calm and quiet. Hence it is impossible even for the learned to settle their minds without the habitual calmness of their attention. 68 There is no other means to suppress the mind from the sight of the visible, only the constant habit of attending to the lectures on this sacred scripture. 69 Though it is difficult to repress the mind from its thoughts of this world, either in its states of living or death, yet it is possible to do so immediately by eliminating its impressions through the study of this spiritual scripture.

70 Knowledge that the visible body is nothing, and knowledge that the mind lacks any body, both in this world as well as in the next, will always serve to preserve our peace and quiet. 71 The mind, body and all that is visible are suppressed under the sense of their nothingness, just as the mind, its force and moving clouds all disappear in the absence of their cause.

72 The only cause of restlessness is ignorance which is altogether dispelled by the study of this scripture. Those whose minds are enlightened a little become composed from attending to the recital and preaching of this work. 73 The unintelligent will be able to understand the teachings. He who understands the words and meanings of these lectures will never return disappointed. 74 Know that this scripture is the best means to drive away error and to produce a universal indifference or sameness everywhere. 75 Therefore try your best to weigh well the teachings of this scripture. Whether you study one or both parts of this work, you will doubtless be freed from your misery thereby.

76 Should this scripture prove distasteful, owing to it being the composition of a holy sage, then the student may consult the sacred scriptures to perfect his spiritual knowledge.

77 Do not spend your time in false reasoning or offer your precious life to fame and ashes. Let your wise understanding commit the visible to the invisible soul. 78 No one can buy a moment of his lifetime for all the gems in the world. Yet there are many who foolishly misspend their time in their worldly dream.

79 Though we have a clear conception of the world, yet it is a false sight together with that of its beholder, the living soul. It is as false as dreaming the wailing of one’s friend at one’s own death.