Chapter 186 — Demonstration of All Nature as Brahma; Intellect Equally Everywhere in Varying Degrees of Individual Awareness; Curse or Blessing is All Ordained in the Beginning
1 Valmiki said:—
After Kundadanta finished talking, venerable Vasishta delivered his enlightening speech on spiritual knowledge, saying:—
2 The elevated soul of this person has found rest in the paradise of spiritual philosophy. He will see the world like a globe in his hand, glowing with the glory of the great God.
3 The phenomenal world is a false conception. It is truly the uncreated Brahman himself shining in this manner. This false conception is the same Brahman, one, ever calm and without decay. 4 Whatever thing appears anywhere, in any state, form or dimension, it is the very same Deity showing himself in that condition of his being, form and mode of extension. 5 This unborn, self-existent Deity is ever auspicious, calm and quiet. He is without decay, imperishable and pure and extends through all as the wide and endless space.
6 Whatever state of things he proposes in his all-knowing Intellect, the same he causes in a thousand ways, like a plant branching out in the rains. 7 The great cosmic egg is situated like a particle in the bosom of the great Intellect of God. This world of ours is also a mere particle in a grain of our brains. 8 Therefore, my good friend, know that your intellectual sphere is boundless, without beginning or end. Absorbed in the meditation of your personal extinction (nirvana), remain as quiet as you are sitting, relying upon your unperturbed and imperishable soul.
9 Wherever there is anything in any state or condition in any part of the world, there you will find the presence of the Divine Spirit in its form of emptiness. The Divinity, without changing its nature of calm serenity, assumes to itself whatever form or figure it likes. 10 The Spirit is itself both the view and its viewer. It is equally the mind and the body and the subjective and objective. It is something and yet nothing at all, being the great Brahman or Universal Soul that includes and extends throughout the whole.
11 Phenomena are not to be supposed as a duality or anything else other than the same Brahman. Phenomena are to be known as one and the same with the divine Self, like the visible sky and its emptiness. 12 The visible is the invisible Brahman and the transcendent One is manifest in this apparent whole. Therefore the manifest is neither inactivity nor in motion, and the formed is altogether formless. 13 Like dreams appearing to the understanding, these visions present themselves to view. The forms are all formless conceptions of the mind, mere intangible ideas of the brain.
14 As conscious beings become unconscious of themselves in their state of sleep, so all these living and intelligent beings become unconscious and ignorant of themselves and their souls, becoming like sluggish trees lost to their sensibility. 15 But in time, the intellect is capable of returning from its state of vegetable sluggishness to its true awareness, just as the dormant soul turns to see dreams in sleep, then behold the vivid outer world after waking. 16 Until the living soul is liberated from its charm of self delusion, it is subject to seeing its deceitful reveries of elemental bodies appearing as a series of airy dreams before the mind’s eye in sleep. 17 The mind gathers the waste of dullness about it, just as the soul draws the sheath of sleep upon itself. This dullness or dimness of apprehension is not intrinsic in the mind, but an extraneous relation contracted by it from without.
18 The intellect molds the form of one who is conversant with material and unconscious things into a motionless and immobile body. The same intellect shapes the forms of others who are conscious of their intellectual natures into the bodies of rational and moving beings. 19 But all these moving and unmoving beings are only different modifications and aspects of the same intellect, just as the nails and other parts of the human body are only diverse qualities of the same person.
20 The order and nature of things have invariably continued the same as they have been ordained by the Divine Will ever since its first formation of the world. Creation is a copy of its original mold in the Divine Mind. It is as ideal as any working of imagination or vision in dreaming, both in its states of being and not being. 21 But the intangible and tranquil Brahman is ever calm and quiet in his nature. He is never permeated with the nature of things, nor is he assimilated with the order of nature. 22 He appears as the beginning and end of creation, or as its cause of production and dissolution. But these are the mere dreams of Divine Consciousness which is always in its state of profound sleep and rest.
23 The world is ever existent in his spiritual nature, without any beginning or end himself. The beginning and end of creation bear no relation to his self-existent and eternal nature. 24 There is no reality in the nature of visible creation or in its existence or dissolution. All these are nothing other than representations shown in the spirit of God, like figures painted in a picture. 25 As an army drawn in painting does not differ from its model in the mind of the painter, so these tangible objects of creation, with all other endless varieties, are not different from their prototype in the mind of God.
26 In spite of the lack of any difference between the ideal and phenomenal worlds, yet the mind is inclined to see differences of subjectivity and objectivity, just as it is prepared to differentiate its own doings and dreams in the states of its sleep and ignorance. It is profound sleep and drowsiness of the soul that cause its liberation from this mistaken view, just as its sensibility serves to bind it more tightly to the bondage of the visible.
27 The reflection of the invisible soul exhibits the visible to view, just as the subtle sunbeam displays a thousand solid bodies glaring in sight. The soul shows the different phases of creation and dissolution as in its visions in dreaming. 28 The dreaming state of sleeping consciousness is called its existence in idea, and the waking state of the self-conscious soul is termed its existence in being, just as in the examples of men and gods and other intellectual beings. 29 After passing from these, and knowing the unreality of both these imaginative and speculative states, the soul falls into its state of profound sleep or trance (sushupti) which is believed by those who seek emancipation to be the state of liberation.
30 Rama said, “Tell me, O venerable sage, in what proportion does intellect abide in men, gods and demons respectively? How does the soul reflect itself during the dormancy of the intellect in sleep? In what manner does it contain the world within its bosom?”
31 Vasishta replied:—
Consciousness abides the same in gods and demons, as well as in all men and women. It dwells also in asuras, pisachas, rakshasa, naagas and in all beasts and birds, reptiles and insects, including plants and all inert things. 32 Its dimension is both boundless and as minute as an atom. It stretches to the highest heaven and includes thousands of worlds within itself.
33 The capacity that we have of knowing the regions beyond the solar sphere, and even of penetrating into the darkness of Lokaloka Mountain, is all the quality of our intellect which extends all over the boundless space and is perfectly transparent in its form and nature. 34 So very great is the extent of consciousness that it comprehends the entire universe in itself. Mundane creation originates from the act of Consciousness comprehending the whole universe. 35 Consciousness spreads all around like the current of a river gliding over the ground both high and low, leaving some parts of dry and filling others with its waters. So does Consciousness supply some bodies with intelligence while it forsakes others, leaving them in ignorance.
36 Consciousness is the living soul of the body, which is otherwise said to be lifeless and unconscious. It resides in all bodies, like air in empty pots, and becomes vivid in some and imperceptible in others, however it likes. 37 Knowledge of the soul removes the error of its materiality. Ignorance of its spiritual nature tends to foster the sense of its materiality, like one’s false conception of water in a mirage.
38 The mind is as minute as the minutest ray of sunbeams. Truly the living soul contains the whole world within it. 39 All this phenomenal world is the phenomena of the mind as it is displayed in its imaginary dreams, all being the display of the living soul. There is no difference at all between the ideas of things and their expression as phenomena. 40 The intellect alone is assimilated into all these substances which appear to have substantiality of their own. Whatever is seen without intellect is like its imaginary dream, or like the various forms of jewelry made of the same gold.
41 As the same water of the one universal ocean appears different in different places in its multiple forms of waves and billows, so does Divine Consciousness exhibit the various forms of the visible in itself. 42 As the fluid body of waters rolls on constantly in different shapes within the basin of the great deep, so do these multitudes of visible things, inherent in and identical with Divine Consciousness, glide on forever in its fathomless bosom. 43 All these worlds are situated like statues, as if engraved sculptures in the ethereal column of Divine Consciousness. They are all alike, immovable and without any motion of their own through all eternity.
44 We see the world in the empty space of our consciousness, just as we see the appearances of things in our airy dreams. Moreover, we find everything fixed in its own sphere and place, continuing in its own state without any change of position or any alteration in its nature. 45 The exact conformity of all things in this world to their conceptions in men’s minds, with respect to their unchanging equality in form and property, proves their identity with one another, or the relation of one being the container of the other.
46 There is no difference between the phenomenal and ideal worlds, just as is there none between those in our dream and imagination. They are, in fact, the one and same thing, just as the identity of waters contained in tanks, rivers and seas, and between the curses and blessings of gods.
47 Rama asked, “Tell me sage, is a curse or blessing the effect of any prior cause, or does it cause subsequent consequences? Is it possible for any effect to take place without an adequate cause?”
48 Vasishta replied:—
The manifestation of the clear firmament of Divine Consciousness in itself is called the world, just as the appearance and motion of waters in the great deep is called the ocean and its currents. 49 The revolutions of eternal thoughts of the Divine Mind resemble the rolling waves of the deep. The sages call these the will or volitions of the ever willful mind of God. 50 In course of time, through habitual meditation and reasoning and by naturally good disposition and evenness of mind, a clear minded soul comes to regard this manifestation of the Divine Will in its true spiritual light. 51 A wise man with perfect wisdom and learning becomes acquainted with the true knowledge of things. His understanding becomes wholly intellectual. He sees all things in their abstract and spiritual light and is freed from the false view of material duality. 52 The philosophic intellect, unclouded by prejudice, is the true form of the great Brahman himself who shines transparently manifest in our consciousness and has no other body besides. 53 An enlightened soul sees this entire infinite fullness of creation as a display of Divine Will, an exhibition of the tranquil and transparent soul of the divinity, and nothing else.
54 This manifestation of Divine Will in the boundless space of the universe is similar to an aerial castle of our imagination or a city of palaces seen in our dream. 55 This will that produces all is identical to the Divine Soul. It produces whatever it likes any place or time. 56 Like a boy thinking of flinging stones at the aerial castle of his imagination, so Divine Will is at liberty to scatter numberless of balls in the open and empty space of boundless emptiness. 57 Everything in all these three worlds is the manifestation of Divine Will. There is nothing such as a blessing or curse that is separate from the Divine Soul.
58 As in our fancy we can see oil gushing out of a sandy desert, so can we imagine creation coming out from the simple will of the Divine Soul. 59 It is impossible for an unenlightened understanding, never free from its knowledge of particulars and their differences, to understand that both good and evil come under the heading of universal good. 60 Whatever is willed in the beginning by the omniscience of God remains unchanged at all times unless it is altered by the same omniscient will. 61 The opposites of unity and duality dwell together in the same manner in the formless person of Brahman, just as the different body parts of an embodied being remain side by side in the same person.
62 Rama asked, “Why are some ascetics of limited knowledge so very ready to confer their blessings or pour their curses on others? Are they are attended with their good or bad results?”
63 Vasishta replied:—
Whatever is disposed in the beginning by the Divine Will existing in Brahman afterwards comes to pass, and nothing else. 64 Brahma, the lord of creation, knew the Supreme Soul in himself and thereby he became the agent of the Divine Will. Therefore there is no difference between Brahma and the Divine Will. 65 Whatever the lord of creatures, Brahma, proposes to do at first is inspired in him by the Divine Will. The same takes place immediately and the very same is called this world. 66 It has no support or receptacle for itself, but appears as an empty bubble in the great emptiness. The world resembles a chain of pearls fleeting before the eyes of blind men in the open sky.
67 Brahma willed the productions of creatures and the institution of the qualities of justice, charity and religious austerities. He established the Vedas and scriptures, and the five systems of philosophical doctrines. 68 The same Brahma also ordained that whatever devotees learned in the Vedas pronounce in their calmness or dispute takes place immediately.
69 Divine Will has formed the chasm of emptiness in the inactive intellect of Brahma and filled it with the fleeting winds and heating fire together with liquid water and solid earth. 70 It is the nature of this intellectual principle to think of everything in itself and to conceive the presence of everything within it, whether it be a thought of you or me or of anything else. 71 Whatever the empty intellect thinks in itself, it sees present before it, just as we come to see the unreal sights of things in our dreams. 72 As we see the unreal flight of stones as a reality in our imagination, so we see the false appearance of the world as true by the will of God and the contrivance of Brahma.
73 Whatever is thought of by pure consciousness must likewise be of a purely intellectual nature. There is nothing that can do anything otherwise. 74 We are inclined to conceive things in our consciousness according to how we think about them. We don’t see things in a way in which we are not accustomed. Hence we conceive all that we see in our dreams as true because of they are similar to what we are used to in our waking state. 75 By uniting one’s intellectuality with the universal and Divine Consciousness, and by the union of the subjective and objective and their perception in one’s self by means of triputi yoga (observer, observation, and observed), we can see the world in its true light.
76 One universal and empty consciousness, being all pervading and omnipresent, by itself is the all seeing subject and all seen objects. Hence whatever is seen or known to be anywhere is the very truth of the intellect and nothing else. 77 As vibration is inherent in air, and fluidity is inherent in water, so is largeness inherent in Brahma and absolute fullness is innate in the Divine Mind. 78 I also am Brahma in his self manifest form of Viraj which embodies the whole world as its body. Hence there is no difference between the world and Brahma, just as there is none between air and emptiness.
79 As drops in a waterfall assume many forms and run their several ways, so the endless works of nature take their various forms and courses at different places and times. 80 All beings devoid of senses and understanding issue like waters of a waterfall from the pouring forth of the Divine Mind. They remain forever in their uniform courses with the consciousness of their existence in Brahman. 81 But that which comes forth from the Divine Mind with senses and intellects in their bodies deviate in different ways, like liquid water, in pursuit of their many worldly enjoyments. 82 They do not know that the world is identical with the uncreated spirit of God, so because of their lack of good sense, they are insensibly led to regard this world as theirs.
83 We see the existence and distribution of other bodies in us, and the inertness of stones in our bodies. In the same way the Lord perceives the creation and annihilation and inertia of the world in himself. 84 In sleep we have both sound sleep and dreams. In the same way the Divine Soul perceives creation and its annihilation in its state of perfect rest and tranquility. 85 In its state of tranquility, the Divine Soul perceives the two phases of creation and destruction succeeding one another as its day and night, just as we see our sleep and dreams recurring like darkness and light.
86 As a man dreams of both moving bodies and immovable rocks in his sleep, so the Lord perceives the ideas of both stable and unstable in his intellectual tranquility. 87 As an absent minded man has no heed of the dust flying on any part of his body, so the Divine Spirit is not polluted by entertaining the ideas of gross bodies within itself. 88 As air and water and stones possess consciousness of their airy, watery and solid bodies, so are we conscious of our material, intellectual and spiritual bodies. 89 As the mind freed from seeing visible objects and liberated from entertaining all thoughts and desires flows along like a stream of clear water, so the current of the Divine Spirit eternally glides on with the waves and whirlpool currents of creation and dissolution perpetually rolling on and whirling.