Chapter 188 — Creation Stories Are Fiction; How Yogis See Creation

Vasishta continued:—

As said before, the story of in the beginning and the first rise of the living soul from the calm and quiet spirit of God is only a fiction meant to explain that the nature of the animate soul is the same as the Supreme Soul. The fiction serves to explain that the individual soul is not only a part of the Supreme Soul, it truly is the same with it.

When the subjective soul is employed with thoughts of the objective, it is called the living God or individual soul. The inclination of the self-intelligent or subjective soul towards the objects of thought garbs it under a great many fictitious names, which you, O Rama, shall now hear me describe in all their varieties.

It is called the living soul or jiva from its power of living and thinking. From its addiction towards thoughts, it is called the thinking (chitta) principle and the intellect. It is termed intelligence for its reasoning (buddhi) of this thing as that, as well as for its knowledge of what is what. It is called the mind (manas) from its minding, willing and imagining of many things. The reliance in self that “I am” is what is called egoism (ahamkara). The vulgar call the principle of perception mind which, when freed from everything, is called the intellect by the wise and those acquainted with the scriptures. It is called the sum total of the eightfold principles (puryastaka) or totality of existence when it is combined with all its wishes of creation. It is named subtle nature (prakriti) for its production of the substantial world. Being absent or imperceptible to our perception, it is called hidden nature.

In this way, many other fictitious names are given to God by way of fiction or fabrication of our imagination. All these fictitious names that I have mentioned are mere inventions of our fancy for the one formless and changeless Eternal Being. 10 In this manner, all these three worlds are only the fairylands of our dreams and the castles of our imagination. They appear as objects made for our enjoyment and bliss, but in reality, they are an intangible emptiness imperceptible to touch.

11 So must you know, O best of embodied beings, that this body of yours is of a spiritual and intangible nature. It is the intellectual body formed of the empty intellect, which is rarer than rarefied air. 12 It neither is born nor dies in this world, but continues with our consciousness of ourselves until our final liberation from the sense of our personalities.

This mental body or mind of ours is the recipient of the fourteen worlds and all created objects. 13 In the course of time, millions of worlds continue to be created and dissolved in the extensive regions of our minds. An unnumbered train of created beings are growing and falling like fruit in the mind over the long run of time. 14 This intellectual body beholds the world, both inside and outside of it, like a looking glass reflects and refracts its outer and inner images, and as open air reflects and shows us the upper skies. 15 The mind must bear these images in its mirror until its final dissolution with all things at the end of the world when all minds and bodies and all the world and their contents are to be incorporated in the great emptiness of the Divine Mind.

16 The compactness of the Divine Mind, which comprehends all images or ideas in itself, imparts them partly in all individual minds, which are only parts of itself and which are made to think likewise. 17 This spiritual body that is occupied in viewing the inborn world in itself is called the form of the great Brahma by some, and the god Viraj by others. 18 Some call him the everlasting and others give him the name of Narayana or floating on the surface of the waters. Some name him Isha (Lord) or Prajapati, the lord of creatures.

19 This suddenly chanced to have his five organs of sense seated in the various parts of his body, where they still retain their seats as before. 20 Then his delusion of phenomena seems to extend far and wide without any appearance of reality, all being a vast waste and void. 21 It is all the appearance of that eternal and transcendental Brahman, and not of the phenomena which is never real. It is the same Brahman without beginning or end appearing in a light quite unintelligible to us.

22 Our inquiry into the spiritual form of God leads us to take the world to be a delusion, just as the longing of an ardent lover after his loved one leads him to see her swelling body in his dream. 23 As we have the blank and formless notion of a pot presented in the real shape of the pot in our minds, so have we the ideas of our bodies and the world represented as realities in dreams and imagination. 24 As dreamed objects of our empty minds seem to be real while we sleep, so all these ethereal objects in nature appear as solid substances in the delusion of our dreams by daylight.

25 This spiritual and formless body of the jiva comes to be gradually perceived in us, and by itself also, as we come to see ethereal forms presenting themselves to us in our dream. 26 Then the forms are embodied in a gross body composed of flesh and bones and all its organs and its covering of skin and hair. In this state it thinks of its carnal desires. 27 Then it reflects on its birth and acts in that body and upon the duration and end of that body, and it entertains the false ideas of the enjoyments and incidents of its life. 28 It comes to know that it is subject to decay, decrepitude and death. It wanders on all sides of the wide sphere of this globe. It gets knowledge of the knower and known, and also of the beginning, middle and end of all acts and things.

29 And thus the Primordial Spirit, being transformed to the living soul, comes to know the elementary bodies of earth, air, water and fire and the varieties of created beings and conduct of men. Having been the container of all bodies and space, it finds itself contained and confined within the limits of its body and of this earth.