1 Rama asked:—
Sage, if the whole fullness of space is emptiness, like the phenomena in our dreams, it must follow that the world we see in our waking state is also emptiness. There can be no doubt in it. 2 But answer my important question. How does the formless and bodiless intellect appear to become embodied in all these various forms of bodies that we see in our waking dream?
3 Vasishta replied:—
Rama, visible phenomena that appear to view in our waking dream by daylight are all empty bodies. They are born, rest and are supported in empty emptiness. Hence you cannot on any reasonable basis doubt their emptiness. 4 This infinite and eternal void is entirely devoid of any and all material causes. It is impossible for any material creation to come from this nothing. 5 The formless intellect could not bring forth material earth to form solid bodies. It is impossible to believe that any phenomena which appear has any real existence in nature.
6 Therefore the airy intellect sees the visible in the daytime in the same manner it sees visions in its dreams at night. It sees them all rising in their intellectual light within itself, but appearing as real and material objects set outside itself by its delusion. 7 The reflection of the workings of the intellectual soul appears as real within the hollow sphere of the intellect. What we see awake resembles what our memories represent in the mind in our sleep, and it takes the name of the visible world.
8 The clear perception of these intellectual representations in the emptiness of the mind is called a vision or dream. The gross conception of them in the mind is called the gross or material world. 9 The intellect itself gives different names to its different views of the same internal thought and ideas. It calls the finer and purer ones thoughts, and the grosser ones visible or material objects. 10 The same reflection of the intellect is called both dream and the world. The workings of the mind and its reflections in itself are natural to intellect. Though the dreams vanish upon waking, yet the working and reflections of the mind are never at rest, either in waking or dreaming.
11 Many such visions of creation alternately rise and set in the emptiness of Brahma’s mind. They are never apart from it, just as empty air is either in motion or at rest in the hollow of the great void and is always inseparable from it.
12 Rama said:—
Sage, you have told me that there are millions of worlds. Tell me now, which are situated within the sphere of the cosmic egg and which are beyond? 13 Which worlds are the terrestrial globes and which are empty spheres? Which are fiery bodies in the sphere of fire and which are the airy bodies in the regions of air? 14 Which have surfaces of earth situated in the midst of emptiness on which hills and forests are set at the opposite sides of the globe, hanging up and down perpendicular in empty air? 15 Which are the aerial bodies with their living souls and which have inhabitants of darkness with their dark shapes? Which are formed of only emptiness and which bodies are full of worms and insects? 16 What sorts of beings settle the ethereal sphere and what live in the midst of rocks and stones? What dwell in bodies of water and what live in the air like birds? 17 Tell me, O greatest of philosophers, how this cosmic egg of ours is situated among all these worlds.
18 Vasishta replied:—
These wonderful unknown, unseen and unheard of worlds are mentioned and described in the scriptures which also give examples. They have been received and believed as true by their students. 19 Rama, the cosmology of the world has been described and explained by gods and sages in hundreds of their scriptures called the Agamas, all of which you are well acquainted with. 20 Now as you are well acquainted with the descriptions given in the scriptures, it is not necessary to relate them again here.
21 Rama replied:—
Yet tell me, O venerable sage, how the great void of the intellect came to be produced from Divine Spirit? Tell its extent and duration in time and space.
22 Vasishta replied:—
The great God Brahman is without beginning or end and is ever existent and without decay. There is no beginning, middle or end of him, nor are there any materials or shapes in his transcendent emptiness. 23 The emptiness of Brahman is without beginning or end and is spread unspent and unbounded to all eternity. It is this which makes the universe which is ever without beginning or end.
24 The reflection of the intellectual void in its own emptiness is called the universe by itself to no purpose. 25 As a man sees a fair city in his dream by night, so he sees the sight of this world in his dream by daylight. 26 Do not think that solid rock has any solidity in it, or fluid waters have any fluidity in them. Do not think that empty space is emptiness or the passing time has any flight or counting of it. 27 All things are fixed in their formless, unchanging and ideal states in Divine Consciousness. The false and unsteady nature of the human mind gives and views them in different forms according to its own fancy.
28 The mind sees the uncreated eternal ideas of the intellect as created objects, just as in its dream it sees rocks where there are no rocks and sky where there is none. 29 As the formless and unconscious mind sees material worlds in its sleep, so it sees the invisible and formless world as a material form during its waking hours. 30 As air even at rest is always in motion, so the spirit of Brahman is constantly vibrating without its rise or fall.
31 This world resides in the Divine Spirit of Brahman just like the property of fluidity resides in water, emptiness resides in vacuum, and substantiality resides all substances. 32 The world is neither produced nor external to the soul. The world does not occur to anyone or develop from the life or death of anybody. The world is causeless. It comes from no cause and is neither joined with nor separate from the Divine Spirit, 33 the one who has no beginning or end or any indication of itself. It is formless, only an intellectual emptiness. It can never become the cause of a visible, material creation. 34 Thus as parts and features together make an entire body, so this empty world is situated in the undivided and formless emptiness of Brahman.
35 All creation is without substance other than pure intelligence without any materiality or foulness. There is no entity or nonentity here, nor can anything be said to exist or not exist. 36 All this is only an air drawn city of our imagination and dream. Everything here appears to be stretched out in a fairy dance all about us. But in reality, it is only a calm and quiet emptiness full with the unchanging and un-decaying spirit of God. 37 The whole is the hollowness of the divine heart and the empty sphere of the omniscient Consciousness. Its reasoning intellect reflects many a transparent image in its own sphere and to no end. This is called the world or the image of the Divine Soul, which continues forever and ever.