1 Vasishta continued saying:—
The life of a person is dear and useful to him as long as he lives and not afterwards. But hear me tell you the good of a man dying in some holy place with a wish for future reward in his next life. 2 God has ordained certain virtues and merits to certain places, even in the beginning of his imaginary city of this world. 3 Whatever merit is assigned to any place awaits on the soul of a person after its release from bondage when he has performed the acts of piety commanded by the scriptures. 4 Hence any great sin committed by anybody anywhere is either partly or wholly erased by the good act of the person, according to comparative merit of the holy place or the degree of remission in the mind of the penitent sinner. 5 If the sin is insignificant compared to the holiness of the place, the sinner is completely released from his guilt and attains the object of his wish. 6 If the sin is equal to the holiness of the place, the penitent man receives two bodies in his next life, a physical body and a spiritual soul. 7 Such is the effect of the earliest guilt and merit of mankind. They are endowed with double bodies, physical frames and spiritual souls. Such is the Divine Soul even from before.
8 The principle is called Brahman in its sense of the whole. It is called Brahma as the totality of living souls (jivas). It is called I or the ego to refer to any living soul in particular. As God remains in any manner, whether whole or part, so he manifests himself as the world.
9 The reflection of purity acquired in some holy place appears to the penitent soul. It appears to be the opposite to the guilty soul which is not freed from its sin in any holy place.
10 A person sees visions of his own death, his living relatives weeping, and considers himself to be a departed ghost in the next world, all alone and without a single soul beside him. 11 He also sees the deaths of his friends there, and he also thinks that he hears the wailings of their relations at that place. He sees all these mental illusions in his frenzy, just like a man with deranged body functions sees the apparitions of imaginary demons in his confused state.
12 So it also happens with great souls. They see the sights of both good grace and fear according to the measure of their merit or guilt in this life. Thus thousands of hopeful and hideous shapes float about in the imaginations of men, owing to the purity or depravity of their natures.
13 The friends of a dying man, lying unconscious as a dead body, weep and wail over his corpse then take him to the funeral ground for cremation. 14 But a guiltless man, accompanied by his self-conscious and righteous soul, approaches his infirmity and death with firmness and without any feeling of sorrow. 15 With his material body he sees himself as a living being. With his invisible part, his inner soul, he sees his conquest over death by the merit of his holy pilgrimage. 16 The guiltless man fears his death only momentarily. He is conscious of the indestructibility of his inner soul, just like a man clad in armor is fearless of the arrows of his lightly armored enemy. 17 In this manner the deceased’s relatives find his pure soul obtaining immortality after his death. Life and death are indifferent to the virtuous and purified person.
18 The sights of all three worlds are equally false both in their tangible and intangible forms, just as the vision of an object in a dream is as false as another (in a waking state) in their visionary nature. 19 We have a clear understanding that the dreams and imaginations arising in our minds are deceptions. But the deceptions of our waking dreams in broad daylight appear more real and are less conspicuous.
20 King Prajnapti asked, “But tell me sage, how do virtue and vice, both of which are bodiless things, assume the bodily forms of living beings in the course of their reincarnation?”
21 Vasishta replied:—
There is nothing impossible for the creative power of Brahman to produce in the imaginary fabric of this world of his mind. The substantive Divine Will is able to give substantial forms to intellectual things. 22 There is nothing which is unimaginable and there is nothing that cannot be produced by the mind of Brahman. It is the same with us. The only things we know are what we imagine in our finite minds.
23 A visionary city in a dream and an imaginary castle of imagination both present a similar, ideal form to the mind. Both are composed of a collection of ideas which appear as real objects for the time being. 24 All the numerous thoughts that lie like a dead and dormant mass in the states of our deep and sound sleep appear to us in endless forms in the visions of our dreams and our waking imagination and leave their traces in the memory. 25 Who has not had the idea of aerial castles of his dreams and imaginations and found them composed of only his ideas in the airy world of empty consciousness? 26 Therefore, what is there that is not capable of being produced in this aerial world? Everything can be produced in the airy imagination of the empty intellect, and its substance is the same.
27 Therefore what appears in the form of the visible universe is only a fallacy. There is nothing in real existence or nonexistence. All things appear to be existent and non-existent in the luminous conscious space (chidakasa) of the Divine Mind. 28 Anything that is perceived in any manner is a manifestation of a thought, an inspiration of it. The enlightened seekers of truth find nothing wrong in believing this.
29 Therefore, if the doctrines of his religion teach a man to hope for the enjoyment of a heaven with flowery banks and streams flowing with nectar, then it is very probable that he will meet with the same things in his future life in the next world. 30 Therefore, the acts done in this world by anybody are attended with their like rewards for him in the next. There is nothing inconsistent in this belief, though it appears so to the unbeliever.
31 Should there be anything which may be said to be permanent in this world, it must be always be present in the sight of its viewer. If this is the standard, then let any man identify what always remains in his sight. Only the ideas of things in his mind are ever present in his knowledge and never lost sight of in his consciousness.
32 I have compared dreams and thoughts to prove the essentiality of our notions and ideas. Because the worlds belong to the will and exist in the mind of omniscience, they are nothing other than the essence of the great Brahman himself. 33 There is nothing wanting or impossible in the aerial castle of your imagination. There is nothing which does not and cannot exist in the will and mind of the Almighty. 34 Whatsoever form is conceived in the Divine Mind, the same remains fixed there and appears situated before our sight like a picture or a screen play. 35 Therefore this appearance of the Divine Mind is perceived only by our internal senses. There is nothing to be perceived by any external organ, or to both internal and external at once, because only our minds perceive the impressions of the Eternal Mind and it is our minds that impel the internal organs to receive those reflections.
36 As the Lord has willed everything at first, so it lasts with him to the very end of his creation when his will of creating the world anew gives another form to the state of things in future. 37 The Lord manifests himself as he wills, in the manner of his will and in the form of another world in every kalpa duration of creation. In the same way the minds of men come to see another world and another state of things in each successive dream.
38 There is nothing which does not exist in this worldly city of Divine Will. All that exists there is nothing but the production of Divine Consciousness. Therefore this world is to be known as full of the forms of the productive mind of God.