Chapter 210 — We See What We Believe; Karma; upon Realization, Phenomena Disappear

Vasishta resumed and said:—

Now let me reply to your question why heaven is not filled with a hundred moons. If a hundred people wish to become the moon in their future lives, and if their efforts are crowned with success, why do we not see a hundred moons? Those who aspire to become as bright as the full moon of heaven actually became so in their conception of themselves in the sphere of their minds, and not by their situation in the vault of the sky or in the globe of that luminary.

Tell me who has ever anywhere gotten into another’s imaginary city? Who has ever obtained any fancied treasure except the person who framed the fancy and fabricated the wish for wealth? Everyone has a heaven of his own in his conception of creation. That is where he is situated and shines as a bright, full moon without phases of wane or wax. All those aspirants to luminosity had thought of entering into the moon of his own mind. There he found himself resting at last with full light of that luminary and the delight of his conscious soul. Each thought of entering the shining moon in their minds. Each felt as glad in their situation as if they were seated in the globe of the celestial moon.

Whatever one seeks and searches after, the same becomes natural with his consciousness. If one has a firm belief is some state, he thinks and feels himself to be the very same. As everyone who aspires to be the full moon comes to be according to his conception, so the marriage suitors of the same bride become wedded to her according to his own conception of her. The one pure maiden who is thought of as taken to wife by many men in their minds is never defiled by anyone of them. They have a simple enjoyment of her idea only.

10 As the sovereign ruler of the seven continents holds his sway over them without ever going out of his city, so the soul passes through everything while remaining in the precincts of its body, and so does every man see his imaginary castle in the sphere of his own house. 11 When the whole universe owes its origin to the imagination of its omniscient originator, the self-born Brahma, what else can the universe be but an intangible void, quite calm and quiet in itself?

12 Now let me tell you about the unknown and invisible results of the acts of piety such as charity, funeral rites, religious austerities and the repetition of holy mantras which accumulate to the departed ghosts of bodily beings in the next world.

13 Souls marked with traces of pious acts in them come to see them vividly as actual works painted in lively colors fabricated by their lively intellects, like their dreams. 14 A carnal mind distrusts the reality of these impressions of consciousness and disregards the internal operation of the inner intellect. It becomes restless for its sensuous enjoyment and the exercise of the outward organs of action. Only by decrease of this passion does it become restored to inner peace and tranquility.

15 The theme of early poets tells us that the impressions of acts of piety and charity are imprinted in the intellect and reflected in the passive soul in the next world when the conscious soul continues to keep the gratification of those acts. 16 Thus the rewards of charity and miserliness are equally felt in the gratification and dissatisfaction of the soul in this world in which everything is according to our feelings of it.

17 Thus I have fully answered whatever you have asked of me. Now from all this, know that the sensible world is an intangible dream, an air-drawn spectacle of the mind.

18 King Prajnapti asked, “But sage, please tell me how could the intellect exist alone before the production of the body? How can a light exist without its receptacle of a lamp?”

19 Vasishta replied:—

The sense in which you use the word “body” is quite unknown to spiritually minded persons who discard the material meaning of the word, just as they reject the idea of rocks dancing in the air. 20 The meaning of the word “body” is the same as that of Brahman. There is no difference in meaning, just as there is none between the words fluid and liquid.

21 The body is an imaginary appearance. The great body of Brahma is like a phantom in vision which represents the forms of all things in the stupendous fabric of the universe as in a dream. 22 The difference between your dream, or what you see, and the fullness of Brahman is that what you see is the result of only what you have previously thought and they disperse and vanish upon your waking. But the universe exhibited in the fullness of Brahman is not so impermanent. 23 What is this thing we call the body, and how does it appear to us in the shape of something in our dream? Why does anything appearing as a reality in dream vanish and appear as nothing and an error upon our waking?

24 There is no waking, sleeping or dreaming or any other condition of being in the turiya transcendent state of Brahman. It is something like pure and primeval light, like transparent air, all quiet and still. 25 It is the same as the unknown and inscrutable light which shows and glows before us to this day. It is the same primeval and primordial light that first showed the sight of the world to view, as if a dream in the gloom of night.

26 A body traveling from one district to another, though proceeding onward, is always in the middle of its circuit, yet never fixed at any spot. In the same way, all things are in endless rotation in this world, whether singly or collectively.

27 The sight of the world, like that of a dream, presents a favorable aspect to some minds, but it presents a clear and serene prospect to men of unclouded intellects. 28 The same empty Intellect is the emptiness of space and the innumerable fullness of objects in space, the reflection and the eclipse of all things, the existence and nonexistence of the world and matter, and unity and duality. 29 The world is entirely a complete evolution from the fullness of God. The world stands as a complete counterpart of the original. It is neither a shining nor a not-shining body by itself, but is as bright as the contents of a crystal within its bowels.

30 Wherever there is the evolution of the world in the Intellect, there is the presence of the subtle soul. Whenever there is a speck of thought anywhere, it is attended with the thought of the world also. 31 The emptiness of Intellect is present everywhere. This omnipresence is the divine presence which is termed the world. 32 The Divine Soul is as quiet and unchangeable as this universe is stable and stationary. The fluctuation of the supreme mind causes these variations in the face of the city of the Divine Will.

33 The impossibility of any other inference proves that the universe is necessarily of the same essence as God. Any hypothesis of agnostic philosophers is unreasonable and inconsistent with this subject. 34 The common belief of mankind, the testimony of the scriptures, and the statements of the Vedas are established and incontrovertible truths. Therefore nobody can have any doubt about the reality of the Divine Spirit. 35 This being acknowledged, it becomes evident that the world is God itself. When the world appears as one with God, it is seen in our clear spiritual insight to be extinct in the Divine Essence.

36 Because the impermanent sight of the world is ultimately the same as God, when the living soul is conscious of the Intellect, the sight of phenomena is lost. This is the doctrine of Pantheism in which all of nature is seen as God. 37 He who is conscious of the sphere of his intellect is also conscious of the tree of the world that is dependent upon consciousness. He sees the three worlds in himself, whether he is in the state of bondage or liberation. 38 The visible world, though so manifest to view, is entirely lost to sight upon its right knowledge. He who knows this becomes like the setting sun, wholly invisible to public sight, and remains as mute as a lump of silent stone.

39 The way established by the Vedas and accepted by the general consent of wise men must be acknowledged as the right path leading to sure success. 40 He who adheres steadily to his own purpose by utter disregard of all other objects is said to be firmly determined and is sure to reap success in the end.

41 Everything appears in the same light in which a person is accustomed to see and know it. Whether the object of one’s faith is true or false, it still appears to each person as he is accustomed to believe it.

42 This is the conclusion of your question, as I have determined and delivered to you. Now be quick and walk your way with perfect ease of your mind, health of your body, and agility of your limbs.