1 Vasishta resumed:—
After I said these things to the king, he honored me with his obeisance. Then thinking I had finished my task for him, I rose up to proceed on my aerial journey. 2 Thus I have related to you this day, O most intelligent Rama, regarding the omnipresence of the Divine Spirit. Keep this empty view of Brahman before your sight and proceed everywhere with the peace of your mind. 3 Know all this to be Brahman itself, only a nameless and insubstantial emptiness. It is something unborn and uncreated, all calm and quiet, without beginning, middle or end. 4 It is said to be the reflection of intellect and it is called Brahman because of its immensity. It is also called the most transcendent, and something without any name at all.
5 Rama asked, “Tell me sage, how can we see the celestials, the siddha spiritual masters, the perfect (sadhya) spirits, Yama, Brahma and the heavenly vidyadharas and gandharvas? Tell me also, sage, how people of other spheres can be visible to us?”
6 Vasishta replied:—
The celestial siddhas, sadhyas, the gods Yama and Brahma, and the vidyadhara demigods, together with all other beings of great souls and wonderful might, 7 are all visible to you both day and night, and above, below, behind and ever before you, if you will only look at them with the eyes of your mind. But if you shut your mental eye against spirituality, you can never see spirit presented before your view. 8 If you become used to seeing these spiritual beings, they are never far away. They are described as self-willed beings and they are said to be always wandering everywhere.
9 These volitional beings are as unsteady as the living creatures of this earth, like the volatile winds which blow at random in every direction. 10 They resemble the airy creatures of your imagination and dreams which hover fluttering in the air and gather about you by day and night. Others have no will or motion and remain stationary in their respective spheres. 11 Through silent and steadfast meditation, then in the calm quiet of your mind and soul, you can see the reflection of any of these spirits and, without fail, you can visit them in the innermost recess of your soul. 12 This is how men see the gods and spiritual masters, arrayed with all their majesty and glory as they are imagined to be in their intense meditations. 13 Men of steady minds find themselves soaring to heaven accompanied by spiritual masters and clad in all their glory. Those of unsteady and unsettled minds must take great pains to gain control of the fleeting object of their contemplation.
14 The world is an insubstantial and imperceptible thing, ever a silent and serene void, the emptiness of the intellect. However, it appears to be a solid and compact mass, according to the notion we have of it in our consciousness. 15 It does not exist in our unconsciousness, it does not appear to exist, and it is not a dull, unconscious or unthinking being. It is an emptiness and a nothing, an utterly intangible and imperceptible thing to our senses and consciousness. 16 The nature of consciousness is to reflect in itself. All that we see about us is the shadow of that reflection. The knowledge that this shadowy reflection is substantial proceeds from the vanity of the intellect, and not from its nature which is free from mistake.
17 There can be no talk of causation, production or vegetation in the nature of the universe. It is an absolute void entirely devoid of the elements of cause and effect. 18 That which appears to be produced is only a void in the midst of primeval emptiness. There can be no attribution of unity or duality to infinite emptiness. 19 Yet the world appears to your mind as something that exists and it is visible to your eyes. This happens in the same manner as you have consciousness and sight of dreams in the undisturbed calm of your empty sleep. 20 Imagination causes mountains to rise in the empty sphere of our minds, but in reality there are no mountains. Such is this creation, an airy working of the Divine Mind.
21 Hence the wise and intelligent remain as quiet and mute as motionless blocks of wood. Great minds manage themselves like wooden puppets, moving as they are moved by the prime moving power of God alone. 22 As waves are seen rolling on the surface of waters and as currents whirl round and hurl headlong into the deep, so all of creation and all created things turn about the axle wheel of the great Brahma. 23 As emptiness is inborn in space and vibrations are immanent in the air, so these creations are inherent and inseparably connected with the Divine Spirit in their formless and ideal shapes. 24 An air-drawn castle of our will or imagination, with all its lack of substance, presents a substantial shape before us. In the same way, this world appears as a compact frame shown before us in spite of its situation in the formless mind of Brahma.
25 All three worlds that we are accustomed to believe as real, the sites of our temporal and spiritual concerns, are all void and formless and as unreal as the airy castles of our imagination. 26 The imagination of our minds creates populated cities. In the same way, the thought of the mind of God creates these numerous worlds and presents them to our minds and eyes.
27 Though we always think of this visible world as a reality, it bears no meaning at all. It resembles the sight of a man’s own death in his dream. 28 A man sees a dream in which his own funeral is conducted by his son. In the same way, the unreal world is seen as a reality, in as much as it is reflected as such by its supreme contriver. 29 Both the existence and non-existence of the universe constitute the body of the pure God in the same way as a made-up name applied to a person makes no difference to his character.
30 Whether what I have said is true or not, you have nothing to lose or gain. It is useless for wise men to expect any reward by casting offerings into Falgu River. So to the intelligent who have known the true God, there is no value to take the pains of invoking the aid of the minor gods.