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English Translation


 Book 1  Book 2  Book 3  Book 4  Book 5  Book 6a  Book 6b

Yoga Vasishta by Valmiki, The original Sanskrit attributed to Sage Valmiki, translated to English by Vihari Lala Mitra (1891), edited by Thomas L. Palotas (2013),

Books 1, 2, 3, and 4

BOOK I. On Detachment (Vairagya Khanda)
This section opens with a description of the mental state of Rama on his return from pilgrimage. King Dasharatha summons Rama into the presence of the sages Vasishta and Vishwamitra. Vasishta asks Rama to explain the reasons for his melancholy state of mind and his indifference towards all worldly affairs. Rama responds by relating the thoughts and reflections that had been troubling his mind and giving him no peace. His words and attitude reveal the awakening of a burning detachment (vairagya). However, Rama has serious doubts about the soundness of his conclusions about life, so he asks his guru for instruction. Vasishta begins his teaching and all the legendary saints and yogis gather in King Dasharatha’s hall to listen to this heavenly dialogue.

 Ch 1  Ch 2  Ch 3  Ch 4  Ch 5  Ch 6  Ch 7  Ch 8  Ch 9

 Ch 10  Ch 11  Ch 12  Ch 13  Ch 14  Ch 15  Ch 16  Ch 17  Ch 18  Ch 19

 Ch 20  Ch 21  Ch 22  Ch 23  Ch 24  Ch 25  Ch 26  Ch 27  Ch 28  Ch 29

 Ch 30  Ch 31  Ch 32  Ch 33

Chapter 1.1 — Introduction: Sutikshna & Agastya; Karunya & Agnivesya; Suruchi & Divine Messenger; King Arishtanemi, Indra & Valmiki. Hail the Eternal.

1. Om, salutation to that Reality from whom all beings proceed, by whom they are manifest, upon whom they depend, and in whom they become extinct.

2. He is the knower, the knowledge and all that is to be known. He is the seer, the act of seeing, and all that is to be seen. He is the actor, the cause and the effect, therefore salutation to He who is all knowledge himself.

3. Salutation to He who is supreme bliss itself, from whom flow the dews of delight both in heaven and earth, and who is the life of all.

4. One Sutikshna, a brahmin whose mind was full of questions, went to the hermitage of Agastya and respectfully asked the sage,

5. “O great sage! You are informed in all the ways and truths of virtue, and know all the scriptures with certainty. I am in a great doubt, and I pray you will kindly remove it.

6. Tell me, in your opinion, whether liberation results from a man’s acts or his knowledge or both?”

7. Agastya replied:— As the birds fly in the air with both wings, so the highest state of emancipation is attained through both knowledge and acts.

8. Neither our acts nor knowledge alone produces liberation, but both together are the means.

9. I will recite to you an example from old traditions, a story of a brahmin named Karunya, who was learned in the Vedas in the days of old.

10. He was the son of Agnivesya and accomplished in the Vedas and all their branches. After finishing his studies with his teacher, he returned to his own home.

11. He remained a skeptic at home, reluctant and impassive to do anything. When his father Agnivesya saw his son so slack in his duties, he upbraided him for his good.

12. Agnivesya said, “My son, why do you not discharge your duties? Why are you not observing the daily rituals and the injunctions of the holy scriptures?

13. Tell me how can you succeed in anything if you remain inactive? How can you attain salvation? Tell me why you are not doing anything.”

14. Karunya replied, “The offering of daily oblations, and performance of morning and evening devotions during life, are inculcated in the Veda and law as the active duties.

15. But it is neither by acts or riches, nor by means of children that one obtains his liberation. It is solely by self-denial that the great souls taste the ambrosia (of emancipation).

16. Tell me my father! Which of these rules am I to observe? Doubtful of this I have become indifferent to acts.”

17. Agnivesya said, “Hear me, my son.” After so saying, Karunya held his silence. His father seeing him quiet, continued speaking.

18. “My son, let me tell you a story. When you have fully considered its meaning, you may do as you like.” Agnivesya speaking:—

19. There was a lady named Suruchi, the best of the apsara nymphs, who was seated on the mountain peak of Himalaya, surrounded by peacocks.

20. Here kinnaras inflamed by love sported with their mates, and the fall of heavenly streams (Ganga and Yamuna) served to cleanse the gravest sins of men.

21. She saw a messenger of Indra making his way through the sky. Then Suruchi, this most fortunate and best of apsaras, addressed the messenger.

22. Suruchi said, “O you messenger of gods, tell me kindly from where you come and what place are you going at present?”

23. The divine messenger replied, “Well have you asked, O pretty browed maid, and I will tell you all as it is. The royal sage, King Arishtanemi, has given his realm to his son,

24. and with religious indifference to the world, has set out to the forest to practice asceticism. He is performing his austerities on the Gandha-madana Mountains.

25. I am now coming from there after discharge of my errand, and returning to Indra’s palace to report the matter.”

26. Suruchi said, “Tell me, my lord, what has taken place there? I am humbly very curious. You should not cause me the pain of anxiety.”

27. The messenger replied:— Hear me, gentle maid. I will describe everything as it has occurred.

28. On hearing that the king was practicing the utmost rigors of asceticism in that forest, Indra, the lord of gods, asked me to take this heavenly car and proceed at once to the spot.

29. “Take this car,” said Indra, “bearing the apsaras equipped with all their musical instruments, and furnished with a band of gandharvas, siddha spiritual masters, yakshas and kinnaras.

30. Convey them,” said Indra, “with all their string instruments, flutes and drums to the woodland mount of Gandha-madana.

31. There, having placed King Arishtanemi in the car, bring him to the enjoyment of heavenly delight in this city of Amaravati, the seat of immortals.”

32. The messenger added:— Receiving this instruction from Indra and taking the car with all its equipment, I proceeded to that mountain.

33. Having arrived at the mountain and advanced to the king’s hermitage, I delivered the orders of the great Indra to him.

34. Hearing my words, O happy lady, King Arishtanemi reluctantly spoke to me saying, “I wish to ask you something, O messenger, which I hope you will answer.

35. Tell me what good and what evil are in heaven, so that I may decide whether I want to settle there.”

36. I answered, saying, “In heaven there is ample reward for merit, conferring perfect bliss (to all); but it is the degree of merit that leads one to higher heavens.

37. By moderate virtue, one is certainly entitled to a middle station. Virtue of an inferior order leads a person to a lower position.

38. But one’s virtue is destroyed by impatience at the excellence of his betters, by haughtiness to his equals, and by joy at the inferiority of others.

39. When one’s virtue is thus destroyed, he must enter the abode of mortals. These and the like are the effects of good and evil in heaven.”

40. Hearing this, O good maiden, King Arishtanemi answered, “O divine messenger, I do not like heaven that has such conditions.

41. Henceforth I will practice the most austere form of asceticism and abandon this my unhallowed human frame in the same way as a snake abandons his time-worn skin.

42. Be pleased, O messenger of the gods, to return with your heavenly car to the presence of the great Indra from where you came. Travel in good fortune.”

43. The celestial messenger resumed:— Thus being bid, I went, O good lady, to the presence of Indra. When I reported the matter, Indra was struck with great wonder.

44. Then the great Indra again spoke to me with a sweet voice saying, “My messenger, go again to that king and take him to the hermitage of Valmiki.

45. Valmiki is well acquainted with every truth. Tell him my errand, which is to instruct the dispassionate king, saying,

46. ‘O great sage! Plead with this king who is humble and dispassionate and dislikes the enjoyments of heaven

47. so that this king, who is aggrieved at the miseries of the world, may gradually come to attain his liberation.’ ”

48. I went and explained my mission to the royal hermit, then took him to sage Valmiki. I delivered great Indra’s charge so that the king may practice for his final liberation.

49. Sage Valmiki welcomed the king with gentle inquiries regarding his welfare.

50. The king replied, “O great sage, you are informed in all the truths of religion. You are the greatest of those who know the knowable. The very sight of you has given me all that I desired, and therein is all my welfare.

51. Great sage, I wish to learn from you how I may escape the miseries that arise from one’s connection with this world. I hope you will reveal this to me without reserve.”

52. Valmiki said, “Hear me O king! I will relate the entire Ramayana to you. By hearing and understanding you will be saved even while in this life.

53. O great and intelligent king, listen as I repeat the sacred conversation that took place between Rama and Vasishta relating the way of liberation, which I well know from my own knowledge.”

54. The king replied, “O best of sages, tell me precisely who and what this Rama was. What was his bondage and how did he become free of it?”

55. Valmiki said, “Vishnu was cursed to take the form of a prince with an assumed ignorance like that of men of little understanding.”

56. The king said, “Tell me who was the author of that curse, and how it could befall Rama, who was the personification of consciousness and joy, and the very image of wisdom.”

57. Valmiki replied:— Sanatkumara, who was devoid of desires, had been residing at the abode of Brahma, to which Vishnu, the lord of the three worlds, was a visitor from Vaikuntha.

58. The lord god Vishnu was welcomed by all the inhabitants of the Brahmaloka as well as by Brahma himself, except by Sanatkumara. The god Vishnu addressed Sanatkumara,

59. “Sanatkumara, it is ignorance that makes you forsake your desires for fear of rebirth, therefore you must be born under the name of Sara-janma to be troubled with desires.”

60. In return, Sanatkumara denounced Vishnu by saying, “Even as all discerning as you are, you shall have to sacrifice your omniscience for some time, and live as an ignorant mortal.”

61. There was another curse pronounced upon Vishnu by the sage Bhrigu who, seeing his wife killed by Vishnu, became incensed with anger and said, “Vishnu you shall have also to be deprived of your wife.”

62. Vishnu was again cursed by Vrinda to be deprived of his wife, on account of his beguiling her (in the form of her husband).

63. Again, when the pregnant wife of Devadatta was killed from fear on seeing the man-lion figure of Vishnu (Narasimha),

64. the leonine Vishnu was denounced by the husband who was sorely afflicted at the loss of his wife.

65. Thus cursed by Bhrigu, Sanatkumara, Devadatta and Vrinda, Vishnu was obliged to be born on this earth in the figure of a human being.

66. I have explained to you the causes of all the curses passed on Vishnu. Now I will tell you other things, and you will have to listen carefully.

Chapter 1.2 — Reason for Writing the Ramayana

1. Salutation to the Lord, the Universal Soul, shining manifest in heaven, earth and the sky, and both within and without myself.

2. He is entitled to read this work who is convinced that he is bound, who desires his liberation, and who is neither wholly ignorant of nor quite conversant with divine knowledge.

3. The wise man, who has well considered this work as the first step, and then comes to think on the means of liberation, truly shall be exempt from rebirth. Valimiki speaking to King Arishtanemi:—

4. Know, O destroyer of your enemies, that I have written the history of Rama in the Ramayana as a preparatory step to salvation.

5. I gave that history to my attentive pupil, the obedient and intelligent Bharadwaja, as the sea yields its gems to their seeker.

6. The learned Bharadwaja repeated the history of the Ramayana in the presence of Brahma, seated in a certain forest of the Sumeru Mountain.

7. Lord Brahma, the great grandfather of the inhabitants of the three worlds, was so highly pleased with him that he addressed him saying, “O my son! Ask the best boon that you wish for.”

8. Bharadwaja said, “O lord who is master of the past and future times, grant me the boon of telling me how people are liberated from their miseries.”

9. Brahma said, “Go ask your teacher Valmiki to complete the faultless Ramayana that he has undertaken to write.

10. By hearing this work, men will overcome their many errors in the same way as the bridge that was built by Rama, who was filled with all good qualities, allowed men to cross the sea (to Lanka).”

11. Valmiki said:— Saying this, Brahma, the supreme maker of all beings, accompanied Bharadwaja to my hermitage.

12. I eagerly welcomed the god with the argha offerings of water and the like, when the lord of truth spoke to me for the good of all creatures.

13. Brahma said, “Do not, O sage, give up your undertaking until its final completion. No pain ought to be spared to make the history of Rama as faultless as it ought to be.

14. By this work of yours men will pass over this repetitive history of the world (samsara) in the same manner as one crosses the sea in a vessel.”

15. Again, the uncreated Brahma said to me, “I come to tell you this very thing, that you complete the work for the benefit of mankind.”

16. Then, O king, in a moment the god disappeared from my sacred hermitage, just as a wave subsides in water.

17. I was struck with wonder at the god’s disappearance, then composing my mind, I asked Bharadwaja,

18. “Tell me, Bharadwaja, what did Brahma tell me in the hermitage?” Bharadwaja answered,

19. “The god commanded you to complete the Ramayana for the good of men and as a means for them to cross over the gulf of the world.

20. Now sir,” continued Bharadwaja, “explain to me how the great minded Rama and his brother Bharata conducted themselves amidst the troubles of this world.

21. Tell me also how Satrughna, Lakshman and the renowned Sita, and all those who followed Rama, and also the ministers and their highly intelligent sons, conducted themselves on earth.

22. Tell me clearly how they escaped all the miseries of this world so that I may do the same for the rest of mankind.”

23. Being thus respectfully addressed by Bharadwaja, I was led, O great king, to carry out the request of my lord Brahma and narrate the Ramayana to him. I said,

24. “Listen, my son Bharadwaja. I will tell you all that you have asked. By hearing, you will become able to cast away the impurity of errors.

25. You are wise and you have to manage yourself in the manner of the blissful and lotus-eyed Rama, with a mind free from worldly attachments.”

26. “It was by this means that Lakshman, Bharata, the great minded Satrughna, Kausalya, Sita, Sumitra, as well as Dasharata,

27. with Kritastra and the two friends of Rama, and Vasishta and Vamadeva, and the eight ministers of state as well as many others reached the summit of knowledge.

28. The eight ministers of Rama — Dhrishta, Jayanta, Bhasa, Satya, Vijaya, Vibishanah, Sushena and Hanumana, and also Indrajita

29. — are said to have been equally dispassionate in their minds and content with what was their lot. They were great souls, free in their lives.”

30. “Well my son, if you follow the manner in which these men observed sacrificial rites, gave and received their offerings, and how they lived and thought, you are at once freed from the turmoil of life.

31. One fallen in this boundless ocean of the world may enjoy the bliss of liberation by the magnanimity of his soul. He shall not come across grief or destitution, but shall remain ever satisfied by being freed from the fever of anxiety.”

Chapter 1.3 — Valmiki Explains Desires & Describes Rama’s Pilgrimage to Bharadwaja

1. Bharadwaja said, “O brahmin, first tell me about Rama, then enlighten me by degrees with the knowledge of how to attain liberation in this life so that I may be happy forever.”

2. Valmiki replied:— Know, holy saint, that the things seen in this world are deceiving, even as the blueness of the sky is an optical illusion. Therefore it is better to efface them in oblivion rather than to keep their memory.

3. All visible objects have no actual existence. We have no idea of them except through sensation. Inquire into these apprehensions and you will never find them as real.

4. It is possible to attain this knowledge. It is fully expounded here. If you will listen attentively, you shall get at the truth and not otherwise.

5. The conception of this world is a mistake. Though we actually see it, it never exists. It appears in the same light, O sinless saint, as the different colors in the sky.

6. The conviction that the objects we see do not exist of themselves leads to the removal of their impressions from the mind. Thus perfected, supreme and eternal bliss of self-extinction springs in the mind.

7. Otherwise, there is no peace to be had for men like you, rolling in the depths of studies for thousands of years and unacquainted with true knowledge.

8. Complete abandonment of desires (vasana, mental conditioning) is called the best state of liberation (moksha) and is the only pure step towards happiness.

9. The absence of desires leads to the extinction of mental actions, in the same manner as the absence of cold melts small particles of ice.

10. Our desires uphold our living bodies and bind us tightly to our bodily prison like ropes. These being loosened, the inner soul is liberated.

11. Mental conditioning is of two kinds: pure and impure. The impure ones cause reincarnation, while the pure ones serve to destroy it.

12. An impure desire is like a mist of ignorance, the stubborn feeling that one is the individual ego. The wise say that individual ego is the cause of rebirth.

13. A pure desire is like a parched seed that is incapable of bringing forth the germ of rebirth. It only supports the present body.

14. Pure desires, unattended with rebirth, reside in the bodies of men who are livingliberated. They are like unmoving wheels.

15. Those who have pure desires are not liable for rebirth. They are said to be knowing in all things that ought to be known. These are called the living-liberated and are of superior intelligence.

16. I will explain to you how the high minded Rama attained the state of liberation in life. Listen to this so that old age and death may not come upon you.

17. Hear, O highly intelligent Bharadwaja, the auspicious course and conduct of Rama’s life, whereby you will be able to understand everything at all times.

18. The lotus-eyed Rama, after coming out of his school, remained for many days at home in his diversions without anything to fear.

19. In the course of time he took the reins of the government and his people enjoyed all the bliss that absence of grief and disease could impart.

20. At one time, Rama’s mind, virtuous as he was, became anxious to see the different places of pilgrimage, cities and hermitages.

21. So with this view, Rama approached his father’s feet. He touched the nails of his toes like a swan lays hold of lotus buds.

22. “O my father,” he said, “my mind desires to see the different places of pilgrimage, temples of gods, forests and homes of men.

23. My lord, grant me this petition, as there is no petitioner of yours on earth whom you did ever dishonor.”

24. Thus solicited by Rama, the king consulted with Vasishta, and after much reflection granted him the first request that Rama ever made.

25. On a day of lucky stars, Rama set out on his journey with his two brothers, Lakshman and Satrughna, having his body adorned with auspicious marks, and having received the blessings pronounced on him by the priests.

26. He was also accompanied by a body of learned brahmins, chosen by Vasishta for the occasion, and by a select party of his associate princes.

27. He started from home on his pilgrimage after he received the blessings and embraces of his mothers.

28. As he went out of his city, the citizens welcomed him with the sounds of trumpets, while the bee-like fickle eyes of the city ladies were fixed upon his lotus-like face.

29. The beautiful hands of village women threw handfuls of fried paddy rice over his body, making him appear like the Himalayas covered with snow.

30. He dismissed the brahmins with honor and went on hearing the blessings of the people. He took a good look at the landscape around him, then proceeded towards the forest.

31. After making his holy ablutions and performing his asceticism and meditation (tapas), he continued distributing alms as he started from his palace and gradually passed the limits of Kosala.

32. He traveled and saw many rivers and their banks, visiting the shrines of gods, sacred forests and deserts, hills, seas and their shores far and remote from where men lived.

33. He saw the Mandakini River, bright as the moon, the Kalindi River, clear as the lotus, and also the following rivers: Sarasvati, Satadru, Chandrabhaga, Iravati,

34. Veni, Krishnaveni, Nirvindhya, Saraju, Charmanvati, Vitasta, Vipasa and Bahudaka.

35. He saw also the holy places of Prayaga, Naimisha, Dharmaranya, Gaya, Varanasi, Srigiri, Kedara, and Pushkara.

36. He saw Lake Manasa and the northern Mansaravara lakes, and many fiery lakes and springs, the Bada, the Vindhya range and the sea.

37. He saw the fiery pool of Jwalamukhi, the great shrine of Jagannatha, the fountain of Indradumna and many other reservoirs, rivers and lakes.

38. He visited the shrine of Kartikeya and the Gandaki River of salagramas, and also the sixty-four shrines sacred to Vishnu and Shiva.

39. He saw various wonders, the coasts of the four seas, the Vindhya range, the groves of Hara, and the boundary hills and level lands.

40. He visited the places of the great raja rishis and the Brahma rishis. He went wherever there was any auspicious sanctuary of the gods and brahmins.

41. The party, honoring Rama, travelled far and wide in company with his two brothers and traversed all the four quarters on the surface of the earth.

42. Honored by the gods, kinnaras and men, and having seen all the places on earth, Rama, the descendant of Raghu, returned home like Shiva returning to his own world (shivaloka).

Chapter 1.4 — Rama’s Return from Pilgrimage Valmiki speaking:—

1. Covered with flowers thrown by people by the handful, Rama entered the palace, just like when the beautiful Jayanta, the son of Indra, enters his celestial abode.

2. On his arrival, Rama first bowed reverently before his father, then before Vasishta, before his brothers, his friends, the brahmins, and the elderly members of the family.

3. Repeatedly embraced as he was by friends, his father, mothers and brahmins, the son of Raghu bowed his head down to them with joy.

4. The assembled people, after their familiar conversation with Rama in the palace, strolled about on all sides highly delighted with his speech that resembled the music of a flute.

5. Thus eight days passed in festive mirth after Rama’s return, and the elated multitude gave shouts of joy.

6. Thereafter, Raghava continued to dwell happily at home, describing to his friends the different customs and manners of the countries he had visited on all sides.

7. He rose early in the morning and performed his morning worship according to law. Then he visited his father, seated like Indra in his council.

8. He next passed a fourth part of the day in company with Vasishta and other sages, and was greatly edified by their conversations which were full of instruction.

9. For sport, he also used to go to the forests full of boars and buffaloes surrounded by a large number of troops as ordered by his father.

10. Then, after returning home and performing his bath and other rites with his friends, he took his meal with them and passed the night in company with his beloved companions.

11. In these and similar activities he passed his days with his brothers at his father’s house, after returning from pilgrimage.

12. O sinless Bharadwaja, with his conduct becoming a prince, Rama passed his days giving delight to the good men that surrounded him, like the moon that gladdens mankind with his soothing ambrosial beams.

Chapter 1.5 — Rama’s Self-Dejection & Its Cause

1. Valmiki said:— Afterwards Rama attained the fifteenth year of his age, and Satrughna and Lakshman, who followed Rama in age, also attained the same age.

2. Bharata continued to dwell with joy at the house of his maternal grandfather, and King Dasharata ruled the whole earth as usual.

3. The most wise King Dasharata consulted his ministers day after day about the marriage of his sons.

4. But as Rama remained at home after his return from pilgrimage, he began to decay day by day like a clear lake in autumn.

5. His blooming face, with its out-stretched eyes, assumed a paleness by degrees like that of the withering petals of the white lotus beset by a swarm of bees.

6. He sat silent and motionless, his legs folded in full lotus position (padmasana), absorbed in thought with his palm placed under his cheek and neck.

7. Being emaciated in person and growing thoughtful, sad and distracted in his mind, he remained speechless like a mute figure in a painting.

8. His family had to repeatedly ask him to perform his daily rites and when he did, he discharged them with a sad face.

9. Seeing the accomplished Rama, the mine of merits, in such a plight, all his brothers likewise were reduced to the same condition with him.

10. The king of the earth, seeing all his three sons dejected and lean, became anxious, as did all his queens.

11. Dasharata asked Rama repeatedly in a gentle voice what his anxiety was and what was the cause of his thoughtfulness, but Rama returned no answer.

12. Then being taken up in his father’s lap, the lotus-eyed Rama replied that he had no anxiety whatever and held his silence.

13. Afterwards King Dasharata asked Vasishta, the best of speakers and well informed in all matters, as to why Rama was so sorrowful.

14. Sage Vasishta thought over the matter and said, “There is, O king, a cause for Rama’s sadness, but you need not be anxious about it.

15. Wise men never entertain the fluctuations of anger or grief, or a lengthened delight from frivolous causes, just as the great elements of the world do not change their states unless it were for the sake of some new production.”

Chapter 1.6 — Vishwamitra Arrives at the Royal Court Valmiki speaking:—

1. The king was thrown into sorrow and suspense at these words of Vasishta, the prince of sages, but kept his silence for sometime and waited.

2. Meanwhile, the queens of the palace kept close watch on Rama’s movements with anxious carefulness.

3. At this very time, the famous and great sage Vishwamitra came to visit the king of men at Ayodhya.

4. The intelligent and wise sage had his sacrificial rites disturbed by rakshasa demons who were deceitfully powerful and giddy with their strength.

5. The sage came to visit the king in order to obtain protection for his sacrifice, because he was unable to complete it in peace by himself.

6. The illustrious Vishwamitra, the gem of austere worship, had come to the city of Ayodhya for the destruction of the rakshasas.

7. Desirous of seeing the king, Vishwamitra told the guards at the gate to report to the king that Kausika [i.e. Vishwamitra], son of Gadhi, had arrived.

8. On hearing these words, the guards were struck with fear in their minds and ran as they were bid to the palace of the king.

9. Coming to the royal abode, the door-keepers informed the chief-warder that Vishwamitra, the royal sage, had arrived.

10. The staffbearer immediately presented himself before the king who was seated among his princes and chiefs in the court house. The staff-bearer reported,

11. “Please, your majesty. Waiting at the door is a mighty person of majestic appearance, bright as the morning sun, with pendant locks of hair like sunbeams.

12. The brilliance of his body has brightened the place from the topmost flag down to the ground, and made the horses, men and armory shine with a golden color.”

13. As soon as the warder appeared before the king, and with hurried words announced the arrival of the sage Vishwamitra,

14. the best of kings, surrounded by all the ministers and chiefs, rose at once from his throne of gold.

15. Attended by Vasishta and Vamadeva and his staff of princes and chiefs by whom he was held in honor and regard, the king immediately walked

16. to where the great sage was waiting, and saw Vishwamitra, the chief of sages, standing at the gate.

17. Vishwamitra’s priestly prowess joined with his military valor made him appear as if the sun had descended on earth for some reason.

18. He was hoary with old age, rough skinned by the practice of austerities, and covered down to his shoulders by bright red braids of hair that resembled evening clouds over the mountain of his brow.

19. He was mild looking and engaging in appearance, but at the same time as brilliant as the orb of the sun. He was neither assuming nor repulsive, but possessed of an ineffable gravity and majesty in his person.

20. He was attractive yet formidable in appearance, clear yet vast in mind, deep and full in knowledge, and shining with inner light.

21. His lifetime had no limit, his mind had no bounds, and age had not impaired his understanding. He held an ascetic’s pot in one hand, his only faithful companion in life.

22. The compassion of his mind, added to the sweet complacency of his speech and looks, pleased people as if they were actually served nectar drops or sprinkled with ambrosial dew.

23. His body decorated by the sacred thread and his prominent white eyebrows made him appear as a wonder to the eyes of his beholders.

24. On seeing the sage, the lord of earth lowly bowed from a distance, bowing so low that the gems hanging from his crown decorated the ground.

25. In his turn, the sage immediately greeted the lord of the earth with sweet and kind words, like the sun greeting the lord of the gods.

26. Afterwards the assembled brahmins of the court, headed by Vasishta, honored him with their welcomes.

27. The king said, “O holy sage, we are as highly favored by your unexpected appearance and your glorious sight as a bed of lotuses at the sight of the luminous sun.

28. O sage, I feel unending happiness at your appearance which knows no bounds.

29. This day we must be placed at the front rank of the fortunate, as we have become the object of your arrival.”

30. With these and similar conversations that went on among the princes and sages, they proceeded to the court-hall where they took their respective seats.

31. The king, awed by seeing the best of sages (Vishwamitra) with his cheerful face and so very prosperous in his asceticism, felt some hesitation to offer the honorary gift reward himself.

32. But the sage accepted the arghya water offered him by the king, and hailed the king as the king walked around the sage, according to the rules of scripture.

33. Thus honored by the king, he with a cheerful countenance asked the lord of men about the good health of himself and family, and the fullness of his finances.

34. Then coming in contact with Vasishta, the great sage saluted him with a smile, as he deserved, and asked him about his health and of those in his hermitage.

35. After their interview and exchanges of due courtesies had lasted for a while to the satisfaction of all in the royal assembly,

36. they both took their respective seats. Everyone in the court respectfully greeted the sage of exalted prowess.

37. After Vishwamitra was seated, they made various offerings of padya [water to wash the feet], arghya and cattle to him.

38. Having honored Vishwamitra in due form, the lord of men addressed him in submissive terms with the gladdest mind, his palms pressed open against each other.

39. He said, “Sage, your coming here makes me as grateful as one who obtains nectar, as rainfall after a drought, and as the blind gains sight.

40. Again it is as delightful to me as a childless man who gets a son by his beloved wife, or as gaining possession of a treasure in a dream.

41. Your arrival is no less pleasing to me than meeting with the object of one’s wishes, the arrival of a friend, and the recovery of something that was given for lost.

42. It gives me joy like that derived from the sight of a deceased friend suddenly returning by the way of the sky. It is thus, O holy brahmin, that I welcome your visit to me.

43. Who is there who would not be glad to live in heaven? O sage, I feel so happy at your arrival, and this I tell you truly.”

44. “What is your best pleasure? What I may do for you, O scholar who is the best of the virtuous, and the most properly deserving of my services?

45. Formerly, you had been famed under the title of royal sage, but since, made glorious by dint of your asceticism, you have been promoted to the rank of a Brahma rishi. Therefore, you are truly the object of my worship.”

46. “I am so glad at your sight that my inner soul is soothed, just like bathing in the Ganges River cheers the mind.

47. Free as you are from fears and desires, from wrath and passions and from the feelings of pleasure, pain and disease, it is very wonderful, O holy brahmin, that you should have need of me for anything.

48. I consider myself as situated at a holy sanctuary, and absolved from all my sins, or as merged in the lunar sphere, O best of the learned in the truths of the Vedas.”

49. “I understand your appearance as that of Brahma himself before me, and I confess myself, O sage, to be purified and favored by your arrival.

50. Indeed, I am so gratified at your arrival that I deem myself fortunate in this birth, and that I have not lived in vain but led a truly good life.

51. Since I saw you here and made my respectful obeisance to you, my heart cannot contain itself but overflows with joy like the sea at the sight of the moon.

52. Whatever may be the purpose of your visit, O greatest of sages, know it as already granted, for your commands are always to be obeyed by me.”

53. “You need not hesitate to communicate your request to me, O descendant of Kausika. If you ask, there is nothing I will keep from you.

54. You need not doubt my performance. I solemnly state that I will execute your request to the last item, as I take you to be the light of a superior divinity.”

55. Upon hearing these sweet words from the king, pleasing to the ears and delivered with humility worthy of one knowing himself, the far famed and meritorious chief of the sages felt highly gratified in himself.

Chapter 1.7 — Vishwamitra Asks for Rama’s Help Valmiki speaking:—

1. After the illustrious Vishwamitra had heard the unusually lengthy speech from the lion among kings, his hairs stood erect with joy. He said,

2. “This speech is worthy of you, O best of kings on earth, and one descended from a royal race, and guided by sage Vasishta himself.

3. Consider well, O king, the deed which I have in mind, and support the cause of virtue.”

4. “I am employed, O chief of men, in religious acts for attainment of my consummation, but the horrible rakshasa demons have become my great obstructions.

5. Whenever I offer sacrifices to the gods at any place, instantly these nocturnal demons appear to destroy my sacrificial rites.

6. On very many occasions when I commence my ceremonies, the rakshasa chiefs fling heaps of flesh and blood on the sacrificial ground.

7. Being thus obstructed in my sacrificial duties, I now come to you with a broken spirit, having labored in vain to complete the rites.”

8. “The vows of the rite prevent me from giving vent to my anger by curses.

9. Such being the sacrificial law, I expect by your favor to gain its great object in peace.

10. Being thus oppressed I have recourse to your protection, and you should protect me. Otherwise it is an insult for petitioners to be disappointed by the best of men as yourself.”

11. “You have a son, the beautiful Rama, powerful as a fierce tiger and strong as the great Indra himself. He is able to destroy the rakshasas.

12. May you now deliver that Rama, your eldest son, to me, having his youthful locks of hair like the black plumage of a crow, but possessing the true valor of a hero.

13. Protected under my sacred authority and by his prowess, he will be able to sever the heads of the malicious rakshasas.

14. I will do him an infinity of good services, whereby in the end he will become adored by the inhabitants of all three worlds.

15. The night-wandering rakshasas cannot abide in the field before Rama, but must fly like stags in the wilderness before a furious lion.

16. No man other than Rama can make bold to fight with the rakshasas, just as no animal other than a furious lion can stand to fight wild elephants.”

17. “Elated with their strength, these vicious beings have become like poisoned shafts in fighting. Being delegates of the demons Khara and Dushana, they are as furious as death itself.

18. They cannot, O tiger among kings, be able to sustain the arrows of Rama, but must settle like flying dust under the ceaseless showers of his arrows.”

19. “Let not paternal affection prevail over you, O king, as there is nothing in this world which the high-minded will refuse to part with.

20. I know it for certain, and so you also should know, that the rakshasas must be destroyed by him. Wise men like ourselves will never undertake an uncertainty.

21. I well know the great soul of the lotus-eyed Rama, and so does the illustrious Vasishta, and all others who are far-seeing.

22. Should the senses of greatness, duty and renown have a seat in your soul, you should deliver my desired object to me, your son.”

23. “It will take ten nights to perform the rites of my sacrifice, during which Rama shall have to stay with me and kill the rakshasas who are obnoxious to my rites and the enemies of the sacrifice.

24. O King Dasharata, let the ministers headed by Vasishta join and give their assent, and deliver your Rama to me.

25. “O descendant of Raghu, you know that auspicious times must not be allowed to slip away, so you must not allow my time to slip. So may I have Rama? Be blessed and do not give way to sorrow.

26. Even the smallest service, if done in good time, appears to be much, and the best service is of no avail if done out of season.”

27. Vishwamitra, the illustrious and holy chief of the sages, paused after saying these words filled with virtuous and useful intention.

28. Hearing these words of the great sage, the magnanimous king held his silence for some time, with a view to prepare a fitting answer; because no man of sense is ever satisfied with talking unreasonably either before others or to himself.

Chapter 1.8 — Dasharata’s Reply to Vishwamitra

1. Valmiki added:— On hearing Vishwamitra’s words, Dasharata, the tiger among kings, remained speechless for a moment, and then implored him from the lowliness of his spirit.

2. “Rama, my lotus-eyed boy, is only fifteen years of age. I do not see he is a match for the rakshasas.”

3. “Here is a full akshauhini legion of my soldiers, of whom, O my lord, I am the sole commander. Surrounded by them I will offer battle to the rakshasa cannibals.

4. Here are my brave generals who are well disciplined in warfare. I will be their leader in the height of war with my bow in hand.

5. Accompanied with these, I can offer fight to the enemies of the gods, and to the great Indra himself, in the same manner as the lion withstands wild elephants.”

6. “Rama is only a boy with no knowledge of the strength of our forces. His experience has scarcely stretched beyond the inner apartments to the battlefield.

7. He is not well trained in arms, nor is he skilled in warfare. He does not know to fight an enemy arrayed in the order of battle.

8. He only knows how to walk about in the gardens of this city amidst trees and pleasant groves.

9. He only knows how to play with his brother princes in the flowery parks set apart for his play within the precincts of the palace.”

10. “Recently, O brahmin, by a sad reverse of my fortune, he has become as lean and pale as the withering lotus under the dews.

11. He has no taste for his food, nor can he walk from one room to another, but remains ever silent and slow brooding over his inner grief and melancholy.

12. O chief of sages, in my great anxiety about him, I, together with my family and dependants, have been deprived of the gist of our bodies and become like the empty clouds of autumn.

13. How can my boy, so young as he is and in such an unnatural state of mind, be fit to fight at all, much less with those marauders who rove about at night?”

14. “O high-minded sage, it is one’s affection for his son that affords him far greater pleasure than his possession of a kingdom, or his connection with beautiful women, or even his relish for the juice of nectar.

15. It is from paternal affection that good people perform the hardest duties and austerities of religion, and anything which is painful in the three worlds.

16. Men are even prepared under certain circumstances to sacrifice their own lives, riches and wives, but they can never sacrifice their children. This is the nature of all living beings.”

17. “The rakshasas are very cruel in their actions and fight deceitful warfare. The idea that Rama should fight them is very painful to me.

18. I have a desire to live. I cannot dare to live for a moment separated from Rama. Therefore, you should not take him away.”

19. “O descendant of Kausika, I have passed nine thousand rains in my lifetime before these four children were born to me after much austerity.

20. The lotus-eyed Rama is the eldest of these without whom the three others can hardly bear to live.

21. You are going to deliver this Rama against the rakshasas, but when I am deprived of that son, know me certainly for dead.

22. Of my four sons he is the one in whom rests my greatest love. Therefore do not take away Rama, my eldest and most virtuous son, from me.”

23. “If your intention, O sage, is to destroy the force of night wanderers, take me there accompanied by the elephants, horse, chariots and foot soldiers of my army.

24. Describe to me clearly what these rakshasas are, how strong they are, whose sons they be and what are their sizes and figures.

25. Tell me the way in which the rakshasas are to be destroyed by Rama or by my children or by me. Tell me when they are known to be treacherous in warfare.

26. O great sage, tell me all this so that I can calculate the possibility of making a stand in the open field against the fiercely disposed rakshasas, when they are certainly so very powerful.”

27. “The rakshasa named Ravana is heard to be very powerful. He is brother of Kubera himself, and he is the son of the sage Visravas.

28. If it is he, the evil-minded Ravana, who stands in the way of your rites, we are unable to contend with that pest.

29. Power and prosperity in all their flourish come within the reach of the living at times, but they disappear at others.

30. These days we are no match for such foes as Ravana and some others. Such is the decree of destiny.”

31. “Therefore, O you who are acquainted with law, do this favor for my son. Unlucky as I am, it is you who are the arbiter of my fate.

32. The gods, asuras, gandharvas, yakshas, huge beasts, birds and serpents are unable to fight with Ravana. What are we human beings in arms to him?

33. That rakshasa has the prowess of the most powerful. We cannot afford to fight with him, or even with his children.

34. This is a peculiar age in which good people are made powerless. Moreover, I am disabled by old age and lack that spirit, even though I am from the race of the Raghus.”

35. “O brahmin, tell me if it is Lavan the son of Madhu (the notorious asura) who disturbs the sacrificial rites. In that case also, I will not part with my son.

36. If it be the two sons of Sunda and Upasunda who disturb your sacrifice, terrible as they are like the sons of the sun, in that case also I will not give my son to you.”

37. “But after all, O brahmin, should you snatch him from me, then I am also dead and gone with him. I do not see any other chance of a lasting success of your devotion.”

38. Saying these gentle words, the descendant of Raghu was drowned in the sea of suspense with regard to the demand of the sage. Being unable to arrive at a conclusion, the great king was carried away by the current of his thoughts as one by the high waves of the sea.

Chapter 1.9 — Vishwamitra’s Anger & Vasishta’s Advice

1. Valmiki said:— On hearing this speech of the king with his piteous look and eyes full of tears, Vishwamitra the son of Kausika became highly incensed and replied.

2. “You are about to break your promise after pledging yourself to its performance, and thus you wish to behave like a deer after having been a lion.

3. This is unbecoming of the race of Raghu. It is acting contrary to this great family. Hot rays must not proceed from the cool beamed moon.

4. If you are so weak, O king, let me return as I came. Live happily with your friends, you promise-breaking descendant of Kakustha.”

5. As the high spirited Vishwamitra moved with anger, the earth trembled under him and the gods were filled with fear.

6. Vasishta, the meek and wise, observant of his vows, knowing that anger influenced the great sage and friend of the world, spoke.

7. “O king born of the race of the Ikshvakus, a form of virtue itself, and called Dasharata the fortunate, you are adorned with all the good qualities known in the three worlds.

8. You are famous for your meekness and strict adherence to your vows. You are renowned in all three worlds for your virtues and fame. You can not break your promise.

9. Preserve your virtue and think not to break your promise. Comply with the request of the sage who is honored in all the three worlds.

10. Having said you will do it, if you retract your promise, you lose the object of your yet unfulfilled desires. Therefore let Rama depart from you.”

11. “Descended from the race of Ikshvaku, and being Dasharata yourself, if you fail to perform your promise, who else on earth will ever keep his word?

12. It is the standard of conduct of great men like you, that makes even low people afraid to transgress the bounds of their duties. How then do you wish to violate it yourself?”

13. “Guarded by this lion-like man (Vishwamitra), like ambrosia by fire, no rakshasa will have power to prevail over Rama, whether he be equipped and armed or not.

14. Behold Vishwamitra is the personification of virtue, the mightiest of the mighty, and superior to all in the world in his intelligence and devotion to asceticism.

15. He is skilled in all warlike arms that are known in the three worlds. No other man knows them so well nor shall ever be able to master them like him.

16. Among the gods, sages, asuras, rakshasas, naagas, yakshas and gandharvas, there is none equal to him.”

17. “In days gone past when this son of Kaushika used to rule over his realm, he was furnished with all the arms by Krisaswa, and which no enemy can baffle.

18. These arms were the progeny of Krisaswa, and were equally radiant and powerful as the progeny of the Prajapati, and followed him (in his train).

19. Now Daksha had two beautiful daughters, Jaya and Supraja (alias Vijaya), who had a hundred offspring (as personifications of the implements), that are invincible in war.

20. Of these, the favored Jaya gave birth to fifty sons who are implacable agents of the destruction of asura forces.

21. In like manner, Supraja gave birth to fifty sons of very superior qualities, very powerful and terrible in their appearance, and indomitably aggressive.

22. Thus Vishwamitra is strengthened and grown powerful. He is acknowledged in the three worlds as a sage, you therefore must not think otherwise than to deliver Rama to him.”

23. “This mighty and virtuous man and prince of sages being near, anyone in his presence, even one at the point of death, is sure to attain his immortality. Therefore, be not disheartened like an unconscious man.”

Chapter 1.10 — The Melancholy of Rama

1. Valmiki related:— After Vasishta finished speaking, King Dasharata was glad to send for Rama and his brother Lakshman, saying,

2. “Chamberlain, go and quickly bring here the truly mighty and long armed Rama with Lakshman, for the praiseworthy purpose of removing the impediments of religious acts.”

3. Thus sent by the king, the chamberlain went to the inner apartment. After some moments, he returned and informed the king,

4. “O sire! Rama, whose arms have crushed all his foes, remains rapt in thoughts in his room like a bee closed in a lotus at night.

5. He said that he is coming in a moment, but he is so lost in his lonely meditation that he likes nobody to be near him.”

6. Thus advised by the chamberlain, the king called one of Rama’s attendants, and having given him every assurance, asked him to relate the particulars.

7. On being asked by the king how Rama had come to that state, the attendant replied in a sorrowful mood,

8. “Sir, we have also become as lean as sticks in our bodies, in sorrow for the fading away of your son Rama in his body.

9. The lotus-eyed Rama appears dejected ever since he has come back from his pilgrimage in company with the brahmins.

10. When asked to perform his daily rites, he sometimes discharges them with a sad face, and at other times, he wholly dispenses with them.

11. He is adverse, O lord, to bathing, to worshipping the gods, to the distribution of alms, and to his meals also. Even when we troubled him to eat, he does not take his food with a good relish.”

12. “He no longer allows the playful harem girls to rock him in swinging cradles by, nor does he play under the showering fountains like in rainwater.

13. No ornaments beset with the bud-shaped rubies, no bracelets or necklace, O king, can please him now. In the same manner, those who expect their fall from heaven would be pleased by nothing in it.”

14. “He is sorrowful even while sitting in the tree gardens of vines, entertained by flowery breezes, and amidst the looks of maidens playing around him.

15. O king, he looks at whatever is good and sweet, elegant and pleasing to the soul with sorrowful eyes, like one whose eyes are already satisfied with viewing them heaped up in piles.

16. He would speak ill of the girls who would dance merrily before him, and exclaim out, ‘Why should these ladies of the harem flutter about in this way causing grief in me?’

17. His doings are like those of a madman who takes no delight at his food or rest, his vehicles or seats, his baths and other pleasures, however excellent they may be.”

18. “As regards prosperity or adversity, his rooms or any other desirable thing, he says they are all unreal, and then he holds his silence.

19. He cannot be excited by pleasantry or tempted to taste pleasures. He attends to no business, but remains in silence.

20. No woman with her loosened locks and tresses and the tempting glances of her eyes can please him, any more than a playful fawn can please the trees in the forest.

21. Like a man sold to savages, he takes delight in lonely places, in remotest areas, in the banks of rivers and wild deserts.”

22. “O king, his aversion to clothing, conveyance, food and presents indicates that he is following the line of life led by wandering ascetics.

23. He lives alone in a lonely place and neither laughs nor sings nor cries aloud from a sense of his indifference to them.

24. Seated in the lotus posture with folded legs, he stays with a distracted mind, reclining his cheek on his left palm.

25. He assumes no pride to himself and does not wish for the dignity of sovereignty. He is neither elated with joy nor depressed by grief or pain.

26. We do not know where he goes, what he does, what he desires, what he meditates upon, or from where or when he comes and what he follows.”

27. “He is getting lean every day, growing pale day by day. Like a tree at the end of autumn, he is becoming discolored day after day.

28. O king, his brothers Satrughna and Lakshman follow all his habits and resemble his very shadow.

29. Repeatedly asked about his unsound mind by his servants, brother-princes and mothers, Rama says he has none, and then resumes his silence and detachment.”

30. “He lectures his companions and friends saying, ‘Do not set your mind to sensual enjoyments which are only pleasing for the time being.’

31. He has no affection for the richly adorned women of the harem, but rather looks upon them as the cause of destruction presented before him.

32. He often sings in plaintive notes how his life is being spent in vain cares, estranged from those of the easily attainable state of heavenly bliss.

33. Should some courtier speak of his being an emperor one day, he smiles at him as upon a raving madman, and then remains silent as one distracted in his mind.

34. He does not pay heed to what is said to him, nor does he look at anything presented before him. He hates to look upon even the most charming of things.

35. ‘As it is imaginary and unreal to suppose the existence of an ethereal lake or a lotus growing in it, so it is false to believe the reality of the mind and its conceptions.’ Saying so Rama marvels at nothing.”

36. “Even when sitting among beautiful maids, the darts of Kama Deva, the god of love, fail to pierce his impenetrable heart, like showers of rain cannot pierce a rock.

37. Rama makes his motto, ‘No sensible man should ever wish for riches which are but the seats of dangers,’ and he gives all that he has to beggars.

38. He sings some verses to this effect, that ‘It is an error to call one thing prosperity and the other adversity when they are both only imaginations of the mind.’

39. He repeats some words to the effect that, ‘Though it is the general cry, ‘O I am gone, I am helpless grown,’ yet it is a wonder, that nobody should take himself to utter detachment.’”

40. “That Rama, the destroyer of enemies, the great oak grown in the garden of Raghu, should get into such a state of mind is what causes grief in us.

41. We do not know, O great armed and lotus-eyed king, what to do with him in this state of his mind. We hope only in you.”

42. “He laughs to scorn the counsels of the princes and brahmins before him, and spurns them as if they were fools.

43. He remains inactive with the conviction that the world which appears to our view is a vanity, and the idea of self is also a vanity.

44. He has no respect for foes or friends, for himself or his kingdom, mother or riches, nor does he pay any regard to prosperity or adversity.

45. He is altogether quiet, without any desire or effort and devoid of a mainstay. He is neither captivated by anything nor freed from worldly thoughts. These are the reasons which afflict us most.”

46. “He says, ‘What have we to do with riches, with our mothers, with this kingdom and all our activities?’ Under these impressions, he is about to give up his life.

47. As the swallow grows restless when hurricanes obstruct the rains, so has Rama become impatient under the restraint of his father and mother, his friends and kingdom, his enjoyments and even his own life.”

48. “In compassion on your son, incline to root out this annoyance which like a harmful vine has been spreading its shoots.

49. For under such a disposition of his mind, and in spite of his possession of all affluence, he looks upon the enjoyments of the world as his poison.

50. Where is that powerful person on this earth who can restore him to proper conduct?

51. Who is there who will remove the errors that have caused grief in Rama’s mind, like the sun removes the darkness of the world?”

Chapter 1.11 — Consolation of Rama

1. Vishwamitra said, “If such is the case, you who are intelligent may go at once and persuade that progeny of Raghu to come here, as one deer does others.

2. This stupor of Rama is not caused by any accident or affection. I believe it is the development of that superior intellect which rises from the right reasoning of dispassionate men.

3. Let Rama come here for a while and in a moment we shall dispel his delusion, as wind drives away clouds from mountain tops.”

4. “After his mental dullness is removed by my reasoning, he will be able to rest in that happy state of mind to which we have arrived.

5. He shall not only attain pure truth and a clear understanding of uninterrupted tranquility, but he will also secure a plumpness and beauty of figure and complexion, as one derives from a potion of ambrosia.

6. He will then fully discharge the proper course of his duties with all his heart and without exception, which will redound to his honor.

7. He will become strong with a knowledge of both worlds, exempt from the states of pleasure and pain. Then he will look upon gold and stones with an indifferent eye.”

8. After the chief of the sages had spoken in this manner, the king resumed the firmness of his mind and sent messengers after messengers to bring Rama to him.

9. By this time Rama was preparing to rise from his seat in the palace to come over to his father, in the manner that the sun rises from the mountain in the east.

10. Surrounded by a few of his servants, he came with his two brothers to the hallowed hall of his father, resembling the heaven of the king of gods.

11. From a distance he saw his kingly sire seated amidst the assemblage of princes, like Indra surrounded by the gods.

12. He was accompanied on either side by the sages Vasishta and Vishwamitra, and respectfully attended by his staff of ministers, all well versed in the interpretation of all scriptures.

13. He was fanned by charming maidens waving fine flappers in their hands, equaling in beauty the goddesses presiding over the quarters of heaven.

14. Vasishta, Vishwamitra and the other sages, with Dasharata and his chiefs, saw Rama coming at a distance as beautiful as Skanda (Subramanyan) himself.

15. His qualities of mildness and gravity made him resemble the Himalayas, and he was esteemed by all for the depth and clearness of his understanding.

16. He was handsome and well proportioned, auspicious in his look, but humble and magnanimous in his mind. With loveliness and mildness of his person, he was possessed of all manly prowess.

17. He was just developed to youth, yet he was as majestic as an elderly man. He was neither sad nor merry, but seemed to be fully satisfied with himself, as if he had obtained all the objects of his desires.

18. He was a good judge of the world, and possessed of all holy virtues. The purity of his mind attracted all the virtues that met in him.

19. The receptacle of his mind was filled by magnanimity and honorable virtues, and the candor of his conduct showed him in the light of perfection.

20. Endowed with these various virtues and decorated by his necklace and fine apparel, Rama the support of Raghu’s race, approached with a smiling face.

21. He bowed his head to his father with the sparkling jewels trembling in his locks, giving his head the graceful appearance of Mount Sumeru shaken by an earthquake.

22. The lotus-eyed Rama came up to salute the feet of his father, when the lord of the sages, Vishwamitra, was speaking with him.

23. First of all Rama saluted his father, then the two honorable sages. Next he saluted the brahmins, then his relations, and lastly his elders and well wishing friends.

24. Then he received and returned the salutations of the chiefs and princes as they bowed to him with graceful motions of their heads and respectful addresses.

25. Rama, of god-like beauty and equanimity of mind, approached the sacred presence of his father with the blessings of the two sages.

26. During the act of his saluting the feet of his father, the lord of the earth repeatedly kissed his head and face, and embraced him with fondness.

27. At the same time, Rama, the destroyer of his enemies, embraced his brothers Lakshman and Satrughna with an affection as intense as a swan embracing lotus flowers.

28. “My son, be seated upon my lap,” said the king to Rama who, however, took his seat on a fine piece of cloth spread on the floor by his servants.

29. The king then said, “O my son and receptacle of blessings, you have attained the age of discretion, so do not put yourself to that state of selfmortification as the dull-headed do from their crazy understandings.

30. Know that one attains merit by following the course of his elders, guides and brahmins, and not by his persistence in error.

31. So long as we do not allow the seeds of error to have access to us, so long will the train of our misfortunes lie at a distance.”

32. Vasishta said, “O strong armed prince, you are truly heroic to have conquered your worldly appetites, which are as difficult to eradicate as they are fierce in their action.

33. Why do you allow yourself, like the unlearned, to be drowned in this rolling sea of errors causing such dull inactivity in you?”

34. Vishwamitra said, “Why are your eyes so unsteady with doubts like trembling clusters of blue lotuses? You ought to do away with this unsteadiness and tell us what is the sadness in your mind.

35. What are these thoughts? What are their names and natures, their number and causes, that infest your mind like mice undermine a fabric?

36. I am disposed to think that you are not the person to be troubled with those evils and distempers to which the base and vile alone are subject.

37. Tell me the craving of your heart, O sinless Rama! They will be requited in a manner that will prevent them from reoccurring to you.”

38. Rama, the standard of Raghu’s race, having listened to the reasonable and graceful speech of the good-intentioned sage, shook off his sorrow, like a peacock at the roaring of a cloud, in the hope of gaining his object.

Chapter 1.12 — Rama’s Reply

1. Valmiki related:— Being thus asked by the chief of the sages with soothing words, Rama answered in a soft and graceful speech replete with good sense.

2. “O venerable sage, untutored though I am, I will tell you in truth all the particulars as you asked. For who would disobey the bidding of the wise?” Rama speaking:—

3. Since I was born in this my father’s palace, I have remained here, grown up, and received my education.

4. Then, O leader of sages, desiring to learn good customs, I set out to travel to holy places all over this sea-surrounded earth.

5. By this time, a series of reflections arose in my mind that shook my confidence in worldly objects.

6. I employed my mind to discriminate the nature of things, which gradually led me to discard all thoughts of sensual enjoyments.

7. What are worldly pleasures good for, and why do men multiply on earth? Men are born to die, and they die to be born again.

8. There is no stability in the tendencies of beings whether movable or immovable. They all tend to vice, decay and danger, and all our possessions become the grounds of our poverty.

9. All objects of sense are detached from each other like iron rods from one another. It is only imagination which attaches them to our minds.

10. It is the mind that pictures the existence of the world as a reality, but if we know the deceptiveness of the mind, we are safe from such deception.

11. If the world is an unreality, it is a pity that ignorant men should be allured by it, like deer tempted by a distant mirage of water.

12. We are sold by none, yet we are enslaved to the world. Knowing this well, we are spell-bound with riches, as if by the magic wand of Sambara.

13. What are the enjoyments in this essence but misery? Yet we are foolishly caught in its thoughts, like bees caught in honey.

14. Ah! After long, I perceive that we have insensibly fallen into errors, like senseless stags falling into caverns in the wilderness.

15. Of what use is royalty and these enjoyments to me? What am I and where do all these things come from? They are only vanities. Let them continue as such without any good or loss to anybody.

16. Reasoning in this manner, O holy brahmin, I came to be disgusted with the world, like a traveler in a desert.

17. Now tell me, O venerable sir, is this world is advancing to its dissolution, or continued reproduction, or is it in endless progression?

18. If there is any progress here, is it the appearance and disappearance by turns of old age and decease, and of prosperity and adversity?

19. See how the variety of our trifling enjoyments hastens our decay. They are like hurricanes shattering trees in the mountains.

20. Men continue in vain to breathe their vital breath like hollow bamboo wind-pipes having no sense.

21. The thought that consumes me like wildfire in the hollow of a withered tree is, “How is misery to be alleviated?”

22. The weight of worldly miseries sits heavy on my heart like a rock and obstructs the breathing of my lungs. I have a mind to weep, but I am prevented from shedding tears for fear of my people.

23. My tearless weeping and speechless mouth give no indication to anybody of my inner sorrow. My consciousness is silent witness to my solitude.

24. I wait to think on the positive and negative states, as a ruined man bewails to reflect on his former state of affluence.

25. I take prosperity to be a seducing cheat, for it deludes the mind, impairs good qualities, and spreads the net of our miseries.

26. To me, like one fallen into great difficulties, no riches, offspring, consorts or home affords any delight, but they seem to be misery.

27. Like a wild elephant in chains, I find no rest in my mind reflecting on the various evils of the world, and thinking on the causes of our frailties.

28. There are wicked passions prying at all times, under the dark mist of the night of our ignorance. There are hundreds of objects which, like so many cunning rogues, are about all men in broad daylight, lurking on all sides to rob us of our reason. What mighty champions can we delegate to fight with these other than our own knowledge of truth?

Chapter 1.13 — Denunciation of Wealth

1. Rama said:— O sage, here wealth is reckoned a blessing, yet she is the cause of our troubles and errors.

2. She bears away like a river in the rainy season. All high-spirited simpletons are overpowered by her current.

3. Her daughters are anxieties fostered by many a bad deed, like the waves of a stream raised by winds.

4. She can never stand steady on her legs anywhere, but like a wretched woman who has burnt her feet, she limps from one place to another.

5. Wealth like a lamp both burns and blackens its owner, until it is extinguished by its own flame.

6. She is unapproachable like princes and fools, and likewise as favorable as they to her adherents, without scanning their merits or faults.

7. She begets only evils in them by their various acts, as good milk when given to serpents serves to increase the strength of their poison.

8. Men are gentle and kind hearted to friends and strangers, until their hearts are hardened by their riches, which like blasts of wind serve to stiffen frost.

9. As brilliant gems are soiled by dust, so are the learned, the brave, the grateful, the mild and the gentle corrupted by riches.

10. Riches do not lead to happiness but redound to sorrow and destruction, as the plant aconite when nourished hides fatal poison in itself.

11. A rich man without blemish, a brave man devoid of vanity, and a master lacking partiality are the three rarities on earth.

12. The rich are as inaccessible as the dark cave of a huge serpent, and as unapproachable as the deep wilderness of Vindhya Mountain inhabited by fierce elephants.

13. Riches, like the shadow of night, overcast the good qualities of men, and like moonlight, bring to bloom the buds of their misery. Like a hurricane, they blow away the brightness of a fair prospect. Riches resemble a sea with huge surges.

14. They bring a cloud of fear and error upon us, increase the poison of despondence and regret, and are like dreadful snakes in the field of our choice.

15. Fortune is a frost to those who are bound to asceticism, and is like the night to the owls of libertinism. She is an eclipse to the moonlight of reason, and like moonbeams to the bloom of the lilies of folly.

16. She is as transitory as the rainbow, and as pleasant to see by the play of her colors. She is as fickle as lightening which vanishes as quickly as it appears. Hence none but the ignorant have reliance on her.

17. She is as unsteady as a well born maiden following a base born man to the woods. She is like a mirage that tempts runaways to fall to it as the doe.

18. Unsteady as a wave, she is never steady in any place, like the flickering flame of a lamp. So her leaning is known to nobody.

19. She, like the lioness, is ever quick to fight, and like the leader of elephants, she is favorable to her partisans. She is as sharp as the blade of a sword, and she is the patroness of sharp-witted sharpsters.

20. I see no joy in uncivil prosperity, which is full of treachery and replete with every kind of danger and trouble.

21. It is pity that prosperity is like a shameless wench who will again lay hold of a man who has abandoned her for her rival poverty.

22. What is she, with all her loveliness and attraction of human hearts, but a momentary thing obtained by all manner of evil means, and resembling at best a flower shrub growing out of a cave inhabited by a snake, and beset by reptiles all about its stem?

Chapter 1.14 — Denunciation of Human Life Rama speaking:—

1. Human life is as frail as a drop of water trembling on the tip of a leaflet. Life breaking loose from its bodily imprisonment out of its proper season is as irrepressible as a raving madman.

2. The lives of those whose minds are infected by the poison of worldly affairs, and who are incapable of judging for themselves, are only causes for their torment.

3. Those knowing the knowable, and resting in the all-pervading spirit, and acquiescing alike to their wants and gains, enjoy lives of perfect tranquility.

4. We who have a certain belief that we are only limited beings can have no enjoyment in our transient lives, which are only flashes of lightning in the cloudy sky of the world.

5. It is as impossible to confine the winds or tear the sky to pieces or wreathe waves into a garland as it is to place any reliance upon our lives.

6. Fast as the fleeting clouds in autumn, and short as the light of lamp without oil, our lives appear to pass away as impermanent as rolling waves in the sea.

7. Rather attempt to lay hold of the moon’s shadow on the waves, or the fleeting lightening in the sky, or the ideal lotus blossoms in the ether, than ever place any reliance upon this unsteady life.

8. Men of restless minds, desiring to prolong their useless and toilsome lives, resemble the barren she-mule conceived by a horse.

9. This world (samsara) is as a whirlpool in the ocean of creation, and every individual body is as impermanent as foam, froth or a bubble, which can give me no relish in this life.

10. True living is gain which is worth gaining, which has no cause of sorrow or remorse, and which is a state of transcendental tranquility.

11. There is a vegetable life in plants, and an animal life in beasts and birds. Man leads a thinking life, but true life is above thoughts.

12. All those living beings who being born here once do not return are said to have lived well in this earth. The rest are no better than old asses.

13. Knowledge is a burden to the unthinking, and wisdom is burdensome to the passionate. Intellect is a heavy load to the restless, and the body is a ponderous burden to one ignorant of his soul.

14. A good person possessed of life, mind, intellect and self-consciousness and its occupations, is of no benefit to the unwise, but seem to weigh down on the unwise as if he were a porter.

15. The discontented mind is the great arena of all evils, and the nesting place of diseases which alight upon it like birds of the air. Such a life is the abode of toil and misery.

16. As a house is slowly dilapidated by the mice continually burrowing under it, so is the body of the living gradually corroded by the teeth of time boring within it.

17. Deadly diseases breed within the body, feed upon our vital breath, like poisonous snakes born in caves of the woods consume the meadow air.

18. As the withered tree is perforated by small worms residing in them, so our bodies are continually wasted by many inborn diseases and harmful secretions.

19. Death is constantly staring and growling at our face, as a cat looks and purrs at a mouse in order to devour it.

20. Old age wastes us as soon as a glutton digests his food, and it reduces one to weakness as an old harlot left with no charm other than her make-up and perfumes.

21. Youth forsakes us as soon as a good man who, after a few days learns of his wicked friend’s faults, abandons him in disgust.

22. Death, the lover of destruction and friend of old age and ruin, likes the sensual man, as a lecher likes a beauty.

23. Thus there is nothing so worthless in the world as this life, which is devoid of every good quality and ever subject to death, unless it is attended by the permanent joy of liberation.

Chapter 1.15 — Denunciation of Ego

1. Rama continued:— Egoism springs from false conceit fostered by vanity. I am much afraid of this enemy, baneful egotism.

2. All men in this diversified world, even the very poorest of them, fall into the dungeon of evils and misdeeds under the influence of ego.

3. All accidents, anxieties, troubles and wicked exertions proceed from ego and self-confidence. Hence I deem ego to be like a disease.

4. Being subject to that everlasting arch-enemy, the cynic ego, I have refrained from food and drink. What other enjoyment is there for me to partake?

5. This world resembles a long continuous night in which our ego, like a hunter, spreads the snare of affections.

6. All our great and intolerable miseries, growing as rank as thorny acacia plants, are only the results of our ego.

7. It overcasts the equanimity of mind like an eclipse shadows the moon. It destroys our virtues like frost destroys lotus flowers. It dispels the peace of men as autumn drives away the clouds. Therefore, I must get rid of this egoistic feeling.

8. I am not Rama the prince. I have no desire, nor should I wish for wealth, but I wish to have the peace of my mind and remain like the self-satisfied old sage Jina.

9. All that I have eaten, done or offered in sacrifice under the influence of ego have gone for nothing. The absence of ego is the real good.

10. So long, O brahmin, as there is ego, he is subject to sorrow at his difficulties. If he is devoid of it, he becomes happy. Hence it is better to be without it.

11. I am free from anxiety, O sage, ever since I have come to know the impermanence of all enjoyments, gave up my sense of egoism, and attained tranquility of my mind.

12. As long, O brahmin, as the cloud of egoism covers our minds, our desires expand themselves like kurchi plant buds in rain.

13. But when the cloud of egoism is dispersed, the lightning of greed vanishes away, just like when a lamp is extinguished, its light immediately disappears.

14. The mind vaunts with ego, like a furious elephant in the Vindhyan Hills when it hears thunder in the clouds.

15. Ego is like a lion, living in the vast forest of all human bodies, who ranges about at large throughout the whole extent of this earth.

16. The self-conceited are decorated with a string of pearls about their necks, of which greed forms the thread and repeated births are the pearls.

17. Our hostile enemy ego, like a magician, has spread about us the enchantments of our wives, friends and children, whose spells it is hard to break.

18. As soon as the impression of the word ego is effaced from the mind, all our anxieties and troubles are wiped out of it.

19. The cloud of ego being dispelled from the sky of our minds, the mist of error which it spreads to destroy our peace will also disperse.

20. I have given up my ego, yet my mind remains stupefied with sorrow from my ignorance. Tell me, O brahmin, what do you think is right for me under these circumstances?

21. I have given up this egoism with much trouble, and I would like to not depend upon this source of all evil and worry any more. It retains its seat in the breast only to annoy me, without benefiting me by any good quality of its own. Direct me now, you men of great understandings!

Chapter 1.16 — The Inability to Control the Mind Rama speaking:—

1. Our minds are infested with evil passions and faults, and fluctuate in their observance of duty and service to superiors, like the plumes of a peacock fluttering in a breeze.

2. Minds eagerly and restlessly rove about at random from one place to another, like a poor village dog running far and wide in search of food.

3. It seldom finds anything anywhere, and happening even to get a good store somewhere, it is as little content with it as a wicker vessel filled with water.

4. The vacant mind, O sage, is ever entrapped in its evil desires. It is never at rest with itself, but roams at large like a stray deer separated from its herd.

5. The human mind, as light as the minutest particle, is like an unsteady wave. Therefore it can have no rest in spite of its nature.

6. Disturbed by its thoughts, the mind is tossed in all directions, like the waters of the milk-white ocean when churned by Mandara Mountain.

7. I can not curb my mind, resembling the vast ocean in its course, subject to huge surges of passions, with whirlpools of error, and beset by the whales of delusion.

8. O brahmin, our minds run afar after sensual enjoyments, like deer running towards tender blades of grass, unmindful of falling into hidden traps.

9. The mind can never get rid of its wavering state owing to its nature of habitual fickleness, resembling the restlessness of the sea.

10. The mind with its natural fickleness and restless thoughts finds no repose at any place, like a lion in his cage.

11. The mind seated in the car of delusion absorbs the sweet, peaceful and undisturbed rest of the body, like a swan sucking up pure milk from amidst the water.

12. O chief of sages, I grieve much to find the faculties of the mind lying asleep upon a bed of imaginary delights, from which they are hard to awaken.

13. O brahmin, like a bird in a net, I am caught by the knots of my ego, and held fast by the thread of my greed.

14. Like dried hay on fire, the flame of my anxieties burns in my mind under the spreading fumes of my impatience.

15. Like a clod of cold meat, I am devoured by the cruelty and greed of my heart, like a carcass swallowed by a hungry dog and its greedy mate.

16. I am carried away, O sage, by the current of my heart, like a tree on the bank carried away by waters and waves beating upon it.

17. I am led afar by my mind, like straw carried off by a hurricane, either to flutter in the air or fall upon the ground.

18. My earthly mindedness has put a stop to my desire of crossing over the ocean of the world, as an embankment stops the course of a stream.

19. The baseness of my heart lifts me up and lets me down like a log of wood tied to a rope and dragged in and out of a well.

20. As a child is seized when his imagination thinks he sees a demon, so I find myself in the grasp of my wicked mind, representing falsities as true.

21. It is hard to repress the mind, which is hotter than fire, more inaccessible than a hill, and stronger than a thunderbolt.

22. The mind is attracted to its objects like a bird to its prey. It has not even a moment’s respite, like a boy and his play.

23. My mind resembles the sea both in its dullness and its restlessness, and in its extent and fullness with whirlpools and dragons that keep me from advancing.

24. It is more difficult to subdue the mind than to drink the ocean or upset Sumeru Mountain. It is harder than the hardest thing.

25. The mind is the cause of all exertions, and the source of all that senses the three worlds. Its weakness weakens all worldliness, and requires to be cured with care.

26. Our pains and pleasures arise by the hundreds from the mind, like woods growing in groups upon a hill, but no sooner is the scythe of reason applied to them, than they fall off one by one.

27. I am ready to subdue my mind, my greatest enemy in this world, for the purpose of mastering all the virtues, which the learned say depend upon it. My lack of desires has made me adverse to wealth and the gross pleasures it yields, which are like the tints of clouds tainting the moon.

Chapter 1.17 — Rama on Greed Rama speaking:—

1. I see our vices like a flock of owls flying in the region of our minds, under the darkness of our affections, and in the longsome night of our greed.

2. I am parched by my anxieties like wet clay under the sun, infusing an inner heat by extracting its soft moisture.

3. My mind is like a vast and lonesome wilderness, covered under the mist of errors, and infested by the terrible fiend of desire that is continually floundering about it.

4. My wailings and tears serve only to expand and mature my anxiety, as the dews of night open and ripen the blossoms of beans and give them a bright golden color.

5. Greed by raising expectations in men, serves only to whirl them about, like a vortex of the sea swallows marine animals.

6. The stream of worldly greed flows like a rapid current within the rock of my body, with precipitate force and loud resounding waves.

7. Our minds are driven by foul greed from one place to another, as dusty dry hay is carried away by winds, and as moisture loving chataka cuckoos are impelled by thirst to fly about.

8. It is greed that destroys all the good qualities and grace that we have learned in good faith, just like a mischievous mouse gnaws the strings of a musical instrument.

9. We turn on the wheel of our cares, like withered leaves upon water, like dry grass blown by wind, and like autumn clouds in the sky.

10. Being over powered by greed, we are unable to reach the goal of perfection, like a bird entangled in a snare is kept from flight.

11. I am so greatly burnt by the flame of greed that I doubt whether this inflammation may be relieved even by administration of nectar.

12. Like a heated mare, greed takes me far and farther still from my place, and brings me back to it again and again. Thus it hurries me up and down and to and fro in all directions forever.

13. The rope of greed pulls us up and cast us down again like a bucket into a well.

14. Man’s greed leads him about like a bullock of burden. His avarice bends his heart as fast as the rope does the beast, and it is hard for him to break.

15. As the hunter spreads his net to catch birds, so does our affection for friends, wives and children stretch snares to entrap us every day.

16. Greed like a dark night terrifies even the wise, blindfolds the keen-sighted, and depresses the spirit of the happiest of men.

17. Our appetite is as heinous as a serpent, soft to feel, but full of deadly poison, and bites us as soon as it is felt.

18. It is also like a black sorceress who deludes men by her magic, then pierces him in his heart to expose him to danger afterwards.

19. This body of ours, shattered by our greed, is like a worn out lute, fastened by arteries resembling strings, but emitting no pleasing sound.

20. Our greed is like the long fibered, dark and juicy poisonous vine called kaduka that grows in mountain caves and maddens men by its flavor.

21. Greed is as vain, empty, fruitless, aspiring, unpleasant and perilous as a dry twig of a tree that bears no fruit or flower, but is hurtful with its prickly point.

22. Venality is like a mean old woman, who from the incontinence of her heart, courts the company of every man without gaining the object of her desire.

23. Greed is an old actress who plays her various parts in the vast theatre of world in order to please the different tastes of her audience.

24. Parsimony is like a poisonous plant growing in the wide wilderness of the world, bearing old age and infirmity as its flowers, and producing our troubles as its fruits.

25. Our churlishness resembles an aged actress who attempts a manly feat she has not the strength to perform, yet keeps up the dance without pleasing anybody.

26. Our fleeting thoughts are as fickle as peacocks soaring over inaccessible heights under the clouds (of ignorance), but ceasing to fly in the daylight (of reason).

27. Greed is like a river during the rains, rising for a time with its rolling waves, and afterwards lying low in its empty bed.

28. Greed is as inconstant as a female bird that changes her mates at times, and quits the tree that no longer bears fruit.

29. The greedy are as unsteady as a springing monkey that never rests at any place but moves to places impassable by others, and craves for fruit even when satisfied.

30. The acts of greed are as inconstant as those of chance, both of which are ever on the alert, but never attended with their sequence.

31. Our venality is like a black bee sitting on the lotus of our hearts where it buzzes above, below and all about.

32. Of all worldly evils, greed is the source of the longest sorrow. She exposes even the most secluded man to peril.

33. Greed, like a group of clouds, is filled with a thick mist of error obstructing the light of heaven and causing a dull insensitivity.

34. Penury, which seems to gird the breasts of worldly people with chains of gems and jewels, binds them like beasts with halters about their necks.

35. Covetousness stretches itself long and wide and presents to us a variety of colors like a rainbow. It is equally unsubstantial and without any property as the iris, resting in vapor and vacuum and being only a shadow itself.

36. It burns away our good qualities as fire does dry hay. It numbs our good sense as frost freezes the lotus. It grows our evils as autumn does the grass. It increases our ignorance as winter prolongs the night.

37. Greediness is as an actress on the stage of the world. She is like a bird flying out of the nest of our houses, like a deer running about in the desert of our hearts, and like a lute making us sing and dance at its tune.

38. Our desires like great waves toss us about in the ocean of our earthly cares. They bind us fast to delusion like chains bind an elephant. Like the banyan tree, they produce the roots of our regeneration, and like moonbeams they put our budding sorrows to bloom.

39. Greed is a jewel-encrusted box filled with misery, decrepitude, death, disorder and disasters like a mad drunken dance.

40. Our wishes are sometimes as pure as light and at other times as foul as darkness; now they are as clear as the milky way, and again as obscure as thickest mists.

41. All our bodily troubles are avoided by abstaining from greed, just as we are freed from fear of night demons at the dispersion of darkness.

42. As long as men remain in dumbness and mental delirium, they are subject to the poisonous colic of greed.

43. Men may get rid of their misery by freeing themselves from anxieties. The abandonment of cares is said to be the best remedy for greed.

44. As fish in a pond fondly grasp bait in expectation of a morsel, so the avaricious lay hold on anything, be it wood or stone or even a bit of straw.

45. Greed like an acute pain excites even the gravest of men to motion, just like the sunshine raises lotus blossoms above water.

46. It is comparable to bamboo in its length, hollowness, hard knots, and thorny prickles, and yet it is entertained with hopes that it might yield manna and pearls.

47. It is a wonder that high-minded men have been able to cut off this almost un-severable knot of greed by the glittering sword of reason,

48. because neither the edge of a sword, nor the fire of lightening, nor the sparks of a red-hot iron are sharp enough to sever the keen greed seated in our hearts.

49. It is like the flame of a lamp which is bright but blackening and acutely burning at its end. Fed by the oily wicks, it is vivid but never handled by anybody.

50. Penury has the power of demeaning, in a moment, the best of men to the baseness of straw in spite of their wisdom, heroism and gravity in other respects.

51. Greed is like the great valley of the Vindhya Hills, beset with deserts and impenetrable forests, terrible and full of traps laid by the hunters, filled with dust and mist.

52. One single greed has everything in the world for its object, and though seated in the breast, it is imperceptible to all. It is like the undulating Milky Ocean in this fluctuating world, sweeping all things yet regaling mankind with its odorous waves.

Chapter 1.18 — Denunciation of the Body Rama speaking:—

1. This body of ours that struts about on earth is only a mass of humid entrails and tendons, tending to decay and disease, and to our torment alone.

2. It is neither quiescent nor wholly sentient, neither ignorant nor quite intelligent. Its inherent soul is a wonder, and reason makes it graceful or otherwise.

3. The skeptic is doubtful of its inertness and exercise of intellect, and unreasonable and ignorant people are ever subject to error and illusion.

4. The body is as easily gratified with a little as it is exhausted in an instant. Hence there is nothing so pitiable, abject and worthless as our bodies.

5. The face is as frail as a fading flower. Now it shoots forth its teeth like filaments, and now it dresses itself with blooming and blushing smiles as blossoms.

6. The body is like a tree. Its arms resemble the branches, the shoulder-blades like stems, the teeth are rows of birds, the eye-holes like its hollows, and the head is like a big fruit.

7. The ears are like two woodpeckers. The fingers of both hands and feet are like so many leaves of the branches. The diseases are like parasitic plants, and the acts of the body are like axes felling this tree, which is the seat of the two birds: the soul and intelligence.

8. This shady tree of the body is only the temporary resort of a passing soul, whether it be related or unrelated to anybody, or whether reliable or not.

9. What man is there, O venerable fathers, who would stoop to reflect that each body is repeatedly assumed only to serve as a boat to pass over the sea of the world?

10. Who can rely on his body with any confidence, a body like a forest full of holes abounding in hairs that resemble trees?

11. The body composed of flesh, nerves and bones resembles a drum without any musical sound, yet I sit watching it like a cat.

12. Our bodies are like trees growing in the forest of the world, bearing the flowers of anxiety and perforated by the worms of sorrow and misery, ridden by the apish mind.

13. The body with its smiling face appears like a good plant bearing both good and bad fruit, but it has become home for the snake of greed and the crows of anger.

14. Our arms are like the branches of trees, and our open palms like beautiful clusters of flowers. The other limbs are like twigs and leaves continually shaken by the breath of life.

15. The two legs are the erect stems and the organs are the seats of the birds of sense. Its youthful bloom is a shade for the passing traveler of love.

16. The hanging hairs of the head resemble long grass growing on the tree, and egoism, like a vulture, cracks the ear with its hideous shrieks.

17. Our various desires are like the hanging roots and fibers of a fig tree that seem to support the trunk of its body, but is worn out by labor to become unpleasant.

18. The body is the big home of its owner’s ego, and therefore it is of no interest to me whether it lasts or falls.

19. This body, linked with its limbs like beasts of burden to labor, the home of its mistress greed painted over by her passions, affords me no delight whatever.

20. This abode of the body, built with its framework of backbone and ribs and composed of cellular vessels tied together by ropes of the entrails, is no way desirable to me.

21. This mansion of the body, tied with strings of tendons, built with the clay of blood and moisture, and plastered white with old age is no way suited to my liking.

22. The mind is the architect and master of this bodily dwelling, and our activities are its supports and servants. It is filled with errors and delusions which I do not like.

23. I do not like this dwelling of the body with its bed of pleasure on one side, and its childlike cries of pain on the other, and where our evil desires work like its shouting handmaids.

24. I cannot like this body. It is like a pot of filth, full of the foulness of worldly affairs, and moldering under the rust of our ignorance.

25. It is a hovel standing on the two props of our heels, supported by the two posts of our legs.

26. It is no lovely house where the external organs are playing their parts, while its mistress understanding sits inside with her brood of anxieties.

27. It is a hut thatched over with the hairs on the head, decorated with the turrets of the ears, and adorned with jewels on the crest, which I do not like.

28. This house of the body is walled about by all its members, and beset by hairs growing on it like ears of grain. It has an empty space of the belly within which I do not like.

29. This body with its nails as those of spiders, and its entrails growling within like barking dogs, and the internal winds emitting fearful sounds, is never delightsome to me.

30. What is this body but a passage for the ceaseless inhaling and breathing out of the vital air? Its eyes are like two windows continually opened and closed by the eyelids. I do not like a mansion such as this.

31. This mansion of the body, with its formidable door of the mouth and ever-moving bolt of the tongue and bars of the teeth, is not pleasant to me.

32. This house of the body, having the whitewash of ointments on the outer skin and the machinery of the limbs in continuous motion, its restless mind burrowing its base like a mischievous mouse, is not liked by me.

33. Sweet smiles, like shining lamps, serve to lighten this house of the body for a moment, but it is soon darkened by a cloud of melancholy, wherefore I cannot be pleased with it.

34. This body, the abode of diseases and subject to wrinkles and decay and all kinds of pain, is a mansion with which I am not pleased.

35. I do not like this wilderness of the body, infested by the bears of the senses. It is empty and hollow within, with dark groves of entrails inside.

36. I am unable, O chief of sages, to drag my domicile of the body, just as a weak elephant is incapable of pulling another that is stuck in a muddy pit.

37. Of what good is affluence or royalty, this body and all its efforts to a person when the hand of time must destroy them all in a few days?

38. Tell me, O sage, what is charming in this body that is only a composition of flesh and blood both within and without and frail in its nature?

39. The body does not follow the soul upon death. Tell me sage, what regard should the learned have for such an ungrateful thing as this?

40. It is as unsteady as the ears of an enraged elephant, and as fickle as drops of water that trickle on their tips. I should like therefore to abandon it before it comes to abandon me.

41. It is as tremulous as the leaves of a tree shaken by a breeze, and oppressed by diseases and fluctuations of pleasure and pain. I have no relish in its pungency and bitterness.

42. With all its food and drink for evermore, it is as tender as a leaflet and it is reduced to leanness in spite of all our cares, and runs fast towards its dissolution.

43. It is repeatedly subjected to pleasure and pain, and to the succession of affluence and destitution, without being ashamed of itself as the shameless vulgar herd.

44. Why nourish this body any longer when, after its enjoyment of prosperity and exercise of authority for a length of time, it acquires no excellence nor durability?

45. The bodies of the rich and the poor are alike subject to decay and death at their appointed times.

46. The body lies like a tortoise in the cave of greed amidst the ocean of the world. It remains there in the mud in a mute and torpid state without any effort for its liberation.

47. Our bodies float like heaps of wood on the waves of the world, finally serving as fuel for a funeral fire — except a few which pass for human bodies in the sight of the wise.

48. The wise have little to do with this tree of the body, which is beset by evils like harmful orchids about it, and produces the fruit of perdition.

49. The body, like a frog, lies merged in the mire of mortality where it perishes no sooner it is known to have lived and gone.

50. Our bodies are as empty and fleeting as gusts of wind passing over dusty ground. Nobody knows from where they come or where they go.

51. We know not the travels of our bodies, as we do not know those of the winds, light and our thoughts. They all come and go, but from where and to where, we know nothing.

52. Fie and shame to them who are so giddy with the intoxication of their error that they rely on any state or durability of their bodies.

53. They are the best of men, O sage, whose minds are at rest with the thought that their ego does not exist in their bodies, and that in the end the bodies are not theirs.

54. Those mistaken men who have a high sense of honor and fear dishonor, but who take pleasure in the excess of their gains, are truly killers of both of their bodies and souls.

55. We are deceived by the delusion of ego, which like a female evil spirit lies hidden within the cavity of the body with all her sorcery.

56. Unaided, our reason is kept in bondage by the malicious fiend of false knowledge, like a slave within the prison of our bodies.

57. It is certain that whatever we see here is unreal, and yet it is a wonder that the mass of men are led to deception by the vile body, which has injured the cause of the soul.

58. Our bodies are as fleeting as the drops of a waterfall. They fall off in a few days like the withered leaves of trees.

59. They are as quickly dissolved as bubbles in the ocean. Therefore it is in vain for it to hurl about in the whirlpool of business.

60. I have not a moment’s reliance in this body, which is ever hastening to decay, and I regard its changeful delusions as a state of dreaming.

61. Let those who have any faith in the stability of lightning, autumn clouds and ice castles place their reliance in this body.

62. In its instability and ability to perish, the body has outdone all other things that are doomed to destruction. It is moreover subject to very many evils. Therefore I value it as nothing, like straw, and thereby I have obtained my rest.

Chapter 1.19 — Blemishes of Boyhood Rama speaking:—

1. One receiving his birth in the unstable ocean of this world, disturbed by the waves of the turmoil of business, has to pass his boyhood in sufferings only.

2. The attendants of infancy are a lack of strength and sense, diseases, dangers, muteness and sensual desires, joined with longings and helplessness.

3. Childhood is chained to fretting, crying, fits of anger, craving and every kind of incapacity, like an elephant chained to a post.

4. The vexations that tease the infant breast are far greater than those which trouble us in youth and old age, or disturb one in disease, danger or at the approach of death.

5. The acts of a boy are like those of young animals, always restless and snubbed by everybody. Hence boyhood is more intolerable than death itself.

6. How can boyhood be pleasing to anybody, when it is a semblance of gross ignorance, full of whims and hobbies, and ever subject to improper behavior?

7. Silly boyhood is in constant dread of dangers arising at every step from fire, water and air which rarely cause problems in other states of life.

8. Children are liable to very many errors in their plays and wicked frolics, and in all their wishes and attempts beyond their capacities. Therefore, boyhood is the most dangerous stage of life.

9. Children are engaged in false pursuits and wicked sports, and are subject to all other foolish childishness. Hence boyhood is fit for the rod and not for rest.

10. All faults, misconduct, transgressions and heartaches lie hidden in boyhood like owls in hollow caves.

11. Shame on those ignorant and foolish people who are falsely led to imagine boyhood as the most pleasant period of life.

12. How can boyhood appear pleasing to anyone when the mind swings like a cradle towards every object of desire, however wrong it is deemed to be in both worlds?

13. The minds of all living beings are ever restless, but those of young people are ten times more at unrest.

14. The mind is naturally unsteady, and so is boyhood. Say what can save us from that state of life when both these vagrant things combine to our destruction?

15. The glances of women, the flashes of lightning, the flame of fire, and the ever-rolling waves have all imitated the fickleness of boyhood.

16. Minority seems to be a twin brother to the mind. They are similar in their unsteadiness and frailty of all their purposes.

17. All kinds of miseries, misdeeds and improper behavior await on boyhood, as all sorts of men hang upon the rich.

18. Children are always fond of new things, and when they fail to get them, they fall to a fainting fit, as if from the effect of poison.

19. A boy like a dog, is as easily tamed as he is irritated at a little, and he is as glad to lie in the dust and play with dirt.

20. A foolish fretful boy with his body daubed in mire, tears in his eyes, appears like a heap of dry clay soiled by a shower of rain.

21. Children are subject to fear and voracious appetites. They are helpless but fond of everything they have seen or heard, and equally fickle in their bodies and mind. Hence boyhood is a source of only troubles.

22. The foolish and helpless child becomes sad and sour when he fails to get the object of his fancy and thwarted from the thing desired.

23. Children have much difficulty to get at the things they want, and which they can ask only by indistinct words. Hence no one suffers so much as children.

24. A boy is as much irritated by the eagerness of his whimsical desires as a patch of ground in the desert is parched by the summer heat.

25. On entering school, a boy is subjected to corrections, which are as painful to him as goading and chains to an elephant.

26. Boyhood, ever fond of toys and trifles, is continually afflicted by a great many whims and hobbies, and a variety of false fancies.

27. How can it be said that senseless childhood is a happy state of life when the child is led by its ignorance to swallow everything in the world, and to wish to lay hold on the moon in the sky?

28. Say great sage, what difference is there between a child and a tree? Both have sensitivity, but neither is able to defend themselves from heat and cold.

29. Children are like birds, subject to fear and hunger, and ready to fly about when impelled by them.

30. Boyhood is the home of fear from all sides; such as from the tutor, father, mother, elder brother and elderly children, and from everybody besides.

31. Hence the hopeless state of childhood, full of faults and errors, and addicted to sports and thoughtlessness, cannot be satisfactory to anybody.

Chapter 1.20 — Denunciation of Youth

1. Rama continued:-- The boy, having passed his state of blemishes, gladly steps into youth with hopes of gaining his objects that tend only to his ruin.

2. At this time the unconscious youth feels the wanton inclinations of his loose mind and goes on falling from one tribulation to another.

3. He is overcome like one subdued by the power of delusive Kama Deva (Goddess Desire) lying hidden in the cavity of the heart.

4. His ungoverned mind gives rise to loose thoughts like those of voluptuous women, and these serve to beguile him like magic black collyrium eye-liner in the hands of children.

5. Vices of the most heinous kind overcome persons of such minds in their youth and lead them to their ruin.

6. The paths of youth lead through a maze of errors to the gate of hell. Those who have been left uncorrupt by their youth are not to be corrupted by anything else.

7. Whoever has passed the dreadfully enchanted coast of youth, filled with various flavors and wonders, is said to be truly wise.

8. I take no delight in our unwelcome youth, which appears to us in the form of a momentary flash of lightning, soon followed by the loud roaring of the clouds (of manhood).

9. Youth, like rich wine, is sweet and delicious, but becomes bitter, insipid and harmful in a short time. Hence it is not delectable to me.

10. Youth appearing as a reality, is found to be a false, transient thing, as deceptive as a fairy dream by night. Hence I like it not.

11. It is the most charming of all things to men, but its charm is soon lost and fled. Therefore the magic lantern show of youth is not pleasing to me.

12. Youth is like an arrow shot: pleasant to see, but painful to feel. Hence I do not like youth that produces heat in the blood.

13. Youth is like a harlot: charming at first sight, but soon turns heartless. Hence it is not to my liking.

14. As the efforts of a dying man are all for his torment, so the exertions of the young are portentous of his destruction.

15. Puberty advances like a dark night spreading the shadow of destruction. It darkens the heart and mind by its hideous appearance, and intimidates even the god Shiva himself.

16. Errors growing in youth, upsetting good sense and giving no value to approved good manners, cause copious mistakes in life.

17. The raging fire in the hearts of the young, caused by separation from their mates, burns them down like trees in a wildfire.

18. As a clear, sacred and wide stream becomes muddy during rains, so does the mind of man, however clear, pure and expanded it may be, gets polluted in his youth.

19. It is possible for one to cross a river made terrible by its waves, but no way possible for him to get over the boisterous expanse of his youthful desires.

20. O how one’s youth is worn out with the thoughts of his mistress, her swollen breasts, her beautiful face and her sweet caresses!

21. The wise regard a young man afflicted with the pain of soft desire as no better than a fragment of straw.

22. Youth is the stake of haughty self-esteem, as the rack is for the immolation of the elephant giddy with its frontal pearl.

23. Youth is a lamentable forest where the mind, as the root of all, gives growth to jungles of (love sick) groans, sighs and tears of sorrow. The vices of this time are like venomous snakes of the forest.

24. Know that a person’s youthful bloom resembles a blooming lotus of the lake. One is as full of affections, bad desires and evil intents as the other is filled with bees, filaments, petals and leaves.

25. The new bloom of youth is the playground of anxiety and disease, which like two birds with their (black and white) plumage of vice and virtue, frequent the fountain of the young man’s heart.

26. Early youth resembles a deep sea disturbed by the waves of numberless amusements, transgressing all bounds, and regardless of death and disease.

27. Youth is like a furious gust of wind over-loaded with the dust of pride and vanity which sweeps away every trace of good qualities.

28. The rude dust of the passions of youth disfigures their faces, and the hurricane of their sensualities cover their good qualities.

29. Youthful vigor awakens a series of faults and destroys a group of good qualities by increasing the vice of pleasures.

30. Youthful bloom confines the fickle mind to some beautiful person, like bright moonbeams serve to trap the flitting bee in the dust of a closing lotus.

31. Youth, like a delightful cluster of flowers growing in the garden of the human body, attracts the mind to it like a bee and makes it giddy (with its sweets).

32. The human mind anxious to derive pleasure from the youthfulness of the body, falls into the cave of sensuality, like a deer running after the mirage of desert heat falls down into a pit.

33. I take no delight in moon-like youth which guilds the dark body with its beams and resembles the stern mane of the lion-like mind. It is a surge in the ocean of our lives.

34. There is no reliance upon youth that fades away as soon as summer flowers in this desert of the body.

35. Like a bird, youth soon flies away from our bodily cage. It is like the philosopher’s stone that quickly disappears from the hands of the unfortunate.

36. As youth advances to its highest pitch, so the feverish passions wax stronger for our destruction only.

37. As long as the night (delusion) of youth lasts, the fiends of our passion rage in the desert of the body.

38. Pity me, O sage, in this state of youth which is so full of agitation as to have deprived me of the sight of reason. O pity me as you would for your dying son.

39. A foolish man who ignorantly rejoices at his transient youth is considered to be like a human beast.

40. A foolish fellow who is fond of his youth, flushed with pride and filled with errors, soon comes to repent.

41. Those who have safely passed over the perils of youth are great minded men honored on earth.

42. With ease one can cross over a wide ocean that is the horrible home of huge whales, but it is hard to pass over our youth that is so full of vices and waves (of our passions).

43. It is very rare to have a happy youth filled with humility and spent in the company of respectable men. Such youth is distinguished by feelings of sympathy and is joined with good qualities and virtues.

Chapter 1.21 — Denunciation of Women (or for PC purposes, Denunciation of the Opposite Sex)

1. Rama added:— What beauty is there in the body of a woman composed of nerves, bones and joints? She is a mere statue of flesh and a frame of moving machinery with her ribs and limbs.

2. Separated from its flesh, skin, blood and water, can you find anything beautiful in the female form that is worth beholding? Then why dote upon it?

3. This fairy frame consisting of hair and blood cannot engage the attention of a high-minded man to its blemishes.

4. The bodies of females, so covered with clothing and repeatedly smeared with paints and perfumes, are (in the end) devoured by carnivorous (beasts and worms).

5. The breasts of women, decorated with strings of pearl, appear as charming as the pinnacles of Mount Sumeru washed by the waters of the Ganges falling upon them.

6. Look at these very same breasts in the end, having become a lump of food to be devoured by dogs in cemeteries and on the naked ground.

7. There is no difference between a woman and a young elephant that lives in the jungle. Both are made of blood, flesh and bones. Then why hunt after her?

8. A woman is charming only for a short time. I look upon her merely as a cause of delusion.

9. There is no difference between wine and a woman. Both tend equally to produce high-flown mirth and jollity, creating revelry and lust.

10. Overindulgent men are like chained elephants among mankind. They will never come to sense however goaded by the hooks of reason.

11. Women are the flames of vice. Their black-dyed eye and hair are their smoke and soot. Though pleasing to the sight, they are as intangible as fire. They burn a man like fire consumes straw.

12. Though they appear soft and juicy to sight, they burn from afar and are as dry as bones. They serve as fuel for the fires of hell, and they are dangerous with their charm.

13. The woman resembles a moonlit night, veiled over by her loosened locks, and looking through her starry eyes. She shows her moon-like face amidst her flowery smiles.

14. Her soft dalliance destroys all manly energy, and her caresses overpower the good sense of men, like the shade of night does the sleeping (world).

15. A woman is as lovely as a vine in its flowering time. Her palms are the leaves and her eyes are the black bees. Her breasts are like the uplifted tops of the plant.

16. A lovely maiden is like a poisonous vine, fair as the filament of a flower but, by causing inebriation and unconsciousness, destructive of life.

17. Like the snake-catcher entices the snake by his breath and brings it out of its hole, so does a woman allure a man by her meddlesome civilities and gets him under her control.

18. Sexual desire, like a huntsman, has spread his nets in the form of women for the purpose of ensnaring deluded men like silly birds.

19. The mind of man, though as fierce as that of a furious elephant, is tied fast by the chain of love to the fulcrum of women, just as an elephant is fastened to the post where he remains dull and dumb forever.

20. Human life is like a pool in which the mind moves about in mud and mire. Here it is caught by the bait of woman, and dragged along by the thread of its impure desires.

21. The beautiful eyed maiden is a bondage to man, as the stable is to the horse, the fastening post to the elephant, and as spells are to the snakes.

22. This wonderful world, with all its delights and enjoyments, began with woman and depends on women for its continuance.

23. A woman is a casket full of all gems of vice. She is the cause of our chain to everlasting misery, and she is of no use to me.

24. What shall I do with her breast, her eyes, her loins, her eyebrows, the substance of which is only flesh and which therefore is altogether unsubstantial?

25. Here and there, O brahmin, her flesh and blood and bones undergo a change for the worse in course of a few days.

26. Sage, you can see those dearly beloved mistresses, so much fondled by foolish men, lying at last in the cemetery, their body parts all mangled and falling off.

27. O brahmin, those dear love objects, the faces of maidens so fondly decorated by their lovers with paints and pastes, are at last to be burned on the piles.

28. Their braided hairs hang like fly-whisks on the cemetery trees, and after a few days, their whitened bones are strewn about like shining stars.

29. Behold their blood sucked in by the dust of the earth, voracious beasts and worms feeding upon their flesh, jackals tearing their skin, and their vital air dispersed in the vacuum.

30. This is the state to which the members of the female body must shortly come to pass. You say all existence is delusion. Therefore tell me, why do you allow yourselves to fall into error?

31. A woman is nothing but a form composed of the five elements, so why should intelligent men be fondly attached to her?

32. Men’s longing for women is like the suta vine which stretches its sprigs to a great length, but bears plenty of bitter and sour fruit.

33. A man blinded by greed (for his mate) is like a deer that has strayed from its herd, not knowing which way to go, lost in the maze of illusion.

34. A young man under the control of a young woman is as lamentable as an elephant in pursuit of his mate that has fallen into a pit of Vindhya Mountain.

35. He who has a wife has an appetite for enjoyment on earth, but one without her has no object of desire. Abandonment of the wife amounts to abandonment of the world, and forsaking the world is the path to true happiness.

36. I am not content, O brahmin! with these unmanageable enjoyments which are as flickering as the wings of bees, and are as soon at an end as they are born. From my fear of repeated births, decay and death, I long only for the state of supreme bliss.

Chapter 1.22 — Denunciation of Old Age Rama speaking:—

1. Boyhood has scarcely lost its boyishness when it is overtaken by youth, which is soon followed by a ruthless old age that devours the other two.

2. Old age withers the body like frost freezing a lake of lilies. It drives away the beauty of the body like a storm does autumn clouds. It pulls down the body like a current carries away a tree from the bank.

3. An old man with his limbs slackened and worn out by age, his body weakened by infirmity, is treated by women as a useless beast.

4. Old age drives away a man’s good sense, just like a step mother drives away a good wife.

5. A man in tottering old age is ridiculed as a imbecile by his own sons and servants, and even by his wife, friends and relations.

6. When their appearance grows uncouth and their bodies become helpless and devoid of all manly qualities and powers, then insatiable greed alights on the heads of the aged like a greedy vulture.

7. Appetite, the constant companion of my youth, is thriving along with my age, accompanied with her evils of indigence, and heart-burning cares and restlessness.

8. Ah me! What must I do to remove my present and future pains? This fear increases with old age and finds no remedy.

9. What am I that I am brought to this extremity of senselessness? What can I do in this state? I must remain dumb and silent. Given these reflections, there is an increased sense of helplessness in old age.

10. How and when and what shall I eat, and what is sweet to taste? These are the thoughts that trouble the mind when old age comes.

11. There is an insatiable desire for enjoyments, but the powers to enjoy them are lacking. It is lack of strength which afflicts the heart in old age.

12. Hoary old age sits and shrieks like a heron on the top of the tree of this body which is infested within by the serpents of sickness.

13. As the grave owl, the bird of night, appears unexpectedly to our sight as the evening shades cover the landscape, so the solemn appearance of death overtakes us in the eve of our life.

14. As darkness prevails over the world in the evening, so death overtakes the body at the eve of the life.

15. Death overtakes a man in his hoary old age, just like a monkey alights on a tree covered with pearly flowers.

16. Even a deserted city, a leafless tree and parched up land may present a fair aspect, but never does the body look well that is pulled down by hoary age.

17. Old age with its hooping cough lays hold of a man, just as a vulture seizes its prey with loud shrieks in order to devour it.

18. As a girl eagerly lays hold of a lotus flower whenever she sees one, then plucks it from its stalk and tears it to pieces, so does old age overtake a person’s body and breaks it down at last.

19. As the chill blast of winter shakes a tree and covers its leaves with dust, so does old age seize the body with a tremor and fill all its limbs with the rust of diseases.

20. The body overtaken by old age becomes as pale and battered as a lotus flower beaten by frost becomes withered and shattered.

21. As moonbeams contribute to the growth of kumuda flowers on the top of mountains, so does old age produce grey hairs resembling casia flowers on the heads of men (with inward phlegm and gout).

22. Death, the lord of all beings, views the grey head of a man as a ripe pumpkin seasoned with the salt of old age, and devours it with zest.

23. As the Ganges upsets a neighboring tree by its rapid course, so old age destroys the body as the current of our life runs fast to decay.

24. Old age preys on the flesh of the human body and takes as much delight in devouring its youthful bloom as a cat does feeding on a mouse.

25. Decrepitude raises its ominous hoarse sound of hiccough in the body, like a jackal sending forth her hideous cry in the forest.

26. Old age is an inner flame that consumes the living body like a wet log of wood, which thereupon emits its hissing sounds of hiccough and hard breathing, and sends up the gloomy fumes of sorrow and sighs.

27. The body like a flowering vine, bends down under the pressure of age, turns to grey like the fading leaves of a plant, and becomes as lean and thin as a plant after its flowering time is over.

28. Like an infuriated elephant that can uproot a white plantain tree in a moment, so does old age destroy the body that becomes as white as camphor all over.

29. Senility, O sage, is as the standard bearer of the king of death, flapping his fly-whisks of grey hairs before him and bringing an army of diseases and troubles in his train.

30. The monster of old age will even overcome those who were never defeated in wars by their enemies, and those who hide themselves in the inaccessible caverns of mountains.

31. As infants cannot play in a room that has become cold with snow, so the senses can have no play in a body stricken with age.

32. Old age, like a juggling girl, struts on three legs at the sound of coughing and whiffing, beating like a kettledrum on both sides.

33. The tuft of grey hairs on the head of an aged body represents a fly-whisk fastened to the top of a handle of white sandalwood that serves to welcome the despot of death.

34. As hoary age makes his advance like moonlight over the body, he calls forth hidden death to come out of it, as moonlight makes water lilies unfold their buds.

35. Again as the whitewash of old age whitens the outer body, so debility, diseases and dangers become its inmates in the inner apartment.

36. The extinction of being is preceded by old age. Therefore I as a man of little understanding can have no reliance in old age (though extolled by some.)

37. What then is the good of this miserable life, which lives subject to old age? Senility is irresistible in this world, and it defies all efforts to avoid or overcome it.

Chapter 1.23 — The Vicissitudes of Time Rama speaking:—

1. By their much idle talk, ever doubting skepticism and schisms, men of little understandings are found to fall into grave errors in this pit of the world.

2. Good people can have no more confidence in the network of their ribs than little children like fruit reflected in a mirror.

3. Time is a rat that gnaws off the threads of all thoughts that men may entertain about the contemptible pleasures of this world.

4. There is nothing in this world which the all-devouring time will spare. He devours all things like an undersea fire consumes the overflowing sea.

5. Time is the sovereign lord of all, and equally terrible to all things. He is ever ready to devour all visible beings.

6. Time as master of all, spares not even the greatest of us for a moment. He swallows the universe within himself, whence he is known as the Universal Soul.

7. Time pervades all things, but has no perceptible feature of his own, except that he is imperfectly known by the names of years, ages and millennia (kalpas).

8. All that was fair and good and as great as Mount Meru has gone down into the womb of eternity, like snakes gorged by the greedy garuda.

9. There was no one ever so unkind, hard-hearted, cruel, harsh or miserly, whom time has not devoured.

10. Time is ever greedy even though he devours mountains. This great gourmand is not satisfied with gorging himself with everything in all the worlds.

11. Time, like an actor, plays many parts on the stage of the world. He abstracts and kills, produces and devours and at last destroys everything.

12. Time is constantly picking up the seeds of all four kinds of living beings from this unreal world, like a parrot picks up ripened fruit from under the cracked shell of a pomegranate and nibbles at its seeds.

13. Time uproots all proud living beings in this world, like a wild elephant uses its tusks to pull up the trees of the forest.

14. This creation of God is like a forest, having Brahma for its foundation and its trees full of the great fruits of gods. Time commands this creation throughout its length and breadth.

15. Time glides along constantly as a creeping plant, its parts composed of years and ages and the dark nights like black bees chasing after them.

16. Time, O sage, is the subtlest of all things. It is divided though indivisible. It is consumed though incombustible. It is perceived though imperceptible in its nature.

17. Time, like the mind, is strong enough to create and demolish anything in a trice, and its province is equally extensive.

18. Time is a whirlpool to men; and man being accompanied with desire, his insatiable and uncontrollable mistress, and delighting in illicit enjoyments, time makes him do and undo the same thing over and over again.

19. Time is prompted by his rapacity to appropriate everything for himself, from the meanest straw, dust, leaves and worms, to the greatest Indra and Mount Meru itself.

20. Time is the source of all malice and greed, and the spring of all misfortunes, and cause of the intolerable fluctuations of our states.

21. As children play with balls in a playground, so does time play with his two balls of the sun and moon in his arena of the sky.

22. Upon the end of a kalpa age, time will dance about with the bones of the dead hanging like a long chain from his neck to the feet.

23. At the end of a kalpa age, the gale of desolation rising from the body of this world destroyer causes the fragments of Mount Meru to fly about in the air like the rinds of the bhoja-petera tree.

24. Time then assumes his terrific form of fire to dissolve the world in empty space, and the gods Brahma and Indra and all others cease to exist.

25. As the sea shows himself in a continued series of waves rising and falling one after another, so it is time that creates and dissolves the world, and appears to rise and fall with the rotation of days and nights.

26. At end of the world, time plucks the gods and demigods from their great tree of existence like ripe fruit.

27. Time resembles a large sacred fig tree (ficus religiosa) studded with all the worlds as its fruit, resonant with the noise of living beings like the hissing of gnats.

28. Time accompanied by action as his mate, entertains himself in the garden of the world, blossoming with the moonbeams of the Divine Spirit.

29. As the high and huge rock supports its body upon the earth, so does time rest itself in endless and interminable eternity.

30. Time assumes to himself various colors of black, white and red (at night, day and midday) which serve for his vestures.

31. As the earth supports the great hills that are fixed upon it, so time supports all the innumerable ponderous worlds that constitute the universe.

32. Hundreds of great kalpa ages may pass away, yet there is nothing that can move eternity to pity or concern, or stop or expedite his course. It neither sets nor rises.

33. Time is never proud to think that it is he who, without the least sense of pain or labor, brings this world into play and makes it exist.

34. Time is like a reservoir in which the nights are mud, the days lotuses, and the clouds bees.

35. As a covetous man, with worn out broomstick in hand, sweeps over a mountain to gather particles of gold strewn over it, so does time with his sweeping course of days and nights collect all living beings in the world in one mass of the dead.

36. As a miserly man trims and lights a lamp with his own fingers in order to look for his stores in each corner of his rooms, so does time light the lamps of the sun and moon to look for living beings in every nook and corner of the world.

37. As one ripens raw fruit in the sun and fire in order to devour them, so does time ripen men by their sun and fire worship, to bring them under his jaws at last.

38. The world is a dilapidated cottage and men of parts are rare gems in it. Time hides them in the casket of his belly, as a miser keeps his treasure in a coffer.

39. Good men are like a garland of gems, which time puts on his head for a time with fondness, and then tears and tramples it down.

40. Strings of days, nights and stars, resembling beads and bracelets of white and black lotuses, are continually turning around the arm of time.

41. Time looks upon the world like the carcass of a ram, with its mountains, seas, sky and earth as its four horns, and the stars as its drops of blood which it drinks day by day.

42. Time destroys youth as the moon shuts the petals of the lotus. It destroys life like a lion kills the elephant. There is nothing so insignificant that time does not steal.

43. After sporting for a kalpa period in the act of killing and crushing of all living beings, time comes to lose its own existence and becomes extinct in the eternity of the Spirit of spirits.

44. After a short rest and respite, time reappears as the creator, preserver, and destroyer of all who remembers all. He shows the shapes of all things whether good or bad, keeping his own nature beyond the knowledge of all. Thus does time expand and preserve and finally dissolve all things by way of sport.

Chapter 1.24 — The Ravages of Time

1. Rama continued:— Time is a self-willed sportsman, like a prince, who is inaccessible to dangers and whose powers are unlimited.

2. This world is like a forest and a sporting ground of time where the poor deluded worldlings are caught in his snare like bodies of wounded stags.

3. The ocean of universal deluge is merely a pleasure-pond for time, and its undersea fires bursting there are merely lotus flowers.

4. Time makes his breakfast of this vapid and stale earth, flavored with the milk and curd of the seas of those names.

5. His wife Chandi with her train of Matris (the Furies) ranges all about this wide world like a ferocious tigress.

6. The earth with her waters is like a bowl of wine in the hand of time, dressed and flavored with all sorts of lilies and lotuses.

7. In the hand of time, the lion with his huge body and startling mane, his loud roaring and tremendous groans, seems like a caged bird of sport.

8. Mahakala (Transcendent Time), like a playful young cuckoo, appears in the figure of the blue autumn sky, warbling as sweet as the notes of a lute of gourd (in the music of the spheres).

9. The restless bow of death is found flinging its sorrowful arrows with ceaseless thunder claps on all sides.

10. This world is like a forest in which sorrows range about like playful apes, and time like a sportive prince in this forest, is now wandering, now walking, now playing and now killing his game.

Chapter 1.25 — The Play of Death

1. Time stands the foremost of all deceitful players in this world. He acts the double parts of creation and destruction, and of action and fate.

2. The existence of time is known to us only through action and motion, which bind all beings (in the succession of thoughts and acts).

3. Fate is that which frustrates the acts of all created beings, like the heat of the sun serves to dissolve a snow pack.

4. This wide world is the stage on which the giddy mob dances about (in their appointed times).

5. Time has a third name of a terrifying nature known as Kritantah (Fate), who in the form of a Kapalika (one holding human skulls in his hand), dances about in the world.

6. This dancing and loving Kritantah (Fate), is accompanied by his consort called Destiny to whom he is greatly attached.

7. Time (as Shiva) wears on his bosom of the world, the triple white and holy thread composed of the serpent named Ananta (Infinite) and the Ganges River, and on his forehead the digit of the moon ( i.e., the zodiacal belt; the milky way, and the lunar astrological divisions, phases).

8. The sun and the moon are the golden armlets of time, who holds the mundane world in his palm like the paltry plaything of a flower bouquet.

9. The sky with its stars appears like a garment with colored spots. The clouds called Pushkara and Avarta are like the skirts of that garment, washed by time in the waters of the universal deluge.

10. Before him his beloved Destiny with all her arts forever dances to beguile the living who are fond of worldly enjoyments.

11. People hurry up and down to witness the dance of Destiny, whose unrestrained motion keeps them at work, and causes their repeated births and deaths.

12. People of all worlds are studded like ornaments about her person, and the sky stretching from the heaven of gods to the infernal regions serves for the veil on her head.

13. Her feet are planted in the infernal regions, and the hell-pits ring at her feet like trinkets, tied by the string of evil deeds and sins.

14. The god Chitragupta has painted her from head to foot with ornamental marks prepared by her attendants, and perfumed with the essence of those deeds.

15. She dances and reels at the nod of her husband at the end of the kalpas, and makes the mountains crack and crash at her foot-falls.

16. Behind her dance the peacocks of the god Kumara (Subramanyan) and Kala, the god of death, staring with his three wide open eyes, utters his hideous cries (of destruction).

17. Death dances about in the form of the five-headed Hara (the “Destroyer”, Shiva), with the loosened braids of hair upon him, while Destiny in the form of Gauri (Shiva’s consort), her locks adorned with mandara flowers, keeps her pace with him.

18. In her war-dance, this Destiny bears a large gourd representing her big belly, and her body is adorned with hundreds of hollow human skulls jingling like the alms-pots of Kapali mendicants.

19. She has filled the sky with the emaciated skeleton of her body and her terrible, destructive figure.

20. The various shapes of skulls of the dead adorn her body like a beautiful garland of lotuses. They sway to and fro during her dance at the end of a kalpa age.

21. The horrible roaring of the giddy clouds Pushkara and Avarta at the end of the kalpa serves to represent the beating of her damaru drum, and puts to flight the heavenly choir of Tumburu.

22. As death dances along, the moon appears like his earring, and the moonbeams and stars appear like his crest made of peacocks’ feathers.

23. The snow-capped Himalayas appear like a crown of bones in the upper loop of his right ear, and Mount Meru as a golden ring in his left.

24. Under their lobes are suspended the moon and the sun, like pendant earrings glittering over his cheeks. The mountain ranges called the Lokaloka are fastened like chains around his waist.

25. Lightning bolts are the bracelets and armlets of Destiny, which move to and fro as she dances along. The clouds are her dressing gown that fly about her in the air.

26. Death is furnished with many weapons, like clubs, axes, missiles, spears, shovels, mallets and sharp swords, all of which are sure weapons of destruction.

27. Mundane enjoyments are no other than long ropes dropped down by the hand of death that keep all mankind fast bound to the world. He wears the great thread of infinity (ananta) as his wreath of flowers.

28. Death wears the seven oceans as bracelet-belts bracelets resplendent with the living sea-animals and the bright gems contained in their depths.

29. The great vortices of customs, the successions of joy and grief, the excess of pride and the darkness of passions, form the streaks of hair on his body.

30. After the end of the world, he ceases to dance, and creates anew all things from the lowest animal that lives in the earth, to the highest Brahma and Shiva.

31. By turns, Destiny as an actress acts her parts of creation and destruction, diversified by scenes of old age, sorrow and misery.

32. Time repeatedly creates the worlds and their woods, with the different abodes and localities teeming with population. He forms the moveable and immovable substances, establishes customs and again dissolves them, as children make their dolls of clay and break them soon afterwards.

Chapter 1.26 — The Acts of Destiny

1. Rama said:— Such being the all destructive conduct of time and others, what confidence, O great sage, can men like me have in them?

2. We all remain here, as slaves sold to Fate and Destiny, and we are deceived by their allurements as beasts of the forest.

3. This Fate whose conduct is so very inhuman is ever eager to devour all beings. He is constantly throwing men into the sea of troubles.

4. He is moved by his malicious attempts to inflame minds with excessive desires, as the fire raises its flames to burn down a house.

5. Destiny, the faithful and obedient wife of Fate, is naturally fickle on account of her being a female. She is always bent on mischief and disturbing patience.

6. As the heinous serpent feeds upon the air, so does cruel Death ever swallow the living. He ripens the body with old age to create his zest, and then devours all animals warm with life.

7. Death is called a relentless tyrant, having no pity even for the sick and weak, nor any regard for anyone in any state of life.

8. Every one in this world is fond of affluence and pleasures, not knowing that these are only calculated to lead him to his ruin.

9. Life is very unsteady. Death is very cruel. Youth is very frail and fickle, and boyhood is full of dullness and unconsciousness.

10. Man is defiled by his worldliness, his friends are ties to the world, his enjoyments are the greatest of his diseases in life, and his greed and ambition are his ever alluring the mirage.

11. Our very senses are our enemies, before which even truth appears as falsehood. The mind is the enemy of the mind and self is the enemy of self.

12. Self-esteem is stained, intelligence is blamed for its deception, our actions are attended with bad results, and our pleasures tend only to effeminacy.

13. All our desires are directed to enjoyments. Our love of truth is lost, our women are the symbols of vice, and all that was once so sweet has become tasteless and vapid.

14. Things that are not real are believed as real. They have become the cause of our pride by hardening us in untruth and keeping us from the light of truth.

15. My mind is at a loss to think what to do. It regrets its increased appetite for pleasure, and for its lack of self-denial.

16. My sight is dimmed by the dust of sensuality. The darkness of self-esteem prevails over me. I am never able to reach purity of mind, and truth is far away from me.

17. Life has become uncertain and death is always advancing near. My patience is disturbed, and there is an increased appetite for whatever is false.

18. The mind is soiled by dullness, and the body is filled with overindulgence in eating and is ready to fall. Old age exults over the body, and sins are conspicuous at every step.

19. Youth flies fast away despite all our care to preserve it. The company of the good is at a distance. The light of truth shines from nowhere, and I can have recourse to nothing in this world.

20. The mind is stupefied within itself, and its contentment has fled. There is no rise of enlightened sentiments in it, and meanness makes the mind’s advance to enlightened sentiments only more distant.

21. Patience is converted into impatience. Man is subject to the states of birth and death. Good company is rare, but bad company is always within everyone’s reach.

22. All individual existences are liable to appear and disappear. All desires are chains to the world, and all worldly beings are constantly seen to be led away to where, necessarily, no one can tell.

23. What reliance can there be on human life when the points of the compass become indistinct and indiscernible, when countries and places change their positions and names, and when even mountains are liable to be dilapidated?

24. What reliance can there be on man when the heavens are swallowed in infinity, when this world is absorbed in nothingness, and the very earth loses her stability?

25. What reliance can there be on men like ourselves when the very seas are liable to be dried up, when the stars are doomed to fade away and disappear, and when the most perfect of beings are liable to dissolution?

26. What reliance can there be on men like us when even the demigods are liable to destruction, when the polar star is known to change its place, and when the immortal gods are doomed to mortality?

27. What reliance can there be on men like us when Indra is doomed to be defeated by demons, when even Death is hindered from his aim, and when air currents cease to move?

28. What reliance can there be on men like us when the very moon is to vanish with the sky, when the very sun is to be split into pieces, and when fire itself is to become frigid and cold?

29. What reliance can there be on men like us when the very gods Hari and Brahma are to be absorbed into the Great One, and when Shiva himself is to be no more?

30. What reliance can there be on men like us when the duration of time comes to be counted, when Destiny is destined to her final destiny, and when all emptiness loses itself in infinity?

31. That which is inaudible, unspeakable, invisible, and unknowable in his real form, displays to us these wonderful worlds by some fallacy.

32. No one conscious of himself can disown his subjection to that Being that dwells in the hearts of every one.

33. This sun, the lord of worlds, is compelled to run over hills, rocks and fields, like an inert piece of stone, hurled down from a mountain and carried away by a current stream.

34. This globe of earth, the seat of all the suras and asuras and surrounded by a luminous sphere like a walnut is covered by its hard shell, exists under the His command.

35. The gods in the heavens, the men on earth, and the serpents in the nether world are brought into existence and led to decay by His will only.

36. Kama Deva, who is arbitrarily powerful and has forcibly overpowered the entire living world, derives his unconquerable might from the Lord of worlds.

37. As the heated elephant regales the air with his spirituous flowing, so does the spring perfume the air with his profusion of flowers, unsettling the minds of men.

38. So are the loose glances of loving maidens directed to inflict deep wounds in the heart of man, which his best efforts are unable to heal.

39. One whose best endeavor is always to do good to others, and who feels for others’ sorrows, is really intelligent and happy under the influence of his cool judgment.

40. Who can count the number of beings resembling the waves of the ocean, and on whom death has been darting the undersea fire of destruction?

41. All mankind is deluded to entrap themselves in the snare of greed and be afflicted with all evils in life, as the deer entangled in the thickets of a jungle.

42. The duration of human life in this world is being decreased in each generation in proportion to the increase of wicked acts. The desire of pleasure is as vain as the expectation of reaping fruit from a vine growing in the sky. Yet I know not why men of reason would not understand this truth.

43. “This is a day of festivity, a season of joy and a time of procession. Here are our friends. Here are the pleasures and here are a variety of our entertainments.” Thus do men of vacant minds amuse themselves with weaving the web of their desires, until they become extinct.

Chapter 1.27 — The Vanity of the World

1. Rama said:— O sage! This seemingly pleasing but actually unpleasant world has nothing in it that produces anything that can afford tranquility to the soul.

2. After playful boyhood is over, the mind wastes itself in the society of women like a deer fallen into a pit, then the body bends down under old age, and man has only to grieve.

3. As the body is stricken with the frost of old age, its beauty flies away like the bloom of a fading lotus flower, and then the fountain of man’s worldliness dries up.

4. As the body declines, death rejoices. The body grows lean with grey hairs upon the head, just as a vine fades away with flowers upon it.

5. All living creatures are carried away by the stream of greed that flows for ever in this world, eroding its bank and upsetting the tree of contentment growing on it.

6. The human body is like a vessel covered with skin floating on the ocean of the world, tossed about by sensual pleasures, swamped by water pressured by its whale-like passions.

7. The world is a wilderness abounding in vines of greed and trees of sensuality, with hundreds of desires as their branches. Our minds are like monkeys that pass their time wandering about this forest without finding fruit.

8. Those who do not yield to grief during troubles, who are not elated with prosperity or smitten at heart by women, are rare in this world.

9. Those who fight boldly in battlefields and withstand warelephants are not so very brave, in my opinion, as those who withstand the surges of the mind amidst the streams of carnal appetites.

10. I see no deeds in the world that endure to the final liberation of men. Actions proceeding from a fool’s desire for results serve only for their restlessness on earth.

11. Men who have filled the corners of the world with their fame and valor, who have filled their houses with true riches acquired by honest means and an unwavering patience, are rare in the world.

12. Good and bad fortune always overtake a man, even if he hides in the cracks of a rock or in the walls of mountains, and even if he were enclosed within an iron closet.

13. Our sons and riches are mere objects of delight to us. To expect them to be of any good to us in the end is as false as to expect any benefit from distilling poison.

14. Old people, in the decline of life, their bodies in pitiful decay, are greatly tormented by thoughts of their bad deeds.

15. Men, having passed their early days in the gratification of their desires and other worldly pursuits at the expense of the acts of virtue and piety, are much troubled with anxieties at the end. Their minds are seized with trembling like the breeze shakes the plumage of a peacock. How then can a man attain tranquility at anytime?

16. To the worldly minded, all wealth — whether forthcoming or unattainable, whether gotten by labor or given by fortune — is as deceitful as the flooding of a river, swelling only to subside.

17. The constant thoughts of men are that such and such desirable acts are to be done to please their sons and wives, until they are worn out with age and become crazy in their minds.

18. Like leaves on trees that grow to fall, and falling make room for others to shoot forth, men devoid of reason die away daily to be born again.

19. Men having travelled here and there and far and near, at the end of the day return to their homes. But none can have rest by day or night except the virtuous few who live by honest dealings.

20. After quelling his enemies and getting enough riches in his clutches, a rich man just sits down to enjoy his gains, and death comes upon him to interrupt his joy.

21. The infatuated mob sees the vile trash of worldly gains earned and accumulated by the basest means to be transitory, but they do not perceive their approaching dissolution.

22. Loving their own lives, and making faces at others’ deaths, men are like a herd of sheep bound to the stake, staring at the slaughter of their fellows, yet still feeding themselves to fall as death’s fattened victims.

23. Multitudes of people on earth forever appear and disappear like the waves of a sea. Who can tell from where they come or where they return?

24. Women are as delicate as poisonous vines with their red petal lips and garments, their eyes as busy as fluttering bees. They are killers of mankind and stealers of their ravished hearts.

25. Men are like passengers in a procession who wander from side to side to join at the place of their meeting. Such is the delusive union of our wives and friends.

26. As the burning and extinguishing of the lamp depend on the wick and its moistening oil, so does our course in this transitory world depend on our acts and affections. Nobody knows the true cause of this mysterious existence.

27. The revolution of the world is like a potter’s wheel and the floating bubbles of rainwater. They appear lasting only to the ignorant observer.

28. The blooming beauty and graces of youth are destined to be snatched away at the approach of old age. The youthful hopes of men fly away like the blooms of lotus buds in winter.

29. The tree ordained to be useful to mankind by the loads of flowers and fruit that it produces, in the end is also fated to be hewn down by a cruel axe. How then can good men expect to avoid the cruel hand of death?

30. Society with relatives is as dangerous as a poisonous plant. It is pleasant for its domestic affections, which in reality are only delusions of the soul.

31. What is there in the world without fault in it? What is there that does not afflict or grieve us? What is born that is not subject to death? What acts are free from deceit?

32. Those living for one kalpa aeon are reckoned short-lived as compared with those living for many kalpa aeons, and they again are short-lived compared to Brahma. Hence all the parts of time are finite and the ideas of length or shortness are all false.

33. Things called mountains are made of rocks, those called trees are made of wood, and those made of flesh are called animals, and man is the best of them. But they are all made of matter and doomed to death and decay.

34. Many things appear to be endowed with intelligence, and the heavenly bodies seem to be full of water. But physicists have found out by analysis that everything is made up of minute matter.

35. No wonder that all this should appear miraculous to the mind because even men’s dreams appear so very fascinating to them.

36. Even in old age, those corrupted by their greed will not accept sermons on their eternal concerns. They think they are as false as a flower or a vine growing in the sky.

37. People’s minds are deluded to want the state of their superiors, but as they try to lay hold of the fruits of a green vine that is out of their reach, they fall still lower, like beasts from the top of a hill.

38. Young men who spend their wealth on personal gratifications are as useless as plants growing in the bowels of a deep and inaccessible cavern, spreading their leaves, branches, flowers, fruit and shade to the use of nobody.

39. Men are found to resemble black antelopes in their wanderings. Some of them wander about the sweet, soft and beautiful sceneries of the country. Others roam in sterile tracts and boundless forests.

40. The diverse daily acts of nature are all inherently pernicious. For a time they appear pleasant and ravishing to the heart, but they are attended with pain in the end, and they fill the mind of the wise with dismay.

41. Man is addicted to greed and is prone to a variety of wicked shifts and plots. Now a good man cannot be found even in a dream. There is no act which is free from difficulty. I know not how to pass this state of human life.

Chapter 1.28 — Mutability of the World

1. Rama said:— Whatever we see in the world, living or inert, are all as impermanent as things seen in a dream.

2. The hollow desert that appears as the dried bed of a sea today will be found tomorrow to be a running flood from the accumulation of rainwater.

3. What today is a mountain reaching the sky covered with extensive forests is in course of time leveled to the ground, and afterwards is dug into a pit.

4. The body that today is clothed with garments of silk, decorated with garlands and fragrance, tomorrow is to be cast away naked into a ditch.

5. What is seen to be a city today, busy with the bustle of various occupations, passes in the course of a few days into the condition of an uninhabited wilderness.

6. The man who is very powerful today and presides over principalities, in a few days is reduced to a heap of ashes.

7. The very forest that is so formidable today, appearing as blue as the blue skies, with the passage of time turns into a city with its banners hoisted in the air.

8. In time a formidable jungle of thick forests becomes a tableland like Mount Meru.

9. Water becomes land and land becomes water. Thus the world with all its contents composed of wood, grass and water becomes something else in course of time.

10. Our boyhood and youth, bodies and possessions are all only transient things. They change from one state to another like the ever fluctuating waves of the ocean.

11. Our lives in this world are as unsteady as the flame of a lamp placed by the draft of an open window. The splendor of all objects in the three worlds is as flickering as the flash of lightning.

12. As a granary stored with heaps of grains is exhausted by its continued waste, so is the stock of life spent away by its repeated respirations.

13. The minds of man are as fluctuating as a flag waving in the air. They are filled with the dust of sin, indicating their wavering between the paths of heaven and hell.

14. The existence of this delusive world is like an actress on the stage, shuffling her vests as she trudges along in her dancing.

15. Its scenes are as changing and fascinating as those of a magic city. Its dealings are as bewitching and momentary as the glances of a juggling girl.

16. The stage of the world presents us with a scene of continued dancing, and the deceptive glances of her eyes resemble the fleeting flashes of lightning.

17. The days of great men, their glories and deeds, are retained only in our memories and in a short time, such must be with us also.

18. Many things are decaying and renewing day by day. In this everchanging world there is no end to this accursed course of events.

19. Men degenerate into lower animals, and those again rise to humanity. Gods become no-gods. There is nothing that remains the same.

20. The sun’s rays reveal everything in light and it watches over the rotations of days and nights. Like time, it is a witness to the dissolution of all things.

21. The gods Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva and all material productions are reduced to nothing, like an undersea fire that exists under the waters of the deep.

22. Heaven, earth, the air, the sky, the mountains, the rivers, and all the quarters of the globe are subject to destruction like dry fuel by the all-destroying fire of the last day.

23. Riches and relatives, friends, servants and wealth are of no pleasure to him who is in constant dread of death.

24. All these are delightful to a sensible man only so long as the monster of death does not appear before the eye of his mind.

25. We have prosperity at one moment, succeeded by adversity at another. We have health at one time, followed by sickness soon after.

26. What intelligent being is there who is not misled by these delusions of the world which show things other than what they are and serve to bewilder the mind?

27. The world is as varying as the face of the skies. One moment it is as black as dark clay, and the next it is bright with the golden colors of fair light.

28. It is now overcast by blue clouds resembling the blue lotuses of a lake. It roars loudly for a time and then suddenly is dumb and silent.

29. Now it is studded with stars, then glowing with the glory of the sun, then graced by the pleasant moonbeams, and finally no light at all.

30. Who is there so sedate and firm that he is not terrified at these sudden appearances and disappearances, at the momentary durations and final dissolution of worldly things?

31. What is the nature of this world in which we are overtaken by adversity at one moment and elated by prosperity at another, where one is born at one time and dies at another?

32. One that was something else before is born as a man in this life, then is changed to another state in course of a few days. Thus there is no being that remains steadily in the same state.

33. A pot is made of clay, and cloth is made of cotton, and they are still the same dull materials of which they are composed. Thus there is nothing new in this world that was not seen or known before. There is nothing that does not change its form.

34. The acts of creation and destruction, of diffusion, production and preservation follow one another like the revolutions of day and night appear to man.

35. Sometimes it happens that a weak man slays a hero, or one individual kills hundreds. So also a commoner becomes a noble man. Thus everything is changeful in this varying world.

36. These bodies of men are always changing their states and are like bodies of waters rising and falling in waves whipped by the motion of winds.

37. Boyhood lasts only a few days, then it is succeeded by youth which is as quickly followed by old age. If there is no identity for the same person, how can one rely on the uniformity of external objects?

38. The mind that gets delighted one moment, becomes dejected in the next, then assumes its equanimity at another is indeed as changeful as an actor.

39. The creator, who in his work of creation is ever turning one thing into another, is like a child who makes and breaks his doll without concern.

40. The actions of producing and harvesting, of feeding and destroying, come by turns to mankind like the rotation of day and night.

41. Neither adversity nor prosperity is of long duration with worldly people. They are ever subject to appearance and disappearance by turns.

42. Time is a skilful player and plays many parts with ease. But he is chiefly skilled in tragedy and he often plays his tragic part in the affairs of men.

43. All beings, according to their past good and bad deeds, are produced like fruit in the great forest of the universe. Time like a gust of wind blasts them day by day before their maturity.

Chapter 1.29 — Unreliability of Worldly Things Rama speaking:—

1. Thus my heart is consumed by the wildfire of those great worldly evils, and there rises in me no desire of enjoying them, as there rises no mirage from a lake.

2. My existence on earth gets bitter day by day, and though I have got some experience in it, yet its associations have made me as sour as the neem plant by its immersion in water.

3. I see wickedness on the increase and righteousness on the decline in the mind of man, which like the sour karanja (crab fruit) becomes more sour every day.

4. Every day I see honor being eaten up by men arguing with each other, using harsh words as they crack nuts with their teeth.

5. Equally prejudicial to our welfare is too much eagerness for royalty and worldly enjoyments. We loose our future prospects by the former, and our present happiness by the latter.

6. I take no delight in my gardens nor have any pleasure in women. I feel no joy at the prospect of riches, but I enjoy solace in my own heart and mind.

7. Frail are the pleasures of the world, and greed is altogether intolerable. The bustle of business has broken down my heart, and I know not where to find tranquility.

8. Neither do I praise death or love my life. I remain as I do, devoid of all anxiety and care.

9. What do I have to do with a kingdom and all its enjoyments? Of what avail are riches to me, and what is the end of all our exertions? All these are only the requirements of self-love from which I am entirely free.

10. The chain of births is a bond that binds all men by its strong knots of the senses. The best of men are those striving to break loose from this bondage for their liberation.

11. These haughty maidens whom the god of love employs to ravage the hearts of men resemble a group of elephants trampling a lotus bed under their feet.

12. Curing the mind with pure reason is neglected in youth. Afterwards with age, the mind is hard to heal and admits of no cure.

13. The worldliness of man is his true poison, while real poison is no poison to him. It is the poison of worldliness that destroys his future life, while real poison is only locally injurious to him.

14. Neither pleasure nor pain, nor friends nor relatives, not even life and death can bind a mind that has received the light of truth.

15. O brahmin, the best of the learned, teach me the art of the mysteries of past and future. Teach me so that I may soon become like one devoid of grief and fear and worldly troubles so that I may have the light of truth beaming upon me.

16. The forest of ignorance is laid over with the snare of desire. It is full of the thorns of misery, and it is the dreadful seat of destruction and the danger of repeated births.

17. I would suffer myself to be put under the jaws of Death, with his rows of saw-like teeth, but I cannot bear the deadly pains of worldly cares and anxieties.

18. It is a gloomy error in this world to think, “I have this and have not the other.” It serves to toss our minds about, like a gust of wind disperses dust.

19. It is the thread of greed that links together all living beings like a garland of pearls. The mind serves to twirl this chain, but pure consciousness sits quietly observing its rotation.

20. I who am devoid of desires would like to break this ornamental chain of worldliness that hangs about me like a deadly serpent, like a lion tears apart a net.

21. O most learned sage, scatter the mist that has clouded the forest of my heart. By the light of true knowledge, scatter the darkness that has overcast my mind.

22. There are no anxieties, O sage, which cannot be put to an end by the company of good minded men. The darkness of night is dispelled by moonbeams.

23. Life is as fickle as a drop of water in a mass of clouds blown by the winds. Our enjoyments are as unsteady as lightning flashing in the clouds. The pleasures of youth are as slippery as water. With these reflections in my mind, I have subdued them all under the province of peace and tranquility.

Chapter 1.30 — Self-Disparagement Rama speaking:—

1. Seeing the world swallowed up in the abyss of hundreds of rising dangers and difficulties, my mind is immersed in a mire of anxieties.

2. My mind wanders everywhere and I am struck with fear at everything. My limbs shake with fear like the leaves of a withered tree.

3. My mind is bewildered by impatience for its lack of true contentment, just as a young woman alone in a desert is afraid without her strong handed husband.

4. The thoughts of my mind are entangled in my desire for worldly enjoyments, like stags caught in a pit covered with grass.

5. The senses of an unreasonable man are always running astray to the wrong and never turning to the right way. The eyes of a blind man lead him to fall into a pit.

6. Human thoughts are linked to the animal soul like consorts to their lords. They can neither sit idly nor ramble at liberty, but must remain as wives under the control of their husbands.

7. My patience is almost worn out, like that of a vine under winter frost. It is decayed and neither lives nor perishes at once.

8. Our minds are partly settled on worldly things and partly fixed on their Giver. This divided state of the mind is called its half-waking condition.

9. My mind is in a state of suspense, being unable to ascertain the real nature of my soul. I am like one in the dark who sees a tree stump in the distance and is deceived to think it a human figure.

10. Our minds are naturally fickle and wandering all about the earth. They cannot forsake their restlessness, as the vital airs cannot exist without being in motion.

11. Tell me, O sage, what state of life is dignified above others, is not associated with troubles, is unqualified by the conditions of humanity, is apart from errors, and in which grief is unknown?

12. How have Janaka and other good men, conspicuous for their ceremonious acts and distinguished for their good conduct, acquired their excellence?

13. O source of my honor, how can a man be cleansed who has smeared the dirt of worldliness all over his body?

14. Tell me what is the knowledge by which the serpents of worldliness can be freed from their worldly crookedness and become straight in their conduct?

15. Tell me how the foulness of my heart, soiled by errors and tainted with evils, like a lake disturbed by elephants and polluted with dirt, can regain its clarity?

16. How is it possible for someone engaged in worldly affairs to be untainted with its blemishes and remain as pure and intact as a drop of water on a lotus leaf?

17. How can one attain excellence by dealing with others as with himself, and regarding others’ property to be like straw, and remaining aloof from love?

18. Who is that great man that has crossed the great ocean of the world, whose exemplary conduct exempts one from misery?

19. What is the best of things that ought to be pursued, and what fruit is worth obtaining? Which is the best course of life in this inconsistent world?

20. Tell me how I can have knowledge of past and future events of the world, and the nature of the unsteady works of its Creator.

21. Do so, that my mind which is like the moon in the sky of my heart may be cleared of its impurities.

22. Tell me what is most delectable to the mind, and what is the most abominable, and how this fickle and inconstant mind may become fixed like a rock.

23. Tell me what is that holy charm that can remove this choleric pain of worldliness attended with numberless troubles?

24. Tell me how can I entertain the blossoms of the tree of heavenly happiness within my heart that sheds the coolness of full moonbeams.

25. O you good men who are present here and learned in divine knowledge, teach me so that I may obtain the fullness of my heart and may not come to grief and sorrow anymore.

26. My mind is devoid of that tranquility which results chiefly from holy happiness. My mind is perplexed with endless doubts that disturb my peace like dogs molest smaller animals in the desert.

Chapter 1.31 — Rama’s Questions

1. Rama said:— I have no trust in the durability of life which is as transient as a drop of water on the edge of a shaking leaf on a lofty tree, and as short as the cusp of the moon on Shiva’s forehead.

2. I have no faith in the durability of life which is transient as the swelling in the pouch of a frog as it croaks in the meadow. Nor do I have any trust in the company of friends which is as dangerous as the treacherous traps of hunters.

3. What can we do under the misty cloud of errors that raise our tempestuous desires flashing forth in lightning bolts of ambition and bursting out in the thunder claps of selfishness?

4. How shall we save ourselves from the temptations of our desires that dance around us like peacocks? How shall we save ourselves from the bustle of the world that breaks in on us as thickly as the blossoms of the kurchi plant?

5. How can we fly from the clutches of cruel Fate who, like a cat in the twinkling of an eye, suddenly springs upon his prey and kills the living as if they were poor mice?

6. To what expedient, what course, what reflections, and what refuge must we have recourse in order to avoid the unknown tracks of future lives?

7. There is nothing so trifling in this earth below or in the heavens above which you gifted men cannot raise to consequence.

8. How can one relish this accursed, troublesome and vapid world unless he is infatuated by ignorance?

9. It is the fusion of desires that produces the milky beverage of contentment and fills the earth with delights like spring adorns it with flowers.

10. Tell me, O sage, how the mist of our desires, which darkens the moon of our intellects, is to be dispelled from our minds to make it shine forth in its full brightness.

11. How are we to deal with this wilderness of the world, knowing well that it is destructive both of our present and future interests?

12. Who is there who moves about in this ocean of the earth and who is not buffeted by the waves of his passions and diseases, and by the currents of his enjoyments and prosperity?

13. Tell me, O best of sages, how one who has fallen into the furnace of this earth may escape unburned like mercury.

14. How can one be rid of the world when it is impossible for him to avoid dealing with it, in the same manner as it is impossible for aquatic animals to live without their native element?

15. Even our good deeds are not without affection and hatred, pleasure and pain, just like no flame is unaccompanied by its power of burning.

16. Without right reasoning, it is impossible to restrain the mind from thinking on worldly matters, so therefore deign to communicate to me the dictates of sound reason for my guidance.

17. Give me the best instruction for warding off miseries, either by confronting or renouncing the affairs of life.

18. Tell me about that man of enlightened understanding who attained the highest state of holiness and tranquility of his mind, and the deeds and manner by which he achieved the same.

19. Tell me, good sage, how the ancient saints fled out of the reach of misery so that I may learn the same to suppress my false conceptions.

20. Or, if there be no such knowledge in existence or, if there is, whether it is to be kept secret from to me.

21. Should I fail to attain that highest state of tranquility, then I must remain inactive and avoid my sense of egoism altogether.

22. I will refrain from eating and drinking even water, and from clothing myself. I will cease from all my actions of bathing and making my offerings, as also from my diet and the like.

23. I will attend to no duty, nor care about prosperity or calamity. I will be free from all desires except that of the abandonment of this body.

24. I must remain aloof from all fears, sympathies, selfish feelings and emulation, and continue to sit quietly as a figure in painting.

25. I will gradually do away with the inspiration and respiration of my breath and outward sensations until I part with this trifle, the seat all of troubles, this the so called body.

26. I do not belong to this body, nor does it belong to me, nor is anything else mine. I shall be null and void like a lamp without oil and abandon everything to do with this body.

27. Valmiki said:— Then Rama, who was as lovely as the moon and whose mind was well filled with reasoning, became silent before the assemblage of eminent men, like a peacock, in awe, ceases his screaming before gathering clouds.

Chapter 1.32 — Praise for Rama’s Speech

1. Valmiki said:— When Prince Rama concluded his speech, calculated to remove all ignorance from the mind,

2. all men in the assembly had their eyes beaming with wonder. The hairs on their bodies stood erect and pierced through their garments as if wishing to hear the speech.

3. For a moment, after their stoic detachment and in their eagerness, the assembly seemed to have lost their worldly desires and be rolling in a sea of nectar.

4. The audience remained motionless, like figures in a painting, enraptured with internal delight having heard the sweet words of fortunate Rama.

5. There were Vasishta and Vishwamitra with other sages, and prime minister Jayanta and other royal counselors then seated in that assembly.

6. There were also King Dasharata and his subordinate kings, citizens and foreign delegates, chieftains and princes, together with brahmins and men learned in the Vedas and divine knowledge.

7. These accompanied by their friends and allies, with birds in their cages and royal antelopes and steeds about the palace, had listened to Rama with fixed and mute attention.

8. Likewise Queen Kausalya and other ladies adorned with their best jewels were seated at the windows, all mute and motionless.

9. Besides these, the birds on the trees and vines of the princely pleasure garden were listening to Rama without fluttering their wings or making any motion or sound.

10. Also present were masters and aerial beings, tribes of celestial musicians (gandharvas and kinnaras), together with Narada, Vyasa and Pulapa, the lords of the sages.

11. There were also some of the gods and chiefs of gods, demigods (vidyadharas) and the divine cobras (naagas) who heard Rama’s speech full of meaning and clarity.

12. Rama, his eyes beautiful as lotuses, his face lovely as the moon, the star in the sky of Raghu’s family, held his silence.

13. From heaven, divine beings showered flowers upon him with loud cheers and blessings.

14. People in the assembly were delighted with the sweet scent and beauty of these flowers from paradise filled with humming bees.

15. When blown into the air by the breeze of heaven, these flowers appeared like clusters of stars, which after their fall, brightened the ground with their beauty like the beaming smiles of heavenly maids.

16. They appeared like raindrops falling from clouds, ablaze with the light of silent lightning, and scattering like balls of fresh butter.

17. They also resembled particles of snowballs, like the beads of a necklace made of pearls, like beams of moonlight, like small waves in a sea of milk, or like drops of ice-cream.

18. Flowers were carried by the loose and sweet winds of heaven, some lotuses with long filaments attended by clusters of bees humming and flying about them.

19. Among them were heaps of ketaki, kairava, kunda and blue lotus flowers falling and shining brightly.

20. These flowers covered the court hall, the roofs of houses and their courtyards. Men and women in the city raised their heads to behold them falling.

21. The sky remained quite unclouded as flowers fell constantly from above. A sight like this, never before seen, struck people with wonder.

22. The shower of flowers fell for quarter of an hour, but the masters from whose hands they fell were unseen all the while.

23. When the falling of flowers ceased, after the assembly was covered with them, they heard the following words from the divine beings in the sky,

24. “We have been travelling everywhere in bodies as spiritual masters (siddhas) from the beginning of creation, but nowhere have we ever heard any speech as sweet as this.

25. Even the gods such as ourselves have never heard such a magnanimous speech of detachment as Rama, the moon of Raghu’s race, has just now spoken.

26. We account ourselves truly blessed to have heard today this highly charming and wonderful speech from the mouth of Rama himself.

27. Indeed we are awakened and edified by attending diligently to Rama’s truly excellent speech on the ambrosial bliss of asceticism, and leading to the highest joy of men.”

Chapter 1.33 — Association of Celestial & Earthly Beings

1. The spiritual masters (siddhas) said, “It behooves us to hear the decision of the great sages in reply to the holy sermon delivered by the chief of Raghu’s race.

2. Come forward, you great chiefs of the sages, you Narada, Vyasa, Pulaha and all you other great sages, and be ready.

3. Let us descend to the full open court of Dasharata, which is as bright as gold and free from stain, like bees alighting on an immaculate, golden lotus.

4. Valmiki said:— So saying, the whole company of divine sages left their celestial abode for that court.

5. There Narada, the chief of sages, sat foremost playing on his lute. In the midst was Vyasa with his dark blue complexion resembling a rainy cloud.

6. Moreover, the court was adorned with the presences of the chief sages Bhrigu, Angiras, Pulastya and others, with Chyavana, Uddalaka, Usira, Saraloman and many more with them.

7. Their deer skin garments hung loosely as they embraced one another. Their rudraksha beads moved in one hand, and their water pots shook in the other.

8. Their bodies shed a luster in the royal assembly-hall resembling the yellow starlight, like the beams of so many suns blazing upon one another.

9. They appeared like a shower of moonbeams or like a halo about the full moon, or like a circle about the orb of the sun out of its season.

10. They looked like a circlet of gems of varied colors, or like a necklace of pearls of great luster.

11. At the place where he sat, Vyasa appeared to be like dark cloud amidst the stars. Narada on his seat seemed like the white orb of the moon among stars.

12. Here Pulastya shone like Indra among the gods, and there Angira blazed like the sun amidst heavenly bodies.

13. On seeing the body of masters descending from the sky to the earth, the entire court of King Dasharata rose up to greet them.

14. There was a mixed assemblage of the celestial and earthly sages, whose commingled glory spread a luster to the ten sides of the court.

15. Some of them held bamboo sticks in their hands and others had lotuses in theirs. Some had put sacred grass in their crests, while others had inserted some gems in the braids of their hair.

16. Some had matted and tawny brown hairs on their heads, and others wore garlands of flowers on theirs. Some had strings of beads for their bracelets and others wore wristlets made of jasmine flowers.

17. Some were clothed in tatters, and others wore garments made of bark, while yet others wore clothes of silk. Some were girt with girdles of grass and skin about their waists, and others wore waistbands with pendant strings of pearl.

18. Vasishta and Vishwamitra honored the celestials one by one with respectful offerings, water and courteous address.

19. The great body of the celestials also honored Vasishta and Vishwamitra in their turn, with water and offerings worthy of them, and with polite speeches.

20. The king also honored the gods and the body of the spiritual masters, who in return greeted the monarch with inquiries about his welfare.

21. Then the heavenly and earthly saints exchanged greetings with one another with cordial welcomes and gestures, and were all seated afterwards on seats made of kusa grass.

22. They next honored Rama, who lay bowing before them, with gentle words and congratulations accompanied with offerings of flowers.

23. Seated in that assembly were the sages Vishwamitra, Vasishta, Vama Deva and the ministers of state.

24. Also there were Narada, the son of Brahma, Vyasa, the greatest of sages, Marichi, Durvasa and Angira.

25. Kratu, Pulastya, Pulaha, Saraloma, the great sage Vatsayana, Bharadwaja, and Valmiki the great bard and sage, were all there,

26. as were Uddalaka, Richika, Sarjati as well as Chyavana.

27. These and many others versed in the various branches of the Vedas, knowing all things worth knowing, were the leading members of that assembly.

28. Then Narada and others joined with Vishwamitra and Vasishta in addressing Rama, who was sitting silent with his face turned downwards. They said,

29. “We admire the prince’s blessed and graceful speech dignified with the spirit of detachment that breathes through the whole of it.

30. It is full of thought. It is perspicuous, elegant, clear, dignified, sweet and worthy of noble minded men by its lucid style and lack of faults.

31. Who is not struck with admiration at Rama’s speech? It expresses his thoughts well, correct in its diction, plain, sweet and agreeable to all.”

32. “It is rare to find one man among a hundred who is so eloquent, combining dignity and force with clarity and sweetness such that they command the admiration of all.

33. Who has such a clear head as our prince, a head that is as penetrating as the best pointed arrow, and as fruitful and beautiful as a creeping vine plant?

34. He is truly a man whose intellectual light, like that of Rama, burns like the flame of a lamp within himself and enlightens all about him.”

35. “Man’s blood, flesh and bones serve as machines to supply him with sensations of external objects, but there is no intelligence in them.

36. Life and death, old age and troubles, repeatedly overtake every man, but they are beasts who are so infatuated that they never to think of these.

37. There is scarcely any man to be seen who has an understanding as clear as Rama, who can use the past to judge the future.

38. Rama is the most excellent, admirable, useful and well shaped person among men, like the mango tree among the many useful plants.

39. It is only today that we see a man of Rama’s age having acquired so much experience of the world and who is so extraordinarily mature in understanding.”

40. “In every place there are many trees found growing that are beautiful to see, easy to climb, and abundant in flowers and leaves, but there is no tree of paradise growing on earth.

41. In every forest trees grow with good flowers and leaves, but the extraordinary and fair clove tree is not always to be found.

42. Rama has displayed the wonder of his knowledge, like the moon displays her cooling beams, and good trees their clusters of blossoms, and like flowers diffuse their fragrance all about.

43. It is very difficult to get the essence of true knowledge in this accursed world constructed by the uncontrollable and dominant predestination (of our past acts).”

44. “Only those are reckoned the best of men and leaders of the good who try their best to gain the essence of truth, and whose minds are fixed on glory as their best treasure.

45. We do not see anyone in all this world equal to Rama in discrimination and magnanimity, nor shall there be one like him in future. This is our firm conviction.”

46. “If this speech of Rama which has filled every one here with admiration fails to get a reply to the satisfaction of Rama’s mind, it is certain that all of us here must pass for senseless sages.”

BOOK II. The Aspirant Who Longs for Liberation (Mumukshu Khanda)
This section deals with the preparations required of the person who seeks God and the moral and mental qualities necessary to qualify for the spiritual path. Vasishta states that peace of mind (shanti), contentment (santosha), keeping the company of realized sages (satsanga), and inquiry into the nature of the soul (vichara) are the four sentinels that guard the gates to moksha, or liberation. The belief that one is confined by fate is severely condemned and the person who seeks spiritual development is urged to rely on personal efforts for progress on the spiritual path. The person should not shun action but should learn to be indifferent to its fruits. One should not be affected by the pleasures and pains that are the inevitable accompaniment of action. The person is advised to keep the company of saints and to study the scriptures (shastras), particularly those dealing with self knowledge (atma vidya).

 Ch 1  Ch 2  Ch 3  Ch 4  Ch 5  Ch 6  Ch 7  Ch 8  Ch 9

 Ch 10  Ch 11  Ch 12  Ch 13  Ch 14  Ch 15  Ch 16  Ch 17  Ch 18  Ch 19  Ch 20

Chapter 2.1 — The Liberation of Shukadeva: His Need for Confirmation

1. After Rama delivered his speech before the assembly, sage Vishwamitra, who sat before Rama, tenderly said,

2. “Rama, you are the best of the most intelligent, and you have nothing more to learn that you have not already come to know by your own observation.

3. You have an understanding clear like a mirror, and your questions serve to polish and reflect your understanding to others.

4. You have a mind like that of Shuka, the son of the great Vyasa, who knowing the knowable by intuition, was yet in need of some teaching to confirm his belief.”

5. Rama said, “How was it that Shuka, son of the great Vyasa, did not at first rest assured of his knowledge of the knowable, but then came to be settled in his belief?”

6. Vishwamitra answered, “Hear me relate to you, Rama, the story of Shukadeva, whose case was exactly like yours. The narration of this story prevents future births.” Vishwamitra speaking:—

7. There is the great Vyasa sitting on his seat of gold by your father’s side, swarthy in his complexion like a coal-black hill, but blazing in brilliance like the burning sun.

8. His son named Shuka was a boy of great learning and wisdom, of a moon-like countenance, with a stature sedate as a sacrificial altar.

9. Like you, he reflected in his mind on the vanity of worldly affairs and became equally indifferent to all its concerns.

10. It was then that this great minded youth was led by his own discriminative understanding to a long inquiry after what was true, which he found at last by his own investigation.

11. Having obtained the highest truth, he was still unsettled in his mind, and could not trust his own knowledge.

12. His mind grew indifferent to its perceptions of the transitory enjoyments of the world, and, like chataka cuckoos, thirsted only after the dew drops of heavenly bliss.

13. Once upon a time the clear sighted Shuka finding his father, sage Krishna Dwaipayana Vyasa, sitting quietly alone, he reverently asked him,

14. “Tell me, O sage, where does this commotion of the world arise, and how can it subside? What is its cause, how far does it extend, and where is its end?”

15. Sage Vyasa, who knew the nature of the soul, being asked this by his son, explained to him clearly all that was to be said.

16. Shuka thought that he already knew all this by his good understanding and therefore did not think much of his father’s instructions.

17. Vyasa, understanding the thoughts of his son, replied that he himself knew no better than his son about the true nature of these things,

18. but there was a king in this land named Janaka who well knew the knowledge of the knowable, and from whom Shuka could learn everything.

19. Being thus directed by his father, Shuka went to the city of Videha at the foot of Mount Sumeru, which city was under the rule of Janaka.

20. The door keeper informed the high minded Janaka of his coming, telling him that Shuka the son of Vyasa was waiting at the gate.

21. Janaka who understood that Shuka had come to learn from him, gave no heed to the news but held his silence for seven days afterwards.

22. The king then ordered Shuka to be brought to the outer compound, where he had to remain irritated in spirit for seven more days.

23. Shuka was then commanded to enter the inner apartment, where he continued a week more without seeing the king.

24. Here Janaka entertained the moon-faced Shuka with an abundance of food, perfumes and lusty maidens.

25. But neither those vexations nor these entertainments could affect the tenor of Shuka’s mind, which remained firm as a rock against the blasts of wind.

26. He remained there like the full moon, tranquil in his desires, silent and contented in his mind.

27. King Janaka, having come to know the disposition of Shuka’s mind, had him brought to his presence, where seeing the complacency of his soul, he rose up and bowed down to him.

28. Janaka said, “You have accomplished to the full all your duties in this world, and you have obtained the object of your heart’s desire to its utmost extent. What do you now desire for which you are welcome from me?”

29. Shuka said, “Tell me, my guide, what is the source of all this bustle (of worldly life), and tell me also how it may soon subside.”

30. Vishwamitra said:— Being thus asked by Shuka, Janaka told him the same things that he had learned from the great soul that is his father.

31. Shuka then said, “All this I have come to know long before by my own intuition, and then from the speech of my father in answer to my question.

32. You sage, who are the most eloquent of all, have spoken to the same effect, and the same is found to be the true meaning of the scriptures.

33. That the world is a creation of will and loses itself with the absence of our desires, and that it is an accursed and unsubstantial world after all, are the conclusions arrived at by all sages.”

34. “Now tell me truly, O long armed prince, so that you may set my mind may be set at rest from its wandering all about the world. What do you think this world to be?”

35. Janaka replied, “There is nothing more certain, O sage, than what you know by yourself and have heard from your father.

36. There is but one undivided intelligent spirit known as the Universal Soul and nothing else. It becomes confined by its desires (mental conditioning) and becomes freed by its lack of them.”

37. “You have truly come to the knowledge of the knowable, whereby your great soul has desisted from attachment to objects of enjoyment and vision.

38. You must be a hero to have overcome your desires for the lengthening chain of attractive enjoyments while still in your early youth. What more do you want to hear?”

39. “Even your father, with all his learning in every science and his devotion to austerities, has not arrived to the state of perfection like you.

40. I am a student of Vyasa and you are his son, but by your abandonment of the taste for the enjoyments of life, you are greater than both of us.

41. You have obtained whatever is obtainable by the comprehension of your mind. You take no interest in the outer and visible world, so you are liberated from it and have nothing to doubt.”

42. Being thus advised by the magnanimous Janaka, Shuka remained silent with his mind fixed in the purely supreme object.

43. Being devoid of sorrow and fear, and released from all efforts, exertions and doubts, he went to a peaceful summit of Mount Meru to obtain his final absorption.

44. There he passed ten thousand years in a state of unalterable meditation, until at last he broke his mortal coil, and was extinguished in the Supreme Soul like a lamp without oil.

45. Thus purified from the stain of rebirth by abstention from earthly desires, the great soul Shuka sank into the holy state of the Supreme Spirit (nirvikalpa samadhi), just like a drop of water mixes with the waters or merges into the depth of the ocean.

Chapter 2.2 — Vishwamitra’s Speech

1. Vishwamitra said:— Rama, now it is appropriate that you have your mind properly purified from its doubts, as it was done with Shuka, the son of Vyasa.

2. You see, O great sages, how perfectly the knowable is known to Rama, whose good understanding has learnt to feel a distaste for worldly enjoyments as if they were diseases to him.

3. You well know that the fixed principle in the mind of one knowing the knowable is to have an aversion to all the enjoyments of life.

4. The desire of results chains a man to the earth. Knowledge of the frailties here serves to dispel his darkness.

5. Rama knows that curtailing desires is what the wise call liberty, and the attachment of our desires to earthly objects is our confinement here.

6. Spiritual knowledge is easily obtainable by most men, but a distaste for (pleasurable) objects is hard to be had.

7. He who fully comprehends a thing is said to know it, and who so knows what is knowable is called a learned man. No earthly enjoyment can be delectable to such high minded men.

8. The mind that has no zest for earthly pleasures, except the glory of disinterested deeds, is said to be liberated even in the present life.

9. As no vegetable grows in a sterile soil, no disinclination to worldliness grows until one comes to know the knowable reality.

10. Hence know that this supporter of Raghu’s race has truly known the knowable, which has made him disgusted with his princely enjoyments.

11. I tell you great sages that whatever Rama has come to know by his intuition requires confirmation by Vasishta for the tranquility of his mind.

12. For his repose, Rama requires only a reliance upon the Unity, just as the beauty of autumn depends upon clear skies.

13. Let the venerable Vasishta reason with the high minded Rama and restore the peace of his mind,

14. for he is the master and family teacher for the whole race of the Raghus. Besides, he is all knowing and all seeing with a clear insight of the three times.

15. Then addressing himself to Vasishta, Vishwamitra said:— Sage, you well remember the instruction given us of old for pacifying our mutual enmity and promoting the welfare of the high minded sages,

16. when our lord the lotus-born Brahma, seated on the tableland of Nishadha Mountain and shaded by sarala trees, delivered his wise lectures to us and the sages.

17. Through that knowledge of liberation, our worldly desires are dispelled like the darkness of night by sunbeams.

18. Now please, O brahmin, communicate that rational knowledge of the knowable to your student Rama, whereby he may gain the peace of his mind.

19. It will not be difficult for you to teach the spotless Rama, whose mirror-like mind is quite clear to take the reflection.

20. The wisdom of the holy, their learning of the scriptures, and the scholarship of the learned are only praiseworthy when they are communicated to a good student and those who are disgusted with the world.

21. But instruction given to one who is neither student nor disgusted with the world becomes as polluted as milk stored in a hide vessel.

22. Again, the instruction given by one devoid of passions and affections, fear and anger, pride and sin, serves to infuse tranquility into the mind.

23. At these words of Vishwamitra, the son of Gadhi, the assembled sages Vyasa, Narada and others honored his speech with exclamations of “bravo”, “well said”, and the like.

24. Then the venerable Vasishta, brilliant like Brahma his father and sitting by the side of the king, spoke in reply.

25. “O sage, I will perform what you have commanded me to do without fail, for who, though mighty, can refuse to perform the requests of the good and wise?

26. I will destroy the mental darkness of Prince Rama and others by the light of knowledge, just like we dispel the gloom of night by the light of a lamp.

27. I well remember the instructions for dispelling the errors of the world that we were given of yore by the lotus-born Brahma on Nishadha Mountain.”

28. Having said so, the high-minded Vasishta made up his mind, as one girds up his loins, to deliver his lecture to Rama in order to dispel his ignorance and show him the state of supreme joy.

Chapter 2.3 — Repeated Creations of the World; Repeated Incarnations of the Same Personality

1. Vasishta said, “Rama, I will now expound to you the knowledge that was imparted of old by the lotus-born (Brahma) for the peace of mankind after he created the world.”

2. Rama said, “Sage, I know that you will expound to me the subject of liberation in full length, but first remove my false ideas about the frailty of this world.

3. How was it that the great sage Vyasa, the father and guide of Shuka, with all his omniscience, did not attain disembodied emancipation when his son did?”

4. Vasishta said, “There is no counting the atoms that proceed from the spirit and form the three worlds both before and after the birth of the glorious sun.

5. There is nobody who can even count the millions of orbs that form the three worlds.

6. Nor can anyone calculate what numbers of creation will rise from the ocean of divine existence like endless waves.”

7. Rama said, “It is needless to talk of worlds gone by or yet to come. Speak of the present.”

8. Vasishta said:— This world consists of brute, human and heavenly beings whose lives, when they are said to perish in any part of it, really exist in the same part.

9. The mind is described as ever-fluctuating. In itself, it gives rise to everything in the three worlds. It resides in a void in the form of the heart, and the Uncreated also resides in the empty space of the soul (giving the mind the power to realize the latent ideas of the soul).

10. The millions of beings who are dead, those who are dying and will die hereafter, are all to be reborn here according to the different desires in their minds.

11. The external world appears as a reality, but in truth it is only a creation of our desires. It is an ideal castle in the air, and a magic view spread before us.

12. It is as false as an earthquake in a fit of delirium, like a hobgoblin shown to terrify children, like a string of pearls in the clear sky, and like trees on a bank appear moving to a passenger in a boat.

13. It is an illusion like the phantom of a city in a dream, and as untrue as the imagination of a flower growing in the air. It is at the point of death and afterwards that the unreality of the world best appears.

14. But this knowledge (of the unreality of the world) becomes darkened upon being reborn on earth, when the shadow of this world again falls on the mirror of his sentient soul.

15. Thus there is a struggle for repeated births and deaths here, and a fancy for the next world after death.

16. After he shuffles off his body, he assumes another and then another form, and thus the world is as unstable as a stool made of plantain leaves and its coatings.

17. The dead have no sensation of the earth and other bodies made of the elements, or of the course of the world, but they fall again to these errors upon being reborn here.

18. There is an interminable ignorance resembling an immense river enveloping the face of creation, and breaking into streamlets of ignorance that are impossible to cross.

19. Divinity like a sea shoots forth in various waves of creation that rise constantly and plentifully one after the other.

20. All beings here are only the waves of this sea. Some are alike to one another in their minds and natures, while others are half alike, and some quite different from the rest.

21. I reckon that sage Vyasa there, on account of his vast knowledge and good looking appearance, is one of thirty-two of these waves.

22. There were twelve possessed of a lesser understanding. They were the patriarchs of men and endued with equal energy. Ten were men of subdued spirits, and the rest were adepts in their family duties.

23. There will be born again other Vyasas and Valmikis, and likewise some other Bhrigus and Angiras, as well as other Pulastyas and others in different forms.

24. All other men, asuras and gods with all their hosts are repeatedly born and destroyed either in their former or different shapes.

25. Like this there are seventy-two treta cycles in a kalpa age of Brahma, some of which have passed by and others to follow. Thus will there be other people like those who have gone by and, as I understand, another Rama and Vasishta like ourselves.

26. There have been ten successive incarnations of this Vyasa who has done such wonderful deeds and is famed for his vast knowledge.

27. Myself and Valmiki have been contemporaries many a time, born in different ages and very many times.

28. We have been together many times, and there were others also like myself, and so was I also born in many forms (in many ages).

29. This Vyasa will be born again eight times hereafter, and he will again write his Mahabharata and the Purana histories.

30. He will finally attain liberation from the body after he has divided the Vedas, described the acts of Bharata’s race (in the Mahabharata), and established the knowledge of Brahman (in the Vedanta).

31. This Vyasa who is devoid of fear and sorrow, and who has become tranquil and emancipate in himself after subduing his mind and discarding the worldly desires, is said to be liberated even in his present lifetime.

32. Those liberated in life may sometimes associate with relatives and estates, his acts and duties, his knowledge and wisdom, and all his exertions, like those of any other men, or he may forsake them all at once.

33. These beings are either reborn a hundred times in some age or never at all (as in the case of divine incarnations), depending on the inscrutable will (maya, or illusion) of God.

34. Souls undergo such changes by repetition, like a bushel of grain that is collected only to be repeatedly sown, then reaped again and again.

35. As the sea heaves its constant surges of different shapes, so all beings are born constantly in various forms in the vast ocean of time.

36. The wise man who is liberated in his lifetime lives with his internal belief (of God) in a state of tranquility, without any doubt in his mind, and quite content with the ambrosia of equanimity.

Chapter 2.4 — Results Come from Effort, Not Fate or Chance; Acts of the Present Life Are Stronger than Those of Previous Lives

1. Vasishta said:— I know, gentle Rama, that liberation of the soul is the same whether in its embodied or disembodied state, just like seawater and its waves are the same liquid substance.

2. Liberation, whether of embodied or disembodied spirits, consists in their detachment from the objects of sense. Hence the soul unattached to sensual gratification is liberated, having no idea of objects of the senses.

3. We see before us the living liberated sage (Vyasa) as an embodied person, yet we have no doubt of the detachment of his inner soul from this body.

4. The difference between embodied and disembodied souls, when they are equally enlightened and liberated, is like that of the seawater in its calm and billowy states.

5. There is no more difference between liberation in the body and without the body than there is between the air in motion and at rest.

6. Liberation, whether with or without the body, produces unselfishness. We have lost our selfishness ever since we have come to the knowledge of an undivided unity.

7. Therefore attend to the true doctrine that I am going to deliver to you, which will be a jewel to your ears as it will dispel the darkness of ignorance.

8. Know, O son of Raghu, that everything in this world is obtainable by our efforts being properly employed.

9. This knowledge — that there is no other way to gain results except but by our efforts — rises like the moon in the human mind and sheds its cooling and delightful influence to the heart.

10. It will become evident that we see the results of our efforts, and that nothing comes from what the dull and mistaken call chance or fate.

11. An effort, when directed according to the counsel and conduct of the good in the exercise of the action of the body and mind, is attended with success. Otherwise it is as vain as the freak of a madman.

12. Thus he who hopes to acquire riches and perseveres in its acquisition surely succeeds in gaining them, or else he stops short midway.

13. It was by means of their efforts that some particular persons have obtained the paramount dominion of Indra over the three worlds.

14. It is by effort that one attains the rank of the lotus-born (Brahma), and some by effort even gain the inner joy of the state of Brahma.

15. It is by virtue of effort that somebody becomes the best among men, even as he who bears the flag of the eagle (Vishnu among the gods).

16. It was by the exertion of one’s efforts that some succeeded to obtain the form of Shiva accompanied by his female power and adorned by the crescent moon as his crest.

17. Know our actions to be of two kinds, namely those of former and present lives. Know that the acts of the present life generally supersede those of the past.

18. Know also that energy joined with constant practice and supported by wisdom and some stimulating force is able to break down Mount Meru and the demerits of acts in men’s former lives.

19. The exertions of a man proceeding from his good efforts and countenanced by the law lead to his success, or else they either go for nothing or turn to his disadvantage.

20. A man laid up in a state of disability is unable to twist his figure to hold a little water in the hollow of his palm to drink. Meanwhile there is another who (by his well-directed efforts) gets possession of seas, islands, mountains and cities for himself, supports all his dependents and relations, and does not think this earth too great for him.

Chapter 2.5 — The Necessity of Effort

1. Vasishta said:— Will or inclination, even according to the rules of law and scriptures, is the prime instrument of all action, just as the reflection of light gives various colors to things.

2. If someone uses unlawful acts to attain something that he desires, it becomes as fruitless as the efforts of a madman.

3. Good or evil results depend upon how you try, but according to fatalists, fate and effort are the joint causes of acts.

4. The truth is, human exertions are either lawful or unlawful. The former lead to success and the latter to dangerous consequences.

5. Fortune and effort contend with each other like two rams of unequal strength where the mightier overcomes the other.

6. Therefore man should apply himself diligently and employ his skill and effort in such a way that his today may overcome his tomorrow.

7. When two unequal forces contend with one another like two rams, the stronger force, whether of this or that man, overcomes the other.

8. When one incurs a failure or danger even by his lawful efforts, he should know it to be the result of his misapplied efforts.

9. By utmost exertion in the right way, like gnashing his teeth, one can overcome his misfortune and that bad luck that sometimes baffle his efforts.

10. When one finds himself led astray by the demerit of his acts of a former state of existence, he must attempt to subdue them by the greater energy of his present state.

11. One should endeavor to exercise his efforts so much that he may beat down the evils resulting from his bad fortune (or predestination).

12. The evils of bad fortune are undoubtedly removed by the meritorious acts of the present life, just like the bad consequence of an act of yesterday is averted by its remedy of today.

13. Having trampled over an unfavorable fortune by one’s reliance upon his continuous effort, he must attempt to secure to himself every good for his well-being in his present life.

14. Know that tranquility is not to be found through the effortlessness of dull ass-like men. It is the lawful energy of men which is said to secure his welfare in both worlds.

15. One should make his way out of the pit of this world by force of his energy and diligence, just like a lion breaks out from his cage.

16. Every day one must contemplate that his body is subject to corruption, his beastly acts must be kept back, and man-like acts put forward.

17. Good efforts are attended by good results just like bad ones are followed by bad consequences. Chance is merely a meaningless word.

18. Do not make your bloom of youth as useless as ashes by sitting idly at home and enjoying the bliss of the harem like a maggot in a wound.

19. He who has no reliance on present objects, but depends upon assumptions from the past, is like a man running in fear from his own hands, supposing them to be snakes.

20. It is a pleasure to men of perverted understanding to think of themselves as guided by their fortunes. Prosperity flies far away from such men who depend on their luck.

21. Therefore let a man diligently apply himself first to his reason, and then investigate the works of subtle, hidden spiritual knowledge.

22. Those who do not set their hearts to act according to the dictates of the scriptures, but use other means to make efforts to gain (their ends), are accursed as madmen because their efforts are in vain.

23. But people do not even try to make an effort. They think that effort would be endless, and no amount of effort could make a gem come out of a stone.

24. Know that like all things, there is a limit to both human fate and effort, just like a pot or a picture has a (finite capacity and length).

25. It is by means of good conduct derived from best precepts and the company of the good that one succeeds to his object. A disposition that breaks loose of these is sure to fall to the contrary, to ruin.

26. Again any man who conducts himself in the right course of action will never fail in his attempts at anytime.

27. Some among the best of men had been reduced to misery by their poverty and helplessness. Yet by exertion of their manhood, they have again risen to the eminence of Indra.

28. By learning the scriptures well from boyhood, by keeping company with the good, by possession of good qualities, and by diligent application, a man is sure to gain his object.

29. It has been seen, known, heard and experienced that acts are rewarded with success. They are dullheaded who think of obtaining it through fate or luck.

30. If there were no folly of idleness in this world, what man would fail either to be rich or learned? It is because of idleness that this earth is filled to its utmost limit of the sea with indigent and beastly men.

31. After passing his childhood and getting rid of its false and idle playfulness, and when he has attained the age of youthful vigor, let a man apply himself diligently to the company of wise men, and to the cultivation of his understanding by a knowledge of the scriptures and their meanings, and by scanning well his own faults and qualities.

32. Valmiki said:— After sage Vasishta had said all this, the day passed away, and after taking leave of the assembly the sages went to bathe. With the rising beams of the sun dispelling the gloom of night, they joined again.

Chapter 2.6 — Fate Is the Result of Former Efforts

1. Vasishta resumed, saying:— Fate is nothing but the result of our actions in former existences. Therefore it is possible to leave it at a distance and extricate oneself by keeping good company and studying moral scriptures.

2. Whatever one attempts to do, he readily meets with its reward. This is the effect of effort. Fate is nothing but the same thing.

3. Men laboring hard are heard to exclaim, “O how painful it is!” Men suffering under fate cry out, “O hard is fate!”

4. Thus fate, being nothing but a name for our past actions, it is as easily overcome (by present acts) as a boy (is subdued) by an adult youth.

5. As some bad conduct of yesterday is corrected by proper behavior of the present day, so is past fate is removed by present acts.

6. Carnal minded libertines who make no effort but depend upon the favor of fortune are perverted in their nature and marked for misery.

7. Thus, if acts of courage are capable of averting one’s misfortunes, then it must be acknowledged that such courage which destroys the other is the mightier of the two.

8. Just like two fruit growing on the same branch, one empty within and the other full of juice, so does courage render the fruit of fate empty.

9. Seeing the decay of the best things in the world, we must own the predominant power of the cause of this decay.

10. Like two rams, our fate and efforts are fighting one another. Victory is always on the side of the stronger.

11. In the case of a royal elephant taking up a beggar boy to be made a ruler, its cause is to be attributed more to the vote of countrymen and citizens (than to chance).

12. As a man takes his food and grinds it under his teeth, so is one (depending on fate) crushed by the stronger party relying on his efforts.

13. Thus, more active masters employ inferior servants like clods of earth in any work the masters like.

14. Silly and impotent men seeing the strong thrive by their efforts, whether apparent or unseen, are apt to attribute it to their good luck.

15. The strong efforts of men truly constitute the fortune that governs them, and these two are viewed alike by the wise.

16. In the case of the a beggar boy who is installed into the position of ruling and protecting the people of a kingdom, it is the unanimous concurrence of the law and ministers and of the elephant and of citizens (that is to be taken as the chief cause).

17. Should it be only the royal elephant who elects the beggar boy, then in that case it would be attributed to the boy’s good fortune only.

18. Present acts destroy those of the past life, and those of the past life can destroy the effect of present acts, but the exertions of a man are undoubtedly successful.

19. Of these two powers, that of the present is manifestly superior to the past. Hence it is as possible for the present to overcome the past just like it is for an adult to overcome a boy.

20. As a hail shower lays waste the cultivation of a whole year, so also does predominant fate sometimes overpower the attempts of this life.

21. However it does not behoove us to be sorry at the loss of our long earned treasure, for what does it serve to have sorrow for something that is beyond our control?

22. If I have sorrow for what I am powerless to prevent, then I may as well weep all the days of my life because death will not spare me.

23. All our acts are subject to their proper time and place, and to the modes of their operation and combination according to the course of nature. That is why the more diligent are the most successful.

24. Therefore, in order to cross the ocean of this world, we ought to rely upon our efforts and the clarity of our understanding from the help of scriptures and association with the wise.

25. Actions of the past and present lives are the two fruit trees growing in the garden of humanity. Whichever is cultivated the best thrives and bears most fruit.

26. He who is unable to overcome his false fate by his best efforts is no better than an ignorant beast that has no power over its pain or pleasure.

27. He who thinks of going to heaven or hell by the will of the Maker is also a slave to destiny and is no better than a beast.

28. The man of a noble mind who is employed in acts of goodness, breaks off from the errors of the world like a lion from its cage.

29. Those who vainly imagine themselves to be led about by some supernatural power, and so slight their necessary duties, are to be shunned at a distance as the mean and base.

30. There are thousands of acts that are attended with gain or loss to their doers, but it is the duty of man to do what is right whether they be pleasant or painful.

31. He who does not transgress the bounds of law and does not forsake his duties is attended by every blessing abundant as the pearls in the sea.

32. The wise describe courage as devoted diligence in acts leading to one’s object. Being guided by the scriptures leads to his success.

33. An act accompanied by exertion accomplishes one’s object, and the company of the wise and the study of good books serve to raise a man by brightening his understanding.

34. The wise know infinite happiness or a tranquil spirit is the supreme good, and those good works are fit for study which lead to that state.

35. The acts of our former lives constitute what we call our fate (daivam) or destiny and they return to us from the region of the gods for our good in both worlds.

36. We blame a fate that is the creation of the fancy of the ignorant, who by their adoration of such passivity meet their own destruction.

37. One benefits himself always by his activity in both worlds, as the good acts of today gives a grace to those of yesterday.

38. Therefore, whoever applies himself with diligence to his acts, reaps their fruit like that of an amalaki in his palm, which though it is within his grasp, yet it could not be obtained without the cost of some labor.

39. Only the ignorant depart from the beaten path and fall into the error of fatalism. Therefore give up that false faith in an unreal fate, which is a mere creation of the imagination and devoid of any cause or effect. Apply your manly exertions.

40. The fruit of following the scriptures and observing good customs and local usages is long known (to be wholesome), exciting the heart and the exertion of the limbs to action. This is what is called “manly activity.”

41. All wise men, after discussion of the subject of fate and acts, have applied themselves to action by utter rejection of fatality and have accomplished their ends by attendance on the good and the wise.

42. Knowing the efficacy of activity, every one should work on personal effort and attain to his highest perfection by attending to good scriptures and the wise counsels of learned men.

43. Knowing that the bondage of our births is full of pain, let people listen to the wise and strive to exercise their efforts to obtain the true and sweet blessing of tranquility.

Chapter 2.7 — On the Necessity of Activity Vasishta speaking:—

1. Having obtained a body free from disease and a mind free from trouble, one should try to know the knowable to prevent further births.

2. Whoever wants to avert his destiny through action obtains the acme of his wishes both in this world as well as the next.

3. But whoever is averse to diligence and relies on his luck is an enemy to his own soul and sacrifices all his virtues, riches and hopes.

4. The exercise of our faculties of sense and mind as well as of the members of the body are the different modes of our exertions that lead us to success.

5. Our perceptions are the cause of our mental activity, and this triggers the body to action whereby we obtain the fruits of our desire.

6. Whatever rule exists in the scriptures (shastras), it is addressed to our acts and never points us to fate. Even children are well aware of this.

7. It was by the exercise of their efforts that Brihaspati became the lord of gods, and Shukra obtained the position of the teacher of the demons.

8. There have been many weak, poor and miserable men who have by means of their manly exertions become equal to Indra himself.

9. So also there have been many great men on earth who, after enjoyment of a great many extraordinary things and luxuries here, have become guests in hell for lack of exercising their manly virtues.

10. In this manner all beings have evaded the effects of their various states of want and opulence by means of their own efforts.

11. There are threefold benefits derived from the study of books, from the lectures of a teacher, and from one’s own industry, all of which attend our efforts and not destiny.

12. This is the long and short of all the scriptures (shastras), that diligence preserves our minds from all evils by employing them to whatever is good and right.

13. To apply with diligence to whatever is excellent, not low or mean and not liable to loss or decay, is the lesson of parents and teachers to their sons and pupils.

14. I get the immediate fruit of my labor in proportion to my exertion. Therefore I say that I enjoy the fruit of my labor and not of fortune.

15. Activity gives us success and this is what elevates the intelligent. But men of little understanding in their miserable state rely only in luck.

16. We have visible evidence (of the efficacy) of activity every day, in the examples of men travelling in distant countries (for the sake of gain).

17. He who eats becomes satisfied and who does not starves. So he who walks is said to proceed and not one who rests. In like manner, whoever speaks is called a speaker and not the silent man. Thus action makes the man.

18. Wise men escape from great difficulties by means of their efforts, but not so the mistaken fatalist by his fruitless inertia.

19. Whoever acts in any manner gets his reward accordingly, but the inactive man has nothing to expect anywhere.

20. By well directed industry a man reaps the best reward, as he meets with its reverse by his misapplied labor. Think upon this, O Rama, and do as you like.

21. The reward of industry, which a man meets with sooner or later at anytime or place, is said by the wise to be his fortune.

22. No one can see his fortune, nor has anybody ever seen it, nor is there such a thing to be found in any world. It is only the merit of our acts here which they place in another world.

23. A man is born on earth to grow up and decay in his time, and no destiny is seen in the same way in his childhood, youth or old age.

24. Application to diligence and action for the attainment of an object are known by the term “effort” by the wise, whereby all things are accomplished.

25. Going from one place to another, holding a thing in the hand, and the movement of limbs are all the acts of effort and not destiny.

26. There is another kind of propensity which is towards acts productive of evil. This sort of action is likened to the attempt of a madman which yields no good.

27. Men of acute understandings raise themselves to elevation by their association with the virtuous, study of good works, and active employment in duties tending to their own good.

28. The boundless joy arising from equanimity is said to constitute one’s supreme good. This blessing also results from a man’s diligent application to the scriptures.

29. Understanding leads to the knowledge of the scriptures, and the scriptures tend towards our right understanding of things. Just so does the lotus serve to beautify a lake, and the lake lends its grace to the lotus.

30. It is also by virtue of one’s deep study and good company in youth that a man later attains his desirable objects.

31. It was by means of his actions that Vishnu conquered the demons and established the order of the world. It was by this that he created the worlds, none of which could be the work of fate.

32. Now, O lord of Raghu’s race, employ your efforts to the exertion of your manly activities in such a way that you may live unafraid of being bitten by the snake-like people in this tree of the world (crush the malice of your enemies).

Chapter 2.8 — Invalidation of Destiny

1. Vasishta continued saying that:— What does “destiny” mean? It has no form, no act, no motion or might. It is only a false notion rooted in the (minds) of the ignorant.

2. “Destiny” is a word that has come into fashion from the idea of karma, the idea of future retribution for one’s past actions and the like.

3. From this, ignorant are led to believe that there is such a thing as destiny, something incapable of explanation, which has led them to a fallacy much like mistaking a rope for a snake.

4. Yesterday’s misdeed is rectified by the following day’s good action. Therefore let this day supersede the past and employ yourself today to action.

5. The perverted understanding that believes in destiny is grounded on false conception. One may as well enter fire with the conviction that it will not burn unless it is so destined.

6. If destiny is the sole cause of everything, then why should a man take actions of bathing and making his offerings, sitting and walking, all of which may be done by his destiny?

7. What then is the need to advise another to do something if destiny is the director of all? Let them all be silent and say nothing to nobody.

8. There is none to be seen on earth who is motionless except the bodies of the dead. If it is action that produces anything, then it is useless to believe in destiny.

9. Nor is there any co-operative power of invisible destiny that is perceptible in the actions of men. Destiny is only a meaningless word.

10. Instruments and hands are two things joined together. Each has its separate action, but if the hand is lacking, nothing can be done by destiny.

11. Whether in the mind and intellect of a (learned) pundit or (illiterate) cowherd, there is no such idea of destiny. Hence it is a mere non-entity.

12. If destiny does not mean agent, it must mean something else. If it is the same thing as agent, why give it a different name (i.e., “destiny”)? If it can be proved to be an imaginary term, why not imagine your effort to be the agent?

13. Immaterial destiny, like a void, has no connection with the material body. If it had form or figure it would be visible. Therefore destiny is nonexistent.

14. If destiny were the mainspring of the movements of all beings in the three worlds, then let all creatures rest at ease (with assurance) that destiny will perform their parts.

15. The belief that we are guided by destiny and do as we are led to do is a deception and an excuse. In fact, there is no such thing as destiny.

16. It is a fool who fancies a destiny to himself and relies upon it to his own disadvantage. The intelligent raise themselves to better states by means of their effort.

17. Say, who is there in this world among the mighty and brave or the intelligent and learned who looks or waits upon destiny?

18. Destiny may be said good if it had the power of saving a man from being beheaded whom fortune-tellers had pronounced by their calculation to be long lived.

19. Again, O Raghava, if a fortune-teller predicts that a man will become learned and he does without being taught, then we can believe fortune is true.

20. Mark, O Rama, how the sage Vishwamitra has cast away his destiny and attained the state of Brahma rishi by his own efforts.

21. Look at us and others who have become sages. It was by our industry that we became wanderers in the ethereal regions.

22. Remember, O Rama, how the chiefs of the Danava race discarded their destinies altogether and used their prowess to establish their empires on earth.

23. Look again how the chiefs of the gods have wrested the extensive earth from those demons by their valorous deeds of slaying and harassing them (in battle).

24. See Rama, how people use their own industry to make wicker vessels so handsome that they hold water, all without the aid of any destiny.

25. In all our works of giving and receiving, walking, resting and the like, we see no causation by destiny in their completion, just as we see medicines causing healing.

26. Therefore, O Rama, give up this destiny of your mistaken fancy, which in reality is devoid of its cause or effect and is a false and ideal nothing. Give yourself to your best efforts.

Chapter 2.9 — Investigation of Acts (Thoughts Are Action; Mind Is Soul)

1. Rama asked, “Will you sage, who is versed in all knowledge, kindly explain the true sense of destiny (daivam) in popular use.”

2. Vasishta replied:— It is a man’s activity and nothing else, O Raghava, that is the cause of all his actions and the recipient of their consequences. Destiny has nothing to do with it.

3. Destiny is a mere imaginary thing that neither exists nor acts nor feels (their effects). It is neither seen nor regarded.

4. Destiny refers to the good or bad results that proceed from action.

5. People label the wished for and unwished for consequences resulting from the good and bad deeds of human activity as destiny.

6. The majority of mankind calls human activity, which is the only cause of some unavoidable future consequence, to be destiny.

7. Truly, O Raghava, destiny, though empty as a void, appears to be real to somebody who thinks it to be an active agent, while others know it to be inactive.

8. Again, destiny is a mere saying uttered by men upon the result of some good or bad effect of their actual efforts, that “it is this which has produced the other.”

9. It is my belief and I know it for certain that destiny is no more than a word uttered by people upon their attainment of the object of their exertions.

10. Destiny is a word of consolation uttered by men to signify the good or evil they encounter and which they call to be the effect of the other.

11. Rama asked, “Sage, how is it that you, who is all wise, now contradict your own assertion that destiny is the result of the stock of our former acts?”

12. Vasishta answered saying:— Well said, O Rama. You know everything. But hear me tell you the whole of it, whereby you will have a firm belief in the nonexistence of destiny.

13. In the end, even all the various desires that men may have entertained in their minds come to be accounted as his deeds.

14. All animals also act according to their desires, doing nothing for which they have no inclination in their natures.

15. As a villager goes to his village and a townsman goes to town, so it is the nature of desire to lead men to their particular acts.

16. The keen and firm resolution with which an act was done in a former state of life, that truly is termed destiny in successive births.

17. Thus the acts of all active beings conform to their natures, and the actions of men are in accordance with their desires. Desire is nothing other than the mind itself, and the mind is the same as the human soul.

18. The mind is the soul and cause of all acts which they call the doings of destiny. Certainly, without the mind there is no destiny.

19. This mind is truly the living soul that acts as it desires and accordingly enjoys the fruit. The same is destiny.

20. Rama, know that the mind, the heart, desire, action and destiny are synonymous terms applied by the virtuous to the unascertainable soul.

21. Now whatever the so-named soul undertakes to do continually and with a firm resolution, it obtains the fruit thereof accordingly.

22. O support of Raghu’s race, it is by means of the activity or effort of the soul, and by no other means, that the soul obtains everything. May it lead you to your good only.

23. Rama said, “Being caught in the net of my pre-existent desire, I remain a captive to them and do as they lead me to. Say then, O sage, what else I can do?”

24. Vasishta replied:— So then, O Rama, you can reach your lasting good if you exert your efforts for it. There is no other way.

25. Desires are of two kinds: some lead to good and others to evil. Hence the desires of one’s prior state must have been of one kind or the other.

26. If pure desires guide you now, gradually you will be led by means of your good acts to attain the state of your lasting welfare.

27. But if wrong inclinations tend to lead you to difficulties, of necessity you must try your best to overcome such propensities.

28. Rama, you are wise, perfectly intelligent, and composed of more than just a dull body. Now if you need another’s guidance to waken your intellect, then when is your own intelligence?

29. If you would have someone else enlighten your understanding, then who was the other who illuminated him, and who is the other to illuminate that person also? Therefore, because no one is wholly devoid of understanding, let him improve it himself.

30. The currents of our desires flow between two channels of good and evil. It requires the exertion of our actions to turn them to the right course.

31. You who is the mightiest of the mighty must exert the force of your activity to turn your mind away from a direction to the profitless and towards a profitable course.

32. By directing the mind from the wrong to the right way, it will take the right course; and the opposite is true also. But because the human mind is like a child, it must not be forced.

33. The training of a child is like that of the mind. It is done slowly by gentleness and indulgence, and not by force or hurry.

34. You have already mastered all your good and bad desires by your constant practice. From now on, you have to direct your tendencies to good only.

35. O victorious Rama, when by your pristine habits you have an aptitude to do good, know that it is the result of your good nature.

36. O sinless Rama, at present your desires are lying dormant in your mind. They require some practice to be employed only to the doing of good.

37. If you will not exert yourself now to improve your dormant desires by constant practice, you can never expect to be happy.

38. When doubtful, incline towards what is good, and as you thrive on this you shall have no evil to fear.

39. Whatever one practices, with time he will become perfect, just like studying from childhood makes the learned free from error.

40. When you have good will inside, you must accomplish your purpose by means of your activity and your subjection of the organs of your body.

41. So long as your mind is imperfect and unacquainted with the state of divine truth, you must attend to your teacher, books and reasoning and act according to their directions.

42. Having first finished your acts and known the truth, you must abandon even your meritorious deeds, and all your desires with them.

43. Having known by your good understanding that the virtuous course led by honorable men is truly good, give particular attention to know the nature of God, then forsake even that and remain as silent as an ancient sage (muni).

Chapter 2.10 — Brahma Propounds the Knowledge of Liberation to Vasishta

1. Vasishta resumed:— This thing called destiny is as true as the reality of God. It is the cause of causes and effect of effects.

2. Now attend to my words, depend on your efforts, and intently apply your ever confident mind to the attainment of your chief good.

3. Use your effort to control your misleading senses from pursuing their objects.

4. I will now set out a system for you that contains the essence of the best means for liberation, and which will confer the fruits of your exertions and lead you to your welfare in both worlds.

5. Let those who have great minds forsake their worldly desires in order to avoid future births and attend to these lectures with calm contentment.

6. Weigh well the meanings of previous discussions and those to come, repress your mind from its worldly cares, and compose yourself in calmness in order to inquire after truth.

7. Hear me relate to you, Rama, the way to emancipation which will remove your feelings of pain and pleasure, and which will become the surest means to lead you to supreme happiness.

8. On hearing this lecture on liberation in the company of all those reasonable men, you will know that highest state which is free from pain, and of which there is no end.

9. This was spoken of old in a former kalpa age by Brahma abiding in the Supreme Spirit. It is the remover of all anxiety and giver of all comfort to the soul.

10. Rama asked, “Say, O brahmin who is my guide, what cause moved Brahma himself to reveal this knowledge of old, and how did you obtain it?”

11. Vasishta replied:— The Supreme Soul of infinite manifestations exists by itself. It passes through and supports the whole in the form of void and understanding and as light to all living beings.

12. From Him who remains the same (unaltered being) in his rest and motion, the great Vishnu was born, like a moving wave on the quiet waters of the sea.

13. Then Brahma was produced from the lotus of his heart, having Mount Meru for its seed, the points of the compass for its petals, and the stars for its pistils.

14. He, being beset by gods and sages acquainted with the Vedas and their meanings, created all the worlds and all minds with their various thoughts.

15. Then he created groups of men in the Bharata division (India) and in a corner of Jambudwipa (Asia) and subjected them to all manner of diseases and afflictions.

16. They are also troubled by the possession and desire of many things and their subjection to dangers and diseases. Here all species of created beings are subject to a variety of tribulations and afflictions.

17. The lord and creator of worlds, seeing the misery of these people, felt compassion for them like a father for his children.

18. Then, for a moment he pondered within himself, with intensity of thought and for the good of all creatures, how to end the misery of these beings who were subjected to death and despair.

19. With this thought the lord god Brahma himself established the rules of austerity, piety, charity, veracity and pilgrimage.

20. Having established these, the lord and creator again thought within himself: how to make an end of the many miseries of the men he had created.

21. He thought upon selfextinction as the supreme bliss, obtainable only through knowledge of God, and whereby man might be exempted from repeated births and deaths.

22. It was divine knowledge, he thought, that was the only means by which men could crossing the ocean of this world. Austerity, charity and pilgrimage were no means to it.

23. With this he said, “I will immediately make a new and sure bridge for the salvation of men and for their liberation from pain.”

24. Having thought so, Lord Brahma sitting on the lotus meditated in his mind and produced me from himself.

25. Being thus produced, I immediately stood in the presence of my ancestor, like a wave rising from the sea leans towards it.

26. Holding a pitcher in one hand and prayer beads made of seeds in the other, I bowed down to the god who held a water-pot in one hand and prayer beads in the other. He addressed me like this.

27. “Come my son,” he said, then holding me with his hand, he made me sit on the northern petal of his lotus of truth that shone as brightly as the moon amid silvery clouds.

28. Wearing the skin of an antelope and with the voice of a gander addressing a stork, my father Brahma spoke to me who was similarly dressed.

29. He said “For a moment I will overpower your fickle-mindedness under a mist of unconsciousness, like a dark cloud obscures the moon.”

30. It was under this curse that I lost my reason and forgot everything, even the clear idea I had of God.

31. I became as helpless as one out of his wits, and came to be afflicted with distress and sorrow like an indigent person.

32. “Ah, how sorrowful is this world,” said I. “How did evil come to dwell in it?” With these thoughts I remained in silence.

33. Then he my father spoke to me saying, “Ah my son, why are you so afflicted? Ask me for a remedy for your affliction and you shall become happy.”

34. Then, seated as I was on the gold-colored leaflet of the lotus, I asked the lord creator of all peoples about the medicine for worldly sorrows.

35. “How, my lord,” I asked, “did this world come to be so full of misery, and how can people be rid of it? This is what I ask of you.”

36. I then learnt the most holy wisdom that my father Brahma gave me. Following his advice, I became quite composed.

37. Then, seeing me knowing the knowable and restored to my own natural state, the creator of the world and revealer of all causes said,

38. “My son, I had turned you to insanity by an illusion in order to make you inquire into the essence of true knowledge for the welfare of mankind.

39. Now you are released from the curse of illusion and you have arrived to your highest state of understanding. You have become as one soul (with the Supreme) and as pure as gold.

40. Now shut your heart against the world and proceed to the surface of the earth, to the land of Bharata, for the good of mankind.

41. There employ yourself to ceremonial duties to the best of your knowledge and advise others on how to properly conduct rituals.

42. But those who are disgusted (with the world) in their hearts, and are rational with their elevated understandings, are to be counseled with the esoteric knowledge that confers true joy.”

43. Being thus appointed by him who was born in the lotus, I continue to abide here throughout the succession of beings.

44. I have no duty to perform here but live my life free from all cares. I always do my acts with a mind as tranquil as if it were in a state of sleep. I do my works with the body, but I do nothing here with my soul (which is fixed in God).

Chapter 2.11 — On the Qualifications of Student and Teacher; the Four Guards at the Door of Liberation

1. Vasishta continued:— I have fully related to you about the descent of knowledge on earth, the reason for my birth, and the intention of lotus-born Brahma.

2. Now Rama, as you are eager to learn transcendental knowledge, and as you are so anxious for it in your mind, it must be the effect of your pristine merit.

3. Rama said, “Sage, how was it that the supreme lord felt a desire to send down knowledge on earth after his creation (and not with it)?”

4. Vasishta replied:— Brahma in his own nature is the same as the Supreme Brahman. He is born in Him like a wave is born of the waters of the deep.

5. This great lord saw the imperfection of his creation and saw its whole course in times past, present and future.

6. He saw the decay of ceremonial rites after the end of the age of truth (the golden age) and other ages and considering the error in which men were to fall, he felt pity for them.

7. Then the lord thought of giving me true knowledge and sent me to earth to dispel the ignorance of mankind.

8. Like me, he has sent other great sages here, like Sanat Kumara, Narada and many others also.

9. He has sent them all to redeem mankind from the chains of its ignorance through a series of good acts and through their progress in divine knowledge.

10. At the end of the past golden age, these great sages saw the gradual decay on earth of the holy rituals.

11. They created rulers at various places on earth in order to regulate the course of duties and observe proper limits.

12. They made many works on traditional law and sacrificial rules to be observed on earth, and appropriate provision for the accomplishment of religious and temporal duties (in the smritis) .

13. But with time, all these duties became slack in their conduct, and men have no thought other than seeking their daily maintenance.

14. Every day disputes arise among landowners on account of their estates and properties, and people are subjected to various penalties in large numbers.

15. Under such conditions, it is not possible to govern without states fighting each other, resulting in rulers and subjects inevitably being reduced to wretchedness.

16. In order to remove the impotence (of such princes) and lead them to a comprehensive view of things, we have prescribed many excellent precepts of knowledge to them.

17. This spiritual knowledge was first given to princes, but afterwards it came to be known under the title of royal science (raja vidhya, kingly science).

18. This royal science is of a hidden, esoteric nature. It is also the best kind of spiritual knowledge. Many kings have been set beyond the reach of calamity by knowledge of this science.

19. It is after many such fair-famed princes had gone by that your mighty self was begotten by the present King Dasharata.

20. O slayer of your enemies, I find a very agreeable and holy kind of apathy growing spontaneously in your most clear understanding.

21. There is another kind of cold-heartedness, O Rama, caused in the minds of the virtuous and reasonable men which is called casual detachment.

22. But your unprecedented and astonishing apathy, produced without any cause and only by your reason, is called by the wise to be real detachment.

23. Seeing the harmfulness of worldly things, what man will not grow adverse to them? The greatest displeasure is that which rises in the mind from one’s own judgment.

24. They are reckoned as great and wise men whose detachment springs without cause (of detestation to the world) and whose minds are clear.

25. It is as graceful to see a person whose mind with good discrimination feels a disgust from its own judgment as it is to see a young bridegroom adorned with garlands of flowers.

26. They are esteemed as the best of men who, after judicious consideration of worldly troubles, apply themselves to detachment.

27. It must be by one’s repeated and judicious examination of inner and outer illusions that he should forcibly withdraw himself from them.

28. Who is there at the mournful sight of a funeral event who does not feel an aversion to worldliness? However, it is aversion born of itself that is highly commendable.

29. I see that you are sincerely indifferent and reaching the acme of true greatness. You are worthy of the best knowledge as is the moist earth of receiving seeds.

30. It is by the grace of the lord God and Supreme Spirit that a lucky understanding like yours naturally inclines to reason.

31. It is by performance of ritual duties and observance of prescribed rules that the demerits of former births are expunged.

32. Upon removing former demerits, understanding turns of itself to become aware of spiritual matters, like the simultaneous flight of a crow towards a falling coconut.

33. But those devoted only to ritual acts are like people plunged in an eddy in which they whirl up and down until they come to perceive the state of supreme (joy).

34. Seeing this (illusory) state of the world, a man must shake off the delusion of his worldly-mindedness, just as the elephant breaks loose from his chains.

35. It is too intricate, O Rama, to understand the course of this boundless world. Not even the greatest of embodied beings can know it without true knowledge.

36. Know, O support of Raghu’s race, that men of great understanding have passed over the un-fordable ocean of the world by means of the raft of their knowledge and reason.

37. Now, with attention and steadiness of mind, hear this rational knowledge for your deliverance from the flood of this world.

38. Without the remedy of right reason, the unceasing excitement of the senses and the fears and miseries of the world will continually disturb the mind.

39. There is nothing other than rational knowledge that can enable holy men to endure the afflictions of the opposite extremes of heat and cold and wind and rain.

40. The constant cares and miseries which befall to men at every step sometimes serve to torment the ignorant mind like a flame of fire burns straw.

41. But the troubles of this world cannot afflict a wise man who knows the knowable and discerns all things; just as it is impossible for the flame of fire to burn wood drenched by rain.

42. A man knowing the truth is like a firm oak tree that no whirlwind of disease or distress raised by the hot winds of this desert of the world has the power to upset.

43. An intelligent man who has a mind to know the truth must diligently serve his wise teacher with loving regard.

44. What a well-minded teacher says in response to any question must be carefully preserved in the mind, like a piece of fine muslin receives dye.

45. O best of the eloquent, you must not receive instruction from one unacquainted with truth. Whoever asks such a person anything is the greatest of fools.

46. He is the basest of men who does not carefully attend to the words of the truth-telling teacher who is asked about anything.

47. He is the best inquirer who seeks answers from a person who demonstrates by his actions whether he knows the knowable or not.

48. A person who asks boyish questions without determining the teacher’s qualifications is reckoned a vile inquirer incapable of knowing great things.

49. When asked, a wise man will reply to him who is able to comprehend the former and later propositions, and who is possessed of a good understanding, but he should make no answer to a vile brutish being.

50. The teacher who gives his lecture without examining the capacity of the inquirer to grasp his meaning is pronounced unwise by the learned.

51. O delight of Raghu’s race! Our meeting is very congenial. We are well adapted to each other. You as inquirer are an admirer of virtue and I the speaker am well acquainted.

52. You who understand the meaning of words should well consider everything that I tell you and take them to heart.

53. You are truly great and disgusted with the world, and you know the truth among mankind. Whatever is spoken to you must be impressed in your mind like red dye on muslin.

54. By your attention to what I say and your discrimination of spiritual matters, you can make your understanding receive my instruction like waters reflect sunlight.

55. Receive all that I say and store them diligently in your mind; or else it is useless to ask me anything.

56. The mind, O Rama, is as fickle as an ape in the forest. Correct it carefully and attend to spiritual instruction.

57. Always keep yourself from the injudicious and ignorant and those addicted to the company of wicked people, and honor the virtuous.

58. It is by association with good people that we can gain the wisdom that resembles a tree yielding fruits of enjoyment and liberation.

59. It is said there are four guards who keep watch at the gate of liberation (moksha), namely: peace (equanimity, self-control), judgment (spirit of inquiry), contentment, and company of the good.

60. All these, or three or two of them, are to be attended with care because they shall open the door leading to the abode of liberation.

61. At least one of them is to be sought with diligence, even at the expense of one’s life. Because by securing one of these a man can reconcile and gain all four .

62. The wise man is a receptacle of all scriptures, of all knowledge and austerity, and is a gem on earth, just like the sun is the receptacle of light.

63. The dull understanding of a senseless man becomes as stiff as a block, and like water freezing as hard as stone.

64. Your good nature and good qualities, O Rama, and the counsels of the learned in the scriptures, have made you sit here with a heart blooming like a lotus towards the rising sun.

65. Your ears lifted to hear these wise lectures have enabled you to repress your thoughts; as the music of the lute attracts the mind of the deer.

66. Now secure, O Rama, the treasures of peace and good nature by your practice of detachment of which there is no decay.

67. Your knowledge of the attainment of liberation will be increased by your attending to the scriptures and the society of good men, and also by your practice of austerity and self subjection.

68. You must know that the sure remedy against ignorance is the study of divine knowledge with a clear understanding.

69. Know this world is a poisonous plant and a seat of dangers. It infects the ignorant at all times, unless one will take the pains to dispel his darkness.

70. Greed accompanied by ignorance moves within the heart in a serpentine course, by turns expanding and contracting it like a blacksmith’s bellows.

71. The true light of things dawns only in the minds of the wise, just as the gentle moon appears only in a clear and cloudless sky.

72. He is truly called a man who can judge (the truth) by the major and minor propositions, whose mind is expanded and filled with brilliant ingenuity.

73. Rama, the clear wisdom of your mind makes you shine like the full moon dispelling the darkness of the cloudless sky by her cooling and translucent beams.

Chapter 2.12 — The Greatness of True Knowledge

1. Vasishta said:— Rama, I honor you as one of a perfect mind. You know what to ask and you understand what is spoken to you. Therefore I will continue speaking to you respectfully.

2. Be still, keep your mind fixed in yourself, and attend to knowledge. Be free of pride and passions and incline yourself to pure truth.

3. You are possessed of all the qualities of an enquirer, and I those of the speaker, in as much as there are gems in the ocean.

4. My son, you have gained the detachment that is closely related to reason, like the humidity of the moonstone correlates to gentle moonbeams.

5. Rama, your long and early practiced pure virtues and good qualities have raised your fame, like the long stretching white fibers of the stalk exalt the spotless lotus.

6. Now hear the words I tell you Rama, for you alone are fit to receive them, as only the moon is able to open the kumuda lotus petals.

7. Whatever business or investigation someone undertakes, it must be brought to a happy conclusion that tends towards his peace and tranquility.

8. If men of good understanding did not have the solace of philosophy, what rational being could dare bear the misery that ignorance brings in this world?

9. All the faculties of the mind are absorbed in contemplation of the Supreme, like solar heat dissolves the rocks of boundary mountains at the end of the world.

10. Rama, the intolerable stomach cramping pain caused by this venomous world is healed only by yoga meditation, just like the poison of a snakebite is removed by garuda incantations.

11. One obtains the capacity for yoga by discussing the scriptures in the company of good people, which alone can provide us with the great charm of spiritual knowledge.

12. It must be recognized that we lessen our sorrows by acting with reason. Therefore reasonable men are never to be disregarded.

13. A reasoning man gets released from his worldly sickness. He quits his frame which is full of diseases just like a snake casts off his time-worn skin. He looks with a placid mind and calm composure upon the magic scenes of the world. Hence a fully wise man is not subject to the misery of the imperfectly wise.

14. The rough and uneven pleasure of the world (samsara) is a disease that stings like a snake. It cuts men like a sword and pierces them like a spear. It binds them tightly like a rope, and burns them like fire. It blindfolds their understanding like the darkness of the night. It makes them as prostrate and dull as a slab of stone. It destroys one’s prudence and lowers his position. It casts men into the pit of error and torments them with greed. Thus there is almost no kind of trouble which does not happen to worldly minded men.

15. Worldliness is as dangerous a disease as cholera which, unless it is healed in time, is sure to trouble its patient with the torments of hell:

16. like eating stones; wounded by swords and spears; pelted by stones; burnt by fire; numbed by frost; dislocated limbs; body smeared with blood like sandalwood paste; bored by worms like worm-eaten trees; body pierced by pikes, broomsticks and the fiery shafts and bolts continually falling in battle; toil and drudgery under the sun; the cold wetness of work in a summer fountain house; dumb and deaf without rest or sleep; and, finally, suffering decapitation.

17. With thousands of such intolerable tortures of worldly life, no one should remain negligent of his release from this state but ought to think that only his reflection on scriptures can produce his real good.

18. Rama, look upon this assembly of great sages, rishis, brahmins and princes who have fortified themselves by the armor of wisdom and are liable to no pain or grief, yet they are engaged in the arduous affairs of this world with minds as placid as yours.

19. Moreover, there are many of the best of men who with their spiritual light and pure understanding reside in this world like the gods Hari (Vishnu), Hara (Shiva) and Brahma above all concerns and fluctuating desires of life.

20. The journey of this world is delightful to one who, after the removal of his errors and dispersion of the cloud of his ignorance, has come to the knowledge of truth.

21. When serenity of the mind and calm repose of the heart are secured, all the senses are subjected to peace and everything is viewed in an equal light, and this knowledge of the truth gives delight to our journey in this world.

22. Know also that this body of ours is the car, these organs are its horses, our breaths are the winds blowing upon it, and the mind is the driver who feels the delight of driving. The minute, subtle soul is the rider who is conscious of wandering about the world. Knowledge of this truth makes our earthly journey a pleasant one.

Chapter 2.13 — On Equanimity (Peace & Tranquility of Mind), the Characteristics of a Saint Vasishta speaking:—

1. Intelligent men who have seen the spirit fix their sight upon it and wander about in the world as persons of great and elevated souls.

2. They do not grieve, nor do they wish or ask for anything of good or evil (in this world). They do their works with detachment.

3. Those who rely on themselves remain quiet, unaffected by good or evil and acting their parts with a calm serenity. They take no concern for what is harmful or delectable to them.

4. They are alike indifferent to coming or not coming, going or not going, doing or not doing, and speaking or not speaking.

5. After having come to know their God (as the author of all good), whatever acts or sights may appear pleasant or disgusting to others cease to affect them in any way.

6. The mind having rid its desires feels a sweet composure associated with bliss that is like moonlight descending from the heavenly orb all about.

7. By being unmindful of worldly affairs and regardless of all its excitements, the soul is filled with a joy resembling the ambrosial waters in the moon.

8. He who ceases to act his magical parts (in this playground of the earth) and desists from following his inclinations and childish pranks, shines forth in his spiritual light.

9. Such are the powers gained from spiritual knowledge, and by no other means whatever.

10. Therefore should a man should employ his reasoning powers during life to try to seek and know and adore the Supreme Soul.

11. It is the agreement of one’s belief with the teachings of the scriptures and his instructor, joined with his constant meditation, that can give him a full view of the Supreme Spirit.

12. The fool slighting the scriptures and their instructions and disregarding the counsels of great men is exposed to difficulties and dangers from which he can have no release.

13. There is no disease or poison, no trouble or affliction so painful to one in this earth as the ignorance one breeds in himself.

14. Those whose intellects are purified a little will find this work to be of greater effect to dispel their ignorance than any other scripture.

15. Everyone who is a friend to good sayings and good sense should diligently attend to this scripture with its beautiful examples, pleasing lessons and lack of inconsistencies.

16. Lack of dignity, inextricable difficulties, and baseness and degeneracy are all the offspring of ignorance, just like thorns are the offshoots of the prickly ketaki plant.

17. It is far better, O Rama, to rove about a begging with a pot in hand to the homes of vile chandalas than to lead a life deadened by ignorance.

18. Rather dwell in dark dismal cells, within dry dreary wells, in the hollows of trees, or remain like solitary blind worms than labor under the miseries of ignorance.

19. A man receiving the light leading to his liberation will never fall into the darkness of error or gloom of death.

20. As long as the clear light of reason does not shine upon the mind like the sun, so long will the chilly frost of poverty continue to contract the lotus of humanity.

21. To liberate oneself from the miseries of the world, one must know the true nature of the soul, both from his teacher and the evidence of the scriptures, and also from friends like ourselves.

22. Try, O Rama, to imitate those who are liberated in their lifetime, who are free to roam about like the gods Hari, Hara and others, and like the holy sages among brahmins.

23. Here (on earth) our miseries are as endless as atoms, and our happiness is as small as a drop of water on a piece of straw. Therefore do not fix your sight upon that little happiness which is beset by misery.

24. Let an intelligent man diligently apply himself to attain that state of endless happiness which is free from pain and constitutes his highest completion.

25. They are reckoned the best of men and deserving of completion whose minds are free from the fever (of worldly cares) and attached to the transcendental state.

26. Those base minded mortals who are satisfied with their enjoyments, eating and drinking, and the pleasures of their worldly possessions, are reckoned as stark blind frogs.

27. Those attached to the company of imposters and wicked men, or addicted to the practice of evil deeds, who are enemies in the guise of friendship, or those given up to gluttony,

28. all such foolish men of mistaken and stupid minds fall into the hardest of hardships, to the misery of miseries, to the horror of horrors, and to the hell of hells.

29. Happiness and misery destroy and succeed each other by turns. They are as fleeting as flashes of lightning. Hence it is impossible to be happy forever.

30. Those great souls who are indifferent and well judging like yourself are known as the most honorable of men, worthy of both temporal enjoyments and spiritual emancipation.

31. By reliance upon right reasoning joined with a habit of remaining dispassionate, men are able to overcome the dark and dangerous torrents of this world.

32. No man of reason who well knows how the illusions of the world derange understanding should allow himself to sleep amid these illusions.

33. Whoever remains neglectful in his worldliness is like a man negligently sleeping on a grassy bed when his house is on fire.

34. A state reached without return, attained so there is no more cause for sorrow, undoubtedly is attainable only by divine knowledge, and that is a certain truth.

35. Even if such a future state did not exist, there would be no harm to believe in it. But if such a state exists, belief in it will save you from the ocean of this world (samsara).

36. Whenever a man is inclined to think on the means of his salvation, he is sure to soon be entitled to his liberation.

37. The undecaying, unerring and fearless state of tranquility is nowhere to be had in the three worlds without union (with the Supreme).

38. Having gained that best of gains, no one is liable to the pain from which no wealth, friend or relation can save.

39. Neither the actions of one’s hands and feet in his offerings and pilgrimage to distant lands, nor the bodily pains of asceticism, nor his refuge in a holy place can serve his salvation.

40. It is only by means of one’s best exertions and the fixing of his mind to one object, and also by the subjection of his desires, that one may arrive at the ultimate state (of bliss).

41. So it is that by means of discrimination, reasoning and ultimate ascertainment of truth, a man may avoid the snares of misery and attain his best state.

42. One sitting at ease and meditating within himself attains the blissful state free from sorrow and future birth.

43. All holy men are known to be beyond the bounds of frail pleasures. They reckon their best serenity to be their ultimate bliss.

44. They have given up all thoughts of humanity and heaven, which are as devoid of true joy as a mirage is void of water.

45. Therefore should one think of subduing his mind and resort to peace and contentment as the means. These joined with an unbounded composure produce true happiness.

46. It is not to be had by sitting, or going up and down, or by wandering, or by prostrating (before the altar). It is not to be acquired by rakshasa demons, deities or ignorant men.

47. That ultimate joy is born of and obtainable from peace of mind. It is fruit from the blossom of peace of the high tree of reason.

48. Those engaged in worldliness without mixing in it are like the all-illumining sun and are known as the best of men.

49. The mind at peace and rest, clear and free from errors, and without any attempt or desire neither forsakes nor wishes for the world.

50. Hear me tell you about the orders of the guards (equanimity, inquiry, contentment, and good company) at the gate of salvation. If you know these orders, you are allowed to enter.

51. Thirsting after pleasure is a state of protracted disease, and this world is full of mirage. Only equanimity can cool this dryness like the moistening beams of the moon.

52. It is peacefulness that leads to all good and is reckoned the best state of being. Quiet is joy. It is peace and prevents error.

53. The man who lives content with his quiet and a calm clarity of his soul, with a mind filled with detachment, makes friends of his enemies.

54. Those whose minds are adorned with the moonlight of peacefulness feel within a flux of beams of purity rising in them like the whitish waves of the Milky Ocean.

55. Those holy men who have the lotus-like flower of peacefulness growing in the lotus-shaped receptacle of their hearts are said to have a secondary heart like the two hearts of the god Hari (holding Brahma in one of them).

56. They whose untainted faces shine like the moon with the luster of peacefulness are to be honored as the luminaries of their families. Others, seeing the charming beauty of their appearance, honor them as ravishers of the senses.

57. Whatever is beautiful in the three worlds, and whatever may be imperial prosperity and grandeur, nothing in them can afford a happiness equal to that of peacefulness.

58. Whatever the misery, anxiety or intolerable difficulty, they are all lost in a tranquil mind, like darkness in the sun.

59. The mind of no living being is so delighted with moonbeams as that of the peaceful man from his heart-felt joy.

60. The virtuous man who is calm and quiet and friendly to all living beings feels the benign influence of highest truths appearing of themselves in his mind.

61. Just like all children, whether good or bad, have a strict faith in their mother, so all beings here rely upon a man of an even disposition.

62. A refreshing drink of ambrosia or the kind embrace of prosperity cannot give such gratification to the soul as one’s inner satisfaction of the mind.

63. Whether afflicted by disease or disaster, or dragged by the rope of greed, bear yourself up, O Rama, by the composure of your mind.

64. Whatever you do and eat with the calm coolness of your mind, all that is far sweeter to the soul than anything sweet to taste.

65. The mind that is overpowered by the ambrosial flavor of peacefulness and desists from activity may have the body lacerated, but it will heal shortly.

66. No imp, demon or enemy, and no tiger or snake ever annoys a peaceful man.

67. He who has his mind and body well guarded by the invulnerable armor of meekness can never be pierced by the shafts of adversity. He remains like the thunder-stone that is impenetrable by arrows.

68. The king seated in his palace is not so graceful to see as a quiet peaceful man who is graced by his calm and clarity of understanding.

69. There is nothing in life so delightful to see as the satisfaction one feels at the sight of a contented and peaceful man.

70. Only he who lives a holy life with his gentle and peaceful conduct is said to be truly living in this world.

71. A sober minded, meek and honest man pleases everyone by all that he does. It is as if he captivates all beings to himself.

72. He is called the meek who neither feels pleasure nor pain at the sight, touch, sound or taste of anything good or bad.

73. He who is indifferent to all objects and neither leaves nor longs for anything, but keeps his senses and appetites under control, is called a saint.

74. Whoever knows all things, both internally and externally, with a clear understanding, and who attends and looks to his own concerns, is truly said to be a saint.

75. He whose mind remains as calm as moonbeams at the approach of either feast or violence, and even at the moment of death, is said to be a saint.

76. Who, though present, neither rejoices nor murmurs at anything but remains as if he were absent from it, and conducts himself as quietly as if he were fast asleep, such a person is called a saint.

77. He whose complaisant look casts a graceful nectar-like radiance on all around him is said to be a saint.

78. Who feels a cool calmness within himself and is not disturbed or immersed in any state of life, and who though a layman is not worldly minded, such a man is termed a saint.

79. He who does not take the difficulties of life to his mind, however long or great they may be, or who does not think his body to be himself, is known to be a saint.

80. The man of the world who has a mind clear as the sky and is not tainted (by worldliness) is said to be a saint.

81. The quiet man with tranquility of mind shines forth among sages and ascetics, among priests and princes, and among the mighty and learned.

82. Great and meritorious men whose minds are attached to peacefulness feel a rest arising in their souls like cooling moonbeams.

83. Peacefulness is the greatest of all the many virtues and the best decoration of courage. It shines resplendent among all dangers and difficulties.

84. O Rama, seek your perfection in the way in which high-minded men have sought and attained their perfect states, by holding fast onto peacefulness as an imperishable virtue, preserved by the respectable, and never to be lost or stolen.

Chapter 2.14 — On Rational Inquiry, the Necessity of Inquiry & Clear Reasoning Vasishta speaking:—

1. It must be the duty of one whose understanding is cleared and purified by a knowledge of the scriptures to argue constantly with a guide who knows how to reason correctly.

2. Understanding, when sharpened by reasoning, comes to see transcendence. The only best medicine for the chronic disease of worldliness is reasoning (the second gate-keeper).

3. The world is like a forest of troubles, sprouting endless desires which, being once felled under the saw of reason, will germinate no more.

4. O wise Rama, our understandings are shrouded under unconsciousness at the loss of our friends, at times of danger, and even of quiet. Only reason is our companion.

5. There is no expedient for the learned and wise except reason. It is by means of reason that the minds of good people can avoid evil and secure their good.

6. All our strength and understanding, our valor and renown, and the ends of our actions, result from our reasoning with the intelligent.

7. Reason is the lamp to show us right and wrong and the instrument with which we accomplish our desires. By reliance on right reason, one easily crosses over the wide ocean of the world.

8. Pure reasoning, like a strong lion, tears asunder the elephants of great error which ravage the lotus beds of the mind.

9. If ignorant men have at anytime attained a better state in life, it was all owing to the light of the lamp of their reasoning.

10. Know, O Raghava, that dominion and fair prosperity, together with our enjoyments and eternal salvation, are all only fruits of the celestial, wish-fulfilling kalpa tree of reasoning.

11. The minds of great men, expanded by reasoning, are never liable to be immersed under the currents of calamity (but float above them) like gourds upon water.

12. Those who conduct themselves with their intellects shining forth with reason become the recipients of its most liberal gifts.

13. Lack of reason is like the thorny and sour karanja plant sprouting forth with blossoms of sorrow, growing in the lakes of ignorant minds in order to shut out their hopes and prospects.

14. O Raghava, shake off the lethargy caused by your neglect of reasoning. This torpor darkens your vision as if by the black, eye-liner collyrium powder and maddens your mind as if by the drunkenness of wine.

15. The man of right judgment is not liable to fall into the long and dangerous maze of error, but remains as a blaze of light amidst the gloom (of ignorance).

16. The reasoning faculties shine like a bed of lotuses in the limpid lake of the mind. Whoever has such a reasoning mind exalts his head as high as the Himalayan heights.

17. A man having a dull mind and incapable of reasoning with the sharpness of a flash of lightening is like a child who sees false apparitions about him.

18. Rama, you must shun and keep base, unreasonable men at a distance. They grow as plump as a sugar cane to cause sorrow. They resemble the spring season that grows fresh weeds of evil.

19. Whatever misdeeds, misconducts and mishaps present themselves to man, they all result from his lack of the light of reason, and they lay hold of him like ghosts appearing in the dark.

20. O support of Raghu’s race, shun the unreasonable man at a distance. He is like a solitary wild tree that comes to no good use.

21. A mind filled with reason and devoid of the impatience that attends worldly desires feels the light of transcendent quietism shining in the soul with the full luster of the moon.

22. When the light of reason shines in any person, it imparts the coolness and good grace of moonbeams to all things around him.

23. The reasoning power of man accompanied with the flag of divine knowledge and the silvery fan of good understanding shines like moonlight in the darkness of night.

24. Men with the good grace of their reason throw a sun-like radiance on all sides about them and dispel the gloom of worldliness.

25. Reasoning serves to destroy the false apparitions of errors which present themselves to the minds of children like ghosts in the night sky.

26. All things in the world appear charming, but they are only unrealities. They are like clods of earth that are broken by the hammering stone of reason.

27. Men torment themselves with the false imaginations of their own minds. Only reason can drive away this deeply rooted apparition from the mind.

28. Know that the fruit of the high tree of reason is the even, unobstructed, interminable and independent happiness called perfect detachment (kaivalya) .

29. Through reason and its evident influence on the deprivation of (physical) gratifications, there rises an unshaken and exalted disinterestedness in the mind, like the cooling beams of the moon.

30. When a saint has reached his perfection by means of the elixir of judgment seated in his mind, he neither desires for more nor leaves (what he has).

31. A mind relying on that state of equanimity and perceiving the clear light has neither its fall nor elevation, but enjoys its inward expansion like that of vacuum forever.

32. One unconcerned with the world neither gives nor receives anything, nor feels himself elated or depressed at any event, but views everything as an indifferent spectator.

33. He is neither numbingly cold nor does he dwell on anything internally or externally. He is not inactive or merged in activity.

34. He slights the loss of anything and lives content with what he has. He is neither depressed nor elevated, but remains as full as the sea.

35. It is in this manner that the high-aspiring, great souls who are yogis conduct themselves in this world, with their fullness (of joy) and living as liberated in this life.

36. These saintly sages, having lived as long as they like, abandon it at last, and gain their perfect detachment and eternal unity (kaivalya).

37. A wise man should intently consider within who he is, who he belongs to, what is his family, by whom he is surrounded, and think on the remedy (of his worldliness).

38. It is a king, O Rama, who well knows the difficult and doubtful state of the business, and his success or failure depends solely on his right judgment and on nothing else.

39. It is the sayings and information established by the Vedas and the Vedanta that form the grounds of our evidence, and these are to be ascertained by our reason as by the help of a lamp in the gloom of night.

40. The bright eyesight of reason, even when it has to view things at a distance, is neither blinded by darkness nor dimmed by the full blaze of daylight.

41. He who is blind to reason is like one born blind. A demented man is an object of universal pity, but a man with a reasoning soul is said to be possessed of divine eyesight and becomes victorious in all things.

42. The miraculous power of reason is acknowledged to be a divine attribute and an instrument to highest joy. Therefore it is not to be lost sight of, even for a moment.

43. A man graced by reason is loved even by the great, just as the delicious and ripe mango fruit is delicious to all.

44. Men with their minds illuminated by the light of reason are like travelers acquainted with their way. They are not liable to pitfalls of constant danger and misery.

45. Neither a sick man nor one beset by a hundred evils wails as bitterly as an ignorant man whose soul is deprived of reason.

46. Rather leap like a frog in mud, or creep like a worm in the dirt, or lie like a snake in a dark hole or crawl on the ground than walk like a man devoid of reason.

47. Therefore get rid of unreasonableness which is the home of all your dangers, is condemned by the wise, and is the end of all your disasters.

48. Great men must always be in full possession of their reasoning, because those unsupported by their reason are liable to fall into the pits of darkness.

49. Let everyone keep his soul under the control of his own reason and by this means deliver the deer of his mind from falling into the mirage of this world.

50. It is the province of reasoning to consider logically that it is in one’s own self that the evil known as worldliness had its rise.

51. The thick mist of error is only for the continued misery of man, and it prevails on the stony minds of those who are demented by the loss of reason.

52. Even the wise who hold fast to the truth and forsake all untruth in this world are unable to discern their true nature without the aid of reason.

53. It is by means of reason that one comes to the knowledge of truth, and by means of truth that he gets peace of mind, and it is tranquility of mind that dispels the misery of men.

54. Now Rama, take delight in such acts as may be productive of utility to the world, and whereby you may arrive to perfection. Weigh all things with the clear eye of reason, which will make you blessed forever.

Chapter 2.15 — On Contentment

1. Vasishta continued:— Contentment (the third gate-keeper) is the chief good. Contentment is called (true) enjoyment, and the contented man, O destroyer of enemies, gets the best repose.

2. Those who are happy with their prosperity of contentment and possess the calm repose of their souls are like holy saints. They think a kingdom no better than a bit of rotten straw.

3. Whoever retains a contented mind amidst all the affairs of the world is never disturbed or dejected in adverse circumstances, O Rama.

4. The saints who are satisfied with the ambrosial drink of contentment consider the greatest wealth and enjoyments to be only poison.

5. Even the waves of liquid nectar fail to afford that pleasure which the sweetest taste of contentment, the healer of all evils, gives to its owner.

6. Abandonment of unfruitful desires, and calmness in those desires that are obtained, feeling no pain and having no sense of pleasure, constitute what is called contentment here below.

7. Until the mind can enjoy contentment rising of itself spontaneously in the soul, troubles will continue to grow like briars and brambles in a bog.

8. The mind cooled by calm contentment and purified by the light of philosophy is always in its full bloom like a lotus under sunbeams.

9. An ungoverned mind, subject to desires and devoid of contentment, does not receive the light of knowledge, like a soiled mirror takes no reflection of the face.

10. A man whose mind is always bright with the sunshine of contentment does not shrivel like a lotus in the dark night of ignorance.

11. A man devoid of diseases and anxieties, whose mind is content though he be thoroughly poor, enjoys the happiness of a supreme ruler.

12. He is called contented who does not long after what he does not possess, who enjoys what he has in its right manner, and who is always graceful in his manners.

13. There is a beauty that shines in the face of one whose mind has the satisfaction of contentment. His face has a fullness of magnanimity and a purity of thoughts like that of the Milky Ocean.

14. Let a man rely on his manly efforts and entertain self control within himself to abandon his craving for things.

15. He whose mind is full with the ambrosia of contentment and a calm and cool understanding acquires a perpetual composure within himself, like cooling moonbeams.

16. All great fortunes wait upon him whose mind is strengthened by contentment, as if they were servants attending a king.

17. One remaining content and composed in himself quells all his anxieties and cares, like the rains settle the dust of the earth.

18. Rama, a man shines by the contentment of his mind and the purity of his conduct, like the cooling and spotless moon when she is full.

19. No one receives so much delight from his accumulation of wealth as he derives from the sight of the beautiful placid countenance (of a contented person).

20. Know, O delight of Raghu’s race, that the gods and the sages honor most those best of men who are decorated with grace of equanimity.

Chapter 2.16 — On the Company of the Virtuous and Good Conduct

1. Vasishta resumed saying:— Know, O highly intelligent Rama, that the company of the virtuous (the fourth gate-keeper) is everywhere of the greatest benefit to men for their crossing over the ocean of the world (samsara).

2. It is the tree of virtuous company (satsanga) that produces the fresh blossom of discrimination which, being cherished by men with great souls, yields its fruit of prosperity.

3. The society of the learned makes solitude appear as company, and the evil of death as good as a festivity, and converts a difficulty to ease.

4. The society of the virtuous wards off all disasters which, like the frost, invade the lotus beds of our hearts. The society of the virtuous baffles the icy breath of ignorance.

5. Know that the society of the virtuous is the best way to improve understanding, destroy the tree of ignorance, and remove all our mental diseases.

6. The society of the virtuous produces the light of reason, which is as charmingly fair as a cluster of flowers after being washed by rainwater.

7. The influence of virtuous company teaches us the best way of living, which is never impaired or obstructed by anything and is ever full in itself.

8. Let no man ever keep himself from the association of the virtuous, even though he is involved in utmost distress and cast in irremediable circumstances.

9. The society of the virtuous lends a light to the right path. It destroys a man’s internal darkness by the rays of the sun of knowledge.

10. Whoever has bathed in the cold, clear stream of good company does not need the merit derived from acts of charity, pilgrimage, austerity or sacrifice.

11. Of what use is austerity or pilgrimage to one who has the society of virtuous men and whose life is free from passions, sins, doubts and knots (of scruples in the heart)?

12. Blessed are the peaceful in their minds who people regard with as much devotion as poor men dote fondly upon gems and jewels.

13. An intelligent mind with its gracefulness derived from good company always shines like the goddess of riches in the company of fairy nymphs.

14. Therefore that blessed man who never abstains from the company of the holy is renowned as having attained the crown of clear understanding.

15. Hence all uncompromising believers, holy men and those who are revered by people are to be served by all means for crossing over the ocean of the world.

16. The company of the saints is like rainwater that extinguishes the flames of hell. Surely those who neglect the company of the saints serve as dry fuel to hell-fire.

17. The medicine of holy association serves to allay entirely all the afflictions consequent to poverty and death and all tribulations of worldly affairs.

18. Contentment, society of the virtuous, the practice of reasoning, and remaining undisturbed comprise the means for mankind to cross over the ocean of the world.

19. Contentment is reckoned to be the best gain, good company the right course, reasoning the true knowledge, and remaining undisturbed the highest bliss.

20. These are the four surest means to break off the shackles of the world, and whoever is practiced in these has surely passed over the false waters of terrestrial sea.

21. Learn, O best of the intelligent, that the practice of any one of these pure virtues leads to a habit of all four.

22. Every one of these separately is a leader to the others. Therefore apply yourself diligently to one of these for your success in getting them all.

23. Association with the good, contentment, right reasoning, and good judgment, joined with peace and tranquility, serve as cargo-ships in the ocean of the world.

24. All prosperity attends on him who is possessed of reason, contentment, peacefulness and the habit of keeping good company, like the fruit of the wish-fulfilling kalpa tree.

25. The man possessed of reasoning, contentment, tranquility and a proclivity to keep good company is attended by every grace, as all the digits unite in the full moon.

26. The happy mind filled with contentment, quietness, reasoning power, and a tendency towards good company meets with prosperity and success, much like kings guided by good ministers.

27. Therefore, O delight of Raghu’s race, bravely govern your mind and always diligently practice some one of these virtues.

28. Exert your best courage to subdue your elephantine mind. Know that until you have mastered one of these cardinal virtues, you can make no progress.

29. It must be, O Rama, that you must set your heart to work by the exertion of your courage and the gnashing of your teeth in order to succeed in meritorious deeds.

30. For whether you be a god, yaksha nature spirit, man, or tree, you cannot, O long-armed Rama, have a better course until you master one of these qualities.

31. As soon as one of these virtues is strengthened and made fruitful in you, it will serve to weaken the force of the faults of your uncontrollable mind.

32. The cultivation of virtues leads to their full growth and the suppression of vice, but the fostering of vice will lead to the increase of vices and the suppression of good qualities.

33. The mind is a wilderness of errors in which the stream of our desires flows with full force between its two banks of good and evil where we hold our stand.

34. It bears away and throws a man on the bank which he strives to reach by his own efforts. Therefore O Rama, do as you like to reach either shore.

35. Now with all the exertion of your manly force, try by degrees to turn the course of your desires towards the happy shore in the forest of your mind. Know, O high-minded Rama, that one’s own disposition is like a rapid current that must not be permitted to bear him away (to the perilous coast).

Chapter 2.17 — On the Contents of the Yoga Vasishta

1. Thus, O progeny of Raghu, a reasoning soul is worthy of attending to the words of wisdom, just as a prince (is inclined to listen) to a discourse on polity.

2. A clear and high-minded man who has renounced the company of stupid folks is capable of fair reasoning, just like the clear sky has the capacity of receiving moonlight.

3. You who are replete with the entire grace of such quality should now attend to the words that I say to remove the errors of your mind.

4. Only he whose tree of merit is bending down with its load of fruit will be interested to hear these words for the sake of his salvation.

5. It is only the noble minded, and not the base, who are receptacles of grand and holy sermons conferring the knowledge of their future state.

6. This collection of thirty-two thousand couplets (slokas, verses of two lines each) is judged to contain the essence of the means to liberation and to confer the final annihilation (of our being).

7. As a lamp presents its light to every waking man, so does this work effect the ultimate enlightenment of every person whether he would like it or not.

8. One’s knowledge of this work, whether by his own perusal or hearing about it from others’ repetition, tends to the immediate obliteration of his errors and to the increase of his delight, as if done by the holy river of heaven (Ganges).

9. As the fallacy of mistaking a rope for a snake is removed by examining it, so the fallacy of the reality of the world is removed by reading and studying this work, which gives peace to one who is vexed and tired of the world.

10. It contains six books all filled with sentences full of reason, each distinct from the other in its import. It has many couplets containing chosen examples on all subjects.

11. The first book (Vairagya Prakaranam, Chapter on Detachment) treats of detachment and causes the growth of apathy (in the mind) like a tree growing in desert soil.

12. It contains one thousand five hundred stanzas which, being well considered in the mind, must impart a purity like the luster of a gem after it is polished.

13. The next book (Mumukshu Vyavahara Prakaranam, Chapter Concerning the Qualities of the Aspirant for Liberation) dwells on the conduct of one longing after his liberation, and contains a thousand couplets arranged in judicious order.

14. It describes the nature of men desiring their liberation. Then follows the third book (Utpatti Prakaranam, Chapter on Creation) on the creation of the world, filled with stories and examples.

15. It has seven thousand couplets teaching sound philosophy about the spectator and spectacle of the world in the forms of “I” and “you”, designated the ego and nonego.

16. It contains a description of how the world was produced from its state of non-existence. A diligent attention to this chapter will convey a full knowledge of this world to the mind of the listener.

17. This ego and non-ego, and this vast expanse with all the worlds, space and mountains, are to be seen as having no form or foundation as there are no such things.

18. There are no elements such as the earth and others. They exist only as the fabrications of our minds. They are like phantoms appearing in a dream, or like castles in the air.

19-20 They resemble hills moving on the shore to one passing in a boat, or like hobgoblins appearing to an unsound mind. Such is the appearance of the world which has no seed, source or origin of its own.

21. It is like the impression of a tale in the mind, or the sight of a chain of pearls in the sky, or taking a bracelet for its gold, or a wave for the water.

22. Creation is just like the blue of the sky, always apparent to sight, charming to behold, yet never real, there being no color in it.

23. Thus whatever unreal wonders appear to us in our dreams or in the sky, they are only like a fire in a picture that only seems to be burning and has no fire in it.

24. The word jagat (all that moves, the universe) is appropriately applied to the transitory world, which passes like the sea with its heaving waves, appearing as a dancing chain of lotus flowers.

25. It is (as false) as imagining a body of water from the sound of geese, and as useless as a withered forest in autumn when leaves and fruit fall off and the trees yield neither shade nor luscious nutriment.

26. It is full of delirious cravings like men at the point of death, and is as dark as caverns in the mountains. Hence the efforts of men are only acts of their frenzy.

27. It is better to dwell in the clear sky of the autumn harvest of philosophy, after the frost of ignorance has subsided, than to view this world which is no more than an image on a post or a picture on a wall.

28. Know all conscious and unconscious things are made of dust. Next follows the fourth book on Existence (Sthiti Prakaranam).

29. It contains three thousand couplets full of explanations and stories showing the existence of the world to be a form of the essence of the spectator ego.

30. It describes how the spectator (ego) manifests as the spectacle (non-ego), and how the ten-sided sphere of the garden of the world manifests both as subjective and objective (at the same time).

31. It has thus arrived at its development which is said to be everlasting. Next follows the fifth book on peacefulness (Upashanti Prakaranam) consisting of five thousand couplets.

32. The fifth is styled the book on holiness, containing a series of excellent lectures and demonstrating the false conception of the world, as “I”, “you” and “he” (as distinct existences).

33. The suppression of this error forms the subject of this book. Hearing this chapter on peacefulness serves to put an end to our reincarnations in this world.

34. After suppression of the train of errors, there still remain slight vestiges of it, to a hundredth part, just as a picture of soldiers gives us some faint idea of soldiers.

35. Aiming at the object of another person is as vain as looking at the beauty of an imaginary city, or sitting in expectation of an unattainable object. It is like noisily fighting for something in sleep.

36. It is as vain as a man whose desires are not subdued, bursting into a roaring like that of the loud and tremendous thunder-claps. It is like building a city on the model of effaced impressions from a dream.

37. It is as vain as an imaginary city, with gardens, flowers and fruit growing in it. It is like a sterile woman bragging of the valorous deeds of her unborn and imaginary sons.

38. It is like a painter about to draw the chart of an imaginary city on the ground who has forgotten to sketch a plan beforehand.

39. It is as vain as expecting evergreen foliage and fruit in all seasons, and the breeze of an arbor that has not grown or a future ornamental garden, pleasant with the sweets of spring.

40. Then follows the sixth book entitled annihilation (Nirvana Prakaranam), which is as clear as the waters of a river after its waves have subsided.

41. It contains the remaining number of couplets (i.e., the remaining 14,500 couplets of the 32,000 total that is the entire work). Knowledge of these verses is pregnant with great meaning. Their understanding leads to the chief good of utter extinction and pacification of desires.

42. The intellect that is separated from all its objects presents the manifestation of the soul, full of intelligence and free from all impurity. It is enveloped in the sheath of infinite void and is wholly pure and devoid of worldly errors.

43. Having finished its journey through the world and performed its duties here, the soul assumes a calmness like that of the unbreakably hard column of the sky reflecting the images of the tumultuous world (without changing itself).

44. It rejoices exceedingly at being delivered from the innumerable snares of the world, and it becomes as light as air by being freed from its desire of looking after endless objects.

45. The soul that takes no notice of any cause or effect or doing, or what is to be avoided or accepted, is said to be disembodied though encumbered with a body, and to become unworldly in its worldly state.

46. An intelligent soul is compared to a solid rock, compact and without any gap in it. It is the sun of intelligence which enlightens all people and dispels the darkness of ignorance.

47. An ordinary soul, though so very luminous, has become grossly darkened by being confined to the vile fooleries of the world and wasted by the malady of its cravings.

48. When freed from the imaginary monster of its egoism, a soul becomes incorporeal, even in its embodied state, and beholds the whole world as if it were placed on the point of one of a multitude of hairs, or like a bee sitting on a flower upon Sumeru Mountain.

49. An intelligent and empty soul contains and beholds in its sphere a thousand glories of the world, shining in each atom, as it was in a mirror.

50. It is not even possible for thousands of Vishnus, Shivas and Brahmas to equal the great minded sage in the extent of his comprehensive soul because the liberated have their chief good stretched to a far greater limit than any.

Chapter 2.18 — The Effect of the Yoga Vasishta; Its Similes & Examples

1. Vasishta said:— The previous parts of this work, as already related, give rise to understanding like seeds sown in a good field never fail to produce a good harvest.

2. Even human compositions are acceptable when they instruct good sense because men are always required to abide by reason. Otherwise, the Vedas should be renounced as unreliable.

3. Words that conform to reason are to be received even if spoken by children. Otherwise they are to be rejected as straw even if they are pronounced by the lotus-born Brahma himself.

4. Whoever drinks from a well because it was dug by his ancestors, but who rejects the holy water of the Ganges even when placed before him, is an incorrigible simpleton.

5. As early dawn is invariably accompanied by light, so is good judgment an inevitable attendant on the perusal of this work.

6. Whether these lessons are heard from the mouth of the learned or well studied by oneself, they gradually will make their impressions upon the mind by constant reflection on their sense.

7. They will first furnish a variety of Sanskrit expressions, and then spread before him a series of holy and judicious maxims, like so many ornamental vines that decorate a hall.

8. They will produce a cleverness joined with such qualifications and greatness as to engage the good grace of gods and kings.

9. They are called intelligent who know the cause and effect of things. They are likened to a torchbearer who is clear sighted in the darkness of the night.

10. All false and covetous thoughts become weaker by degrees, just as the sky is cleared of mist at the approach of autumn.

11. Your thoughts require only the guidance of reason, as every action needs be duly performed to make it successful.

12. The intellect becomes as clear as a great lake in autumn and it gets its calmness like that of the sea after its churning by Mandara Mountain.

13. Like the flame of a chandelier cleansed of its soot and dispelling the shroud of darkness, refined intellect distinguishes things and shines forth in full brightness.

14. The evils of penury and poverty cannot overpower those whose strong sight can discern the evils of their opposites (wealth and riches), just like no dart can pierce the mortal parts of a soldier clad in full armor.

15. No worldly fears can daunt the heart of a wise man, however near they may approach him, just as no arrow can pierce a huge solid stone.

16. Such doubts as “whether it is destiny or our own merit that is the cause of our births and actions” are removed, just as darkness is dispelled by daylight.

17. There is a calm tranquility attending the wise at all times and in all conditions. So also does the light of reason, like solar rays, follow the dark night of error.

18. A man of right judgment has a soul as deep as the ocean and as firm as a mountain, and a cool serenity always shines within him like that of moonlight.

19. He who arrives slowly at what is called “living-liberation,” who remains calm amid the endless turmoil, and who is quite aloof from common talk

20. has a mind that is calm and cool at everything. It is pure and full of heavenly light, shining serenely like moonlit night in autumn.

21. When the sun of reason illuminates the cloudless region of the mind, no ominous comet of evil can make its appearance.

22. All desires are at rest with the elevated. They are pure with the steady and indifferent to the inert, like a body of light clouds in autumn.

23. The slanders of envious ill-wishers are put out of mind (by the wise), just like the frolics of night demons disappear at the approach of day.

24. A mind fixed on the firm basis of virtue and placed under the burden of patience is not to be shaken by accidents but remains like a plant in a painting.

25. A knowing man does not fall into the pitfalls that lie all about in the affairs of this world. Who that knows the way will walk into a ditch?

26. The minds of the wise are as delighted in acting in accordance with the instructions of good books and the examples of the virtuous as chaste women are fond of keeping themselves within their inner apartments.

27. The detached philosopher views each of the innumerable millions of atoms that compose this universe in the light of it being a world.

28. The man whose mind is purified by a knowledge of the precepts of liberation neither regrets nor rejoices at the loss or gain of the objects of enjoyment.

29. Men of unfettered minds look upon the appearance and disappearance of every atomic world as the fluctuating wave of the sea.

30. They neither grieve at unwished-for occurrences nor pine for their wished-for chances. Knowing well all accidents are the consequences of their actions, they remain as unconscious as trees.

31. These holy men appear just like ordinary people. Their minds remain unconquered and they live upon what they get, whether they receive any manner of welcome or unwelcome.

32. They having understood the whole of this scripture, and having read and considered it well, hold their silence like a curse or blessing (which is never uttered by saints).

33. This scripture is easy to be understood and it is ornamented with figures of speech. It is a poem full of flavors and embellished with beautiful similes.

34. One who has a slight knowledge of words and their meanings may be self taught in it, but he who does not understand the meanings well should learn from a pundit.

35. After hearing, thinking and understanding this work, one has no more need to practice austerities or meditation or repeating mantras or performing other rites. A man requires nothing else in this world for the attainment of his liberation.

36. By deep study of this work and its repeated perusal, a man attains an uncommon scholarship and the purification of his soul.

37. The ego and the non-ego, that is, the viewer and the viewed, are both only imaginary monsters of the imagination. Only their annihilation leads to the vision of the soul.

38. The error of the reality of ego and the perceptible world will vanish away like visions in a dream, for who that knows the falsehood of dreams will fall into the error (of taking them for truth)?

39. As an imaginary palace gives no joy or grief to anyone, the false conception of the world is the same.

40. Just like nobody is afraid of a painting of a serpent, to one who knows, the sight of a living serpent neither terrifies nor pleases.

41. Our knowledge of a picture removes our fear of a painted serpent. Our conviction of the unreality of the world must disperse our mistake of a snake’s existence.

42. Even the plucking of a flower or tearing of its leaflet requires a little effort, but no exertion whatever is required to gain the blessed state.

43. Plucking or pulling off a flower involves an action of the body, but with yoga there is no physical action. You only have to fix your mind.

44. It can be practiced with ease by anyone sitting in his easy seat and fed with his usual food who is not addicted to gross pleasures or breaching the rules of good conduct.

45. You can derive happiness from your own observations at any place and time, as you can from your association with the good whenever it is available. This is an optional rule.

46. These are the means of gaining a knowledge of the highest wisdom, conferring peace in this world, and saving us from the pain of being reborn in the womb.

47. Those who are afraid of this course and are addicted to the vicious pleasures of the world are to be reckoned as too base, no better than feces and worms in their mother’s bowels.

48. Attend now, Rama, to what I am going to say in another way with regard to advancing in knowledge and improving one’s understanding.

49. Hear now a new method in which this scripture is learned, and its true sense interpreted to people by means of its exposition.

50. A simile or example serves to explain the unapparent meaning of a passage by illustration with something that is well known and which may be useful to help understanding.

51. It is hard to understand a meaning without an example, just as it is useless to have a lamp-stand at home without setting a lamp on it at night.

52. The similes and examples I have used to make you understand are all derived from some cause or other, but they lead to knowledge of the uncaused Brahma.

53. Whenever comparisons and compared objects are used to express cause and effect, they apply to all cases except Brahma (who is without a cause).

54. The examples that explain the nature of Brahma are to be taken in their partial sense.

55. The examples given to explain divine nature are to be understood as referring to a world seen in a dream.

56. In such cases, no material example can apply to the incorporeal Brahma, and no optional and ambiguous expression can give a definite idea of him.

57. Those who find fault with examples of an imperfect or contradictory nature cannot blame our comparison of the appearance of the world to a vision in dream.

58. Earlier and later developments of this non-entity (the world) are considered to exist in the present moment. Waking and dreaming states are known from our boyhood.

59. The comparison of the existence of the world with the dreaming state is exact in all instances because our desires, thoughts, pleasures and displeasures, and all other acts are the same in both states.

60. This work and all others composed by other authors on the means of salvation have pursued the same plan in their explanation of the knowable.

61. The resemblance of the world to a dream is found also in the scriptures and the Vedanta. It is not to be explained in a word, but requires a continued course of lectures.

62. Such writings also cite comparisons of the world to the images in a dream or an imaginary paradise of the mind in preference to other similes.

63. Whenever a causality is shown by a simile of something which is no cause, there the simile is applied in some particular and not all its general attributes.

64. The partial similarity of this comparison with some property of the compared object is unhesitatingly acknowledged by the learned in all their illustrations.

65. When the light of the senses is compared with a lamp, the reference is to brightness only and not its stand, holder, oil or wick.

66. The compared object is to be understood in its capacity of admitting a partial comparison, as in the instance of sense and light. The simile consists in the brightness of both.

67. When the knowledge of a knowable thing is derived from some particular property of the comparison, it is the subject of a suitable simile in order to understand the sense of some great saying.

68. We must not overshadow our intellect by bad logic, or set at nothing our common sense by an unholy skepticism.

69. We have by our reasoning well weighed the verbosity of our opinionative adversaries and never set aside the holy sayings of the Vedas, even when they are at variance with the opinions of our families.

70. O Rama, we have stored in our minds the truths resulting from the unanimous voice of all the scriptures, whereby it will be evident that we have attained the object of our belief, apart from the fabricated systems of heretical scriptures.

Chapter 2.19 — Interpretation of Comparisons in the Yoga Vasishta

1. It is the similarity of some particular property that constitutes a simile. A complete similarity between the comparison and the compared object destroys their difference.

2. From the knowledge of parables follows an awareness of the one soul that is discussed in the scriptures (Vedanta). The peace that attends reflection on the holy word is called extinction (nirvana).

3. Therefore it is useless to talk of either complete or partial agreement between example and the exemplar. It is enough for the purpose of the comparison to comprehend the meaning of the holy word in some way or other.

4. Know your peace to be the chief good and be diligent to secure it. When you have food to eat, it is useless to talk about how you came by it.

5. A cause is compared with something that has no cause at all, and a comparison is given to express its partial agreement in some respect with the compared object.

6. We must not be so absorbed in the pleasures of the world as to be devoid of all sense, like some blind frogs that generate and grow fat amidst rocks.

7. Be attentive to these parables and learn your best state from them. For their internal peace, all reasonable men should abide by the lessons of religious works, by the teachings of the scriptures, by the rules of humanity, prudence and spiritual knowledge, and by the continued practice of acts of religious merit.

9. Let the wise continue their inquiries until they obtain their internal peace and until they arrive at the fourth stage (turiya) of joy known by its name of indestructible tranquility.

10. Whoever has attained this fourth state of tranquil joy, whether he is alive or not, or a house-holder or an ascetic, has really passed beyond the limits of the ocean of the world.

11. Such a man remains steady at his place like the calm sea undisturbed by Mandara Mountain, whether he has performed his duties according to the scriptures and codes of ethics or not.

12. When there is a partial agreement of the comparison with the nature of the compared object, it is to be considered maturely for the well understanding of the point in question and not to be made a matter of controversy.

13. From every form of argument you are to understand the intelligible. The confused disputant is blind both to right and false reasoning.

14. The notion of self (soul or God) is self-evident within the consciousness of the mind. Anyone who prattles meaninglessly about this truth is said to be defective in his understanding.

15. It is partly by pride and partly by their doubts that the ignorant are led to argue about their perceptions, and thereby they obscure the region of their inner understanding, just like clouds obscure the clear sky.

16. The evidence of perception forms the fountain-head of all sorts of proofs, just like the sea is the mainspring of all its waters. It is this alone which is used in this place, as you shall learn below.

17. The wise say that substance of all sensations is super-conscious apprehension, and it is truly their right concept which is meant by their perception.

18. Thus the notion, knowledge and certainty of things as derived from words are called the triple perception of the living soul.

19. This soul is consciousness. The ego with its cognition of the objects as manifested to us is called a category (i.e., dualist; viz. samvid, samvitti and padartha)

20. Consciousness manifests in the form of the passing world by the multiplicity of acts and the shifts of its volition and choices, just like water exhibits itself in the shapes of waves and bubbles.

21. It was not caused before, then it developed itself as the cause of everything in its act of creation at the beginning of creation, and it became perceptible by itself.

22. Causation is a product of the discrimination of the living soul, previously in a state of nonexistence, until it became manifest as existent in the form of the material world.

23. Reason says that the same being that destroys the body also produced it of itself and manifests itself in its transcendental magnitude (of intelligence).

24. When a man, through the exercise of his reason, comes to know the soul, he finds before him the presence of the indescribable being.

25. The mind being free from desire, the organs of sense are relieved from their action and the soul becomes devoid of the results of its past actions.

26. The mind being set at ease and freed from its desires, the organs of action are restrained from their acts, like an engine stopped in its motion.

27. Sensuousness is reckoned as the cause that puts the machinery of the mind to work, just as a rope tied to a log and fastened about the neck of a ram propels him to fight.

28. The sight of external objects and the purposes of the internal mind set all men at play, just like the inner force of air puts wind in motion.

29. All spiritual knowledge is holy wherever it is found in anyone. It adds a luster to the body and mind like that of the expanded region of the sky.

30. He sees the appearances of all visible objects and maintains his own position among them. He views the spirit in the same light in which it presents itself in any place.

31. Wherever the Universal Soul appears itself in any light, it remains there and then in the same form in which it exhibits itself to us.

32. The Universal Soul being alike in all, the looker and the object seen are both the same being. The looker and the looked being one, their appearance as otherwise is all unreal.

33. Hence the world is without a cause. All existence is evidently Brahma himself, the perceptible cause of all. Hence perception is the basis of evidence, and inference and others as analogy and verbal testimony are only parts of it.

34. Now let the worshippers of fate who apply the term “destiny” to all their efforts cast off their false faith and let the brave exert their courage to attain their highest state.

35. Continue, O Rama, to consider the true and lucid doctrines of successive teachers until you can arrive at a clear conception of the infinitely Supreme Being in your own mind.

Chapter 2.20 — On Wisdom & Good Conduct

1. It is reasoning in the company of the respectable that leads most efficiently to the improvement of the understanding, and then to the making of a great man who has all the characteristics of greatness.

2. Whatever man excels in any quality, that distinguishes him. Therefore learn and improve your understanding from him.

3. True greatness consists in quietness and other virtues. Without a knowledge of this it is impossible, O Rama, to be successful in anything.

4. Learning produces quiet and other qualities and increases the virtues of good people. All this is praised because of their good effects on the mind, just like the rain is praised for growing new sprouts.

5. The qualities of quietude and other virtues serve to increase the best knowledge, just like a sacrifice with rice serves to produce blissful rains for the harvest.

6. As learning produces the qualities of quiet and the like, so do these qualities give rise to learning. Thus they serve to grow each other, just as lake and lotuses contribute to their mutual benefit.

7. Learning is produced by right conduct as good conduct results from learning. Thus wisdom and morality are natural helps to one another.

8. An intelligent man who is possessed of quietude, meekness and good conduct, should practice wisdom and follow the ways of good people.

9. Unless one practices wisdom and good conduct in an equal degree, he will never be successful in either of them.

10. Both of these should be joined together like the song united with percussion, or like the farmer and his wife sowing seeds and driving away the birds.

11. It is by practice of wisdom and right conduct that good people are enabled to acquire both in an equal degree.

12. I have already expounded to you, O Rama, the rule of good conduct. Now I will explain to you fully the way of gaining learning.

13. Learning leads to fame, long life and the acquisition of the object of your exertion. Therefore the intelligent should learn the good sciences from those who have studied and mastered them.

14. By hearing (these lectures) with a clear understanding, you will surely attain the state of perfection, just like dirty water is purified by infusion of kata fruit.

15. A sage who has known the knowable has his mind drawn imperceptibly to the state of bliss. Once known and felt, the impression of that highest state of unbounded joy is hard to loose at anytime.

BOOK III. On Creation (Utpatti Khanda)
This section deals with the origin and nature of the universe. According to Vasishta, this universe with its innumerable objects, its concepts of time and space, and its varied laws is only a creation of ones own mind. Just as the mind creates a world in the dream state, so it also creates an imaginary world in the waking state. The only difference between the dream and the waking states is that dreams are short and the waking state is relatively longer. Time and space are only ideas of the mind. Through the minds perception many thousands of years may pass as a moment, or a moment in time in the waking state may be experienced as years in the dream state. The same is true of the concept of space. All these facts are illustrated by a number of interesting and revealing stories.

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Chapter 3.1 — The Appearance of Creation Is from the Mind of Brahma

1. It is through both words and lights (i.e., the words of the scripture and the lights of nature and reason) that the knower of the great god perceives the spirit of Brahma appearing within himself, like in a dream. He also knows him as such who understands him according to the holy text, “What this is, that is the self.”

2. This passage shows, in short, the visible world at its creation residing in the empty bosom of Brahma. What this creation is, from where it arises, and how it becomes extinct in the end are now to be known in detail.

3. O intelligent Rama, now hear me expound to you all things according to my best knowledge and agreeably to their nature and substance in the order of creation.

4. One conscious of himself as a spiritual and intelligent being views the passing world as a dream. This dream simile of the passing world applies equally to our knowledge of ego and non-ego.

5. After the book describing the conduct of the seekers of liberation (mumukshu-vyavahara) follows the book of evolution (utpatti, creation), which I am now going to propound to you.

6. Bondage consists in our belief in the reality of the visible world. So our release depends on the negation of phenomena that are apparent to the senses. Now hear me tell you how to get rid of the visible.

7. Whoever is born in this world continues to progress until at last he obtains his final liberation (his ultimate perfection) or rises to heaven or falls into hell.

8. Therefore I shall expound for your understanding everything relating to the production and continuance of things, and their prior states as they were.

9. Now hear me, Rama, give you a brief abstract of this book. Later I will expand upon it so that you may know more of how creation is produced.

10. Know that all that appears either as living or inert in this world are like appearances in a dream in the state of sound sleep (susupti) which becomes extinct at the end of an epoch (kalpa).

11. Then there remains a nameless and undeveloped something in a state of deep, dark and dank abyss, without any light or thick-spread (nebulae) over it.

12. The wise give this great self-existence the titles of Reality (rita), Self (atma), Supreme (param), Immense (brahma), Truth (satyam) and so forth as common expressions to refer to the Great Spirit (mahatman).

13. Then this same spirit shows itself in another form called the individual soul (jivatma), and comes afterwards to be understood in the limited sense of life.

14. This inert living principle (jiva) becomes, just like the word suggests, the moving spirit, which afterwards with its power of thinking becomes the mind, and finally the embodied soul.

15. Thus the mind is produced and changed from the quiescent nature of the Great Supreme Spirit to a state of restlessness, like that of a surge heaving itself in the ocean.

16. The mind soon evolves itself as a self-willing power that exercises its desires at all times and through which this extensive magic scene of the world is displayed for our view. This scene is figured as virajmurti, or the manifestation of desires from the will of Divine Mind. In the Indian genealogy of gods, it is represented as the offspring of Brahma.

17. As the word ‘golden bracelet’ signifies nothing other than a bracelet made of gold, so the meaning of the word ‘world’ is not different from its source, the Divine Will.

18. Again as the word ‘gold’ bears the idea of the substance of which the bracelet is made, so the word ‘Brahma’ conveys the meaning of the immensity which contains the world. But the word ‘world’ contains no idea of Brahma, and neither does ‘bracelet’ convey the idea of gold. The substance contains the form just as a stone does the statue, but the form does not contain the substance.

19. The unreality of the world appears as a reality, just as the heat of the sun presents an unreal mirage in the moving sands of the desert as real waves of the sea.

20. It is this fantasy which the learned in all things describe as ignorance (avidya), nature (sansriti), bondage (bandha), illusion (maya), error (moha), and darkness (tamas).

21. Now hear me relate to you, O moon-faced Rama, about the nature of this bondage, whereby you will be able to know the mode and manner of our liberation from it.

22. The intimate relation between spectator and spectacle is called his bondage because the spectator’s mind is tightly bound to the object of his sight. Therefore, the absence of visible objects from the mirror of the mind is the only way to his liberation.

23. Knowledge of the world, which is thinking that individual existence is different from others, is said to be a false view of the soul. There can be no liberation as long as one labors under this blunder of the knowledge of separation.

24. To say that the soul is not this and not that is an endless false dispute over words. Discrimination between alternatives only serves to increase the ardor for objects.

25. Truth is not to be obtained by philosophers chopping logic or by pilgrimage or ceremonial acts, any more than believing in the reality of the material world.

26. It is hard to avoid the sight of the phenomenal world and to repress one’s ardor for it. But it is certain that phenomena can not lead us to Reality, and that the Real cannot mislead us to unreality.

27. Wherever the invisible, inconceivable and intelligent spirit exists, there the beholder views the visible beauty of God shining even in the midst of atoms.

28. The phenomenal world has its rise from Him, yet ignorant people who depart from Him to the adoration of others resemble fools who forsake rice to feed upon gruel.

29. Although this visible world is apparent to sight, yet O Rama, it is only a shadow of that Being who resides alike in the smallest atom and in the mirror of the mind, who receives the image of the largest as well as the minutest things.

30. The spirit is reflected in everything like a figure in the mirror, and it shines equally in rocks and seas and in the land and water as it does in the mirror of the mind.

31. The visible world is the scene of constant sorrows, births, decay and death. By turns the states of waking, dreaming and sound sleep present the gross, subtle and impermanent forms of things for our delusion.

32. Here I sit in a meditative mood, having wiped the impressions of phenomena from my mind, but my meditation is disturbed by the recurrence of my memories of phenomena. This is the cause of the endless reincarnations of the soul.

33. It is hard to maintain meditation beyond form (nirvikalpa samadhi) when the sight of the visible world is present before our physical and mental vision. Even the fourth stage of turiya — samadhi without sense in the state of deep sleep — is soon succeeded by self-consciousness and external awareness.

34. On rising from this state of deep meditation, one finds himself as if roused from sound sleep and he again sees the world full of all its sorrows and imperfections opening wide before him.

35. Then, O Rama, what is the good of this transient bliss which one attains by temporary meditation, when he again becomes subject to his sense of the sufferings of the world, like a vale of tears?

36. But if one can attain a state of unalterable separation of his thoughts from all worldly objects, as he has in his state of deep sleep, then he is said to have reached the highest level of holiness on earth.

37. Nobody has ever gained anything from reality with its scenes of unreal vanities because whenever his thoughts come in contact with any outward thing, he finds ‘reality’ inseparable from imperfect existence.

38. Should anybody forcibly withdraw his attention from phenomena and, for a while, fix his sight on a stone, afterwards he is sure to be carried away again by phenomena pressing upon his sight.

39. It is well known to all that a yogi’s practice of unflinching meditation, even if it has the firmness of a rock, cannot last owing to his worldly propensities.

40. Even steady meditation that has attained the fixedness of a rock cannot advance one step towards the attainment of that tranquility which has no limit.

41. Thus the sight of phenomena being altogether unavoidable, it is a foolish to think that phenomena can be suppressed by practicing prayers and austerities and similar acts of tapas.

42. The idea of the phenomena is as inherent in the mind of the spectator of the visible world as the seeds of the lotus flower are contained in its inner cells.

43. The ideal of the phenomenal world lies hidden in the minds of the spectators of the outer world, just like flavor and moisture are in fruit, oil is in sesame seeds, and sweet scent is innate in flowers.

44. Just like the fragrance of camphor and the smells of other substances are inherent in their nature, so the reflection of the visible world resides in the bosom of the intellect.

45. As your dreams and desires rise and subside of themselves under the functioning of your intellect, so the idea of a thing always reoccurs to your mind from your original idea of that thing which has been impressed onto your mind, the seat of all that is visible.

46. The mental appearance of the visible world deludes its beholder in the same way a fantasy appearance of a ghost or hobgoblin misleads a child.

47. The notion of the visible world gradually expands itself, like a seed that germinates in time, sprouts and spreads itself afterwards in the form of a plant.

48. As seeds and other minute life forms contained within the bosoms of fruit and the embryos of animals expand themselves to become wonderfully beautiful forms, so does the seed of this world lying hidden in the Divine Mind unfold itself into the wonderful forms of visible phenomena in nature.

Chapter 3.2 — Description of the First Cause: Yama Explains Air-born Brahma to Death; Will without Form or Action

1. Vasishta resumed:— Rama, now listen as I relate the story of Akasaja, the air-born brahmin, which will be precious to your ears and will enable you to better to understand the drift of this book of creation.

2. There lived a brahmin named Akasaja who always sat reclined in his meditation and was ever inclined to do good to all creatures.

3. Finding him long-lived, Death thought to himself, “Only I am imperishable, and I devour all things one by one.

4. How is it that I cannot stuff myself with this airborn? I find my teeth as blunt on him as the edge of a sword on solid rock.”

5. So thinking, he proceeded to the home of the brahmin intent upon making an end of him. For who is not so dull in nature that he is not alert in his practice?

6. But as Death was about to enter Akasaja’s house, he was opposed by a fire as powerful as that in the final destruction of the last day of the world’s dissolution.

7. He passed through the flames and entered the house where, seeing the holy man before him, he greedily stretched out his hand to grab him.

8. Even with his hundred hands, Death was unable to grasp the holy man, just as it is impossible for the strongest to withstand a determined man in his habitual course.

9. Death then went to his lord, Yama, the god of the underworld, to answer his question why he could not devour the air-born being.

10. Yama explained, “Death, do not overly trust your own strength that enables you to destroy the living. It is the act of the dying person that is the chief cause of his death and nothing else.

11. Therefore, be diligent and find out about the acts of the person you intend to kill, because it is only with their assistance that you are able seize your prey.”

12. Thereupon Death gladly wandered about in all the places under the horizon. He roved over inhabited lands as he did throughout empty and river lands.

13. He traversed forests and jungles, marshy and rocky grounds, and maritime coasts. He traveled to foreign lands and islands and pried through their wildernesses, cities and towns.

14. He searched through kingdoms and countries, villages and deserts. He surveyed the entire earth to find out some act of the brahmin or any part of it.

15. At last Death, despite all his search and efforts, came to find the acts of air-born brahmin to be as nothing as the offspring of a barren woman, and brahmin’s mind as fixed (in meditation) as if it were a rock.

16. Then Death returned from his reconnoitering explorations to his all-knowing master Yama and sought his advice, as servants do in matters of doubt and difficulty.

17. Death addressed Yama saying, “Tell me my lord, where are the acts of the air-born brahmin to be found?” After much thought, Yama replied as follows.

18. “Know, O Death, that this air-born seer has no act whatever because he is born of empty air. Therefore his doings are all null and void.

19. Whoever is born of air is as pure as air itself and has no combination of cause or actions such as all embodied beings.

20. He has no relationship with acts of his prior existence. He is as nothing as the child of a barren woman, like one unborn, uncreated and un-begotten.

21. Want of causes has made him a pure empty being, and the lack of prior acts has made him as nothing as an ethereal tree.”

22. “Deprived of former acts, his mind is not ruffled like those of others, nor is there any act in his present state whereby he may become a morsel to death.

23. Such is the soul seated in the sheath of void, and remaining forever as the simple form of its own causality, and not guided by any extraneous causation whatever.

24. It has no prior deed, nor does it do anything at present, but continues as something like an intelligence with the form of air.”

25. “Our inference that the soul causes the actions of breathing and motion is a mere supposition because the soul is devoid of every thought or tendency towards action.

26. It sits meditating on itself as inseparable from the Supreme Intelligence, just as images are inseparable from the mind of the painter and sculptor.

27. The self-born Brahma is as intimately connected with the objects of his thought as fluidity is associated with water and the void with the sky.

28. His soul is as immanent in the Supreme as motion is inherent in the wind. It has neither the accumulated acts of past lives nor those of its present state.

29. It is produced without the cooperation of accompanying causes and being free from prior motives, it is not subjected to the sufferings that attend human life.

30. It is found to be nothing other than its own cause, and having no other cause for itself, it is said to be self-produced.”

31. “Say, how can you lay hold of a being who has done no act and is not in the act of doing anything at present? It is only subject to you when it thinks itself mortal.

32. You are easily able to take anyone who believes his soul to be of this earth and thinks himself to be an earthly being.

33. Because this brahmin disowns the material body, he is a formless being. Therefore it is as hard for you to enthrall him as it is to use a rope to tie the air.”

34. Death replied saying, “Tell me my lord, how may the unborn (aja) or the self-born (swayambhu) be produced out of vacuum, and how can an earthly or other elemental body both be and not be?”

35. Yama replied, “This Brahman is neither born nor is nothing at anytime but remains the same forever, like the light of intelligence of which there is no decay.

36. Upon the end of creation, there remains nothing except the tranquil, imperishable and infinite Brahman himself in his spiritual form.

37. This is the nature of the everlasting void, too subtle in its essence and devoid of all attributes, but viewing the present before its mind, the stupendous cosmos in the form of a huge mountain at the beginning of recreation.”

38. “Being of the nature of consciousness it is imperishable, but those who regard spirit to have any material body are liable to perish with it like all embodied beings.

39. Thus in the beginning this Brahman remained in his state of unalterable, empty consciousness in the womb of emptiness.

40. It is purely of the nature of empty understanding, and of the form of a vast expanse of omniscience. It has neither body nor organism, no act or agency, nor desire of any kind in itself.”

41. “That which is simply emptiness and pure light, unlike an embodied being, is never beset by the traps of new desires.

42. It has nothing to know or see without itself. The only conception that we can have of it is that it resembles an extended intelligence.

43. Under these circumstances, how is it susceptible to any earthly or other external form? Therefore, O Death, give up your attempts to lay hold of Brahman.”

44. Hearing these words from Yama, Death thought upon the impracticability of anyone laying hold on empty void and he sorrowfully returned to his own abode.

45. Rama said, “Sage, you said that Brahma is your great father. I think you meant to say that your father is the unborn, self-born Universal Soul and consciousness.” Vasishta speaking:—

46. What I had described to you, Rama, is Brahma, and the previous story about the discussion between Death and Yama also regards Brahma.

47. Again when Death over the course of a manvantara of time had made an end to all living beings, he thought himself strong enough to make an attempt to bear down upon the lotus-born Brahma also.

48. It was then that he was rebuked by Yama, saying, “It is your habit that makes you go on your accustomed course of killing.

49. But the super-ethereal form of Brahma is beyond your reach because it simply has of the nature of the mind, connected only with its thoughts and having no concern with the actual forms of things.”

50. Brahma is wonderfully empty consciousness having the faculty of thought. Thus consciousness, being only emptiness, has neither any cause that created it nor any effect created by it.

51. As the insubstantial principle of will in men manifests itself without being connected with material forms, so the self-born Brahma manifests to all in his own immaterial nature.

52. Like strings of pearl appearing in a clear sky, and like the forms of cities seen in a dream, the selfborn Brahma is manifest of himself without relation to external objects.

53. As there is no beholder or anything beholden of the solitary Supreme Spirit which is consciousness itself, so the mind manifests of itself.

54. It is the mind’s capacity to will that is called Brahma. Will being a spiritual faculty, it has no connection with any material substance.

55. As the mind of the painter is filled with images of various things, so the mind of Brahma is full of figures of all created beings.

56. The self-born Brahma is manifest in his own mind as Brahma is manifested in the empty sphere of his consciousness. He is without beginning, middle or end. He is described as having a male figure when, in reality and like the offspring of a barren woman, he has no body.

Chapter 3.3 — Subtle & Gross Bodies; Formless Mind (Brahma) Wills the Appearance of Forms

1. Rama said, “It is even so as you have said, that the mind is a pure essence and has no connection with the earth and other material substances. Mind is truly Brahma itself.

2. Now tell me, O holy one, why the memory of his former states does not cause his birth, as it is in the case of mine, yours and of all other beings.”

3. Vasishta replied:— Whoever had a former body, accompanied with the acts of his prior existence, necessarily retains its memories, which are the cause of his being reborn.

4. But when Brahman is known to have no prior act, how is it possible for him to have memory of anything?

5. Therefore he exists without any other cause except the causation of his own mind. It is by his own causality that the Divine Spirit is selfborn, and is himself his own spirit.

6. He is everlasting. His body is born of itself from the self-existent Brahman. This unborn or self-born Brahma has no material body whatever, except his subtle spirit body (ativahika) or astral body (linga deha).

7. Rama said, “The everlasting body is one thing and the mortal body is another. Now tell me sage whether all created beings have a subtle body like that of Brahma?”

8. Vasishta replied:— All created beings produced of a cause have two bodies (subtle and gross). But the unborn being which is without a cause has only one body.

9. The uncreated Brahman is the cause of all created beings, but the uncreated spirit, having no cause for itself, has only one body.

10. The prime lord of creatures has no material body but manifests himself in the empty form of his spiritual body.

11. His body is composed of only mind and he has no connection with the earth or any other material substance. He is the first lord of creatures who stretched creation from his empty body.

12. All creation is only forms of images or ideas in his empty mind. They have no other pattern or originality in their nature. It is a truth well known to everyone that everything is of the same nature with its cause.

13. Brahma is a nonexistent being in the manner of perfect consciousness. He is purely a mind form. He is an intellectual entity, not material.

14. He is the prime cause of all material productions in the physical world, and he is born of himself with his prime mobile force in the form of the mind.

15. It was by the first impulse given by the prime moving power that this expanse of creation came to be spread in the same ratio as the currents of air and water are in proportion to the impetus given to them.

16. This creation shining so bright to our sight derives its light from the luminous mind of the formless Brahma, and it appears real to our conceptions.

17. What we experience in dreams is the best illustration, like the enjoyment of sexual bliss in a dream. In a dream an unreal object of desire presents itself as an actual gain to our fond and false imagination.

18. The empty, immaterial and formless spirit is described as the self-born and corporeal lord of creatures in the form of the first male.

19. He remains imperceptible in his state of pure consciousness, but becomes manifest to all by the evolution of his will. He cannot be discerned in his absolute state (of inaction), but becomes conspicuous to us in the display of his nature (in creation).

20. Brahma is the divine power of will. He is personified as the first male agent of creation, but he is devoid of any physical body. He has only the spiritual form of the mind, and he is the sole cause of the existence of the three worlds.

21. It is Brahma’s will that makes the self-born exert his energies, just as human desires impel all mankind to action, and as the empty mind manifests itself as a mountain of desires.

22. Then it forgets its everlasting and incorporeal nature and assumes to itself a solid material body and shows itself in the shape of a deceptive apparition.

23. But Brahma, who is of an unsullied understanding, is not involved in forgetting himself. That occurs through the transformation of his unknowable nature to the known state of will.

24. Being unborn of material substance, he sees no appearance like others who are exposed by their ignorance to the misleading errors of falsehood that appear before them like a mirage.

25. As Brahma is merely of the form of the mind, and not composed of any material substance, so the world being the product of the eternal mind is of the same nature as its original source.

26. Again, as the uncreated Brahma has no cause for himself, so his creation has no cause other than himself.

27. Therefore there is no difference between product and its producer, and it is certain that the work must be as perfect as its author.

28. There is nothing like cause and effect to be found in this creation because the three worlds are only prototypes of the archetype of the Divine Mind.

29. The world is stretched out in the model of the Divine Mind. It is not formed by any other holy spirit. Creation is as immanent in the mind of God as fluidity is inherent in water.

30. The mind spreads out this extended unreality of the world, like castles in the air, and builds paradise cities.

31. There is no such thing as materiality, which is as false a conception as mistaking a rope for a snake. Hence it is impossible for Brahma and other beings to exist as individual bodies.

32. Even spiritual bodies are nonexistent to enlightened understanding. As for the material body, it has no room in existence.

33. Man (manu), who derives his name from his mind (manas), is a form of the will-soul called Virinchi (the Creator, a name of Brahma). His dominion is the mental or intellectual world (mano-rajyam) where all things appear in the form of realities.

34. The mind is the creative Brahma (virinchitvas) through the exercise of its inherent will (sankalpa, intent, volition) for beginning or creation. It displays itself in the form of the visible universe by development of its own essence.

35. This Creator or creative power is of the form of the mind, just like the mind itself is of the form of the Creator. Neither has any connection with any material substance, which is a mere creation of the imagination.

36. All visible things are contained in the bosom of the mind, just as the lotus blossom resides in the seed of the lotus. Hence there is no difference between the mental and visible appearances of things, nor has anyone anywhere ever doubted this.

37. Whatever you see in a dream, whatever desires you have at heart, and all the ideals of your fancy, together with your ideas, notions and impressions of phenomena, know that it is your mind that is the receptacle for them all.

38. But the mind can choose to hold phenomena as desirable, making them as harmful to their beholder as an apparition is to a child.

39. The ideal of phenomena develops itself as the germ contained in the seed and, in its proper time and place, it becomes a large tree.

40. If there is no rest with what is real, there can be no peace with phenomena that are full of troubles and give no solace to the mind. It is impossible for the feeling of the perception of phenomena to ever be lost to their perceiver, yet only its subsidence is said to constitute liberation.

Chapter 3.4 — Nightfall; Creation of Objects

1. Valmiki describes:— While Vasishta, the leading sage, was speaking without interruption, the entire assembly was intent upon listening to him with a fixed tone and tenor of their minds.

2. The string of bells that warriors tie to their waists ceased to jingle. Everyone was motionless. Even the parrots in their cages ceased to warble or flutter.

3. The ladies forgot their dalliance and remained quietly attentive to the lecture. Everyone in the royal hall was fixed in attention as if they were paintings and statues.

4. Only an hour remained before the closing of the day and the sunbeams became agreeable to all. The busy bustle of the world was dwindling away with the glimmering light of the setting sun.

5. The beds of full-blown lotuses exhaled their fragrance all around, and soft breezes were playing about, as if to attend the audience.

6. The sun glided away from his daily course and advanced to the top of the solitary mountain where it set, as if he meant to reflect on all that he had heard.

7. The shades of night began to cover the landscape. Frost began to spread over forest lands as if they were cooled by the cooling lectures on philosophy.

8. Now people failed to gather in all directions, as if they had availed themselves of the sage’s instructions to abate the fervor of their exertions.

9. All objects on earth cast their lengthened shadows, as if they were stretching their necks to hear Vasishta preaching.

10. Then the chamberlain humbly advanced to the monarch of the earth and begged to inform him that the time for the rituals of evening washing and service was about to expire.

11. Upon this, sage Vasishta stopped his sweet speech and said, “Let what has been said, mighty king, be all for this day. I will resume my lecture and speak of other things tomorrow.”

12. The sage held his silence, and the king responded, “Be it so as you will,” and rose from his seat.

13. For his own good he honored the godly sage and the other seers and brahmins with due respects and offerings of flowers, water, worthy honorary gift rewards, fees, gifts and homage.

14. Then rose the entire assembly with the king and the sages. The gems and jewels that decked princes and people shed their luster on the faces of all.

15. There was a commingled tinkling of bracelets and armlets as the throng mingled in their exit, mixed with the flashes of the necklaces and brocades that decorated their bodies.

16. The jewels attached to the tufts and crests of hair on the tops of their heads emitted a jingling sound resembling the humming of bees amidst their flowery braids.

17. The face of the sky, shining on all sides with a purple color reflected by the golden ornaments on their persons, seemed as if it was pleased with the wise sayings and sense of the sage.

18. Celestial visitors vanished into the air and earthly guests retired to their homes on earth where they performed their evening rituals.

19. In the meantime, black night made her appearance on earth and, like a bashful young maiden, withdrew to the closet separate from the rest of mankind.

20. The lord of the day passed to shine on other lands, for truly it is the avowed duty of every good person to give the benefit of equal light to all.

21. The shade of evening veiled all sides and uplifted the canopy of the starry sphere on high which, like the spring atmosphere, was emblazoned with star-like kinsuka flowers.

22. The birds of air took to their rest in the hollows of mango trees or on the tops of kadamba trees, like honest people of fair dealing find their rest in the purity of their minds and the contriteness of their inner hearts.

23. The skirts of the clouds tinged with red by the slanting beams of the setting sun, and with a shade of yellow color upon them, decorated the western hills with vests of yellow garb while the sky crowned their heads with gemming wreaths of starry groups.

24. The goddess of evening, having departed after receiving her homage (evening prayers), was followed by her train of dark night shades appearing as black-bodied fiends, vetalas.

25. A gentle and cooling breeze was blowing softened by the dew drops of night and opening the petals of kumuda lotus flowers, bearing their fragrance all around.

26. A thick gloom covered the face of nature and the stars were hidden under the mists of night. All the quarters of the skies, with their overhanging loose and hairy mists, seemed like the faces of widows shrouded by the dark disheveled hair of mourning.

27. Now appeared the moist orb of the moon in her ambrosial form in the Milky Ocean of the sky to moisten the mundane heat with her milk-white beams.

28. On her rising, the thick mists of darkness fled from the eastern hemisphere and became invisible in the air, just like the darkness of ignorance is put to flight from the minds of monarchs when they attend to wise sayings.

29. Then the sages and seers, the rulers and priests of the people, took their rest in their respective beds, as the words of Vasishta, full of meaning, rested in the recesses of their hearts.

30. As the thick darkness of night, resembling the dark complexion of death, receded from the arena of the skies, the dewy dawn of day with her slow moving pace followed close on its footsteps.

31. Twinkling stars disappeared from the sky, just like flowers on trees are blown away by wind and strewn on the ground like the fallen stars of heaven.

32. The sun became visible to the eyes. His rays roused them from sleep, just as the new-rising faculty of reason becomes conspicuous in the minds of enlightened great souls.

33. Fragments of clouds shining with sunlight spread a yellow covering over the eastern hills which were still decorated with strings of stars, pendant on the crests of their lofty heads.

34. After the performance of their morning services, all the terrestrial and celestial congress assembled again at the royal hall, in the order and manner of the day before.

35. The full assembly took their seats and sat without moving, like a lake covered with lotus remains calm after a storm.

36. Then Rama addressed Vasishta, the most eloquent of sages, with honey-like words about the subject under investigation.

37. He said, “Tell me plainly, O venerable sir, about the form of the mind, which developed itself in all things of the universe as they were its offshoots.”

38. Vasishta replied:— Rama, the mind has no form that anyone can see. Other than its name, it has nothing substantial, only the formless and irremovable void.

39. The mind as an entity (sat) is not situated in any part of the outer body, nor is it within any cavity of the heart or brain. But know it, O Rama, to be situated everywhere as the all encompassing void.

40. This world is produced from it, and it is like the waters of the mirage. It manifests itself in the forms of its fleeting thoughts, which are as false as the appearance of secondary moons in mists.

41. The thinking principle is generally believed to be something between the positive and negative, or real and unreal. You must know it as such and no other.

42. That which represents of all objects is called the mind. There is nothing else to which the term mind is applicable.

43. Know that will (volition) is the same as the mind, and that the mind is no different from the will, just as fluidity is the same with water, and as there is no difference between air and its motion in wind.

44. For wherever there is any will, there also is that attribute of the mind. Nobody has ever taken will and mind to be different things.

45. The representation of any object, whether real or unreal, is mind, and that is to be known as Brahma the great father of all.

46. The incorporeal soul in the body is called the mind and it has in itself the knowledge of all senses and everlasting ideas of the physical world. (I.e., the sentient and thinking soul is the same as the mind.)

47. The learned have given different names like ignorance, intellect, mind, bondage, sin and darkness to the visible appearance of creation.

48. The mind has no form other than a receptacle and reflector of ideas about the visible world which, I repeat, is no new creation, but a reflection of the mind.

49. The visible world is situated in an atom of the great mind, just like the germ of the lotus plant is contained within its seed.

50. The visible world is as innate in the all-knowing mind as light is inherent in sunbeams, and velocity and fluidity are innate in winds and liquids.

51. But the visionary ideas of phenomena are as false and fleeting in the minds of their observers as the form of a jewel in gold, or water in a mirage, and they are as wrong as the foundation of a castle in the air, or seeing a city in a dream.

52. Because phenomena appear to be real to their observer, O Rama, I will cleanse them from your mind like dirt from a mirror.

53. Just like the disappearance of an appearance makes the observer no longer an observer, know that this is what happens when the mind is in a state of separation (detachment) from whatever is real or unreal in the world.

54. Having arrived at this state, all the passions of the soul and the desires of the mind will be at rest, like torrents of rivers at the calm that follows the stillness of the wind.

55. It is impossible that things having the forms of space, earth and air will appear the same in the clear light of reason as they do to our ordinary sight.

56. Thus when the observer comes to know the unreality of the phenomena of the three worlds, as well as of his own entity, then his pure soul attains knowledge of the solitude of divine existence (kaivalya).

57. Such a mind reflects the image of God in itself as in a mirror, while all others are like blocks of stone, incapable of receiving any reflection at all.

58. After suppression of the sense of “I” and “you” and the error of the reality of the outer world, the observer becomes withdrawn and remains in his sitting posture without seeing external things.

59. Rama replied, “If I cannot suppress my perception of entity, or an entity is unable to become a nonentity, or if I am unable to see phenomena as non-existent,

60. then tell me, O holy one, how can I to uproot this disease of our eagerness for phenomena from the mind, a disease which bewilders understanding and afflicts us with a series of troubles?”

61. Vasishta replied:— Now hear my advice, Rama, for the suppression of this illusion of phenomena, whereby it will surely die away and become utterly extinct.

62. Know Rama, that nothing that is can ever be destroyed or become extinct. Though you remove it, yet it will leave its seed or trace in the mind.

63. This seed is the memory of such things which reopens the ideas of the phenomena in the mind, expanding themselves in the fallacious notions of the forms of big worlds and skies, mountains and oceans.

64. These fallacious notions, called faults and defects of understanding, are obstacles in the way to liberation, but they do not affect the sages who are liberated.

65. Again, if the world and all other phenomena have real existence, they cannot confer liberation on anyone because phenomena, whether they are situated within or without us, are themselves perishable.

66. Learn therefore this solemn truth, which will be fully explained to you in the subsequent parts of this work,

67. that all things appearing in the forms of emptiness, elementary forms, the world, and “I” and “you” are non-entities. They have no meaning.

68. Whatever is seen as apparent is nothing other than the un-decaying and imperishable essence of the supreme Brahma himself.

69. The abundance of creation is an expansion of his fullness, and the quiet of the universe rests in his quietude. It is his quality of sky that is the substance of emptiness, and it is his immensity that underlies the immense cosmos.

70. Nothing visible is real, and there is neither spectator nor spectacle here. There is nothing like emptiness or solidity in nature. All this is only a piece of extended Intelligence.

71. Rama replied, “The proverbs about the son of a barren woman grinding stones, the horns of a rabbit, the dancing of a hill with its arms extended,

72. oil flowing from sand, marble dolls reading books, clouds in a painting roaring, and other similar adages apply to your words (on the reality of an unreal essence of God).

73. I see this world to be full of disease, death, trouble, mountains, emptiness and other things. How is it, sage, that you tell me that they do not exist?

74. So that I may be certain of this truth, tell me sage, why you describe this world as unsubstantial, unproduced and nonexistent?”

75. Vasishta replied:— Know Rama, that I do not speak contradictions. Hear me explain how unreality appears as real, like the proverb of the son of a barren woman.

76. All this was unproduced before and did not exist in the beginning of creation. It comes to appearance from the mind like a city in a dream.

77. The mind also was not produced in the beginning of creation and was an unreality itself. Therefore hear me tell you how we come to a notion of it.

78. This unreal mind by itself spreads the false and changing scenes of the visible world, just as in a dream we see ever changing unrealities as true.

79. Then the mind exerts its will in the fabrication of the body and spreads the magic scene of the phenomenal world far and wide.

80. The mind, by the potential of its fluctuations, has many actions of its own, such as expansion, jumping, motion, craving, wandering, diving and seizing, and many other voluntary efforts.

Chapter 3.5 — On the Original Cause (Mula-Karana)

1. Rama said, “O chief of the sages, what is the cause that leads to our misconception of the mind? How it is produced, and what is the source of its illusion?

2. Tell me sage, in brief, about the first production (of the mind), and then, O best of the eloquent, you may say what else there is to be said on the subject.”

3. Vasishta replied:— Incident to the universal dissolution, when all things are reduced to nothing, this infinity of visible objects remains in a state of calm and quiet before their creation.

4. There is only great God in existence, who is uncreated and without decay, who is the creator of all at all times, who is all in all and Supreme Soul of all, and who resembles the sun that never sets.

5. He whom language fails to describe, and who is known only to the liberated, who is termed the soul only by fiction and not by his real nature (which is unknowable).

6. He is the Cosmic Man (purusha) of the Samkhya philosophers, the Brahman of Vedanta followers, the Intelligence of Gnostics, wholly pure and apart from all.

7. He is known as Vacuum by vacuists, and the One who gives the sun its light. He is truth itself, the power of speech and thought and vision, and all action and passion forever.

8. He is who, though ever existent everywhere, appears as nonexistent to the world, and though situated in all bodies, seems to be far from them. He is the Enlightener of our understanding, like the light of the sun to the world.

9. It is He from whom the gods Vishnu and others are produced, like solar rays from the sun, and from whom infinite worlds have come into existence like bubbles of the sea.

10. It is He to whom these multitudes of visible creations return, like the waters of the earth to the sea, and who enlightens all souls and bodies like a lamp.

11. He is present alike in heaven, in earth, and in the nether worlds, who abides equally in all bodies whether of the mineral, vegetable or animal. He resides alike in each particle of dust as in the high and huge mountain ranges, and He rides as swiftly on the wings of winds as He sleeps in the depths of the earth.

12. He appoints the eight internal and external organs of sense and action to their several functions, and He has made dull and dumb creatures as inert as stones and mute as if they sitting in meditation.

13. He has filled the skies with emptiness and the rocks with solidity. He has dissolved waters to fluidity and has concentrated all light and heat in the sun.

14. He has spread these wonderful scenes of the world like clouds sprinkle charming showers of rain, both as endless and constant as they are charming and sweet to sight.

15. It is He who causes the appearance and disappearance of worlds in the sphere of His infinity, like waves in the ocean, and in whom these phenomena rise and set like the running sands of the desert.

16. His spirit is the indestructible soul that resides as the germ of decay and destruction inside animals. It is so minute as to lie hidden within the body, and so huge as to fill all existence.

17. His nature (prakriti) spreads Herself like a magic vine throughout the space of emptiness and produces the fair fruit in the form of the cosmic egg (brahmanda), while the outward organs of bodies, resembling the branches of this plant, keep dancing about the stem (the intelligent soul), shaken by the breeze of life which is ever fleeting.

18. It is He who shines as the gem of intelligence in the heart of the human body, and it is He from whom the luminous orbs constituting the universe continually derive their luster.

19. It is that colossus of intelligence which like a cloud sheds ambrosial draughts of delight to soothe our souls and showers forth innumerable beings everywhere like raindrops. It bursts into constant flashes showing the prospects of repeated creations which are as momentary as flashes of lightening.

20. It is His wonderful light that displays the worlds to our wondering sight, and it is from His being that both real and unreal derive their reality and unreality.

21. The unconscious and ungodly soul turns to the attractions of others against its own purpose, while the tranquil soul rests in itself.

22. It is He who transcends all existences, and by whom all existent beings are bound, in their proper times and places, to their destined actions, as they are also bound to their free actions, motions and efforts of all kinds.

23. It is He who from His personality of pure consciousness (cit, cosmic consciousness), became of the form of emptiness, then by means of His empty mind and empty thoughts filled it with substances, wherein His soul was to reside, and whereon His spirit had to preside.

24. Having thus made the infinite hosts of worlds in the immense sphere of the universe, He is yet neither the agent of any action nor the author of any act in it, but remains ever the same as the sole One alone, in His unchangeable and unimpaired state of self-consciousness, and without any fluctuation, evolution or adhesion of Himself, as He is quite unconcerned with the world.

Chapter 3.6 — Honest Effort Required to Attain Self Knowledge

1. Vasishta said:— It is by the knowledge of this transcendent Supreme Spirit and God of gods that one may become an adept, and not by the rigor of religious austerities and practices.

2. Here nothing else is needed than the culture and practice of divine knowledge, and thereby the truth being known, one views the errors of the world like a satisfied traveler looks at a mirage in a clear light.

3. God is not far from or too near us. He is not obtainable by what He is not (such as adoration of images and ritual acts). He is the image of light and joy and is perceivable in ourselves.

4. Here austerities and charities, religious vows and observances are of no good whatever. It is only the calm peacefulness of one’s own nature that is of value fort a person to serve God.

5. The best means to attain divine knowledge are fondness for the society of the righteous and devotion to the study of good books. Ritual services and practices serve only to strengthen the trap of our inborn delusions, which only true knowledge can sever.

6. As soon as one knows one’s own inner light to be God, one gets rid of his miseries and becomes liberated in his living state.

7. Rama said, “Having known the Self in himself, one is no more exposed to the evils of life or even of death itself.

8. But say, how is this great God of gods to be attained from such great distance (as we are placed from Him), and what rigorous austerities and amount of pains are necessary for it?”

9. Vasishta replied:— He is to be known through your courageous efforts (in knowledge and faith) and by the aid of clear understanding and right reasoning, and never by the practice of austerities or ablutions, or by acts attended with bodily pain of any kind.

10. For know, O Rama, that all your austerities and charities, your painstaking and mortification, are of no efficacy unless you wholly renounce your passions and enmity, your anger, pride and selfishness, and your envy and jealousy.

11. For whoever with a heart full of vile passions is liberal with money he has earned by defrauding others, the merit of such liberality accrues to the rightful owner of the property and not to its professed donor.

12. Whoever observes any vow or rite with a mind moved by passions, he passes for a hypocrite and reaps no benefit of his acts.

13. Therefore, for putting down the diseases and disturbances of the world, try your manly exertions in securing the best remedies of good precepts and good company.

14. No other course of action, except to exert one’s courage, is conducive to allaying all the miseries and troubles of this life.

15. Now learn what this courage is so that you may attain wisdom and annihilate the maladies of passions, affections and animosity in your nature.

16. True courage consists in remaining in an honest calling that conforms with the law and good customs of your country, and in a contented mind that shrinks from savoring the enjoyments of life.

17. It consists in the exertion of one’s energies to the utmost of his power, without bearing any murmur or grief in his soul, and in one’s devotion to the society of the good and perusal of good works and scriptures.

18. He is truly brave who is quite content with what he gets, and spurns at what is unlawful for him to take; who is attached to good company and eager to study faultless works.

19. They who are of great mind, and who have known their own natures and those of all others by their right reasoning, are honored by the gods Brahma, Vishnu, Indra and Shiva.

20. One should diligently turn towards he who is called righteous by a majority of good people as the best and most upright of men.

21. The best scriptures are considered to be those which deal primarily with spiritual knowledge. One who constantly meditates on them is surely liberated.

22. It is by means of right discrimination derived from keeping good company and studying holy works that our understanding is cleared of its ignorance, just like dirty water is purified by kata seeds, and as the minds of men are purified by the by philosophy of yoga.

Chapter 3.7 — God Is Pure Consciousness; the Phenomenal World Is Non-Existent

1. Rama said, “Tell me, O holy one, about this God that you have spoken of, whose knowledge, you said, leads to our liberation. Where is He situated and how can I know Him?”

2. Vasishta replied:— This God of whom I spoke is not at any distance from us. He is situated within these our bodies, and He is known to us as the form of pure Consciousness.

3. He is All in all, but all this world is not the omnipresent Himself. He is One alone, but is not all that is visible.

4. It is this Consciousness that is in Shiva who wears the crescent moon on his head. It is the same in Vishnu who rides on his garuda eagle, and in Brahma who is born of the lotus. The sun also is a particle of this Intelligence.

5. Rama replied, “So it is, and even children say that if the whole world is mere Consciousness, then why call it by another name? What is the use of teaching anyone about it (when everyone is full of Intelligence)?”

6. Vasishta replied:— If you believe pure Consciousness is the same as the intelligent world, then you know nothing about how to get rid of this world.

7. The world is truly intelligent, O Rama, but the animal soul is called a brutish (pashu, animal) observer of things because it looks only after sensual gratifications, which gives rise to only fears of disease, decay and death.

8. The animal soul (jiva), though an incorporeal substance, is an ignorant thing and subject to pain and sorrow. The mind (manas) also, though capable of intelligence, has become the root of all evils.

9. Intellectual liberation from thoughts of the world is one state; unintelligent gazing at it is another. He who knows the better of these two states of the soul has no cause of sorrow.

10. He who has seen the all surpassing Supreme Being, has all of his heart strings cut asunder and all the questions of his mind driven away. The effects of his acts are washed away.

11. The longing after phenomena does not cease unless the perception of phenomena is effaced from the mind.

12. How then is this perception to be effaced? How is it possible to have a longing after the unintelligible Intelligence without suppressing our longing for phenomena? It is only possible by avoiding the external perceptions of the mind.

13. Rama said, “Sage, tell me about that empty animal soul, and how the knowledge of such soul does not enable one to get rid of his reincarnation.

14. Tell me also, who is that man who by company with the good and study of good works has crossed the ocean of the world and beholds the Supreme Soul in himself?”

15. Vasishta replied:— Whatever animal souls, having been cast into the wilderness of this life, long after this intelligent soul, they are truly wise and know Him (in themselves).

16. Whoever believes the animal soul to be the life of the world and thinks Consciousness requires pain, he can never know Him anywhere.

17. If the Supreme Soul is known to us, O Rama, the succession of our sorrows is ended, like the fatal cholera after extraction of its poison.

18. Rama said, “Tell me, O holy one, about the true form of the Supreme Soul, by light of which the mind may escape from all its errors.”

19. Vasishta replied:— The Supreme Soul is seen in ourselves and within our bodies in the same way as we are conscious that our minds are still be within us after its flight to distant countries.

20. Our notion of the Supreme Spirit is often lost in the depth of our minds in the same way as the existence of the outer world becomes extinct in our consciousness during yoga meditation.

21. We lose our sense of seeing and the seen in the knowledge of Him who is a non-empty vacuum or a substantive emptiness.

22. He whose substance appears as a vacuum and in whom exists the empty fullness of the universe, and who appears as emptiness itself, in spite of the multitude of His creation existing in Him, is truly the form of the Supreme Soul.

23. The form of the Supreme Soul (that you want to know) is He who though full of intelligence, appears to stand before us like an unconscious huge rock, and who, though quite subtle in his nature, seems to be some gross body to our conception.

24. That which encompasses the inside and outside of everything, and assumes the name and nature of everything to itself, is truly the form of the Supreme.

25. As light is connected with sunshine, and emptiness with the sky, and as omnipresence is present with everything and everywhere, such is the form of the Supreme Spirit (that you want to know).

26. Rama asked, “But how are we to understand that He who bears the name and nature of absolute and infinite reality should yet be compressed within anything visible in the world? Such is quite impossible to believe.”

27. Vasishta replied:— The false conception of the creation of the world resembles the false impression of colors in the clear sky. It is wrong, O Rama, to take something as real which does not exist in nature.

28. It is the knowledge of Brahman that constitutes His form, or else there is no act of His whereby He may be known to us. He is entirely devoid of any visible form, and therefore there is no better way for anyone other than to know Him as truth.

29. After all trace of phenomena is gone, there remains a preeminent object of conception, which is inborn and manifest of itself.

30. This concept of the Supereminent, having no visible appearance, often has no reflection, and at other times it is reflected in the mirror of the mind.

31. Nobody has ever conceived this transcendent Truth in himself, who has not at the same time been convinced of the impossibility of the existence of the visible world.

32. Rama replied, “Tell me, O sage, how the existence of so many extensive worlds composing the visible universe can be thought of as unreal or comprised in the minutiae of the Divine Mind, like Mount Meru in a sesame seed?”

33. Vasishta replied:— If you stay in the company of holy men a few days, and if you study sacred scriptures with a steady mind with me,

34. then I will purge this false view of phenomena from your understanding, like a delusive mirage from one’s sight. This absence of the view will extinguish your sense of being the viewer, and restore you to your intelligence alone.

35. When the viewer is united with the view, and the view with the viewer, then duality becomes unity; duality blends into an inseparable unity.

36. Without union of the two there is no success of either. When viewer and the view have disappeared, only one unity remains.

37. I will cleanse the impurity of all your sense of “I” and “you,” the world and all other things from the mirror of your mind, by bringing you to your consciousness of self and the total negation of everything else.

38. From nothing never comes a something and from something never proceeds a nothing, so there is no difficulty whatever in removing what does not exist in nature.

39. In the beginning this world which appears so very vast and extensive was not in being. It resided in the pure spirit of Brahma. It has evolved from the mind of Brahma.

40. The thing called the world was never produced, it is not in being, and it does not actually appear. It is like gold in the form of a bracelet. It is not difficult to alter and reduce to its gross metallic state.

41. I will explain it fully by other examples whereby this truth may appear of itself and impress itself irresistibly in your mind.

42. How can something be said to exist that was never brought into existence? How can there be water in the mirage, or the ring of an eclipse in the moon?

43. As a barren woman has no son and a mirage has no water, and as the sky has no plant growing in it, so there is no such thing as what we falsely call the world.

44. Whatever you see, O Rama, is the indestructible Brahma himself. I have shown you this many times with good reasoning and not just with mere words.

45. It is unreasonable, O intelligent Rama, to disregard something a learned man tells you with good reasoning. The dull-headed fellow who neglects to listen to the words of reason and wisdom is deemed as a fool and is subject to all sorts of difficulties.

Chapter 3.8 — Nature of Good Scriptures; Yoga Vasishta as the Treasury of All

1. Rama asked, “How can it be reasonably shown and established that there is nothing to be known and seen in this world, although we have obvious notions of it supported by sense and right reasoning?”

2. Vasishta answered:— This endemic of fallacious knowledge (of the reality of the world) has been prevalent for a long time. It is only by true knowledge that this wrong application of the word “world” can be removed from the mind.

3. I will tell you a story, Rama, for your success in this knowledge. If you pay attention to it, you will become both intelligent and liberated.

4. But if the impatience of a brutish creature makes you get up and leave after hearing only half of this story, then you shall reap no benefit from it.

5. Whoever seeks some object and strives after it, he of course succeeds in getting it; but if he becomes tired of it he fails.

6. Rama, if you keep to the company of the good and to the study of good scriptures, then surely you will arrive at your state of perfection in course of a few days or mouths, according to the degree of your diligence.

7. Rama said, “O you, who are best acquainted with the scriptures, tell me which is the best scripture for the attainment of spiritual knowledge, such that its familiarity may release us from the sorrows of this life?”

8. Vasishta replied:— Know, O high minded Rama, that this work is the best of all others on spiritual knowledge. It is the auspicious (Yoga Vasishta) Great Ramayana, the scripture of scriptures.

9. This Ramayana is the best of histories, and it serves to enlighten understanding. It is known to contain the essence of all histories.

10. But by hearing these doctrines one easily finds his liberation coming of itself to him. This is why it is regarded as the most holy writing.

11. All the existing scenes of the world will vanish upon their mature consideration, just like thoughts in a dream are dispersed after waking and realizing one had been dreaming.

12. Whatever there is in this work can also be found in others, but what is not found here cannot be found elsewhere. Therefore the learned call this the treasury of philosophy.

13. Whoever attends to these lectures every day shall have his excellent understanding undoubtedly stored day by day with transcendent knowledge of divinity.

14. He who finds this scripture to be disagreeable to his polluted taste, may prefer to browse some other scripture that is more wordy and eloquent.

15. One feels himself liberated in this life by listening to these lectures, just as one finds himself healed of a disease by the potion of some effective medicine.

16. The attentive hearer of these lessons perceives their efficacy in himself in the same way as one feels the effects of curses or blessings that always have their full effects in time.

17. All worldly miseries are at an end with he who considers well these spiritual lectures within himself. A similar effect is hard to be produce through charity or austerities, or through performing rituals ordained in the ancient Vedic texts, or through the many hundreds of practices that scriptures describe.

Chapter 3.9 — Description of Living & Bodiless Liberation; God as the Supreme Cause of All (Parama Karana)

1. Vasishta continued:— They are truly delighted and gratified who with all their hearts and minds are always devoted to holy conversation among themselves.

2. Those devoted to the acquisition of knowledge and investigation of spiritual science enjoy the same bliss of liberation in their living state as it is said to attend disembodied souls.

3. Rama said, “Tell me, O holy one, the difference between liberation with and without a body, that I may try to learn with an understanding enlightened by the light of scriptures.”

4. Vasishta said:— Whoever remains as he is and continues intact as emptiness amidst society is called the liberated while in the body (jivan mukta).

5. Who remains employed only in his exercise of intellect and seems to be sleeping in his waking state, though he is conducting his worldly affairs, is called liberated while in the body.

6. One whose countenance is neither flushed nor dejected in pleasure or pain, and who remains content with what he gets, is called liberated while living.

7. One whose waking is like the state of sound sleep, who is not awake to the accidents of the waking state, and whose waking state does not sense the desires incident to it, is called liberated in his life.

8. Who, though moved by feelings of affection, enmity, fear and the like, is at rest, as clear and undisturbed as emptiness within himself, is called liberated while he is alive.

9. Who has not an air of pride in him, and is not conceited when he does or refrains to do anything, is called self-liberated in his lifetime.

10. Who with one glance or the wink of his eye has a full view of the whole of creation and the final destruction of the world, like the Supreme Self, is said to be liberated in his lifetime.

11. Whoever is neither feared nor is afraid, and who is free from the emotions of joy, anger and fear, such a person is liberated in life.

12. Who is quiet and quietly disposes his business of this world, and who though he stands as an individual in the sight of men but attaches no individuality to himself, and who though a sentient being is unconscious to all impressions, such a person is the living liberated soul.

13. Who being full of all possessions, and having everything present before him, remains cold and apathetic to them as if they were useless to him, such a man is liberated in his life.

14. Now leaving the subject of liberated while in the body, I will describe what they call liberation without body (videhamukta) which enters the soul like a breath of wind after it has fled from the mortal body.

15. The disembodied free spirit neither rises nor sets, nor is it subject to wane. It is neither manifest nor hidden. It is not at a distance, nor is it in me, you or in any other person.

16. It shines forth in the form of the sun and preserves the world like Vishnu. It creates the world in the shape of the lotus-born Brahma, and destroys all as Rudra or Shiva.

17. It takes the form of the sky supported on the shoulders of air that supports all living beings, gods, sages and demigods in the three worlds. It takes the form of boundary mountains that separate earth from sky.

18. It becomes the earth and supports these numerous types of beings. It takes the forms of trees, plants and grass, and yields fruits and grains for nourishment.

19. It takes the forms of fire and water and burns and melts in them by itself. It sheds ambrosia in the form of the moon, and causes death in the shape of poison.

20. It becomes light with which it fills the sky, and it spreads darkness in the form of dullness (tamas). It becomes vacuum to leave empty space for all, while in the form of hills it obstructs their free passage on earth.

21. In the form of the fleet mind it moves the self-moving animals, and in the form of dull matter it fixes that which is incapable of motion. It girds the earth by its form of the ocean, just like a bracelet encircles the arm.

22. The bodiless spirit takes upon it the great body of the sun and illuminates all the worlds with their minute particles while it remains quiet in itself.

23. Whatever is shining in this universe or ever was or is to be so, in any of the three — past, present and future times — know them all, O Rama, as forms of the Divine Spirit.

24. Rama said, “Tell me, O holy one, why this view of liberation appears so very difficult to me. It makes me believe that liberation is altogether incomprehensible and unattainable by anybody.”

25. Vasishta replied:— This liberation is called nirvana and it is also called Brahman. Attend now to the means of its attainment.

26. All such visible objects known as “I”, “you”, “this” and the like, because they are unproduced from the eternal being (sat) of God, it is impossible to have any conception of them in our minds.

27. Rama said, “I think, O best of them who know the knowable, that the bodiless souls of the liberated, when they pass through the bounds of the three worlds, have to be born again according to the course of nature.”

28. Vasishta replied:— Those who retain a memory of the three worlds have to move about in them, but those who have lost the idea of their existence are absorbed in infinity.

29. For how can one derive knowledge of the unity of God from his belief in duality, the separate existence of the world? Therefore the figurative sense of the cosmos as God (Vishwa) can not give the spiritual and infinite idea of Brahma.

30. He is no other but himself, of the nature of pure intellect, and of the form of the clear and tranquil emptiness. Brahma is said to be the world in order to signify his manifestation of its unreality as a reality to us.

31. I have well considered a golden bracelet and found nothing as a bracelet in it except its gold.

32. I observed the billows and found nothing in them but water. Where there was no water I saw no wave to rise.

33. I see no vibration anywhere except in wind, which is the only force in motion moving all things in the world.

34. As emptiness abides in air and water appears in the burning deserts, and as there is light spread over all creation, so the spirit of Brahma manifests in the three worlds in the forms of the very worlds themselves.

35. Rama said, “Tell me, O sage, what makes this world, with its nature of absolute non-existence, exhibit such distinct appearances in its phenomena?

36. Tell me also, if the viewer and the view both become extinct, how can their nirvana or absorption in the deity remain without their personalities?

37. Again, as it is impossible to conceive the existence of phenomena, say how is it possible to conceive the existence of the invisible Brahma in his own nature?

38. By what mode of reasoning can this truth be known and ascertained and, this being accomplished, there remains nothing else to be inquired into?”

39. Vasishta replied:— This false knowledge or predisposition towards the reality of the world has been long prevalent, like a chronic disease, and must be removed only by the specific mantra of reasoning.

40. However, it can not be expelled quickly or in a minute. That requires some time, like the ascent and descent of an even sided precipice.

41. Therefore listen to what I say in order to dispel your fallacy of the world through arguments, logical inferences, and habitual meditation.

42. Rama, listen to a tale that I am to tell for your attainment of this knowledge. By hearing it you will become intelligent, wise and liberated.

43. I will now talk about the subject of the production of the world in order to show you that all that is produced serves to bind our souls to the earth, and so that you may live quite free from such bondage.

44. I will tell you about creation and how the false conception of the world is as unsubstantial as emptiness itself.

45. This world appears to contain moving and unmoving beings and abounds in various races of gods, spirits, kinnaras (body of man and head of horse),

46. storm gods and other demigods. All these become invisible and lose themselves in nothing at the ultimate dissolution of the world.

47. Then there remains a moist and hollow deep without light and spread with a thick mist, everything undefined and undeveloped, except something that which is Real and lasts forever.

48. There was no air or form of anything, no sight or anything to be seen. There were no multitudes of created and material beings that appear to be endless and everlasting to view.

49. There was a nameless Self, the fullest of the full in its form. It was neither entity nor non-entity, neither reality nor unreality.

50. It was mere Intellect without its exercise of intellect, Infinite without decay, auspicious and full of bliss. It was without beginning, middle or end, eternal and imperishable.

51. In Him this world is manifest like a pearly goose in a painting. He is and yet is not this creation. He is the soul of both what is real and unreal.

52. He is without ears, tongue, nose, eyes or touch, yet He hears, tastes, smells, sees and feels everything in all places and at all times.

53. He is also that (intellectual) light whereby we discern the form of that real and unreal Being in his perspective of creation, as the One without beginning or end, and as presenting an image without color or shade.

54. He is that empty Soul who views the worlds as clearly as the yogi with his half closed eyes who fixes his sight between his eyebrows and beholds Him in the form of indescribable light.

55. He is the cause of all, He whose cause is as nothing as the horns of a rabbit, and whose works, like so many waves of the sea, are all these worlds.

56. His light is ever shining everywhere, and He has his seat in the human heart. It is from the candle light of His Consciousness that all the worlds derive their light.

57. It is He without whose light the sun would dwindle into darkness, and whose existence alone gives the world its appearance of a mirage.

58. It is His pulsation that vibrates throughout the universe and it is His inertia that stops the course of the whole. It is on that pivot that the world has its revolution, just like a whirling firebrand describes a circle.

59. His nature is pure and unchangeable. The works of creation and destruction are mere acts of His will in the persons of Brahma and Hara.

60. It is His inertia and force that gives rest and motion to all things, like the ubiquitous course of the winds. But this is only a common belief that He moves. In reality His nature is free from any and all change.

61. He is always awake in His ever sleeping state, and therefore cannot be said to be waking or sleeping anywhere at anytime. He is both awake and asleep everywhere and at all times.

62. His quiescence is attended with bliss and tranquility, and His agitation puts the world in motion and in its course of action, yet He is said to remain unaltered in both states which unite in Him.

63. He is inherent in all things as fragrance is innate in the flower, and He is indestructible like the fragrance remains after the flower is destroyed. He pervades all things, yet is as intangible as the whiteness of linen.

64. He, though speechless, is the author of all speech and sound. Though He appears to be as unthinking as a stone, He is full of thought. He, though fully satisfied with His bliss, enjoys all things, although He requires nothing for Himself.

65. He, though without body, moves all the members of the body and is described (in the Vedas) as having a thousand arms and eyes. He, having no support for Himself, is yet the support of all, and pervades the whole without being seated anywhere.

66. He, having no organs or organic power, is the Organ of organs and performs the functions of innumerable organs. Having no mind that senses, He exhibits endless designs of His Divine Mind in the infinity of creation.

67. It is because of our lack of knowledge of Him that we are in constant dread of this delusive world, just as we are afraid of snakes. It is at His sight that all our fears and desires fly far away from us.

68. It is in the presence of the clear light of that God of truth that all the wishes of our minds have a better play, just like actors dance best when they have light.

69. It is by Him that a hundred types of visible objects arise every moment to our view, like the ceaseless series of waves, billows and surges rising on the surface of the waters.

70. It is He who exhibits Himself other than what He is, in hundreds of different shapes to our mistaken minds, just like gold is made to appear in the various forms of bracelets, armlets and a hundred other sorts of trinkets.

71. He who manifests Himself as the soul abiding in me, you and in every other person, yet is not me, you, he or it, is the Supreme Soul or Self that is the same with and apart from all.

72. It is He and the same being, whether you view Him in one or more objects, as it is the same water that heaves itself in this or the other wave. Thus all visible phenomena have their rise from Him.

73. He from whom time has its counting and that which can be seen has its appearance, by whom the mind exercises its thinking powers, and by whose light the world is enlightened, is the Supreme.

74. Whatever forms, figures and their actions, whatsoever flavors and odors, and what sounds, touch, feelings and perceptions there are or that you can sense, know them all and their cause also to be the Supreme.

75. You will be able to know your own soul, O good Rama, if you can see with the vision that lies between the looker and the object looked upon.

76. Know it as uncreated and indestructible, without beginning or end. It is the eternal and everlasting Brahma and bliss itself. It is immaculate and infallible, highly adorable and without fault in its nature. It is beyond all description and a mere void in its form. It is the cause of causes and a notion of something that is unknowable. It is understanding and the inner faculty of the intellect or the mind.

Chapter 3.10 — The Emptiness upon Universal Dissolution Is Not Empty; Description of God

1. Rama said, “That which remains after the universal dissolution is commonly designated by the term ‘formless void.’

2. Then how can you say that there was no void, light or darkness?

3. How could it be without the intellect and the living principle? How could the entities of the mind and understanding be lacking in it?

4. How could there be nothing and not all things? You have used other similar paradoxical expressions that have created much confusion in me.”

5. Vasishta said:— You have raised a difficult additional question, Rama, but I shall have no difficulty to solve it, just like the sun is at no pains to dispel the darkness of night.

6. At the end of a great kalpa age when there remains that entity of God, it cannot be said to be a void, as I will now explain to you. Attend Rama and hear.

7. Like images carved in bas-relief upon a pillar, this world was made in relief upon that Entity. It cannot be said to have been a void.

8. Again, when there was the appearance of abundance under the name of the world, and be it real or unreal, it could not have been a void and empty.

9. As a pillar with carved or painted figures cannot be said to be devoid of them, so Brahma exhibiting the worlds contained in him can not become a void.

10. But the world contained in Brahma becomes both something and nothing, just like billows in calm waters may either exist or not exist.

11. Again it happens that the hand of time marks certain figures in some places on some unconscious trees, and these marks are mistaken by people for images. So it comes to pass that certain figures of impermanent matter occur in the eternal mind which men mistake for the real world.

12. This comparison of the carved pillar, the tree and the world, is a partial and not complete simile. The similarity refers only to the impression of the transient world on the substance of the permanent Brahma.

13. But this appearance of the world is not caused by another. It rises, lasts and sets spontaneously and of itself in the same essence of Brahma. It is the nature of the Divine Soul and the mind to raise and set such images in them, like the creations of our imagination.

14. The meaning of the word void (shunya) instead of no void (ashunya) or existence is a fiction. It is as false as emptiness is a none-existence in nature. Something must come out of something, and never from a void nothing. How can nothing be reduced to nothing in the end?

15. In answer to your second question, it has been said “and there was no darkness.” Because the divine light of Brahma (which existed before creation) is not like the light of a material luminary (which is followed by darkness). The everlasting light cannot be hidden by darkness, like sunshine or moonlight or the blazing of fire or the twinkling of stars or our eyes.

16. What we call darkness is the absence of light from the great celestial suns. God having no material property in his immaterial essence, there could be no such light or darkness with Him before creation.

17. The light of the empty Brahma is an internal perception of the soul and is only felt and perceived within one’s self, and never externally by anybody. This spiritual light is never clouded by any mist or darkness of temporal objects.

18. The indestructible Brahma is beyond and free from external and visible light and darkness. He is above the region of emptiness that is contained, as it were, within his bosom, and contains the universe sheathed within His hollow womb.

19. As there is no difference between the outside and inside of a fruit, so there is no shade of difference between Brahma and the universe.

20. As a wave is contained in and composed of water, and a clay pot of the earth, so the world being contained in Brahma, it can not be said to be null and void but is full of the spirit of God.

21. The comparison of earth and water does not agree physically with the spiritual essence of God, whose empty spirit contains and comprises the whole (vishwa, universe) within itself, as those elements have their component parts and productions.

22. Now, as the sphere of the intellect is far clearer and brighter than the spheres of air and empty space, so the sense and idea of the word “world” in the Divine Mind is clearer in a far greater degree than this visible world appears to us.

23. (In answer to the third question with regard to the lack of intellect), it is said that like the pungency of pepper is perceived by one who tastes it and not by him who has never tasted it, so the minutiae of the Intellect are known in the intellectual sphere by a cultivated intelligence, and not by one who is without it.

24. Thus the Intellect appears as no intellect to one who is devoid of Intelligence in himself. So this world is seen in the spirit of God or otherwise according to whether one has cultivated or neglected his spiritual knowledge.

25. The world can be seen either in its outward form as other than Brahma or in a spiritual light as the same with Brahma. The yogi views it in its fourth (turiya) state of utter extinction (susupta, deep sleep) in his unconscious soul.

26. Therefore the yogi, though leading a secular life, remains in deep sleep in his soul, and tranquil (shanta) in his mind. He lives like Brahma unknown to and unnoticed by others, and though knowing all and full of thoughts in himself, he is like a treasury of Knowledge, unknown to the rest of mankind.

27. (In answer to the question how corporeal beings could proceed from incorporeal Brahma,) as waves of various shapes rise and fall in the still and shapeless breast of the sea, so innumerable worlds of various forms float about in the unaltered and formless emptiness of Brahma’s bosom.

28. From the fullness of the Divine Soul (Brahmatma) proceeds the fullness of the individual soul (jivatma) that also is formless (nirakriti). This aspect of Brahma is said to be owing to the purpose of manifesting himself (as living in all living beings).

29. So the totality of worlds proceed from the fullness of Brahma, yet the same totality remains as Brahma himself.

30. Considering the world in our minds as synonymous with Brahma, we find their identity like one finds by taste that pepper and its pungency are the same thing.

31. Such being the state of the unreality of the mind and what it can perceive, their reflections upon each other are as untrue as the shadow of a shadow.

32. Know Brahma is smaller than the smallest atom and the minutest of minutest particles. He is purer than air and more tranquil than the subtle ether that is enclosed in him.

33. Unbounded by space or time, his form is the most extensive of all. He is without beginning or end, an indescribable light without brightness.

34. He is of the form of cosmic consciousness (chit) and eternal life, without the conditions and accidents of life. The Divine Mind has its will eternal and it is devoid of the desires of finite minds.

35. Without consciousness there is no life or understanding, no exercise of intellect, no organic action or sensation, and no mental desire or feeling whatever.

36. Hence the Being that is full of these powers, and who is without decline or decay, is seen by us to be seated in His state of tranquil emptiness, and is more subtle than the rarefied vacuum of the ethereal regions.

37. Rama said, “Tell me again and more precisely about the form of this transcendental Being who is of the nature of infinite intelligence so that I may have more light in my understanding.”

38. Vasishta said:— I have told you repeatedly that there is one supreme Brahma, the cause of causes, who remains alone by Himself when the universe is finally dissolved or absorbed in Him. Listen to me describe Him fully to you.

39. That which the yogi sees within himself in his samadhi meditation, after forgetting his personality and repressing the faculties and functions of his mind, is truly the form of the unspeakable Being.

40. The yogi absorbed in meditation without awareness of the visible world or any sense of the viewer or the viewed, and who sees the light shining in himself, is the form of that Being.

41. He who has forgotten the nature of the individual soul (jiva) and his tendencies towards phenomena remains in the pure light and tranquil state of his consciousness and is the form of the Supreme Spirit.

42. He who does not feel wind or the touch of anything upon his body, but lives as a mass of intelligence in this life, is truly the form of the Supreme.

43. Again, that state of the mind which a man of sense enjoys in his long and deep sleep, undisturbed by dreams or gnats, is truly the form of the Supreme.

44. That which abides in the hearts of emptiness, air and stone, and is the intellect of all inanimate beings, is the form of the Supreme.

45. Again, whatever irrational and unconscious beings live by nature without soul or mind, the tranquil state of their existence is the nature of the Supreme Lord.

46. That which is seated in the midst of the intellectual light of the soul, and what is situated in the midst of the ethereal light of the sun, and that which is in the midst of light that we can see is truly the form of the Supreme.

47. The soul that is the witness to our knowledge of solar and visual lights and darkness, and is without beginning or end, is the form of the Supreme.

48. He who manifests this world to us and keeps Himself hidden from view, be He the same or distinct from the world, is the form of the Supreme.

49. He, though full of activity, is as sedate as a rock and who though not emptiness appears to be empty, such is the form of the Supreme.

50. He who is the source and end of our triple consciousness of the knower, known and knowledge, is most difficult of attainment.

51. He who shines forth with the luster of the triple conditions of the knowable, knower and their knowledge, and shows them to us as a large unconscious mirror, is truly the form of the Supreme who is not the cause but the source of the triple category.

52. The mind liberated from bodily activities and its dreaming, remaining concentrated in the consciousness abiding alike in all living as well as inert bodies, is said to remain in the end of our being.

53. The intelligent mind that is as fixed as an immovable body and is freed from the exercise of its faculties can be compared to the Divine Mind.

Chapter 3.11 — There Can Be No Creation or Dissolution of Something that Never Existed

1. Rama said, “Tell me, O holy one, where does this world go after its dissolution when it does not retain its present form or its magnificent appearance?”

2. Vasishta answered:— Tell me, Rama, what is the form of the barren woman’s son? Where does he come from and where does he go? Tell me also, where does a castle in the sky come from and where does it go?

3. Rama replied, “There never was, nor is there, nor will there ever be a son of a barren woman, or a castle in the sky. Why do you ask me about the form and figure of something that is nothing?”

4. Vasishta said:— As there never was a barren woman’s son or a city in the air, so there never existed any scene such as that of the world.

5. That which has no existence could not have come from anywhere, nor can it have its dissolution afterwards. So what can I tell you about its origin or demise?

6. Rama replied, “The son of a barren woman and a city in the sky are mere fictions, but the visible world is not so and it has both beginning and end.”

7. Vasishta replied:— It is hard to have a comparison where the subject and object of the comparison agree in all respects. The world and its objects allow no comparison other than with themselves.

8. The appearance of the world is compared with that of a bracelet because the one is as false as the other. Neither is real.

9. And because there is nothing in the sky except negative emptiness, so the existence of the world in Brahma is only a negative idea.

10. As the black eye-liner collyrium is nothing other than blackness, and as there is no difference between frost and its coldness, so the world is not other than the great Brahma himself.

11. As the property of coldness cannot be denied of the moon and frost, so one cannot describe creation as not being of God. (Literally, creation is not a negative property of Brahma, but essential to His nature.)

12. As there is no water in a sea of the mirage, or light in the new moon, so this world, as it is (in its gross state) does not abide in the pure spirit of God.

13. That which did not exist owing to the lack of any cause has no present existence and cannot be destroyed.

14. How is it possible for a dull material object to have any cause other than a material one? In the same way it is not the light (but some solid substance) that is the cause of a shadow.

15. But as none of these works has come into existence without some cause, that cause, whatever it is, is displayed in what it produced.

16. Whatever appears as ignorance or illusion has some appearance of intelligence or truth, just like the illusion of the world seen in a dream displays the effect of consciousness within us.

17. Just like the illusion of the world in a dream is not without our inner consciousness of it, in the same way Brahma was not unconscious of the expansion of the world at the beginning of creation.

18. All that we see about us is situated in the Divine Soul. There is no other world that rises and sets (except what is imprinted in our minds).

19. As fluidity is another name for water and fluctuation the same with wind, and as sunshine is nothing other than light, so the world is nothing but Brahma (displayed in nature).

20. As the appearance of a city resides in the inner consciousness of a person who is conscious of his dreaming, in the same manner this world is displayed in the Supreme Soul.

21. Rama said, “If it is so, then tell me, O holy one, from where do we get our belief of its materiality? How is it that this unreal and visionary impression presents its baneful visible aspect to us?

22. If the view is in existence, there must be its viewer also, and when there is the viewer there is the view likewise. As long as either of these is in existence, there is our bondage. Our liberation chiefly depends on the disappearance of both (which can hardly take place).

23. It is entirely impossible to be liberated as long as our notion of the view is not lost in our minds. Unless the view is vanished both from the vision of the eyes and mind, no one can even form an idea in his mind of liberation.”

24. “Again the representation of the view at first and its obliteration afterwards are not enough for our liberation because the memory of the view is sufficient to bind the soul.

25. Moreover, when the picture of the view is impressed on the soul and reflected in the mirror of the mind, there is no need for its recollection (for what is deeply rooted in the soul comes out of itself).

26. The intellect, which at first was without the notion of phenomena, would be entitled to liberation, but once it has seen, it has taken on the impression of what it has seen.”

27. “Now sage, please use your reasoning to remove my hopelessness of liberation which, I imagine, is unattainable by any.”

28. Vasishta said:— Hear me, Rama, explain to you at length how the unreal world with all its contents appears to us as real.

29. For unless it is explained to you by my reasoning, stories and examples, this doubt will not subside in your breast like mud settles in a lake.

30. Then Rama, you will be able to conduct yourself on earth as one assured that the creation and existence of the world are false concepts.

31. You will then remain like a rock against the impressions of wealth and poverty and of gain and loss, and whether your relation with anything is fleeting or lasting.

32. Know that there is that only one spirit which is self-existent. All else is mere fiction. I will now tell you how the three worlds were produced and formed.

33. It was from Him that all these beings have come to existence, while He of himself is all and everything in it. He likewise appears to us and disappears also, both as forms and their appearances, and as the mind and its faculties, and as figures and their shapes, and as modes and motions of all things.

Chapter 3.12 — Detailed Description of Original Creation, Elements in Their Subtle Forms

1. Vasishta said:— From the state of perfect stillness and tranquility of the supremely holy Spirit, the universe rose to being in the manner that you must hear with your best understanding and attention.

2. As sound sleep displays itself in visionary dreams, so Brahma manifests Himself in the works of creation, of which He is the soul and receptacle.

3. The world, which of its nature is continually progressive in its course, is identical with the essence of that Being, whose form is selfsame with the indescribable glory of His eternally brilliant Intellect (chintamani, the wish-fulfilling jewel).

4. This Intellect (chit, cosmic consciousness), before assuming to itself consciousness or the knowledge of self, gets of itself and in itself an exercise of intellection (a thought). (This is the first stage in perception by the soul).

5. Then this thinking Intellect (chetya-chit) gets the notions (bodha, knowledge or truth) of some faint images (uhita-rupas) which are purer and lighter than air, and which receive their names and forms only later. (The innate ideas are born before the embryonic mind or soul).

6. Afterwards this transcendent essence (Intellect, Consciousness) becomes an intelligent principle (sacheta) eager for intelligence (chetana). It is now worthy of its name as Intellect or chit on account of its having attained what is called intelligence.

7. Lastly it takes the form of gross consciousness (ghana-samvedana) and receives the name of the individual soul (jiva as the living cosmic soul or Hiranyagarbha). It now loses its divine nature by reflecting on itself.

8. Then this living principle is involved in thoughts relating only to the world, but its nature depends on the divine essence (as the fallacy of the snake depends on the substance of the rope).

9. Afterwards an empty space rises into being called kham (vacuum) which is the seed or source of the property of sound and which later becomes expressive of meaning.

10. Next in order, the elements of egoism and duration are produced in the individual soul. These two terms are the roots of the existence of future worlds.

11. This ideal knowledge in Divine Spirit of the unreal forms of the network of world was made to appear as a reality by omnipotent power.

12. Thus the ideal self-consciousness became the seed (or root) of the tree of desires that ego fluctuates in the form of air.

13. The intellect in the form of airy ego thinks on the element of sounds (shabda tanmatram, the element of sound in its subtle form) and it becomes by degrees denser than the rarified air and produces the element of mind.

14. Sound is the seed (or root) of words that later became diverse in the forms of names or nouns and significant terms. Words evolved and became as numerous as shoots on trees, and as varied as inflected speech, sentences, and the collections of Vedas and other scriptures.

15. It is from this Supreme Spirit that all these worlds derived their beauty and the multitude of words (which sprang from the sounds), full of meaning, became widespread.

16. Consciousness expressed as this family of its offspring is described as the living individual soul (jiva) which afterwards became the source of all forms of beings known under a variety of expressions.

17. From this individual soul sprang the fourteen kinds of living beings that fill the cells in the bowels of all worlds.

18. It was then that Consciousness, by a motion and inflation of itself and as instantaneously as a thought, became the subtle-form element (tanmatra) of touch and feeling (the air), which was yet without name or action. This breath caused air, which expanded itself and filled all bodies that are objects of touch and feeling.

19. The air, which is the seed (root) of the tree of tangibles, then developed itself into branches composed of the various kinds of winds that cause breath and motion in all beings.

20. Then, at its pleasure and from its idea of light, Consciousness produced the elemental essence of luster, which later received its different names (sunlight, moonlight, starlight, firelight, lightening).

21. Then the sun, fire, lightning and others that are the seeds (or roots) of the tree of light, caused the various colors that filled the world.

22. Consciousness reflected on the lack of fluidity and produced the liquid body of waters whose taste constitutes the element (tanmatra) of flavor in its subtle form.

23. The desire of the soul for different flavors (rasa, bliss) is the seed of the tree of taste, and it is by the relish of a variety of tastes that the world is to go on in its course.

24. Then the self-willed Brahma, wishing to produce the visible earth, caused the property of smell to appertain to it from his own subtle element of it.

25. He made his elemental solidity the seed or source of the tree of forms, as he made his own element of roundness underlie the spherical world.

26. These elements are all evolved from Consciousness and remain within Consciousness, just like bubbles of water rise and subside in itself.

27. In this manner, all beings remain in their combined states until their final dissolution into simple and separate forms.

28. All things, which are only forms and formations of pure Intellect, remain within the sphere of Divine Intelligence, as the subtle form of a big banyan tree resides in the forms of pollen and seed.

29. These sprouted forth in time and burst out into a hundred branches. Having been concealed in an atom, they became as big as if they were to last forever.

30. Such is the growth and multiplication of things within Consciousness until development is stopped by its contraction, then weakened in their bodies by its desertion, until they droop down in the end.

31. In this way the elements in their subtle forms (tanmatras) are produced in Consciousness out of its own volition and are manifested to sight in the form of formless minutiae.

32. These five-fold elements are only the seeds of all things in the world. They are seeds of the primary momentum that was given to them (in the beginning). To our way of thinking, they are the seeds of elementary bodies, but in their real nature, they are the uncreated ideal shapes of Consciousness replenishing the world.

Chapter 3.13 — On the Production of the Self-Born

1. Vasishta said:— Rama, when the Supreme Brahman remains in his resplendent and tranquil state (before creation), there is no essence of ethereal light or heat or even darkness produced in the intellectual spirit. (But they lie hidden there as if buried in oblivion).

2. The Being (sat) that is God begins with the attribute of intellectuality (chetya). It is from the exercise of intellect (chetana, intuitive consciousness) of his intellectual part (chetyansa) that the name of mind (chitta, the memory aspect of mind) is attributed to Him. The faculties (shakti, power) of his intellect (chit, universal consciousness) are called its intelligence (chetana, life, spirit, visible, conscious).

3. Cosmic Consciousness (chit) or Intellect, from its intelligence (chetana), then has the attribute of the individual, the individual soul (jiva) and connection with the intelligible objects in nature. Then when it is subject to intelligible objects, having a subtle, elemental form of the sense of individual self (aham matra), it can be named maya or illusion.

4. Then from the excess of its egoism (ahanta) that is full with the purposes of its mind and of the elements of sound and other sense objects, it has the attribute of understanding (buddhi, individual intelligence, the intuitive, faculty of direct intelligence controlling the sense organs, the organ of mind responsible for discrimination and judgment).

5. This (living, deluded and self reflecting) ego is puffed up with thoughts of all things and looks upon the great tree of the visible world (as the great garden for its pleasure and gain).

6. Living souls, like so many impermanent objects seen in a dream, are made to rise and fall one after the other in this great forest of the world surrounded by skies and space.

7. But the world is as continuous as a grove of karajna plants that grow from unsown seeds, and its elements of water, fire, earth and air have no regard for anybody (living or dead).

8. The Consciousness that is the soul of the universe creates the earth and all other things, like one remembers his dreams.

9. Wherever there is the germ of the world, it develops itself in that place. The live elements are the five-fold seed of the world, but the un-decaying Consciousness is the seed of the five-fold elements (pancha bhoota, i.e., earth, water, fire, air and space).

10. As the seed so is its fruit. Therefore know the world is a form and full of God. Know the spacious sky is the reservoir of the five elements in the beginning of creation.

11. The soul, like the body, is composed of the powers of Consciousness and does not exist of itself, but being inflated by Consciousness, it extends its bulk.

12. But the empty form of Consciousness, seated in the spiritual body of the soul, cannot be composed of solid reality. This is not possible. Therefore nothing can come from an impossibility.

13. Again, that which is changeable in its form cannot have its sameness at all times. Therefore, if the substance of the five elements is attributed to Brahma, from an idea within the essence of His spirit, there can be no immaterial and unchanging Brahma. (I.e., Brahma would also have to be material and subject to change.)

14. Therefore know these five elements are the developed Brahma himself as he evolved them in the beginning, and he is their producer for the creation of the world.

15. He being the prime cause of their production, there is nothing that exists without him and the world is no product of itself.

16. The unreal appears as real just like a city is seen in a dream, and like a castle built in the air by our hopes. In the same way we place the individual soul in ourselves, which has its foundation in the empty spirit of God.

17. Thus the brilliant spirit, situated in the Divine Intellect, being no earthly or any other material substance, is called the individual soul and remains in emptiness like a luminous body rising in the sky.

18. Hear now how this empty individual soul, after its detachment as a spark from the totality of vital spirits, comes to be embodied in the human body within the empty sphere of Divine Consciousness.

19. At first the soul thinks it is like a minute particle of light, then it considers itself to be growing in the sphere of its consciousness.

20. The unreal appearing real in the end proves to be unreal, just like an imaginary moon becomes nothing. So the soul continues to see itself subjectively and objectively both as the viewer and the view.

21. Thus the single self becomes double, just as one sees his own death in a dream. Thus it waxes into bigness and thinks its vital spark is a star. (This is the form of the linga deha within the body, the sentient soul, the subtle or astral body.)

22. As the soul continues to think of itself as a microcosm of the universe (vishwarupa), it falsely thinks itself to be within such reality, a thought expressed by “soham” (so am I).

23. By thinking of himself this way, a man comes to believe it to be true, just like one believes himself to be a traveler in his dream. So by thinking the soul as a star (light body), he views it so within himself.

24. By continually thinking about his soul this way, he loses his external sensations and views this star in his head.

25. He sees the soul within himself as though it exists without him, just like a mirror reflects the distant hill in itself. He sees the soul confined within him like a body stuck in a well, and like a sound is confined in the hollow of a cave.

26. Consciousness of our dreams and desires is an attribute of the individual soul whose real form is that of a star keeping watch within us.

27. Now this empty life composed of the essences of the mind — understanding and knowledge — resides in the hollow sheath of the star.

28. It appears to me to take flight to the sky in order to see what is passing there. Then it enters the body by two holes which later are named the external organs (of sight).

29. The organs by which the embodied individual soul is to see are called the eyes. That by which it feels is called the skin. Those whereby it hears are ears.

30. The organ of smell is the nose, and that which conducts flavor to the spirit, the sense of taste, is the tongue.

31. Then there is breathing air — the breath of life — which moves the energies of the organs of action. It is this air which is the cause of vision and the mover of the internal organs of mind and thought.

32. Vital breath supports the body and the all supporting soul in the emptiness of the body, and fills and kindles it like air kindles a spark of fire.

33. The word jiva or the individual soul has a figurative meaning: “something real in the unreal body.” Hence Brahma is said to be the life and soul of the unreal world.

34. The gross embodied soul is in the form of emptiness, like the mind, yet it imagines itself to reside in an egg-shaped space inside the body, as Brahma is supposed to be seated in the cosmic egg.

35. Some view the spirit of God as floating on the surface of the waters (in the form of Narayana). Others view it in the person of the Lord of creatures (Pashupati, Shiva). There are others who look at the spirit of God as infused throughout the creation in the figure of Viraj (the primordial man). These are called the subtle and gross bodies of the soul (sukshma and sthula sharira ).

36. The soul or spirit is the spacious womb of production. It is the means of executing its own purposes and of knowing the proper time and place. It is the article and the manner of action.

37. The mind is the inventor of words, expressive of ideas (in the soul), and subjects itself to the arbitrary sounds of its own invention. Hence, in this world of errors, God is falsely said to be embodied in the words (shabda Brahma, the Brahma of speech, of Mimansa philosophy).

38. The unproduced and self-born Brahma that has risen of himself (and represents the mind) is as unreal as a man dreaming he is flying in the sky.

39. This all supporting and embodied soul is the creator Lord of Creatures who is said to have formed this illusory frame of the world.

40. But in reality, nothing was formed or born, nor is there any substance to be found in the world. It is still the same empty form of Brahma whose essence is known to extend as the infinite space itself.

41. Things that appear to be real are as unreal as an imaginary city. They present a variety of forms and colors to the fancy, but have not been built or painted by anybody.

42. Nothing that is unmade or unthought of can be real, and the gods Brahma and others, being freed from their business at the universal dissolution of existence, could neither resume their functions to make or have materials with which to make.

43. The self-born Brahma, having neither memory of the past nor any material with which to work, would not be able either to form an ideal or to make anything material. Therefore, Brahma producing anything and any formation of the universe are both impossible.

44. The earth and all other existence are the eternal ideas of the Divine Mind. They appear to us to be objects in a dream that is our waking state.

45. The Divine Spirit is known only as an emptiness, therefore the world must also be emptiness because like produces like. So all waters are liquid, though they are made to pass under different names.

46. This creation is everywhere the same in the Supreme Spirit. It is only an evolution of the same and the Creator is always and everywhere unchanging in His nature.

47. The empty universe, under the name of the cosmic egg, shines as clearly as the Divine Spirit. It is calm in its appearance and becomes disturbed by causes born in itself.

48. It is supported by the unsupported Supporter of all who is one and without a second, but devoid of unity in creation. All this is born in His consciousness and therefore there is nothing new that is produced.

49. He who is of the form of unlimited space without any emptiness in it, who is transparent yet teeming with abundance, and who is the whole world without any worldliness in him, truly underlies everything.

50. He who is neither the container nor the contained, nor the appearance of the world, who is neither the world nor its creator, and about whom there can be no dispute or disputant, is truly the unknown God.

51. He who is neither the passing world nor any of its passing things, who is quite at rest yet situated in all things (whether moving or quiescent), is the only Brahma that shines of himself in himself.

52. The idea of the fluidity of water allows our minds to form an image of a whirlpool. In the same way, the sight of the world produces the false notion of its reality in the mind.

53. All unrealities become extinct at the end, as we see the death of our frail bodies in dreams. The essential part of our soul remains unscathed because of its own nature of indestructibility in the form of everlasting consciousness in the atmosphere of our intellects.

54. Brahma, the prime Lord of creatures, is ever manifest by himself in the form of emptiness in the Supreme Spirit. He being of a spiritual form, like the mind, has no material body formed of earth or any other material. Therefore He is both real and unborn.

Chapter 3.14 — No Individual Souls, only One Brahma; Each Is Brahma; Brahma Creates the Rules and Delegates

1. Vasishta added:— In this manner the visible world, I, you, and all other things are nothing. Being unmade and unborn, they are nonexistent. It is only the Supreme Spirit that exists of itself.

2. The primeval empty soul first is awakened of itself by its own energy from its quietness, then begins to have a motion in itself like the troubled waters of the deep.

3. Then it begins to reflect in itself, like in a dream or imagination, without changing its empty form, like a rock with an inner faculty of thought.

4. The body of the great god Viraj (“Untainted”) is also devoid of any material form, whether earthly or any other elemental shape. It is purely a spiritual, intellectual and ethereal form, as transparent as the ether itself.

5. It is without decay, steady like a rock, and as airy as a city seen in a dream. It is inert as the line of a regiment painted in a picture.

6. All other souls are like pictures of dolls and puppets painted, and not engraved, on the body of Viraj like on a huge pillar. He, standing as an uncarved column in the empty sphere of Brahma, represents all souls (and not bodies) as they are mere pictures on it.

7. The prime lord of creatures is said to be self-born. He is known as the uncreated (Brahma) for want of his prior acts to cause his birth.

8. The primeval patriarchs (progenitors) who obtain their ultimate liberation at the final dissolution of the world have no antecedent cause to be reborn as unliberated mortals.

9. Brahma, who is the reflector of all souls, is himself invisible in the inward mirror of other souls. He is neither the view nor the viewer, and neither the creation nor the creator himself.

10. Therefore, although Brahma has nothing that can be described, and has nothing that may be affirmed or denied about Him, yet He is the soul of everything that can be described. He is the source of these chains of living beings, just as light is the cause of a line of lighted lamps in illuminations.

11. The will of the gods (Brahma and Viraj), proceeding from the volition of Brahma, is of the same spiritual nature as the other; just as one dream rising in another is equally as insubstantial as the first.

12. Hence all individual souls evolved from the breathing of the Supreme Spirit are of the same nature as their origin because there is nothing else that could cause or contribute towards cause.

13. Lack of a secondary agency produces the equality of effects and their cause. Hence the uniformity of created things proves wholly false any conception of their creation by a secondary cause.

14. Brahma himself is the prime soul of Viraj and is identical with him, and Viraj is the soul of creation and identical with it. He is the empty vitality of all, and it is from Him that the unreal earth and other things have their rise. (Viraj is the spirit of God diffused in nature.)

15. Rama said, “Tell me whether the individual soul is a limited thing or an unlimited mass of life? Or does the unbounded spirit of God exist in the shape of a mountainous heap of individual souls?

16. Are these individual souls like showers of rain falling from above, or like the drizzling drops of waves in the vast ocean of creation, or like the sparks of fire struck out of a red-hot iron? From where do they flow, and by whom are they emitted?

17. Sage, tell me the truth concerning the profusion of individual souls. Though I have a partial knowledge of it, I require your more complete and clear explanation.”

18. Vasishta replied:— There is only one individual soul of the universe so you can not call it a multitude. Therefore your question is quite out of place, like a question about the horns of rabbits.

19. There are no detached individual souls, O Rama, nor are they to be found in multitudes anywhere, nor was there a mountainous heap of souls known to have existed at anytime.

20. “Jiva”, the individual soul, is only a fictitious word with many more fictions heaped upon it, all of which, as you must know for certain, does not apply to the soul.

21. There is only one pure and immaculate Brahma who is mere Consciousness (chinmatram) and all pervasive. He assumes to himself all attributes by His almighty power. (Here Brahma is represented not only as omniscient and omnipotent, but also as saguna, with attributes, by his assumption of all attributes.)

22. Many regard the individual soul as evolving itself from Consciousness into the many visible and invisible forms (murta-mutam), just like a plant is seen to develop itself into its fruits and flowers.

23. They add the attributes of the living principle — understanding, action, motion, mind and unity and duality — to the soul as if these appertain to its nature.

24. But all this is caused by ignorance, while right understanding assigns them to Brahma. The ignorant are bewildered by these different views of the soul, and they will not be awakened to sense.

25. These different believers are lost in their various views like light is lost under darkness. They will never come to the knowledge of truth.

26. Know that Brahma himself is the individual soul without any divisibility or distinction. He is without beginning or end. He is omnipotent and is of the form of the great Consciousness which forms his essence.

27. His lack of minuteness (his fullness) in all places precludes the ability to give him any distinctive name. Whatever attributes are given to him are all to be understood to mean Brahma himself.

28. Rama asked, “How is it, O holy one, that the totality of the individual souls in the world is guided by the will of one Universal Soul that governs the whole and to which all others are subject?”

29. Vasishta replied:— Brahma, the great individual soul and omnipotent power, remained from eternity with his will to create without partition or alteration of himself.

30. Whatever is wished by that great soul comes to take place immediately. The wish it first formed in its unity became a positive duality at last. Then its wish “to be many” became separate existences afterwards.

31. All these dualities of His self-divided powers (the different individual souls) had their several routines of action allotted to them, such as “this is for that,” meaning “this being is for that duty, and such action is for such end.”

32. Thus though there can be no act without effort (by the general rule as in the case of mortals), yet the predominant will of Brahma is always prevailing without effort to action.

33. Though living beings effect their purposes by exertion of their energies, yet they can effect nothing without acting according to the law appointed by the predominant power.

34. If the law of the predominant power is effective to attain an end, then the exertions of the subordinate powers (the individual souls) to that end must also be successful.

35. Thus Brahma alone is the great individual soul that exists forever and without end, and these millions of living beings in the world are nothing other than agents of the divine energies.

36. It is with a consciousness of the intellectual soul (the inner knowledge of God within themselves) that all individual souls are born in this world. But losing that consciousness (their knowledge of God) afterwards, they became alienated from him.

37. Hence men of inferior souls should pursue the course of conduct led by superior souls in order to regain their spiritual life (atmajivatwam), just like copper becomes transformed into gold (by chemical process).

38. Thus the whole body of living beings that had been as nonexistent as air before comes into existence and rises resplendent with wonderful intellect.

39. Whoever perceives this wonderful intellect in his mind, then gets a body and the consciousness of his egoism, is said to be an embodied individual soul.

40. The mind gratified with intellectual delights becomes as expanded as the intellect itself and thinks those pleasures constitute the sum total of worldly enjoyments.

41. Consciousness is said to remain unchanged in all its succeeding stages, and although it never changes from that state, yet it awakes (develops) by a power intrinsic in itself.

42. The uninterrupted activity of Consciousness indulges itself in the amusement of manifesting phenomena in the form of the world.

43. The extent of the intellectual faculty is wider and more rarefied than the surrounding air, yet it perceives its distinct egoism by itself and of its own nature.

44. Its knowledge of self springs of itself in itself like water in a fountain. It perceives itself (its ego) to be only an atom amidst endless worlds.

45. It also perceives in itself the beautiful and wonderful world which is amazing to understanding and which thereafter is named the universe.

46. Now Rama, our egoism, being only a conception of the intellect, is a mere fiction (kalpana). The elementary principles being only creatures of egoism, they are also fictions of the intellect.

47. Again the individual soul being only a result of our acts and desires, you have to renounce these causes in order to get rid of your knowledge of “I” and “you” and then, after discarding the fictions of the real and unreal, you attain to the knowledge of the true One.

48. As the sky looks as clear as before after the shadows of clouds are dispersed from it, so the soul, after its overshadowing fictions have been removed, looks as bright as it existed at first in Consciousness.

49. The universe is a vacuum and the world is a name for the field of our exertions. This emptiness is the abode of the gods (Vishwa and Viraj, both of whom are formless). The wonderful frame of plastic nature is only a form of the formless consciousness and nothing else.

50. One’s nature never leaves him at anytime. How then can a form or figure be given to the formless Divinity?

51. Divine Intellect is exempt from all the names and forms given to unintelligent worldly things, it pervading and enlivening all that shines in the world. (Intellect or consciousness is the power of understanding.)

52. The mind, understanding and egoism, with the five elements, hills, skies and all other things that compose and support the world, are made of essences proceeding from consciousness. (The intellect gathering information contains all things.)

53. Know that the world is the mind (chitta) of the consciousness (chit) of God because mind does not exist without the world. If the world did not exist, that would prove that the mind and consciousness, which consist of the world, do not exist. (Therefore, the intelligent world is identical to the mind and intellect of God.)

54. The intellect, like the pepper seed, possesses an exquisite property within itself. Like the flavor of pepper, the intellect has the element of the individual soul, which is the element of animated nature.

55. As the mind exerts its power and assumes its sense of egoism, it derives the principle of the individual soul from the Intellect, which with its breath of life and action is afterwards called a living being. (The mind is what thinks, moves and acts.)

56. Consciousness (chit), exhibiting itself as the mind (chitta), bears the name of the purpose it has to accomplish which, being temporary and changeable, is different from Consciousness and a non-existence.

57. The distinction of actor and act does not consist in Consciousness, it being eternal. Neither is Consciousness the author or the work itself. But the individual soul, which is active and productive of acts, is called purusha — the embodied soul residing in the body. It is action which makes a man purusha, from which is derived his manhood (paurusha).

58. Life with the action of the mind constitutes the mind of man. The mind taking a sensitive form employs the organs of sense to their different functions.

59. He, the Consciousness whose radiant light is the cause of infinite blessings to the world, is both its author and the workmanship from all eternity. There is none beside Him.

60. Hence the ego or individual soul in its essence is indivisible, uninflammable, and incapable of being soiled or dried. It is everlasting and infinite, and as immovable as a mountain.

61. There are many that dispute this point, as they in their error dispute other matters and mislead others into the same errors. But we are set free from all mistake.

62. The dualist (who makes a distinction between eternal and created souls), relying on phenomena, is deceived by their varying appearances. But the believer in the formless unity relies on the everlasting blessed Spirit.

63. Fondness for intellectual culture is attended with the spring blossoms of intellect that are as white as the clear sky and as numberless as the parts of time.

64. Consciousness exhibits itself in the form of the boundless and wonderful universal egg, and it breathes out the breath of its own spirit in the same egg.

65. Then it shows itself in the wonderful form of the primordial waters, not as they rise from springs or fall into reservoirs, but like those substances that constitute the bodies of the best of beings.

66. It next shines forth with its own intellectual light, which shines as bright as the humid beams of the full moon.

67. Then as Consciousness rises in full light with its internal knowledge, phenomena disappear from sight. In the same way, Consciousness is transformed to dullness by dwelling upon gross objects, when it is said to be lying dormant. In this state of Consciousness, it is lowered and confined to the earth.

68. The world is in motion by the force of Consciousness in whose great emptiness it is settled. The world is lighted by the light of that Consciousness, and is therefore said to both exist and not exist by itself.

69. Like the emptiness of that Intellect, the world is said now to exist and now to be nonexistent. Like the light of that Intellect, the world now appears and now disappears from view.

70. Like the fleeting wind breathed by that Intellect, the world is now in existence and now nonexistent. Like the cloudy and unclouded sphere of that Intellect, the world is now in being and now not in being.

71. Like the broad daylight of that Intellect, the world is now in existence, and like the disappearance of that light, it now becomes nothing. It is formed of the active (rajas) quality of the Intellect, like black collyrium eyeliner made from particles of oil.

72. It is Intellectual fire that gives warmth to the world. It is the alabaster of the Intellect that causes its whiteness. The rock of Intellect gives it hardness, and its water causes its fluidity.

73. The sweetness of the world is derived from the sugar of the Intellect, and its juiciness from the milk in the Divine Mind. Its coldness is from the ice, and its heat from the fire contained in the same.

74. The world is oily by the mustard seeds contained in Consciousness and billowy in the sea of the Divine Mind. It is sweet by the honey and golden by the gold contained in the same.

75. The world is a fruit of the tree of Consciousness and its fragrance is derived from the flowers growing in the tree of the mind. It is the existence of Consciousness that gives the world its being, and it is the mold of the Eternal Mind that gives its form.

76. The difference is that this world is changing while the clear atmosphere of Consciousness has no change in it. The unreal world becomes real when it is seen as full of the Divine Spirit.

77. The unchanging sameness of the Divine Spirit makes the existence and nonexistence of the world the same. The words ‘part’ and ‘whole’ are wholly meaningless because both are full with the Divine Spirit.

78. Shame on those who deride ideas as false talk because the world — with its hills, and seas, earth and rivers — is all untrue without the idea of God’s presence in it.

79. Consciousness being an unity cannot be mistaken for a part of anything. Though it may become as solid as a stone, yet it shines brightly in the sphere of its emptiness.

80. It has a clear empty space in its inside, like a transparent crystal, that reflects the images of all objects, though it is as clear as the sky.

81. As the lines on the leaves of trees are neither parts of the leaves nor distinct from them, so the world situated in Consciousness is not part of it or separate from it.

82. No detached soul is a varied growth, but retains in its nature the nature of consciousness, and Brahma is the primary cause of causes.

83. The mind is of its own nature a causal principle, by reason of its idea of the Intellect, but its existence is hard to prove when it is insensible and unconscious of the Intellect.

84. Whatever is in the root comes out in the tree, just as we see seeds shoot forth in plants of its own species.

85. All the worlds are as empty as emptiness, yet they appear otherwise because they are situated in the Great Consciousness. All this is the seat of the Supreme, and you must know it by your exercise of intellect. Valmiki speaking:—

86. As the sage spoke these words, the day declined to its evening twilight. The assembly broke with mutual salutations, to perform their evening rituals, and, after dispersion of the nocturnal gloom, met again at the court hall with the rising sunbeams.

Chapter 3.15 — Story of Leela and Saraswati (Padma’s Body on the Shrine)

1. Vasishta said:— The world is a void and as null as the pearls in the sky (seen by optical delusion). It is as unreal as the soul in the emptiness of consciousness.

2. All its objects appear like un-engraved images on the column of the mind that is without any engraving or engraver.

3. As the motion of waters in the sea causes waves to rise of themselves, so phenomena as they appear to us are like waves in the calm spirit of the Supreme.

4. Like sunbeams seen underwater, and like water appearing in the sands of the desert (mirage), so it is fancy that paints the world as true to us. The world’s bulk is like that of an atom appearing like a hill.

5. The fancied world is no more than a facsimile of the mind of its maker, just as sunbeams underwater are only reflections of the light above, a false idea.

6. The ideal world is only a castle in the air, and this earth is as unreal as a dream and as false as the objects of our desire.

7. In the light of philosophy, the earth that appears solid is no better than the water in the mirage of a sandy desert. It is never in existence.

8. In this supposed substantial form of the world, the illusive forms of phenomena resemble only castles in the sky and rivers in a mirage.

9. If the visible scenes of the world were to be weighed on scales, they would be found to be as light as air and as hollow as a vacuum.

10. The ignorant taken away by the sound of words in disregard of their meanings, when they come to their senses, will find that there is no difference between the world and Brahma.

11. The dull world is the issue of Consciousness, like sky is of sunbeams. The light of Consciousness is like the light of the rarified rays of the sun that, like water from huge clouds, causes seeds to shoot into plants.

12. As a city in a dream is finer than one seen in the waking state, so this world that can be seen is as subtle as an imaginary one.

13. Therefore know the dream world to be the inverse of the conscious soul, and the substantive world to be the reverse of the insubstantial vacuum. The words fullness and vacuum are both as empty as airy breath because these opposites are only different views of the same Consciousness.

14. Therefore know that this visible world is no production at all. It is as nameless as it is undeveloped, and as nonexistent as its seeming existence.

15. The universe is the sphere of the spirit of God in infinite space. It has no foundation elsewhere except in that Spirit of which it is only a particle filling a space equal to a bit of infinity.

16. It is as transparent as the sky and without any solidity at all. It is as empty as empty air and like a city pictured in imagination.

17. Attend now to the story of the Temple which is pleasant to hear and which will impress this truth deeply in your mind.

18. Rama said, “Tell me at once, O holy one, the long and short of the story of the temple, which will help my understanding of these things.”

19. Vasishta said:— In the past, on the surface of the earth, there lived a king named Padma (Lotus) because he was like the blooming and fragrant lotus of his race. Padma was equally blessed with wisdom, prosperity and good children.

20. He observed the bounds of his duties, just as the sea preserves the boundaries of countries. He destroyed the mist of his adversaries, like the sun dispels the darkness of night. He was like the moon to his lotus-like queen, and like burning fire to the hay of evils and crimes.

21. He was the asylum of the learned, like Mount Meru is the residence of the gods. He was the moon of fair fame risen from the ocean of the earth. He was like a lake to the geese of good qualities, and like the sun to the lotuses of purity.

22. In warfare, he was like a blast to the vines of his antagonists. He was like a lion to the elephants (desires) of his mind. He was the favorite of all learning, a patron of the learned, and a mine of all admirable qualities.

23. He stood fixed like Mount Mandara after it had churned the ocean of the demons. He was like spring season to the blossoms of joy, and like the god of the floral bow to the flowers of blooming prosperity.

24. He was the gentle breeze to the shimmering of playful vines, and like the god Vishnu in his valor and energy. He shone like the moon on the florets of good manners, and like wildfire to the brambles of licentiousness.

25. His consort was the happy Queen Leela (Play), playful as her name implied and filled with every grace, as if Lakshmi, the goddess of prosperity, had appeared in person upon earth.

26. She was gentle with her submission to her lord, and was sweet in her speech without art. She was always happy and slow in her movements, and ever smiling as the moon.

27. Her lovely lotus-white face was decorated with painted spots, and her fair form, fresh as a new blown bud, appeared like a moving bed of lotuses.

28. She was buxom as a playful plant and bright as a branch of kunda jasmine flowers, full of glee and good humor. With her palms red like coral and her fingers white as lilies, she was in her person a collection of spring beauties.

29. Her pure form was sacred to touch and conferred joy to the heart, like the holy stream of the Ganges exhilarates a flock of swans floating upon it.

30. Leela was like a second Rati born to serve her lord. Padma was Kama in person on earth to give joy to all souls.

31. She was sorry at his sorrow and delighted to see him delightful. She was thoughtful to see him pensive. Thus she was an exact picture of her lord, except that she was afraid to find him angry.

Chapter 3.16 — The Lives of Queen Leela & King Padma; Leela Performs Tapas to Saraswati; Padma’s Death

1. This husband with a single wife enjoyed the pleasure of an undivided and sincere love in the company of his only consort, just as with a heavenly nymph (apsara) on earth.

2. The seats of their youthful play were gardens and groves, tree gardens of shrubs, and forests of tamara trees. They also played in pleasant tree gardens of vines and delightful alcoves of flowers.

3. They delighted themselves in the inner apartments on beds decked with fragrant flowers, and on walks strewn with fresh blossoms. In spring they amused themselves in the swinging cradles of their pleasure gardens, and in summer heat they rowed in their boats.

4. Their favorite summer resorts were hills overgrown with sandalwood and the shade of forests, the groves of nipa and kadamba trees, and canopies of paribhadra and devadaru cedars.

5. They sat beside beds of kunda and mandara plants, fragrant with the smell of full-blown flowers, and they strayed about the spring-green woods resounding with the melody of nightingales’ notes.

6. They enjoyed the glossy beds of grassy tufts, the mossy seats of woods and lawns, and water-falls flooding the level lands with showers of rain.

7. They often visited mountain ledges overlaid with gems, minerals and richest stones, as wells as the shrines of gods and saints, holy hermitages and other places of pilgrimage.

8. They frequently haunted lakes of full-blown lotuses and lilies, smiling kumudas of various colors, and woodlands darkened by green foliage and overhung with flowers and fruit.

9. They passed their time in the amorous dalliances of god-like youths. Their personal beauty was graced by their generous pastimes of their mutual fondness and affection.

10. They amused each other with clever remarks and witticisms and solution of riddles, with story telling and playing tricks of hold-fists, and with various games of chess and dice.

11. They diverted themselves by reading dramas and stories, and by interpreting stanzas difficult even for the learned. And sometimes they roamed about cities, towns and villages.

12. They decorated their bodies with wreaths of flowers and ornaments of various kinds. They feasted on a variety of flavors, and moved about with playful negligence.

13. They chewed betel leaves mixed with moistened mace, camphor and saffron. They hid the love marks on their bodies under the wreaths of flowers and coral that adorned them.

14. They frolicked playing hide and seek, tossing wreaths and garlands, and swinging one another in cradles decorated with flowers.

15. They went on trips in pleasure-boats, and on yokes of elephants and tame camels. They played in their pleasure-ponds by splashing water on one another.

16. They had their manly and feminine dances: the sprightly tandava and the merry lasya. They sang songs with masculine and feminine voices, the kala and giti. They had enjoyed harmonious and pleasing music, playing stringed and percussion instruments.

17. In their flowery conveyances they passed through gardens and pathways, by rivers and on highways, and into the inner apartments of their royal palaces.

18. The loving and beloved Queen Leela, being thus brought up in pleasure and indulgence, at one time thought within herself with a wistful heart,

19. “How will my lord and ruler of earth, who is in the bloom of youth and prosperity and who is dearer to me than my life, be free from old age and death?

20. And how will I enjoy his company on beds of flowers in the palace, possessed of my youth and free-will, for long, long hundreds of years?

21. Therefore I will endeavor with all my vigilance, prayers, austerities and efforts to know how this moon-faced prince may become free from death and decline.

22. I will ask the most knowing, the most austere, and the very learned brahmins how men may evade death.”

23. She accordingly invited the brahmins and honored them with presents, and humbly asked them to tell her how men might become immortal on earth.

24. The brahmins replied, “Great queen, holy men may obtain success in everything by their austerities, prayers and observance of religious rites, but nobody can ever attain to immortality here below.”

25. Hearing this from the mouths of the brahmins, she thought again in her own mind, and with fear for the death of her loving lord.

26. “Should it happen that I come to die before my lord, then I shall be released from all pain of separation from him, and be quite at rest in myself.

27. But if my husband should happen to die before me, even after a thousand years of our lives, I shall so manage it that his soul may not depart from the confines of this house.

28. The spirit of my lord will rove about the holy vault in this inner apartment and I shall feel the satisfaction of his presence at all times.”

29. “For this purpose, I will start this very day to worship Saraswati, the goddess of wisdom, and offer my prayers to her, and observe fasts and other rites to my heart’s content.”

30. Having so determined, she began to observe the strict rituals of the scriptures without her lord’s knowledge.

31. She kept her fasts and broke them at the end of every third night. She entertained the gods, brahmins, priests and holy people with feasts and due honors.

32. She performed her daily ablutions, she distributed alms, and she practiced austerities and meditation. In all of these she was painstakingly observant of the rules of pious devotion.

33. She also attended to her unaware husband at the stated times. To the utmost, she took care of him and performed her duties as required by law and custom.

34. Thus observant of her vows, with resolute and persevering pains-taking and unfailing austerity, the young queen passed a hundred of her three-night ceremonies.

35. Saraswati, the fair goddess of speech, was pleased at the completion of Leela’s hundredth threenight ritual in the goddess’ honor, performed with all outward and spiritual courtesy. The goddess spoke to her saying,

36. “I am pleased, my child, with your continued devotion to me, and your constant devotion to your husband. Now ask the boon that you would have of me.”

37. Queen Leela replied, “Be victorious, O moon-bright goddess, to end all the pains of our birth and death, and the troubles, afflictions and evils of this world. Like the sun, put to flight the darkness of our affections and afflictions in this life.

38. Save me, O goddess and parent of the world. Have pity on this wretched devotee and grant her these two boons that she begs of you.”

39. “The one is that after my husband is dead, his soul may not go beyond the precincts of this shrine in the inner apartment.

40. The second is that whenever I call you, you shall hear my prayer, appear before me, and give me your sight and blessing.”

41. Hearing this, the goddess Saraswati said, “Be it so,” and immediately disappeared in the air, just like a wave subsides in the sea from where it had come into view.

42. The queen being blessed by the presence and good grace of the goddess, was as delighted as a doe at hearing sweet music.

43. The wheel of time rolled on its two semicircles of fortnights, the spikes of months, the arcs of the seasons, the loops of days and nights, and the orbits of years. The axle, composed of fleeting moments, gave constant momentum to the wheel.

44. The perceptions of King Padma entered into his subtle body and in a short time, he looked as dry as a withered leaf without its juicy gloss.

45. The dead body of the warlike king was laid over a tomb inside the palace. Queen Leela began to fade away at its sight, like a lotus flower without the waters of its birth.

46. Her lips grew pale from the hot and poisoned breath of her sorrow. She was in the agony of death, like a doe mortally wounded by an arrow.

47. At the death of her lord, her eyes were covered in darkness like a house becomes dark when its light is extinguished.

48. In her sad melancholy, she became leaner every moment. She became like a dried channel covered with dirt instead of water.

49. She moved one moment and was then mute as a statue. She was about to die of grief, like the ruddy goose at the separation of her mate.

50. Then the ethereal goddess Saraswati took pity on the excess of her grief, and showed as much compassion for Leela’s relief as the first shower of rain does to dying fishes in a drying pond.

Chapter 3.17 — Leela Sees Padma and His Court in the Spirit World, Checks Her Own Court to Make Sure It Still Exists

1. Saraswati said, “My child, move the dead body of your husband over to that shrine, strew those flowers over it, and you shall have your husband again.

2. Never will this body rot or fade as long as the flowers are fresh over it. Know that your husband will shortly return to life again.

3. His individual soul, pure as air, will never leave this cemetery of your inner apartment.”

4. The black-eyed queen, her eyebrows resembling a cluster of black-bees, heard the goddess’ consolatory speech and was cheered in spirit, like a lotus-bed upon return of the rains.

5. She placed the corpse of her husband on the shrine, hid it under flowers, and remained in expectation of its rising, like a poor man fosters hope of finding a treasure.

6. It was at midnight of the very day, when all the members of the family had fallen fast asleep, that Leela went to the shrine in the inner apartment.

7. There, in the recess of her understanding, she meditated on the Goddess of Knowledge and called her in earnest from the sorrow of her heart, when she heard the divine voice addressing her,

8. “Why do you call me, child? Why are you so sorrowful in your face? The world is full of errors, glaring as false water in a mirage.”

9. Leela answered, “Tell me goddess, where does my husband reside at present? What has he been doing? Take me to his presence, as I am unable to bear the load of my life without him.”

10. Saraswati replied, “His spirit is now wandering in the sky, of which there are three kinds: the physical, the firmament or region of worlds that can be sensed; the other is mental, the region of the mind, the seat of will and creation; and the third is the spiritual region of Consciousness which contains the two others [bhutakasha, element-space; chittakasha, mind-space; and chidakasha, consciousness-space].

11. Your husband’s soul is now in the sheath of the region of Consciousness. Things can be found in consciousness-space which do not exist here.”

12. “As in passing from one place to another you are conscious of standing in between, so you will instantly arrive at the intermediate region of the mental world (lying between the physical and spiritual worlds).

13. If, after forsaking all your mental desires, you abide in the spiritual world you will certainly come to the knowledge of that spiritual Being who comprehends all in Himself.

14. It is only by your knowledge of the non-existence of the world that you can come to know the positive existence of that Being, as you will now be able to do by my grace, and by no other means whatever.”

15. Vasishta said:— So saying, the goddess repaired to her heavenly seat and Leela sat gladly in her mood of steadfast meditation.

16. Within a moment, she left the prison house of her body. Her soul broke out of its inner bound of the mind to fly freely in the air, like a bird freed from its cage.

17. She ascended to the airy region of Consciousness and saw her husband sitting there amidst a group of princes and rulers of the earth.

18. He (as King Viduratha) was sitting on a throne, hailed with the loud shouts of “Long live the king!” and “Be he victorious!” His officers were prompt in the discharge of their different duties.

19. The royal palace and hall were decorated with rows of flags, and there was an assembly of innumerable sages, saints, brahmins and rishis at the eastern entrance of the hall.

20. At the southern porch stood a throng of princes and chiefs of men without number, and standing at the western doorway, a bevy of young ladies.

21. The northern gateway was blocked by lines of horses, carriages and elephants. A guard advanced and informed the king of a war in the Deccan.

22. He said that the Karnatic chief had attacked the eastern frontier, and that the chieftain of Surat had subjugated the barbarous tribes on the north, and that the ruler of Malwa had besieged the city of Tonkan on the west.

23. Then there was the reception of the ambassador from Lanka, coming from the coast of the southern sea.

24. Next appeared the spiritual masters (siddhas) coming from the Mahendra mountains bordering the eastern main, having traversed the many rivers of their river districts. Next appeared the ambassador of the Guhyaka or yaksha tribes that inhabited the shores of the northern sea.

25. Likewise there were envoys visiting from the shores of the western ocean and relating the state of affairs of that territory to the king. The assembly of innumerable chieftains from all quarters filled the entire courtyard with luster.

26. The sounds of brahmins chanting on sacrificial altars were drowned under the sound of tambourines, shouted announcements, and the loud praises of speakers, all re-echoed by the uproar of elephants.

27. The vault of heaven resounded to the sounds of vocal and instrumental music, and the dust raised by the procession of elephants and chariots, and the trotting of horses’ hoofs, hid the face of the sky like a cloud.

28. The fragrance of flowers, camphor and heaps of frankincense perfumed the air, and the royal hall was filled with presents sent from different provinces.

29. His fair fame shone forth like a burning hill of white camphor raising a column of splendor reaching to the sky and casting sunlight into shade.

30. There were district rulers busily employed in their grave and momentous duties, and great architects who conducted the building of many cities.

31. Then the ardent Leela entered the royal assembly hall of the ruler of men. She was unseen by any, just as one void mixes with another void, and as air is lost in the air.

32. She wandered about without anyone there seeing her, just like a fair figure formed by false imagination of our fond desires is not to be perceived by anyone outside ourselves.

33. In this manner she continued to walk about the palace unperceived by all, just like a castle in the air built in one’s mind is not perceived by another.

34. She saw them all assembled in the royal court in their former forms, and saw all the cities of the princes concentrated in that single city of her lord.

35. She viewed the same places, the same dealings, the same concourse of children, the same sorts of men and women, and the same ministers as before.

36. She saw the same rulers of earth and the very same pundits as before; the identical courtiers and the same servants as ever.

37. There was the same assembly of learned men and friends as before, and the like throng of citizens pursuing their former course of business.

38. She suddenly saw the flames of wildfire spreading on all sides, even in broad midday light, and the sun and moon appearing both at once in the sky, and the clouds roaring with a tremendous noise, with the whistling of the winds.

39. She saw trees, hills, rivers and cities flourishing with population, and the many towns and villages and forests all about.

40. She saw her royal consort as a boy of ten years of age after shaking off his former frame of old age, sitting amidst the hall with all his former retinue, and all the inhabitants of his village.

41. Leela, having seen all these, began to reflect within herself whether the inhabitants of this place were living beings or the ghosts of their former individual souls.

42. Then having recovered her (ordinary) sense at the removal of her trance, she entered her inner apartment at midnight and found the residents fast bound in sleep.

43. She woke her sleeping companions one by one and said she was anxious to visit the royal hall.

44. She wanted to sit beside the throne of her lord and to clear her doubt by seeing the courtiers all alive.

45. The royal servants rose up at her call and obedient to her command they said, “Be it so” and attended to their respective duties.

46. A group of staff-bearers ran to all sides to call the courtiers from the city, and sweepers came and swept the ground as clean as if the sun had shed his rays upon it.

47. A better set of servants cleaned the courtyard as clean as autumn days clear the sky of its rainy clouds.

48. Rows of lights were placed about the courtyard, which looked as beautiful as clusters of stars in the clear sky.

49. Throngs of people filled the courtyard, like the ancient earth had been covered by the floods of the great deluge.

50. Dignified ministers and chiefs attended first and took their respective seats, appearing as if they were a set of newly created rulers of the various peoples of the world, or the regents of the quarters of the sky.

51. The cooling and fragrant odor of thickly pasted camphor filled the palace, and the sweetscented breezes profusely breathed the fragrance of the lotus flowers, which they bore from all sides.

52. The chamberlains stood all around in their white garbs, appearing like an assembly of silvery clouds hanging over the burning hills under the equator.

53. The morning breeze had strewn heaps of flowers over the ground, bright as the beaming dawn dispelling the gloom of night, and bleached as clusters of stars fallen upon the ground.

54. The retinue of the chiefs of the land crowded the palace which seemed like a lake full of full-blown lotuses with fair swimming swans rambling about.

55. There Leela took her seat on a golden seat by the side of the throne. She appeared as beautiful as Rati seated in the joyous heart of Kama.

56. She saw all the princes seated in their order as before, and the elders of the people and the nobles of men and all her friends and relatives seated in their proper places.

57. She was highly delighted to see them all in their former states. Her face shone brightly like the moon to find them all alive again.

Chapter 3.18 — Leela Wonders which World Is Real; Saraswati Explains

1. Leela said, “I have much consolation in you, and now will I console my sorrowing heart.” So saying, she made a sign for the assembly to break and rose from her royal seat.

2. She entered the inner apartment and sat by the side of the dead body of her lord, hidden under the heap of flowers, and began to reflect within herself.

3. She thought, “O the wonderful magic that presents these people of my palace situated in the same manner outside myself as I saw them seated within me in my meditation.

4. O how great is the extent of this delusion that contains the same high hills and the same spacious forests of palm and hintala trees situated both outside and within me.

5. Like a mirror shows the reflection of hills within itself as they are without it, so the reflector of the intellect presents the whole creation inwardly as it has outside of itself.

6. I must now invoke the goddess of wisdom to determine which of these is illusion and which the sober and certain reality.”

7. So thinking, she worshipped and invoked the goddess, and immediately saw Saraswati in the form of a virgin.

8. She made the goddess sit on an elevated seat and, having seated herself low upon the ground before her, asked that divine power to tell her the truth.

9. Leela said, “Be gracious, O goddess, and clear this doubt of your suppliant, for it is your wisdom that first framed this beautiful system of the universe and knows the truth.

10. Tell me, O great goddess, about what I am now going to relate you, for it is by your favor alone that I may be successful to know it.”

11. “I saw the pattern of this world in the intellect, which is more transparent than the ethereal sphere and so extensive that it contains millions and millions of miles in its small space.

12. No definite words can express what is known as the calm, cool and indescribable light. This is called unintelligible intelligence and is without any cover or support (niravarana nirbhitti).

13. It exhibits the reflections of space and the course of time, and those of the sky and its light, and the course of events concentrating in itself.

14. Thus the images of the worlds are to be seen both within and outside the intellect, and it is hard to distinguish the real and unreal ones between them.”

15. The goddess asked, “Tell me fair maiden, what is the nature of the real world, and what you mean by its unreality?”

16. Leela replied, “I know the real is where I find myself sitting here and looking upon you as seated in this place.

17. What I mean by unreal is the state in which I saw my husband in the ethereal region some time ago, because emptiness has no limit of time or place in it.”

18. The goddess replied, “Real creation cannot produce an unreal figure. A similar cause cannot produce a dissimilar effect.”

19. Leela replied, “But O goddess, we often see dissimilar effects produced from similar causes. The earth and an earthen pot are similar in substance, yet one melts in water and the other holds water.”

20. The goddess said, “Yes, when an act is done by the aid of auxiliary means, there the effect is found to be somewhat different from the primary cause.” (Thus the earthen pot being produced by the auxiliary appliances of fire, the potter’s wheel and the like, differs in its quality from the original clay.)

21. “Say, O beautiful maiden, what were the causes of your husband being born in this earth? The same led to his birth in the other world also.

22. When the soul has fled from here, how can the material earth follow him and what auxiliary causes can there be in connection with this cause?

23. Whenever there is a contributing cause in addition to the apparent cause, everyone usually attributes the result to some unknown prior cause or motive.”

24. Leela said, “I think, O goddess, that the expansion of my husband’s memory caused of his regenerations, because it is certain that memory is the cause of the reproduction of objects before us.”

25. The goddess replied that memory is an aerial substance and its productions are as unsubstantial as itself.

26. Leela said, “Yes I find memory to be an airy thing, and its reproduction of my husband and all other things within me are only empty shadows in the mind.”

27. The goddess replied, “Therefore your husband and all those other things that appeared to your sight in your reverie truly were such reproductions, my daughter. And so is the appearance of all things I see in this world.”

28. Leela said, “Tell me goddess, in order to remove my conception of the reality of the world, how the false appearance of my formless lord was produced before me by the unreal world.”

29. The goddess replied, “As this illusionary world appeared a reality to you before you had memories of it, so you must know that all this is unreal from what I am going to relate to you.” Saraswati speaking:—

30. In some part of the sphere of Consciousness there is the great fabric of the world, with the glassy vault of the firmament for its roof on all sides.

31. Mount Meru (the polar axle or mountain) is its pillar, surrounded by the regents of the ten sides, like statues carved upon it. The fourteen regions are like so many apartments of it, and the hollow vault containing the three worlds is lighted by the lamp of the luminous sun.

32. Its corners are inhabited by living creatures resembling ants. They are surrounded by mountains appearing as anthills in the sight of Brahma, the prime lord of creatures and the primeval patriarch of many races of men.

33. All animal beings are like worms confined in cocoons of their own making. The blue skies above and below are like the soot of this house, beset by bodies of departed spirits resembling groups of gnats buzzing in the air.

34. The fleeting clouds are the smoke of this house or like spider webs in its corners, and the hollow air is full of aerial spirits, like holes of bamboos filled with flies.

35. There are also the playful spirits of gods and demigods hovering over human houses like swarms of busy, buzzing bees about vessels of honey.

36. Here and there, amidst the cavity of heaven, earth and the infernal regions, lay tracts of land well watered by rivers, lakes and the sea on all sides.

37. In a corner of this land was a secluded piece of ground sheltered by hills and crags about it.

38. In this secluded spot sheltered by hills, rivers and forests, there lived a holy brahmin man with his wife and children, free from disease and care of gain and fear of a ruler. He passed his days in his fireworship and hospitality with the produce of his cattle and lands.

Chapter 3.19 — Story of a Former Vasishta & Arundhati Vasishta relating the story of Leela, Saraswati speaking to Leela:—

1. In his age and attire, in his learning and wealth, and in all his actions and pursuits, this holy man was equal to his namesake, except in his profession. (The one being a secular man, and the other the priest of the royal family).

2. His name was Vasishta. His wife was Arundhati, fair as the moon and like the star of the same name visible from earth.

3. She resembled her namesake, the priestess of the solar race, in her virtues and parts and in all things, except in her soul and body.

4. She passed her time in true love and affection in the company of her husband, and she was his all in the world, with her sweet smiling face resembling a kumuda flower.

5. Once this holy man had been sitting under the shady sarala trees, on the tableland of his native hill, when he saw the ruler of the land passing below with his gaudy train.

6. He was accompanied by all the members of the royal family and his troops and soldiers. They were going to a hunt with a clamor that resounded in the hills and forests.

7. The white flapper fans shed a stream of moonlight, the lifted banners appeared like a moving forest, and the white umbrellas made a canopy of the sky.

8. The air was filled with dust raised by the horses’ hoofs, and the lines of elephants with their high pavilion saddles seemed like moving towers that protect them from the heat of the sun and the hot winds.

9. The loud uproar of the party, resembling the roaring of a whirlpool, made wild animals run on all sides. Shining gems and jewels were flashing all about on the bodies in the party.

10. The holy man saw this procession and thought to himself, “O how charming is royalty, filled with such splendor and prosperity!

11. Ah, how shall I become the monarch of all the ten sides, and have such a retinue of horse, elephants and foot soldiers, with a similar train of flags, flappers and blazing umbrellas?

12. When will the breeze gently blow the fragrance of kunda flowers and the powdered dust of lotuses to my bed-chamber to lull me and my consorts to sleep?

13. When shall I adorn the faces of my chamber maids with camphor and sandal paste, and enlighten the faces of the four quarters with my fair fame, like the moonbeams decorate the night?”

14. With these thoughts, the holy man determined that for the rest of his life, he would apply himself vigilantly to the rigid austerities of his religion.

15. At last, he was overtaken by infirmities which shattered his body, like the sleets of snowfall batter the blooming lotuses in the lake.

16. Seeing his approaching death, his faithful wife was fading away with fear, like a vine withers at the departure of spring for fear of the summer heat.

17. Arundhati then began to worship me, as you yourself have, in order to obtain the boon of immortality which is hard to be had.

18. She prayed, “Ordain, O goddess, that the spirit of my lord may not depart from this tomb after his death.” I granted her request.

19. After some time Vasishta the holy man died and his empty spirit remained in the emptiness of that home.

20. By virtue of the excessive desire and merit of acts in his former state of existence, this aerial spirit of the holy man assumed the shape of a mighty man on earth.

21. He became the victorious monarch of the three realms. By his might he subjugated the surface of the earth. By his valor he conquered the high mountains (of the gods). By his kind protection, the nether lands were under his sway.

22. He was like a raging fire to the forest of his enemies, and like the steadfast Mount Meru amidst the rushing winds of business on all sides. He was like the sun expanding the lotus-like hearts of the virtuous. To the eyes of women he was like the god Kama.

23. He was the model of all learning, and the all giving wish-fulfilling tree to his suitors. He was the footstool of great scholars. He was like the full moon shedding ambrosial beams of enlightened rule all around.

24. But after the holy brahmin had died, and his dead body had disappeared into the forms of elementary particles in air, and his airy spirit had rested in the aerial intellectual soul within the empty space of his house,

25. his holy brahmin widow, Arundhati, was pining away in her sorrow, and her heart was rent in twain like a dried pea pod.

26. She became a dead body like her husband. Her spirit, by shuffling off its mortal coil, resumed its subtle and immortal form in which it met the departed ghost of her husband.

27. She advanced to her lord as rapidly as a river runs to meet the sea below its level. She was as cheerful to join him as a cluster of flowers inhale the spring air.

28. The houses, lands and all the immovable properties and movable riches of this holy brahmin Vasishta still exist in that rocky village, and it has been only eight days since the souls of this loving pair were reunited in the hollow vault of their house.

Chapter 3.20 — Saraswati Explains Leela’s Former Life as Arundhati

1. Saraswati said to Leela, “That brahmin whom I described before, the one who become a monarch on earth, is the same as your husband. His wife Arundhati is no other than yourself, the best of women.

2. You two are the same pair now reigning over this realm, resembling a pair of doves in your nuptial love, and the gods Shiva and Parvati in your might.”

3. “I have related your past lives to you so that you may know the individual soul to be only air, and that knowledge of its reality is an error.

4. False knowledge casts its reflection on consciousness and causes its error also. (Errors in the senses breed errors in the mind.) This makes you doubtful of the truth and untruth of the two states (of the material and intellectual worlds).

5. Therefore the question, ‘Which is true and which is untrue?’ has no better answer than that all creations are equally false and unsubstantial.”

6. Vasishta said:— Hearing these words of the goddess, Leela was confused in her mind, and with her eyes staring with wonder, she addressed her softly.

7. Leela said, “How is it, O goddess, that your words are so incoherent with truth. You make us the same as the brahmin couple who are in their own house. We are sitting here in our palace.

8. How is it possible that the small space of the room in which my husband’s body is lying could contain those spacious lands and hills and the ten sides of the sky?

9. It is as impossible as confining an elephant in a mustard seed, or a gnat fighting with a body of lions in a nutshell.

10. It is as incredible as to believe a lotus seed contains a hill, or to be devoured by a little bee, or that peacocks are dancing hearing the roaring of clouds in a dream.

11. O great goddess of gods, it is equally improbably to say that this earth, with all its mountains and other things, is contained within the small space of a sleeping room.

12. Therefore, O goddess, please explain this mystery clearly to me, because it is by your favor only that the learned are cleared of their questions.”

13. The goddess Saraswati said:— Hear me, fair maiden! I did not tell you a lie. Transgression of the law is a thing unknown to us. (The law is nanritam vadeta — never tell an untruth.)

14. It is I who established the law when others are about to break it. If I should slight the law, who else is there who would observe it?

15. The individual soul of the village brahmin saw within itself and in his own house the image of this great kingdom, just as his departed spirit now sees the same in its empty void. (Therefore both these states are equally ideal.)

16. After death you lost the memories of your former lives, just like one loses memories of waking events when in the dream state.

17. All are like the appearance of the three worlds in dream, or their formation in the imagination, or like the description of warfare in an epic poem, or like water in the mirage of a sandy desert.

18. The hills and houses seen in the empty space of the brahmin’s house were nothing but the capacity of his own mind to form the images of its fancy and receive the external impressions like a reflecting mirror.

19. All these, though unreal, appear as real substances on account of the reality of consciousness which is seated in the cavity of the innermost sheath of the body and reflects the images.

20. But these images derived from the memories of unreal objects of the world are as unreal as those objects which cast their reflections upon consciousness. Waves rising in the river of a mirage are as unreal as the mirage itself.

21. Know that this chair sitting in this room of your house, as well as myself and yourself and everything else about us, are only the reflections of our consciousness, without which nothing would be perceptible.

22. Our dreams and fallacies, our desires and fancies, and also our notions and ideas serve as the best evidence to understand this truth (that nothing is true beside the subjective mind, which creates and forms, produces and presents all objects to our view).

23. The spirit of the brahmin resided in the emptiness of his house (the body), with the seas, forests and the earth within itself, like a bee lives in the lotus.

24. Thus the habitable earth with everything it contains is situated in a small cell in one corner of consciousness, like a spot of flimsy cloud in the sky.

25. The house of the holy brahmin was situated in the same locality of consciousness which contains all the worlds in one of its atomic particles.

26. Every atom of the intelligent soul contains unnumbered worlds within worlds, enough to remove your doubt of the brahmin being able to see an entire kingdom within the space of his intellect.

27. Leela asked, “How can we be the brahmin couple when they died only eight days before and we have been reigning here for so many years?”

28. The goddess replied:— In reality, there is neither any limit of space or time, nor any distance of place or length of time. Hear me now tell you the reason why.

29. As the universe is the reflection of the Divine Mind, so are infinity and eternity but representations of Himself.

30. Listen to what I tell you about how we form the idea of time and its subdivisions, whether a moment or an age. It is the same way that we make distinctions among the individuals that are me, you and this or that person.

31. As soon as one feels the lack of senses after his death, he forgets his former nature and thinks himself to be another being.

32. Then, in the twinkling of an eye, he assumes an empty form in the womb of emptiness and in that container he thinks within himself,

33. “This is my body with its hands and feet.” Thinking about body, he finds it presented before him.

34. Then he thinks in himself, “I am the son of this father and am so many years old. These are my dear friends and this is my pleasant home.

35. I was born and became a boy, and then grew up to this age. There are all my friends and in the same course of their lives.”

36. Thus the compact density of the sphere of his soul presents him with many other images that appear to arise in it as in some part of the world.

37. But they neither rise nor remain in the soul itself, which is as transparent as empty air. They appear to consciousness like a vision seen in a dream.

38. A person dreaming remains in one place but sees all manners of things in different places. Everything in the other world appears equally real, just like in his dream.

39. Again, whatever is seen in the other world, the same occurs to men in their present states also. The unreality of the world of dreaming and the reality of this physical world are alike.

40. Just like there is no difference among the waves of the same seawater, so the produced visible creation is the same as the unproduced intellectual world, both of which are equally indestructible.

41. But in reality, the appearance is nothing but a reflection of consciousness which, apart from the intelligible spirit, is merely an empty void.

42. Although presided over by the intelligible spirit, creation itself is a mere void, its only substance being the intelligible soul, like water is to waves.

43. Waves though formed of water are themselves as unreal as the horns of hares. Their appearance as natural objects is altogether false (because they are the effects of the auxiliary cause of the winds that have raised them).

44. Therefore, there being no visible object in reality, how can the observer have any idea of materiality which loses its delusion at the moment of his death?

45. After the visible outer world has disappeared from sight, the soul, in its inner world of the mind, reflects on its memories of creation according to the proper time and place of everything.

46. It remembers its birth, its parents, its age and its residence, with its learning and all other pursuits in their exact manner and order.

47. It thinks of its friends and servants, and of the success and failure of its attempts. The uncreated and incorporeal soul, in its intellectual form, reflects on the events of its created and corporeal state.

48. However, it does not remain in this state for long. Soon after death it enters a new body to which the properties of the mind and senses are added afterwards in their proper times.

49. It then becomes a baby, finds a new father and mother, and begins to grow. Thus whether one may perceive it or not, it is all the product of his former memories.

50. Then upon waking from this state of trance, like a fruit from the cell of a flower, it comes to find that a single moment appeared to it as the period of an age.

51. It was in this way that in times past, King Harish Chandra thought one night to be twelve years. One day seems like a year to those who are separated from their beloved objects.

52. Again, it is all false, whether the birth or death of someone in his dream, or being born and recognizing a father in infancy, or a hungry man imagining he is dining on dainty food.

53. So who would believe a satisfied man after eating who says he is starving, or one who declares that he is an eyewitness of something he had not seen, or an empty space full of people, or that someone found lost treasure in his dream?

54. But this visible world rests in the invisible spirit of God, like the property of pungency resides in the particles of the pepper seed, and like the painted pictures on a column. But where are the open and clear sighted eyes to perceive this?

55. The vision of Leela, called samadhi in yoga and clairvoyance of spiritualism, was the abstract meditation of her lord in her memory that presented her with a full view of everything imprinted on it. Memory is taken for the whole consciousness (chit), which is identified with God in whose essence the images of all things are said to be eternally present.

Chapter 3.21 — Saraswati Explains the Practice of Meditation, Astral Travel Saraswati continues speaking to Leela:—

1. Soon after death occasions the lack of physical senses, the sight of the world appears to the soul as if he were seeing it with open eyes when he was living.

2. Before him is presented the circle of the sky and its sides with the cycle of its seasons and times. He is shown the deeds of his pious and mundane acts, as if they were to continue to eternity.

3. Objects never before seen or thought of also offer themselves to his view, like the sight of his own death in a dream, as if they were the prints in his memory.

4. But the infinity of objects appearing in the empty sphere of the non-physical intellect is mere illusion, and the baseless city of the world, like a castle in the sky, is only the creation of imagination.

5. Memory of the past world makes it known to us. Therefore, the length of a kalpa age and the shortness of a moment are only false impressions proceeding from the speed and slowness of our thoughts.

6. Therefore knowledge based upon previous memories or otherwise is of two kinds, and things known without their cause are attributed to Divine Intelligence.

7. We are also conscious of thoughts that we have not thought of before in our minds, such as we often have in our dreams. Another may remind us of our deceased parents, so we think of them.

8. Sometimes genius supersedes the province of memory, as in the first creation or discovery of a thing, which afterwards is continued by its memory.

9. According to some, those visible worlds are said to have remained in their ideal state in the Divine Mind. According to others, there were no pre-existent notions of these in the mind of God.

10. According to some others, the world manifested itself not from memory but by the power and will of God. Still others maintain it to be the production of a sudden, fortuitous combination of intelligence and atomic principles (kakataliya sanyoga).

11. Completely forgetting the world is called liberation. That cannot be had if consciousness is attached to what is desirable or is averse to the undesirable.

12. It is difficult to effect an entire negation of both one’s subjective and objective knowledge of his self and the existence of the outer world. Yet nobody can be freed without the obliteration of both.

13. As the fallacy of taking a rope for a snake is not removed until the meaning of the word snake is known to be inapplicable to the rope, so no one can have rest and peace of mind unless he is convinced of the illusory nature of the world.

14. Even with that, a person who is at peace with himself cannot be wholly at rest without divine knowledge because, even though he has rid himself of the devil of worldliness, the ghost of his inner ignorance may overtake him.

15. The world is certainly a monster in itself without the knowledge of its Author, but the difficulty of knowing the First Cause has rendered it an impassable wilderness.

16. Leela said, “If memories are the cause of one’s reincarnation, then, O goddess, tell me what were the causes of the birth of the brahmin couple, without the vestiges of their past memories?

17. The goddess replied:— Know that Brahma the first progenitor of mankind, who was absolute in himself, did not retain any vestige of his past memories in him.

18. The first born, who had nothing to remember of a prior birth, was born in the lotus with his own intelligence (chaitanya) and not because of his memory.

19. The Lord of Creatures being thus born by chance of his own genius or creative power, and without any assignable cause or design on his part, reflected within himself, “Now I am become another and the source of creation.”

20. Whatever is born of itself is like a nothing that was never produced at all, but remains as the absolute intellect itself in the clouds (chinnabhas).

21. The Supreme Being is the sole cause of both types of memories (those caused by vestiges of prior impressions, and those produced by prior desires). Both conditions of cause and effect are combined in Him in the sphere of his consciousness.

22. Therefore our tranquility can only come from knowing that cause and effect are the same and that the auxiliary cause is in Him.

23. Cause and effect are mere empty words of no significance because it is the recognition of the Universal Consciousness that constitutes true wisdom.

24. Nothing seen in the physical world or known in the mental or spiritual worlds is ever produced. Everything exists within the consciousness of one’s own soul.

25. Leela said, “What a wonderful sight you have shown me, O goddess. It is as auspicious as morning light and as brilliant as lightning.

26. Now goddess, please satisfy my curiosity until I become thoroughly familiar with this knowledge through my intense application and study.

27. Kindly take me to that that mountainous place where the brahmin couple, Vasishta and Arundhati, lived and show me their house.”

28. The goddess replied:— If you want to see that sight, you have to be immaculate. You must give up your personality and your ego-sense and attain awareness of the unintelligible Consciousness within the soul.

29. Then you will find yourself in an empty atmosphere situated in the sky that resembles the prospects of earthly men and the apartments of the firmament (i.e., nothing).

30. In this state we shall be able to see them (the field of another’s imagination) with all their possessions and without any obstruction. Otherwise this body is a great barrier in the way of spiritual vision.

31. Leela said, “Tell me kindly, O goddess, the reason why do we not see the other world with these eyes, or go there with these our bodies.”

32. The goddess replied:— The reason is that you take the true future as false, and you believe the untrue present as true. These worlds that are formless appear to your eyes as having forms, just like you see the form of a ring when its substance is gold.

33. Gold, though fashioned into a circle, has no curve in it. The spirit of God appearing in the form of the world is not the world itself.

34. The world is an emptiness full with the spirit of God. Whatever is visible is like dust appearing to fly over the sea.

35. The ultimate substance of the world is all a false illusion. The true reality is the subjective Brahma alone. Our guides in Vedanta philosophy and the conviction of our consciousness are evidence of this truth.

36. The believer in Brahma sees Brahma alone and no other anywhere. He looks to Brahma through Brahma himself, as the creator and preserver of all, and whose nature includes all other attributes in itself.

37. Brahma is known not only as the author of His work of the creation of worlds, but as existent of himself without any causation or auxiliary causation.

38. The practice of meditation trains you to disregard all duality and variety and to rely only on one unity. Until you are trained through your practice of meditation, you are barred from viewing Brahma in his true light.

39. By constant practice of meditation, we become settled in this belief of unity, and we rest in the Supreme Spirit.

40. Then we find our bodies to be an aerial substance that mixes with the air, and at last, with these our mortal frames, we are able to come to the sight of Brahma.

41. Being endowed with pure, enlightened and spiritual frames (astral or subtle bodies), like those of Brahma and the gods, the holy saints are placed in some part of the divine essence.

42. Without the practice of meditation, you cannot approach God with your mortal frame. A soul sullied by physical sensation can never see the image of God.

43. It is impossible for one to arrive at another’s castle in the sky, when he is unable to see the castle in the sky that he himself imagined.

44. Therefore, give up your gross body and assume your light intellectual frame. Immerse yourself in the practice of yoga so that you may see God face to face.

45. It is possible to labor and build castles in the air. In the same way, it is possible through the practice of yoga, and in no other way, to behold God, either with this body or without it.

46. Ever since the creation of this world (by the will of Brahma), there have been false conceptions of its existence. It has been attributed to an eternal fate, niyati (by fatalists), and to an illusory power, maya shakti (of Maya vadis).

47. Leela asked, “O goddess, you said that we both shall go to the abode of the brahmin couple, but I ask you, how is that possible?

48. I am able to go there with the pure essence of my sentient soul. But tell me, how will you who are pure intellect (chetas) go to that place?”

49. The goddess replied:— I tell you lady, Divine Will is an aerial tree and its fruits are as unsubstantial as air, having no figure or form or substance to them.

50. Whatever is formed by the will of God from the pure essence of His intelligent nature is only a likeness of Himself and bears little difference from its original.

51. My body is the same and I need not lay it aside. I find that place with my body like a breeze finds odors.

52. As water mixes with water, fire with fire, and air with air, so does this spiritual body easily join with any material form that it likes.

53. But a physical body cannot mix with an non-physical substance, nor can a solid rock become the same as the idea of a hill.

54. Your body has its mental and spiritual parts. It has become physical because of its habitual tendency towards the physical.

55. Your physical body becomes spiritual ( ativahika) by leaning towards spirituality, as in your sleep, your protracted meditation, and your unconsciousness to fancies and reveries.

56. Your spiritual nature will return to your body when your earthly desires are lessened and curbed within the mind.

57. Leela said, “Say goddess, what happens to the spiritual body after it has attained its compactness by constant practice of yoga? Does it becomes indestructible or does it perish like all other finite bodies?”

58. The goddess replied:— Anything that exists is perishable and, of course, liable to death. But how can something die that is nothing and is imperishable in its nature?

59. Again, once we realize the mistake of thinking a rope to be a snake, the snake disappears of itself and no one mistakes the rope anymore.

60. Thus, as the true knowledge of the rope removes the false conception of the snake in it, so the recognition of the spiritual body dispels the misconception of its materiality.

61. All imagery is at an end when there is no image at all, just like the art of carving statues must cease if there is no more stone.

62. We clearly see our bodies as full of the spirit of God. Your gross understanding keeps you from seeing this.

63. In the beginning, when consciousness (chit) is engrossed with the imagination of the mind, it loses sight of the One.

64. Leela asked, “But how can imagination trace out anything in that unity in which the divisions of time and space and all things are lost in an undistinguishable mass?”

65. The goddess replied:— Like the bracelet in gold, waves in water, the show of truth in dreams, and the appearance of castles in the sky

66. all vanish upon an accurate perception, so the imaginary attributes of the unpredictable God are all nothing whatever.

67. Just like there is no dust in the sky, no attribute or partial property can be ascribed to God whose nature is indivisible and unimaginable, who is an unborn unity, tranquil and all-pervading.

68. Whatever shines about us is the pure light of that Being who scatters His luster all around like a transcendental gem.

69. Leela said, “If it is so at all times, then tell me, O goddess, how did we happen to fall into the error of attributing duality and diversity to His nature?”

70. The goddess replied:— It was your ignorance that for so long has led you to error. The natural bane of mankind is the absence of reasoning, and it requires remedying by your attending to reason.

71. When reason takes the place of ignorance, in a moment it introduces the light of knowledge in the soul instead of its former darkness.

72. As reason advances, your ignorance and your bondage to prejudice are put to flight. Then you have an unobstructed liberation and pure understanding in this world.

73. As long as you remained without reasoning on this subject, you were either sleeping or wandering in error.

74. Now your reason and liberation are awakened and the seeds for the suppression of your desires are sown in your heart.

75. At first, the nature of this physical world was neither apparent to you nor you to it. How long will you reside in it and what other desires have you here?

76. Withdraw your mind from its thoughts of the viewer, the visible, and the vision of this world. Settle your mind on the idea of the entire negation of all existence. Fix your meditation solely upon the Supreme Being and sit in a state of unalterable unconsciousness.

77. When the seed of renunciation has taken root and germinated in your heart, the sprouts of your likes and dislikes will be destroyed of themselves.

78. Then the impression of the world will be utterly effaced from the mind and an unshaken anesthesia will overtake you all at once.

79. Remaining entranced in your abstract meditation, in process of time you will have a soul as luminous as a star in the clear sky of heaven, free from the links of all causes and their effects for evermore.

Chapter 3.22 — Practice of Wisdom (Vijnana-Bhyasa)

1. The goddess continued:— Objects seen in a dream prove to be false on being awaken. Similarly, belief in the reality of the body becomes unfounded upon dissolution of our desires.

2. As a thing dreamt of disappears upon waking, so does the waking body disappear in sleep, when desires lie dormant in the soul.

3. As our physical bodies awake after dreaming and desiring, so our spiritual bodies awake after we cease to think of our physical states.

4. In deep sleep we are devoid of desires. Similarly, in the state of renunciation, even though we are awake in our physical bodies, we have the tranquility of liberation.

5. The desire of men liberated while living (jivan mukta) is not properly any desire at all. It is a pure desire relating to universal wellbeing and happiness.

6. The sleep in which the will and wish are dormant is called deep sleep, but the dormancy of desires in the waking state is known as unconsciousness to delusion (moha) or unconsciousness (murchha).

7. Again the deep sleep that is wholly devoid of desire is called the turiya or the fourth stage of yoga. In the waking state it is called samadhi or union with Supreme.

8. The embodied man whose life is freed from all desires in this world is called the liberated while living (jivan mukta), a state unknown to those who are not liberated.

9. When the mind becomes a pure essence (as in samadhi) and its desires are weakened, it becomes spiritualized (ativahika) and it glows and flows, like snow melts to water by application of heat.

10. The spiritualized mind, being awakened, mixes with the holy spirits of departed souls in the other world.

11. When your sense of individual ego is moderated by your practice of meditation, then the perception of invisible will rise of itself clearly before your mind.

12. When spiritual knowledge gains a firm footing in your mind, you will perceive more other worlds than you expect.

13. Therefore, O blameless lady, try your utmost to deaden your desires. When you have gained sufficient strength in that practice, know yourself to be liberated in this life.

14. When the moon of your intellectual knowledge shines fully with its cooling beams, you shall have to leave your physical body here in order to see the other worlds.

15. Your fleshy body has no tangible connection with one that is without flesh, nor can the intellectual body (lingadeha, astral body) perform any action of the physical system.

16. I have told you all this according to my best knowledge and the state of things as they are. Even children know that what I say is as effective as the curse or blessing of a god.

17. The habitual reliance of men upon their gross bodies and their fond attachment to them bind their souls down to the earth. The weakening of earthly desires serves to clothe them with spiritual bodies.

18. Nobody believes that he has a spiritual body, even at his death bed, but everyone thinks a dying man is dead with his body forever.

19. This body however, neither dies nor is it alive at anytime. Both life and death, in all respects, are mere appearances of aerial dreams and desires.

20. The life and death of beings here below are as false as the appearances and disappearance of people in imagination, or dolls in play or puppet shows.

21. Leela said, “O goddess, the pure knowledge that you have given me has fallen on my ears acts like a healing balm to the pain caused by phenomena.

22. Now tell me the name and nature of the practice for spiritualization. How it is to be perfected and what is the end of such perfection?”

23. The goddess replied:— Whatever a man attempts to do here at anytime, he can hardly ever complete it without painful practice to the utmost of his power.

24. The wise say that practice consists in the association of one thing with another, in understanding it thoroughly, and in devoting oneself solely to his object.

25. Great souls become successful in this world who are disgusted with the world and are moderate in their enjoyments and desires. They do not think about seeking what they lack.

26. Those great minds are said to be best trained who are graced with liberal views, are delighted with the relish of unconcern with the world, and are enraptured with streams of heavenly joy.

27. Again, they are called the best practiced in divine knowledge who, by the light of reasoning and scripture, are employed preaching the absolute non-existence of any distinction between the knower and what is known in this world.

28. What some call practical knowledge is knowing that nothing was produced in the beginning and nothing that is visible, such as this world or one’s self, is true at anytime.

29. The effect of practicing meditation is a strong tendency of the soul towards the spirit of God, which results from an understanding of the non-existence of the visible world and the subsidence of passions.

30. But mere knowledge of the nonexistence of the world, without subduing passions, is known as knowledge without practice, and is of no value to its possessor.

31. Consciousness of the non-existence of the visible world is the true knowledge of the knowable. The practice of meditation makes this knowledge a habit in the mind and leads one to his final extinction (nirvana) .

32. The practice of meditation prepares the mind and awakens the intelligence which lay dormant in the dark night of this world. Consciousness then sheds its cooling showers of reason, like dew drops in the frosty night of autumn. Valmiki speaking:—

33. As the sage was lecturing in this manner, the day departed for its evening service and led the assembled train to their evening prayers. After the rising beams of the sun dispelled the darkness of night, they met again with mutual greetings.

Chapter 3.23 — Saraswati & Leela Meditate & Begin Astral Travel

1. Vasishta said:— After this conversation between Goddess Saraswati and the excellent Leela on that night, the two of them found Leela’s family and attendants fast asleep in the inner apartment.

2. Saraswati and Leela entered the shrine that was closely shut on all sides by latches fastened to the doors and windows, and which was perfumed with the fragrance of heaps of flowers.

3. They sat beside the corpse decorated with fresh flowers and garments. Their faces shone like the fair full moon and brightened the place.

4. They stood motionless on the spot, as if they were sculptures engraved on marble columns, or pictures drawn upon the wall.

5. They shook off all their thoughts and cares, and became as withdrawn as the faded blossoms of the lotus at the end of the day when their fragrance has fled.

6. They remained still, calm and quiet and without any motion of their limbs, like a sheet of clouds hanging on the mountain top in the calm of autumn.

7. They continued in fixed attention without any external sensation, like some lonely vines shriveled for lack of moisture (in samadhi meditation).

8. They were fully impressed with the disbelief of their own existence, and that of all other things in the world. They were completely absorbed in the thought of an absolute privation of everything at large.

9. They lost memory of the phantom of the phenomenal world, which is as unreal as the horn of a hare.

10. What had no existence in the beginning is still non-existent at present, and what appears existent is as non-existent as water in a mirage.

11. The two ladies became as quiet as inert nature herself, and as still as the sky before the stars rolled about in its ample sphere.

12. Then they began to move with their own bodies, the goddess of wisdom in her form of intelligence and the queen in her intellectual and meditative mood.

13. With their new bodies they rose as high as the width of a hand above the ground, then taking the forms of empty consciousness, they began to rise in the sky.

14. Then the two ladies, their playful open eyes and by their nature of intellectual knowledge, ascended to the higher region of the sky.

15. They flew higher and higher by force of their intellect and arrived at a region stretching millions of miles in length.

16. The pair in their ethereal forms looked around according to their nature in search of some visible objects, but finding no other figure except their own, they became much more attached to each other by their mutual affection.

Chapter 3.24 — Description of the Astral Journey

1. Vasishta continued:— Thus ascending higher and higher, and by degrees reaching the highest station, they continued viewing the heavens with their hands clasped together.

2. They saw a vast expanse like a wide extended universal ocean, deep and translucent within, but soft with ethereal mildness. A cooling breeze infused heavenly delight.

3. They dived into the vast ocean of emptiness, all delightful and pleasant. It gave them a delight far greater in its purity than what is derived from the company of the virtuous.

4. They wandered about all sides of heaven under the beams of the full moon shining above them. They lingered under the clear vault of clouds covering the mountain tops of Meru, as if under the dome of a huge white washed building.

5. They roved by the regions of spiritual masters (siddhas, adepts) and male nature spirits (gandharvas). They breathed the charming fragrance of mandara garlands and, passing the lunar sphere, they inhaled the sweet scent exhaled by the breeze from that nectar-like lunar orb.

6. Tired and perspiring profusely, they bathed in the lakes of showering clouds filled with the blushing lotuses of lurid lightning flashing within them.

7. They freely strolled at random on all sides, and alighted on the tops of high mountains like fluttering bees, appearing like filaments of the lotus-like earth below.

8. They also roved under the vaults of some cloud fragments scattered by the winds, and raining like the cascade of the Ganges River, thinking them as shower bath-houses in the air.

9. Then failing in their strength, they paused in many places with slow and slackened steps. They saw emptiness full of great and wonderful works.

10. They saw what they had never seen before, the tremendous depth of the void that was not filled up by the myriads of worlds which kept revolving in it.

11. Over and over and higher and higher, they saw the celestial spheres filled with luminous orbs adorned with their ornamental stars wandering one above and around the other.

12. Huge mountainous bodies like Mount Meru moved about in empty space and emitted a reddish glare on all sides, like a flame of fire from within their bowels.

13. There were beautiful tablelands, like those of the Himalayas, with their pearly peaks of snow. There were mountains of gold spreading a golden color over the land.

14. In one place they saw mountains of emerald tinting the landscape with a lush green like a field of fresh grass. In other places they saw some dark cloud dimming the sight of the spectator and hiding the spectacle in dark blackness.

15. They saw also tracts of blue sapphire with vines of parijata flowers blooming like banners in the blue skies.

16. They saw the minds of spiritual masters (siddhas) in flight faster than the swift winds. They heard the vocal music of the songs of heavenly nymphs in their aerial abodes.

17. All the great bodies in the universe (the planetary system) were in continual motion. Spirits of the gods and demigods moved about unseen by one another.

18. Groups of spiritual beings, the kushmandas, rakshasas and pisachas, were seated in aerial circles at the borders. Winds and gales blew with full force in their ethereal course.

19. In some places they heard clouds roaring loudly, like the rumbling wheels of heavenly cars, and the noise of rapid stars resembled the blowing of pneumatic engines.

20. Half burnt masters, having flown too close to the sun, were flying from their burning cars under the solar rays. Solar embers were flung afar by the breath of the nostrils of their horses.

21. In some places they saw the rulers of men and lines of female nature spirits (apsaras) hurrying up and down the air. In others, they saw goddesses wandering amidst the smoky and fiery clouds in the firmament.

22. Here they saw some sparks of light falling like the jewels of celestial nymphs in their hurried flight to their respective spheres. There they saw the light spirits of lesser masters dwindling into darkness.

23. Flakes of mists were falling off from the clouds, as if by friction from the bodies of turbulent spirits rushing up and down the skies, and shrouded mountain sides like sheets of cloth.

24. Groups of cloud fragments were flying about in the air in the shapes of crows, owls and vultures. They saw some monsters also, such as dakinis heaving their heads in the forms of huge surges in the cloudy ocean of the sky.

25. There were bodies of yoginis too, their faces resembling those of dogs, ravens, asses and camels, who were traversing the wide expanse of the heavens to no purpose.

26. There were masters and nature spirits sporting in pairs in the dark, smoky and ash colored clouds that spread the four quarters of the skies.

27. They saw the path of the planets (the zodiac) resounding loudly with the heavenly music of the spheres. They also saw the path of the lunar mansions that constantly marked the course of the two fortnights.

28. They saw the sons of gods moving about in the air and they viewed with wonder the celestial Ganges (the milky way) studded with stars and rolling with the speed of winds.

29. They saw gods wielding their thunderbolts, discuses, tridents, swords and missiles. They heard Narada and Tumburu singing in their aerial abodes on high.

30. They saw the region of the clouds, where there were huge bodies of clouds mute as paintings and pouring forth floods of rain as in the great deluge.

31. In one place they saw a dark cloud, as high as the mountain-king Himalaya, slowly moving in the air, and at others, clouds of a golden color like the setting sun.

32. In one place there were flimsy sheets of clouds, as are said to hover on the peaks of Rishya range; and at another a cloud like the calm blue bed of the sea.

33. Tufts of grass were seen in some places, as if blown up by winds and floating in the stream of air. In other places, swarms of butterflies with glossy coats and wings were seen.

34. In some place, there was a cloud of dust raised by wind appearing like a lake on the top of a mountain.

35. The matris were seen in one place, dancing naked in giddy circles, and in another, great yoginis sat as if forever giddy with intoxication.

36. In one place there were circles of holy men sitting in their calm meditation, and in others, pious saints who had cast away their worldly cares.

37. There was a conclave of celestial singers composed of heavenly nymphs, kinnaras and gandharvas in one place, and some quiet towns and cities situated at others.

38. There were the cities of Brahma and Rudra full with their people, and the city of illusion (maya) with its increasing population.

39. There were crystal lakes in some places and stagnant pools at others; and lakes with masters seated by them, and others hugged by the rising moon.

40. They saw the sun rising in one part and the darkness of night veiling the others; the evening casting its shadow on one, and the dusky mists of dusk obscuring the other.

41. There were hoary clouds of winter in some places, and those of rain in others; somewhere they appeared as tracts of land and at another as a sheet of water.

42. Bodies of gods and demigods wandered from one side to the other; some from east to west, and others from north to south.

43. There were mountains heaving their heads thousands of miles high, and there were valleys and caves covered in eternal darkness.

44. In one place there was a vast inextinguishable fire, like that of the blazing sun, and in another, a thick frost covering the moonlight.

45. Somewhere there was a great city flourishing with groves and trees, and at another big temples of gods leveled to the ground by the might of demons.

46. In some place there was a streak of light from a falling meteor in the sky; in another the blaze of a comet with its thousand fiery tails in the air.

47. In one place there was a lucky planet, rising in view with its full orb; in another there spread the gloom of night, and full sunshine in another.

48. Here the clouds were roaring, and there they were dumb and mute. Here were the high blasts driving the clouds in air, and there the gentle breeze dropping clusters of flowers on the ground.

49. Sometimes the sky was clear and fair without a cloud in it, as transparent as the soul of a wise man delighted with the knowledge of truth.

50. The empty region of the celestial gods was so full with the dewy beams of the silvery moon that it appeared like a shower of rain and raised the loud croaking of the frogs below.

51. Flocks of peacocks and goldfinches fluttering about in one place, and vehicles of the goddesses and celestial girls (vidyadharis) thronged in another.

52. A number of peacocks of Kartikeya (Subramanyan) were seen dancing amidst the clouds, and a flight of greenish parrots was seen in the sky appearing as a green plain.

53. Dwarfish clouds were moving like the stout buffaloes of Yama, and others in the form of horses were grazing on the grassy meadows of clouds.

54. Cities of the gods and demons appeared with their towers on high. Distinct towns and hills were seen separated by distances as if detached from one another by driving winds.

55. In some place, gigantic bhairavas were dancing with their mountainous bodies; and at another, great garudas were flying like winged mountains in the air.

56. Huge mountains were tossed about by the blowing of winds; and the castles of the nature spirits (gandharvas) were rising and falling with the celestial nymphs in them.

57. There were some clouds rising on high, and some appearing like rolling mountains in the sky that were crushing forests below. In one place the sky appeared like a clear lake abounding in lotuses.

58. Moonbeams shone brightly in one spot, and sweet cooling breezes blew softly in another. Hot sultry winds were blowing in some place, singeing the forest on mountainous clouds.

59. There was a dead silence in one spot caused by perfect calmness of the breeze; while another spot presented a scene of a hundred peaks rising on a mountain-like cloud.

60. In one place raining clouds roared loudly in their fury; and in another a furious battle was waging in the clouds between the gods and demons.

61. In some place geese were seen gabbling in the lotus lake of the sky, inviting the ganders by their loud cackling cries.

62. Forms of fishes, crocodiles and alligators were seen flying in the air as if they had been transformed into aerial beings by the holy waters of the Ganges of their birth.

63. Somewhere, as the sun went down the horizon, they saw the dark shadow of the earth eclipse the moon; then they saw the shadow of the moon eclipse the sun.

64. They saw a magical flower garden, exhaling its fragrance in the air and strewing the floor of heaven with a profusion of flowers, scattered by showers of morning dews.

65. They saw all beings contained in the three worlds flying in the air, like a swarm of gnats in the hollow of a fig tree. Then the two excellent ladies stopped their astral journey, intent upon revisiting the earth.

Chapter 3.25 — Description of Astral Travel over the Earth Vasishta speaking:—

1. Then these ladies in their forms of intelligence alighted from the sky and, passing over the mountainous regions, saw the houses of men on the surface of the earth.

2. They saw the world appearing like a lotus in the heart of Nara (the primeval Man or eternal Spirit pervading the universe). Its eight sides form the flower petals, the hills its pistils, and the center contains its sweet flavor.

3. The rivers are the tubes of its filaments, covered with drops of snow resembling their pollen. Days and nights roll over it like swarms of black-bees and butterflies, and all its living beings appear like gnats fluttering about.

4. Its long stalks, white as bright daylight, are composed of fibers serving for food, and of tubes conducting the drink to living beings.

5. It is wet with moisture, sucked by the sun, resembling a swan swimming about in the air. In the darkness of night and absence of the sun, it folds itself in sleep.

6. The earth, like a lotus, is situated on the surface of the waters of the ocean. At times the motion of the ocean makes the earth shake causing earthquakes. The earth rests upon the serpent Sesha as its support, and is girt about by demons as its thorns and prickles.

7. Mount Meru and other mountains are its large seeds. There are great hives of human population where the fair daughters of the giant race embraced with the sons of gods and created the race of men.

8. It has the extensive continent of Jambudvipa (Asia) situated in one petal, it veins forming its divisions and the tubular filaments its rivers.

9. The seven elevated mountains, forming the boundary lines of this continent, are its seeds, and in its middle, the great Mount Sumeru reaches the sky.

10. Its lakes are like dewdrops on a lotus leaf, and its forests are like the flower’s pollen. The people inhabiting the land all around are like a swarm of bees.

11. Its extent is a thousand leagues (yojanas) square, and it is surrounded on all sides by the dark sea like a belt of black bees.

12. It contains nine divisions (varshas) ruled by nine brother kings, resembling the regents of its eight petal sides, with the Bharata varsha (India) in the midst.

13. It stretches a million miles with more land than water. Its habitable parts are as thick as frozen ice in winter.

14. The continent is surrounded by the briny ocean twice as large, like a bracelet encircles the wrist.

15. Beyond it lies the circular form of Saka continent, twice the size of Jambudvipa and also encircled by a sea.

16. This is called the Milky Ocean because of the sweetness of its water, and it is double the size of the former salt sea.

17. Beyond that and double its size is Kusadwipa continent, full of population. It is also circular and surrounded by another sea,

18. the belt of the sea of curds, delectable to the gods and double the size of the continent it encircles.

19. After that lies the circle of Krauncha continent, also twice the size of the former one and surrounded by a sea like a canal surrounds a city.

20. This sea is called the sea of butter and is twice as large as the continent it surrounds. Beyond it lies Salmali continent surrounded by the foul sea of wine.

21. The fair belt of this sea resembles a wreath of white flowers, like the girdle of the Sesha serpent forming the necklace hanging on the breast of Vishnu.

22. Thereafter stretches Plaxa continent, double the size of the former and surrounded by the belt of the sea of sugar that appears like the snowy plains of Himalaya.

23. After that lies the belt of Pushkara continent, twice as large as the preceding one and encircled by a sea of sweet water double its circumference.

24. There, at the distance of ten degrees, they saw the belt of the south polar circle with its hideous cave below, the descent to the infernal regions.

25. The way to the infernal cave is full of danger and fear and ten times in length from the circle of the continents.

26. This cave is surrounded on all sides by a dreadful emptiness, and below it is half covered by a thick gloom, as if a blue lotus were attached to it.

27. There stood Lokaloka Sumeru or South Polar mountain, which is bright with sunshine on one side and covered by darkness on the other, studded with various gems on its peaks, and decked with flowers growing upon it.

28. It reflected the glory of the three worlds situated on its peak, like a cap of hairs.

29. At a great distance from it is a great forest that is not trodden by the feet of any living being. Then proceeding upward, they saw the great northern ocean encompassing the pole on all sides.

30. Further on they saw the flaming light of the aurora borealis which threatened to melt the snowy mountain to water.

31. Proceeding onward they met with the fierce north winds, blowing with all their fury and force.

32. They threatened to uproot the mountains as if they were dust or grass. They traversed the empty vacuum with their noiseless motion.

33. Far away they saw the empty space of vacuum stretching wide all about them.

34. It spreads unlimited and encompasses the worlds like a golden bracelet encircles the wrist.

35. Thus Leela, having seen the seas and mountains, the rulers of the worlds, the city of the gods, the sky above and the earth below in the unlimited vault of the universe, suddenly returned to her own land and found herself in her room again.

Chapter 3.26 — Return to the Holy Brahmin’s House; Description of Gloom; Vasishta Explains Astral Appearance

1. Vasishta said:— After the excellent ladies had returned from their visit of physical sphere, they entered the house where the holy brahmin used to live.

2. There the holy ladies, unseen by anyone, saw the tomb of the brahmin.

3. The maid servants were dejected with sorrow, and the faces of the women were soiled with tears, faded like lotuses with their withered leaves.

4. All joy had fled from the house, leaving it like the dry bed of the dead sea after its waters were sucked. It was like a garden parched in summer, or a tree struck by lightening.

5. It was as joyless as a dried lotus torn by a blast or withering under frost; and as faint as the light of a lamp without its wick or oil; and as dim as the eyeball without its light.

6. The house without its master was as sad as the face of a dying person, or like a forest with its falling and withered leaves, or like dry and dusty ground for lack of rain.

7-8 Then Leela, with her gracefulness of divine knowledge, the elegance of her perfections, and her devotion for truth, thought within herself that the residents of the house might see her and the goddess in their ordinary forms as human beings.

9. Then the people of the house saw the two ladies as Lakshmi and Gauri, brightening the house with the light of their being.

10. Wreaths of unfading flowers of various kinds adorned the two women from head to foot. They seemed like the personifications of spring season, perfuming the house with the fragrance of a flower garden.

11. They appeared to rise like a pair of moons with their cooling and pleasant beams infusing a freshness to the family, like moonlight does to medicinal plants in forests and villages.

12. The soft glances of their eyes under the long, loose and pendant curls of hair were like a shower of white malati flowers from the dark cloudy spots of their black lined eyes.

13. Their bodies were as bright as melted gold and as vibrant as a flowing stream. Their brilliance cast a golden color on the spot where they stood, as it did over the forest all around.

14. The natural beauty of Lakshmi’s body and the trembling glare of Leela’s body spread as it were, a sea of radiance about them in which their bodies seemed to move like undulating waves.

15. Their relaxed arms resembling loose vines, their palms like red leaflets shook like the fresh kalpa vines in the forest.

16. They touched the ground with their feet that resembled the fresh and tender petals of a flower, or like lotuses growing upon the ground.

17. Their appearance seemed to sprinkle ambrosial dews all around and made the dry withered and brown branches of tamara trees sprout new tender leaflets.

18. On seeing them, the whole family with Jyeshtha Sarma, the eldest son of the deceased brahmin, cried aloud and said, “Hail to the woodland goddesses,” and threw handfuls of flowers on their feet.

19. The flower offerings that fell on their feet resembled showers of dewdrops falling on lotus leaves in a lake of lotuses.

20. Jyeshtha Sarma said, “Hail, you goddesses who have come here to dispel our sorrow. It is inborn in the nature of good people to deliver others from their distress.”

21. The goddesses addressed him gently, “Tell us the cause of your sorrow which has made you all so sad.”

22. Then, one by one, Jyeshtha Sarma and others described their sorrows owing to the death of the brahmin couple.

23. They said, “Know, O goddess pair, there lived here a brahmin and his wife who had been the support of guests and a model for brahmins.

24. They were our parents who recently died. They have abandoned us, leaving all their friends and domestic animals here. They have departed to heaven and left us quite helpless in this world.”

25. “The birds sitting on the top of the house have been continually pouring their pious and mournful sounds over the bodies of the deceased.

26. Mountains on all sides have been lamenting their loss with the hoarse noise of winds howling in their caverns, shedding showers of tears in the courses of the streams issuing from their sides.

27. Clouds have poured their tears in floods of rainwater, then fled from the skies. The heavenly quarters have been sending their sighs in sultry winds all around.”

28. “The poor village people are wailing in piteous notes, their bodies disheveled from rolling upon the ground. They are trying to yield up their lives with continued fasting.

29. The trees are shedding their tears every day in drops of melting snow exuding from the cells of their leaves and flowers, resembling the sockets of their eyes.

30. The streets are deserted for lack of passers-by and have become dusty without being watered. They have become as empty as the hearts of men forsaken by their joys of life.

31. Among the sad notes of cuckoos and the humming of bees, fading plants are wailing and withering from the sultry sighs of their inner grief.

32. Snows are melting from the heat of their grief, their waters falling in cataracts that break into to a hundred channels as they fall upon stony basins.”

33. “Our prosperity has fled from us, and we sit here in dumb despair of hope. Our houses have become dark and gloomy as a desert.

34. Here the humble bees are humming in grief upon the scattered flowers in our garden that now sends forth a putrid smell instead of their former fragrance.

35. The vines that twined so gaily round the spring trees are dwindling and dying away with their closing and fading flowers.

36. The rivulets, with their loose and low rippling murmur and the light wavelike motion of their liquid bodies on the ground, are running hurriedly in their sorrow to cast themselves into the sea.

37. Despite the disturbance of the gnats flying constantly upon them, ponds are as still in their sorrow as men sitting in meditation.

38. Truly this day, the presence of our parents is adorning that part of the heaven where heavenly singers, the kinnaras, gandharvas and vidyadharas, welcome them with their music.”

39. “Therefore, O Devis! reduce our excessive grief, because the visit of the great never goes for nothing.”

40. Hearing these words, Leela gently touched the head of her son with her hand, as the lotus bed leans to touch its offshoot by the stalk.

41. At her touch the boy was relieved of all his sorrow and misfortune, just like the summer heat of the mountain is reduced by the showers of rainy season.

42. All others in the house were as highly gratified at the sight of the goddesses as when a pauper is relieved of his poverty, or the sick are healed by a draught of nectar.

43. Rama said, “Remove my doubt, sage. Why didn’t Leela appear in her own form of Arundhati before her eldest son, Jyeshta Sarma?”

44. Vasishta answered:— You forget, O Rama, and think that Leela had a material body or could assume one at pleasure. She was in an astral form, her form of pure intellect, and it was with her spiritual hand that she touched the inner spirit of the boy and not his material body.

45. Belief in materialism leads one to think that his unreal earthly frame is real, just like a boy’s belief in ghosts makes him take a shadow for a spirit.

46. But this belief in one’s materiality is soon over upon conviction of one’s spirituality, just like the traces of our visions in a dream are removed on the knowledge of their unreality upon waking.

47. Belief that matter is an empty nothing leads to the knowledge of the spirit. A glass door appears as open space to someone of an irritable temperament. In the same way matter appears as nothing to the wise.

48. A dream presents the sights of cities, lands, air and water where there are no such things in actuality. A dream causes the movements of our limbs and bodies for no purpose.

49. As air appears as earth in dreaming, so the nonexistent world appears to exist in waking. It is thus that men see and talk of things unseen and unknown in their fits of delirium.

50. Children see ghosts in the air and a dying man sees a forest in it. Others see elephants in clouds, and some see pearls in sunbeams.

51. Those who are panic-struck and deranged in their minds, the half-waking and passengers in vessels, see many appearances like such ghosts and forests and betray what they see (in dreams) by the movements of their bodies.

52. In this manner, everyone is of the form of whatever he thinks himself to be. It is only habit that makes him to believe himself as such. He is not so in reality.

53. But Leela, who had known the truth of the nonexistence of the world, was conscious of its nothingness and viewed all things as false conceptions of the mind.

54. Thus he who sees only Brahma filling the sphere of his consciousness has no room for a son or friend or wife.

55. He who views the whole as filled with the spirit of Brahma, with nothing produced in it, has no room for affection or hatred for anybody in it.

56. The hand that Leela laid on the head of Jyeshtha Sarma, her eldest son, was not lain from her maternal affection for him, but for his edification in intellectual knowledge.

57. Consciousness being awakened, there is all joy attendant upon it. It is more subtle than ether and far purer than vacuum, and leads the intellectual being above the region of air. All other things are like images in a dream.

Chapter 3.27 — Leela Remembers Her Past Lives Vasishta speaking:—

1. Then the two ladies disappeared from that place, leaving the brahmin family in their house in the mountainous village.

2. The family exclaimed “We are highly favored by the woodland goddesses.” Then forgetting their grief, they returned to their domestic employments.

3. Then the ethereal goddess spoke to the aerial Leela, who stood fixed in the air over the brahmin’s house in a state of mute astonishment.

4. They conversed with each other as familiarly as persons having the same thoughts and desires agree with each another in their views and acts, and as the dreamers of the same dream hold their mutual correspondence, like Usha and Anniruddha.

5. Their conversation in their immaterial forms was of the same intellectual kind as we are conscious of in our dreams and imaginations.

6. Saraswati said, “Now you have fully known the knowable and you have become acquainted with whatever is visible and invisible. Such is the essence of Brahma. Say now, what more do you want to know?”

7. Leela said, “Tell me the reason why I was seen by my son, but wasn’t seen where the spirit of my departed lord is reigning over his realm.”

8. Saraswati replied, “Because then you were not perfect by your practice of meditation to have your wish fulfilled, nor had you lost your sense of duality which prevents perfection.

9. He who has not known unity is not entitled to the acts and benefits of faith in the true God, as no one sitting in the sun can enjoy the coolness of shade.”

10. “You were not practiced to forget your identity as Leela. Nor had you learned that it is not your will, but the will of God that is always fulfilled.

11. Later you become pure desire and wished that your son might see you, whereby he was able to see you.

12. If you should return now to your husband and do the same, you will undoubtedly be successful in your desire.”

13. Leela said, “I see within the sphere of this dome (of my mind) that the holy brahmin has been my husband before. I also see that after he died, he became a ruler of the earth.

14. In my mind I see that spot of the earth, that city and his palace where I sat as his queen.

15. Within myself I see my lord reigning in that place, and I can even see how he died afterwards.

16. I see the glory of the ruler of so many countries on earth, and I also see the perfect frankness of his conduct throughout his life.”

17. “In the inner sky of my mind I see the worlds as they were placed in a casket, just like oil is contained within a mustard seed.

18. I see the bright orb of my husband ever wandering before me, and now I pray you to contrive some way to place me by his side.”

19. The goddess replied, “Tell me Leela, to which husband should you go? You have had and will have hundreds of them in your past and future lives, and now there are three of them confined in this earth.

20. The nearest of the three is the brahmin here who is reduced to ashes. The next is the king lying in state and covered with flowers in the inner apartment.”

21. “The third is now a reigning king on this earth and has been buffeting in the waves of error in the vast ocean of the world.

22. His intellect is darkened and disordered by the splashing waves of worldliness. His intelligence is perverted to stupidity. He is converted to a tortoise in the ocean of the world.

23. The management of his very many disordered state affairs has stultified him into a clumsy lout, and he is now fast asleep amidst the turmoil of business.

24. The strong chain of his thoughts has bound him to think that he is a lord, mighty and accomplished, and that he is happy and can enjoy his estates forever.”

25. “Now say, O excellent lady, to what husband do you wish to be led like the fragrance of one forest carried by the breeze to another?”

26. “Here you are in one place and they are in others in this vast universe. The states of their lives and manners differ widely from one another.

27. These orbs of light in the heaven, though they appear to be placed so near to us, are situated millions of leagues apart from one another and they carry the departed souls.

28. All these bodies are as empty as air, though they contain the great mountains Meru and Mandara in themselves.”

29. “All bodies are formed by a combination of atoms constantly proceeding from the Great Intellect, like particles of sunbeams over the universe.

30. The great and stupendous fabric of the world is no more than a quantity of paddy rice weighed in a balance.

31. As the spangled heavens appear like a forest full of brilliant gems, so the world appears to the contemplative mind as full of the glory of God and not composed of earth or other material bodies.

32. In the intelligent soul, it is Consciousness alone that shines in the form of world and not any material body that was never brought into being.

33. Like waves in a lake rise and set and rise again, so the rising and falling days and nights present these various scenes to our knowledge.”

34. Leela said, “So it is, O mother of mankind. I come to remember now that my present birth is of a royal kind, neither too pure nor gross in nature.

35. I, having descended from Brahma, have undergone a hundred and eight births and, after passing various states, I find myself still in existence.”

36. “I recollect, O goddess, that I was born before in another world, that I was the bride of a demigod (vidyadhara) and used to wander about as freely as a bee over flowers.

37. Being debased by my lack of moral restraint, I was born in this mortal world and became the mate of the king of the eaglefeathered tribe.

38. Having lived in the woods, then I was turned to a woodman’s mate, wearing a garment of leaves on my loins.

39. Growing fond of my life, I played wantonly about the forest and was changed into a guluncha plant, delighting the woods with my leafy palms and flowering eyes.

40. This small tree in a holy hermitage was held sacred by a group of saintly sages.” “Then, after the woods were burnt down by a wildfire, I was regenerated into the form of an hermit’s child.

41. Here I was taught the formulas for removing the curse of womanhood, and I became a male in the person of the handsome prince of the land of Surashtra (Surat) where I reigned for a hundred years.

42. “Then, on account of my misconduct in the government, I was denounced to become a weasel covered with leprosy, living in the lowlands of Tali.”

43. “I remember, O goddess, how I became a bullock in Surat and how for full eight years I was goaded by thoughtless cowherd children in their merry sport.

44. I have in mind that when I was transformed into a bird, with what difficulty I broke the net that was laid by bird-catchers for my destruction. It was in the same manner as we release ourselves from the snares of sinful desires.

45. I remember with pleasure when as a bee I landed lightly on the leaflets of blossoms, sipped the honey of the blooming buds, dined on the pistils, and slept in the cups of lotus flowers.

46. In the form of an antelope I wandered about in pleasant woodlands and lawns with my exalted and branching horns and beautiful eyes, until I was killed by a hunter’s arrow.

47. I have been in the form of a fish, and I was lifted up by the waves of the sea above the surface of the water. I saw how a tortoise was killed by the blow of a club on the neck.”

48. “I was a tribal (chandala, outcaste) hunter once, wandering by the side of the Charmanvati (Chenab River). When tired of roaming, I used to quench my thirst with coconut water.

49. I also became a stork, delighting in lakes with my mate, filling the air with our sweet cries.

50. In another birth, I rambled about in groves of palm and tamara trees and fixed my eyes with amorous looks and glances upon my lover.”

51. “Next I was a fairy apsara with a form as bright as melted gold and features as beautiful as those of the lotus and lily in which the celestials used to take delight like bees and butterflies.

52. I remember being on earth, having decked myself in gold, pearls, rubies and other gems, and playing with my youthful consorts in pleasure gardens and groves, and on hills and mountains.”

53. “I also remember living long as a tortoise on the borders of a river, and to have been carried away by the waves, sometimes under a tree of vines over-hung with clusters of beautiful flowers, sometimes washed by waves into some wild cave.

54. I see how I acted the part of a goose covered by feathers, swimming on the high heaving waves on the surface of a lake.

55. Then, seeing a poor gnat hanging on the moving leaf of a cotton tree (salmali) branch, I became its associate and as contemptible a thing as itself.

56. I became an aquatic crane also, skimming playfully over waters gushing from hills, slightly kissing the crests of waves rising over the rapid torrent.”

57. “I remember also how I slighted the loves of amorous youths and spurned the lesser demigod (vidyadhara) children on the Gandha Madana and Mandara hills.

58. I remember likewise the pangs of a lovelorn lass as I lay pining in my bed strewn with the fragrance of camphor, and how I was decaying like the disc of the waning moon.”

59. “Thus I passed through many births in the wombs of higher and lower animals and found them all to be full of pain. My soul has run over the waves of the irresistible current of life, like a fleet antelope pacing its speed with the swiftness of the wind.”

Chapter 3.28 — Leela’s Vision in Meditation; Description of the Mountain Hamlet

1. Rama said, “Tell me sage, how did the goddesses break out of the strongholds of their bodies and the prison-house of this world and pass through infinite space and survey the scenes beyond its confines?”

2. Vasishta replied:— Where is the world and where is its support or solidity? They were all situated in the region within the minds of the goddesses.

3. In their minds they saw the hilly tract where the brahmin Vasishta lived and had his desire for royalty.

4. They saw his deserted house and in their minds they saw the surface of the earth stretching to the seas.

5. In that imaginary spot of earth they saw the city of the king and the royal palace which he had enjoyed with Arundhati, his wife.

6. They saw how she was born under the name of Leela and how she worshipped the goddess of wisdom, Saraswati, by whom she was miraculously conveyed to the delightful region of the sky.

7. It was in the house situated in that hilly village that she saw the world placed within the space of her mind.

8. Having come out of her vision of the world, she found herself sitting in her house, just like one finds himself lying in his own bed after rambling from one dream to another.

9. All that she saw was mere vision and void. There was no world, no earth, no house, and no distance.

10. It was the mind that showed them these images, just like the mind presents the objects of our desire to our view. Otherwise, there is neither world nor earth in actuality.

11. The sphere of consciousness is infinite and without any covering. If agitated by the powers of one’s intellect, it presents all the objects of nature to his view, like the sky when agitated by heat produces the winds.

12. The sphere of consciousness is uncreated. It is ever calm everywhere. Deluded minds suppose the world to exist.

13. He who understands rightly sees the world is as unsubstantial as air. But whoever is misled by wrong judgment takes it to be like a solid mountain.

14. As a house and city are manifested to us in our dream, so this unreal world is presented as a reality to our understanding.

15. It is like the misconception of water in the mirage and the mistake of gold in a bracelet. All this unreality appears as a reality to the mistaken mind.

16. Discoursing in this manner between themselves, the two charming ladies, walked out of the house with their graceful steps.

17. Being unseen by the village people, they viewed the mountain standing before them, kissing the vault of heaven and touching the orb of the sun with its lofty peaks.

18. It was decorated with flowers of various colors and covered with a variety of trees of various colors. There were waterfalls gushing with their tremendous roaring on one side, and groves resounding with the warbling of birds in another.

19. The clouds were variegated by many colored clusters of flowers sweeping over them, and cranes and storks sat screeching on the cloud-capped tops of guluncha trees.

20. There were robust reeds lining the banks of rivers with their wide stretching stems and roots. Strong winds tossed the tender vines growing out of the rocky caves.

21. Clouds from the vault of heaven hung over the tops of trees covered with flowers and shed their pearly drops of rainwater profusely upon them, forming streams below.

22. The banks of the streamlets were continually lapped by waves raised by winds playing upon the shaking trees. Branches spread a cooling shade all around.

23. Standing on that spot, the ladies saw the hilly hamlet in the grass, like a fragment of heaven had fallen on the ground.

24. There the rippling streams softly glided by, and here the brimming brooks wobbled in the ground. The birds of the air chirped on the sprays, and aquatic fowls flew about the holes of the seashore.

25. There they saw herds of cattle slowly moving and grazing in the plains, filling the echoing woods with their loud lowing. They saw an open space broken with shady groves and trees and green meadows all about.

26. The cliffs were white with snow, impenetrable by sunbeams. Hill tops were covered with bushy brambles, forming like braids of hair upon their craggy heads.

27. Cascades falling in torrents in the cavities of rocks, scattering their pearly particles afar like the churning of the Milky Ocean by Mandara Mountain.

28. The trees in the glens, loaded as they were with their fruit and flowers, appeared like waiters upon the goddesses, standing to welcome their approach with their rich presents.

29. Shaken by gusts of roaring winds, the forest trees were shedding showers of their honey sweetened flowers as offerings to the woodland gods and people.

30. The birds that approached fearlessly to drink the water dropping from the hill now fled for fear because the water seemed like sleet, or the shells and shots of archers.

31. Birds, parched by thirst and wishing to drink the water dashed by the waves of the rivulet, hovered upon it like stars in the sky.

32. There were rows of crows sitting on the tops of tall palm trees from whose sight children were hiding the remains of their sweetmeat.

33. They saw country lads with garlands of flowers on their heads and garments roaming in the cooling shades of the date, jam and neem trees.

34. They saw a lean and hungry beggar woman passing by slowly, clad in cloth of flax with garlands of blossoms over her ears.

35. They saw lazy rustics lying in their lonely retreats, talking away from the noisy brooks where they could hardly hear one another.

36. They saw naked beggar children crowding in a compound, curd smeared on their faces and hands, cow dung on their bodies, and holding flowery branches of plants in their hands.

37. On the green river banks, waves shook bushes as if they were a swing, leaving their marks on the sandy shore as the waters receded to their bed.

38. There was a house full of flies attracted by sweet milk and curds, but children were crying for lack of food.

39. Herdswomen were fretting at seeing their bracelets daubed by the cow dung they were spreading to dry. Men were smiling at seeing the eagerness of women tying the loosened knots of their hair.

40. Crows from the hilltops were alighting to pick up the offerings of the holy sages, and the paths around their houses were strewn with sacred kuru and kurunta leaves.

41. Every morning flowering plants growing in the caves of the hills and around the house covered the ground heel-deep with heaps of flowers.

42. There were whisk-tailed cattle and antelope grazing in one part of the forest, and tender young deer sleeping on beds of grass under gunja groves.

43. There were young calves lying on their sides shaking their ears to drive away the flies that fluttered around their faces, milk dripping from the sides of their mouths.

44. Rooms stored honey collected by driving bees from their hives. Gardens were full of flowering asokas. Rooms were painted with red dye.

45. Winds moistened by rain showers had brought the garden of trees to bloom, and yellow kadamba buds hung like a canopy over the beds of green grass below.

46. The ketaka tree grove was blooming white from having its weeds removed, and the watercourse glided along with its soft murmuring tune.

47. Winds whistled in the windows of caves and clouds rested on mountain tops. Ponds were brimful of water covered with lotuses like so many moons.

48. A grove of green trees cast its cooling and undivided shade upon the ground where dewdrops trembled on blades of grass and glistened like twinkling stars in the blue sky.

49. Trees constantly dropped their ripened fruit, dried flowers and leaves of various sorts, like showers of snow on whitened ground.

50. Some clouds were seen to hang continually over the household compound, like aristocratic girls who never forsake their parents’ home. Other clouds hovered over the roof of the house flashing lightening to supply the light.

51. The altar here reverberated to the loud roaring of winds confined in the caves of mountains. The temple there was graced by twittering swallows and parrots that perched upon it from their numerous flights.

52. Soft breezes moved slowly as they passed along the lawn loaded with fragrance exhaled by sleepy flowers and gently shaking the leaves of trees.

53. There the ladies listened to prattling and playful parrots and partridges, and here they heard the melodious notes of the kokila nightingale calling back to the jarring crows on the branches.

54. Palm and tamara trees were loaded with fruit, and the forest trees were entwined with vines that waved their leafy palms around them.

55. There were tender ivy vines clasping the branches on one side, and the fragrance of efflorescent kandala and silindhra plants exhaled on the other. Tapering palm and tamara trees rose as high as spires, and a cooling breeze was blowing amidst the flower plants in the gardens.

56. There were cattle hastening to drink water in troughs, and garden trees hung with loads of green unripe fruit and beautiful flowers. Running streams were hidden under rows of trees by their banks. Stalks of plants were studded with flowers.

57. Gardens were perfumed with the nectar fragrance of kunda flowers, and lakes were redolent with the odor of lotuses hiding humble bees giddy with liquor in their honey cells. The air was reddened with rose-colored pollen flying from crimson lotuses, as if mocking the redness of Indra’s palace in the sky.

58. The scene was enchanted with the gurgling noise of small rivers running precipitately down from the hills, kundu flowers as white as clouds hanging over them, the beauty of the flower gardens around the house, and the musical warbling of songbirds singing joyfully in the air.

59. Boys were sporting on beds of flowers, and playful maidens were decked with flowery wreaths hanging down to their feet. Everywhere the ground was adorned with sprouting and prickly shrubs and blades of grass. There was a beauty displayed in the clasping of vines about the clumps of reeds.

60. New shooting buds and blossoms covered the trees and fragments of clouds shrouded the houses below. The ground was decorated by wreaths of icicles, and the flashes of lightning in the clouds over the houses terrified the women within.

61. There was a sweet fragrance of blue lotuses, and the hoarse lowing of the cattle hurrying to their green grazing ground. Confident deer and does were lying tamely in the yard, and peacocks danced merrily before waterfalls as if they were showers of rainwater.

62. Fragrant breezes were blowing giddily with the flavors of the fragrances they bore. Medicinal plants were lending their lights like lamps at night. Bird nests resounded with ceaseless warbling, and the noise of waterfalls deafened the ears of men on the bank.

63. Pearly dewdrops continually falling on the ground from the leaves of trees and blades of grass, the gleaming beauty of the ever blooming blossoms above, and the other everlasting charms of mountain hamlets baffle the description of poets.

Chapter 3.29 — Description of Leela’s Life as Arundhati; Description of Astral Travel in Space Vasishta speaking:—

1. Then the two goddesses sat on a cooling village seat, much like the two states of joy and liberation meet in the tranquil spirit of the man knowing the Divine Spirit.

2. By this time Leela had become personified to the form of pure consciousness through her knowledge of meditation. She had become a seer of the three times presenting themselves before her.

3. She remembered the whole course of her past life and derived pleasure relating the events of her former life and death.

4. Leela said, “By your favor, O goddess, and by sight of this place, I recollect all that I did and thought of in my past life.

5. Here I grew up to old age, and here I withered and become lean and thin as a skeleton.” “I was a brahmani here and had my body scratched by dried sacrificial grass (kusa).

6. I was the legal wife of my lord and producer of his race. I was employed milking cattle and churning curd. I had been mother of many sons and a kind hostess to my guests.

7. I was devoted to the service of the gods, brahmins and good people, and rubbed my body with cow milk and ghee.” “I cleaned the frying pans and boiling kettles of the house.

8. I boiled food daily with a single bracelet of glass and one of conch-shell on my wrists. I served my father, mother, brother, daughters and sonsin- law with their daily meals.

9. Working all day and night, my body was emaciated like that of a domestic servant. ‘Haste and hasten’ were the words I used to repeat to myself.”

10. “Being so busy, I was silly and ignorant. Although I was the wife of a brahmin, I never wondered, not even in a dream, about what I was and what was this world.

11. Fully engaged in the collection of fuel, cow-dung, and sacrificial wood and vegetables, I became emaciated in my body, which was wrapped in a worn out blanket.”

12. “I used to pick out worms from the ears of the milk cow, and was prompt to water the garden of greens with watering pots in hand.

13. Every day I used to go to the lake and get fresh green grass to feed my tender calves. I used to wash and clean the house every morning, and paint the doorway with the white tints of pasted and powdered rice (gundi) .

14. I had to correct my servants with gentle rebukes and tell them to keep within their bounds like the waves in the rivers.”

15. “With my infirm body and ears shaking like dried tree leaves, and supporting myself on a stick, I lived here under the dread of old age.”

16. As she was speaking in this manner and walking with Saraswati about the village in the valley of the mountain, she was astonished to see her former seats of pleasure, and she showed them to the goddess.

17. “This was my flowery tree garden, decorated by these torn patala plants, and this was my garden alcove of flowering asokas.

18. This is the bank of the pond where the calves were loosely tied to the trees. This is my pet calf Karnika, which in my absence has refrained from eating the leaves.

19. This is my watering woman, now so weak and dirty in her appearance, her eyes daubed in tears from weeping these eight days in my absence.”

20. “This, O goddess, is the place where I used to eat and sit, and where I slept and walked. These are the places where I gave and received the things from my attendants.

21. This is my eldest son, Jyeshtha Sarma, weeping in the house. That is my milk cow, now grazing on the grassy plain in the forest.”

22. “I see this portico and these windows, once as dear to me as my own self, smeared with the dry powder of the spring Holi festival.

23. I see these pulpy gourds, planted with my own hands and dear to me as myself, now spreading themselves over the oven area.

24. I see my relatives wearing rudraksha beads, who before had been the bonds of my life, carrying fuel for fire, eyes tearing from the smoke.

25. I see that stony shore pelting its pebbles against force of the waves that baffle the beach, now covered by bushes.

26. The green meadows were full of leafy plants, dew drops on their tips. The plains were whitened from hailstones falling on them in showers.

27. The midday was covered by sunbeams, like a white mist of frost. The tree groves resounded with humming of bees fluttering about clustering flowers.”

28. “The blooming palasa, glowing like reddish coral, covered trees and land with heaps of crimson flowers.

29. Fruit was flowing in the village stream, carried from shore to shore, and rustic lads loudly jumbled together, eager to lay hold on them.

30. The cool shady beach of the stream was strewn with pebbles, washed and carried away by the current and covered by leaves falling from the trees.”

31. “There I see the altar of my house, so beautifully decorated with flowering vines, clusters of fruits and flowers hanging over its windows.

32. Here lived my husband, whose life in its aerial form has fled to the sky and became lord of the earth reaching the surrounding seas.

33. I remember how he had fostered the fond wish of obtaining royal dignity, and how ardently he looked forward to its attainment.

34. I see, O goddess, his royal dignity of eight days, which had seemed to be so long in duration.”

35. “I see the soul of my husband in the same form as his kingly state residing in the empty space of this house, invisible to all like the air in the sky, and like the odors borne by the winds.

36. It is in this empty space that his soul is contained within the form of a thumb that contains in its bosom the whole extent of my lord’s realm stretching thousands of leagues in its circumference.

37. I also see the spacious kingdom of my lord in the space of my consciousness which, by the miraculous power of God called illusion (maya), makes room for thousands of mountains.”

38. “O Goddess, now I wish to see the earthly city of my lord again. Let us therefore turn our course that way, as no place is distant to the resolute.”

39. Vasishta said:— Having said so, Leela bowed down to Saraswati and entered the shrine. Then, like a bird, she flew into the air with the goddess.

40. It was a region devoid of darkness and as fair as a sea of moonlight. Then it became as blue as the body of Narayana and as bright as the back of a locust.

41. They passed above the regions of the clouds and winds, then beyond the spheres of the orbits of the sun and moon.

42. They passed beyond the path of the north star and the limits of the circuits of the sadhya deities, spiritual masters, and other celestial beings.

43. From there they ascended to the higher heavens of Brahma and the Tushita divinities, then upward to the sphere of Golaka (the zodiac), and from there to the world of Shiva and to the sphere of the departed souls of the dead.

44. Passing beyond the spheres of embodied living beings and of the bodiless souls of the dead, they proceeded far and farther to the unknown regions of empty space.

45. Having passed the ethereal sphere, they saw nothing there except the sun, moon and the stars shining below them.

46. There was only a deep darkness to be seen, filling the whole void of space and appearing like the basin of the waters of universal deluge, and as compact as the impenetrable cavity of a rock.

47. Leela said, “Tell me, O goddess! What happened to the light of the sun and other stars? Where did this darkness, dense like a fist, come from?”

48. The goddess replied, “You have arrived at a place so remote from the spheres of heaven that the light of the stars can never reach it.

49. Just like one at the bottom of a deep dark pit is unable to see the light of a firefly flitting over it, so sunlight is invisible to one behind the great belt of heaven.”

50. Leela said, “Such a great distance we have come! The great luminary of the sun appears as small as an atom below.

51. Tell me mother, what sort of a place lies beyond this region, and how can we get there after traversing this gloomy expanse?”

52. Saraswati said, “Behind this is the great pole of the universe that is scattered with innumerable nebular stars like particles of dust.”

53. Vasishta said:— As they were talking in this manner, they glided imperceptibly to that pole, like a bee saunters over a solitary hut on the height of a mountain.

54. They were at no pains to come down from that precipice, as there is no pain to effect what must certainly come to pass, even though it appears difficult at first.

55. They saw the system of the universe laid naked to their sight, just as a bold navigator beholds a world exposed to his view beyond the wide expanse of waters.

56. They saw the watery expanse to be ten times greater than the earth and enveloping like the crust of a walnut.

57. Then there is a latent heat that is ten times as great as the water, and the surrounding air is as much greater than the water, and then the all encompassing space of which there is no end.

58. There is no beginning, middle or end to that infinite space. It produces nothing, like a barren woman of her offspring.

59. It is only an extended expanse, infinite, calm and without beginning, middle or end, situated in the Supreme Spirit.

60. Its immensity is as immeasurable as a stone flung with full force from its top. It is impossible for a garuda bird, flying with all his might at full speed over the course of an entire kalpa age, to reach from one end to the other .

Chapter 3.30 — Vasishta Describes the Universe, the Cosmic Egg (Brahmanda) Vasishta speaking:—

1. Within a moment they passed beyond the regions of the earth, air, fire, water and space and the tracks of the ten planetary spheres.

2. They reached boundless space from where the universe appears like an egg.

3. Under its vault they saw millions of luminous particles floating in the air,

4. like innumerable bubbles floating on the waters of the unlimited ocean of the sphere of Consciousness.

5. Some particles were going downward, and others rising upward; some turning round, and others appeared to their understanding to remain fixed and immovable.

6. These different motions were only apparent as they saw them from different sides.

7. Here there were no ups or downs, no upside or below, and no going forward or backward. Here there are no directions as men know.

8. There is only one indefinite space in nature, as there is only one consciousness in all beings. Yet everything moves in its own way, just like wayward children take their own course.

9. Rama said, “Tell me sage, why do we refer to up and down, forward and backward, if there is no such thing in space and nature?”

10. Vasishta said:— There is only one space enveloping all things. The worlds seen in the infinite and indiscernible womb of emptiness are like worms moving on the surface of water.

11. All these bodies that move about in the world by their lack of freedom are thought to be up and down relative to our position on earth.

12. So when there are ants on an earthen ball, all its sides are reckoned below that are under their feet, and those as above which are over their backs.

13. Such is this ball of earth in one of these worlds, covered by vegetables and animals moving on it, and by gods, demons and men walking upon it.

14. It is also covered by cities, towns and mountains and their inhabitants and productions, like a walnut by its shell.

15. Like elephants appearing as pigmies in the Vindhyan Mountains, these worlds appear as particles in the vast expanse of space.

16. Everything anywhere is produced from and exists in space. It is always all in all things, which are contained like particles in it.

17. Such is the pure empty space of Divine Consciousness which, like an ocean of light, contains these innumerable worlds which are forever revolving in it like the countless waves of the sea.

18. Some of these are hollow within, and others are as dark as the darkness in the end of a kalpa age. They are all moving about in the ocean of emptiness like the waves of the sea.

19. Some are forever whirling about with a jarring noise that is neither heard or known to anybody. It is like the motion of men addicted by their nature to earthly pursuits.

20. Some worlds are growing in form, as if they were newly created. In their development, they are like sprouts from seeds newly sown in the ground.

21. Some are melting away like icicles in heat, or like the mountains that melt at the dissolution of the world from burning sun and heavenly fire.

22. Others have been continually falling downward without reaching any ground, until at last they dwindle and melt into Divine Intellect.

23. Others are fixed in the air like miniscule animals in water that are moved to and fro by currents but without any sign of motion or sensation in them.

24. Again, nothing is stable in nature. Everything is as changing as people alter and add to the acts and customs enjoined in the Vedas and scriptures.

25. There are other Brahmas and other patriarchs, and many Vishnus and many Indras, one after the other. We have different kings of men, and sometimes no ruler of them.

26. Some in this multiform creation are like men or lords of others, and some are creeping and crooked living beings on earth. Some kinds are as plenty as the waters of the ocean, and others have become extinct.

27. Some are as hard as solid stones, and others are as soft as poor insects and worms. Some are of godly figures, such as the giants, while others are of puny human forms.

28. Some are quite blind and are suited to darkness. Others are suited to light. Some to both.

29. Some are born as gnats sucking the juice figs. Others are empty within and fly about and feed upon the air.

30. The world is filled with creatures beyond the conception of even yogis. Even we cannot form even a guess of all the beings that fill infinite space.

31. This world is the sphere for these living beings, but the great emptiness that spreads beyond is so extensive that the gods Vishnu and others are unable to measure it even if they were to traverse it for the whole of their lives.

32. Every one of these ethereal globes is encircled by a belt resembling a golden bracelet, and each has an attractive power like the earth to attract other objects.

33. I have told you all about the grandeur of the universe to my best knowledge. I have no knowledge or power to describe anything beyond this.

34. There are many other large worlds, unseen by others, rolling through the immense space of vacuum, like giddy yaksha demons revel in the dark and dismal deserts and forests.

Chapter 3.31 — Leela & Saraswati Arrive on Earth; Fate of Good & Bad Fallen in War

1. Vasishta said:— After having seen the worlds in their aerial journey, the ladies arrived on earth and quickly entered King Padma’s inner apartment.

2. There they saw the king’s dead body lying in state under heaps of flowers, Leela’s spiritual body sitting beside the corpse.

3. It was the dead of night and the residents had fallen into sound sleep one by one. The room was perfumed with the incense of resin, camphor, sandalwood and saffron.

4. Leela, seeing the house of her late husband and wishing to enter it, came to his tomb in her assumed body.

5. Then she passed through the fictitious spacious palace of her lord by breaking out of the confines of her body and head that in yoga terminology are called earthly and worldly environs.

6. Then with the goddess she went again to the bright and spacious temple of the world and quickly entered.

7. She saw her husband’s imaginary world (that of King Viduratha) like a dirty and mossy pool, just like a lioness beholds a mountain cave covered by darkness and clouds.

8. Then the two goddesses entered that empty world with their airy bodies, like weak ants make their passage through the hard crust of the wood-apple.

9. There they passed through regions of cloudy hills and skies, and reached the surface of the earth, consisting of tracts of land and basins of water.

10. They came to the continent of Jambu (Asia) situated amid the nine-fold petals of the other continents, and from there proceeded to the territories of Leela’s husband in the land of Bharata (India).

11. During this time they saw a certain prince (the ruler of Sindh), strengthened by other chiefs, making an attack on this land which was the beauty of the world.

12. They saw the air crowded by people of the three worlds who had assembled to see the conflict.

13. They remained undaunted, and saw the air crowded by aerial beings in groups like clouds.

14. There were the spiritual masters (siddhas), charana and sura demigods, celestial gandharvas, supernatural vidyadharas, and other celestials and apsara nature spirits in large bodies.

15. There were also bhuta and pisacha demons, and rakshasa demon cannibals; while female vidyadhara were flinging handfuls of flowers on the combatants like showers of rain.

16. The evil-spirit vetalas, yakshas and kushmands were looking at the battle with pleasure, taking the shelter of hills to avoid flying arrows and weapons.

17. The imps were flying from the air to keep out of the path of flying weapons. The spectators were excited by sound of the combatants’ war cries.

18. Leela, who was standing by with a fan in her hand, was frightened at the imminent, dreadful conflict. She smiled in scorn at the boasting on each side.

19. Virtuous people unable to endure the horrid sight took to praying with the chief priests to avert the calamity.

20. Indra’s messengers were ready with their decorated elephants to bear the souls of mighty heroes to grace the seats of heaven.

21. The demigod charanas and gandharvas sang praises of the advancing heroes. Those heavenly apsara nymphs who liked heroism were glancing at the best combatants.

22. Voluptuous women wished to embrace the arms of the brave. The fair fame of the heroes had turned the hot sunshine to cool moonlight.

23. Rama asked, “Tell me, sage, what sort of a warrior is called a hero and becomes a jewel in heaven, and who is an insurgent?”

24. Vasishta answered:— He who engages in a lawful warfare and fights for his king, whether he dies or becomes victorious in the field, is called a hero and goes to heaven.

25. Whoever otherwise kills men in war for an unjust cause and dies is called an insurgent and goes to hell.

26. Whoever fights for unlawful property and dies in battle becomes subject to everlasting hellfire.

27. Whoever wages a war justified by law and custom, that warrior is called both loyal and heroic in deed.

28. Whoever dies in war with a willing mind to protect cattle, brahmins and friends, and whoever protects his guest and refugee with all diligence, after his death he truly becomes an ornament in heaven.

29. The king who is steadfast protecting his subjects and his own country is called just, and those who die in his cause are called brave.

30. They who die fighting on the side of riotous subjects, or in the cause of rebellious princes or chiefs, are doomed to fire.

31. They who die fighting unjustly against their kings, law-givers and rulers are subjected to the torments of hell.

32. A war that is just serves to establish order, but the unsteady who are mindless of the future destroy all order.

33. ‘The hero dying goes to heaven’ is the common saying. Scriptures call the lawful warrior a hero, and not otherwise.

34. They who suffer wounds while protecting the righteous and good are said to be heroes. Otherwise, they are insurgents.

35. It was in expectation of seeing such heroes that the maidens of the gods were standing in the air and talking among themselves about becoming the wives of such warriors.

36. The air was decorated by an illumination on high, and by rows of beautiful heavenly cars of gods and masters, and by the presence of celestial maidens who sang in sweet notes and decorated their hair with mandara flowers.

Chapter 3.32 — Onset of the War

1. Vasishta said:— Leela, standing in air with the goddess of wisdom, saw the apsara nymphs dancing with eagerness for the war between combatants below.

2. She saw the armies assemble in her own territory once governed by her lord. She saw the field of the air no less formidable because of the assembled ghosts.

3. The meeting of the two armies made the ground appear like a billowy sea, or like two clouds meeting in the sky with the appearance of two hostile forces.

4. The battle array of armored warriors, flashing like the fire of heaven, was followed by their commingled blows resembling the rattling of thunder above, deafening the ears and dazzling the sight.

5. Then darts and javelins, spears and lances, and many other missiles began to fall on both sides, like showers of raindrops, hailstones and meteorites from the skies.

6. Showers of shafts fell with a force that would pierce the wings of garuda. As they hit the warriors, they covered the glare of the sun off their armor.

7. Combatants stood face to face with their arms lifted, steadily staring at each other as if they were pictures in a painting.

8. Armies arranged in long regiments, standing in lines opposite each other, repeatedly shouted and answered each another.

9. The battle array of both armies, and the drums on each side, were stopped by their leaders warnings against striking the first blow.

10. The space that separated the hostile forces was the breadth of two bows, like a bridge from one another. It looked like a gap caused by winds in the middle of the ocean at the universal deluge.

11. Leaders were drowned in thoughts of fear of bloodshed and massacre. Cowardly soldiers groaned in their hearts with the hoarse noise of croaking frogs.

12. There were many brave ones eager to yield their precious lives in a trice. Archers stood with bowstrings drawn to the ear, ready to let their pointed arrows loose at the foe.

13. Others stood dreadfully fixed to strike their arms upon the enemy. Many with frowning looks stared sternly at their adversaries.

14. Armor was clashing, the faces of killers were burning with rage, and the faces of cowards turned towards sheltered retreats, ready for flight.

15. All stood in doubt of their lives until the end of the war, and the bodies of old men, like big elephants, were covered with goose bumps.

16. The silence in anticipation of the first blow resembled the calm of the stormy main or the deep sleep of a city at the dead of night.

17. Musical instruments, drum and conch-shell were all silent, and a thick cloud of dust covered the face of the earth and sky.

18. The retreaters were flying from their stronger assailants, who kept running after them like sharks after shoals of fish in the sea.

19. The glittering fringes of flags put the ethereal stars to blush, and the lifted goads in the hands of the elephant-drivers made a forest of tapering trees in the sky.

20. Arrows flew in the air like flocks of the winged tribe, and the loud beating of drums and blowing of pipes resounded in the air.

21. A round phalanx attacked a host of wicked demons, and a squadron in garuda formation of right and left wings attacked a body of elephants.

22. Somewhere a great howling arose from the vanguard of a body of troops thrown into disorder by a cohort in the form of eagles. In another place, many were seen shouting and attacking each another.

23. Warriors of many legions raised a tremendous noise, and the hands of combatants raised a host of large clubs.

24. The glare of dark steel shaded sunbeams like a cloud. Darts hissing in the air resembled the rustling of breeze amidst the dry leaves of trees.

25. Now began the main battle, like the dashing of clouds upon clouds at the end of a kalpa age. War raged like sea whipped by a hurricane.

26. Big elephants fell in the field like coal-black rocks hurled down by gusts of wind.

27. It seemed like infernal spirits had been let loose from their caves of hell to rage in the battlefield with their horrid and dismal figures.

28. The dark cloud of swords hid daylight and warriors raised their black spears, seemingly bent upon converting the earth into an ocean of bloodshed.

Chapter 3.33 — The Battle: the Armies Engage [The whole of this chapter abounds in onomatopoeian alliterations, and is more a play upon words than display of sense. However, it is interesting for these jingling words and for the names of the weapons in use among the ancients. — V. L. Mitra]

1. Rama said, “Sage, describe this warfare to me, as I love stories of this kind.”

2. Vasishta said:— The ladies, in order to have a better view of the battle below, ascended in their imaginary aerial cars to a more retired spot in the higher regions of the sky.

3. At this time, the two armies clashed and mingled, fighting each other with shouts, like waves dashing against one another in a raging sea.

4. Viduratha, the lord of the realm (formerly Padma, the husband of Leela), impatient seeing a bold warrior from the other army attack one of his soldiers, used his huge mallet to strike him on the breast.

5. Then the battle raged with the impetuosity of rolling waves in a stormy ocean. Arms on both sides flamed with living fire and flashes of fiery lightning.

6. Now the edges of waving swords glittered in the sky. Cracking and clashing noises filled the air with a hideous crackling.

7. Then flew winged arrows overshadowing sunbeams and emitting a booming noise that hushed the rattling clamor of summer clouds.

8. Armor clashed against armor with a clanking noise, shooting sparks of glistening fire. Arms, hacking and slashing against arms, filled the air with their fragments flying like birds in the air.

9. The shaking arms and legs of the two armies appeared like a forest moving on the land. The twang of their bows and the rumbling of discs, crackling like the rattling drive of wheels in heaven, drove away the birds of the air.

10. The hissing of their loosened strings resembled the bee-like buzzing heard in samadhi.

11. Iron shafts pierced the heads of the soldiers like sleets of hailstones, and the crashing of armor broke arms of the mail-clad warriors.

12. Weapons struck brazen armor with a howling noise and clanking sound. Strokes flying like drifts of rainwater dented the face of the air on all sides.

13. Steel striking steel made hands ring with a jingling sound, and the continued rapping on arms and clapping of hands raised chat-chat and pat-pat sounds.

14. The whizzing noise as swords were unsheathed was like the hissing of sparks from fire. The sounds of arrows and darts flying in all directions were like the rustling of falling leaves in autumn.

15. The field was filled with blood spouting from throats separated from bodies, mangled limbs and heads, and broken swords.

16. The flame of fire flaring from armor emblazoned the hairs of the warriors. The sound of weapons as swordsmen fought and fell raised a giddy and loud jingling.

17. Tall elephants, pierced by spears, poured out torrents of red-hot blood; while their kin gored bodies with shrill cries.

18. Others, crushed by the ponderous maces of their antagonists, creaked grievously under the blows while heads of slain soldiers swam in rivers of blood over the plain.

19. Here hungry vultures were pouncing from above, and there the sky was covered by a cloud of dust. Weaponless soldiers fought with their hands, pulling each other down by the hair.

Chapter 3.34 — The Battle as Seen by Onlookers Vasishta speaking:—

1. The generals and ministers of the warring sides, and the aerial spectators of the battles, were talking among themselves this way.

2. See, here the ground has become a lake of blood, with heads of slaughtered hosts floating like lotuses upon it. And there the air has become like the starry heaven, glittering with broken weapons flying like birds in the sky.

3. Behold the air is red with the particles of bright red blood borne above by the winds. It is midday, but the sky presents evening clouds with the glow of the setting sun.

4. What are these, says one, that are flying like straws in the sky? They are, says the other, no straws but the flight of arrows that have filled the air.

5. Another cries that as long as the dust of the earth is wet with the blood of the brave, heroes are entitled to glory and have their home in heaven for myriads of years.

6. A scripture says to fear not these dark swords whose blades are worn by the brave like petals of blue lotuses about their breasts, and the brave are favorites in the eyes of the goddess of fortune.

7. The heavenly apsara nymphs that saw the fighting and felt a desire to embrace the brave. The god of the flowery bow (Kama, the God of Love) was busy loosening their waist bands.

8. They beckoned their welcome by waving their reddened palms, by shaking red leaves on trees, by the round glances of their eyes, in the blooming blossoms of plants, and by the perfume of their breath in the honey fragrance of flowers.

9. The guardian spirits of the pleasure gardens of paradise sang sweet notes with the woodland choir and danced in the wagging tails of peacocks.

10. As a brave warrior broke the enemy line with his hardy axe, his beloved was breaking his hard heart and spirit with the soft glances of her eyes.

11. It is by my lance, says the lancer, that I have severed the head of my enemy with rings in his ears, like the head of the ascending node of Rahu approaching the disc of the sun.

12. Look, there is a champion hurling blocks of stones attached to the end of a chain reaching his feet! There is another, whirling his wonderful log of wood held in his uplifted arm.

13. There comes that warrior in the form of Yama, the God of the underworld, appearing from the region of the dead spirits and spreading a horrid devastation all around. Come let us go back the way we came.

14. Look at these ravenous birds greedily plunging their long necks into the flesh of bodies just separated from their heads, and glutting themselves with the gushing blood. See there the headless trunk of the slain moving to and fro in the field of battle.

15. The eloquent among the spectators were talking to one another about the frailty of human life and the uncertainty of the time of their meeting in the next world.

16. O, the stern cannibal of death, says one, that devours entire bodies of armies in one swoop, now weltering in blood, and levels the leveling hosts to the ground.

17. The showers of arrows falling on the elephants resemble the showers of raindrops on mountain tops. The darts sticking to their front bones are like bolts of lightening piercing the cliff tops.

18. While a headless body was groveling on the ground for lack of its head, its head was flying on high like a bird of air, proclaiming its immortality in heaven.

19. The army harassed by stones slung at their heads cried to entrap the enemy in the snares set at their feet.

20. Wives that had become apsaras (heavenly nymphs) after death, were now eager to claim their husbands, restored to their youth by virtue of falling in the field of battle.

21. The glaring light of the line of lances that had reached the skies seemed like a flight of stairs or golden vistas for the ascent of the brave to the gates of heaven.

22. The wife of the slain soldier, now a heavenly goddess, taking possession of her husband’s fair gold-like breast, was looking about in search of another.

23. Generals, arms waving, wailed loudly over their fallen armies in the field. They appeared like cliffs of rocks resounding to the clamorous surges of the sea below.

24. They shouted at warriors to fight their best. They cried out to remove the wounded to the rear and not trample the bodies of their own soldiers, now lying low on the ground.

25. Look! There apsaras are eagerly tying their loosened hair and advancing with sobbing bosoms to receive the departed warriors joining their company in their celestial forms.

26. Ah, receive our guests from afar, says one, on the banks of the rivers of paradise, decorated with golden lotus blossoms, and entertain them with fresh water and cooling breeze.

27. Look! There are groups of weapons broken into pieces like bones by their impact, huddled in the air with a jingling sound and shining like stars in the sky.

28. See the stream of deceased souls flowing in arrow-like currents and rolling in whirlpools of flying discs, rapidly gliding with the pebbles and stones flung in the air from the slings.

29. The sky has become like a lake of lotuses with lotus-form heads of warriors flung aloft in the air, while flying weapons are floating like their stalks with the broken swords all around like their thorns.

30. Flying fragments of flags form the skins of the plants, and the darts sticking to them appear like big black bees fluttering about the flowers moving with the breeze.

31. Arrows sticking to the dead bodies of elephants are like ants on mountain tops, and like timid girls clinging to men’s bosoms.

32. Winds unfurling the curling locks of supernatural vidyadhara females indicate their approaching nuptials, like in an augury the unfolding plumage of fowls predict success.

33. Lifted umbrellas shine like so many moons on high, and the moon itself, shining above in the form of fair fame, spreads her light like a white canopy over the earth.

34. The brave warrior, soon after his death, assumes a celestial form framed by his own merit, just like a man in his sleep attains the state he imagined to himself in his waking.

35. Flying spears, lances, clubs and discs are hurtling in the air like shoals of restless fish and sharks moving about constantly in the troubled waters of the sea.

36. Milk-white rags of umbrellas, tattered and shattered by arrow shafts, fly like cranes in the crowded air, appearing like the disc of the moon broken into a thousand pieces.

37. Fans flying in the air with a hoarse gurgling seem like waves of the sea lifted in the air, undulating with a babbling noise in the ocean of the sky.

38. Those scraps of fans and umbrellas, ripped by slashing weapons, appear like the laurels of glory flung aloft and flying in the regions of air.

39. Look, O friends, how these flying arrows and showering spears are approaching us with the hits of their spoil, like bodies of locusts bearing away their green booty in the air.

40. Listen to the clanking sound of steel striking by the uplifted arm of an armored soldier, resounding like the loud alarm of the king of death.

41. Hear the tremendous blows of weapons, like the fury of an all destroying tornado, throwing down mountain-like elephants, their great ivory tusks lying on the ground like waterfalls.

42. Look, there the chariot drivers are stopped in their course struggling to make their way through puddles of blood in which wheels and horses are stuck together like in a bog of quagmire.

43. The jingling of arms and armor and the jangling of swords and steel resound like a lute playing for the dancing of the dire and dreaded dame of death.

44. See the skirts of the sky are reddened by the red particles borne by the winds from streams of blood flowing out of the wounds in the bodies of men, horses and elephants lying dead in the field.

45. Look at the array of arrows in the air in the shape of a wreath of blossoms, falling like lightning from dark black clouds of weapons hanging on high.

46. See the surface of the earth filled with blood-red weapons appearing like faggots of fire strewn over the ground in a universal conflagration.

47. A multitude of weapons mingle together clashing and breaking one another into pieces, falling down in showers like the innumerable rays of the sun.

48. The fighting of one man among the motionless many is like the play of a magician acting his parts for a bewitched audience. See, there indifferent spectators are viewing the battle as a dream (by their prajna or inner vision of the mind).

49. The field of battle, where all other sounds are hushed under the clashing of arms, resembles the stage of the martial god Bhairava chanting his pitiless war song in jarring cacophony.

50. The battlefield is turned into a sea of blood filled with the sands of pounded weapons and rolling with the waves of broken discuses.

51. The sky is filled with martial music loudly sounding on all sides. Echoes off the hills seem to challenge one another in their aerial flight and fighting.

52. Alas, for shame, says one, that these arrows flung with such force from bowstrings, flying with such loud hissing, glittering like red hot lightning, are foiled in their aim of piercing impenetrable armor and glance off hitting stony hills.

53. Hear me friend. You are tired of the sight. It is time for us to leave this place before our bodies are pierced by these sharp arrows flashing like fire, and before the day runs its course into the evening.

Chapter 3.35 — The Battle: Description of the Battlefield [First the battle ground is compared with the sky, then with the sea, next with a forest, and last with the final doomsday. — V.L. Mitra.]

1. Vasishta said:— Then waves of cavalry mounting to the sky made the battlefield appear like a raging sea.

2. Moving umbrellas floated as its foam and froth, and feathered silvery arrows glided like finny pearly fish, while cavalry charges and flights heaved and dashed like surges of the sea.

3. Rushing of weapons resembled the running of its currents, and circles of soldiers were its whirlpools. The elephants were like its islets and their motions resembled the rocks moving in it.

4. Whirling discs were its eddies, and long hair flying on heads its floating weeds. Sparkling sands were its shining waters, and the flash of swords its glassy spray.

5. Gigantic warriors were its whales and alligators, and the resounding caves like its gurgling whirlpools.

6. Flying arrows were its swimming fishes, and floating flags resembled its uprising waves and bores.

7. Shining weapons formed the waters of this ocean and their whirlpools also, while the long lines of forces appeared like the huge and horrible bodies of its whales.

8. Soldiers clad in black iron armor were like the dark blue waters of the deep, and headless bodies groveling in dust were like the whirling currents of the sea, with scattered weapons like sea weeds.

9. Showers of arrows hid the skies with a mist, and the confused rattling of the battlefield was like the roaring of clouds.

10. Flying and falling heads of slain soldiers resembled large drops of rain, and their bodies were like pieces of wood whirling in the eddies of the discs.

11. The bold archer, bending his strong bow in the form of a curve and leaping above the ground, resembled the spouting sea rising from under the ground with heaving waves.

12. The unnumbered umbrellas and flags that were moving up and down the field were like the foaming and frothing of the sea, rolling in waves of blood and carrying away the beams and timbers of broken chariots in its current.

13. The army’s march resembled the flow of seawater, and the blood spouting from the wounds of elephants were like its bubbles, while the moving horses and elephants represented the sea animals in their motion.

14. The battlefield had become like a wonderful field of the air in which the furious war, like a tremendous earthquake, shook hills like moving clouds in the sky.

15. Here the waves were undulating like flights of birds in the air, and groups of elephants falling aground like rocks, and the cowardly ranks murmured like herds of frightened deer.

16. The field has become a forest of arrows. Wounded soldiers are standing fixed on the ground like trees, arrows flying like locusts, and horses moving like antelopes.

17. Here a loud drum sounded like the humming of bees in the hollows of trees. The army appears like a mist with a bold warrior sprawling like a lion in it.

18. Dust was rising in clouds and forces falling like rocks. Huge, broken chariots looked like hills, and flaming swords shined on all sides.

19. The rise and fall of soldiers’ feet flitted like falling flowers on the ground, and flags and umbrellas rose above it like clouds. All was covered with streams of blood, and high-sounding elephants fell like thundering showers of rain.

20. The war was like the last doom of death ready to devour the world, destroying flags, banners, umbrellas and chariots in a confused chaos.

21. Shining weapons fell like fragments of the bight sun, burning all things like a burning pain inflames the soul and mind.

22. The stretched bows were like rainbows, and falling arrows like showers of rain. Flying sabers resembled forked lightning, and their falling fragments like sparkling hailstones.

23. The dire massacre made a sea of blood with hurling stones as its shoals and rocks. Flying arms resembled stars falling from heaven.

24. The sky was like a sea full of whirlpools of discs hurled through the air. There were burning fires performing funerals of the slain.

25. Missiles were like bolts of thunder that struck rock-like elephants dead in the field to block the passage of men.

26. Earth and sky were hidden by a thick cloud of showering arrows, and the army below was a sea of tempestuous warfare and bloodshed.

27. Destructive weapons were flying on all sides, like huge dragons of the sea carried aloft by gusts of wind from the stormy main.

28. The flying arms of bolts, swords, discs, pikes and lances were blazing and breaking one another in the air with such hideous noise that it seemed to be a second deluge, when the last tornado blew up everything on high, scattering them in all directions, crushing and smashing them with a tremendous peal.

Chapter 3.36 — The Battle: Duels between Equals; Catalogue of Forces Vasishta speaking:—

1. Heaps of arrows rising in spires above the ground drove the cowards and the wounded far away from the battlefield.

2. Hills of dead bodies of men, horses and elephants, heaving in promiscuous heaps and appearing like clouds fallen upon earth, invited the demon yakshas, rakshasas and carnivorous pisachas to come and play in the wide ocean of blood.

3. Now there commenced a contest between men of equal rank and virtue among those of good character, valor and strength on both sides. All took part in the combat, even holy householders.

4. They fought duels like one cloud clashing with another, and like the confluence of two streams discharging their fury against each other.

5. As a rib is joined to another, and one side with the other, so met horse against the horse and elephant against elephant in mutual conflict.

6. As one forest clasps and clings to another, and as one hill is linked with another in a range, so the duelists struggled with each other like one wave dashing against the other.

7. Footmen fought with footmen like reeds crush reeds and bamboo strikes each another in swirling winds.

8. Chariots fell upon chariots and broke each another to pieces. Citizens beat rustics, like the gods smote the demons of old.

9. The sky which had been clouded by flights of arrows was now emblazoned by the archer’s banner resembling a rainbow of various colors.

10. At last the warriors who were overpowered in their conflict fled from the field, as people do from a fire.

11. Now armor-bearers with discuses met in contest with those who shielded against discs, archers opposed archers, and swordsmen challenged the other side’s sword fighters. So hookers and crookers challenged their co-rivals with crowbars in hand.

12. Maces were opposed to maces, and lancers were set against the lance bearers in fighting. Spearmen braved spearmen, and the throwers of missiles were crossed with missiles in hand.

13. Mallets fought against mallets, and clubs were opposed by clubmen in the conflict. Combatants with pikes encountered pike men face to face, and iron rods were crossed in strife against pointed tridents.

14. Fighters with missile weapons counteracted the missiles of their enemies, and those fighting with battleaxes resisted the poleaxes and pickaxes of their foes.

15. Trappers with their traps and snares attacked the darters of nooses and lassos. Those who threw javelins withstood the javelins of the throwers on the other side. Daggers opposed daggers and cudgels fought cudgels.

16. Combatants with iron gloves opposed boxers with iron fisticuffs, and those with iron cranes in hand pursued fighters with crooked goads. Warriors with ploughshares attacked ploughmen, and those with tridents fell upon the opposing trident holders.

17. Champions with chained armor set upon soldiers attired in mail. They poured on the field like flights of locusts or like the waves in the troubled sea.

18. The air also appeared like a sea, with flying discs whirling like whirlpools and the flight of reeds whistling like gusts of wind. Various flying weapons seemed like sharks and dolphins moving about it.

19. The sky of the heavens became the great deep of the sea, impassable by celestials owing to the waves of weapons moving like sea monsters in the air.

20. Thus the armies of the two belligerent rulers, each composed of eight divisions as described below, furiously engaged one another.

21. Now hear me relate to you, the forces on the side of Padma, now named King Viduratha, and the allied powers that came to his side from the Central and Eastern districts.

22. There came the hardy warriors of Kosala and Benares; those of Magadha and Utkala, situated in the east; and the Mekhalas (of Vindhya range), the Karkars (of Karnatic), and the Madras in the south.

23. The chiefs of Hema and Rudras and the Tamils from the south; the Pragjyotishas, and the horse faced Osmuks and Ambashtha cannibals.

24. Then there joined the Varna-koshthas and Viswotras, and the eaters of raw food and flesh and the fish eaters; and those with faces like tigers, the Kiratas, with the Sauviras and one legged people.

25. Next came the mountaineers of Malyavana, Sibira and Anjanagiri; and others having the ensigns of bulls and lotuses, and the people of the sun rising mountain in the east.

26. Those that joined from the south east, are the following, namely: the Vindhyaris, the Chedis, the Vatsas, the Dasarnas (near the confluence of the ten streams); and the Angas, Bangas and Upabangas (of Upper and Lower Bengal).

27. They that met from the south were, Kalingas and Pundras, the Jatharas, Vidarbhas and the hill people; the Sabaras, the outcaste tribals, the Karnas and the Tripura people.

28. Those named Kantakas from their thorny district, the unenlightened Komalas; the Canarese, the Andhras, the Cholas and the people on the borders of the Charmanvati river.

29. The Kakos or baldheaded and bearded people, and those of the Hemakuta Hills; the frizzled and long necked people, and the inhabitants of Kishkindha and cocoa forests.

30. The princes that joined with Leela’s husband from the south, were as follows: the Vindhyans, the Kusumians (of Patna), the Mahendras and the Darduras.

31. The Malays and the solar race, and the Prince of the thirty-three united states and the rich and united cities of Avanti and Sambavati.

32. And those of Dasapura of Katha, Chakra, Reshika Cutch and others, and the foresters of Upagiri and Bhadragiri Hills.

33. The prince of Nagore and the chiefs of Dandaka Forest, and the joint states of the people; the Sahas, Saivas, and the hill people of the Rishyamuka and Karkota and the Vimbila foresters.

34. Then came the inhabitants from the banks of Pampa, the Kerakas and Karkaviras; with the Kherikas, Asikas and the people of Dhrumapattana.

35. Next came the Kasikas and Khallukas, the Yadas and Tamraparnikas; the Gonardas, the Kanakas and the people of Dinapattam.

36. The Tamils, Kadambharas, Sahakaras and Deer Hunters, the Vaitundas, Tumbavanalas, and those attired in deer and elephant skins.

37. Then came the lotus-like Sibis and Konkans and the inhabitants of Chitrakuta mountains; with the people of Karnata, the Mantas, Batakas and those of Cattak.

38. The Andhras and Kola hill people, the Avantis and Chedis; with the Chandas and Devanakas and Krauncha-vahas.

39. At last came the people from the three peaks of Chitrakuta mountains, called the Silakhara, Nanda mardana and Malaya, which were the seats of the guardian Bakshasas of Lanka.

40. Then those of the southwest where there is the great realm of Surat, with the kingdoms of the Sind, Sauvira, Abhira, and Dravidas (in Deccan).

41. Also those of the districts of Kikata, Siddha Khanda, and Kaliruha, and Mount Hemagiri or golden hills and the Raivataka range.

42. Then the warriors of Jaya Kachchha, and Mewar; as also the Yavanas, the Bahlikas, the Marganas (nomads), and the grey colored Tumbas (on the north).

43. Then there came Lahsa races and many hill peoples, inhabiting the borders of the sea, forming the limit of the dominion of Leela’s husband on the north.

44. Now know the names of the countries belonging to the enemy in the west, and of those composed of the following mountain ranges, namely,

45. Mount Maniman and the Kurarpana Hills, with the hillocks of Vanorka, Meghabhava, and Chakravana Mountain.

46. There is the country of the five peoples limiting the territory of the Kasa brahmins, and after that the Bharaksha, the Paraka and Santika countries.

47. Thence stretch the countries of the Saivyas, Amarakas, the Paschatyas and Guhutwas; and then the Haihaya country, and those of the Suhyas, Gayas and Tajikas and Hunas.

48. Then along the side of some other countries, there is the range of Karka Hills, inhabited by barbarous people, devoid of caste, customs and limits of moral duties.

49. Thence stretches a country hundreds of leagues in length, to the boundary mountain of Mahendra, abounding in rich stones and gems.

50. After that stands the Aswa Range with hundreds of hills about it; and extending to the dread ocean on the north of the Pariyatra Range.

51. On the north western side, there are countries beyond the boundary mountains (of Asia), where Venupati was the king of the land.

52. Then there are the countries of the Phalgunakas and Mandavayas and many other peoples; and those of Purukundas and Paras as bright as the orb of the sun.

53. Then the races of Vanmilas and Nalinas and the Dirghas; who are so called, from their tall statures and long arms and hairs. Then there are the Rangas, Stanikas with protuberant breasts, and the Guruhas and Chaluhas.

54. After that is the kingdom of women, where they feed upon bullocks and heifers. Now about the Himalayas and its hills in the north (of India):

55. these are the Krauncha and Madhuman hills; and the Kailasa, Vasuman and the Sumeru peaks; at the foot of which are the people, known under many names.

56. Beside these there met the warlike tribes of India consisting of the Madrawars, Malavas and Sura-senas. The Rajputs of the race of Arjuna, the Trigartas and the one legged people and Khudras.

57. There were the Abalas, Prakhalas, and Sakas. The Khemadhurtas, the Dasadhanas, the Gavasanas and Club Fighters.

58. The Dhanadas and Sarakas and Batadhanas also, with the islanders and Gandharas and Avanti warriors of Malwa.

59. The warlike Taxilas, the Bilavas, Godhanas and the renowned warriors of Pushkara.

60. Then there were the Tikshas and Kalavaras, and the inhabitants of the cities of Kahaka and Surabhuti likewise.

61. There were the people of the Ratikadarsa and Antaradarsa also; and the Pingalas, the Pandyas, Yamanas and Yatudhanas demons too.

62. There were also the races of men, known as Hematalas and Osmuks, together with the hilly tribes, inhabiting the Himalaya, Vasuman, Krauncha and Kailasa Mountains.

63. Hear me now relate to you the peoples that came from the north east quarter, which extends a hundred and eighty leagues in its circumference.

64. There came also the Kalutas and Brahmaputras, the Kunidas and Khudinas, with the warlike Malavas and the champions of the Randhra and forest states.

65. Then there were the Kedavas and Sinhaputras of dwarfish statures; the Sabas, the Kaccæs, the Pahlavis, the Kamiras and the Daradas.

66. There were also the people of Abhisa, the Jarvakas, the Pulolas and Kuves; the Kiratas and Yamupatas, together with the poor and rich people of desert lands and tracts of gold.

67. Thus Leela in one vision saw the homes of the gods and the forest lands and the earth in all their beauty. She saw all the seats of opulence and the buildings with which they were adorned. She saw the summit of Kailash and the delightful groves at its foot, and the level lands traversed by the aerial cars of vidyadhara and other celestial beings.

Chapter 3.37 — The Battle: Catalogue of Forces Continued [It is not easy to say whether this lengthy description of the battle is Vasishta’s or Valmiki’s own making. Both of them were well acquainted with military tactics. Vasishta was the general of King Sudasa against the Persians. Valmiki was the epic poet of Rama’s wars with Ravana in the celebrated Ramayana. These descriptions are left out in the translations of this work as entirely useless in yoga philosophy without regard that they formed the preliminary step to Rama’s military education, which he was soon after called to complete under the guidance of Vishwamitra in his hermitage. — V. L. Mitra]

1. Vasishta said:— Thus the ravaging war was making a rapid end of men, horse, elephants and all. The brave coming foremost in the combat fell in equal numbers on both sides.

2. These and many others were reduced to dust and ashes. The bravery of the brave served only to send them like poor moths to the fire and flame of destruction.

3. Know now the names of the central districts, not yet mentioned by me, that sent their warriors to the field, in favor of the consort prince of Leela.

4. These were the inland forces of Sursena, the Gudas, and the Asganas; the Madhymikas and they that dwell in the tropics.

5. The Salukas and Kodmals, and Pippalayanas; the Mandavyas, Pandyans, Sugrivas and Gurjars.

6. The Pariyatras, Kurashtras, Yamunas and Udumvaras; the Raj-waras, the Ujjainas, the Kalkotas and the Mathuras (of Muttra).

7. The Panchalas, the Northern and Southern Dharmakshetras; the Kurukshetriyas, Panchalakas and Saraswatas.

8. The line of war chariots from Avanti, being opposed by the arms of the warriors of the Kunta and Panchanada districts, fell in fighting by the sides of the hills.

9. Those arrayed in silk clothes, being defeated by the enemy, fell upon the ground and were trodden down by elephants.

10. The brave of Daspura, being hacked in their breasts and shoulders by enemy weapons, were pursued by the Banabhuma warriors and driven to a distant pool.

11. The Santikas, being ripped in their bellies, lay dead and motionless in naked field, wrapped in their mangled entrails that were torn and devoured by the voracious pisachas at night.

12. Veteran and outspoken warriors of Bhadrasiri, well skilled in the battlefield, drove the Amargas into a ditch like tortoises to their pits.

13. The Haihayas were driving the Dandakas, who fled like fleet stags flying with the swiftness of winds, gushing blood drawn by pointed, piercing enemy arrows.

14. The Daradas, gored by the tusks of enemy elephants, were carried away like broken tree branches in the floods of their blood.

15. The Chinas, bodies mangled by darts and arrows, cast themselves in the water, their bodies a burden they could no longer bear.

16. The demons, pierced in their necks by Karnatic lancers, fled in all directions like faggots of fire, or like the flying meteors of heaven.

17. The Sakas and Dasakas fought each other by pulling the other’s hair, as if whales and elephants were struggling mutually with their respective elements.

18. Fleeing cowards were trapped in snares cast by the Dasarna warriors, like dolphins hiding under reeds are dragged out by nets on a blood-red shore.

19. The Tongas’ swords and pikes destroyed the Gurjara force by the hundreds, and like razors shaved the heads of hundreds of Gurjara women.

20. The luster of the warriors’ weapons illuminated the land like flashes of lighting, and clouds of arrows rained like showers in the forest.

21. A flight of the crowbars obscured the sun and frightened the Abhira warriors with the dread of an eclipse. They were as surprised as if ambushed by a gang of plunderers after their cattle.

22. Handsome gold collared, tawny colored Tamras soldiers were dragged by the Gauda warriors, as captors snatch their fair captives by the hair.

23. Like cranes by vultures, Tongons were beset by Kanasas with their blazing weapons, destroying elephants and breaking discuses.

24. The rumbling noise raised by Gauda warriors whirling their cudgels frightened the Gandharas so much that they were driven from the field like a herd of beasts, or like the fearful Dravidas.

25. A host of Saka warriors, dressed in black like the mist of night, poured like a blue torrent from the blue sky before their white-robed foes, the Persians.

26. The crowded array of arms lifted in the clear and bright sky appeared like a thick forest under a milk white ocean of frost that shrouds the mountainous region of Mandara.

27. From below, the flights of arrows appeared like cloud fragments in the air, and when viewed from above by the celestials, appeared like waves of the sea.

28. The air was a forest thickly beset by trees of spears and lances, with arrows flying like birds and bees, and innumerable umbrellas, with their gold and silver mountings, appearing as so many moons and stars in the sky.

29. Kekayas made loud shouts, like the war hoops of drunken soldiers. Kankas covered the field like a flight of cranes, and the sky was filled with dust over their heads.

30. The Kirata army made a murmuring sound like the effeminate voices of women, causing the lusty Angas to rush upon them with a furious roar.

31. Khasias, bodies covered with kusa grass, appeared like birds with feathers, and raised clouds of dust by flapping their feathered arms.

32. The whirling warriors of Narmada’s coasts came rushing unarmed into the field and began to mock, deride, flout and move about in their merry mood.

33. Low statured Salwas came with bells jingling on their waist bands, flinging their arrows in the air, and throwing showers of their darts.

34. The soldiers of Sibi were pierced by spears hurled by the Kuntas. They fell as dead bodies in the field, but their spirits fled to heaven in the form of vidyadharas.

35. A mighty, light footed army took possession of the field and in its quick march, laid the Pandunagaras groveling on the ground.

36. Big Punjabis and furious warriors from Benares crushed the bodies of stalwart warriors with their lances and cudgels, like elephants crush mighty trees under their feet and tusks.

37. Burmese and Vatsenis were cut down by the discs of the Nepalese. Saws cut down Sahyas like withered trees.

38. Heads of white Kaka, were lopped off with sharp axes. Their neighboring prince of the Bhadras was burnt down by the fiery arrows.

39. Matangajas fell under the hands of Kashthayodhas like old, unchained elephants fall into a miry pit. Others who came to fight fell like dry fuel in a blazing fire.

40. Mitragartas fell into the hands of Trigartas and were scattered about the field like straws, and having their heads struck off as they fled, they entered the infernal regions of death.

41. The weak Vanila force, falling into the hands of a Magadha army that resembled a sea gently shaken by the breeze, went down in the sands like thin, aged elephants.

42. Chedis lost their lines fighting the Tongans and lay withered on the battlefield, like scattered flowers fading under the shining sun.

43. Kosalas were unable to withstand the war cry of the deadly Pauravas, routed by showers of clubs, arrows and darts.

44. Those pierced by pikes and spears looked like coral plants, red with blood all over their bodies, and fled to the sheltering hills like red hot suns to the setting mountains.

45. Flights of arrows and weapons, carried away by strong winds, moved in the air like cloud fragments with a swarm of black bees hovering under them.

46. Flying arrows wandering with the roar of elephants appeared to be showering clouds, their feathers appeared as the woolly breed, their reedy shafts seemed like trees.

47. Wild elephants and people of the plains were all torn to pieces like bits of torn linen.

48. War chariots with broken wheels fell into pits like the broken crags of mountains. The enemy stood upon their tops like a thick mist or cloud.

49. The hosts of stalwart warriors meeting on the battlefield gave it the appearance of a forest of palm and tamara trees, but when weapons chopped off their arms, they made it appear like a mountainous wood with clumps of stunted pine trees.

50. The youthful maidens of paradise were filled with joy and glee to find the groves of their native hill (Meru) full of brave champions (fallen in the field).

51. The forest of the army howled in a tremendous roar until it was burnt down by the all devouring fire of the enemy.

52. Hacked by the Assamese, their weapons snatched by the Bhutas, the Dasarnas threw away their staffs and fled like a herd of cows.

53. The Kasias by their valor were eager to despoil the tinsels from the dead bodies of the chiefs, like summer heat robs the beauty from lotuses in a drying pool.

54. Tushakas were beset by Mesalas with darts, spears and mallets. The sly Katakas were defeated and driven away by the Narakas.

55. Kauntas were surrounded by Prastha warriors and were defeated like good people by the treachery of the wily.

56. The elephant drivers who had struck off the heads of their hosts in a trice, were pursued by harpooners and fled with their severed heads like the lotus flowers plucked by their hands.

57. The Saraswatas fought on both sides with one another until it was evening, and yet no party was the looser or gainer, just like a learned discussion among pundits or lawyers.

58. The puny and short statured Deccans, driven back by the demons of Lanka, redoubled their attack against them, like smoldering fire is rekindled by fresh fuel.

59. Rama, what more shall I say about this war which baffles even Sesha, with his hundred tongues and mouths, to attempt a full description?

Chapter 3.38 — The Battle: End of the Day, the Battlefield after Cessation of Fighting

1. Vasishta continued:— Now as the war waged fiercely, with mingled shouts on both sides, the sun shrouded his polished armor under the mist of darkness and was about to set.

2. The waters of limpid streams glided over the showers of stones flung by the forces that fell on the fading clusters of lotuses growing in them.

3. The clashing of shafts and darts glittered like flashes of fire in the sky, and waves of arrows were seen, now approaching close and then receding at a distance.

4. Below, severed heads floated in whirlpools of blood like loose lotuses, while above, the sea of heaven was filled with flying weapons moving like marine animals.

5. The rustling of the breeze and the whistling of clouds of weapons frightened the aerial masters and woodland apes with fear of an approaching rain.

6. The day declined after it had run its course of eight watches and assumed the graceful countenance of a hero returning in glory after he has fought his battle.

7. The army, like the day, declined in splendor, being battered in its cavalry and shattered in its force of elephants.

8. Army commanders, in concert with the ministers of war, sent envoys to the hostile parties for a truce to the fighting.

9. Both parties, seeing how much they lost in the engagement, agreed to a truce and the soldiers gave their assent with one voice.

10. They hoisted their soaring banners of truce on the tops of the highest chariots, and a mounted crier on each side proclaimed the truce to the armies below.

11. They unfurled white flags on all sides, which like so many moons in the gloom of night, proclaimed peace on earth by cessation from fighting.

12. Then the drums delivered their loud peals, resounded by the roaring of clouds above and all about.

13. The flights of arrows and weapons that had been raging like fire in the sky now began to fall in torrents on the ground below, like the currents of Lake Manasarovar.

14. Hands and arms of warriors rested like their feet, like the shaking of trees and the surges of the sea end after an earthquake.

15. The two armies went their own ways from the field of battle, like inlets of the sea run into the land in different directions.

16. The armies being at rest, there was an end of all agitation in the field, like ocean waves are lulled to rest with the calm after being churned by Mandara Mountain.

17. In an instant the battlefield became as dreadful as the dismal womb of death, and as deep and dark as the hollow pit of the sea after Agastya sucked up its waters.

18. It was covered with the dead bodies of men and beasts and flowed with the floods of purpling blood. It resounded with the sounds of insects, like a heath with the humming of beetles.

19. Gory bodies gushed with blood and gurgled like sea waves. The cries of the wounded wanting to live pierced the ears and throbbed the heart strings of the living.

20. The dead and wounded rolling around side by side in streams of blood made the living think the dead were still alive like themselves.

21. Big elephants lying dead in piles on the field appeared like cloud fragments, and the heaps of broken chariots looked like a forest blown over by a storm.

22. Streams of blood flowed with the dead bodies of horses and elephants, and heaps of arrows, spears, mattocks and mallets flowed together with broken swords and missiles.

23. Horses were lying in their halters and harnesses. Dead soldiers were wrapped in their mail and armor. Flags, fans, turbans and helmets lay scattered in the field.

24. The winds rustled by the openings of quivers like the hissing of snakes or the whistling of the breeze in the holes of bamboo trees. Flesh eating pisacha demons were rolling on beds of dead bodies as if they were beddings of straws.

25. The gold chains from the helmets and head ornaments of fallen soldiers glittered with rainbow colors, and greedy dogs and jackals tore at the entrails of the dead like long ropes or strings.

26. The wounded were gnashing their teeth in the field of blood, like the croaking of frogs in a miry pool of blood.

27. Those dressed in party-colored coats with a hundred spots now had their arms and thighs gushing in a hundred streams of blood.

28. Friends wailed bitterly over the bodies of their dead and wounded lying amidst heaps of arrows and weapons, broken cars and scattered trappings of horses and elephants that covered the land.

29. Headless trunks of demons danced about with uplifted arms touching the sky. The stink of carrion, fat and blood filled nostrils with nausea.

30. Elephants and horses of noble breed lay dead or gasping with their mouths gaping upwards, streams of blood dashing against their rock-like bodies beat as loudly as drums.

31. Blood gushing out of wounded horses and elephants ran like that of a wounded whale into a hundred streams. Blood spouting from the mouths of dying soldiers flowed into a hundred channels.

32. Those pierced with arrows in their eyes and mouths uttered an inaudible voice with their last gasp of death. Those pierced in their bellies had their bowels gushing out with a horrible stench. The ground was reddened with thickened blood issuing out of the wounds.

33. Half-dead elephants grasped headless trunks with their trunks, while the loose horses and elephants that had lost their riders were trampling over dead bodies at random.

34. The weeping, crying and tottering wives of fallen soldiers fell upon their dead bodies weltering in blood, embracing them closely by their necks, then made an end of themselves with the same weapons.

35. Groups of soldiers were sent with guides to fetch dead bodies from the field. The hands of their living companions were busily employed dragging the dead.

36. The field had become a wide river running with waves of blood breaking into a hundred whirling streams and carrying severed heads like lotuses, and the torn braids of hair floating like bushes.

37. Men were busy taking weapons from the bodies of the wounded who lamented loudly on account of their dying in a foreign land and losing their arms, armor, horses and elephants.

38. Dying souls remembered their sons and parents, their dear ones and their adored deities. They called out their names and sighed and sobbed with heart-rending sounds.

39. The brave who died cursed their fates, and those who fell fighting elephants blamed the unkind gods they had adored in vain.

40. Cowards fearing to be killed resorted to base flight, but the dauntless brave stepped forward into the whirlpools of blood.

41. Some, suffering under the agony of arrows stuck in their mortal parts, thought upon the sins of their past lives that had brought such pain upon them. Blood sucking vetala ghosts advanced with their horrid mouths to drink blood from headless torsos.

42. Below, the floating flags, umbrellas and fans looked like white lotuses in a lake of blood, while from above, the evening stretched her train of stars like red lotuses in an ethereal sea.

43. The battlefield looked like an eighth sea of blood. The war chariots were its rocks and their wheels its whirlpools. The flags were its foam and froth, and the white fans its bubbles.

44. The field of blood with scattered chariots plunged in mud and mire and covered with broken pieces of woods looked like a tract of land devastated by a hurricane.

45. It was as desolate as a country burned by a fire, or like the dry bed of the sea sucked up by the sage Agastya. It was like a district devastated by a sweeping flood.

46. The battlefield was filled with heaps of weapons as high as the bodies of big elephants lying dead about the ground.

47. The lances carried down by streams of blood were as big as the palm trees growing on the summits of mountains.

48. Weapons sticking in elephant bodies seemed like shining flowers growing on green trees. Their entrails, torn and carried away by vultures, spread a fretted network in the sky.

49. Lances stuck in the ground by streams of blood made a woody forest on the banks of a red river, and the flags floating on the surface were like a bush of lotuses in the liquid blood.

50. Friends pulled dead bodies from the bloody pool in which they drowned, and men marked the bodies of big elephants by the jutting weapons sticking in them.

51. Trunks of trees that had their branches lopped off by the weapons looked like the headless bodies of slain soldiers, and the floating carcasses of elephants seemed like so many boats swimming in a sea of blood.

52. White garments swept down by the current looked like froth on the pool of blood. They were picked up by servants sent to search them out.

53. The demonic bodies of headless soldiers were rising and falling in the field, hurling large wheels and discs upon the flying army on all sides.

54. Dying warriors were frothing forth floods of blood from their throats, and stones stained with blood were inviting greedy vultures to devour them.

55. Then there were groups of sutala, vetala and uttala demons and ghosts dancing about the field with their war dances, whirling the broken bits of war-chariots upon the flying soldiers on all sides.

56. The stir and last gasp of the dying were fearful to behold, and the faces of the dying and the dead covered in dust and blood were pitiful to the beholder.

57. Devouring dogs and ravenous ravens had pity as they saw the last gasp of the dying. Carrion feeders were howling and fighting over carcasses until many of them became dead bodies from fighting each other.

58. Now I have described the sea of blood that flowed fast with the gore of unnumbered hosts of horses, elephants and camels, and of warriors and their leaders, and the multitudes of cars and war chariots. But it became a pleasure garden to the god of death, delighting in his bed of bloodshed and grove of weapons strewn all around.

Chapter 3.39 — The Battlefield Infested by Nocturnal Fiends Vasishta speaking:—

1. Now the blood-red sun set down in the west like a hero red with blood. The sun hid his luster, which was dimmed by the brightness of the weapons of war in the western main.

2. The sky which had reflected the blood-red flush of the field of blood was now dimmed by the setting of the glorious sun and darkened by the veil of evening.

3. Thick darkness spread over the face of heaven and earth like the waters of the great deluge, and there appeared a body of vetala ghosts, dancing in a ring and clapping their hands.

4. The face of day, smeared with the blackness of nightfall, was painted by the light of evening with stars like pearly spots painted on the cheeks of an elephant.

5. The busy buzz of creation became silent in the dead darkness of night, like the humming of bees over the surface of the waters, the hearts of men were closed in sleep as in death, like the petals of the lotus at night.

6. Birds lay in their nests with folded wings and crests, like dead bodies were lying in the field covered with their wounds and weapons.

7. Then fair moonbeams shone above and white lotuses were blown below. The hearts of men were gladdened and the victors felt joyous in themselves.

8. The ruddy evening assumed the shape of the blood-red sea of battle, and the fluttering bees now hid themselves like the faces of fallen soldiers.

9. There was an ethereal lake above dotted on high with stars like white lotuses, and here was the earthly lake below, beset by lotuses resembling the stars of heaven.

10. Bodies thought to be lost in darkness were now recovered in moonlight like gems hidden under water are found scattered about.

11. The battlefield was filled with vetala ghosts howling with their hideous cries, while bodies of vultures, crows and owls tore at carcasses and sported with skeletons.

12. Funeral pyres blazed as brightly as the starry frame on high, and the fires consumed dead bodies with their bones and clothing.

13. The fire burnt bodies and bones to ashes, after which it extinguished itself as if sated with plenty. The female fiends now began to sport in the water.

14. There arose a mingled cry of dogs, crows, and yaksha demons and vetalas clapping their hands. Bodies of ghosts, thick as woods and forests, were moving about.

15. Dakinis were eager to steal away the flesh and fat from the piles of bodies gathered for funeral, and pisachas delighted in sucking the blood, flesh and bones of the dead.

16. The demons were now looking and now lurking about the funeral piles, and the rakshasa demons that rushed in carried away carcasses on their shoulders.

17. There came also bodies of ferocious kumbhandas and big damaras uttering their barbarous cries and hovering in the shapes of clouds over the fumes of fat and flesh.

18. Bodies of vetalas stood in the streams of blood like earthly beings and snatched the skeletons with hideous cries.

19. Vetala younglings slept in the bellies and chests of the elephants, and rakshasas were drinking their fill in the bloody field.

20. Giddy vetalas fought one another with the lighted faggots from the pyres, and the winds blew the stench of the putrid carcasses on all sides.

21. Female fiends (rupikas) filled the baskets of their bellies with carrion with a rat-a-tat noise. Yaksha cannibals were snatching half-burnt carcasses from the funeral pyres as their roasted meat and dainty food.

22. Aerial imps (khagas) attacked the dead bodies of the big Bangas and black Kalingas, and flouted about with their open mouths, emitting the blaze of falling meteors.

23. Vetala ghosts fell down in the dark and discolored blood-pits, lying hidden in the midst of heaps of dead bodies, while pisacha ogres and the leaders of yogini sprites laughed at them for their false step.

24. Entrails being pulled vibrated like the strings of musical instruments. The ghosts of men that had become fiends from their fiendish desires fell to fighting one another.

25. Valiant soldiers were frightened at the sight of female fiends (rupikas), and funeral rites were disturbed by the vetala and rakshasa demons.

26. The demons of the night (nisacharas) were frightened at the fall of carcasses from the shoulders of elves (rupikas) who were carrying them aloft in the air where they were waylaid by a throng of ghostly demons (bhuta-sankata) .

27. Many dying bodies were lifted with difficulty by demons who, when they found the bodies unfit for their food, let them fall down dead on the ground.

28. Pieces of blood-red flesh that fell from the fiery jaws of jackals looked like clusters of asoka flowers strewn all around the funeral ground.

29. Vetala urchins were busy putting scattered heads over the headless bodies of Kabandhas, and bodies of yaksha, raksha, and pisacha ogres flashed like firebrands in the sky.

30. At last a thick cloud of darkness covered the face of the sky, and the hills, valleys, gardens and groves became hidden under an impenetrable gloom. Infernal spirits were loosened from their dismal abodes and ravaged at large over the battlefield like a hurricane under the vault of heaven.

Chapter 3.40 — Subtle Body & Astral Travel; Intellectual Body; Details on the Process of Death, Conception & Birth

1. Vasishta related:— The nocturnal fiends infested the gloomy field, and the attendants of Yama, the Lord of Death, roamed about it like marauders in the daytime.

2. Under the canopy of thick darkness, naked and fleeting ghosts in their nightly abode reveled on their provisions of carrion that was likely to be taken by the clutches of one’s hand.

3. It was in the still hour of this gloomy night, when the host of heaven seemed to be fast asleep, that a sadness stole in upon the mind of Leela’s magnanimous husband, the warring King Viduratha.

4. He thought about what was to be done the next morning in council with his counselors, and then he went to his bed which was as white as moonlight and as cold as frost.

5. For a while his lotus-eyes were closed in sleep in his royal camp, which was as white as moonbeams and covered by the cold dews of night.

6. Then the two ladies issued forth from their empty abode and entered the tent through a crevice, like air penetrates into the heart of an untouched flower bud.

7. Rama asked, “How is it possible sage, that the gross bodies of the goddesses, with their limited dimensions, could enter the tent through one of its holes, as small as the pore of a piece of cloth?”

8. Vasishta answered saying that:— It is impossible for someone who mistakes himself to be a material body to enter a small hole with that gross body.

9. But it is possible to go anywhere one pleases if he understands that he is only pent up in his physical body like in a cage and obstructed by it in his flight, and if he does not believe that he is confined by his material body but has the true notion of his inner subtle spirit.

10. He who perceives his original spiritual state to be the better half of his body may pass as a spirit through a chink. But whoever relies on the lesser half of the material body cannot go beyond it in the form of his intellect.

11. As air rises upward and the flame of fire never goes downward, so the nature of spirit is to rise upward, and that of the body to go down, but the intellect is made to turn in the way in which it is trained.

12. A man sitting in the shade has no notion of feeling heat or warmth, so one man has no idea of another man’s knowledge or thoughts.

13. As is one’s knowledge, so is his thought. Such is the mode of his life. It is only by means of ardent practice (of meditation and learning) that the mind is turned to the right course.

14. One’s belief of a snake in a rope is removed by knowledge of his error. The habits of the mind and conduct in life are changed from wrong to right by the knowledge of truth.

15. It is one’s knowledge that gives rise to his thoughts, and thoughts direct his pursuits in life. This is a truth known to every man of sense, even to the young.

16. Now then, the soul resembles something seen in a dream or formed in fancy. The soul is of the nature of air and emptiness and is never obstructed anywhere in its course.

17. There is an intellectual and astral body which all living beings possess in every place. It is known as consciousness as well as the feelings of our hearts.

18. It is by Divine Will that consciousness rises and sets by turns. At first it was produced in its natural, simple and intellectual form and then, being invested with a material body, they together make the unity of the person out of the duality of material and immaterial essences.

19. Now you must know that the triple emptiness composed of the three airy substances — spirit, mind and space — are one and the same thing, but not so their receptacle the material body which has no ability to flow or extend.

20. Know this intellectual, consciousness body of beings is like the air, present with everything everywhere, just like your desire to know extends over all things in all places and presents them all to your knowledge.

21. It abides in the smallest particles, and reaches to the spheres of heavens. It reposes in the cells of flowers, and delights in the leaves of trees.

22. It delights in hills and dales, and dances over the waves of the oceans. It rides over the clouds, and falls down in the showers of rain and hailstones of heaven.

23. It moves at pleasure in vast space and penetrates through the solid mountains. Its body bears no break in it, and it is as minute as an atom.

24. Yet it becomes as big as a mountain lifting its head to heaven, and as large as the earth which is the fixed and firm support of all things. It views the inside and outside of everything, and bears the forests like hairs on its body.

25. It extends in the form of the sky and contains millions of worlds in itself. It identifies itself with the ocean, and transforms its whirlpools to spots upon its person.

26. This intellectual, consciousness body of beings is of the nature of an uninterrupted understanding, ever calm and serene in its aspect. It is possessed of its intellectual form from before the creation of the visible world, and being all comprehensive as emptiness itself, it understands the natures of all beings.

27. It is as unreal as water in a mirage, but by its intelligence, it manifests itself as a reality to the understanding. Without this exercise of the intellect, the intellectual man is as nothing as the son of a barren woman, and as blank as the figure of a body seen in a dream.

28. Rama asked, “What is that mind to which you attribute so many powers? What is that which you say to be nothing? Why is it no reality and something distinct from all that we see?”

29. Vasishta replied:— All individual minds are provided with these faculties, except those whose minds are engrossed with the error of the outer world.

30. All worlds are either of a longer or shorter duration, and they appear and disappear at times. Some of these vanish in a moment and others endure to the end of a kalpa age. But it is not so with the mind, whose progress I will now relate to you.

31. There is an unconsciousness which overtakes every man before his death. This is the darkness of his dissolution (maha-pralaya-yamini) .

32. After the shocks of delirium and death are over, the spiritual part of every man is regenerated anew in a different form, as if it was roused from a state of trance, reverie or swoon.

33. Just like the spirit of God, for its re-creation after the dissolution of the world, assumes his triune form with the persons of Brahma and Virat (the Universal Form), so every person after his death receives the triplicate form of his spiritual, intellectual and corporeal being.

34. Rama said, “As we believe ourselves to be reproduced after death by reason of our memories, so must we understand the re-creation of all bodies in the world by the same cause. Hence there is nothing uncaused in it.”

35. Vasishta replied:— The gods Hari (Vishnu), Hara (Shiva) and others, having obtained their disembodied liberation (videha-mukti) at the universal dissolution, could not retain their memory to cause their regeneration.

36. But human beings, having both spiritual and intellectual bodies entire at their death, do not lose their memory of the past, nor can they have final liberation like Brahma unless they obtain their disembodied state, which is possible to all in this life or hereafter only by the edification of their souls through yoga meditation.

37. Birth and death of all other beings like yourself are caused by their memory and because they lack disembodied liberation and eternal salvation.

38. The individual soul, after its pangs of death are over, retains its consciousness within itself, but remains in its state of unconsciousness by virtue of its own nature.

39. The universal emptiness is called nature (prakriti). It is the reflection of the invisible Divine Consciousness (chit prativimbam) and it is the parent of all that is dull or moving (jada-jada) which are produced by their reminiscence or its absence (sansmriti and asmriti); the former causing the regeneration of living beings, and the latter its cessation as in inert matter.

40. As the living principle or animal life begins to have its understanding (bodha), it is called an intelligent being (mahat) which is possessed of its consciousness (ahankara). It has added to it the organs of perception and conception, all from their elements (tanmatras) residing in the empty ether.

41. Next this minutely intelligent substance is joined with the five internal senses that form its body and which is otherwise called its spiritual or ethereal body (ativahika or lingadeha; the astral or subtle body).

42. This spiritual being, by its long association with the external senses, comes to believe it has ordinary senses, so it finds itself invested with a material body (adhibhautika deha) as beautiful as that of a lotus.

43. Then seated in the embryo, it rests in a certain position for sometime, and then inflates itself like the air until it is fully expanded.

44. Then it thinks itself to be fully developed in the womb, like a man dreams of a fairy form in his sleep and believes this illusion as a reality.

45. Then he views the outer world where he is born to die, just like one visits a land where he is destined to meet his death, and there he remains to relish its enjoyments, as prepared for him.

46. But the spiritual man soon perceives everything as pure emptiness, and that his own body and this world are only illusions and vain nothings.

47. He perceives the gods, human dwellings, the hills, and the heavens resplendent with sun and stars to be nothing more than homes of disease, debility, decay and ultimate death and destruction.

48. He sees nothing but a sad change in the natures of things, and that all that is living or inert, great or small, together with the seas, hills, rivers and peoples of this earth, and the days and nights, are all subject to decay sooner or later.

49. The knowledge that I am born here of this father and that this is my mother, these are my treasures and such are my hopes and expectations, is as false as empty air.

50. That these are my merits and these my demerits, and these the desires that I had at heart, that I was a boy and am now young, are the airy thoughts of the hollow mind.

51. This world resembles a forest where every being is like a detached tree. The dark clouds are its leaves and the stars its full blown flowers.

52. Walking men are its restless deer and the aerial gods and demons its birds of the air. Broad daylight is the flying dust of its flowers and the dark night the deep hiding place of its grove.

53. The seas are like its streams and fountains and the eight boundary mountains are its artificial hills. The mind is its great water reservoir containing the weeds and shrubs of human thoughts in abundance.

54. Wherever a man dies, he is instantly changed to this state, and he views the same things everywhere. Thus everyone rises and falls constantly, like the leaves of trees in this forest of the world.

55. Millions of Brahmas, Rudras, Indras, Maruts, Vishnus and suns, together with unnumbered mountains, seas, continents and islands have appeared and disappeared in the eternal course of the world.

56. No one can count the numbers of beings that have passed away, are passing, and shall have to pass hereafter, or those who are in existence and have to become extinct in the unfathomable eternity of Brahman.

57. Therefore it is impossible to comprehend the stupendous fabric of the universe in any way except in the mind, which is as spacious as infinite space itself, and is as variable as the course of events in the world.

58. The mind is the empty sphere of consciousness, and the infinite sphere of consciousness is the seat of the Supreme.

59. Now, know the whirlpools and waves of the sea are of the same element as the sea in which they rise and fall even though, in their impermanence, they are not of the same durable nature as seawater. So the phenomenon is the same as its conception, though none is a reality.

60. The ethereal sphere of heaven is only a reflection of the intellectual sphere of the Divine Mind, and the bright orbs of the sky are like gems in the bosom of Brahman. Its vault is the cave of the mind of the Eternal One.

61. The world according to the sense in which I take it, as the seat of God, is highly interesting, but not so in your sense of it being a sober reality. So the meaning of the words “I” and “you” according to me refers to the intellectual spirit, and according to you to the individual soul and body.

62. Hence Leela and Saraswati, being in their empty astral bodies, were led by the pure desire of their souls to every place without any obstruction or interruption.

63. The spirit of consciousness has the power to present itself wherever it likes, on earth or in the sky, and before objects known or unknown and wished to be known by it. It was by this power that they could enter into the tent of the prince.

64. Consciousness has its way to all places and things, and over which it exercises its powers of observation, reflection and reasoning to their full extent. This is known as the spiritual and unconfined body (ativahika, the subtle body, astral body, mind body) whose course cannot be obstructed by any restriction whatever.

Chapter 3.41 — Leela & Saraswati enter King Viduratha’s Tent; He Remembers His Past Lives; Everything Is within the Temple of the Mountain Brahmin; Discrimination of Error

1. Vasishta said:— When the ladies entered the tent, it appeared like a bed of lotuses. Its white ceiling seemed as graceful as the vault of heaven with two moons rising at once under it.

2. A pure and cooling fragrance spread about it, as if blown by the breeze from mandara flowers, and lulled the prince to sleep. Everyone was lying in their camps.

3. It made the place as pleasant as the celestial pleasure garden of Nandana and healed all the pains and cares of the people there. It seemed like a spring garden filled with the fragrance of the fresh blown lotuses in the morning.

4. The cooling and moon-bright radiance of the ladies roused the king from his sleep as if he had been sprinkled with the juice of ambrosia.

5. He saw the forms of two apsaras sitting on two stools, appearing like two moons risen on two peaks of Mount Meru.

6. The king saw them with wonder and after composing his mind, he rose up from his bed like God Vishnu rises from his bed of the serpent.

7. Then advancing respectfully to them, with long strings of flowers in his hands, he made offerings of them to the ladies with handfuls of flowers flung at their feet.

8. Leaving his pillowed sofa in the midst of the hall, he sat with folded legs on the ground. Lowly bending his head, he addressed them saying,

9. “Be victorious, O moon-bright goddesses who by your radiance drive away all the miseries and evils and pains and pangs of life, and who by your sun-like beams dispel all my inward and outward darkness.”

10. Saying so he poured handfuls of flowers on their feet, as trees on the banks of a lake drop down their flowers on the lotuses growing in it.

11. Then the goddess, desiring to reveal the ancestry of the king, inspired his minister, who was lying nearby, to relate it to Leela.

12. Upon waking, the minister saw the nymphs manifested before him, and advancing humbly before them, threw handfuls of flowers upon their feet.

13. The goddess said, “Let us know, O king, who you are and when and of whom you are born.” Hearing these words of the goddess, the minister spoke saying,

14. “It is by your favor, O gracious goddesses, that I am empowered to relate of my king’s ancestry to your kind graces.”

15. “There was a sovereign born of the imperial line of Ikshvaku named Mukundaratha, who had subjugated the earth under his arms.

16. He had a moon-faced son by name of Bhadraratha, whose son Viswaratha was father to the renowned prince Brihadratha.

17. His son Sindhuratha was the father of Sailaratha, and his son Kamaratha was father of Maharatha.

18. His son Vishnuratha was father of Nabhoratha, who gave birth to this my lord of handsome appearance.”

19. “He is renowned as Viduratha and is born with the great virtues of his sire, as the moon was produced of the Milky Ocean to shed his ambrosial beams over his people.

20. He was begotten by his mother Sumitra like the god Guha of Gauri. He was installed king of the realm in the tenth year of his age, owing to his father taking himself to asceticism.

21. He has been ruling the realm with justice since that time, and your appearance here tonight indicates the blossoming of his good fortune.”

22. “O goddesses, whose presence is hard to be had, even by the merit of long devotion and a hundred austerities, you see here present before you the lord of the earth, famed Viduratha.

23. He is highly blessed today by your favor.” After saying these words, the minister remained silent with the lord of the earth.

24. They were sitting on the ground with folded legs, clasped hands and downcast looks when the goddess of wisdom, by her inspiration, told the king to remember his former births.

25. So saying, she touched his head with her hand and immediately the dark veil of illusion and oblivion was dispersed from over the lotus of his mind.

26. It opened like a blossom by the touch of the genius of consciousness and it became bright as the clear sky with the rays of his former memories.

27. By his intelligence, he remembered his former kingdom, of which he had been the sole lord, and recollected all his past play with Leela.

28. He was carried away by the thoughts of the events of his past lives, as one is carried away by the current of waves, and reflected in himself that this world is a magic sea of illusion.

29. He said, “I have come to know this by the favor of the goddesses, but how is it that so many events have occurred to me in course of one day after my death?

30. Here I have passed a lifetime full of seventy years and remember having done many works and having seen my grandson.

31. I recollect the bygone days of my boyhood and youth, and I remember well all the friends and relatives and all the clothes and attendants that I had before.”

32. The goddess replied:— Know O king that after the fit of unconsciousness attending your death was over, your soul continued to remain in the emptiness of the same place where you still reside.

33. This royal pavilion, where you think yourself living, is situated in the empty space within the house of the brahmin in that hilly district.

34. It is inside that house that you see the appearances of your other homes present before you, and it was in that brahmin’s house that you devoted your life to my worship.

35. It is the shrine within that same house and on the same spot that contains the whole world which you are now seeing all about you.

36. This abode of yours is situated in that same place and within the clear firmament of your mind.

37. It is a false notion of your mind, which you have gained by your habitual mode of thinking, that you are born in your present state of the race of Ikshvaku.

38. Mere imagination has made you suppose yourself to be named so and so, and that such and such persons were your ancestors; that you had been a boy of ten years;

39. that your father became an ascetic in the woods and left you governing the realm; that you have subjugated many countries under your dominion and are now reigning as the lord paramount over them;

40. and that you are ruling on earth with these ministers and officers of yours, observing sacrificial rites and justly ruling your subjects.

41. You think that you have passed seventy years of your life and that you are now beset by very formidable enemies,

42. and that having waged a furious battle, you have returned to this tent of yours where you are now seated and intend to adore the goddesses who have become your guests here.

43. You are thinking that these goddesses will bless you with your desired object, because one of them has given you the power of recollecting the events of your former births;

44. that these goddesses have opened your understanding like the blossom of a lotus, and that you have the prospect of getting rid of all questions;

45. that you are now at peace and rest, and enjoy the solace of your solitude; and that your long continued error (of this world) is now removed forever.

46. You remember the many acts and pleasures of your past life in the body of King Padma before you were snatched away by the hand of death.

47. You now perceive in your mind that your present life is only a shadow of the former, as it is the same wave that by its rise and fall carries one onward.

48. The constant current of the mind flows like a river and leads a man, like a weed, from one whirlpool to another.

49. The course of life now runs alone as in dreaming, and then accompanied by the body as in the waking state, both of which leave their traces in the mind at the hour of death.

50. The sun of consciousness being hidden under the mist of ignorance, there arises a network of a false world which makes a moment appear like a hundred years.

51. Our lives and deaths are mere phantoms of imagination, just like we imagine houses and towers in aerial castles and icebergs.

52. The world is an illusion, like the delusion of moving banks and trees to a passenger in a vessel on water, or a rapid vehicle on land, or like the trembling of a mountain or quaking of the earth to one affected by a convulsive disease.

53. As one sees extraordinary things in his dream, such as the decapitation of his own head, so he views the illusions of the world that can hardly be true.

54. In reality you were neither born nor dead at anytime or any place, but ever remain as pure consciousness in the tranquility of your own soul.

55. You seem to see all things about you, but you are seeing nothing real in them. Your all-seeing soul sees everything in itself.

56. The soul shines by its own light like a brilliant gem. Nothing that appears beside it, whether this earth or yourself or anything else, is a reality.

57. These hills and cities, these people and things, and ourselves also, are all unreal and mere phantoms, appearing in the hollow vault of the brahmin of the hilly district.

58. The kingdom of Leela’s husband was only a picture of this earth, and his palace with all its grandeur is contained within the sphere of the same hollow shrine.

59. The known world is contained within the empty sphere of that shrine, and it is in one corner of this mundane house that all of us here are situated.

60. The sphere of this vaulted shrine is as clear as emptiness itself, which has no earth or house in it.

61. It is without any forest, hill, sea or river, and yet all beings are found to rove about in this empty and homeless abode.

62. Here there are no kings, no royal retinue, and nothing else that kings have on earth. Viduratha asked, “If it is so, then tell me goddess, how did I happen to have these dependants here?

63. A man is rich in his own mind and spirit. Is it not so ordained by Divine Mind and spirit? If not, then the world must appear as a mere dream, and all these men and things are only creatures of our dreams.

64. Tell me goddess, what things are spiritually true and false? How are we to distinguish the one from the other?”

65. Saraswati answered:— Know prince that those who have known the only knowable One and are assimilated in the nature of pure understanding view nothing as real in the world except the empty consciousness within themselves.

66. The misconception of the serpent in a rope being removed, the fallacy of the rope is removed also. The unreality of the world being known, the error of its existence also ceases to exist.

67. Knowing the falsity of water in a mirage, no one thirsts after it anymore. Knowing the falsehood of dreams, no one thinks himself dead as he had dreamt. The fear of dreaming death may overtake the dying, but it can never assail the living in his dream.

68. He whose soul is enlightened with the clear light of his pure consciousness is never misled into believing his own existence, or that of others, by the false application of the terms “I”, “you”, “this” or the like. Valmiki speaking:—

69. As the sage was lecturing in this manner, the day departed to its evening service with the setting sun. The assembly broke with mutual greetings to perform their evening rituals, and it met again with the rising sun, after dispersion of the gloom of night.

Chapter 3.42 — Philosophy of Dreaming (Swapnam); Creation Is a Dream; Viduratha Asks a Boon to Be Reunited with His (Second) Queen Leela Vasishta speaking:—

1. The man who is devoid of understanding, ignorant and unacquainted with the all-pervading principle, thinks the unreal world as real, dense and concrete.

2. Just like a child is not freed from his fear of ghosts until his death, so the ignorant man never gets rid of his fallacy of the reality of the unreal world as long as he lives.

3. Just like solar heat causes the error of water in the mirage to both deer and unwary people, so the unreal world appears as real to the ignorant part of mankind.

4. As the false dream of one’s death appears to be true within the dreaming state, so the false world seems to be a field of action and gain to the deluded man.

5. Just like one, not knowing what is gold, sees a golden bracelet to be a mere bracelet and not gold, so the ignorant, without a knowledge of the causal substance, are ever misled by the appearances of form.

6. The ignorant see a city, a house, a hill and an elephant as they are presented before them, so appearances are all taken only as they are seen, and not what they really are.

7. As strings of pearls are seen in the sunny sky, and various paints and taints in the plumage of the peacock, so the phenomenal world presents its false appearances as sober realities.

8. Know life to be a long sleep, and the world with myself and yourself are the visions of its dream. We see many other persons in this sleepy dream. None is real, as you will now learn from me.

9. There is only one all-pervading, quiet, and spiritually substantial reality. It is of the form of unintelligible consciousness and an immense outspreading emptiness.

10. It is omnipotent, and all in all by itself. It is of the form manifesting itself everywhere.

11. Hence the citizens that you see in this visionary city are only transient forms of men presented in your dream by that Omnipotent Being.

12. The mind of the viewer remains the same in the sphere of his dreams and represents images thought of by itself in that visionary sphere of mankind.

13. The knowing mind has the same knowledge of things, both in its waking and dreaming states, and it is by an act of the perceiving mind that this knowledge is imprinted as true in the conscious souls of men.

14. Rama said, “If persons seen in the dream are unreal, then tell me sage, what is the fault in the embodied soul that makes them appear as realities?”

15. Vasishta replied:— The cities and houses seen in dreams are nothing in reality. The illusion (maya) of the embodied soul makes them appear as true like those seen in the waking state in this ordinary world.

16. I will give you proof of this. In the beginning of creation and by the will of the creator, the self-born Brahma himself had notions of all created things in the form of visionary appearances, like in a dream, and their subsequent development. Therefore, their creator is as unreal as the notions and appearances in the dream.

17. Learn this truth from me, that this world is a dream and that you and all other men have your sleeping dreams contained in your waking dreams of this ordinary world.

18. If the scenes in your sleeping dream have no reality in them, how can you expect those in your daydreams to be real at all?

19. As you take me for a reality, so do I also take you and all other things for realities likewise, and such is the case with everybody in this world of dreams.

20. As I appear an entity to you in this ordinary world of lengthened dreams, so you too appear an actual entity to me. So it is with all in their protracted dreaming.

21. Rama asked, “If both these states of dreaming are alike, then tell me. When the dreamer awakens, why doesn’t he think the visions in his dream were as real as those of his daydreaming state?”

22. Vasishta replied:— Yes, night dreaming is of the same nature as daydreams in that dream objects appear to be real in both. Upon a man’s awakening from sleep, the night dreams vanish in empty air. Upon a man’s death, his daydreams vanish in empty air.

23. As the objects of your night dreams do not exist in time or place upon your waking, so also those of your daydream can have no existence upon death.

24. Thus everything that appears real for the present is unreal, and though it might appear as charming as a fairy form in a dream, at last it all disappears into an airy nothing.

25. There is one Consciousness that fills all space. It appears as everything both within and without everybody. It is only by our illusive conception of it that we take it in different lights.

26. As one picks up a jewel he happens to see in a treasure house, so according to our own liking, we lay hold on anything with which the vast Consciousness is filled.

27. The goddess of intelligence, having caused the germ of true knowledge to sprout forth in the mind of the king by sprinkling the ambrosial drops of her wisdom over it, spoke to the king in this way at the end,

28. “I have told you all this for the sake of Leela, and now, good king, we shall take leave of you and these illusory scenes of the world.”

29. Vasishta said:— The intelligent king, being gently addressed by the goddess of wisdom, asked her in a humble tone.

30. Viduratha said, “Your visit, O most bounteous goddess, cannot go for nothing, if when we poor mortals cannot withhold our bounty from those who petition us for help.

31. I will quit this body to go to another world, as one passes from one chain of dreams into another.

32. Look upon me, your petitioner, with kindness and grant me the favor I ask of you, because the great never refuse to grant the prayers of their suppliants.

33. Grant that this virgin daughter of my minister may accompany me to the region where I shall be led so that we may have spiritual joy in each other’s company hereafter.”

34. Saraswati said, “Go now, king, to the former palace of your past life and there reign without fear in the enjoyment of true pleasure. Know king that our visits never fail to fulfill the best wishes of our supplicants.”

Chapter 3.43 — The City Burning

1. The goddess added, “Know further, O king, that you are destined to fall in this great battle and that will have your former realm presented to you in the same manner as before.

2. Your minister and his maiden daughter will accompany you to your former city and you shall enter your lifeless corpse lying in state in the palace.

3. We shall fly there like the wind before you, and you will follow us accompanied by the minister and his virgin daughter like one returning to his native country.

4. Your way there will be as slow or swift as those of horses, elephants, asses, or camels, but our course is quite different from any of these.” Vasishta speaking:—

5. As the king and the goddess were going on with this sweet conversation, a man on horseback arrived before them in great hurry and confusion.

6. He said, “Lord! I come to tell that the enemy is showering darts and discs, swords and clubs upon us like rain, and they have been pressing upon us like a flood on all sides.

7. They have been raining their heavy weapons upon us at pleasure, like the impetuous gusts of a hurricane hurls down fragments of rocks from the heads of high hills.

8. There they have set fire to our fortress-like city and fires are burning on all sides like a wildfire. It is burning and engulfing houses with a hideous noise.

9. The smoke, rising like heaving hills, have covered the skies like a flood of clouds, and the flames of the fire leaping high resemble a garuda bird flying in the sky.”

10. Vasishta said:— As the royal marshal was delivering this unpleasant intelligence with trepidation, there arose a loud cry from outside that filled the sky with its uproar:

11. the twanging of bow strings drawn to the ears, the rustling of flying arrows flung with full force; the loud roaring of furious elephants, and the shrieks of frightened ones;

12. gorgeous elephants bursting into the city with a clattering sound; and the high loud shouts of citizens, whose houses have burnt to the ground;

13. the falling and flying of burnt embers with a crackling noise; and the burning of raging fire with a hoarse sound.

14. All these were heard and seen by the goddesses and the king and his minister from an opening of the tent. The city was ablaze in the darkness of the night.

15. It was as like the conflagration or fiery ocean of the last day. The city was covered by clouds of the enemy army, with their flashing weapons waving on all sides.

16. The flames rose as high as the sky, and the all dissolving fire of destruction melted buildings as big as hills.

17. Bodies of thick clouds roared on high and threatened the people, like the clamor of stout robber gangs gathered for plunder and booty.

18. The heavens were hidden under clouds of smoke rolling like the shades of Pushkara and Avarta coulds at the end of the world, and the flames of fire flashed like the golden peaks of Meru.

19. Burning cinders and sparks of fire glittered in the sky like meteors and stars, and the blazing houses and towers glared like burning mountains.

20. Groups of soldiers were attacked by the spreading flames that trapped half-burnt citizens (with their bitter cries) between clouds of fire and their fear of the enemy outside.

21. Sleets of arrow-like sparks flew in the air on all sides, and showers of burning missiles fell everywhere, burning and piercing people in large numbers.

22. The greatest and most expert champions fought but were crushed under the feet of elephants. Streets were heaped with treasures wrested from looters in their retreat.

23. Men and women wailed at the falling of fire-brands upon them, and the splitting of splinters and the slitting of timbers emitted a crack-crack noise all around.

24. Big blocks of burning wood were blown up, blazing in the air like burning suns, and heaps of embers filled the face of the earth with living fire.

25. The air echoed with the cracking of combustible wood and the bursting of burning bamboo, the cries of parched animals and the howling of soldiers.

26. The flaming fire was quenched after consuming the royal city to ashes, and the devouring flames ceased after they had reduced everything to cinders.

27. The sudden outbreak of fire was like burglars breaking in to a house and upon its sleeping inhabitants. It made prey of everything that fell in its way.

28. At this moment King Viduratha heard a voice from his soldiers who saw wives fleeing from the scorching flames.

29. “O, the high winds that have blown flames to the tops of our houses with their rustling sound and that have hindered our taking shelter under cooling protection.

30. Sorrow for the burning of our wives, who (by pacifying the smart of every pain) were as cold as frost to our bodies before, and whose ashes now rest in our breasts like the lime from burnt shells.

31. O! the mighty power of fire that has burned the hair of our fair maidens like blades of grass or straw.

32. Curling smoke is ascending on high, like a whirling and long meandering river in the air, and black and white fumes of fire resemble the dark stream of Yamuna in one place, and the milky path of the ethereal Ganga in another.

33. Streams of smoke bearing the sparks on high dazzle the sight of heavenly charioteers with their bubbling sparks.

34. Our fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, relations and suckling babes are all burnt alive in the black and blue flames. Here are we burning with grief for them in these houses that have been spared by the devouring fire.

35. See, there the howling fire is fast advancing to those houses, and here the cinders are falling as thick as the frost of Mount Meru.

36. Behold the dire darts and missiles dropping down like driving rain, breaking windows like bodies of gnats in the shade of evening.”

37. “Flashing spears and fire flaring above the watery ocean of the sky resemble an undersea fire ascending to heaven.

38. Smoke is rising in clouds, and flames are tapering in the form of towers, and all that was humid and green is sucked and dried up like the hearts of the dispassionate.

39. Trees are broken down by the raging fire, like posts by enraged elephants. They are falling with a cracking noise as if they were screaming at their own fall.

40. Trees in the orchards, now flourishing in their luxury of fruits and flowers, are left bare by the burning fire, like householders bereft of their properties.

41. Children abandoned by their parents in the darkness of the night, fleeing through the streets, are either being pierced by flying arrows or crushed under falling houses.

42. Elephants posted at the front of the army were frightened by the flying embers driven by the winds, and fled with loud screaming at the fall of the burning houses upon them.

43. O, the pain of being put to the sword is no more terrible than being burned by fire, or smashed under the stones of a thundering engine.

44. Streets are filled with domestic animals and cattle of all kinds, let loose from their folds and stalls to raise their commingled cries in the blocked streets like the confused noise of battle.”

45. “Weeping women passed like lotus flowers on land, with their lotus-like faces, feet and palms. Drops of tears fell upon the ground like fluttering bees from their lotus-shaped eyes and wet apparel.

46. The red taints and spots of the hair-clusters upon their foreheads and cheeks burned like Asoka flowers.

47. Alas, for pity that the furious flame of fire, like a ruthless victor who delights in acts of inhumanity, should singe the black lined, bee-like eyelids of our deer-eyed fairies.

48. O, the bond of marriage love that the faithful wife never fails to follow her burning lord, and cremates herself in the same flame with him.”

49. “The elephant, burned on his trunk from breaking the burning post to which he was tied by the leg, ran violently to a lake of lotuses, in which he fell dead.

50. The flames of fire, flashing like flitting lightning amidst clouds of smoke, darted burning coals like bolts of thunder in showers.

51. Lord! The sparks of fire against the dusky clouds appeared like glittering gems in the bosom of the airy ocean, and seem by their twirling to gird the crown of heaven with the girdle of the Pleiades.

52. The sky was reddened by the light of flaming fires and appeared like the courtyard of Death dyed with purple colors in joy for reception of the souls of the dead.”

53. “Alas the day and want of manners that royal dames are forcibly carried away by these armed ruffians.

54. See them dragged from their stately building and in the streets, strewing their paths with wreaths of flowers torn from their necks while their half burnt locks are hanging loosely upon their bare breasts;

55. their loose clothing uncovering their backs and loins, and jewelry dropped from their wrists are strewn on the ground.

56. Their necklaces are torn and their pearls scattered about. Their bodies are bared of their bodices, and their golden colored breasts appear to view.

57. Their shrill cries and groans, rising above the war cry, choke their breath and split their sides. They fall unconscious, eyes dimmed by ceaseless floods of tears.

58. They fell in a body with their arms twisted about each other’s necks, the ends of their cloths tied to each other’s. In this way they are forcibly dragged ruffians, their bodies mangled in blood.

59. ‘Ah! who will save them from this state?’ cried the royal soldiers with piteous looks on the sad plight of the women and shedding big drops of tears like lotuses.”

60. The bright face of the sky turned black at the horrible sight, and it looked with its blue lotus-like eyes of clouds on the fair lotus-like maidens thus scattered on the ground.

61. Thus, like these ladies, the goddess of royal prosperity, decorated as she was with her waving and pendant locks, her flowing garments, flowery garlands and ornamental jewelry, was brought to her end after her enjoyment of the pleasures of royalty and gratification of all her desires.

Chapter 3.44 — Enlightened Leela Sees Viduratha’s Queen Leela; Habits of the Mind Reproduce the Same Images

1. Vasishta said:— At this instant the great queen, who was in the bloom of youthful beauty, entered Viduratha’s camp like the goddess of grace pops upon the lotus flower.

2. She was decorated with hanging wreaths of flowers and necklaces, and accompanied by a train of her youthful companions and handmaids, all terrified with fear.

3. With her face as bright as the moon and her form as fair as the lily, she appeared like a star of heaven, her teeth shining like sets of stars and her bosom throbbing with fear.

4. Then one of her companions informed the king about the fate of the warfare, which resembled the onset of demons upon the apsara tribe.

5. “Lord!” she said, “This lady has fled with us from her harem to take refuge under your arms, like a tender vine seeks the shelter of a tree from a rude gust of wind.

6. See the ravishers ravishing the wives of citizens with their uplifted arms, like the swelling waves of the sea in their rapid current carrying away the tree groves from the bank.

7. The guards of the royal harem are all crushed to death by the haughty marauders, as the sturdy trees of the forest are broken down by the furious tornado.

8. Our armies, frightened by the enemy from afar, dare not approach the falling city, as nobody ventures to rescue lotus beds from a flood under the threatening thunders of a rainy night.

9. Hostile forces have poured into the city in terrible numbers and, having set it on fire, are shouting loudly under the clouds of smoke, their weapons brandished on all sides.

10. Handsome ladies are dragged by the hair from their families like screaming cranes caught and carried away by cruel fowlers and fishermen.

11. Now we have brought this luxurious tender creeper to you so that your might may save her from similar fate.”

12. Hearing this, he looked at the goddesses and said, “Now, I will go from here to war and leave this my lady as a humble bee at your lotus feet.”

13. Saying so, the king rose in a rage from his seat and sprang like an enraged lion when pierced and pressed by the tusk of a furious elephant.

14. The widowed Leela saw the queen Leela to be exactly of her form and features, and took her for a true reflection of herself in a mirror.

15. Then the enlightened Leela said to Saraswati, “Tell me, O goddess, how can this lady be exactly like myself? She is what I have been before. How did she come to be like me?”

16. “I see this prime minister with all these soldiers and citizens, these forces and vehicles, all to be the same as mine, and situated in the same place and manner as before.

17. How is it then, O goddess, that they came to be placed in this place? I see them as images placed within and outside the mirror of my mind, and know not whether these are living beings (or my imagination).”

18. Saraswati replied:— All our external perceptions of things are the immediate effects of our internal conceptions of them. The intellect has the knowledge of all that can be perceived in it, just like the mind has the impressions of mental objects in itself.

19. The external world appears in an instant in the same form and manner to one who has its notion and impression in his intellect and mind, and no distance of time or place or any intermediate cause can create any difference in them.

20. The inner world is seen on the outside, like the internal impressions of our minds appear to be seen outside us in our dreams. Whatever is within, the same appears without, as with our dreams and desires and in all our imaginations and fancies of objects.

21. It is the constant habit of your mind that presents these things as realities to your sight. You saw your husband in the same state in which you thought he was when he died in that city of yours.

22. It is the same place where he now exists. Even now he is presented with the same objects of his thought as he had at that moment. Anything that appears to be different in this state comes from the turn of his mind of thinking it so before.

23. All that appears real to him is the creation of his fancy and is as unreal as his dream or desire; for everything appears to be the same as it is thought of in the mind.

24. Say therefore, what truth can there be in these envisioned objects which are unsubstantial as dreams and in the end vanish into airy nothing?

25. Then know that everything is no better than nothing and, like a dream, proves to be nothing upon waking. Waking is also a dream and equally nothing at death.

26. Death in lifetime is a non-existence and life in death becomes null and extinct. These extinctions of life and death proceed from the fluctuating nature of our notions of them.

27. So there is neither any entity nor a non-entity either. Both appear to us by turns as fallacies. For what after an kalpa aeon neither was nor will be cannot exist today or in any epoch (yuga), whether gone before or coming afterwards.

28. That which is never non-existent is the ever existent Brahman, and That is the world. It is in Him that we see everything rise and fall by our fallacy, and what we falsely term as the creation or the created.

29. As phantoms appear in the emptiness, are all vacant and void, and as the waves of the sea are nothing but its water so do these created things exist and appear in Brahman only.

30. As the minutiae appearing in the air vanish in the air, and as the dust driven by the winds is lost in the winds, so the false notions of yourself and myself are lost in that Supreme Self in which all things rise and fall like waves of the ocean.

31. What reliance can there be in this dust of creation which is no more than the water of the mirage? When everything is united in that sole Unity, the knowledge of individualities is mere fallacy.

32. We see apparitions in the dark, though the darkness itself is no apparition. Our lives and deaths are the false notions of our error, and the entirety of existence is equally the production of gross error (maya).

33. All this is Himself, for He is the great kalpa or will that produces everything. It is He who exists when all things are extinct in Him. Therefore these appearances are neither real nor unreal of themselves.

34. But to say both real and unreal are Brahman is a contradiction. Therefore it is He who fills the infinity of space and abides equally in all things and their minutest particles.

35. Wherever the spirit of Brahman abides, and even in the most minute living particle, It views the whole world in Itself, like one thinking on heat and cold of fire and frost has the same sensation within himself at that moment.

36. So does the pure Consciousness perceive the Holy Spirit of God within itself, just like one sees particles of light flying in his closet at sunrise.

37. So these multitudes of worlds move about like particles in the infinite space of the Divine Mind, as the particles of odorous substances oscillate in empty air.

38. In this way this world abides in its incorporeal state in the mind of God, with all its modifications of existence and nonexistence, emanation and absorption, its condensation into dense and diffusion into subtle, and its movement and rest.

39. But you must know all these modes and conditions of being belong only to material and not to the spirit, which is unconditioned and indivisible.

40. There is no change or division of one’s own soul, so there is no partition or variation of the Supreme Spirit. It is according to ideas in our minds that we see things in their different aspects before us.

41. Yet the word “world” ( vishva) is not a meaningless term. It means the all as contained in Brahman. Therefore it is both real and unreal at the same time, like the fallacy of a snake in a rope.

42. It is the false notion (of the snake) that makes the true (rope) appear like the untrue snake to us, which we are apt to take for the true snake itself. So in the same way we make the mistake of taking Divine Consciousness, which is the prime cause of all, to be an individual soul.

43. It is this notion (of the individual soul) that makes us think of ourselves as living beings which, whether it be false or true, is like the appearance of the world in empty air.

44. Thus these little animals delight themselves with their own misconceived idea of being living beings, while there are others who think themselves so by their preconceived notions as such.

45. There are some who have no preconceived notions, and others who retain the same as or a somewhat different notion of themselves than before. Somewhere inborn notions predominate, and sometimes they are entirely lost.

46. Our preconceived notions of ourselves represent unrealities as realities to our minds, and present the thoughts of our former family and birth and the same occupations and professions before us.

47. Such are the representations of your former ministers and citizens, imprinted as realities in your soul, together with the exact time and place and manner of their functions, as before.

48. Because the consciousness of all things is present in the omniscient spirit of God, so the idea of royalty is inherent in the soul of the king.

49. This notion of his goes before him like his shadow in the air, with the same stature and features and the same acts and movements as he had before.

50. In this manner, Leela, know this world is only a shadowy reflection of the eternal ideas of God, and that this reflection is caught by or refracted in the consciousness of all animal souls like in a prismatic mirror.

51. Everything shows itself in every place in the form in which it is. So whatever is in the individual soul casts out a reflection of itself, and a shadow of it is caught by the intellect that is situated outside it.

52. Here is the sky containing the world in which you and I and this prince are situated like reflections of the One Ego only. Know all these are contained within the empty womb of Consciousness and remain as tranquil and transparent as emptiness itself.

Chapter 3.45 — The Second Leela Gets a Boon the First Didn’t: How We Seek Is How We Obtain

1. Saraswati continued:— Know Leela, that this Viduratha, your husband, will lose his life in this battlefield and his soul will return to the tomb in the inner apartment where it will resume its former state. Vasishta:—

2. Upon hearing these words of the goddess, the second Leela, who was standing by, bent herself lowly before the goddess and addressed her with her folded palms.

3. The second Leela said, “Goddess! the genius of intelligence is ever adored by me and she gives me her visits in my nightly dreams.

4. I find you here exactly of her likeness. Therefore give me your blessing, O goddess with the beautiful face.”

5. Vasishta said:— The goddess, being addressed by the lady in this way, remembered her faith and reliance in her, then politely spoke to the lady standing as a suppliant before her.

6. The goddess said, “I am pleased, my child, with your unfailing and undiminished adoration of me all your lifetime. Now say what you want of me.”

7. The second Leela said, “Ordain O goddess, that with this body of mine I may accompany my husband to whatever place he is destined to go after his death in the war.”

8. The goddess replied, “Be it so my child who has worshipped me with flowers, incense and offerings with all diligence and without fail.”

9. Vasishta said:— The second Leela was cheered by this blessing of the goddess. The first Leela was much puzzled in her mind at the difference between their states.

10. The first Leela said, “Those who desire truth and they whose desires lean towards godliness have all their wishes fulfilled without delay and fail.

11. Then tell me, goddess, why could I not keep company with my brahmin husband with my body of the brahmani, but had to be taken to him in the mountain home after my death.”

12. The goddess answered saying:— Know, O excellent lady, that I have no power to do anything. Everything happens according to the desire of the living being.

13. Know me only as the presiding divinity of wisdom, and I reveal everything according to my knowledge of it. It is by virtue of the intellectual powers exhibited in every being that it attains its particular end.

14. A living being has a certain development of mental powers and state when he desires an object. He attains that object according to the same development of mental powers and state.

15. You had attained the powers of your understanding by your devotion to my service. You have always desired from me that you be liberated from flesh.

16. Accordingly, I have awakened your understanding in that way, whereby you have been able to arrive at your present state of purity.

17. It was because of your constant desire for liberation that you have gained the same state by enlargement (of the powers) of your consciousness.

18. Whoever exerts his bodily powers according to the dictates of his understanding is sure to succeed in gaining his object sooner or later.

19. Without cultivation of the intellect, performance of austerities and adoration of gods are as vain as to expect fruit to fall from the sky.

20. Without cultivation of the intellect and exertion of manly powers, there is no way to success. Therefore if you do, you may choose for yourself.

21. Truly the state of one’s mind leads his internal soul to that state upon which it thinks, and to that prosperity which it attempts to obtain.

22. Now distinguish between what is desirable or disagreeable for you, and choose that which is holy and perfect, and you will certainly arrive at it.

Chapter 3.46 — Viduratha Counter-Attacks

1. Rama said, “Tell me what Viduratha did after he got angry an left the ladies and the goddess having said what he did, and went out from the camp.”

2. Vasishta said:— Viduratha, accompanied by a large group of his companions, left his camp like the bright moon beset by a host of stars.

3. He was in armor and girt by laces and girdles. Dressed in his military clothing, he went forth amidst the loud war cry of sorrow to the vanquished, like God Indra going to battle.

4. He gave orders to the soldiers and was informed of the battle array. Having given directions to his captains, he mounted his chariot.

5. It was adorned with equipment resembling the pinnacles of mountains and beset by five flags fringed with strings of pearls and gems, resembling a celestial car.

6. The iron hoops of its wheels flashed with their golden pegs, and the long and beautiful shaft of the car, rang with the tinkling of pearls which were suspended to it.

7. It was drawn by long necked, swift and slender horses of the best breed and auspicious marks. Their swiftness and bearing made them seem like they were flying in the air pulling a heavenly car with some god in it.

8. Impatient of the wind’s swiftness, they spurred them with their back heels and left them behind, and sped the forepart of their bodies as if to devour the air, impeding their course.

9. The car was drawn by eight war horses with their manes hanging down their necks like fans, and white spots or circlets resembling the discs of moon on their foreheads, and filling the eight sides around with their hoarse neighing.

10. At this time there rose a loud noise of the elephants, resounding like drums from the hollows of the distant hills.

11. Angry soldiers raised a loud clamor, and the tinkling of their belted trinkets, and clashing of their weapons, rang afar in the open air.

12. The crackling of bows, and the wheezing of arrows, joined with the jangle of armor clashing against one another, raised a confused hubbub all around.

13. Seen and heard on all sides were the sparks of blazing fires, champions challenging each other, painful shrieks of the wounded, and the piteous cry of captives.

14. The mingled sounds thickened in the air and filled its cavity and sides like with solid stones, as if one could clutch the noise in the hands.

15. Clouds of dust flew so fast and thick into the air that they seemed to be the earth’s crust rising upward to block the path of the sun in the sky.

16. The great city was hidden in the dark womb of the spreading dust, just like an ignorant state of man is covered in darkness by the rising passion of youth.

17. Burning lights became as dim as the fading stars of heaven by day light, and the darkness of night became as thick as the devils of darkness gather their strength at night.

18. The two Leelas saw the great battle from the tent with the minister’s virgin daughter. By favor of the goddess, they had their eyes enlightened with farsightedness.

19. Now there was an end to the flashing and clashing of the hostile arms in the city, just like the flash and crash of undersea fires are put to an end by the all-submerging floods of the universal deluge.

20. Viduratha collected his forces and, without considering the enemy’s superiority, pressed himself forward into them, as the great Mount Meru rushed into the waters of the great deluge.

21. Now the twanging of the bow strings emitted a clattering sound, and the enemy forces advanced in battle array like bodies of clouds with rainbows amidst them.

22. Many kinds of missiles flew like falcons in the air. Black steel waved with a dark glare owing to the massacres they made.

23. Clashing swords striking against each another flashed with living flames of fire, and showers of arrows whistled like hissing rainfalls in the air.

24. Two edged saws pierced the bodies of the warriors, and the flinging weapons hurtled in the air, clashing and crashing each other.

25. The darkness of the night was put to flight by the blaze of the weapons. The entire army was pierced by arrows sticking like hairs on their bodies.

26. Headless trunks moved about like players in a horrid, solemn ritual of the god of death (Yama). Furies fled about at the violence of war, like raving girls at drunken revelries.

27. Elephants fighting with their tusks sent a clattering noise into the air. Stones flung from the slings flew like a flowing stream in the sky.

28. Bodies of men were falling dead on the ground like the dried leaves of forests blown away by wind. Streams of blood were running in the field of battle, as if the heights of war were pouring down the floods of death below.

29. The dust of the earth was set down by the floods of blood, and the darkness was dispelled by the blaze of weapons. All clamor ceased in intense fighting, and the fear for life was lost under the stern resolution of death.

30. The fighting was stern without a cry or noise, like the pouring of rain in a breezeless sky. The glitter of swords in the darkened air was like the flashes of forked lightning in murky clouds.

31. Darts were flying about with a hissing noise. Crowbars hit one another with a harsh sound. Large weapons struck each another with a jarring noise. The dreadful war raged direfully in the dim darkness of the night.

Chapter 3.47 — Saraswati Explains Why Sindhu Will Win; the Encounter of Sindhu & Viduratha

1. Vasishta said:— As the war was waging furiously between the two armies, the two Leelas addressed the goddess of knowledge and said,

2. “Tell us, O goddess, what unknown cause keeps our husband from gaining victory in this war, in spite of your good grace to him and his repelling enemy elephants in the fighting.”

3. Saraswati replied:— Know daughters that I was asked by Viduratha’s enemy to give him victory in battle, which your husband never craved of me.

4. He lives and enjoys his life as it was desired by him, while his antagonist gains the conquest according to his aim and object.

5. Knowledge is contained in the consciousness of every living being, and rewards every one according to the desire to which it is directed.

6. My nature, like that of all things, is as unchangeable as the heat of fire. So the nature of Viduratha’s knowledge of truth and his desire for liberation lead him to the like result.

7. The intelligent Leela will also be liberated with him, but not the unintelligent one who by her nature is still unprepared for that highest state of bliss.

8. Viduratha’s enemy, the King of Sindhu, has long worshipped me for his victory in war. Therefore the bodies of Viduratha and his wife must fall into his hands.

9. O girl, you will also have liberation like hers in course of time. But before that, this enemy of yours, the King of Sindhu, will reign victorious in this earth.

10. Vasishta said:— As the goddess was speaking in this manner, the sun appeared on his rising hill to behold the wonderful sight of the forces fighting.

11. The thick mists of night disappeared like the enemy Sindhu hosts and left Viduratha’s forces to glitter like stars at the approach of night.

12. The hills and dales and the land and water gradually appeared to sight, and the world seemed to reappear to view from amidst the dark ocean of the deluge.

13. The bright rays of the rising sun radiated on all sides like streams of liquid gold and made the hills appear as they did the bodies of warriors besmeared with blood.

14. The sky seemed like an immense field of battle, stretched over by the radiant rays of the sun that made the warriors’ shining arms shake in a snake-like manner.

15. The helmets on their heads raised their lotus-like tops, and the rings about their ears blazed with their jeweled glare.

16. The pointed weapons were as fixed as the snouts of unicorns, and the flying darts fled about like butterflies in the air. The bloody field presented a picture of a ruddy dawn and dusk, and the dead bodies on the ground represented the figures of motionless saints in their yoga.

17. Necklaces hung on their necks like snakes, and armor covered their bodies like the skins of serpents. Flags were flying like crests of vines on high, and the legs of warriors stood like pillars in the field.

18. Their long arms were like tree branches, and the arrows formed a bush of reeds. The flash of weapons spread like a green meadow all around, while their blades blazed with the luster of the long-leaved ketaka flowers.

19. The long lines of weapons formed like rows of bamboo and bramble bushes. Their mutual clashing emitted sparks of fire like clusters of the red asoka flowers.

20. Bands of spiritual masters (siddhas) were flying with their leaders away in the air to avoid the weapons that were blazing with the radiance of the rising sun, forming as it were, a city of gold on high.

21. The sky re-echoed to the clashing of darts and discuses, of swords and spears, and of mallets and clubs in the field, and the ground overflowed with streams of blood bearing away the bodies of the slain.

22. The land was strewn with crowbars, lances and spears, and with tridents and stones on all sides. Headless bodies were falling hideously, pierced by poles and pikes and other instruments of death.

23. Above, the ghosts and demons of death were making horrible noise, and below, the shining chariots of Sindhu and Viduratha moved with a loud rumbling.

24. They looked like the two luminaries of the sun and moon in heaven, and they were equipped with various weapons of discs and rods, of crowbars and spears, and other missiles besides.

25. Each was surrounded by thousands of soldiers who shouted loudly as their king turned towards them.

26. Crushed under heavy discs, many fell dead and wounded with loud cries. Big elephants were floating lightly on the currents of blood.

27. Hairs on the heads of dead bodies floated like weeds in the stream of blood, and the floating discuses glided like the discs of the moon, reflected in the purple streamlet.

28. The air of the battlefield was filled the confused noise of the jingling of jeweled ornaments, the tinkling bells of war carriages, and the flapping of flags in the wind.

29. Numbers of valiant as well as dastardly soldiers followed their respective kings, some bleeding under the spears of Kuntas and others pierced by the arrows of archers.

30. Then the two kings turned their chariots in circling rings amidst phalanxes armed with all sorts of destructive weapons.

31. Each confronted the other with his arms, and having met one another face to face, commenced showering forth his arrows with the pattering sound of hailstones.

32. They both threatened one another with the roaring of loud surges and clouds. In their rage, the two lions among men fired their arrows at each another.

33. They flung their missiles in the air in the form of stones and malls, and some faced like swords, and others headed as mallets.

34. Some were sharp edged discs, and some curved as battle axes. Some were pointed like pikes and spears, and others had forms like bars and rods. Some were shaped like tridents, and others as bulky as blocks of stones.

35. These missiles were falling as fully and as fast as rocks hurled down from high by gusts of blustering hurricanes. The meeting of the two warring powers was as the confluence of the Indus and the sea, with tremendous roaring, collision and clashing.

Chapter 3.48 — Supernatural Weapons

1. Vasishta said:— King Viduratha, finding the high shouldered king of Sindhu before him, was enraged like the raging sun, in his midday fury.

2. The twanging of his bow resounded in the air on all sides, and growled as loudly as the howling of winds in the caverns of mountains.

3. He drew his arrows from his dark quiver and shot them like the rays of the sun rising from the womb of night.

4. Each arrow flung from the bowstring flew like thousands in the air, and fell like millions on the ground.

5. The King of Sindhu was equally expert in his archery, as both of these archers owed their skill with bows to the favor of Vishnu.

6. Some of these darts were called bolts which blocked the aerial passages, like door bolts do their doors, the fell down on the ground with the loud roar of thunderbolts.

7. Others decorated with gold flew hissing as if blown by the winds, and after shining like stars in the sky, fell like blazing meteors on the ground.

8. Showers of shafts poured forth constantly from the hands of Viduratha, like the ceaseless torrents of rivers, or billows of the sea, or the endless radiation of solar rays.

9. Shells and bullets were flying about like sparks of fire struck out of the balls of red-hot iron, and falling like flowers of forests blown away by gusts of wind.

10. They fell like showers of rainwater, and like the rush of water-falls, and as plentifully as the sparks of fire that flew from Viduratha’s burning city.

11. The jarring sound of their bowstrings hushed the clamor of the two armies, like a calm quiets the roaring of the raging sea.

12. The course of arrows, was as the stream of Ganges (the milky path) in heaven, running towards the King of Sindhu, as the river runs to meet the sea (Sindhu).

13. The shower of arrows flying from the golden bow of the king was like a flood of rain falling under the variegated rainbow in the sky.

14. Then from the window, the Leela who was the native of that city saw the darts of her husband rushing like the currents of the Ganges against the Sindhu forces resembling a sea.

15. She understood the flight of those darts to promise victory to her lord, and then spoke gladly to Saraswati, with her lotus-like mouth.

16. “Be victorious O goddess, and behold victory waiting on the side of my lord whose darts are piercing the rocks and breaking them to pieces.”

17. As she was uttering these words full of affection, the goddesses eyed her sideways and smiled at her womanish tenderness of heart.

18. The flaming fire of Sindhu swallowed the raging sea of Viduratha’s arrows like an undersea fire consumes water, and like Jahnu drank the stream of Ganges.

19. The Sindhu missile weapons thwarted the thickening arrows of his adversary, and drove them back broken and flying as dust in the empty air.

20. As an extinguished lamp loses its light in the air, so the flashes of the fire arms disappeared in the sky, and nobody knew where they fled.

21. Having thus dispelled the shower of arrows, the Sindhu king sent a thick cloud of his weapons, appearing as hundreds of dead bodies flying in the air.

22. Viduratha repelled them quickly by means of his better bolts, as a hurricane disperses the frightening clouds in the air.

23. Both kings, baffled in their aims by opposing arms let indiscriminately loose against each another, laid hold on more powerful missiles.

24. Sindhu let fly his magic missile that was gift from a gandharva. It kept the army of his enemy all spell-bound except Viduratha himself.

25. Struck with this weapon, the soldiers became as mute as moonstruck, staring in their looks, and appearing as dead bodies or as pictures in a painting.

26. As the soldiers of Viduratha remained spellbound within their files, King Viduratha employed his instruments of a counter-charm to remove the spell.

27. This awakened the senses of his men like morning twilight reveals a bed of lotuses, and the rising sun opens their closed petals to light. The Sindhu king fired his rage at them like the raging.

28. He flung his serpentine weapons upon them, which bound like a band around all their bodies, encircling the battle ground and air like snakes wrapped round crags and rocks.

29. The ground was filled with snakes like a lake with the spreading stalks of lotuses, and the bodies of gigantic warriors were bound by them like hills by huge and horrible hydras.

30. Everything was overpowered by the sharp power of the poison, and the inhabitants of the hills and forests were benumbed by the venomous infection.

31. The smart poison spread a fiery heat all around, and the frozen snows like fire-brands sent forth their burning particles which were blown by the hot winds in the air.

32. The fully armed Viduratha, equally skilled in arms, then had recourse to his garuda (divine eagle) anti-serpent weapons. They fired like mountain eagles to all sides.

33. Their golden wings spread in the sky on all sides, and embroidered the air with purple gold. The flapping of their wings wheezed like a breeze that blew the poisonous vapor far away into the air.

34. It made the snakes breathe out of their nostrils with a hissing, resembling the gurgling of waters in a whirlpool in the sea.

35. The flying garuda weapons devoured the land-creeping serpents with a whistling noise, like that of the waters being sucked up by Agastya.

36. The face of the ground, delivered from its covering of these reptiles, again appeared to view like the surface of the earth reappears to light after its deliverance from the waters of the deluge.

37. Afterwards the army of garudas disappeared from sight like a line of lamps put out by the wind, and like an assembly of clouds vanishes in autumn.

38. They fled like flying mountains fearing the bolts of thundering Indra, and vanished like the impermanent world seen in a dream, or as like a castle in the sky built by fancy.

39. Then King Sindhu shot his shots of dark smoke that darkened the scene like the dark cave under the ground.

40. It hid the face of the earth and sky like flood waters reaching to the sky’s face. It made the army appear like a shoal of fishes, and the stars like gems shining in the deep.

41. The spreading darkness appeared like a sea of ink or dark mud, or like the particles of Anjana Hill blown by the breeze over the face of nature.

42. All beings seemed to be immersed in the sea or darkness, and to lose their energies as in the deep gloom of midnight.

43. Viduratha the best of the most skilful in ballistics, fired his sun-bright shot which like the sun illumined the vault of the sky.

44. It rose high amidst the spreading darkness like the sun with his effulgent beams, and dispelled the shades of darkness, as autumn does the rainy clouds.

45. The sky being cleared of its veil of darkness, manifested itself with its reddish clouds that resembled the ruddy bodices of maidens before the king.

46. Now the landscape appeared in full view, like the understanding of men coming in full play after the extinction of their greed.

47. The enraged Sindhu then laid hold on his dreadful demon rakshasa weapon, which he instantly flung on his enemy with its bedeviled darts.

48. These horrid and destructive darts flew on all sides in the air, and roared like the sea and the gigantic dark clouds of heaven.

49. They were like the flames of bright fire, with their long licking tongues and ash-colored and smoky curls rising like white hairs on the head, and making a chat-chat sound like that of moist fuel burning.

50. They wheeled round in circles in the air with a horrible tang-tang noise, now flaming as fire and now fuming as smoke, and then flying about as sparks of fire.

51. With mouths beset by rows of sprouting teeth like lotus stalks, and faces defaced by dirty and moldy eyes, their hairy bodies were like stagnate pools full of moss and weeds.

52. They flew about and flashed and roared aloud like dark clouds, while the locks of hairs on their heads glared like lightning in the midway sky.

53. At this instant Viduratha, Leela’s husband, sent forth his Narayana weapon that had the power to suppress wicked spirits and demons.

54. The appearance of this magic weapon made the bodies of the rakshasa demons disappear like darkness at sunrise.

55. This entire army of fiends was lost in the air, like the dark clouds of the rainy season vanish into nothing at the approach of autumn.

56. Then Sindhu discharged his fire arms which set fire to the sky, and began to burn down everything like the all destroying conflagration of the last day.

57. They filled all the sides of air with clouds of smoke that seemed to hide the face of heaven under the darkness of hell.

58. They set fire to the woods in the hills which burned like mountains of gold, while the trees appeared to bloom with yellow plumeria flowers all around.

59. All the sides of the sky above, and the hills, woods and groves below, were enveloped in the flames, as if they were covered under the red powder of Holi with which Yama, the God of the underworld, was playing over the plain.

60. The heaven-spreading flame burnt legions into a heap of ashes like an undersea fire consumes entire ships and fleets in the sea.

61. As Sindhu continued to dart his fire arms against his defeated adversary, Viduratha let off his watery arms with reverential regard.

62. Filled with water, these flew forward likes the shades of darkness from their hidden cells. They spread up and down and on all sides like a melted mountain gushing in a hundred cataracts.

63. They stretched like mountainous clouds or like a sea in the air, and fell in showers of watery arrows and stones on the ground.

64. They flew up like large tamara trees, and gathered in groups like the shades of night, appeared as the thick gloom beyond the polar mountains.

65. They gave the sky the appearance of subterraneous caves, emitting a gurgling sound like the loud roaring of elephants.

66. These waters soon drank the spreading furious fire, like the shades of the dark night swallow the surrounding red tints of the evening.

67. Having swallowed the fires above, the waters flooded the ground and filled it with a humidity which served to weaken all bodies, as the power of sleep numbs everybody in death-like torpidity.

68. In this manner both the kings were throwing their enchanted weapons against each other, and found them equally quelling and repelling one another.

69. The heavy armed soldiers of Sindhu and the captains of his regiments were swept away by the flood, together with the war-cars that floated upon it.

70. At this moment, Sindhu thought upon his thermal weapons which possessed the miraculous power of preserving his people from the water. He hurled them in the air.

71. These absorbed the waters like the sun sucks up the moisture of the night, and dried up the land and revived the soldiers, except those that were already dead and gone.

72. Their heat chased the coldness like the rage of the illiterate against the learned, and made the moist ground as dry as when sultry winds strew the forest land with dried leaves.

73. It decorated the face of the ground with a golden color, like when the royal dames adorn themselves with yellow paint.

74. It put the soldiers on the opposite side in a state of feverish fainting, like when the tender leaves of trees are scorched by the warmth of a wild fire in summer heat.

75. Viduratha, in his war-like rage, took up his bow, bent it to a curve, and let fly his cloudy arms on his enemy.

76. They sent forth columns of clouds as thick as the dark shades of night, which flying upward like a forest of dark tamara trees, spread a shelter heavy with water on high.

77. They lowered under the weight of their water, stood still by their massive thickness, and roared aloud in their circles all over the sky.

78. Then blew the winds dropping the dewdrops from the icy store they bore on their wings. Showers of rain fell quickly from the clouds collected on high.

79. Then fiery lightning flashed from the clouds like golden serpents, or rather like side glances from the eyes of heavenly apsara nymphs.

80. The roaring of the clouds rebounded in the mountainous caverns of the sky, and the quarters of heaven echoed with the sound like the hoarse noise of elephants, the roaring of lions, and the growling of tigers and bears.

81. Showers of rain fell in floods with drops as big as mallets and with flashes of lightning that threatened like stern glances from the god of death.

82. Huge mists rose up in the form of vapors of the earth and were carried aloft into the sky by the heated air. They seemed like demons rising from the infernal regions.

83. The mirage of the warfare ceased after a while, like worldly desires subside to rest upon tasting the sweet joys attending on divine knowledge.

84. The ground became full of mud and mire and was impassable everywhere. The forces of Sindhu were flooded by the watery deluge, like the Sindhu River (Indus) or the sea.

85. He then hurled his airy weapon that filled the vault of heaven with winds, and raged in all their fury like the bhairava spirits on the last day of resurrection.

86. The winds blew on all sides of the sky, with darts falling like thunder bolts, and hailstones now piercing and then crushing all bodies as if by the last blast of nature on the dooms-day.

Chapter 3.49 — More Supernatural Weapons Vasishta speaking:—

1. Then blew the icy winds of winter, blasting the beauty of the forest tree foliage, shaking and breaking the beautiful trees, and covering them with gusts of dust.

2. Then rose a gale whirling the trees like birds flying in the air, dashing and smashing soldiers on the ground, and hurling and breaking buildings to dust.

3. This dreadful squall blew away Viduratha and his force, like a rapid current carries away broken and rotten fragments of wood.

4. Then Viduratha, skilled in ballistics, hurled his huge and heavy arrows that stretched themselves to the sky and withstood the force of wind and rain.

5. Opposed by these rock-like barriers, the airy weapons were at a stand still, just like animal spirits are checked by the firm detachment of the soul.

6. Trees that had been blown up by the winds and were floating in the breezy air, now came down and fell upon dead bodies, like flocks of crows upon putrid carcasses.

7. The shouting from the city, the distant hum of the village, the howling of forests, and the rustling of the trees ceased on all sides like the vain words of men.

8. Sindhu saw burning rocks falling from above like leaves of trees, and flying about like the winged menakas (mind-born from apsaras) or moving rocks of the sea or Sindhu.

9. He then hurled his thundering weapons, falling like flaming thunderbolts from heaven, which burnt the rocks away like flaming fire destroys darkness.

10. These falling bolts broke the stones with their pointed ends, and hewed down hilltops like a hurricane scattering fruit from trees on the ground.

11. Viduratha then darted his Brahma weapon to quell the thunderbolts, which jostling against one another, disappeared in their mutual conflict.

12. Sindhu then cast his demonic weapons as black as darkness, which fled as lines of horrid pisacha demons on all sides.

13. They filled the sky with the darkness of their bodies, and made the daylight turn to the shade of night, as if it were for fear of them.

14. They were as strong in their figures as huge columns of smoke, and as dark in their complexion as the blackest pitch, and tangible to the hand.

15. They were like lean skeletons with erect hair on their heads and bearded faces, with looks as pale as those of beggars, and bodies as black as those of the aerial and nocturnal fiends.

16. They were terrific and like idiots in their looks, and moved about with bones and skulls in their hands. They were as meager as churls, but more cruel than either the sword or thunderbolt.

17. The pisacha demonghosts lurk about woods, bogs and highways and pry into empty and open door houses. They hunt about like ghosts in their dark forms, and fly away as fast as fleeting lightning.

18. With fury they ran and attacked the remaining enemy forces that stood weaponless in the field with their broken and sorrowful hearts.

19. Frightened to death they stood motionless, and dropped down their arms and armor, and stood petrified as if they were demon-struck, with staring eyes, open mouths, and unmoving hands and feet.

20. They let fall both their lower and upper garments, loosened their bowels and slackened their bodies through fear, and kept shaking like trees by the wind

21. The line of the pisachas then advanced to frighten Viduratha out of his wits, but he had the good sense to understand them as the mere magic mumbo-jumbo.

22. He knew the counter charm to force the pisachas from the field, and employed his charmed weapons against the enemy pisacha army.

23. He fired his rupika weapon with anger, which gave comfort to his own army and deluded the enemy pisacha force.

24. These rupikas flew in the air with erect hairs on their heads, their terrific eyes sunk in their sockets. Their waists and breasts moved like trees with bunches of fruit.

25. They had past their youth and become old. Their bodies were bulky and worn out with age. They had deformed backs and hips, and protuberant navels and naves.

26. They had dark dusky bodies and held human skulls in their hands all besmeared with blood. They had bits of half devoured flesh in their mouths, and pouring out fresh blood from their sides.

27. They had a variety of gestures, motions and contortions of their bodies, which were as hard as stone, with wry faces, crooked backs and twisted legs and limbs.

28. Some had their faces like dogs, crows, and owls, with broad mouths and flat cheek-bones and bellies, and held human skulls and entrails in their hands.

29. They laid hold of the pisachas like men catch little children, and joined with them in one body as their consorts.

30. They joined together in dancing and singing with outstretched arms and mouths and eyes, now joining hand in hand and now pursuing one another in their merry sport.

31. They stretched their long tongues from their horrid mouths, and licked away the blood exuding from the wounds of the dead bodies.

32. They plunged in the pool of blood with as much delight as if they had dived into a pond of ghee. They scrabbled in the bloody puddle with outstretched arms and feet, and uplifted ears and nose.

33. They rolled and jostled with one another in the puddle of carrion and blood, and made it swell like the Milky Ocean when churned by Mandara Mountain.

34. As Viduratha employed his magic weapon against the magic of Sindhu, so he had recourse to others from a sense of his inferiority.

35. He fired his vetala weapon, which made dead bodies, whether with or without their heads, rise up in a body in their ghastly shapes.

36. The joint forces of the vetalas, pisachas and rupikas presented a dreadful appearance like that of the Kavandhas, and they seemed as if ready to destroy the earth.

37. The other monarch was not slow to show his magic skill by hurling his demon rakshasa weapon, which threatened to grasp and devour the three worlds.

38. Their gigantic bodies rose as high as mountains, and with their ghostly forms, they seemed like hellish fiends appearing from the infernal regions.

39. The ferocious body of the roaring rakshasas terrified both gods and demigods with their loud martial music and war dance of their headless trunks.

40. The giddy vetalas, yakshas and kushmandas devoured the fat and flesh of dead bodies as their toast, and drank the gory blood as their lurid wine in the course of their war dance.

41. The hopping and jumping of the kushmandas in their war dance in streams of blood, scattered its crimson particles in the air, which assembled in the form of a bridge of red evening clouds over the sparkling sea.

Chapter 3.50 — The Death of Viduratha

1. Vasishta said:— As the tide of war was rolling violently with a general massacre on both sides, the belligerent monarchs thought on the means of saving their own forces from the impending ruin.

2. The magnanimous King of Sindhu, who was armed with patience, called to his mind the Vaishnava weapon, which was the greatest of arms and as powerful as Shiva himself.

3. He hurled the Vaishnava weapon using his best judgment (mantra). Immediately it emitted a thousand sparks of fire from its flaming blade on all sides.

4. These sparks became large balls as big and bright as to shine like hundreds of suns in the sky, and others flew like the lengthy shafts of cudgels in the air.

5. Some of them filled the wide field of the sky with thunderbolts as thick as the blades of grass, and others spread over the lake of heaven with battle axes like a bed of lotuses.

6. These poured forth showers of pointed arrows spreading like a net in the sky, and fired dark sword blades scattered like tree leaves in the air.

7. At this time, the rival king Viduratha sent forth another Vaishnava weapon for repelling the former, and removing the reliance of his foe in his weakness.

8. It sent forth a stream of weapons counteracting those of the other, and overflowing in currents of arrows and pikes, clubs and axes and missiles of various kinds.

9. These weapons struggled with and jostled against one another. They split the vault of heaven with their clattering, and cracked like loud thunder claps cleaving mountain cliffs.

10. The arrows pierced rods and swords, and the swords hewed down axes and lances to pieces. The malls and mallets drove the missiles, and the pikes broke the spears.

11. The mallets like Mandara rocks, broke and drove away the rushing arrows as waves of the sea, and the resistless swords broke to pieces by striking at the maces.

12. The lances revolved like the halo of the moon, repelling the black sword blades as darkness, and the swift missiles flashed as the destructive fires of Yama.

13. The whirling discs were destroying all other weapons. They stunned the world by their noise, and broke mountains by their strokes.

14. The clashing weapons were breaking one another in numbers, and Viduratha defeated the arms of Sindhu, like a steadfast mountain defies the thunders of Indra.

15. The truncheons were blowing away the curved swords, and the pikes were warding off the stones fired by slings. The crowbars broke down the pointed heads of the pikes.

16. The iron rods of the enemy were broken by tridents of Shiva, and the enemy arms were falling down and crushing one another to pieces.

17. The clattering shots stopped the course of the heavenly stream, and the combustion of powder filled the air with smoke.

18. The clashing of dashing weapons lit the sky like lightning, their clattering cracked the worlds like thunderclaps, and their shock split and broke the mountains like thunderbolts.

19. Thus the warring weapons were breaking one another by their impacts, and protracting the engagement by their mutual overthrow.

20. As Sindhu was standing still in defiance of the prowess of his adversary, Viduratha lifted his own fire-arm, and fired it with a thundering sound.

21. It set Sindhu’s war chariot on fire like a heap of hay on the plain, while the Vaishnava weapons filled the ethereal sphere with their meteoric blaze.

22. The two kings were thus engaged in fierce fighting with each other, the one firing his weapons like drops of raging rain, and the other hurling his arms like currents of a deluging river.

23. The two kings were thus harassing each other like two brave champions in their contest, when the chariot of Sindhu was reduced to ashes by its flame.

24. He then fled to the woods like a lion from its cavern in the mountain, and repelled the fire that pursued him by his aqueous weapons.

25. After losing his car and alighting on the ground, he brandished his sword and cut off the hoofs and heels of the horses of his enemy’s chariot in the twinkling of an eye.

26. He hacked everything that came before him like the lean stalks of lotuses. Then Viduratha also left his chariot with his sword in hand.

27. Both were equally brave and matched to one another in their skill in warfare. They turned about in their rounds, and scraped their swords into saws by striking against the other.

28. With their jagged weapons, they tore the bodies of their enemies like fish crushed under teeth, when Viduratha dropped down his broken sword, and threw his javelin against his enemy.

29. It fell with a rattling noise on the bosom of Sindhu like a flaming meteor falls rumbling in the breast of the sea.

30. But the weapon fell back having hit his breast plate, like a maiden flies back from the embrace of a lover deemed an unfit match for her.

31. Its shock made Sindhu throw out a flood of blood from his lungs, resembling the water spout an elephant let outs from its trunk.

32. Seeing this, the second Leela cried with joy to her sister Leela, “See here the demon Sindhu killed by our lion-like husband.

33. Sindhu is slain by the javelin of our lion-like lord, like the wicked demon by the nails of the lion-god Narasimha, and he is spouting forth his blood like the stream of water, thrown out by the trunk of an elephant from a pool.

34. But alas! This Sindhu is trying to mount on another car, although bleeding so profusely from his mouth and nostrils, as to raise a wheezing sound.”

35. “Look there! Our lord Viduratha is breaking down the golden mountings of his car with the blows of his mallet, like the thundering clouds Pushkara and Avarta break down the gold peaks of Sumeru.

36. See this Sindhu now mounting on another carriage, which is now brought before him, and decorated like the splendid seat of a gandharva.

37. Alas! Our lord is now made the mark of Sindhu’s mallet hurled like a thunder bolt against him. But lo! How he flies off and avoids the deadly blow of Sindhu.

38. Hurrah! How nimbly he has got up upon his own car. But sorrow is to me that Sindhu has overtaken him in his flight.

39. He mounts on his car like a hunter climbs on a tree, and pierces my husband, like a bird-catcher with his pointed arrow does a parrot hidden in its hollow.

40. Behold his car is broken down and its flags flung aside. His horses are hurt and the driver is driven away. His bow is broken and his armor is shattered, and his whole body is full of wounds.

41. His strong breast-plate is broken by slabs of stone and his big head is pierced by pointed arrows. Behold him thrown down on earth, all mangled in blood.”

42. “Look with what difficulty he is restored to his senses, and seated in his seat with his arm cut off and bleeding under Sindhu’s sword.

43. See him weltering in blood gushing out profusely from his body, like a red stream issuing from a hill of rubies. Sorrow is me, and cursed be the sword of Sindhu that has brought this misery on us.

44. It has severed his thighs like they cut a tree with a saw, and has lopped off his legs like the stalks of trees.

45. Ah! It is I who am so struck and wounded and killed by the enemy. I am dead and gone and burnt away with my husband’s body.”

46. Saying so, the second Leela began to shudder with fear at the sorrowful sight of her husband, and fell unconscious on the ground like a vine cut off by an axe.

47. Viduratha though thus mutilated and disabled, was rising to smite the enemy in his rage, when he fell down from his car like an uprooted tree, and was replaced there by his charioteer ready to make his retreat.

48. At this instant, the tribal Sindhu struck a saber on his neck, and pursued the car in which the dying monarch was borne back to his tent.

49. The body of Padma (alias Viduratha) was placed like a lotus in the presence of Saraswati, shining with the splendor of the sun. But the elated Sindhu was kept from entering that place, like a giddy fly from a flame.

50. The enemy returned to his camp and the charioteer entered the apartment and placed the body on its death-bed in the presence of the goddess. The body was all mangled and besmeared with blood seeping from the pores of the severed neck.

Chapter 3.51 — Sindhu’s Rule

1. Vasishta said:— The loud cry that the king was killed in battle by the rival monarch, struck the people with awe, and filled the realm with dismay.

2. Carts loaded with utensils and household articles were driving through the streets. Women with their loud wailing were running away amidst the impassable paths of the city.

3. Weeping maidens fleeing for fear were ravished on the way by their captors. Inhabitants were in danger of being plundered of their properties by one another.

4. The joyful shouts of soldiers in the enemy camp resounded with the roaring of loose elephants and neighing of horses trampling men to death on their way.

5. The doors of the royal treasury were broken open by brave brigands, the hinges flew off and the ceilings re-echoed to the strokes. The warders were overpowered by numbers, and countless treasures were plundered and carried away.

6. Bandits ripped off the bellies of the royal dames in the palace, and the chandala freebooters hunted about the royal apartments.

7. The hungry rabble robbed provisions from the royal stores, and soldiers were snatching jewels from weeping children trodden down under their feet.

8. Young and beautiful maidens were dragged by their hair from the seraglio, and the rich gems that fell from the hands of the robbers glistened all along the way.

9. Chiefs assembled with ardor with their troops of horses, elephants and war-chariots, and announced the installation of Sindhu by his minister.

10. Chief engineers were employed in decorating the city and its halls, and the balconies were filled by the royal party attending the inauguration.

11. It was then that the coronation of Sindhu’s son took place amidst the loud acclamations of victory. Titles and dignities were conferred upon the noblemen on the victor’s side.

12. The royal party were fleeing for their lives into the villages, where they were pursued by the victorious soldiers. A general pillage spread in every town and village throughout the realm.

13. Gangs of robbers thronged about and blocked the passages for pillage and plunder. A thick mist darkened the light of the day for want of the magnanimous Viduratha.

14. The loud lamentations of the friends of the dead, and the bitter cries of the dying, mixed with the clamor raised by the driving cars, elephants and horses, thickened in the air like a solid body of sound.

15. Loud trumpets proclaimed the victory of Sindhu in every city and announced his sole sovereignty all over the earth.

16. The high-shouldered Sindhu entered the capital like a second Manu for repopulating it after the all-devastating flood of war was over.

17. Then the tribute of the country poured into the city of Sindhu from all sides. These loaded on horses and elephants resembled the rich cargoes borne by ships to the sea.

18. The new king issued forthwith his circulars and royal edicts to all sides, struck coins in his own name, and placed his ministers as commissioners in all provinces.

19. His iron-rod was felt in all districts and cities like the inflexible rod of Yama, and it awed the living with fear of instant death.

20. All insurrections and tumults in the realm soon subsided to rest under his reign, like the flying dust of the earth and the falling leaves of trees fall to the ground upon subsidence of a tempest.

21. The whole country on all sides was pacified to rest, like the perturbed sea of milk after it had been churned by Mandara Mountain.

22. Then there blew the gentle breeze of Malaya, unfurling the locks of the lotus-faced maidens of Sindhu’s realm, and blowing the liquid fragrance of their bodies around, and driving away the unwholesome air of the carnage. [The entire vision of Leela shows the state of human life, with its various incidents and phases to its last termination by death. The discontented brahmin longs for royal dignity, imagines all its enjoyments in the person of Padma, and at last in the character of Viduratha sees all its evils. The lesson is for aspirants to avoid aiming at high worldly honors which end in their destruction. In her silent meditation, Leela by her wisdom sees the whole course and vicissitudes of the world, and the rise and fall of human glory in the aspirations of her husband. — V. L. Mitra]

Chapter 3.52 — The Second Leela Reflects upon the First Leela’s Own Self-Concept: Life after Death

1. Vasishta said:— In the meanwhile, O Rama, the first Leela saw her husband lying unconscious before her and about to breathe his last. She spoke to Saraswati,

2. “Behold, O mother, my husband is about to shuffle his mortal coil in this perilous war that has laid waste his whole kingdom.”

3. Saraswati replied:— This combat that you saw, fought with such fury and lasting so long in the field, was neither fought in your kingdom nor in any part of this earth.

4. It occurred nowhere except in the vacant space of the shrine containing the dead body of the brahmin where it appeared only as the phantom of a dream.

5. This land that appeared as the kingdom of your living lord Viduratha was situated with all its territories in the inner apartment of Padma.

6. Again it was the tomb of the brahmin Vasishta, situated in the hilly village of Vindya, that showed these varying scenes of the mortal world within itself.

7. As the departed soul views the vision of the past world within its narrow tomb, so is the appearance of all worldly accidents unreal in their nature.

8. These objects that we see here as realities, including these bodies of mine and yours and this of Leela, together with this earth and these waters, are just the same as phantoms rising in the tomb of the deceased brahmin of the hilly region.

9. It is the soul that presents the images of things, and nothing external which is wholly unreal can cast its reflection on the soul. Therefore know your soul to be the true essence which is uncreated and immortal, and the source of all its creations within itself.

10. The soul reflects on its inborn images without changing itself in any way. Therefore it was the nature of the brahmin’s soul that displayed these images in itself within the sphere of his tomb.

11. But the illusion of the world with all its commotion was viewed in the vacant space of the souls of the brahmin and Padma, and not displayed in the empty space of their tombs, where there was no such false reflection of the world.

12. There is no error or illusion anywhere except in the misconception of the observer. Therefore the removal of the fallacy from the mind of the viewer leads him to the perception of the light of truth.

13. Error consists in taking the unreal for the real and in thinking the viewer and the view, or the subjective and objective, is different from each other. It is the removal of the distinction of the subjective and objective that leads us to the knowledge of unity (the one or Aum).

14. Know that the Supreme Soul is free from the acts of production and destruction, and it is His light that displays all things of which He is the source. Learn that the entire outer nature has no existence nor change in itself.

15. The souls of other beings exhibit their own natures in themselves, just like those in the burial tomb of the brahmin displayed the various dispositions to which his mind was accustomed.

16. The soul has no notion of the outer world or any created thing in it. Its consciousness of itself is like an uncreated emptiness. It comprehends its knowledge of the world in itself.

17. The knowledge of the mountain ranges of Meru and others is included within the knowledge in the emptiness of the soul. There is no substance or solidity in them, just like a great city seen in a dream.

18. The soul sees hundreds of mountain ranges and thousands of solid worlds all drawn in the small compass of the mind, like in its state of dreaming.

19. Multitudes of worlds are contained in a grain of the brain of the mind, just like the long leaves of the plantain tree are contained in one of its minute seeds.

20. All three worlds are contained in an atom of consciousness in the same manner as great cities are seen in a dream. Each of all the particles of consciousness within the mind has the representation of a world in it.

21. Now this Leela, your stepmother (i.e., Arundhati, the wife of the hill-brahmin Vasishta), has already gone to the world that contains the tomb of Padma before the spirit of Viduratha could get there.

22. The moment when Leela fell in a swoon in your presence, know her spirit was immediately conveyed to him and placed by his side.

23. Leela asked, “Tell me, O goddess, how was this lady endowed with my form? How did she come to placed as my stepmother beside my deceased husband (Prince Padma)?

24. Tell me in short, in what form do the people in Padma’s house see her, and how are they now talking to her?”

25. The goddess replied:— Leela, hear what I will tell you in brief answer to your question regarding the life and death of this Leela as an image of yourself.

26. It is your husband Padma, in the person of Viduratha, who beholds these illusions of the world spread before him in the same tomb.

27. He fought this battle which you saw in his imagination, and this Leela who resembles you (Viduratha’s wife) was also a delusion. These his men and enemies were only illusions, and his ultimate death was as illusory as a phantom of the imagination, like all other things in this world.

28. It was his self delusion that showed him this Leela as his wife, and it is the same deceit of a dream that deludes you to believe that you are his wife.

29. It is merely a dream that makes both of you Leelas think yourselves as his wives. In the same way he dreams that he is your husband, and I also rely on my own existence.

30. The world with all its beauty is said to be the image of a vision. When we know it to be merely a visionary scene, we must refrain from having any faith in the sights of this magic projection lantern.

31. Thus this Leela, you, and this King Viduratha are only phantoms of your fancy. So am I, unless I believe to exist in the self-existent spirit.

32. The belief of the existence of this king and his people, and of ourselves as united in this place, proceeds from the fullness of that Consciousness which fills everything.

33. So this Queen Leela, also situated in this place with her youthful beauty and smiling so charmingly with her blooming face, is only an image of divine beauty.

34. See how gentle and graceful are her manners and how very sweet is her speech. Her voice is as sweet as the notes of the kokila nightingale, and her motions as slow as those of a lovelorn maiden.

35. Behold her eyelids are like the leaves of the blue lotus and her swollen breasts are rounded like a pair of snowballs. Her form is as bright as liquid gold and her lips are as red as a brace of ripe bimba fruit.

36. This is only a form of you as you desired to be to please your husband. It is the very figure of your own self that you now behold with wonder.

37. After the death of your husband (Padma), his soul caught the same reflection of your image as you did desire to be hereafter, and which you now see in the person of the young Leela before you.

38. Whenever the mind has a notion or sensation or fancy of some material object, the abstract idea of its image is surely imprinted in the intellect.

39. As the mind comes to perceive the unreality of material objects, it begins to entertain the ideas of their abstract entities within itself.

40. It was Padma’s thought of his sure death, his false conception of the transmigration of his soul in the body of Viduratha, and your desired form of a youthful Leela, the idol of his soul, that represented the youthful Leela to Padma.

41. He saw you and you saw him according to your desires. Thus both of you, although possessed of the same unvaried soul that pervades all space, are made to see one another according to your desires.

42. The spirit of Brahma is all pervasive. It manifests itself in various ways in all places. It is seen in different light according to the varying fancies or tendencies of men like ever-changing scenes appearing in visions and dreams.

43. The omnipotent Spirit displays its various powers in all places. These powers exert themselves everywhere according to the strong force and capability it has infused in them.

44. When this pair remained in their state of death-like lack of physical senses, they saw all these phantoms in their inner souls by virtue of their memories and desires.

45. That such and such persons were their fathers and such their mothers before, that they lived in such places, had such properties, and did such acts some time ago are all memories of the soul.

46. That they were joined together in marriage, and the multitudes they saw in their minds, appeared to them as realities for the time in their imagination.

47. This is an example that shows our physical-sense perceptions to be no better than our dreams. It was in this deluded state of Leela’s mind that she worshipped and prayed to me.

48. In order to confer the boon on her that she might not become a widow, and by virtue of my blessing, this girl died before her husband’s death.

49. I am the progeny of Brahma, and the totality of that intelligence in which all beings participate. It is for this reason that she adored me as the guardian divinity of all living beings.

50. In the end her soul left her body through the orifice of her mouth and fled with her mind in the form of her vital breath.

51. Then, after the unconsciousness attendant upon her death was over, she understood in her consciousness that her individual soul was placed in the same empty space as the departed spirit of Padma.

52. In her memory she pictured herself in her youthful form and she saw herself as in a dream, situated in the same tomb. She was like a blooming lotus with her beautiful countenance, and her face was as bright as the orb of the moon. Her eyes were as large as those of an antelope, and she was attended by her graceful speech for the pleasure of her husband.

Chapter 3.53 — The Second Leela Visits the Temple of Dead King Padma; Representations of Memory Are Not the Creations of Brahma

1. Vasishta said:— The second Leela having obtained the blessing of the goddess, proceeded with her imagined body to meet her royal spouse in heaven beyond the skies.

2. Having assumed her spiritual form which was as light as air, she fled merrily like a bird and was blown aloft by the fond desire of joining her beloved lord.

3. She met a maiden sent by the goddess of wisdom issuing out of the best model of her heart’s desire.

4. The maiden said, “I am the daughter of your friend Saraswati. I welcome you, O beautiful lady, to this place. I have been waiting and expecting you here on your way through the sky.”

5. Leela said, “Lead me, O lotus-eyed maid, to the side of my husband, as the visit of the good and great never goes for nothing.”

6. Vasishta said:— The maiden replied, “Come let us go there.” So saying, she stood before her looking forward on her way.

7. Then both proceeding together onward, they came to the doorway of heaven which was as broad as the open palm of the hand and marked with lines like those read in palmistry.

8. They passed the region of the clouds and stepped over the currents of winds, then passing beyond the orbit of the sun, they reached the stations of the constellations.

9. From there they passed through regions of air and water to the worlds where gods and saints live, then they crossed over the worlds of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva to the great circle of the universe.

10. Their spiritual bodies pierced through its opening like the humidity of ice water passes out of the pores of a tight water-jar.

11. Leela’s body was of the form of her mind, which was of the nature of its own bent and tenor, and conceived these wanderings within itself.

12. Having traversed the worlds of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva and having crossed the limit of the manifest spheres and the environs of atmospheric water and air,

13. they found an empty space as spacious as the scope of the great Consciousness and impassable by the swift garuda even in millions of kalpa ages.

14. There they saw an infinity of shapeless and nameless worlds scattered about like countless fruit in a great forest.

15. They pierced through the circumference of one of these orbs before them and passed inside like a worm creeps inside a fruit that it has nibbled.

16. This brought them back by the same worlds of Brahma, Indra and others to the orb of the globe below the starry skies.

17. Here they saw the same country, the same city and the same tomb as before. After entering the tomb, they sat beside the corpse of Padma covered under a heap of flowers.

18. At this time Leela lost sight of the heavenly maiden (sent to accompany her) who had been her companion all this while, and who had now disappeared like a phantom of her illusion.

19. Then she looked at the face of her husband, lying as a dead body in his bed, and recognized him as such by her right discretion.

20. “This must be my husband,” she thought. “Ah my very husband who fell fighting with Sindhu. Now he has attained this seat of departed heroes where he rests in peace.

21. By the grace of the goddess I have arrived here in person and reckon myself truly blessed to find my husband also as such.”

22. Then she took a beautiful fan in her hand and began to wave it over his body like the moon moves in the sky over the earth.

23. The waking, first Leela asked, “Tell me, O goddess, in what manner did the king and his servants and handmaids speak to this lady, and what did they think her to be?”

24. The goddess replied:— It was by our gift of wisdom to them that this lady, that king and those servants found themselves to share in the one and same intellectual soul in which they all existed.

25. Every soul is a reflection of Divine Consciousness and is destined by his own fixed decree to represent individual souls to one another like refractions of the same, or like shadows in a magic show.

26. Thus the king received his wife as his companion and queen, and his servants as related with himself.

27. He saw the unity of his soul with hers and theirs, and no distinction existing between anyone of them. He was astonished to find that there was nothing distinct in them from what he had in himself.

28. The waking, first Leela said, “Why did not that Leela meet her husband in her own body according to her request and the boon that was granted to her?”

29. The goddess replied:— It is not possible for unenlightened souls (such as that of the young Leela) to approach holy spirits in person. They are visible and accessible only to the deserving. They are unapproachable by gross bodies as sunlight is inaccessible by a shadow.

30. So the established law from the beginning of creation is that intelligent souls can never join with dull beings and gross matter, as truth can never be mixed with falsehood.

31. And so is that as long as a boy is prepossessed of his notion of a ghost, it is vain to try to convince him of the falsehood of demons as mere shadows of his imagination.

32. And as long as the feverish heat of ignorance rages within the soul, it is impossible for the coolness of the moon of intelligence to spread over it.

33. So long also as one believes himself composed of a physical body incapable of travel in the higher atmosphere, it is impossible to make him believe otherwise.

34. By virtue of one’s knowledge and discrimination, and by his own merit and divine blessing, one acquires a saintly form with which he ascends to the higher regions, as you have done with this body of yours.

35. As dry leaves of trees are burnt in no time by burning fire, so this physical body is quickly lost by one’s assumption of his spiritual frame.

36. The effect of a blessing or curse on anyone is nothing else than his obtaining the state he desired or feared to have.

37. As the false appearance of a snake in a rope is attended with no motion or action of the serpent, so the unreal views of Leela’s husband and others were only the motionless images of her own imagination.

38. Whoever views the false apparitions of the dead as present before the vision of his mind, he must know them as reflections of his past and constant memories of them.

39. So our notions of all these worlds are mere products of our memories. They are not any creation of Brahma or from any other cause but the simple productions of our desire.

40. They who are ignorant of the knowable spirit of God have in them only the notions of the outer world as they view the distant orb of the moon within themselves.

Chapter 3.54 — Divine Laws underlie Creation; Death as Reward; Life Durations

1. The goddess continued:— Therefore, those who know the knowable God and rely upon virtue can go to spiritual worlds — not others.

2. All material bodies are false, the false conceptions of the mind. They can have no place in Truth, just like no shadow can have any room in sunshine. (So gross matter has no room in the subtle spirit.)

3. Young Leela, being ignorant of the knowable (God) and unacquainted with the highest virtue (the practice of yoga meditation), could go no further than the city of her lord which she had in her heart.

4. The waking Leela said, “Let her be where she is, but I will ask you about other things. You see here that my husband is about to die. Tell me, what must I now do?

5. Tell me the law of being and not being of beings, and about that destiny which destines living beings to death.

6. What determines the natures of things and gives existence to the categories of objects? What causes the warmth of fire and sun and gives stability to the earth?

7. Why is coldness confined to frost and the like, and what forms the essence of time and space? What are the causes of the different states of things and their various changes, and the causes of the solidity of some and minuteness of others?

8. What causes trees and men to be taller than grass and brambles, and why do many things dwindle and decay in the course and capability of growth?”

9. The goddess said:— At the universal dissolution of the world, when all things are dissolved in the formless void, only the essence of Brahman remains in the form of infinite sky stretching on all sides beyond the limits of creation.

10. Then it reflects in its consciousness in the form of a spark of fire, as you are conscious of your aerial journey in a dream.

11. Then this atomic spark in the Divine Spirit increased in size, and having no substance of itself, appeared as what is commonly called the ideal world.

12. The spirit of God thought itself as Brahma, the soul of the world, who reigned over it in his form of the mind, as if it was identical with the real world itself.

13. Whatever primary laws he appointed to all things at their first creation, they invariably continue in force with them to the present time.

14. The minds of all turn as willed by the Divine Mind. There is nothing which of itself can go beyond the law assigned to it by the Divine Will.

15. It is improper to say that all formal existences are nothing because they remain in their substance (of the Divine Spirit) after their forms disappear, just like the substance of gold remains the same after its shape and form are altered.

16. The elementary bodies of fire and frost continue in the same state as when their elements were first formed in the Divine Mind in the beginning of creation.

17. Therefore, as long as Divine Consciousness continues to direct his eternal laws and decrees appointed to all, nothing has the power to forsake its own nature.

18. It is impossible for anything to alter its nature from the eternal stamp that Divine Will has set upon all the substantial and ideal forms of creation.

19. As Divine Consciousness knows no opposition, it never turns from the tenor of its own wonted intelligence that directs the destinies of all.

20. But know that in the first place, the world is not a created thing. All that appears to exist is only a display of the notions in our consciousness, like appearances in our dreams.

21. The unreal appears as real, just like the shadow seems to be of substance. Our notions of things are the properties of our nature.

22. The manner in which Consciousness exhibited itself in its different manifestations at the beginning, the same continues in its course to this time and is known as the manifestations of consciousness (samvid-kachana) or the course or system of the universe which constitute the niyati.

23. The sky is the manifestation of the intellectual idea of emptiness in the Divine Mind. The idea of duration in Consciousness appeared in the form of the parts of time.

24. The idea of liquidity evolved itself in the form of water in the Divine Mind. In the same way one dreams of water and seas in his own mind.

25. We are conscious of our dreams in some particular state of our consciousness, and it is the wonderfully cunning nature of consciousness that makes us think the unreal to be real.

26. The ideas of the reality of earth, air, fire and water are all false. Consciousness perceives them within itself as its false dreams and desires and daydreams.

27. Now hear me tell you about death in order to remove your questions with regard to this future state. Death is destined for our good in that it leads us to the enjoyment of the fruits of acts in this life.

28. Our lives are destined in the beginning to extend to one, two, three and four centuries in the different Kali, Dwapara, Treta and Satya ages (yugas) of the world.

29. However by virtue of place and time, of climate and food, and our good or bad actions and habits, human life extends above or descends below these limits.

30. Falling short of one’s duties shortens life, as excelling in them lengthens its duration. Mediocre conduct keeps it within its proper bound.

31. Children die by acts causing infant diseases and untimely deaths. The young and old die of acts that bring on juvenile and senile weakness, sickness and ultimate death.

32. He who goes on doing his duties as prescribed by scriptures becomes prosperous and enjoys the long life allotted by the rule of scriptures.

33. Likewise men meet their last state and future reward according to the nature of their acts in lifetime; or else their old age is subject to regret and remorse and all kinds of bodily and mental maladies and anxieties.

34. Leela said, “Tell me in short, O moon-faced goddess, something more with regard to death. Is it a pleasure or pain to die? What becomes of us after we are dead and gone from here?”

35. The goddess replied:— Dying men are of three kinds, and they have different ends upon their death. There are the ignorant, those practiced in yoga, and those who are reasonable and religious.

36. Those practicing dharana yoga (fixed concentration in meditation) may go wherever they like after leaving their bodies, and so the yogi of reason is at liberty to range everywhere.

37. He who has not practiced dharana yoga, or has not applied himself to reasoning, or entertains certain hopes for the future is called an ignorant sot and meets with the pain and pangs of death.

38. He whose mind is not subdued and is full of desires, temporal cares and anxieties becomes as distressed as a lotus torn from its stalk.

39. The mind that is not guided by the precepts of the scriptures or purified by holiness but is addicted to the society of the wicked is subjected to the burning sensation of fire within itself at the moment of death.

40. At the moment when the last gurgling of the throat chokes the breath, eyesight is dimmed and the countenance fades away, then the rational soul also becomes hazy in its consciousness.

41. A deep darkness spreads over the dimming sight and stars twinkle before it in daylight. The sky appears to be hidden by clouds and presents a gloomy aspect on every side.

42. An acute pain seizes his entire body, and a mirage caused by witchcraft dances before his vision. The earth is turned into air and the dying person seems to be moving in midair.

43. The sphere of heaven revolves before him and the tide of the sea seems to bear him away. He is lifted up in the air, then hurled down as in his state of dizziness or dream.

44. Now he thinks he is falling into a dark pit, and then he is lying in the cave of a hill. He wants to talk out loud about his torments, but his speech fails to utter his thoughts.

45. Now he finds himself as if falling down from the sky, and now as whirled in the air like a bundle of straw blown aloft by a gust of wind. He is now riding swiftly as in a car, and now finds himself melting like snow.

46. He desires to tell his friends about the evils of life and this world, but he is carried away from them as rapidly as if by an air-engine.

47. He whirls about like a turning wheel and he is dragged along like a beast by its halter. He wallows about like in an eddy, or turns around as the machine of some engine.

48. He is borne like straw in the air and is carried about like a cloud in the wind. He rises high like vapor, then falls down like a heavy watery cloud pouring out into the sea.

49. He passes through endless space and revolves in all of its vortices of emptiness to find, as it were, a place free from the ups and downs to which earth and ocean are subject.

50. Thus the rising and falling spirit wanders ceaselessly, and the soul breathing hard and sighing without break sets the whole body in sore pain and agony.

51. By degrees the objects of his senses become as faint to his failing organs as the landscape fades to view with the setting of the sun.

52. At this moment, his memory fails and he loses memories of the past and present, like one is at a loss to know the sides of the compass after the evening twilight has passed away.

53. In his fainting fit, his mind loses its power of thinking. He is lost in a state of ignorance, the loss of all his thoughts and consciousness.

54. In this fainting state, the vital breath ceases to circulate through the body. When its circulation stops completely, a swoon into unconsciousness (murcha) follows.

55. When this state of unconscious paralysis combined with delirium has reached its climax, then by the law of inertia, ordained for living beings from the beginning, the body becomes as stiff as stone.

56. Leela said, “But tell me, O goddess, why do these pains and agonies, this fainting and delirium, and disease and unconsciousness overtake the body, when it is possessed of all of its eight organs intact?”

57. The goddess replied:— It is the law appointed by the Author of life from the first, that such and such pains are to fall as the lot of living beings at such and such times.

58. The primeval sin springs of itself like a plant in the conscious heart of man and subjects him to his doomed miseries which have no other intelligible cause.

59. When disease and its pain overpower the body and prevent lungs and arteries from expanding and contracting to inhale and exhale air, the body loses its equilibrium (samana) and becomes restless.

60. When inhaled air does not come out and exhaled breath does not re-enter the lungs, all pulsation is at a stop. Organic sensations are lost, remaining only in memory.

61. When vital air doe not enter or exit, the pulse sinks and becomes motionless. The body is said to become senseless, and life to be extinct.

62. I also shall die in my destined time, but all my consciousness of former knowledge will be awake at the hour of death.

63. Though I am dead and gone from here in this manner, yet I must mind that the seed of my innate consciousness (the soul) is never destroyed with my life and body.

64. Consciousness is inner knowledge and is imperishable in its nature. Therefore the nature of consciousness is free from birth and death.

65. In some persons this consciousness is as clear as a fresh fountain; in others as foul as tide water. In some it is bright in its form of the pure intellect (chit); but in many in its nature of the sentient or individual soul (chetana), it is polluted with the passions of animal life.

66. As a blade of grass has joints in the middle, so the nature of the sentient or individual soul is combined with the two states of birth and death amidst it.

67. The sentient soul is neither born nor dead at anytime, but witnesses these two states as the passing shadows and apparitions in a dream and vision.

68. The soul is nothing other than consciousness which is never destroyed anywhere by anything. Say, what other thing is this soul called purusha besides consciouness itself?

69. Tell me then, who and what are you calling dead today? Is consciousness subject to disease or death at anytime and in any form? Truly millions of living bodies are dying every day, but consciousness always remains imperishable.

70. Consciousness never dies at the death of any living being because the entire individual soul continues the same upon the death of everybody here.

71. Therefore, the individual soul is nothing more than the principle which is conscious of its various desires, affections and passions. It is not that principle to which men attribute the phases of life and death.

72. So there is none that dies and no one is born at anytime. It is this only living principle that continually revolves in the deep eddy of its desires.

73. Considering the unreality of visible phenomena, there can be no desire for them in anyone. But the inner soul that is led by its egoism and believes them to be true is subject to death at the disappearance of phenomena.

74. The recluse ascetic flying from the fears of the world as foreign to his soul, and having none of its false desires rising in his breast, becomes liberated in his life and assimilated with the true One.

Chapter 3.55 — Categories of Death Experiences; Origin of Illusion

1. Leela said, “Tell me, goddess, for edification of my knowledge, how does a living come to die and is reborn in another form?”

2. The goddess replied:— As the action of the heart ceases and the lungs blow and breathe no more, the current of vital airs is utterly stopped and the living being loses its consciousness.

3. But the intellectual soul, which has no rise or fall, remains ever the same as it abides in all moving and unmoving bodies, and in air, water, fire and vacuum.

4. When the breathing, pulse and motion of the body stop, it is said to be dead and is then called an inert corpse.

5. The body being a dead carcass and the vital breath having mixed with the air, the soul is freed from the bonds of its desires. It flies to and remains in the mode of the discrete and self-existent soul.

6. The individual soul, called the animal spirit (jiva), has its desires and is other than the atman (soul). It remains in its burial tomb under the same atmosphere as the soul of Padma, which you saw hovering about his tomb.

7. Hence such departed spirits are called ghosts of the dead (pretas). They have their desires and earthly propensities attached to them, just like the fragrance of the flower is concentrated in its pollen and thence diffused through the air.

8. As animal souls are removed to other spheres, after their departure from this visible world, they view the very many scenes and sights that their desires present before them like visions in a dream.

9. The soul continues to remember all its past adventures, even in its next state, and finds itself in a new body soon after the unconsciousness of death is over.

10. What appears an empty vacuum to others seems as a dusky cloud to the departed soul, enveloping the earth, sky, moon and all other orbs within its bosom.

11. Departed spirits are classed in six orders, as you shall now hear from me. These are the great, greater and greatest sinners, and likewise the three degrees of the virtuous.

12. These are again subdivided into three kinds, some belonging to one state and others composed of two or three states in the same individual soul.

13. Some of the most sinful souls lose the memory of their past states for a period of a whole year. They remain quite unconscious within themselves, like blocks of wood or stone.

14. Rising after this time, they are doomed to suffer the endless torments of hell which the hardness of their earthly mindedness has brought upon them.

15. Then they pass into hundreds of births leading from misery to misery, or have a moment’s respite from the pains in their short lived prosperity, amidst their dreaming journey through life.

16. There are others who, after their numbness of death is over, come to suffer the unutterable torments of sluggishness in the state of unmoving trees.

17. And others again who having undergone the torments of hell, according to their inordinate desires in life, are brought to be reborn on earth in a variety of births in different forms.

18. Those of lesser crimes, are made to feel the inertness of stones for sometime, after the unconsciousness attending upon their death.

19. These awakened to consciousness after some time, whether long or short, are made to return on earth to feel the evils of brutish and beastly lives.

20. But the souls of the least sinful, soon after their death, come to assume some perfect human form in order to enjoy the fruits of their desire and reward on earth.

21. These desires appear before the soul as dreams and awaken its reminiscence of the past as present at that moment.

22. Again the best and most virtuous souls, soon after their death, come to find themselves in heavenly abodes by reason of their continued thoughts and speculations of them.

23. Some among them are brought to enjoy the rewards of their actions in other spheres, from which they are sent back to the mortal world, at the homes of the auspicious and best part of mankind.

24. Those of moderate virtues are blown away by the atmospheric air upon the tops of trees and medicinal plants where they rove about as protozoa after the unconsciousness of death is over.

25. Being nourished here by the juice of fruits, they descend in the form of serum and enter into the hearts of men, from where they fall into the uterus in the form of virile semen, which is the cause of the body and life of other living beings.

26. Thus the dead, after they recover from the collapse attending upon their death, make themselves into one of these states of living bodies according to their natural tendency.

27. At first they think themselves extinct, then they come to feel resuscitated upon receiving offerings of the food made to their departed spirits.

28. Then they fancy seeing the messengers of death, with nooses in their hands, come to fetch them to the realm of Yama, and they depart with them.

29. There the righteous are carried in heavenly cars to the Nandana gardens of paradise which they gain by their meritorious acts in life.

30. But the sinful soul meets with icebergs and pitfalls, is tangled with thorns and iron pikes and bushes and brambles in its passage as punishment for its sins.

31. Those of the middling class have a clear and paved passage, with soft grassy pathways shaded by cooling trees, and supplied with spring waters on both sides of them.

32. On its arrival there, the soul reflects within itself that, “Here am I, and yonder is Yama, the lord of the dead. The other is the judge of our actions, Chitragupta, and this is his judgment given on my behalf.”

33. In this manner also, the great world appears to every one as in a dream. And so the nature and manner of all things present themselves before every soul.

34. But all these appearances are as empty as air. The soul alone is the sentient principle, and vast space and time and the modes and motions of things, though they appear as real, are in reality nothing.

35. Here in Yama’s court, the soul is pronounced to reap the reward of its acts, whereby it ascends either to the blissful heaven above or descends to the painful hell below.

36. After having enjoyed the bliss of heaven or suffered the torment of hell, the soul is doomed to wander in this earth again to reap the reward of its acts in repeated reincarnations.

37. The soul springs up like a paddy plant and brings forth the grains of intelligence. Then, being assembled by the senses, it becomes an animal, and lastly an intelligent being.

38. The soul contains in itself the germs of all its senses which lie dormant in it for lack of its bodily organs. It is contained in man’s virile semen which, passing into the uterus, produces the fetus in the womb of the female.

39. The fetus then becomes either well-formed or deformed, according to the good or evil deeds of the person in its past state, and brings forth the infant of a good or ill shaped appearance.

40. It then perceives the moonlike beauty of youthful bloom, and its amorous disposition comes upon itself. Afterwards it feels the effects of hoary old age, defacing its lotus-like face like the sleets of snow shatter and shrivel the lotus leaflets.

41. At last it undergoes the pains of disease and death and feels the same lack of physical senses at of death as before, and finds itself again as in a dream taking on a new form.

42. It again believes itself to be carried to the region of Yama, and subjected to the former kinds of revolution. Thus it continues to conceive its reincarnation in endless births and various forms.

43. Thus forever in its own ethereal sphere, the aerial spirit goes on thinking about all its ceaseless reincarnations until its final liberation from this ever changing state.

44. Leela said, “Tell me kindly, O good goddess, for the enlightenment of my understanding, how did this misconception of its changeableness first come upon the soul in the beginning?”

45. The goddess replied:— The dense appearance of the abstract causes us to assume the discrete spirit in the concrete forms of the earth and sky and rocks and trees.

46. As Divine Consciousness manifests itself as the soul and model of all forms, so we see these manifestations in the transcendental sphere of its pure consciousness.

47. In the beginning, God conceived himself as the lord of creation (Brahma). Then, as it were in a dream, he saw in himself all the forms as they continue to this time.

48. These forms were manifested in the Divine Spirit, at first as his will, and then reflected and exhibited in the phenomenal world in all their present forms.

49. Among these some are called living beings which are able to move their bodies and limbs and live by means of the air they breathe and circulate in their bodies through lungs and arteries.

50. Such also is the creation of plant life. They have their inner sensitivity, although devoid of outward motion, and they receive their sustenance from their roots.

51. The hollow sphere of the Divine Intellect, beaming with intelligence, sends forth its particles of perception which form the consciousness of some beings and sensitivity in others.

52. But man uses his eyes to view the outer and the reflected world, although the eyes do not form his individual soul, nor did they exist at his creation or before his birth.

53. It is according to one’s estimation of himself that he has his proper and peculiar desires, and also the particular form of his body. Such also is the case of the elemental bodies, from their inner conception of their peculiar natures.

54. Thus all moving and unmoving things have their movable and immovable bodies according to their intrinsic disposition or idiosyncrasy as such and such.

55. Hence all self-moving beings have their movable bodies conforming to the conception of their natures as so and so. And in this state of their belief, they continue to this time with their same inborn or congenital bodies.

56. The vegetable world still continues in the same state of fixedness from its sense of immobility. And so rocks and minerals continue in their inert state from the inborn sense of their inertness.

57. There is no distinction whatever between inertness and intelligence, nor any difference between production, continuance and extinction of things. All occurs in one common essence of the Supreme.

58. The varying characteristics existing in plants and minerals make them feel themselves as such and cause their various natures and forms as they have to this time.

59. The inner constitution of all immovable objects makes them remain in their stationary states; likewise for all other substances, according to their different names and natures.

60. Thus the inner constitution or quality of worms and insects makes them conceive themselves according to their different kinds and gives them their particular natures forever.

61. So the people under the north pole know nothing about those in the south other than what they know of themselves.

62. So also all kinds of moving and unmoving beings are prepossessed with their own notions of things and regard all others according to their own peculiar self-concepts.

63. Again, as the inhabitants of caves know nothing of their outsiders, and as frogs in dirty pools are unacquainted with the pure water of streams, so is one sort of being ignorant of the nature of another.

64. But empty consciousness, residing in the form of the all pervasive mind and all sustaining air, knows the natures of all things in all places.

65. The moving principle is the vital air that enters all bodies through their pores and which gives life and motion to all living beings.

66. Truly the mind is situated in all things, whether they are moving or immovable. And so is the air, which causes motion in some and stillness in others.

67. Thus all things in this world of illusion are only the rays of the conscious soul, continuing in the same state as they have from the beginning.

68. I have told you everything about the nature of things in the world and how unrealities come to appear as real unto us.

69. Look, here this King Viduratha is about to breathe his last, and the garlands of flowers heaped on the corpse of your husband Padma are now being hung upon the breast of Viduratha.

70. Leela said, “Tell me goddess, how did Viduratha enter Padma’s tomb? How can we also enter to see what he is doing there?”

71. The goddess said:— Man goes to all places by the way of his desires, even thinking that he goes to a distant future, in the spiritual form of pure consciousness.

72. We shall go the same way, as you like, because the bond of our friendship makes no difference in our choice and desires.

73. Vasishta said:— Princess Leela was relieved of her pain by what Goddess Saraswati had explained. Her intellectual sight was brightened by the blazing sun of spiritual light. She saw the unconscious and unmoving Viduratha breathe out his final breath.

Chapter 3.56 — State of the Soul after Death; Ancestor Worship & Benefits to the Dead

1. Vasishta continued:— In the meantime the king’s eyeballs became convoluted, and his lips and cheeks and entire face grew pale and dry. There remained only the slender breath of life in him.

2. His body became as lean as a dry leaf, and his face turned as ghastly as the figure of death. His throat gurgled like the hoarsest beetles and his lungs breathed with a bated breath.

3. His sight was darkened upon the unconsciousness of death and his hopes were buried in the pit of despair. The sensations of his external organs were hidden within the cavity of his heart.

4. His figure was as senseless as a picture in painting and all his limbs were as motionless as those of a statue carved from a block of marble.

5. What need is there of a lengthier description when it may be said in short that his life quitted his body, like a bird flies far away from a falling tree?

6. The two ladies, with their divine eyesight, saw his animal spirit in its aerial form flying upwards in the sky and his consciousness disappearing like the odor of a flower blown by the wind.

7. His individual soul being joined with its spiritual body began to fly higher and higher in the air as it was led by its inner desire or expectation of ascending to heaven.

8. The two ladies kept following that conscious soul, like a couple of female bees pursuing a particle of perfume borne afar in the air on the wings of the wind.

9. Then, in a moment after the fainting fit of death was over, the conscious soul was roused from its unconsciousness like some fragrance expanding itself with the breeze.

10. It saw the porters of death carrying away the souls of the dead that had resumed their grosser forms from the food offered by their kinsmen during ancestor-worship rituals.

11. After a long year’s journey on the way, it reached the distant abode of Yama with the hope of reaping the reward of its acts, but found the gate guarded by beasts of prey.

12. Yama, on seeing the departed spirit of everybody brought before him, demanded to know all its foul acts committed during its lifetime.

13. On finding the prince’s spirit spotless, ever inclined to virtuous acts and nourished by the grace of the goddess of wisdom,

14. he ordered it to be released. The spirit re-entered its former dead body that lay buried under the flowers in the tomb.

15. It was then allowed to fly in the ethereal path with the swiftness of a stone shot from a sling. The living Leela and the goddess followed in the air.

16. The individual soul of the king sailing through the sky did not see the forms of the two ladies who followed it, though they saw it all along its course.

17. They passed through many worlds and soon passed beyond the bounds of the extra-mundane systems until they arrived at the solar world from where they descended to this earth.

18. The two self-willed forms of Leela and the goddess followed the individual soul of King Padma and arrived at his royal city where they entered Leela’s apartment.

19. In a trice and of their own free will, they entered the palace of King Padma like air passes in flowers and the sunbeams penetrate water and odors mix with air.

20. Rama asked, “How was it sage, that they entered into the abode adjoining to the tomb, and how could they find the way to it? One had been dead a long time, and all three were bodiless emptiness.”

21. Vasishta replied:— The tomb of the king’s dead body, being impressed on his soul and the object of its desire, led his spirit insensibly to it, as if by its inborn instinct.

22. Who does not know that the endless desires in the human breast, like countless fig seeds, grow up in time to become big trees?

23. Just as the living body bears its seed, the subtle body (linga deha) in the heart that germinates and in the end grows into a tree, so every particle of the intellect bears the material seed in itself.

24. As a man placed in a far distant land sees his own house within himself, so the soul sees the objects of his distant desires ever present before it.

25. The individual soul always longs after the best objects of its desire, even though it may undergo a hundred births and become subject to the errors and delusions of his senses and of this illusory world.

26. Rama replied, “There are many persons who are free from desire to receive funeral cakes. Now tell me, sage, what becomes of those souls who get no cake offering at their ancestor worship (shradh)?”

27. Vasishta replied:— A man having the desire settled in his heart to receive food offerings, and thinking it to be offered to him, is surely benefitted by its offering.

28. Whatever is in the heart and mind, the same notions form the nature of living beings. Whether these are in their corporeal or incorporeal states, they think themselves as such beings and no other.

29. The thought of having received the pinda cake (cake offered at a shradh ancestor worship ritual) makes a man sapinda (ancestors to the sixth degree), though it is not actually offered to him. On the other hand, the thought of not being served with the cake makes a sapinda become a nispinda.

30. It is truly the desire of all living beings to be whatever they have in their hearts, and that is the cause of their becoming so in reality.

31. It is a man’s thought that makes poison taste like nectar, and it is his very thought that makes an untruth seem as truth to him.

32. Know this for certain, that no thought ever rises in anyone without some cause or other. Therefore, the desire or thought that is inherent in the spirit is the sole cause of its regeneration on earth.

33. Nobody has ever seen or heard of any event occurring without its proper cause; except the being of the Supreme Being which is the causeless cause of all beings from their state of not-being into being.

34. Desire is inherent in consciousness, like a dream in the soul. Desire appears in the form of acts, as the Will of God is manifested in his works of creation.

35. Rama said, “How can a spirit that is conscious of its faults foster any desire for its future good? How can it benefit from others’ pious works for its salvation?

36. Tell me also whether the pious acts of others, offered to ancestors, go for nothing. Do the good wishes of others have any effect on the future prospects of an undeserving ghost?”

37. Vasishta said:— A desire naturally arises in its proper time and place and by application of appropriate acts and means. The rising of the desire necessarily overcomes its absence.

38. Pious gifts made for the sake of departed souls accrue to them as their own acts. It gives them a sense of worthiness and fills them with better hopes and desires for their future state.

39. Just like the stronger man gains the better of his adversary, so the later acts of piety drive away the former impiety from the spirit. Therefore the constant practice of pious acts is strictly encouraged in the scriptures.

40. Rama said, “If the desire arises in its proper time and place, then how could it arise in the beginning when there was no time or place?

41. You say that there are accessory causes that give rise to desires, but how could the will arise in the first place without any accessory cause whatever?”

42. Vasishta replied:— It is true, O long-armed Rama, that there was neither time nor place in the beginning when the Spirit of God was without its will.

43. And there being no accessory cause, there was not even the idea of the visible world, nor was it created or brought into existence. It is so even now.

44. The phenomenal world has no existence. All that is visible is the manifestation of Divine Consciousness which is everlasting and imperishable.

45. Later I will explain this to you in a hundred different ways, and it is my main purpose to do so, but now hear now tell you what relates to the matter under consideration.

46. Having arrived in that house, they saw its inside beautifully decorated with garlands of flowers as fresh as those of the spring season.

47. The palace residents were quietly employed in their duties, and the king’s corpse was placed upon a bed of mandara and kunda flowers.

48. Wreaths of the same flowers were strewn over the sheet that covered the body and there were the auspicious pots of water placed bedside.

49. The doors of the room were closed and the windows were shut fast with their latches. Lamps cast a dim light on the white washed walls and the corpse was lying as a man in sleep with the suppressed breathing of his mouth and nostrils.

50. There was the bright full moon shining with her delightful luster, and the beauty of the palace would make Indra’s paradise blush. It was as charming as the center of the lotus of Brahma’s birthplace, and it was as silent as dumbness or a dummy itself, and as beautiful as the fair moon in her fullness.

Chapter 3.57 — Yogis’ Astral Bodies; Phenomena of Dreaming

1. Vasishta continued:— There they saw the younger Leela of Viduratha who had arrived there after her death and before the death of that king.

2. She was in her former habit and mode with the same body, and the same tone and tenor of her mind. She was also as beautiful in all her features as in her former graceful form and figure when living.

3. She was the same in every part of her body and wore the same clothes as before. She had the same ornaments on her body, with the difference that it was sitting quietly in the same place, and not moving about as before.

4. She kept waving her pretty fan over the king’s corpse, gracing the ground below like the rising moon brightening the skies above.

5. She sat quietly, reclining her moonlike face on the palm of her left hand. Decorated with shining gems, she appeared like a bed of flowers blooming with new blossoms.

6. With glances from her beautiful eyes, she shed showers of flowers on all sides. The brightness of her body shone with the beams of the ethereal moon.

7. She approached her lord of men like Goddess Lakshmi appears before God Vishnu, and with the heaps of flowers around her, she looked like Vasanta Lakshmi (Lakshmi in the aspect of the blissful Goddess of Spring).

8. Her eyes were fixed on her husband’s face as if she was pondering his future well-being. Thoughts of his present sorrowful state spread a melancholy over her face like that of the waning moon.

9. They saw the maiden who was unable to see them. Their trust was in truth, so they saw everything clearly, while her views being otherwise, she could not discern their spiritual forms.

10. Rama said, “You have said, O sage, that the first Leela had returned there in her fancy and spiritual form, by the favor of the goddess of wisdom.

11. Why do you now describe her as having a body? I want to know how it came to her.”

12. Vasishta replied:— Rama, what is this body of Leela? It is no more true than a false imagination of her gross spirit, like that of water in the mirage.

13. It is spirit alone that fills the world, and all bodies are creations of fancy. This spirit is the Intellect of God, and full of joy in itself.

14. The same understanding which Leela had of herself at her end accompanied her to her future state. The same notion of her body followed her there, even though the body itself was reduced to dust, like ice melted in water.

15. Spiritual bodies are also sometimes liable to fall into error and think themselves to be material bodies, just like we mistake a rope for the serpent.

16. The belief in anyone’s materiality, composed of earth and other elements, is as false as believing rabbits have horns on their heads.

17. Whoever thinks he has become a stag in his dream has no need to seek another stag so that he can compare himself with it.

18. An untruth appears as truth at one time and disappears at another, just like the error of a snake in a rope vanishes upon the knowledge of its falsehood.

19. So the knowledge of the reality of all things in the minds of the unenlightened is dispersed in the minds of the enlightened upon conviction of their unreality.

20. But the ignorant who have a belief in the reality of this world of dreams also believe in the reincarnation of the animal soul, like the revolution of the world on its own axis.

21. Rama asked, “If the bodies of yogis are of a spiritual nature, how is it that they are seen walking about in the sight of men?”

22. Vasishta replied:— A yogi may take various forms upon himself without the destruction of his former body, like the human soul in a dream may deem itself transformed into a stag or any other being without undergoing any change in its spiritual essence.

23. A yogi’s spiritual body is invisible to all, although he may make it appear as visible to their sight. It is like particles of frost seen in sunbeams, and like the appearance of a white spot in autumn sky.

24. Nobody can easily discern the features of a yogi’s body, nor are they discernible by other yogis. They are as imperceptible as the features of a bird flying in the air.

25. It is from the error of judgment that men think some yogis are dead and others living, but their spiritual bodies are never subject to death or common sight.

26. The embodied soul is subject to errors from which the souls of yogis are free because their knowledge of truth has cleansed the mistake of a snake in the rope from their souls.

27. What is this body and from where does it come? What is its existence or destruction? What is lasting remains forever and is freed from the ignorance it had before.

28. Rama said, “Does the embodied soul takes a spiritual form or is it something else? Tell me this and remove my doubt.”

29. Vasishta said:— I have told you this repeatedly, my good Rama! How is it that you do not understand it yet? There exists only the spiritual body and the material form is nothing.

30. It requires a habit of constant meditation in order to know your spiritual state and subdue your sense of materiality. As you abstain from your sense of materiality, so you attain the spiritual state.

31. Then there will be an end of your sense of gravity and solidity of objects, like the visions of a dreaming man disappear when he awakens.

32. The body of a yogi becomes as light and subtle as the impermanent appearances in a dream.

33. In his dreaming rambles, a man feels the lightness of his body. Similarly, a yogi finds his solid body is able to fly in all places like air.

34. The expectation of the long life of a master in his material body is realized in the spiritual one, after the corpse has been burnt away.

35. Everyone must assume his spiritual frame afterwards, but the yogi finds it in his lifetime by the enlightenment of his consciousness.

36. As a man upon waking from sleep remembers having an intellectual form in his dream state, so the yogi is conscious of his spiritual body in his own intellect.

37. The notion of the physical body is a mere fallacy, like that of the snake in a rope. Therefore nothing is lost by the loss of this body, nor is anything gained by its production and regeneration.

38. Rama said, “Now tell me sage, what did the palace residents think the second Leela to be? Did they see her as an embodied being or a bodiless apparition appearing before them?”

39. Vasishta answered:— They took the sorrowful queen to be some friend of the king, having come from some place they knew not what or where.

40. They did not like to examine the matter because it is the nature of the ignorant, like that of brutes, to believe what they see without investigation or consideration of its nature.

41. As a stone flung at random flies off from its mark, so brutish and ignorant folks go astray from hitting the true mark of a thing placed before them.

42. We know not what becomes of the objects of our dream, or where they go when we awaken. Such is the case with our material bodies that are as false and fleeting as our delusive dreams.

43. Rama said, “Tell me sage, where does a hill that we dream of hide upon our waking? Kindly remove my doubt like the wind disperses the clouds of autumn.”

44. Vasishta said:— All things that appear in dream or reside in our desires, such as a hill or the like, are absorbed in the consciousness from where they sprang, just like the motion of bodies subsides in the air that gives them vibration.

45. As the motion of the air mixes with the fixed ether, so dreams and desires set in the unchanging soul from where they arose.

46. Our dreams, like our knowledge of all other things, are made known to us by our consciousness, the nature of which is as unknown to us as that of the inner soul.

47. We do not find our dreams or desires to be distinct from our awareness of them. They appertain to it in the same way as fluidity to water and motion to air.

48. Whatever difference may appear to exist between dreams and our awareness of them is the effect of sheer ignorance. This gross ignorance is the characteristic of this world known as the phantom of fancy.

49. It is impossible to conceive of two co-eternal and co-existent causes together, so it is wrong to suppose the dream as a distinct existence or anything other than an act of our consciousness.

50. There is no difference whatever between the dreaming and waking states. In dream we see a false city appearing to view. In waking you behold the unreal world standing as a reality before you.

51. Nothing can be truly existent that appears as true in a dream. This being always true of what is seen in a dream, it is likewise so of external phenomena that we see in our daydreams.

52. As a hill in a dream immediately disappears into airy nothing, so the material world sooner or later disappears into nothing by thinking on its nothingness.

53. Some see a yogi arising in the air; others as a dead body lying on the ground. This is according to one’s belief in his spiritual or material body. Every one sees him in his own way.

54. The view of the phenomenal world as distinct from the Unity is as false as a seeing a delusion or a magic show, or a dream or delirium of the great illusion.

55. Others who are blinded by similar errors, after being awakened from cessation of physical senses at death, entertain the notion of their reproduction as in a dream. But the spiritual body of the yogi shines and soars upward, after passing over the mirage of the false appearances of the world.

Chapter 3.58 — The Two Leelas See Padma Revived

1. Vasishta continued:— Meantime, the goddess of wisdom stopped the course of Viduratha’s life, like we stop the flight of our minds at will.

2. Leela said, “Tell me, goddess, how much time has lapsed since the corpse of the king was laid in this tomb, and I was absorbed in my deep meditation?”

3. The goddess replied:— A month has passed since these your maid servants have been waiting here watching your body, which they thought lay asleep in the room.

4. Hear, excellent lady, what has become of your body after a fortnight when it became rotten and evaporated in the air.

5. Seeing your lifeless corpse, as cold as frost lying on the ground and turning as dry as a log of wood, or rather as a withered leaf on the floor,

6. the royal ministers thought you had committed suicide and removed your putrid carcass out of the room.

7. What more shall I say than they laid your corpse on a heap of sandalwood and, having set fire to the pile with a sprinkling of ghee, they quickly reduced it to ashes.

8. Then the family raised a loud cry that their queen was dead. They wept bitterly for sometime, after which they performed your funeral ceremonies.

9. Now when they will see you coming here in your same body, they must be astonished and think that you have returned from the next world of the dead.

10. Now my daughter, when you appear before them in this your purer and spiritual form, they must look upon you with astonishment.

11. For you have not your former form at present, but it is changed to a purer one, agreeably to the desire and temperament of your mind.

12. For everyone sees everything outside himself according to his inner feelings as, for example, the sight of shadowy ghosts is frequent to children who have a fear of devils at heart.

13. Now, O beautiful lady! You are an adept in spiritualism and you have a spiritual body on you. You have forgotten and forsaken your former body and all the desires coexisting with it.

14. Those who see spirit do not see material bodies. Their intelligent view is to see material bodies in the light of autumn clouds which are void of substance.

15. Upon attainment of the spiritual state, the material body becomes like an empty cloud, or like a flower without its fragrance.

16. When a man of pure desire is conscious of his attainment of the spiritual state, he loses the memory of his material body, like a youth forgets his embryonic state.

17. It is now the thirty-first day that we have arrived at this place, and I have caused these maid servants to fall into a deep sleep this morning.

18. Now Leela, let us go before the willful Leela and use our will to let her discover the form of the truthful Leela and see how she behaves towards you.

19. Vasishta said:— So saying, they wished themselves to be perceived by the willful Leela, and stood before her in their ethereal forms of goddess and her inspired dame.

20. At this instant, the Leela of Viduratha looked at them with staring eyes and found the room lighted up by the full luster of their bodies.

21. The apartment seemed to be lighted by the bright orb of the moon, and its wall seemed washed with liquid gold. The ground floor shone as if paved with ice, and all was full of splendor.

22. After seeing the brightness of the bed chamber, Leela looked up at the goddess and the other Leela and rising respectfully before them, she fell at their feet.

23. “Be victorious, O ye goddesses!” she said. “You have blessed me with your visit. You who know all, know that I have come here first to prepare your way.”

24. As she was speaking this way, they received her with good grace, and then all three in their youthful bloom sat together on bedding, like luxuriant vines on the snow capped peak of Mount Meru.

25. The goddess said, “Daughter, tell us how you came here before us. How you have been, and what you have seen on your way here?”

26. The younger Leela answered, “As I lay unconscious on that spot, upon the shock of my death, I was enveloped in darkness like the new moon and I felt myself burned away by the flame of the funeral fire.

27. I had no sense or thought of anything good or bad, but remained with my eyes closed under my eyelids.

28. Then immediately after I had recovered from my trance of death, O great goddess, I found myself assuming (by mistake a new body agreeably to my former impression) and moving into the midst of the sky.”

29. “I mounted on the vehicle of winds and was borne like fragrance to this mansion through the ethereal space.

30. I found this house guarded by its warders and lighted with lamps, having a costly bedstead placed in midst of it.

31. I am looking upon this corpse, my husband Viduratha, who has been sleeping here with his body covered under flowers like the spring god in a flower garden.

32. I thought he was taking his rest after the fatigue of the warfare and I did not want to disturb his repose in this place.

33. I have now related to you, my gracious goddesses, all that I have seen and thought of since I have been restored to my new life.”

34. The goddess spoke, “Now I tell you Leela, who has such beautiful eyes and moves like a swan, that I will raise the corpse of the king to life from his bed.”

35. Saying so, she breathed the breath of life like the lotus lets off its fragrance. It fled into the nostrils of the carcass like a creeping plant crawls into a hole.

36. It entered into the heart through the vital sheath, as wind penetrates into the hole of bamboo. The breath of life was filled with desires, like the waves of the sea sparkle with pearls.

37. The infusion of life added color of the face and body of King Padma like rainwater refreshes the fading lotus in a drought.

38. By degrees the members of the body became renovated, like a garden with its returning flowering season, and like the sides of a hill become green with fresh grown bushes and vines.

39. The body of the king shone like the queen of the stars with all her digits of the full moon when she enlightens the whole world with the beams of her radiant face.

40. All his limbs became as tender and dewy as the branches of trees in spring. They regained their bright and golden color like the flowers of the spring season.

41. He opened his eyes which were as clear as the sky, their two pupils rolling like two orbs of light enlightening the world with their charming and auspicious beams.

42. He raised his body, as if Vindhya Mountain was uplifting its head, and cried with a grave and hoarse voice, “Who waits there?”

43. The two Leelas responded saying, “Your commands.” He saw the two Leelas in attendance upon him, humbly bending themselves at his feet.

44. Both were of the same form and features and of like demeanor and deportment towards him. They were alike to one another in their voice and action, as in their joy and gladness at his rising.

45. Then looking at them he asked, “What are you and who is she?” At this the elder Leela responded, “Please hear what I have to say.

46. I am Leela, your former consort. I was joined with you as two in one, as sounds and their senses are combined together.

47. The other Leela is only a reflection of me, cast by my free will for your service.”

48. “The lady sitting here beside the bed is the goddess of wisdom, the blessed Saraswati and mother of the three worlds. Set her on the golden seat before you.

49. It is by virtue of our great merit that she has presented herself to our sight and brought us back from other worlds to your presence in this place.”

50. Hearing this, the lotus-eyed king rose from his seat and with wreaths of flowers and a strap of cloth hung about his neck, he prostrated himself at her feet.

51. He exclaimed, “I hail you, O divine Saraswati who does confer all blessings on mankind. Please confer on me the blessings of understanding and riches with a long life.”

52. As he was saying so, the goddess touched him with her hand and said, “My son, be possessed of your desired blessings and gain your blessed abode in future.

53. Let all evils and evil thoughts be far from you, and all your discomforts be dispersed from this place. Let an everlasting joy descend in your hearts and a great population fill your happy realm. May all prosperity attend on you forever.”

Chapter 3.59 — Padma & Two Leelas Live Out Their Liberated Lives

1. Vasishta said:— “Be it so,” said Saraswati and disappeared into the air, and people awoke that morning with their king restored to life.

2. Padma embraced the reborn Leela, who embraced him in her turn. They were exceedingly glad in their coming to life again.

3. The palace was filled with loud shouts of joy like those of giddy revelry. Citizens were full of mirth and merry, song and music.

4. Shouts of victory and sounds of cheers and joys resounded in the air. People elated with joy thronged at the royal courtyard to see their king.

5. The spirits of the masters and demigod vidyadharas dropped flowers from above, and the sound of drums, kettles, trumpets and conches resounded on all sides.

6. Outside, elephants roared aloud with uplifted trunks. Crowds of women filled the inner courtyard with loud rejoicing.

7. Men bearing presents for the king fell upon one another at their mutual clashing. Others wearing flowery garlands on their heads and hairs moved gracefully all about.

8. Red turbans of joy on the heads of chiefs and a host of citizens, and the waving of the reddish palms of dancing girls, filled the sky with a bed of red lotuses.

9. The ground also was strewn with rosy flowers, by foot-falls of dancers with their reddish soles. The hanging earrings of ballet girls that flourished with the movement of their heads and shoulders waved in the air like flowers of gold.

10. Silken veils, like autumn clouds, covered the faces of fairy maidens in their dancing. They glittered like so many moons shining in the courtyard.

11. Then people retired to their respective homes with loud applause for the queen’s return with her husband from the other world.

12. King Padma heard of his adventures from the reports of his subjects, and made his purificatory ablution with the waters of the four seas of the earth.

13. Then royal ministers and ministerial brahmins joined together in the act of his installation, like a synod of immortals meeting at the inauguration of Indra.

14. The two Leelas continued in company with the king, describing with delight their respective adventures and the wisdom they had gathered thereby.

15. It was in this way that by grace of the genius of wisdom and their own experience, this King Padma and his two queens obtained prosperity equal to that of the three worlds.

16. The king, filled with the wisdom given to him by the goddess, in company with his consorts, continued to rule over his kingdom for thousands of years.

17. In their state of living liberation they reigned on earth for myriads of years. Then, receiving the perfect knowledge of the holy masters, they became wholly liberated after their deaths.

18. The happy pair having jointly reigned over their delightful realm of ever increasing population, and which was graced by learned men and righteous people, knowing their own rights and duties of doing good to all mankind, became freed from the burden of their state affairs forever.

Chapter 3.60 — Time & Reality Are Relative

1. Vasishta said:— Prince, I have told you this story in order to remove your error of the phenomenal world. Remember this tale of Leela and renounce your misconception of the gross material world.

2. The substantiality of phenomena is a nothing by itself. No pains are required to invalidate it. It is hard to disprove a reality, but there is no difficulty to efface a falsehood from the mind.

3. True knowledge consists in seeing phenomena as void and knowing the one emptiness to the sole unity and real entity. In the end, one loses himself in this infinite emptiness.

4. When the self-born Brahma created the world from nothing, without the aid of any material or elemental body, it is obvious that there was an eternal void and that all these are only manifestations of the empty soul.

5. The same creative soul spread the seeds of its consciousness into the stream of creation, and these produce the images as they constantly appear to us, unless we take the pains to repress them.

6. The appearance of the world is only a perspective of the environment that is Divine Consciousness. It is contained in the small space of human consciousness within the soul, like in a transparent particle of sand.

7. This being the case, then what is the essence of this false conception, and what are our desires to rely on it, and what can be the meaning of either destiny or necessity?

8. This entire whole that is visible to the eye is only false appearance, like magic. There is no truth or substance in a magic show.

9. Rama said, “What a wonderful explanation of the world that you have given me! It refreshes my soul, like moonbeams revive the blades of grass that have been burnt down by a fire.

10. After so long, I have come to know the truly knowable: such as what and how it is, and the manner how, from where, and when it is to be known.

11. I have my peace and rest in pondering on this wonderful theory, and your elucidation of the doctrines of the Sruti scriptures.”

12. “But tell me this one thing to remove my doubt, as my ears are never satisfied drinking the nectarlike juice of your sweet speech.

13. How much time elapsed during the three births of Leela’s husband? Was it the duration of a day and night in one case, and of a month in another, and the period of a whole year in the case of Viduratha?

14. Or did any one of them live for many years, and whether they were of short or longer durations according to the measure of men, gods or Brahma.”

15. “Please sage, kindly tell me this, because little hearing is not sufficient for me, like a drop of water is not enough to moisten the parched ground of summer heat.”

16. Vasishta said:— Know sinless Rama, that whoever thinks of anything in any manner at any place or time, he comes to feel the same in the same manner, and in the same place and time.

17. Take for instance a destructive poison that becomes like ambrosia to venomous insects that take it for their dainty nourishment. Similarly, an enemy turns to a friend by your friendly behavior to him.

18. The manner in which any being considers itself and all others for a length of time becomes the same they appear by its mode and habit of thinking, as if it were by an act of destiny.19 The manner in which the active intellect represents a thing in the soul is imprinted in its consciousness of its own nature.

20. When our consciousness represents a twinkling of the eye to extend over a kalpa age, we are led to believe a single moment is an age of long duration.

21. When we are conscious of or think a kalpa age to be only a twinkling, the kalpa age is thought to pass as quickly as a moment. A long night in our unconscious sleep appears as a moment upon waking.

22. The night appears to be a long age to the long suffering sick, while it seems like a moment in the nightly revels of the merry. So a moment appears as an age in the dream, and an age passes off as a moment in the state of unconsciousness.

23. The notions of the resurrection of the dead and of one’s reincarnation and being reborn in a new body, of his being a boy, youth or old man, and of his migrations to different places at the distance of hundreds of leagues are all only the phenomena of sleep and retrospective views in a dream.

24. King Harish Chandra is said to have thought a single night to be a dozen years. The prince Lavana passed his long life of a hundred years over the space of a single night.

25. What was a moment to Brahma was the entire age of the life-time of Manu. What is a day to Vishnu constitutes the long period of the lifetime of Brahma.

26. The entire lifetime of Vishnu is only one day of sedate Shiva. One whose mind is motionless in fixed meditation is unconscious of the change of days and nights and of seasons and years.

27. There is no substance and no substantive world in the mind of the meditative yogi to whom the sweet pleasures of the world appear bitter, as they are thought to be the bane of his true joy.

28. The bitter seems to be sweet by being thought to be so. What is unfavorable becomes favorable as that which is friendly comes to be unfriendly by being taken in their opposite senses.

29. Thus Rama, it is by habitual meditation that we gain the abstract knowledge of things. We forget what we learned if we do not repeat and practice.

30. By their habit of thinking, some find everything in a state of positive rest, while the unthinking fall into the errors of the ever-moving world, like a boat passenger thinks the land and objects on the shore are moving around him.

31. The unthinking part of mankind, and those wandering in their error, think the world to be moving about them. But the thinking mind sees the whole as an empty void and full of phantoms, like one sees in his dream.

32. It is false thought that shows white as black and blue. It is mistaken judgment that makes one rejoice or sorrow at the events of life.

33. The unthinking are led to imagine a house where there is none. The ignorant are infatuated with a belief in ghosts, as they are the killers of their lives.

34. It is reminiscence or memory that raises the dream as its consort and that represents things as they are presented to it by the thoughts of the waking state.

35. The dream is as unreal as the empty void abiding in the hollow receptacle of the intellectual soul. It spreads over the mind like the shadow of a cloud and fills it with images like those of a puppet-show under a magic lantern.

36. Know the phenomena of the revolving worlds to be no more in reality than mere effects of the vibrations of the mind in the empty space of the soul, like the motions and gestures of imagined hobgoblins to the sight of children.

37. All this is only a magical illusion without any substance or basis of itself. All these imposing scenes of vision are only the empty and aerial sights of dreams.

38. Just as a waking man beholds the wonderful world before him, so does a sleeping man see the same. Both of them resemble the unconscious pillar that finds images of statues engraved upon it.

39. The Divine Spirit’s great monument is the figure of the created world carved in itself, as if I see a troop of soldiers passing before me in my dream.

40. This waking world sleeps in the soul of Brahma and rises in his mind like the plant world springs from sap lying hidden in the earth that gives it its growth and spring bloom.

41. Likewise, creation lies hidden in and springs from the Supreme Spirit, like the brightness of gold ornaments is contained in and comes out of the material metal.

42. Every atom of creation is settled in the fullness of Divine Spirit, just like all the members of the body are set in the person of their possessor.

43. The visible world has the same relation to the bodiless and undivided spirit of God as one fighting in a dream bears to his enemy (both believe in their reality, while both are unreal in their bodies).

44. Thus the real and unreal, the spirit and the world, all dwindles into emptiness at the great fantasy annihilation of creation, except the consciousness of God which comprises the world in itself.

45. The causality of the One and the unreality of the world cannot both be true (since nothing unreal can come out of the real). Except Brahman, there is no other cause, whether Brahma the Creator or any other. The Divine Consciousness is the only cause and substance of its productions.

46. Rama asked, “But what caused the citizens, counselors and ministers of Viduratha’s royal house to appear in Leela’s vision in the same manner as that of her lord the king?”

47. Vasishta said:— All other thoughts are associated with the principal one in the intellect, in the same manner as high winds accompany a storm.

48. The association of thoughts follows one another in a long and perpetual train and, one after the other, caused the succession of the sights of the ministers, citizens and subjects of the king in Leela’s vision.

49. In this way the thought that the king was born of such and such a family naturally introduced the thoughts of his palace and city and of those that dwelt in them.

50. It is vain to inquire into the cause and manner of consciousness and each combination of its thoughts. This is why it is called the gem of thoughts (chintamani, the wish-fulfilling jewel). It is always accompanied with its radiating thoughts like a brilliant gem with its rays.

51. Padma thought to become a king like Viduratha, properly discharging the duties of his royal family. This constant thought of himself as such cast the mold of the mind and manner of Viduratha upon him.

52. All animate beings of every kind are only models of their own thoughts, like looking-glasses showing their inner reflections to sight.

53. The mind fixed in meditation on God remains unshaken amidst the turmoil of the world and is filled with perfect rest and preserves the composure of the soul until its final liberation from the bondage of the body.

54. But thoughts of fluctuating enjoyments of this world alternately represented in the mirror of the mind are like the shadows of passing scenes upon a looking glass.

55. Therefore it requires a great force of mind to overcome its worldly thoughts and turn them to the channel of truth, just like the greater force of a river’s main current leads its tributaries to the ocean.

56. But when worldly and spiritual thoughts press upon the mind with equal force, the mind is greatly disturbed. Then the greater force leads it onward in one way or the other.

57. Such is the case with all the myriads of beings, whether they are living, dead or to come to life. The same accidents take place in the particles of all human minds.

58. All this is the empty sphere of Consciousness, all quiet and without any basis or substratum. It is neither peopled nor filled by anything except its own native thoughts.

59. All these appear as dreams, even in our unsleeping states, and have no form or figure in the sight of the wise. The perception of their positive existence is only a misconception of their negative nonexistence.

60. There really exists only one omnipotent and all pervasive Spirit which shows itself in diverse forms like flowers, fruits and tree leaves all appearing from the same woody trunk.

61. He who knows the uncreated Brahman to be the measurer, measure and the thing measured to be all one and himself can never forget this certain truth of unity, nor ever fall into the dualism error of cause and effect.

62. There is only one Being (sat) who is holy and without beginning and who, though he appears to have forms of light and darkness, and of space and time, never rises or sets anywhere. He is without beginning, middle or end. He remains like a vast expanse of water exhibiting itself in its waves and currents.

63. The notion of myself, yourself and the objective world are only expressions of our perverted understandings. It is only ignorance within the sheath of the mind, according as it imagines it to be, that shows the One as many.

Chapter 3.61 — On the Origin of the World

1. Rama said, “Please sage, explain to me how this error of believing in an objective world arises without a cause for such error?”

2. Vasishta said:— Because the knowledge of all things is contained in our consciousness, it is plain that this eternal and uncreated self is the cause and container of them all at all times.

3. That which has an insight or intuitive knowledge of all things, which are expressed by words and their meanings, is Brahma the soul and no other. Nothing that is meant by any significant term has a different form of its own.

4. As the quality of a bracelet is not different from its substance of gold, nor that of a wave from the water, so the expansion of the world is not distinct from the spirit of God.

5. It is Brahma who is manifest in the form of the world, and not the world that appears as God. Similarly, gold displays itself in the form of a bracelet. It is not that the bracelet takes on the nature of gold.

6. As the whole is displayed in all its various parts, so the entire consciousness shows itself in all the various operations of the mind composing the world.

7. It is ignorance of the infinite and eternal spirit of God that exhibits itself as myself, yourself and the world itself in the mind.

8. As the shades of different colors in gems are not different from the gems, so the notions of one’s self and the world are the shades inherent in the same intellect.

9. Like waves appearing on the surface of the still waters of the deep, this so-called and meaningless creation is but a phase in Divine Consciousness.

10. The Spirit of God does not reside in creation. Creation does not exist in the Divine Spirit. There is no such relation of part and whole between God and creation.

11. One should meditate on his own consciousness as the form of Divine Consciousness. In his own consciousness of it, he will feel Divinity stirring within himself, as if stirred by the breath of a breeze.

12. The minute particle of the empty intellect will then appear in its wonderful form of an emptiness within the empty space of his conscious mind.

13. He then finds this empty form stirring in himself like an airy spirit with its property of feeling, like feeling the breath of air.

14. Then God assumes a luminous form as the state of His own substantiality, and this is placed as a spark of fire in the sheath of the intellect.

15. The light then melts into water which is the same substance as itself. This fluid substance contains the property of taste.

16. The same is condensed in the form of a solid substance, which is the same with the Divine Mind. This becomes the earth bearing in its bosom the property of smell.

17. Again God represents Himself to our intellect as one infinite and uniform duration. Measures in seconds and other divisions are only manifestations of the succession of our thoughts.

18. The other ways in which God presents Himself to our intellects are that, He is holy, infinitely glorious, seen within us, and without beginning, middle or end. He has no rising or setting and exists of Himself without a substratum and as the substratum of all.

19. This knowledge of God is bliss itself, and His creation is identical with himself. Ignorance of God leads to knowledge of the objective world, and its extinction is the way to know the eternity of His existence.

20. Brahma is conceived in our souls as He is represented to us by our consciousness, just like in our all comprehensive minds we know all other things according to our ideas of them.

21. Of these, only those things are true which we derive from our well-directed understanding. All those are untrue which the mind paints to us from the impressions of senses and the meanings of words that are incapable of expressing the nature of the indefinable and indescribable God.

22. Know the unreal world which appears as real, and the reality of God which appears as unreality, to be of the manner of air in motion and at rest. The visible world is like moving air that appears true to those who have no knowledge of the invisible God, who is as calm as the still air underlying the ethereal air and its motions.

23. A thing may appear different from another, and yet be the same with it. The light in the fire is the same fire. So the visible world arising from invisible Brahma appears as another reality even though it is same as the reality of God.

24. All things whether being or not being exist in God as their invisible and unknown source and cause. Just like clay in the earth is the cause of the would-be doll, the growing tree of a future carving, and the black powder of an ink not yet made.

25. One thing is exhibited as another in the great desert of the Divine Mind that shows the phenomena of the world like figures in a mirage.

26. The wise soul thinks this world as one with its source, Divine Consciousness. In the same way he considers a tree no way different from its parent seed.

27. As the sweetness of milk, the pungency of pepper, the fluidity of water, and the motion of winds are the inseparable properties of their substances,

28. so this creation is inseparable from the spirit of Brahma. It is a mere form of the one Supreme Soul, beside which there is nothing in reality.

29. This world is the manifestation of the luster of the gem of the Divine Mind. It has no other cause except the essence of Brahma, which is nothing other than its material cause, the Supreme Soul itself.

30. The will, the mind, the individual soul, and its consciousness are all the offspring of Divine exercise of Consciousness. There is nothing that can be produced by exertion of any power without direction of Consciousness.

31. There is nothing that rises or sets anywhere, or appears or disappears at anytime. Everything is unborn at all times and lies quiet in Divine Consciousness which is as solid as a massive rock.

32. It is imagination to explain things as formations of multitudes of combinations of atoms and to suppose every particle to be composed of minute infinitesimals because none of them could combine of themselves except by direction of the eternal mind.

33. All force resides in some living principle, just as the waking, sleeping and dreaming states appertain to the individual soul, and as the undulation of waves exists in the water or the current of the stream that lies hidden in it.

34. When the individual soul feels renunciation towards worldly enjoyments, scriptures say it has reached its highest perfection.

35. As the mind is freed from its choice and dislike of things, so the soul is liberated by avoiding its egoism and personality. Then it no longer is conscious of the pain that attends future birth and reincarnation.

36. Whoever in his understanding comes to know this state of supreme and inexpressible joy, he is sure to overcome all his worldly appetites that bind him fast to this earth.

37. But whoever labors in his mind with affections to this world, he has to wander in it continually like in the whirlpool of a stream, and he destroys the supreme joy of his soul in his continuous turmoil.

38. It was the lotus-born Brahma who was first conscious of his egoism and who, by the will of his mind, spread out this universe.

Chapter 3.62 — Fate Is What Determines the Result of Action

1. Vasishta continued:— These myriads of worlds and millennia of kalpa ages are no more real in themselves than our false computation of the millionth part of an atom or the twinkling of an eye.

2. It is our error that represents them as true to us, though they are as false as our calculation of those infinitesimals.

3. These creations, whether past or future, follow one another in endless succession like overflowing currents of water with all the waves, eddies and whirlpools in them.

4. The idea of these created worlds is as false as a delusive mirage that presents a stream of water flowing with strings of flowers fallen from the plants on the shore.

5. Perceived creation is as baseless as a city in a dream or a magic show, or like a mountain in fiction or an imaginary castle in the air.

6. Rama said, “Sage, the drift of your reasoning leads to the establishment of the identity of the perceived creation with the creator, and that this unity of both is the belief of the learned and wise.

7. Now tell me, what do you have to say with regard to material bodies as they exist on earth? What causes the body to be subject to the causes unknown to inner spirits?”

8. Vasishta replied:— Divine Consciousness has an active, supernatural energy called the predominant Decree, Fate or Destiny which must come to pass and bear its command over all our actions and desires.

9. She is invested from the beginning with irresistible and multifarious powers. She destines the manner in which everything is to take place and continue forever.

10. She is the essential cause of all essence, and the chief mover of the intellect. She is called the great power of powers and remains as the great viewer of all things.

11. She is called the great agency and the great producer of all events. She is known as the chief mover of occurrences, and she is the soul and source of all accidents. (chit shakti, power of consciousness; Mahasatta, Great Existence; Mahachiti, Great Intelligence; Mahashakti, Great Power; Mahadrishti, Great Vision; Mahakriya, Great Doing; Mahodbhava, Great Becoming, and Mahaspanda, Great Vibration).

12. She whirls worlds like straw and bears her sway over gods and demons. She commands the naaga snakes and the mountain monsters to the end of time.

13. Sometimes she is thought of as an attribute of divine essence, remaining pictured in her ever varying colors in the hollow emptiness of Divine Consciousness.

14. For the understanding of those ignorant in spiritual knowledge, the learned have explained that Brahma the Creator is identical with the Spirit of Brahma, and by destiny they mean his creation.

15. The immovable spirit of Brahma appears to be full of moving creatures. The infinity of divine existence seems to teem with finite creation in the midst of it, like a grove of trees growing under the vault of the hollow sky.

16. The unawake spirit of God reflects various images in itself (as in a dream), like the reflection of a dense forest in the lens of a crystal stone. The creator Brahma, in the hollow sphere of the Divine Mind, understood these reflections as the prototype of the destined creation.

17. Consciousness naturally exhibits a variety of forms in itself, just as the body of an embodied person exhibits its various members. The lotus-born Brahma took these various forms in itself to be the several parts in the great body of the cosmos.

18. This foreknowledge of events imprinted in the Consciousness of God is called Destiny which extends over all things at all times.

19. Destiny comprises the knowledge of the causes that move, support and sustain all things in their proper order, and that such and such a cause must produce such and such effect forever.

20. This destiny is the force or mobile power that moves all men, animals, plants and inanimate creations. It is the beginning or primary source of time and the motion of all beings.

21. It is combined with Divine Power, and this combination of them into one is the cause of the production and existence of the world.

22. It is the union or conformity of human effort with the course of destiny or decree of God that is productive of certain ends which are respectively called their destiny and destined effects.

23. What more do you have to ask me, Rama, with regard to destiny and self-exertion when I tell you that it is destined that all beings take themselves to their proper actions, in the destined or prescribed manner, in order to bring about the desired result?

24. A person who relies on predestination, sitting idly and quietly under the belief that he is being fed by his fixed lot, is said to depend on his destiny alone (a fatalist).

25. By sitting idly and waiting on Providence for the whole of his life, he gains nothing and soon comes to lose his good sense and energy, and finally dies from the famine of his sole reliance upon destiny.

26. It is quite certain that whatever is destined must surely come to pass of its own accord, and that it is impossible to prevent it by the foresight of gods and men.

27. Yet the intelligent ought not cease to exert their activity and only rely on their fates. They must know that it is our effort that brings destiny into action.

28. Destiny is inactive and abortive, without an active power to enforce it to action. It is human activity that produces effect or production in nature by the help of destiny.

29. Depend on destiny and remain both deaf and dumb as a doll. Be inactive and become dull and torpid as a block. Say, what is the good of this vital breath, unless it has its vitality and activity?

30. It is good to sit quietly by restraining even the vital breath in yoga meditation. With such practice one can obtain his liberation. Otherwise, an inactive man is not to be called a yogi but an idler and a beggar.

31. Both activity and inactivity are good for our liberation from pain, but the high minded esteem that to be better which saves them from the greater pain of regeneration.

32. This inactive destiny, meditation, is a type of the latent Brahma, and who so leans towards it by laying aside his busy course is truly installed in the supremely holy state of highest joy.

33. Inert destiny resides everywhere in the manner of Brahma, the latent soul in all bodies, and evolves itself in various shapes by means of activity in all its productions.

Chapter 3.63 — No Duality; Only the Appearance of Forms of the One Divine Mind

1. Vasishta continued:— The essence of Brahma is all in all and ever remains in every manner in everything in all places. It is omnipotence, omniform and the lord God of all.

2. This essence is the Spirit or Soul whose omnipotence develops itself sometimes in the form of intellectual activity and sometimes in the tranquility of soul. Sometimes it shows itself in the movement of bodies, and at others in the force of the passions and emotions of the soul. Sometimes as something in the form of creation, and at another as nothing in the annihilation of the world.

3. Whenever it realizes itself anywhere in any form or state, it is then viewed in the same manner at the same place and time.

4. The absolute omnipotence manifests itself as it likes and appears to us. All its powers are exhibited in one form or another to our view and understandings.

5. These powers are of many kinds, and are primarily concentrated in the Divine Soul or Spirit. The potentialities are the Active and Passive powers, also the Rational and Irrational and all others.

6. These varieties of powers are the inventions of the learned for their own purpose and understanding. But there is no such distinction in Divine Consciousness.

7. There is no duality in reality. The difference consists in shape and not substance. Thus the waves in the waters of the sea and the bracelets formed of gold are no more than modifications of the same substances.

8. The form of a thing is said to be so and so not because of its reality but because of its appearance. We affirm that a rope is a snake, but we have neither the outward perception nor inner thought of a snake in it. Hence all appearances are delusions of sense.

9. It is the Universal Soul that shows itself in some form or other to our deluded senses and understandings, and also according to our different apprehensions of the same thing.

10. Only the ignorant understand the omniform God to be all forms of things. The learned know the forms to be modifications of the various powers of the Almighty, and not the figures themselves.

11. Whether forms appear real or unreal is to be known to men according to their different apprehensions, which Brahma is pleased to exhibit in any particular form to their minds and senses.

Chapter 3.64 — Uncaused Brahma Creates Rules of Causation for Forms

1. Vasishta resumed:— The Supreme Deity is the all-pervading spirit and the great God and Lord of all. He is without beginning or end and is identical with the infinite bliss of his translucent self-reflection.

2. It is from this supreme joy and purely intellectual substance that the individual soul and mind have their rise before their production of the Universe.

3. Rama asked, “How could the self-reflection of Brahma, as the infinite spirit and one without a second, conceive in it a finite individual soul other than itself and which was not in being?”

4. Vasishta replied:— The immense and transparent spirit of Brahma remained in a state of non-existence (asat), a state of ineffable bliss as seen by the adept yogi, but of formidable vastness as conceived by the uninitiated novice.

5. This state of supreme bliss, ever tranquil and full with the pure essence of God, is altogether indefinable and incomprehensible, even by the most proficient in divine knowledge.

6. Thence springs a power (an aspect), like the germ of a seed, possessed of consciousness and energy which is called the living and conscious soul and which must last until its final liberation.

7. The vast empty sphere of this being’s clear mirror of the mind reflects images of innumerable worlds set above one another, like statues engraved upon it.

8. Rama, know that the individual soul is an extension of Divine Spirit, like the swelling of the sea and the burning of a candle when its flame is unshaken by the wind.

9. The individual soul is possessed of a finite awareness as distinguished from the clear and calm consciousness of the Divine Spirit. Its vitality is the nature of the living God, but it is only a flash of the empty consciousness of Brahma.

10. Vitality is the essential property of the soul, resembling the inseparable properties of motion in wind, warmth in fire and coldness in ice.

11. When we forget the nature of Divine Consciousness and Spirit, our self-consciousness leaves us with a knowledge of ourselves and this is called the individual soul.

12. It is by means of this positive consciousness that we know our egoism or selfexistence. It strikes us more glaringly than a spark of fire, and enlightens us to the knowledge of ourselves more than any other light.

13. When we look up to heaven we see a blue vault beyond which our eyes have no the power to pierce. In the same way, when we inquire into the nature of soul, we cannot see beyond consciousness of ourselves.

14. Our knowledge of the soul is presented to us in the form of an ego that is known by its thoughts, like the empty sky appearing as a blue sphere because of the clouds.

15. Ego differentiates the soul from our ideas of space and time and stirs within it like the breath of winds by reason of its subjectivity of thoughts.

16. The subject of thoughts is known as ego. It is also called various other names like the intellect, the soul, the mind, illusion (maya) and nature (prakriti).

17. The mind (chetas) which is the subject of thoughts contemplates on the nature of elementary matter, and thus becomes of itself the quintessence of the five elements.

18. The quintessential mind next becomes like a spark of fire and remains like a dim star, a nebula in the emptiness of the yet unborn universe.

19. The mind takes the form of a spark of fire by thinking on its essence, which gradually develops itself like a seed in the form of the cosmic egg by its internal force.

20. The same fiery spark figuratively called the cosmic egg (brahmanda) became like a snowball in water and conceived the great Brahma within its hollow womb.

21. Then as sensuous spirits assume some bodily forms at pleasure, although they dissolve like a magic city in empty air, so this Brahma appeared to view in an embodied form.

22. Some of them appear in the form of immovable, and others in those of moving beings. Some assume the shapes of aerials or whatever their fondness leads them to choose for themselves.

23. Thus in the beginning of creation, the first born living being had a form for himself as he liked. Afterwards he created the world in his form of Brahma or Virinchi (“Creator”).

24. Whatever the selfborn and self-willed soul wishes to produce, the same appears immediately to view as produced of its own accord.

25. Brahma, originating in Divine Consciousness, was by his nature the primary cause of all without any cause of his own. He appointed the acts of men to be the cause of their transition from one state to another in the course of the world.

26. Thoughts naturally rise in the mind to subside in itself, like water foaming, but acts done thereby bind us like passing froth or flying birds are caught by ropes and traps.

27. Thoughts are the seeds of action and action is the soul of life. Past acts produce future consequence, but inaction is attended with no result.

28. The individual soul bears its vitality like a seed bears the germ in its bosom. This sprouts forth in future acts, like the seed in various forms of leaves, fruits and flowers of trees.

29. All other individual souls that appeared in the various forms of their bodies had such forms given to them by Brahma according to their acts and desires in pre-material creations in former kalpa ages.

30. So people’s own personal acts are the causes of their repeated births and deaths in this or other worlds. They ascend higher or sink lower by virtue of good or bad deeds that proceed from their hearts and the nature of their souls.

31. Our actions are the efforts of our minds and they shape our good or bad destinies according to their merit or demerit. All fate and luck in the existing world are the fruits and flowers of past acts, even of those done in prior kalpa ages. This is called their destiny.

Chapter 3.65 — Nature of the Individual Soul as the Same as Universal Consciousness

1. Vasishta continued:— At first Mind sprang from the supreme Cause of all. This mind is the active soul which resides in the Supreme Soul.

2. The mind hangs in doubt between what is and what is not, and what is right and what is wrong. It forgets the past by its willful negligence like the scent of a fleeting odor.

3. Yet there is no difference between these seeming contraries. The dualities of Brahma and the soul, the mind and illusion (maya), the agent and act, and the world of phenomena and that of ideals, all blend together in the unity of God.

4. There is only one Universal Soul displaying its Consciousness like a vast ocean and extending its consciousness like an endless sea.

5. What is true and real shines forth amidst all that is untrue and unreal. So the subjective essence of the mind exists amidst all its airy and fleeting dreams in sleep. Thus the world is both true and untrue as regards its existence in God and its external phenomena.

6. The false conception, either of the reality or unreality of the outer world, does not spring in the mind which is conscious only of its operations and not of outward phenomena. This conception is like the deception of a magic show and is attendant to all sensuous minds.

7. It is the long habit of thinking the unreal world to be real that makes it appear as such to the unthinking, like a protracted sleep makes its visionary scenes appear as true to the dreaming soul. It is the lack of reflection that causes us to mistake a man in a block of wood.

8. Lack of spiritual light misleads the mind from its rationality and makes it take its false imaginations for true, like children, through their fear and lack of true knowledge, are impressed with a belief of ghosts in shadows.

9. The mind is inclined of its own tendency to assign an individual soul to the Divine Spirit which is devoid of name, form or figure and is beyond comprehension.

10. Knowledge of the living state (personality) leads to that of egoism which is the cause of reasoning. This again introduces sensations and finally the conscious body.

11. This bondage of the soul in body necessitates a heaven and hell for lack of its liberation. Then the acts of the body become the seeds of our endless reincarnations in this world.

12. As there is no difference between the soul, consciousness and life, so there is no duality in the individual soul and consciousness, or in the body and its acts which are inseparable from each other.

13. Acts are the causes of bodies and the body is not the mind. The mind is one with egoism, and the ego is the individual soul. The individual soul is one with Divine Consciousness and this soul is all and the lord God of all.

Chapter 3.66 — Individual Souls Mistake Subjective for Objective

1. Thus Rama, there is one true essence which appears as many by our mistake. This variety is caused by the production of one from the other, as one lamp is lighted from another.

2. By knowing one’s self as nothing, as it was before it came into being, and by considering the falsity of his notions, no one can have any cause for grief.

3. Man is only a being of his own conception. By getting rid of this concept, he is freed from his idea of the duality of the world, just as one wearing shoes perceives the whole earth he treads upon to be covered with skin.

4. As the plantain tree has no pith except its manifold coats, so there is no materiality to the world other than our false conceptions of it.

5. Our births are followed by childhood, youth, old age and death, one after the other, and then opens the prospect of a heaven or hell to our view, like passing phantoms before the flighty mind.

6. As the clear eye sees bubbles of light in the empty sky, so the thoughtless mind sees the sky full of luminous bodies (which are only phantoms of the brain).

7. As the one moon appears as two to the dim sighted eye, so the intellect, corrupted by influence of the senses, sees a duality in the unity of the Supreme Spirit.

8. As the giddiness of wine presents the pictures of trees before the drunken eye, so does the inebriation of sensation present the phantoms of the world before the excited intellect.

9. Know the revolution of the visible world to resemble the revolving wheel of a potter’s mill which they turn about in play like the rotating ball of a terrestrial globe.

10. When the consciousness thinks of another thing as something other than itself, it falls into the error of dualism. But when it concentrates its thoughts within, it loses the sense of objective duality.

11. There is nothing beside Consciousness except the thoughts on which it dwells. Its sensations are all at rest as it comes to know the non-existence of objects.

12. When the weak intellect is quiet by its union with the Supreme and by suppression of its functions, it is then called quiescent or indifferent (sansanta).

13. It is the weak intellect that thinks of external things, but sound understanding ceases all thoughts. It is a slight intoxication that makes one rave and revel about, while deep drinking is dead to all excitements.

14. When sound and consummate understanding runs in one course towards its main reservoir of the Supreme, it becomes divested of its knowledge of the external things and, in the presence of the one and no other, it also loses its selfconsciousness.

15. Perfected understanding finds the errors to which it is exposed by its sensation of the external things and comes to know that birth and life and all acts and sights of the living state are as false as dreams.

16. The mind, being repressed from its natural flight, can have no thought of anything. It is lost in itself. When the natural heat of fire or motion of the wind become extinct, they are annihilated of themselves.

17. Without the suppression of mental operations, the mind must continue in its misconceptions, like that of mistaking a rope for a snake through ignorance.

18. It is not difficult to repress the action of the mind and rouse our consciousness in order to heal our souls of the malady of their mistaken notion of the world.

19. If you can succeed suppressing the desires of your restless mind at anytime, you are sure to obtain your liberation even instantly and without fail.

20. If you will only turn to the side of your subjective consciousness, you will get rid of the objective world in the same manner as one is freed from his fear of snake in a rope by his examination of the thing.

21. If it is possible to get rid of the restless mind, which is the source of all our desires, then it is possible for anyone to attain the chief end of liberation.

22. When high minded men are seen to give up their lives like straws (in an honorable cause), there is no reason why they should be reluctant to abandon their desires for the sake of their chief good of liberation.

23. Remain unfettered by forsaking the desires of your greedy mind. What is the good of getting sensible objects that we are sure to lose?

24. The liberated are already in sight of the immortality of their souls and of God, like one who has fruit in his hand or sees a mountain visible before him.

25. It is only the Spirit of God that abides in everything in these world appearances which rise to be seen like the waves of the waters of the great deluge. It is His knowledge that is attended with the supreme good of liberation. Ignorance of that Supreme Being binds the mind to the interminable bondage of the world.

Chapter 3.67 — Lecture on Creation: Still Consciousness & Moving Thoughts

1. Rama said, “Leaving the mind, please tell me more about the nature of the individual soul. What relation does it have to the Supreme Soul? How did the individual soul spring from the Supreme Soul and what is its essence?”

2. Vasishta replied:— Know that Brahma is omnipresent and is the Lord of all at all times. He manifests himself in whatever attribute he assumes to himself of his free will.

3. The attribute which the Universal Soul assumes to itself in the form of perception (chetana) is known by the term “individual soul”, which possesses the power of volition in itself.

4. There are two causal principles combined with the individual soul, namely its predestination resulting from its prior acts and volitions and its later free will. These branch forth severally into the various causes of birth, death and existence of beings.

5. Rama said, “Such being the case, tell me, O greatest of sages, what does this predestination mean? What are these acts and how do they become the causal agents of subsequent events?”

6. Vasishta replied:— Consciousness (chit) has its own nature or properties of vibration and rest, like the movement and stillness of wind in the air. Its agitation is the cause of its action. Otherwise it is calm and quiet as a dead block of stone.

7. Its vibration appears in the fluctuations of the mind and its calmness in the lack of mental activity and exertions, as in the detachment of the stillness of yoga meditation.

8. The vibrations of consciousness, which are the movements of thoughts, lead to its continual rebirths; its quietness settles it in the state of the immovable Brahma. The movement of thought is known to be the cause of the living state and all its actions.

9. This vibrating intellect is the thinking Soul, and it is known as the living agent of actions, the primary seed of the universe.

10. This secondary soul then assumes a luminous form according to the light of its thoughts, and afterwards becomes many and diverse at its will and through the pulsations of the primary consciousness all over the creation.

11. The pulsating intellect or soul, having passed through many transformations, is at last freed from its motion and migration. Some souls pass through a thousand births and forms while others obtain their liberation in a single birth.

12. The human soul, being a pulsating intellect, is of its own nature prone to assume dualism. So it becomes its own cause of its reincarnations and sufferings, as also of its transient bliss or misery in heaven or hell.

13. As the same gold is changed into the forms of bracelets and other things, and as the same gross matter appears in the different forms of wood and stone, so the uniform soul of God appears as multiform according to his various modes and attributes.

14. An error of the human mind makes it view the forms as realities. It is a fallacy that causes one to think his soul, which is free from birth and form, is born, lives and dies, just like a man sees a city rise and fall in his delirium.

15. The moving, varying intellect, ignorant of its unity with the unchangeable reality of God, and also desiring its enjoyment peculiar to its varied state, falsely conceives its unreal ego-identity as reality.

16. As Lavana, the King of Mathura, falsely thought he was an outcaste tribal, so consciousness thinks on its own different states of existence and that of the world.

17. All this world is the phantom of an false imagination, O Rama! It is no more than the swelling of the waters of the deep.

18. Consciousness is always busy exercising the intellect of its own intelligences and the innate principles of its action. It is like the sea seen swelling with its waters moving of themselves in waves.

19. The intellect is like the water in the wide expanse of Brahma. Its movement raises the waving thoughts in the mind, resembling the bubbles of water, and produces the revolutions of individual souls like eddies in the sea of this world.

20. Know your soul, O gentle Rama, to be a phenomenon of the all pervading Brahma who is both the subject and object of his consciousness, and who has placed a particle of himself in you, like the breath of a mighty lion.

21. The intellect with its consciousness constitutes the individual soul, and the soul with the will forms the mind. Its knowing power is understanding and its retentiveness is called its memory. Its subjectivity of selfishness is called egoism, and its error is called illusion (maya).

22. The mind by its imagination stretches out this world which is as false as the phantom of paradise or a city drawn in air.

23. The objective knowledge of the world in the mind is as false as the appearance of chains of pearls in the sky, or like visionary scenes in a dream.

24. The soul, ever pure and self sufficient in its nature, remaining in its own state of tranquility, is not perceived by the misdirected mind dwelling on its delusive dreams.

25. The objective world is called waking (jagata) because it is perceived in the waking state of the soul. The subjective mind is allied to sleep (swapna) because the mind is active during sleeping and dreaming states. Ego is related to deep sleep (susupta) when we are unconscious of ourselves. The fourth state or pure Consciousness (turiya or turya) is the trance or hibernation of the soul.

26. That which is above these four conditions is the state of ultimate bliss: ecstasy. It is by reliance on that supremely pure essence of God that one is exempt from all his causes of grief and sorrow.

27. Everything is displayed in Him and all things are absorbed in Him. This world is neither a reality here nor there. It presents only the false appearance of strings of pearls in the sky.

28. And yet God is said to be the cause and substratum of all these unobstructed phantoms rising to view, just as empty air is said to be the receptacle for rising trees. Thus the non-causing God is said to be the cause of this uncaused world which only exists in our illusive conceptions and presents itself to our delusive sensations of it.

29. As a polished piece of iron reflects a grosser piece, so do our finer or inner sensations take the representations of the gross forms of their particular objects.

30. These sensations are conveyed to the mind, then to the individual soul and intellect in the same manner as the roots supply sap to the stem, then to the branches, and lastly to the fruits of trees.

31. As a seed produces fruit and the fruit contains the seed in itself, so the intellect producing the mind and its thoughts can not get rid of them, but is contained in and is reproduced by them in successive reincarnations.

32. There is some difference between the comparison of the unconscious seed and tree with the conscious intellect and mind, but the thoughts of the creator and creation, like the seed and tree, reproduce one another without end.

33. There is this difference between the unconscious seed and conscious intellect: the former continually reproduces itself, while the latter ceases its process upon attainment of liberation. Yet the ideas of creator and creation reproduce each other without end.

34. Yet our understanding shows it as clearly as sunlight reveals forms and colors of objects: that there is one eternal God of truth who is of the form of intellectual light and who shows the forms of all things that proceed from him.

35. As a hole dug in the ground presents a hollow, so the reasoning of every system of sound philosophy establishes the existence of the transcendental void as the cause of all.

36. As a prismatic crystal represents various colors in its prisms, without being tinged by them, so the transparent essence of Brahma shows the groups of worlds in its hollow bosom without its connection with them.

37. The Universal Soul is the source, and not the substance of all these vast masses of worlds, just as the seed is the embryo and not the matter of the trees and plants and their fruits and flowers that grow from them.

38. Rama said, “O how wonderful is this world which presents its unreality as a reality to us in all its endless forms! Though situated in the Divine Self, it appears to be quite apart from it. O how it makes its minuteness seem so very immense to us!

39. I see how this shadowy scene of the world appearing in the Divine Soul and becoming like an orb by virtue of the ideal particles (tanmatras) of the divine essence in it. I find it like a snow ball or icicle made of frozen frost.”

40. “Now tell me sage, how do the spiritual particles increase in bulk? How was the body of the selfborn Brahma produced from Brahman? Tell me also how these objects in nature come into existence in their material forms?”

41. Vasishta replied:— This form which sprang of itself from its own essence is too incredible and is without parallel. It is altogether inconceivable how something is produced of its own conception.

42. Just imagine, O Rama, how the unexpanded phantom of a vetala ghost swells huge in the sight of fearful children. Then in the same manner imagine the appearance of the living spirit from the entity of Brahma.

43. This living spirit is a development of Brahma, the Universal Soul. It is holy and a commensurable and finite being. Having a personality of its own, it remains as an impersonal unreality in the essence of the self-existent God. Afterwards, being separated from its source, it has a different name given to it.

44. As Brahma, the all extended and infinite soul, wills and becomes the definite individual soul, so the living spirit, by its volition, afterwards becomes the mind.

45. The mind, which is the principle of exercise of intellect, takes a form of its own. Likewise, life assumes an airy form in the midst of emptiness.

46. The wakeful living god, without anything whereby we measure time, is yet conscious of its course by means of his thoughts. He has the notion of a brilliant icicle of the form of the future cosmic egg in his mind.

47. Then the individual soul feels in itself the sense of its consciousness and by thinking “What am I?” is conscious of its egoism.

48. Next this god finds in his understanding knowledge of the word “taste” and gets the notion of it becoming the object of a particular organ of sense, to be hereafter called “the tongue.”

49. The individual soul then finds out in his mind the meaning of the word “light,” which was afterwards to sparkle in the eye, the particular organ of sight.

50. Next the god comes to know in his mind the property of smell and the organ of smelling, and also the substance of earth to which it appertains as its inseparable property.

51. In this manner the individual soul becomes acquainted with the other sensations and the organs to which they appertain as their inseparable properties and objects.

52. The unsubstantial living spirit which derives its being from the essence of the substantial Brahma, comes next to acquire the knowledge of sound, the object of the organ of hearing, and the property of air.

53a It then comes to understand the meaning of the word touch as the medium of feeling, and also to know the tongue as the only organ of taste.

53b It finds the property of color to be the peculiar object of the eye, the organ of sight, and that smell is an object peculiar to the nose, the organ of the sense of smelling.

54. The individual soul is thus the common receptacle of the sensations, and source of the senses, which it develops afterwards in the organs of sense in the body. It perceives the sensation of sensible objects through the perceptive holes that convey their perceptions into the sensorium of the mind.

55. Such, O Rama, is how it was with the first animated being. It remains like this with all living animals. All sensations are represented in the Soul of the world in its spiritual form (ativahika) called the subtle body or astral body (sukshma or lingadeha).

56. The nature of this abstruse essence is as indefinable as that of the spirit. It appears to be in motion when it really is at rest, as in our idea of the soul.

57. As measure and dimensions are foreign to our notion of Brahma, the all conscious Soul, so they are quite foreign to spirit also, which is no more than the motive power of the soul.

58. As the notion of the spiritual is distinct from material and corporeal, so the notion of Brahma is quite apart from everything, except that of his self-consciousness.

59. Rama said, “If consciousness is identical with Brahma, and our consciousness of ourselves as Brahma, make us identical with Brahma Himself, then what is the use of devising a duality of the soul, or of talking of the liberation and final absorption of the one in the other?”

60. Vasishta replied:— Rama, your question is irrelevant at this time when I was going to prove another thing. Nothing can be appropriate out of its proper time and place, as the untimely offering of flowers is not acceptable to the gods.

61. A word full of meaning becomes meaningless out of its proper place, just like the offering of flowers to gods and guests out of their proper time.

62. There is a time to introduce a subject and another to hold silence over it. Everything becomes fruitful in its proper season.

63. But to resume our subject. The individual soul afterwards appears from Him like the human soul appears in dreaming, and the individual soul thought in himself that he was the great father of created beings in time to come.

64. He uttered the syllable Om and was conscious of its meaning in his mind, which soon displayed all forms of beings to his mental vision.

65. All these were unrealities displayed in the empty sphere of the Divine Mind. The shadowy world seemed like a huge mountain floating in the air before him.

66. It was neither born of itself nor was it made by Brahma. It is not destroyed at anytime by any other power. It was Brahma himself, appearing like the phantom of city in the sky.

67. As the living Brahma and other spiritual beings are unreal in their nature, so also the essences of other beings, from the big giant to the little ant, are only mere unrealities in their substance.

68. It is our false understanding that represents these unrealities as real ones to us. Clear understanding will find all things, from the great Brahma down to the minutest insect, to vanish entirely from its sight.

69. The same cause that produces Brahma also produces insects. It is the greater depravity of the mind that causes its rebirth in the contemptible forms of worms.

70. The living being possessed of a rational soul and devoted to the cultivation of the mind attains to the state of man. He then acts righteously for attaining a better state in after life.

71. It is wrong to suppose that one’s elevation is the result of the merit of his acts, and his degradation to the condition of worms to result from his former acts of demerit, because there is the same particle of consciousness in both. This being known will destroy the mistaken difference between the great and small.

72. The notions of the measurer, measure and measurable are not separate from consciousness (or mind). Therefore the controversy between unity and duality is as futile as the horns of a rabbit or a lake of lotuses in the air.

73. It is our misconception of blissful Brahma that produces the wrong notion of solid substances in us. This imagination of our own making binds us like silk-worms are bound in cocoons formed by their own saliva fluid.

74. The knower perceives everything in his mind as revealed by Brahma. The knower meets with everything as allotted by God for his share.

75. It is the immutable law of nature that nothing can be otherwise than what it is ordained to be. There is nothing in nature that can change its nature for a minute in a whole kalpa age.

76. And yet this creation is a false phantom, and so is the growth and dissolution of all created beings, as is also our enjoyment of them.

77. Brahma is pure, all pervading, infinite and absolute. It is only for our misery that we take him for impure matter and unreal substance, and as definite and limited pluralities.

78. It is the spoiled imagination of children that fancies water and its waves to be different things and makes a false distinction between those which really are the same thing.

79. It is His undivided self that expands itself in visible nature, and which appears like a duality, like waves and the sea, and bracelets and gold. Thus He of himself appears as other than himself.

80. We are led to imagine the visible and changing world as having sprung from the invisible and immutable spirit which manifests itself in the form of the mind that produced the ego. Thus we have the visible from the invisible, and the mind and the ego from the same source.

81. Mind joined with ego produces notions of elementary principles or elemental particles that the individual soul, combined with its intellect, derives from the main source of Brahma, and of which it formed the phenomenal world.

82. Thus the mind being realized from Brahma sees before it whatever it imagines. Whatever consciousness thinks upon, whether it is a reality or unreality, the same comes to take place. The reflection truly passes into reality.

Chapter 3.68 — Story of the Demoness Karkati, Vishuchika (Cholera) & Suchi (Needle); Her Tapas

1. Vasishta said:— Hear me relate to you, Rama, an old story bearing upon this subject and relating to a difficult question that was resolved by a rakshasi (female demon).

2. There lived on the north of Himalaya a heinous rakshasi named Karkati, a crooked crab, who was as dark as ink and as stalwart as a rock, with limbs strong enough to split the sturdy oak.

3. She was also known as Vishuchika or Choleric Pain, by which she was ever afflicted, and which had reduced her frame like that of Vindhya Hill which was pushed down (by the curse of Agastya).

4. Her eyeballs were blazing like fires. Her stature reaching half way to the sky. She was covered by a blue garment, like the shade of night wrapping the atmosphere.

5. A white cloak covered her head like a cloud fragment. The long erect hairs of her head stood like a dark cloud on her crest.

6. Her eyes flashed like lightning, and her sharp hooked nails glistened like sapphires. Her legs were as long as tamara trees, and her loud laughter was like a burst of frost.

7. A string of dried bones decorated her body like a wreath of flowers. Traces of dead bodies adorned every part of her body.

8. She frolicked in the company of vetala ghosts, with human skulls hanging down her ears like earrings. When she stretched out her arms she looked like she was going to pluck the sun from his sphere.

9. Her huge body lacked its necessary food, causing her stomach fire to blaze like an undersea flame that the waters of the deep are unable to quench.

10. Nothing could ever satisfy the insatiable hunger of this big bellied monster, or satisfy her licking tongue that was always stretched out like a flame of fire.

11. She thought to herself, “O, if just once I could to the land of Asia (Jambudwipa), I would devour all its men in one swoop and feast on them continually like an undersea fire upon the waters.

12. As clouds cool burning sands by their rain, so will I allay the burning fire of my hunger there. It is settled as the best plan to support my life at this critical moment.”

13. “All men are well guarded by their mantras, medicines, austerities, devotions and charities from all evils of the world. Therefore it is impossible for anybody to destroy the indestructible devotee.

14. I will perform the most rigorous austerities with an unflinching heart and mind, because it is by intensity of effort that we may gain what is otherwise hard to be had.”

15. Having thought so, she went to an inaccessible mountain for the purpose of destroying all animal beings.

16. She climbed to the top of the mountain, scrambling over it with her hands and feet, and stood on it with her body looking a cloud and her eyeballs flashing like lightning.

17. Having reached the summit, she made her ablution and then sat in her tapas. Her steadfast eyeballs resembled the two orbs of the sun and moon fixed on one object.

18. She passed many a day and month there, and saw the course of many a season and year. She exposed her huge body to the rigor of heat and cold, like the hill itself (on which she sat).

19. She with her huge black body remained unmoved as a thick dark cloud on the mountain top. Her jet black hairs stood up as if to touch the sky.

20. Seeing her body beaten by the blasts and covered with nothing but her ragged skin, and her hairs standing up to their end, tossed to and fro by the raging winds, while the twinkling of her eyelids shed a whitish glare on her dark frame, God Brahma appeared before her.

Chapter 3.69 — Brahma Declares Karkati’s Tapas Complete, Grants Her Boon to Be a Pin to Cause Pain

1. Vasishta resumed:— After the passing of a thousand years, Brahma appeared to Karkati in order to put an end to the intensity of her austerities and crown her with success and the reward of her tapas.

2. She saluted him internally in her mind and remained fixed in her position thinking about the boon she should beg of him for allaying her keen appetite.

3. She soon recollected a certain request, which she should present to her complying god. It was to transform her soft and flexible form to the shape of an inflexible iron needle with which she could torment all living beings.

4. At Brahma’s bidding, she thought in herself, “I will become as thin as a minute pin in order to enter imperceptibly into the hearts of animals, like the fragrance of flowers enters the nostrils.

5. By this means will I suck blood from the heart of beings to my heart’s satisfaction. In this way my hunger will be satisfied and my appetite gratified to the greatest delight of my soul.”

6. As she was thinking in this manner, the god discovered her sinister motives, contrary to the character of a yogi, and approached her with a voice resembling the roaring of clouds.

7. Brahma said, “Daughter Karkati of the rakshasa race, who sits here like a cloud on the inaccessible top of this mountain, know that I am pleased with your tapas and bid you now to raise yourself and receive the boon that you desire of me.”

8. Karkati answered, “O Lord of the past and future! If you are inclined to grant my request, then please confer on me the boon of transforming my un-iron-like body to the form of an iron needle.”

9. Vasishta said:— The god pronounced “Be it so,” and added, “You will be like a pin (Suchi) and you shall be called choleric pain (Vishuchika) because you give pain to all bodies.

10. You shall be the cruel cause of acute pain to all living beings, particularly to the intemperate and hard-working fools and loose libertines who are destined to be your devoted victims.

11. Moreover shall you molest the dwellers of unhealthy districts, and the practitioners of malpractices by entering their hearts with your infectious breath, and by disturbing their sleep and deranging the liver and other intestinal parts of the body.

12. You shall be of the form of wind (in the bowels) and cause bile and flatulence under the different names of colic diseases, and attack the intemperate both among the wise and unwise.

13. The wise, when attacked by you, will be healed by repeating this magical mantra, which I will here propound for their benefit.”

14. “The mantra runs thus: ‘There lives Karkati, the rakshasi, in the north of the snowy mountain. Her name is Vishuchika, and it is for repelling her power that I repeat this mantra. Om, I bow to hring, hrang and ring, rang (the powers of Vishnu) and invoke the Vaishnavi powers to remove, destroy, root out, drive away this choleric pain far beyond the Himalayas, and afar to the orb of the moon. Om and swaha, be it so.’ ” “Let these lines be tied as an amulet on the left arm.

15. Then rub the painful part with the palm of that hand, and think the colic Karkati to be crushed under the mallet of this amulet and driven back beyond the hills with loud wailing.

16. Let the patient think the medicinal moon is seated in his heart and believe himself to be freed from death and disease, and his faith will save his life and heal his pain.

17. When the attentive adept, who having purified himself with sprinkling water in his mouth, repeats this formula, he succeeds in a short time to remove the colic pain altogether.”

18. Then, after delivering this effective amulet to the spiritual masters (siddhas) attending upon him, the lord of the three worlds disappeared in the air. He went to his splendid seat in heaven where he was received by God Indra who advanced to hail him with his praises.

Chapter 3.70 — Karkati as Suchi, the Needle of Colic and Cholera

1. Vasishta continued:— Now this Karkati who had been as tall as a mountain-peak, and a rakshasi of the blackest kind, resembling a thick and dark cloud of the rainy season, gradually began to fade away and grow leaner and leaner day by day.

2. Her gigantic cloud-like form was soon reduced to the shape of a tree branch which afterwards became like the figure of a man, and then the measure of only a cubit.

3. It next became the length of a span in its height, and then of a finger’s length in all. Growing by degrees thinner and thinner like grain, it became at last as lean as a needle or a pin.

4. Thus she was reduced to the thinness of a needle, fit only to sew a silken robe. By her own desire that could change a hill to a grain of sand, she had become as lean as the filament of the lotus flower.

5. Thus the non-metallic Karkati was transformed into the form of Suchi, a black and slender iron needle that contained all her limbs and organs of her body and conducted her in the air anywhere she liked.

6. She saw herself as an iron pin, having neither substance nor length nor breadth of her body.

7. Her mind with its power of thought appeared as bright as a golden needle, like a streak of sapphire impregnated by sunshine.

8. Her rolling eyeballs were as dark as the spots of black clouds moved to and fro by the winds. Her sparkling pupils, piercing through their tenuous pores, gazed at the bright glory (of God).

9. She had observed the vow of silence in order to reduce the plumpness of her person, and her face radiated with joy at becoming as lean as the filament of a feather.

10. She saw a light descending on her from the air at a distance, and she was happy to find her inner spirit to be as subtle as air.

11. With her contracted eye brows, she saw the rays of light extending to her from afar, which caused the hairs on her body to stand up like those of babies at bathing.

12. Her grand energy channel called Brahma nadi or sushumna rose up to its cavity in the head called the Brahma randhra in order to greet the holy light, like the filaments of the lotus rise to receive sunlight and heat.

13. Having subdued the organs of her senses and their powers, she remained as one without an organic frame and identified with her individual soul. She resembled the intelligent principle of the Buddhists and logicians (tarkikas) which is unseen by others.

14. Her minuteness seemed to have produced the minutiae of minute philosophers called the Siddhantas. Her silence was like that of the wind confined in a cave. Her slender form of a puny pin resembled the breath of animal life which is imperceptible to the eye.

15. The little that remained of her body was as thin as the last hope of man. It was like the pencil of an extinguished flame of a lamp that has heat without light.

16. But alas! How pitiable was her folly, which a first she could not understand. She was wrong to choose the form of a slender pin for herself in order to gratify her insatiable appetite.

17. Her object was to have her food and not the contemptible form of a pin. Her heart desired one thing, and she found herself in another form that was of no use to her purpose.

18. Her silliness led her to make the unwise choice of a needle shape for herself. So it is with the short witted. They lack the sense of judging beforehand about their future good.

19. An arduous attempt to accomplish a desired object is often attended by a different result. Even success on one hand becomes a failure on another. In the same way a mirror is soiled by the breath while it shows the face to the looker.

20. How be it, having renounced her gigantic form, the rakshasi soon learnt to be content with her needle form, although she viewed her transformation as worse than her dissolution itself.

21. But see the contradictory desires of the infatuated who distaste in a trice what at one time they fondly wished. This fiend was disgusted at her needle form instead of her monstrous figure.

22. As one dish of food is easily replaced by another, suiting the taste of the gourmand, so this fiend did not hesitate to shun her gigantic body, which she took to taste the heart blood of animals in her pin form.

23. Even death is delightful to the giddy headed when they are over fond of something else. The minimum of a meager needle was desirable to the monstrous fiend to gratify her fiendish desire.

24. Now this needle took the rarefied form of air and moved about after all living beings as the colic wind in quest of sucking animal gore.

25. Its body was like fiery heat and its life the vital breath of animals. Its seat was in the sensitive heart, and it was as swift as the particles of solar and lunar beams.

26. It was as destructive as the blade of a deadly sword, and as fleet as vapors flying in air. It penetrated bodies in the minute form of odor.

27. It was ever bent to do evil, like an evil spirit, as she was now known by that name. Her sole object was to kill the lives of others at her pleasure.

28. Her body divided into two halves; one was as fine as a silken thread and the other as soft as a thread of cotton.

29. Suchi ranged all about the ten sides of the world in her two forms and pierced and penetrated into the hearts of living beings with all her excruciating pains.

30. Karkati gave up her former big body, and took the form of the acute and small needle in order to accomplish all these purposes of hers, whether they be great or little.

31. To men of little understanding, a slight business becomes an arduous task. The foolish fiend had recourse to her austerities in order to do the mean work of a needle.

32. Again, however good and great, men can hardly get rid of their natural disposition. The great rakshasi performed her austere tapas in order to become a vile pin for molesting mankind.

33. Now as Suchi was wandering about in the sky, her aerial form which was big with her heinous ambition disappeared in air like vapor, or like a thick cloud in autumn.

34. Then entering in the body of some sensualist or weak or too fat a person, this inward colic flatulence of Suchi assumes the shape of cholera.

35. Sometimes she enters the body of a lean person, but also in those of healthier and wise people, first appearing as a choleric pain, then becoming real cholera at last.

36. She is often delighted to take her seat in the hearts of the ignorant. But afterwards she is driven back by good acts and prayers, and mantras and medicines of the wise.

37. In this manner she continued many years in her rambles. Sometimes her two-part body (pin and cholera) flies in the air, but most often she creeps low on the ground.

38. She lies concealed in the dust of the ground, and under the fisted fingers of hands. She hides herself in sunbeams, in air and in the threads of cloths.

39. She is hidden in the intestines, entrails and genitals. She resides in the bodies of pale and ash colored persons. She lives in the pores, lines and lineaments of the body, and also in dry grass and in the dried beds of rivers.

40. She has her seat among the indigent, and in the naked and uncovered bodies of men, and in those who are subject to hard breathing. She dwells in places infested by flies and of obstructed ventilation, and also in green verdures excepting only mango and wood-apple trees.

41. She lurks in places scattered with bones and joints of animal bodies, and such as are disturbed by violent winds and gusts of air. She lies in dirty places, and in cold and icy grounds, and likewise in polluted cloths and places polluted by them.

42. She sits in holes and hollow places, withered trees, and spots infested by crows, flies and peacocks; also in places of dry, humid and high winds and in benumbed fingers and toes.

43. She is in cloudy regions, in cavernous districts of the form of rotten bodies, in regions of melting and driving snows, and in marshy grounds abounding in anthills and hills of malura trees.

44. She exhibits herself in the mirage of desert sand and in wildernesses abounding with ravenous beasts and snakes. Sometimes she is seen in lands infested by venomous reptiles, disgusting leeches and worms.

45. She frequents stagnant pools soiled by dry leaves and those chewed by pisacha ghosts. She haunts hovels beside road crossings where passengers halt and take shelter from cold.

46. She rambles in all places, everywhere leeches suck the blood of men, and vile people tear them with their nails and hold them in their fists to feed upon them.

47. In this manner she is everywhere in the landscape of cities, until she is tired with her long journey through them.

48. Then she stops in her course like a tired bullock whose body is hot from travelling through towns with loads of cotton and utensils on its back.

49. She lays down to rest in some hidden place, like a needle tired with continued sewing. There she drops down like thread from the hand of the sewer.

50. A hard needle held in the hand of the sewer never hurts his finger, because a servant, however sharp he may be, is never faithless or injurious to his master.

51. An iron needle, grown old in its business of stitching, was at last lost by itself, like the rotten plank of a boat bearing the burdensome ballast of stones in it.

52. It wandered about on all sides of its own accord and was driven to and fro like chaff by the driving winds, according to the course of nature.

53. Someone takes it up and feeds the last end of a thread in its mouth. The malady of cholera is caught by those human parasites who glut themselves with food supplied by the sap of another.

54. The malady of colic, like the needle, is ever fond of feeding with its open mouth on the pith of others. It continually finds the thread-like heartstring of some body put into its hole.

55. Thus the strong bodies of greedy and heinous beings are nourished by the sap of the weak and innocent, just like colic disease preys on the lean bodies of the poor, and the sharp needle is supported by the thin thread of the needy (who cannot afford to buy new suits).

56. Though the heart of Suchi, like the hole of the needle, was to receive the thread-like sap of the patient’s heart, yet her power to pierce it was like that of the sewing needle, which is as potent as the piercing sunbeams to penetrate into the toughest substances.

57. Suddenly and at last, Suchi came to find the fault of her wrong choice for a puny body which was filled with her scanty fare of a bit of thread. She began to repent of her folly.

58. However, she continued with all her might to trudge on in her accustomed course of pricking and piercing the bodies of others. In spite of her great regret, she could not avoid the cruelty of her nature.

59. The sewing man cuts and sews the cloth agreeably to his own liking. But the weaver of destiny weaves the long loom of lengthened desires in all bodies and hides their reason under the garb of her own making.

60. The colic Suchi went on like the sewing needle in her business of piercing the hearts of people by hiding her head, just like it is the practice of robbers to carry on their rogueries by covering their faces.

61. She, like the needle with the sewing thread behind it, raises her head to make and look at the loop-hole that she should penetrate like burglars making and marking holes in the wall for their entry.

62. She entered the bodies of the weak and strong alike, like the needle stitching cloths of all textures, just as it is the custom of the wicked to spare neither the just nor unjust.

63. Colic pain, like the piercing needle, being pressed under the fingers, lets off its griping like the thread of the needle in its act of sewing.

64. The acute and unfeeling colic, being as ignorant of the softness or dryness of the object as the stiff and heartless needle, pierces the hardiest breast without deriving any sweetness from it.

65. The needle is comparable to a rich widow. Both are equally stern and full of remorse. Both are equally veiled and speechless and, with their eye of the needle, are as empty in their joyless hearts.

66. The needle hurts nobody, yet she is dragged by the thread which is no other than the thread of her fate.

67. After her trudging, slipped from the finger of her master, the needle peacefully sleeps in company with her fellows of dirt and dregs. For who is there who, when he is out of work, does not deem himself blessed to be in the company of his equals?

68. The herd of common people is ever fond of mixing with the ignorant rabble because there is nobody who can avoid the company of his equals.

69. The lost needle, when found by a blacksmith and heated in the hearth, flies to heaven by the breath of the bellows, after which it disappears in the air.

70. In this manner the current of vital airs, by force of the acts of its prior states of existence, conducts the breath of life in to the heart, which becomes the living spirit.

71. The vital airs, being diminished in the body, cause the colic pains known by different names such as flatulence, bile and the like.

72. The colic caused by spoiling the vyana vital energy produces many diseases and affects all the members of the body with a watery fluid. When it affects the lung’s breathing, it causes the vaya sula or pulmonary colic and is attended by disfigurement of the body and an insanity or hysteria known as the hysteric colic.

73. Sometimes it comes from the hands of sheep-keepers, or by the smell of sheep’s wool in blankets. At other times it seizes the fingers of children and causes them to tear their bed cloths.

74. When it enters the body through the foot, it continues sucking blood and, with all its voracity, becomes satisfied with very little food.

75. It lies in the glandular vessel of the feces with its mouth placed downward and takes as its prerogative any form it likes to assume.

76. It is the nature of malicious people to show the perversion of their hearts by doing injury to others. It is characteristic of base people to raise a row for their pleasure, and not for any gain or good to themselves.

77. The miserly think much of their gain of even a single penny, so deeply rooted is the avaricious selfishness of human nature.

78. It was only for a particle of blood, or as much as could be picked out by the point of a pin, that the colic Suchi was bent on the destruction of men. So the wise are fools in their own interests.

79. “How great is my master-stroke,” says the needle, “that I have come from stitching the shreds of cloth to piercing the hearts of men. So be it and I am happy at my success.”

80. As the rust of the lazy needle passes off in sewing, without being rubbed with dust, so must it rust unless it is put into the action of piercing patient and passive shreds.

81. The unseen and airy darts of fate are as fatal as the acts of cruel advanced cholera, though both have their respite of their massacres at short intervals.

82. The needle is at rest after its act of sewing is done; but the wicked are not satisfied even after their acts of slaughter are over.

83. It dives in the dirt and rises in the air. It flies with the wind and lies down wherever it falls. It sleeps in the dust and hides itself at home and in the inside, and under the cloths and leaves. It dwells in the hand and ear-holes, in lotuses and heaps of woolen stuffs. It is lost in the holes of houses, in clefts of wood and underneath the ground.

84. Valmiki added:— As the sage was speaking in this manner, the sun went down in the west, and the day departed to its evening service. The assembly broke after mutual salutations, to perform their sacred ablution, and joined again on the next morning, with the rising beams of the sun to the royal palace.

Chapter 3.71 — Suchi’s Remorse

1. Vasishta continued:— After the carnivorous fiend Karkati had feasted for a long period on the flesh and blood of human kind, she found her insatiable appetite to know no bounds. She was never satisfied with anything.

2. She used to be satisfied with a drop of blood in her form of the needle. Now she became sorry at the loss of the insatiable thirst and appetite of her former state.

3. She thought in herself, “O pity it is that I came to be a vile needle. With so weak and slender a body, I can take nothing for my food.

4. How foolish I have been to forego my former gigantic form and change my dark cloudy figure for something like the dry leaf of a forest tree.

5. O wretch that I am to have foregone my dainty food of flesh flavored with fat.

6. I am doomed to dive in dirt and drop down on the ground to be trodden and trampled under the feet of people, soiled and sullied in filth.

7. O me miserable, helpless and hopeless thing, and without any support or status. From one sorrow I fall to another, and one danger is succeeded by another!

8. I have no mistress or maidservant, no father or mother. I have no son or brother, nor anyone to serve or befriend me.

9. I have nobody, no home, and no refuge or asylum anywhere. I have no fixed dwelling anywhere. Instead I am driven about like falling leaves by driving winds.

10. I am subject to all accidents and exposed to every kind of calamity. I wish for my extinction, but it wishes not to approach me.”

11. “What have I done? In the foolishness of my heart, I have given away my own big body, like a madman gives away a precious jewel for a paltry piece of glass.

12. One calamity is enough to turn the brain out of order, but what will be my case when it is followed by other disasters in endless succession?

13. I am hung up to be suffocated by smoke and dropped down in the streets to be trodden underfoot. I am cast away with dirt and hidden under grass to my great distress.

14. I serve at another’s will, and am guided by my guide. I am stark naked while I sew for others, and I am ever a dependent on another’s guidance.

15. Long do I work and walk for a small worthless gain, and stitching alone is all the work that I have to perform for life. O unlucky that I am, that even my bad luck is so very unlucky.”

16. “With my remorse today, I see the demon of despair rising before me and threatening to make an end of this body of which I have made an offering to him.

17. After my foolishness losing so big and bulky a body, what better fate can await me than to be annihilated into nothing, rather than be a thing which is good for nothing?

18. What man will pick me up, who is as lean as a thread worm, from the heap of ashes under which I lie buried by the wayside?

19. No keen sighted man will take such a wretched and forlorn being into his consideration, just like nobody living on a high hill ever stoops to take notice of the grass growing on the ground below.

20. I cannot expect to raise myself higher while I am lying in a sea of ignorance. What blind man guided by the flash of fireflies can perceive the glorious sunlight?

21. I find myself drowned in a sea of misery and I know not how long I shall have to labor under my difficulties.”

22. “When shall I be restored to the form of the daughter of Anjanagiri Mountain and stand like a pillar over the ruins of the nether and upper worlds?

23. When shall I have my arms reach the clouds and my eyes flashing like lightning, my clothes as white as snow and my hair touching the sky?

24. When will my big belly resemble a huge cloud and my long breasts hang below like pillows shaking with the motion of my body, dancing like the wings of a peacock?

25. When will the ash-white light emitted by my laughter cast shade onto the sun, and my former high stature threaten to devour the terrible god of death?

26. Some time ago my hollow sockets, deep as the holes of mortars, flashed with living fire like the rays of the sun, and my large legs moved in my rambling like two monumental pillars.

27. When shall I have my big belly with its huge pot-belly? When shall I again have my soft black nails that resemble the dark and humid clouds of autumn.

28. When will those tender smiles return to me with which I moved the great rakshasa demons to my favor? When shall I dance in my giddy circles at the music of the tabor in the forests?

29. When will that big belly of mine be filled with pots full of fattened liquor and be fed with heaps of flesh and bones from dead bodies?

30. When shall I get drunk drinking the blood of human gore and become merry and giddy until I fall fast asleep?”

31. “It was I, by my bad choice of austerities, who destroyed my former brilliant body and accepted this petty needle-like form, like one who takes the sulphate of gold instead of the precious metal.

32. Ah! Where is that huge body that filled all sides and shone like the dark hill of Anjanagiri? What is this puny and pin form in the shape of a spider’s leg, thin and lean like a tender blade of grass?

33. The ignorant, thinking it useless, throw a golden jewel on the ground like a piece of glass. So I have cast aside my shining body for a bit of this black needle.”

34. “O great Vindhya Mountains with your hollow and snow covered caves! Why do you not destroy your dull elephants with your native lions? It is I who is as silly as an elephant.

35. O my arms that used to break down mountain peaks, why do you fail to pluck the butter-like moon with your moony nails?

36. O my breast that was as fair as snowy mountain sides, even without my glassy ornaments. Why do you not show your hairs, which were as large as leeches that feed on lion’s flesh?

37. O my eyes that used to dispel the darkness of the darkest night and kindle dry fuel with your glaring fire. Why do you cease to lighten the air with your brightness?

38. O my shoulder blades! Are you broken down and leveled with the earth, or are you crushed and smashed or moldered and worn out by age?

39. O my moon-bright face! Why do you not shine over me with your bright beams that resemble the everlasting light of the orb of the moon? Are you now at an end forever?

40. O my hands! Where is your strength fled today? Do you not see how I am transformed into an ignoble needle that is moved by the touch of the foot of a fly?

41. Alas! The cavity of my navel was as deep as a well and beset by hair resembling rows of beautiful plants about it. My protuberant posteriors were like the bottom of the Vindya hills.

42. Where is that towering stature reaching to the sky, and what is this new earned contemptible form of the needle? Where is that mouth, hollow as the vault of the sky, and what is this hole of the needle? Where is my heap of flesh meat and what is this drop of watery food?” “Ah, how lean have I grown. But who is to be blamed for an act of my own doing?”

Chapter 3.72 — Suchi Again Performs Tapas

1. Vasishta continued:— Afterwards Suchi became silent and motionless and thought of resuming her austerities for the sake of regaining her long lost body.

2. With this intention she returned to the Himalayas where, abstaining from her desire of human gore, she sat repeating her criticisms and rebukes.

3. In her mind she saw her needle form entering into her heart with her breathing.

4. Meditating on her mental form of the needle, she was blown upwards by her vital breath to the top of the hill and alighted on it like a vulture from high.

5. There she remained alone and apart from all living beings, sitting amidst burning fire with her form of an ash-colored stone.

6. She sat there like a sprout of grass springing in that dry and grassless spot. But soon she faded away into a blade of withered hay in the sandy desert.

7. She remained standing on the toe of one foot, and she continued criticizing and rebuking her own self.

8. In her tiptoe position, she lightly touched the ground and avoiding all sidelong looks. She gazed on the upper sky with her face upraised and her eyes uplifted.

9. The fine point of the black iron needle penetrated the ground and firmly preserved its standing posture. It fed itself upon the air which it inhaled by its uplifted mouth.

10. The scarcity of food in the forest made her look like she was in search of some prey coming from a distance. Her shadow shaking with the wind enticed the unwary to approach towards it.

11. The ray of light issuing like a pencil from the needle hole served as her attendant guard on the hinder part.

12. As men are kindly disposed towards the mean who are favorites to them, so the needle was attached to the thin pencil of light that became its constant attendant.

13. The needle had another constant companion: the devotion in its own shadow; but the blackness of its body made it always remain behind the back.

14. Thus these three — the iron needle, the thin pencil of light passing through its eye, and the needle’s shadow — having firmly adhered themselves to the iron needle, become intimate friends, like all good people mutually assisting one another.

15. On seeing Suchi in this plight, the trees and plants of the mountain forest felt compassion for her. Who is there who bears no sympathy for a pious devotee or her penances and austerities?

16. The needle that was stuck to the ground by its foot and had sprung up like some faculty of the mind was fed with the fragrance of fruits blown and borne by the breeze to its uplifted mouth.

17. Woodland gods and demigods continued to fill its mouth with the dust of buds and full blown flowers of the woods.

18. But Suchi did not swallow the powdered meat dust that God Indra had caused to be thrown into her mouth for the purpose of frustrating the effect of her tapas.

19. Her fixity of purpose did not permit her to swallow the delicious powder because a person, however mean he may be, is sure of success by the firmness of his mind.

20. Vayu, the god of winds with his power of uprooting mountains, was astonished to find the needle adverse to swallowing the food. He ministered to it in the form of the pollen of flowers.

21. The resolute devotee is never shaken from his purpose, though he be plunged into mud or drowned in water or scattered by winds and thrown into burning fire;

22. or when he is shattered by showers of hailstones, or struck by lightning or battered by raindrops and intimidated by thunder claps.

23. The resolute mind is not changed in a thousand years and the feet of the firm, like those of the drowsy and dead drunk, never move from their place.

24. A holy hermit who is devoted to his purpose in time loses the motion of his external organs, but by the exercise of his reason, he obtains the light of true knowledge in his soul.

25. Thus did Suchi gain the light of knowledge and become a seer of the past and future. She became cleansed of the impurity of her sins, and her impurity (visuchi) turned to purity (suchi).

26. She came to know the truly knowable in her own understanding. After the removal of her sins by tapas, she felt true bliss in her soul.

27. She continued in her austere tapas for many thousands of years, to the great astonishment of seven times seven worlds that became frightened at her austerities.

28. The fervor of her tapas set great mountains on fire, and that flame spread to all the worlds like the blaze of an auspicious meteor.

29. This made Indra, the god of heaven, ask Narada about the cause of this intense tapas, saying, “Who is so immersed in tapas that she obtains the fruit of worlds by her austere tapas?” Narada replied,

30. “It is Suchi, who by her continued tapas of thousands of years, has attained her highest state of enlightenment. She is that light which now enflames all the worlds.

31. It is Suchi’s tapas, O lord of gods, that makes naaga serpents sigh and hills tremble. It causes the celestials to fall down and the sea to overflow on earth. It dries up all things and casts a shade over bright orb of the sun itself.”

Chapter 3.73 — Narada Explains Suchi’s Tapas to Indra Who Sends Maruta to Disturb Her Tapas

1. Vasishta related:— Indra, having learned about Karkati’s austere tapas, was curious to know more about her from Narada.

2. Indra asked, “I know Suchi acquired her fiendish practice of blood sucking by means of her tapas, but who is this apish Karkati that is so greedy to gain flesh and bones?”

3. Narada replied:— It is Karkati, the malevolent fiend, who became the individual soul Suchi, the colic pain of the living, and assumed the shape of an iron needle as its support.

4. Afterwards, having forsaken that prop, it entered the human body, then it flew up to the heart on the vehicle of vital breath, and is seated in the car of the current air in atmosphere.

5. This colic of life Suchi, having entered into the bodies of vicious lives, passes through the canals of their entrails and the pores of their flesh, fat and blood, then nestles in the interior part like a bird.

6. It enters the intestines with the breath of air and settles there in the form of flatulent colic. Afterwards, seated at the end of the nyagrodha artery, it becomes the various forms of colic with fullness of blood and inflammation.

7. It also enters the body through other parts and organs and receives different names according to its situation. Then it feeds upon their flesh and marrow.

8. Fastened to the knots of flower wreaths and stuck to leafy garlands decorating the breasts and cheeks of fond maidens, she sleeps enraptured with them on the bosoms of their loving spouses.

9. She flies to the bodies of birds in woodland retreats free from worldly sorrow and strife. She flutters on the tops of flowers of kalpa trees of Nandana paradise, or rolls on beds of lotuses in the lakes.

10. She flies in the forms of fluttering bees over the high hills of the gods, and she sips honey drops perfumed with the fragrance of mandara flower pollen.

11. In the form of vultures, she devours the entrails of the dead bodies of warriors through the wounds made by sword blades.

12. She flies up and down in the translucent and glassy paths of the sky and pierces into the human body through all pores, arteries, and orifices, just like expansive winds pass on all sides through every creek and corner.

13. Just like the universal vital air runs in the heart of every living being in the form of the pulsation of air, so Suchi oscillates in everybody as if they were her own home.

14. Just like intellectual powers are lodged in every person like blazing lamps, so she resides in her dwelling and blaze as the mistress of everybody.

15. She sparkles like the vital spark in blood particles, and she flows in bodies like liquid. She rolls and trolls in the bowels of living beings like whirlpools whirl about in the bosom of the sea.

16. She rests in the milk-white mass of flesh, just like Vishnu reclines on his bed of the serpent Sesha. She tastes the flavor of blood from all hearts, just like Goddess Kali drinks the liquor of her goblet of wine.

17. She sucks the circulating, red hot blood of hearts, just like the wind absorbs the internal and vivifying juice from the hearts of plants and trees.

18. Now this living Suchi, intending to become a devotee, remains as motionless as an immovable substance and as fixed and steady in her mind.

19. The iron-hearted needle, being now rarefied like invisible air, is traversing to all sides on the swift wings of winds resembling its riding horses.

20. It goes on feeding on the flesh and drinking the blood of all living beings, and carrying on its various acts of giving and receiving, and dancing and singing all along.

21. Though the incorporeal Suchi has become aeriform and invisible as vacuum, yet there is nothing which she is unable to accomplish by the powers of her mind, outstripping the swiftness of the winds.

22. But though she runs mad with her meat and turns giddy with her drink, yet she is curbed by fate from running at random, like an elephant in chains.

23. The living body, like a running stream, moves apace with billows in its course. The painful and destructive diseases under which it labors are like greedy sharks lying hidden underneath.

24. This frail body, like the formless Suchi, being disabled by its inability to gorge on its fleshy food, begins to lament its fate, like old and sickly rich folks for their lack of hunger and appetite.

25. The body with its members moves about like the beasts of the forest (for their prey). It plays its parts like an actress on stage dressed with good clothes and ornaments.

26. The body’s internal and external winds move the it back and forth. Its natural weakness (immobility) is always in need of being moved by the vital airs, just like the immovable fragrance requires to be blown by a breeze.

27. Men in vain rely on mantras and medicines, on austerities and charities, and on the adoration of idols for relief, while their bodies are subject to diseases like the sea to its surges.

28. The unseen force of mobility is soon lost in the solid body, just like the light of the lamp is lost in darkness. So the living Suchi came to be lost in the iron needle in which she had her rest.

29. Everyone aspires to a state according to his natural propensity. The rakshasi’s own inclination led her to choose being a needle.

30. A man tired from travelling far and wide returns at last to take his rest at home. So the big and living Karkati turned into the form of the thin iron Suchi in order to rest. But like ignorant people who prefer the grosser pleasures of the body to the nicer delights of the soul, she still wanted her grosser enjoyments that now are lost to her.

31. With the intention of satisfying her thirst, she travelled to all parts and quarters in her form of the poor needle. But she derived more mental pleasure from the experiences than the satisfaction of her physical appetites.

32. When the container is in existence, it is possible to fill it with its contents and not otherwise. So one having his body can seek and get every pleasurable object to give it delight.

33. Remembering now the past enjoyments of her former body, she became sad in her mind that before she had been so highly pleased and satisfied filling its belly.

34. Then she resolved to undertake austere tapas for the purpose of recovering her former body. With this object in view, she chose for herself the proper situation for her castigations.

35. The individual soul of Suchi thought of entering into the heart of a young vulture flying in the air. Thus by the help of her vital breath, she soared to it and rested herself in the air like that bird.

36. The vulture, filled with the malevolent spirit of the choleric Suchi in itself, began to think of executing the purposes that Suchi had in her mind.

37. Thus the vulture, bearing the unsatisfied Suchi within its body, flew to its intended spot on the mountain. It was driven there like a cloud by the wind and it was in this place that Suchi was to be released from her needle shape.

38. It sat there in its state of asceticism on a spot of the solitary forest, seeming to be freed from all desires of the world.

39. It stood there on one of its legs, supported on the tip of its toe. It looked like the statue of some god that had been consecrated on the top of the mountain by someone in the form of garuda.

40. There standing on one leg, supported on an atom of dust, she remained like the mountain peacock that stands on one leg with its head raised to the sky.

41. The vulture, seeing the living Suchi coming out of his body and standing on the mountain like a statue, fled and disappeared from that place.

42. Suchi came out from the body of the bird like a spirit coming out of it, and the intellect aspiring to higher regions. She came out like particles of fragrance fly upon the wings of winds to be borne into a nose and meet the breath of the nostrils.

43. The vulture fled to his own place after leaving Suchi at that place, like a porter unburdening himself of his load, and on his return found himself relieved of his lecherous diseases.

44. Now the iron Suchi, being seated in her tapas in the form of the living Suchi, appeared as graceful as a good man engaged in the performance of his proper duty.

45. Because a formless spirit is unable to do anything without the support or instrument of form, so the living Suchi supported herself on the tip of her toe in order to perform her tapas.

46. The living Suchi sheathed the iron needle like an evil female pisacha spirit wraps itself around a sinsapa tree, and like the winds enfold particles of odor which they bear away in their bosom.

47. From then, O Indra, she has undertaken her protracted tapas and she has passed many years in the solitary wilderness in her steady position and posture of body.

48. It now behooves you, O Indra who is skilled in stratagems, to devise some plan to delude her from her object, or else her tapas will destroy the people you have so long preserved.

49. Vasishta said:— Indra, having heard these words of Narada, sent Maruta, the god of winds, to search for Suchi in all quarters of the globe.

50. Then God Maruta, in his spiritual form of intelligence, proceeded in quest of her. Having traversed the ethereal regions, he alighted upon the nether world. The winds and all other elemental and physical powers are also believed to be endued with intelligence. They are not mere brute forces. They could never regularly discharge their proper functions without intelligence.

51. He saw everything instantly at a glance of his intelligence which perceived all things at one view, just like the sight of the Supreme Spirit sees through all bodies without exception or hindrance.

52. His sight stretched to Lokaloka Mountain in the polar circle, far beyond the seven seas of the earth, where there is a large tract of land abounding with gems.

53. He viewed the circle of Pushkara continent, surrounded by a sea of sweet water and containing mountains with their dales and valleys.

54. He next saw Gomeda Islands surrounded by the liquid sea of liquor with its marine animals, and its land abounding with cities and towns.

55. He saw also the fertile and peaceful continent of Kraunchadwipa bounded by the sweet Saccharine Sea and beset by a range of mountains.

56. Further on was the Swetadvipa (white island) with its subsidiary isles surrounded by the Milky Ocean and having the temple of Vishnu in the midst of it.

57. After that appeared the sea of butter surrounding Kushadwipa Island and having chains of mountains and cities with buildings in them.

58. Then came the Sakadwipa in view amidst the ocean of curds, containing many countries and many large and populous cities in them.

59. Last appeared the Jambudwipa (Asia) girded by the sea of salt, having Meru and other boundary mountains and many countries in it.

60. Thus the intelligence of air (Marut), having alighted on earth upon the wings of winds, rapidly spread himself to its utmost ends.

61. The god of air then directed his course to Jambudwipa (Asia). Having arrived there, he made his way to the summit of the snowy mountain, the Himalayas where Suchi was performing her tapas.

62. On the highest top of the summit, he saw a great desert as extensive as the expanse of the sky and devoid both of living creatures and the vestiges of animal bodies.

63. It was unproductive of greens or grass owing to its nearness to the sun, and it was covered with dust like that which makes this earth.

64. There, like the lucid waters of a river, spread a wide ocean of mirage to excite the thirst and allure the longings of men by its various colors that resemble the variegated colors of a rainbow.

65. Its wide expanse, reaching almost to infinity, was not measurable even by the regents of the quarters of heaven, and the gusts of wind blowing upon it served to cover it with a canopy of dust.

66. It resembled a wanton woman smeared with red powder like sunbeams and sandalwood paste like the moonbeams, and attentive to the whistling of the breeze.

67. The god of the winds having travelled all over the seven continents and their seas, and being tired with his long journey on the surface of the earth, rested his gigantic body, which fills the infinite space in all directions, on the top of that mountain; like a butterfly resting on the twig of a tree after its wearied flight in the air.

Chapter 3.74 — Consummation of Suchi’s Tapas Vasishta speaking:—

1. The god of the winds saw Suchi standing erect, like a crest on the summit of the mountain, amidst that vast tract of desert all around.

2. She stood upon one leg fixed in her meditation and roasted by the burning sun over her head. She was dried up to a skeleton by her continued fasting, and her belly was contracted to shrunken skin.

3. Now and then she inhaled the hot air with her open mouth, then breathed it out as her heart could not contain the repeated influx of air.

4. She was withered under the scorching sunbeams, and battered in her frame by the hotter winds of the desert, yet she moved not from her stand-point as she was relieved every night by the cold bath of moonbeams.

5. She was content covering her head under particles of dust and did not like to change her state for a better fortune.

6. She gave up the possession of her forest to other living beings, and lived apart from all in the form of a crest of hair. Her breathings being withdrawn to the cranium, appeared out of it like a tuft of hairs or bushes clapped on her head.

7. The god of air was astonished to see Suchi in this state. He bowed down to her and was struck with terror as he saw her more carefully.

8. He was so overawed by the blaze of her body that he dared not ask her anything, such as, “O saintly Suchi, why do you undertake these austerities”?

9. He only exclaimed, “O holy Suchi, how wonderful is the sight of your tapas!” Impressed with veneration for her holiness, the god made his departure to heaven from where he had come.

10. He passed the region of the clouds and reached the sphere of the still air (sthira vayu). Then leaving the realm of the spiritual masters behind him, he arrived at the ecliptic path of the sun.

11. Then rising higher in his airy car, he arrived at the city of Indra where he was cordially embraced by the lord of gods for the merit of his sight of Suchi.

12. Being asked what he saw, he related all that he had seen to the assembled gods in the court of Indra.

13. Pavana, the wind god, said, “There is a king of mountains in the high Himalayas situated in the midst of Jambudwipa (Asia). It has Lord Shiva, who bears the crescent of the moon on his forehead, for his son-in-law.

14. North of it is a great peak with a plain land above it. That is where the holy Suchi holds her hermitage and performs her rigorous tapas.”

15. “What more shall I relate other than that she has abstained even from air, and has made a mess of her entrails coiled up together?

16. She has contracted the opening of her mouth into a needle hole, and stopped even that with a particle of dust in order to restrain it from receiving even a cold dewdrop for food.

17. The fervor of her tapas has made the snowy mountain forsake its coldness and assume an igneous form which is difficult to approach.

18. Therefore let all of us rise and go to the great father of creatures for redress, or know that the result of her fervent tapas must prove to our disadvantage.”

19. Hearing Pavana’s words, Lord Indra in company with the other gods proceeded to the abode of Brahma and prayed to him for their safety.

20. Brahma answered, “I am going even now to the summit of the snowy Himalaya to give Suchi her desired boon.” Upon this assurance of Brahma, the gods all returned to their celestial abodes.

21. During this time Suchi became perfect in her holiness. She began to glow with the fervor of her tapas on the mountain of the immortals.

22. Suchi very clearly perceived the passage of time by fixing her open eyes on the sun and by counting days by the rays of solar light penetrating the opening of her mouth, the needle hole.

23. Suchi, though flexible as a bit of thread, had attained the firmness of Mount Meru by her erect posture.

24. She saw, by the ray of sunlight that penetrated the eye of the needle, that her shadow was the only witness to her upright tapas.

25. Suchi’s shadow, the only attendant on her tapas, hid herself under her feet for fear of the midday heat. So do people find their best friends forsake their company in times of adversity.

26. The union of the three persons of the iron, the ascetic, and shadowy Suchi, like the meeting of the three rivers (Asi, Varana and Ganga), described a triangle in the form of the sacred city of Benares.

27. This union of the three, like the confluence of three rivers of Triveni (Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati), purifies the sins of men by the three different colors of their waters, namely the blue, black and white.

28. A person becomes acquainted with the unknown cause of all only by reasoning in his own mind and by means of his self-consciousness. Awareness of one’s own mind is the best guide in all things. O Rama, there is no better teacher for men.

Chapter 3.75 — Suchi Regains Her Former Frame

1. Vasishta continued:— After a thousand years of long and painful tapas by Suchi, Brahma, the great father of creation, appeared to her under his pavilion of the sky and bade her accept the boon she preferred.

2. Suchi was absorbed in her tapas. Her vital principle of life, remaining dormant in her, wanted the external organs of sense to give utterance to her prayer. She remained only to think upon the choice she should make.

3. She thought to herself, “I am now a perfect being and I am delivered from my questions. Therefore, what blessing do I need to ask beyond this state of beatitude, bliss of contentment, and self-resignation which I already possess in my peace and tranquility?

4. I have the knowledge of all that is to be known. I am free from the web of errors. My rationality is developed. What more is necessary for a perfect and rational being?

5. Let me remain seated as I am in my present state. I am in the light of truth and quite removed from the darkness of untruth. What else is there for me to ask or accept?

6. “I have passed a long period in my ignorance. I was carried away like a child by the demon of the evil genius of earthly desires.

7. This desire is now brought under subjection by the power of my reasoning. So of what value are all the objects of my desire to my soul?”

8. The lord of creatures kept looking on Suchi sitting with her mind fixed in her silent meditation and resigned to her destiny. She was quite withdrawn from all external sensations and from the use of her bodily organs.

9. Brahma, with the kindness of his heart, again approached the indifferent woman and said, “Receive your desired blessing and live to enjoy for sometime longer on earth.

10. Then having enjoyed the joys of life, you shall attain the blissful state from which you shall have no more to return here. This is the fixed decree destined for all living beings on earth.

11. By merit of your tapas, O best of womankind, let your desire be crowned with success! Resume your former physical form and remain as a rakshasi in this mountain forest.”

12. “Regain your cloud-like shape of which you are deprived at present, and revive like a sprout from your pin-like root to become like a big tree growing out of its small root and little seed.

13. You shall get an inward supply of serum from your muscle tendon, like a plant gets its sap from the seeded grain. The circulation of that juice will cause growth like that of a germ from the ingrained seed.

14. Your knowledge of truth has no fear of falling into the difficulties of the world. On the contrary, the righteousness of your soul will lead you like a huge, heavy cloud with its pure water high in the heaven, in spite of the blasting gusts of wind.”

15. “By your constant practice of yoga meditation, you have accustomed yourself to a state of death-like samadhi. For your intellectual delight, you have thereby become assimilated into the trance of your meditation.

16. But your meditation must be compatible with your worldly affairs, and the body like the breeze, is nourished best by its constant agitation.

17. Therefore, my daughter, you are acting contrary to nature by avoiding the action that your nature requires.” “There can be no objection to your slaughter of animal life under proper bounds.

18. Therefore act within the bounds of justice and refrain from all acts of injustice in the world. Stick steadfastly to reason if you should like to live liberated in this life.”

19. Saying so far, the god disappeared from below to his heavenly sphere, when Suchi said to him, “Be it so. I have no objection to this.” Then, as she thought in her mind that she had no cause to be dissatisfied with the decree of the lotus-born Brahma, she found herself immediately in possession of her former body.

20. She came to be of the measure of a span at first, then of a cubit, and next a full fathom in length. She was quickly increasing in height. She grew up like a tree until she was in the form of a cloud. She had all the members of the body added to her instantly, in the manner of the growth of the tree of human desire.

21. From the fibrous form of Suchi, the needle which was without form or feature, body, blood, bones, flesh or strength, there grew up all the parts and limbs at once. Just so the fancied garden of our desire suddenly springs up with all its green foliage and fruits and flowers from their hidden state.

Chapter 3.76 — Refraining from Unlawful Food

1. Vasishta continued:— Suchi the needle now became the demoness Karkati again. Her leanness turned to bulkiness in the manner of a flimsy cloud assuming a gigantic form in the rainy season.

2. Now returning to her native air and element, she felt some joy in herself. But she renounced her fiendish nature by the knowledge she had gained, like a snake throws off its old skin.

3. There seated in her lotus posture, she continued to reflect on her future course. Relying on the purity of her new life and faith, she remained fixed as a mountain peak.

4. After six months of continued meditation, she obtained the knowledge of what she sought, like the roaring of clouds rouses the peacock to the sense of an approaching rain.

5. Being roused to her sense, she felt the pains of her thirst and hunger, because the nature of the body never forsakes its appetites as long as it lasts in the same state.

6. She became sad not knowing what food she should take, because she thought the killing of animal life for food was unlawful and repugnant to her nature.

7. Food forbidden by the respectable and obtained by unjust means must be rejected even at the expense of one’s valuable life.

8. “If my body,” she thought, “should perish for lack of lawful food, I will not transgress the law for that. The guilt lies in sustaining my own life by taking unlawful food.

9. Whatever is not obtained according to the customary rules of society is not worth taking. If I should die without proper food, or live upon improper fare, it amounts to the same thing whether I live or die.

10. I was only the mind before, to which the body is added as a base appendage. It vanishes upon the knowledge of self. Hence its care and neglect are both alike.”

11. Vasishta resumed:— As she was uttering these words in silence to herself, she heard a voice in the air coming from the god of winds who was pleased at the renunciation of her fiendish disposition.

12. “Arise Karkati”, the voice said, “and go to the ignorant and enlighten them with the knowledge you have gained. For it is the nature of the good and great to deliver the ignorant from their error.

13. Whoever does not receive this knowledge of lawful food from you, make him truly the object of your derision, and take him as being a right meat and proper food for you.”

14. On hearing these words she responded, “I am much favored by you, kind god!” So saying, she got up and descended slowly from the height of the craggy mountain.

15. Having passed the heights, she came to the valley at the foot of the mountain. From there she proceeded to the homes of the Kirata people who inhabit the lands at the bottom of the hills.

16. She saw those places abounding in provisions of all sorts, such as humans and their cattle with their fodder and grass. There were vegetable as well as animal foods, with various kinds of roots and plants. There were eatables and drinkables also, with the flesh of deer and fowls, and even of reptiles and insects.

17. The nocturnal fiend then walked her way under the shade of the deep darkness of night. In her form of the dark mountain of Anjanagiri (unperceived by the inhabitants), she went towards the homes at the foot of Himalayas.

Chapter 3.77 — Karkati Travels to the Land of the Kiratas, Sees a King & His Minister, Debates Food

1. Vasishta resumed:— A deep dark night, black as ink and as thick as tangible pitch, covered the homes of the Kiratas.

2. The sky was moonless and overcast by a veil of dark clouds. The woodlands were hidden by tamara trees and thick masses of black clouds flew about in the air.

3. Thick shrubs and bushes covered the hilly villages, obstructing passage by their impervious darkness. The flitting light of fireflies gave the homesteads an appearance of a bridal night.

4. The thick darkness spread over the compounds of houses shut out the passage of the light of lamps, which made their way through chinks in the houses where they were burning.

5. Karkati saw a band of female pisacha ghosts dancing about her as her companions. She became motionless as a block of wood on seeing giddy vetala ghosts moving about with human skeletons in their hands.

6. She saw antelope sleeping by her and the ground matted over by thick snow fall. The breeze gently shook drizzling drops of dew and frost from the leaves of trees.

7. She heard frogs croaking in the bogs and night ravens cawing from the hollows of trees. The mingled noise of happy men and women came from the inside of the houses.

8. She saw phosphorescent light burning in swamps with the luster of portentous meteors. She found banks and streams thick with thorns and thistles growing by their sides and washed by the waters gliding below them.

9. She looked above and saw groups of stars shining in the firmament. She saw the forest about her, the breeze shaking their fruit and flowers.

10. She heard the alternate and constant cries of owls and crows in the hollows of trees. She listened also to the shouts of robbers in the outskirts and the wailings of villagers at a distance.

11. Foresters were silent in their native woods and citizens were fast asleep in the cities. Winds were howling in the forests and birds were at rest in their woodland nests.

12. Furious lions lay in their dens and deer were lying in their caves. The sky was full of frozen dew and the woodlands were all still and quiet.

13. Lightning flashing from dark inky clouds resembled the reflections of rays from the bosom of a crystal mountain. The clouds were as thick as solid clay and the darkness was as stiff as if it needed a sword to cut it.

14. Blown by the storm, dark clouds fled in the air like the dark Anjana Mountain, then deluged a flood of pitchy rain like a waterfall from the bosom of a mountain.

15. The night was as dark as the pit of a coal-mine, and as jet black as the wing of the black bee. The whole landscape, lulled to sleep, appeared like the world lying submerged under ignorance.

16. In this dreadful dead of night in the area inhabited by Kiratas, she saw a king and his minister wandering together in the forest.

17. The king was named Vikrama and he was as brave and valorous as his name and conduct implied him to be. He came out undaunted from within the city, after the citizens had fallen fast-asleep.

18. Karkati saw them wandering in the forest with the weapons of their valor and fortitude, looking for the vetala ghosts that infested the neighborhood.

19. Seeing them, she was glad to think that at last she had found a proper food. But she wanted to know beforehand whether they were ignorant folks or had any knowledge of their souls, or whether their weariness under the burden of their bodies had exposed them to the dangers of the dark night.

20. “The lives of the unlearned,” she thought to herself, “truly are damned in this world and the next. Therefore it is better to put an end to these rather than leave them to live to their peril in both worlds.

21. Without spiritual knowledge, the life of the ignorant is death. Physical death is preferable because it saves the dying soul from further accumulation of sin.

22. It is the primeval law ordained by our prime father, the lotus-born Brahma, that ignorant souls and those without knowledge of their selves should become the food of the heinous.

23. Therefore there is no harm in my feeding upon these two persons, who have offered themselves for my food. It is silliness to allow an easy prize or a proffered gift slip from the hand.”

24. “But if they prove to be men of good and great souls, then in that case I cannot feel disposed of my own nature to put an end to their valuable lives.

25. Therefore I must test them to see if they possess such intelligence. If so, I will decline to make them my food because I feel averse to molesting the intelligent.

26. For those who expect to have true glory and real happiness throughout their lives on earth must always honor the learned with gifts adequate to their parts and desires.

27. I should rather suffer my body to perish with hunger than destroy the intelligent for its support. The soul derives more satisfaction from the counsels of the wise than bare life without knowledge can possibly afford.

28. The learned are to be supported even at the expense of one’s own life because the society of the wise is a tonic for the soul, though death should deprive us of our bodies.”

29. “If I, a man-eating rakshasi, am so favorably disposed to the preservation of the wise, then what reasonable man is there who must not make a breast-plate of the wise for himself?

30. Of all embodied beings that move about on the surface of the earth, it is only the man of profound understanding who sheds his benign influence like cooling moonbeams all around him.

31. To be despised by the wise is death, and to be honored by the learned is true life. Only the company of the wise makes life bring forth its fruits of heavenly bliss and final beatitude.”

32. “I will now ask a few questions to test them, like copper by a chemical process, and know whether they are men of character or gilded on the surface with wise looks.

33. Upon examination and ascertainment of the qualifications, if they prove to be wiser than the examiner, then one should avail of their instruction. Otherwise there is no harm to make an end of them as they best deserve.”

Chapter 3.78 — Karkati Confronts the King & His Minister

1. Vasishta continued:— The rakshasi, who was an offshoot of the great garden of the rakshasa demon race, made a loud and tremendous yell like the deep roaring of a cloud.

2. After her deep roar she muttered in a clattering voice like the rattling of a thunder clap following the rumbling of clouds.

3. She said, “Ho, ho? What are you who venture abroad in this dread and dreary desert, dark as the great illusion of maya, which without the light of the sun or moon is as gloomy as the gloom of ignorance? Why are you crawling here like insects bred in stones?

4. What men of great minds are you to have come here like weak minded deviants who have lost their way? You have become an easy prey for me and must meet your fate in my hands in a moment.”

5. The king replied, “O you demon, what are you and where do you stand? If you are an embodied being, show yourself unto us. Who is terrified by your bodiless form buzzing like a bee?

6. It is the business of the brave to immediately pounce like a lion upon his prey. Therefore leave off your bragging and show us your prowess at once.

7. Tell me what you want of us and whether you terrify us by your vain boasting or utter these words from your own fear of us.

8. Now measure your body according to your speech and confront us without delay. Slow gain serves no good save the loss of time.”

9. On hearing the king’s speech, she thought it was well said and immediately showed herself to them, uttering her loud shout with a grinning laughter.

10. The king heard her voice filling the air and resounding in the woods. He saw her huge and hideous person by the light of her open mouth and ivory teeth in the act of her loud laughter.

11. Her body was like a huge cliff hurled down by the thunder bolt of the last doomsday. The flashes of her eyeballs blazed in the sky like a pair of bangles or conch shells.

12. The darkness of her appearance would have cast shade on the deep dark waters at the universal deluge that hid the flame of the undersea fire. Her voice was as hoarse as the growling of clouds on the high heads of hills.

13. Her form was like that of a monumental pillar standing between the heaven and earth. The gnashing of her teeth struck the night-rovers with the fear at being ground to death under them.

14. Her figure, like those of the nocturnal demons, yakshas, rakshasas and pisachas, by its erect hairs, muscular limbs, dingy eyes and coal black color, inspired dread of dire disaster.

15. The air she breathed in the lungs snored like the horrible snorting of horses’ nostrils. The tip of her nose was as big as a mallet, and its sides as flat as a pair of bellows or winnowing fans.

16. She stood with her jet black body like a rock of dark agate. Her body joined with her loud laugh gave her the appearance of the all subduing night of dissolution.

17. Her bulky body, resembling a thick cloudy night, approached them like an autumn cloud moving in the forest of the sky.

18. The huge body appeared like a demon rising from underneath the ground and approaching to devour them like an eclipse engulfs the sun and moon.

19. Her ebony breasts were hanging down like two pendant clouds of somber sapphires, or more like two mortars or water pots, with her necklaces hanging on them.

20. Her two arms were suspended from her bulky body like a couple of stout branches from a sturdy oak, or like two logs of burnt wood from her coal-like body.

21. Seeing her thus, the two valiant men remained as steadfast as those standing on the firm ground of certainty who are never led away by doubts.

22. The minister said, “O great friend! What causes this rage and fury in your great soul? It is only the mean and base who are always violent even in trifling matters.

23. Lay aside this great ado for nothing, which does not become you. The wise pursue their business with coolness to crown it with success.

24. Know the soft and slow breath of our moderation has driven swarms of such flies like yourself, just like a slight breath of wind scatters dry leaves and straws.

25. Setting aside all haughtiness and passion of spirit, the wise man conducts his business with a calm coolness of the mind, assisted by reason and practical wisdom.

26. One must manage his affairs with slowness, whether it prove effectual or not, because overruling destiny disposes of everything, which human effort has no power to prevent.

27. Now let us know your desire and what is your object with us, because no suitor who has come to us has been refused of his prayer, or allowed to return in disappointment.”

28. Hearing these words, the rakshasi pondered in her mind, “O, the serene composure of these lionlike men and the affability of their conduct with others.

29. I do not think them to be men of the ordinary kind, and even more wonderful, their inner soul is expressed in the outward gestures of their faces and eyes and in the tone and tenor of their speech.

30. The words, face and eyes express the inner thoughts of the wise, and these go together like the salt and water of the sea.

31. My intention is already known to them, as is theirs also to me. I cannot destroy them when they are indestructible because of their moral excellence.”

32. “I understand them to be acquainted with spiritual knowledge, without which there cannot be a good understanding. Because knowledge of the indestructibility of the spirit takes away the fear of death, and these men lack that fear.

33. Therefore I shall ask them something about which I have doubts. They who fail to ask the wise what they know not must remain dunces throughout their lives.”

34. Having thought so, she opened her mouth, suppressing her roaring voice and loud laughter for a while, and asked her questions.

35. “Tell me, O you sinless men who are so brave and valiant, who are you and from where have you come? The very sight of you has raised my regard for you, like the good hearted become friends with one another, even at their first sight.”

36. The minister said, “This is the king of the Kiratas and I am his councilor. We have come out tonight in our nightly round to apprehend malicious beings like you.

37. It is the duty of princes to punish the wicked, both by day and night. Those who trespass the bounds of their duty must be made like fuel to the fire of destruction.”

38. The rakshashi said, “King, you have a good minister. A bad one is unbecoming of a king. All good kings have wise counselors, and they make the good king.

39. The wise minister is the king’s guide to justice, and it is he who elevates both king and his people. Justice is the first of the four cardinal virtues (justice, temperance, prudence and frugality), and it is the only virtue of a ruler who is called the incarnation of justice (dharma avatara).”

40. “But kings also must have spiritual knowledge because that is the greatest human knowledge. The king who has this knowledge becomes the best of kings. The minister who knows the soul can give the best counsel to guide other souls.

41. A man who feels for others makes a good ruler. Whoever is unacquainted with this rule is not fit to be either a ruler or his minister.

42. If you know this fundamental principle, it is good and you shall prosper. Otherwise you wrong yourselves and your subjects. In which case, you shall be my prey.”

43. “There is only one way for you two young men to escape from my clutches. You must answer my intricate questions according to your best wits and judgment.

44. Now you king and you his counselor give me the solution to the questions that I ask of you. If you fail to give the proper answers as you have agreed to do, then you must then fall under my hands, like anyone who fails to keep his words.”

Chapter 3.79 — The Rakshasi Karkati’s Questions

1. Vasishta continued:— After saying so, the fiend began to ask her questions. You should be attentive to them Rama, like the king who told her to go on.

2. The rakshasi resumed:— What is that miniscule atomic particle that is one yet many, and is as vast as the ocean, and which contains innumerable worlds like the bubbles of the sea?

3. What is a void yet no void, which is something yet nothing? What makes me and you, and where do I or you abide and subside?

4. What moves unmoved and unmoving, and stands without stopping? What is intelligent yet is as dull as a stone? What presents its variety in the emptiness of understanding?

5. What has the nature of fire without its burning quality? What is that non-flammable substance that produces fire and its flame?

6. Who is not of the nature of the ever-changing solar, lunar and stellar lights, but is the never changing enlightener of the sun, moon and stars? Who, having no eyes, gives the eye its sight?

7. Who gives eyesight to the eyeless vegetables and the blind mineral creation?

8. Who is the maker of heavens and who is the author of the natures of things? Who is the source of this world of jewels and whose treasure are all the gems contained in it?

9. What is that monad which shines in darkness and is the point that is and is not? What is that iota which is imperceptible to all, and what is that jot that becomes an enormous mountain?

10. To whom is the twinkling of the eye as long as a kalpa millennium and a whole age only a moment? Whose omnipresence is equal to his absence, and whose omniscience is the same as his total ignorance?

11. Who is called spirit but is no air in itself? Who is said to be sound or word but is none of them himself? He is called the All, but is nothing at all of all that exists. He is known as Ego, but no ego is he himself.

12. What is gained by the greatest effort over a great many births which, when gained at last, is hard to retain (owing to the spiritual carelessness of mankind)?

13. Who being in easy circumstances in life has not lost his soul in it? Who, being only an atom in creation, does not reckon the great Mount Meru as a particle?

14. What is no more than an atom and fills a space of many leagues? What atomic particle is measured in many miles?

15. Whose glance and nod makes all beings act their parts as players? What minute particle contains many mountain chains in its bosom?

16. Who is bigger than Mount Meru in his minuteness and who, being smaller than the point of a hair, is higher than the highest rock?

17. Whose light brought out the lamp of light from the bosom of darkness? What minute particle contains the minutiae of ideas without end?

18. What has no flavor and gives savor to all things? Whose presence when withdrawn from all substances reduces them to infinitesimal atoms?

19. Who is it that by his self-permeation connects the particles composing the world and, after their separation and dissolution, what imperceptible power rejoins the detached particles to recreate the new world?

20. Who, being formless, has a thousand hands and eyes, and in whose twinkling of an eye comprehends the period of many cycles together?

21. In what microscopic particle does the world exist as a tree in its seed, and by what power do the unproductive seeds of atoms become productive of worlds?

22. Whose glance causes the production of the world, like from its seed? Who creates the world without any motive or material?

23. Who has no visual organs and enjoys the pleasure of seeing (drishti) and is the viewer (drashta) of himself, which he makes the object of his view?

24. Who has no object of vision before him, sees nothing without him, but looks upon himself as an infinity void of everything visible within it?

25. Who shows the subjective sight of the soul by itself as an objective view and represents the world like the shape of a bracelet in his own metal?

26. Who has nothing existent beside himself, and in whom all things exist, like the waves existing in the waters, and whose will makes them appear as different things?

27. Both time and space are equally infinite and indivisible, like the essence of God in which they exist. Then why do we try to differentiate and separate them like water from its fluidity?

28. What inner cause in us makes the soul believe the unreal world to be real, and why does this fallacy continue at all times?

29. The knowledge of the worlds, whether present, past or future, is all a great error. Yet what is that immutable being that contains the seed of this phenomenal wilderness?

30. What being, without changing itself and before it develops itself into creation, shows these phenomena such as the shape of the seed of the world that becomes the form of a developed forest of created beings?

31. Tell me, O king, on what solid foundation does the great Mount Meru stand like a tender filament of the lotus? What gigantic form contains thousands of Meru and Mandara mountains within its spacious womb?

32. Tell me, what immeasurable consciousness has spread myriads of intelligences in all these worlds? What supplies your strength for ruling and protecting your people, and in conducting yourself through life? In whose sight do you either lose yourself or think to exist Tell me all these, O clear sighted and fair faced king, for the satisfaction of my heart.

33. Let your answer melt down the doubt that has covered the face of my heart as with snow. If it fails to completely efface this dirt of doubt from the surface of my heart, I will never account it as the saying of the wise.

34. But if you fail to lighten my heart of its doubts and set it at ease, then know for certain that you shall immediately be made fuel to the fire of my bowels.

35. I shall fill this big belly of mine with all the people of your realm. But should you answer rightly, you shall reign in peace. Otherwise, you shall meet your end like the ignorant who are satisfied with the enjoyments of life. Vasishta speaking:—

36. Saying so, the nocturnal fiend made a loud shout like a roaring cloud to express her joy. Then she sat silently with her fearful features, like a light hearted cloud in autumn.

Chapter 3.80 — The Minister’s Answers

1. Vasishta continued:— After the giant-like descendent of rakshasas had asked her occult questions in the deep gloom of night in that thick forest, the good and great minister began to give his replies.

2. The minister said:— Hear me, you dark and cloud-like form, unravel your riddling questions with as much ease as a lion foils the fury of gigantic elephants.

3. All your questions relate to the Supreme Spirit and are framed in enigmatic language to test the force of our penetration into their hidden meanings.

4. The soul is identical to consciousness which is more minute than a particle of air. That is the atomic principle that you asked about because it is a nameless atom imperceptible by the six organs of sense and unintelligible to the mind.

5. Underlying the atomic consciousness is the minute seed that contains this universe. Whether it is a substantial or unsubstantial reality, nobody can say.

6. It is called a reality from our notion of it being the soul of all by itself. It is from that soul that all other existences have come in to being.

7. It is a void from its outward emptiness, but it is no void as regards its consciousness (which is a reality). Because it cannot be perceived, it is said to be nothing, but because it is imperishable, it is a subtle something.

8. It is not a nothing because it permeates all things. All things are only reflections of the minute Consciousness, and its unity shines forth in the plurality, all which is as unreal as the form of a bracelet made of gold substance.

9. This atom is the transcendental vacuum. It is imperceptible owing to its minuteness. Though it is situated in all things, it is unperceived by the mind and external senses.

10. Its universal permeation cannot make it nothing, because all that exists is not That, which alone is known as the thinking principle that makes us speak, see and act.

11. No kind of reasoning can establish the non-entity of real existence because it is not capable of being seen by anybody. Yet the Universal Soul is known in its hidden form, like the unseen camphor by its smell.

12. The unlimited soul resides in all limited bodies, and the atomic consciousness pervades the vast universe in the same manner as the mind fills all bodies in its purely subtle state unknown to the senses.

13. It is one and all, unity as well as plurality, because it is the soul of each and all, both singly as well as collectively, and because it supports and contains each and all by and within itself.

14. All these worlds are like little billows in the vast ocean of Divine Consciousness whose intelligence, like a liquid body, shows itself in the form of eddies in the water.

15. This minute intellect, being imperceptible to the senses and the mind, is said to be of the form of emptiness. But being perceived by our consciousness, it is not a nothing, although of the nature of a void in itself.

16. I am That and so are you by our conviction of the unity. But if we only believe ourselves to be composed of our bodies, then I am not That, nor you are He.

17. If we rid our sense of “I” and “you” through our knowledge of truth, we cease to be the ego, and you and all other persons lose all their properties in the sole unity.

18. This particle of consciousness is immovable, though it moves over thousands of miles. We find that in our consciousness, this particle has many a mile composed in it.

19. The mind is firmly seated in the empty intellect from which it never stirs, though it goes to all places where it is never located.

20. That which has its seat in the body can never go out of it, just like a baby hanging on the breast of its mother cannot look to another place for its rest.

21. One who is free to range over large tracts will never leave his own home where he has the liberty and power to do all he likes.

22. Wherever the mind may wander, it is never affected by the climate of that place, just like a jar taken to a distant country with its lid shut does not yield any passage to the light and air of that region into it.

23. The thinking and non-thinking of consciousness, both being perceived in our minds, is said to be the exercise of intellect and the dullness of the intellect.

24. When our exercise of intellect is assimilated into the solid substance of Divine Consciousness, then our intellect is said to become solidified as a stone.

25. The consciousness of the Supreme Being has spread worlds in the infinite space that are most wonderful as they are his uncreated creations.

26. The Divine Soul is of the essence of fire, and never forsakes its form of fire. It inheres in all bodies without burning them, and it is the enlightener and purifier of all substances.

27. The blazing intelligence of the Divine Soul, purer than the ethereal sphere, produces the elemental fire by its presence.

28. The intellect, which is the light of the soul and enlightener of the lights of the luminous sun, moon and stars, is indestructible and never fades, although the light of the luminaries is lost on the last day of universal doom.

29. There is an inextinguishable light (glory), known as ineffably transcendental which the eye cannot behold, but it is perceptible to the mind as its inner illumination and presents all things to its view.

30. From there proceeds the intellectual light which transcends the conscious and mental lights and presents before it wonderful pictures of things invisible to visual light.

31. Although plant life has no eyes, it is conscious of an inner light within that causes their growth and gives the capability of bearing fruit and flowers.

32. With regard to time, space and action and existence of the world, all are only the perceptions of sense and have no master or maker, father or supporter except the Supreme Soul in whom they exist. They are mere modifications of Himself and are nothing of themselves.

33. The atomic spirit is the casket of the bright gem of the world, without changing its minuteness. The Divine Spirit is its measure and measurer, beside which there is no separate world of itself.

34. Spirit manifests itself in everything in all these worlds. It shines as the brightest gem when all the worlds are compressed in it (at the universal dissolution).

35. Because His nature is beyond understanding, He is said to be a speck of obscurity. Because of the brightness of His intellect, He is said to be a ray of light. Because we are conscious of Him, He is known to exist. Because our sight cannot see Him, He is said to be non-existent.

36. He is said to be far away because He is invisible to our eyes, and to be near because His being is the nature of our consciousness. He is described as a mountain because He is the totality of our consciousness, although He is more minute than any perceptible particle.

37. His consciousness manifests itself in the form of the universe. Mountains are not real existences. They exist like Meru in his atomic substratum.

38. A twinkling is what appears as a short instant, and a kalpa epoch is the long duration of an age.

39. Sometimes an instant, when it is filled with acts and thoughts of an age, represents a kalpa, just like an extensive country of many miles can be pictured in miniature or in a grain of the brain.

40. The course of a long kalpa is sometimes represented in the womb of an instant, just like the time to build a great city is present in the small space of a mind’s memory, as it is in the reflection of a mirror.

41. As little moments and kalpa ages, high mountains and extensive miles may abide in a single grain of the intellect, so do all dualities and pluralities unite and meet in the unity of God.

42. That “I have done this and that before” is an impression derived from the thought of our actual actions and activity. But the truth thereof becomes as untrue as our doings in a dream.

43. It is calamity that prolongs the course of time, and our prosperity diminishes its duration, just like the short space of a single night appeared like twelve long years to King Harishchandra in his misery.

44. Anything that appears as a certain truth to the mind stamps the same impression in the soul. It is the same as the impression of a golden jewelry is deeper in the soul than the idea of its gold.

45. There is nothing like a moment or an age, or anything like near or far to the soul. It is the idea in the minute intellect that creates their length or brevity, and nearness or remoteness.

46. The opposites of light and darkness, nearness and distance, and a moment and an age, are only varied impressions on the unvaried percipient mind. There is no real difference.

47. All things or objects that are perceptible to the senses are called evident or apparent. That which lies beyond them is said to be imperceptible or unapparent. But visual sensation is not self-evident, only the vision of consciousness which is the real essence.

48. As long as there is the knowledge of the jewel, there is the knowledge of the gem also, that of the real gem being lost under the apparent form.

49. By restoring attention away from the visible form of the jewel to its real essence that one is led to the sight of the pure light of the only one Brahman.

50. Brahma is viewed as reality (sat) when He is thought of as pervading all things. He is said to be unreal (asat) because He is not the object of vision. Consciousness is said to be a reality from its faculty of exercise of intellect. Otherwise it is a stolid or dull matter.

51. Consciousness is the wonderful property of the Divine Spirit in which it is present as its object (chetya). But how can a man see Consciousness if his mind is fixed to the sight of a world that is a shadow of Consciousness and moves like a tree shaken by the wind?

52. As a mirage is the reflection of the dense light of the sun, so the world is a shadow of the solid light of Divine Consciousness.

53. That which is more refined than the rays of the sun and never decays is always as uniform as it was before creation and remains apart from it. Hence its existence is equivalent to its nonexistence.

54. Just like the accumulation of sunbeams exhibits the form of a gold mine in the sky, so the golden appearance of the world prevents the deluded from seeing the knowable object of the intellect.

55. Like the appearance of a visionary city in dream, the sight of this world is neither a reality nor altogether unreal. It is a reflection of consciousness, like the dream is a reflection of images in the memory. It is only a continued medley of errors.

56. Knowing it as such, men should consider everything by the light of reason and proceed to the knowledge of truth by their intellectual culture.

57. There is no difference between a house and a void other than that the one is the object of vision and the other of consciousness. Again, all nature teeming with life is said to live in God who is light and life of all for evermore.

58. But all these living beings have no room in the empty sphere of Divine Consciousness. They live and shine like solar rays proceeding imperceptibly from that luminous orb.

59. A difference appears in these rays, both from the original light and from one another, by a curious design of Providence. But it the same in all, like the forms of the trees growing out of the same kind of seed.

60. As the tree contained in the seed is of the same kind as the parent seed, so the innumerable worlds contained in the empty seed of Brahma are also as empty as Brahma himself.

61. As the tree which is yet undeveloped in the seed does not exist without development of its parts, so the world in the womb of Brahma was discernible only to Divine Consciousness.

62. There is only one God who is one and uncreated, calm and quiet, without beginning, middle or end, and without a body and its parts. He has no duality and is one in many. He is of the form of pure light, and shines for ever with everlasting and undiminished luster.

Chapter 3.81 — The King’s Answers

1. The Rakshasi said, “Well said, O councilor! Your explanations are sanctifying and filled with spiritual doctrines. Now let the king with lotus eyes answer the other questions.”

2. The king answered:— He whose belief consists in the renunciation of all reliance on this world, and whose attainment depends upon forsaking all the desires of the heart,

3. whose expansion and contraction causes the creation and extinction of the world, who is the object of the doctrines of Vedanta, and who is inexpressible by words or speech of humankind,

4. who is between the two extremes of doubt (whether he is or is not), and who is between both extremes (that he is and is not), and whose pleasure (will) displays the world with all its animate and inanimate beings,

5. whose universal permeation does not destroy His unity, who being the soul of all is still but one, He alone, O lady, is truly said to be the eternal Brahma.

6. This minute particle is falsely conceived as spirit (air) because it is invisible to the naked eye, but in truth, it is neither air nor any other thing except pure Consciousness.

7. This smallest of particles is said to be sound or words, but it is error to say so because it is far beyond the reach of sound or the sense of words.

8. That particle is all yet nothing. It is neither I, you or he. It is the Almighty Soul and its power is the cause of all.

9. It is the soul that is attainable with great pains, and which being gained adds nothing to our possession. But its attainment is attended with the gain of the Supreme Soul. There is no better gain.

10. Ignorance of the soul stretches the bonds of our worldliness and repeated reincarnations with their evils growing like the rankest weeds in spring, until they are rooted out by spiritual knowledge.

11. Those who are in easy circumstances in life lose their souls by viewing themselves only as solid bodies that rise quickly to view like a dense mirage by light of the sun.

12. This particle of self-consciousness contains Mount Meru and the three worlds in itself like bits of straw. They are distinguished from it in order to present their delusive appearances to us.

13. Whatever is imprinted in consciousness appears expressed without it. The fond embrace of passionate lovers in dream and imagination serves to exemplify this truth.

14. As Consciousness rose of itself with its omnipotent Will at the first creation of the world, so it exercises the same volition in its subsequent formations also, like sprigs growing from the joints of reeds and grass.

15. The hobby that enters the heart also shows itself on the outside, as in the example of children’s whims.

16. The minute intellect, small as an atom and as subtle as the air, fills the whole universe on all sides.

18. As a cunning and conceited man deludes young girls by gestures, calls, winks and glances,

19. so the holy look of Divine Consciousness serves as a prelude to the endless rotating dance of worlds with all their hills and contents.

20. It is that atom of consciousness that envelops all things within its consciousness, and represents also their forms outside it, just like a picture on canvas shows the figures of the hills and trees drawn in it, standing out as in bas-relief.

21. The Divine Spirit is as minute as the hundredth part of the point of a hair, yet it is larger than the hills it hides in itself, and as vast as infinity, being unlimited by any measure of space or time.

22. The comparison of the vast emptiness of divine understanding with a particle of air is not an exact simile. It is like comparing a mountain with a mustard seed, which is absurd.

23. The minuteness attributed to the Divine Spirit (in the Vedas) is as false as attributing different colors to a peacock’s feathers, and of jewelry to gold, which can not be applicable to the spirit.

24. It is that bright lamp that has brought forth light from its thought without any loss of its own essential brightness.

25. If the sun and other luminous bodies in the world were dull and dark in the beginning, then what was the nature of the primeval light and where was it?

26. The pure essence of the mind situated in the soul saw the light displayed on the outside by its internal particle of the intellect.

27. There is no difference between the lights of the sun, moon and fire and the darkness, out of which these lights were produced. The only difference is that of the two colors, black and white.

28. As the difference between clouds and snows consists in the blackness of the one and whiteness of the other, such is the difference between light and darkness, only in their colors not in their substance.

29. Both of these being inanimate in their nature, there is no difference between them. They both disappear or join with one another before the light of consciousness. They disappear before the intellectual light of the yogi who, under the blaze of his consciousness, perceives no physical light or darkness in his abstract meditation. They join together as light and shade, the shadow inseparably following the light.

30. The sun of consciousness shines by day and night without setting or sleeping. It shines in the bosom of even hard stones without being clouded or having its rise or fall.

31. The light of this blazing soul has lighted the sun, which diffuses its light all over the three worlds. It has filled the capacious womb of earth with a variety of provisions, just they store large baskets of food in a warehouse.

32. It enlightens darkness without destroying itself, and the darkness that receives the light becomes as enlightened as light itself.

33. As the shinning sun brings the lotus buds to light, so the light of the Divine Spirit enlightens our intellects amidst the gloom of ignorance that envelopes them.

34. As the sun displays himself by making day and night by his rise and fall, so does the intellect show itself by its development and restraint by turns.

35. All our notions and ideas are contained in the particle of the intellect, just like a healthy seed contains in its breast the leaves, flowers and fruits of the future tree.

36. These and all the powers of the mind develop themselves in their proper times, like flowers and fruits make their appearance in spring and proper seasons.

37. The particle of Divine Spirit is altogether tasteless, being so very flavorless and devoid of qualities, yet it is always delicious as the giver of flavor to all things.

38. All tastes abide in the waters (water being the receptacle of taste), like a mirror is the recipient of a shadow, but savor, like the shadow, is not the substance. It is the essence of the spirit that gives it the flavor.

39. All bodies that exist in the world and are unconsciousness of Him are forsaken by the atomic spirit of the Supreme, but they remain dependant upon Him, by the consciousness of the divine particle shining in their souls. In answer to “who are forsaken by and