There are a number of things one may experience on the path of life that may be well outside of our understanding and expectations. In a curious way, that’s one of the things that verifies the experience; that it’s so far outside anything we might imagine. But it can still be very useful to read of others similar experiences. It acts as a verification, may point out details you’d not noticed, and helps speed integration.
That’s one of the motivators for this blog. Many years ago, I found myself in an unknown wilderness much as is described below. While such experiences come with their own knowledge, when they’re rather outside our existing understanding, it’s like getting a new map with no relation to the old one. Gradually, the pieces came together but it would have been easier had there been some reference points. Thus, such posts as this. I gather up some of the harder to find references to the nature and structure of reality to support people who may be on a similar path.
In the next story of the Yog Vasistha, The World within the Rock, Vasistha describes an experience. While coming out of 100 years of samadhi in a secluded place in distant space, he hears a sigh. Being in a far-off spot, he’s curious why he would hear such a thing and goes within to investigate.
I merged in the infinite consciousness. I saw reflected in the consciousness the image of countless universes. I was able to go anywhere* and to see everything. I saw countless creations though they did not know of one another’s existence. Some were coming into being, others were perishing, all of them had different shielding atmospheres** (from 5 to 36). There were different elements in each, they were inhabited by different types of beings in different stages of evolution with different natures and cultures, some had other universes within them, in some there were creatures you would not believe possible to exist, in some there was apparent natural order and in others there was utter disorder, in some there was no light and hence no time-sense. All of these are but fruits of the one indivisible infinite consciousness.
Whether one regards these universes as creations of the supreme Creator or as false notions, it is certain that they are in fact the infinite consciousness, non-different and not independent of it.
The diversity arouses his curiosity and he roams the magnitude of creation. Then he remembers it is delusion and ends the experience. I realized one could spend lifetimes looking and never see it all and thus realized continuing was just a distraction. Learn the key things, then get back to living life.
Vasistha clearly takes the position that all experiences are false illusions and delusion. I agree that there is importance in understanding creation is the “dream of God” or Lila/play, but I prefer Shankara’s approach. He describes how Maya or illusion evolves, depending on which guna is dominant. If Tamas or inertia is dominant, it has the effect of a covering. If Rajas or energy is dominant, it has the quality of illusion, how Maya is usually understood. But if Sattva or purity is dominant, it is like a ladder of knowledge. Still Maya, but one we can learn from and follow home.
I take the position that it’s not so much that the world is delusion but what we think the world is is a delusion. As he says, all experiences are nothing but notions or intentions within the one indivisible infinite consciousness. If we experience that the world is nothing but the play of consciousness within itself, then we have overcome the delusion.
I’ve written about this similarly on past lives. It’s not advisable to get caught up in a big story about ones past. But understanding one’s past can help clear the present.
We live in a vastness of existence that is beyond comprehension. A world that is diverse beyond imagining. Yet each of us is an integral and inseparable part of that wholeness. We are infinite consciousness alone.
* he later describes being in a space-body, a body made of the space element rather than a physical body. This allows him to move within consciousness. This is not the same as an astral body. That’s much more gross and limited. It’s also a much messier place to travel in.
** as something outside the universe would hardly need an atmosphere, I suspect a mistranslation, probably more about layers of creation structured in the cosmic air element. (I don’t have the Sanskrit)