RISHI VASHISHT DESCRIBES UNCOUNTABLE UNIVERSES
RISHI VASHISHT: O Ramji! Now I am going to tell you the discourse which was told to me by my father Brahma. Please listen to it with complete attention.
RAMA: O My Guru! I know you will surely tell me about the method of achieving Moksha. But, before that, a doubt has cropped up in my mind. Kindly clarify that first. You said that Sukhdev achieved Moksha and he was liberated from the cycle of birth and death. Kindly tell me why was his father Rishi Ved Vyas not relieved from the cycle of birth and death.
RISHI VASHISHT: O Ramji! You can see the rays of light coming from the sun. Besides this in the universe there are vibrations which cannot be seen. These vibrations create universes and the universes are countless. With passage of time the vibrations weaken, and thus the created universes also dissolve. In this process several universes are created and destroyed simultaneously. The process of creation and destruction goes on endlessly.
RAMA: It is correct. I am aware of existing universes. But, what about the universes which have been in the past, and which are going to come into future? Is there any count of these universes?
RISHI VASHISHT: O Ram! I said countless. Countless means several Crores. (1 Crore = 10 Million). It simply means that Crores of universes were created in the past. Crores of universes will be created in future. Crores are in the process of creation at present. There cannot be any count. Listen to reason for this. Each individual has his own universe. When a person dies and leaves his body, he comes back according to his karmas. He sees the illusion and realizes the existence of basic elements of Jal (water), Prithvi (Earth), Akash (Space) Agni (fire), Vayu (Air). With illusion of realization of these basic elements he creates his own universe. Thus, each individual sees his own universe with realization of the elements. Again when he dies, he comes back to another universe. Thus! Every individual has countless universes. Hence it is impossible to keep count of universes of Brahma, who is the creator. A child turns round and round, and when he stops he sees everything moving around him in circle. A person riding a boat feels the trees on the shore are moving. In dream one sees strange universes. In the same way, due to illusion one sees various universes. In fact nothing is created. There is only one eternal Atma which is steady within itself. Due to illusion this one eternal Atma seems many. This happens due to lack of knowledge. O Ram! You asked about Rishi Ved Vyas. I have seen Ved Vyas in thirty two forms. Ten times he was same. Twelve times he was in different forms which were astonishing. In future also there are going to be eight Ved Vyas who will recite Mahabharata. After that he will drop the body permanently and become free of cycle of birth and death. At that time, I, along with Rishi Valmiki, Rishi Bhrigu, Rishi Angra and many others will become free of cycle of birth and death.
O Ram! Certain creations are similar to each other; and certain creations are different. Men, Devatas (gods), animals, birds, are created some time in the same form, and some time in other forms. All these changes happen due to birth and death. But in reality there is neither death nor birth. No one comes and no one goes. It is all illusion and illusion is result of no knowledge. Anyone who cares to research this subject will not be able to reach any conclusion. Nothing can be achieved by knowing alone. O Ram! One who is born with pure Atma, one who has purged of all desires, one who has stilled his Atma does not have desire of achieving anything; not even the desire of being free from the cycle of birth and death. This sort of person is always steadfast in non-duality. Therefore Rishi Ved Vyas does not possess desire of getting rid of cycle of birth and death.
This is a very important chapter. It is interesting to see that this narration is by Rishi Valmiki. Also this narration is a history which is being told by Rishi Valmiki to Rishi Bharadwaj. Yet in the text we see the name of Rishi Valmiki. Therefore it will not be proper to analyses this text in the usual time frame. Here time frame looses its relevance. Rishi Vashisht says “I have seen Ved Vyas thirty two times”. This shows that these great Rishis have been taking birth in various forms in various eras which might be separated by Kalpas. Following table will clarify the time frame envisaged in text like Yoga vashisht.
There are 1,000 cycles of Mahayugas in one day of Brahma.
• One cycle of the four Yugas is one Mahayuga (4.32 million solar years)
• As is confirmed by the Gita statement "sahasra-yuga paryantam ahar-yad brahmano viduh", meaning, a day of Brahma is of 1000 Mahayugas. Thus a day of Brahma, Kalpa, is of duration: 4.32 billion solar years. Two Kalpas constitute a day and night of Brahma
• A Manvantara consists of 71 Mahayugas (306,720,000 solar years). Each Manvantara is ruled by a Manu.
• After each Manvantara follows one Sandhi Kala of 1,728000 solasr years. It is said that during a Sandhi Kala, the entire earth is submerged in water.
• A Kalpa consists of a period of 1,728,000 solar years called Adi Sandhi, followed by 14 Manvantaras and Sandhi Kalas.
• Probably, Sandhi Kala is the flood described in Matsya Purana of Hindus, and flood described in Genesis in Bible and also in Quran.
From the above it will be seen that it is impossible for human mind to interpret the events in Yoga Vashisht with the time frame known to humanity today.
END OF CHAPTER 3 of PART II
TO BE CONTINUED