VASISTHA: Since the absolute Brahman in its undifferentiated state pervades everything, everything is in an undifferentiated state. When that of its own accord condenses, the cosmic mind is born. In that mind there arises the intention of the existence of the different elements in their extremely subtle state. The totality of all this is the luminous cosmic person who is known as Brahma the creator. Hence, this Creator is none other than the cosmic mind.

O Rama, all objects and substances in this universe have emerged in Brahman the absolute, just as waves manifest in the ocean. In this uncreated universe the mind of Brahma the creator perceives itself as the egotism, and thus does Brahma the cosmic mind become Brahma the creator of the universe. The power of that cosmic mind alone appears to be the diverse forces in the universe. Infinite numbers of diverse creatures manifest themselves in this cosmic mind, and they are then known as diverse jiva.

When these diverse jiva arise in the infinite space of consciousness, seemingly composed of the elements, into each of the bodies consciousness enters through the aperture of life-force, and then forms the seed of all bodies, both moving and unmoving. Then birth as individuals takes place, each individual being accidentally (like a crow alighting and a coconut falling) brought into contact with different potentialities whose expression gives rise to the law of cause and effect, and then to rise and fall in evolution. Desire alone is thereafter the cause of all this.

O Rama, such is this forest known as world appearance: he who cuts its very root with the axe of investigation (inquiry) is freed from it. Some arrive at this understanding soon, others after a very long time.

O Rama, I shall now describe to you the divisions of beings into the best, the worst and the middling, as it happened in the beginning of this cycle of creation.

The first and foremost among the creatures are born of noble practices. They are naturally good and devoted to good deeds. They reach liberation in a few lifetimes. They are full of the quality of purity and light (satva).

The middling type are the ones who are full of the quality of dynamism and desire (rajas). When such people are close enough to liberation that on their departure from this world they reach it, they have a mixture of rajas and satva.

They who even after a thousand births are still in darkness, unawakened, are known as beings of darkness (tamas). They may take a long time to reach liberation. By the will of the infinite Brahman all these beings seem to arise and then dissolve in it.

When the cosmic mind manifested itself in the absolute Brahman, at that very instant the natural tendencies of diverse beings and their behavior were born, and the embodied beings came to be regarded as jiva. There is no division between mind and action. Before it is projected as action it arises in the mind, with the mind itself as its ’body'. Hence, action is nothing but the movement of energy in consciousness, and it inevitably bears its own fruit. When such action comes to an end, mind comes to an end, too: and when the mind ceases to be, there is no action. This applies only to the liberated sage, not to others.

Mind is the only perception, and perception is movement in consciousness. The expression of this movement is action, and fruition follows this. Whatever the mind thinks of, the organs of action strive to materialize hence, again, mind is action. However, mind, intellect, egotism, individualized consciousness, action, fancy, birth and death, latent tendencies, knowledge, effort, memory, the senses, nature, Maya or illusion, activity and such other words are but words without corresponding reality: the sole reality is the infinite consciousness in which these concepts are conceived to exist. All these concepts have arisen when, by accidental coincidence (the crow dislodging the coconut), infinite consciousness in a moment of self-forgetfulness viewed itself as the object of perception.

When thus veiled by nescience, the same consciousness views diversity in an agitated state and identifies objects as such, it is known as mind. When it is firmly established in the conviction of a certain perception it is known as intellect (or intelligence). When it ignorantly and foolishly identifies itself as an existent separate individual, it is known as egotism. When it abandons consistent inquiry, allowing itself to play with countless thoughts coming and going, it is known as individualized consciousness (or mind-stuff).

Whereas pure movement in consciousness is karma or action without an independent doer, when it pursues the fruition of such action it is known as karma (action). When it entertains the notion ’I have seen this before’ in relation to something either seen or unseen, it is known as memory. When the effects of past enjoyments continue to remain in the field of consciousness though the effects themselves are unseen, it is known as latent tendency (or potentiality). When it is conscious of the truth that the vision of division is the product of ignorance, it is known as knowledge. On the other hand, when it moves in the wrong direction towards greater self-forgetfulness and deeper involvement in false fancies, it is known as impurity. When it entertains the indweller with sensations, it is known as the senses (indriya). When it remains unmanifest in the cosmic being it is known as nature. When it creates confusion between reality and appearance, it is known as Maya (illusion). When it dissolves in the infinite, there is liberation. When it thinks ’I am bound’, there is bondage; when it thinks 'I am free’, there is freedom.

Rama, space is threefold—the infinite space of undivided consciousness, the finite space of divided consciousness and the physical space in which the material worlds exist.

The infinite space of undivided consciousness (cidakasa) is that which exists in all, inside and outside, as the pure witness of that which is real and of that which appears to be. The finite space of divided consciousness (cittaakasa) is that which creates the divisions of time, which pervades all beings, and which is interested in the welfare of all beings. The physical space is that in which the other elements (air, etc.) exist. The latter two are not independent of the first. In fact, the others do not exist.