THE PERFECT KNOWLEDGE
All this equipment the Sage has ordained for the sake of wisdom; so he that seeks to still sorrow must get him wisdom. We deem that there are two verities, the Veiled Truth and the Transcendent Reality. The Reality is beyond the range of the understanding; the understanding is called Veiled Truth. Thus there is never either cessation or existence; the universe neither comes to be nor halts in being. Life’s courses, if thou considerest them, are like dreams and as the plantain’s branches; in reality there is no distinction between those that are at rest and those that are not at rest. Since then the forms of being are empty, what can he gained, and what lost? who can be honoured or despised, and by whom? Whence should come joy or sorrow? What is sweet, what bitter? What is desire, and where shall this desire in verity be sought? If thou considerest the world of living things, who shall die therein? who shall be born, who is born? who is a kinsman and who a friend, and to whom? Would that my fellow-creatures should understand that all is as the void! They are angered and delighted by their matters of strife and rejoicing; with grief and labour, with despair, with rending and stabbing one another, they wearily pass their days in sin as they seek their own pleasure; they die and fall into hells of long and bitter anguish; they return again and again to happy births after births and grow wonted to joy . . . In life are oceans of sorrow, fierce and boundless beyond compare, a scant measure of power, a brief term of years; our years are spent in vain strivings for existence and health, in hunger, faintness, and labour, in sleep, in vexation, in fruitless commerce with fools, and discernment is hard to win; how shall we come to restrain the spirit from its wont of wandering?
There, too, the Spirit of Desire is labouring to cast us into deep hells; there evil paths abound, and unbelief can scarce be overcome; it is hard to win a brief return, exceeding hard for the Enlightened to arise to us; the torrent of passion can scarce be stayed. Alas, how sorrow follows on sorrow! Alas, how lamentable is the estate of them that are borne down in the floods of affliction, and in their sore distress see not how sad their plight is, like one who should again and again come forth from the waters of his bath and cast himself into fire, and so in their sore trouble deem themselves to be in happy estate? As thus they live in sport that knows not of age and dissolution, dire afflictions will come upon them, with Death in their forefront. Then when will the day come when I may bring peace to them that are tortured in the fire of sorrow by my ministrations of sweetness born from the rain-clouds of my righteousness, and when I may reverently declare to the souls who imagine a real world that all is void, and righteousness is gathered by looking beyond the Veiled Truth?