Repeated Creations & Incarnations
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.
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).
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. 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.
It is at the point of death and afterwards that the unreality of the world best appears. 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. Thus there is a struggle for repeated births and deaths here, and a fancy for the next world after death. 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.
Divinity like a sea shoots forth in various waves of creation that rise constantly and plentifully one after the other. 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.
There will be born again other Vyasas and Valmikis, and likewise some other Bhrigus and Angiras. Thus will there be other people like those who have gone by and, as I understand, another Rama and Vasishta like ourselves.
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. 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. Souls undergo such changes by repetition, like a bushel of grain that is collected only to be repeatedly sown, then reaped again and again.
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. 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.
Excerpts from “Yoga Vasishta” by Sage Valmiki, translated by Vihari Lala Mitra