The river of life has two streams. The visible, apparent to the five senses, constituting causes understandable by our normal thinking, and the invisible, having causes that are hidden to our senses and thinking. Thus, every event occurring in our lives has visible as well as hidden causes.
Hidden laws work behind the apparent surface of the seen world. These laws can only be studied by observing our thoughts, not by dissecting or analysing events. If we study the powers behind our thoughts, we learn of the laws that govern the chain of events in our lives. The apparent cause of every thought is our ego, but behind the ego are seven hidden causes. These are known as the seven rays of creation.
Sage Vasishta lived in a hermitage on Mount Meru. Vasishta means one who has every desirable object. Nandini, the cow of plenty that roamed the forest nearby, granted all his desires. One day, the eight Vasus or demigods came to the forest with their wives. The wife of Dyu, one of the Vasus, saw Nandini and wanted to possess her. Dyu knew the cow belonged to the sage but his wife persuaded him to steal it with the help of his seven brothers. The sage divined what had happened and cursed the eight Vasus to be born on earth and suffer as mortals. The Vasus begged Vasishta to take back his curse. The sage explained that he could not do so but pardoned the seven brothers, who had only obeyed Dyu’s wishes, saying that they would not have to suffer as mortals for long. Dyu, who was responsible for stealing the cow, would have to suffer in the mortal world for long but he would be a great warrior and beget no children.
When it was known that Goddess Ganga would be the wife of King Shantanu, the Vasus asked her to help fulfil the sage’s curse by giving birth to them and drowning them immediately after being born. Effectively, they would not have to suffer long in the mortal world. The eighth, Dyu, was born as Devavrata, meaning Divine Will. He took an oath, not one of divine will but of personal will, and was called Bhishma thereafter. Bhishma is the first manifestation of ego.