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by Swami Sivananda

alutations to the most adorable Supreme Para Brahman who is the Indweller of all beings, who creates, protects and dissolves this world into Himself, who is the unchanging substratum behind these physical phenomena, who guides the actions of all the organs of action, and of knowledge and the working of the Pranas, who remains the same under all conditions of superficial changes in the external world and Who is the support, solace, guide and refuge of one and all.

Here are some of the doubts that a thinking aspirant generally entertains in his mind in respect of creation of this world. If the world is created by Isvara how can he be at the same time Akarta also? If the present birth is the result of past Karma then with what Karma the first man started his life? Who has created this world in reality? These and many other doubts torment the student of philosophy as he goes on with his enquiry. All doubts become clear like the light of the sun to that aspirant who is regular in his Sadhana, whose devotion to God is great and whose devotion to his preceptor is equal to that of God, who is endowed with a clear and sharp intellect and who devotes some part of the day in contemplation.

Creation is a mystery. Creation is Anadi (beginningless). Creation is a mere projection of what existed before. It is mere Brahma Sankalpa.

Mysterious is the path of Karma. Karma is Anadi. Only when you attain knowledge of the Self you become disillusioned and the theory of Karma, the theory of creation and such other transcendental questions become quite clear like the Amalaka fruit in the palm of the hand. The frail human intellect unaided by intuition and the Grace of the Lord is too weak to comprehend these subtleties of the workings of the universal law which governs the world.

Hindu religion teaches us that God created this world consisting of man, beasts, etc., for His sport (Lila). by His mere Sankalpa (thought power) He created the whole world and created the first man who is known in our scriptures by the name of Manu. He was the most perfect man. He laid down all laws for mankind, for those who came after him. This is called the Code of Manu. This contains all laws of Dharma, morals, politics, science and all laws for the smooth working of the universe. The first man, Manu, was an Amsa or part of the Lord Himself and he was not born due to any of his past actions or Karma. Manu is the Manasaputra (a son created by mere thought) of Brahma.

This world is the manifested aspect of the Lord. He was alone in the beginning when there was no creation. After creation also He remains unattached and free like the ether in the pot. The earthen pot is full inside and outside with ether but the ether is not at all affected by the existence or non-existence of the pot. Even so the Lord is all-pervading and full, inside and outside of all beings, and remains ever non-attached. He guides the actions of all beings but He is not the actor. He is the mere witness of the activities of the organs. He gives power and strength to the organs. So He may be said to be the actor but at the same time He is Akarta (non-doer) and Asanga (non-attached).

Different views are held by different Acharyas or founders of different systems of philosophy in respect of creation. Sri Sankara, the exponent of the Kevala Advaita philosophy explains creation as Maya, an illusory power of the Lord inherent in Him. The expression of this illusive power called Maya is the cause of creation. Creation, he says, is a mere superimposition just as a snake is superimposed in a rope or water which is superimposed in the desert. There is neither snake in the rope nor water in the desert. The Lord has Maya under His perfect control. The individual soul is a slave of Maya or Avidya. The Jiva when he attains freedom from ignorance acquires the knowledge of the unchanging Self.

Still another view is maintained by the Upanishads in regard to creation. How was this world created? To this the Upanishads answer thus: God did not create this world like the potter who makes a pot. But this world emanated from Him just as hair grows from the body of a man. Just as a man is not aware of the growth of the hair on his head and face, even so the Lord is unaware and remains unaffected by the creation of this world though it has emanated from Him alone. This is how the Lord remains both as the Karta and Akarta in respect of creation. Just as the spider weaves the web out of its own saliva and finally absorbs it into itself so also the Lord does not stand in need of any external help for the creation of this world. He, in the end, dissolves this Universe into Himself. He is self-existent and self-luminous. He is all-full. He is the supreme cause.

The Ajativada propounded by Sri Gaudapadacharya completely denies the creation of the world. According to him there is no creation at all. There is no world in the three periods of time, past, present and future. Brahman alone exists. There is not even a trace of diversity in it. God, man and the world of diverse names and forms are the mere creation of ignorance. He asserts and proves beyond all doubt refuting all counter-suggestions, that there is no creation at all in the three periods of time. This is the culmination of Vedanta philosophy which stands unrefuted to this very day.

Only when you suppose creation to be a reality, the questions who created it and how it was created and so on arise. People who are not endowed with a sharp and discriminative intelligence, who cannot understand the true import of the Vedantic Truths and who cannot live in the spirit of those teachings, struggle themselves with these knotty problems. But the moment they realise the underlying Reality, all doubts vanish like darkness before bright light.

Because the world was never created at all, the points who created the world, how and why it was created etc., still remain unanswered to our entire satisfaction. How can a thing which has no existence be described? Why should anyone discuss such points like How many teeth does a crow have? How many eggs does an elephant lay? How deep is the water of the desert? How many horns has a hare got? How many children did a barren woman give birth to? These are useless and irrelevant questions.

In reality the Jiva or the individual soul creates this world of names and forms on account of his own ignorance and delusion. When he attains knowledge of the Self by the Grace of his spiritual preceptor, he dissolves the external world into himself and sees his own Self everywhere. He sees oneness everywhere. He becomes struck with wonder when he thinks of the world of duality. The world of diversity appears to him like a mere dream and he exclaims in surprise, Where has this world full of the charms of Maya disappeared now which was glaring before my very eyes till this very moment!

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