Mystery of Creation - Some Vedantic concepts

Cause and effect relationship
These ideas raise certain doubts such as what are the causes to be present for the unmanifest to become the manifest, what is the exact material with which the creator creates the world of forms and names and who is the creator?

This leads us to the nature of cause and effect relationship. To convert a cause into an effect three properties must be present.
1 The raw material - clay in the hands of a potter - is called the material cause.
2 The instrument required to give a shape to the raw material - the potter’s wheel - is called instrumental cause.
3 The intelligence that converts the raw material into a finished product - since mere presence of clay and wheel cannot produce pots, an intelligent potter is required to achieve the manifestation of clay into a pot - is called the efficient cause.

In the creation of the world. This intelligence-provider like today’s Internet Service Provider or Chetana Shakti is called Iswara, the creator. Thus Iswara, is none other than the potential of creation lying dormant in the Supreme Self, Brahman or Paramatman (all the three terms meaning the same)

Adi Sankara explains, ‘The Supreme, just out of His own free will, unrolled the universe, which before creation remained unmanifest, like the future tree in a seed. He later on projected himself out to be the world of endless varieties of names and forms due to the delusory play of time and space, both being the products of Maya which is also His own power.’

Just as in the unmanifested state of a seed of a tree, there is no distinction of branches, leaves, flowers, fruits etc. in an unmanifested state, the world of names and forms remains in its potential format called Vasanas or impressions.

After every cycle of dissolution of the Universe, Pralaya, the world of beings, which at that time exists as Vasanas or mental impressions, manifests into a world that is suitable for them to express themselves fully just as a seed given proper weather, soil and other conditions grows into a big tree.

This process can be grasped through the means of an illustration. When a potter creates a pot out of clay, it is presumed that the clay has got the quality of’ ‘potness’. This quality present in the clay lends itself amenable in the hands of the potter to turn the clay into a pot. Obviously, he cannot produce a pot out of sand available on the sea beach because the ‘potness’ is not there in the sand. Although we say that a pot has been created, in fact there is no creation of any new thing at all. The potter has merely given a shape and a name to the already existing potnes in clay. So too, creation is nothing but a projection or manifestation of names, forms and qualities of the beings remaining dormant or in an unmanifested condition in the Supreme.

The power of Brahman responsible for the act of projecting the world is called Maya, Avidya or Ajnana i.e. ignorance. When Brahman becomes associated with Maya it is called Isawara. In the common parlance, God. Brahman is all knowing - omniscient, all powerful-omnipotent and all pervading - omnipresent. He is the starting point of creation.

There is a second aspect of Brahman which is its association with the totality of Vasanas or the subtle bodies in creation, permeating them like the thread through the beads. Hence he is known as Hiranyagarbha or Sutratman, the unmanifested seed state of creation. He is also called Prana or Prajapathi, being the subtle principle of life.

Different Explanations
The Supreme exercises the powers of creation at his own discretion. This action is explained in different ways by different scriptures.

Aitareya Upanishad says, ‘He thought I shall indeed create the world.’

Taittiriya Upanishad states ‘He desired I shall become and be born. He performed Tapas. Having performed Tapas, He created all this whatsoever we perceive.’

Prasna Upanishad says Prajapati, having performed penance, created a pair - Rayi, matter and Prana, energy - thinking that they would together between themselves produce creatures in many forms.

Kathopanishad says the whole Universe, evolved from the Brahman, moves or vibrates in the Prana meaning thereby that creation is a motion, a vibration of energy.

Mundakopanishad says from the Brahman are produced all these: the Creator, names and forms and nourishment for all.

Chandogya Upanishad says that in truth, this many seeming world is only one Reality, in which all things seem to be born, seem to live and pass away.
Svetasvatara Upanishad uses a simile to explain the process of creation. Just as a ray of light, though colorless in itself, assumes different colors when it passes through a prism, the formless Brahman who is one without a second, who is undifferentiated - nirvisesha, for the reasons not known to the human mind, created diversity at all levels with the help of His own power. When the world meets its end, all these diversities merge back unto Him.

Brhadaranyaka Upanishad gives a detailed account of how the One, Brahman became many - all the elements and the pairs of male and female.

Maitri Upanishad tells us that the three worlds, Bhuh, Bhuvah and Svah, are the very gross forms of Prajapati.

Paingala Upanishad mentions the famous process of quintuplication - panchikarana - or splitting and mixing up of subtle elements in various proportions to make them gross substances out of which Prajapati created many Brahmandas - macrocosms and many worlds appropriate to each of them - microcosms.

Brahma Sutras which interpret and organise the Upanishads, regard Brahman as the material as well as the efficient cause of the universe, its origin and support, himself uncreated and eternal.

Bhagavad Gita
The gist of chapters 7, 9 and 15 of the Gita which deal with this topic is that all the physical elements of nature, including the material bodies of animate beings and their sensory and mental functions, may be grouped together forming the ever changing physical aspect of the universe. This is called Prakriti.

Behind the living is the soul that dwells within each being and animates it. Behind all again is the Supreme Being whose power holds together all the changes visible in one organic existence. He dwells within, supports and moves everything, but exists apart from all.

The Absolute is the universal soul or Purusha of which the whole prakriti or nature is an outward manifestation. The universe moves according to what are known as the laws of nature. This code of nature is nothing but the manifestation of the Supreme will. Life proceeds as if wholly independent of God.

Bhagavan says ‘Reflect on this that as the mighty air everywhere moving is yet fixed in space, even so all beings, are dependent on me’.

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