Mystery of Creation - Some Vedantic concepts

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Theories of non-creation
Gaudapada, the earliest advocate of Advaita Vedanta, says the Supreme Reality neither created this universe nor did he become the universe. According to him there is no creation and the entire world is nothing but a mental projection made by ourselves.

Yoga Vasishta, which is a dialogue between sage Vasishta and Sri Rama, also tells us that there is no creation of the world. It says that this creation is a mere play of consciousness. It rises up, like the delusion of a snake in a rope when there is ignorance. It comes to an end when there is right knowledge. The world appears when the Self is not recognized; it disappears when the Self is recognized. Just as the cloth, when investigated, is seen to be nothing but the thread, so also this world, when enquired into is seen to be merely the Self. As the foam, the waves, the bubbles etc. are not different from the water, even so this world which has come out of the Self is not different from the Self. Like the pot which ultimately goes back to the mud, waves into the water and ornaments into gold, so also this world which has come out of the Self finally goes back to the Self.

Sankara’s Definition
The universe, says Sankara, is a superimposition upon Brahman. Brahman remains eternally infinite and unchanged. He is not transformed into the universe as in the case of milk getting converted into curd. He simply appears as the universe to us, in our ignorance. We superimpose the apparent world upon Brahman, just as we superimpose a snake on the rope because of inadequate light.

This theory of superimposition is based on the concept of Maya by which the real image is concealed and a false one is projected. Sankara does not deny the physical existence of the world of thought and matter but says that it has got only a relative or apparent existence which is superimposed upon Brahman. He emphasizes that the Brahman alone is the absolute reality or the substratum behind the empirical universe.

According to him, Salvation consists in the merger of the individual self with Brahman. When such right knowledge is comprehended, the superimposition vanishes and the seeker becomes one with Brahman. He attains Moksha.

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