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Dr Sripada Gopalakrishna Murthy
Magazine : Mother of All
Language : English
Volume Number : 16
Month : January
Issue Number : 1
Year : 2017

The first question taken up by the founders of different schools of Indian philosophy is whether God, the creator, is the material cause (Upadana Karana) or efficient cause (Nimitta Kaarana) of the universe. So their fundamental assumption was that God existed first and then the universe was created by Him. Having accepted the idea of total creation and witnessing the act of sustenance they accepted the theologically following idea of total destruction too. These ideas were so popular that they on their turn were employed to define God or Brahman (Taittiriya 3-1-1) “It was Sat only that was in the beginning of all this” say the Upanishads; “That wished to become many (Chand.6-2-3)” and created fire, waters, earth and living beings. When you say that Brahman was alone in the beginning and He created the universe later, one would ask “Why did He have to create? And after remaining quiet for how long? What was the material He used for creating all?” etc. It is not possible to answer the second question, as our concept of time cannot cover a period before the first change itself. Measurement of time depends on a uniform change and there can be no meaning for a period before the first change, namely creation. Again if Sat (or Brahman), a being without form or attributes was all that existed in the beginning, why did it wish to become many? None of the theistic religions answers the question. “Why did God create at all?” However that question was posed and sought to be answered in successive periods of philosophic speculation. “Leela ” (effulgence) “Splendour”, “play”, “To test man” etc., are mentioned and refuted too! “Leela” and “splendor” have no meaning when one is alone; they are only for others to see. With no one else except He, for whom to see and get impressed could God have made this creation, for whom could He have exhibited His splendor? We know that play pulls up a bored or tired mind, but, could we conceive of a God who would feel bored with feeling alone or tired of being alone? Brihadaaranyaka (1-4-2) mentions that Purusha the first born was afraid of being alone, but immediately refutes it. Again, the idea of testing a being whom He himself made is not complementary to an Omniscient God. A little thinking would make it clear that each one of the above answers was offered by a person of a particular disposition and each would appear absurd to others.

A second difficulty with the idea of creation is about the material that God could have used for His creation. If He was all that existed before creation as the Upanishads assert, all creation, every tiny thing, could have come only from Himself. Everything we see, including ourselves, must have come from God. Distinction between good and bad, sin and merit etc., would then be invidious? Some speculations were made in the Upanishads to explain man’s limited form and efficiency as well as the inertness of matter, which too came from God. Man and every living being was compared to a spark issuing from fire (Mund 2-1-1) and inert matter to the thread that the spider draws from itself (Svet 6-10) but these ideas were not developed further.

As if the above ideas were not confusing enough, the Upanishadic thinkers introduced another peculiar idea at the end of the story of creation. They said, “He created all that and here and entered them (Tai 2-6-3, Katha 2-1-6, Prashna 6-2, Mundaka 2-1-9, Aita 1-3-12, Brihada 4-5-18 and Isha 16)”. This gives a picture of creation different and separate from God, not just a projection of Himself. For, how could he enter a projection of Himself? Possibly the Upanishads show here a confluence of philosophic pantheism preaching oneness of all existence with neotheism reaching up to its asymptote of immanence of God in all creation. Alongside the idea of the allness of God, were developing beliefs in a Creator, His omnipotence and omniscience. As theistic ideas developed further, localization of God in a haven might have appeared to be too narrow and limited a concept about God, who was omnipotent and Omniscient. He ought to be Omnipresent too! Thus might have evolved the idea of really unnecessary Omnipresence of God. Another contributing factor to Omnipresence could have been the experience of featureless unity in Yogic trances. It was natural for believers in God to identify that unity with God (or Atman) and believe that it pervades all the matter of the universe.

A third difficulty is the idea that God created the world and living beings are the universal killing and eating of one living being by another. Herbivores, carnivores, birds, fish and reptiles almost all moving living beings subsist by eating others. An earthly mother cannot tolerate her children quarreling amongst themselves, how would a Heavenly one if one were existing separate from Her creation – put up with this carnage, being Herself omnipotent? There have been, through the centuries gone by, several atheists denying the existence of a God-head. Did God Himself make them? And that, to flatly deny Him!

If the acceptance of the idea of a distinct and separate God creating the world is that difficult, acceptance of the idea of Pralaya or total destruction of the worlds is not any less difficult. Why need God to destroy all creation at all? Is it to show His Omnipotence? The same speculators, who made Him suddenly (creation in a week or a little more time is sudden enough) create the worlds have, out of imagined courtesy, made Him a total destroyer too! Some philosophies do give reasons for God causing a universal deluge. The Naiyayikas for instance say that Pralaya is to afford rest for some time to souls tired of several lives! Geology shows that the inception of life on this planet was quite recent. How about Pralaya? What purpose could it have served before the advent of life? And what rest does it afford to the stars, where there could be no life? Creation and Pralaya were macroscopic toys of fancy of our remotest ancestry and it is amusing to see those ideas retained with all their grotesque features undisturbed in such enlightened compilations as the Upanishads (Mun 3-2-6; also Brih 1-2-1 mentioning Death)

Mother says the universe has no beginning and will not have an end. “There was nothing like a period before creation and Pralaya does not occur to the whole of the universe”. “The universe always is; comers come, goers go. There is only change, no annihilation in the universe,” “Forms change into other forms, they do not get destroyed.” Nothing is lost when a candle is burnt or a man dies. The universe might not have looked as it looks now in the remotest past and it may change its form in future but it does not disappear.

We can see that the questions ‘when’ ‘why’ and ‘where from’ regarding creation do not arise when creation itself is understood as beginningless. There are some philosophies which say that God, souls and the universe were all of them beginningless. Apart from reducing God’s primordiality and allness, they make beginninglessness an axiom and not a concept. Any other philosopher can add or subtract to those three primordial existences with equal justification. We know from science now that there was a time, when life was not known on this earth and even now there are millions of celestial bodies, which cannot have life of the sort we have on earth. To attribute eternal existence to known forms of life, which are geologically shown to be quite recent, is to believe in fairy tales in preference to recorded history.

Mother does not suppose a God different from the universe. Philosophers suppose God as beginningless. Mother says the universe itself is beginningless. According to the Upanishads a featureless God existed before the beginning, he developed a wish to become and he became many. This trinity-God, wish and many are reported to be successive, there was an interval between the first and second, and also between wish and the appearance of the many. Apart from giving primordiality to God, this bypassing of the primordiality of the universe (or every thing that is) does not achieve anything significant for God or His wish, which are reported to have preceded the universe. So we could as well say ‘what was, is, and shall be, is the universe’, thereby telescoping God His wish to create and the coming of the many into one beginningless endless universe, without cutting off from the all that is, a Creator to be held responsible for irreconcilable ideas about creation, as the Upanishads had to.

The Maya of the Advaitins are as vulnerable as the creator of the pure theists. Mother once asked a pundit of advaita “Did Maya exist before Brahman or was it coeval with Brahman or did Brahman create Maya for her work of creation?” “The shastras do not answer that question,” replied the savant. The story of creation is strewn with doubts and discrepancies.

Mother says that the universe has no beginning and it shall not end. ‘God’ universe and ‘change’ exist as one singular integrated power or Shakti. Mother does not assume that a featureless singular uniform Atman existed at all at any time. She does not approve of the ‘nirvikalpa’ nature of the so-called Nirvikalpa Samadhi. If ONE awareness only were to be in that Samadhi state, how could a return to normalcy, a second state, take place? Just as in sleep – you are aware to a small extent of external disturbance; otherwise you would not wake up on being moved or called out – the Yogi in Samadhi is sensitive to a small extent to external stimulus. Two instances can be cited to prove this. A Yogi seeks for solitude, when he tries to attain this Samadhi. That is clearly to avoid being disturbed. Ramakrishna Paramahamsa was awakened from Nirvikalpa Samadhi through Govinda bhajan done by his guru Thothapuri. So, Samadhi could not be a centpercent departure into that ‘Unity’.

There was never, and there is never going to be a singular uniform state said to be that of Brahman. The ALL, never was as Brahman; IT was, is and shall be, as the Jagat.

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