|Vedanta Spiritual Library|
Module - B
Unit - B01
Lesson - B0101: What is Creation?
By Raja Subramaniyan
Statement 1: Prior to the creation of this universe, only pure existence existed.
"What was there prior to creation?" is one question, which has kept haunting humanity from time immemorial. The answer to this question is 'pure existence'. (One of the three perceptions of ONE is 'pure existence').
Pure existence can be described as follows:
It has no form/ name and does not do any action
It exists forever in a peaceful/restful state.
It cannot be perceived by mind
It is beyond all sort of duality like light and darkness
It lends existence to everything. The IS ness of the entire universe belongs to it.
This module highlights the Existence perception of ONE and the terms 'pure existence' and 'ONE' are used interchangeably.
Statement 2: Creation means giving name and form.
It is not possible to create anything new in this universe. All that can be done is to change the form and give a name.
Chair is created and it exists now.
Before the creation of the chair wood existed
After creation of the chair, wood does not exist. Chair exists.
Chair is a different form of wood. In order to identify it to be different from wood, we have given the name 'Chair' based on its form.
Thus, creation means only changing the form of something and calling it by a new name. It is impossible to create anything new as stated by the law of conservation of matter and energy.
The total quantity of matter and energy available in the universe is a fixed amount and never any more or less. - First law of thermodynamics.
Therefore, prior to creation, the universe existed as pure existence.
Statement 3: It is illogical to say, "Nothing existed" prior to creation.
Firstly, it violates the fundamental law of conservation of matter and energy.
Secondly, it is not logical as shown below.
Water is hot. Here hotness is related to the status of water.
(Water can be hot or cold)
Fire is hot. Here hotness is the nature of fire. (Fire can only be hot)
In the phrase "Wood existed", the existence is related to the status of wood. Existence is not the nature of wood. (It can exist or not exist)
In the phrase "Pure existence existed", the existence is the nature of pure existence (It can only exist)
In the phrase "Nothing existed", the existence can neither be related to nothing nor can it be its nature, just as darkness can neither be related to light nor it can be its nature. Therefore, it is illogical.
Non-existence is the opposite of existence; it cannot be the nature of existence. Therefore, it is illogical and self-contradicting to state, "Nothing existed"
Statement 4: It is not proper to say "Pure existence existed" or "prior to creation" but we cannot help.
Since we are attempting to describe pure existence, which is beyond words, the language will fail. It is not right to say 'existence existed' since it appears to be two different things. Nevertheless, we need to understand the meaning of the sentence and ignore the error as unavoidable.
Explanation: If a sentence is not meaningful then one should check the construction of the sentence to find the correct meaning. When the meaning is understood, the purpose of the sentence is served and it is not worthwhile to debate on the construction of the sentence.
Since the concept of time is part of the creation, it is meaningless to talk about 'prior to creation' but in order to communicate one is forced to use such meaningless / self-contradicting phrases.