Creation theories (was Re: What is the exact meaning/significance of this?)

S Jayanarayanan sjayana at YAHOO.COM
Thu Apr 17 22:08:08 CDT 2003

--- Aniruddhan <ani at EE.WASHINGTON.EDU> wrote:
> namaste,
> >Creation should have actually proceeded from the
> being(or atleast I think
> >so.) This is because of the Chandogya Upanishad
> statement which says that
> >Sat or existence was there in the beginning.(and
> this later gave rise to
> >everything.)
> The Taittiriya Upanishad says "asadvA idam agra
> AsIt. tato vai sadajAyata.
> tadAtmAnaggus-svayamakuruta (or tadAtmAnam
> svayamakuruta)". In other words,
> in the beginning only asat (non-being) was there.
> From there, sat (being)
> was born. It (sat) created itself by itself...
> How do we interpret this with respect to the
> Chandogya Upanishad
> statement "sadeva soumya idam agra AsIt..."?

Instead of speculating endlessly on an upanishhadic
statement, one can simply consult Shankara's
commentary on the subject.

Shankara's commentary on the taittiriiya upanishhad
verse quoted above (translation by Swami
Gambhirananda): "'asat vai idam agre aasiit', in the
beginning all this was but the unmanifested state of
Brahman as contrasted with the state in which
distinctions of name and form become manifested. Not
that absolute non-existence is meant, for the existent
cannot come out of the non-existent. 'idam', this,
standing for the manifested world possessed of the
distinctions of name and form; 'agre', in the
beginning - before creation; 'aasiit asat', was but
Brahman that could be called asat. 'tataH', from that
Unmanifested; 'vai', indeed; 'sat', that which is
distinguished by manifested name and form; 'ajaayata',
was born."

I don't have the chhaandogya with me, but I would
think that the nature of Brahman is taken as sat,
since It is Existence Itself.

Also, there are many "contradictions" in the
upanishhads regarding creation theories. Shankara
Himself resolves several in his Brahma suutra
Bhaashhya (2.3.1-10). e.g.: Chandogya (fire is created
first) vs. taittiriiya (space is created first) vs.
BrihadaaraNyaka (space is never created).

The final word is by Ramana Maharshi in Talks # 30:

D: The Vedas contain conflicting accounts of
cosmogony. Ether is said to be the first creation in
one place; vital energy (prANa) in another place;
something else in yet another; water in still another,
and so on. How are these to be reconciled? Do not
these impair the credibility of the Vedas?

M: Different seers saw different aspects of truths at
different times, each emphasising some one view. Why
do you worry about their conflicting statements? The
essential aim of the Veda is to teach us the nature of
the imperishable Atman and show us that we are That.

D: I am satisfied with that portion.

M: Then treat all the rest as artha vaada (auxillary
arguments) or expositions for the sake of the ignorant
who seek to trace the genesis of things and matters.

> Aniruddhan


> Sruti smRti purANAnAm Alayam karuNAlayam
> namAmi bhagavatpAda Sam.karam lokaSam.karam

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