The Creation of the Universal Manifestation and the Bliss of Existence

Sri Aurobindo translates Taittiriya Upanishad, Brahmanandavalli, Chapter 7:  “In the beginning all this Universe was Non-Existent and Unmanifest, from which this manifest Existence was born.  Itself created itself; none other created it.  Therefore they say of it the well and beautifully made.  Lo, this that is well and beautifully made, verily it is no other than the delight behind existence.  When he hath gotten him this delight, then it is that this creature becometh a thing of bliss; for who could labour to draw in the breath or who could have strength to breathe it out, if there were not that Bliss in the heaven of his heart, the ether within his being?  It is He that is the fountain of bliss; for when the Spirit that is within us findeth his refuge and firm foundation in the Invisible, Bodiless, Undefinable and Unhoused Eternal, then he hath passed beyond the reach of Fear.  But when the Spirit that is within us maketh for himself even a little difference in the Eternal, then he hath fear, yea, the Eternal himself becometh a terror to such a one who thinketh not.  Whereof this is the Scripture.”

Sri M. P. Pandit notes:  “Before all this Existence came to be, says the Upanishad, there was only a Non-existence.  And Non-existence, we must note, does not mean a Nothing or a Nil or a Nihil.  For as the Chhandogya asks, how can anything arise out of nothing?  It can only mean a primal state, an Un-manifest, to which none of the terms of manifest existence can apply.  It is something beyond all our conceptions of Being; and to emphasise this transcendence of categories of phenomenal existence it is called non-Being or non-existence.”

The Creation myth in the Judeo-Christian tradition posits a Creator-God who systematically fashions the elements of the material universe and its motions, then brings forth plants and animals and finally the human being.  These are separate and external to God, who is thereby seen as some kind of divine artist working on an external medium in His creation, fashioning clay into the human form, as seen in the common image.  The Taittiriya Upanishad confronts the paradox of the Judeo-Christian approach by making it clear that the entire manifested universe is One and is self-creating.  In the Judeo-Christian approach, there is a duality between God and His Creation.  The Upanishad does not admit of duality.  Everything that exists is One.  Whenever we create duality in our minds, we are filled with fear.

The question then arises as to what causes the Eternal to move from an unmanifest state to manifestation.  Ananda, the delight of existence, is the cause of the creative process of the universe.  When the individual identifies with the Divine, he experiences this delight of existence and sees everywhere Oneness.  Fear cannot touch such an individual.

Sri Aurobindo, The Upanishads,  Taittiriya Upanishad, Brahmanandavalli, pp.265-274, M. P. Pandit, Upanishads: Gateways of Knowledge, pp. 109-182

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