Shri Datta Swami

Posted on: 18 Jan 2021


God As The Creator In Vedanta

Note: This article is meant for intellectuals only

[Dr. JSR Prasad asked: Svāmipādebhyaḥ sāṣṭāṅga praṇāmāḥ! Recently, on a social media platform, there was a discussion on the concept of the Creator and creation in Vedānta. A member had asked questions like “Is creation different from the Creator?”, “How did the Creator go about creating creation?” and so on. A few Advaita scholars replied that creation is not different from the Creator and the example they gave was that of a spider that spins out a web from its own body and later, eats it up, to make it part of its own body again (Yathorṇanābhiḥ sṛjate gṛhṇate ca—Veda).

I initially started to respond by saying that creation is different from the Creator and that He created the universe only for His entertainment (Ekākī na ramateVeda). They did not agree with this point, as boredom could not be attributed to the God as the reason for creating this universe since boredom is a mere human quality. Subsequently, some messages were exchanged. I compiled their objections and comments as given below: [Click to read detailed question→]

Confused Authors Confuse Readers

Swāmi replied: O Learned and Devoted Servants of God! Why has spiritual knowledge become unpopular, even though it is the most important subject that helps all souls forever? The reason is that souls are not interested in reading the contents of spiritual philosophy. What is the reason for that? The only reason is that writers make the subject complicated and confusing because the writer himself does not understand the subject clearly. The subject is presented in such a way that it cannot be understood by anybody. The reason for this is that the writer himself does not understand the subject clearly. In that case, why does the writer write on this subject at all? The reason for this is that the writer wants fame from the public. He wants the public to praise him as an exceptionally great scholar. The public certainly praises him in that way because they feel that the writer has understood the subject. People feel that since they could not understand the same subject, the writer must be the topmost scholar. This is exactly what the writer desires too! If it were totally true, that the writer has understood the subject and is indeed a great scholar, I would not find much fault with the writer. But unfortunately, it is totally false because the writer himself did not understand the subject. The writer’s non-understanding of the subject is the reason for the non-understanding of the readers. If the readers are confused, it means that the author is thoroughly confused.

Unimaginability of God

There are several Vedic statements saying that the non-mediated God is unimaginable at all times (yasyāmatam..., yato vāco…, na medhayā…, yo buddheḥ parataḥ… etc.). The Gītā also says the same (māṃ tu veda na kaścana…) and the Brahma Sūtras also establish this in the first two sūtras The first sūtra says that it will try to reveal the identity mark (identifying characteristic) called svarūpa lakṣaṇam of God. But, in the second sūtra, only an associated mark (associated characteristic) is revealed, which is called a taṭastha lakṣaṇam. The associated characteristic is not the identity of God and thus, the second sūtram fails to reveal the identity of God.

The absolute God is unimaginable because there is no space in Him. Space was created by Him (Ātmana ākāsaḥ). If space had already existed in Him before its creation, we could not have said that He is the creator of space. Basically, space could not have existed in God, even before its creation. Since God is always unimaginable, we cannot even say that space or the world entered God after its creation. Neither can we say that space was created by God within Himself since both the above possibilities would lead to the same result that God became imaginable after the creation of space, due to the existence of space (or the world) in Him. Hence, space is created by God outside of Him. So, we can say that God is always beyond space. Once space is created, naturally the word ‘outside God’ becomes significant, not with reference to the unimaginable God, but with reference to the created space. If spatial coordinates are absent, there is no concept of volume of God. Any entity without volume can never be imagined because our intelligence is bound by space. It cannot go beyond the concept of space to imagine God, who is beyond space. God’s creation of space brings about the existence of space that is ‘outside’ God, which means that now, God is not alone. A second item called space exists.

God is the absolute reality and space is only a relative reality. The absolute reality always exists, whereas, relative reality exists as long as the absolute reality, being its substratum, maintains it. The relative reality does not exist before its creation or after its dissolution. But it exists in the present, as long as it is maintained by the absolute reality. The relative reality cannot exist even in the present, if the absolute reality is absent. The actual absolute reality means that it exists in all the three periods of time, namely, the past, present and future. The relative reality is that which exists in the present, purely depending on the existence of the absolute reality. Whatever may be the cause for the existence of the absolute and relative realities, both these can exist together in the present time. Hence, in the present time, you cannot say that the absolute reality exists and the relative reality does not exist.

Existence and Nonexistence of the World

The word asat (non-existence) means that this world was non-existent before its creation (Asadvā idamagra āsīt, tato vai sadajāyataVeda). In this statement, the word idam refers to the world. The word agre (agra) means before creation. This statement does not contradict the other Vedic statement “Sadeva somyedamagra āsīt”, which means that the world existed before its creation. Here too, both words—idam and agra—have the same meanings as explained above, in the first statement (Asadvā…). If idam and agra have the same meanings in the first (Asadvā…) as well the second statements (Sadeva…), it appears to be contradictory. The first statement is saying that the world did not exist before its creation (Asadvā...) while the second is saying that the world existed before its creation (Sadeva…). But you need not be worried that the two Vedic statements are mutally contradictory. Here, you have to follow Satkārya Vāda, which is a particular theory of cause and effect. According to Satkārya Vāda, the product exists before its creation in the form of its cause. By this theory, you can say that this world, which is the product, existed before its creation as its cause, which is God or the Absolute Reality.

Asatkārya Vāda is another theory of cause and effect and according to it, the product is non-existent before its production—either in its own form or in some other form like the cause. This second theory basically means that both the cause and the effect are non-existent (asat). This results in śūnyavāda, which is the theory of nothingness. Śaṅkara agreed with the first theory, which is Satkārya Vāda. In the case of worldly examples of Asatkārya Vāda, the produced relative reality (product) does not even appear to be clear (real) in the present time. An imaginary world created (imagined) by the soul is one such example. That imaginary world, which is the product, does not appear to be as clear and real as the outside real-world, even during the short period of its existence. So, this imaginary world is also a relative reality, but it does not appear to as clear (real) to the soul like the external world, which is a relative reality with respect to the absolute God. The soul is awareness and it is a part of the relatively-real external world. The distinction between the absolute reality (unimaginable God) and the relative reality is not very relevant to the soul. That distinction is relevant only for God because God alone is aware of the two angles of His own absolute reality and the relative reality of the world. The soul cannot perceive the absolute reality, since the absolute reality or the absolute God is unimaginable to the soul. The soul only perceives the world around it, which is a relative reality with respect to God, but which is equally real as the soul itself. So, the world itself is an absolute reality for the soul.

Using His unimaginable power, God has made the relatively-real world to appear as an absolute reality, even to Himself. This is so that He can get full and real entertainment by watching and interacting with the world. However, the essential relative reality of the world is known to God. This essential relative reality of the world with respect to God, allows God to do miracles in the world. It also allowed Him to create that world of relative reality, in the first place. If the relatively-real world, which appears to God as an absolute reality, were actually an absolute reality, the creation of such a world would not be possible for God since one absolute reality cannot create another absolute reality.

The soul itself is also relatively-real with respect to God. In fact, it is a tiny part of this relatively-real world. The soul and the relatively-real world share an equal status of reality. So, even though the world is only relatively real to God, it is an absolute reality with respect to the soul. A relative reality (world) becomes an absolute reality for another relative reality (soul). God is aware of both—His own absolute reality as well as the world’s relative reality. The soul, however, is only aware of the relatively-real world. That world, including all souls, itself is the absolute reality for the soul. The soul has no awareness of the absolute reality whatsoever, since the absolute reality (God) is not only invisible and unknowable, but even unimaginable to the soul. The existence of the relative reality, which is the world including souls, depends on the existence of the absolute reality. But since the soul does not perceive the absolute reality and the dependence of the relative world on it, it perceives the relative reality itself as absolute. The essential non-existence of the relative reality is never realized by the soul since the soul itself is a relative reality. A relative reality is always an absolute reality for another relative reality.

For the absolutely real God, the actual absolute reality alone is the absolute reality (Sataḥ sat sat). For the absolutely real God, the actual relative reality (world) alone is the relative reality (Sataḥ asat asat). For the relatively real soul, the relatively-real world is the absolute reality (Asataḥ asat sat). For God sat is sat and asat is asat. It is like a person having the sense of vision can see another person having vision and also the person not having vision. But a blind person thinks that every person is also blind like him. He thinks that every person only has the vision of the mind, which is the mind’s eye. He can only think in that one way and he thinks that every blind person has the vision of the mind’s eye like him.

Comparing God and the Soul

We should not try to compare the soul with God in all aspects since God is unimaginable, whereas, the soul, being a part of the imaginable world, is imaginable. Even two imaginable items cannot be compared in all aspects. The similarity between God and the soul is that imaginary worlds are created by both for their own entertainment since their loneliness causes boredom. Here, boredom is not a defect, but a form of full contentment. The Brahma Sūtram explains this (Lokavattu…) and Śaṅkara gives the example of the contented king wishing to go to the forest for hunting. The points of comparison between God and the soul in this context are:

  1. God is unimaginable, as explained above, whereas, the soul is imaginable. The soul is awareness, which is a specific work-form of the inert energy that gets converted to awareness in a functioning brain and nervous system. Thus, the soul is a part of imaginable world. The Veda clearly says that the soul or awareness is generated from another imaginable item called food, which confirms that the soul is imaginable (Annāt puruṣaḥ).
  2. God gets full and real entertainment from the world. The world created by God is only relatively-real with respect to Him like the imaginary world created by a soul is relatively-real with respect to the soul. Yet, God’s imaginable imaginary world appears completely clear and real to God, due to His unimaginable power called māya. Hence, God gets complete and real entertainment from His imaginary world. On the other hand, the imaginable soul, only has a little imaginable power. Hence, it cannot make its created imaginary world to become very clear and real to itself, in order to get complete and real entertainment.
  3. Since God is the creator of this world which is His imaginary world, God can be said to be the absolute reality. His created world can be said to be the relative reality. The soul is not the creator of this external relative world. It is only the creator of its own imaginary world. Since the soul is a part of this relative world, this relative world is as true as the soul itself.
  4. The imaginary world of the soul exists within the soul because the soul has spatial dimensions and is bound by space. The soul is bound by space since the soul is basically made of inert energy and space itself is also subtle inert energy. The soul or awareness needs space for its existence and hence, it is bound by the inside-outside concepts of space. The unimaginable God is beyond space and does not have the ‘inside’ concept, which is a spatial concept. Assuming that space is within God would make God imaginable. Space is created by God and the concept of God’s existence ‘outside’ space exists because of the relative reality of space with repsect to God. This ‘outside’ concept only implies the relative existence of space as a second item other than God. It suggests that space does not somehow have its existence within God. The concept that God exists outside space simply means that God exists and the relative space also exists. We cannot say that the relative space is non-existent with reference to God because it is existing simultaneously with God, even though its existence is dependent on the existence of God. Hence, we can say that space is a second item existing along with God. Certainly, space cannot enter the unimaginable domain which is God, because if space were to enter God, God would become an imaginable item bound by space and having volume.

Unreal Creation or Real Creation?

The process of creation of this imaginable world from the unimaginable God is also unimaginable and is beyond worldly logic. Worldly logic is based on one imaginable item producing another imaginable item. Every item in this world is imaginable and God is the only unimaginable item. There is no example in the world of an unimaginable item other than God producing an imaginable item. So, we cannot explain the process of how the unimaginable God created the imaginable world using any example.

Vivarta vāda is the apparent or unreal creation of an effect (product) from its cause. In this case, there is no real transformation of the cause into the effect and the effect is only an unreal appearance of the cause. This model of creation cannot be applied to the case of the world originating from God. The worldly example of a vivarta (unreal) creation that is usually given is the creation of a wave from standstill water. The wave is only an appearance of the water. The water has not actually been ‘transformed’ into a wave; it remains the same water, which it was even before it became a wave. Actually, explaining the case of the creation of the wave from water as an apparent or unreal creation (vivarta vada) is not complete. The apparent converton of water into a wave does not happen on its own. Only when some kinetic energy is imparted to the standstill water, does it get apparently transformed into a wave. Water is matter. Kinetic energy, is energy, which is subtler than the water. But that subtler kinetic energy is an additional necessary cause for the water to become a wave.

But when God created this world, he was alone (before creation). He created the world without the help (association) of any other second item. When Śaṅkara used the example of the apparent wave being created from the water, He neglected the second cause of the wave, which is the subtle kinetic energy. He did so because in any analogy or example, there is no need for all the aspects of the example to match with the all the aspects of the actual case. It is due to the invisible subtle kinetic energy, that the water appears to our eyes as if it has become the wave. Śaṅkara only used the common point between the example and the actual case to explain the single real God creating this world. As per the vivarta model of creation, the cause alone is important, while the effect is not very important since it is unreal. Thus, Śaṅkara emphasized the causal God neglecting the product-world because He Himself was an Incarnation of God Śiva, who is the cause of this world.

Another model of cause and effect is pariṇāma vāda. It is a real transformation of the cause into the effect. The example of pariṇāma vāda is the real transformation of milk into curd. However, this model too does not give the complete understanding of how milk actually becomes curd. Milk becomes curd only due to the presence of certain invisible bacteria. But Rāmānuja still proposed this model, taking advantage of the invisibility of bacteria to say that God alone is modified into the real world. Rāmānuja was a soul. His own followers claim that He was an incarnation of the divine angel called Ādiśeṣa. Being a soul, which is a relatively-real part of this relatively-real world, He was very particular about establishing the reality of the world. His claim was that the product is as real as the cause. The reality of the curd-product is on par with that of the milk-cause and the world is as real as God. We can say that Śaṅkara spoke from the point of view of God, whereas, Rāmānuja spoke from the point of view of the soul. The third divine preacher, Madhva was also a soul. He was an incarnation of god Vāyu, as per his followers, and He is in line with Rāmānuja, on this point. If you know the real scientific background of both these examples, you cannot compare either of these two examples to the lone God creating this world.

Magical Creation

Another example given to explain God’s creation of the world is that of a magician creating a magic-show. But even this cannot be taken as a complete example since the magic show was created by the magician through pre-arranged tricks that are unknown and unseen by the spectators. God created this world in reality, without any such pre-arranged tricks. People quote the Veda for having given this example of a magician creating magic (Indro māyābhiḥ…). But in this Vedic statement, the word māyā does not stand for the pre-arranged unseen tricks of a magician. The word māyā means wonderful (Maya-vaicitrye). It is the real and wonderful power of God to create an imaginable item without the help of any second item and without the help of any pre-arranged and unseen tricks. The word māyā means the real but unimaginable power, which is used to really create an imaginable item. The imaginable item is created in an unimaginable way so as to create wonder in us. Śaṅkara used the example of the magician, neglecting the pre-arranged tricks since they are unseen by the spectators (Māyāvīva…). But He finally used the better example of mediated God (Incarnation) miraculously creating an imaginable item (Mahāyogīva…). Since there is no second unimaginable item, unimaginable God Himself in a mediated state (Mahā Yogī) can serve as the complete example of how God created the world. In the Incarnation, the unimaginable God exists merged with the imaginable and visible medium. He performs the unimaginable miracle, which cannot be attributed to the visible-imaginable external medium. The miracle must be attributed to the invisible-unimaginable God who has merged into that medium. Śaṅkara used the concept of the unimaginable nature (Anirvacanīyatākhyāti) of the unimaginable God to explain the unimaginable actions of the unimaginable God. In one of His compositions, He asked God if there is even a single one of His unimaginable actions that is known to souls (Viditaṃ kiṃ nāma Śambho tava?).

God Does not Pervade all Creation

First creation and subsequent creations

God created this world through His own nature, which is His unimaginable power called māyā. He did so without the help of any second item or substance because He alone existed before the creation of this world (Sadeva somya…—Veda). The first item created by God was space, which is very subtle energy. In one place, the Veda says that the first creation was space and, in another place, the Veda says that the first creation was energy (Tat tejo’sṛjata). As per both these Vedic statements, God is stated to be the direct cause of the two created ‘first’ products (space and energy). For all subsequent created items, the Veda mentions some other created items to be their causes. For example, the cause of air is space; the cause of fire is air and so on. Only space and energy are said to be directly created by God. It means both are ‘first creations’. It simply means that they are not different from each other. Space itself is the subtlest form of energy. Space should not be misunderstood to be nothing because if it were nothing, only non-existent items would come out of it (Asatkārya Vāda). The real and existent world could not have come out of nothing. Awareness is thought to be supreme. But, as per the Veda, it also came from a created item. Awareness is said to have originated from the food obtained from plants (Annāt puruṣaḥ).

God’s entry into creation

After creating the world, God entered into creation, as per the Veda (Tat sṛṣṭvā, tadevānuprāviṣat). We say that a person constructed a house and then entered into it. By this we do not mean that he has spread out homogeneously into the house like air and occupied the entire house, leaving no place for anybody else. He entered the house and is sitting in one corner of one of the rooms present in that house. He has not even occupied that one room entirely. Similarly, God entered the creation (new house) created by Him and it does not mean that He is occupying the entire world spreading throughout the world homogeneously. It is not like the case of gold occupying the entire golden ornament. This also does not mean that He entered all animals (zoological living beings having awareness), which would be like occupying one entire room in the house. Inert matter and plants (botanical living beings) have no awareness, but animals have awareness and one might think that He has entered into all animals. But He has not entered all beings having awareness. This means that He only entered very few beings possessing awareness, which are certain selected individual energetic and human beings. Upon His entry into those selected individual beings, they have become Energetic and Human Incarnations respectively. God has thus, entered creation and He occupies only those selected beings (Incarnations), which is similar to saying that the man has entered the house and is sitting in one corner of one of the rooms. The entry of God into the world need not mean His entry into the entire world homogenously (whole house). It also does not mean His entry into a particular category consisting of all zoological living beings (one entire room).

God as the witness

A person, upon watching the drama written and directed by him, develops the desire to enter the drama as an actor. He plays one particular role. He does not play all the roles in the drama. Neither does he play a group of roles. In a movie, it may be possible for a person to play multiple roles due to camera shooting tricks. Similarly, God was entertained by seeing His own creation (Sākṣī cetā…—Veda) and He developed the desire to enter His creation in the role of a soul. He entered creation and within creation, He entered certain selected energetic beings in the upper worlds to become Energetic Incarnations. He also entered certain selected human beings on earth to become Human Incarnations. Of course, the unimaginable God has unimaginable power and as a result, He can become more than one Incarnation without any shooting trick. When God merges with a created imaginable medium, He remains in His own position as the unimaginable God while simultaneously merging with the medium elsewhere. This is possible with His unimaginable power (Sat ca tyat ca abhavat—Veda). This is only possible for the unimaginable God because an imaginable human being cannot remain in his original position and also simultaneously exist in another position, elsewhere. The Incarnation itself is perfectly the unimaginable God, due to the perfect merging of the unimaginable God with the medium.

Awareness is not God

Awareness is not God. In fact, it does not even have the fortune to claim that God is its direct cause. Only space or energy were directly created by God. The Veda clearly says that awareness or the individual soul is created from plant-based food. Before the creation of this world, God thought of creating this world for entertainment. It does not mean that He was not contented before creation. He created it in spite of being fully contented, simply to pass time. God is always fully contented. This process of thinking of God should not mislead us into thinking that God must have thought with the help of the awareness present in Him. Before creation, there was neither inert energy nor any materialized brain and nervous system to produce any awareness in God. There is no question of the generation of awareness in God, who is beyond space. Hence, God thought without the existence of awareness in Him because God is capable of thinking even in the absence of awareness. God is capable of doing anything, due to His omnipotence, which is based on His unimaginable nature.

If God had entered the entire world or all the energetic beings and human beings, there would not be anything bad or any injustice in the world. Everybody would always follow justice alone, due to the presence of God in them. This objection rules out the existence of God everywhere in the world. The Veda also rejects every item of this imaginable world as ‘not God’ or as ‘not possessing God’ (Neti Neti…). When the Veda says that this whole world is God (Sarvaṃ khalvidaṃ Brahma), it only means that this whole world is controlled by God (Tadadhīna prathamā). It is like calling the property owned and controlled by a person by the name of that person, while writing the legal documents of the property. If this entire creation is thought to be God, it would mean that God did not actually create anything. It would mean that God is incapable of creating anything other than Himself. The creation of the world is certainly the manifestation or presentation of His unimaginable power called māyā. Manifestation does not mean that God presented Himself in the name of creation. It would mean that He is incapable of creating anything other than Himself, even for His own entertainment!

Answering Objections

[The answers given by Swami to the specific objections raised by the Advaita scholars to the philosophy of Swami as presented to them by Dr. JSR Prasad are given below.]

a. The soul is a relative reality depending on God

[Objection: The universe (triguṇātmaka) is only our mental projection. The individual self (jīva) is non-existent (asat) but derives existential value from Paramātmā. The knowers of the truth recognize this as Sat because all forms are expressions of Paramātmā. An ornament of gold is not rejected as an illusion because gold remains identified with it, as its basic substance. Similarly, God dwells inside the manifest universe as its basic substance. It is like the gold abiding in all ornaments.]

Swami replied: We agree with your point that the soul (jīva), being a tiny part of the relatively-real world, is only a relative reality. This is because, if the world were another absolute reality apart from God, one absolute reality (God) could not possibly create another absolute reality (world). One absolute reality can only create a relative reality that is dependent on Him. Hence, the entire world is relatively real. It certainly does not mean that this world is God Himself because it would mean that God is incapable of creating another relative reality to get real entertainment. This in turn would mean that the world was not created at all (Ajātaṃ jāyate kiñcit…), which is the Ajāti Vāda theory of Gaudapāda. Śaṅkara did not accept Ajāti Vāda even though Gaudapāda was the preacher of His preacher. Ajāti Vāda believes the world to be unborn. In other words, it believes that the incapable God is falsely assuming that He has really created this unborn world! The fact is that God is omnipotent and He has really created this relatively-real world, which appears as clear and real to Him as another absolute reality, so as to give full and real entertainment to Him. This is possible with His omnipotent-unimaginable power called māyā. Remember that this world is only a relative reality (mithyā) and not an absolute reality. Mithyā does not mean unreal because Śaṅkara defined it as neither real nor unreal. It is not real because it is not the absolute reality. It is not unreal because it appears to be very clear and real like an absolute reality and because it exists in the present, purely based on the existence of the absolute reality. This apparent self-contradiction can be resolved on the basis of the unimaginable power of God called māyā, even if you treat God as real and the world as unreal. Actually, the world is not unreal in all the three periods of time (past, present and future). It is real in the present, due to the real existence of God, on whom the existence of the world depends.

You mentioned about God entering the world like gold entering the ornament. This example is not suitable for the case of God creating the world. Gold enters the ornament even during the creation of the golden ornament as the material-cause entering its effect. But God entered the world only after the creation of the world, out of His will (Tat sṛṣṭvā…—Veda). Gold enters the ornament inevitably, by force of worldly logic. You cannot even say that creation means the plan or the design of creation made by God, who is the intellectual cause of creation. Even there, the awareness-cause enters the design by force of worldly logic. Hence, whether you say that God is the material cause or the intellectual cause or both, the entry of God into the world would be inevitable, by force of worldly logic. Such an inevitable and forced entry is not the entry of God into creation out of His own will, as told in the Veda. God does not do any action by any external force.

This clear and real relative world is not the projection of the soul’s mind. The mental projection of the imaginable soul is its own imaginary world and not this external world. This relatively-real world, which is as real as the soul itself, is the projection of the will-power of the unimaginable God. Even an atom of matter or a ray of energy of this world cannot be created by the mind of the soul as told in the Brahma Sūtrams (Netaro…, Jagadvyyāpāra…). The direct support for the world is the will-power or māyā of God and not God directly. The ground is God. An animal sits on the ground on its tail. The tail rests directly on the ground and the body of the animal rests on the tail. The tail is māyā and the body of the animal is the world. This means that God is not direct support of the world, but is the ultimate indirect support. It is told in the Gītā that māyā is the world (Māyāṃ tu prakṛtim…) and this means that māyā is not the absolute reality, but only the relative reality. This is because, the meaning of the word māyā can be derived as that which does not exist in all the three periods of time (Yā mā…). It is also told that God is the possessor of the unimaginable power called māyā. Here, the word māyā should be taken to mean God’s wonderful power (Maya-vaicitrye). We can also take a different meaning for the first sense (Māyāṃ tu prakṛtim…). Apart from taking māyā to be prakṛti, which is the world, we can also say that māyā is the root cause of the world since prakṛti also means the root cause (Prakṛtirmūla kāraṇe…). The possessor of māyā can also be treated as māyā since there is no difference between the possessor of power and the power (Śakti śaktimatorbhedaḥ…). Another reason is that māyā being unimaginable, it can be treated as the unimaginable God because any number of unimaginable items, finally end up as only one unimaginable item. The Veda says that God is the tail and the body of animal is the world (Brahma puccham pratiṣṭhā…). Earlier, we had said that the tail is māyā, which rests on the ground (God). So, as per this Vedic statement, the tail (māyā) is said to be the ground (God). Since the support of the tail must be the ground, the ground (God) is the possessor of the tail (māyā). Hence, both the ground (God) as the indirect support and the tail (māyā) as the direct support to the body of the animal (world) become one item that supports the body of the animal (world).

The gold existing in the ornament is not God because ornaments of silver and copper also exist, which would result in three Gods. Since all matter is essentially condensed energy, you may say that this energy is the single item representing the single God. Scientists stop with energy as the final cause. There is also no decrease in the total quantity of energy, based on the law of conservation of energy and this idea supports the idea of the changeless God. But energy is inert, whereas, God is doing the activity (thinking) of awareness. By this, we should not say that God is awareness because God is creating materialized items without the help of any matter acting as the material-cause. God is beyond inert energy, inert matter and awareness and yet, He creates all the items that constitute the world.

b. Can God have no motive to create the world?

[Objection: Any motive imputed to God can neither have Vedic support, nor any reason. Because of His infinite power, the universe could be a mere pastime for Him, even though it looks like a big task for us. The Vedas declare that He has all desires fulfilled.]

Swami replied: Do not pass a general statement that there can be no Vedic support or support of reason for any motive imputed to God. You have to give proper examples and make your point. We agree that the world is a pastime for God, as said in the Veda (Ekākī…) and the Brahma Sūtram (Lokavattu…).

c. Is it illogical to say that creation originated from an intelligent Creator?

[Objection: It is incongruous to hold that creation stems out from an intelligent being. His contentment, proposed in the Veda, will be contradicted if you say He has created. His omniscience too deserves being questioned if you say He did it without a purpose.

Swami replied: All your above statements are not logical and have mutual contradictions. The creation of the world can be done by an unimaginable-omnipotent item also, even though such an item is neither inert nor intelligent. Creation requiring an intellectual cause is valid in the imaginable world which only contains imaginable items. If God were also an imaginable item, certainly God would be the non-inert awareness since He created this world having a wonderful design. When you are discussing about God, you should not confine yourself only to the imaginable worldly logic, which deals only with imaginable items. The Veda, the Gītā and the Brahma Sūtras clearly say that God is unimaginable. The word ‘pastime’ itself means that God is contented, but that He still created this world. Other than being a pastime, there is no other purpose for creating the world. Omniscience has no relevance to a creating as a pastime since contented ignorant souls also do some activity to pass time. A pastime itself means that the activity is done, not because it is needed for some purpose, but only for the contented person to pass time. Your statements therefore, lack the necessary logical links between them.

d. Is creation an endless dynamic cycle without a Creator?

[Objection: The Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upaniṣad endorses that the Creator and creation both are one and the same. It says “In the beginning, there was nothing except death. Darkness. Death died. When death died, it gave rise to waves. Waves gave rise to consciousness. Later, air, fire, water and earth. There is no creator. Creation happened. And everything happened, is happening and will continue to happen inside the Para Brahman (Naiveha kiṃcanāgra āsīt, mṛtyunaivedam-āvṛtamāsīdaśanāyayā).” A red blood cell that is created inside bone marrow, moves on to different places in the body, dies in some place in the body and ultimately gets metabolized and reintegrated into the body again. Similarly, our galaxy or solar system will undergo cycles of destruction and regeneration in Parabrahman.]

Swami replied: You have already mentioned about the creation of this world by the contented God as a pastime. Now, you are saying that God did not create this world at all and that the creation and dissolution of items in this world take place continuously, without the interference of God. This is a clear mutual contradiction. This leads to the doubt about your mental consistency!

e. Should Vedic statements declaring God to be the Creator be treated only as meaningless praise?

[Objection: The Veda says that, having created creation, Parabrahman entered into it (Tatsṛṣṭvā tadevā'nuprāviśat, tadanupraviśya sacca tyaccābhavat). But if we assume two states of God—one state before creation and the other after creation—it imposes a defect upon God by limiting God within time-space constraints (deśakāla-paricchinnatā). So, it is not proper to say that He created or even desired to create creation. Vedic statements like “Sokāmayata, bahu syāṃ prajāyeyeti” should hence, be considered to be arthavādas alone. Such sentences do not carry any direct meaning.]

Swami replied: Again, you start saying that God created this world and proceed to say that God did not create this world! You say that if the Veda says that God created this world, it is only in the praise (arthavāda) of God, thereby meaning that God did not actually create this world!

f. Is God’s creation of the world and His subsequent entry into it scientifically impossible?

[Objection: Some modern scientists say that the idea that Parabrahman created creation and then entered it (Tat sṛṣṭvā tadevā'nuprāviśat—Veda) has a problem from the scientific viewpoint. Parabrahman has a quality of expansion. We observe that the universe is expanding at a rate beyond the speed of light. However, the maximum possible speed of any travel is the speed of light. So ‘sṛṣṭvā’ and ‘anuprāviśat’ could not have happened one-after-the-other. They must have happened at the same moment!]

Swami replied: You say that creation and the entry of God into creation were done at the same time. This statement makes Me lose My mind! The word ‘sṛṣṭvā’ means that ‘after creation’, God entered the world. Why are you confusing yourself and the readers? You are bothered about the space-time concept and fear that this concept will bind God. When space was created, time also came into existence as the fourth co-ordinate, in addition to the three spatial coordinates (length, breadth and height). Time is not mentioned as a separate item in the process of creation starting from space and ending with awareness (puruṣa). The reason is that time is a special co-ordinate of space itself (four-dimensional space-time model of the world). In olden days, people would define time by how much the sun has risen above the horizon. Both space and time do not pollute God because they only pertain to this relative creation. The words like ‘before creation’ and ‘after creation’ are with reference to the relatively-real creation alone and not with reference to the absolutely real God. The words ‘before’ and ‘after’ only refer to and touch creation and not God. In that case, how can God be bound by space and time, when space and time do not refer to Him in any way?

Their relationship (sambandha) is only with creation and not with the creator. These words only indicate the states before and after creation. They do not refer to God, either directly or indirectly. Just speaking the two words ‘before’ and ‘after’ does not indicate that I am going to speak about God, after speaking these two words. Even if I speak about God after speaking these two words, these two words only convey information about the states before and after creation. It is not as if the words ‘before’ and ‘after’ indicate God alone. God is indicated not by these two words, but only by the word ‘God’ spoken after these two words. You have to revise your basic logic, especially about relationships (sambandha), which can either be saṃyoga (separable) or samavāya (inseparable). Before and after cannot indicate God through any of these two types of relationship, unless and until the word ‘God’ is uttered. Sambandha must give the indication of one item, by uttering the word of the other item.

g. Is it an apparent creation, which merely manifests and unmanifests?

[Objection: Creation has not actually occurred. It is only an apparent creation. The appearance of creation is due to Parabrahman’s māyā (Mama māyā duratyayāGītā). The word ‘creation’ should only be understood in the sense of ‘manifestation’ in every context. Creation is not different from Parabrahman. In the Bhāgavatam, creation and dissolution are explained to take place in the Paramātman like an appearance and disappearance of a pot taking place in clay (Bṛhadupalabdham-etadavayanty-avaśeṣatayā yata udayāstamayau vikṛtermṛdi vāvikṛtāt ata ṛṣayo dadhustvayi manovacanācaritaṃ kathamayathābhavanti bhuvi dattapadāni nṛṇām ॥10.87.15॥)]

Swami replied: Now, you have again started saying that creation has not occurred. This shows the climax of your madness, suggesting that it is proper time for you to get admitted in a mental hospital. Everywhere, you speak about the creation of God and deny the creation of God simultaneously! You can say that God is the absolute reality and that the world is a relative reality depending on the absolute reality. You can say that world is neither created nor existing, if God is absent. A relative reality means that its existence is purely dependent on the existence of the absolute reality. It is different from existence and non-existence because it appears to be very clear and real like an absolute reality, but it does not exist in the absence of the absolute reality. It is born and appears very clear and real due to the unimaginable power of God. The imaginary world of the soul is also born and it exists for some time, but it does not appear to be very clear and real, due to the weak imaginable power of the imaginable soul. You cannot even say that the obscure relative imaginary world of this petty soul is not born at all. Then how can you dare to say that this very clear relative world created by the mighty unimaginable and omnipotent God is not born at all! Your claim leads to the false conclusion that God is totally incapable. It makes it appear as if God does not even have the least capability that a soul has by which it can create an obscure imaginary world as a pastime!


| Shri Datta Swami | God As The Creator In Vedanta | Svamipadebhyah sashtanga pranamah Yathornanabhih srijate grihnate cha Ekaki na ramate trigunatmaka jiva Paramatma Brihadaranyaka Upanishad Naiveha kinchanagra asit, nrityunaivedam-avritamasidashanayaya Tatsrishtva tadevanupravishat, tadanupravishya sachcha tyachchabhavat deshakala-parichchhinnata So'kamayata, bahu syam prajayeyeti Tat srishtva tadeva'nupravishat anupravishat maya duratyaya Gita Bhagavatam Paramatman Brihadupalabdham-etadavayanty-avasheshataya yata udayastamayau vikriternridi vavikritat | ata rishayo dadhustvayi manovachanacharitam kathamayathabhavanti bhuvi dattapadani nrinam yasyamatam yato vacho na medhaya…, yo buddheh paratah mam tu veda na kaschana Sutras sutra svarupa laksanam tatastha laksanam Ātmana akasah Asadva idamagra asit, tato vai sadajayata Sadeva sonyedamagra asit Asadva Satkarya Vada Asatkarya Vada Shankara shunyavada Satah Asatah Sutram Annat purushah Śiva parinama vada Ramanuja Adishesha Indro mayabhih Maya-vaichitrye Mayaviva Mahayogiva Yogi Anirvachaniyatakhyati Viditam kim nama Shambho tava Tat tejo srijata Tat srishtva, tadevanupravishat Saksi cheta Sat cha tyat cha abhavat Sarvam khalvidam Brahma Tadadhina prathama trigunatmaka Ajatam jayate kinchit Gaudapada Ajati Vada Tat srishtva Jagadvyyapara Mayam tu prakritim Maya-vaichitrye Mayam tu prakritim Prakritirmula karane Śakti shaktimatorbhedah Brahma puchchham pratishtha Ekaki Brihadaranyaka Upanishad Naiveha kinchanagra asit, nrityunaivedam-avritamasidashanayaya Tatsrishtva tadevanupravishat, tadanupravishya sachcha tyachchabhavat deshakala parichchhinnata Tat srishtva tadevanupravishat srishtva anupravishat purusha sanyoga samavaya Mama maya duratyaya Bhagavatam Brihadupalabdham-etadavayanty-avasheshataya yata udayastamayau vikriternridi va'vikritat ata rishayo dadhustvayi manovachanacharitam kathamayathabhavanti bhuvi dattapadani nrinam