Question 60: How does the Universe arise?

mirage in the desert
The universe arises on account of the binding illusion we are born into. This world is real, yes, we are bound by thoughts, words, actions. Our forming and relating ideas strengthens the binding power of maya to the mind. Hence, we think ‘this is all there is’, erroneously.

sphurna: To spread to expand.
sphurna: To forget.
sphurna: outgoing movement of the mind, to move, to start, to start into view, to flash on the mind
sphurna: potency of becoming,
ideation – the process of forming and relating ideas
kind of – thinking, thought process, cerebration, intellection, mentation

ideation – synonyms: contrivance, creativity, fancy, fantasy (also phantasy), imagination, imaginativeness, invention, inventiveness, originality

sankalp Hin. sankalpa San. m. a vow; will, a definite intention, resolve, plan.

sankalpa — mental conclusions, intentions
saṅkalpa — determination Bg 4.19, SB 2.9.28
saṅkalpa — material desires Bg 6.24
saṅkalpa — thoughts SB 3.26.27
saṅkalpa — of his determination SB 4.9.27
saṅkalpa — by determination SB 5.14.2
ādhār Hin. ādhāra San. m. a basis, foundation; prop, dependable spiritual support, aid; a receptacle.
Ādheya — A thing placed in another or depending upon another
mahima- San. m. mahimā Hin., San. f. glory; ‘miracle’; majesty, power; greatness; great magnitude – all that reveals the glory of God and endorses a master’s spiritual supremacy.
Question 60: Sir, how does a universe arise out of the modification (sphurna)?

Answer: Ramji, just as a dream arises from deep sleep (sushupti) so does a universe arise from the modification (sphurna — the potency of becoming). Different names, such as ignorance (avidya), universe (jagat), illusion (maya), ideation (sankalpa) and sight (drishya) have been ascribed to it. In fact there is nothing except Brahmam. Just as ornaments made of gold are gold only and waves are nothing but water, so there is no distinction between the universe and Brahmam. The difference experienced can be likened to the non-existent water of a mirage. Just as water is experienced in a desert due to the sun-rays, so the universe is experienced due to the potency of Atma; or Atma is manifested as the universe. The innumerable creations in every atom of consciousness are merely experiential and non-existent. It is Brahmam that is manifested in itself.

The Lord has declared in the Gita, “Mama maya”. My maya; that is to say, this relative world is His handiwork, His leela, His mahima (miracle), devised as a training ground, an inspiration, for those who desire to see Him, the source and substance of all this. This objective world is My play, He says. From maya, you must get interested in the Author, the Master, the Lord. Once you see the world as the arena of His activity, the stage for His play, then, you will never more be misled; you will not be deceived by any tricks of the play or of the stage-effect; you will not be distracted; you will not be led to believe it as genuinely real. It is valid so long as it lasts, and you are in the theatre.

Take the Aadhaara (the base, the foundation) as more real than the Aadheya (the container, the receptacle, aka the Earth); the Lord as more real than the world. This is the basic lesson of Indian thought. Among all the principles of Vedanta, this is a pearl. The world is like a mirage; the mirage does not originate from any rain; nor does it reach any lake or sea. It was not there before the sun shone nor will it be there when evening falls. It is just an intervening phenomenon: it is best left alone.


Question 61: Sir, if all is Brahmam, then what is subjected to birth, death, bondage and liberation?

Answer: Ramji, all ideas such as birth, death, bondage and liberation are in vain, and are experienced because of the ignorance of Atma. In fact, the universe has not been created; it is experienced only owing to one’s firm idea (sankalpa). lt is the result of our being oblivious of our true state.

Everything is Brahmam; In Sanskrit, Sarvam khalvidam Brahmam!

Man does not realize that the end of this cycle of birth and death is in his own hands. The tree came from the seed and the seed from the tree and so on, from the beginning of time. Yes; you may not know which came first, tree or seed; but you can easily put an end to the cycle, by frying the seed. It won’t sprout again. Being extraordinary, man is now descending to levels which are below ordinary. The river that must flow into the sea is disappearing into a marshy lake. Like the animals of the desert, he is running towards the mirage to slake his thirst. He claims to have mastered the senses and all low desires but they sprout at the first chance, like grass after the first shower after summer.


Road mirage
Road mirage