Question 160: How is a Universe created in Atma?

Andromeda galaxy

If everything is an aspect of the unmanifest Atma, how then does a Universe arise in Atma? This is the question posed to the sage by the young Rama, sitting worshipfully at the feet of Vasishtha .

chitta San. noun. the mind (the seat of understanding and awareness, of intellect and will); memory, thought, reflection; the soul, heart. It is the individual consciousness, composed of intelligence and intellect (buddhi), ego (ahamkara) and mind (manas). In Vedanta, chitta is one aspect of Universal Consciousness (chit). The world hangs on the thread of consciousness – without consciousness, there is no world.

jiva: individual soul embodied as a person. Soul with a body.

adi sankalpa primeval ideation or consciousness; from adi – first

sankalpa: ideation; modification of chitta or consciousness; idea, resolve, volition (will);

vasana: tendencies or desires

akarta the non-doer

karta – doer of actions; one who is attached to the results of an action;

samadhi: Samadhi is a state of profound and utterly absorptive contemplation of the Absolute that is undisturbed by desire, anger, or any other ego-generated thought or emotion.

vairagya: detachment


Question 160: Sir, How is a Universe created in Atma (consciousness) that is distinct from the Universe?

Answer: Ramji, just as there are no waves in a quiet lake, but they are there in the latent manner and arise when there is wind, so does a universe exist in Atma. Atma that is formless, omnipresent, omniscient, free from birth and death, is not perceived because it is indestructible and unmanifest. The chitta (modification) arising in Atma expands with the potency of Atma, and it is called sankalpa (ideation). This ideation has assumed the feelings of heat in fire, gentleness in the Moon and coldness in ice, and all the functions are carried on according to this primeval ideation (adi sankalpa) —— also called nature. This nature is sustained till the great dissolution. The universe is of the nature of instability and is created in Atma without a cause, and it merges back in Atma automatically. Thus, it is evident that all jivas are aspects of Atma and are self-created because of the chitta. The power with which a jiva experiences touch, sound, form, taste, fragrance, etc — know that to be a potency of Atma that is all-pervasive. ‘As long as a thing is conceived as other than Atma, vasana is directed towards that and duality is experienced. Since nothing except Atma exists, what is there to desire and what is there to gain or lose? It shows that agent, action and object are all one. Knowing so, O Ramji, be free from duality and doubts, and be thus engaged in your actions. Though the wise ones appear to be engaged in actions of various types — including tamsic actions such as killing, etc — yet in terms of self-understanding they are non-doers (akarta), whereas the ignorant always suffer according to their actions. Though the wise ones get joy or sorrow according to their destiny, yet they do not consider themselves distinct from Atma and view everything as an aspect of Brahman. Hence, they are unmoved by joy and sorrow. The ignorant, however, experience joy and sorrow, and are disturbed by them.

Ramji, I shall now cite to you an example of the doer (karta) who is a non-doer (akarta) and of the non-doer who is a doer, and by reflecting on this you will enjoy bliss. A person may dream of falling from his bed and experience pain on this account — this is an example of a non-doer being a doer. Another person who is in samadhi in Atma may actually fall in a ditch and yet remain in pence and unmoved — this is an example of a doer being a non- doer. The mind of the person in bed is disturbed; hence he experiences sufferings on having the feeling of a doer even though he is a non—doer. The mind of the other person is tranquil; hence he is in peace in spite of the fall. It indicates that as is the state of the mind, so is the manifestation. When you act without attachment, you attain the state of a non-doer. He who firmly believes that the universe is an aspect of Atma, is unaffected by joy and sorrow, because he knows that he is not a body but an aspect of Atma that is omnipresent and omniscient and illumines everything. When such a faith is firmly established, there is no feeling of joy or sorrow.

Ramji, actions with hands, feet or sense organs do not constitute actions (karma), but the experience of joy and sorrow in actions due to the attachments in mind is called action (karma). When the mind is annihilated, actions too are destroyed, because actions are the creations of the mind, and with the annihilation of the mind one cannot be touched by joy and sorrow, good and evil. When the mind is quiescent it cannot be affected by anything, and the feelings of bondage and liberation also vanish. But when the mind is misled by the self, the variegated universe is cognised and pleasures of the senses are experienced. Bondage and liberation are the creations of one‘s own ideation (sankalpa) and are illusory. Abandon all illusory ideations and untrue ego, and maintain firm faith in Atma and be engaged in natural functions with discrimination and courage. Then you will be unaffected by joy and sorrow.



On the land that belongs to you, you can grow the food you need or you can sit idle and allow it to lie fallow. You are the cause of your ruin or uplift. The tools are in your hands; you can learn the skills; you can break the shackles and escape; but if you grovel in slavery and bondage, who can save you? Do not blame Fate or the lines on your brow, for your condition. Those lines have been placed there by you yourself. You fail or pass and you are detained or promoted on the basis of your performance in the previous class, aren’t you? So also the status in the present life is decided on the basis of the activities in previous lives. When the Headmaster gives a character certificate on the basis of which you apply for a job, he frames the sentences with reference to your conduct in previous years when you were in previous classes. Your are responsible for the nature of the certificate; if your conduct was good, you get a good certificate and a good job; if it had been bad, you get a bad one and a poor job. It is you who write, you who wipe the writing on the head, or “destiny “. -Prasanthi Nilayam. 24 10 61

Do not tell me that you do not care for that Bliss, that you are satisfied with the delusion and are not willing to undergo the rigours of sleeplessness. Your basic nature, believe Me, abhors this dull, dreary routine of eating, drinking, and sleeping. It seeks something which it knows it has lost – Santhi, inward contentment. It seeks liberation from bondage to the trivial and the temporary. Every one craves for it in his heart of hearts. And it is available only in one shop – Contemplation of the Highest Self, the basis of all this Appearance.

However high a bird may soar, it has sooner or later to perch on a tree top, to enjoy quiet. So too, a day will come when even the most haughty, the most wilful, the most unbelieving and even those who assert that there is no joy or peace in the Contemplation of the Highest Self will have to pray, “God, grant me peace, grant me consolation, strength and joy”. – Mahasivarathri, 7-2-1959

The first sign of spiritual life is Detachment. If you have no detachment, you are illiterate so far as spiritual scholarship is concerned. Detachment is the ABC of Sadhana. Detachment must become strong enough to make you discard the bondage of the senses. Just a few minutes of thought will convince any one of the hollowness of earthly riches or fame or happiness. When you are affluent, every one praises you; when the tank is full, hundreds of frogs croak all round. When the tank is dry, not a single one is there to address the tank. If a corpse had a few jewels on it, the proverb says, many will claim kinship with the dead person; if it has no valuables on it, not a single person will come forward to weep for it! Consider when you are adding to your bank account further and further sums of money whether you are not accumulating troubles for yourselves and your children, making it harder for your children to lead clean, comfortable and honourable lives. When you struggle to achieve paltry fame by devious means, remember who among crores of your countrymen are honoured today and for what? Don’t you see that only those who gave up, renounced, sought the more difficult road of God-realisation, instead of the easier path of World-realisation, are honoured everywhere? – Prasanthi Nilayam: 8-9-63


Andromeda galaxy
M31: The Andromeda Galaxy
Image Credit: Subaru (NAOJ), Hubble (NASA/ESA), Mayall (NSF);
Processing & Copyright: R. Gendler & R. Croman
Explanation: The most distant object easily visible to the unaided eye is M31, the great Andromeda Galaxy. Even at some two and a half million light-years distant, this immense spiral galaxy — spanning over 200,000 light years — is visible, although as a faint, nebulous cloud in the constellation Andromeda. In contrast, a bright yellow nucleus, dark winding dust lanes, and expansive spiral arms dotted with blue star clusters and red nebulae, are recorded in this stunning telescopic image which combines data from orbiting Hubble with ground-based images from Subaru and Mayall. In only about 5 billion years, the Andromeda galaxy may be even easier to see — as it will likely span the entire night sky — just before it merges with our Milky Way Galaxy.



Hamsa Gayatri
Om Hamsaaya Vidmahe
Paramahamsaya Dheemahi
Tanno Hamsa Prachodayat

“May we realise Hamsa that is our own Self as the Swan. Let us meditate on that Paramahamsa, the Supreme Self. May Hamsa illumine us.”