Genesis according to Hindu visions

The Rig Veda, which is said to date back to more than five millennia, has visions of cosmic origins. The best known of these is the Nâsadîya or Creation Hymn which appears in the tenth book of the work. Here one speaks of a pre-creation stage in which there was nothing in the universe, a poetic vision of the pre-Big Bang phase, as it were.

Not even nothing existed then
No air yet, and no heaven.
Who encased and kept it where?
Was water in the darkness there?

Neither deathlessness nor decay
No, nor the rhythm of night and day:
The self-existent, with breath sans air:
That, and that alone was there.

Darkness was in darkness found
Like light-less water all around.
One emerged, with nothing on
It was from heat that this was born.

In it did Desire, its way did find:
The primordial seed born of mind.
Sages do know deep in the heart:
What exists is kin to what does not.

Across the void the cord was thrown,
The place of every thing was known.
Seed-sowers and powers now came by,
Impulse below and force on high.

Who really knows, and who can swear,
How creation arose, when or where!
Even gods came after creation’s day,
Who really knows, who can truly say

When and how did creation start?
Did He do it? Or did He not?
Only He up there knows, maybe;
Or perhaps, not even He.

In a truly anthroposensitive way, the verse says that desire found its way into that void, suggesting the primordial seed was born of a cosmic Mind. This vision affirms a spiritual under-grounding to the world at large. Note the statement here: "Even gods came after creation’s day." In this reflection on Genesis, we find a disarming modesty, for the sage-poet also exclaims, "Who really knows, and who can swear!" It is simplistic to imagine that a religious worldview will necessarily have to be dogmatic.

Hinduism is unique in offering more than one interpretation for cosmogenesis. Given that all life seems to arise from an egg, ancient Hindu thinkers pictured the world too as sprouting out from an egg. For so magnificent an entity as the world the origin had to be grand and glorious and golden. Thus, it all emerged from Hiranyagarbha or the Golden Womb "which floated upon the surface of the primeval waters." This is the Cosmic Intelligence, the Designing Mind which came to be called Brahmâ. It is interesting that in the twentieth century L'Abbé Lemaître, a proponent of the Big Bang theory used a similar imagery when he spoke of the universe arising from the explosion of the cosmic egg.

Beyond all the mythologies and the mathematics, beyond all the poetry of physics and the tales of tradition, Brahmâ stands for the supreme abstraction of that unfathomable mystery of Crea­tion from which has sprung this magnificent universe we experience.

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