The Poetry of Creation - Rig Veda Book 10 Hymn 129
Note: To listen to the audio chanting of this hymn, please read my blog Mantras and Vedic Hymns - Listen to the Audio.
The non-dualistic school of Vedanta Philosophy accepts God as the creator of this world. But it holds the view that the world is only an apparent transformation of God. God, using his power of "magic" (called MAYA) has created this world. This world is real to those who are under the spell of God's Maya. It is not real to God. From His standpoint he has not really created the world. To us, it only appears to be real to us, who are under the sway of His Maya. Thus, from our point of view, God the Creator also seems to be "real". As one would notice, in the last lines of the hymn of creation doubts have been raised about the real creation of this world.
The Creation Hymn of Rig Veda
There was neither non-existence nor existence then.
There was neither the realm of space nor the sky which is beyond.
In whose protection?
Was there water, bottlemlessly deep?
There was neither death nor immortality then.
There was no distinguishing sign of night nor of day.
That One breathed, windless, by its own impulse.
Other than that there was nothing beyond.
Darkness was hidden by darkness in the beginning,
with no distinguishing sign, all this was water.
The life force that was covered with emptiness,
that One arose through the power of heat.
Desire came upon that One in the beginning,
that was the first seed of mind.
Poets seeking in their heart with wisdom
found the bond of existence and non-existence.
Their cord was extended across.
Was there below?
Was there above?
There were seed-placers, there were powers.
There was impulse beneath, there was giving forth above.
Who really knows?
Who will here proclaim it?
Whence was it produced?
Whence is this creation?
The gods came afterwards, with the creation of this universe.
Who then knows whence it has arisen?
Whence this creation has arisen
- perhaps it formed itself, or perhaps it did not -
the One who looks down on it,
in the highest heaven, only He knows
or perhaps He does not know.
(Translation by Wendy Doniger O'Flaherty)
For those interested in the original text:
nāsadāsīn no sadāsīt tadānīṃ nāsīd rajo no vyomāparo yat |
kimāvarīvaḥ kuha kasya śarmannambhaḥ kimāsīd ghahanaṃ ghabhīram ||
na mṛtyurāsīdamṛtaṃ na tarhi na rātryā ahna āsītpraketaḥ |
ānīdavātaṃ svadhayā tadekaṃ tasmāddhānyan na paraḥ kiṃ canāsa ||
tama āsīt tamasā ghūḷamaghre.apraketaṃ salilaṃ sarvamāidam |
tuchyenābhvapihitaṃ yadāsīt tapasastanmahinājāyataikam ||
kāmastadaghre samavartatādhi manaso retaḥ prathamaṃ yadāsīt |
sato bandhumasati niravindan hṛdi pratīṣyākavayo manīṣā ||
tiraścīno vitato raśmireṣāmadhaḥ svidāsī.a.a.at |
retodhāāsan mahimāna āsan svadhā avastāt prayatiḥ parastāt ||
ko addhā veda ka iha pra vocat kuta ājātā kuta iyaṃvisṛṣṭiḥ |
arvāgh devā asya visarjanenāthā ko veda yataābabhūva ||
iyaṃ visṛṣṭiryata ābabhūva yadi vā dadhe yadi vā na |
yo asyādhyakṣaḥ parame vyoman so aṅgha veda yadi vā naveda ||