In The Beginning – April 26 2020

In The Beginning – April 26 2020

n the beginning, the Creator stood alone. He had no happiness when alone. Through meditation He brought into existence many creatures. He looked on them and saw they were without understanding, like a lifeless post, like a stone. He had no happiness. He thought: “I shall enter within, that they may awake.” Making Himself like air, He entered within.

Maitrayani Upanishad, II. 6., 

translated by Swami Nikhilananda


This is just one of many Creation myths that appear in Vedanta. How can there be so many accepted versions of this one story?


Stories of the beginnings of life must be understandable to all people at every level of development. At the Christmas pageant in the St. Paul’s Lutheran Church of my youth, Away in a Manger was sung for (and by) the children, and Silent Night was sung, often in German, for the adults, the German version for those who had been raised in that language. Both hymns are designed to calm and comfort, to draw in, to glorify the event being celebrated, but each for a different audience. Likewise, in the Vedas the Truth of things is presented in as many ways as possible so that anyone may be able to benefit, regardless of station, level of education or life experience. In the Rig Veda it is said:


There is one Truth. The sages call it by different names.


Also, the Truth we are discussing is the Infinite, and yet we are constrained to using our finite minds and our limited vocabularies. If I am to describe even an aspect of God, by definition my description will be partial. It is not possible for me to encompass even a small percentage of infinity in mere words, in a story. And yet we persist because this is all we have to work with. We continue to communicate these ideas of life, God, the infinite, in order to lead ourselves forward, and to inspire ourselves to continue to grow.


The story above separates out from the idea of the Infinite a Being with some human attributes – i.e. loneliness – and thus allows us to identify with the Creator. It moves us in the direction of identifying with our Higher Self, and ultimately with Totality Itself.


And I love the idea of my aliveness helping the Creator feel less alone..


Today I will ask nature to show Itself to me in a way that is finite enough for me to recognize It, but enough in the direction of Infinity that there is no mistaking Its Divinity. I will look for the presence of the Divine in each moment of the day.

Ardhanarishwara, tintype, Studio City, CA