Nasadiya Sukta

Then even nothingness was not, nor existence,
There was no air then, nor the heavens beyond it.
What covered it? Where was it? In whose keeping?
Was there then cosmic water, in depths unfathomed?

Then there was neither death nor immortality
nor was there then the torch of night and day.
The One breathed windlessly and self-sustaining.
There was that One then, and there was no other.

At first there was only darkness wrapped in darkness.
All this was only unillumined water.
That One which came to be, enclosed in nothing,
arose at last, born of the power of heat.

In the beginning desire descended on it –
that was the primal seed, born of the mind.
The sages who have searched their hearts with wisdom
know that which is kin to that which is not.

And they have stretched their cord across the void,
and know what was above, and what below.
Seminal powers made fertile mighty forces.
Below was strength, and over it was impulse.

But, after all, who knows, and who can say
Whence it all came, and how creation happened?
the gods themselves are later than creation,
so who knows truly whence it has arisen?

Whence all creation had its origin,
he, whether he fashioned it or whether he did not,
he, who surveys it all from highest heaven,
he knows – or maybe even he does not know.[wiki]

—Translated by A. L. Basham

This is the 129th hymn of the 10th Mandala of the Rigveda (10:129).

 

These hymns exhibit a level of philosophical speculation very atypical of the Rig-Veda, which for the most part is occupied with ritualistic invocation. And this hymns has been becoming my favorite hymns from Rig-Veda.

What is interesting about this hymns is that it keeps the origin of the Existence before creation  in an unanswerable question, without speculating any answer, like god behind it. In fact there is also the hymns which said that even “gods themselves are later than creation”. In the form of a paradoxical poetry, it states something interesting at the end of the hymns “or maybe even he does not know”. I believe this is referring to the “Nothingness” before creation as Pure Consciousness, without any manifested qualities and activities  including “knowing” itself, because knowing was also an activity and required object which need to be known. Therefore in the state of Pure Consciousness there was no “knowing activity”, time ceased, space ceased, all duality ceased as the hymns state “even nothingness was not, nor existence”, There was no colors no darkness  (“At first there was only darkness wrapped in darkness”) .

This is the state of Nirguna Brahman(Unmanifested Reality, “All this was only unillumined water”). The wise approached this understanding by silencing their mind in order to bring their Consciousness into a similar state as that “Nothingness” where all concepts like time and space(“Where was it?”) dissolve back to the source of all perception and conception, The dimensionless and pure Consciousness. (“The sages who have searched their hearts with wisdom
know that which is kin to that which is not.”)

 

This hymns left us a question not an answer, for us to approach it through practice and  observation.

“Exploration is in our nature. We began as wanderers, and we are wanderers still. We have lingered long enough on the shores of the cosmic ocean. We are ready at last to set sail for the stars.” ~ Carl Sagan

 

I think this is the purpose of our existence, which is to play (Lilla) not some easy play, but the play of knowledge, exploration and observation. If all answers had been given, what is the fun of life? Throughout the history, mystery is what makes our life excited isn’t it ?

Carl Sagan quote this Hymns also in this video.

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