YUGAPAT-SRISHTI (INSTANTANEOUS IMAGINED CREATION): Sri Ramana
Q. How has srishti (creation) about? Some say it is predestined, others say it is God's play (lila). What is the truth?
Various accounts are given in books. But is there creation (a real transformation within space of any substance)? Only if there is creation, do we have to explain how it came about. We may not know about all these theories, but, we certainly know that we exist (are aware of our existence). Why not know the 'I', and then see if there is a creation?
Q. Evolutionary creation is stated to suit the capacity of beginners, but for the advanced non-creation is revealed. What is your view?
A. There is no dissolution or creation, no one in bondage, nor anyone pursuing spiritual practices. There is no one desiring liberation, nor anyone liberated! This is absolute truth. One who is established in the Self (consciousness) sees by his knowledge of reality (consciousness).
Is not the Self (consciousness, existence, being-ness) the cause of this world we see around us?
The Self itself appears as the world of diverse names and forms. However, the Self does not act as the efficient cause (nimitta karana) - creating, sustaining and destroying the world appearance.
You seem to be an exponent of ajata doctrine (instantaneous imagined creation)?
A. I do not teach only the ajata doctrine. I approve of all schools.
The same truth has to be expressed in different ways to suit
the capacity of the hearer. The ajata doctrine (instant imagined
creation) says 'Nothing exists except the one reality. There
is no birth, no death, no projection, or drawing in, no seeker,
no bondage, no liberation. The one unity alone exists.'
To such as find it difficult to grasp this truth, and who ask 'How
can we ignore the solid world we see all around us?' - the dream
experience (during sleep at night) is pointed out, and they are
told 'All that see depends on the seer. Apart from the seer,
there is no seeing.' This is called the drishti-srishti-vada - or
the argument that one first creates (imagines) a world out of
one's mind and sees what one's mind itself has created (imagined).
Some people cannot grasp even this, and they continue to argue in the following terms: 'The dream experience is so short, while the world always exists. The dream experience was limited to me. But the world is felt and seen not only by me, but so many others. We cannot call such a world non-existent.'
When people argue in this way, they can be given the srishti-drishti theory (evolutionary creation).
For example, 'God first created such and such a thing, out of such and such an element, and then something else was created, and so on.' That alone will satisfy this class. Their minds are otherwise not satisfied and they ask themselves 'How can all geography, all maps, all sciences, stars, planets and the rules governing or relating to them, and all knowledge be totally untrue?' To such it is best to say 'Yes, God created all of this, so you see it.'
The Vedanta says the cosmos brings the world into view simultaneously with the seer, and that there is no detailed process of creation. This is said to be yugapat-srishti (instantaneous imagined creation).
It is just like creations in dreams where the experiencer (seer)
springs simultaneously into existence with the objects of experience
When this is told, some people are not satisfied, for they are deeply rooted in objective knowledge (belief in the reality of the world appearance). They seek to find out how there can be sudden creation. They argue that an effect must be preceded by a cause. In short, they desire an
explanation for the existence of the world which they see around them.
Then the srutis (scriptures) try to
satisfy their curiosity by theories of evolutionary creation (based upon cause and effect theories,
and the transformation of elements - all of which do not exist
in consciousness). This method with dealing with the subject
of creation is called krama-srishti (gradual evolutionary
But the truth seeker can only be content
by yugapat-srishti (instantaneous imagined world
What is the purpose of creation?
It is to give rise to this question. Investigate the answer to
this question, and finally abide in the supreme or rather the
primal source of all (awareness, consciousness, existence, the
Self), the investigation will resolve itself into a quest for
the Self, and it will cease only after the non-self is sifted
away, and the Self (consciousness) realized in its purity and
glory. There may be numbers of theories of creation. All of them
extend outwardly. There will be no limit to them, because time
and space (being imagined) are (therefore) unlimited. They are
however only (imagined) in the mind. If you see the mind (realize
its source), time and space are transcended, and the Self (consciousness) is
is explained scientifically and logically to one's own satisfaction.
But is there any finality about it? Such explanations are called krama-srishti
(gradual evolutionary creation).
the other hand, drishti-srishti (simultaneous imagined creation)
is really yugapat srishti (instantaneous imagined world appearance)
whereby the subject and objects appear at the same time.
the seer, there are no objects seen. Find the seer, and all of
creation is comprised in him. Why look outward and go on explaining
the phenomenon (objects in the imagined world appearance) which
Q. I form part of the creation, and so remain dependent (in bondage).
I cannot solve the riddle of creation until I become independent
(free). Yet I ask, should you not answer the question for me?
Again, where are you now, that you ask this question? Are
you in the world, or is the world within you? You must admit
that the world is not perceived in your sleep, although you cannot
deny your existence then. The world appears when you wake up.
So where is it? Clearly, the world is your thought, thoughts
are your projections. The 'I' is first created, and then
the world. The world is created by the 'I' which in turn rises
from the Self (consciousness). The riddle of the creation of
the world is thus solved if you solve the creation of 'I'. So
I say, find your self (consciousness).
does the world come and ask you 'Why do I exist, how was I created?' It
is you who ask the question. The questioner must establish
the relationship between the world and himself. He must admit
that the world is his imagination. Who imagines it? Let him
again find the 'I', and then the Self (consciousness). There
is no creation in the state of realization (of consciousness).
one sees the world (as an independent reality), one does not
realizes one's Self (consciousness). When one realizes
one's Self (consciousness), the world is not seen (as a reality
independent of the Self - consciousness). So realize
your real Self, and realize that there has been no creation (only
an imagined appearance of a world, just as in dreams at night).
is real. The world (jagat) is illusion' is the stock phrase of
Sankara, yet others say 'The world is real.' Which is true?
Both statements are true. They refer to different stages of development,
and are spoken from different points of view. The aspirant (abhyasi)
starts with the definition, what is real exists always (never
changes). Then the world is eliminated as unreal because it is
seeker ultimately reaches the Self, and realizes the underlying
substratum (consciousness within which the world appears). Then
that which was originally rejected as being unreal, is found
to be part of (and an appearance in) the unity (consciousness). Being
absorbed in the reality (consciousness), the world is also real.
There is only being in Self-realization, and nothing but being
(awareness of awareness).
Sri Ramana always says that maya (world illusion) and reality
are the same. How can that be?
A. Sankara was criticized for his
views on maya (the world illusion) without being understood.
He said that:
1. Consciousness alone is real
2. The universe is unreal
3. The universe is consciousness (since it has no existence independent of consciousness within which it appears).
He did not stop at the second, because the third explains the other
two. It signifies that the universe is real if perceived
as the Self (an appearance in consciousness), and unreal if
perceived as apart from the Self. Hence, maya (the world
appearance imagined within consciousness) and reality (consciousness)
are one and the same (both being consciousness alone).
Q. So the world is not an illusion?
the level of the spiritual seeker, you have got to say that
the world is an illusion. There is no other way. When a
man forgets that he is consciousness, which is real, permanent
and omnipresent, and deludes himself into thinking that he
is a body in the universe, which is filled with transitory
bodies and labors under that delusion, you have go to remind
him that the world is unreal, and a delusion.
Because his vision, which has forgotten his own Self (consciousness)
is dwelling in the external material universe (imagined world
appearance). He will not turn inwards into introspection,
unless you impress on him that all this external, material universe
is unreal (only an imagined appearance in consciousness). Once
he realizes his own Self, he will know that there is nothing
other than his own Self, and he will come to look upon the whole
universe as how own Self (consciousness). There is no universe
without the Self.
long as a man does not see the Self which is the origin of all, but looks
only upon the external world as real and permanent, you
have to tell him that all this external universe (world appearance)
is unreal. You cannot help it.
a paper. We only see the script, and nobody notices the paper
on which the script is written. The paper is there, whether the
script on it is there or not. To those who look upon the script
as real, you have to say that it is unreal, an illusion, since
it rests upon the paper. The wise man looks upon both the
paper and script as one. So also with consciousness and the universe.
So the world is real when it is experienced as the Self and unreal
when it is seen as separate (names and forms)?
A. Just as fire is obscured by smoke,
the shining light of consciousness is obscured by the world appearance. When by
compassionate divine grace the mind becomes clear, the nature
of the world will be known to be not the illusionary forms, but
only the reality (the consciousness within which it appears).
those people whose minds are devoid of the power of maya (world
illusion, seeing the unreal as real), having given up the knowledge of the
world, and being unattached to it, and having thereby attained
the knowledge of the Self-shining supreme reality (consciousness), can
correctly know the meaning of the statement 'The world is real.' If
one's outlook has been transformed to the nature of real knowledge,
the world of the five elements, beginning with ether (akasa)
will be real, being the supreme reality, which is the nature
of knowledge. The original state of this empty world, which
is bewildering and crowded with many names and forms, is bliss,
which is one.
I cannot say it is all clear to me. Is the world that is seen,
felt and sensed by us in so many ways something like a dream,
is no alternative for you to accept the world as unreal if
you are seeking the truth, and the absolute truth alone.
For the simple reason, unless you give up the idea that the world
is real, your mind will always be after it. If you take the
appearance to be real, you will never know the real itself, although
it is the real alone that exists. This point is illustrated
by the analogy of the snake-in-the-rope. You may believe that
a piece of rope is a snake, while you imagine the rope is a snake,
you cannot see the rope as a rope (due to misperception). The
non-existent snake becomes real to you, while the real rope seems
wholly non-existent as such.
It is easy to accept tentatively that the world is not real,
but it is hard to have the conviction within the heart that it
A. Even so is your dream world real
while you are dreaming. So long as the dream lasts, everything
you see and feel in it is real.
Is the world then no better than a dream?
A. What is wrong with the sense of
reality you have while you are dreaming? You may be dreaming
of something quite impossible, for instance, having a happy chat
with a dead person. Just for a moment, you may doubt in the dream,
saying to yourself 'Was he not dead?', but somehow your mind
reconciles itself to the dream vision, and the person is as alive
for the purposes of the dream.
other words, the dream as a dream, does not permit you to
doubt its reality. It is the same in the waking state, where
you are unable to doubt the reality of the world which you see
while awake. How can the mind which has created the world
accept it as unreal? That is the significance of the comparison
made between the world of the waking state and the dream world.
Both are creations of (imagined within) the mind, and so long
as the mind is engrossed in either, it finds itself unable to
deny their reality.
cannot deny the reality of the dream world while it is dreaming,
and it cannot deny the reality of the waking world while it is
awake. If, on the other hand, you draw your hand completely from
the world, and turn it within and abide there, that is, if
you always keep awake to the Self (consciousness) which is the
substratum (source) of all experiences, you will find the world
of which you are now aware is just as unreal as the world in
which you lived in your dream (during sleep at night).
We see, feel and sense the world in so many ways. These sensations
are the reactions to the objects seen and felt. They are not
mental creations as in dreams, which differ not only from person
to person, but also with regards to the same person. Is that
not enough to prove the objective reality (physical substantiality)
of the world?
All this talk of inconsistencies in the dream world arises only
now when you are awake. While you are dreaming, the dream
was a perfectly integrated whole. That is to say, if you
felt thirsty in a dream, the dream water quenched your dream
thirst. But all this was real and not illusory (a dream) to you
as long as you did not know that the dream itself was an illusion
(a dream). Similarly with the world perceived while awake. The
sensations you now have get coordinated to give you the impression
that the world is real. If, on the other hand, the world is a
self-existent reality (that is what evidentially mean by its
objectivity), what prevents the world from revealing itself to
you in sleep? You do not say you did not exist in your dream.
Neither do I deny the world's existence while I am asleep. It
has been existing all the while. If during my sleep I did not
see it, others who were not sleeping saw it.
To say that you existed while asleep, was it necessary to call
in the evidence of the others so as to prove it to you? Why do
you seek their evidence now? Those others can tell you of
having seen the world during your sleep only when you yourself
are awake. With regards to your own existence (consciousness),
it is different. On waking up, you say you had a sound sleep,
and to that extent you are aware of yourself in the deepest sleep,
whereas you have not the slightest notion of the world's existence
then. Even now, while you are awake, is it the world that
says 'I am real', or is it you?
Of course I say it, but I say it of the world.
Well then, that world, which you say is real, is really mocking
at you for seeking to prove its reality, while you are ignorant
of your own reality. You want somehow or other to maintain
that the world is real.
is the standard of reality? That alone is real which exists
by itself, which reveals itself by itself, and which is eternal
and unchanging. Does the world exist by itself? Was it ever
seen without the aid of the mind? In sleep there is neither mind,
nor the world. When awake, there is mind and there is the world.
What does this invariable concomitance mean?
are familiar with the principles of inductive logic, which
are considered the very basis of scientific investigation. Why
do you not decide this question of the reality of the world in
light of those accepted principles of logic? Of yourself you
say 'I exist.' That is, your existence is not near existence,
it is existence of which you are conscious. Really, existence
is identical with consciousness.
Q. The world may not be conscious
of itself, yet it exists.
Consciousness is always Self-consciousness. If you are conscious
of anything, you are essentially conscious of yourself. Unself-conscious
existence is a contradiction in terms (an impossibility). It
is not existence at all. It is merely attributed existence, whereas
true existence, the sat, is not an attribute, it is substance
itself. It is the vastu (reality).
is therefore known as sat-chit (being-consciousness), and never
merely one to the exclusion of the other. The world neither exists
by itself, nor is it conscious of its existence. How can you
say that such a world is real? And what is the nature of the
world? It is perpetual change, a continuous, interminable flux.
A dependent, unself-conscious ever-changing world cannot be real.
Are the names and forms of the world real?
You won't find them separate from adhishtana (the substratum,
consciousness). When you try to get at a name and form, you will
find reality only (the substratum). Therefore attain the knowledge
of that which is real for all time (consciousness).
Why does the waking state look so real?
see so much on the cinema screen, but it is not real. Nothing
is real there except the screen. In the same way in the
waking state, there is nothing but adhishtana. Knowledge of
the world is knowledge of the knower of the world (jagrat-prama
is the prama of jagrat-pramata). Both go away in sleep.
Q. Why do we so much permanency and
constancy in the world?
It is seen on account of wrong ideas. When someone says that
he took a bath in the same river twice, he is wrong. Because
when he bathed for the second time, the river is not the same
second time as it was when he bathed for the first time. On looking
twice at the brightness of a flame, a man says that he sees the
same flame, but this flame is changing every moment. The waking
state is like this. The stationary appearance is an error or
From where did the knower and his misperception come?
Find out that 'I' and all your doubts will be solved. Just as
in a dream a false knowledge, knower and known rise up, in the
waking state the same process operates. In both states on knowing
this 'I', you know everything and nothing remains to be known.
Indeed sleep, knower, knowledge and known are absent. In the
same way, at the same time of experiencing the real 'I', they
will not exist. Whatever you see happening in the waking state
happens only to the knower, and since the knower (the subject
being imagined) is unreal, nothing in fact ever happens.
Is the light which gives the 'I' sense identity and knowledge
of the world ignorance or chit (consciousness)?
It is only reflected light of chit (consciousness) that makes
the 'I' believe itself different from others. This reflected
light of chit also makes the 'I' created (imagine) objects, but
for this reflection there must be a surface on which the reflection
What is that surface?
On realization of the Self, you will find that the reflection
and the surface on which it takes place do not actually exist,
and that both of them are one and the same chit (consciousness). There
is the world, which requires location (space) for its existence
and light to make it perceptible. Both rise (are imagined) simultaneously.
Therefore, physical existence and perception depend upon the
light of the mind which is reflected from the Self (consciousness).
as the cinema picture can be made visible by a reflected light,
and only in darkness, so also the world appearance is only
perceptible by the light of the Self reflected in the darkness
of avidya (ignorance).
world cannot be seen in the utter darkness of ignorance (as in
deep sleep), nor in the utter light of Self (consciousness),
as in Self realization (samadhi).
ABOUT SRI RAMANA
The above insights of Sri Ramana (1879 - 1950), are known among
spiritual seekers the world over and prized for their great inspirational
power, which transcends all religious differences.
scholarly circles in the spiritual community of India, Sri
Ramana is considered
the most important mystic on the world stage during the 20th
of the unprecedented timeliness of his emphasis on self-inquiry
for direct Self-realization (of one's true nature). At the age
of 17 he attained a profound experience of the true infinite
Self without the guidance of a Guru and thereafter remained conscious
of his identity with the Infinite at all times.
some years of silent seclusion he finally began to reply to questions
put to him by spiritual seekers all over the world. He
followed no particular path or traditional system of teaching,
but rather spoke directly from his own experience of non-duality. Sri
Ramana wrote virtually nothing; his teaching took the form of
conversations with visitors seeking his guidance (as transcribed