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Thought Creates The World

by Sivananda

Thought, The Origin Of Everything

Everything in the material universe about us had its origin first in thought. From this, it took its form. Every castle, every statue, every painting, every piece of mechanism-in short, everything-had its birth, its origin, first in the mind of the one who formed it before it received its material expression or embodiment.

Mind has got various preoccupations. When an artist begins to draw a picture on the canvas, he draws the picture out of the material preconceived by the mind.

After all, the world is merely an idea or thought. Just as a seed begins to germinate at its proper time and place, so also the seer (knower) appears as the visible through the Sankalpa of the mind (the visible being no other than the seer itself). When the mind ceases to think, the world vanishes and there is bliss indescribable. When the mind begins to think, immediately the world reappears and there is suffering.

"Cogito, ergo sum-I think, therefore I am." This is Descartes' fundamental basis of philosophy. This is in accordance with Sri Sankara's statement that the Atman cannot be illusive; for he who would deny it, even in denying it, witnesses its reality.

The universe is rendered visible by mind. But, it is a pity that nobody has seen the mind save a seer. When you seriously and unceasingly think over the nature of the mind, it is nothing. When you begin to analyse mind, it is nothing. It dwindles to airy nothing. It is a bundle of thoughts and the thought 'I' is the root of all thoughts. This 'I' is a false idea, a non-entity. When the root of all thoughts vanishes into nothing, where is the boasted mind?

The first thought that arose in your mind was 'Aham', 'I'. The last thought or Vritti that will arise in the mind before it is absorbed in Brahman will be Brahmakara Vritti which is produced by your feeling that you are Infinity.

Universe, A Creation Of The Cosmic Mind

The universe is not mental creation of Jiva. One single, organised thought of the Cosmic Mind (Hiranyagarbha) has materialised as the seeming universe. This phenomenal universe is but an outcome of the Divine Will, seeming to be real through the workings of the mind.

Before you write out a drama, you have a vivid mental picture of the whole drama in your mind. Then you write it out in succession in four acts. When it is staged, it is acted in succession, part by part. Similarly, the universe with its movements is a vivid mental picture in the Cosmic Mind-in the mind of Isvara. There is neither past nor future for Him. Everything is 'Present' for Him. There is neither 'near' nor 'far' for Him. Every place is 'here'. Every time is 'now''. The events come out in succession on the stage of the long world-drama as Time rolls on. Atoms rotate continuously. Old becomes new and new becomes old. In reality there is no such thing as old; there is no such thing as single. The Jivas with individual minds are witnessing the events in succession. But Isvara knows all events at one sweep. He is Sarvajna (all-knowing). He is Sarvavit (all-understanding) also. He knows every detail of His creation. The Cosmic Mind creates the Maya. Individual minds receive things under delusion.

This universe is nothing but a mode of the mind, self-evolved from Brahman, the cause of the universe. All the universes which appear only through Manas are no other than its modes. The mind is subjectively consciousness and objectively it is this universe. Hence, this all-pervading world is nothing but consciousness itself.

1. The Jiva and the universe are Brahman in their innate condition only.

Isvara And Maya

All the Samskaras float in Maya. Suppose there is a very big mirror. You can see in the mirror the reflection of all persons who move in the street, all carts, cars, all carriages which pass along the road. You can be simply watching these movements from a distance in the mirror without being affected in the least. Even so, the movements of this whole universe take place in the biggest mirror of Maya. Isvara or the Lord of the universe is simply witnessing everything. He is the silent Sakshi. When the Adrishta (the hidden power in Karmas) of the Jivas ripens, Isvara simply wills and the universe is projected.

Reality Of The Universe Lies In Sankalpa Of Manas

This ever-agitated Manas (mind), having come into existence out of the ineffable Brahman, creates the world according to its own Sankalpa (thoughts). This legerdemain of the universe springs out of the Sankalpa of your Manas. It is through the Sankalpa of your Manas that the universe appears to be and it is this Sankalpa that is asked to be given up by you if you wish to soar to the One Reality beyond the universe. "Sarvasankalpasannyasi Yogarudhastadochyate-He is said to be established in Yoga who has renounced all his Sankalpas." (Gita, VI-4)

With the growth of a paltry Sankalpa, there will arise the universe; with the extinction of the former, the latter also will disappear. With the annihilation of Sankalpa, all conception of differences between the seer and the seen will vanish and then the Reality of Brahman will begin to shine uninterrupted. Then the shadow of all the universe-movable and fixed-will be found absorbed in It in a non-dual state.

With the contemplation of 'I', all the train of ideas of the universe will set in; otherwise, all the universe will vanish as instantaneously as darkness before the sun. Mind and 'I' are one. Destroy the 'I', then the mind is destroyed.

"Manah-kalpitam Jagat-(Creation of) world is an imagination of the mind" (Yogavasishtha). This legerdemain of the world is enacted by the mind and the mind alone- "Manomatram Jagat. What you call world is the mind only." Mind is world. The mind manifests itself as the external world. This universe is no other than the mind itself. Like a dream generating another dream in it, the mind, having no visible form, will generate non-existent visibles. This perishable universe exists only when the mind exists, but disappears with the absence of the latter. If the mind, which is the instrument of knowledge, perception and activity, vanishes, with it disappears this subjective world also.

There is a corresponding notion and object for every Sabda (sound). There is a notion and an object for the Sabda "Cow." Maya is deceiving you through Sabda-jala. The whole world is a mere notion, mere idea. It is Sankalpamatra. It is Bhrantimatra. It is Kalpanamatra. It is Akasamatra. It exists in name only. "Vacharambhanam Vikaro Namadheyam Mritti-ketyeva Satyam-all modifications being only names based upon words, the truth being that all is clay." The whole world is a combination of five elements. Analyse, realise the illusory nature of all objects and abandon all false objects. When you begin to analyse, the whole world vanishes and with it the notion, sound, and objects also.

The happiness and misery experienced in this world are caused by the working of the mind. All the hosts of pains and pleasures arise from the mind only. They will perish if the mind perishes through stainless discrimination and spiritual Sadhana. The three worlds are created for the pleasures and pains of the mind. Suspension of the mental activity will cause the three worlds to disappear with their misery. With the destruction of the mind, all the three periods of time vanish into nothing. By controlling the mind, all occult powers are acquired. If the mind is not controlled, all else become useless and painful. Therefore, the mind should be annihilated.

Mind Functions Within The Three Categories

Mind always functions within the categories of time, space and causation. These three categories are mental creations only. A coconut tree is not really twenty feet high. The height is only a mental interpretation. There are vibrations only outside. It is the mind that creates length, breadth, height, thickness, dimensions, void, square, etc. A distance of two miles comes out of feeling only. You actually feel that you have walked so much distance. When you transcend the mind, all these categories vanish entirely. Annihilate the mind, therefore, through Brahmavichara. You will enter a realm of Peace and Ananda which is eternal, infinite and causeless (Parama Karana).

The Why And How Of The Universe, a Transcendental Question

Mr. Narain, my friend who is standing before me, is my own mental creation. Even this world is my own mental creation.

Abhava or non-existence is said to be an object of perception, since non-existence of a thing means its existence somewhere else.

According to the idealistic theory, there is no world at all in reality. It is all mere mental imagination. This is Vijnanavada of the Buddhists.

According to the realistic theory, the world is a solid reality. Even the dualist school of Madhva and Visishtadvaita school of Ramanuja and Raja Yogic school of Maharshi Patanjali hold that the world is real (Jagat Satyam).

Kant has demonstrated that space, time and causation are not objective realities, but only subjective forms of our intellect, and the unavoidable conclusion is that the world, so far as it is extended in space, is running on in time and ruled throughout by causality, is merely a representation of our mind and nothing beyond it.

A finite mind that is gross and conditioned by time, space and causation cannot comprehend the why and how of the universe, a question that is transcendental. The question has never been answered by anybody, by any Sastra, by any sage or Acharya. Do not rack your mind on this point. You can never get a solution for this problem. It is Mauja of Brahman to create this universe. It is His Lila-Vilasa. It is His Maya. It is His Svabhava.

Non-Existence Of The World, what It Means

The Abhava of Jagat (non-existence of the world) or its Nasa (destruction) does not mean the annihilation of mountains, lakes, trees and rivers. When your Nischaya (determination) that this world is Mithya (unreal, illusory) gets stronger and stronger and when you are well-established on this idea that this world is illusory like Mrigatrishna (mirage), this alone is destruction of the world.

You cannot destroy a mountain, but you can destroy the idea of a mountain.

The universe is like a Svapna in Jagrat. Just as there is the image in the mirror, this world is a big image in the mind-mirror. The mind is like a big Chaddar (thick cloth) painted with various pictures. There is neither painter nor canvas nor any material for painting such as brush, dish, oil, powder, etc. The picture of the universe appears depicted on the spotless Jnana-Akasa (knowledge-space).

The play of the mind arising out of Chaitanya (pure consciousness) constitutes this universe. Mind is Maya. Maya is mind. The workings of the mind are nothing but the workings of Maya itself. Attraction or attachment in the mind towards forms is Maya. Identification of one's own self with the mind is Maya.

How The Mind Manifests As The World

The motion or vibration of Prana moves the mind. The movement of the mind generates the universe. The mind manifests itself as the external world. Nama-Rupa (names and forms) arise owing to Vikshepa Sakti, one of the powers of Maya. The Vikshepa force operates both in the Jagrat and the Svapna states. The whole world is projected on account of this power only. In sleep, it disappears.

The world enters the mind through the eyes, ears, tongue (speech) and old Samskaras. If you remain in the seclusion, you can shut out these first three doors. Through Vichara (right enquiry of Supreme Self), you can destroy the Samskaras, the fourth route. Then Jnana (Knowledge of Self) will dawn.

All the universes with their heterogeneity, though really Atma-Jnana, shine as worlds only through our illusory mind, like the blueness of the sky which is really non-existent. The Self-light of Para Brahman alone is appearing as the mind or this motley universe. Mind is Prajna-Sakti. Matter is Bhuta-Sakti. Prana is Kriya-Sakti of Brahman. Everything belongs to Brahman. In reality, there is no Jiva. There is Brahman only.

The mind which ever rises and falls with the ebb of desires, fancies this illusory universe to be through its ignorance; but it should be informed of the real nature of this world, then it will cognise it to be Brahman itself.


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