Why Creation? Purpose of Universe? Why Ignorance? (127)


Lesson 127 answers: What is reason for creation? What is our role in it? How can Ishvara have a desire for the world? About Hiranyagarbha. Proofs for big-bang. Likes-Dislikes lead to pain/suffering.

Source: Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 13, Verse 5, 6

General Revision of Verse 5:

  • What is the purpose of creation? What is our role in it?
    • Where we can NOT ask, “Why Creation?”:
      • Creation is a cyclical phenomena of creation, sustenance, dissolution.
        • Meaning it never had one specific beginning in time. Beginning means: It never existed. And suddenly it popped into this Existence out of nowhere.
        • So there was never a time when Creation was NOT. Even when universe didn’t come, it still existed in potential form (just as dream is in potential).
        • Meaning it’s a beginningless manifest/unmanifest cycle. Like seed>tree>seed>tree.
      • So asking “Why is there creation?”, implies a beginning or time. Meaning “someone” in time thought “I want to create time/space.
        • “Why” implies Limitlessness suddenly had “aha insight”, which was non-existent a moment ago.
          • If a Limitless being (all-knowledge-power) suddenly has an “aha insight”, then there’s a fallacy in thinking:
            • The “aha insight” wasn’t part of this Limitless being. Meaning He is not Limitless.
            • From what OTHER existence did the Limitless One borrow the idea to create a universe?
            • If have 2 existences, then:
              • It introduces space to accommodate the 2 existences.
              • Which is superior?
    • Where we CAN ask, “Why Creation?”:
      • However we can inquire into PURPOSE of creation for present cycle (one of countless manifest/unmanifests for trillions of years).
      • FIRSTLY: What is the unmanifest state of universe (macrocosmic dissolution)?
        • Every jīva and object is in potential-unmanifest state (causal state).
        • EG: Just like going to sleep, you are in unmanifest state (causal state). Upon waking, you come out of causal state… into state of manifestation.
        • In same way, macrocosmic dissolution is like a long deep sleep. Every jiva dissolves into Causal Body (prakṛti).
          • Meaning, the experience of SLEEP and MACROCOSMIC dissolution is the same. In both cases… every jīva dissolves into Causal Body (potential state).
            • Proof? Everyone’s identity is SAME when identified with Causal Body: “I don’t know anything. I am absolutely ignorant”.
      • SECONDLY: What specifically caused the unmanifest universe to become the manifest universe?
        • What makes you wake up from sleep?
          • Your unfulfilled desires which lie dormant in you. It’s same reason that causes another manifest universe.
        • Why is present creation cycle, the way it is?
          • Because it’s a result of total desires of all living beings. It’s as though, all beings were sleeping in dissolution… then all needed to wake up to fulfill desires.
        • So what is creation?
          • A response to desires of all living beings. It provides appropriate field/world for various entities.
        • What is human role in this creation?
          • For animals/insects… it’s basic instincts of eating, preservation, propagation.
          • For human… it can’t be basic instincts… else all would be satisfied on earth. Thus it’s freedom from sense of limitation (which our behaviour proves).
          • Meaning the only valid role for any human is fulfill THAT agenda.
            • How? By purifying the mind. Changing focus from me-centred to others-centred. Becoming a contributor in scheme of things.
            • Reason to become a contributor? Because we are recipients of collective contributions of others. And spirit of contribution is the most conducive for cultivating mind appreciate subtler realities.
  • How can the Limitless One… have a desire… to become the many (manifest)?
    • Upanishads describe creation as a product of Īśvara’s desires.
      • What are these desires? Cumulative desires of all jivas.
      • Therefore Īśvara’s desire for creation is entirely for sake of jīvas In other words, Īśvara sees desire of jīvas… thus creates this universe.
      • So Īśvara’s desire to create… is solely on bases of fulfilling the needs of others. Meaning Īśvara’s desire has no self-centerdness, personal agenda, unfairness, partiality, likes-dislikes.
      • Who are these “others” which Īśvara’s creates for? Jīvas who think they are “others”. In reality, there’s no other from standpoint of Īśvara.
        • Īśvara sympathizes with desires of jīvas… just as parent sympathizes with childish demands of the child. You know demands don’t make sense, but fulfill them anyway.
        • In same way, karma-kāṇḍa section of Vedas is for the demanding jīva.
          • Reality is, there is nothing other then Kṣetrajña and you don’t have to do anything to be what you are.
          • But why do we have rituals anyway? Because ignorant person thinks he/she is an individual.
            • Since individual is limited… he/she always wants to complete oneself. How? By fulfillment of desires… because thinks it will “complete me”.
          • However expectation is… he/she will gain maturity in time, thus release need to constantly ask for things.
  • SUMMARY: Why is there creation? Because of desires. Desires are there because of ignorance.
    • Why is there ignorance to begin with?
      • Can’t ask, because that implies jīva was given ignorance at some point in time by someone.
    • ORDER: Ignorance > notion of jīva > leading to desires > need for creation to fulfill desires.
    • In short: Creation exists so you may exhaust your karmas.
  • What is Hiraṇyagarbha?
    • Hiranyagarbha is macrocosmic subtle body. Sum total of all individual subtle bodies. Therefore, it’s the conscious sarva-jñānam being.
      • EG: Where was the concept of “AC current” before Nikola-Tesla thought of it? In Hiranyagarbha.
      • Garbha means womb (seed or cause). Meaning, cause of a birth.
      • Hiraṇya means golden.
      • So hiraṇyagarbha means “golden womb”. It denotes cause of whole creation.
    • Universe in it’s…
      • Causal state: Māyā.
      • Subtle state: Hiraṇyagarbha.
      • Gross state: Virāt.
    • Analogy:
      • This manifest universe emerged from un-manifest stage… just as tree > sprout > seed.
        • Standpoint of Seed: Tree is in causal state.
        • Standpoint of Sprout: Tree is in subtle state.
        • Standpoint of Tree: Tree is in gross state.
        • In same way, this Gross universe was in form of a subtle thought before it is manifest.
    • So what is Hiraṇyagarbha?
      • Hiraṇya means golden, which is shining/resplendent.
      • Thus Hiraṇyagarbha represents shining/resplendent form of universe BEFORE gross manifestation.
        • Reason why new insight carries a quality of shine in first few seconds, as it comes from the shining Hiraṇyagarbha.
  • BIG-BANG QUESTION: What is it’s proof?
    • EXPANSION: Universe is known to be:
        • Expanding
          • Galaxies are receding from Milky Way.
            • How to know? All elements emit light which is measured on Electromagnetic spectrum (whose colour determines distance).
        • Cooling
        • Both suggest Universe was smaller and hotter in the past.
    • NIGHT-SKY: Olber’s paradox suggests the Universe didn’t always exist.
      • Because if it was infinitely large/eternal… then night sky would look equally bright… because light photons had time to travel to earth.


Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 13, Verse 6:

icchā dveṣaḥ sukham duḥkham saṃghātaḥ cetanā dhṛtiḥ ।
etat kṣetram samāsena savikāram udāhṛtam ॥ 13-6॥
Once the kṣetram-universe is manifest (Verse 5) — let's see what are some kṣetram modifications which jīva undergoes (Verse 6). They are: desire, aversion, pleasure, pain, the physical body, cognition, fortitude (commitment/steadfastness).  (Acharya Andre) 

  • Verse 6 elaborates modifications within antaḥ-karaṇa (mind) in reference to jīva.
  • CETANA: Mind is capable of reflecting Kṣetrajña, thus appears seemingly sentient (cetana).
    • EG:
      • Electricity passes through rock, no effect. But through filament of bulb… the filament lights up and glows.
        • Similarly, gross body (annamaya-kośa) is like bulb. And mind is like filament.
        • Seeming sentiency (sense of alive-ness) is cetana.
      • A mirror doesn’t have own luminosity. It’s luminosity is borrowed from Sun’s reflection.
        • Similarly, kṣetrajña is like Sun. Mind is like mirror. Borrowed kṣetrajña is like the reflected Sun.
        • Borrowed kṣetrajña is called: cidābhāsa, pratibimba (reflection).
    • SUMMARY: Reflecting medium is kṣetram (mind). Reflected kṣetrajña is ALSO kṣetram.
  • What are some modifications of this seemingly-sentient Mind?
    • icchā dveṣaḥ: Attractions and repulsions.
      • Causes mind to categorize world into worthy/unworthy.
        • Meaning objective-Īśvara-world is seen through eyes of subjective-private-world.
        • Motivates jīva to adjust the environment to suit his/her subjective-world.
      • By-product or attraction-repulsion is attachment. Because jīva’s adjusting makes one invested to protect-preserve the past efforts.
    • What experience do likes-dislikes produce for jīva? Sukham duḥkham: Mixture of satisfaction and disappointment.
      • 2 Reasons:
        1. Neither sukham nor duḥkham intrinsically belong to any object. But when mind classifies objects as favourable/unfavourable… objects gain capacity to produce sukham-duḥkham.
          • Moment mind concludes “THIS object is valuable”… person mentally converts that object into God-idol. Thus worships/devotes to it by time-energy-effort.
          • This act of associating value to an object produces “binding desire”.
        2. Every pleasant object undergoes change in state.
      • SUMMARY: Mind overlays value onto kṣetram-world, because of icchā-dveṣaḥ. Consequently bestows world permission of producing sukham-duḥkham.
    • Dhṛtiḥ: Will power. Jīva now uses will-power to acquire/maintain happiness-producing-objects.
  • CONCLUSION: These are some vikāras (modifications) born out of mind.


Keywords: antahkarana, cidabhasa


Credit for help in Bhagavad Gita teaching given to Swami Dayananda (Arsha Vidya), Paramarthananda & Chinmaya Mission.

Recorded 1 June, 2021



  1. Hello Andre,

    I have been following these series of videos from the start, and I am forever grateful—thank you.

    I have a confusion about the precedence between desire and knowledge as it relates to creation.

    In lesson-123 (https://www.yesvedanta.com/bg/lesson-123/) at around time 22:05, you speak of the cause-effect relationship among the Koshas and how you cannot desire, unless you know what you are desiring. Specifically, you say: first knowledge of anything arises, then there is a desire, desire comes, because desire is a product of knowledge…you can’t desire something, unless you know what you are desiring, and you know that it is of worthy of desiring

    In this lesson-127 (https://www.yesvedanta.com/bg/lesson-127/) at 19:10 you ask what caused the unmanifest universe to become manifest, and around time 20:00 the answer comes as desires, which are the causal body, or as I would put it, in the causal body. This creation is a result of the desires manifesting for all Jivas.

    My question is, if first knowledge of anything arises, then there is a desire, what is the cause of creation? I’d like to think that “that” which we call knowledge in lesson-123, is really ignorance due to our identification with one or more Koshas, and it is “this” ignorance, which we mistakenly call knowledge, as the cause.

    Thank you in advance.

    1. Hi Luis,

      Feel free to comment whatever arises after reading…

      UNIVERSAL STANDPOINT: In reality, neither knowledge nor desire came first. It all WAS since beginningless beginning.

      PRACTICAL STANDPOINT: Intention behind stating “you can’t desire something, unless you know what you are desiring”, isn’t to explain the universe as in above case, but to help us understand WHY desire arises in our mind in the first place.

      CAUSE OF CREATION: Creation always was. It never began. It always was because Jivas always had desires, hence needs a world, or a field in which it can participate, and of course to experience consequences of it’s past deeds/misdeeds. For this reason, creation will never end. In fact, why are you born? To output your desires in this world and work out your stuff (same applies to everyone). For this reason, the entire universe has to exist just for you. Owing to ignorance, jiva doesn’t know this, so it starts looking at the universe with a telescope, studying endless objects; completely missing the point of birth which is to end future births.

  2. Thank you for your very prompt reply (2:11 am), do you ever sleep? 😊

    In bringing my attention to “the details”, I lose focus of the Whole.

    I, the pristine, unlimited awareness, must constantly remind myself of the “metaphorical glasses” I employ to “see” the manifested world.

    Existence IS Always.

    I am forever grateful—thank you.

    1. Hi Luis. The buddhi certainly needs to remind itself, after hearing the teaching. Reminded of what? That the buddhi can only remind itself because it’s blessed by Consciousness, I.

  3. Minute 33:00. Precisely one of the biggest paradoxes I’ve encountered in non-dual philosophy is “how can limitlessness, who is full-whole-complete, have a desire to create many?” (atha bahu syām). And I know we should avoid mixing concepts from our transactional reality (vyavaharika) from the Ultimate Reality (paramarthika) but, at the same time, concepts like “beginningless beginning” are just too dry for our non-Enlightened intellect.

    So almost all spiritual traditions have come up with explanations and theories trying to solve this mystery. And thus far, a parable from Kabbalah has been the one that resonated better with me. I’d like to brief it below because it elaborates on what you mentioned: it wasn’t so much the desire of Īśvara (the Creator) to create the universe, but the collective desire of all the jīvas (us creatures).

    It goes like this: on the primordial Unity, before creation, we participated in the infinite splendor of God. Everything was perfect, radiant and pure. However, eventually, we started to feel a little bit uncomfortable: the Creator was everything and gave us everything, and all we were doing was to passively receive all of His bliss. We felt as though we didn’t genuinely deserve it all: and so it started to grow a desire on us to give something back to the creator but, since He was infinite to begin with there was nothing we could give back. And so for the first time our pure Bliss was tainted with a little bit of uncomfortability.

    Eventually this little uncomfort growed until we could bear it no more. The Creator noticed this and, for our own sake, Creation was set forth: with the sole purpose of giving us a field to explore, learn, evolve and purify ourselves… and eventually return to our primordial Union with the Creator, but this time, after having corrected ourselves, we won’t feel this “bread of shame” anymore because we would have willingly decided to purify and merge with the Creator.

    It does make a little sense right? After all, I think we’ve all felt that bread of shame when we feel that our parents, teachers or friends give us a little bit too much and we want to reciprocate. Let’s multiply that for infinity and we can start to relate to this history. I hope this commentary is not considered off-topic for bringing up notions from other traditions 🙂

    1. Hi Luis. If the story is considered an attempt to pacify the curious mind, and it does, then it’s accepted. But taking the story literally, it’s not Vedanta.

      Vedanta would state it something like this.

      Creation is circular. It’s not linear. So it never began at some particular time. EG: Creation began at 2pm on a Tuesday.

      Creation always was. Therefore to ask “Why is there creation?”, or “How can limitless have a desire to create?”, arises from shallow thinking of the one who asked the question.

      Both questions presuppose a linear creation. An example of linear thinking, “Once upon a time, everything was perfect. Then limitlessness suddenly got bored and decided to divide itself into infinite forms (planets, ants, water, fire, teeth, metals, etc). Then we had to find a way back”.

      In a circular creation, there was ALWAYS limitlessness and apparent limitation (from standpoint of vyavaharika). There was NEVER a time when only limitlessness existed.

      Even when enlightened one drops the physical body, thereby enjoying one’s limitless nature… apparent limitation still continues for other jivas who are yet to liberate.

      “Beginningless beginning” just means: There was never a beginning to all this. Existence always was, is and continues to be.

      1. Hello Andre. Yes, indeed— I’m aware stories like these are not meant to be taken literally. Rather, I see them as a fables told to children or persisting adults who, on their first introduction to a non-dual philosophy, are not satisfied by what seems like a paradox:

        1) Īśvara, God, the Creator is limitlessness and thus desireless
        2) Still, somehow, all of this infinite–eternal universe was somehow “created”

        Once a person attains Mokṣa this paradox is solved and the questioning is done; but in the meantime stories like these may pacify the mind, as you mentioned.

        Now, I’ll proceed to lesson #128 😉

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