The Creation of the World – October 6 2017

All the gods, all the heavens, all the hells, are within you.
Joseph Campbell
 
The Aitareya Upanishad is one of the clearest tellings of the creation myth of the Vedic culture. It is beautifully told, and fascinating when we see the parallels in it to the stories we have in Judeo-Christian mythology.
 
In the beginning the Spirit was One and all this (universe) was the Spirit;
there was nought else that saw. The Spirit thought, “Lo, I will make me worlds from out [of] my being”.
   Aitareya Upanishad, Part 1, Chapter 1, v. 1
 
In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
  Genesis 1:1
 
Omnipresent God was, and from Itself it created all that is.
 
He bethought Himself: “Here now are the worlds. Let Me now create world-guardians.” Right from the waters He drew forth the Person in the form of a lump and gave Him a shape.
  Aitareya Upanishad, Part 1, Chapter 1, v. 3
 
Then the LORD God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.
 Genesis 2:7
 
And so on, the two stories very much in sync, very much in agreement.
 
This is not news, really. Joseph Campbell, in The Hero with a Thousand Faces, goes to great lengths to show the similarities between Eastern and Western religions, to show that in the realm of the spirit we all are the same.
 
Of course we can find the differences. We can look at the beliefs of others and see demons and blasphemies, absurdities, inconsistencies, just as anyone could look at our own beliefs and, from a certain point of view, see the same. And so what? What is served by that? Nothing at all, other than to move us further in the direction of separation and diversity, which in today’s world all too often means animosity.
 
Animosity is easy. Love of that which seemingly is “other” can be challenging. Perhaps it is time for us to take this challenge, time to see what is valuable in each other, in each other’s philosophy; time to see what is the same, rather than what is different. Perhaps it is time for us to see, in each other, that which is of the spirit and the oneness, rather than that which makes us more separate and alone.
 
Within each of us is the place of spirit. In this place of spirit there is no difference between us. Imagine what our world would be like if everyone lived from this truth.
 
Today I will look to my fellows for that which is like me rather than that which sets us apart.

Shiva and Ma Ganga, Parmarth Niketan Ashram, Rishikesh, Uttaranchal, India
All original material copyright © 2017 Jeff Kober