Thought Creates the World

From the teachings of Swami Sivananda Saraswati

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, the knower, appears as the visible through the sankalpa of the mind. 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.

The cosmic mind

One single, organized thought of the Cosmic Mind or Hiranyagarbha has materialized 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 Ishwara.

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.

Ishwara knows all events at one sweep. He is sarvajna, all-knowing, and sarvavit, all-understanding. He knows every detail of His creation.

The mind creates

The whole world is a combination of five elements. Analyse, realize 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. If the mind is not controlled, all else becomes useless and painful. Therefore, the mind should be annihilated.

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.

Nothing but maya

The non-existence of the world or its destruction does not mean the annihilation of mountains, lakes, trees and rivers. When your determination that this world is unreal, illusory becomes stronger and stronger and when you are well established in this idea that this world is illusory like a mirage, this alone is destruction of the world.

You cannot destroy a mountain, but you can destroy the idea of a mountain. 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, a thick cloth, painted with various pictures. There is neither painter nor canvas nor any material for painting such as brush, dish, oil or powder. The picture of the universe appears depicted on the spotless knowledge-space. The play of the mind arising out of 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.