Neither being (sat) nor non-being was as yet. What was concealed? And where? And in whose protection? Who really knows? Who can declare it? Whence was it born, and whence came this creation? The devas were born later than this world’s creation, so who knows from where it came into existence? None can know from where creation has arisen, and whether he has or has not produced it. He who surveys it in the highest heavens, he alone knows-or perhaps does not know. -Rig veda
Recently I wished one of my cousins happy birthday. My cousin thanked me and asked me a question.
I am not sure why we celebrate ageing; maybe it is getting wiser (to be proven) that we assume happens with age? I thought about it and gave him this response.
We are born mortal and one day we reach our destination an euphemism for bidding good bye to life on earth now if you are having hell of a great time on the planet earth I am not surprised by your question but if you look it at from a fatalistic point of view and see the journey as a mundane worthless exercise adding no extra dimension to the souls quintessential exist stance it’s just like feeling a sense of getting closer when you crossed the extra mile.
My Cousin replied it was a great perspective! I acknowledged my nihilistic response and wished him a hale and hearty life. Nihilistic response? Since I replied Life was not worth its purpose and on a larger scale there is no meaning to life in general. Now that’s Nihilism for starters.
To be more precise Nihilism is a philosophical doctrine that suggests the lack of belief in one or more reputedly meaningful aspects of life. Most commonly, nihilism is presented in the form of existential nihilism, which argues that life is without objective meaning, purpose, or intrinsic value. But is life really of no intrinsic value ? Well all philosophers don’t seem to think alike there are an another group of thinkers branded as Existentialists who believe that The actual life of the individuals is what constitutes what could be called their “true essence” instead of there being an arbitrarily attributed essence others use to define them. Thus, human beings, through their own consciousness, create their own values and determine a meaning to their life.
Lets put aside the words Nihilism and Existentialism aside and just wonder for a moment If you ever had the experience of sleeping in the open air with the sky as the terrace and ever wondered looking at the stars where your life fits in the bigger scheme of things looking at the vastness of the Universe and ever wondered how the hell you ended up here in this universe and for that matter of fact why , who , and how the universe was created ? Now that’s the perfect way to introduce the quotes “Creation Ex Nihilo” and “Ex Nihilo Nihil Fit” which translates to Creation was created out of nothing vs the counter argument nothing really comes out of nothing ? This is a very metaphysical argument which has confounded Philosophers, Theologians, and Physicists all along through the ages and all Religions through their unique philosophies tried to explain this question by defining their own Religious Cosmologies. A religious cosmology is a way of explaining the origin, the history and the evolution of the cosmos or universe based on the religious mythology of a specific tradition. Religious cosmologies usually include an act or process of creation by a creator deity or a larger pantheon. Here comes to life Creation Ex Nihilo the accepted orthodoxy of most denominations of Judaism and Christianity. Most denominations of Christianity and Judaism claim that a single, uncreated God was responsible for the creation of the cosmos. But Vedantic philosophers of Hinduism have battled over this question through the ages and have contributed to the 3 pillars of Vedanta Advaita , VishstaDvaita and dvaita which grapples with the question can Something really be created out of nothing and the Nature and the Role of God in such a creation. The following paragraphs from lectures of Swami Krishnanda elucidate with a great deal of detail
All the religions of the world generally confine themselves to the personality of God. Whether it is Hinduism, Christianity, Judaism or any Semitic religion, the concept is that God is a transcendent, super-spatial Father in heaven. This is the transcendence of God. God is above the world; He is not in the world. Religions are afraid of bringing God into the world because the world is defective, perishable, full of contradictions. It is even considered as an evil realm of wrong action. How would God come into it? Hence, Semitic religions, especially, abhor any kind of mysticism. They detest it because God cannot be contaminated by the defects of the world. God is always above, transcendent, very holy, untouched by the defects of the world. That is one view of things.
But the other aspect of the matter involves God even in the world. That is to say, God has to create the world out of some substance. Where is the substance? Where is the brick, where is the material out of which God could have manufactured this world? If we say, as Sankhya philosophers and some theologians hold, there was an original matter out of which God created the world, we are creating a distinction between the world and God. If there is a distinction between the world and God, there is a serious flaw involved in the very concept of God. God would be limited. He would not be omnipresent. The finitude consequent upon the nature of God following the acceptance of a world external to Him is a serious defect in the definition of God.
Either God manufactured the world out of His own Being, in which case He is automatically immanent, or He stands apart. If a potter manufactures a pot, he is the creator of the pot, we may say. But he creates the pot out of a material totally external to him. The condition of the pot does not affect the potter. But suppose the clay that is the substance or the material of the pot is conscious of itself, and the clay wishes to modify itself into the shape of the pot. Taking for granted that there is such a possibility, then the creator will modify himself in the form of the created object. Some argue that God modified Himself into the world, whereas for advaita such as thing is not possible because anything that is subject to modification is also perishable.
Milk modifies itself into curd. In that process, milk is transformed into another thing and there is no milk afterwards. Curd cannot go back to milk. The milk is destroyed completely. If God has manufactured the world by transforming Himself as milk is transformed into curd, there is no way of returning to God. Just as curd cannot return to milk, no one can go to God. This is a very strange consequence that follows. If God has become the world, there is no God left now. So what is the use of thinking of God? He is no more. He has become the world; He has become the curd of the universe. This possibility must also be ruled out. Therefore, we cannot say that God has modified Himself into this world. There are others who feel that God created the world out of nothing. There was a void, like a magician manufacturing things out of nothing. We have seen magicians simply clap their hands and a bird comes out, or an elephant. Anything will appear. There is no bird, no elephant, nothing of the kind, but he performs a magical trick and it appears as if things are manufactured.
Now having opened this wide open I believe there will never be a consensus on this topic and every human being is free to have his own opinion on this topic.
Wait a Minute I started with a discussion on Nihilism and Existentialism and took a detour and started discussing the origin of universe. I will try to connect the two discussions now. As much as looking at our lives from a Nihilistic perspective where it looks as if life has no meaning after all looking at our lives from the primordial creation stand point we are better off when we understand the power of universal consciousness and when we realize ourselves as a tiny part of the universal whole Nihilistic thinking paves for an Existential Path.