From the article “Who is God“, we know that God existed before the universe came into being and he created the universe out of his own self. We also know that God is the embodiment of love and all the virtues.
Now, the question arises: why and how did he create the universe?
The question has been tackled very adeptly in a beautiful story “The Little Soul and The Sun” by Neale Donald Walsch. Click here to read the story.
There are a few salients points from the story:
- Soul or, in other words, God wanted to experience himself. It is different just to know yourself than to experience yourself.
- One cannot experience a thing unless its opposite exists. For example: You cannot experience
- light without darkness
- good without bad
- virtue without vice
- love without hatred
- selflessness without selfishness
- happiness without sorrow
- life without death
- cold without hot
- health without disease
- yourself without someone else
- In other words, polarity is needed to experience anything.
- In reality, however, this polarity doesn’t exist. In reality, all that exists is God. So, in reality, we have all the virtues but no vices.
- In such a case, where all there is is God, God cannot experience himself.
- So, to experience himself, he needed something that was not him.
- In reality, that “something” does not exist.
- So, an illusion was created in which something existed which was not God.
- Under this illusion, we have darkness, vices, hatred, selfishness, sorrow, death, disease etc
- This illusion, though dark it is, serves us (or souls or divine beings) to experience our true selves.
So, why and how was this universe created?
The universe was created so that God could experience his love and virtues, which are not possible to experience unless their opposites exist. So, an illusion was created in which non-God or the darkness existed so that we are able to experience light. Now, this illusion is called “Maya” in Sikhism and a few other eastern religions. “Maya” literally means illusion.
This illusory nature of duality was also experienced by Anita Moorjani during her NDE (Near Death Experience). She shares her experience on the website NDERF. She says, “Another thing is that there was this incredible understanding of how we are all interconnected. And how what I felt within me affects my whole universe. I felt one with everything. I felt a connection with every living thing.”
The world that we live in is very commonly called “Maya” in our scriptures and it creates doubts in our minds as to how is it an illusion. The world is not an illusion, we think.
But, now, within the context of this understanding, we can better appreciate why the world is called maya. It is maya because all the diversity and separation that we see from our eyes is not the reality. In reality, all there is is God. That’s why Gurbani says:
Gurbani talks about the creation of the world in the following lines:
Again and again, Gurbani refers to this world as the play of the world. And why would he play it? Gurbani answers in the last line above: “He beholds it with delight”. The purpose of any play is to enjoy. So is the case with this play of duality.
The duality was created so that God or the souls can experience their true nature of all the virtues i.e. joy, peace, bliss, kindness, forgiveness, love etc.
Khoji, a Sikh luminary, also throws light on why this universe was created in one of his essays (Essay 78). The English translation of the original Punjabi text is as under:
“God is the embodiment of love.
However, feelings of love cannot be complete by themselves. For the expression and completeness of love, we need two sides.
On one side, expression of love
On other side, reception of and response to love.
Therefore, for the completeness of love or for this play of love to play out, we need two individuals to come together and exchange these feelings of love. One individual would be the lover and the other would be the beloved.
The lover of the entire universe is God himself. That’s why, he has been mentioned as “full of love” and “embodiment of love” in Gurbani.
To feel these feelings of love or to play out this play of love, God has created this universe by endowing each individual with a soul and he loves everyone like a father or a mother.”