The process of creation of matter and spiritual life at the beginning of the universe is one of the greatest of mysteries and understanding its basic principles is important for understanding how enlightenment works, as enlightenment is the re-absorption back into the one, the divine source of creation.
An ancient Taoist text wisely states that those who wish to reach enlightenment must look for the place where creation originally came from:
Whoever seeks eternal life must search for the place whence human nature and life originally sprang.
~ The Secret of the Golden Flower
Where we came from and why we are here are fundamental questions which lie at the heart of every quest for spiritual truth. Throughout ancient spiritual teachings and cultures we find a story of creation, which if we look at closely, share remarkable similarities. Creation gave rise to our universe, it gave birth to us, and is constantly creating the life born all around us. We too are creators, as we bring children into the world. But, we also have the potential to be spiritual creators. The process of spiritual creation (in enlightenment) on an individual level is a replica of that on a universal level as the fundamental principles are the same.
The Microcosmic and the Macrocosmic
Most cultures have a creation myth, which explains how they and the universe came to be. Sneered at by some as a simple story to explain existence to primitive people, many of these myths which we find in ancient texts such as Genesis, the Rig Veda, on the temple walls of ancient Egypt, or in the legends of the Incan and pre-Incan people, are actually profoundly symbolic descriptions which can be understood on many levels.
It is now even known by science that the same principles that govern the movement of planets, also govern the inner workings of atoms. The same principles that make a spiral galaxy, also create the structure of a seashell and unfurling of a fern. This is why ancient spiritual people used natural symbols to convey universal concepts, and also why people, who don’t understand this intuitive language nor the principles of creation, can easily write creation stories off as simple nature myths.
Scientists are just discovering the nature of matter and the fabric of the universe from the study of what lies within minute particles. But many thousands of years ago in ancient Egypt the knowledge of sacred geometry was used to build temples to harness the same energetic principles and aesthetics found throughout creation, and many ancient religious symbols such as the spiral and yin and yang, can be found in the movements of the heavens and the earth. Mystics throughout time and the world have known about the relationship between the macrocosmic and the microcosmic, and symbolized it in sacred texts and temples in many different cultures. This is where the famous maxim of wisdom comes from, “As above, so below.”
The External and the Internal
But there is another important maxim of wisdom that says that not only is there an intimate relationship between the macrocosmic and the microcosmic, but that there is also a relationship between the outer sensory world, and the inner spiritual world. The symbols of creation myths now take on another level of meaning, as they also come to describe principles of the inner, spiritual realm.
This maxim can be found in the ancient esoteric Christian text The Book of Thomas the Contender in the Nag Hammadi Library, when Jesus says:
For he who has not known himself, has known nothing, but he who has known himself has at the same time already achieved knowledge about the depth of the all.
~ Jesus, The Book of Thomas the Contender
We humans have the ability to understand the greatest of mysteries by understanding ourselves. Genesis of the Bible says that we were created male and female, in the image of God. In Hindu mythology, the supreme creator is said to exist within and pervade everything that is, including us. These sacred teachings tell us that by looking within, we can find and know God.
The spiritual principles of creation have been imbued in all of creation, and thus can not only be found all around us but also within us (which can be done through the study of esoteric self-knowledge), thus allowing us to understand our origins and the true purpose of life whenever we choose to look.
Recognize what is in your sight, and that which is hidden from you will become plain to you. For there is nothing hidden which will not become manifest.
~ Jesus, The Book of Thomas the Contender
The Creative Power of Sex
Sex is the foundation of all life. Life is created from the union of male and female in the birth of a child. In the ancient Indian text, the Brhadaranyaka Upanishad, the primordial being, after realizing it was alone, created a woman from its body. From their union humans were born (just as Eve is created from Adam’s body, and their union gives birth to the human race). After this the woman hid from the man by taking the form of a cow. But he came as a bull and from their union, cattle were born. She then hid as a mare, but he came as a stallion, and from that union, all one-hoofed animals were born. This went on for each of the various animals for which there is a male and female, right down to the ants. This incredible teaching illustrates the creative power of sex found throughout life and the universe – the union of male and female forces are what gives birth to and create all life on the largest of scales, right down to the smallest.
Some people treat sex as ungodly and taboo, as if it was something separate from spirituality. But spirituality is not apart from life, and thus sex is not apart from spirituality either. Sex is part of the great mystery of creation. In spiritually advanced creation myths we find the union of male and female forces which give birth to life. Deified in ancient sacred teachings, man and woman are seen as god and goddess with the powers of creation. This is also why in genuine spiritual teachings the sexual relationship between a man and woman is seen as sacred, as in essence it belongs to the processes of divinity unlike any other human relationship. Within this relationship is the potential and power of the divine if used properly. It has been referred to as tantrism in the East, the Mediaeval transformation of lead into gold termed alchemy, and the bridal chamber of the esoteric Christians.
Spiritually advanced ancient peoples knew that creation is a process which is universal and which is found in the very largest scale, to the most microscopic. Therefore, they knew that the forces of male and female united give birth on earth, give birth to the spiritual within, and also to the universe.
The Union of Male and Female Forces in Ancient Creation Myths
In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it wasgood: and God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.
~ Genesis from the Bible
Genesis describes the process of creation by merging the natural with the supernatural. We have the symbols of water, the spirit of God, and the light of the first day. These are the three fundamental forces of creation which gives rise to all life over a symbolic 7 days (7 is the number through which all creation is organized), which Genesis describes as it continues.
The waters is the female seedbed of all life, which is fecundated by the male through his Spirit, and the light their union produces is the son/sun, who is known as the “Son of God”, the universal spiritual force of the Christ (the Christ is a term used to describe a universal force that does not belong to any religion, but has been symbolized throughout all great spiritual teachings).
The druids also symbolized creation being brought forth from the union of male and female forces. In the beginning of creation, the druids believed that the sap of the cauldron of the Great Mother goddess Cariadwen/Cerridwen was fertilized by three drops of dew from the Word of the Father god Celu.
In ancient Chinese texts, the intercourse of female and male forces called yin and yang, brings all of creation into manifestation.
If you go searching for the Great Creator, you will come back empty-handed. The source of the universe is ultimately unknowable, a great invisible river flowing forever through a vast and fertile valley. Silent and uncreated, it creates all things. All things are brought forth from the subtle realm into the manifest world by the mystical intercourse of yin and yang. The dynamic river yang pushes forward, the still valley yin is receptive, and through their integration things come into existence.
~ the Hua Hu Ching
The ancient sacred Indian text the Rig Veda, also describes the origin of creation, again describing the waters and the deep of Genesis which preceded creation:
At first was neither Being nor Nonbeing.
There was not air nor yet sky beyond.
What was wrapping? Where? In whose protection?
Was Water there, unfathomable deep?
There was no death then, nor yet deathlessness;
of night or day there was not any sign.
The One breathed without breath by its own impulse.
Other than that was nothing at all.
Darkness was there, all wrapped around by darkness,
and all was Water indiscriminate, Then
that which was hidden by Void, that One, emerging,
stirring, through power of Ardor, came to be.
A crosswise line cut Being from Nonbeing.
What was described above it, what below?
Bearers of seed there were and mighty forces,
thrust from below and forward move above.
Who really knows? Who can presume to tell it?
Whence was it born? Whence issued this creation?
Even the Gods came after its emergence.
Then who can tell from whence it came to be?
That out of which creation has arisen,
whether it held it firm or it did not,
He who surveys it in the highest heaven,
He surely knows – or maybe He does not!
~ The Rig Veda, Translation by Prof. Raimundo Panikkar (Ref. 3, pp 58)
In ancient India, Brahman (also called Narayana, and Svayambhu) is the impersonal and immanent, infinite uncaused cause and support of the universe that has no form or attributes.
In ancient India, an initial account of creation says that everything was in a state of sleep. There was nothing either moving or static. Then Svayambhu, self-manifested being—a form beyond senses arose (the Being). First Svayambhu created the primordial waters (the Being divides to separate into male and female, just as Adam divided becomes male and female) and established the seed of creation into it (the union of male and female). The seed turned into a golden womb (or egg), called Hiranyagarbha. Then Svayambhu entered into the womb, and from this womb all of creation manifested (was born). It is also said that from this golden womb the creator god Brahma emerged, along with the entirety of creation called Brahm-anda.
In ancient Indian texts, it is said that there is nothing beyond Narayana (also called Vishnu). ‘Naara’ in Sanskrit is another name for water, and it is said that Vishnu’s resting place called ‘Ayana’ is ‘Naara’ – hence both Narayana and Vishnu are depicted as resting upon water and Vishnu is also known as “one who moves on the waters” ( just as the Spirit of God moved upon the waters in Genesis). Another ancient Indian myth of creation says that in the beginning a vast dark ocean washed upon the shores of nothingness and licked the edges of night (the primordial waters). Vishnu was asleep on Seshnag the serpent upon the waters. At the time of creation the vibrant sound of Om filled the void with energy (referred to as the Word in esoteric Christianity). The night had ended and Vishnu awoke (the creation of the light from the spirit moving upon the waters). As the dawn began to break, from Vishnu’s navel grew a magnificent lotus flower. In the middle of the blossom sat Brahma. Vishnu commanded Brahma to create the world. Brahma sp