AITAREYA UPANISAD | 1.1.1 | SRI ADI SANKARACARYA
om atma va idameka evagra asit nanyat kincana misat sa iksata lokannu srija iti || 1.1.1 ||
1 . OM ! In the beginning this was but the absolute Self alone . There was nothing else whatsoever that winked . It thought , " Let Me create the worlds . "
|| BHASYA || : Atma vai , the absolute Self . The word atma , Self , is derived in the sense of comprehending , engulfing , or pervading , and by it is signified one that is the highest , omniscient , omnipotent and devoid of all such worldly attributes as hunger ; by nature eternal , pure , conscious , and free ; birthless , undecaying , immortal , deathless , fearless , and without a second . Idam , this — all that has been referred to as this world , diversified through the differences of name , form , and action ; asit , was ; agre , in the beginning , before the creation of this world ; atma ekah eva , but the one Self .
OBJECTION : Has it ceased to be the same one entity ?
ANSWER : No .
OBJECTION : Why is it then said , " It was " ?
ANSWER : Though even now that very same single entity endures , still there is some distinction . The distinction is this: The universe in which the differences of name and form were not manifest before creation , which was then one with the Self , and which was denotable by the single word and idea ' Self ' , has now become denotable by many words and concepts as well as by the single word and concept ' Self ' , because of its diversification through the multiplicity of names and forms .
Foam is denoted by the single word and concept ' water ' , before the manifestation of names and forms distinct from water ; but when that foam becomes manifested as ( an entity ) distinct from water , owing to the difference of name and form , then the very same foam becomes denotable by many words and concepts , viz foam and water , as well as by only one word and one concept , viz water . The same is the case here .
Na anyat kimcana , there was nothing else whatsoever ; misat , winking , that was active or tractive . Unlike the Pradhana of the Samkhyas , which is an independent entity and not of the same class as the selves , and unlike the atoms of the followers of Kanada , there remained here nothing whatsoever apart from the Self .
What ( existed ) then ? The Self alone existed . This is the idea . Sah , that Self ; being naturally omniscient , iksata , thought ; even though It was but one .
OBJECTION : Since the Self was devoid of body and senses , how could It think before creation ?
ANSWER : This is no fault , because of Its nature of omniscience , in support of which fact is the mantra text , " Without hands and feet It goes and grasps " etc ( Sv . III .19 ) . With what motive ( did It think ) ? The answer is: srjai , let Me create ; lokan , the worlds — ( viz ) ambhas etc , which are the places for the enjoyment of the fruits of work done by creatures .
( NOTES: Vai is used to present the absolute by way of ruling out the conditioned . )
SOURCE | SATYAVEDISM.ORG