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Leaving with you one of my favourite hymns from the Rig Veda as I take a short sabbatical from the blog to deal with more pressing commitments and generally get a handle on my life :)

Be back soon with more.


The Song of Creation

Not even nothing existed then
No air yet, nor a heaven.
Who encased and kept it where?

Was water in the darkness there?

Neither deathlessness nor decay
No, nor the rhythm of night and day

The self-existent breathed without air
That, and that alone was there.

Darkness was in darkness found
Like light-less water all around.
One emerged, with nothing on

It was from heat that this was born.

Into it, Desire, its way did find:
The primordial seed born of mind.

Sages know deep in the heart:
What exists is kin to what does not.

Across the void the cord was thrown,
The place of every thing was known.
Seed-sowers and powers now came by,
Impulse below and force on high.

Who really knows, and who can swear,
How creation came, when or where!
Even gods came after creation’s day,

Who really knows, who can truly say
When and how did creation start?

Did He do it? Or did He not?

Only He, up there, knows, maybe;
Or perhaps, not even He.

(translated by V.V Raman, University of Rochester)

This extraordinarily beautiful hymn called Nasadiya Sukta is from the Rig Veda, the oldest of the Vedas dating back to at least 5000 years.

And yet how modern it is. I love the open ended-ness. The questioning of everything, even God ! And the acceptance of ‘not-knowing’. Why does religion have to have all the answers? Perhaps the joy is in contemplation.

I still remember the day I stumbled upon this, twenty years ago, in a deserted library in Connecticut, US.  I read it over and over again, hardly believing this gem I had found. It was sublime!

I can safely say, it was this discovery that first made me sit up and take notice of Hinduism. Twenty years on I continue to be fascinated.