by Swami Krishnananda
Visitor: Swamiji, sometimes I wonder how all this came into being – you know, the whole human condition.
SWAMIJI: The human condition did not come. The world came.
Visitor: Yes. Sometimes I wonder how it all came into existence. And, it seems unanswerable.
SWAMIJI: Some say it came into existence by the thought of God. Some say it never came into existence. It is there, as it was, and nobody created it. It is there. Existence is not created by anybody. Who will create existence? To create existence, somebody else has to exist, prior to this existence, and existence is a general principle, so nobody can create existence. Existence is a word which does not require any further explanation. It has been there, and it is there. It is what it is. Nobody created it. That is one view – some kind of scientific view, we may say – the view of modern scientists, to some extent.
But the religious view is that the Absolute Supreme Being, God, willed, "Let there be heaven and earth," and immediately, space manifested itself. Then, vibrations started moving inside space, and it became air. Friction started after that, which is heat, fire. Then, condensation took place, which is water. Then solidity appeared, which is earth. Here is the beginning of creation, according to descriptions in religious scriptures.
And, inasmuch as God willed this creation, His consciousness is present in every little part of creation – this space, this air, this fire, this water, this earth – which are the five physical elements that you see before you. And, then, emerges a group of little, little individualities, which is the beginning of what you call the evolutionary process. There is, in the beginning, inanimate matter, which is described in the form of these five elements I mentioned just now. Then, there is animation starting – like fungi, amphibians, fish and so on. Then, you know the whole story of evolution; some small creatures, insects, and animals – but animals come later. In the beginning there is only fungus-type plant kingdom, and all that. Even in the scriptures you will find that God created not man first; He created only this plantation – trees, etc., because trees are the first creation. Higher than plantation kingdom is the animal kingdom; higher than that is the human kingdom. So, we have come like that, by gradual evolutionary process, in the act of creation.
And among human beings also, all are not of a uniform type. They say that there are about eight million types of living species in this universe. You cannot know who they are, where they are, and all that. You cannot count them; and, the human species is one. But, as you know, even among the human species, all people are not of the same category. Some people are like animals, some people are cannibals, some people are intensely selfish, some people will do tit-for-tat. Some people are very good in nature. They will do only good. Some people are saints; some people are geniuses; some are God-men. So, even among human beings, you see how many varieties! This is just to answer your question, how things came about – in one way.
Visitor: Thank you.
Visitor: What are the stages from a good man to a God-man?
SWAMIJI: A good man is one who considers other people as equally important as he considers himself. Do you understand the point? When I consider you as a person as important as my own self, I will treat you in the manner in which I treat myself. This is the characteristic of goodness. Do you understand me? When you treat others as you treat yourself, it is considered as goodness. But a saint is a further step towards God-consciousness. It is something above goodness. The saint is also a good man, because he is moving in the direction of God-consciousness. Thus, there is a gradual ascent from the lower to the higher;-the higher includes the lower and transcends the lower.
Higher than all is the God-man. He lives like God Himself. Practically, there is no distinction between his consciousness and God-consciousness.