In the beginning there was Brahman. In the end, which might have been perceived differently but was essentially still the same, there was Brahman too. And all there was, is and ever will be is Brahman or manifestations of Brahman.
Brahman thought, “Here I am – everything, all-encompassing, all-pervasive, with no end and nothing unknown. I am indeed the One. And how fortunate it is to be in such a privileged position. How easily it might have been otherwise. What would it have been like to have been otherwise? How would it be, what might I feel, if I was a mere part of this universe, rather than the Universe.”
And at such an aberrant time, and in order to quell his curiosity, Brahman dreamed the Universe. This was a perverse thing to do, because Brahman knew he was everything, that there was nothing other than Brahman. But being All was a heavy burden. In a moment when he was imagining what it might be like to put aside his Oneness he dreamed the Universe. In this great creative act he projected something outside himself. In this marvellous alchemy all at once the stars, the constellations and all the bodies of the firmament came to be. This was an outcome of nothing more than the blink of Brahman’s eye – instantaneous, and the outcome of a marvellous thought experiment.
And out of his omniscience this thought placed sentient beings into the universe. They evolved into human beings who occupied some of the illusion of space. In his dream Brahman forgot that he was Brahman and identified with these separate bits of his consciousness in order to know what it was like to be separate. And of course, the human beings not being aware that they were all in their essence Brahman, believed that they were all separate and thus somehow special. Thus ego was born. And now, as a result, all these little bits of Brahman were competing with each other to assert their superiority.
And all this time Brahman dreamed his dream knowing that essentially “All is One” but trying to get to understand what it might be like if that was not the case. And as he slept the fragments of himself that he had set free were up to all sorts of mischief. They invented racism, tribalism, nationalism, religious intolerance and all forms of competition where individuals tried to assert their specialness and their primacy.
They found all sorts of ways to accentuate those minor discrepancies they had which somehow seemed to make them seem different from their fellows. And from this arose misery and war and all manner of dissatisfaction and suffering.
One such being, carrying a shard of the consciousness emanating from Brahman, sat on the rocks by the sea, trying to understand what life, his life in particular, was all about. Rhythmically the waves crashed on the rough shore. The crashing of the waves on to the hard surface caused the spray to fly up and spread over the adjoining rocks. He watched the spray depositing on the surface of the basalt, condensing into droplets that slowly ran down its face.
He looked out on the mighty ocean which extended all the way to the horizon, which from his vantage point, might for all intents and purposes, be infinite. And there was so much of the ocean that was unknown to him. He could only see the surface where the waves formed and surged. What depths lay beneath he could not tell.
The droplet of water running down the rock face seemed to be liberated and free but it was inexorably under the influence of gravity running back to the ocean. Even if it had been flung further afield it would evaporate in the sun join the transition of other such individuals in the clouds and then through precipitation fall onto the land and run off into the ocean or even fall directly into the ocean.
In some very direct way, the droplet was always part of the ocean. It came from the ocean, was temporarily separated and then returned. If it were conscious, the thinker wondered, would the drop believe it was a separate entity? If its tumultuous birth as a droplet caused from a wave being dashed on the rocks had obliterated its memory of the past, so that it did not know where it came from, it would undoubtedly believe it led a separate, independent existence. From his vantage point it was evident to the observer that all the droplets emanated from the ocean and would inevitably return to the ocean. In this way its notion of separation was largely an illusion.
Than the thinker wondered, what about himself? He also had the perception of separation and independence. Would it appear different from a vantage point where his whole existence could be observed in relation to all other beings? What if the consciousness that seemed to pervade him, and from what he could tell was present in other human beings was but a spark of the eternal consciousness? What if his conscious existence as a separate entity was merely an illusion in the same manner as it appeared to the water droplet? Thus his perception of separateness was but a temporary illusion also. Then (just as in the conversion of Saul) the “scales fell from his eyes” and he knew at once that he was also Brahman.
Brahman had awoken from his dream and in that instant his thought experiment was complete and the universe disappeared. So then there is only One and it is All and every manifestation of matter, and time, and separateness is but an illusion emanating from the playfulness of Brahman who is the fundamental source of everything and to which everything must inevitably return.