Tuesday, May 25

Chaos and Order

Then there was neither Aught nor Nought;
Nor air nor sky beyond.
What covered all? Where rested all? In watery gulf profound?
Nor death was then, nor deathlessness,
Nor change of night and day.
That One breathed calmly, self-sustained;
Nought else beyond it lay.
Gloom hid in gloom existed first—one sea, eluding view.
That One, a void in chaos wrapt, by inward fervor grew.
Within it first arose desire, the primal germ of mind,
Which nothing with existence links, as sages searching find.
The kindling ray that shot across the dark and drear abyss.
Was it beneath? or high aloft? What bard can answer this?
There fecundating powers were found, and mighty forces strove.
A self-supporting mass beneath, and energy above.
Who knows, whoever told, from whence this vast creation rose?
No gods had then been born.
Who then can e'er the truth disclose?
Whence sprang this world,
And whether framed by hand divine or no.
Its lord in heaven alone can tell, if even he can show.

-- Rg Veda X.129, translated by J. Muir in Original Sanskrit Texts