The notion of creation appears frequently in discussions and Q&As (e.g. Nos.18, 19, 25, 29, 36), whether it is ascribed to, powered by Maya or by Reality itself. For example, in the answer to Q. 18 it is stated: “It is this Reality that dynamically creates, sustains and annihilates all things, including memories, from moment to moment”. Is this notion and its use, related to that of causation, not a misleading one from the perspective of Advaita (whether traditional or modern), which in the final analysis denies both? One can understand their value as a stratagem (upadhi) or intermediate stage in the way to a full understanding (paramarthika), and this seems to have been the clear intention of Ramana MaharshI in its employment. This intermediate teaching, traditionally called drishtI srishti-vada (Perception is Creation), suggests that the world is a product of the (individual?) perceiving mind (or of intellect?), and is meant to be sublated by the final teaching, ajativada, the doctrine of No-creation. Is the former thus simply a device, even though one is necessarily led to think or to infer that Atman-Brahman has something to do with (Its own) Manifestation? Evidently, you give a pointer to the solution of the problem in Q&A 36: “Consciousness is all there is… everything else… can only be an appearance in the mirror of Presence”. Any further comments on creation and the individual mind in particular? Much appreciated, Alberto
You say that Advaita denies both the notion of creation and that of causation. It would be more precise to say that it denies the notions of objective creation and causation (of a phenomenon by another phenomenon) and upholds the notions of subjective creation and causation (of a phenomenon by the noumenon). Of course, the substance of the phenomenon is the noumenon, the phenomenon being therefore devoid of independent existence. There is only one reality, and it is the noumenon.
Regarding the individual mind, it is obvious that the perception of a mind event (thought, sensation or sense perception) and its creation are one and the same, since you cannot have one without the other. Perception is creation. However the false assumption here is that a limited individual mind perceives and therefore creates. Where is the evidence that the awareness that perceives is mind-based or limited? Under this false or at least unverified assumption we would have objective creation and objective perception (as if a thought could think, or a feeling feel). Understanding that this is an impossibility, we move to the next step, ajativada: there is no (objective) creation, no creation of a phenomenon by another phenomenon. All creation, causation and perception is noumenal and universal, awareness is the cause (material, informal, final, and efficient) of all phenomena:
Material: it is the substance all phenomena are made out of
Informal: being itself formless, it creates all forms, it “in-forms”
Final: it is the ultimate goal and purpose of all phenomena. The manifestation reveals and celebrates the Unmanifested
Efficient: It is the creator of all created things and the doer of all deeds.