Brahma’s Lie and the Delusion of Certainty

A yogic story (appearing in the Shiva Puranans) about the beginning of Creation, excerpted from the latest book by Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev, Adiyogi: The Source of Yoga (p. 45-46).

Emphasis added.


It happened…

The Creator Brahma and the Preserver Vishnu came across a great pillar of fire. It seemed beginningless and endless, a column of vast unending effulgence. From this emanated the sound, Aum.

They gazed upon it for a long time, awed at its radiance and splendour. Then they turned curious. They decided to investigate. They set out in search of its beginning and its end. Taking the form of a swan, Brahma rose high into the blue skies in pursuit of its summit. Taking the form of a boar, Vishnu burrowed his way deep into the darkest recesses of the universe in the hope of reaching its base.

Both failed. For this cosmic pillar was none other than Shiva himself, pristine and magnificent. To seek to measure the immeasurable is an act which only the human intellect with its irrepressible imperialist impulse is capable.

When Vishnu returned, he conceded defeat. However, not wanting to admit failure, Brahma boasted that he had, in fact, reached the summit. As proof, he presented a white flower. The white flower – the ketaki – vouched for the veracity of Brahma’s claim.

The lie cost Brahma dear. For no sooner was the sentence uttered than Shiva appeared. The two gods paid him obeisance.

For this lie, Shiva declared, Brahma would henceforth be deprived of the privilege of worship. The flower, by agreeing to be accomplice to this subterfuge, fell from grace. Adiyogi refused to accept it as an offering henceforth. (However, an exception was made for the holy night of Mahashivratri. To this day, the white ketaki flower is offered for worship only on this darkest night of the year, considered to be a night of profound spiritual possibility.)

Brahma’s lie marks the first act of fundamentalism on the planet. The flower is punished for bearing witness and offering tacit support to the fundamentalist impulse. To claim a limited end to a limitless process, to reduce the infinite to the finite, to draw borders across the borderless, to make measurements of the unfathomable – this is the beginning of the human impulse to create certainty where none exists. It is the birth of pain, of suffering, of delusion.

The spiritual journey is a journey towards clarity, but never towards certainty. When you draw conclusions about beginnings and endings, you are a believer. When you accept that you really do not know anything, you become a seeker.

To be enlightened is not a condition of certainty. It is to move from limited knowing to boundless unknowing, from gravitas to grace. It is to awaken to a condition of borderless ignorance, of limitless uncertainty. When you are no longer bound by the limitations of creation, you are blessed with the freedom of the Creator.

~ Excerpt from Adiyogi: The Source of Yoga by Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev & Arundhati Subramaniam

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Read also: Life is Inclusiveness – by Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev


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