WASHINGTON, August 17, 2012 – We have all grown up listening to stories about the chicken and egg controversy. Who came first? We have thought over it, cracked jokes at it, widely guessed about it, and have also tried to think logically about it.
I have also grown up surrounded by discussions, and even serious debates on this matter. When I started reading a lot about ancient Hindu scriptures and Vedic texts, I expected to learn a lot about spirituality, divinity and such heavy loaded themes.
The one thing I didn’t think I would get such an easy answer for was which came first - the chicken or the egg?
My understanding says- it was the egg- the Golden Embryo.
According to the Rig Veda, which is considered to be the oldest and most sacred of Hindu texts, there are several myths about the creation of the universe. And they refer to the Golden Embryo, the golden egg in common terms.
There are four Vedas. According to Hindu belief, Vedas were not written or composed by mankind. The teachings of the Vedas were divine vibrations heard by people, transmitted and taught through hearing as an oral tradition.
This gave the Vedas a supreme authority. The truth imparted by the Vedas became the supreme truth.
The Rig Veda talks in great detail about the myths of creation and what existed before creation.
“Neither non-existence nor existence was at the beginning. There was neither space nor heaven beyond. What was covered? Where? Under whose protection? What waters were there- the deeps of death?”
“There was neither death nor immortality…darkness was hidden by darkness”
And then the Golden Egg appeared- the Hiranya Garbha.
“The golden embryo appeared at the beginning! the lord of all that becomes was born, alone!”
This golden embryo was broken into two parts and those parts then became heaven and earth.
Other concepts in the Vedas and Puranas also describe the formation of the space in-between, know as antariksham. The Vedas also describe the role of elements such as fire and water in this creation.
They bring forth an analogy of heaven as father, earth as mother and child as the space in-between.
The word golden is used because the Vedas describe the appearance and breaking of this egg as a process of moving from darkness to light. And this light is no mere light. It is described as a divine light, a light that is so bright that it filled the supreme darkness with supreme brightness.
To me, the breaking of the Golden Embryo and the journey from darkness to the divine light is the essence of life. It depicts the urge and need we all must have to break out of our shells and seek the divine light within and around us.
We need to break the egg around us. We need to stop chickening out of situations that take us towards our divine pursuits.
(The quotations and some of the text above has been taken from ‘an introduction to the Vedas’ published by the International Centre for Integral Studies, Gurgaon, India. I would like to acknowledge the centre for their work and research on this topic).
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