There is nothing like creation in the true sense of the word. What we call creation is the manifestation of countless forms out of nothing. This nothing is really nothing, but it exists. It cannot be denied. But it is not beyond everything. Everything includes nothing, but nothing does not and never can mean everything. Before the creation manifested itself, there was literally and absolutely nothing save the Almighty, Who alone existed, but who was latently conscious, and so did not know Himself. Just as consciousness was latent in the Almighty, so this, which is called the creation, was also latent in Him. The difference between the latent and the manifested creation may be likened to that between a seed and a tree. A seed is a small particle, but if sown into proper soil and watered, it will give rise to a mighty, big tree. This means that the seed was a tree in the compact form before it was sown, and it simply manifested itself when it grew into a tree. But whether latent or manifested, whether "seed" or "tree," the creation is always nothing, as it has come out of nothing, and is made up of nothing. But the Almighty is everything, including nothing, which implies that God is but One without a second, and that the nothing is also there. The nothing is there, but the pity of it is that this nothing is felt as everything by humanity at large.
Imagine God, before the universe came into being, as the dead, still, infinite Ocean. Now just imagine a whiff of wind stirring the still waters of the Ocean. Because of this stirring, countless different waves and drops, wave-bubbles and drop-bubbles, showed themselves out of the unity of the infinite Ocean. The whiff of wind that set the still Ocean of God into motion was but a passing fancy (what we call lahar in vernacular) on the part of the Ocean Itself to know Itself. The motion of the Ocean synchronized with this passing fancy, so that as soon as the Ocean began rolling, it began creating, or creation began manifesting itself. To put the matter more plainly, God, prompted by a passing fancy, asked Himself, "Who am I?'' No sooner did He thus ask Himself than He received a shock and no sooner did He receive a shock, than the creation that was latent, and lay in a dormant condition as the most finite and formless point in the unconscious — or latently conscious, but indivisible and infinite Paramatman — God, manifested itself in infinite forms.
The passing fancy was really a passing fancy, and not a premeditated act. The shock was simultaneous with the passing fancy and the creation synchronized with the shock; and along with the shock, the Paramatman became conscious. But He became conscious, not of Self but of the creation, because the manifestation of the creation and consciousness took place at one and the same time.
Suppose you close your eyes, and then, all of a sudden imagine you are tickled. As soon as you imagine that, at one and the same time, four different things will happen, viz: (1) you will feel that your body is being touched; (2) you will experience a mild shock; (3) you will open your eyes without any such intention, and (4) you will see something of the surroundings without the intention of seeing anything. Something like this happened when the creation manifested itself. Compare the first happening (your being touched) to the passing fancy of God; the second happening (experience of mild shock) to the shock which God received; the third happening (opening of eyes) to the consciousness which God experienced, and the fourth happening (that which you see) to the manifestation of creation. As the Paramatman uses His consciousness for knowing the creation,