“David Godman said of Ramana, ‘his own experience was that creation itself had never occurred except in the imagination.’ Can you walk me through what is meant by this?”
The creation, here, has nothing to do with the so-called Creation (with a capital C), the world-origination myth which involves a god–although truly imaginary. It means, more completely, that not anything has ever appeared as an independent entity; such as for example, people think of the world.
Ramana himself has said, quoting Guadapada, “there is no creation, and no dissolution.” And he adds, “One who is established in the Self [awakened] sees this [truth] by his knowledge of reality [Self-realization].”
The point of the “no-creation” teaching is that we cannot say that a thing exists or does not exist except by use of the human mind.
In other words, Ramana asks: “Can the world exist without someone to perceive it?,” or to say so. “The world is the result of your mind.”
If there were no minds in the world, there would be no one to claim “the world exists”; hence, from that standpoint, the world would not exist.
In any case, we do not ever actually see a world. Instead, we assume that electromagnetic waves bounce off of objects, enter the head through our eyes, are inverted in the occipital lobe, where it is our brain which interprets the impressions to be “trees,” “cars,” “people,” etc. Ten billion cells and a trillion synapses “see the world.”
In the strict sense, the world exists only in our heads. “Neither the physical eye nor the mind,” Ramana points out, “has any power of vision of its own.”
What is real, he would say, does not come and go. The world comes into ‘existence’ for us upon our ‘birth,’ and goes out of existence for us upon our ‘death.’
In fact, the world even ceases to exist for us–as does our thinking–when deep dreamless sleep is our nightly condition.
There is no such thing as ‘the world’ independent of thoughts. There are no thoughts in deep sleep, and there is no world. In waking and dream, there are thoughts, and there is also the world.
In the deep dreamless condition, there are no thoughts, no world, as well as no “me”—nor any other thing.
Even in the wakened state, “the ‘I’ is first ‘created’–and then the world” [dependent upon that I].
Put another way, when all is seen to be empty in this sense, the world ceases to exist.
Thus it can be said that “nothing has ever been created” in time: “There is no creation, in the state of Realization. So, know the Self and realize there has been no creation.”