In one of the well known Upanishads, namely the Chändogya Upanishad, there is a description of how this world came into existence. Let me summarize the relevant verses as follows.
“In the beginning, there was nothing but ‘That’ alone that existed. And ‘That’ wished to be many. It took the form of ‘Tejas’ (bright light). This ‘Tejas’ too wished to be many and it took the form of ‘Äp’ (water). This ‘Äp’ in turn took the form of ‘Anna’ (nutriment)”
What is interesting is even after taking these various forms the original ‘That’ remained as it was. Explaining the ‘creation process’ further, the Upanishad explains how each of these three forms – bright light, water and nutriment – combined among themselves and resulted in the formation of several entities each distinct in its own way. Then the Upanishad says
“Having taken so many forms, ‘That’ entered each of them in the form of ‘Jiva’ (soul) and separated ‘name’ and ‘form’”
So, in this way, the single entity that alone existed in the beginning ‘became’ many things/beings that we see around us as ‘world’.
But how is that possible? How can one entity become many and still remain as it was! We will see this in the next post.