God and Creation
Questions by various friends, and Answers by Swami Nirmalananda, abbot of Atma Jyoti Ashram
Would you say that all creation is God?
No, I would say the reverse: God is all creation. There is a very basic difference. God is not a sum total of "existing" objects, but the Sole Reality, creation being a momentary appearance for the purpose of our evolution, and destined to be transcended. But please notice, I say "I would say…." If you or anyone else wish to express it otherwise, fine, for no verbalization is capable of embracing the full range of What Is. Actually, both statements–all creation is God and God is all creation–are true. What is needed is the understanding that they are not complete and therefore must not be put forth as Absolute Truth. For they are equally as false as they are true, since they are mere intellectual concepts of the Inconceivable.
Whenever I ponder an "is it true or not?" type of question, I always remember that Sri Ma Anandamayi, the great spiritual leader of India Whom I was privileged to know and associate with for the last nineteen years of Her physical embodiment, told Her friends when they posed this type of question that in fact both views–like the Taoist symbol of Yin/Yang–contain the truth in seed form. But in conclusion She would always insist that there is a State of Being in which such questions can no longer arise–and the attainment of that state is what should mostly occupy our thoughts rather than the puzzling out of the lesser dualities.
Do you believe that there have been other universes than this one in which we now are evolving?
Yes, I personally believe that there have been previous universes and that there will be future ones. The process never began, and it will never end. It simply is. God actually breathes Himself out as the creation. In India it is likened to a spider spinning its web out of its own body substance. The universe is the Being of God. And from another viewpoint, it is merely a play of shadows on Light, like a motion picture upon a screen.
Do all beings evolve?
Absolutely, all beings sow and reap karma, including angels and archangels. I recommend that you read the chapter in Yogananda's Autobiography of a Yogi entitled "The Resurrection of Sri Yukteswar" where it is explained in detail.