A collection of ancient Sanskrit Vedic hymns dating back more than three thousand years, the Rig Veda represents a very early stage in the development of the Vedic tradition. This passage narrates the origin of life from a state of ‘not-being nor being’ when desire, ‘the mind’s first seed’ rose up and the bond of being and non-being was discovered in the hearts of the wise ones. This was a state that preceded even the gods, when the Creator himself might not have been aware of what had happened, when, with prevailing uncertainty, the authors delve into curiosity and insist on the most fundamental questions: ‘What was the unfathomable deep water?’
Neither not-being nor being was there at that time; there was no air-filled space nor was there the sky which is beyond it. What enveloped all? And where? Under whose protection? What was the unfathomable deep water?
Neither was death there, nor even immortality at that time; there was no distinguishing mark of day and night. That One breathed without wind in its own special manner. Other than It, indeed, and beyond, there did not exist anything whatsoever.
In the beginning there was darkness concealed in darkness; all this was an indistinguishable flood of water. That, which, possessing life-force, was enclosed by the vacuum, the One, was born through the power of heat from its austerity.
Upon It rose up, in the beginning, desire, which was the mind’s first seed. Having sought in their hearts, the wise ones discovered, through deliberation, the bond of being and nonbeing.
Right across was their [i.e., the wise ones’] dividing line extended. Did the below exist then, was there the above? There were the seed-planters, there were the great forces of expansion. Below there was self-impulse, above active imparting.
Who knows it for certain; who can proclaim it here; namely, out of what it was born and wherefrom this creation issued? The gods appeared only later—after the creation of the world. Who knows, then, out of what it has evolved?
Wherefrom this creation has issued, whether he has made it or whether he has not—he who is the superintendent of this world in the highest heaven—he alone knows, or, perhaps, even he does not know.
Rig Veda 10.129