My comment: In this exchange with a visitor Ramana explains why he doesn’t insist on only the absolute view of Reality that he sees, but rather varies his response according to the willingness of the listener to accept what he says. This I find especially educational for me as one who has had the strong tendency to always hold to ‘my’ point of view and hold diverging ones to be at least limited, if not incorrect. I recognize that focusing only on the ‘correctness’ of a view is very limiting as it leaves out the most important element of any exchange: the heart connection.
Questioner: “In the vedanta of Sri Sankaracharya the principle of the creation of the world has been accepted for the sake of beginners, but for the advanced the principle of non-creation is put forward. What is your view on this matter?”
Ramana’s answer: “‘There is no dissolution or creation, no one in bondage, nor anyone pursuing spiritual practices. There is no one desiring liberation nor anyone liberated. This is the absolute truth.’ This sloka appears in the second chapter of Gaudapada’s karika. One who is established in the Self sees this by his knowledge of reality.”
Q: “Is not the Self the cause of this world we see around us?”
A: “Self itself appears as the world of diverse names and forms. However, Self does not act as the efficient cause [nimitta karana], creating, sustaining and destroying it. Do not ask ‘Why does the confusion of Self, not knowing the truth that it itself appears as the world, arise?’ If instead you enquire ‘To whom does this confusion occur?’, it will be discovered that no such confusion ever existed for Self.”
Q: “You seem to be an exponent of ajata doctrine of advaita vedanta.”
A: “I do not teach only the ajata doctrine. I approve of all schools. The same truth has to be expressed in different ways to suit the capacity of the hearer. The ajata doctrine says, ‘Nothing exists except the one reality. There is no birth or death, no projection or drawing in, no seeker, no bondage, no liberation. The one unity alone exists.’ To such as find it difficult to grasp this truth and who ask, ‘How can we ignore this solid world we see all around us?’, the dream experience is pointed out and they are told, ‘All that you see depends on the seer. Apart from the seer, there is no seen.’ This is called the drishti-srishti vada or the argument that one first creates out of one’s mind and then sees what one’s mind itself has created. Some people cannot grasp even this and they continue to argue in the following terms:
‘The dream experience is so short, while the world always exists. The dream experience was limited to me. But the world is felt and seen not only by me, but by so many others. We cannot call such a world non-existent.’ When people argue in this way they can be given a srishti-drishti theory, for example, ‘God first created such and such a thing, out of such and such an element, and then something else was created, and so on.’ That alone will satisfy this class. Their minds are otherwise not satisfied and they ask themselves, ‘How can all geography, all maps, all sciences, stars, planets and the rules governing or relating to them and all knowledge be totally untrue?’ To such it is best to say, ‘Yes, God created all this and so you see it.’”
Q: “But all these cannot be true. Only one doctrine can be true.”
A: “All these theories are only to suit the capacity of the learner. The absolute can only be one. The vedanta says that the cosmos springs into view simultaneously with the seer and that there is no detailed process of creation. This is said to be yugapat-srishti [instantaneous creation]. It is quite similar to the creations in dream where the experiencer springs up simultaneously with the objects of experience. When this is told, some people are not satisfied for they are deeply rooted in objective knowledge. They seek to find out how there can be sudden creation. They argue that an effect must be preceded by a cause. In short, they desire an explanation for the existence of the world which they see around them. Then the srutis [scriptures] try to satisfy their curiosity by theories of creation. This method of dealing with the subject of creation is called krama-srishti [gradual creation]. But the true seeker can be content with yugapat-srishti, instantaneous creation.”
Q: “What is the purpose of creation?”
A: “It is to give rise to this question. Investigate the answer to this question, and finally abide in the supreme or rather the primal source of all, the Self. The investigation will resolve itself into a quest for the Self and it will cease only after the non-Self is sifted away and the Self realized in its purity and glory.
“There may be any number of theories of creation. All of them extend outwardly. There will be no limit to them because time and space are unlimited. They are however only in the mind. If you see the mind, time and space are transcended and the Self is realized.
“Creation is explained scientifically or logically to one’s own satisfaction. But is there any finality about it? Such explanations are called krama-srishti [gradual creation]. On the other hand, drishti-srishti [simultaneous creation] is yugapat-srishti. Without the seer there are no objects seen.
“Find the seer and the creation is comprised in him. Why look outward and go on explaining the phenomena which are endless?”
source: David Godman, Be As You Are, The Teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi, p. 177, 178