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I have so far read two contrasting creation stories in Hindu mythology. One was in the book Shakti Mantras by Thomas Ashley-Farrand, where Sri Brahma, seated on a lotus, grew out of Sri Narayana's navel. He hummed, and a bubble came out of Narayana's body, and his music penetrated the bubble, whereupon it shattered into manifold shards like glass, those of which would become souls.

The other story I read was from the Rig Veda, where there was a giant cosmic floating man. The gods took knives and sliced & diced him into various parts which became the universe.

Why are there, as I have read and heard, so many different creation stories in the Vedas (and Upanishads I believe), and why are they contrasting and completely different from one another?

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  • Try reading Indian authors especially rishi munis to have authentic explanation, preferably written in Indian language. Gita press is an excellent publication in many Indian languages plus English.
    – sbharti
    Commented Feb 20, 2022 at 0:25
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    – Community Bot
    Commented Feb 20, 2022 at 0:25
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    Its due to Kalpa-Bheda. Commented Feb 20, 2022 at 14:01
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    Does this answer your question? Why there are numerous contradictions about origin of universe and other creations in Hinduism?
    – Vivikta
    Commented Feb 20, 2022 at 14:48
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    There are many, more than 3. Which do you prefer? Commented Feb 26, 2022 at 6:05

2 Answers 2

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The difference in the process of creation is due to Kalpa-Bheda.

According to Shiva Maha Purana, (Chapter 13, Vayavivasamhita, Shiva Purana).:

Vayu said, I shall narrate how Rudra was born and how Brahma and Vishnu were born from each other. The three are Atmans as causes of born of Mahesvara; they are cause of creation, sustenance and annihilation of the Universe consisting of mobile and immobile beings. Endowed with great qualities they are sanctified by great Lord. Presided over by his Shakti, they can perform their activities. Brahma can create, Vishnu can protect and Rudra can annihilate. But they rivaled with one other. Desirous of excelling one other they propitiated their father the Supreme Lord by means of penance. Attaining all around favor of Lord at outset in Previous Kalpa, Rudra created Brahma and Vishnu. In another Kalpa, Brahma created Vishnu and Rudra. In another Kalpa, Vishnu created Brahma and Rudra. Thus in different Kalpas, Brahma, Vishnu and Rudra desiring mutual benefit are born of one another. Based on the events in their respective Kalpas, their process in being the cause of origin of one other is extolled by Sages.

So, in different different Kalpas, Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu snd Lord Rudra Creates, Preserve and Destroy the Universe.

As for Purusha Shuktam, this Supreme Purusha (Cosmic Being according to your question) is a Part of Parambrahma. But different sects identify him differently as per as their beliefs. Its same as the following rig-vedic verse.:

एकं सद विप्रा बहुधा वदन्त्यग्निं यमं मातरिश्वानमाहुः || (Rig-Veda 1:164:46) ekaṃ sad viprā bahudhā vadantyaghniṃ yamaṃ mātariśvānamāhuḥ || God (Truth) is only One, but wise and saints call him by many different names.

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In Gaudapada's Karika to the Mandukya Upanishad, Gaudapada states in III.15-17 (Swami Nikhilananda translator):

  1. The scriptural statements regarding the creation, using the examples of earth, iron, and sparks, are for the purpose of clarifying the mind. Multiplicity does not [really] exist in any manner.

  2. There are three stages of life, corresponding to the threefold understanding of men: inferior, mediocre, and superior. Scripture, out of compassion, has taught this discipline for the benefit [of the unenlightened].

  3. The dualists, firmly cling to their conclusions, contradict one another. The non-dualists find no conflict in them.

Which story of creation do you prefer in your own mind?? Gaudapada's arguments continue through verse 28. Here - https://www.wisdomlib.org/hinduism/book/mandukya-upanishad-karika-bhashya

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