ॐ आत्मा वा इदमेक एवाग्र आसीन्नान्यत्किंचन मिषत् । स ईक्षत लोकान्नु सृजा इति ॥ १ ॥

(All) this was only one A’tman at first. There was nothing else active. He thought He thought I shall create worlds.

Shankara’s Commentary:

A’tman is from the root which means ’to obtain;’ ’to eat,’ or ’to enjoy;’ or ’to pervade all.' The A’tman is the highest, omniscient, omnipotent, devoid of all the attributes of Samsûra, such as hunger etc., naturally eternal, pure, intelligent and free, unborn, undecaying, immortal, fearless and without a second. Ilam, the universe already stated and diversified with the distinctions of name, form and Karma, was the one A’tman alone. Agre, before the creation of the universe, Is he not now the same, the one entity ? Not that he is not. Why, then is it said it was? Though even now he is surely the one entity still there is a distinction. The distinction is that before the creation, the universe, with no manifested difference of name and form and one with the A’tman, was denoted by the word ‘A’tman ’ alone; but now, owing to the manifestation of the differ- ence of name and form, it is denoted by many words and also by the one word A’tman. Just as foam, which, before the separate manifestation of its name and form, from that of water, was capable of being denoted only by the word water: ‘but when it becomes manifested by its difference of form and name from that of water, the same sub- stance, water, is denoted by more than one word, i.e., ‘water’ and ‘foam’, and foam is denoted by the one word ‘foam.’ Nânyatkinchana,-nothing else. Mishat,-active; something else, like the pradhûna of the Sankhyas, independent and material (not spiritual) and like the atoms of the followers of the school of Kanada, there is not here any entity other than the A’tman. But there was the A’tman alone, this is the meaning. He, omniscient by nature, the one A’tman, thought I shall create worlds." How could he have seen (thought) before the creation, being devoid of the organs of activity? This is no fault; because of his being om- niscient by nature; so the Mantravarna also says: Having neither hands, nor feet, he is quick in his movements and grasps (things) etc." With what purpose is explained. I shall create worlds, named Ambhah etc., the places for the enjoyment of the fruits of Karma by living beings’.