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Not the Non-Existent


The poem “Not the non-existent” presents a primordial state of existence and the mysteries surrounding creation. It describes a time when there was neither non-existence nor existence, no air or sky, but rather an unfathomable depth of water. Death and immortality did not exist, and there was no distinction between day and night.

In this state of chaos and darkness, a single breathless entity existed on its own, and nothing else was present. Through the power of warmth, a unit or entity was born. Desire emerged as the primal seed of Spirit, and wise individuals discovered the connection between the existent and the non-existent.

The poem raises questions about what existed above and below a severing line, alluding to the presence of begetters, mighty forces, and energy in different realms. It ponders the origins of creation, questioning whether anyone truly knows or can declare its birth.

It acknowledges that even the gods, who came later in the world’s production, may not possess this knowledge. The poem concludes by acknowledging a supreme being who may or may not have formed the creation, with the ability to observe and control the world, but it remains uncertain whether this entity fully comprehends the origins of existence.


1. In the beginning what was or was not there?

ans: In the beginning, there was a state of non-existence and absence of existence. It describes a time when there was no realm of air or sky, and darkness concealed everything. It suggests that there was no division between day and night, and death did not exist. Instead, there was a primordial state of chaos, void, and formlessness.

2. Why is “chaos” modified by the adjective “indiscriminated” ?

ans: The use of the adjective “indiscriminated” to modify the noun “chaos” suggests that the chaos being described lacks any discernible order or differentiation. It emphasizes the state of formlessness, confusion, and lack of distinction that characterized the primordial stage of existence.

By describing the chaos as indiscriminated, the passage highlights the absence of any clear organization, structure, or categorization. It conveys the idea that everything within this state of chaos was mixed together in an undifferentiated and unsorted manner. There was no delineation or separation of elements or entities, making it impossible to distinguish or identify specific components within the chaotic state.

3. How can something be “breadthless, breathed by its own nature” ?

ans: The phrase “breadthless, breathed by its own nature” represents a poetic and metaphorical expression rather than a literal description. It conveys a paradoxical and enigmatic concept related to the nature of the primordial deity or entity being described.

The term “breadthless” suggests the absence of breath or the lack of a conventional respiratory process. It implies that the deity does not require air or any external element for sustenance or existence. This emphasizes the self-sufficiency and independence of the deity, existing beyond the limitations of mortal life and conventional understanding.

4. How is Desire defined in the poem?

ans: In the poem, desire is described as the primal seed and germ of Spirit. It signifies the emergence of an innate longing or yearning that plays a crucial role in the process of creation. Desire is portrayed as an essential force or energy that arises in the beginning stages of existence.

5. What does “Free action here” refer to?

ans: The phrase “free action here” suggests the presence of unbounded or unrestricted activity within the realm being described. It implies that there is a state of uninhibited motion or agency in that particular domain or level of existence.

6. Who knows the mystery of creation?

ans: The poem raises the question of who truly knows the mystery of creation. It contemplates the origins of existence and ponders whether anyone possesses the knowledge or understanding of its true nature. “The eye” either knows the creation and its origins, or it may not know, leaving room for uncertainty.

According to the poem, even the gods, who came later in the world’s production, may not possess this knowledge. It acknowledges the limitations of human understanding and raises the possibility that even a supreme being or entity, who controls the world from the highest heaven, may not fully comprehend the origins of creation.


1. Explain: “free action here and energy up yonder”. Who has free action? How does it attempt to explain the creator and the created?

ans: The phrase “free action here and energy up yonder” in the poem suggests the presence of unrestricted activity and potent energy in different realms or domains. It alludes to the dynamics within the primordial state and the interactions between various forces or entities.

The poem does not explicitly specify who has free action, but it indicates the existence of begetters and mighty forces. It implies that within the described realm, there are entities or energies that possess the ability to act freely, unhampered by external limitations or constraints. These entities are not explicitly defined or identified in the poem, leaving room for interpretation.

In terms of explaining the creator and the created, the poem presents a contemplation of the origins of creation and raises questions regarding its source. It acknowledges that the gods are later than the world’s production, implying that they are not the ultimate creators but entities that come into existence afterward.

2. What is the essential ambiguity of this poem? What does the poem gain or lose by the ambiguity?

ans: The essential ambiguity of the poem lies in its profound and enigmatic nature, presenting philosophical inquiries about the origins and nature of creation while leaving many questions unanswered. The poem poses contemplative statements and questions that explore fundamental aspects of existence, yet it does not provide definitive answers or clear resolutions to these inquiries.

The poem gains from its ambiguity by inviting readers to engage in deep introspection and personal interpretation. It stimulates thought, contemplation, and philosophical exploration, encouraging individuals to grapple with profound existential questions. The ambiguity allows for a multiplicity of interpretations, offering space for personal reflection and the formation of diverse perspectives on the mysteries of creation.

On the other hand, the poem may also present a potential loss of clarity or a lack of concrete explanations. It leaves readers with unanswered questions, uncertainties, and a sense of the ineffable nature of existence. For those seeking definite answers or a concise understanding, the ambiguity may frustrate their desire for resolution or certainty.

3. This primordial deity did breathe, that is to say it was alive, but it needed no air. How do you explain this phenomenon?

ans: The concept of the primordial deity described as being alive but not needing air can be understood as a metaphorical depiction rather than a literal interpretation. It represents a philosophical or poetic expression to convey the nature of this deity or entity.

The mention of breathlessness suggests that this deity exists beyond the conventional boundaries of life as we understand it. It signifies a state of being that transcends the need for physical elements like air or respiration. The deity is portrayed as self-sustaining, not reliant on external factors for its existence or vitality.

The poem employs symbolic language to emphasize the deity’s inherent nature and self-sufficiency. It suggests that this primordial deity possesses a life force or essence that sustains its existence, independent of typical life-sustaining elements such as air.

4. What does the eye do? What does it know?

ans: The mention of the eye in the poem refers to a metaphorical concept rather than a literal eye. It represents a symbol of perception, awareness, and understanding. The poem contemplates the role of this metaphorical eye in relation to the knowledge and understanding of creation.

According to the poem, the eye is attributed to a being that surveys or observes the world from the highest heaven. It suggests that this entity has a vantage point from which it can perceive and comprehend the workings of the world.

As for what the eye knows, the poem presents two possibilities. It states that the eye either knows the creation and its origins, or it may not know, leaving room for uncertainty. The poem acknowledges the limitations of knowledge, even for a being with such a perspective, and it poses the question of whether or not the entity truly comprehends the mystery of creation.


1. The hymn deliberately puzzels and challenges by raising unanswerable questions and paradoxes. Discuss.

ans: The poem deliberately presents a series of unanswerable questions and paradoxes, effectively puzzling and challenging readers in their contemplation of the mysteries of creation. By raising these unanswerable questions, the poem invites individuals to confront the limits of human understanding and grapple with profound existential inquiries.

Through its enigmatic language and thought-provoking statements, the poem pushes readers to contemplate the nature of existence, the origins of creation, and the boundaries of knowledge. It intentionally raises paradoxes and contradictions, such as the existence of a breathless deity or the uncertainty surrounding the knowledge of creation, leaving readers in a state of intellectual tension and curiosity.

2. What do you think the poem is: a series of answers or a series of question? Give reason.

ans: The poem appears to be a series of contemplative statements and questions rather than a straightforward series of answers. It raises philosophical inquiries about the nature of existence and the origins of creation. The poem explores various aspects of the primordial state, the emergence of desire, the existence of begetters and mighty forces, and the limitations of human and divine knowledge.

While the poem does provide some descriptions and insights, it primarily presents a series of questions that delve into the mysteries of creation. It invites contemplation, reflection, and the exploration of profound concepts surrounding the nature of existence. The questions posed within the poem stimulate philosophical inquiry and encourage the reader to ponder the origins and nature of the universe.

3. How can the universe have sprung into existence, that is, how can something come out of nothing? How can there be a beginning, before which there was nothing?

ans: The question of how the universe came into existence, and how something can come out of nothing, is a longstanding philosophical and scientific question. It is difficult to conceive of how the universe could have had a beginning, as it raises the question of what existed before the beginning, and how something could come into existence from nothing.

One possible explanation for the origin of the universe is the Big Bang theory, which suggests that the universe began as a singularity, an infinitely dense and hot point that expanded rapidly to form the universe we see today. However, the question of what caused the Big Bang, and what existed before it, remains unanswered.

But if we go through our religious belief and holy book, it says that God has created the universe and all the things in it from nothing. Also, the holy book describes the creation of the universe as a miraculous event.

Other theories propose that the universe is eternal and has always existed, or that it is part of a multiverse with an infinite number of universes. These ideas are still being explored and debated by scientists and philosophers. Ultimately, the question of how the universe came into existence remains one of the great mysteries of existence.

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