In practically every religion of the world God is said to be the creator of the universe. And this leads atheistic people to say: “No, the universe came from the Big Bang; no God was involved”. But Kṛṣṇa says in the Bhagavad-Gita (10.8), that He is not just the creator; rather, He creates from Himself. If “God is the creator” is religion, then “God creates from Himself” is the science.
In Bhagavad-Gita 10.8, Kṛṣṇa says:
ahaṁ sarvasya prabhavo
mattaḥ sarvaṁ pravartate
iti matvā bhajante māṁ
I am the creator of all spiritual and material worlds. Everything emanates from Me. Knowing this, the intelligent worship Me, embued with devotion.
Most of us tend to read this quickly, and conclude that “God created the world”, but that is just the first statement–ahaṁ sarvasya prabhavo–or that “I am the creator”. But how is God the creator? Some religions say that God created the world out of nothing or ex nihilo. This contradicts science, because energy should not be created or destroyed. If God created the energy once, then He can create it again, and that means that the energy is not merely changing form but it is also being created and annihilated. Thus, the statement, “I am the creator” produces an immediately unscientific proposition, or at least one that is contradictory to science. But this is not the claim in Bhagavad-Gita, where right after saying that “I am the creator”, Kṛṣṇa makes the second statement–mattaḥ sarvaṁ pravartate—“Everything comes from Me”. In other words, the world did not come from a vacuum or nothingness. It came out of God like a mother gives birth to a child.
In Damodarastakam, Kṛṣṇa is glorified as follows:
namas te ‘stu dāmne sphurad-dīpti-dhāmne
tvadīyodarāyātha viśvasya dhāmne
I worship that rope (which has bound your stomach). That rope is the residence of automatically springing light (sphurad-dīpti-dhāmne), just like (yātha) your stomach (tvadīyodarā) is the residence of the universe (viśvasya dhāmne).
On a side note, sphura is the fundamental difference between matter and spirit. Matter is called jada which means it is “inert”, in the sense that there has to be some external force that acts on matter to make it move (just like a master must command a servant to do something). But spirit is sphura or automatically acting. This idea is explained here by saying that the rope that binds Kṛṣṇa’s stomach is also spiritual, in the sense that it is source of automatically emanating light. We can contrast this idea with how we see a material rope.
We say that some light is emanated by the sun, it ‘hits’ the rope, and is then absorbed-emitted or “reflected” by the rope, it reaches our eyes, and then we see the rope. The rope that binds Kṛṣṇa is not like that. It is not reflecting light, but it is emanating light. In short, no sun or moon or tubelight is required to see anything, because everything is emanating its own light. The rope is self-visible, seen of its own accord. When the rope reflects light, then we can forcibly see the rope by shining light on it. But if the rope is emanating light, then we cannot see the rope unless the rope “reveals itself”. This is the difference between matter and spirit — spirit acts of its own accord; even the rope is free.
Returning to the main point, this automatic emanation of light from the rope is compared to Kṛṣṇa emanating the world from His stomach. The term yatha means “just as”. So, “just as the universe is emanated from Your stomach, like that the rope is emanating the light”.
So, even when the main point is that Damodara is being glorified, the rope that binds Him is also glorified. And that rope is glorified as having the same nature as Damodara. It is not that God is spiritual, and the rope is material. The rope is also spiritual.
In this way, we must understand that the vision of the devotees is not divided between ‘religion’ and ‘science’. These are artificial boxes that the modern world has created based on artificial religion and artificial science. The real science and religion don’t have these artificial boxes. Even while praying to God, all the paraphernalia — e.g. the rope — is glorified, in the same way that God is glorified. And everything is described clearly, and even contrasted, just like Kṛṣṇa doesn’t just say that “I created the world” and that’s the end of the story. No. He explains how He created the world. Likewise, even if the rope is created by God, it has the same nature as God, but is not God.
Again, Kṛṣṇa explains that the intelligent worship Me in this way “embued by emotion” — iti matvā bhajante māṁ, budhā bhāva-samanvitāḥ. The fools don’t worship God, and the mere intellectuals don’t worship God. The really intelligent worship God. So, there is no contradiction between rationality and emotionality. Again, many modern so-called religious people have created some artificial boxes and they say that jnana is superior to bhakti. Or that bhakti is for the less intelligent. That is not a fact. Only the intelligent can worship God embued with emotion. The fools don’t know God, so they cannot worship. And the dry intellectual also doesn’t know, although he thinks he knows based on some book reading. Sometimes one who thinks he knows although he doesn’t is more dangerous than one who knows that he doesn’t know. In short, the symptom of true knowing is that emotional love “automatically springs out” just like water from a fountain. It is not that love is externally applied. That kind of forced love is artificial. Real love is automatic. This is the meaning of sphura.