Creation and its theories in contemporary science and theology – specifically in the US, based on Christian scriptures – has been a point of controversy. So when I came across a compilation of the thoughts on same in various Vedic/Vedantic/Hindu scriptures, I wanted to put it up here for a ready reference in future. There are some more, specifically from Bhagwad Gita and from Yoga Vasistha that I will later to this list.
Matsya Purana (2.25-30) gives an account of initial creation. After Mahapralaya, the great dissolution of the universe, there was darkness everywhere. Everything was in a state of sleep. There was nothing, either moving or static. Then Svayambhu, Self-manifested Being arose, which is a form beyond senses. He created the primordial waters first and established the seed of creation into it. The seed turned into a golden womb, Hiranyagarbha. Then Svayambhu entered in the egg, and He is called Vishnu because of entering. Brahmanda Purana (1.4.25) says that He is called as Vishnu because He pervades the whole universe.
The Narayana Sukta exclaims that everything that is, visible or invisible, all this is pervaded by Narayana within and without.
The Ishavasya Upanishad says that the universe is pervaded by Ishvara (God), who is both within and without it. He is the moving and the unmoving, He is far and near, He is within all these and without all these.
The Vedanta Sutra further states that Krishna is That from Whom this universe proceeds, in Whom it subsists, and to Whom, in the end, it returns.
The Samkhya school holds that there are only two primary principles, Purusha and Prakriti, and creation is only a manifestation or evolution of the constituents of Prakriti due to the action of Purusha’s Consciousness.
The Mahabharata states that Narayana alone was in the beginning, who was the prius of principles of creation, sustenance, and dissolution (also known as the Hindu Trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva) – the Supreme Hari, multi-headed, multi-eyed, multi-footed, multi-armed, multi-limbed. This was the Supreme Seed of all creation, subtler than the subtlest, greater than the greatest, larger than the largest, and more magnificent than even the best of all things, more powerful, than even the wind and all the gods, more resplendent than the Sun and the Moon, and more internal than even the mind and the intellect. He is the Creator, the Father Supreme.
The Manu Smriti says: In the beginning, all this existence was one undifferentiated, unmanifested, unknown, indefinable, unarguable and unknown in every way. From this condition arose the universe of name and form, through the medium of the Self-existent Creator, Svayambhu.