Since there was nothing in the beginning*, everything appeared from within the ‘Akshar Brahm’, the Imperishable Nirakaar (Formless Almighty) so the universe, according to the Indian Holy Scriptures, is considered ‘Manifestation’ of the Almighty** and not the creation and therefore, the ‘Samsaara’ or the universe is not different than the Almighty. That is why the eastern philosophies say:
“Kan Kan mai Bhagvaan -- Kan Kan hai Bhagvaan”
“Everything is in God,
God is in everything
And everything is God”.
“How is that possible?” One wonders. “How can trees, plants, people, animals and everything be God? A tree is a tree, people are people and animals are animals. How can everything be part of Brahm?”
It is certainly difficult for those to understand or accept this philosophy who consider God as a ‘Ruler’, the world his creation and its inhabitants his subjects.
Going back to the analogy of the ‘hair growing out of a living scalp’:
Hair, just like skin or any other part of the body is not different or separate than the body but at the same time, it has its independent existence as well.
A ring made of gold is both the ‘ring’ and ‘gold’ at the same time.
It is a ring indeed, but it is gold as well. We cannot separate the two. It depends on how we look at things and how do we perceive them.
A small girl saw her mother wearing a gold necklace for the first time and asked her what it was. The mother, knowing that her two year old daughter has never seen it before, says “This is a necklace”. Few minutes later, her friend saw it and said “Oh! This is beautiful. What is it?” She said “Its gold”.
Why the different answer?
Because the mother knows that her grown up friend is not asking if it is a ring or a necklace, instead she wants to know what the material is. What is it actually made of? So her answer is different but in reality it is a necklace as well as gold, both at the same time.
Similarly, a Gyani or the enlightened one can see everything in both ways; as it appears to be and as a part of the Almighty.
*Arbad narbad dhuhdhukaara
Dharani na gagana, Hukum apaara
Na Dina rain, Na chand Na sooraj
Sunn Samaadhi lagaayenda
‘Guru Nanak’ -Page 1035
** “Sab Gobind hai Sab Gobind hai, Gobind binu nahin koi”
(Sant Naamdev - page 485)