The Hymn of Creation is one of the hymns from the Rigveda, the oldest of the Vedas. The Vedas, or sanskrit for knowledge, are the more authoritative of the two literary foundations of Hinduism. The second foundation is composed of epics, auxiliary texts to the Vedas, poetical literature, and texts prescribing religious and legal duties. They were composed between 2000 BCE and 150 BCE, and were transmitted orally as the Vedic Chants.
There are four sets of hymns: Rigveda, Yajurveda, Samaveda and the Atharvaveda. Each of the sets is organized into five sections: the Samhitas (mantras and benedictions), the Aranyakas (text on rituals, ceremonies, sacrifices and symbolic-sacrifices), the Brahmanas (commentaries on rituals, ceremonies and sacrifices), and the Upanishads (text discussing meditation, philosophy and spiritual knowledge).
Back to the Hymn of Creation, it is noteworthy for its epistemological openness and poetic beauty in contemplating the beginning of the universe.
Then even nothingness was not, nor existence,
there was no air then, nor the heavens beyond it.
What covered it? Where was it? In whose keeping?
Was there then cosmic water, in depths unfathomed?
Then there was neither death nor immortality
nor was there then the torch of night and day.
The One breathed windlessly and self-sustaining.
There was that One then, and there was no other.
At first there was only darkness wrapped in darkness.
All this was only unillumined water.
That One which came to be, enclosed in nothing,
arose at last, born of the power of heat.
In the beginning desire descended on it —
that was the primal seed, born of the mind.
The sages who have searched their hearts with wisdom
know that which is kin to that which is not.
And they have stretched their cord across the void,
and know what was above, and what below.
Seminal powers made fertile mighty forces.
Below was strength, and over it was impulse.
But, after all, who knows, and who can say
whence it all came, and how creation happened?
The gods themselves are later than creation,
so who knows truly whence it has arisen?
Whence all creation had its origin,
he, whether he fashioned it or whether he did not,
he, who surveys it all from highest heaven,
he knows - or maybe even he does not know.
Translation by A. L. Basham.