In Questions and Answers (1953), The Mother gives the following reply to the question about origin of Gods and steps of creation:
There is a very old tradition which narrates this. I am going to tell you the story as one does to children, for in this way you will understand:
One day “God” decided to exteriorise himself, objectivise himself, in order to have the joy of knowing himself in detail. So, first of all, he emanated his consciousness (that is to say, he manifested his consciousness) by ordering this consciousness to realise a universe. This consciousness began by emanating four beings, four individualities which were indeed altogether very high beings, of the highest Reality. They were the being of consciousness, the being of love (of Ananda rather), the being of life and the being of light and knowledge — but consciousness and light are the same thing. There we are then: consciousness, love and Ananda, life and truth — truth, that’s the exact word. And naturally, they were supremely powerful beings, you understand. They were what are called in that tradition the first emanations, that is, the first formations. And each one became very conscious of its qualities, its power, its capacities, its possibilities, and, suddenly forgot each in its own way that it was only an emanation and an incarnation of the Supreme. And so this is what happened: when light or Consciousness separated from the divine Consciousness, that is, when it began to think it was the divine Consciousness and that there was nothing other than itself, it suddenly became obscurity and inconscience. And when Life thought that all life was in itself and that there was nothing else but its life and that it did not depend at all upon the Supreme, then its life became death. And when Truth thought that it contained all truth, and that there was no other truth than itself, this Truth became falsehood. And when love or Ananda was convinced that it was the supreme Ananda and that there was no other than itself and its felicity, it became suffering. And that is how the world, which was to have been so beautiful, became so ugly. Now, that consciousness (if you like to call it the Divine Mother, the Supreme Consciousness), when she saw this she was very disturbed, you may be sure, she said to herself: “This has really not succeeded.” So she turned back to the Divine, to God, the Supreme, and she asked him to come to her aid. She said to him: “This is what has happened. Now what is to be done?” He said: “Begin again, but try to manage in such a way that the beings do not become so independent! … They must remain in contact with you, and through you with me.” And it was thus that she created the gods, who were quite docile and not so proud, and who began the creation of the world. But as the others had come before them, at every step the gods met the others. And it was in this way that the world changed into a battlefield, a place of war, strife, suffering, darkness and all the rest, and for each new creation the gods had to fight with the others who had gone ahead: they had preceded them, they had plunged headlong into matter; and they had created all this disorder and the gods had to put straight all this confusion. That is where the gods came from. They are the second emanations…..
It is said also — that is the continuation of the story or rather its beginning — that the Divine wanted his creation to be a free creation. He wanted all that went forth from him to be absolutely independent and free in order to be able to unite with him in freedom, not through compulsion. He did not want that they should be compelled to be faithful, compelled to be conscious, compelled to be obedient. They had to do it spontaneously, through the knowledge and conviction that that was much better. So this world was created as a world of total freedom, freedom of choice. And it is in this way that at every moment everyone has the freedom of choice — but with all the consequences. If one chooses well, it is good, but if one chooses ill, ah well, what’s to happen happens — that is what has happened!
The story may be understood in a much more occult and spiritual sense. But it is like all the stories of the universe: if you want to narrate them so that people may understand, they become stories for children. But if one knows how to see the truth behind the symbols, one understands everything. Even with what I have told you, which seems like a little story for children, even like that, if you understand what I have told you and the meaning of what I have told you, you can have the secret of things.
There are traditions which say that it is an “accident”, in the sense that it could have been otherwise. But it happened like that. It is true, it came about like that. Only, it was quite understandable that, every one of these elements having its origin in the Supreme, being quite close to the Emanation at that moment, quite close to the Origin, carried in itself the consciousness of its divinity and superiority, necessarily, since this is not a creation made with something foreign to the Divine: it is simply the Divine who has emanated himself, as though he were looking at himself — he objectivises himself in order to become aware of all that he is; instead of being in an inner static state of concentration in which all is unmanifested, he projects that outside himself “in order to see”, as though he wanted to see all that is within him, that is, all the infinity of possibilities. So, all was possible. It happened like that — it could have happened otherwise. Besides, nothing tells you that alongside our universe such as it is, there do not exist others which are so different that there cannot be any relation between one universe and another. It can very well be that our universe is not the only exteriorisation of the Divine. Ours is such as we know it; there may be others which are in much less sorry a state than this one! Besides, it is lamentable only in its appearance. If you go behind the appearance, you become aware that it is not lamentable at all. It is only one way of seeing.
CWM 5: 371 – 373
It may be interesting to note that the Vedas also mention the Four Kings who stand Guardians of the gates of the Sun:
The creation of Surya Savitri starts from the repeated risings of the divine Dawn and grows by the constant nourishing of her spiritual gifts and possessions through the work in us of Surya Pushan. But the actual formation, the perfected fullness depend on the birth and growth in us of all the gods, the children of Aditi, the All-Gods (Viśve Devāḥ.) and especially of the four great luminous Kings, Varuna, Mitra, Bhaga, Aryaman. Indra and the Maruts and the Ribhus, Vayu, Agni, Soma and the Ashwins are indeed the principal agents; Vishnu, Rudra, Brahmanaspati, the future mighty Triad, preside over the indispensable conditions, — for the one paces out the vast framework of the inner worlds in which our soul-action takes place, the other in his wrath and might and violent beneficence forces onward the great evolution and smites the opponent and the recusant and the ill-doer, and the third administers always the seed of the creative word from the profundities of the soul; so too Earth and Heaven and the divine Waters and the great goddesses and Twashtri the Fashioner of things on whom they attend, either provide the field or bring and shape the material; but over the utter creation, over its perfect vast space and pure texture, over the sweet and ordered harmony of its steps, over the illumined force and power of its fulfilment, over its rich, pure and abundant enjoyment and rapture the Sun-gods Varuna, Mitra, Aryaman, Bhaga cast the glory and protection of their divine gaze.
Sri Aurobindo: Secret of the Vedas: 490 – 491