In the Beginning there was Nothing. All existence lay submerged in the un-manifested waters of the Great Deluge, the Mahapralaya.
Vishnu, the Cosmic Consciousness, was reclining on the Serpent Ananta( one without beginning or end), who was floating on these waters. Lost in deep sleep, Vishnu dreamt of this Creation and as he did so a lotus sprouted forth from his navel. The stem grew longer and longer till the lotus blossomed. And sitting in the lotus was Brahma.