- Near-degenerate lower levels in a [Formula Presented] system have an additional coherence term due to interaction with the vacuum of the radiation field. We report the effects of this spontaneously generated coherence on the formation of a trapped state in the presence of two coherent fields of arbitrary intensity. We show that such coherence preserves both electromagnetically induced transparency and coherent population trapping (CPT) phenomena. However, it changes the time scales associated with the formation of the CPT state, and brings about quantitative changes in the line profiles. We present a clear analytical explanation for our numerical results. We also report the dependence of line shapes on the relative phase between the two applied fields. 1998 The American Physical Society.