Tattva Bodha – 6
In the opening Mantra of Brahmandavalli of Taittreya Upanishad comes a statement सत्यं ज्ञानं अनन्तं ब्रह्म।(Sathyam, Jnanam, Anantham Brahma) – Brahman is Satyam, Jnanam, Infinity. This has the same meaning as Sat, Chit, Anand that describes Athma. What is called Athma in Vyeshti, microcosm, i.e. individual, is referred to as Brahman in samashti, macrocosm, i.e. Cosmos. So Brahman is eternal, devoid of attributes (Nirguna) and not subject to modification (Nirvikara). The Upanishad goes on to say that from this Brahman, Akasa was born and later from Akasa other elements were born one after the other and one from the other, naming them without going into details. These details are given in Tattva Bodha, which we shall be seeing now.
Before we go into the process of Creation, let us see about karanam, cause and karyam, product in general. In the case of a product like gold ornament, gold is the material cause, upadhana karanam as gold is made into ornament. Gold, upadhana karanam, is the srishti, sthithi, laya karanam for the ornament, as the ornament form is sustained by gold and when ornament is destroyed through melting it goes back to its gold status. The intelligent cause, nimitta karanam, here is the goldsmith who makes the ornament. Further we notice the karyam, ornament, has the property of the karanam, gold. In the case of a spider web, both the intelligent cause and material cause are the same as the material for the web, spider draws out from itself which it later draws back into itself when threatened.
Brahman by itself is nirvikara and is not subject to any modifications. But Brahman has Maya sakthi and this Maya, which is also called prakrithi, undergoes modifications in the presence of Brahman to evolve into Cosmos. So Brahman with Maya is the material cause of Universe and it is also the srishti, sthithi, laya karanam for the Universe as Universe goes back into Maya in seed form in pralaya. Brahman in the form of Consciousness with infinite intelligence is the intelligent cause as well for the Universe.
When describing Maya, the text says ब्रह्माश्रया सत्वरजस्तमोगुणात्मिका माया (Brahmasraya satva rajas tamo gunathmika Maya) - Maya is dependent on Brahman and is of nature of the three qualities Satva, Rajas and Tamas. Maya is the sakthi of Brahman and so as power of Brahman it has only dependant existence. Further it is of the nature of the three qualities, Satva guna, representing the faculty of knowledge, jnana sakthi; Rajo guna, the power of action, kriya sakthi; and Tamo guna, the power of inertia, dravya sakthi. Brahman without Maya is called Nirguna Brahman and associated with Maya is called Saguna Brahman. The Saguna Brahman, called Iswara, has form and assumes different forms and names in its various manifestations.
From this Maya sakthi of Saguna Brahman only, space, Akasa tattvam, was born first and from Akasa tattvam, air, Vayu tattvam; from Vayu tattvam, fire, Agni tattvam; from Agni tattvam, water, Jala tattvam: and finally from Jala tattvam, earth, Prithvi tattvam. Thus the sukshma Pancha bhuthas were created first. These subtle elements of pancha bhuthas are called Tanmatras. Of these subtlest is space which has one property only, sound. Human ears are not sensitive enough to pick up this sound and so we are not conscious of the sound in subtle space but we know sound waves travel through space. Grosser than space is air, which has two properties, sound and touch and so this can be heard and felt. Grosser than air is fire, which has three properties, sound, touch and form; and so this can be heard, felt and seen. Grosser than fire is water which has four properties, sound, touch, form and taste; so it can be tasted as well. The grossest is the earth and it has the special quality of smell, besides the other four and so it can be also smelt. These tanmatras of five elements space, air, fire, water and earth with their special properties of sound, touch, sight, taste and smell form the first stage of Creation.
Each of these tanmatras being the karyam of Maya have the three qualities satvam, rajas, tamas, the gunas of the karanam, Maya. From the satva guna of the tanmatras are born the five subtle Jnanendriyas; from their collective satva guna is born Anthakaranam with its four constituents of manas, buddhi, ahamkaram and chitham. From satva guna of space, air, fire, water and earth, are born organ of hearing, the ear; organ of touch, skin; organ of seeing, eyes; organ of taste, tongue; and organ of smell, nose respectively. These do not refer to the physical organs but their subtle power in Sukshma sareera. From the rajo guna of tanmatras are born the five subtle Karmendriyas and from their collective rajo guna is born Prana with its five variations, prana, apana, samana, vyana and udhana. From rajo guna of space, air, fire, water and earth, are born organ of speech( mouth),organ of grasping(hands), organ of locomotion(legs), genitals and anus respectively. Thus the manifestations of the satvic and rajasic aspects of the five elements constitute the samashti subtle body or the subtle world and this forms the second stage of Creation.
From the Tamo guna of the tanmatras the grossified five elements are formed through the process of Panchikarana and the gross world is formed from these five gross elements. The process of Panchikarana is as follows:
1) The Tamas aspect of each of the five elements divides into two halves
2) One half of each remains intact.
3) The other half of each element divides into four equal parts. That means the other half of each element becomes a group of four 1/8 portions.
4) Then the intact half of each element combines with one eighth portion of the other four elements to form the new gross element. That means each gross element is a combination of all five elements, 50% of its own element and 12.5% of each of the other four elements.
For example after grossification, gross space contains 50% space, 12.5% air, 12.5% fire, 12.5% water and 12.5% earth. Similarly other elements as well. These elements being gross can be perceived by the senses. The grossification of the elements through Panchikarana forms the third stage of Creation.
The permutation and combination of these gross elements forms the gross world including the gross body and forms the fourth and final stage of Creation of the Universe in its subtle and gross form. Individual gross body is part of the total gross body and individual subtle body is part of total subtle body. The individual gross body, microcosm, is called Pindanda and total gross body macrocosm, is called Bramanda. And the original cause of both Pindanda and Bramanda is Brahman only.