Monday, August 15, 2011

Creation by Brahma

There has always been an argument in the Scientific world - Whether an Intelligence created this World or, the World led to the creation of Intelligence. Sounds like a Chicken & Egg situation there! However in Hindu Cosmology, the process of creation is more purposeful than a random explosion in nothingness.

In the current post, I'm gonna share the Creation Phenomenon as per Hindu Scriptures and will take you through the Theological as well as Evolutionary details hidden in them. Swami Vivekananda, one of the most intellectual proponents of Hinduism says - Indian philosophy goes beyond both Intelligence as well as Matter and describes a Purush, or Self, of whom Intelligence is but the borrowed light - This Adi-Purush or Original Being is the Supreme Lord Vishnu.

Adi Purush, Shri Hari Vishnu

We saw in the first post {A for Astronomy} that there exist two different Realms in this Creation - Spiritual and Material. While Spiritual Realm is the abode of pure souls living on the Vaikunth Planets, the materialistic souls (like You & Me) take birth on different planets in different galaxies of different Universes of the Material Realm.

There is one important concept that we need to understand here - According to the Satvata Tantra,  there exist, not One, not Two, but THREE different forms of Lord Vishnu in the Material Realm.

The Three Forms of Lord Vishnu

The first and foremost form of Lord Vishnu in the Material Realm, is that of Shri Karanodak-shayi Maha Vishnu or Narayan (One-who-lies-on-Water). The Lord reclines on Cosmic waters of  the Causal Ocean (That-Causes-Everything) known as Karan-Odak that emanates from His own body and fills the lower half of the Material Realm.

 Shri Maha Vishnu, lying on the Causal Ocean generated from His own Self
(Images courtesy Sri Madhav Priya Dasi)

Shri Maha Vishnu is the ONLY Living entity present in the Material Creation right now and this form of the Lord has been called Kaal-Swabhavah or the foundation of the Space-Time Continuum. He forms the basis of Quantum Physics that runs this Universe at Sub-Atomic as well as Super-Galactic levels.

The as yet unmanifest stage of material nature is called Pradhan or Prakriti - till this stage, there is no Words or Expression, no Mind or Elements, and the three modes of Goodness, Passion and Ignorance are in an equilibrium. There is no Life or Intelligence, no Pleasures or Pains and no Demons or Gods. There is no Ether, Water, Earth, Air, fire or Sun nor the different stages of Consciousness - sleep, wakefulness and deep sleep. Yet, this Pradhan is the original substance of Material Nature and the basis of all further Creation.

Creation Begins in the Material Realm

1. The First Step in Creation is called the FIRST Sarga:

Because of the Wish of Maha Vishnu, there arises a disturbance in equilibrium of the 3 qualities of Satva, Rajas and Tamas which results in the formation of subtle imperceptible matter called the Mahat Tattva. This subtle matter can not be perceived by our material senses yet it forms the basis of all that follows - It is from this that Intelligence or ‘Buddhi’ arises further giving rise to ‘Aham’ or Ego that further gives rise to Manas’ or Mind

Mahat Tattva created by Shri Maha Vishnu's glance

2. In the SECOND Sarga, the Mind gives rise to the Dash-Indriyan which include 5 Sensory Perceptions - Ears, Skin, Eyes, Tongue and Nose as well as 5 Organs of Action - Mouth, Arms, Legs, Excretory and Reproductory. 

3. The THIRD Sarga shows the formation of the FIVE Tanmatras or subtle elements of Sound, Touch, Taste, Form & Smell followed by the Basic Elements, the Panch-Mahabhoot which, like the three Primary colors, give rise to Matter in its various forms through their permutations and combinations. These Famous Five are - Space, Air, Water, Fire & Earth.

The Panch Mahabhoot manifest

These THREE Phases of Creation are collectively are known as PRAKRITIK Sarga as they are NOT a creation of Brahma and come into being from the Natural Energy of the Lord, known as Prakriti. After these basic building blocks, the stage was now set for the creation of our Universe (and indeed other Universes too!). Before we move ahead just a quick tabular shot of what we have learnt above:

All this detail may be too much to handle in the first instance but if you have managed to grasp the above, feel relieved for the difficult conceptual portion is out of the way :o)

Creation of OUR Universe

As we learnt in the previous post, Multiple Universes emerge from the Infinite pores of Shri Maha Vishnu's cosmic body each time He exhales. The Lord again enters EACH of these egg-shaped Universes in His SECOND form of Shri Garbhodak-shayi Vishnu.

Each Universe emerging from Maha-Vishnu contains a Garbhodak-shayi Vishnu

This second form of the Lord reclines on the Great Serpent Anant (Without-an-End) and is the Maintainer for His respective Universe. To use an analogy, consider Him sort of a Governor for His Province while Maha-Vishnu is like the Head of the Nation!

Shri Garbhodakshayi Vishnu, First LIVING Being in EACH Universe

After a period of 1000 Maha-Yugas, a lotus bud emerges from the navel of the Lord, inside which is Brahma or Ka, the First MORTAL Being in each Universe. The stem of this cosmic lotus connecting Brahma to the Navel of the Lord, signifies the Umbilical Cord that binds a baby to its mother. In a sense, Lord Garbhodak-shayi Vishnu is the Father as well as Mother of ALL creation beginning first and foremost with Lord Brahma.

Lord Brahma, First MORTAL Living Being in EACH Universe

Imagine the plight of the Creator-god when he would have opened his eyes for the first time.. He must have been as lost and clueless as a new born baby coming into this world! Lord Brahma did not know the purpose of his being. Trying to look all around him simultaneously, he sprouted 5 heads to enable him to spot even a hint of an activity in any direction yet could not see anything except darkness all around him.

To clear his confusion, he then decided to explore the stem of the Lotus from which he had emerged but came to a dead-end. Thereafter, he went into meditation for a 100 Maha-Yugas and to clear his confusion and provide him guidance, Lord Garbhodak-shayi Vishnu made Himself VISIBLE to Brahma.

Shri Garbhodakshayi Vishnu becomes visible to Lord Brahma 

Lord Brahma was transfixed with the divine spectacle of the Supreme Lord resplendent in Blue and Gold, lying on the Great serpent with a thousand hoods on the mighty waters of the Garbh-Ocean! Shri Hari Vishnu, then told Brahma his purpose of existence and realizing the magnitude of work that lay ahead of him, Brahma was (quite understandably) left speechless! It's sort of like being asked by the Boss to create a new Business Model when you dont even know which industry you are working in :o)

Fortunately, the BIG-BOSS here was Lord Vishnu, the Adi-Purush who in the noblest of sacrifices asked Brahma to use portions of Lord's own body for beginning the process! It is from here that actual Creation by Lord Brahma begins.

Creation within EACH Universe

We FINALLY begin with the Creation of our Universe. To give it some perspective, I should inform you that my calculations give the staggering number of 155.524752 Trillion Solar Years ago as the time of occurrence of this event!

Another point to be noted here, is that EACH Universe has a personal form of Lord Vishnu AND an Individual Brahma as well. Ergo, there are billions and billions of Brahmas in the Material Realm each taking care of Creation in his OWN Universe!!

Lord Brahma begins Creation

4. Brahma first creates the Immovable objects such as Planets, Land, Mountains, etc. which do not have any inherent power of Motion (Remember that Planets also move due to Gravity and do not have an intrinsic motion of their own). This is the FOURTH phase of Creation known as the Mukhya Sarga.

5. In the next phase called the Tiryak Sarga, Brahma creates 6 different types of Vegetation covering trees/herbs/creepers etc., 12 different varieties of Birds and 28 different broad classifications of Animals which I'm not detailing here to prevent a system overload and subsequent crash ;o)

6. The SIXTH Phase saw Creation of Demigods and other Advanced Species of life and is therefore known as the Deva Sarga. Most important Divinities were created in this Phase of Brahma's Creation.

  • First come the 4 Eternal Kumars, the First Incarnations of Lord Vishnu. These cherubic kids remain the same in appearance throughout their lifetime which is as long as that of Brahma himself! But all of them chose to follow the path of Spirituality instead of following Brahma's command for beginning procreation.
  • This frustrated Brahma so much that from his forehead, (the region of the third eye) emerged a dark red and blue child bawling at the top of his voice! This crying baby was named Rudra (The Howler)!

Rudra born from Brahma's Forehead

  • However, Rudra too decided to follow the path of Tapas or Penance and Brahma was sorely disappointed. After a lot of cajoling by Brahma, Rudra agreed to help and manifested 10 more beings with the same appearance as him (Binary Fission?!?). These are known as the 11 Rudras, ONE of whom is Lord Shiva
  • On Brahma's request again, Rudra appeared as Ardhanarishwar and generated a female principle (Asexual Reproduction??) which was the Rudrani.
  • Each of the 11 Rudras similarly obtained a consort thus providing Brahma some satisfaction of seeing his creations multiply. However, the Rudras were all fierce since they represented the Supreme Lord's power of Destruction!

The 11 Rudras

  • Realizing that the progeny of Rudra was not what he really wanted to populate the world with, Brahma then created 10 Manas Putras by just visualizing them in his mind! Neat, eh? I wish I could finish all my work by just thinking about it!! These Mind-born sons of Brahma are - Atri, Angiras, Atharva, Bhrigu, Daksh, Marichi, Pulah, Pulatsya, Vasishtha and the youngest one Narad.

The First Rishis - Brahma's Manasputras

Images courtesy Grant Morrison's 18 Days
{Artist - Mukesh Singh}

  • When all these sons preferred to follow footsteps of the Kumars, by refusing to get entangled in the process of procreation, Brahma again filled up with Negative energy - this resulted in the creation of Asurs, who in common parlance are known as Demons. When Brahma let go of this Tamsik Dark aspect of his being, it resulted in the creation of Night-time.

Asuras or Demons

  • Focusing his positive energy again, Brahma took a Satvik form and created the Deities or Devas. These are the illumined effulgent demi-gods who became the care-takers of different aspects of the Material Creation. This Bright aspect of Brahma's personality also led to the creation of Day-time. 

    Devas or Demigods

    • The next creation of Brahma was the Pitras or Manes. It may be worthwhile to mention that the planet of the Pitras has one day and night equal to a fortnight each of the humans. (In a later post I'll discuss how this relates to Einstein's Theory of Relativity)

    Pitras or Manes

    • Brahma now manifested other divinities such as the Goddesses Saraswati and Gayatri; the Four Vedas; the goddess of deliveries Prasuti; elements such as Emotions, Music and Rishi Kardama (Ka's Shadow).
    • Prasuti became the consort of the eldest Mana-putra Daksh, and this is where Copulative creation began! It is interesting to note that the Sanskrit word for parturient labour is also Prasuti, probably a recognition of her being the FIRST woman to give birth to a child by normal delivery!!

    Thus, Daksha became the Second Prajapati after Brahma; the Guardian and Custodian of All Creation. With this, the Deva Sarga came to a close and Lord Brahma, who must have been completely exhausted by now, decided to take a break. The point to be remembered here is that like the Greek Titans, the Asuras are older than the Devas who correspond quite well to the Olympians.

    7. At the end of all this, Lord Brahma sat ruminating about the direction his work had taken till now, and took a body which was Rajsik or in the Mode-of-Passion. Thus from his right hand emerged a creature a lot like him - this was the First Man, Swayambhu Manu (Born-on-his-Own) who was born with the Kaya of his father Brahma (Ka-Brahma, ya-form). Interestingly, the same incident is noted in Bible as well - 'Man was created in the Image of His Maker'.


     Swayambhu Manu, the First Man

    Along with Manu, emerged the female Shatrupa and Brahma assigned for them the planet Earth. Thus, Human-beings, the progeny of Manu and Shatrupa were given the sanction for populating the globe and till date we show ABSOLUTELY no sign of stopping! ;o)

    Manu and Shatrupa - Hindu Adam and Eve

    In this context, I wanna mention the beautiful similarity drawn by the character called Agent Smith in the super-hit movie Matrix, where he tells Neo - Humans are like viruses.. multiplying till they exhaust all resources of a particular place and then moving on to greener pastures.. Guess we and viruses have the same level of Evolution then!

    It is also interesting to note that the Germanic tribes call their ancestor Mannus which is also the root of the English word - Man just as Manu is the root of the Hindi word Manushya. Since the SEVENTH Phase saw the creation of Human-beings, it is known as the Manushya Sarga. 

    8. In the EIGHTH Phase called the Anugrah Sarga, other species with magical powers were created such as the Yakshas, Gandharvs, Sarpas, Apsaras etc. Some of these species are in the mode of goodness while others in the mode of darkness.

    9. The NINTH and FINAL Phase of Brahma's Creation is called the Kaumar Sarga wherein the four Eternal Kumars considered re-appeared in this day of Brahma. With this ends the exhausting process of Creation. If you as a reader and me as a chronicler are both boggled by the details and technicalities of this, imagine the condition of Lord Brahma!

     Brahma looks at His creation with relief

    Yet, in my personal opinion, it would be a golden opportunity for any artist to get the freedom to express his creativity without any restraints, utilizing no less than the sublime form of Adi-Purush Himself!! How noble the Sacrifice and how Liberating the experience!

    It would be worthwhile to note that the 4 Kumars as well as the 10 Manas Putras are older than the Devas and Asurs both, therefore, they are held in deep respect by both the clans. Also, I can't help but notice that Brahma's Creation closely follows actual appearance of elements in our Universe -

    First to appear are the intangible elements like the protons, neutrons etc. followed by  matter in gaseous form; followed by the immovable planets and landmasses; then the vegetation; birds, aquatics and animals; and finally the Higher species.

    Also, the Mode of reproduction is clearly ASEXUAL in the beginning (as seen with the generation of Rudras and Rudranis) and becomes COPULATIVE only after the germination of Daksha and his consort Prasuti!

    Before winding up, let me just mention the Third and the Final form of Lord Vishnu in the Material Realm. This is Shri Kshirodak-shayi Vishnu present in each atom of the creation as 'Parmatma' or the Super-soul. His vehicle is the Golden-eagle Garuda and it is from Him that all the Avatars take origin! The Lord resides on planet Shvet-dvip in the Dhruv-Loka, reclining on the Sheshnaag (One-that-remains) with His consort Lakshmi and supervises this ENTIRE Creation that we discussed above!

    Shri Kshirodakshayi Vishnu, the benefactor of all devotees

    There are many more complexities involved in the Creation Process but I hope I was able to make it simple enough for your understanding! I'm gonna conclude this post with the verses of Purush Sukta, that extoll the Supreme Sacrifice of the Adi-Purush that resulted in the commencement of Creation:

    A Thousand heads has Purush, 
    A thousand eyes, A thousand feet,
    Manifesting Earth and the World, 
    He extends beyond countability.

    Purusha is all that Exists,
    What Was and What shall Be,
    He Consumes and is Consumed,
    The Hidden Lord of Immortality.

    What's visible is but One-quarter; 
    Beyond destruction lies a Quarter and Three!
    From Purusha was born the Universe; 
    Even the Creater was born of Thee!

    In this Srishti-Yagnya performed, 
    Purusha Himself became the Havis,
    Summer lent the fire-wood, And 
    Spring became the pouring Ghee.

    Birds that travel in the air, 
    Beasts of forest were thus born,
    Village dwellers, Humans came forth; 
    Hymns of Vedas came from Thee.

    From His face the Brahmins rose, 
    Men-of-arms from His arms,
    His thighs became the Trader creed, 
    Shudras rose from His Holy feet,

    From His Navel spread the Sky; 
    From the Head, Heavens sprung,
    From His feet Earth was born; 
    From the Ears, directions decree.

    From the Waters and the Earth,
    He forged Creation, the Divine smith,
    Lord of Universe; Unborn; Omnipresent; 
    Lives within; Yet only the Wise can see.

    Request we Lord, Greenery for Earth, 
    Request we the good of Community,
    Request we the good of ALL living beings, 
    May Peace Envelop our Destiny.
    Aum Shanti: Shanti: Shanti:

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