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NITAAI-Veda.nyf > All Scriptures By Acharyas > Baladeva Vidyabhushana > Vedanta Shyamantaka > Prakrtitva nirupanah

Prakrtitva-nirupanah—Matter

 

 

1        Now we will discuss material nature (prakrti). The material nature is said to be the resting place of the three modes that begin with goodness. In the Sruti-sastra (Culika Upanisad) it is said:

          “Material nature is like a cow. She never had a beginning. She is the mother of all living entities. She is black, white, and red. She is a cow whose milk fulfils all of Lord Vishnu’s desires.”

          In the Smrti-sastra it is said:

          “Material nature consists of the three modes. She is the mother of the material universes. She is never born and never dies. She is eternal and unchanging. She is said to be field where the conditioned souls perform their actions.”

 

2        Material nature manifests the three modes. The modes are sattva (goodness), rajas (passion), which is the cause of passion and suffering, and tamas (ignorance), which is cause of madness and laziness. As death comes when the three elements bile, mucous and air are in perfect equilibrium, so the material universe becomes destroyed when the three modes is upset and some modes become more prominent than the others, the mahat-tattva and the other ingredients of the material universe become manifest. When the modes are in equilibrium the material universe is destroyed, and when the equilibrium is broken, the material universe is created. These activities repeatedly create and destroy the material universes. In this way the three modes become the causes of various material transformations.  In the Vishnu Purana it is said:

          “The mahat tattva (primordial material nature) is divided into the three modes goodness, passion and ignorance.”

 

3        In the material nature false ego (ahankara) is manifested. False ego is the cause of the soul’s misidentification with the external material body. False ego is manifested in three ways in goodness, passion and ignorance. These three kinds of false ego are also called ‘vaikarika’ (goodness), ‘taijasa’ (passion) and ‘bhuta’ (ignorance).From the different kinds of false ego in the different modes various things are manifest. From false ego in the mode of goodness are manifest the mind and the demigods that control the senses. From false ego in the mode of passion are manifest the ten senses. From false ego in the mode of ignorance are manifest the five kinds of sense objects, beginning with ether. This is described in the following words of Shrimad Bhagavatam (11.24.6-8):

          “From the mahat-tattva, the bewildering false ego is born.”

          “The three kinds of false ego are vaikarika (false ego in goodness), taijasa (false ego in passion) and tamasa (false ego in ignorance). False ego is the cause of the mind, senses and sense-objects. False ego is present in both spirit and matter.

          “From false ego in the mode of ignorance the sense objects were born. From false ego in the mode of passion the senses were born. From false ego in the mode of goodness the mind and the eleven demigods were born.”

          In Shrimad Bhagavatam (3.26.23-24) it is also said:

          “The material ego springs up from the mahat-tattva, which evolved from the Lord’s own energy. The material ego is endowed predominantly with active power of three kinds: good, passionate, and ignorant. It is from these three types of material ego that the mind, the senses of perception, the organs of action, and the gross elements evolve.”*

          In this verse the word ‘ca’ (and) means ‘all of them in the same sequence.”

 

4        The gist is this: The senses are of two kinds: the internal senses and the external senses.  The internal sense is the mind, which is composed of false ego in the mode of goodness, performs the activities of accepting and rejecting and is situated in the heart.  According to the different natures of its different thinking processes, this internal sense is called by the names mind, intelligence, and false ego. When it is directed toward material things the mind become the cause of material bondage.  In the Sruti-sastra it is said:

          “The mind is the cause of both bondage and liberation. An impure mind is filled with material desires.  A pure mind is free of material desires.”

          The mind is also the performer of remembering and other like activities.

 

5        The external senses are composed of false ego in the mode of passion. The external senses are of two kinds: the knowledge acquiring senses and the active senses.The knowledge acquiring senses are five .They are the ears, skin, eyes, tongue and nose.The sense that perceives sound is called the ear.  In human beings and other creatures the sense of hearing resides in the ear. In snakes it resides in the eyes. The sense that perceives touch is called the skin. The sense of touch is present in every part of the body’s external covering, with the sole exceptions of the nails and hair and other like places. To the degree life is present in the body’s external covering, to that degree the sense of touch is present.  The sense that perceives form is the eye. The sense that perceives taste is the tongue. The sense that perceives smell is the nose.

 

6        The ears and other knowledge acquiring senses perceive sense objects in the ether and the other five elements. These senses and elements are all material. The mind, life-air (prana), and speech are thus manifest in the elements earth, water, and fire. They are described in these words  of the Sruti sastra:

          “O gentle one, mind is related to earth, breath is related to water, and speech is related to fire.”

 

7        The second group of senses, the active senses, are also five in number. They are the voice, hands, feet, genital and anus. The voice is the sense that creates speech.  It is situated in the throat, chest, and related places. In the Veda-bhasya it is said:

          “The different syllables are created in eight places: the chest, throat, head, tongue, teeth, nose, lips and palate.”

          Because they do not have the same abilities to create a variety of sounds in these eight places, cows and other creatures do not have the power of speech. Another of these working senses is the sense that creates various objects, like crafts or art. In human beings and many other creatures this sense reposes in the hands and fingers. In elephants this sense reposes in the trunk. The next sense is the sense of moving from one place to another. In human beings and many other creatures this sense reposes in the feet. In snakes this sense is in the chest, and in birds it is in the wings. The next sense is the sense of removing impurities from the body, a sense that resides in the anus. The last of these senses is the sense for providing a specific intense pleasure. This sense resides in the genitals. The genitals also discharge urine.

 

8        From false ego in the mode of goodness Candra and the other demigods that control these 14 senses are manifested. Among these Deities Brahma, Siva and Vishnu govern the intern senses of mind, intelligence and false ego. In this way the living entities are able to make decisions, become resolute, identify their identity, and think. The Dik-palas, Maruts, Surya, Varuna, and the Asvini-kumaras govern the ears, skin, eyes, tongue and nose respectively. In this way the living entities are able to perceive sound, touch, form, taste, and fragrance. Agni, Indra, Upendra, Yama, and Prajapati govern the voice, hands, feet, anus, and genitals respectively. In this way the living entities are able to speak, grasp things, move about, defecate and enjoy a specific intense pleasure.

 

9        From false ego in the mode of ignorance are manifest first the five sense objects and then the five gross material elements.  First the false ego in the mode of ignorance and then the gross material elements are manifest. Then they are transformed into the sense objects, which are called the tan-matras. As milk is transformed into yoghurt, and as a newly conceived embryo is transformed into a child, so the gross elements are transformed into the sense objects. The gross elements are called bhutas. The sense objects are subtle, and the elements are gross.

 

10      The sequence in which the gross elements are manifest is described in a number of different ways.  It is said that from the Supreme Lord ether was manifest. From ether air was manifest.  From air the next elements was manifest, and so one.  In this way the Sruti-sastra describes the creation of the gross material elements.  In the Subala Upanisad it is said:

          “From false ego the five gross sense objects are manifest.  From the sense objects the five gross elements are manifest.

          This is also described in the Gopala-tapani Upanisad. From false ego the five sense objects are manifest. From the sense objects are manifest, one after another, the gross material elements. This is described in the Gopala-tapani Upanisad. From false ego is manifest sound. From sound is manifest ether. From ether are manifest sound and touch.  From ether is manifest air. From air are manifest sound, touch, and form. From air is manifest fire. From fire are manifest sound, touch, form and taste. From fire is manifest water.  From water are manifest sound, touch, form, taste, and fragrance. From water is manifest earth.

 

11      The five elements have specific qualities. Ether has sound and touch. It does not have any other sense objects. Air has coolness to the touch, but it does not have fragrance or warmth. Fire had warmth and light. Water has coolness to the touch but id does not have fragrance. Earth has fragrance.

 

12      After the gross elements were created, the sense objects were manifested within them. After creating them, Lord Vishnu, the Personality of Godhead, divided the five gross material elements into two parts. Then He divided them again, so now there were four parts. In this way he divided the gross material elements. In the scriptures it is said:

          “The Supreme Personality of Godhead divided the five material elements each into two parts.  Then each of those parts He divided again. Then He looked at how He had divided the five elements.”

 

13      Then the fourteen planetary systems were manifested from the five material elements. The seven upper planets, namely Bhur, Bhuvar, Svar, Mahar, Janas, Tapas and Satya were manifested. The seven lower planets, namely Atala, Vitala, Sutala, Rasatala, Talatala, Mahatala, and Patala were also manifested. From them the four types of material bodies of the living entities, bodies born from wombs, from eggs, from perspiration and from seeds, were manifested. Human beings, cows, and other like creatures are born from wombs. Birds, snakes, and other like creatures are born from eggs. Lice, mosquitoes, and other like creatures are born from perspiration. Trees, bushes, and other plants are born from seeds.

 

14      In this I have given a general description. It is not possible here to give many details. Then the sun was placed in the sky and made to rise in the east. Then the directions of outer space were created.

 

15      Prana (life-breath) is not a separate element.  It is included within air (vayu). Prana is of five kinds: prana, apana, samana, udyana, and vyana.

          The different parts of material nature, from mahat-tattva to the element earth may be considered a single whole. Still, when the different activities of material nature are performed, they may be considered separate units.

 

16      The eight elements are transformed into sixteen. By the Lord’s potency the false ego is transformed into sound. From sound sky and touch are manifest. From touch air and form are manifest. From form fire and taste are manifest. From taste water and fragrance are manifest. From fragrance earth is manifest. The five sense objects, namely sound, touch, form, taste and fragrance are manifest before the eleven senses. he sense objects are manifest, one after the other, in the gross material elements.  In ether only one sense object, namely sound, is manifest. In air sound and touch are manifest.  In fire, sound, touch and form are manifest. In water sound, touch, form and taste are manifest. In earth sound, touch, form, taste and fragrance are manifest. In the Smrti-sastras the five sense objects are sometimes considered collectively as a single unit. Then again they are also considered separately. The sense objects are considered the origin of the gross material elements.  Therefore they are different from the gross elements. Thus the material nature (prakrti), mahat-tattva, false ego, eleven senses, five sense objects, and five gross elements are said to be the 24 material elements.

 

17      Material nature, mahat-tattva, false ego and the five gross material elements are the ingredients of the gross material body. The eleven senses are like jewel ornaments placed on the gross material body. The five sense objects, eleven senses, and prana are said to be the ingredient of the subtle material body.

 

18      Controlled by consciousness, the material body is manifested, performs actions, and finally comes to an end.  In the body are perceptions and activities, but, as the wife is controlled by the husband, the perceptions and activities are under the control of the consciousness. The material body is made of prakrti and the other material elements. It has no other ingredients. The material body is like a ball of earth. It is not different from a clay pot or other like thing. In this way the components of the body are counted. It is not otherwise. Within the body are both its cause and its effect. They are not different. he logicians say cause and effect are different, are like the warp and woof of a loom. hat is not true. They are not divided in that way. The sankhya philosophers say the cause and effect are different and not different. That is not true either, for it contradicts the statements of scripture.  Therefor the conclusion is that the cause and effect are not different.