Bhagawatam 152: Emergence of Cosmic intelligence (Mahat) as well as of Sattvik, Rajasic and Tamasic egoism (ahamkara)


Keshavaya namah

Maharishi Kapila continued,

“Pañcabhiḥ pañcabhir brahma caturbhir daśabhis tathā

Etac catur-viṁśatikaṁ gaṇa prādhānika vidu

24 principles (5+5+10+4= 24) are the primary cause for the existence of this universe. The Supreme Lord presides over them and manifests in the form of the universe.

Earth, water, fire, air and space are the 5 gross elements. The 5 subtle elements (tanmātras, sensory perceptions) are the cause for the existence of gross elements. They are smell, taste, form, touch and sound.

Ear, skin, eye, tongue and nose are the 5 organs of perception (jnanendriya). Speech, hands, feet, organs of reproduction and organs of excretion are the 5 organs of action (karmendriya). In this way there are 10 senses (indriyas).

Based on the modifications that take place within it, mind (anatahkarana) exists in 4 stages. They are Manas, the processing mind which is the form of thoughts and imaginations; Buddhi, the discriminatory mind; Ahamkara, the feeling of I-ness; and Chitta, the storehouse of past impressions.

In this manner, the Lord who manifests as the universe has 24 principles. Learned elders empathically declare this truth. Time is the 25th principle. Some consider time as the divine manifestation of the Puruśa (Self).

Due to spiritual ignorance, the individual being attains oneness with Nature (Prakriti) and its activities. He mistakenly considers himself to be the doer of actions, although in reality they are the actions of the trigunas. Due to this he fears time.

Before creation, the attributes of goodness, passion and ignorance (sattva, rajas, tamo gunas) were in equilibrium. They were in harmony. At that point of time, earth and other changes were not visible in Nature (Prakriti). During this state of equilibrium, God creates a movement causing an imbalance. The Lord who causes this movement is being addressed as Time.

Antaḥ puruṣa-rūpeṇa kāla-rūpeṇa yo bahi

Samanvety eṣa sattvānāṁ bhagavān ātma-māyayā

Through the medium of His illusory power, the Supreme Lord exists both within and outside of all living beings. When He exists within the person, He is addressed as the Puruśa (Self). When He pervades outside, He is addressed as Time (kāla).

Eternal time (kāla) disturbs the equilibrium within the trigunas and causes turbulence in them. Puruśa (Self) impregnates this Prakriti (Nature), which has now attained unevenness, with his semen i.e. His pure consciousness (chaitanya shakti). Nature, which was thus impregnated, manifested as Mahat tattva i.e. total cosmic intelligence.

Mahat tattva is changeless. It is the root for the entire creation. This Mahat tattva makes visible the creation which is invisibly contained within it and destroys the utter darkness which had covered its brightness at the time of dissolution.

Yat tat sattva-guṇaṁ svacchaṁ śāntaṁ bhagavata padam

Yad āhur vāsudevākhyaṁ cittaṁ tan mahad-ātmakam

Maharishis state that Pure Consciousness which is extolled by the scriptures; which is replete with traits of goodness (sattva), purity (svaccha) calmness (śanta) and which is the place where the Supreme Lord can be understood is Mahat tattva! This itself is Vāsudeva. It is deity of worship.

The inherent characteristic of Consciousness (cit) is that it is pure, changeless and calm. It can be compared to pure water in its natural stage prior touching earth.

Mahat tattva emerged from Pure Consciousness. It transformed and emerged as action-oriented ahamkara (sense of I-ness) which is of three types: goodness, passion or ignorance.

From ahamkara (sense of I-ness) mind, 10 senses and the 5 gross elements were born. Maharishis state that this ahamkara which is in the form of mind, senses and 5 gross elements, is none other than Lord Ananta. This Ananta, who has innumerable heads, is also known as Sankarshana.

Ahamkara has the following characteristics. In the form of Devatas (controlling deities), it assumes doership (kartrtva) of the action. In the form of the senses it assumes the role of an instrument (karanatva). In the form of the 5 gross elements, it assumes the role of the effect (kārya).

Ahamkara (sense of I-ness) influenced by traits of goodness (sattva) is tranquil and happy. When influenced by traits of passion (rajas) it is characterized by unsteadiness and violence. When influenced by traits of ignorance (tamas) it is characterized by infatuation and foolishness.

Satvik ahamkara (egoism born out of traits of goodness) transforms and from it mind is born.  From its intentions and imaginations, desires are born. This mind, which is the Lord of all the 10 senses, is known as Aniruddha. Aniruddha is bluish-black complexion like the winter lotus. Yogis gradually control their mind and then contemplate upon Him.

Thereafter rajasic ahamkara (egoism born out of traits of passion) transforms and from it intelligence is born. ‘Intelligence’ helps in learning about earth and about other objects that are under its purview. It helps the senses acquire knowledge about objects.

Doubts, confusion, decisiveness, recollection and deep sleep are the characteristics of intelligence (buddhi-tattva). Samśaya (doubts) implies having varied different types of understanding about a single object. Mistaking one object for another object means Viparya (confusion). It is mistaken identity. Firm decisive knowledge is Niscaya.

The organs of perception (jnanendriya) as well as the organs of action (karmendriya) emerge out of the traits of passion (rajasa ahamkara). Amongst them, action (karma) is dependent on energy of the life-force (praṇa) while perception is dependent on intelligence (buddhi).

The tamasa ahamkara (traits of ignorance) is instigated by the Lord’s Pure Consciousness and thereby transforms. From this subtle sound (sabda tanmatra) emerged. From this subtle sound, space was born.

Sound: The organ of hearing (ear) grasps the sound. Sound ensures that the meaning of the word is understood. To the person uttering the word, it helps him recollect. Sound is the subtle form of space.  All these are the characteristics of sound.

Space provides the opportunity for existence of objects within it. Moreover it pervades everything within and outside the object. That space which exists in the form of nadi-randhra becomes the shelter for the life-force (prana), mind and senses. These actions are the characteristics of space.

Wind &Touch: From the subtle sound, space was born. Due to the influence of time, this space transforms. From this transformation subtle touch (sparsha tanmatra) was born. Skin is the organ of touch perception. Heat, cold, softness and hardness are the characteristics of the touch.

From this subtle touch, wind was born. Wind is the cause for the movement of leaves and other objects. It gathers objects to one place. It is all pervading. It carries fragrances to the nose. It helps the sound reach the ear”.

Keshavaya namah

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