Mahat tattva is the combination of the energies of knowledge and action (jnana-kriya shakti). This Mahat tattva causes in people the knowledge about matter (object). Such Mahat tattva is within the control of eternal time. Since it manifests separately it is known as Mahat tattva, when in reality it is nothing but the Supreme Lord!
It is from Mahat tattva that this entire universe consisting of name and form emerges. In other words, Mahat tattva transforms and from it ahamkara (sense of I-ness) is born. Thus Mahat becomes the shelter for that transformation which causes feelings such as ‘I am the doer’ within both the five subtle elements (tanmātras) as well as the five gross elements.
In ahamkāra (sense of I-ness, egoism) there are three divisions viz., Sātvika, Rājasa and Tāmasa. Among them when the Sātvik ahamkara (egoism arising out of traits of goodness) undergoes transformation, the presiding deities of mind and senses emerge. From them sound and other sensory perceptions that illumine these worldly objects emerge.
From Rājasa ahamkara (egoism born out of traits of action/ passion) the 10 senses i.e. the five organs of perception and the five organs of action are born”.
Swamiji explains: We have already heard once this description as well as of sequence in which they get created. At that time the manner in which they emerged was explained. Now the tasks achieved by each of them are being explained.
“From Tāmasa ahamkāra (egoism born out of traits of inertia/ inaction) the subtle-sound (śabda tanmātra) is born. Sound is associated with space. Space symbolically represents the Supreme Lord. Such space is born from the union of eternal time (kāla), the power of illusion (māya) and reflected consciousness (chidābhāsa).
From space, subtle -touch (sparsha tanmātra) is born. This subtle-touch undergoes transformation and from it wind is born.
The extremely powerful wind combines with space thereby transforms. From it subtle-form (roopa tanmātra) is generated. From subtle-form, illumination (fire) which makes all planes of existence visible is generated.
Under the leadership of the Supreme Lord, the combination of eternal time, reflected consciousness (chidābhāsa) and power of illusion (māya) as well as the merger of air and fire, creates the subtle-taste (rasa tanmātra). From this subtle- taste, water is born.
When again under the leadership of the Lord this similar combination takes place, then due to the transformation caused by the merger of water and fire, the subtle- smell (gandha tanmātra) and from it the earth element are born.
Understand that in each of the five basic elements beginning with the sky qualities will be in sequential order, due to the existence of elements before and after them.
Also understand that the presiding deities of Mahat and other principles are manifestations of the Supreme Lord. Time is symbolized by ‘transformation (vikara)’. ‘Innumerable forms’ symbolizes illusion (māya). ‘Illumination’ symbolizes reflected consciousness (chidābhāsa). The combination of these three results in the formation of these presiding deities.
Nevertheless, for having manifested differently, these presiding deities could not combine and complete the tasks of creation allotted to them. Therefore these presiding deities folded their hands and prayed to the Supreme Lord through the following hymn:
Namāma te deva padāravindaṁ prapanna-tāpopaśamātapatram
Yan-mūla-ketā yatayo ’ñjasoru- saṁsāra-duḥkhaṁ bahir utkṣipanti
O Supreme Lord! Your lotus feet serve as an umbrella that dispels the afflictions of those who have sought refuge under You. Seeking refuge under Your lotus feet, great saints easily cross over this ocean of worldly bondages. We offer obeisance to those lotus feet.
O Lord of all the worlds! We observe that in this creation the living beings overwhelmed by their afflictions are unable to obtain peace of mind. Therefore we perpetually take shelter under the shadow of Your lotus feet, which are an embodiment of Supreme Knowledge.
Birds called Vedas eternally seek shelter in the nest called Your lotus face. Great saints who sit in isolation eternally search for You through the medium of these Vedas. They meditate upon You. Ganga, which dispels sins, was born from Your lotus feet. We seek refuge in those holy, pure feet.
Simply by listening to Your glorious stories, devotion towards You multiplies in spiritual aspirants. With this their mind turns pure. Then with their purified minds they meditate upon Your holy feet. Through this they obtain dispassion (vairagya) and knowledge (jnana) which in turn bestows them liberation (jeevanmukti). We seek refuge under such holy feet!
O Supreme Lord! You incarnate so as to execute the tasks of creation, sustenance and annihilation. Remembering Your lotus feet even once grants protection to the devotees! We seek refuge under such holy feet.
O Lord! The individual entity who gets a gross body, gets trapped with that body. He is trapped with the relatives that it creates, house, wealth and other material objects connected to that body as well as with the feelings of me and mine it generates. He is unable to understand that they are illusory. Although You remain within his body in the form of Self (atma), Your feet remain invisible to that person who is trapped in illusion. We are fortunate to serve those lotus feet which are beyond the reach of these bonded souls.
O Supreme Lord! Through the medium of the senses, these human beings wander in this illusory world and instead of becoming inward facing (introspective) they remain external facing (bahir-mukha). These senses drag and distance their mind away from You. As such they are unable to have the vision of Your holy feet.
You are renowned for being profusely glorified by ardent devotees. O Lord! By drinking the nectar called Your divine stories, devotion in the spiritual aspirant intensifies. With it their inner mind turns pure. The knowledge of the Self arises within such persons. These Self-realized persons effortlessly attain Your holy abode of Vaikunṭha. In other words they effortless enjoy supreme bliss and attain liberation even when they are alive (jeevanmukti).
In a similar manner some knowledgeable persons, through the medium of Yoga, eliminate all mental modifications, subdue the powerful illusory energy and obtain You, who are a personification of completeness.” In this way the presiding deities continued to praise the Supreme Lord.