So far we have understood that Brahman is the material and intelligent causes of jagat.
We reviewed causes of jagat as posited by other philosophies and countered them. We established that Brahman is the one and only (undifferentiated) material and intelligent cause of the jagat. We understood what mAYA is and its two powers - the power of covering the reality and the vikShEpa shakti - the power of superimposition. In the last unit, we reviewed some of the statements of scriptures regarding the creation of jagat.
We will continue with mAyA and conclude the section on jagat in this unit.
The Process of Creation.
brahmA (chaturmukha or four headed) is the designated vehicle (deity having the pre-requisites) for overseeing the creation. brahmA is an appointed position in each creation. He represents the most evolved jIva of the previous creation and is the aggregate intellect of all the jIvas. Of course he does not have a body and organs as humans have. Brahman with the upAdi of mAyA is brahmA (covering Brahman - AvaraNa shakti) . The five subtle elements - space, wind, fire, water and earth - form the body of brahmA; in other words, these five elements are the superimposition on Brahman due to mAyA. The TaittirIya Upanishat describes the process -
Atmana AkAshah sambhUtah, AkashAt vAyuh, vAyOragnih, agnErapah, adbyah prithivI..
- The vikshEpa shakti, predominantly tamas, superimposes the five elements - space, wind, fire, water and earth. These elements are predominantly tamas, though they have small amounts of satva and rajas. Among them space exhibits the highest satva and lowest tamas while the earth exhibits the lowest satva and highest tamas. The five elements in subtle form combine to become gross elements through the process of panchIkaraNa (five fold composition). During the time of dissolution, the process is reversed, in exactly the opposite order.
The Atman is akartru and asanga - non-doer and detached. The upAdhi of ajnyAna (mAyA) not only covers the Atman, but also superimposes a jagat by the powers of AvaraNa and vikshEpa.
The consciousness (Brahman) having the upAdhi of ajnyana composed of the two powers - AvaraNa and vikshEpa - becomes the nimitta kAraNa (of jagat) when considered the principal; when the upAdhi is considered the principal, becomes the upAdAna kAraNa (of jagat).
jagat is of the gross form. mAyA is of the seed form and is the power of Brahman. The jagat is an outward expression of names and forms, emotions of happiness and sorrow and attachment - all resulting from mAyA. mAyA is triguNAtmika - triad of three guNas ( satva, rajas and tamas). Krishna describes this mAyA as two kinds - parA prakriti and aparA prakriti (gIta 7-4,5). aparA is of the lower form and parA is of the higher form; aparA prakriti is kAraNa for the jagat and parA prakriti is the kAraNa for the jIvas. Brahman is therefore the kAraNa for the creation, sustenance and dissolution of jagat. Brahman associated with the upAdi of mAyA is called by several names like Iswara, aparabrahma and hiraNyagarbha.
With the upAdi of bhaga, Brahman is also called bhagavAn. bhaga is a combination fo six qualities, which are jnyAna (Omniscience), bala (omnipotence), aishvarya (lordship), shakti (creative power), vIrya (immutability) and tEjas (splendour). Iswara, bhagavAn are synonymous terms - bhaga as an upAdhi is not generally used in the advaita context (it is folded in mAyA).
So mAyA is a supporting kAraNa for jagat, in addition to Brahman; however, their roles are different. Brahman is like father and mAyA is like mother. Brahman provides the seed (hiraNyagarbha) and places in mAyA (not a physical placing, but a sankalpa ) - gIta 14-3. This verse explains the union of kshEtra and kshEtrajnya (gIta 13- 26 or 27).
The origin of mAyA cannot be determined. It is as old as Brahman. The jagat is the playground for the jIvas to enjoy the fruits of action. So every kalpa is created for the fulfillment of karma of the jivas of the previous kalpa. The previous kalpa was created for the fulfillment of karma of the jIvas during the kalpa previous to it. Similarly the next kalpa will be created for the fulfillment of the karma of jIvas in this kalpa. Even though if one or a few jIvas are liberated from the cycle of birth and death in a kalpa, there are other jIvas whose karma need to be fulfilled. So the jagat creation and dissolution is a continuous process with no beginning (anAdi) and no end (ananta). Accordingly mAyA is ever present to facilitate creation and is undying. The mAyA presents itself as jagat during creation and becomes unmanifested during dissolution. So mAyA is pariNAmi nitya (ever present in a resultant form), where as Brahman is kUTasta nitya (ever present and changeless). Though the mAyA is timeless, it is certainly possible to transcend it at the individual level (It is here; there is no value in trying to find its origin. What is of value is to understand how to transcend it). While the jIvas are under the influence of mAyA, mAyA is under the control of Brahman.
mAyA is anirvachanIya - It cannot be precisely defined. We said earlier that mAyA is the power of Brahman and also it is the upAdi which presents the nirguNa Brahman as Iswara; that is, mAyA is the marker that helps jIvas identify Brahman, without producing any change in It. This begs a question - Does mAyA belong to Brahman or is it outside Brahman ? The madhya maNi nyAya (logic of the middle bead) is applicable here; the middle bead can be associated with either side of the necklace. Similarly mAyA can be associated either with the kAraNa (Brahman) or kArya (jagat). As an example, consider a glass plate, on one side of which is applied a mercury paste resulting in a mirror. The glass is kAraNa, mirror is the kArya and the mercury paste is the relating compound. Does the paste belong to the glass or to the mirror? The answer is either way. By belonging to glass, it facilitates a mirror. As a part of mirror, it makes the mirror a mirror. Still, the paste is an upAdhi for glass. The paste helps identify the glass (as a form). The paste in no way adds or takes away the value in the glass. Now let us come to the context on hand. The glass is Brahman, the mirror is jagat and the paste is mAyA. When mAyA is associated with jagat, it is unreal, has organs, limited and inert. When mAyA is associated with Brahman, it is Real, has no organs, of the nature of consciousness, unlimited etc. Therefore mAyA is anirvachanIya. BhagavAn Shankara very poetically describes mAYA in vivEka chUdAmaNi as follows;
mahAdbhutA! anirvachanIya rUpam ( Verse 109)
- (This mAyA) sat na = not real (If mAyA is real, then jnyAna cannot destroy it) api=and asat na =not unreal (if it is unreal, then it cannot produce any kArya) api = and ubhayAtmikA nO = neither of these two (same entity cannot have opposing characteristics); bhinna api abhinna api ubhayAtmikAnO = not different from Brahman, not same as Brahman, neither of these two (if it is different from Brahman, it violates non-duality, it is not same as Brahman, because for example, fire and its burning power cannot be the same); sAngA api anangA api ubhayAtmikAnO = Not with limbs, not without limbs, neither of these two (anything that has limbs should have a birth; not without limbs, because it is triguNAtmika - is of the nature of three guNas); mahAdbhutA = very wonderful, anirvachanIya rUpA = unable to determine its svarUpa (It is indeterminate, because any of its characteristics or lakShaNa can be defined)].
We will conclude the study of jagat with a verse (85) from DVG's manku timmana kagga:
"nabhada bayaloLa-nanta manada guheyoLa-natha
vubhayadA naDuve sAdyanta jIva kathe
habe guLLeyO sriShTi - manku timma "
----- translated as
The sky's vacuity is infinite, mind's cavern is endless
Between the two is the whole gamut of life affair
Only the Lord fills these balloons with His breath
A vaporous bubble is this creation.
There is no limit to the outer space as well as the depth of the mind. The jIva's life is experienced between the two (jaga). This creation is like a steam balloon; its existence is true while the balloon lasts and is at the whim of the Lord.
Om shAntih, shAntih, shAntih ( Om peace, peace, peace).