3. Viraat Purusha
No political economy would be worth its salt if it did not discuss the origin of society. The people of Abrahamic religions take to the Bible to authenticate a society. Atheists take it from Karl Marx. But we the Hindus have a different take from both of them.
In the Hindu tradition the evolution of the state starts from the God/man called Virat Purusha. Let me give it to you of this in our own unique tradition of story telling:
“Naiveha kinchanaagra aaseeth. Mrthyur naivedhamaavrudhamaaseeth,
asanayayaa. Asanaayaa hi mrthyuhu.” (Brihadhaaranyaka Upanishad)
In the beginning there was nothing whatsoever. This universe was
enveloped by death called Hiranyagarbha because of hunger. And hunger is
The beginning we are talking about is the beginning of time called ‘Kalpa’. This beginning also happens to be the end of the previous kalpa. Time indeed is a phenomenon that has a beginning, life and end. Like all phenomenon, it is cyclical. Well then, What is a kalpa? A kalpa consists of 4 yugas called Sathya yuga, Thretha yuga, Dwapara yuga and Kali yuga and like the day succeeds another day, a kalpa succeeds another kalpa. The principle of entropy works through the four successive yugas during which Dharma loses its glory steadily and at the end of Kali yuga complete adharma prevails.
Why and how did the previous kalpa end?
In all periods of time, what sustains the creation is the Dharma. Prakrthi is made up of opposites and so there is also adharma that opposes Dharma. Whenever adharma takes an upper hand, Vishnu as the preserver incarnates to restore Dharma to its glory. As it happened at the end last Kali yuga all orders broke and complete anarchy prevailed. Vishnu the preserver felt that the restoration of Dharma is impossible in such condition and so he decided to end the adharma by totally destroying the creation!
He knew that food sustains the creation and so he decided to sap the food by means of Vedic Karma. He sapped the food of all living organisms and they died and merged into Prithvi from where they had arisen. He then sapped the food of Prithvi and Prithvi died and merged into water from where it arose. He then sapped the food of water and so it merged into fire. He sapped the food of fire and it merged into air. He sapped the food of air and so it merged into space. He finally sapped the primordial sound that is the food of the space and the space collapsed and merged into him. What remained then was this great destroyer, this Mrithyu, this death completely devoid of food and in great hunger. So we say hunger is death.
We do not know how long this death remained as death because there was no time to measure. As we said before there was nothing at all except death.
“Sa vai naiva reme, thasmaadhekaakee na ramathe; sa dwitheeyamechathu.”
In fact He did not at all feel happy. Therefore one (still) does not feel happy being alone. He desired a mate.
Do you not say “I have every mind to do this” or “I have no mind to do this”? Thus we know that without mind nothing can be done. “May I be possessed of a mind” desired He, this Mrithyu, whom we now can call as Hiranyagarbha (literally a golden potent of all creations) and he produced the mind. This mind became his consort that is why at the time of marriage the bridegroom takes an auspicious thread and says, “Maangalyam thanthunanena mama jeevana hethuna.”, “by this you become the cause and reason of my life”, and ties it round the neck of the bride as the neck is the residence of the mind. From then on the void is filled by the wife even to this day.
With a wife with him, Hiranyagarbha is now qualified to perform a yagna (sacrifice), because only a Grihastha – a man with a wife – is qualified to perform Vedic Karma. For, again, without a yagna nothing could come about. The yagna he performed is called Brahmahooth. Since there was nothing besides him, he himself became the pasu or sacrifice. From this yagna came Virat or Brahma the creator. Brahma then embarks on the creation called Pravrthi.
He churned his mouth and rubbed his hands and produced fire. Whatever is liquid in the world He created from his seed. Soma the Moon (who has a liquid body) is indeed the food. And fire is the eater. This universe is this much only. The food and the eater. This mortal created Agni and Soma the Gods who are immortal. Therefore this is a surpassing creation!
He created from his mind seven Prajapathis called Saptha Rishis known as Marichi etc. and asked them to create. They first created women whom they gave away in marriage to each other. Then they produced two sets of beings called Devas and Asuras. Devas were few in number and were good guys and the Asuras were many but were bad guys. They fought each other bitterly for world domination. Not satisfied with this state of affairs, Brahma called the Prajapathis and told them, “Look, if your creation is so self destructive, then there is no hope for creation. So I want you to go back and do it again.”
So the Prajapathis went back and this time produced Yakshas and Rakshasas. The Yakshas are merry go lucky guys like the hippies who sang and danced and roamed the universe. Brahma looked at them and shook his head. He was unimpressed of their creative abilities in furthering the creation. Then he turned his attention to the Rakshasas who were cruel to others and were even cannibals. Brahma‘s hair shot up in shock and utter disgust. When the hair curled Snakes and vermins were produced. He was not at all satisfied with the creative process that had taken place so far. So he said to himself, “These Prajapathis are useless, let me create more Prajapathis out of my mind” and he created 4 charming young men known as Sanath Kumaras. Brahma asked these new Prajapathis to create. Being smart as they are, these young boys asked Brahma, “Father, what are you going to do?” Brahma replied, “I am going to reflect on the Self.” The curiosity of the boys increased and they asked of their father if reflecting on the Self is superior to creation. Brahma replied that it is the parama purushartham or the ultimate objective of any being. That answer proved disastrous for Brahma for the children told the father they would rather know about the self which is superior rather than embark on creation. That is why the maxim in all times is that a Brahmana who sets out to know his real Self cannot be faulted for not performing karma.
The Sanath Kumaras then went to Dhakshinamoorthi and surrendered to him and Dhakshinamoorthi taught them the knowledge of the Self in silence (mouna vyaakyaana prakatitham) by means of Chin Mudra indicating that the jeevathma and paramaathma are one and the same. Thus Dhakshinamoorthi became the first guru. “Dhakshinamoorthy samaarambam, Sankaracharya madyamaam, asmat acharya paryantham, vande guru paramparaam.”
Now back to Brahma, who found himself at square one, sighed to himself “There is no point in delegating any work to any Prajapati. They are all useless, I will take over the job of creation myself”, he declared. He instantly split himself like a pea into two, as male and female. The female was shy and wanted to hide herself from the male and she became a cow. The male became a bull and united with her and from them the cows were born. Then she turned into a she-goat and he changed to a he-goat and propagated. Then they took the forms of mare and stallion and propagated. In this manner they continued to reproduce. She became a Naari and he became a Nara and propagated the men and women. This way he set out the great pravaham of pravrthi.
(This whole creation is nothing but the mind! He creates the mind, enters it and roams in it! As He expands the universe, He finds ‘ruchi‘ or taste in it and gets attached to it! – Maanasa sancharare! Abhimaanasa sancharare!)
From the unmanifest world He manifested the world of names and forms. So even now this manifest world is of names and forms only. This Supreme Self penetrated into all these bodies just as a razor lies in its case. People do not realize It when they view it from its particular function such as when it is breathing, it is called Prana. Because such a view is incomplete. He is the eye of the eye, ear of the ear, and mind of the thoughts. Eye, ear and so on are only names due to functions. If we know each aspect then our knowledge is incomplete. So the totality called the Self alone should be meditated upon for knowing of which everything else is known.
“Thadhethathpreyaha puthraathu, preyo vitthaathu preyonasmaathsarvasmaath antharatharam”
This Self is dearer than a son, dearer than wealth, dearer than all other objects because it is the dearest than all.
Because all others will perish but not the Self.
This self (before the realization of its eternal identity) was actually Brahman and it knew only itself as “I am Brahman” and so he became the Universe. Whosoever among the Gods, sages and men realize this then they too become Brahman.
(to be continued..)