4. The birth of the cosmos and the evolution of humans
Everything in the universe has a nature of its own. This is known as swaroopa lakshaNam. The Hindus employed the method of extracting the essence or rasa: of the object to discern the swaroopa lakshanam. Let us see how the Hindus understood the cosmos and the human evolution by this method.
i) Swaroopa LakshaNam (1)
What is the essence (rasa:) of all objects?
The Veda says:
“ Eshaam Bhoothaanaam Prithvi rasa:”
Earth is the essence of all objects. Whether you talk of Nuclear physics or astronomy or micro biology or even poetry you talk of objects that are all centered on earth. Therefore earth is the essence of all objects.
The next question is: what is the essence of earth?
“Prithivya Apo rasa:”
It is the water. Astronomers scan the sky for world with water out there because nothing can be called the world if it has no water. Therefore water is the essence of earth.
The next question is: What is the essence of water?
It is the vegetation that water gives rise to.
What is the essence of vegetation?
Of the herbs which give rise to food, the human body is the essence because the human body is made of food only (Annamaya kosa).
“Oshadheenaam purusho rasa:”
What is the essence of human body?
Let’s investigate this a little bit. Let us say there are 10 guys out there. And who among them would you pay attention to? You would pay attention to a guy who would say something even if it be calling your attention like “Sir”. Therefore, of the human body the organ of speech called Vaak is the essence.
“ Purushasya vaag rasa:”
Now there are 10 guys out there, all saying something. Who would you pay attention to?
You would pay attention to the one who is knowledgeable, one who is a vidwaan and ignore others. Therefore it is the Veda composed of Riks that is the essence of Vaak or speech.
“Vaacha rg rasa:”
Among the vidwaans, or among the Vedas which is the essence?
Among the vidwaans you pay attention to the one who would convey to you in a congenial manner, the most congenial of all is the music. That which is music to the ears is Saaman. That is why it is “Naadhabramha mayi Vidya”. Vidya covers the entire sum total of all worldly knowledge, the knowledge that covers both the world and its controller. This is Hreemkaaraswaroopam. “Hreem” indicates space, time and causality which in turn indicate Brahma, Vishnu and Rudhra who form the Trinity or the Universe. They know themselves as the Universe and it is therefore the Vidya.
“Richaha Saama rasa:”
The next question is: What is the essence of Saaman?
Utgitha is the essence of Saama. Ut means Aum. You might have seen many of our elders start any writing with the letter U (the fifth Tamil vowel) on top or at the beginning. This is indicative of Ut the singing of which is called Utgitha. Saama Veda deals with Utgitha. Utgitha is the letter OM
“Saamna udgithO rasa:”
This Utgitha is the essence of all essences, it is Supreme, and it is competent for the highest place.
“Sa Esha Rasaanaagum Rasathamaha , Paramaha, Paraadhyaha – Yad Udgithaha.”
This is the way we negate each one, beginning with objects, to its essence and finally arrive at the Supreme, the essence of all essences, the Brahman.
The Lesson therefore is:
Narayanaparovyakthaath. Narayana is beyond the unmanifest.
Andam Avyaktha sambhavam. This manifest world came from the Unmanifest.
And our Vedas declare: Brahmaivaapnodhi Param. The knower of Brahman attains the Supreme!
(to be continued..)