ii) Swaroopa Lakshanam(2)
The Thrigunaas are the bricks and mortar of all creations
sattvaḿ rajas tama iti
dehe dehinam avyayam
The, pure-clear (sattva), the affective-active (rajas), and the inert-dark (tamas); these nature-necessity-born modalities (gunas) bind the imperishable embodied one, 0 Mighty-armed (Arjuna).
(Bhagavat Geetha 14.5)
Once Prajapathi went to his father and asked him. “Father, I want to know how you created the Universe. I see all fathers teach their sons their trade, so I want you to teach me this”.
Brahma said, “I am the whole universe. By knowing me you will know the universe.” Saying so he disappeared.
Prajapathi surveyed the creation that consisted of this world, the middle region and the heaven. He brooded over his father’s words and said “All I have is this creation before me and if I know the essence of this creation, then I would know my father.” So saying he looked at Prithvi, this earth. The earth is dark and could not be seen but for the fire in it. So he discerned that Agni to be the essence of the earth, as but for the Agni the earth will not be important. Prajapathi therefore extracted Agni as the essence of the earth.
Then he turned his attention a little higher. He saw the space called the Anthariksham or the middle region. There was thunder and lightening, there was so much noise and movement of the manes, the dead ancestors. The noise and motion is indicative of their unease and fear of having lost their dear ones and their restlessness to get back to them. These were possible by the air or Vayu (as one would observe in Vayu’s motion a eerie noise of fear). Prajapathi knew Vayu as the essence of space and extracted it.
Then he turned his attention higher and looked at Dhyau the heaven. It was bright and in its midst the Sun was shining brilliantly. He knew the Sun or Aadhithya to be the essence of the Heaven and extracted it.
Prajapathi brooded over these three gods – Agni, Vayu and Adhithya.
As he fixed his attention on Agni, he saw Brahmanas were pouring their oblation on Agni saying the Rigvedhic Manthra “AgnimeelE Purohitham.” He knew that Rigvedha as the essense of Agni and extracted it.
And he looked at Vayu and saw the Yajur Veda and its Brahmana held Vayu in place and so Prajapathi extracted Yajur Veda as its essence. (The Yajur Veda Brahmanas are essential parts of karma kaanda).
And Prajapathi turned his attention to Adhithya. The Sun was shining brilliantly because it was chanting Utgitha (OM) and realised that Sama Veda that teaches Utgitha to be the essence of Adhithya and extracted it.
Now Prajapathi brooded over these three Vedas.
As he brooded over the Rig Veda, he realised that the great utterance (vyaahrthi), “BHUHU” brought about the Rig Veda and so he extracted Bhu as its essence. (Bhu is also indicative of its future effect the earth, Prithvi).
Then as be brooded over Yajur Veda and realised that the great utterance “BHUVAHA” brought about the Yajur Veda and extracted Bhuvaha as the essence of Yajur Veda. (Bhuvaha is the praana. Bhuvarlokam is a place where the praanas that have left the bodies get collected).
As he brooded over the Sama Veda, Prajapathi realised that the great utterance “SWAHA” brought about the Sama Veda and and extracted “Swaha” as the essence of Sama Veda. (Swaha is indicative of the Self which is self-luminous. One needs no other light to know one’s own self).
Now Prajapathi was left with these three Vyahrthis (or great utterances) as the essense of all that he has brooded over. Yet he was still nowhere near knowing his father or how he created the universe.
So he brooded on these three Vyahrthis. He found that the essence of Bhuhu was the Thamasa Guna, and he extracted it. (Thamasa Guna is indicative of darkness, ignorance and needed the light of Agni to be known).
He found out that the essence of Bhuvaha is the Rajo Guna and extracted it. (Bhuvaha is indicative of the motion of praana represented by Vayu).
And he found out that the essence of Swaha is the Sathva Guna which represents luminosity and extracted it.
And As soon as he had extracted all the three gunas, he found himself enveloped by them and this thrigunas became his upadhi or conditioning and instantly he found himself to be one with his father Brahma. The entire art and scheme of creation was instantly known to Prajapathi as he now found himself to be the entire creation. (The manthra – Bhu swaaha, agnaye idam na mama; Bhuva swaaha vayave idam na mama; Suva swaaha Sooryaayai idam na mama; Bhurbhuvaswa swaaha Prajaapathyai idam na mama should be understood as above).
The three gunas thus pervade the whole universe and Brahman is its support. There is nothing in the universe that is exempt from the play of the gunas. This is the truth. This is the truth.
(to be continued..)