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Śruti observes “Aitadatmyamidam Sarvam” — “All this (prapañca) is the nature of Atman”. Śrīmad Vallabhācārya eludicates this point when he writes “Hari is the only prameya who is both saguṇa and nirguṇa” and that “the prapañca is of the nature of Brahman, is Its effect becoming so through māyā”.

“All this is only Atman.” Chāndogya Mantra. (7.25.2)

“This becomes all” Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upaniṣad (1.4.10)

“All this is only Puruṣa” Ṛg Veda (X.90.2)

Brahman , Saccidānanda, which is both immanent and transcendental, is the only Reality and all else is only a manifestation and aspect of Its Supreme Status, the Puruṣottama, which like Its other statuses and orders of Being maintains and manifests Itself in the tri-une aspect of the divine (ādhidaivika), the spiritual (ādhyātmika), and the elemental (ādhibhautika) of which the latter two sustain what is known and termed as ‘world’ of the phenomenal cosmos. This Brahman or Absolute propelled by, so to say, the desire to be many is manifested, in accordance with the āvirbhāva-tirōbhāva theory, into the world of Spirit and Matter to which It is the inherent as well as the instrumental cause and that their emergence or evolution is not to be regarded as a novel (new) creation but only a manifestation of Divine. It, therefore, transpires, without any iota of doubt, that cosmos, the world-order, is only Brahman or Śri Kṛṣṇa in a special status of Being (the elemental) just as being coiled is only a special position of the serpent. Because, the world-order is nothing but an aspect of the Absolute, it is also as real as the Absolute Itself. Not only this, every occurrence on the limitless expanded surface of the universe, each fact of creation and dissolution, being only a manifestation and concealment of the Absolute is also as real as Absolute Itself.

Doctrine of Creation

Ātmasṛṣṭivāda- The Doctrine of Divine Creation

What is purpose of creation? If Brahman is unborn and desireless (āptakāma), as declared in the Upaniṣad and Śrīmad Bhagavadgītā, why did He create this world of sorrows and sufferings, the high and low, a disgusting place of meanness, cheating, envy and all-pervasive egoism? If this God, in His innate attributes of omniscience and omnipotence? The problems, thus, demands answers to two questions:

(a). What propelled the desireless Divinity to create this world?
(b). What is the explanation for the creation of this unethical and depraved world order?

The doctrine of ātmasṛṣṭivāda answers this questions as following: Brahman is the sole Reality and the material as well as the instrumental cause of the manifestative evolution of cosmos with His name and form.He creates out of His own Self without any external means and assistance and the cosmos is just a part (pāda) of Brahman in another aspect, in the aspect of Becoming, differentiation and name and form.

The reason for this manifestation or creation even when Brahman is self-satisifed and want-less is not any particular purpose but simply a desire on His part to have a differential realization of His Bliss. The Chāndogya Śruti describes the reason of this creation as a deliberation (ikṣana) on the part of Brahman

‘I shall become many. I shall be born.’ (Chāndogya Upaniṣad 6.2.3)

it intended to convey that Brahman for the realization of His Bliss thought to be differentiated (bahusyāṃ) and to create (prajāyeyeti). Creation, therefore, as explained by the author of Brahmasūtra, has no purpose with a desire or want; it is only a sport or lilā (Brahmasūtra 2,1,33) where attainment of joy or bliss serves to be the only purpose. Śrīmad Bhagvata also unambiguously declares, “O Lord! We unnecessarily argue. What can be the reason of the birth of your unborn Self, other then mere sport?” (S.B. 10,2,38) Just as king is interested, while on a hunting spree, only in sport and not in eating the meat of the hunted animal, creation is also for the Lord only a matter of sport without any specific purpose. As a matter of fact, all activity on the part of Brahman of which He is a real agent is always a sport or lilā.

Types of Śrusti lilā or Creation

The two aspects of śrusti lilā or the sport of Creation are Rūpa-lilā and Nāma-lilā. When the Lord or Brahman by His Wish contracts and conceals all His powers and then manifests Himself in parts (aṃśas) in a definite way, in forms of variety of objects, it is called His ‘Rūpa-lilā’ or the ‘Sport of the Form’. Again, because all words denote only Him, the contraction of this denotative power of the words by the Lord and then manifesting them as different words in a definite way is ‘Nāma-lilā’ with the result hat each object (padārtha) is denoted by a particular word. In this way, the whole creation is a manifestative evolution of Name and Form indicated by doctrine of Rūpa-lilā and Nāma-lilā.
(A.) Nāma-śrusti (Creation of Name): In this kind of Creation, the Lord, as Sūtrātmā, expresses Himself, through the Susumna, as Sabda-Brahman evolves into sounds, letters, term and sentence.
(B.) Rūpa-śrusti (Formal Creation): Brahman in Its five aspects, is the cause of formal creation, which are non-different from Brahman, are, in accordance with the dictates of Śrīmad Bhagvata (1). Dravya, (2). Kāla, (3). Karma, (4). Svabhāva, and (5). Jīva.

Here Dravya stands for māyā which is, as we have seen, the cause of the entire world-order.

Is God Partial and Cruel?

The problem of seeking justification for God’s creation of a morally depraved and Evil World is really a pseudoproblem created by man’s own man’s own partial and ignorant consciousness and vision in which he, in the height of his egoism, considers this partial vision as the standard for judging God’s whole and all-pervasive consciousness and knowledge. The charge of partiality and cruelty, involving the production of Evil World, may be comprehensible and justifiable in such systems of philosophy that conceive of an extra-cosmic Personal God; however, much of its sharpness is blunted as soon as God is taken to be the sole Reality and the creation — involving the Good and Evil — only His own where everything is God Himself. From the standpoint of ātmasṛṣṭi, all cruelty, appearing in the world, is a matter of self-infliction and not of causing it to someone else for there is none but God. Yet, it may be argued that the problem of cruelty and evil remains, though for God only and not for others. To this Śrīmad Vallabhācārya is prone to reply that this is only a false issue because ‘it applies the terms of partial statement as if they were applicable to whole’; they necessarily involve dualistic concept of things. We, in the height of our egoism, have the chicanery to reiase a standard— the ethical standard of Good and Evil-related only to human— consciousness to a height and state where it is allowed to sit in a judgement over the supra-ethical Divine Consciousness whose sole purpose of Becoming, is the realization of the universal, illimitable delight. The moral argument, thus, being inapplicable to an utterly supra-ethical situation, the charge of ‘partiality and cruelty’ is redundant.

Although the philosophy of Ātmasṛṣṭi is basic Vallabhite doctrine, Śrīmad Vallabhācārya for the sake of the satisfaction of opponent, while commenting on Vedant Sūtras argues, that the charge of partiality and cruelty is irrelevant because the dispensation of pleasure and pain to individual soul is always relative to its actions (karmas) whose flux is almost eternal and beginingless. God in such a dispensation is always the common-cause (sādhāraṇa-kāraṇa) and not an uncommon cause (asādhāraṇa-kāraṇa) so as to be worthy of his charge; ‘God is like a rain, whereas, karma is like the seed’.

The Process of Creation

The Vedas, the Upaniṣads, the Purāṇas and other scriptures as the Pāñcarātra-Āgamas refers to six different process of creation. Out of these the Vedic account of the creative process is generally classifiable under two broad heads, viz.,

(A.) Sākṣāt- The Direct or Spontaneous Creation; here the whole world-order, with its name and form, its elements and physical objects manifested without involving the intervention of intermidiary stages in which the prior stage serves as the cause of posterior one. Muṇḍakopaniṣad (2,1,1) when describing this direct world creation tells “As from the fire ablaze, fly off sparks, in their thousands, that are akin to the fire, similarly, O, good looking one! From the Immutable originate different kinds of creatures and into It again they merge,” and the Aitareya Upaniṣad (1,1,2) as, “He created these worlds, viz., ambhas, marīcī, mara apah.”
(B.) Paramparayā- The Indirect or Successive Creation; here the creation is successive, i.e., in stages, where the former stage is the cause of the origination of the latter one. Notwithstanding this minor difference between the creative process of the Chāndogya and Taittarīya Upaniṣad describes this forms of creation.

Chāndogya Upaniṣad narrates the description of the creation of fire (tejas), from being (sat), water (apaḥ) from fire and food (annaṃ) from water. In the Taittarīya Upaniṣad, however, the process of creation of elements is described in 5 stages. The upaniṣad describes: “From that Brahman, which is Self, was produced Space. From Space emerged air. From the air was born fire. From fire was created water. From water sprang up the earth.”

The Purāṇas, specially Śrīmad Bhagvata, describes the first decent (avatāra) of the Ultimate and Transcendental Reality, the Nirguṇa Brahman, i.e., Its expression or manifestation as Puruṣa (puruṣāvatāra), as instrumental in the successive creation of prapañca or the world-order. The Pāñcarātra-Āgamas, however, tell a different story when they describe the process of Pure Creation in a four fold stage — the Vāsudeva, then the Saṃkarṣana, then the Pradyumna and lastly Aniruddha. However, both these accounts take resort to the conception of successive or pāraṃparika creation. Though the manifestation of individual souls and antaryāmis is universally recognised as a direct and spontaneous sparking off the Immutable One or the Akṣara Brahman yet we have two different accounts. When the scriptures emphasise that Brahman creates the world, the individual souls and antaryāmis they are conceived to be affect by the concealment of their blissful aspect in their respective degrees. However, when they describe that Brahman Itself becomes the world they do not contemplate any concealment of their blissful aspect.

Why the contradictory descriptions of creation?

The śrutis and the scriptures present many divergent accounts of the process of world-creation appearing not only incongruent but contradictory also. However, this is not a problem because ultimately they all establish that Brahman is the ultimate, material as well as the instrumental cause. The main purpose and the function of scriptural texts on creation is to inculcate, in our human hearts, the majesty, the inscrutable power and capacity of God through His mighty and stupendous world-creation even though all this is a mere sport and effortless activity on the part of God, just as the arthavādas and karmakāṇḍa are instrument for motivating those who are lethargic by eulogising injunctions (vidhi) and denouncing that is prohibited (niṣedha). Moreover, the lack of apparent uniformity in scriptural texts may be traced to several reasons. Though the seers had a full grasp of the Lord’s creative process, not only for this aeon but for various others of the past, yet while explaining them to their students and the enquiers they had to be guided by the circumstance of their mental abilities and the specific questions and problems asked by them.

At times the seer’s own sense of importance contributed to the difference as illustrated by the theory of triple-creation of the Chāndogya Upaniṣad and the five-fold-creation of elements in the Taittarīya Upaniṣad. Śrīmad Vallabhācārya explains, the elements of ākāśa (space) and vāyu (air) of the Taittarīya Upaniṣad are already included in the sat of the Chāndogya Upaniṣad’s process. Again, the different descriptions of the process do not refer to the present particular creation alone but to many of the past creations also where, as per Lord’s wish, a different process was adopted for cosmic-manifestation, sometimes direct and sometimes indirect or successive. Moreover, in this particular creation of our world both spontaneous and successive process are adopted; spontaneous in case of manifestation of individual souls (jīvas) and antaryāmis and successive in case of Matter, elements, etc.

Thus Śrīmad Vallabhācārya is specifically assertive that the contradictory appearance of the scriptural accounts of the process of creation should not lead to the conclusion either that they are mere arthavadas or that the creation itself is false (mithyā).

Cosmic Deployment of Brahman

In the Suddhadvaita system, Brahman which is both transcendental (nirguṇa) and phenomenal (saguṇa) is the only prameya or the object of enquiry and knowledge. The manifested creation inclusive of its activity (kriyā) and such six vikaras or modifications as (I). Origination (uttpatti), (II). Continuance (sthiti), (III). Development (vṛddhi), (IIII). Modification (vipariṇāṃ), (V). Decay (kṣaya), and (VI). Destruction (nāśa) is the saguṇa aspect of Brahman as it necessarily involves the manifestation and the operation of three guṇas, viz., the sattva, rājas, and tāmas. For the easy and proper comprehension of this prameya (Brahman) inclusive of its phenomenal aspect the various expressions or manifestations of Brahman is classified in three orders, viz., (1). Svarupa (2). Kāraṇa (3). Kārya This three orders of manifestation include the whole of the cosmic-manifestation. The nature and the details of these graded states are as follows:

Svarupa Koṭi

In this particular category are included all those statuses of Brahman that are related to Its being and existence as Activity (kriyā), Knowledge (jñāna) and both Activity and Knowledge. The first is the aspect of Brahman representing Vedic sacrifices or Yajña, right up from the concealment of the initial sacrificial action to the final consummation and achievement or the end as observed in mantra, ‘Yajño vai viṣṇuh’.

The second aspect related to Knowledge is the nature of Brahman as preached in Knowledge-section (Jñānakāṇḍa) of the Vedas where It is declared to be Infinite Existence, Consciousness and Bliss with infinite attributes and powers; this also includes the status of Brahman as Immutable.

The third aspect of svarupa-category comprising both Activity and Knowledge is the ultimate nature of Brahman as Puruṣottama or Kṛṣṇa, who, being Sākāra Saccidānanda and full of infinite transcendent and divine attributes, is attainable by Supreme Bhakti (Devotion) alone. Kṛṣṇa or Puruṣottama is qualified by both Knowledge and Activity for it is He who is manifested in the forms of Vedic Sacrifies and Brahman-knowledge and is the main subject of instruction in such scriptures as Śrīmad Bhagavadgītā and Śrīmad Bhagvata.

As Brahman, the Puruṣottama, is capable of expression into such aspects and statuses as His Sacrificial Form and the Immutable One (Akṣara), the objects of the Purvakanda and the Uttarakāṇḍa of the Vedas, He motivated by His desire to provide knowledge and to emancipate individual souls expresses, symbolically, from His feet the Akṣara-Brahman — termed differently in the scriptures as the Brahman Immutable (kutastha), the Unmanifested (Avyakta), the Asat and the Tama— which again is manifested into three aspects, viz., Kāla, Karma, and Svabhāva.

As we have already discussed the nature of Aksar Brahman in other section, here we discuss the nature and charecteristics of Its manifestations as Kāla, Karma and Svabhāva.

(A).Kāla- It is a term used to indicate the manifested aspect of Puruṣottama’s Force or Power of Activity representing His will to create. It is due to ceṣṭā or motivation that the Kāla serves as the instrumental cause of the world-creation; in other words, it is a necessary instrument of cause of all becoming including the modifications and transformations of Primodial Matter (Prakṛti). As the motivation or ceṣṭā is the very nature of Kāla, it is cause of the manifestation of Karma or Action.
(B). Karma- Karma (action) is defined as that all-pervasive activity (kriyā) which is capable of being manifested at a particular space and time through mundane performance of injunctions (vidhi) and prohibitions (niṣedha). The expression of Karma is always only through the individual-soul (puruṣa) unlike Kāla which is direct and spontaneous revelation of Akṣara. Due to this particular characteristic, the manifestation of Karma is always temporal and non-eternal. Vallabhite philosophy conceives of one single-pervasive Karma as the ultimate motivating force of all human activity.
(C).Svabhāva- Svabhāva is the universal and fundamental condition of all existents having its reason in the Wish of the Lord; it is the special nature of things by which they undergo modifications in a particular manner, Why milk is transformed into curd and not oil? Why mud is transformed into a jar and not cloth? Why a peacock is multi-coloured and why is swan always white? The reason for all this is the Svabhāva, which is Lord’s Wish that the things should be so and so, and so they are.

Kāraṇa Koṭi

Kāraṇatva (being the cause) means being the substrate of the power of the manifestation of the cosmic egg. It is, thus, the uncommon-cause of this manifestation and not a common cause (sādharāṇa-kāraṇa) like the Lord’s Wish. Within this category are included the 28 tattvas that are manifestations of the Sat or Existence aspect of Brahman. Because they represent and manifest the Being or the Existence of the Immutable Truth they are called tattvas. These twenty eight causes are (1.) Prakṛti, (2.) Puruṣa, (3.) Mahat, (4.) Ahaṃkāra, (5.) Rūpa, (6.) Rasa, (7. ) Gandha, (8.) Sparśa, (9.) Śabda, (10.) Netra, (11.) Jihvā, (12.) Nāsikā, (13.) Tvacā, (14.) Karṇa, (15.) Mana, (16.) Vāṇī, (17.) Hasta, (18.) Caraṇa, (19.) Upastha, (20.) Guḍa, (21.) Pṛthvī, (22.) Jala, (23.) Tejas, (24.) Vāyu, (25.) Ākāśa, (26.) Sattvaguṇa, (27.) Rajoguṇa, and (28.) Tamoguṇa.

  • (A). Puruṣa (Individual-Soul)- The Akṣara Brahman is the first of all manifested Puruṣa and Prakṛti. Puruṣa is a synonym of the term ‘Atman’ which means a principle prevading all objects or serving as their substratum. The Puruṣa or Atman has three aspects or definitions as mentioned:
(i). The Phenomenal Aspect- In this aspect the Atman is beginningless, nirguṇa (transcending the attributes of prakṛti) and is the control of Primodial Matter (Prakṛti); yet it is object of ‘ego-consciousness’ or the sense of the ‘I’.
(ii). The Real Aspect (svarupa definition)- In this aspect which describes the real nature of Atman, the Puruṣa is contemplated to be self-illuminating (svayaṃprakāśa).
(iii). The Liberational Aspect- In this aspect the Atman, notwithstanding its natural freedom from any kind of contact with good and evil qualities of world, is related to all the objects of world. This is state which the Atman acquires during its liberation.
Śrīmad Vallabhācārya is ardent supporter of the view, unlike pluralism of Sāṃkhya, that the Puruṣa is only one. Śri Subodhinī on Canto III reads “There is no even an iota of difference between jīva and Īśvara; any conception ther than this is unfounded.”

As expounded by the Lord in Canto XI of Śrīmad Bhagvata, the jīva and Īśvara are different, not in essence and by nature, but only by their specific status (avasthā) and therefore, the nature and definition of Puruṣa is also the nature and definition of jīva, the difference in their manifestations is, however, caused by two Prakṛtis, the vyāmohikā and the mūla-prakṛti; the vyāmohikā māyā subjects the jīva to bondage, whereas, through the mūla-prakṛti, the Lord, subsisting His Own nature creates the world. The individual soul is only an aspect or aṃśa of Brahman involving the manifestation of Its Sat and Cit attributes and the concealment of Its Bliss.

  • (B). Prakṛti- Prakṛti or Pradhāna is evolved by Brahman to serve as material cause of world-creation. The Prakṛti posses six properties representing the six qualities handed down to it by Brahman. These properties are:
(i). Triguṇāni (Consisting of three guṇas)- The Prakṛti is a state of equilibrium of the three guṇas, namely, the sattva, the rājas, and the tāmas. Prakṛti can also become the attributes of sattva, rājas and tāmas from a part (aṃśa) of itself like the Saccidānanda Brahman. The conception of Prakṛti is one of substance consisting of attributes s agains the Sāṃkhya doctrine of Prakṛti merely as homogeneous equilibrium of guṇas. The three guṇas of Prakṛti are only the corrupted and degraded manifestations of the three attributes if Brahman, viz. The sat, the cit and the ānanda and, as such, subsist in Brahman’s manifested power of māyā.
(ii). Avyakta (Unmanifested)- As Prakṛti is never expressed at any point of time , past, present or future, it is called Avyakta or Unmanifested.
(iii). Nityaṃ (Eternal)- As Prakṛti is Unmaifested, it is necessarily eternal also because any idea of its non-eternality would imply the cessation of world-creation. It is, therefore, eternal and subsits primarily in Brahman’s Existence-aspect. As the evolution of Prakṛti, in the process of creation, is simultaneous with evolution of Time, etc. no there is harm in denying to it the objectivity to negation in terms of three forms of time meaning thereby it is eternal.
(iv). Sadasadātmikaṃ- The Prakṛti is both sat and asat, i.e., it is both the cause (kāraṇa) and the effect subsisting in a relation of Identity (tādātmya).
(v). Aviśeṣaṃ (Undifferentiated)- Because the Prakṛti is a state of the equilibrium of guṇas there is no manifestation of difference. It is, therefore, in this particular aspect undifferentiated.
(vi). Viśeṣavata (Differnetiated)- After the manifestation of its effect-mahat etc. - the prakṛti gets differentiated. So it is the substrate of differentiation and difference. As Brahman is repository of contradictory attributes so Prakṛti also, acquiring the greatness and capacity of It, can be both differentiated and undifferentiated simultaneously.
The relation between the Puruṣa and Prakṛti is the one that subsists of master and the serven as conceived in other systems of Phislosophy. Since, the Brahman is sākāra, both Prakṛti and Puruṣa are also sākāra, i.e., Formal.

  • (C). The Guṇas- Guṇas or attributes, as in Sāṃkhya and other systems, are three in number, viz. Sattva, Rājas, and Tāmas. These guṇas have two forms, namely, the Prākṛta or Natural and the Aprākṛta or the Supernatural. Whereas in Aprākṛta or pure state these three guṇas have their appearance direct from Brahman through the instrumenatality of Māyā, the manifestation of Prākṛta or Natural guṇas occurs at a later stage when the Prakṛti (the Primordial Matter) has already evolved. The pure-sattva originates from Brahman’s attribute of Sat (Existence), whereas, the pure-rājas and pure-tāmas evolve out of Its Consciousness attribute and Bliss attribute respectively. The impure or the Prākṛta-guṇas are manifested out of the Pradhāna to serve as causes for the further evolution of Mahat and other tattvas. As such, it is the Prākṛta form of the guṇas that is included in causal-category (kāraṇa-koṭi). The nature of three guṇas are defined as follows:
(i). Sattva-guṇa- The attribute of sattva is self-luminous and being of the nature of pleasure (sukha) is devoid of capacity of veiling the manifestation of pleasure. Because of this, sattva creates in the individual soul an attachment towards pleasure and knowledge and through these to the body itself.
(ii). Rajo-guṇa- This attribute is of the nature of attachment (towards objects). It creates in its subject the feeling of desire and association and a longing for karma (activity). On the account of this attachment and proneness to activity, this particular guṇa creates in the creature an intense attachment and love for his body.
(iii). Tamo-guṇa- This attribute, which is born out of power of concealment, is the cause of the infatuation (moha) of all creatures. It has its function in creating delusion, laziness and sleep in the individual soul and thereby it creates attachment twords body.
Śrīmad Vallabhācārya does not conceive the Prakṛti and Puruṣa as two separate principles like as in Īśvarakṛṣṇa’s sāṃkhya. As criticised by Śrīmad Vallabhācārya on the suppositions of Classical Sāṃkhya, the Inconscient Primodial Matter can hardy be conceived to initiate the process of transformation or pariṇāma, unless it is conceived to be under the superintendence of the ultimate principle Brahman; the universe is, therefore not a transformation in the Sāṃkhya-sense but a creation (racanā). Moreover, for establishing a relationship between Prakṛti and Puruṣa, so that latter might serve the ends of the former, the two have to be conceived as manifestations of another Higher or the Ground Principle, the Brahman, as contemplated in Brahmavāda.

  • (D). Mahat- Mahat is the first evolute of the Prakṛti produced through the disequilibrium of the three guṇas by the operation of Kāla, Karma, and Svabhāva. On account of the power of Brahman in the form of Kāla, there is imbalance and disproportion in the guṇas; the Svabhāva brings a transformation and Karma finally produces the mahat. The first stage in this transformation is the Sūtra which represents the ‘power of activity’ (kriyā-sakti) and second happens to be Mahat meaning the one that posses the ‘power of knowledge’ (jñāna-sakti). Since both these stages are the steps in the evolution of the single principle called ‘Mahat’; thus it is contemplated as principle possessing both the powers of knowledge and activity.

  • (E). Ahaṃkāra- Ahaṃkāra is the second evolute of Prakṛti originating directly from Mahat due to the imbalance caused in the guṇas by Kāla and the preponderance of rājas and tāmas. It is significant in possessing both powers of knowledge and activity — as it produces further evolutes — and has the character of a substance (dravya). The nature of Ahaṃkāra which is the cause of succeeding evolution of tanmātrās, the indriyas, the mana is both cit (conscious) and acit (unconscious). Though intinscially it is unconscious, the reflection of cit in its body makes it both conscious and unconscious.

  • (F). Tanmātrās- The subtlest intermediate forms of elements (bhūtas) are known as tanmātrās; they are created out of the tāmas-ahaṃkāra, their material-cause, and in turn produce the other tattvas. As the elements are five in number, the tanmātrās are also five, viz., śabda (sound), sparśa (touch), rūpa (colour), rasa (taste), and gandha (smell). On the account of their subtlety these tanmātrās are imperceptible to our ordinary senses; however, they become objects of the yogins’ perception who alone are capable of cognising them. The mundane human intellect can acquire valid knowledge about this intermediate existents only through inference; it is only their determinate manifestations that are cognised by human intellect.
These five different kind of tanmātrās are produced out of ahaṃkāra. From ahaṃkāra is born the śabda-tanmātrā, from this śabda-tanmātrā containing ahaṃkāra, is created the sparśa-tanmatra which contains qualities of both śabda and sparśa-tanmātrās. In this way the successive creations of rūpa, rasa, and gandha tanmātrās take place where each successive tanmātrā contains all the guṇas of the preceding tanmātrās.

  • (G). The Elements (Bhūta)- Element (bhūta) is that which possesses the attribute of śabda,etc. Alternatively, it may also be defined as that which is one of the five, namely, Ākāśa (Ether), Vāyu (Air), Tejas (Fire), Jala (Water), and Pṛthvī (Earth). These five elements are manifested out of the five-tanmātrās in the following way. Ākāśa (Ether) is produced from śabda-tanmātrā and this is why ‘sound’ is the special attribute of ākāśa. The element of Vāyu (Air) is produced from both śabda and sparśa tanmātrās so that both śabda (sound) and sparśa (touch) are qualities of ‘air’. Similarly, the Tejas (Fire-element) is the product of combination of śabda, sparśa and rūpa tanmātrās, having three qualities of sound, touch and colour. The Apas/Jala (Water-Element) is constituted of four tanmātrās, viz., śabda, sparśa, rūpa and rasa whereas, Pṛthvī (Earth-Elements) is produced by all five tanmātrās, viz., śabda, sparśa, rūpa, rasa and gandha. These also possess four in case of Jala and five (in case of Pṛthvī) qualities respectively of their respective tanmātrās as in former cases. It is thus apparent that in the process of manifestation (āvirbhāva) each posterior manifestation of element is constituted of all the tanmātrās of its previous manifestation with the addition of its own. Likewise, each posterior evolute combines all qualities of the previous element with its own special ability.

  • (H). Indriyas (Senses)- Indriya is defined as that which while existing in the body is the instrument of the production of either knowledge or action by which they also revel the existence of the soul. These senses are of two kinds, viz., the five cognitive senses(eye, ear, nose, mouth, skin) and five contaive senses (speech, hands, legs, reproductive organs, anus). All these indriyas are the evolutes of tāmas or rājas ahaṃkāra and are meant for utiliation of the individual soul. The main purpose of the creation of this indriyas is the fulfilement of the soul’s desire. All these sense-organs are atomic, eternal and non-physical like the individual soul. The indriyas and prāṇa are at par with jivatman on the question of origination. The vital-breath and the senses have a spontaneous manifestations or vyucārāṇa, like the jīva, prior to the evolution of five elements.

  • (I). Mana- On the authority of Śrīmad Bhagvata mana is considered as an indriya. Where the other sense-organs whether cognitive or conative, are instrumental in the production of knowledge or action, mana as an indriya, while existing in the body, is instrumental in the production of both (ubhayātmaka); every even of cognition or conation is always associated with mana. Beside providing assistance in cognition and conation, the most important function of mana are determination (saṃkalpa) and doubt (vikalpa) and the production of desire (kāma). As mana is the only indriya operating in psycho-logical function, i.e., the generation of desire, is however, its kāryalakṣaṇa.
Mana, ahaṃkāra and buddhi are the three forms of the internal-organ or antahakarana. They are therefore, different from five cognitive and five conative senses which are called external-organs. During the process of knowledge when the external-sense creates an indeterminate-perception the operation of mana brings it to determinate stage. Besides, all kinds of pleasure, pain, endevour, malice, emotions of affection, etc. are attributes of mana and not the individual soul. Similarly, ‘desire, resolve, doubt, faith, want of faith, steadiness, unsteadiness, shame, intelligence, fear’ are all qualities of mind and not of soul.
It may, however, be observed that during an act of cognition or conation when there is the appreception, ‘I resolve’, the mana is both object (prameya) and the means (pramāṇa) and there is no involvement of any other principle. The mana like prāṇa and other indriyas is atomic, non-physical and is a different tattva in itself which is spontaneously manifested prior to the creation of the physical world.

Kārya Koṭi

Within this third category of prameyas are included all those effects which do not serve as causes to further evolutes. These effects are infinite and innumerable. Yet, for a proper comprehension, they may be classified as:

  • (A).Samaṣṭi and Vyaṣṭi- All the effects or existenets in the world may be classified under Samaṣṭi and Vyaṣṭi. The term ‘samaṣṭi’ (universal) involves the concept of unification and assemblage of numerous individuals within the universal form of existence, whereas, the unity is discarded as vyaṣṭi. Thus Brahma is the samaṣṭi or the universal form of all cosmic existents, including the individual soul and Nature. The different souls and separate items of Nature are vyaṣṭi or the ‘individual’.
  • (B). Jīva and Jaḍa- All the existents in the world are either spiritual or material; so the world may be classified into Soul and Matter.
  • (C). Sattva, Raja and Tama- Taking the guṇas as the determinants of classification, the effects may be classified as sāttvika, rājasika and tāmasika in accordance with their predominance of a particular guṇa in their nature.
  • (D). Ādhidaivika, Ādhyātmika and Ādhibhautika- The universal spirit is is ādhidaivika, whereas the individual soul is ādhyātmika. The difference between these two is only matter of universality and individuality. Within the ādhibhautika category are included all those substances or existents, for example human body, that are composed of five elements.

Various other classifications may, however, be possible yet all there is only from the worldly or phenomenal standpoint. As all these effects are the manifestations of Ultimate Reality, Brahman or Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa alone is the real prameya.


The term ‘pralaya’ (dissolution) means merging of effect in its material or the inherent cause. The dissolution on the basis of doctrine of satkaryavada can never be interpreted as the total annihilation of the effect consequent upon destruction of its material and the instrumental cause.

Forms of Dissolution

On the authority of Śrīmad Bhagvata three types of dissolutions are mentioned:

  • (A). Nitya Pralaya (Eternal-Dissolution)- The Nature of this kind of pralaya is described by Śri Śukadeva to King Parikṣita in Canto XII of Śrīmad Bhagvata. According to him, all things and creatures in this world are born and destroyed every moment. Because all transformable things, such as the river, stream, the flame and the like are in a state of constant flux we can logically conclude that all things including our bodies must be undergoing change, birth and destruction every movement (at cellular level).
  • (B).Naimittika Pralaya- When at the end of aeon there begins the Night of Brahmā, Nārāyaṇa, the world-creator, merges the whole universe including Brahmā in Himself and sleeps. This is called Naimittika Pralaya because during this state the fire originating from Saṃkarṣana’s mouth is the condition for the dissolution of the world. The reason for this dissolution is the Brahman’s or Lord Kṛṣṇa’s wish to enjoy His Bliss in Himself (ātmarati).
  • (C). Prākṛtika Pralaya- When due to imbalance in three guṇas of Prakṛti, the seven evolutes, as stated in Sāṃkhya-karika, merges by stages in Primodial Matter and bring about the destruction of Cosmic-Egg, this dissolution is called Prākṛtika Pralaya because the process of dissolution is initiated through the imbalance of guṇas of Prakṛti.
In Purāṇas, including Śrīmad Bhagvata, there is mention of the ‘Ātyantikī Pralaya’ which is included in the above three kinds; this type of pralaya is communicative of the dissolution of saṃsāra or the sense and feeling of Ego which represent the world as different form of Brahman. Thus, when through knowledge or intensity of devotion, the saṃsāra is destroyed there comes about the state of Total Dissolution (Ātyantikī Pralaya), though this does not imply the dissolution of the Prapañca.

The Process of Dissolution

As describe in Brahmasūtra, the process of dissolution in krama-śrusti or progressive creation is just the reverse process of creation. However, others that are born simultaneously (yugapāta) out of spontaneous manifestation — called direct creation (sākṣāt) — merge spontaneously and simultaneously without any intermediary intervention or process. Beacuse the ‘exit’ is always the reverse order of the movement of ‘entry’ it is rational to believe that the process of dissolution is also reverse order of the process of creation, i.e., the the things merge into earth, the earth into water, the water in fire and so on.