Prakrti – The Supreme Mother
From the time immemorial, human beings get exposure of the earth, Sun, Moon, stars and other planets virtually from their birth. As they grow, they come to know about the magnitude, functioning and vital role of these gross objects of the universe for their own survival. Thereafter, one observes from childhood the various phenomena relating to plants, beautiful flowers, green leaves, vegetables and fruits in different seasons. Along with this the fixed periodicity of seasons, rise of sun, moon, emergence of dawn and dusk, day and night, formation of clouds, rain, storms, floods etc; are also observed. By the time a child is able to think more independently, he/she accepts the phenomenon of birth, growth, death of human beings, animals, birds, plants and trees beyond his/her control being a natural phenomenon. Thus the human being starts knowing about the Nature much earlier than the knowledge about many gods, fairies, deities and perhaps later on about the One universal Lord-the formless and ineffable God. Behind the gross universe, the Nature is then visualised as some thing extremely powerful, disciplined but subtle. In the Vedas the Nature is described as Prakrti and it is the manifestation of God as such it is divine Nature. The human beings have natural relationship with Prakrti, gross Universe and the world.
So long as one is happy with these natural phenomena and no "wrath" of Nature in the form of hurricanes, lightening, thunder, tornadoes and bursting of volcanoes is faced, perhaps one does not feel any need for God or gods, spirit, soul and other divine metaphysical concepts. The ancient man would not have been different in regard to the observations about these natural phenomena. This vast sea of matter and its extremely turbulent material waves would have also affected the ancient man, but perhaps with a less vehemence than the modern material man. As the moral and physical pollution, social tension, environmental hazards, economic strains and vulgar consumerism would not have been there to the degree these exist now. Thus the ancient man suffered much less agonies and miseries caused by "matter" in the various fields of society, family, economics and physical sciences with many of their negative and harmful applications. However, compared to modern man, the ancient man had to move even to far off places in search of food, shelter and locating safe surroundings for protecting a family and forming social groups.
During this frequently forced displacement many human beings might have come across erupting volcanoes, cloud bursts, ferocity of man eaters in the forests, poisonous snakes and other reptiles, many other creatures with mild and strong venom. All these would have lead them to appease some supernatural force sitting in the volcanoes, clouds, oceans, rivers in spate, etc. While they could appreciate the blessings of Nature for providing them food, shelter, family and other blessings but they would have found difficult to understand her "wrath" leading to unpleasant and furious phenomenon. To locate and appease those forces sitting behind these phenomena a large number of gods, deities and other objects of worship would have been found or created. This search led to animism, anthropomorphism, pluralism and later to metaphysical gods, devas and finally to Vedic metaphysics relating to One Supreme Reality as supreme Father and Prakrti- as supreme Mother.
The gross universe in the Vedic metaphysics is part of Brahamand and covers sub atomic particles to mightiest system of stars, planets and galaxies. It has various types of matter, radiation, gunas (primordial matter) with the characteristics of purity, activity and passivity. These gunas are subtle in their nature. The universe also includes all kind of animate and inanimate life. The properties of matter with the five maha bhuta (main elements) which include water, air, ether, fire and earth and a large number of bhuta (elements) with three gunas of sattavic, rajasic and tamasic, are the same to the earth as well as in other planets and stars. The three gunas in different proportions are the cause of certain fixed properties in each element and five main elements. Prakrti is that living power through which all the material things are begotten. Vedas refer to it as Mahatava (the great subtle element or primordial matter of three gunas) that can create other five mahabhuta and a large number of gross elements.
Rig-Veda 3-55-14 describes Nature as Mother Prakrti and Yajur Veda 18-30 describes Earth as adorable immortal mother. Earth in the Vedas is Prithvi devi and it is widespread, very kind and gracious mother. She is soft as wool and is like a milch cow which does not kick (R.V.5-44-11, 2-44-11, 10-5-7 and 10-18- 10). Prakrti has invisible and subtle form and her gross form is the visible universe. Both visible gross Universe and invisible subtle Nature are His Grandeur.
Prakrti is also mentioned as Matar -the material cause, which is the mother of the world at the primeval state that came in contact with Pitar -the ineffable and formless God. Vedic cosmos is the jumble of physical and non-physical forces fashioned by the eternal law (Ritane) (A.V XI-1-23). The various hymns of Atharva Veda refer to Prakrti as Aditi and God as Adit. Prakrti like a woman desiring progeny churn this fiery element created by Pitar (Father in Heaven), further creates the worldly objects with Jivas (animate life containing the spirit of God). Rig Veda 4-20-6 mentions that Prakrti is mighty, benevolent and virtuous and all women should have complete knowledge of Prakrti (A.V.XI-1- 23). She has primordial matter spread like the light of the Sun, which goes round the earth and ether (R.V 5-42-2). From the subtle divine Nature emerge atoms, sub atomic particles, waves, wavicles and all these form gross matter. Also, from Prakrti emerge subtlest of the subtle particles containing the spirit of God that comes to all animate and inanimate life unlike Atma (soul), which is directly provided byParmatma– the supreme Soul. Once from subtle Prakrti, the gross universe emerges and the earth is formed, Prithvi becomes the formative womb of matter in which all manifested things are generated. It then becomes the cosmic energy and working of God behind which the divine Reality is hidden and makes the earth as truthful, vivid, transparent and provides patience and perseverance. Thus like Prakrti, earth is also a mother substance. In the Vedas Prakrti is described asAditi (infinite), Devaki (mother of 33 devas- forces of Nature) and Daivi (divine). She is the supreme Mother and the Earth (Prithvi) is the benign mother.
Rig-Veda 1-164-15 describes Prakrti as Mahatatva. This subtle main element is the cause of formation of gross mahabhuta and bhuta. Five main elements (mahabhua) include water, earth, air, fire and ether. Bhuta are the other large number of elements, which undergo change into different forms like alloys. TheMahatava remains the same as it does not undergo any change and it is the sum total of subtle primordial matter in the form of three gunas of purity, activityand stupor. The divine Prakrti is created by the unmoved mover who Himself is immutable but can create various mutations in the objects made by Him and remains all pervasive in those objects being omnipotent and omnipresent.
The creative force of Prakrti is thus the spirit of God, which is present in all animate and inanimate life/things and follow the eternal laws or Vedic Rta ordained by the Supreme Ordainer (R.V 1-22-1). In view of His Spirit being present everywhere, not a single object even amongst inanimate things is inert. All elements, atoms, particles, waves, quarks have life in them. Since Prakrti is a perpetual source of energy, many metaphysicists and even major religions of the world have no difficulty or any major problem in not believing in God. They consider Prakrti as adequate cause for the creation of the world and the entire universe. In India alone, Mahavira, Buddha, Kapila rsi of Sankhya Darshana and others did not feel the need to know or believe in God. They explained the cosmic creation, laws of social and moral order, ideal human conduct, social behaviour etc., without invoking God but could not avoid the role of Prakrti in their metaphysics. Prakrti it self provides a Book of Nature and gives guidance and education to all animate life as a supreme Mother and perfect preceptor.
Thus clearly two views emerge from the Vedas regarding Prakrti. One view is that God is the Creator while remaining as Unmoved Mover and the other Prakrti is the adequate cause of creation of the gross Universe. According to Ramanajum – a qualified monist of great eminence, Prakrti is Sri Devi and consort of divine Reality and is co-eternal. She is ever united with Him and is the supreme mother for all animate and inanimate life in the universe. She being a woman (symbolically) desiring progeny while creating this universe extends the accessibility to all including worthy and unworthy men. For all human beings mother Prakrti is the Shakti – divine power and energy. This concept of Shakti is very much similar to the religious philosophy of Shivaites. For them lord Shiva is the supreme God and her consort Parvati is Shakti. Thus, Sri Devi of Ramanajum is the same as Parvati of Shivaites.
Parvati amongst Hindus is known by many names – Durga, Kamakhya, Kali devi, Vaishno devi and a few other names which mostly indicate her cosmic power and energy to destroy and eliminate evil and evil minded persons. However, as Kamakhya she is the Creator. For the monists she is coeval with Him. For the qualified monists and dualists including Shivaites, Prakrti is both coeval and co-eternal. Ramanajum found Prakrti as Jada i.e., insentient category unlike God, so it cannot exist without Him. A Pure dualist Kapila Rsi considered Prakrti as independent and eternal. Advait Vedantists also considered as pure monists, found Prakrti and the gross universe as Maya-phantasmagoria and only a shadow of God, which looks real in the stage of ignorance and illusory when the true knowledge is obtained.
Largely the Vedic metaphysics bring out that the supreme lord Brahma, real self of individual (jiva atma), pure non material stuff (shuddha sattva) which is beyond three gunas, Kala (Time), Dis (space) are all beyond Prakrti. According to Bhagavad Gita Prakrti is regarded as the ground through which all causes, effects and their agents are determined. She is the fundamental principle of all-dynamic operations, motivations and actions (B.G.12-20). Owing to vehement effect of gunas, particularly Rajasic and Tamasic, the subtle Prakrti and gross universe are the abode of sorrow and transitory by their nature and not our permanent habitat (B.G.8-15). While God and immortal souls are Chit, Prakrti and Universe owing to gunas is Achit. Chit in the Vedas is consciousness, God is supreme consciousness and human souls have different degree of consciousness owing to the effect of past and present Karma (good or bad actions). Achit is lack of consciousness.
Bhagavad Gita refers to lower and higher Nature of God. Prakrti with her five Mahabhuta – earth, air, fire, ether and water along with mind, reason and ego is the lower nature (insentient) of God, who is an Intelligent Being and keeps harmony in non-intelligent and insentient Prakrti. Since gunas consisting of subtle substance in the form of particles and being non-intelligent, when form Prakrti by their combination in different proportions, make her also non-intelligent. Only God is Sentient Being; He sustains the entire Nature and Universe. This is His higher nature in the form of Jiva Bhutani, which is the life principle of Prakrti. In view of the higher and lower nature of God, Bhagavad Gita brings out that Prakrti is the creation of God and in Him; it is dissolved (B.G.7-6). Like cluster of yarn beads formed by knots on a thread, all this is threaded to Him (B.G.7-7 and R.V.10-129 and 130 suktam). Thus both Vedas and Bhagavad Gita tell us that Prakrti, gross universe, all animate and inanimate life/things live in God and God lives in them- may be it is water, ether, brilliance in fire, sun, moon, sacred syllable OM, pure odour, life in all beings as austerity in ascetics. Those who understand Vedic metaphysics find no difficulty in understanding and appreciating the eternal link between God and Prakrti and God as eternal seed of beings. Bhagavad Gita (9- 10) further says, being an Unmoved Mover, He acts only as Supervisor and under His Supervision Prakrti brings forth the whole creation. It is due to this divine cause the whole Samsara (universe) is revolving.
Prakrti is non-violent, but strong. The various activities in the divine Nature are performed without much struggle, peacefully, non-violently and smoothly which are certainly not the weakness but the strength of Prakrti. It is non-violence of the strong. Gandhiji's metaphysical concept of non-violence of the strong largely resembles the similar principle of Prakrti. The magical effect of Gandhiji's practical application of non violence of the strong in achieving independence of India peacefully in spite of provocation through the revolutionary leaders both in India and Britain is the greatest experiment in the history of the world. This principle can be observed in the functioning of Prakrti through her gross form the universe and the world. Water containing the hidden energy in the form of electricity passes through hills, rocks, deserts, etc., peacefully and non-violently without many struggles. It goes on finding its path in all kinds of terrain before merging gracefully in the sea or ocean. According to Vedas only timid, ignorant and weak persons show their might on various occasions involving petty issues as violence of the weak. The fifth non-divine class of the Vedas viz. avarnas, vritras, bribe takers and givers, Mafia etc., has the inherent weakness and timidity as their main characteristics. It is for this reason their all activities and actions tend to get violent. Their worship of God is only for ostentation as the inner divine world is almost dead for them.Prakrti, universe and the world are for exploitation for their material and vested interests.
In Prakrti all types of life has the spirit of God through Mahabhuta (five main elements) but not all have five predominant senses. Various bhuta (elements) like gold, silver, iron, etc., have the spirit of God as Shuniya (void), in the subtle form which provides constant and permanent qualities and properties to all elements any where in the world, universe, stars, planets, galaxies etc. No elements have any predominant sense of smell, touch, sight, hearing, etc. However, these elements (bhuta) have some visible or non-visible trace of air, ether, fire, water and earth. Since these elements are bereft of senses, many scientists and individuals tend to consider matter as inert, insentient or jada. This conclusion is entirely based on the lack of knowledge about the presence of God's spirit in these elements. The most surprising aspect amongst Hindus particularly that in all their prayers they refer to God as all pervasive and present in kan kan (sub-atomic particles) but the same prayer when applied into practice, all elements, even plants, wood are considered as inert. In the absence of Vedic knowledge the doubts about God's omnipresence in all atoms, particles continue to exist.
In the Vedas when one predominant sense is found in any object it is considered as part of animate life. Trees, plants have one predominant sense of touch and virtually nil or negligible dominant sense of taste, hearing, smelling or seeing. Germs, bacteria, parasites etc., start developing two predominant senses of touch and seeing and can thrive on any kind of food in the absence of sense of taste and smelling. Ants, termites develop the third predominant sense of smell along with touch and sight. This evolution continues and five senses finally become predominant in animals, birds, fishes as well as human beings. It is for this reason that many philosophers consider human beings as animals and qualify their statements by describing man as a social animal, economic man, divine animal, etc. This gives a clue that human beings have an other predominant sense, which is very subtle in nature. The Vedic metaphysics refer to it as sixth subtle sense provided by the immortal soul (atman). Thus, human being is the only divine animal, provided he/she acts under the divine and benevolent guidance of the soul, which is the real "self" of the individuals. In the absence of the knowledge of his/her real self, a man considers only his body as real self. He then tends to behave even worse than animals, mainly because the animals at least follow the laws of Nature by knowing these through the Book of Nature, but such a person considering his body as real self is likely to ignore laws of Nature or Vedic Rta. Vedas clearly bring out that avarnas, vritras, bribe takers, evil minded people who live on body consciousness tend to behave hypocritically with vested interest and feel pride in their false ego and status, fall in this categories of animals with five predominant senses.
Both Vedas and Bhagavad Gita mention about two Purusa in human beings. Prakrti Purusa in the form of spirit of God which provides energy in the gross body and the extended real "self" or higher Purusa which provides divine knowledge and guides human beings towards good, beauty and virtue. Individuals who are satisfied with material knowledge and add spiritual knowledge as an appendix to their intellectual knowledge normally consider soul and spirit as one and are keen to worship, meditate and pray to God only by ignoring Prakrti and its vital role in their conduct, behaviour and attitude towards others. Upanishads are emphatic in this regard that such persons even though they meditate, pray and worship get into greater darkness and their worship is more for ostentation, show and social recognition and their meditation is a temporary sleep.
The gross universe, which is manifestation of Prakrti, is both organic and inorganic having animate and inanimate life. The number of predominant senses (indiriyan) makes things organic and inorganic. Inorganic things with nil predominant sense would also have five main gross elements. Teja (fire), tapah (water) and kshiti (earth) are visible, vayu (air) is perceivable and akash (ether) is subtle cum gross with tanmatras. In the Vedas, tanmatras are extremely fine sub atomic particles, bordering subtle state. Thus basic three gross elements in organic matter are teja, tapah and kshiti and the other two are alloys, which help making in a large number of other alloys through tanmatras with gross and subtle characteristics. Even three visible gross and main elements (mahabhutas) have their subtle state known as kshiti /Prithvi matra, Agni or teja matra and apah /tapah matra. The subtle matras in all elements form gunas and have characteristics of purity, activity and passivity. Since human beings gross bodies contain billions of tanmatras, living cells and subtle gunas, they make the human body to work all the 24 hours i.e., day and night including in three states of being awake, sleeping and dreaming, through actions, thoughts, desires, ego and intellect. Vedas therefore, advise keep these inner instruments – manas (inward looking mind), will, ego, intellect always neat and pure along with the gross body.
These human actions, thoughts and desires further create subtler particles that go on making the immortal soul heavier.. Even amongst three gunas, Tamasic guna of passivity, stupor, idleness and dullness make the soul heaviest. Rajasic guna of activity, material desires, blind pursuit of matter and money make the soul relatively less heavy, but not light enough to make it move upwards to attain Moksha – eternal bliss. Sattavic gunas of purity, love, truth, transparency are the lightest which can make the soul to move upwards and towards other six communities of men including angels, devas, pitries, gandharvas etc. However,shuddha sattva and shuiya sattava that are beyond gunas, make the soul free from subtle three gunas and effect of Karma. Six schools of Indian philosophy based on Vedas describe this stage differently. For self-realisation Sankracharya has used the term Turiya and Patanjali as Kaivalya in his Yog Shastra. Only after reaching the stage of self-realization, one can attain moksha, when further rebirths as human beings are avoided. Those who do not reach the stage of turiya orself- realisation, their souls continue to get rebirth on this earth in gross bodies. Such souls are manifested souls or jiva atma and these are again affected bykarmas of good or bad deeds. It is for this reason Hindu scriptures describe the earth as Karma Bhoomi, where a person desires, he wills and what ever he wills; he acts and thus becomes his own greatest friend or enemy. When senses, sense organs, mind and intellect are in harmony with the divine manifested soul, a person becomes his own friend. In the case of total discord in these, material, spiritual and divine instruments of the body, a person becomes his own enemy.
Vedas consider that matter is perpetually alive and striving to attain its particular perfect form owing to all pervasive spirit present in it. Greek philosophers independently found these characteristics. Plato found in his theory of Forms and ideas and Aristotle in the metaphysical concept of Entelechy and nous (mind) making all animate and inanimate things to move towards perfection – a quality that entelchy possesses. His concept of entelchy is more like divine spirit of Vedas. Acorn is matter, which contains the Form of Oak tree, and it strives towards it owing to the presence of entelechy. This term is from three words echo(having), telos (its purpose) and entos (within). Matter and Form with entelchia make things move towards perfection in the Nature, to their highest utility – tree, shape and organs – all these are His internal Designs created through His spirit. To Aristotle matter is eternal but cause of its movement is the Unmoved Mover (primum mobile immotum). He is therefore, not so much a person as a magnetic power-page 71 Story of Philosophy by Will Durant. He is a mystic force of modern physics and philosophy and "actus purus" -activity per se. According to Vedic metaphysics all gross and subtle things start from Him, move towards perfection in growth, utility and service and then go back to Him. This cosmic process of creation and dissolution is described as Sristi and Pralaya. The modern Existentialists have come to this conclusion in a more abstract metaphysical expression "All things come to an end. Life is too short in time and space, so need to get detached from matter and develop need-based living. "They have obviously avoided bringing spirit of God in the need based living like Buddha who propounded his philosophy of middle path independently of Vedic metaphysics and accepted laws of God as laws of Nature. Bhagavad Gita also propounded this truth by invoking God, His spirit and laws of God. However, there is no evidence that Existentialists got this concept from Buddha or Bhagavad Gita.
Bhagavad Gita refers to eight-fold nature of Prakrti with five mahabhuta, ego hood (ahamkar), Intellect (buddhi) and mind (manas). The spirit of God (B.G.3-5, 3-27 to 29,10-21,14-5 and 16- 40) activates all these. There is no existence here on earth, in the heavens or amongst the celestials, or anywhere else in Prakrti, which is free from three qualities born of subtle primordial matter-sattavic, rajasic and tamasic. All these are activated by God to maintain equilibrium and to create Karma Bhoomi for the soul to get detached from the effect of gunas. Thus, any thought of renouncing the world to attain a stage of Turiya, Kaivalya, self-realisation and moksha (final salvation) is not supported by Vedic metaphysics. It can be achieved through selfless actions and duties without the desire for their fruit. Prakrti provides the earth as Karma Bhoomi for the human beings to achieve a stage of self-realisation. Prakrti itself is the cosmic energy of God and His working while He Himself remains unmoved. Through Prakrti He provides His stern and permanent laws (Rta), gives lessons of non-violence of the strong, transparency, truthfulness and vividness.
Any self-destruction act or death instincts or wish is against the laws of God. Non-violence is the message of Prakrti to depict harmony in Nature. There are no miracles and factoids in the divine Nature. However, Prakrti functions as non-violent but tend to show its wrath and even violence when under the vehement effect of tamasic gunas when we create pollution of all kinds in Prakrti, universe and atmosphere and even in society. This wrath and non-violence is more to bring ultimate peace and serenity everywhere. It is therefore; in Prakrti, there is not only non-violence of the strong but also violence of the right and virtue against evil and wrong. To neutralise the effect of evil activities of non divine persons and behaviour of social villains who consider bribe taking or giving, blind pursuit of money and matter as virtue and social evaluation in terms of income earning by whatever means, Prakrti has to resort to occasional wrath and even violence to bring social and moral order. Thus in the Vedas there are certain Prakrti devas – forces of Nature who show "wrath" as violence of the right and virtue. A few of such devas are Indra with attributes of power, energy and strength, Manyu deva who is always ready to show wrath when pollution, social evils and environmental hazards become predominant in Prakrti and its manifestation -the gross universe. Yama -with power to take away the gross body also becomes active during large-scale social and physical pollution.
Though Prakrti gives a long rope to evildoers to revert to divine activities for the welfare of others, yet after crossing certain tolerance limits, these Prakrti devasdo get activated to save the mankind and other animate and inanimate life/things. Thirty three Prakrti devas representing all the attributes of Nature, provide 21 kinds of fuel – Mahat (intellect), Ahamkar (ego), five subtle elements (suksham bhuta), five gross main elements (sthule bhuta or maha bhuta), five organs of cognition (jnan Indriyas) and primordial subtle matter in the form of three gunas (Y.V.31-15). With the help of these 21 kinds of fuels, Prakrti has orderliness in regularity, design, and shapes and expresses this orderliness through her laws.From this hymn of Yajur Veda, it is apparent that in the Vedic metaphysics except the immortal soul, all other inner and outer instruments of the body are directly from Prakrti- though under the direct supervision of God.
Prakrti has three bodies- gross, subtle and causal conforming to Vedic terminology of "sthule, suksham and tamkam or karana) Prakrti herself is the subtle manifestation of God and Universe is the gross manifestation of Prakrti. God lives behind Prakrti in the causal body. Similarly human beings have three bodies. God and soul reside in the causal body. Spirit (jiva), will, intellect, Kundalini (hidden coiled spiritual energy), 10 Pranas (vital breaths) out of which seven are subtle, reside in the spiritual body. The remaining three pranas, mind, senses and sense organs are part of the gross body. In these three bodies reside fiveKoshas (sheaths). Annomaya kosha is the food sheath of the gross body. Manomaya kosha is mind sheath, partly in gross body and partly in subtle body being consisting of extremely fine particles like ether. Pranamayi kosha is vital breath sheath partly in gross body and partly in subtle body. Jnan meyi kosha is the knowledge sheath in the causal body where soul resides and partly in the subtle body where spirit and intellect reside. If the soul provides the divine knowledge, the spirit and intellect provide spiritual knowledge. Lastly, Anand meyi kosha is the sheath relating to eternal bliss and entirely reside in the causal body. To reach the stage of self-realisation, one has to cross each sheath to reach the last sheath. This can be done through food control by avoiding entry of toxins in the body through stale, spicy, extremely hot or cold food and moving the taste of food from tongue to mind. This is only possible by taking need based simple food. After crossing annomayi kosha one has to cross manomayi kosha. In this case, the turbulent outward looking mind (etani) is to be controlled by inward looking mind (manas). By living in pollution free location, having noble thoughts and following the path of selfless action along with purification of vital breaths through pranayama (certain exercises for the purification of vital breaths), one crosses Pranomeyi kosha. Thereafter by acquiring harmonized divine, spiritual and material knowledge the fourth kosha relating to knowledge sheath can be crossed. Finally, one reaches the fifth kosha when self-realisation is attained and one can move towards moksha-stage of eternal bliss. In this stage, a person can communicate with his/her soul.
Prakrti has not only 33 subtle and formless devas, 21 kinds of fuel, three bodies, five kosha but also has 16 parts. Spirit in the form of ego (ahamkar) and parana, desires, five mahabhutas, five senses, mahat, food, vigour and the 16th penance and Vedic sacrificial rites. In all the 16 parts, three gunas pervade. According to Prasana Upanishad when all 16 parts enter human gross body along with three gunas, only thereafter the soul enters as Jivatma (manifested soul). It is only when soul leaves the body, all 16 parts start merging with Prakrti. Being supreme mother she loves her creation of both animate and inanimate life and provide adequate food, for guidance laws relating to social and moral order, sufficient material for shelter and all other things for their living on the principle ofIdd Nan Mmam-nothing for self all for society. This enlightened liberalism ensures that her children-the entire mankind of the universe does not over use and waste resources and do not create any kind of pollution in the atmosphere and society. This principle of idd nan mmam , Prakrti explains through her laws and expects all human beings to understand and follow the same. All animals, birds, fishes, follow these laws within their capacity and characteristics provided by Prakrti and they invariably resort to need based living. Prakrti is the supreme mother of all and so her blessings are meant for all kind of animate life. Being her children, all human beings are spiritually brothers and sisters.
Unlike the dualist Kapila Rsi, the absolute monists particularly Sankracharya, Badrayana and others have found a stuff in Prakrti which makes the changeful world and universe. Owing to this stuff, which is not illusory, it creates a phenomenal world of Maya and makes it look both real and unreal to the individuals at different stages of knowledge. The other terms for Maya used by metaphysicists are Pradhana, tamas avyakta, shakti. Bhagavad Gita has preferred to use the epithets as Maya, Mayabhi, gunmayi Maya or guni Maya. All these epithets give the various characteristics of Maya- the Vedic phantasmagoria.
The concept of “seven” is another important feature of Prakrti and gross universe. There are seven communities of human beings, out of which six are not found on this earth. Only the seventh community of human beings is found on this earth. Others are devas, ,pitries, karma devas, etc. Taittriya Upanishad gives a detailed description of these communities. Scriptures of other religions including holy Koran, Grantha Sahib also refers to these seven communities. In the Vedas there is a mention of seven codes of conduct and deviating from these a person becomes a sinner, transgressing the seven boundaries, a person falls into distress (R.V X-5-6 p.4377). These are described as theft, adultery, killing a learned person, abortion, drinking and habitual addiction to wickedness and false accusation of heinous crimes. There are seven flames of fire, seven colours of light, seven streams of knowledge merging in Brahma Jnan, seven fortifications ofavarnas and other non-divine persons to be destroyed and many other “seven” objects in Prakrti.. Owing to the importance of seven, perhaps the mother hymn –Gyatri mantra is mentioned seven times in the Vedas.
The concept of Flux in the Nature and universe is very predominant in the Vedic metaphysics. There is continuous change in the universe and Prakrti. Because of this flux, atoms are breaking and uniting every second. Similar flux is there in the human beings where cells are born and destroyed in millions in a short span of time. We see flux in human personality and his thoughts every decade and even earlier. This flux is observed most after marriage. Buddha found this flux independent of Vedas. Spinoza found all things to a diverse degree are animated, so there is continuous flux, and change in the material things in Nature. Unlike Vedas, the distinction between Universe and Nature is not very vivid in Spinoza's metaphysics. After complete understanding of the Vedic metaphysics, Sankracharya has brought out that the knowledge of the outer world through our sense perception throws us in perpetual flux.
In the Vedas the epithet Brahma-formless and ineffable God, appears much less compared to Prakrti devas – Indra, Agni, Varun, Mitra, Usha, Aditi, Savitar etc. It is perhaps this reason that the founder philosopher of Sankhya Darshna, Kapila Rsi did not find the need of God in his metaphysics. Even Patanjali in his Yog shastra based on Vedic metaphysics also described God as the first Guru who helps in learning and understanding Yogas and their philosophy. Beyond that, he also did not feel any necessity to bring God in his Yog Shastra. Thus, it clearly shows Vedas give great importance to Prakrti through her 33 formless devas. If the God is first and supreme Guru, Prakrti is the perfect preceptor. Even Greek philosophers, who virtually developed their philosophy before Socrates and Plato, particularly Democritus found only Nature as subject of philosophy.
Atharva veda considers human beings as Pashu – animals like cows, horses, goats and sheep (A.V.XI-2-9). Vedas further amplify if the human beings follow the path of knowledge known to the soul, they become divine animals and when they know the path of knowledge known to the spirit, they become spiritual and social animals. Thus, human beings can uplift themselves as divine social and spiritual animals. Aristotle could find the man as social animal based on the effect of Entelechy in him/ her and Dante found divinity in the man and described him in his spiritual Testament as “divine animal”.
In Atharva Veda X-8-8, human body has mind as engine, five koshas or sheaths as wheels, the path to be covered not known to mind but only to the soul, which is the nearest on self-realization and farthest when the material world becomes the closest. Therefore, the human being is divine only when he follows the path shown by the soul, otherwise he/she is more like a "pashu" and in that state, he/she can get even worse than the animals. This is the stage when aimless killing of his spiritual brothers and sisters, mass scale murders, rapes, adultery, pursuit of matter, hypocrisy, deceit and other evils become a habit and the uncontrolled senses become so powerful that one forgets the inner world altogether. As the supreme mother Prakrti individuals have also three bodies where divine, spiritual and gross instruments are located. A person starts moving towards miseries, naked selfishness and false ego when he totally ignores the instruments of the inner world of the subtle and causal bodies within the gross body. While moderation and need-based living is advised to human beings while following laws of God, Satya (absolute truth) and Vedic knowledge (Y.V.8-53). One should not starve one's body as it is troubling the spirit and the gross body and hence it is a tamasic action and should be avoided along with other kind of excesses. Tamasic rituals and penance by human beings are not advised in the Vedas. Yajur Veda 8-53 even has a prayer, " May we be rich in nourishing food." This nourishing food need no be expensive food.
To maintain purity, transparency and truthfulness in Prakrti, Vedas strongly prohibit creation of any kind of pollution in water, air, atmosphere and society. Rig Veda 1-88-9, 10 mentions, "Twashta (God) while making all wonderful articles of gross universe, sun, moon, earth, planets etc; also advised all animate life to protect forests and also conserve them for healthy growth of vegetables, herbs, plants.” For the preservation of vegetation, He created poisonous creatures with mild and strong venom. While continuing on this subject, Vedas refer to science of toxicology and anti toxic measures. Rig Veda 1-191-3 mentions about 99 kinds of anti toxic drugs in the world. There are 21 kinds of pea-hens, which suck the poison (R.V.1-191-4), and we should never kill these. Y.V.35-17, A.V 19-9-94, R.V. X -105-8 and IX-63-4, 5 contain peace prayer as Shanti Path. There should be no pollution in Prakrti, peace in sky, earth, water, air, plants, and trees. Excessive use beyond minimum need is the cause of pollution, degeneration and environmental hazards. Also there is a prayer in Y.V.30-7 to 9, "O, God cast aside the vile man who pollutes rivers, waters, air and society." Vile men in the Vedas are bribe takers and givers, adulterators, exploiters, avarnas who do not follow divine professions and violate cosmic laws of social and moral order. Vile men are ever keen to make money out of the miseries of human beings.
In view of the concept of spiritual brotherhood (Bandhutva) and global family (Vishwa Kutmbkam) owing to same spirit of God provided by Prakrti to the entire mankind, Vedas recommend global trade for the welfare of all societies in the world while following the principle of Idd Nan Mmam. (R.V.1-140-1,1-71-9,1-144-1,1- 34-1 and many others). In the domestic and international trade, great emphasis is laid on the exact weighing by merchants (Y.V 30-17). If the internal trade and also the global trade is not based on the philosophy of Idd Nan Mmam or enlightened liberalism and is devoid of the principle of moderation in living, it starts showing its negative effects. Class war, terrorism and other forms of social wars and turmoil, building up of various kinds of tensions amongst the states resorting to global trade are the indication that Vedic meta-econmics is not followed. The unhealthy trade practices lead to inevitable disputes between producers, sellers and consumers. These disputes under the vehement effect of uncontrolled senses and etani-outwards looking mind, further leads to deception, adulteration, loot and finally to class wars. Plato had visualised in his Laws-622, if restraint is not observed by traders about the foreign trade, a kind of trade wars between the states can not be avoided. Unlike modern economics (akin to Vedic Anartha), Vedic trade is based on meta-economics (Artha). In the modern economics, the spirit does not play any role where as Vedic meta-economics looks after the material and spiritual welfare of society and mankind while balancing and harmonising the laws of Nature so that Nature does not show her "Wrath" which otherwise, is extremely peaceful, non-violent and benevolent. The meta-economics does not create material progress, which is bereft of social ethics, public and private morality and spirituality. It is apparent that the Vedas have derived the concept of meta-economics (Artha) based on the functioning of Prakrti.
Without describing Gunas that are the primordial subtle matter, the description of Prakrti in the Vedas remains incomplete. As earlier brought out that Prakrti is the sum total of gunas of purity, activity and passivity. Since these gunas are subtle, so Prakrti is also subtle and she functions through the gross Universe, just like in human beings the gunas though subtle, their effect is seen through the activities of the gross body. Because of these three kind of subtle primordial matters, Prakrti functions incessantly. Bhagavad Gita says that all actions, desires and thoughts of men are impelled by the gunas coming out of Prakrti and make human beings act continuously. These are source of virtue, goodness, love, purity as well as sins, evils, stupor, impurity and passivity. Between these two extremes, these are also the cause of activity, desires and pursuit of false ego. However, their proportion in Prakrti as well as in human beings is different. All the scriptures of Hindu’s, Vedas, Purans, Upanishads and Smritis describe these three gunas as "sattavic, rajasic and tamasic." Bhagavad Gita has almost two complete chapters on gunas and their effect on gifts, speech, activities, sacrifice, charity, knowledge, desires, matter and virtually on all other things and subjects which effect human beings.
However, those individuals who go beyond gunas and acquire a state of shuniya sattava or shuddha sattva finally go beyond the vehement effect of cosmic illusion – Maya. This cosmic illusion of Maya is more like a saw with sharp teeth. The individuals who go beyond gunas pass through the teeth of the saw of Maya unharmed physically, spiritually and Aura appears- a symbol of purity, divinity and truthfulness. Such persons only attain "self-realisation" and can communicate with their souls. They can have complete knowledge of their previous karma (good and bad deeds and actions) and all their previous births through their manifested souls. The ancient Greek philosopher Pythagorus seemed to have claimed that he knew all his previous births. Like Socrates he completely believed in the immortality of the soul. Br. Upanishad says, while remaining in Prakrti you are not beyond hunger, thirst, delusion, decay and attachment. After purifying your gunas through satya, Rta and idd nan mmam, you move towards self realisation. Thus a person who follows the laws of nature, acts, thinks and speaks truthfully and observes the Vedic philosophy of enlightened liberalism crosses the vehement effect of gunas and soon reaches the stage of shuniya sattva on the way to the realisation of his extended perfect real self.
Brihadnyaka Upanishad therefore advises, "Get detached of your progeny, wealth, material possessions and live life unfettered." This advice of the Upanishad is reinforced in Bhagavad Gita 3-28 " Those who know the truth about modes of Prakrti consisting of three gunas as primordial subtle matter, they do not get attached" and their all activities are based on nishkama karma. The celestial song Bhagavad Gita further says, "Owing to gunas this universe which is the gross form of the divine Nature, is the abode of sorrow and transitory by nature and not our permanent habitat."(B.G.8-15). Rebirth of the gross body is under compulsion from Prakrti as it is due to gunas vehement effect. Though gunas are not intelligent and not the causes of consciousness but are cause of one’sKarma of good or bad actions in the human body. This characteristic of gunas which, make them look intelligent is because of spirit of God present in Prakrti, which enables them this intelligent path in the Nature. It is their same characteristic in the human body. It is due to this reason when gunas are following the spiritual knowledge contained in the spirit and divine knowledge available to soul i.e., cosmic laws of social and moral order Rta, absolute truth Satya andDharma- righteousness, the evil effect of gunas start disappearing. It is during this stage that all actions of the human beings are based on a-priori principles and treasure of knowledge already contained in the soul. Those who do not follow Rta, Satya and Dharma would invariably continue with their good and bad actions. So, whether a person performs actions or karma by observing dharma, satya and rta or not, the final effect of gunas lead to stored Karma (Sanchita)which literally means accumulation of good or bad actions. The final result of this Sanchita is Prarabdha (destiny) which is the cause of present birth in a particular family of the gross body and its character, as the stored karma in their subtle form get accumulated on the manifested soul in the previous birth. As the stock of good karma would vary from individuals to individuals and Sanchita is exhausted, individuals come back sooner or later in this phenomenal world (B.G.IX-21).
One's actions also lead to "Kriya karma" which is the divine law "what you are sowing now, you shall reap in future". This Kriya karma leads to Agami karma,which literally means ahead or future. So agami karma becomes the base for your action in this birth as well as next birth. The Vedic metaphysics makes it very clear that no one can get out of the vehement effect gunas on one's actions, rebirth and law of retribution which is a stern law of God. By understanding and following rta, satya and dharma along with Vedic knowledge or in its absence the a-priori principles known to the soul, one can get rebirth in the families of seers, sages, savants for moving further towards self realisation and attaining Moksha. The birth in different kinds of families is not due to any accident or destiny and is due to law of Kriya karma -as you sow, so shall you reap. No one can escape this stern law.
These laws relating to karma- sanchita, kriya karma, agami karma, prarabdha are "Adrsta"-unseen where the stock of good or bad actions, merit and demerits apply. These are part of Vedic spiritual science. Thus, the entire process starts with the proportion of three gunas in the gross body. These make you act under your real self "jiva atma" or your body self, which is one’s lower self controlled by senses and sense organs and also the knowledge obtained through perception of the phenomenal world. The gross body or one’s local “self” has a characteristic of creating an illusory feeling which make you believe that there is no rebirth, no soul or spirit and there is nothing beyond the gross body. It will make you convinced under the vehement impact of senses that human birth is nothing but union of male and female and your creation starts only with your father and mother. Under the uncontrolled senses and outwards looking mind-etani, the role of spirit in all animate and inanimate things/life disappears and thus matter becomes the supreme in all activities, thoughts and desires. This is the origin of materialistic philosophy and outlook in the human being. However, for the realisation of higher real self, one has to cross gunas and reach a stage described in Bhagavad Gita when joy and sorrow, clod of earth, stone, silver, gold look similar in value and pleasant and unpleasant are taken in the same spirit. One remains calm, tranquil and balanced in both conditions of censure and praise (B.G 14-24). In the absence of these characteristics, one tends to become his/her own enemy. Accordingly, Bhagavad Gita advises act, think and desire on the path of moderation and get established in your real self.
By the fertilisation of God's power in Prakrti in the form of His spirit, the gunas or the characteristic qualities which pervade in all animate and inanimate things/life, come into being and form part of one's ego, intellect, mind, senses and all other parts of gross body. There after these gunas move in all directions and create the entire psychosis of human beings, relating to pleasure and pain, desire, detachment, vice and virtue. Bhagavad Gita further brings out that thesegunas create a group of psychosis with their eight-fold nature. While the manifested soul as higher Purusa in the human body, is independent of gunas, the spirit of God which comes through Prakrti lives side by side with these gunas and eight fold group of psychosis and thus experiences and enjoys the material world of senses but still guides all animate life towards right directions. Rta, satya and dharma being divine qualities are always present in the spirit. Prakrti's role as a guide through the spirit of God is mentioned in Yajur Veda 21-4. In this hymn, Prakrti is described as Aditi, the queen of eternal order, never decaying, wide expanding, the protectoress and gracious guide. Thus, most of Vedic hymns describe Prakrti as a female element and supreme mother as Devaki– mother of 33.devas and devis who are formless beings of light. God is the male element and is the primordial seed. Vedic metaphysics leave no doubt that God is the supreme Father and Prakrti is the supreme Mother. In various other Vedic hymns particularly A.V.4-2-1 to 8, Y.V 36-17, R.V X-8-7, Prakrti is also described asTrita (trinity) with three bodies gross, subtle and causal. The gross Universe is also therefore, part of Prakrti. Her other two subtle and causal bodies are invisible to human senses. She is thus both visible and invisible. She herself is engaged constantly in a kind if "Yoga" (spiritual technique to get united with God) and trying to achieve perfection so that she could finally unite with Divine Reality who is Perfect and is deeply involved in her. In fact, creation of the Nature, universe and the world is due to His cosmic word- OM that is "Shabad Brahma"in the Vedas. The Pralaya or cosmic dissolution is the Yoga of Prakrti as she is ever keen to be united with Him and become one with formless and ineffable Brahma.
Owing to Prakrti Yoga, the subject of Creation and Dissolution- Sristi and Pralaya, has been given sufficient importance in the six schools of Indian philosophy. For the Advait Vedantists– both pure and objective idealists and monists, this subject relating to Prakrti is part of Maya. For them Prakrti is not eternal and not absolutely real as she is created and dissolved. Since human senses with only material and intellectual knowledge find her gross form universe as real and normally do not recognise her other two subtle and causal forms, these idealists on the authority of Vedas, examines the subject of Sristi and Pralaya in greater details. However, the Dvait Vedantists whether objective or qualified duelists consider Prakrti as real and eternal, so the subject of the Yoga of Prakrti to get herself dissolved and is united with Him is not a major subject with them. For proper understanding of Vedic metaphysics in this regard, some brief details are given. Chhandogya Upanishad says, "from this engenderment beam of light, shot up and down and gross matter was formed. Prakrti expanded in all directions as the Sentient One spread Himself, every where high, low, here and beyond." According to Rig-Veda 1-115-2, all worlds except the abode of God described asBrahmalok to downwards, are subject to appearance and disappearance, creation and withdrawal. The term used for creation or appearance is Srsti and for withdrawal two terms are mentioned – Pralaya and Samhara. The importance given to Srsti and Pralaya vary considerably in six schools of Indian philosophy.
The Mimamsa school did not accept her creation or dissolution and perhaps did not come across the relevant Vedic hymns on the subject or ignored those as not getting harmonised with their philosophy of rituals and ceremonies based on Vedic Brahamanas. It is a separate matter that the dreaded ancient materialists Charavkas also refuted this concept but for different reasons as they based their philosophy of eat, drink and be merry, by totally ignoring Vedas. Vedic school Nyaya Vaisheshika is silent on this concept in their later sutras, they perhaps tend to accept without giving much importance to the concept.. May be it needed special efforts to overlook or ignore the Vedic hymns. R.V 1-130-1, 2. links the cosmic Creation to a weaver's job. This weaver is God Himself as Lord Prajapatiwho spread out the Web with His threads in all sides, upwards, downwards, forward and backward. Again He rolls it up and spreads it up in the heaven." Chhandogya Upanishad and Rig-Veda leave no doubt that Prakrti and gross universe come from Him and go back to Him. It is a divine phenomenon similar to the plants, which take material from the earth and finally go back to the earth. The same phenomenon is also observed about all animate life. The law of Nature is uniform for all.
In the times immemorial beyond the physical sciences to find out, the Supreme Lord Brahma spoke some cosmic Word. The Vedic rsis, munnies, metaphysicists and savants named it as O M or A.U.M and explained it as "shabada Brahma". Through this “Word” the spirit of God first entered in space (dis) and led to first in the creation of divine and subtle Nature. According to Vedas, both space and time live in God and these are eternal and existed before the origin of Nature. This cosmic energy caused through shabada Brahma with the passage of time changed into subtle, extremely finer and grosser particles. Gradually these particles formed atoms (anu and kanu) with the merging of sub atomic particles (tan matras) and the combination of these building blocks formed five mahabhutas-ether, air, water, fire and earth. This process continued and from these five mahabhutas -three gross and visible and two alloys though not visible but perceivable i.e. ether and air, a large number of bhutas (elements) were formed. Before this cosmic Word, there was neither existence nor non-existence, nor any realm or region, there was no sky (akash), no air, no sign of day and night. Darkness was concealed in darkness- it was more a plasmic continuum. In this void (shuniya) God spoke A.U.M and the spirit of God entered. Thus, Brahma -the supreme Reality manifested through the light of Tapas (spiritual fire) (R.V X-129-1 to 3). The believers in the plasmic continuum as Void or shuniya popularly known as Shuniya Vadins, still consider that the spirit of God even now is found in the void of all subtle and gross atoms, particles, tanmatras, cells etc. It provides constant energy and specific characteristics and properties to all animate and inanimate life/things.
From the inanimate life with no indriyas (senses) and with the help of spirit- energy principle and one sense, first animate trees, plants emerged in water- sea, oceans and then on the earth. Plants and trees have one predominant sense of touch and when the number of senses went on increasing, gradually germs, bacteria, protozoa, cells, ants- big and small, fishes, birds, animals appeared. All the five senses entered in animals. According to this theory of spirit of God inshuniya (void) and metaphysics of shuniya vadins, the human beings emerged last on this earth with five senses and one divine soul. When the human beings evolved to a stage when knowledge could be provided to them, the soul entered in them directly from the God who is also supreme Soul ( Parmatma). Thus, man became a divine animal capable of getting a-priori knowledge from the largely omniscient soul as well as spirit. Only Parmatma is omniscient. It entered the human beings as His particle (ansh). It can therefore, also be described as Brahmansh. When it was manifested in human body, rsis of yore named itJivatma-the soul caged in the gross body. Thus, soul is omniscient principle and sprit is life or energy principle. While Prakrti with the help of spirit provides five senses of touch, taste, sight, hearing and smell to all human beings, God provides His particle as soul directly and ordains the human beings to achieve perfection, self realisation and come back to Him. This according to pure idealists and monists is His divine sport (Lila). Holy Bible's says, "God created man in His own image." If Vedic interpretation is accepted, it would only mean that God is supreme soul, so the image of God is only through His soul. Since man is made in His Own image i.e. soul, so only the human beings have the soul and not other animate or inanimate life. Thus, the real "self" of the human beings isatman and its realisation is self-realisation. The spirit (jiva) provides only body-self, which is also local or phenomenal “self”.
Vedas give more details about soul and spirit in the human beings. First one cell having two senses enter the womb of the mother, which leads to 2-4-8-16-32-64 cells when these split into 40 + 24.The heavier part of 40 cells gets lower in the womb owing to effect of gravity and energy in these living cells. Thereafter formation of living cells continues and more and more energy enters the body until millions of cells are formed. These cells form various senses, sense organs and all parts of gross body of the infant. Thus, God is present through His spirit in the entire procreation process. The agent is Prakrti as lord Krishna tells noble and gallant Arjuna in Bhagavad Gita. The spirit enters with the first cell and this energy goes on increasing with the formation of millions of cells as the spirit reaches all the cells. However, the divine soul enters later, which brings consciousness in the infant still in mother's womb. Later rsis and munnies tried to explain this Vedic concept of human birth in the form of mythology. In the mythological epic Mahabharta, Maharsi Vyasa created a noble character of a gallant prince Vir Abhimanyu. In this epic, he was the son of Arjuna. Abhimanyu learnt the art of military science relating to the entry in a highly fortified and invincible army of soldiers describd as "Chakra Viyhu", when the great warrior Arjuna was explaining the same to his wife and the infant Abhimanyu was still in her womb. Since Arjuna’s attention was diverted owing to some urgent message, he could not explain how to get out of this fortification of the enemy camp. This part of knowledge relating to military science the infant could not get while in the womb. Mahabharta thus conveys that a person could acquire knowledge only after the entry of soul and consequent consciousness in him/her. Later after about two decades as a young and gallant warrior, Abhimnyu participated in the great Mahabharta war between Pandavas and Kauravas at Kurukshetra. He could enter the invincible Chakra Vihu of the Kaurvas-the enemy camp and fought valiantly like a gallant prince and brave soldier, but could not come out of the fortification of the soldiers and was finally killed.
Rig-Veda 3-54-8 tells us that with the cosmic word OM, multiform creation came into existence. The sages thus discovered by their wisdom the non existent (the unmanifested) and existent (manifested). Nature's bounties appeared later on step by step (R.V. X-129-6). He only knows when Prakrti was first created as Time is eternal and beyond Prakrti (R.V X-129- 7). However, Prakrti, universe with stars, planets and galaxies came into existence like a cluster of yarn beads formed by knots on a thread. All these are threaded to Brahma- the supreme Reality (B.G. 7-7). The supreme Lord created Prakrti and the universe for the enjoyment and fulfillment of tiny little souls for their actions, knowledge and Bhoga (both spiritual and material enjoyment). Thus was created the phenomenal world ofMaya along with Prakrti also described as Svadha.
A few hymns in the Vedas particularly, R.V 1-121- 1, Y.V 25-10, A.V 4-2-7, link creation of Prakrti with Hiranya Garbha-cosmic Golden Egg where Lord manifested in His splendor as the sole Lord of creation. The cosmic word OM when created enormous cosmic energy, it formed a cosmic golden Egg as Hiranya Garbha. This was the first stage of energy getting converted into some kind of mass. Thus the permanent truth of relationship of energy and mass and vice versa emerged. This relationship of mass and energy, the physical scientists could prove in laboratory only in the 20th century. When the Cosmic Egg opened/busted, the subtle Prakrti was first formed and the process continued with the formation of gross universe and it continues to expand. The gross creation when starts evolving from cosmic Word OM and hiranya garbha, it starts getting differentiated from Prakrti. In the process, Brahma- the supreme Lord continues to remain whole. During the stage of differentiation the primordial matter in the form of gunas, categories, tanmatras, anu, kanu and other grosser matter start emerging. The subtle sattavic, rajasic and tamasic gunas join in different proportion and constant properties of various elements and other matter are formed. Spirit of God spreads in all gross, fine and subtle particles and leads to formation of Mahat, which is cosmic intelligence. Thereafter, some intelligence also comes to senses and sense organs.
After the origin of Prakrti and creation of universe, both these pass through four Celestial periods of Krita, Treta, Dwapar and Kali yugas. It is not only the Vedas which refer to these four celestial periods, even the ancient Greek metaphysicists had also mentioned about these periods as golden, silver, copper and iron ages. Bhagavad Gita in the verse 8-16 gives the duration of this total period of four Yugas as 43,80,000 years and describes this one complete Cycle as oneKalpa or Maha yuga. The longest duration/period is that of Krita or golden age which is over 16,00,000 years and shortest is Kali yuga or iron/dark age and its duration is about 4,00,000 years. One day of Brahma is equal to 1000 Kalpas/maha yugas i.e. over four billion years and one night of Brahma is another 1000maha yugas. The description of these celestial periods going upto almost infinite number of years as mentioned in Bhagavad Gita could be symbolic, indicating that the process of creation and dissolution/withdrawal of Prakrti and gross universe takes abnormally long periods. The Vedic dualists like seer Kapila even after going through Vedas were inclined to conclude that Nature is eternal. Perhaps abnormally long periods of creation and dissolution was considered as providing eternity to Prakrti. Atharva rsis did not agree with Kapila rsi and reiterated that only God is eternal and Prakrti is created by Him. Atharva Veda 4-1-3 reiterated "from the bosom of the cosmic Word OM, He brought forth the world, universe and Prakrti. On high, below, He abides by His own Laws."
Science and Prakrti
Many scientists believe that the Universe originated from a cosmic egg by a catastrophic explosion, named it “Big Bang”, and was not created by God. In science, the distinction between Nature and Universe is not apparent and certainly not very specific, as the concept of subtle is beyond the scope of material scientific instruments. There are a large number of hypotheses in physical sciences but no factual theory. It is mainly due to the limitation of human material instruments like senses, outward looking mind (etani) and also scientific material instruments which can see the minutest gross sub atomic particles but nottanmatras like subtle gunas, spirit, will, ego etc. The other major limitation of the scientists, environmentalists is their prejudices and epoch as observed by eminent American scientist and Nobel Prize winner in 1912-Alexis Carrel in "Man the Unknown". Inanimate universe, cosmology, geology, physics, astronomy, chemistry and other branches of science only tell us that in Nature, properties and characteristics of all elements whether on this earth, other planets, stars and comets remain the same. However, the scientists of all these branches have great difficulty in explaining how these properties were acquired by these elements unless some of them are able to harmonise the Vedic concept of harmony of matter and spirit.
Scientists can at best push the prehistoric and ancient technique of fighting by weapons made of stone, crude iron or bows and arrows to atom and even hydrogen bombs star wars and push button technology. Nevertheless, they have great difficulty owing to their inherent limitations to know the entire Nature, her divine and spiritual purpose and role, aim of all kinds of life and many other metaphysical concepts. Owing to such limitations, scientists of great eminence like the one Isaac Newton could at best say, " Nature is very consonant and comfortable with herself," but still found the matter created by the divine Nature as inert and insentient. Later Einstein and a few other scientists did this correction after a gap of few centuries of Newton and tens of centuries after the Greek atomists and dualists. For a few thousands years the truth contained in the Vedas and later brought out by shuniya Vadins, Bhagavad Gita and many Upanishads was not accepted. Even now, scientists have difficulties to explain what is making number of tiny and almost invisible machines to work continuously without any rest and lubrication in all kinds of atoms. Scientists have yet to study the other Vedic metaphysical and analytical subjects like Prakrti, soul, spirit, God, creation and dissolution or withdrawal of the universe and come out from various hypotheses to scientific proof. A few theories like the one given by George Edward Lematire (1894-1966) – a Belgian astronomer that cosmic egg was born out of some cosmic power at Zero Time looks more like metaphysics than science. This Zero Time was 13 billions of years ago for some scientists and for others ranging 5 to 13 billions years ago. Such infinitely long periods do strengthen the views of dualists that Nature is eternal. Pears encyclopedia gives this period as 4.6 billion years ago and others ranging10 to 20 billions years (Encyclopedia Britannica etc). Thus, the philosophy of Dvait Vedantists and Sankhya Darshana cannot be easily overlooked.
The cosmic Egg before "Big Bang" was originally Hydrogen gas compressed with electrons, protons, neutrons and other sub atomic particles. Neutrons were neutronum which weighed per cubic centimeter about one billion tons or thousand trillions grams, considered to the ultimate limit by the scientists for any kind of compression. As regards creation and dissolution, some scientists hold the view that it takes 85 billion years for a single contraction or expansion of the universe (Science and Creation by Stonely.L.Jaki p.1). The physical universe with some kind of life entered around middle of second billions BC and the last phase of the universe itself 4.3 billions years ago and this phase is continuing with the expanding universe. Its vastness is unimaginable in both Time and Space – over 10 billions of light years across in space and about 20 billions years in age. Though difficult to ascertain owing to its vastness, the scientists in the last a few decades are coming to the conclusion about the possibility of life elsewhere. These scientific findings, discoveries and hypothesis if converted to metaphysical philosophy, it would come closer to Vedic metaphysics and the permanent truths contained there in.
Most of the Hindus and some of the Germans have a common "Swastika symbol” of cyclic return of four celestial periods Krita,Treta, Dwapar and Kali yuga or golden, silver, copper and iron ages. The golden age of Jainism is "Susama" and the worst Dark Age is "Dusama". An Indian scientist of great eminence and astronomer Arya Bhatta had calculated that Iron Age in Prakrti akin to Dusama of Jainism, entered on Thursday of the great battle in 3102 BC He has referred to this battle as Bharta Battle (Page 17 of Science and Traditions). Chinese scientist and philosopher Mencius who was the disciple of Confucius, found these celestial cycles owing to Yin and Yang – the oscillation of two fold cosmic forces. The later Chinese scientists found the duration of this cycle as 23,639,040 years. These four celestial periods akin to Vedic yugas are described as "Yuan" in Chinese. Zero Time of Lemataire is the ultimate Grand Origin of Chinese. In 724, A D already 9,661,740 years had passed since the onset of latest Grand cosmic period (I.Hsing mathematician of 8th century AD).. Pythagorus – Greek philosopher and mathematician of 6th century B C who interpreted the universe in terms of mathematics, made distinction between cosmos (sublunary world) and Ouranos (super lunary world). All potentially knowable objects like earth sun, moon, other solar system bodies, stars and galaxies consisting of matter, formed cosmos that has a cyclic creation and dissolution. However, Ouranos is imperishable being beyond cosmos.
Alcmeon, Heraclitus and Plato believed in the concept of cyclic cosmos (Science and Creation by S.J.Laki). Plato even found that revolution of celestial bodies and four cyclic celestial periods have effect on fertility, barrenness, healthy and defective breeding of each living species including plants, trees, animals, birds, human beings and all kind of animate life. Golden age is the period of "divine begetting" where unfailing laws of God rule. The worst is Dark Age when divine guidance is steadily withdrawn, as laws of God are not followed leading to chaos, disorder in the state and society, ultimate immaturity, feebleness, and almost complete final extinction. Thus, it is quite apparent that both physical and metaphysical scientists throughout the world in all ages did some kind of research within their abilities and capacities and did their best to find out the scientific explanation of the origin of cosmos. Although these findings, explanations, hypothesis are nearing the truths already contained in the Vedas, still the same would require more research in astronomy, cosmology and other physical sciences. However, the concept of Nature or Vedic Prakrti remains vague with the physical scientists, though the metaphysicists are able to visualise its subtle character and divinity.
Salient Features of Vedic Prakrti
Many Vedic hymns describe the various salient features of Prakrti and its manifestation as gross cosmos, ever-expanding universe and the world. These include primordial matter gunas, maha bhuta, bhuta, tanmatras, anu, kanu, creation and withdrawal, rebirth of human life again and again, global trade, Prakrti 33devas who are formless beings of light, mahat, mahatatva, female or woman aspect of Prakrti, ego, karma bhoomi, cosmic illusion Maya and many others. A few of these concepts/attributes have been explained briefly in the context of "what is Prakrti?” Some other features can be explained here after.
If bhuta is gross element, tatva is subtle element and mahatatva is the main subtle element i.e. Prakrti herself. Mahatava with the help of God's spirit create will, ego, activity and other sense perception instruments. Ego (ahamkar) is the moving force of human beings. When ego is guided by soul based on a-prioriprinciples, it helps in creating harmony, virtue, co-operation and love in families, society and all areas of human dealings. Those human beings when their ego is guided by a-priori principles do not resort to any activity for the satisfaction of their personal ego. Thus, Ego provided by Prakrti and personal ego is not the same. Prakrti ego of the individual makes a person move on the path of virtue and goodness. Otherwise, to satisfy one's ego, might of the individuals run after power in all fields whether these are economic, social, political, religious and even artististic but bereft of their spiritual and divine aspects. They are outrageous example of strange triangulation of gorging, giving and greed. Human personal ego creates deliriously strange feeling of greatness without having any real attributes of greatness. It is more like three gunas, which are cause of different kind of activity. But when these gunas are bereft of the guidance of soul and spirit, being them selves non intelligent, make gurus, god men, tantirks, priests and even some scientists, politicians and industrialists want to share the omnipotence of God through ritualistic prayers, hypocritical meditation, ostentatious and proxy worship. It is again the effect of gunas that some of the active followers and organisers of such cults and gurudom have created fairy tales and strange mythologies by churning their mental thought process and given so many attributes to these gurus and founders that many ignorant followers have accepted them as incarnation of God/gods on this earth. Their targets are not really the poor masses but ultra rich and fabulously wealth persons. It is because of this personal ego against divine Ego provided by Prakrti that they have also wonderfully succeeded in amassing money, power, influence and immovable property through out the world. Thus, the Prakrti ego of the human beings if bereft of Vedic metaphysics and knowledge contained in other scriptures of major religions of the world can become the cause of many social evils. The same Ego when regulated and channeled with the knowledge contained in the Vedas and other scriptures or in their absence with the a-priori principles known to the soul becomes extremely useful for the society.
According to Br. Upanishad 1-6, Brahamand or the universe is “trinity” of OM, Naam and Rupa, which in metaphysics would mean spirit, name and form. The source of all names is shabad Brahma OM and the supreme Spirit is behind this cosmic word. " OM khamm Brahma". OM thy name is Brahma, who is the source of all names. Without giving some name, no one can describe any form. The source of all forms is the sense of sight, which is available through our eyes and Brahma is behind the Eye. Source of all actions is the gross body; Brahma through His spirit is behind the gross body. This Upanishad thus concludes that in this universe all forms of spirit, name, shapes, appearances, eye, action, gross and subtle bodies are but One. Maya is one of the most important and vital salient features of Prakrti. It is due to the effect of Maya– the Vedic phantasmagoria that we see ONE as many and millions of names and forms. Prakrti Mayamakes us weave web of our own destiny from which we cannot free ourselves with the help of material and intellectual knowledge bereft of spiritual and divine knowledge – Vijnan and Jnan, contained in the Vedic metaphysics. In Ramayana, lord Rama tells his gallant and loving brothers Lakshaman and Bharta that owing to the effect of Maya made more vehement with ajnan or only material knowledge, one becomes playful thing of fate and destiny, which are one’s own creation owing to our past and present karma of good or bad actions of this and earlier births. So no one can avoid destiny. More important thing is how one faces the effect of destiny in this phenomenal world. However, through complete and perfect knowledge of Brahma and Prakrti, one can largely free himself from the web of destiny.
If one goes by the definition and description of Maya by advait vedantists who are either pure or objective idealists and also either monists or mono theists or both, Maya is only a phenomenal world of senses and not so real. Even the pure monist as Sankracharya did not say Maya creates an unreal world. It is not the magician who makes you feel many unreal things as real and finally makes the unreal things to disappear. Nevertheless, the world is not so real as it is created and withdrawn by the Supreme Reality. It is at best transitory but not unreal. There is no magic involved in its creation as God is not a magician but perfect truth, reality and unmoved mover. Even Albert Einstein during his scientific research came to the conclusion that God does not play dice. However, whatever He creates changeth, faces flux and is perishable. So the phenomenal world is not unreal, it is only the phantasmagoria that creates change, flux and final disappearance. It is because of this cosmic illusion the world has many names and forms, which leads to so many theories, interpretations, descriptions and even contradictions of certain hypothesis. This world is therefore, nama rupa with multiplicity of names and forms of gods, deities, religions, sects, modes of worship etc. All these names and forms disappear when effect of Maya starts diminishing with the movement from tamasic to sattvic gunas and thereafter towards shuniya sattva-beyond gunas. In this path only One Reality starts emerging and one finds that only Brahma or holy Koran's Allah, Bible's Father in heaven is the only Reality and Prakrti, Brahmand, Sansara are only His manifestations.
Maya in Prakrti is thus a mystical power (Shakti) and under the influences of senses, etani– the outward looking mind and gunas forces us to do many divergent and even contradictory things. It makes you feel that all those who resort to bribery, smuggling, deception, cruelty, blind pursuit of money and matter are corrupt persons but when you do the same or some what similar activities, you do not consider yourself as evil minded and corrupt person. Many times you get so much attached to your children and friends that their evil and non-divine activities do not look as corrupt practices. This stage in Bhagavad Gita is described as moha– infatuation. So what you criticise in others, justify in the activities of your children, relations and friends. When you resort to such activities your self and do not find these as evil, it is the stage of attachment to matter and the phenomenal world. This is all the effect of cosmic illusion Maya. Many things which our senses and sense organs can not or do not see and only visualize or happen to see differently at different times and also different physical state of mind, you tend to interpret not on reality but based on your vested interests. Thus, Maya is the main cause of extremely divergent theories in economics, political science, ethics, philosophy and even metaphysics. Even eyes, ears, nose do not perceive Sun rise or Sun set, a particular pop or classical song or scent of flowers in the same manner all the time. Rope appearing as snake under dim light of dawn and dusk, illusory appearance of water in the desert as mirage under bright day light of the Sun and hundreds of such examples are the effect of Maya in Prakrti. Since God is beyond desire, ambition, by creating cosmos, Prakrti, universe, He remains Whole and has no personal objective to gain from this subtle and gross creation. At best, it is His Lila (sportive manifestation).
Vedas describe Maya as Mayu and it is sattaviki or unpolluted. It hides the real from the vision of mortals. In sattaviki Maya when you acquire Vedic knowledge, vision of the real supreme Divinity starts emerging. For those individual who gather a large proportion of tamasic gunas by resorting to non-divine professions, thoughts and activities even Maya becomes polluted for them and it breeds further ignorance. Those who acquire any kind of divine, spiritual and material knowledge under polluted Maya; they still do not go beyond ajnan or ignorance. In holy Koran, there is a reference to Abu jahil– Abu the ignorant. He was a highly literary person with all kind of knowledge, master of many subjects, still holy Koran referred to him as ignorant (jahil) since that knowledge was neither useful to him nor to the society. Amongst many Hindu fake prophets, false gurus this kind of ignorance is widely prevalent. The more they spread divine and spiritual knowledge, more evil and corruption get legitimised amongst their many followers owing to predominance of tamasic gunas and polluted Maya.
The word Prakrti is used in two different senses in Bhagavad Gita, (a) as primary and ultimate category (b) as nature of God's being. In the first sense, gunas are produced and in the second sense as Maya or hypnotisation of God's Lila. In this later sense Maya is reflection of God (B.G. VII-14, 15. VIII-18, 61). The concept of Maya as God's hypnotisation, cosmic illusion and reflection is part of Bhagavad Gita's path of knowledge- described there in as Sankhya Yoga. The Indian school of philosophy Sankhya Darshana of Kapila Rsi and Sankhya Yoga of the celestial song Bhagavad Gita are vastly different. The concept of Maya in Kapila's metaphysics hardly exists, as both God and Parkrti are eternal and real. In fact, God's existence is neither accepted nor rejected by Kapila rsi. In Bhagavad Gita Maya is sattaviki or unpolluted as "gun maye Maya" i.e. with a number of attributes and salient features. Taittriya and Chhandogya Upanishads find the divine essence as the soul of the universe, which is also present in the human beings to guide them how to come out of the effect of Maya and the waves of rough sea of matter by following Rta-cosmic laws of social and moral order. To a large extent a similar concept is found in holy Koran's "Ruhi pasti" as the Soul of the universe and present as "Ruha" in the human beings to guide them in this "illusion of comfort" created by vast turbulent sea of matter. Koran gives guidelines to the human beings for getting out of this illusion of comfort and become a noble human being. Upanishads thus conclude that subtle Prakrti and its gross manifestation, as Universe is the Temple of God. Even if the entire world is a mere appearance (Prati-bhasa), a real world has to be assumed as prototype. In this prototype, Maya makes the world as "Karma Bhoomi" for performing our good and bad deeds. Since no activity can be performed in an unrealbhoomi (earth, land, place, location), so human senses invariably consider this prototype as real and an abode of comfort. Very often, these senses make you forget even your transitory existence on this karma bhoomi.
Role of Prakrti
Human body consists of same gross and subtle elements, tatva, tanmatras, anu, kanu, sub atomic particles- electrons, protons, neutrons and many more tiny and microscopic particles as in Prakrti being our supreme Mother and the universe. In view of this close relationship of man with Prakrti, same laws are applicable to human beings as observed by Nature and the universe. Being supreme mother she helps us to convey the same in the form of Book of Nature. It is a separate matter that human beings tend to create their own laws some times contradicting the laws of Nature under the influence of their senses and outward looking mind (etani). Still worse, they not only contradict and flout laws of Nature but also their own laws for heir selfish and vested interests. Many learned persons have observed the flouting of man made laws by the human beings and compared the same with sand houses, which are built and destroyed by small children for their pleasure. William Shenstone had explained this human phenomenon in his inimitable literary style,” Laws (made by human beings) are generally found to be nets of such a texture as the little creep through, the great break through and the middle sized are alone entangled in." All physical forces in the Nature are man's greatest allies whether sun, rain, moon, air, water and others. By flouting laws of Nature and even their own laws, human beings unashamedly create pollution in these forces like acid rain, depletion of ozone layer etc., over use the blessings of Prakrti and tend to become parasite on this earth- described in Vedas as benign mother which does not kick. There are man-made religious, state and social laws against pollution, smuggling, rape, bribery, adulteration of food, medicines, dowry system, infanticide etc., but all these activities and social evils continue with vengeance. This ambivalence has created two faces of many human beings – the face of their gross body and a masked face. Many of the ultra rich and deliriously wealthy persons of gorging, giving and greed have masked faces in society and their real face with unsociable activities is very often hidden even some times from their own children. Thus, no one can deny the great social importance of Vedic truth that not knowing the supreme Mother Prakrti and her noble and benevolent role, human beings tend to move on the path of evil.
To explain the role and functioning of Prakrti, recourse to 33 devas has been taken by the Vedic metaphysicists. The total attributes of Prakrti have been first split into 33 sets of attributes and each set is brought symbolically under the charge of one Prakrti’s formless deva/devi. Since Vedic rsis and munnies had found the Supreme Reality as ineffable and for explaining His attributes even the "words recoil", so they did transcendental research to find what attributes of the formless Brahma are found in Prakrti as the divine Nature was also His manifestation. Since Prakrti was created through the supreme spirit of God as shabad Brahma OM, these attributes came through His Spirit in the divine Nature, which is spread everywhere. While God has infinite attributes, Prakrti has finite attributes. From these attributes role of Prakrti can be easily appreciated. Rig-Veda X-93-4 says," joyful lords of ambrosia are adorable.” The same hymn further says,” Aryaman deva is the regulator of cosmic order, Mitra the principle of effulgence behind the Sun, Varuna is the master`of oceanic forces, Rudra- right and virtuous force behind the storms, hurricanes, Maruts the cloud bearing winds, Pushan the nourishing principles, Bhaga the power behind material and spiritual prosperity."
Deva is epithet applied to all kinds of forces of Nature, including fire, water, wind, electricity, wrath and other forms of energy, selfless service, light etc. For each force, service there is a corresponding deva or devi. In all, there are 33 devas/devis, who are formless beings of light. The literal translation of deva is "shining one" and owing to their partly divine attributes, they can be considered as gods but without any human form. So to give form and worship them through their idols is non-Vedic. Thus this epithet also applies to selfless service, light, knowledge, oceanic forces, time calculation, education, decay and final graceful death through their corresponding deva/devi. Indra, Agni, Varun, Mitra, Surya and other are devas. Prithvi, Usha and Saraswati are devis. The female beings of light preside over education, selfless service, time calculation, discipline etc. Male devas who are the shining ones preside over energy, power, knowledge and other natural forces like decay etc. The attributes of Prakrti relating to production, scientific knowledge (of all physical sciences), Vidya or jnanthrough Book of Nature are presided by Ribhu, Ashvinau and Saraswati. Knowing all these 33 beings of light, one can fully know the attributes of Prakrti. Since these divine attributes are given to Prakrti through the Shabada Brahma -the Vedic cosmic Word OM through which the spirit of God first entered Prakrti and later even the human beings, so these attributes are also available to human beings and also other animate life. However, the attributes of soul manifested in human beings (jivatma) are different- more in the nature of a-priori principles being partly omniscient.
This kind of classification of the attributes of Prakrti in to 33 sets greatly helped in the brevity of he Vedic hymns. Instead of repeating every time the particular set of the attributes of Prakrti, the ancient rsis and muunies used epithet like Indra, Varun,Usha, Prithvi etc., and succeeded in conveying many attributes through one epithet each. Even though Vedic hymn, chant or mantra may appear to be brief, its real meanings could be could be quite lengthy. In addition toDevas, there is a mention of another word "Devata". This metaphysical word refers to subject matter and abstract ideas like gambling and its censure (R.V. X-34-1 to 6), or praise of Sattavic Daan (charity) of love, knowledge, selfless service (R.V X-117-1 to 4). Nowhere 33 devas or devis and devatas have been mentioned as deities. The in-depth study of Vedas would indicate that emphasis in Shruts ( Vedas) is not so much on prayer, meditation, worship but on the understanding of God, Soul, Prakrti, gunas, tatvas, bhutas etc. No one can move towards Moksha– the stage of eternal bliss, unless he/she is well integrated with Nature. The divine Nature which is our supreme mother Prakrti is benevolent like most of the devas, mighty like Indra, virtuous like clouds- Maruts. The Sun is described as one wheeled single fellied, thousand spoked, rolls East to West while being stationary, with one half of it making part of the globe enlightened and the other half unnoticed (A.V. 10-8-7). The attributes of Devas in some details are described in A.V.3-24-1 to 7, X-5-12, S.V.1530, 1531. R.V. X-7-3, X-156-4, V1-1-5 and many others. Amongst these 33 devas, some seers and sages opted for different names for them like Savitar, Surya, Aryaman relate to Sun. Aditi, Devaki, Daivi are the epithets of Prakrti. Thus for 33 devas/devis the number of epithets in the Vedas could be more. However, Vedic metaphysicists never restricted their findings for the guidance of Aryans alone but for the entire mankind. Atharva Veda IV-16-8 says, "Varuna Deva exists length wise, cross wise, he is for our land, he is for foreign land, he is divine." Devas are stainless, are never amiss, no fault in them, revere them with Soma hymn (S.V. 442), (R.V X-66-13, VIII-68-9, VIII-195-7, X-65-1. They do not hate each other, worthy of our homage, praise and worship. They do not get aged, years, months; days do not wear them out (A.V.III-30-4 and R.V. X-63-2).
These hymns clearly prove that attributes originally provided to Prakrti, by the spirit of God through His cosmic word OM at the time of creation, continue to remain the same from Zero Time till now and shall not change till Pralaya or withdrawal of the gross universe and there after subtle Prakrti. At that stage the entire mass of universe would change to subtle energy and thereafter into the cosmic word OM. Thus all activities in Prakrti, universe and the world commence with OM and also end in the same cosmic Word or shabada Brahma. Therefore, Vedas advise the human beings should acquire the same attributes and characteristics and follow their activities. Rise early when Usha is presiding over dawn and contemplate over this word OM, pray for getting the divine knowledge by contemplating and chanting Gyatri mantra, preferably seven times and start your activities there after. Before finishing all the activities of the day and going to bed follow the same by contemplating on OM and recite mother hymn Gyatri mantra. Bhagavad Gita also reiterates the same. Perform your selflessly activities and there after leave the same to God and do not expect the result of your activities there and then. This is the path of Nishkam Karma of the Celestial Song and the philosophy of Idd Nan Mmam of Vedas.
Owing to Flux in Prakrti and tatva's effect of three subtle gunas, no one remains inactive even for a moment as all of us are driven to action by nature born qualities (B.G.3-5). However, a person who performs his activities like benign mother Prithvi (earth) and supreme mother Prakrti without attachment excels (B.G. 3- 7). No one can maintain his/her gross body without any good or bad action. We all know the role of food in our life for survival, energy recoupment and maintenance of normal health .The production of food is rooted in action. Thus, Prakrti and Prithvi are continuously active for the benefit and welfare of all animate life. It is the same about education, knowledge and all other welfare actions. However, in this cycle or wheel of creation, the performance of one's allotted duties as per four divine professions with selfless action without attachment is vital for the maintenance of world order (B.G 3-20). Even God continues to work to avoid any great harm to the world (B.G 3-22). Perform your duty selflessly without attachment- it would bring blessedness even if death occurs while performing the allotted duty. Performing other's duty is fraught with fear and can even bring harm to the person and his family, state and society. To help the human beings to perform their duties, Prakrti in her divine role creates the earth as karma bhoomi for all of us. This karma bhoomi is the milch cow, which does not kick. We only exist so long as we perform our allotted duties otherwise, not to be occupied is the same thing as not to exist. Bhagavad Gita amongst many other sins mentions idleness as sin. Voltaire also observed a similar phenomenon in Nature and wrote, "All people are good except those who do not work and remain idle.” Holy Koran enjoins," when ever free resort to work.” Thus for the human beings to work continuously is one of the laws of God. However, work that does not benefit the human beings and positively harms the society is not work in the Vedic metaphysics. Perform your role in the society in the same manner as performed by your supreme mother Prakrti. This noble concept of work is also found in Buddha's ethical metaphysics based on dhamma, ashata marga and panch sheel. Buddha had said that the work of today for other's welfare automatically looks after one's own welfare tomorrow. Prakrti guides us to the concept of work and its various characteristics relating to nobility, selflessness, continuity, avoidance of sin in the form of idleness, which all lead to love, cooperation, welfare based on the philosophy of Idd Nan Mmam– nothing for self, all for society.
All civilisation of the world in the ancient, medieval and modern times are judged from the mode of work people performed and the results achieved of their collective efforts and not from their idleness or selfish objectives. The world history tells us that most of the highly flourishing civilisations came to their final end when the concept of work became part of materialistic philosophy and value systems changed to economic values based on self interest. So any effort on the part of modern science, economics, organised religion, cults, material ethics and philosophy which ultimately lead to change in the definition of work opposed to Vedic Idd Nan Mmam or Bhagavad Gita's Nishkam Karma and make human beings idle or perform work which is not useful to families, society, state and the mankind of the entire world is against the law of Nature. More one studies and understand the role of Prakrti, her various attributes and facets, the more an individual can perform useful work for the mankind.
Socrates had known and understood the role of Nature and found from its working, if society is to be saved, the polity (city-states then existing in Greece) should be governed by wise men. For him wisdom, virtue and goodness were synonmous. His disciple Plato in the theory of rule by philosopher kings in his “Republic” later on perfected this noble concept of Socrates. In India king Janaka of 8th century, B C referred in Bhagavad Gita, as an ideal king was more like Plato's philosopher king, being benevolent ruler, metaphysicists of great eminence and perfect administrator. It is a separate matter that Plato evolved his theory of philosopher kings after about four centuries of the death of king Janaka. Materialism had spread so much in Greek city-states that Plato himself could not succeed in establishing rule of philosopher king in any of the city-states of Greece. Aristotle, who was the student of Plato and teacher of Alexander, finally did not consider the subject of philosopher kings important enough in his metaphysics. However, the practical application of the concept of philosopher king during the rule of king Janaka, made that period as golden period of Vedic metaphysics. In the history of Indian philosophy, eminent metaphysicists YajnaValkya, lady seer Gargi and many others used to attend king Janaka's "darbar" where metaphysical discussions were frequently held and spiritual aspect of administration was also taken into consideration. His rule was so perfect where every one in the state was fully satisfied that lord Krishna tells Arjuna in Bhagavad Gita that amongst the perfect rulers, "I am king Janaka ". Swami Vivekananda was emphatic that knowing and understanding God, Prakrti and one's divine inner instruments, one can acquire real physical and spiritual strength and without their knowledge, no nation can be strong. Sankracharya in the 8th century A D gave much less emphasis on prayer, meditation and worship of God and Prakrti but emphasised the need to know and understand Brahma, Prakrti, Maya, soul (atman) and other Vedic metaphysical concepts. Many other learned persons, seers and sages have also observed worship, prayer and blind mediation is the hidden desire and ego of many persons following the path of materialism with appendage of spiritualism, while these are not God's requirement.
Prakrti also performs the role of divine reformatory. She helps the human beings in discharging their debts to the society, parents, children, friends and all those who produce for you food and other items of daily use as well as those who render various kinds of help and assistance to you. While providing all these blessings, she also provides three kinds of pains and miseries. The first and foremost due to mental and physical sufferings mostly self-inflicted owes to lack of knowledge of God and Prakrti. Simply the first kind of sufferings is due to avidya or ajnan (ignorance). The second kind of sufferings is due to natural calamities and causes like floods, arson, earthquakes, droughts etc. The third kind of miseries are due to super natural causes which could be effect of planets, destiny due to one's past karma, fate due to one's present karma. Human beings undergo these kinds of sufferings when they ignore the reformatory role of Prakrti. Since salvation (moksha) is complete freedom from all these sufferings and miseries described in Vedas as "adhyatamic,adhibhutic and adhidaivic Kashta"- i.e. pains and miseries, Prakrti in the role of divine reformatory, helps us to attain Moksha or Buddhist Nirvana. Individuals who are not well integrated with Nature and also if they do not follow Rta-the laws of nature become their own enemies and face these three kinds of miseries and can not attain final liberation.
Those who do not understand the reformatory role of Prakrti and even fail to recognise her as their supreme Mother even resort to strange kind of spiritual hypocrisy. The phenomenon is so vivid and apparent amongst some of the Hindus that hardly any one through out the world can miss it. First by ignoring Prakrti, many Hindus would worship God/gods as both supreme Father and Mother. When their pursuit of money leaves no time for prayer, meditation and worship God, gods and goddesses, they resort to proxy prayer and worship. More than twenty kinds of proxy prayers and worships are performed in Hindu temples on hefty payments, involving money, gold, diamonds and even animals like cows etc. The more you get occupied in blind pursuit of money, power and influence through corrupt practices, more you feel the need for proxy prayers and worship ignorant priests about Vedic metaphysics and upanishdic philosophy.
A major role assigned to Prakrti by Brahma through His cosmic Word OM containing the spirit of God is relating to Book of Nature. This Book teaches all her children i.e. human beings and other animate life the cosmic laws of social and moral order which for all of us are laws of necessity. An equally important concept, which we learn from Prakrti, is "eternal Flux". The composition of three subtle gunas of sattavic,rajasic and tamasic, goes on changing in Prakrti to maintain equilibrium, stability, gravitational effect and other properties of matter, so there is continuous flux in Nature and gross universe. This flux is both visible and non-visible to human eyes. Even human senses cannot perceive this flux and so the help of material scientific instruments are taken to know the intensity of this flux. This principle of flux in Prakrti, gross universe and the earth, is also found in the human beings, particularly in their gross bodies, from birth until old age. Owing to the effect of gunas, human personality, thoughts, ideas, desires, degree of transparency and even the gross body itself undergo a constant and regular change. This flux gets more vehement with the predominance of tamasic gunas when it brings inconsistencies, contradictions in the human conduct, behaviour and thoughts. It is due to this effect that a person finds material justification for his evil and corrupt actions and becomes extremely critical when others perform same evil and corrupt activities. With the predominance of sattavic gunas though the flux still remains but its vehement effect is much less. A divine person like Guru Nanak – the founder of Sikh religion, with predominance of sattavic gunas could only say that both Holy Koran and Vedas are true scriptures. When sattavic gunas start diminishing in the human beings, even the divine truths start appearing different to many persons. At this stage some individuals consider that previous records of revelations are not authentic and only a particular scripture of XYZ religion, guru, cult or tantrik is only the authentic message of God and applicable to the entire mankind. It is for this reason so many different and contradictory divine injunctions; messages and philosophies are spread in the world. Thus, inspite of flux in Prakrti, the laws of God (Rta) do not undergo any change and are beyond gunas effect. These laws are logical, mathematical and remain the same concerning Time and Space.
All kinds of Flux in Prakrti, Universe and even in the human beings are related to Kala (time) and Dis (space) but these two concepts of Time and Space are beyond Prakrti and hence not affected by Flux. These are part of the Grand Design of God described in the Vedas as supreme Designer and Architect (Viswa karma). Since God designs the Nature and the Universe and assigns certain roles to Prakrti, so her all the roles are divine. She performs her role and other functions under the supervision of God as mentioned in Bhagavad Gita. Under His supervision, Prakrti creates all animate and inanimate life/ things and the spirit of God provides constant energy to all kinds of life, including 21 kinds of fuels to the human beings. She being His manifestation, He pervades everywhere in Prakrti and gross universe. It is therefore, essential to know the relationship between God and Prakrti.
Brahma and Prakrti
The sovereign ordainer of the Vedas is Brahma who is the Universal God. The Vedic seers and sages while giving this epithet were aware that many wise and learned people through out the world may give different names to the Supreme Reality. Even in the Vedas apart from Brahma, in Atharva Veda the name Siva is also mentioned. There is a mention of epithet Visnu as well.. The later scriptures of other major religions named Him Allah, Ahur Mazda, Tao, Father in Heaven, and Ek Om Kar. Thus inspite of many names and epithets He remains only One.
Mundaka Upanishad. II-2-1 describes the whole universe as supreme Brahma Himself. Universe is the projection of Brahma to enjoy itself. The subtle form of universe is Prakrti, which is Brahma's Lila or His cosmic Play. He holds the universe with the spark of His yogic power (B.G.13-2). Prakrti is Kshetra and Brahma is Kshetrajna. In Bhagavad Gita Kshetra is both subtle and gross matter and Kshetrajna is Spirit. Thus, He pervades everywhere in Ksetra through His spirit. In the Vedic metaphysics, He is also the Soul of Prakrti. Harmony of soul, spirit, Prakrti as subtle and gross matter is the main theme of Vedas. R.V 1-164-20 contains a simile of two birds sitting on a tree. One bird eats its fruit and enjoys and the second bird sits as a silent spectator and watches the other bird eating and enjoying the fruit. The two birds are two spirits, one finite and the other infinite. Finite spirit of God described as Jiva, comes to the animate and inanimate life/things through Prakrti and infinite directly from God to the human beings as soul or atma. Prakrti in itself is non- intelligent owing to gunas but the Soul of God in Prakrti makes her intelligent through the knowledge contained therein. The Spirit of God in the Nature is the energy principle of Prakrti and enjoys all her activities through her subtle existence and gross universe. It is in this background Munadaka Upanishad refers that Brahma creates the universe to enjoy itself. Thus, there is not only harmony of soul and body, spirit and matter but also God, soul; spirit and Prakrti live in harmony. In Prakrti 33 devas and devislive in harmony. Therefore, harmony is Vedic Rta- a cosmic law of physical, social and moral order.
Incidentally, it is mentioned above that His spirit is finite and soul is infinite. This has to be viewed in the context of human beings and other animate and inanimate life/things. The spirit of God is made available to Prakrti and Universe during the stage of Sristi– divine Creation through His cosmic “Word”- shabad Brahma OM and is finally with drawn at the time of Pralaya or Samhara i.e Dissolutin or Withdrawal. Even though His Spirit is infinite and by creating the Nature and Universe HE remains “Whole”. As far as Prakrti, Brahamand, animate and inanimate life is concerned it is finite. However, human manifested souls being divine remain immortal and part of the Infinite Brahma. Spirit being energy principle is not affected by deeds or Karma but human manifested soul (jivatma) is affected by human actions, thoughts and desires. The quality of spirit may be the same in all human beings but manifested souls are different due to effect of gunas, karma and knowledge.
This Vedic hymn relating to two birds sitting on a tree is one of the most important as various metaphysicists of later periods have interpreted differently. ForDvait Vedantists or dualists, tree is Prakrti, two birds are soul and spirit, and all these three are eternal along with God. Sankhya Darshana of Kapila Rsi even did not consider the need for God to explain the eternal aspect of Prakrti. There are metaphysicists who consider soul and spirit as one, they interpret two birds as God and soul sitting on a tree which is Prakrti but not eternal. For them Prakrti is subject to creation and dissolution and as such it is asat-non-existence orMaya. Whenever it is sat-in existence, God, soul and Prakrti remain in harmony. This hymn of Rig Veda is found in many Upanishads and other parts of Vedas. The great seer Patanjali also did not feel the need of God to explain his philosophy in his Yog Shastra but accepted that He is the first Guru-preceptor who helps in the understanding of Yogas expeditiously. Thus, Vedic metaphysics is clear that God does not live or act in history, His need is felt based on your thoughts and ideologies. In addition, Vedas cannot be identified or equated with God only, as there are many other subjects in these.
In Bhagavad Gita lord Krishna speaks as "I" i.e. Supreme Reality. In Atharva Veda 6-LXI-1 to 3, God's injunctions are also directly from Him as "I" relating to creation of Prakrti, Sun, air, water etc., and distinction between truth and untruth including revelation of Vedas by Him. To many who consider the path of Bhaktior devotion to God as supreme path, it is an ample proof that God did take human form due to His divine potency. Vedas thus came directly from him as"Shruti". It is inspite of the Vedic metaphysics that God is "aja"-unborn and transcends all images. Idols, icons and portraits cannot justify His Form being formless. The Vedic Maya resolves this conflict. Apart from this before Bhagavad Gita, there were only three Vedas. Atharva Veda was compiled much later when the concept of Personal God as Saguna Brahma with attributes and form had clearly developed. In Rig Veda, there is only “impersonal” God, who is ineffable and formless and is described there in as nirguna Brahma- beyond human description as even the words recoil while describing his infinite attributes.
He is Vishwa Karma, as such, He is the great Designer, and Prakrti is His great Design. Vedas thus describe Prakrti as divine being. His creative art which human senses can see through the gross universe and perceive Prakrti's subtleties in the fragrance in air, earth, flowers and also the divine forces behind all physical phenomenon." Twashta" is another epithet in the Vedas for God who has provided His cosmic energy to Prakrti and thus she is Shakti– the storehouse of enormous cosmic power and energy. The sum total of that energy remains constant throughout her existence..
Twashta has made all these wonderful gross objects and articles of Prakrti, Sun, moon, earth, planets, galaxies and many others out of His invisible cause. Thus He helps human beings, animals, birds, fishes etc., in their proper development and growth by providing His Own knowledge made available to us through Spirit and Rta– the laws of necessity. However, the human beings are also provided the manifested souls for knowing the a-priori principles and Vedic knowledge for their development and attaining perfection. The purpose of birth as human being is to acquire and spread Vedic knowledge either as a-priori principles known to the soul or by study and understanding of Vedas (R.V 1-188-9). Having created Prakrti and the formative womb of matter the benign mother earth, God remains Unmoved Mover and makes Prakrti to work and function under His supervision (B.G. 9-9 and 10). Being the light of the light in the Nature, He resides in Prakrti and Prakrti resides in Him.It is in this background that Rig Veda 1-131-1 and Isa Upanishad mention," Whole is that, whole is this, from the whole, whole cometh, take whole from the whole, yet the whole remains."
The entire cosmos (Brahamand) and Prakrti are only 1/4th of Brahma (symbolically), 3/4th is heaven, subtle worlds where six other communities of human beings live and the abode of God – Brahmalok are other parts of Brahma. Thus, the entire universe, cosmos, Prakrti, heavens is Brahma Himself (R.V X-90-13 to 17). These hymns of Rig Veda and also XI-8-13 and 32 of Atharva Veda further mention that the entire Universe is His Body, Sun and moon are His eyes and the earth is His feet. This description of God clearly shows that no Form or category can describe Him as 3/4th part of His is in heaven, Brahmaloka and other subtle places not visible or perceivable by human senses and sense organs. The above description through gross objects is only related to His 1/4th part. It is quite apparent that Vedic seers and sages depicted His Greatness and Vastness in a symbolic manner by avoiding giving any specific human or other form. The above hymns of Atharva Veda further make it clear that all 33 Prakrti devas that are in-charge of each set of attributes of divine Nature are also fused in God. Bhagavad Gita in the verse XI-16 explains His greatness through His Virat Rupa, which has no beginning, no middle and no end. Human gross eyes cannot see and senses cannot visualise Him. Arjuna being lord Krishna's true devotee was bestowed with divine eyes to see Virat Rupa of God. This bestowing of divine eyes is more to explain that true devotees of God, having complete divine and spiritual knowledge can only realise his/her "real self" and thereafter can also see God who is every where. Thus knowing God, Prakrti and matter is complete knowledge. Divine, spiritual and material knowledge constitutes Vedic Vidya.
Since impure matter vitiates our intelligence and senses, the same can be purified through Vedic Vidya by following Rta, Dharma and Satya. Prakrti being our supreme mother, she helps in purifying the effect of gunas in the human beings, provided you move towards self-realisation and beyond gunas- described in Vedas as shunya sattava state. Only when you become pure, truthful, righteous and transparent, first Prakrti reveals you her subtle form and only thereafter He will reveal you His Grandeur and Virat Rupa. It is therefore, quite apparent that to realise God and attain Moksha, knowing, understanding and following her guidance through her laws of necessity is the most important. Once you know Prakrti and follow her "niyams"-guidelines, your gross body in the shuddha sattvastate also becomes divine. It is at this stage Aura appears. Thus without matter, selfless karma, action without attachment to result, knowledge of gunas, mahabhutas and mahatatvas, spirit of God reaching us through Prakrti and her other attributes, laws and other blessings, no one can reach the abode of God-Vaikuntha. The gateway to Vaikuntha passes through Prakrti.
In the Vedas, matter is given importance when not bereft of spirit. "Do not Holy One abandon us to hunger or wicked aggressor, do not condemn us to abject poverty." Similar prayers are against excessive riches. R.V VII-1-19, 22 and VIII-45-36 clearly emphasise moderation. "May we be rich in simple nourishing food" (Y.V. 8-53) and we spread Rta, Satya and Vedic knowledge. O, Supreme Brahma you are Rta and Satya." Jnanam Ritam satyam" (Mahanryana Upanishad 1-6). Thus, a person can find God in Rta by following His laws and by remaining transparent and truthful. The trinity of God's spirit, subtle Prakrti and gross universe also become as Brahma. The entire Nature and universe are temples of God (Taittriya Upanishad). Chhandogya Upanishad also refers to Prakrti, as temple of God as the soul of God is also present in Prakrti and the universe. Those who are keen to see God in any gross form can always see Him in stars, planets, sun, moon etc. Those who know that He is even subtler than the subtlest can only see Him after penetrating the veils of Maya in Prakrti and Universe. Separate it from extraneous adjuncts, rituals and man-made temples of marble, idols, icons and worship for ostentation. Study of Vedas help in removing these extraneous adjuncts and there after Prakrti will soon appear as illusory, not real as soon as ultimate truth about Brahma is known (Sankracharya). After all Prakrti is the subtle garment of God as believed by Vashishat advait vedantists. Its gross form is for the enjoyment of your soul and spirit. Vedas therefore, advise do not exploit matter and use it for your minimum need. Your soul never enjoys when you take some one else's share.
God and Prakrti are thus one and different like God and soul. All things, objects, categories tend to become One when spiritualism and divinity in these reach at their perfection. At gross level owing to vehement effect of gunas these along with Nature, soul and matter remain different but always yearning to reach perfection. God's immanence make it part of Prakrti, yet God is "chit" and Prakrti is "achit" as Prakrti has no consciousness of its own. God is omniscient, Prakrti is non intelligent being constituted of only subtle gunas which in themselves do not have intelligence but particular constant characteristics .The spirit providesMahat to Prakrti which is the sum total of intelligence of all animate and inanimate life. Prakrti cannot create her own laws and being the perfect mother she conveys these laws of God – Rta, through her Book of Nature ensures discipline, regularity and transparency and expects their stern observance. After creating Prakrti, universe, animate and inanimate life, HE remains aloof and undergoes no change (R.V. X-90-2) and becomes the innermost self of the phenomenal world and human beings as Narayana. Nara is human beings and Ayana is dwelling place- the one who dwells in human beings as Siva (pure) and Shambhu(auspicious).
Later scriptures even preferred the epithet Shiva or Shambhu for God. His attribute of all pervasiveness as Visnu is mentioned in Bhagavad Gita, two didactic books of mythology Ramayana and Mahabharta. A stage reached in the evolution of Hindu Dharma that epithets Visnu and Shiva became far more important than Brahma. The harmony of three names/epithets for God was achieved through the concept of Trinity. The epithet Brahma continued to lose its importance and two major sects Vaishnoites and Shivites spreaded throughout India amongst Hindus. While Hindus have now a few hundred thousands of temples in India and abroad where the major deities are either Visnu or his later mythological incarnations as Rama and Krishna but hardly a very few temples are entirely dedicated to Brahma. To my limited knowledge one temple at Pushkar in Rajasthan and another at Katasraj now in Pakistan are mainly dedicated to Brahma. In most of the Vishnuites and Shivites temples, some times a small idol or statue is installed for Brahma in a corner along with hundreds of minor deities. Vedic metaphysics is not very particular about the name of the God, being nameless and formless. Only some wise men and learned people tend to give some name to God. However, for the understanding of Vedic metaphysics, the epithet Brahma would be mostly used.
The relationship of God and Nature is also found in Plato's theory of Forms and Ideas. Ideas of Plato are from the Greek word Eidoes – meaning shape or appearance. Men try to copy these Forms and Ideas in a poor manner, which are short-lived and normally imperfect. In Nature these shapes are normally round, sun, moon, planets, apples, peas, play balls etc. Many places these Forms or Ideas are much like geometrical formulae expressing the law or principles that govern the physical world. There is hierarchical principle that governs the physical world. There is hierarchical system of Forms- matter, earth, planets, universe, Nature and God, logically and ontologically inter related with Supreme Being at the top. Nature with infinite species and multiplicity forms its base. Thus in his theory of Forms and Ideas Plato visualised from sub atomic round particles to all gross and subtle objects and subjects below God as Summan Genus and the ultimate reality. All others including Nature are lower reality and can be described as phenomenal world and universe. Do not disturb the ordered system of Forms and Ideas. Vedas describe this ordered system is being maintained by supreme Brahma with the help of 33 Prakrti formless devas who provide all human beings, all living creatures three fold protection to guard us, three fold light to aid us and befriend us. Holy Bible in Mathew V-45 explains in a more divine language, "He sendeth rain equally on the just and unjust." Being on the top of this hierarchy, He shows mercy and benevolence on all of us (R.V. V11-101-2).
Various Philosophies about Prakrti
It is a common observation that human beings anywhere in the world, in any state, society or family are always at different stage of material, intellectual, spiritual and divine knowledge. They have also different level of material and scientific progress, so any comparison of human beings is odious. No two human beings are similar except may be partially. It is owing to this variation in the degree of knowledge; individuals who study Vedas some times come to different conclusions about Vedic metaphysics, philosophy, rituals, ceremonies and ethics. For this reason translation of Vedic hymns, riks, chants could vary. Max Muller, Swami Dayananda, Vivekanada and many others hold slightly different and at times vastly different views about certain hymns. For some Vedic formless 33 devas are God/Gods/gods with human form and for others, these devas represent forces of Nature. Some find Prakrti as gross and others as subtle. Somewhat similar phenomenon of such variation also occurred in the ancient India. After studying the same Vedas, different metaphysicists of eminence interpreted the various metaphysical concepts like Nature, Maya, soul, spirit and many others in a vastly different manner. This resulted in the emergence of six schools of Indian philosophy..
These schools were slightly/vastly different from each other. Apart from these, a few minor schools also emerged. Since in the Vedas the focal point is the human being, ultimately all schools converged to similar conclusion for the welfare of mankind. These six schools are popularly known as Sad Darshana or six visions of the Universe, Nature and God. There is pantheism in one school where God is world and the world is God, pure idealism and monism where only God is real and Prakrti and cosmos are Maya- an illusion of comfort and place of misery and pain. Dualists found both God and Prakrti as real and eternal and others found Prakrti passing through a phase of creation and withdrawal after a long period of billions of years. If one school did not find any God in Vedas, another came nearer to agnosticism. One Darshan relating to Yog Shastra did not feel the need of God in its metaphysics except as the first Preceptor. The pure agnostics found God as Adrista (unseen cosmic force). For some God is not a subject of Vedas or substance but only an Idea and they developed their metaphysics based on "not knowism."
Amongst these six schools, the most important for the liberal learned Hindus is the Advait Vedantism, both in its pure and objective form of idealism and monism. Badrayana and Shankracharya are the pure idealists where as Bhagavad Gita has mixed philosophy of objective monism, monotheism but in many verses and chapters there is dualism as well. Some learned persons have observed that a few chapters in Bhagavad Gita were added later on in different periods of time leading to some repetition in certain metaphysical concepts of gunas, their effects, personal and impersonal God, mahabhuta, mahatatva etc. There is only One Brahma and His one day and night each is equal to 1000 mahayugas. One mahayuga is over 4.3 millions of years and one day of the impersonal God is billions of years. This concept may be symbolic to show that He is eternal, whereas Prakrti and gross Brahamand- ever expanding Universe are not eternal. This concept moves towards gunmaye Maya– phantasmagoria based on primordial Matter of purity, activity and passivity. This path of knowledge is Sankhya Yogaand is quite distinct from Sankhya Darshan of Kapila rsi, is not meant for every individual. Bhagavad Gita's pure monism ends here and moves towards objective monism when both Nirguna and Saguna Brahma are described. Saguna Brahma becomes God with some human form and leads to incarnation of God as a human being due to His divine potency. This concept is meant for those on the Bhakti Yoga Marga- the path of devotion and worship of God with human form. As the gunas play vital role in the thoughts, conduct and behaviour of human beings, in Bhagavad Gita reference to many gods, spirits is also made. This didactic book also mentions about the real nature and characteristics of Prakrti. This is clear that Bhagavad Gita was written much after these Sad Darshana and its writer/s made their best efforts to reconcile the different philosophies of Six schools. This reconciliation has been done in so perfect a manner that even after about two thousand years, all Hindus find Bhagavad Gita as one of their most important scriptures. Many Hindus do not touch this celestial song without taking morning bath, washing hands and never keep this sacred book on the ground. They keep this book wrapped in a pure white or some times saffron or red coloured cloth, which is periodically washed and kept neat and clean.
For Sankracharya Prakrti has independent existence only as Maya or a cosmic illusion, which looks real to most of us in the stage of ignorance. Prakrti is not self-dynamic but functions entirely by the "Will" of God. His Will pervades everywhere in the form of His Spirit. Since the spirit of God is provided at His Will, it is also withdrawn as part of His Lila (cosmic Play). Prakrti has thus a cyclic order of Creation and Dissolution. Each such cycle lasts for an immense period. During Pralaya (dissolution) and Samhara (withdrawal) both Jiva and Prakrti go into latency in their substratum. Prakrti goes into substratum of three gunas viz.sattavic, rajasic and tamasic. Jiva (spirit) goes into shuddha or shuniya sattava i.e. beyond gunas. It is virtually merging with Brahma. In metaphysical expression, first, the mass from its gross form changes to subtle form and the cosmic energy originally created through the cosmic Word OM reverts to Brahma. In the Vedas Brahma and OM is the same. OM khamm Brahma that literally means OM thy name is Brahma.
The universe is evolved from God who is the material cause of this gross creation – not really but apparently. It is so as the entire universe is formed overShuniya or void and so it only appears as real, since shuniya is not visible to human eyes and also not perceived by the senses. However, in a stage of ignorance, nescience and when a person has only material and intellectual knowledge it appears as absolutely real. This relative reality of the gross world due to degree of one’s knowledge is due to Maya. The whole universe is but one ocean of matter with three subtle gunas and we are our selves little particles in this ocean. The immaterial soul and the subtle Nature with gross universe became manifested when they these are in conjunction. When spirit and matter are only together, the effect of gunas becomes cause of pain or pleasure, good or bad actions and virtuous or evil thoughts. Sankracharya recommended Yoga of knowledge through Vedic education and studies when we can separate body and soul at the stage of Turiya. It is no fault of the Creator that partiality exists in this universe in the social, physical, political, economic and religious fields. Clouds give water, Sun gives its light equally to all parts and places in any particular zone, but the soil, which is well prepared, takes full advantage of rainwater and sun-light (Bible- Mathew V-45). Vedic philosophy is for all but those not ready owing to their past and present karma, prejudices and being too much involved in the pursuit of money, power and false ego fail to get full benefits of this highest ethical, moral and social philosophy. Therefore, the partiality of God is only due to ignorance and avidya that is bereft of spiritual and divine knowledge.
To the mortals God is available only through His shabad Brahma OM. In the Vedas a large number of hymns either start with the cosmic Word OM or this Word comes in the middle or end to maintain a kind of poetical harmony. As earlier mentioned OM is the cosmic Word that led to the creation of this universe. Whenever this word OM is chanted in temples, religious gatherings (sat sangh) or in the assembly where yajna over holy fire is performed, the overall social atmosphere moves towards good and virtue and this atmosphere thus created leaves the effect on all those who attend these spiritual assemblies with devotion. For others such spiritual assemblies are only social gatherings. Vedas mention "OM khamm Brahma" i.e. OM thy name is Brahma. Each prayer, logic, philosophy, ethics and all concepts end in Brahma. This creates unity in diversity. All animate and inanimate life/things always move towards perfection so that they could merge in Brahma. Advait Vedantists therefore, advise acquire Vedic knowledge and move towards perfection, become supermen in all areas social, economics, political, religious and other fields. Prakrti helps you in this regard through her Book of Nature and once you acquire the real knowledge, it herself starts disappearing being a Maya or a shadow of God. Those who do not understand Prakrti and follow her laws -Rta, which are the cosmic laws of social and moral order can not move towards perfection and later towards Turiya when you can even communicate with your soul. According to Sankracharya, you become Brahma "Aham Brahma Asi"-I am Brahma.
However, qualified monists like Ramanajum firmly believe in Trinity of Iswara, Jiva and Prakrti. Iswara is saguna Brahma with finite attributes- personal God. All three are real, though God is only One, who is formless and ineffable. Thus belief in both impersonal and personal God is part of Ramanajum’s philosophy of qualified monism. Iswara and Brahma both are real. The philosophy of this school does lead to idol worship and Bhakti marga– the path of devotion. Prakrti and the universe are not cosmic illusion Maya but are qualifying and embodying-though God is real, eternal and all pervasive. This concept of trinity shifted the emphasis of Vedic metaphysics towards theology. After a few decades of Ramanajum and Vallabh, during the periods of Madhava and Nimbarka, theology and metaphysics virtually became one. Thus, the organised Hindu religion got sufficient support of Vedas and thereafter the growth of Hindu temples with idols continued unabated. This qualified monism led to even “theological idealism.” It is apparent that Vedantism whether Advaita- pure or qualified monism or Dvait,had metaphysicists who were pure, objective, qualified and even theological idealists.
By the time of medieval ages, Madhavacharya and others moved towards complete dualism. They talked of independent Reality (svatantra) and dependent reality (paratantra) and referred to only One God as svatantra, Soul, Prakrti and primordial matter of gunas as dependent reality. Madhavachrya’s philosophy was aimed at putting theology on a higher pedestal through Vedic logic, epistemology, ontology and ethics. In this effort, he continued to maintain materialism bereft of theology as ignorance. For him Visnu was Iswara and his consort Lakshmi had the power to control destiny of soul and other modifications of Prakrti. Like Visnu she is also all pervading, has no material form but can manifest in infinite forms. Visnu bestowed on her all his cosmic energy. Thus Lakshmi of Madhavacharya was "Shakti" akin to Vedic Prakrti. This created a drift in the Vedic metaphysics. The Vedic epithets became names of deities, formles God and devas / deviswere given human form and lower deities as Iswaras multiplied in numbers replacing formless and ineffable Vedic Brahma. This concept led to a large number of female goddesses in charge of power, energy and strength in the Nature. The importance of Vedic beings of light i.e. Prakrti devas of power, energy etc., like Indra,Varun, Mitra considerably lost their importance. Durga, Kali, Amba, Ma,Vaishno devi not only became as Shakti but also divine goddesses with form and attributes. The philosophical Vedic Dharma started losing its spiritual science to theology of pluralism and Vedic metaphysics lost its importance acquired during Sankracharya's time.
An effort was made to revive the same in the 19th and early 20th centuries by Swami Dayanand, Rama krishna, Vivekananda, and others and the success was only partial as idol worship had penetrated too deep in Hindu psychosis. At present Rama krishna mission and Arya Samajists are making some efforts to revive the same but owing to considerable aberrations in Hindu organised religion the impact is not being felt much. Both Arya Samajists and followers of Vivekananda are not able to completely isolate theology from Vedic metaphysics. Sankracharya had already cautioned," keep away from theology at its metaphysical level, which he described as "parmarthika". In theology all metaphysical concepts, deities, rituals, yajnas are linked to God. Prakrti loses her Vedic significance. Thus, all devas and devis of Prakrti become divine. Though these devas and devis are formless beings of light, in theology, they become gods and goddesses with human form and their association with Nature virtually disappears. In Hindu religious prayers, bhajans (songs in praise of God) and discourses God is described as Father, Mother, Brother, Friend, Guide, Saviour, Master and virtually every thing. He is born with His divine potency as a human being and other thousands of minor and major deities; gods and goddesses were also born as human beings in different periods. Now hardly any Hindu considers Prakrti as supreme mother Aditi and earth as benign mother Prithvi devi.
After this advaita and dvaita School of Indian philosophy, the philosophical school of Sankhya darshana of Kapila rsi is of great importance to many learned persons. It is more of agnosticism than atheism as some of the individuals consider. The main philosophy is that we may not admit God to explain this world, as Prakrti is an adequate material and efficient cause of the universe as a whole. Kapila rsi did not emphasise much on the non-existence of God and held that both supreme Purusa (Parmatma) and Prakrti are two ultimate realities. The stage before creation of the gross universe was Avaykta. Prakrti always existed with her three gunas of purity, activity and passivity, being the modes of Nature. During the stage of avaykta, owing to movement of subtle gunas and their intermingling, balance got disturbed, gross elements with different proportion of gunas emerged, and when their atoms joined universe was created. Kapila rsidid not bring the role of God in this creation and emphasised only the role of Prakrti as the material and efficient cause of all kinds of gross creation, though she herself is subtle. Kapila rsi did not consider necessary to explain the metaphysical concept of shabad Brhama OM , the cosmic golden Egg "Hiranya Garbha" in the creation of Prakrti herself except some supreme unseen power (adrista) created and thereafter She is eternal. This intermingling of gunas continues in Prakrti that are real cause of periodical withdrawal and emergence after an abnormally long period.
Thus in Sankhya darshana Prakrti being eternal, Sristi and Pralaya are not creation and destruction but emergence and withdrawal. The subtle gunas remain all the time during the stage of avaykta and their balance gets disturbed. Even the four-celestail periods Krita, Treta, Dwapar and Kali Yugas are also due to certain proportion of gunas. In the golden period of Krita yuga sattavic gunas of purity, truth, transparency and virtue have the predominance and in the fourth Dark or Iron age of Kali yuga, tamasic gunas of impurity, passivity, stupor become predominant and these create imbalance when Pralaya or withdrawal and not dissolution occurs. Thus, in all the four celestial periods gross matter i.e. universe, world, animate and inanimate life/things are affected. Even the flux noticed in the human beings, world, universe is also due to ever intermingling of gunas. Human personality changes whenever predominance of any particular kind of these three gunas occurs. The ancient scriptures refer to many cases when individuals with gunas of impurity, passivity and untruthfulness developed more sattvic gunas of truthfulness and virtue and became maharsis – great seers and metaphysicists. But in the more recent period of guru Nanak, a dreaded dacoit Sajjandaku when came in contact with guru Nanak left all his negative instincts of murder, dacoity, torture and steadily sattavic gunas predominated in his gross body. In this flux, his personality entirely changed. He even built first temple of guru Nanak as "guru dwara"– the gate through which guru entered and resided. Examples of such a change in personality due to flux caused by gunas are many in other religions of the world.
The highest manifestation of Prakrti is Mahat or universal intelligence of which human intelligence is a part. Prakrti gives complete knowledge through her Book of Nature and helps you in attaining "self realisation". Sankhya darshan did believe in soul as the real self and considered it as purusa but did not emphasise it as a particle of God and its divine aspect. While Prakrti is single, subtle and material, purusa is plural and spiritual. In Sankhya darshan divine and spiritual knowledge is one and the same as divinity beyond soul and Prakrti is not acknowledged or rejected. Souls are plural as these are different in their knowledge in different human beings and are finite.
There is an important metaphysical expression of this school "a sateh sajayete kutas" -how can entity be created or produced out of non-entity? This is explained by accepting Prakrti as eternal along with all other gross and material objects created by Prakrti. While in the philosophy of Advaita Vedanta of Sankracharya, Brahma is the only subject and all other metaphysical concepts are objects, in Sankhya darshan Prakrti is also the subject. Only knowledge of Prakrti and the universe i.e material and spiritual knowledge of matter and spirit is true and perfect knowledge. Prakrti and universe are considered as two distinct and mutually exclusive principles.
Rig Veda 1-XXX-16 says," eternal cause of the universe is the primordial matter which always existed". This hymn largely supports the philosophy of Sankhya darshana and its metaphysics as in this hymn there is no room for any deity or supreme deity. Thus, the study of Vedas as a whole and in parts does lead to different interpretations and even vastly different understanding. In some of the schools God may or may not be the focal point, the human being and his welfare remain the main concern of all these darshans. It is for this reason that in Sankhya darshan three kinds of miseries and pains viz. adhyatamic, adhibhutic and adhidaivic as earlier mentioned in this chapter are linked to lack of knowledge of Prakrti, purusa and stern law of karma i.e. as you sow, so shall you reap owing to your good or bad actions.
Many Hindu mythological figures and deities symbolise the original tendency set up in Sankhya darshan to identify Prakrti as female principle and Purusa as contemplative and inactive male principle. Purusa is not only in human beings but also in Prakrti. These two cannot easily get along without each other. For many Hindu priests Sankhya darshan led to a large number of lower deities, as Shiva- Parvati where Shiva is purusa and Parvati is Shakti or Prakrti. Somewhat similar phenomenon can also be observed in the Western metaphysics where Nature is the efficient and material cause of the universe. In Latin deities like Potentie and Actus refer to the divine Nature and in Chinese metaphysics Teh as cosmic power of Tao akin to Vedic Shakti appeared.
The other darshan was Mimamsa of Jaimini rsi who gave far more importance to Prakrti, her formless 33 devas and their worship though rituals and ceremonies. Followers of Mimamsa darshan gave human form to Indra, Varun, Agni, Prithvi, Surya and others. They virtually gave no importance to Vedic formless and ineffable Brahma and for this reason many learned persons consider Mimamsa darshan as the philosophy of atheism. Steadily Prakrti also loses her importance as many devas / devis and their worship through idols and rituals is path for attaining Moksha. According to this school, the objects in this world are formed out of ever existing matter in accordance with karma of the soul. Law of karma is eternal and moral law, which rules the world.
The philosophy of Yog darshan is found in Patanjli's Yog Shastra. While basing his metaphysics on the Vedas, he limits the role of Brahma to only as the first Preceptor. As a preceptor, God only helps in easy and early understanding of Yogas and for attaining the state of Kaivalya. It is the stage of super consciousness when you can communicate with your soul. Beyond that, God has no role to perform. Prakrti with her subtle atoms and particles (kanu and tanmatras) can be seen through yogas. Patanjali’s Yoga darshan is more a philosophy than physical exercises. Later followers of Yoga darshan observed the activities, movements and agility of birds and developed most of the physical exercises based on the postures of birds and attributed to seer Patnajali. However, the fact remains that Patanjali's Yog shastra is a treatise on philosophy and metaphysics and not a book of physical exercises. The stage of Kaivalya or self-realisation mentioned there in cannot be achieved through physical exercises developed by his followers later on.
In Nyaya Darshna of Gautam rsi, God is divine Will, divine Desire, immanent, omniscient but formless. He produces movement in animate and inanimate life through atoms, which are not inert but have life in the form of God's spirit. God produces motion in atoms by His Will and to fulfil God's Desire these atoms combine to form universe, world and the entire animate and inanimate life. The subtle atoms and particles (tanmatras) form Prakrti. The foundation of Prakrti is laid by the Unmoved Mover as His Lila (cosmic play). The creation and dissolution of the entire universe starts with His Will. The philosophy of Nyaya Darshan is more like Advaita Vedantism but the emphasis is more on atoms and not subtle gunas. Almost similar is Nyaya Visheshika, which explains Prakrti more as a physical science of atoms than divine creation. The origin of the universe is due to combination of atoms and molecules. There is no indication that the metaphysicists of this school noticed some sub atomic particles, as the atom was the smallest particle and building block of the universe. However, unlike Newton they observed some life in these gross atoms. Kanada Rsi of this school of philosophy also observed that God did not create atoms but these were co-eternal with Him. The power that comes for combining atoms is from God. It is this cosmic power which makes aggregate of atoms-similar in the case of elements (bhuta) and different in alloys (combination of bhuta). Ether and air (akash and vayu) are two main mahabhuta, which help in the formation of alloys.
Ether, Time, Space, soul (atman) and mind are eternal substances of Nature. This darshan thus combines soul and spirit into one and the same comes through Nature. Man is therefore, a social animal and not divine. There are nine eternal substances of Nature and they refer to these substances as "Dravya". These arePrithvi (earth), Jala (water), Teja(fire), Vayu (air), Akash (ether), Time (kala), Space (dis) , Soul (atman) and Mind (manas). The first four are atomic in character, perceivable and can be inferred. Motion in these is due to unseen agency (Adrista), which resides in human beings as well. For them atman or soul is part of Prakrti and not a particle of God. It is mainly due to atom being the smallest. Thus, they do not consider sub atomic particles either gross or subtle. God as Adrista and as Iswara, created Prakrti and universe by His divine Will out of ever existing atoms. There after Prakrti created 9 substances as dravya, gross universe and world were formed. This school also believes in karma theory, rebirth and Sristi and Parlaya of the universe and not Prakrti.
Thus, all these schools consider Vedas the source of their metaphysics and these shruti are infallible. However, sad darshana interpret Vedas differently while aiming at the welfare of mankind all the time. Concepts like, good, virtue, social welfare, ideal society, laws of necessity, enlightened liberalism, avoidance of corruption and evil are common in their philosophies. Apart from these metaphysical concepts like theory of karma, rebirth, transmigration of soul, liberation or salvation, sristi and pralaya are largely common in these. However, on the concept of worship, meditation, number of deities and gods, rituals and ceremonies some differences are there, apart from the role of God and Prakrti. Broadly, one can infer that variations are in the means and not ends. Even concerning the means, none of these schools advise blind faith, unscientific outlook, mumbo jumbo of meaningless rituals, institution of gurudom as it exists now amongst the Hindus etc. Though Hindu religion still retains its roots in the Vedas, yet the numerous aberrations which now exist in this religion make many outsiders particularly, those in the West and in the North American continent, feel that it is the most unscientific, ritualistic religion based on pluralism, animism and even animatism. I happened to see a videocassette on Hindu religion titled "330 millions gods" in Los Angeles during the last week of April 1997. Since it was filmed in India and covers certain Hindu rituals, mode of worship, scenes at many places considered sacred by Hindus like Haridwar, Rishikesh,Varanasi, Allahabad and other places, its authenticity can not be challenged. However, perhaps deliberately the metaphysically side of Hindu religion was ignored. The aim was obvious to show Hindu religion as decaying religion, overlooking the fact that even the worst aberrations which happened during Charvakas days of ancient India were corrected, through Vedic philosophy by Sankracharya. Even later periods Ramanajum, Vallabh, Nanak, Kabir, Rai Das, Dayananda,Vivekananda and many others tried to correct the same. However, under the vehement effect of Maya, prevailing naked materialism and wide spread material and intellectual knowledge the Vedic metaphysics is not penetrating in Hindu religion. .
Apart from these six schools of Indian philosophy, there were a few minor but quite important schools like bheda bheda (difference in identity) and shuniyavada– philosophy of void etc. The cosmic energy of God is in shuniya (void), in all-animate and inanimate life. The entire gross universe is formed over this void. The tiny atoms and still tinier particles have the spirit of God in the subtle void (shuniya). Thus, the entire world and universe formed over void by the infinite number of building blocks i.e. atoms. It is therefore, a phenomenal world of Maya or phantasmagoria. However, this world is not "Tuchh” or non-existent like the shadow of a person, tree or hill.
Buddhism and Jainism also gave their metaphysical views on Prakrti after the transcendental research by their founders but not based on Vedas. The dreaded Charvakas who had known Vedic metaphysics and not only criticised Vedas but even used abusive language for the Vedic seers and sages. Their materialistic philosophy clashed with divine and spiritual knowledge contained in Vedas. For them the Nature, universe and the world are all gross. Whatever, the human senses cannot see, perceive or visualize do not exist.
In the Vedic metaphysics Time and Space are not part of Prakrti as observed by some schools of Indian philosophy. However, some of the sages of yore and ancients savants described Time and Space as Dravya or substance of Prakrti. A number of hymns in Rig-Veda volume1 suktam 164 relate to the description of Time. We may first see what Rig-Veda says about Time. Kala (time) is twelve-spoked wheel that revolves around the sun and it does not decay. It is endless and all pervading. There are 720 elements of matter born of the Time Eternal cause. A person should go on studying and acquire the knowledge of all these 720 elements. Time is protector of all like father. It has five legs known as kshana (a twinkle of eye equal to one second), mahurat (a moment- a period of 48 minutes), divas (day), prahar (three hours i.e.1/8th of day and night), paksha (fortnight). Its twelve spokes are 12 months and six circumferences as six seasons. Time is wonderful, eternal and infinite. It is the Time on which creation, sustenance and dissolution of the universe is set. All space planets, stars and five main elements abide in this five-spoked revolving wheel of Time. Its heavily loaded axle is never rusted and never heated. It has no wear and tear though it is heavily laden. Its center lies in the God and so it moves continuously. A learned person should get the knowledge of Time (kala) most accurately. Since the Time lives in God, it is beyond gunas and so it exists in void.
In Prakrti there are three "ashudha gunas" or impure primordial matter. These three gunas of purity, activity and passivity always tend to inter mix. Even thesattavic guna of purity is ashudha (impure) as it alone cannot exist and two other gunas in some minor or major proportions are invariably inter mixed in this. However, the predominant would be only sattavic guna. Beyond Prakrti are two-shuniya sattava and shuddha sattva and these two exist in void along with the spirit of God. Shuddha sattava helps the individuals in self-realisation only when a person goes beyond three gunas of purity, activity and passivity. Shuniya sattava is Time (Kala). Time therefore, resides in God. It is His glory (Vibhuti). Time regulates the entire Creation and Dissolution process of Prakrti and controls four divine celestial periods of Krita, Treta, Dwapar and Kali yugas. It is non-material and spiritual stuff. Being shuddha sattva itself, it can not even take the soul covered with three impure gunas owing to effect of good or bad actions towards other seven nobler and divine communities of Karma devas,devas, pitries, angels etc., on the way to attaining Moksha for reaching Vaikuntha– the abode of God. These other seven communities beyond human beings and Vaikuntha or Brahmalok are not part of Prakrti. Yajur Veda 26-1, 2 refers to 8th community of human beings on this earth. The other seven communities form celestial hierarchy. Time itself is never created or dissolved like Prakrti, universe, all animate and inanimate life. It is Eternal (akshram) while God is Great Eternal (Mahad akshram). Time is also non atomic and ubiquitous. There is no place and space (subtle or gross), where it does not exist.
The above description of Time in Rig Veda greatly resembles to the metaphysical concept mentioned in the Nyaya Vaisheshika School of Indian philosophy. Being a-priori, human beings cannot perceive it but like ether can infer it. It is not a substance or entity. Even human inference owing to effect of impure gunasis only limited. Human gross body cannot infer how many cycles of Creation and Dissolution have already passed. During pain, sorrow, misery time looks longer and during pleasure, sensual enjoyments etc., it looks shorter. Since Time has no beginning and is endless, so it resides in God and Prakrti. Both God and Time are eternal. It is shorter than kshan i.e. less than a second like atomic time, mahurat a moment, Prahar (three hours approximately), divas (a day), paksha (fort night) etc. (R.V 1-164- 12). Mahurat is about 48 minutes. However, Time is infinite. There is a mention of Time in the mythological epics and also Bhagavad Gita, " Oh, best of sages 15 twinkling of eyes make a kshta, 30 kshtas make one kala, three kalas are one mahurat (about 48 minutes), 30 mahurts are a day and night (divas), 30 divas are one month divided into two halves. Six months is ayana– the progress of Sun towards North or South of ecliptic. Two suchayanas make a year. If southern ayana is night, northern ayana is a day of gods (devas). One complete year of two ayanas make one divas of devas which is equal to 360 days of human beings. 12000 divine years i.e. 12000 X 360 is the period of four yugas that is one cycle of Sristi and Pralaya. One cycle of Creation and Dissolution is 4.32 million years. This is the same period as mentioned in Vedas and Bhagavad Gita. One "DAY" of Brahma who is Mahad akshram –the Great Eternal is 1000 X4.32 millions years and one Night of Brahma is also of the same duration. Thus one Day and Night of Brahma is 8.64 X 1000 millions years. These calculations of Time continue even beyond 311 trillions of years. Whatever, may be the significance of these numbers, it atleast shows that the ancient seers and sages had knowledge of mathematics to a large extent and knew not only the calculations beyond trillions but were aware of the concept of infinity.
Time is all pervasive in the Universe. All five main elements (mahabhutas) abide in the revolving wheel of Time. Its heavily loaded axle is never heated, has no wear and tear as it has God as its support in the axle (R.V.1-164-13). The divine reality is that the entire gamut of the movement is controlled by Time, which is all pervading (R.V.1-164-14). Time has created 720 elements (bhutas) in the universe which are born of five Mahabhutas i.e. three gross and two alloys air and ether. These mahabhutas are eternal for a few schools of Indian philosophy but perishable during Sristi and Pralaya for others. For Advait Vedantists these are real only in the stage of ignorance when the effect of Maya is the most vehement. Past, present and future, late, early, soon etc., are all due to Time. Kala is protector like the supreme Father. It is Lord's divine instrument of Creation, Sustenance and Dissolution. Change of a particle to atom to conglomeration of atoms is due to Time (Kala). So, calculate Time from parmanu kala– atomic time. The atomic time is the time taken by the Sunray to pass one gross atom. It is less than a millionth of a second. It is not an empirical concept. Human experience can give distortion in the concept and duration of time. It is therefore, a-priori. No phenomenon can be perceived without time. Immanuel Kant had even observed, “Different times are part of the same time.” From experience infinity of time, beginning, end, minimum and maximum duration can not be known being a transcendental reality. However, it is not an absolute reality as the same is only Supreme Brahma. It only resides in Brahma but not Brahma itself. During creation and dissolution of Parkrti and the universe, it does not get dissolved.
Space (Vedic Dis)
Space is also beyond Prakrti and resides in Him. It covers Brahmalok or Vaikuntha,all other worlds where seven nobler communities live and also this phenomenal world of the human beings. Being a-priori, you cannot perceive Space through your senses its magnitude, characteristics and eternity. It is only an external reality like ether and is non atomic, unitary, ubiquitous, not perceivable but inferable. According to Nyaya Visheshika darshan it can produce determinate cognition of directions i.e. East, West, North and South. All spaces are part of this One and Unitary Space (dis). Thus the space of the ever expanding gross universe (Brahamand), subtle Prakrti and what ever we can visualise based on degree of knowledge is part of the infinite and eternal Space. Prakrti space is finite and the eternal Space is One. The ashvinaus (scientists), savants and philosophers see its different dimensions owing to their different degree of material, spiritual and divine knowledge. To a child space is small, to a student it is bigger and to a scientist it is very large and expanding and to a metaphysicists like Sankracharya it is infinite, eternal and not part of Maya while the space of universe is illusionary but looks real to our senses. In the Vedas 3/4th, part of the Space is beyond human perception through our senses but known to our Jivatma – the manifested soul (R.V 1-131-1 and VI-47-8). This division into 1/4th and 3/4th of the Space is perhaps symbolic to show magnitude of Dis and limited size and dimensions of gross Universe and subtle Prakrti. In the Vedas, even Shuniya or Void is part of One eternal Space.
If we go strictly by the philosophy of Advaita Vedantism and pure idealists like Immanuel Kant, one will find all a-priori principles relating to truth, transparency, humility, selfless service and cosmic laws of social and moral order and others are beyond Time and Space. Since human body is subject to birth, decay and death, so such a-priori principles human body and its senses, sense organs, etani- the outward looking mind can not explain. On the contrary these gross objects very often corrupt a-priori principles and laws of God or Vedic Rta. But the fact remains human body, brain, etani still come to know of these without any physical experience, thus proving there by that some thing eternal and even beyond Time and Space exists in our body as our "philosopher, guide and friend". Some Hindu scriptures including Bhagavad Gita and Upanishads refer to God living in our heart and some Vedic hymns mention this as particle of Paramatma(God) in our gross body as manifested soul living in our heart but in the subtlest of the subtle part of the body. Thus whatever moral, ethical, material, scientific, religious and other facts or truths we come to know from the outer world, these are a-postriori principles of non permanent value. It is for this reason that a large number of impure truths are parading as the pure truths, while these contradict each other in the same family, society and in the entire world. These are all a-postriori principles. Thus, Time and Space decide both these principles. Like Atma and Rta, Kala and Dis are also divine.
All movements are in Space regulated by Time. Both these work in harmony. Time contributes to succession and Space to juxtaposition. These two categories in the Vedas are as important as soul, spirit, gunas, Prakrti and other metaphysical concepts. Madhvacharya based on study of Vedas goes in details about Time and Space. He found two kind of Space- Avyakrt Akasa – the uncreated eternal and unmodified space and Akasa forming one of the five mahabhutas of Prakrti. The former i.e. Avyakrt Akasa and Time (kala) are coeval with Brahma, Prakrti and Spirit. As earlier mentioned in this chapter that Madhvacharya was a dualist who found Prakrti also as eternal. Shuniya vadins even go the extent that Prakrti lives in Time and Space and these two categories live in God being His vibhuti(glory).
Those who understand Vedic concept of Prakrti can never be violent in thoughts and actions against divine Nature. They not only stop violence against Nature themselves but guide their children, friends and members of society also to this effect. While various metaphysicists, seers, savants may form and postulate different ideas and philosophies about Nature, but all of them come to certain common conclusions like follow the laws of Nature, create material and spiritual welfare in society with minimum consumption of matter. There is an optimal consumption while following path of Vedic moderation, beyond which it is vulgar display of wealth and violence against Prakrti. Knower of Vedic Prakrti would invariably emphasise the need for right livelihood for self and others.
Albert Einstien wrote in his treatise on Peace," research should be towards peace, non violence and not a warfare against Nature." Keynes economics and the maxims like every thing is fair in war and business are now obscuring reason even of the highly learned and intellectual persons. Economic ills are now competing with physical and mental diseases for the top slot. Diseases like affluenza are fast spreading for which now cure is only Vedic metaphysics or similar knowledge in other scriptures of major religions of the world which have faced all kinds of criticism, censure and even passed through welfare and perverted forms of governments, open and closed societies and still withstood the test of time. Even the highly ethical metaphysics of Socrates, Plato, Mencius, Augustine, Acquinas, Sankrachraya and others can also help. The individuals on the path of pursuit of matter, money, power and getting inflicted with the ever increasing economic diseases are perhaps overlooking that all human beings are the children of same supreme Mother Prakrti, so any effort to become master of divine Nature is bound to misfire. She is after all the manifestation of God and His cosmic power as Shakti. Human beings though the lowest of other seven divine Communities are still the highest creatures on this earth and are required to look after all other animate and inanimate life and not to tyrannies, ruin or exterminate them. It is their noble obligation as only they possess divinity through the particle of God and are associated with all others through His Spirit. The distorted and selfish interpretation of modern economics has made the earth as quarry and divine Nature as an object of exploitation. It is now a major question whether to live against or in harmony with the Nature. Only Vedic metaphysics has the answer to harmonise soul and body as well as spirit and matter and getting integrated with Nature for living a satisfying and purposeful life.
The various civilizations and culture of the ancient, medieval and modern times do tell us that the destinies of this beautiful globe of the Nature – the mother earth had been some times brilliant and other times obscure. A large number of individuals had been milching this divine milch cow of Atharva Veda- the divine earth and trying to make it dry. Nevertheless, the present speed of milching it dry under the influence of modern economics had never happened under any civilisation, benevolent or dictatorial governments and states. The need to understand, appreciate and follow the hymns relating to peace everywhere or VedicShanti Path (prayer for peace) has now become paramount. It may be useful to chant, recite or meditate on these hymns repeatedly in the morning, evening and night prayers just like the mother hymn Gayatri mantra of the Vedas. This hymn in the Vedas is a prayer to God to provide us His divine knowledge all the times, even during sleep and dreams. Shanti Path hymns say that there should be peace, no violence, no pollution in the air, water, ether, forests, all kind of vegetation, animals, human beings in their thoughts and actions and virtually in all things and objects on this earth. Need to modify from the ancient Charvakas type of economics to development or meta-economics contained in Vedas, Buddhist metaphysics or Gandhian philosophy need hardly any emphasis. Any commercial or economic principle bereft of spirituality could be discarded. The various economic theories should lead to production of wealth for society and not for the individual except what he/she gets as social reward and earns wealth within the noble principle of moderation.
The message of Vedic Prakrti is very clear and loud that we are all in this world to fulfil the noble and divine mission of God who is our supreme Father. To achieve this supreme mother Prakrti brings us here, nourishes us and guides us. Vedas nowhere say that God brought us here. The Savitar deva brought us here. Savitar deva is one of the 33 devas/devis of Prakrti who provide us energy, knowledge and light as Suriya (formless being of light representing Sun). Prakrti provides senses and sense organs duly energised by the spirit of God. Only the soul in our body as Jivatma is directly from the God as divine spark or light. The pure soul illumines in our body all the time and its light starts getting dim with the accumulation of tamasic subtle gunas of impurity, stupor and inactivity. Fulfilling the mission of our supreme Father is the main aim of our life. Follow the divine message conveyed by Prakrti and also by the benign mother earth through their selfless functioning on the principle of Idd Nan Mmam, along with Vedic Rta, Dharma, scientific rituals by avoiding all kinds of blind faith, meaningless of rituals, proxy and also ostentatious worship of innumerable deities and mumbo jumbo of ceremonies. Even Prakrti performs her role and functioning within the mission of God. By deviating, we create social, moral, filial and even physical, environmental and economic disorder. This message is not contained in the Vedas alone but the Existentialists of the 20th century have also said that reduce your requirements and lead a simple life. Leading a simple life is certainly not life negation but life confirmation and also our noble obligation. The Greek Stoics of yore, Confucius, Mencius, Chou Li of the Chinese philosophy of good and virtuous living, Sufis of the middle ages and many others emphasised need based living by avoiding all kinds of material excesses, opulence and even deficiencies like poverty. Plato while emphasising golden mean and economic disparities to be limited between 1: 16 for an ideal state also added life of virtue, beauty and goodness conforming to his theory of Forms and Ideas to bring order in chaotic and disorderly life. Pure idealists Sankracharya, Immanuel Kant and even certain parts of celestial song Bhagavad Gita had mentioned that doing duty against your noble "Will" provided by Prakrti is not freedom. Live unfettered life by following laws of God, performing selfless service, acquiring knowledge of God, soul, Prakrti and matter. Cross the mire of delusion by steadfastness, firmness in thoughts, meditation and action (B.G II -52,53). Think always of maintaining world order and go beyond gunas when a clod of stone and a piece of gold appear to be of the same value (B.G 3-20 and VI-8). Become God realised soul by acquiring self-realisation. "Know thy self" and avoid rebirth in the impious families by following the path of knowledge, selfless work or nishkam karma along with pure and simple worship of God without ostentation, proxy and for social recognition (B.G VI-41 to 44).
Know your benign mother earth and as a loving child of her's you tickle it with a hoe, see how she laughs thereafter with plenty of fruits, flowers and other harvests enough for you, other human beings and even for animals and birds. Kill the Satan in you in the form of desire (holy Koran 4-118-120). This Satan is your eternal enemy who misleads you and makes you deface the fair Nature created by God. Create social organizations in the world based on Rta and Satya, so that we look on each other with friendly eye (Y.V 36-18) for creating concord with our people, with foreigners and Nature. We do not fight with divine spirit (R.V X-191-2, A.V. 30- 4, R.V X-72-6). Let us all pass on this spirit to our children. Rudra deva “ May we transplant our selves with this knowledge in our children and become immortal through them (R.V II-33-1 and 5- 4-10 ).