The Mahabharata Home
"Yajnavalkya said, Listen to me, O foremost of men, as I tell thee what the duration of time is in respect to the Unmanifest (or the Supreme Purusha). Ten thousand Kalpas are said to constitute a single day of his. The duration of his night is equal. When his night expires, he awakes, O monarch, and first creates herbs and plants which constitute the sustenance of all embodied creatures. He then creates Brahman who springs from a golden egg. That Brahman is the form of all created things, as has been heard by us. Having dwelt for one whole year within that egg, the great ascetic Brahman, called also Prajapati (Lord of all creatures), came out of it and created the whole Earth, and the Heaven above. The Lord then, it is read in the Vedas, O king, placed the sky between Heaven and Earth separated from each other. Seven thousand and five hundred Kalpas measure the day of Brahman. Persons conversant with the science of Adhyatma say that his night also is of an equal duration. Brahmana, called Mahan, then creates Consciousness called Bhuta and endued with excellent essence. 1 Before creating any physical bodies out of the ingredients called the Great elements, Mahan or Brahma, endued with penances, created four others called his sons. They are the sires of the original sires, O Best of kings, as heard by us. 2 It hath been also heard by us, O monarch that the senses (of knowledge) along with the four inner faculties, have sprung from the (five Great elements called) Pitris, and that the entire universe of mobile and immobile Beings has been filled with those Great
elements. 1 The puissant Consciousness created the five Bhutas. These are Earth, Wind, Space, Water, and Light numbering the fifth. This Consciousness (who is a Great Being and) from whom springs the third creating, has five thousand Kalpas for his night, and his day is of equal duration. Sound, Touch, Form, Taste, and Scent,--these five are called Visesha. They inhere into the five great Bhutas. All creatures, O king, incessantly pervaded by these five, desire one another's companionship, become subservient to one another; and challenging one another, transcend one another; and led by those immutable and seductive principles, creatures kill one another and wander in this world entering into numerous orders of Being. 2 Three thousands of Kalpas represent the duration of their day. The measure of their night also is the same. 3 The Mind roveth over all things, O king, led on by the Senses. The Senses do not perceive anything. It is the Mind that perceives through them. The Eye sees forms when aided by the Mind but never by itself. When the Mind is distracted, the Eye fails to perceive with even the objects fully before it. It is commonly said that the Senses perceive. This is not true, for it is the Mind that perceives through the Senses. When the cessation takes place of the activity of the Mind, the cessation of the activity of the Senses follows. That is the cessation of the activity of the Senses which is the cessation of the activity of the Mind. One should thus regard the Senses to be under the domination of the Mind. Indeed, the Mind is said to be the Lord of all the Senses. O thou of great fame, these are all the twenty Bhutas in the Universe.'"
36:1 Rishi here means Mahan or Great. Consciousness is said to have an excellent essence, and is also a Bhuta because of its capacity to produce the Great Bhutas, five in number.
36:2 These, the commentator explains, are Mind, Buddhi or Understanding Consciousness, and Chitwa, considered as Vyashti instead of as Samashthi. These are the sires of the primeval sires, i.e., from these sprung the Mahabhutas or Great creatures (viz., the five primal elements).
37:1 Devah's is explained by the commentator as meaning the Senses and the four inner faculties. Devaih he thinks, refers to the Bhutas or Great elements. Literally rendered, the verse would read as 'the Devas are the Children of the Pitris; with the Devas, all the worlds of Mobile Being have been covered.' It is not safe to reject the learned commentator.
37:2 These two verses refer to the power of the attributes of sound etc., over Jiva. Loves and hates, and all kinds of relationship of Jiva are due to the action of the attributes named.
37:3 The duration here given has reference to the day and the night of the Mahabhutas.
Next: Section CCCXIII