PanchiKarana and the Pancha Bootas

At the end of the last post, we saw how the basic 24 elements came into existence. We also saw that each Pancha Bhoota or Gross Element is just associated with its own Subtle element or Tanmatra and how it is not so in actuality. Now let us see what happens to bring the gross elements to the current state they are in.

Panchikarana is what happens. Lord Vishnu first takes Ether and divides it into 2 halves. He takes one half, divides it into 4 equal quarters and shares them each with the other 4 elements. He does the same to all the 5 gross elements. At the end of this process, all elements are a mixture of 50% of itself and 12.5% of the other 4 elements.

The Creation that happens till this point of time is called Samashti Creation (Creation done by the Supreme Being himself).  At the end of the Samashti Creation, there are millions of eggs or Andams floating in the cosmos. As seen in our very first post, Each of this Andam contains 14 lokas – Satya, Tapa, Jana, Mahar, Svar, Bhuvar, Bhur Lokas at the top  and Atala, Vitala, Sutala, Talatala, Mahatala, Rasatala and Patala Lokas under the ground. It is also covered on the exterior by seven natural envelopes – Water, Fire, Air and Ether- in the same order-followed by Ahankara, Mahat and finally by the Indiscrete Principle. Each layer is ten-fold than the previous one.

Inside each such Egg, all the worlds that would be created, are in an embryonic state. Our world contains Mountains, Rivers, Land, Ocean etc… The egg also contains, Asuras, Devas, Humans and all other living things.

The Supreme Being then appoints one very pure Soul (Atman) as Brahma of each Andam.  He then becomes the Antharyami  (or the Inner God) of Brahma and starts Vyashti Srishti. Brahma goes on to create Asuras, Devas, Rakshasas, Yakshas, Gandharvas, Plants and animals, basically everything that lives and is a part of our Lokas. Detailed description of how Brahma achieves the progeny is given in our ancient scriptures like Vishnu Purana and Srimad Bhagavatam. (by the way, Asuras are different from Rakshas. We tend to mix them up in our stories. A topic for another post may be)

The very first creation at the start of the new Brahma’s first day is called Sarga. The creation that happens after every dissolution or pralaya is called Prati-Sarga.

Now that we have seen Dissolution and Creation, it is time to get into the original goal of this blog – bringing out interesting and not so frequently heard stories from our scriptures. I thought I will start with Varaha Avatar (although this is an oft repeated story, there are some misconceptions which I would like to do something about).

Until we see Mr Varaha…

Naimittika or Occasional Dissolution

In the last post, we saw about the 2 types of dissolutions- Nitya and Atyantika Pralayams- that are closest to us (relatively at least). In this post, let us gain some knowledge about the first 2 types.

Naimittika Pralay.

A thousand cycles of the Chathur Yuga (4.32 million solar years) or the 4 Yugas is called a Kalpa. 14 Manus preside over this time period (approximately 71 chathur yugas each).  At the end of this, a Brahma’s day ends and He goes into sleep. The Brahma’s night is of the same duration as that of his day during which time, the Naimittika Pralayam happens.

At the end of thousand years, total dearth ensues and there is a severe shortage of food at first. Then the water dries up leaving all beings to perish. There is absolutely no water on Bhu Loka, Bhur Loka, Suvar Loka and on Patala loka as well. The Supreme Being takes the form of Rudra and comes down to bring together all creatures with himself. The seven rays of the Sun are split to form seven individual Suns.  The 3 lokas and the Patala are set on fire by these Suns.  First Patala is burnt, followed by Bhu Loka. The remnants of the upper 2 lokas move to the Mahar loka, the residents of which move to the next loka – Janaloka. After the fire that engulfed the entire Earth and its higher spheres is followed by heavy and incessant rain for 100 years during which the whole world is enveloped in darkness. The water reaches the world of the seven rishis and stops raising beyond that point. Then the clouds are dispersed away by the breadth of Vishnu. This wind blows for another 100 years. After all this, Brahma wakes from his nightly slumber and is ready to create the world again.

This is the intermediate dissolution that occurs at the end of each Kalpa. If we do our math, we can easily realize that we are not anywhere near the occurrence of the next Naimittika Pralaya. So, people who really thought the world would end in the near future can take solace from the fact that the next dissolution is slated after 500 Chathur Yugas (We are presided by the 7th Manu of Svetha Varaha Kalpa. There are 7 more Manus remaining with the combined life term of 500 Chathur Yugas-7 * 70 Chathur Yugas).  We should be focusing more on the Nitya and Avyantika Dissolutions instead and lead a life that will take us closer to our ultimate goal of liberation from the cycles of birth and death.

We will see about the Prakrita or Elemental dissolution in the next post.

Dissolution and Us

I ended the last post with some lingering questions about the first half of Brahma’s life and about the previous Manus. If you wonder what happened to them, Pralayam or Layam or dissolution – is what happened.

There are 4 types of Pralaya that is mentioned in our scriptures like Vishnu Puranam and Srimdad Bhagavatham. They are

  1. Prakritika or Elemental dissolution
  2. Naimittika or Occasional dissolution
  3. Atyantika or Absolute or Ultimate
  4. Nithya or Perpetual

In this post, let us see about the last 2. I will take a bottom up approach and start with Nithya Pralayam.

Nitya Pralayam – is the constant and perpetual destruction of all that is born(everything that is born has to die). This happens on a daily basis to all living things. This is the opposite of Nitya Sarga or constant creation. We all undergo this dissolution. This is the Pralayam that is closest to us and the one that we experience the most.

Next is the Atyantika or Absolute Dissolution – This happens when the atman is finally dissolved and cut-off from the cycle of birth and death. An atman that attains Moksha undergoes the ultimate annihilation of the bondage of the soul and develops a firm realization of the unfailing supreme soul.

Nitya and Atyantika Pralays are directly related to us-the Atmans. It is clear that while Nitya takes place automatically depending on our Karmas and deeds, Atyantika is something that we should work towards attaining and can only be achieved by the direct knowledge of the Supreme Being.

But, either of these 2 dissolution happened when Brahma’s first 50 years (Padma Kalpa) ended. What happened then is what we will see in the next post.