The Vishnu Purana, translated by Horace Hayman Wilson, , at sacred-texts.com
Prayer of Paráśara to Vishńu. Successive narration of the Vishńu Puráńa. Explanation of Vásudeva: his existence before creation: his first manifestations. Description of Pradhána or the chief principle of things. Cosmogony. Of Prákrita, or material creation; of time; of the active cause. Developement of effects; Mahat; Ahankára; Tanmátras; elements; objects of sense; senses; of the mundane egg. Vishńu the same as Brahmá the creator; Vishńu the preserver; Rudra the destroyer.
PARÁŚARA said, Glory to the unchangeable, holy, eternal, supreme Vishńu, of one universal nature, the mighty over all: to him who is Hiranygarbha, Hari, and Śankara 1, the creator, the preserver, and destroyer of
the world: to Vásudeva, the liberator of his worshippers: to him, whose essence is both single and manifold; who is both subtile and corporeal, indiscrete and discrete: to Vishńu, the cause of final emancipation 2, Glory to the supreme Vishńu, the cause of the creation, existence, and end of this world; who is the root of the world, and who consists of the world 3.
Having glorified him who is the support of all things; who is the smallest of the small 4; who is in all created things; the unchanged, imperishable 5 Purushottama 6; who is one with true wisdom, as truly known 7; eternal and incorrupt; and who is known through false appearances by the nature of visible objects 8: having bowed to Vishńu, the
destroyer, and lord of creation and preservation; the ruler of the world; unborn, imperishable, undecaying: I will relate to you that which was originally imparted by the great father of all (Brahmá), in answer to the questions of Daksha and other venerable sages, and repeated by them to Purukutsa, a king who reigned on the banks of the Narmadá. It was next related by him to Sáraswata, and by Sáraswata to me 9.
Who can describe him who is not to be apprehended by the senses: who is the best of all things; the supreme soul, self-existent: who is devoid of all the distinguishing characteristics of complexion, caste, or the like; and is exempt front birth, vicissitude, death, or decay: who is always, and alone: who exists every where, and in whom all things here exist; and who is thence named Vásudeva 10? He is Brahma 11, supreme, lord, eternal, unborn, imperishable, undecaying; of one essence; ever pure as free from defects. He, that Brahma, was all things; comprehending in his own nature the indiscrete and discrete. He then existed in the forms of Purusha and of Kála. Purusha (spirit) is the first form, of the supreme; next proceeded two other forms, the discrete and indiscrete; and Kála (time) was the last. These four--Pradhána (primary or crude matter), Purusha (spirit), Vyakta (visible substance), and Kála (time)--the wise consider to be the pure and supreme condition of Vishńu 12. These four forms, in their due proportions, are the causes of
the production of the phenomena of creation, preservation, and destruction. Vishńu being thus discrete and indiscrete substance, spirit, and time, sports like a playful boy, as you shall learn by listening to his frolics 13.
That chief principle (Pradhána), which is the indiscrete cause, is called by the sages also Prakriti (nature): it is subtile, uniform, and comprehends what is and what is not (or both causes and effects); is durable, self-sustained, illimitable, undecaying, and stable; devoid of sound or touch, and possessing neither colour nor form; endowed with the three qualities (in equilibrium); the mother of the world; without beginning; and that into which all that is produced is resolved 14. By
that principle all things were invested in the period subsequent to the last dissolution of the universe, and prior to creation 15. For Brahmans learned in the Vedas, and teaching truly their doctrines, explain such
passages as the following as intending the production of the chief principle (Pradhána). "There was neither day nor night, nor sky nor earth, nor darkness nor light, nor any other thing, save only One, unapprehensible by intellect, or That which is Brahma and Pumán (spirit) and Pradhána (matter) 16." The two forms which are other than the essence of unmodified Vishńu, are Pradhána (matter) and Purusha (spirit); and his other form, by which those two are connected or separated, is called Kála (time) 17. When discrete substance is aggregated in crude nature, as in a foregone dissolution, that dissolution is termed elemental (Prákrita). The deity as Time is without beginning, and his end is not known; and from him the revolutions of creation, continuance, and dissolution unintermittingly succeed: for when, in the latter season, the equilibrium of the qualities (Pradhána) exists, and spirit (Pumán) is detached from matter, then the form of Vishńu which is Time abides 18. Then the
supreme Brahma, the supreme soul, the substance of the world, the lord of all creatures, the universal soul, the supreme ruler, Hari, of his own will having entered into matter and spirit, agitated the mutable and immutable principles, the season of creation being arrived, in the same manner as fragrance affects the mind from its proximity merely, and not from any immediate operation upon mind itself: so the Supreme influenced the elements of creation 19. Purushottama is both the agitator and
the thing to be agitated; being present in the essence of matter, both when it is contracted and expanded 20. Vishńu, supreme over the supreme, is of the nature of discrete forms in the atomic productions, Brahmá and the rest (gods, men, &c.)
Then from that equilibrium of the qualities (Pradhána), presided over by soul 21, proceeds the unequal developement of those qualities (constituting the principle Mahat or Intellect) at the time of creation 22. The
[paragraph continues] Chief principle then invests that Great principle, Intellect, and it becomes threefold, as affected by the quality of goodness, foulness, or darkness, and invested by the Chief principle (matter) as seed is by its skin. From the Great principle (Mahat) Intellect, threefold Egotism, (Ahankára) 23,
denominated Vaikaríka, 'pure;' Taijasa, 'passionate;' and Bhútádi, 'rudimental,' 24 is produced; the origin of the (subtile) elements, and of the organs of sense; invested, in consequence of its three qualities, by Intellect, as Intellect is by the Chief principle. Elementary Egotism then becoming productive, as the rudiment of sound, produced from it Ether, of which sound is the characteristic, investing it with its rudiment of sound. Ether becoming productive, engendered the rudiment of touch; whence originated strong wind, the property of which is touch; and Ether, with the rudiment of sound, enveloped the rudiment of touch. Then wind becoming productive, produced the rudiment of form (colour); whence light (or fire) proceeded, of which, form (colour) is the attribute; and the rudiment of touch enveloped the wind with the rudiment of colour. Light becoming productive, produced the rudiment of taste; whence proceed all juices in which flavour resides; and the rudiment of colour invested the juices with the rudiment of taste. The waters becoming productive, engendered the rudiment of smell; whence an aggregate (earth) originates, of which smell is the property 25. In each several
element resides its peculiar rudiment; thence the property of tanmátratá, 26 (type or rudiment) is ascribed to these elements. Rudimental elements are not endowed with qualities, and therefore they are neither soothing, nor terrific, nor stupifying 27. This is the elemental creation, proceeding from the principle of egotism affected by the property of darkness. The organs of sense are said to be the passionate products of the same principle, affected by foulness; and the ten divinities 28 proceed from egotism affected by the principle of goodness; as does Mind, which
is the eleventh. The organs of sense are ten: of the ten, five are the skin, eye, nose, tongue, and ear; the object of which, combined with Intellect, is the apprehension of sound and the rest: the organs of excretion and procreation, the hands, the feet, and the voice, form the other five; of which excretion, generation, manipulation, motion, and speaking, are the several acts.
Then, ether, air, light, water, and earth, severally united with the properties of sound and the rest, existed as distinguishable according to their qualities, as soothing, terrific, or stupifying; but possessing various energies, and being unconnected, they could not, without combination, create living beings, not having blended with each other. Having combined, therefore, with one another, they assumed, through their mutual association, the character of one mass of entire unity; and from the direction of spirit, with the acquiescence of the indiscrete Principle 29, Intellect and the rest, to the gross elements inclusive, formed an egg 30, which gradually expanded like a bubble of water. This vast egg, O sage, compounded of the elements, and resting on the waters, was the
excellent natural abode of Vishńu in the form of Brahmá; and there Vishńu, the lord of the universe, whose essence is inscrutable, assumed a perceptible form, and even he himself abided in it in the character of Brahmá 31. Its womb, vast as the mountain Meru, was composed of the mountains; and the mighty oceans were the waters that filled its cavity. In that egg, O Brahman, were the continents and seas and mountains, the planets and divisions of the universe, the gods, the demons, and mankind. And this egg was externally invested by seven natural envelopes, or by water, air, fire, ether, and Ahankára the origin of the elements, each tenfold the extent of that which it invested; next came the principle of Intelligence; and, finally, the whole was surrounded by the indiscrete Principle: resembling thus the cocoa-nut, filled interiorly with pulp, and exteriorly covered by husk and rind.
Affecting then the quality of activity, Hari, the lord of all, himself becoming Brahmá, engaged in the creation of the universe. Vishńu with the quality of goodness, and of immeasurable power, preserves created things through successive ages, until the close of the period termed a Kalpa; when the same mighty deity, Janárddana 32, invested with the quality of darkness, assumes the awful form of Rudra, and swallows up the universe. Having thus devoured all things, and converted the world into one vast ocean, the Supreme reposes upon his mighty serpent couch amidst the deep: he awakes after a season, and again, as Brahmá, becomes the author of creation.
Thus the one only god, Janárddana, takes the designation of Brahmá, Vishńu, and Śiva, accordingly as he creates, preserves, or destroys 33.
[paragraph continues] Vishńu as creator, creates himself; as preserver, preserves himself; as destroyer, destroys himself at the end of all things. This world of earth, air, fire, water, ether, the senses, and the mind; all that is termed spirit 34, that also is the lord of all elements, the universal form, and imperishable: hence he is the cause of creation, preservation, and destruction; and the subject of the vicissitudes inherent in elementary nature 35. He is the object and author of creation: he preserves, destroys, and is preserved. He, Vishńu, as Brahmá, and as all other beings, is infinite form: he is the supreme, the giver of all good, the fountain of all happiness 36.
7:1 The three hypostases of Vishńu. Hirańyagarbha is a name of Brahmá; he who was born from the golden egg. Hari is Vishńu, and Śankara Siva. The Vishńu who is the subject of our text is the supreme being in all these three divinities or hypostases, in his different characters of creator, preserver and destroyer. Thus in the Márkańd́eya: 'Accordingly, as the primal all-pervading spirit is distinguished by attributes in creation and the rest, so he obtains the denomination of Brahmá, Vishńu, and Śiva. In the capacity of Brahmá he creates the worlds; in that of Rudra he destroys them; in that of Vishńu he is quiescent. These are the three Avasthás (ht. hypostases) of the self-born. Brahmá is the quality of activity; Rudra that of darkness; Vishńu, the lord of the world, is goodness: so, therefore, the three gods are the three qualities. They are ever combined with, and dependent upon one another; and they are never for an instant separate; they never quit each other.' The notion is one common to all antiquity, although less philosophically conceived, or perhaps less distinctly expressed, in the passages which have come down to us. The τρεῖς ἀρχικὰς ὑποστάσεις of Plato are said by Cudworth (I. 111), upon the authority of Plotinus, to be an ancient doctrine, παλαιὰ δόξα: and he also observes, "Orpheus, Pythagoras, and Plato have all of them asserted a trinity of divine hypostases; and as they unquestionably derived much of their doctrine from the Egyptians, it may reasonably be suspected that the Egyptians did the like before them." As however the Grecian accounts, and those of the Egyptians, are much more perplexed and unsatisfactory than those of the Hindus, it is most probable that we find amongst them the doctrine in its most original as well as most methodical and significant form.
8:2 This address to Vishńu pursues the notion that he, as the supreme being, is one, whilst he is all: he is Avikára, not subject to change; Sadaikarúpa, one invariable nature: he is the liberator (tára), or he who bears mortals across the ocean of existence: he is both single and manifold (ekánekarúpa): and he is the indiscrete (avyakta) cause of the world, as well as the discrete (vyakta) effect; or the invisible cause, and visible creation.
8:3 Jaganmaya, made up, or consisting substantially of the world. Maya is an affix denoting 'made' or 'consisting of,' as Kásht́ha maya, 'made of wood.' The world is therefore not regarded by the Pauranics as an emanation or an illusion, but as consubstantial with its first cause.
8:4 Ańíyánsam ańíyasám, 'the most atomic of the atomic;' alluding to the atomic theory of the Nyáya or logical school.
8:5 Or Achyuta; a common name of Vishńu, from a, privative, and chyuta, fallen; according to our comment, 'he who does not perish with created things.' The Mahábhárata interprets it in one place to mean, 'he who is not distinct from final emancipation;' and in another to signify, 'exempt from decay'. A commentator on the Káśikhańd́a of the Skánda Puráńa explains it, 'he who never declines (or varies) from his own proper nature.'
8:6 This is another common title of Vishńu, implying supreme, best (Uttama), spirit (Purusha), or male, or sacrifice, or, according to the Mahábh. Moksha Dharma, whatever sense Purusha may bear.
8:7 Paramárthatas, 'by or through the real object, or sense; through actual truth.'
8:8 Bhránti derśanatas, 'false appearances,' in opposition to actual truth. 'By the nature of visible objects': Artha is explained by driśya, 'visible;' swarúpena 'by the nature of:' that is, visible objects are not what they seem to be, independent existences; they are essentially one with their original source: and knowledge of their true nature or relation to Vishńu, is knowledge of Vishńu himself. This is not the doctrine of Máyá, or the influence of illusion, p. 9 which alone, according to Vedánta idealism, constitutes belief in the existence of matter: a doctrine foreign to most of the Puráńas, and first introduced amongst them apparently by the Bhágavata.
9:9 A different and more detailed account of the transmission of the Vishńu Puráńa is given in the last book, c. 8.
9:10 The ordinary derivation of Vásudeva has been noticed above (p. 1): here it is derived from Vas, 'to dwell,' from Vishńu's abiding in all things, and all in him. The Mahábhárata explains Vásu in the same manner, and Deva to signify radiant, shining: 'He causes all things to dwell in him, and he abides in all; whence he is named Vásu: being resplendent as the sun, he is called Deva: and he who is both these, is denominated Vásudeva.' See also b. VI. c. 5.
9:11 The commentator argues that Vásudeva must be the Brahma, or supreme being, of the Vedas, because the same circumstances are predicated of both, as eternity, omnipresence, omnipotence, &c.; but he does not adduce any scriptural text with the name Vásudeva.
9:12 Time is not usually enumerated in the Puráńas as an element of the first cause, but the Padma P. and the Bhágavata p. 10 agree with the Vishńu in including it. It appears to have been regarded at an earlier date as an independent cause: the commentator on the Moksha Dherma cites a passage from the Vedas, which he understands to allude to the different theories of the cause of creation. Time, inherent nature, consequence of acts, self-will, elementary atoms, matter, and spirit, asserted severally by the Astrologers, the Buddhists, the Mimánsakas, the Jains, the Logicians, the Sánkhyas, and the Vedántis. Κρόνος was also one of the first generated agents in creation, according to the Orphic theogony.
10:13 The creation of the world is very commonly considered to be the Lilá, sport or amusement, of the Supreme Being.
10:14 The attributes of Pradhána, the chief (principle or element), here specified, conform generally to those ascribed to it by the Sánkhya philosophy (Sánkhya Káriká, p. 16, &c.), although some of them are incompatible with its origin from a first cause. In the Sánkhya this incongruity does not occur; for there Pradhána is independent, and coordinate with primary spirit. The Puráńas give rise to the inconsistency by a lax use of both philosophical and pantheistical expressions. The most incongruous epithets in our text are however explained away in the comment. Thus nitya, 'eternal,' is said to mean 'uniform, not liable to increase or diminution:' Sadasadátmaka, 'comprehending what is and what is not,' means 'having the power of both cause and effect', as proceeding from Vishńu, and as giving origin to material things. Anádi, 'without beginning,' means 'without birth', not being engendered by any created thing, but proceeding immediately from the first cause. 'The mother,' or literally the womb of the world', means the passive agent in creation,' operated on or influenced by the active will of the Creator. The first part of the passage in the text is a favourite one with several of. the Puráńas, but they modify it and apply it after their own fashion. In the Vishńu the original is ###, rendered as above. The Váyu, Brahmánda, and p. 11 Kúrmma Puráńas have 'The indiscrete cause, which is uniform, and both cause and effect, and whom those who are acquainted with first principles call Pradhána and Prakriti--is the uncognizable Brahma, who was before all.' But the application of two synonymes of Prakriti to Brahma seems unnecessary at least. The Brahmá P. corrects the reading apparently: the first line is as before; the second is, ###. The passage is placed absolutely; 'There was an indiscrete cause eternal, and cause and effect, which was both matter and spirit (Pradhána and Purusha), from which this world was made. Instead of 'such' or this,' some copies read 'from which Íśwara or god (the active deity or Brahmá) made the world.' The Hari Vanśa has the same reading, except in the last term, which it makes ### that is, according to the commentator, the world, which is Íśwara, was made.' The same authority explains this indiscrete cause, avyakta kárana, to denote Brahmá, the creator an identification very unusual, if not inaccurate, and possibly founded on misapprehension of what is stated by the Bhavishya P.: 'That male or spirit which is endowed with that which is the indiscrete cause, &c. is known in the world as Brahmá: he being in the egg, &c.' The passage is precisely the same in Manu, I, 11; except that we have 'visrishta' instead of 'viśisht́ha:' the latter is a questionable reading, and is probably wrong: the sense of the latter is, detached; and the whole means very consistently, 'embodied spirit detached from the indiscrete cause of the world is known as Brahmá.' The Padma P. inserts the first line, ### &c., but has 'Which creates undoubtedly Mahat and the other qualities' assigning the first epithets, therefore, as the Vishńu does, to Prakriti only. The Linga also refers the expression to Prakriti alone, but makes it a secondary cause: 'An indiscrete cause, which those acquainted with first principles call Pradhána and Prakriti, proceeded from that Íśwara (Śiva).' This passage is one of very many instances in which expressions are common to several Puráńas that seem to be borrowed from one another, or from some common source older than any of them, especially in this instance, as the same text occurs in Manu.
11:15 The expression of the text is rather obscure; 'All was pervaded (or comprehended) by that chief principle before (recreation), after the (last) destruction.' The ellipses are filled up by the commentator. This, he adds, is to be regarded as the state of things at a Mahá Pralaya, or total dissolution; leaving, therefore, crude matter, nature, or chaos, as a coexistent element with the Supreme. This, which is conformable to the philosophical doctrine, is not however that of the Puráńas in general, nor p. 12 that of our text, which states (b. VI. c. 4), that at a Prákrita, or elementary dissolution, Pradhána itself merges into the deity. Neither is it apparently the doctrine of the Vedas, although their language is somewhat equivocal.
12:16 The metre here is one common to the Vedas, Trishtubh, but in other respects the language is not characteristic of those compositions. The purport of the passage is rendered somewhat doubtful by its close, and by the explanation of the commentator. The former is, 'One Pradhánika Brahma Spirit: THAT, was. The commentator explains Pradhánika, Pradhána eva, the same word as Pradhána; but it is a derivative word, which may be used attributively, implying 'having, or conjoined with, Pradhána.' The commentator, however, interprets it as the substantive; for he adds, 'There was Pradhána and Brahma and Spirit; this triad was at the period of dissolution.' He evidently, however, understands their conjoint existence as one only; for he continues, 'So, according to the Vedas, then there was neither the existent (invisible cause, or matter) nor the non-existent (visible effect, or creation),' meaning that there was only One Being, in whom matter and its modifications were all comprehended.
12:17 Or it might be rendered, 'Those two other forms (which proceed) from his supreme nature;' that is, from the nature of Vishńu, when he is Nirupádhi, or without adventitious attributes: ### 'other' (###); the commentator states they are other or separate from Vishńu only through Máyá, illusion,' but here implying false notion;' the elements of creation being in essence one with Vishńu, though in existence detached and different.
12:18 Pradhána, when unmodified, is, according to the Sánkhyas and Pauráńics, nothing more than the three qualities in equilibrio, or goodness, foulness, and darkness neutralising each other; (Sánkhya p. 13 Káriká, p. 52;) so in the Matsya P.: ###. This state is synonymous with the non-evolution of material products, or with dissolution; implying, however, separate existence, and detached from spirit This being the case, it is asked who. should sustain matter and spirit whilst separate, or renew their combination so as to renovate creation? It is answered, Time, which is when every thing else is not; and which, at the end of a certain interval, unites Matter, Pradhána, and Purusha, and produces creation. Conceptions of this kind are evidently comprised in the Orphic triad, or the ancient notion of the cooperation of three such principles in creation; as Phanes or Eros, which is the Hindu spirit or Purusha; Chaos, matter or Pradhána; and Chronos, or Kála, time.
13:19 Pradhána is styled Vyaya 'that which may be expended;' or Parińámin, 'which may be modified:' and Purusha is called Avyaya, 'inconsumable; or apariná.min, 'immutable.' The expressions 'having entered into,' and 'agitated,' recall the mode in which divine intelligence, mens, νοῦς, was conceived by the ancients to operate upon matter:
or as in a more familiar passage;
or perhaps it more closely approximates to the Phœnician cosmogony, in which a spirit mixing with its own principles gives rise to creation. Brucker, I. 240. As presently explained, the mixture is not mechanical; it is an influence or effect exerted upon intermediate agents, which produce effects; as perfumes do not delight the mind by actual contact, but by the impression they make upon the sense of smelling, which communicates it to the mind. The entrance of the supreme Vishńu into spirit as well as matter is less intelligible than the view elsewhere taken of it, as the infusion of spirit, identified with the Supreme, into Prakriti or matter alone. Thus in the Padma Puráńa: 'He who is called the male (spirit) of Prakriti, is here named Achyuta; and that same divine Vishńu entered into Prakriti.' So the Vrihat Naradiya: 'The lord of the world, who is called Purusha, producing agitation in Prakriti.' From the notion of influence or agitation produced on matter through or with spirit, the abuse of personification led to actual or vicarious admixture. Thus the Bhágavata, identifying Máyá with Prakriti, has, p. 14 'Through the operation of time, the Mighty One, who is present to the pure, implanted a seed in Máyá endowed with qualities, as Purusha, which is one with himself.' B. III. s.5. And the Bhavishya: 'Some learned men say, that the Supreme Being, desirous to create beings, creates in the commencement of the Kalpa a body of soul (or an incorporeal substance); which soul created by him enters into Prakriti; and Prakriti being thereby agitated, creates many material elements.' But these may be regarded as notions of a later date. In the Mahábhárata the first cause is declared to be 'Intellectual,' who creates by his mind or will: The first (Being) is called Mánasa (intellectual), and is so celebrated by great sages: he is God, without beginning or end, indivisible, immortal, undecaying.' And again: 'The Intellectual created many kinds of creatures by his mind.'
14:20 Contraction, Sankocha, is explained by Sámya, sameness or equilibrium of the three qualities, or inert Pradhána: and Expansion, Vikáśa, is the destruction of this equipoise, by previous agitation and consequent developement of material products.
14:21 The term here is Kshetrajna, 'embodied spirit,' or that which knows the kshetra or 'body;' implying the combination of spirit with form or matter, for the purpose of creating.
14:22 The first product of Pradhána sensible to divine, though not to mere human organs, is, both according to the Sánkhya and Pauráńic doctrines, the principle called Mahat, literally 'the Great,' explained in other places, as in our text, 'the production of the manifestation of the qualities:' or, as in the Váyu, ###. We have in the same Puráńa, as well as in the Brahmáńd́a and Linga, a number of synonymes for this term, as, ###. They are also explained, though not very distinctly, to the following purport: "Manas is that which considers the consequences of acts to all creatures, and provides for their happiness. Mahat, the Great principle, is so termed from being the first of the created principles, and from its extension being greater than that of the rest. Mati is that which discriminates and distinguishes objects preparatory to their fruition by Soul. Brahmá implies that which effects the developement and augmentation of created things. Pur p. 15 is that by which the concurrence of nature occupies and fills all bodies. Buddhi is that which communicates to soul the knowledge of good and evil. Khyáti is the means of individual fruition, or the faculty of discriminating objects by appropriate designations, and the like. Íśwara is that which knows all things as if they were present. Prajná is that by which the properties of things are known. Chiti is that by which the consequences of acts and species of knowledge are selected for the use of soul. Smriti is the faculty of recognising all things, past, present, or to come. Samvit is that in which all things are found or known, and which is found or known in all things: and Vipura is that which is free from the effects of contrarieties, as of knowledge and ignorance, and the like. Mahat is also called Íśwara, from its exercising supremacy over all things; Bháva, from its elementary existence; Eka, or 'the one,' from its singleness; Purusha, from its abiding within the body; and from its being ungenerated it is called Swayambhu." Now in this nomenclature we have chiefly two sets of words; one, as Manas, Buddhi, Mati, signifying mind, intelligence, knowledge, wisdom, design; and the other, as Brahmá, Íśwara, &c., denoting an active creator and ruler of the universe: as the Váyu adds, 'Mahat, impelled by the desire to create, causes various creation:' and the Mahábhárata has, 'Mahat created Ahankára.' The Puráńas generally employ the same expression, attributing to Mahat or Intelligence the 'act of creating. Mahat is therefore the divine mind in creative operation, the νοῦς ὁ διακόσμων τε καὶ πάντων ἀίτιος of Anaxagoras; an ordering and disposing mind, which was the cause of all things: The word itself suggests some relationship to the Phœnician Mot, which, like Mahat, was the first product of the mixture of spirit and matter, and the first rudiment of creation: "Ex connexione autem ejus spiritus prodiit mot . . . hinc seminium omnis creaturæ et omnium rerum creatio." Brucker, I. 240. Mot, it is true, . appears to be a purely material substance, whilst Mahat is an incorporeal substance; but they agree in their place in the cosmogony, and are something alike in name. How far also the Phœnician system has been accurately described, is matter of uncertainty. See Sánkhya Káriká, p. 83.
15:23 The sense of Ahankára cannot be very well rendered by any European term. It means the principle of individual existence, that which appropriates perceptions, and on which depend the notions, I think, I feel, I am. It might be expressed by the proposition of Descartes reversed; "Sum, ergo cogito, sentio," &c. The equivalent employed by Mr. Colebrooke, egotism, has the advantage of an analogous etymology, Ahankára being derived from Aham, 'I;' as in the Hari Vanśa: 'He (Brahmá), oh Bhárata, said, I will create creatures.' See also S. Káriká, p. 91.
16:24 These three varieties of Ahankára are also described in the Sánkhya Káriká, p. 92. Vaikárika, that which is productive, or susceptible of production, is the same as the Sátwika, or that which is combined with the property of goodness. Taijasa Ahankára is that which is endowed with Tejas, heat' or energy,' in consequence of its having the property of Rajas, 'passion' or 'activity;' and the third kind, Bhútádi, or 'elementary,' is the Támasa, or has the property of darkness. From the first kind proceed the senses; from the last, the rudimental unconscious elements; both kinds, which are equally of themselves inert, being rendered productive by the cooperation of the second, the energetic or active modification of Ahankára, which is therefore said to be the origin of both the senses and the elements.
16:25 The successive series of rudiments and elements, and their respectively engendering the rudiments and elements next in order, occur in most of the Puráńas, in nearly the same words. The Vrihannáradiya P. observes, 'They (the elements) in successive order acquire the property of causality one to the other.' The order is also the same; or, ether (ákás), wind or air (váyu), fire or light (tejas), water and earth; except in one passage of the Mahábhárata (Moksha Dherma, C. 9), where it is ether, water, fire, air, earth. The order of Empedocles was ether, fire, earth, water, air. Cudworth, I. 97. The investment (ávarańa) of each element by its own rudiment, and of each rudiment by its preceding gross and rudimental elements, is also met with in most of the chief Puráńas, as the Váyu, Padma, Linga, and Bhágavata; and traces p. 17 of it are found amongst the ancient cosmogonists; for Anaximander supposed, that when the world was made, a certain sphere or flame of fire, separated from matter (the Infinite), encompassed the air, which invested the earth as the bark does a tree:' Κατὰ τὴν γένεσιν τοῦδε τοῦ κόσμου ἀποκριθῆναι, καί τινα ἑκ τούτου φλογὸς σπαῖραν περιφυῆναι τῷ περὶ τὴν γῆν ἄερι, ὡς τῷ δένδρῳ φλοιόν. Euseb. Pr, I. 15. Some of the Puráńas, as the Matsya, Váyu, Linga, Bhágavata, and Márkańd́eya, add a description of a participation of properties amongst the elements, which is rather Vedánta than Sánkhya. According to this notion, the elements add to their characteristic properties those of the elements which precede them. Ákas has the single property of sound: air has those of touch and sound: fire has colour, touch, and sound: water has taste, colour, touch, and sound: and earth has smell and the rest, thus having five properties: or, as the Linga P. describes the series, ###.
17:26 Tanmátra, 'rudiment' or 'type,' from Tad, 'that,' for Tasmin, 'in that' gross element, and mátrá, 'subtile or rudimental form'. The rudiments are also the characteristic properties of the elements: as the Bhágavata; 'The rudiment of it (ether) is also its quality, sound; as a common designation may denote both a person who sees an object, and the object which is to be seen: that is, according to the commentator, suppose a person behind a wall called aloud, "An elephant! an elephant!" the term would equally indicate that an elephant was visible, and that somebody saw it. Bhag. II. 5.
17:27 The properties here alluded to are not those of goodness &c., but other properties assigned to perceptible objects by the Sánkhya doctrines, or Śánti, 'placidity;' Ghoratá, 'terror;' and Moha, 'dulness' or 'stupefaction.' S. Káriká, V.38. p, 119.
17:28 The Bhágavata, which gives a similar statement of the origin of the elements, senses, and divinities, specifies the last to be Diś (space), air, the sun, Prachetas, the Aswins, fire, Indra, Upendra, Mitra, and Ka or Prajápati, presiding over the senses, according to the comment, or severally over the ear, skin, eye, tongue, nose, speech, hands, feet, and excretory and generative organs. Bhag. II. 5. 31.
18:29 Avyaktánugraheńa. The expression is something equivocal, as Avyakta may here apply either to the First Cause or to matter. In either case the notion is the same, and the aggregation of the elements is the effect of the presidence of spirit, without any active interference of the indiscrete principle. The Avyakta is passive in the evolution and combination of Mahat and the rest. Pradhána is, no doubt, intended, but its identification with the Supreme is also implied. The term Anugraha may also refer to a classification of the order of creation, which will be again adverted to.
18:30 It is impossible not to refer this notion to the same origin as the widely diffused opinion of antiquity, of the first manifestation of the world in the form of an egg. "It seems to have been a favourite symbol, and very ancient, and we find it adopted among many nations." Bryant, III. 165. Traces of it occur amongst the Syrians, Persians, and Egyptians; and besides the Orphic egg amongst the Greeks, and that described by Aristophanes, Τέκτεν πρώτιστον ὑπηνέμιον νὺξ ἡ μελανόπτερος ὠόν part of the ceremony in the Dionysiaca and other mysteries consisted of the consecration of an egg; by which, according to Porphyry, was signified the world: Ἑρμηνεὺει δὲ τὸ ὠὸν τὸν κόσμον. Whether this egg typified the ark, as Bryant and Faber suppose, is not material to the proof of the antiquity and wide diffusion of the belief that the world in the beginning existed in such a figure. A similar account of the first aggregation of the elements in the form of an egg is given in all the Puráńas, with the usual epithet Haima or Hiranya, 'golden,' as it occurs in Manu, I. 9.
19:31 Here is another analogy to the doctrines of antiquity relating to the mundane egg: and as the first visible male being, who, as we shall hereafter see, united in himself the nature of either sex, abode in the egg, and issued from it; so "this firstborn of the world, whom they represented under two shapes and characters, and who sprung from the mundane egg, was the person from whom the mortals and immortals were derived. He was the same as Dionusus, whom they styled, πρωτόγονον διφνῆ τρίγονον Βακχεῖον Ἄνακτα Ἄγριον ἀρρητὸν κρύφιον δικέρωτα δίμοφον:" or, with the omission of one epithet, , ###.
19:32 Janárddana is derived from Jana, 'men,' and Arddana, 'worship;' 'the object of adoration to mankind.'
19:33 This is the invariable doctrine of the Puráńas, diversified only according to the p. 20 individual divinity to whom they ascribe identity with Paramátmá or Parameśwara. In our text this is Vishńu: in the Śaiva Puráńas, as in the Linga, it is Śiva: in the Brahma-vaivartta it is Krishńa. The identification of one of the hypostases with the common source of the triad was an incongruity not unknown to other theogonies; for Cneph, amongst the Egyptians, appears on the one hand to have been identified with the Supreme Being, the indivisible unity, whilst on the other he is confounded with both Emeph and Ptha, the second and third persons of the triad of hypostases. Cudworth, I. 4. 18.
20:34 'The world that is termed spirit;' explained by the commentator, 'which indeed bears the appellation spirit;' conformably to the text of the Vedas, 'this universe is indeed spirit.' This is rather Vedánta than Sánkhya, and appears to deny the existence of matter: and so it does as an independent existence; for the origin and end of infinite substance is the Deity or universal spirit: but it does not therefore imply the non-existence of the world as real substance.
20:35 Vishńu is both Bhúteśa, 'lord of the elements,' or of created things, and Viśwarúpa, 'universal substance:' he is therefore, as one with sensible things, subject to his own control.
20:36 Vareńya, 'most excellent;' being the same, according to the commentator, with supreme felicity.