The Science of Panchikarana
There are several views on how this world got created. It would be
interesting to know the Yogic point of view on this subject.
As per Yoga this world is formed of twenty four factors. They are:
- Five great elements
- Five sense organs of perception
- Five sense organs of action
- Five Pranas
As per Yogic point of view the world is the creation of Lord Shiva. Shiva
with the help of his Shakti created this world. Shiva and Shakti are
inseparable. The logic behind this is something like this - To create anything
energy (Shakti) is necessary. However, just energy can not be always creative.
Since this world is following some definite rules and various pieces of it fit
perfectly into each other it would be illogical to say that energy alone created
the world. Some "will" must have manifested the Shakti to form this world. This
"will" is nothing but Lord Shiva.
This Shakti is often called as Maya. Due to the cover of Maya we perceive
this world. The moment Maya disappears this world vanishes and we understand the
Maya has three gunas or qualities. They are - Sattva guna, Rajo guna and Tamo
guna. The specialty of Sattva guna is knowledge. The specialty of Rajo guna is
action and that of Tamo guna is ignorance.
The five great elements (earth, water, fire, air and space) form the gross
world. These five elements are created by Maya. From Maya space is born. From
space air is born. Air then gives rise to fire. From fire water is formed and
finally from water earth is formed. As you can see this is a transformation from
subtlest to grossest form. Space is the most subtle where as earth is the
Space has the quality of sound and can carry sound waves. Air has the
qualities of sound and touch and hence it can be heard and felt. Sound, touch
and form are the qualities of fire and therefore it can be heard, felt and seen.
Water has qualities of sound, touch, form and taste and can be heard, felt, seen
and tasted. Finally, sound, touch, form, taste and smell are the qualities of
earth and thus it can be heard, felt, seen, tasted and smelt.
Since Maya has three qualities these five elements also bear the same
qualities. Maya is mother of these five elements and passes on sattvic, rajasic
and tamasic qualities to her children.
Because of the sattvic quality of space we can hear with our ears. Because of
sattvic aspect of air we can experience touch via skin. Because of the sattvic
aspect of fire we can see. Because of the sattvic aspect of water we can taste
things with our tongue. Finally, because of sattvic aspect of earth we can smell
with our nose.
The sattvic qualities of the individual elements create sense organs where as
the sum total of sattvic aspect of all of them gives rise to mind, intellect,
ego and chitta.
The rajasic aspect of space is responsible for our ability to speak. Because
of the rajasic aspect of air we can grasp things with our hands. Because of the
rajasic aspect of fire we can move using our legs. Because of the rajasic aspect
of water we can reproduce. Finally, because of the rajasic aspect of earth we
can excrete the waste.
The rajasic qualities of the individual elements create organs of action
where as the sum total of rajasic aspect of all of them gives rise to five vital
pranas (more on that later).
The gross form of these five elements is manifested due to the tamasic
aspect. The tamasic asect of each element is divided into two equal parts. One
half of each element gets divided into four equal parts. Then to the remaining
half part of one element and one eighth part from each of the other four
elements are mixed together. This complete process is called as Panchikarana.
After the Panchikarana is completed the gross body is formed.
I always wonder at how our ancient Yogis and Rishis did minute study of
creation. Modern science has lot to discover yet. In fact modern science can
learn a lot from ancient Yogic philosophy but it must do so with open and
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