What is the purpose of Creation?
Parikshit Maharaj was skeptical about the purpose of creation and wanted to understand its sole reason . He wondered that if we don’t exist and so the world, if everything was put to a standstill then what would be the consequence. Therefore, He inquired: “Oh master, why was the material world ever created? We take numerous births which is followed by numerous deaths (just like a shadow follows the body). We change our bodies like clothes, birth after birth. We have been granted lower bodies like that of an insect and after our consciousness evolves, we are gifted with the human body. This cycle has no meaning by itself as everything has been maintained by the Supreme Lord. We may credit our relatives and friends for our safety and care on this material planet, but this is not wholly true. In our previous lifetimes, we have had other diverse families of varied species. Relatives keep revolving and newer ones replace their positions in both the previous and coming lifetimes. Therefore, nobody has the potential to care for anybody other than the Lord. If everything is fundamentally governed by Him, then why are we pushed into this material world while the Lord seats in His blissful abode?”
Shukhadeva says: “The world has been eternal creation, with no definite start or end. The process of creation, maintenance and destruction followed by birth and death has been cycling with no beginning or end. Humans, take birth on earth, continue accumulating good/bad karmas and finally embrace death. If there were no birth, the precepts of Jnana, Karma, Bhakti and Moksha lose its significance. So that a jiva accepts the Supreme Lord with firm conviction, He initiated the world. If one clearly understands the futility of the material world then your question holds no relevance, Parikshit. Only when people lose affinity with the world and regard it as a pool of suffering can one seek the cause of creation. Till then man continues on his quest for happiness. The reality is that people add into their account many births and deaths for they have an innate tendency to enjoy, achieve and accomplish something. To fulfil this desire, we take birth in this world. But, the Lord has kept His doors opened for everyone. Only when a soul casts off his desires and realizes that the world is a mirage can one pass through the doors of the eternal, blissful abode of Bhagawan.
The earthly cycle cannot be put to a standstill just like a moving train cannot be stopped with you alighting the train. But definitely the jiva has been granted the ‘will’ to break free from the clutches of the earthly cycle, not by interfering with the mass consciousness of the world but by simply altering one’s individual consciousness. This is the purpose of human birth. By adopting Dhyana, Sadhana, Mantra japa, seva, etc one can board the domain of Bhagawan as one’s consciousness gets attuned to the spiritual frequency while the material world sheds off. So, the purpose of creating the universe, by Bhagawan was extremely straightforward, i.e to attain Him alone. Man questions the purpose of birth owing to his forgetfulness, as he is not aware of his identity. He gets entangled by his own desires and is made to suffer the good/bad results of his own ignorant actions.
How can man attain happiness?
If we sit down to introspect about the purpose of our life, a reel of events flash before us. We passed our examinations, acquired a job, brought a house, car, married and started a family. Also we extend our business, so on and so forth. But, in the crevices of our heart, there is a sense of incompleteness which drives us to continue our search. We keep expanding our material assets with the false hope that we’ll feel content. When man’s quest of finding true happiness from the world ends, spirituality reveals us the path.
Man is intelligent enough to recognize his dissatisfaction and is truthful enough to admit that these past (material) pursuits have proven to be utterly futile. The time and energy we expended has yielded no phenomenal results. We have unconsciously imitated the animals, but in a palatial fashion. They too hunt to satiate their hunger, acquire their own territories to establish their supremacy, and have families, through supposedly animalistic means. But today, lower instincts has made man a social animal. Man has stooped low to the instincts of animals of acquiring and expanding, instead of using his intelligence faculty that sets him unique from other species. Our goals have always been supported by other goals. Dissatisfaction pervades our life until we hold tight the feet of Sri Narayana. A deadly disease or loss of a loved relative is enough to teach us a lesson. We fail to realize that to gain happiness, we end up staking happiness at the very first stage of life, like in schooldays, by competing with our classmates. We lose our peace of mind in the rat race. So, our goal of achieving happiness is falsified. We have never worked towards a single goal in life.
Scriptures answer our quest in search of happiness by saying that, birth on earth is the fundamental cause of suffering. Hence, to avoid distress one must work towards liberation by burning all their karmas Hence, it is needed for man to realize his true goal as creation was intended for his ultimate good.”
Birth of Brahma and Creation of the 24 Achit Tattvas (Matter)
Please elucidate the creation process for me, requested Parikshit.
Shukhadeva said: “From the navel of Sri Vishnu, the creator of the material universe, Sri Brahma was born. The creation is fundamentally split into two parts, the first being manifestations of Brahma (the material universe), while the second part is the creation initiated by the Supreme Lord Himself. The creation of Brahma is known as Vyasthi Shristhi or individual creation which is small when compared to the vast creation of Sri Vishnu which is called Samsthi Shristhi or Universal creation.
The prime creator, Sri Narayana, gave rise to Moola Tatva, the first element which further transforms into Prakriti or the moving, feminine energy. Next, the great principle or Mahat is created which in turn gives rise to Pride or Ahankara. The latter can be classified into Sattvika Ahankara (Pride in the mode of Goodness), Rajas Ahankara (Pride in the mode of Passion), and Tamas Ahankara (Pride in the mode of Ignorance).
Now from Sattva Ahankara and Tamasa Ahankara many other qualities were born, but Rajas Ahankara remained stationary to administer the remaining two.
Creation of 5 (Pancha) Bhootas and 5 (Pancha) Tan-matras
The five elements or Pancha Bhootas and (Earth, water, fire, air, and space) along with the five sensory perceptions or 5 tan-matras like (vision, smell, taste, touch, and sound) were products of Tamas Ahankar. In total Tamas ahankar has 10 attributes or qualities.
Creation of 5 Jnanedriyas and 5 Karmendriyas
Prior to the creations of Tamas Ahankar, Satvika Ahankar gives rise to-
5 Jnaan-indrayas or organs used to grasp information namely : (chakshu, grahnu, shotra, jivha, tvak) that translates as (eyes, nose, ears, tongue and skin) along with
5 Karmendriyas or organs that aid in action namely: (pada, pani, payu, upastha, and vak) which means (feet, hands, rectum, genitals, and mouth).
But, the sole proprietor of the 5 Karmendriyas and 5 Jnanendriyas is Manas or the Mind.
Hence, it is needed for humans that they tame their minds to attract divinity rather than getting subdued to its whims and fancies which are essentially ignorant by nature. These 10 creations of Sativik Ahankar along with the mind need to be applied in rightful actions and not sinful actions which misleads man into the ruins of the 10-headed Ravana.
Now, all these 24 tattvas form 24 Achit Tattvas that break down as:
5 elements (Pancha bhootas), 5 sensory perceptions (Tan matras), 5 organs of action (Karmendriya) , 5 organs for acquiring knowledge (Jnanendriya), 1 mind (Manas), 1 Pride (Ahankaar), 1 Great principal (Mahat) and 1 Feminine force of creation (Moola-Prakriti) together form the 24 Achit Tattvas. Their predominant characteristic is matter (or jad). It does not have intelligence.”