Panchikarana and the creation of the 14 worlds? | How do living entities get their bodies at the time of creation? | Srimad Bhagavatham-10

Creation of the 14 worlds


The Lord took each of the Pancha Bhootas and split them into 2 halves. The first half was left in its primitive form (without mixing other elements) while the other half was further split into 4 parts. These 1/8th fragments of the original element was allowed to mix with the remaining halves of the 4 elements. The resulting combination led to the formation of sense objects we see around. They continued to combine in various forms, either in small or huge quantities creating an enormous loop that gave rise to variegated sense objects around us. This process, in Vedic terms is called Panchikarana.

Fundamentally every sense object has been created by the joint function of both the sensory perceptions (tanmātra) and the 5 elements (Pancha-bhoota). The Pancha bhoota is the gross manifestation of the sensory perception while the latter is intangible or a signal. The five elements give form to the sensory perceptions which are otherwise subtle in nature.

Let us understand this science by taking three objects with its main sensory perception.

Sky- Color (form)
Water- Taste

A liquid is said to be water if quenching thirst is its predominant characteristic. Hence, the predominant sensory perception of water, is taste. Similarly, thunderbolt is identified through its roaring sound that echoes in the sky. But, both thunderbolt and water have a form along with sound and taste respectively. They are complemented with the characteristic feature of the sky which is color. Both the former two sense-objects along with sky can be described in terms of their color.

These similarities we see in various sense-objects terms of sound-form or taste-form (from the above example, although they were assigned with other predominant sensory perceptions), is a result of the combinations of the Pancha-bhootas with each other, which is then brought into experience through the aid of sensory perceptions which flow through our 5 sense-organs.

Creation of the 14 worlds and appointing its chief – Brahma

With the various combinations of the Pancha-bhootas, sense objects were produced. A massive creation of the sense objects gave rise to, the 14 worlds (14 planetary Lokas).

It is important to note that the 14 world are an amalgamation of jad tattvas and hence, fall under the material plane. It should not be mistaken for spiritual realms like Saket, Goloka and Vaikuntha.

After creation, these planets were deserted as living beings (Chit) had not yet come into existence. However, this stage, marked the peaks of expansion carried out by the Achit-tattvas.

Difference between Chit
and Achit Tattvas

Achit Tattva: The objects that fall under the purview of perception is undoubtedly a result of Achit-tattvas. They have no intelligence of their own and depend on a vibrant source for their expression. They decay and have a definite lifespan. Hence, the human body is also Achit Tattva as it dies and decays over time.

Chit Tattva: The one who stands behind the sheath of Achit-Tattvas, whose higher intelligence helps distinguish matter from the spirit, who is capable of comprehending and is gifted with consciousness that makes him an intelligent entity, such a being (soul) is Chit, and its constituting element is Chit-Tattva.

The one who understands (soul) is Chit while the object being understood (world, nature, astronomical bodies, etc) including the instruments being used to understand (devices like telescope, stethoscope, etc which ultimately rely on the sense organs) is Achit.

What is God made up of?

Transcending the material plane, reveals the Supra-Entity or Ishwar who is neither Chit nor Achit. He is an element by Himself, unique from all respects. Therefore, the hierarchy that places Bhagawan at the top-most shelf and Achit at the bottom most rack of creation declares that the soul or Chit is superior than the Material world but, inferior when compared to Bhagawan. To elaborate, Bhagawan is the highest Tattva followed by the jiva Chit-Tattva, while creations of Prakriti which includes the 24 Achit-Tattvas and creations born out of Pachikarana are placed on the lowest rack of consciousness.

Just like the Judiciary system is given the highest authority to announce sentences with regards to the crime committed by both high profiled politicians as well as common man, Bhagawan is the law maker and He has appointed the law of Karma as His verdict to punish individuals with higher and lower bodies on account of their Karmic load.

Law of God and cases of exceptions

Being presented with bad situations is just a code of law programmed by Bhagawan which is in a result of the sin committed by man. The Lord has no personal interest in punishing individuals with excess pain or disharmony than what they are meant to undergo. Therefore, wise beings do not blame God for their misfortune for they know that it is a result of their own actions, although the former (God) at many times is subjected to ‘accusations of being biased’ by ignorant beings.

There is however an exception in the Law of Karma. Bhagawan grants freedom from sins, provided it was unintentional. A being who alters his approach after realizing that he has sinned, falls under this exceptional law of forgiveness. However, well-schemed plans meant to cause harm to others are severely punished.

The Lord in the Bhagavad Gita says: “I am a silent witness to all actions performed by men on the earthly plane. I am devoid of attachment and hatred and hence the fruits of actions are unbiased and well-authorized as I am the sole issuer of the results of actions. However, I do not interfere in the zone of actions performed by people but only give the results for their actions.” This characteristic of detachment ingrained in the Supreme Lord is emphasized in the Brahmasutra as well.

How does Brahma grant bodies to individuals?

As discussed in one of the earlier blogs, the entire creation of the universe was split into Vyasti (individual) and Samasti (universal). The latter lies in the domain of the Supreme Lord, where the 14 worlds were created by the constituent elements of Prakriti who in turn was the creation of Bhagawan Himself. In this course of creating the Samasthi Shristi, Brahma (who was not yet employed by the Lord for Vyasthi creation), engaged in meditation in order to empowered himself to become a creator. After the 14 worlds or Samasthi Shristhi was completed, Brahma was installed as the presiding deity and was given the responsibility of individual (vyasti) creation.

At the time of Pralay or dissolution, the 14 worlds, 24 Achit tattvas and Chit Tattva or souls, precisely the entire creation along with Brahma merge in the body of the Lord. Again, there is vacuum all over and only Bhagawan is present.

The Lord due to His compassion for living entities created the universe again, for merging with His form was not highest aim of human life. Merging with God can anyway be attained at the time of destruction, only to come back to Earth to attain the highest goal of human life that is Bhagawat Seva. Therefore, Bhagawan began creating Prakriti and Brahma to investigate further expansion of the universe.

Within His body, the Chit tattvas or jivas do not die but remain suspended with their Karmic load intact.

This entire stream or data of Karmic balance of every living being is transferred into the manas (mind) of Brahma when the latter performs penance so that he could commence with his creation. Therefore, Brahma writes the individual fate of the living entities and created the Vyasti Shristi.

Fate is a report of all future, present and past events and their designated reactions that man must undergo for a particular lifetime. It is not a mind-creation of Brahma, but instead it is a report of one’s own Karma. Therefore, be it good or bad outcomes, man is responsible for his life situations.