Without the Lord’s grace the material world is rendered lifeless
The 5 elements such as Earth, water, fire, air and ether when mixed together, do not give the material composition of the world as we see it. These elements are not miscible all by themselves, as people may conceive. Only when the Lord gets involved in His atomic form and makes Himself available through all the elements, do the elements interact with each other so that the material world comes out as a useful entity. The interaction among the various material components is a direct outcome of Supreme Grace and nothing else.
All material components in the act of cooking
Only if there is land, can seeds and grains be grown, on tilled soil. Once the chaff is separated from the husk, grains are obtained. But one cannot consume grains directly because in their raw form they are not digestible. Hence fire has to be used to cook the grains. But if we place the grains directly on fire, only charcoal will result. The right process will be to get the grains into water and then heat the vessel. But then the fire does not light, this is because air is not involved. The fire shall ignite only in the presence of air. The grains occupy space and all the equipment and ingredients required to cook food occupy space and hence ether or space also have a big role to play in the cooking of food.
All five elements exist within one another
The Lord then decides to amalgamate all the five components into one unit. The Lord ensured that Earth has the properties of smell, taste, form, touch and space within it. Water has taste, form, touch and space in it. Fire has within it form, touch and space within it. Air has within it touch and space within it. While Space is all-pervading.
Retaining our state of our stone-like ignorance
The Lord first created the universe with its elements. He then created Sri Brahma, the first living entity within the material universe. Just as Mula Prakriti (मूल प्रकृति) ever existed in the body of the Supreme Lord, even the living entities existed ever sticking to the body of the Supreme Lord, as if lifeless, retained as ignorant beings. Such is our state after the Pralaya (प्रलय destruction of the Universe with water). Many may conclude that it would have been better to have remained lifeless like a stone, why go through this painful process of living and acquiring knowledge. To this, our answer is that, following the curse of her husband, Ahilya Devi retained the form of a stone for a very long period. It is given in the Ramayana that, she suffered too much in that form and was continually praying to the Lord to redeem her. Can we imagine our plight when we are retained as a separate stone like entity, although within the body of the Lord, where there is a separation of consciousness from Him, being totally ignorant of His presence? This shall be then recognized as the highest form of hell, by the devotees of the Lord. On should only try to mature in one’s spiritual knowledge rather than being cast aside like a dead stone. This is the opinion of the Hari Vamsha.
Sriman Narayana is the eternal Witness
It is to be understood that as Brahma is created or assembled, to put it in the correct perspective, living entities need not be created, since they eternally exist within the body of Sriman Narayana. However the living entity remained bundled within the body of the Lord along with their set of sins and merits. Now, the living entity with the highest merit and the least sin, is assembled by the Supreme Lord in the form of Sri Brahma. The power of secondary creation is directly handed over by the Supreme Being to Sri Brahma. Once Sri Brahma is empowered with the powers and the right to create, Sriman Narayana retires to the causal ocean and lies down there in Yoga Nidra (योग निद्रा Cosmic Sleep). The Cosmic Sleep is not the ordinary sleep that material men are used to. Through Cosmic Sleep, the Lord enters each living entity’s heart and resides there as the eternal witness to the living entity’s activities. The self-same Lord, remains through this cosmic sleep, in the hearts of all the gods and Devatas and inspires them to attend their duties. Why, even the great Creator Sri Brahma, acts through the motivation of Sriman Narayana who has entered His heart through Yoga Nidra.
Divisions of Time and Sri Brahma
Water is known as “Nara” (नार). Since the Lord lies down or stays in the entire water body, (आयन to reside in Water), that Supreme Lord is known as Narayana. By the will of that Narayana, Sri Brahma has emerged. Now the secondary Creator Sri Brahma, begins his creation. He first created Swayambhu Manu (स्वयंभू मनु). Manu was the one who charted the entire code of ethics for humanity, so that the best possible society can be established on the material plane. In a day of Brahma, 14 Manus pass their entire lifetime. Lifetime of each Manu is 71 cycles of Satya, Treta, Dwapara and Kali Yuga. One day of Brahma is known as Kalpa. The time-frame encompassed by one Manu is called Manvantara.
The Chief Prajapati(s) and Rudras manifest
Next Sri Brahma manifests the seven primordial Rishis namely Marichi, Atri, Angiras, Pulastya, Pulaha, Kratu and Vashishtha. These seven rishis were also coroneted as the Prajapati(s) (प्रजापति), the chief well-wishers and well-doers of the world. Swayambhu Manu was set as the ruler of the world. The seven rishis were qualified as the teachers of the world. As Manu started expanding population of the universe, Sri Brahma was angry as he was contemplating ways to curtail the population, if it were to explode. From the curl of his frowning brow, Rudras, the destroyer came into being. The Rudras got their name because they use to cry and run hither-tither without any rest. They stopped on 8 occasions and got 8 names from their Creator, Sri Brahma.
The Kumara brothers reject Sri Brahma’s proposal
The fourth creation of Sri Brahma were his 4 mind-born sons namely Sanat, Sanandan, Sanak and Sanatana. These sons never look older than 5 year old children, retaining their child-like innocence and body form forever. They are the most recognized ancient sons of Sri Brahma and also considered as the most knowledgeable sons of Brahma. They had the capability to advice even sage Narada and Maitreya and devotees like Vidura. They would roam about all the three worlds and advise the inhabitants of the three worlds, the importance of Jnana and Bhakti. Sri Brahma invited them to participate in the proliferation activities of the world. But these mind-born sons of the Creator, outright rejected the proposal of their father. They were of the opinion that they have been born only to serve the Lord and advise people on the principles of Bhakti and Jnana and not to participate in any lower-rung material activities, as was the expectation of their cosmic father.
Three moods in worldly existence
In the world, there are three types of moods. They are Brahma Bhavana (ब्रह्म भावना), Karma Bhavana (कर्म भावना) and Ubhaya Bhavana (उभय भावना). People who are in Brahma Bhavana do not mix with worldly people and remain in secluded places completely immersed in Bhakti or on contemplation of Brahman. People with Karma Bhavana are essentially the materialistic people who have nothing to do with God or Godly activities. They are immersed in worldly work and caught in the endless cycle of cause and effect. People in the Ubhaya Bhavana are ones who try to pursue spirituality, Bhakti and at the same time, try to execute their worldly activities. Even Sri Brahma is considered as a being with Ubhaya Bhavana because he is simultaneously involved with the activity of creation as well as contemplating and praising the Supreme Being. However the Sanat Kumara brothers preferred to retain their mood in Brahma Bhavana.