EXTERNAL SENSORY ORGANS OR ACTIVE FACULTIES
Before we proceed to understand the actual process of creation, we have to know about our external sensory organs. Basically, the entire creation revolves around the five basic elements - ether, air, fire, water and earth. Each individual creation functions due to the combined effect of these five principles. These five elements proceed to control activities by breaking down from their gross forms to organs of perception and action. The derivatives of this process are known as principles also known as tattva-s. First, they become organs of perception. They are ear, skin, eye, tongue and nose. These are the instruments of sensory faculty and hence they are also known as sensory organs. For Self-realization, these sensory faculties are to be made ineffective. Next comes the organs of action comprising of mouth, feet, hands, organ of excretion and organ of procreation.
Five organs of perception produce five cognitive faculties. Ear gives us the power of hearing, skin produces touch or sensation, eye gives sight, tongue produces taste and nose feels the smell. Five organs of actions produce five action faculties. Mouth produces speech and helps in consuming food for sustenance, feet give movements, hands give the power of holding etc, organs of excretion causes evacuation of undigested food from the body, and organ of procreation causes reproduction.
The following chart will explain the modification of the five elements giving rise to twenty principles or tattva-s. These are called external sensory organs as they function outwardly. Inner cognitive faculties comprising of mind, intellect, consciousness and ego function inwardly, hence the suffix inner. The five cognitive and five active faculties are subtle in nature and are not obvious. But their participation can be known by their performance. The five cognitive faculties cause the individual attitude that varies from person to person, depending upon the potency of the basic elements. These elements are also not found in the same proportion like guṇa-s. Elements will not be active
in the same proportion in every individual as in the case of guṇa-s. The disproportional presence of the elements and guṇa-s is the reason for difference in attitude of different individuals. The faculties of action make that person to act. The cognitive faculties cause actions to be performed in the latter, which is called as an actor. The faculties of perception and action together form the subtle body, while organs of perception and action form the gross body. A man functions due to the coordinated efforts of gross body by being an actor and subtle body causing actions.
The process of creation gets its initial impetus by the bonding of inner psychic organs and external sensory organs. When you enjoy the material world through your senses you are known as the enjoyer. You use your cognitive faculties (sound, touch, sight, taste and smell) to experience an object. Your experience, thus derived through an object could be either pleasurable or painful. Whether such an experience is pleasure or pain is decided by the inner psychic organs, mainly by the mind. Though it is the mind that plays a major role in determining the quality of the experience such as pleasure or pain, other factors intellect, consciousness and ego also have their own role to play. While consciousness concentrates on an object, in complicated matters, intellect determines the quality of the experience and your ego experiences the experience.
You, in the process of acquiring experience have to perform certain actions, as experience cannot be gained without action. You do not remain as a mere enjoyer, but also become a doer. You are both a doer and also an enjoyer. You, as a doer have to perform actions through your organs of action (mouth, feet, hands, organs evacuation and organ of procreation). Organs of action function only if they receive command from the mind. Mind receives inputs from the organs of perception. Thus, a man can function only if he assumes a dual role, one as the enjoyer and another as the doer. Thus, the interdependency of organs of perception and organs of action has been established. In reality though, they are not interdependent, but their products viz. faculties of perception and action are interdependent.
INTERDEPENDENCE OF PSYCHIC AND SENSORY ORGANS
Sensory organs comprising of faculties of perception are the main source of information to inner psychic organs. It is the mind, which functions predominantly amongst the psychic organs, receives the information through these ten faculties of senses (cognitive and action faculties) belonging to sensory organs. This is a process where the outer experiences are realised through the ten external sense faculties and is processed by the mind for onward transmission to ego. Ego always remains in a state of delusion, hence cannot take a concrete view of the experience. The ego now passes on the experience to the intellect to take a final decision. Intellect is the most seasoned among the four, though not as powerful as consciousness. Intellect is highly refined form of mind where exhaustive analysis can take place based on the inputs received from the organs of perception and action. The decision of the intellect is conveyed to the mind, which in turn implements through organs of perception and action, the source from which the inputs were originally received, completing a cycle. Thus, the interdependency of inner psychic organs, organs of perception, cognitive faculties, organs of action and action faculties is established.
Though the interdependency is established between psychic and sensory organs and faculties, it is the mind that is more active in interacting with the sensory organs. That is why yoga attaches greater importance to mind control. Soul is the primary source of a life. Without soul, an existence is just not possible, as the soul alone is the cause for all actions that unfolds due to the manifestation of karma. The illusionary effect or māyā induces the soul to think that it is both the doer and the enjoyer. Māyā causes this inducement through ego. Māyā never acts directly but always acts through your ego. It is only your ego that is responsible for making your organs of perception and action to function harmoniously, based on the principle of their interdependency. Without the presence of ego, you cannot really exist.
Now apart from the factors of psychic and sensory organs, other factors come in to play their due roles in creation and sustenance of man. The most important among other factors is breath, which is also known as vital force. The air we inhale gets converted from its gross form to five subtle types of air or prāṇa. These prāṇa-s, by getting converted into vital force aid in different metabolic activities of the body.
Prakṛti or Nature is the platform in which both psychic and sensory organs begin to function, if prakṛti gets associated with the soul. Both psychic and sensory organs cannot manifest, unless activated by the soul. Such an activity will not happen unless there is a proper platform available. Since such a platform is available in the form of prakṛti, both psychic and sensory organs in conjunction with the soul begin to unfold the first activity of creation. For example, the subtle nature of cognitive faculties such as sound, touch, form, taste and smell get transformed into the grosser form of basic elements such as ether, air, fire, water and earth. The finer and subtler forms of elements get transformed into gross forms known as objects, thereby causing the creation of the universe that is not total at this stage. The basic elements of ether, air, fire, water and earth undergo changes in their composition, whereby the objects become visible, completing the process of total creation.
The entire process of creation depends upon these twenty seven principles or tattva-s. The following chart will explain how these twenty principles are placed. You will observe that there is nothing under the soul. Soul is only the source of energy for creation. Creation manifests only in Prakṛti or Nature.
CAUSE AND EFFECT
There are four categories – cause, effect, cause - effect combine and no cause – no effect. Cause is the Brahman and effect is the Prakṛti. Cause and effect includes intellect and ego out of inner psychic organs and five cognitive faculties viz. sound, touch, sight, taste and smell, totaling to seven. These are classified as cause and effect because they originated from other causes and they in turn cause other effects. Thus, they become both cause and effect. For example, intellect is the product of prakṛti. Intellect in turn produces ego and ego produces the five cognitive faculties. Thus, they become both cause and effect. The next category comprises only of effects totaling to sixteen. They do not produce anything; they are organs of perception viz. ear, skin, eye, tongue and nose (5), organs of actions viz. mouth, feet, hands, organs of excretion and organ of procreation (5), five basic elements viz. ether, air, fire, water and earth (5) and the mind (1) (out of inner psychic organs) thus making a total of sixteen. The third category is no cause and no effect. Soul alone comes under this category, as soul cannot manifest on its own. Soul can function only if it is associated with prakṛti. Thus from primordial matter, also known as prakṛti, the rest of twenty four tattva-s originate, thereby unfolding creation.
CREATION AND DEATH
What is universe? Uni means one, derived from the Latin word unus and verse means to turn, again derived from another Latin word vertere. Therefore universe means turning as one. It is good to know how the universe was created. The universe was created through a cosmic explosion. The explosion happened in the space breaking into galaxies and universe is one among the galaxies. The universe is continuously expanding. It is like blowing a balloon gradually. When the balloon is blown beyond its capacity, it bursts. In the same manner, if the universe expands beyond its stretchable capacity, it is also prone to annihilation. The annihilation could happen through any means, either through another cosmic explosion or through cosmic delusion. Immediately after the big bang, creation moved at a rapid speed. In the first few minutes of the big bang, phenomenal heat cooled down, hydrogen and other gases were produced and later on heavy atomic elements were produced. Thus the universe that we see came into existence. During the process of evolution, humanity was produced in the planet earth. That is how creatures came into existence.
The reflection of pure consciousness of the Brahman is the individual soul. Individual soul is bound by the guṇa-s of prakṛti, whereas the Brahman is beyond all modifications. When an individual soul is afflicted with guṇa-s, though it loses its purity, it does not undergo changes or modifications. In the process, an individual soul loses its universality and becomes an individual entity. The pure consciousness or the universal consciousness becomes individual consciousness and the evolution of a being begins here. The growth or evolution happens only in prakṛti, as the soul, though bound by guṇa-s does not undergo any changes. It always remains the same soul. The only difference is, when it gets bound by prakṛti, it loses its originality. It is like a reflective mirror getting dirty on its surface. Once the dust is cleaned, the reflective nature of the mirror is resorted.
When a soul is bound by prakṛti, it first comes under the influence of inner psychic organs and later by external sensory organs. It is the ego that plays a significant role in the evolution of sensory organs and their functions. The inner psychic organs receive inputs from the external sensory organs through their faculties. For example, mind (inner psychic organ) receives sound (cognitive faculty) through ears (organ of perception). Thus inner psychic organs depend upon for their inputs, both on gross (organs of action and organs of perception) and subtle senses (active and cognitive faculties).
Thus the interdependence between inner psychic organs and sensory organs is established. The one without the other cannot function. All the actions are carried out by their mutual association. The soul now believes that it is the cause for all the actions, as it is now veiled by māyā. In reality, the soul is not the doer, but only the ego. Ego modifies the normal consciousness of a person into “I” consciousness. This “I” consciousness misleads the soul to consider itself as the doer. Due to this process, you consider yourself as the doer and your ego induces you to think so. Your ego not only misleads your soul, but also influences your mind to carry our actions through your senses and your breath. Breath and prāṇa are not the same. The breath is modified into five major types of prāṇa-s that take control of different parts of the body. Prāṇa plays a very important role during conception, delivery, growth and death. The prāṇa that enters the foetus leaves the body only at the time of death. It is only the prāṇa that makes every vital organ to function. At the time of death, prāṇa pulls the soul out of the body by means of great force, making the body dead.
When a soul is released from a body, it enters the cosmos. The soul does not traverse alone, but takes with it, karma and subconscious mind. Depending upon the karmic account embedded in the soul, its transmigration is decided. It is believed that when a soul is pushed out of the body by prāṇa, it travels through a dark tunnel within the body, to be released into the bright light of the cosmos. A soul either takes a sojourn in the cosmos or born again immediately. This again is decided by the quality of one’s karmic account. Good and positive thoughts alone cause good karmas. Negative thoughts, negative feelings and negative approach cause serious erosion of good karmic values. Thoughts are always more powerful than actions.
Death is another act of the Brahman, by which your soul is disconnected from your corporeal body. Vital body organs stop one after another at the time of death. A rapid recap of your actions, both good and bad pounds your mind for a few seconds. You make a quick assessment of your actions and this assessment decides your next incarnation. It is only your consciousness at the time of death decides your next birth. Death enables your casual body encompassing your soul to move into astral plane. It is believed that the casual body also undergoes either pleasures or pains depending upon your karmic imprints. Based on the theory that the casual bodies also experience the effect of karmic imprints, the concept of heaven and hell has been put forth. Your casual body continues to live without gross body as long as your karma permits. Yogis continue to live only in their casual bodies for a long time, provided their karmic account permits this. The process of death is very simple. When the time comes, prāṇa inside your body pushes your casual body out of your gross body with extreme force and after coming out of the gross body, your casual body begins its another journey either for a cosmic sojourn or moves towards heaven or hell.
(to be continued)