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or crude matter), Purusha (spirit), Vyakta (visible substance), and Kála (time) — the wise consider to be the pure and supreme condition of Vishnu.These four forms, in their due proportions, are the causes of the production of the phenomena of creation, preservation, and destruction. Vishńu, being thus discrete and indiscrete substance, spirit, and time, sports like
are predicated of both, as eternity, omnipresence, omnipotence, &c.; but he does not adduce any scriptural text with the name Vasudeva.
2 Time is not usually enumerated, in the Puráňas, as an element of the first cause; but the Padma P. and the Bhagavata agree with the Vishńu in including it. It appears to have been regarded, at an earlier date, as an independent cause. The commentator on the Moksha Dharma cites a passage from the Vedas, which he understands to allude to the different theories of the cause of creation:
कालः स्वभावो नियतिर्यदृच्छा भूतानि योनिः पुरुषः ।* Time, inherent nature, consequence of acts, self-will, elementary atoms, matter, and spirit, asserted, severally, by the Astrologers, the Buddhists, the Mímáṁsakas, the Jainas, the Logicians, the Sánk hyas, and the Vedántins. Koóvos was also one of the first generated agents in creation, according to the Orphic theogony.
a playful boy, as you shall learn by listening to his frolics. 1
That chief principle (Pradhána), which is the indiscrete cause, is called, by the sages, also Prakriti (nature): it is subtile, uniform, and comprehends what is and what is not (or both causes and effects);* is durable, self-sustained, illimitable, undecaying, and stable; devoid of sound or touch, and possessing neither colour nor form; endowed with the three qualities (in equilibrium); the mother of the world; without beginning;? and that into which all that is produced
1 The creation of the world is very commonly considered to be the Lílá (AT), sport or amusement, of the supreme being.
? The attributes of Pradhána, the chief (principle or element), here specified, conform, generally, to those ascribed to it by the Sankhya philosophy (Sánkhya Káriká, p. 16, &c.); although some of them are incompatible with its origin from a first cause. † In the Sánkhya, this incongruity does not occur; for there Pradhana is independent, and coordinate with primary spirit. The Puránas give rise to the inconsistency, by a lax use of both philosophical and pantheistical expressions. The most incongruous epithets in our text are, however, explained away in the comment. Thus, Nitya (for), eternal', is said to mean “uniform, not liable to increase or diminution': fari and gefITH | Sadasadátmaka (HEHETGHH), comprehending what is and what is not', means 'having the power of both cause and effect' (aterOTTunaiya), as proceeding from Vishnu, and as giving origin to material things. Anádi (af), without beginning', means
* The literal translation is this: “That which is the unevolved cause is emphatically called, by the most eminent sages, pradhána, original base, which is subtile prakriti, viz., that which is eternal, and which at: once is and is not, or is mere process.”
The Sanskrit is in note 2 of this page. I cannot translate prakriti. + ?
By that principle all things were in
without birth’ (FH ), not being engendered by any created thing, but proceeding immediately from the first cause. “The mother', or, literally, the womb, of the world' (Tata), means the passive agent in creation', operated on, or influenced, by the active will of the creator. † The first part of the passage in the text is a favourite one with several of the Puránas; but they modify it, and apply it after their own fashion. In the Vishńu, the original is:
अव्यक्तं कारणं यत्तत्प्रधानमषिसत्तमैः।
प्रोच्यते प्रशतिः सूक्ष्मा नित्यं सदसदात्मकम् ॥ rendered as above. The Váyu, Brahmánáa, and Kúrma Puránas have:
अव्यक्तं कारणं यत्तु नित्यं सदसदात्मकम् ।
प्रधानं प्रकृतिं चैव यमाहुस्तत्त्वचिन्तकाः ॥ “The indiscrete cause, which is uniform, and both cause and effect, and whom those who are acquainted with first principles call Pradhána and Prakriti, is the uncognizable Brahma, who was before all': अविज्ञेयं ब्रह्माग्रे समवर्तत । But the application of two synonyms of Prakriti to Brahma seems unnecessary, at least. The Brahma P. corrects the reading, apparently: the first line is as before; the second is:
* Prabhavápyaya, “the place whence is the origination and into which is the resolution of all things." So says the commentator, and rightly.
Jagad-yoni, a little before, is scarcely so much “the mother of the world”, or “the womb of the world”, as “the material cause of the world.” The commentator explains it by karana, “cause".
+ It may be generally remarked, with regard to these explanations of terms used in the text, and expounded by the Hindu commentator, that, had Professor Wilson enjoyed the advantages which are now at the command of the student of Indian philosophy, unquestionably he would here have expressed hinıself differently. Thus, the reader will not find the “incongruity” and “inconsistency” complained of, if he bears in mind, that the text speaks of Brahma, not as putting forth evolutions, but as exhibiting different aspects of itself.
* This is in the fourth chapter of the Váyu-puráňa.
vested in the period subsequent to the last dissolution
प्रधानं पुरुषो यस्मानिर्ममे विश्वमीदृशम् । The passage is placed absolutely: There was an indiscrete cause, - eternal, and cause and effect, - which was both matter and spirit (Pradhána and Purusha), from which this world was made. Instead of agri, “such” or “this', some copies read SOT:, “from which Íswara or god (the active deity or Brahma) made the world. The Hari Vamsa has the same reading, except in the last term, which it makes it; that is, according to the commentator, “the world, which is Íswara, was made. The same authority explains this indiscrete cause, Avyaktakárańa, to denote Brahma, “the creator'; ai a fars gaTU FETİ H ATITA I an identification very unusual, if not inaccurate, and possibly founded on misapprehension of what is stated by the Bhavishya P.:
यत्तत्कारणमव्यक्तं नित्यं सदसदात्मकम् ।
एवं स भगवानण्ड इति । “That male or spirit which is endowed with that which is the indiscrete cause, &c., is known, in the world, as Brahma: he, being in the egg’, &c. The passage is precisely the same in Manu, I., 11.; except that we have “Visrishta’ instead of “Visishtha’. The latter is a questionable reading, and is, probably, wrong; the sense of the former is, detached': and the whole means, very consistently, embodied spirit detached from the indiscrete cause of the world, is known as Brahma'.* The Padma P. inserts the first line, van, &c., but has:
महदादि विशेषान्तं सृजतीति विनिश्चयः ।
* Vistishťa, the only reading recognized by Kullúka and Medhátithi, commentators on the Mánava - dharma - śástra, means, as explained by them, utpádita, “produced” or “created".
The Mánava-dharma-śástra notably differs from the Sankhya, in that it does not hold a duality of first principles. And still different are the Puranas, in which the dualistic principles are united in Brahma, and as previously remarked — are not evolutions therefrom, but so many aspects of some supreme deity. See the Translator's first note in p. 15, supra.
of the universe, and prior to creation.' For Brahmans learned in the Vedas, and teaching truly their doctrines, explain such passages as the following as intending the production of the chief principle (Pradhána). “There was neither day nor night, nor sky nor earth, nor darkness nor light, nor any other thing, save only One, unapprehensible by intellect, or That which is Brahma and Puṁs (spirit) and Pradhana
“Which creates, undoubtedly, Mahat and the other qualities': * assigning the first epithets, therefore, as the Vishnu does, to Prakriti only. The Linga † also refers the expression to Prakriti alone, but makes it a secondary cause:
अव्यक्तं चेश्वरात्तस्मादभवत्कारणं परम् ।
प्रधानं प्रकृतिश्चैव यदाहुस्तत्त्वचिन्तकाः॥ An indiscrete cause, which those acquainted with first principles call Pradhána and Prakriti, proceeded from that İswara (Šiva).” This passage is one of very many instances in which expressions are common to several Puráňas, that seem to be borrowed from one another, or from some common source older than any of them; especially in this instance, as the same text occurs in Manu. I
| The expression of the text is rather obscure: ‘All was pervaded (or comprehended) by that chief principle before (re-creation), after the (last) destruction':
तेनाग्रे सर्वमेवासीयाप्तं वै प्रलयादनु । The ellipses are filled up by the commentator. This, he adds, is to be regarded as the state of things at a Mahápralaya or total dissolution; leaving, therefore, crude matter, nature, or chaos, as a coexistent element with the Supreme. This, which is conformable to the philosophical doctrine, is not, however, that of the Puráńas in general, nor that of our text, which states
* Read : “Which creates all, from mahat to individual existences: such is the conclusion of the scriptures.” + Prior Section, LXX., 2.
See the editor's note in the preceding page.