The Padma Purana

by N.A. Deshpande | 1951 | 1,261,945 words | ISBN-10: 8120838297 | ISBN-13: 9788120838291

This page describes the creation of the elements, prakriti etc. which is chapter 2 of the English translation of the Padma Purana, one of the largest Mahapuranas, detailling ancient Indian society, traditions, geography, as well as religious pilgrimages (yatra) to sacred places (tirthas). This is the second chapter of the Svarga-khanda (section on the heavens) of the Padma Purana, which contains six books total consisting of at least 50,000 Sanskrit metrical verses.

Disclaimer: These are translations of Sanskrit texts and are not necessarily approved by everyone associated with the traditions connected to these texts. Consult the source and original scripture in case of doubt.

Chapter 2 - The Creation of the Elements, Prakṛti etc.

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Sūta said:

1. O best brāhmaṇas, I shall first tell you about the first creation, by which the eternal lord, the highest soul, is known.

2-4. O best brāhmaṇas, in the creations there was nothing (left) after the universal destruction. There was only one lustre called Brahman, the cause of everything. It was the ocean of joy, it was pure, and that which those longing for salvation, desire. It was omniscient because it was of the form of knowledge; it was unlimited, immutable. It was indestructible, always very clear, fixed, great and pervasive.

5-16a. At the time of creation that modification of the form of knowledge merged in itself; it began to create. From it came up Pradhāna (also called Prakṛti). From it sprang Mahān. Mahān is of three kinds: Sāttvika, Rājasa and Tāmasa. As the seed is covered with the skin Mahān is covered with Pradhāna. From the principle of Mahān came up Ahaṃkāra of three kinds: Vaikārika, Taijasa and Bhutādi. As Mahān is covered by Pradhāna, so is Ahaṃkāra covered by Mahān. The Bhūtādi (i.e. Ahaṃkāra) then produced the subtle element of sound. From that subtle element space having the characteristics of sound was produced. Ahaṃkāra covered the subtle element of sound and (the gross element of) ether. The subtle element of ether similarly produced the subtle element of touch. (Then) very strong Vāyu (air) came up; it is said to be having the characteristics of touch. The subtle element of space covered the subtle element of air. The air, bringing about a change, produced the subtle element of colour. Fire is produced from Vāyu; that is called the quality of colour. The subtle element of Vāyu (air) covered the subtle element of colour. Fire, bringing about a change, produced the subtle element of taste. Therefrom the subtle element of water came up. The subtle element of taste covered the subtle element of colour. The (subtle element of) water, effecting a change, produced the subtle element of smell. From that this earth, with more qualities than possessed by all (other) elements came up. Since it is an aggregate of that, therefore smell is said to be its quality.

16b-19. They are called subtle and primary elements because they remain (in that condition) in the respective (elements). The subtle elements are devoid of specific perceptible characters. The specific characters are later and are in accordance with the order. These (five) subtle elements are derived from the Tāmasa Ahaṃkāra. O superior sages rich in penance, I have told (you) in brief (about the creation). The ten organs of sense are said to be Taijasa (or Rājasa) and Vaikārika (or Sāttvika). The philosophers have enumerated the mind as the eleventh (organ) here (i.e. in addition to the ten). There are five organs of knowledge and five organs of action.

20-30. O you purifies of your families, I shall enumerate them and their functions. (The organs of knowledge are:) hearing, touch, sight, taste and smell. They become joined with intellect for getting perception like sound. (The organs of action are:) anus, sex organ, hands, feet, and mouth is said to be the fifth. Their functions are said to be: excretion, joy (due to sexual act), grasping, movement and speech (respectively). O brāhmaṇas, ether, air, fire, water and earth are united with successive qualities like sound etc. They have various kinds of strength; remaining separate i.e. without combining themselves, they were unable to create beings. These beginning with Mahat and ending with specific characters, having all come together, being united with one another, resorting to one another, coming together, having the same target, and having complete union due to the direction of Puruṣa and being favoured by Pradhāna, produce the egg. O very wise ones, that egg always grew like a water-bubble from the elements. It, remaining in the water, grew, having risen from Prakṛti, and an excellent place of Viṣṇu in the form of Brahmā. In it the lord Viṣṇu, the master of the universe, and of an unmanifest form, remained after having taken the form of Brahma. Of it, of the essence of Mahat, those generated by sweat were the egg, the mountains were the outer skin, and the oceans were the fluid in the womb. Oceans with mountains and islands, the group of the worlds with the luminaries, all (this) along with gods, demons and human beings—was (present) in that egg.

31-34. By the desire of Śrī Viṣṇu that golden egg turned into the lotus which rose from the navel of Viṣṇu having neither beginning nor end. The highest Viṣṇu having the Rajas quality, and taking the form of Brahmā, himself proceeds to create the world; and protects what is created as long as the duration of the kalpa (i.e. the day of Brahma) lasts; he would annihilate it in the form of Narasiṃha or Rudra. The great soul of the form of Brahmā creates, (then) desires to protect the entire world by taking the form of Rāma etc. Then he became (i.e. becomes) Rudra to swallow it.

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