Vedic Creation

Panchikarana - Sri Adi Sankaracharya (Sankara)-Prakarana-s (pp 163-165).

Panchikarana' refers to the quintiplication process involved in the Advaitic concept of creation. It is a process by which the five
elementary constituents of the universe are said to be compounded with one another to form grosser entities that serve as units in the
composition of the physical universe. The process is also referred to as `grossification'.

Brahman is both the efficient cause and the material cause of the phenomenal world (nimitta karana and upadana karana). The simile used
(not a metaphor) is that of a spider, which weaves its web from the silk, produced from its own body.

Then due to the interaction of the supreme Self with Maya, and the dominant influence of `tamas', there arose `ether' or `space'. Out of `space', the `air' emanated. In due succession, out of the `air', `fire' emanated; and out of `fire', `water' emanated and out of `water', there arose
the `earth'.

Thus these five `tattva-s' (space, air, fire, water and earth) are the first `subtle' elements of creation
(Panchamahabhootani). They are called subtle elements because they exist before they manifest themselves through their association with
the grosser objects of the phenomenal world. Then the `panchikarana' process starts.

1. The `tamas' aspect of each of the five elements divides into two equal parts (parts A and B)

2. One half of each element remains intact. (A remains intact)

3. The other half of each gets divided into four equal parts. (B of each element gets divided into four equal parts).

4. Then, to the A part of each element one part of the B of each of the other four elements gets joined.

5. Then `panchikarana' is complete.

Let' designate space (subtle) = space (S) and space (gross) = space (G).

So, after `panchikarana',

space(G) = ½ space(S) + 1/8 air(S) + 1/8 fire(S) + 1/8 water (S) + 1/8 earth (S)

air(G) = ½ air(S) +1/8 space(S) + 1/8 fire(S) + 1/8 water(S) + 1/8 earth(S)

fire(G) = ½ fire(S) +1/8 space(S) + 1/8 air(S) + 1/8 water(S) + 1/8 earth(S)

water(G) = ½ water(S) +1/8 space(S) + 1/8 air (S) +1/8 fire(S) + 1/8 earth(S)

earth (G) = ½ earth(S) +1/8 space(S) + 1/8 air + 1/8 fire(S) + 1/8 water(S)


The five elements that are created as part of prakRiti - space, air, fire, water and earth - three states of matter - solids, liquids and gases and
energy and space. The subtler form of these are created. PrakRiti has three guNa-s or qualities - satva, rajas and tamas.

Satva is the source of knowledge. Satva guna-s of these five elements become the source of JNana-indriya-s or sense faculties. Together they form the source for subtle matter - mind and intellect.

The rajas which is the cause for activity - the rajas aspect of these five emements form the five karma indriaya-s - organs of action at subtler level.

Then comes the grossification of these. In the grossification -panchiikarana starts. Each of the five elements splits into half. Thus space is divided into two parts and similarly the rest of the five.

One half of each remins but other half splits further into four more parts.
The four (1/8th) part joins each of the other elemnts. Thus the space has
its half part plus 1/8th of air, 1/8th of fire, 1/8th of water and 1/8th of
earth - all together forming one complete whole again.

Thus in the pancheekarana each of the unit after the reassembly has half of its own plus
1/8th part of other four elements. These form the basis for the grossification of the universe. From these re-assemboled unit - the
fourteen worlds, plus the gross bodies of all living organims - including gods, humans and animals and plants are made.

This in essense is the panchiikaraNa process.

It is a theory of explaining how subtle all pervading aatma becomes a grossifed forms of many.


Pañcīkaraṇa is an interesting theory. Tamo guṇa of the five elements divides into two halves.
The one half remains as it is and the other half further gets divided into four parts. The half portion that was not divided conjoins with the one fourth part of the other half of another element. The following chart for space, one of the five elements will explain this.
The following will explain the formation of the elements:
Space = 50% of space + 12.50% of air +12.50% fire +12.50% water + 12.50% earth = 100%
Air = 50% of air +12.50% space +12.50% of fire + 12.50% water + 12.50% earth = 100%
It is the same for the other three elements also. When this division is complete for all the elements, it signals the completion of pañcīkaraṇa (five fold) of the five elements. When the pañcīkaraṇa is completed, the formation of gross body is also completed.
The scripture Pañcīkaraṇa says, “pañcīkṛta-pañca-mahābhūtāni tatkāryaṁ ca sarvaṁ virād iti ucyate पञ्चीकृत-पञ्च-महाभूतानि तत्कार्यं च सर्वं विराद् इति उच्यते”. It says that virāṭ is the sum total of quintuplicated (five fold) five elements and their effects. It further says, “etat sthulaśarīram ātmanaḥ एतत् स्थुलशरीरम् आत्मनः” which means ‘this is the gross body of the Ātman’. Ātman which identifies itself with the jāgrat state (active state, one of the stages of consciousness) and the sthulaśarīra (gross body) is known as Viśva. The seventeen components that were discussed (series 12) earlier is the subtle body of the Ātman, known as hiranyagarbha. When the Ātman identifies itself with the subtle body during dream state, it is called taijasa.
Bound by the reflection of the Self, māyā hides the Self, which is the cause for both the gross and subtle bodies is known as avyakta. This is the state of unmanifest. This stage is said to be both existent and non-existent, because of the involvement of māyā. During the state of deep sleep, thoughts cease to exist and the intellect begins to take rest, thereby signalling the commencement of the deep sleep state. When the Ātman identifies itself with the causal body and the state of deep sleep, it is called prājñā. When the Ātman realises its true nature, i.e. the Brahman, it is called samādhi, leading to realisation. When the Ātman understands that it is the Brahman only, it is called realisation of the Self or aham brahmāsmi or I am the Brahman.

Tattvabodha thus establishes the identity between microcosm and macrocosm. The individual gross body is called piṇḍāṇḍa (microcosm) and sum total of all piṇḍāṇḍa-s is brahmāṇḍa (macrocosm). The individual soul is nothing but a part of the Brahman and realising this truth is known as Self realisation. Due to the veiling effects of māyā, Ātman continues to forget its true nature.



 The ten commandments of sanaathana dharma are given by Pasthanjali Maharshi, 2400  years ago in Yoga sootra/saastra . They are the following upadesas.

     In the Ashtanga Yoga part of the Pathanjali Maharshi’s book, the  ten commandments (dasopadesa) are given in two sets of five each as the primary requirement for learning and teaching yoga . First set is known as Yamaas and second set is Niyamaas. The Yamaas are

1. ahimsa, 2. satyam, 3. aastheyam, 4. bhramacharyam and 5. apraigraham. The Niyamaas are 6. soucham, 7. santhosha, 8. thapa: 9. swaadhyaaya, 10. eeswara pranidhaanam.

Given below is the meaning/message

Ahimsa: One should not create pain by words or deeds to others. Ahimsa never prevents protecting ourselves, our family, our society, our culture and our country using force or even the use of weapons. Cowardice can never be justified or interpreted as ahimsa.

Satyam: Searching for and understanding the truth, fact and essence. There are two types of truths andfacts. Paaramaarthika satyam (ultimate truth) and vyaavahaarika satyam (relative truth). One should understand both these truths and appropriately use them.

 Aastheyam: Stealing is stheyam and non stealing is aastheyam. Taking or grabbing anything/name /fame/ position /money/ material/ is stealing. One should never do that.

 Brahmacharyam: Knowing the ultimate aim and meaning of living/ life is brahmacharya. Every one is expected to understand clearly the goal of his/her life and path way to achieve the same. They are expected to understand and follow the pathway through experiment or experience and reach the ultimate goal envisaged by self or by prakruti.

Aparigraham: Depending for support on others for anything and everything is parigraham and not doing so is the dharmic way of living, which is aparigraham . Depend upon ourselves and do not be a beggar. In short self reliance and self support.

Soucham: Cleanliness of body and mind. A clean mind ( mana suddhi) and a clean body (sareera suddhi) are the prime requirement for achieving any goal in the life and also for keeping negatives from life. Whatever is to be done for maintaining the purity of mind and body it is to be practiced till it is that level is attained.

Santhosha: Always living happily and with self contentment. Undertaking the mission happily, doing the work peacefully and with the spirit of enjoyment is the santhosha. We have to learn how to become happy. There are opportunities for that in life (every minute) We have to teach that to our children also ( how to enjoy the life positively).

Thapa: Doing the work and undertaking the missions in our life with dedication and a feeling of sacrifice is thapas.

 Swaadhyaaya: Acquiring knowledge on every branch in which we have to involve in our life. Apply that knowledge in our official and personal life. We should also learn the sadaachaaraas and the values in our life. Keep away the duraachaaraas and anaachaaraas using the light science which is swaadhyaaya.

 Eeswara pranidhaanam: Doing our dharma ( duty+ responsibility + privilege = dharma) keeping in mind the blessings guiding force behind everyone in a saaskshi bhaava. That guiding force may be called eeswara/ god/almighty/omnipotent omnipresent power or simply Nature. That power is to be approached with bhakti and not with bhaya /fear

 Itihasas and Puranas

       Ithihasas and Puranas are one among the other words in Sanskrit that are widely mis-understood in the modern world.

Puranas in Sanskrit means "belonging to ancient or olden times".

Itihasa- In Sanskrit, Itihasa means history

The above definitions are exactly correct, but the understanding of the general public in modern India and the rest of the globe is wrong. Both Purana and Ithihasa  are information about past events, but there are differences between the two.

Puranic (Mythical) Itihasic (Historical) Characters:

       There are human character's in both Puaranas (Mythical) and itihasas (historical) characters. There are human life incidents in both. For example, we have mythical characters like, Surya Bhagavan or Sun-God, who rides on Seven horses with the central chariot in green color.

         There are Ithihasic or Historical characters like Rama and Krishna.

Both Mythical and Historical characters are real, BUT. The Historical characters Rama and Krishna lived in human blood and flesh form and also their incidents happened in the land of India.  

    The mythical characters are also real but did not live in blood and flesh form. Puranic characters or Mythical characters are representation of Universal phenomenon and their life incidents are real because they represent the Cosmic events.

   This mis-understanding has lead great confusion, especially in this time of Rama's Sethu bridge controversy events occurring in 2007.  

On what ground is the above fact based?

   In the earlier pages we have discussed how Rishi's  studied the body and mind of the human and discovered the mysteries of the Cosmic body or Universe. What they found is that the physical nature of human body is similar to the physical characteristics of the universe and the Human mind and the events occurring in the Universe are also similar. Among these two facts, the fact the physical body is similar to the Cosmic physical nature is proved by modern scientists also (See work of Florida University). It may take some more years for Modern science to prove the other fact that the mind of human is the same as cosmic events.

    Look how our ancient rishi's told us the Cosmic events through Puranic or Mythical characters. Let us take the same Sun's example.

    Over In the puranas, a character called Surya Bhagavan (Sun-God) rides on a green chariot with seven horses at a speed of 22,02 Yoganas in half a Nimisha. Is this Sun-God a mythical character and does not exist?

  Sun do exist, but not as a human and not riding on a chariot driven by seven horses. These symbolic images convey scientific information on color spectrum of light and on the speed of the light. Speed of light was known to modern scientists only in the late 18th century. But Ancient Indian Rishi's has given that information in Vedic and Puranic texts. The seven horses represents seven colors of light spectrum - VIBGYOR (Violet, Indigo, Blue, Green, Yellow, Orange and Red). The chariot is green because it comes in the center color. 

Speed of light:   Next interesting fact is about the speed of the Sun's chariot, which is nothing but the symbolic of speed of light. The chariot moves at a speed of about 22,02 Yoganas in half a Nimisha, which when converted into western measurements units will read as 189547 miles per second !! As per the modern science speed of light is 186000 miles per second.

Another criticism is that these facts are interpreted as sicentific after modern scientific discoveries were made in the past centuries. This is not correct. Sayana who was a minister in the court of Bukka of the great Vijayanagar Empire of Karnataka in South India (in early 14th century) interpreted this information well before modern scientist in west could comprehend.

The above example should help to clearly distinct Purana characters from Historical characters like Rama and Krishna, who lived in blood and flesh in human form. Mythical characters like Sun-god are real but do not exist in human form. They are given in human form because the Rishi's understood that the Human body and mind are not different from the Universe.

   The beauty of Rishi's finding is that the events occurring in the human is the same in the universe.

       Yatha Pindae (Human Body) , Thatha Brahmandae (Universe).

     As is the human body so is the cosmic body. - As is the Microcosm (Human) so is the macrocosm (Universe).

 This is our strongest connection to the Universe. This became the foundation for Puranas, Ithihasas and Astrology.

Knowing this fundamental basic we will understand whether puranic characters and ithishasic characters are fictional or not. Two legendary heroes Rama and Krishna are ithihasic characters and not mythical.

                   Ithihasas and Puranas

Why is there then Puranic elements in Ithihasas too?

     We have been discussing the unique "Theme" that is the common theme of Vedic Culture. We operate at the body level and mind level most of the time and rarely we transcend to the Awareness state. This awareness is a reflection of the pure Consciousness.  This whole creation comes from this Single Consciousness. We also saw that how Rishi's intelligently understood that  the Human body's physical nature is similar to the physical characteristics of the Universe and the Mind of the human is  similar to the behavior of the events of the universe.

       The formation of the material universe is similar to the human mind, intellect and Awareness. These has been symbolized as human characters in Puranas. But there are real humans who had lived centuries ago in their highest awareness state. These Individuals are honored as divine beings because they had transcended their Ego and to the Awareness state and realized pure Consciousness. Hence they are called Avatars. Their life is historical and known as Itihasas. There are  two Ithihasas based on two great men, Rama and Krishna and their epics are Ramayana and Mahabharata.

      Since all creation come from the Awareness, which is the Energy source, the Puranic human characters are divine. Those creations that in direct contrast from Awareness are demonic. More information is see in the Purana section. Therefore the historical people who has exhibited such traits are often related to the Symbolic Puranic characters , because both have the highest Awareness-Consciousness.

     To understand this better, we have to see how creation has occurred. It is very interesting to see how our Ancient Rishi's have calculated amazing mathematical numbers on the age of universe.


For more details

1. "Journey to the Source" by Pradheep Chhalliyil .



  Eighteen Puranas                                                

                                                The Vedic Mythology

Puranas are  Symbolic Language to explain Eternal Truth.

There are 18 puranas compiled by the greatest Genius Sage Vyasa as "Puranas".  He used such an brilliant approach of using a real event in history to convey the same message through his historical work, the Mahabharata, the biggest literary work ever composed.   The Puranas narrate the history of the various dynasties and hierarchies that emanated from the supreme Consciousness. As a continuation of the lines of Priyavrata and Uttanapada (vide, the doctrine of creation under the Upanishads, above), the world saw the coming in of many heroes, both spiritual and temporal. These offspring of the ancient ones included both the divine and demoniacal natures, which waged a perpetual war between themselves, and much of the Purana content is devoted to descriptions of these conflicts between the Devas and Asuras.

      Other than these earlier descendants of the progenitors of the race of all beings, particular mention must be made of the lines of the solar and lunar races of kings and sages, whose lives provide a highly interesting biographical reading of both human and superhuman natures. The history of these dynasties is brought down almost to our own times, thus connecting our present-day existence with the diviner sources from which we have come, as, in the words of the Upanishad, children of the Immortal (Amritasya Putra).

   But through these historical events and life of great men, Puranas helps us to understand what is Consciousness, the Mystery of every Human being, whether he or she was in the ancient age or living in this modern age. It is the birth right of every human being to understand the Mystery of Consciousness. The Rishis says the very purpose of Human's life is to realize this Consciousness.

     Only with this clear understanding of Body-Sense complex, Mind, Intellect and Awareness can the Puranas be understood without any misgivings. With this simple understanding one clearly understands the Symbolism of all Vedic Gods, rituals, culture and the Purushartha (goal) of Mankind.

     Most of the Puranas abound in lengthy narratives of legends glorifying a particular god or deity, delineating his or her incarnations, descriptions of holy places of pilgrimage (Tirtha), vows or observances (Vrata), acts of charity (Dana), and the like, with some shorter or longer references to the process of creation, the genealogy of the gods, demons and kings, stories of Rishis, as well as occasional statements on the foundations of politics, and the arrangement of the continents of the world as parts of the cosmos.

   Thus, the Puranas form a general encyclopaedia of popular thought on religion and philosophy. But the Bhagavata and the Vishnu Puranas are a great exception to this rule and they constitute a really splendid literature on a very lofty philosophy and mysticism.  

      In Vedic tradition, however everything is centered around  the main Trinity Gods Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva  are the symbolism of the Mind, Intellect and Awareness.  Brahma is the creator God, Vishnu the sustainer and Shiva the destroyer. All the three originate from the Supreme Para-Brahmam, the Pure-unconditional Consciousness.

 Web sites that give information on the meaning of Puranas,

Another site giving information on the meaning of 18-Puranas,