Bhagavad Gita- Chapter 7 (Part-1) Jnaana Vijnaana Yogah- Yoga of Knowledge and Wisdom

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TWO KINDS OF NATURE OF THE LORD

bhoomiraaponalo vaayuh kham mano  buddhireva cha
    ahamkaara iteeyam me bhinnaa  prakritirashtadhaa // 7.4 //

Earth,  water, fire, air, ether, mind, reason and ego - such is the eightfold division  of My nature.

apareyamitastwanyaam  prakritim viddhi me paraam
    jeevabhootaam mahaabaaho yayedam  dhaaryate jagat // 7.5 //

O  Mighty Armed, this is my lower nature. But different from it, you know My  higher nature, the indwelling spirit by which the universe is sustained.

The  relationship between spirit and matter which is the source of creation is  explained here. The Vedantic technical terms for these words are `Purusha' for the indwelling spirit and `Prakriti' for the matter. Matter is inert,  insentient while spirit is sentient, dynamic. A combination of these two  ingredients causes things to be born and function.  In a steam engine, steam is the spirit-factor  which makes the iron and steel assemblage of the engine which are  matter-envelopments to function.  The  iron and steel components which are manufactured by somebody cannot function by  themselves unless steam is made to pass through them. When the steam passes  through the iron and steel assemblage we say that a steam engine is born or  created.

CREATION

Let  us understand the process of creation from the Vedantic angle in more details.

“First before understanding  the topic of creation, we should clearly know that the very word creation is a  misnomer because nothing can be created on account of the law of conservation  of matter and energy. Then if at all we use the word Creation, it only refers  to the manifestation of something which was potentially, un-manifestly existent.  So only that which is un-manifestly, potentially existent in dormant form can come  to manifestation.

MANIFEST VS UNMANIFEST

What  is meant by the words manifest and unmanifest? By the word unmanifest, we mean Pramanam  Agocharam. Unmanifest is that which is existent but is not available for perception  or transaction like the butter in the milk. Butter is there in the milk, but we  cannot see it in the milk. But we know that milk has butter. So what can we say  about butter being existent or not? It is existent technically but for all  practical purposes, since it is neither available for perception nor available  for transaction we assume that butter is non-existent. But we know butter is  there.

We  can extend this analogy to everything in the creation. Nothing in the creation is  non existent. It was existent in potential manner. Later it becomes manifest, which  means it is available for transaction. Our scriptures point out, before the origination  of this cosmos, it should have existed because of this simple law of conservation.  And if this creation existed before, it should have existed in un-differentiated  and unmanifest form or potential form or dormant form which we can call as the seed  of the creation. In Sanskrit we use the word Bījam for this or Causal  form of matter.

Matter  in its causal form is the source of all forms of energy and all forms of  matter. The causal matter is called Maya. This means that before the  creation originated, one thing was there which is called Maya.

We  have to include one more thing that existed before creation. That is Atma which is the consciousness principle, the non-material spirit. It does not come  under matter and therefore it does not come within time and space. This means  that as consciousness is beyond time and space it has to be eternal which  implies that before the creation, consciousness also existed.

So  now we had arrived at two things that were existing before creation -  
•Principle 1: Consciousness which is called Atma which is unconditioned, un-influenced, un-circumscribed by the time and space. 
•Principle 2: Whole creation in causal matter form called Maya

To  put it in simple words, we can now conclude that Consciousness and Maya existed  in causal form before creation.

In  the context of cosmology or creation, consciousness is given another name. At  the Micro level i.e., with reference to an individual, consciousness is given  the name of Atma. The very same consciousness at the Macro level is called Brahman.  Therefore Atma and Brahman are synonymous meaning the same thing i.e., consciousness.

Atma  means Apnoti Sarvam Iti Atma – the boundless all pervading one. The word  Brahman means infinite derived from the root Bruh – to be big – therefore  Brahman means the Big One, the Absolutely Big One.

Thus  the study of cosmology begins with two beginning-less principles known as
  Brahman  and Maya or Consciousness (Spirit) + Matter.

DIFFERENCE BETWEEN MAYA AND  BRAHMAN

The  common features of Brahman and Maya are both have no beginning, no origin. But  differences are several as given in the Table below.

These are the basic similarities and differences  between Brahman and Maya and out of their blending alone this universe comes into  manifestation for our recognition like we churn and bring out the butter which  is then available tangibly for our transaction.

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