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

In  the scriptures the evolution or manifestation of the cosmos is presented in two  stages. Like a seed becoming a plant in the middle stage, and then the plant becoming  a full fledged tree in the final stage.

Therefore  Maya is a seed stage containing the causal universe which comes to the level of  subtle universe comparable to that of a plant and then the subtle universe evolves  or manifests to become the gross universe fully available for all forms of transactions  and engagement.

If  you have to understand the difference between the subtle and gross creation you  can compare your body and mind. Mind is also a creation or manifestation.  Body is also a manifestation. But mind is a  subtle manifestation not available for a physical vision because it is not  tangible. But the body is gross visible to the eye.


The  scriptures point out that first, out of the causal universe five subtle  elements is born. These are called Pancha Bhuta.  These are 1.Akasa or space 2.Vayu or air 3.Agni or fire 4.Jalam or water 5.Bhumi or Prithvi:  the earth. In the initial stages, they are in subtle form, which means they are  not available for our transaction. They are not even visible.

Māyā  is defined as Tri Gunatmika i.e.endowed with threefold feature which is  seen in the universe. They are Sattva Guna, Rajo Guna and Tamo Guna. These  three Gunas or features or attributes inhere the five elements also. Thus we  have got Sāttvika component of space, Rājasik a component of space and Tāmasik component  of space. Similarly we have Sāttvika component of air, Rājasik component of air  and Tāmasik component of air. Same applies for Fire, Water and Earth. Therefore  we have fifteen items. Hence the first form of creation is Sūkshma Bhūta Srushti – the creation or manifestation of the subtle elements.


From the Satvic portion of subtle elements are born the organs of  perception (jnana indriyas), Ear is born from the Satvic aspect of  Space, Skin from Air, Eye from fire, Tongue from water and Nose from earth.

From the total Satvic content of the five elements are born the Anthahkarana or inner instrument. Antahkarana consists of four aspects, manas, Mind  (doubting nature), buddhi, intellect (deciding nature), ahankar, ego  ("I am the doer" nature) and chitta, memory (thinking faculty).


From the Rajasic portion of subtle elements are born the organs of  action (karma indriyas). From the rajasic aspect of space is born the  speech, hands from air, legs from fire, genitals from water and anus from  earth.

From the total Rajasic content of the five elements are born the  five vital airs or pancha prana.

Each  of the subtle elements is endowed with the property of its own. Space (akasa) has the property of producing sound; air (vayu) of producing touch; fire (agni) of visibility; water (ap) of flavor; and earth (bhumi) producing smell (sabda, sparsa, rupa, rasa, gandha). These are the five  ways in which a man, through his five sense organs becomes aware of the prakriti or matter. Hence Hindu philosophers have divided matter into five elements. It  is to be noted that mind or manas (the inner organ that creates doubt),  intellect or buddhi (the inner organ that decides) and I-Consciousness  or Ego belong to the realm of prakriti or matter.

The  entire Sūkshma Shariram is born out of Sattva Guna and Rajo Guna of the  five subtle elements. Therefore we have seen Sukshma Bhuta Srushti and Sukshma  Sharira Srushti – in short the entire subtle universe.  


From the Tamasic portion of the subtle elements are born the gross  elements. The gross elements are formed  through a combination of tamasic portion of subtle elements in which each of  the subtle elements combines with the remaining four subtle elements under a  peculiar formula to produce a gross element. This process of combination is  called panchikaranam.

Thus  the gross elements of ether, air, fire, water and earth are produced which we  are able to see with our eyes. The five subtle elements are therefore the  causes for the five gross elements. The scriptures point out that the Tamas  components of the five elements alone get grossified to become the five gross  elements – Pancha Sthula Bhuta.

The  scriptures say that until grossification, each element was isolated and pure. One  element was not adulterated or mixed with others. But when grossification takes  place, the Tamo Guna of these five elements gets intermixed.  This is just like eating a salad. Sukshma  Prapancha is like eating grapes separately, bananas separately etc. Grossification  means eating all together.  Once we come  to five grossified elements, each element has got a mixture of all the five. So  Earth has got five elements, space has got five elements. Same way for Air,  Fire and Water. This process of “salad making” is called Panchi Karanam or  Grossification.

Once  the five gross elements are born, out of that the entire cosmos including all  our physical bodies are created. This is called Sthula Srushti or Sthula  Abhivyakti.

Thus  Maya is causal universe. And out of that comes subtle universe called Sukshma  Abhivyakti. And out of that comes gross universe which is called Sthula  Abhivyakti. Thus the entire creation comes out.

Therefore  causal universe to subtle universe to Gross universe. This is the creation. Of  these, the causal universe is beginning-less, but the subtle and gross have a  beginning and an end.

Once  it has become fully gross and moved about for some time, what happens to the whole  creation? Again it collapses, condenses or contracts; evolution will later end up  in involution or dissolution. The gross becomes subtle and subtle again becomes  gross. Thus unmanifest to manifest and manifest to Unmanifest, the universe  undergoes this cycle always. But the Universe will always be there. The  difference is only a question of degree but not substance. There is no increase  or decrease in matter but there is only change in its condition or state –  manifest condition to unmanifest condition and unmanifest to manifest.

Avyaktadini  Bhuaani Vyaktamadhyani Bharata
    Avyakta  Nidhananyeva Tatra Ka Paridevana

Krishna will tell us in the Bhagavad Gita later – why are you talking about  death? Death is nothing but body going out of shape. Nothing is lost, Arjuna,  but for whom are you crying? The problem is that we have got attached to shape  and lost sight of the substance.

The  creation will last for some time and again collapse to Maya. What will be  Brahman doing? Consciousness remains. When the appropriate conditions come  forth, it manifests in the form of life. When the manifesting conditions are  not there, consciousness remains unmanifest. This is Vedic Cosmology”. (Adopted  from Swami Paramarthananda’s Discourses on ‘Tattva Bhodha’)

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