Friday, April 15, 2016

Translation of the Third Chapter of the Bhagavata of Sankaradeva Entitled Anadi Patana (Cosmogenesis): The Lord’s Sportive Activity of Creation


|| সৃষ্টি-লীলা ||

অনেক সহস্ৰ যুগ এহিমতে গৈল |
দুনাই ঈশ্বৰৰ সৃষ্টিক ইচ্ছা ভৈল ||
একেশ্বৰে আছো আমি আদি নিৰঞ্জন |
সৃষ্টি নাহি আহ্মাক যে নকৰে শোভন || ৪১ ||
চৈধ্যয় ভুৱন হৃদয়তে দিলো ঠাই |
প্ৰকৃতি দেৱীও আছা গৰ্ভতে লুকাই ||
জড় হুয়া আছে তাৰ নাহিকে চেতন |
আমি মহা চৈতন্য পুৰুষ নিৰঞ্জন || ৪২ ||
একেশ্বৰে থাকি আমি কৰো কোন কায |
শৰীৰৰ পৰা সৱে জীৱ হৌক বাজ ||
মায়াৰ হাতত কৰাওঁ জগত প্ৰকাশ |
কৰো সৃষ্টি-লীলা আৱে বিনোদ বিলাস || ৪৩ ||
এহি বুলি মেলি পদ্ম নয়ন অনন্তে |
মায়াক কটাক্ষে চাহিলন্ত ভগৱন্তে ||
জড় প্ৰকৃতিতো কৰিলন্ত জীৱ দান |
অষ্ট গুণ তেজ ষোহ্ল গুণ ভৈল প্ৰাণ || ৪৪ ||
সৃষ্টি কৰিবাক ঈশ্বৰৰ ইচ্ছা কায |
পুৰুষৰ পৰা মহামায়া ভৈলা বাজ ||
অনাদি ৰূপিনী ঈশ্বৰৰ অৰ্দ্ধ কায় |
ব্যক্ত ভৈলা মহামায়া সৃষ্টিক উপায় || ৪৫ ||
পৰম সুন্দৰী দেৱী দিব্য নাৰীৱেশ |
কটাক্ষতে মোহ যায় জগত নিশেষ ||
কেয়ুৰ কঙ্কণ ৰত্নময় হেমহাৰ |
কিৰীটি কুণ্ডলে আতি কৰে জাতিষ্কাৰ || ৪৬ ||
ৰুণ ঝুণ কৰি বাজে পাৱত নুপুৰ |
ৰূপ দেখি মদনৰো দৰ্প হোৱে চূৰ ||
চাহন নযায় যে দেৱীৰ মহাজ্যোতি |
কোটি এক শশী সম প্ৰকাশে প্ৰকৃতি || ৪৭ ||
প্ৰণিপাতে পুৰুষক কৰিয়া সেৱলি |
আগতে বিনাৱে মায়া কৰি কৃতাঞ্জলি ||
কোন কৰ্ম্ম কৰো আৱে কৰিয়ো আদেশ |
হেন শুনি হাসি বুলিলন্ত হৃষীকেশ || ৪৮ ||
শুনিয়ো প্ৰকৃতি একো গুণে নোহা হীন |
তোহ্মাৰে আহ্মাৰে কিঞ্চিতেকো নাহি ভিন ||
মোৰ নিজ শকতি সাক্ষাতে দেখো প্ৰাণ |
সত্বৰে কৰিয়ো মায়া জগত নিৰ্ম্মাণ || ৪৯ ||
তোহ্মাক জগাইলো আমি এহি অভিপ্ৰায় |
জানিয়োক ভালে তুমি মোৰ অৰ্দ্ধ কায় ||
তোহ্মাৰে আহ্মাৰে কিছো নাহি ভিন্নাভিন্ন |
মোতে যাতো লীন যাহা এহি মাত্ৰ হীন || ৫০ ||
সত্বৰে কৰিয়ো মায়া জগত প্ৰকাশ |
আমিও কৰিবো তাতে বিনোদ বিলাস ||
হেন শুনি প্ৰকৃতি জুৰিলা যোৰহাত |
সৃষ্টিৰ কাৰ্য্যক দাই লাগিল তোহ্মাত || ৫১ ||
ঈশ্বৰ কটাক্ষে দেৱী ভৈলা গৰ্ভৱতী |
প্ৰকৃতিৰ পুত্ৰ ভৈলা মহত্ত্ব উত্‍পত্তি ||
মহত্ত্বৰো তিনি পুত্ৰ ভৈলা অনুপাম |
শুনিয়ো তিনিৰো কহো যাৰ যিবা নাম || ৫২ ||
তিনি গুণে তিনি তত্ত্ব ভৈলা অৱতাৰ |
তামসিক ৰাজস সাত্ত্বিক অহঙ্কাৰ ||
এহি তিনি পুত্ৰ তান জগতে প্ৰখ্যাত |
শুনা যাত হন্তে যিবা সৃষ্টি ভৈলা জাত || ৫৩ ||
তামসত হন্তে শব্দ গুণৰ প্ৰকাশ |
শব্দৰো পুত্ৰ ভৈলা নামত আকাশ ||
আকাশত হন্তে পৰশৰ ঊতপতি |
পৰশৰ পুত্ৰ ভৈলা বায়ু মহামতি || ৫৪ ||
বায়ু হন্তে ৰূপ নামে পুত্ৰ অৱতাৰ |
ৰূপৰ তনয় ভৈলা অগ্নি চমত্‍কাৰ ||
অগনিৰ পুত্ৰ ভৈলা ৰস মহামতি |
ৰস গুণ হন্তে পাচে জল উতপতি || ৫৫ ||
জলে উতপতি ভৈলা গন্ধ গুণ নাম |
গন্ধ গুণ হন্তে বসুমতি অনুপাম ||
পঞ্চভূত পঞ্চগুণ কহিলো ব্যৱস্থা |
আৱে শুনা ৰাজসিক সাত্ত্বিকৰ কথা || ৫৬ ||
ৰাজসত হন্তে দশেন্দ্ৰিয় ভৈলা জাত |
দশোবিধ নাম ৰাজা কহিবো তোহ্মাত ||
চক্ষু কৰ্ণ নাসা মুখ চৰ্ম্ম জিহ্বা হাত |
পদ গুহ্য লিঙ্গ এহি দশৰো প্ৰখ্যাত || ৫৭ ||
এৱে কহো শুনিয়োক সাত্ত্বিকৰ কথা |
যি দেৱ ভৈলা যি ইন্দ্ৰিয়ৰ অধিষ্ঠাতা ||
সৃষ্টি কথা কহো নকৰিবা আন চিত্ত |
ভিন্ন ভিন্ন কৰি কহো শুনা পৰীক্ষিত || ৫৮ ||
সাত্ত্বিকত হন্তে দশ দেৱ উতপতি |
বায়ু বহ্নি বিষ্ণু ইন্দ্ৰ দিশ প্ৰজাপতি ||
অশ্বিনীকুমাৰ মিত্ৰ আদিত্য বৰুণ |
এহি অধিষ্ঠাতা দশ দেৱ সত্ত্ব গুণ || ৫৯ ||
চক্ষু অধিষ্ঠাতা যে আদিত্য জ্যোতিৰ্ম্ময় |
কৰ্ণ অধিষ্ঠাতা দিশ জানিবা নিশ্চয় ||
নাসিকাৰ অধিষ্ঠাতা অশ্বিনীকুমাৰ |
বাক্য অধিষ্ঠাতা ভৈলা বহ্নি নাম যাৰ || ৬০ ||
চৰ্ম্ম অধিষ্ঠাতা বায়ু ভৈল সত্ত্বগুণ |
জিহ্বা অধিষ্ঠাতা যেৱে ভৈলন্ত বৰুণ ||
হস্ত অধিষ্ঠাতা ভৈল ইন্দ্ৰ সুৰপতি |
পদে বিষ্ণু গুহ্যে মিত্ৰ লিঙ্গে প্ৰজাপতি || ৬১ ||
হৃদয়ত থাকি কৰে ভাল মন্দ কাম |
একে মন চাৰি ৰূপ শুনা তাৰ নাম ||
মন বুদ্ধি অহঙ্কাৰ আৰো জানা চিত |
এহি চাৰি নাম শুনা ভৈলন্ত বিদিত || ৬২ ||
The Lord’s Sportive Activity of Creation

In this manner passed many thousand great periods of time.
Once again, the Lord had a mind for creation.
Solitarily, like a lone monarch, I am staying, the original pure personality.
There is no creation; I do not look good without it. 41
All fourteen worlds I have accommodated into my heart.
Even lady prakrti—the primal matter—lies asleep in my belly.
She lies unconscious; she is not in actuated form.
Only I am supremely conscious, the spotlessly pure personality who cannot be covered by any material limitation. 42
Staying alone, what purpose do I achieve?
Let from my body all the unredeemed personalities (jīwa) come out.
At the hands of my tool, primal matter (māẏā), let me make manifest the world.
Let me now do the sportive activity of creation; let me have fun. 43
Thinking thus, opening His lotus-like eyes, the one ever present in time and space,
cast a sidelong glance at primal matter, maya.
The Lord infused life even into the dead material substance!
It became endowed, as it were, with eight parts of spirit and sixteen parts of vital-air! 44
In order to fulfill the desire of the Lord—the work of creation—
out of the supreme personality, emerged the great maya.
Of beginningless form, as if the wife of the Lord[i]!
She, the great maya, was thus actuated as a means or device for creation. 45
Supremely beautiful is the ‘lady’; she appears in the manner of a celestial maiden.
The entire world is deluded by her charms in an instant.
She is putting on, as it were, several armlets and bracelets and other lovely ornaments and necklaces of gold.
Her diadem and earrings beautify her quite alluringly. 46
The anklets on her feet make a tinkling sound as she walks.
Seeing her form, even the pride of the love-god is shattered.
The great luster of the goddess cannot be seen.
She—the primal material substance—is shining like ten million moons. 47
Prostrating before the supreme pure personality, doing obeisance to Him,
maya stood before the Lord with her palms cupped together in deference and she said respectfully to Him:
“My master, what is that work which you now want me to accomplish; please give me your command.”
Hearing this, The One Entering into the Category of the Senses (Hrsikesa) laughed; The Lord mirthfully said: 48
Listen, primal matter, you are not inferior to me in any respect[ii]!
There is not even an iota of difference between you and me!
You are my own tool-substance (śakti); I see you as my life!
Now construct quickly for me the illusory material creation! 49
I have awakened you for this purpose only.
Know it well that you are my half-body!
There is no difference between you and me!
As you merge back into me at creation’s end, that is the only point on which you are inferior. 50
Hurry now to manifest the maya-filled creation.
I also am eager to do sportive activities there!
Hearing this command of the Lord, primal matter folded her hands.
“My Lord, the responsibility for evolving the creation has now fallen upon you.” 51
By the sidelong glance of the Lord, the goddess became pregnant.
The son named The Eminent One (mahat) of primal matter was born.
Mahat, too, begat three sons, of incomparable kind.
Please listen, I tell what their names are. 52 Three substances (tattva) with three qualities (guṇa) had their descent—
tamasika[iii], rajasa and sattvika ahankara.
These three sons of his became famous throughout the world.
Listen, from whom originated what evolutes of the creation. 53
From tamasa the attribute of sound (śabda) became manifest.
Sound too begat a son named Sky[iv] (ākāśa).
From Sky originated the attribute[v] of touch (sparśa).
The son of touch became Air (wāẏu), the high-minded one. 54
From Air descended a son named form (rūpa).
The offspring of form became Fire (agni), splendorous.
The son of Fire became taste (rasa), the noble one.
From the taste attribute, afterwards, originated Water (jala). 55
In Water originated the attribute called smell (gandha).
And, from the attribute of smell, there emerged Lady Earth (wasumatī), nonpareil.
I have told you about the plan of the five great substances and the five attributes.
Listen now to the facts relating to the other two substances, rajasika and sattvika. 56
Out of rajasa, the ten gross organs (indriya) of sense and action were born.
O king! I will tell you the names of these ten kinds.
The eye, the ear, the nose, the mouth[vi], the skin, the tongue, the hand,
the foot, the anus and the genitals—by these names these ten are well-known. 57
Now, please listen, I tell the tale of the substance called sattvika
which subtle organic entity (deva) became what gross organ’s indweller[vii] (adhiṣṭhātā).
I tell you the facts of the creation; do not set your mind on any other matter.
Separately, I tell the correspondences, please listen, O Pariksita! 58
From sattvika originates the ten subtle organic entities (deva).
The Wind (Vayu), The Speech-Fire (Vahni), The Strider (Visnu), The King (Indra), The Directions (Dik), The Progenitor (Prajapati), The Twins (Asvins), The Expeller (Mitra), The Sun (Aditya) and The Water-Lord (Varuna).
These are the ten indwellers—the devas—mapped to the gross organs; all of these have the quality of subtlety (sattva). 59
The indweller of the eye is The Sun, the brilliant one.
The indwellers of the ears, know for sure, are The Directions.
The indwellers of the nose are The Twins.
The indweller of speech’s gross organ became that which is known as The Speech-Fire. 60
The indweller of skin became The Wind, of subtle quality.
And the indweller of the tongue became Varuna, The Water-Lord.
The indweller of the hand became Indra, king of the gods.
In the feet, The Strider—Visnu, as it were; in the anus, The Expeller; in the genitals, The Progenitor. 61
Staying in the mind-space (hṛdaa), it does works, good and bad—
the same (gross) mind-organ is known in four forms; hear their names.
‘Mind’ (manas), ‘ego’ (ahaṅ
kāra), ‘intellect’ (buddhi) and ‘conscience’ (citta)—
these four names, know, of the mind-organ became extremely well-known. 62


[i] The primal matter, prakrti or maya, is also known—in anthropomorphized form—as ‘Laksmi,’ the wife, as it were, of the Lord. Worship of Laksmi therefore means worship of primal matter or maya. This is the reason why in Sankaradeva’s system, Laksmi is not worshiped. Worship (upasana) must solely be directed to the supremely conscious pure personality, not to dead matter; for, the jiva is, in reality, a part (amsa), as it were, of God (Isvara) and not a part of primal matter (prakrti).
[ii] In the hierarchy of material evolution, the Lord and primal matter are almost on the same level.
[iii] These terms are somewhat difficult to translate accurately. They can stand for a plethora of meanings with normative values of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ assigned to them (e.g. sattva—good, tamasika—bad). However, as we are dealing with substances here, it would be of benefit to us if we were to know the precise nature of these substances. What kind of substances are these? To answer this question, we have to keep in mind that what is being constructed here is a cosmic egg (brahmanda), a body, as it were, for the Cosmic Soul (Visnu). Therefore, here, the Bhagavata must be referring to the development of a (human) embryo. It is utilizing the scientific facts pertaining to the creation of the microcosm to give a description—a largely figmental one, it seems—of the creation of the macrocosm. Ultimately, it appears, it is the development of the microcosm or the human embryo that is the topic of discussion. Of course, the macrocosmic development would also proceed along essentially similar lines—what is true of the microcosm would be equally true, mutatis mutandis, of the macrocosm. If there is a primordial buddhi in the case of the microcosm, there would be a primordial mahat in the case of the macrocosm, if there is a material evolution or unfolding of creation at the level of the human embryo, so would there be a process of evolution for the macrocosmic ‘egg,’ and so on. But, it must be noted, not all correspondences would hold. God, for instance, is not connected to mind and the senses---macrocosmically conceived— in the way the jiva or embodied personality is. Indeed, there is no mind, sense, etc. for God at all; it is all figmental (kalpana). Therefore, the facts of microcosmic evolution would agree with those of the macrocosm on only the most fundamental and general points.
Cosmogenesis thus merges into embryogenesis. Terms like ‘buddhi,’ ‘ahamkara,’ ‘indriya,’ etc. found in the standard samkhya nomenclature attest to this fact. In this model of genesis of an organism or living being, first, there is the evolution of a material limitation known as the manas—also known by other names such as buddhi, etc.—, a term invariably translated into the English language as simply ‘the mind.’ It is, in reality, a purely unconscious, material device which serves to connect the psycho-physical frame of the organism with the pure personality. It links to the jiva’s transcendental mind—to its afferential (knowledge) and efferential (action) capabilities. This mind-device may also have certain other, autonomic functions. It must be emphasized here that this (unconscious) mind-device does not do any thinking at all; it is the (conscious) jiva which does; but, as it (the mind-device) is welded to the faculty of consciousness of the jiva, it is this mind-device which is identified with it.
It is only after this initial evolution of manas—which would enable the jiva to ‘intelligize’ or to acquire knowledge—that there would be the evolution of the organs—subtle as well as gross—of sense and action. This is a conceptual ladder: at the topmost rung, there is the intellect (refers to manas or the mind-device), then the mind (the mind-device again, this time in a different role), then the organs of sense and action, and so on. Finally, at the bottom-most layer, there are the sense-objects. This is the hierarchy of this process of material evolution: there is a gradation of ‘superior’ and ‘inferior’ entities and substances. (As a digression, it may be pointed out that it is this hierarchical gradation of material units which seems to be emulated in the case of the dharmic system.)
Now, coming back to our original question, if the Bhagavata is indeed referring to the process of development of
the human embryo, then we can surely, with a certain degree of confidence, go ahead and translate the three technical terms, sattvika, rajasa and tamasika ahankara, as ‘the subtle-organic stuff,’ ‘the gross-organic stuff,’ and ‘internal-organic stuff,’ respectively? For these surely are the organic substances? In fact, the translations of the first and the second terms are already suggested by the narrative; with regard to the third term, I have a hunch that tamasika ahankara refers to the substance out of which the internal organs (the asuras?) like stomach, etc. are forged.
[iv] These terms—like ‘Sky,’ ‘Air,’ etc.—seem to be technical in nature; they may not mean literally sky, air, etc. but may refer only to certain basic substances.
[v] The word used is guṇa, a quality or inherent property. But, as we are talking (theistic) samkhya here—very much a substantial and realist philosophy—these ‘attributes’ seem to be not abstract attributes but substances (attribute-substances?).

[vi] It appears to refer to the apparatus for generating speech.
[vii] The term deva may perhaps also be translated as ‘subtle controlling entity.’ It is also extremely clear from the narrative that the devas are subtle organic substance. They are matter, not spiritual personalities.

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