Body's Pre-Image and Five Elements (CH 15, P2, Garuda Puran)


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A treatise on 'self' and 'not-self'. By wilful drawing of life force by attention to outside world and its activities, we deprive our inner organs of their share of life force which shows up as disease.

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Body's Pre-Image and Five Elements (CH 15, P2, Garuda Puran)

  1. 1. Garuda Puran BackgroundGaruda Puran is a dialogue between Lord Vishnu and Garuda narrated by sage Suta. Itis used at funeral ceremonies and due to fear and ignorance; people do not keep it in thehouse. Chapters 15 and 16 are the most wonderful part of this Puran and we depriveourselves of the knowledge contained therein by not reading it. Chapter 15 Description of Rebirth after Term in Heaven (Begetting Virtuous Children, Parts of Body, Customary and Spiritual Body Six Chakras and Seed Sounds of Language, Stillness of Mind and Yoga) Parts of Body and Attributes of Five Subtle Elements (Part 2)Chapter 15 starts with the method of conceiving a meritorious and fortunate son. Therighteous son thus obtained, in his youth, reflects upon ‘self’ (soul) and ‘not-self’(soulless).Blessed Lord continues: • Then he constantly strives to discriminate between the self and the not-self by false accusation and aspersion, two sorts of arguments, he meditates upon Brahman. • For the understanding of the dissociation of Brahman from that with which he is associated, I will tell you the attributes of earth etc. i.e. lifeless and soulless five elements.Earth, water, fire, air and ether -- these are called the subtle elements. This corpulentbody is made up of the five elements. • O Garuda! Skin, bones, nerves (artery, ducts, veins), hair (small hair on the body) and flesh, -- these five attributes are formed from earth element. • Saliva, urine, sperm (semen, vital fluid), marrow (fat), and blood, -- these five attributes are made from water element. • Now hear the attribute of fire. Hunger (appetite), thirst (vehement desire for or of glory, avarice), sloth (torpor, laziness, lethargy, idleness, indolence, inaction), sleep (slumber, dream) and effulgence (Light, luster, gloss, splendour, personality), O Garuda! These five attributes are born of fire element, as declared by Yogins.
  2. 2. • Gathering, running, walking, contracting and expanding, -- these are declared the five attributes of air element.• Sound (speech), anxiety (thought, care, worry, consideration, concern, desire, anger etc.), space (vacant, empty, void, sky, ether), delusion (ignorance, hallucination, foolishness, bewilderment, stupefaction, fear, infatuation, perplexity, confusion, spiritual ignorance), and indecision (uncertainty, skepticism, incertitude, mistrust, doubt, scruple, distrust) -- these five attributes have sprung from ether element. [Note: Each of the above attribute (lifeless nature, not-self) draws power from its source element (again of lifeless nature, not-self) which draws power from the respective pranic current (life) which is a differentiated state of life force (self) as soul entering the body at the eye center. Knowing the subtle source elements is tattava gyan i.e. ‘knowledge of the subtle elements’ and knowing the soul is the knowledge of ‘self’ which ultimately leads to the knowledge of Brahman, the subtle truth and real purpose of human life.]• Manas [(mind; function – will-thought and doubt; receiving and combining input through sense organs from outside world and through memory from inner store of past experience; and prepare an output for motor organs); (the seat of Manas is the end of the throat)]; Chit [(attention – conscious faculty; function – memory and operating in tandem with Manas); (the seat of Chit is the navel and that is why memory is active in all three states i.e. Jagrat (wakeful), Svapana (dream) and Sushupti (dreamless, deep sleep)]; Buddhi [(intelligence – wisdom, knowledge, intellect; function – is to determinate and check the output from mind before passing it to ego and motor organs. It is rarely used by ordinary persons and combined output of Manas and Chit is passed on to Ego for execution by motor organs without any discrimination. For ordinary persons it becomes a habit and by-passing Buddhi becomes a routine); (the seat of Buddhi is the face)]; Ahankara [(egotism - haughtiness, boast, arrogance, conceit, vain pursuit, affectation, empty pride, self praise, vanity, self-conceit; function – self- consciousness and confirmation of above output with or without the check by Buddhi to motor organs, thus making all actions binding to self because it is ‘my I’ that authorizes final output to motor organs. It is a mute spectator and it does not check the incoming output in case Buddhi gets by-passed); (the seat of Ahankara is the heart and output authorized by it is passed to heart for further execution by motor organs of the body)];
  3. 3. -- These four are the names of antahkaran or the Inner Instrument (the inner organ or instrument of the mind the 4-petal lotus at forehead), and they are produced together from the influence of previous births. (Antahkaran is the human organ of thought and mental function, the mind, the heart, the conscience; made up of subtle fields of energy above the six chakras of physical body.)• Ears (sense of hearing), skin (sense of touch), eyes (sense of sight), tongue (sense of taste) and nose (sense of smell) are the organs of perception (five sense organs). [Ears and sense of hearing are produced from good (sattvic) attribute of ether element; skin and sense of touch from air element; eyes and sense of sight from fire element; tongue and sense of taste from water element; and nose and sense of smell from earth element respectively.]• Mouth (power of speech), hands (power of manual skill), and feet (power of locomotion), genital organ (power of reproduction) and rectal organ (power of excretion) are the organs of action (five motor organs). [Mouth and power of speech are produced from activating (rajasic) attribute of ether element; hands and power of manual skill from air element; feet and power of locomotion from fire element; genital organ and power of reproduction from water element; and rectal organ and power of excretion from earth element respectively.] [The gross (tamasic) attribute present in the five elements produces the physical atoms of the body.] [Note: Each of the above organs of perception (lifeless nature, not-self) and that of action (lifeless nature, not-self) draws power from its source element (again of lifeless nature, not-self) which in turn draws power from respective pranic current (life) as differentiated form of life force (self) of soul. Therefore, soul is the sustaining power of body on which depends the survival and proper functioning of all inner organs.] [This life force is further diffused by us to outside world by attention. If the diffusion of life force to the outside world is more, then inner organs of the body are bound to suffer. Disease is the sign that our willful drawing of life force by attention to the outside world is more and the inner system is getting deprived of its proper share to maintain a healthy body. One of the early sign is constipation which means excretory system is not getting necessary power to drive out excreta from the body.]
  4. 4. • ik (the quarters, ten directions), Vāyu, Arka (the sun), Varuṇa, Aśvini evas, Agni, In ra, Upen ra, Mṛṭyu (the God of death), Prajāpaṭi, the Moon, Vishṇu the four-faced Brahma and Śambhu (Śiva) are the presiding deities of the organs of sense and action. Table: Organs and Presiding Deity Sense Organ Deity Motor Organ Deity Antahkaran Deity Ear Dik Speech Agni Manas – Chit Moon Skin Vayu Hands Indra Buddhi Brahma Eyes Arka Legs Upendra Ahankara Sambhu Tongue Varuna Anus Mrtyu Nose Asvini Devas Sex Organs Prajapati [The cosmic powers, Fire, Wind, Sun, Space, Vegetation, Moon, Death, and Water (each of which is created from a corresponding function of the ideal Man) are in themselves powerless. They sink back into the primitive waters, and suffer hunger and thirst; they must have a home in the real Man in order to be satisfied and active. The forces of Nature exist only through and in the human subject). – Aitareya Upanishad]• Ida (the left hand nadi), Pingala (the right hand nadi), and thirdly Sushumna (the central nadi); and also Gandhari (to left eye), Gajajihva (to right eye), Pusa (to right ear), Yashasvini (to left ear), Alambusa (to mouth), and Kuhu (to genitals), and Sankhini (to rectal), the tenth as well -- are situated in the interior of the body, and are the ten principal Nadis (the inner nerve system or channels for the vital breath).• Prana, Apana, Samana, Udana, and Vyana; and also Naga, Kurma, Krikala, Devadatta and Dhananjaya are ten forms of vital breath.• In the heart, Prana; in the anus, Apana; in the navel, Samana; in the region of the throat, Udana; and distributed all over the body, Vyana. Table: Five major Pranas and their functions Prana Seat and Field of Activity Function Prana From the heart to the Main function – respiration. throat It governs speech and the vocal apparatus as well as the respiratory system and the muscles engaged in it. It helps in swallowing and regulates the body temperature. It is golden in colour, light in weight and has an upward movement. Hiccough, asthma, cough, pain in the head, the ears, and the eyes; these and other various kinds of diseases are generated by the disturbance of the breath.
  5. 5. Apana From the navel to the Main function – elimination. soles of the feet It governs the functions of the kidneys, the colon, the rectum, the bladder and the genitals. It eliminates stool, urine, semen, and menses. It helps in the process of childbirth. It is characterized by heaviness and has a downward movement. It is yellow in colour. When this energy is not regulated one feels lazy, dull, heavy and confused. Samana From navel to the heart Main function – digestion and assimilation. It governs all the metabolic activity engaged in digestion. It nourishes the whole body and gives glowing health to it. It is white in colour and cool in nature. Udana From the throat to the It keeps the body lifted upwards. head It helps in vomiting. It governs the use of our special senses. It is green in colour. By regulating this energy the body can be made very light. Vyana Pervades the whole body Main function – circulation. It governs the relaxation and contraction of all muscles, voluntary and involuntary, as well as the movement of the joints and the structures around them. It co-ordinates all activities of the nervous system. It helps in maintaining co-ordination and balance. It is sky-blue in colour.• Belching (eructation, bellowing) is Naga; opening (of eyes), blooming, expanding is Kurma; the cause of appetite, hunger is Krikala; Yawning is Devadatta and all-pervading is Dhananjaya, it does not leave even the corpse. [Prana is an auto-energizing force which creates a magnetic field in the form of the Universe and plays with it, both to maintain, and to destroy for further creation. It permeates each individual as well as the Universe at all levels. It acts as physical energy, mental energy, where the mind gathers information; and as intellectual energy, where information is examined and filtered. Prana also acts as sexual energy, spiritual energy and cosmic energy. All that vibrates in this Universe is prana: heat, light, gravity, magnetism, vigor, power, vitality, electricity, life and spirit are all forms of prana. It is the cosmic
  6. 6. personality, potent in all beings and non-beings. It is the prime mover of all activity. It isthe wealth of life.The prana never goes to sleep, just as the heart never stops beating. The prana isregarded as the watchman of the body. The prana is characterized by the propertyof rajas or restlessness. One cannot make it keep quiet even with effort. The body whichis of the nature of tamas is made to move by the rajas of the prana. The prana incites thesenses to activity. Because of its rajasic nature, it does not allow either the body or themind to remain in peace.Prana and chit are in constant contact with each other. They are like twins. Pranabecome focused where chit is, and chit, where prana is. When you are troubled,restless, or confused, you have more prana outside the body than within. When you feelunwell; the quality of prana and its density within the body is reduced.It can also show as a lack of drive or motivation to do anything; you are listless oreven depressed. We may suffer from physical ailments when prana is lacking in thebody. On the other hand, the more peaceful and well-balanced we are, the less our pranais dispersed outside the body. And if all the prana is within the body, we are free of thesesymptoms.If prana does not find sufficient room in the body there can be only one reason: it isbeing forced out by willful drawing of life force (prana) by attention to outside worldand its activities.Our state of mind is closely linked to the quality of prana within. The more content aperson is and the better he or she feels, the more prana is inside. The more disturbed aperson is, the more prana is dissipated and lost.Whatever happens in the mind influences the breath; the breath becomes quicker whenwe are excited and deeper and quieter when we relax. In order to influence our prana wemust be able to influence the mind. Our actions often disturb the mind, causing prana toexude from the body.][Muktiko-Upanishad: Advice of Lord Rama to Hanumana: Māruṭi, the Munis knowthat as Vāsanā which is manifested through the consciousness of objects, which is ofthe nature of the object itself, and which is the cause of the origination andabsorption of Chiṭṭa.This excessively fluctuating Chiṭṭa is the cause of birth, dotage and death, due to theidentification of itself with objects practiced firmly (for a long time).Like the analogy of the seed and the tree, the vibration of Prāṇa arises through Vāsanāand (vice versa) the Vāsanā through the former—these forming the seed of Chiṭṭa.To the tree of Chiṭṭa, there are two seeds: the vibration of Prāṇa and Vāsanā. Shouldeither of them perish, both perish soon.]
  7. 7. • The body gets nourishment which is obtained by eating mouthfuls of food. The air called Vyana carries the essential part of food in all the Nadis. • Food after eating is split into two by that air. Having entered near the anus it separates the solid and liquid portions, placing the water over the fire, and the solid over the water, The Prana positioned under the fire, inflames it slowly. The fire, inflamed by the air, separates the substance from the waste. The Vyana air makes the essence go all over, and the waste, forced through the twelve gateways, is ejected from the body. • Ears, eyes, nostrils, tongue, teeth, navel, nails, anus, generative organs, head, trunk, hair -- are called unclean places. • Thus the airs, having their power from the self, perform their own functions, affecting people, just as does the rising of the sun. (It is the ‘self’ that should be known while in human body, thus the righteous son reflects.)This, in brief, is the description of corporeal body which is ‘not-self’. Blessed Lordthen continues with the description of customary and cosmic form of man.