Let me take a stab at the question raised about `panchikarana'
(paJNchiikaraNa). If anyone finds any error in my analysis, please
feel free to jump in and correct me. I assure you that no offense
will be taken.
First, a couple of brief comments about the authorship
of `Tattvabodha' and `Panchikarana', two texts usually attributed to
Sri Sankaracharya (Sankara).
Tattvabodha is not included in the original Sanskrit edition of "The
Complete Works of Sri Sankaracharya" though Volume 2 (Prakarana-s)
includes a different `prakarana' of 87 verses called "Tattva Upadesa"
(pp 167-178). However, Panchikarana is included as part of the
Prakarana-s (pp 163-165).
On the other hand, Belvalkar contends that in `Panchikarana' there is
nothing in the work itself that warrants its ascription to Sankara
even though Suresvara (his disciple) has written a vartika on it (The
Encyclopedia of Indian Philosophies, Vol. III, page 318). He also
rules out the claim of Sankara's authorship of `Tattvabodha' as
spurious (ibid. page 331).
Now, the process of `panchikarana' as described in `Tattvabodha'
slightly differs and discusses different aspects from the process
described in the actual work with same name, i.e. `panchikarana'. Let
me confine myself to the process described in Tattvabodha.
`Pacnhikarana' 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
Let's look at the process in detail. First, it is established that
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'
1. The `tamas' aspect of each of the five elements divides into two
(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
fire(G) = ½ fire(S) +1/8 space(S) + 1/8 air(S) + 1/8 water(S) + 1/8
water(G) = ½ water(S) +1/8 space(S) + 1/8 air (S) +1/8 fire(S) + 1/8
earth (G) = ½ earth(S) +1/8 space(S) + 1/8 air + 1/8 fire(S) + 1/8
Ram Prasadji, I sincerely hope that I've not confused you more. If
you want me to elaborate any part of my post, please do feel free and
identify the parts.