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Want a detailed note on Panchikarana

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Ram Prasadji,

 

Namaste.

 

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.

 

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

as `grossification'.

 

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'

process starts.

 

1. The `tamas' aspect of each of the five elements divides into two

equal parts

(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

earth(S)

 

fire(G) = ½ fire(S) +1/8 space(S) + 1/8 air(S) + 1/8 water(S) + 1/8

earth(S)

 

water(G) = ½ water(S) +1/8 space(S) + 1/8 air (S) +1/8 fire(S) + 1/8

earth(S)

 

earth (G) = ½ earth(S) +1/8 space(S) + 1/8 air + 1/8 fire(S) + 1/8

water(S)

 

 

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.

 

Pranams.

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Posted · Report post

Namaste.

 

Immense thanks to Ram Chandranji and you for the detailed responses.

 

Now if both of you and Stigji, who has promised a response as soon as

possible, will permit, may I express my thoughts and request critical

comments?

 

My feelings this morning with regard to the material provided are the

same as those of twenty years before when I first happened to read

them. Why did Sankara, of all the people, go to the extent of

providing mathematical equations for creation? For metaphysical

purposes, wasn't the spider simile (oornanaabhi) adequate? Isn't the

rest better left for intuitive minds to enquire into and appreciate

as is what is desired of the seekers elsewhere in vedanta?

 

It is probably due to the above reason that there are doubts about

the authorship of Thathwabodha. There are many who feel that this

treatise without the pancheekarana part can stand on its own to serve

the purposes of a beginner vedantin. If members disagree, for the

benefit and guidance of one and all, I would request them to present

their points of view about the actual relevance of the equations in

advaita. Kindly also point out if there are meanings to the

equations that are not immediately perceivable. Needless to say, such

thoughts will without doubt enrich our archives.

 

Ram Chandranji, the Hinduism site recommended by you does not open.

I am getting a "this page cannot be displayed" message. I will try

again later in the day. In the meanwhile, kindly recheck from your

side.

 

Best regards and pranaams.

 

Madathil Nair

 

advaitin, "nitya_em" <nitya_em@r...> wrote:

Then the `panchikarana'

> process starts.

>

> 1. The `tamas' aspect of each of the five elements divides into two

> equal parts

> (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

> earth(S)

>

> fire(G) = ½ fire(S) +1/8 space(S) + 1/8 air(S) + 1/8 water(S) + 1/8

> earth(S)

>

> water(G) = ½ water(S) +1/8 space(S) + 1/8 air (S) +1/8 fire(S) +

1/8

> earth(S)

>

> earth (G) = ½ earth(S) +1/8 space(S) + 1/8 air + 1/8 fire(S) + 1/8

> water(S)

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Posted · Report post

Namaste Madathilnairji:

 

Try this and it does open.

 

http://www.hinduism.co.za/three.htm

 

Honestly, I do not see any valid reasons for us to probe into issues

such as 'authorship,' etc. Smart among us can develop their own logic

and convince one way or other. The bottom line for us to check the

relevance of the work with regard to advaita philosophy (vedanta.) The

rest are just an intellectual exercise and such discussions have

potentials to become a cirular loop.

 

Those with stronger mathematical background are able to digest heavy

dose of Vedanta and Shankara probably demonstrates his mathematical

skills through those equations. Sri Stig with his strong academic

background may be able to throw some light on your question.

 

warmest regards,

 

Ram Chandran

 

Note: In your last posting, you mentioned about your disappointments

for not getting a response to the question on this topic. If we don't

keep 'appointment' then we will not have disappointments!

 

 

 

 

advaitin, "madathilnair" <madathilnair> wrote:

> Namaste.

>

>

> Ram Chandranji, the Hinduism site recommended by you does not open.

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Posted · Report post

 

ramvchandran [rchandran]

Sunday, May 12, 2002 12:57 PM

advaitin

Re: Want a detailed note on Panchikarana

 

 

If we don't keep 'appointment' then we will not have disappointments!

 

****************************************************************************

**************

In most cases, this is simply not true Sri Ramji. For example, if your

toilet is overflowing and the plumber does not come in time, you are likely

to be disappointed directly because of the plumber not keeping his/her

appointment.

 

It should be pointed out that Mahatma Gandhi was a strong adherent of

punctuality!

 

Jai Jai Time Ki!

 

Love to all

Harsha

 

 

 

 

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Posted · Report post

Namaste Harshaji:

 

I enjoyed the humor, in all seriousness, my statement is quite

subtle! When the mind empties all appointments there will no more

disappointments!!

 

Warmest regards,

 

Ram Chandran

 

advaitin, "Harsha" wrote:

> **************

> In most cases, this is simply not true Sri Ramji.

>

> It should be pointed out that Mahatma Gandhi was a strong adherent

of

> punctuality!

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Posted · Report post

 

ramvchandran [rchandran]

Sunday, May 12, 2002 9:06 PM

advaitin

Re: Want a detailed note on Panchikarana

 

Namaste Harshaji:

 

I enjoyed the humor, in all seriousness, my statement is quite

subtle!

 

**********************

Yes, Sri Ramji, I agree. Your statements are always quite subtle! They play

with metaphors, mathematical symbols, and display a textual facility to

convey points which are often difficult to grasp with ordinary words.

Personally, I love your subtle statements, even though I may not immediately

grasp their depth right away.

 

I appreciate the opportunity to express my warmth and gratitude for you

making these statements which capture the essence of Advaita Vedanta and

challenge us to go beyond the mind and thus beyond appointments and

disappointments.

 

Thank you.

 

Love

Harsha

 

 

 

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Panchiikarana

 

This involves grossifcation of subtle elements.

 

The five elements that are created as part of prakRiti - space, air, fire,

water and earth - three states of matter - solids, liquids and gases and

energy and space.

The subtler form of these are created. PrakRiti has three guNa-s or

qualities - satva, rajas and tamas. Satva is the source of knowledge.

Satva guna-s of these five elements become the source of JNana-indriya-s or

sense faculties. Together they form the source for subtle matter - mind and

intellect.

The rajas which is the cause for activity - the rajas aspect of these five

emements form the five karma indriaya-s - organs of action at subtler level.

 

Then comes the grossification of these. In the grossification -

panchiikarana starts. Each of the five elements splits into half. Thus

space is divided into two parts and similarly the rest of the five.

 

One half of each remins but other half splits further into four more parts.

The four (1/8th) part joins each of the other elemnts. Thus the space has

its half part plus 1/8th of air, 1/8th of fire, 1/8th of water and 1/8th of

earth - all together forming one complete whole again. thus in the

pancheekarana each of the unit after the reassembly has half of its own plus

1/8th part of other four elements. These form the basis for the

grossification of the universe. From these re-assemboled unit - the

fourteen worlds, plus the gross bodies of all living organims - including

gods, humans and animals and plants are made.

 

This in essense is the panchiikaraNa process.

 

It is a theory of explaining how subtle all pervading aatma becomes a

grossifed forms of many.

 

You can have your own theory if you want, but as a good scientist you have

to find fault in the previous theory before you produce a new one which is

better.

 

The philosophy starts with one - existence-consciousnes-bliss - and every

philosopher is trying to account how one became many. That is the essence

of creation.

 

This is all prakriti only which is equated to maaya - that which is not

there in reality.

 

This what I understand as PanchiikaraNa process.

 

Hari OM!

Sadananda

> > advaitin, "Ram Prasad" <ram_cnr@h...> wrote:

> > > Hari Om,

> > >

> > > Can any of the learned ones please tell me more about the

>concept

> > of

> > > panchikarana. I have gone thro commentaries on Atma Bodha

>from shri

> > > parthasarathy where there is mention of this concept and it

>is till

> > not

> > > clear to me.

> > >

> > > Thanks in Advance.

> > >

> > > Ram Prasad

> > >

> > >

> > >

>_______________

> > > Chat with friends online, try MSN Messenger:

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> >

> >

>

>

 

 

 

 

 

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Posted · Report post

Namaste Sadanandaji,

 

My doubts are included in brackets in the body of your post.

Appreciate your comments, if any.

 

_____________________________

 

In advaitin, "Kuntimaddi Sadananda" <k_sadananda@h...> wrote:

 

The five elements that are created as part of prakRiti - space, air,

fire,

water and earth - three states of matter - solids, liquids and gases

and

energy and space.

The subtler form of these are created.

_____________________________

 

(Does this mean that matter exists in subtle and gross forms?)

 

_____________________________

 

PrakRiti has three guNa-s or

qualities - satva, rajas and tamas. Satva is the source of knowledge.

Satva guna-s of these five elements become the source of JNana-

indriya-s or

sense faculties. Together they form the source for subtle matter -

mind and

intellect.

The rajas which is the cause for activity - the rajas aspect of these

five

emements form the five karma indriaya-s - organs of action at subtler

level.

 

_________________________

 

(What happens to thamas? Is that not to be accounted for? Besides,

the logical conclusion in Vedanta is that the mind precedes matter.

How can we then say that the satwa guna-s of the elements are the

source of mind and intellect? Will that not mean that the elements

with their guna-s preceded the mind. Does this also mean that our

thoughts, ideas, reasoning, dreams etc. are all made of subtle

matter?)

 

__________________________

 

Then comes the grossification of these. In the grossification -

panchiikarana starts. Each of the five elements splits into half.

Thus

space is divided into two parts and similarly the rest of the five.

 

One half of each remins but other half splits further into four more

parts.

 

Is the remaining one part the essence of all our mental and

intellectual activities?

 

 

The four (1/8th) part joins each of the other elemnts. Thus the space

has

its half part plus 1/8th of air, 1/8th of fire, 1/8th of water and

1/8th of

earth - all together forming one complete whole again. thus in the

pancheekarana each of the unit after the reassembly has half of its

own plus

1/8th part of other four elements. These form the basis for the

grossification of the universe. From these re-assemboled unit - the

fourteen worlds, plus the gross bodies of all living organims -

including

gods, humans and animals and plants are made.

 

This in essense is the panchiikaraNa process.

 

It is a theory of explaining how subtle all pervading aatma becomes a

grossifed forms of many.

 

You can have your own theory if you want, but as a good scientist you

have

to find fault in the previous theory before you produce a new one

which is

better.

 

_______________________________

 

With all respect to Sankara, pancheekarana so far has sounded only as

an attempt to explain creation. It cannot be called a theory in the

same sense as atomic theory or the theory of relativity, which have

contributed to the empirical understanding of other phenomena and

stood the tests of time. So, there is no need to locate a fault in

pancheekarana for another person to postulate something entirely

different.

 

In this context, I am a little perplexed why our sages, who

proclaimed that Brahman is desa-kaala-aabhaadida (beyond or not

affected or not conditioned by space and time) excluded time from the

list of elements. They were wise enough to understand the relevance

of space. Why did they leave out time? From their upanishadic

ponderings, it can be assumed that even in their ancient days they

perhaps were able to appreciate Einstein's space-time continuum.

Nevertheless, they failed to accord time the importance they gave

space. Why? Did they think that space has no meaning without

temporal relevance and the inclusion of one really meant the

inclusion of the other as well? That may probably be the reason, I

am not sure. Do I sound like holding an uncalled for brief for their

act of omission?

 

However, if it is not considered outrageous, can't we not rewrite

pancheekarana on a six-element footing with time included as one of

the elements? The proportions can then be appropriately altered to

arrive at a new set of mathematical equations.

 

This is just a thought by way of discussion. If it can generate

interesting thoughts from other knowledgeable members, I would be

very happy. All the same,pancheekarana or shashteekarana, I am

totally convinced of the essence of advaita. And that is most

important to me.

______________________________

 

 

The philosophy starts with one - existence-consciousnes-bliss - and

every

philosopher is trying to account how one became many. That is the

essence

of creation.

 

This is all prakriti only which is equated to maaya - that which is

not

there in reality.

 

This what I understand as PanchiikaraNa process.

 

Hari OM!

Sadananda

______________________________

 

 

Best regards and pranams.

 

Madathil Nair

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