Study of jagat
One of Isaac Newton's assistants was an atheist. One day, when he walked into the lab, he noticed a working model of the solar system. He asked Newton, who made it. Newton replied; "It happened by itself". The assistant asked again; "Really, who made it Issac? It can't happen by itself". Newton replied; "If the solar system can happen by itself, why can't a model of it happen by itself?
The above conversation presents a nice drop back for the study of jagat and its creation. We will try to understand through some examples from our daily life.
One day a man was passing by through a village. He noticed a huge mass of wet clay in front of a house. When, he returned through the same path in the evening, the clay was not to be seen. There were a bunch of pots, plates, etc set for drying. He asked a boy there, what happened to the clay? Where did all these pots and plates come from? The boy said, they were made from the clay. The man asked who made it. The boy pointed to a middle aged person and said he made it. Next day, when the man passed through the same path again, he noticed that most of the pots and plates were dried and set aside, but a few pots and plates were broken and were tossed into a corner. We understand a few facts about this situation. A material cause and an intelligent cause is required in the creation of any object. In this case, Clay is the material cause of the pots and plates. The Pot Maker is the intelligent cause of the pots and plates. The pots and plates are the effect or product. The same clay is present in the pots or plates. The clay retains its attribute as clay in the product, be it pot, plates or the broken pieces of the pots or plates.
This quality or characteristic of an object, which retains its unchanging attribute even as it appears differently, is called the svarUpa of the object. Similarly gold retains its attribute as it is made in to bangles, chain or ear ring etc, allowing us to understand the svarUpa of gold.
Now let us take another example. A spider builds a web around itself. What does it build the web from? It uses its own saliva to build the web. So, in this case, the spider is the material cause as well as the intelligent cause of the web.
In the advaita philosophy, the material cause is called the upAdAna kAraNa and the intelligent cause (this is also referred to as Efficient cause) is called the nimitta kAraNa. The effect (product) is called kArya (Effect). Both the upAdAna kAraNa and the nimitta kAraNa are required in the creation of a kArya or Effect. The upAdAna kAraNa, like clay, is generally insentient, but the nimitta kAraNa is always sentient, like the pot maker or the goldsmith. The nimitta kAraNa is the chEtas or chEtana (consciousness) in the pot maker or the goldsmith. Therefore it can be concluded that only a sentient entity can be a nimitta kAraNa for any kArya. So it is very clear that the Intelligent Cause for the creation of jagat is in the chEtana or Pure Consciousness.
Now let us look at the jagat. What is Jagat?
Before we attempt to determine the material and intellectual cause of the jagat, let us try to understand what jagat is. Krishna describes two aspects of jagat in gIta - the aparA prakriti (inferior or lower aspect) and parA prakriti (higher aspect). The verses are 7-4 and 7-5;
" bhUmirApO analO vAyuh kham manO buddhih Eva cha
ahankAra itIyam mE bhinnA prakritih ashTadhA "
- Earth, water, fire, air, ether(space), mind, intellect and ego - This eightfold unit is one aspect of my nature-(7-4)
" aparEyam itah tu anyAm prakritim viddhi mE parAm
jIvabhUtam mahAbAhO yayEdam dhAryatE jagat "
- Oh Arjuna! this (described in the previous verse) is my lower or inferior nature. Know my other nature, the higher (parA prakriti) is the life element by which the universe is supported-(7-5).
So everything we see (and don't see) around us, including us, is jagat.
The mind is also classified under insentient, because it is made of the five insentient elements - Earth, water, fire, air ether. The elements are insentient, so the modifications of them are also insentient. It is interesting to note from the spiritual point that since mind is insentient, it can be controlled like any other insentient object and it can never have power over the sentient. Knowing the difference between jada (insentient), and the chit (sentient), we can clearly understand that that the mind can be trained to what we want it to be.
In the next unit, we will look at the kAraNa for Jagat.
Om shAntih, shAntih, shAntih ( Om peace, peace, peace).