Ētāvā nasya mahimā
atō jyāyāǵṃścha pūruṣah/
tripādasya amṛtaṃ divi//
All that has been said of Puruṣa, is his “Greatness/Mahima”. But, HE is beyond his greatness. One-fourth of the creation in which he pervades, forms the psychical plane of creation, with many beings, while the remaining three-fourths form the imperishable divine planes.
This stanza has some of the subtle aspects that are often reverberated in the vēda and purāṇa. So, keep an open mind and open heart.
Ētāvā nasya mahimā – atō jyāyāǵṃścha pūruṣah:
Until now they have been praising the glory of Puruṣa and handing to us, the right pointers to look for. The seers are saying that all that has been extolled upto now, is the “Greatness/Grandeur” of Puruṣa. This is called his “Mahimā”.
But, it seems that HE is greater than his own greatness. Let us take eye sight for example. When we look at a beautiful landscape, we cherish every minute detail. Does the greatness lie in the eyes that see the beauty or the landscape? Because beauty is relative, it should be in the eyes that see. Eyes that can see are better than eyes that can not see, for, the function of “sight” gives the eyes greatness, not their existence alone! But, if the mind is not in the aspect of seeing, the person who sees the landscape would be day-dreaming. So, mind is superior to the eyes. As we go deeper and deeper in this direction, we end up at “soul” or Jīvātma who is great, for, if not for his existence in the body, the body would have perished and the sight of beauty would have no meaning. But who is this Jīva? He is an emanation of Puruṣa. Many such Jīvās form a subset of Puruṣa and hence, Puruṣa is the ultimate GRAND aspect in respect to appreciating a beautiful landscape. But, more so, HE is the cause of that landscape, according to 1st stanza.
So, He is a “great” element as the observer and the “grand” element as the observed. Obviously, the process of observing also happens in the medium which is filled by him (stanza-1,2). So, HE is beyond his own greatness which forms another pointer for us to meditate upon!
Pādōsya viśvābhūtāni – tripādasya amṛtaṃ divi:
This line packs in a lot of details that require a meditative study. Let us go one by one and unfold the wisdom related to many branches.
The line literally means that the whole creation, as one unit, is divided into four parts. The physical manifestation forms only one part of it, while the remaining three parts form the immortal divine planes. What is this business of one-fourth and three-fourths? Isn’t lord’s creation supposed to be all uniform and all harmonious? Also, where is the symmetry? We would expect one-half to be physical and one-half as non-physical. So many such questions might occur to an inquirer at the first sight of this statement. Well, the seers did not “frame the theories”, but “recorded their discoveries”. So, the question of “WHY it should be” can not be answered by anyone. In fact, not even can GOD answer because, when there is no creation, he has no one to answer to (HE himself exists as ONE and hence no dual to him/it). When creation manifests, it manifests through him but not by him. Look into any purāṇa or vēdic hymns on creation – like Nāsadīya sūkta, etc. It is always that “An impulse to create occurs in GOD” rather than the “impulse occurs by him.” So, leaving the question of “WHY”, let us go into question of “HOW” and “WHAT”.
Let us understand the statement from the standpoint of the
- Uttered WORD by humans
- Human-Birth through the womb
- concept of progressed horoscope as propagated by Parāśara Maharshi (father of Veda Vyasa) and Alan Leo (in modern times).
- Spatial dimensions of human perception
This will enable us to understand the wisdom hidden in this line, in a better fashion.
Uttered WORD by humans:
I have explained this topic many times in the past. But for completness, let us once again visit it. Say, for example, person A wants to utter “I like rain”. Let us say that the whole process of uttering “I like rain” has N-distinguishable states and this uttered statement is N-th state.
- The physically uttered statement – “I like rain” : N-th state
- Before uttering this statement, he should have a mental blue-print of “I like rain”, which would then send relevant signals to vocal cords: (N-1)th state.
- Before this blueprint, person A should have a hazy or cloudy idea as to what to say. He might be thinking “I like rain or rainfall or heavy rain ….. etc.” in related to rain. There are many clouds of ideas around “rain” that hover his mind in this stage: (N-2)th state
- Before the blueprint, person A must have an “impulse” to speak. Otherwise, person A will be silent and not even bothering to speak: (N-3)th state.
Is there any state prior to impulse? No. Then, N-3 = 1 (as in 1st stage) => N = 4. So, in a reverse order, we can see that a person A is continuing to do what they are doing (state of inertia). AN impulse occurs in this state. It creates a cloudy thought. This cloudy thought solidifies into a mental blueprint which is then uttered as the vocal sounds. So, what is N now? N = 4. The 4th state of utterance is called “Vaikharī Vāk”, the 3rd state is called “Madhyamā Vāk“, the second state is called “Pasyanti Vāk” and the primary state is called “Parā Vāk“, in the vēdic terminology.
Now tell me how many of these 4 states are inside us and how many are expressed exterior to us? The 4th state of Vaikharī is uttered as external to us, while the remaining three states lie hidden inside our heads. So, the law of one-fourths outside and three-fourths inside is working in the way we utter a WORD. This universe is called the “WORD of GOD” or “WORD of SARASWATI” in the scriptures of ancient. So, this WORD too imbibes the 3/4ths and 1/4ths law. This is one of the imports of the statement.
Human-Birth through the womb:
Let us consider the birth of a human body. From the time a sperm fertilizes an ovum, till the baby is born, let us call it womb-period. The moment a baby is out and takes in the first breath, until the last breath of death as life-period. We calculate our time units with respect to the movement of SUN or MOON, the naturally visible extraterrestrial objects that direct our “sense of time”. In case of age, we often use solar years. So, let us use the same in this case. What is the womb-period for a healthy baby? Some babies are born after 9 months, some before, etc. As I have pointed in one of my earlier comments that most of the distributions in this Universe are Gaussian. The peak of this distribution of womb-period will be “9 solar months”. This, on average, is often called the 9-month pregnancy.
Now, what was our basic unit of “Age”? It is a Solar year which has 12 solar months. Because fetus develops every month, let months be our basic unit of calculation here. If 12 months forms 1 unit of calculation, how many units does the fetus stay in the womb?
- 9 months out of 12 months = 3/4th of 1 Unit.
Thus, 3/4ths of our “birth” is spent hidden inside the womb. One may ask, well we can see the fetus through sonography, etc? Here, the word “hidden” implies with respect to the “perception” to human senses. We are dealing with human birth, human utterance, etc., because “Man is made in the image of GOD”. So, let us not pollute the experiment with external agents which are products of our mind, and instead, take only the naturally given instruments to probe nature of Cosmic Man. What happened to the remaining 3 months? The following answers this.
Progression of Horoscope:
Out of 12 months, we spent 9 months in the womb (part 4,3,2 in the diagram). What are remaining months? Just 3 months. Vēdic scriptures take a solar year to be 360 days instead of 365.25 days, for sake of astrological calculations. Just like leap year, Vēdic calculations have “Adhika Māsa” to cater the difference(s). Not going too much into it, let us take it for granted that 360 solar days make one Sāvana year of the vēdās for time calculations. Parāśara suggests that the 3 months = 3 x 30 days = 90 solar days that were remained in the birth UNIT of the baby will have a change in the “time scale”. When in the womb, the human has no control but the dēvās or intelligences take abode in the fetus to etch the body into proper shape. That is why, the days spent in the womb are “Divine Days” or the “Days of Angels”. 1 day of angel = 360 days of humans or 1 year of humans. So, when fetus comes out of the womb, this human-ness kicks in giving a change to the time-scale. Thus, the remaining 90 solar days (divine) becomes 90 solar years of the human. It is said that after 90 years, planets have no impact on the human evolution. This is base of progressed horoscope. So, they progress the birth planets for 90 days and get the results of 90 years for the budding soul!.
Spatial dimensions of human perception:
This I explored in 35) Tetractys of Pythagoras, but we can still re-visit in brief. The way we perceive the 3-D world is as follows:
- The basic unit of a three dimensional creation is a pyramid kind of structure made with 4 points, not all on same plane at same time. This is akin to Uttered Word/Vaikharī Vāk
- It is composed of three three planes intersecting and hence a plane is basic unit in this stage of comprehension, formed by three dots. This is akin to Mental Blue print/ Madhyamā Vāk
- A plane is composed of many lines and hence line is a basic unit of comprehension here, which is made of two dots. This is akin to Cloudy idea/ Paśyaṃtī Vāk
- A line is made of many dots and hence dot is basic unit here. This is akin to Impulse/Parā Vāk
How many of these states can we comprehend? Only the first or the 3-D figure. A plane, a line and a point are incomprehensible to human consciousness. We may speculate them, but can never “understand them”, unless we become one with them. So, 3/4th of spatial dimensions are hidden to us where as 1/4th of it is manifested and thus can be experienced by us.
Immortal Plane and Physical Plane:
I guess by now you have understood the depth of this stanza. Why is it that the 3/4th of hidden creation is called “Amṛta or Immortal”? Lets go back to our example(s). Can any one destroy the impulse we get to speak or the ideas we get or the mental opinions that we form? NO!! No one can destroy them. The moment they are born, they are ever existing in our conscience. But what of the “uttered word” ? It is easily destroyed – either by passing time or by the wind or the mobile signal, etc. You see! So, 3/4th of the word is in DIVINE or IMMORTAL plane. SImilarly, the birth of a baby. The concept of 9 month pregnancy can neither be amended nor destroyed. May be the physical aspect of pregnancy be destroyed due to accidents/intentions, but the concept of pregnancy that occurs in humans as a race does not. That is why this is also DIVINE/Immortal. But the life after birth depends on individual will. Even as a concept, the whole race can elongate the life or destroy each other — there is flexibility in the “idea of physical manifestation” here. That is why it is not immortal.
So, the greatness of the lord is exceed by the lord himself. His creation follows the law of three-fourths or law of one fourth, in the sense that, three-fourth of it is filled with his divine immortality and 1/4th of it is filled by his physical manifestation which has birth and death. This is the essence of third stanza.