[Advaita-l] Tattvabodha of Adi Sankaracharya - 24

S Jayanarayanan sjayana at yahoo.com
Sat Oct 24 14:00:13 EDT 2020

(Continued from previous post)
3.1 Jagat (The Universe) and creation
 atha chaturvi.nshatitattvotpattiprakAra.n vakShyAmaH .
atha Now, vakShyAmaH We shall explain,
chaturvi.nshatitattvotpattiprakAra.n the method of evolution
of the twenty four tattvas.
In vedanta, twenty four categories are men-
tioned, called tattvas, which when put together
are responsible for creation.
What are  the  twenty  four tattvas ?
* Five elements   (5)
* Seventeen subtle bodies comprising of
the  five  sense  organs,  five  organs  of
action, five breaths, mind and intellect (17)
* citta  (1)
* ahamkAra  (1)
The author begins the discussion by saying,
brahmAshrayA sattvarajastamoguNAtmikA mAyA asti .
brahmAshrayA - depending on Brahman for its
existence, mAyA asti - is mAyA, (which is)
sattvarajastamoguNAtmikA - of the nature of the three
qualities, satva, rajas and tamas.
Here the term AtmA is used in the context of
the individual and the term brahman is used
in the context of the total. Brahman is
caitanyam, is all-pervading and so is a part of
the creation and not created.
The author introduces another important
factor by saying, mAyA asti. mAyA is the seed
or potential form of the entire creation, includ-
ing the individual, sthUlaprapancam, sUkshma
prapancam and kAraNa prapancam. We have
seen earlier that kAraNa Sareeram and hence
kAraNa prapancam are without beginning
That means all the three Sareeras should be
present in mAyA. In other words, both brahman
and mAyA existed before creation itself. Simi-
larly, during the time of dissolution - pralaya
- also, brahman and mAyA exist.
The author introduces another piece of infor-
mation also in this section, namely the three
sattvarajastamoguNAtmikA mAyA That means, mAyA
has three gunAs, namely, satva, rajas and tamas
and so it is saguNA, while brahman is
nirguNam. The entire creation came about from
this couple alone.
Because mAyA is the cause of creation and is
endowed with the three guNas, we find the
creation also with these three guNas. For ex-
ample, buddhi (intellect), which is a part of
the vnAnamayakoSa is born out of mAyA and
so also an inert object like a chair - buddhi
and chair, both being inert. The difference is
that buddhi is able to manifest Consciousness,
while the chair is not. To understand this, we
say, that the sauna part of mAyA is respon-
sible for buddhi: while, the tamas part of mAyA
is responsible for the creation of a chair, wa-
ter etc. In the same way, the active part of
creation, like the organs of action (which have
no intelligence of their own, but can act), is
the outcome of the rajas aspect of mAyA. In
* Intelligence (knowledge, jnAna) part of cre-
ation - from satva aspect of mAyA
* Active part of creation - kriya - from rajas
aspect of mAyA.
* Inert part of creation - jaDa - from tamas
aspect of mAyA.
Because of the three aspects of creation, mAyA
is described as triguNAtmikA or
sattvatrajastamoguNAtmikA. Since mAyA is
dependent on brahman, it is also described as
(Continued in next post)

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