The Mother Divine
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The Hindu and Sufi view
The creation of the universe and the perfect manner in which it exists baffles human mind. Scientists have given various theories of creation and evolution and similarly scholars and saints have given their own versions based on their understanding and experiences which are found in various scriptures. Their descriptions are almost similar with most scriptures mentioning that in the beginning of the creation, there was only the Absolute Truth, with no manifestation of any sort. It was the state when nothing had manifested. This state is described as the state of Supreme Darkness of Absolute Nonbeingness.

Since there was no existence of time in this state of Supreme Darkness, no one knows for how long did this state last. This was the state which is totally Indescribable, Unimaginable and beyond any perceptions. It was the state of the Absolute Truth all by Itself. No time, no relativity, no creation whatsoever. It was not the state of nothingness but the state of Completeness, Totality and Fullness. The scriptures describe such a state as the state of absolute bliss, as this was the state of perfection, harmony and equilibrium. Overwhelming with bliss, the Almighty God thought of revealing Himself in the form of manifold existence in order that the manifold existence may also enjoy the same state of bliss.

This desire of God to manifest as manifold existence and to be blissful acted as the Primordial Determination, the Cosmic Intelligence that reflects itself at all levels, in all the creatures and is the root cause of the desire for all living beings to multiply and to constantly seek happiness. Every creature in the universe desires to be happy and to multiply. Trees flower and produce seeds. Seeds in turn produce trees and those trees again produce millions of seeds and so on and thus keep on multiplying. The same is true of all other creatures. They all long for procreation and happiness; no one wants to be unhappy or to suffer.

The desire of God constituted a two-dimensional plane relating to the two aspects of His desire. These aspects were not unidirectional. The first aspect required the One to manifest as many. Hitherto it was God alone; all by Himself, but the desire to manifest in the form of manifold existence involved the One to appear as many. This caused the manifold existence to have a feeling of separate identity, an existence of their own-self. The One became many and the manifold existence lost the feeling of oneness, wholeness, completeness and fullness. At the same time the aspect of being blissful required that the manifold existence should realize its oneness, wholeness, completeness and fullness, as anything separated from its origin would always long for the unity and can become full of bliss only on removal of this feeling of separation. A piece of stone thrown in the sky rests at peace only constantly on getting back to the earth to which it belongs. Similarly, a stream of water endeavours to rush and reunite with the ocean, from where it originated. This is the universal law that one rests at peace only on regaining its original state, i.e. by reuniting with its origin.

This desire of the Divine, therefore, consisted of two opposing ends that of separation from the source and uniting back with the origin. This desire of the Divine is the Primordial Determination that reflects in and echoes in all the living beings. The entire creation, therefore, emulates this dual perception that arises from two opposing or mutually opposite complementarities. It is like a circle, which begins and ends at the same point. The point of beginning is also the end of ending, and the point of ending is in fact also the threshold of the beginning. The two extremities thus originate from the same source but result in an expression of outward flow, which encompass within them the entire creation.

This two-dimensional desire of God constituted the first plane to receive the irradiations from the Absolute Truth in the form of a Marvelous Brilliance-the Supreme Consciousness that appeared instantly wherein was cast His luminous image (known as the Sat Purush, Adi Purush or Saguna Brahman) shining all around, which is Omnipotent, Omnipresent and Omniscience and has all the qualities and attributes of the God. This desire of God, however, was the first illusion, the first veil, referred to as Adi Maya in the Hindu scriptures. The Srimadbhagwat Mahapuran states that before the creation, there was only the God, the Soul of all souls. Neither there was anything to be seen, nor any seer. With His desire to manifest in the form of manifold creation, He started to look around, but He did not see anything else, as He alone was shining all around and there was nothing else. The Adi Purush accepted association with the Adi Maya in order to create the world. This very faculty of differentiating the Seer from the seen was the first manifestation of the ‘Karya Kaaranrupi Maya’ (the Adi Maya in the form of cause and effect), with the help of which God created the world. The Holy Qur’an and the Bible also mention that God created the universe and lastly the man in His own image, after His own likeness. These descriptions in the Holy Scriptures clearly point out towards a common belief that the entire universe has been created by God.

The desire of creation contained the seed of Gyan (knowledge), as the world could be created only through knowledge. In this regard the Srimadbhagwat mentions that Lord Brahma (Bruha in Sanskrit means expanding and Manan means contemplation. Brahman or Brahma thus means growing with thinking) lacked the knowledge for creation. He then did tapa (penance), as a result of which it was revealed to him that before the creation, it was God alone. Neither there was existence of anything gross or subtle, nor the ignorance that gives rise to both. Where this creation does not exist, God exists; whatever is seen as existing is the existence of God; and whatever would be left is also the existence of God. Whatever is seen as existing or not existing is an expression of Maya. It is the God alone that exists in all forms and everywhere; He alone is the truth of all existence.

The desire that the manifold creation should be blissful, contained the seed of ‘Kaal’ (time) hidden in it. It is the Kaal that sets in the process of differentiation, movement, action and ultimately dissolution of everything in its essence. Existence involves the feeling of individual consciousness or the feeling of being separate. So long there is a feeling of separation, bliss cannot be complete. It is only through the dissolution of the self and merger of the self with the Source that one could return to the Original state and thus experience the eternal bliss.

At the due time, the Sat Purush inspired the Adi Maya to transform itself into Gyan (knowledge) and Kaal (time). Both knowledge and time are thus the characteristic of the Adi Maya. The subtle time is reckoned by the differentiation of the Trigunas of the Maya-Nature. Gyan also is a subtle veil being within the domain of Maya. Gyan is the way that leads one to the Truth. The state of Gyan is very high, very close to the Truth, but it is not the Truth. The Sat Purush needed the help of Maya to create the world; He could not have done it all by Himself without the help of Maya. God required the help of something that was an illusion to create something illusionary. It is illusion, in the sense, that there is the seer and the seen, and what is seen depends upon the perception of the seer. Thus according to the perception of the seer, the scene may appear differently and, therefore, it is illusionary.

The Gyan and Kaal together constituted the second plane of reflection (the second veil of illusion). The reflection of the Sat Purush fell on this plane and together with the attributes of Gyan and Kaal this reflection of the Sat Purush took the form of the Kaal Purush, representing the temporal and spatial principle that governs all contingent beings subject to the condition of time, birth and death. Looking at the luminous Sat Purush, the Kaal Purush claimed its own separate existence, giving rise to the principle of Ahankar (ego-the principle of individual consciousness) in the formula “I am”. The Ahankar is the most important element responsible for the separate existence of the manifold creation. It is because of the individual consciousness that the man feels his separate existence and engages himself in the search of the Truth.

The Gyan and Kaal together with Ahankar, constituted a three-dimensional plane. At the due moment, under the influence of the Cosmic Intelligence, theKaal Purush was transformed into two components, a spiritual component (pertaining to the Sat Purush) and a Prakratik (relating to the Nature) component. Both these components appeared in the form of three-prong existences corresponding to the three-dimensional plane. The spiritual component appeared in the form of the trio comprising of Brahma, Vishnu andMahesh, the lords of Rajoguna, Satvaguna and Tamoguna respectively, who govern creation, preservation and dissolution of the world respectively. The Prakratik component on the other hand transformed into Vaikarik, Tejas and Tamasik Ahankar or into the three-fold energy, the creative energy (Rajas energy), the preserving energy (Satvik energy) and the dissolution energy (Tamas energy), which represent the Trigunas of the Prakriti (the three modes of Nature) i.e. the Rajoguna, the Satvaguna and the Tamoguna.

In their original state the three components of energy i.e. the Trigunas of Prakriti rested in a perfect, harmonious and equilibrium state. The subtle time caused differentiation in the Trigunas. The interaction between the three-fold energy and time gave rise to various elements, gross and subtle, which constitute the contingent existence. The Satvik energy was transformed into the Manas (mind) and the governors of the organs of senses and action. The Rajas energy got transformed into the power associated with the organs of senses and the organs of action, Buddhi (intelligence) and Prana (breathing). The Buddhi confers capability to acquire knowledge of the matter and guides the senses; it is the basis for acquiring knowledge. Prana on the other hand is the basis for all actions; it supports all the organs and leads them to activity. Lastly the Tamsik (or the gross-material) energy got transformed into the gross-material existence.

Interaction of Kaal caused dissolution energy to transform in matter i.e. Paramanus. The Paramanus possessed characteristics of energy which produced vibration (Shabda) arising due to motion around their own axis and simultaneously moving in the space. Shabda is the immediate principle or cause for the creation of Aakash (ether) in which the matter vibrates/expands. Aakash with its subtle principle Shabda was the root of all other subtle principles and corresponding gross elements. The movement of matter caused the matter to expand, resulting in the formation of gasses. The subtle principle of Vayu is Sparsh (touch). Being the effect of its cause- Shabda, it (Sparsh) also carries the characteristics of vibration in it. 

Vayu moving with a tremendous force (arising due to expansion), caused fusion of gasses, thereby releasing energy in the form of fire (Agni-Tej). Fusion of gasses and consequential release of energy caused fission to take place, which in turn released greater energy that helped in further fusion to take place and so on, setting up a chain of fusion-fission reactions and release of energy in the form of fire. The subtle principle of fire is ‘Rupa’ i.e. ‘form’. Being the effect of its cause Aakash and Vayu, it (Rupa) also carries their characteristics.

The heat so produced caused hydrogen gas to burn resulting in the formation of Jal (water), with its subtle principle Rasa (essence-savour). Being the effect of its cause-Aakash, Vayu andAgni, it (Rasa) also carries the characteristics of vibration, touch and form in it.

The last of the gross element to be created was Prithvi (earth), which was formed as a result of dissolution of various gasses in water and so on. The subtle principle of Prithvi is Gandha (odour). Being the effect of its cause-Aakash, Vayu, Agni and Jal, it (Gandha) also carries the characteristics of vibration, touch, form and essence in it.

In the context of the creation of the contingent beings, Shabda along with the gross element Aakash, gave rise to the organs of hearing i.e. the ears. Sparsh along with the gross element Vayu gave rise to the organ of touch i.e. the skin. Rupa along with the gross element Tej gave rise to the eyes. Rasa along with the gross element Jal gave rise to the organ of taste i.e. the tongue. Gandha along with the gross element Prithvi gave rise to the organ of smell i.e. the nose. Being the effect of its cause, the qualities of all gross elements, i.e. Shabda, Sparsh, Rupa, Rasa and Gandha all are found only in Prithvi.

According to the Sankhya Yoga, the twenty three elements, comprising of Mahtatva, Ahankar, five gross elements, their five subtle principles, Manas, five organs of senses and the five organs of action, could not combine together to result into a human aggregate. The Sat Purush, therefore, to bring life to this conglomeration, cast His irradiation into the human being.

The human body is formed by the combination of these elements, which are responsible for its organization and systematization. The gross elements descended in the human body in the order of their unfolding or creation. Ether with its subtle principle vibration took its seat in the throat, which produces sound and is responsible for the faculty of speech. Air took its seat in the heart, located in close proximity to the lungs. It performed the function of purifying the blood. Agni took its seat in the naval region, to digest the food and to nourish the entire organism. Water took its seat in the genitals, for procreation. The last element to descend was the earth, which took its seat in the anus, to provide support and for excretion of waste. All these gross elements are thus associated with many important functions for the maintenance of the human body.

The superiority of man over other creatures is evident from the fact that man is made from clay (earth) and as mentioned earlier, the qualities of all gross elements are found only in the element earth.  The man was thus created from all the elements used in the creation of the universe and the Sat Purush cast His irradiation to bring life to the conglomeration of all the elements into the human being, who, therefore, contains in him the seed of all possibilities. In Qur’anic terms man was created by ‘God’s breathing in him His spirit’. The Holy Bible says that God created the man in His own image.

The spirit breathed in the human body by God is known as the soul. Being the irradiation of the all-shining luminous Sat Purush, the soul is also luminous. It, however, lost its original luminosity while descending in the human aggregate, because of identifying itself with the body, senses and mind due to false association with the ego. 

The Sufi saints, particularly those from the Islamic tradition, consider the macrocosm as the sphere of universal possibilities (or the Daira-e-Imkan), which contains in it the sum total of all present, past and future possibilities. This is divided into two parts, the upper hemisphere known as the ‘World of Order’ (or Alam-e-Amr) and the lower hemisphere known as the ‘World of Creation’ (or Alam-e-Khalq).

The world of order is also known as the ‘World of Light’ (or ‘Alam-e-Nur’), which came into existence immediately at the command of God, without any temporal succession. The World of Creation on the other hand was subjected to creative process and evolved gradually. The World of Order relates to the causal body (or the soul), which contains the principles and inner realities of all possibilities of manifestation. The World of Creation relates to both the subtle body and the gross body and is divided into two parts namely, the ‘World of Sovereignty’ (or ‘Alam-e-Malkut’) relating to the subtle body and the ‘World of Human Sovereignty’ (or ‘Alam-e-Mulk’), which relates to gross body and is perceivable through the senses. The highest reach of the World of Creation is the subtle heart and the lowest limit of the World of Order consists of the subtle principle of the heart organ.

The causal body in man is reflected in five constituent organs i.e. the five spiritual centers namely the Qulb, Rooh, Sirr, Khafi and Akhafa, which pertain to the World of Order and govern the inner-being of the man. The subtle body is reflected in the Nafs (the psyche) i.e. the heart or the mind, and the gross body is reflected in the physical body comprising of the gross elements. The five spiritual components pertaining to the World of Order are considered to be the principle of and bear a strong relationship with the individual elements pertaining to the World of Creation and directly derived from them. They bear the relationship of the cause and effect. These five energy centers (the spiritual Chakras) are all located in the Hridya Chakra of the man by the order of God.
The position of these spiritual Chakras (Lataif) is as under:

Latifa Qulb i.e. Qulb-Chakra is situated under the ribs on the left side in the chest where one feels the sound of the beating of the heart. Latifa Rooh i.e. Rooh-Chakra is situated opposite Latifa Qulb on the right side. Latifa Sirr is situated a little above the Latifa Qulb and similarly Latifa Khafi is situated a little above Latifa Rooh. Latifa Akhafa is situated at the center of Latifa Sirr and Latifa Khafi but a little above these centers, as shown in the figure above. Some Sufis associate these five Chakras with emotions, consciousness, intuition, deep intuition and the deepest intuition respectively.

The Latifa-e-Qulb is closely associated with Nafs and the other four Lataifs bear a strong relationship with the individual gross elements directly derived from them.  Latifa-e-Rooh is associated with the element air; Latifa-e-Sirr with the element water; Latifa-e-Khafi with the element fire and Latifa-e-Akhafa with the element earth. These five Chakras together with the Nafs and the entire physical body made of the gross elements constitute the seven subtle centers, the purification of which ensures their reintegration with their latent spiritual principles.

It is thus evident that man enjoys a special status in the creation as he has been conferred with special capabilities in the form of human body, which contains in it the seed of all possibilities. In practical terms it means that it is possible only for man to reach the highest level of evolution and through his own evolution, he can benefit not only himself but the entire creation.

The soul pervades each and every cell of the human body in the same manner as the God pervades the entire cosmos. While descending down in the human body, however, the soul rested at some stations and chose them as the centers of energy in the human body, which are called spiritual Chakras. The activation and awakening of which, leads him to attain higher spiritual states and thus, to evolve in a perfect human being.