October 3, 2022, Monday
Nepal 1:37:26 pm

Aitareyopanishad

Creation: the will-upshot of Ultimate Consciousness

The Nepal Weekly
March 15, 2022

Who created the universe? What is the source behind all the creations? How about the process of the original creation? Questions like these have been answered in different ways and in different eras by philosophers, scientists, scholars, religious teachers and faith practitioners. The Aitareyopanishad responds to the questions in a standard Vedic way mentioning the great will of the divine Chaitanya as the initial energy behind the whole creation.

Once it occurred to the Ultimate Consciousness – Chaitanya or the Atma – that creation should be materialized. The will got translated into action immediately. The world, which people know through their senses today, came into being. According to the Aitariyopanishad, the divine consciousness constructed, through its will-energy, various abodes or dwelling places – Lok –  to live on and appointed caretakers or managers – Lokpal – to look after them.

The Upanishad Aitareyopanishad has three chapters explaining in the first the way of creation, in the second knowledge of the Atma as the road to sustainable peace and in the third the inner consciousness of human beings. The Shankarbhashya also refers to the world which appears as varied in name, shape and act-quality as non-existent before that will of the Ultimate Consciousness.

Chaitanya in Vedic philosophy is a philosophical term used as synonym of Atma the divine, pure consciousness with traits like the most powerful, the best, extremely energetic, true, clean, independent, unborn, immortal, omnipresent and non-dual.

The abodes structured through the will of Atma were named Ambha, Marichi, Mar and Aap. Ambha is beyond Deulok; the universe is Marichi while the earth is Marlok and the abode under the earth is Aap Lok which consists of excess water. Having erected the dwelling places the will of Atma sought to produce caretakers for them with the designation of Lokpal. For creating Lokpals the Atma took out a male form – Purushakar- from water and equipped him with varied sense organs and skeletons linked in a complex of five elements – wood, fire, earth, metal and water. That person was named Birat Purursh.

Then the Birat Purush gets, through the will of Atma, mouth with ability to speak, nose to inhale and exhale, eye to have vision, eye to hear, skin to feel touch, heart to circulate blood, mind or intelligence to think with logic, and excretory organs to throw away waste. The Upanishad regards human beings as the best among the creations of Atma.

(To be continued in the next issue)

By Shirish B. Pradhan

(See corporatenepal.com for Nepali version)