Creation in detail: a narrative on origin of sense organs
The Aitareyopanishad presents a detailed narrative of creation particularly a Birat Purush and various sense organs, their properties and emotions. Various sense organs attached to human bodies, like the Birat Purush, are the will-upshots of the Atma. Having structured the Birat Purush through the five elements including water, wood, fire, earth and metal, the Atma creates egg-like mouth and equips it with organ of speech.
The same is followed by creation of nose and its ability to exhale and inhale air. Eyes are then attached to the body with ability to see light and the sun. Ears, the organs to hear and find out directions, develop after this. Skin is created to allow the hair, herbs and vegetation to develop. Heart is created to have the feeling of emotions in mind, which is close to the Moon. Reproductive organs, often referred to as private parts, are also created to throw away the waste produced in the body-mind process of sense organs.
According to the Upanishad, human beings top the list of all living beings on the earth for their properties of consciousness and wisdom. It also describes how gods who took excessively vain pride in being wise and conscious fell down into the worldly ocean. Once in such world, they develop a sense of hunger and thirst. This gives birth to the desire for shelter where they could have intake of some grains. The cow was presented to the gods for drinking milk. They did not get satisfied with it. Then they were presented with bodies of horses which also did not satisfy their hunger. After this, they were gifted with humans. On seeing human body, they described it as the best among creations.
As for intake of grains, the Upanishad notes: the grains cannot be consumed in absence of consciousness. The original person tried to have the grains through speech but failed to do so. Had he been able to digest grains through speech, the person would have been satisfied. The respiratory organ also tried to digest the grain through air but could not do so. Had the inhale and exhale process been able to take in grains, the person would have been satisfied just by air-intake or air-outpouring Other sense organs such as eyes and ears also tried to have the grains but they couldn’t do so. At last the grains were taken through mouth with the help of air. This process laid the foundation of grain intake through air, digesting it with fire of stomach and satisfying the hunger.
The Atma having created the Birat Purush and equipped it with sense organs and emotions seeks to find out who else is present in such person. The Atma finds it as its own extended reflection. All living beings, according to the Upanishad, do have the part of Atma. They have three places of seats in eyes, throat and mind. In times of consciousness eyes are active; in dreams mind is on the move while in quiescent stage the heart continues beating.
By Shirish B. Pradhan
(See corporatenepal.com for Nepali version)