Chapter V - Vishnu as Brahma creates the world
Now unfold to me, Brahman, how this deity created the gods, sages,
progenitors, demons, men, animals, trees, and the rest, that abide on
earth, in heaven, or in the waters: how Brahmā at creation made the
world with the qualities, the characteristics, and the forms of
I will explain to you, Maitreya, listen attentively, how this deity,
the lord of all, created the gods and other beings.
Whilst he (Brahmā) formerly, in the beginning of the Kalpas, was.
meditating on creation, there appeared a creation beginning with
ignorance, and consisting of darkness. From that great being appeared
fivefold Ignorance, consisting of obscurity, illusion, extreme
illusion, gloom, utter darkness.
The creation of the creator thus
plunged in abstraction, was the fivefold (immovable) world, without
intellect or reflection, void of perception or sensation, incapable of
feeling, and destitute of motion. Since immovable things were first
created, this is called the first creation.
Brahmā, beholding that it
was defective, designed another; and whilst he thus meditated, the
animal creation was manifested, to the products of which the term
Tiryaksrotas is applied, from their nutriment following a winding
course. These were called beasts, &c., and their characteristic was
the quality of darkness, they being destitute of knowledge,
uncontrolled in their conduct, and mistaking error for wisdom; being
formed of egotism and self-esteem, labouring under the twenty-eight
kinds of imperfection, manifesting inward sensations, and
associating with each other (according to their kinds).
Beholding this creation also imperfect, Brahmā again meditated, and a
third creation appeared, abounding with the quality of goodness,
termed Ūrddhasrotas. The beings thus produced in the Ūrddhasrotas
creation were endowed with pleasure and enjoyment, uneñcumbered
internally or externally, and luminous within and without. This,
termed the creation of immortals, was the third performance of Brahmā,
who, although well pleased with it, still found it incompetent to
fulfil his end.
Continuing therefore his meditations, there sprang, in
consequence of his infallible purpose, the creation termed
Arvāksrotas, from indiscrete nature. The products of this are termed
Arvāksrotasas, from the downward current (of their nutriment). They
abound with the light of knowledge, but the qualities of darkness and
of foulness predominate. Hence they are afflicted by evil, and are
repeatedly impelled to action. They have knowledge both externally and
internally, and are the instruments (of accomplishing the object of
creation, the liberation of soul). These creatures were mankind.
I have thus explained to you, excellent Muni, six creations.
- The first creation was that of Mahat or Intellect, which is also called the creation of Brahmā.
The second was that of the rudimental principles (Tanmātras), thence termed the elemental creation (Bhūta serga).
The third was the modified form of egotism, termed the organic creation, or creation of the senses (Aindrīyaka).
These three were the Prākrita creations, the developments of indiscrete nature, preceded by the indiscrete principle.
The fourth or fundamental creation (of perceptible things) was that of inanimate bodies.
[mukhyasargaś caturthas tu mukhyā vai sthāvarāḥ smṛtāḥ // (1,5.21.2)]
The fifth, the Tairyag yonya creation, was that of animals.
[pañcamas tu ca yaḥ proktas tairyagyonyaḥ sa ucyate / (1,5.22.1)]
The sixth was the Ūrddhasrotas creation, or that of the divinities.
[tatordhvasrotasāṃ ṣaṣṭho devasargas tu sa smṛtaḥ // (1,5.22.2)]
The creation of the Arvāksrotas beings was the seventh, and was that of man.
[tato 'rvāksrotasāṃ sargaḥ saptamaḥ sa tu mānuṣaḥ // (1,5.23.1)]
There is an eighth creation, termed Anugraha, which possesses both the qualities of goodness and darkness.
Of these creations, five are secondary, and three are primary.
- But there is a ninth, the Kaumāra creation, which is both primary and secondary.
These are the nine creations of the great progenitor of all, and, both as primary and secondary, are the radical causes of the world, proceeding from the sovereign creator. What else dost thou desire to hear?
Maitreya said:— Thou hast briefly related to me, Muni, the creation of the gods and other beings: I am desirous, chief of sages, to hear from thee a more ample account of their creation.
Created beings, although they are destroyed (in their individual forms) at the periods of dissolution, yet, being affected by the good or evil acts of former existence, they are never exempted from their consequences; and when Brahmā creates the world anew, they are the progeny of his will, in the fourfold condition of gods, men, animals, or inanimate things.
Brahmā then, being desirous of creating the four orders of beings, termed gods, demons, progenitors, and men, collected his mind into itself...