The Brihadaranyaka Upanishad which is a part of Satapatha Brahmana of Yajur Veda tells us how the Vedas and other scriptures manifested. It says that Vedas (and all scriptures) have sprang forth from the mouth of the Supreme Being via his breath.
Now, it doesn’t mean to say what it literally says. What it actually means is – from the Vak of the Supreme Lord, manifested all these Vedas. In other words, it is the vaikhari Vak of the Supreme Being which pronounced the Vedas out. Vaikhari Vak works through the medium of breath, hence here the breath of the Parameshwara is said to be the origin of the Vedas.
“sa yathārdraidhāgner abhyāhitāt pṛthag dhūmā viniścaranty eva vā are ‘sya mahato bhūtasya niḥśvasitam etad yad ṛgvedo yajurvedaḥ sāmavedo ‘tharvāṅgirasa itihāsaḥ purāṇaṃ vidyā upaniṣadaḥ ślokāḥ sūtrāṇy anuvyākhyānāni vyākhyānani | asyaivaitāni niśvasitāni ||”
(Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 2:4:10)
“As clouds of smoke proceed by themselves out of a lighted fire kindled with damp fuel, thus, verily, O Maitreyî, has been breathed forth from this great Being what we have as Rig-veda, Yagur-Veda, Sama-veda, Atharvâṅgirasas, Itihâsa (legends), Purâna (cosmogonies), Vidyâ (knowledge), the Upanishads, Slokas (verses), Sûtras (prose rules), Anuvyâkhyânas (glosses), Vyâkhyânas (commentaries). From him alone, all these were breathed forth”.
The Mokshadharmanusasana Parva which is an upa-parva of Santi-Parva of Mahabharata has a discourse by Vyasa about the creation of the Universe. He clearly states that the entire universe including its mobile and immobile creation takes its form and shape from the blueprints which are hidden in Vedas.
Even the great rishis and their names pre-exist in Vedas and later on when they take birth, their names are assigned as per the blue-print present in Vedas.
“vēdaśabdēbhya ēvādau nirmimītē sa īśvaraḥ|
nāmadhēyāni carṣīṇā̃ yāśca vēdēṣu sṛṣṭayaḥ||”
“Indeed, the Īśvara, in the beginning, created all things from the words of the Vedas. Truly, the names of the Rishis, and all else that has been created, occur in the Vedas”.
Vedas are nothing but a collection of mantras (also called riks, yajus, samans, etc., depending upon their groupings). All, these mantras are a combination of matrikas (alphabets) alone. This is why the Para-Vak (the Tripurasundari) who is also called Matrika-Devi, is said to be the mother of all the Veda Mantras in Suta Samhita.
“mantrāṇāṁ mātr̥bhūtācha mātr̥kā paramēśvarī |”
(sūta saṁhitā 4:4:18)
“The Mātr̥kā Paramēśvarī is the mother of all mantrās”.
We have already seen the non-duality between Shiva (Prana) and Shakti (Vak) in previous sections. The same is being affirmed once more by Suta Samhita as follows. It says that as Shiva appears as two viz. Shiva and Shakti; similarly the Vakrupi Matrika Devi also appears in the twofold form.
“yathā parataraḥ śambhurdvidhā śaktiśivātmanā |
tathaiva mātr̥kā dēvī dvidhābhūtā bhavētsvayaṁ ||”
(sūta saṁhitā 4:4:21)
“As the Supreme Shiva appears in twofold form as Shiva and Shakti, in the same manner, Matrika Devi also exists in the twofold state”.
“ēkākārēṇa śaktēstu vāchakaśchētarēṇa tu |
śivasya vāchakaḥ sākśhādvidyēyaṁ padagāminī ||”
(sūta saṁhitā 4:4:22)
“Through one form she denotes Shakti and through another one she denotes Shiva. Therefore, she who manifests through the word (pada), the path to attain the paramapada is verily this vidya alone”.
Vedas are called “śabda-braḥman” because they are the manifested form of the vaikhari aspect of Lord Shiva’s Vak and have manifested through his breath. And this vaikhari is the fourth part of Purusha, where his three parts are higher than the fourth one. This is why Shiva is the Turiya-Brahman and is higher than the “śabda-braḥman”.
However, through these Vedas alone we can know him, that is – Shiva created Vedas by transforming his Vak from apada (speechless state of silence) to pada (speech i.e., śabda-braḥman); and by using the knowledge contained in these Vedas, one transcends this state and reaches the apada state and attains oneness with the Turiya-Shiva.
One who understands this division, transformation, and reverse-transformation, verily understands the truth.
“apadaṁ padamāpannaṁ padaṁ chāpyapadaṁ bhavēt |
padāpadavibhāgaṁ cha yaḥ paśyati sa paśyati ||”
(sūta saṁhitā 4:4:23)
“That shiva who is beyond the reach of speech hence is called apadam (no-speech i.e., turIya), with the help of his own Shakti assumes the state of pada (word i.e., speech) and pada (word or speech) again leads us to that state of apada (Shiva beyond speech). One who understands this division of apada and pada he verily sees (i.e., he becomes Brahman)”.
Originally the vāg-rūpī Tripurasundari remains in the unmanifest state of Brahman and there she has no distinction from Shiva. That state of Shiva (or Shakti) is the state of original mātrika viz. a-kāra; and then Shiva desires to become many and from that original letter “a” (akāra) expands other syllables. The same is mentioned in Aitareya Aranyaka of Rig Veda as cited below.
“yō vai tāṁ vāchaṁ vēda yasyā ēṣa vikāraḥ sa saṁprativit |
akārō vai sarvā vāk saiṣā sparśōṣmbhirvyajyamānā bahvī nānārūpā bhavati ||”
(Aitareya Aranyaka 2:3:6:14)
“He who knows this speech of which this (the mahaduktha) is a development, he is clever. ‘An (akāra)’ is the whole of speech, and manifested through different kinds of contact (consonants) and of wind (sibilants), it becomes manifold and different”.
This is the actual meaning behind the phrase of Bhagawad Gita (BG 10:33) verse which says “aksharanam a-karo ’smi |” which means, “among all the letters I am the letter A”. The same is voiced by Suta Samhita about the Matrika-Devi (who is identical with Shiva) as follows.
[Well, the purport on BG 10:33 is not over with this revelation alone; here we have only discussed why akara is chosen among all the alphabets and the reason is clear that akara is the origin of all the alphabets. Now, the second part – that is – the Bhagawad Gita verse (BG 10:33) speaks about Lord Shiva alone, would be clear by the end of this article, when we see how from the vowels and consonants Shiva creates the entire universe.]
“ēvaṁ lōkōpakārāya padaṁ bahuvidhaṁ bhavēt |”
(sūta saṁhitā 4:4:27)
“The one single Matrika for the benefit of the worlds became many”.
Now, let’s see how Matrika divides herself into manifold combinations. What we hear is the vaikhari part of supreme vak alone. This vaikhari alone produces the Vedas and creates all the mobile and immobile creation.
The monosyllable Matrika (akara) first divides herself into the vowels and assumes the form of sixteen vowels viz. – “a, ā, i, ī, u, ū, r̥, R̥, l̥,L̥, ē, ai, ō, au, aṁ, aḥ”. It then divides herself further into the five types of vargas viz. – “ka-group, cha-group, ṭa-group, ta-group, and pa-group” and further divides herself into twofold form as “antastha and ūṣma”.
“aṁśa ēkaḥ padasyāyamupakārāya dēhinām |
bhavētṣhōdaśadhā pūrvaṁ panchadhā cha dvidhā punaḥ ||”
(sūta saṁhitā 4:4:25)
“The one part (i.e., vaikhari) of the maatrika’s does the favor of all transactions in the embodied beings. It first divides itself into sixteen types (i.e., sixteen vowels including short and long ones), and then divides itself into five types (i.e., the five vargas) and then divides into two-fold type (antastha and ūṣma)”.
Then Matrika Devi transforms herself from sixteen vowels to thirty-two based on nasal and non-nasal forms. Then the thirty-three consonants manifest from her and finally, she exists in the twofold form of – vowels and consonants.
“padasyāṁśōparaḥ pūrvō dvātriṁśadvēdamāpnuyāt |
trayastriṁśatpunarbhēdaṁ tathaiva dvividhaṁ bhavēt ||”
(sūta saṁhitā 4:4:26)
“Matrika’s sixteen forms of vowels become thirty-two based on the division nasal (sānunāsika), and non-nasal (niranunāsika). Then it again becomes thirty-three consonants, therefore it remains in twofold form viz. vowels and consonants”.
These Matrikas (letters) manifest as the Matrika Goddesses of Hinduism. The seven primary vowels (excluding the long ones) viz. – “a, i, u, ē, ō, aṁ, aḥ” are the ones spoken as the Supreme “sapta matrika” i.e, seven mother goddesses viz. – “brāḥmī, vaiśnavī, māhēśvarī, kaumārī, indrānī, vārāhī, and nārasimhī”.
Scriptures also classify Matrikas into eight forms and call them “ashta-matrikas” i.e, eight mother goddesses. These are the manifestations of the seven primary vowels (excluding the long ones) plus the samaṣṭhī (collection) of all the vowels grouped together (ach) viz. – “a, i, u, ē, ō, aṁ, aḥ” + “ach-group”. These eight divine goddesses then are named as – “brāḥmī, vaiśnavī, māhēśvarī, kaumārī, indrānī, vārāhī, nārasimhī and chāmuṇdā”.
These Eight matrikas are again said to group eightfold ways amongst them and thus from those combinations get created the sixty-four methods of worship, sixty-four sciences, and sixty-four classes of “yōginī” goddesses. Thus states the Brahmanda Purana regarding these sixty-four entities.
“catuḥ ṣaṣṭyupacārāḍhyā catuḥ ṣaṣṭikalāmayī mahācatuḥ-ṣaṣṭikoṭi-yoginī-gaṇasevitā |”
(Lalita Sahasranama Stotra: Verse 58)
“She who should be worshipped with sixty-four offerings, She who has sixty-four sciences, and She who is being worshipped by the sixty-four kōti yōginīs in the nine different charkas”.
These are classified as follows:
- catuḥ ṣaṣṭyupacārāḍhyā (8×8=64 upacharas) i.e., she manifests as sixty-four methods of worship – These sixty-four plus another eight making a total of seventy-two ceremonies (rituals) are enumerated by the legendary Shakta-Advaitin saint Bhaskararaya in his work titled, “varivasya rahasya” in the Puja related chapter.
- catuḥ ṣaṣṭikalāmayī (8×8=64 Kalas) i.e., she manifests as sixty-four sciences – Bhaskararaya in his commentary on Lalita Sahasranama stotram enumerates all the sixty four sciences as follows: – (1) The knowledge of the eighteen letters (lipi), (2) Power of writing, (3) Reading quickly (4) Knowledge of different languages (5) Composing verses in them (6) Gambling (7) to (14) The four Vedas and four auxillary Vedas and related texts, (15) to (26) twelve auxiliary sciences (27) Tantra (28) Purana (29) Smriti (30) Poetry (31) Rhetoric (32) Drama (33) to (38) The six – pacifying, controlling, attracting, enmity, ruinging by magical practices, and killing (39) to (45) The art of opposing the effects of motion, water, sight, fire, weapons, speech, and semen (46) to (49) Training Elephants, Horses, Chariots and men (50) to (53) The knowledge of divination by bodily marks (sāmudrika), gymnastics, cooking, and power over snakes (garudavidyā) (54) Suṣira (55) Ānaddha, (56) Ghana (57) Creating illusion (indrajāla) (58)dancing, (59) Singing, (60) alchemy, (61) Knowledge of gems, (62) Thieving (63) Knowledge of the pulse (64) Disappearance.
- mahācatuḥ-ṣaṣṭikoṭi-yoginī-gaṇasevitā (8×8=64 goddesses) – The eight great mothers (mtarikas) like Brahmi etc., each has Eight shaktis like Akshobhya etc., who are the parts of them. Hence they are eight multipled by eight hence sixty four. Each group has further a billion of bands as their followers i.e., “gaṇas”. Each of these 64 kōti (class) of yōginīs thus become sixty-four koti (crore) yoginīs. They serve the supreme mother goddess Lalita Tripurasundari.
Further from the thirty-three consonants of the “varṇamālā” the Matrika Devi (Tripurasundari) creates the Thirty-Three gods viz. Eight Vasus, Eleven Rudras, Twelve Adityas, and Indra and Prajapati.
“sā virāttrayastriṁsadakṣara bhavati | trayastriṁśadvai dēvā |
aṣtau vasava ēkādaśa rudrā dvādaśādityaḥ prajāpatiścha vaṣatkāraścha ||”
(Aitareya Brahmana 2:10:37)
“The Virāj is of thirty-three syllables; the gods are thirty-three – eight vasus, eleven rudras, twelve Adityas, Prajapati and vashatkāra (Indra)”.
Since vowels are superior to consonants, these Mātrikā-dēvīs (sapta or ashṭa mātrikās) which represent the vowels are superior to other gods created through consonants. This is metaphorically explained in the below verse from Aitareya Aranyaka which compares Vowels with ātmān and consonants with the body.
“tadvā idaṁ br̥hatīsahasraṁ saṁpannaṁ tasya yāni vyanjanāni tachcharīraṁ yō ghōṣaḥ sa ātmā ya ūṣmāṇaḥ sa prāṇaḥ |”
(Aitareya Aranyaka 2:2:4:01)
“This then becomes perfect as a thousand of Brihatî verses. Its vyanjanāni (consonants) form its body, its ghōṣaḥ (svaras i.e., vowels) the Soul, its sibilants the air of the breath”.
(Therefore the interpretation of Shankara-Bhashya on Bhagawad Gita verse (BG 9:25) by Vaishnavas is totally wrong. We’ll cover that in detail separately in Appendix (Section 9) of this article)
Now, coming back to the point – Since all the other deities are the various manifestations of these Thirty-Three gods alone as per the below cited verse from Brihadaranyaka Upanishad; all the other deities are also created through a combination of Thirty-Three consonants only.
“sa hovāca — mahimāna evaiṣām ete | trayastriṃśat tv eva devā iti | katame te trayastriṃśad iti | aṣṭau vasava ekādaśa rudrā dvādaśādityāḥ ta ekatriṃśad aindraś caiva prajāpatiś ca trayastriṃśāv iti ||”
(Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 3:9:02)
“Yâgñavalkya replied: ‘They are only the various (further) manifestations of them, in reality, there are only thirty-three gods’. He asked: ‘Who are those thirty-three?’ Yâgñavalkya replied: ‘The eight Vasus, the eleven Rudras, the twelve Âdityas. They make thirty-one, and Indra and Pragâpati make the thirty-three”.
Similarly, the Pancha-Bhutas, Jnanendriyas, Karmendriyas, Tanmatras, and all the tatwas are the manifestation from the alphabets of the “varṇamālā” only. Sri Vidya tradition followers and mantra shastra experts would know the corresponding verses from scriptures. We’ll not discuss those details here since we are going to discuss the entire creation theory through “akśarās” in the below section using the secret messages of Maheshvara Sutras!
To be continued…
The article has been republished from the author’s blog with permission.
This Series was first published on India Facts.
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