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ON THE CREATION; WITH A SUMMARY OF THE CONTENTS.
1. MENU sat reclined, with his attention fixed on one
object, the Supreme God; when the divine Sages approached him, and, after mutual salutations in
due form, delivered the following address : 2. Deign, sovereign ruler, to apprize us of the sacred laws in their order, as they must be followed by all the four classes, and by each of them, in their several degrees, together with the duties of every mixed class;
3. For thou, Lord, and thou only among mortals, knowest the true sense, the first principle, and the prescribed ceremonies, of this universal, supernatural Véda, unlimited in extent and unequalled in authority. 4. HE, whose powers were measureless, being thus re
quested by the great Sages, whose thoughts were profound, saluted them all with reverence, and gave
them a comprehensive answer, saying : Be it heard ! 5. This universe existed only in the first divine idea yet unexpanded, as if involved in darkness, imperceptible, undefinable, undiscoverable by reason, and undiscovered by revelation, as if it were wholly immersed in sleep:
6. Then the sole self-existing power, himself undiscerned, but making this world discernible, with five elements and other principles of nature, appeared with undiminished glory, expanding his idea, or dispelling the gloom.
7. HE, whom the mind alone can perceive, whose essence eludes the external organs, who has no visible parts, who exists from eternity, even HE, the soul of all beings, whom no being can comprehend, shone forth in person.
8. HE, having willed to produce various beings from his own divine substance, first with a thought created the waters, and placed in them a productive seed :
9. The seed became an egg bright as gold, blazing like the luminary with a thousand beams; and in that egg, he was born himself, in the form of BRAHMA', the great forefather of all spirits.
10. The waters are called nárá, because they were the production of NARA, or the spirit of God; and since they were his first ayana, or place of motion, he thence is named NAʼRA'YANA, or moving on the waters.
11. From THAT WHICH IS, the first cause, not the object of sense, existing everywhere in substance, not existing to our perception, without beginning or end, was produced the divine male, famed in all worlds under the appellation of BRAHMA'.
12. In that egg the great power sat inactive a whole year of the Creator, at the close of which, by his thought alone, he caused the egg to divide itself;
13. And from its two divisions he framed the heaven above and the earth beneath : in the midst he placed the subtil ether, the eight regions, and the permanent receptacle of waters.
14. From the supreme soul he drew forth Mind, existing substantially though unperceived by sense, immaterial; and before mind, or the reasoning power, he produced consciousness, the internal monitor, the ruler ;
15. And, before them both, he produced the great principle of the soul, or first expansion of the divine idea; and all vital forms endued with the three qualities of goodness,
passion, and darkness ; and the five perceptions of sense, and the five organs of sensation.*
16. Thus, having at once pervaded, with emanations from the Supreme Spirit, the minutest portions of six principles immensely operative, consciousness and the five perceptions, He framed all creatures ;
17. And since the minutest particles of visible nature have a dependence on those six emanations from God, the wise have accordingly given the name of s'arira or depending on six, that is, the ten organs on consciousness, and the five elements on as many perceptions, to His image or appearance in visible nature :
18. Thence proceed the great elements, endued with
* In Hindu metaphysicks, “ the five perceptions of sense” imply, the sight as referable to the eyes, the hearing to the ears, the scent to the nose, the taste to the tongue, and the touch to the skin. By “ the five organs of sensation" (sense ?), are intended the hand, the foot, the voice, the organ of generation, and that of excretion. The commentator identifies what is mentioned here with what is said Chap. II. verses 90 and 91, but the difference in the denominations would lead to a doubt whether the same objects are intended in the two places; for in the latter verses the first class are termed “organs of sense,” and the second “organs of action.” Were it not for this interpretation of the passage, Chap. I. verse 15, by the Hindu commentators, I should be inclined to translate the hemistich thus: “and the five organs of sense, and the five senses gradually."
In the twelfth chapter and the 'fiftieth verse, Sir William Jones has mentioned the agreement of the system of theogony and cosmogony of MENU with that of CAPILA, the reputed founder of the Sánc'hya, or sceptical school of philosophy. The essay given by Mr. Colebrooke on this branch of Hindu metaphysicks, in the first volume of the Transactions of the Royal Asiatic Society, is a real favour to all who take an interest in so important a link between ancient and modern opinions. The notices on the same subject, to be found at the end of Dr. Taylor's translation of the Prabód'ha-chandrôdaya, were too scanty to do more than excite a wish that some one competently versed in the philosophical opinions of Europe and Asia would undertake the task. While that given by the late Mr. Ward in his account of the Hindus, is evidently too hastily prepared to give any, but a general impression of the very curious and interesting documents of ancient Hindu civilization and refined speculation. Neglected as these matters have heretofore been, it must prove highly satisfactory to every Sanscrit scholar that the philosophy of the Hindus has found so able an expositor as Mr. Colebrooke. It is to be hoped, that he will complete what he has so well begun, by affording the world the means of judging of the other schools in which are contained the philosophical speculations of a portion of the human race so anciently civilized as the Hindus ; and whose literature is impressed with characteristick features, that are ample pledges of its antiquity and originality.
peculiar powers, and Mind with operations infinitely subtil, the unperishable cause of all apparent forms.
19. This universe, therefore, is compacted from the minute portions of those seven divine and active principles, the great Soul, or first emanation, consciousness, and five perceptions ; a mutable universe from immutable ideas.
20. Among them each succeeding element acquires the quality of the preceding; and, in as many degrees as each of them is advanced, with so many properties is it said to be endued.
21. HE too first assigned to all creatures distinct names, distinct acts, and distinct occupations ; as they had been revealed in the pre-existing Véda.
22. HE, the supreme Ruler, created an assemblage of inferior Deities, with divine attributes and pure souls; and a number of Genii exquisitely delicate; and he prescribed the sacrifice ordained from the beginning.
23. From fire, from air, and from the sun he milked out, as it were, the three primordial Védas, named Rěch, Yajush and Sáman, for the due performance of the sacrifice.
24. He gave being to time and the divisions of time, to the stars also, and to the planets, to rivers, oceans, and mountains, to level plains, and uneven valleys.
25. To devotion, speech, complacency, desire, and wrath, and to the creation, which shall presently be mentioned; for He willed the existence of all those created things.
26. For the sake of distinguishing actions, He made a total difference between right and wrong, and enured these sentient creatures to pleasure and pain, cold and heat, and other opposite pairs.
27. With very minute transformable portions, called mátrás, of the five elements, all this perceptible world was composed in fit order;
28. And in whatever occupation the supreme Lord first employed any vital soul, to that occupation the same soul attaches itself spontaneously, when it receives a new body again and again.
29. Whatever quality, noxious or innocent, harsh or mild, unjust or just, false or true, He conferred on any being at
its creation, the same quality enters it of course on its future births ;
30. As the six seasons of the year attain respectively their peculiar marks in due time and of their own accord, even so the several acts of each embodied spirit attend it naturally.
31. That the human race might be multiplied, He caused the Bráhmen, the Cshatriya, the Vaisya, and the Súdra (so named from the scripture, protection, wealth, and labour) to proceed from his mouth, his arm, his thigh, and his foot.
32. Having divided his own substance, the mighty Power became half male, half female, or nature active and passive ; and from that female he produced VIRA'J:
33. Know Me, O most excellent of Bráhmens, to be that person, whom the male power VIRA'J, having performed austere devotion, produced by himself; Me, the secondary framer of all this visible world.
34. It was I, who, desirous of giving birth to a race of men, performed very difficult religious duties, and first produced ten Lords of created beings, eminent in holiness.
35. MARI'CHI, ATRI, ANGIRAS, PULASTYA, PULAHA, CRATU, PRACHE'TAS, or DACSHA, VASISHT'HA, BHRIGU, and NA'RADA :
36. They, abundant in glory, produced seven other Menus, together with deities, and the mansions of deities, and Maharshis, or great Sages, unlimited in power;
37. Benevolent genii, and fierce giants, blood-thirsty savages, heavenly quiristers, nymphs and demons, huge serpents and snakes of smaller size, birds of mighty wing, and separate companies of Pitrăs, or progenitors of mankind;
38. Lightnings and thunder-bolts, clouds and coloured bows of Indra, falling meteors, earth-rending vapours, comets, and luminaries of various degrees;
39. Horse-faced sylvans, apes, fish, and a variety of birds, tame cattle, deer, men, and ravenous beasts with two rows of teeth;
40. Small and large reptiles, moths, lice, fleas, and common flies, with every biting gnat, and immovable substances of distinct sorts.