It is hardly an exaggeration to state that the whole system of Hindu thought is based on a study of the Cell and an examination of the functions of the human Heart and the Head, and the properties of the elements from Ether to "Earth", and the conclusions derived from them. The idea of Purusha and Prakrti in the creation of life is derived from the two-fold character of the "super-electric" energy of the Heart, with its two-fold, positive and negative, aspect; the idea of the creative energy of Tapas (Heat or meditation) is derived from Heart-energy of the brain or Buddhi; the idea of the creative energy of Desire (Kama) is derived from the electric energy of the Mind, akin to the super-electric energy of the Heart; and the idea that all creatures are made after the likeness of their parents is derived from the magnetic properties of the element Ether in which all, manifestation takes place. By a combination and correlation of these ideas in respect of Buddhi, Mind, and Ether, we get the idea of the three Gunas or Qualities.
The Three Gunas: In Hindu philosophy the Gunas are spoken of as qualities or attributes of matter; but in Sanskrt Grammar they stand for "modification or change" of vowels from one into another. It is commonly believed that there is little connection between the Guna of Grammar and the Guna of philosophy; but, as will hereafter be shown, the Sanskrt language and Sanskrit Grammar both owe their origin to the same complete and comprehensive system of thought which they embody. In that case there should be an inherent connection between the Gunas of Grammar and of philosophy. As already mentioned, Guna in Grammar means a "modification or change" in a vowel; and the original idea of Guna in philosophy also is the same.
It has been pointed out that, according to the Ancients, the prime energy of the Heart was super-electric; of Buddhi (Sun) Heat; of Mind (Moon) electric; and of Ether magnetic; and all of these were made manifest in Ether. Further, they held that all creation was the result of transformation or modification of one energy into another, and this modification was three-fold: (1) from Heart-energy to Head energy or from Super-electric energy into Heat; (2) from Heads or Buddhi-energy into Mind-energy, or from Heat to Electricity; and (3) from Mind-energy into Ether, or from Electricity into Magnetism. These three "modifications" or "changes" constitute the idea of the three Gunas; Sattva associated with the first, Rajas the second, and Tamas the third. Accordingly Sattva is a "Guna" or "modification" of Buddhi (Sun); Rajas of the Mind (Moon); and Tamas of Ether. From this it follows that:
- The Heart-energy is not subject to any Guna. Or change for all modifications arise from it. It is the source of all Gunas or changes, and not subject to them.
- Sattva refers to Buddhi, or Tapas, or Heart-energy; but inasmuch as Buddhi is the first manifestation of the Heart-energy, in the world of the manifest it often refers to the latter as well.
- Rajas refer to Mind or Desire, or Electric energy.
- Tamas refers to Ether or Magnetic energy, giving rise to manifest elliptical form.
Accordingly, the three Gunas are spoken of as "properties" of all substances, inasmuch as all things are subject to these modifications or changes.
Two Categories, Purushic and Prakrtic: In this connection it may be of interest to note that the seven manifest energies, from Buddhi to the element "Earth", may be grouped together into two categories, Purushic and Prakrtic. As the Heart is the source of the energy of all life, and is characterised by electric or super-electric energy, all forms of life may be said to exist in a state of equilibrium by the attraction of their positive and negative particles or energies, as is found to be the case in all bodies made manifest below. Thus, the equilibrium between the seven manifest energies, Buddhi, Mind, Ether Air, Fire, Water, and "Earth", is effected by means of the odd numbers (Buddhi, Ether, Fire., and "Earth") being positive (Purushic), and the even numbers (Mind, Air, and Water) being negative (Prakrtic). From this we shall see that the idea of Guna changes relates to "modification" or "change" from an energy in one group (Purushic or Prakrtic) into another (Prakrtic or Purushic).
Hiranyagarbha or the Golden Egg: Creation of Manifest Life: It has already been observed that the Ancients believed that the first primal energy of life is the "lightning of the Heart" forming, by means of Sound, or Thunder, the "Ether of the Heart," the abode of the Supreme Purusha. Accordingly, as all substances assume an elliptical form in Ether, the first form of life is an ellipse or Egg.
Further, they believed that the Sun is the parent source of all manifest life below, and saw that the colour of the Sun is Gold; and Gold in the sacred works of the Hindus is often spoken of as representing the Sun.
By combining the two conceptions, viz. of an ellipse and gold, they conceived the idea of the Golden Egg or Hiranyagarbha, as the first manifest form of the primal energy of life and inasmuch as all manifest life was conceived as partaking of the male and female energies in one form or another, the Golden Egg was conceived as both male and female, and as embodying the union of the two in one. Accordingly, it is sometimes identified with Purusha alone, sometimes with Prakrti alone, but more often with the union together of Purusha and Prakrti.
The Character of the Golden Egg: Accordingly, the Golden Egg is conceived as the Firstborn; as containing Brahma, the eternal one, the invisible and subtle cause, the Entity and Non-entity (Sat and Asat, Purusha and Prakrti) together in one. Sometimes Brahma, the Creator, is identified with it sometimes it is identified with the supreme Female energy (Prakrti), and Brahman is conceived as arising out of it. Again, it is identified with the supreme Male and Brahman, Prajapati, Krshna, Vishnu, and Mahadeva, are all called by the name Hiranyagarbha. Sometimes it is identified with Buddhi, symbolized by the Sun, and regarded as the supreme manifest energy of life; and sometimes it is identified with Prakrti, issuing forth from the Supreme Male energy, Brahman, or Vishnu. Altogether it will be found that it partakes of the character of both the Male and Female supreme energies of life (Purusha and Prakrti).
Thus, the Golden Egg expresses the relation between Purusha and Prakrti, the Male and Female energies of life; and out of the union or juxtaposition of the two has been evolved the whole scheme of the manifestation of life according to the various systems of Hindu thought.
The Problem of the Golden Egg: The whole problem is, therefore, reduced to an examination of Hiranyagarbha or the Golden Egg the meeting place of Purusha and Prakrti. Is it possible to distinguish between Purusha and Prakrti within the Golden Egg itself? What is the dividing line between them? If the two meet in the Egg, do they also continue to exist apart? And if they do, what respective places do they occupy? Is the Supreme Purusha within and also without the Golden Egg? And if so, what is his abiding place? Every egg has its rounded and pointed part: in what direction is the point of the Golden Egg situated? East or west, or north or south, or the intermediate directions? If all life is made manifest from the Golden Egg, what is the form of that life? How does it emanate? What are its parts? How does it evolve, live, and cease to be? These and various other questions, related to the problem of life and death, arise in connection with the Golden Egg; and the different systems of Hindu philosophy, science and religion constitute but an examination of and an answer to these questions.
The Place of Purusha and Prakrti in the Golden Egg: It has already been pointed out that the super-electromagnetic current of the Eternal Heart of the universe flows from north to south and again from south to north, the former being positive (or Purushic) and the latter negative (or Prakrtic) The place of Purusha in relation to Prakrti is, accordingly, to the north, and his energy flows from thence to the south; and the energy of Prakrti flows back from south to north. The course of the electro-magnetic energy of life may, further, be illustrated as follows:
1. The current flows in two directions: (a) Along the outside of the ellipse; and (b) Within the ellipse.
2. Along the outside of the ellipse, it flows from north to south, and again from south to north, like an electric current; the former being positive (or Purushic) and the latter negative (or Prakrtic).
3. Within the ellipse, it corresponds to the magnetic current of the Sun in our planet Earth.
4. Within the ellipse, the Purushic or positive current is situated to the east or Right of the Prakrtic or negative current.
It has already been pointed out that the place of Purusha in relation to Prakrti is two-fold, to the east and the north it has now been shown that, within the Golden Egg, the place of Purusha is to the east or Right side of Prakrti. It has also been pointed out that Purusha and Prakrti are conceived in two different ways: (1) separate, and (2) in union. When they are conceived as separate, Purusha is outside, and to the east or north of Prakrti; but when they are considered in union, Purusha has his place only to the Right side or east of Prakrti, within the Golden Egg.
From this we shall be able to construct the various schemes of Hindu philosophy, expressed in different systems of thought and religion.
Place of Purusha and Prakrti outside each other: It should, in this connection, be remembered that the pointed part of an egg corresponds to Ether, for it is from that side that an egg bursts forth, and it is in Ether that all life becomes manifest. Bearing this in mind, let us assign different places to Purusha and Prakrti, representing the latter as the Golden Egg.
It will be noticed that there are eight possible positions of the Golden Egg in relation to Purusha. In one set of four, he is placed to the north of or above Prakrti, and in the other set of four he is placed to the east or Right side of Prakrti (Fig. 13); and in each of the positions of Prakrti, the pointed part of the Ovum or Egg (representing Ether) is placed to the east, south, west and north respectively. The idea of the pointed part, as already explained, is significant; it represents the side from which, as in the case of an ordinary egg, life becomes manifest; and so it corresponds to Ether, the first and chief of the elements.
Other Positions: We shall see later on that two out of these eight positions of Prakrti, in respect of Purusha, are impossible, for in them Purusha is represented as characterised by a lower energy than Prakrti, whereas Purushic energy can flow down only from the higher to the lower, as we find to be the case in an electric current. But in addition to the remaining six positions there can be a number of others, where the point of the Golden Egg is turned towards the intermediate directions, e.g. north-east, south-west, etc. But inasmuch as the east, west, south, and north are the four main directions, the problem of the manifestation of life is, for the most part, limited to them.