Let us revert to the conception of Hiranyagarbha or the Golden Egg or Brahmanda, out of which the whole Universe is said to have been evolved. It is, as has already been pointed out, a combination of the idea of the Cell and the Sun, and the whole problem of life, as understood by the ancient Hindus, is a problem of the Golden Egg. It is regarded as the image of the manifest, though yet undeveloped Universe; and whatever the difference of opinion regarding the final, ultimate energy of life, whether Purusha or Prakrti, or else the union together of both, the Golden Egg is the meeting place of all the farces of life. It is sometimes identified with Prakrti, exclusive of Purusha, but is more often conceived as representing the union of the two. We have seen in connection with the Ovum that its form is the same whether it is conjugated with the male germ or not and as Brahmanda is the universal Ovum, its form will be the same whether we regard it as merely Prakrtic or else the union together of both Purusha and Prakrti. We should, therefore, be able to explain the essence of all Hindu thought science, philosophy, and religion in the light of Brahmanda or the Golden Egg.
Golden Egg and Manifestation of Life: Its Correct Position: It has already been pointed out that there are nine possible ways in which life is made manifest out of the Golden Egg; and while considering the question we placed its pointed side towards the four cardinal directions, east, south, west, and north. But the ancients came to the conclusion that, while there could be innumerable positions of the Golden Egg corresponding to the points of the compass, the most correct one was like that of a "Bowl, with its mouth inclined and bottom upward, in which are seated the Seven Rishis", the former referring obviously to its inclined position, with the pointed side downwards, and the latter to the seven divisions of life, from Buddhi to the element "Earth", as has already been explained. The whole idea may be illustrated as follows:
It will be noticed that the "bowl with its mouth inclined and bottom upward" is an ellipse or Egg, corresponding to the inclination of the axis of our planet Earth or, what is called in Astronomy, the obliquity of the Ecliptic (an angle of twenty three degrees and a half made by the intersection of the path of the Earth with that of the Sun); and it is this that produces the changes of day and night as well as the seasons of the year, and explains a number of other phenomena of the heavenly bodies. It will be shown subsequently how the idea of Vishnu as ruler of the Dhruva (North Pole) region refers to the same inclined position of the universe; and as Vishnu is conceived as a perfect manifestation of the Supreme Purusha, the most correct position of the universe is expressed by this inclination.
Seven Rishis and Seven Energies: The quotation from the Atharva Veda refers to seven Rishis seated in the Bowl; and it has already been pointed out that seven principal energies arise from the Golden Egg, viz. Buddhi, Mind, and the five elements. But as we have related the "inclined mouth" of the Bowl to the inclined position of the Earth, it might well be suggested that, inasmuch as the whole idea is considered in the light of Astronomy, the Seven Rishis should refer to the seven members of the Solar system, in which case the seven principal energies, from Buddhi to the element "Earth" should be connected with the latter too.
The Solar System: The force of this argument cannot be denied; for if the ancients knew Astronomy enough to understand the inclination of the axis of the Earth and the obliquity of the ecliptic, they must have known a great deal about the Solar system too, and the whole science of Hindu Astronomy and Astrology bears out this assumption. It is therefore, reasonable to conclude that the Solar system, with its seven principal members, is closely connected with the seven principal energies of life.
Solar System and Ether: In this connection it may be observed that, according to modern Astronomy, the Solar system is characterised by perpetual and elliptical motion. Accordingly, it is situated in Ether which, as has already been explained is characterised by this motion. Again, as has been pointed out, Ether is of two kinds, the unmanifest Ether of the Heart and the element. As the Golden Egg, from which the seven energies of life from Buddhi to the element "Earth" are created, is situated in the Ether of the Heart, and not the element Ether created out of it, the Solar system, in its unmanifest form, whose seven members from Sun to Saturn are said to correspond to the seven energies referred to above, must also be situated in the Ether of the Heart.
Solar System and an Ellipse: It has been observed that each member of the Solar system follows an elliptical path in its motion; hence it is not difficult to imagine that all the members of the system may be conceived as moving in one single elliptical path, within which each has its own individual elliptical course. This would represent the Solar system as a Golden Egg, situated in the Ether of the Heart. Let us, therefore, arrange the members of the system along the path of an ellipse, according to their various distances from the Sun as taught in modern Astronomy. Although the Sun itself is subject to motion, being situated in Ether of the Heart, inasmuch as he is the manifest source of all life below, he may, for practical purposes, be regarded as fixed, and the other planets marked off along the ellipse according to their distances from him.
Moon and our Planet Earth: In this connection we have to remember that, so far as distance is concerned, the Moon and our planet Earth are to be identified; for the Moon is, comparatively speaking, so near the Earth, that it will make no difference in the arrangement of the planets along their elliptical path if we do so. Further, as has already been pointed out, our planet Earth is conceived as containing the energy of all the five elements from Ether to "Earth" and as the Moon is a personification of the Mind, and the Mind is transformed into five elements (symbolized by the planet Earth), the nearness of the Moon to the Earth is significant. Thus, the Moon is not regarded as a satellite of the Earth, as he is in modern Astronomy, but a superior energy, representing the Mind, out of which our Earth itself, composed of the five elements, is created. In any case, so far as distances are concerned, there can be no difficulty in identifying the Moon and the Earth while arranging them along the ellipse; and the relative distances of the planets from the Sun, according to modern Astronomy, are as follows:
- Sun Fixed or 0.
- Mercury 4 units.
- Venus 7 units.
- Moon (Earth) 10 units.
- Mars 15 units.
- Jupiter 52 units.
- Saturn 95 units.
In arranging the seven heavenly bodies in one ellipse we have conceived the Golden Egg in its unmanifest form, as situated in the Ether of the Heart; and we have to see how and in what form it becomes manifest.
The members of the Solar system have been arranged along the ellipse (Golden Egg) according to their distances from the Sun, which is regarded as fixed. For convenience sake all the planets are shown on one side of the ellipse only.
Solar System and Days of the Week: The days of the week are, as is well known, named after the Solar system: Sunday after the Sun; Monday after the Moon; Tuesday after Mars; Wednesday after Mercury; Thursday after Jupiter; Friday after Venus; and Saturday after Saturn. But we see that the order of the seven planets in the days of the week is different from their distances as measured from the Sun. How can we explain this variation? Has it anything to do with the Solar system as it emerges from the unmanifest Ether of the Heart into the manifest Ether?
Explanation in Pancha-Siddhantika: An attempt has been made to explain this difference in Pancha-Siddhantika, an important work of Hindu Astronomy, and the same idea is repeated in modern works of Astrology too. It is believed that the whole Solar system completes its cycle of influence in twenty four hours, and that each member of the system has its ascendance for one hour only. Further, that if the members of the system be arranged anew in the following order, we shall, if we consider them in the light of their cycle of influence and ascendance, get the order of the days of the week.