The Vedic philosophy believes that the cosmic consciousness is the source of all creation. And therefore, energy forms the matter.
On similar lines, the human origin starts with a soul or the life force. This soul designs a destiny to pay off its karmic balance. Like the way you can choose, your avatar in a video game, the soul also chooses its parents, family, date, and time of birth. So, the softcopy of our life is in our control.
But things are easier planned than done. The soul descends to the material level and uses the fabric of three guna or foundational energies to form an intellect and the mind. This is similar to a child choosing the best of the pencils, erasers, etc for an exam. But he may or may not be able to perform well.
The Vedic genesis starts when the pristine soul encounters nature. You can assume this step to be similar to choosing an avatar for a video game. The process of physical manifestation starts with the stirring of nature's forces – the gunas.
There are three foundational energies or the gunas – satva, rajas, and tamas.
These gunas reflect the three states of nature or the physical world. Satva is the state of dynamic balance. Rajas correspond to a state of hyperactivity, and tamas is dullness.
The Basic Division
The soul weaves itself a costume from the three threads of three foundational energies. All other manifestations like intellect, ego, mind, senses, etc emerge from these basic threads.
Therefore, the intellect, ego, mind, sense, and body can be divided into three types – satvic (balanced), rajasic (hyperactive), and tamasic (dull/ignorant).
Intellect or Buddhi
The real differentiation starts with the intellect. Following the three gunas, there can be three kinds of intellects – balanced (satvic), hyperactive(rajasic), and dull(tamasic). Like the way a drop is a part of the ocean, the intellect is a part of the whole cosmic consciousness. However, the next entity that develops is the ego.
Ego or Ahankara
Ego or the sense of identity separates the part from the whole and gives a unique entity to the intellect. This ego limits the intellect and forms a boundary. This boundary is the foundation for the mind. It is the start of individuality or the sense of self.
Mind or Manas
As the individual detaches itself from the universal consciousness, the need for a personal consciousness arises. This tailored personal consciousness is called the mind. It helps the individual to make sense of the new virtual reality. You can assume the mind to be the interface between the computer software and the user.
Manas or the mind is the seat of perception, feeling, thinking, logic, etc. It is also the origin and controller of the senses. In Ayurveda, the mind is called atindriya or the supreme sense. It can self-create all the senses without any external stimuli, with the extraordinary power of imagination.
Vedic philosophy believes that the mind creates our reality. In this process, the mind first creates the senses. These senses create our world! So, our reality is nothing but “electrical signals received from our senses.”
Faculty of Senses or Indriya Tanmatra
There is a unique concept of Indriya tanmatra in the Vedic philosophy. The word "indriya" stands for the carnal senses. However, these carnal senses emerge from a blueprint called the Indriya tanmatra. Indriya tanmatra signifies the faculty or the basic mechanism of the senses.
For example, the sense of vision resides in the eyes. However, the concept of vision is the foundation for the sense of vision. It also signifies that a soul can see without eyes, with the sublime faculty of vision.
The concept of Indriya tanmatra gives foundation to metaphysical events like telepathy or Deja Vu.
Senses or Indriya
According to the ancient Vedic people, senses are the origin of physical manifestation. It may appear strange that gross physical existence should depend on something subtle like the senses. However, ancients believed that grossness manifests through subtlety. Therefore, senses manifest from the mind and in turn frame the physical body.
There are 10 senses, divided into two primary groups -
Gyanendriya or the Sensory receptors
- Sense of hearing
- Sense of vision
- Sense of taste
- Sense of smell
- Sense of touch
Kendriya or the Motor projectors
- Mouth (speech)
- Hands (movement)
- Legs (locomotion)
- Rectum (excretion)
- Penis (reproduction)
Panchmahabhuta or The Five Great Elements
The subtle entities like the mind and senses emerge from a combination of satva and rajas guna. On the other hand, Rajasic and Tamasic guna (hyperactive ignorance) form the basis of physical existence. It gives rise to the five elements –
- Akash (space)
- Vayu (air)
- Agni (fire)
- Jal (water)
- Prithvi (earth)
These five elements occur even in a subatomic particle and form the entire universe.
The process of Vedic genesis is the same for an individual and the universe. Every newborn baby is first conceived as an idea or the soul. This soul in contact with nature, frames its mind and body according to its convenience.
The subtle forms the gross. So, the ego, intellect, mind, senses, and the physical body emerge from the light of consciousness.
Therefore, Vedic philosophy reinforces the idea that we are the makers of our destiny. As a soul, we choose everything, from our parents to the time of our death. Each incarnation is an attempt to release the soul from the cycle of rebirths.
To better understand the genesis in Ayurveda, let us take the example of a computer. Initially, it all starts with an idea of the new computer. Then the computer designer specifies the features for the new model. These features incidentally form the limitations as well.
The computer designer may develop a new software (mind). This software is the interface between the computer and the user. A new computer model is in the form of a design or a softcopy of the idea.
Let us take the example of a baby inside the womb of the mother. The baby and the mother are the same. But after the baby is born, it has a distinct identity.