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Brahmanda In Hinduism

Brahmanda is the macrocosm is Hinduism. It is the cosmos visualized in the form of golden egg. According to the Vedas, this universe (macrocosm) has come out of the Supreme Brahman. Therefore He is the Creator. Hiranyagarbha is the first form of that Creator.

The body of Hiranyagarbha is made of five subtle elementary elements (sukshma bhutas). These are called tanmatra. Tanmatra literally means “that alone” and hence stands for an elementary bhuta so long as it is not mixed up with other. The five elementary bhutas are prithvi, ap, tejas, vayu and akasha. These should not be confused with what is meant by ether, air, fire, water and earth. The tanmatras are far more subtle that these and belong to a different order. These have emerged from avyakta (non-manifest undivided original) and therefore they are originally dominated by the three gunas (traits) – sattva, rajas and tamas. Because these three constituents are found in all that which come out of the avyakta, each is said to have a sattvika (illumining), a rajasika (dynamic) and tamasika (inert) part. These inert portions of the tanmatras get compounded with one another by a particular process. Each gross bhuta is made up of all the kinds of tanmatras or subtle bhutas (elements) in a particular mathematical proportion. In the knowledge texts it is called panchikarana or combination of five elements.

These gross bhutas (elements) constitute the physical bodies of the jivas and their habitations in the shape of various lokas (worlds). These entities of gross bhutas range from the very coarse and dull to the very fine and bright. By this process is born another cosmic being called Virat who has the entire physical universe as his body and God as his soul. This virat is macrocosm or brahmanda. This reality is expressed in the Bhagavad Gita (XIII.13) – with hands and feet everywhere, with eyes, heads, and mouths everywhere, with ears everywhere, He exists in the world, enveloping all.

Brahmanda consists of tribhuvana (three regions). These are svarga, mrityu and patala. The dimension of this brahmanda is caturdasbhuvanatmaka, i.e. comprising the fourteen worlds. From this world ‘upwards’, there are said to be seven worlds, namely bhuh, bhuvah, svah, mahah, janah, tapah and satya lokas (worlds). Below this world there are seven other worlds: atala, vitala, sutala, rasatala, talatala, mahatala and patala. In some texts these worlds are called agniloka, vayu loka, varuna loka, aditya loka, indraloka, prajapati loka and brahmaloka. In other texts they are named under the three headings: pitrloka, devaloka and brahmaloka.

In tantra philosophy the concept of macrocosm and microcosm is described as the unification of pindansa and brahmanda in the following manner. The macrocosm has its merudansa (vertebral column) extending from the top to the bottom. There are seven upper and seven nether worlds, making up fourteen worlds. In the merudansa of the human body (microcosm) there are seven chakras in which the worlds are said to dwell.

In this way the all pervading, imperishable, eternal, deathless, illumined, undifferentiated atman, soul, God, has taken the form of the virat brahmanda (macrocosm). This knowledge enables the aspirant sadhaka (worshiper) to perform his sadhana with the real knowledge of brahmanda (macrocosm) – yat pinde tat brahmande (what is in pindanda (microcosm) is also in brahmanda (macrocosm).

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