TRIVITKARANA AND PANCHIKARANA

Before creation there was only Sat.  Brahman alone existed.  At that time, its inherent power maya did not manifest.  Then, Brahman with maya made sankalpa (imagination) to manifest and maya manifested as these different forms.  Maya from the unmanifest state began to manifest.  Maya is dependent on Sat (Brahman) and so it is called mitya.  Maya is inert.  When it combines with Brahman it appears as intelligent.  Maya has three gunas – sattva, rajas and tamas.  From the tamo aspect of maya evolved the sukshma bhutas; otherwise known as tanmatras.  These sukshma bhutas (subtle elements) undergo a process called trivitkarana and transform into sthula bhutas (gross elements).  Trivitkarana is a process of transformation of the three elements agni (fire), aap (water) and pritvi (matter) from its sukshma state (subtle state) to sthula state (gross state).  Trivitkarana is explained in the Chandogya Upanisad, in the sixth chapter, section three, mantras 3, 4.  Trivitkarana is a process of combination of the three elements.  When agni manifested, by its power manifested aap (water) element.  By the power of aap manifested prithvi (matter) element.  At this stage agni, aap, prithvi are in the pure and subtle state, which cannot be perceived.  This pure subtle agni, aap and prithvi combine and become gross, then it can be perceived.  This combination process is called trivitkarana.

Trivitkarana process is

1/2 portion of agni combines with 1/4th portion of aap + 1/4th portion of prithvi to form the gross agni element.

1/2 portion of aap combines with 1/4th portion of agni + 1/4th portion of prithvi to form the gross aap element.

1/2 portion of prithvi combines with 1/4th portion of agni + 1/4th portion of aap to form the gross prithvi element.

Trivitkarana is explained in Chandogya Upanisad.  Similarly, when the pancha sukshma bhutas (five basic subtle elements) combine, it is called panchikarana.  When the five elements combine the proportion of combination will change.  Panchikarana is the process by which the five sukshma bhutas combine, undergo transformation and become the five sthula bhutas; this is the sthula bhutas which we perceive as the five basic elements.  Panchikarana is explained by Sri Adi Sankaracharya.   

Panchikarana process is

1/2 portion of akasa (ether) element combines with 1/8th portion of vayu (air) element + 1/8th portion of agni (fire) element + 1/8th portion of aap (water) element + 1/8th portion of prithvi (matter) element to become sthula (gross) akasa element.

1/2 portion of vayu combines with 1/8th portion of akasa + 1/8th portion of agni + 1/8th portion of aap  + 1/8th portion of prithvi to become sthula (gross) vayu element.

1/2 portion of agni combines with 1/8th portion of akasa + 1/8th portion of vayu + 1/8th portion of aap  + 1/8th portion of prithvi to become sthula (gross) agni element.

1/2 portion of aap combines with 1/8th portion of akasa + 1/8th portion of vayu + 1/8th portion of agni  + 1/8th portion of prithvi to become sthula (gross) aap element.

1/2 portion of prithvi combines with 1/8th portion of akasa + 1/8th portion of vayu + 1/8th portion of agni  + 1/8th portion of aap to become sthula (gross) prithvi element.

The pure and subtle akasa, vayu, agni, aap and prithvi combine and undergo transformation to become the sthula (gross) elements.

Now, the sthula pancha bhutas (five gross elements) combine to form different sariras (gross bodies).  Whatever form we see in this world is the combination of these five elements.  The sthula sarira shrishti are of four types.  They are

Jarayujam – that which are born from the womb.  Examples are human beings, animals etc.

Andajam – that which are born from the egg.  Examples are birds, reptiles, insects etc.

Udhbhijam – that which are born from the seed, comes out splitting earth.  Examples are plants.

Svethajam – that which are born from the moisture.  Examples are bacteria, germs etc.

All these type of bodies are the different combination of the five gross elements.  These sariras are inert.  Brahman as chitabasa enters in these sariras and makes it conscious.  Thus the creation goes on.

Trivitkarana and panchikarana are the process by which the sukshma bhutas undergo a process of combination and transform as sthula bhutas.