The Spirit and the Manifestation of the Universal Creation

Sri Aurobindo translates Prashna Upanishad, Sixth Question, Verses 3-4: “He bethought Him: ‘What shall that be in whose issuing forth I shall issue forth from the body and in his abiding I shall abide?’ Then he put forth the Life, and from the Life faith, next ether and then air, and then light, and then water, and then earth, the senses and mind and food, and from food virility and from virility askesis, and from askesis the mighty verses, and from these action, and the worlds from action and name in the worlds: in this wise were all things born from the Spirit.”

The Purusha, the conscious Existent, put forth Prana, the Life-Energy to enliven the body.  When it is present, the consciousness is present in the body and when it departs, then the consciousness departs with it.  Prana is not limited to the breath, but constitutes the energetic force of the universal creation, and thus, the entire creation develops from Prana, or, we may say in the later terminology, Prakriti, the force of Nature.

Faith is indicated as the first creation of Prana.  Shraddha is not easily translated and not contained fully within the word “faith”.  Sri Aurobindo defines Shraddha as “the soul’s belief in the Divine’s existence, wisdom, power, love and grace.”  It may be seen as the power that directs the rolling out of the creation and brings forth the rest in sequence, the power that brings forth a tree from the seed.  Thus we see following this the creation of the great elements that combine to make up the galaxies, worlds and creatures.

Food is representative of the power that provides strength or virility, which brings forth concentration of conscious force, which in turn creates the great mantras and from these mantras flow energy in the form of action, which in turn creates the worlds.  Name and form are thus developed initially from the thought of the Spirit.


Sri Aurobindo, The Upanishads,  Prashna Upanishad, pp.297-315