Prabhu Shri Rama uvācha, “O Lord! Please tell me how the origination, sustenance and dissolution of the gross and subtle bodies made up of the five elements (pancha bhutas) and also the essential nature of those bodies comes into being.”
Shri Bhagawan uvācha, “This body comprises of the five elements (pancha bhutas) and exhibits the nature of those five elements. The principal is the earth and the rest play an auxiliary role.
This body made of five physical elements is said to be of four types namely born of womb, born of egg, of sweat or moisture and of earth.
The body born of mind is said to be superior and such a body is stated to be of the gods only. In this context, I will tell you first about the body born of the womb as that is of foremost importance.
The body born of womb is the product of sperm and ovum. When the semen enters the womb of the woman at the time appropriate for conception and mixes with her ovum, that body is said to be born of womb.
When the ovum is dominant, the progeny will be female, while when the sperm is dominant, the progeny is male. When the ovum and sperm are equal, a eunuch is born.
A woman must take the purificatory bath on the fourth day after menstruation and from that time, the sixteenth day is mentioned as the time for conception.
Beginning from the fifth day, if coitus takes place on every odd day, the progeny will be female. If it takes place on an even day, it will be male.
If the conception in a beautiful and accomplished lady takes place on the sixteenth day, then an emperor or king will be born. There is no doubt about it.
When the lady having taken the purificatory bath looks at the face of her husband with love, the conceived child will bear his form; therefore a lady who wishes to conceive must look at her husband’s face at that time.
The foetus in the pregnant woman in its subtle condition sits in the womb. Therefore, the union of the sperm and ovum takes place here only and thereafter the conception takes shape. For this reason, a mammal is said to be born of womb.
Birds, snakes and others are born of eggs. Mosquitoes etc, are born of moisture. Trees, bush and the like are born from earth. Gods and sages are born of mind through Yoga.
The seminal fluid deposited in the womb due to the impact of past deeds is in the liquid form in the first month of pregnancy.
This fluid solidifies and becomes a lump in the second month.
The hands, feet, head and others are formed in the third month. The manifestation of the soul takes place in the fourth month.
Then, the embryo begins to move on its own accord in the womb of the mother. If it were a male child, it will be situated on the right side and if it is a female, it will be on the left side of the mother’s womb.
The eunuch lies in the middle part of the womb. Hence, a mother will recline on the right side when the child is a male.
The rudiments of the hands, feet, head and others will be in a subtle state in the fourth month. The teeth and others that will appear after birth will not be seen here.
There is manifestation of those qualities in the fourth month namely steadiness and others in males and unsteadiness in females.
O scion of the Raghu family! The features and qualities will appear in a mixed manner in the case of a eunuch. The heart of the child is derived from the heart of its mother. Hence, it hankers after those things that are dear to the mother.
For this reason only, tastes and desires like food and drink preferred by the mother’s heart for the development of the embryo in entirety should be encouraged. Hence, it is said that the expectant mother has two hearts and is called twin-hearted.
If the desires of the pregnant woman are not fulfilled, then there will be considerable damage to the development of the embryo. The child is born with that hankering for objects which were denied to the mother.
The mind develops grasping ability and vigour of flesh and blood in the fifth month. The bones, muscles, nails, hair on the head and body develop in the sixth month.
The strength and complexion of the child come into being in the seventh month. There is complete formation of the limbs and hands covering the pinnae and protected by the feet.
Because of the discomfort while staying in the womb, the child suffers from a fear of the womb in the future also.
Associated with the pain of the stay in the womb, the child experiences the sorrow of the past and the future. He is engulfed by grief at such a mundane existence.
The child experiences painful embodiments repeatedly attacking the vital points of the body like how when gram fried in hot mud and sand scars the body causing extreme anguish.
The bilious fluids heated by the core of the digestive system intensely scotch Me, who am enveloped in the womb.
The bodies of organisms in the stomach hurt Me like the thorns of Shalmali tree. There is pain caused by the ribs of the side like the teeth of a saw.
The tribulation when I was fried by the digestive fire of the stomach during My journey in the womb reeks of unpleasantness. Being burnt in the Kumbhapaka hell is mild compared to this.
I, who reside in this unclean womb experience worms feeding on the pus, blood and phlegm and vomited food in the stomach.
The pain undergone by Me while lying in the womb far exceeds the great torment meted out in all the hells.
Thus, remembering the terrible pains in several forms suffered earlier, one contemplates the way to liberation and release from the cycle of births and deaths in the womb.
The skin and its function commences in the eighth month; the mark of manifestation is the purity and power originating in the heart with the blood circulating.
The essence of life actively moves through the mother’s womb in the eighth womb. Hence, a child born in the eighth month cannot live when denied that power.
This suspended animation will be for some time till the commencement of the ninth month and thereafter delivery. This is comparable to one resting after a tiring journey.
Connected with the vein carrying the blood of the mother, the vein of the embryo at the navel gets enlarged so that the embryo will get the essence of the food partaken by the mother and will be sufficiently nourished.
Pushed by the bones in the uterine region, falling out through the passage of the vagina, all the limbs enveloped by the cover of the womb are covered with fat and blood.
The emerging child falls out when released from the womb with the head downwards, face turned upward and stricken with extreme pain, crying out loudly.
Then, incapable of doing anything, lying like a lump of flesh, it is protected with sticks and others by people from dogs, cats and those with sharp teeth.
The child in its sheer ignorance treats the demon as its father, the demoness as its mother, and the pus as milk. Oh! Childhood is one unending misery.
The sushumna nadi is covered by phlegm. Therefore, the child is unable to articulate the letters.
For the same reason, it is unable to cry in the womb.
Then, the child attaining youth becomes conceited and is bitten by the fever of love and lust. He bursts into a song in a high pitch for no reason. Similarly, he boasts for no reason.
Driven by impetuosity, he climbs trees. He teases the gentle people. Blinded by lust, anger and pride, he looks down upon people.
Stricken by Kāma‘s arrows, he is attracted to the sex organ of the female which is the seat of Kāma, a hollow made of bones and flesh, malodorous and resembling the cleft stomach of a frog. He gets consumed by it with no limit.
What is there except bones, flesh, fluids, skin etc., in this body of lovely women? One does not perceive the world as it is really overcome by maya.
Alas! When the life force makes its exit from the body, neither does one investigate how the body is born nor ponder over it even five or six days after death.
Attaining old age which is the state of the great tribulation and stricken with sorrow with lungs congested with phlegm and flesh, the old man does not digest what is eaten.
With shaky teeth, poor vision, under constant medication that is pungent and bitter to taste, hip, neck, hands, thighs and feet bent by the wind and rendered weak.
Afflicted by several diseases, abandoned by one’s kith and kin, unclean with limbs covered with dirt and consumed by excessive thirst.
When one is distracted by musing on pleasures, it becomes difficult to realize when the function of every organ is declining, thus, becoming a laughing stock even for children.
Eventually when death comes, there is no example comparable to the sorrow brought on by death. Hence, all creatures are scared of death in spite of suffering from incurable diseases.
The creature is led away by death though one is surrounded by relatives just as the serpent king hiding in the unfathomable waters of the sea is carried away by Garuda.
Face to face with death which is most painful and crying out loudly, “O dear wife! My wealth! My sons”, a man is whisked away by death as the frog by the snake.
Let the tribulations besetting the dying person when his vital organs are churned and the joints are breaking loose be constantly remembered by those who desire liberation.
When the sight is blurred by loss of consciousness, there is no saviour for the one who has been fastened by the noose of death.
Bound by the darkness of ignorance and with awareness in which numbness has descended, the person called by the close relatives looks at them with blurred vision.
The dying person sees himself pulled by the iron noose of death on one hand and with the bonds of attachment to the relatives on the other.
Afflicted by the hiccups and with breathing difficulties, drawn forcibly to death, the person does not have any refuge.
Mounted on the grinding machine of births and deaths, subjugated by the messengers of death, tied by the noose of death and stricken with misery at the thought, “Where will I be taken?”
Bewildered as, “What am I doing? Where am I going? What am I doing? What am I leaving behind?, the person leaves his body in great agony.
Bound to the body intended for the experience of hell, commanded by the messengers of death, the person goes from here and suffers all the agonies of hell. As for the distress that he suffers, how can it be expressed in words?
The body before death was smeared constantly with camphor and sandal paste, decorated with ornaments and clothed in choicest garments.
That same gross body left behind by the subtle body which is untouchable and invisible is taken out of the house and not kept there even for a moment.
The dead body is then consumed by the burning wood; the fire reduces it to ashes in a moment; or it is eaten by foxes, ravens, dogs and crows. The body thus burnt will not be seen again even in hundreds and thousands of years.
In a world which is deluded by maya, how can there be any thought like ‘my mother, my father, my teacher or my kinsmen?’. The being goes all alone in accordance with his own acts. This world is like a tree in which the birds rest temporarily.
Like the birds which gather in every tree every evening and fly out from every morning separately, each in its own way, similarly, the human beings who are related and not related do the same.
Birth is the cause of death. Death is the cause for rebirth. Restlessly, the being wanders with no end like the wheels of a perpetual machine.
What has been described by Me as the condition of man from the moment of conception up to the moment of death, the great malady has no remedy except Me.
[Siva Gita – Chapter 8 – The Cosmic Form – Slokas 1 – Slokas 70, Uttara Khanda, Padma Purana]