1: King Parikshit’s Question to Suka Maharishi - 11.
It is an incomparable scripture.
Its eighteen skandhas represent the eighteen processes of the evolution of the cosmos.
In Indian culture, the word ‘eighteen’ has been regarded as very sacred.
The Bhagavata contains eighteen skandhas, the Mahabharata contains eighteen parvas, the war took place for eighteen days, the Bhagavadgita has eighteen chapters; it is a great mystery.
According to the traditional belief in the computational meaning of numbers, eighteen represents victory.
According to a traditional calculation in India especially, the word ‘eight’ is represented by the word ‘ja’, and the word ‘ya’ is represented by the number ‘one’. In the the old system, letters are read from right to left, not from left to right as we do in the modern system.
So ‘ja’ and ‘ya’ mean ‘jaya’ or victory.
The Mahabharata book also is called Jaya by Krishna Dvaipayana Vyasa.
The same question that was raised by Parikshit was also raised by Narada Maharishi to Brahma, the supreme Creator – to which, in the form of a reply, Brahma, the Creator, narrates the whole process of creation.
The Bhagavata’s description is that Narayana sleeps on the cosmic waters at the end of creation.
And these cosmic waters are actually, philosophically speaking, the potential prakriti known in the philosophical circles of Vedanta and Sankhya, and the consciousness that is immanently present in this potential condition is Narayana, even as our Atman is alive even in the state of deep sleep.
The evolution from sleep to waking is like creation that is taking place.
The whole system of creation described in the Bhagavata Mahapurana is comparable to the precise description of the involvement in creation as we have it in the beginning of the eighth chapter of the Bhagavadgita.
To be continued .....