18. Flesh is of earthy nature; in the case of the two others also according to the text.
The view that the description of tripartition, given in the passage 'each of these he made tripartite,' refers to a time subsequent to the creation of the mundane egg and to the gods created by Brahmâ, cannot be upheld. For from it there would follow that, as in the passage 'earth when eaten is disposed of in three ways,' &c., flesh is declared to be more subtle than feces, and mind yet subtler, it would have to be assumed--in agreement with the nature of the causal substance--that flesh is made of water and manas of fire 1. And similarly we should have to assume that urine
[paragraph continues] --which is the grossest part of water drunk (cp. VI, 5, 2)--is of the nature of earth, and breath, which is its subtlest part, of the nature of fire. But this is not admissible; for as the text explicitly states that earth when eaten is disposed of in three ways, flesh and mind also must be assumed to be of an earthy nature. In the same way we must frame our view concerning 'the two others,' i.e. water and fire, 'according to the text.' That means--the three parts into which water divides itself when drunk, must be taken to be all of them modifications of water, and the three parts of fire when consumed must be held to be all of them modifications of fire. Thus feces, flesh and mind are alike transformations of earth; urine, blood and breath transformations of water; bones, marrow and speech transformations of fire.
This moreover agrees with the subsequent statement (VI, 5, 4), 'For, truly, mind consists of earth, breath of water, speech of fire.' The process of tripartition referred to in VI, 3, 4, is not therefore the same as the one described in the section that tells us what becomes of food when eaten, water when drunk, &c. Were this (erroneous) assumption made, and were it thence concluded that mind, breath and speech--as being the subtlest created things--are made of fire, this would flatly contradict the complementary text quoted above ('mind consists of earth,' &c.). When the text describes how earth, water and fire, when eaten, are transformed in a threefold way, it refers to elements which had already been rendered tripartite; the process of tripartition must therefore have taken place before the creation of the cosmic egg. Without such tripartition the elements would be incapable of giving rise to any effects; such capability they acquire only by being mutually conjoined, and that is just the process of tripartition. In agreement herewith Smriti says, 'Separate from each other, without connexion, those elements with their various powers were incapable of producing creatures. Bul having combined completely, entered into mutual conjunction, abiding one within the other, the principles--from the highest Mahat down to
individual things--produced the mundane egg.'--When the text therefore says (VI, 3, 3) 'The divinity having entered into those three beings with that soul-self differentiated names and forms; he made each of these tripartite,' the order in which the text mentions the activities of differentiation and tripartition is refuted by the order demanded by the sense 1.--The text then proceeds to exemplify the process of tripartition, by means of burning fire, the sun and lightning, which indeed are things contained within the mundane egg (while yet the tripartition of elements took place before the egg, with all its contents, was created); but this is done for the information of Svetaketu, who himself is a being within the mundane egg, and has to be taught with reference to things he knows.
But, a final objection is raised, as on this view of the matter the elements--earth, water and fire--which are eaten and drunk, are already tripartite, each of them containing portions of all, and thus are of a threefold nature, how can they be designated each of them by a simple term--earth, water, fire?--To this the next Sûtra replies.