“Dhritarashtra said,—’The names of rivers and mountains, O Sanjaya, as also of provinces, and all other things resting on the earth, and their dimensions, O thou that are acquainted with the measures of things of the earth in its entirety and the forests, O Sanjaya, recount to me in detail.’
“Sanjaya said,—’O great king, all things in the universe, in consequence of the presence (in them) of the five elements, have been said to be equal by the wise. These elements, are space, air, fire, water, and earth. Their (respective) attributes are sound, touch, vision, taste, and scent. Every one of these elements possesses (in addition to what is especially its own) the attribute or attributes of that or those coming before it. The earth, therefore, is the foremost of them all, possessing as it does the attributes of all the other four, besides what is specially its own, as said by Rishis acquainted with truth. There are four attributes, O king, in water. Scent does not exist in it. Fire has three attributes viz., sound, touch, and vision. Sound and touch belong to air, while space has sound alone. These five attributes, O king, exist (in this way) in the five principal elements depending on which all creatures in the universe exist. They exist separately and independently when there is homogeneity in the universe. When, however, these do not exist in their natural state but with one another, then creatures spring into life, furnished with bodies. This is never otherwise. The elements are destroyed, in the order of the one succeeding, merging into the one that proceeds; and they spring also into existence, one arising from the one before it. All of these are immeasurable, their forms being Brahma itself. In the universe are seen creatures consisting of the five elements. Men endeavour to ascertain their proportions by exercising their reason. Those matters, however, that are inconceivable, should never be sought to be solved by reason. That which is above (human) nature is an indication of the inconceivable.