741223 - Lecture SB 03.26.11-14 - Bombay

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His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

741223SB-BOMBAY - December 23, 1974 - 32:42 Minutes

Nitāi: "The aggregate elements, namely the five gross elements, the five subtle elements, the four internal senses, the five senses for gathering knowledge and the five outward organs of action, are known as the pradhāna."


pañcabhiḥ pañcabhir brahma
caturbhir daśabhis tathā
etac catur-viṁśatikaṁ
gaṇaṁ prādhānikaṁ viduḥ
(SB 3.26.11)

Pradhāna. Prakṛti, puruṣa, pradhāna. So pradhāna is the total material energy, which is called mahat-tattva. We have discussed this subject matter last night, mahat-tattva. So mahat-tattva is the original total energy for material creation. Therefore Kṛṣṇa, Mukunda, is sometime described as mahat-padam. Mahat-padam. Mahat-padam means "under whose lotus feet this whole total material energy is resting." Samāśritā ye pada-pallava-plavaṁ mahat-padaṁ yaśo murāreḥ (SB 10.14.58). Samāśritāḥ. Therefore we have to take shelter of the Supreme, under whose lotus feet this mahat-tattva is also resting. Mahat-padaṁ puṇya-yaśo murāreḥ. Puṇya-yaśaḥ. If you glorify Kṛṣṇa, then we become pious. Therefore there are so many prayers to be offered to Kṛṣṇa. That is bhakti. Śravaṇaṁ kīrtanaṁ viṣṇoḥ smaraṇaṁ pāda-sevanam, vandanam (SB 7.5.23). Vandanam means offering prayer. This is also bhakti-mārga.

So the total energy of material creation is called mahat-tattva, or pradhāna. Then, when the mahat-tattva is agitated by the three guṇas, then they become divided into twenty-four elements, catur-viṁśatikaṁ gaṇam—originally one, but agitated by the guṇas. Because material existence means the three guṇas. When there is interaction of the three guṇas, then this one mahat-tattva becomes divided into twenty-four, catur-viṁśati tattva. This is called Sāṅkhya philosophy, to analyze and to study the twenty-four elements which is controlling the activities of the whole material world. That is called catur-viṁśati tattva. What are they? Pañcabhiḥ. First the five elements, namely earth, water, fire, air, sky. This is pañcabhiḥ. Then next pañcabhiḥ, tan-mātra, means rūpa, rasa, gandha, śabda, sparśa. Form, rūpa. Rūpa means form; rasa means taste; śabda means sound; rūpa, rasa, śabda..., sparśa means touch; and rūpa, rasa, śabda, sparśa, and...?

Devotee: Gandha.

Prabhupāda: Gandha. So the sky is known by śabda, sound. This is tan-mātra. This is... By sound, you can understand there is sky. If you clap, there is sound (claps). You understand there is sky. Sky is understood by the śabda. Then air is understood by sparśa. Just like electric fan is running, but even if I do not see it is running, because the air is touching my body, I can understand the air is there. Sparśa. Rūpa, rasa, śabda. Śabda, sky, and rūpa, fire. From the fire, rūpa begins, form. Rasa. Rasa is in the taste in the water. And gandha is in the earth. So five gross elements and five subtle elements. The gross elements is understood by the subtle elements. Subtle means we cannot see it directly, but we can perceive it. So pañcabhiḥ pañcabhiḥ. And then daśabhiḥ, ten senses, knowledge-acquiring, cakṣuḥ, karṇa, nāsikā: eyes, ear and nose, and tongue, hands, in this way. And karmabhiḥ. We work with hands, legs, genital. In this way, there are five working sense organs and five senses to gather knowledge. So five, five and ten, twenty-four. And the subtle senses, mano buddhir ahaṅkāraś cittam—four (SB 3.26.14).

So these four..., twenty-four elements is covering the spirit soul. This body is made of these twenty-four elements. But above this, there is the soul. And above that, there is the Supersoul. So the atheist, they do not believe in the soul or Supersoul. But they have to believe in these twenty-four elements. Therefore European philosophers, they like this Sāṅkhya philosophy of another Kapila. Here is Kapiladeva. He is the incarnation of God. But another, there is imitation Kapila; he is atheist Kapila. The Sāṅkhya-kārikā, that is very much liked by the European philosophers, because in that Sāṅkhya-kārikā these twenty-four elements are studied very minutely, without any reference to the soul and the Supersoul. That is the difference between two, Sāṅkhya philosophy..., atheist Sāṅkhya philosophy and theist Sāṅkhya philosophy.

So etac catur-viṁśatikaṁ gaṇaṁ prādhānikaṁ viduḥ. Then, by their interaction, so many other things. But the dividing principle is the three guṇas. Three guṇas. Originally these twenty-four element; then they are acting with the three guṇas, and they are creating so many varieties. As I have explained many times, that three into three equal to nine, and nine into nine equal to eighty-one. So at least eighty-one varieties of living entities there should be. But actually, there are eighty-four. Eight million four hundred... Curāśī-lakṣa. Aśītiṁ caturaś caiva, jīva-jātiṣu (Padma Purāṇa). That evolutionary process is there in the Padma-Purāṇa, in the Vedic literature. Jalajā nava-lakṣāṇi sthāvarā lakṣa-viṁśati, kṛmayo rudra-saṅkhyakāḥ, then pakṣiṇāṁ daśa-lakṣaṇam, paśavaḥ triṁśal-lakṣāṇi mānuṣāḥ catur-lak... Everything is there, evolution. So this is the creation, material creation. They are working by the material nature. But behind the material nature there is Kṛṣṇa. Mohitaṁ nābhijānāti. Tribhir guṇamayair bhāvaiḥ, mohitaṁ nābhijānāti (BG 7.13).

So the living entities, being enamored or illusioned by the activities of this material nature, they are studying the material nature as Sāṅkhya philosopher, as scientist, as mathematician, as chemist, as physist. They are all studying only these twenty-four elements, not beyond that. Beyond that is the soul, and beyond that is the Supersoul. When one can understand not only to study the material composition of the body but the moving spirit of the body, that is the beginning of Bhagavad-gītā lesson, beginning, that "Don't be simply misled by studying the material elements of the body, but within the body there is the living force, living entity. Just try to understand that."

Dehino 'smin yathā dehe kaumāraṁ yauvanaṁ jarā (BG 2.13). These twenty-four elements is changing the body from kaumāraṁ yauvanaṁ jarā. Our body is being developed. It is not development; it is changing. But because the..., from one body to another... In medical science they also admit change of, what is called, blood corpuscle. It is changing every moment. But how it is changing and coming into different body, that we cannot understand. But it is changing. Actually, it is changing from one body to another. That boy, the same boy, when he is grown up, he speaks differently than childish way because the body has changed. The body has changed. That is understood. But because we have no very nice brain, we cannot understand that the body is changing. We say, "It is growing." You can say it is growing, but growing is also changing. The original form is changed. That is called growing.

So these elementary principles are there, but they are growing into, or changing into, different body by the interaction of the guṇas. That is going on. That is called prakṛteḥ kriyamāṇāni guṇaiḥ karmāṇi sarvaśaḥ (BG 3.27). Guṇaiḥ karmāṇi. Whatever is being done, that is by the interaction of the three modes of material nature. Actually, it is the prakṛti, or pradhāna. Pradhāna change, come into manifestation, that is called prakṛti. And there are twenty-four elements, and they are changing, or growing, whatever you say. This is Sāṅkhya philosophy. Unfortunately, people are not given lesson about the Sāṅkhya philosophy in universities, in... If they are given in some philosophical classes—that atheistic philosophy of Kapila, Sāṅkhya philosophy, but not this Sāṅkhya philosophy, theistic Sāṅkhya philosophy.

So etac catur-viṁśatikaṁ gaṇaṁ prādhānikaṁ viduḥ. So these are the description of the twenty-four elements. (aside:) Then you can go to the next verse.

Nitāi: (leads chanting of verse, etc.)

mahā-bhūtāni pañcaiva
bhūr āpo 'gnir marun nabhaḥ
tan-mātrāṇi ca tāvanti
gandhādīni matāni me
(SB 3.26.12)

Prabhupāda: (to Nitāi) Next also. Read. Indriyāṇi daśa śrotram.

Nitāi: (leads chanting of verse, etc.)

indriyāṇi daśa śrotraṁ
tvag dṛg rasana-nāsikāḥ
vāk karau caraṇau meḍhraṁ
pāyur daśama ucyate
(SB 3.26.13)

Prabhupāda: Next, mano buddhiḥ.

Nitāi: (leads chanting of verse, etc.)

mano buddhir ahaṅkāraś
cittam ity antar-ātmakam
caturdhā lakṣyate bhedo
vṛttyā lakṣaṇa-rūpayā
(SB 3.26.14)

Prabhupāda: That's all. Catur-viṁśati tattva is finished.

Nitāi: (reading) "There are five gross elements, namely earth, water, air..., fire, air and ether. There are also five subtle elements: smell, taste, color, touch and sound. The senses for acquiring knowledge and the organs for action number ten, namely the auditory sense, the sense of taste, the tactile sense, the sense of sight, the sense of smell, the active organ for speaking, the active organs for working, those for traveling, generating and evacuating. The internal, subtle senses are experienced as having four aspects, in the shape of the mind, intelligence, ego and contaminated consciousness. Distinctions between them can be made only by different functions, since they represent different characteristics."

Prabhupāda: So this is the analysis of the whole bodily construction. And beyond this bodily construction there is the soul. And when you study the characteristic of the soul, that is called spiritual knowledge. So long you are engaged with the characteristics of the bodily different elements, that is material study. So generally, people, they are interested the medical science. Medical science is also interested with this body. The physical science... The physical science interest will be bhūmir āpaḥ analo vāyuḥ, mahā-bhūtāni (BG 7.4). And psychology, they are interested with the internal senses, mind: thinking, feeling and willing.

So all this material scientific knowledge, they are simply interested with this body. But spiritual knowledge begins when you actually take seriously what Bhagavad-gītā says or Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam says or what the Vedas says. Vedas says everything, both the material and the spiritual. But for human being we are not only..., we should not only be interested with the material science, but we should be interested... That is our main interest. Athāto brahma jijñāsā.

Material science is going on. But you study or not study, the nature is going on. Prakṛteḥ kriyamāṇāni (BG 3.27). Nature's work will go on, you study or not study. But because we are now entrapped with this material body, vāsāṁsi... We are just now dressed. Just like I am now covered with this dress, cotton dress, similarly, I am now covered by these twenty-four elements. And I am working under this conception, that "I am these twenty-four elements" or "I am this body." So if I continue in that way, then I remain in the animal kingdom. Because the dog is also thinking like that, that "I am this body." He may not be able to analyze the bodily construction. He may not be a medical man or psychologist. That doesn't matter. But he thinks that "I am this body," and he is working like that. So we human being, if I study all the science, physics, chemistry, psychology and other material science, soil expert... Soil expert means studying the earth, that's all. There are so many. So in spite of all these things, if we remain in the darkness of my spiritual identity, then I am no better than the cats and dogs. This is conclusion.

So this so-called advancement of material science means that we are kept in the darkness of spiritual knowledge; we are still in the platform of animal concept of life. Therefore śāstra says,

yasyātma-buddhiḥ kuṇape tri-dhātuke
sva-dhīḥ kalatrādiṣu bhauma ijya-dhīḥ
yat-tīrtha-buddhiḥ salile na karhicij
janeṣv abhijñeṣu sa eva go-kharaḥ
(SB 10.84.13)

Go-khara. Go-khara. Go means cow, and khara means ass. So in spite of all our educational advancement, if we remain in the darkness of bodily concept of life, then we are no better than go-khara. Go, go means cow, and... So we should not remain that. The human life is meant for above this. Athāto brahma jijñāsā. This human life is for inquiring about the soul. And the knowledge of the soul begins... That is the first instruction in the Bhagavad-gītā, that don't be simply enwrapped or encumbered with these twenty-four elements, bodily ele..., material, but you should understand that asmin dehe, there is the possessor, or occupier, of the body. Dehinaḥ asmin dehe. Dehino 'smin... What is that verse?

dehino 'smin yathā dehe
kaumāraṁ yauvanaṁ jarā
tathā dehāntara-prāptiḥ...
(BG 2.13)

Dehinaḥ. Dehinaḥ means the possessor, the possessor of this body. I am the possessor. You are the possessor.

That is also another chapter explained very nicely, kṣetra-kṣetrajña. This body is kṣetra. Every one of us, we have got a particular body, and we are working with this body. That is called kṣetra. Just like the cultivator, he works in the field, tilling the field and getting the desired result, as much he has got nice fertile field or not fertile field. According to the field, he is getting different result. Similarly we, the living entity or the soul, we have got a field of activities, this body. And by... (someone shouts) (aside:) What is that? ...working on this body, we are getting different result. That is called karma. Karmaṇy evādhikāras te mā phaleṣu kadācana. So according to different karma, we are getting different body. In this way, bhūtvā bhūtvā pralīyate (BG 8.19), we are getting one body, and then again this body is annihilated, and we get another body. And there are 8,400,000 types of bodies. In this way our life is going on in this material world.

But our real business is that "Why we are put into the cycle of birth and death, and according to the body we are suffering different types of miserable condition of life?" Actually, we are trying to enjoy life, sukham, but it is a struggle for existence. Manaḥ ṣaṣṭhāni indriyāṇi prakṛti-sthāni karṣati. We are having great struggle for existence. Therefore we should study philosophically and scientifically, analyze what is this body and what is beyond the body—soul—and what is the soul's function, where is the soul's place; ultimately what is the end goal of the activities of the soul. This is human life. And all this knowledge can be had from the Vedic literature, and the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is the essence of Vedic literature. Nigama-kalpa-taror galitaṁ phalam idam (SB 1.1.3).

Vyāsadeva, after writing all the Vedic literature, he was not satisfied. He wrote the four Vedas, then the Purāṇas—Purāṇas means supplementary to the Vedas—and then Vedānta-sūtra, the last word of the Vedic knowledge, Vedānta-sūtra. But he was not satisfied. So Nārada Muni, his spiritual master, he inquired that "Why you are feeling dissatisfaction after writing so many books, giving knowledge to the human society?" So he said, "Sir, yes, I know that I have written... But I am not getting satisfaction. I do not know what is the reason." Then Nārada Muni said, "The dissatisfaction is due to your not describing the activities of the Supreme Lord. Therefore you are not satisfied. You have simply discussed the external," I mean to say, "elements, but the internal elements, you have not discussed. Therefore you are dissatisfied. Now you do it."

So under the instruction of Vyāsadeva..., er, Nārada Muni, his spiritual master, Vyāsadeva, his last mature contribution is Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. Śrīmad-bhāgavatam amalaṁ purāṇaṁ yad vaiṣṇavānāṁ priyam (SB 12.13.18). Therefore the Vaiṣṇava, they regard the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam as amalaṁ purāṇam. Amalaṁ purāṇam means... Amalam means without any contamination. These all other purāṇas, they are dealing with karma, jñāna, yoga. Therefore they are samalam, "with material contamination." And Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, simply dealing with bhakti; therefore it is amalam. Bhakti means directly in connection with the Supreme Lord, bhakta and Bhagavān, and the transaction is bhakti. There is Bhagavān and there is bhakta, just like master and the servant. And the relationship between the master and servant, the transaction, is service.

So service we have to... That is our natural..., natural instinct. We are giving service. But being contaminated, that consciousness, citta, being contaminated by these material elements, we are trying to give service in different way. Somebody is interested in giving service to the family, to the community, to the society, to the nation, to the humanity, to the more and more, but all these services, they are contaminated. But when you begin your service in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, that is perfect service; that is perfect life. So the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is trying to raise the human society to the perfect platform of rendering service.

Thank you very much. Hare Kṛṣṇa.

Devotees: Jaya Śrīla Prabhupāda. (end)