Bhagavad-Gita,Chapter 9: The Most Confidential Knowledge : Text Verse 10
mayādhyakṣeṇa prakṛtiḥsūyate sa-carācaramhetunānena kaunteyajagad viparivartate
Translation :This material nature, which is one of My energies, is working under My direction, O son of Kuntī, producing all moving and nonmoving beings. Under its rule this manifestation is created and annihilated again and again.
In the previous chapters of Bhagavad Gita, we learned that we are not this body but spirit soul, the purpose of our life, the various types of yoga like Karma Yoga, Jnana Yoga, Dhyana Yoga etc. In the 7th and 8th Chapter, about the knowledge of the Absolute and how to attain the Supreme Lord by doing devotional services. In the 9th chapter , the most confidential knowledge( the king of all knowledge, raja-vidya raja-guyham ) explains about unalloyed pure devotional service. By mere reading we may not understand many of the things but only through Bhakti Yoga, we get this realized knowledge.
In Bhagavad Gita, Krishna says
• By Me, in My unmanifested form, this entire universe is pervaded. All beings are in Me, but I am not in them.
• I am the maintainer of all living entities and although I am everywhere, I am not a part of this cosmic manifestation
• All created beings rest in Me. At the end of the millennium (every yuga annihilation, and creation happens), all material manifestations go back to Vishnu and gets created at start of new millennium.
• The whole cosmic order is under Me. I am ever detached from all these material activities.
In this verse we will learn about
1)What is this material nature ?
2)How is it related to us ?
3)How does the material nature work ?
4)What is our duty ?
What is Material Nature
Srila Prabupad mentions that the material nature is one of Krishna’s Energy. Material natures includes all the moving and non- moving beings and it consists of three modes- goodness, passion and ignorance. When the eternal living entity comes in contact with nature, he becomes conditioned by these modes (BG 13.5). The fundamental principles of material nature are explained in Srimad Bhagavatam, Canto 3: Chapter 26. It says material nature creates the forms of the living entities, and the living entities get illusioned by Maya, become forgetful of their real nature and starts to think that this material body as himself. Material nature is made up of 5 gross elements like earth, water, fire, air and ether (panchamahabhutas) and other few elements.
How is the material nature related to us?
We need to understand that we are not his body but spirit souls, and we are the “LIFE”. Our material body is like a machine. We are the driver of this material body. There was always a debate about, where the life is coming from. Some believe that life comes from matter, others from spirit, but life comes from life. There was one incident during Srila Prabupad’s time , in University of California, a Nobel prize scientist came to talk about LIFE. He claimed that life comes from combination of chemicals. In the class there was a disciple of Srila Prabupad, who had a Doctorate in Chemistry, and this person knew about the details about philosophy of Krishna consciousness. So, he questioned this scientist so if we give you all these chemicals can you make LIFE out of it . The Scientist, admitted that he cannot. So now we can that the Scientists are propagating the false notion that life come from chemicals, which is not true. There was no proof that life comes from matter, but life comes from life only. We know this because Krishna says that he is the source of everything Mayādhyakṣeṇa prakṛtiḥ. From me everything comes . So, Krishna is the life here. If we believe the words of Krishna, we can see life comes from life. There are many references in the scripture making the same statements.
1) SB 1.1.1 janmādy asya yataḥ anvayāt itarataś ca artheṣu abhijñaḥ svarāṭ )
2) In BG 10.8, Krishna says, ahaṁ sarvasya prabhavo, mattaḥ sarvaṁ pravartate ti matvā bhajante māṁ budhā bhāva-samanvitāḥ ) . I am the origin of everything material and spiritual world and everything emanates from me. All these are clearly pointing that life and everything comes from Krishna .
3) In BG 9.11, Krishna says ,it says avajānanti māṁ mūḍhāmānuṣīṁ tanum āśritam . Fools don’t understand this. ( budhā bhāva-samanvitāḥ) these material scientists cannot understand these. Only an Intelligent person can see Krishna’s presence in everything created.
When a pure devotee sees the material nature, he sees that everything comes from Krishna. For example, if he sees a palatial building, he sees Krishna in it, because all the ingredients needed for making that building comes from Krishna only. Krishna says in Bhagavad Gita 7.4, bhūmir āpo ’nalo vāyuḥ,Earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, intelligence and false ego – all together these eight constitute My separated material energies. Our Material body is also created by these elements.
How material nature works
In SB 3.2.6 give details of how material nature works .For the Supreme Lord creation of this material world is a past time. We were all pure souls serving Krishna in the spiritual world one point of time. We were envious of Krishna seeing him enjoying and we want to enjoy separate from him. So, he gives us the freedom to enjoy by giving us a body suitable for enjoyment in this material world. Now we are in this material nature, so now some conditions are enforced on us by the material nature. We have to take birth, die, fall sick, get old . We have no choice. In one lifetime we are born as human beings, other life we are born as an animal. That is why it is called a conditioned life. We have no control over it, but are under the control of stringent laws of nature. And the material nature is the cause of conditioned soul’s material body and senses, and conditioned by the 3 modes of material nature:-Mode of goodness, passion and ignorance, Sato guna, Tamo guna and Rajo guna. They are in this prakriti. The combination of these gunas are controlling our life.• There are 24 elements Lord adjusts all these different elements, and put the souls there.
Creation is explained as follows. The Karanodakashayi Vishnu (Maha Vishnu) is the first Purusha avatar who is lying on the causal ocean, or Karana ocean. From him the innumerable universes manifest from the pores of his body like bubbles, as he exhales. He glances at these universes and so the creation begins. The subtle undifferentiated sum total of all material elements is called Praddhana (unmanifested) . Although they are undifferentiated, one can understand that the total material elements are contained therein. When the total material elements are manifested by the integration of the 3 modes of material nature the manifestation is called Prakrti. For material creation, Lord Krishna’s plenary expansion assumes three Viṣṇus. The first one, Mahā-viṣṇu, creates the total material energy, known as the mahat-tattva. The second, Garbhodaka-śāyī Viṣṇu, enters into all the universes to create diversities in each of them. The third, Kṣīrodaka-śāyī Viṣṇu, is diffused as the all-pervading Supersoul in all the universes and is known as Paramātmā. The first person created is Brahma. Brahma is given the knowledge to create other living entities by giving the material body. So, the effulgent mahat-tattva, which contains all the universes within itself, which is the root of all cosmic manifestations
Since Maha Vishnu glance over material nature, there is undoubtedly activity on the part of the Supreme Lord, but He has nothing to do with the manifestation of the material world directly. This example is given in the smṛti:when there is a fragrant flower before someone, the fragrance is touched by the smelling power of the person, yet the smelling and the flower are detached from one another. There is a similar connection between the material world and the Supreme Personality of Godhead; actually, He has nothing to do with this material world, but He creates by His glance and ordains. In summary, material nature, without the superintendence of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, cannot do anything. Yet the Supreme Personality is detached from all material activities. It is clearly stated here that the Supreme Lord, although aloof from all the activities of the material world, remains the supreme director. The Supreme Lord is the supreme will and the background of this material manifestation, but the management is being conducted by material nature. Krishna also states in Bhagavad-gītāthat of all the living entities in different forms and species, “I am the father.” The father gives seeds to the womb of the mother to bear a child, and similarly the Supreme Lord by His mere glance injects all the living entities into the womb of material nature. All these living entities, although born under the glance of the Supreme Lord, take their different bodies according to their past deeds and desires. So, the Lord is not directly attached to this material creation. He simply glances over material nature; material nature is thus activated, and everything is created immediately.
Generally one who does not know the science of God (Kṛṣṇa) under the spell of material nature or under the influence of Maya, forgets his actual identity that he was part and parcel of Krishna and identifies his body as self and absorbs in material activities, and by the influence of false ego assumes that they are the puruṣas – the cause, controllers and enjoyers of the material energy. So, because of this bewilderment, the conditioned souls therefore transmigrate into different species of life, higher and lower because of the association with the modes of material nature and gets entangled in the cycle of birth and death. We can get out of this cycle by doing unalloyed devotional service by chanting and hearing about the Lord, by gaining knowledge and by association with devotees.Through this we will learn that this is not the place for us and we have to go back to Krishna to his eternal abode Vaikunta, the place where there is no sorrow , by doing devotional services.
What is our duty.
We have to understand that source of everything is the Supreme personality of Godhead – Krishna. Since our senses are imperfect, we can understand about Krishna only by listening and following Krishna’s words/instructions from Bhagavat Gita, Srimad Bhagavatam, Caitanya Caritamrta etc. In the age of Kali, the recommended way is to hear and chant the holy name of the Supreme Person, Lord Krishna. By the chanting of Hare Krishna Maha Mantra, we can come out of the stringent laws of material nature and be transcendentally situated and eventually go back to our original eternal position and stay with the Lord.
• Material nature is one of Krishna’s energy, working under the direction of the Lord
• All living & non-living beings are under his control
• Material nature gets created and annihilated again & again at Lords will.
• The source of everything is the Supreme personality of Godhead, Krishna.
• By the chanting of Hare Krishna Maha mantra, we can come out of the Stringent laws of material nature and be transcendentally situated and eventually go back to our original eternal position and be with the Lord.