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Lord Brahma on Mount Meru

"Life is definitely not generated simply by a material reaction like a chemical combination, as many foolish men claim. Material interaction is set in motion by a superior being who creates a favorable circumstance to accommodate the spiritual living force. The superior energy handles matter in an appropriate way--as determined by the free will of the spiritual being. For example, building materials do not automatically "react" and suddenly assume the shape of a residential house. The living spiritual being handles matter appropriately by his free will and thus constructs his house. Similarly, matter is the ingredient only, but the spirit is the creator."

Easy Journey to Other Planets, Chapter 1

"The elements of nature--earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, intelligence and ego--all belong to the Lord's inferior, material energy (apara prakrti), whereas the living being, the organic energy, is His superior energy (para prakrti). Both of these prakrtis, or energies, are emanations from the Lord, and ultimately He is the controller of everything that exists. There is nothing in the universe that does not belong to either the para or the apara prakrti; therefore everything is the property of the Supreme Being."

Sri Isopanisad, Chapter 1

"In the material energy, the principal manifestations are eight.... Out of these, the first five manifestations, namely earth, water, fire, air and sky, are called the five gigantic creations or the gross creations, within which the five sense objects are included. They are the manifestations of physical sound, touch, form, taste and smell. Material science comprises these ten items and nothing more. But the other three items, namely mind, intelligence and false ego, are neglected by the materialists. Philosophers who deal with mental activities are also not perfect in knowledge because they do not know the ultimate source, Krsna. The false ego--"I am," and "It is mine," which constitute the basic principle of material existence--includes ten sense organs for material activities. Intelligence refers to the total material creation, called the mahat-tattva. Therefore from the eight separated energies of the Lord are manifest the twenty-four elements of the material world."

Bhagavad-gita 7:4 Purport

"....The components of this world are earth, water, fire, air and ether. These are the five great elements (maha-bhuta). Then there are false ego, intelligence and the unmanifested stage of the three modes of nature. Then there are five senses for acquiring knowledge: the eyes, ears, nose, tongue and touch. Then five working senses: voice, legs, hands, anus and genitals. Then, above the senses, there is the mind, which is within and which can be called the sense within. Therefore, including the mind, there are eleven senses altogether. Then there are the five objects of the senses: smell, taste, form, touch and sound. Now the aggregate of these twenty-four elements is called the field of activity. If one makes an analytical study of these twenty-four subjects, then he can very well understand the field of activity. Then there is desire, hatred, pleasure and pain, which are interactions, representations of the five great elements in the gross body. The living symptoms, represented by consciousness and conviction, are the manifestation of the subtle body--the mind, ego and intelligence. These subtle elements are included within the field of activities.

The five great elements are a gross representation of the subtle false ego. They are a representation in the material conception. Consciousness is represented by intelligence, of which the unmanifested stage is the three modes of material nature. The unmanifested three modes of material nature is called pradhana."

Bhagavad-gita 13:6:7 Purport

"Srila Sridhara Svami confirms that a part of the material nature, after being initiated by the Lord, is known as the mahat-tattva. A fractional portion of the mahat-tattva is called the false ego. A portion of the ego is the vibration of sound, and a portion of sound is atmospheric air. A portion of the airy atmosphere is turned into forms, and the forms constitute the power of electricity or heat. Heat produces the smell of the aroma of the earth, and the gross earth is produced by such aroma. And all these combined together constitute the cosmic phenomenon. The extent of the cosmic phenomenon is calculated to be diametrically (both ways) four billion miles. Then the coverings of the universe begin. The first stratum of the covering is calculated to extend eighty million miles, and the subsequent coverings of the universe are respectively of fire, effulgence, air and ether, one after another, each extending ten times further than the previous. The fearless devotee of the Lord penetrates each one of them and ultimately reaches the absolute atmosphere where everything is of one and the same spiritual identity. Then the devotee enters one of the Vaikuntha planets, where he assumes exactly the same form as the Lord and engages in the loving transcendental service of the Lord. That is the highest perfection of devotional life. Beyond this there is nothing to be desired or achieved by the perfect yogi."

Srimad-Bhagavatam 2:2:28 Purport

Bhaktivedanta Book Trust. HDG A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada.