Prakriti - Material Nature


Bhaktivedanta Book Trust.

Aug 13, CANADA (SUN) —

"The material world is not a fit place for living entities because they are spiritually one with the Lord and in the material world the living entities become conditioned by the laws of the material world. The Lord wants all living entities, who are His parts and parcels, to live with Him in the transcendental world, and for enlightening conditioned souls in the material world, all the Vedas and the revealed scriptures are there--expressly to recall the conditioned souls back home, back to Godhead."

Srimad-Bhagavatam 2:2:14 Purport

It is accepted in the Vedas and in Bhagavad-gita that the Supreme Lord creates by looking over the prakrti. The Lord glanced over the prakrti, or nature, and impregnated it with atomic individual souls (jivatmas). Because prakrti (material nature) is dull and inert, it can't actually be the cause of the material world. Rather, the Lord mercifully infuses the dull, inert material nature with his energy. As a result, the prakrti becomes the secondary cause, just as iron becomes red-hot by the energy of fire. In this way, the material nature is always working under the direction of the Lord, producing all moving and unmoving beings. All varieties of living entities - the aquatics, plants, trees, insects, birds, animals, human beings and demigods - come from the original source. Prakrti is the mother, and the Supreme Personality of Godhead is the father. Material nature has no power to create without the power of the Lord (the purusa), just as a prakrti, or woman, cannot produce a child without the connection of a purusa, or man. The purusa impregnates, and the prakrti delivers.

"The purusa, after creating innumerable universes in the mahat-tattva, entered in each of them as the second purusa, Garbhodakasayi Visnu. When He saw that within the universe there was only darkness and space, without a resting place, He filled half of the universe with water from His own perspiration and laid Himself down on the same water. This water is called Garbhodaka. Then from His navel the stem of the lotus flower sprouted, and on the flower petals the birth of Brahma, or the master engineer of the universal plan, took place. Brahma became the engineer of the universe, and the Lord Himself took charge of the maintenance of the universe as Visnu. Brahma was generated from rajo-guna of prakrti, or the mode of passion in nature, and Visnu became the Lord of the mode of goodness. Visnu, being transcendental to all the modes, is always aloof from materialistic affection. This has already been explained. From Brahma there is Rudra (Siva), who is in charge of the mode of ignorance or darkness. He destroys the whole creation by the will of the Lord. Therefore all three, namely Brahma, Visnu and Siva, are incarnations of the Garbhodakasayi Visnu. From Brahma the other demigods like Daksa, Marici, Manu and many others become incarnated to generate living entities within the universe. This Garbhodakasayi Visnu is glorified in the Vedas in the hymns of Garbha-stuti, which begin with the description of the Lord as having thousands of heads, etc. The Garbhodakasayi Visnu is the Lord of the universe, and although He appears to be lying within the universe, He is always transcendental. This also has already been explained. The Visnu who is the plenary portion of the Garbhodakasayi Visnu is the Supersoul of the universal life, and He is known as the maintainer of the universe or Ksirodakasayi Visnu. So the three features of the original purusa are thus understood. And all the incarnations within the universe are emanations from this Ksirodakasayi Visnu."

Srimad-Bhagavatam 1:3:5 Purport

"There is one Supreme Person who is the progenitor of this cosmic manifestation and whose energy acts as prakrti, or the material nature, dazzling like a reflection. By such illusory action of prakrti, even dead matter is caused to move by the cooperation of living energy of the Lord, and the material world appears like a dramatic performance to the ignorant eyes. The ignorant person, therefore, may even be a scientist or physiologist in the drama of prakrti, while the sane person knows prakrti as the illusory energy of the Lord. By such a conclusion, as confirmed by the Bhagavad-gita, it is clear that the living entities are also a display of the Lord's superior energy (para prakrti), just as the material world is a display of the Lord's inferior energy (apara prakrti). The superior energy of the Lord cannot be as good as the Lord, although there is very little difference between the energy and the possessor of the energy, or the fire and the heat. Fire is possessed of heat, but heat is not fire. This simple thing is not understood by the man with a poor fund of knowledge who falsely claims that the fire and heat are the same. This energy of the fire (namely heat) is explained here as a reflection, and not directly fire. Therefore the living energy represented by the living entities is the reflection of the Lord, and never the Lord Himself. Being the reflection of the Lord, the existence of the living entity is dependent on the Supreme Lord, who is the original light. This material energy may be compared to darkness, as actually it is darkness, and the activities of the living entities in the darkness are reflections of the original light. The Lord should be understood by the context of this verse. Nondependence of both the energies of the Lord is explained as maya, or illusion. No one can make a solution of the darkness of ignorance simply by the reflection of light. Similarly, no one can come out of material existence simply by the reflected light of the common man; one has to receive the light from the original light itself."

Srimad-Bhagavatam 2:9:34 Purport

Bhaktivedanta Book Trust. Excerpts from text and purport of HDG A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada.

Purusa and Prakrti

"Nature and the living entities are sometimes designated as prakrti and purusa respectively. The whole cosmic manifestation is an amalgamation of the prakrti and purusa. Nature is the ingredient cause, and the living entities are the effective cause. These two causes combine together, and the effect is this cosmic manifestation. When one is fortunate enough to come to the right conclusion about this cosmic manifestation and everything which is going on within it, he knows it to be caused directly and indirectly by the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself."

Krsna Book, Chapter 87

"Purusa is the Supreme personality of Godhead or anyone who imitates the Supreme Personality of Godhead as an enjoyer, and prakrti means "nature." In this material world, material nature is being exploited by the purusas, or the living entities. The intricacies in the material world of the relationship of the prakrti and purusa, or the enjoyed and the enjoyer, is called samsara, or material entanglement. ....The tree of material existence is explained in the Fifteenth Chapter of Bhagavad-gita as an asvattha tree whose root is upwards and whose branches are downwards. It is recommended there that one has to cut the root of this material existential tree with the ax of detachment. What is the attachment? The attachment involves prakrti and purusa. The living entities are trying to lord it over material nature. Since the conditioned soul takes material nature to be the object of his enjoyment and he takes the position of the enjoyer, he is therefore called purusa.

....The living entities, in the guises of men and women, are trying to enjoy the material energy; therefore in one sense everyone is purusa because purusa means "enjoyer" and prakrti means "enjoyed." In this material world both the so-called man and so-called woman are imitating the real purusa; the Supreme Personality of Godhead is actually the enjoyer in the transcendental sense, whereas all others are prakrti. The living entities are considered prakrti. In Bhagavad-gita, matter is analyzed as apara, or inferior nature, whereas beyond this inferior nature there is another, superior nature--the living entities. Living entities are also prakrti, or enjoyed, but under the spell of maya, the living entities are falsely trying to take the position of enjoyers. That is the cause of samsara-bandha, or conditional life."

Srimad-Bhagavatam 3:25:11 Purport

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


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