* * * * * * * S R I M A D - B H A G A V A T A M* * * * * *


Rendered from Sanskrit into English,

with commentary,

by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta

Swami Prabhupada,

Founder-Acarya of the International Society

for Krishna Consciousness

Lord Kapila, an incarnation of Lord Krsna, is teaching his mother, Devahuti, about the fundamental principles of material nature. As the Srimad-Bhagavatam continues Lord Kapila describes how transformations create subtle elements, beginning here with taste.



			rupa-matrad vikurvanat
			  tejaso daiva-coaditat
			rasa-matram abhut tasmad
			  ambho jihva rasa-grahah 

rupa-matrat-which evolves from the subtle element form; vikurvanat-undergoing transformation; tejasah-from fire: daiva-coditat-under a superior arrangement; rasamatram.-the subtle element taste; abhut-became manifested; tasmat-from that: ambhah-water; jihva- the sense of taste; rasa-grahah-which perceives taste.

By the interaction of fire and the visual sensations the subtle element taste evolves under a superior arrangement. From taste, water is produced, and the tongue, which perceives taste, is also manifested.

PURPORT: The tongue is described here as the instrument for acquiring knowledge of taste. Because taste is a product of water, there is always saliva on the tongue.


			kasayo madhuras tiktah 
			  katv amla iti naikadha 
			bhautikanam vikarena 
			  rasa eko vibhidyate 

kasayah-astringent; madhurah-sweet; tiktah-bitter; katu-pungent; amlah-sour; iti-thus; na-ekadha- manifoldly; bhautikanam-of other substances; vikarena- by transformation; rasah-the subtle element taste: ekah-originally one; vibhidyate-is divided.

Although originally one, taste becomes manifold as astringent, sweet, bitter, pungent, sour and salty due to contact with other substances.


			kledanam pindanam trptih
			tapapanodo bhuyastvam
			  ambhaso vrttayas tv imah

kledanam-moistening; pindanam-coagulating; trptih- causing satisfaction; pranana-maintaining life; apyayana -refreshing; undanam-softening; tapa-heat; apanodah -driving away; bhuyastvam-being in abundance; ambhasah-of water; vrttayah-the characteristic functions; tu-in fact; imah-these.

The characteristics of water are exhibited by its moistening other substances, coagulating various mixtures, causing satisfaction, maintaining life, softening things, driving away heat, incessantly supplying itself to reservoirs of water, and refreshing by slaking thirst.

PURPORT: Starvation can be mitigated by drinking water. It is sometimes found that if a person who has taken a vow to fast takes a little water at intervals, the exhaustion of fasting is at once mitigated. In the Vedas it is also stated, apomayah pranah: "Life depends on water." With water, anything can be moistened or dampened. Flour dough can be prepared with a mixture of water. Mud is made by mixing earth with water. As stated in the beginning of Srimad-Bhagavatam, water is the cementing ingredient of different material elements. If we build a house, water is actually the constituent in making the bricks. Fire, water and air are the exchanging elements for the entire material manifestation, but water is most prominent. Also, excessive heat can be reduced simply by pouring water on the heated field.


			rasa-matrad vikurvanad
			  ambhaso daiva-coditat
			gandha-matram abhut tasmat
			  prthvi ghranas tu gandhagah

rasa-matrat-which evolves from the subtle element taste; vikurvanat-undergoing transformation; ambhasah-from water; daiva-coditat-by a superior arrangement; gandhamatram-the subtle element odor; abhut-became manifest; tasmat-from that; prthvi-earth; ghranah-the olfactory sense; tu-in fact; gandha-gah-which perceives aromas.

Due to the interaction of water with the taste perception, the subtle element odor evolves under superior arrangement. Thence the earth and the olfactory sense, by which we can variously experience the aroma of the earth, become manifest.


			  santogramladibhih prthak
			  gandha eko vibhidyate

karambha-mixed; puti-offensive; saurabhya-fragrant; santa-mild; ugra-strong, pungent; amla-acid; adibhih -and so on; prthak-separately; dravya-of substance; avayava-of portions; vaisamyat-according to diversity; gandhah-odor; ekah-one; vibhidyate-is divided.

Odor, although one, becomes many-as mixed, offensive, fragrant, mild, strong, acidic and so on-according to the proportions of associated substances.

PURPORT: Mixed smell is sometimes perceived in foodstuffs prepared from various ingredients, such as vegetables mixed with different kinds of spices and asafetida. Bad odors are perceived in filthy places, good smells are perceived from camphor, menthol and similar other products, pungent smells are perceived from garlic and onions, and acidic smells are perceived from turmeric and similar sour substances. The original aroma is the odor emanating from the earth, and when it is mixed with different substances, this odor appears in different ways.


			bhavanam brahmanah sthanam
			  dharanam sad-visesanam

bhavanam-modeling forms; brahmanah-of the Supreme Brahman; sthanam constructing places of residence; dharanam-containing substances; sat-visesanam- distinguishing the open space; sarva-all; sattva-of existence; guna-qualities; udbhedah-the place for manifestation; prthivi-of earth; vrtti-of the functions; laksanam-the characteristics.

The characteristics of the functions of earth can be perceived by modeling forms of the Supreme Brahman, by constructing places of residence, by preparing pots to contain water, ete. In other words, the earth is the place of sustenance for all elements.

PURPORT: Different elements, such as sound, sky, air, fire and water, can be perceived in the earth. Another feature of the earth especially mentioned here is that earth can manifest different forms of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. By this statement of Kapila's it is confirmed that the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Brahman, has innumerable forms, which are described in the scriptures. By manipulation of earth and its products, such as stone, wood and jewels, these forms of the Supreme Lord can be present before our eyes. When a form of Lord Krsna or Lord Visnu is manifested by presentation of a statue made of earth, it is not imaginary. The earth gives shape to the Lord's forms as described in the scriptures.

In the Brahma-samhita there is description of Lord Krsna's lands, the variegatedness of the spiritual abode, and the forms of the Lord playing a flute with His spiritual body. All these forms are described in the scriptures, and when they are thus presented they become worshipable. They are not imaginary as the Mayavada philosophy says. Sometimes the word bhavana is misinterpreted as "imagination." But bhavana does not mean 'imagination;" it means giving actual shape to the description of Vedic literature. Earth is the ultimate transformation of all living entities and their respective modes of material nature.


			nabho-guna-viseso 'rtho
			  yasya tac chrotram ucyate
			vayor guna-viseso 'rtho
			  yasya tat sparsanam viduh

nabhah-guna-visesah-the distinctive characteristic of sky (sound); arthah-object of perception; yasya-whose; tat- that; srotram-the auditory sense; ucyate-is called; vayoh guna-visesah-the distinctive characteristic of air (touch); arthah-object of perception; yasya-whose; tat-that; sparsanam-the tactile sense; viduh-they know.

The sense whose object of perception is sound is called the auditory sense, and that whose object of perception is touch is called the tactile sense.

PURPORT: Sound is one of the qualifications of the sky and is the subject matter for hearing. Similarly, touch is the qualification of the air and is the subject of the touch sensation.


			tejo-guna-viseso 'rtho
			  yasya tac caksur ucyate
			ambho-guna-viseso 'rtho
			  yasya tad rasanam viduh
			bhumer guna-viseso 'rtho
			  yasya sa ghrana ucyate

tejah-guna-visesah-the distinctive characteristic of fire (form); arthah-object of perception; yasya-whose; tat- that; caksuh-the sense of sight; ucyate-is called; ambhah-guna-visesah-the distinctive characteristic of water (taste); arthah-object of perception; yasya-whose; tat-that; rasanam-the sense of taste; viduh-they know; bhumeh guna-visesah-the distinctive characteristic of earth (odor); arthah-object of perception; yasya-whose; sah-that; ghranah-the sense of smell; ucyate-is called.

The sense whose object of perception is form, the distinctive characteristic of fire, is the sense of sight. The sense whose object of perception is taste, the distinctive characteristic of water, is known as the sense of taste. Finally, the sense whose object of perception is odor, the distinctive characteristic of earth, is called the sense of smell.


			parasya drsyate dharmo
			  hy aparasmin samanvayat
			ato viseso bhavanam
			  bhumav evopalaksyate

parasya-of the cause; drsyate-is observed; dharmah- the characteristics; hi-indeed; aparasmin-in the effect; sarnanvayat-in order; atah-hence; visesah-the distinctive characteristic; bhavanam-of all the elements; bhumau-in earth; eva-alone; upalaksyate-is observed.

Since the cause exists in its effect as well, the characteristics of the former are observed in the latter. That is why the peculiarities of all the elements exist in the earth alone.

PURPORT: Sound is the cause of the sky, sky is the cause of the air, air is the cause of fire, fire is the cause of water, and water is the cause of earth. In the sky there is only sound; in the air there are sound and touch; in the fire there are sound, touch and form; in water there are sound, touch, form and taste; and in the earth there are sound, touch, form, taste and smell. Therefore earth is the reservoir of all the qualities of the other elements. Earth is the sum total of all other elements. The earth has all five qualities of the elements, water has four qualities, fire has three, air has two, and the sky has only one quality, sound.


			etany asamhatya yada
			  mahad-adini sapta vai
			  jagad-adir upavisat

etani-these; asamhatya-being unmixed; yada-when; mahat-adini-the mahat-tattva, false ego and five gross elements; sapta-all together seven; vai-in fact; kala- time; karma-work; guna-and the three modes of material nature; upetah-accompanied by; jagat-adih-the origin of creation; upavisat-entered.

When all these elements were unmixed, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the origin of creation, along with time, work, and the qualities of the modes of material nature, entered into the universe with the total material energy in seven divisions.

PURPORT: After stating the generation of the causes,Kapiladeva speaks about the generation of the effects. At that time when the causes were unmixed, the Supreme Personality of Godhead in His feature of Garbhodakasayi Visnu, entered within each universe. Accompanying Him were all of the seven primary elements-the five material elements, the total energy (mahat-tattva) and the false ego This entrance of the Supreme Personality of Godhead involves His entering even the atoms of the material world. This is confirmed in the Brahma-samhita (5.35): andantara-stha-paramanu-cayantara-stham. He is not only within the universe but within the atoms also. He is within the heart of every living entity. Garbhodakasayi Visnu, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, entered into everything.


			tatas tenanuviddhebhyo
			  yuktebhyo 'ndam acetanam
			utthitam puruso yasmad
			  udatisthad asau virat

tatah-then; tena-by the Lord; anuviddhebhyah-from these seven principles, roused into activity; yuktebhyah- united; ardam- an egg; acetanam-unintelligent; utthitam -arose; purusah-Cosmic Being; yasmat-from which; udatisthat-appeared; asau-that; virat-celebrated.

From these seven principles, roused into activity and united by the presence of the Lord, an unintelligent egg arose, from which appeared the celebrated Cosmic Being.

PURPORT: In sex life, the combination of matter from the parents, which involves emulsification and secretion, creates the situation whereby a soul is received within matter. and the combination of matter gradually develops into a complete body. The same principle exists in the universal creation: the ingredients were present, but only when the Lord entered into the material elements was matter actually agitated. That is the cause of creation. We can see this in our ordinary experience. Although we may have clay, water and fire, the elements take the shape of a brick only when we labor to combine them. Without the living energy, there is no possibility that matter can take shape. Similarly, this material world does not develop unless agitated by the Supreme Lord as the virat-purusa. Yasmad udatisthad asau virat: by His agitation, space was created, and the universal form of the Lord also manifested therein.


			etad andam visesakhyam
			  krama-vrddhair dasottaraih
			toyadibhih parivrtam
			  pradhanenavrtair bahih
			yatra loka-vitano 'yam
			  rupam bhagavato hareh

etat-this; andam-egg; visesa-akhyam-called visesa; krama-one after another; vrddhaih-increased; dasa- ten times; uttaraih-greater; toya-adibhih-by water and so on; parivrtam-enveloped; pradhanena-by pradhana; avrtaih-covered; bahih-on the outside; yatra-where; loka-vitanah-the extension of the planetary systems; ayam-this; rupam-form; bhagavatah-of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; hareh-of Lord Hari.

This universal egg, or the universe in the shape of an egg, is called the manifestation of material energy. Its layers of water, air, fire, sky, ego and mahat-tattva increase in thickness one after another. Each layer is ten times bigger than the previous one, and the final outside layer is covered by pradhana. Within this egg is the universal form of Lord Hari, of whose body the fourteen planetary systems are parts.

PURPORT: This universe, or the universal sky which we can visualize with its innumerable planets, is shaped just like an egg. As an egg is covered by a shell, the universe is also covered by various layers. The first layer is water, the next is fire, then air, then sky, and the ultimate holding crust is pradhana. Within this egglike universe is the universal form of the Lord as the virat-purusa. All the different planetary situations are parts of His body. This is already explained in the beginning of Srlmad-Bhagavatam Second Canto. The planetary systems are considered to form different bodily parts of that universal form of the Lord. Persons who cannot directly engage in the worship of the transcendental form of the Lord are advised to think of and worship this universal form. The lowest planetary system, Patala, is considered to he the sole of the Supreme Lord and the earth is considered to be the belly of the Lord. Brahmaloka. or the highest planetary system, where Brahma lives, is considered to be the head of the Lord.

(continued in the next issue)

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