Chapter 14: The Three Modes of Material Nature
mama yonir mahad brahma
tasmin garbham dadhamy aham
tato bhavati bharata
mama—My; yonih—source of birth; mahat—the total material existence; brahma—supreme; tasmin—in that; garbham—pregnancy; dadhami—create; aham—I; sambhavah—possibility; sarva-bhutanam—of all living entities; tatah—thereafter; bhavati—becomes; bharata—O son of Bharata.
The total material substance, called Brahman, is the source of birth, and it is that Brahman that I impregnate, making possible the births of all living beings, O son of Bharata.
This is an explanation of the world: everything that takes place is due to the combination of ksetra and ksetrajna, the body and the spirit soul. This combination of material nature and the living entity is made possible by the Supreme God Himself. The mahat-tattva is the total cause of the total cosmic manifestation, and because in the total substance of the material cause there are three modes of nature, it is sometimes called Brahman. The Supreme Personality impregnates that total substance, and thus innumerable universes become possible. This total material substance, the mahat-tattva, is described as Brahman in the Vedic literature: tasmad etad brahma nama-rupam annam ca jayate. Into that Brahman the seeds of the living entities are impregnated by the Supreme Person. The twenty-four elements, beginning from earth, water, fire and air, are all material energy, called Maha-brahman, or the great Brahman, the material nature. As is explained in the Seventh Chapter, beyond this there is another, superior nature-the living entity. In material nature the superior nature is mixed by the will of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and thereafter all living entities are born of this material nature.
The scorpion lays its eggs in piles of rice, and sometimes it is said that the scorpion is born out of rice. But the rice is not the cause of the scorpion. Actually, the eggs were laid by the mother. Similarly, material nature is not the cause of the birth of the living entities. The seed is given by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and they only seem to come out as products of material nature. Thus every living entity, according to his past activities, has a different body, created by this material nature, and the entity can enjoy or suffer according to his past deeds. The Lord is the cause of all the manifestations of living entities in this material world.