Chapter 7: Knowledge of the Absolute
bhumir apo 'nalo vayuh
kham mano buddhir eva ca
ahankara itiyam me
bhinna prakrtir astadha
bhumih—earth; apah—water; analah—fire; vayuh—air; kham—ether; manah—mind; buddhih—intelligence; eva—certainly; ca—and; ahankarah—false ego; iti—thus; iyam—all these; me—My; bhinna—separated; prakrtih—energies; astadha—total eight.
Earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, intelligence and false ego—altogether these eight comprise My separated material energies.
The science of God analyzes the constitutional position of God and His diverse energies. Material nature is called prakrti, or the energy of the Lord in His different purusa incarnations (expansions) as described in the Svatvata Tantra:
visnos tu trini rupani purusakhyany atho viduh
ekantu mahatah srastr dvitiyam tv anda-samsthitam
trtiyam sarvabhuta-stham tani jnatva vimucyate
"For material creation, Lord Krsna's plenary expansion assumes three Visnus. The first one, Maha-Visnu, creates the total material energy, known as mahat-tattva. The second, Garbhodakasayi Visnu, enters into all the universes to create diversities in each of them. The third, Ksirodakasayi Visnu, is diffused as the all-pervading Supersoul in all the universes and is known as Paramatma, who is present even within the atoms. Anyone who knows these three Visnus can be liberated from material entanglement."
This material world is a temporary manifestation of one of the energies of the Lord. All the activities of the material world are directed by these three Visnu expansions of Lord Krsna. These Purusas are called incarnations. Generally one who does not know the science of God (Krsna) assumes that this material world is for the enjoyment of the living entities and that the living entities are the causes (Purusas), controllers and enjoyers of the material energy. According to Bhagavad-gita this atheistic conclusion is false. In the verse under discussion it is stated that Krsna is the original cause of the material manifestation. Srimad-Bhagavatam also confirms this. The ingredients of the material manifestation are separated energies of the Lord. Even the brahmajyoti, which is the ultimate goal of the impersonalists, is a spiritual energy manifested in the spiritual sky. There are no spiritual diversities in brahmajyoti as there are in the Vaikunthalokas, and the impersonalist accepts this brahmajyoti as the ultimate eternal goal. The Paramatma manifestation is also a temporary all-pervasive aspect of the Ksirodakasayi Visnu. The Paramatma manifestation is not eternal in the spiritual world. Therefore the factual Absolute Truth is the Supreme Personality of Godhead Krsna. He is the complete energetic person, and He possesses different separated and internal energies.
In the material energy, the principal manifestations are eight, as above mentioned. 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, which are the subject matter of sankhya atheistic philosophy; they are originally offshoots from Krsna's energies and are separated from Him, but atheistic sankhya philosophers with a poor fund of knowledge do not know Krsna as the cause of all causes. The subject matter for discussion in the sankhya philosophy is only the manifestation of the external energy of Krsna, as it is described in the Bhagavad-gita.