Śrīmad Bhāgavatam|Canto 11 Chapter 24
The Philosophy of Sāṅkhya
atha te sampravakṣyāmi
sāṅkhyaṁ pūrvair viniścitam
yad vijñāya pumān sadyo
jahyād vaikalpikaṁ bhramam
śrī-bhagavān uvāca — the Supreme Personality of Godhead said; atha — now; te — unto you; sampravakṣyāmi — I shall speak; sāṅkhyam — the knowledge of the evolution of the elements of creation; pūrvaiḥ — by previous authorities; viniścitam — ascertained; yat — which; vijñāya — knowing; pumān — a person; sadyaḥ — immediately; jahyāt — can give up; vaikalpikam — based on false duality; bhramam — the illusion.
Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa said: Now I shall describe to you the science of Sāṅkhya, which has been perfectly established by ancient authorities. By understanding this science a person can immediately give up the illusion of material duality.
āsīj jñānam atho artha
ādau kṛta-yuge ’yuge
āsīt — there existed; jñānam — the seer; atha u — thus; arthaḥ — the seen; ekam — one; eva — simply; avikalpitam — undifferentiated; yadā — when; viveka — in discrimination; nipuṇāḥ — persons who were expert; ādau — in the beginning; kṛta-yuge — in the age of purity; ayuge — and before that, during the time of annihilation.
Originally, during the Kṛta-yuga, when all men were very expert in spiritual discrimination, and also previous to that, during the period of annihilation, the seer existed alone, nondifferent from the seen object.
dvidhā samabhavad bṛhat
tat — that (Supreme); māyā — of the material nature; phala — and the enjoyer of its manifestations; rūpeṇa — in the two forms; kevalam — one; nirvikalpitam — nondifferentiated; vāk — to speech; manaḥ — and the mind; agocaram — inaccessible; satyam — true; dvidhā — twofold; samabhavat — He became; bṛhat — the Absolute Truth.
That one Absolute Truth, remaining free from material dualities and inaccessible to ordinary speech and mind, divided Himself into two categories — the material nature and the living entities who are trying to enjoy the manifestations of that nature.
tayor ekataro hy arthaḥ
jñānaṁ tv anyatamo bhāvaḥ
puruṣaḥ so ’bhidhīyate
tayoḥ — of the two; ekataraḥ — one; hi — indeed; arthaḥ — entity; prakṛtiḥ — nature; sā — she; ubhaya-ātmikā — consisting of both the subtle causes and their manifest products; jñānam — (who possesses) consciousness; tu — and; anyatamaḥ — the other; bhāvaḥ — entity; puruṣaḥ — the living soul; saḥ — he; abhidhīyate — is called.
Of these two categories of manifestation, one is material nature, which embodies both the subtle causes and manifest products of matter. The other is the conscious living entity, designated as the enjoyer.
tamo rajaḥ sattvam iti
prakṛter abhavan guṇāḥ
tamaḥ — ignorance; rajaḥ — passion; sattvam — goodness; iti — thus; prakṛteḥ — from nature; abhavan — became manifest; guṇāḥ — the modes; mayā — by Me; prakṣobhyamāṇāyāḥ — who was being agitated; puruṣa — of the living entity; anumatena — in order to fulfill the desires; ca — and.
When material nature was agitated by My glance, the three material modes — goodness, passion and ignorance — became manifest to fulfill the pending desires of the conditioned souls.
tebhyaḥ samabhavat sūtraṁ
mahān sūtreṇa saṁyutaḥ
tato vikurvato jāto
yo ’haṅkāro vimohanaḥ
tebhyaḥ — from those modes; samabhavat — arose; sūtram — the first transformation of nature, endowed with the potency of activity; mahān — primeval nature endowed with the potency of knowledge; sūtreṇa — with this sūtra-tattva; saṁyutaḥ — conjoined; tataḥ — from the mahat; vikurvataḥ — transforming; jātaḥ — was generated; yaḥ — which; ahaṅkāraḥ — false ego; vimohanaḥ — the cause of bewilderment.
From these modes arose the primeval sūtra, along with the mahat-tattva. By the transformation of the mahat-tattva was generated the false ego, the cause of the living entities’ bewilderment.
vaikārikas taijasaś ca
tāmasaś cety ahaṁ tri-vṛt
vaikārikaḥ — in the mode of goodness; taijasaḥ — in the mode of passion; ca — and; tāmasaḥ — in the mode of ignorance; ca — also; iti — thus; aham — false ego; tri-vṛt — in three categories; tat-mātra — of the subtle forms of sense objects; indriya — of the senses; manasām — and of the mind; kāraṇam — the cause; cit-acit — both spirit and matter; mayaḥ — encompassing.
False ego, which is the cause of physical sensation, the senses and the mind, encompasses both spirit and matter and manifests in three varieties: in the modes of goodness, passion and ignorance.
arthas tan-mātrikāj jajñe
tāmasād indriyāṇi ca
taijasād devatā āsann
ekādaśa ca vaikṛtāt
arthaḥ — the gross elements; tat-mātrikāt — from the subtle sensations (which themselves are derived from false ego in the mode of goodness); jajñe — became generated; tāmasāt — from false ego in the mode of ignorance; indriyāṇi — the senses; ca — and; taijasāt — from false ego in the mode of passion; devatāḥ — the demigods; āsan — arose; ekādaśa — eleven; ca — and; vaikṛtāt — from false ego in the mode of goodness.
From false ego in the mode of ignorance came the subtle physical perceptions, from which the gross elements were generated. From false ego in the mode of passion came the senses, and from false ego in the mode of goodness arose the eleven demigods.
mayā sañcoditā bhāvāḥ
aṇḍam utpādayām āsur
mayā — by Me; sañcoditāḥ — impelled; bhāvāḥ — elements; sarve — all; saṁhatya — by amalgamation; kāriṇaḥ — functioning; aṇḍam — the egg of the universe; utpādayām āsuḥ — they brought into being; mama — My; āyatanam — residence; uttamam — superior.
Impelled by Me, all these elements combined to function in an orderly fashion and together gave birth to the universal egg, which is My excellent place of residence.
tasminn ahaṁ samabhavam
mama nābhyām abhūt padmaṁ
viśvākhyaṁ tatra cātma-bhūḥ
tasmin — within that; aham — I; samabhavam — appeared; aṇḍe — in the egg of the universe; salila — in the water of the Causal Ocean; saṁsthitau — which was situated; mama — My; nābhyām — from the navel; abhūt — arose; padmam — a lotus; viśva-ākhyam — known as universal; tatra — in that; ca — and; ātma-bhūḥ — self-born Brahmā.
I Myself appeared within that egg, which was floating on the causal water, and from My navel arose the universal lotus, the birthplace of self-born Brahmā.
so ’sṛjat tapasā yukto
lokān sa-pālān viśvātmā
bhūr bhuvaḥ svar iti tridhā
saḥ — he, Brahmā; asṛjat — created; tapasā — by his austerity; yuktaḥ — endowed; rajasā — with the potency of the mode of passion; mat — My; anugrahāt — because of the mercy; lokān — the different planets; sa-pālān — along with their presiding demigods; viśva — of the universe; ātmā — the soul; bhūḥ bhuvaḥ svaḥ iti — called Bhūr, Bhuvar and Svar; tridhā — three divisions.
Lord Brahmā, the soul of the universe, being endowed with the mode of passion, performed great austerities by My mercy and thus created the three planetary divisions, called Bhūr, Bhuvar and Svar, along with their presiding deities.
devānām oka āsīt svar
bhūtānāṁ ca bhuvaḥ padam
martyādīnāṁ ca bhūr lokaḥ
siddhānāṁ tritayāt param
devānām — of the demigods; okaḥ — the home; āsīt — became; svaḥ — heaven; bhūtānām — of ghostly spirits; ca — and; bhuvaḥ — Bhuvar; padam — the place; martya-ādīnām — of ordinary mortal humans and other beings; ca — and; bhūḥ lokaḥ — the planet called Bhūr; siddhānām — (the place) of those striving for liberation; tritayāt — these three divisions; param — beyond.
Heaven was established as the residence of the demigods, Bhuvarloka as that of the ghostly spirits, and the earth system as the place of human beings and other mortal creatures. Those mystics who strive for liberation are promoted beyond these three divisions.
adho ’surāṇāṁ nāgānāṁ
bhūmer oko ’sṛjat prabhuḥ
tri-lokyāṁ gatayaḥ sarvāḥ
adhaḥ — below; asurāṇām — of the demons; nāgānām — of the celestial snakes; bhūmeḥ — from the earth; okaḥ — the residence; asṛjat — created; prabhuḥ — Lord Brahmā; tri-lokyām — of the three worlds; gatayaḥ — the destinations; sarvāḥ — all; karmaṇām — of fruitive activities; tri-guṇa-ātmanām — partaking of the three modes.
Lord Brahmā created the region below the earth for the demons and the Nāga snakes. In this way the destinations of the three worlds were arranged as the corresponding reactions for different kinds of work performed within the three modes of nature.
yogasya tapasaś caiva
nyāsasya gatayo ’malāḥ
mahar janas tapaḥ satyaṁ
yogasya — of mystic yoga; tapasaḥ — of great austerity; ca — and; eva — certainly; nyāsasya — of the renounced order of life; gatayaḥ — the destinations; amalāḥ — spotless; mahaḥ — Mahar; janaḥ — Janas; tapaḥ — Tapas; satyam — Satya; bhakti-yogasya — of devotional service; mat — My; gatiḥ — destination.
By mystic yoga, great austerities and the renounced order of life, the pure destinations of Maharloka, Janoloka, Tapoloka and Satyaloka are attained. But by devotional yoga, one achieves My transcendental abode.
mayā kālātmanā dhātrā
karma-yuktam idaṁ jagat
mayā — by Me; kāla-ātmanā — who contains the energy of time; dhātrā — the creator; karma-yuktam — full of fruitive activities; idam — this; jagat — world; guṇa-pravāhe — in the mighty current of the modes; etasmin — in this; unmajjati — one rises up; nimajjati — one drowns.
All results of fruitive work have been arranged within this world by Me, the supreme creator acting as the force of time. Thus one sometimes rises up toward the surface of this mighty river of the modes of nature and sometimes again submerges.
aṇur bṛhat kṛśaḥ sthūlo
yo yo bhāvaḥ prasidhyati
sarvo ’py ubhaya-saṁyuktaḥ
prakṛtyā puruṣeṇa ca
aṇuḥ — small; bṛhat — great; kṛśaḥ — thin; sthūlaḥ — stout; yaḥ yaḥ — whatever; bhāvaḥ — manifestation; prasidhyati — is established; sarvaḥ — all; api — indeed; ubhaya — by both; saṁyuktaḥ — conjoined; prakṛtyā — by nature; puruṣeṇa — by the enjoying spirit soul; ca — and.
Whatever features visibly exist within this world — small or great, thin or stout — certainly contain both the material nature and its enjoyer, the spirit soul.
yas tu yasyādir antaś ca
sa vai madhyaṁ ca tasya san
yaḥ — which (cause); tu — and; yasya — of which (product); ādiḥ — the beginning; antaḥ — the end; ca — and; saḥ — that; vai — indeed; madhyam — the middle; ca — and; tasya — of that product; san — being (real); vikāraḥ — the transformation; vyavahāra-arthaḥ — for ordinary purposes; yathā — as; taijasa — things produced from gold (which is itself derived from fire); pārthivāḥ — and things produced from earth.
Gold and earth are originally existing as ingredients. From gold one may fashion golden ornaments such as bracelets and earrings, and from earth one may fashion clay pots and saucers. The original ingredients gold and earth exist before the products made from them, and when the products are eventually destroyed, the original ingredients, gold and earth, will remain. Thus, since the ingredients are present in the beginning and at the end, they must also be present in the middle phase, taking the form of a particular product to which we assign for convenience a particular name, such as bracelet, earring, pot or saucer. We can therefore understand that since the ingredient cause exists before the creation of a product and after the product’s destruction, the same ingredient cause must be present during the manifest phase, supporting the product as the basis of its reality.
yad upādāya pūrvas tu
bhāvo vikurute ’param
ādir anto yadā yasya
tat satyam abhidhīyate
yat — which (form); upādāya — accepting as the ingredient cause; pūrvaḥ — the previous cause (such as the mahat-tattva); tu — and; bhāvaḥ — thing; vikurute — produces as transformation; aparam — the second thing (such as the element ahaṅkāra); ādiḥ — the beginning; antaḥ — the end; yadā — when; yasya — of which (product); tat — that (cause); satyam — real; abhidhīyate — is called.
A material object, itself composed of an essential ingredient, creates another material object through transformation. Thus one created object becomes the cause and basis of another created object. A particular thing may thus be called real in that it possesses the basic nature of another object that constitutes its origin and final state.
ādhāraḥ puruṣaḥ paraḥ
sato ’bhivyañjakaḥ kālo
brahma tat tritayaṁ tv aham
prakṛtiḥ — material nature; yasya — of which (produced manifestation of the universe); upādānam — the ingredient cause; ādhāraḥ — the foundation; puruṣaḥ — the Personality of Godhead; paraḥ — Supreme; sataḥ — of the real (nature); abhivyañjakaḥ — the agitating agent; kālaḥ — time; brahma — the Absolute Truth; tat — this; tritayam — group of three; tu — but; aham — I.
The material universe may be considered real, having nature as its original ingredient and final state. Lord Mahā-Viṣṇu is the resting place of nature, which becomes manifest by the power of time. Thus nature, the almighty Viṣṇu and time are not different from Me, the Supreme Absolute Truth.
sargaḥ pravartate tāvat
sthity-anto yāvad īkṣaṇam
sargaḥ — the creation; pravartate — continues to exist; tāvat — to that extent; paurva-aparyeṇa — in the form of parents and children; nityaśaḥ — perpetually; mahān — bountiful; guṇa-visarga — of the variegated manifestation of the material modes; arthaḥ — for the purpose; sthiti-antaḥ — until the end of its maintenance; yāvat — as long as; īkṣaṇam — the glance of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
As long as the Supreme Personality of Godhead continues to glance upon nature, the material world continues to exist, perpetually manifesting through procreation the great and variegated flow of universal creation.
kalpate bhuvanaiḥ saha
virāṭ — the universal form; mayā — by Me; āsādyamānaḥ — being pervaded; loka — of the planets; kalpa — of repeated creation, maintenance and destruction; vikalpakaḥ — manifesting the variety; pañcatvāya — the elemental manifestation of creation of the five elements; viśeṣāya — in varieties; kalpate — is capable of displaying; bhuvanaiḥ — with the different planets; saha — being endowed.
I am the basis of the universal form, which displays endless variety through the repeated creation, maintenance and destruction of the planetary systems. Originally containing within itself all planets in their dormant state, My universal form manifests the varieties of created existence by arranging the coordinated combination of the five elements.
anne pralīyate martyam
annaṁ dhānāsu līyate
dhānā bhūmau pralīyante
bhūmir gandhe pralīyate
apsu pralīyate gandha
āpaś ca sva-guṇe rase
līyate jyotiṣi raso
jyotī rūpe pralīyate
rūpaṁ vāyau sa ca sparśe
līyate so ’pi cāmbare
yonir vaikārike saumya
śabdo bhūtādim apyeti
bhūtādir mahati prabhuḥ
sa līyate mahān sveṣu
te ’vyakte sampralīyante
tat kāle līyate ’vyaye
kālo māyā-maye jīve
jīva ātmani mayy aje
ātmā kevala ātma-stho
anne — in food; pralīyate — becomes merged; martyam — the mortal body; annam — food; dhānāsu — within the grains; līyate — becomes merged; dhānāḥ — the grains; bhūmau — in the earth; pralīyante — become merged; bhūmiḥ — the earth; gandhe — within fragrance; pralīyate — becomes merged; apsu — in water; pralīyate — becomes merged; gandhaḥ — fragrance; āpaḥ — water; ca — and; sva-guṇe — within its own quality; rase — taste; līyate — becomes merged; jyotiṣi — within fire; rasaḥ — taste; jyotiḥ — fire; rūpe — within form; pralīyate — becomes merged; rūpam — form; vāyau — in air; saḥ — it; ca — and; sparśe — in touch; līyate — becomes merged; saḥ — it; api — also; ca — and; ambare — in ether; ambaram — ether; śabda — in sound; tat-mātre — its corresponding subtle sensation; indriyāṇi — the senses; sva-yoniṣu — in their sources, the demigods; yoniḥ — the demigods; vaikārike — in false ego in the mode of goodness; saumya — My dear Uddhava; līyate — become merged; manasi — in the mind; īśvare — which is the controller; śabdaḥ — sound; bhūta-ādim — in the original false ego; apyeti — becomes merged; bhūta-ādiḥ — false ego; mahati — in the total material nature; prabhuḥ — powerful; saḥ — that; līyate — becomes merged; mahān — the total material nature; sveṣu — in its own; guṇeṣu — three modes; guṇa-vat-tamaḥ — being the ultimate abode of these modes; te — they; avyakte — in the unmanifest form of nature; sampralīyante — become completely merged; tat — that; kāle — in time; līyate — become merged; avyaye — in the infallible; kālaḥ — time; māyā-maye — who is full of transcendental knowledge; jīve — in the Supreme Lord, who activates all living beings; jīvaḥ — that Lord; ātmani — in the Supreme Self; mayi — in Me; aje — the unborn; ātmā — the original Self; kevalaḥ — alone; ātma-sthaḥ — self-situated; vikalpa — by creation; apāya — and annihilation; lakṣaṇaḥ — characterized.
At the time of annihilation, the mortal body of the living being becomes merged into food. Food merges into the grains, and the grains merge back into the earth. The earth merges into its subtle sensation, fragrance. Fragrance merges into water, and water further merges into its own quality, taste. That taste merges into fire, which merges into form. Form merges into touch, and touch merges into ether. Ether finally merges into the sensation of sound. The senses all merge into their own origins, the presiding demigods, and they, O gentle Uddhava, merge into the controlling mind, which itself merges into false ego in the mode of goodness. Sound becomes one with false ego in the mode of ignorance, and all-powerful false ego, the first of all the physical elements, merges into the total nature. The total material nature, the primary repository of the three basic modes, dissolves into the modes. These modes of nature then merge into the unmanifest form of nature, and that unmanifest form merges into time. Time merges into the Supreme Lord, present in the form of the omniscient Mahā-puruṣa, the original activator of all living beings. That origin of all life merges into Me, the unborn Supreme Soul, who remains alone, established within Himself. It is from Him that all creation and annihilation are manifested.
kathaṁ vaikalpiko bhramaḥ
manaso hṛdi tiṣṭheta
evam — in this way; anvīkṣamāṇasya — of one who is carefully examining; katham — how; vaikalpikaḥ — based on duality; bhramaḥ — illusion; manasaḥ — of his mind; hṛdi — in the heart; tiṣṭheta — can remain; vyomni — in the sky; iva — just as; arka — of the sun; udaye — upon the rising; tamaḥ — darkness.
Just as the rising sun removes the darkness of the sky, similarly, this scientific knowledge of cosmic annihilation removes all illusory duality from the mind of a serious student. Even if illusion somehow enters his heart, it cannot remain there.
eṣa sāṅkhya-vidhiḥ proktaḥ
eṣaḥ — this; sāṅkhya-vidhiḥ — method of Sāṅkhya (analytic philosophy); proktaḥ — spoken; saṁśaya — of doubts; granthi — the bondage; bhedanaḥ — which breaks; pratiloma-anulomābhyām — in both direct and reverse order; para — the situation of the spiritual world; avara — and the inferior situation of the material world; dṛśā — by Him who sees perfectly; mayā — by Me.
Thus I, the perfect seer of everything material and spiritual, have spoken this knowledge of Sāṅkhya, which destroys the illusion of doubt by scientific analysis of creation and annihilation.