Paramahamsa Vijnana Yoga-Bhagavad Gita Chapter 7 [Knowledge of the Ultimate Truth]
Krishna Said > Shaloka: 4
Earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, intelligence and false ego–all together these eight comprise My separated material energies.
Besides this inferior nature, O mighty-armed Arjuna, there is a superior energy of Mine, which are all living entities who are struggling with material nature and are sustaining the universe.
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 Satvata-tantra:
visnos tu trini rupani purusakhyany atho viduh
ekam tu mahatah srastr dvitiyam tv anda-samsthitam
trtiyam sarva-bhuta-stham tani jnatva vimucyate
“For material creation, Lord Krishna’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 Krishna. These purusas are called incarnations. Generally one who does not know the science of God (Krishna) 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 Krishna 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 Krishna. 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, Krishna. 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 Krishna’s energies and are separated from Him, but atheistic Sankhya philosophers with a poor fund of knowledge do not know Krishna as the cause of all causes. The subject matter for discussion in the Sankhya philosophy is only the manifestation of the external energy of Krishna, as it is described in the Bhagavad-gita.
Here it is clearly mentioned that living entities belong to the superior nature (or energy) of the Supreme Lord. The inferior energy is matter manifested in different elements, namely earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, intelligence and false ego. Both forms of material nature, namely gross (earth, etc.) and subtle (mind, etc.), are products of the inferior energy. The living entities, who are exploiting these inferior energies for different purposes, are the superior energy of the Supreme Lord, and it is due to this energy that the entire material world functions. The cosmic manifestation has no power to act unless it is moved by the superior energy, the living entity. Energies are always controlled by the energetic, and therefore living entities are always controlled by the Lord–they have no independent existence. They are never equally powerful, as unintelligent men think. The distinction between the living entities and the Lord is described in Srimad-Bhagavatam as follows (10.87.30):
aparimita dhruvas tanu-bhrto yadi sarva-gatas
tarhi na sasyateti niyamo dhruva netaratha
ajani ca yan-mayam tad avimucya niyantr bhavet
samam anujanatam yad amatam mata-dustataya
“O Supreme Eternal! If the embodied living entities were eternal and all-pervading like You, then they would not be under Your control. But if the living entities are accepted as minute energies of Your Lordship, then they are at once subject to Your supreme control. Therefore real liberation entails surrender by the living entities to Your control, and that surrender will make them happy. In that constitutional position only can they be controllers. Therefore, men with limited knowledge who advocate the monistic theory that God and the living entities are equal in all respects are actually misleading themselves and others.”
The Supreme Lord Krishna is the only controller, and all living entities are controlled by Him. These living entities are His superior energy because the quality of their existence is one and the same with the Supreme, but they are never equal to the Lord in quantity of power. While exploiting the gross and subtle inferior energy (matter), the superior energy (the living entity) forgets his real spiritual mind and intelligence. This forgetfulness is due to the influence of matter upon the living entity. But when the living entity becomes free from the influence of the illusory material energy, he attains the stage called mukti, or liberation. The false ego, under the influence of material illusion, thinks, “I am matter, and material acquisitions are mine.” His actual position is realized when he is liberated from all material ideas, including the conception of his becoming one in all respects with God. Therefore one may conclude that the Gita confirms the living entity to be only one of the multi-energies of Krishna; and when this energy is freed from material contamination, it becomes fully Krishna conscious, or liberated.