Ch 7 VERSE 5
अपरेयमितस्त्वन्यां प्रकृतिं विद्धि मे पराम् ।
जीवभूतां महाबाहो ययेदं धार्यते जगत् ॥५॥
apareyam itas tv anyāṁ
prakṛtiṁ viddhi me parām
yayedaṁ dhāryate jagat
aparā—inferior; iyam—this; itaḥ—besides this; tu—but; anyām—another; prakṛtim—energy; viddhi—just try to understand; me—My; parām—superior; jīva-bhūtām—the living entities; mahā-bāho—O mighty-armed one; yayā—by whom; idam—this; dhāryate—being utilized or exploited; jagat—the material world.
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.
apareyam itas tv anyāṁ
prakṛtiṁ viddhi me parām
yayedaṁ dhāryate jagat
“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.”
So this being the next verse, after the one we previously read, where now we understand that the material world— there are two principal energies: the material energy and the spiritual energy. They have two different natures. I’ll just read from a note I have here.
“The Bhagavad-gita teaches that there are two distinct energies, material and spiritual. Your body and mind are material in essence, but your essence, your actual essence, is spirit. The material energy is called the inferior energy because it is neither aware nor living. A particle of matter, an atom for example, is not an aware living particle. It is not a person or self. It is lifeless, unconscious, without purpose, and it is inactive. These are its natural characteristics.”
So someone may ask or consider, “Well, isn’t the mind and the intelligence also listed amongst the material energy? And I’m having a really hard time seeing my mind as being lifeless, or unconscious, or without purpose, and inactive. Inactive it certainly is not.”
So we’ll speak to that in just a moment. I’ll just finish this train of thought.
“The spiritual energy is superior to material energy. Every particle or spark of spiritual energy is living, aware, active, purposeful self or a person. Such a spiritual spark is variously referred to as a soul, a life particle, an atma, a spirit soul, or a self. But regardless of what it is called this individual spark of God is eternal. It is a life particle. Life is not something that the life particle possesses. Each life particle itself is eternally an indivisible unit. It cannot be divided or crushed. The self’s existence cannot end.”
So this, of course, is something that we addressed much earlier on, in the very beginning of this—of studying this Bhagavad-gita Chalisa, these verses. But speaking now to the point of how the mind is a material energy: just as the body manifests symptoms of life, when the spirit soul, or the atma, resides within it—and we can see that. I mean, anybody can clearly see the distinction between a living body and a dead body. There is a perceivable and noticeable difference. People find death shocking, and when you encounter a dead body, it is immediately obvious how different it is, from when it was manifesting symptoms of life, due to the presence of the soul.
In a similar manner, because of the proximity of the mind to the atma, or the soul, the mind manifests this characteristic of being alive, and independent, and we feel, something that we tend to maybe struggle with sometimes, in different ways. And this is spoken about very wonderfully in the Yoga Sutra of Patanjali. In the 4th pada or chapter, the 23rd sloka it states:
“The mind, being able to perceive due to its reflecting both the atma (or the self) and objects of perception, appears to comprehend everything.”
In the next verse,
“Even though the mind has accumulated various impressions (and desires) of various types it is always at the disposal of the atma (or the self.) This is because the mind cannot function without the power of the perceiver.”
So it is the presence of the self, the spirit soul, the atma, that energizes the mind and imparts to it this characteristic of being independent and almost self-willed. But it is only happening because of the presence of the atma. It is like the consciousness is being lent to the body and to the mind.
And so when the transcendentalist looks at the material world, they are always aware of the fact that we are seeing the inter-reaction, the interplay, of these two energies: this superior energy and the inferior energy. If you remove life, or the living being, then the material energy will tend to revert to its most basic manifestation.
Srila Baktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, in speaking, or in writing, commenting on this verse, he states,
“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.”
So we’ve got two things here. One is the distinction between the Supreme Soul and the individual living beings. The individual living beings are an energy of the Supreme Lord. In Sanskrit this is known as the tatastha-sakti, the marginal potency of the Lord. The energy is never independent of the energetic. And amongst these two energies of the Supreme Lord, the gross material energy and the subtle living being, both are energies, but one is considered superior, and one is considered inferior.
So in the Bhagavat Purana in the 10th canto, the 87th chapter, the 30th sloka, this point is reinforced:
“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 respect are actually misleading themselves and others.”
So, we understand from this verse that while living beings have this great desire, this burning desire to be independent, and to be the Lord of all they survey, and we try to live out this fantasy, the reality is that we are never completely independent of our energetic source, the Supreme Lord. And when we begin to dovetail our consciousness, our will, with His, then we are no longer engaged in a great struggle. But if we are trying so hard to be independent, then, as is stated in this verse, where it says that, “the living entities are struggling with material nature and are sustaining the universe,” we see that the living beings are just eternally engaged in this monumental struggle trying to Lord it over, to dominate, to create the perfect world, or the perfect life. But this is not our constitutional position.
This is also spoken to by another great acharya in another lineage, Kesava Kasmiri. He’s from the Nimbarka Sampradaya. And he wrote this commentary, something around the sixteenth century, the 1500’s. And he has stated,
“Lord Krishna now clarifies that the eight-fold nature that He spoke about in the previous verse is from His lower inferior nature because it is inanimate and insentient, but He has a higher superior nature which constitutes the life force of all living beings as the atma, or eternal soul, which sustains the whole creation. The physical body, the lower nature, is factually a corporeal inanimate object into which the animate atma, the higher nature, has entered and taken up residence. Both the animate and inanimate make up the higher and lower natures of the prakriti of the Supreme Lord. The Visnu Purana states that although the atma is part and parcel of the higher superior nature it is still understood to be subservient to the Supreme Lord.”
So just drawing your attention in this verse to the term dharyate here translated as, “being utilized or exploited,” how the lower energy, the material nature, has been utilized or exploited by the living being, the superior energy. This word in Sanskrit, though, can also mean “to be suffered” or “to put up with,” which is highly applicable when we consider the nature of the relationship between the living being, the atma, and the material nature. That it is a great struggle trying to make this perfect life. It is a great endeavour that people take part in, a lifelong endeavour until the expiry of the “use by date” of the body, and the soul is forced to leave, and then again takes up another body, and begins the same process, the same struggle all over again.
This cycle of samsara, and this condition, is categorized in the Vedas as being—as ignorance, avidya. Vidya means knowledge. We’re not talking about book learning, but factually understanding things with tremendous clarity. Whereas avidya is ignorance, where one is blind, and is like in the middle of the night in darkness, and you’re stumbling around looking for something and banging into things and trying to figure out where everything is. This is the nature of ignorance. This ignorance is also spoken about in the Yoga Sutra of Patanjali. And he puts it this way, beginning in the 2nd part of the 5th verse,
“Ignorance consists of considering that which is temporary as eternal, the impure as pure, misery as happiness and the non-self (that is, the body or mind) as the real self.”
And this is a really amazing statement. We see that in this world everybody considers the body to be eternal. That’s why death is so shocking for people. When death finally arrives it’s like—because we’re not embracing the reality that it is utterly temporary, whereas I am eternal. If I embrace that understanding, my choices, my decisions, how I would live, what I would see as being the purpose of this life, would be completely different. It would be focused on my spiritual well-being.
Then in another two verses he states,
“When ignorance is destroyed, the identification of the self (or the atma) with matter (prakriti) ceases. This is liberation.”
“Ignorance is destroyed by the constant discrimination between the self (the purusha) and the material world.”
So he speaks here of this “constant discrimination.” The yoga processes required that a person be constantly introspective, and making these judgments, that we actually exist in a state of this constant awareness. Up until the point that a person attains full enlightenment, the realization of their eternal spiritual nature, and they are constantly experiencing and seeing with spiritual eyes the presence of the Supreme Soul, then there is going to be this tendency to be overwhelmed by the material energy, and to slide back into this ignorance and to be overwhelmed by the mind, and by the desires, and by trying to make this world my home; whereas our highest good means the realization of my eternal spiritual nature, and the actual engagement in the eternal loving service of the Supreme Lord Sri Krishna. That is vidya and everything else is avidya, or ignorance.
Thank you very much.