Srimad Bhagavatam 11.19.11-14 - Knowledge of Sankhya helps in Bhakti Practice (download mp3)
by Hare Krishna Prabhu at ISKCON Chowpatty
ittham etat pura raja
bhismam dharma-bhrtam varam
sarvesam no ’nusrnvatam
The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: My dear Uddhava, just as you are now inquiring from Me, similarly, in the past King Yudhisthira, who considered no one his enemy, inquired from the greatest of the upholders of religious principles, Bhisma, while all of us were carefully listening.
nivrtte bharate yuddhe
srutva dharman bahun pascan
When the great Battle of Kuruksetra had ended, King Yudhisthira was overwhelmed by the death of many beloved well-wishers, and thus, after listening to instructions about many religious principles, he finally inquired about the path of liberation.
tan aham te ’bhidhasyami
I will now speak unto you those religious principles of Vedic knowledge, detachment, self-realization, faith and devotional service that were heard directly from the mouth of Bhismadeva.
navaikadasa pañca trin
bhavan bhutesu yena vai
iksetathaikam apy esu
taj jñanam mama niscitam
I personally approve of that knowledge by which one sees the combination of nine, eleven, five and three elements in all living entities, and ultimately one element within those twenty-eight.
The nine elements are material nature, the living entity, the mahat-tattva, false ego, and the five objects of sense perception, namely sound, touch, form, taste and aroma. The eleven elements are the five working senses (the voice, hands, legs, anus and genitals) plus the five knowledge-acquiring senses (the ears, touch, eyes, tongue and nostrils), along with the coordinative sense, the mind. The five elements are the five physical elements, namely earth, water, fire, air and sky, and the three elements are the three modes of material nature — goodness, passion and ignorance. All living entities, from mighty Lord Brahma down to an insignificant weed, manifest material bodies composed of these twenty-eight elements. The one element within all twenty-eight is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the Supersoul, who is all-pervading within the material and spiritual worlds.
One can easily understand that the material universe is composed of innumerable causes and effects. Since Lord Krsna is the cause of all causes, all secondary causes and their effects are ultimately nondifferent from the Personality of Godhead. This understanding constitutes real knowledge, or jñana, which is essential for perfecting one’s life.