Srimad Bhagavatam 11-24-16-17 - Seek the Essence not Externals (download mp3)
by Sudhir Chaitanya Prabhu at ISKCON Chowpatty
aṇur bṛhat kṛśaḥ sthūlo
yo yo bhāvaḥ prasidhyati
sarvo ’py ubhaya-saṁyuktaḥ
prakṛtyā puruṣeṇa ca
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
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.
The Lord here explains that the original cause is certainly present in its effect, citing the example of gold and clay functioning as the causal ingredients of many different products in which gold and clay continue to be present. For our convenience, we assign different names to temporary products, although their essential nature continues to be that of the ingredient, and not of the temporary product.