Srimad Bhagavatam 11.28.37 - Dealing with the Dualities of this World (download mp3)
by Braj Chandra Prabhu at ISKCON Chowpatty
yan nāmākṛtibhir grāhyaṁ
vyarthenāpy artha-vādo ’yaṁ
The duality of the five material elements is perceived only in terms of names and forms. Those who say this duality is real are pseudoscholars vainly proposing fanciful theories without basis in fact.
Material names and forms, subject as they are to creation and annihilation, have no permanent existence and so do not constitute essential, fundamental principles of reality. The material world consists of variegated transformations of the potency of God. Although God is real and His potency is real, the particular forms and names that temporarily or circumstantially appear have no ultimate reality. Gross ignorance occurs when the conditioned soul imagines himself to be material or a mixture of matter and spirit. Some philosophers argue that the eternal soul in contact with matter is permanently transformed and that the false ego represents a new and permanent reality of the soul. Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī replies that spirit is the living, superior energy of the Lord, whereas matter is the inferior, unconscious energy of the Lord, and that these two energies thus possess opposite qualities, as with light and darkness. The superior living entity and inferior matter therefore cannot possibly merge into a common existence, since they eternally possess opposite and incompatible characteristics. The hallucination of a mixture of matter and spirit is called illusion; it becomes specifically manifest as false ego, which identifies with a specific material body or mind created by illusion. Clearly those scientists or philosophers who are embedded in gross ignorance cannot be real scientists and philosophers. The simple criterion of spiritual self-awareness unfortunately eliminates a huge percentage of modern so-called scientists and philosophers, who bury their foolish noses in the Lord’s material energy, without any knowledge of or interest in the Lord Himself.