Srimad Bhagavatam 12.04.15-23 - It's all about Desire (download mp3)
by Satyananda Prabhu at ISKCON Chowpatty
apāṁ rasam atho tejas
tā līyante ’tha nīrasāḥ
grasate tejaso rūpaṁ
vāyus tad-rahitaṁ tadā
līyate cānile tejo
vāyoḥ khaṁ grasate guṇam
sa vai viśati khaṁ rājaṁs
tataś ca nabhaso guṇam
śabdaṁ grasati bhūtādir
nabhas tam anu līyate
taijasaś cendriyāṇy aṅga
devān vaikāriko guṇaiḥ
mahān grasaty ahaṅkāraṁ
guṇāḥ sattvādayaś ca tam
grasate ’vyākṛtaṁ rājan
guṇān kālena coditam
na tasya kālāvayavaiḥ
anādy anantam avyaktaṁ
nityaṁ kāraṇam avyayam
The element fire then seizes the taste from the element water, which, deprived of its unique quality, taste, merges into fire. Air seizes the form inherent in fire, and then fire, deprived of form, merges into air. The element ether seizes the quality of air, namely touch, and that air enters into ether. Then, O King, false ego in ignorance seizes sound, the quality of ether, after which ether merges into false ego. False ego in the mode of passion takes hold of the senses, and false ego in the mode of goodness absorbs the demigods. Then the total mahat-tattva seizes false ego along with its various functions, and that mahat is seized by the three basic modes of nature — goodness, passion and ignorance. My dear King Parīkṣit, these modes are further overtaken by the original unmanifest form of nature, impelled by time. That unmanifest nature is not subject to the six kinds of transformation caused by the influence of time. Rather, it has no beginning and no end. It is the unmanifest, eternal and infallible cause of creation.
na yatra vāco na mano na sattvaṁ
tamo rajo vā mahad-ādayo ’mī
na prāṇa-buddhīndriya-devatā vā
na sanniveśaḥ khalu loka-kalpaḥ
na svapna-jāgran na ca tat suṣuptaṁ
na khaṁ jalaṁ bhūr anilo ’gnir arkaḥ
saṁsupta-vac chūnya-vad apratarkyaṁ
tan mūla-bhūtaṁ padam āmananti
In the unmanifest stage of material nature, called pradhāna, there is no expression of words, no mind and no manifestation of the subtle elements beginning from the mahat, nor are there the modes of goodness, passion and ignorance. There is no life air or intelligence, nor any senses or demigods. There is no definite arrangement of planetary systems, nor are there present the different stages of consciousness — sleep, wakefulness and deep sleep. There is no ether, water, earth, air, fire or sun. The situation is just like that of complete sleep, or of voidness. Indeed, it is indescribable. Authorities in spiritual science explain, however, that since pradhāna is the original substance, it is the actual basis of material creation.
layaḥ prākṛtiko hy eṣa
This is the annihilation called prākṛtika, during which the energies belonging to the Supreme Person and His unmanifest material nature, disassembled by the force of time, are deprived of their potencies and merge together totally.
jñānaṁ bhāti tad-āśrayam
ādy-antavad avastu yat
It is the Absolute Truth alone who manifests in the forms of intelligence, the senses and the objects of sense perception, and who is their ultimate basis. Whatever has a beginning and an end is insubstantial because of being an object perceived by limited senses and because of being nondifferent from its own cause.
The word dṛśyatva indicates that all subtle and gross material manifestations are made visible by the potency of the Supreme Lord and again become invisible, or unmanifest, at the time of annihilation. They are therefore in essence not separate from the source of their expansion and withdrawal.