Canto 11: General HistoryChapter 13: The Haḿsa-avatāra Answers the Questions of the Sons of Brahmā

Bhaktivedanta VedaBase: Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 11.13.2

sattvād dharmo bhaved vṛddhāt

puḿso mad-bhakti-lakṣaṇaḥ

sāttvikopāsayā sattvaḿ

tato dharmaḥ pravartate


sattvāt — from the mode of goodness; dharmaḥ — religious principles; bhavet — arise; vṛddhāt — which are strengthened; puḿsaḥ — of a person; mat-bhakti — by devotional service to Me; lakṣaṇaḥ — characterized; sāttvika — of things in the mode of goodness; upāsayā — by serious cultivation; sattvam — the mode of goodness; tataḥ — from that mode; dharmaḥ — religious principles; pravartate — arise.


When the living entity becomes strongly situated in the mode of goodness, then religious principles, characterized by devotional service to Me, become prominent. One can strengthen the mode of goodness by cultivation of those things that are already situated in goodness, and thus religious principles arise.


Since the three modes of material nature are constantly in conflict, vying for supremacy, how is it possible that the mode of goodness can subdue the modes of passion and ignorance? Lord Kṛṣṇa here explains how one can be strongly fixed in the mode of goodness, which automatically gives rise to religious principles. In the Fourteenth Chapter of Bhagavad-gītā, Lord Kṛṣṇa elaborately explains the things that are in goodness, passion and ignorance. Thus, by choosing food, attitudes, work, recreation, etc., strictly in the mode of goodness, one will become situated in that mode. The usefulness of sattva-guṇa, or the mode of goodness, is that it produces religious principles aimed at and characterized by devotional service to Lord Kṛṣṇa. Without such devotional service to the Lord, the mode of goodness is considered useless and merely another aspect of material illusion. The word vṛddhāt, or "strengthened, increased," indicates clearly that one should come to the platform of viśuddha-sattva, or purified goodness. The word vṛddhāt indicates growth, and growth should not be stopped until full maturity is reached. The full maturity of goodness is called vīśuddha-sattva, or the transcendental platform on which there is no trace of any other quality. In pure goodness all knowledge automatically manifests, and one can easily understand one's eternal loving relationship with Lord Kṛṣṇa. That is the actual meaning and purpose of dharma, or religious principles.

Śrīla Madhvācārya points out in this regard that an increase in the mode of goodness strengthens religious principles and the invigorated execution of religious principles strengthens the mode of goodness. In that way, one can advance higher and higher in the mode of spiritual happiness.

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