Canto 11: General HistoryChapter 22: Enumeration of the Elements of Material Creation

Bhaktivedanta VedaBase: Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 11.22.10



svato na sambhavād anyas

tattva-jño jñāna-do bhavet


anādi — without beginning; avidyā — with ignorance; yuktasya — who is joined; puruṣasya — of a person; ātma-vedanam — the process of self-realization; svataḥ — by his own ability; na sambhavāt — because it cannot occur; anyaḥ — another person; tattva-jñaḥ — the knower of transcendental reality; jñāna-daḥ — the bestower of real knowledge; bhavet — must be.


Because a person who has been covered by ignorance since time immemorial is not capable of effecting his own self-realization, there must be some other personality who is in factual knowledge of the Absolute Truth and can impart this knowledge to him.


Although the Lord tolerates different methods of calculating material causes within their effects and material effects within their causes, there cannot be any speculation regarding the two spiritual elements found in this universe, namely the individual soul and the Supersoul. Lord Kṛṣṇa clearly states in this verse that the living entity is incapable of effecting his own enlightenment. The Supreme Lord is tattva-jña, omniscient, and jñāna-da, the spiritual master of the entire universe. Śrī Uddhava mentioned that some philosophers describe twenty-five elements and others twenty-six. The difference is that the twenty-six elements include a separate category for the individual soul and the Supreme Soul, Lord Kṛṣṇa, whereas the proponents of twenty-five elements artificially merge the two transcendental categories of jīva-tattva and viṣṇu-tattva, hiding the eternal supremacy of the Personality of Godhead.

Knowledge based on the three modes of material nature cannot rise to the transcendental platform, where the Personality of Godhead exists as the supreme enjoyer of eternal spiritual varieties of form, color, flavor, musical sounds and loving affairs. Mundane philosophers simply bounce back and forth between material enjoyment and material renunciation. Being victims of Māyāvāda (impersonal) perception of the Absolute Truth, they cannot achieve the shelter of the Personality of Godhead and thus cannot understand Him. Because foolish, impersonal philosophers consider themselves supreme, they are unable to appreciate that loving service exists on the spiritual platform. Stubbornly rejecting subservience to the Personality of Godhead, the impersonalists are eventually overwhelmed by the illusory potency of the Lord and undergo the miseries of material existence. The Vaiṣṇavas, on the other hand, are not envious of the Personality of Godhead. They gladly accept His shelter and supremacy, and thus the Lord personally takes charge of His devotees and enlightens them, filling them with His own transcendental bliss. Spiritual service to the Supreme Lord is in this way free from the disappointment and repression of material service.

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His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda, Founder Ācārya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness
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