|Canto 11: General History||Chapter 22: Enumeration of the Elements of Material Creation|
Bhaktivedanta VedaBase: Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 11.22.12
prakṛtir guṇa-sāmyaḿ vai
prakṛter nātmano guṇāḥ
sattvaḿ rajas tama iti
prakṛtiḥ — material nature; guṇa — of the three modes; sāmyam — the original equilibrium; vai — indeed; prakṛteḥ — of nature; na ātmanaḥ — not of the spirit soul; guṇāḥ — these modes; sattvam — goodness; rajaḥ — passion; tamaḥ — ignorance; iti — thus called; sthiti — of the maintenance of universal creation; utpatti — its production; anta — and its annihilation; hetavaḥ — the causes.
Nature exists originally as the equilibrium of the three material modes, which pertain only to nature, not to the transcendental spirit soul. These modes — goodness, passion and ignorance — are the effective causes of the creation, maintenance and destruction of this universe.
In Bhagavad-gītā (3.27) it is stated,
guṇaiḥ karmāṇi sarvaśaḥ
kartāham iti manyate
"The bewildered spirit soul, under the influence of the three modes of material nature, thinks himself to be the doer of activities, which are in actuality carried out by nature."
The three modes of nature, in their original state of equilibrium, as well as the subsequent creation generated from the modes, are vastly more powerful than the tiny living entity who is controlled by them. The living entity thus cannot be accepted as the actual doer or creator within the material world. The mode of goodness is symptomized by the experience of knowledge, the mode of passion by the experience of work, and the mode of ignorance by the experience of darkness. These modes of material knowledge, work and darkness have no real relation with the transcendental spirit soul, who exhibits his own qualities of eternality, bliss and knowledge (the sandhinī, saḿvit and hlādinī potencies of the Supreme Lord). The material modes have no access within the kingdom of God, in the unbounded atmosphere of which the eternal living entity is meant to live.
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His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda, Founder Ācārya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness
His Holiness Hrdayananda dasa Goswami
Gopiparanadhana dasa Adhikari
Dravida dasa Brahmacari