Canto 3: The Status QuoChapter 32: Entanglement in Fruitive Activities

Bhaktivedanta VedaBase: Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 3.32.28

jñānam ekaḿ parācīnair

indriyair brahma nirguṇam

avabhāty artha-rūpeṇa

bhrāntyā śabdādi-dharmiṇā


jñānam — knowledge; ekam — one; parācīnaiḥ — averse; indriyaiḥ — by the senses; brahma — the Supreme Absolute Truth; nirguṇam — beyond the material modes; avabhāti — appears; artha-rūpeṇain the form of various objects; bhrāntyā — mistakenly; śabda-ādi — sound and so on; dharmiṇā — endowed with.


Those who are averse to the Transcendence realize the Supreme Absolute Truth differently through speculative sense perception, and therefore, because of mistaken speculation, everything appears to them to be relative.


The Supreme Absolute Truth, the personality of Godhead, is one, and He is spread everywhere by His impersonal feature. This is clearly expressed in Bhagavad-gītā. Lord Kṛṣṇa says, "Everything that is experienced is but an expansion of My energy." Everything is sustained by Him, but that does not mean that He is in everything. Sense perceptions, such as aural perception of the sound of a drum, visual perception of a beautiful woman, or perception of the delicious taste of a milk preparation by the tongue, all come through different senses and are therefore differently understood. Therefore sensory knowledge is divided in different categories, although actually everything is one as a manifestation of the energy of the Supreme Lord. Similarly, the energies of fire are heat and illumination, and by these two energies fire can display itself in many varieties, or in diversified sense perception. Māyāvādī philosophers declare this diversity to be false. But Vaiṣṇava philosophers do not accept the different manifestations as false; they accept them as nondifferent from the Supreme Personality of Godhead because they are a display of His diverse energies.

The philosophy that the Absolute is true and this creation is false (brahma satyaḿ jagan mithyā) is not accepted by Vaiṣṇava philosophers. The example is given that although all that glitters is not gold, this does not mean that a glittering object is false. For example, an oyster shell appears to be golden. This appearance of golden hue is due only to the perception of the eyes, but that does not mean that the oyster shell is false. Similarly, by seeing the form of Lord Kṛṣṇa one cannot understand what He actually is, but this does not mean that He is false. The form of Kṛṣṇa has to be understood as it is described in the books of knowledge such as Brahma-saḿhitā. Īśvaraḥ paramaḥ kṛṣṇaḥ sac-cid-ānanda-vigrahaḥ [Bs. 5.1]: Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, has an eternal, blissful spiritual body. By our imperfect sense perception we cannot understand the form of the Lord. We have to acquire knowledge about Him. Therefore it is said here, jñānam ekam. Bhagavad-gītā confirms that they are fools who, simply upon seeing Kṛṣṇa, consider Him a common man. They do not know the unlimited knowledge, power and opulence of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Material sense speculation leads to the conclusion that the Supreme is formless. It is because of such mental speculation that the conditioned soul remains in ignorance under the spell of illusory energy. The Supreme Person has to be understood by the transcendental sound vibrated by Him in Bhagavad-gītā, wherein He says that there is nothing superior to Himself; the impersonal Brahman effulgence is resting on His personality. The purified, absolute vision of Bhagavad-gītā is compared to the River Ganges. Ganges water is so pure that it can purify even the asses and cows. But anyone who, disregarding the pure Ganges, wishes to be purified instead by the filthy water flowing in a drain, cannot be successful. Similarly, one can successfully attain pure knowledge of the Absolute only by hearing from the pure Absolute Himself.

In this verse it is clearly said that those who are averse to the Supreme Personality of Godhead speculate with their imperfect senses about the nature of the Absolute Truth. The formless Brahman conception, however, can be received only by aural reception and not by personal experience. Knowledge is therefore acquired by aural reception. It is confirmed in the Vedānta-sūtra, śāstra-yonitvāt: one has to acquire pure knowledge from the authorized scriptures. So-called speculative arguments about the Absolute Truth are therefore useless. The actual identity of the living entity is his consciousness, which is always present while the living entity is awake, dreaming or in deep sleep. Even in deep sleep, he can perceive by consciousness whether he is happy or distressed. Thus when consciousness is displayed through the medium of the subtle and gross material bodies, it is covered, but when the consciousness is purified, in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, one becomes free from the entanglement of repeated birth and death.

When uncontaminated pure knowledge is uncovered from the modes of material nature, the actual identity of the living entity is discovered: he is eternally a servitor of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The process of uncovering is like this: the rays of sunshine are luminous, and the sun itself is also luminous. In the presence of the sun, the rays illuminate just like the sun, but when the sunshine is covered by the spell of a cloud, or by māyā, then darkness, the imperfection of perception, begins. Therefore, to get out of the entanglement of the spell of nescience, one has to awaken his spiritual consciousness, or Kṛṣṇa consciousness, in terms of the authorized scriptures.

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