Canto 5: The Creative ImpetusChapter 17: The Descent of the River Ganges

Bhaktivedanta VedaBase: Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 5.17.24

yan-nirmitāḿ karhy api karma-parvaṇīḿ

māyāḿ jano 'yaḿ guṇa-sarga-mohitaḥ

na veda nistāraṇa-yogam añjasā

tasmai namas te vilayodayātmane


yat — by whom; nirmitām — created; karhi api — at any time; karma-parvaṇīm — which ties the knots of fruitive activity; māyām — the illusory energy; janaḥa person; ayam — this; guṇa-sarga-mohitaḥ — bewildered by the three modes of material nature; na — not; veda — knows; nistāraṇa-yogam — the process of getting out of material entanglement; añjasā — soon; tasmai — unto Him (the Supreme); namaḥ — respectful obeisances; te — unto You; vilaya-udaya-ātmanein whom everything is annihilated and from whom everything is again manifested.


The illusory energy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead binds all of us conditioned souls to this material world. Therefore, without being favored by Him, persons like us cannot understand how to get out of that illusory energy. Let me offer my respectful obeisances unto the Lord, who is the cause of creation and annihilation.


Kṛṣṇa clearly states in Bhagavad-gītā (7.14):

daivī hy eṣā guṇa-mayī

mama māyā duratyayā

mām eva ye prapadyante

māyām etāḿ taranti te

"This divine energy of Mine, consisting of the three modes of material nature, is difficult to overcome. But those who have surrendered unto Me can easily cross beyond it." All conditioned souls working within the illusory energy of the Lord consider the body to be the self, and thus they continuously wander throughout the universe, taking birth in different species of life and creating more and more problems. Sometimes they become disgusted with the problems and seek out a process by which they can get out of this entanglement. Unfortunately, such so-called research workers are unaware of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and His illusory energy, and thus all of them work only in darkness. never finding a way out. So-called scientists and advanced research scholars are ludicrously trying to find the cause of life. They take no notice of the fact that life is already being produced. What will be their credit if they find out the chemical composition of life? All their chemicals are nothing but different transformations of the five elements — earth, water, fire, air and ether. As stated in Bhagavad-gītā (2.20), the living entity is never created (na jāyate mriyate kadācin). There are five gross material elements and three minor material elements (mind, intelligence and ego), and there are eternal living entities. The living entity desires a certain type of body, and by the order of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, that body is created from material nature, which is nothing but a kind of machine handled by the Supreme Lord. The Lord gives the living entity a particular type of mechanical body, and the living entity must work with it according to the law of fruitive activities. Fruitive activities are described in this verse: karma-pamanīḿ māyām. The living entity is seated on a machine (the body), and according to the order of the Supreme Lord, he operates the machine. This is the secret of transmigration of the soul from one body to another. The living entity thus becomes entangled in fruitive activities in this material world. As confirmed in Bhagavad-gītā (15.7), manaḥ ṣaṣṭhānīndriyāṇi prakṛti-sthāni karṣati: the living entity is struggling very hard against the six senses, which include the mind.

In all the activities of creation and annihilation, the living entity is entangled in fruitive activities, which are executed by the illusory energy, māyā. He is exactly like a computer handled by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The so-called scientists say that nature acts independently, but they cannot explain what nature is. Nature is nothing but a machine operated by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. When one understands the operator, his problems of life are solved. As Kṛṣṇa says in Bhagavad-gītā (7.19):

bahūnāḿ janmanām ante

jñānavān māḿ prapadyate

vāsudevaḥ sarvam iti

sa mahātmā sudurlabhaḥ

"After many births and deaths, he who is actually in knowledge surrenders unto Me, knowing Me to be the cause of all causes and all that is. Such a great soul is very rare." A sane man, therefore, surrenders to the Supreme Personality of Godhead and thus gets out of the clutches of the illusory energy, māyā.

Thus end the Bhaktivedanta purports of the Fifth Canto, Seventeenth Chapter of the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, entitled "The Descent of the River Ganges."

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