Canto 8: Withdrawal of the Cosmic CreationsChapter 5: The Demigods Appeal to the Lord for Protection

Bhaktivedanta VedaBase: Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 8.5.43

dravyaḿ vayaḥ karma guṇān viśeṣaḿ

yad-yogamāyā-vihitān vadanti

yad durvibhāvyaḿ prabudhāpabādhaḿ

prasīdatāḿ naḥ sa mahā-vibhūtiḥ


dravyam — the five elements of the material world; vayaḥ — time; karma — fruitive activities; guṇān — the three modes of material nature; viśeṣam — the varieties caused by combinations of the twenty-three elements; yat — that which; yoga-māyā — by the Lord's creative potency; vihitān — all done; vadanti — all learned men say; yat durvibhāvyam — which is actually extremely difficult to understand; prabudha-apabādham — rejected by the learned, by those who are fully aware; prasīdatām — may be pleased; naḥ — upon us; saḥHe; mahā-vibhūtiḥ — the controller of everything.


All learned men say that the five elements, eternal time, fruitive activity, the three modes of material nature, and the varieties produced by these modes are all creations of yogamāyā. This material world is therefore extremely difficult to understand, but those who are highly learned have rejected it. May the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is the controller of everything, be pleased with us.


The word durvibhāvyam is very important in this verse. No one can understand how everything is happening in this material world by the arrangement of the Supreme Personality of Godhead through His material energies. As stated in Bhagavad-gītā (9.10), mayādhyakṣeṇa prakṛtiḥ sūyate sacarācaram: everything is actually happening under the direction of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This much we can learn, but how it is happening is extremely difficult to understand. We cannot even understand how the affairs within our body are systematically taking place. The body is a small universe, and since we cannot understand how things are happening in this small universe, how can we understand the affairs of the bigger universe? Actually this universe is very difficult to understand, yet learned sages have advised, as Kṛṣṇa has also advised, that this material world is duḥkhālayam aśāśvatam; [Bg. 8.15] in other words, it is a place of misery and temporality. One must give up this world and go back home, back to the Personality of Godhead. Materialists may argue, "If this material world and its affairs are impossible to understand, how can we reject it?" The answer is provided by the word prabudhāpabādham. We have to reject this material world because it is rejected by those who are learned in Vedic wisdom. Even though we cannot understand what this material world is, we should be ready to reject it in accordance with the advice of learned persons, especially the advice of Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa says:

mām upetya punar janma

duḥkhālayam aśāśvatam

nāpnuvanti mahātmānaḥ

saḿsiddhiḿ paramāḿ gatāḥ

"After attaining Me, the great souls, who are yogīs in devotion, never return to this temporary world, which is full of miseries, because they have attained the highest perfection." (Bg. 8.15) One has to return home, back to Godhead, for this is the highest perfection of life. To go back to Godhead means to reject this material world. Although we cannot understand the functions of this material world and whether it is good for us or bad for us, in accordance with the advice of the supreme authority we must reject it and go back home, back to Godhead.

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