Canto 6: Prescribed Duties for MankindChapter 1: The History of the Life of Ajāmila

Bhaktivedanta VedaBase: Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 6.1.46

yatheha deva-pravarās

trai-vidhyam upalabhyate

bhūteṣu guṇa-vaicitryāt



yathā — just as; ihain this life; deva-pravarāḥO best of the demigods; trai-vidhyam — three kinds of attributes; upalabhyateare achieved; bhūteṣu — among all living entities; guṇa-vaicitryāt — because of the diversity of the contamination by the three modes of nature; tathā — similarly; anyatrain other places; anumīyateit is inferred.


O best of the demigods, we can see three different varieties of life, which are due to the contamination of the three modes of nature. The living entities are thus known as peaceful, restless and foolish; as happy, unhappy or in-between; or as religious, irreligious and semireligious. We can deduce that in the next life these three kinds of material nature will similarly act.


The actions and reactions of the three modes of material nature are visible in this life. For example, some people are very happy, some are very distressed, and some are in mixed happiness and distress. This is the result of past association with the modes of material nature — goodness, passion and ignorance. Since these varieties are visible in this life, we may assume that the living entities, according to their association with the different modes of material nature, will be happy, distressed or between the two in their next lives also. Therefore the best policy is to disassociate oneself from the three modes of material nature and be always transcendental to their contamination. This is possible only when one fully engages in the devotional service of the Lord. As Kṛṣṇa confirms in Bhagavad-gītā (14.26):

māḿ ca yo 'vyabhicāreṇa

bhakti-yogena sevate

sa guṇān samatītyaitān

brahma-bhūyāya kalpate

"One who engages in full devotional service, who does not fall down under any circumstance, at once transcends the modes of material nature and thus comes to the spiritual platform." Unless one is fully absorbed in the service of the Lord, one is subject to the contamination of the three modes of material nature and must therefore suffer from distress or mixed happiness and distress.

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