Dharma, artha, kāma, mokṣa (SB 4.8.41, Cc. Ādi 1.90), these are called āpavarga. Āpavarga means nullifying the pavarga. Pavarga... This material world is called pavarga. Pa, pha, ba, bha, ma. According to Sanskrit grammar, there are five vargas, ka varga ca varga ta varga ta varga and pa varga. So pa varga, pa means pariśrama. Similarly, pha means phena, and bha means bhaya (?), ma means mṛtyu. So this material world is pavarga, means here we have to labor very hard. Sometimes by laboring, as you have seen in animals, bulls and horses, they produce foam in the mouth, that is pha. And then we are always full of anxieties, and at last there is death. This is material life. We work very hard, struggle for..., struggle hard for existence, and that also, at the end, we die.
SB Canto 7
Material life is called pavarga because here we are subject to five different states of suffering, represented by the letters pa, pha, ba, bha and ma. Pa means pariśrama, very hard labor. Pha means phena, or foam from the mouth. For example, sometimes we see a horse foaming at the mouth with heavy labor. Ba means byarthatā, disappointment. In spite of so much hard labor, at the end we find disappointment. Bha means bhaya, or fear. In material life, one is always in the blazing fire of fear, since no one knows what will happen next. Finally, ma means mṛtyu, or death. When one attempts to nullify these five different statuses of life—pa, pha, ba, bha and ma—one achieves apavarga, or liberation from the punishment of material existence.
This pavarga I have explained several times. In Sanskrit grammar there are vargas, ka-varga, ca-varga, ṭa-varga, ta-varga, pa-varga—five vargas. So pa-varga means pa pha ba bha ma, five letters. Pa means pariśrama, hard labor. And pha means foaming. Because when you work very hard, from your mouth some foam comes out. Sometimes we see in the body of the horse, or any animal. Pa, pha, ba. Ba means vyarthatā, frustration. Instead of, in spite of working very hard, there is frustration in this material world. Pa, pha, ba, bha. Bha means bhaya, fearfulness. Although I am working very hard, still, I am fearful what will happen. I am not sure that things will be done properly, in spite of my working very hard. Pa, pha, ba, bha, and ma. Ma means mṛtyu, death. Working so hard, day and night, and still, there is death. Working so hard... The scientific world is working so hard, but the scientist is dying himself. He cannot stop death. He can create some atom bomb to kill, but he cannot create anything which will stop death. That is not possible. Therefore, this pa, pha, ba, bha, ma, these five letters represent five kinds of our activities in this material world.
So pavarga means they have taken the material life in different aspect. First of all, material life is pariśrama, hard labor. This is called pa, pariśrama. And then, pha: the labor is so hard, sometimes foam comes. We have seen from the mouth of the horse, cows, and bulls, dogs. We sometimes, we have also, our tongue becomes dry after working very hard. There are foams. This is pha. Pa, pha. And ba means vyarthatā: in spite of so much labor, our sense gratification is not fulfilled. That is called vyarthatā. Pa pha ba, vyarthatā. And then bha. Bha means bhaya, always fearful. Āhāra-nidrā-bhaya-maithunaṁ ca. Every conditioned soul is subjected to fearfulness, "What will happen next?" Big, big politician... Just like in U.S.A., President Nixon, he is also under fear, "How these people will drive me away?" So this bhaya must be there. Hard labor for election, then rejection, then bhaya, fearfulness, "Whether my this position will remain or not?" Nobody is free. Even Brahmā, big, big demigods, they are also fearful. Bhayaṁ dvitīya abhiniveśataḥ syāt. Śāstra says when one is attached to the other thing except God, dvitīya... Because God is one. Eka brahma. When one is not Brahman realized—the other realized means illusion realized—then there is bhaya. So apavarga, pa pha ba bha, in this way ma, means mṛtyu, death.
This material life is pavarga. Pa-varga means... Those who are acquainted with grammar... There are vargas, ka-varga, kha-varga, ca-varga, ta-varga. Similarly pa-varga. Pa-varga means pa, pha, ba, bha, ma, five. So pa represents pariśrama, labor, hard labor. This material world, you have to work. Either you are human being or a hog or dog or cat, it doesn't matter. You have to work. And very severe work so that foam will come within your mouth. Pha. Then pa, pha, ba. Ba means vyarthatā, baffledness. And bha means bhaya, always fearful, "What will happen next? What will happen next?" And in this way, ma-mṛtyu, maraṇa. This is called material life. There is no more gain, simply pa pha ba bha ma. That's all. This is material life. And apavarga means just the opposite, to nullify this pavarga business.
You work hard, hard, hard. Still you'll not be successful. You'll have to work hard. That is called pa, pha, ba. And bha, bha means fearfulness. Just like the animal is working so hard and still he's afraid. "The master may whip." "You are not working?" Phut! Phut! He has to work still. Bhaya. So that fearfulness is everywhere. Āhāra-nidrā-bhaya-maithunaṁ ca sāmānyam etat paśubhir narāṇām. The ox and bull, they are afraid of the driver, and we are afraid of our leader, of our government, of our so-called master and so on, so on, so on. That you cannot avoid. That is not possible. Sadā samudvigna-dhiyām asad-grahāt (SB 7.5.5). Because we have accepted this material body, we have to be always remain in anxiety. You cannot avoid. So pa, pha, ba, bha, and at last, ma. Ma means mṛtyu. Frustration and die. And again pa, again begin with pa. This is going on. This is called Repeatedly, pa, pha, ba, bha, ma; pa, pha, ba, bha, ma. So if you take to Kṛṣṇa consciousness, then this pavarga—pa, pha, ba, bha, ma—will be counteracted. Not otherwise. Not otherwise. It is not possible.
Pavarga means labor, and pha means foam, the foam. When you work very hard, from your mouth a kind of foam comes out. Pha. Pa, pha, ba. And in spite of so much hard labor, it is ba. Ba means birth, futile, useless. Pa, pha, ba. And bha, bha means fear. Bhaya, bhaya, fear. Although you are working so hard, there is always some fearfulness: "Now things will be done like this, or not like this," fearful. That is the nature. Āhāra-nidrā-bhaya-maithuna, bhaya. This life, this material body means eating, sleeping and fearing. This is one of the symptom. Although I am eating very nicely, I am thinking whether I am overeating so that I may not feel sick. So bhaya is always there. A bird, you'll see eating, and looking this way, that way. Why? If some enemy is not coming. So, this is bha. Pa, pha, ba, bha, and ma. At last maraṇa, mṛtyu, death. This is called pavarga. Pavarga means pa, pha, ba, bha, ma. Pa means hard labor. Pha means so hard that foam comes out of mouth. And ba means he's still frustrated. And bha means fearfulness. And ma means mṛtyu. This is the call, apavarga. So pavarga, and just the opposite is apavarga. Just the opposite. There is no labor, there is no foam, there is no frustration, there is no fear, and there is no death. That is spiritual world.
Pavarga means pa, pha, ba, bha, ma. This is called pa-varga. In the letter arrangement, there is ka-varga, ca-varga, ṭa-varga, ta-varga... Five vargas. And pa-varga. The material life is called pa-varga. Pa, pha, ba, bha, ma. Pa means pariśrama, simply laboring. And so much labor, now, pha, there is phena, foam. You'll find in the horses; hard labor, there is foam. We have sometimes foam, dry throat. That is pha. Pa, pha, ba. Ba means, bha means bhaya, and ba means vyartha. Vyartha means futile. Why they are laboring so much? Big, big men, they have no time. Big, big businessmen... I have seen in New York, big, big businessman. No time even to eat. Simply eating a dry bread and cup of tea. But he is working very hard, day and night. Pa-varga, pha-varga, and ba-varga. Ba-varga means..., ba means vyarthatā. And bha means always fearful, bhaya. In this way, pa, pha, bha, and ma. Ma means maraṇa, mṛtyu. Finish. Pa to ma. Pa means beginning with pariśrama, and ma means mṛtyu. So this is material life, pavarga. So if you want to nullify this, that is called apavarga. So here it is called apavarga-vardhanam, how to increase interest in liberation.
Every one of us, we are destined to certain extent of gain and certain extent of loss. That is destined.
So therefore śāstra says, "Don't try for this destined gain or loss. You are working so hard to making some gain. Even if you do not work hard, you will get that gain. Don't try for it. Better utilize the time for chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa." That is the injunction of śāstra. Tasyaiva hetoḥ prayeteta kovido na labhyate yad bhramatām upary adhaḥ (1.5.18). The people do not understand. They think that these young men are being induced to escape. No, it is not escape. This is the only path of liberation, āpavargya. To make the pavargas, pa, pha, ba, ba is vyartha, and bha... Bha means bhaya, fearfulness. In spite of working so hard, everyone is afraid: "What will happen next? What will happen next?" Āhāra-nidrā-bhaya-maithuna. This is the nature. And then, after working so hard, bringing out foam in the mouth, disappointment, then fearfuless—at last die, mrtyu, ma. Pa pha ba bha ma, these five, pavarga. In Sanskrit grammar there are vargas: ka-varga, ca-varga, ta-varga, like that, five vargas, the pa-varga. So this word is used generally in the Vedic literature, āpavarga.
Sri Isopanisad Lectures
Yesterday I was explaining what is this pavarga to Gargamuni. This pavarga means the line of the alphabet pa. You know, those who have studied this devanāgarī. There are devanāgarī alphabets, ka kha ga gha na ca cha ja jha na. In this way five set, one line. Then come the fifth set, comes pa pha va bha ma. So this pavarga means pa. First of all pa. Pa means parava, defeat. Everyone is trying, struggling very hard to survive, but defeated. First pavarga. Pa means parava. And then pha. Pha means foaming. Just like horse, when working very hard, you'll find some foams coming out of the mouth, we sometimes also, when we are very tired after working very hard, the tongue becomes dry and some foam comes. So everyone is working very hard for sense gratification, but defeated. The pa, pha, and va. Va means this bondage. So first pa, second pha, the bondage third, then va, bha. Bha means beating, fearfulness. And then ma. Ma means mrtyu, or death. So this Kṛṣṇa conscious process is apavarga, apa. A means none. Pavarga, these are the symptoms of this material world. And when you add this word a, apavarga, that means it is nullified. So... (aside:) You can sit down. This apavarga-vartmani. Our Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is the path of apavarga, nullifying these pavargas.