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External potency means

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Lectures

Srimad-Bhagavatam Lectures

So the external potency means this material world. The whole material universe—so many universes, so many planets, stars, skies, and everything—these are the demonstration of the external potency.
Lecture on SB 1.15.36 -- Los Angeles, December 14, 1973:

So we are... We take our birth and we accept our death not independently. We are under the another potency. We are also one potency. The potency... There are... Parāsya śaktir vividhaiva śrūyate (Cc. Madhya 13.65, purport). Those potencies have been divided into three. Multi, but roughly, they have been divided into three. One is called internal potency, one is called the external potency, and one is called the marginal potency. So the external potency means this material world. The whole material universe—so many universes, so many planets, stars, skies, and everything—these are the demonstration of the external potency. And similarly, there is the spiritual world. Spiritual world. That we cannot see. That is not within our experience. But we get it from the śāstra. In the Bhagavad-gītā it is said, paras tasmāt tu bhāvaḥ anyaḥ (BG 8.20). Kṛṣṇa says, "There is another nature." Paras tasmāt. "This material nature, beyond that there is another nature." Paras tasmāt tu bhāvo 'nyo 'vyakto 'vyaktāt sanātanaḥ (BG 8.20). That is eternal. This material nature is not eternal. Just like your body, my body, it is not eternal, similarly, this gigantic body of universe, that is also not eternal. It has a date of creation, and it has a date for dissolution. That is the nature. Therefore it is said that "That material nature is sanātana. That is never created; neither it is annihilated."

Conversations and Morning Walks

1968 Conversations and Morning Walks

External potency means by which this material world is manifested.
Morning Walk at Stow Lake -- March 27, 1968, San Francisco:

Syamasundara: Distorted?

Devotee (1): Water-logged, yeah. The skin gets water-logged?

Prabhupāda: No, not that. There are some kind of weeds within the water.

Devotee (1): Oh. Algae?

Prabhupāda: Maybe.

Devotee (2) (boy): Seaweed.

Prabhupāda: Seaweeds, yes. So they... All over the body there was some seaweeds. Not exactly... He was very unclean and odd-looking, and beard and ugly. So he thought that "He's a great yogi. If I refuse, 'No, I'm not going to hand over my daughter to you,' then he may be angry and create some catastrophe." So he said, just to avoid him, that "I have got eight daughters, and it is the desire of my daughters that they should be given over to one husband." No, that "they should be married all at once. So unless I find other husbands for my daughters you have to wait." So immediately, "Yes, I shall myself become eight then." And he expanded himself, eight expansions. So at that time what could he say? He said, "You know, my dear sir, that they are princesses after all. They may not like such ugly husband." Oh, he at once became very youthful and beautiful. Then he married. So in the history you can find that a perfect yogi can expand himself. So similarly, Kardama Muni also expanded into nine. He married Devahūti on condition that unless his wife has got sufficient children, he'll not leave her, and he must leave her. So he expanded himself nine and begotten nine daughters. So we can find from history, the Purāṇas... Purāṇas all means history, Purāṇas. Old history. Purāṇa means old. So even a perfect yogi can expand, what to speak of Kṛṣṇa. He is called Yogeśvara, the supreme yogi. In the Bhagavad-gītā you'll find this word about Kṛṣṇa, yatra yogeśvaraḥ hariḥ. Yogeśvara. He's perfect in all practices of mystic power. So these five expansions, śrī-kṛṣṇa-caitanya prabhu nityānanda-śrī-advaita gadādhara śrīvāsādi-gaura... Kṛṣṇa appeared in five expansions. Sri Kṛṣṇa Caitanya, Lord Caitanya, is Kṛṣṇa Himself. And Prabhu Nityānanda, His immediate expansion. Just like Balarāma. Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma. And Advaita is incarnation. And Gadādhara is internal potency. And Śrīvāsa, marginal potency. And there is another potency, external potency. The external potency is not there. External potency means by which this material world is manifested.

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