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Five elements (BG and SB)

Expressions researched:
"five basic elements" |"five different elements" |"five element" |"five elements" |"five great elements" |"five gross elements" |"five material elements" |"five physical elements" |"five primary elements" |"five principal elements" |"five subtle elements" |"five tattvas, elements"

Bhagavad-gita As It Is

BG Chapters 7 - 12

BG 9.16, Purport:

The oblations offered to the Pitṛloka or the sacrifice performed to please the Pitṛloka, considered as a kind of drug in the form of clarified butter, is also Kṛṣṇa. The mantras chanted in this connection are also Kṛṣṇa. And many other commodities made with milk products for offering in the sacrifices are also Kṛṣṇa. The fire is also Kṛṣṇa because fire is one of the five material elements and is therefore claimed as the separated energy of Kṛṣṇa. In other words, the Vedic sacrifices recommended in the karma-kāṇḍa division of the Vedas are in total also Kṛṣṇa. Or, in other words, those who are engaged in rendering devotional service unto Kṛṣṇa are to be understood to have performed all the sacrifices recommended in the Vedas.

BG Chapters 13 - 18

BG 13.6-7, Translation:

The five great elements, false ego, intelligence, the unmanifested, the ten senses and the mind, the five sense objects, desire, hatred, happiness, distress, the aggregate, the life symptoms, and convictions—all these are considered, in summary, to be the field of activities and its interactions.

BG 13.6-7, Purport:

From all the authoritative statements of the great sages, the Vedic hymns and the aphorisms of the Vedānta-sūtra, the components of this world can be understood as follows. First there are earth, water, fire, air and ether. These are the five great elements (mahā-bhūta). Then there are false ego, intelligence and the unmanifested stage of the three modes of nature. Then there are five senses for acquiring knowledge: the eyes, ears, nose, tongue and skin. Then five working senses: voice, legs, hands, anus and genitals. Then, above the senses, there is the mind, which is within and which can be called the sense within. Therefore, including the mind, there are eleven senses altogether. Then there are the five objects of the senses: smell, taste, form, touch and sound. Now the aggregate of these twenty-four elements is called the field of activity.

BG 13.6-7, Purport:

Then there are the five objects of the senses: smell, taste, form, touch and sound. Now the aggregate of these twenty-four elements is called the field of activity. If one makes an analytical study of these twenty-four subjects, then he can very well understand the field of activity. Then there are desire, hatred, happiness and distress, which are interactions, representations of the five great elements in the gross body. The living symptoms, represented by consciousness, and convictions are the manifestation of the subtle body—mind, ego and intelligence. These subtle elements are included within the field of activities.

BG 13.6-7, Purport:

The five great elements are a gross representation of the false ego, which in turn represents the primal stage of false ego technically called the materialistic conception, or tāmasa-buddhi, intelligence in ignorance. This, further, represents the unmanifested stage of the three modes of material nature. The unmanifested modes of material nature are called pradhāna.

One who desires to know the twenty-four elements in detail along with their interactions should study the philosophy in more detail. In Bhagavad-gītā, a summary only is given.

BG 15.1, Purport:

This tree, being the reflection of the real tree, is an exact replica. Everything is there in the spiritual world. The impersonalists take Brahman to be the root of this material tree, and from the root, according to Sāṅkhya philosophy, come prakṛti, puruṣa, then the three guṇas, then the five gross elements (pañca-mahā-bhūta), then the ten senses (daśendriya), mind, etc. In this way they divide up the whole material world into twenty-four elements. If Brahman is the center of all manifestations, then this material world is a manifestation of the center by 180 degrees, and the other 180 degrees constitute the spiritual world. The material world is the perverted reflection, so the spiritual world must have the same variegatedness, but in reality. The prakṛti is the external energy of the Supreme Lord, and the puruṣa is the Supreme Lord Himself, and that is explained in Bhagavad-gītā. Since this manifestation is material, it is temporary. A reflection is temporary, for it is sometimes seen and sometimes not seen.


SB Canto 1

SB 1.6.28, Translation:

Having been awarded a transcendental body befitting an associate of the Personality of Godhead, I quit the body made of five material elements, and thus all acquired fruitive results of work (karma) stopped.

SB 1.9.8, Purport:

As a bona fide disciple of Śrī Vyāsadeva, he inquired from his father very extensively about religious principles and spiritual values, and his great father also satisfied him by teaching him the yoga system by which one can attain the spiritual kingdom, the difference between fruitive work and empiric knowledge, the ways and means of attaining spiritual realization, the four āśramas (namely the student life, the householder's life, the retired life and the renounced life), the sublime position of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the process of seeing Him face to face, the bona fide candidate for receiving knowledge, the consideration of the five elements, the unique position of intelligence, the consciousness of the material nature and the living entity, the symptoms of the self-realized soul, the working principles of the material body, the symptoms of the influential modes of nature, the tree of perpetual desire, and psychic activities. Sometimes he went to the sun planet with the permission of his father and Nāradajī.

SB 1.13.44, Purport:

The actual fact is that every living being is an individual part and parcel of the Supreme Being, and his constitutional position is subordinate cooperative service. Either in his conditional material existence or in his liberated position of full knowledge and eternity, the living entity is eternally under the control of the Supreme Lord. But those who are not conversant with factual knowledge put forward many speculative propositions about the real position of the living entity. It is admitted, however, by all schools of philosophy, that the living being is eternal and that the covering body of the five material elements is perishable and temporary. The eternal living entity transmigrates from one material body to another by the law of karma, and material bodies are perishable by their fundamental structures. Therefore there is nothing to be lamented in the case of the soul's being transferred into another body, or the material body's perishing at a certain stage.

SB 1.13.46, Translation:

This gross material body made of five elements is already under the control of eternal time (kāla), action (karma) and the modes of material nature (guṇa). How, then, can it, being already in the jaws of the serpent, protect others?

SB 1.13.55, Purport:

This covers his pure spiritual identity. By the yogic process, when his pure identity is realized in self-realization, one has to revert to the original position by amalgamating the five gross elements and the subtle elements, mind and intelligence, into the mahat-tattva again. Thus getting freed from the clutches of the mahat-tattva, he has to merge in the existence of the Supersoul. In other words, he has to realize that qualitatively he is nondifferent from the Supersoul, and thus he transcends the material sky by his pure identical intelligence and thus becomes engaged in the transcendental loving service of the Lord. This is the highest perfectional development of spiritual identity, which was attained by Dhṛtarāṣṭra by the grace of Vidura and the Lord. The Lord's mercy was bestowed upon him by his personal contact with Vidura, and when he was actually practicing the instructions of Vidura, the Lord helped him to attain the highest perfectional stage.

SB 1.15.41, Translation:

Then he amalgamated all the sense organs into the mind, then the mind into life, life into breathing, his total existence into the embodiment of the five elements, and his body into death. Then, as pure self, he became free from the material conception of life.

SB 1.15.42, Translation:

Thus annihilating the gross body of five elements into the three qualitative modes of material nature, he merged them in one nescience and then absorbed that nescience in the self, Brahman, which is inexhaustible in all circumstances.

SB 1.15.42, Purport:

Thus a concomitant generation of material energies is the principal cause of the mind's being materially affected. Thus the gross body of five elements is produced. Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira reversed the action and merged the five elements of the body in the three modes of material nature. The qualitative distinction of the body as being good, bad or mediocre is extinguished, and again the qualitative manifestations become merged in the material energy, which is produced from a false sense of the pure living being. When one is thus inclined to become an associate of the Supreme Lord, the Personality of Godhead, in one of the innumerable planets of the spiritual sky, especially in Goloka Vṛndāvana, one has to think always that he is different from the material energy; he has nothing to do with it, and he has to realize himself as pure spirit, Brahman, qualitatively equal with the Supreme Brahman (Parameśvara). Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira, after distributing his kingdom to Parīkṣit and Vajra, did not think himself Emperor of the world or head of the Kuru dynasty.

SB Canto 2

SB 2.2.19, Purport:

In the Bhagavad-gītā (18.54) it is clearly explained that an absolutely self-realized soul becomes completely aloof from all material desires. Material desires are based on the false ego of the living being and are exhibited by his childish and useless activities to conquer the laws of material nature and by his desire to lord it over the resources of the five elements. With such a mentality, one is led to believe in the strength of material science, with its discovery of atomic energy and space travel by mechanical vehicles, and by such tiny advancements in material science the false egoist tries to challenge even the strength of the Supreme Lord, who can finish all man's tiny endeavors in less than a second. The well-situated self, or Brahman-realized soul, perfectly understands that the Supreme Brahman, or the Personality of Godhead, is the all-powerful Vāsudeva and that he (the self-realized living being) is a part and parcel of the supreme whole.

SB 2.5.25, Translation:

From the darkness of false ego, the first of the five elements, namely the sky, is generated. Its subtle form is the quality of sound, exactly as the seer is in relationship with the seen.

SB 2.5.25, Purport:

The five elements, namely sky, air, fire, water and earth, are all but different qualities of the darkness of false ego. This means that the false ego in the sum total form of mahat-tattva is generated from the marginal potency of the Lord, and due to this false ego of lording it over the material creation, ingredients are generated for the false enjoyment of the living being. The living being is practically the dominating factor over the material elements as the enjoyer, though the background is the Supreme Lord. Factually, save and except the Lord, no one can be called the enjoyer, but the living entity falsely desires to become the enjoyer. This is the origin of false ego. When the bewildered living being desires this, the shadow elements are generated by the will of the Lord, and the living entities are allowed to run after them as after a phantasmagoria.

SB 2.9.17, Purport:

The Lord is naturally endowed with His six opulences. Specifically, He is the richest, He is the most powerful, He is the most famous, He is the most beautiful, He is the greatest in knowledge, and He is the greatest renouncer as well. And for His material creative energies, He is served by four, namely the principles of prakṛti, puruṣa, mahat-tattva and ego. He is also served by the sixteen, namely the five elements (earth, water, air, fire and sky), the five perceptive sense organs (the eye, ear, nose, tongue and skin), and the five working sense organs (the hand, the leg, the stomach, the evacuation outlet and the genitals), and the mind. The five includes the sense objects, namely form, taste, smell, sound and touch. All these twenty-five items serve the Lord in the material creation, and all of them are personally present to serve the Lord. The insignificant opulences numbering eight (the aṣṭa-siddhis, attained by yogīs for temporary overlordship) are also under His control, but He is naturally full with all such powers without any effort, and therefore He is the Supreme Lord.

SB 2.10.3, Translation:

The elementary creation of sixteen items of matter—namely the five elements (fire, water, land, air and sky), sound, form, taste, smell, touch, and the eyes, ears, nose, tongue, skin and mind—is known as sarga, whereas subsequent resultant interaction of the modes of material nature is called visarga.

SB 2.10.31, Purport:

So water is the common element in both the gross and subtle forms of all material creation, and it should be noted herewith that due to necessity, water, being most prominent in the material creation, is the principal element of all the five. This material body is thus an embodiment of the five elements, and the gross manifestation is perceived because of three, namely earth, water, and fire. Sensations of touch are perceived due to the thin layer on the skin, and bone is as good as hard stone. The breathing air of life is produced of sky, air and water, and therefore open air, regular bath and ample space in which to live are favorable for healthy vitality. Fresh produce from the earth like grains and vegetables, as well as fresh water and heat, is good for the upkeep of the gross body.

SB Canto 3

SB 3.17.31, Purport:

Asuras do not know that their bodies consist of the five elements of material nature and that when they fall they become objects of pastimes for dogs and vultures. Varuṇa advised Hiraṇyākṣa to meet Viṣṇu in His boar incarnation so that his hankering for aggressive war would be satisfied and his powerful body would be vanquished.

SB 3.20.13, Purport:

The second group of five is called tan-mātra, referring to the subtle elements (sense objects): sound, touch, form, taste and smell. The third group is the five sense organs for acquiring knowledge: eyes, ears, nose, tongue and skin. The fourth group is the five working senses: speech, hands, feet, anus and genitals. Some say that there are five groups of five. One group is the sense objects, one is the five elements, one is the five sense organs for acquiring knowledge, another is the senses for working, and the fifth group is the five deities who control these divisions.

SB 3.26.11, Translation:

The aggregate elements, namely the five gross elements, the five subtle elements, the four internal senses, the five senses for gathering knowledge and the five outward organs of action, are known as the pradhāna.

SB 3.26.12, Translation:

There are five gross elements, namely earth, water, fire, air and ether. There are also five subtle elements: smell, taste, color, touch and sound.

SB 3.26.15, Purport:

It is stated also in the Viṣṇu Purāṇa that whatever we see is parasya brahmaṇaḥ śaktiḥ; everything is an expansion of the energy of the Supreme Absolute Truth, Brahman. When Brahman is mixed with the three qualities goodness, passion and ignorance, there results the material expansion, which is sometimes called saguṇa Brahman and which consists of these twenty-five elements. In the nirguṇa Brahman, where there is no material contamination, or in the spiritual world, the three modes—goodness, passion and ignorance—are not present. Where nirguṇa Brahman is found, simple unalloyed goodness prevails. Saguṇa Brahman is described by the Sāṅkhya system of philosophy as consisting of twenty-five elements, including the time factor (past, present and future).

SB 3.26.18, Purport:

Yet the Lord is so kind that, as Supersoul, He always remains with the conditioned soul. The concern of the Lord is neither to enjoy nor to suffer from the material body. He remains with the jīva simply as sanction-giver and witness so that the living entity can receive the results of his activities, good or bad.

Outside the body of the conditioned soul, the Supreme Personality of Godhead remains as the time factor. According to the Sāṅkhya system of philosophy, there are twenty-five elements. The twenty-four elements already described plus the time factor make twenty-five. According to some learned philosophers, the Supersoul is included to make a total of twenty-six elements.

SB 3.26.50, Purport:

After stating the generation of the causes, Kapiladeva speaks about the generation of the effects. At that time when the causes were unmixed, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, in His feature of Garbhodakaśāyī Viṣṇu, entered within each universe. Accompanying Him were all of the seven primary elements—the five material elements, the total energy (mahat-tattva) and the false ego. This entrance of the Supreme Personality of Godhead involves His entering even the atoms of the material world. This is confirmed in the Brahma-saṁhitā (5.35): aṇḍāntara-stha-paramāṇu-cayāntara-stham. He is not only within the universe, but within the atoms also. He is within the heart of every living entity. Garbhodakaśāyī Viṣṇu, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, entered into everything.

SB 3.27.14, Translation:

Although a devotee appears to be merged in the five material elements, the objects of material enjoyment, the material senses and material mind and intelligence, he is understood to be awake and to be freed from the false ego.

SB 3.27.14, Purport:

The explanation by Rūpa Gosvāmī in the Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu of how a person can be liberated even in this body is more elaborately explained in this verse. The living entity who has become satya-dṛk, who realizes his position in relationship with the Supreme Personality of Godhead, may remain apparently merged in the five elements of matter, the five material sense objects, the ten senses and the mind and intelligence, but still he is considered to be awake and to be freed from the reaction of false ego. Here the word līna is very significant. The Māyāvādī philosophers recommend merging in the impersonal effulgence of Brahman; that is their ultimate goal, or destination. That merging is also mentioned here. But in spite of merging, one can keep his individuality. The example given by Jīva Gosvāmī is that a green bird that enters a green tree appears to merge in the color of greenness, but actually the bird does not lose its individuality.

SB 3.27.14, Purport:

Kṛṣṇa also confirms in Bhagavad-gītā that the living entity is eternally His part and parcel. The part and parcel is meant to serve the whole. This is individuality. It is so even in this material existence, when the living entity apparently merges in matter. His gross body is made up of five elements, his subtle body is made of mind, intelligence, false ego and contaminated consciousness, and he has five active senses and five knowledge-acquiring senses. In this way he merges in matter. But even while merged in the twenty-four elements of matter, he can keep his individuality as the eternal servitor of the Lord. Either in the spiritual nature or in the material nature, such a servitor is to be considered a liberated soul. That is the explanation of the authorities, and it is confirmed in this verse.

SB 3.27.28-29, Purport:

The words liṅgād vinirgame, which are used here, mean "after being freed from the two kinds of material bodies, subtle and gross." The subtle body is made of mind, intelligence, false ego and contaminated consciousness, and the gross body is made of five elements—earth, water, fire, air and ether. When one is transferred to the spiritual world, he gives up both the subtle and gross bodies of this material world. He enters the spiritual sky in his pure, spiritual body and is stationed in one of the spiritual planets. Although the impersonalists also reach that spiritual sky after giving up the subtle and gross material bodies, they are not placed in the spiritual planets; as they desire, they are allowed to merge in the spiritual effulgence emanating from the transcendental body of the Lord. The word sva-saṁsthānam is also very significant. As a living entity prepares himself, so he attains his abode.

SB 3.28.41, Translation:

The Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is known as Parambrahma, is the seer. He is different from the jīva soul, or individual living entity, who is combined with the senses, the five elements and consciousness.

SB 3.29.43, Purport:

The word śvasatām means "those who breathe," or the living entities. In order to accommodate them, there are innumerable planets. Every planet is a residence for innumerable living entities, and the necessary space is provided in the sky by the supreme order of the Lord. It is also stated here that the total universal body is increasing. It is covered by seven layers, and as there are five elements within the universe, so the total elements, in layers, cover the outside of the universal body. The first layer is of earth, and it is ten times greater in size than the space within the universe; the second layer is water, and that is ten times greater than the earthly layer; the third covering is fire, which is ten times greater than the water covering. In this way each layer is ten times greater than the previous one.

SB 3.31.14, Translation:

I am separated from the Supreme Lord because of my being in this material body, which is made of five elements, and therefore my qualities and senses are being misused, although I am essentially spiritual. Because the Supreme Personality of Godhead is transcendental to material nature and the living entities, because He is devoid of such a material body, and because He is always glorious in His spiritual qualities, I offer my obeisances unto Him.

SB 3.31.30, Translation:

By such ignorance the living entity accepts the material body, which is made of five elements, as himself. With this misunderstanding, he accepts nonpermanent things as his own and increases his ignorance in the darkest region.

SB 3.31.30, Purport:

The expansion of ignorance is explained in this verse. The first ignorance is to identify one's material body, which is made of five elements, as the self, and the second is to accept something as one's own due to a bodily connection. In this way, ignorance expands. The living entity is eternal, but because of his accepting nonpermanent things, misidentifying his interest, he is put into ignorance, and therefore he suffers material pangs.

SB 3.32.29, Translation:

From the total energy, the mahat-tattva, I have manifested the false ego, the three modes of material nature, the five material elements, the individual consciousness, the eleven senses and the material body. Similarly, the entire universe has come from the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

SB 3.32.29, Purport:

The Supreme Lord is described as mahat-pada, which means that the total material energy, known as the mahat-tattva, is lying at His lotus feet. The origin or the total energy of the cosmic manifestation is the mahat-tattva. From the mahat-tattva all the other twenty-four divisions have sprung, namely the eleven senses (including the mind), the five sense objects, the five material elements, and then consciousness, intelligence and false ego. The Supreme Personality of Godhead is the cause of the mahat-tattva, and therefore, in one sense, because everything is an emanation from the Supreme Lord, there is no difference between the Lord and the cosmic manifestation. But at the same time the cosmic manifestation is different from the Lord. The word svarāṭ is very significant here. Svarāṭ means "independent." The Supreme Lord is independent, and the individual soul is also independent.

SB 3.32.29, Purport:

Although there is no comparison between the two qualities of independence, the living entity is minutely independent, and the Supreme Lord is fully independent. As the individual soul has a material body made of five elements and the senses, the supreme independent Lord similarly has the gigantic body of the universe. The individual body is temporary; similarly, the entire universe, which is considered to be the body of the Supreme Lord, is also temporary, and both the individual and universal bodies are products of the mahat-tattva. One has to understand the differences with intelligence. Everyone knows that his material body has developed from a spiritual spark, and similarly the universal body has developed from the supreme spark, Supersoul. As the individual body develops from the individual soul, the gigantic body of the universe develops from the Supreme Soul.

SB Canto 4

SB 4.7.37, Translation:

The governors of various planets spoke as follows: Dear Lord, we believe only in our direct perception, but under the circumstances we do not know whether we have actually seen You with our material senses. By our material senses we can simply perceive the cosmic manifestation, but You are beyond the five elements. You are the sixth. We see You, therefore, as a creation of the material world.

SB 4.9.33, Purport:

The actual fact is that all living entities are sons of God, or by-products of His marginal energy. Because of our being contaminated by the modes of material nature, we distinguish one spiritual spark from another. That is also another kind of dreaming. It is stated in the Bhagavad-gītā that those who are actually learned do not make any distinction between a learned scholar, a brāhmaṇa, an elephant, a dog and a caṇḍāla. They do not see in terms of the external body; rather, they see the person as spirit soul. By higher understanding one can know that the material body is nothing but a combination of the five material elements. In that sense also the bodily construction of a human being and that of a demigod are one and the same. From the spiritual point of view we are all spiritual sparks, parts and parcels of the Supreme Spirit, God. Either materially or spiritually we are basically one, but we make friends and enemies as dictated by the illusory energy. Dhruva Mahārāja therefore said, daivīṁ māyām upāśritya: the cause of his bewilderment was his association with the illusory, material energy.

SB 4.11.15, Translation:

The creation of the material world begins with the five elements, and thus everything, including the body of a man or a woman, is created of these elements. By the sexual life of man and woman, the number of men and women in this material world is further increased.

SB 4.11.15, Purport:

When Svāyambhuva Manu saw that Dhruva Mahārāja understood the philosophy of Vaiṣṇavism and yet was still dissatisfied because of his brother's death, he gave him an explanation of how this material body is created by the five elements of material nature. In the Bhagavad-gītā it is also confirmed, prakṛteḥ kriyamāṇāni: (BG 3.27) everything is created, maintained and annihilated by the material modes of nature. In the background, of course, there is the direction of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This is also confirmed in the Bhagavad-gītā (mayādhyakṣeṇa (BG 9.10)). In the Ninth Chapter, Kṛṣṇa says, "Under My superintendence material nature is acting." Svāyambhuva Manu wanted to impress on Dhruva Mahārāja that the death of the material body of his brother was not actually the Yakṣas' fault; it was an act of the material nature. The Supreme Personality of Godhead has immense varieties of potencies, and they act in different gross and subtle ways.

SB 4.11.15, Purport:

It is by such powerful potencies that the universe is created, although grossly it appears to be no more than the five elements—earth, water, fire, air and ether. Similarly, the bodies of all species of living entities, whether human beings or demigods, animals or birds, are also created by the same five elements, and by sexual union they expand into more and more living entities. That is the way of creation, maintenance and annihilation. One should not be disturbed by the waves of material nature in this process. Dhruva Mahārāja was indirectly advised not to be afflicted by the death of his brother because our relationship with the body is completely material. The real self, spirit soul, is never annihilated or killed by anyone.

SB 4.11.16, Purport:

First, creation takes place with the ingredients of the five elements of material nature. Then, by the interaction of the modes of material nature, maintenance also takes place. When a child is born, the parents immediately see to its maintenance. This tendency for maintenance of offspring is present not only in human society, but in animal society as well. Even tigers care for their cubs, although their propensity is to eat other animals. By the interaction of the material modes of nature, creation, maintenance and also annihilation take place inevitably. But at the same time we should know that all is conducted under the superintendence of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Everything is going on under that process. Creation is the action of the rajo-guṇa, the mode of passion; maintenance is the action of sattva-guṇa, the mode of goodness; and annihilation is the action of tamo-guṇa, the mode of ignorance.

SB 4.18.26, Purport:

There are different varieties of living entities on different planets, and they all derive their eatables from their planets in different forms. On the basis of these descriptions, how can one assume that there is no living entity on the moon? Every moon is earthly, being composed of the five elements. Every planet produces different types of food according to the needs of its residents. According to the Vedic śāstras, it is not true that the moon does not produce food or that no living entity is living there.

SB 4.20.11, Translation:

Anyone who knows that this material body, made of the five gross elements, the sense organs, the working senses and the mind, is simply supervised by the fixed soul is eligible to be liberated from material bondage.

SB 4.20.12, Translation:

Lord Viṣṇu told King Pṛthu: My dear King, the constant change of this material world is due to the interaction of the three modes of material nature. The five elements, the senses, the demigods who control the senses, as well as the mind, which is agitated by the spirit soul—all these taken together comprise the body. Since the spirit soul is completely different from this combination of gross and subtle material elements, My devotee who is connected with Me in intense friendship and affection, being completely in knowledge, is never agitated by material happiness and distress.

SB 4.22.26, Translation:

Upon becoming fixed in his attachment to the Supreme Personality of Godhead by the grace of the spiritual master and by awakening knowledge and detachment, the living entity, situated within the heart of the body and covered by the five elements, burns up his material surroundings exactly as fire, arising from wood, burns the wood itself.

SB 4.22.26, Purport:

Similarly, when a living entity increases his attachment for the Supreme Personality of Godhead, he is to be considered like fire. A blazing fire is visible by its exhibition of heat and light; similarly, when the living entity within the heart becomes enlightened with full spiritual knowledge and detached from the material world, he burns up his material covering of the five elements—earth, water, fire, air and sky—and becomes free from the five kinds of material attachments, namely ignorance, false egoism, attachment to the material world, envy and absorption in material consciousness. Therefore pañcātmakam, as mentioned in this verse, refers to either the five elements or the five coverings of material contamination. When these are all burned into ashes by the blazing fire of knowledge and detachment, one is fixed firmly in the devotional service of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

SB 4.23.15, Purport:

When the spiritual spark, which is described as one ten-thousandth part of the tip of a hair, is forced into material existence, that spark is covered by gross and subtle material elements. The material body is composed of five gross elements—earth, water, fire, air and ether—and three subtle elements—mind, intelligence and ego. When one attains liberation, he is freed from these material coverings. Indeed, success in yoga involves getting free from these material coverings and entering into spiritual existence. Lord Buddha's teachings of nirvāṇa are based on this principle. Lord Buddha instructed his followers to give up these material coverings by means of meditation and yoga. Lord Buddha did not give any information about the soul, but if one follows his instructions strictly, he will ultimately become free from the material coverings and attain nirvāṇa.

SB 4.23.17, Purport:

In respect to the ego, the total material energy is sundered in two parts—one agitated by the mode of ignorance and the other agitated by the modes of passion and goodness. Due to agitation by the mode of ignorance, the five gross elements are created. Due to agitation by the mode of passion, the mind is created, and due to agitation by the mode of goodness, false egoism, or identification with matter, is created. The mind is protected by a particular type of demigod. Sometimes the mind (manaḥ) is also understood to have a controlling deity or demigod. In this way the total mind, namely the material mind controlled by material demigods, was amalgamated with the senses. The senses, in turn, were amalgamated with the sense objects. The sense objects are forms, tastes, smells, sounds, etc. Sound is the ultimate source of the sense objects. The mind was attracted by the senses and the senses by the sense objects, and all of them were ultimately amalgamated in the sky. The creation is so arranged that cause and effect follow one after the other.

SB 4.24.62, Translation:

My dear Lord, Your universal form consists of all five elements, the senses, mind, intelligence, false ego (which is material) and the Paramātmā, Your partial expansion, who is the director of everything. Yogis other than the devotees—namely the karma-yogī and jñāna-yogī—worship You by their respective actions in their respective positions. It is stated both in the Vedas and in the śāstras that are corollaries of the Vedas, and indeed everywhere, that it is only You who are to be worshiped. That is the expert version of all the Vedas.

SB 4.24.62, Purport:

Here it is clearly mentioned that the karmī, jñānī or yogī—in fact, everyone—worships Lord Viṣṇu if he is actually expert in knowledge of the Vedas and Tantras. The word kovidāḥ is very significant, for it indicates the devotees of the Lord. Only the devotees know perfectly that the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Viṣṇu, is all-pervading. Within the material energy, He is represented by the five material elements as well as the mind, intelligence and ego. He is also represented by another energy—the living entities—and all these manifestations in the spiritual and material world combined are but representations of the different energies of the Lord. The conclusion is that the Lord is one and that He is expanded in everything. This is understood by the Vedic version: sarvaṁ khalv idaṁ brahma. One who knows this concentrates all his energy in worshiping Lord Viṣṇu.

SB 4.28.23, Purport:

When the living entity is taken away or arrested by Yamarāja (tam utkrāmantam), the life air also goes with him (prāṇo 'nūtkrāmati), and when the life air is gone (prāṇam anūtkrāmantam), all the senses (sarve prāṇāḥ) also go along (anūtkrāmanti). When the living entity and the life air are gone, the lump of matter produced of five elements—earth, water, air, fire and ether—is rejected and left behind. The living entity then goes to the court of judgment, and Yamarāja decides what kind of body he is going to get next. This process is unknown to modern scientists. Every living entity is responsible for his activities in this life, and after death he is taken to the court of Yamarāja, where it is decided what kind of body he will take next. Although the gross material body is left, the living entity and his desires, as well as the resultant reactions of his past activities, go on. It is Yamarāja who decides what kind of body one gets next in accordance with one's past actions.

SB 4.28.56, Translation:

In that city (the material body) there are five gardens, nine gates, one protector, three apartments, six families, five stores, five material elements, and one woman who is lord of the house.

SB 4.28.58, Translation:

The five stores are the five working sensory organs. They transact their business through the combined forces of the five elements, which are eternal. Behind all this activity is the soul. The soul is a person and an enjoyer in reality. However, because he is now hidden within the city of the body, he is devoid of knowledge.

SB 4.28.58, Purport:

The living entity enters the material creation with the aid of the five elements—earth, water, fire, air and ether—and thus his body is formed. Although the living entity is working from within, he is nonetheless unknown. The living entity enters the material creation, but because he is bewildered by the material energy, he appears to be hidden. The bodily conception of life is prominent because of ignorance (nāvabudhyate). Intelligence is described in the feminine gender, but owing to her prominence in all activities, she is described in this verse as adhīśaḥ, the controller. The living entity lives by means of fire, water and food grains. It is through the combination of these three that the body is maintained. Consequently the body is called prakṛti, material creation. All the elements gradually combine to form flesh, bone, blood and so on. All these appear as various apartments. It is said in the Vedas that the digested foods are ultimately divided into three. The solid portion becomes stool, and the semiliquid portion turns into flesh.

SB 4.28.58, Purport:

All these appear as various apartments. It is said in the Vedas that the digested foods are ultimately divided into three. The solid portion becomes stool, and the semiliquid portion turns into flesh. The liquid portion turns yellow and is again divided into three. One of these liquid portions is called urine. Similarly, the fiery portion is divided into three, and one is called bone. Out of the five elements, fire, water and food grains are very important. These three are mentioned in the previous verse, whereas sky (ether) and air are not mentioned. This is all explained in Bhagavad-gītā (13.20):

SB Canto 5

SB 5.11.5, Translation:

Because the mind is absorbed in desires for pious and impious activities, it is naturally subjected to the transformations of lust and anger. In this way, it becomes attracted to material sense enjoyment. In other words, the mind is conducted by the modes of goodness, passion and ignorance. There are eleven senses and five material elements, and out of these sixteen items, the mind is the chief. Therefore the mind brings about birth in different types of bodies among demigods, human beings, animals and birds. When the mind is situated in a higher or lower position, it accepts a higher or lower material body.

SB 5.17.22-23, Translation:

From that Supreme Personality of Godhead appears Lord Brahmā, whose body is made from the total material energy, the reservoir of intelligence predominated by the passionate mode of material nature. From Lord Brahmā, I myself am born as a representation of false ego known as Rudra. By my own power I create all the other demigods, the five elements and the senses. Therefore, I worship the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is greater than any of us and under whose control are situated all the demigods, material elements and senses, and even Lord Brahmā and I myself, like birds bound by a rope. Only by the Lord's grace can we create, maintain and annihilate the material world. Therefore I offer my respectful obeisances unto the Supreme Being.

SB 5.17.24, Purport:

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 vā 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-pamanīṁ māyām.

SB Canto 6

SB 6.4.25, Translation:

Because they are only matter, the body, the life airs, the external and internal senses, the five gross elements and the subtle sense objects (form, taste, smell, sound and touch) cannot know their own nature, the nature of the other senses or the nature of their controllers. But the living being, because of his spiritual nature, can know his body, the life airs, the senses, the elements and the sense objects, and he can also know the three qualities that form their roots. Nevertheless, although the living being is completely aware of them, he is unable to see the Supreme Being, who is omniscient and unlimited. I therefore offer my respectful obeisances unto Him.

SB 6.4.27-28, Translation:

Just as great learned brāhmaṇas who are expert in performing ritualistic ceremonies and sacrifices can extract the fire dormant within wooden fuel by chanting the fifteen Sāmidhenī mantras, thus proving the efficacy of the Vedic mantras, so those who are actually advanced in consciousness—in other words, those who are Kṛṣṇa conscious—can find the Supersoul, who by His own spiritual potency is situated within the heart. The heart is covered by the three modes of material nature and the nine material elements (material nature, the total material energy, the ego, the mind and the five objects of sense gratification), and also by the five material elements and the ten senses. These twenty-seven elements constitute the external energy of the Lord. Great yogīs meditate upon the Lord, who is situated as the Supersoul, Paramātmā, within the core of the heart. May that Supersoul be pleased with me. The Supersoul is realized when one is eager for liberation from the unlimited varieties of material life. One actually attains such liberation when he engages in the transcendental loving service of the Lord and realizes the Lord because of his attitude of service. The Lord may be addressed by various spiritual names, which are inconceivable to the material senses. When will that Supreme Personality of Godhead be pleased with me?

SB 6.5.17, Translation:

(Nārada Muni had said that there is a house made of twenty-five elements. The Haryaśvas understood this analogy.) The Supreme Lord is the reservoir of the twenty-five elements, and as the Supreme Being, the conductor of cause and effect, He causes their manifestation. If one engages in temporary fruitive activities, not knowing that Supreme Person, what benefit will he derive?

SB 6.9.21, Translation:

The demigods said: The three worlds are created by the five elements—namely ether, air, fire, water and earth—which are controlled by various demigods, beginning from Lord Brahmā. Being very much afraid that the time factor will end our existence, we offer presentations unto time by performing our work as time dictates. The time factor himself, however, is afraid of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Therefore let us now worship that Supreme Lord, who alone can give us full protection.

SB 6.10 Summary:

Dadhīci Muni, just to hear from the demigods about the principles of religion, jokingly refused to relinquish his body, but for higher purposes he thereafter agreed to give it up, for after death the body is usually eaten by low animals like dogs and jackals. Dadhīci Muni first merged his gross body made of five elements into the original stock of five elements and then engaged his soul at the lotus feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Thus he gave up his gross body. With the help of Viśvakarmā, the demigods then prepared a thunderbolt from Dadhīci's bones. Armed with the thunderbolt weapon, they prepared themselves to fight and got up on the backs of elephants.

SB 6.10.11, Translation:

Śrī Śukadeva Gosvāmī said: Dadhīci Muni, the son of Atharvā, thus resolved to give his body to the service of the demigods. He placed himself, the spirit soul, at the lotus feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and in this way gave up his gross material body made of five elements.

SB 6.10.11, Purport:

As indicated by the words pare bhagavati brahmaṇy ātmānaṁ sannayan, Dadhīci placed himself, as spirit soul, at the lotus feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In this regard, one may refer to the incident of Dhṛtarāṣṭra's leaving his body, as described in the First Canto of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (1.13.55). Dhṛtarāṣṭra analytically divided his gross material body into the five different elements of which it was made—earth, water, fire, air and ether—and distributed them to the different reservoirs of these elements; in other words, he merged these five elements into the original mahat-tattva. By identifying his material conception of life, he gradually separated his spirit soul from material connections and placed himself at the lotus feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The example given in this connection is that when an earthen pot is broken, the small portion of the sky within the pot is united with the large sky outside the pot. Māyāvādī philosophers misunderstand this description of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam.

SB 6.12.11, Translation:

The three puruṣas—Kāraṇodakaśāyī Viṣṇu, Garbhodakaśāyī Viṣṇu and Kṣīrodakaśāyī-Viṣṇu—the material nature, the total material energy, the false ego, the five material elements, the material senses, the mind, the intelligence and consciousness cannot create the material manifestation without the direction of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

SB 6.15.25, Purport:

As already discussed in the previous verse, the entire material creation is based on mental concoction. The mind sometimes induces us to think that if we purchase an automobile we can enjoy the physical elements, such as earth, water, air and fire, combined in forms of iron, plastic, petrol and so on. Working with the five material elements (pañca-bhūtas), as well as with our five knowledge-gathering senses like the eyes, ears and tongue and our five active senses like the hands and legs, we become involved in the material condition. Thus we are subjected to the tribulations known as adhyātmika, adhidaivika and adhibhautika. The mind is the center because the mind creates all these things. As soon as the material object is struck, however, the mind is affected, and we suffer.

SB 6.16.4, Purport:

Here it is made clear that the living being enters a material body that is like a machine created by the five gross elements of material nature (earth, water, fire, air and sky) and the three subtle elements (mind, intelligence and ego). As confirmed in Bhagavad-gītā, there are two separate identities, called the inferior and superior natures, which both belong to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. According to the results of a living entity's fruitive actions, he is forced to enter the material elements in different types of bodies.

SB Canto 7

SB 7.2.46, Translation:

The five material elements, the ten senses and the mind all combine to form the various parts of the gross and subtle bodies. The living entity comes in contact with his material bodies, whether high or low, and later gives them up by his personal prowess. This strength can be perceived in a living entity's personal power to possess different types of bodies.

SB 7.7.23, Translation:

There are two kinds of bodies for every individual soul—a gross body made of five gross elements and a subtle body made of three subtle elements. Within these bodies, however, is the spirit soul. One must find the soul by analysis, saying, "This is not it. This is not it." Thus one must separate spirit from matter.

SB 7.8.52, Translation:

The inhabitants of Yakṣaloka prayed: O controller of the twenty-four elements, we are considered the best servants of Your Lordship because of rendering services pleasing to You, yet we engaged as palanquin carriers by the order of Hiraṇyakaśipu, the son of Diti. O Lord in the form of Nṛsiṁha-deva, You know how this demon gave trouble to everyone, but now You have killed him, and his body is mixing with the five material elements.

SB 7.8.52, Purport:

The Supreme Lord is the controller of the ten senses, the five material elements, the five sense objects, the mind, the intelligence, the false ego and the soul. Therefore He is addressed as pañca-viṁśa, the twenty-fifth element. The inhabitants of the Yakṣa planet are supposed to be the best of all servants, but Hiraṇyakaśipu engaged them as palanquin carriers. The entire universe was in trouble because of Hiraṇyakaśipu, but now that Hiraṇyakaśipu's body was mixing with the five material elements—earth, water, fire, air and sky—everyone felt relief. Upon Hiraṇyakaśipu's death, the Yakṣas were reinstated in their original service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Thus they felt obliged to the Lord and offered their prayers.

SB 7.9.21, Purport:

Therefore, in the beginning the living entity wanted to enjoy the material energy, and to give the living entity all facility, Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, created this material world and gave the living entity the facility to concoct different ideas and plans through the mind. These facilities offered by the Lord to the living entity constitute the sixteen kinds of perverted support in terms of the knowledge-gathering senses, the working senses, the mind and the five material elements. The wheel of repeated birth and death is created by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, but to direct the bewildered living entity in progress toward liberation according to varied stages of advancement, different directions are given in the Vedas (chandomayam). If one wants to be elevated to the higher planetary systems, he may follow the Vedic directions. As the Lord states in Bhagavad-gītā (9.25):

SB 7.9.49, Translation:

Neither the three modes of material nature (sattva-guṇa, rajo-guṇa and tamo-guṇa), nor the predominating deities controlling these three modes, nor the five gross elements, nor the mind, nor the demigods nor the human beings can understand Your Lordship, for they are all subjected to birth and annihilation. Considering this, the spiritually advanced have taken to devotional service. Such wise men hardly bother with Vedic study. Instead, they engage themselves in practical devotional service.

SB 7.12.24, Translation:

He should properly place the fire element in his own self and in this way give up bodily affinity, by which one thinks the body to be one's self or one's own. One should gradually merge the material body into the five elements (earth, water, fire, air and sky).

SB 7.12.24, Purport:

The body is an effect of a cause, namely the five material elements (earth, water, fire, air and sky). In other words, one should know perfectly well that the material body is nothing but a combination of the five elements. This knowledge constitutes merging of the material body and the five material elements. Merging into Brahman in perfect knowledge means understanding perfectly that one is not the body but a spiritual soul.

SB 7.15.59, Purport:

In this world there are five elements—namely earth, water, fire, air and ether—but the body is not a reflection of them, nor a combination or transformation of them. Because the body and its ingredients are neither distinct nor amalgamated, all such theories are insubstantial.

SB 7.15.60, Translation:

Because the body is formed of the five elements, it cannot exist without the subtle sense objects. Therefore, since the body is false, the sense objects are also naturally false or temporary.

SB Canto 8

SB 8.1.10, Purport:

We have a tendency to manufacture many things. Especially nowadays, we are building skyscrapers and developing other material facilities. We should know, however, that the ingredients of the skyscrapers and machines cannot be manufactured by anyone but the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The whole world is nothing but a combination of the five material elements (tejo-vāri-mṛdāṁ yathā vinimayaḥ). A skyscraper is a transformation of earth, water and fire. Earth and water are combined and burnt into bricks by fire, and a skyscraper is essentially a tall construction of bricks. Although the bricks may be manufactured by man, the ingredients of the bricks are not. Of course, man, as a manufacturer, may accept a salary from the Supreme Personality of Godhead. That is stated here: tena tyaktena bhuñjīthāḥ (ISO 1). One may construct a big skyscraper, but neither the constructor, the merchant nor the worker can claim proprietorship. Proprietorship belongs to the person who has spent for the building.

SB 8.5.32, Purport:

The word mahī refers to the five material elements—earth, water, air, fire and sky—which rest upon the lotus feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Mahat-padaṁ puṇya-yaśo murāreḥ. The mahat-tattva, the total material energy, rests on His lotus feet, for the cosmic manifestation is but another opulence of the Lord. In this cosmic manifestation there are four kinds of living entities—jarāyu ja (those born from embryos), aṇḍa ja (those born from eggs), sveda ja (those born from perspiration), and udbhijja (those born from seeds). Everything is generated from the Lord, as confirmed in the Vedānta-sūtra (janmādy asya yataḥ (SB 1.1.1)). No one is independent, but the Supreme Soul is completely independent.

SB 8.5.43, Translation:

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.

SB 8.7.25, Translation:

O lord, you are the original source of Vedic literature. You are the original cause of material creation, the life force, the senses, the five elements, the three modes and the mahat-tattva. You are eternal time, determination and the two religious systems called truth (satya) and truthfulness (ṛta). You are the shelter of the syllable oṁ, which consists of three letters a-u-m.

SB 8.16.19, Translation:

Kaśyapa Muni continued: What is this material body, made of five elements? It is different from the spirit soul. Indeed, the spirit soul is completely different from the material elements from which the body is made. But because of bodily attachment, one is regarded as a husband or son. These illusory relationships are caused by misunderstanding.

SB 8.16.19, Purport:

The spirit soul (ātmā or jīva) is certainly different from the body, which is a combination of five material elements. This is a simple fact, but it is not understood unless one is spiritually educated. Kaśyapa Muni met his wife, Aditi, in the heavenly planets, but the same misconception extends throughout the entire universe and is also here on earth. There are different grades of living entities, but all of them are more or less under the impression of the bodily conception of life. In other words, all living entities in this material world are more or less devoid of spiritual education. The Vedic civilization, however, is based on spiritual education, and spiritual education is the special basis on which Bhagavad-gītā was spoken to Arjuna. In the beginning of Bhagavad-gītā, Kṛṣṇa instructed Arjuna to understand that the spirit soul is different from the body.

SB 8.16.30, Purport:

Catur-viṁśad-guṇa, the twenty-four elements, are the five gross elements (earth, water, fire, air and ether), the three subtle elements (mind, intelligence and false ego), the ten senses (five for working and five for acquiring knowledge), the five sense objects, and contaminated consciousness. These are the subject matter of sāṅkhya-yoga, which was inaugurated by Lord Kapiladeva. This sāṅkhya-yoga was again propounded by another Kapila, but he was an atheist, and his system is not accepted as bona fide.

SB 8.20.34, Purport:

When the Lord's footstep exceeded the height of all the lokas, including Maharloka, Janaloka, Tapoloka and Satyaloka, His nails certainly pierced the covering of the universe. The universe is covered by the five material elements (bhūmir āpo 'nalo vāyuḥ kham (BG 7.4)). As stated in the śāstra, these elements are in layers, each ten times thicker than the previous one. Nonetheless, the nails of the Lord pierced through all these layers and made a hole penetrating into the spiritual world. From this hole, the water of the Ganges infiltrated into this material world, and therefore it is said, pada-nakha-nīra janita jana-pāvana (Daśāvatāra-stotra 5). Because the Lord kicked a hole in the covering of the universe, the water of the Ganges came into this material world to deliver all the fallen souls.

SB Canto 9

SB 9.13.11, Purport:

There are two kinds of spiritual bodies, as generally understood by common men. The term "spiritual body" is sometimes taken to refer to a ghostly body. An impious man who dies after sinful activities is sometimes condemned so that he cannot possess a gross material body of five material elements, but must live in a subtle body of mind, intelligence and ego. However, as explained in Bhagavad-gītā, devotees can give up the material body and attain a spiritual body free from all material tinges, gross and subtle (tyaktvā dehaṁ punar janma naiti mām eti so 'rjuna (BG 4.9)). Thus the demigods gave King Nimi the benediction that he would be able to stay in a purely spiritual body, free from all gross and subtle material contamination.

SB Canto 10.1 to 10.13

SB 10.1.39, Translation:

When the present body turns to dust and is again reduced to five elements—earth, water, fire, air and ether—the proprietor of the body, the living being, automatically receives another body of material elements according to his fruitive activities. When the next body is obtained, he gives up the present body.

SB 10.1.41, Purport:

Transmigration of the soul is very clearly explained in this verse. One sometimes forgets his present body and thinks of his childhood body, a body of the past, and of how one was playing, jumping, talking and so on. When the material body is no long workable, it becomes dust: "For dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return." But when the body again mixes with the five material elements—earth, water, fire, air and ether—the mind continues to work. The mind is the subtle substance in which the body is created, as we actually experience in our dreams and also when we are awake in contemplation. One must understand that the process of mental speculation develops a new type of body that does not actually exist. If one can understand the nature of the mind (manorathena) and its thinking, feeling and willing, one can very easily understand how from the mind different types of bodies develop.

SB 10.2.27, Purport:

This material world is composed of five principal elements—earth, water, fire, air and ether—all of which are emanations from Kṛṣṇa. Although materialistic scientists may accept these five primary elements as the cause of the material manifestation, these elements in their gross and subtle states are produced by Kṛṣṇa, whose marginal potency also produces the living entities working within this material world. The Seventh Chapter of Bhagavad-gītā clearly states that the entire cosmic manifestation is a combination of two of Kṛṣṇa's energies—the superior energy and the inferior energy. The living entities are the superior energy, and the inanimate material elements are His inferior energy. In the dormant stage, everything rests in Kṛṣṇa.

SB 10.3.15-17, Purport:

Therefore Your entrance into the womb of Devakī is understandable in the same way. You appear to have entered, but You are simultaneously all-pervading. We can understand Your entrance and nonentrance from material examples. The total material energy remains intact even after being divided into sixteen elements. The material body is nothing but a combination of the five gross elements—namely earth, water, fire, air and ether. Whenever there is a material body, it appears that such elements are newly created, but actually the elements are always existing outside of the body. Similarly, although You appear as a child in the womb of Devakī, You are also existing outside. You are always in Your abode, but still You can simultaneously expand Yourself into millions of forms.

SB 10.3.25, Translation:

After millions of years, at the time of cosmic annihilation, when everything, manifested and unmanifested, is annihilated by the force of time, the five gross elements enter into the subtle conception, and the manifested categories enter into the unmanifested substance. At that time, You alone remain, and You are known as Ananta Śeṣa-nāga.

SB 10.3.25, Purport:

At the time of annihilation, the five gross elements—earth, water, fire, air and ether—enter into the mind, intelligence and false ego (ahaṅkāra), and the entire cosmic manifestation enters into the spiritual energy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who alone remains as the origin of everything. The Lord is therefore known as Śeṣa-nāga, as Ādi-puruṣa and by many other names.

SB 10.3.25, Purport:

Devakī therefore prayed, "After many millions of years, when Lord Brahmā comes to the end of his life, the annihilation of the cosmic manifestation takes place. At that time the five elements—namely earth, water, fire, air and ether—enter into the mahat-tattva. The mahat-tattva again enters, by the force of time, into the nonmanifested total material energy, the total material energy enters into the energetic pradhāna, and the pradhāna enters into You. Therefore after the annihilation of the whole cosmic manifestation, You alone remain with Your transcendental name, form, quality and paraphernalia.

SB 10.4.19, Purport:

Even after the annihilation of a particular bodily form, the original source of the bodily elements does not change. The living entity enjoys the material body, which appears and disappears, but the five elements earth, water, fire, air and ether remain the same. The example given here is that pots and dolls are produced from the earth, and when broken or destroyed they mingle with their original ingredients. In any case, the source of supply remains the same.

As already discussed, the body is made according to the desires of the soul. The soul desires, and thus the body is formed. Kṛṣṇa therefore says in Bhagavad-gītā (18.61):

SB Cantos 10.14 to 12 (Translations Only)

SB 11.4.3, Translation:

When the primeval Lord Nārāyaṇa created His universal body out of the five elements produced from Himself and then entered within that universal body by His own plenary portion, He thus became known as the Puruṣa.

SB 11.13.23, Translation:

If by asking Me "Who are You?" you were referring to the material body, then I must point out that all material bodies are constituted of five elements, namely earth, water, fire, air and ether. Thus, you should have asked, "Who are you five?" If you consider that all material bodies are ultimately one, being constituted essentially of the same elements, then your question is still meaningless, since there would be no deep purpose in distinguishing one body from another. Thus, it appears that in asking My identity, you are merely speaking words, without any real meaning or purpose.

SB 11.21.5, Translation:

Earth, water, fire, air and ether are the five basic elements that constitute the bodies of all conditioned souls, from Lord Brahmā himself down to the nonmoving creatures. These elements all emanate from the one Personality of Godhead.

SB 11.21.6, Translation:

My dear Uddhava, although all material bodies are composed of the same five elements and are thus equal, the Vedic literatures conceive of different names and forms in relation to such bodies so that the living entities may achieve their goal of life.

SB 11.22.1-3, Translation:

Uddhava inquired: My dear Lord, O master of the universe, how many different elements of creation have been enumerated by the great sages? I have heard You personally describe a total of twenty-eight—God, the jīva soul, the mahat-tattva, false ego, the five gross elements, the ten senses, the mind, the five subtle objects of perception and the three modes of nature. But some authorities say that there are twenty-six elements, while others cite twenty-five or else seven, nine, six, four or eleven, and even others say that there are seventeen, sixteen or thirteen. What did each of these sages have in mind when he calculated the creative elements in such different ways? O supreme eternal, kindly explain this to me.

SB 11.22.20, Translation:

Other philosophers state that there are six elements—the five physical elements (earth, water, fire, air and ether) and the sixth element, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. That Supreme Lord, endowed with the elements that He has brought forth from Himself, creates this universe and then personally enters within it.

SB 11.22.22, Translation:

Some calculate the existence of seventeen basic elements, namely the five gross elements, the five objects of perception, the five sensory organs, the mind, and the soul as the seventeenth element.

SB 11.22.23, Translation:

According to the calculation of sixteen elements, the only difference from the previous theory is that the soul is identified with the mind. If we think in terms of five physical elements, five senses, the mind, the individual soul and the Supreme Lord, there are thirteen elements.

SB 11.24.21, Translation:

I am the basis of the universal form, which displays endless variety through the repeated creation, maintenance and destruction of the planetary systems. Originally containing within itself all planets in their dormant state, My universal form manifests the varieties of created existence by arranging the coordinated combination of the five elements.

SB 11.28.37, Translation:

The duality of the five material elements is perceived only in terms of names and forms. Those who say this duality is real are pseudoscholars vainly proposing fanciful theories without basis in fact.

SB 12.5.4, Translation:

In a dream one can see his own head being cut off and thus understand that his actual self is standing apart from the dream experience. Similarly, while awake one can see that his body is a product of the five material elements. Therefore it is to be understood that the actual self, the soul, is distinct from the body it observes and is unborn and immortal.

Page Title:Five elements (BG and SB)
Compiler:Visnu Murti, RupaManjari
Created:13 of Jun, 2012
Totals by Section:BG=6, SB=104, CC=0, OB=0, Lec=0, Con=0, Let=0
No. of Quotes:110