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Skin (BG and SB)
Bhagavad-gita As It Is
BG Chapters 1 - 6
My whole body is trembling, my hair is standing on end, my bow Gāṇḍīva is slipping from my hand, and my skin is burning.
There are two kinds of trembling of the body, and two kinds of standings of the hair on end. Such phenomena occur either in great spiritual ecstasy or out of great fear under material conditions. There is no fear in transcendental realization. Arjuna's symptoms in this situation are out of material fear-namely, loss of life. This is evident from other symptoms also; he became so impatient that his famous bow Gāṇḍīva was slipping from his hands, and, because his heart was burning within him, he was feeling a burning sensation of the skin. All these are due to a material conception of life.
The kṛpaṇas, or miserly persons, waste their time in being overly affectionate for family, society, country, etc., in the material conception of life. One is often attached to family life, namely to wife, children and other members, on the basis of "skin disease." The kṛpaṇa thinks that he is able to protect his family members from death; or the kṛpaṇa thinks that his family or society can save him from the verge of death. Such family attachment can be found even in the lower animals, who take care of children also.
BG Chapters 13 - 18
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. 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.
SB Canto 1
There are three puruṣa features who effect the material creation, and this form, who is known as the Kāraṇodakaśāyī Viṣṇu, is the first of the three. The others are known as the Garbhodakaśāyī Viṣṇu and the Kṣīrodakaśāyī Viṣṇu, which we shall know one after another. The innumerable universes are generated from the skin holes of this Kāraṇodakaśāyī Viṣṇu, and in each one of the universes the Lord enters as Garbhodakaśāyī Viṣṇu.
The first puruṣa is the Kāraṇodakaśāyī Viṣṇu. From His skin holes innumerable universes have sprung up. In each and every universe, the puruṣa enters as the Garbhodakaśāyī Viṣṇu. He is lying within the half of the universe which is full with the water of His body. And from the navel of Garbhodakaśāyī Viṣṇu has sprung the stem of the lotus flower, the birthplace of Brahmā, who is the father of all living beings and the master of all the demigod engineers engaged in the perfect design and working of the universal order. Within the stem of the lotus there are fourteen divisions of planetary systems, and the earthly planets are situated in the middle. Upwards there are other, better planetary systems, and the topmost system is called Brahmaloka or Satyaloka. Downwards from the earthly planetary system there are seven lower planetary systems inhabited by the asuras and similar other materialistic living beings.
Relations of the soul, established in relation with the Supreme Soul, are factual relations. When Kuntīdevī wanted to cut off the family relation, she meant to cut off the relation of the skin. The skin relation is the cause of material bondage, but the relation of the soul is the cause of freedom. This relation of the soul to the soul can be established by the via medium of the relation with the Supersoul. Seeing in the darkness is not seeing. But seeing by the light of the sun means to see the sun and everything else which was unseen in the darkness. That is the way of devotional service.
The Lord was perfectly happy with the wounds caused by the sharpened arrows of Bhīṣmadeva. The word vibhidyamāna is significant because the Lord's skin is not different from the Lord. Because our skin is different from our soul, in our case the word vibhidyamāna, or being bruised and cut, would have been quite suitable. Transcendental bliss is of different varieties, and the variety of activities in the mundane world is but a perverted reflection of transcendental bliss.
The sage, in meditation, was covered by the skin of a stag, and long, compressed hair was scattered all over him. The King, whose palate was dry from thirst, asked him for water.
SB Canto 2
By further transformation of the mode of passion, the sense organs like the ear, skin, nose, eyes, tongue, mouth, hands, genitals, legs, and the outlet for evacuating, together with intelligence and living energy, are all generated.
Lord Brahmā said: The mouth of the virāṭ-puruṣa (the universal form of the Lord) is the generating center of the voice, and the controlling deity is fire. His skin and six other layers are the generating centers of the Vedic hymns, and His tongue is the productive center of different foodstuffs and delicacies for offering to the demigods, the forefathers and the general mass of people.
The opulences of the universal form of the Lord are described herein. It is said that His mouth is the generating center of all kinds of voices, and its controlling deity is the fire demigod. And His skin and other six layers of bodily construction are the representative generating centers of the seven kinds of Vedic hymns, like the Gāyatrī. Gāyatrī is the beginning of all Vedic mantras, and it is explained in the first volume of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. Since the generating centers are the different parts of the universal form of the Lord, and since the form of the Lord is transcendental to the material creation, it is to be understood that the voice, the tongue, the skin, etc., suggest that the Lord in His transcendental form is not without them. The material voice, or the energy of taking in foodstuff, is generated originally from the Lord; such actions are but perverted reflections of the original reservoirs—the transcendental situation is not without spiritual variegatedness. In the spiritual world, all the perverted forms of material variegatedness are fully represented in their original spiritual identity.
His bodily surface is the breeding ground for the active principles of everything and for all kinds of auspicious opportunities. His skin, like the moving air, is the generating center for all kinds of sense of touch and is the place for performing all kinds of sacrifice.
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 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.
When there was a desire to perceive the physical characteristics of matter, such as softness, hardness, warmth, cold, lightness and heaviness, the background of sensation, the skin, the skin pores, the hairs on the body and their controlling deities (the trees) were generated. Within and outside the skin is a covering of air through which sense perception became prominent.
The physical characteristics of matter, such as softness, are subjects of sense perception, and thus physical knowledge is the subject matter of the touch sensation. One can measure the temperature of matter by touching with the hand, and one can measure the weight of an object by lifting it with the hand and thus estimate its heaviness or lightness. The skin, the skin pores and the hairs on the body are all interdependent with the touch sensation. The air blowing within and outside the skin is also an object of sense perception. This sense perception is also a source of knowledge, and therefore it is suggested here that physical or physiological knowledge is subordinate to the knowledge of the Self, as above mentioned. Knowledge of Self can expand to the knowledge of phenomena, but physical knowledge cannot lead to knowledge of the Self.
There is, however, an intimate relation between the hairs on the body and the vegetation on the body of the earth. The vegetables are nourishment for the skin both as food and medicine, as stated in the Third Canto: tvacam asya vinirbhinnāṁ viviśur dhiṣṇyam oṣadhīḥ.
The seven elements of the body, namely the thin layer on the skin, the skin itself, the flesh, blood, fat, marrow and bone, are all made of earth, water and fire, whereas the life breath is produced by the sky, water and air.
The construction of the whole material world is prominently made by three elements, namely earth, water and fire. But the living force is produced by sky, air and water. 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
The brāhmaṇas were not only given well-fed cows in charity, but also gold, gold coins, bedding, clothing, animal-skin seats, blankets, horses, elephants, girls and sufficient land for maintenance.
The ingredients of matter are counted as twenty-three: the total material energy, false ego, sound, touch, form, taste, smell, earth, water, fire, air, sky, eye, ear, nose, tongue, skin, hand, leg, evacuating organ, genitals, speech and mind. All are combined together by the influence of time and are again dissolved in the course of time. Time, therefore, is the energy of the Lord and acts in her own way by the direction of the Lord. This energy is called Kālī and is represented by the dark destructive goddess generally worshiped by persons influenced by the mode of darkness or ignorance in material existence.
When there was a manifestation of skin separated from the gigantic form, Anila, the deity directing the wind, entered with partial touch, and thus the living entities can realize tactile knowledge.
When there was a separate manifestation of skin, the controlling deities of sensations and their different parts entered into it, and thus the living entities feel itching and happiness due to touch.
For sense perception there are two principal items, touch and itching, and both of them are controlled by the skin and hairs on the body. According to Śrī Viśvanātha Cakravartī, the controlling deity of touch is the air passing within the body, and the controlling deity of the hairs on the body is Oṣadhya. For the skin the object of perception is touch, and for the hairs on the body the object of perception is itching.
Thereafter the art of literary expression, uṣṇik, was generated from the hairs on the body of the almighty Prajāpati. The principal Vedic hymn, gāyatrī, was generated from the skin, triṣṭup from the flesh, anuṣṭup from the veins, and jagatī from the bones of the lord of the living entities.
O Lord, Your form is worshipable by performances of sacrifice, but souls who are simply miscreants are unable to see it. All the Vedic hymns, Gāyatrī and others, are in the touch of Your skin. In Your bodily hairs is the kuśa grass, in Your eyes is the clarified butter, and in Your four legs are the four kinds of fruitive activities.
Lord Boar's skin, His eyes and His bodily hair holes are all described here as different parts of the Vedas. He is therefore the personified form of the Vedic hymns, and specifically the Gāyatrī mantra.
O Lord, Your semen is the sacrifice called soma-yajña. Your growth is the ritualistic performances of the morning. Your skin and touch sensations are the seven elements of the agniṣṭoma sacrifice. Your bodily joints are symbols of various other sacrifices performed in twelve days. Therefore You are the object of all sacrifices called soma and asoma, and You are bound by yajñas only.
A wrong act committed by a servant leads people in general to blame his master, just as a spot of white leprosy on any part of the body pollutes all of the skin.
The primordial matter, or prakṛti, material nature, consisting of three modes, generates four groups of five. The first group is called elementary and consists of earth, water, fire, air and ether. 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.
The mentality of the demons in being enamored by the false beauty of this material world is expressed herein. The demoniac can pay any price for the skin beauty of this material world. They work very hard all day and night, but the purpose of their hard work is to enjoy sex life. Sometimes they misrepresent themselves as karma-yogīs, not knowing the meaning of the word yoga.
Then the universal form of the Lord, the virāṭ-puruṣa, manifested His skin, and thereupon the hair, mustache and beard appeared. After this all the herbs and drugs became manifested, and then His genitals also appeared.
The skin is the site of the touch sensation. The demigods who control the production of herbs and medicinal drugs are the deities presiding over the tactile sense.
The predominating deities of the skin, herbs and seasoning plants entered the skin of the virāṭ-puruṣa with the hair of the body, but the Cosmic Being refused to get up even then. The god predominating over water entered His organ of generation with the faculty of procreation, but the virāṭ-puruṣa still would not rise.
The labor of speculation is ended only by exhaustion. The example is given that there is no benefit in husking the skin of an empty paddy; the rice is already gone. Similarly, simply by the speculative process one cannot be freed from material bondage, for the cause still exists. One has to nullify the cause, and then the effect will be nullified. This is explained by the Supreme Personality of Godhead in the following verses.
In the course of a month, a head is formed, and at the end of two months the hands, feet and other limbs take shape. By the end of three months, the nails, fingers, toes, body hair, bones and skin appear, as do the organ of generation and the other apertures in the body, namely the eyes, nostrils, ears, mouth and anus.
In his helpless condition, gnats, mosquitoes, bugs and other germs bite the baby, whose skin is tender, just as smaller worms bite a big worm. The child, deprived of his wisdom, cries bitterly.
SB Canto 4
She then reached her father's house, where the sacrifice was being performed, and entered the arena where everyone was chanting the Vedic hymns. The great sages, brāhmaṇas and demigods were all assembled there, and there were many sacrificial animals, as well as pots made of clay, stone, gold, grass and skin, which were all requisite for the sacrifice.
He tried to cut the head of Dakṣa with hymns as well as weapons, but still it was hard to cut even the surface of the skin of Dakṣa's head. Thus Vīrabhadra was exceedingly bewildered.
Persons who worship You simply for the sense gratification of this bag of skin are certainly influenced by Your illusory energy. In spite of having You, who are like a desire tree and are the cause of liberation from birth and death, foolish persons, such as me, desire benedictions from You for sense gratification, which is available even for those who live in hellish conditions.
Dhruva Mahārāja repented because he had come to the Lord to render devotional service for material profit. He here condemns his attitude. Only due to gross lack of knowledge does one worship the Lord for material profit or for sense gratification. The Lord is like a desire tree. Anyone can have whatever he desires from the Lord, but people in general do not know what kind of benediction they should ask from Him. Happiness derived from the touch of skin, or sensuous happiness, is present in the life of hogs and dogs. Such happiness is very insignificant. If a devotee worships the Lord for such insignificant happiness, he must be considered devoid of all knowledge.
It is said in the śāstras that the head of the body represents the brāhmaṇas, the arms represent the kṣatriyas, the abdomen represents the vaiśyas, and the legs, beginning with the thighs, represent the śūdras. The śūdras are sometimes called black, or kṛṣṇa. The brāhmaṇas are called śukla, or white, and the kṣatriyas and the vaiśyas are a mixture of black and white. However, those who are extraordinarily white are said to have skin produced out of white leprosy. It may be concluded that white or a golden hue is the color of the higher caste, and black is the complexion of the śūdras.
The chest of Mahārāja Pṛthu was very broad, his waist was very thick, and his abdomen, wrinkled by lines of skin, resembled in construction a leaf of a banyan tree. His navel was coiled and deep, his thighs were of a golden hue, and his instep was arched.
The word vibudhānugaiḥ indicates that Lord Śiva is always accompanied by the denizens of the higher planets known as Gandharvas and Kinnaras. They are very expert in musical science, and Lord Śiva is worshiped by them constantly. In pictures, Lord Śiva is generally painted white, but here we find that the color of his skin is not exactly white but like molten gold, or a glowing yellowish color. Because Lord Śiva is always very, very merciful, his name is Āśutoṣa. Amongst all the demigods, Lord Śiva can be pacified even by the lowest class of men, who need only offer him obeisances and leaves of a bael tree. Thus his name is Āśutoṣa, which means that he is pleased very quickly.
The body is protected by walls of skin. The hairs on the body are compared to parks, and the highest parts of the body, like the nose and head, are compared to towers. The wrinkles and depressions on different parts of the body are compared to trenches or canals, the eyes are compared to windows, and the eyelids are compared to protective gates. The three types of metal—gold, silver and iron—represent the three modes of material nature. Gold represents goodness; silver, passion; and iron, ignorance. The body is also sometimes considered to be a bag containing three elements (tri-dhātu): mucus, bile and air (kapha, pitta and vāyu). Yasyātma-buddhiḥ kuṇape tri-dhātuke. According to Bhāgavatam (10.84.13), one who considers this bag of mucus, bile and air to be the self is considered no better than a cow or an ass.
The word pañca means "five," and this indicates the objects of the five senses. The body has five working senses, namely the hands, the legs, the tongue, the rectum and the genitals. By taking full advantage of these working senses, the body enjoys material life. The chariot is driven by five horses, which represent the five sense organs—namely the eyes, ears, nose, skin and tongue. These sense organs are very easily attracted by the sense objects. Consequently, the horses are described as moving swiftly. On the chariot King Purañjana kept two explosive weapons, which may be compared to ahaṅkāra, or false ego. This false ego is typified by two attitudes: "I am this body" (ahantā), and "Everything in my bodily relationships belongs to me" (mamatā).
The body itself is covered by seven coverings, namely skin, muscle, fat, blood, marrow, bone and semen. The living entity is covered by three subtle material elements and five gross material elements. These are actually obstacles placed before the living entity on the path of liberation from material bondage.
There are many parts of the body—the senses, the limbs, the skin, the muscles, blood, marrow, etc.—and all these are considered here figuratively as sons, grandsons, citizens and dependents. When the body is attacked by the viṣṇu-jvāra, the fiery condition becomes so acute that sometimes one remains in a coma. This means that the body is in such severe pain that one becomes unconscious and cannot feel the miseries taking place within the body. Indeed, the living entity becomes so helpless at the time of death that, although unwilling, he is forced to give up the body and enter another.
SB Canto 5
Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu had a very sincere devotee whose name was Kholāvecā Śrīdhara and whose only business was to sell pots made of the skin of banana trees. Whatever income he had, he used fifty percent for the worship of mother Ganges, and with the other fifty percent he provided for his necessities. On the whole, he was so very poor that he lived in a cottage that had a broken roof with many holes in it. He could not afford brass utensils, and therefore he drank water from an iron pot. Nevertheless, he was a great devotee of Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu.
My dear King, a person who in the absence of an emergency robs a brāhmaṇa—or, indeed, anyone else—of his gems and gold is put into a hell known as Sandaṁśa. There his skin is torn and separated by red-hot iron balls and tongs. In this way, his entire body is cut to pieces.
SB Canto 7
As Bhagavad-gītā informs us, one can understand how one is saturated with sattva-guṇa, rajo-guṇa or tamo-guṇa. In the examples given herewith, fire represents the mode of goodness. One can understand the constitution of a container for wood, petrol or other inflammable substances by the quantity of the fire. Similarly, water represents rajo-guṇa, the mode of passion. A small skin and the vast Atlantic Ocean both contain water, and by seeing the quantity of water in a container one can understand the size of the container. The sky represents the mode of ignorance. The sky is present in a small earthen pot and also in outer space. Thus by proper judgment one can see who is a devatā, or demigod, and who is an asura, Yakṣa or Rākṣasa according to the quantities of sattva-guṇa, rajo-guṇa and tamo-guṇa.
Lord Brahmā, who is carried by a swan airplane, at first could not see where Hiraṇyakaśipu was, for Hiraṇyakaśipu's body was covered by an anthill and by grass and bamboo sticks. Because Hiraṇyakaśipu had been there for a long time, the ants had devoured his skin, fat, flesh and blood. Then Lord Brahmā and the demigods spotted him, resembling a cloud—covered sun, heating all the world by his austerity. Struck with wonder, Lord Brahmā began to smile and then addressed him as follows.
The living entity can live merely by his own power, without the help of skin, marrow, bone, blood and so on, because it is said, asaṅgo'yaṁ puruṣaḥ—the living entity has nothing to do with the material covering. Hiraṇyakaśipu performed a severe type of tapasya, austerity, for many long years. Indeed, it is said that he performed the tapasya for one hundred heavenly years. Since one day of the demigods equals six of our months, certainly this was a very long time.
It appears that the soul can exist even through the bones, as shown by the personal example of Hiraṇyakaśipu. When great yogīs are in samādhi, even when their bodies are buried and their skin, marrow, blood and so on have all been eaten, if only their bones remain they can exist in a transcendental position.
Murderers of brāhmaṇas are later afflicted by tuberculosis, drunkards become toothless, those who have stolen gold are afflicted by diseased nails, and sinful men who have sexual connections with the wife of a superior are afflicted by leprosy and similar skin diseases.
A sober, self-realized person who has full knowledge should merge the various parts of the body in their original sources. The holes in the body are caused by the sky, the process of breathing is caused by the air, the heat of the body is caused by fire, and semen, blood and mucus are caused by water. The hard substances, like skin, muscle and bone, are caused by earth. In this way all the constituents of the body are caused by various elements, and they should be merged again into those elements.
To be self-realized, one must understand the original sources of the various elements of the body. The body is a combination of skin, bone, muscle, blood, semen, urine, stool, heat, breath and so on, which all come from earth, water, fire, air and sky. One must be well conversant with the sources of all the bodily constituents. Then one becomes a self-realized person, or ātmavān, one who knows the self.
SB Canto 8
Although King Indra hurled his thunderbolt at Namuci with great force, it could not even pierce his skin. It is very wonderful that the famed thunderbolt that had pierced the body of Vṛtrāsura could not even slightly injure the skin of Namuci's neck.
Vṛtrāsura was the essence of the austerities undergone by Tvaṣṭā, yet the thunderbolt killed him. Indeed, not only he but also many other stalwart heroes, whose very skin could not be injured even by all kinds of weapons, were killed by the same thunderbolt.
SB Canto 9
After saying this, the Aśvinī-kumāras caught hold of Cyavana Muni, who was an old, diseased invalid with loose skin, white hair, and veins visible all over his body, and all three of them entered the lake.
Saubhari Muni thought: I am now feeble because of old age. My hair has become grey, my skin is slack, and my head always trembles. Besides, I am a yogī. Therefore women do not like me. Since the King has thus rejected me, I shall reform my body in such a way as to be desirable even to celestial women, what to speak of the daughters of worldly kings.
The voice said: O Mahārāja Duṣmanta, a son actually belongs to his father, whereas the mother is only a container, like the skin of a bellows. According to Vedic injunctions, the father is born as the son. Therefore, maintain your own son and do not insult Śakuntalā.
SB Canto 10.1 to 10.13
The body (the total body and the individual body are of the same composition) may figuratively be called "the original tree." From this tree, which fully depends on the ground of material nature, come two kinds of fruit—the enjoyment of happiness and the suffering of distress. The cause of the tree, forming its three roots, is association with the three modes of material nature—goodness, passion and ignorance. The fruits of bodily happiness have four tastes—religiosity, economic development, sense gratification and liberation—which are experienced through five senses for acquiring knowledge in the midst of six circumstances: lamentation, illusion, old age, death, hunger and thirst. The seven layers of bark covering the tree are skin, blood, muscle, fat, bone, marrow and semen, and the eight branches of the tree are the five gross and three subtle elements—earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, intelligence and false ego. The tree of the body has nine hollows—the eyes, the ears, the nostrils, the mouth, the rectum and the genitals—and ten leaves, the ten airs passing through the body. In this tree of the body there are two birds: one is the individual soul, and the other is the Supersoul.
Arjuna trees are still found in many forests, and their skin is used by cardiologists to prepare medicine for heart trouble. This means that even though they are trees, they are disturbed when skinned for medical science.
O King Parīkṣit, when the python-shaped body of Aghāsura dried up into merely a big skin, it became a wonderful place for the inhabitants of Vṛndāvana to visit, and it remained so for a long, long time.
SB Cantos 10.14 to 12 (Translations Only)
Then Lord Hṛṣīkeśa, smiling, finished His lunch in the company of His cowherd friends. While they were returning from the forest to their homes in Vraja, Lord Kṛṣṇa showed the cowherd boys the skin of the dead serpent Aghāsura.
Let us ask these creepers about Kṛṣṇa. Even though they are embracing the arms of their husband, this tree, they certainly must have been touched by Kṛṣṇa's fingernails, since out of joy they are manifesting eruptions on their skin.
A woman who fails to relish the fragrance of the honey of Your lotus feet becomes totally befooled, and thus she accepts as her husband or lover a living corpse covered with skin, whiskers, nails, head-hair and body-hair and filled with flesh, bones, blood, parasites, feces, mucus, bile and air.
The illusory material nature attracts the minute living entity to embrace her, and as a result he assumes forms composed of her qualities. Subsequently, he loses all his spiritual qualities and must undergo repeated deaths. You, however, avoid the material energy in the same way that a snake abandons its old skin. Glorious in Your possession of eight mystic perfections, You enjoy unlimited opulences.
This material body is like a house in which I, the soul, am living. The bones forming my spine, ribs, arms and legs are like the beams, crossbeams and pillars of the house, and the whole structure, which is full of stool and urine, is covered by skin, hair and nails. The nine doors leading into this body are constantly excreting foul substances. Besides me, what woman could be so foolish as to devote herself to this material body, thinking that she might find pleasure and love in this contraption?
The functions of the working senses—the organ of speech, the hands, the legs, the genital and the anus—and the functions of the knowledge-acquiring senses—the nose, tongue, eyes, skin and ears—along with the functions of the subtle senses of mind, intelligence, consciousness and false ego, as well as the function of the subtle pradhāna and the interaction of the three modes of material nature—all these should be understood as My materially manifest form.
The saintly vānaprastha, practicing severe penances and accepting only the bare necessities of life, becomes so emaciated that he appears to be mere skin and bones. Thus worshiping Me through severe penances, he goes to the Maharloka planet and then directly achieves Me.
Similarly, the sense organs, namely the skin, ears, eyes, tongue and nose—as well as the functions of the subtle body, namely conditioned consciousness, mind, intelligence and false ego—can all be analyzed in terms of the threefold distinction of sense, object of perception and presiding deity.
What difference is there between ordinary worms and persons who try to enjoy this material body composed of skin, flesh, blood, muscle, fat, marrow, bone, stool, urine and pus?
The infant's dark-blue complexion was the color of a flawless emerald, His lotus face shone with a wealth of beauty, and His throat bore marks like the lines on a conchshell. He had a broad chest, a finely shaped nose, beautiful eyebrows, and lovely ears that resembled pomegranate flowers and that had inner folds like a conchshell's spirals. The corners of His eyes were reddish like the whorl of a lotus, and the effulgence of His coral-like lips slightly reddened the nectarean, enchanting smile on His face. As He breathed, His splendid hair trembled and His deep navel became distorted by the moving folds of skin on His abdomen, which resembled a banyan leaf. The exalted brāhmaṇa watched with amazement as the infant took hold of one of His lotus feet with His graceful fingers, placed a toe within His mouth and began to suck.
Śrī Mārkaṇḍeya saw Lord Śiva suddenly appear within his heart. Lord Śiva's golden hair resembled lightning, and he had three eyes, ten arms and a tall body that shone like the rising sun. He wore a tiger skin, and he carried a trident, a bow, arrows, a sword and a shield, along with prayer beads, a ḍamaru drum, a skull and an ax. Astonished, the sage came out of his trance and thought, "Who is this, and where has he come from?"