Things material are enjoyed by the living entities because the living entities are superior, whereas material nature is of inferior quality. Thus the superior quality, the living entities, can enjoy the inferior quality, matter. Because Lord Viṣṇu is in no way touched by matter, He is not subject to enjoy material nature the way the living entities do. The living entities cannot attain knowledge of Viṣṇu by enjoying their habits of mental speculation. The infinitesimal living entities are not the enjoyers of Viṣṇu, but they are enjoyed by Viṣṇu. Only the greatest offender thinks that Viṣṇu is enjoyed. The greatest blasphemy is to consider Viṣṇu and the living entity on the same level.
- 1 Srimad-Bhagavatam
- 2 Other Books by Srila Prabhupada
- 3 Lectures
- 4 Conversations and Morning Walks
- 5 Correspondence
SB Canto 1
There is just the futile attempt to get rid of the miseries, and temporary cessation of misery is falsely called happiness. Therefore, the path of progressive material enjoyment, which is temporary, miserable and illusory, is inferior. But devotional service to the Supreme Lord, which leads one to eternal, blissful and all-cognizant life, is called the superior quality of occupation. This is sometimes polluted when mixed with the inferior quality. For example, adoption of devotional service for material gain is certainly an obstruction to the progressive path of renunciation. Renunciation or abnegation for ultimate good is certainly a better occupation than enjoyment in the diseased condition of life. Such enjoyment only aggravates the symptoms of disease and increases its duration. Therefore devotional service to the Lord must be pure in quality, i.e., without the least desire for material enjoyment. One should, therefore, accept the superior quality of occupation in the form of the devotional service of the Lord without any tinge of unnecessary desire, fruitive action and philosophical speculation. This alone can lead one to perpetual solace in His service.
In the Bhagavad-gītā, it is stated, paraṁ dṛṣṭvā nivartate: (BG 9.59) one can give up all connection with material attachment when one is able to see the param, or the superior quality of things. From Bhagavad-gītā we understand the quality of the Lord's energy that is superior to the material quality of energy, and by the grace of a bona fide spiritual master like Śukadeva Gosvāmī, it is quite possible to know everything of the superior energy of the Lord by which the Lord manifests His eternal name, quality, pastimes, paraphernalia and variegatedness. Unless one thoroughly understands this superior or eternal energy of the Lord, it is not possible to leave the material energy, however one may theoretically speculate on the true nature of the Absolute Truth.
SB Canto 3
In His various incarnations, the Lord appears, acts and leaves behind Him a narrative history which is as transcendental as He Himself. Every one of us is fond of hearing some wonderful narration, but most stories are neither auspicious nor worth hearing because they are of the inferior quality of material nature. Every living entity is of superior quality, spirit soul, and nothing material can be auspicious for him. Intelligent persons should therefore hear personally and cause others to hear the descriptive narrations of the Lord's activities, for that will destroy the pangs of material existence. Out of His causeless mercy only, the Lord comes to this earth and leaves behind His merciful activities so that the devotees may derive transcendental benefit.
Other Books by Srila Prabhupada
Teachings of Lord Caitanya
Because the living entity tends to be controlled by material nature, he cannot at any stage become one with the Supreme Lord. If a living entity were equal to the Supreme Lord, there would be no possibility of his being controlled by material energy. In Bhagavad-gītā the living entity is described as one of the energies of the Supreme Lord. Although inseparable from the energetic, energy is still energy, and it cannot be equal with the energetic. In other words, the living entity is simultaneously one and different from the Supreme Lord. Bhagavad-gītā (7.4-5) clearly states that earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, intelligence and false ego are the eight elementary energies of the Supreme Lord and are of inferior quality, whereas the living entity is of superior quality.
Easy Journey to Other Planets
The problem, however, is how to become free from the four principles of birth, death, old age and disease. This is the real problem. It is not "What shall I eat?" The birds and beasts have no such problem. In the morning they are immediately chirping, "Jee, jee, jee, jee." They know that they will have their food. No one is dying, and there is no such thing as overpopulation because everyone is provided for by God's arrangement. There are qualitative differences, but obtaining a superior quality of material enjoyment is not the end of life. The real problem is how to get free of birth, death, old age and disease. This cannot be solved by simply wasting time traveling within this universe. Even if one goes to the highest planet, this problem cannot be solved, for there is death everywhere.
Light of the Bhagavata
The family planning of a godless civilization cannot check weedlike unwanted population. People should learn to check sex life by voluntary restraint. This voluntary restraint is possible when one is dovetailed with the service of the Lord. This is confirmed in Bhagavad-gītā. Well-situated devotees of the Lord refrain from materialistic sense enjoyment, for they are attracted by the beauty of the Transcendence. Forcible restraint by regulative family planning or similar artificial means cannot work very long; one must be attracted by the Transcendence. Once can give up the inferior quality of enjoyment as soon as one receives the superior quality of spiritual enjoyment. So family planning is successful when one is engaged in the culture of the human spirit.
The internal energy and the marginal energy are of the same superior quality, but the external energy is inferior in quality. That is the information we have from Bhagavad-gītā. Because the living entity is classified as marginal energy and is of the same quality as the internal energy, it is quite natural for him to cooperate with the internal energy. But when the living entity prefers to cooperate with the external energy, he is put into difficulty. By the process called pratyāhāra (diversion), yoga diverts our energies from the external to the internal.
Bhagavad-gita As It Is Lectures
Girl Devotee: (translating) At the present, I can't live in the temple, can't live in the āśrama, but I can still see the devotees. What else can I do?
Prabhupāda: You follow the temple procedure. You can remain anywhere. It doesn't matter. What is temple? They are following some rules and regulation. (break) If you are eating something and if you get a better thing, you'll give it up. So when one takes to bhakti means he understands the inferior quality of karma. So you take the superior quality activities and you forget inferior quality. Paraṁ dṛṣṭvā nivartate (BG 9.59). This is the Vedic version. When one finds out superior engagement, he gives up inferior engagement.
Here everything is duality, relative knowledge, relative world, but in the absolute world everything is one, spirit. Here... because here we have got experience two energies, spiritual energy and material energy, working. The material energies are the physical elements, bhūmir āpo 'nalo vāyuḥ: (BG 7.4) earth, water, fire, air, sky, and, in subtle form, mind, intelligence, ego. They are all material. Mind is also material, intelligence is also material, but they are subtle forms. And spiritual existence is the living entity, as we are. These things are very nicely explained in the Bhagavad-gītā. Apareyam itas tu viddhi me prakṛtiṁ parām. The material, physical elements, they are inferior quality of, inferior quality, energy, of Kṛṣṇa. But the superior quality of energy we are, living entities.
Kṛṣṇa says that "These material energies are inferior," aparā. Just like in everything within our experience, we have got inferior quality and superior quality. Of course, Kṛṣṇa being absolute, everything is spiritual in the higher sense. But when we analyze scrutinizingly, we can understand that "This is this, this is that." So Kṛṣṇa is analyzing Himself, that "All these material energies, eight kinds of material energies, they are inferior quality. Apareyam itas tu. Apareyam itas tu anyāṁ prakṛtim. There is another prakṛti, another energy. Because parāsya śaktir vividhaiva śrūyate (Cc. Madhya 13.65, purport). Kṛṣṇa has got multi, various energies. So these eight elements, material elements in manifestation of His inferior energy. And the superior energy, Kṛṣṇa says, apareyam itas tu anyāṁ prakṛtiṁ viddhi me parām. Parām means superior energy. And that superior energy is jīva-bhūtāṁ mahā-bāho yayedaṁ dhāryate jagat (BG 7.5). They are living entities, just like we are living entities.
The Lord says that "I am neutral." God is neutral. Samo 'haṁ sarva-bhūteṣu. Samatā means... This point we have discussed, sama, how God is neutral, sama. If He is sama—sama means neutral—then how we find different grades of people or different grades of species of life? That is samatā. Now, I will give you a crude example. Suppose I am a shopkeeper. I have got different varieties of goods. Now, if you pay me less, then I can supply you inferior quality of goods. Another customer is paying me a good amount; then I will supply you superior quality of goods. Now, I supply to some customer inferior quality of goods; to another customer I supply superior quality of goods. Is there any partiality? No. That is not partiality. So God gives you result of your actions. Samo 'ham. He is impartial. If you do good acts, then you get good result. If you do bad acts, then you get bad result. That is samo 'haṁ sarva... This is the common, common formula. The Lord says, samo 'haṁ sarva-bhūteṣu na me dveṣyo 'sti na priyaḥ. It is not that somebody is suffering because God is envious upon him. No, God is not envious. He is suffering his own activities.
Anything you take material, material thing has no value, it is inferior, but by the touch of the superior energy, the living entity, it becomes important. Therefore there are two nature—inferior nature and superior nature. Similarly, there are two kinds of dharmas. Hindu, Muslim, Christian, this, that or white, black, so many ways, according to the designation of the body you have created dharma or characteristics. That is inferior quality. But when you come to the superior quality of characteristics, of dharma, then you become happy. Anywhere there are two qualities always-inferior and superior. When you are attached to the inferior quality you don't get very much satisfaction, but when you come to the superior quality then you get satisfaction, happiness. So here it is said, dharma, religion, or the characteristics of human beings, there are so many, but sa vai puṁsām paro dharmo (SB 1.2.6), that is superior quality of religion or characteristic.
Pradyumna: (leads chanting, etc.)
- pārthivād dāruṇo dhūmas
- tasmād agnis trayīmayaḥ
- tamasas tu rajas tasmāt
- sattvaṁ yad brahma-darśanam
- (SB 1.2.24)
Translation: "The firewood is the transformation of the earth, and smoke is better than the raw wood, and fire is still better, because by fire we can derive so many benefits by superior knowledge, or Vedas. Similarly, rajas quality of matter is better than tamas quality, but sattva quality is the superior quality by which one can realize the Absolute Truth."
Prabhupāda: (aside:) Here the translation is different. So the example is given here, that... The translation is... (break) Anyway, pārthivād dāruṇo dhūmaḥ. Pārthivāt. Suppose you want fire. So there are so many stages. Earth, then there is wood. Wood is produced from earth. From wood, there is, first instance there is smoke, and then comes the fire. But you require the fire. When you get fire, you can get so many things done through fire, electricity. All industry is going on through fire. Your household affairs, cooking, that is also, you require fire. For your living condition you require fire, heat. So fire is necessity, not the earth, neither the wood, nor the smoke. Similarly, although Brahmā, Viṣṇu, Maheśvara, they are one, from Kṛṣṇa—they are different incarnation of different modes of material nature—but actually, Viṣṇu is required.
there are two kinds of nature: parā and aparā. So this material nature is aparā, apareyam itas tu viddhi me prakṛtiṁ parām. Apareyam. Bhūmir āpo 'nalo vāyuḥ (BG 7.4). The land, water, fire, air, sky, these five elements, they are described in the Bhagavad-gītā, bhinnā me prakṛtir aṣṭadhā: "They are separated energy, inferior quality energy. But beyond this inferior quality energy, I have got another superior quality of energy." What is that? Jīva-bhūta. You can understand that jīva-bhūta, the living entities. Yayedaṁ dhāryate jagat (BG 7.5). Because jīva-bhūta, we living entities, we are superior than the matter because we are controlling the matter. Just like we have been in the riverside, so many things, material things, we saw. But who has made it? The living entities. The matter has not come into so many forms without the touch of the living entity. Everyone can understand. The big, big ship, how it has come into existence? Because a living entity planned, engineered how to do it, and he brought material things, and he manufactured it. Therefore this inferior energy, the material things, they are subordinate to the spiritual energy.
Indian man (4): What is the difference between mind and soul?
Prabhupāda: Mind is material; soul is spiritual. That is explained in the Bhagavad-gītā: bhūmir āpo 'nalo vāyuḥ khaṁ mano buddhir eva ca, apareyaṁ bhinnā me prakṛtir aṣṭadhā (BG 7.4). They are also elements, but bhinnā means material, separated from Kṛṣṇa. Apareyam itas tu viddhi me prakṛtiṁ parām: "These material elements, they are inferior quality, and beyond this, there is another, superior quality. That is soul." Jīva-bhūtāṁ mahā-bāho yayedaṁ dhāryate jagat (BG 7.5). So you have to know from the books. That you now understand?
Prabhupāda: Param. We are seeing here in this material world, this apartment is better than the down apartment. So it is param. Param means better superior quality. So here in this material world we are finding out something superior than the others, because it is relative world. But the kingdom of Godhead, Vaikuṇṭha, na yat-param, there is no more param. Finished. All param finished.
Pradyumna: Ah, nothing is superior than this.
Prabhupāda: We are trying to create (indistinct) these falsity. Everyone has got some false egoism. That is our (indistinct). Just like Freud is thinking that he is American or (indistinct). This is false ego. We are giving everyone the intelligence that this identification with this material body, that is (indistinct). Due to ignorance I am thinking that "I am Indian," "I am American," "I am Hindu," "I am (indistinct)." This is false ego-ahaṅkāra, as it is stated in the Bhagavad-gītā. This is inferior quality of egoism. The superior quality of egoism is Brahman: "I am eternal servant of Kṛṣṇa." So if he is taught to the superior engagement, then automatically this false egoism becomes stopped.
Conversations and Morning Walks
1973 Conversations and Morning Walks
Yaśomatīnandana: They are so foolish that they have accepted an entity called infinity for the material purposes, from mathematics and everything, and they know that they are limited, but they will not accept that that can be a living entity which is infinite. They can accept that there's a new number called infinity, but they can't understand that there can be a living entity which is infinite too.
Prabhupāda: Yes. That number is matter. Living entity is always superior. So if in the inferior quality, matter, it is possible, how much it is possible in the superior quality.
1976 Conversations and Morning Walks
Guru-kṛpā: Does that mean that the atom is living entity?
Prabhupāda: Eh? No. Living entity is also atom. One class of atom is matter, and one class of atom is the living entity. That is explained in the Bhagavad-gītā.... Bhūmir āpo 'nalo vāyuḥ khaṁ mano buddhir eva ca (BG 7.4). These are... This material, matter, everything is combination of atom, atomic particles. Either you take earth or take water or air or fire, everything is combination of atom. That's a fact. But we know that these atoms are coming out as the energy of Kṛṣṇa. Bhinnā. Bhinnā means the quality different; not of the same quality. Apareyam: "This is inferior quality, but there is another, superior quality, jīva bhuta, and that is living entity." So two kinds of atoms are coming from Kṛṣṇa. One is the spiritual atom, and the other is the material atom. So spiritual atoms, they are many, many times greater than the material atoms.
Mādhavānanda: Sometimes they question, "How can you be happy? You don't drink, you don't smoke, you don't eat meat, and you don't gamble. What can you do?"
Prabhupāda: Did you not say that we have got something; the pleasure derived from all these things, that is very inferior. We have got pleasure of superior quality. Therefore we have been able to give it up. That is the fact. But you have no information of the superior pleasure. Therefore sticking to this inferior pleasure.
Also you can ask Brahmananda to send "TLC" which is now received and it is far superior quality book than anyone is get-up all binding.
Our prayer of the Hare Krishna Mantra means addressing Radha and Krishna for being engaged in Their service. Hare Krishna means "Oh Hare, Oh Radharani! Oh Krishna! Please engage me in Your service so that I can get relief from the service of Maya." Just like a person resigns from an inferior quality of service and accepts a superior quality of service, similarly, our prayer to Krishna is to give us relief from the inferior quality of service to Maya, and to be engaged in the superior quality of service to Krishna. Service we have to render, and the whole process is to accept the superior quality of service in Krishna Consciousness.
I understand from Devananda that you are in immediate need of the Sony machine, therefore I am sending it through Satsvarupa. You can take it from him, and when you have finished your business or you have got a similar or better machine, you can return it to me. I wanted to keep this machine only for the reason that the mechanical arrangement is easier. The other machine which you have supplied is undoubtedly of superior quality as I see that a few tapes recorded on this machine have come out very nice, but there are several practical defects also. Sometimes the tapes become twisted. Anyway, it is working and Devananda is handling it. If it goes on like this I may not require the Sony machine.
I have seen the footnote in the Japanese paper you have sent, and it is very nice. If possible you can import from India kholes, mrdanga, and karatalas. We have already ordered through Messrs. Dwarkin and Son superior quality kholes and pakhwaz, so when we receive them if they are satisfactory, then I will place order for your center.