“When one can see that the various bodies of living entities arise due to the different desires of the individual soul and do not actually belong to the soul itself, one actually sees. In the material conception of life, we find someone a demigod, someone a human being, a dog, a cat, etc. This is material vision, not actual vision.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Bhagavad-gita, 13.31)
You want to join in on the fun. You see others bragging. Well, perhaps that word goes a bit too far. They are proud of what they have done. It’s an accomplishment, after all. Not everyone can do it. Nor does everyone want to put in the effort.
You want to be able to post a picture on social media and include the hashtag, “From Farm To Table.” Growing food in the garden. It’s pretty amazing, if you think about it. Starting from a seed, you end up with something big enough to eat. The growth is one indication of life. There is something living inside; otherwise the combination of proper soil, sunlight, and regular water would have no effect.
There is life in the plant, and also in so many other beings, both moving and nonmoving. The variety constitutes what is known as the species. What exactly is the cause? From Vedic teachings we know of at least three factors that are responsible.
1. The Supreme Personality of Godhead
For every reaction there is an initial cause. This is one way to understand the mysterious concepts of both the origin of life and the constant development of the manifest world. If a bomb goes off in a building, when the police arrive they won’t buy the excuse of, “Oh, it just happened randomly, by accident.”
“Unseen and indefinite are the good and bad reactions of fruitive work. And without taking action, the desired fruits of such work cannot manifest.” (Lakshmana speaking to Lord Rama, Valmiki Ramayana, Aranya Kand, 66.17)
In the Ramayana Shri Lakshmana remarks that we may not know exactly when consequences will manifest. We also don’t know for sure how long they will stay around. In either case, there is always some work, karma, responsible for the result. This is impetus for giving an effort. The desired outcome may not be there, but without trying nothing is possible.
When you travel up the chain of causes, you eventually reach a wall. That is known as the origin, and it is one way to understand God. The Sanskrit phrase is sarva karana karanam. In the Brahma-samhita the original cause is described to be Govinda, who is also known as Krishna. The Supreme Lord is the cause of all causes, so in one sense He bears responsibility for the different species.
2. The creator
Sometimes mistaken for God Himself, this person is part of the material world. He is the first person, purusha, appearing in a material body. His form is amazing. Four faces, Chaturanana, and an extremely long duration of life.
“By human calculation, a thousand ages taken together is the duration of Brahma’s one day. And such also is the duration of his night.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 8.17)
He also goes by the name of Vidhata, but most often is referred to as Brahma in Vedic literature. He takes the three basic ingredients of goodness, passion and ignorance and then gets to work creating; like a painter with his colors. The many species are created by him. Of course he wouldn’t have an energy to work with were it not for Krishna’s prior approval. It is said that Krishna glances over the unmanifest material substance, pradhana, which then leads to the three modes of nature.
3. The different desires of the individual soul
Brahma is something like the clothing manufacturer, but he doesn’t necessarily direct which people buy which shirts and pants. The placement of individual souls within different species is due to desire, which is known as kama in Sanskrit. Kama results in karma, which is fruitive activity. Think piety and sin. Think judgment day. At the time of death, karma’s influence is seen in the nature of the consciousness.
“Whatever state of being one remembers when he quits his body, that state he will attain without fail.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 8.6)
Whatever state of being there is while quitting the body, that state is attained in the subsequent birth. This explains why there is variety within even the same species. Some children are smart, while others are slower to pick up basic concepts. Some people are tall, others are short. Everything is attributable to desire.
What if the chain were similarly traversed? What is the original desire measured at the time of quitting the body? The explanation is that there was some desire while in the presence of Krishna Himself. That resulted in the fall to the material world, which is also known as the land of birth and death.
Rather than lose valuable time researching the many past births, the solution is presented clearly. Have the right consciousness this time around. The different desires caused the different species, but with the purification of desire the distinction between body and spirit ends. The individual gets their svarupa, or original spiritual form, with which they again interact with the Almighty. That interaction is the height of an existence, as it brings all happiness and bliss.
At garden’s output gazing,
Life in plants so amazing.
Existing in all the same spark,
Caused by desire from the start.
As origin Krishna everything making,
And Brahma the three modes taking.
Regardless of past in forward direction go,
That from consciousness bliss again to know.
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