“The theory of the asuras is that the living entities are born of material nature, or prakriti, in touch with the purusha. This theory also cannot be accepted because both the material nature and the Supreme Personality of Godhead are eternally existing. Neither the material nature nor the Supreme Personality of Godhead can be born. The Supreme Lord is known as aja, or unborn.” (Krishna, The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vol 2, Ch 32)
“Speaking on the basis of appeal to logic and reasoning, many of the aspects of Vaishnava culture work. If I am an open-minded person, not blinded by dogmatic insistence, my eyes will be opened to a new way of thinking. I might not accept everything the first time I hear it. I might not be converted through a single sitting, but I will surely be interested enough to pursue the matter further.
“Likely the single most relatable teaching is this idea of temporary interest. We are all like passengers on the Titanic. The ultimate destination is total destruction. We all know this. It is the truth lurking in the background. It is the elephant in the room that no one wants to acknowledge.
“Yet the majority of the world’s population behaves as if they can stay here permanently. This is the most amazing thing to witness, according to Maharaja Yudhishthira. We should know better, but it is like we intentionally suppress intelligence.
“Spiritual life, therefore, is working towards something permanent. The individual is ever-existing. The individual never takes birth. It never dies. It will not finish when the end of life occurs. The soul inside, the animating spark, continues on.
“A point of confusion that I recently came across relates to the material nature. The acharyas explain that prakriti is actually eternal. This does not make sense to me. If I have to leave my body behind, that is the very definition of temporary.
“If prakriti remains forever, then why should I focus on the purusha inside? Why not be associated with the material energy, in the way that everyone else is already enamored?”
The instruction is vital in terms of understanding the source. Prakriti undergoes shifts and transformations, but the underlying energy always belongs to the origin. This is the same principle behind the eternal nature of the soul.
That is to say, I am eternal because the person from whom I come is also eternal. I am a spark of His energy. The Sanskrit word is amsha. We are all fragments, and taken together we form the collective known as Brahman.
ममैवांशो जीवलोके जीवभूतः सनातनः।
मनःषष्ठानीन्द्रियाणि प्रकृतिस्थानि कर्षति।।
mamaivāṃśo jīvaloke jīvabhūtaḥ sanātanaḥ।
manaḥṣaṣṭhānīndriyāṇi prakṛtisthāni karṣati।।
“The living entities in this conditioned world are My eternal, fragmental parts. Due to conditioned life, they are struggling very hard with the six senses, which include the mind.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 15.7)
The house next door will not stand the test of time. Those tall buildings lining the night’s sky, lit up in a beautiful display, will one day fall back down to the ground. Everything that came from dust will return to dust.
There is the eventual dissolution, which was once witnessed by Markandeya Rishi. He saw that only a small boy was left. That boy was lying on the leaf of a banyan tree. It was Vishnu, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, unaffected by what was going on around Him.
The dissolution is transformation of the aggregate of prakriti. This does not destroy prakriti. Nor was there a time when it was created. We know that the creation takes place through Vishnu glancing over the pradhana, which is like the unmanifest substance.
Through a simple glance the shifts start taking place. The amazing variety we see in this universe of unending discoveries has Vishnu as the source. It is His material energy, after all. Though it is dull and lifeless, of no potency on its own, it still has an eternal existence.
As it is linked to Vishnu, prakriti can be used in service to Him. We do not have to abruptly abandon all relation with the material nature. This is our present condition, after all. I have a body today. It has accompanying features. I have a surrounding neighborhood. There is a community.
I can utilize everything from the material nature for connecting with God. This is known as yoga. I then see material nature for what it actually is, a dear servant of Vishnu. It is ultimately here for my benefit. Even the previously debilitating and destructive time becomes a friend, as the daily schedule provides impetus and inspiration for further deliberating in the matters of spiritual life.
Previously of miseries to extend,
Now time turning into friend.
That body mistakenly identifying me,
But now as greatest gift to see.
Since for devotional service to choose,
With eternal factor to use.
Such that blessed in path to stay,
Finding again Vishnu’s way.