Prabhupāda: So what are these twenty-four elements? Can anyone say? If somebody asks you, "What are these twenty-four elements?"
Yes? Go on, tell.
Viṣṇujana: I think I am only giving the gross ones: earth, air, fire, water, ether and . . . (indistinct) . . . mind, intelligence and ego.
Prabhupāda: Eight. It comes to eight. Then?
Viṣṇujana: Then there's the senses, which are . . .
Prabhupāda: Ten. Ten knowledge-acquiring, five, and working senses, five. Ten. So eight, ten—eighteen. Then sense objects. Just like I have got eye, but I have to see something, dṛśya. So there are five sense objects. Eighteen and five—twenty-three. And mahat-tattva, the original stock of all material . . . in this way, they are called twenty-four elements.
So this whole creation, whatever material creation we have got, they are made of these twenty-four el . . . just like colors. Varieties of color means three color—yellow, red and blue. Those who are expert in color mixing, they'll mix these three colors into eighty-one colors. Three into three equals nine—nine into nine equals eighty-one. So expert colorists, they can display these three colors into eighty-one.
Similarly, the material nature . . . of course, this is one, one energy. But within this energy there are three qualities: sattva-guṇa, rajo-guṇa, tamo-guṇa. By interaction of these three qualities, the manaḥ, buddhi, ahaṅkāra—the subtle elements—are manufactured, and then from the subtle elements, the grosser elements are manufactured.
Then their objectives. In this way, the creation is going on. But it requires so much time to create such huge cosmic manifestation, but God is so perfect, as soon as He desires, He says, "Let there be creation," immediately the creation. That is God.