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The sense perception is created from the five elements: earth, water, air, fire, and ether. And above that, there is still finer materials: mind, intelligence, ego. And then, behind that, the soul is there

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"The sense perception is created from the five elements: earth, water, air, fire, and ether. And above that, there is still finer materials: mind, intelligence, ego. And then, behind that, the soul is there"

Lectures

Srimad-Bhagavatam Lectures

The sense perception is created from the five elements: earth, water, air, fire, and ether. And above that, there is still finer materials: mind, intelligence, ego. And then, behind that, the soul is there.
Lecture on SB 3.26.32 -- Bombay, January 9, 1975:
Nitāi: "When egoism in ignorance is agitated by the sex energy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the subtle element sound is manifested, and from sound comes the ethereal sky and the sense of hearing."

Prabhupāda:

tāmasāc ca vikurvāṇād
bhagavad-vīrya-coditāt
śabda-mātram abhūt tasmān
nabhaḥ śrotraṁ tu śabdagam
(SB 3.26.32)

So this creation... The beginning of the creation is the sound. The modern physicist, they also agree. Sound and light, according to their theory... But the sound is the origin of creation, mixed with these modes of ignorance. Everything here in the material world is spiritual reflection covered by the material elements. So when this sound is purified or you catch up the spiritual sound, then your spiritual life begins. As from the material sound this material creation has begun from first of all the sky, nabha, or ether; and from ether, air is created, wind; and from air, then fire is created, electricity... You see. From the sound, there is immediately electricity in the sky, the fire. Electricity means fire. So from sky, the sound is created. From the sound, air is created. By the friction of air, the electricity, or fire, is created. Then, within the fire, there is water. And after water, there is land. This is pañca-bhūta, five gross elements. It is coming from the subtle elements. From the subtle elements, the gross elements gradually develop. So in the ether there is sound, śabdagam. And from the sound the instrument of hearing is created, śrotram. Similarly, our subtle senses-rūpa, rasa, śabda, sparśa, gandha... So śabda, sparśa..., then sparśa. Sparśa means touching. When there is air, there is touching. Touching sensation is created. And when there is fire, then form sensation is created. When there is water, then rasa, taste sensation, is created. And from rasa, water, when there is earth, then gandha, gandha sensation, or smell, is created. How scientifically it is described: rūpa, rasa, gandha, śabda, sparśa. They are the sense perception. The sense perception is created from the five elements: earth, water, air, fire, and ether. And above that, there is still finer materials: mind, intelligence, ego. And then, behind that, the soul is there. As the material creation, behind everything, the Supreme Personality of Godhead is there, bhagavat-coditāt... It is not automatically taking place. Vikurvāṇād bhagavad-vīrya-coditāt. Just like the sex. When the semina is discharged by the man, then there is pregnancy, not automatically. Similarly, here also, the same thing: bhagavad-vīrya-coditāt, in the tamo-guṇa. That means the origin of this creation is tamo-guṇa, tamas. The whole creation is tamas, ignorance. Every one of us in ignorance. We do not know. Therefore Vedas says, tamasi mā: "Don't stay in this tamasi." Jyotir gama. Jyoti is Brahman. "Try to come out there." And the whole Vedic knowledge is based on this principle, how to again give up this association of tāmasika-guṇa and come to the sattva-guṇa, and then surpass sattva-guṇa, come to the transcendental position of brahma-bhūta (SB 4.30.20). This is the position. So as this material creation has begun from material sound under the agitating, impelling method by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, similarly, by spiritual sound, you can get out of it, because sound is the central point. When it is mixed with tamas, tamo-guṇa, then the material creation begins. So similarly, if you directly catch up that sound... The sound is śabda-brahma. Sound is actually spiritual, the Vedic sound om, oṁkāra. Oṁkārāsmi sarva-vedeṣu. So Vedic sound begins: om. So that is a sound. So if we capture that sound and make further progress, śabdād anāvṛtti... In the Vedānta-sūtra it is there, anāvṛtti, no more repetition of birth and death, oṁkāra. If one can chant oṁkāra at the time of death, immediately transferred to the spiritual world, impersonal spiritual effulgence. But if you can chant Hare Kṛṣṇa, then immediately you go to the spiritual planet. These are stated in the Bhagavad-gītā. Anta-kāle, at the time of death, if you can capture this sound, oṁkāra or Hare Kṛṣṇa... If you capture oṁkāra, then you are transferred to the spiritual sky. As it is said, the sky. Śabdāt... Śabda-mātram abhūt tasmān nabhaḥ. Nabha is sky. So there is a point wherefrom the sky, the material sky, begins and there is spiritual sky. The sky is spiritual wherefrom the śabda is resounded. Because there is sky, therefore there is sound. Because there is sound, therefore the instrument of hearing sound, the ear, is there. So our material position and spiritual position—the ultimate point is sound. And this sound is presented in its original spiritual form. That is called Veda, śabda-brahma. Tene brahma hṛdā ādi-kavaye. This brahma means śabda-brahma. The śabda-brahma was imparted or vibrated by Kṛṣṇa in the heart of Brahmā. Tene brahma hṛdā ādi-kavaye. And then he could realize what is his position. Then, after hearing the sound, he compiled this Brahma-saṁhitā. That Brahma-saṁhitā we have recited many times. The Brahmā, Lord Brahmā, by personal realization through the mercy of Kṛṣṇa on account of this sound, transcendental, being injected within heart, he could see the whole spiritual world as it is. And that is described in the Brahma-saṁhitā:

cintāmaṇi-prakara-sadmasu kalpa-vṛkṣa-
lakṣāvṛteṣu surabhīr abhipālayantam
lakṣmī-sahasra-śata-sambhrama-sevyamānaṁ
govindam ādi-puruṣaṁ tam ahaṁ bhajāmi
(Bs. 5.29)

He is offering... He is not claiming himself that "I am the first person for creation," although in this material world, Brahmā is the first person, then Lord Śiva, Rudra. And before Brahmā, there is Viṣṇu. Therefore it is said, aham evāsam agre. Agre, "Before the creation, there was only Viṣṇu, or Kṛṣṇa. There was no Brahmā, no Śiva." These are Vedic statement. In the beginning Lord Viṣṇu was there. And we know the method of creation. There was water, and from that, in that water, Mahā-Viṣṇu is lying there. From Mahā-Viṣṇu in His sleeping condition, there are so many... Universes are created in the exhaling breathing process. And when He inhaling, the whole thing is annihilated. In this way this material creation is coming and going. Bhūtvā bhūtvā pralīyate (BG 8.19). So we have to understand that the creation actually begins in the tamo-guṇa by agitated impelled by the Bhagavat, Bhagavān. Here it is stated, vikurvāṇād bhagavad-vīrya-coditāt. Not that automatically. Just like if you take two chemicals, soda bicarb and citric acid, and mix together, make two solution, soda bicarb and citric acid, and mix together, there will be, what is called? Bubbles. Huh? Devotee: Effervescence. Prabhupāda: Effervescence, yes. There is effervescence. So that effervescent takes place not due to this chemical but due to the chemist who mixes together. Then effervescence takes place, and then the action comes in contact. So modern scientists, they are being unable to see that who is mixing the chemical. Because Kṛṣṇa says, nāhaṁ prakāśaḥ sarvasya yoga-māyā-samāvṛtaḥ (BG 7.25), therefore the scientist cannot see bhagavad-vīrya-coditāt. They cannot see. They are seeing simply two mixture and mixed together. It is mixing by certain person, but who is mixing, that they cannot see. But that is bhagavad-vīrya-coditāt. Mayādhyakṣeṇa prakṛtiḥ sūyate sa-carācaram (BG 9.10). Prakṛti is working, interaction of two chemicals or many chemicals. They are accepting it that the chemicals were already there. But wherefrom the chemicals came? They say that hydrogen and oxygen mixed together, and the water... Now you see the vast water, not only here, but there are so many other oceans, Pacific Ocean, Atlantic Ocean. And not only in this planet, but there are innumerable planets, and innumerable Pacific Oceans are floating in the air. Where you got so much chemical? Who supplied it? If the hydrogen-oxygen is the cause of water, then wherefrom so much chemical came into existence? Of course, they came in existence the same process, as it is stated here. It is coming from the sky, and the sky is generated by bhagavad-vīrya in the tamo-guṇa. So originally everything is coming from the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Therefore Kṛṣṇa, simplifying the matter and informing us—"You fools, you try to understand." Ahaṁ sarvasya prabhavaḥ: (BG 10.8) "I am the origin."