Srimad-Bhagavatam: Canto 3: “The Status Quo”
by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

Chapter Thirty-one

Lord Kapila’s Instructions on the Movements of the Living Entities



sri-bhagavan uvaca

karmana daiva-netrena

jantur dehopapattaye

striyah pravista udaram

pumso retah-kanasrayah


sri-bhagavan uvaca—the Supreme Personality of Godhead said; karmana—by the result of work; daiva-netrena—under the supervision of the Lord; jantuh—the living entity; deha—a body; upapattaye—for obtaining; striyah—of a woman; pravistah—enters; udaram—the womb; pumsah—of a man; retah—of semen; kana—a particle; asrayah—dwelling in.


The Personality of Godhead said: Under the supervision of the Supreme Lord and according to the result of his work, the living entity, the soul, is made to enter into the womb of a woman through the particle of male semen to assume a particular type of body.


As stated in the last chapter, after suffering different kinds of hellish conditions, a man comes again to the human form of body. The same topic is continued in this chapter. In order to give a particular type of human form to a person who has already suffered hellish life, the soul is transferred to the semen of a man who is just suitable to become his father. During sexual intercourse, the soul is transferred through the semen of the father into the mother’s womb in order to produce a particular type of body. This process is applicable to all embodied living entities, but it is especially mentioned for the man who was transferred to the Andha-tamisra hell. After suffering there, when he who has had many types of hellish bodies, like those of dogs and hogs, is to come again to the human form, he is given the chance to take his birth in the same type of body from which he degraded himself to hell.

Everything is done by the supervision of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Material nature supplies the body, but it does so under the direction of the Supersoul. It is said in Bhagavad-gita that a living entity is wandering in this material world on a chariot made by material nature. The Supreme Lord, as Supersoul, is always present with the individual soul. He directs material nature to supply a particular type of body to the individual soul according to the result of his work, and the material nature supplies it. Here one word, retah-kanasrayah, is very significant because it indicates that it is not the semen of the man that creates life within the womb of a woman; rather, the living entity, the soul, takes shelter in a particle of semen and is then pushed into the womb of a woman. Then the body develops. There is no possibility of creating a living entity without the presence of the soul simply by sexual intercourse. The materialistic theory that there is no soul and that a child is born simply by material combination of the sperm and ovum is not very feasible. It is unacceptable.



kalalam tv eka-ratrena

panca-ratrena budbudam

dasahena tu karkandhuh

pesy andam va tatah param


kalalam—mixing of the sperm and ovum; tu—then; eka-ratrena—on the first night; panca-ratrena—by the fifth night; budbudam—a bubble; dasa-ahena—in ten days; tu—then; karkandhuh—like a plum; pesi—a lump of flesh; andam—an egg; va—or; tatah—thence; param—afterwards.


On the first night, the sperm and ovum mix, and on the fifth night the mixture ferments into a bubble. On the tenth night it develops into a form like a plum, and after that, it gradually turns into a lump of flesh or an egg, as the case may be.


The body of the soul develops in four different ways according to its different sources. One kind of body, that of the trees and plants, sprouts from the earth; the second kind of body grows from perspiration, as with flies, germs and bugs; the third kind of body develops from eggs; and the fourth develops from an embryo. This verse indicates that after emulsification of the ovum and sperm, the body gradually develops either into a lump of flesh or into an egg, as the case may be. In the case of birds it develops into an egg, and in the case of animals and human beings it develops into a lump of flesh.



masena tu siro dvabhyam



linga-cchidrodbhavas tribhih


masena—within a month; tu—then; sirah—a head; dvabhyam—in two months; bahu—arms; anghri—feet; adi—and so on; anga—limbs; vigrahah—form; nakha—nails; loma—body hair; asthi—bones; carmani—and skin; linga—organ of generation; chidra—apertures; udbhavah—appearance; tribhih—within three months.


In the course of a month, a head is formed, and at the end of two months the hands, feet and other limbs take shape. By the end of three months, the nails, fingers, toes, body hair, bones and skin appear, as do the organ of generation and the other apertures in the body, namely the eyes, nostrils, ears, mouth and anus.



caturbhir dhatavah sapta

pancabhih ksut-trd-udbhavah

sadbhir jarayuna vitah

kuksau bhramyati daksine


caturbhih—within four months; dhatavah—ingredients; sapta—seven; pancabhih—within five months; ksut-trt—of hunger and thirst; udbhavah—appearance; sadbhih—within six months; jarayuna—by the amnion; vitah—enclosed; kuksau—in the abdomen; bhramyati—moves; daksine—on the right side.


Within four months from the date of conception, the seven essential ingredients of the body, namely chyle, blood, flesh, fat, bone, marrow and semen, come into existence. At the end of five months, hunger and thirst make themselves felt, and at the end of six months, the fetus, enclosed by the amnion, begins to move on the right side of the abdomen.


When the body of the child is completely formed at the end of six months, the child, if he is male, begins to move on the right side, and if female, she tries to move on the left side.



matur jagdhanna-panadyair

edhad-dhatur asammate

sete vin-mutrayor garte

sa jantur jantu-sambhave


matuh—of the mother; jagdha—taken; anna-pana—by the food and drink; adyaih—and so on; edhat—increasing; dhatuh—the ingredients of his body; asammate—abominable; sete—remains; vit-mutrayoh—of stools and urine; garte—in a hollow; sah—that; jantuh—fetus; jantu—of worms; sambhave—the breeding place.


Deriving its nutrition from the food and drink taken by the mother, the fetus grows and remains in that abominable residence of stools and urine, which is the breeding place of all kinds of worms.


In the Markandeya Purana it is said that in the intestine of the mother the umbilical cord, which is known as apyayani, joins the mother to the abdomen of the child, and through this passage the child within the womb accepts the mother’s assimilated foodstuff. In this way the child is fed by the mother’s intestine within the womb and grows from day to day. The statement of the Markandeya Purana about the child’s situation within the womb is exactly corroborated by modern medical science, and thus the authority of the puranas cannot be disproved, as is sometimes attempted by the Mayavadi philosophers.

Since the child depends completely on the assimilated foodstuff of the mother, during pregnancy there are restrictions on the food taken by the mother. Too much salt, chili, onion and similar food is forbidden for the pregnant mother because the child’s body is too delicate and new for him to tolerate such pungent food. Restrictions and precautions to be taken by the pregnant mother, as enunciated in the smrti scriptures of Vedic literature, are very useful. We can understand from the Vedic literature how much care is taken to beget a nice child in society. The garbhadhana ceremony before sexual intercourse was compulsory for persons in the higher grades of society, and it is very scientific. Other processes recommended in the Vedic literature during pregnancy are also very important. To take care of the child is the primary duty of the parents because if such care is taken, society will be filled with good population to maintain the peace and prosperity of the society, country and human race.



krmibhih ksata-sarvangah

saukumaryat pratiksanam

murccham apnoty uru-klesas

tatratyaih ksudhitair muhuh


krmibhih—by worms; ksata—bitten; sarva-angah—all over the body; saukumaryat—because of tenderness; prati-ksanam—moment after moment; murccham—unconsciousness; apnoti—he obtains; uru-klesah—whose suffering is great; tatratyaih—being there (in the abdomen); ksudhitaih—hungry; muhuh—again and again.


Bitten again and again all over the body by the hungry worms in the abdomen itself, the child suffers terrible agony because of his tenderness. He thus becomes unconscious moment after moment because of the terrible condition.


The miserable condition of material existence is not only felt when we come out of the womb of the mother, but is also present within the womb. Miserable life begins from the moment the living entity begins to contact his material body. Unfortunately, we forget this experience and do not take the miseries of birth very seriously. In Bhagavad-gita, therefore, it is specifically mentioned that one should be very alert to understand the specific difficulties of birth and death. Just as during the formation of this body we have to pass through so many difficulties within the womb of the mother, at the time of death there are also many difficulties. As described in the previous chapter, one has to transmigrate from one body to another, and the transmigration into the bodies of dogs and hogs is especially miserable. But despite such miserable conditions, due to the spell of maya we forget everything and become enamored by the present so-called happiness, which is described as actually no more than a counteraction to distress.




ruksamladibhir ulbanaih

matr-bhuktair upasprstah



katu—bitter; tiksna—pungent; usna—hot; lavana—salty; ruksa—dry; amla—sour; adibhih—and so on; ulbanaih—excessive; matr-bhuktaih—by foods eaten by the mother; upasprstah—affected; sarva-anga—all over the body; utthita—arisen; vedanah—pain.


Owing to the mother’s eating bitter, pungent foodstuffs, or food which is too salty or too sour, the body of the child incessantly suffers pains which are almost intolerable.


All descriptions of the child’s bodily situation in the womb of the mother are beyond our conception. It is very difficult to remain in such a position, but still the child has to remain. Because his consciousness is not very developed, the child can tolerate it, otherwise he would die. That is the benediction of maya, who endows the suffering body with the qualifications for tolerating such terrible tortures.



ulbena samvrtas tasminn

antrais ca bahir avrtah

aste krtva sirah kuksau



ulbena—by the amnion; samvrtah—enclosed; tasmin—in that place; antraih—by the intestines; ca—and; bahih—outside; avrtah—covered; aste—he lies; krtva—having put; sirah—the head; kuksau—towards the belly; bhugna—bent; prstha—back; sirah-dharah—neck.


Placed within the amnion and covered outside by the intestines, the child remains lying on one side of the abdomen, his head turned towards his belly and his back and neck arched like a bow.


If a grown man were put into such a condition as the child within the abdomen, completely entangled in all respects, it would be impossible for him to live even for a few seconds. Unfortunately, we forget all these sufferings and try to be happy in this life, not caring for the liberation of the soul from the entanglement of birth and death. It is an unfortunate civilization in which these matters are not plainly discussed to make people understand the precarious condition of material existence.



akalpah svanga-cestayam

sakunta iva panjare

tatra labdha-smrtir daivat

karma janma-satodbhavam

smaran dirgham anucchvasam

sarma kim nama vindate


akalpah—unable; sva-anga—his limbs; cestayam—to move; sakuntah—a bird; iva—like; panjare—in a cage; tatra—there; labdha-smrtih—having gained his memory; daivat—by fortune; karma—activities; janma-sata-udbhavam—occurring during the last hundred births; smaran—remembering; dirgham—for a long time; anucchvasam—sighing; sarma—peace of mind; kim—what; nama—then; vindate—can he achieve.


The child thus remains just like a bird in a cage, without freedom of movement. At that time, if the child is fortunate, he can remember all the troubles of his past one hundred births, and he grieves wretchedly. What is the possibility of peace of mind in that condition?


After birth the child may forget about the difficulties of his past lives, but when we are grown-up we can at least understand the grievous tortures undergone at birth and death by reading the authorized scriptures like Srimad-Bhagavatam. If we do not believe in the scriptures, that is a different question, but if we have faith in the authority of such descriptions, then we must prepare for our freedom in the next life; that is possible in this human form of life. One who does not take heed of these indications of suffering in human existence is said to be undoubtedly committing suicide. It is said that this human form of life is the only means for crossing over the nescience of maya, or material existence. We have a very efficient boat in this human form of body, and there is a very expert captain, the spiritual master; the scriptural injunctions are like favorable winds. If we do not cross over the ocean of the nescience of material existence in spite of all these facilities, then certainly we are all intentionally committing suicide.



arabhya saptaman masal

labdha-bodho ’pi vepitah

naikatraste suti-vatair

vistha-bhur iva sodarah


arabhya—beginning; saptamat masat—from the seventh month; labdha-bodhah—endowed with consciousness; api—although; vepitah—tossed; na—not; ekatra—in one place; aste—he remains; suti-vataih—by the winds for childbirth; vistha-bhuh—the worm; iva—like; sa-udarah—born of the same womb.


Thus endowed with the development of consciousness from the seventh month after his conception, the child is tossed downward by the airs that press the embryo during the weeks preceding delivery. Like the worms born of the same filthy abdominal cavity, he cannot remain in one place.


At the end of the seventh month the child is moved by the bodily air and does not remain in the same place, for the entire uterine system becomes slackened before delivery. The worms have been described here as sodara. Sodara means “born of the same mother.” Since the child is born from the womb of the mother and the worms are also born of fermentation within the womb of the same mother, under the circumstances the child and the worms are actually brothers. We are very anxious to establish universal brotherhood among human beings, but we should take into consideration that even the worms are our brothers, what to speak of other living entities. Therefore, we should be concerned about all living entities.



nathamana rsir bhitah

sapta-vadhrih krtanjalih

stuvita tam viklavaya

vaca yenodare ’rpitah


nathamanah—appealing; rsih—the living entity; bhitah—frightened; sapta-vadhrih—bound by the seven layers; krta-anjalih—with folded hands; stuvita—prays; tam—to the Lord; viklavaya—faltering; vaca—with words; yena—by whom; udare—in the womb; arpitah—he was placed.


The living entity in this frightful condition of life, bound by seven layers of material ingredients, prays with folded hands, appealing to the Lord, who has put him in that condition.


It is said that when a woman is having labor pains she promises that she will never again become pregnant and suffer from such a severely painful condition. Similarly, when one is undergoing some surgical operation he promises that he will never again act in such a way as to become diseased and have to undergo medical surgery, or when one falls into danger, he promises that he will never again make the same mistake. Similarly, the living entity, when put into a hellish condition of life, prays to the Lord that he will never again commit sinful activities and have to be put into the womb for repeated birth and death. In the hellish condition within the womb the living entity is very much afraid of being born again, but when he is out of the womb, when he is in full life and good health, he forgets everything and commits again and again the same sins for which he was put into that horrible condition of existence.



jantur uvaca

tasyopasannam avitum jagad icchayatta-

nana-tanor bhuvi calac-caranaravindam

so ’ham vrajami saranam hy akuto-bhayam me

yenedrsi gatir adarsy asato’nurupa


jantuh uvaca—the human soul says; tasya—of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; upasannam—having approached for protection; avitum—to protect; jagat—the universe; icchaya—by His own will; atta-nana-tanoh—who accepts various forms; bhuvi—on the earth; calat—walking; carana-aravindam—the lotus feet; sah aham—I myself; vrajami—go; saranam—unto the shelter; hi—indeed; akutah-bhayam—giving relief from all fear; me—for me; yena—by whom; idrsi—such; gatih—condition of life; adarsi—was considered; asatah—impious; anurupa—befitting.


The human soul says: I take shelter of the lotus feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who appears in His various eternal forms and walks on the surface of the world. I take shelter of Him only, because He can give me relief from all fear and from Him I have received this condition of life, which is just befitting my impious activities.


The word calac-caranaravindam refers to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who actually walks or travels upon the surface of the world. For example, Lord Ramacandra actually walked on the surface of the world, and Lord Krsna also walked just like an ordinary man. The prayer is therefore offered to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who descends to the surface of this earth, or any part of this universe, for the protection of the pious and the destruction of the impious. It is confirmed in Bhagavad-gita that when there is an increase of irreligion and discrepancies arise in the real religious activities, the Supreme Lord comes to protect the pious and kill the impious. This verse indicates Lord Krsna.

Another significant point in this verse is that the Lord comes, icchaya, by His own will. As Krsna confirms in Bhagavad-gita, sambhavamy atma-mayaya: [Bg. 4.6] “I appear at My will, by My internal potential power.” He is not forced to come by the laws of material nature. It is stated here, icchaya: He does not assume any form, as the impersonalists think, because He comes at His own will, and the form in which He descends is His eternal form. As the Supreme Lord puts the living entity into the condition of horrible existence, He can also deliver him, and therefore one should seek shelter at the lotus feet of Krsna. Krsna demands, “Give up everything and surrender unto Me.” And it is also said in Bhagavad-gita that anyone who approaches Him does not come back again to accept a form in material existence, but goes back to Godhead, back home, never to return.



yas tv atra baddha iva karmabhir avrtatma

bhutendriyasayamayim avalambya mayam

aste visuddham avikaram akhanda-bodham

atapyamana-hrdaye ’vasitam namami


yah—who; tu—also; atra—here; baddhah—bound; iva—as if; karmabhih—by activities; avrta—covered; atma—the pure soul; bhuta—the gross elements; indriya—the senses; asaya—the mind; mayim—consisting of; avalambya—having fallen; mayam—into maya; aste—remains; visuddham—completely pure; avikaram—without change; akhanda-bodham—possessed of unlimited knowledge; atapyamana—repentant; hrdaye—in the heart; avasitam—residing; namami—I offer my respectful obeisances.


I, the pure soul, appearing now bound by my activities, am lying in the womb of my mother by the arrangement of maya. I offer my respectful obeisances unto Him who is also here with me but who is unaffected and changeless. He is unlimited, but He is perceived in the repentant heart. To Him I offer my respectful obeisances.


As stated in the previous verse, the jiva soul says, “I take shelter of the Supreme Lord.” Therefore, constitutionally, the jiva soul is the subordinate servitor of the Supreme Soul, the Personality of Godhead. Both the Supreme Soul and the jiva soul are sitting in the same body, as confirmed in the Upanisads. They are sitting as friends, but one is suffering, and the other is aloof from suffering.

In this verse it is said, visuddham avikaram akhanda-bodham: the Supersoul is always sitting apart from all contamination. The living entity is contaminated and suffering because he has a material body, but that does not mean that because the Lord is also with him, He also has a I material body. He is avikaram, changeless. He is always the same Supreme, but unfortunately the Mayavadi philosophers, because of their impure hearts, cannot understand that the Supreme Soul, the Supersoul, is different from the individual soul. It is said here, atapyamana-hrdaye ’vasitam: He is in the heart of every living entity, but He can be realized only by a soul who is repentant. The individual soul becomes repentant that he forgot his constitutional position, wanted to become one with the Supreme Soul and tried his best to lord it over material nature. He has been baffled, and therefore he is repentant. At that time, Supersoul, or the relationship between the Supersoul and the individual soul, is realized. As it is confirmed in Bhagavad-gita, after many, many births the knowledge comes to the conditioned soul that Vasudeva is great, He is master, and He is Lord. The individual soul is the servant, and therefore he surrenders unto Him. At that time he becomes a mahatma, a great soul. Therefore, a fortunate living being who comes to this understanding, even within the womb of his mother, has his liberation assured.



yah panca-bhuta-racite rahitah sarire

cchanno ’yathendriya-gunartha-cid-atmako ’ham

tenavikuntha-mahimanam rsim tam enam

vande param prakrti-purusayoh pumamsam


yah—who; panca-bhuta—five gross elements; racite—made of; rahitah—separated; sarire—in the material body; channah—covered; ayatha—unfitly; indriya—senses; guna—qualities; artha—objects of senses; cit—ego; atmakah—consisting of; aham—I; tena—by a material body; avikuntha-mahimanam—whose glories are unobscured; rsim—all-knowing; tam—that; enam—unto Him; vande—I offer obeisances; param—transcendental; prakrti—to material nature; purusayoh—to the living entities; pumamsam—unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead.


I am separated from the Supreme Lord because of my being in this material body, which is made of five elements, and therefore my qualities and senses are being misused, although I am essentially spiritual. Because the Supreme Personality of Godhead is transcendental to material nature and the living entities, because He is devoid of such a material body, and because He is always glorious in His spiritual qualities, I offer my obeisances unto Him.


The difference between the living entity and the Supreme Personality of Godhead is that the living entity is prone to be subjected to material nature, whereas the Supreme Godhead is always transcendental to material nature as well as to the living entities. When the living entity is put into material nature, then his senses and qualities are polluted, or designated. There is no possibility for the Supreme Lord to become embodied by material qualities or material senses, for He is above the influence of material nature and cannot possibly be put in the darkness of ignorance like the living entities. Because of His full knowledge, He is never subjected to the influence of material nature. Material nature is always under His control, and it is therefore not possible that material nature can control the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

Since the identity of the living entity is very minute, he is prone to be subjected to material nature, but when he is freed from this material body, which is false, he attains the same, spiritual nature as the Supreme Lord. At that time there is no qualitative difference between him and the Supreme Lord, but because he is not so quantitatively powerful as to never be put under the influence of material nature, he is quantitatively different from the Lord.

The entire process of devotional service is to purify oneself of this contamination of material nature and put oneself on the spiritual platform, where he is qualitatively one with the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In the Vedas it is said that the living entity is always free. Asango hy ayam purusah. The living entity is liberated. His material contamination is temporary, and his actual position is that he is liberated. This liberation is achieved by Krsna consciousness, which begins from the point of surrender. Therefore it is said here, “I offer my respectful obeisances unto the Supreme Person.”



yan-mayayoru-guna-karma-nibandhane ’smin

samsarike pathi carams tad-abhisramena

nasta-smrtih punar ayam pravrnita lokam

yuktya kaya mahad-anugraham antarena


yat—of the Lord; mayaya—by the maya; uru-guna—arising from the great modes; karma—activities; nibandhane—with bonds; asmin—this; samsarike—of repeated birth and death; pathi—on the path; caran—wandering; tat—of him; abhisramena—with great pains; nasta—lost; smrtih—memory; punah—again; ayam—this living entity; pravrnita—may realize; lokam—his true nature; yuktya kaya—by what means; mahat-anugraham—the mercy of the Lord; antarena—without.


The human soul further prays: The living entity is put under the influence of material nature and continues a hard struggle for existence on the path of repeated birth and death. This conditional life is due to his forgetfulness of his relationship with the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Therefore, without the Lord’s mercy, how can he again engage in the transcendental loving service of the Lord?


The Mayavadi philosophers say that simply by cultivation of knowledge by mental speculation, one can be liberated from the condition of material bondage. But here it is said one is liberated not by knowledge but by the mercy of the Supreme Lord. The knowledge the conditioned soul gains by mental speculation, however powerful it may be, is always too imperfect to approach the Absolute Truth. It is said that without the mercy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead one cannot understand Him or His actual form, quality and name. Those who are not in devotional service go on speculating for many, many thousands of years, but they are still unable to understand the nature of the Absolute Truth.

One can be liberated in the knowledge of the Absolute Truth simply by the mercy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. It is clearly said herein that our memory is lost because we are now covered by His material energy. Arguments may be put forward as to why we have been put under the influence of this material energy by the supreme will of the Lord. This is explained in Bhagavad-gita, where the Lord says, “I am sitting in everyone’s heart, and due to Me one is forgetful or one is alive in knowledge.” The forgetfulness of the conditioned soul is also due to the direction of the Supreme Lord. A living entity misuses his little independence when he wants to lord it over material nature. This misuse of independence, which is called maya, is always available, otherwise there would be no independence. Independence implies that one can use it properly or improperly. It is not static; it is dynamic. Therefore, misuse of independence is the cause of being influenced by maya.

Maya is so strong that the Lord says that it is very difficult to surmount her influence. But one can do so very easily “if he surrenders unto Me.” Mam eva ye prapadyante: anyone who surrenders unto Him can overcome the influence of the stringent laws of material nature. It is clearly said here that a living entity is put under the influence of maya by His will, and if anyone wants to get out of this entanglement, this can be made possible simply by His mercy.

The activities of the conditioned souls under the influence of material nature are explained here. Every conditioned soul is engaged in different types of work under the influence of material nature. We can see in the material world that the conditioned soul acts so powerfully that he is playing wonderfully in creating the so-called advancements of material civilization for sense gratification. But actually his position is to know that he is an eternal servant of the Supreme Lord. When he is actually in perfect knowledge, he knows that the Lord is the supreme worshipful object and that the living entity is His eternal servant. Without this knowledge, he engages in material activities; that is called ignorance.



jnanam yad etad adadhat katamah sa devas

trai-kalikam sthira-caresv anuvartitamsah

tam jiva-karma-padavim anuvartamanas

tapa-trayopasamanaya vayam bhajema


jnanam—knowledge; yat—which; etat—this; adadhat—gave; katamah—who other than; sah—that; devah—the Personality of Godhead; trai-kalikam—of the three phases of time; sthira-caresu—in the inanimate and animate objects; anuvartita—dwelling; amsah—His partial representation; tam—unto Him; jiva—of the jiva souls; karma-padavim—the path of fruitive activities; anuvartamanah—who are pursuing; tapa-traya—from the threefold miseries; upasamanaya—for getting free; vayam—we; bhajema—must surrender.


No one other than the Supreme Personality of Godhead, as the localized Paramatma, the partial representation of the Lord, is directing all inanimate and animate objects. He is present in the three phases of time—past, present and future. Therefore, the conditioned soul is engaged in different activities by His direction, and in order to get free from the threefold miseries of this conditional life, we have to surrender unto Him only.


When a conditioned soul is seriously anxious to get out of the influence of the material clutches, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is situated within him as Paramatma, gives him this knowledge: “Surrender unto Me.” As the Lord says in Bhagavad-gita, “Give up all other engagements. Just surrender unto Me.” It is to be accepted that the source of knowledge is the Supreme Person. This is also confirmed in Bhagavad-gita. Mattah smrtir jnanam apohanam ca [Bg. 15.15]. The Lord says, “Through Me one gets real knowledge and memory, and one also forgets through Me.” To one who wants to be materially satisfied or who wants to lord it over material nature, the Lord gives the opportunity to forget His service and engage in the so-called happiness of material activities. Similarly, when one is frustrated in lording it over material nature and is very serious about getting out of this material entanglement, the Lord, from within, gives him the knowledge that he has to surrender unto Him; then there is liberation.

This knowledge cannot be imparted by anyone other than the Supreme Lord or His representative. In the Caitanya-caritamrta Lord Caitanya instructs Rupa Gosvami that the living entities wander in life after life, undergoing the miserable conditions of material existence. But when one is very anxious to get free from the material entanglement, he gets enlightenment through a spiritual master and Krsna. This means that Krsna as the Supersoul is seated within the heart of the living entity, and when the living entity is serious, the Lord directs him to take shelter of His representative, a bona fide spiritual master. Directed from within and guided externally by the spiritual master, one attains the path of Krsna consciousness, which is the way out of the material clutches.

Therefore there is no possibility of one’s being situated in his own position unless he is blessed by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Unless he is enlightened with the supreme knowledge, one has to undergo the severe penalties of the hard struggle for existence in the material nature. The spiritual master is therefore the mercy manifestation of the Supreme Person. The conditioned soul has to take direct instruction from the spiritual master, and thus he gradually becomes enlightened to the path of Krsna consciousness. The seed of Krsna consciousness is sown within the heart of the conditioned soul, and when one hears instruction from the spiritual master, the seed fructifies, and one’s life is blessed.

Next verse (SB3.31.17)