In the seventh chapter of Bhagavad-gita [7.6],
Lord Krishna says that all created beings have their origin in two
natures: the material and the spiritual;
and that He is the source of both natures [Bg. 7.6].
Prakriti, material nature, is actually threefold. Nature consists of a superior energy [para], an inferior energy [apara], and a marginal energy. The superior energy manifests the spiritual realm. The inferior energy [known as "nature" by scientists] manifests this material world. And the marginal energy, also spiritual by constitution, comprises the infinitesimal sparks of consciousness known as jivas; that is, all living beings. When the jivas choose to associate with matter and identify with the inferior energy, they manipulate it for sense enjoyment and thus the entire world functions.
Material nature consists of eight elements: earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, intelligence and false ego. These are known as Krishna's "separated material energies" [Bg. 7.4]. Another classification of the elements of the material world includes the five gross elements [earth, water, fire, air and ether], the three subtle elements [mind, intelligence and false ego], the ten senses [five for working: hands, legs, stomach, rectum and genitals; and five for acquiring knowledge: eyes, ears, nose, tongue and skin], the five sense objects [form, taste, smell, sound and touch], and consciousness. These twenty-four elements constitute the field of activity for the living entities.
The material body of the jiva is also called the field of activity. It is a
miniature universe comprised of the twenty-four universal elements. Though covered
by gross and subtle material elements, the soul retains in a dormant state its
individuality as the eternal servitor of the Lord. The pure soul in the material
world desires to exploit material nature, and the false ego is the identification
of the self as separate from Krishna.
Jada-prakriti or material nature, is the inferior energy of the Supreme Lord, because it is composed of inert matter and analysed in Shankya to be of 24 material elements. This inferior and superior energies is clearly mentioned in Bhagavad-gita [7.4-5] "This inferior energy comprised of earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, intelligence and false ego--altogether these eight elements comprise My separated material energies." "Besides this inferior nature, there is a superior nature of Mine, which are all the living entities who are struggling with material nature and are sustaining the universe."
It is clearly mentioned that living entities belong to the superior nature
(or energy) of the Supreme Lord. The inferior energy is matter manifested in different
gross and subtle elements, namely earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, intelligence
and false ego. Both forms of material nature, namely gross (earth, etc.) and subtle
(mind, etc.), are products of the inferior energy. The living entities, however,
who are exploiting these inferior energies for different purposes, are the superior
energy of the Supreme Lord, and it is due to this energy that the entire material
world functions. The cosmic manifestation has no power to act unless it is moved
by the superior energy, the living entity. Therefore everything that takes place
in this material creation is due to the combination of the superior energy with
the inferior nature, or spirit and
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