Do the modes come from Krishna or from prakriti?

by Chaitanya CharanNovember 14, 2020

BG 7.12 says that modes of nature comes from Lord, but 13.20 says that modes comes from Prakriti, how to reconcile such contradiction?
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Transcribed by: Suresh Gupta

Edited by: Raji Nachiappan

Question: Do the modes come from Krishna or from prakriti?
Bhagavad Gita 7.12 says that modes of nature comes from Lord, but 13.20 says that modes comes from prakriti, how do we reconcile this contradiction?

Answer: Both statements are true. The different levels of causation are being described here. For example, we can say that a child comes from its parents and that is true. At the same time, we can also say that the child comes from Krishna. That is also true because Krishna is the ultimate cause. Therefore, the ultimate cause and immediate cause are not contradictory, rather they are complementary.

Similarly, if we look at the context in the seventh chapter of the Bhagavad-gita, which Prabhupada titles as Knowledge of the Absolute, Krishna focuses on showing the connection of everything with him. Hence, he says that material nature and the modes of material nature, come from him.

If we look at the thirteenth chapter, Krishna says prakritim purusham chaiva viddhy anadi ubhav api vikaramsh ca gunamsh chaiva viddhi prakriti-sambhavan (13.20) – (Material nature and the living entities should be understood to be beginningless. Their transformations and the modes of matter are products of material nature). Earlier also in thirteenth chapter verse 6 and 7, Krishna talks about various material elements coming from material nature. Here, Krishna is discussing in terms of the sankhya frame of analysis, wherein everything is being analysed in terms of purusha and prakriti. Therefore, the material gunas which comprise material nature, are said to come from prakriti. For that purpose, Krishna states that the gunas, come from prakriti.

The conventional sankhya focuses primarily on the analysis in terms of purusha and prakriti. The Bhagavad-gita presents the analysis in a devotional perspective by describing the presence of prakriti, purusha and the Purshottama and establishing that the Purushottama is the source of both purusha and prakriti. Krishna has mentioned earlier in seventh chapter that he possesses two prakritis – para and apara prakriti.

Hence, the point here is that there is no contradiction between the two because they are talking about different levels of origin. At the ultimate level, the modes come from Krishna and at the level of sankhya analysis, the modes come from prakriti.

End of transcription.

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