Escape from the Material World

 By Madhudvisa dasa - 10.11 2020

In the previous verse (Bhagavad-gita 7.13) we have seen Krishna explain to His friend Arjuna that here, in the material world, everyone is enchanted by the three modes of material nature: goodness, passion and ignorance. Because of this influence of the three modes of material nature the people of the world are bewildered and blinded so they can not know Krishna who is beyond the modes of material nature.

After describing this almost hopeless conditon of the people of the world Krishna continues:

This divine energy of Mine, consisting of the three modes of material nature, is difficult to overcome. But those who have surrendered unto Me can easily cross beyond it. (Bhagavad-gita 7.14)

So although it is very difficult, almost impossible to overcome the three modes of material nature, for a devotee who is actually surrendered to Krishna overcoming the modes of material nature and crossing over them, going back home back to Godhead, becomes very easy.

The Supreme Personality of Godhead has innumerable energies, and all these energies are divine. Although we, the living entities, are part of Krishna’s energies and are therefore divine, due to contact with material energy, our original superior power is covered. Being covered by material energy, we cannot possibly overcome its influence. Both the material and spiritual natures, being emanations from the Supreme Personality of Godhead, are eternal.

We, the living entities, belong to the eternal superior nature of Krishna, but due to contamination by the inferior nature, matter, our illusion is also eternal. The conditioned soul is therefore called nitya-baddha, or eternally conditioned. No one can trace out the history of his becoming conditioned at a certain date in material history. Consequently, his release from the clutches of material nature is very difficult, even though that material nature is an inferior energy, because material energy is ultimately conducted by the supreme will, which the living entity cannot overcome.

Inferior material nature is defined herein as divine nature due to its divine connection and movement by the divine will. Being conducted by divine will, material nature, although inferior, acts so wonderfully in the construction and destruction of the cosmic manifestation. The Vedas confirm this as follows: “Although maya [illusion] is false or temporary, the background of maya is the supreme magician, the Personality of Godhead, who is Mahesvara, the supreme controller.”

Another meaning of guna is rope; it is to be understood that the conditioned soul is tightly tied by the ropes of illusion. A man bound by the hands and feet cannot free himself–he must be helped by a person who is unbound. Because the bound cannot help the bound, the rescuer must be liberated.

Therefore, only Lord Krsna, or His bona fide representative the spiritual master, can release the conditioned soul. Without such superior help, one cannot be freed from the bondage of material nature. Devotional service, or Krsna consciousness, can help one gain such release. Krsna, being the Lord of illusory energy, can order this insurmountable energy to release the conditioned soul. He orders this release out of His causeless mercy on the surrendered soul and out of His paternal affection for the living entity who is originally a beloved son of the Lord. Therefore surrender unto the lotus feet of the Lord is the only means to get free from the clutches of the stringent material nature.

The words mam eva are also significant. Mam means unto Krsna (Visnu) only, and not Brahma or Siva. Although Brahma and Siva are greatly elevated and are almost on the level of Visnu, it is not possible for such incarnations of passion and ignorance to release the conditioned soul from the clutches of maya.

In other words, both Brahma and Siva are also under the influence of maya. Only Visnu is the master of maya; therefore He can alone give release to the conditioned soul. The Vedas confirm this in the phrase tam eva viditva or “Freedom is possible only by understanding Krishna.” Even Lord Siva affirms that liberation can be achieved only by the mercy of Visnu. Lord Siva says: “There is no doubt that Visnu is the deliverer of liberation for everyone.”

So the summary is that the material energy, the three modes of material nature, although they are the inferior energy of Krishna, still the material energy is the energy of Krishna and therefore it is divine and also very, very strong. Because of this strong bewildering power of the material energy it is practically impossible for anyone to escape from the material world. However for a devotee who surrenders to Krishna, overcoming the modes of material nature and crossing beyond the material world to the spiritual world becomes very, very easy.