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The Main Constitutional Principles of Material Nature

Question
Dear Guru Maharaj,
Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to You and Srila Prabhupada.
What are the 11 sense organs?
In addition to that question, what is the significance of the 16 creative principles and elements?
Thank you
Your servant,
Bhakta Richard

 

Answer
Dear Bhakta Richard,
Please receive my blessings. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

The Srimad-Bhagavatam (3.26) gives us a clear (although not easy to understand for most people) description of material nature, which is what the material world is made of.

The transcendental living entity accepts the influence of material energy and falls down from the spiritual plane.

The name of the material energy before manifesting itself is Pradhana. When it is in the manifested stage of existence, it is called prakrti.

This material energy is formed by 24 elements which are:
1. The five gross elements.
2. The five subtle elements.
3. The four internal senses.
4. The five senses for gathering knowledge, and
5. The five outward organs of action.

The five gross elements are earth, water, fire, air, and ether.

The five subtle elements are smell, taste, color, touch, and sound.

The four internal subtle senses are the mind, the intelligence, the ego, and the contaminated consciousness.

The senses for acquiring knowledge are the auditory sense, the sense of taste, the tactile sense, the sense of sight, and the sense of smell.

The five outward organs of action are the active organs for speaking, working, traveling, generating, and evacuating.

The last two categories, plus the mind, are the eleven sense organs you are asking about.

When Prakriti becomes fit for creating the specific world, it is called Mahat-tattva and other elements like jiva, Kala (time, also called the mixing element), Paramatma, karma, and others are added. Only at this point it is possible for Brahma to build the universe.

I understand that some of this is not easy to understand or to put it into perspective. If you want to clarify any point, you just have to ask and I’ll try to make it easier to comprehend.

A second scheme:
earth
water
fire
air
ether

smell
taste
color
touch
sound

the mind
the intelligence
the ego and
the contaminated consciousness

the auditory sense
the sense of taste
the tactile sense
the sense of sight
the sense of smell

The active organs for:
speaking
working
traveling
generating and
evacuating
time (or Jiva)
the Supreme Personality of Godhead

Specification:
This material energy is formed by 24 elements, which are:
the five gross elements
the five subtle elements
the four internal senses
the five senses for gathering knowledge and
the five outward organs of action

The five gross elements are: earth water, fire, air, and ether.

The five subtle elements are: smell, taste, color, touch, and sound.

The four internal subtle senses are: the mind, the intelligence, the ego, and the contaminated consciousness.

The senses for acquiring knowledge are: the auditory sense, the sense of taste, the tactile sense, the sense of sight, and the sense of smell.

The five outward organs of action are: the active organs for speaking, working, traveling, generating, and evacuating.
(Srimad-Bhagavatam 3.26.18)

Your well-wisher
Manonatha Dasa (ACBSP)

 

 

This is a section of the book “A Sidelong Glance – (English)”.

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