bhumir apo ’nalo vayuh
kham mano buddhir eva ca
ahankara itiyam me
bhinna prakrtir astadha
Word for word:
bhumih — earth; apah — water; analah — ﬁre; vayuh — air; kham — ether; manah — mind; buddhih — intelligence; eva — certainly; ca — and; ahankarah — false ego; iti — thus; iyam — all these; me — My; bhinna — separated; prakrtih — energies; astadha — eightfold.
Translation by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada:
Earth, water, ﬁre, air, ether, mind, intelligence and false ego – all together these eight constitute My separated material energies.
Purport by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada:
The science of God analyzes the constitutional position of God and His diverse energies. Material nature is called prakrti, or the energy of the Lord in His different purusa incarnations (expansions) as described in the Narada Pancaratra, one of the Satvata-tantras:
visnos tu trini rupani
purusakhyany atho viduh
ekam tu mahatah srastr
dvitiyam tv anda-samsthitam
tani jnatva vimucyate
“For material creation, Lord Krishna’s plenary expansion assumes three Visnus. The ﬁrst one, Maha-visnu, creates the total material energy, known as the mahat-tattva. The second, Garbhodaka-sayi Visnu, enters into all the universes to create diversities in each of them. The third, Ksirodaka-sayi Visnu, is diffused as the all-pervading Supersoul in all the universes and is known as Paramatma. He is present even within the atoms. Anyone who knows these three Visnus can be liberated from material entanglement.”
This material world is a temporary manifestation of one of the energies of the Lord. All the activities of the material world are directed by these three Visnu expansions of Lord Krishna. These purusas are called incarnations. Generally one who does not know the science of God (Krishna) assumes that this material world is for the enjoyment of the living entities and that the living entities are the purusas – the causes, controllers and enjoyers of the material energy. According to Bhagavad-gita this atheistic conclusion is false. In the verse under discussion it is stated that Krishna is the original cause of the material manifestation. Srimad-Bhagavatam also conﬁrms this. The ingredients of the material manifestation are separated energies of the Lord. Even the brahma-jyotir, which is the ultimate goal of the impersonalists, is a spiritual energy manifested in the spiritual sky. There are no spiritual diversities in the brahma-jyotir as there are in the Vaikuntha-lokas, and the impersonalist accepts this brahma-jyotir as the ultimate eternal goal. The Paramatma manifestation is also a temporary all-pervasive aspect of the Ksirodaka-sayi Visnu. The Paramatma manifestation is not eternal in the spiritual world. Therefore the factual Absolute Truth is the Supreme Personality of Godhead Krishna. He is the complete energetic person, and He possesses different separated and internal energies.
In the material energy, the principal manifestations are eight, as above mentioned. Out of these, the ﬁrst ﬁve manifestations, namely earth, water, ﬁre, air and sky, are called the ﬁve gigantic creations or the gross creations, within which the ﬁve sense objects are included. They are the manifestations of physical sound, touch, form, taste and smell. Material science comprises these ten items and nothing more. But the other three items, namely mind, intelligence and false ego, are neglected by the materialists. Philosophers who deal with mental activities are also not perfect in knowledge because they do not know the ultimate source, Krishna. The false ego – “I am,” and “It is mine,” which constitute the basic principle of material existence – includes ten sense organs for material activities. Intelligence refers to the total material creation, called the mahat-tattva. Therefore from the eight separated energies of the Lord are manifest the twenty-four elements of the material world, which are the subject matter of Sankhya atheistic philosophy; they are originally offshoots from Krishna’s energies and are separated from Him, but atheistic Sankhya philosophers with a poor fund of knowledge do not know Krishna as the cause of all causes. The subject matter for discussion in the Sankhya philosophy is only the manifestation of the external energy of Krishna, as it is described in the Bhagavad-gita.