The para and the apara potencies

Sree Sree Guru Gaurangau Jayatah!

In Bhagavad-gita, you will find that Lord Krishna says to Arjuna:

mamaivamso jiva-loke
jiva-bhutah sanatanah
(Bhagavad-gita, 15-7)

“The jivas (the living entities) are parts of My potency.” When we go through the scriptures, we should accept all the evidence. So, in this verse Krishna says that the jivas are parts of His potency and in other verses He says that they are the outcome of the potency of the Supreme Lord:

bhumir apo `nalo vayuh
kham mano buddhir eva ca
ahaìkara itiyam me
bhinna prakrtir astadha

apareyam itas tv anyam
prakrtim viddhi me param
jiva-bhutam maha-baho
yayedam dharyate jagat
(Bhagavad-gita, 7.4-5)

Krishna says He has two kinds of potencies, the inferior (apara) potency and the superior (para) potency. The inferior potency is comprised of the five gross elements, namely earth, water, fire, air and ether and also of the three subtle elements, namely mind, intelligence and perverted ego. The other potency is the superior or spiritual potency. The atma, or the real self, is the outcome of this spiritual potency. It is different from this gross material body and the subtle astral body. So, this material body is the outcome of the apara potency and the real self is the outcome of the para potency. Potencies should exist for the possessor of those potencies. Any part of a potency should be for the pleasure of the Eternal Master and Enjoyer of all these potencies. So this is our natural function: Krishna is eternal, His potencies are eternal, and the parts of His potencies are eternal.

— Srila Bhakti Ballabh Tirtha Goswami Maharaj


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