The Material Body is a Machine. Who is Operating that Machine? |


Published on May 10th, 2023 | by HDG A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada


The Material Body is a Machine. Who is Operating that Machine?

Any scientist can understand that no machine, however nicely made, finely made, without some person to push the button, it cannot work.

Bhagavad-gita 4.12, Vrndavana, August 4, 1974


kanksantah karmanam siddhim
yajanta iha devatah
ksipram hi manuse loke
siddhir bhavati karmaja

Generally, people are karmaja. Karmaja means one who wants to enjoy the fruit of his labor. Everyone in this material world, they have come to enjoy. So therefore they are working so hard. We have seen in big, big cities, especially in the Western world, they are working very, very hard.

In the Srimad-Bhagavatam it is said that nunam pramattah kurute vikarma.

nunam pramattah kurute vikarma
yad indriya-pritaya aprnoti
na sadhu manye yata atmano ‘yam
asann api klesada asa dehah

People do not understand that because we have got this material body, the sufferings are there. We are spirit. Aham brahmasmi. We are all spirit soul. But somehow or other, some way or otherwise, we have contacted this material world, and we are bound up by our karma, or fruitive, result of fruitive activities. And the result is this body. Karmana daiva-netrena jantur dehopapatti.

We work in a certain way, in contamination with the modes of material nature, and we get different types of body. These are explained in the Bhagavad-gita, that why there are different types of body. Now we are sitting, say, one hundred men here. We have got different types of body. Not that everyone’s body of the same type. Why? Why the scientists cannot reply this? But Bhagavad-gita replies. What is the reply? The reply is karanam guna-sangah asya sad-asad-yoni-janmasu. We have got different types of body from different types of mother. So karanam guna-sangah asya. Mother means yoni, and father means bija. Yatha yoni yatha bijam. Our birth is taking place according to the mother and the father. Yatha bijam yatha yoni. So we are getting different types of body, human body or animal body or demigod body. This is due to karanam.

What is the reason? Karanam guna-sangah asya. We are associating with different modes of material nature by our karma, activities. Therefore there are divisions of karma. Catur-varnyam maya srstam guna-karma-vibhagasah. That is also creation of God, catur-varnyam, guna-karma. It is very subtle subject matter. According to guna and karma, we are getting bodies, and we are preparing also next body according to this guna and karma. So if we change our guna and karma, then we can again regain our spiritual body. This is the process. Guna… In the Bhagavad-gita it is also advised, traigunya-visaya veda nistraigunyo bhavarjuna. We have to transcend the gunas, the infection of these material qualities.

It is naturally happening. God’s, I mean to say, machine is so perfect that it is automatically taking place. Parasya saktir vividhaiva sruyate. Sakti. God’s energy, Krsna’s energy, is so perfect that it is automatically being done.

We have got some experience nowadays. The pilot is sitting in front of the airplane, and there are very fine electronic machine, and he’s pushing one button. Immediately the wings is working, and it is going down, it is, it is very, mean, a delicate position in the air. A little mistake in the pushing of the button, the whole plane may be crashed. So nowadays scientists, they have invented so many fine machineries that it is working very nicely. We came from London to Bombay in eight hours. So this is very nice.

But at the same time, we should appreciate that how much nice machinery are there which is conducting the whole cosmic activities. So that is stated in the Vedas, that parasya saktir vividhaiva sruyate, svabhaviki jnana-bala-kriya ca. Krsna’s knowledge is so perfect. Krsna says, mayadhyaksena prakrtih suyate sa-caracaram. This nature’s work is going on not whimsically, but under the guidance of pushing the button of Krsna, by Krsna. It is not going… Any scientist can understand that no machine, however nicely made, finely made, without pushing the button, it cannot work. So the huge machinery of the cosmic manifestation, which is working so nicely and perfect, perfectly… Our Dr. Svarupa Damodara has mentioned in his book very nicely. So… There must be some brain. All big, big scientists… Even Professor Einstein, he also admitted. So there is brain. That brain is Krsna. That brain is Krsna. So people are working.

In the previous verse we have discussed, ye yatha mam prapadyante tams tathaiva bhajamy aham. Krsna is the Supreme Father. He’s very loving father. So He has given freedom to His sons. We are, all sons. Mamaivamso jiva-bhutah. Aham bija-pradah pita. Krsna says, “I am the bija-pradah pita. Material nature is the mother.” Tasam yonir mahad brahma aham bija-pradah pita. So the original father is Krsna, and mother is this material nature. So I am the soul, spirit soul, very minute position. My, my magnitude is very, very small. That is also given in the sastra: kesagra-sata-bhagasya satadha kalpitasya. One ten-thousandth part of the tip of the hair. That is my magnitude.

So that bija, that spiritual spark, is given by Krsna, and the material nature, ksitir apo ‘nalo vayuh kham mano buddhir eva ca… This body is, in this way we have got. So because we are now in the material world, we have got the propensity to enjoy, to exploit the resources of material nature. Krsna has given us the opportunity. Therefore He said in the previous verse that ye yatha mam prapadyante. If you want… Because material nature is also Krsna. Or Krsna’s energy. Not Krsna. Krsna and Krsna’s energy, there is no difference.

That I have explained last night. Just like the fire and heat, that is the same quality. In the heat there is warmth, and the fire there is warmth. Still, the heat is not the fire. This is called inconceivable, simultaneously one and different. This is the perfect philosophy. Everything is one with the Supreme, and at the same time it is different. This is perfect philosophy given by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Acintya-bhedabheda-tattva.

So here, in this material world, people are trying to enjoy. Therefore Krsna says, kanksantah karmanam siddhim. Everyone is working very hard. Any business he is doing, he is praying, “O My Lord, give me the opportunity that I may get success in my business.” So Krsna is giving. That is also very nice.

If a person, desiring some material profit, remembering Krsna, that is also welcome. Welcome because he is not atheist. Atheist class men, even for material success, they do not pray to God. But theist class, one who has got background pious activities, he is called theist. An impious, sinful activities, or sinful man, cannot remember even God. Na mam duskrtino mudhah prapadyante naradhamah. Yesam anta-gatam papam jananam punya-karmanam. So to remember even God, even go to God in temple or mosque or church and pray to God, “Give me this benefit,”… Just like Christian way of worshiping is “O God, give us our daily bread.” Hindus also go to temple and pray to God that “Give me some profit. I am very poor man.” So Krsna says that is also welcome.

Catur-vidha bhajante mam sukrtino ‘rjuna, arto jijna…, arto…

Devotee: Artharthi.

Prabhupada: Artharthi, yes. Arto jijnasur jnani ca bharatarsabha.

This is not pure devotee, but they are pious. One who goes to the temple and prays to God for some material profit, they are also pious. They are not sinful. But those who are sinful, they do not go even to the temple. They think, “What is this temple nonsense? We shall earn money.” Our present government is encouraging this method, that “Why should you go to temple and waste your time? If you want money, then take to industries, work hard like an ass,
and you get money.” That is the policy going on. But Srimad-Bhagavatam says, “No, no, no, this is not good. To work so hard like dogs and hogs…”

Especially Srimad-Bhagavatam has mentioned the word “hog,” “pig.” Nayam deho deha-bhajam nrloke kastan kaman arhate vid-bhujam ye. Vid-bhujam. Vit, vit means stool. Stool-bhujam, “one who eats stool.” That means the pigs. So they are working very hard, day and night, to find out where is stool. “How to eat? How to eat? How to def… How to sleep?” This is their philosophy.

But actually, human life is not meant for that purpose. And to reduce some work, sometimes we think that “Let me go to the temple. If God or some demigod becomes very pleased upon me, then quickly I shall get the benefit.” That is mentioned here. Kanksantah karmanam siddhim. This is also mentioned in the Vedas, that “If you want success in this line, then worship this demigod. If you want beautiful wife, then worship Uma. If you want…” They’re all listed. I don’t remember just now, but these are recommended. These are recommended. Therefore, according to Vedic system, if you worship some demigod for some particular purpose, that is recommended.

But Krsna says in the Bhagavad-gita that antavat tu phalam tesam tad bhavaty alpa-medhasam. Antavat tu phalam tesam. If you get some profit, material profit… You can get it very easily. Therefore it is said, kanksantah karmanam siddhim yajanta iha devatah, ksipram hi manuse loke. Just like… That is the difference between worshiping Lord Visnu, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and the demigods.

There are many examples. Just like Lord Siva. One demon, or a devotee of Lord Siva… But generally, we find in the sastras… Just like Ravana. Ravana was a great devotee of Lord Siva, recognized. But he’s accepted as a demon, raksasa. Although he was a great devotee, Mahisasura… He was also a great devotee of goddess Durga, but it is described as asura.

So according to sastra it is said there are two divisions of men: deva and asura. Deva means the devotee of the Supreme Lord, Visnu. Visnu-bhaktah bhaved daiva asuras tad-viparyayah. So it is very interesting. By worshiping different demigods, we get immediate result. We immediate. Just like the Bhaumasura. He was a great devotee of Lord Siva, and when he was, Lord Siva was perfectly worshiped, he wanted to give him some benediction, and he asked Lord Siva that “Please give me this benediction that on the head of anyone, if I place my hand, immediately his head will be gone, vanished, vanquished. So Lord Siva is known as Asutosa. Asutosa, very quickly, very easily, he becomes pleased. That is Lord Siva’s great qualification. And if anyone wants anything, even it is very obnoxious, he grants, “All right, take it.”

So Lord Siva gave him the benediction, “Yes, your, I give you this benediction.” So then he wanted to test it. So he said, “Sir, let me place my hand upon your head.” (laughter) So Lord Siva was in danger. You see? Then he went to Lord Visnu, “Please save me. I,… This man took benediction from me, and now he wants to place his hand upon my head.” So visnu-maya is very intricate. So Lord Visnu saved Lord Siva and informed the devotee, “This is not possible. Why don’t you test by touching your own head?” Then as soon as he placed his hand on his own head, his head was vanished.

So here the people want to take immediate some benefit by worshiping different demigods, but he does not know what is the result. Neither the demigods know. Therefore Krsna says… You’ll find in the eighth chapter that, antavat tu phalam tesam tad bhavaty alpa-medhasam. Alpa-medhasa means one whose brain substance is very small. This is very true. According to brain substance,… What is called? Celebrum or something? The technical. Eh?

Svarupa Damodara: Cerebrum.

Prabhupada: Eh?

Svarupa Damodara: Cerebrum.

Prabhupada: Yes. I was student of psychology. Our professor, Dr. Urquhart said that the brain, the biggest brain is, by practical psychology it has been tested, sixty-four ounce. And that is the highest brain substance. But for woman it is never more than thirty-six ounce. So they have tested all these practical psychologies.

So here the same word is used, that alpa-medhasa. It is very technical. Alpa means “very little” brain substance. Those who have got very little brain substance, they try like this. Kanksantah karmanam siddhim yajanta iha devatah. “Why little brain substance? He’s getting profit from the demigods.” Then brain substance little means he does not know what is his actual aim of life. He does not know. Na te viduh svartha-gatim hi visnum. Those who are trying to be happy within this material world, worshiping different types of demigods and taking benefit very soon, but he, because his brain substance is very little, he does not consider it that “How long I shall enjoy it? How long I shall enjoy?”

Krsna says in the Bhagavad-gita, abrahma-bhuvanal lokah punar avartino ‘rjuna. Even if you, by activities, pious activities, or worshiping different demigods, you go to the Brahmaloka, where the standard of life is very, very great, life is also, duration of life is very, very great, so that is not permanent. But our problem is that we are permanent, eternal, and we are trying to be happy in the nonpermanent condition of life. This is called less brain. My problem is that I am the spirit soul… Nityah sasvatah. I am eternal, sasvatah. Na hanyate hanyamane sarire. I do not die even after the annihilation of this body. Then where is my eternal body? This question should be raised by the human form of life. Athato brahma-jijnasa.

But instead of athato… Jivasya tattva-jijnasa. Jivasya, the only business is “How, what is the aim of life, how I shall be eternally happy, how I shall get my eternal life.” That is the problem. But they do not consider the real problem. They think, “Immediately I require some money. So let me worship Lord Siva or Lord…, this, goddess Durga, or Ganesa, or Surya…” There are so many, recommended. So that is condemned in the Bhagavad-gita that tad bhavaty alpa, antavat tu phalam tesam tad bhavaty alpa-medhasam.

But people are… They do not care. Of course, those who are worshiping demigods, apart from them, there are many atheists. They don’t care for anything. They want simply sense enjoyment. But it is said that you can get some immediate profit by worshiping different demigods. That is all right. But that is not your permanent benefit. Because karmana, you are creating… Karmanam siddhim. You are getting some profit by your karma, fruitive karma, but you are creating another life, another life. To enjoy the fruitive result of this karma you’ll have to wait for next life. So next life means another material body. So another material body means another term of suffering, another chapter of suffering. That they do not understand.

Therefore Rsabhadeva advising that “This is not good. Don’t be engaged in karma, fruitive activities.” If you be engaged in fruitive activities, karma, then you’ll have to accept another material body. That may be a cat’s body or dog’s body or demigod’s body or… Body you’ll have to… But as soon as you have a material body, then you’ll suffer. The… One who does not understand this philosophy, he’s called alpa-medhasa, poor fund of knowledge. Poor fund of knowledge.

Real problem is, as Krsna says, janma-mrtyu-jara-vyadhi-duhkha-dosanudarsanam, that I am implicated with this process of repetition of birth and death, and after birth, there is suffering, old age, disease. He does not consider it. He thinks, “This is natural.” No, it is unnatural. One who does not understand this, he’s alpa-medhasa, poor, poor fund of knowledge. So Bhagavatam says, therefore, “All right, if you have got desire also to enjoy t
his material world, then…” Bhagavatam says,

akamah sarva-kamo va
moksa-kama udara-dhih
tivrena bhakti-yogena
yajeta purusam param

This is the recommendation, that akamah… Akamah means devotee. A devotee has no desire.

Just like Caitanya Mahaprabhu said, na dhanam na janam na sundarim kavitam va jagadisa kamaye. Materialistic persons, they, what they want? They want dhanam, riches, wealth, and many men to control. Someone wants big factory, someone wants to become political leader, follower, many followers, and so on, so on. Janam. So these are material desires. Dhanam, means money, and janam, means followers, either family or followers or leader, like that. Dhanam janam… Na dhanam na janam… Another is sundari, wife, very beautiful wife. This is karmaja. Karmis, they want these three things: money, and many men upon whom he can command… (Hindi:) Kukumb, kukumb dena wala. [?] So, and very nice wife, quality wife.

So Maha…, Caitanya Mahaprabhu says, “No, no, I don’t want these.” This is Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s teaching. Na dhanam na janam na sundarim kavitam va jagadisa kamaye. “No, I don’t want.” Then mukti? Take mukti. “No, no, that also I don’t want.” This is bhakti. Bhakti means he does not want anything. Wanting means dharma karma… What is called? Dharmartha-kama-moksa. Dharma, artha, kama and moksa.

People want to become religious because they think… This is also fact. By becoming pious, religious, you get material happiness. That’s a fact. Janmaisvarya-sruta-sri. Four things you can get by pious activities. You get birth in very nice family, aristocratic family, or brahmana family, brahmana, ksatriya, vaisya family, or rich family, janma. Or rich nation.

I say therefore, these Americans, that “You are born of this rich nation. That is also a result of pious activities.” Because janma… Janmaisvarya-sruta-sri. And wealth also. The Americans have got immense wealth. That is also a result of pious activities. And janmaisvarya-sruta, education. They have got the highest education. Now they are going, trying to go to the moon planet. Or they have gone. That is education, scientific education. And sri, they’re beautiful also. All Americans… We have seen so many boys and girls here. They’re beautiful also. This is not ordinary thing. This is due to pious activities. Janmaisvarya-sruta-sri.

So therefore I request them that “Materially, you have got all benediction. Now utilize this benediction for developing your dormant Krsna consciousness. Then you are perfect. Then you become perfect.” So anywhere where these facilities are there, janmaisvarya-sruta-sri, instead of going down to hell, let them utilize it for getting the favor of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. That is perfection. Therefore Bhagavatam says, idam hi pumsas tapasah srutasya va, suktasya ca buddhi-dattayoh–charity, intelligence.

So anyone who has got all these assets, so how it should be utilized? Avicyutah arthah, infallible decision has been made. What is that? Yad-uttamasloka-gunanuvarnanam: “Just try to glorify the Supreme Lord.” With your money, with your intelligence, with your power, with your influence, whatever you have got.

Education, departmental knowledge. Try to glorify the Supreme Lord. Then it is perfect.

And if you spoil it or simply sense gratification, the Bhagavata, Rsabhadeva says, na sadhu manye: “Oh, this is not good. This is not good.” “Why it is not good? I am enjoying life. Why it is not good?” No, he says, na sadhu manye yata atmanah ayam asann api klesada asa dehah: “If you be engaged in these fruitive activities to enjoy this material world, then you’ll have to accept another material body.” Karmanam siddhim. Another material body. And if you accept another material body, then you’ll have to accept again death, again old age, again disease. So what is the benefit? That is not benefit.

Therefore Bhagavatam says that even if you have got desire to enjoy this material world, still, you take shelter of Krsna.

akamah sarva-kamo va
moksa-kama udara-dhih
tivrena bhakti-yogena
yajeta purusam param

Paramam purusa. Purusottama. Paramam purusa or Purusottama, the same thing. It is differently placed only. So Purusottama is Krsna. So if you have got some material desire, Krsna will fulfill.

But don’t worship… Yajanta iha devatah. Iha devatah. Iha means this material world, iha. Devatah. All these demigods, beginning from Brahma. Brahma, Siva, Lord Siva, all the devatas. Indra, Candra, Surya. They’re all iha devatah. They are also living entities like us. Not Lord Siva. Lord Siva is not jiva-tattva. But Brahma is jiva-tattva. So iha, the particular word is used here, iha, because as this material world will be finished, similarly, the different planetary systems occupied by the different demigods, they will be finished. And the demigods will be also finished. And you’ll be also finished. Therefore it is called iha. Iha. Yanti deva-vrata devan pitrn yanti pitr-vra…

So, but your problem is eternal life. Why you should be engaged iha devatah? Because iha devatah means iha will be finished, your devata will be finished, you’ll be finished, everything will be finished. But your problem is how to come to the eternal point. That is stated also by Krsna in the Bhagavad-gita that janma karma me divyam yo janati tattvatah, tyaktva deham punar janma naiti. Not iha. Stand there, in the spiritual world. If you simply try to understand what is Krsna, then the result will be that after giving up this body, no more material body. Tyaktva deham punar janma naiti. No more punar janma.

That is required. But they do not understand it. They want quick result for some sense gratification, but implicate himself in the tangle, entanglement of getting again birth and death. That is going on. So Krsna consciousness movement is the most beneficial welfare activities to the human society because by awakening them to Krsna consciousness, they are saved from this danger of repetition of birth and death. Thank you very much. (end)

About the Author

Founded the Hare Krishna Movement in 1966 in New York. In only 11 years he spread the movement all over the world. He wrote more than 80 books including Bhagavad-gita As It Is, Srimad-Bhagavatam, Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Sri Isopanisad. Prabhupada's books constitute a complete library of Vedic philosophy, religion, literature and culture.

5 Responses to The Material Body is a Machine. Who is Operating that Machine?

  1. Aman says:

    Hare Krishna!

    I’m reading and article on after a long time. It’s so pleasing to read them, especially early in the morning.

  2. MORESHWAR says:


  3. divyat says:

    hare krishna. i made a proof of why lord krishna never gets tired by doing such grate amount of work in forming and maintaining universes. the work energy theorm that work done by potential energy+work done by external forces = change in kinetic energy. now in lord krishna work there is no external force as everything is happening due to will of the lord and since the great potential of lord is converted into kinetic energy of lord in work done by lord completely as there is no difference between lords body’s kinetic energy and lord’s supersouls’s potential so there is just a mere transformation of energy and so the great lord never loses a single bit of his energy but in our material bodies there is distinction between our body and soul so a lot of our potential is wasted due to external force of maya and only some is converted into kinetic energy and so some part of our energy is wasted due to external force of maya and so due to loss of energy we feeltired but lord doesnt as there is no external force in his case but the equation w[p.e.]+w[ex]=change in k.e. is always satisfied in case of both lord and living entities

  4. howard roark says:

    This sounds a lot like Descartes, only from a Vaishnava (who is also a vegetarian). Not too original

  5. Manoj kumar giri says:

    “Hare krushna hare krushna krushna krushna hare hare
    hare ramo hare ramo
    ramo ramo hare hare”

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