TEXTS 23–24
mahat-tattvād vikurvāṇād
bhagavad-vīrya-sambhavāt
kriyā-śaktir ahaṅkāras
tri-vidhaḥ samapadyata
vaikārikas taijasaś ca
tāmasaś ca yato bhavaḥ
manasaś cendriyāṇāṁ ca
bhūtānāṁ mahatām api
SYNONYMS
mahat-tattvāt—from the mahat-tattva; vikurvāṇāt—undergoing a change; bhagavat-vīrya-sambhavāt—evolved from the Lord’s own energy; kriyā-śaktiḥ—endowed with active power; ahaṅkāraḥ—the material ego; tri-vidhaḥ—of the three kinds; samapadyata—sprang up; vaikārikaḥ—material ego in transformed goodness; taijasaḥ—material ego in passion; ca—and; tāmasaḥ—material ego in ignorance; ca—also; yataḥ—from which; bhavaḥ—the origin; manasaḥ—of the mind; ca—and; indriyāṇām—of the senses for perception and action; ca—and; bhūtānām mahatām—of the five gross elements; api—also.
TRANSLATION
The material ego springs up from the mahat-tattva, which evolved from the Lord’s own energy. The material ego is endowed predominantly with active power of three kinds—good, passionate and ignorant. It is from these three types of material ego that the mind, the senses of perception, the organs of action, and the gross elements evolve.
PURPORT
In the beginning, from clear consciousness, or the pure state of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, the first contamination sprang up. This is called false ego, or identification of the body as self. The living entity exists in the natural state of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, but he has marginal independence, and this allows him to forget Kṛṣṇa. Originally, pure Kṛṣṇa consciousness exists, but because of misuse of marginal independence there is a chance of forgetting Kṛṣṇa. This is exhibited in actual life; there are many instances in which someone acting in Kṛṣṇa consciousness suddenly changes. In the Upaniṣads it is stated, therefore, that the path of spiritual realization is just like the sharp edge of a razor. The example is very appropriate. One shaves his cheeks with a sharp razor very nicely, but as soon as his attention is diverted from the activity, he immediately cuts his cheek because he mishandles the razor.
Not only must one come to the stage of pure Kṛṣṇa consciousness, but one must also be very careful. Any inattentiveness or carelessness may cause falldown. This falldown is due to false ego. From the status of pure consciousness, the false ego is born because of misuse of independence. We cannot argue about why false ego arises from pure consciousness. Factually, there is always the chance that this will happen, and therefore one has to be very careful. False ego is the basic principle for all material activities, which are executed in the modes of material nature. As soon as one deviates from pure Kṛṣṇa consciousness, he increases his entanglement in material reaction. The entanglement of materialism is the material mind, and from this material mind, the senses and material organs become manifest.

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