SB 3.26.34

Forums Mind and Psychology SB 3.26.34

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    Hare Krishna prabhuji, How do we understand the SB 3.26.34 verse and purport?

    How to understand these statements?

    ”The mind, the senses and the vital force, or living entity, have forms, although they are not visible to the naked eye”

    “Form rests in subtle existence in the sky, and internally it is perceived as the veins within the body and the circulation of the vital air.”

    ”Mental existence transforms into tangible form as soon as there is an opportunity due to contamination or development of the gross elements from subtle form.”


    You can begin by reading this article: Vedic Form vs. Western Shape.

    Here is a pertinent quote from the article:

    For example, truth is a body in which the truths that can be heard are the ears, the truths that can be heard and touched are the skin, the truths that can be heard, touched, and seen are the eyes, the truths that can be heard, touched, seen, and tasted are the tongue, and the truths that can be heard, touched, seen, tasted, and smelt are the nose. Similarly, the power of speaking the truth is the organ of speech, the power of protecting the truth is the hands, the power of the truth to go to many places are the legs, the power to create derived truths from the fundamental truths are the genitals, and the power to reject falsehoods is the anus. Likewise, the power to judge if something is true is the intellect, the power to judge if that truth is also good is the ego, and the power to determine if the good truth is also righteous is the moral sense. Finally, the capacity to summarize all the truths into a simple truth, desire that simple truth, and understand that simple truth is the mind.

    The truth is not just an idea. The power to defend the truth is a part of the truth. The power to spread itself to many individuals is part of the truth. The power to expand a fundamental truth into derived truths is part of the truth. The capacity of the truth to live eternally is part of the truth. There is a hunger in truth to discover more of itself. There is a hunger in truth to make itself more beautiful. There is a hunger in truth to express itself in increasing ways that can be heard, touched, seen, tasted, and smelt. There is a hunger in a fundamental truth to live in harmony with many derived truths.

    If you read the article, then you will get an idea of the history of “forms”. Even in the West, they initially used to mean ideas. Slowly they were transformed into shapes. By “form” we mean the older connotation of ideas rather than shapes. All abstract ideas have a form that we cannot perceive by the senses. However, when these ideas interact with other ideas, something perceivable is produced. That perceivable reality lay hidden earlier and it is manifest from there due to an interaction.

    The manifestation occurs from our senses and the mind due to interactions. These are the manas, the interaction is prāṇa, and the effect is vāk. All three of them are forms. But the interaction of manas-form with the prāṇa-form produces the vāk-form. The vāk-form is sense-perceivable but manas-form and prāṇa-form are not sense-perceivable. This is because we cannot see the causes. We can just see the effects of those causes. The causes remain hidden but the effects become visible.

    However, due to the hierarchy of realities, even the invisible reality is perceived by the higher-level reality. The lower-level reality cannot self-perceive itself. So a higher-level reality is required. But as we reach the level of consciousness, it can self-perceive itself. So, consciousness can be defined as self-perception to know itself and matter can be defined as something else required to know it. As an example, sense objects are known by the senses, the senses are known by the mind, the mind is known by the intellect, the intellect is known by the ego, and this goes on until we reach the soul.

    The entire hierarchy of realities forms a “space” that has an inverted-tree structure. However, a smaller portion of this inverted-tree space is the domain of words or names which are sense perceivable and even they are organized as an inverted tree. So, “space” is used either to denote the entire material realm or a selective domain of names. The domain of names is sense perceivable but the entire inverted tree reality is not sense-perceivable. However, it becomes sense-perceivable as we rise in the hierarchy of realities because the deeper reality can perceive the shallower reality.

    If all this seems difficult to understand, then just remember that all ideas are forms. For example, the idea “Jazz music” is a form. It is also the body of a demigod, who is the most perfect Jazz musician. All expert Jazz musicians have received the nature of this demigod in part due to which they have become good Jazz musicians. Now, you might ask: What is Jazz music? The best answer is that it is a demigod that you cannot see. However, due to his influence, there are many individual Jazz musicians that you can see playing Jazz music. Hence, the demigod is the manas or concept of Jazz music, his influence is the prāṇa of the demigod by which the demigod imparts Jazz expertise to others, and the persons who receive that expertise are the perceivable vāk. 

    In all ancient pagan religions, idea was equal to a form which was equal to a demigod. The demigod had influences in this world, which we could call the effect of the idea. Due to these effects, the world was an imperfect (or partial) reflection of the idea. But Greeks polluted this understanding with their impersonalism under which ideas were not demigods, but “forms”, which became “shapes”, which became “geometry”, which ultimately became “mathematical equations”.

    When Einstein created the theory of relativity, he used the notion of form as an equation to say that the form of the law doesn’t change across reference frames. What he meant is that each observer is one reference frame. The form is the idea is the law is the equation. Since the form of the law remains invariant in each reference frame (i.e., an individual observer), therefore, everyone can know the law perfectly. No longer is this world an imperfect reflection of the pure world. The purity of the “other world” has descended into “this world” as pure mathematical equations governing reality.

    This is because of the gradual transformation in Western thinking: demigod → form → shape → equation. The article above describes why this transformation is false.

    However, in the Vedic system, we haven’t done this type of transformation. As a result, by “form” we still mean an idea whose perfect embodiment is a demigod, whose partial effects are visible in the present world due to that demigod’s influence, but even as the effects are visible, we do not see the cause unless we rise in the hierarchy of causes. So, when you think of a “form” think of a person, their power, and their effects. The person and the power are invisible forms and the effects are visible forms.

    There are 330 million demigods in the Vedic pantheon, which means that there are 330 million unique ideas in this universe. We can say that 330 million is the size of the dictionary in this universe. Other universes have a larger dictionary. Each word in the dictionary is a unique form, embodied in a person, who is called a demigod. Words are not impersonal things. Each word denotes a person. Hence, this word is called Śabda-Brahman. It is a word, but the meaning of the word is a person. Our ability to utter that word is the effect of the person on us. When we utter the word, the person incarnates in a sound-form (i.e., becomes sense perceivable). Otherwise, the person is not sense-perceivable. Upon this understanding rests the science of mantra chanting.

    Due to millennia of conditioning, people have stopped thinking of ideas and forms as persons. They think that reality is a mathematical equation. The Vedic system doesn’t think like that. The pure form is the demigod, and not a mathematical equation. The imperfect reflection of the pure form in our mind is also a form referred to in this verse and purport. Some people can see this form clearly but others cannot.

    There is a famous psychology experiment called the Bouba-Kiki Effect. The words “bouba” and “kiki” are meaningless to most people. But psychologists asked people to associate these words with shapes. Almost without exception, people said that “bouba” is some round and bulbous shape while “kiki” is some sharp and angular shape. This experiment shows how we associate mental forms with bodily shapes. We see words like “bouba” and “kiki” in the mind as bulbous and angular forms. Similarly, every idea is perceived as a form in the mind, although in most people this mental perception is underdeveloped.

    As we rise up the form hierarchy, we get more and more complete forms, culminating in the most complete form called satyam-param or the Supreme Truth. This supreme truth is an idea, a form, and a person, called Krishna. We cannot understand Krishna unless we understand that truth is a form. This is why the above citation about the truth. Truth is a body of a person, not just an idea. The different powers of truth are the different parts of the body. Impersonalists reduced the Supreme Truth to an idea. But if we give up this impersonalism, then the Supreme Truth is actually a person. The world is governed by persons and not ideas, shapes, or mathematical equations.


    Thank you I will go through the article in detail.

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