Srimad Bhagvata Mahapurana Book 3 Chapter 31:37-48

Book 3: Chapter 31

Srimad Bhagvata Mahapurana: Book 3: Chapter 31: Verses 37-48
The stages of growth of a human embryo

Among the creatures (gods, human beings and so on) begotten by Kasyapa and others, (who had sprung from the loins of Marici and the other sages, the mind-born sons of Brahma), then, what male is there, save the (divine) sage Narayana, whose mind is not distracted by the Lord's Maya in the form of woman? Behold the might of My Maya in the shape of woman, who by the mere play of her eyebrows treads under foot even the conquerors of the four quarters. He who aspires to reach the culmination of Yoga (In the shape of God-Realization) or who has realized his true nature by adoring Me should never cultivate the fellowship of young women, whom the scriptures declare as a gate to hell for him. Woman is a personification of Maya (illusion) created by the Lord and slowly entraps man (under the pretext of service etc.). One should, therefore, regard her as death to oneself, even as a well whose mouth is covered with grass (is to an unwary traveller). Similarly the Jiva who has been endowed with the form of a women as a result of attachment to a woman (in his previous life) foolishly looks upon My Maya, figuring as a man, as her husband, the bestower of wealth, progeny, house and so on. A woman should, therefore, know that Maya as veritable death to her-in the form of a husband, progeny and house etc.-preordained by Fate, even as the song of a hunter (is to the deer). Moving from one sphere (the earth) to another (heaven or hell) with the subtle body, which is (falsely) recognized as the very self of a Jiva, the human soul goes on reaping the fruit of his actions (performed in previous existences) and unceasingly at the same time performing fresh actions (thus paving the way for future births). The subtle body (which is an adjunct of the Jiva) and that which accompanies it (viz., the physical body)-both these go to make the psycho-physical organism, which is constituted of the gross and subtle elements, the ten Indriyas and the mind. When this organism ceases to function as a whole, it is known as the death of a Jiva; while its beginning to function as a whole is spoken of as his birth. Just as when the eyes lose their capacity to see colour etc. (due to a morbid affection of the optic nerve or other such diseases), the sense of sight also gets deadened that very moment and the Jiva too, the seer of both (the eyes as well as the sense of sight), loses its power of sight, similarly when the physical body(the place where the perception of objects takes place) is rendered incapable of perceiving them, that is known as death (because when the physical body ceases to function, the subtle body too is no longer there to function); and when one begins to view the physical body as one's very self, that is called birth. Therefore, a man should neither view death with horror nor have recourse to stinginess in life nor give way to infatuation. Realizing the true nature of the Jiva, he should move about in this world free from attachment and steadfast of purpose. Nay, he should relegate his body to this illusory world through his reason endowed with right vision and strengthened by Yoga (concentration of mind) and dispassion, and move about (unconcerned).

Thus ends the thiry-first discourse entitled "The Fate of the Jiva'; forming part of the"Story of Lord Kapila", in Book Three of the great and glorious Bhagavata-Purana, otherwise known as the Paramahamsa-Samhita.


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