Garbha Stotra Commentary (Prayers to Kṛṣṇa in the Womb)Garbha Stotra Verse One
Garbha Stotra Commentary (Prayers to Kṛṣṇa in the Womb)Garbha Stotra Verse Three

Verse Two

With the Sambandha Tattva Candrikā Commentary by Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura

ekāyano’sau dvi-phalas tri-mūlaś
catū-rasaḥ pañca-vidhaḥ ṣaḍ-ātmā
sapta-tvag aṣṭa-viṭapo navākṣo
daśa-cchadī dvi-khago hy ādi-vṛkṣaḥ

The primeval tree (the physical body or the world) has one foundation (material nature) with two fruits, three roots, four types of sap, five knowledge-acquiring objects, six attributes, seven coverings, eight branches, nine holes, ten leaves, and two birds. (Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 10.2.27)

Sambandha Tattva Candrikā Commentary

Due to jñāna-śūnya-bhakti, the Devatās remained motionless for some time and gradually regained their knowledge. When their gross vision returned once again, their attention turned towards their own bodies. By discussing the greatness of the Lord and reflecting on their own insignificance, they exclaimed, “Alas! We are most insignificant, because we are embodied.”

Embodied beings are naturally limited, but the Supreme is unlimited. This body, or saṁsāra (the world of repeated birth and death), resembles a primordial tree, and is composed of only fifty-seven branches. However, the Supreme is infinite. The illusory material nature (māyāprakṛti) is the sole source of this material world, with happiness and distress as its two fruits. The three guṇas, sattva, rajas, and tamas, are its three roots. The four types of goals, dharma, artha, kāma, and mokṣa, are its four saps. The five senses, hearing, touch, sight, taste, and smell are its five knowledge-acquiring objects. The six intrinsic qualities, grief, bewilderment, aging, death, hunger, and thirst, are its six attributes. The seven natural elements, skin, blood, flesh, fat, bone, marrow, and semen are its seven-fold forms. Earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, intellect, and false ego are its branches. The holes of the body (ears, skin, eyes, tongue, nose, anus and genital) are its nine-fold entrances. The ten life-airs (apāṇa etc) are its leaves. The jīva and the Paramātmā are its two birds. In which way does the embodied jīva display his false ego? Up to the ten life-airs, the natural divisions of the physical body lead foolish people to perceive themselves as mortal and subject to death. However, all intelligent persons who perceive this body up to the ten life-airs to be insignificant and temporary, deliberate upon the two birds representing the ātmā and the Paramātmā. It can be said that they have realised their own intrinsic spiritual nature (sva-svarūpa).

In regards to this body, the jīva is like a special bird, because he has no permanent connection with this tree. Birds, after seeking shelter in a tree for the night, only stay until dawn, then they move to a different place. Similarly, the jīva is bound to the material body in the form of this world and moves to the transcendental abode at the end of the night. Thus, all those persons who perceive this tree of saṁsāra as their own property and are feverishly engaged in analysing it’s material components are completely foolish. Despite their various efforts, Naturalists do not achieve proper results. Material nature is replete with qualities – thus, there is no possibility of attaining eternal benefit by constantly contemplating all these qualities, the mutual relationships between them, and the results of their various aspects.

This kind of teaching does not state that Naturalism is abominable, because natural philosophers have benefited, and will continue to benefit greatly from transcendental philosophical discoveries. As long as the jīva is bound to the material body, it is extremely difficult for him to realise aprākṛta-tattva. By discussing all the qualities of the material body, all sorts of ideas arise in the mind – this is because human imagination is primarily based on the assimilation of various perceptions related to nature. Thus, it cannot be transcendental. Without realisation resulting from the cit-śakti, of the infinite abodes of Vaikuṇṭha etc., the jīva cannot understand anything else. Those mahātmās who are filled with longing for the supreme goal, finding it troublesome to be confined to a mere intellectual understanding, have contemplated all those eternal abodes in various ways.

When Naturalists discover the qualities and relationships of nature in every aspect and form, although there is no direct benefit to the seekers of transcendence, they must nevertheless accept indirect benefits. All the śruti proclaims that whatever remains after tanna tanna (‘not that, not that’) is only aprākṛta-tattva. Therefore, whatever the Naturalists discover as material qualities is not aprākṛta. By gradually ascertaining this, whatever is eventually achieved in the end is certainly aprākṛta. Many, many people accept various thoughts that are produced by their saṁskāras (conditioned mental impressions) to be aprākṛta. However, when the Naturalists establish all these thoughts to be products of nature, then those who understand aprākṛta-tattva will reject them. In this way, the followers of aprākṛta-tattva have received many indirect benefits from the Naturalists. Accepting this, instead of resenting the community of Naturalists, one should show them respect. However, the unfortunate thing is that many critics who are Naturalists display atheism and consider their discoveries in Naturalism to be supreme. They cannot understand their actual purpose, nor can they achieve it. Consequently, their stupidity determines the nature of their results. Some logicians explain material qualities in terms of aggregate elements and claim that the whole world has come from atoms. Some atomic theorists, not finding any peace by means of atoms, remain focused on the fundamentally dark aspects of material nature. In this way, some of them are resolute in analysing all doubts by discovering theories of twenty-four principles, ninety-one principles, and fifty-two principles.

“Alas! It is a matter of regret that even after discovering all the elements of this world, those misguided theorists remain ignorant concerning the subject of contemplating the concept of Me as a Personality – what is the result of attaining Me? What is the means of attaining Me?” The one who ascertained the presence of electricity in the air, water within a young shoot, and minerals within the earth cannot make you aware. In regards to knowledge of the self, he sometimes begins to explain the human soul to be a product of earth and sometimes as a descendent of monkeys.*(1) Those who insult you, considering you as part of the monkey dynasty, are referred to as ‘Dvivida’ in the Śrīmad Bhāgavatam. The servants of Bhagavān who understand aprākṛta-tattva, continuously engage in the elimination of all these Dvividas by attracting the jīvas to their inherent nature.* (2)

Those who understand primordial material nature to be darkness can certainly understand her illusory nature; this must be accepted. However, although the illusory nature may be the origin of the tree of saṁsāra, it cannot be the origin of the jīva-śakti. The jīva-śakti is an independent potency which, like a bird, has been nesting for a long time in the tree of saṁsāra which is a product of māyā. The jīva’s nature is luminous, therefore it cannot be a product of darkness. The intrinsic nature of this māyā-śakti is darkness, and it is the sole support of this tree of saṁsāra. Hence, it is given the designation, ekāyana (‘the one foundation’).

Happiness and distress are its two fruits. All earthly pleasures are full of misery and subject to the laws of happiness and distress; the highest type of pleasure is known as Svarga. That Svarga is also material because it includes the fragrance of the pārijāta tree, the dances of the Apsarās, the songs of the Gandharvas, the pleasure groves of Nanda Kānana, the assembly of Indra, and the touch of celestial nymphs, as well as the drinking of nectar – all of these various kinds of pleasures that have been mentioned are born from the senses. The senses are the gateway to all bodily experiences, thus, along with the body, they are impermanent. Even if a hundred years of the pleasures found in the highest Svarga were gathered together, they cannot equal a single drop of transcendental bliss. Those unsatisfied persons who mistake sensory pleasure for supreme bliss can only be said to be ignorant of the transcendental bliss of bhakti. Sensory pleasure is impermanent and fearful, but transcendental pleasure is eternal and full of pure bliss.

Animalistic beings, considering the illusion of transcendental joy as unknown, regard sensory pleasure as superior. Just as animals, who are ignorant of transcendental bliss, consider sensory pleasures to be best, similarly, the experience of sensory delights by two-legged animals is like a fleeting day-dream, and they foolishly consider those who experience transcendental joy to be insane. Material happiness is illusory, just like a mirage. As long as such happiness is not achieved, the more one feels as if there is absolute happiness in it. But after attaining such happiness, one is attacked by fearful despair. Material happiness and material suffering are equal.

In the tree of saṁsāra, there are three roots – sattva, raja, and tama. In terms of predominance, the combination of superior qualities is called sattva-guṇa, the combination of medium qualities is called rajo-guṇa, and the combination of inferior qualities is called tamo-guṇa. Qualities such as nourishment, maintenance, compassion, righteousness, and judgment are characteristics of sattva-guṇa. Creation, the desire for Svarga, and all those religious observances mixed with karma-khaṇḍa for this world and the next etc., are the characteristics of rajo-guṇa. Fearful acts that are opposed to the Supreme and driven by madness, establishing pāpa to be virtuous, destruction, ingratitude etc. are said to be the foot-soldiers of tamo-guṇa. These three modes are the intrinsic basis of the material world.

Dharma, artha, kāma and mokṣa are the saps of this tree. People in this world sometimes taste dharma, sometimes artha, sometimes kāma, and sometimes mokṣa. Those who accept Manu and other Dharma-śāstra, and follow the Vedic karma-khaṇḍa believe that through offerings to the ancestors, worshiping the Devatās with festivals such as Durgotsava, performance of rituals such as the Aśvamedha, performance of yajñas, puruścaraṇa etc, as well as prāyaścitta, a person will attain the result of Svarga etc.*(2) They will enjoy that dharma which is prescribed by the Āryans. Sovereignty over the earth and various kinds of pleasures in Svarga are called artha. The desire to attain the positions of Devatās like Indra, Candra, Vāyu, Varuṇa, Brahmā etc, is called kāma. Those who worship the Supreme Lord with reverence, who abandon all hopes for material pleasures along with selfishness, and aspire to attain Jagadīśvara’s intrinsic transcendental majesty in the abode of Para-vyoma, accept liberation in the form of sālokya, sārṣṭhi, sāmīpya, and sārūpya.*(3) They perform sādhana of the Supreme Lord with opulence and experience the rasa of mokṣa. Apart from that, many persons, through jñāna-yoga, desire sājyujamokṣa and attain the effulgence situated in the external portion surrounding Para-vyoma. Therefore, due to knowledge pertaining to formlessness, they fail to perceive Jagadīśvara, and in the mood of so’haṁ (‘I am that’), they consider themselves to be Brahman. Considering the meagre pleasures within their own insignificant ātmā to be brahmānanda (the bliss of Brahman), they remain absorbed in them. However, being quickly satisfied with such pleasure, they again fall under the influence of desires and attain the cycle of saṁsāra.

There are five kinds of material knowledge in saṁsāra – sight, hearing, smell, touch, and taste. These senses connect with the mind to perceive knowledge of material objects. Through these five senses, common people perceive that knowledge which is close to the ātmā to be direct evidence (pratyakṣa-pramāṇa). Through an object’s contact with the senses, the sensation of the object is said to occur. Subsequently, when the mind perceives the object through its impression, cognitive recognition is obtained. The five attributes of form, taste, smell, touch, and sound along with their combinations form objects within the mind. From the conventional reflections of all these, humans imagine various unseen things such as golden mountains, the city of Indra etc. through the power of their imagination.

There are two ways concerning the power of ascertainment – anukalpa (a subsidiary consideration), and vikalpa (the alternative consideration). Through anukalpa, differentiation is determined from the aggregate – in other words, specific elements are distinguished and made separate from a general category. Just as from the general category of jīvas, those born from the womb, those born from eggs, and those born from sweat are perceived to be distinct from each other. Through vikalpa, all individuals are perceived to be associated with the general category because they exhibit common characteristics. In this way, the beauty of ascertainment found within the power of perception is called logic. It is possible to create both auspiciousness and inauspiciousness for the jīva by this power of logic. Through that power, when the jīva views impermanence in material substances, he becomes fortunate. Yet, when he is busy trying to ascertain a substance which is imperceptible and transcendental through that power, then in due course, he is fit to be called a fool. When logic is followed by full deliberation and discussion, and strengthens a jīva’s infallible belief in that division of life which is inherently spiritual, then it’s true duty has been performed.

Grief, bewilderment, old age, death, hunger and thirst are intrinsic to the physical body, not the ātmā. The unfortunate atheists do not believe the immortality of the ātmā. Even though grief and bewilderment are not possible for the ātmā, persons who identify with the physical body continue to inflict suffering on the ātmā by their actions.

The five gross elements (pañca-mahā-bhūta) and mana (mind), buddhi (intelligence) and ahaṅkāra (false ego) are the branches of the tree of the material body. The ātmā is said to be the object of meditation for the mind. Buddhi is another name for viṣaya-jñāna (the cognition of objects). Identifying the self with the body is called ahaṅkāra.

In this universe, the jīvātmā and the Paramātmā reside within the primeval tree of saṁsāra which is comprised of all these material elements.



(1) According to the Book of Genesis, man was made from earth. According to Darwin, man evolved from monkeys.

(2) Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura uses the word saṅkarṣaṇa in this sentence for ‘attract.’ Saṅkarṣaṇa is also a name for Balarāma, who killed the monkey Dvivida in the Śrīmad Bhāgavatam. If we apply that meaning to the sentence, then it reads, ‘The servants of Bhagavān who understand aprākṛta-tattva, continuously engage in the elimination of all these Dvividas through the agency of Saṅkarśaṇa, the origin of all jīvas.’

(3) Durgotsava, or Durgā Pūjā, is a festival to Goddess Durgā held in September/October. The Aśvamedha is a ritual performed by an Emperor to show his sovereignty over a country. Puruścaraṇa refers to a preparatory rite, specifically in relation to chanting certain mantras. Prāyaścitta indicates any type of ritual atonement.

(4) There are four kinds of liberation for those aspiring for Vaikuṇṭha – sālokya (residing on the same planet as the Lord), sārṣṭhi (having similar opulence as the Lord) sāmīpya (associating with the Lord), and sārūpya (possessing a similar form as the Lord).

Garbha Stotra Commentary (Prayers to Kṛṣṇa in the Womb)Garbha Stotra Verse One
Garbha Stotra Commentary (Prayers to Kṛṣṇa in the Womb)Garbha Stotra Verse Three

Share this chapter!