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ŚB 12.4.14


तदा भूमेर्गन्धगुणं ग्रसन्त्याप उदप्लवे ।
ग्रस्तगन्धा तु पृथिवी प्रलयत्वाय कल्पते ॥ १४ ॥


tadā bhūmer gandha-guṇaṁ
grasanty āpa uda-plave
grasta-gandhā tu pṛthivī
pralayatvāya kalpate


tadā — then; bhūmeḥ — of the earth; gandha-guṇam — the perceptible quality of fragrance; grasanti — takes away; āpaḥ — the water; uda-plave — during the flooding; grasta-gandhā — deprived of its fragrance; tu — and; pṛthivī — the element earth; pralayatvāya kalpate — becomes unmanifest.


As the entire universe is flooded, the water will rob the earth of its unique quality of fragrance, and the element earth, deprived of its distinguishing quality, will be dissolved.


As clearly explained throughout Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, the first element, sky, possesses the unique quality of sound. As creation expands, the second element, air, comes into being, and it possesses sound and touch. The third element, fire, possesses sound, touch and form, and the fourth element, water, possesses sound, touch, form and flavor. The earth possesses sound, touch, form, flavor and aroma. As each element loses its unique distinguishing quality, it naturally becomes indistinguishable from the more subtle elements and is thus effectively dissolved as a unique entity.