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ŚB 12.4.28


यत् सामान्यविशेषाभ्यामुपलभ्येत स भ्रम: ।
अन्योन्यापाश्रयात् सर्वमाद्यन्तवदवस्तु यत् ॥ २८ ॥


yat sāmānya-viśeṣābhyām
upalabhyeta sa bhramaḥ
anyonyāpāśrayāt sarvam
ādy-antavad avastu yat


yat — whatever; sāmānya — in terms of general cause; viśeṣābhyām — and specific product; upalabhyeta — is experienced; saḥ — that; bhramaḥ — is illusion; anyonya — mutual; apāśrayāt — because of dependence; sarvam — everything; ādi-anta-vat — subject to beginning and end; avastu — unreal; yat — which.


Anything experienced in terms of general cause and specific effect must be an illusion, because such causes and effects exist only relative to each other. Indeed, whatever has a beginning and an end is unreal.


The nature of a material cause cannot be perceived without perception of the effect. For example, the burning nature of fire cannot be perceived without observing the effect of fire, such as a burning object or ashes. Similarly, the saturating quality of water cannot be understood without observing the effect, a saturated cloth or paper. The organizational power of a man cannot be understood without observing the effect of his dynamic work, namely a solid institution. In this way, not only do effects depend upon their causes, but the perception of the cause also depends upon observation of the effect. Thus both are defined relatively and have a beginning and an end. The conclusion is that all such material causes and effects are essentially temporary and relative, and consequently illusory.

The Supreme Personality of Godhead, although the cause of all causes, has no beginning or end. Therefore He is neither material nor illusory. Lord Kṛṣṇa’s opulences and potencies are absolute reality, beyond the interdependence of material cause and effect.