|Canto 6: Prescribed Duties for Mankind||Chapter 1: The History of the Life of Ajāmila|
Bhaktivedanta VedaBase: Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 6.1.54
labdhvā nimittam avyaktaḿ
vyaktāvyaktaḿ bhavaty uta
labdhvā — having gotten; nimittam — the cause; avyaktam — unseen or unknown to the person; vyakta-avyaktam — manifested and unmanifested, or the gross body and the subtle body; bhavati — come into being; uta — certainly; yathā-yoni — exactly like the mother; yathā-bījam — exactly like the father; sva-bhāvena — by the natural tendency; balīyasā — which is very powerful.
The fruitive activities a living being performs, whether pious or impious, are the unseen cause for the fulfillment of his desires. This unseen cause is the root for the living entity's different bodies. Because of his intense desire, the living entity takes birth in a particular family and receives a body which is either like that of his mother or like that of his father. The gross and subtle bodies are created according to his desire.
The gross body is a product of the subtle body. As stated in Bhagavad-gītā (8.6):
yaḿ yaḿ vāpi smaran bhāvaḿ
tyajaty ante kalevaram
taḿ tam evaiti kaunteya
"Whatever state of being one remembers when he quits his body, that state he will attain without fail." The atmosphere of the subtle body at the time of death is created by the activities of the gross body. Thus the gross body acts during one's lifetime, and the subtle body acts at the time of death. The subtle body, which is called lińga, the body of desire, is the background for the development of a particular type of gross body, which is either like that of one's mother or like that of one's father. According to the Ṛg Veda, if at the time of sex the secretions of the mother are more profuse than those of the father, the child will receive a female body, and if the secretions of the father are more profuse than those of the mother, the child will receive a male body. These are the subtle laws of nature, which act according to the desire of the living entity. If a human being is taught to change his subtle body by developing a consciousness of Kṛṣṇa, at the time of death the subtle body will create a gross body in which he will be a devotee of Kṛṣṇa, or if he is still more perfect, he will not take another material body but will immediately get a spiritual body and thus return home, back to Godhead. This is the process of the transmigration of the soul. Therefore instead of trying to unite human society through pacts for sense gratification that can never be achieved, it is clearly desirable to teach people how to become Kṛṣṇa conscious and return home, back to Godhead. This is true now and, indeed, at any time.
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His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda, Founder Ācārya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness