The subject of the
Bhagavad-gita entails the comprehension of five basic truths. First of all, the science of God is explained and then the constitutional position of the living entities, jivas. There is ishvara, which means the controller, and there are jivas, the living entities which are controlled. If a living entity says that he is not controlled but that he is free, then he is insane. The living being is controlled in every respect, at least in his conditioned life. So in the Bhagavad-gita the subject matter deals with the ishvara, the supreme controller, and the jivas, the controlled living entities. Prakriti (material nature) and time (the duration of existence of the whole universe or the manifestation of material nature) and karma (activity) are also discussed. The cosmic manifestation is full of different activities. All living entities are engaged in different activities. From Bhagavad-gita we must learn what God is, what the living entities are, what prakriti is, what the cosmic manifestation is, how it is controlled by time, and what the activities of the living entities are.
Ishvara (the Supreme Lord)
Out of these five basic subject matters in Bhagavad-gita it is established that the
Supreme Personality of Godhead, or Krishna, or
Brahman, or the supreme controller, or
Paramatma —you may use whatever name you like—is the greatest of all. The living beings are in quality like the supreme controller. For instance, the Lord has control over the universal affairs of material nature, as is explained in the Bhagavad-gita.
Material nature is not independent. She is acting under the directions of the Supreme Lord. As Lord Krishna says, mayadhyaksena prakrtih suyate sa-caracaram: "This material nature is working under My direction." When we see wonderful things happening in the cosmic nature, we should know that behind this cosmic manifestation there is a controller. Nothing could be manifested without being controlled. It is childish not to consider the controller. For instance, a child may think that an automobile is quite wonderful to be able to run without a horse or other animal pulling it, but a sane man knows the nature of the automobile's engineering arrangement. He always knows that behind the machinery there is a man, a driver. Similarly, the Supreme Lord is the driver under whose direction everything is working.
Jiva (the living entity)
Now the jivas, or the living entities, have been accepted by the Lord, as we will note in the later chapters, as His parts and parcels. A particle of gold is also gold, a drop of water from the ocean is also salty, and similarly we the living entities, being part and parcel of the supreme controller, ishvara, or
Bhagavan, Lord Shri Krishna, have all the qualities of the Supreme Lord in minute quantity because we are minute ishvaras, subordinate ishvaras. We are trying to control nature, as presently we are trying to control space or planets, and this tendency to control is there because it is in Krishna. But although we have a tendency to lord it over material nature, we should know that we are not the supreme controller. This is explained in Bhagavad-gita.
What is material nature? This is also explained in Gita as inferior prakriti, inferior nature. The living entity is explained as the superior prakriti. Prakriti is always under control, whether inferior or superior. Prakrti is female, and she is controlled by the Lord just as the activities of a wife are controlled by the husband. Prakriti is always subordinate, predominated by the Lord, who is the predominator. The living entities and material nature are both predominated, controlled by the Supreme Lord. According to the Gita, the living entities, although parts and parcels of the Supreme Lord, are to be considered Prakriti. This is clearly mentioned in the Seventh Chapter of Bhagavad-gita. Apareyam itas tv anyam prakrtim viddhi me param/ jiva-bhutam: "This material nature is My inferior prakriti, but beyond this is another prakriti - jiva-bhutam, the living entity."