Srimad Bhagavatam Canto 03, Chapter 26, Text 23-24


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SB 3.26.23-24

mahat-tattvad vikurvanad
kriya-saktir ahankaras
 tri-vidhah samapadyata
vaikarikas taijasas ca
 tamasas ca yato bhavah
manasas cendriyanam ca
 bhutanam mahatam api
Translation by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada: 
The material ego springs up from the mahat-tattva, which evolved from the Lord’s own energy. The material ego is endowed predominantly with active power of three kinds: good, passionate and ignorant. It is from these three types of material ego that the mind, the senses of perception, the organs of action, and the gross elements evolve.
Purport by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada: 
In the beginning, from clear consciousness, or the pure state of Krsna consciousness, the first contamination sprang up. This is called false ego, or identification of the body as self. The living entity exists in the natural state of Krsna consciousness, but he has marginal independence, and this allows him to forget Krsna. Originally, pure Krsna consciousness exists, but because of misuse of marginal independence there is a chance of forgetting Krsna. This is exhibited in actual life; there are many instances in which someone acting in Krsna consciousness suddenly changes. In the Upanisads it is therefore stated that the path of spiritual realization is just like the sharp edge of a razor. The example is very appropriate. One shaves his cheeks with a sharp razor very nicely, but as soon as his attention is diverted from the activity, he immediately cuts his cheek because he mishandles the razor.
Not only must one come to the stage of pure Krsna consciousness, but one must also be very careful. Any inattentiveness or carelessness may cause falldown. This falldown is due to false ego. From the status of pure consciousness, the false ego is born because of misuse of independence. We cannot argue about why false ego arises from pure consciousness. Factually, there is always the chance that this will happen, and therefore one has to be very careful. False ego is the basic principle for all material activities, which are executed in the modes of material nature. As soon as one deviates from pure Krsna consciousness, he increases his entanglement in material reaction. The entanglement of materialism is the material mind, and from this material mind, the senses and material organs become manifest.
Srimad Bhagavatam Canto 03, Chapter 26, Text 22
Srimad Bhagavatam Canto 03, Chapter 26, Text 25