What is this material nature?
The Bhagavad Gita enlightens us about the five basic truths viz., The Jiva ( Living entity), Ishvara (Controller), Prakriti (Material Nature), Karma (Activity) and Time. This material nature is described as inferior in nature. Everything that we see around us is material in nature. The material world is characteried by its transience. Everything that is found in this world is temporary- It is bound to be destroyed or lost or replaced. For example, a house can be destroyed by natural calamities or destroyed to construct a new flat; telephones being replaced by smart phones; canons, bow and arrows replaced with heavy artillery, the list goes on. The description given by Bhagavad Gita on the material world is as follows:
“The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: It is said that there is an imperishable Banyan tree that has its roots upward and its branches down and whose leaves are the Vedic hymns. One who knows this tree is the knower of the Vedas.
The branches of this tree extend downward and upward, nourished by the three modes of material nature. The twigs are the objects of senses. This tree also has roots going down, and these are bound to the fruitive actions of the human society”.
The material world is nothing but the perverted reflection of the spiritual world. One-fourth of the creation is considered to be material and the rest is spiritual. Earth is not the only world that is created. There are 14 worlds- seven above (Bhu, Bhuvas, Svar, Mahas, Janas, Tapas, and Satya) and seven below (Vitala, Sutala, Rasātala, Talātala, Mahātala, Pātāla and Naraka). The earth is in the Bhu realm. The material world is just a mere reflection, therefore it is temporary and it isn’t real just as your image that is formed when you stand infront of the mirror. It merely imitates your actions. Since, there is a reflection, there must be a source. This source is the spiritual world.
Then if this is the reflection, is the spiritual world just like the way we see the world? No. The spiritual world’s beauty is beyond awe!
“That Supreme abode of mine is not illumined by the sun or moon, nor by fire or electricity. Those who reach it never return to this material world”
The spiritual world, the abode of the Supreme Lord is being described here. It doesn’t require sun/moon/fire/electrcity to light up the sky. The planets here are self-luminous. The Katha Upanishad (2.2.15) too confirms that the spiritual sky doesn’t need any of the above luminary bodies, for the whole spiritual sky is illuminated by the effulgence of the Lord. Part of this shining sky is covered by the “mahat-tattva”, the material world. Other than this, major portion of that shining sky is full of spiritual planets.
As long as the living entity is in this dark material world, he is in conditional life, but as soon as he reaches the spiritual world by cutting through the false, perverted tree of material world, he becomes liberated. In the conditioned state, the individual thinks he is the boss, but when he becomes enlightened/ realizes the ignorance he is in, he will strive to reach the spiritual realm. There he enjoys eternal bliss, life and is full of knowledge. However, that doesn’t mean one can become detached from this material world by simply dressing in ochre clothes. He must be devoted to the Supreme Lord whole-heartedly. This way he can surely become reach God.