Modes of Material Nature: Influence of the Modes

                                                                  Can you please help me understand how these verses/purports do not contradict each other?

                                                                  Bhagavad-gita As It Is 7.14.  

                                                                  I have read that all living entities are generated from tatastha- shakti (SB 3.7.9). Living entities can be influenced by the internal or external potency of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

                                                                  Q. Please explain how do living entities behave while under the influence of Tatastha-sakti. Is the marginal potency an intermediate state between Pradhan and Prakriti? How long they belong to this region of marginal energy of Lord? What is the characteristic of marginal potency with regards to Internal and external potencies?

                                                                  Q. How should we understand that ultimately we are not the doer of our activity? How to keep this understanding always and work, because many times when we work we often get carried away thinking that actually I'm the doer (and it appears to be so)?

                                                                  With some introspection, guided by spiritual intelligence from Bhagavad-Gita, we can recognize that we are not the ultimate doer. We discussed this in a previous digest (Digest78):

                                                                  Q. If one thinks oneself as the body, he will say he is John.

                                                                  If one thinks oneself in the platform of spirit, he will say he is jiva or servant of Krishna. What if one thinks oneself in terms of subtle body?

                                                                  Thinking in terms of subtle body means identifying oneself with the mind and intelligence. For example one thinks: 'I am smart', 'I am stupid', 'I am a cheerful person', 'I am a very irritable person', 'I like to be active', 'I am an extrovert/introvert' and so on. These are not the qualities of the soul, but temporary characteristics acquired by the subtle body in association with modes of nature. But one begins to think of one's identity in terms of these acquired natures.

                                                                  Q: BG 14-19 mentions that in all activities no other performer is at work other than the three modes. BG 13-21 similarly calls nature to be the cause of all material causes and effects. I have difficulty understanding this. Does it mean that inert matter is the cause, or does it refer to the controlling deities in charge of different departments of nature?
                                                                  Material nature consists of the three modes. The material nature or the material energy works under the direction of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Sri Krishna.

                                                                  Q. When an individual makes a decision in the material world, is it the soul (jiva) making the choice or is it purely the 3 modes of material nature acting? Is the jiva merely an observer? How much free-will/independence do we have?

                                                                  "Tiny free will" is Srila Prabhupada's phrase. "The jiva as an observer" is a wrong notion. We have tiny free will, and we exercise it.