Srimad Bhagavatam 11.03.09-12 - Universe Creation is also Krishna Katha (download mp3)
by Radhadyuti Prabhu at SKCON Chowpatty
sata-varsa hy anavrstir
bhavisyaty ulbana bhuvi
lokams trin pratapisyati
As cosmic annihilation approaches, a terrible drought takes place on earth for one hundred years. For one hundred years the heat of the sun gradually increases, and its blazing heat begins to torment the three worlds.
dahann urdhva-sikho visvag
Beginning from Patalaloka, a fire grows, emanating from the mouth of Lord Sankarsana. Its flames shooting upward, driven by great winds, it scorches everything in all directions.
varsati sma satam samah
liyate salile virat
Hordes of clouds called Samvartaka pour torrents of rain for one hundred years. Flooding down in raindrops as long as the trunk of an elephant, the deadly rainfall submerges the entire universe in water.
tato virajam utsrjya
vairajah puruso nrpa
avyaktam visate suksmam
Then Vairaja Brahma, the soul of the universal form, gives up his universal body, O King, and enters into the subtle unmanifest nature, like a fire that has run out of fuel.
According to Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura the word vairajah in this verse indicates the totality of the individual conditioned souls who originally take birth from Brahma and are amalgamated back into him at the time of annihilation. By the manifestation of the virat-purusa, the universal form of the Lord, there is a temporary display of forms, qualities and activities within the material creation. But the entire cosmic scene reverts to inert formlessness when the creation is withdrawn by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Therefore the Lord’s universal form cannot be accepted as an eternal form of the Lord. It is merely the temporary imaginary resemblance of His personal form within the kingdom of maya. In the First Canto of the Srimad-Bhagavatam, as well as in the Second Canto, the universal form of the Lord is clearly explained to be an imaginary form offered to the neophyte for meditation on God. Those who are excessively materialistic are totally unable to understand that the Supreme Personality of Godhead is actually sac-cid-ananda-vigraha, or the eternal form of bliss and knowledge, transcendental to the exhibition of material energy. Therefore to encourage such gross materialists to become faithful theists, the Vedic literature instructs them to meditate upon the physical universe as the gigantic body of the Supreme Lord. This pantheistic conception does not reflect the ultimate reality of the Supreme Lord but is a technique to bring the mind gradually toward God.
Srila Sridhara Svami has quoted the following verse as evidence that Lord Brahma is supposed to go back to Godhead at the time of annihilation:
brahmana saha te sarve
pravisanti param padam
“At the time of final annihilation all self-realized souls enter with Brahma into the supreme abode.” Since Brahma is sometimes considered the best devotee of the Supreme Lord, he surely should obtain liberation rather than merely entering into the unmanifest state of material nature called avyakta. In this connection Srila Sridhara Svami points out that there is a class of nondevotees who attain the planet of Brahma by performing asvamedha-yajñas and other sacrifices, and in certain cases Brahma himself may not be a devotee of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. So the words avyaktam visate suksmam can be understood to indicate that such a nondevotee Brahma cannot enter the spiritual sky, despite having achieved the ultimate universal status of material expertise. But when Brahma is a devotee of the Supreme Personality of Godhead the word avyaktam can be taken to indicate the spiritual sky; since the spiritual sky is not manifest to the conditioned souls, it may also be considered avyakta. If even Lord Brahma cannot enter the kingdom of God without surrendering to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, then what to speak of other so-called pious or expert nondevotees.
In this regard Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura has pointed out that there are three categories within the status of Brahma, namely those of karmi, jñani and devotee. A Brahma who is the most exalted karmi of the universe will have to come back to the material world; a living entity who has achieved the post of Brahma by being the greatest speculative philosopher within the universe may attain impersonal liberation; and a living entity who has been awarded the post of Brahma due to being a great devotee of the Supreme Personality of Godhead enters into the personal abode of the Lord. In the Srimad-Bhagavatam (3.32.15) yet another case is described: a Brahma who is a devotee of the Lord but who has the tendency to think himself independent of or equal to the Lord may achieve Maha-Visnu’s abode at the time of annihilation, but when creation begins again he has to return and again take the post of Brahma. The word used in this case is bheda-drstya, which refers to the tendency to think oneself independently powerful. The various destinations possible for such an exalted living entity as a Lord Brahma definitely prove that any material position is worthless for guaranteeing an eternal life of bliss and knowledge. In Bhagavad-gita Lord Krsna promises that if one gives up all other so-called obligations and surrenders to the devotional service of the Lord, the Lord will personally protect him and bring him back to the supreme abode in the spiritual sky. It is futile and foolish to try to achieve perfection by one’s own strenuous endeavor and not surrender to the lotus feet of Krsna. Such a blind attempt is described in the Eighteenth Chapter of Bhagavad-gita as bahulayasam, indicating that it is work in the material mode of passion. Brahma is the lord of passion, and his creation and management of the entire universe are certainly bahulayasam, or strenuous endeavor, in the most exalted sense. But all such passionate work, even that of Lord Brahma, is ultimately useless without surrender to the lotus feet of Krsna.