The Lord is Gunatmanah

Srimad Bhagavatam 10.14.07 - The Lord is Gunatmanah (download mp3) and (download flv) and (download mp4)
by Sukhdeva Swami at ISKCON Chowpatty

SB 10.14.7
gunatmanas te ’pi gunan vimatum
 hitavatirnasya ka isire ’sya
kalena yair va vimitah su-kalpair
 bhu-pamsavah khe mihika dyu-bhasah

In time, learned philosophers or scientists might be able to count all the atoms of the earth, the particles of snow, or perhaps even the shining molecules radiating from the sun, the stars and other luminaries. But among these learned men, who could possibly count the unlimited transcendental qualities possessed by You, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who have descended onto the surface of the earth for the benefit of all living entities?

Srila Sanatana Gosvami explains that Lord Krsna is gunatma, “the soul of all superior qualities,” because He gives them life. For example, one may discuss in an abstract way such qualities as generosity, intelligence and mercy, but they come to life only when a living person exhibits them. Thus Lord Krsna is gunatma because He descends to the material world and reestablishes religious principles by exhibiting all godly qualities Himself and inspiring them in others. A living entity who develops the transcendental qualities found in the Lord receives immeasurable benefit and eventually goes with the Lord back to His own abode, where all living beings are liberated and fully endowed with the transcendental nature.

Srila Sanatana Gosvami further explains that the Lord manifests a specific spiritual quality for the benefit of each living entity. Since there are innumerable living entities within the confines of the material creation, the Lord manifests infinite qualities. Thus every conditioned soul can appreciate the Supreme Lord in a particular way.

The example is given here that even if the most learned scholars could someday count the particles of earth, snow and light, they would still fail to understand the qualities of the Lord. In this example earth, snow and light are progressively more subtle; thus it is to be understood that there is an increasing difficulty in counting their virtually infinite particles.

According to Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura, great personalities like Lord Sankarsana actually have counted the number of atoms on the earth, and even the molecules in the entire universe. Yet even such a personality as Sankarsana, who has been continuously chanting the glories of the Lord since time immemorial, has not even approached a final count of those glories.

Lord Krsna exhibits His most astonishing qualities during His childhood pastimes in Vrndavana, where He steals butter from the cowherd ladies, dances with His girlfriends, and plays with His cowherd boyfriends as their most dear companion. Although appearing like ordinary human activities, such sublime pastimes embody Lord Krsna’s immeasurable and innumerable beautiful transcendental qualities, which are the life and soul of the pure devotees.