Srimad Bhagavatam 01.10.21-22 - Upgrading the Standard of Thinking (download mp3)
by Sankirtan Prabhu at ISKCON Chowpatty
sa vai kilāyaṁ puruṣaḥ purātano
ya eka āsīd aviśeṣa ātmani
agre guṇebhyo jagad-ātmanīśvare
nimīlitātman niśi supta-śaktiṣu
They said: Here He is, the original Personality of Godhead as we definitely remember Him. He alone existed before the manifested creation of the modes of nature, and in Him only, because He is the Supreme Lord, all living beings merge, as if sleeping at night, their energy suspended.
There are two types of dissolution of the manifested cosmos. At the end of every 4,320,000,000 solar years, when Brahmā, the lord of one particular universe, goes to sleep, there is one annihilation. And at the end of Lord Brahmā’s life, which takes place at the end of Brahmā’s one hundred years of age, in our calculation at the end of 8,640,000,000 × 30 × 12 × 100 solar years, there is complete annihilation of the entire universe, and in both the periods both the material energy called the mahat-tattva and the marginal energy called jīva-tattva merge in the person of the Supreme Lord. The living beings remain asleep within the body of the Lord until there is another creation of the material world, and that is the way of the creation, maintenance and annihilation of the material manifestation.
The material creation is effected by the interaction of the three modes of material nature set in action by the Lord, and therefore it is said here that the Lord existed before the modes of material nature were set in motion. In the śruti-mantra it is said that only Viṣṇu, the Supreme Lord, existed before the creation, and there was no Brahmā, Śiva or other demigods. Viṣṇu means the Mahā-Viṣṇu, who is lying on the Causal Ocean. By His breathing only all the universes are generated in seeds and gradually develop into gigantic forms with innumerable planets within each and every universe. The seeds of universes develop into gigantic forms in the way seeds of a banyan tree develop into numberless banyan trees.
This Mahā-Viṣṇu is the plenary portion of the Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa, who is mentioned in the Brahma-saṁhitā (5.48) as follows:
“Let me offer my respectful obeisances unto the original Personality of Godhead Govinda, whose plenary portion is the Mahā-Viṣṇu. All the Brahmās, the heads of the universes, live only for the period of His exhaling, after the universes are generated from the pores of His transcendental body.”
Thus Govinda, or Lord Kṛṣṇa, is the cause of Mahā-Viṣṇu also. The ladies talking about this Vedic truth must have heard it from authoritative sources. An authoritative source is the only means of knowing about transcendental subject matter definitely. There is no alternative.
The merging of the living beings into the body of Mahā-Viṣṇu takes place automatically at the end of Brahmā’s one hundred years. But that does not mean that the individual living being loses his identity. The identity is there, and as soon as there is another creation by the supreme will of the Lord, all the sleeping, inactive living beings are again let loose to begin their activities in the continuation of past different spheres of life. It is called suptotthita-nyāya, or awakening from sleep and again engaging in one’s respective continuous duty. When a man is asleep at night, he forgets himself, what he is, what his duty is and everything of his waking state. But as soon as he awakens from slumber, he remembers all that he has to do and thus engages himself again in his prescribed activities. The living beings also remain merged in the body of Mahā-Viṣṇu during the period of annihilation, but as soon as there is another creation they arise to take up their unfinished work. This is also confirmed in the Bhagavad-gītā (8.18-19).
The Lord existed before the creative energy was set in action. The Lord is not a product of the material energy. His body is completely spiritual, and there is no difference between His body and Himself. Before creation the Lord remained in His abode, which is absolute and one.
sa eva bhūyo nija-vīrya-coditāṁ
sva-jīva-māyāṁ prakṛtiṁ sisṛkṣatīm
vidhitsamāno ’nusasāra śāstra-kṛt
The Personality of Godhead, again desiring to give names and forms to His parts and parcels, the living entities, placed them under the guidance of material nature. By His own potency, material nature is empowered to re-create.
The living entities are parts and parcels of the Lord. They are of two varieties, namely nitya-mukta and nitya-baddha. The nitya-muktas are eternally liberated souls, and they are eternally engaged in the reciprocation of transcendental loving service with the Lord in His eternal abode beyond the manifested mundane creations. But the nitya-baddha, or eternally conditioned souls, are entrusted to His external energy, māyā, for rectification of their rebellious attitude toward the supreme father. Nitya-baddhas are eternally forgetful of their relation with the Lord as parts and parcels. They are bewildered by the illusory energy as products of matter, and thus they are very busy in making plans in the material world for becoming happy. They go on merrily with plans, but by the will of the Lord both the plan-makers and the plans are annihilated at the end of a certain period, as above mentioned. This is confirmed in the Bhagavad-gītā (9.7) as follows: “O son of Kuntī, at the end of the millennium all the living entities merge into My nature, and again when the time of creation is ripe, I begin creation by the agency of My external energy.”
The word bhūyaḥ indicates “again and again” — that is to say, the process of creation, maintenance and annihilation is going on perpetually by the external energy of the Lord. He is the cause of everything. But the living beings, who are constitutionally part and parcel of the Lord and are forgetful of the sweet relation, are given a chance again and again to get rid of the clutches of the external energy. And to revive his (the living being’s) consciousness, the revealed scriptures are also created by the Lord. Vedic literatures are the guiding directions for the conditioned souls so they can get free from the repetition of creation and annihilation of the material world and the material body.
The Lord says in the Bhagavad-gītā, “This created world and material energy are under My control. Under the influence of prakṛti, automatically they are created again and again, and this is done by Me through the agency of My external energy.”
Actually the spiritual-spark living entities have no material names or forms. But in order to fulfill their desire to lord it over the material energy of material forms and names, they are given a chance for such false enjoyment, and at the same time they are given a chance to understand the real position through the revealed scriptures. The foolish and forgetful living being is always busy with false forms and false names. Modern nationalism is the culmination of such false names and false forms. Men are mad after false name and form. The form of body obtained under certain conditions is taken up as factual, and the name also taken bewilders the conditioned soul into misusing the energy in the name of so many “isms.” The scriptures, however, supply the clue for understanding the real position, but men are reluctant to take lessons from the scriptures created by the Lord for different places and times. For example, the Bhagavad-gītā is the guiding principle for all human beings, but by the spell of material energy they do not take care to carry out the programs of life in terms of the Bhagavad-gītā. Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is the postgraduate study of knowledge for one who has thoroughly understood the principles of the Bhagavad-gītā. Unfortunately people have no taste for them, and therefore they are under the clutches of māyā for repetition of birth and death.