adyo 'vatarah purusah parasya
kalah svabhavah sad-asan manas ca
dravyam vikaro guna indriyani
virat svarat sthasnu carisnu bhumnah
adyah avatarahoriginal incarnation; purusahthe Lord; parasyaof the Supreme; kalahtime; svabhavahnature; sat-asatcause and effect; manah caas well as the mind; dravyamthe five elements; vikarahtransformation or the false ego; gunahmodes of nature; indriyanisenses; viratthe universal form; svaratcomplete independence; sthasnuimmovable; carisnumovable; bhumnahof the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
"The purusa is the primary incarnation of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Time, nature, prakrti (as cause and effect), the mind, the material elements, false ego, the modes of nature, the senses, the universal form, complete independence and the moving and nonmoving beings appear subsequently as His opulences."
Describing the incarnations and their symptoms, the Laghu-bhagavatamrta has stated that when Lord Krsna descends to conduct the creative affairs of the material manifestation, He is an avatara, or incarnation. The two categories of avataras are empowered devotees and tad-ekatma-rupa (the Lord Himself). An example of tad-ekatma-rupa is Sesa, and an example of a devotee is Vasudeva, the father of Lord Krsna. Srila Baladeva Vidyabhusana has commented that the material cosmic manifestation is a partial kingdom of God where God must sometimes come to execute a specific function. The plenary portion of the Lord through whom Lord Krsna executes such actions is called Maha-Visnu, who is the primal beginning of all incarnations. Inexperienced observers presume that the material energy provides both the cause and the elements of the cosmic manifestation and that the living entities are the enjoyers of material nature. But the devotees of the Bhagavata school, which has scrutinizingly examined the entire situation, can understand that material nature can independently be neither the supplier of the material elements nor the cause of the material manifestation. Material nature gets the power to supply the material elements from the glance of the supreme purusa, Maha-Visnu, and when empowered by Him she is called the cause of the material manifestation. Both features of material nature, as the cause of the material creation and as the source of its elements, exist due to the glance of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The various expansions of the Supreme Lord who act to empower the material energy are known as plenary expansions or incarnations. As illustrated by the example of many flames lit from one flame, all these plenary expansions and incarnations are as good as Visnu Himself; nevertheless, because of their activities in controlling maya, sometimes they are known as mayika, or having a relationship with maya. This is a verse from Srimad-Bhagavatam (2.6.42).

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