paraṁ pradhānaṁ puruṣaṁ mahāntaṁ
kālaṁ kaviṁ tri-vṛtaṁ loka-pālam
svacchanda-śaktiṁ kapilaṁ prapadye
param—transcendental; pradhānam—supreme; puruṣam—person; mahāntam—who is the origin of the material world; kālam—who is time; kavim—fully cognizant; tri-vṛtam—three modes of material nature; loka-pālam—who is the maintainer of all the universes; ātma—in Himself; anubhūtya—by internal potency; anugata—dissolved; prapañcam—whose material manifestations; sva-chanda—independently; śaktim—who is powerful; kapilam—to Lord Kapila; prapadye—I surrender.
I surrender unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead, descended in the form of Kapila, who is independently powerful and transcendental, who is the Supreme Person and the Lord of the sum total of matter and the element of time, who is the fully cognizant maintainer of all the universes under the three modes of material nature, and who absorbs the material manifestations after their dissolution.
The six opulences—wealth, strength, fame, beauty, knowledge and renunciation—are indicated here by Kardama Muni, who addresses Kapila Muni, his son, as param. The word param is used in the beginning of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, in the phrase paraṁ satyam, to refer to the summum bonum, or the Supreme Personality of Godhead. param is explained further by the next word, pradhānam, which means the chief, the origin, the source of everything—sarva-kāraṇa-kāraṇam [Bs. 5.1]—the cause of all causes. The Supreme Personality of Godhead is not formless; He is puruṣam, or the enjoyer, the original person. He is the time element and is all-cognizant. He knows everything—past, present and future—as confirmed in Bhagavad-gītā. The Lord says, “I know everything—present, past and future—in every corner of the universe.” The material world, which is moving under the spell of the three modes of nature, is also a manifestation of His energy. parāsya śaktir vividhaiva śrūyate: everything that we see is an interaction of His energies (Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad 6.8). parasya brahmaṇaḥ śaktis tathedam akhilaṁ jagat. This is the version of the Viṣṇu Purāṇa. We can understand that whatever we see is an interaction of the three modes of material nature, but actually it is all an interaction of the Lord’s energy. Loka-pālam: He is actually the maintainer of all living entities. Nityo nityānām: He is the chief of all living entities; He is one, but He maintains many, many living entities. God maintains all other living entities, but no one can maintain God. That is His svacchanda-śakti; He is not dependent on others. Someone may call himself independent, but he is still dependent on someone higher. The Personality of Godhead, however, is absolute; there is no one higher than or equal to Him.
Kapila Muni appeared as the son of Kardama Muni, but because Kapila is an incarnation of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kardama Muni offered respectful obeisances unto Him with full surrender. Another word in this verse is very important: ātmānubhūtyānugata-prapañcam. The Lord descends either as Kapila or Rāma, Nṛsiṁha or Varāha, and whatever forms He assumes in the material world are all manifestations of His own personal internal energy. They are never forms of the material energy. The ordinary living entities who are manifested in this material world have bodies created by the material energy, but when Kṛṣṇa or any one of His expansions or parts of the expansions descends on this material world, although He appears to have a material body, His body is not material. He always has a transcendental body. But fools and rascals, who are called mūḍhas, consider Him one of them, and therefore they deride Him. They refuse to accept Kṛṣṇa as the Supreme Personality of Godhead because they cannot understand Him. In Bhagavad-gītā Kṛṣṇa says, avajānanti māṁ mūḍhāḥ: “Those who are rascals and fools deride Me.” When God descends in a form, this does not mean that He assumes His form with the help of the material energy. He manifests His spiritual form as He exists in His spiritual kingdom.
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