sa ittham udvīkṣya tad-abja-nāla-
nāḍībhir antar-jalam āviveśa
nārvāg-gatas tat-khara-nāla-nāla-
nābhiṁ vicinvaṁs tad avindatājaḥ
saḥ—he (Brahmā); ittham—in this way; udvīkṣya—contemplating; tat—that; abja—lotus; nāla—stem; nāḍībhiḥ—by the pipe; antaḥ-jalam—within the water; āviveśa—entered into; na—not; arvāk-gataḥ—in spite of going inside; tat-khara-nāla—the stem of the lotus; nāla—pipe; nābhim—of the navel; vicinvan—thinking much of it; tat—that; avindata—understood; ajaḥ—the self-born.
Lord Brahmā, thus contemplating, entered the water through the channel of the stem of the lotus. But in spite of entering the stem and going nearer to the navel of Viṣṇu, he could not trace out the root.
By dint of one’s personal endeavor one may go nearer to the Lord, but without the Lord’s mercy one cannot reach the ultimate point. Such understanding of the Lord is possible only by devotional service, as confirmed in Bhagavad-gītā (18.55): bhaktyā mām abhijānāti yāvān yaś cāsmi tattvataḥ.

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