Chapter Eight
Manifestation of Brahmā from Garbhodakaśāyī Viṣṇu
maitreya uvāca
sat-sevanīyo bata pūru-vaṁśo
yal loka-pālo bhagavat-pradhānaḥ
pade pade nūtanayasy abhīkṣṇam
maitreyaḥ uvāca—Śrī Maitreya Muni said; sat-sevanīyaḥ—worthy to serve the pure devotees; bata—oh, certainly; pūru-vaṁśaḥ—the descendants of King Pūru; yat—because; loka-pālaḥ—the kings are; bhagavat-pradhānaḥ—chiefly devoted to the Personality of Godhead; babhūvitha—you are also born; iha—in this; ajita—the Lord, who is unconquerable; kīrti-mālām—chain of transcendental activities; pade pade—step by step; nūtanayasi—becoming newer and newer; abhīkṣṇam—always.
The great sage Maitreya Muni said to Vidura: The royal dynasty of King Pūru is worthy to serve the pure devotees because all the descendants of that family are devoted to the Personality of Godhead. You are also born in that family, and it is wonderful that because of your attempt the transcendental pastimes of the Lord are becoming newer and newer at every moment.
The great sage Maitreya thanked Vidura and praised him by reference to his family glories. The Pūru dynasty was full of devotees of the Personality of Godhead and was therefore glorious. Because they were not attached to impersonal Brahman or to the localized Paramātmā but were directly attached to Bhagavān, the Personality of Godhead, they were worthy to render service to the Lord and His pure devotees. Because Vidura was one of the descendants of that family, naturally he engaged in spreading wide the ever-new glories of the Lord. Maitreya felt happy to have such glorious company as Vidura. He considered the company of Vidura most desirable because such association can accelerate one’s dormant propensities for devotional service.
so ’haṁ nṛṇāṁ kṣulla-sukhāya duḥkhaṁ
mahad gatānāṁ viramāya tasya
pravartaye bhāgavataṁ purāṇaṁ
yad āha sākṣād bhagavān ṛṣibhyaḥ
saḥ—that; aham—I; nṛṇām—of the human being; kṣulla—very little; sukhāya—for happiness; duḥkham—distress; mahat—great; gatānām—entered into; viramāya—for mitigation; tasya—his; pravartaye—in beginning; bhāgavatamŚrīmad-Bhāgavatam; purāṇam—Vedic supplement; yat—which; āha—said; sākṣāt—directly; bhagavān—the Personality of Godhead; ṛṣibhyaḥ—unto the sages.
Let me now begin speaking on the Bhāgavata Purāṇa, which was directly spoken to the great sages by the Personality of Godhead for the benefit of those who are entangled in extreme miseries for the sake of very little pleasure.
The sage Maitreya proposed to speak on Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam because it was especially compiled, and traditionally comes down in the disciplic succession, for the solution of all the problems of human society. Only one who is fortunate can have the opportunity to hear Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam in the association of pure devotees of the Lord. Under the spell of material energy, the living entities are entrapped in the bondage of many difficulties simply for the sake of a little bit of material happiness. They engage in fruitive activities, not knowing the implications. Under the false impression that the body is the self, the living entities foolishly relate to so many false attachments. They think that they can engage with materialistic paraphernalia forever. This gross misconception of life is so strong that a person suffers continually, life after life, under the external energy of the Lord. If one comes in contact with the book Bhāgavatam as well as with the devotee bhāgavata, who knows what the Bhāgavatam is, then such a fortunate man gets out of the material entanglement. Therefore Śrī Maitreya Muni, out of compassion for the suffering men in the world, proposes to speak on the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam first and last.
āsīnam urvyāṁ bhagavantam ādyaṁ
saṅkarṣaṇaṁ devam akuṇṭha-sattvam
vivitsavas tattvam ataḥ parasya
kumāra-mukhyā munayo ’nvapṛcchan
āsīnam—seated; urvyām—in the bottom of the universe; bhagavantam—unto the Lord; ādyam—the original; saṅkarṣaṇamSaṅkarṣaṇa; devam—the Personality of Godhead; akuṇṭha-sattvam—undeterred knowledge; vivitsavaḥ—being inquisitive to know; tattvam ataḥ—truth like this; parasya—regarding the Supreme Personality of Godhead; kumāra—the boy-saint; mukhyāḥ—headed by; munayaḥ—great sages; anvapṛcchan—inquired like this.
Some time ago, being inquisitive to know, Sanat-kumāra, the chief of the boy-saints, accompanied by other great sages, inquired exactly like you about the truths regarding Vāsudeva, the Supreme, from Lord Saṅkarṣaṇa, who is seated at the bottom of the universe.
This is in clarification of the statement that the Lord spoke directly on the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. When and unto whom the Bhāgavatam was spoken is explained herewith. Questions similar to those put forward by Vidura were asked by great sages like Sanat-kumāra, and Lord Saṅkarṣaṇa, the plenary expansion of the Supreme Lord Vāsudeva, answered them.
svam eva dhiṣṇyaṁ bahu mānayantaṁ
yad vāsudevābhidham āmananti
pratyag-dhṛtākṣāmbuja-kośam īṣad
unmīlayantaṁ vibudhodayāya
svam—Himself; eva—thus; dhiṣṇyam—situated; bahu—greatly; mānayantam—esteemed; yat—that which; vāsudeva—Lord Vāsudeva; abhidham—by the name; āmananti—acknowledge; pratyak-dhṛta-akṣa—eyes settled for introspection; ambuja-kośam—lotuslike eye; īṣat—slightly; unmīlayantam—opened; vibudha—of the greatly learned sages; udayāya—for the sake of advancement.
At that time Lord Saṅkarṣaṇa was meditating upon His Supreme Lord, whom the learned esteem as Lord Vāsudeva, but for the sake of the advancement of the great learned sages He slightly opened His lotus like eyes and began to speak.
svardhuny-udārdraiḥ sva-jaṭā-kalāpair
upaspṛśantaś caraṇopadhānam
padmaṁ yad arcanty ahi-rāja-kanyāḥ
sa-prema nānā-balibhir varārthāḥ
svardhunī-uda—by the water of the Ganges; ārdraiḥ—being moistened; sva-jaṭā—bunch of hairs; kalāpaiḥ—situated on the head; upaspṛśantaḥ—by so touching; caraṇa-upadhānam—the shelter of His feet; padmam—the lotus shelter; yat—that which; arcanti—worships; ahi-rāja—the serpent-king; kanyāḥ—daughters; sa-prema—with great devotion; nānā—various; balibhiḥ—paraphernalia; vara-arthāḥ—being desirous of husbands.
The sages came from the highest planets down to the lower region through the water of the Ganges, and therefore the hair on their heads was wet. They touched the lotus feet of the Lord, which are worshiped with various paraphernalia by the daughters of the serpent-king when they desire good husbands.
The Ganges water flows directly from the lotus feet of Viṣṇu, and its course runs from the highest planet of the universe down to the lowest. The sages came down from Satyaloka by taking advantage of the flowing water, a process of transportation made possible by the power of mystic yoga. If a river flows thousands and thousands of miles, a perfect yogī can at once transport himself from one place to another simply by dipping in its water. The Ganges is the only celestial river which flows throughout the universe, and great sages travel all over the universe via this sacred river. The statement that their hair was wet indicates that it was directly moistened by the water originating from the lotus feet of Viṣṇu (the Ganges). Whoever touches the water of the Ganges to his head surely touches the lotus feet of the Lord directly and can become free from all effects of sinful acts. If after taking a bath in the Ganges or being washed of all sins, a man guards himself against committing further sinful acts, then certainly he is delivered. But if he again takes up sinful activities, his bath in the Ganges is as good as that of the elephant, who nicely takes his bath in a river but later spoils the whole thing by covering himself with dust on the land.
muhur gṛṇanto vacasānurāga-
skhalat-padenāsya kṛtāni taj-jñāḥ
muhuḥ—again and again; gṛṇantaḥ—glorifying; vacasā—by words; anurāga—with great affection; skhalat-padena—with symmetrical rhythm; asya—of the Lord; kṛtāni—activities; tat-jñāḥ—those who know the pastimes; kirīṭa—helmets; sāhasra—thousands; maṇi-praveka—glowing effulgence of the valuable stones; pradyotita—emanating from; uddāma—raised; phaṇā—hoods; sahasram—thousands.
The four Kumāras, headed by Sanat-kumāra, who all knew the transcendental pastimes of the Lord, glorified the Lord in rhythmic accents with selected words full of affection and love. At that time Lord Saṅkarṣaṇa, with His thousands of raised hoods, began to radiate an effulgence from the glowing stones on His head.
The Lord is sometimes addressed as uttamaśloka, which means “one who is worshiped with selected words by devotees.” A profusion of such selected words comes from a devotee who is fully absorbed in affection and love for the devotional service of the Lord. There are many instances in which even a small boy who was a great devotee of the Lord could offer excellent prayers in the choicest words for glorification of the pastimes of the Lord. In other words, without the development of fine affection and love, one cannot offer prayers to the Lord very suitably.
proktaṁ kilaitad bhagavattamena
nivṛtti-dharmābhiratāya tena
sanat-kumārāya sa cāha pṛṣṭaḥ
sāṅkhyāyanāyāṅga dhṛta-vratāya
proktam—was said; kila—certainly; etat—this; bhagavattamena—by Lord Saṅkarṣaṇa; nivṛtti—renunciation; dharma-abhiratāya—unto one who has taken this religious vow; tena—by Him; sanat-kumārāya—unto Sanat-kumāra; saḥ—he; ca—also; āha—said; pṛṣṭaḥ—when inquired of; sāṅkhyāyanāya—unto the great sage Sāṅkhyāyana; aṅga—my dear Vidura; dhṛta-vratāya—unto one who has taken such a vow.
Lord Saṅkarṣaṇa thus spoke the purport of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam to the great sage Sanat-kumāra, who had already taken the vow of renunciation. Sanat-kumāra also, in his turn, when inquired of by Sāṅkhyāyana Muni, explained Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam as he had heard it from Saṅkarṣaṇa.
This is the way of the paramparā system. Although Sanat-kumāra, the well-known great saintly Kumāra, was in the perfect stage of life, still he heard the message of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam from Lord Saṅkarṣaṇa. Similarly, when he was questioned by Sāṅkhyāyana Ṛṣi, he spoke to him the same message he had heard from Lord Saṅkarṣaṇa. In other words, unless one hears from the proper authority one cannot become a preacher. In devotional service, therefore, two items out of the nine, namely hearing and chanting, are most important. Without hearing nicely, one cannot preach the message of Vedic knowledge.
sāṅkhyāyanaḥ pāramahaṁsya-mukhyo
vivakṣamāṇo bhagavad-vibhūtīḥ
jagāda so ’smad-gurave ’nvitāya
parāśarāyātha bṛhaspateś ca
sāṅkhyāyanaḥ—the great sage Sāṅkhyāyana; pāramahaṁsya-mukhyaḥ—the chief of all transcendentalists; vivakṣamāṇaḥ—while reciting; bhagavat-vibhūtīḥ—the glories of the Lord; jagāda—explained; saḥ—he; asmat—of me; gurave—unto the spiritual master; anvitāya—followed; parāśarāya—unto the sage Parāśara; atha bṛhaspateḥ ca—also to Bṛhaspati.
The great sage Sāṅkhyāyana was the chief amongst the transcendentalists, and when he was describing the glories of the Lord in terms of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, it so happened that my spiritual master, Parāśara, and Bṛhaspati both heard him.
provāca mahyaṁ sa dayālur ukto
muniḥ pulastyena purāṇam ādyam
so ’haṁ tavaitat kathayāmi vatsa
śraddhālave nityam anuvratāya
provāca—said; mahyam—unto me; saḥ—he; dayāluḥ—kindhearted; uktaḥ—aforementioned; muniḥ—sage; pulastyena—by the sage Pulastya; purāṇam ādyam—the foremost of all the Purāṇas; saḥ aham—that also I; tava—unto you; etat—this; kathayāmi—shall speak; vatsa—my dear son; śraddhālave—unto one who is faithful; nityam—always; anuvratāya—unto one who is a follower.
The great sage Parāśara, as aforementioned, being so advised by the great sage Pulastya, spoke unto me the foremost of the Purāṇas [Bhāgavatam]. I shall also describe this before you, my dear son, in terms of my hearing, because you are always my faithful follower.
The great sage of the name Pulastya is the father of all demoniac descendants. Once upon a time Parāśara began a sacrifice in which all the demons were to be burnt to death because his father had been killed and devoured by one of them. The great sage Vasiṣṭha Muni arrived at the sacrifice and requested Parāśara to stop the deadly action, and because of Vasiṣṭha’s position and respect in the community of sages, Parāśara could not deny the request. Parāśara having stopped the sacrifice, Pulastya, the father of the demons, appreciated his brahminical temperament and gave the blessing that in the future he would be a great speaker on the Vedic literatures called the Purāṇas, the supplements of the Vedas. Parāśara’s action was appreciated by Pulastya because Parāśara had forgiven the demons out of his brahminical power of forgiveness. Parāśara was able to demolish all the demons in the sacrifice, but he considered, “Demons are so made that they devour living creatures, men and animals, but why on that account should I withdraw my brahminical qualification of forgiveness?” As the great speaker of the Purāṇas, Parāśara first of all spoke on the Śrīmad-Bhāgavata Purāṇa because it is the foremost of all the Purāṇas. Maitreya Muni desired to narrate the same Bhāgavatam be had heard from Parāśara, and Vidura was qualified to hear it because of his faithfulness and his following the instructions received from superiors. So Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam was being narrated from time immemorial by the disciplic succession, even before the time of Vyāsadeva. The so-called historians calculate the Purāṇas to be only a few hundred years old, but factually the Purāṇas existed from time immemorial, before all historical calculations by the mundaners and speculative philosophers.
udāplutaṁ viśvam idaṁ tadāsīd
yan nidrayāmīlita-dṛṅ nyamīlayat
ahīndra-talpe ’dhiśayāna ekaḥ
kṛta-kṣaṇaḥ svātma-ratau nirīhaḥ
uda—water; āplutam—submerged in; viśvam—the three worlds; idam—this; tadā—at that time; āsīt—it so remained; yat—in which; nidrayā—in slumber; amīlita—closed; dṛk—eyes; nyamīlayat—not completely closed; ahi-indra—the great snake Ananta; talpe—on the bed of; adhiśayānaḥ—lying on; ekaḥ—alone; kṛta-kṣaṇaḥ—being engaged; sva-ātma-ratau—enjoying in His internal potency; nirīhaḥ—without any part of external energy.
At that time when the three worlds were submerged in water, Garbhodakaśāyī Viṣṇu was alone, lying on His bedstead, the great snake Ananta, and although He appeared to be in slumber in His own internal potency, free from the action of the external energy, His eyes were not completely closed.
The Lord is eternally enjoying transcendental bliss by His internal potency, whereas the external potency is suspended during the time of the dissolution of the cosmic manifestation.
so ’ntaḥ śarīre ’rpita-bhūta-sūkṣmaḥ
kālātmikāṁ śaktim udīrayāṇaḥ
uvāsa tasmin salile pade sve
yathānalo dāruṇi ruddha-vīryaḥ
saḥ—the Supreme Lord; antaḥ—within; śarīre—in the transcendental body; arpita—kept; bhūta—material elements; sūkṣmaḥ—subtle; kāla-ātmikām—the form of time; śaktim—energy; udīrayāṇaḥ—invigorating; uvāsa—resided; tasmin—therein; salile—in the water; pade—in the place; sve—His own; yathā—as much as; analaḥ—fire; dāruṇi—in the fuel wood; ruddha-vīryaḥ—submerged strength.
Just like the strength of fire within fuel wood, the Lord remained within the water of dissolution, submerging all the living entities in their subtle bodies. He lay in the self-invigorated energy called kāla.
After the three worlds—the upper, lower and middle planetary systems—merged into the water of dissolution, the living entities of all the three worlds remained in their subtle bodies by dint of the energy called kāla. In this dissolution, the gross bodies became unmanifest, but the subtle bodies existed, just like the water of the material creation. Thus the material energy was not completely wound up, as is the case in the full dissolution of the material world.
catur-yugānāṁ ca sahasram apsu
svapan svayodīritayā sva-śaktyā
lokān apītān dadṛśe sva-dehe
catuḥ—four; yugānām—of the millenniums; ca—also; sahasram—one thousand; apsu—in the water; svapan—dreaming in sleep; svayā—with His internal potency; udīritayā—for further development; sva-śaktyā—by His own energy; kāla-ākhyayā—by the name kāla; āsādita—being so engaged; karma-tantraḥ—in the matter of fruitive activities; lokān—the total living entities; apītān—bluish; dadṛśe—saw it so; sva-dehe—in His own body.
The Lord lay down for four thousand yuga cycles in His internal potency, and by His external energy He appeared to be sleeping within the water. When the living entities were coming out for further development of their fruitive activities, actuated by the energy called kāla-śakti, He saw His transcendental body as bluish.
In the Viṣṇu Purāṇa, kāla-śakti is mentioned as avidyā. The symptom of the influence of the kāla-śakti is that one has to work in the material world for fruitive results. The fruitive workers are described in Bhagavad-gītā as mūḍhas, or foolish. Such foolish living entities are very enthusiastic to work for some temporary benefit within perpetual bondage. One thinks himself very clever throughout his life if he is able to leave behind him a great asset of wealth for his children, and to achieve this temporary benefit he takes the risk of all sinful activities, without knowledge that such activities will keep him perpetually bound by the shackles of material bondage. Due to this polluted mentality and due to material sins, the aggregate combination of living entities appeared to be bluish. Such an impetus of activity for fruitive result is made possible by the dictation of the external energy of the Lord, kāla.
antar-gato ’rtho rajasā tanīyān
guṇena kālānugatena viddhaḥ
sūṣyaṁs tadābhidyata nābhi-deśāt
tasya—His; artha—subject; sūkṣma—subtle; abhiniviṣṭa-dṛṣṭeḥ—of one whose attention was fixed; antaḥ-gataḥ—internal; arthaḥ—purpose; rajasā—by the mode of passion of material nature; tanīyān—very subtle; guṇena—by the qualities; kāla-anugatena—in due course of time; viddhaḥ—agitated; sūṣyan—generating; tadā—then; abhidyata—pierced through; nābhi-deśāt—from the abdomen.
The subtle subject matter of creation, on which the Lord’s attention was fixed, was agitated by the material mode of passion, and thus the subtle form of creation pierced through His abdomen.
sa padma-kośaḥ sahasodatiṣṭhat
kālena karma-pratibodhanena
sva-rociṣā tat salilaṁ viśālaṁ
vidyotayann arka ivātma-yoniḥ
saḥ—that; padma-kośaḥ—bud of a lotus flower; sahasā—suddenly; udatiṣṭhat—appeared; kālena—by time; karma—fruitive activities; pratibodhanena—awakening; sva-rociṣā—by its own effulgence; tat—that; salilam—water of devastation; viśālam—vast; vidyotayan—illuminating; arkaḥ—the sun; iva—like; ātma-yoniḥ—generating from the Personality of Viṣṇu.
Piercing through, this sum total form of the fruitive activity of the living entities took the shape of the bud of a lotus flower generated from the Personality of Viṣṇu, and by His supreme will it illuminated everything, like the sun, and dried up the vast waters of devastation.
tal loka-padmaṁ sa u eva viṣṇuḥ
prāvīviśat sarva-guṇāvabhāsam
tasmin svayaṁ vedamayo vidhātā
svayambhuvaṁ yaṁ sma vadanti so ’bhūt
tat—that; loka—universal; padmam—lotus flower; saḥ—He; u—certainly; eva—factually; viṣṇuḥ—the Lord; prāvīviśat—entered into; sarva—all; guṇa-avabhāsam—reservoir of all modes of nature; tasmin—in which; svayam—in person; veda-mayaḥ—the personality of Vedic wisdom; vidhātā—controller of the universe; svayam-bhuvam—self-born; yam—whom; sma—in the past; vadanti—do say; saḥ—he; abhūt—generated.
Into that universal lotus flower Lord Viṣṇu personally entered as the Supersoul, and when it was thus impregnated with all the modes of material nature, the personality of Vedic wisdom, whom we call the self-born, was generated.
This lotus flower is the universal virāṭ form, or the gigantic form of the Lord in the material world. It becomes amalgamated in the Personality of Godhead Viṣṇu, in His abdomen, at the time of dissolution, and it becomes manifest at the time of creation. This is due to Garbhodakaśāyī Viṣṇu, who enters into each of the universes. In this form is the sum total of all the fruitive activities of the living entities conditioned by material nature, and the first of them, namely Brahmā, or the controller of the universe, is generated from this lotus flower. This first-born living being, unlike all the others, has no material father, and thus he is called self-born, or svayambhū. He goes to sleep with Nārāyaṇa at the time of devastation, and when there is another creation, he is born in this way. From this description we have the conception of three—the gross virāṭ form, the subtle Hiraṇyagarbha and the material creative force, Brahmā.
tasyāṁ sa cāmbho-ruha-karṇikāyām
avasthito lokam apaśyamānaḥ
parikraman vyomni vivṛtta-netraś
catvāri lebhe ’nudiśaṁ mukhāni
tasyām—in that; saḥBrahmā; ca—and; ambhaḥ—water; ruha-karṇikāyām—whorl of the lotus; avasthitaḥ—being situated; lokam—the world; apaśyamānaḥ—without being able to see; parikraman—circumambulating; vyomni—in space; vivṛtta-netraḥ—while moving the eyes; catvāri—four; lebhe—achieved; anudiśam—in terms of direction; mukhāni—heads.
Brahmā, born out of the lotus flower, could not see the world, although he was situated in the whorl. He therefore circumambulated all of space, and while moving his eyes in all directions he achieved four heads in terms of the four directions.
tasmād yugānta-śvasanāvaghūrṇa-
jalormi-cakrāt salilād virūḍham
upāśritaḥ kañjam u loka-tattvaṁ
nātmānam addhāvidad ādi-devaḥ
tasmāt—from there; yuga-anta—at the end of the millennium; śvasana—the air of devastation; avaghūrṇa—because of movement; jala—water; ūrmi-cakrāt—out of the circle of waves; salilāt—from the water; virūḍham—situated on them; upāśritaḥ—having the shelter of; kañjam—lotus flower; u—in astonishment; loka-tattvam—the mystery of creation; na—not; ātmānam—himself; addhā—perfectly; avidat—could understand; ādi-devaḥ—the first demigod.
Lord Brahmā, situated in that lotus, could not perfectly understand the creation, the lotus or himself. At the end of the millennium the air of devastation began to move the water and the lotus in great circular waves.
Lord Brahmā was perplexed about his creation, the lotus and the world, even though he tried to understand them for one millennium, which is beyond calculation in the solar years of human beings. No one, therefore, can know the mystery of the creation and cosmic manifestation simply by mental speculation. The human being is so limited in his capacity that without the help of the Supreme he can hardly understand the mystery of the will of the Lord in terms of creation, continuance and destruction.
ka eṣa yo ’sāv aham abja-pṛṣṭha
etat kuto vābjam ananyad apsu
asti hy adhastād iha kiñcanaitad
adhiṣṭhitaṁ yatra satā nu bhāvyam
kaḥ—who; eṣaḥ—this; yaḥ asau aham—that I am; abja-pṛṣṭhe—on top of the lotus; etat—this; kutaḥ—wherefrom; —either; abjam—lotus flower; ananyat—otherwise; apsu—in the water; asti—there is; hi—certainly; adhastāt—from below; iha—in this; kiñcana—anything; etat—this; adhiṣṭhitam—situated; yatra—wherein; satā—automatically; nu—or not; bhāvyam—must be.
Lord Brahmā, in his ignorance, contemplated: Who am I that am situated on the top of this lotus? Wherefrom has it sprouted? There must be something downwards, and that from which this lotus has grown must be within the water.
The subject matter of the speculations of Brahmā in the beginning regarding the creation of the cosmic manifestation is still a subject matter for mental speculators. The most intelligent man is he who tries to find the cause of his personal existence and that of the whole cosmic creation and thus tries to find the ultimate cause. If his attempt is properly executed with penances and perseverance, it is sure to be crowned with success.
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.
tamasy apāre vidurātma-sargaṁ
vicinvato ’bhūt sumahāṁs tri-ṇemiḥ
yo deha-bhājāṁ bhayam īrayāṇaḥ
parikṣiṇoty āyur ajasya hetiḥ
tamasi apāre—because of an ignorant way of searching; vidura—O Vidura; ātma-sargam—the cause of his creation; vicinvataḥ—while contemplating; abhūt—it so became; su-mahān—very great; tri-nemiḥ—time of three dimensions; yaḥ—which; deha-bhājām—of the embodied; bhayam—fearfulness; īrayāṇaḥ—generating; parikṣiṇoti—diminishing the one hundred years; āyuḥ—duration of life; ajasya—of the self-born; hetiḥ—the wheel of eternal time.
O Vidura, while searching in that way about his existence, Brahmā reached his ultimate time, which is the eternal wheel in the hand of Viṣṇu and which generates fear in the mind of the living entity like the fear of death.
tato nivṛtto ’pratilabdha-kāmaḥ
sva-dhiṣṇyam āsādya punaḥ sa devaḥ
śanair jita-śvāsa-nivṛtta-citto
nyaṣīdad ārūḍha-samādhi-yogaḥ
tataḥ—thereafter; nivṛttaḥ—retired from that endeavor; apratilabdha-kāmaḥ—without achievement of the desired destination; sva-dhiṣṇyam—own seat; āsādya—reaching; punaḥ—again; saḥ—he; devaḥ—the demigod; śanaiḥ—without delay; jita-śvāsa—controlling the breathing; nivṛtta—retired; cittaḥ—intelligence; nyaṣīdatsat down; ārūḍha—in confidence; samādhi-yogaḥ—in meditation on the Lord.
Thereafter, being unable to achieve the desired destination, he retired from such searching and came back again to the top of the lotus. Thus, controlling all objectives, he concentrated his mind on the Supreme Lord.
Samādhi involves concentrating the mind upon the supreme cause of all, even if one is unaware of whether His actual nature is personal, impersonal or localized. Concentration of the mind on the Supreme is certainly a form of devotional service. To cease from personal sense endeavors and to concentrate on the supreme cause is a sign of self-surrender, and when self-surrender is present, that is a sure sign of devotional service. Each and every living entity needs to engage in devotional service to the Lord if he wishes to understand the ultimate cause of his existence.
kālena so ’jaḥ puruṣāyuṣābhi-
pravṛtta-yogena virūḍha-bodhaḥ
svayaṁ tad antar-hṛdaye ’vabhātam
apaśyatāpaśyata yan na pūrvam
kālena—in due course of time; saḥ—he; ajaḥ—the self-born Brahmā; puruṣa-āyuṣā—by the duration of his age; abhipravṛtta—being engaged; yogena—in meditation; virūḍha—developed; bodhaḥ—intelligence; svayam—automatically; tat antaḥ-hṛdaye—in the heart; avabhātam—manifested; apaśyata—saw; apaśyata—did see; yat—which; na—not; pūrvam—before.
At the end of Brahmā’s one hundred years, when his meditation was complete, he developed the required knowledge, and as a result he could see in his head the Supreme within himself, whom he could not see before with the greatest endeavor.
The Supreme Lord can be experienced only through the process of devotional service and not by one’s personal endeavor in mental speculation. The age of Brahmā is calculated in terms of divya years, which are distinct from the solar years of human beings. The divya years are calculated in Bhagavad-gītā (8.17): sahasra-yuga-paryantam ahar yad brahmaṇo viduḥ. Brahmā’s one day is equal to one thousand times the aggregate of the four yugas (calculated to be 4,300,000 years). On that basis, Brahmā meditated for one hundred years before he could understand the supreme cause of all causes, and then he wrote the Brahma-saṁhitā, which is approved and recognized by Lord Caitanya and in which he sings, govindam ādi-puruṣaṁ tam ahaṁ bhajāmi **. One has to wait for the mercy of the Lord before one can either render service unto Him or know Him as He is.
paryaṅka ekaṁ puruṣaṁ śayānam
dyubhir hata-dhvānta-yugānta-toye
mṛṇāla—lotus flower; gaura—white all over; āyata—gigantic; śeṣa-bhoga—body of Śeṣa-nāga; paryaṅke—on the bed; ekam—alone; puruṣam—the Supreme Person; śayānam—was lying; phaṇa-ātapatra—umbrella of a serpent hood; āyuta—bedecked with; mūrdha—head; ratna—jewels; dyubhiḥ—by the rays; hata-dhvānta—darkness dissipated; yuga-anta—devastation; toye—in the water.
Brahmā could see that on the water there was a gigantic lotuslike white bedstead, the body of Śeṣa-nāga, on which the Personality of Godhead was lying alone. The whole atmosphere was illuminated by the rays of the jewels bedecking the hood of Śeṣa-nāga, and that illumination dissipated all the darkness of those regions.
prekṣāṁ kṣipantaṁ haritopalādreḥ
sandhyābhra-nīver uru-rukma-mūrdhnaḥ
vana-srajo veṇu-bhujāṅghripāṅghreḥ
prekṣām—the panorama; kṣipantam—deriding; harita—green; upala—coral; adreḥ—of the hell; sandhyā-abhra-nīveḥ—of the dress of the evening sky; uru—great; rukma—gold; mūrdhnaḥ—on the summit; ratna—jewels; udadhāra—waterfalls; auṣadhi—herbs; saumanasya—of the scenery; vana-srajaḥ—flower garland; veṇu—dress; bhuja—hands; aṅghripa—trees; aṅghreḥ—legs.
The luster of the transcendental body of the Lord mocked the beauty of the coral mountain. The coral mountain is very beautifully dressed by the evening sky, but the yellow dress of the Lord mocked its beauty. There is gold on the summit of the mountain, but the Lord’s helmet, bedecked with jewels, mocked it. The mountain’s waterfalls, herbs, etc., with a panorama of flowers, seem like garlands, but the Lord’s gigantic body, and His hands and legs, decorated with jewels, pearls, tulasī leaves and flower garlands, mocked the scene on the mountain.
The panoramic beauty of nature, which strikes one with wonder, may be taken as a perverted reflection of the transcendental body of the Lord. One who is therefore attracted by the beauty of the Lord is no longer attracted by the beauty of material nature, although he does not minimize its beauty. In Bhagavad-gītā (2.59) it is described that one who is attracted by param, the Supreme, is no longer attracted by anything inferior.
āyāmato vistarataḥ sva-māna-
dehena loka-traya-saṅgraheṇa
āyāmataḥ—by length; vistarataḥ—by breadth; sva-māna—by His own measurement; dehena—by the transcendental body; loka-traya—the three (upper, middle and lower) planetary systems; saṅgraheṇa—by total absorption; vicitra—variegated; divya—transcendental; ābharaṇa-aṁśukānām—rays of the ornaments; kṛta-śriyā apāśrita—beauty created by those dresses and ornaments; veṣa—dressed; deham—transcendental body.
His transcendental body, unlimited in length and breadth, occupied the three planetary systems, upper, middle and lower. His body was self-illuminated by unparalleled dress and variegatedness and was properly ornamented.
The length and breadth of the transcendental body of the Supreme Personality of Godhead could only be measured by His own measurement because He is all-pervading throughout the complete cosmic manifestation. The beauty of material nature is due to His personal beauty, yet He is always magnificently dressed and ornamented to prove His transcendental variegatedness, which is so important in the advancement of spiritual knowledge.
puṁsāṁ sva-kāmāya vivikta-mārgair
abhyarcatāṁ kāma-dughāṅghri-padmam
pradarśayantaṁ kṛpayā nakhendu-
puṁsām—of the human being; sva-kāmāya—according to the desire; vivikta-mārgaiḥ—by the path of devotional service; abhyarcatām—worshiped; kāma-dugha-aṅghri-padmam—the lotus feet of the Lord, which can award all desired fruits; pradarśayantam—while showing them; kṛpayā—by causeless mercy; nakha—nails; indu—moonlike; mayūkha—rays; bhinna—divided; aṅguli—figures; cāru-patram—very beautiful.
The Lord showed His lotus feet by raising them. His lotus feet are the source of all awards achieved by devotional service free from material contamination. Such awards are for those who worship Him in pure devotion. The splendor of the transcendental rays from His moonlike toenails and fingernails appeared like the petals of a flower.
The Lord fulfills the desires of everyone just as one desires. Pure devotees are interested in achieving the transcendental service of the Lord, which is nondifferent from Him. Therefore, the Lord is the only desire of the pure devotees, and devotional service is the only spotless process for achieving His favor. Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī says in his Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu (1.1.11) that pure devotional service is jñāna-karmādy-anāvṛtam: [Madhya 19.167] pure devotional service is without any tinge of speculative knowledge and fruitive activities. Such devotional service is able to award the pure devotee the highest result, namely direct association with the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Kṛṣṇa. According to the Gopāla-tāpanī Upaniṣad, the Lord showed one of the many thousands of petals of His lotus feet. It is said: brāhmaṇo’sāv anavarataṁ me dhyātaḥ stutaḥ parārdhānte so ’budhyata gopa-veśo me purastāt āvirbabhūva. After penetrating for millions of years, Lord Brahmā could understand the transcendental form of the Lord as Śrī Kṛṣṇa, in the dress of a cowherd boy, and thus he recorded his experience in the Brahma-saṁhitā in the famous prayer, govindam ādi-puruṣaṁ tam ahaṁ bhajāmi **.
mukhena lokārti-hara-smitena
pratyarhayantaṁ sunasena subhrvā
mukhena—by a gesture of the face; loka-ārti-hara—vanquisher of the distress of the devotees; smitena—by smiling; parisphurat—dazzling; kuṇḍala—earrings; maṇḍitena—decorated with; śoṇāyitena—acknowledging; adhara—of His lips; bimba—reflection; bhāsā—rays; pratyarhayantam—reciprocating; su-nasena—by His pleasing nose; su-bhrvā—and pleasing eyebrows.
He also acknowledged the service of the devotees and vanquished their distress by His beautiful smile. The reflection of His face, decorated with earrings, was so pleasing because it dazzled with the rays from His lips and the beauty of His nose and eyebrows.
Devotional service to the Lord is very much obliging to Him. There are many transcendentalists in different fields of spiritual activities, but devotional service to the Lord is unique. Devotees do not ask anything from the Lord in exchange for their service. Even the most desirable liberation is refused by devotees, although offered by the Lord. Thus the Lord becomes a kind of debtor to the devotees, and He can only try to repay the devotees, service with His ever-enchanting smile. The devotees are ever satisfied by the smiling face of the Lord, and they become enlivened. And by seeing the devotees so enlivened, the Lord Himself is further satisfied. So there is continuous transcendental competition between the Lord and His devotees by such reciprocation of service and acknowledgement.
svalaṅkṛtaṁ mekhalayā nitambe
hāreṇa cānanta-dhanena vatsa
kadamba-kiñjalka—saffron dust of the kadamba flower; piśaṅga—dress of the color; vāsasā—by clothing; su-alaṅkṛtam—well decorated; mekhalayā—by the belt; nitambe—on the waist; hāreṇa—by the garland; ca—also; ananta—highly; dhanena—valuable; vatsa—my dear Vidura; śrīvatsa—of the transcendental marking; vakṣaḥ-sthala—on the chest; vallabhena—very pleasing.
O my dear Vidura, the Lord’s waist was covered with yellow cloth resembling the saffron dust of the kadamba flower, and it was encircled by a well-decorated belt. His chest was decorated with the śrīvatsa marking and a necklace of unlimited value.
avyakta-mūlaṁ bhuvanāṅghripendram
ahīndra-bhogair adhivīta-valśam
parārdhya—very valuable; keyūra—ornaments; maṇi-praveka—highly valuable jewels; paryasta—disseminating; dordaṇḍa—arms; sahasra-śākham—with thousands of branches; avyakta-mūlam—self-situated; bhuvana—universal; aṅghripa—trees; indram—the Lord; ahi-indra—Anantadeva; bhogaiḥ—by hoods; adhivīta—surrounded; valśam—shoulders.
As a sandalwood tree is decorated with fragrant flowers and branches, the Lord’s body was decorated with valuable jewels and pearls. He was the self-situated tree, the Lord of all others in the universe. And as a sandalwood tree is covered with many snakes, so the Lord’s body was also covered by the hoods of Ananta.
The word avyakta-mūlam is significant here. Generally, no one can see the roots of a tree. But as far as the Lord is concerned, He is the root of Himself because there is no other separate cause of His standing but He Himself. In the Vedas it is said that the Lord is svāśrayāśraya; He is His own support, and there is no other support for Him. Therefore, avyakta means the Supreme Lord Himself and no one else.
carācarauko bhagavan-mahīdhram
ahīndra-bandhuṁ salilopagūḍham
āvirbhavat kaustubha-ratna-garbham
cara—moving animals; acara—nonmoving trees; okaḥ—the place or situation; bhagavat—the Personality of Godhead; mahīdhram—the mountain; ahi-indra—Śrī Anantadeva; bandhum—friend; salila—water; upagūḍham—submerged; kirīṭa—helmets; sāhasra—thousands; hiraṇya—gold; śṛṅgam—peaks; āvirbhavat—manifested; kaustubha—the Kaustubha jewel; ratna-garbham—ocean.
Like a great mountain, the Lord stands as the abode for all moving and nonmoving living entities. He is the friend of the snakes because Lord Ananta is His friend. As a mountain has thousands of golden peas, so the Lord was seen with the thousands of golden-helmeted hoods of Ananta-nāga; and as a mountain is sometimes filled with jewels, so also His transcendental body was fully decorated with valuable jewels. As a mountains is sometimes submerged in the ocean water, so the Lord is sometimes submerged in the water of devastation.
nivītam āmnāya-madhu-vrata-śriyā
sva-kīrti-mayyā vana-mālayā harim
sūryendu-vāyv-agny-agamaṁ tri-dhāmabhiḥ
parikramat-prādhanikair durāsadam
nivītam—so being enclosed; āmnāya—Vedic wisdom; madhu-vrata-śriyā—sweet sound in beauty; sva-kīrti-mayyā—by His own glories; vana-mālayā—flower garland; harim—unto the Lord; sūrya—the sun; indu—the moon; vāyu—the air; agni—the fire; agamam—unapproachable; tri-dhāmabhiḥ—by the three planetary systems; parikramat—circumambulating; prādhanikaiḥ—for fighting; durāsadam—very difficult to reach.
Lord Brahmā, thus looking upon the Lord in the shape of a mountain, concluded that He was Hari, the Personality of Godhead. He saw that the garland of flowers on His chest glorified Him with Vedic wisdom in sweet songs and looked very beautiful. He was protected by the Sudarśana wheel for fighting, and even the sun, moon, air, fire, etc., could not have access to Him.
tarhy eva tan-nābhi-saraḥ-sarojam
ātmānam ambhaḥ śvasanaṁ viyac ca
dadarśa devo jagato vidhātā
nātaḥ paraṁ loka-visarga-dṛṣṭiḥ
tarhi—therefore; eva—certainly; tat—His; nābhi—navel; saraḥ—lake; sarojam—lotus flower; ātmānamBrahmā; ambhaḥ—the devastating water; śvasanam—the drying air; viyat—the sky; ca—also; dadarśa—looked upon; devaḥ—demigod; jagataḥ—of the universe; vidhātā—maker of the destination; na—not; ataḥ param—beyond; loka-visarga—creation of the cosmic manifestation; dṛṣṭiḥ—glance.
When Lord Brahmā, the maker of the universal destination, thus saw the Lord, be simultaneously glanced over creation. Lord Brahmā saw the lake in Lord Viṣṇu’s navel, and the lotus flower, as well as the devastating water, the drying air and the sky. All became visible to him.
sa karma-bījaṁ rajasoparaktaḥ
prajāḥ sisṛkṣann iyad eva dṛṣṭvā
astaud visargābhimukhas tam īḍyam
avyakta-vartmany abhiveśitātmā
saḥ—he (Brahmā); karma-bījam—seed of worldly activities; rajasā uparaktaḥ—initiated by the mode of passion; prajāḥ—living entities; sisṛkṣan—willing to create progeny; iyat—all the five causes of creation; eva—thus; dṛṣṭvā—looking on; astaut—prayed for; visarga—creation after the creation by the Lord; abhimukhaḥ—towards; tam—that; īḍyam—worshipable; avyakta—transcendental; vartmani—on the path of; abhiveśita—fixed; ātmā—mind.
Lord Brahmā, thus being surcharged with the mode of passion, became inclined to create, and after seeing the five causes of creation indicated by the Personality of Godhead, he began to offer his respectful prayers on the path of the creative mentality.
Even if one is in the material mode of passion, to create something in the world he has to take shelter of the Supreme for the necessary energy. That is the path of the successful termination of any attempt.
Thus end the Bhaktivedanta purports of the Third Canto, Eighth Chapter, of the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, entitled “Manifestation of Brahmā from Garbhodakaśāyī Viṣṇu.”

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