etat padam taj jagad-atmanah param
sakrd vibhatam savitur yatha prabha
yathasavo jagrati supta-saktayo
etat—this cosmic manifestation; padam—place of habitation; tat—that; jagat-atmanah—of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; param—transcendental; sakrt—sometimes; vibhatam—manifested; savituh—of the sun; yatha—as; prabha—sunshine; yatha—as; asavah—the senses; jagrati—become manifest; supta—inactive; saktayah—energies; dravya—physical elements; kriya—activities; jnana—knowledge; bhida-bhrama—differences from misunderstanding; atyayah—passing away.
Just as the sunshine is nondifferent from the sun, the cosmic manifestation is also nondifferent from the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The Supreme Personality is therefore all-pervasive within this material creation. When the senses are active, they appear to be part and parcel of the body, but when the body is asleep, their activities are unmanifest. Similarly, the whole cosmic creation appears different and yet nondifferent from the Supreme Person.
This confirms the philosophy of (“simultaneously one and different”) propounded by Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. The Supreme Personality of Godhead is simultaneously different and nondifferent from this cosmic manifestation. In a previous verse it has been explained that the Supreme Personality of Godhead, like the root of a tree, is the original cause of everything. It was also explained how the Supreme Personality of Godhead is all-pervasive. He is present within everything in this material manifestation. Since the energy of the Supreme Lord is nondifferent from Him, this material cosmic manifestation is also nondifferent from Him, although it appears different. The sunshine is not different from the sun itself, but it is simultaneously also different. One may be in the sunshine, but he is not on the sun itself. Those who live in this material world are living on the bodily rays of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, but they cannot see Him personally in the material condition.
In this verse the word padam indicates the place where the Supreme Personality of Godhead resides. As confirmed in Isopanisad, isavasyam idam sarvam. The proprietor of a house may live in one room of the house, but the entire house belongs to him. A king may live in one room in Buckingham Palace, but the entire palace is considered his property. It is not necessary for the king to live in every room of that palace for it to be his. He may be physically absent from the rooms, but still the entire palace is understood to be his royal domicile.
The sunshine is light, the sun globe itself is light, and the sun-god is also light. However, the sunshine is not identical with the sun-god, Vivasvan. This is the meaning of simultaneously one and different (). All the planets rest on the sunshine, and because of the heat of the sun, they all revolve in their orbits. On each and every planet, the trees and plants grow and change colors due to the sunshine. Being the rays of the sun, the sunshine is nondifferent from the sun. Similarly, all the planets, resting on the sunshine, are nondifferent from the sun. The entire material world is completely dependent on the sun, being produced by the sun, and the cause, the sun, is inherent in the effects. Similarly, Krsna is the cause of all causes, and the effects are permeated by the original cause. The entire cosmic manifestation should be understood as the expanded energy of the Supreme Lord.
When one sleeps, the senses are inactive, but this does not mean that the senses are absent. When one is awakened, the senses become active again. Similarly, this cosmic creation is sometimes manifest and sometimes unmanifest, as stated in Bhagavad-gita (bhutva bhutva praliyate). When the cosmic manifestation is dissolved, it is in a kind of sleeping condition, an inactive state. Whether the cosmic manifestation is active or inactive, the energy of the Supreme Lord is always existing. Thus the words “appearance” and “disappearance” apply only to the cosmic manifestation.
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