nirguṇo ’pi hy ajo ’vyakto
bhagavān prakṛteḥ paraḥ
nirguṇaḥ—without material qualities; api—although; hi—certainly; ajaḥ—unborn; avyaktaḥ—unmanifest; bhagavān—the Supreme Lord; prakṛteḥ—to material nature; paraḥ—transcendental; sva-māyā—of His own energy; guṇam—material qualities; āviśya—entering; bādhya—obligation; bādhakatām—the condition of being obliged; gataḥ—accepts.
The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Viṣṇu, is always transcendental to material qualities, and therefore He is called nirguṇa, or without qualities. Because He is unborn, He does not have a material body to be subjected to attachment and hatred. Although the Lord is always above material existence, through His spiritual potency He appeared and acted like an ordinary human being, accepting duties and obligations, apparently like a conditioned soul.
So-called attachment, detachment and obligations pertain to the material nature, which is an emanation from the Supreme Personality of Godhead, but whenever the Lord descends and acts in this material world, He does so in His spiritual position. Although His activities materially appear different, spiritually they are absolute and nondifferent. Thus it is an imposition upon the Supreme Lord to say that He is envious of anyone or friendly to anyone.
In Bhagavad-gītā (9.11) the Lord clearly says, avajānanti māṁ mūḍhā mānuṣīṁ tanum āśritam: “Fools deride Me when I descend in a human form.” Kṛṣṇa appears on this earth or within this universe without any change in His spiritual body or spiritual qualities. Indeed, He is never influenced by the material qualities. He is always free from such qualities, but He appears to act under material influence. This understanding is āropita, or an imposition. Therefore Kṛṣṇa says, janma karma ca me divyam: [Bg. 4.9] whatever He does, being always transcendental, has nothing to do with material qualities. Evaṁ yo vetti tattvataḥ: only devotees can understand the truth of how He acts. The fact is that Kṛṣṇa is never partial to anyone. He is always equal to everyone, but because of imperfect vision, influenced by material qualities, one imposes material qualities upon Kṛṣṇa, and when one does so he becomes a mu-dha, a fool. When one can properly understand the truth, one becomes devoted and nirguṇa, free from material qualities. Simply by understanding the activities of Kṛṣṇa one can become transcendental, and as soon as one is transcendental he is fit to be transferred to the transcendental world. Tyaktvā dehaṁ punar janma naiti mām eti so ’rjuna: [Bg. 4.9] one who understands the activities of the Lord in truth is transferred to the spiritual world after he gives up his material body.
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