sa tv atma-yonir ativismita asrito ’bjam
kalena tivra-tapasa parisuddha-bhavah
tvam atmanisa bhuvi gandham ivatisuksmam
bhutendriyasayamaye vitatam dadarsa
sah—he (Lord Brahma); tu—but; atma-yonih—who is born without a mother (directly begotten by the father, Lord Visnu); ati-vismitah—very much surprised (not finding the source of his birth); asritah—situated on; abjam—the lotus; kalena—in due course of time; tivra-tapasa—by severe austerities; parisuddha-bhavah—being completely purified; tvam—You; atmani—in his body and existence; isa—O my Lord; bhuvi—within the earth; gandham—aroma; iva—like; ati-suksmam—very subtle; bhuta-indriya—composed of elements and senses; asaya-maye—and that filled with desires (the mind); vitatam—spread out; dadarsa—found.
Lord Brahma, who is celebrated as atma-yoni, having been born without a mother, was struck with wonder. Thus he took shelter of the lotus flower, and when he had been purified after undergoing severe austerities for many hundreds of years, he could see that the cause of all causes, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, was spread throughout his own body and senses, just as aroma, although very subtle, is perceived in the earth.
Here the statement of self-realization aham brahmasmi, which is interpreted by the Mayavada philosophy to mean “I am the Supreme Lord,” is explained. The Supreme Lord is the original seed of everything (janmady asya yatah [SB 1.1.1]. aham sarvasya prabhavo mattah sarvam pravartate [Bg. 10.8]). Thus the Supreme Lord extends everywhere, even throughout our bodies, because our bodies are made of material energy, which is the Lord’s separated energy. One should realize that since the Supreme Lord spreads throughout one’s body and since the individual soul is a part of the Supreme Lord, everything is Brahman (sarvam khalv idam brahma). This realization was achieved by Lord Brahma after he was purified, and it is possible for everyone. When one is completely in knowledge of aham brahmasmi, he thinks, “I am part of the Supreme Lord, my body is made of His material energy, and therefore I have no separate existence. Yet although the Supreme Lord is spread everywhere, He is different from me.” This is the philosophy of acintya-bhedabheda-tattva. An example given in this regard is that of the aroma within the earth. In the earth there are aromas and colors, but one cannot see them. Actually we find that when flowers grow from the earth, they appear with different colors and aromas, which they have certainly gathered from the earth, although in the earth we cannot see them. Similarly, the Supreme Lord, by His different energies, spreads throughout one’s body and soul, although we cannot see Him. An intelligent man, however, can see the Supreme Lord existing everywhere. Andantara-stha-paramanu-cayantara-stham: the Lord is within the universe and within the atom by His different energies. This is the real vision of the Supreme Lord for the intelligent man. Brahma, the first created being, became the most intelligent person by his tapasya, austerity, and thus he came to this realization. We must therefore take all knowledge from Brahma, who became perfect by his tapasya.
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