7-Minute Bhagavatam

7-Minute Bhagavatam

Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.2.30-32
by
Gopiparanadhana Dasa
Language 
English
Listen to podcast 
Transcript 


Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 1.2.30, 1.2.31, and 1.2.32
Continuing the explanation of the second chapter of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam with verse thirty:
sa evedaṁ sasarjāgre
 bhagavān ātma-māyayā
sad-asad-rūpayā cāsau
 guṇa-mayāguṇo vibhuḥ
“In the beginning of the material creation, that Absolute Personality of Godhead [Vāsudeva], in His transcendental position, created the energies of cause and effect by His own internal energy.”
In the Vedānta-sūtras, Śrīla Vyāsadeva defines the Absolute Truth as the creator of this visible world, who also entered the universe and continues to maintain it. How, then, it might be questioned, can it be that all the Vedas and the disciplines they teach aim at realizing the Deity Vāsudeva? In the last four verses of this second chapter, Śrī Sūta replies to this doubt and fulfills the sages’ request to tell them about the Supreme Lord’s “magnificent and gracious activities.”
The first gracious act of the Supreme Lord Vāsudeva within the material world is to create it. Vāsudeva, the Personality of Godhead whom Śrī Sūta has proven to be most worshipable, is also the origin of Mahā-viṣṇu, His first avatāra. He is aguṇa, unaffected by any material influence, even when He becomes guṇa-maya, associated with nature and her products as their independent creator and controller. His personal energies, including material nature in her original form, pradhāna, are eternal, never created, but He is said to create the material energies because with His glance He started the evolution of nature’s elements. Material nature is ashamed to stand in front of her Lord because the inferior qualities she manifests are subject to constant change and destruction and are meant for exploitation by rebellious souls.
Now verse thirty-one:
tayā vilasiteṣv eṣu
 guṇeṣu guṇavān iva
antaḥ-praviṣṭa ābhāti
 vijñānena vijṛmbhitaḥ
“After creating the material substance, the Lord [Vāsudeva] expands Himself and enters into it. And although He is within the material modes of nature and appears to be one of the created beings, He is always fully enlightened in His transcendental position.”
The Supreme Lord Vāsudeva’s material energy produces the elements of creation, and she and the demigods provide suitable bodies for the fallen souls’ varied attempts at control and enjoyment. The word guṇeṣu in this verse refers first to the modes and material elements but in another sense to the living entities conditioned by bodies made of the elements under the influence of the modes. The Lord enters His creation, first as Mahā-viṣṇu within the totality of matter, then as the second Viṣṇu in each universe, and then as the third Viṣṇu in the bodies of all creatures. Although Lord Viṣṇu may seem like another material product, and in individual bodies He may seem like another conditioned soul striving to dominate and exploit, in truth He is always unaffected by the material realm He has entered. He only comes into this world to help His separated parts fulfill the purpose of their existence. He gives the knowledge, remembrance, and forgetfulness they need to live their daily lives, and patiently waits as many lifetimes as needed for them to remember He is their best friend and their only source of real happiness.
Now verse thirty-two:
yathā hy avahito vahnir
 dāruṣv ekaḥ sva-yoniṣu
nāneva bhāti viśvātmā
 bhūteṣu ca tathā pumān
“The Lord, as Supersoul, pervades all things, just as fire permeates wood, and so He appears to be of many varieties, though He is the absolute one without a second.”
The presence of the Supreme Lord as the Paramātmā in the created world is compared here to the presence of fire in wood. The element fire is one, and it sits dormant in all pieces of wood. When the fire in wood is elicited by kindling with other fire, it takes different shapes according to the shapes of the wood. Similarly the one Supreme as Paramātmā hides Himself in the hearts of countless embodied souls. Because the hearts the Paramātmā inhabits are of all different sizes, He scales Himself to appear about the size of a thumb in each body. And as fire can be made to appear from wood, so the Supersoul can be discovered by the proper process. Successful discovery requires accepting the authority of the revealed scriptures and their teachers. A student under the tutelage of an authentic spiritual master can learn to see the presence of the Paramātmā even in atomic phenomena, and certainly a well-trained devotee of the Supersoul can discover how the Lord is guiding his own life.