|Canto 3: The Status Quo||Chapter 26: Fundamental Principles of Material Nature|
Bhaktivedanta VedaBase: Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 3.26.3
anādir ātmā puruṣo
nirguṇaḥ prakṛteḥ paraḥ
viśvaḿ yena samanvitam
anādiḥ — without a beginning; ātmā — the Supreme Soul; puruṣaḥ — the Personality of Godhead; nirguṇaḥ — transcendental to the material modes of nature; prakṛteḥ paraḥ — beyond this material world; pratyak-dhāmā — perceivable everywhere; svayam-jyotiḥ — self-effulgent; viśvam — the entire creation; yena — by whom; samanvitam — is maintained.
The Supreme Personality of Godhead is the Supreme Soul, and He has no beginning. He is transcendental to the material modes of nature and beyond the existence of this material world. He is perceivable everywhere because He is self-effulgent, and by His self-effulgent luster the entire creation is maintained.
The Supreme Personality of Godhead is described as being without beginning. He is puruṣa, the Supreme Spirit. puruṣa means "person." When we think of a person in our present experience, that person has a beginning. This means that he has taken birth and that there is a history from the beginning of his life. But the Lord is particularly mentioned here as anādi, beginningless. If we examine all persons, we will find that everyone has a beginning, but when we approach a person who has no beginning, He is the Supreme Person. That is the definition given in the Brahma-saḿhitā. Īśvaraḥ paramaḥ kṛṣṇaḥ: [Bs. 5.1] the Supreme Personality of Godhead is Kṛṣṇa, the supreme controller; He is without beginning, and He is the beginning of everyone. This definition is found in all Vedic literatures.
The Lord is described as the soul, or spirit. What is the definition of spirit? Spirit is perceivable everywhere. Brahman means "great." His greatness is perceived everywhere. And what is that greatness? Consciousness. We have personal experience of consciousness, for it is spread all over the body; in every hair follicle of our body we can feel consciousness. This is individual consciousness. Similarly, there is superconsciousness. The example can be given of a small light and the sunlight. The sunlight is perceived everywhere, even within the room or in the sky, but the small light is experienced within a specific limit. Similarly, our consciousness is perceived within the limit of our particular body, but the superconsciousness, or the existence of God, is perceived everywhere. He is present everywhere by His energy. It is stated in the Viṣṇu Purāṇa that whatever we find, anywhere and everywhere, is the distribution of the energy of the Supreme Lord. In Bhagavad-gītā also it is confirmed that the Lord is all-pervading and exists everywhere by His two kinds of energy, one spiritual and the other material. Both the spiritual and material energies are spread everywhere, and that is the proof of the existence of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
The existence of consciousness everywhere is not temporary. It is without beginning, and because it is without beginning, it is also without end. The theory that consciousness develops at a certain stage of material combination is not accepted herein, for the consciousness which exists everywhere is said to be without beginning. The materialistic or atheistic theory stating that there is no soul, that there is no God and that consciousness is the result of a combination of matter is not acceptable. Matter is not beginningless; it has a beginning. As this material body has a beginning, the universal body does also. And as our material body has begun on the basis of our soul, the entire gigantic universal body has begun on the basis of the Supreme Soul. The Vedānta-sūtra says, janmādy asya [SB 1.1.1]. This entire material exhibition — its creation, its growth, its maintenance and its dissolution — is an emanation from the Supreme Person. In Bhagavad-gītā also, the Lord says, "I am the beginning, the source of birth of everything."
The Supreme Personality of Godhead is described here. He is not a temporary person, nor does He have a beginning. He is without a cause, and He is the cause of all causes. paraḥ means "transcendental," "beyond the creative energy." The Lord is the creator of the creative energy. We can see that there is a creative energy in the material world, but He is not under this energy. He is prakṛti-paraḥ, beyond this energy. He is not subjected to the threefold miseries created by the material energy because He is beyond it. The modes of material nature do not touch Him. It is explained here, svayaḿ-jyotiḥ: He is light Himself. We have experience in the material world of one light's being a reflection of another, just as moonlight is a reflection of the sunlight. Sunlight is also the reflection of the brahmajyoti. Similarly, brahmajyoti, the spiritual effulgence, is a reflection of the body of the Supreme Lord. This is confirmed in the Brahma-saḿhitā: yasya prabhā prabhavataḥ [Bs. 5.40]. The brahmajyoti, or Brahman effulgence, is due to His bodily luster. Therefore it is said here, svayaḿ-jyotiḥ: He Himself is light. His light is distributed in different ways, as the brahmajyoti, as sunlight and as moonlight. Bhagavad-gītā confirms that in the spiritual world there is no need of sunlight, moonlight or electricity. The Upaniṣads also confirm this; because the bodily luster of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is sufficient to illuminate the spiritual world, there is no need of sunlight, moonlight or any other light or electricity. This self-illumination also contradicts the theory that the spirit soul, or the spiritual consciousness, develops at a certain point in material combination. The term svayaḿ-jyotiḥ indicates that there is no tinge of anything material or any material reaction. It is confirmed here that the concept of the Lord's all-pervasiveness is due to His illumination everywhere. We have experience that the sun is situated in one place, but the sunlight is diffused all around for millions and millions of miles. That is our practical experience. Similarly, although the supreme light is situated in His personal abode, Vaikuṇṭha or Vṛndāvana, His light is diffused not only in the spiritual world but beyond that. In the material world also, that light is reflected by the sun globe, and the sunlight is reflected by the moon globe. Thus although He is situated in His own abode, His light is distributed all over the spiritual and material worlds. The Brahma-saḿhitā (5.37) confirms this. Goloka eva nivasaty akhilātma-bhūtaḥ: He is living in Goloka, but still He is present all over the creation. He is the Supersoul of everything, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and He has innumerable transcendental qualities. It is also concluded that although He is undoubtedly a person, He is not a puruṣa of this material world. Māyāvādī philosophers cannot understand that beyond this material world there can be a person; therefore they are impersonalists. But it is explained very nicely here that the Personality of Godhead is beyond material existence.
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His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda, Founder Ācārya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness