|Canto 3: The Status Quo||Chapter 32: Entanglement in Fruitive Activities|
Bhaktivedanta VedaBase: Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 3.32.12-15
ādyaḥ sthira-carāṇāḿ yo
kartṛtvāt saguṇaḿ brahma
sa saḿsṛtya punaḥ kāle
aiśvaryaḿ pārameṣṭhyaḿ ca
te 'pi dharma-vinirmitam
niṣevya punar āyānti
ādyaḥ — the creator, Lord Brahmā; sthira-carāṇām — of the immobile and mobile manifestations; yaḥ — he who; veda-garbhaḥ — the repository of the Vedas; saha — along with; ṛṣibhiḥ — the sages; yoga-īśvaraiḥ — with great mystic yogīs; kumāra-ādyaiḥ — the Kumāras and others; siddhaiḥ — with the perfected living beings; yoga-pravartakaiḥ — the authors of the yoga system; bheda-dṛṣṭyā — because of independent vision; abhimānena — by misconception; niḥsańgena — nonfruitive; api — although; karmaṇā — by their activities; kartṛtvāt — from the sense of being a doer; sa-guṇam — possessing spiritual qualities; brahma — Brahman; puruṣam — the Personality of Godhead; puruṣa-ṛṣabham — the first puruṣa incarnation; saḥ — he; saḿsṛtya — having attained; punaḥ — again; kāle — at the time; kālena — by time; īśvara-mūrtinā — the manifestation of the Lord; jāte guṇa-vyatikare — when the interaction of the modes arises; yathā — as; pūrvam — previously; prajāyate — is born; aiśvaryam — opulence; pārameṣṭhyam — royal; ca — and; te — the sages; api — also; dharma — by their pious activities; vinirmitam — produced; niṣevya — having enjoyed; punaḥ — again; āyānti — they return; guṇa-vyatikare sati — when the interaction of the modes takes place.
My dear mother, someone may worship the Supreme Personality of Godhead with a special self-interest, but even demigods such as Lord Brahmā, great sages such as Sanat-kumāra and great munis such as Marīci have to come back to the material world again at the time of creation. When the interaction of the three modes of material nature begins, Brahmā, who is the creator of this cosmic manifestation and who is full of Vedic knowledge, and the great sages, who are the authors of the spiritual path and the yoga system, come back under the influence of the time factor. They are liberated by their nonfruitive activities and they attain the first incarnation of the puruṣa, but at the time of creation they come back in exactly the same forms and positions as they had previously.
That Brahmā becomes liberated is known to everyone, but he cannot liberate his devotees. Demigods like Brahmā and Lord Śiva cannot give liberation to any living entity. As it is confirmed in Bhagavad-gītā, only one who surrenders unto Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, can be liberated from the clutches of māyā. Brahmā is called here ādyaḥ sthira-carāṇām. He is the original, first-created living entity, and after his own birth he creates the entire cosmic manifestation. He was fully instructed in the matter of creation by the Supreme Lord. Here he is called veda-garbha, which means that he knows the complete purpose of the Vedas. He is always accompanied by such great personalities as Marīci, Kaśyapa and the seven sages, as well as by great mystic yogīs, the Kumāras and many other spiritually advanced living entities, but he has his own interest, separate from the Lord's. Bheda-dṛṣṭyā means that Brahmā sometimes thinks that he is independent of the Supreme Lord, or he thinks of himself as one of the three equally independent incarnations. Brahmā is entrusted with creation, Viṣṇu maintains and Rudra, Lord Śiva, destroys. The three of them are understood to be incarnations of the Supreme Lord in charge of the three different material modes of nature, but none of them is independent of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Here the word bheda-dṛṣṭyā occurs because Brahmā has a slight inclination to think that he is as independent as Rudra. Sometimes Brahmā thinks that he is independent of the Supreme Lord, and the worshiper also thinks that Brahmā is independent. For this reason, after the destruction of this material world, when there is again creation by the interaction of the material modes of nature, Brahmā comes back. Although Brahmā reaches the Supreme Personality of Godhead as the first puruṣa incarnation, Mahā-Viṣṇu, who is full with transcendental qualities, he cannot stay in the spiritual world.
The specific significance of his coming back may be noted. Brahmā and the great ṛṣis and the great master of yoga (Śiva) are not ordinary living entities; they are very powerful and have all the perfections of mystic yoga. But still they have an inclination to try to become one with the Supreme, and therefore they have to come back. In the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam it is accepted that as long as one thinks that he is equal with the Supreme Personality of Godhead, he is not completely purified or knowledgeable. In spite of going up to the first puruṣa-avatāra, Mahā-Viṣṇu, after the dissolution of this material creation, such personalities again fall down or come back to the material creation.
It is a great falldown on the part of the impersonalists to think that the Supreme Lord appears within a material body and that one should therefore not meditate upon the form of the Supreme but should meditate instead on the formless. For this particular mistake, even the great mystic yogīs or great stalwart transcendentalists also come back again when there is creation. All living entities other than the impersonalists and monists can directly take to devotional service in full Kṛṣṇa consciousness and become liberated by developing transcendental loving service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Such devotional service develops in the degrees of thinking of the Supreme Lord as master, as friend, as son and, at last, as lover. These distinctions in transcendental variegatedness must always be present.
Copyright © The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust International, Inc.
His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda, Founder Ācārya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness