|Canto 8: Withdrawal of the Cosmic Creations||Chapter 1: The Manus, Administrators of the Universe|
Bhaktivedanta VedaBase: Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 8.1.13
sa viśva-kāyaḥ puru-hūta-īśaḥ
satyaḥ svayaḿ-jyotir ajaḥ purāṇaḥ
dhatte 'sya janmādy-ajayātma-śaktyā
tāḿ vidyayodasya nirīha āste
saḥ — that Supreme Personality of Godhead; viśva-kāyaḥ — the total form of the universe (the whole universe is the external body of the Supreme Personality of Godhead); puru-hūtaḥ — known by so many names; īśaḥ — the supreme controller (with full power); satyaḥ — the ultimate truth; svayam — personally; jyotiḥ — self-effulgent; ajaḥ — unborn, beginningless; purāṇaḥ — the oldest; dhatte — He performs; asya — of this universe; janma-ādi — the creation, maintenance and annihilation; ajayā — by His external energy; ātma-śaktyā — by His personal potency; tām — that external material energy; vidyayā — by His spiritual potency; udasya — giving up; nirīhaḥ — without any desire or activity; āste — He is existing (untouched by the material energy).
The entire cosmic manifestation is the body of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the Absolute Truth, who has millions of names and unlimited potencies. He is self-effulgent, unborn and changeless. He is the beginning of everything, but He has no beginning. Because He has created this cosmic manifestation by His external energy, the universe appears to be created, maintained and annihilated by Him. Nonetheless, He remains inactive in His spiritual energy and is untouched by the activities of the material energy.
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu says in His Śikṣāṣṭaka, nāmnām akāri bahudhā nija-sarva-śaktiḥ: the Supreme Personality of Godhead has many names, which are all nondifferent from the Supreme Person. This is spiritual existence. By chanting the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra, consisting of names of the Supreme Lord, we find that the name has all the potencies of the person. The Lord's activities are many, and according to His activities He has many names. He appeared as the son of mother Yaśodā, and also as the son of mother Devakī, and therefore He is named Devakī-nandana and Yaśodā-nandana. Parāsya śaktir vividhaiva śrūyate: the Lord has a multitude of energies, and therefore He acts in multifarious ways. Yet He has a particular name. The śāstras recommend which names we should chant, such as Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare. It is not that we have to search for some name or manufacture one. Rather, we must follow the saintly persons and the śāstras in chanting His holy name.
Although the material and spiritual energies both belong to the Lord, He is impossible to understand as long as we are in the material energy. And when we come to the spiritual energy, He is very easy to know. As stated in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (1.7.23): māyāḿ vyudasya cic-chaktyā kaivalye sthita ātmani. Although the external energy belongs to the Lord, when one is in the external energy (mama māyā duratyayā) He is very difficult to understand. However, when one comes to the spiritual energy, one can understand Him. Therefore in Bhagavad-gītā (18.55) it is said, bhaktyā mām abhijānāti yāvān yaś cāsmi tattvataḥ: one who wants to understand the Supreme Personality of Godhead in reality must take to the platform of bhakti, or Kṛṣṇa consciousness. This bhakti consists of various activities (śravaṇaḿ kīrtanaḿ viṣṇoḥ smaraṇaḿ pāda-sevanam/ arcanaḿ vandanaḿ dāsyaḿ sakhyam ātma-nivedanam [SB 7.5.23]), and to understand the Lord one must take to this path of devotional service. Even though the people of the world have forgotten God and may say that God is dead, this is not a fact. One can understand God when one takes to the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement, and thus one can be happy.
Copyright © The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust International, Inc.
His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda, Founder Ācārya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness