Avyakta means unmanifested. Not even all of the material world is manifested before us. Our senses are so imperfect that we cannot even see all of the stars within this material universe. In Vedic literature we can receive much information about all the planets, and we can believe it or not believe it. All of the important planets are described in Vedic literatures, especially Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, and the spiritual world, which is beyond this material sky, is described as avyakta, unmanifested. One should desire and hanker after that supreme kingdom, for when one attains that kingdom, he does not have to return to this material world.
Bhagavad-gita As It Is
BG Preface and Introduction
SB Canto 2
In the Bhagavad-gītā (8.17-18) it is stated that according to human calculations one day of Brahmā is equal to one thousand ages of four millenniums (4,300,000 years) each, and the same period is calculated to be his night also. A Brahmā lives for one hundred such years and then dies. A Brahmā, who is generally a great devotee of the Lord, attains liberation after such a downfall. The universe (called the brahmāṇḍa, or the round football-like domain controlled by a Brahmā) is thus annihilated, and thus the inhabitants of a particular planet, or of the whole universe, are also annihilated. Avyakta, mentioned here in this verse, means the night of Brahmā, when partial annihilation takes place and the living entities of that particular brahmāṇḍa, up to the planets of Brahmaloka, along with the big oceans, etc., all repose in the belly of the virāṭ-puruṣa. At the end of a Brahmā's night, the creation again takes place, and the living entities, reserved within the belly of the Lord, are let loose to play their respective parts as if being awakened from a deep slumber. Since the living entities are never destroyed, the annihilation of the material world does not annihilate the existence of the living entities, but until liberation is attained one has to accept one material body after another, again and again.
SB Canto 3
The word avyakta-mūlam is significant here. Generally, no one can see the roots of a tree. But as far as the Lord is concerned, He is the root of Himself because there is no other separate cause of His standing but He Himself. In the Vedas it is said that the Lord is svāśrayāśraya; He is His own support, and there is no other support for Him. Therefore, avyakta means the Supreme Lord Himself and no one else.
SB Canto 4
The Supreme Lord is not visible to material eyes, but when the material senses are inclined to the transcendental loving service of the Lord and are thus purified, the Lord reveals Himself to the vision of the devotee. Avyakta means "unmanifested." Although the material world is the creation of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, He is unmanifested to material eyes. Mahārāja Pṛthu, however, developed spiritual eyes by his pure devotional service. Here, therefore, the Lord is described as sandarśitātmā, for He reveals Himself to the vision of the devotee, although He is not visible to ordinary eyes.
Bhagavad-gita As It Is Lectures
Avyakta means nonmanifested. Even the part of material world is not manifested before us. Our senses are so imperfect that we cannot see how many stars, how many planets there are in this material universe. Of course, through the Vedic literature we get information of all the planets. We may believe or not believe, but all the important planets in which we have connection, they are described in the Vedic literature, especially in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. But the spiritual world, which is beyond this material sky, paras tasmāt tu bhāvo 'nyo (BG 8.20), but that avyakta, that nonmanifested spiritual sky, is the paramāṁ gatim, that is, one should desire, one should hanker after reaching that supreme kingdom.
Kṛṣṇa is so kind. If you have got a pinch of desire to enjoy this material world, then you'll have to remain here as, either as Lord Brahmā or as a small ant, according to your karma. But when you completely become free from material attachment, then the spiritual world is... So when the Buddha philosophy says śūnyavāda, nirvāṇa, nirvāṇa, it means the same thing, vīta-rāga, you have to become detached. You have to make this material enjoyment zero.
The bhakti also says, bhakti formula, anyābhilāṣitā-śūnyam: (Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu 1.1.11) "You have to make your heart cleansed of all material desire." Then spiritual life will begin.
- yeṣāṁ (tv) anta-gataṁ pāpaṁ
- janānāṁ puṇya-karmaṇām
- te dvandva-moha-nirmuktā
- bhajante māṁ dṛḍha-vratāḥ
- (BG 7.28)
This is the process. So artificially, the Buddha philosophy or Śaṅkara philosophy, they, artificially if you want to make it nirvāṇa, zero, that is not possible. Avyaktāsakta-cetasām... Te..., kleśo 'dhikataras teṣām avyaktāsakta-cetasām (BG 12.5). Avyakta means zero, impersonal. If you become attached to simply making zero, or impersonal, that is not possible. Because we are accustomed. We are... As living beings, we want varieties. Variety is the mother of enjoyment. We cannot remain in the zero position.
Avyakta means which is not manifested. This material world is manifested, but the spiritual world is not manifested before us. But, although not manifested, that part of this creation is eternal. Akṣara. Akṣara means "which has no annihilation." In the material world everything is born, it stays for some time, it develops, it gives some by-products, then it dwindles and then vanishes. These six forms of changes of the material form—ṣaḍ-vikāra. This is called in Sanskrit word ṣaḍ-vikāra, six kinds of changes. But the spiritual world, avyakta, which is not manifested at the present moment before us, that is akṣara. Akṣara means it is eternal. It does not annihilate.
Now, this spiritual vision at the present moment, because we are covered by the material dress, or material senses, therefore the spiritual world or anything spiritual is not conceivable due to our material senses. But we can feel that there is something spiritual. That is possible. Although we are fully in ignorance of the spiritual matter, still, we can feel. If you analyze yourself silently, "What I am? I am this finger? I am this body? I am this hair?" you'll deny, "No I am not this." So beyond this body, what is, that is spiritual. That we can feel. Similarly, as we cannot find our self within this matter, although I'm here, that we can distinguish, the distinction between dead body and living body, something minus. That something is spirit. That something is spirit. Although we have no eyes to see, but the spirit is there. That is the beginning of Bhagavad-gītā. Avināśi tu tad viddhi yena sarvam idaṁ tatam. That spiritual existence is eternal, whereas this body is not eternal.
Now, here it is said that avyaktaḥ akṣaraḥ: "That nonmanifested, spiritual atmosphere is nonmanifested." But how it can be manifested? We have little feeling of it, but how it can be manifested? Yes. It can be manifested. And that is Kṛṣṇa consciousness, which we are preaching.
When there was no material creation, Kṛṣṇa was there. Therefore His body is not... Therefore Kṛṣṇa says in the Bhagavad-gītā, janma karma ajo 'pi san avyayātmā: "I am born," avyayātmā, "eternal body; still, I take birth." Bhūtānām īśvaro 'pi san: "I am the Lord of everyone; still, I appear." These things are to be understood. And if we can understand Kṛṣṇa, janma karma me divyam... (BG 4.9). These are all transcendental knowledge. They are not ordinary knowledge. Divyam, transcendental. His appearance, His disappearance, His work, His activity, His pastimes, they are all transcendental. So anyone who can try to understand Kṛṣṇa in His transcendental position beyond creation, beyond creation... Even Śaṅkarācārya, the impersonalist, he says nārāyaṇa paraḥ avyaktāt: "Nārāyaṇa is beyond this material creation." Avyakta. Avyakta means there is a total stock of material elements beyond this universe. There are so many things to be learned. This universe we see just like a ball, and this ball is covered by layers of water, fire, air, earth, like that. Circling. And each layer is ten times bigger than the previous layer. In this way the universe is covered. And beyond that covering, there is another sky. We are prisoned here within this universe. We are thinking that we are very free to move in the sky with, what is called, sputniks. But you cannot go beyond your limitation. That is not possible. They are going to the moon planet, again coming back. You see. That is our conditional life, that you are conditioned, packed up under certain regulations. If you violate, then you are punishable. You cannot violate. You have to remain within the conditions of material nature.
Kṛṣṇa means all-attractive. He has got, because He's complete, pūrṇa, so He has got all the attractive features, from material point of view, spiritual point of view. Therefore His name is Kṛṣṇa. And He delivers the fallen souls from the miserable condition. He attracts and He delivers. Kṛṣṇa. Therefore kṛṣṇa means Paraṁ Brahman. Paraṁ brahman iti śabdyate. Rāma also, the same thing, Paraṁ Brahman.
So Kṛṣṇa is all-attractive, by opulence, by His power. Our definition of God is very simple. We do not define God as avyakta. Avyakta means "cannot be explained." If you cannot explain, then what you will understand? The Māyāvādīs, they say that God cannot be explained. In the Vedānta-sūtra there is a sūtra: na śabdyāt. I, I forget the... "God is explainable." Because in the Vedas there are mantras. Sa aikṣata, sa asṛjata. He glanced over the material nature. He created. Sa aikṣata. So these things are explainable. So we don't see that the Absolute Truth is not explicable. It is explicable. We have got our explanation. Pūrṇa. Pūrṇa means complete. Nityo nityānāṁ cetanaś cetanānām (Kaṭha Upaniṣad 2.2.13). He's also a living entity like us. (yelling in background) (aside:) Ask the rascals to stop talking. But He's pūrṇa. That is the difference. We are not pūrṇa. We are defective. Especially when we come in the material world, we are defective in so many respects. By nature, we are defective. Or not pūrṇa, incomplete, subordinate. He's therefore called the nityo nityānāṁ cetanaś cetanānām. He's complete, the chief all living entities.
Here the Yamadūtas says that dharma means what is spoken or directed in the Vedas. And what is Veda? Veda nārāyaṇaḥ sākṣāt. Veda means God Himself. Just like... We can understand very easily. Just like the king and the king's law. What king has said, that this should be done like this, keep to the right, king or government, whatever it may be, authority... So that is Veda. What is... Just like the law means what the government says. You cannot manufacture law. Similarly, veda nārāyaṇaḥ sākṣāt. What Nārāyaṇa says, that is Veda. There is no other authority. And one who follows the Nārāyaṇa, he is also authority. Śaṅkarācārya says, nārāyaṇaḥ paraḥ avyaktāt. Nārāyaṇa is transcendental. He's not anybody of this material world. Nārāyaṇaḥ paraḥ avyaktāt. Avyaktāt anasambhavaḥ. Avyakta. The cosmic manifestation, this is called vyakta, and when it is not manifested, it is called avyakta. Just like a house is manifestation of the five elements: earth, water, air, fire. So earth, water is there already, but that is not manifested as the house. But the same combination, it becomes a house, big skyscraper building. This is difference between vyakta and avyakta. Avyakta means the whole material energy, when it is not manifested, that is called avyakta; and when it is manifested it is called vyakta. Nārāyaṇa paro 'vyaktāt. That means Nārāyaṇa is not of this material world. God is nothing of this material world. He's transcendental. Para, nārāyaṇa paro 'vyaktāt. Para means superior, transcendental.
a Vaiṣṇava is factually monist because he does not see anything except Kṛṣṇa. Anything he sees, he will think, "This is Kṛṣṇa's energy." So why it is not Kṛṣṇa? So Kṛṣṇa also says in the Bhagavad-gītā, mayā tatam idaṁ sarvam: (BG 9.4) "I am expanded everywhere." Avyakta-mūrtinā. Avyakta means not manifest. He is in the fire. He is in the water. He is in the land. He is in the sky—everywhere. He is in the mind. He is in intelligence. He is soul. He's part and So Kṛṣṇa is everywhere; simply you have to make your eyes how to see Him. That is required. That is prema. Premāṇjana-cchurita-bhakti-vilocanena santaḥ sadaiva hṛdayeṣu vilokayanti (Bs. 5.38). Those who are santaḥ, saintly person, they always see Kṛṣṇa. Why? Premāñjana-cchurita, because he is in love with Kṛṣṇa. Just like you have your beloved child. Although he is out of sight, you can see him in his shoe, in his cloth, in his toy: "Oh, it is my child." That requires prema. Similarly, if you have knowledge, theoretical knowledge even, that everything is Kṛṣṇa's energy and if you have love for Kṛṣṇa, with reference to the context, whatever you see, you see Kṛṣṇa. That is Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Perfection of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. You cannot see anywhere where there is no Kṛṣṇa. This is for the devotee.
This is all-pervasive description of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In more simplified way it has been described in the Śrīmad-Bhagavad-gītā, mayā tatam idaṁ sarvam: (BG 9.4) "I am all-pervasive." Avyakta-mūrtina. "That is also My feature." But this feature, Kṛṣṇa with flute in the hand, that feature is not present. That is called avyakta. Everything is Kṛṣṇa, but not in everything His original form is manifested. Mayā tatam idaṁ sarvam avyakta. Avyakta means nonmanifest, nonmanifested. He is everything. It can be compared just like your most intimate friend or family member is playing in the stage. So he is playing there, but still, you cannot recognize him. Naṭo nāṭyadharo yathā, Kuntīdevī has said. Just like the dramatist, the actor... He has dressed himself in such a way that although the actor is your very intimate friend or family, you cannot see. A child, suppose his father is a big actor. He is playing on the stage. So another family member says to the child, "You see your father." But he says, "Where is my father? Where is?" Naṭo nāṭyadharo yathā. Everything Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa is everywhere, but because we are not Kṛṣṇa conscious, we cannot see Him. We are challenging, "Can you show me Kṛṣṇa?" You are seeing, but on account of material covering, you cannot see. Kṛṣṇa is there. Aṇḍāntara-sthaṁ paramāṇu-cayāntara-stham. He is everywhere. That is Kṛṣṇa. Goloka eva nivasaty akhilātma-bhūtaḥ (Bs. 5.37). He is always in Goloka Vṛndāvana, but He is everywhere. That is Kṛṣṇa. That is the difference between Kṛṣṇa and ourself. We are sitting here, but we are not in our apartment. Limited. But Kṛṣṇa is unlimited. That is the difference. By foolishness we claim to become Kṛṣṇa, but that is foolishness. Kṛṣṇa is not like that, although He is present before us.
Sri Caitanya-caritamrta Lectures
Kṛṣṇa says, mayā tatam idaṁ sarvaṁ jagat avyakta-mūrtinā: (BG 9.4) "I am all-pervading, spreading, in this material manifestation, jagat, in impersonal feature, avyakta-mūrtinā." Everything... Avyakta means Kṛṣṇa is not manifested there, but we can feel. Just like when you see some smoke from a distant place you can immediately understand that there is fire; it is very easy. Similarly, if everything is going on nicely—the sun is rising exactly in the time; the moon is rising exactly in the time; they are illuminating; they are appearing, disappearing; everything is going on, seasonal changes—so if things are going on nicely you cannot say that these things are automatically happening. No. There is no such thing within your experience which is automatically managed. We must appreciate there is some brain behind it. Professor Einstein, the greatest scientist, he admitted that "As we are advancing in scientific research, we are coming to the conclusion that there is a very big brain behind all this."
When you live in a temple of Kṛṣṇa, that is nirguṇa. That is transcendental. So if you live in a society like this, Kṛṣṇa consciousness, then you are nirguṇa. You are above the qualities. It is far better than to live in the forest or in the city. Those who are in touch with the supreme nirguṇa... Nirguṇa means transcendental to the material modes of nature. So nirguṇo bhavet. Sa sarva-dṛg. Harir hi nirguṇaḥ sākṣāt. Nirguṇa means only Viṣṇu is nirguṇa, above the transcendental, above these material modes of nature. It is accepted by all the authorities. Even Śaṅkarācārya, he says, nārāyaṇaḥ paraḥ avyaktāt. Avyakta. So far this material nature, manifested and nonmanifested, what we see, this is manifested. And then it is... Nonmanifested stage is there, covering, covering of the universe. Oh, then that space is far, far greater than, ten times greater than this space. That is avyakta. And above that avyakta stage... Avyakta means nonmanifested. Vyakta avyakta. This is vyakta, this is manifested. Certain space is manifested, and certain space is nonmanifested. So this is called vyakta and avyakta.