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CC Adi-lila 05.083 - SB 02.06.42
SB Canto 2
Kāraṇārṇavaśāyī Viṣṇu is the first incarnation of the Supreme Lord, and He is the master of eternal time, space, cause and effects, mind, the elements, the material ego, the modes of nature, the senses, the universal form of the Lord, Garbhodakaśāyī Viṣṇu, and the sum total of all living beings, both moving and nonmoving.
That the material creation is not permanent has been discussed many times hereinbefore. The material creation is but a temporary exhibition of the material energy of the Almighty God. This material manifestation is necessary to give a chance to the conditioned souls who are unwilling to associate with the Lord in the relationship of loving transcendental service. Such unwilling conditioned souls are not allowed to enter into the liberated life of spiritual existence because at heart they are not willing to serve. Instead, they want to enjoy themselves as imitation Gods. The living entities are constitutionally eternal servitors of the Lord, but some of them, because of misusing their independence, do not wish to serve; therefore they are allowed to enjoy the material nature, which is called māyā, or illusion. It is called illusion because the living beings under the clutches of māyā are not factually enjoyers, although they think that they are, being illusioned by māyā. Such illusioned living entities are given a chance at intervals to rectify their perverted mentality of becoming false masters of the material nature, and they are imparted lessons from the Vedas about their eternal relationship with the Supreme Lord Kṛṣṇa (vedaiś ca sarvair aham eva vedyaḥ (BG 15.15)). So the temporary creation of the material manifestation is an exhibition of the material energy of the Lord, and to manage the whole show the Supreme Lord incarnates Himself as the Kāraṇārṇavaśāyī Viṣṇu just as a magistrate is deputed by the government to manage affairs temporarily. This Kāraṇodakaśāyī Viṣṇu causes the manifestation of material creation by looking over His material energy (sa aikṣata). In the first volume of this book we have already discussed to some extent the explanation of the verse jagṛhe pauruṣaṁ rūpam. The duration of the illusory play of material creation is called a kalpa, and we have already discussed the creation's taking place in kalpa after kalpa. By His incarnation and potential activities, the complete ingredients of creation, namely time, space, cause, result, mind, the gross and subtle elements and their interactional modes of nature—goodness, passion and ignorance—and then the senses and their reservoir source, the gigantic universal form as the second incarnation Garbhodakaśāyī Viṣṇu, and all living beings, both moving and standing, which come out of the second incarnation, all became manifested. Ultimately, all these creative elements and the creation itself are but potential manifestations of the Supreme Lord; nothing is independent of the control of the Supreme Being. This first incarnation in the material creation, namely Kāraṇārṇavaśāyī Viṣṇu, is the plenary part of the original Personality of Godhead, Śrī Kṛṣṇa, described in the Brahma-saṁhitā (5.48) as follows:
- yasyaika-niśvasita-kālam athāvalambya
- jīvanti loma-vilajā jagad-aṇḍa-nāthāḥ
- viṣṇur mahān sa iha yasya kalā-viśeṣo
- govindam ādi-puruṣaṁ tam ahaṁ bhajāmi
All the innumerable universes are maintained only during the breathing period of Mahā-Viṣṇu, or Kāraṇārṇavaśāyī Viṣṇu, who is only a plenary part of Govinda, the original Personality of Godhead Lord Kṛṣṇa.
"The puruṣa (Mahā-Viṣṇu) is the primary incarnation of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Time, nature, prakṛti (as cause and effect), the mind, the material elements, false ego, the modes of nature, the senses, the universal form, complete independence and the moving and nonmoving beings appear subsequently as His opulences."
Describing the incarnations and their symptoms, the Laghu-bhāgavatāmṛta has stated that when Lord Kṛṣṇa descends to conduct the creative affairs of the material manifestation, He is an avatāra, or incarnation. The two categories of avatāras are empowered devotees and tad-ekātma-rūpa (the Lord Himself). An example of tad-ekātma-rūpa is Śeṣa, and an example of a devotee is Vasudeva, the father of Lord Kṛṣṇa. Śrīla Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa has commented that the material cosmic manifestation is a partial kingdom of God where God must sometimes come to execute a specific function. The plenary portion of the Lord through whom Lord Kṛṣṇa executes such actions is called Mahā-Viṣṇu, who is the primal beginning of all incarnations. Inexperienced observers presume that the material energy provides both the cause and the elements of the cosmic manifestation and that the living entities are the enjoyers of material nature. But the devotees of the Bhāgavata school, which has scrutinizingly examined the entire situation, can understand that material nature can independently be neither the supplier of the material elements nor the cause of the material manifestation. Material nature gets the power to supply the material elements from the glance of the supreme puruṣa, Mahā-Viṣṇu, and when empowered by Him she is called the cause of the material manifestation. Both features of material nature, as the cause of the material creation and as the source of its elements, exist due to the glance of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The various expansions of the Supreme Lord who act to empower the material energy are known as plenary expansions or incarnations. As illustrated by the example of many flames lit from one flame, all these plenary expansions and incarnations are as good as Viṣṇu Himself; nevertheless, because of their activities in controlling māyā, sometimes they are known as māyika, or having a relationship with māyā. This is a verse from Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (2.6.42).