Parāsya śaktir vividhaiva śrūyate (Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad 6.8 (CC Madhya 13.65, purport)). In the Vedas it is said that the potencies of the Supreme Personality of Godhead are called by different names, such as yogamāyā and mahāmāyā. Ultimately, however, the Lord's potency is one, exactly as electric potency is one although it can act both to cool and to heat. The Lord's potency acts in both the spiritual and material worlds. In the spiritual world the Lord's potency works as yogamāyā, and in the material world the same potency works as mahāmāyā, exactly as electricity works in both a heater and a cooler. In the material world, this potency, working as mahāmāyā, acts upon the conditioned souls to deprive them more and more of devotional service. It is said, yayā sammohito jīva ātmānaṁ tri-guṇātmakam (SB 1.7.5). In the material world the conditioned soul thinks of himself as a product of tri-guṇa, the three modes of material nature. This is the bodily conception of life. Because of associating with the three guṇas of the material potency, everyone identifies himself with his body. Someone is thinking he is a brāhmaṇa, someone a kṣatriya, and someone a vaiśya or śūdra. Actually, however, one is neither a brāhmaṇa, a kṣatriya, a vaiśya nor a śūdra; one is part and parcel of the Supreme Lord (mamaivāṁśaḥ), but because of being covered by the material energy, mahāmāyā, one identifies himself in these different ways. When the conditioned soul becomes liberated, however, he thinks himself an eternal servant of Kṛṣṇa. Jīvera 'svarūpa' haya-kṛṣṇera 'nitya-dāsa.' (CC Madhya 20.108). When he comes to that position, the same potency, acting as yogamāyā, increasingly helps him become purified and devote his energy to the service of the Lord.
In either case, whether the soul is conditioned or liberated, the Lord is supreme. As stated in Bhagavad-gītā (BG 9.10), mayādhyakṣeṇa prakṛtiḥ sūyate sa-carācaram: it is by the order of the Supreme Personality of Godhead that the material energy, mahāmāyā, works upon the conditioned soul.
- prakṛteḥ kriyamāṇāni
- guṇaiḥ karmāṇi sarvaśaḥ
- kartāham iti manyate
"The bewildered spirit soul, under the influence of the three modes of material nature, thinks himself to be the doer of activities which are in actuality carried out by nature." (BG 3.27) Within conditioned life, no one has freedom, but because one is bewildered, being subject to the rule of mahāmāyā, one foolishly thinks himself independent (ahaṅkāra-vimūḍhātmā kartāham iti manyate (BG 3.27)). But when the conditioned soul becomes liberated by executing devotional service, he is given a greater and greater chance to relish a relationship with the Supreme Personality of Godhead in different transcendental statuses, such as dāsya-rasa, sakhya-rasa, vātsalya-rasa and mādhurya-rasa.
Thus the Lord's potency, viṣṇu-māyā, has two features—āvaraṇikā and unmukha. When the Lord appeared, His potency came with Him and acted in different ways. She acted as yogamāyā with Yaśodā, Devakī and other intimate relations of the Lord, and she acted in a different way with Kaṁsa, Śālva and other asuras. By the order of Lord Kṛṣṇa, His potency yogamāyā came with Him and exhibited different activities according to the time and circumstances. Kāryārthe sambhaviṣyati. Yogamāyā acted differently to execute different purposes desired by the Lord. As confirmed in Bhagavad-gītā (BG 9.13), mahātmānas tu māṁ pārtha daivīṁ prakṛtim āśritāḥ. The mahātmās, who fully surrender to the lotus feet of the Lord, are directed by yogamāyā, whereas the durātmās, those who are devoid of devotional service, are directed by mahāmāyā.