Viṣṇu does not require anything in order to create. He does not require the goddess Lakṣmī in order to give birth to Brahmā, for Brahmā is born from a lotus flower that grows from the navel of Viṣṇu. The goddess Lakṣmī sits at the feet of Viṣṇu and serves Him. In this material world sex is required to produce children, but in the spiritual world a man can produce as many children as he likes without having to take help from his wife. So there is no sex there. Because we have no experience with spiritual energy, we think that Brahmā’s birth from the navel of Viṣṇu is simply a fictional story. We are not aware that spiritual energy is so powerful that it can do anything and everything. Material energy is dependent on certain laws, but spiritual energy is fully independent.
Countless universes reside like seeds within the skin pores of Mahā-Viṣṇu, and when He exhales, they are all manifested. In the material world we have no experience of such a thing, but we do experience a perverted reflection in the phenomenon of perspiration. We cannot imagine, however, the duration of one breath of Mahā-Viṣṇu, for within one breath all the universes are created and annihilated. This is stated in the Brahma-saṁhitā. Lord Brahmā lives only for the duration of one breath, and according to our time scale 4,320,000,000 years constitute only twelve hours for Brahmā, and Brahmā lives one hundred of his years. Yet the whole life of Brahmā is contained within one breath of Mahā-Viṣṇu. Thus it is not possible for us to imagine the breathing power of Mahā-Viṣṇu, who is but a partial manifestation of Lord Nityānanda. This the author of the Caitanya-caritāmṛta explains in the ninth verse.
In the tenth and eleventh verses Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja describes Garbhodakaśāyī Viṣṇu and Kṣīrodakaśāyī Viṣṇu, successive plenary expansions of Mahā-Viṣṇu. Brahmā appears upon a lotus growing from the navel of Garbhodakaśāyī Viṣṇu, and within the stem of that lotus are so many planetary systems. Then Brahmā creates the whole of human society, animal society—everything. Kṣīrodakaśāyī Viṣṇu lies on the milk ocean within the universe, of which He is the controller and maintainer. Thus Brahmā is the creator, Viṣṇu is the maintainer, and when the time for annihilation arrives, Śiva will finish everything.