The living entity has a small material body taken in various species and forms, and similarly the whole universe is but the material body of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This body is described in the śāstras as virāṭ-rūpa. As the individual living entity maintains his particular body, the Supreme Personality of Godhead maintains the whole cosmic creation, entering within it. As soon as the individual living entity leaves the material body, the body is immediately annihilated, and similarly as soon as Lord Viṣṇu leaves the cosmic manifestation, everything is annihilated. Therefore only when the individual living entity surrenders unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead is his liberation from material existence possible. This is confirmed in the Bhagavad-gītā: mām eva ye prapadyante māyām etāṁ taranti te (BG 7.14). Surrendering unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and nothing else, is therefore the cause of liberation. How the living entity becomes liberated from the modes of material nature after surrendering unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead is illustrated by the example of a sleeping man within a room. When a man is sleeping, everyone sees that he is present within the room, but actually the man himself is not within that body, for while sleeping a man forgets his bodily existence, although others may see that his body is present. Similarly, a liberated person engaged in devotional service to the Lord may be seen by others to be engaged in the household duties of the material world, but since his consciousness is fixed in Kṛṣṇa, he does not live within this world. His engagements are different, exactly as the sleeping man's engagements are different from his bodily engagements. It is confirmed in the Bhagavad-gītā that a devotee engaged full time in the transcendental loving service of the Lord has already surpassed the influence of the three modes of material nature. He is already situated on the Brahman platform and is in the transcendental realm, although he appears to be living within the body or within the material world.
In this connection, Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī states in his Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu that the person whose only desire is to serve the Supreme Personality of Godhead may be situated in any condition in the material world, but he is to be understood as jīvan-mukta; that is to say, he is to be considered liberated while living within the body or the material world. The conclusion, therefore, is that a person fully engaged in Kṛṣṇa consciousness is a liberated person. Such a person actually has nothing to do with his material body or the material world. Those who are not in Kṛṣṇa consciousness are called karmīs and jñānīs, and they hover on the bodily and mental platforms and thus are not liberated. This situation is called kaivalya-nirasta-yoni. But a person situated on the transcendental platform is freed from the repetition of birth and death. This is confirmed in the Bhagavad-gītā, Fourth Chapter: "Simply by knowing the transcendental nature of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa, one becomes free from the chains of the repetition of birth and death, and after quitting his present body he goes back home, back to Godhead." This is the conclusion of all the Vedas. Thus after understanding the prayers offered by the personified Vedas, one should surrender unto the lotus feet of Lord Kṛṣṇa.