The personified Vedas continued to offer their obeisances. “Dear Lord,” they prayed, “after many, many births, those who have actually become wise take to the worship of Your lotus feet in complete knowledge.” This is confirmed in the Bhagavad-gītā, wherein the Lord says that after many, many births, a great soul, or mahātmā, surrenders unto the Lord, knowing well that Vāsudeva, Kṛṣṇa, is the cause of all causes. The Vedas continued: “As already explained, since the mind, intelligence and senses have been given to us by God, when these instruments are actually purified there is no alternative but to engage them all in the devotional service of the Lord. A living entity’s entrapment in different species of life is due to the misapplication of his mind, intelligence and senses in material activities. Various kinds of bodies are awarded as the result of a living entity’s actions, and they are created by the material nature according to the living entity’s desire. Because a living entity desires and deserves a particular kind of body, it is given to him by the material nature, under the order of the Supreme Lord.”
In Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, Third Canto, it is explained that under the control of superior authority a living entity is put within the semen of a male and injected into the womb of a particular female in order to develop a particular type of body. A living entity utilizes his senses, intelligence, mind and so on in a specific way of his own choosing and thus develops a particular type of body, within which he becomes encaged. In this way the living entity becomes situated in different species of life, either in a demigod, human or animal body, according to different situations and circumstances.
It is explained in the Vedic literature that the living entities entrapped in different species of life are part and parcel of the Supreme Lord. The Māyāvādī philosophers mistake the living entity for the Paramātmā, who is actually sitting with the living entity as a friend. Because the Paramātmā (the localized aspect of the Supreme Personality of Godhead) and the individual living entity are both within the body, a misunderstanding sometimes takes place that there is no difference between the two. But there is a definite difference between the individual soul and the Supersoul, and it is explained in the Varāha Purāṇa as follows. The Supreme Lord has two kinds of parts and parcels: the living entity is called vibhinnāṁśa, and the Paramātmā, or the plenary expansion of the Supreme Lord, is called svāṁśa. The svāṁśa plenary expansion of the Supreme Personality is as powerful as the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself. There is not even the slightest difference between the potency of the Supreme Person and that of His plenary expansion as Paramātmā. But the vibhinnāṁśa parts and parcels possess only a minute portion of the potencies of the Lord. The Nārada Pañcarātra states that the living entities, who are the marginal potency of the Supreme Lord, are undoubtedly of the same quality of spiritual existence as the Lord Himself, but they are prone to be tinged with the material qualities. Because the minute living entity is prone to be subjected to the influence of material qualities, he is called jīva, and sometimes the Supreme Personality of Godhead is also known as Śiva, the all-auspicious one. So the difference between Śiva and jīva is that the all-auspicious Personality of Godhead is never affected by the material qualities, whereas the minute portions of the Supreme Personality of Godhead are prone to be affected by the qualities of material nature.
The Supersoul within the body of a particular living entity, being a plenary portion of the Lord, is worshipable by the individual living entity. Great sages have therefore concluded that the process of meditation is designed so that the individual living entity may concentrate his attention on the lotus feet of the Supersoul form (Viṣṇu). That is the real form of samādhi. The living entity cannot be liberated from material entanglement by his own effort. He must therefore take to the devotional service of the lotus feet of the Supreme Lord, or the Supersoul within himself. Śrīdhara Svāmī, the great commentator on Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, has composed a nice verse in this regard, the meaning of which is as follows: “My dear Lord, I am eternally a part of You, but I have been entrapped by the material potencies, which are also an emanation from You. As the cause of all causes, You have entered my body as the Supersoul, and I have the prerogative of enjoying the supreme blissful life of knowledge along with You. Therefore, my dear Lord, please order me to render You loving service so that I can again be brought to my original position of transcendental bliss.”