In order to convince Brahmā that all those calves and boys were not the original ones, the calves and boys who were playing with Kṛṣṇa transformed into Viṣṇu forms. Actually, the original ones were sleeping under the spell of Brahmā’s mystic power, but the present ones, seen by Brahmā, were all immediate expansions of Kṛṣṇa, or Viṣṇu. Viṣṇu is the expansion of Kṛṣṇa, so the Viṣṇu forms appeared before Brahmā. All the Viṣṇu forms were of bluish color and dressed in yellow garments; all of Them had four hands decorated with club, disc, lotus flower and conchshell. On Their heads were glittering golden helmets inlaid with jewels; They were bedecked with pearls and earrings and garlanded with beautiful flowers. On Their chests was the mark of Śrīvatsa, Their arms were decorated with armlets and other jewelry, and Their necks were just like conchshells. Their legs were decorated with bells, Their waists with golden belts, and Their fingers with jeweled rings. Brahmā also saw that upon the whole body of each Lord Viṣṇu, from the lotus feet up to the top of the head, fresh tulasī leaves and buds had been thrown. Another significant feature of the Viṣṇu forms was that all of Them were looking transcendentally beautiful. Their smiling resembled the moonshine, and Their glancing resembled the early rising of the sun. Just by Their glancing They showed Themselves to be the creators and maintainers of the modes of ignorance and passion. Viṣṇu represents the mode of goodness, Brahmā represents the mode of passion, and Lord Śiva represents the mode of ignorance. Therefore as the maintainer of everything in the cosmic manifestation, Viṣṇu is also the creator and maintainer of Brahmā and Lord Śiva.
After this manifestation of Lord Viṣṇu, Brahmā saw that many other Brahmās and Śivas and demigods and even insignificant living entities down to the ants and very small straws—all moving and nonmoving living entities—were dancing, surrounding Lord Viṣṇu. Their dancing was accompanied by various kinds of music, and all of them were worshiping Lord Viṣṇu. Brahmā realized that all those Viṣṇu forms were complete in mystic power, from the aṇimā perfection of becoming small like an atom up to becoming infinite like the cosmic manifestation. All the mystic powers of Brahmā, Śiva, all the demigods and the twenty-four elements of cosmic manifestation were fully represented in the person of Viṣṇu. By the influence of Lord Viṣṇu, all subordinate mystic powers were engaged in His worship. He was being worshiped by time, space, the cosmic manifestation, reformation, desire, activity and the three qualities of material nature. Lord Viṣṇu, Brahmā also realized, is the reservoir of all truth, knowledge and bliss. He is the combination of three transcendental features, namely eternity, knowledge and bliss, and He is the object of worship by the followers of the Upaniṣads. Brahmā realized that all the different forms of boys and calves transformed into Viṣṇu forms were not transformed by a mysticism of the type that a yogī or a demigod can display by specific powers invested in him. The calves and boys transformed into viṣṇu-mūrtis, or Viṣṇu forms, were not displays of viṣṇu-māyā, or Viṣṇu's energy, but were Viṣṇu Himself. The respective qualifications of Viṣṇu and viṣṇu-māyā are just like fire and heat. In the heat there is the qualification of fire, namely warmth; and yet heat is not fire. The manifestation of the Viṣṇu forms of the boys and calves was not like the heat but was rather the fire—they were all actually Viṣṇu. Factually, the qualification of Viṣṇu is full truth, full knowledge and full bliss. Another example can be given with material objects, which are reflected in many, many forms. For example, the sun is reflected in many waterpots, but the reflections of the sun in the many pots are not actually the sun. There is no actual heat or light from the suns in the pots, although they appear like the sun. But the forms which Kṛṣṇa assumed were each and every one full Viṣṇu. The specific word used in this connection is satya-jñānānantānanda. Satya means truth; jñāna, full knowledge; ananta, unlimited; and ānanda, full bliss.
The glories of the Supreme Personality of Godhead are so great that the impersonalistic followers of the Upaniṣads cannot reach the platform of knowledge to understand them. Especially the transcendental forms of the Lord are beyond the reach of the impersonalists, who can only understand, through studying the Upaniṣads, that the Absolute Truth is not matter, or is not materially restricted. From Kṛṣṇa's expansion into Viṣṇu forms, Lord Brahmā could understand by his limited potency that everything movable and immovable within the cosmic manifestation is existing due to the expansion of the energy of the Supreme Lord.
When Brahmā was thus standing baffled in his limited power and conscious of his limited activities within the eleven senses, he could realize that he was also a creation of the material energy, just like a puppet. As a puppet has no independent power to dance but dances according to the direction of the puppet master, so the demigods and living entities are all subordinate to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. As it is stated in the Caitanya-caritāmṛta, the only master is Kṛṣṇa, and all others are His servants. The whole world is under the waves of the material spell, and beings are floating like straws in water. So their struggle for existence is continuing. But as soon as one becomes conscious that he is the eternal servant of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, this māyā, or illusory struggle for existence, is immediately stopped.
Lord Brahmā, who has full control over the goddess of learning and who is considered to be the best authority in Vedic knowledge, was thus perplexed, being unable to understand the extraordinary power manifested by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In the mundane world, even a personality like Brahmā is unable to understand the mystic power of the Supreme Lord. Not only did Brahmā fail to understand, but he was perplexed even to see the display which was being manifested by Kṛṣṇa before him.
Kṛṣṇa took compassion upon Brahmā because of his inability to see how Kṛṣṇa was displaying the forms of Viṣṇu and transforming Himself into calves and cowherd boys, and thus, while fully manifesting the Viṣṇu expansions, He suddenly pulled His curtain of yogamāyā over the scene. In the Bhagavad-gītā it is said that the Supreme Personality of Godhead is not visible due to the curtain spread by yogamāyā. That which covers the reality is mahā-māyā, or the external energy, which does not allow a conditioned soul to understand the Supreme Personality of Godhead beyond the cosmic manifestation. But the energy which partially manifests the Supreme Personality of Godhead and partially does not allow one to see is called yogamāyā. Brahmā is not an ordinary conditioned soul. He is far, far superior to all the other demigods, and yet he could not comprehend the display of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; therefore Kṛṣṇa willingly stopped manifesting any further potency. The conditioned soul not only becomes bewildered but is completely unable to understand. The curtain of yogamāyā was drawn so that Brahmā would not become more and more perplexed.