In the spiritual sky there is a spiritual creative energy technically called shuddha-sattva, which is a pure spiritual energy that sustains all the Vaikuntha planets with the full opulences of knowledge, wealth, prowess, etc. All these actions of shuddha-sattva display the potencies of Maha-shankarshana, who is the ultimate reservoir of all individual living entities who are suffering in the material world. When the cosmic creation is annihilated, the living entities, who are indestructible by nature, rest in the body of Maha-shankarshana. Shankarshana is therefore sometimes called the total jiva. As spiritual sparks, the living entities have the tendency to be inactive in the association of the material energy, just as sparks of a fire have the tendency to be extinguished as soon as they leave the fire. The spiritual nature of the living being can be rekindled, however, in association with the Supreme Being. Because the living being can appear either in matter or in spirit, the jiva is called the marginal potency.
Shankarshana is the origin of Karana Vishnu, who is the original form who creates the universes, and that Shankarshana is but a plenary expansion of Sri Nityananda Rama. Cc. Adi-lila. 5.42
tanha—there; ye—which; ramera rupa—the personal feature of Balarama; maha-shankarshana—Maha-shankarshana; chit-shakti-ashraya—the shelter of the spiritual potency; tinho—He; karanera karana—the cause of all causes.
There [in the spiritual sky] the personal feature of Balarama called Maha-shankarshana is the shelter of the spiritual energy. He is the primary cause, the cause of all causes.
chit-shakti-vilasa—pastimes in the spiritual energy; eka—one; shuddha-sattva nama—named shuddha-sattva, pure existence, free from material contamination; shuddha-sattva-maya—of purely spiritual existence; yata—all; vaikuntha-adi-dhama—the spiritual planets, known as Vaikunthas.
One variety of the pastimes of the spiritual energy is described as pure goodness [vishuddha-sattva]. It comprises all the abodes of Vaikuntha.
shat-vidha-aishvarya—six kinds of opulences; tanha—there; shakala chit-maya—everything spiritual; shankarshanera—of Lord Shankarshana; vibhutisaba—all different opulences; janiha nishchaya—know certainly.
The six attributes are all spiritual. Know for certain that they are all manifestations of the opulence of Shankarshana.
Cc. Adi-lila. 5.45
‘jiva’-nama tatasthakhya eka shakti haya
maha-shankarshana—saba jivera ashraya SYNONYMS
jiva—the living entity; nama—named; tata-stha-akhya—known as the marginal potency; eka—one; shakti—energy; haya—is; maha-shankarshana—Maha-shankarshana; saba—all; jivera—of living entities; ashraya—the shelter.
There is one marginal potency, known as the jiva. Maha-shankarshana is the shelter of all jivas.
Cc. Adi-lila. 5.46
Shankarshana is the original shelter of the purusha, from whom this world is created and in whom it is dissolved.
Cc. Adi-lila. 5.47
He [Shankarshana] is the shelter of everything. He is wonderful in every respect, and His opulences are infinite. Even Ananta cannot describe His glory.
Cc. Adi-lila. 5.48
That Shankarshana, who is transcendental pure goodness, is a partial expansion of Nityananda Balarama.
Cc. Adi-lila. 5.49
I have briefly explained the eighth verse. Now please listen with attention as I explain the ninth verse.
Cc. Adi-lila. 5.50
I offer my full obeisances unto the feet of Sri Nityananda Rama, whose partial representation called Karanodakashayi Vishnu, lying on the Karana Ocean, is the original purusha, the master of the illusory energy, and the shelter of all the universes.
Cc. Adi-lila. 5.51
Outside the Vaikuntha planets is the impersonal Brahman effulgence, and beyond that effulgence is the Karana Ocean, or Causal Ocean.
BHAKTIVEDANTA PURPORT: The impersonal glowing effulgence known as impersonal Brahman is the outer space of the Vaikuntha planets in the spiritual sky. Beyond that impersonal Brahman is the great Causal Ocean, which lies between the material and spiritual skies. The material nature is a by-product of this Causal Ocean.
Karanodakashayi Vishnu, who lies on the Causal Ocean, creates the universes merely by glancing upon material nature. Therefore Krishna personally has nothing to do with the material creation. The Bhagavad-gita confirms that the Lord glances over material nature and thus she produces the many material universes. Neither Krishna in Goloka nor Narayana in Vaikuntha comes directly in contact with the material creation. They are completely aloof from the material energy.
It is the function of Maha-shankarshana in the form of Karanodakashayi Vishnu to glance over the material creation, which is situated beyond the limits of the Causal Ocean. Material nature is connected with the Personality of Godhead by His glance over her and nothing more. It is said that she is impregnated by the energy of His glance. The material energy, maya, NEVER even touches the Causal Ocean, for the Lord’s glance focuses upon her from a great distance away.
The glancing power of the Lord agitates the entire cosmic energy, and thus its actions begin at once. This indicates that matter, however powerful she may be, has no power by herself. Her activity begins by the grace of the Lord, and then the entire cosmic creation is manifested in a systematic way. The example of a woman’s conception can help us understand this subject to a certain extent. The mother is passive, but the father puts his energy within the mother, and thus she conceives. She supplies the ingredients for the birth of the child in her womb. Similarly, the Lord activates material nature, which then supplies the ingredients for cosmic development.
Material nature has two different phases. The aspect called pradhana supplies the material ingredients for cosmic development, and the aspect called maya causes the manifestation of her ingredients, which are temporary, like foam in the ocean. In reality, the temporary manifestations of material nature are originally caused by the spiritual glance of the Lord. The Personality of Godhead is the direct, or remote, cause of creation, and material nature is the indirect, or immediate, cause. Materialistic scientists, puffed-up by the magical changes their so-called inventions have brought about, cannot see the real potency of Godhead behind matter. Therefore the jugglery of science is gradually leading people to a godless civilization at the cost of the goal of human life. Having missed the goal of life, materialists run after self-sufficiency, not knowing that material nature is already self-sufficient by the grace of God. Thus creating a colossal hoax in the name of civilization, they create an imbalance in the natural self-sufficiency of material nature.
To think of material nature as all in all, not knowing the original cause, is ignorance. Lord Chaitanya appeared in order to dissipate this darkness of ignorance by igniting the spark of spiritual life that can, by His causeless mercy, enlighten the entire world.
To explain how maya acts by Krishna’s power, the author of Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita gives the example of an iron rod in a fire: although the rod is not fire, it becomes red-hot and acts like fire itself. Similarly, all the actions and reactions of material nature are not actually the work of material nature but are actions and reactions of the energy of the Supreme Lord manifested through matter. The power of electricity is transmitted through the medium of copper, but this does not mean that the copper is electricity. The power is generated at a powerhouse under the control of an expert living being. Similarly, behind all the jugglery of the natural laws is a great living being, who is a person like the mechanical engineer in the powerhouse. It is by His intelligence that the entire cosmic creation moves in a systematic way.
The modes of nature, which directly cause material actions, are also originally activated by Narayana. A simple example will explain how this is so: When a potter manufactures a pot from clay, the potter’s wheel, his tools and the clay are the immediate causes of the pot, but the potter is the chief cause. Similarly, Narayana is the chief cause of all material creations, and the material energy supplies the ingredients of matter. Therefore without Narayana, all other causes are useless, just as the potter’s wheel and tools are useless without the potter himself. Since materialistic scientists ignore the Personality of Godhead, it is as if they were concerned with the potter’s wheel and its rotation, the potter’s tools and the ingredients for the pots, but had no knowledge of the potter himself. Therefore modern science has created an imperfect, godless civilization that is in gross ignorance of the ultimate cause. Scientific advancement should have a great goal to attain, and that great goal should be the Personality of Godhead. In the Bhagavad-gita it is said that after conducting research for many, many births, great men of knowledge who stress the importance of experimental thought can know the Personality of Godhead, who is the cause of all causes. When one knows Him perfectly, one surrenders unto Him and then becomes a mahatma.
The earth, water, fire, air and ether of Vaikuntha are all spiritual. Material elements are not found there.
Cc. Adi-lila. 5.52
The water of the Karana Ocean, which is the original cause, is therefore spiritual. The sacred Ganges, which is but a drop of it, purifies the fallen souls. Cc. Adi-lila. 5.53
In that ocean lies a plenary portion of Lord Shankarshana.
Cc. Adi-lila. 5.54
He is known as the first purusha, the creator of the total material energy. He, the cause of the universes, the first incarnation, casts His glance over maya.
Cc. Adi-lila. 5.55
Maya-shakti resides outside the Karana Ocean. Maya cannot touch its waters. Cc. Adi-lila. 5.56
Maya has two varieties of existence. One is called pradhana or prakriti. It supplies the ingredients of the material world.
BHAKTIVEDANTA PURPORT: Maya, the external energy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is divided into two parts. Maya is both the cause of the cosmic manifestation and the agent who supplies its ingredients. As the cause of the cosmic manifestation she is known as maya, and as the agent supplying the ingredients of the cosmic manifestation she is known as pradhana. An explicit description of these divisions of the external energy is given in Srimad-Bhagavatam (11.24.1–4). Elsewhere in Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.63.26) the ingredients and cause of the material cosmic manifestation are described as follows:
tat-sanghato bija-roha-pravahas / tvan-mayaisha tan-nishedham prapadye “O my Lord! Time, activity, providence and nature are four parts of the causal aspect [maya] of the external energy. The conditioned vital force, the subtle material ingredients called the dravya, and material nature (which is the field of activity where the false ego acts as the soul), as well as the eleven senses and five elements (earth, water, fire, air and ether), which are the sixteen ingredients of the body—these are the ingredient aspect of maya. The body is generated from activity, and activity is generated from the body, just as a tree is generated from a seed that is generated from a tree. This reciprocal cause and effect is called maya. My dear Lord, You can save me from this cycle of cause and effect. I worship Your lotus feet.”
Although the living entity is primarily related to the causal portion of maya, he is nevertheless conducted by the ingredients of maya. Three forces work in the causal portion of maya: knowledge, desire and activity. The material ingredients are a manifestation of maya as pradhana. In other words, when the three qualities of maya are in a dormant stage, they exist as prakriti, avyakta or pradhana. The word avyakta, referring to the non-manifested, is another name of pradhana. In the avyakta stage, material nature is without varieties. Varieties are manifested by the pradhana portion of maya. The word pradhana is therefore more important than avyakta or prakriti.
Cc. Adi-lila. 5.59
Because prakriti is dull and inert, it cannot actually be the cause of the material world. But Lord Krishna shows His mercy by infusing His energy into the dull, inert material nature.
Cc. Adi-lila. 5.60
Thus prakriti, by the energy of Lord Krishna, becomes the secondary cause, just as iron becomes red-hot by the energy of fire.
Cc. Adi-lila. 5.61
Therefore Lord Krishna is the original cause of the cosmic manifestation. Prakriti is like the nipples on the neck of a goat, for they cannot give any milk.
BHAKTIVEDANTA PURPORT: The external energy, composed of pradhana or prakriti as the ingredient-supplying portion and maya as the causal portion, is known as maya-shakti. Inert material nature is not the actual cause of the material manifestation, for Karanarnavashayi, Maha-Vishnu, the plenary expansion of Krishna, activates all the ingredients. It is in this way that material nature has the power to supply the ingredients. The example given is that iron has no power to heat or burn, but after coming in contact with fire the iron becomes red-hot and can then diffuse heat and burn other things. Material nature is like iron, for it has no independence to act without the touch of Vishnu, who is compared to fire. Lord Vishnu activates material nature by the power of His glance, and then the ironlike material nature becomes a material-supplying agent just as iron made red-hot becomes a burning agent. Material nature cannot independently become an agent for supplying the material ingredients. This is more clearly explained by Sri Kapiladeva, an incarnation of Godhead, in Srimad-Bhagavatam (3.28.40):
yatholmukad visphulingad dhumad vapi sva-sambhavat
apy atmatvenabhimatad yathagnir prithag ulmukat
“Although smoke, flaming wood, and sparks are all considered together as ingredients of a fire, the flaming wood is nevertheless different from the fire, and the smoke is different from the flaming wood.” The material elements (earth, water, fire, etc.) are like smoke, the living entities are like sparks, and material nature as pradhana is like the flaming wood. But all of them together are recipients of power from the Supreme Personality of Godhead and are thus able to manifest their individual capacities. In other words, the Supreme Personality of Godhead is the origin of all manifestations. Material nature can supply only when it is activated by the glance of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Just as a woman can deliver a child after being impregnated by the semen of a man, so material nature can supply the material elements after being glanced upon by Maha-Vishnu. Therefore pradhana cannot be independent of the superintendence of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This is confirmed in the Bhagavad-gita (9.10): mayadhyakshena prakritir suyate sa-characharam. Prakriti, the total material energy, works under the superintendence of the Lord. The original source of the material elements is Krishna. Therefore the attempt of the atheistic Sankhya philosophers to consider material nature the source of these elements, forgetting Krishna, is useless, like trying to get milk from the nipplelike bumps of skin hanging on the neck of a goat.
Cc. Adi-lila. 5.62
The maya aspect of material nature is the immediate cause of the cosmic manifestation. But it cannot be the real cause, for the original cause is Lord Narayana.
Cc. Adi-lila. 5.63
Just as the original cause of an earthen pot is the potter, so the creator of the material world is the first purusha incarnation [Karanarnavashayi Vishnu].
Cc. Adi-lila. 5.64
Lord Krishna is the creator, and maya only helps Him as an instrument, just like the potter’s wheel and other instruments, which are the instrumental causes of a pot.
Cc. Adi-lila. 5.65
The first purushacasts His glance at maya from a distance, and thus He impregnates her with the seed of life in the form of the living entities.
Cc. Adi-lila. 5.66
The reflected rays of His body mix with maya, and thus maya gives birth to myriad universes.
BHAKTIVEDANTA PURPORT: The Vedic conclusion is that the cosmic manifestation visible to the eyes of the conditioned soul is caused by the Absolute Truth, the Personality of Godhead, through the exertion of His specific energies, although in the conclusion of atheistic deliberations this manifested cosmic exhibition is attributed to material nature. The energy of the Absolute Truth is exhibited in three ways: spiritual, material and marginal. The Absolute Truth is identical with His spiritual energy. Only when contacted by the spiritual energy can the material energy work and the temporary material manifestations thus appear active. In the conditioned state the living entities of the marginal energy are a mixture of spiritual and material energies. The marginal energy is originally under the control of the spiritual energy, but, under the control of the material energy, the living entities have been wandering in forgetfulness within the material world since time immemorial.
The conditioned state is caused by misuse of the individual independence of the spiritual platform [THE CONSTITUTIONAL ACTIVE SPIRITUAL PLATFORM OF THE TATASTHA-JIVA CONTINUES TO BE IN SHANTA-RASA AFTER INVOLVING ITSELF AS A NITYA-BADDHA FROM THE TATASTHA AREA. THE DORMANT PREDISPOSITION OF THE BADDHA-JIVAS REMAIN TO VOLUNTARILY ENGAGE IN ANY OF THE OTHER FOUR MAIN RASAS], for this separates the living entity from the association of the spiritual energy. But when the living entity is enlightened by the grace of the Supreme Lord or His pure devotee and becomes inclined to revive his original state of loving service, he is on the most auspicious platform of eternal bliss and knowledge. The marginal jiva, or living entity, misuses his independence and becomes averse to the eternal service attitude when he independently thinks he is not energy but the energetic. This misconception of his own existence leads him to the attitude of lording it over material nature.
Material nature appears to be just the opposite of the spiritual energy. The fact is that the material energy can work only when in contact with the spiritual energy. Originally the energy of Krishna is spiritual, but it works in diverse ways, like electrical energy, which can exhibit the functions of refrigerating or heating through its manifestations in different ways. The material energy is spiritual energy covered by a cloud of illusion, or maya. Therefore, the material energy is not self-sufficient in working. Krishna invests His spiritual energy into material energy, and then it can act, just as iron can act like fire after being heated by fire. The material energy can act only when empowered by the spiritual energy.
When covered by the cloud of material energy, the living entity, who is also a spiritual energy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, forgets about the activities of the spiritual energy [WHICH IT CARRIES IN A SEED FORM WHILE IN MAYA AND FULLY AWAKEN IN IT/HIS/HER SVARUPA] and considers all that happens in the material manifestation to be wonderful. But a person who is engaged in devotional service in full Krishna consciousness and who is therefore already situated in the spiritual energy can understand that the material energy has no independent powers: whatever actions are going on are due to the help of the spiritual energy. The material energy, which is a perverted form of the spiritual energy, presents everything pervertedly, thus causing misconceptions and duality. Material scientists and philosophers conditioned by the spell of material nature suppose that material energy acts automatically, and therefore they are frustrated, like an illusioned person who tries to get milk from the nipplelike bunches of skin on the neck of a goat. As there is no possibility of getting milk from these bunches of skin, there is similarly no possibility that anyone will be successful in understanding the original cause of creation by putting forward theories produced by the material energy. Such an attempt is a manifestation of ignorance.
The material energy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is called maya, or illusion, because in two capacities (by supplying the material elements and by causing the material manifestation) it makes the conditioned soul unable to understand the real truth of creation. However, when a living entity is liberated from the conditioned life of matter, he can understand the two different activities of material nature, namely covering and bewildering.
The origin of creation is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. As confirmed in the Bhagavad-gita (9.10), the cosmic manifestation is working under the direction of the Supreme Lord, who invests the material energy with three material qualities. Agitated by these qualities, the elements supplied by the material energy produce varieties of things, just as an artist produces varieties of pictures by mixing the three colors red, yellow and blue. Yellow represents the quality of goodness, red represents passion, and blue represents ignorance. Therefore the colorful material creation is but an interaction of these three qualities, represented in eighty-one varieties of mixtures (3 x 3 equaling 9, 9 x 9 thus equaling 81). Deluded by material energy, the conditioned soul, enamored by these eighty-one varieties of manifestations, wants to lord it over material energy, just as a moth wants to enjoy a fire. This illusion is the net result of the conditioned soul’s forgetfulness of his eternal relationship with the Supreme Personality of Godhead [WHICH CONSTITUTIONALLY ESTABLISHED IS IN SHANTA-RASA OR THE STATE OF VASUDEVA CONSCIOUSNESS FOR THE PURPOSE OF PERFECT ENACTMENT OF FREE WILL AT THE TATASTHA AREA]. When conditioned, the soul is impelled by the material energy to engage in sense gratification, whereas one enlightened by the spiritual energy engages himself in the service of the Supreme Lord in his eternal relationship.
Krishna is the original cause of the spiritual world, and He is the covered cause of the material manifestation. He is also the original cause of the marginal potency, the living entities. He is both the leader and maintainer of the living entities, who are called the marginal potency because they can act under the protection of the spiritual energy or under the cover of the material energy [WHEN STILL IN THEIR SPARK-LIKE SHAPE AND CONSTITUTIONAL SHANTA-RASA INDEPENDENTLY CHOOSE TO ENTER THE MATERIAL WORLD FROM THE TATASTHA AREA]. With the help of the spiritual energy we can understand that independence is visible only in Krishna, who by His inconceivable energy is able to act in any way He likes.
The Supreme Personality of Godhead is the Absolute Whole, and the living entities are parts of the Absolute Whole. This relationship of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and the living entities is eternal. One should never mistakenly think that the spiritual whole can be divided into small parts by the small material energy. The Bhagavad-gita does not support this Mayavada theory. Rather, it clearly states that the living entities are eternally small fragments [OR CONSTITUTIONALLY SPIRITUAL SPARKS, WITH AN INHERENT SVARUPA OR INFINITESIMAL INDIVIDULAL SPIRITUAL BODY] of the supreme spiritual whole. As a part can never be equal with the whole, so a living entity, as a minute fragment of the spiritual whole, cannot be equal at any time to the Supreme Whole, the absolute Personality of Godhead. Although the Supreme Lord and the living entities are quantitatively related as the whole and the parts, the parts are nevertheless qualitatively one with the whole. Thus the living entities, although always qualitatively one with the Supreme Lord, are in a relative position. The Supreme Personality of Godhead is the controller of everything, and the living entities are always controlled, either by the spiritual energy or by the material energy. Therefore a living entity can never become the controller of material or spiritual energies. The natural position of the living being is always as a subordinate of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. When one agrees to act in such a position, he attains perfection in life, but if one rebels against this principle, he is in the conditioned state.