Canto 1: CreationChapter 2: Divinity and Divine Service

Bhaktivedanta VedaBase: Srimad Bhagavatam 1.2.23

sattvam rajas tama iti prakriter gunas tair

yuktah parah purusha eka ihasya dhatte

sthity-adaye hari-virinci-hareti samjnah

sreyamsi tatra khalu sattva-tanor nrinam syuh

SYNONYMS

sattvam -- goodness; rajah -- passion; tamah -- the darkness of ignorance; iti -- thus; prakriteh -- of the material nature; gunah -- qualities; taih -- by them; yuktah -- associated with; parah -- transcendental; purushah -- the personality; ekah -- one; iha asya -- of this material world; dhatte -- accepts; sthiti-adaye -- for the matter of creation, maintenance and destruction, etc.; hari -- Vishnu, the Personality of Godhead; virinci -- Brahma; hara -- Lord Siva; iti -- thus; samjnah -- different features; sreyamsi -- ultimate benefit; tatra -- therein; khalu -- of course; sattva -- goodness; tanoh -- form; nrinam -- of the human being; syuh -- derived.

TRANSLATION

The transcendental Personality of Godhead is indirectly associated with the three modes of material nature, namely passion, goodness and ignorance, and just for the material world's creation, maintenance and destruction He accepts the three qualitative forms of Brahma, Vishnu and Siva. Of these three, all human beings can derive ultimate benefit from Vishnu, the form of the quality of goodness.

PURPORT

That Lord Sri Krishna, by His plenary parts, should be rendered devotional service, as explained above, is confirmed by this statement. Lord Sri Krishna and all His plenary parts are vishnu-tattva, or the Lordship of Godhead. From Sri Krishna, the next manifestation is Baladeva. From Baladeva is Sankarshana, from Sankarshana is Narayana, from Narayana there is the second Sankarshana, and from this Sankarshana the Vishnu purusha-avataras. The Vishnu or the Deity of the quality of goodness in the material world is the purusha-avatara known as Kshirodakasayi Vishnu or Paramatma. Brahma is the deity of rajas (passion), and Siva of ignorance. They are the three departmental heads of the three qualities of this material world. Creation is made possible by the goodness of Vishnu, and when it requires to be destroyed, Lord Siva does it by the tandavanritya. The materialists and the foolish human beings worship Brahma and Siva respectively. But the pure transcendentalists worship the form of goodness, Vishnu, in His various forms. Vishnu is manifested by His millions and billions of integrated forms and separated forms. The integrated forms are called Godhead, and the separated forms are called the living entities or the jivas. Both the jivas and Godhead have their original spiritual forms. Jivas are sometimes subjected to the control of material energy, but the Vishnu forms are always controllers of this energy. When Vishnu, the Personality of Godhead, appears in the material world, He comes to deliver the conditioned living beings who are under the material energy. Such living beings appear in the material world with intentions of being lords, and thus they become entrapped by the three modes of nature. As such, the living entities have to change their material coverings for undergoing different terms of imprisonment. The prison house of the material world is created by Brahma under instruction of the Personality of Godhead, and at the conclusion of a kalpa the whole thing is destroyed by Siva. But as far as maintenance of the prison house is concerned, it is done by Vishnu, as much as the state prison house is maintained by the state. Anyone, therefore, who wishes to get out of this prison house of material existence, which is full of miseries like repetition of birth, death, disease and old age, must please Lord Vishnu for such liberation. Lord Vishnu is worshiped by devotional service only, and if anyone has to continue prison life in the material world, he may ask for relative facilities for temporary relief from the different demigods like Siva, Brahma, Indra and Varuna. No demigod, however, can release the imprisoned living being from the conditioned life of material existence. This can be done only by Vishnu. Therefore, the ultimate benefit may be derived from Vishnu, the Personality of Godhead.

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His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Founder Acarya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness