|Canto 11: General History||Chapter 12: Beyond Renunciation and Knowledge|
Bhaktivedanta VedaBase: Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 11.12.20
ayaḿ hi jīvas tri-vṛd abja-yonir
avyakta eko vayasā sa ādyaḥ
viśliṣṭa-śaktir bahudheva bhāti
bījāni yoniḿ pratipadya yadvat
ayam — this; hi — certainly; jīvaḥ — the supreme living entity who gives life to others; tri-vṛt — containing the three modes of material nature; abja — of the universal lotus flower; yoniḥ — the source; avyaktaḥ — unmanifest (materially); ekaḥ — alone; vayasā — in course of time; saḥ — He; ādyaḥ — eternal; viśliṣṭa — divided; śaktiḥ — potencies; bahudhā — in many divisions; iva — like; bhāti — He appears; bījāni — seeds; yonim — in an agricultural field; pratipadya — falling; yat-vat — just like.
When many seeds are placed in an agricultural field, innumerable manifestations of trees, bushes, vegetables and so on will arise from a single source, the soil. Similarly, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who gives life to all and is eternal, originally exists beyond the scope of the cosmic manifestation. In the course of time, however, the Lord, who is the resting place of the three modes of nature and the source of the universal lotus flower, in which the cosmic manifestation takes place, divides His material potencies and thus appears to be manifest in innumerable forms, although He is one.
Śrīla Vīrarāghavācārya comments that one may question as to whom the cosmic manifestation, consisting of demigods, men, animals, plants, planets, space, etc., actually belongs. Lord Kṛṣṇa now eradicates any doubt about the source of the cosmic manifestation. The word tri-vṛt indicates that the three modes of nature are not independent but are under superior control. The suffix vṛt means the vartanam, or "existence," of the three modes of material nature within the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Analyzing the term abja-yoni, ap indicates "water," and ja indicates "birth." Thus abja means the complex material universe, which sprouts from Garbhodakaśāyī Viṣṇu, who lies in the Garbhodaka Ocean. Yoni, or "source," indicates the Personality of Godhead, and thus abja-yoni means that the Lord is the source of all cosmic manifestations; indeed, all creation takes place within the Lord. Since the three modes of material nature are under the superior control of the Lord, material objects helplessly undergo creation and annihilation within the universal shell by the will of the Lord. The term avyakta indicates the Lord's subtle spiritual form, which exists alone before the material creation. The Lord's original form, being spiritual, does not undergo birth, transformation or death. It is eternal. In the course of time, the Lord's material potencies are divided and manifest as bodies, bodily paraphernalia, sense objects, bodily expansions, false ego and false proprietorship. Thus the Lord expands His conscious living potency called jīva-śakti, which is manifest in innumerable material forms such as those of men, demigods, animals, and so on. From the example of the seeds sown in an agricultural field, we can understand that innumerable manifestations may arise from a single source. Similarly, although the Lord is one, He becomes manifest in innumerable forms through the expansion of His different potencies.
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His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda, Founder Ācārya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness
His Holiness Hrdayananda dasa Goswami
Gopiparanadhana dasa Adhikari
Dravida dasa Brahmacari