|Canto 2: The Cosmic Manifestation||Chapter 9: Answers by Citing the Lord's Version|
Bhaktivedanta VedaBase: Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 2.9.24
grasāmi tapasā punaḥ
bibharmi tapasā viśvaḿ
vīryaḿ me duścaraḿ tapaḥ
sṛjāmi — I create; tapasā — by the same energy of penance; eva — certainly; idam — this; grasāmi tapasā — I do withdraw also by the same energy; punaḥ — again; bibharmi — do maintain; tapasā — by penance; viśvam — the cosmos; vīryam — potency; me — My; duścaram — severe; tapaḥ — penance.
I create this cosmos by such penance, I maintain it by the same energy, and I withdraw it all by the same energy. Therefore the potential power is penance only.
In executing penance, one must be determined to return home, back to Godhead, and must decide to undergo all types of tribulations for that end. Even for material prosperity, name and fame, one has to undergo severe types of penance, otherwise no one can become an important figure in this material world. Why, then, are there severe types of penance for the perfection of devotional service? An easygoing life and attainment of perfection in transcendental realization cannot go together. The Lord is more clever than any living entity; therefore He wants to see how painstaking the devotee is in devotional service. The order is received from the Lord, either directly or through the bona fide spiritual master, and to execute that order, however painstaking, is the severe type of penance. One who follows the principle rigidly is sure to achieve success in attaining the Lord's mercy.
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His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda, Founder Ācārya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness