|Canto 3: The Status Quo||Chapter 8: Manifestation of Brahmā from Garbhodakaśāyī Viṣṇu|
Bhaktivedanta VedaBase: Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 3.8.15
tal loka-padmaḿ sa u eva viṣṇuḥ
tasmin svayaḿ vedamayo vidhātā
svayambhuvaḿ yaḿ sma vadanti so 'bhūt
tat — that; loka — universal; padmam — lotus flower; saḥ — He; u — certainly; eva — factually; viṣṇuḥ — the Lord; prāvīviśat — entered into; sarva — all; guṇa-avabhāsam — reservoir of all modes of nature; tasmin — in which; svayam — in person; veda-mayaḥ — the personality of Vedic wisdom; vidhātā — controller of the universe; svayam-bhuvam — self-born; yam — whom; sma — in the past; vadanti — do say; saḥ — he; abhūt — generated.
Into that universal lotus flower Lord Viṣṇu personally entered as the Supersoul, and when it was thus impregnated with all the modes of material nature, the personality of Vedic wisdom, whom we call the self-born, was generated.
This lotus flower is the universal virāṭ form, or the gigantic form of the Lord in the material world. It becomes amalgamated in the Personality of Godhead Viṣṇu, in His abdomen, at the time of dissolution, and it becomes manifest at the time of creation. This is due to Garbhodakaśāyī Viṣṇu, who enters into each of the universes. In this form is the sum total of all the fruitive activities of the living entities conditioned by material nature, and the first of them, namely Brahmā, or the controller of the universe, is generated from this lotus flower. This first-born living being, unlike all the others, has no material father, and thus he is called self-born, or svayambhū. He goes to sleep with Nārāyaṇa at the time of devastation, and when there is another creation, he is born in this way. From this description we have the conception of three — the gross virāṭ form, the subtle Hiraṇyagarbha and the material creative force, Brahmā.
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His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda, Founder Ācārya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness