|Canto 5: The Creative Impetus||Chapter 3: Ṛṣabhadeva's Appearance in the Womb of Merudevī, the Wife of King Nābhi|
Bhaktivedanta VedaBase: Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 5.3.4-5
arhasi muhur arhattamārhaṇam asmākam anupathānāḿ namo nama ity etāvat sad-upaśikṣitaḿ ko 'rhati pumān prakṛti-guṇa-vyatikara-matir anīśa īśvarasya parasya prakṛti-puruṣayor arvāktanābhir nāma-rūpākṛtibhī rūpa-nirūpaṇam; sakala-jana-nikāya-vṛjina-nirasana-śivatama-pravara-guṇa-gaṇaika-deśa-kathanād ṛte
ṛtvijaḥ ūcuḥ — the priests said; arhasi — please (accept); muhuḥ — again and again; arhat-tama — O most exalted, worshipable person; arhaṇam — offering of worship; asmākam — of us; anupathānām — who are Your servants; namaḥ — respectful obeisances; namaḥ — respectful obeisances; iti — thus; etāvat — so far; sat — by exalted personalities; upaśikṣitam — instructed; kaḥ — what; arhati — is able (to make); pumān — man; prakṛti — of material nature; guṇa — of the modes; vyatikara — in the transformations; matiḥ — whose mind (is absorbed); anīśaḥ — who is most incapable; īśvarasya — of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; parasya — beyond; prakṛti-puruṣayoḥ — the jurisdiction of the three modes of material nature; arvāktanābhiḥ — which do not reach up to, or which are of this material world; nāma-rūpa-ākṛtibhiḥ — by names, forms and qualities; rūpa — of Your nature or position; nirūpaṇam — ascertainment, perception; sakala — all; jana-nikāya — of mankind; vṛjina — sinful actions; nirasana — which wipe out; śivatama — most auspicious; pravara — excellent; guṇa-gaṇa — of the transcendental qualities; eka-deśa — one part; kathanāt — by speaking; ṛte — except.
The priests began to offer prayers to the Lord, saying: O most worshipable one, we are simply Your servants. Although You are full in Yourself, please, out of Your causeless mercy, accept a little service from us, Your eternal servants. We are not actually aware of Your transcendental form, but we can simply offer our respectful obeisances again and again, as instructed by the Vedic literatures and authorized ācāryas. Materialistic living entities are very much attracted to the modes of material nature, and therefore they are never perfect, but You are above the jurisdiction of all material conceptions. Your name, form and qualities are all transcendental and beyond the conception of experimental knowledge. Indeed, who can conceive of You? In the material world we can perceive only material names and qualities. We have no other power than to offer our respectful obeisances and prayers unto You, the transcendental person. The chanting of Your auspicious transcendental qualities will wipe out the sins of all mankind. That is the most auspicious activity for us, and we can thus partially understand Your supernatural position.
The Supreme Personality of Godhead has nothing to do with material perception. Even the impersonalist Śańkarācārya says. nārāyaṇaḥ paro 'vyaktāt: "Nārāyaṇa. the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is beyond the material conception." We cannot concoct the form and attributes of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. We must simply accept the description given in Vedic literatures about the Lord's form and activities. As stated in Brahma-saḿhitā (5.29):
lakṣāvṛteṣu surabhīr abhipālayantam
govindam ādi-puruṣaḿ tam ahaḿ bhajāmi
"I worship Govinda, the primeval Lord, the first progenitor, who is tending the cows, yielding all desires, in abodes built with spiritual gems and surrounded by millions of purpose trees. He is always served with great reverence and affection by hundreds and thousands of goddesses of fortune." We can have some conception of the Absolute Truth, His form and His attributes simply by reading the descriptions given in Vedic literatures and authoritative statements given by exalted personalities like Brahmā, Nārada, Śukadeva Gosvāmī and others. Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī says, ataḥ śrī-kṛṣṇa-nāmādi na bhaved grāhyam indriyaiḥ: [BRS. 1.2.234] "We cannot conceive the name, form and qualities of Śrī Kṛṣṇa through our material senses." Because of this, other names for the Lord are adhokṣaja and aprākṛta, which indicate that He is beyond any material senses. Out of His causeless mercy upon His devotees, the Lord appeared before Mahārāja Nābhi. Similarly, when we are engaged in the Lord's devotional service, the Lord reveals Himself to us. Sevonmukhe hi jihvādau svayam eva sphuraty adaḥ. This is the only way to understand the Supreme Personality of Godhead. As confirmed in Bhagavad-gītā, bhaktyā mām abhijānāti yāvān yaś cāsmi tattvataḥ: [Bg. 18.55] one can understand the Supreme Personality of Godhead through devotional service. There is no other way. We have to hear from the authorities and from the śāstras and consider the Supreme Lord in terms of their statements. We cannot imagine or concoct forms and attributes of the Lord.
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His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda, Founder Ācārya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness