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SB 11.4.3

His Divine Grace
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

Please note: The synonyms, translation and purport of this verse were composed by disciples of Śrīla Prabhupāda


bhūtair yadā pañcabhir ātma-sṛṣṭaiḥ
puraṁ virājaṁ viracayya tasmin
svāṁśena viṣṭaḥ puruṣābhidhānam
avāpa nārāyaṇa ādi-devaḥ


bhūtaiḥ—by the material elements; yadā—when; pañcabhiḥ—five (earth, water, fire, air and ether); ātma-sṛṣṭaiḥ—created by Himself; puram—the body; virājam—of the universe in its subtle form; viracayya—having constructed; tasmin—within that; sva-aṁśena—in the manifestation of His own plenary expansion; viṣṭaḥ—entering; puruṣa-abhidhānam—the name Puruṣa; avāpa—assumed; nārāyaṇaḥ—Lord Nārāyaṇa; ādi-devaḥ—the original Personality of Godhead.

Translation and purport composed by disciples of Śrīla Prabhupāda


When the primeval Lord Nārāyaṇa created His universal body out of the five elements produced from Himself and then entered within that universal body by His own plenary portion, He thus became known as the Puruṣa.


The words bhūtaiḥ pañcabhiḥ in this verse refer to the five gross material elements—earth, water, fire, air and sky—which form the basic building blocks of the material world. When the conditioned living entity enters within these five elements, consciousness becomes manifest, along with the functions of the mind and intelligence. Unfortunately, the consciousness manifest under the modes of material nature is governed by ahaṅkāra, or false ego, in which the living entity wrongly considers himself the enjoyer of the material elements. Although the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Puruṣottama, enjoys His pure transcendental existence in the spiritual sky, the material elements are also meant for His enjoyment, through the process of yajña, or sacrifice. This material world is called Devī-dhāma, or the abode of the illusory energy of the Lord, Māyā-devī. The Brahma-saṁhitā explains that the Supreme Person is not at all attracted to His inferior energy, māyā, but when the material creation is used in the devotional service of the Lord, the Lord becomes attracted by the devotion and sacrifice of the living entities, and thus, indirectly, He is also the enjoyer of the material world.

We should not think that the pastimes of Lord Nārāyaṇa as the Supersoul and creator of this universe are on a lower spiritual level than Nārāyaṇa's eternal pastimes in the spiritual world. Were Lord Nārāyaṇa in any way to diminish His transcendental bliss and knowledge in His activities of material creation, He would have to be considered a conditioned soul, affected by contact with the illusory potency. But since Lord Nārāyaṇa is eternally aloof from the influence of māyā, His activities as the Supersoul of this universe are exactly on the same transcendental level as His activities in the spiritual world. All the activities of the Supreme Personality of Godhead are part and parcel of His unlimited spiritual pastimes.

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