na viyogas tayā saha
ātmanā ramayā reme
aramamāṇasya – (although) not enjoying directly; māyayā – with His external potency; na viyogaḥ – He is not fully detached; tayā saha – from her; ātmanā ramayā reme – He enjoys with His own internal potency Ramā-śakti; sisṛkṣayā – (but) on account of His desire to create the universes made of the five gross elements; tyakta-kālam – He enjoys with her in a secondary form by means of His glance by which His time-potency becomes enacted.
Mahā-Viṣṇu never consorts with the external energy (māyā). Still, it cannot be said that māyā is entirely separated or divorced from that aspect of the supreme reality. Mahā-Viṣṇu consorts with His own personal potency, Ramā-devī. Whenever He desires to create the universe, Bhagavān activates His time potency, and casts His glance toward the inert material energy.
Creating the universe is not the duty of Svayam Bhagavān, but the responsibility of the expansion of His expansion in the form of the puruṣa-avatāra. In this task, the relationship of the puruṣa-avatāra with the inert material energy is not direct, but indirect. Bhagavān’s direct relationship is with His personal energy, Ramā-devī. The external potency is not permanently manifest, because she enters into the puruṣa-avatāra at the time of the cosmic annihilation. The puruṣa-avatāra causes māyā to perform her duties of creation and so on by inspiring her through the agency of His time potency. That is the only contact He has with her; He has no direct contact with māyā in this operation. The contact is only indirect, as confirmed in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.85.31): “yasyāṁśāṁśāṁśa-bhāgena – the creation, maintenance and destruction of the mundane universe is accomplished by the puruṣa-avatāra, who is an expansion of an expansion of His expansion.”
A doubt may arise in this connection: The living entities become attached to māyā, so does Bhagavān also become engrossed in māyā in the same way, and cease to be the Lord? To resolve this doubt, it is said: “ātmanā ramayā reme – Bhagavān consorts with His own personal, intrinsic potency, Ramā-devī.” Therefore, Bhagavān is neither attached to māyā, nor subject to its control, unlike the living entities who are bound by the results of their karma. He is served by the external potency in the external quarter, and by the intrinsic, internal potency Śrī Ramā-devī in the internal realm. This is the purport of the verse in question.
It is also stated in the prayers of Brahmā found in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (3.9.23): “eṣa prapanna-varado ramayātma-śaktyā yad yat kariṣyati gṛhīta-guṇāvatāraḥ – O Bhagavān, You bestow benedictions upon the living entities who are unconditionally surrendered to You. In order to manifest varieties of pastimes in the universe composed of five gross elements, You descend along with Your internal potency.”
This is also supported by Śrī Arjuna’s statement in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (1.7.23): “māyāṁ vyūdasya cic-chaktyā kaivalye sthita ātmani – O Bhagavān, You are the transcendental controller and enjoyer, You are beyond the material nature, and You are the master of existence. Therefore You are immutable; that is, You are not attached to māyā. You keep the external potency far distant by the influence of Your intrinsic, internal potency, and You remain situated exclusively in Your own intrinsic nature.”
If this conclusion is accepted, then how does creation take place without being activated by Him? In answer to this question it is said, sisṛkṣayā: when Bhagavān desires to create, He activates His time potency, through which He agitates the material nature. Material existence takes place by the influence of this time potency, which is the light of Bhagavān’s bodily luster.
The constitutional nature of time has been described thus: “prabhāvaṁ pauruṣaṁ prāhuḥ kālam eke yato bhayam – all remain in a state of fear of this puruṣa’s influence in the form of time.” One can find a detailed analysis of this in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (3.5.23):
kāla-vṛttyā tu māyāyāṁ
vīryam ādhatta vīryavān
Bhagavān Viṣṇu is the puruṣa, who is beyond material sense perception and who is replete with spiritual potency. By His time potency, He agitates the material energy, which consists of the modes of material nature, and then sows the seed of the cause of creation in māyā through the medium of His partial manifestation.
The purport of this verse is that the first puruṣa-avatāra of Adhokṣaja Bhagavān is Kāraṇodakaśāyī Mahā-Viṣṇu, who glances toward māyā from a distance. By the influence of this glance, Bhagavān impregnates māyā with potency in the form of jīva-śakti, which is a semblance of the transcendental potency (cit-śakti). The living entities who, as a result of fruitive activities performed in ignorance, had merged into the unmanifest material nature at the time of the cosmic annihilation, are sent again into the field of fruitive activities at the time of creation and made to enter māyā.
The universe appears as a result of the combination of māyā-śakti and jīva-śakti. Furthermore, śāstra confirms that although jīva-śakti, who is the knower of the field of his own activities, is superior to the material energy, he is subordinate to māyā on account of his entering into māyā. In this context the word puruṣa indicates one who glances toward the predominated material nature. This is how the puruṣa has impregnated the unmanifest material nature with seed-potency in the form of the living entities.
Bhagavān Śrī Kṛṣṇa has no direct connection with the illusory potency; His contact with māyā is only indirect. In His form of Kāraṇodakaśāyī Mahā-Viṣṇu, the puruṣa-avatāra, He glances toward māyā. This form is a plenary portion of Mahā-Saṅkarṣaṇa, who resides in the seat of pastimes known as Vaikuṇṭha. Even in this act of glancing He has no association with māyā because, by His desire, Ramā-devī, the cit-śakti, carries out the function of His glance as His inseparable potency. The external potency renders service to the personal expansion of Bhagavān as He sports with Ramā-devī, so she acts in the capacity of Ramā-devī’s maidservant. The function of time is simply Ramā-devī’s power of cause and effect. In other words, only kāla-puruṣa, the personified time factor, unites with the inert material energy, with the result that the universe composed of five elements emerges. Thus that kāla-puruṣa, or the influence by which the cosmic creation, maintenance and destruction take place, is the wish of Bhagavān.