nābhyāṁ padmaṁ harer abhūt
tatra brahmābhavad bhūyaś
evam – thus (when the first puruṣa-avatāra Kāraṇodakaśāyī Viṣṇu entered within the universe through the form of Garbhodakaśāyī Viṣṇu, the second puruṣa-avatāra); nābhyām – within the navel; hareḥ – of Garbhodakaśāyī Viṣṇu; padmam – a lotus flower; abhūt – arose; sarva-ātma-sambandham – which had the form of the abode for the collective living entities (i.e. it contained the fourteen planetary systems within it. It was the source of Hiraṇyagarbha Brahmā, who had the bodily self-conception of the personified aggregate jīvātmās); tatra bhūyaḥ – then later (within this lotus); brahmā – Brahmā; catur-mukhaḥ – the four-headed; catur-vedī – knower of the four Vedas; abhavat – was born.
The lotus flower that emerged from the area of Śrī Viṣṇu’s navel contained the collective bodily conception of all living entities. The four-headed Brahmā, who is the knower of the four Vedas, was manifested from that lotus.
Then the lotus flower that was the resting place of all living entities emerged from the puruṣa who had entered His hidden abode. Thereafter Hiraṇyagarbha Brahmā, the possessor of the collective bodily identification, manifested. After that, four-headed Brahmā, the knower of the four Vedas, emerged as the embodiment of enjoyment from Hiraṇyagarbha. The four-headed Brahmā appeared from the lotus that came from the area of Śrī Hari’s navel, and whose flower and stem are the resting place of the fourteen planetary systems. Here, “embodiment of enjoyment” means that Brahmā’s present four-headed body is a repository of material enjoyment, made according to the impressions of desires to enjoy the fruits of his actions from the previous creation. Because of his previous impressions, he desired to create the material world as soon as he appeared.
This lotus flower, which is the resting place of the aggregate of the living entities, was manifested from the puruṣa who had entered His hidden abode, namely the egg-shaped universe. Four-headed Brahmā, who is the embodiment of enjoyment, took birth from Hiraṇyagarbha Brahmā, the personification of the collective bodily conception. Four-headed Brahmā is known as a delegated authority. Just as Brahmā is understood to be a delegated authority, it is similarly understood that he is a part and parcel of Kṛṣṇa in the category of His separated expansions.