यदात्मनोऽङ्गमाक्रीडं भगवानुत्सिसृक्षति ॥ ८ ॥
sa kālo ’yam upasthitaḥ
yadātmano ’ṅgam ākrīḍaṁ
api — whether; deva-ṛṣiṇā — by the demigod-saint (Nārada); ādiṣṭaḥ — instructed; saḥ — that; kālaḥ — eternal time; ayam — this; upasthitaḥ — arrived; yadā — when; ātmanaḥ — of His own self; aṅgam — plenary portion; ākrīḍam — manifestation; bhagavān — the Personality of Godhead; utsisṛkṣati — is going to quit.
Is He going to quit His earthly pastimes, as Devarṣi Nārada indicated? Has that time already arrived?
As we have discussed many times, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa, has many plenary expansions, and each and every one of them, although equally powerful, executes different functions. In Bhagavad-gītā there are different statements by the Lord, and each of these statements is meant for different plenary portions or portions of the plenary portions. For example, Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the Lord, says in Bhagavad-gītā:
“Whenever and wherever there is a decline in religious practice, O descendant of Bharata, and a predominant rise of irreligion — at that time I descend Myself.” (Bg. 4.7)
“To deliver the faithful, to annihilate the miscreants and also to reestablish the principles of occupational duty, I appear in every age.” (Bg. 4.8)
“If I should cease to work, then all humanity would be misdirected. I would also be the cause of creating unwanted population, and I would thereby destroy the peace of all sentient beings.” (Bg. 3.24)
“Whatever action a great man performs, common men will follow. And whatever standards he sets by exemplary acts, all the world pursues.” (Bg. 3.21)
All the above statements by the Lord apply to different plenary portions of the Lord, namely His expansions such as Saṅkarṣaṇa, Vāsudeva, Pradyumna, Aniruddha and Nārāyaṇa. These are all He Himself in different transcendental expansions, and still the Lord as Śrī Kṛṣṇa functions in a different sphere of transcendental exchange with different grades of devotees. And yet Lord Kṛṣṇa as He is appears once every twenty-four hours of Brahmā’s time (or after a lapse of 8,640,000,000 solar years) in each and every universe, and all His transcendental pastimes are displayed in each and every universe in a routine spool. But in that routine spool the functions of Lord Kṛṣṇa, Lord Vāsudeva, etc., are complex problems for the layman. There is no difference between the Lord’s Self and the Lord’s transcendental body. The expansions execute differential activities. When the Lord, however, appears in His person as Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa, His other plenary portions also join in Him by His inconceivable potency called yogamāyā, and thus the Lord Kṛṣṇa of Vṛndāvana is different from the Lord Kṛṣṇa of Mathurā or the Lord Kṛṣṇa of Dvārakā. The virāṭ-rūpa of Lord Kṛṣṇa is also different from Him, by His inconceivable potency. The virāṭ-rūpa exhibited on the Battlefield of Kurukṣetra is the material conception of His form. Therefore it should be understood that when Lord Kṛṣṇa was apparently killed by the bow and arrow of the hunter, the Lord left His so-called material body in the material world. The Lord is kaivalya, and for Him there is no difference between matter and spirit because everything is created from Him. Therefore His quitting one sort of body or accepting another body does not mean that He is like the ordinary living being. All such activities are simultaneously one and different by His inconceivable potency. When Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira was lamenting the possibility of His disappearance, it was just in pursuance of a custom of lamenting the disappearance of a great friend, but factually the Lord never quits His transcendental body, as is misconceived by less intelligent persons. Such less intelligent persons have been condemned by the Lord Himself in Bhagavad-gītā, and they are known as the mūḍhas. That the Lord left His body means that He left again His plenary portions in the respective dhāmas (transcendental abodes), as He left His virāṭ-rūpa in the material world.