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ŚB 10.16.46


नमो गुणप्रदीपाय गुणात्मच्छादनाय च ।
गुणवृत्त्युपलक्ष्याय गुणद्रष्ट्रे स्वसंविदे ॥ ४६ ॥


namo guṇa-pradīpāya
guṇātma-cchādanāya ca
guṇa-draṣṭre sva-saṁvide


namaḥ — obeisances; guṇa-pradīpāya — to Him who manifests various qualities; guṇa — by the material modes; ātma — Himself; chādanāya — who disguises; ca — and; guṇa — of the modes; vṛtti — by the functioning; upalakṣyāya — who can be ascertained; guṇa-draṣṭre — to the separate witness of the material modes; sva — to His own devotees; saṁvide — who is known.


Obeisances to You, O Lord, who manifest varieties of material and spiritual qualities. You disguise Yourself with the material qualities, and yet the functioning of those same material qualities ultimately reveals Your existence. You stand apart from the material qualities as a witness and can be fully known only by Your devotees.


The word guṇa conveys various meanings: the three basic qualities of material nature, i.e., goodness, passion and ignorance; excellent qualities one manifests because of piety and spiritual achievement; or the internal senses, such as the mind and intelligence. The word pradīpāya means “unto Him who manifests or illumines.” Thus here the Nāgapatnīs are addressing the Supreme Lord as “He who manifests all material and spiritual qualities and who causes the living entities to be conscious.” One can see the Lord by going beyond the screen of material nature, and therefore He is called guṇātma-cchādanāya. If one methodically and intelligently studies the functioning of the material qualities, he will ultimately conclude that there is a Supreme Personality of Godhead and that He exhibits His illusory potency to bewilder those who do not surrender unto Him.

The Lord is never affected by the modes of nature, being their witness, and thus He is called guṇa-draṣṭre. The word sva indicates “one’s own,” and thus sva-saṁvide means that Lord Kṛṣṇa can be known only by His own people, the devotees, and also that ultimately only the Lord can know Himself perfectly. Therefore we should take Lord Kṛṣṇa’s instructions in Bhagavad-gītā and immediately come to the right conclusion: full surrender to the Lord’s lotus feet. Thus we should humbly glorify the Lord, following the example of the Nāgapatnīs.