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ŚB 10.85.5


एतन्नानाविधं विश्वमात्मसृष्टमधोक्षज ।
आत्मनानुप्रविश्यात्मन् प्राणो जीवो बिभर्ष्यज ॥ ५ ॥


etan nānā-vidhaṁ viśvam
ātma-sṛṣṭam adhokṣaja
prāṇo jīvo bibharṣy aja


etat — this; nānā-vidham — variegated; viśvam — universe; ātma — from Yourself; sṛṣṭam — created; adhokṣaja — O transcendental Lord; ātmanā — in Your manifestation (as the Paramātmā); anupraviśya — entering within; ātman — O Supreme Soul; prāṇaḥ — the principle of vitality; jīvaḥ — and the principle of consciousness; bibharṣi — You maintain; aja — O unborn one.


O transcendental Lord, from Yourself You created this entire variegated universe, and then You entered within it in Your personal form as the Supersoul. In this way, O unborn Supreme Soul, as the life force and consciousness of everyone, You maintain the creation.


When creating the material universe, the Lord expands Himself as the Paramātmā, or Supersoul, and accepts the creation as His universal body. No material body has any reason for existing without some jīva soul desiring it for his enjoyment, and no jīva can independently maintain a body without the Paramātmā accompanying him there for guidance. The Vaiṣṇava ācāryas, in their commentaries on the Second Canto of Śrīmad Bhāgavatam, explain that even before Brahmā is born from the lotus navel of Garbhodakaśāyī Viṣṇu, he first accepts the whole material energy, the mahat-tattva, as his body. Thus Brahmā is the jīva embodied by the universe, and Viṣṇu is the Paramātmā who joins him. Brahmā must organize the specific manifestations of creation, but he cannot begin to do so until Lord Viṣṇu expands Himself again into the subtle energy of action — which is the sūtra-tattva, or original vital air — and also into the creative energy of consciousness, buddhi-tattva.