पारतन्त्र्याद् वैसादृश्याद् द्वयोश्चेष्टैव चेष्टताम् ॥ ६ ॥
śaktayo yāḥ parasya tāḥ
dvayoś ceṣṭaiva ceṣṭatām
prāṇa — of the life air; ādīnām — and so on; viśva — of the universe; sṛjām — the creative factors; śaktayaḥ — potencies; yāḥ — which; parasya — belonging to the Supreme; tāḥ — they; pāratantryāt — because of being dependent; vaisādṛśyāt — because of being different; dvayoḥ — of both (living and nonliving manifestations in the material world); ceṣṭā — the activity; eva — merely; ceṣṭatām — of those entities (namely, prāṇa and so on) that are active.
Whatever potencies the life air and other elements of universal creation exhibit are actually all personal energies of the Supreme Lord, for both life and matter are subordinate to Him and dependent on Him, and also different from one another. Thus everything active in the material world is set into motion by the Supreme Lord.
Prāṇa is the vital air of life, a more subtle element than the ordinary air we can touch. And because prāṇa is so subtle — finer than the tangible manifestations of creation — it is sometimes considered the ultimate source of everything. But even subtle energies such as prāṇa depend for their functional capacity on the supremely subtle Paramātmā. That is the idea Vasudeva expresses here by the word pāratantryāt, “because of dependence.” Just as the velocity of an arrow is derived from the strength of the bowman who shoots it, so all subordinate energies depend on the power of the Supreme Lord.
Furthermore, even when various subtle causes have been empowered with their capacity to act, they cannot act in concert without the Supersoul’s coordinating direction. As Lord Brahmā states in his description of creation in the Second Canto of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam:
na śekur brahma-vittama
cobhayaṁ sasṛjur hy adaḥ
“O Nārada, best of the transcendentalists, the forms of the body cannot manifest as long as these created parts, namely the elements, senses, mind and modes of nature, are not assembled. Thus when all these became assembled by the force of the energy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, this universe certainly came into being by accepting both the primary and secondary causes of creation.” (Bhāg. 2.5.32-33)