पुनस्तत्प्रतिसङ्क्रामे यच्छिष्येत तदेव सत् ॥ १६ ॥
sṛjyāt sṛjyaṁ yad anviyāt
yac chiṣyeta tad eva sat
ādau — in the causal stage; ante — in the termination of the causal function; ca — also; madhye — in the phase of maintenance; ca — also; sṛjyāt — from one production; sṛjyam — to another production; yat — which; anviyāt — accompanies; punaḥ — again; tat — of all material phases; pratisaṅkrāme — in the annihilation; yat — which; śiṣyeta — remains; tat — that; eva — indeed; sat — the one eternal.
Commencement, termination and maintenance are the stages of material causation. That which consistently accompanies all these material phases from one creation to another and remains alone when all material phases are annihilated is the one eternal.
The Lord here reiterates that the one Supreme Personality of Godhead is the basis of unlimited material variety. Material activity is a chain of cause-and-effect relationships by which innumerable objects are produced. A particular material effect is converted into a subsequent cause, and when the causal phase is terminated, the effect disappears. Fire causes firewood to burn to ashes, and when the causal function of fire is finished, fire itself, which was the effect of a previous cause, is also terminated. The simple fact is that all material objects are created, maintained and ultimately annihilated by the supreme potency of the Lord. And when the entire field of material cause and effect is withdrawn, so that all cause-effect relationships vanish, the Personality of Godhead remains in His own abode. Therefore, although innumerable objects may function as causes, they are not the ultimate or supreme cause. Only the Personality of Godhead is the absolute cause. Similarly, although material things may exist, they do not always exist. The Personality of Godhead alone has absolute existence. By the process of jñāna, or knowledge, one should understand the supreme position of the Lord.