संहृत्य कालकलया कल्पान्त इदमीश्वर: ।
एक एवाद्वितीयोऽभूदात्माधारोऽखिलाश्रय: ॥ १६ ॥
kalpānta idam īśvaraḥ
eka evādvitīyo ’bhūd
ekaḥ — alone; nārāyaṇaḥ — the Supreme Personality of Godhead; devaḥ — God; pūrva — previously; sṛṣṭam — created; sva-māyayā — by His own potency; saṁhṛtya — withdrawing within Himself; kāla — of time; kalayā — by the portion; kalpa-ante — at the time of annihilation; idam — this universe; īśvaraḥ — the supreme controller; ekaḥ — alone; eva — indeed; advitīyaḥ — without a second; abhūt — became; ātma-ādhāraḥ — one whose self is the reservoir and resting place of everything; akhila — of all potencies; āśrayaḥ — the reservoir.
The Lord of the universe, Nārāyaṇa, is the worshipable God of all living entities. Without extraneous assistance, the Lord creates this universe by His own potency, and at the time of annihilation the Lord destroys the universe through His personal expansion of time and withdraws all of the cosmos, including all the conditioned living entities, within Himself. Thus, His unlimited Self is the shelter and reservoir of all potencies. The subtle pradhāna, the basis of all cosmic manifestation, is conserved within the Lord and is in this way not different from Him. In the aftermath of annihilation the Lord stands alone.
As will be explained in verse 21 of this chapter, the Lord’s independent creation and annihilation of the universe can be compared to the spider’s creating and withdrawing his web. The word eka, or “one alone,” is mentioned twice in this verse to emphasize that there is only one Supreme Personality of Godhead and that all universal affairs, as well as spiritual pastimes, are conducted by His potency alone. According to Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura, this verse refers to Kāraṇārṇavaśāyī Viṣṇu, or Mahā-Viṣṇu lying in the Causal Ocean. The words ātmādhāra and akhilāśraya both indicate that Nārāyaṇa is the reservoir or shelter of all existence. Ātmādhāra indicates that the Lord’s personal body is the shelter of everything. Mahā-Viṣṇu is a plenary portion of Lord Kṛṣṇa, the original Supreme Personality of Godhead, from whose body expand the innumerable potencies that manifest the material and spiritual worlds. According to the Brahma-saṁhitā these innumerable worlds rest within the brahmajyoti, or spiritual effulgence, also emanating from the Lord’s body. Thus Kṛṣṇa is īśvara, the supreme controller.