स्थितिसर्गनिरोधेषु गृहीता मायया विभो: ॥ १८ ॥
nirguṇasya guṇās trayaḥ
gṛhītā māyayā vibhoḥ
sattvam — the mode of goodness; rajaḥ — the mode of passion; tamaḥ — the mode of ignorance; iti — all these; nirguṇasya — of the Transcendence; guṇāḥ trayaḥ — are three qualities; sthiti — maintenance; sarga — creation; nirodheṣu — in destruction; gṛhītāḥ — accepted; māyayā — by the external energy; vibhoḥ — of the Supreme.
The Supreme Lord is pure, spiritual form, transcendental to all material qualities, yet for the sake of the creation of the material world and its maintenance and annihilation, He accepts through His external energy the material modes of nature called goodness, passion and ignorance.
The Supreme Lord is the master of the external energy manifested by the three material modes, namely goodness, passion and ignorance, and as master of this energy He is ever unaffected by the influence of such bewildering energy. The living entities, the jīvas, however, are affected by or susceptible to being influenced by such modes of material nature — that is the difference between the Lord and the living entities. The living entities are subjected by those qualities, although originally the living entities are qualitatively one with the Lord. In other words, the material modes of nature, being products of the energy of the Lord, are certainly connected with the Lord, but the connection is just like that between the master and the servants. The Supreme Lord is the controller of the material energy, whereas the living entities, who are entangled in the material world, are neither masters nor controllers. Rather, they become subordinate to or controlled by such energy. Factually the Lord is eternally manifested by His internal potency or spiritual energy just like the sun and its rays in the clear sky, but at times He creates the material energy, as the sun creates a cloud in the clear sky. As the sun is ever increasingly unaffected by a spot of cloud, so also the unlimited Lord is unaffected by the spot of material energy manifested at times in the unlimited span of the Lord’s rays of brahmajyoti.