नैतत्स्वरूपं भवतोऽसौ पदार्थ
भेदग्रहै: पुरुषो यावदीक्षेत् ।
ज्ञानस्य चार्थस्य गुणस्य चाश्रयो
मायामयाद्वयतिरिक्तो मतस्त्वम् ॥ ३१ ॥
naitat svarūpaṁ bhavato ’sau padārtha-
bheda-grahaiḥ puruṣo yāvad īkṣet
jñānasya cārthasya guṇasya cāśrayo
māyāmayād vyatirikto matas tvam
brahmā uvāca — Lord Brahmā said; na — not; etat — this; svarūpam — eternal form; bhavataḥ — Your; asau — that other; pada-artha — knowledge; bheda — different; grahaiḥ — by the acquiring; puruṣaḥ — person; yāvat — as long as; īkṣet — wants to see; jñānasya — of knowledge; ca — also; arthasya — of the objective; guṇasya — of the instruments of knowledge; ca — also; āśrayaḥ — the basis; māyā-mayāt — from being made of material energy; vyatiriktaḥ — distinct; mataḥ — regarded; tvam — You.
Lord Brahmā said: My dear Lord, Your personality and eternal form cannot be understood by any person who is trying to know You through the different processes of acquiring knowledge. Your position is always transcendental to the material creation, whereas the empiric attempt to understand You is material, as are its objectives and instruments.
It is said that the transcendental name, qualities, activities, paraphernalia, etc., of the Supreme Personality of Godhead cannot be understood with our material senses. The attempt of the empiric philosophers to understand the Absolute Truth by speculation is always futile because their process of understanding, their objective and the instruments by which they try to understand the Absolute Truth are all material. The Lord is aprākṛta, beyond the creation of the material world. This fact is also accepted by the great impersonalist Śaṅkarācārya: nārāyaṇaḥ paro ’vyaktād aṇḍam avyakta-sambhavam. Avyakta, or the original material cause, is beyond this material manifestation and is the cause of the material world. Because Nārāyaṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is beyond the material world, one cannot speculate upon Him by any material method. One has to understand the Supreme Personality of Godhead simply by the transcendental method of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. This is confirmed in Bhagavad-gītā (18.55). Bhaktyā mām abhijānāti: only by devotional service can one understand the transcendental form of the Lord. The difference between the impersonalists and the personalists is that the impersonalists, limited by their speculative processes, cannot even approach the Supreme Personality of Godhead, whereas the devotees please the Supreme Personality of Godhead through His transcendental loving service. Sevonmukhe hi: due to the service attitude of the devotee, the Lord is revealed to him. The Supreme Lord cannot be understood by materialistic persons even though He is present before them. In Bhagavad-gītā, Lord Kṛṣṇa therefore condemns such materialists as mūḍhas. Mūḍha means “rascal.” It is said in the Gītā, “Only rascals think of Lord Kṛṣṇa as an ordinary person. They do not know what Lord Kṛṣṇa’s position is or what His transcendental potencies are.” Unaware of His transcendental potencies, the impersonalists deride the person of Lord Kṛṣṇa, whereas the devotees, by dint of their service attitude, can understand Him as the Personality of Godhead. In the Tenth Chapter of Bhagavad-gītā, Arjuna also confirmed that it is very difficult to understand the personality of the Lord.