yatha mahanti bhutani
tatha tesu na tesv aham
Synonyms: yatha — just as; mahanti — the universal; bhutani — elements; bhutesu ucca-avacesu — in the minute and gigantic; anu — after; pravistani — entered; apravistani — not entered; tatha — so; tesu — in them; na — not;tesu — in them; aham — Myself.
Translation: O Brahma, please know that the universal elements enter into the cosmos and at the same time do not enter into the cosmos; similarly, I Myself also exist within everything created, and at the same time I am outside of everything.
The great elements of material creation, namely earth, water, fire, air and ether, all enter into the body of all manifested entities the seas, mountains, aquatics, plants, reptiles, birds, beasts, human beings, demigods and everyone materially manifested — and at the same time such elements are differently situated. In the developed stage of consciousness, the human being can study both physiological and physical science, but the basic principles of such sciences are nothing but the material elements and nothing more. The body of the human being and the body of the mountain, as also the bodies of the demigods, including Brahma, are all of the same ingredients earth, water, etc. and at the same time the elements are beyond the body. The elements were created first, and therefore they entered into the bodily construction later, but in both circumstances they entered the cosmos and also did not enter. Similarly, the Supreme Lord, by His different energies, namely the internal and external, is within everything in the manifested cosmos, and at the same time He is outside of everything, situated in the kingdom of God (Vaikunthaloka), as described before. This is very nicely stated in the Brahma-samhita (5.37) as follows:
tabhir ya eva nija-rupataya kalabhih
goloka eva nivasaty akhilatma-bhuto
govindam adi-purusam tam aham bhajami
“I worship the Personality of Godhead, Govinda, who, by expansion of His internal potency of transcendental existence, knowledge and bliss, enjoys in His own and expanded forms. Simultaneously He enters into every atom of the creation.”
This expansion of His plenary parts is also more definitely explained in the same Brahma-samhita (5.35) as follows:
eko ’py asau racayitum jagad-anda-kotim
yac-chaktir asti jagad-anda-caya yad-antah
govindam adi-purusam tam aham bhajami
“I worship the Personality of Godhead, Govinda, who, by one of His plenary portions, enters into the existence of every universe and every particle of the atoms and thus unlimitedly manifests His infinite energy all over the material creation.”
The impersonalists can imagine or even perceive that the Supreme Brahman is thus all-pervading, and therefore they conclude that there is no possibility of His personal form. Herein lies the mystery of His transcendental knowledge. This mystery is transcendental love of Godhead, and one who is surcharged with such transcendental love of Godhead can without difficulty see the Personality of Godhead in every atom and every movable or immovable object. And at the same time he can see the Personality of Godhead in His own abode, Goloka, enjoying eternal pastimes with His eternal associates, who are also expansions of His transcendental existence. This vision is the real mystery of spiritual knowledge, as stated by the Lord in the beginning (sarahasyam tad-angam ca). This mystery is the most confidential part of the knowledge of the Supreme, and it is impossible for the mental speculators to discover by dint of intellectual gymnastics. The mystery can be revealed through the process recommended by Brahmaji in his Brahma-samhita (5.38) as follows:
santah sadaiva hrdayesu vilokayanti
yam syamasundaram acintya-guna-svarupam
govindam adi-purusam tam aham bhajami
“I worship the original Personality of Godhead, Govinda, whom the pure devotees, their eyes smeared with the ointment of love of Godhead, always observe within their hearts. This Govinda, the original Personality of Godhead, is Syamasundara with all transcendental qualities.”
Therefore, although He is present in every atom, the Supreme Personality of Godhead may not be visible to the dry speculators; still the mystery is unfolded before the eyes of the pure devotees because their eyes are anointed with love of Godhead. And this love of Godhead can be attained only by the practice of transcendental loving service of the Lord, and nothing else. The vision of the devotees is not ordinary; it is purified by the process of devotional service. In other words, as the universal elements are both within and without, similarly the Lord’s name, form, quality, pastimes, entourage, etc., as they are described in the revealed scriptures or as performed in the Vaikunthalokas, far, far beyond the material cosmic manifestation, are factually being televised in the heart of the devotee. The man with a poor fund of knowledge cannot understand, although by material science one can see things far away by means of television. Factually, the spiritually developed person is able to have the television of the kingdom of God always reflected within his heart. That is the mystery of knowledge of the Personality of Godhead.
The Lord can award anyone and everyone liberation (mukti) from the bondage of material existence, yet He rarely awards the privilege of love of Godhead, as confirmed by Narada (muktim dadhati karhicit sma na bhakti-yogam). This transcendental devotional service of the Lord is so wonderful that the occupation keeps the deserving devotee always rapt in psychological activities, without deviation from the absolute touch. Thus love of Godhead, developed in the heart of the devotee, is a great mystery. Brahmaji previously told Narada that the desires of Brahmaji are never unfulfilled because he is always absorbed in the transcendental loving service of the Lord; nor has he any desire in his heart save and except the transcendental service of the Lord. That is the beauty and mystery of the process of bhakti-yoga. As the Lord’s desire is infallible because He is acyuta, similarly the desires of the devotees in the transcendental service of the Lord are also acyuta, infallible. This is very difficult, however, for the layman to understand without knowledge of the mystery of devotional service, as it is very difficult to know the potency of touchstone. As touchstone is rarely found, a pure devotee of the Lord is also rarely to be seen, even amongst millions of liberated souls (kotisv api mahamune). Out of all kinds of perfections attained by the process of knowledge, yoga perfection in devotional service is the highest of all and the most mysterious also, even more mysterious than the eight kinds of mystic perfection attained by the process of yogic performances. In theBhagavad-gita (18.64) the Lord therefore advised Arjuna about this bhakti-yoga:
srnu me paramam vacah
“Just hear from Me again about the most confidential part of the instructions in Bhagavad-gita.” The same was confirmed by Brahmaji to Narada in the following words:
idam bhagavatam nama
yan me bhagavatoditam
sangraho ’yam vibhutinam
tvam etad vipulikuru
Brahmaji said to Narada, “Whatever I have spoken to you about the Bhagavatam was explained to me by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and I am advising you to expand these topics nicely so that people may easily understand the mysterious bhakti-yoga by transcendental loving service to the Lord.” It is to be noted here that the mystery of bhakti-yoga was disclosed to Brahmaji by the Lord Himself. Brahmaji explained the same mystery to Narada, Narada explained it to Vyasa, Vyasa explained it to Sukadeva Gosvami, and that same knowledge is coming down in the unalloyed chain of disciplic succession. If one is fortunate enough to have received the knowledge in the transcendental disciplic succession, surely he will have the chance to understand the mystery of the Lord and that of the Srimad-Bhagavatam, the sound incarnation of the Lord.