Vidura wanted to know how actions and traits arose in the Supreme Lord who inherently is devoid of action and traits.
In a very pleasing manner coupled with humility Vidura continued, “Children enthusiastically out of their free will play with toys. Together with their playmates and with toys scattered all around them, they are totally immersed in the game. The Lord on the other hand is ever-content. When nothing apart from him exists, how can it be said that he wants to play and hence put in efforts in that direction? To say that attributes arose in Him and that He created this world solely for his playful enjoyments is not logical. Therefore please clear this doubt of mine.
You had said that using His illusionary energy comprising of the trigunas as a tool, the Supreme Lord created this universe. With that same energy He sustains it and once again absorbs it back into Himself. This Lord, who is Pure Consciousness, is beyond our understanding. Such Pure Consciousness can have no deficiency either inherently or due to circumstance, place or time. How could such Lord associate with spiritual ignorance or illusion?
Bhagavān eka evaiṣa sarva-kṣetreṣv avasthitaḥ
The Supreme Lord is non-dual. There is absolutely no object different from Him or equal to Him. Such a Lord resides within every heart as the ruler. What is the reason for this Lord, who is the ruler within every heart, to distance himself from His inherent blissful nature and get entangled in sorrows and actions?
O learned great saint! With your answers, please pacify my mind which having got entangled in difficulties is submerged in sorrows. Please dispel my grief”- said Vidura.
Hearing these questions put forth by Vidura, Maharishi Maitreya who was devoid of ahamkāra (sense of I-ness), prayed to the Lord and then with a tender smile replied, “O Vidura! The Supreme Lord, who is eternally free, appears as the bound individual entangled in sufferings. Please understand that this mutually exclusive situation is purely His illusion.
Just because a person sees his head being cut-off during a dream, it is not true. Likewise, even though the individual entity is not bound he considers himself to be bound. As such he sees himself as different from his original form. Such thinking itself is spiritual ignorance (ajnana).
Although the reflection of the Moon seen in the pond appears to move, in reality it is water that moves and not the Moon. Likewise although the Self is unconnected with the attributes of the body, senses and other non-Self objects, it appears as if they exist in it.
Sa vai nivṛtti-dharmeṇa vāsudevānukampayā
Bhagavad-bhakti-yogena tirodhatte śanair iha
The person who, instead of walking on the path of worldly expansion (pravṛtti marga), decides to walk on the path of return (nivrtti marga) and significantly acquires the Yoga called ‘intense devotion towards Lord’ and through it obtains the grace of Lord Vasudeva, will step by step lose his spiritual ignorance and will attain Self-knowledge.
Spiritual ignorance (avidya), egoism (sense of I-ness), attachment (rāga), hatred (dweśa) and the desire to continue living (abhiniveśa, fear of death) are five kinds of afflictions that taint the human mind. At that moment when the person withdraws the senses (indriyas) from their worldly bondages and together with the mind merges them into the Supreme Lord, these afflictions will be washed away.
Aśeṣa-saṅkleśa-śamaṁ vidhatte guṇānuvāda-śravaṇaṁ murāreḥ
Kutah punas tac-caraṇāravinda- parāga-sevā-ratir ātma-labdhā
By singing the glories of the Supreme Lord Srihari or by listening to them, afflictions and impurities are totally washed away”.
Hearing this, Vidura further questioned, “O great saint! Like a sharp sword your answers have shred all my doubts. My mind has grasped matters pertaining to the Supreme Lord’s independence; individual being’s dependence; the imaginary bondages and the eternal-true liberation. O great saint! You have explained the subject wonderfully.
The Supreme Lord’s illusory power is responsible for the afflictions that taint human mind. Spiritual ignorance is the cause behind perceiving a non-existing world as existing. Only two categories of people are happy in this world – absolute fools and the Self-realized wise beings. All other beings that are trapped between these two states eternally grieve and suffer. This is my opinion.
That which is non-Self (anatma) can never be true and permanent. O Mahatma! Holding on to your feet I am obtaining the spiritual knowledge. Through this I will discard my spiritual ignorance. By serving your lotus feet, O Guru, I will develop intense love towards the lotus feet of Lord Srihari. Through this nectarous love towards Him, my afflictions will be driven away.
It is through the help of Mahatmas that one can reach Srihari. Through trivial penance performed one cannot obtain the chance to serve the holy feet of great saints. It is impossible. In the precincts of great saints, glories of the Supreme Lord Srihari are eternally sung.
At the beginning of creation, the Supreme Lord who pervades all the principles of creation, created the Mahat tattva (cosmic intelligence), the five basic elements and other principles. Through their fractional aspects He caused the Universal form to manifest. Thereafter, He entered this Universal form as intelligence and also resided within it.
This Universal Lord is the primordial being (ādi Puruśa). Mahatmas state that He has limitless legs, hands, heads, thighs etc. All the various vast universes exist within Him. The senses, sound and other qualities of these senses, their presiding deities as well as the 10 types of prāṇā (life-force) also exist within Him. Alphabets also emerged from Him.
In this manner You had kindly explained to me the Universal form. Now please be compassionate to explain His glories.
Innumerable forms of living beings together with their innumerably vast, extended families exist within this gigantic Universal Lord. This entire creation is filled with living beings. This Universal Lord is the leader for all Prajapatis such as Marichi and others.
How, when and in which order did this Lord create the Prajapatis? How did He create the Lords of the various periods known as Manvantaras? How did the smaller periods of creation emerge?”