Deciding that tapas (penance) alone would bring about his prosperity, Brahma sat down in Padmasana and began intense penance. Lord Brahma possesses infinite knowledge. Among ascetics, he is the greatest! He now conquered his mind and life-force. Controlling and tying down his 10 senses (indriyas), with intense concentration he meditated for a period of 1000 divine years.
Due to the intensity of his penance, all the planes of existence (lokas) began to illumine brightly. The knowledge of creation dawned upon him.
In this manner when Brahma worshipped Mahavishnu through penance, his mind turned absolutely pure. All mental confusions were washed away. He was now devoid of fear. Now Lord Mahavishnu blessed him with the vision of Vaikunṭha, His residence and the supreme plane which is glorified by all those Devatas who have attained Self-realization. There is no other plane greater than Vaikunṭha!
In Vaikunṭha neither traits of passion (rajo), traits of ignorance (tamo) nor any combination amongst them, nor traits of goodness (sattva) have any entry. Time cannot influence this supreme plane called Vaikunṭha. It is totally devoid of illusion. Likes-dislikes, sorrows- joys and other dualities have no scope for existence here. Devatas and demons worship the attendants of Srihari who, with their bluish-black complexion, resemble Srihari and illumine divinely. With their lotus-like eyes, golden silken clothing, tender bodies, handsome appearances, with their four arms, bodies fully adorned with ornaments, brightly shining ear-rings, crowns and garlands, these attendants dazzle brightly and glow like rubies, sapphire and lotus flowers.
Vaikunṭha is replete with airplanes of Mahatmas living there which illumine brightly. The divine damsels seated in these airplanes also glow radiantly due to their beauty. This supreme luminous planet Vaikunṭha is like the bright space which is replete with countless shining stars and heavy rain-bearing clouds.
Here Goddess Mahalakshmi, the Goddess of fortune, together with her assistants serves the lotus feet of Lord Mahavishnu, who is supremely glorified by the Vedas. At other times, this Goddess seated on a swing and accompanied by parrot, cuckoo and honeybee, who are the assistants of spring (vasanta), is engaged in rendering the glories of that Supreme Lord Srihari.
In Vaikunṭha, Brahma had the darshan of Srihari, the omnipotent Lord, who is the protector of all devotees. He is the husband of Lakshmi. He is the lord of all Yagnas. He is the Lord of the universe. He who is served by supreme devotees such as Nanda, Sunanda, Prabala and Arhaṇa, is eternally engaged in protecting His devotees. His gaze eternally showers bliss. His smiling face always appears pleasant. He has four powerful arms. He wears a crown, is draped in yellow silken garments and wears earrings. In His chest, Goddess Lakshmi illumines. He was seated on a brightly shining throne. Twenty-five principles (tattvas) were serving Him. Aishwarya and other 5 opulences inherently shine in Him. He illumines in his inherent existence-knowledge-bliss (Sacchidānanda) state, is immersed totally in his inherent Self-bliss and is engaged in regulating the worlds.
When Brahma saw such Supreme Lord, his heart overflowed with happiness and bliss. Tears of joy flowed profusely from his eyes. His body experienced horripilation. He offered obeisance to the lotus feet of that Lord, who could be understood by the most supreme saints of the highest cade (Paramahamsa) purely due to the knowledge attained through giving up actions in totality (sarva karma sanyasa).
With the intent of causing happiness to him who had come for his darshan, who was blissful, who had attained the eligibility for proceeding ahead with creation and who was extremely dear to him, Srihari with a pleasant charming smile gently touched Brahma and addressing him said,
Śri bhagavāna uvāca:
Tvayāhaṁ toṣitaḥ samyagveda-garbha sisṛkṣayā
Ciraṁ bhṛtena tapasā dustoṣaḥ kūṭa-yoginām
O Brahma, you are full of the knowledge of the Vedas. I am deeply satisfied with the intense penance performed by you for a very long period of time with the desire for creation. Pretentious Yogis cannot satisfy me with their pretentious penance and austerities.
O Brahma! I am the one who bestows supreme boons. Please seek any boon. I shall grant it. Obtaining My vision is the ultimate goal for every type of spiritual austerity. You have obtained it. This vision of Vaikunṭha which you have now obtained is nearly impossible for anyone to obtain. Due to My intention alone, you could hear the word ‘tapa’. Holding on to that word you have undertaken rigorous austerities.
Pratyādiṣṭaṁ mayā tatra tvayi karma-vimohite
Tapo me hṛdayaṁ sākṣād ātmāhaṁ tapaso ‘nagha
O sinless Brahma! At that point of time you entertained many uncertainties with respect to method of creation. I commanded you to undertake penance. Penance (tapas) is my heart. Penance is supremely dear to me. Penance is my form.
Sṛjāmi tapasaivedaṁ grasāmi tapasā punaḥ
Bibharmi tapasā viśvaṁ vīryaṁ me duścaraṁ tapaḥ
I create this entire universe purely through penance. Again through the medium of penance I absorb it back. It is through penance that I support this creation. Therefore this penance, which is performed with utmost difficulty, is my energy.
Hearing these words uttered by Lord Srihari, Brahma enquired, “O Supreme Lord! Existing as the inner witness within the intellect (buddhi) of every being and existing within them in the form of Self-knowledge that knows no bounds, You understand the hidden desires of everyone. O Lord! Nevertheless I still beseech you to fulfill my desire, which arises out of delusion (moha). O Lord, although you are inherently formless, I seek to understand your gross and subtle forms.
O husband of Lakshmi! Just as a spider spins a web and once again pulls it back into itself, You, who possess profound energy have manifested in the form of the world”.