nasya karmani janmadau
mayayaropitam hi tat
Translation by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada:
There is no direct engineering by the Lord for the creation and destruction of the material world. What is described in the Vedas about His direct interference is simply to counteract the idea that material nature is the creator.
Purport by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada:
The Vedic direction for the creation, maintenance and destruction of the material world is this: yato va imani bhutani jayante; yena jatani jivanti; yat prayanty abhisamvisanti — i.e., everything is created by Brahman, after creation everything is maintained by Brahman, and after annihilation everything is conserved in Brahman. Gross materialists without any knowledge of Brahman, Paramatma or Bhagavan conclude material nature to be the ultimate cause of the material manifestation, and the modern scientist also shares this view that the material nature is the ultimate cause of all the manifestations of the material world. This view is refuted by all Vedic literature. The Vedanta philosophy mentions that Brahman is the fountainhead of all creation, maintenance and destruction, and Srimad-Bhagavatam, the natural commentation on the Vedanta philosophy, says, janmady asya yato ’nvayad itaratas carthesv abhijñah svarat, etc.
Inert matter is undoubtedly energy with potential to interact, but it has no initiative of its own. Srimad-Bhagavatam therefore comments on the aphorism janmady asya by saying abhijñah and svarat, i.e., the Supreme Brahman is not inert matter, but He is supreme consciousness and is independent. Therefore inert matter cannot be the ultimate cause of the creation, maintenance and destruction of the material world. Superficially material nature appears to be the cause of creation, maintenance and destruction, but material nature is set into motion for creation by the supreme conscious being, the Personality of Godhead. He is the background of all creation, maintenance and destruction, and this is confirmed in the Bhagavad-gita (9.10):
The material nature is one of the energies of the Lord, and she can work under the direction of the Lord (adhyaksena). When the Lord throws His transcendental glance over the material nature, then only can the material nature act, as a father contacts the mother, who is then able to conceive a child. Although it appears to the layman that the mother gives birth to the child, the experienced man knows that the father gives birth to the child. The material nature therefore produces the moving and standing manifestations of the material world after being contacted by the supreme father, and not independently. Considering material nature to be the cause of creation, maintenance, etc., is called “the logic of nipples on the neck of a goat.” The Caitanya-caritamrta by Srila Krsnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami describes this logic of aja-gala-stana-nyaya as follows (as explained by His Divine Grace Sri Srimad Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Maharaja): “The material nature, as the material cause, is known as pradhana, and as the efficient cause is known as maya. But since it is inert matter, it is not the remote cause of creation.” Kaviraja Gosvami states as follows:
ataeva krsna mula-jagat-karana
prakrti — karana yaiche aja-gala-stana
(Cc. Adi 5.61)
Because Karanarnavasayi Visnu is a plenary expansion of Krsna, it is He who electrifies the matter to put it in motion. The example of electrification is quite appropriate. A piece of iron is certainly not fire, but when the iron is made red-hot, certainly it has the quality of fire through its burning capacity. Matter is compared to the piece of iron, and it is electrified or made red-hot by the glance or manipulation of the supreme consciousness of Visnu. Only by such electrification is the energy of matter displayed in various actions and reactions. Therefore the inert matter is neither efficient nor the material cause of the cosmic manifestation. Sri Kapiladeva has said:
dhumad vapi sva-sambhavat
yathagnih prthag ulmukat
The original fire, its flame, its sparks and its smoke are all one, for fire is still fire yet is different from the flame, flame is different from sparks, and sparks are different from the smoke. In every one of them, namely in the flames, in the sparks and in the smoke, the integrity of fire is present, yet all of them are differently situated with different positions. The cosmic manifestation is compared to the smoke because when smoke passes over the sky so many forms appear, resembling many known and unknown manifestations. The sparks are compared to living entities, and the flames are compared to material nature (pradhana). One must know that each and every one of them is effective simply because of being empowered by the quality of the original fire. Therefore all of them, namely the material nature, the cosmic manifestation and the living entities, are but different energies of the Lord (fire). Therefore those who accept the material nature as the cosmic manifestation’s original cause (prakrti, the cause of creation according to Sankhya philosophy) are not correct in their conclusion. The material nature has no separate existence without the Lord. Therefore, setting aside the Supreme Lord as the cause of all causes is the logic of aja-gala-stana-nyaya, or trying to milk the nipples on the neck of a goat. The nipples on the neck of a goat may seem like sources of milk, but to try to get milk from such nipples will be foolish.