Translation by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada:
Then Lord Brahma saw that kala (the time factor), svabhava (one’s own nature by association), samskara (reformation), kama (desire), karma (fruitive activity) and the gunas (the three modes of material nature), their own independence being completely subordinate to the potency of the Lord, had all taken forms and were also worshiping those visnu-murtis.
Purport by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada:
No one but Visnu has any independence. If we develop consciousness of this fact, then we are in actual Krsna consciousness. We should always remember that Krsna is the only supreme master and that everyone else is His servant (ekale isvara krsna, ara saba bhrtya). Be one even Narayana or Lord Siva, everyone is subordinate to Krsna (siva-viriñci-nutam). Even Baladeva is subordinate to Krsna. This is a fact.
ekale isvara krsna, ara saba bhrtya
yare yaiche nacaya, se taiche kare nrtya
One should understand that no one is independent, for everything is part and parcel of Krsna and is acting and moving by the supreme desire of Krsna. This understanding, this consciousness, is Krsna consciousness.
yas tu narayanam devam
sa pasandi bhaved dhruvam
“A person who considers demigods like Brahma and Siva to be on an equal level with Narayana must certainly be considered an offender.” No one can compare to Narayana, or Krsna. Krsna is Narayana, and Narayana is also Krsna, for Krsna is the original Narayana. Brahma himself addressed Krsna, narayanas tvam na hi sarva-dehinam: “You are also Narayana. Indeed, You are the original Narayana.” (Bhag. 10.14.14)
Kala, or the time factor, has many assistants, such as svabhava, samskara, kama, karma and guna. Svabhava, or one’s own nature, is formed according to the association of the material qualities. Karanam guna-sango ’sya sad-asad-yoni janmasu (Bg. 13.22). Sat and asat-svabhava one’s higher or lower nature is formed by association with the different qualities, namely sattva-guna, rajo-guna and tamo-guna. We should gradually come to the sattva-guna, so that we may avoid the two lower gunas. This can be done if we regularly discuss Srimad-Bhagavatam and hear about Krsna’s activities. Nasta-prayesv abhadresu nityam bhagavata-sevaya (Bhag. 1.2.18). All the activities of Krsna described in Srimad-Bhagavatam, beginning even with the pastimes concerning Putana, are transcendental. Therefore, by hearing and discussing Srimad-Bhagavatam, the rajo-guna and tamo-guna are subdued, so that only sattva-guna remains. Then rajo-guna and tamo-guna cannot do us any harm.
Varnasrama-dharma, therefore, is essential, for it can bring people to sattva-guna. Tada rajas-tamo-bhavah kama-lobhadayas ca ye (Bhag. 1.2.19). Tamo-guna and rajo-guna increase lust and greed, which implicate a living entity in such a way that he must exist in this material world in many, many forms. That is very dangerous. One should therefore be brought to sattva-guna by the establishment of varnasrama-dharma and should develop the brahminical qualifications of being very neat and clean, rising early in the morning and seeing mangala-aratrika, and so on. In this way, one should stay in sattva-guna, and then one cannot be influenced by tamo-guna and rajo-guna.
kama-lobhadayas ca ye
ceta etair anaviddham
sthitam sattve prasidati
The opportunity for this purification is the special feature of human life; in other lives, this is not possible. Such purification can be achieved very easily by radha-krsna-bhajana, devotional service rendered to Radha and Krsna, and therefore Narottama dasa Thakura sings, hari hari viphale janama gonainu, indicating that unless one worships Radha-Krsna, one’s human form of life is wasted. Vasudeve bhagavati bhakti-yogah prayojitah/ janayaty asu vairagyam (Bhag. 1.2.7). By engagement in the service of Vasudeva, one very quickly renounces material life. The members of the Krsna consciousness movement, for example, being engaged in vasudeva-bhakti, very quickly come to the stage of being nice Vaisnavas, so much so that people are surprised that mlecchas and yavanas are able to come to this stage. This is possible by vasudeva-bhakti. But if we do not come to the stage of sattva-guna in this human life, then, as Narottama dasa Thakura sings, hari hari viphale janama gonainu there is no profit in gaining this human form of life.
Sri Viraraghava Acarya comments that each of the items mentioned in the first half of this verse is a cause for material entanglement. Kala, or the time factor, agitates the modes of material nature, and svabhava is the result of association with these modes. Therefore Narottama dasa Thakura says, bhakta-sane vasa. If one associates with bhaktas, then one’s svabhava, or nature, will change. Our Krsna consciousness movement is meant to give people good association so that this change may take place, and we actually see that by this method people all over the world are gradually becoming devotees.
As for samskara, or reformation, this is possible by good association, for by good association one develops good habits, and habit becomes second nature. Therefore, bhakta-sane vasa: let people have the chance to live with bhaktas. Then their habits will change. In the human form of life one has this chance, but as Narottama dasa Thakura sings, hari hari viphale janama gonainu: if one fails to take advantage of this opportunity, one’s human life is wasted. We are therefore trying to save human society from degradation and actually elevate people to the higher nature.
As for kama and karma desires and activities if one engages in devotional service, one develops a different nature than if one engages in activities of sense gratification, and of course the result is also different. According to the association of different natures, one receives a particular type of body. Karanam guna-sango ’sya sad-asad-yoni janmasu (Bg. 13.22). Therefore we should always seek good association, the association of devotees. Then our life will be successful. A man is known by his company. If one has the chance to live in the good association of devotees, one is able to cultivate knowledge, and naturally one’s character or nature will change for one’s eternal benefit.