vidyaya ca tathetarah
O most intelligent Uddhava, the living entity, called jiva, is part and parcel of Me, but due to ignorance he has been suffering in material bondage since time immemorial. By knowledge, however, he can be liberated.
Just as the sun reveals itself through its own light or covers itself by creating clouds, the Personality of Godhead reveals and covers Himself by knowledge and ignorance, which are expansions of His potency. As stated in Bhagavad-gita (7.5):
apareyam itas tv anyam
prakrtim viddhi me param
yayedam dharyate jagat
“Besides this inferior nature, O mighty-armed Arjuna, there is a superior energy of Mine, consisting of all living entities who are struggling with material nature and are sustaining the universe.” Srila Prabhupada states in connection with this verse: “The Supreme Lord Krsna is the only controller, and all living entities are controlled by Him. These living entities are His superior energy because the quality of their existence is one and the same with the Supreme, but they are never equal to the Lord in quantity of power.”
Because of quantitative inferiority of potency, the living entity becomes covered by maya and is again liberated by surrendering to the Lord. The word amsa, or “part and parcel,” is also mentioned in Bhagavad-gita (15.7): mamaivamso jiva-loke jiva-bhutah sanatanah. The living entity is amsa, or a minute particle, and therefore subject to liberation and bondage. As stated in the Visnu Purana:
visnu-saktih para prokta
ksetrajñakhya tatha para
trtiya saktir isyate
“The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Visnu, possesses His superior internal potency as well as the potency called ksetrajña sakti. This ksetrajña sakti is also spiritual potency, but it is sometimes covered by the third, or material, potency called ignorance. Thus because of the various stages of covering, the second, or marginal, potency is manifested in different evolutionary phases.”
Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura has written that the living entity has been executing fruitive activities since time immemorial. Thus his conditioned life may be called beginningless. Such conditioned life, however, is not endless, since the living entity may achieve liberation through the loving devotional service of the Lord. Since the living entity may acquire liberation, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura states that his liberated life begins at a certain point but is endless, because liberated life is understood to be eternal. In any case, one who has achieved the shelter of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna, may be understood to be eternally liberated, since such a person has entered into the eternal atmosphere of the spiritual sky. Since there is no material time in the spiritual sky, one who has achieved his eternal spiritual body on Lord Krsna’s planet is not subject to the influence of time. His eternal blissful life with Krsna is not designated in terms of material past, present and future and is therefore called eternal liberation. Material time is conspicuous by its absence in the spiritual sky, and every living entity there is eternally liberated, having attained the supreme situation. Such liberation can be achieved by vidya, or perfect knowledge, which is understood in three phases called Brahman, Paramatma and Bhagavan, as described in Srimad-Bhagavatam. The ultimate phase of vidya, or knowledge, is to understand the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In Bhagavad-gita such knowledge is called raja-vidya, or the king of all knowledge, and it awards the supreme liberation.