Lecture on Srimad Bhagavatam, Canto 10, Chapter 3, Text 24, titled “God is a Person” given by Giriraj Swami.
Sri Devaki said: My dear Lord, there are different Vedas, some of which describe You as unperceivable through words and the mind. Yet You are the origin of the entire cosmic manifestation. You are Brahman, the greatest of everything, full of effulgence like the sun. You have no material cause, You are free from change and deviation, and You have no material desires. Thus the Vedas say that You are the substance. Therefore, my Lord, You are directly the origin of all Vedic statements, and by understanding You, one gradually understands everything. You are different from the light of Brahman and Paramatma, yet You are not different from them. Everything emanates from You. Indeed, You are the cause of all causes, Lord Vishnu, the light of all transcendental knowledge.
Vishnu is the origin of everything, and there is no difference between Lord Vishnu and Lord Krishna because both of Them are vishnu-tattva. From the Rig Veda we understand, om tad vishnoh paramam padam: the original substance is the all-pervading Lord Vishnu, who is also Paramatma and the effulgent Brahman. The living entities are also part and parcel of Vishnu, who has various energies (parasya saktir vividhaiva sruyate svabhaviki jnana-bala-kriya ca). Vishnu, or Krishna, is therefore everything. Lord Krishna says in the Bhagavad-gita (10.8), aham sarvasya prabhavo mattah sarvam pravartate: “I am the source of all spiritual and material worlds. Everything emanates from Me.” Krishna, therefore, is the original cause of everything (sarva-karana-karanam [Bs. 5.1]). When Vishnu expands in His all-pervading aspect, we should understand Him to be the nirakara-nirvisesha-brahmajyoti.
Although everything emanates from Krishna, He is ultimately a person. Aham adir hi devanam: He is the origin of Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesvara, and from them many other demigods are manifested. Krishna therefore says in Bhagavad-gita (14.27), brahmano hi pratishthaham; “Brahman rests upon Me.” The Lord also says:
“Whatever a man may sacrifice to other gods, O son of Kunti, is really meant for Me alone, but it is offered without true understanding.” (Bg. 9.23) There are many persons who worship different demigods, considering all of them to be separate gods, which in fact they are not. The fact is that every demigod, and every living entity, is part and parcel of Krishna (mamaivamso jiva-loke jiva-bhutah). The demigods are also in the category of living entities; they are not separate gods. But men whose knowledge is immature and contaminated by the modes of material nature worship various demigods, according to their intelligence. Therefore they are rebuked in Bhagavad-gita (kamais tais tair hrita-jnanah prapadyante ‘nya-devatah [Bg. 7.20]). Because they are unintelligent and not very advanced and have not properly considered the truth, they take to the worship of various demigods or speculate according to various philosophies, such as the Mayavada philosophy.
Krishna, Vishnu, is the actual origin of everything. As stated in the Vedas, yasya bhasha sarvam idam vibhati. The Absolute Truth is described later in the Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.28.15) as satyam jnanam anantam yad brahma-jyotih sanatanam. The brahmajyoti is sanatana, eternal, yet it is dependent on Krishna (brahmano hi pratishthaham). The Brahma-samhita states that the Lord is all-pervading. Andantara-stha-paramanu-cayantara-stham: He is within this universe, and He is within the atom as Paramatma. Yasya prabha prabhavato jagad-anda-koti-kotishv asesha-vasudhadi-vibhu-ti-bhinnam: [Bs. 5.40] Brahman is also not independent of Him. Therefore whatever a philosopher may describe is ultimately Krishna, or Lord Vishnu (sarvam khalv idam brahma, param brahma param dhama pavitram paramam bhavan [Bg. 10.12]). According to different phases of understanding, Lord Vishnu is differently described, but in fact He is the origin of everything.
Because Devaki was an unalloyed devotee, she could understand that the same Lord Vishnu had appeared as her son. Therefore, after the prayers of Vasudeva, Devaki offered her prayers. She was very frightened because of her brother’s atrocities. Devaki said, “My dear Lord, Your eternal forms, like Narayana, Lord Rama, Sesha, Varaha, Nrisimha, Vamana, Baladeva, and millions of similar incarnations emanating from Vishnu, are described in the Vedic literature as original. You are original because all Your forms as incarnations are outside of this material creation. Your form was existing before this cosmic manifestation was created. Your forms are eternal and all-pervading. They are self-effulgent, changeless and uncontaminated by the material qualities. Such eternal forms are ever-cognizant and full of bliss; they are situated in transcendental goodness and are always engaged in different pastimes. You are not limited to a particular form only; all such transcendental, eternal forms are self-sufficient. I can understand that You are the Supreme Lord Vishnu.” We may conclude, therefore, that Lord Vishnu is everything, although He is also different from everything. This is the acintya-bhedabheda-tattva philosophy.