Srimad Bhagvata Mahapurana: Book 3: Chapter 5: Verses 14-28
I deplore those ignorant men who have a dislike for the stories of Sri Hari due to their sins and, therefore, deserve to be pitied even by the pitiable. The deity presiding over time cuts short (every moment) their allotted span of life, engaged as they are (all the time) in idle talk, idle activities and idle thought. Therefore, 0 Maitreya (son of Kusaru), friend of the afflicted, even as a bee gathers honey from the flowers, so be pleased to extract the essence of all stories in the shape of the stories of Sri Hari, the Bestower of blessedness and the Abode of sacred renown, and relate the same to me for my good. Also kindly recount to me the superhuman feats performed by the Lord when He descended into the world of matter, assuming His energy (known by the name of Maya) for the sake of creation, preservation and dissolution of the universe. (16)Sri Suka continued : Questioned thus by Vidura for the supreme good of men, the worshipful sage Maitreya (the son of Kusaru) addressed him as follows, showing great honour to him. Maitreya said : O pious Vidura, you have put mankind under a deep obligation by asking me this excellent question. Your mind is already fixed on the Lord who is beyond sense-perception; and your fame will thus be spread far and wide in this world. Vidura, it is not to be wondered at that you should have thus captivated Sri Hari, the Lord of the universe, by your exclusive devotion, begotten as you are by no less a personage than the sage Badarayana (Vedavyasa). You are no other than the worshipful Yama, the punisher of all creatures, descended, as a result of the imprecation pronounced by the sage Mandavya, from the loins of the sage Vyasa (son of Satyavati) through the maid-servant and concubine of the latter's (deceased) uterine brother (Vicitravirya, who was also born of Satyavati). Moreover, you are ever beloved of the Lord as well as of His devotees; that is why, while departing from this world, the Lord commanded me to teach you wisdom . I, therefore, now proceed to recount in due order the Lord's pastimes, unfolded by His Yogamaya (wonderful divine potency) for the creation, preservation and destruction of the universe. Before creation this universe existed in no other form than the Lord, who is the very Self and the Ruler of all the Jivas (individual souls). The Spirit did not appear then in the form of many a subject and object; for it was His will that He should remain alone. He cast His eyes all round, but failed to perceive any object; for He shone all alone at that time. He felt as though He were non-existent; for all His powers lay dormant, although His consciousness was wide awake. It is this energy of the all-perceiving Lord (in the form of search for an object) that is called Maya, which is of the nature of both cause and effect. It was with the help of this Maya, 0 blessed Vidura, that the almighty Lord created this universe. When the equilibrium of the three Gunas constituting this Maya was disturbed by force of Time, the transcendent Lord, who is spiritual in essence, placed therein as Purusa, who is His own fragment. His seed in the form of Cidabhasa (the Jiva). From this Unmanifest (Maya or Prakrti), impelled by Time, was evolved the Mahat-tattva (the principle of cosmic intelligence), which, as the dispeller of was evolved the Mahat-tattva (the principle of cosmic intelligence), which, as the dispeller of darkness (in the form of ignorance),. is of the nature of understanding and is capable of manifesting the universe existing in itself (in a subtle form). Subject to the Cidabhasa (Jiva), the three Gunas (constituting Maya) and Time, this Mahat, when it fell within the range of the Lord's vision, transformed itself with the intention of creating this universe.