Book 8: Chapter 12
Srimad Bhagvata Mahapurana: Book 8: Chapter 12: Verses 1-11
Sri Suka (son of Badarayana) resumed: Having heard that, enchanting the Danavas by assuming the form of a (bewitching) damsel, Sri Hari had given nectar to drink to the hosts of heaven, Lord Siva (who bears the device of a bull on His ensign and) who dwells on Mount Kailasa, mounted His bull along with His divine consort (Goddess Parvati) and, surrounded (accompanied) by all the multitudes of evil spirits (forming His retinue), went to the region (Vaikuntha) where Lord Visnu (the Destroyer of the demon Madhu) has His (permanent) abode, in order to see Him. Received by the Lord (Visnu) with (due) reverence along with lima (Goddess Parvati) and comfortably seated, the aforesaid Lord Siva (the Source of the universe) smilingly spoke to Sri Hari as follows, paying homage to Him in return. Sri Mahadeva (the great god) prayed: O god of gods, O Lord pervading and constituting the universe, O Ruler of the universe ! You are the Cause as well as the Controller of all substances, the (universal) Spirit.
You are that Brahma which is all truth and all consciousness; from which are traceable the beginning (appearance) and end (dissolution) as well as what they call the middle (life) of this (objective) universe, and (yet) to which-unchangeable as it is-(all) these (states) cannot be attributed; (nay,) which constitutes this (the visible universe) as well as the ego (the subject), that which lies outside (is enjoyed with the senses) as well as the other (the enjoyer). Sages seeking blessedness and devoid of all (other) aspirations duly worship Your lotus-feet alone, giving up attachment to both (this and the other world). You are the all-perfect, immortal, attributeless and immutable Brahma ( Infinite), which is not only devoid of sorrow but is also of the nature of absolute bliss, and which, though without a second, is (yet) distinct (from everything else). You are (at the same time) the Cause of the appearance, continuance and dissolution of the universe, and the Ruler of all Jivas (embodied souls)-sought after by them (all), though seeking nothing (Yourself).
You alone are both cause and effect and neither of the two (being the ultimate cause of both). Gold moulded (into the shape of an ornament) and unmoulded (too) is gold (alone); there is no difference of substance between the two. It is through ignorance (of Your essential nature) that diversity has been attributed to You by men. For, diversity in You, who are free from (all) adjuncts, is due (only) to (Your association with) the (three) Gunas (modes of Prakrti). Some (viz., the Vedantis) know You to be Brahma (the Absolute); while others (the Mimamsakas) recognize You as Dharma (virtue). Some (viz., the followers of the Sankhya school of philosophy) regard You, the supreme Lord, as transcending both Prakrti (matter) and Purusa (spirit); while others (the followers of the Pancaratra school of the Vaisnavas) know You to be the Supreme endowed with the nine divine potencies (viz., Vimala, Utkarsini, Jnana, Kriya, Yoga, Prahvi, Satya, lsana and Anugraha) and (still) others (viz., the followers of the Yoga system of philosophy) recognize You to be the foremost Purusa, changeless and independent.
Neither I (Siva) nor Brahma (whose life extends to a couple of Parardhas or 31, 10, 40, 00, 00, 00, 000 human years) nor indeed sages headed by Marici (one of the mind-born sons of Brahma)--who are (all) creations of Sattva, (yet) whose understanding is obscured by Your Maya- are able to know (the true nature of) the universe created by You (much less Your own essential nature), O Lord ! How, then, can the demons, human beings and others-who are ever engaged in activities of a Rajasika or Tamasika character-know it? As such You, who are consciousness (itself), know Your own activity as well as that of (all) created beings, the appearance, continuance and dissolution of this universe, the bondage of mundane existence and release from it. (Nay, even) as the air pervades the multitudes of mobile and immobile beings as well as the sky, so do You pervade the whole universe, You being its very Soul.