Although sparks and a big fire are both fire and both have the power to burn, the burning power of the fire and that of the spark are not the same. Why should one artificially try to become like a big fire although by constitution he is like a small spark? It is due to ignorance. One should therefore understand that neither the Supreme Personality of Godhead nor the small sparklike living entities have anything to do with matter, but when the spiritual spark comes in contact with the material world his fiery quality is extinguished. That is the position of the conditioned souls. Because they are in touch with the material world, their spiritual quality is almost dead, but because these spiritual sparks are all Kṛṣṇa’s parts and parcels, as the Lord states in the Bhagavad-gītā (BG 15.17) mamaivāṁśaḥ), they can revive their original position by getting free from material contact. This is pure philosophical understanding. In the Bhagavad-gītā the spiritual sparks are declared to be sanātana (eternal); therefore the material energy, māyā, cannot affect their constitutional position.
Someone may argue, “Why is there a need to create the spiritual sparks?” The answer can be given in this way: Since the Absolute Personality of Godhead is omnipotent, He has both unlimited and limited potencies. This is the meaning of omnipotent. To be omnipotent, He must have not only unlimited potencies but limited potencies also. Thus to exhibit His omnipotency He displays both. The living entities are endowed with limited potency although they are part of the Lord. The Lord displays the spiritual world by His unlimited potencies, whereas by His limited potencies the material world is displayed. In the Bhagavad-gītā (BG 7.5) the Lord says:
- apareyam itas tv anyāṁ prakṛtiṁ viddhi me parām
- jīva-bhūtāṁ mahā-bāho yayedaṁ dhāryate jagat
“Besides these inferior energies, O mighty-armed Arjuna, there is another, superior energy of Mine, which comprises all living entities who are exploiting the resources of this material, inferior nature.” The jīva-bhūta, the living entities, control this material world with their limited potencies. Generally, people are bewildered by the activities of scientists and technologists. Due to māyā they think that there is no need of God and that they can do everything and anything, but actually they cannot. Since this cosmic manifestation is limited, their existence is also limited. Everything in this material world is limited, and for this reason there is creation, sustenance and dissolution. However, in the world of unlimited energy, the spiritual world, there is neither creation nor destruction.
If the Personality of Godhead did not possess both limited and unlimited energies, He could not be called omnipotent. Aṇor aṇīyān mahato mahīyān: “The Lord is smaller than the smallest and greater than the greatest.” He is smaller than the smallest in the form of the living entities and greater than the greatest in His form of Kṛṣṇa. If there were no one to control, there would be no meaning to the conception of the supreme controller (īśvara), just as there is no meaning to a king without his subjects. If all the subjects became king, there would be no distinction between the king and an ordinary citizen. Thus for the Lord to be the supreme controller there must be a creation to control. The basic principle for the existence of the living entities is called cid-vilāsa, or spiritual pleasure. The omnipotent Lord displays His pleasure potency as the living entities. The Lord is described in the Vedānta-sūtra (1.1.12) as ānanda-mayo ’bhyāsāt. He is by nature the reservoir of all pleasures, and because He wants to enjoy pleasure, there must be energies to give Him pleasure or supply Him the impetus for pleasure. This is the perfect philosophical understanding of the Absolute Truth.