Prabhava (BG and SB)
Bhagavad-gita As It Is
BG Chapters 7 - 12
Arjuna addresses Lord Kṛṣṇa as "lotus-eyed" (Kṛṣṇa's eyes appear just like the petals of a lotus flower) out of his joy, for Kṛṣṇa has assured him, in the previous chapter, ahaṁ kṛtsnasya jagataḥ prabhavaḥ pralayas tathā: "I am the source of the appearance and disappearance of this entire material manifestation."
BG Chapters 13 - 18
To gain favor of that Personality of Godhead, one has only to surrender, and this is a result of performing devotional service by hearing, chanting, etc. He is the cause of the extension of the material world. This has already been explained by the Lord Himself. Ahaṁ sarvasya prabhavaḥ: (BG 10.8) "I am the origin of everything." Therefore to get out of the entanglement of this strong banyan tree of material life, one must surrender to Kṛṣṇa. As soon as one surrenders unto Kṛṣṇa, one becomes detached automatically from this material extension.
SB Canto 1
The summum bonum Kṛṣṇa is one without a second. He Himself has expanded Himself in various parts, portions and particles as svayaṁ-rūpa, svayam-prakāśa, tad-ekātmā, prābhava, vaibhava, vilāsa, avatāra, āveśa, and jīvas, all provided with innumerable energies just suitable to the respective persons and personalities.
SB Canto 2
Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa is ultimately the creator of the brahmajyoti, mentioned in this verse as sva-rociṣā, or the effulgence of the transcendental body of the Lord. This brahmajyoti is all-pervading, and all creation is made possible by its potential power; therefore the Vedic hymns declare that everything that exists is being sustained by the brahmajyoti (sarvaṁ khalv idaṁ brahma). Therefore the potential seed of all creation is the brahmajyoti, and the same brahmajyoti, unlimited and unfathomed, is established by the Lord. Therefore the Lord (Śrī Kṛṣṇa) is ultimately the supreme cause of all creation (ahaṁ sarvasya prabhavaḥ (BG 10.8)).
According to Bhagavad-gītā, the Lord is the source of everything (ahaṁ sarvasya prabhavaḥ (BG 10.8)), and thus the end of all knowledge (Vedānta) is to know the Lord, to know our relationship with Him and to act according to that relationship only.
As in the Bhagavad-gītā, Tenth Chapter, the Personality of Godhead, Lord Kṛṣṇa, has summarized the whole text in four verses, namely, ahaṁ sarvasya prabhavaḥ (BG 10.8), etc., so the complete Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam has also been summarized in four verses, as aham evāsam evāgre, etc.
SB Canto 3
By His internal potency the Lord can expand Himself into various personalities of svayaṁ-prakāśa and again into prābhava and vaibhava forms, and all of them are nondifferent from one another. The forms into which the Lord expanded to marry the princesses in different apartments were all slightly different just to match each and every one of them. They are called vaibhava-vilāsa forms of the Lord and are effected by His internal potency, yoga-māyā.
All other living creatures, including the demigods, are born of Brahmā, and Brahmā is born of Lord Viṣṇu. Kṛṣṇa states in Bhagavad-gītā, in the Tenth Chapter, ahaṁ sarvasya prabhavaḥ: (BG 10.8) Lord Viṣṇu is the origin of all manifestations in the material world. Those who know that Lord Viṣṇu is the origin of everything, who are conversant with the process of creation and who understand that Viṣṇu, or Kṛṣṇa, is the most worshipable object of all living entities, engage themselves in Viṣṇu worship as Vaiṣṇavas.
When one knows that Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is the source of everything and that everything emanates from Him (ahaṁ sarvasya prabhavaḥ (BG 10.8)), then one understands the Vedānta aphorism janmādy asya yataḥ (SB 1.1.1) ("the original source of everything"), and then he can become absorbed in bhāva, or the preliminary stage of love of Godhead.
In order to distinguish the personality whom the individual soul must approach, it is described herein that this puruṣa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is the chief amongst all living entities and is the ultimate form of the impersonal Brahman effulgence and Paramātmā manifestation. Since He is the origin of the Brahman effulgence and Paramātmā manifestation, He is described herewith as the chief personality. It is confirmed in the Kaṭha Upaniṣad, nityo nityānām: there are many eternal living entities, but He is the chief maintainer. This is confirmed in Bhagavad-gītā also, where Lord Kṛṣṇa says, ahaṁ sarvasya prabhavaḥ: (BG 10.8) "I am the origin of everything, including the Brahman effulgence and Paramātmā manifestation."
The Vedānta-sūtra confirms this also. Janmādy asya yataḥ: (SB 1.1.1) the Absolute Truth is the original source of everyone's birth. Kṛṣṇa also says in Bhagavad-gītā, ahaṁ sarvasya prabhavaḥ: (BG 10.8) "I am the source of birth of everything, including Brahmā and Lord Śiva and the living entities." This is self-realization. One should know that he is under the control of the Supreme Lord and not think that he is fully independent. Otherwise, why should he be put into conditional life?
SB Canto 4
In Bhagavad-gītā (BG 10.2) Lord Kṛṣṇa states, aham ādir hi devānām: Lord Viṣṇu, or Kṛṣṇa, is the origin of all demigods, including Lord Brahmā and Lord Śiva. In another place in Bhagavad-gītā (BG 10.8) Kṛṣṇa states, ahaṁ sarvasya prabhavaḥ: "Everything is generated from Me." This includes all the demigods. Similarly, in the Vedānta-sūtra: janmādy asya yataḥ (SB 1.1.1). And in the Upaniṣads is the statement yato vā imāni bhūtāni jāyante. Everything is generated from Lord Viṣṇu, everything is maintained by Him, and everything is annihilated by His energy. Therefore, by their actions and reactions, the energies which come from Him create the cosmic manifestations and also dissolve the whole creation. Thus the Lord is the cause and also the effect. Whatever effect we see is the interaction of His energy, and because the energy is generated from Him, He is both cause and effect.
"By worship of the Lord, who is the source of all beings and who is all-pervading, man can, in the performance of his own duty, attain perfection." This indicates that the Supreme Personality of Godhead is the original source of everything, as described in the Vedānta-sūtra (janmādy asya yataḥ (SB 1.1.1)). The Lord Himself also confirms in Bhagavad-gītā, ahaṁ sarvasya prabhavaḥ: (BG 10.8) "I am the origin of everything." The Supreme Personality of Godhead is the original source of all emanations, and at the same time, as Paramātmā, He is spread all over existence. The Absolute Truth is therefore the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and every living being is meant to satisfy the Supreme Godhead by performing his respective duty (sva-karmaṇā tam abhyarcya (BG 18.46)).
The word bhava-sindhu-pota-pāde is significant in this verse. The lotus feet of the Lord are known as mahat-padam; this means that the total source of material existence rests on the lotus feet of the Lord. As stated in Bhagavad-gītā (BG 10.8), ahaṁ sarvasya prabhavaḥ: everything is emanating from Him. This cosmic manifestation, which is compared to an ocean of nescience, is also resting on the lotus feet of the Lord. As such, this great ocean of nescience is minimized by a person who is a pure devotee.
When Kṛṣṇa says that He is the origin of everything (ahaṁ sarvasya prabhavaḥ (BG 10.8)), He means that He is even the source of Lord Brahmā, Lord Śiva, the puruṣa-avatāras, the material manifestation and all the living entities within the material world. Actually the word prabhava ("creation") only refers to this material world, for since the spiritual world is eternally existing, there is no question of creation. In the Catuḥ-ślokī of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, the Lord says, aham evāsam evāgre: "I was existing in the beginning before the creation." (SB 2.9.33) In the Vedas it is also said, eko nārāyaṇa āsīt: "Before the creation there was only Nārāyaṇa." This is also confirmed by Śaṅkarācārya. Nārāyaṇaḥ paro 'vyaktāt: "Nārāyaṇa is transcendental to the creation." (Gīta-bhāṣya) Since all the activities of Nārāyaṇa are spiritual, when Nārāyaṇa said, "Let there be creation," that creation was all-spiritual. The "material" only exists for those who have forgotten that Nārāyaṇa is the original cause.
Again and again the Lord is very much interested in increasing the influence of His devotees. Therefore He is described herein as prabhave sarva-sātvatām. The sātvata community is a community of Vaiṣṇavas, pure devotees of the Lord. The Supreme Personality of Godhead has unlimited powers, and He wants to see that His devotees are also entrusted with unlimited powers. A devotee of the Lord is always, therefore, distinguished from all other living entities.
As the Lord confirms in Bhagavad-gītā (BG 10.8), ahaṁ sarvasya prabhavaḥ: "I am the source of all spiritual and material worlds." Kṛṣṇa is the root of everything; therefore rendering service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa (kṛṣṇa-sevā), means automatically serving all the demigods.
SB Canto 5
There is a supplementary note written by His Divine Grace Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Gosvāmī Mahārāja Prabhupāda in his Gauḍīya-bhāṣya. Its translation is as follows. Learned scholars who have full knowledge of all the Vedic scriptures agree that the incarnations of the Supreme Personality of Godhead are innumerable. These incarnations are classified into two divisions, called prābhava and vaibhava. According to the scriptures, prābhava incarnations are also classified in two divisions—those which are called eternal and those which are not vividly described. In this Fifth Canto of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, in Chapters Three through Six, there is a description of Ṛṣabhadeva, but there is not an expanded description of His spiritual activities. Therefore He is considered to belong to the second group of prābhava incarnations.
SB Canto 6
The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa, is the original cause, as confirmed in Bhagavad-gītā (ahaṁ sarvasya prabhavaḥ (BG 10.8)). Even this material world, which is conducted under the modes of material nature, is caused by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who therefore also has an intimate relationship with the material world. If the material world were not a part of His body, the Supreme Lord, the supreme cause, would be incomplete. Therefore we hear, vāsudevaḥ sarvam iti sa mahātmā sudurlabhaḥ: (BG 7.19) if one knows that Vāsudeva is the original cause of all causes, he becomes a perfect mahātmā.
Philosophy means finding the ultimate cause. As Vedānta-sūtra very reasonably says, athāto brahma jijñāsā: human life is meant for understanding the ultimate cause. Devotees accept that the ultimate cause is Kṛṣṇa because this conclusion is supported by all Vedic literature and also by Kṛṣṇa Himself, who says, ahaṁ sarvasya prabhavaḥ: (BG 10.8) "I am the source of everything." Devotees have no problem understanding the ultimate cause of everything, but nondevotees must face many opposing elements because everyone who wants to be a prominent philosopher invents his own way.
As Lord Kṛṣṇa says in Bhagavad-gītā, mattaḥ parataraṁ nānyat kiñcid asti dhanañjaya: (BG 7.7) "There is no truth superior to Me." Aham ādir hi devānām: (BG 10.2) "I am the origin of all the demigods." Ahaṁ sarvasya prabhavaḥ: (BG 10.8) "I am superior to everyone, even Lord Brahmā, Lord Śiva and the other demigods." These are the conclusions of the śāstra, and one who accepts these conclusions should be considered a first-class philosopher. Such a philosopher knows that the Supreme Personality of Godhead is the Lord of the demigods (deva-deveśvaraṁ sūtram ānandaṁ prāṇa-vedinaḥ).
SB Canto 7
If the hand of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is present in everything, where is the question of being liberated from material encagement to spiritual, blissful life? Indeed, it is a fact that Kṛṣṇa is the source of everything, as we understand from Kṛṣṇa Himself in Bhagavad-gītā (ahaṁ sarvasya prabhavaḥ (BG 10.8)). All the activities in both the spiritual and material world are certainly conducted by the orders of the Supreme Personality of Godhead through the agency of either the material or spiritual nature.
SB Canto 8
Kṛṣṇa is the ādi, or beginning, of the devas of this material world—Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Maheśvara. Therefore He is described here as bhagavate bṛhate. Everyone is bhagavān—everyone possesses opulence—but Kṛṣṇa is bṛhān bhagavān, the possessor of unlimited opulence. Īśvaraḥ paramaḥ kṛṣṇaḥ (Bs. 5.1). Kṛṣṇa is the origin of everyone. Ahaṁ sarvasya prabhavaḥ (BG 10.8). Even Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Maheśvara come from Kṛṣṇa. Mattaḥ parataraṁ nānyat kiñcid asti dhanañjaya: (BG 7.7) there is no personality superior to Kṛṣṇa.
The Lord is the root of everything. Aham ādir hi devānām: (Bg 10.2) He is the original cause of all the devas, or demigods. Ahaṁ sarvasya prabhavaḥ: (BG 10.8) everything emanates from Him. In all cases—nominative, objective, positive, negative and so on—whatever we may conceive of in this entire cosmic manifestation is in fact the Supreme Lord. For Him there are no such distinctions as "this is mine, and this belongs to someone else," because He is everything. He is therefore called avyaya—changeless and inexhaustible.
There are many varieties of philosophers trying to search for the ultimate cause under different names and forms, but they are unable to find the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa, who explains in Bhagavad-gītā that He is the origin of everything and the cause of all causes (ahaṁ sarvasya prabhavaḥ (BG 10.8)). This inability is due to the illusory energy of the Supreme Lord. Devotees, therefore, accept the Supreme Personality of Godhead as He is and remain happy simply by chanting the glories of the Lord.
SB Canto 9
The word prabhāva jñaḥ is significant. Paraśurāma knew the prowess of his father, and therefore he agreed to carry out his father's order. He thought that if he refused to carry out the order he would be cursed, but if he carried it out his father would be pleased, and when his father was pleased, Paraśurāma would ask the benediction of having his mother and brothers brought back to life. Paraśurāma was confident in this regard, and therefore he agreed to kill his mother and brothers.