These three principles (adhibhutam, adhidaivam, and adhyatmam) act as prominent features, namely as raw material, its regular supplies, and its use in different varieties of material creations for sense enjoyment by the bewildered entities
SB Canto 2
Material activities are caused by the mahat—tattva's being agitated. At first there is transformation of the modes of goodness and passion, and later—due to the mode of ignorance-matter, its knowledge, and different activities of material knowledge come into play.
Material creations of every description are more or less due to the development of the mode of passion (rajas). The mahat-tattva is the principle of material creation, and when it is agitated by the will of the Supreme at first the modes of passion and goodness are prominent, and afterwards the mode of passion, being generated in due course by material activities of different varieties, becomes prominent, and the living entities are thus involved more and more in ignorance. Brahmā is the representation of the mode of passion, and Viṣṇu is the representation of the mode of goodness, while the mode of ignorance is represented by Lord Śiva, the father of material activities. Material nature is called the mother, and the initiator for materialistic life is the father, Lord Śiva. All material creation by the living entities is therefore initiated by the mode of passion. With the advancement of the duration of life in a particular millennium, the different modes act by gradual development. In the age of Kali (when the mode of passion is most prominent) material activities of different varieties, in the name of advancement of human civilization, take place, and the living entities become more and more involved in forgetting their real identity—the spiritual nature. By a slight cultivation of the mode of goodness, a glimpse of spiritual nature is perceived, but due to the prominence of the mode of passion, the mode of goodness becomes adulterated. Therefore one cannot transcend the limits of the material modes, and therefore realization of the Lord, who is always transcendental to the modes of material nature, becomes very difficult for the living entities, even though prominently situated in the mode of goodness through cultivation of the various methods. In other words, the gross matters are adhibhūtam, their maintenance is adhidaivam, and the initiator of material activities is called adhyātmam. In the material world these three principles act as prominent features, namely as raw material, its regular supplies, and its use in different varieties of material creations for sense enjoyment by the bewildered entities.