tri-vṛt pañca-vidhaḥ svarāṭ
vapur aṇḍaṁ jagad yataḥ
The Supreme Lord is described as mahat-pada, which means that the total material energy, known as the mahat-tattva, is lying at His lotus feet. The origin or the total energy of the cosmic manifestation is the mahat-tattva. From the mahat-tattva all the other twenty-four divisions have sprung, namely the eleven senses (including the mind), the five sense objects, the five material elements, and then consciousness, intelligence and false ego. The Supreme Personality of Godhead is the cause of the mahat-tattva, and therefore, in one sense, because everything is an emanation from the Supreme Lord, there is no difference between the Lord and the cosmic manifestation. But at the same time the cosmic manifestation is different from the Lord. The word svarāṭ is very significant here. Svarāṭ means “independent.” The Supreme Lord is independent, and the individual soul is also independent. Although there is no comparison between the two qualities of independence, the living entity is minutely independent, and the Supreme Lord is fully independent. As the individual soul has a material body made of five elements and the senses, the supreme independent Lord similarly has the gigantic body of the universe. The individual body is temporary; similarly, the entire universe, which is considered to be the body of the Supreme Lord, is also temporary, and both the individual and universal bodies are products of the mahat-tattva. One has to understand the differences with intelligence. Everyone knows that his material body has developed from a spiritual spark, and similarly the universal body has developed from the supreme spark, Supersoul. As the individual body develops from the individual soul, the gigantic body of the universe develops from the Supreme Soul. Just as the individual soul has consciousness, the Supreme Soul is also conscious. But although there is a similarity between the consciousness of the Supreme Soul and the consciousness of the individual soul, the individual soul’s consciousness is limited, whereas the consciousness of the Supreme Soul is unlimited. This is described in Bhagavad-gītā (13.3). Kṣetra-jñaṁ cāpi māṁ viddhi: the Supersoul is present in every field of activity, just as the individual soul is present in the individual body. Both of them are conscious. The difference is that the individual soul is conscious of the individual body only, whereas the Supersoul is conscious of the total number of individual bodies.