Srimad-Bhagavatam: Canto 11 - Chapter 1 - Verse 4


एकस्यैव ममांशस्य जीवस्यैव महामते ।बन्धोऽस्याविद्ययानादिर्विद्यया च तथेतर: ॥ ४ ॥


ekasyaiva mamāṁśasyajīvasyaiva mahā-matebandho ’syāvidyayānādirvidyayā ca tathetaraḥ


O most intelligent Uddhava, the living entity, called jīva, is part and parcel of Me, but due to ignorance he has been suffering in material bondage since time immemorial. By knowledge, however, he can be liberated.


Just as the sun reveals itself through its own light or covers itself by creating clouds, the Personality of Godhead reveals and covers Himself by knowledge and ignorance, which are expansions of His potency. As stated in Bhagavad-gītā (7.5): “Besides this inferior nature, O mighty-armed Arjuna, there is a superior energy of Mine, consisting of all living entities who are struggling with material nature and are sustaining the universe.” Śrīla Prabhupāda states in connection with this verse: “The Supreme Lord Kṛṣṇa is the only controller, and all living entities are controlled by Him. These living entities are His superior energy because the quality of their existence is one and the same with the Supreme, but they are never equal to the Lord in quantity of power.” Because of quantitative inferiority of potency, the living entity becomes covered by māyā and is again liberated by surrendering to the Lord. The word aṁśa, or “part and parcel,” is also mentioned in Bhagavad-gītā (15.7): mamaivāṁśo jīva-loke jīva-bhūtaḥ sanātanaḥ. The living entity is aṁśa, or a minute particle, and therefore subject to liberation and bondage. As stated in the Viṣṇu Purāṇa: “The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Viṣṇu, possesses His superior internal potency as well as the potency called kṣetrajñā śakti. This kṣetrajñā śakti is also spiritual potency, but it is sometimes covered by the third, or material, potency called ignorance. Thus because of the various stages of covering, the second, or marginal, potency is manifested in different evolutionary phases.” Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura has written that the living entity has been executing fruitive activities since time immemorial. Thus his conditioned life may be called beginningless. Such conditioned life, however, is not endless, since the living entity may achieve liberation through the loving devotional service of the Lord. Since the living entity may acquire liberation, Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura states that his liberated life begins at a certain point but is endless, because liberated life is understood to be eternal. In any case, one who has achieved the shelter of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa, may be understood to be eternally liberated, since such a person has entered into the eternal atmosphere of the spiritual sky. Since there is no material time in the spiritual sky, one who has achieved his eternal spiritual body on Lord Kṛṣṇa’s planet is not subject to the influence of time. His eternal blissful life with Kṛṣṇa is not designated in terms of material past, present and future and is therefore called eternal liberation. Material time is conspicuous by its absence in the spiritual sky, and every living entity there is eternally liberated, having attained the supreme situation. Such liberation can be achieved by vidyā, or perfect knowledge, which is understood in three phases called Brahman, Paramātmā and Bhagavān, as described in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. The ultimate phase of vidyā, or knowledge, is to understand the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In Bhagavad-gītā such knowledge is called rāja-vidyā, or the king of all knowledge, and it awards the supreme liberation.