Srimad-Bhagavatam: Canto 3 - Chapter 1 - Verse 2


कालसंज्ञां तदा देवीं बिभ्रच्छक्तिमुरुक्रम: ।त्रयोविंशतितत्त्वानां गणं युगपदाविशत् ॥ २ ॥


kāla-sañjñāṁ tadā devīṁbibhrac-chaktim urukramaḥtrayoviṁśati tattvānāṁgaṇaṁ yugapad āviśat


The Supreme Powerful Lord then simultaneously entered into the twenty-three elements with the goddess Kālī, His external energy, who alone amalgamates all the different elements.


The ingredients of matter are counted as twenty-three: the total material energy, false ego, sound, touch, form, taste, smell, earth, water, fire, air, sky, eye, ear, nose, tongue, skin, hand, leg, evacuating organ, genitals, speech and mind. All are combined together by the influence of time and are again dissolved in the course of time. Time, therefore, is the energy of the Lord and acts in her own way by the direction of the Lord. This energy is called Kālī and is represented by the dark destructive goddess generally worshiped by persons influenced by the mode of darkness or ignorance in material existence. In the Vedic hymn this process is described as mūla-prakṛtir avikṛtir mahadādyāḥ prakṛti-vikṛtayaḥ sapta ṣoḍaśakas tu vikāro na prakṛtir na vikṛtiḥ puruṣaḥ. The energy which acts as material nature in a combination of twenty-three ingredients is not the final source of creation. The Lord enters into the elements and applies His energy, called Kālī. In all other Vedic scriptures the same principle is accepted. In Brahma-saṁhitā (5.35) it is stated: “I worship the primeval Lord, Govinda, who is the original Personality of Godhead. By His partial plenary expansion [Mahā-Viṣṇu], He enters into material nature, and then into each and every universe [as Garbhodakaśāyī Viṣṇu], and then [as Kṣīrodakaśāyī Viṣṇu] into all the elements, including every atom of matter. Such manifestations of cosmic creation are innumerable, both in the universes and in the individual atoms.” Similarly, this is confirmed in Bhagavad-gītā (10.42): “O Arjuna, there is no necessity of your knowing about My innumerable energies, which act in various ways. I enter into the material creation by My partial plenary expansion [Paramātmā, or the Supersoul] in all the universes and in all the elements thereof, and thus the work of creation goes on.” The wonderful activities of material nature are due to Lord Kṛṣṇa, and thus He is the final cause, or the ultimate cause of all causes.