CC Madhya 20.289
- ‘viṣṇu’-rūpa hañā kare jagat pālane
- guṇātīta viṣṇu—sparśa nāhi māyā-sane
viṣṇu-rūpa—Lord Kṛṣṇa in His form as Viṣṇu; hañā—becoming; kare—does; jagat pālane—maintenance of the material world; guṇa-atīta—beyond the material qualities, transcendental; viṣṇu—Lord Viṣṇu; sparśa—touching; nāhi—there is not; māyā-sane—with māyā, the material energy.
“In this way, the Supreme Personality of Godhead in His form of Viṣṇu maintains the entire material world. Since He is always beyond the material qualities, the material nature cannot touch Him.
The influence of the material energy cannot touch Lord Viṣṇu as she touches Lord Brahmā and Lord Śiva. Therefore it is said that Lord Viṣṇu is transcendental to the material qualities. The incarnations of the material qualities—Lord Śiva and Lord Brahmā—are under the jurisdiction of the external energy. Lord Viṣṇu, however, is different. In the mantras of the Ṛg Veda it is said, oṁ tad viṣṇoḥ paramaṁ padam (Ṛg Veda-saṁhitā 1.22.20). The words paramaṁ padam indicate that He is transcendental to the material qualities. Because Lord Viṣṇu is not within the jurisdiction of the material qualities, He is always superior to the living entities who are controlled by the material energy. This is one of the differences between the Supreme Lord and the living entities. Lord Brahmā is a very powerful living entity, and Lord Śiva is even more powerful. Therefore Lord Śiva is not accepted as a living entity, but at the same time he is not considered to be on the level of Lord Viṣṇu.