Please note: The synonyms, translation and purport of this verse were composed by disciples of Śrīla Prabhupāda
- kvāhaṁ tamo-mahad-ahaṁ-kha-carāgni-vār-bhū-
- vātādhva-roma-vivarasya ca te mahitvam
kva—where; aham—I; tamaḥ—the material nature; mahat—the total material energy; aham—false ego; kha—ether; cara—air; agni—fire; vāḥ—water; bhū—earth; saṁveṣṭita—surrounded by; aṇḍa-ghaṭa—a potlike universe; sapta-vitasti—seven spans; kāyaḥ—body; kva—where; īdṛk—such; vidhā—like; avigaṇita—unlimited; aṇḍa—universes; para-aṇu—like the atomic dust; caryā—moving; vāta-adhva—airholes; roma—of hair on the body; vivarasya—of the holes; ca—also; te—Your; mahitvam—greatness.
Translation and purport composed by disciples of Śrīla Prabhupāda
What am I, a small creature measuring seven spans of my own hand? I am enclosed in a potlike universe composed of material nature, the total material energy, false ego, ether, air, water and earth. And what is Your glory? Unlimited universes pass through the pores of Your body just as particles of dust pass through the openings of a screened window.
In the Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Adi-līlā, Chapter Five, Text 72, Śrīla Prabhupāda gives the following purport for this verse: "Then Lord Brahmā, after having stolen all Kṛṣṇa's cows and cowherd boys, returned and saw that the cows and boys were still roaming with Kṛṣṇa, he offered this prayer in his defeat. A conditioned soul—even one so great as Brahmā, who manages the affairs of the entire universe—cannot compare to the Personality of Godhead, for He can produce numberless universes simply by the spiritual rays emanating from the pores of His body. Material scientists should take lessons from the utterances of Śrī Brahmā regarding our insignificance in comparison with God. In these prayers of Brahmā there is much to learn for those who are falsely puffed up by the accumulation of power."
In Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Chapter Fourteen, Śrīla Prabhupāda further comments on this verse: "Lord Brahmā realized his actual position. He is certainly the supreme teacher of this universe, in charge of the production of material nature, consisting of the complete material energy, false ego, sky, air, fire, water and earth. Such a universe may be gigantic, but it can be measured, just as we measure our body as seven spans. Generally, everyone's personal bodily measurement is calculated to be seven spans of his hand. This particular universe may appear to be a very gigantic body, but it is nothing but the measurement of seven spans for Lord Brahmā."
Aside from this universe, there are unlimited other universes outside the jurisdiction of this particular Lord Brahmā. Just as innumerable atomic infinitesimal fragments pass through the holes of a screened window, so millions and trillions of universes in their seedling form are coming out from the bodily pores of Mahā-Viṣṇu, and that Mahā-Viṣṇu is but a part of the plenary expansion of Kṛṣṇa. Under these circumstances, although Lord Brahmā is the supreme creature within this universe, what is his importance in the presence of Lord Kṛṣṇa?