You may think what relationship Lord Krishna has with this material world. Is it that he created this world and later severed all his relationship with this material world? Let us see what Krishna says about this in the scriptures, especially in Bhagavad Gita.
In Brahma Samhita, Brahma says that Krishna who is the Supreme God is the origin of all, causes of all causes. It implies that he creates the spiritual world, and he also creates this material world.
“Kṛṣṇa who is known as Govinda is the Supreme Godhead. He has an eternal blissful spiritual body. He is the origin of all. He has no other origin and He is the prime cause of all causes.” Brahma Samhita 5.1
Material world is Krishna’s energies
Lord Krishna himself says in Bhagavad Gita that this material world is one of his energies and it works under his direction.
“This material nature, which is one of My energies, is working under My direction, O son of Kuntī, producing all moving and nonmoving beings. Under its rule this manifestation is created and annihilated again and again.” Bhagavad Gita 9.10.
So, everything is happening in this material world as per Krishna’s guidance and direction. Krishna is the Supreme director and has a special and unique relationship with this material world. The Supreme Lord Krishna creates this material world, maintains it, and ultimately destroys this material world.
Krishna has two energies – superior (para) and inferior (apara). Everything in this creation – moving and non-moving – is part of Krishna’s superior energy and inferior energy. We the living entities are Krishna’s superior energy, and the material nature is Krishna’s inferior energy.
Lord Krishna pervades this material world and supports it. Just as sunshine is spread everywhere similarly the energy of the Lord is everywhere in this entire creation.
How Krishna maintains this material world?
To maintain and sustain this creation it is not that Lord has to be present personally everywhere. For example, a king manages the kingdom with the help of various departments. The various departments of the king are his energies and to maintain them king does not have to be there personally. He appoints ministers to take care of finance, home, defence etc.
Similarly, the Supreme Lord maintains this world through his energies. He does not need to be personally present everywhere.
The Lord delegates the responsibility to different personalities based on their capabilities to run the affairs of this world. These empowered and respectable personalities are called demigods. So, we have a demigod who makes sure that it rains, he is called Indra. Then there is a demigod who takes care of the air, he is called vayu. Similarly, there is sun-god, moon-god and so on.
Why Krishna is not part of this cosmic manifestation?
Although Krishna creates and maintains everything in this material world and is present everywhere through his energies still he is aloof from this material creation. Krishna says in Bhagavad Gita 9.5, “although I am everywhere, I am not a part of this cosmic manifestation.” Why? Krishna explains it further in the same verse by saying that it is because “he is the source of creation.” By his supreme will Lord Krishna creates, sustains and destroys everything in this material world.
Krishna is also simultaneously present everywhere in this material world. As Supersoul or Paramatma he is not just present in each living entity but he even enters into each atom of this material world. This is Krishna’s inconceivable mystic power (yogam aiśvaram) and this is how he maintains his relationship with this material world. Srila Prabhupada explains, “From Brahmā, the most gigantic entity, on down to the smallest ant, all are existing because the Lord has entered each and all and is sustaining them.” Bhagavad Gita 10.42
Creation & Annihilation of this material world
Krishna, the supreme creator, says in Bhagavad Gita 9.8, “The whole cosmic order is under Me. Under My will it is automatically manifested again and again, and under My will it is annihilated at the end.”
This material world is temporary. So, it is destroyed and again created. Just like our material body is not permanent similarly the material world is also temporary.
Krishna annihilates this material world at the end of Brahma’s life. As per earthly calculation, Brahma lives for 311 trillion 40 billion years.
What actually happens at the time of annihilation? As a soul we do not die, so what happens to us at the time of annihilation? Where do we go? It is explained that at the time of cosmic devastation, the entire cosmic manifestation, sarva – bhutani, enters into the Supreme Lord Vishnu. Lord Vishnu is plenary expansion of Krishna. In the body of Vishnu, the souls like you and me remain in an unconscious state.
Again when the material world has to be created, the Supreme Lord creates it by his will. All the souls which remain unconscious during the period of devastation become unconscious again. They get a particular body based on their desires and past karma.
Is Krishna attached to this world?
Although the Supreme Lord has complete control over this material world, and everything happens by his will still he is always detached from all the material activities. Just as a high court judge may punish someone or reward someone but he remains neutral. Similarly, the Lord is involved in all the activities, yet he is neutral. He is transcendental to all material activities and is not attached to the creation and maintenance of this world. We the living entities also get different bodies because of our various deeds. We enjoy or suffer because of our own karma. Lord always remains neutral; he does not interfere.
Srila Prabhupada explains with an example from smṛti, “when there is a fragrant flower before someone, the fragrance is touched by the smelling power of the person, yet the smelling and the flower are detached from one another. There is a similar connection between the material world and the Supreme Personality of Godhead.” Bhagavad Gita 9.10 purport
In conclusion, we can say that the Supreme Lord is the Supreme director of this entire material creation. He is the source of this world. Yet, he remains detached from this material creation. The Supreme and intelligent designer, Krishna, maintains his relationship with this material world through his energies.