SB 1.8 - The inconceivable nature of the Lord

The Lord is bewildering because though He is inactive, He still works, and He takes birth, though He is the vital force and the unborn. He descends amongst animals, men, sages and aquatics. Although all pervading, the Lord descends in the form of a boar among animals, in the form of a human being as Rāma, in the form of a sage like (Nara)-Nārāyaṇa, and as a fish among aquatics. The Lord has manifold energies, and everything is performed by automatic knowledge, strength and activity. Thus the Lord’s activities, forms and deeds are all inconceivable to our limited thinking power. He descends as a hog and as a fish. He is banished to the forest as Rāma. He is born in a prison as Kṛṣṇa. His intimate devotees, the Pāṇḍavas, undergo continuous tribulations. He steals butter and distributes it to the monkeys. One acts motivated by the desire to achieve something, but Kṛṣṇa lacks nothing. He possesses supreme self satisfaction. Kṛṣṇa is not impelled by anything outside Himself, as no such thing exists. Jīva Gosvāmī concludes that the Lord’s pastimes are inconceivable. The Lord can be understood by pure devotees, who know that although the Lord appears among animals, humans, sages or fish, He is not any of these but the Supreme Lord in all circumstances.

Since the Lord is without birth and material action, His pastimes with birth and action must not actually be true. But this is incompatible with the fact that the pastimes were attractive to ātmārāmas like Śuka. And from BG 4.9 we know that the Lord’s birth and activities are factual. But this is incompatible with the statement that the Lord has no birth and activities. Thus who can know the truth about the Lord possessing unlimited, inconceivable powers?