(Click to enlarge painting of Maha-Vishnu with the universes emanating from His body)
"There are two kinds of living entities, nitya-mukta, nitya baddha. Nitya-baddha, we are. Those who are in this material world, we are eternally conditioned. Eternally conditioned in this way, because I am changing my body, one after another. As I am desiring, I am getting my next body. This body I am creating, my next body, again when I shall get next body, I shall create another body. So this is going on. And because it is going on, when it has begun and when it is going to end, that you do not know. Therefore it is called nitya, eternal. Actually it is not eternal, but we do not know when I have begun my material existence. At least we can think that since this material, this term of material creation was there, I began my life. But no, that is not actual fact. The actual fact is, when there was no creation, I was submerged into the body of Nārāyaṇa, Mahā-Viṣṇu. And when there is again creation, I come out. So when I was submerged into the body of Mahā-Viṣṇu, before that my activities began in this material world. Bhūtvā bhūtvā pralīyate (BG 8.19).
So we are given chance when there is creation, another cosmic manifestation. We are given chance. Now, you take another chance. Come back home, back, go back to home, back to Godhead. But we misuse this chance. On account of our ignorance, we misuse this chance, especially this human form of body. Here is a chance. We can go back to home, back to Godhead. Therefore the śāstras are there. The Vedas are there. The Upaniṣads are there. Why? To give us information. To awaken us. Uttiṣṭhata jāgrata prāpya varān nibhodata. The Vedas say, 'Now you wake up, take advantage.' Prāpya varān. 'You have got this book. You fulfill your mission. Don't rot in this material world.'"
(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, Bombay, January 9, 1973)