sambhāvanaṁ tava parivraḍhima-svabhāvam
māyā-balena bhavatāpi niguhyamānaṁ
paśyanti kecid aniśaṁ tvad-ananya-bhāvāḥ
“O my Lord, everything within material nature is limited by time, space and thought. Your characteristics, however, being unequalled and unsurpassed, are always transcendental to such limitations. You sometimes cover such characteristics by Your own energy, but nevertheless, Your unalloyed devotees are always able to see You under all circumstances.”
This verse is from Stotra-Ratna (13) of Yāmunācārya is referenced in CC Antya Lila 3.92.
Here, Yamnuacarya prays to the Lord simultaneously teaching us conclusively about the limits of embodied spirit souls. We know from the teachings of Bhagavad Gita about the properties and characteristics of embodied spirit souls and how to break free of such embodiment. Here it is made clear that space is the gross limitation and time & thoughts are the subtle limitations of the embodied. From our everyday experience, we operate on these three threads. We start with thoughts, then it becomes words and then action. All these three are bound up within the set ɛ.
Srimad Bhagavatam hints about how manifestation works. SB 3.5.13 says that there is nothing unmanifest before the Lord as he is beyond the influence of time. We can infer from this fact that being embodied spirits, being subjected to the influence of time, we perceive manifestations of events and/or objects that we are entitled to perceive. Everything else is hidden from us. However, the same verse of Yamunacarya we discuss here says that the Lord is manifest always to the devotees since they are not embodied although they might have a material body covering in this life.
The dynamics of manifestation and incarnations are quite tricky to comprehend using our analytical tools and is generally left to unspeakables as illustrated by Wittgenstein. Many who tried have fallen into the infinity pool, infinite regress or ran circular with their arguments and assumptions.
All this leads us to one point as discussed in Bhagavad Gita. One has to transcend the material modes whose interactions are set forth by the unmanifest energy of the Lord, the time, that influences us by a hard knot to this material world via false ego. Whatever we use and try to rationalize our current existence with, we always hit this snag end where we are responsible for the nonsense we choose every time. Hence, let us learn first to determine with knowledge, also termed as sastra caksu in Sanskrit and leverage the human life advantage to attain the permanent, Love and Service of the Lord.