“The supreme living being has created this material world of animation; it is not that He was created by this material world. When everything is silent, the Supreme Being stays awake as a witness. The living entity does not know Him, but He knows everything.”
This is from the Srimad-Bhagavatam 8.1.9
[This chapter of the Srimad-Bhagavatam, entitled ” The Manus, Administrators of the Universe,” gives a list of ancient dynastic histories, and the spiritually advanced personalities responsible for universal administration. One such personality, Manu, speaks today’s verse.]
Lord Manu said: The supreme living being has created this material world of animation; it is not that He was created by this material world. When everything is silent, the Supreme Being stays awake as a witness. The living entity does not know Him, but He knows everything.
Here is a distinction between the Supreme Personality of Godhead and the living entities. Nityo nityanam cetanas cetananam (Katha Upanisad 2.2.13). According to the Vedic version, the Lord is the supreme eternal, the supreme living being.
The difference between the Supreme Being and the ordinary living being is that when this material world is annihilated, all the living entities remain silent in oblivion, in a dreaming or unconscious condition, whereas the Supreme Being stays awake as the witness of everything.
This material world is created, it stays for some time, and then it is annihilated. Throughout these changes, however, the Supreme Being remains awake.
In the material condition of all living entities, there are three stages of dreaming. When the material world is awake and put in working order, this is a kind of dream, a waking dream. When the living entities go to sleep, they dream again. And when unconscious at the time of annihilation, when this material world is unmanifested, they enter another stage of dreaming. At any stage in the material world, therefore, they are all dreaming. In the spiritual world, however, everything is awake.