"The material world is not a fit place for living entities because they are spiritually one with the Lord and in the material world the living entities become conditioned by the laws of the material world. The Lord wants all living entities, who are His parts and parcels, to live with Him in the transcendental world, and for enlightening conditioned souls in the material world, all the Vedas and the revealed scriptures are there--expressly to recall the conditioned souls back home, back to Godhead."
Srimad-Bhagavatam 2:2:14 Purport
It is accepted in the Vedas and in Bhagavad-gita that the Supreme Lord creates by looking over the prakrti. The Lord glanced over the prakrti, or nature, and impregnated it with atomic individual souls (jivatmas). Because prakrti (material nature) is dull and inert, it can't actually be the cause of the material world. Rather, the Lord mercifully infuses the dull, inert material nature with his energy. As a result, the prakrti becomes the secondary cause, just as iron becomes red-hot by the energy of fire. In this way, the material nature is always working under the direction of the Lord, producing all moving and unmoving beings. All varieties of living entities - the aquatics, plants, trees, insects, birds, animals, human beings and demigods - come from the original source. Prakrti is the mother, and the Supreme Personality of Godhead is the father. Material nature has no power to create without the power of the Lord (the purusa), just as a prakrti, or woman, cannot produce a child without the connection of a purusa, or man. The purusa impregnates, and the prakrti delivers.
"The purusa, after creating innumerable universes in the mahat-tattva, entered in each of them as the second purusa, Garbhodakasayi Visnu. When He saw that within the universe there was only darkness and space, without a resting place, He filled half of the universe with water from His own perspiration and laid Himself down on the same water. This water is called Garbhodaka. Then from His navel the stem of the lotus flower sprouted, and on the flower petals the birth of Brahma, or the master engineer of the universal plan, took place. Brahma became the engineer of the universe, and the Lord Himself took charge of the maintenance of the universe as Visnu. Brahma was generated from rajo-guna of prakrti, or the mode of passion in nature, and Visnu became the Lord of the mode of goodness. Visnu, being transcendental to all the modes, is always aloof from materialistic affection. This has already been explained. From Brahma there is Rudra (Siva), who is in charge of the mode of ignorance or darkness. He destroys the whole creation by the will of the Lord. Therefore all three, namely Brahma, Visnu and Siva, are incarnations of the Garbhodakasayi Visnu. From Brahma the other demigods like Daksa, Marici, Manu and many others become incarnated to generate living entities within the universe. This Garbhodakasayi Visnu is glorified in the Vedas in the hymns of Garbha-stuti, which begin with the description of the Lord as having thousands of heads, etc. The Garbhodakasayi Visnu is the Lord of the universe, and although He appears to be lying within the universe, He is always transcendental. This also has already been explained. The Visnu who is the plenary portion of the Garbhodakasayi Visnu is the Supersoul of the universal life, and He is known as the maintainer of the universe or Ksirodakasayi Visnu. So the three features of the original purusa are thus understood. And all the incarnations within the universe are emanations from this Ksirodakasayi Visnu."
Srimad-Bhagavatam 1:3:5 Purport
"There is one Supreme Person who is the progenitor of this cosmic manifestation and whose energy acts as prakrti, or the material nature, dazzling like a reflection. By such illusory action of prakrti, even dead matter is caused to move by the cooperation of living energy of the Lord, and the material world appears like a dramatic performance to the ignorant eyes. The ignorant person, therefore, may even be a scientist or physiologist in the drama of prakrti, while the sane person knows prakrti as the illusory energy of the Lord. By such a conclusion, as confirmed by the Bhagavad-gita, it is clear that the living entities are also a display of the Lord's superior energy (para prakrti), just as the material world is a display of the Lord's inferior energy (apara prakrti). The superior energy of the Lord cannot be as good as the Lord, although there is very little difference between the energy and the possessor of the energy, or the fire and the heat. Fire is possessed of heat, but heat is not fire. This simple thing is not understood by the man with a poor fund of knowledge who falsely claims that the fire and heat are the same. This energy of the fire (namely heat) is explained here as a reflection, and not directly fire. Therefore the living energy represented by the living entities is the reflection of the Lord, and never the Lord Himself. Being the reflection of the Lord, the existence of the living entity is dependent on the Supreme Lord, who is the original light. This material energy may be compared to darkness, as actually it is darkness, and the activities of the living entities in the darkness are reflections of the original light. The Lord should be understood by the context of this verse. Nondependence of both the energies of the Lord is explained as maya, or illusion. No one can make a solution of the darkness of ignorance simply by the reflection of light. Similarly, no one can come out of material existence simply by the reflected light of the common man; one has to receive the light from the original light itself."
Srimad-Bhagavatam 2:9:34 Purport
Bhaktivedanta Book Trust. Excerpts from text and purport of HDG A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada.