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Ādi 5: The Glories Of Lord Nityānanda Balarāma
jayādvaita-candra jaya gaura-bhakta-vṛnda
pañca-śloke kahi nityānanda-tattva-sīmā
tāṅhāra dvitīya deha śrī-balarāma
Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the absolute Personality of Godhead, is the primeval Lord, the original form of Godhead, and His first expansion is Śrī Balarāma. The Personality of Godhead can expand Himself in innumerable forms. The forms that have unlimited potency are called svāṁśa, and forms that have limited potencies (the living entities) are called vibhinnāṁśa.
ādya kāya-vyūha, kṛṣṇa-līlāra sahāya
Balarāma is a svāṁśa expansion of the Lord, and therefore there is no difference in potency between Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma. The only difference is in Their bodily structure. As the first expansion of Godhead, Balarāma is the chief Deity among the first quadruple forms, and He is the foremost assistant of Śrī Kṛṣṇa in His transcendental activities.
sei balarāma — saṅge śrī-nityānanda
garbhoda-śāyī ca payo ’bdhi-śāyī
śeṣaś ca yasyāṁśa-kalāḥ sa nityā-
nandākhya-rāmaḥ śaraṇaṁ mamāstu
Śrī Svarūpa Dāmodara Gosvāmī has recorded this verse in his diary to offer his respectful obeisances to Lord Nityānanda Prabhu. This verse also appears as the seventh of the first fourteen verses of Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta.
pañca-rūpa dhari’ karena kṛṣṇera sevana
sṛṣṭi-līlā-kārya kare dhari’ cāri kāya
‘śeṣa’-rūpe kare kṛṣṇera vividha sevana
According to expert opinion, Balarāma, as the chief of the original quadruple forms, is also the original Saṅkarṣaṇa. Balarāma, the first expansion of Kṛṣṇa, expands Himself in five forms: (1) Mahā-saṅkarṣaṇa, (2) Kāraṇābdhiśāyī, (3) Garbhodakaśāyī, (4) Kṣīrodakaśāyī, and (5) Śeṣa. These five plenary portions are responsible for both the spiritual and material cosmic manifestations. In these five forms Lord Balarāma assists Lord Kṛṣṇa in His activities. The first four of these forms are responsible for the cosmic manifestations, whereas Śeṣa is responsible for personal service to the Lord. Śeṣa is called Ananta, or unlimited, because He assists the Personality of Godhead in His unlimited expansions by performing an unlimited variety of services. Śrī Balarāma is the servitor Godhead who serves Lord Kṛṣṇa in all affairs of existence and knowledge. Lord Nityānanda Prabhu, who is the same servitor Godhead, Balarāma, performs the same service to Lord Gaurāṅga by constant association.
sei balarāma — gaura-saṅge nityānanda
yāte nityānanda-tattva jāne sarva-loke
rūpaṁ yasyodbhāti saṅkarṣaṇākhyaṁ
taṁ śrī-nityānanda-rāmaṁ prapadye
This is a verse from Śrī Svarūpa Dāmodara Gosvāmī’s diary. It appears as the eighth of the first fourteen verses of Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta.
kṛṣṇa-vigraha yaiche vibhūty-ādi-guṇavān
According to Sāṅkhya philosophy, the material cosmos is composed of twenty-four elements: the five gross material elements, the three subtle material elements, the five knowledge-acquiring senses, the five active senses, the five objects of sense pleasure, and the mahat-tattva (the total material energy). Empiric philosophers, unable to go beyond these elements, speculate that anything beyond them must be avyakta, or inexplicable. But the world beyond the twenty-four elements is not inexplicable, for it is explained in the Bhagavad-gītā as the eternal (sanātana) nature. Beyond the manifested and unmanifested existence of material nature (vyaktāvyakta) is the sanātana nature, which is called the paravyoma, or the spiritual sky. Since that nature is spiritual in quality, there are no qualitative differences there: everything there is spiritual, everything is good, and everything possesses the spiritual form of Śrī Kṛṣṇa Himself. That spiritual sky is the manifested internal potency of Śrī Kṛṣṇa; it is distinct from the material sky, manifested by His external potency.
The all-pervading Brahman, composed of the impersonal glowing rays of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, exists in the spiritual world with the Vaikuṇṭha planets. We can get some idea of that spiritual sky by a comparison to the material sky, for the rays of the sun in the material sky can be compared to the brahmajyoti, the glowing rays of the Personality of Godhead. In the brahmajyoti there are unlimited Vaikuṇṭha planets, which are spiritual and therefore self-luminous, with a glow many times greater than that of the sun. The Personality of Godhead Śrī Kṛṣṇa, His innumerable plenary portions and the portions of His plenary portions dominate each Vaikuṇṭha planet. In the highest region of the spiritual sky is the planet called Kṛṣṇaloka, which has three divisions, namely Dvārakā, Mathurā and Goloka, or Gokula.
To a gross materialist this kingdom of God, Vaikuṇṭha, is certainly a mystery. But to an ignorant man everything is a mystery for want of sufficient knowledge. The kingdom of God is not a myth. Even the material planets, which float over our heads in the millions and billions, are still a mystery to the ignorant. Material scientists are now attempting to penetrate this mystery, and a day may come when the people of this earth will be able to travel in outer space and see the variegatedness of these millions of planets with their own eyes. In every planet there is as much material variegatedness as we find in our own planet.
This planet earth is but an insignificant spot in the cosmic structure. Yet foolish men, puffed up by a false sense of scientific advancement, have concentrated their energy in the pursuit of so-called economic development on this planet, not knowing of the variegated economic facilities available on other planets. According to modern astronomy, the gravity of the moon is different from that of earth. Therefore one who goes to the moon will be able to pick up large weights and jump vast distances. In the Rāmāyaṇa, Hanumān is described as being able to lift huge weights as heavy as hills and jump over the ocean. Modern astronomy has confirmed that this is indeed possible.
The disease of the modern civilized man is his disbelief of everything in the revealed scriptures. Faithless nonbelievers cannot make progress in spiritual realization, for they cannot understand the spiritual potency. The small fruit of a banyan contains hundreds of seeds, and in each seed is the potency to produce another banyan tree with the potency to produce millions more of such fruits. This law of nature is visible before us, although how it works is beyond our understanding. This is but an insignificant example of the potency of Godhead; there are many similar phenomena that no scientist can explain.
Everything, in fact, is inconceivable, for the truth is revealed only to the proper persons. Although there are varieties of personalities, from Brahmā down to the insignificant ant, all of whom are living beings, their development of knowledge is different. Therefore we have to gather knowledge from the right source. Indeed, in reality we can get knowledge only from the Vedic sources. The four Vedas, with their supplementary Purāṇas, the Mahābhārata, the Rāmāyaṇa and their corollaries, which are known as smṛtis, are all authorized sources of knowledge. If we are at all to gather knowledge, we must gather it from these sources without hesitation.
Revealed knowledge may in the beginning be unbelievable because of our paradoxical desire to verify everything with our tiny brains, but the speculative means of attaining knowledge is always imperfect. The perfect knowledge propounded in the revealed scriptures is confirmed by the great ācāryas, who have left ample commentations upon them; none of these ācāryas has disbelieved in the śāstras. One who disbelieves in the śāstras is an atheist, and we should not consult an atheist, however great he may be. A staunch believer in the śāstras, with all their diversities, is the right person from whom to gather real knowledge. Such knowledge may seem inconceivable in the beginning, but when put forward by the proper authority its meaning is revealed, and then one no longer has any doubts about it.
kṛṣṇa, kṛṣṇa-avatārera tāhāñi viśrāma
dvārakā-mathurā-gokula — tri-vidhatve sthiti
śrī-goloka, śvetadvīpa, vṛndāvana nāma
upary-adho vyāpiyāche, nāhika niyama
Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī, the great authority and philosopher in the line of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, has discussed the abode of Kṛṣṇa in his Kṛṣṇa-sandarbha. In the Bhagavad-gītā the Lord refers to “My abode.” Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī, examining the nature of Kṛṣṇa’s abode, refers to the Skanda Purāṇa, which states:
yā yathā bhuvi vartante puryo bhagavataḥ priyāḥ
tās tathā santi vaikuṇṭhe tat-tal-līlārtham ādṛtāḥ
“The abodes of Godhead in the material world, such as Dvārakā, Mathurā and Gokula, are facsimiles representing the abodes of Godhead in the kingdom of God, Vaikuṇṭha-dhāma.” The unlimited spiritual atmosphere of that Vaikuṇṭha-dhāma is far above and beyond the material cosmos. This is confirmed in the Svāyambhuva-tantra, in a discussion between Lord Śiva and Pārvatī regarding the effect of chanting the mantra of fourteen syllables. There it is stated:
nānā-kalpa-latākīrṇaṁ vaikuṇṭhaṁ vyāpakaṁ smaret
adhaḥ sāmyaṁ guṇānāṁ ca prakṛtiḥ sarva-kāraṇam
“While chanting the mantra, one should always remember the spiritual world, which is very extensive and full of desire trees that can yield anything one desires. Below that Vaikuṇṭha region is the potential material energy, which causes the material manifestation.” The places of the pastimes of Lord Kṛṣṇa, such as Dvārakā, Mathurā and Vṛndāvana, eternally and independently exist in Kṛṣṇaloka. They are the actual abodes of Lord Kṛṣṇa, and there is no doubt that they are situated above the material cosmic manifestation.
The abode known as Vṛndāvana or Gokula is also known as Goloka. The Brahma-saṁhitā states that Gokula, the highest region of the kingdom of God, resembles a lotus flower with thousands of petals. The outer portion of that lotuslike planet is a square place known as Śvetadvīpa. In the inner portion of Gokula there is an elaborate arrangement for Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s residence with His eternal associates such as Nanda and Yaśodā. That transcendental abode exists by the energy of Śrī Baladeva, who is the original whole of Śeṣa, or Ananta. The tantras also confirm this description by stating that the abode of Śrī Anantadeva, a plenary portion of Baladeva, is called the kingdom of God. Vṛndāvana-dhāma is the innermost abode within the quadrangular realm of Śvetadvīpa, which lies outside of the boundary of Gokula Vṛndāvana.
According to Jīva Gosvāmī, Vaikuṇṭha is also called Brahmaloka. The Nārada-pañcarātra, in a statement concerning the mystery of Vijaya, describes:
tat sarvopari goloke tatra lokopari svayam
viharet paramānandī govindo ’tula-nāyakaḥ
“The predominator of the gopīs, Govinda, the principal Deity of Gokula, always enjoys Himself in a place called Goloka, in the topmost part of the spiritual sky.”
From the authoritative evidence cited by Jīva Gosvāmī we may conclude that Kṛṣṇaloka is the supreme planet in the spiritual sky, which is far beyond the material cosmos. For the enjoyment of transcendental variety, the pastimes of Kṛṣṇa there have three divisions, and these pastimes are performed in the three abodes Dvārakā, Mathurā and Gokula. When Kṛṣṇa descends to this universe, He enjoys the pastimes in places of the same name. These places on earth are nondifferent from those original abodes, for they are facsimiles of those original holy places in the transcendental world. They are as good as Śrī Kṛṣṇa Himself and are equally worshipable. Lord Caitanya declared that Lord Kṛṣṇa, who presents Himself as the son of the King of Vraja, is worshipable, and that Vṛndāvana-dhāma is equally worshipable.
eka-i svarūpa tāra, nāhi dui kāya
The above-mentioned dhāmas are movable, by the omnipotent will of Lord Kṛṣṇa. When Śrī Kṛṣṇa appears on the face of the earth, He can also make His dhāmas appear, without changing their original structure. One should not discriminate between the dhāmas on the earth and those in the spiritual sky, thinking those on earth to be material and the original abodes to be spiritual. All of them are spiritual. Only for us, who cannot experience anything beyond matter in our present conditioned state, do the dhāmas and the Lord Himself, in His arcā form, appear before us resembling matter to give us the facility to see spirit with material eyes. In the beginning this may be difficult for a neophyte to understand, but in due course, when one is advanced in devotional service, it will be easier, and he will appreciate the Lord’s presence in these tangible forms.
carma-cakṣe dekhe tāre prapañcera sama
By the grace of the Lord His dhāmas and He Himself can all be present simultaneously, without losing their original importance. Only when one fully develops in affection and love of Godhead can one see those dhāmas in their original appearance.
Śrīla Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura, a great ācārya in the preceptorial line of Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, has said for our benefit that one can perfectly see the dhāmas only when one completely gives up the mentality of lording it over material nature. One’s spiritual vision develops proportionately to one’s giving up the debased mentality of unnecessarily enjoying matter. A diseased person who has become diseased because of a certain bad habit must be ready to follow the advice of the physician, and as a natural sequence he must attempt to give up the cause of the disease. The patient cannot indulge in the bad habit and at the same time expect to be cured by the physician. Modern materialistic civilization, however, is maintaining a diseased atmosphere. The living being is a spiritual spark, as spiritual as the Lord Himself. The only difference is that the Lord is great and the living being is small. Qualitatively they are one, but quantitatively they are different. Therefore, since the living being is spiritual in constitution, he can be happy only in the spiritual sky, where there are unlimited spiritual spheres called Vaikuṇṭhas. A spiritual being conditioned by a material body must therefore try to get rid of his disease instead of developing the cause of the disease.
Foolish persons engrossed in their material assets are unnecessarily proud of being leaders of the people, but they ignore the spiritual value of man. Such illusioned leaders make plans covering any number of years, but they can hardly make humanity happy in a state conditioned by the threefold miseries inflicted by material nature. One cannot control the laws of nature by any amount of struggling. One must at last be subject to death, nature’s ultimate law. Death, birth, old age and illness are symptoms of the diseased condition of the living being. The highest aim of human life should therefore be to get free from these miseries and go back home, back to Godhead.
gopa-gopī-saṅge yāṅhā kṛṣṇera vilāsa
lakṣāvṛteṣu surabhīr abhipālayantam
govindam ādi-puruṣaṁ tam ahaṁ bhajāmi
This is a verse from the Brahma-saṁhitā (5.29). This description of the abode of Kṛṣṇa gives us definite information of the transcendental place where not only is life eternal, blissful and full of knowledge, but there are ample vegetables, milk, jewels, and beautiful homes and gardens tended by lovely damsels who are all goddesses of fortune. Kṛṣṇaloka is the topmost planet in the spiritual sky, and below it are innumerable spheres, a description of which can be found in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. In the beginning of Lord Brahmā’ self-realization he was shown a transcendental vision of the Vaikuṇṭha spheres by the grace of Nārāyaṇa. Later, by the grace of Kṛṣṇa, he was shown a transcendental vision of Kṛṣṇaloka. This transcendental vision is like the reception of television from the moon via a mechanical system for receiving modulated waves, but it is achieved by penance and meditation within oneself.
Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (Second Canto) states that in Vaikuṇṭhaloka the material modes of nature, represented by the qualities of goodness, passion and ignorance, have no influence. In the material world the highest qualitative manifestation is goodness, which is characterized by truthfulness, mental equilibrium, cleanliness, control of the senses, simplicity, essential knowledge, faith in God, scientific knowledge and so on. Nevertheless, all these qualities are mixed with passion and imperfection. But the qualities in Vaikuṇṭha are a manifestation of God’s internal potency, and therefore they are purely spiritual and transcendental, with no trace of material infection. No material planet, even Satyaloka, is comparable in quality to the spiritual planets, where the five inherent qualities of the material world — namely ignorance, misery, egoism, anger and envy — are completely absent.
In the material world, everything is a creation. Anything we can think of within our experience, including even our own bodies and minds, was created. This process of creation began with the life of Brahmā, and the creative principle is prevalent all over the material universe because of the quality of passion. But since the quality of passion is conspicuous by its absence in the Vaikuṇṭha planets, nothing there is created; everything there is eternally existent. And because there is no mode of ignorance, there is also no question of annihilation or destruction. In the material world one may try to make everything permanent by developing the above-mentioned qualities of goodness, but because the goodness in the material world is mixed with passion and ignorance, nothing here can exist permanently, despite all the good plans of the best scientific brains. Therefore in the material world we have no experience of eternity, bliss and fullness of knowledge. But in the spiritual world, because of the complete absence of the qualitative modes, everything is eternal, blissful and cognizant. Everything can speak, everything can move, everything can hear, and everything can see in fully blessed existence for eternity. The situation being so, naturally space and time, in the forms of past, present and future, have no influence there. In the spiritual sky there is no change because time has no influence. Consequently, the influence of māyā, the total external energy, which induces us to become more and more materialistic and forget our relationship with God, is also absent there.
As spiritual sparks of the beams emanating from the transcendental body of the Lord, we are all permanently related with Him and equal to Him in quality. The material energy is a covering of the spiritual spark, but in the absence of that material covering, the living beings in Vaikuṇṭhaloka are never forgetful of their identities: they are eternally cognizant of their relationship with God in their constitutional position of rendering transcendental loving service to the Lord. Because they constantly engage in the transcendental service of the Lord, it is natural to conclude that their senses are also transcendental, for one cannot serve the Lord with material senses. The inhabitants of Vaikuṇṭhaloka do not possess material senses with which to lord it over material nature.
Persons with a poor fund of knowledge conclude that a place void of material qualities must be some sort of formless nothingness. In reality, however, there are qualities in the spiritual world, but they are different from the material qualities because everything there is eternal, unlimited and pure. The atmosphere there is self-illuminating, and thus there is no need of a sun, a moon, fire, electricity and so on. One who can reach that abode does not come back to the material world with a material body. There is no difference between atheists and the faithful in the Vaikuṇṭha planets because all who settle there are freed from the material qualities, and thus suras and asuras become equally obedient loving servitors of the Lord.
The residents of Vaikuṇṭha have brilliantly black complexions much more fascinating and attractive than the dull white and black complexions found in the material world. Their bodies, being spiritual, have no equals in the material world. The beauty of a bright cloud when lightning flashes on it merely hints at their beauty. Generally the inhabitants of Vaikuṇṭha dress in yellow clothing. Their bodies are delicate and attractively built, and their eyes are like the petals of lotus flowers. Like Lord Viṣṇu, the residents of Vaikuṇṭha have four hands decorated with a conchshell, wheel, club and lotus flower. Their chests are beautifully broad and fully decorated with necklaces of a brilliant diamondlike metal surrounded by costly jewels never to be found in the material world. The residents of Vaikuṇṭha are always powerful and effulgent. Some of them have complexions like red coral cat’s eyes and lotus flowers, and each of them has earrings of costly jewels. On their heads they wear flowery crowns resembling garlands.
In the Vaikuṇṭhas there are airplanes, but they make no tumultuous sounds. Material airplanes are not at all safe: they can fall down and crash at any time, for matter is imperfect in every respect. In the spiritual sky, however, the airplanes are also spiritual, and they are spiritually brilliant and bright. These airplanes do not fly business executives, politicians or planning commissions as passengers, nor do they carry cargo or postal bags, for these are all unknown there. These planes are for pleasure trips only, and the residents of Vaikuṇṭha fly in them with their heavenly, beautiful, fairylike consorts. Therefore these airplanes, full of residents of Vaikuṇṭha, both male and female, increase the beauty of the spiritual sky. We cannot imagine how beautiful they are, but their beauty may be compared to the clouds in the sky accompanied by silver branches of electric lightning. The spiritual sky of Vaikuṇṭhaloka is always decorated in this way.
The full opulence of the internal potency of Godhead is always resplendent in Vaikuṇṭhaloka, where goddesses of fortune are ever-increasingly attached to serving the lotus feet of the Personality of Godhead. These goddesses of fortune, accompanied by their friends, always create a festive atmosphere of transcendental mirth. Always singing the glories of the Lord, they are not silent even for a moment.
There are unlimited Vaikuṇṭha planets in the spiritual sky, and the ratio of these planets to the material planets in the material sky is three to one. Thus the poor materialist is busy making political adjustments on a planet that is most insignificant in God’s creation. To say nothing of this planet earth, the whole universe, with innumerable planets throughout the galaxies, is comparable to a single mustard seed in a bag full of mustard seeds. But the poor materialist makes plans to live comfortably here and thus wastes his valuable human energy in something that is doomed to frustration. Instead of wasting his time with business speculations, he should seek the life of plain living and high spiritual thinking and thus save himself from perpetual materialistic unrest.
Even if a materialist wants to enjoy developed material facilities, he can transfer himself to planets where he can experience material pleasures much more advanced than those available on earth. The best plan is to prepare oneself to return to the spiritual sky after leaving the body. However, if one is intent on enjoying material facilities, one can transfer himself to other planets in the material sky by utilizing yogic powers. The playful spaceships of the astronauts are but childish entertainments and are of no use for this purpose. The aṣṭāṅga-yoga system is a materialistic art of controlling air by transferring it from the stomach to the navel, from the navel to the heart, from the heart to the collarbone, from there to the eyeballs, from there to the cerebellum and from there to any desired planet. The velocities of air and light are taken into consideration by the material scientist, but he has no information of the velocity of the mind and intelligence. We have some limited experience of the velocity of the mind because in a moment we can transfer our minds to places hundreds of thousands of miles away. Intelligence is even finer. Finer than intelligence is the soul, which is not matter like mind and intelligence but is spirit, or antimatter. The soul is hundreds of thousands of times finer and more powerful than intelligence. We can thus only imagine the velocity of the soul in its traveling from one planet to another. Needless to say, the soul travels by its own strength and not with the help of any kind of material vehicle.
The bestial civilization of eating, sleeping, fearing and sense-gratifying has misled modern man into forgetting how powerful a soul he has. As we have already described, the soul is a spiritual spark many, many times more illuminating, dazzling and powerful than the sun, moon or electricity. Human life is spoiled when man does not realize his real identity with his soul. Lord Caitanya appeared with Lord Nityānanda to save man from this type of misleading civilization.
Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam also describes how yogīs can travel to all the planets in the universe. When the vital force is lifted to the cerebellum, there is every chance that this force will burst out from the eyes, nose, ears, etc., as these are places that are known as the seventh orbit of the vital force. But the yogīs can block these holes by complete suspension of air. The yogī then concentrates the vital force in the middle position, that is, between the eyebrows. At this position, the yogī can think of the planet to which he wants to go after leaving the body. He can then decide whether he wants to go to the abode of Kṛṣṇa in the transcendental Vaikuṇṭhas, from which he will not be required to descend into the material world, or to travel to higher planets in the material universe. The perfect yogī is at liberty to do either.
For the perfect yogī who has attained success in the method of leaving his body in perfect consciousness, transferring from one planet to another is as easy as an ordinary man’s walking to the grocery store. As already discussed, the material body is just a covering of the spiritual soul. Mind and intelligence are the undercoverings, and the gross body of earth, water, air and so on is the overcoating of the soul. As such, any advanced soul who has realized himself by the yogic process, who knows the relationship between matter and spirit, can leave the gross dress of the soul in perfect order and as he desires. By the grace of God, we have complete freedom. Because the Lord is kind to us, we can live anywhere — either in the spiritual sky or in the material sky, upon whichever planet we desire. However, misuse of this freedom causes one to fall down into the material world and suffer the threefold miseries of conditioned life. The living of a miserable life in the material world by dint of the soul’s choice is nicely illustrated by Milton in Paradise Lost. Similarly, by choice the soul can regain paradise and return home, back to Godhead.
At the critical time of death, one can place the vital force between the two eyebrows and decide where he wants to go. If he is reluctant to maintain any connection with the material world, he can, in less than a second, reach the transcendental abode of Vaikuṇṭha and appear there completely in his spiritual body, which will be suitable for him in the spiritual atmosphere. He has simply to desire to leave the material world both in finer and in grosser forms and then move the vital force to the topmost part of the skull and leave the body from the hole in the skull called the brahma-randhra. This is easy for one perfect in the practice of yoga.
Of course, man is endowed with free will, and as such if he does not want to free himself from the material world he may enjoy the life of brahma-pada (occupation of the post of Brahmā) and visit Siddhaloka, the planets of materially perfect beings, who have full capacities to control gravity, space and time. To visit these higher planets in the material universe, one need not give up his mind and intelligence (finer matter), but need only give up grosser matter (the material body).
Each and every planet has its particular atmosphere, and if one wants to travel to any particular planet within the material universe, one has to adapt his material body to the climatic condition of that planet. For instance, if one wants to go from India to Europe, where the climatic condition is different, one has to change his dress accordingly. Similarly, a complete change of body is necessary if one wants to go to the transcendental planets of Vaikuṇṭha. However, if one wants to go to the higher material planets, he can keep his finer dress of mind, intelligence and ego, but has to leave his gross dress (body) made of earth, water, fire, etc.
When one goes to a transcendental planet, it is necessary to change both the finer and gross bodies, for one has to reach the spiritual sky completely in a spiritual form. This change of dress will take place automatically at the time of death if one so desires.
The Bhagavad-gītā confirms that one will attain his next material body according to his desires at the time he leaves his body. The desire of the mind carries the soul to a suitable atmosphere as the wind carries aromas from one place to another. Unfortunately, those who are not yogīs but gross materialists, who throughout their lives indulge in sense gratification, are puzzled by the disarrangement of the bodily and mental condition at the time of death. Such gross sensualists, encumbered by the main ideas, desires and associations of the lives they have led, desire something against their interest and thus foolishly take on new bodies that perpetuate their material miseries.
Systematic training of the mind and intelligence is therefore needed so that at the time of death one may consciously desire a suitable body, either on this planet or another material planet or even a transcendental planet. A civilization that does not consider the progressive advancement of the immortal soul merely fosters a bestial life of ignorance.
It is foolish to think that every soul that passes away goes to the same place. Either the soul goes to a place he desires at the time of death, or upon leaving his body he is forced to accept a position according to his acts in his previous life. The difference between the materialist and the yogī is that a materialist cannot determine his next body, whereas a yogī can consciously attain a suitable body for enjoyment in the higher planets. Throughout his life, the gross materialist who is constantly after sense gratification spends all day earning his livelihood to maintain his family, and at night he wastes his energy in sex enjoyment or else goes to sleep thinking about all he has done in the daytime. That is the monotonous life of the materialist. Although differently graded as businessmen, lawyers, politicians, professors, judges, coolies, pickpockets, laborers and so on, materialists all simply engage in eating, sleeping, fearing and sense gratification and thus spoil their valuable lives pursuing luxury and neglecting to perfect their lives through spiritual realization.
Yogīs, however, try to perfect their lives, and therefore the Bhagavad-gītā enjoins that everyone should become a yogī. Yoga is the system for linking the soul in the service of the Lord. Only under superior guidance can one practice such yoga in his life without changing his social position. As already described, a yogī can go anywhere he desires without mechanical help, for a yogī can place his mind and intelligence within the air circulating inside his body, and by practicing the art of breath control he can mix that air with the air that blows all over the universe outside his body. With the help of this universal air, a yogī can travel to any planet and get a body suitable for its atmosphere. We can understand this process by comparing it to the electronic transmission of radio messages. With radio transmitters, sound waves produced at a certain station can travel all over the earth in seconds. But sound is produced from the ethereal sky, and as already explained, subtler than the ethereal sky is the mind, and finer than the mind is the intelligence. Spirit is still finer than the intelligence, and by nature it is completely different from matter. Thus we can just imagine how quickly the spirit soul can travel through the universal atmosphere.
To come to the stage of manipulating finer elements like mind, intelligence and spirit, one needs appropriate training, an appropriate mode of life and appropriate association. Such training depends upon sincere prayers, devotional service, achievement of success in mystic perfection, and the successful merging of oneself in the activities of the soul and Supersoul. A gross materialist, whether he be an empiric philosopher, a scientist, a psychologist or whatever, cannot attain such success through blunt efforts and word jugglery.
Materialists who perform yajñas, or great sacrifices, are comparatively better than grosser materialists who do not know anything beyond laboratories and test tubes. The advanced materialists who perform such sacrifices can reach the planet called Vaiśvānara, a fiery planet similar to the sun. On this planet, which is situated on the way to Brahmaloka, the topmost planet in the universe, such an advanced materialist can free himself from all traces of vice and its effects. When such a materialist is purified, he can rise to the orbit of the pole star (Dhruvaloka). Within this orbit, which is called the Śiśumāra-cakra, are situated the Āditya-lokas and the Vaikuṇṭha planet within this universe.
A purified materialist who has performed many sacrifices, undergone severe penances and given the major portion of his wealth in charity can reach such planets as Dhruvaloka, and if he becomes still more qualified there, he can penetrate still higher orbits and pass through the navel of the universe to reach the planet Maharloka, where sages like Bhṛgu Muni live. In Maharloka one can live even to the time of the partial annihilation of the universe. This annihilation begins when Anantadeva, from the lowest position in the universe, produces a great blazing fire. The heat of this fire reaches even Maharloka, and then the residents of Maharloka travel to Brahmaloka, which exists for twice the duration of parārdha time.
In Brahmaloka there is an unlimited number of airplanes that are controlled not by yantra (machine) but by mantra (psychic action). Because of the existence of the mind and intelligence on Brahmaloka, its residents have feelings of happiness and distress, but there is no cause of lamentation from old age, death, fear or distress. They feel sympathy, however, for the suffering living beings who are consumed in the fire of annihilation. The residents of Brahmaloka do not have gross material bodies to change at death, but they transform their subtle bodies into spiritual bodies and thus enter the spiritual sky. The residents of Brahmaloka can attain perfection in three different ways. Virtuous persons who reach Brahmaloka by dint of their pious work become masters of various planets after the resurrection of Brahmā, those who have worshiped Garbhodakaśāyī Viṣṇu are liberated with Brahmā, and those who are pure devotees of the Personality of Godhead at once push through the covering of the universe and enter the spiritual sky.
The numberless universes exist together in foamlike clusters, and so only some of them are surrounded by the water of the Causal Ocean. When agitated by the glance of Kāraṇodakaśāyī Viṣṇu, material nature produces the total elements, which are eight in number and which gradually evolve from finer to gross. A part of ego is the sky, a part of which is air, a part of which is fire, a part of which is water, a part of which is earth. Thus one universe inflates to an area of four billion miles in diameter. A yogī who desires gradual liberation must penetrate all the different coverings of the universe, including the subtle coverings of the three qualitative modes of material nature. One who does this never has to return to this mortal world.
According to Śukadeva Gosvāmī, the above description of the material and spiritual skies is neither imaginary nor utopian. The actual facts are recorded in the Vedic hymns, and Lord Vāsudeva disclosed them to Lord Brahmā when Brahmā satisfied Him. One can achieve the perfection of life only when he has a definite idea of Vaikuṇṭha and the Supreme Godhead. One should always think about and describe the Supreme Personality of Godhead, for this is recommended in both the Bhagavad-gītā and the Bhāgavata Purāṇa, which are two authorized commentaries upon the Vedas. Lord Caitanya has made all these subject matters easier for the fallen people of this age to accept, and Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta has therefore presented them for the easy understanding of all concerned.
nānā-rūpe vilasaye catur-vyūha haiñā
sarva-catur-vyūha-aṁśī, turīya, viśuddha
nija-gaṇa lañā khele ananta samaya
nārāyaṇa-rūpe karena vividha vilāsa
nārāyaṇa-rūpe sei tanu catur-bhuja
śrī-bhū-nīlā-śakti yāṅra caraṇa sevaya
In the Rāmānuja and Madhva sects of Vaiṣṇavism there are extensive descriptions of the śrī, bhū and nīlā energies. In Bengal the nīlā energy is sometimes called the līlā energy. These three energies are employed in the service of four-handed Nārāyaṇa in Vaikuṇṭha. Relating how three of the Ālvārs, namely Bhūta-yogī, Sara-yogī and Bhrānta-yogī, saw Nārāyaṇa in person when they took shelter at the house of a brāhmaṇa in the village of Gehalī, the Prapannāmṛta of the Śrī-sampradāya describes Nārāyaṇa as follows:
lakṣmī-dharaṁ vakṣasi paṅkajākṣam
viṣṇuṁ dadṛśur bhagavantam ādyam
“They saw the lotus-eyed Lord Viṣṇu, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, mounted on Garuḍa and holding Lakṣmī, the goddess of fortune, to His chest. He resembled a bluish rain cloud with flashing lightning, and in two of His four hands He held a conchshell and disc. His arms stretched down to His knees, and all His beautiful limbs were smeared with sandalwood and decorated with glittering ornaments. He wore yellow clothes, and by either side stood His energies Bhūmi and Nīlā.”
There is the following reference to the śrī, bhū and nīlā energies in the Sītopaniṣad: mahā-lakṣmīr deveśasya bhinnābhinna-rūpā cetanācetanātmikā. sā devī tri-vidhā bhavati, śakty-ātmanā icchā-śaktiḥ kriyā-śaktiḥ sākṣāc-chaktir iti. icchā-śaktis tri-vidhā bhavati, śrī-bhūminīlātmikā. “Mahā-Lakṣmī, the supreme energy of the Lord, is experienced in different ways. She is divided into material and spiritual potencies, and in both features she acts as the willing energy, creative energy and the internal energy. The willing energy is again divided into three, namely śrī, bhū and nīlā.”
Quoting from the revealed scriptures in his commentary on the Bhagavad-gītā (4.6), Madhvācārya has stated that mother material nature, which is conceived of as the illusory energy, Durgā, has three divisions, namely śrī, bhū and nīlā. She is the illusory energy for those who are weak in spiritual strength because such energies are created energies of Lord Viṣṇu. Although each energy has no direct relationship with the unlimited, they are subordinate to the Lord because the Lord is the master of all energies.
In his Bhagavat-sandarbha (text 23), Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī Prabhu states, “The Padma Purāṇa refers to the eternally auspicious abode of Godhead, which is full in all opulences, including the energies śrī, bhū and nīlā. The Mahā-saṁhitā, which discusses the transcendental name and form of Godhead, also mentions Durgā as the potency of the Supersoul in relationship with the living entities. The internal potency acts in relation with His personal affairs, and the material potency manifests the three modes.” Quoting elsewhere from the revealed scriptures, he states that śrī is the energy of Godhead that maintains the cosmic manifestation, bhū is the energy that creates the cosmic manifestation, and nīlā, Durgā, is the energy that destroys the creation. All these energies act in relation with the living beings, and thus they are together called jīva-māyā.
tathāpi jīvere kṛpāya kare eka karma
cāri mukti diyā kare jīvera nistāra
There are two kinds of liberated souls — those who are liberated by the favor of the Lord and those who are liberated by their own effort. One who gets liberation by his own effort is called an impersonalist, and he merges into the glaring effulgence of the Lord, the brahmajyoti. But devotees of the Lord who qualify themselves for liberation by devotional service are offered four kinds of liberation, namely sālokya (status equal to that of the Lord), sāmīpya (constant association with the Lord), sārṣṭi (opulence equal to that of the Lord) and sārūpya (features like those of the Lord).
vaikuṇṭha-bāhire haya tā’-sabāra sthiti
kṛṣṇera aṅgera prabhā, parama ujjvala
cit-svarūpa, tāṅhā nāhi cic-chakti vikāra
bhitare sūryera ratha-ādi saviśeṣa
Outside of Vaikuṇṭha, the abode of Kṛṣṇa, which is called paravyoma, is the glaring effulgence of Kṛṣṇa’s bodily rays. This is called the brahmajyoti. The transcendental region of that effulgence is called Siddhaloka or Brahmaloka. When impersonalists achieve liberation, they merge into that Brahmaloka effulgence. This transcendental region is undoubtedly spiritual, but it contains no manifestations of spiritual activities or variegatedness. It is compared to the glow of the sun. Within the sun’s glow is the sphere of the sun, where one can experience all sorts of varieties.
yathā bhaktyeśvare manaḥ
āveśya tad aghaṁ hitvā
bahavas tad gatiṁ gatāḥ
As the powerful sun, by its glowing rays, can purify all kinds of impurities, so the all-spiritual Personality of Godhead can purify all material qualities in a person He attracts. Even if one is attracted by Godhead in the mode of material lust, such attraction is converted into spiritual love of Godhead by His grace. Similarly, if one is related to the Lord in fear and animosity, he also becomes purified by the spiritual attraction of the Lord. Although God is great and the living entity small, they are spiritual individuals, and therefore as soon as there is a reciprocal exchange by the living entity’s free will, at once the great spiritual being attracts the small living entity, thus freeing him from all material bondage. This is a verse from Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (7.1.30).
prāpyam ekam ivoditam
tad brahma-kṛṣṇayor aikyāt
This verse is from the Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu (1.2.278) of Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī, who further discusses this same topic in his Laghu-bhāgavatāmṛta (Pūrva 5.41). There he refers to the Viṣṇu Purāṇa (4.15.1), where Maitreya Muni asked Parāśara, in regard to Jaya and Vijaya, how it was that Hiraṇyakaśipu next became Rāvaṇa and enjoyed more material happiness than the demigods but did not attain salvation, although when he became Śiśupāla, quarreled with Kṛṣṇa and was killed, he attained salvation and merged into the body of Lord Kṛṣṇa. Parāśara replied that Hiraṇyakaśipu failed to recognize Lord Nṛsiṁhadeva as Lord Viṣṇu. He thought that Nṛsiṁhadeva was some living entity who had acquired such opulence by various pious activities. Being overcome by the mode of passion, he considered Lord Nṛsiṁhadeva an ordinary living entity, not understanding His form. Nevertheless, because Hiraṇyakaśipu was killed by the hands of Lord Nṛsiṁhadeva, in his next life he became Rāvaṇa and had proprietorship of unlimited opulence. As Rāvaṇa, with unlimited material enjoyment, he could not accept Lord Rāma as the Personality of Godhead. Therefore even though he was killed by Rāma, he did not attain sāyujya, or oneness with the body of the Lord. In his Rāvaṇa body he was too much attracted to Rāma’s wife, Jānakī, and because of that attraction he was able to see Lord Rāma. But instead of accepting Lord Rāma as an incarnation of Viṣṇu, Rāvaṇa thought Him an ordinary living being. When killed by the hands of Rāma, therefore, he got the privilege of taking birth as Śiśupāla, who had such immense opulence that he could think himself a competitor to Kṛṣṇa. Although Śiśupāla was always envious of Kṛṣṇa, he frequently uttered the name of Kṛṣṇa and always thought of the beautiful features of Kṛṣṇa. Thus by constantly thinking and chanting of Kṛṣṇa, even unfavorably, he was cleansed of the contamination of his sinful activities. When Śiśupāla was killed by the Sudarśana cakra of Kṛṣṇa as an enemy, his constant remembrance of Kṛṣṇa dissolved the reactions of his vices, and he attained salvation by becoming one with the body of the Lord.
From this incident one can understand that even a person who thinks of Kṛṣṇa as an enemy and is killed by Him may be liberated by becoming one with the body of Kṛṣṇa. What then must be the destination of devotees who always think favorably of Kṛṣṇa as their master or friend? These devotees must attain a situation better than Brahmaloka, the impersonal bodily effulgence of Kṛṣṇa. Devotees cannot be situated in the impersonal Brahman effulgence, into which impersonalists desire to merge. The devotees are placed in Vaikuṇṭhaloka or Kṛṣṇaloka.
This discussion between Maitreya Muni and Parāśara Muni centered on whether devotees come down into the material world in every millennium like Jaya and Vijaya, who were cursed by the Kumāras to that effect. In the course of these instructions to Maitreya about Hiraṇyakaśipu, Rāvaṇa and Śiśupāla, Parāśara did not say that these demons were formerly Jaya and Vijaya. He simply described the transmigration through three lives. It is not necessary for the Vaikuṇṭha associates of the Supreme Personality of Godhead to come to take the roles of His enemies in all the millenniums in which He appears. The “falldown” of Jaya and Vijaya occurred in a particular millennium; Jaya and Vijaya do not come down in every millennium to act as demons. To think that some associates of the Lord fall down from Vaikuṇṭha in every millennium to become demons is totally incorrect.
The Supreme Personality of Godhead has all the tendencies that may be found in the living entity, for He is the chief living entity. Therefore it is natural that sometimes Lord Viṣṇu wants to fight. Just as He has the tendencies to create, to enjoy, to be a friend, to accept a mother and father, and so on, He also has the tendency to fight. Sometimes important landlords and kings keep wrestlers with whom they practice mock fighting, and Viṣṇu makes similar arrangements. The demons who fight with the Supreme Personality of Godhead in the material world are sometimes His associates. When there is a scarcity of demons and the Lord wants to fight, He instigates some of His associates of Vaikuṇṭha to come and play as demons. When it is said that Śiśupāla merged into the body of Kṛṣṇa, it should be noted that in this case he was not Jaya or Vijaya: he was actually a demon.
In his Bṛhad-bhāgavatāmṛta, Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī has explained that the attainment of salvation by merging into the Brahman effulgence of the Lord cannot be accepted as the highest success in life, because demons like Kaṁsa, who were famous for killing brāhmaṇas and cows, attained that salvation. For devotees such salvation is abominable. Devotees are actually in a transcendental position, whereas nondevotees are candidates for hellish conditions of life. There is always a difference between the life of a devotee and the life of a demon, and their realizations are as different as heaven and hell.
Demons are always accustomed to being malicious toward devotees and to killing brāhmaṇas and cows. For demons, merging into the Brahman effulgence may be very glorious, but for devotees it is hellish. A devotee’s aim in life is to attain perfection in loving the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Those who aspire to merge into the Brahman effulgence are as abominable as demons. Devotees who aspire to associate with the Supreme Lord to render Him transcendental loving service are far superior.
nirviśeṣa jyotir-bimba bāhire prakāśa
sāyujyera adhikārī tāṅhā pāya laya
pāre yatra vasanti hi
siddhā brahma-sukhe magnā
daityāś ca hariṇā hatāḥ
Tamas means darkness. The material world is dark, and beyond the material world is light. In other words, after passing through the entire material atmosphere, one can come to the luminous spiritual sky, whose impersonal effulgence is known as Siddhaloka. Māyāvādī philosophers who aspire to merge with the body of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, as well as demoniac persons who are killed by Kṛṣṇa, such as Kaṁsa and Śiśupāla, enter that Brahman effulgence. Yogīs who attain oneness through meditation according to the Patañjali yoga system also reach Siddhaloka. This is a verse from the Brahmāṇḍa Purāṇa.
dvārakā-catur-vyūhera dvitīya prakāśe
Within the spiritual sky is a second manifestation of the quadruple forms of Dvārakā from the abode of Kṛṣṇa. Among these forms, which are all spiritual and immune to the material modes, Śrī Baladeva is represented as Mahā-saṅkarṣaṇa.
The activities in the spiritual sky are manifested by the internal potency in pure spiritual existence. They expand in six transcendental opulences, which are all manifestations of Mahā-saṅkarṣaṇa, who is the ultimate reservoir and objective of all living entities. Although belonging to the marginal potency, known as jīva-śakti, the spiritual sparks known as the living entities are subjected to the conditions of material energy. It is because these sparks are related with both the internal and external potencies of the Lord that they are known as belonging to the marginal potency.
In considering the quadruple forms of the absolute Personality of Godhead, known as Vāsudeva, Saṅkarṣaṇa, Pradyumna and Aniruddha, the impersonalists, headed by Śrīpāda Śaṅkarācārya, have interpreted the aphorisms of the Vedānta-sūtra in a way suitable for the impersonalist school. To provide the intrinsic import of such aphorisms, however, Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī, the leader of the six Gosvāmīs of Vṛndāvana, has properly replied to the impersonalists in his Laghu-bhāgavatāmṛta, which is a natural commentary on the aphorisms of the Vedānta-sūtra.
The Padma Purāṇa, as quoted by Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī in his Laghu-bhāgavatāmṛta, describes that in the spiritual sky there are four directions, corresponding to east, west, north and south, in which Vāsudeva, Saṅkarṣaṇa, Aniruddha and Pradyumna are situated. The same forms are also situated in the material sky. The Padma Purāṇa also describes a place in the spiritual sky known as Vedavatī-pura, where Vāsudeva resides. In Viṣṇuloka, which is above Satyaloka, Saṅkarṣaṇa resides. Mahā-saṅkarṣaṇa is another name of Saṅkarṣaṇa. Pradyumna lives in Dvārakā-pura, and Aniruddha lies on the eternal bed of Śeṣa, generally known as ananta-śayyā, on the island called Śvetadvīpa, in the ocean of milk.
‘dvitīya catur-vyūha’ ei — turīya, viśuddha
Śrīpāda Śaṅkarācārya has misleadingly explained the quadruple form (catur-vyūha) in his interpretation of the forty-second aphorism of chapter two of the second khaṇḍa of the Vedānta-sūtra (utpatty-asambhavāt). In verses 41 through 47 of this chapter of Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Śrīla Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja Gosvāmī answers Śrīpāda Śaṅkarācārya’s misleading objections to the personal feature of the Absolute Truth.
The Supreme Personality of Godhead, the Absolute Truth, is not like a material object that can be known by experimental knowledge or sense perception. In the Nārada-pañcarātra this fact has been explained by Nārāyaṇa Himself to Lord Śiva. But Śaṅkarācārya, the incarnation of Śiva, under the order of Nārāyaṇa, his master, had to mislead the monists, who favor ultimate extinction. In the conditioned stage of existence, all living entities have four basic defects, of which one is the cheating propensity. Śaṅkarācārya has carried this cheating propensity to the extreme to mislead the monists.
Actually, the explanation of the quadruple forms in the Vedic literature cannot be understood by the speculation of a conditioned soul. The quadruple forms should therefore be accepted just as They are described. The authority of the Vedas is such that even if one does not understand something by his limited perception, he should accept the Vedic injunction and not create interpretations to suit his imperfect understanding. In his Śārīraka-bhāṣya, however, Śaṅkarācārya has increased the misunderstanding of the monists.
The quadruple forms have a spiritual existence that can be realized in vasudeva-sattva (śuddha-sattva), or unqualified goodness, which accompanies complete absorption in the understanding of Vāsudeva. The quadruple forms, who are full in the six opulences of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, are the enjoyers of the internal potency. Thinking the absolute Personality of Godhead to be poverty-stricken or to have no potency — or, in other words, to be impotent — is simply rascaldom. This rascaldom is the profession of the conditioned soul, and it increases his bewilderment. One who cannot understand the distinctions between the spiritual world and the material world has no qualification to examine or know the situation of the transcendental quadruple forms. In his commentary on Vedānta-sūtra 2.2.42-45, His Holiness Śrīpāda Śaṅkarācārya has made a futile attempt to nullify the existence of these quadruple forms in the spiritual world.
Śaṅkarācārya says (sūtra 42) that devotees think the Supreme Personality of Godhead Vāsudeva, Śrī Kṛṣṇa, to be one, to be free from material qualities and to have a transcendental body full of bliss and eternal existence. He is the ultimate goal of the devotees, who believe that the Supreme Personality of Godhead expands Himself into four other eternal transcendental forms — Vāsudeva, Saṅkarṣaṇa, Pradyumna and Aniruddha. From Vāsudeva, who is the primary expansion, come Saṅkarṣaṇa, Pradyumna and Aniruddha in that order. Another name of Vāsudeva is Paramātmā, another name of Saṅkarṣaṇa is jīva (the living entity), another name of Pradyumna is mind, and another name of Aniruddha is ahaṅkāra (false ego). Among these expansions, Vāsudeva is considered the origin of the material nature. Therefore Śaṅkarācārya says that Saṅkarṣaṇa, Pradyumna and Aniruddha must be creations of that original cause.
Great souls assert that Nārāyaṇa, who is known as the Paramātmā, or Supersoul, is beyond material nature, and this is in accordance with the statements of the Vedic literature. Māyāvādīs also agree that Nārāyaṇa can expand Himself in various forms. Śaṅkara says that he does not attempt to argue that portion of the devotees’ understanding, but he must protest the idea that Saṅkarṣaṇa is produced from Vāsudeva, Pradyumna is produced from Saṅkarṣaṇa, and Aniruddha is produced from Pradyumna, for if Saṅkarṣaṇa is understood to represent the living entities created from the body of Vāsudeva, the living entities would have to be noneternal. The living entities are supposed to be freed from material contamination by engaging in prolonged temple worship of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, reading Vedic literature and performing yoga and pious activities to attain the Supreme Lord. But if the living entities had been created from material nature at a certain point, they would be noneternal and would have no chance to be liberated and associate with the Supreme Personality of Godhead. When a cause is nullified, its results are nullified. In the second chapter of the Vedānta-sūtra’s second khaṇḍa, Ācārya Vedavyāsa has also refuted the conception that the living beings were ever born (nātmā śruter nityatvāc ca tābhyaḥ). Because there is no creation for the living entities, they must be eternal.
Śaṅkarācārya says (sūtra 43) that devotees think that Pradyumna, who is considered to represent the senses, has sprung from Saṅkarṣaṇa, who is considered to represent the living entities. But we cannot actually experience that a person can produce senses. Devotees also say that from Pradyumna has sprung Aniruddha, who is considered to represent the ego. But Śaṅkarācārya says that unless the devotees can show how ego and the means of knowledge can generate from a person, such an explanation of the Vedānta-sūtra cannot be accepted, for no other philosophers accept the sūtras in that way.
Śaṅkarācārya also says (sūtra 44) that he cannot accept the devotees’ idea that Saṅkarṣaṇa, Pradyumna and Aniruddha are equally as powerful as the absolute Personality of Godhead, full in the six opulences of knowledge, wealth, strength, fame, beauty and renunciation, and free from the flaw of generation at a certain point. Even if They are full expansions, the flaw of generation remains. Vāsudeva, Saṅkarṣaṇa, Pradyumna and Aniruddha, being distinct individual persons, cannot be one. Therefore if They are accepted as absolute, full and equal, there would have to be many Personalities of Godhead. But there is no need to accept that there are many Personalities of Godhead, because acceptance of one omnipotent God is sufficient for all purposes. The acceptance of more than one God is contradictory to the conclusion that Lord Vāsudeva, the absolute Per sonality of Godhead, is one without a second. Even if we agree to accept that the quadruple forms of Godhead are all identical, we cannot avoid the incongruous flaw of noneternity. Unless we accept that there are some differences among the personalities, there is no meaning to the idea that Saṅkarṣaṇa is an expansion of Vāsudeva, Pradyumna is an expansion of Saṅkarṣaṇa, and Aniruddha is an expansion of Pradyumna. There must be a distinction between cause and effect. For example, a pot is distinct from the earth from which it is made, and therefore we can ascertain that the earth is the cause and the pot is the effect. Without such distinctions, there is no meaning to cause and effect. Furthermore, the followers of the Pañcarātric principles do not accept any differences in knowledge and qualities between Vāsudeva, Saṅkarṣaṇa, Pradyumna and Aniruddha. The devotees accept all these expansions to be one, but why should they restrict oneness to these quadruple expansions? Certainly we should not do so, for all living entities, from Brahmā to the insignificant ant, are expansions of Vāsudeva, as accepted in all the śrutis and smṛtis.
Śaṅkarācārya also says (sūtra 45) that the devotees who follow the Pañcarātra state that God’s qualities and God Himself, as the owner of the qualities, are the same. But how can the Bhāgavata school state that the six opulences — wisdom, wealth, strength, fame, beauty and renunciation — are identical with Lord Vāsudeva? This is impossible.
In his Laghu-bhāgavatāmṛta (Pūrva 5.165-193), Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī has refuted the charges directed against the devotees by Śrīpāda Śaṅkarācārya regarding their explanation of the quadruple forms Vāsudeva, Saṅkarṣaṇa, Pradyumna and Aniruddha. Rūpa Gosvāmī says that these four expansions of Nārāyaṇa are present in the spiritual sky, where They are famous as Mahāvastha. Among Them, Vāsudeva is worshiped within the heart by meditation because He is the predominating Deity of the heart, as explained in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (4.3.23).
Saṅkarṣaṇa, the second expansion, is Vāsudeva’s personal expansion for pastimes, and since He is the reservoir of all living entities, He is sometimes called jīva. The beauty of Saṅkarṣaṇa is greater than that of innumerable full moons radiating light beams. He is worshipable as the principle of ego. He has invested Anantadeva with all the potencies of sustenance. For the dissolution of the creation, He also exhibits Himself as the Supersoul in Rudra, in Adharma (the personality of irreligion), in sarpa (snakes), in Antaka (Yamarāja, the lord of death) and in the demons.
Pradyumna, the third manifestation, appears from Saṅkarṣaṇa. Those who are especially intelligent worship this Pradyumna expansion of Saṅkarṣaṇa as the principle of the intelligence. The goddess of fortune always chants the glories of Pradyumna in the place known as Ilāvṛta-varṣa, and she always serves Him with great devotion. His complexion appears sometimes golden and sometimes bluish like new monsoon clouds in the sky. He is the origin of the creation of the material world, and He has invested His creative principle in Cupid. It is by His direction only that all men and demigods and other living entities function with energy for regeneration.
Aniruddha, the fourth of the quadruple expansions, is worshiped by great sages and psychologists as the principle of the mind. His complexion is similar to the bluish hue of a blue cloud. He engages in the maintenance of the cosmic manifestation and is the Supersoul of Dharma (the deity of religiosity), the Manus (the progenitors of mankind) and the devatās (demigods). The Mokṣa-dharma Vedic scripture indicates that Pradyumna is the Deity of the total mind, whereas Aniruddha is the Deity of the total ego, but previous statements regarding the quadruple forms are confirmed in the Pañcarātra tantras in all respects.
In the Laghu-bhāgavatāmṛta (Pūrva 5.86-100), there is a lucid explanation of the inconceivable potencies of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Negating Śaṅkarācārya’s statements, the Mahā-varāha Purāṇa declares:
sarve nityāḥ śāśvatāś ca dehās tasya parātmanaḥ
hānopādāna-rahitā naiva prakṛti-jāḥ kvacit
“All the varied expansions of the Personality of Godhead are transcendental and eternal, and all of them repeatedly descend to all the different universes of the material creation. Their bodies, composed of eternity, bliss and knowledge, are everlasting; there is no chance of their decaying, for they are not creations of the material world. Their forms are concentrated spiritual existence, always complete with all spiritual qualities and devoid of material contamination.”
Confirming these statements, the Nārada-pañcarātra asserts:
maṇir yathā vibhāgena nīla-pītādibhir yutaḥ
rūpa-bhedam avāpnoti dhyāna-bhedāt tathācyutaḥ
“The infallible Personality of Godhead can manifest His body in different ways according to different modes of worship, just as the vaidūrya gem can manifest itself in various colors, such as blue and yellow.” Each incarnation is distinct from all the others. This is possible by the Lord’s inconceivable potency, by which He can simultaneously represent Himself as one, as various partial forms and as the origin of these partial forms. Nothing is impossible for His inconceivable potencies.
Kṛṣṇa is one without a second, but He manifests Himself in different bodies, as stated by Nārada in the Tenth Canto of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam:
citraṁ bataitad ekena vapuṣā yugapat pṛthak
gṛheṣu dvy-aṣṭa-sāhasraṁ striya eka udāvahat
“It is wonderful indeed that one Kṛṣṇa has simultaneously become different Kṛṣṇas in 16,000 palaces to accept 16,000 queens as His wives.” (Bhāg. 10.69.2) The Padma Purāṇa also explains:
sa devo bahudhā bhūtvā nirguṇaḥ puruṣottamaḥ
ekī-bhūya punaḥ śete nirdoṣo harir ādi-kṛt
“The same Personality of Godhead, Puruṣottama, the original person, who is always devoid of material qualities and contamination, can exhibit Himself in various forms and at the same time lie down in one form.”
In the Tenth Canto of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam it is said, yajanti tvan-mayās tvāṁ vai bahu-mūrty-eka-mūrtikam: “O my Lord, although You manifest Yourself in varieties of forms, You are one without a second. Therefore pure devotees concentrate upon You and worship only You.” (Bhāg. 10.40.7) In the Kūrma Purāṇa it is said:
asthūlaś cānaṇuś caiva sthūlo ’ṇuś caiva sarvataḥ
avarṇaḥ sarvataḥ proktaḥ śyāmo raktānta-locanaḥ
“The Lord is personal although impersonal, He is atomic although great, and He is blackish and has red eyes although He is colorless.” By material calculation all this may appear contradictory, but if we understand that the Supreme Personality of Godhead has inconceivable potencies, we can accept these facts as eternally possible in Him. In our present condition we cannot understand the spiritual activities and how they occur, but although they are inconceivable in the material context, we should not disregard such contradictory conceptions.
Although it is apparently inconceivable, it is quite possible for the Absolute to reconcile all opposing elements. Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam establishes this in the Sixth Canto (6.9.34-37):
“O my Lord, Your transcendental pastimes and enjoyments all appear inconceivable because they are not limited by the causal and effective actions of material thought. You can do everything without performing bodily work. The Vedas say that the Absolute Truth has multifarious potencies and does not need to do anything personally. My dear Lord, You are entirely devoid of material qualities. Without anyone’s help, You can create, maintain and dissolve the entire qualitative material manifestation, yet in all such activities You do not change. You do not accept the results of Your activities, unlike ordinary demons and demigods, who suffer or enjoy the reactions of their activities in the material world. Unaffected by the reactions of work, You eternally exist with Your full spiritual potency. This we cannot fully understand.
“Because You are unlimited in Your six opulences, no one can count Your transcendental qualities. Philosophers and other thoughtful persons are overwhelmed by the contradictory manifestations of the physical world and the propositions of logical arguments and judgments. Because they are bewildered by word jugglery and disturbed by the different calculations of the scriptures, their theories cannot touch You, who are the ruler and controller of everyone and whose glories are beyond conception.
“Your inconceivable potency keeps You unattached to the mundane qualities. Surpassing all conceptions of material contemplation, Your pure transcendental knowledge keeps You beyond all speculative processes. By Your inconceivable potency, there is nothing contradictory in You.
“People may sometimes think of You as impersonal or personal, but You are one. For persons who are confused or bewildered, a rope may appear to manifest itself as different kinds of snakes. For similar confused persons who are uncertain about You, You create various philosophical methods in pursuance of their uncertain positions.”
We should always remember the differences between spiritual and material actions. The Supreme Lord, being all-spiritual, can perform any act without extraneous help. In the material world, if we want to manufacture an earthen pot, we need the ingredients, a machine and also a laborer. But we should not extend this idea to the actions of the Supreme Lord, for He can create anything in a moment without that which appears necessary in our own conception. When the Lord appears as an incarnation to fulfill a particular purpose, this does not indicate that He is unable to fulfill it without appearing. He can do anything simply by His will, but by His causeless mercy He appears to be dependent upon His devotees. He appears as the son of Yaśodāmātā not because He is dependent on her care but because He accepts such a role by His causeless mercy. When He appears for the protection of His devotees, He naturally accepts trials and tribulations on their behalf.
In the Bhagavad-gītā it is said that the Lord, being equally disposed toward every living being, has no enemies and no friends but that He has special affection for a devotee who always thinks of Him in love. Therefore neutrality and partiality are both among the transcendental qualities of the Lord, and they are properly adjusted by His inconceivable energy. The Lord is Parabrahman, or the source of the impersonal Brahma, which is His all-pervading feature of neutrality. In His personal feature, however, as the owner of all transcendental opulences, the Lord displays His partiality by taking the side of His devotees. Partiality, neutrality and all such qualities are present in God; otherwise they could not be experienced in the creation. Since He is the total existence, all things are properly adjusted in the Absolute. In the relative world such qualities are displayed in a perverted manner, and therefore we experience nonduality as a perverted reflection. Because there is no logic to explain how things happen in the realm of spirit, the Lord is sometimes described as being beyond the range of experience. But if we simply accept the Lord’s inconceivability, we can then adjust all things in Him. Nondevotees cannot understand the Lord’s inconceivable energy, and consequently for them it is said that He is beyond the range of conceivable expression. The author of the Brahma-sūtras accepts this fact and says, śrutes tu śabda-mūlatvāt: the Supreme Personality of Godhead, being inconceivable to an ordinary man, can be understood only through the evidence of the Vedic injunctions. The Skanda Purāṇa confirms, acintyāḥ khalu ye bhāvā na tāṁs tarkeṇa yojayet: “Matters inconceivable to a common man should not be a subject for argument.” We find very wonderful qualities even in such material things as jewels and drugs. Indeed, their qualities often appear inconceivable. Therefore if we do not attribute inconceivable potencies to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, we cannot establish His supremacy. It is because of these inconceivable potencies that the glories of the Lord have always been accepted as difficult to understand.
Ignorance and the jugglery of words are very common in human society, but they do not help one understand the inconceivable energies of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. If we accept such ignorance and word jugglery, we cannot accept the Supreme Lord’s perfection in six opulences. For example, one of the opulences of the Supreme Lord is complete knowledge. Therefore, how could ignorance be conceivable in Him? Vedic instructions and sensible arguments establish that the Lord’s maintaining the cosmic manifestation and simultaneously being indifferent to the activities of its maintenance cannot be contradictory, because of His inconceivable energies. To a person who is always absorbed in the thought of snakes, a rope always appears to be a snake, and similarly to a person bewildered by material qualities and devoid of knowledge of the Absolute, the Supreme Personality of Godhead appears according to diverse bewildered conclusions.
Someone might argue that the Absolute would be affected by duality if He were both all-cognizance (Brahman) and the Personality of Godhead with six opulences in full (Bhagavān). To refute such an argument, the aphorism svarūpa-dvayam īkṣyate declares that in spite of appearances, there is no chance of duality in the Absolute, for He is but one in diverse manifestations. Understanding that the Absolute displays varied pastimes by the influence of His energies at once removes the apparent incongruity of His inconceivably opposite energies. Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (3.4.16) gives the following description of the inconceivable potency of the Lord:
karmāṇy anīhasya bhavo ’bhavasya te
durgāśrayo ’thāri-bhayāt palāyanam
kālātmano yat pramadā-yutāśrayaḥ
svātman-rateḥ khidyati dhīr vidām iha
“Although the Supreme Personality of Godhead has nothing to do, He nevertheless acts; although He is always unborn, He nevertheless takes birth; although He is time, fearful to everyone, He flees Mathurā in fear of His enemy to take shelter in a fort; and although He is self-sufficient, He marries 16,000 women. These pastimes seem like bewildering contradictions, even to the most intelligent.” Had these activities of the Lord not been a reality, sages would not have been puzzled by them. Therefore such activities should never be considered imaginary. Whenever the Lord desires, His inconceivable energy (yogamāyā) serves Him in creating and performing such pastimes.
The scriptures known as the Pañcarātra-śāstras are recognized Vedic scriptures that have been accepted by the great ācāryas. These scriptures are not products of the modes of passion and ignorance. Learned scholars and brāhmaṇas therefore always refer to them as sātvata-saṁhitās. The original speaker of these scriptures is Nārāyaṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This is especially mentioned in the Mokṣa-dharma (349.68), which is part of the Śānti-parva of the Mahābhārata. Liberated sages like Nārada and Vyāsa, who are free from the four defects of conditioned souls, are the propagators of these scriptures. Śrī Nārada Muni is the original speaker of the Pañcarātra-śāstra. Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is also considered a sātvata-saṁhitā. Indeed, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu declared, śrīmad-bhāgavataṁ purāṇam amalam: “Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is a spotless Purāṇa.” Malicious editors and scholars who attempt to misrepresent the Pañcarātra-śāstras to refute their regulations are most abominable. In the modern age, such malicious scholars have even commented misleadingly upon the Bhagavad-gītā, which was spoken by Kṛṣṇa, to prove that there is no Kṛṣṇa. How the Māyāvādīs have misrepresented the pāñcarātrika-vidhi will be shown below.
(1) In commenting on Vedānta-sūtra 2.2.42, Śrīpāda Śaṅkarācārya has claimed that Saṅkarṣaṇa is a jīva, an ordinary living entity, but there is no evidence in any Vedic scripture that devotees of the Lord have ever said that Saṅkarṣaṇa is an ordinary living entity. He is an infallible plenary expansion of the Supreme Personality of Godhead in the Viṣṇu category, and He is beyond the creation of material nature. He is the original source of the living entities. The Upaniṣads declare, nityo nityānāṁ cetanaś cetanānām: “He is the supreme living entity among all the living entities.” Therefore He is vibhu-caitanya, the greatest. He is directly the cause of the cosmic manifestation and the infinitesimal living beings. He is the infinite living entity, and ordinary living entities are infinitesimal. Therefore He is never to be considered an ordinary living being, for that would be against the conclusion of the authorized scriptures. The living entities are also beyond the limitations of birth and death. This is the version of the Vedas, and it is accepted by those who follow scriptural injunctions and who have actually descended in the disciplic succession.
(2) In answer to Śaṅkarācārya’s commentary on Vedānta-sūtra 2.2.43, it must be said that the original Viṣṇu of all the Viṣṇu categories, which are distributed in several ways, is Mūla-saṅkarṣaṇa. Mūla means “the original.” Saṅkarṣaṇa is also Viṣṇu, but from Him all other Viṣṇus expand. This is confirmed in the Brahma-saṁhitā (5.46), wherein it is said that just as a flame transferred from another flame acts like the original, so the Viṣṇus who emanate from Mūla-saṅkarṣaṇa are as good as the original Viṣṇu. One should worship that Supreme Personality of Godhead, Govinda, who thus expands Himself.
(3) In reply to the commentary of Śaṅkarācārya on the forty-fourth aphorism, it may be said that no pure devotees strictly following the principles of the Pañcarātra will ever accept the statement that all the expansions of Viṣṇu are different identities, for this idea is completely false. Even Śrīpāda Śaṅkarācārya, in his commentary on the forty-second aphorism, has accepted that the Personality of Godhead can automatically expand Himself variously. Therefore his commentary on the forty-second aphorism and his commentary on the forty-fourth aphorism are contradictory. It is a defect of Māyāvāda commentaries that they make one statement in one place and a contradictory statement in another place as a tactic to refute the Bhāgavata school. Thus Māyāvādī commentators do not even follow regulative principles. It should be noted that the Bhāgavata school accepts the quadruple forms of Nārāyaṇa, but that does not mean that it accepts many Gods. Devotees know perfectly well that the Absolute Truth, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is one without a second. They are never pantheists, worshipers of many Gods, for this is against the injunction of the Vedas. Devotees completely believe, with strong faith, that Nārāyaṇa is transcendental and has inconceivable proprietorship of various transcendental potencies. We therefore recommend that scholars consult the Laghu-bhāgavatāmṛta of Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī, where these ideas are explicitly stated. Śrīpāda Śaṅkarācārya has tried to prove that Vāsudeva, Saṅkarṣaṇa, Pradyumna and Aniruddha expand through cause and effect. He has compared Them with earth and earthen pots. That is completely ignorant, however, for there is no such thing as cause and effect in Their expansions (nānyad yat sad-asat-param). The Kūrma Purāṇa also confirms, deha-dehi-vibhedo ’yaṁ neśvare vidyate kvacit: “There is no difference between body and soul in the Supreme Personality of Godhead.” Cause and effect are material. For example, it is seen that a father’s body is the cause of a son’s body, but the soul is neither cause nor effect. On the spiritual platform there are none of the differences we find in cause and effect. Since all the forms of the Supreme Personality of Godhead are spiritually supreme, They are equally controllers of material nature. Standing on the fourth dimension, They are predominating figures on the transcendental platform. There is no trace of material contamination in Their expansions because material laws cannot influence Them. There is no such rule as cause and effect outside of the material world. Therefore the understanding of cause and effect cannot approach the full, transcendental, complete expansions of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The Vedic literature proves this:
oṁ pūrṇam adaḥ pūrṇam idaṁ pūrṇāt pūrṇam udacyate
pūrṇasya pūrṇam ādāya pūrṇam evāvaśiṣyate
“The Personality of Godhead is perfect and complete, and because He is completely perfect, all emanations from Him, such as this phenomenal world, are perfectly equipped as complete wholes. Whatever is produced of the complete whole is also complete by itself. Because He is the complete whole, even though so many complete units emanate from Him, He remains the complete balance.” (Bṛhad-āraṇyaka Upaniṣad 5.1) It is most apparent that nondevotees violate the rules and regulations of devotional service to equate the whole cosmic manifestation, which is the external feature of Viṣṇu, with the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is the controller of māyā, or with His quadruple expansions. Equating māyā with spirit, or māyā with the Lord, is a sign of atheism. The cosmic creation, which manifests life in forms from Brahmā to the ant, is the external feature of the Supreme Lord. It comprises one fourth of the Lord’s energy, as confirmed in the Bhagavad-gītā (ekāṁśena sthito jagat). The cosmic manifestation of the illusory energy is material nature, and everything within material nature is made of matter. Therefore, one should not try to compare the expansions of material nature to the catur-vyūha, the quadruple expansions of the Personality of Godhead, but unfortunately the Māyāvādī school unreasonably attempts to do this.
(4) To answer Śaṅkarācārya’s commentary on Vedānta-sūtra 2.2.45, the substance of the transcendental qualities and their spiritual nature is described in the Laghu-bhāgavatāmṛta (Pūrva 5.208-214) as follows: “Some say that transcendence must be void of all qualities because qualities are manifested only in matter. According to them, all qualities are like temporary, flickering mirages. But this is not acceptable. Since the Supreme Personality of Godhead is absolute, His qualities are nondifferent from Him. His form, name, qualities and everything else pertaining to Him are as spiritual as He is. Every qualitative expansion of the absolute Personality of Godhead is identical with Him. Since the Absolute Truth, the Personality of Godhead, is the reservoir of all pleasure, all the transcendental qualities that expand from Him are also reservoirs of pleasure. This is confirmed in the scripture known as Brahma-tarka, which states that the Supreme Lord Hari is qualified by Himself, and therefore Viṣṇu and His pure devotees and their transcendental qualities cannot be different from their persons. In the Viṣṇu Purāṇa Lord Viṣṇu is worshiped in the following words: ‘Let the Supreme Personality of Godhead be merciful toward us. His existence is never infected by material qualities.’ In the same Viṣṇu Purāṇa it is also said that all the qualities attributed to the Supreme Lord, such as knowledge, opulence, beauty, strength and influence, are known to be nondifferent from Him. This is also confirmed in the Padma Purāṇa, which explains that whenever the Supreme Lord is described as having no qualities, this should be understood to indicate that He is devoid of material qualities. In the First Canto of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (1.16.29) it is said, ‘O Dharma, protector of religious principles, all noble and sublime qualities are eternally manifested in the person of Kṛṣṇa, and devotees and transcendentalists who aspire to become faithful also desire to possess such transcendental qualities.’ ” It is therefore to be understood that Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the transcendental form of absolute bliss, is the fountainhead of all pleasurable transcendental qualities and inconceivable potencies. In this connection we may recommend references to Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, Third Canto, chapter twenty-six, verses 21, 25, 27 and 28.
Śrīpāda Rāmānujācārya has also refuted the arguments of Śaṅkara in his own commentary on the Vedānta-sūtra, which is known as the Śrī-bhāṣya: “Śrīpāda Śaṅkarācārya has tried to equate the Pañcarātras with the philosophy of the atheist Kapila, and thus he has tried to prove that the Pañcarātras contradict the Vedic injunctions. The Pañcarātras state that the personality of jīva called Saṅkarṣaṇa has emerged from Vāsudeva, the supreme cause of all causes, that Pradyumna, the mind, has come from Saṅkarṣaṇa, and that Aniruddha, the ego, has come from Pradyumna. But one cannot say that the living entity (jīva) takes birth or is created, for such a statement is against the injunction of the Vedas. As stated in the Kaṭha Upaniṣad (2.18), living entities, as individual spiritual souls, can have neither birth nor death. All Vedic literature declares that the living entities are eternal. Therefore when it is said that Saṅkarṣaṇa is jīva, this indicates that He is the predominating Deity of the living entities. Similarly, Pradyumna is the predominating Deity of the mind, and Aniruddha is the predominating Deity of the ego.
“It has been said that Pradyumna, the mind, was produced from Saṅkarṣaṇa. But if Saṅkarṣaṇa were a living entity, this could not be accepted, because a living entity cannot be the cause of the mind. The Vedic injunctions state that everything — including life, mind and the senses — comes from the Supreme Personality of Godhead. It is impossible for the mind to be produced by a living entity, for the Vedas state that everything comes from the Absolute Truth, the Supreme Lord.
“Saṅkarṣaṇa, Pradyumna and Aniruddha have all the potent features of the absolute Personality of Godhead, according to the revealed scriptures, which contain undeniable facts that no one can refute. Therefore these members of the quadruple manifestation are never to be considered ordinary living beings. Each of Them is a plenary expansion of the Absolute Godhead, and thus each is identical with the Supreme Lord in knowledge, opulence, energy, influence, prowess and potencies. The evidence of the Pañcarātras cannot be neglected. Only untrained persons who have not genuinely studied the Pañcarātras think that the Pañcarātras contradict the śrutis regarding the birth or beginning of the living entity. In this connection, we must accept the verdict of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, which says, ‘The absolute Personality of Godhead, who is known as Vāsudeva and who is very affectionate toward His surrendered devotees, expands Himself in quadruple forms who are subordinate to Him and at the same time identical with Him in all respects.’ The Pauṣkara-saṁhitā states, ‘The scriptures that recommend that brāhmaṇas worship the quadruple forms of the Supreme Personality of Godhead are called āgamas [authorized Vedic literatures].’ In all Vaiṣṇava literature it is said that worshiping these quadruple forms is as good as worshiping the Supreme Personality of Godhead Vāsudeva, who in His different expansions, complete in six opulences, can accept offerings from His devotees of the results of their prescribed duties. Worshiping the expansions for pastimes, such as Nṛsiṁha, Rāma, Śeṣa and Kūrma, promotes one to the worship of the Saṅkarṣaṇa quadruple. From that position one is raised to the platform of worshiping Vāsudeva, the Supreme Brahman. In the Pauṣkara-saṁhitā it is said, ‘If one fully worships according to the regulative principles, one can attain the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vāsudeva.’ It is to be accepted that Saṅkarṣaṇa, Pradyumna and Aniruddha are as good as Lord Vāsudeva, for They all have inconceivable power and can accept transcendental forms like Vāsudeva. Saṅkarṣaṇa, Pradyumna and Aniruddha are never born, but They can manifest Themselves in various incarnations before the eyes of pure devotees. This is the conclusion of all Vedic literature. That the Lord can manifest Himself before His devotees by His inconceivable power is not against the teaching of the Pañcarātras. Since Saṅkarṣaṇa, Pradyumna and Aniruddha are, respectively, the predominating Deities of all living entities, the total mind and the total ego, the designation of Saṅkarṣaṇa, Pradyumna and Aniruddha as ‘jīva,’ ‘mind’ and ‘ego’ is never contradictory to the statements of the scriptures. These terms identify these Deities, just as the terms ‘sky’ and ‘light’ sometimes identify the Absolute Brahman.
“The scriptures completely deny the birth or production of the living entity. In the Parama-saṁhitā it is described that material nature, which is used for others’ purposes, is factually inert and always subject to transformation. The field of material nature is the arena of the activities of fruitive actors, and since the material field is externally related with the Supreme Personality of Godhead, it is also eternal. In every saṁhitā, the jīva (living entity) has been accepted as eternal, and in the Pañcarātras the birth of the jīva is completely denied. Anything that is produced must also be annihilated. Therefore if we accept the birth of the living entity, we also have to accept his annihilation. But since the Vedic literatures say that the living entity is eternal, one should not think the living being to be produced at a certain time. In the beginning of the Parama-saṁhitā it is definitely stated that the face of material nature is constantly changeable. Therefore ‘beginning,’ ‘annihilation’ and all such terms are applicable only in the material nature.
“Considering all these points, one should understand that Śaṅkarācārya’s statement that Saṅkarṣaṇa is born as a jīva is completely against the Vedic statements. His assertions are completely refuted by the above arguments. In this connection the commentary of Śrīdhara Svāmī on Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (3.1.34) is very helpful.”
For a detailed refutation of Śaṅkarācārya’s arguments attempting to prove Saṅkarṣaṇa an ordinary living being, one may refer to Śrīmat Sudarśanācārya’s commentary on the Śrī-bhāṣya, which is known as the Śruta-prakāśikā.
The original quadruple forms — Kṛṣṇa, Baladeva, Pradyumna and Aniruddha — expand into another quadruple, which is present in the Vaikuṇṭha planets of the spiritual sky. Therefore the quadruple forms in the spiritual sky are the second manifestation of the original quadruple in Dvārakā. As explained above, Vāsudeva, Saṅkarṣaṇa, Pradyumna and Aniruddha are all changeless, transcendental plenary expansions of the Supreme Lord who have no relation to the material modes. The Saṅkarṣaṇa form in the second quadruple is not only a representation of Balarāma but also the original cause of the Causal Ocean, where Kāraṇodakaśāyī Viṣṇu lies asleep, breathing out the seeds of innumerable universes.
In the spiritual sky there is a spiritual creative energy technically called śuddha-sattva, which is a pure spiritual energy that sustains all the Vaikuṇṭha planets with the full opulences of knowledge, wealth, prowess, etc. All these actions of śuddha-sattva display the potencies of Mahā-saṅkarṣaṇa, who is the ultimate reservoir of all individual living entities who are suffering in the material world. When the cosmic creation is annihilated, the living entities, who are indestructible by nature, rest in the body of Mahā-saṅkarṣaṇa. Saṅkarṣaṇa is therefore sometimes called the total jīva. As spiritual sparks, the living entities have the tendency to be inactive in the association of the material energy, just as sparks of a fire have the tendency to be extinguished as soon as they leave the fire. The spiritual nature of the living being can be rekindled, however, in association with the Supreme Being. Because the living being can appear either in matter or in spirit, the jīva is called the marginal potency.
Saṅkarṣaṇa is the origin of Kāraṇa Viṣṇu, who is the original form who creates the universes, and that Saṅkarṣaṇa is but a plenary expansion of Śrī Nityānanda Rāma.
cic-chakti-āśraya tiṅho, kāraṇera kāraṇa
śuddha-sattva-maya yata vaikuṇṭhādi-dhāma
saṅkarṣaṇera vibhūti saba, jāniha niścaya
mahā-saṅkarṣaṇa — saba jīvera āśraya
sei puruṣera saṅkarṣaṇa samāśraya
‘ananta’ kahite nāre mahimā yāṅhāra
tiṅho yāṅra aṁśa, sei nityānanda-rāma
navama ślokera artha śuna diyā mana
śete sākṣāt kāraṇāmbhodhi-madhye
yasyaikāṁśaḥ śrī-pumān ādi-devas
taṁ śrī-nityānanda-rāmaṁ prapadye
tāhāra bāhire ‘kāraṇārṇava’ nāma
The impersonal glowing effulgence known as impersonal Brahman is the outer space of the Vaikuṇṭha planets in the spiritual sky. Beyond that impersonal Brahman is the great Causal Ocean, which lies between the material and spiritual skies. The material nature is a by-product of this Causal Ocean.
Kāraṇodakaśāyī Viṣṇu, who lies on the Causal Ocean, creates the universes merely by glancing upon material nature. Therefore Kṛṣṇa personally has nothing to do with the material creation. The Bhagavad-gītā confirms that the Lord glances over material nature and thus she produces the many material universes. Neither Kṛṣṇa in Goloka nor Nārāyaṇa in Vaikuṇṭha comes directly in contact with the material creation. They are completely aloof from the material energy.
It is the function of Mahā-saṅkarṣaṇa in the form of Kāraṇodakaśāyī Viṣṇu to glance over the material creation, which is situated beyond the limits of the Causal Ocean. Material nature is connected with the Personality of Godhead by His glance over her and nothing more. It is said that she is impregnated by the energy of His glance. The material energy, māyā, never even touches the Causal Ocean, for the Lord’s glance focuses upon her from a great distance away.
The glancing power of the Lord agitates the entire cosmic energy, and thus its actions begin at once. This indicates that matter, however powerful she may be, has no power by herself. Her activity begins by the grace of the Lord, and then the entire cosmic creation is manifested in a systematic way. The example of a woman’s conception can help us understand this subject to a certain extent. The mother is passive, but the father puts his energy within the mother, and thus she conceives. She supplies the ingredients for the birth of the child in her womb. Similarly, the Lord activates material nature, which then supplies the ingredients for cosmic development.
Material nature has two different phases. The aspect called pradhāna supplies the material ingredients for cosmic development, and the aspect called māyā causes the manifestation of her ingredients, which are temporary, like foam in the ocean. In reality, the temporary manifestations of material nature are originally caused by the spiritual glance of the Lord. The Personality of Godhead is the direct, or remote, cause of creation, and material nature is the indirect, or immediate, cause. Materialistic scientists, puffed-up by the magical changes their so-called inventions have brought about, cannot see the real potency of Godhead behind matter. Therefore the jugglery of science is gradually leading people to a godless civilization at the cost of the goal of human life. Having missed the goal of life, materialists run after self-sufficiency, not knowing that material nature is already self-sufficient by the grace of God. Thus creating a colossal hoax in the name of civilization, they create an imbalance in the natural self-sufficiency of material nature.
To think of material nature as all in all, not knowing the original cause, is ignorance. Lord Caitanya appeared in order to dissipate this darkness of ignorance by igniting the spark of spiritual life that can, by His causeless mercy, enlighten the entire world.
To explain how māyā acts by Kṛṣṇa’s power, the author of Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta gives the example of an iron rod in a fire: although the rod is not fire, it becomes red-hot and acts like fire itself. Similarly, all the actions and reactions of material nature are not actually the work of material nature but are actions and reactions of the energy of the Supreme Lord manifested through matter. The power of electricity is transmitted through the medium of copper, but this does not mean that the copper is electricity. The power is generated at a powerhouse under the control of an expert living being. Similarly, behind all the jugglery of the natural laws is a great living being, who is a person like the mechanical engineer in the powerhouse. It is by His intelligence that the entire cosmic creation moves in a systematic way.
The modes of nature, which directly cause material actions, are also originally activated by Nārāyaṇa. A simple example will explain how this is so: When a potter manufactures a pot from clay, the potter’s wheel, his tools and the clay are the immediate causes of the pot, but the potter is the chief cause. Similarly, Nārāyaṇa is the chief cause of all material creations, and the material energy supplies the ingredients of matter. Therefore without Nārāyaṇa, all other causes are useless, just as the potter’s wheel and tools are useless without the potter himself. Since materialistic scientists ignore the Personality of Godhead, it is as if they were concerned with the potter’s wheel and its rotation, the potter’s tools and the ingredients for the pots, but had no knowledge of the potter himself. Therefore modern science has created an imperfect, godless civilization that is in gross ignorance of the ultimate cause. Scientific advancement should have a great goal to attain, and that great goal should be the Personality of Godhead. In the Bhagavad-gītā it is said that after conducting research for many, many births, great men of knowledge who stress the importance of experimental thought can know the Personality of Godhead, who is the cause of all causes. When one knows Him perfectly, one surrenders unto Him and then becomes a mahātmā.
ananta, apāra — tāra nāhika avadhi
māyika bhūtera tathi janma nāhi haya
yāra eka kaṇā gaṅgā patita-pāvana
āpanāra eka aṁśe karena śayana
ādya-avatāra kare māyāya īkṣaṇa
kāraṇa-samudra māyā paraśite nāre
jagatera upādāna ‘pradhāna’, prakṛti
Māyā, the external energy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is divided into two parts. Māyā is both the cause of the cosmic manifestation and the agent who supplies its ingredients. As the cause of the cosmic manifestation she is known as māyā, and as the agent supplying the ingredients of the cosmic manifestation she is known as pradhāna. An explicit description of these divisions of the external energy is given in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (11.24.1-4). Elsewhere in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.63.26) the ingredients and cause of the material cosmic manifestation are described as follows:
kālo daivaṁ karma jīvaḥ svabhāvo
dravyaṁ kṣetraṁ prāṇa ātmā vikāraḥ
tvan-māyaiṣā tan-niṣedhaṁ prapadye
“O my Lord! Time, activity, providence and nature are four parts of the causal aspect [māyā] of the external energy. The conditioned vital force, the subtle material ingredients called the dravya, and material nature (which is the field of activity where the false ego acts as the soul), as well as the eleven senses and five elements (earth, water, fire, air and ether), which are the sixteen ingredients of the body — these are the ingredient aspect of māyā. The body is generated from activity, and activity is generated from the body, just as a tree is generated from a seed that is generated from a tree. This reciprocal cause and effect is called māyā. My dear Lord, You can save me from this cycle of cause and effect. I worship Your lotus feet.”
Although the living entity is primarily related to the causal portion of māyā, he is nevertheless conducted by the ingredients of māyā. Three forces work in the causal portion of māyā: knowledge, desire and activity. The material ingredients are a manifestation of māyā as pradhāna. In other words, when the three qualities of māyā are in a dormant stage, they exist as prakṛti, avyakta or pradhāna. The word avyakta, referring to the nonmanifested, is another name of pradhāna. In the avyakta stage, material nature is without varieties. Varieties are manifested by the pradhāna portion of māyā. The word pradhāna is therefore more important than avyakta or prakṛti.
śakti sañcāriyā tāre kṛṣṇa kare kṛpā
agni-śaktye lauha yaiche karaye jāraṇa
prakṛti — kāraṇa yaiche ajā-gala-stana
The external energy, composed of pradhāna or prakṛti as the ingredient-supplying portion and māyā as the causal portion, is known as māyā-śakti. Inert material nature is not the actual cause of the material manifestation, for Kāraṇārṇavaśāyī, Mahā-Viṣṇu, the plenary expansion of Kṛṣṇa, activates all the ingredients. It is in this way that material nature has the power to supply the ingredients. The example given is that iron has no power to heat or burn, but after coming in contact with fire the iron becomes red-hot and can then diffuse heat and burn other things. Material nature is like iron, for it has no independence to act without the touch of Viṣṇu, who is compared to fire. Lord Viṣṇu activates material nature by the power of His glance, and then the ironlike material nature becomes a material-supplying agent just as iron made red-hot becomes a burning agent. Material nature cannot independently become an agent for supplying the material ingredients. This is more clearly explained by Śrī Kapiladeva, an incarnation of Godhead, in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (3.28.40):
yatholmukād visphuliṅgād dhūmād vāpi sva-sambhavāt
apy ātmatvenābhimatād yathāgniḥ pṛthag ulmukāt
“Although smoke, flaming wood, and sparks are all considered together as ingredients of a fire, the flaming wood is nevertheless different from the fire, and the smoke is different from the flaming wood.” The material elements (earth, water, fire, etc.) are like smoke, the living entities are like sparks, and material nature as pradhāna is like the flaming wood. But all of them together are recipients of power from the Supreme Personality of Godhead and are thus able to manifest their individual capacities. In other words, the Supreme Personality of Godhead is the origin of all manifestations. Material nature can supply only when it is activated by the glance of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Just as a woman can deliver a child after being impregnated by the semen of a man, so material nature can supply the material elements after being glanced upon by Mahā-Viṣṇu. Therefore pradhāna cannot be independent of the superintendence of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This is confirmed in the Bhagavad-gītā (9.10): mayādhyakṣeṇa prakṛtiḥ sūyate sa-carācaram. Prakṛti, the total material energy, works under the superintendence of the Lord. The original source of the material elements is Kṛṣṇa. Therefore the attempt of the atheistic Sāṅkhya philosophers to consider material nature the source of these elements, forgetting Kṛṣṇa, is useless, like trying to get milk from the nipplelike bumps of skin hanging on the neck of a goat.
seha nahe, yāte kartā-hetu — nārāyaṇa
taiche jagatera kartā — puruṣāvatāra
ghaṭera kāraṇa — cakra-daṇḍādi upāya
jīva-rūpa vīrya tāte karena ādhāna
māyā haite janme tabe brahmāṇḍera gaṇa
The Vedic conclusion is that the cosmic manifestation visible to the eyes of the conditioned soul is caused by the Absolute Truth, the Personality of Godhead, through the exertion of His specific energies, although in the conclusion of atheistic deliberations this manifested cosmic exhibition is attributed to material nature. The energy of the Absolute Truth is exhibited in three ways: spiritual, material and marginal. The Absolute Truth is identical with His spiritual energy. Only when contacted by the spiritual energy can the material energy work and the temporary material manifestations thus appear active. In the conditioned state the living entities of the marginal energy are a mixture of spiritual and material energies. The marginal energy is originally under the control of the spiritual energy, but, under the control of the material energy, the living entities have been wandering in forgetfulness within the material world since time immemorial.
The conditioned state is caused by misuse of the individual independence of the spiritual platform, for this separates the living entity from the association of the spiritual energy. But when the living entity is enlightened by the grace of the Supreme Lord or His pure devotee and becomes inclined to revive his original state of loving service, he is on the most auspicious platform of eternal bliss and knowledge. The marginal jīva, or living entity, misuses his independence and becomes averse to the eternal service attitude when he independently thinks he is not energy but the energetic. This misconception of his own existence leads him to the attitude of lording it over material nature.
Material nature appears to be just the opposite of the spiritual energy. The fact is that the material energy can work only when in contact with the spiritual energy. Originally the energy of Kṛṣṇa is spiritual, but it works in diverse ways, like electrical energy, which can exhibit the functions of refrigerating or heating through its manifestations in different ways. The material energy is spiritual energy covered by a cloud of illusion, or māyā. Therefore, the material energy is not self-sufficient in working. Kṛṣṇa invests His spiritual energy into material energy, and then it can act, just as iron can act like fire after being heated by fire. The material energy can act only when empowered by the spiritual energy.
When covered by the cloud of material energy, the living entity, who is also a spiritual energy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, forgets about the activities of the spiritual energy and considers all that happens in the material manifestation to be wonderful. But a person who is engaged in devotional service in full Kṛṣṇa consciousness and who is therefore already situated in the spiritual energy can understand that the material energy has no independent powers: whatever actions are going on are due to the help of the spiritual energy. The material energy, which is a perverted form of the spiritual energy, presents everything pervertedly, thus causing misconceptions and duality. Material scientists and philosophers conditioned by the spell of material nature suppose that material energy acts automatically, and therefore they are frustrated, like an illusioned person who tries to get milk from the nipplelike bunches of skin on the neck of a goat. As there is no possibility of getting milk from these bunches of skin, there is similarly no possibility that anyone will be successful in understanding the original cause of creation by putting forward theories produced by the material energy. Such an attempt is a manifestation of ignorance.
The material energy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is called māyā, or illusion, because in two capacities (by supplying the material elements and by causing the material manifestation) it makes the conditioned soul unable to understand the real truth of creation. However, when a living entity is liberated from the conditioned life of matter, he can understand the two different activities of material nature, namely covering and bewildering.
The origin of creation is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. As confirmed in the Bhagavad-gītā (9.10), the cosmic manifestation is working under the direction of the Supreme Lord, who invests the material energy with three material qualities. Agitated by these qualities, the elements supplied by the material energy produce varieties of things, just as an artist produces varieties of pictures by mixing the three colors red, yellow and blue. Yellow represents the quality of goodness, red represents passion, and blue represents ignorance. Therefore the colorful material creation is but an interaction of these three qualities, represented in eighty-one varieties of mixtures (3 × 3 equaling 9, 9 × 9 thus equaling 81). Deluded by material energy, the conditioned soul, enamored by these eighty-one varieties of manifestations, wants to lord it over material energy, just as a moth wants to enjoy a fire. This illusion is the net result of the conditioned soul’s forgetfulness of his eternal relationship with the Supreme Personality of Godhead. When conditioned, the soul is impelled by the material energy to engage in sense gratification, whereas one enlightened by the spiritual energy engages himself in the service of the Supreme Lord in his eternal relationship.
Kṛṣṇa is the original cause of the spiritual world, and He is the covered cause of the material manifestation. He is also the original cause of the marginal potency, the living entities. He is both the leader and maintainer of the living entities, who are called the marginal potency because they can act under the protection of the spiritual energy or under the cover of the material energy. With the help of the spiritual energy we can understand that independence is visible only in Kṛṣṇa, who by His inconceivable energy is able to act in any way He likes.
The Supreme Personality of Godhead is the Absolute Whole, and the living entities are parts of the Absolute Whole. This relationship of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and the living entities is eternal. One should never mistakenly think that the spiritual whole can be divided into small parts by the small material energy. The Bhagavad-gītā does not support this Māyāvāda theory. Rather, it clearly states that the living entities are eternally small fragments of the supreme spiritual whole. As a part can never be equal with the whole, so a living entity, as a minute fragment of the spiritual whole, cannot be equal at any time to the Supreme Whole, the absolute Personality of Godhead. Although the Supreme Lord and the living entities are quantitatively related as the whole and the parts, the parts are nevertheless qualitatively one with the whole. Thus the living entities, although always qualitatively one with the Supreme Lord, are in a relative position. The Supreme Personality of Godhead is the controller of everything, and the living entities are always controlled, either by the spiritual energy or by the material energy. Therefore a living entity can never become the controller of material or spiritual energies. The natural position of the living being is always as a subordinate of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. When one agrees to act in such a position, he attains perfection in life, but if one rebels against this principle, he is in the conditioned state.
tata-rūpe puruṣa kare sabāte prakāśa
niśvāsa sahite haya brahmāṇḍa-prakāśa
śvāsa-saha brahmāṇḍa paiśe puruṣa-śarīre
In His form as Kāraṇodakaśāyī Viṣṇu the Lord impregnates material nature by His glance. The transcendental molecules of that glance are particles of spirit, or spiritual atoms, which appear in different species of life according to the seeds of their individual karma from the previous cosmic manifestation. And the Lord Himself, by His partial representation, creates a body of innumerable universes and again enters each of those universes as Garbhodakaśāyī Viṣṇu. His coming in contact with māyā is explained in the Bhagavad-gītā by a comparison between air and the sky. The sky enters everything material, yet it is far away from us.
puruṣera loma-kūpe brahmāṇḍera jāle
jīvanti loma-vila-jā jagad-aṇḍa-nāthāḥ
viṣṇur mahān sa iha yasya kalā-viśeṣo
govindam ādi-puruṣaṁ tam ahaṁ bhajāmi
This description of the Lord’s creative energy is from the Brahma-saṁhitā (5.48), which Lord Brahmā compiled after his personal realization. When Mahā-Viṣṇu exhales, the spiritual seeds of the universes emanate from Him in the form of molecular particles like those that are visible, three times the size of an atom, when sunlight is diffused through a small hole. In these days of atomic research it will be a worthwhile engagement for atomic scientists to learn from this statement how the entire creation develops from the spiritual atoms emanating from the body of the Lord.
vātādhva-roma-vivarasya ca te mahitvam
When Lord Brahmā, after having stolen all Kṛṣṇa’s calves and cowherd boys, returned and saw that the calves and boys were still roaming with Kṛṣṇa, he offered this prayer (Bhāg. 10.14.11) in his defeat. A conditioned soul, even one so great as Brahmā, who manages the affairs of the entire universe, cannot compare to the Personality of Godhead, for He can produce numberless universes simply by the spiritual rays emanating from the pores of His body. Material scientists should take lessons from the utterances of Śrī Brahmā regarding our insignificance in comparison to God. In these prayers of Brahmā there is much to learn for those who are falsely puffed up by the accumulation of power.
govindera pratimūrti śrī-balarāma
tāṅra aṁśa ‘puruṣa’ haya kalāte gaṇana
mahā-puruṣāvatārī teṅho sarva-jiṣṇu
sei dui, yāṅra aṁśa, — viṣṇu, viśva-dhāma
The symptoms of the puruṣa are described in the Laghu-bhāgavatāmṛta. While describing the incarnations of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the author has quoted from the Viṣṇu Purāṇa (6.8.59), where it is said, “Let me offer my respectful obeisances unto Puruṣottama, Lord Kṛṣṇa, who is always free from the contamination of the six material dualities; whose plenary expansion, Mahā-Viṣṇu, glances over matter to create the cosmic manifestation; who expands Himself in various transcendental forms, all of which are one and the same; who is the master of all living entities; who is always free and liberated from the contamination of material energy; and who, when He appears in this material world, seems one of us, although He has an eternally spiritual, blissful, transcendental form.” In summarizing this statement, Rūpa Gosvāmī has concluded that the plenary expansion of the Supreme Personality of Godhead who acts in cooperation with the material energy is called the puruṣa.
puruṣākhyāny atho viduḥ
ekaṁ tu mahataḥ sraṣṭṛ
dvitīyaṁ tv aṇḍa-saṁsthitam
tāni jñātvā vimucyate
This verse appears in the Laghu-bhāgavatāmṛta (Pūrva 2.9), where it has been quoted from the Sātvata-tantra.
matsya-kūrmādy-avatārera tiṅho avatārī
kṛṣṇas tu bhagavān svayam
mṛḍayanti yuge yuge
This quotation is from Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (1.3.28).
nānā avatāra kare, jagatera bhartā
sei ta’ aṁśere kahi ‘avatāra’ nāma
kālaḥ svabhāvaḥ sad-asan manaś ca
dravyaṁ vikāro guṇa indriyāṇi
virāṭ svarāṭ sthāsnu cariṣṇu bhūmnaḥ
Describing the incarnations and their symptoms, the Laghu-bhāgavatāmṛta has stated that when Lord Kṛṣṇa descends to conduct the creative affairs of the material manifestation, He is an avatāra, or incarnation. The two categories of avatāras are empowered devotees and tad-ekātma-rūpa (the Lord Himself). An example of tad-ekātma-rūpa is Śeṣa, and an example of a devotee is Vasudeva, the father of Lord Kṛṣṇa. Śrīla Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa has commented that the material cosmic manifestation is a partial kingdom of God where God must sometimes come to execute a specific function. The plenary portion of the Lord through whom Lord Kṛṣṇa executes such actions is called Mahā-Viṣṇu, who is the primal beginning of all incarnations. Inexperienced observers presume that the material energy provides both the cause and the elements of the cosmic manifestation and that the living entities are the enjoyers of material nature. But the devotees of the Bhāgavata school, which has scrutinizingly examined the entire situation, can understand that material nature can independently be neither the supplier of the material elements nor the cause of the material manifestation. Material nature gets the power to supply the material elements from the glance of the supreme puruṣa, Mahā-Viṣṇu, and when empowered by Him she is called the cause of the material manifestation. Both features of material nature, as the cause of the material creation and as the source of its elements, exist due to the glance of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The various expansions of the Supreme Lord who act to empower the material energy are known as plenary expansions or incarnations. As illustrated by the example of many flames lit from one flame, all these plenary expansions and incarnations are as good as Viṣṇu Himself; nevertheless, because of their activities in controlling māyā, sometimes they are known as māyika, or having a relationship with māyā. This is a verse from Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (2.6.42).
This is a verse from Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (1.3.1). The commentary of Madhva on Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam mentions that the following sixteen spiritual energies are present in the spiritual world: (1) śrī, (2) bhū, (3) līlā, (4) kānti, (5) kīrti, (6) tuṣṭi, (7) gīr, (8) puṣṭi, (9) satyā (10) jñānājñānā, (11) jayā utkarṣiṇī, (12) vimalā, (13) yogamāyā, (14) prahvī, (15) īśānā and (16) anugrahā. In his commentary on the Laghu-bhāgavatāmṛta, Śrī Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa has said that the above energies are also known by nine names: (1) vimalā, (2) utkarṣiṇī (3) jñānā, (4) kriyā, (5) yogā, (6) prahvī, (7) satyā, (8) īśānā and (9) anugrahā. In the Bhagavat-sandarbha of Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī (text 117) they are described as śrī, puṣṭi, gīr, kānti, kīrti, tuṣṭi, ilā, jayā; vidyāvidyā, māyā, samvit, sandhinī, hlādinī, bhakti, mūrti, vimalā, yogā, prahvī, īśānā, anugrahā, etc. All these energies act in different spheres of the Lord’s supremacy.
antarātmā-rūpe tiṅho jagat-ādhāra
tathāpi prakṛti-saha nāhi sparśa-gandha
In the Laghu-bhāgavatāmṛta, Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī, commenting upon the Lord’s transcendental position beyond the material qualities, says that Viṣṇu, as the controller and superintendent of material nature, has a connection with the material qualities. That connection is called yoga. However, the person who directs a prison is not also a prisoner. Similarly, although the Supreme Personality of Godhead Viṣṇu directs or supervises the qualitative nature, He has no connection with the material modes of nature. The expansions of Lord Viṣṇu always retain their supremacy; they are never connected with the material qualities. One may argue that Mahā-Viṣṇu cannot have any connection with the material qualities, because if He were so connected, Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam would not state that material nature, ashamed of her thankless task of acting to induce the living entities to become averse to the Supreme Lord, remains behind the Lord in shyness. In answer to this argument, it may be said that the word guṇa means “regulation.” Lord Viṣṇu, Lord Brahmā and Lord Śiva are situated within this universe as the directors of the three modes, and their connection with the modes is known as yoga. This does not indicate, however, that these personalities are bound by the qualities of nature. Lord Viṣṇu specifically is always the controller of the three qualities. There is no question of His coming under their control.
Although the causal and element-supplying features exist in material nature by dint of the glance of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the Lord is never affected by glancing over the material qualities. By the will of the Supreme Lord the different qualitative changes in the material world take place, but there is no possibility of material affection, change or contamination for Lord Viṣṇu.
prakṛti-stho ’pi tad-guṇaiḥ
na yujyate sadātma-sthair
yathā buddhis tad-āśrayā
This is a verse from Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (1.11.38).
sarvadā īśvara-tattva acintya-śakti haya
nā āmi jagate vasi, nā āmā jagate
Nothing in existence is possible unless energized by the will of the Lord. The entire manifested creation is therefore resting on the energy of the Lord, but one should not therefore presume that the material manifestation is identical with the Supreme Personality of Godhead. A cloud may rest in the sky, but that does not mean that the sky and the cloud are one and the same. Similarly, the qualitative material nature and its products are never identical with the Supreme Lord. The tendency to lord it over material nature, or māyā, cannot be a feature of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. When He descends to the material world, He maintains His transcendental nature, unaffected by the material qualities. In both the spiritual and material worlds, He is always the controller of all energies. The uncontaminated spiritual nature always exists within Him. The Lord appears and disappears in the material world in different features for His pastimes, yet He is the origin of all cosmic manifestations.
The material manifestation cannot exist separate from the Supreme Lord, yet Lord Viṣṇu, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, in spite of His connection with the material nature, cannot be subordinate to nature’s influence. His original form of eternal bliss and knowledge is never subordinate to the three qualities of material nature. This is a specific feature of the Supreme Lord’s inconceivable potencies.
ei ta’ gītāra artha kaila paracāra
caitanyera saṅge sei nityānanda-rāma
daśama ślokera artha śuna diyā mana
loka-sraṣṭuḥ sūtikā-dhāma dhātus
taṁ śrī-nityānanda-rāmaṁ prapadye
In the Mahābhārata, Śānti-parva, it is said that He who is Pradyumna is also Aniruddha. He is also the father of Brahmā. Thus Garbhodakaśāyī Viṣṇu and Kṣīrodakaśāyī Viṣṇu are identical plenary expansions of Pradyumna, the original Deity of Brahmā, who is born from the lotus flower. It is Pradyumna who gives Brahmā direction for cosmic management. A full description of Brahmā’s birth is given in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (3.8.15-16).
Describing the features of the three puruṣas, the Laghu-bhāgavatāmṛta says that Garbhodakaśāyī Viṣṇu has a four-handed form, and when He Himself enters the hollow of the universe and lies down in the ocean of milk He is known as Kṣīrodakaśāyī Viṣṇu, who is the Supersoul of all living entities, including the demigods. In the Sātvata-tantra it is said that the third puruṣa incarnation, Kṣīrodakaśāyī Viṣṇu, is situated as the Supersoul in everyone’s heart. This Kṣīrodakaśāyī Viṣṇu is an expansion of Garbhodakaśāyī Viṣṇu for pastimes.
saba aṇḍe praveśilā bahu-mūrti hañā
rahite nāhika sthāna karila vicāra
sei jale kaila ardha-brahmāṇḍa bharaṇa
āyāma, vistāra, dui haya eka sama
āra ardhe kaila caudda-bhuvana prakāśa
The fourteen worlds are enumerated in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, Second Canto, fifth chapter. The upper planetary systems are (1) Bhū, (2) Bhuvar, (3) Svar, (4) Mahar, (5) Janas, (6) Tapas and (7) Satya. The seven lower planetary systems are (1) Tala, (2) Atala, (3) Vitala, (4) Nitala, (5) Talātala, (6) Mahātala and (7) Sutala. The lower planets as a whole are called Pātāla. Among the upper planetary systems, Bhū, Bhuvar and Svar constitute Svargaloka, and the rest are called Martya. The entire universe is thus known as Triloka.
śeṣa-śayana-jale karila viśrāma
sahasra mastaka tāṅra sahasra vadana
In the reservoir of water first created by the perspiration of Garbhodakaśāyī Viṣṇu, the Lord lies on the Śeṣa plenary expansion of Viṣṇu, who is described in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam and in the four Vedas as follows:
sahasra-śīrṣā puruṣaḥ sahasrākṣaḥ sahasra-pāt
sa bhūmiṁ viśvato vṛtvā- tyatiṣṭhad daśāṅgulam
The Viṣṇu form called Ananta-śayana has thousands of hands and legs and thousands of eyes, and He is the active generator of all the incarnations within the material world.
sei padme haila brahmāra janma-sadma
teṅho brahmā hañā sṛṣṭi karila sṛjana
guṇātīta-viṣṇu sparśa nāhi māyā-guṇe
Śrī Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa says that although Viṣṇu is the predominating Deity of the quality of goodness in the material world, He is never affected by the quality of goodness, for He directs that quality simply by His supreme will. It is said that all living entities can derive all good fortune from the Lord simply by His will. In the Vāmana Purāṇa it is said that the same Viṣṇu expands Himself as Brahmā and Śiva to direct the different qualities.
Because Lord Viṣṇu expands the quality of goodness, He has the name Sattvatanu. The multifarious incarnations of Kṣīrodakaśāyī Viṣṇu are known as Sattvatanu. Therefore in all Vedic scriptures Viṣṇu has been described as being free from all material qualities. In the Tenth Canto of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam it is said:
harir hi nirguṇaḥ sākṣāt puruṣaḥ prakṛteḥ paraḥ
sa sarva-dṛg upadraṣṭā taṁ bhajan nirguṇo bhavet
“The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Hari, is always uncontaminated by the modes of material nature, for He is beyond the material manifestation. He is the source of the knowledge of all the demigods, headed by Lord Brahmā, and He is the witness of everything. Therefore one who worships the Supreme Lord Viṣṇu also attains freedom from the contamination of material nature.” (Bhāg. 10.88.5) One can attain freedom from the contamination of material nature by worshiping Viṣṇu, and therefore He is called Sattvatanu, as described above.
sṛṣṭi-sthiti-pralaya — icchāya yāṅhāra
Maheśvara, or Lord Śiva, is not an ordinary living being, nor is he equal to Lord Viṣṇu. Effectively comparing Lord Viṣṇu and Lord Śiva, the Brahma-saṁhitā says that Viṣṇu is like milk, whereas Śiva is like yogurt. Yogurt is nothing like milk, but nevertheless it is milk also.
yāṅra aṁśa kari’ kare virāṭa-kalpana
sei prabhu nityānanda — sarva-avataṁsa
ekādaśa ślokera artha śuna diyā mana
poṣṭā viṣṇur bhāti dugdhābdhi-śāyī
kṣauṇī-bhartā yat-kalā so ’py anantas
taṁ śrī-nityānanda-rāmaṁ prapadye
dharaṇīra madhye sapta samudra ye gaṇi
pālayitā viṣṇu, — tāṅra sei nija dhāma
In the Siddhānta-śiromaṇi, an astrological text, the different oceans are described as follows: (1) the ocean of salt water, (2) the ocean of milk, (3) the ocean of yogurt, (4) the ocean of clarified butter, (5) the ocean of sugarcane juice, (6) the ocean of liquor and (7) the ocean of sweet water. On the southern side of the ocean of salt water is the ocean of milk, where Lord Kṣīrodakaśāyī Viṣṇu resides. He is worshiped there by demigods like Brahmā.
jagat-pālaka tiṅho jagatera svāmī
The Laghu-bhāgavatāmṛta (Pūrva 2.36-42) gives the following description of the Viṣṇuloka within this universe, quoted from the Viṣṇu-dharmottara: “Above Rudraloka, the planet of Lord Śiva, is the planet called Viṣṇuloka, 400,000 miles in circumference, which is inaccessible to any mortal living being. Above that Viṣṇuloka and east of the Sumeru Hill is a golden island called Mahā-Viṣṇuloka, in the ocean of salt water. Lord Brahmā and other demigods sometimes go there to meet Lord Viṣṇu. Lord Viṣṇu lies there with the goddess of fortune, and it is said that during the four months of the rainy season He enjoys sleeping on that Śeṣa Nāga bed. East of Sumeru is the ocean of milk, in which there is a white city on a white island where the Lord can be seen sitting with His consort, Lakṣmījī, on a throne of Śeṣa. That feature of Viṣṇu also enjoys sleeping during the four months of the rainy season. The Śvetadvīpa in the milk ocean is situated just south of the ocean of salt water. It is calculated that the area of Śvetadvīpa is 200,000 square miles. This transcendentally beautiful island is decorated with desire trees to please Lord Viṣṇu and His consort.” There are references to Śvetadvīpa in the Brahmāṇḍa Purāṇa, Viṣṇu Purāṇa, Mahābhārata and Padma Purāṇa, and there is the following reference in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (11.15.18).
śvetadvīpa-patau cittaṁ śuddhe dharma-maye mayi
dhārayañ chvetatāṁ yāti ṣaḍ-ūrmi-rahito naraḥ
“My dear Uddhava, you may know that My transcendental form of Viṣṇu in Śvetadvīpa is identical with Me in divinity. Anyone who places this Lord of Śvetadvīpa within his heart can surpass the pangs of the six material tribulations: hunger, thirst, birth, death, lamentation and illusion. Thus one can attain his original, transcendental form.”
dharma saṁsthāpana kare, adharma saṁhāra
The Lord Viṣṇu who lies in the ocean of milk incarnates Himself in various forms to maintain the laws of the cosmos and annihilate the causes of disturbance. Such incarnations are visible in every manv-antara (i.e., in the course of the reign of each Manu, who lives for 71 × 4,320,000 years). Fourteen such Manus take their birth and die, to yield a place for the next, during one day of Brahmā.
kṣīrodaka-tīre yāi’ karena stavana
The denizens of heaven, who live in the planetary systems beginning from Svarloka, cannot even see Lord Viṣṇu in Śvetadvīpa. Unable to reach the island, they can simply approach the beach of the milk ocean to offer transcendental prayers to the Lord, appealing to Him on special occasions to appear as an incarnation.
ananta vaibhava tāṅra nāhika gaṇana
sei prabhu nityānanda — sarva-avataṁsa
The Lord of Śvetadvīpa has immense potency for creation and destruction. Śrī Nityānanda Prabhu, being Baladeva Himself, the original form of Saṅkarṣaṇa, is the original form of the Lord of Śvetadvīpa.
kāṅhā āche mahī, śire, hena nāhi jāni
sūrya jini’ maṇi-gaṇa kare jhala-mala
yāṅra eka-phaṇe rahe sarṣapa-ākāra
The Lord of Śvetadvīpa expands Himself as Śeṣa Nāga, who sustains all the planets upon His innumerable hoods. These huge global spheres are compared to grains of mustard resting on the spiritual hoods of Śeṣa Nāga. The scientists’ law of gravity is a partial explanation of Lord Saṅkarṣaṇa’s energy. The name “Saṅkarṣaṇa” has an etymological relationship to the idea of gravity. There is a reference to Śeṣa Nāga in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (5.17.21), where it is said:
yam āhur asya sthiti janma-saṁyamaṁ
tribhir vihīnaṁ yam anantam ṝṣayaḥ
na veda siddhārtham iva kvacit sthitaṁ
“O my Lord, the hymns of the Vedas proclaim that You are the effective cause for the creation, maintenance and destruction. But in fact You are transcendental to all limitations and are therefore known as unlimited. On Your thousands of hoods rest the innumerable global spheres, like grains of mustard so insignificant that You have no perception of their weight.” The Bhāgavatam further says (5.25.2):
yasyedaṁ kṣiti-maṇḍalaṁ bhagavato ’nanta-mūrteḥ sahasra-śirasa ekasminn eva śīrṣaṇi dhriyamāṇaṁ siddhārtha iva lakṣyate.
“Lord Anantadeva has thousands of hoods. Each sustains a global sphere that appears like a grain of mustard.”
īśvarera sevā vinā nāhi jāne āra
Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī, in his Kṛṣṇa-sandarbha, has described Śeṣa Nāga as follows: “Śrī Anantadeva has thousands of faces and is fully independent. Always ready to serve the Supreme Personality of Godhead, He waits upon Him constantly. Saṅkarṣaṇa is the first expansion of Vāsudeva, and because He appears by His own will, He is called svarāṭ, fully independent. He is therefore infinite and transcendental to all limits of time and space. He Himself appears as the thousand-headed Śeṣa.” In the Skanda Purāṇa, in the Ayodhyā-māhātmya chapter, the demigod Indra requested Lord Śeṣa, who was standing before him as Lakṣmaṇa, “Please go to Your eternal abode, Viṣṇuloka, where Your expansion Śeṣa, with His serpentine hoods, is also present.” After thus dispatching Lakṣmaṇa to the regions of Pātāla, Lord Indra returned to his abode. This quotation indicates that the Saṅkarṣaṇa of the quadruple form descends with Lord Rāma as Lakṣmaṇa. When Lord Rāma disappears, Śeṣa again separates Himself from the personality of Lakṣmaṇa. Śeṣa then returns to His own abode in the Pātāla regions, and Lakṣmaṇa returns to His abode in Vaikuṇṭha.
The Laghu-bhāgavatāmṛta gives the following description: “The Saṅkarṣaṇa of the second group of quadruple forms appears as Rāma, taking with Him Śeṣa, who bears the global spheres. There are two features of Śeṣa. One is the bearer of the globes, and the other is the bedstead servitor. The Śeṣa who bears the globes is a potent incarnation of Saṅkarṣaṇa, and therefore He is sometimes also called Saṅkarṣaṇa. The bedstead feature of Śeṣa always presents himself as an eternal servitor of the Lord.”
niravadhi guṇa gā’na, anta nāhi pā’na
bhagavānera guṇa kahe, bhāse prema-sukhe
ārāma, āvāsa, yajña-sūtra, siṁhāsana
kṛṣṇera śeṣatā pāñā ‘śeṣa’ nāma dhare
hena prabhu nityānanda, ke jāne tāṅra khelā
tāṅhāke ‘ananta’ kahi, ki tāṅra mahimā
sakala sambhave tāṅte, yāte avatārī
pūrve yaiche kṛṣṇake keho kāho kari’ māne
keho kahe, kṛṣṇa haya sākṣāt vāmana
asambhava nahe, satya vacana sabāra
sarvāṁśa āsi’ tabe kṛṣṇete milaya
sakala sambhave kṛṣṇe, kichu mithyā nahe
In this connection we may mention an incident that took place between two of our sannyāsīs while we were preaching the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra in Hyderabad. One of them stated that “Hare Rāma” refers to Śrī Balarāma, and the other protested that “Hare Rāma” means Lord Rāma. Ultimately the controversy came to me, and I gave the decision that if someone says that the “Rāma” in “Hare Rāma” is Lord Rāmacandra and someone else says that the “Rāma” in “Hare Rāma” is Śrī Balarāma, both are correct because there is no difference between Śrī Balarāma and Lord Rāma. Here in Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta we find that Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja Gosvāmī has stated the same conclusion:
yei yei rūpe jāne, sei tāhā kahe
sakala sambhave kṛṣṇe, kichu mithyā nahe
If someone calls Lord Rāmacandra by the vibration Hare Rāma, understanding it to mean “O Lord Rāmacandra!” he is quite right. Similarly, if one says that Hare Rāma means “O Śrī Balarāma!” he is also right. Those who are aware of the viṣṇu-tattva do not fight over all these details.
In the Laghu-bhāgavatāmṛta Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī has explained Kṛṣṇa’s being both Kṣīrodakaśāyī Viṣṇu and Nārāyaṇa in the spiritual sky and expanding in the quadruple forms known as Vāsudeva, Saṅkarṣaṇa, Pradyumna and Aniruddha. He has refuted the idea that Kṛṣṇa is an incarnation of Nārāyaṇa. Some devotees think that Nārāyaṇa is the original Personality of Godhead and that Kṛṣṇa is an incarnation. Even Śaṅkarācārya, in his commentary on the Bhagavad-gītā, has accepted Nārāyaṇa as the transcendental Personality of Godhead who appeared as Kṛṣṇa, the son of Devakī and Vasudeva. Therefore this matter may be difficult to understand. But the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava-sampradāya, headed by Rūpa Gosvāmī, has established the principle of the Bhagavad-gītā that everything emanates from Kṛṣṇa, who says in the Bhagavad-gītā, ahaṁ sarvasya prabhavaḥ: “I am the original source of everything.” “Everything” includes Nārāyaṇa. Therefore Rūpa Gosvāmī, in his Laghu-bhāgavatāmṛta, has established that Kṛṣṇa, not Nārāyaṇa, is the original Personality of Godhead.
In this connection he has quoted a verse from Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (3.2.15) that states:
sva-śānta-rūpeṣv itaraiḥ svarūpair
hy ajo ’pi jāto bhagavān yathāgniḥ
“When pure devotees of the Lord like Vasudeva are greatly disturbed by dangerous demons like Kaṁsa, Lord Kṛṣṇa joins with all His pastime expansions, such as the Lord of Vaikuṇṭha, and, although unborn, becomes manifest, just as fire becomes manifest by the friction of araṇi wood.” Araṇi wood is used to ignite a sacrificial fire without matches or any other flame. Just as fire appears from araṇi wood, the Supreme Lord appears when there is friction between devotees and nondevotees. When Kṛṣṇa appears, He appears in full, including within Himself all His expansions, such as Nārāyaṇa, Vāsudeva, Saṅkarṣaṇa, Aniruddha and Pradyumna. Kṛṣṇa is always integrated with His other incarnations, like Nṛsiṁhadeva, Varāha, Vāmana, Nara-Nārāyaṇa, Hayagrīva and Ajita. In Vṛndāvana Lord Kṛṣṇa sometimes exhibits the functions of such incarnations.
In the Brahmāṇḍa Purāṇa it is said, “The same Personality of Godhead who is known in Vaikuṇṭha as the four-handed Nārāyaṇa, the friend of all living entities, and in the milk ocean as the Lord of Śvetadvīpa, and who is the best of all puruṣas, appeared as the son of Nanda. In a fire there are many sparks of different dimensions; some of them are very big, and some are small. The small sparks are compared to the living entities, and the large sparks are compared to the Viṣṇu expansions of Lord Kṛṣṇa. All the incarnations emanate from Kṛṣṇa, and after the end of their pastimes they again merge with Kṛṣṇa.”
Therefore in the various Purāṇas Kṛṣṇa is described sometimes as Nārāyaṇa, sometimes as Kṣīrodakaśāyī Viṣṇu, sometimes as Garbhodakaśāyī Viṣṇu and sometimes as Vaikuṇṭhanātha, the Lord of Vaikuṇṭha. Because Kṛṣṇa is always full, Mūla-saṅkarṣaṇa is in Kṛṣṇa, and since all incarnations are manifested from Mūla-saṅkarṣaṇa, it should be understood that He can manifest different incarnations by His supreme will, even in the presence of Kṛṣṇa. Great sages have therefore glorified the Lord by different names. Thus when the original person, the source of all incarnations, is sometimes described as an incarnation, there is no discrepancy.
sarva avatāra-līlā kari’ sabāre dekhāi
sei-bhāve — kahe muñi caitanyera dāsa
pūrve yena tina-bhāve vraje kaila khelā
kabhu kṛṣṇa kare tāṅra pāda-saṁvāhana
kṛṣṇera kalāra kalā āpanāke māne
anukṛtya rutair jantūṁś
ceratuḥ prākṛtau yathā
This and the following quotation are from the Bhāgavatam (10.11.40 and 10.15.14).
svayaṁ viśrāmayaty āryaṁ
daivī vā nāry utāsurī
prāyo māyāstu me bhartur
nānyā me ’pi vimohinī
The playful pastimes of the Lord caused suspicion in the mind of Lord Brahmā, and therefore Lord Brahmā, to test Kṛṣṇa’s Lordship, stole all the Lord’s calves and cowherd boys with his own mystic power. Śrī Kṛṣṇa responded, however, by replacing all the calves and boys in the field. Lord Balarāma’s thoughts of astonishment at such wonderful retaliation are recorded in this verse (Bhāg. 10.13.37).
mauly-uttamair dhṛtam upāsita-tīrtha-tīrtham
brahmā bhavo ’ham api yasya kalāḥ kalāyāḥ
śrīś codvahema ciram asya nṛpāsanaṁ kva
When the Kauravas, to flatter Baladeva so that He would become their ally, spoke ill of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, Lord Baladeva became angry and spoke this verse (Bhāg. 10.68.37).
yāre yaiche nācāya, se taiche kare nṛtya
āra saba pāriṣada, keha vā kiṅkara
śrīvāsādi, āra yata — laghu, sama, ārya
sabā lañā nija-kārya sādhe gaura-rāya
dui-jana lañā prabhura yata kichu raṅga
prabhu guru kari’ māne, tiṅho ta’ kiṅkara
Lord Caitanya always offered respects to Advaita Prabhu as He would to His father because Advaita was even older than His father; yet Advaita Prabhu always considered Himself a servant of Lord Caitanya. Śrī Advaita Prabhu and Īśvara Purī, Lord Caitanya’s spiritual master, were both disciples of Mādhavendra Purī, who was also the spiritual master of Nityānanda Prabhu. Thus Advaita Prabhu, as Lord Caitanya’s spiritual uncle, was always to be respected because one should respect one’s spiritual master’s Godbrothers as one respects one’s spiritual master. Because of all these considerations, Śrī Advaita Prabhu was superior to Lord Caitanya, yet Advaita Prabhu considered Himself Lord Caitanya’s subordinate.
kṛṣṇa avatāri yeṅho tārila bhuvana
laghu-bhrātā haiyā kare rāmera sevana
Among the sannyāsīs of the Śaṅkara-sampradāya there are different names for brahmacārīs. Each sannyāsī has some assistants, known as brahmacārīs, who are called by different names according to the names of the sannyāsī. Among such brahmacārīs there are four names: Svarūpa, Ānanda, Prakāśa and Caitanya. Nityānanda Prabhu maintained Himself as a brahmacārī; He never took sannyāsa. As a brahmacārī His name was Nityānanda Svarūpa, and therefore the sannyāsī under whom He was living must have been from the tīrthas or āśramas of the Śaṅkara-sampradāya, because one of the names for the assistant brahmacārī of such a sannyāsī is Svarūpa.
svatantra līlāya duḥkha sahena lakṣmaṇa
mauna dhari’ rahe lakṣmaṇa mane duḥkha pāi’
kṛṣṇake karāila nānā sukha āsvādana
avatāra-kāle doṅhe doṅhāte praveśa
With reference to the Viṣṇu-dharmottara, the Laghu-bhāgavatāmṛta explains that Rāma is an incarnation of Vāsudeva, Lakṣmaṇa is an incarnation of Saṅkarṣaṇa, Bharata is an incarnation of Pradyumna, and Śatrughna is an incarnation of Aniruddha. The Padma Purāṇa describes that Rāmacandra is Nārāyaṇa and that Lakṣmaṇa, Bharata and Śatrughna are respectively Śeṣa, Cakra and Śaṅkha (the conchshell in the hand of Nārāyaṇa). In the Rāma-gīta of the Skanda Purāṇa, Lakṣmaṇa, Bharata and Śatrughna have been described as the triple attendants of Lord Rāma.
aṁśāṁśi-rūpe śāstre karaye vyākhyāna
nānāvatāram akarod bhuvaneṣu kintu
kṛṣṇaḥ svayaṁ samabhavat paramaḥ pumān yo
govindam ādi-puruṣaṁ tam ahaṁ bhajāmi
This is a quotation from Brahma-saṁhitā (5.39).
nityānanda pūrṇa kare caitanyera kāma
eka kaṇā sparśi mātra, — se kṛpā tāṅhāra
adhama jīvere caḍhāila ūrdhva-sīmā
tathāpi kahiye tāṅra kṛpā prakāśite
nityānanda prabhu, mora kṣama aparādha
mīnaketana rāmadāsa haya tāṅra nāma
tāhāte āilā teṅho pāñā nimantraṇa
sakala vaiṣṇava tāṅra vandilā caraṇe
preme kā’re vaṁśī māre, kāhāke cāpaḍe
sei netre avicchinna vahe aśru-dhāra
eka aṅge jāḍya tāṅra, āra aṅge kampa
tāhā dekhi’ lokera haya mahā-camatkāra
śrī-mūrti-nikaṭe teṅho kare sevā-kārya
tāhā dekhi’ kruddha hañā bale rāmadāsa
baladeva dekhi’ ye nā kaila pratyudgama’
kṛṣṇa-kārya kare vipra — nā karila roṣa
Mīnaketana Rāmadāsa was a great devotee of Lord Nityānanda. When he entered the house of Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja, Guṇārṇava Miśra, the priest who was worshiping the Deity installed in the house, did not receive him very well. A similar event occurred when Romaharṣaṇa-sūta was speaking to the great assembly of sages at Naimiṣāraṇya. Lord Baladeva entered that great assembly, but since Romaharṣaṇa-sūta was on the vyāsāsana, he did not get down to offer respect to Lord Baladeva. The behavior of Guṇārṇava Miśra indicated that he had no great respect for Lord Nityānanda, and this idea was not at all palatable to Mīnaketana Rāmadāsa. For this reason the mentality of Mīnaketana Rāmadāsa is never deprecated by devotees.
mora bhrātā-sane tāṅra kichu haila vāda
nityānanda-prati tāṅra viśvāsa-ābhāsa
tabe ta’ bhrātāre āmi karinu bhartsane
nityānanda nā māna, tomāra habe sarva-nāśa
“ardha-kukkuṭī-nyāya” tomāra pramāṇa
eke māni’ āre nā māni, — ei-mata bhaṇḍa
tat-kāle āmāra bhrātāra haila sarva-nāśa
āra eka kahi tāṅra dayāra svabhāva
sei rātre prabhu more dilā daraśana
tāṅhā svapne dekhā dilā nityānanda-rāma
There is now a railway line to Jhāmaṭapura. If one wants to go there, he can take a train on the Katwa railway line and go directly to the station known as Sālāra. From that station one can go directly to Jhāmaṭapura.
nija-pāda-padma prabhu dilā mora māthe
uṭhi’ tāṅra rūpa dekhi’ hainu camatkāra
sākṣāt kandarpa, yaiche mahā-malla-vīra
paṭṭa-vastra śire, paṭṭa-vastra paridhāna
pāyete nūpura bāje, kaṇṭhe puṣpa-mālā
matta-gaja jini’ mada-manthara payāna
dāḍimba-bīja-sama danta tāmbūla-carvaṇa
‘kṛṣṇa’ ‘kṛṣṇa’ baliyā gambhīra bola bale
cāri-pāśe veḍi āche caraṇete bhṛṅga
‘kṛṣṇa’ ‘kṛṣṇa’ kahe sabe saprema āveśe
sevaka yogāya tāmbūla, cāmara ḍhulāya
kibā rūpa, guṇa, līlā — alaukika saba
tabe hāsi’ prabhu more kahilena vāṇī
vṛndāvane yāha, — tāṅhā sarva labhya haya
antardhāna kaila prabhu nija-gaṇa lañā
svapna-bhaṅga haila, dekhi, hañāche prabhāte
prabhu-ājñā haila vṛndāvana yāibāra
prabhura kṛpāte sukhe āinu vṛndāvana
yāṅhāra kṛpāte pāinu vṛndāvana-dhāma
yāṅhā haite pāinu rūpa-sanātanāśraya
yāṅhā haite pāinu śrī-svarūpa-āśraya
Anyone desiring to become expert in the service of Śrī Śrī Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa should always aspire to be under the guidance of Svarūpa Dāmodara Gosvāmī, Rūpa Gosvāmī, Sanātana Gosvāmī and Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī. To come under the protection of the Gosvāmīs, one must get the mercy and grace of Nityānanda Prabhu. The author has tried to explain this fact in these two verses.
śrī-rūpa-kṛpāya pāinu bhakti-rasa-prānta
Śrī Sanātana Gosvāmī Prabhu, the teacher of the science of devotional service, wrote several books, of which the Bṛhad-bhāgavatāmṛta is very famous; anyone who wants to know about the subject matter of devotees, devotional service and Kṛṣṇa must read this book. Sanātana Gosvāmī also wrote a special commentary on the Tenth Canto of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam known as the Daśama-ṭippanī, which is so excellent that by reading it one can understand very deeply the pastimes of Kṛṣṇa in His exchanges of loving activities. Another famous book by Sanātana Gosvāmī is the Hari-bhakti-vilāsa, which states the rules and regulations for all divisions of Vaiṣṇavas, namely, Vaiṣṇava householders, Vaiṣṇava brahmacārīs, Vaiṣṇava vānaprasthas and Vaiṣṇava sannyāsīs. This book was especially written, however, for Vaiṣṇava householders. Śrīla Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī has described Sanātana Gosvāmī in his prayer Vilāpa-kusumāñjali, verse six, where he has expressed his obligation to Sanātana Gosvāmī in the following words:
apāyayan mām anabhīpsum andham
kṛpāmbudhir yaḥ para-duḥkha-duḥkhī
sanātanas taṁ prabhum āśrayāmi
“I was unwilling to drink the nectar of devotional service possessed of renunciation, but Sanātana Gosvāmī, out of his causeless mercy, made me drink it, even though I was otherwise unable to do so. Therefore he is an ocean of mercy. He is very compassionate to fallen souls like me, and thus it is my duty to offer my respectful obeisances unto his lotus feet.” Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja Gosvāmī also, in the last section of the Caitanya-caritāmṛta, specifically mentions the names of Rūpa Gosvāmī, Sanātana Gosvāmī and Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī and offers his respectful obeisances unto the lotus feet of these three spiritual masters, as well as Raghunātha dāsa. Śrīla Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī also accepted Sanātana Gosvāmī as the teacher of the science of devotional service. Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī is described as the bhakti-rasācārya, or one who knows the essence of devotional service. His famous book Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu is the science of devotional service, and by reading this book one can understand the meaning of devotional service. Another of his famous books is the Ujjvala-nīlamaṇi. In this book he elaborately explains the loving affairs and transcendental activities of Lord Kṛṣṇa and Rādhārāṇī.
yāṅhā haite pāinu śrī-rādhā-govinda
Śrīla Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura, who is famous for his poetic composition known as Prārthanā, has lamented in one of his prayers, “When will Lord Nityānanda be merciful upon me so that I will forget all material desires?” Śrīla Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura confirms that unless one is freed from material desires to satisfy the needs of the body and senses, one cannot understand the transcendental abode of Lord Kṛṣṇa, Vṛndāvana. He also confirms that one cannot understand the loving affairs of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa without going through the direction of the six Gosvāmīs. In another verse Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura has stated that without the causeless mercy of Nityānanda Prabhu, one cannot enter into the affairs of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa.
purīṣera kīṭa haite muñi se laghiṣṭha
mora nāma laya yei tāra pāpa haya
eka nityānanda vinu jagat bhitare
uttama, adhama, kichu nā kare vicāra
ataeva nistārilā mo-hena durācāra
mo-hena adhame dilā śrī-rūpa-caraṇa
kahibāra yogya nahe e-saba kathana
rāsa-vilāsī sākṣāt vrajendra-kumāra
manmatha-manmatha-rūpe yāṅhāra prakāśa
This is a quotation from Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.32.2).
dui pāśe rādhā lalitā karena sevana
śrī-rādhā-madana-mohane prabhu kari’ dila
kahibāra kathā nahe akathya-kathana
ratna-maṇḍapa, tāhe ratna-siṁhāsane
mādhurya prakāśi’ karena jagat mohana
rāsādika-līlā prabhu kare kata raṅge
aṣṭādaśākṣara-mantre kare upāsana
In his own planet, Lord Brahmā, with the inhabitants of that planet, worships the form of Lord Govinda, Kṛṣṇa, by the mantra of eighteen syllables, klīṁ kṛṣṇāya govindāya gopī-jana-vallabhāya svāhā. Those who are initiated by a bona fide spiritual master and who chant the Gāyatrī mantra three times a day know this aṣṭādaśākṣara (eighteen-syllable) mantra. The inhabitants of Brahmaloka and the planets below Brahmaloka worship Lord Govinda by meditating with this mantra. There is no difference between meditating and chanting, but in the present age meditation is not possible on this planet. Therefore loud chanting of a mantra like the mahā-mantra, Hare Kṛṣṇa, with soft chanting of the aṣṭādaśākṣara, the mantra of eighteen syllables, is recommended.
Lord Brahmā lives in the highest planetary system, known as Brahmaloka or Satyaloka. In every planet there is a predominating deity. As the predominating deity in Satyaloka is Lord Brahmā, so in the heavenly planets Indra is the predominating deity, and on the sun, the sun-god, Vivasvān, is the predominating deity. The inhabitants and predominating deities of every planet are all recommended to worship Govinda either by meditation or by chanting.
vaikuṇṭhādi-pure yāṅra līlā-guṇa gāna
rūpa-gosāñi kariyāchena se-rūpa varṇana
Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī, in his Laghu-bhāgavatāmṛta, has quoted from the Padma Purāṇa, where it is stated that Lakṣmī-devī, the goddess of fortune, after seeing the attractive features of Lord Kṛṣṇa, was attracted to Him, and to get the favor of Lord Kṛṣṇa she engaged herself in meditation. When asked by Kṛṣṇa why she engaged in meditation with austerity, Lakṣmī-devī answered, “I want to be one of Your associates like the gopīs in Vṛndāvana.” Hearing this, Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa replied that it was quite impossible. Lakṣmī-devī then said that she wanted to remain just like a golden line on the chest of the Lord. The Lord granted the request, and since then Lakṣmī has always been situated on the chest of Lord Kṛṣṇa as a golden line. The austerity and meditation of Lakṣmī-devī are also mentioned in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.16.36), where the Nāga-patnīs, the wives of the serpent Kāliya, in the course of their prayers to Kṛṣṇa, said that the goddess of fortune, Lakṣmī, also wanted His association as a gopī and desired the dust of His lotus feet.
vaṁśī-nyastādhara-kiśalayām ujjvalāṁ candrakeṇa
govindākhyāṁ hari-tanum itaḥ keśi-tīrthopakaṇṭhe
mā prekṣiṣṭhās tava yadi sakhe bandhu-saṅge ’sti raṅgaḥ
This is a verse quoted from the Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu (1.2.239) in connection with practical devotional service. Generally people in their conditioned life engage in the pleasure of society, friendship and love. This so-called love is lust, not love. But people are satisfied with such a false understanding of love. Vidyāpati, a great and learned poet of Mithilā, has said that the pleasure derived from friendship, society and family life in the material world is like a drop of water, but our hearts desire pleasure like an ocean. Thus the heart is compared to a desert of material existence that requires the water of an ocean of pleasure to satisfy its dryness. If there is a drop of water in the desert, one may indeed say that it is water, but such a minute quantity of water has no value. Similarly, in this material world no one is satisfied in the dealings of society, friendship and love. Therefore if one wants to derive real pleasure within his heart, he must seek the lotus feet of Govinda. In this verse Rūpa Gosvāmī indicates that if one wants to be satisfied in the pleasure of society, friendship and love, he need not seek shelter at the lotus feet of Govinda, for if one takes shelter under His lotus feet he will forget that minute quantity of so-called pleasure. One who is not satisfied with that so-called pleasure may seek the lotus feet of Govinda, who stands on the shore of the Yamunā at Keśītīrtha, or Keśīghāṭa, in Vṛndāvana and attracts all the gopīs to His transcendental loving service.
yebā ajñe kare tāṅre pratimā-hena jñāna
ghora narakete paḍe, ki baliba āra
In his Bhakti-sandarbha Jīva Gosvāmī has stated that those who are actually very serious about devotional service do not differentiate between the form of the Lord made of clay, metal, stone or wood and the original form of the Lord. In the material world a person and his photograph, picture or statue are different. But the statue of Lord Kṛṣṇa and Kṛṣṇa Himself, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, are not different, because the Lord is absolute. What we call stone, wood and metal are energies of the Supreme Lord, and energies are never separate from the energetic. As we have several times explained, no one can separate the sunshine energy from the energetic sun. Therefore material energy may appear separate from the Lord, but transcendentally it is nondifferent from the Lord.
The Lord can appear anywhere and everywhere because His diverse energies are distributed everywhere like sunshine. We should therefore understand whatever we see to be the energy of the Supreme Lord and should not differentiate between the Lord and His arcā form made from clay, metal, wood or paint. Even if one has not developed this consciousness, one should accept it theoretically from the instructions of the spiritual master and should worship the arcā-mūrti, or form of the Lord in the temple, as nondifferent from the Lord.
The Padma Purāṇa specifically mentions that anyone who thinks the form of the Lord in the temple to be made of wood, stone or metal is certainly in a hellish condition. Impersonalists are against the worship of the Lord’s form in the temple, and there is even a group of people who pass as Hindus but condemn such worship. Their so-called acceptance of the Vedas has no meaning, for all the ācāryas, even the impersonalist Śaṅkarācārya, have recommended the worship of the transcendental form of the Lord. Impersonalists like Śaṅkarācārya recommend the worship of five forms, known as pañcopāsanā, which include Lord Viṣṇu. Vaiṣṇavas, however, worship the forms of Lord Viṣṇu in His varied manifestations, such as Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa, Lakṣmī-Nārāyaṇa, Sītā-Rāma and Rukmiṇī-Kṛṣṇa. Māyāvādīs admit that worship of the Lord’s form is required in the beginning, but they think that in the end everything is impersonal. Therefore, since they are ultimately against worship of the Lord’s form, Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu has described them as offenders.
Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam has condemned those who think the body to be the self as bhauma ijya-dhīḥ. Bhauma means earth, and ijya-dhīḥ means worshiper. There are two kinds of bhauma ijya-dhīḥ: those who worship the land of their birth, such as nationalists, who make many sacrifices for the motherland, and those who condemn the worship of the form of the Lord. One should not worship the planet earth or land of his birth, nor should one condemn the form of the Lord, which is manifested in metal or wood for our facility. Material things are also the energy of the Supreme Lord.
tāṅhāra caraṇa-kṛpā ke pāre varṇite
rādhā-kṛṣṇa-bhakti vine nāhi jāne anya
adhamere dila prabhu-nityānanda-dayā
sei sūtra — ei tāra kaila vivaraṇa
sei saba labhya ei prabhura kṛpāya
All the inhabitants of Vṛndāvana are Vaiṣṇavas. They are all-auspicious because somehow or other they always chant the holy name of Kṛṣṇa. Even though some of them do not strictly follow the rules and regulations of devotional service, on the whole they are devotees of Kṛṣṇa and chant His name directly or indirectly. Purposely or without purpose, even when they pass on the street they are fortunate enough to exchange greetings by saying the name of Rādhā or Kṛṣṇa. Thus directly or indirectly they are auspicious.
The present city of Vṛndāvana has been established by the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas since the six Gosvāmīs went there and directed the construction of their different temples. Of all the temples in Vṛndāvana, ninety percent belong to the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava sect, the followers of the teachings of Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu and Nityānanda, and seven temples are very famous. The inhabitants of Vṛndāvana do not know anything but the worship of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa. In recent years some unscrupulous so-called priests known as caste gosvāmīs have introduced the worship of demigods privately, but no genuine and rigid Vaiṣṇavas participate in this. Those who are serious about the Vaiṣṇava method of devotional activities do not take part in such worship of demigods.
The Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas never differentiate between Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa and Lord Caitanya. They say that since Lord Caitanya is the combined form of Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa, He is not different from Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa. But some misled people try to prove that they are greatly elevated by saying that they like to chant the holy name of Lord Gaura instead of the names of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa. Thus they purposely differentiate between Lord Caitanya and Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa. According to them, the system of nadīyā-nāgarī, which they have recently invented in their fertile brains, is the worship of Gaura, Lord Caitanya, but they do not like to worship Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa. They put forward the argument that since Lord Caitanya Himself appeared as Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa combined, there is no necessity of worshiping Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa. Such differentiation by so-called devotees of Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu is considered disruptive by pure devotees. Anyone who differentiates between Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa and Gaurāṅga is to be considered a plaything in the hands of māyā.
There are others who are against the worship of Caitanya Mahāprabhu, thinking Him mundane. But any sect that differentiates between Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu and Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa, either by worshiping Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa as distinct from Lord Caitanya or by worshiping Lord Caitanya but not Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa, is in the group of prākṛta-sahajiyās.
Śrīla Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja Gosvāmī, the author of Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta, predicts in verses 225 and 226 that in the future those who manufacture imaginary methods of worship will gradually give up the worship of Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa, and although they will call themselves devotees of Lord Caitanya, they will also give up the worship of Caitanya Mahāprabhu and fall down into material activities. For the real worshipers of Lord Caitanya, the ultimate goal of life is to worship Śrī Śrī Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa.
nityānanda-guṇe lekhāya unmatta kariyā
‘sahasra-vadane’ śeṣa nāhi pāya yāṅra
caitanya-caritāmṛta kahe kṛṣṇadāsa
Thus end the Bhaktivedanta purports to Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Ādi-līlā, fifth chapter, describing the glories of Lord Nityānanda Balarāma.