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krushNAstu bhagavAn swayam

From: Anand Karalapakkam (
Date: Wed Apr 19 2000 - 10:15:54 PDT

SrImatE SrI Lakshmi Nrusimha Para BrahmaNE namaha
SrImatE SrI Lakshmi Nrusimha Divya pAdukA sEvaka SrIvaNN-
Satakopa SrI nArAyaNa Yateendra mahAdESikAya namaha

Dear devotees,
namO nArAyaNA.

 This posting is regarding the validity of the teaching of
 Gaudiya VaishnavAs (GVs) that "KrishNa is the original
 Personality of Godhead and Lord nArAyaNa , other 
 avatArams/forms are His expansions". They quote the following 
 verse from Srimad BhAgavatham to uphold their theory :

 " ete ca amsha kalaaha pumsaha krishNastu bhagavaan svayam |
 indra-ari vyaakulam lokam mr^Dayanti yuge yuge || "[1.3.28]

 Translation by Sri A.C.BhaktivEdAnta swAmi :

"All of the above-mentioned incarnations are either plenary
portions or portions of the plenary portions of the Lord, but
Lord srI KrishNa is the original Personality of Godhead.
All of them appear on planets whenever there is a disturbance
created by the atheists. The Lord incarnates to protect the


 Please note that the person nArAyaNa is not the form of 
 nArAyaNa. Lord's divine body is made of the tattva named
 "Suddha Sattva". It has its own characteristics. Lord as
 such is a chEtana, different from Suddha-sattva. Whenever
 God/ParamAtma/BhagavAn etc is referred, it refers to the
 DivyAtma Swaroopa which as a chEtana has all other things
 like divine form etc as its attributes. Thus, Lord nArAyaNa
 is not someone who is restricted to 4 hands. adiyEn will
 post an article on this issue soon.

Qtn 1: By the above Srimad BhAgavatham (SB) verse can one
come to the conclusion that KrishNa is the actual God and
nArAyaNa is secondary ( "expansion ?" ) to Him ?

Whenever GVs say "nArAyaNa", they refer to the four
handed form of PerumAL. 

 This verse doesn’t even mention about nArAyaNa. Usage
 of "KrishNa" here can _atbest_ be considered in
 "comparison" with other vibhava avatArams (incarnations).

 The verse simply says that in comparison with the
 above mentioned avatArams , KrishNa is actually
 bhagavAn (bhagavAn svayam) whereas others are amsAs of Him .
 This doesn’t (even in the remotest sense ) imply that
 nArAyaNa( either as a person or as a form) is an amsA of
 KrishNa or something like that .

 Even if one makes the extrapolation of the greatest order &
 gives an interpretation which cannot be derived from this
 verse like "nArAyaNa is also an amsA (someone inferior) of
 KrishNA" it contradicts many pramAnams from VedAs 
 (including Upanishads), IthihAsa-purANas, pAncarAtrA etc. So, 
 such type of claim is obviously not supported by Scriptures.

 For instance, MahOpanishad (1.1) says " yekO ha vai nArAyaNa 
 aasIt" { "Only nArAyaNA existed (in the beginning ie. during 
 praLayam) }". This means that, the "person" nArAyaNA ( who has 
 _inseparable_ attributes viz. chit <which is eternal ie. can't 
 be destructed > and achit <which is eternal>, which were in 
 their sookshma state during the praLayam, was the only one 

Qtn 2 : What does the "above mentioned avatArams" ( "ete" )
         stand for ?

  The whole issue of understanding this verse lies in the
  interpretation given to the word "ete" (ie. "above mentioned").

  In the previous two verses (1.3.26-27), sUtar says that the
  number of incarnations of Sriman nArAyaNa (Hari) are
  innumerable like thousands of rivulets flowing from a
  river & goes on to say that RishIs & devas (demigods),
  Manus & prajApatis are all amsAs of Lord Hari.

  Now the question arises as to whether, all these incarnations
  ( rishis, manus and others) are actually "svayam bhagavAn" ie.
  nArAyaNa Himself. To clarify that, sUtar is telling in the verse
  1.3.28 that rishIs, anya dEvatAs (dEvAs), manus and others ( "
  above mentioned avatArams") are not "svayam bhagavAn" ( not
  " nArAyaNA Himself), but KrishNa is bhagavAn Himself. So,
  obviously, SUtar wants to reiterate that rishis and others
  are only amsAvatArAs (ie. They are not same as nArAyaNa) and
  are different from PerumAL's svayam avatArams (like KrishNa).

  In svayam avatArams like nrusimha, rAma, krishNa, it is the
  same person(nArAyaNA) who is taking different forms. But, in
  amsAvatArams, nArAyaNa simply bestows extrordinary powers to
  a jIvAtma to achieve certain things (but, this is also counted
  as a type of "avatAram", though it is not PerumAL who is directly
  taking the avatAram, as in the case of svayam avatArams).

  We shall later discuss in this posting as to why "KrishNa" was
  chosen here by sUtar for the clarification.


 Please note that, previously , KrishNA was also listed
 as one of the incarnation of Hari (nArAyaNa) by Sage
 SUtar. Actually the sages request Sage sUtar to describe
 various incarnations of Lord Hari ( SB 1.1.13 & 1.1.18 ).
 So, the _best extrapolation_ from this verse that one can obtain
 is that, of all the incarnations (avatArams) that so far
 has been listed by Sage sUtar , KrishNa is the perfect
 avatAram ( ie. Poorna avatAram ie. Svayam ) of nArAyaNa &
 all other avatArams are only amsAs of nArAyaNa, ie. KrishNa
 is non-different from nArAyaNA since KrishNA is svayam
 bhagavAn & all other avatArams are not same as nArAyaNa
 since they are only His amsAs.

 This leads to the following question :

 Qtn 3: If the word "ete" ("above mentioned") is interpreted to 
 mean _all_ the incarnations that has been enlisted so far from 
 the beginning by Sage SUtar( instead of referring it to only the
 avatArams like manus, rishis and others enlisted in the previous 
 verse 1.3.27) it leads to a conclusion that KrishNa is the _only_ 
 poorna avatAram of nArAyaNa & all other avatArams like nrusimha , 
 rAma ( which were also listed previously to verse 1.3.28) are only 
 His amsAvatArAs.

This obviously contradicts hundreds of pramAnams.
Still, Can a sensible interpretation be given, if "ete" can be 
interpretted this way ?

adiyen is giving the answer to this particular question based on 
the Srimad BhAgavatham series appearing in "Sri Nrusimha Priya" .
The section pertaining to our discussion was written by
late Sri atthi nrusimhAchAryA (vaikuNThavAsi). Now, it is
continued by Sri SthalasayanAchArya. This tamil series has
been released in a book format by "Sri Nrusimha Priya
Trust" during 1995 , which has the description of Srimad
BhAgavatham till 3rd Canto , Ch 23 .

The answer to the question lies in the "chatri nyAyam" used
in sanskrit. It is described as follows : "chatrinO gacchanti"
=> a group of people having umbrellAs are going. Actually,
not everyone in that group needs to hold an umbrella. This usage,
though addresses the group as a whole, it doesn't convey that
everyone in that group has an umbrella. Thus, according to
"chatri nyAyam", eventhough the adressing be done to the whole 
group, asif everyone has the same characteristic (eg: holding the 
umbrella), still, it needn't convey that _everyone_ in that group 
has that characteristic ie. the intention is to just refer to 
those who actually posses that characteristic (holding an 
umbrella), though adressing is done to the whole group as such.

Lets see how "chatri nyAyam" is employed in this verse (1.3.28).
All avatArams of the type Nrusimha , RAma are Poorna avatArams
only, since they are taken by the same person nArAyaNa.
Eventhough all the poorna avatArms ( no umbrella) seems to be
grouped with that of many other avatArams (anupravesa / amsAvatAra
etc; with umbrellA ) by the word "ete", its actual import from the
application of "chatri nyAyam" is that the word "ete" refers only
to the amsa avatArams (with umbrella). So, the comparison of
KrishNAvatAram is strictly not with _all_ the avatArams that has
been listed before, but only with other amsa avatArams. The word 
"ete", though addresses the whole group of avatArams that has been 
listed so far, the intention is to refer to only those avatArams 
that are amsAvatArams (with umbrella). If one fails to recognize 
the "chatri nyAyam " employed, it leads him/her into a 
contradiction .

 The next issue is to whether his can be further explained in the
 light of the "context" in which Sage sUtar uttered this verse ?

 Actually , the sages were very eager to know about many
 things . First of all , they payed their salutations to
 Sage sUtar who was a great rishi having immense knowledge
 and the fruit of that knowledge viz. ardent devotion unto
 Sriman nArAyaNa. Sage sUtar was in such a position
 because he did lot of kainkaryams to his achArya and got his
 blessings (in form of kAlakshebams etc). Since the katAkshA of a
 sadAchAryA fell unto Sage sUtar , he could understand
 all the imports of the vedAs correctly and easily ( All
 these things are in a way told by the sages themselves
 to Sage sUtar while glorifying him )

 Sages told Sage sUtar that , since the kali yuga will be
 filled with people who have mandha buddhi (lack of spiritual
 knowledge ) & short life, lack of aisvaryam etc & will be
 immersed in samsAra (materialistic pleasures) , the upadesam of
 the sAram (essence) of scriptures needs to be done (ie. Kali yuga
 people have mandha buddhi => perform lot of speculations
 instead of understanding the tattvA properly under the
 guidance of a "sadAchArya " => they can’t understand the
 essence of vedAs ). They wanted to know the things which
 would be of ultimate benifit to all the jIvAtmAs , acts
 that needs to be followed by jIvAtmAs so that it will please
 bhagavAn , _about the incarnation of bhagavAn as son of Devaki_,
 leelAs performed by bhagavAn in various incarnations, glories of
 nAma sankeertanam, glories of parama bhAgavathOthamAs whose mere
 katAksha will sanctify a person .

 The sages being ardent devotees of KrishNAvatAram ,
 which got winded up quite recently , they eagerly asked
 Sage sUtar to especially describe that avatAram in
 detail in which bhagavAn as KrishNa alongwith BalarAma did
 various super human acts. They also wanted to know the person
 unto whom dharma has taken shelter off after the departure of
 KrishNa to Sri VaikuNTham .

 So , among all the vibhava avatArams , their __focus__ is
 on KrishNAvatAram , though they wanted to know about all the
 avatArams of bhagavAn Sriman nArAyaNa.

 Sage sUtar after briefly explaining about nArAyaNA’s
 divyAtma svaroopam , He being antaryAmi of chit & achit, 
 etc, starts enlisting various avatArams of Sriman nArAyaNa viz. 
 Yoga nidra form , Brahma , 4 kumArAs, Narada , Nara NArAyaNa , 
 Kapila , DattAtreya , ya~jna (son of sage ruchi & his wife Ahuti), 
 King rushaba, King pruthu , matsyavatAram , koormAvatAram , 
 Dhanvantari, Mohini , Nrusimha , vAmana , parasurAma , VyAsa , 
 rAma, BalarAmA , KrishNa , Buddha & Kalki .

 Then Suta pourAnikar continued that the number of
 incarnations of Sriman nArAyaNa (Hari) are innumerable like
 thousands of rivulets flowing from a river & goes on to say
 that RishIs & devAs (demigods), Manus & prajApatis are all
 amsAs of Lord Hari (1.3.26-27) .

 Now the stage is set for the verse 1.3.28 in our discussion.
 Note that there were innumerable amsAvatArAs that has been
 enlisted in comparison with the svayam avatArAs.

 If the word "ete" is interpreted to refer to the amsAvatArams 
 of the verse 1.3.27, then, it makes proper sense.

 Even if the word "ete" be interpreted to apply to all the
 incarnations enlisted sofar, then by "chatri nyAyam" we can
 understand the actual implication of the word "ete" (ie. it 
 refers only to the amsAvatArAs listed so far).

 Now, a good representative from the list of poorna avatArams has
 to be chosen in order to differentiate from the amsAvatArams.
 The question is to why was "KrishNa" selected here and said as
 "krishNAstu bhagavAN svayam" and not "rAmA is bhagavAn svayam"
 OR "nrusimha is bhagavAn svayam", etc, though krishNa, rAma,
 nrusimha are all the same nArAyaNa (poorna avatArams ; svayam
 bhagavAn; not amsAvatArAs) ??

 SUtar chose "KrishNa" because all the sages were very much eager
 to know a lot about KrishNA ie. the focus of their questions was 
 with that avatAram. Also, KrishNA is well known for the shadguna
 paripoornam. Also, the sages being KrishNA’s ardent devotees (ie.
 who wishes to relish the pastimes KrishNA ; pretty obvious from 
 their questions to sUtar), should be doubly assured that their 
 darling KrishNa is neverthless "svayam bhagavAn" Sriman nArAyaNa 
 and is not a amsAvatAra (namba krishnan svayam bhagavAn; manu, 
 rishi, pruthu ...avAlalAm pOla amsAvatAram illai ). So, Suta 
 pourAnikar chose to use "Krishna" in the verse 1.3.28 instead of 
 other svayam avatArams like rAmA and nrusimha.


 adiyEn rAmAnuja dAsan

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