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RE: Krishna/Vishnu in Bhagavatam

From: Krishna Kalale (
Date: Mon Apr 24 2000 - 08:25:10 PDT

Dear Sri Martin,

I thank you for identifying the verses from SB which throw light on the
avatara issue. On a different note -

You wrote : *****

I think an independent observer would agree that the direct meaning
(mukhyartha) of these and similar Bhagavatam verses is that Vishnu has
appeared in the form of Sri Krishna, rather than vice versa. And certainly
that has been the understanding of all Vaishnava sampradayas except the
Gaudiyas (including the Maadhvas, from whom some Gaudiyas trace their
origin), as well as of the smaarta community.

I don't think Madhvas and SMarthas accept the GV view regarding Krishna /
Vishnu avatar issue.  Sri Madhvacharya's work - Vishnu Tattva vinirnaya -
clearly accepts unquestioned supremacy of Vishnu.  In fact his quotations in
Anubhasya and Upanisads are famous, in the sense all words only mean Vishnu
for him.  Smarthas, come from advaitic background with a strong
"ritualistic" bent ie. regarding observations of festivals. They have a
difficult task of bringing to practice idealistic monism and such a process
itself makes all dieties to have the same status of being a part of the
conventional reality and not absolute reality.  For smarthas the diety does
not make a difference, since nirguna brahman is the absolute reality.
However, Sri Sankaracharya definitely leans towards Krishna / Narayana /
Vishnu in his prasthana traya bhasyas.

adiyen Krishna Kalale

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