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Re: Krishna/Vishnu in Bhagavatam

From: Anand Karalapakkam (
Date: Wed Apr 26 2000 - 11:54:10 PDT

SrI Lakshminrusimha ParabrahmaNE namaha
SrI Lakshminrusimha divya pAdukA sEvaka SrIvaN SataKopa-
SrI nArAyaNa yateendra mahAdESikAya namaha

  Dear devotees,
  namO nArAyaNa.

 SrI Martin Gansten wrote :

> For evidence on Krishna being an avatara of Vishnu, we need not 
> go outside the Bhagavatam itself (though corroborative evidence 
> could be collected from other Puranas, Mahabharata, and Agamas; 
> and I believe Sri Anand has already given a few references of 
> this latter kind). For instance, Bhag.10.1.2 reads:

>    yadoz ca dharmaziilasya nitaraa.m munisattama /
>    tatraA.MZENAAVATIIR.NASYA VI.S.NOR za.msa na.h //
> The direct meaning here is 'of Vishnu, descended through a part 
> (amsha) [of Himself]'. Sri Bhaktivedanta Swami (doubtless 
> following earlier GV acaryas) takes the instrumental (a.mzena) 
> as indicating association: 'along with a part', which he 
> interprets as referring to Balarama. Even if this is accepted, 
> however, it does not change the fact that Krishna is here
> referred to as 'Vishnu descended'. 

  VishNu purANam (5.1.2) gives the same account in the following
  way and makes the point explicitly very clear again :

 < Sage MaitrEya asks Sage ParASara > :
 amSAvatArO brahmarshE yO(a)yam yadukulOdbhavaha |
 vishNOstam vistarENA(a)ham SrOtum icchAmi tattvataha ||

 " O Brahma Rishi ! I desire to hear the accurate, detailed 
   account on this amSAvatAra of ViSNu born in yadu kula(race).

 ( bhavaha = birth; tattvataha = true account, as it is ).

  This ofcourse doesn't mean that KrishNa is an "amSAvatAra"
  like Sage VyAsa, who was a jivAtma empowered by Lord. We very
  well know from other pramAnas that Lord KrishNa is none other
  then Lord ViSNu Or Lord NArAyaNa. This is what asserted by 
  the likes of BhIshma and Brahma (verses quoted earlier by 
  SrI HarikrishNa) through their verses. The purport is :
  KrishNa is not merely human being who was playing at GOkula etc 
  and He is certainly the Supreme Lord NArAyaNa ie. God Himself.
  The account of the birth of Lord KrishNa in SB itself is 
  very clear on this issue.    
  After Lord VishNu appeared with His foou arms etc, SrI VasudEva
  recognized Him to be the Supreme Lord and offered glorifications
  /prayers. Then, DEvaki offered her glorifications/prayers.
  In SB 10.3.28, DEvaki requests Lord VishNu to make His form
  (which denotes Supreme Lord and meditated upon by yOgis) 
  invisible to the general public { "...........rUpam cEdam 
  paurusham dhyAna-dhishNyam mA pratyaksham mAmsa druSAm 
  krushIshThAha" }.

  In the next verse (10.3.29), she says that she is afraid 
  of Kamsa and is in anxiety, and requests the Lord to do 
  something so that Kamsa will not understand that Lord VishNu 
  Himself has been born. Kamsa already knew that Lord VishNu is
  after killing Him, soon after Sage NArada briefed him about 
  these things (SB 10.1.65-66 : " ...............dEvakyA garbha 
  sambhUtam vishNum ca sva vadham prati|| ....). Thats why DEvaki
  wanted Lord VishNu to make His identity unknown to others.

  She then requests (10.3.30) :
  "upasamhara viSvAtmannadO rUpam alaukikam |
   Sankha Cakra gadA padmaSriyA jushtam catur-bhujam ||"

  Trans. by Sri BhaktivEdAnta SwAmi of ISKCON :

  "O My Lord, You are the all-pervading Supreme Personality of
   Godhead and Your transcendental four-armed form, holding
   conchshell,disc, club and lotus, is unnatural for this world.
   Please withdraw this form [and become just like a natural
   human child so that I may try to hide You somewhere] ".

   DEvaki is adding one more reason here. Not only that Kamsa
   will find Him out, but also that this form is un-natural for
   a child in this world.

   Another point to be noted is that, Lord is glorified as 
   "ViSvAtma" ie. all-pervading aatma, who is the aatma for
   everything. Though the Lord is the "aatma" which is all
   pervading, He has taken a four handed form and its being
   addressed here. This also enables us to understand the
   distinction between the aatma (Lord Himself) and divine 
   form of Lord.
   She elaborates her request in the next verse (SB 10.3.31) :

   "ViSvam yad etat .....purushap param parO bhavAn ........"

   Trans. by Sri BhaktivEdAnta SwAmi :
   "At the time of devastation, the entire cosmos, containing
    all creatures moving and non-moving entities, enters Your
    transcendental body and is held there without difficulty. 
    But now this transcendental form has taken birth from my 
    womb. People will not be able to believe and I shall become
    an object of ridicule".

    Thus, she desparetly pleads Lord VishNu to make His 
    identity unknown to the people and take a form resembling
    a human child. She doesn't say, "Get back Your Original
    form of KrishNa" etc here. Also, Kamsa identified God (ie.
    Vishnu) with the four-handed form only and its well known
    to him and many of the people.
    Lord VishNu then narrates about the past two lives of 
    VasudEva and DEvaki, in which He Himself was born to them.

    Lord then says (SB 10.3.45) :

    "etad vAm darSitam rUpam prAg-janma-smaraNaya mE |
     nAnyathA mad-bhavam jn~yAnam martya-liNgEna jAyatE ||"

    Trans. by Sri BhaktivEdAnta SwAmi :

    "I have shown you this form << of VishNu >> just to remind 
     you of My previous births. Otherwise, if I appeared like an 
     ordinary human child, you would not believe that I << the 
     Supreme Personality of Godhead, VishNu >> has indeed 

    This makes extremly clear that Supreme Lord is identified
    with four handed form and the human form with two hands
    is only now going to be taken by Him.
    SB 10.3.46 says that " ......bhagavAn aatma maayayA ....
    babhUva prAkruta: SiSuhu" ie. Lord by His sankalpa (divine
    will) became a human child (ie. took the two handed form).

    Here, SrI BhaktivEdAnta Swami adds : "In other words, He
    transformed Himself into His original form : krushNAstu
    bhagavAn swayam". 

    Well, there is no indication in the original texts even 
    remotely regarding this. There were plenty of oppurtunities in 
    these chapters of SB to say that Lord transformed into His 
    original form. But, this has never been said and the reasons 
    given are in the contrary ie. Lord transformed Himself into 
    the two handed form like a human, since the four handed form 
    would make people understand that He is the Supreme Lord. Also,
    in SrI VishNu purANam which describes the birth of Lord 
    KrishNa, there is no mention of Lord VishNu getting back His
    original form ; rather it is clear that Lord VishNu is taking
    an avatAra ie. vibhava avatAra. Infact, it states Lord KrishNa
    as Lord VishNu's amSAvatAra, which is quoted above. 

  There is no doubt that Lord KrishNa is a vibhava avatAra
  of Lord NArAyaNa (VishNu). Already many pramAnas have been cited 
  from pAncarAtra, SrImad BhAgavatham and SrI VishNu purANam.

  Sri Martin Gansten 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. 

   Absolutely ! I too agree with you.

  adiyEn rAmAnuja dAsan,

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