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RE: Question :BhagavAn svayam - 1

From: Anand K Karalapakkam (anand_at_engr.uconn.edu)
Date: Sat Aug 29 1998 - 22:26:35 PDT

                                        Sri:
          Srimate Sri Lakshmi Nrusimha Para Brahmane namaha
    Srimate Sri Lakshmi Nrusimha Divya pAdukA sevaka Srivan  Shatakopa -
                Sri nArAyaNa  Yateendra mahAdesikAya namaha  

    Dear  Sri rAm gopAlswAmy & other devotees ,
    namo nArAyaNA. Kindly accept adiyen’s pranAmams.

    Sri rAm gopAlswAmy wrote :  
     
shriimad bhaagavta-puraaNam talks about various incarnations of bhagavaan 
(including kR^shhNaavataara) and says:

        " ete ca amsha kalaaH pumsaH kR^shhNaH tu bhagavaan svayam |
                                     ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^******
          indra-ari vyaakulam lokam mR^Dayanti yuge yuge || "    [1.3.28] 

        "All of the above-mentioned incarnations are either plenary portions or
         portions of the plenary portions of the Lord, but Lord shrii KR^shhNa
         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 theists."


It seems to be apparently inconsistent with paaN^caraatra.
Is not, according to paaN^caraatra, shriiman-naaraayaNa is the Original_ 
Personality of Godhead and shrii. kR^shhNa is a vibhava-avataara ?

I wonder what the word "svayam" means in the above context.

[ Also, dhyaana-shlokam for shriimad bhagavad giita itself says,
  "... paarthaaya pratibodhitaaM bhagavataa naaraayaNena svayaM.."
  Is the dhyaana-shlokam universally accepted as authentic  ?
]

Have raamaanujaacarya, or vedaanta-deshika commented on this point 
in their granta-s ?  
[also curious what shrii.yaamuna says in his work, "mahaa-purushha-nirnaya" ]

-----------------------

    Various  issues  are being  addressed here  by  our  dear  devotee 
    Sriman  rAm  GopAlswAmy , who in the past has  come up with  very 
    interesting  questions  that  has  given  lot  of  oppurtunities  for
    all of us  to know  about  the sampradAyam  much  better  . 

1.  Qtn :   By the  above  Srimad BhAgavatham (SB) verse   can  one  come 
            to the conclusion that  KrishNA is  the actual God &  nArAyaNA 
            is  secondary ( "expansion ?" )  to Him ?  
 
       Ans :   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 whereas  others are amsAs of Him .  This doesn’t (
               even  in the remotest  sense ) imply  that  nArAyaNA  is
               an amsA of  KrishNA or something like that . 
         
         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 .                         
  
         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 of  KrishNA"  it  contradicts  
         hundreds of pramAnams  from VedAs (including  Upanishads ) , 
         IthihAsa purAnAs , Divya prabandham ,  pAncarAtrA etc . So , 
         such   type  of claim is  obviously not  supported by Scriptures . 
 
   2. Qtn: If the word "ete" is interpreted to mean  _all_ the incarnations 
           that has been  described  so  far  by  Sage SUtar , it leads to 
           a  conclusion  that  KrishNA  is the _only_  poorna avatAram of
           nArAyaNA &  all  other  avatArams  like  nrusimhA , rAmA are 
           only  His  amsAs . This obviously  contradicts  hundreds of  
           pramAnams .  What  then is the exact purport of this  verse ?     
 
     Ans  :  adiyen is  giving the answer to this question  based on  the 
             Srimad BhAgavatham series  appearing in "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 . But  that  group is reffered to, 
            asif  everyone is holding  the  UmbrellA because  many  are 
            holding  it  =>  generalization is done.  This  is the
            "chatri nyAyam " . 

            All  avatArams  of the type  NrusimhA , RAmA  are  Poorna 
            avatArams  only ,  since  they  are  taken by  the  same 
            nArAyaNA . In this verse , "chatri nyAyam"   is employed 
            ie. Eventhough  all the  poorna  avatArms ( no  umbrellA) 
            seems to be grouped  with  that  of  many  other  avatArams 
            (anupravesA  etc;  with umbrellA )  by the word "ete"  , its
            actual  import  from the application of  "chatri nyAyam"  is 
            that  the word "ete"  refers to the  amsa avatArams 
            ( with  umbrella) only . So , the  comparison  of 
            KrishNAvatAram  is  strictly  not  with  all  the  avatArams 
            that  has  been  listed  before , but  only  with  other  amsa 
            avatArams . If one fails to recognize the  "chatri nyAyam "
            employed , it  leads him into a  contradiction . 
                            
                           
3.  Qtn :  Can this be further explained in the light of the "context"  in 
           which  Sage sUtar  uttered this verse ? 

    Ans :  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 
           &  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   
           &  got  his blessings (in form of kAlakshebams etc) . Since 
           the  katAkshA  of a  sadAchAryA  ( AchAryA  of  a Sat 
           sampradAyam ie.  SampradAyam   starting with Sriman
           nArAyaNA )  fell unto  Sage  sUtar , he could  understand 
           all the  imports of the  vedAs  correctly  &  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,  aisvaryam  etc  & will  be 
           immersed in samsArA , 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 
            svaroopam , He being  antaryAmi of chit & achit , He being 
            the sarIrI of  chit  & achit (ie. Chit & achit are His sarIrA) & 
            allied tattvAs , starts   enlisting  various   avatArams  of 
            Sriman nArAyaNA  viz. Yoga nidrA  form , BrahmA , 4 kumArAs , 
            Naradar , Nara NArAyaNA , KapilA , DattAtreyA , ya~jnA (son
            of 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. 

            The word  "ete" if applies to all the incarnations enlisted 
            sofar , then  by "chatri  nyAyam"  we  can  understand the 
            actual  purport  of the  verse . 

            Alternatively, if we look  at  the  previous  two  verses 
            ( 1.3.26  & 1.3.27 ) , the  focus  is  on  the  innumerable 
            avatArAs  which are  like  rivulets  from a river  & enlisted
            rishis , manus etc  who  all are  basically  amsAvatArAs. 
            So,  obviously , SUtar  wants  to  reiterate  that  they are 
            only  amsAvatArAs  (ie. They  are  not same as nArAyaNA) 
            &  are  different  from  His svayam avatArams . Now , a  
            good  representative from the list of poorna avatArams  has 
            to be  chosen in order to differentiate from the amsAvatArams. 
            SUtar  chose "KrishNA"  because  all the sages were His
            ardent  devotees &  their  focus  was also with that avatAram.
            KrishNA  is  also well known for the shadguna  paripoornam . 

           
            Alternatively , the sages  being  KrishNA’s  ardent  devotees, 
            (obvious from their questions)  shouldn’t  be made anxious 
            since  while  enlisting  various  avatArams of  Lord Hari ,      
            innumerable number of amsAvatArams were mentioned & 
            esp. in verses 26 & 27  this was openly  enlisted  ie. Sages
            should  be  assured  that   their  darling  KrishNA  is 
            neverthless "svayam  bhagavAn"  Sriman  nArAyaNA & 
            is not  a amsAvatArA . So , Suta pourAnikar  chose to use 
            "KrishnA"  in the verse 28.  

4.  Qtn  :  Is there  any  commentry available  on Srimad BhAgavatham
            by  Sri Vaishnava  AchAryAs ?

    Ans :   There  are  atleast  3 known commentries in Sanskrit .

      a.  A commentry  attributed to  Sri Krishna Guru , disciple of
          Sri SomayAji AndAn (pre Desikan period)  .

      b.  "SukhapakshyA"  by  the  stAlwart  Sudarsana sUri  of  
          "SrutaprakAsikA"  fame . 

      c.  "BhAgavatha tAtparya chandrikA "  by 
           Sri  Venkata KrishnamAchAryA  ( probably  Late 18th Century ) .

           adiyen doesn’t know whether  the  famous  
           "VeerarAghaveeyam"   is different from the third one . 
            Neverthless it  is also  there . 

            Srimad  RangapriyA swAmi  has  translated "Uddhava 
            GeetA"  into  KannadA  if  adiyen remembers rightly (
            Sri Krishna Kalale has mentioned this ) .

            Ongoing  tamil  series in  Nrusimha PriyA  is also there.
            Someone  should seriously  consider  publishing the  
            sanskrit commentries of our poorvAchAryAs  which are 
            simply  lying as manuscripts . Once it comes out , 
            some bhAgavathA(s) should translate it into  Tamil ,
            English  & other languages  for the benifit of all 
            bhAgavathAs. Many  Nectar among nectars  are  being 
            neglected  somehow. The bhagavad  anubhavam 
            obtained from AzhwAr's Divya  Prabandham  is more than 
            thousand times  the  bhagavad anubhavam  that  one can 
            possibly  obtained from Srimad BhAgavatham . So , this 
            granthA is not  given that much importance in our 
            sampradAyam . Also ,  Vishnu purAnam is much superior to 
            Srimad BhAgavatham while explaining tattvAs ( very crucial 
            to  interpret  many  Upanishadic passages ) . SarIra sarIrI
            bhAvA , nArAyanA tattvam , Sri tattvam  etc  are  well  
            established  in Sri Vishnu purAnam . Moreover , it is
            much shorter than SB  though containing almost the same thing
            . Infact  SB of vyAsar  is the expansion of VP of his father
            ParAsarar.
                                     
            Neverthless ,  SB  is  another  nectar &  invaluable 
            commentries  of our  most merciful AchAryAs should be
            made  available to everyone  so  that  the true tattvam is 
            understood by  all the interested  baddha jIvAtmAs .

     --- to be cont --- 

     namo nArAyaNA
     adiyen
     anantha padmanAbha  dAsan
                               sarvam sri krishNArpanamastu