Saturday, 2 July 2011


Many people think that Lord Vishnu is the source of all other incarnations of God. This is true, but not in the case of Lord Krishna. Lord Krishna is actually the source of Lord Vishnu. When Lord Krishna descends into this world, He appears as Himself and not as   an expansion of Lord Vishnu. To verify this, let me present the following details.
It is explained that for the maintenance of the universe Lord Krishna descends in the form of Lord Vishnu, who is His personal plenary expansion and the director of the mode of goodness. Thus, Lord Vishnu is above the influence of the material energy. However, being in the category of svamsha (another form of God with unlimited potencies), Vishnu’s opulences are almost equal to Lord Krishna’s. Yet Krishna is the original person and Vishnu is His personal expansion. This can be compared to one candle lighting the flame of another. The second burns separately in a different position, but its illumination is equal to the original candle. In the same way, Lord Krishna, the Supreme Personality, expands Himself into the different forms of Vishnu, who are equally bright and powerful.10

Furthermore, it is described that outside the boundaries of the unlimited spiritual Vaikuntha planets is the transcendental sky known as the Brahman effulgence. Beyond that is the

Karana or Causal Ocean, which is also spiritual.11 This is what surrounds the innumerable material universes. Lord Vishnu in His form as   Karanadakashayi Vishnu, or Maha-Vishnu,  : lies on the Causal Ocean and creates the universes merely by glancing upon the material nature. Thus, Lord Krishna personally has nothing to do with the material creation, nor does He ever come in touch with the material energy. He remains absorbed and unaffected in Goloka Vrindavan, the highest planet in the spiritual sky. The material energy never comes in contact with the spiritual world, nor even the Causal Ocean, as explained in the Srimad-Bhagavatam (11.22.17):

“In the beginning of creation nature assumes, by the modes of goodness, passion and ignorance, its form as the embodiment of all subtle causes and gross manifestations within the universe. The Supreme Personality of Godhead does not enter the interaction of material manifestation but merely glances upon nature. As the material elements, headed by the  mahat-tattva, are transformed, they receive their specific potencies from the glance of the Supreme Lord, and being amalgamated by the power of nature, they create the universal egg.”

Before the mahat-tattva, however, there is the  pradhana, which is the sum total of all material energy in its subtle and undifferentiated stage. Material nature is always existing in its subtle form as the energy of the Lord. Sometimes, under the direction of the Supreme, it manifests its temporary existence in the form of the material cosmos.

In spite of the fact that everything comes from the Supreme Being, He is still aloof from it all. He  does not disengage Himself from His eternal pleasure pastimes with His devotees in the spiritual realm. So in the process of creating the material worlds, the Supreme expands Himself into various forms, which are His plenary parts. Krishna is the primeval Lord, the original Personality of Godhead, so He can expand Himself into unlimited forms with all potencies. They are no different from Him, but may exhibit differences in form.

It is explained that Lord Krishna first expands Himself into Baladeva, or  Balarama, who  is considered Krishna’s second body and brother. Balarama assists in Lord Krishna’s innumerable spiritual pastimes in both the spiritual and material realms.

 Lord Balarama  is also Lord Sankarshana, the predominator of the creative energy. He creates and is the shelter of the material and spiritual worlds. By the will of Krishna and the power of the spiritual energy, Lord Balarama  creates the spiritual world, which consists of the planet Goloka Vrindavana and the Vaikuntha planets.12 Lord Balarama especially assists Lord Krishna in the creation of the material worlds. After Balarama has expanded Himself into Lord Maha-Sankarshana, He expands Himself into four different forms, including: 1) Karanadakashayi Vishnu [ Maha-Vishnu], 2)  Garbhodakashayi Vishnu [the   expansion in each universe], 3)   Kshirodakashayi Vishnu  (the Supersoul in each individual], and 4) Sesha, also called   Seshanaga. These first four plenary portions assist in the material cosmic manifestation. Sesha is Balarama’s form who assists in the Lord’s personal service. He is also called Ananta, meaning unlimited, because He assists the Lord in His unlimited variety of pastimes.13

  All expansions of the Lord begin with Sri  Krishna. For His pastimes in one of the highest levels of the spiritual realm, called Dvaraka, Sri Krishna expands Himself into Balarama, who then expands Himself into Pradyumna and Aniruddha. These four (Krishna, Balarama, Pradyumna and Aniruddha) expand into a second quadruple which is present in the unlimited Vaikuntha planets of the spiritual sky. The second quadruple is known as Vasudeva, Sankarshana, Pradyumna and Aniruddha. They are changeless, transcendental expansions of the Supreme Lord, Krishna. In this second quadruple,Vasudeva is an expansion of Krishna, and Sankarshana is a representation of Balarama.

In the  Vaikuntha sky there isthe pure, spiritual creative energy called Shuddha-sattva that sustains all of the spiritual planets with the full opulences of knowledge, wealth, power, beauty, etc., all of which pervade the entire spiritual kingdom and are fully enjoyed by the residents there. This energy is but a display of the creative potencies of  Balarama, Maha-Sankarshana. It is also this  Sankarshana who is the original cause of the Causal Ocean where Karanodakashayi Vishnu (Maha-Vishnu) sleeps, while breathing out the seeds of innumerable universes. When the cosmic creation is annihilated, all of the materially conditioned, although indestructible, living entities merge back into the body of Maha-Vishnu where they rest until the time of the next creation. So Balarama as Sankarshana is the origin of Maha-Vishnu, from who originates all of the potencies of the material manifestation.14

So to summarize, for His spiritual pastimes in the Vaikuntha realm, Lord Krishna has four original expansions, namely Vasudeva, Sankarshana, Pradyumna and Aniruddha. Maha-Vishnu  is an expansion of Sankarshana; Garbhodakashayi Vishnu  is an expansion of Pradyumna; and Kshirodakashayi Vishnu is an expansion of Aniruddha.15

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