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Krishna is the Absolute Truth
In the Chaitanya Caritamrita, there is the following authoritative statement (amnaya vakya) concerning Krishna:
mukhya gauna vritti kimva anvaya vyatireke
vedera pratijna kevala kahaye krishnake
The Vedas sometimes speak directly of Krishna, using the primary import of words, and sometimes speak indirectly of Krishna, using the secondary import of words. Sometimes they speak of Krishna with affirmative, logical statements and sometimes by negative or contrary expression.
svayam bhagavan krishna, krishna sarvashraya
parama ishvara krishna sarva shastre kaya
The Personality of Godhead Shri Krishna is the original primeval Lord, the source of all other expansions. All the revealed scriptures accept Shri Krishna as the Supreme Lord.
advaya jnana tattva vastu krishnera svarupa
brahma atma, bhagavan, tin tanra rupa
Lord Krishna Himself is the one undivided Absolute Truth, the ultimate reality. He manifests Himself in three features-as Brahman, Paramatma and Bhagavan.
veda bhagavata upanishad agama
purna tattva yanre, kahe, nahi yanra sama
bhakti yoge bhakta paya yanra darashana
surya tena savigraha dekhe deva gana
jnana yoga marge tanre bhaje yei saba
brahma atma rupe tanre kare anubhava
The Personality of Godhead is He who is described as the Absolute Whole in the Vedas, Bhagavatam, Upanishads and other transcendental literatures. No one is equal to Him. Through their service, devotees see that Personality of Godhead, just as the denizens of heaven see the personality of the sun. Those who walk the paths of knowledge and yoga worship only Him, for it is Him they perceive as the impersonal Brahman and localized Paramatma.
The Shvetashvatara Upanishad says:
eko devo bhagavan varenyo yoni svabhavan adhitishthaty ekah
Bhagavan is worshipable by all. He is the basis of all entities who take birth.
In the Bhagavatam, bhagavan is identified as Krishna:
ete camsha kalah pumsah krishnas tu bhagavan svayam
All the above mentioned incarnations are either plenary portions or portions of the plenary portions of the Lord, but Lord Shri Krishna is the original Personality of Godhead.
In the Bhagavat Gita, Krishna says:
mattah parataram nanyat kincid asti dhananjaya
O conqueror of wealth, there is no Truth superior to Me.
vedaish ca sarvair aham eva vedyah
By all the Vedas am I to be known.
In the Gopala Tapani Upanishad it is said:
tasmat krishna eva paro devas tam dhyayet
tam raset tam bhajet tam yajet
eko vashi sarvagah krishna idya
ekopi san bahudha yo vibhati
tam pithastham ye tu bhajanti dhiras
tesham sukham shashvatam netaresham
Therefore Krishna is the supreme Lord. One should meditate on Him, chant His name, worship Him and make offerings to Him. All pervading and controlling all, he is to be worshipped. Though he is one, he appears in many forms such as Kurma, Matsya, Vasudeva and Sankarshana. Those wise persons who worship this form situated on his pitha attain eternal happiness. Others, worshipping Brahman or Paramatma, cannot attain happiness.
G.T. Purva Tapani, 21
There is a karika in this regard:
krishnamshah paramatma vai brahma taj jyotir eva ca
paravyomadhipas tasyaishvarya murtir na samshayah
Krishna is the only Lord. Paramatma is his part and Brahman is his light. Narayana in Vaikuntha is a lordly manifestation of Krishna.
There is no doubt about this, since the Vedas and other scriptures clearly show this. Taittiriya Upanishad says:
satyam jnanam anantam brahma
yo veda nihitam guhayam parame vyoman
so'shnute sarvan kaman saha brahmana vipashcita
Brahman is eternal, conscious, and infinite. He is situated in the heart as paramatma and in Vaikuntha as Narayana. Whoever knows the vipashcit brahman attains auspicious qualities similar to the Lord's.
Taittiriya Upanishad. 2.1
Here, the expression vipashcit brahman means Krishna. Shrimad Bhagavatam also uses the world "brahman" to indicate Krishna, as in the following words:
gudham param brahma manushya lingam yam mitram
paramanandam purnam brahma sanatanam
Vishnu Purana also uses the word Brahman to mean Krishna:
yatravatirnam krishnakhyam param brahma narakritim
Where the supreme brahman called Krishna appeared in human-like form Gita says brahmano hi pratishthaham, I am the basis of brahman.
By these authoritative statements and many thousands more, para brahma or vipashcit brahman is equated with Krishna. The meaning of vipashcit is "wise" (indicating brahman with quality). It ranks important among the sixty-four qualities of Krishna.
The qualities of Krishna are as follows:
2. endowed with all auspicious bodily characteristics
4. very effulgent
6. in the prime of youth
7. able to speak all sorts of languages
9. speaks in a pleasing manner
14. clever in rasa
18. determined in vows
19. acts according to time, place and person
20. sees through the eyes of scripture
22. sense controlled
28. equal to all
37. protector of those surrendered to him
39. friend of his devotee
40. controlled by prema
41. makes everyone happy
44. attractive to all
45. refuge of the devotee
46. attractive to women
47. worshipable by all
49. the best
50. endowed with opulences
51. always situated in his own form
53. ever youthful
54. form of concentrated eternity, knowledge and bliss
55. endowed with all mystic powers
56. endowed with inconceivable energies
57. shelter of unlimited universes
58. the origin of all avataras
59. giver of liberation to even his enemies
60. attractive to those enjoying the self
61. ocean of pastimes amazing to all
62. surrounded by gopis resplendent with unequalled love in srngara rasa
63. plays the flute which attracts the whole universe
64. unequalled beauty which astounds all creatures
Among the sixty-four qualities, the first fifty are present in the jivas to a small degree. All of them are present in Krishna to the fullest extent. The first fifty qualities and the next five qualities are partially present in Lord Shiva and others. The next five qualities along with the previous fifty-five qualities are present in Narayana, Lord of Vaikuntha. Narayana has these sixty qualities in full. However, these sixty qualities appear in Krishna in a more wonderful manner. In addition, Krishna possesses four exceptional qualities: the sweetness of his pastimes, the sweetness of his love, the sweetness of his form and the sweetness of his flute. No one except Krishna has these four qualities. Therefore the para brahman or vipashcit brahman, the highest manifestation of truth, should be understood to be Shri Krishna.
When Krishna's innumerable qualities are diffused like light rays, that is termed brahman. Therefore the Vedas, in describing the supreme as satyam jnanam anantam are indicating the effulgent brahman. The form of the absolute truth in the heart or in the universe is Paramatma. The Lord creates all the universes and then enters them by his expansions. The form of the Lord who enters the universes and the hearts of the jivas is an expansion of Krishna, called Paramatma. This form is also known by many other names, such as lord, controller, creator, lord of the universe, maintainer, and protector. He also protects the souls in the material world by taking the avatara forms such as Rama and Nrisimha. In the spiritual sky, parame vyoma, one of Krishna's expansions known as Narayana is present eternally.
After understanding brahman, paramatma and the Lord of Vaikuntha, a truly learned person surrenders to the supreme shelter, fully expert in the affairs of rasa-vipashcit brahman, Krishna-and enjoys eternally with the Lord, fulfilling his desires in dasya, sakhya, vatsalya, and madhura rasa.
The Paramatma expansion of Krishna is described in the Bhagavad Gita.
athava bahunaitena kim jnatena bhavarjuna
vishtabhyaham idam kritsnam ekamsena sthito jagat
What need is there Arjuna, for all this detailed knowledge? With a single fragment of Myself, I pervade and support this entire universe.
The brahmajyoti as the bodily effulgence of Krishna is described in the Brahma Samhita.
yasya prabha prabhavato jagadanda koti
kotishv ashesha vasudhadi vibhuti bhinnam
tad brahma nishkalam anantam asheshabhutam
govindam adipurusham tam aham bhajami
I worship Govinda, the primeval Lord, who is endowed with great power. The glowing effulgence of His transcendental form is the impersonal Brahman, which is absolute, complete and unlimited and which displays the varieties of countless planets, with their different opulences, in millions and millions of universes.
There is a karika (to define the form of the Lord):
deha-dehi-bhida nasti dharma-dharmi-bhida tatha
shri krishna svarupe purno' dvaya-jnanatmake kila
Unlike the jiva, in Krishna there is no difference between himself and his body, between himself and his qualities. In his spiritual form, his body is his self and his qualities are himself. Though Krishna is situated as one form of medium size, he is also situated everywhere.
Brihadaranyaka Upanishad says:
purnam adah purnam idam purnat purnam udacyate
purnasya purnam adaya purnam evavashishyate
The Personality of Godhead is perfect and complete, and because He is completely perfect, all emanations from Him, such as this phenomenal world, are perfectly equipped as complete wholes. Whatever is produced of the complete whole is also complete in itself. Because He is the complete whole, even though so many complete units emanate from Him, He remains the complete balance.
Br Ar 5
Narada Pancaratra says:
nirdosha purna guna grahatma tantre
nishcetanatmaka-sharira-gunais ca hinah
sarvatra ca svagata-bheda-vivarjitatma
The Supreme Lord is endowed with all qualities in perfect, without birth, maintenance and destruction common to material bodies. His body is conscious, devoid of material qualities, composed of bliss. His form is devoid of distinctions between of body and possessor of the body, quality and possessor of the quality, devoid of internal difference.
It has been shown above that Krishna, bhagavan, full of eternity knowledge and bliss is the shelter of paramatma and brahman, and is the Supreme Lord. Now it is necessary to show how the Vedas indicate Krishna by secondary and primary reference (gauna and mukhya), and by negative and positive statement (vyatireka and anvaya).
Krishna is described by direct abhidha use of words in the Chandogya Upanishad:
shyamac chavalam prapadye
shavalac chyamam pradadye
In surrendering to shyama, Krishna I take shelter of the essence of the pleasure potency. In taking shelter of the pleasure potency, I surrender to Krishna.
Chandogya Upanishad 8.13.1
Shavala means the variegated svarupa shakti of Krishna. The abhidha vritti or primary meaning of the word Shyama is Krishna.
In the Rig-veda Samhita and Aranyopanishad 5th mantra it is said:
tad vishnoh paramam padam sada pashyanti surayah
diviva cakshur atatam vishnor yat paramam padam
The wise continuously see the highest form of Vishnu. This supreme form, perceived with spiritual eyes, is Krishna.
Rig Veda 1.22.23
Again in the Rig Veda it is said:
apashyam gopam anipadyamana ma ca para ca pathibhish carantam
sa sadhricih sa vishucir vasana avarirvati bhuvaneshv antah
I saw a cowherd. He never falls from his position; sometimes he is near, and some times far, wandering on various paths. He is a friend, decorated with a variety of clothes. He comes again and again to the material world.
Rig Veda 1.22.164 sukta 31
In this Vedic statement Krishna's eternal pastimes are directly described.
It is also said:
ta vam vastuny ushmasi gamadhyai yatra gavo bhuri shringa ayasah
atraha tad urugayasya vishnoh parama-padam avabhati bhuri
I desire to go to the houses of Radha and Krishna, where the cows have big horns and fulfill the desires of the devotees. This supreme abode of Krishna reveals itself completely.
Rig Veda 1.54 sukta 6
In this Vedic mantra, Krishna in Gokula is described very nicely. There are many more direct descriptions of Krishna in the Vedas.
The Shvetashvatara Upanishad describes the Lord by figures of speech (lakshana vritti).
yasmat param naparam asti kincid
yasman naniyo na jyayo'sti kashcit
vriksha iva stabho divi tishthaty ekas
tenedam purnam purushena sarvam
There is no one greater than Him. There is no one smaller or lager than Him. By this person everything becomes complete. He is situated firmly like a tree, surrounded by effulgence.
Shvetashvatara Upanishad 3.9
Katha Upanishad says:
agnir yathaiko bhuvanam pravishto
rupam rupam pratirupo babhuva
ekas tatha sarva-bhutantaratma
rupam rupam prati rupo bahish ca
Just as the element fire enters the world and takes the form of many similar fires, the Supreme Lord, the soul of all souls, enters the material world, as many jivas.
Katha Upanishad 2.2.9
That which is like the original but dependent is called counter- image or pratibimba. Though the jiva is an expansion of paramatma and thus similar, it can never become the original, being situated at a distance from the original. As the sun has particles situated in its external rays, so paramatma has the jivas as his expansions.
Ishavasya Upanishad says:
hiranmayena patrena satyasyapihitam mukham
tattvam pusan apavrinu satya dharmaya drishtaye
O my Lord, sustainer of all that lives, Your real face (form) is covered by Your dazzling effulgence. Kindly remove that covering and exhibit Yourself to your pure devotee.
One cannot see the Lord without pure bhakti. Pure bhakti does not arise without the mercy of the Lord. In this verse the devotee pleads for the Lord's mercy.
Brihadaranyaka Upanishad says:
ayam atma sarvesham bhutanam madhu ayam atma sarvesham
bhutanam adhipatih sarvesham bhutanam raja
This soul is the honey for all living entities. He is the Lord of all living entities, the king of all living entities.
Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 2.5.14-15
Here the scriptures are hinting at Krishna by describing his quality. Krishna is described as the sweetness of all living beings, the lord and king. atma here refers to Krishna. This is the usage in the Bhagavatam as well.
krishnam enam avehi tvam atmanam jagad atmanam
O King, understand that Krishna is the soul of all souls of the universe.
Chandogya Upanishad makes statements of agreement (anvaya) with the above conclusions:
idam asmin brahma-pure daharam pundarikam veshma
There is a small, lotus-like dwelling place in Brahma pura.
This statement directly explains that there is a spiritual realm shaped like a lotus in brahmapura. This place is also described in the Brahma Samhita:
sahasra-patram kamalam gokulakhyam mahat-padam
tat karnikaram tad-dhama tad-anantamsha sambhavam
The superexcellant station of Krishna, which is known as Gokula, has thousands of petals and a corolla like that of a lotus sprouted from a part of His infinitary aspect.
esha atma 'pahata-papa vijaro vimrityu vishoko
vijaghatso'pipasah satya-kamah satya-sankalpah
That soul is without sin, without old age, without death, without lamentation, without hunger, without thirst, fully truthful and whose wish is always fulfilled.
Chandogya Upanishad 8.1.5.
sa yadi sakhiloka kamo bhavati sankalpad evasya sakhayah
samuttishtanti tena sakhilokena sampanno mahiyate
If he desires friendship, by his wish, friends appear and with them he can obtain satisfaction. Chandogya Upanishad 8.2.9.
shyamac chavalam prapadye shavalac chyamam prapadye
I surrender to the energy of Shyama through shyama and I surrender to shyama through his energy.
Chandogya Upanishad 8.13.1
That supreme place, Gokula, is the shelter of immortality. The jivas residing there are free of sin, without old age, without death, without lamentation, without hunger or thirst. Their desires are pure. All their desires are fulfilled. The pure soul is endowed with these eight qualities. There they enjoy the rasas such as fraternity, from which they derive satisfaction and bliss. They eternally worship shyama, who is united with his pleasure potency.
In the above verses the Vedas show by positive statements the eternal abode and pastimes of Krishna.
The Vedas indicate Krishna by negative or contrary statements (vyatireka) in many places. Katha Upanishad says:
na tatra suryo bhati na candra-tarakam
nema vidyuto bhanti kuto'yam agnih
tam eva bhantam anubhati sarvas
tasya bhasa sarvam idam vibhati
Neither sun, moon, stars, lightning, what to speak of fire, can reveal the Supreme. Rather all the luminary objects, in accordance with the Lord, receive their own existence. Everything rests on the existence of the Lord.
Katha Upanishad. 2.2.15
vedaham etam purusham mahantam
aditya varnam tamasah parastat
tam eva viditvatimrityum eti
sarvatah pani padam tat sarvato'kshi shiro mukham
sarvatah shrutima†loke sarvam avrity atitishthati
I know that great person as transcendental to the material world, self illuminating like the sun. The jiva, knowing Him, surpasses death. There is no other path for crossing death. His hands and feet are spread everywhere. His eyes, head, mouth and ears are everywhere. He exists spreading himself in all things.
Shvetashvatara Upanishad 3.8.16
na sandrishe tishthati rupam asya
na cakshusha pashyati kashcanainam
hrida hridi stham manasa ya enam
evam vidur amritas te bhavanti
His form is beyond material sense perception. No one can see Him with material eyes. Those who, by meditation, know him who is situated in the heart, attain liberation.
Shvetashvatara Upanishad 4.20
In this manner, the Vedas give abundant descriptions of Krishna by figurative (gauna) and contrary (vyatireka) statements. The literal (mukhya) and supporting (anvaya statements can be recognized as such only by the power of Krishna's spiritual energy, or cit shakti. In the prayers of the personified Vedas in the Bhagavatam, it is said:
jaya jaya jahy ajam ajita dosha-gribhita-gunam
tvam asi yad atmana samavaruddha- samasta-bhagah
agajagad-okasam akhila-shakty avabodhaka te
kvacit ajayatmana ca carato'nucaren nigamah
O Krishna, you destroy the energy of maya called aja, which gives rise to the three modes of nature, full of fault. Through your own energy you are the Lord of all powers. You awaken all the energy of the moving and non-moving entities. The Vedas describe you in two ways. When you operate with maya shakti you are described in one way, and when you use your internal energy or atma shakti in performing Vraja lila, you are described in another way.
This karika summarizes the point:
brahma-rudra-mahendradi damane rasa- mandale
guru-putra-pradanadav aishvaryam yat prakashitam
nanya-prakasha-bahulye tad-drishtam shastra- varnane
atah krishna-paratamyam svatah siddham satam mate
One cannot see anywhere in the scriptures acts as glorious as Krishna's pastimes, such as his conquest of Brahma, Shiva and Indra, the rasa dance, or the bringing together of his guru with his lost sons. Therefore the devotees say that Krishna's supremacy is self-evident.
Or as Shvetashvatara Upanishad says:
tam ishvaranam paramam maheshvaram
tam daivatanam paramam ca daivatam
patim patinam paramam parastad
vidama devam bhuvanesham idyam
You are the Lord of all other controllers such as Brahma and Shiva. You are the Lord of all the devatas such as Indra. You are the Lord of all the prajapatis. You are superior to the supreme. We know you as the worshipable Lord, master of all the worlds, and absorbed
Shvetashvatara Upanishad 6.7