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NITAAI-Veda.nyf > All Scriptures By Acharyas > Bhaktivinoda Thakura > Dashamula Tattva > Chapter-IV

Chapter 4

Krishna is endowed with all energies


The topic of energy and the possessor of energies has been under discussion for a long time.  Some people say that whatever is seen in the universe is but a manifestation of energy. They doubt whether there is anything other than energy.  Energy is the revealer of things. The things themselves cannot be realized but are perceived only through their energy. Among the examples they give, the following is one.

Earth has various qualities.  What we call earth is but a collection of those qualities. One cannot say whether earth exists or not, after taking away the qualities.  Qualities are energy.  Therefore energy is the only principle of existence. 

Others counter this argument by saying that energy has no separate existence; it is an inseparable nature of the object.  What the object reveals is called energy. 

The great devotees have concluded that energy  (quality) is one entity and the possessor of energy (object) is another entity.   Though they are different they are yet inseparable.  Because man's mind is limited, he cannot understand the deep relation between the energy and energetic.  The object and its energy, though distinct, are yet not different.  Difference and non-difference coexist.   This inconceivable different and non-different nature between an object and its energy is described in Chaitanya Caritamrita.


radha purna shakti, krishna purna shaktiman

dui vastu bheda nahi, shastra paramana

mriga mada ta'ra gandha  yaiche aviccheda

agni, jvalate, yaiche kabhu nahi bheda

radha krishna aiche sada ekai svarupa

lilarasa asvadite dhare dui rupa


Shri Radha is the full power, and Lord Krishna is the possessor of full power.  The two are not different, as evidenced by the revealed scriptures.  They are indeed the same, just as musk and its scent are inseparable, or as fire and its heat are nondifferent.  Thus Radha and Lord Krishna are one, yet they have taken two forms to enjoy the mellows of pastimes.

C.C.Adi,. 4.96-98


This conclusion can be found in the Veda and Vedanta.  In the scriptures the following statement is seen:  


shakti shaktimator abhedah


The energy and the energetic are nondifferent.


Actually there is no object except Krishna.  For that reason Krishna is called advaya or without a second.  Those who are dedicated to brahman or paramatma, however, cannot easily identify Krishna as the supreme object.  Although the object is one only, that one object appears in three different ways according to qualification of the observer of the object.   

Three people may view a mountain from three different angles.  On the north side is mist.  The person viewing from the north side discerns the mountain as a huge peak surrounded by mist.   Bright sunlight is falling on the southern side.  The person who views from the south side sees the mountain as an effulgent rock wall.  The person who views the mountain from the side without any external influences sees the complete mountain clearly; he sees the actual mountain.  In perceiving the absolute truth as well, learned men see the truth differently according to their different points of view. 

Those who cultivate knowledge and try to see the absolute conclude that the absolute truth, which is the opposite of material existence, is devoid of form, change, energy and action.  This they call brahman.   However, they have not discerned the real nature of the ultimate truth.   Those who, using their intelligence, search for the final object, perceive the friend of the soul, paramatma, endowed with a form and similar in nature to the individual soul.   Those who see the absolute truth by means of bhakti yoga, whose vision is without obstacles, understand the lord as he is, as bhagavan, full of all energies, all sweetness and all opulences.


nayam atma pravacanena labhyo

na medhaya na bahuna shrutena

yam evaisha vrinute tena labhyas

tasyaisha atma vivrinute tanum svam


One cannot understand the supreme soul by studying the Vedas or by hearing many scriptures or by ones mental energy.   The Lord reveals himself to the person who accepts the Lord as his master.  That person alone attains the Lord.

Katha Upanishad 1.2.23


In the Bhagavatam it is written:


athapi te deva-padambuja-dvaya-

prasada leshanugrihita eva hi

janati tattvam bhagavan mahimna

na canya eko'pi ciram vicinvan


O Lord, only those who attain a particle of mercy for your lotus feet can understand your glory.  Those who search for you by studying the scriptures using logic cannot understand you at all.

S.B. 10.14.29


Realizations of brahman and paramatma are covered by maya.  Brahman realization has a covering of maya by negation, and paramatma realization has a covering of material energy directly.  When a person is able to see the Lord with uncovered, spiritual eyes, he sees the spiritual form of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This form is the highest truth, and his energies are his manifestations. If a person realizes the Lord devoid of energies, he has realization of brahman.   Some, according to their inclination, think that this is the final realization.  Actually, realization of bhagavan without energies, without qualities, is brahman; brahman with qualities and energies is bhagavan.  Thus bhagavan is the real truth, brahman is only his impersonal effulgence, and paramatma is the Lord's expansion who enters into the material universe.   Though he appears to be brahman through the impersonal quest, the Lord is eternally existing in an inconceivable form with qualities, separate from both matter and the living etities.

Therefore Bhagavatam says;


vadanti tat tattva-vidas tattvam yaj jnanam advayam

brahmeti paramatmeti bhagavan iti shabdyate


Learned transcendentalists who know the Absolute Truth call this nondual substance Brahman, Paramatma or Bhagavan.

S.B. 1.2.11


Realization of the Lord without energies is brahman.   Realization of the Lord as a subtle being pervading the material universe is paramatma.   Realization of the Lord in full with all qualities is bhagavan.  Realization of bhagavan pervaded by majesty is called Narayana, the lord of Lakshmi.  Realization of the Lord pervaded by sweetness is called Krishna, the lord of Radha.   Kaviraj Gosvami says "Radha is the complete energy, Krishna is the complete possessor of energy."  This is the correct understanding.

Putting aside the realization of brahman and paramatma as secondary, and covering the majesty of Narayana with sweetness, Krishna, endowed with all energies, remains the highest truth.

Shvetashvatara Upanishad says thus:


na tasya karyam karanam ca vidyate

na tat samash cabhyadhikash ca drishyate

parasya shaktir vividhaiva shruyate

svabhaviki jnana-bala-kriya ca


Krishna has no work to perform with material senses, because he has no material body or senses.  His body is a completely spiritual form, and thus is not limited in good qualities like a material body.  Krishna, endowed with unlimited wonderful qualities performs eternal pastimes in spiritual Vrindavana.   But though he is so, he is still the supreme entity.   No other form is equal to or superior to his form, because his form is the abode of all inconceivable energies.  It is called inconceivable because by limited human intelligence the contradictions cannot be resolved. This inconceivable energy is called the superior energy, para shakti.  Though one, this intrinsic energy takes three forms: jnana (samvit), bala (sandhini) and kriya (hladini).

Shvetashvatara Upanishad 6.8


Thus in the Chaitanya Caritamrita it is said:


krishnera svarupa ara shakti traya jnana

yanra haya, tanra nahi krishnete ajnana

cic-chakti svarupa-shakti antaranga-nama

tahara vaibhava ananta vaikunthadi dhama

maya shakti bahiranga jagat-karana

yahara vaibhava ananta brahmandera gana

jiva shakti tatasthakya nahi yara anta

mukhya tina shakti tara vibheda ananta

ei ta' svarupa gana ara tina shakti

sabara ashraya krishna, krishne sabara sthiti


One who knows the real feature of Shri Krishna and His three different energies cannot remain ignorant about Him.  The cit shakti, which is also called svarupa shakti or antaranga shakti, displays many varied manifestations.  It sustains the kingdom of God and its paraphernalia.  The external energy, called maya shakti, is the cause of innumerable universes with varied material potencies.  The marginal potency, which is between these two, consists of the numberless living beings.  These are the three principal energies, which have unlimited categories and subdivisions.

C.C.Adi. 2.96,  101-104


krishnera svabhavika tina shakti parinati

cic chakti, jiva shakti ara maya shakti


Lord Krishna naturally has three enegetic transformations, and these are known as the spiritual potency, the living entity potency and the illusory potency.

C.C.Madhya 20, 111


There is a karika to elaborate on this:


shaktih svabhaviki krishne tridah cety upapadyate

sandhini tu balam samvij jnanam hladakari kriya

shakti-shaktimato bhedo nastiti sara samgrahah

tathapi bheda-vaicitryam acintya-shakti- karyatah

sandhinya sarvam evaitat nama-rupa-gunadikam

cin-maya-bhedato bhedo vishva-vaikunthayoh kila

samvida dvi-vidham jnanam cin-maya bhedatah kramat

cin-maya-bhedatah siddham hladinya dvi- vidham sukham

hladini shri svarupa ya saiva priyankari

mahabhava-svarupa sa hladini varshabhanavi


In the scriptures, Krishna's three intrinsic energies are described as bala (sandhini), jnana (samvit) and kriya (hladini).  The energies and the source of the energies are non-different.  This is the conclusion of the scriptures.  However, through the operation of the inconceivable energy of the Lord, variety becomes manifest.  The function of the sandhini (existence) shakti is manifestation of name, form and qualities of things.  This brings about the material existence through sandhini's material function and the spiritual existence through its spiritual function.  Jnana also has two varieties, spiritual and material samvit.  Similarly there are spiritual and material hladini energies which give rise to spiritual and material pleasure. The hladini shakti is the dear servant of Krishna.   She becomes Radha, the daughter of Vrishabhanu in manifesting mahabhava, the highest ecstasy of spiritual love.

Krishna has only one intrinsic energy called the superior energy (para shakti). This energy creates variety in the spiritual world and increases the varieties of bliss.   Though the influence of this energy is infinite, from the point of view of the jiva, it appears to have three functions: as the cit shakti, the jiva shakti and the maya shakti.  The influence of the three energies are described in many places in the Vedas.  Shvetashvatara describes the cit shakti manifestation thus:


rico akshare parame vyoman yasmin deva adhivishve nisheduh

yas tan na veda kim rica karishyati ya ittad vidus ta ime samasate


The verses of the g Veda describe the indestructible spiritual sky, where all the devas reside.  Of what use are the Vedas to a person who does not know this fact?  Those who understand this have been successful. 

          Shvetashvatara Upanishad 4.8


There is a karika:


vishnu-shaktih para prokta purane vaishnave tu ya

sa caivatratma shaktitve varnita tattva-nirnaye


The para shakti described in the Vishnu Purana is called the svarupa shakti in philosophical discussions.


This is likewise explained in the Shvetashvatara Upanishad.


te dhyana-yoganugata apashyan devatma-shaktim sva-gunair nigudam

yah karanani nikhilani tani kalatma-yuktany adhi tishthaty ekah


The one possessor of energy appears as the controller of all causes, along with the jiva and time. The persons absorbed in yoga meditation have seen this personal energy of the Lord (atma shakti) which is surrounded by its expansions

                                                Shvetashvatara Upanishad 1.3  


There is a karika concerning the maya shakti:


avidyakarma samjna va vaisnave hy anuvarnyate

mayakhyaya ca sa prokta hy amnayartha- vinirnaye


In the Vishnu Purana what is called the energy of avidya karma is called maya shakti in the Vedic texts.

Shvetashvatara Upanishad 4.8 says:


chandamsi yajnah kratavo vratani

bhutam bhavyam yac ca veda vadanti

asman mayi shrijyate vishvam etat

tasmimsh canyo mayaya sanniruddhah


Whatever is glorified in the Vedas, such as yajnas, chanting Vedas, ashvamedha kratu, vows such as candrayana, is created by the Supreme Person, controller of maya.   The jiva is bound by this same maya.


Concerning the tatastha shakti, there is a karika:


kshetra-jnakhya ca ya shaktih sa tatastha nirupita

jiva-shaktir iti prokta yaya  jivash canekadha


The energy called ksetra jna mentioned in the Vishnu Purana is the tatastha shakti or jiva shakti.  Through this shakti unlimited jivas appear.

Shvetashvatara Upanishad (4.5.) says:


ajam ekam lohita-shukla-krishnam

vahvih prajah shrijamanam sarupah

ajo hy eko jushamano' nushete

jahaty enam bhukta-bhogam ajo'nyah 


The unborn person, jiva is serving the unborn material nature, which generates numerous material bodies for the living entities and is composed of goodness, passion and ignorance.  The other unborn person, paramatma, is detached from the enjoyment of material nature.


prakritim svam avashtabhya vishrijami punah punah

bhuta-gramam imam  kritsnam avasham prakriter vashat


The whole cosmic order is under Me. By My will it is manifested again and again, and by My will it is annihilated at the end.



mayadhyakshena prakritih suyate sacaracaram

hetunanena kaunteya jagad viparivartate


This material nature is working under My direction, O son of Kunti, and it is producing all moving and unmoving beings.  By its rule this manifestation is created and annihilated again and again.



bhumir apo'nalo vayuh kham mano buddhir eva ca

ahankara itiyam me bhinna prakritir ashtadha


apareyam itas tv anyam prakritim viddhi me param

jiva-bhutam mahabaho yayedam dharyate jagat


Earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, intelligence and false ego-altogether these eight comprise My separated material energies.  Besides this inferior nature, O mighty-armed Arjuna, there is a superior energy of Mine, which are all living entities who are struggling with material nature and are sustaining the universe.



Through these three energies, the spiritual world, material world and the jivas make their appearance.   In these three energies, the influence of sandhini, samvit and hladini are present.

In the realm of cit shakti, the sandhini gives rise to the qualities, the objects, and all other things which assist in the Lord's pastimes.   Krishna's form, name, qualities and pastimes are all due to the sandhini potency.  By the influence of the samvit shakti on the cit shakti all the spiritual moods arise.   By the hladini influence on the cit shakti, prema expands. 

By the influence of the sandhini on the jiva shakti, the jiva's spiritual existence, name and place appear.   Through the influence of samvit on the jiva shakti the knowledge of God arises.  Through the hladini influence the jiva experiences spiritual bliss. The jiva's experience of bliss of samadhi by practicing astanga yoga and merging into brahman are also the effects of the samvit on the jiva.  

By the influence of sandhini on maya shakti, the material universe composed of fourteen material planetary systems, the gross and subtle bodies of the jivas and material senses, and the goals of the jivas such as svaga, are manifested.   The material name, form qualities and actions of the conditioned jiva all arise from this.  By the influence of the samvit on the maya shakti, the worries, hopes, speculations and thoughts of the conditioned jiva arise. By the influence of hladini on the maya shakti, gross material bliss and the subtle material happiness of svarga arise.

One should understand that the sandhini, samvit and hladini manifest their pure, full form in the cit shakti.  In the jiva shakti, these appear in very minute quantity.  In the maya shakti these appear in a perverted or shadow form.     For the jiva, the forms manifested in maya are detrimental.  In the jiva himself, these three influences are not detrimental but dilute.  Without joining to the hladini manifested in the cit shakti, the jiva cannot experience full spiritual bliss.  Such joining cannot be accomplished, except through the mercy of Krishna or his devotee. 

On this there is as karika:


virodha-bhanjika shakti yuktasya saccid atmanah

vartante yugapad-dharmah paraspara-virodhinah

sarupatvam arupatvam vibhutvam murtir eva ca

nirlepatvam  kripavatvam ajatvam jayamanata

sarvaradhyatvam gopatvam sarva-jnam nara bhavata

savisheshatva-sampattis tatha ca nirvisheshata

simavad yukti-yuktanam asima-tattva-vastuni

tarko hi viphalas tasmac chraddhamnaye phala prada 



Krishna has one energy called his inconceivable, contradiction-breaking energy.  By this energy all contradictory qualities become non-contradictory and exist together eternally. Having form yet being formless, having full power, yet taking the limited form of a deity, unaffected by anything, but responsive to his devotees, unborn but taking birth as avatara, all-worshipable but taking the form of a cowherd, omniscient but appearing as a human being, being without quality but full of qualities-all such contradictory qualities  appear in the form of Krishna and assist His service to Shri Radha, the embodiment of the hladini shakti.    Logic and argument are fruitless here.  As man's power of logic is limited, it is of no use in topics which are beyond his limit.  The fortunate person gives up logic and faithfully accepts the words of scripture.   From the seed of faith, the creeper of bhakti develops, and finally the devotee attains the lotus feet of Krishna.


The statements of scripture about the contrary qualities within the Lord are many.    


apanipado javano grahita pashyaty acakshuh sa shrinoty akarnah

sa vetti vedyam na ca tasyasti vetta tam ahur agryam purusham mahantam


The Lord has no material hands or feet, yet he accepts things and goes everywhere..  He has no material eyes but sees past, present and future.  He has no ears but hears.  He knows all, but no one knows him.   The learned call him the original Supreme Person.

                             Shvetashvatara Upanishad 3.19


tad ejati tan naijati tad dure tad vantike

tad antarasya sarvasya tad u sarvasyasya bahyatah


He is moving and non-moving, far and near. He is within the universe and outside the universe.


saparyagac chukram akayam avranam asnaviram shuddham apapaviddham

kavir manishi paribhuh svayam bhur yathatyato'rthan vyadadhac chashvatibhyah samabhyah


Such a person must factually know the greatest of all, who is unembodied, omniscient, beyond reproach, without veins, pure and uncontaminated, the self-sufficient philosopher who has been fulfilling everyone's desire since time immemorial.

          Ishopanishad 5, 8


Talavakara Upanishad 3.6 speaks of his inconceivable power:


tasmai trinam nidadhav etad daheti

tad upapreyaya sarva javena tan na

shashaka dagdhum sa tata eva nivavrite

naitad ashakam vijnatum yad etad yaksham iti


When the devas became proud after conquering over the demons in battle, the Lord, in order to curb their pride, placed a blade of grass in front of Agni.  Agni approached the blade of grass, but in spite of using all his strength, he could not burn the grass.  Coming before the devas he said, " I cannot comprehend this worshipable Lord."

Chandogya Upanishad and Gopala Tapani Upanishad speaks of his energies and form:


shyamac cavalam prapadye

shamalac chyamam prapadye


Through his energy I surrender to Krishna. .  Through Krishna I surrender to his energy.

                   Chandogya Upanishad 8.13.1


gopavesham sat-pundarika-nayanam meghabham vaidyutambaram

dvibhujam mauna-mudratyam vana-malinam ishvaram


We worship the lord, with dress of a cowherd, lotus like eyes, complexion of a cloud, yellow cloth, two armed, showing the mauna mudra and decorated with a forest garland.

Gopala Tapani Upanishad: Purva 13.1


To understand about shaktis of the Lord, the Chaitanya Caritamrita should be studied:


krishnera ananta shakti ta'te tina pradhana

cic cakti, maya shakti, jiva shakti nama

antaranga, bahiranga, tatastha kahi ya're

antaranga svarupa shakti sabara upare

sac cid ananda maya krishnera svarupa

ataeva svarupa shakti haya tina rupa

anandamshe hladini, sadamshe sandhini

cidamshe samvit, ya're jnana kari' mani

krishnake ahlade ta'te nama ahladini

sei shakti dvare sukha asvade apani

sukha rupa krishna kare sukha asvadana

bhakta gane sukha dite hladini karana

hladinira sara amsha ta'ra prema nama

ananda chinmaya rasa premera akhyana

premera parama sara mahabhava jani

sei mahabhava rupa radha thakurani


Krishna has unlimited potencies, which can be divided into three main parts.  These are the spiritual potency, the material potency and the marginal potency, which is known as the living entities.  In other words, these are all potencies of God-internal, external and marginal.  However, the internal potency is the Lord's personal energy and stands over the other two.   Originally Lord Krishna is sac cid ananda vigraha, the transcendental form of eternity, bliss and knowledge; there His personal potency, the internal potency, has three different forms.  Hladini is His aspect of bliss; sandhini, of eternal existence; and samvit, of cognizance, which is also accepted as knowledge.  The potency called hladini give Krishna transcendental pleasure.  Through this pleasure potency, Krishna personally tastes all spiritual pleasure.  Lord Krishna tastes all kinds of transcendental happiness, although He Himself is happiness personified.  The pleasure relished by His pure devotee is also manifest by His pleasure potency.  The mos essential part of this pleasure potency is love of Godhead.  Consequently, the explanation of love of Godhead is also a transcendental mellow full of pleasure.   The essential part of love of Godhead is called mahabhava, transcendental ecstasy, and that ecstasy is represented by Shrimati Radharani.

          Madhya 3, 151-160


Through this inconceivable energy, Krishna appears in the material world along with his abode and associates.  By his unlimited mercy, the spiritual abode, name, form qualities and pastimes become visible to the conditioned souls.  These things cannot be seen by the material eye, but by the inconceivable energy and Krishna's mercy, these become visible to the material eye. Sometimes he also appears in other forms such as Matysa, Kurma, Varaha, Nrisimha, Vamana and Rama and performs his pastimes.  But, it should be noted that Krishna is the source of the avataras.  Yet Krishna and his expansions are all spiritual.  They are not influenced by the material energy and do not take material bodies.  Occasionally, the Lord may invest a qualified jiva with his energy, appearing as a shakti avesa avatara.

In the Chaitanya Caritamrita the avataras are described thus:


prabhava vaibhava rupe dvi vidha prakasha

prabhava vaibhava bhede vilasa dvidhakara

prakasha vilasera ei kaila vivarana

svamshera bheda eve shuna sanatana

sankarshana matsyadika dui bheda tanra

avatara haya krishnera shad vidha prakara

purushavatara eka lilavatara ara

gunavatara ara manvantara bhara ara

yugavatara ara shaktyavesha avatara


In his original form, Krishna manifests Himself in two features-prabhava and vaibhava.  He expands His one original form into many, as He did during the rasa lila dance.

          C.C. Madhya 20.167


Again the vilasa forms are divided into twofold categories -prabhava and vaibhava.  Again the pastimes of these forms are of unlimited variety.

C.C. Madhya 20.185


Now please hear about the different personal expansions.  The first personal expansion is Sankarshana, and the others are incarnations like the fish incarnation.  Sankarshana is an expansion of the purusha or Vishnu.  The incarnations such as Matysa, the fish incarnation, appear in different yugas for specific pastimes.  There are six types of incarnations of Krishna.  One is the purusha incarnations, and another is the lila avataras.  There are incarnations of gunas, incarnations of the Manus, incarnations in different millenniums and incarnations of empowered living entities.

C.C.  Madhya 20.243-246


Further descriptions and identity of the avataras may be obtained by consulting the 20th chapter of Madhya lila, Chaitanya Caritamrita and the Laghu Bhagavatamrita.