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NITAAI-Veda.nyf > All Scriptures By Acharyas > Jiva Goswami > Six Sandarbhas > Bhagavat Sandarbha

Shri Bhagavat-sandarbha

An Essay on Bhagavan

 

 

Table of contents

 

Brahman, Paramatma and Bhagavan,                                     Anucchedas 1-9

 

The Description of Bhagavan in Shrimad-Bhagavatam 2.9.9-19   Anucchedas 10-11

 

The Lord’s Potencies,                                                                   Anucchedas 12-18

 

The Jivas, the Senses, and Bhagavan,                                    Anucchedas 19-20

 

Bhagavan is Always in Full Control of His Potencies,                  Anucchedas 21-22

 

Bhagavan is Transcendental and Blissful, Spiritual Potencies,

the Maya Potency,                                                             Anuccheda 23

 

Bhagavan’s Qualities and Opulences,                                      Anucchedas 24-29

 

The Lord’s Form,                                                               Anucchedas 30-31

 

Bhagavan is Both All-pervading and Localised,                         Anucchedas 32-39

 

Bhagavan Appears in Many Forms,                                        Anucchedas 40-43

 

Bhagavan is the All-pervading Supersoul,                                Anuccheda 44

 

Bhagavan’s Form is Transcendental,                                                Anuccheda 45

 

Bhagavan Reveals Himself,                                                  Anuccheda 46

 

Bhagavan’s Forms and Activities are Spiritual,                          Anuccheda 47

 

Bhagavan’s Limbs and Senses,                                             Anucchedas 48-49

 

The Idea that the Supreme Has No Name or Form is Refuted.

The Lord’s Form is Spiritual,                                                 Anucchedas 50-57

 

Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead,                       Anucchedas 58-59

 

Bhagavan’s Ornaments and Paraphernalia,                              Anuccheda 60

 

The Spiritual World,                                                            Anucchedas 61-77

 

The Spiritual World,                                                            Anuccheda 78

 

The Four Kumaras See Lord Narayana,                                  Anuccheda 79

 

All Goals of Life are Present in Bhagavan,                               Anuccheda 80

 

Brahman and Bhagavan are the Same Supreme,                      Anuccheda 81

 

Bhagavan, the Devotees, Devotional Service and Liberation,      Anucchedas 82-86

 

Bhagavan is the Ultimate and Impersonal Brahma

 is Subordinate                                                                  Anucchedas 87-92

 

Bhagavan is the Origin of Brahma,                                         Anuccheda 93

 

Brahman is a Name of Bhagavan, Bhagavan is Better Than

Brahma, The Devotees are Better Than the Impersonalists,                 Anuccheda 94

 

Shrimad Bhagavatam and Devotional Service,                          Anuccheda 95

 

Shrimad Bhagavatam 2.9.30-33,                                            Anucchedas 96-97

 

The Vedas Describe Bhagavan,                                             Anucchedas 98-99

 

Bhagavan Can Be described, The Prayers of the Personified

Vedas,                                                                             Anucchedas 100-102

 

Bhagavan’s Potencies, Laksmi-devi, Hladini-sakti, Visuddha-

sattva, Bhagavan Reveals Himself by His own wish,                 Anuccheda 103

 

Laksmi-devi,                                                                      Anuccheda 104

 

Bhagavan Cannot be Know by Material means,                        Anuccheda 105

 

Bhagavan Can be Known by Devotional Service,                      Anuccheda 106

 

Introduction

The second sandarbha, called Bhagavat-sandarbha, draws a distinction between impersonal Brahman and localised Paramatma, and describes the spiritual world and the domination of the mode of goodness devoid of contamination by the other two material modes.  In other words, there is a vivid description of the transcendental position known a suddha-sattva.  Material goodness is apt to be contaminated by the other two material qualities - ignorance and passion - but when one is situated in the suddha-sattva-position, there is no chance for such contamination.  It is a spiritual platform of pure goodness.  The potency of the Supreme Lord, and the living entity, is also described, and there is a description of the inconceivable energies and varieties of energies of the Lord.  The potencies of the Lord are divided into categories - internal, external, personal, marginal, and so forth.  There are also discussions of the eternality of Deity worship, the omnipotence of the Deity, His all-pervasiveness, Hi giving shelter to everyone, His subtle and gross potencies, His personal manifestations, Hi expression of form, qualities, and pastimes, His transcendental position and His complete form.  It is also stated that everything pertaining to the Absolute has the same potency and that the spiritual world, the associates in the spiritual world, and the threefold energies of the Lord in the spiritual world are all transcendental.  There are further discussions concerning the difference between the impersonal Brahman and the Personality of Godhead, the fullness of the Personality of Godhead, the objective of all Vedic knowledge, the personal potencies of the Lord, and the Personality of Godhead as the original author of Vedic knowledge.

                             His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

 

 

Anuccheda 1

          In the previous (Tattva) Sandarbha I have described in a general way the nature of the non-dual Absolute Truth and the eternal distinction between that Absolute and the individual living entities, who are naturally the servants and worshippers of the Absolute.  Now I shall describe some of the variegated features of the Absolute.  The Absolute is known in three features, called Brahman, Paramatma and Bhagavan.  This is described in the following statement of Shrimad Bhagavatam (1.2.11):

          “Learned transcendentalists who know the Absolute Truth call this non dual substance Brahman, Paramatma or Bhagavan.”*

Anuccheda 2

1        In this and other verses of the Bhagavatam, and in other Vedic literatures as well, the Absolute Truth is indicated by the use of these three words.  In some places the Absolute is called Brahman, in other places Paramatma, and in other places Bhagavan.  In the description of Shrila Vyasa’s perception, in spiritual trance, of the Supreme (described in the Tattva Sandarbha), the individual living entities (jivas) are clearly described as different from the Supreme.  For this reason no one should claim that the jivas are identical with the Supreme, and no one can artificially add the phrase “jiva iti ca sabdyate” (and the Supreme is also known as jiva) to this verse (1.2.11) of Shrimad Bhagavatam.

          Although the Bhagavatam gives elaborate explanations of Brahman and Bhagavan first, and only after some while describes at length the feature of Paramatma, nevertheless this verse (1.2.11) gives the three features of the Supreme in the sequence Brahman, Paramatma, Bhagavan.  This sequence shows the relative importance of the three features, the most important given last.

2        The non-dual Supreme, whose spiritual bliss is without interruption is understood in the three features of Brahman, Paramatma and Bhagavan.  I shall now describe the feature called Brahman:

          Those transcendentalists who realise the Brahman feature of the Lord experience so much spiritual happiness by this realisation that they spit in contempt on the happiness attained by the demigod Brahma, what to speak of the little happiness available to the other insignificant creatures in the material world.  By rigidly following the practices of spiritual life (sadhana), these transcendentalists are able to understand that the individual living entity is spiritual and his nature is like that of the Supreme.  These persons however, remain unable to understand the variety of spiritual form and potencies in the transcendental world, and neither can they understand the difference between the potencies (sakti) and Supreme Lord who is the master of all potencies (saktiman).  Their limited knowledge of the mutual spiritual nature of the individual living entities and the Supreme is known as the Brahman understanding of the Lord.

3        The Bhagavan feature of the Absolute Truth may be explained in the following way:

          The Supreme is in some ways different from His potencies, and He is the Supreme Shelter upon which all His transcendental potencies rest.  The devotees directly perceive with their senses the personal form of the Lord everywhere, within and without everything, and in this way the devotees experience intense transcendental bliss.  This realisation of the devotees, that the potencies (sakti) and the Supreme Lord who is the master of all potencies (saktiman) are different, is known as the Bhagavan understanding of the Lord.

4        These three features of the Supreme Lord are described in the same way in the following verse of Shrimad Bhagavatam (5.12.11), where Jada Bharata says:

          “What, then, is the ultimate truth?  The answer is that non dual knowledge is the ultimate truth.  It is devoid of the contamination of material qualities.  It gives us liberation.  It is the one without a second, all-pervading and beyond imagination.  The first realisation of that knowledge is Brahman.  Then Paramatma, the Supersoul, is realised by the yogis who try to see Him without grievance.  This is the second stage of realisation.  Finally, full realisation of the same supreme knowledge is realised in the Supreme Person (Bhagavan).  All learned scholars describe the Supreme Person as Vasudeva, the cause of Brahman, Paramatma and other.”*

5        The same description is found in the following verse (Shrimad Bhagavatam 4.11.30) where Manu says to Maharaja Dhruva:

          “Regaining your natural position and rendering service unto the Supreme Lord (Bhagavan), who is the all-powerful reservoir of all pleasure and who lives in all living entities as the Supersoul, you will very soon forget the illusory understanding of ‘I’ and ‘my’.”*

Anuccheda 3

1        In this verse the word ‘bhagavan’ is modified by the adjectival compounds ‘ananda-matre’ (the reservoir of all pleasure) and ‘upapanna-amastra-saktau’ (the master of all potencies).  When the Supreme completely reveals Himself He is known as Bhagavan, and in comparison to this the Brahman feature, where the transcendental form of the Lord is not manifested, is only a partial manifestation of the Supreme.  This will be discussed in great detail later on in this book.  Now let us consider the definition of the word ‘Bhagavan’ given in the following verses of Vishnu Purana (6.5.66-69):

2        “The impersonal Brahman feature of the Supreme is unmanifested, free from old-age, inconceivable, birthless, free from decay and diminution, indescribable, formless, without hands, feet, or other limbs, all-powerful, all-pervading, eternal, the origin of all material element, without any cause, present in everything, although nothing is situated in it, the source of the material cosmos, the object of vision for the demigods, and the object of meditation for they who aspire after liberation.  The impersonal Brahman I the supremely subtle spiritual effulgence and abode of Lord Vishnu, which I described in the mantras of the Vedas.  Brahman is the effulgence of the Bhagavan feature of the Lord, and the all-pervading Supersoul (Paramatma) I the partial manifestation of the transcendental form of the imperishable Supreme Person, Shri Bhagavan.”

3        The Vishnu Purana further explains (5.6.73-75):

          “O sage, the word Bhagavan may be explained in the following way: the syllable ‘bha’ may be understood to mean ‘bharta’, or ‘sambharta’, the maintainer and nourisher of the devotees, and the syllable ‘ga’ may be understood to mean ‘gamayita’, the leader of the devotees, or the original creator of the good qualities present in the devotees.

4        “The word ‘bhaga’ also means ‘opulences’.  There are six opulences: wealth, strength, fame, beauty, knowledge, and renunciation.  “Bhagavan” means the person who possesses all these opulences in full.

5        “In the word ‘bhagavan’, the syllable ‘va’ stands for the verb ‘vas’ to reside.  Because all material elements and all living entities rest within the Supreme Lord, and because He is present in the heart of all conditioned souls, He is addressed by the syllable ‘va’.”

6        It is also said (Vishnu Purana 6.5.79);

          “The Supreme Personality of Godhead possesses all strength, beauty, wealth, fame, knowledge, and renunciation, and therefore He is known as ‘bhagavan’.  He is free from all faults.”

7        Now let us consider this description of Bhagavan from the Vishnu Purana.  In the first four verses (quoted in text 2), the word ‘brahma’ may be taken as an adjective (‘great’), modifying ‘visnoh paramam padam’ (supreme nature of Lord Vishnu).  Interpreted in this way the words ‘vibhum’ (all-powerful) and ‘sarva-gatam’ (all-pervading) describe Lord Bhagavan’s nature, which I full of all opulences (aisvaryasya samagrasya).  The adjectives ‘arupam’ (formless) and ‘pani-padady-asamyutam’ (without hands, feet, or other limbs) should be understood to mean that the Supreme Lord Bhagavan has  no material form, for His form is perfectly spiritual, and no material hands, feet, or other limbs, for His limbs are not made of matter.

8        In this passage the word ‘vibhum’ means ‘full of all powers and opulences’, ‘vyapi’ means ‘all-pervading’, and ‘avyapyam’ means ‘nothing else can enter Him and be pervading within Him.”  The word ‘bhagavan’ directly indicates the Absolute Truth and is not in any way an indirect or incomplete description of Him.  A certain river may be directly indicated by the name ‘ganga’, although this river is only indirectly indicated by the word ‘riverbank’.  In the same way the word ‘bhagavan’ directly indicates the absolute Truth and ‘brahman’ indirectly refers to the Absolute Truth.

9        The Nirukta dictionary begins it’s list of definitions by announcing (1.2.1) “Now we shall give synonym for some difficult words’.  In the same way we shall now explain some of the words quoted in the definition of the word Bhagavan.  In that explanation the syllable ‘bha’ was described as standing for the word ‘bharta’.  “Bharta” means ‘the nourisher, maintainer and establisher of the devotees.”  In the same way the syllable ‘ga’ stands for the word ‘gamayita’, which means “He who creates all kinds of auspicious qualities within His devotees’, or “He who grants pure love of Godhead, which is the actual result of devotional service’, or ‘He who brings His devotees to His own transcendental planet’.  The words ‘bharta’ and ‘gamayita’, should not be interpreted here to mean ‘the creator and maintainer of the universe.”  In this context these words are used to express the relationship between the Supreme Lord and His devotees.  This is the opinion of the disciplic succession of Vaishnava acaryas.

10      Synonyms for the next verse from the Vishnu Purana (quoted in Text 4) follow: “Aisvarya” means “ability to control others”, “samagra” means “in all respects”, “virya” means “the potency of Vedic mantras chanted by great sages”, “yasah” means “fame of good qualities in relation to body, mind and words”, “Shri” means “all kinds of opulence and good fortune”, “jnana” means “omniscience”, “vairagya” means “non-attachment to material things”, and ‘ingana” means “name”.

11      The word “bhagavan” may be understood to mean “He who possesses (‘vat’ is the affix known as ‘matup’), the qualities previously described by the syllable ‘bha’, ‘ga’ and ‘va’ (bha+ga+van).  The ‘a’ in the third quality (va), was elided, enabling the two v’s to join and become a single letter.  In this way the word “Bhagavavan” becomes Bhagavan).  “Bhagavan” is therefore the possessor of ‘bha’, ‘ga’ and ‘va’.

12      In the next verse (Text 6) the six opulences possessed by Bhagavan are also described.  In this verse the word ‘jnana’ means ‘knowledge’, which is the domain of the mind and intelligence, ‘sakti’ mean ‘the power of the senses’, ‘balam’ means ‘the strength of the body’, ‘tejah’ means ‘beauty’, and ‘asesatah’ means ‘completely’ (‘aisvarya’ and ‘virya’ have been described in the previous texts).  The possessor of all these in full (‘van’) is known as Bhagavan.  The Supreme is manifest in three features: Brahman, Paramatma, and Bhagavan (Shrimad Bhagavatam 1.2.11).  The Bhagavan feature is the complete manifestation of the Supreme, and the other two are partial revelations of the actual nature of the Supreme.

Anuccheda 4 

1        The nature of Brahman and Bhagavan are revealed in the following question posed by Maharaja Nimi, and it’s answer by Pippalayana Muni (Shrimad Bhagavatam 11.3.34 and 35):

          “King Nimi inquired: Please explain to me the transcendental situation of the Supreme Lord, Narayana, who is Himself the Absolute Truth and the Supersoul of everyone.  You can explain this to me, because you are all most expert in transcendental knowledge.”***

2        “Shri Pippalayana aid: The Supreme Personality of Godhead is the cause of the creation, maintenance and destruction of this universe, yet He has no prior cause.  He pervades the various states of wakefulness, dreaming and unconscious deep sleep and also exists beyond them.  By entering the body of every living being as the Supersoul, He enlivens the body, senses, life airs and mental activities and thus all the subtle and gross organ of the body begin their functions.  My dear King, know that Personality of Godhead to be the Supreme.”***

3        Maharaja Nimi’s question may be explained in the following way: The word ‘narayanabhidhanasya’ means ‘of Bhagavan, who is known as Narayana’ and ‘nistha’ means ‘the transcendental situation’.  The Lord’s features as Brahman and Paramatma as mentioned in this verse are His appearance specifically within the material world.  He appears as Bhagavan in the spiritual world, and His appearance as Brahman and Paramatma is limited, for the most part, to the material world.  This is confirmed in the following statement of Shrimad Bhagavatam (11.15.16):

          “Narayana, who is known as Bhagavan, appears in the spiritual world (turiya), unlike other manifestations of the Lord that appear in the material world.”

4        In this verse (11.3.35), in answer to King Nimi’s question, Pippalayana Muni speaks verse 11.3.35.  He says there that the Supreme Personality of Godhead is the ‘cause of the creation, maintenance and destruction of this universe (sthiti-adi-hetu) and He has no prior cause (ahetu).  He enters the body of the living entity as the Supersoul and enlivens the body, senses, life-airs, and mental activities, and thus all the subtle and gross organs of the body begin their functions (dehendriyasu-hrdayani caranti yena sanjivitani).

          In his answer Pippalayana says: Please know that Personality of Godhead, who appears in the form of Narayana and other forms, to be the Supreme (avehi param).

          This explanations clearly describes the Bhagavan feature of the Supreme, for the Brahman feature has a different description.  The three features of the Supreme (Brahman, Paramatma and Bhagavan) have different names and they appear in different ways to their worshippers.  Each is distinct from the others.  Brahman is different from Paramatma and Paramatma is different from Bhagavan.  Pippalayana Muni answered the question of King Nimi by describing the Bhagavan feature of the Supreme.

5        The word ‘ahetu’ may also be interpreted to mean ‘Because the Supreme Lord in His Bhagavan feature always remains in the spiritual world with His transcendental pastime potency, He remains aloof from the activities of material creation.’  Bhagavan appears in the form of His partial expansion, Paramatma, who then creates the forms of the conditioned souls (who are the Lord’s parts and parcels) and the material energies.  It is the Paramatma who ‘enters the body of every living entity, and enlivens the body, senses, life-airs and mental activities.’  The phrase ‘avehi param’ may then be interpreted to mean ‘Please know that this is the Paramatma feature of the Supreme.’

6        The three features of the Supreme are mentioned by Varunadeva in the following prayer to Shri Krishna (Shrimad Bhagavatam 10.28.7):

          “I offer my respectful obeisances to the Supreme Lord, who appears in three features as Bhagavan, Paramatma, and Brahman.”

          In commenting on this verse, Shridhara Svami said:

          “The word ‘paramatmane’ in this verse means ‘the controller of living entities.’”

          The Paramatma feature of the Lord is then the constant companion of the conditioned souls, but He I always their superior, and therefore He is called ‘paramatma’, or ‘the Supreme Soul’.  In the verse from the Eleventh Canto (11.3.35) the Brahman feature of the Supreme is described in the following words:

          “He pervades the various states of wakefulness, dreaming and unconscious deep sleep, and also exists beyond them.”

          The word ‘ca’ (and) is significant in this verse, for it distinguishes Brahman from the individual living entities (“There are the individual living entities and there is also the Brahman”).  In these ways in this verse (11.3.35) it is said: “Please understand the Bhagavan, Paramatma and Brahman features of the Supreme Lord.”  This verse was spoken by Shri Narada Muni.

Anuccheda 5

1        The following three verses of Shrimad Bhagavatam (11.15.15-17) describe the three features of the Absolute (Brahman, Paramatma and Bhagavan) in connection with the description of the attainment of mystic yoga powers.  The Bhagavatam explains:

          “One who concentrates his consciousness in Vishnu, the Supersoul, the prime mover and Supreme Lord of the external energy consisting of the three modes, obtains the mystic perfection of controlling other condition souls, their material bodies and bodily designations.***

2        “The yogi who places his mind in My form of Narayana, known as the fourth factor, full of all opulences, becomes endowed with My nature and thus obtains the mystic perfection called vasita.”***

3        “One who fixes the pure mind in Me in My manifestation as the impersonal Brahman obtains the greatest happiness, wherein all of his desires are completely fulfilled.”***

4        Shridhara Svami explains these verses in the following way:

          “Of these three verses the first (quoted in Text 7) describes the Paramatma feature of the Lord.  In that verse the word “try-adhisvare’ means ‘the supreme controller of maya”, which consist of three modes of nature’, and the word ‘kala-vigrahe’ means ‘the Supersoul who perceives everything’.

          “The second of these verses (quoted in Text 8) describes the Bhagavan feature of the Lord.  In this verse Bhagavan I described as ‘turiyakhye’ (He who is known as the fourth factor).  The meaning of this word is given in the following statement of Vedic literature: “Within the material world the Supreme Lord appears in three forms Karanodakasayi Vishnu, Garbhodakasayi Vishnu, and Ksirodakasayi Vishnu.  The original form of the Lord is different from these three forms, and therefore He is known as turiya, the fourth form of the Lord.”

          “This compound word ‘bhagavac-chabda-sabdite’ is explained in the following statement of Vishnu Purana (6.5.74): ‘There are six opulences: wealth, strength, fame, beauty, knowledge and renunciation.  Bhagavan means the person who possesses all these opulences in full.”

Anuccheda 6 

1        The view held by some that Impersonal Brahman is the ultimate feature of the Supreme will be discussed in the Third (Paramatma) Sandarbha.  In that Sandarbha we will quote the following verse (Shrimad Bhagavatam 10.14.6) which the impersonalists repeat to substantiate their position:

2        “O unlimited Lord, only persons who have cleansed their hearts of contamination are able to understand the glories of Your transcendental form.  Because You do not undergo any material transformation, because You have no material form and because You are self-manifest, unless You choose to reveal Yourself to someone, there is no other means to understand You.”

3        This verse should be understood in the following way:

          “O Lord (bhuman), although it is very difficult to understand whether Your ultimate feature is Brahman or Bhagavan, nevertheless (tathapi), it is clear that the unlimited qualities of Your own transcendental form are now hidden (agunasya).”

          The word ‘mahima’ in this verse means ‘greatness’.  We may note in this connection that the word ‘Brahman’ means ‘the great’.  This is confirmed in the following statement of the Sruti-sastra:

          “What is the meaning of the word Brahman?  Brahman means He whose greatness is expanded without limit (brmhati), or He who causes His devotees to become great (brmhayati).”

4        In this verse Brahma says:

          “O Lord, only persons who have cleansed their hearts of contamination (amalantaratmabhih) are able to understand (vibodhum arhati) Your glories (mahima).”

          One may ask: Why are only the pure-hearted able to understand the Lord?  To this question the answer is given:

          “O Lord, because You are self-manifest (svanubhavat), unless You choose to reveal Yourself to someone, there is no other means to understand You.”

5        At this point someone may object: “According to our perception all gross and subtle bodies are subject to various kinds of material transformations (such as birth, growth, old-age, and death).  For this reason we may assume that the form of Shri Krishna is also subject to these material transformation.”

          In order to answer this objection, Brahma uses the word ‘avikriyat’, which means ‘because Your form does not undergo any material transformations.”

6        At this point someone may raise the following objection:  “All forms which we have perceived are material in nature, and therefore we consider that the form of Shri Krishna, which is perceivable by the senses, must also be material.”

          In order to answer this objection, Brahma uses the word ‘arupatah’ (the form of Shri Krishna is not material).

7        At this point Lord Krishna may pose the following question to Brahma: “How can My transcendental form become manifest before the living entities?”

          In order to answer this question, Brahma says: “ananya-bodhyatmataya (You can be understood only by devotional service).”  Although no one has, by his own merit, the ability to understand Krishna, if one worships Him by Performing devotional service, the Lord voluntarily appears before that devotee.  This is described in the following verse from Shrimad Bhagavatam (1.2.12 the verse immediately following the description of Brahman, Paramatma and Bhagavan) where Suta Gosvami says:

8        “The seriously inquisitive student or sage, well equipped with knowledge and detachment, realises that Absolute Truth by rendering devotional service in terms of what he has heard from the Vedanta-sruti.”*

9        This is also confirmed in the following verse from Shrimad Bhagavatam (8.24.38) where Lord Matsya instructs Maharaja Satyavrata in the following word:

          “You will be thoroughly advised and favoured by Me, and because of your inquiries, everything about My glories, which are known as param brahma, will be manifest within your heart.  Thus you will know everything about Me.”*

Anuccheda 7

1        The three aspects of Brahman, Paramatma and Bhagavan are also described in the following statement of Shrimad Bhagavatam (2.7.47):

          “What I realised as the Absolute Brahman I full of unlimited bliss without grief.  That I certainly the ultimate phase of the supreme enjoyer, the Personality of Godhead (Bhagavan).  He is eternally void of all disturbances and fearless.  He I complete consciousness as opposed to matter.  Uncontaminated and without distinctions, He is the primeval cause (Paramatma) of all causes and effects, in whom there is no sacrifice for fruitive activities and in whom the illusory energy does not stand.”*

2        Because the Absolute Truth I the greatest (brttama) He is known as Brahman (brahmeti yad viduh).  Brahman and Bhagavan both refer to the same Supreme Truth (paramasya pumso bhagavatah padam), and therefore they are not different from each other.  Bhagavan is, however, the original feature of the Supreme and Brahman is manifested at a later time from the form of Bhagavan, who I the reservoir in whom the Brahman and other features of the Supreme remain.

3        In this verse the Impersonal Brahma is described by the words ‘pratibodha-matram’ (complete consciousness, as opposed to matter), and ‘ajasra-sukham’ (unlimited bliss).  The word ‘atma-tattvam’ indicates that the Supreme Truth is the original root from whom all individual spirit souls have become manifested.  Because the Supreme is the original father of all spirit souls, He loves them all equally without discrimination.

4        The Absolute Truth is full of unlimited bliss because He is ‘sasvat’ (eternal), ‘prasantam’ (free from all disturbances), ‘abhayam’ (without fear), and ‘visokam’ (without grief).  The Supreme does not need to perform pious activities in order to reap happiness as a result.  This is confirmed in the following words:

          “The Supreme does not perform sacrifices in order to reap material benefits.

          This means that the fruitive sacrifices described in the karma-khanda section of the Vedas will not help one to understand the Absolute truth.  Only the philosophical portions of the Vedas, such as the Upanisads, will help one to understand the Supreme.  This is confirmed in the following statement of the Brhad-aranyaka Upanisad (3.9.26):

          “The Supreme Person is revealed in the Upanisads.

5        That the Lord’s transcendental bliss I not dependent on the interaction of senses with sense-objects is confirmed by the following words used in this verse to describe the Lord: ‘suddham’ (the Lord is uncontaminated), ‘saman’ (without distinction) and ‘sad-asatah param’ (and beyond the interactions of material causes and effects).

          The phrase ‘maya paraity abhimukhe ca vilajjamana’ means ‘The illusory energy maya is ashamed to come before the Lord of His devotees.  She flees far away from them.”

Anuccheda 8

1        When the truth of the Lord’s original feature, known a Bhagavan, becomes manifested, then the truth of the Impersonal Brahman feature automatically becomes manifested also.  For this reason this explanation of Brahman has been included in this essay, which explains the nature of Bhagavan.

2        The proper method of understanding the Bhagavan feature of the Supreme is described in the following verse of Shrimad Bhagavatam (1.7.4) where Suta Gosvami says:

          “Thus he fixed his mind, perfectly engaging it by linking it in devotional service (bhakti-yoga) without any tinge of materialism, and thus he saw the Absolute Personality of Godhead along with His external energy, which was under full control.”*

Anuccheda 9

          That the Bhagavan feature of the Supreme may be understood only by devotional service is also confirmed in the following statement of Shrimad-Bhagavatam (3.9.11) where Brahma says:

          “O my Lord, Your devotees can see You through the ears by the process of bona fide hearing, and thus their hearts become cleansed, and You take Your seat there.  You are so merciful to Your devotees that You manifest Yourself in the particular eternal form of transcendence in which they always think of You.”*

          This verse was recounted by Shrila Suta Gosvami.

Anuccheda 10

1        The Bhagavan feature of the Lord is described in the following ten and a half verses of Shrimad Bhagavatam (2.9.9-19) where Sukadeva Gosvami says:

          “The Personality of Godhead, being thus very much satisfied with the penance of Lord Brahma was pleased to manifest His personal abode, Vaikuntha, the supreme planet above all others.  This transcendental abode of the Lord is adored by all self-realised persons freed from all kinds of miseries and fear of illusory existence.*

2        “In that personal abode of the Lord, the material modes of ignorance and passion do not prevail, nor is there any of their influence in goodness.  There is no predominance of the influence of time, so what to speak of the illusory, external energy; it cannot enter that region.  Without discrimination, both the demigods and the demons worship the Lord as devotees.*

3        “The inhabitants of Vaikuntha planets are described as having a glowing sky-bluish complexion.  Their eyes resemble lotus flowers, their dress is of yellowish colour, and their bodily features very attractive.  They are just the age of growing youths, they all have four hands, they are all nicely decorated with pearl necklaces with ornamental medallions, and they all appear to be effulgent.*

4        “Some of them are effulgent like coral and diamonds in complexion and have garlands on their heads, blooming like lotus flowers, and some wear earrings.

5        “The Vaikuntha planets are also surrounded by various airplanes, all glowing and brilliantly situated.  These airplanes belong to the great mahatmas or devotees of the Lord.  The ladies are as beautiful as lightning because of their celestial complexions, and all these combined together appear just like the sky decorated with both clouds and lightning.*

6        “The goddess of fortune in her transcendental form is engaged in the loving service of the Lord’s lotus feet, and being moved by the black bees, followers of spring, she is not only being engaged in variegated pleasure-service to the Lord, along with her constant companions - but is also engaged in singing the glories of the Lord’s activities.*

7        “Lord Brahma saw in the Vaikuntha planets the Personality of Godhead, who is the Lord of the entire devotee community, the Lord of the Goddess of fortune, the Lord of all sacrifices, and the Lord of the universe, and who is served by the foremost servitors like Nanda, Sunanda, Prabala and Arhana, His immediate associates.*

8        “The Personality of Godhead, seen leaning favourably towards His loving servitors, His very sight intoxicating and attractive, appeared to be very much satisfied.  He had a smiling face decorated with an enchanting reddish hue.  He was dressed in yellow robes and wore earrings and a helmet on His head.  He had four hands, and His chest was marked with the lines of the goddess of fortune.*

9        “The Lord was seated on His throne and was surrounded by different energies like the four, the sixteen, the five, and the six natural opulences, along with other insignificant energies of the temporary character.  But He was the factual Supreme Lord, enjoying His own abode.*

10      “Lord Brahma, thus seeing the Personality of Godhead in His fullness, was overwhelmed with joy within his heart, and thus in full transcendental love and ecstasy, his eyes filled with tears of love.  He thus bowed down before the Lord.  That is the way of the highest perfection for the living being (paramahamsa).*

11      “And seeing Brahma present before Him, the Lord accepted him as worthy to create living beings, to be controlled as He desired, and thus being much satisfied with him, the Lord shook hands with Brahma and, smiling, addressed him thus.”*

12      The first of these verses (2.9.9 quoted in Text 1) should be interpreted in the following way:  Brahma stayed in the lotus flower of the navel of the Purusa-avatara named Narayana, and there he worshipped the Lord by performing austerities for His satisfaction, as the Lord Himself had previously ordered.  The Supreme Lord became pleased with Brahma (sabhajita), and showed him His own (sva-lokam) Vaikuntha realm, the topmost of all planetary systems.  In this verse the word ‘yat-param’ may be interpreted to mean “The highest of all Vaikuntha planets: the abode of the original form of the Personality of Godhead”, or it may also be interpreted to mean ‘the Vaikuntha realm which is not different from the Supreme Truth, Brahman Himself.”

          This Vaikuntha realm is described in these verses as full of transcendental varieties and free from the influence of the illusory potency, maya.

13      In this verse (2.9.9) the Vaikuntha realm was revealed to Brahma.  Vaikuntha is described here as free from all miseries and fears (vyapeta-sanklesa-vimoha-saddhvasam).  According to Patanjali’s Yoga-sutras (Sadhana-pada, Sutra 3), the five miseries of material existence are: 1. Ignorance, 2. False-ego, 3. Lust, 4. Hatred, and 5. Attachment.  Vaikuntha is free from these and all other sufferings.  Self-realised souls are able to see Vaikuntha (sva-drstavadbhih), and they always worship and glorify it (abhistutam).

14      That self-realised souls are able to see Vaikuntha is confirmed by the following statement of Shrimad Bhagavatam (3.16.27-28) which describes the Four Kumaras’ visit to Vaikunthaloka:

          “Lord Brahma said: After seeing the Lord of Vaikuntha, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, in the self-illuminated Vaikuntha planet, the sages left that transcendental abode.*

15      “The sages circumambulated the Supreme Lord, offered their obeisances and returned, extremely delighted at learning of the divine opulence of the Vaishnava.”*

16      In the next verse (2.9.10) we read that “In the personal abode of the Lord the material modes of ignorance and passion do not prevail, nor is there any of their influence in goodness.”  The material mode of goodness, which is invariably mixed with the lower mode of passion and ignorance, does not exist in Vaikunthaloka.  Only the spiritual  mode of goodness, known as ‘suddha-sattva’, which is completely free from the touch of the illusory energy, maya, exists in the spiritual realm of Vaikuntha.

17      That the three modes of material nature are not present in the Vaikuntha planets is described in the following verse from the Jitanta-stotra of the Narada-pancaratra:

          “The planets known as Vaikuntha are filled with all six spiritual opulences.  The three modes of material nature are not present on these planets, which cannot be entered by they who are not devotees of the Lord.”

18      In the description of Vaikunthaloka found in the Padma Purana Uttara-khanda, the mode of goodness present in the spiritual world is clearly described as being non-material.  In this passage, after describing the opulences and powers of the material potency, Lord Siva explains (Padma Purana, Uttara-khanda 255.56.59):

19      “My dear Parvati, you have just heard about the opulences of the material energy, now hear about the supreme opulences of the spiritual world, which comprises three quarters of all existence.

20      “Produced from the perspiration of the Personality of Godhead, whose limbs are all the Vedic literatures, the auspicious Viraja River flows on the boundary that separates the material energy from the spiritual sky.

21      “On the farther shore of the Viraja River is the spiritual sky.  In that spiritual sky I the abode of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.  That abode is eternal, imperishable, unlimited, effulgent, transcendental, and full of nectar.  That abode is made of the transcendental energy known as the mode of pure goodness (suddha-sattva).”

22      The three modes of material nature never exist alone.  If one of the modes is present, then the other two are also present.  This I confirmed in the following statements of Vedic literature:

          “The three modes of material nature are present together.”

                             Sankhya-kaumudi

          “The three modes of material nature are present together.  They do not remain alone.  If one is present, then the others are also present.”

                             Bhattika

          “Wherever one mode of material nature is present, the other modes are also there.  The mode of goodness, therefore, does not exist alone, but is always mixed with passion and ignorance.  In the same way the other modes of nature cannot be manifested alone.  They are always mixed with the other modes.”

                             Agama-sastra

          “The three modes of material nature are always together, they cannot be separated from each other.”

                             Vedic literature

23      Because in the Vaikuntha planets there is no mode of material passion, nothing is created there; because there is no mode of material ignorance, nothing is destroyed there; and because there is no mode of material goodness, nothing is material there, but everything is spiritual, eternal, full of knowledge and bliss.  This verse (2.9.10) gives the reason for the absence of the three modes of material nature within the realm of Vaikuntha by saying:

          “There is no predominance of the influence of time.”*

          The time element agitates the material energy, and from that agitation the three modes of nature are born.  Because in Vaikuntha there is no material time, which is the cause of the six varieties of material transformation, there are also no three modes of material nature.

24      In this verse (2.9.10) the phrase ‘na yatra maya’ (There is no predominance of the external, illusory energy) is like an axe that cuts at the root of any conception that material time or the modes of material nature have any influence in the Vaikuntha world.  In this verse the word ‘maya’ does not only mean ‘illusion’, but it refers to a specific potency of the Personality of Godhead entrusted with the creation, maintenance and dissolution of the material universes.  Because maya is absent in Vaikuntha, the modes of passion and ignorance, as well as material goodness, which is invariably contaminated by the lower modes of passion and ignorance, are also absent.  In this verse the word ‘misram’ may also be interpreted to mean ‘pradhana’, or the unmanifested stage of the modes of nature, where the modes are not yet differentiated, but are merged together as a single unit.

          Interpreted in this way it may be understood that even at the beginning of the creation maya and pradhana were two distinct potencies of the Lord and were not identical.  Because even at the beginning of material creation pradhana was different from maya, it may be understood that pradhana is always independent of both maya and time.  It is a separate, independent potency.

          The phrase ‘kim utapare’ (what to speak of) reinforces the statement of this verse, that in Vaikunthaloka there is no influence of the material energy.  There is no need to belabour this point, but it is sufficient to state, in a general way, that in Vaikunthaloka there is no influence of the mode of passion and ignorance.

25      At this point someone may object: “Is it not so that because in Vaikuntha there is no influence of the three modes of material nature, which are the origin of varieties, it may be logically concluded that there is no variety in Vaikunthaloka?”

          Considering that someone might raise this objection, Sukadeva Gosvami describes the varieties present in the Lord’ transcendental potency known as suddha-sattva, which prevails in the Vaikuntha planets.  This description begins with the word ‘hareh’ in verse 2.9.10 (quoted in Text 2).

26      In this verse the word ‘sura’ means ‘those influenced by the mode of material goodness’, and ‘asura’ means ‘those influenced by the baser modes of passion and ignorance’.  In Vaikuntha both these classes of living entities worship the Lord.  In fact, however, because the residents of Vaikuntha constantly worship the Lord they are most exalted and are beyond all the modes of material nature.  They are actually above the status of either demon or demigod.

27      Sukadeva Gosvami describes the residents of Vaikunthaloka in the following words (2.9.11):

          The inhabitants of the Vaikuntha planets are described as having a glowing sky-bluish complexion (syamavadatah).  Their eyes resemble lotus flowers (sata-patra-locanah), their dress is of yellowish colour (pisanga-vastra), and their bodily features very attractive (surucah).  They are just the age of growing youths (supesasah), they are all nicely decorated with pearl necklaces (mani-praveka) and with ornamental medallions (niskabharanah) and they all appear to be effulgent (suvarcasah).

          Many of the Vaikuntha residents have a bluish complexion like that of the Lord, but some have a different complexion and they are described in the following words (2.9.12):

          “Some of them are effulgent like coral and diamonds in complexion.”

28      In the next verses (2.9.13-15), Sukadeva Gosvami, after describing the residents of Vaikuntha, continues his description of the Vaikuntha planets.  Synonyms for some of the words in these verses follow:

          “rih” means ‘the goddess of fortune, who is the transcendental potency of the Lord’, ‘rupini’ means ‘in the form of the most dear consort of the Lord’, ‘manam’ means ‘respectful services’, ‘vibhutibhih’ means ‘accompanied by her personal associates’, ‘prenkham’ means ‘movement of enjoyment’, ‘shrita’ means ‘engaging in transcendental pastimes’, ‘kusumakarah’ means ‘spring’, ‘kusumakaranuga’ means ‘the bumble bees, who are followers of spring’, ‘giyamana’ means ‘being glorified in various ways’, and ‘priya-karma’ means ‘the activities of the dearmost Lord Hari.”

29      The Personality of Godhead is also described as the master of the heroes in the Yadava dynasty.  This is confirmed in the following verse of Shrimad Bhagavatam (2.4.19), where Shrila Sukadeva Gosvami says:

          “May Lord Shri Krishna, who is the worshipable Lord of all devotees, the protector and glory of all the kings like Andhaka and Vrsni of the Yadu dynasty, the husband of all goddesses of fortune, the director of all sacrifices and therefore the leader of all living entities, the controller of all intelligence, the proprietor of all planets, spiritual and material, and the supreme incarnation on the earth (the supreme all in all), be merciful upon me.”*

30      In the next verse (2.9.16 quoted in text 8), Sukadeva Gosvami says that the very sight of the Lord is ‘intoxicating and attractive’, and ‘His chest is marked with the lines of the goddess of fortune.’  The goddess of fortune remains as a golden line on the left side of the Lord’s chest.  In the next verse (2.9.17, quoted in Text 9), the four potencies mentioned may be interpreted to refer to the four spiritual potencies beginning with the potency of religious piety.  The four potencies clearly does not refer to irreligion or any similar external, material energies.  These spiritual potencies in the spiritual realm are described in the following statement of the Padma Purana, Uttara-khanda (91.100):

31      “In the spiritual world the Rg, Yajur, Sama and Atharva Vedas, as well as the four potencies: piety, knowledge, opulence, and renunciation, eternally remain.”

          We may note that the use of the word ‘tatha’ in this verse in the middle of samasa is not a grammatical flaw, for this verse is spoken by Shrila Vyasadeva Himself.

32      The sixteen potencies mentioned in this verse (2.9.17 quoted in Text 9) are the sixteen doorkeepers of Vaikuntha, who are described in the following statement of Padma Purana Uttara-khanda (256.14-17), where Lord Siva says to Parvati:

          “O beautiful-faced Parvati, Canda and Pracanda are the guards posted at the eastern gate of Vaikuntha.  Bhadra and Subhadraka guard the southern gate, Jaya and Vijaya remain at the western gate, and Dhata and Vidhata protect the northern gate.  In addition to them Kumuda and Kumudaksa guard the southeast, Pundarika and Vamana guard the southwest, Sankukarna and Sarvanetra guard the northeast.  These are the names of the sixteen protectors of Vaikuntha-puri.”

33      The five potencies mentioned in this verse (2.9.17 quoted in Text 9) are named in the following verse from the Padma Purana Uttara khanda (256-24):

          “Kurma, Nagaraja, Vainateya the master of the Vedas, Chandah and Sarvamantra are the five potencies that comprise the form of the spiritual realm.”

34      Later, in the Krishna-sandarbha, we will describe the personal abode of Shri Krishna, which is situated in the highest part of the Vaikuntha realm.  In that realm of Shri Krishna there are also sixteen transcendental potencies, and their names beginning with Cyuta and Alambini will be given in a passage from the Prabhasa-khanda quoted in the Krishna-sandarbha.

35      In this verse (2.9.17 quoted in text 9) the word ‘svaih’ means ‘personal’, ‘bhagaih’ means ‘with various opulences and potencies’, and ‘yuktam’ means ‘empowered’.  ‘Itaratra’ means ‘among the mystic-yogis’, and ‘adhruvaih’ means ‘temporary’.  In other words, the mystic yogis attain opulences that are a faint reflection of those the Lord manifests in the spiritual world.  The word ‘ve’ means ‘own’, and ‘dhaman’ means ‘in the Lord’s abode of Vaikuntha’.  Because Lord Narayana is supremely independent and because He engages only in enjoying various pastimes (ramamanam) in the Vaikuntha world, therefore He should be understood to be the Personality of Godhead (isvaram).  He is not an ordinary living entity.

36      The next verse (2.9.18 quoted in text 10) says: ‘bowing before the Lord’s lotus feet is the way of highest perfection for the living being.’  This statement confirms that the form of the Lord is not material, but purely spiritual, eternal, full of knowledge and full of bliss.

37      In the next verse (2.9.19 quoted in text 11), Sukadeva Gosvami says the Supreme Lord ‘accepted Brahma as worthy to create living beings, to be controlled as He desired (praja-visarge nija-sasanarhanam), and thus the Lord spoke to him as follow (babhase).’

38      At this point someone may raise the following objection: “Brahma is merely the creator of the material universes, and is very insignificant in comparison to the Personality of Godhead, the greatest of the great.  I do not think it is possible for Brahma to have a direct relationship with the Supreme Lord.”

          In order to answer this question, Shrila Sukadeva Gosvami described the Supreme Lord’s intense love for His devotees in the next verse (2.9.19 quoted in text 11) by saying: “The Lord was very much satisfied with Brahma, shook hands with him, and, slightly smiling, addressed him thus.”*

Anuccheda 11

          The Bhagavan, or personal, feature of the Supreme Spirit is not an artificial creation sprung from the imagination of some theologicians and philosophers, but it is the actual truth.  This personal aspect of the Supreme Truth, who is always accompanied by His various potencies, is the subject matter described in the verses of Shrimad Bhagavatam, and in the very beginning of the Bhagavatam, Shrila Vyasadeva stresses the reality of this subject matter (the Supreme Person) by saying (1.1.2):

          “This Bhagavata Purana propounds the highest truth which is understandable by those devotees who are fully pure in heart.  The highest truth is reality distinguished from illusion for the welfare of all.  Such truth uproots the threefold miseries.”*

          In this verse the Supreme Truth is described by the two adjectives ‘sivadam’ and ‘trayonmulanam’.  “Sivadam’ means ‘He who give transcendental bliss by the means of His own transcendental potency’, and ‘tapa-trayonmulanam’ means ‘He who uproots the threefold miseries caused by the illusory potency, maya.’

Anuccheda 12

          The potencies of the Lord may be divided into two opposite kinds: 1. The internal, or spiritual potency, and 2. The external, or material potency, maya.  These two potencies inspire their followers to think and act in diverse ways, and in this way there are innumerable different activities and innumerable different philosophies, each hostile to the others.  Nevertheless all this variety has a single origin.  That single origin is described by Maharaja Daksa in the following prayer (Shrimad Bhagavatam 6.4.31) addressed to the Supreme Personality of Godhead:

          “Let me offer my respectful obeisances unto the all-pervading Supreme Personality of godhead, who possesses unlimited transcendental qualities.  Acting from within the cores of the hearts of all philosophers, who propagate various views, He causes them to forget their own souls while sometimes agreeing and sometimes disagreeing among themselves.  Thus He creates within this material world a situation in which they are unable to come to a conclusion.  I offer my obeisances unto Him.

Anuccheda 13

          That all variegated potencies have their origin in the Supreme Personality of Godhead is also confirmed in the following statement of Shrimad Bhagavatam (4.9.16) where Dhruva Maharaja says to the Supreme Lord:

          “My dear Lord, in Your impersonal manifestation of Brahman there are always two opposing elements - knowledge and ignorance.  Your multi-energies are continually manifest, but the impersonal Brahman, which is undivided, original, changeless, unlimited and blissful, is the cause of the material manifestation.  Because You are the same impersonal Brahman, I offer my respectful obeisances unto You.”*

          The multi-energies of the Lord may be divided into three broad categories: the superior, intermediate, and inferior potencies.  Inspired by these variegated energies of the Lord, the living entities act in various ways.

Anuccheda 14

          That the Supreme Personality of Godhead is the origin and reservoir of all potencies is also confirmed in the following statement of Shrimad Bhagavatam (4.17.33), where Maitreya Muni says to Vidura:

          “My dear Lord, by Your own potencies You are the original cause of the material elements, as well as the performing instruments (the senses), the workers of the senses (the controlling demigods), the intelligence and the ego, as well as everything else.  By Your energy You manifest this entire cosmic creation, maintain it and dissolve it.  Through Your energy alone everything is sometimes manifest and sometimes not manifest.  You are therefore the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the cause of all causes.  I offer my respectful obeisances unto You.”*

Anuccheda 15

          That the Lord’s variegated potencies are inconceivable and cannot be completely understood by the individual living entity is confirmed by the following statements of Vedic literature:

          “O Lord, You are the Supreme Personality of Godhead for all living entities.  Your diverse energies can act multifariously.  This is inconceivable to us.”*

                                      Devahuti-devi to Lord Kapila (Shrimad Bhagavatam 3.33.3)

          “The Absolute Truth and His potencies are inconceivable.  They can only be understood by the Vedic literatures, which are the direct revelation of the Lord.”

                                      Vedanta-sutra 2.1.27

          “Innumerable variegated and inconceivable potencies exist within the Supreme Personality of Godhead.”

                                      Vedanta-sutra 2.1.28

Anuccheda 16

1        The nature of the Lord’s potencies is further described in the following verse of Shrimad Bhagavatam (11.3.37) where Pippalayana Rsi says to Maharaja Nimi:

          “Originally one, the Absolute, Brahman, comes to be known a threefold, manifesting itself as the three modes of material nature: goodness, passion and ignorance.  Brahman further expands it potency, and thus the power to act and the power of consciousness becomes manifest, along with the false ego, which covers the identity of the conditioned living being.  Thus, by the expansion of the multi-potencies of the Absolute, the demigods, as the embodiment of knowledge, become manifest, along with the material senses, their objects, and the results of material activity, namely happiness and distress.  In this way the manifestation of the material world takes place as the subtle cause and as the material effect visible in the appearance of gross material objects.  Brahman, which is the source of all subtle and gross manifestations, is simultaneously transcendental to them, being absolute.”***

2        In this verse the phrase ‘brahmaiva uru-sakti bhati’ means ‘The Supreme Truth possesses many potencies’.  The word ‘eva’ (certainly) emphasises the fact that Lord’s potencies are not merely imagined to exist, but are real, the potencies naturally possessed by the Lord.  In the last line of this verse ‘yat’ refers to Brahman, ‘sat’ to earth and the other gross material elements, ‘asat’’ to prakrti and the other subtle material elements, ‘tayoh’ to these two external potencies, and ‘param’ to the Lord’s personal internal potency, which is the spiritual planets of Vaikuntha, and the pure spirit souls, who are His marginal potencies.  Any conception that contradicts this is in error.

3        Someone may ask: “What different kinds of potencies are the property of the Lord?”  In order to answer this question, Pippalayana Muni said: ‘jnana-kriyartha-phala-rupataya’.  This means that the Lord has many potencies, such as His jnana-sakti, which consists of the mahat-tattva and other potencies, kriya-sakti, which consists of the sutras and other potencies, and artha-sakti, which consists of the tan-matras and other potencies.  These sat and asat potencies are material in nature.  Above them (tayoh param) is the supreme goal of life, the spiritual Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is known as Bhagavan and who is accompanied by His potencies.  Also above them is the spiritual living entity, who is known as jiva, and who, because He follows the Lord, is pure.  In this way the Lord’s many potencies (uru-sakti), which begin with His jnana-sakti and kriya-sakti are described.

4        The Lord’s potencies are real, not imagined, for they have emanated from the Lord Himself, the Supreme Reality.  This is confirmed by Pippalayana Muni in the following statement:

          “Originally one, the Absolute, Brahman, comes to be known as threefold, manifesting itself as the three modes of material nature: goodness, passion and ignorance.  In this way Brahman expands its potency.”***

          From the Supreme Brahman the unmanifested modes of material nature (tri-vrt) are manifested; from the unmanifested mode of nature the kriya-sakti is manifested, from the kriya-sakti the sutram is manifested.

          From jnana-sakti the power of consciousness is manifested and from the power of consciousness the false-ego (aham) is manifested.  The false ego covers the awareness of the pure individual soul (jivam) which is one of the Lord’s spiritual potencies.

          The Vedic literatures explain (pravadanti) the manifestation of the Lord’s potencies in this way.  That all these variegated energies have emanated from the Supreme Godhead is explained in the Chandogya Upanisad (6.2.1) in the following words:

          “O gentle student, in the beginning, before the creation, only the Supreme Godhead was manifest.  It is from Him that everything has come.”

          Because the variegated potencies have emanated from the Supreme Truth, they must also be real, they cannot be false.  All these potencies are like the limbs and parts of the limbs of the Personality of Godhead.  He is like the sun, and all these potencies are like the rays of light emanating from that Supreme-sun.  This is confirmed by the following statement of Sruti-sastra (found in the following places: Katha Upanisad 2.2.15, Mundaka Upanisad 2.2.10, and Svetasvatara Upanisad 6.14):

          “Everything that exists is like rays of light emanating from the Supreme.”

5        That the Lord’s potencies are real, and also inconceivable to the living entities, is confirmed by the following question posed by Maitreya Muni, and answered by Parasara Muni.

          Maitreya asked (Vishnu Purana 1.3.2):

          “The Personality of Godhead is supremely pure in heart and mind, and He is beyond the influence of the three modes of material nature.  He is unlimited.  How is it possible for Him to directly engage in the creation, maintenance and destruction of the various material universes?  I would expect that He would have no direct connection at all with the material world.”

6        Parasara Muni answered Maitreya’s question in the following words (Vishnu Purana 1.3.3):

          “O best of the ascetics, the potencies of the Supreme Personality of Godhead (such as sarga-sakti, the potency of material creation, and others) are all inconceivable and cannot be understood by the individual living entities.  Just as heat is the potency of fire, these are all the potencies of the Supreme.”

7        Shridhara Svami comments on this verse in the following words:

          “In this verse Maitreya Muni doubts that it is possible for the transcendental Personality of Godhead to engage in the mundane activity of material creation.  The word ‘nirgunasya’ used in this verse means ‘free from the influence of the material modes of goodness, passion and ignorance’.  “Aprameyasya’ means ‘free from the limitations of time, space, and other material restricting factors’.  ‘Suddhasya’ means ‘without a material body’, or ‘He who does not require anyone’s help in order to do anything’.  ‘Amalatmanah’ means ‘He who is free from material piety and impiety, and who does not have to perform any Vedic ritual in order to become purified.’  Observing that the Supreme is different from, and untouched by, matter, Maitreya Muni doubts that it is possible for Him to create something so different from Himself.

8        “In the next verse and a half, Parasara Muni answers Maitreya’s question by saying that the Personality of Godhead acts within the material world through the agency of His inconceivable potencies.  The Lord’s potencies may be considered inconceivable in two ways.  First, they are inconceivable because they are so great and powerful that the tiny logical apparatus of the conditioned soul does not have the strength to understand them, and second, they are inconceivable because they are simultaneously one and different from the Personality of Godhead, a seeming contradiction which the intelligence of the conditioned souls is generally not large enough to house.  This seeming contradiction can be understood, however, by the example of the fire and its potency heat.  Heat is the potency of fire and it has specific burning power obtained from it’s origin, the fire.  In some ways the heat is the same as the fire itself, and in other ways it is different.  In the same way everything that exists is the potency of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, simultaneously one and different from Him.

          “In this way the simultaneous oneness and difference may be understood.  We may also note in this verse that the word ‘bhava-saktayah’ means ‘perfect by nature’.  In this way, even though the Personality of Godhead is never touched by the three modes of material nature, and even though He never directly contacts the material nature, He creates the material universes, and performs various activities within them, by means of His inconceivable potencies.”

9        That the Personality of Godhead is the master of inconceivable potencies is also confirmed by the following statement of the Svetasvatara Upanisad (6.8):

          “He does possess bodily form like that of an ordinary living entity.  There is no difference between His body and His soul.  He is absolute.  All His senses are transcendental.  Any one of His senses can perform the action of any other sense.  Therefore, no one is greater that Him or equal to Him.  His potencies are multifarious, and thus His deeds are automatically performed as a natural sequence.”*

10      That the Personality of Godhead is the master of innumerable potencies is also confirmed by the following statement of the Sruti-sastra (Svetasvatara Upanisad 4.10):

          “Although maya is false or temporary, the background of maya is the supreme magician, the Personality of Godhead, who is Mahesvara, the supreme controller.”*

11      Everything that exists is the potency of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and is simultaneously one and different from Him just as heat is not different from fire.  The word ‘bhava-saktayah’ may also be interpreted to mean ‘produced from the transcendental body of the Lord.’  Because the Lord’s potencies are manifested from His own form, they are also simultaneously one and different from Him.  No one can defeat this argument or prove anything different than this.  That the Personality of Godhead is the master of innumerable potencies is confirmed in the following statements of the Upanisads:

          “The Personality of Godhead has multifarious potencies.”

                                      Svetasvatara Upanisad 6.8

          “The Personality of Godhead is the supreme master and controller of everything that exists.”

                                      Brhad-aranyaka Upanisad 4.4.22

12      In this passage (from the Vishnu Purana, quoted in Texts 5 and 6) Maitreya poses his question from the point of view of the impersonalists, who maintain that the Supreme has no qualities, and Parasara Muni replies by taking the stance of the personalists who teach that the Supreme has qualities, and that variety exists even in the spiritual world.  Maitreya uses words like “suddhasya” (pure) and ‘adehasya’ (without a body) to describe the Supreme.  He was thinking in terms of an impersonal Supreme without potencies.  Parasara Muni, in his reply, used these same terms to describe the personal feature of the Supreme.  In Parasara’s answer the term ‘nirgunasya’ (without qualities) used by Maitreya to describe the Supreme was answered by the word ‘acintya-jnana-gocarah’ (inconceivable).  By using this word, Parasara hinted to Maitreya that the Supreme is called ‘nirguna’ (without qualities) because His qualities are so great that they cannot be fully or properly understood by the individual living entities.  When Maitreya used the words ‘amalatmanah’ (flawless) and ‘suddhasya’ (pure), he considered that the Supreme was without qualities, in other words he thought of the Supreme as pure in the way an unflawed piece of glass or crystal is pure by virtue of having no qualities.  Parasara Muni accepted the description of the purity of the Supreme in a different way.  For Him the Supreme had qualities, but no vices or imperfections.  In this way the Supreme is pure.  In his answer Parasara rejected the impersonalistic concept of the Supreme referred to by Maitreya and instead described the Supreme as person, the master of innumerable inconceivable potencies.  Heat is sometimes present in water, air, or other elements, but it is always present in the fire-element, and can never be separated from it.  Just as heat is always present in fire, in the same way the inconceivable potencies of the Supreme cannot be separated from Him.  They are an intrinsic part of His nature.  Because the Supreme possesses unlimited inconceivable potencies, He is the greatest, and no one is equal or greater than Him.  This is confirmed in the following statement of Svetasvatara Upanisad (6.8):

          “No one is equal to or greater than the Supreme Personality of Godhead.”

13      In the Upanisads and other Vedic literatures the Lord’s potencies are sometimes described as ‘brahma’ (the greatest).  This does not mean that the Lord’s potencies are greater than the Lord Himself, but merely that the Lord’s potencies are extremely powerful, and cannot be checked by anyone except for the Personality of Godhead Himself.  The Lord’s transcendental potency activates the material nature, which moves the three modes of material nature, which become transformed into the ‘sarga-sakti’ (potency of material creation) and other material potencies.  In this way the affairs of the material universes are conducted by the Lord’s potencies, without any direct intervention by the Personality of Godhead, who is never touched by the material energy.

14      The word ‘brahma’ (the greatest) is also used to describe the Lord’s potencies in the following statement of the Chandogya Upanisad (3.14.1):

          “This entire material world is Brahman, the greatest.”

          This description of the material potency of the Lord as the ‘greatest’, should be understood, however, only in a relative sense, for the Lord’s material potency is not greater than the Lord Himself, as Maitreya Muni has already explained by using the word ‘nirgunasya’ (untouched by the material modes of nature) to describe the Lord.  The Svetasvatara Upanisad (4.10) also describes the Personality of Godhead as superior to His material potency in the following words:

          “The Personality of Godhead is the master and controller of this material world, which is His illusory potency, maya.”

          That maya is inferior to the Personality of Godhead is also confirmed by the following statement of Shrimad Bhagavatam (1.7.4):

          “The illusory potency maya takes shelter of the Personality of Godhead and is independent on Him.”

          In this way the Personality of Godhead is superior to His illusory potency, maya, even though that potency is sometimes described as ‘brahma’ (the greatest).  Because the Lord’s potencies (known as ‘brahma’) are subordinate to Him, He delegates to them various duties in relation to the material world.  They contact the material energy, not He.

15      That the Personality of godhead is superior to His potencies (‘brahma’) is also confirmed in the following statement of Shrimad Bhagavad-gita (13.12-13), where the Lord Himself says:

          “I shall now explain the knowable, knowing which you will take the eternal.  This beginningless, and it is subordinate to Me.  It is called Brahman, the spirit, and it lies beyond the cause and effect of this material world.”*

16      The Supreme Truth has innumerable inconceivable potencies, which may be grouped into four broad categories: 1. His internal potency, 2. The secondary potencies manifest from His internal potency, 3. The individual living entities (jivas), and 4. The unmanifest state of the modes of material nature (pradhana).  As the sun remains in one place, although its potency, the sunshine, expands in all directions, so the personality of Godhead remains in one place, although His variegated potencies are everywhere.

17      This is described in the following statement of the Vishnu Purana (1.22.54):

          “Just as the illumination of a fire, which is situated in one place, is spread all over, the energies of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Parabrahman, are spread all over this universe.”*

18      This is also confirmed by the following statement found in both the Katha Upanisad (2.2.15) and Svetasvatara Upanisad (6.14):

          “This entire cosmos is the effulgence manifested from the Supreme Personality of Godhead.”

19      Someone may argue that it is contradictory to say that the Supreme stays in one place, and at the same time He is present everywhere.  This objection is not valid, for the Lord possesses all inconceivable potencies by which He can do any impossible thing.  In this way He can be simultaneously localised and all-pervading.  The Lord’s potencies are divided into three categories as follows: 1. Antaranga-sakti, the internal potency, which is present in the spiritual world of Vaikuntha, 2. Tatastha-sakti, the marginal potency, or individual spirit souls, who are like sparks of the Supreme Whole, and 3. Bahiranga-sakti, the external potency known as maya, which is inert matter, the unmanifested stage (pradhana) of the modes of nature.  These three potencies of the Lord are described in the following statement of the Vishnu Purana (6.7.61-63):

20      However, there is another energy, called illusion, which consists of fruitive activity.  That is the Lord’s third potency.”*

21      “This living entity, covered by the influence of nescience, exists in different forms in the material energy, to greater or lesser degrees.”*

22      In this verse the words ‘avidya-karma’ mean ‘the potency that bewilders’, and the word ‘samjna’ (named) identifies that potency as the illusory potency, maya.  Although the maya potency is external and inferior to the marginal potency, or individual living souls, nevertheless, the external potency has the power to cover and bewilder the marginal potency.  This is explained in the next verse, where the word ‘taratamyena’ describes the external potency’s ability to place the individual spirit-souls in various higher and lower material bodies, extending from the body of the demigod Brahma down to the insignificant bodies of plants and other non-moving creatures.  This power of the external potency over the marginal potency is described in the following statement of Shrimad-Bhagavatam (1.7.5):

          “The individual living entities (jivas) are placed in illusion by the external potency, maya.”

23      In this verse (1.7.5) the word ‘yay’ refers to the Lord’s inconceivable illusory potency maya, by whose influence the unmanifested modes of material nature (pradhana) are inert, unconscious and constantly mutable.  That the pradhana is manifested from the maya-potency we shall demonstrate later on in this book.  The three potencies: ataranga, tatastha and bahiranga, are similar in many but not all respects.  Each has distinguishing features, and each has some defects not present in the others.

Anuccheda 17

1        The Supreme Personality of Godhead is the master of all spiritual and material potencies.  Even Hiranyakasipu confirms this in the following words (Shrimad Bhagavatam 7.3.34):

          “Let me offer my respectful obeisances to the Supreme, who possesses external and internal energies.”*

          The Supreme Personality of Godhead is spiritual in nature and He is the shelter of innumerable spiritual potencies (the individual living entities).  He is like the sun-planet, which by nature consists of light, and which is the shelter of innumerable rays of light, which have the same nature as the sun-planet itself.  The marginal spiritual potency known as jiva-sakti, or the individual spiritual entities, will be explained in the next treatise, the Paramatma-sandarbha.

2        In the following statement of the Vishnu Purana (1.19.76-77) the antaranga-sakti (internal potency) is described by contrasting it with the bahiranga-sakti (external, material potency):

          “O Supreme Personality of Godhead, O master of the demigods, O Supersoul present in the hearts of all creatures, I offer my respectful obeisances to Your inferior material potency, which is eternal, and which is the resting place for the three modes of material nature.  O Lord, I also offer my respectful obeisances to Your internal, spiritual potency, which has no material attributes, and which cannot be understood by the material mind or material words, but only by the statements of the advanced transcendentalists.”

          We may note that the Lord possesses innumerable spiritual potencies.  This is confirmed by the following statement of the Svetasvatara Upanisad (6.8):

          “The Supreme Personality of Godhead is the master of multifarious superior spiritual potencies.”

Anuccheda 18

1        In the following statement of Shrimad-Bhagavatam (2.9.34), the Personality of Godhead describes the external, material potency, bahiranga-sakti, in the following words:

          “O Brahma, whatever appears to be of any value, if it is without relation to Me, has no reality.  Know it as My illusory energy, that reflection which appears to be in darkness.”*

2        In the first part of this verse, the Personality of Godhead says:

          “O Brahma whatever appears to be of any value, if it is without relation to Me, has no reality.”*

3        In this verse the word ‘atmanah’ means ‘of Me, the Supreme Personality of Godhead”, and the word ‘maya’ refers to two potencies of the Lord: the bahiranga-sakti, or material energy maya, and the tatastha-sakti, or individual spirit souls.  Interpreted in relation to the individual spirit souls, the word ‘abhasa’ means ‘effulgence’.  In other words, the individual spirit souls are likened to particles of light emanating from the supreme sun of the Personality of Godhead.

          If the word ‘maya’ is taken to mean the bahiranga-sakti, then the word ‘abhasa’ may be understood to mean ‘illusion’.  The illusory potency presents a great variety of constantly changing forms of the inert material energy, which bewilders the conditioned souls by presenting before their eyes a great variety of temporary and constantly changing forms of the inert and unconscious material energy, or three modes of nature, goodness, passion and ignorance.  The word ‘abhasa’ is used in this way, to mean the material cosmos, in Shrimad Bhagavatam (2.10.7 abhasas ca nirodhas ca).  The word ‘abhasa’ is also described in Vishnu Purana 1.22.54 (quoted in Anuccheda 16, Text 17).

4        The Lord’s potencies are also described in the following statement spoken by the scholars of the Ayur-Veda:

          “The Personality of Godhead, whose desires are automatically fulfilled, is the original creator of the material universes.  His form is eternal and full of transcendental knowledge, and His eternal transcendental potency emanates from Him as particles of light from the sun.  As an actor, who changes his appearance when he enters the stage, the Personality of Godhead appears in the form of the Supersoul when He enters the material realm.  He activates the inert material energy, and in this way causes the creation of the material universes.”

5        In the first part of the verse, where the Lord’s ‘maya’ is described as ‘abhasa’, the word ‘abhasa’ may be interpreted in two different ways in order to match the two interpretations of the word ‘maya’ (which may mean either the individual spirit souls or the external material energy).  In the second part of the verse, where the ‘abhasa’ is described as reflected on the ‘tamah’ (darkness), there is no need to interpret the word ‘tamah’ in two different ways in order to fit the two interpretations of the words ‘maya’ and abhasa’.  The single meaning ‘darkness’ naturally fits the two possible interpretations of the verse.

6        The darkness (tamah) of the material cosmos is described as created by the Lord’s shadow.  This is described in the following verse of Shrimad Bhagavatam (3.20.18), where Maitreya Muni says to Vidura:

          “First of all, Brahma created from his shadow the coverings of ignorance of the conditioned souls.  They are five in number and are called tamisra, andha-tamisra, tamas, moha and mahamoha.”*

7        The material world is also compared to darkness (tamah) in the following verse (Shrimad Bhagavatam 10.14.11) where Lord Brahma says to Lord Krishna:

          “Where am I, a small creature of seven spans the measure of my own hand?  I am enclosed in the universe composed of material nature, the total material energy, false ego, ether, air, water and earth.  And what is Your glory?  Unlimited universes pass through the pores of Your body just like particles of dust passing through the opening of a window.”*

8        This verse (3.20.18 quoted in text 8) explains that Brahma, using the instrument of the shadow potency (chaya-sakti) manifested ‘avidya’ at the time of creating the material universe.  The word ‘avidya’ here may refer either to the different classes of conditioned souls (jiva-maya) or to the different manifestations of the modes of nature (guna-maya).

9        The difference between the avidya-sakti (ignorance potency) and vidya-sakti (knowledge potency) is described in the following verse of Shrimad-Bhagavatam (11.11.3) where Lord Krishna says:

          “O Uddhava, both knowledge and ignorance, being products of maya, are expansions of My potency.  Both knowledge and ignorance are beginningless and perpetually award liberation and bondage to embodied living beings.”***

10      The knowledge potency is described in the following verses of the Padma Purana (Uttara-khanda 73.230-231) in the Karttika-mahatmya, in connection with the prayers of the demigods to Maya, which are related by Lord Krishna to Satyabhama-devi:

          “As the demigods were offering prayers in this way, they saw a portion of the sky become very brilliant with a great light.  From that effulgent part of the sky they heard the goddess Sarasvati speak the following words: ‘I appear in this material world in three ways, in relation to the three modes of goodness, passion, and ignorance.’”

11      The ignorance-potency (avidya-sakti) is described in the following statement of the Padma Purana, Uttara-khanda (91.51) where the Supreme Personality of Godhead says to Lord Brahma:

          “The dense darkness of the ignorance potency in this material world is immeasurable and inexhaustable.”

Anuccheda 19

1        The internal spiritual potency (antaranga-sakti), without whose help the individual living entities are powerless to act, is described in the following two verses of Shrimad-Bhagavatam (6.16.23-24), where Narada Muni says to Maharaja Citraketu:

2        “The Supreme Brahman emanates from the Supreme Personality of Godhead and expands like the sky.  Although untouched by anything material, it exists within and without.  Nonetheless, the mind, intelligence, senses and living force can neither touch Him nor know Him.  I offer unto Him my respectful obeisances.”*

3        “As iron has the power to burn when made red-hot in the association of fire, so the body, senses, living force, mind and intelligence, although merely lumps of matter, can function in their activities when infused with a particle of consciousness by the Supreme Personality of Godhead.  As iron cannot burn unless heated by fire, the bodily senses cannot act unless favoured by the Supreme Brahman.”*

4        Shridhara Svami comments on these verses in the following words:

          “In the first verse (6.16.23) Narada said: The Supreme Brahman (yat) emanates from the Supreme Personality of Godhead and expands like the sky (vitatam vyomavat).  Nonetheless, the living force (asavah) can neither touch him (na sprsati) by using the instrument of kriya-sakti, nor can the mind, intelligence and senses know Him (na viduh) by using the instrument of jnana-sakti.  I offer unto Him my respectful obeisances (nato smi).  The reason the mind, intelligence, senses and living force cannot understand the Supreme Brahman is explained in the next verse (6.16.24), where Narada says: ‘The body, senses, living force, mind and intelligence, although merely lumps of matter, can function in their activities (karmasu) when infused by a particle of consciousness (ami yad-amsa-viddhah) by the Supreme Personality of Godhead.”  Without the Supreme Personality of Godhead’s intervention, they cannot act either in the states of wakefulness, dreaming, deep-sleep, unconsciousness, or any other condition of life.  In order to explain the senses’ dependence on the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Narada gives the following example: ‘As iron cannot burn unless heated by fire (aprataptam lauham), the bodily senses cannot act unless favoured by the Supreme Brahman.’  A red-hot iron rod get its burning potency from fire, and although it can burn many objects, it cannot burn fire itself.  In the same way, because the material body, senses, living force, mind and intelligence of the living entities have obtained their powers to act (kriya-sakti) and understand (jnana-sakti) from the Supreme Personality of Godhead, although they may be able to touch or understand many things, they are unable to touch or understand the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the source of all their power.”

5        That the senses are dependent on the Supreme Personality of Godhead for their powers is confirmed by even Sankaracarya, the leader of the impersonalists, who in the course of refuting the atheistic Sankhya philosophy said (Sariraka-bhasya 1.1.5):

          “The material eyes have the power to see because it is given to them by the Supreme.  As an iron rod or similar object obtains the power to burn by being placed near a fire, so the senses obtain the power to act from the Supreme.  The omniscient Supreme Truth is the primary cause of the entire material cosmos.”

6        That the senses are dependent on the Supreme Personality of Godhead is also confirmed in the following statements of the Upanisads:

          “When the Supreme Personality of Godhead appears, then the various different planets may also become manifested.  They cannot appear unless He appears first.”

                                      Katha Upanisad 2.2.15, Mundaka Upanisad 2.2.10

                                      and Svetasvatara Upanisad 6.14

          “Unless the supremely blissful Personality of Godhead is present within the sky of the heart, what living entity has the power to do anything, or even to remain alive?”

                                      Taittariya Upanisad 2.7.1

          “The Supreme Personality of Godhead grants the power of sight to the eyes and the power of hearing to the ears of the individual living entities.”

                                      Brhad-aranyaka Upanisad 4.4.18

7        In the concluding portion of his commentary on this verse (Shrimad Bhagavatam 6.16.24) Shridhara Svami says:

          “At this point someone may say: ‘All right, the senses cannot act independently, only the individual spirit soul is the seer and the knower of what is experienced by the senses.’  To this I reply; ‘No, no, in all states of being, whether awake, dreaming, or deeply asleep, the individual living entity is dependent on the Supreme.  Without the mercy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the individual spirit soul cannot see or perceive anything with any one of his senses (na drastrapadesam eti).  This is confirmed in the following statement of Brhad-aranyaka Upanisad (3.7.23): ‘Without the Supreme Personality of Godhead’s mercy, no one can see anything.’

          “Another way to interpret the words no drastrapadesam eti is to accept them as meaning: ‘Although the senses of the individual living entity can perceive various things, under normal conditions they cannot perceive the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is the source of their power.’”

8        That the Supreme Personality of Godhead is the origin of all sensory perception is confirmed in the following statement of Shrimad-Bhagavatam (2.10.9):

          “All three of the above-mentioned stages of different living entities are interdependent.  In the absence of one, another is not understood.  But the Supreme Being who sees every one of them as the shelter of the shelter is independent of all, and therefore He is the supreme shelter.”*

9        In various places in the Sruti-sastra also it is confirmed that the individual living entities (jivas) are never independent of the Supreme Personality o Godhead.  He is the original seer of everything, and no one can see anything without His mercy.  In this way these verses (6.16.23-24) may be understood.

Anuccheda 20

1        That the senses of the conditioned souls cannot perceive the Supreme Personality of Godhead who is the source of their power is confirmed in the following statement of Shrimad Bhagavatam (6.4.25) where Maharaja Daksa says:

          “Because they are only matter, the body, the life airs, the external and internal senses, the five gross elements and the subtle sense objects (form, taste, smell, sound and touch) cannot know their own nature, the nature of the other senses or the nature of their controllers.  But the living being, because of his spiritual nature, can know his body, the life airs, the senses, the elements and the sense objects, and he can also know the three qualities that form their roots.  Nevertheless, although the living being is completely aware of them, he is unable to see the Supreme Being, who is omniscient and unlimited.  I therefore offer my respectful obeisances unto Him.”*

2        In this verse the word ‘prana’ means ‘life-airs’, ‘aksah’ means ‘the senses’, ‘manavah’ means ‘the mind’, ‘bhuta-matram’ means ‘the tan-matras’, ‘atmanam’ means ‘themselves’, ‘anyam’ means ‘other areas of perception’.  The demigods who are beyond (param) these two they do not know.  These things they do not know (na viduh).  ‘Puman” means “the living being”, ‘sarvam’ means ‘themselves and whatever is beyond themselves’.  Beyond themselves (param) are the material body, things in relation to the body, and the controlling demigods.  This the living entity knows (veda).  ‘Gunams ca’ means ‘the mode of goodness and the other material modes’, which are the root from which the material bodies and other material things have grown.  Even though the living entity knows all these (taj-jnah) he still does not know (na veda) the sarvajna.  Sarvajna here means “He who knows the living entities and everything else also.’  The word ‘anantam’ is explained in the following statement of Shrimad Bhagavatam (1.18.19):

          “The Personality of Godhead, unlimited, in potency and transcendental by attributes, is called the ananta (Unlimited).”*

          The speaker then says: “I worship (ide) the unlimitedly powerful Supreme Lord.”

3        In connection with the statement that the individual entity is unable to see the Supreme the Brhad-aranyaka Upanisad (4.5.15) says:

          “There (in the material world of duality) the individual living entity sees the Supreme as different from himself.’

          In these words is described how the individual spirit soul sees himself as different from the Supreme.  The Upanisad then says:

          “When he sees that everything is the Supreme Soul, then how, or what will he see (that is different from himself)?”

          Then the living entity does not see the Supreme Soul as the observer, but rather he sees that everything is the observer of the Supreme Soul and that what he sees is himself.”

          Then the Upanisad says:

          “How can he know the knower?”

          An explanation of the meaning of these passages follows.  In these statements the word ‘yatra’ means ‘in the illusory potency, maya, where duality is manifested.’  Under the influence of the inconceivable potency named maya, and under the influence of the temporary world of the contamination of matter, what is not different is perceived to be different.  Because of this influence the individual spirit soul is born again and again as if he were independent and separate.  In this way the ‘separate’ (itarah) living entity sees others as ‘separate’ (itaram).  He is able to see others as separate because the instrument of seeing and the object of vision are both suitable for this kind of vision.  That is the meaning.

          The word ‘yatra’ here means ‘in His personal potency’.  The individual soul, or jiva here is compared to a particle of light, and the Supreme Soul, described here as the ‘atma’, is compared to the sun-globe.  The words ‘sarvam abhut’ mean that everything is manifested by the Lord’s personal potency.  Everything exists from beginningless time.  It is not manifest only in that entrance at that time.  What (kam) and by what separate (itarena) method (kena) can the separate (itarah) individual soul (jiva) see?  He cannot see anything by any such method.  That is the meaning.  By their own power individual rays of light cannot display the splendour manifest in the sun itself and neither can individual sparks burn a fire.  That is the meaning.  By what separate method may one understand the omniscient (vijnataram), unlimited, omnipotent Supreme Soul?  There is no separate method to understand Him.  That is the meaning.  When the jnana-sakti is manifest, then the kriya-sakti and iccha-sakti are also seen.  The verse quoted in Text 1 was spoken by Maharaja Daksa to the Supreme Personality of Godhead

Anuccheda 21

          The     Supreme Personality of Godhead is always in full control of His various potencies.  This is confirmed by the following verse of Shrimad Bhagavatam (7.9.22) where Prahlada Maharaja says to Lord Nrsimhadeva:

          “My dear Lord, O supreme great, You have created this material world of sixteen constituents, but You are transcendental to their material qualities.  In other words, these material qualities are under Your full control, and You are never conquered by them.  Therefore the time element is Your representation.  My Lord, O Supreme, no one can conquer You.  As for me, however, I am being crushed by the wheel of time, and therefore I surrender fully unto You.  Now kindly take me under the protection of Your lotus feet.”*

          Shridhara Svami explains that the word ‘sva-dhamna’ means ‘by Your personal spiritual energy’, and ‘kala’ means ‘the time element, which creates the material manifestation, or maya.’  ‘Atma’ here means ‘the individual living entities’, and ‘guna’ means the three modes of material nature (goodness, passion, and ignorance).  Although the individual living entities may come under the control of the modes of nature, the Supreme Personality of Godhead is never controlled by them.  This is confirmed by the following statement of Shrimad Bhagavatam (11.25.12) where the Personality of Godhead says:

          “The individual living entities may come under the control of goodness, passion and ignorance, but I am never controlled by them.”

Anuccheda 22

1        That the Supreme Lord’s potencies are always under His full control is also confirmed by the following statement of Shrimad Bhagavatam (5.18.38), where the Earth-deity says to Lord Varaha:

          “O Lord, You do not desire the creation, maintenance or annihilation of this material world, but You perform these activities for the conditioned souls by Your creative energy.  Exactly as a piece of iron moves under the influence of a lodestone, inert matter moves when You glance over the total material energy.”*

2        Shridhara Svami explains in his commentary:

          “This verse means” ‘O Lord, You do not desire the creation (nepsitam), maintenance or annihilation of this material world (visva-sthiti) but You perform (karoti) these activities for the conditioned souls by Your creative energy (maya) who uses the three modes of material nature (gunaih) as her instruments.  As (yatha) a piece of iron (ayah) moves (bhramati) under the influence of a lodestone (gravnah), inert matter moves when You glance (saksine) over the total material energy, observing the modes of nature (guna) and the fruitive actions of the conditioned souls (karma), which although seen by you, remain invisible to them.  I therefore offer my respectful obeisances unto (namah).’”

Anuccheda 23

1        The Personality of Godhead is always situated in transcendence and filled with spiritual bliss.  In this condition He remains eternally unaffected by the inert material potency maya.  This is described in the following verse of Shrimad Bhagavatam (1.7.23), where Arjuna says to Lord Krishna:

          “You are the Original Personality of Godhead who expands Himself all over the creations and is transcendental to material energy.  You have cast away the effects of the material energy by dint of Your spiritual potency.  You are always situated in eternal bliss and transcendental knowledge.”*

2        In this verse the word ‘adyah purusah’ refers to the Bhagavan feature of the Lord, and the word ‘isvarah’ refers to the Supersoul feature of the Lord.  Both features of the Lord are described as ‘prakrteh parah’ (transcendental to the material energy).

          Someone may ask the following question: “Please describe how the Bhagavan feature of the Lord enjoys transcendental bliss untouched by the material energy, and please also explain how it is possible for the Supersoul feature of the Lord to remain untouched by the material energy, even though the Supersoul is the predominating Deity who controls the material energy, and is apparently directly in contact with it?”

          To these questions the following answers may be given: The Supreme Personality of Godhead, by His transcendental internal potency, sends the external illusory potency, maya, far away from Himself.  By means of His internal spiritual potency He enjoys transcendental knowledge and bliss (kaivalye).  This is described in the following statement of Shrimad Bhagavatam (11.9.18) where it is said:

3        “He is also the supreme worshipable object for all beings, including liberated souls, demigods and ordinary conditioned souls.  The Lord is eternally free from any material designation, and he constitutes the totality of spiritual bliss derived from perception of His own spiritual form.  The Lord exhibits the fullest meaning of the word liberation”.***

4        In this verse from the Eleventh Canto of the Bhagavatam, the Personality of Godhead is describes as situated in His own transcendental eternal bliss (atmani sthitah).  This is also explained in the following statement of Shrimad Bhagavatam (6.9.33):

          “O my Lord, You are situated in Your own transcendental bliss.”

5        In the quote from the Eleventh Canto of Shrimad Bhagavatam (11.9.18) the word ‘sandoha’ (multitude) indicates that the spiritual potencies of the Lord are manifested in endless variety.  In connection with the verse from the first canto (1.7.23), Shridhara Svami has explained that the word ‘prakrteh’ refers to the three modes of material nature.  That the Supreme Personality of Godhead is the master of all potencies is also described by Devahuti-devi in the following verse of Shrimad Bhagavatam (3.24.33):

6        “I surrender unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead, descended in the form of Kapila, who is independently powerful and transcendental, who is the Supreme Person and the Lord of the sum total of matter and the element of time, who is the fully cognisant maintainer of all the universes under the three modes of material nature, and who absorbs the material manifestations after their dissolution.”*

7        Shridhara Svami comments on this verse in the following words:

          “In this verse the word param means ‘the Supreme Personality of Godhead.’  Why is He the Supreme Godhead?  The reasons are given in the following words: He is ‘svacchanda-sakti’ (the independent master of innumerable potencies), ‘pradhanam purusam’ (the Lord of the sum total of matter, ‘mahantam’ (the Universal Form), ‘kalam’ (time, which prods the material energy into activity), ‘tri-vrtam’ (the three modes of nature, and the false-ego), and ‘loka-pala’ (the maintainer of all the universes.

          After describing how the Personality of Godhead is the master of the material creation, Shrimati Devahuti-devi explains that the Supreme Lord, by manifesting His internal spiritual potency, remains always untouched by the material energy.  In this connection she says atmanubhutyanugata-prapancam’ (He manifests His spiritual potency, and thus absorbs the material manifestations after their dissolution).  She also describes the Supreme Personality of Godhead as ‘kavim’ (He who is fully cognisant of everything that happens in the material realm).”

8        Although the Personality of Godhead sometimes remains within the material energy as its controller, He is always superior to that energy and aloof from it.  This is confirmed in the following statement of Lord Kapiladeva Shrimad-Bhagavatam (3.26.3):

          “The Supreme Personality of Godhead is the Supreme Soul, and He has no beginning.  He is transcendental to the material modes of nature and beyond the existence of this material world.  He is perceivable everywhere because He is self-effulgent, and by His self-effulgent lustre the entire creation is maintained.”*

9        In the course of describing the Supreme Lord’s holy names and forms, the Maha-samhita gives the following description of the Lord’s three material potencies:

          “The Personality of Godhead manifests three potencies in relation to the conditioned souls in the material world.  These three potencies are known as 1. Shri, or the potency for maintaining the material universes, 2. Bhu, or the potency for creating the material universes, and 3. Durga, or the potency for annihilating the material universes.  Aside from these potencies, the Lord has His own personal potencies (atma-maya) which are manifested as iccha-sakti (His spiritual potency, by which whatever He wishes becomes immediately fulfilled), and guna-maya-sakti, (His external potency, by which the inert material universes are constructed).”

          In this verse the word ‘shri’ means ‘the potency for maintaining the material universes’, ‘bhu’, means ‘the potency for creating them’, and ‘durga’ means ‘the potency for annihilating them’.  These are the divisions of different potencies.  The potency of the individual living entities is called ‘jiva-maya.’

10      These three (Shri, Bhu and Durga) potencies of the Lord are described in the following passage of the Padma Purana (Karttika-mahatmya 73.231-232) where Lord Krishna says to Satyabhama-devi:

          “Lord Krishna said: ‘O Satyabhama, I remain in this material world in the form of My three potencies associated with the three modes of material nature.”  When the demigods heard this statement of the Lord, they understood His intention, and with great devotion they offered their respects to the three goddesses Laksmi-devi, Parvati-devi and Prthivi-devi, the three potencies of the Lord.”

11      The three potencies of the Personality of Godhead are also described in the following statement of Shrimad Bhagavatam (11.3.16), where Antariksa Rsi says:

          “I have now described maya, the illusory energy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.  This illusory potency, consisting of the three modes of material nature, is empowered by the Lord for the creation, maintenance and annihilation of the material universe.  Now, what more do you wish to hear?”***

12      The demigod Brahma describes the Supreme Personality of Godhead’s potencies in the following words (Shrimad Bhagavatam 10.13.45):

“As the darkness of snow on a dark night and the light of a glow-worm in the light of day have no value, the mystic power of an inferior person who tries to use it against a person of great power is unable to accomplish anything; instead the power of that inferior person is diminished.”*

13      In this verse Brahma explains that there are different degrees of mystic power (maya).  A small amount of mystic power may be genuine or illusory, but whatever the nature of that power, if someone uses a small mystic power challenge a greater power, the small power will certainly be defeated and appear insignificant in relation to the greater power.  To demonstrate this, Brahma gives to examples in this verse.

14      The word ‘maya’ in this verse means ‘mystic power’.  It does not mean ‘illusion’ here.  For example, the Puranas and other Vedic literatures sometimes describe battles where various weapons composed of ‘maya’ wounded and killed many soldiers.  If the ‘maya’ which was the active principle of those weapons had been an illusion, it would not have been able to hurt anyone, just as no one becomes wet by touching the mirage of water seen in a desert.  The word ‘maya’ is used in various Vedic literatures to describe the Lord’s eternal transcendental potency, which always accompanies Him.  For example the Catur-veda-sikha explains:

          “The eternal Personality of Godhead, Lord Vishnu, is described as the supreme master of all transcendental potencies (maya-mayam).”

          The Maha-samhita explains:

          “The potency known as atma-maya fulfils all the desires of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.”

          This atma-maya is manifested in two divisions as jnana-sakti and kriya-sakti.  The word ‘maya’ may also be interpreted to mean ‘knowledge’, for the Vedic dictionary explains:

          “Another meaning of the word maya is knowledge.”

15      Some different meanings from the word ‘maya’ are given in the following verse from the Sabda-mahodadhi Dictionary:

          “They who understand the meanings of words say that the word ‘maya’ may be defined to mean: 1. The three modes of material nature, 2. Knowledge, and 3. The transcendental potency of Lord Vishnu.”

16      In this verse the word ‘gunatmika’ may be understood to mean the Lord’s original potency, by which the modes of nature and the various material universes are created.  According to the Trikhanda-sesa Dictionary the word ‘maya’ may be interpreted in two ways:

          “The word ‘maya’ may be understood to mean ‘trickery’ or ‘mercy’.”

          In his commentary on Shrimad-Bhagavatam (11.24.27) Shridhara Svami says:

          “The word ‘maya-maye’ used in this verse may be understood to mean ‘pushing the illusory potency into action’, or ‘full of knowledge’, depending on whether we interpret the word ‘maya’ to mean ‘illusory potency’ or ‘knowledge’.

          Commenting on Shrimad Bhagavatam (9.20.27) Shridhara Svami also says:

          “The word ‘maya’ used in this verse should be understood to mean ‘opulences.’”

          In his commentary on Shrimad-Bhagavatam (3.15.26) Shridhara Svami has explained that the word ‘yoga-maya’ used in that verse may be interpreted to mean either ‘the mystic yoga powers attained by the Four Kumaras’, or ‘the spiritual pastime potency of the Personality of Godhead.’  In Shrimad Bhagavatam 1.7.23, the verse quoted in the beginning of this Anuccheda, Arjuna explains that in the liberated Vaikuntha spiritual planets (kaivalye), which are situated on the platform of liberation, the Personality of Godhead appears in His own plenary portion (atmani sthitah).  One may ask: How is the Supreme Lord situated in that spiritual world?  The answer is given in the next part of the verse:

          “You cast away the effects of the material energy by dint of Your spiritual potency.”

          In this verse the word ‘maya’ is used in the sense of ‘the illusory material energy’, and it is clearly explained that the illusory material energy has no influence over the Personality of Godhead and cannot enter His spiritual world of Vaikuntha.  This is also explained in the following verse of Shrimad Bhagavatam (2.9.10), where Shrila Sukadeva Gosvami says:

17      “In that personal abode of the Lord, the material modes of ignorance and passion do not prevail, nor is there any of their influence in goodness.  There is no predominance of the influence of time, so what to speak of the illusory, external energy, it cannot enter that region.  Without discrimination, both the demigods and the demons worship the Lord as devotees.”*

18      In the Padma Purana, Uttara-khanda, the following synonyms are given for the word ‘vaikuntha’:

          “Some synonyms for the word ‘vaikuntha’ are:

          1. Moksa (the position of liberation), 2. Param padam (the supreme abode), 3. Lingam (the subtle spiritual realm), 4. Amrtam (the eternal place), and 5. Vishnu-mandiram (the palatial residence of Lord Vishnu).”

Anuccheda 24

1        All transcendental qualities and opulences are present in the transcendental form of the Supreme Personality of Godhead by the agency of His internal spiritual potency.  This point will be discussed now in the next Anucchedas.

Anuccheda 25

1        That the transcendental form of the Personality of Godhead is full of all spiritual attributes and opulences is confirmed by the following statement of Shrimad Bhagavatam (10.87.38) where the Personified Vedas address the Lord:

          “O Supreme Personality of Godhead, when there is cosmic manifestation, the jivatma, or the individual soul, appears in the creation in different forms, according to his previous fruitive activities, and due to his long forgetfulness of real existence, he identifies himself with a particular form awarded to him by the laws of material nature.  After assuming a material form, he becomes subjected to the three material modes of nature and acts accordingly to continue his existence in the material world.  While enwrapped in such ignorance, his natural opulences, although existing in minute quantity, are almost extinct.  Your opulences, however, are not diminished, although You appear within this material world.  The conditioned soul becomes entrapped in the material world, whereas You leave it without affection, just as a snake sheds his skin.  The distinction between You and the conditioned individual soul is that You maintain Your natural opulences, known as sad-aisvarya, asta-siddhi and asta-guna.”

2        Shridhara Svami comments on this verse in the following words:

          “In this verse the word ‘sah’ means ‘the individual spirit soul’.  ‘Yat’ means ‘because’, ‘ajaya’ means ‘by the material energy maya’, ‘ajam’ means ‘ignorance’, ‘anusayita’ means ‘embraces’, ‘gunams ca’ means ‘the material body and senses’, ‘jusan’ means ‘serving, or considering the material body as the self’, ‘svarupatam jusan apeta-bhagah’ means ‘absorbed in the material energy, the individual spirit soul become bereft of his natural spiritual opulences such as bliss and knowledge’, ‘mrtyum’ means ‘the material realm of repeated birth and death’, ‘bhajati’ means ‘attains’, ‘tvam uta’ means ‘but You’, and ‘jahasi tam’ means ‘abandon all attachment for that material energy.’

3        “At this point someone may ask: ‘O Lord, how is that You remain aloof from the material energy maya?’  In order to answer this question, the Personified Vedas say: ‘Ahir iva tvacam’ (O Lord, just as a snake sheds its skin, in the same way you shed all contact with the illusory potency maya).  This means: ‘You never fall into the illusion of identifying with a material body constructed of the three modes of material nature’.  Because the Supreme Personality of Godhead is the master of limitless transcendental bliss and knowledge, He remains always aloof from the inferior material energy.

4        “Someone may ask: ‘How is it that the Personality of Godhead remains full of all transcendental opulences?’  To answer this question, the Personified Vedas say: ‘Atta-bhagah’ (O Lord, You are full of eternal spiritual opulences).

          Now someone may ask: ‘How is it that the Supreme Lord’s opulences are so extraordinary?’  To answer this question, the Personified Vedas say: ‘Aparimeya-bhagah’ (O Lord, Your opulences are unlimited.  Neither time nor space impose restrictions on Your opulences).”

5        The limitless opulences of the Supreme Personality of Godhead are also described in the following verse from Shrimad Bhagavatam (10.87.14), where the Personified Vedas say to the Supreme Lord:

          “O Lord, You are the master of all opulences.”

6        The example of the snake shedding its skin may be explained in the following way: A snake shed its skin when the skin becomes too old.  The snake will not go at all near the old rejected skin, but avoids it completely.  In the same way, the Personality of Godhead will not even come near the material energy maya, but completely rejects it.

7        The Lord’s transcendental opulences are also described in the following statement of Shrimad Bhagavatam (10.37.22), where Lord Krishna is addressed in the following words:

          “O Lord, You are full of supremely pure transcendental knowledge.  All Your desires are automatically fulfilled, and none of Your desires can ever be thwarted.”*

8        In the following verses from Shrimad Bhagavatam (11.15.3-5) the Personality of Godhead describes His opulences to Uddhava:

          “The masters of the yoga system have declared that there are eighteen types of mystic perfection and meditation, of which eight are primary, having their shelter in Me, and ten are secondary, appearing from the material mode of goodness.”***

9        “Among the eight primary mystic perfections those three by which one adjusts one’s own body are anima, becoming smaller than the smallest, mahima, becoming greater than the greatest, and laghima, becoming lighter than the lightest.  Through the perfection of prapti one acquires whatever one desires, and though prakamya-siddhi one experiences any enjoyable object, either in this world or the next.  Through isita-siddhi one can manipulate the sub potencies of maya, and through the controlling potency called vasita-siddhi one is unimpeded by the three modes of material nature.  One who has acquired kamavasayita-siddhi can obtain anything from anywhere, to the highest possible limit.  My dear gentle Uddhava, these eight mystic perfections are considered to be naturally existing and unexcelled within this world.”***

10      The potencies of the Supreme Personality of Godhead included the material potency maya.  Maya is described in the following verse of Shrimad Bhagavatam (7.6.23), where Prahlada Maharaja says to the sons of the demons:

          “The Personality of Godhead is simply perceived as the supreme sac-cid-ananda (eternity, knowledge and bliss).  Being covered by the curtain of the external energy, to the atheist He appears non existent.”*

11      Shrila Shridhara Svami discusses this verse:

          “Someone may ask: ‘If God is all-pervading, then why do we not see the omniscient, all-powerful Godhead everywhere?’

          The answer to that question is given in this verse: ‘mayayantarhitaisvaryah’ (The supremely opulent Personality of Godhead is covered by the curtain of the external energy, and to the atheist He appears non-existent).”

          This verse explains that the glories and opulences of the Lord are hidden from the view of the conditioned souls by the external material potency (mayaya guna-sargaya).  These explanations clearly refer to the Supreme Personality of Godhead who is indicated by the word ‘paramesvarah’.

12      Maya is also described in the following statement of Svetasvatara Upanisad (4.5):

          “The unborn material nature creates the many material bodies assumed by the conditioned souls.  This material nature has three features, the three modes of material nature:  goodness (white), passion (red) and ignorance (black).  In the conditioned state the unborn eternal spirit soul becomes the follower and servant of the material energy.  When liberated from illusion, the spirit soul abandons the attempt to enjoy what is offered by the material energy.”

13      How may the Supreme Personality of Godhead be described?  He is the possessor of all knowledge and the master of all opulences and potencies.  This is described in the following statements of Vedic literature:

          “The Supreme Personality of Godhead is the master of all transcendental qualities and potencies.”

                                      Svetasvatara Upanisad 1.3

          “The transcendental potencies of the Supreme Personality of Godhead are beyond the perception or description of the conditioned souls.”

                                      Vishnu Purana 1.19.77

Anuccheda 26

1        This is also explained in Shrimad Bhagavatam 11.13.40, where the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself says:

          “All superior transcendental qualities, such as being beyond the modes of nature, detached, the well-wisher, the most dear, the Supersoul, equally situated everywhere, and free from material qualities, find their shelter and worshipable object in Me.”***

2        Shridhara Svami explains in his commentary:

          “What is the nature of the Supreme Personality of Godhead?  He is described in this verse by the word ‘aguna’.  Here the word ‘aguna’ means ‘without any of the temporary, constantly changing qualities of the material nature’.  The Lord has no material qualities, for all His attributes are eternal and changeless.”

          This is also described in the following statement of the Narada-pancaratra, Jitanta-stotra:

          “I offer my respectful obeisances to the Supreme Personality of godhead.  He is the original creator of everything.  Although He has no material qualities, He is fully endowed with all six transcendental opulences.”

3        The transcendental qualities of the Lord are also described in the following statement of the brahma-tarka:

          “The Personality of Godhead possesses all transcendental qualities.  The qualities of the Supreme Lord and the liberated living entities are the same.  In quality they are one.”

4        The spiritual qualities of the Lord are also described in the following verses of the Kalika Purana, where goddess Durga prays to Lord Vishnu:

          “O Personality of Godhead, even Brahma, the demigods, sages, and ascetics cannot understand Your transcendental forms.  How is it possible, then, for an insignificant person like myself to describe You?  O Lord, You are nirguna, without any material qualities.  Even the demigods, headed by Maharaja Indra, and the demons cannot understand Your transcendental qualities.  How is it possible, then, for me, who am only a woman, to understand them?”

          This verse was recounted by Shri Hamsadeva to Sanaka and the Kumaras.

Anuccheda 27

1        In the following statement of Shrimad Bhagavatam (1.16.29), the earthly deity confirms the statement of Hamsa-avatara (Shrimad Bhagavatam 11.13.40 quoted in Anuccheda 26, text 1) and, after listing some of the Supreme Lord’s transcendental qualities, (such as cleanliness and truthfulness) affirms that all these qualities are eternally present in the Lord, and He is never separated from them.  She says:

          “Many transcendental qualities are eternally present in the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and are never to be separated from Him.”*

2        Shridhara Svami explains in his commentary:

          “In this verse the word ‘ete’ refers to the 40 qualities of the Lord listed here.  The words ‘anye ca’ refer to innumerable other great qualities of Lord not included in this list.  Among such qualities are the Supreme Lord’s mercy to the Brahmanas and His protection of the surrendered souls.  The word ‘nityah’ means that the Lord’s qualities are all eternal and they are naturally His property.  They are not artificially imposed from without.  The words ‘na viyanti’ mean that the Lord’s qualities never deteriorate and the Lord is never bereft of them.”

3        That the transcendental qualities of the Supreme Personality of Godhead are beyond the influence of material time is confirmed by the following statement of Vishnu Purana (4.1.27):

          “Time, which is composed of seconds, minutes, hours, years and so forth, is not able to change the eternal qualities of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.”

Anuccheda 28

1        That the qualities of the Supreme Personality of Godhead are completely spiritual  and not at all material is also confirmed in the following statement of Shrimad Bhagavatam (10.28.7) where Varunadeva says to Shri Krishna:

          “O Lord, O Supreme Personality of Godhead, Supreme Brahman and Supersoul of everything, let me offer my respectful obeisances unto You.  You are the supreme transcendental personality; there is no possibility of imposing the influence of material nature upon You.”*

2        In this verse the word ‘yatra’ refers to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is manifest as Brahman, Paramatma and Bhagavan.  He is never under the influence of the external material energy (maya na sruyate).  Maya’s jurisdiction is limited to the creation, maintenance, and annihilation of the various material universes.  The Supreme Personality of Godhead is spiritual and beyond the limited material universes.  Therefore He is not within maya’s jurisdiction, and He is not controlled by her.

3        As he was asking Shrila Sukadeva Gosvami about the geography of the earth planet, Maharaja Pariksit spoke the following words (Shrimad Bhagavatam 5.16.3), confirming that the Personality of Godhead is beyond the reach of the material energy and the three modes of nature:

          “When the mind is fixed upon the Supreme Personality of Godhead in His external feature made of the material modes of nature - the gross universal form - it is brought to the platform of pure goodness.  In that transcendental position, one can understand the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vasudeva, who in his subtler form is self-effulgent and beyond the modes of nature.”*

Anuccheda 29

1        That the material energy is ashamed even to approach the Personality of Godhead is described in the following verses of Shrimad Bhagavatam (2.5.12-13) where Lord Brahma says to Narada:

          “I offer my obeisances and meditate upon Lord Krishna (Vasudeva), the Personality of Godhead, whose invincible potency influences them (the less intelligent class of men) to call me the supreme controller.*

2        “The illusory energy of the Lord cannot take precedence, being ashamed of her position, but those who are bewildered by her always talk nonsense, being absorbed in thoughts of ‘It is I’ and ‘It is mine’.”

3        In this verse Brahma explains that because the material energy, maya, is composed of the three modes of ignorance, passion and goodness, she is contaminated and full of faults.  The Personality of Godhead, because He is spiritual, and possesses eternity, knowledge and bliss to the highest degree, is completely flawless.  The contaminated material energy is therefore embarrassed to come within the energy is therefore embarrassed to come within the vision of the supremely pure Personality of Godhead.  This verse explains that the material energy maya bewilders (vimohitah) Lord Brahma and all other conditioned souls.

Anuccheda 30

1        Having demonstrated that the transcendental form of the Personality of godhead is full of the six opulences of wealth, strength, fame, beauty, knowledge, and renunciation, and many other powers and opulence also, we will now establish that the form of the Lord is perfect and complete in all respects.  First we will show that because the Personality of Godhead is the supreme ruler of the spiritual planets known as Vaikunthaloka, therefore His spiritual form is eternal, and will never cease to exist.  This is confirmed by the following three verses of Shrimad Bhagavatam (10.3.25-27).  when Lord Krishna descended to this material world, Devaki-devi prayed to Him (10.3.25):

2        “After millions of years, at the time of cosmic annihilation, when everything, manifested  and unmanifested, is annihilated by the force of time, the five gross elements enter into the subtle conception, and the manifested categories enter into the unmanifested substance.  At that time, You alone remain, and You are known as Ananta-Sesa-naga.”*

3        In the next verse (10.3.26) Devaki explained why the Lord is known by the name ‘sesa’:

          “O inaugurator of the material energy, this wonderful creation works under the control of powerful time, which is divided into seconds, minutes, hours and years.  This element of time, which extends for many millions of years, is but another form of Lord Vishnu.  For Your pastimes, You act as the controller of time, but You are the reservoir of all good fortune.  Let me offer my full surrender unto Your Lordship.”*

4        In this verse the word ‘avyakta-bandho’ means ‘O inaugurator of the material energy’, and ‘cestam’ means ‘time’, which is divided into seconds, minutes, hours, and years’.  That the Personality of Godhead is the original creator of time is confirmed in the following statement of the Maha-Narrayana Upanisad (1.8):

          “Time is born from the splendid Personality of Godhead.”*

          In other words, time, which is the cause of the creation and destruction of the material universes, is simply one of the limbs of the Personality of Godhead.  Although the Personality of Godhead is the origin of the destructive time-factor, still, He is also supremely auspicious, as Devaki-devi has said: ‘ksema-dhama’ (O Lord, You are the reservoir of all good-fortune).  By His own wish the Supreme Lord appeared in this material world and frightened the demon Kamsa (by His time-potency), what to speak of giving protection to the devoted Devaki (ksema-dhama).  These two activities are clearly described in the next verse of Shrimad Bhagavatam (10.3.27) where Devaki says:

5        “No one in this material world has become free from the four principles of birth, death, old age, and disease, even by fleeing to various planets.  But now that You have appeared, My Lord, death is fleeing in fear of You, and the living entities, having obtained shelter at Your lotus feet by Your mercy, are sleeping in full mental peace.”*

6        In this verse Devaki-devi contrasts the various material planets with the lotus feet of the Shri Krishna.  By fleeing to various material planets (lokan prapya), one cannot become free from fear (nirbhayam).  One the other hand, by taking shelter of Lord Krishna’s lotus feet (tvat-padabjam prapya), one becomes free from the fears of material existence.  We may note in this connection that by saying ‘tvat-padabjam’ (Your lotus feet), Devaki-devi clearly refers not only to the Lord’s lotus feet but to His complete transcendental form also.

          In this verse Devaki says that death flees in fear of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.  This is also confirmed in the Vishnu-sahasra-nama prayers, which describe the Supreme Lord as ‘amrta-vapuh’ (He whose form is eternal).  Even Sankaracarya confirms this in His commentary on this word of the Vishnu-sahasra-nama, by saying:

          “The word ‘amrta-vapuh’ means ‘He whose form is free from death’.”

7        In this verse the word ‘adya’ may be interpreted to mean: “O Lord who does not take birth in this material world, although You are the original father of all the living entities who do take birth here.”  That the Supreme Personality of Godhead does not take birth in the material world as an ordinary conditioned soul but appears here in His original transcendental form by His own wish, is confirmed by the following statement of Shrimad Bhagavatam (10.3.8) where the Lord’s ‘birth’ as Devaki’s son is described in the following words comparing the Lord’s ‘birth’ to the rising of the moon:

          “Then the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vishnu, who is situated in the core of everyone’s heart , appeared from the heart of Devaki in the dense darkness of night, like the full moon rising on the eastern horizon.”*

8        That the Supreme Personality of Godhead never takes birth is also described in the following statement of Maha Upanisad:

          “Lord Hari is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and He is full of all transcendental bliss.  He is never born and He never dies.  He causes Brahma to create the material universe and Siva to destroy it.”

          The verses quoted in the beginning of this Anuccheda were spoken to the Supreme Personality of Godhead by Shri Devaki-devi.

Anuccheda 31

1        That the form of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is birthless and beginningless is also confirmed in the following statement of Shrimad Bhagavatam (5.25.9):

          “The Supreme Personality of Godhead is beginningless and unlimited.  He enables the modes of material nature to act as the causes of universal creation, maintenance and destruction.”*

2        That the Supreme Personality of Godhead is never affected by birth, death, or any other material transformation is explained in the following verse from Shrimad Bhagavatam (5.17.19) where Lord Siva describes the Personality of Godhead Lord Sankarsana in the following words:

          “We cannot control the force of our anger.  Therefore when we look at material things, we cannot avoid feeling attraction or repulsion for them.  But the Supreme Lord is never affected in this way.  Although He glances over the material world for the purpose of creating, maintaining and destroying it, He is not affected, even to the slightest degree.  Therefore, one who desires to conquer the force of the senses must take shelter of the lotus feet of the Lord.  Then he will be victorious.”*

3        That the form of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is always unaffected by the transformations caused by the material energy is confirmed by the following statements of Shrila Sukadeva Gosvami:

          “My dear King, approximately 240 000 miles beneath the planet Patala lives another incarnation of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.  He is the expansion of Lord Vishnu known as Lord Ananta or Lord Sankarsana.  He is always in the transcendental position, but because He is worshipped by Lord Siva, the deity of tamo-guna or darkness, He is sometimes called tamasi.  Lord Ananta is the predominating Deity of the material mode of ignorance as well as the false ego of all conditioned souls.  When a conditioned living being thinks ‘I am the enjoyer, and this world is meant to be enjoyed by me’, this conception of life is dictated to him by Sankarsana.  Thus the mundane conditioned soul thinks himself the Supreme Lord.”*

                                      Shrimad Bhagavatam 5.25.1

          “In Ilavrta-varsa, Lord Siva is always encircled by ten billion maidservants of goddess Durga, who minister to him.  The quadruple expansion of the Supreme Lord is composed by Vasudeva,, Pradyumna, Anirrudha and Sankarsana.  Sankarsana, the fourth expansion, is certainly transcendental, but because his activities of destruction in the material world are in the mode of ignorance, He is known as tamasi, the Lord’s form in the mode of ignorance.  Lord Siva knows that Sankarsana is the original cause of his own existence, and thus he always meditates upon Him in trance by chanting the following mantra.”*

                                      Shrimad Bhagavatam 5.17.16

4        That all the forms of the Supreme Personality of Godhead are transcendental to the inferior material energy is also confirmed by the following statement of Shrimad Bhagavatam (5.25.10) where Shrila Sukadeva Gosvami says:

          “This manifestation of subtle and gross matter exists within the Supreme Personality of Godhead.  Out of causeless mercy toward His devotees, He exhibits various forms, which are all transcendental.  The Supreme Lord is most liberal, and He possesses all mystic power.  To conquer the minds of His devotees and give pleasure to their hearts, He appears in different incarnations and manifests many pastimes.”*

5        That all the forms of the Personality of Godhead are eternal is also confirmed by the following prayer from the Padma Purana, Uttara-khanda:

          “I offer my respectful obeisances to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who appears as the Universal Form.  All the forms of the Lord are birthless, deathless and unlimited.”

6        Here someone may protest that there are statements in the Skanda Purana and other Vedic literatures that describe the Supreme Lord’s form as temporary and material.  Such statements are deliberately inserted in some scriptures in order to hide the Lord’s glories from the eyes of the atheists, and the Puranas containing such faulty information are clearly known as Puranas in the mode of ignorance.  Even the Shrimad Bhagavatam contains some few statements that are not to be accepted by the devotees as the Bhagavatam itself declares (10.77.30):

          We will specifically establish this point later on in the Shri Krishna-sandarbha.

7        My only opinion is that the Lord’s forms are certainly eternal and transcendental and this view is confirmed by the statements of Shrimad Bhagavatam 1.16.27 (where the earth deity explains that the Supreme Lord’s qualities, such as beauty, endurance, energy, and strength are all eternal), 10.3.25 and 5.25.9 which have been quoted in the previous texts.

          The verse quoted in the beginning of this Anuccheda was spoken by Shrila Sukadeva Gosvami.

Anuccheda 32

1        That the Supreme Personality of Godhead is all-pervading is confirmed by the following statement of Shrimad Bhagavatam (10.9.13-14):

          “The Supreme Personality of Godhead has no beginning and no end, no exterior and no interior, no front and no rear.  In other words, He is all-pervading.  Because He is not under the influence of the element of time, for Him there is no difference between past, present and future; He exists in His own transcendental form at all times.  Being Absolute, beyond relativity, He is free from distinction between cause and effect, although He is the cause and effect of everything.  That unmanifested person, who is beyond the perception of the senses, had now appeared as a human child, and mother Yasoda, considering Him her own ordinary child, bound Him to the wooden mortar with a rope.”*

2        Shrila Shridhara Svami comments on this verse in the following words:

          “If an object has limits of beginning and end, it may be bound with a rope, but if an object has no limits, then it cannot be surrounded by anything, or bound with any rope.  In this verse Shrimad Bhagavatam confirms that Shri Krishna is all-pervading and without limits (na cantah).  Indeed, He is everything (jagac ca yah).  Still, ‘the unmanifested Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is beyond the perception of the senses (adhoksajam) had now appeared as a human child (martya-lingam) and Mother Yasoda considering (matva) Him (tam) her own ordinary child (atmajam) bound (babandha) Him to the wooden mortar with a rope..’”

3        The phrase ‘jagac ca yah’ (He is everything in creation in total) may be understood in the following way: The Supreme Personality of Godhead is not different from either the cause of creation, or the cosmic manifestation that is the effect of that cause.  In other words, because the entire material universe is nothing but the potency of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, He is not different from it.  Because an ordinary material rope is simply a fragmental part of one of His energies, such a rope has no power to bind Him, any more than a small flame has the power to burn up a large fire.

4        At this point someone may raise the following objection: “If the Supreme Personality of Godhead is all-pervading, then how is it possible that Yasoda-devi tied Him with a small rope that could not even have extend the breadth of the material universe?”  This objection is answered in this verse by the words ‘martya-lingam’ (in order to perform His pastimes, the Supreme Personality of Godhead appeared like an ordinary human child).  In order to act like an ordinary human being, the Supreme Lord allowed Himself to be bound by Mother Yasoda’s rope.

5        At this point someone may raise the following question: ‘If the Supreme Personality of Godhead has a human-like form, than that form is certainly manifested within a limited area of space.  How can such a limited form be all-pervading?”

          This question is answered by the use of the word ‘adhoksajam’ (beyond the perception of the senses).  The form of the Personality of Godhead cannot be properly understood by the senses of the conditioned soul, nor can it be understood by any other process for acquiring knowledge available to the conditioned souls.  Because He is thus inconceivable, although He may appear to be limited within time and space, in actual fact He is all-pervading.  Because He is not properly understood by ordinary living entities, He is therefore described in this verse as ‘avyaktam’ (unmanifested).

6        At this point someone may ask: “If the Supreme Personality of Godhead is all-pervading, even though His form appeared like that of an ordinary human being, then why did He not reveal His all-pervading nature to His mother, Yasoda-devi?”

          This question is answered by the words ‘atmajam-matva’ (Mother Yasoda considered Krishna her own ordinary child).  The relationship between Shri Krishna and Yasoda-devi was that of son and mother.  In order not to disrupt the blissful exchange of love between Himself and His mother, Lord Krishna concealed His all-pervasiveness and His other opulences from her eyes.  Mother Yasoda’s ignorance of the super human prowess of her son was actually her great glory, for in order to keep the loving parent-child relationship with her, He allowed Himself to be bound by a few small ropes.  The exalted position of Mother Yasoda is described in the following statement of Shrimad Bhagavatam (10.9.20):

          “Neither Lord Brahma, nor Lord Siva, nor even the goddess of fortune, who is always the better half of the Supreme Lord, can obtain from the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the deliverer from this material world, such mercy as received by mother Yasoda.”*

7        Some may say that the phrase ‘adhoksajam prakrtam yatha’ means that the Personality of Godhead, who is all-pervading, accepted the illusory form of a human being through the agency of His maha-maya potency.  Such a conception is completely false.  They who think that the Supreme Lord, who cannot be touched by the material potency maya, can be understood by the infantile logic of the conditioned souls, are great fools.  They are just like the gullible audience that believes in the existence of the magician’s creation of a blazing fire in the middle of the ocean.  They do not understand the nature of the Supreme.  That the Supreme Personality of Godhead is difficult to understand is confirmed by the following statement of Sruti-sastra:

          “The Supreme Personality of Godhead is all-powerful.  He alone created all the demigods.  Who can understand how He appears in this world?”

8        In this verse (Shrimad Bhagavatam 10.9.13-14), the relative and co-relative pronouns ‘yat’ and ‘tat’ both refer to Shri Krishna.  For this reason it should be understood that the form of Shri Krishna is simultaneously limited within space, (because He has a clearly defined form with hands, feet, and other limbs) and also all-pervading.  These apparently contradictory qualities of the Lord may be accepted because He is the reservoir of hundreds of mutually contradictory potencies, and therefore any otherwise impossible thing may easily be done by Him.  That mutually contradictory actions may performed by a single cause may be seen even in the material sphere where there are some medicines that create many different effects on the body, some of them contradicting other effects caused by the same medicine.

9        That Shri Krishna is simultaneously limited within space and also all-pervading is possible because He is the master of all inconceivable potencies which cannot be grasped by the tiny brains of the conditioned souls, is confirmed by the following statement of Brahma-samhita (5.34):

          “I worship Govinda, the primeval Lord, only the tip of the toe of whose lotus feet is approached by the yogis who aspire after the transcendental and betake themselves to pranayama by drilling the respiration; or by the jnanis who try to find out the non differentiated Brahman by the process of elimination of the mundane, extending over thousands and millions of years.”**

10      That the Supreme Personality of Godhead possesses mutually contradictory qualities, including the ability to be simultaneously limited in space and all-pervading, is confirmed in the following statement of the Sruti-sastra as quoted in the commentaries of Shripada Madhvacarya:

          “Lord Hari is neither large, small, or of a middle-size.  He is simultaneously all-pervading and not all-pervading.  He has and does not have a beginning.  He is and is not the material universe.  He has qualities and He does not have qualities.”

11      That the Supreme Personality of Godhead possesses mutually contradictory qualities is also described in the following statement of the Nrsimha-tapani Upanisad (2.6.1):

          “The Supreme Personality of Godhead exists outside the material sphere, but then again He exists within the material sphere.  He is the self, but then again He is not the self.  He is ferocious and He is also not ferocious.  He is powerful and also powerless.  He is great, and He is also not great.  He is all-pervading, and not all-pervading.  He is very splendid and He is not splendid at all.  His faces are manifest everywhere, and again His faces are not manifest everywhere.”

12      This is also confirmed by the following statement of the Brahma Purana:

          “The Supreme Godhead has a form neither large nor small.  He is not the material universe, but then again He is the material universe.  He possesses innumerable qualities and opulences, many of which contradict each other.  Because He is full of all opulences, He is known as the Supreme Person.”

13      This is also confirmed by the following statement of the Vishnu-dharma Purana:

          “I offer my respectful obeisances to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is simultaneously the greatest and the smallest.  He is one thousandth the six of an atom, and at the same time He is so large that all the material universes barely occupy a millionth part of the size of His abdomen.”

14      The Supreme Personality of Godhead describes His own self-contradictory powers and opulences in the following verses of Bhagavad-gita (9.4-5):

          “By Me in My unmanifested form, this entire universe is pervaded.  All beings are in Me, but I am not in them.  And yet everything that is created does not rest in Me, behold My mystic opulence!”*

          We may note that the word ‘avyakta-murtina’ used in this verse may mean ‘by My form, which is beyond the comprehension of the limited material intelligence.’

Anuccheda 33

1        In the next section of this book (Anucchedas 31-39) we will quote various statements of the demigod Brahma that confirm the statement that the form of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is simultaneously limited within space, and yet all-pervading.  In the first quotation (Shrimad Bhagavatam 10.14.11) Brahma says:

          “Where am I, a small creature of seven spans of the measure of my own hand?  I am enclosed in the universe composed of material nature, the total material energy, false ego, ether, air, water and earth.  And what is Your glory?  Unlimited universes pass through the pores of Your body just like particles of dust passing through the opening of a window.”*

2        In the next verse Brahma explains (Shrimad Bhagavatam 10.14.12):

          “O Adhoksaja, if a child within the womb plays with his legs, and while playing touches the body of the mother, is the mother offended with the child?  Of course she isn’t.  Similarly, I may be a very great personality within this universe, and yet not only myself but everything that be is existing within You.  Therefore You are considered to be the mother and everything existing within Your womb is considered to be a child.  And a good mother is never offended with the child, even if he touches her body by kicking his legs.”*

3        In the next verse (10.14.13) Brahma explains that it is well known that Brahma himself has taken birth from the Supreme Personality of Godhead:

          “At the end of the universe, when the three planetary systems are merged into the ocean of devastation, Your plenary portion Narayana lies down on the waters of that ocean, and from His navel a lotus stem grows.  The Puranas describe that Brahma, the unborn, appears from that lotus stem.  O Supreme Controller, indeed, am I not born from You?”*

4        Considering that Lord Krishna might say “If I were Lord Narayana, who lies down on the waters of devastation, then you might say that you have taken birth from Me.  The actual truth, however, is something else.  I am not Narayana”, Brahma spoke the next verse (Shrimad Bhagavatam 10.14.14):

          “O Lord of lords, You are the seer of all creation.  You are indeed everyone’s dearest life.  Are You not therefore, my father, Narayana?  Narayana refers to one whose abode is in the water born from Nara (Garbhodakasayi Vishnu) and that Narayana is Your plenary portion.  All Your plenary portions are transcendental.  They are absolute and are not creations of maya.”*

5        In this verse the word ‘adhisa’ means ‘O Supreme Personality of Godhead, who are situated above the form of Lord Narayana, who resides in the hearts of all conditioned souls,’ ‘hi’ means ‘certainly’, ‘narayanas tvam na’ means ‘Are You not Narayana?’, and ‘naravano nigam’ means ‘Lord Narayana is Your plenary portion’.  Brahma says in this verse ‘O Lord, because I have taken birth from Your plenary portion, therefore it may be considered that I have taken birth from You.”

6        Brahma thought Shri Krishna might say; ‘How is it that You say I am Lord Narayana?  Certainly there is a great difference between Lord Narayana and Me.  In order to answer this question, Brahma said the words ‘dehinam atma’ (You are Lord Narayana, the all-pervading Supersoul present in the hearts of all conditioned souls).

          The word Narayana may be interpreted to mean ‘He who is the refuge (ayana) of all living entities (nara).  Narayana is the Supersoul who resides in the hearts of all conditioned souls, but Shri Krishna is the Original form of the Personality of Godhead, situated above Narayana, and taking no part in Narayana’s activities as the Supersoul.

7        Lord Brahma continued His explanation by using the word ‘akhila-loka-saksi’ (Lord Narayana is the seer of all creation).  If the word ‘nara’ is taken to mean ‘all living entities’ and the word ‘ayana’ is taken to mean ‘understanding’, the word ‘narayana’ may be understood to mean ‘He who knows everything about all living entities.’  In this way the word ‘akhila-loka-saksi’ refers to Lord Narayana.  Lord Krishna does not directly take part in the activities of witnessing the actions of the conditioned souls, but He does this activity through His plenary expansion of the Supersoul Narayana.  In this way, also, Lord Krishna is different from Narayana.

8        Brahma thought that Shri Krishna might raise the following objection: ‘My dear Brahma, your statement ‘narayanas tvam na’ certainly means that I am not Narayana.  If one were to interpret this phrase to mean that I am Lord Narayana, then this interpretation would make no senses.  How is it possible that I am Lord Narayana?”

          In order to answer this possible objection, Brahma addressed Krishna using the word ‘adhisa’, ‘Isa’ means ‘the controller’, and that word clearly refers to Lord Narayana, the controller of all living entities.  The word ‘adhisa’ however, means ‘the controller of the controller’.  In other words, by addressing Shri Krishna as ‘adhisa’, Brahma explained that Krishna is the controller of Lord Narayana, just as the king of a country is the controller of many aristocrats.  That Shri Krishna is the Original Personality of Godhead, superior to Lord Narayana and the other forms of the Lord will be explained at a later time, according to the methodical arrangement of these six sandarbhas, in the book known as Shri Krishna-sandarbha.

9        At this point someone may object: The proper understanding of the name Narayana is found in the following statement of Vedic literature:

          “They who are wise know that the word ‘nara’ means ‘the various material elements manifested from the purusa-avatara (nara).  ‘Ayana’ means ‘resting place’, and therefore the word ‘narayana’ means ‘He who is the resting place within which the various material elements are contained.’”

10      Our objector may also quote the following verse from Vishnu Purana (1.4.6) to support his interpretation of the name Narayana:

          “The water (Garbhodaka ocean) produced from the purusa-avatara is known as ‘nara’.  ‘Ayana’ means ‘resting place’, and therefore the name ‘narayana’ means ‘He who rests on the Garbhodaka ocean.’”

11      Thinking Shri Krishna might interpret the word ‘narayana’ to mean ‘He who lies down on the Garbhadaka Ocean’, Brahma said: ‘nara-bhu-jalayanat tac capi satyam na tavaiva maya’ (The word ‘Narayana’ does not mean ‘He who lies down on the Pralaya ocean’.  This interpretation of the word ‘Narayana’ is created by Your illusory potency, maya).”

          Here we may quote the Visva-prakasa Dictionary’s definition of the word ‘maya’:

          “The word ‘maya’ may be taken to mean ‘trickery’ or ‘mercy’.

          The meaning of Brahma’s statement should be understood in the following way: “O lord, because of Your inconceivable potency, Your form is simultaneously limited in space and also all-pervading.  Therefore any conception of You that limits You to the form of Narayana who lies down on the Pralaya ocean is certainly an illusion.”

          In these four verses Brahma says: ‘O Lord, myself, this entire universe, and all other universes also, all rest in Narayana.  The form of Narayana, however, rest within You.”

          Therefore the proper definition of the word ‘Narayana’ is ‘He who is all-pervading.”

12      The proper interpretation of the word Narayana is given in the following mantra of the Maha-Narayana Upanisad (2.6):

          “Lord Narayana is all-pervading.  He is present within and without everything that has ever been seen or heard in all the material universes.”

Anuccheda 34

1        Brahma cites his own direct experience to prove that Shri Krishna’s transcendental form is not limited by the Garbhodaka Ocean or any other boundary placed within this material world.  He says (Shrimad Bhagavatam 10.14.15):

          “The gigantic universal body, which is still resting on the water known as Garbhodaka, is another manifestation of Your energy.  On account of His resting on the water, this universal form is also Narayana, and we are all within the womb of this Narayana form.  I see Your different Narayana forms everywhere.  I can see You on the water, I can feel You within my heart, and I can also see You before me now.  You are the original Narayana.”*

2        In this verse Brahma said: “The form of Narayana, who rests on the Garbhodaka Ocean, is not eternally manifest there.  O Lord who is the master of all inconceivable opulences (bhagavan), if this form eternally remains on the Garbhodaka Ocean, then why did I not see it when I climbed down the stem of the lotus flower?

          “If one were to say that the form of Naryana is an illusion created by the maya-potency (which is described in the Trikanda-sesa Dictionary as ‘the energy by which Sambara and others created many illusory things that did not actually exist) then why was it that I was able to see the form of Narayana, which is eternal, full of knowledge and bliss, when I meditated upon Him and was able to see Him in my heart, although after the yogic meditation was ended I was no longer able to see Him?”

          From this we may understand that the transcendental form of the Lord is certainly real and eternal, but the conception that the Lord’s existence is limited by any specific form, and therefore He is not all-pervading, is not a true conception.

Anuccheda 35

1        The account of Brahma’s failure to see Narayana by climbing down the lotus stem, and His ultimately seeing Him in the trance of meditation is recounted in the Third Canto of Shrimad Bhagavatam and the reader is referred to that for the details of the story.  In this verse the words ‘tac cej jala-stham tava saj jagad vapuh’ inform us that the form of Lord Narayana is real, eternal, and transcendental, and because the material universe is expanded from that Supreme Reality of Lord Narayana, it is also real.  The material universe is situated within the form of the Lord Narayana, as was directly perceived by Mother Yasoda.  This is explained by Brahma in the next verse (10.14.16):

2        “My dear Lord, in this incarnation You have proved that You are the supreme controller of maya.  You remain within the cosmic manifestation, and yet the whole creation is within You.  This fact has already been proved by You when You exhibited the whole universal creation within Your mouth before Your mother Yasoda.  By Your inconceivable potency of yogamaya, You can make such things effective without external help.”*

3        In this verse Brahma says: “My dear Lord, in this incarnation You have proved that You are the supreme controller of maya (mayadhamanavatare).  You remain within the cosmic manifestation, and yet the whole creation is within You” (prapancasya bahih sphutasya krtsnasya cantar jathare).  Because Lord Krishna is both within and without the cosmic manifestation, we may understand that He is not limited by the boundaries of matter, and when He appears to occupy a limited position in relation to time and space, that appearance of limitation is simply an illusion.  Although Lord Krishna appears to be situated within the cosmic manifestation, the cosmic manifestation is also within Him, for it has emanated from Him.  Brahma says in this verse: “O Lord, By Your inconceivable potency of yogamaya, You are now all-pervading within the cosmic manifestation, although originally the cosmos is within You.”  Brahma gives an example to demonstrate that the cosmos actually exists within Lord Krishna by saying: ‘This fact has already been proved by You when You exhibited the whole universal creation within You mouth before Mother Yasoda.”

Anuccheda 36

1        In this verse the word ‘mayadhamana’ means ‘O supreme controller of maya’.  Brahma said: ‘O Lord, by Your mercy You revealed that the entire cosmic manifestation is situated within You.’  In order to establish the truth of this statement, as well as to refute any contrary argument, Brahma spoke the next verse (Shrimad Bhagavatam 10.14.17):

2        “My dear Lord Krishna, the whole cosmic manifestation that we are visualising at present is all within Your body.  Yet I am seeing You outside, and You are also seeing me outside.  How can such things happen without being influenced by Your inconceivable energy?”*

3        When the words of this verse are placed in their prose order they read ‘yasya kuksau sarvam idam satman yatha bhati tat sarvam iha (bahir api tathaiva) tvayi bhati’.

          The meaning of this verse is that just as Shri Krishna is situated within Vrajabhumi, in the same way (because Shri Krishna is all-pervading) Vrajabhumi is situated within Him.  In this way the statement of Shrimad Bhagavatam 10.14.16, that Shri Krishna is within the cosmic manifestation, and the cosmic manifestation is also within Him, is confirmed.  When Mother Yasoda saw Shri Krishna before her with the entire cosmos within His mouth, she was able to directly perceive these two truths about Krishna.  At that time she tried to understand what she had just seen and she said (Shrimad Bhagavatam 10.8.40):

          “Is this a dream, or is it an illusory creation by the external energy?  Has this been manifested by my own intelligence, or is it some mystic power of my child?”*

          Brahma explains in this connection: “O Lord, although by the power of Your inconceivable potency You appear to occupy a limited space within the land of Vraja, You are nevertheless all-pervading.  You directly showed these two truths about Yourself to Your mother, Yasoda.”

4        The statement of this verse (10.14.17) is also confirmed by the following explanation of Shrimad Bhagavatam (2.7.30):

          “When the cowherd woman (Krishna’s foster mother, Yasoda) was trying to tie the hands of her son with ropes, she found the rope to be always insufficient in length, and when she finally gave up, Lord Krishna, by and by, opened His mouth, wherein the mother found all the universes situated.  Seeing this, she was doubtful in her mind, but she was convinced in a different manner of the mystic nature of her son.”*

          This is confirmed by the words ‘(tava) kuksau sarvam idam yatha bhati iha’ (My dear Lord Krishna, the whole cosmic manifestation that we are visualising at present is all within Your body).  Although the cosmic manifestation is situated within You, You are still all-pervading within it.  The Bhagavatam says: ‘tvayi tat sarvam bhati’ (Everything is present within You).

Anuccheda 37

1        Brahma intended to say: “O all-pervading Lord, without being influenced by Your maya-potency, which conceals the actual truth about You, how is it possible to believe that You are limited by the boundaries of material time and space?  It is not possible.  This I have directly seen.”  Brahma said (Shrimad Bhagavatam 10.14.18):

2        “My dear Lord, leaving aside all other thins and just considering today’s happenings - what I have seen - are they not all due to Your inconceivable energies?  First of all I saw You alone; thereafter You expanded Yourself as Your friends, this calves and all existence of Vrndavana; then I saw You and all the boys as four-handed Vishnus, and They were being worshipped by all elements and demigods, including myself.  Again They were all wound up, and You remained alone as You were before.  Does this not mean that You are the Supreme Lord Narayana, the origin of everything, and from You everything emanates, and again everything enters unto You, and You remain the same as before?”*

3        In this verse Brahma says: ‘Just today (adyaiva) was it not revealed to me (mama) that this universe (asya), which is filled with bewildered conditioned souls and is a product of Your maya potency (mayatvam), has emanated from Your humanlike form (tvad rte)?  This has certainly been revealed to me.”

4        At this point Lord Krishna might raise the following question: “What is the nature of My form?”  In order to answer this question Brahma says: ‘eko si’ (You are alone).  This means ‘Now that all the cowherd boys and calves have disappeared, You have manifested Yourself as these boys and calves, and therefore these are all You (eko si).  Because You are able to do this, I declare that You are in truth the non-dual Supreme Brahman (advayam brahma)”.

          All material substances are born at a certain time, remain manifested for a certain period, and perish at certain time.  These material changes are known as the ‘duality’ of matter.  Because the Supreme Brahman is not affected by any of these changes, but is eternal and unchanging, He is known as ‘advayam’.  The Supreme Brahma is by nature all-pervading.  By establishing Shri Krishna as the Supreme Brahman, Brahma has proven that Shri Krishna is all-pervading.

Anuccheda 38

1        At this point Shri Krishna might raise the following question: “At the beginning of universal creation, only Brahma, Vishnu, and Siva were manifest, and they are considered the original causes of everything that exists.  During the time of cosmic manifestation, many incarnations also appear, and I may be considered such an incarnation, but how is it possible to say that I am the original cause of all causes?  Brahma, Siva and Vishnu are the original causes.”  To answer this question, Brahma says (Shrimad Bhagavatam 10.14.19):

2        “Persons who are unaware of Your inconceivable energy cannot understand that You alone expand Yourself as the creator Brahma, maintainer Vishnu, and annihilator Siva.  Persons who are not in awareness of things as they are contemplate that I, Brahma, am the creator, Vishnu is the maintainer, and Lord Siva is the annihilator.  Actually, You are alone everything: creator, maintainer and annihilator.”*

3        In this verse the second-person pronoun ‘tvam’ (You) is the subject of the sentence and the word ‘bhasi’ (are manifest) is the verb.  The word ‘iva’ (as if) does not refer to ‘tvam’, but rather to ‘esah’ (He, Lord Vishnu).  The word ‘esah’ does not refer to the transcendental form of Lord Krishna, because Lord Krishna is the Original Personality of Godhead, and not a guna-avatara, such as Lord Vishnu is.  To consider Shri Krishna as guna-avatara would contradict the previous verse, where Brahma said: “O Krishna, everything emanates from You.”  In this verse the word ‘tvat-padavim’ means ‘Your transcendental form’, ‘ajanatam’ means ‘to those who do not understand’, ‘atma’ means ‘You who are the origin of all incarnations of Godhead’, ‘atmana’ means ;by Your various expansions’, ‘mayam’ means ‘the potency for creating, maintaining, and annihilating the material universes’, ‘anatmani’ means ‘in the inert, unconscious, unmanifested three modes of material nature (pradhana), which are the original cause of the mahat-tattva, and other forces that cause the creation of the material universes’, ‘vitatya’ means ‘having expanded’ and ‘bhasi’ means ‘You are manifested, appearing in different forms according to these different activities of creation, maintenance, and annihilation of the material universes.”

          At this point Shri Krishna might say: ‘How is it possible that I perform the activities of Brahma, Vishnu and Siva?”  In order to answer this question, Brahma says: ‘You appear as if You are me, who am engaged in the activities of universal creation (jagatah srstav aham), You appear as if You are Vishnu, who is engaged in the activities of universal maintenance (vidhane esa iva), and You also appear as if You are Siva, who is engaged in the activities of universal destruction (ante tri-netra iva).  In truth, You expand Yourself in these various forms.  Only they who are foolish and bewildered see these three demigods as different from You.”

4        That Shri Krishna performs the activities of creation, maintenance and destruction of the material universes is confirmed by the following verse of Shrimad Bhagavatam (2.6.32), where Lord Brahma says:

          “By His will, I create, Lord Siva destroys and He Himself, in His eternal form as the Personality of Godhead, maintains everything.  He is the powerful controller of these three energies.”*

          From this verse we may understand that Lord Vishnu is a direct manifestation of the Personality of Godhead, and thus He is essentially non-different from the transcendental form of Shri Krishna.  Vishnu is therefore, different from Brahma and Siva, who are not direct manifestations of the Personality of Godhead, but are of a different category.

Anuccheda 39

          Lord Krishna expands not only as the guna-avataras, but as other incarnations as well.  Brahma describes this in the next verse (Shrimad Bhagavatam 10.14.20):

          “Similarly, You expand Yourself in different incarnations among the demigods You incarnate as Vamanadeva, among the great sages You incarnate as Parasurama, among the human beings You appear as Yourself, as Lord Krishna, or Lord Rama, among the animals You appear as the boar incarnation , and among the aquatics You appear as the incarnation of fish.  And yet You have no appearance; You are always eternal.  Your appearance and disappearance are made possible by your inconceivable energy just to give protection to the faithful devotees and to annihilate the demons.”*

          We may note that in this verse the words ‘ajanasya janma (the unborn has taken birth) indicate that Shri Krishna does not take birth, but simply appears in this world according to His own wish.

Anuccheda 40

1        At this point Shri Krishna might raise the following objection: “My dear Brahma, how is it that you have come to this conclusion?  It is not possible for My form to be all-pervading.  My form is composed of various material elements just like an earthen pot or other material substances seen in this world.  How is it that you say My form is otherwise?  How is it that you say My form is spiritual?  You may have become a little bewildered seeing some wonderful opulences here, but I assure you, you perfectly understand Me.  You completely know the full extent of My powers.  As far as the transformation of these boys and calves into four-armed Vishnu-forms which you have just seen, it has happened somehow or other, because of the expansion of some unknown person, but I have certainly nothing to do with this magical display.  Furthermore, all these forms are spiritual, full of knowledge and unlimited bliss, and all these human-like forms appeared at the same moment, and there were so many of them, that you did see all of them.  How is it possible for a little cowherd boy like Me to manifest so many spiritual forms at the same time?  I am not the cause of this wonderful thing.”  Thinking that Shri Krishna might present this argument, Brahma said (Shrimad Bhagavatam 10.14.21):

2        “O supreme great one!  O Supreme Personality of Godhead!  O Supersoul, master of all mystic power!  Your pastimes are taking place continuously in these worlds, but who can estimate where, how and where You are employing Your spiritual energy and performing Your pastimes?  No one can understand the mystery of these activities.”*

3        In this verse Brahma says” “O Lord, Your pastimes are taking place continuously (kati va) in these worlds (trilokyam), but who can estimate (ko vetti) where (kva), how (katham) and when (kada) You are employing Your spiritual energy (yogamayam vistarayan) and performing Your pastimes (kridasi bhavata utih)?  No one can understand the mystery of these activities.”

          No one can completely understand Lord Krishna.  This is also confirmed by the following statement of the Kena Upanisad (2.3):

          “One who thinks he understands the Supreme Personality of Godhead does not actually understand Him, but one who knows that he does not actually understand the Lord is actually aware of the nature of the Supreme Person.”

4        In the previous four verses Brahma has explained that Shri Krishna is by nature inconceivable.  In this verse he explains why the Lord is inconceivable by addressing Him with the word ‘bhuman’, which means ‘O Lord who appears in innumerable different forms.’  This means that although the Supreme Personality of Godhead has one principal form, He also appears in innumerable other transcendental forms.  This is confirmed by the following statement of Shrimad Bhagavatam (10.40.7), where Akrura prays to Shri Krishna:

          “I offer my obeisances to the Supreme Personality of Godhead who, although Me originally appears in a single transcendental form, has expanded into innumerable other transcendental forms.”

          In this connection the Sruti-sastra also says:

          “Although He is one, the Supreme Personality of Godhead is seen to appear in many different transcendental forms.”

5        The Supreme Personality of Godhead appears in different forms according to the way in which He is worshipped.  This is confirmed by the following statement of Madhva Muni in his commentary on Vedanta-sutra 3.3.52:

          “The Personality of Godhead appears in different forms according to the way in which His devotees worship Him.”

          The following example may be given in this regard: A silken garment may be fashioned with many different colours in an intricate design, just as a peacock feather is decorated with many colours.  If one looks at a specific part of such a garment he may see a specific colour, and if one looks at another part of the garment he may see another colour.  If one looks at the entire garment at once he will see the garment as a whole.  In this example Shri Krishna is the entire garment, and when He is partially manifested this is known as the various incarnations of Godhead.

6        That innumerable forms of Godhead emanate from the form of Shri Krishna is also confirmed by the following statement of Narada-pancaratra:

          “When the jewel known as vaidurya touches other materials, it appears to be separated into different colours.  Consequently the forms also appear different.  Similarly, according to the meditational ecstasy of the devotees, the Lord, who is known as Acyuta (infallible) appears in different forms, although He is essentially one.”*

          In this verse the jewel referred to is the vaidurya stone (lapis lazuli), and the words ‘nila-pitadibhih’ refer to the various transcendental attributes of the Lord.  This explanation of the various forms of the Lord reveals the meaning of the word ‘kva’ (where?) in the previously quoted statement of Lord Brahma (Shrimad Bhagavatam 10.14.21).

7        The Supreme Lord’s expansion in the forms of the various incarnations manifested from His single original form is described in the following statement of Shrimad Bhagavatam (8.18.12), where Shrila Sukadeva Gosvami describes the form of the Vamana-incarnation:

          “The Lord appeared in His original form, with ornaments and weapons in His hands.  Although this ever-existing form is not visible in the material world, He nonetheless appeared in this form.  Then, in the presence of His father and mother, He assumed the form of Vamana, a brahmana-dwarf, a brahmacari, just like a theatrical actor.”*

8        In this verse Shrila Sukadeva Gosvami explains that the Lord first appeared in His original form (vapuh), which is not a manifestation expanded from any other form of Godhead, but is originally existing and has no other forms as its origin.  That form is spiritual (cit) and full of perfect and complete transcendental bliss, and that form is manifested (bhati) with ornaments and weapons in its hands (vibhusanayudhaih).  The Lord appeared in this original form in the material world (vyaktam adharayat).  After this original form was manifested, the Lord assumed the form of a brahmana-dwarf, a brahmacari (tenaiva vamano vatur babhuva harih).  The word ‘eva’ (certainly) emphasises that this was the form the Lord assumed.  He did not assume any other form at that time.

9        One may ask: “Under what circumstances did the Lord appear as the Vamana-incarnation?”  The answer is given in this verse with the word ‘sampasyatoh’ (the Lord appeared as Vamana in the presence of His parents Kasyapa and Aditi).  The question may be asked: “What is the nature of the Lord’s form?  The answer is given in the word ‘divya-gatih’ (His movements are wonderful).  ‘Divya’ means ‘supremely inconceivable’, and ‘gatih’ means ‘movements or pastimes’.  The Lord’s forms and pastimes are all eternal, although sometimes they may be seen by the living entities, and sometimes they cannot be seen.  That the Lord’s forms are eternal is confirmed by the following statement of Sruti-sastra:

          “The Personality of Godhead existed in the past.  He exists in the present, and He will continue to exist in the future eternally.”

10      In this connection in order to given an example of how the Supreme Lord assumes the forms of His various incarnations, thus manifesting certain features of His original form, Sukadeva Gosvami says:

          “The Lord assumed the form of Vamana, just like a theatrical actor.”*

          In this comparison of the Lord to an actor, Sukadeva Gosvami notes that the Lord is a wonderful actor (divya-gatih) and the gestures of His hands and movements of His body will fill the audience with wonder.  Although when the Lord appears in His various incarnations He may seem to be an ordinary human being or demigod, in truth He never suffers the material miseries which are the everyday experiences of the conditioned souls, and He is never imperfect in any way.

11      The Personality of Godhead is supremely independent.  For example, He creates the various material universes without any external help, just as a spider constructs a web from the saliva within its own body.  This is described in the following statement of Shrimad Bhagavatam (11.9.21):

          “As a spider creates a web with saliva from within its mouth, and then, having created it, again swallows it, so does the Supreme Personality of Godhead create, and again swallow, the material worlds.”

12      In the following verse from Shrimad Bhagavatam (3.9.11), Lord Brahma explains that the Personality of Godhead appears in the forms of His many different incarnations according to the different ways in which the devotees approach Him.  Brahma says:

          “O my Lord, Your devotees can see You through the ears by the process of bona fide hearing, and thus their hearts become cleansed, and You take Your seat there.  You are so merciful to Your devotees that You manifest Yourself in the particular eternal form of transcendence in which they always think of You.”*

          In this verse the word ‘pranayase’ means ‘You manifest’.  We may note that by saying ‘sruteksita-pathah’ (the devotees learn about the Lord by hearing the bona-fide descriptions of Him in the Vedic literatures), Brahma confirms the reality of the Supreme Lord’s transcendental forms.  In other words, the Lord’s forms are not the product of the meditator’s imagination.  They actually exist.

13      Some may say that the various forms of the Personality of Godhead do not delight the devotees.  This false conception is refuted by the following statement of Shrimad Bhagavatam (3.24.31), where Kardama Muni addresses the Personality of Godhead in the following words:

          “My dear Lord, although You have no material form, You have Your own innumerable forms.  They truly are Your transcendental forms, which are pleasing to Your devotees.”*

          This verse means ‘Whatever (yani yani) forms (rupani) of You (te) there are, these forms (tany eva), please (rocante) Your devotees.’  The word ‘abhirupani’ means ‘the Lord only accepts forms that are suitable.’  He never accepts any unsuitable form.

14      The Lord may sometimes accept forms that appear to be unsuitable.  An example of this is when He assumed an apparently abominable material form before King Rantideva.  That this form was abominable and material is, of course, an illusion.  This form is described in the following words (Shrimad Bhagavatam 9.21.15):

          “Demigods like Lord Brahma and Lord Siva, who can satisfy all materially ambitious men by giving them the rewards they desire, then manifested their own identities before King Rantideva, for it was they who had presented themselves as the brahmana sudra, candala, and so on.”*

15      Shridhara Svami comments on this verse: ‘The word ‘tribhuvanandhisah’ means ‘Brahma, Vishnu and Siva’, and the word ‘maya’ means that in order to examine how patient and tolerant Maharaja Rantideva was, the Lord, with the assistance of His bewildering maya-potency, assumed the form of the brahmana, sudra and candala.’

          The reason the Lord never accepts an unpleasant form is given in the word ‘arupinah’, which means ‘He who never accepts a material form.”

          Shridhara Svami comments: “Because the Lord never accepts an abominable form, His forms are never material.”

16      Returning now to the verse originally under discussion (Shrimad Bhagavatam 10.14.21, quoted in text 2) we may note the three phrases ‘katham va’ (how?), ‘kati va’ (how many?) and ‘kada va’ (when?), and we may also note the three words in the vocative case (bhagavan, paramatman, and yogesvara), used to address the Lord.  Each of these three phrases is related to one of the three vocative addresses, as we shall now explain.

          The word ‘katham va’ (how You are performing Your pastimes)’ is used with the word ‘bhagavan’ which should be interpreted to mean “O Master of all inconceivable potencies.”  The Lord’s form is full of all inconceivable potencies, and any other interpretation that contradicts this should not be accepted.

17      The word ‘kati va’ (how many times You incarnate and perform pastimes) is used with the word ‘paratman’, which may be explained to mean: ‘O Lord, because You are unlimited You possess all opulences and are the origin of innumerable incarnations of Godhead, who each possess limitless potencies.  O Lord, You cannot be understood by the limited material mind or adequately described by the limited material power of speech.  For this reason it is said: ‘No one can understand how many times You incarnate in this world and perform pastimes (kati va).”

18      The phrase ‘kada’ (when You appear and perform pastimes) is used with the word ‘yogesvara’ (O master of all mystic power).  This word means ‘O Lord, You are the master of the yogamaya potency, by whose assistance You appear in many different forms.  O Lord, all these transcendental forms of Your Lordship are contained within Your single most important form.  When You wish, You appear in one of these forms, which are manifested according to the different ways in which the devotees worship You.”  From this we may understand that the forms of all incarnations of Godhead are contained in the form of Shri Krishna, the Original Form of the Lord.

Anuccheda 41

1        In the next verse (Shrimad Bhagavatam 10.14.22) Lord Brahma concludes that Shri Krishna is the Original Form of the Supreme Personality of Godhead:

          “My dear Lord, this whole cosmic manifestation is just like a flashing dream, and its temporary existence simply disturbs the mind.  As a result, we are full of anxiety in this existence; to live within this material world means simply to suffer and to be full of miseries.  And yet this temporary existence of the material world appears to be pleasing and dear on account of its having evolved from Your body, which is eternal and full of bliss and knowledge.  My conclusion is, therefore, that You are the Supreme Soul, Absolute Truth, and the supreme original person; and although You have expanded Yourself in so many Vishnu forms, or in living entities and energies, by Your inconceivable transcendental potencies, You are the supreme one without a second, You are the supreme Supersoul.”*

2        In this verse Brahma says: ‘O Lord, You are the origin of everything that is material and everything that is spiritual.  Because You are the origin of everything, Your own form is eternal, and full of knowledge and bliss.  From Your unlimited form, all the material universes have become manifested.”

3        One may ask: “What is the nature of this transcendental form of the Lord?”  The answer is given in the words: ‘udayad api yat sad ivavabhati’ (O Lord, the material cosmic manifestation is continually being manifested from Your body, and then again enters within it.  In this way the material universe is in a state of constant flux).”

4        At this point Shri Krishna might say: “If I am the source of the constantly changing material nature, then why is it that You say that I am unchanging.  I should also be constantly changing if I am the source of all this change.”  In answer to this, Brahma uses the word ‘mayatah’.  Brahma says:

          “O Lord, You are eternal, and unchanging.  This changing material universe is manifested by the aid of Your inconceivable potency known as maya.  You are Yourself aloof from the changes of matter, and Your contact with matter, is only by the means of Your maya potency.  Therefore You do not change.”

          That the Personality of Godhead is unchanging is also confirmed by the Vedanta-sutra 2.1.27:

          “The Supreme Personality of Godhead is free from all faults.  This is so because it is declared in the Vedas, the source of revealed knowledge.”

          Therefore the Supreme Lord never changes.

5        Brahma continues to differentiate Shri Krishna from the changing material manifestation.  He says:

          “O Lord, this whole cosmic manifestation is just like a flashing dream.  You, however, are reality.  You are not another illusory manifestation like this material cosmos.”

          That dreams are an unreal state of existence is described in Vedanta-sutra (2.2.29):

          “Reality is different from the existence perceived in dreams.”

6        Brahma continues to describe the dreamlike state of material illusion by saying ‘asta-dhisanam’ (by depriving the conditioned souls of knowledge about the Supersoul, the maya potency places them in great mental anxiety).

7        For these reasons, although it may sometimes appear to be a place of happiness, the material world is a place of intense suffering (puru-duhkha-duhkham).  Furthermore, Brahma says the material world is devoid of spiritual reality (asat-svarupam).  Just as the horns of a rabbit have no real existence, in the same way the illusory conceptions of material existence have no reality.  Brahma also explains that although the material world is temporary and changing, it appears to be eternal (sad iva) according to the mistaken conceptions of the bewildered conditioned souls.  The implication of this verse is that because the Supreme Personality of Godhead is the origin of the awareness of material existence, He is also the origin of real transcendental knowledge, and thus the supreme teacher of everyone.  Another implication of this verse is that because the Supreme Personality of Godhead is the origin of the material heavenly planets, He is the reservoir of all pleasure.

8        This concludes the explanation of how the form of Shri Krishna is simultaneously all-pervading and, by the agency of His internal potency, limited within a certain space.

Anuccheda 42

1        In this way we have demonstrated that although the form of Shri Krishna may be situated within the cosmic manifestation, nevertheless, it is the resting place within which everything that exists is situated, and because it is the resting-place of everything, therefore, it is also all-pervading.  Because Shri Krishna is by nature all-pervading, it is very easy for Him to expand into as many forms in as many places as He likes.  An example of this is described in the following statement of Shrimad Bhagavatam (10.69.2):

          “It is astounding that Lord Shri Krishna, who is one without a second, expanded Himself in sixteen thousand similar forms to marry sixteen thousand queens in their respective homes.”*

2        In this verse the words ‘citram bataitat’ mean ‘it is astounding’.  One may ask: “What is so astounding?”  In answer to this question, Narada Muni says “It is astounding that Shri Krishna, who is one without a second (ekah), married (udvahat) sixteen thousand queens (dvy-asta-sahasram).”  Our questioner may answer: “What is so astounding about that?” In answer to this Narada says:

          “He married them in sixteen thousand places (grhesu).”

          Our unsatisfied questioner may respond: “That may be.  Still, what is astounding in all this?”  To this Narada may answer: “Lord Krishna did not marry them all together in one place, but He married each one of them individually (prthak).”

          Our questioner may answer:  “That is all right.  It is not possible for one husband to marry many wives one after another.  Such things have occurred before.”  At this point Narada says:

          “But Lord Krishna married all these queens at the same moment (yugapat).”

          Our question may say: “That’s all right.  Many perfect yogis have the mystic power to expand into many forms.  My dear Narada, you yourself are a great mystic yogi, worshipped by all other yogis, and therefore You know this mystic trick yourself.  What can be considered to be astounding, therefore, in Lord Krishna’s expansion into many forms?”  In answer to this, Narada says:

          “Lord Krishna’s expansion into many forms was not like the expansion of the yogis’, who can make reflections of their own form appear in many different places.  These reflected forms of the yogis are not the yogis themselves, however, in the case of Lord Krishna, each one of His expansions was He Himself, and He could perform all sorts of activities in these expanded forms.  In other words, these expansions of the Lord were not mere reflections of the Lord, but were the Lord Himself.

          Hearing this, our questioner may reply: “No.  That is not possible.  No one can do that.”

3        That each one of these expanded forms were not a mere reflection, but actually the Lord Himself is confirmed in the following statement of Shrimad Bhagavatam (3.3.8), where Shri Uddhava says:

          “All those princesses were lodged in different apartments, and the Lord simultaneously assumed different bodily expansions exactly matching each and every princess.  He accepted their hands in perfect rituals by His internal potency.”*

4        In this way all objections are removed and it is clearly established that Lord Krishna can manifest His personality in any number of places at the same moment (ekena vapusa prthag yugapat).  This is certainly very wonderful.  This is also confirmed by Shrila Shridhara Svami, who states (in his commentary on Shrimad Bhagavatam 5.20.40, which is a prose description of the Supreme Personality of Godhead’s form as the predominating Deity of the sphere known as Lokaloka):

          “Because He is the master of all supreme powers and opulences, the Personality of Godhead can be personally present in His own form in all places simultaneously.”

5        This expansion of Lord Krishna into many personal forms simultaneously is also described in the following statement of Shrimad Bhagavatam (10.59.42):

          “After defeating Indra, Krishna, the changeless Supreme Personality of Godhead arranged to marry the 16 100 girls brought from the custody of Bhaumasura.  By expanding Himself in 16 100 forms, He simultaneously married them all in different palaces in one auspicious moment.”*

          These expansions of Lord Krishna all had bodily features that were exactly identical with Lord Krishna Himself.  There was no difference, as there is in other expansion of the Lord, such as the expansion of the Lord into the form of Narayana, whose bodily features are slightly different from those of Lord Krishna.  The expansion of Lord Krishna into many forms whose features are all identical with His described in the following statement of Shrila Rupa Gosvami’s Shri Laghu-bhagavatamrta (1.1.21):

6        “If numerous forms, all equal in their features, are displayed simultaneously, such forms are called praksas-vigrahas of the Lord.”*

Anuccheda 43

1        Lord Krishna’s expansion into many forms simultaneously is also described in the following statement of Shrimad Bhagavatam (10.69.41):

          “Thus Narada saw one single Krishna living in sixteen thousand palaces by His plenary expansions.  Due to His inconceivable energy, He was visible in each and every individual queen’s palace.  In this way He demonstrated the path of sanctifying ordinary household life.”*

2        These expansions of the Lord were not expansions of portions of His personality, as the incarnations of Godhead generally are, but each form was Shri Krishna in full (sarva-gehesu tam eva, ekam eva santam).  This multiple appearance of the original form of the Lord is described in the Sruti-sastra in the following words:

          “Although the Supreme Personality of Godhead is one, He appears to have become many.”

          That the Lord is all-pervading is also confirmed in Shrimad-Bhagavatam (10.9.13):

          “The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Shri Krishna, is all-pervading.  He has neither inside nor outside, for He is everywhere.”

          By the arrangement of Shri Krishna’s internal potency, Narada Muni was able to directly see Lord Krishna’s presence in the many palaces of Dvaraka.  Narada did not speculate or guess about the Lord’s omnipresence.  He directly saw it.

3        After seeing the many expansions of the original form of Shri Krishna, Narada Muni became astonished, as the Shrimad Bhagavatam (10.69.42) explains:

          “Lord Krishna has unlimited power, and Narada Muni’s astonishment was boundless upon observing again and again the demonstration of Lord Krishna’s internal energy.”*

4        The word ‘yogamaya’ used in this verse refers to the Lord’s spiritual potency by which He can perform any impossible action.

          In Shrimad Bhagavatam 3.15.26 in the story of the Four Kumaras’ visit to Vaikunthaloka, this word is used to describe the Supreme Lord’s potency.  In his commentary on that verse, Shrila Shridhara Svami also confirms this explanation of the word ‘yogamaya’.

5        When Narada Muni saw these expansions of the personal form of Shri Krishna He became astonished because he understood that these expansions were not like the limited expansions manifested by an ordinary mystic yogi, but each of these expansions was the original Lord Krishna, and not a mere yogic reflection.

6        The Supreme Personality of Godhead’s personal presence everywhere is described by the following quotation from Vedic literature:

          “The Supersoul is all-pervading.  His hands and feet are everywhere.

                                      Bhagavad-gita 13.14 and Svetasvara Upanisad 3.16

          “Although the Supreme Personality of Godhead remains in His own place in the transcendental world, still He is present everywhere.

                                      Vedanta Sutra 3.2.11 (interpreted according to the

                                      commentary of Shripada Madhvacarya)

          “The Personality of Godhead appears as the omnipresent Supersoul.  This form of the Supersoul is not different from the form of the Supreme Lord.  They are the same person.”

                                      Sruti-sastra

          “Spiritual authorities explain that the Personality of Godhead is present in the hearts of all living entities.”

                                      Sruti-sastra

7        The Supreme Lord’s all-pervasiveness is also described in the Matsya Purana:

          “The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vishnu, is all-pervading.  Of this there is no doubt.  By His transcendental opulence He remains in His original transcendental form, and yet He appears everywhere, just as the sun which, although it remains in one place, appears to be present everywhere.”

8        That the expansion of the Supersoul is not different from the Personality of Godhead Himself is confirmed in the Vedanta-sutra (3.2.12-13):

          “If one says that the expansion of the Supersoul is different from the Original Personality of Godhead, he should know that statement is false.  The Supersoul is the same as the Original Personality of Godhead.  This is confirmed in the Sruti-sastra and all other Vedic literatures.”

          That the Lord is not different from His expansion as the all-pervading Supersoul is also described in the following statement of Shrimad-Bhagavatam (1.9.42), where Bhisma says:

Anuccheda 44

1        “Now I can meditate with full concentration upon that one Lord, Shri Krishna, now present before me because now I have transcended the misconceptions of duality in regard to His presence in everyone’s heart, even in the hearts of the mental speculators.  He is in everyone’s heart.  The sun may be perceived differently, but the sun is one.”*

2        In this verse Bhismadeva says: “The Personality of Godhead, Shri Krishna, is now present before me (tam imam).  He is present in the hearts of all conditioned souls in the form of His expansion as the all-pervading Supersoul (sarira-bhajam hrdi hrdi dhisthitam)”.  The form of the Lord as the all-pervading Supersoul is also described in Shrimad Bhagavatam (2.2.8):

          “Others conceive of the Personality of Godhead residing within the body in the region of the heart and measuring only eight inches, with four hands carrying a lotus, wheel of a chariot, a conch shell and a club respectively.”*

          Bhisma continues: “Although these forms of the Supersoul appear to be different from the form of the original Personality of Godhead, in truth They are not at all different from Him (ekam).  Now I can meditate with full concentration on that one Lord, Shri Krishna (samadhi-gato smi).  I am now aware of the all-pervading blissful form of the Supreme Lord as the Supersoul.”

3        Bhismadeva continue: “I have now transcended the misconceptions of duality in regard to His presence everywhere.  Formerly I thought the forms of the Supersoul were different from each other and from other forms of the Supreme Lord, for I thought it impossible for the Lord to be all pervading.  Now I am free of that illusion (vidhuta-bheda-mohah).  The Supreme Lord is certainly present everywhere in His form as the Supersoul.

4        The Lord’s all-pervasiveness is described in the following words: “Shri Krishna is present in everyone’s heart, even in the hearts of the speculative philosophers (atma-kalpitanam pratidrsam).  He remains within the sight of all living entities, even though they are situated in many different places.”

          Bhismadeva gives the example of the sun: In many different places all over the world the sun appears to be just overhead, over this tree or that wall.  In reality the sun is in a single place in outer space, but still in so many places the sun seems to be just over this tree or that wall.  In the same way the Supreme Personality of Godhead appears everywhere, in the hearts of all living entities, in His form of the Supersoul.  The difference between the Supersoul and the sun is that the sun truly is situated in a single place far away and its omnipresence is the misunderstanding of the observers, but the Supersoul expansion of the form of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is, by His inconceivable potency, the Lord Himself, and thus the Lord Himself is truly present everywhere.

          Bhismadeva continues: “Now I can meditate with full concentration (samadhi-gato smi) upon that one Lord, Shri Krishna, now present before me (tam imam), whom I have described in the previous prayers.  The Supreme Lord is present in the hearts of all conditioned souls (sarira-bhajam hrdi hrdi).  Although the Lord is generally all-pervading in his four-armed Supersoul form, I now see Him everywhere in His two-armed form of Shri Krishna, which is supremely powerful and is now present before me.  No other form is equal to the form of Shri Krishna.”

5        In this verse the word ‘bheda’ refers to the Supreme Lord’s presence in many places.  It does not refer to the Lord’s perfection or imperfection.  In Shrimad Bhagavatam 1.9.30-43 Bhismadeva glorified the transcendental form of the Lord.  These prayers clearly do not glorify the impersonal Brahman aspect of the Supreme.  In this way we have now described how the Supreme Personality of Godhead is manifested within a limited area of space, and yet is also all-pervading, present within the hearts of all moving and non-moving creatures.

Anuccheda 45

1        Thus we have proved that the form of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is eternal and all-pervading.  This is also explained in the following verse from Shridhara Svami’s commentary (8.6.8.):

          “In this verse, by saying that although the Personality of Godhead is unborn, he repeatedly appears in the forms of His incarnations, Brahma clearly establishes the eternality and omnipresence of the Supreme Lord’s transcendental form.”

2        The eternality and all-pervasiveness of the form of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is described in Shrimad Bhagavatam (8.6.8-9) where Lord Brahma says:

          “Although You are never born, Your appearance and disappearance as an incarnation never cease.  You are always free from the material qualities, and You are the shelter of transcendental bliss resembling an ocean.  Eternally existing in Your transcendental form, You are the supreme subtle of the most extremely subtle.  We therefore offer our respectful obeisances unto You, the Supreme, whose existence is inconceivable.*

3        “O best of persons, O supreme director, those who actually aspire for supreme good fortune worship this form of Your Lordship according to the Vedic Tantras.  My Lord, we can see all the three worlds in You.”*

4        Shridhara Svami comments: “In this verse Brahma says: ‘O Lord, Your appearance in this material world and Your pastimes are not like our birth and activities.’  How are the Lord’s appearance and activities different from those of the conditioned soul?  Brahma gives the answer in the word ‘agunaya’ (O Lord, You are always free from the material qualities) and ‘nirvana-sukharnavaya’ (O Lord, You are the shelter of transcendental bliss resembling an ocean).

5        In this verse Brahma says although the Personality of Godhead is smaller than the atom (anor animne), He is also so large that no one can measure Him (paraiganya-dhama).  This should not be considered impossible because, as Brahma explains, the powers and opulences of the Personality of Godhead are inconceivable (mahanubhavaya).  In these words Brahma proves that the form of the Personality of Godhead is eternal and inconceivable.

6        “Brahma continues: ‘O best of persons (purusarsabha), those who actually aspire for good fortune (sreyo-rthibhih) worship (ijyam) this form (rupam etat) of Your Lordship (tava) according to the Vedic Tantras (vaidika-tantrikena)’.  In this way Brahma described the exalted transcendental nature of the form of the Personality of Godhead.  From this we may understand that the Lord’s appearance in this material world is not like the material birth of the conditioned souls.

7        “At this point someone may object: ‘The demigods are also worshipable.  Why is it not thought that the birth of the demigods is also transcendental and non-material like that of the Personality of Godhead?’

          To this I reply: True, the demigods are worshipable.  Still, they are  not equal to the Personality of Godhead, for they are all situated within the universal form of the Personality of Godhead, as Brahma says: ‘My Lord, we can see (pasyami) that all the three worlds (tri-lokam) and we demigods and living entities as well (nah) are all situated within Your universal form (visva-murtau).  Your transcendental form, therefore, is limitless, and we are clearly Your inferiors.’”

8        In Shrimad Bhagavatam 8.6.8. Brahma metaphorically described the Personality of Godhead as ‘an ocean of transcendental bliss’ (nirvana-sukharnavaya).  In this way Brahma explained that the bliss of realising the personal form of God is superior to the happiness of realising His impersonal aspect (nirvana).  This is also described by Dhruva Maharaja in the following words (Shrimad Bhagavatam 4.9.10):

9        “My Lord, the transcendental bliss derived from meditating upon Your lotus feet or hearing about Your glories from pure devotees is so unlimited that it is far beyond the stage of brahmananda wherein one thinks himself merged in the impersonal Brahman as one with the Supreme.  Since brahmananda is also defeated by the transcendental bliss derived from devotional service, then what to speak of the temporary blissfulness of elevating oneself to the heavenly planets, which is ended by the separating sword of time?  Although one may be elevated to the heavenly planets, he falls down in due course of time.”*

10      In Shrimad Bhagavatam 8.6.8 Brahma said that the Personality of Godhead is smaller than the atom, and at the same time He is so large that no one can measure Him.  This is possible because the Lord is the master of all inconceivable potencies.  Brahma then said to the Lord: “O Lord, everything is resting within You.”

11      “The Supreme Personality of Godhead is neither demigod nor demon, neither human nor bird or beast.  He is not woman, man, or neuter, nor is He an animal.  He is not a material quality, a fruitive activity, a manifestation or non manifestation.  He is the last word in the discrimination of ‘not this, not this’, and He is unlimited.  All glories to the Supreme Personality of Godhead!”*

12      “When the King of the elephants was describing the supreme authority, without mentioning any particular person, he did not invoke the demigods, headed by Lord Brahma, Lord Siva, Indra and Candra.  Thus none of them approached him.  However, because Lord Hari is the Supersoul, Purusottama, the Personality of Godhead, He appeared before Gajendra.”*

13      Because the Supreme Personality of Godhead is the original cause of all causes, no demigod or other living entity can be His equal.  This is confirmed by Gajendra in these words (Shrimad Bhagavatam 8.3.22-23):

          “The Supreme Personality of Godhead creates His minor part and parcels, the jiva-tattva, beginning with Lord Brahma, the demigods and the expansions of Vedic knowledge (Sama, Rg, Yajur and Atharva) and including all other living entities, moving and non moving, with their different names and characteristics.  As the sparks of a fire or the shining rays of the sun emanate from their source and merge into it again and again, the mind, the intelligence, the senses, the gross and subtle material bodies, and the continuous transformations of the different modes of nature all emanate from the Lord and again merge into Him.”*

          Gajendra continues by explaining that the Supreme Personality of Godhead has no material qualities.  “He is not woman, man, or neuter, nor is He an animal.  He is not a material quality, a mode of material nature, a pious or impious fruitive activity.”  He is not any of these things because He is the creator of them and therefore He is not different from them.  We may also note that the phrase ‘na san na casat’ may be interpreted to mean “He is neither small nor large.”  This means that He can appear in any form, large or small, as he wishes.

          Shridhara Svami comments on this verse:

          “The word ‘nisedha-sesah’ means ‘negating the different material forms fashioned by the illusory energy, maya, one may understand the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is not a product of maya.’  In this verse Gajendra says: ‘All glories to the Supreme Personality of Godhead!  I pray He may appear before me so I may become free from this distressing situation and attain liberation.’”

14      In Shrimad Bhagavatam 8.3.30 (quoted in text 13) Sukadeva Gosvami says: “When the king of the elephants was describing (upavarnita) the supreme authority, without mentioning any particular person (nirvisesam), he did not invoke the demigods, headed by Lord Brahma, Lord Siva, Indra and Candra (vividha-linga-bhidabhimanah).  Thus none of them approached him (naite yadopasasrpuh).  However, because Lord Hari is the Supersoul (nikhilatmakatvat), Purusottama, the Personality of Godhead (akhilamara-mayo harih), He appeared (avirasit) before Gajendra.”*

          In these prayers Gajendra said: ‘O Lord, Your transcendental form is neither large nor small, for it is never limited by material designations.’  In the same way in other places of Vedic literature it is said that the Personality of Godhead has neither hands nor feet.  In this way the transcendentalists meditate on the Lord in their heart.  This, of course, means that the Personality of Godhead has no material hands and feet, for all the limbs of the Lord’s body are spiritual.  This is confirmed by the following statement of Shrimad Bhagavatam (10.14.2), where Lord Brahma says:

          “My dear Lord, Your form is transcendental to all material elements.  I can understand that You have mercy upon me because You are revealing that form, standing before me like a small child.  But although I am Lord Brahma, the so-called creator of this universe, I am unable to ascertain the transcendental potencies of Your body.  And if I am unable to understand the spiritual potency of Your childlike body, then what can I understand about Your transcendental pastimes?”*

          Many other verses from Vedic literature confirm this point, but to avoid undue repetition we will not quote them.

Anuccheda 46

1        The Supreme Personality of Godhead’s presence as the Supersoul in the hearts of all conditioned souls is described by Maharaja Nrga (Shrimad Bhagavatam 10.64.26):

          “My dear Lord, You are the Supersoul seated in everyone’s heart.  There are many great mystic yogis who have eyes to see You through the Vedas and Upanisads.  In order to achieve the elevated position of being equal in quality with You, they always meditate on You within their hearts.  Although such exalted saintly persons may see You constantly within their hearts, they still cannot see You eye to eye:  therefore I am very much surprised that I am able to see You personally.  I know that I was engaged in so many activities, especially as a king.  Although I was in the midst of luxury and opulence and was subjected to so much of the happiness and misery of material existence, I am so fortunate to be seeing You personally.  As far as I know, when one become liberated from material existence, he can see You in this way.”*

2        Shridhara Svami comments:

          “In this verse Maharaja Nrga says to the Supreme Personality of Godhead: ‘O Lord, I am very much surprised that I am able to see You personally’ (sa tvam katham mama vibho ksi-pathah).  Someone may ask: Why is this so surprising?  In answer to this Maharaja Nrga says: ‘O Lord, You are the Supersoul (paramatma) seated in everyone’s heart.  There are many great mystic yogis (yogesvaraih) who have eyes to see You though the Vedas and Upanisads (sruti-drsa) and they always meditate on You within their pure hearts (amala-hrd-vibhavyah).  Although such exalted saintly persons may see You constantly within their hearts, they still cannot see You eye to eye, for You remain beyond the perception of the material senses (adhoksajah).  When one becomes liberated from material existence (bhavapavargah), he can see You as I am seeing You now (anudrsya).  Although my intelligence has become blinded by the great suffering I have experienced in this lifetime as a lizard, I have become so fortunate as to see You personally.  This is certainly very surprising.’”

3        The reason Maharaja Nrga was able to directly see the Supreme Personality of Godhead is described in the Narayanadhyatma:

          “Although the Supreme Personality of Godhead remains always invisible to the conditioned souls, He may be seen by the intervention of the Lord’s transcendental potency.  Without the mercy of the Lord’s potency, who is able to see the eternal Supreme Lord?”

4        The Supreme Personality of Godhead can be seen only with the grace of His own potency, which He manifests by His own mercy.  Therefore, the Lord’s mercy is the actual cause of being able to see Him.  This is confirmed in the following statements of the Upanisad:

          “With material eyes no one can see the form of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.”

                             Katha Upanisad 2.3.9

          “The Supreme Personality of Godhead reveals Himself of His own accord to those He chooses.”

                             Mundaka Upanisad 3.2.3

          “The conditioned living entity is not able to see the Supreme Personality of Godhead.”

                             Katha Upanisad 2.3.9 and Svetasvatara Upanisad 4.20

5        This is also explained in the Narayaniya chapter of the Moksa-dharma (Mahabharata, Santi-parva 339.45-46), where Lord Narayana, the master of Svetadvipa says to Narada:

          “O Narada, I am the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the master of the universe.  You are not able to completely understand My transcendental form.  Because I desired to reveal Myself to you I have momentarily appeared before you and then disappeared.  You are no longer able to see Me, but can only see this material nature of the three modes and various elements I have created.  At the present moment you can see only this.  You cannot see Me.”

6        In this verse Lord Narayana says “You have seen My form (drsyate), but you have not understood it (tvaya na jneyam)’.  By saying that His form cannot be understood within the reference of matter, the Lord affirms that His form is spiritual and not material.  Nevertheless, because the Lord desires to show mercy to His devotees, He sometimes wishes (icchan) to reveal His form to them, and then He also disappears from heir sight (nasyeyam).  Because the Supreme Personality of Godhead is the supreme controller (isah) of everything, He is supremely independent, and He is also different from the material universe.  For this reason He can appear and then disappear whenever He likes.  The phrases ‘maya hy esa maya srsta yan mam pasyasi’ and ‘sarva-bhuta-guanir yuktam’ means ‘Now you do not see Me.  Now you see only My illusory energy.”

7        That the Supreme Personality of Godhead may be seen only by His mercy is confirmed by Bhismadeva (Mahabharata, Santi-parva 339.12):

          “The eternal Supreme Personality of Godhead, the master of the demigods, then became pleased and personally revealed Himself to Upacari Vasu.  This is the only way He may be seen.  If He does not wish to show Himself, He will remain invisible.”

          In this verse the word ‘tam’ refers to Upacari Vasu.

8        Before this passage a group of devotees headed by Upacari Vasu says (Mahabharata, Santi-parva 336.19):

          “O Brhaspati, neither you nor we are able to see the Supreme Personality of Godhead.  Only they who obtain His mercy can see Him.”

9        The various attributes of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, such as His remaining invisible to the eyes of the conditioned souls, are described in the Upanisads.  For example, the Katha Upanisad (2.3.9) says:

          “With material eyes no one can see the form of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.”

          The verse quoted in the beginning of this Anuccheda was spoken by King Nrga to the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

Anuccheda 47

1        In the following statement of Shrimad Bhagavatam (8.3.8) the conception that the forms, qualities, and pastimes of the Supreme Personality of Godhead are material is refuted.  Here the Lord’s forms are described as spiritual and not material:

          “The Supreme Personality of Godhead has no material birth, activities, name, form, qualities or faults.  To fulfil the purpose for which this material world is created and destroyed, He comes in the form of a human being like Lord Rama or Lord Krishna by His original internal potency.”*

2        This verse describes the various transformations present in the material bodies of the conditioned souls.  The first transformation is birth (janma), the next transformation is work (karma), by which the imperfect and unfulfilled soul tries to become perfect and fulfilled.  The next transformation is name (nama), or the system of sounds by which various objects within the mind’s reach are indicated for the purpose of facilitating everyday activities.  The next transformation is form (rupa), the quality perceived by the visual sense.  The last transformation is quality (guna), or the conditioned souls’ different natures, born from their contact with the three modes: goodness, passion and ignorance.  The material transformations are present in the conditioned souls, but they are not present in the Supreme Personality of Godhead because He is always situated in His own original transcendental form, which is perfect and complete, beyond the understanding of the limited material mind, beyond the touch of the material energy, and visible only by the Lord’s consent and not otherwise.  Although the Lord remains untouched by the material transformations, He nevertheless comes to the material world in a human like form like the forms of Lord Rama or Lord Krishna (yas tani rcchanti).  The sentence begun in this verse is completed in the next which says:

          “He has immense potency, and in various forms, all free from material contamination, He acts wonderfully.  He is therefore the Supreme Brahman.  I offer my respects to Him.”*

          That the Supreme Personality of Godhead has no material form is also described in the following statements from the Upanisads:

          “The Supreme Personality of Godhead is perfect and complete.  He is supremely peaceful.  His activities are never material.”

                             Svetasvatara Upanisad 6.19

          “The Supreme Personality of Godhead has no material name or form.  He is eternal and changeless.  He is not understood by the material senses.”

                             Katha Upanisad 1.3.15

          Although He has no material attributes, the Supreme Personality of Godhead has a spiritual form and senses.  This is confirmed in the following words:

          “The Supreme Personality of Godhead is omnipotent.  He can do whatever He likes.  All His desires are automatically fulfilled.  He tastes and smells all that exists.  His senses perceive everything.”

                             Chandogya Upanisad 3.14.2

4        In this verse the word ‘guna-dosah’ means that although they who are not Supreme may have faults, the Supreme Personality of Godhead has no faults.  This is described in Kurma Purana:

          “Because the Supreme Personality of Godhead is full of all opulences, some of His opulences may seem to contradict some of His other opulences.  Because the Supreme Personality of Godhead is supreme in all respects, these contradictions should not be taken as faults.”

5        That the Supreme Personality of Godhead is perfect and free from any defect is also confirmed in the following statements of the Upanisads:

          “The Supreme Personality of Godhead remains always untouched by material impurity or sin.”

                             Chandogya Upanisad 8.1.5.

          “The Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is described in the Vedas, is supremely auspicious because not only does He possess all inauspiciousness within Himself, but He also leads others to an auspicious condition.”

                             Chandogya Upanisad 4.15.2-4

6        In the previously quoted passage from Chandogya Upanisad (3.14.2) the word ‘sarva-gandhah’ may also be interpreted to mean “He who is most pleasantly fragrant’, or, in other words, He whose attributes are superior to those of all others.  In the verse from Shrimad Bhagavatam (8.3.8) quoted previously, the word ‘rcchati’ (He accepts) should not be interpreted to mean that He accepts a position like the faulty status of the conditioned souls.  Such an interpretation would clearly contradict the statements of the Upanisads.

7        At this point someone may object: “First you say the Supreme Personality of Godhead has no birth, activities, name, form, or qualities, and then again you say he has all these.  This is certainly a contradictory statement.”

          Fearing that someone would say this, the Shrimad Bhagavatam (8.3.8) says: “By the power of His original internal potency (sva-maya) the Supreme Personality of Godhead takes birth, even though He is unborn.”  Without accepting the Lord’s all-powerful internal potency, it is indeed illogical to say the Lord simultaneously takes birth and does not take birth.  In fact the birth of the Supreme Lord is different from the birth of the conditioned souls.  The Lord’s birth is a spiritual pastime and cannot be understood from the material frame of reference or described according to material concepts.

8        That the Supreme Personality of Godhead does have birth, name, form, activities, and qualities is confirmed by Sankaracarya in the following words (sariraka-bhasya 1.4.16):

          “The word ‘sat’ (reality) is generally applied to that which has names and forms.  Considering that some philosophers might think the Supreme godhead ultimately has  neither name nor form, the Sruti-sastra specifically says: ‘Before the creation, the Supreme existed as sat (reality).  Other things were then non existent (asat).  This means that by using the word ‘sat’ to describe the Supreme before the creation, the Sruti-sastra affirms that before the creation of the material universes the Supreme Godhead was manifested with both name and form, for the very word ‘sat’ means to have name and form.”

9        That the Supreme Personality of Godhead has spiritual qualities but no material qualities is confirmed by the following seemingly contradictory statements of Vishnu Purana (6.5.83-84):

          “O sage, the Supreme Godhead is above all virtues and faults.  These things are not present in Him.”

          “The Supreme Godhead is the possessor of all auspicious qualities.”

10      That the Supreme Personality of Godhead has spiritual, not material, qualities is also described in the following words (Vishnu Purana 6.5.79):

          “The person that has all knowledge, power, strength, opulence, heroism and splendour, and does not have any inferior material qualities, or faults is known as Bhagavan, or the Supreme Personality of Godhead.”

11      That the Supreme Personality of Godhead has spiritual, not material, qualities is again confirmed by the following statement of Padma Purana, Uttara-khanda:

          “When the Vedic literatures describe the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the controller of all the universes, as being without qualities (nirguna), this should be understood to mean that He has no inferior material qualities.”

12      In Shrimad Bhagavatam 8.3.8 the word ‘sva-mayaya’ should be interpreted to mean ‘The Supreme Personality of Godhead who appears in this material world through the agency of His own transcendental potency.’  This phrase should not be interpreted in any other way.  That this interpretation is correct is confirmed by the following statement of Narada Muni in Shrimad Bhagavatam (10.37.22), which clearly defines the word ‘maya’ as ‘the Lord’s potency”:

          “My Lord, let me offer my respectful obeisances to Your lotus feet.  You are situated completely in the transcendental position of perfect knowledge and bliss.  You are complete in Yourself, and are beyond all desires.  By exhibiting Your internal potency You have set up the influence of maya.  Your unlimited potency cannot be measured by anyone.  My dear Lord, You are the Supreme Controller.  It is simply vain to think that You are dependent on any of Your creations.”*

13      Any other interpretation of the word ‘sva-mayaya’ should be understood to contradict the intention of Shrila Sukadeva Gosvami in speaking Shrimad Bhagavatam 12.12.69.  In this verse and also in Shridhara Svami’s commentary on it, the word ‘sva-mayaya’ is clearly defined to mean ‘the Lord’s transcendental potency.”

14      Someone may object: In this verse the word ‘rcchati’ means ‘accepts’.  This means that the Supreme Personality of Godhead sometimes accepts a form, and at other times He does not accept a form.

          To this objection Shrimad Bhagavatam replies by using the word ‘anukalam’ (eternally).  In other words, Shrimad Bhagavatam states that the Supreme Lord eternally accepts a form.  He never abandons the position of having His own transcendental form.  In other words, He is never formless.  Therefore, it may be understood that the Supreme Personality of Godhead is the origin of His transcendental potencies, and at the same time He manifests His eternal form within the material world by the agency of His transcendental potency.

15      At this point someone may object: “How is it possible that the birth and activities of the Supreme Personality of Godhead are eternal.  He is not eternally being born, neither is He eternally carrying out any specific action.  His expansions appear at a certain point in time, and then after that They are no longer manifest.  How is it, then, that you say that the Lord’s birth and activities are eternal?”

          To this objection I reply: There is no defect in the statement that the birth and pastimes of the Supreme Personality of Godhead are eternal.  He has innumerable forms and each form is manifest in an unlimited number of places.  The Lord’s birth and activities are therefore unlimited in number.  The original forms and secondary manifestations of the Lord’s various places of pastimes and various pastime-associates in both the spiritual world of Vaikuntha and the material universes are also unlimited in number.  Therefore, whenever the birth or pastimes of any original form of the Lord or secondary manifestation of the Lord’s form is completed in a certain place, it is immediately manifested again in another place.  In this way the birth and pastimes of the Supreme Personality of Godhead are never interrupted.  They are eternally manifest.  The original manifestations of the Supreme Personality of Godhead’s births and pastimes are always the same.  They never change.  The secondary appearances of these original forms, however, sometimes introduce varieties into these pastimes.

16      That the original forms of the Lord can expand into innumerable secondary forms is confirmed by the following statement of Shrimad Bhagavatam (10.69.2):

          “It is astounding that Lord Krishna, who is one without a second, expanded Himself in sixteen thousand similar forms to marry sixteen thousand queens in their respective homes.”*

17      The Supreme Personality of Godhead, therefore, manifests various forms in various circumstances according to His different activities.  In this way the varieties of the mellows of His pastimes are manifested.

18      At this point someone may object:  “How can you say that simply because He is born and acts in different forms at different times, the birth and activities of the Supreme Personality of Godhead are eternal?  These births and activities are different, and therefore none of them are eternal.  For this reason the form of the Personality of Godhead is also not eternal.”

          To this I reply: The forms of the Supreme Personality of Godhead are one.  They appear at different times and under different circumstances, but they are still the same eternal forms.  That they appear at different times does not mean that they must be different forms.

          If something is repeated that does not mean that the repetition is different from the first appearance.  This is explained by Sankaracarya in Sariraka-bhasya:

          “If the word ‘cow’ is repeated twice that does not mean that there are two cows.  There is only one cow, but for emphasis the word has been repeated.  In the same way, if the word ‘cooked’ is repeated twice, that does not mean that the food was twice cooked.  Simply for emphasis the word was repeated.”

          From these explanations we may understand that the birth and activities of the Supreme Personality of Godhead are eternal.  For this reason the Agama-sastras and other Vedic literatures worship the Supreme Personality of Godhead’s pastimes, which were all performed innumerable times in the past.

19      This is also confirmed in Madhvacaraya’s commentary:

          “Because the forms of Lord Trivikrama and the other incarnations are all manifested from the form of the Supersoul (paramatma), therefore these forms are all eternal, just as the Supersoul is eternal.”

          This is also corroborated by the Sruti-sastra:

          “The Supreme Personality of Godhead always existed in the past.  He exists at present, and He will continue to exist in the future eternally.”

          From this it should be known that because the forms of the Supreme Personality of Godhead are all eternal, they are also the supreme objects of our worship.

20      The ‘birth’ of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is very different from the birth of the conditioned souls.  Any similarities of these two births are very superficial.  Sometimes the Lord’s ‘birth’ is completely different from the conditioned souls birth and there is not even a superficial resemblance.  That the Supreme Lord is unborn although He seems to take birth is described in the Sruti-sastra:

          “Although He is unborn, the Supreme Personality of Godhead takes birth again and again.”

21      That the Supreme Personality of Godhead’s appearance in this material world only superficially resembles the birth of the conditioned souls is confirmed by the following statement of Shrimad Bhagavatam (10.3.8):

          “Then the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vishnu, who is situated in the core of everyone’s heart, appeared from the heart of Devaki in the dense darkness of night, like the full moon rising on the eastern horizon, because Devaki was of the same category as Shri Krishna.”*

22      The difference between the Lord’s ‘birth’ and that of the conditioned souls is also seen in the following statement of Shrimad Bhagavatam (7.8.17), where the Lord’s appearance as Lord Nrsimadeva is described:

          “To prove that the statement of His servant Prahlada Maharaja was substantial - in other words, to prove that the Supreme Lord is present everywhere, even within the pillar of an assembly hall - the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Hari, exhibited a wonderful form never before seen.  The form was neither that of a man nor that of a lion.  Thus the Lord appeared in His wonderful form in the assembly hall.”*

23      The ‘birth’ of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is again described in Shrimad Bhagavatam (3.24.6):

          “After many, many years, the Supreme Personality of Godhead Madhusudana, the killer of the demon Madhu, having entered the semen of Kardama, appeared in Devahuti just as fire comes from wood in a sacrifice.”*

          In this description of the Lord’s ‘birth’ we may note that, influenced by the pure devotion of Kardama Muni, the Supreme Lord agreed to become his son.  We may also note that the word ‘viryam’ here may be understood to mean ‘sonship’.  In this way the phrase ‘viryam apannah’ may mean ‘The Supreme Lord accepted the status of Kardama Muni’s son.’

24      The activities of the Supreme Personality of Godhead are His blissful transcendental pastimes.  They are not like the material activities of the conditioned souls.  This is described in Vedanta-sutra (2.1.33):

          “Although they may superficially resemble the activities of conditioned souls, the actions of the Supreme Personality of Godhead are all His transcendental pastimes.”

          Shripada Madhvacarya comments on this sutra:

          “The transcendental pastimes of the Supreme Personality of Godhead are different from the happy dancing and other activities of the intoxicated and mad conditioned souls, who inhabit this material world.”

25      That the Supreme Personality of Godhead is never forced to act is described in the Narayana-samhita:

          “Lord Hari is not obliged to create the material universes or do any other thing.  He is completely free to do whatever He likes.  As a madman or an intoxicated person freely dances without thinking of attaining any specific result to fulfilling any duty, so the Supreme Personality of Godhead, impelled by His own transcendental bliss, acts in any way He pleases.

          “How has the idea come that the perfectly blissful Supreme Personality of Godhead is obliged to act in certain ways and is not free to act as He pleases?  This idea is a great mistake, for if even the liberated jivas are free to act and have all their desires automatically fulfilled, then certainly the Supreme Lord is completely free.  All His desires are automatically fulfilled without His having to endeavour in any way.”

26      One should not conclude from this example comparing the Supreme Personality of Godhead to an intoxicated person or a madman that the Supreme Lord is not omniscient or that His knowledge is faulty in any way, as the knowledge of a madman or an intoxicated person is.  The example should be understood to mean that there are some similarities between the actions of the Supreme Lord and an intoxicated person, but they are not the same in all respects.

          As a madman or an intoxicated person does not consider what is necessary for his personal benefit, but acts irresponsibly, so the Supreme Lord does not consider His own self-interest, for He is already flooded with transcendental bliss.  The Supreme Lord’s transcendental bliss is automatically established.  He need not work to attain it.

          Someone may say this is a lack of awareness on the Lord’s part: that He does not know how His bliss is established.  However, for the Lord this is not a fault.  As even the most learned scholar is not considered ignorant because he is not aware how he is inhaling and exhaling in deep sleep or some other unconscious state, so there is no fault on the Lord’s part if He is not aware how His transcendental bliss is established.  From this we may conclude that the pastimes of the Supreme Personality of Godhead are by nature full of transcendental bliss.  This is confirmed by the Sruti-sastra:

          “By nature the Supreme Personality of Godhead’s desires are automatically fulfilled without His endeavour.  If this is so, and He never lacks anything, then how is it possible for Him to desire anything?  His desires do not remain for they are all immediately and effortlessly fulfilled.”

27      Even when He creates the material world, the Supreme Personality of Godhead performs everything without any effort, all His desires being automatically fulfilled.  This is described in Aitareya Upanisad (1.1.1):

          “The Supreme Personality of Godhead glanced and thought: ‘Let there be creation’.  In this way the material world was created.”

          If the Lord’s desires in relation to this material world are automatically fulfilled, then what to speak of His desires in relation to the spiritual world of Vaikuntha?  In either spiritual or material worlds, then, the Supreme Lord can perform any action simply by willing it.  This is described by the Kaliya serpent’s wives (Shrimad Bhagavatam 10.16.47):

          “Our dear Lord, in the matter of creating the cosmic manifestation, personally You have nothing to exert; by expanding Your different kinds of energy - namely the mode of goodness, the mode of passion, and the mode of ignorance - You can create, maintain and annihilate this cosmic manifestation.  As the controller of the entire time force, You can simply glance over the material energy, create this universe, and energise the different forces of material nature, which are acting differently in different creatures.  No one can estimate, therefore, how Your activities are going on within this world.”*

28      The transcendental nature of the Supreme Lord’s appearance and activities is also described in the following statement of Shrimad Bhagavatam (1.3.35):

          “Thus learned men describe the births and activities of the unborn and inactive, which is undiscoverable even in the Vedic literatures.  He is the Lord of the heart.”*

29      This verse may be understood by studying the two preceding verses, which describe the process by which one becomes able to understand the Supreme Personality of Godhead.  These two verses (Shrimad Bhagavatam 1.3.33-34) say:

          “Whenever a person experiences, b self-realisation, that both the gross and subtle bodies have nothing to do with the pure self, at that time he sees himself as well as the Lord.*

          “If the illusory energy subsides and the living entity becomes full enriched with knowledge by the grace of the Lord, then he becomes at once enlightened with self-realisation and thus becomes situated in his own glory.”*

          The first verse means that becoming free, by full spiritual knowledge, from the ignorance of thinking that the gross and subtle material bodies are the self, is the cause of being able to see the Lord.

          The second verse means that when the illusory energy subsides the great treasure of one’s own spiritual form becomes manifest.

          The third verse (1.3.35) means that the learned men, who take pleasure in the Supreme Self, describe the births and activities of the Supersoul, who is the Lord of the heart.

          When material misconceptions subside, then the transcendental treasure of direct perception of the Lord’s birth and activities becomes manifest.  This is the meaning.  From this it may be understood that the Lord’s forms and pastimes are filled with transcendental bliss.  That is the meaning.

30      In this verse (1.3.35) the phrase ‘akartur ajanasya’ (the Lord has neither birth nor activities) should be understood to mean ‘the Lord has no material birth or activities.’  His birth and activities are completely spiritual and different from their material counterparts.  The phrase ‘veda-guhyani’ (undiscoverable even in the Vedic literatures) is explained in Akrura’s prayers (Shrimad Bhagavatam 10.48.23-24):

          “To consider Your Lordship to be one of us, conditioned by the material nature, is a mistake due to our imperfect knowledge.  When people deviate from the original knowledge of the Vedas, they try to identify the ordinary living entities with Your Lordship.  Your Lordship has appeared on this earth in Your original form in order to re-establish the real knowledge that the living entities are neither one with nor equal to the Supreme God.  My dear Lord, You are always situated in uncontaminated goodness (suddha-sattva).  Your appearance is necessary to re-establish actual Vedic knowledge, as opposed to the atheistic philosophy that tries to establish that God and the living entities are one and the same.  My dear Lord Krishna, this time You have appeared in the home of Vasudeva as his son, along with Your plenary expansion, Shri Balarama.  Your mission is to kill all the atheistic royal families along with their huge military strength.  You have advented Yourself to minimise the overburden of the world, and in order to fulfil this mission.  You have glorified the dynasty of Yadu, appearing in the family as one of its members.”*

          Shridhara Svami discusses these verses in his commentary:

          “Someone may say that the pastimes of the Lord are actually manifestations of material illusion and they only appear to be spiritual under the influence of devotion to the Lord as a glittering oyster-shell may sometimes be mistaken for silver.  This is not a fact.  The Supreme Lord’s pastimes are spiritual.  They are not the ordinary activities of conditioned souls, but the Supreme Godhead’s sport.  This is confirmed by the description given in these two verses of Shrimad Bhagavatam.

31      As the Supreme Lord’s form is transcendental, so His names and activities are also transcendental.  This is described in Vishnu Purana (5.2.18) where the demigods say to Devaki-devi:

          “O Devaki, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vishnu, whose names, forms, and activities are beyond the limited understanding of the conditioned souls, is now present within your womb.”

          We may note that some manuscripts contain the reading ‘rupa-karma’ (forms and activities) in the beginning of this verse.  (In this alternate version the translation would read: ‘whose forms and activities’, omitting the word ‘names’).

32      The transcendental nature of the Supreme Personality of Godhead’s pastimes is also described in Bhagavad-gita (4.9) where the Lord says:

          “One who knows the transcendental nature of My appearance and activities does not, upon leaving the body, take birth again in this world, but attains My eternal abode, O Arjuna.”*

33      The name of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is perfect and transcendental.  It is different from the material nature and it cannot be described in material words or understood by the thinking process of the material mind.  This is described in the following statement of the Vasudevadhyatma:

          “Because the Supreme Personality of Godhead has limitless qualities, He is known as ‘anama’, or ‘He who has no name’.  The Lord is said to have no name because He does not have a single name.  In other words, His names are unlimited in number.”

34      This is also described in the Brahma Purana:

          “The Supreme Personality of Godhead is sometimes said to be nameless.  This is said because the names of the Lord are unlimited in number.  There is no single name of the Lord.  In the same way, the Supreme Lord is sometimes said to be formless.  This should be understood to mean that the form of the Supreme Lord is spiritual.  It is not composed of the five material elements.  Therefore the Lord has no material form.”

35      That the Supreme Personality of Godhead’s names and pastimes are spiritual and not material is also confirmed in the Vishnu Purana (5.18.53-54):

          “O unborn Supreme Personality of Godhead, Your names, birth, forms and so forth, are not the product of the vivid imagination of the conditioned souls, but they are all supremely real.  You are eternal, the unchanging, supreme spiritual reality.  You are the supreme knowledge beyond the feeble speculative powers of the conditioned souls, and therefore You are glorified by a host of holy names, such as Krishna (the all-attractive), Acyuta (the infallible), Ananta (the unlimited), and Vishnu (the all-pervading).”

36      This description of the Lord’s holy names does not at all contradict the verse from the Vishnu Purana quoted in text 31.  Both passages describe the spiritual nature of the Lord’s holy name.  The speculative powers of the conditioned souls cannot give certain knowledge, and therefore this verse explains that the Supreme Personality of Godhead’s name, birth and pastimes cannot be understood by the speculative process.  In this verse the word ‘brahma’ clearly establishes the spiritual nature of the Lord’s holy name.

37      That the Supreme Personality of Godhead is unborn is confirmed in the Svetasvatara Upanisad (4.5):

          “The Supreme Personality of Godhead is unborn.  He appears in the red, white and black forms of His different incarnations.”

          Because the names, forms and pastimes of the Supreme Personality of Godhead are all eternal, unborn and supremely worshipable, they cannot be the product of philosophers’ imaginations.  They are not imaginary.  They are real.  This is also confirmed in the statement of Vishnu Purana (5.2.18) quoted in text 31.

          The Lord’s holy names, such as Krishna and other names and His incarnations, where He appears in the forms of demigods, human beings, ksatriyas and others, and His pastimes in these different incarnations are not imaginary.  They are all real.  All the pastime-incarnations of the Lord are the masters of His eternal spiritual potencies, and they are all perfect in all respects.  This is confirmed in Shrimad Bhagavatam (10.37.32):

          “The Supreme Personality of Godhead is, by nature, perfect in all respects.”

38      In the Vishnu Purana passage quoted in Text 35 the word ‘yatah’ means ‘because’ and ‘tatah’ means ‘therefore’.  ‘Sarvasya arthasya’ means ‘of all visible substance’, ‘kalpanam rte’ means ‘beyond conception or imagination’, ‘adhigamah’ means ‘material conception’, and ‘na’ means ‘is not’.  This verse explains that neither the Supreme Personality of Godhead nor His holy name are imaginary, but they are beyond the information gathering abilities of the conditioned souls in the material world.  The great sages and the Vedic literatures both glorify the Supreme Personality of Godhead by chanting His supremely perfect transcendental names.  These glories of the Lord are not imaginary.  They are real.  That is the meaning of this verse.

39      In this way the Supreme Personality of Godhead is described in the Vedic literatures.  It has already been established that the potencies of the Lord are all self-perfect.  Other things may be products of philosophers’ imagination, but not the Lord’s perfect potencies.  In this verse the Vishnu Purana clearly says: “The names, birth, and everything else in relation to the Supreme Personality of Godhead are not imaginary (na vidyante nama-jaty-adi-kalpanah) for they are in relation to You, O Lord (bhavan), the Supreme form of the supreme spirit (paramam brahma)’.  The use of the word ‘avikari’ (unchanging) does not mean that the Lord remains static and does not move or act, for He always enjoys various transcendental pastimes.  The word ‘aja’ (O unborn) means that He does not take birth or appear in the world as a conditioned souls does.

          Why do some commentators claim that the names, births, etc., of the Supreme Lord are imaginary?  Their conclusion cannot be accepted,  Material knowledge is attained by the process of mental speculation (kalpanam rte rthasya sarvasyadhigamah).  Mental speculation, however, does not help us understand the names, birth, etc. of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

          The verse concludes by saying: ‘O Lord, You are glorified (idyase) by Your holy names (namabhih), such as Krishna and other names’, which are all chanted by the eternally perfect Vedic literatures, such as the Sruti-sastras and the Puranas.  The conclusion is that the Supreme Godhead is not impersonal, and His names, birth, form, etc. are not imaginary.  They are all real.

40      The names Krishna, Acyuta, Ananta, and Vishnu in this verse are selected to give some indication of the Lord’s innumerable names.  In the Vedic literatures the name of Narayana and many other names are also given.

41      The Lord’s holy name is described in the Vedic literature:

          “The Supreme Personality of Godhead is manifest as the syllables of His name.”

          The Vedanta-sutra (2.4.16) also says:

          “The holy name of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is eternal.”

          In this way the eternality of the Lord’s holy name, which is described in all Vedic literatures, is established.

42      The holy names of the Supreme Personality of Godhead are also described in the Gopala-tapani Upanisad (1.29) where, in the course of describing the 18 syllable Krishna-mantra, the demigod Brahma says:

          “When I desired to create the universe the Lord again appeared before me, showing me in these syllables the universe that was to be.”

          In this way the holy names of the Supreme Personality of Godhead are described as the original cause of the material universe then about to be created.  The Lord’s holy name is not different from His form.  Because the Lord and His name are the same, the Lord’s name is different from the universe, although it is also the universe’s original cause.  Because it is different from the universe, the Lord’s name is spiritual and all-perfect.  It is without flaw.

43      The Lord’s holy name is also described in the Rg Veda (1.156.3):

          “O Vishnu, by chanting Your holy name with a little understanding, we attain profound transcendental knowledge.”

44      In this verse word ‘visno’ means ‘O Vishnu’, ‘te’ means “Your’, ‘cit’ means ‘spiritual by nature’, ‘mahah’ means ‘self-manifest’, ‘asya’ means ‘of that holy name’, and ‘a’ means ‘even slightly’.  When it is said, ‘with even a small understanding of Your holy name’, it is understood that complete understanding of the glories of the Lord’s name is the best position.  The word ‘viviktan’ means ‘even by simply repeating the syllables’, ‘sumatim’ means ‘proper knowledge of the holy name’, ‘bhajamahe’ means ‘we obtain’, ‘tat’ means ‘therefore’, ‘om’ means ‘the sacred syllable om’, and ‘sat’ means ‘self-perfect’.

          From this we may understand that the chanting of te holy name of the Supreme Personality of Godhead frees the chanter from fear, hatred and other material imperfections.  This description is also confirmed by various other statements of the Vedic literatures.

45      That one becomes liberated by the chanting of the holy name of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is also described in the Brahma Purana:

          “Even if one’s mind is distracted and one does not think of the Lord, and even if one becomes angry, if one continually glorifies Lord Hari, he will become free from the bonds of repeated birth and death and attain liberation as Sisupala, the King of Cedi, did.”

46      One becomes liberated by even only once chanting the holy name of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.  This is described in Padma Purana:

          “A person who chants the two syllables Ha-ri, even if he chants only a single time, causes his friends and relatives to become liberated from the cycle of repeated birth and death by such chanting.”*

47      The sacred syllable om is described in the Sruti-sastra:

          “Om is the name of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.  Because speaking it rescues one from the cycle of repeated birth and death, om is known as ‘tara’ (the deliverer).”

48      One should not invent a concocted interpretation of the meaning of the holy name.  “To concoct a fanciful meaning of the holy name of Lord Hari” is counted among the offenses to the holy name mentioned in the Padma Purana.

          Even if one regularly chants the holy name of the Lord, if he commits this or other offenses to the holy name, he will not become liberated as a result of his chanting, but will remain enmeshed in the cycle of repeated birth and death.  This is true of one who commits offenses to the Lord’s holy name and it is also true of one who commits offenses to the Lord’s devotional service.  An example of an offense to devotional service is found in the Shri Vishnu-bhakti-candrodaya:

          “If one sees the Supreme Personality of Godhead travelling in His Rathayatra festival or some similar festival and does not follow the Lord in His procession, then such a person will find that the results of all his pious activities will become burned by the fire of transcendental knowledge, and he will take his next birth in a family of Brahma-raksasas.”

          These offenses to the Lord’s holy name or devotional service as described in these statements of the Vishnu-bhakti-candrodaya and Padma Purana should be understood to be great obstacles for they who aspire to make progress in spiritual life.

49      As when one see the Supreme Personality of Godhead present as the witness within the heart, one feels transcendental bliss, in the same way, when one properly chants the holy name of the Lord, one feels transcendental bliss.  This is described by Shri Saunaka Rsi in the following words Shrimad Bhagavatam (2.3.24):

          “Certainly that heart is steel-framed which, in spite of one’s chanting the holy name of the Lord with concentration, does not change when ecstasy takes place, tears fill the eyes and the hairs stand on end.”*

50      The holy name of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is the mature fruit of all the Vedas and it is the transcendental form of the Supreme Lord.  This is described in the following statement of the Prabhasa-khanda:

          “The holy name of Lord Krishna is the most auspicious of all auspicious things, and the sweetest of all sweet things.  It is completely spiritual, without any touch of matter, and it is the transcendental fruit of the vine of all Vedic literatures.  If one chants the holy name of Lord Krishna, even once, either with faith, or even in the spirit of mocking Him, the holy name will deliver the chanter from the bondage of material existence.”

51      From this we may understand that the holy name and form of the Supreme Personality of Godhead are identical.  This is clearly explained in Narada-pancaratra in the description of the eight-syllable mantra Om namo vasudevaya:

          “The supremely blissful personality of Godhead, Narayana is personally present in the sound vibration of the eight syllable mantra Om namo vasudevaya.”

52

The Supreme Lord’s name Om is described in the following statements of the Upanisads:

          “This entire cosmic manifestation is actually the syllable Om.”

                                      Chandogya Upanisad 2.24.4

          “This entire universe is identical with the sacred syllable Om.”

                                      Mandukya Upanisad 1.1

53      The sacred syllable Om is further described in the Agama-sastra:

          “The sacred syllable om is identical with the Supreme Personality of Godhead.  Om is the Supreme.  Om has no front, no inside, and no outside.  Nothing is superior to the changeless om.  Om is the beginning, middle and end of everything.  One who is able to understand the true nature of om eventually attains direct association of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.  One should understand that the syllable om is identical with the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is situated in the hearts of all living beings.  A thoughtful person who understands that the syllable om is actually the all-pervading Personality of Godhead, never laments for anything.  Om is immeasurable and unlimited.  Om is supremely auspicious for it eradicates the misconception of thinking that the material cosmos is independent of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.  One who understands this true nature of the sacred syllable om is actually a learned philosopher.  One who does not understand om is not a philosopher, but only an ignorant fool.”

54      Someone may claim that the syllable om and the other names of the Supreme Personality of Godhead are not actually the Lord Himself, but are merely words, although occasionally in prayers we find some exaggerated statements glorifying them.  This is not the truth.  In truth the names of the Supreme Lord are considered His incarnations in the form of words, and they are not different from the Original Personality of Godhead Himself.  This is confirmed by the Sruti-sastra.  The name of the Personality of Godhead is therefore not different from the Personality of Godhead Himself.  This is described in the Padma Purana:

55      “The holy name of Krishna is transcendentally blissful.  It bestows all spiritual bendictions; for it is Krishna Himself, the reservoir of all pleasure.  Krishna’s name is complete, and it is the form of all transcendental mellows.  It is not a material name under any condition, and it is no less powerful than Krishna Himself.  Since Krishna’s name is not contaminated by the material qualities, there is no question of its being involved with maya.  Krishna’s name is always liberated and spiritual; it is never conditioned by the laws of material nature.  This is because the name of Krishna and Krishna Himself are identical.”

56      In this verse the holy name of Krishna is described as ‘cintamani’ (a transcendental gem) because the holy name grants all benedictions.  Not only that, but the holy name is the ‘form of all transcendental mellows’, and it is liberated and spiritual.  The holy name of Krishna manifests these qualities because it is non different from Krishna Himself (abhinnatvat).

57      At this point someone may object: “If the holy name of Krishna is liberated and spiritual, as you say, then how is it possible for the liberated name of the Lord to appear before the material senses of the conditioned souls?”

          To this objection I reply: In truth, the holy name of Supreme Lord can be perceived by the senses of the conditioned souls.  The Personality of Godhead has Himself explained this in Shrimad Bhagavatam (11.21.36-37):

58      “The transcendental sound of the Vedas is very difficult to comprehend and manifests on different levels within the prana, senses and mind.  This Vedic sound is unlimited, very deep and unfathomable, just like the ocean.***

          “As the unlimited, unchanging and omnipotent Personality of Godhead dwelling within all living beings.  I personally establish the Vedic sound vibration in the form of omkara within all living entities.  It is thus perceived subtly, just like a single strand of fibre on a lotus stalk.”***

59      That the Supreme Personality of Godhead may appear before the residents of the material universe is also described in the following statement of Shrimad Bhagavatam (12.6.47), where the division of the Vedas into its various parts is described in the following words:

          “Seeing that by the influence of time the living entities were becoming short-lived, weak, and unintelligent, the sages divided the Veda into its various parts, so it would be more easily understood.  The sages did this because of the order of the infallible Supreme Personality of Godhead who was situated within their hearts.”***

          Shridhara Svami comments:

          “Fearing that the intelligence of the human beings was becoming weak, the Personality of Godhead, situated within the hearts of the sages, ordered them to divide the Veda into its constituent parts.”

          In other words, the Supreme Lord appeared to the sages, from within their hearts.  In this way He was directly perceived by them.

60      That the Supreme Personality of Godhead sometimes appears before the residents of the material world is also described in the following verse of Shrimad Bhagavatam (12.13.50):

          “Let us meditate on the Supreme Truth, who is eternal, full of nectar, free from all lamentation, spotless and pure.  Out of His own causeless mercy this Supreme truth, the Personality of Godhead formerly enlightened Brahma, Narada, Vyasa, Sukadeva Gosvami and Maharaja Pariksit, by presenting before them the light of transcendental knowledge.”

61      The Supreme Personality of godhead’s appearance before the residents of the material world is also described in the following statement of Shrimad Bhagavatam (10.2.36), where the demigods pray to Lord Krishna, who is situated within the womb of Devaki:

          “O Lord, Your transcendental name and form are not ascertained by those who merely speculate on the path of imagination.  Your name, form and attributes can be ascertained only through devotional service.”*

62      The special feature of the Supreme Personality of Godhead’s appearance in the material world is that He appears here by the agency of His own internal potency, and He is not forced to appear in the material world, but does so only by His own wish.  These points have been clearly demonstrated in the previous portions of this book, and they are further corroborated by the following statement of Shrimad-Bhagavatam (2.9.4):

63      “O King, the Personality of Godhead, being very much pleased with Lord brahma because of his non deceptive penance in bhakti yoga, presented His eternal and transcendental form before Brahma.  And that is the objective goal for purifying the conditioned soul.”*

64      Shridhara Svami comments on this verse in the following words:

          “In the eight chapter of this Canto, Maharaja Pariksit asked:  ‘If the Supreme Lord has a material body, then how is it that the devotees become liberated by simply serving and worshipping the material body of the Supreme Lord?’  Maharaja Pariksit also asked if there was any difference between the Lord’s body and the bodies of the conditioned souls.  He said (2.8.8):

          “If the Supreme Personality of Godhead, from whose abdomen the lotus stem sprouted, is possessed of a gigantic body according to His own calibre and measurement, then what is the specific difference between the body of the Lord and those of common living entities?’

          “This question is answered in this (2.9.4) verse.  In this verse the phrase ‘atma-tattva-visuddhy-artham’ means: ‘The form of the Lord purifies the conditioned souls and bestows transcendental knowledge on them.’  One may ask: ‘What transcendental knowledge did the Lord teach Brahma?’  The answer is: ‘The Lord spoke to Brahma (bhagavan brahmane aha) the science of devotional service, which consists of austerities and other spiritual practices.’  One may ask: ‘What did the Lord then do?’  The answer is found in the phrase ‘rtam rupam darsayan’ (The Personality of Godhead presented His eternal and transcendental form before Brahma).  One may ask: ‘Why did the Lord reveal His transcendental form?’  The answer is found in the phrase ‘avyalika-vratadrtah’ (the Personality of Godhead was very much pleased with Lord Brahma because of his non deceptive penance in bhakti-yoga).

          “From all this we may conclude that the external form of the conditioned living entity is a manifestation of the Supreme Lord’s material illusory potency.  The form of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, however, is different, for it is spiritual.  It is not manifested by the material potency but by the Lord’s own spiritual potency known as yogamaya.  In this way, because the form of the Personality of Godhead is spiritual in nature, by worshipping that spiritual form, the devotees attain liberation.”

65      Maharaja Vasudeva also describes the spiritual nature of the Supreme Personality of Godhead’s form in the following words Shrimad Bhagavatam (10.3.20-21):

          “My Lord, Your form is transcendental to the three material modes, yet for the maintenance of the three worlds, You assume the white colour of Vishnu in goodness, for creation, which is surrounded by the quality of passion, You appear reddish, and at the end, when there is a need for annihilation, which is surrounded by ignorance, You appear blackish.”*

          O my Lord, proprietor of all creation, You have now appeared in my house, desiring to protect this world.  I am sure that You will kill all the armies that are moving all over the world under the leadership of politicians who are dressed as ksatriya rulers but who are factually demons.  They must be killed by You for the protection of the innocent public.”*

66      This verse may be interpreted in the following way: “My Lord, You are the creator, maintainer and destroyer of the material worlds.  When You desire to maintain the worlds, by manifesting Your own potency (sva-mayaya) You manifest the mode of goodness (atmanah suklam varnam).  By doing this You protect the brahmanas and the other members of society also.  When You desire to create you manifest the mode of passion (rajasopabrmhitam raktam).  In this way You fulfil the passionate desires of the various classes of society, beginning with the brahmanas.  When You desire to annihilate the universe You arrange for those things that are sinful and impure (krishnam).”

          This verse may also be interpreted: “O Lord, You appear in the pure (suklam) form of Vishnu, which is free from all contact of the material modes of nature, and You also appear in a reddish (Brahma) and blackish (Siva) form for material creation and annihilation.”

          We many note here that as Lord Vishnu remains untouched by the three modes of material nature, so Brahma and Siva also remain untouched by the three modes of material nature.

67      That Vishnu, Brahma and Siva are above the three modes of material nature is the conclusion of Shrila Sukadeva Gosvami, who said:

          “Siva appears to display the qualities of all three modes of nature, although He is actually free from their influence.  He is full of all potencies, and His real transcendental nature remains hidden from the perception of ordinary men.”

                             Shrimad Bhagavatam (10.88.3)

          “Lord Hari is the Supreme Personality of Godhead.  He is beyond the material nature and He remains always untouched by the three modes of nature.”

                             Shrimad Bhagavatam (10.88.5)

68      The Supreme Lord remains always free from the modes of nature, even though He may sometimes appear to be under their influence.  This is described in Shrimad Bhagavatam (10.3.50):

          “Those Vishnu forms, by Their pure smiling, which resembled the increasing light of the moon, and by the sidelong glances of Their reddish eyes, created and protected the desires of Their own devotees, as if by the modes of passion and goodness.”*

69      This verse clearly explains that although the Lord may sometimes appear to be acting under the influence of the modes of passion and goodness, this is appearance only, and the Lord remains always free from the influence of the modes of nature.

          The previously quoted verse (Bhagavatam 10.3.20) explained that Vishnu appears in the colour white, Brahma in red, and Siva in black.  These colours are intended here as symbolic names for the three modes of nature.  It should not be taken literally that these three deities manifest forms in these colours.  For example, the guna-avatara of Lord Vishnu who appears in the material world as Ksirodakasayi Vishnu in order to protect the universe (as we will describe later in the Paramatma-sandarbha), is famous for manifesting a black form.  In the same way Lord Siva, who destroys the universe, is famous for often appearing in a white form.  These points are explained in the description of devotional service spoken by Gobhila Muni.  In the same way, Lord Brahma does not manifest a red form.  From this we may conclude that the colours of various personalities does not necessarily connect them to a specific mode of nature.  Further examples are ducks and other animals, who although manifesting a white colour, are certainly not in the mode of goodness, and Shrila Vyasadeva, Sukadeva Gosvami and others, who are worshipable for those in the mode of goodness, but who nevertheless manifest black forms according to the description of them found in the Puranas.

          This verse (Bhagavatam 10.3.20) continues: “O Lord, you show Your mercy to Your devotees by maintaining them and by appearing among them.”  Here the word ‘raktam’ means the modes of passion which inspires the desire to create, and a host of other desires as well.  The word ‘krishnam’ in this verse means the mode of ignorance, which conceals the real spiritual identities of the individual souls.

70      The qualities of the three modes of nature are described in Shrimad Bhagavatam (1.2.24):

          “Firewood is a transformation of earth, but smoke is better than the raw wood.  And fire is still better, for by fire we can derive the benefits of superior knowledge (through Vedic sacrifices).  Similarly, passion (rajas) is better than ignorance (tamas), but goodness (sattva) is best because by goodness one can come to realise the Absolute Truth.”*

71      At this point someone may object: “By explaining that the black form of the Lord does not necessarily engage in the activities of universal destruction, the red form of the Lord does not necessarily engage in universal creation, and the white form of the Lord does not necessarily engage in maintaining the universe, you have certainly misled the people who read your book.  Why do you speak in this way?”

          Fearing that someone would speak this objection, and fearing that someone would think that Lord Krishna might have said “I have now assumed this black form of the mode of ignorance in order to destroy the universe”, Maharaja Vasudeva spoke the following verse (Shrimad Bhagavatam 10.3.21) in order to affirm that Lord Krishna’s mission in the world is for its protection, and not its annihilation:

          “O my Lord, proprietor of all creation, You have now appeared in my house, desiring to protect this world.  I am sure that you will kill all the armies that are moving all over the world under the leadership of politicians who are dressed as ksatriya rulers but who are factually demons.  They must be killed by You for the protection of the innocent public.”*

72      This verse should be understood in the following way: Although the Personality of Godhead may assume forms that seem to correspond to certain modes of material nature, these forms are all spiritual and situated in pure goodness, beyond the modes of nature.  At the time of cosmic annihilation, because the Lord gives only suffering to the living entities, He remains in a position of deep sleep.  This description of the Lord does not apply to this case of Lord Krishna.  Lord Krishna does not remain permanently asleep, and neither is He a source of constant suffering for the living entities, but rather He gives transcendental bliss to the entire world.  It is true, of course, that He does kill the demons, however, is only the pretext that the Lord uses to grant them His mercy and grant them liberation, elevating them beyond the modes of material nature.  From this we may conclude that the black form of Krishna does not exclusively engage in destruction, and therefore it is not appropriate to consider Lord Krishna the incarnation that engages in the activities of the mode of ignorance.  It is true that one meaning of the word ‘Krishna” is ‘darkness’, but that meaning is not appropriate in this context.  A word should be understood according to the context in which it is used, just as if I say ‘Please bring the saindhava’, because the word ‘saindhava’ means ‘both ‘salt’ and ‘horse’, the proper meaning of the word ‘saindhava’ must be determined according to the context.  In this same way the word ‘krishna’ in this verse should be understood according to the context.  Here the word ‘krishna’ clearly does not mean ‘darkness’.

73      Because Lord Shri Krishna does not perform the activities of the mode of darkness, He should not be understood as the incarnation representing darkness.  The actions of the different modes of nature are described in Shrimad Bhagavatam (7.1.8):

          “When the quality of goodness is prominent, the sages and demigods flourish with the help of that quality, with which they are infused and surcharged by the Supreme Lord.  Similarly, when the mode of passion is prominent the demons flourish, and when ignorance is prominent the Yaksas and Raksasas flourish.  The Supreme Personality of Godhead is present in everyone’s heart, fostering the reactions of sattva-guna, rajo-guna and tamo-guna.”*

74      The black form of Lord Krishna is therefore not a manifestation of the mode of darkness.  In the same way the red and white forms of the Lord are not manifestations of the modes of passion and ignorance, as some would have it.  The evidence offered by the Vedic literatures is, therefore, that all the forms of the Lord are transcendental and beyond the modes, and the colour a specific form of the Lord does not indicate the influence of a particular mode of material nature.

75      The transcendental nature of the form of the Personality of Godhead was also described by Devaki-devi, who respectfully said (Shrimad Bhagavatam 10.3.24):

          “My dear Lord, there are different Vedas, some of which describe You as unperceivable through words and the mind.  Yet You are the origin of the entire cosmic manifestation.  You are Brahman, the greatest of everything, full of effulgence like the sun.  You have no material cause, You are free from change and deviation, and You have no material desires.  Thus the Vedas say that You are the substance.  Therefore, my Lord, You are directly the origin of all Vedic statements, and by understanding You, one gradually understands everything.  You are different from the light of Brahman and Paramatma, yet You are not different from them.  Everything emanates from You.  Indeed, You are the cause of all causes, Lord Vishnu, the light of all transcendental knowledge.”*

76      The form of the Personality of Godhead is not material, nor is it a product of the material modes of nature, nor does it have any material attributes.  Because the wonderful form of the Supreme Lord attracts the self-realised liberated souls, it should be understood that the Lord’s form is completely spiritual.  The liberated soul’s attraction to the Lord’s form is described by Shrila Suta Gosvami (Shrimad Bhagavatam 1.7.10-11):

          “All different varieties of atmaramas (those who take pleasure in atma, or spirit self), especially those established on the path of self-realisation, though freed from all kinds of material bondage, desire to render unalloyed devotional service unto the Personality of Godhead.  This means that the Lord possesses transcendental qualities and therefore can attract everyone, including liberated souls.*

          “Shrila Sukadeva Gosvami, son of Shrila Vyasadeva, was not only transcendentally powerful.  He was also very dear to the devotees of the Lord.  Thus he underwent the study of this great narration (Shrimad Bhagavatam).”*

77-78  The spiritual nature of the Personality of Godhead is also described in the following statement of the Vishnu-dharma Purana, Uttara-khanda:

          “Because the Supreme Personality of Godhead is full of all opulences, it should be understood that within Him are all transcendental qualities, and He is completely free of any faults or defects although, under the influence of the illusory energy (maya), some foolish persons falsely claim that the Supreme Lord has both good qualities and faults.  It should be understood that neither the illusory material energy, nor it’s illusory by-products exist within the Supreme Lord.  How, indeed, could they enter within Him?  It should, therefore, be understood that all the qualities of the Supreme Lord are the manifestations of His transcendental opulence.  They are not produced by the illusory material energy (maya).  Because the Lord is completely free from the influence of the material energy, He is known as Paramatma, or the Supreme.”

79      We shall now present the final part of the explanation of the Shrimad Bhagavatam verse (8.3.8) first discussed at the beginning of this anuccheda.

          Now that it has been clearly established that the forms and qualities of the Supreme Personality of Godhead are spiritual and completely different from the material energy, someone may object:  ‘If the pastimes and forms of the Supreme Lord are spiritual, perfect and complete, then why does the Lord descend to this material world at all?”

          Fearing that someone might say this, the Shrimad-Bhagavatam explains: ‘lokapyaya-sambhavaya’ (The Supreme Lord descends to the material world in order to rescue the devotees from the cycle of repeated birth and death) and ‘bhu-praptau’ (The Lord appears in order to give transcendental happiness to His eternal associates).”

80      These transcendental purposes of the Lord’s advent are also described in the following verse (Shrimad Bhagavatam 1.7.25) where Arjuna says:

          “Thus You have descended as an incarnation to remove the burden of the world and to benefit Your friends, especially those who are Your exclusive devotees and are rapt in meditation upon You.”*

81      This verse means: “O Lord, just as You have formerly appeared as the purusa-avataras and other incarnations, You have now appeared (tathayam avatarah) in Your original form as Shri Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead.  You have appeared in order to remove the burden of the earth planet (bhuvo bhara-jihirsaya) who is Your great devotee, and enable Your devotees to constantly relish the happiness of worshipping You and meditating on You (anudhyanaya).”

82      At this point someone may say: “Krishna must take birth in this material world in order to give happiness to His devotees.  He cannot avoid coming here.”

          To this statement I reply: This is not a fact.  Krishna is not forced to do anything.  He is free and independent.  His independence is described in the Narayana-samhita:

          “The independent Personality of Godhead is full of all transcendental bliss.  How is it possible to say that He needs anything or is forced to do anything?  It is not possible.”

          As far as His appearing in this world to give happiness to the pure devotees (ananya-bhavanam) is concerned, that does not detract from His independence.  He comes because He is merciful to His devotees.  He is free from all faults, and because lack of mercy is a fault, He is free from all mercilessness also.  Free from that fault, He is very merciful to His pure devotees and He voluntarily appears before them to give them transcendental happiness.  One may say that His supreme independence and His mercy contradict each other and His mercy detracts somewhat from His independence.  Actually He is both independent and merciful.  Both qualities exist in the Lord even though they may sometimes contradict each other.  The Kurma Purana explains the mutually contradictory qualities of the Lord in the following words:

          “The Supreme Personality of Godhead possesses mutually contradictory qualities.”

          That the Supreme Personality of Godhead is the reservoir of all wonderful qualities is also emphatically declared by the Sruti-sastra and other Vedic literatures and because He is full of these wonderful qualities He attracts all living entities from the demigod Brahma down to the most insignificant creature.

83      Lord Krishna personally confirmed His own supreme independence in these words to the gopis (Shrimad Bhagavatam 10.32.19-20):

          “My dear friends, persons who simply reciprocate the loving dealings of the other part are just like merchants.  They give in loving affairs as much as they get from the other party.  Practically there is no question of love.  It is simply business dealing, and it is self-interested or self-centred.  Better the second class of men, who love in spite of the opposite party’s contrariness; even those without a tinge of loving affairs are better than the mechants.  Sincere love can be seen when the father and mother love their children in spite of their children’s neglect.  The third class neither reciprocates nor neglects.  They can be further divided into two classes.  One is the self-satisfied, who do not require anyone’s love.  They are called atmarama, which means they are absorbed in the thought of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and so do not care whether one loves them or not.  But another class are ungrateful men.  They are called callous.  The men in this group revolt against superior persons.  For instance, a son, in spite of receiving all kinds of things from loving parents, may be callous and not reciprocate.  Those in this class are generally known as gurudruha, which means they receive favours from the parents or the spiritual master and yet neglect them.*

          “My dear friends, you might be aggrieved by My words and acts, but you must know that sometimes I do not reciprocate my devotees’ dealings with Me.  It appears that my devotees are very much attached to Me, but sometimes I do not reciprocate their feelings properly in order to increase their love for Me more and more.  If I can very easily be approached by them, they might think, ‘Krishna is so easily available’.  So sometimes I do not respond.  If a person has no money but after some time accumulates some wealth and then loses it, he will think of the lost property twenty-four hours a day.  Similarly, in order to increase the love of My devotees, sometimes I appear to be lost to them, and instead of forgetting Me, they feel their loving sentiments for Me increase.”*

84      Therefore we may conclude that the Supreme Personality of Godhead is omnipotent, and although He is never forced to do anything, He voluntary performs wonderful, blissful transcendental pastimes and in this way delights His devotees.  This is also described in Shrimad Bhagavatam 8.3.8 the verse quoted at the beginning of this anuccheda.

85      Because the Supreme Personality of Godhead is all-powerful, His mercy brings happiness in its wake.  This is described in the following saying:

          “The mercy of an incompetent fool brings suffering to those who receive it, whereas the mercy of a powerful and intelligent person brings happiness.”

Anuccheda 48

1        The statement of the Sruti-sastra that the Supreme has neither hands nor feet means that the eternal, spiritual, limitless, blissful form of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, has spiritual and not material limbs.  This statement of the Vedas does not mean anything else.  That this is so is confirmed by the following statement of the Personified Vedas (Shrimad Bhagavatam 10.87.28):

          “O Lord, You are independent.  Although You have no material senses, Your potency maintains the senses of everyone.  The demigods and the goddess Maya worship You with offerings.  As small kings carry others’ offerings to the great emperor, so the awe-struck demigods carry the living entities’ offerings to You, the creator of the worlds.’

2        This verse should be understood in the following way: The material external senses of the conditioned souls are different from the conditioned souls themselves just as the doer is different from the activities he performs, or, in one sense, a fire is different from its activity of burning.  The external senses of the conditioned soul are material in nature and different from the spiritual form of the soul itself.  In this way it is said that the conditioned soul ‘has senses’, which is equivalent to saying ‘has external material senses different from himself”.  The Supreme Personality of Godhead never has external material senses attached to His original spiritual form.  His spiritual senses are an integral part of his spiritual form, and are, therefore, not different from His self.  In this verse the word ‘svarat’ is used to mean ‘self-manifest.”  This word is used to describe the Supreme Lord’s senses which are a ‘self-manifest’ part of His spiritual form, and not an external imposition as they are for the conditioned souls.  In this way it should be understood that the Personality of Godhead does not ‘have’ senses in the same way the conditioned soul does.  The conditioned soul is encased in a material body and attached to a set of material senses.  The Lord, however, although present within the conditioned soul’s heart as the Supersoul, is free from the encumbrance of a set of external material senses.  In this way the Lord does not ‘have’ senses.

3        The Supreme Lord’s lotus feet, which imply the existence of His spiritual limbs and senses, are described in the following prayer, where the Personified Vedas say at the time of universal annihilation (Shrimad Bhagavatam 10.87.23):

          “Women such as the gopis were attached to Krishna and wanted to be embraced by the arms of Krishna, which resemble the beautiful round shape of a snake.  Similarly there are the Vedic hymns, and we also concentrate upon Your lotus feet to go back home, back to Godhead.”*

4        This verse should be understood in the following way: “O Supreme Lord, We, who are the spiritual masters of the greatest learned scholars, are engaged in glorifying Your wonderful transcendental senses.  Why, then, is it sometimes said in the Vedic literatures that You are without senses?  You are said to be without senses because You have no material senses.  All Your senses are an integral part (svarat) of Your spiritual form, and they are not material.”

5        At this point someone may object: “The Personality of Godhead is manifested in the many forms of His various incarnations.  How is it possible that these different forms have senses that are an integral part of the Supreme Lord’s original spiritual form.  Clearly, the bodies of the Lord’s various incarnations as well as the sets of senses attached to those bodies must be impositions on the original identity of the Lord.  Such senses cannot be self-manifested non imposed senses as you have described.”

          To this objection I reply: The spiritual form of the Personality of Godhead is actually one, although He may appear in many different features in many places.  In this way His senses are not different from His self regardless of the feature He is inclined to manifest at any particular moment.  That the spiritual form of the Supreme Lord is none, although manifested variously, is confirmed by the following statements of Vedic literature:

          “The Supreme Personality of Godhead is blissful and eternal.  Although He is the oldest is completely free from the infirmities of old-age.  Although He manifests Himself in many different forms, all these actually form a single transcendental form.”

                             Brhad-aranyaka Upanisad 4.4.19

          “Although the Supreme Personality of Godhead may appear to be different forms, the forms are actually one single transcendental form.  These forms are not at all different from each other.”

                             Katha Upanisad 2.1.11

          “The hands, feet, face, abdomen, and other parts of the form of the Supreme Personality of Godhead are completely spiritual in nature.  These limbs of the Lord are all full of transcendental bliss.”

                             Smrti-sastra

6        At this point Lord Krishna, taking the part of the devil’s advocate, might raise the following objection: “My friend, what evidence do you have that the potency of such transcendental senses is present within Me?”:

          To this objection I reply: O Lord, the Personified Vedas address You saying (Shrimad Bhagavatam 10.87.28): ‘akhila-karaka-sakti-dharah’ (O Lord, it is You who enable the eyes and other senses of the living entities to act)’.  Therefore, because the powers of the conditioned souls’ senses comes from You, we must conclude that all powers of all senses are originally present within You in perfection and completeness.

7        That the Supreme Personality of Godhead is the original source of all the powers of the senses is also confirmed by the following statements of the Upanisads:

          “The power of the living force present in the individual living entities is manifested from the living force of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and the powers of the eyes and other senses are similarly manifested from the eyes and senses of the Supreme Personality.”

                             Brhad-aranyaka Upanisad 4.4.18

          “The Supreme Personality of Godhead naturally has all powers to acquire knowledge (jnana-sakti) and do whatever He wishes (sandhini-sakti and kriya-sakti).”

                             Svetasvatara Upanisad 6.8

8        This is also explained in the following statement of Shrimad Bhagavatam (11.4.4):

          “From the senses of the Supreme Personality of Godhead the working and knowledge acquiring senses of the embodied conditioned souls gain their power.  From the Lord’s breath the conditioned souls attain knowledge, bodily power, sensory power, and the power to act.”

9        The Vedic literatures say the Supreme Lord has senses, and at other times the Vedas say the Supreme Lord has no senses.  Some examples follow:

          “Because the Supreme Godhead has no senses, therefore He cannot be described.”

                             Vedanta-sutra 2.1.31

          “Because the Supreme Godhead is the origin of the sense of hearing and all other senses, it should be understood that He has His own sense of hearing and His own set of all other senses as well.”

                             Vedanta-sutra 2.1.27

          “The Supreme Lord has no senses and no duty He is obliged to perform.”

                             Svetasvatara Upanisad 6.8

“From You, O Supreme Lord, the powers of the conditioned souls’ senses are manifested.  For this reason the powers of the senses are originally present in You.”

                             Shrimad Bhagavatam 10.87.28

          These statements may appear contradictory and illogical, but the fact is they all explain the same truth: that the Supreme Lord does not have material senses, for His senses are spiritual.

10      The explanation of Shrimad Bhagavatam 10.87.28 continues:

          This verse explains that Indra and the other demigods (animisah), whose glory is inferior to that of the Supreme Lord, along with the Brahmas and other universal creators (visva-srjah), who are worshipable for the Indras and other demigods, make offerings (balim vahanti) to You (tava) O Lord, with respectfully raised heads (ut).  These demigods are accompanied by the illusory potency Maya-devi, who is their supervisor and controller.  In order to obtain auspiciousness for herself, whose power is simply a pale reflection of that of the Lord, who is full of all transcendental power and bliss, Maya-devi also brings offerings to the Supreme Lord.  Human beings also make offerings to the Lord (Samadanti) in the forms of various Vedic sacrifices, and after the offerings are complete, they eat the sacred remnants.

11      Here the example is given of the earthly kings.  As small kings being tribute to the emperor, so the demigods and other living entities make offerings to the Supreme Personality of Godhead.  Why do they make these offerings?  Because the Supreme Lord has commanded them.

12      That the various demigods are obedient to the commands of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is confirmed by the following statement of Taittiriya Upanisad (2.8.1):

          “Out of fear of the Supreme Personality of Godhead the wind blows.  Out of fear of the Supreme Personality of Godhead the sun rises.  Out of fear of the Supreme Personality of Godhead fire burns, the moon shines, and death moves about, taking its toll.”

13      At this point the Supreme Personality of Godhead might object: “Please speak whatever evidence you have, if indeed you have some evidence, to prove that My hands and other limbs and senses are an integral part of My transcendental personality and not an external imposition as is the case with the conditioned souls.”

          To the Lord’s objection I reply: In Shrimad Bhagavatam 10.87.28 the Personified Vedas declare that the various demigods (animisah) who are predominating deities of the various senses and creators of the various universal ingredients (visva-srjah), as Brahma and the prajapatis are, all bring presentations (balim udvahanti) as offerings to the Supreme Personality of Godhead.  From this we may understand that the presiding deities of the various senses consider themselves subordinate to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and because they take shelter of Him they are able to discharge their duties as controllers of the senses.  Because the Personality of Godhead, therefore, is the supreme among all presiding deities of the senses, and there is no one superior to Him in this respect, it may be concluded that His senses are not a gift from someone else, but they are an integral part of His original transcendental form.  Someone may object to this, saying that the illusory potency Maya-devi is the supreme among the presiding deities of the senses and not the Personality of Godhead.  This objection is refuted by the use of the word ‘mayaya’ in this verse.  The word ‘mayaya’ here indicates that Maya-devi also brings presentations to the Personality of Godhead and considers herself His servant.

14      At this point the Supreme Personality of Godhead may raise the following objection: “All right, if the demigods are not the ultimate predominating deities of the senses, then certainly the individual living entities themselves are:”

          To this objection I reply: This verse from Shrimad Bhagavatam (10.87.28) explains that the individual living entities also present offerings to the Supreme Personality of Godhead and thus accept a position subordinate to Him.  O Lord, it is You who grant the demigods jurisdiction over the sense-organs by which the living entities are able to perceive the various interactions of material nature.  By comparison the individual living entities have only a small jurisdiction over the sense-instruments.  They are certainly not the ultimate presiding deities over all the senses.  That Supreme predominating deity over the actions of the senses is none other than Yourself.

Anuccheda 49

1        The limbs and senses of the Supreme Personality of Godhead are spiritual and therefore different from the material senses which cover the conditioned living entities, for this reason the Vedas declare ‘apani-padam’ (the Supreme has no hands or feet).  That the form and senses of the Personality of Godhead are not material is also confirmed in the following words spoken by Shrimati Rukmini-devi to Lord Krishna (Shrimad Bhagavatam 10.60.45):

          “A man within this material world is just a dead body.  In fact, superficially, the living entity is covered by this body, which is nothing but a bag of skin decorated with beards and moustaches, hairs on the body, nails on the fingers, and hairs on the head.  Within this decorated bag there are bunches of muscles, bundles of bones, amid pools of blood, always mixed up with stool, urine, mucus, bile and polluted air, and enjoyed by different kinds of insects and germs.  A foolish woman accepts such a dead body as her husband, and in sheer misunderstanding loves him as her dear companion.  This is only possible because such a woman has never tasted the ever-blissful flavour of Your lotus feet.”*

2        This statement of Shrimati Rukmini-devi describes the spiritual, blissful nature of the Supreme Personality of Godhead’s hair and other limbs and senses, which are different from the material limbs and senses of the embodied souls.  When the demigod Brahma blessed Hiranyakasipu that he would not be killed by different varieties of living entities (Shrimad Bhagavatam 7.3.37), Brahma said that no one alive or dead would kill Hiranyakasipu.  This means both that Hiranyakasipu could be killed by the claws of Lord Nrsimhadeva (claws being neither alive nor dead), and also that Hiranyakasipu could be killed by the spiritual form of Lord Nrsimhadeva, which is neither alive in the same way material bodies are alive, nor dead.  That the spiritual form of the Lord is not materially alive or dead is confirmed in the following statements of the Upanisads, which negate firstly material life, and secondly inert lifelessness:

          “The Supreme Personality of Godhead does not have a material mind as the conditioned souls do.  He does not have a body that is alive in the material sense, and at the same time, in the spiritual sense He is eternally alive and can never be killed.  In other words His form is completely spiritual and not at all material.”

                                      Mundaka Upanisad 2.1.2

          “The Vedic literatures are manifested from the breathing of the living Supreme Personality of Godhead.”

                                      Brhad-aranyaka Upanisad 4.5.11

3        The spiritual nature of the Supreme Lord’s form is also described in the following statement of Varaha Purana:

          “The form of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is not a material production of fat, marrow, bones and similar substances and neither is His form a magical production of mystic illusion produced by yogic power.  Because the Lord is the Supreme Controller of everything His form is eternal, spiritual, infallible, unvanquishable and all-powerful.”

4        This verse confirms that the Lord’s form is neither material nor a production of yoga magic.  Because the Personality of Godhead is the supreme master of everything that exists, His form is eternal.  This verse also confirmed that the Lord’s eternal spiritual form is omniscient and omnipotent, able to perform anything the Lord desires.  The Lord’s form is different from the forms of the conditioned souls in the sense that the conditioned souls have an external material body made of inert and lifeless material elements.  The material body of the conditioned soul is like a corpse covering the living spirit souls (jiva cchavam).  The Supreme Personality of Godhead, however, does not have such a covering of inert matter.  His form is spiritual and alive.  It is not different from Himself.  This is the difference between the form of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and the external material bodies of the conditioned souls.  The Supreme Personality of Godhead’s form is unchanging and lives forever.  It is spiritual, eternal, full of bliss, and supremely worshipable.  This is the difference between the spiritual form of the Personality of Godhead and the external material bodies of the conditioned souls.

Anuccheda 50

1        The Vedas sometimes say the Supreme Personality of Godhead has neither name nor form, and other times say He does have a name and form.  In this dispute the following conclusion is given (Shrimad Bhagavatam 6.4.31):

          “The two parties - namely the theists and the atheists.  The theist, who accepts the Supersoul, finds the spiritual cause through mystic yoga.  The Sankhyite, however, who merely analyses the material elements, comes to a conclusion of impersonalism and does not accept a supreme cause - whether Bhagavan, Paramatma or even Brahma.  Instead, he is preoccupied with the superfluous , external activities of material nature.  Ultimately,  however, both parties demonstrate the Absolute Truth because although they offer opposing statements, their object is the same ultimate cause.  They are both approaching the same Supreme Brahman, to whom I offer my respectful obeisances.”*

2        This verse says there are two parties of philosophers.  Some Vedic literatures recommend worship of the gigantic Universal Form of the Personality of Godhead.  In this view the entire universe is the form of the Lord.  The lower planetary system is His lotus feet, and various other parts of the universe correspond to various parts of the gigantic body of the Lord.  In this conception the names of various objects, such as a pitcher, a piece of cloth, etc. may be considered names of the Supreme Lord because the entire universe is nothing but the Lord’s gigantic body.  This view, which accepts that the Lord has a form and name, is referred to in this verse as the party that says ‘asti’ (there is a form and name of the Lord).

          The second party follows the speculative scriptures of sankhya philosophy, which asserts that the Lord has neither name nor form.  According to these sankhyites, the Universal Form is an imagination, for the Supreme Personality of Godhead does not have a material form or name.  This second party is identified by the phrase ‘nasti’ (there is no form or name of the Lord.)

3        Although these views seem to contradict each other, both are supported by the preceding statements of Shrimad Bhagavatam.  Examples of quotations supporting each view follow:

          “The Personality of Godhead manifests the entire universe as His form.  He may be addressed by various spiritual names, which are inconceivable to the material senses.  When will that Supreme Personality of Godhead be pleased with me?”*

                             Shrimad Bhagavatam 6.4.28

          “Anything expressed by material  vibrations, anything ascertained by material intelligence and anything experienced by the material senses or concocted within the material mind is but an effect of the modes of nature and therefore has nothing to do with the real nature of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.  The Supreme Lord is beyond the creation of this material world, for He is the source of the material qualities and creation.  As the cause of all causes, He exists before the creation.  I wish to offer my respectful obeisances unto Him.”*

                             Shrimad Bhagavatam 6.4.29

4        Someone may object: “In this verse (Shrimad Bhagavatam 6.4.31) the different views of the theists and atheistic sankhyites are described.  Do these two parties not perceive two different objects?  I think that is the proper way to understand their disagreement.”

          To this objection I reply: This verse clearly explains that these two parties perceive the same object (eka-sthayoh).

          The Supreme has no material form, and therefore one party proclaims that the Supreme has no form or name.  At the same time the Supreme does have a spiritual form and name, and therefore another party proclaims that the Supreme has a form and name.  In this way there is no real difference of opinion among the transcendentalists in this matter, and there is no real contradiction in what at first may appear contradictory statements of the Vedas.

5        This seeming difference of opinion about the nature of the Supreme is also resolved by the following statement of Maharaja Dhruva, who describes the non-material nature of the form of the Supreme Personality of Godhead in the following words (Shrimad Bhagavatam 4.9.13):

          “My dear Lord, O Supreme Unborn, I know that the different varieties of living entities, such as animals, trees, birds, reptiles, demigods and human beings, are spread throughout the universe, which is caused by the total material energy, and I know that they are sometimes manifest and sometimes unmanifest; but I have never experienced the supreme form I behold as I see You now.  Now all kinds of methods of theorising have come to an end.”*

6        The word ‘rupam’ (form) and its relation to the two views of the nature of the Lord (as with and without name and form), is described in Vishnu Purana:

          “O King, the Supreme Godhead has a form , and at the same time He has no form.  He is simultaneously immanent and transcendent.”

          In the previously quoted statement of Dhruva Maharaja the words ‘atah param’ refer to the four-armed forms of Lord Narayana and other forms of the Supreme Lord.  The words ‘na vedmi’ mean ‘I have never experienced the supreme form I behold as I see You now.”

7        That the Personality of Godhead has no material names and forms because all His names and forms are spiritual is also described in the following statement of Shrimad Bhagavatam (6.4.33):

          “The Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is inconceivably opulent, who is devoid of all material names, forms and pastimes, and who is all-pervading, is especially merciful to the devotees who worship His lotus feet.  Thus He exhibits transcendental forms and names with His different pastimes.  May that Supreme Personality of Godhead, whose form is eternal and full of knowledge and bliss, be merciful to me.”*

8        This verse explains that the Supreme Personality of Godhead, although He is devoid of all material names, forms, and pastimes, nevertheless exhibits transcendental forms and names (namani rupani ca bheje) with His transcendental birth (janma) and different pastimes (karmabhih).  The faulty reasoning of they who insist that the Supreme has no names or forms at all is refuted in this verse by the use of the word ‘ananta’ (unlimited), for if the Supreme Godhead has no form, names, qualities, or pastimes then His power to act is certainly sharply curtailed.  Because His power is unlimited (ananta), He is the full possessor of innumerable transcendental forms, names, qualities and pastimes.

9        The unlimited forms, names and opulences of the Supreme Personality of Godhead are described by the Pracetas in the following words (Shrimad Bhagavatam 4.30.31):

          “Dear Lord, we shall therefore pray for Your benediction because You are the Supreme beyond all transcendence and because there is no end to Your opulences.  Consequently You are celebrated by the name Ananta.”*

10      Because the Supreme Personality of Godhead is the origin of innumerable transcendental forms, names, qualities and pastimes, He is known as ‘Bhagavan’, the possessor (van) of the opulences (bhaga) that are His potencies.  His potencies are not an illusion (maya).  They are described by the word ‘parama’, which means ‘the supreme (para) opulence (ma)’.  Any other interpretation of these words would contradict the truth that the Lord is transcendental and supreme.

11      That the form and attributes of the Supreme Personality of Godhead are not a product of the illusory material energy maya is confirmed by the Vedic literatures:

          “The Supreme Personality of Godhead is full of all powers and opulences.  Because He is beyond the influence of the material energy maya, the saintly devotees know that He is the Supreme.”

12      At this point someone may object: “The devotees argue that the Supreme has spiritual but not material forms and names.  Why should we take these devotees as authorities?  Why should the opinion of the devotees be taken with such seriousness?”

          Considering that someone might raise such an objection, the Shrimad Bhagavatam glorifies the devotees in the following words (6.4.33, quoted previously):

          “Supreme Personality of Godhead is especially merciful to the devotees who worship His lotus feet.”*

          The conclusion should be that the Supreme Personality of Godhead does not reveal Himself as fully to the yogis and sankhya philosophers as He does to the devotees.  This is also confirmed by the following statement of the Mathara-sruti (as quoted in Shripada Madhvacarya’s commentary on Vedanta-sutra 3.3.54):

          “Devotional service enables one to see the Supreme Personality of Godhead.”

          In this way we may understand that the debate over whether the Supreme has a form, name and senses does not have any real meaning.

          That the Supreme Personality of Godhead is very affectionate to His devotees is also confirmed by the following statement of Shrimad Bhagavatam (6.4.35-36):

13      “The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Hari, who is extremely affectionate to His devotees, was very pleased by the prayers offered by Daksa, and thus He appeared at that holy place known as Aghamarsana.  O Maharaja Pariksit, best of the Kuru dynasty, the Lord’s lotus feet rested on the shoulders of His carrier Garuda, and He appeared with eight long mighty, very beautiful arms.”*

14      By saying “The Supreme Personality of Godhead exhibits (bheje) transcendental names and forms with His different pastimes”, this verse (6.4.33) confirms the fact that the Supreme Godhead has innumerable forms, names, and qualities.  That the Lord’s form is eternal is confirmed by the following statement of Maha-Narayana Upanisad (5.10):

          “The supremely pure lotus feet of the Lord are eternal and have existed since time immemorial.”

          Because the Supreme Lord is identified as ‘ananta’ (unlimited) in this verse (6.4.33), it should be understood that His names and forms are also unlimited.  That the Lord has spiritual but not material senses is also confirmed by Shridhara Svami who comments:

          “The statement in this verse that the Supreme Godhead has neither names nor forms should be taken to mean that He does not have material names or forms.”

Anuccheda 51

1        The form of the Supreme Personality of Godhead should be considered fully transcendental and spiritual because it is eternal, all-powerful, all-pervading, the shelter of everything, transcendental to all gross and subtle forms of material energy, manifested in the hearts of all conditioned souls, manifest only by the Lord’s own wish, and clearly described in all Vedic literatures.  The supreme philosopher, Brahma, has described the Lord’s form in the following three verses of Shrimad Bhagavatam (3.9.2-4):

2        “The form which I see is eternally freed from material contamination and has advented to show mercy to the devotees as a manifestation of internal potency.  This incarnation is the origin of many other incarnations, and I am born from the lotus flower grown from Your navel home.*

3        “O Lord, I do not see a form superior to Your present form of eternal bliss and knowledge.  In Your impersonal Brahman effulgence in the spiritual sky, there is no occasional change and no deterioration of internal potency.  I surrender unto You because whereas I am proud of my material body and senses, Your Lordship is the cause of the cosmic manifestation and yet You are untouched by matter.*

4        “The present form, or any transcendental form expanded by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Shri Krishna, is equally auspicious for all the universes.  Since You have manifested this eternal personal form upon whom Your devotees meditate, I therefore offer my respectful obeisances unto You.  Those who are destined to be dispatched to the path of hell neglect Your personal form because of speculating on material topics.”*

5        Shridhara Svami comments on these verses in the following words:

          “Someone may object: Is it not true that you have not actually seen the transcendental Supreme Godhead?  You may have seen some form, but that form is simply a production of the three modes of material nature.  It is not at all transcendental, for the transcendental Supreme Godhead is devoid of all form and qualities.

          “Thinking someone might argue in this way, Lord Brahma spoke the first two of these verses.

6        “In the first of these verses Brahma says: ‘The form which I see is eternally freed from material contamination (avabodha-rasodayena sasvan-nivrtta-tamah) and has voluntarily advented to show mercy to the devotees (sad-anugrahaya grhitam).  This incarnation is the origin of many other incarnations (avatara-sataika-bijam), who are all situated in the platform of transcendental goodness.  I, who am the rajo-guna-avatara, are born from the lotus flower grown from Your navel home (yan-nabhi-padma-bhavanat).’

          “In the second of these verses Brahma says: ‘O my Lord (parama), I do not see (na pasyami) a form superior (param) to Your present form (bhavatah svarupam) of eternal bliss and knowledge.  In your impersonal Brahman effulgence in the spiritual sky (ananda-matram), there is no occasional change (avikalpam) and no deterioration of internal potency (aviddha-varcah).  I surrender unto You (ashrito smi) because, whereas I am proud of my material body and senses (bhutendriyatmaka-madah), Your Lordship is the cause of the cosmic manifestation (visva-srjam), and yet You are untouched by matter (avisvam).  You are the original creator of the material bodies and senses of the conditioned souls, and You are the ultimate object of worship.’

7        “Thinking someone might consider the Supreme Lord’s form to be only recently, and not eternally, manifested, Brahma spoke the third verse, saying ‘This present form, or any transcendental form expanded by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Shri Krishna, is equally auspicious for all the universes (bhuvana-mangala).  Since You have manifested this eternal personal form upon whom we, Your devotees meditate (upasakanam mangalaya dhyane darsitam), I therefore offer my respectful obeisances unto You (tubhyam name nuvidhema).  You do not reveal this transcendental form to those of us whose minds are attached to the path of impersonalist speculation.’

          “At this point Shri Krishna might object: ‘If this is true, then why is it that some people decline to worship Me?”

          “To answer this question Brahma says: ‘Those who are destined to be dispatched to the path of hell neglect Your personal form (yo nadrtah) because of speculating on material topics (asat-prasangaih) and accepting the faulty logic of atheistic philosophers.’”

8        Because Brahma is the spiritual master of the greatest philosophers, he never accepts any view in opposition to that expressed in these verses.  The impersonalists and atheists, however, do not accept these statements of Lord Brahma.  The impersonalists had previously been described by Brahma in the words ‘avyakta-vartmabhinivesitatma’ (those absorbed in meditation on the impersonal feature of the Supreme).  The atheists were described by Shrila Shridhara Svami at the end of the previous quotation.  Although the transcendental form of the Personality of Godhead is clearly established by all authorities, the atheists reject the direct experience of the learned devotees, and insist there is no God.

9        On the other hand, the devotees, who are qualified to properly understand the Supreme Lord’s transcendental form are described in the following verse (Shrimad Bhagavatam 3.9.5), where Brahma says:

          “O my Lord, persons who smell the aroma of Your lotus feet carried by the air of Vedic sound through the holes of the ears, accept Your devotional service.  For them You are never separated from the lotus of their hearts.”*

10      In this verse the word ‘tut’ (but) is used to contrast the devotees of the Lord with the previously described non devotees.  Brahma describes the devotees saying: “O Lord, the devotees have faith in the existence of Your transcendental form because they accept the Vedic revelation as the highest source of knowledge.  They smell the aroma of Your lotus feet, carried by the air of Vedic sound (sruti-vata-nitam), through the  holes of the ears, and they accept the devotional service of Your lotus feet (bhaktya grhita-caranah).”

Anuccheda 52

1        Even in the form of the empowered avesa-avatara, Lord Rsabhadeva is transcendental in nature.  This is confirmed by the following verse of Shrimad Bhagavatam (5.5.19) where Lord Rsabhadeva says:

          “My transcendental body (sac-cid-ananda-vigraha) looks exactly like a human form, but it is not a material human body.  It is inconceivable.  I am not forced by nature to accept a particular type of body; I take on a body by My own sweet will.  My heart is also spiritual, and I always think of the welfare of My devotees.  Therefore within My heart can be found the process of devotional service, which is meant for the devotees.  Far from My heart have I abandoned irreligion (adharma) and non devotional activities).  They do not appeal to Me.  Due to all these transcendental qualities, people generally pray to Me as Rsabhadeva, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the best of all living entities.”*

2        In this verse Lord Rsabhadeva says: ‘My transcendental body (sac-cid-ananda-vigrahah) looks exactly like a human form, but it is not a material human body (sariram).  It is inconceivable (durvibhavyam).  Within My heart (me hrdayam) can be found the process of devotional service (dharmah), which is meant for the devotees.  Far from My heart have I abandoned irreligion (adharma) and non devotional activities.”

          In order to demonstrate the proper mode of action for a self-satisfied transcendentalist, Lord Rsabhadeva, the speaker of this verse, pretended to leave His body at the final stage of His earthly pastimes.  The ordinary conditioned souls mistakenly thought that He died or left His body.

3        Lord Rsabhadeva’s final pastimes, and His so-called ‘death’ are described in Shrimad Bhagavatam (5.6.6):

          “Lord Rsabhadeva was the head of all kings and emperors within this universe, but assuming the dress and language of an avadhuta, He acted as if dull and materially bound.  Consequently no one could observe His divine opulence.  He adopted this behaviour just to teach yogis how to give up the body.  Nonetheless He maintained His original position as a plenary expansion of Lord Vasudeva, Krishna.  Remaining always in that state, He gave up His pastimes as Lord Rsabhadeva within the material world.  If, following in the footsteps of Lord Rsabhadeva, one can give up his subtle body, there is no chance that one will accept a material body again.”*

4        Lord Rsabhadeva’s celebrated abandonment of His body is described in the devotional scripture of Shrimad Bhagavatam (5.6.8): “While He was wandering about, a wild forest fire began.  This fire was caused by the friction of bamboos, which were bring blown by the wind.  In that fire, the entire forest near Kutakacala and the body of Lord Rsabhadeva were burnt to ashes.”*

5        We may note in this verse that the words ‘tena saha’ (with that body) are in the instrumental case, and the subject of the sentence, ‘davalanah’ (a forest-fire), is in the nominative case.  The trees and other residents of the forest who gave up their material bodies in that forest-fire as Lord Rsabhadeva pretended to give up His spiritual form, all attained liberation.

6        The associates of Lord Ramacandra also attained liberation in the same way.  This is described in Shrimad Bhagavatam (9.11.22):

          “Lord Ramacandra returned to His abode, to which the bhakti-yogis are promoted.  This is the place to which all the inhabitants of Ayodhya went after they served the Lord in His manifest pastimes by offering Him obeisances, touching His lotus feet, fully observing Him as a fatherlike King, sitting or lying down with Him like equals, or even just accompanying Him.”*

7        In this way, Lord Rsabhadeva’s disappearance in the forest fire is described.  We may also note that at the end of this chapter in Shrimad Bhagavatam the chapter title is given: “The Appearance of Lord Rsabhadeva”.  The title clearly does not say ‘the Birth of Lord Rsabhadeva”, because the Lord was not born in the same way conditioned souls are, but rather He appeared in His transcendental body to perform His pastimes here.

Anuccheda 53

1        If even the empowered incarnation Rsabhadeva had a spiritual body, then certainly the form of the Supreme Personality of godhead, Lord Krishna, is also transcendental and not at all material.  The supremely exalted position of the Supreme Lord, Shri Krishna, is described in the following statement of Bhismadeva to Lord Krishna Shrimad Bhagavatam (1.9.41):

          “At the Rajasuya-yajna (sacrifice) performed by Maharaja Yudhisthira, there was the greastest assembly of all the elite men of the world, the royal and learned orders, and in that great assembly Lord Shri Krishna was worshipped by one and all as the most exalted Personality of Godhead.  This happened during my presence, and I remembered the incident in order to keep my mind upon the Lord.”*

2        Shridhara Svami comments:

          “In this verse Bhismadeva says: ‘Lord Krishna, who is the soul (atma) of all the universes, was personally present (avih) before my eyes (mama drsi gocarah).  How fortunate I am.’”

Anuccheda 54

1        The exalted position of Shri Krishna, the original Supreme Personality of Godhead, is also described in the following prayer spoken by Devaki-devi to Lord Krishna (Shrimad Bhagavatam 10.3.24):

          “My dear Lord, there are different Vedas, some which describe You as unperceivable through words and the mind.  Yet You are the origin of the entire cosmic manifestation.  You are Brahman, the greatest of everything, full of effulgence like the sun.  You have no material cause, You are free from change and deviation, and You have no material desires.  Thus the Vedas say that You are the substance.  Therefore, my Lord, You are directly the origin of all Vedic statements, and by understanding You, one gradually understands everything.  You are different from the light of Brahman and Paramatma, yet You are not different from them.  Everything emanates from You.  Indeed, You are the cause of all causes, Lord Vishnu, the light of all transcendental knowledge.”*

2        In this verse Devaki-devi says: ‘O Lord, the various Vedic literatures describe (prahuh) Your transcendental nature (rupam).’  What is this nature of the Lord?  Devaki says: ‘O Lord, You are not perceivable to the words, mind and senses (avyaktam).’  Although the Lord cannot be perceived in these ways, nevertheless Devaki says: ‘You are Lord Vishnu, the Supreme, and You are now directly present before my eyes (saksat tvam visnuh).”

3        That the Supreme Personality of Godhead can be seen by the devotees is described in the Padma Purana, Nirmana-khanda, where Veda-vyasa prays to Lord Krishna:

          “O Lord Madhusudana, the best of Vedic literatures proclaim that You are the eternally transcendental Supreme Brahman, the creator and master of all universes.  O Lord, I wish to see You with my own eyes.  Please grant me the power to see You.”

4        In this verse Devaki addresses Lord Krishna as ‘adhyatma-dipah’ (the light of all transcendental knowledge).  This means that Shri Krishna illuminates the truth about all causes and effects and about the real nature of all the living entities encased in various material bodies.  Because Shri Krishna is thus adhyatma-dipa, there is no need for Devaki to fear that King Kamsa may harm Him, and this truth is clearly corroborated by Shridhara Svami in his commentary.

Anuccheda 55

1        The forms of the plenary expansions of Lord Krishna are also spiritual and transcendental.  This is confirmed by Shrila Sukadeva Gosvami (Shrimad Bhagavatam 10.13.54):

          “The visnu-murtis all had eternal, unlimited forms, full of knowledge and bliss and existing beyond the influence of time.  Their great glory was not even to be touched by the jnanis engaged in studying the Upanisads.”*

2        Shridhara Svami comments:

          “In this verse the forms of the plenary expansions of Lord Krishna are described as being identical in their transcendental features.  The word ‘eka-rasah’ here may be interpreted to mean either ‘always the same’, or ‘always eternal (satya), full of knowledge (jnana), unlimited (ananta), and full of bliss (ananda).’  The glory of these transcendental forms was not even to be touched (asprsta-bhuri-mahatmyah) by the jnanis engaged in studying the Upanisads (upanisad-drsam).”

3        In this verse the word ‘matra’ should be interpreted to mean that the various Vishnu expansions described in this verse had the same external features and the same internal identity, for they were all Lord Vishnu.  This word should not be interpreted to mean that the various expansions were actually the impersonal featureless Brahman.  Such a laboured and inappropriate interpretation clearly contradicts the statements of Shrila Sukadeva Gosvami in the Bhagavatam and Shrila Shridhara Svami in his commentary on the Bhagavatam.  This impersonal interpretation is also refuted by the fourth line of this stanza, which states: “The great glory of these transcendental forms was not even to be touched by the impersonalist jnanis engaged in studying the Upanisads’ (asprsta-bhuri-mahatmya appi hy upanisad-drsam).  Shrila Sukadeva Gosvami refutes this impersonal interpretation by describing the transcendental reality of the Supreme Lord’s form in the following words (Shrimad Bhagavatam 3.15.38):

          “The sages, headed by Sanaka Rsi, saw that the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vishnu, who was formerly visible only within their hearts in ecstatic trance, had now actually become visible to their eyes.  As He came forward, accompanied by His own associates bearing all paraphernalia, such as an umbrella and a camara fan, the white bunches of hair moved very gently, like two swans, and due to their favourable breeze the pearls garlanding the umbrella also moved, like drops of nectar falling from the white full moon or ice melting due to a gust of wind.”*

          The impersonal interpretation of the word ‘matram’ in this verse (10.13.54) cannot be accepted because Shrila Sukadeva Gosvami, the speaker of Shrimad Bhagavatam was not am impersonalist, but a great devotee of the Lord.  That Sukadeva Gosvami was not an impersonalist, and that Shrimad Bhagavatam does not represent the impersonalist view is confirmed by the following statement of Shrimad Bhagavatam (12.12.69):

          “Let me offer my respectful obeisances unto my spiritual master, the son of Vyasadeva, Sukadeva Gosvami.  It is he who defeats all inauspicious things within this universe.  Although in the beginning he was absorbed in the happiness of Brahman realisation and was living in a secluded place, giving up all other types of consciousness, he became attracted by the most melodious pastimes of Lord Shri Krishna.  He therefore mercifully spoke the supreme Purana, known as Shrimad Bhagavatam , which is the bright light of the Absolute Truth and which describes the activities of Lord Krishna.”*

4        That the form of the Supreme Personality of Godhead are spiritual, eternal, and full of bliss and knowledge and not simply illusory representations of an impersonal reality, is also confirmed by the following statements of Shrimad Bhagavatam:

          “The form of the Supreme Lord is full of supremely pure transcendental knowledge.”

                             10.37.22

          “I offer my respectful obeisances to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, whose transcendental form is full of the purest knowledge.”

                             10.27.11

          “O Lord, Your transcendental form is eternal and full of bliss and knowledge.”

                             10.14.22

          These statements of the Bhagavatam should be taken literally.  No one should try to change their obvious meaning by word jugglery and try to make them mean something other than what they clearly say.

5        That the form of the Personality of Godhead is full of all transcendental bliss is also confirmed by the following statements of Shrimad Bhagavatam:

          “When the ladies of Mathura saw the blissful forms of Krishna and Balarama with their eyes, they took them within their hearts and began to embrace Them to their fullest desire.”*

                             10.41.28

          “Kubja then took Krishna’s lotus feet and placed them on her breasts, which were burning with the blazing fire of lust.  By smelling the fragrance of Krishna’s lotus feet, she immediately became relieved of all lusty desires.  She was thus allowed to embrace Krishna, whose transcendental form is full of bliss.  She was allowed to embrace Krishna with her two arms and thus mitigate her long cherished desire to have Krishna as a visitor in her house.”*

                             10.48.7

6        That the forms of the Supreme Personality of Godhead are all full of knowledge and bliss is also confirmed by the Maha-Varaha Purana:

          “The transcendental forms of the Supreme Personality of Godhead are eternal and imperishable.  They were not created at a certain point, and they are never to be destroyed.  They are not products of the material energy.

7        “All the forms of the Supreme Personality of Godhead are completely filled with transcendental bliss, knowledge, and all auspicious qualities.  These spiritual forms of the Lord are free from all material defects.”

Anuccheda 56

1        This spiritual nature of Lord Krishna’s form is also affirmed by Shrila Sukadeva Gosvami (Shrimad Bhagavatam 10.14.55):

          “You should know Krishna as the original soul of all atmas (living entities).  For the benefit of the whole universe, He has, out of His causeless mercy, appeared as an ordinary human being.  He has done this with the strength of His own internal potency.”*

2        Lord Brahma describes Shri Krishna’s transcendental form in these words (Shrimad Bhagavatam 10.14.1):

          “My dear Lord, You are the only worshipful Supreme Lord, Personality of Godhead; therefore I am offering my humble obeisances and prayers just to please You.  Your bodily features are of the colour of clouds filled with water.  You are glittering with silver electric flashes emanating from Your yellow garments.  Let me offer my respectful repeated obeisances unto the son of Maharaja Nanda who is standing before me with conchshell earrings and peacock feather on His head.  His face is beautiful; He is wearing a helmet, garlanded by forest flowers, and He stands with a morsel of food in His hand.  He is decorated with cane, flute and a bugle made of buffalo horn.  He stands before me with small lotus feet.”*

3        In this verse (quoted in text 1) Shrila Sukadeva Gosvami says: “Try to become learned in spiritual science and try to understand this transcendental form of Shri Krishna (avehi).  Do not try to understand Shri Krishna using material logic or any tool other than devotional service.  For the benefit of the whole universe (jagad-dhitaya, and in order to attract the minds of all conditioned souls to His own transcendental form, He has out of His causeless mercy (mayaya), appeared as an ordinary human being (dehivabhati) and performed His own transcendental pastimes.”  We may note the use of the word ‘iva’ (like), which indicates a difference between the nature of Lord Krishna’s having a form and the conditioned soul’s having a form.  The difference is that the Supreme, Lord Krishna, does not accept an external material body as the conditioned soul does.

4        That the sight of the Supreme Lord’s transcendental form grants the supreme benediction to the devotee is confirmed by Dhruva Maharaja (Shrimad Bhagavatam 49.17):

          “My Lord, O Supreme Lord, You are the supreme personified form of all benediction.  Therefore, for one who abides in Your devotional service with no other desire, worshipping Your lotus feet is better than becoming king and lording it over a kingdom.  That is the benediction of worshipping Your lotus feet.”*

5        Shrila Shridhara Svami comments:

          “This verse should be understood to mean ‘My Lord, O Supreme Lord (bhagavan), You are the blissful, supreme personified form of all benediction (purusartha-murteh).  Your lotus feet (tava pada-padmam) are a more valuable benediction (satyasih), than the benediction (asisah) of becoming king and lording it over a kingdom.’  One may ask: ‘for whom is this benediction available?’  The answer is given ‘This supreme benediction is available to one who abides in Your devotional service with no other desire, worshipping Your lotus feet.  (Anubhajatah).’”

Anuccheda 57

1        That the transcendental form of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is identical with the Supreme Brahman described in the Vedas is explained by Maitreya Muni (Shrimad Bhagavatam 3.21.8):

          “Then, in the Satya-yuga, the lotus eyed Supreme Personality of Godhead, being pleased, showed Himself to that Kardama Muni and displayed His transcendental form, which can be understood only through the Vedas.”*

2        This verse means: “Then in the Satya-yuga (krte yuge), the Supreme Personality of Godhead (bhagavan) showed Himself (darsayam asa) to that Kardama Muni (tam) and displayed His transcendental form (vapur dadhat), which is the Absolute Truth (brahma) which can be understood only through the Vedas.”

          In this way we conclude the description of the transcendental nature of the Supreme Lord’s form.

Anuccheda 58

1        Now that we have established that the form of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is different in kind from the material bodies covering the conditioned souls, we may also understand that the Lord’s form is not temporary and subject to the destructive influence of time, as are earthen pots and various other objects made of inert matter, that the perfect and complete transcendental form of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is eternal and not subject to the six material transformations (birth, growth, maintenance, change, dwindling and destruction) is established by Lord Brahma in the following words (Shrimad Bhagavatam 10.14.23):

2        “My conclusion is, therefore, that You are the Supreme Soul, Absolute Truth, and the supreme original person.  Although You have expanded Yourself in so many Vishnu forms, or in living entities and energies, by Your inconceivable transcendental potencies, You are the supreme one without a second.  You are the source of the original brahmajyoti’ indeed, the brahmajyoti is nothing but Your personal bodily effulgence.  Your body is eternal, indestructible and full of bliss.  You are also niranjana because Your pastimes, as the little son of mother Yasoda or the Lord of the gopis, are never contaminated by the material qualities.  You are always complete, one without a second, and You are transcendental to both nescience and knowledge.  Thus You are the original amrta, the indestructible nectar of immortality.”*

3        In the beginning of Lord Brahma’s prayers (Shrimad Bhagavatam 10.14.1), Brahma explained that the form of Shri Krishna, who has a dark complexion the colour of a rain-cloud, is the most worthy object of praise.  We shall now demonstrate that Shri Krishna is the supreme object of praise and, that He is the Supersoul present in all living entities, and the supreme shelter of everyone.

4        That Shri Krishna is the shelter of everyone and everything and the Supersoul present in the hearts of all living entities is confirmed by the following statements of Lord Brahma:

          “My dear Lord, leaving aside all other things and just considering today’s happenings - what I have seen - are they not all due to Your inconceivable energies?  First of all I saw You alone; thereafter You expanded Yourself as Your friends, the calves and all the existence of Vrndavana; then I saw You and all the boys as four-handed Vishnus and They were being worshipped by all the elements and demigods, including myself.  Again They were all wound up and You remained alone as You were before.  Does this not mean that You are the Supreme Lord, Narayana, the origin of everything, and from you everything emanates, and again everything enters into You, and You remain the same as before?”*

                             Shrimad Bhagavatam 10.14.18

          “You should know Krishna as the original soul of all atmas (living entities).  For the benefit of the whole universe, He has, out of His causeless mercy, appeared as an ordinary human being.  He has done this with the strength of His own internal potency.”*

                             Shrimad Bhagavatam 10.14.55

5        In this verse Shrila Sukadeva Gosvami intends to say: “O Krishna, because You are the Supersoul present in the hearts of all living entities, it should be understood that You are eternal, and because You are the ultimate shelter upon which everything rests, whatever is eternal is so because of Your eternality.  You are the original abode of all eternality.”

6        That Shri Krishna is the resting place of all immortality is confirmed by the demigods, who offer the following prayer to Lord Krishna (Shrimad Bhagavatam 10.2.26):

          “O Lord, You never deviate from Your vow, which is always perfect because whatever You decide is perfectly correct and cannot be stopped by anyone.  Being present in the three phases of cosmic manifestation - creation, maintenance and annihilation - You are the Supreme Truth.  Indeed, unless one is completely truthful, one cannot achieve Your favour, which therefore cannot be achieved by hypocrites.  You are the active principle, the real truth, in all the ingredients of creation, and therefore you are known as antaryami, the inner force.  You are equal to everyone, and Your instructions apply for everyone, for all time.  You are the beginning of all truth.  Therefore, offering our obeisances, we surrender unto you.  Kindly give us protection.”*

7        That Shri Krishna is the original source of all eternality is confirmed by the following statement of Mahabharata (Udyama-parva 70.12):

          “All eternality is situated within the Supreme Eternal Lord Krishna.  Because all eternality has its source in Him, He is therefore known by the name satya (the eternal).”

8        That Shri Krishna is completely free from the material transformations (birth, growth, maintenance, change, dwindling, and destruction) is confirmed by Lord Brahma (Shrimad Bhagavatam 10.14.23):

          “O My Lord, You are the origin of everything (adya).”

          Lord Brahma’s statement in Shrimad Bhagavatam 10.14.18 also confirms that Lord Krishna never undergoes the transformation known as birth.  That Lord Krishna is never actually born is confirmed by Padma Purana:

          “Although Lord Hari appears before the eyes of His devotees, He never undergoes the material transformation known as birth.”

9        That the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Shri Krishna, never undergoes the transformation known as birth is also confirmed by the following statement of Skanda Purana:

          “Fools do not understand the truth about the blissful, eternal and unchanging Supreme Personality of Godhead, the cause of all causes.  They mistakenly think that the Supreme Lord has taken birth in a material body composed of the five elements.  He actually never takes birth.”

10      That Shri Krishna is the origin of everything and the oldest is confirmed by Lord Brahma (Shrimad Bhagavatam 10.14.23):

          “O Lord, You are the oldest, the original person (purusah puranah).”

          From this we may understand that Lord Krishna always existed.  He existed before the creation of the material world in an eternally youthful body.  Although He is the oldest, He remains eternally youthful.

11      That the Supreme Personality of Godhead existed before the creation of the material universes is confirmed in Brhad-aranyaka Upanisad (1.4.1):

          “The Supreme Personality of Godhead existed before the creation of the material universes.”

12      In this way it may be seen that Shri Krishna is free from the material transformations of birth.  The second material transformation is maintenance.  That Shri Krishna is free from any consideration of maintenance is confirmed by Brahma in the following words (Shrimad Bhagavatam 10.14.23):

          “O Lord Krishna, You are always perfect and complete (purna).”

          Because Lord Krishna is always perfect, he never grows (the third transformation).

          “The fourth material transformation is change.  Brahma confirms that Shri Krishna is free from change in the following words (from the same Bhagavatam verse):

          “O Lord Krishna, You are eternally full of all transcendental bliss (ajasra-sukha).”

          Because Lord Krishna is always blissful His condition of life never changes.

13      That the Supreme Personality of Godhead is full of bliss is also confirmed by the following statement of Brhad-aranyaka Upanisad (3.9.28):

          “The Supreme Godhead is full of all knowledge and bliss.”

          We may note that in this statement the neuter word ‘ananda’ is used instead of the masculine word ‘sukha’.

14      The fifth material transformation is dwindling.  Brahma confirms that Shri Krishna is free from dwindling in these words (from the same Bhagavatam verse):

          “O Lord Krishna, You are eternally free from decay and diminution (aksaya).”

          The sixth material transformation is destruction.  Brahma confirms that Shri Krishna is free from destruction in the following words (from the same Bhagavatam verse):

          “O Lord Krishna, You are never to be destroyed.  You are eternal (amrta).”

15      Lord Krishna’s perfection and completeness are described by Brahma in the following words (from the same Bhagavatam verse):

          “O Lord Krishna, You are unlimited and one without a second (ananta and advaya).”

          This means that Shri Krishna is beyond all limitations of time, space and size and nothing can exist without the manifestation of His potencies.

          In order to prove that Shri Krishna is eternal, Brahma explains that Shri Krishna is beyond the four kinds of result (birth, attainment of ends, change, and purification) which follow the actions of the conditioned souls.  That Shri Krishna is not born (the first result), Brahma explains by the statement:

          “O Lord Krishna, You are the origin of everything (adyah).”

          The second result of work is the attainment of some end, which may be done either with physical endeavour, or as a result of knowledge.  Shri Krishna does not need to endeavour physically to attain any end, for as Brahma says, He is the ‘all pervading Supersoul (atma), and at the same time Krishna does not need to undergo meditation or mental speculation to obtain some end, as the impersonalist philosophers do, because He is Himself the ‘origin of the Brahmajyoti (svayam-jyoti)’, as Brahma says.  The third result of work is change.  Shri Krishna is free from change because, as Brahma says here, ‘He never accepts a changing material body (upadhito mukta).’  The fourth result of work is purification.  Shri Krishna is never in need of purification because, as Brahma says ‘He is always free from all contamination (niranjana).’  In this way Shri Krishna remains aloof from the four kinds of results of work.

16      That Shri Krishna and His transcendental abode may be directly perceived by the devotees is explained in the following statement of Shrimad Bhagavatam (2.9.22), where the Supreme Personality of Godhead says to Lord Brahma:

          “The highest perfectional ingenuity is the personal perception of My abodes, and this has been possible because of your submissive attitude in the performance of severe penance according to My order.”*

17      Shridhara Svami comments:

          “In this verse Lord Krishna says to Brahma: ‘By My mercy you are able to see this.  Because I wish it, You may now directly perceive this (manisita).’  One may ask: ‘What is it that Brahma is able to see by the Lord’s mercy?’ The answer is given: ‘You are now able to see My own abode (mama lokavalokanam yat).’”

18      That the Supreme Personality of Godhead reveals Himself to his devotes is also confirmed in the Narayanadhyatmya:

          “Although the Supreme Personality of Godhead generally remains invisible, He may nevertheless be seen through the agency of His own transcendental potency.”

19      At this point someone may object: “Is it not so that in the description of His opulences in Shrimad Bhagavatam (11.16.29) the Personality of Godhead said: ‘among exalted persons (bhagavan) I appear as the son of Maharaja Vasudeva?’  Is it not also so that at the end of this description of His opulences, the Supreme Lord said: ‘These opulences of Mine are all transformations of the mind?’  Clearly, from this we may understand that the form of Lord Krishna, the son of Vasudeva, is not the original Personality of Godhead, but rather the expansion of one of His opulences.  Furthermore, does not the second quote establish the truth that the form of Lord Krishna and the other opulences of the Absolute Truth described in this passage, are not transcendental forms, but merely transformations of the material thinking process?”

          To this objection I reply: My dear friend, these quotes are very nice, of course, but just as the sentence ‘chatrino gacchanti’ is ambiguous and requires some explanation before it is properly understood, in the same way, these verse Shrimad Bhagavatam require an elaborate explanation before they are properly understood.

20      In this connection we may note the use of the word ‘param’ in the following verse from the same section of Shrimad Bhagavatam (11.16.37), where Lord Krishna says:

          “I am form, taste, aroma, touch and sound; false ego; the mahat-tattva; earth, water, fire, air and sky; the living entity; material nature; the modes of goodness, passion and ignorance.  All these items, along with knowledge of their individual symptoms and the steady conviction that results from this knowledge, represents me.”***

21      We may note that in this verse the word ‘param’ refers to the Supreme Absolute Truth, According to this interpretation, then, the Supreme Brahman is counted among the opulences of the Lord, which are further described as (Shrimad Bhagavatam 11.16.41) ‘transformations of the mind’.  Such an explanation of the nature of Brahman will clearly not satisfy those who are aware of the actual meaning of Vedic literatures.  Brahman is not a material transformation.  Brahman is free from any material covering or material external form, just as a threshed grain of rice is free from the external husk.  This transcendental nature of Brahman is explained by the following statements of Shrimad Bhagavatam:

          “O Supreme Lord, You are free from material coverings.”

                             10.14.23

          “I offer my respectful obeisances to the Supreme Lord, whose form is full of the purest transcendental knowledge.”

                             10.37.22

22      Because this passage from the Eleventh Canto of Shrimad Bhagavatam appears to explain that the Supreme Brahman, and Lord Krishna, the son of Vasudeva are opulences of the Supreme and are simply material transformations of the mind, it should be understood that these statements (for at least this interpretation of them) contradict the description of the Supreme Brahman and Lord Krishna in the other passages of Vedic literature.  Therefore, I say that these statement are not exactly true.  There are some examples of passages in Vedic literatures that are not exactly true.  One such statement is the following verse spoken by Bhismadeva (Shrimad Bhagavatam 1.9.34):

          “On the battlefield (where Shri Krishna attended Arjuna out of friendship), the flowing hair of Lord Krishna turned ashen due to the dust raised by the hoofs of the horses.  And because of His labour, beads of sweat wetted His face.  All these descriptions intensified by the wounds dealt by my sharp arrows, were enjoyed by Him let my mind thus go unto Shri Krishna.”*

          Because the transcendental body of Lord Krishna can never be hurt or pierced by any weapon, it should be understood that the description of this pastime should not be taken as truth but is a specific illusion arranged by the Lord.

23      An example of a statement contrary to the truth, but yet given in Shrimad Bhagavatam, is mentioned in the following statement of Sukadeva Gosvami (in connection with Krishna’s lamentation during His battle with Salva) Shrimad Bhagavatam 10.77.30):

          “O King Pariksit, although Krishna lamented when Salva attempted to trick Him into thinking that His father, Vasudeva, was killed, we should understand that in actuality, Lord Krishna was not at all fooled, and he did not lament.  Although some sages may say that the Lord lamented, such statements are not fit to be accepted as truth.”*

24      That the form of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is spiritual and free from all material defects is also confirmed by the following statement of Skanda Purana:

          “Lord Vishnu is completely aloof from the influence of the material energy.  He is eternal, imperishable, unbreakable, undefeatable, and undecaying.  He appears in this world and enjoys pastimes with His devotees.  He pretends to be an ordinary human being, and in this role He may sometimes appear to be bound with ropes, or to bleed when wounded.  Although these activities bewilder the demons, the liberated souls do not become bewildered.  They always understand the actual nature of the Lord.”

25      As he was fighting with Krishna, Bhismadeva became momentarily overwhelmed by a demonic thought of harming Krishna, and in this way he became bewildered into thinking that Krishna has become wounded.  Later Bhisma remembered that bewilderment as one remembers a painful nightmare, and He expressed that memory in the verse quoted previously (Shrimad Bhagavatam 1.9.34).

26      Someone may ask: “How is it that Lord Krishna became so pure and free from material contamination that He could not be wounded or bleed?  Did He come under the influence of some wonderfully purifying substance, or did He assiduously rid Himself of all impurities?”

          In answer to this question I explain: Shri Krishna is eternally pure and does not require to do something to become free from contamination.  He did not require to come under the influence of some purifying agent because He is Himself perfect and complete, and therefore everything that purifies is already present within Him.  In this the same way He does not require to rid Himself of impurities, since impurities can never enter Him, as Lord Brahma explains (Shrimad Bhagavatam 10.14.23): ‘O Lord Krishna, You are always free from all kinds of material contamination (niranjana).”  In this way it may be understood that the form of Shri Krishna is always uncontaminated and full of pure transcendental knowledge.

 

Anuccheda 59

          In this way we have explained that the Supreme Personality of Godhead is naturally endowed with innumerable powers and opulences.  Just as light has certain natural qualities opposite to the nature of darkness, in the same way the Personality of Godhead has a host of transcendental qualities different from the qualities of matter.  We have also established that the Personality of Godhead is supremely perfect and complete because He is the master of all potencies.  All of His qualities are eternal and He is full of all transcendental bliss.  Because He is the reservoir in which all transcendental qualities, powers and opulences rest, He is known as the Supreme Personality of Godhead (bhagavan).  Just as laddu candy is by nature aromatic and has certain natural attributes that cannot be separated from it, in the same way the Supreme Personality of Godhead possesses a host of wonderful transcendental attributes.  The form of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is accepted by the most learned transcendentalists as the highest manifestation of the Absolute Truth.  This is confirmed by the following prayer of Lord Brahma to Shri Krishna Shrimad Bhagavatam (3.9.2):

          “The form which I see is eternally freed from material contamination and has advented to show mercy to the devotees as manifestation of internal potency.  This incarnation is the origin of many other incarnations, and I am born from the lotus flower grown from Your navel home.”*

Anuccheda 60

1        In this way we have proven that the form of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is perfect and complete in all respects.  However, in order to even more firmly establish this fact, we shall now describe the Lord’s ornaments and paraphernalia.  In the following statement Shrila Sukadeva Gosvami describes the Supreme Lord appearance in this world along with His own transcendental ornaments and paraphernalia (Shrimad Bhagavatam 10.3.9):

          “Vasudeva then saw the newborn child, who had very wonderful lotus like eyes and who bore in His four hands the four weapons sankha, cakra, gada and padma.  On His chest was the mark of Shrivatsa and so His neck the brilliant Kaustubha gem.  Dressed in yellow, His body blackish like a dense cloud, His scattered hair fully grown, and His helmet and earrings sparkling uncommonly with the valuable gem Vaidurya, the child, decorated with a brilliant belt, armlets, bangles and other ornaments, appeared very wonderful.”*

2        The ornaments and paraphernalia of the Lord are in one sense non different from His transcendental form.  Visvarupa explains this to Maharaja Indra in the following words Shrimad Bhagavatam (8.8.32-33):

          “The Supreme Personality of Godhead, the living entities, the material energy, the spiritual energy and the entire creation are all individual substances.  In the ultimate analysis, however, together they constitute the supreme one, the Personality of Godhead.  Therefore those who are advanced in spiritual knowledge see unity in diversity.  For such advanced persons, the Lord’s bodily decorations, His name, His fame, His attributes and forms and the weapons in His hand are manifestations of the strength of His potency.  According to their elevated spiritual understanding, the omniscient Lord, who manifests various forms, is present everywhere.  May He always protect us everywhere from all calamities.”*

3        In this verse Visvarupa says: “Those who are advanced in spiritual knowledge see unity in diversity (aikatmyanubhavanam).  The Supreme Personality of Godhead appears before these advanced transcendentalists in His form full of the nectar of (mayaya) appears before His devotees in His own transcendental form full of all wonderful potencies, so He also displays to them His bodily decorations (bhusana), His name, His fame, His attributes, and forms and weapons in His hand, which are all the manifestations of the strength of His potency (saktih).  These great transcendentalists directly perceive the true nature of the Lord and His paraphernalia (satya-manena).  The Lord, who manifest as various wonderful forms (sarvaih svarupaih) is present everywhere.  May He always protect (patu) us (nah) everywhere from all calamities.”

4        In the following verses of the Vishnu-dharma Purana, Maharaja Bali offers prayers to the Lord’s Sudarsana Cakra:

          “Even the greatest of yogis cannot completely or properly glorify the Lord’s Sudarsana Cakra.  Because of the illumination of this whirling Cakra, this demon Bali has been able to see the entire universe with its three planetary systems of Bhur, Bhuvar and Svar-lokas.”

5        Maharaja Ambarisa’s prayers to the Sudarsana Cakra are recorded in the Ninth Canto of Shrimad Bhagavatam, and the reader is referred to them for a more elaborate description.  In various places in the Vedic literatures, the Sudarsana Cakra, flag of Garuda, and other paraphernalia of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, are described as ‘causeless’.  This means that the Lord’s paraphernalia is transcendental and has no material origin, just as the Lord Himself has no origin.

6        Lord Kapiladeva describes some of the Lord’s ornaments and paraphernalia (Shrimad Bhagavatam 3.28.28): ‘The yogi should meditate upon His club which is named Kaumodaki and is very dear to him.  This club smashes the demons, who are always inimical soldiers, and is smeared with their blood.  One should concentrate on the nice garland on the neck of the Lord, which is always surrounded by bumblebees, with their nice buzzing sound, and one should meditate upon the pearl necklace on the Lord’s neck, which is considered to represent the pure living entities who are always engaged in His service.”*

7        The Lord’s Kaustubha gem is described in the following statement of Shrimad Bhagavatam (12.13.10):

          “The unborn Supreme Personality of godhead wears His own Brahman effulgence in the form of the Kaustubha jewel on His chest.”*

8        As the Supreme Personality of Godhead is willing to be considered non different from the universe in order to facilitate the conditioned souls’ worship of Him, so the Kaustubha gem is considered non different from the transcendental form of the Personality of Godhead.

9        That the Kaustubha gem is non different from the transcendental form of the Personality of Godhead is also confirmed by Vishnu Purana:

          “The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Hari, personally appears as the Kaustubha gem, which is pure, free from all contamination of this material world, and untouched by the modes of material nature.”

Anuccheda 61

1        The spiritual world of Vaikunthaloka is non different from the Lord in the same way, and it is repeatedly described in the Vedic literatures so the slow witted conditioned souls may become aware of its existence.  For example, Vaikunthaloka is described in the following statement of Shrimad Bhagavatam (2.9.9):

          “The Personality of Godhead, being thus very much satisfied with the penance of Lord Brahma was pleased to manifest His personal abode, Vaikuntha, the supreme planet above all others.  This transcendental abode of the Lord is adored by all self-realised persons freed from all kinds of miseries and fear of illusory existence.”*

2        Because the spiritual world of Vaikuntha cannot be reached by ordinary materially pious activities, because the Vedic literatures explain that it is beyond the limits of the material creation, because it is glorified as that place in which the residents do not fall into the illusion of maya, because it is reached when one become unaffected by the three modes of material nature, because by entering a temple of Lord Vishnu even in this material world, one actually enters the spiritual world, and consequently becomes free from the touch of the three modes of material nature, therefore it should be understood that the spiritual world of Vaikuntha is actually a manifestation of the spiritual form of the Personality of Godhead, that the material energy, that it is eternal, that it may be obtained only by devotional service which eclipses the so-called happiness of liberation, and that it is full of eternity, knowledge and bliss.

3        That the realm of Vaikuntha cannot be obtained by material activities, pious or otherwise, is confirmed by the Supreme Lord in the following words (Shrimad Bhagavatam 11.24.12-14):

          “Heaven was established as the residence of the demigods.  Bhuvarloka as that of the ghostly spirits and the earth system as the place of human beings and other mortal creatures.  Those mystics who strive for liberation are promoted beyond these three divisions.”***

4        “Lord Brahma created the region below the earth for the demons and the Naga snakes.  Thus the destinations of the three worlds were all arranged as the corresponding reactions for different kinds of work performed within the three modes of material nature.***

5        “By mystic yoga, great austerities and the renounced order of life, the pure destinations of Maharloka, Janoloka, Tapoloka and Satyaloka are attained.  But by devotional yoga, one achieves My transcendental abode.”***

6        In these verses the Lord says: “Those mystics who strive for liberation (siddhanam) by performance of mystic yoga and other spiritual activities are promoted beyond (param) these three divisions (trtayat) of planetary systems (Bhurloka, Bhuvarloka, and Svarloka).  Thus the destinations of the three worlds (trilokyam) were all arranged as the corresponding reactions for different kinds of work (karmanam) performed by those attached to household life.  By practicing upakurvana-brahmacarya one attains Maharloka, by naisthika-brahmacarya one attains Janaloka, by vanaprastha life one attains Tapoloka and by sannyasa one attains Satyaloka.  In this way the various results of yoga-practice are calculated.”

7        That the Personality of Godhead’s own abode (mad-gatih), known as Vaikunthaloka, can only be attained by the devotional activities of bhakti-yoga (such as hearing and chanting the glories of Vaikuntha and the master of Vaikuntha), and by no other means, is explained in Shrimad Bhagavatam (3.15.23):

          “It is very much regrettable that unfortunate people do not discuss the description of the Vaikuntha planets but engage in topics which are unworthy to hear and which bewilder one’s intelligence.  Those who give up topics of Vaikuntha and take to talk of the material world are thrown into the darkest region of ignorance.”*

8        A further description of Vaikunthaloka is found in Shrimad Bhagavatam (3.15.20), where Lord Brahma says to the demigods:

          “The inhabitants of Vaikuntha travel in their airplanes made of lapis lazuli, emerald and gold.  Although crowded by their consorts, who have large hips and beautiful smiling faces, they cannot be stimulated to passion by their mirth and beautiful charms.”*

9        Shridhara Svami comments on this verse in the following words:

          “This verse explains: “The inhabitants of Vaikuntha travel in their airplanes (vimanaih) which they obtained simply by offering obeisances to the lotus feet of Lord Hari, the Supreme Personality of Godhead (hari-padanati-matra-drstaih).’  Thus they are able to travel in Vaikuntha by means of their devotional activities, and not by any kind of material fruitive activity.”

10      The realm of Vaikuntha is also described in Mundaka Upanisad (1.2.12):

          “When a person aspiring to advance in spiritual life examines the temporary benefits obtained by performing pious deeds and earning a temporary residence in the upper material planets, he understands that one cannot attain the Personality of Godhead by performing materially pious deeds, and He becomes disinterested in both fruitive Vedic sacrifices and material welfare work.”

11      That the spiritual world of Vaikuntha can be obtained only by devotional service to the Personality of Godhead is also personally confirmed by Lord Krishna in the following words (Bhagavad-gita 18.61-62):

          “The Supreme Lord is situated in everyone’s heart, O Arjuna, and is directing the wanderings of all living entities, who are seated as on a machine made of the material energy.”*

12      “O scion of Bharata, surrender unto Him utterly.  By His grace you will attain transcendental peace and the supreme eternal abode.”*

Anuccheda 62

1        That the spiritual Vaikuntha planets are situated beyond the material world is confirmed by Lord Siva in the following words spoken to the Pracetas (Shrimad Bhagavatam 4.24.29):

          “A person who executes his occupational duty properly for one hundred births becomes qualified to occupy the post of Brahma, and if he becomes more qualified, he can approach Lord Siva.  A person who is directly surrendered to Lord Krishna, or Vishnu, in unalloyed devotional service is immediately promoted to the spiritual planets.  Lord Siva and other demigods attain these planets after the destruction of this material world.”*

2        Shridhara Svami comments on this verse in the following words:

          “In this verse Lord Siva says: ‘One who has accumulated the results of many pious actions may attain My association (mam eti) after he gives up the present body.  A devotee of Krishna, however, is immediately promoted to the spiritual planets (vaishnavam padam), which are beyond the boundaries of this material world.’

          “That the Supreme Lord and His name, form, attributes and abode are all beyond the boundaries of the matter is confirmed by the Supreme Lord Himself in the following words (Chandogya Upanisad 6.3.32):

          “Although My name and form are generally not visible in this material world, I shall now reveal them.’

          “In the Bhagavatam verse, Lord Siva continues: (Lord Siva), and the other administrative demigods (vibudhah) attain these spiritual planets after the destruction of this material world (kalatyaye).’  This last point is confirmed by the following statement of Vedanta-sutra (3.3.33):

          “The administrative demigods are appointed to certain terms of office, and they remain in this material world for the duration of those terms.  When their terms expire they may enter the spiritual world.”

Anuccheda 63

1        That the residents of Vaikunthaloka do not fall down into the material world is described by Lord Kapila (Shrimad Bhagavatam 3.25.37-38):

          “Thus because he is completely absorbed in thought of Me, the devotee does not desire even the highest benediction obtainable in the upper planetary systems, including Satyaloka.  He does not desire the eight material perfections obtained from mystic yoga, nor does he desire to be elevated to the kingdom of God.  Yet even without desiring them, the devotee enjoys, even in this life, all the offered benedictions.*

2        “The Lord continued: My dear mother, devotees who receive such transcendental opulences are never bereft of them; neither weapons nor the change of time can destroy such opulences.  Because the devotees accept Me as their friend, their relative, their son, preceptor, benefactor and Supreme Deity, they cannot be deprived of their possessions at any time.”*

3        In this verse Lord Kapiladeva says: “Those devotees, who, by My mercy have become free from ignorance, do not desire the greatest opulences and enjoyments available in the material world (vibhutim).  They do not desire the eight material perfections (beginning with anima-siddhi) obtained from mystic yoga (aisvaryam astangam anupravrttam).  They do not desire opulence equal (sarsti) to that of the Supreme Lord (bhagavatim shriyam).  Although the devotees only desire the happiness of devotional service, nevertheless they attain (asnuvate) all these benedictions in the spiritual world of Vaikuntha (me loke).”  This statement shows the Supreme Lord’s great affection for His devotees.

4        That although the devotee never prays for material opulence the Supreme Lord nevertheless showers all benedictions on him is seen in the following description of the benedictions granted to Sudama the florist (Shrimad Bhagavatam 10.41.51-52):

          “When the florist was offered benediction, he begged from the Lord that he might remain His servant in devotional service and by such service do good to all living creatures.  Being satisfied with the florist, Lord Krishna not only gave him benediction for whatever he wanted, but over and above that, He offered him all material opulences, family prosperity, long duration of life, and whatever else his heart desired within the material world.”*

5        The devotees of the Lord are always unattached to all kinds of opulences.  As has already been explained, the devotees do not wish for any spiritual opulence that may be granted by the Lord’s mercy, or any material opulences, up to the opulences Brahmaloka, which may be granted by the Lord’s illusory potency maya.  Even though the devotees are granted all kinds of opulence they do not try to enjoy or exploit them, for they consider them very insignificant and not worth their attention.

6        The desirelessness of the devotees is described in Chandogya Upanisad (8.1.6):

          “The auspicious situation pious deeds grant in this life will eventually be destroyed, and in the same way the auspicious situation pious deeds grant in the next life will also eventually be destroyed.  Understanding the temporary nature of these material benedictions, and also understanding the truth about the all-pervading Supersoul, the devotees only desire eternal benefits in relation to the Personality of Godhead.  They pass through all kinds of material situations free from all material desires.”

7        At this point someone may object: “Is it not so that in Svargaloka or any other planet both the objects of enjoyment and the enjoyers of those objects will eventually be destroyed?  Is this not true also for the devotees and their object of enjoyment?

          Lord Kapila answers this objection when He says (Shrimad Bhagavatam 3.25.38):

          “In the changeless (santa-rupe) spiritual world of Vaikuntha My devotees are never bereft (na nanksyanti) of transcendental opulences.  My personal weapon (me hetih) the wheel of time (animisah), cannot swallow up (no ledhi) their opulences.”

          That the residents of Vaikunthaloka are never deprived of their opulences and auspicious condition of life is also confirmed by the following statement of Chandogya Upanisad (8.15.1):

          “Once having entered the spiritual world of Vaikuntha one never returns to the material world.”

8        That the residents of Vaikunthaloka never return to the material world is confirmed by Lord Krishna Himself in Bhagavad-gita (8.16):

          “From the highest planet in the material world down to the lowest, all are places of misery wherein repeated birth and death take place.  But one who attains My abode, O son of Kunti, never takes birth again.”*

9        This is also described by Shripada Sankaracarya in these words (Shri-Vishnu-sahasra-nama-bhasya, text 75):

          “In the Supreme (param) abode (ayanam), there is no fear of returning to the material world.  The word used here is a bahuvrihi-samasa in the masculine gender.”

10      Lord Kapiladeva’s glorification of the devotee residents of Vaikuntha does not stop here, however, but the Lord continues by explaining that the devotees love only the Supreme Personality of Godhead.  He is their sole object of love.  This explanation does not only apply to the residents of Vaikunthaloka, but it may also be taken to describe the eternal cowherd residents of Goloka Vrndavana, who also consider Lord Krishna to be the sole object of their love.

11      At this point someone may ask: “When the living entities become free from the ignorance of materialism what different varieties of love for the Personality of Godhead do they manifest?”

          To answer this question Lord Kapila says: “Some devotees (yesam), such as the sages described in Padma Purana Uttara-khanda, desire to approach Me as their dear master, and as a result they meditate on Me as their dear (priya) master.  Some devotees, such as the Four Kumaras and others, desire to see Me as the Supreme Brahman (atma), and they meditate on Me in that way.  In whatever way the devotee wish to love Me, they may approach Me in that way.”

          We may note that in this verse the word ‘suhrdah’ (friend and benefactor) is in the plural.  This means that there are many different kinds of friends and the Lord is willing to become any one of many different kinds of friends for His devotee.  The exchange of friendship between the Lord and the devotees is described by Narada Muni in the following words (Shrimad Bhagavatam (4.12.37):

12      “Persons who are peaceful, equipoised, cleansed and purified, and who know the art of pleasing all other living entities, keep friendship only with the Lord and His devotees; they alone can very easily achieve the perfection of going back home, back to Godhead.”*

Anuccheda 64

          That Vaikunthaloka is beyond the material cosmos, and that no one falls from Vaikuntha to the material world, are both described by Shrila Suta Gosvami in Shrimad Bhagavatam (12.11.19):

          “O Brahmanas, the realm of Vaikuntha is a great umbrella that gives protection from all kinds of fear.”

Anuccheda 65

          By becoming free from the influence of the three modes of material nature only may enter the spiritual world of Vaikuntha.  The Supreme Personality of Godhead confirms this by saying (Shrimad Bhagavatam 11.25.22):

          “Those immersed in the mode of goodness go to the higher planets known as Svarloka, those immersed in the mode of passion enter human society in the middle planetary systems, those immersed in the mode of ignorance go to the hellish worlds, and those who are free from the grip of the three modes attain Me.”

          We may note that instead of saying ‘they attain My planet’, the Lord says ‘they attain Me’.  The Lord speaks in this way in order to proclaim that He is not different from His transcendental abode.

Anuccheda 66

1        That the spiritual world of Vaikuntha is beyond the touch of the three modes of material nature is confirmed by Lord Krishna Himself in the following words (Shrimad Bhagavatam 11.25.25):

          “Residential quarters within the forest are in the mode of goodness, residential quarters in big cities, towns and villages are in the mode of passion, and residential quarters in an atmosphere wherein indulgence in the four sinful activities of illicit sex, intoxication, meat-eating, and gambling predominate are in the mode of ignorance, but My abode is free from the material modes.”*

2        That the spiritual world of Vaikuntha is superior to the material world is confirmed by Lord Krishna in Shrimad Bhagavatam (10.88.25-26):

          “Lord Siva finally entered the splendid world of Svetadvipa Vaikuntha, where Lord Narayana personally resides, and which is beyond the darkness of matter.  In Svetadvipa there are great saintly persons who are completely freed from the envious nature of the material world and are beyond the jurisdiction of the four principles of material activities, namely religiousness, economic development, sense-gratification and liberation.  Anyone who enters into that Vaikuntha planet never comes back again to this material world.”*

Anuccheda 67

1        Speaking to Narada, Lord brahma describes the eternality of Vaikunthaloka in the following words (Shrimad Bhagavatam 2.5.39):

          “From the forefront of the chest up to the neck of the universal form of the Lord are situated the planetary systems named Janaloka and Tapoloka, whereas Satyaloka, the topmost planetary system is, situated on the head of the form.  The spiritual planets, however, are eternal.”*

2        Shrila Shridhara Svami comments on this verse:

          “In this verse the word ‘brahmaloka’ refers to the eternal (sanatana) Vaikuntha planets.  Here the word ‘brahmaloka; does not refer to any planet within the created material universe’.  Here the word ‘brahmaloka’ means ‘spiritual (brahma) planet (loka)’.

Anuccheda 68

1        That Vaikunthaloka may be obtained only by the practice of intense devotional service, which makes the happiness of liberation seem insignificant in comparison, is explained by the Four Kumaras in Shrimad Bhagavatam (3.15.23 and 25):

          “It is very much regrettable that unfortunate people do not discuss the description of the Vaikuntha planets but engage in topics which are unworthy to hear and which bewilder one’s intelligence.  Those who give up the topics of Vaikuntha and take to talk of the material world are thrown into the darkest region of ignorance.*

2        “Persons whose bodily features change in ecstasy and who breathe heavily and perspire due to hearing the glories of the Lord are promoted to the kingdom of God, even though they do not care for meditation and other austerities.  The kingdom of God is above the material universes, and it is desired by Brahma and other demigods.”*

3        The first part of this verse may be interpreted ‘yac ca nah’ (Vaikunthaloka is situated above us), or ‘nah sprhaniya-silah’ (we desire to attain the good qualities possessed by the great devotees).  The great devotees are described in the following words: ‘dure yamah’ (Because they have already attained all spiritual perfection, these great devotees do not care for meditation and other austerities), and ‘bhartu mithah su-yasasah’ (These great devotees are constantly engaged in hearing the glories of the Lord).  These great devotees are promoted (vrajanti) to the kingdom of God on the strength of their intense devotional service, which makes even the happiness of liberation seem insignificant by comparison.

4        That devotional service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead makes the happiness of liberation seem insignificant is also confirmed by the following statement of Shrimad Bhagavatam (3.15.48):

          “Persons who are very expert and most intelligent in understanding things as they are engage in hearing narrations of the auspicious activities and pastimes of the Lord, which are worth chanting and worth hearing.  Such persons do not care even for the highest material benediction, namely liberation, to say nothing of other less important benedictions like the material happiness of the heavenly kingdom.”*

Anuccheda 69

1        That the spiritual world of Vaikuntha is eternal, full of knowledge and full of bliss is confirmed by the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself in the following words (Shrimad Bhagavatam 11.20.37):

          “Those who seriously follow the methods of achieving Me that I have personally taught attain freedom from illusion and upon reaching My personal abode can at last perfectly understand the Absolute Truth.”***

2        “Jnana-yoga, karma-yoga and bhakti-yoga are the spiritual paths (me pathah) mentioned here by the Lord.  Because it is the most practical and effective at all times, places and circumstances, the devotees consider bhakti-yoga the best of all spiritual paths.  The word ‘ksemam’ in this verse indicates that the Vaikunthaslokas are filled with the supreme auspiciousness of pure devotional service, and the words ‘mat-sthanam paramam brahma viduh’ indicate that the great sages understand that the spiritual abode of the Lord is non different from the Lord Himself.

3        The spiritual world of Vaikunthaloka is described in the following statement of Shrimad Bhagavatam (10.28.15-16):

          “Reflecting in this way, the merciful and all-powerful Personality of Godhead showed His own planet, which is above the darkness of material existence, to the cowherd men of Vrndavana.*

4        “Thus Krishna showed them the effulgent, eternal, ever-existing spiritual sky, which is unlimited and full of knowledge.  Great sages and saintly persons who have already surpassed the influence of the three material modes of nature are able to directly see that spiritual world.”*

5        Both these quotations (Shrimad Bhagavatam 11.20.37 and 10.28.14-15) clearly explain that the spiritual abode of Lord Krishna is beyond the influence of the material energy.  The supposition that the word ‘ca’ (also) is understood, although not expressed in these verses, and that therefore these verses mean ‘the abode of Lord Krishna and the spiritual world’, and that therefore the abode of Lord Krishna is different from the eternal spiritual world, is an extremely forced and illogical misinterpretation of what is clearly said in these verses.  That this abode of Lord Krishna is non different from the spiritual world of Vaikuntha is also confirmed by Shrila Shridhara Svami, who explains in his commentary on this verse:

          “The words ‘tamasah param’ in this verse indicate that the abode of Lord Krishna is beyond the darkness of material existence.”

Anuccheda 70

1        The spiritual abode of Lord Krishna is further described by Shrila Sukadeva Gosvami in these words (Shrimad Bhagavatam 2.2.17-18):

          “In that transcendental state of labdopasanti, there is no supremacy of devastating time, which controls even the celestial demigods who are empowered to rule over mundane creatures.  (And what to speak of the demigods themselves?)  Nor is there the mode of material goodness, nor passion, nor ignorance, nor even the false ego, nor the material Causal Ocean, nor the material nature.*

2        “The transcendentalists desire to avoid everything godless, for they know that supreme situation in which everything is related with the Supreme Lord Vishnu.  Therefore a pure devotee who is in absolute harmony with the Lord does not create perplexities, but worships the lotus feet of the Lord at every moment, taking them into His heart.”*

3        In this verse Shrila Sukadeva Gosvami says: ‘The transcendentalists desire to avoid (icchavah) everything godless (atat, dauratmyam), such as the useless speculations of the nyaya-logicians (neti neti), and the impersonalist fallacy that the Supreme Personality of Godhead and the individual jiva living entities are identical in all respects.  Abandoning all these misconceptions, they embrace (upaguhya) the lotus feet (padam) of the supremely worshipable (arha) Personality of Godhead within their hearts (hrda) at every moment (pade pade).  In this way the saintly devotees repose all their love in the Supreme Personality of Godhead and in no one else.  Such devotees understand (amananti) the truth about the spiritual abode of the Supreme Lord Vishnu (yat tad vaishnavam padam)”.

          By explaining that the devotees repose all their love in the Supreme Lord, this verse clearly refutes the misconception that the Absolute Truth is formless and impersonal, for it is not possible to love a formless non person.

4        The impersonalists’ idea that God is formless is clearly rejected by the author of the Mukta-phala-tika in his explanation of this verse, where he explains the relation between the demigods and the Supreme Personality of Godhead in the following words:

          “As a king establishes places of residence for his different subjects, while He reserves the best residence for himself, so the Supreme Personality of Godhead establishes the residence of Brahma and all the other living entities within the universe, while His own residence is the best, for it is above (param) the influence of the material energy.”

5        That the Supreme Personality of Godhead remains in His own glorious realm, the world of Vaikuntha, is confirmed by the following statements of the Sruti-sastra:

          “Where does the Supreme Personality of Godhead reside?  He resides in His own glorious abode.”

                             Chandogya Upanisad 7.24.1

          “Who can properly understand the Supreme Personality of Godhead who resides in His own transcendental abode?”

                             Katha Upanisad 1.2.25

Anuccheda 71

1        The rhetorical question “Who can properly understand the Supreme Personality of Godhead who resides in His own transcendental abode?” is answered in the following statement of Narada Muni to Maharaja Pracinabarhi (Shrimad Bhagavatam 4.29.48):

          “Those who are less intelligent accept the Vedic ritualistic ceremonies as all in all.  They do not know that the purpose of the Vedas is to understand one’s own home, where the Supreme Personality of Godhead lives.  Not being interested in their real home, they are illusioned and search after other homes.”*

2        In this verse Narada says: “Those who are less intelligent (dhumra-dhiyah) accept (ahuh) the Vedic ritualistic ceremonies (vedam sa-karmakam) as all in all.  They know of Svargaloka and the other planets of the material universe, but they do not know that the purpose of the Vedas is to understand one’s own home (svam lokam) where (yatra) the Supreme Personality of Godhead (janardanah) lives.”

Anuccheda 72

1        The presence of the Personality of Godhead in the spiritual world is also described in the following prayer spoken by the demigods to Lord Hari (Shrimad Bhagavatam 6.9.32):

          “O Supreme Personality of Godhead, O Narayana, O Vasudeva, original person! O most exalted person, supreme experience, welfare personified! O supreme benediction, supremely merciful and changeless!  O support of the cosmic manifestation, sole proprietor of all planetary systems, master of everything and husband of the goddess of fortune!  Your Lordship is realised by the topmost sannyasis, who wander about the world to preach Krishna consciousness, fully absorbed in samadhi through bhakti-yoga.  Because their minds are concentrated upon You, they can receive the conception of Your personality in their fully purified hearts.  When the darkness in their hearts is completely eradicated and You are revealed to them, the transcendental bliss they enjoy is the transcendental form of Your Lordship present in the spiritual world.  No one but such persons can realise You.  Therefore we simply offer You our respectful obeisances.”

2        In this passage of Shrimad Bhagavatam the word ‘tamah’ may be interpreted to mean either ‘material energy’ or ‘ignorance’.  The word ‘atma-loke’ means ‘the personal abode of the Supreme Lord’.  That the Supreme Personality of Godhead resides in His own spiritual realm is again confirmed by the following statements of the Sruti-sastra:

          “The spiritual world is the personal abode of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.”

                             Brhad-aranyaka Upanisad 4.3.32

3        The spiritual realm of the Personality of Godhead is also described in the Pippalada-sakha:

          “The subtle, transcendental, eternal abode of Lord Vishnu is the best of all planets, and although everyone should know about it, it is generally not properly understood.  Only the greatest yogi-philosophers understand the true nature of this abode of Lord Vishnu.

4        The spiritual realm of Vaikuntha is also described in the Maha Narayana Upanisad (8.14):

          “They who have renounced the material world enter the spiritual sky, which the Supreme Personality of Godhead has hidden from the gaze of the conditioned souls.”

5        The transcendental abode of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is also described in the Nrsimha-tapani Upanisad (5.10):

          “In the transcendental abode of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the original author of the Vedic mantras, there is no suffering of any kind.  In that abode neither the sun, moon or stars shine, the wind does not blow, death cannot enter, and there are no defects of any kind.  That abode is blissful, eternal, peaceful and always full of all auspiciousness.  The yogis meditate on that supreme abode, and the demigods headed by Brahma offer obeisances and prayers to that supreme abode.  The yogis who travel to that supreme abode of the Lord never return to this material world.”

6        The spiritual abode of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is also described in the following mantra of the Rg Veda:

          “The saintly demigods continually gaze at Lord Vishnu’s transcendental abode, which is like a brilliant sun in the spiritual sky.  The residents of that abode of the Lord are free from any defect, effulgent and always awake with all spiritual knowledge.”

7        These Vedic passages describe the spiritual realm as the object of Lord Brahma’s prayers, and they also say that once having entered that spiritual realm on never returns to the material world.  This is a clear description of the planet of Lord Vishnu.  These descriptions do not apply to the impersonal Brahman effulgence, and therefore no one should interpret that these statements describe that impersonal Brahman.  The Rg Veda’s description of the planet of Lord Vishnu is also corroborated by the following explanation of Vishnu Purana (2.8.93-98):

8        “Above the planets of the seven sages, the Dhruvaloka planet is situated.  Dhruvaloka is the splendid, transcendental abode of Lord Vishnu.  It is situated in the spiritual sky, above both the upper and lower material planets.

9        “O brahmana, they who have renounced this material world, who control the mind and senses, and have become free from all material impurities and all past sinful and pious karmic reactions, reside in that transcendental abode.

10      “In that place there are no pious or impious karmic reactions, and nothing causes pain.  Having gone to that place one never laments.  That is Lord Vishnu’s supreme abode.

11      “Yamaraja, Dhruva Maharaja, and other demigod administrators of universal affairs, whose opulence is equal to that of the Lord Himself, reside in that spiritual realm.  This is Lord Vishnu’s supreme abode.

12      “Whatever has been and whatever will be in the future, the entire material creation as well as all moving and non moving living entities are manifested from this spiritual world, just as the warp and woof of a loom creates a cloth.  O Maitreya, this spiritual realm is the supreme abode of Lord Vishnu.

13      “Thus unlimitedly expanded spiritual realm is like a great eye in the spiritual sky.  It gives transcendental knowledge to the devotees.  This is Lord Vishnu’s supreme abode.”

14      The previously quoted statement of the Nrsimha-tapani Upanisad that “In the spiritual world the wind does not blow, the sun, moon and stars do not shine” means that there are no material wind, sun, moon or stars in the spiritual world.  Spiritual sun, moon, stars and winds do, however, exist in the spiritual world, and this fact is supported by many statements of Smrti-sastra.

15      (The story of Maharaja Dhruva narrated in the Shrimad Bhagavatam contains a very clear description of the Vaikuntha realm of Lord Vishnu.  We shall quote some of these verses to gain some understanding of that Vaikunthaloka.  The first quotation explains why it was that Maharaja Dhruva, even though he had just directly seen the Supreme Personality of Godhead, nevertheless remained morose at heart.) Shrimad Bhagavatam (4.2.29) explains:

          “Maitreya Muni answered: Dhruva Maharaja’s heart, which was pierced by the arrows of the harsh words of his stepmother, was greatly aggrieved and thus when he fixed upon his goal of life he did not forget her misbehaviour.  He did not demand actual liberation from this material world, but at the end of his devotional service, when the Supreme Personality of Godhead appeared before him, he was simply ashamed of the material demands  he had in his mind.”*

16      Maharaja Dhruva laments in the following words (Shrimad Bhagavatam 4.9.31):

          “Alas, just look at me!  I am so unfortunate.  I approached the lotus feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who can immediately cut the chain of the repetition of birth and death, but still, out of my foolishness, I prayed for things which are perishable.”*

17      This verse records Dhruva Maharaja’s dissatisfaction.  He prayed for a very exalted position, and he received a benediction far excelling this original desire.

18      The exalted position attained by Maharaja Dhruva is described by Mahatma Vidura in the following words (Shrimad Bhagavatam 4.9.28):

          “Shri Vidura inquired: My dear brahmana, the abode of the Lord is very difficult to attain.  It can be attained only by pure devotional service, which alone pleases the most affectionate, merciful Lord.  Dhruva Maharaja achieved this position even in one life, and he was very wise and conscientious.  Why, then, was he not very pleased?”*

19      The exalted position attained by Maharaja Dhruva is described by the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself in the following words (Shrimad Bhagavatam 4.9.25):

          “The Personality of Godhead continued: My dear Dhruva, after your material life in this body, you will go to My planet, which is always offered obeisances by the residents of all other planetary systems.  It is situated above the planets of the seven rsis, and having gone there you will never have to come back again to this material world.”*

20      This great benediction, Dhruva’s liberation in the planet of Lord Vishnu, is described by two associates of the Lord in the following words (Shrimad Bhagavatam 4.12.26):

          “Dear King Dhruva, neither your forefathers nor anyone else before you ever achieved such a transcendental planet.  The planet known as Vishnuloka, where Lord Vishnu personally resides, is the highest of all.  It is worshipable by the inhabitants of all other planets within the universe.  Please come with us and live there eternally.”*

21      Maharaja Dhruva’s good fortune is also described by Shrila Suta Gosvami in the following words (Shrimad Bhagavatam 4.13.1):

          “Suta Gosvami, continuing to speak to all the rsis, headed by Saunaka, said: After hearing Maitreya Rsi describe Dhruva Maharaja’s ascent to Lord Vishnu’s abode, Vidura became very much enlightened in devotional emotion, and he inquired from Maitreya as follows:

22      The the planet ruled by Dhruva Maharaja is an eternal Vaikuntha planet is confirmed by the following statement of Shrimad Bhagavatam (5.22.17):

          “Situated 8 800 000 miles above Saturn, or 20 800 000 miles above earth, are the seven saintly sages, who are always thinking of the well-being of the inhabitants of the universe.  They circumambulate the supreme abode of Lord Vishnu, known as Dhruvaloka, the polestar.”*

23      This is also confirmed by the following statement of Shrimad Bhagavatam (5.23.1):

          “Sukadeva Gosvami continued: My dear King 1 300 000 yojanas (10 400 000 miles) above the planets of the seven sages is the place that learned scholars describe as the abode of Lord Vishnu.  The son of Maharaja Uttanapada, the great devotee Maharaja Dhruva, still resides as the life source of all the living entities who live until the end of creation.  Agni, Indra, Prajapati, Kasyapa and Dharma all assemble there to offer him honour and respectful obeisances.  They circumambulate him with their right sides toward him.  I have already described the glorious activities of Maharaja Dhruva (in the Fourth Canto of Shrimad Bhagavatam).”*

24      These quotations from Shrimad Bhagavatam show that the Dhruvaloka planet is an eternal Vaikuntha planet, even though it is apparently situated within the jurisdiction of the material world.  The situation of a liberated soul who lives within the material world is similar, as described in the Vedanta-sutra (4.4.19):

          “Although situated within a material body, which goes through the six material transformations, a liberated soul is actually situated on the transcendental platform.  He has nothing to do with the changing material world.”

25      At the time of annihilation of the material universe, when all the material planets perish, the Dhruvaloka planet is not destroyed, but merely becomes no longer visible tot he eyes of the conditioned souls.  That Dhruvaloka is not destroyed at the time of cosmic annihilation is confirmed by Hiranyakasipu in the following words (Shrimad Bhagavatam 7.3.11):

          “By dint of my severe austerities, I shall reverse the results of pious and impious activities.  I shall overturn all the established practices within this world.  Even Dhruvaloka will be vanquished at the end of the millennium.  Therefore, what is the use of it?  I shall prefer to remain in the position of Brahma.”*

26      In this way it may be understood that Dhruvaloka is an eternal Vaikuntha planet, even though it is manifested within the boundaries of the material world.  This nature of Dhruvaloka is described in many different passages of the Sruti-sastra, and it is also described by Lord Siva in the following words (Padma Purana, Uttara-khanda 91.54.77):

27      “O Parvati, please listen to this description of the opulences of the material world and the opulences of the spiritual world, which is three fourths of the entire creation.

28      “The auspicious Viraja river flows between the material and spiritual worlds.  This river is produced from the perspiration of the Personified Vedas.

29      “On the far shore of that Viraja river is the eternal, deathless, imperishable, unlimited, nectarean spiritual sky, which consists of three fourths of the entire creation.

30      “That imperishable spiritual realm is the abode of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.  That realm is made of the transcendental mode of pure goodness, and it is more splendid than many millions of blazing suns.

31      “This spiritual world is full of all knowledge and free from all forms of destruction.  It is limitless, eternal, effulgent, free from old age, and free from the various forms of material consciousness, including the states of material wakefulness and material sleep.

32      “This spiritual world is the abode of liberation, and it is full of all spiritual bliss.  Nothing is equal or superior to it, and it is without beginning or end.  It is supremely auspicious, and it glows with a golden effulgence.

33      “This spiritual world is wonderfully splendid, delightful and eternal,  It is like a great ocean of transcendental bliss, and it is full of all transcendental attributes.  This place is the supreme transcendental abode of Lord Vishnu.

34      “That abode of Lord Hari is not illumined by the sun or moon, nor by electricity.  One who reaches it never returns to this material world.*

35      “This transcendental abode of Lord Vishnu is perfect, eternal, and imperishable.  No one can properly describe it, even if he had hundreds of millions of kalpas in which to speak.

36      “Neither brahma, the great sages, nor I have the power to describe the abode of Lord Hari.  If one thinks he completely understands the abode where the infallible Supreme Personality of Godhead resides, then that person does not know the first thing about the Lord’s abode.

37      “This abode of the Lord is very confidential and cannot be understood merely by studying the Vedas.  Even the demigods who control the universe cannot properly understand it.  If one does not understand this abode of the Lord, then what is the use of his chanting the Vedic hymns?  If one does understand the abode of the Lord, then all the Vedic hymns become automatically manifest to him.

38      “The demigods continually fix their gaze upon Lord Vishnu’s infallible, imperishable, eternal, transcendental abode, which is like a brilliant sun shining in the spiritual sky.

39      “Although neither Brahma, Siva or any of the other demigods can enter this transcendental abode, the best of the yogis can at least see it by means of transcendental knowledge obtained from the Vedic literatures.

40      “Neither Brahma, the demigods, the great sages, nor I myself can completely understand this transcendental abode of the Lord.  However, what little I have been able to understand by studying all the Upanisads, O saintly Parvati, I shall now relate to You.

41      “In the centre of Lord Vishnu’s transcendental abode is a nectarean fountain named Subha.  At this place are many long horned surabhi cows with their calves.

42      “In that splendid abode of Lord Vishnu, who carries the Sarnga bow, and who is glorified by the devotees, are many glorious and auspicious surabhi cows.

43      “That eternal, pure realm of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is splendid as the sun.  It is supremely effulgent and it exists beyond the darkness of the material world.

44      This eternal transcendental abode is always awake with spiritual awareness.  In the topmost part of this spiritual abode eternal Lord Vishnu and His consort Shrimati Laksmi-devi reside.

45      Near Shri Shri Laksmi-Vishnu, the two youthful sisters Bhu-sakti an Lila-sakti, who are very dear to the Lord, stay.  Before them are the eternal Sadhyas and Visvedevas.

46      “Learned brahmanas awake with spiritual knowledge, even seeing whom brings all auspiciousness, glorify that splendid transcendental abode.

47      “The supreme abode of Lord Vishnu is known by the name Moksa (liberation).  They who become free from the bonds of repeated birth and death attain transcendental bliss in that supreme abode.

48      “Lord Vishnu’s supreme abode is known as Moksa (liberation), because they who enter it never return to repeated birth and death in the material world.  That supreme abode is also known by the names Param padam (Supreme Abode), Lingam (the form of the Lord), Amrta (The Immortal Nectar) and Vishnu-mandira (the temple of Lord Vishnu).

49      “Lord Vishnu’s supreme abode is also known as Aksara (The Imperishable Abode), Paramam dhama (the Supreme Abode), Vaikuntha (the place where there is no anxiety), Sasvatam padam (The Eternal Abode), Nitya (The Eternal Abode), Parama-vyoma (the Spiritual sky), Sarvotkrsta (The Supreme Abode), and Sanatana (The Eternal Abode).

50      “The Supreme abode of the infallible Personality of Godhead has many other names also.  I shall now describe in detail the nature of this supreme abode, which is three fourths of the entire potency of the Lord.”

51      Although many passages of Sruti and Smrti-sastra describe the Lord’s abode, they will not all be quoted here.  The next quote will be from a conversation of Brahma and Narada recorded in the Jitanta-stotra of the Narada-pancaratra:

52      “The six planetary system named Vaikunthaloka is full of six transcendental opulences.  They who are not devotees of Lord Vishnu are not able to enter that transcendental realm, which remains always untouched by the three modes of material nature.

53      “The Vaikuntha realm is full of eternally perfect liberated devotees of the Lord.  That realm is very auspicious and beautiful, endowed with many assembly buildings, palaces, forests and gardens.

54      “The Vaikuntha realm is beautifully decorated with many trees, wells, lakes, and ponds.  That non material realm is worshipped and glorified by the demigods.  It is splendid as millions of suns.

55      The realm of Vaikuntha is further described in the following statement of Brahmanda Purana:

          “The Vaikuntha realm is full of unlimited spiritual attributes..  It is full of supreme effulgence and it is very difficult to attain.  It is incomparable and full of transcendental bliss.  It remains invisible to the material senses of the conditioned souls.”

56      The Vaikuntha realm is also described in the following verses from the story of Mudgala related in the Itihasa-samuccaya:

          “Above the planet of Brahma lies the eternal, effulgent, pure abode of Lord Vishnu.  Great sages know that abode as the Supreme Brahman.”

57      “Saintly devotees who devotedly engage in meditation and yoga, who have controlled the senses, and who are free from false-ego, material possessiveness, and material duality, attain that supreme abode.

58-59  “The who worship, remember and meditate on the infallible transcendental Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is known as Hari, Vishnu, Krishna, Jisnu, Sanatana, Narayana, Aja, Deva, Visvaksena, and Caturbhuja, attain the Supreme Lord’s abode.  This is the conclusion of the eternal Vedic literatures.”

60      Vaikunthaloka is described in the Skanda Purana in a conversation between Sanat-kumara and Markandeya Rsi in these words:

          “O best of the brahmanas, one who is a devotee of Lord Vishnu, and who decorates his body with the marks of the conchshell, disc, and other signs of the Lord, goes to Lord Vishnu’s planet, which is not destroyed when the entire universe is consumed by flames.”

61      Someone may argue that the words ‘para-dhama’ and ‘sthana’ used in these quotations may be interpreted to mean the transcendental form of the Lord and the Lord’s abode.  If we examine these verses in context we shall see this argument to be patently false.  For example, when the Lord says: “The devotees attain My abode (sthana), which the sages know as the Supreme Brahman,” the ‘sthana’ must be taken to mean the Lord’s abode.  Any other interpretation will be rejected by the intelligent reader.

62      If one were to argue that the word ‘ca’ (and) although not directly expressed in the statement param brahmeti yad viduh’ (The great sages know that abode as the Supreme Brahman) from the Itihasa-samuccaya, should be understood, and therefore the words ‘param brahma’ should not be taken as adjectives modifying the Lord’s abode, but as nouns referring the Supreme Godhead, then to this argument I reply that the word ‘loka’ (planet) is used in many places where it is clearly modified by the word ‘param brahma’, and that therefore in this instance it should also be understood in the same way.  The words ‘pada’, ‘dhama’, ‘sthana’ and ‘loka’ all refer to the same thing; the abode of the Lord.  When they are jointly used, as they are in the passages just quoted, they cast far away any other possible explanation of what they actually mean.  As the words ‘bhagavan’, ‘hari’ and visnu’ refer only to the form of the Lord, and not to anything else in the same way these statements of the Padma Purana, Vishnu Purana, and other Vedic literatures should be taken to describe only the abode of the Lord.  They cannot be understood to describe the Lord’s form.  These passages of Vedic literature can be considered to appropriately describe only the Lord’s abode for they say the object of their description is not attained by fruitive or non devotional work.  In many other ways also the description presented in these passages can be considered to appropriately describe only the Lord’s abode.  On the other hand, the Lord’s form is appropriately described in a particular way (for example; as holding a rod in His hand, etc.), radically different from the descriptions in these passages.  An example of an appropriate description of the Lord’s form may be found in Shrimad Bhagavatam 6.9.32 quoted in Anuccheda 72.  In this way, therefore, we may conclude that the passages quoted clearly describe the transcendental abode of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.  They cannot be taken to describe His form.

Anuccheda 73

1        In this the Vaikuntha world is described.  As the Supreme Personality of Godhead appears in many different forms, sometimes manifesting His opulences in full, and sometimes only manifesting part of His opulence, in the same way for each form of the Supreme Personality of Godhead there is a corresponding Vaikuntha planet.  This is described in the Padma Purana, Uttara-khanda, and also in the following statement of Maitreya Rsi (Shrimad Bhagavatam 3.19.31):

          After thus killing the most formidable demon Hiranyaksa, the Supreme Lord Hari, the origin of the boar species, returned to His own abode, where there is always an uninterrupted festival.  The Lord was praised by all the demigods, headed by Brahma.”*

          The word ‘sadayitva’ in this verse means ‘after killing.’

2        That each form of the Lord has His own Vaikuntha planet is also confirmed in the Bodhayana-sastra, in the discussion of the Pavitraropa festival:

          “One who worships Lord Nrsimhadeva by faithfully performing the Pavitraropa festival every year will become liberated.  He will enter the transcendental planet where Lord Nrsimhadeva resides.”

3        The planet of Lord Siva is described in the same way in the Vayu Purana:

          “At the time of cosmic dissolution all the universes will be completely flooded by a great ocean.

4        “Waters of devastation will violently flood all the universes up, down, and in all directions.

5        “Great fires will then reduce all the planets into iron spheres, and then great hurricane winds will tear through all the universes.

6        “The unlimited unmanifested avyakta will first absorb the hurricane winds, and then it will absorb, one after another, the ether element, the five gross elements, and the mahat-tattva.

7        “The avyakta is an unlimited, unmanifested darkness.  It is beginningless, endless, invisible, without any boundary, and free from any designation.

8        “Beyond this darkness, beyond the ether element, and beyond the boundary of the material universes is the Lord Siva’s great transcendental abode, which even the great demigods cannot approach.  This is clearly described in the Sruti-sastra.”

Anuccheda 74

1        As the Supreme Personality of Godhead sometimes manifests His transcendental form within the material world, so He sometimes manifests some of His transcendental abodes within the boundaries of the material realm. One instance of this is described by Shrila Sukadeva Gosvami in these words (Shrimad Bhagavatam 8.5.4-5):

          “From the combination of Subhra and his wife, Vaikuntha, there appeared the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vaikuntha, along with demigods who were His personal plenary expansions.*

2        “Just to please the goddess of fortune, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vaikuntha, at her request, created another Vaikuntha planet, which is worshipped by everyone.”*

3        As the transcendental form of the Personality of Godhead is eternal and only enters the material world, although it is said to be ‘born’, so the Lord’s eternal spiritual realm only enters the material world, although in this verse the word ‘born’ (jajne) is used.  In these verses the word ‘vaikuntha’ means ‘the son of Vaikuntha-devi’ as well as ‘the spiritual planets Brahma saw before the creation of the material universe (Shrimad Bhagavatam 2.9.9-16).

4        That Vaikunthaloka is situated beyond the boundaries of the material universes filled with Svarga and other planets is confirmed by the following statement of Shrimad Bhagavatam (8.19.11):

          “Upon seeing that the residence of Lord Vishnu was vacant, Hiranyakasipu began searching for Lord Vishnu everywhere.  Angry at not seeing Him, Hiranyakasipu screamed loudly and searched the entire universe, including the surface of the earth, the higher planetary systems, all directions and all the caves and oceans.  But Hiranyakasipu, the greatest hero, did not see Vishnu anywhere.”*

Anuccheda 75

          The devotees who serve Lord Vaikuntha as His direct associates are on the same transcendental platform as the Lord Himself, for without being equally transcendental they could not directly serve Him.  This is confirmed by Vedic literature in these words:

          “One who is not like the Supreme Lord cannot worship or serve Him.”

          That the eternal associates of the Lord do not have material bodies, senses, and life-airs, as the conditioned souls born in the cycle of samsara do, but instead have spiritual forms made of pure transcendental goodness, is confirmed by the following statement of Shrimad Bhagavatam (7.1.35):

          “The bodies of the inhabitants of Vaikuntha are completely spiritual, having nothing to do with the material body, senses or life air.”*

Anuccheda 76

          That the personal associates of the Lord are like their master is confirmed by the following statement of Shrila Sukadeva Gosvami (Shrimad Bhagavatam 6.9.28):

          “Surrounding and serving the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Narayana, were sixteen personal attendants, decorated with ornaments and appearing exactly like Him but without the mark of Shrivatsa and the Kaustubha jewel.  O King, when all the demigods saw the Supreme Lord in that posture, smiling with eyes like the petals of lotuses grown in autumn, they were overwhelmed with happiness and immediately fell down like rods, offering dandavats.  Then they slowly rose and pleased the Lord by offering Him prayers.”*

Anuccheda 77

          The great devotees of the Lord obtain transcendental benefits that cannot be destroyed by time.  This is described by Prahlada Maharaja in a prayer to Lord Nrsimhadeva (Shrimad Bhagavatam 7.9.24):

          “My dear Lord, now I have complete experience concerning the worldly opulence, mystic power, longevity and other material pleasures enjoyed by all living entities, from Lord Brahma down to the ant.  As powerful time, You destroy them all.  Therefore, because of my experience, I do not wish to possess them.  My dear Lord, I request You to place me in touch with Your pure devotee and let me serve him as a sincere servant.”*

 

Anuccheda 78

1        The Vaikuntha planets and the liberated devotees who reside there are described in Padma Purana, Uttara-khanda:

          “Countless bliss spiritual planets are in the spiritual sky, which is three fourths of the entire creation.

2        “All these spiritual planets are eternal, changeless, and free from the abominable material mode of passion.  They are pure, and they have a golden effulgence bright as millions of suns.

3        “All these transcendental planets are all filled with Vedic knowledge and free from lust, anger, and other vices.  On these planets reside great devotees whose only joy is the pure devotional service of Lord Narayana’s lotus feet.”

4        In these verses the word ‘tri-pad-vibhuti’ indicates the spiritual world beyond the material universes, and the word ‘pada-vibhuti’ indicates the material universes.

5        This is described in the Padma Purana, Uttara-khanda:

          “The eternal spiritual world is three fourths of existence, whereas the temporary material world is only one fourth of existence.

6        “The Supreme Personality of godhead, whose form is eternal, auspicious, transcendental, infallible, delightful, and always youthful, resides in that supreme abode accompanied by His potencies Isvari-devi, Shri-devi and Bhumi-devi.

7        The Vaikuntha planets and material world are both described in Shrimad Bhagavatam (2.6.18):

          “The Supreme Personality of Godhead is the controller of immortality and fearlessness, and He is transcendental to death and the fruitive actions of the material world.  O Narada, O brahmana, it is therefore difficult to measure the glories of the Supreme Person.”*

8        This verse from Shrimad Bhagavatam directly mentions the Lord’s immortality and fearlessness, and the Lord’s position of being always liberated from material influence is implied although not directly and the other two qualities only implied in the following statement of the Sruti-sastra (Svetasvatara Upanisad 3.15):

          “The Supreme Personality of Godhead is the original master of all immortality.”

          The passage of Shrimad Bhagavatam describes the Lord, the possessor of these qualities, (immortality, fearlessness, and liberation) whereas the passage from Sruti-sastra describes the qualities the Lord possesses.

9        Vaikunthaloka’s immortality is hinted in these words of Shrimad Bhagavatam (2.9.9.):

          “Vaikuntha is adored by all self-realised persons freed from all kinds of miseries and fear of illusory existence.”*

          Vaikunthaloka’s blissfulness is hinted in these words of Shrimad Bhagavatam (2.9.9):

          “Vaikuntha is the supreme planet above all others.”*

10      That the Vaikunthaloka is eternal is also described in the following statement of Padma Purana (Uttara-khanda 255.77):

          “The residence of Lord Vishnu is eternal.”

11      That the Vaikuntha planets are completely free from all fear is hinted by the following statement of Shrimad Bhagavatam (2.9.10):

          “In the personal abode of the Lord there is no predominance of the influence of time.”*

12      This is also confirmed by the following statement of Shrimad Bhagavatam (12.11.19):

          “O brahmanas, the transcendental abode of the Lord is always free from all fear.”

13      That the abode of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is auspicious is hinted by Shrimad Bhagavatam (2.9.10):

          “The illusory external energy (maya) cannot enter the personal abode of the Lord.”*

          Because it is completely free from the material modes, which turn one from the Lord, Vaikunthaloka should be understood to be a great reservoir of the auspiciousness of pure devotional service to the Supreme Lord.

14      That devotional service is the abode of all auspiciousness is confirmed by the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself in the following words (Naradiya Purana):

          “O best of the brahmanas, I grant to you unwavering pure devotional service unto Me.  This devotional service is full of perfect transcendental bliss, and it is the reservoir of all auspiciousness.”

15      That the abode of the Lord is always liberated from material contact is confirmed by the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself in the following words (Shrimad Bhagavatam 11.20.37):

          “My pure devotees attain liberation from matter by entering My transcendental abode.”

16      Taking shelter of secondary meanings of the words ‘amrta’ and ‘bhaya’ one may interpret them to mean ‘Janaloka and the other material planetary systems.’  This laboured misinterpretation is refuted by the use of the word ‘martyam’ (dying), which clearly indicates that these two words should be interpreted according to their primary meanings.  This word (martyam) is explained by the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself in the following words (Shrimad Bhagavatam 11.10.30):

          “Even Brahma who possesses the supreme life-span of 311 040 000 000 000 years, is also afraid of Me.”

17      In this verse (Shrimad Bhagavatam 2.6.18), the word ‘annam’ means ‘the results of fruitive actions’, and the word ‘atyagat’ means ‘Transcending the three material planetary systems, the Lord is present in the spiritual world.’

18      The word ‘esah’ means ‘The Supreme Lord whose form is full of immortality and all other opulences’, and the word ‘duratyayah’ means ‘He whom the brahmacaris and other transcendentalists cannot understand or measure by the speculative powers of the mind.”

19      In this way we have describe the eternal spiritual world, which is three quarters of all existence, and the material world, which is subject of destruction, and which is one quarter of all existence.

20      Lord Brahma again describes the opulence of the spiritual world, which is three quarters of all existence (Shrimad Bhagavatam 2.6.19):

          “The Supreme Personality of Godhead is to be known as the supreme reservoir of all material opulences by the one fourth of His energy in which all the living entities exist.  Deathlessness, fearlessness and freedom from the anxieties of old age and disease exist in the kingdom of God, which is beyond the three higher planetary systems and beyond the material coverings.”*

21      In this verse Brahma says: “The living entities, as well as death and other material qualities, exist within the material world which is one quarter of all existence (sthiti-padah).  All the opulences of the Lord are distributed throughout the four quarters (padesu) of existence, including both spiritual and material worlds.  The living entities (sarva-bhutani) including the personal associates of the Lord reside in all four quarters of creation (including both spiritual and material worlds).”

22      In this verse Lord Brahma describes the spiritual world which is three quarters of the creation.  He says: “Deathlessness (amrtam), fearlessness (abhayam), and freedom from the anxiety of old-age and disease (ksemam) eternally exist (adhayi) in the kingdom of God, which is beyond (murdhasu) the three higher planetary systems, the material coverings and the three modes of material nature.”

          The material world is the creation’s single-quarter part where death and various fruitive actions exist and above that is the three-quarters part, or the spiritual world, where there are deathlessness and other auspicious conditions.  The spiritual and material worlds are described by the Rg Veda (10.90.3):

          “Three quarters of existence is the eternal and perfectly opulent spiritual world.”

          The word ‘divi’, which means ‘Vaikuntha’, is the realm where all opulences, eternality, and other auspicious conditions exist.  The auspiciousness described here refers to both Vaikuntha and its residents.

23      Brahma describes the other part of the four quarters of existence, the realm of the three material planetary systems, in these words (Shrimad Bhagavatam 2.6.20):

          “The spiritual world, which consists of three fourths of the Lord’s energy, is situated beyond this material world, and it is especially meant for those who will never be reborn.  Others, who are attached to family life and who do not strictly follow celibacy vows, must live within the three material worlds.”*

24      The word ‘ca’ (and) here means ‘and for all those’.  In this verse Brahma says: ‘The spiritual world, which consists of three fourths (padas trayah) of the Lord’s energy, is situated beyond (bahih) the material world (tri-lokyah).”

          This is also explained in the Purusa-sukta (Rg Veda):

          “The spiritual world is three fourths of the Lord’s energy.”

          One may ask “Who resides in that spiritual world?”  Brahma answers by saying: “The spiritual world is meant to be the residence of those who will never be reborn (aprajanam asramah).”  This means the sannyasis, vanaprasthas and brahmacaris, or in other words, those who follow the vow of celibacy.  Brahma describes the residents of the material world in these words: “Others (aparah), who are attached to family life (grha-medhah) and who do not strictly follow celibacy vows (abrhad-vratah), must live within (antah) the three material worlds (tri-lokyah).”

25      The Supreme Personality of Godhead is the master of both spiritual and material worlds, as Brahma explains to Narada (Shrimad Bhagavatam 2.6.21):

          “By His energies, the all-pervading Personality of Godhead is thus comprehensively the master in the activities of controlling and in devotional service.  He is the ultimate maters of both nescience and factual knowledge of all situations.”*

62      In this verse Brahma says: “The all-pervading (visvak) Personality of Godhead (purusah) is thus comprehensively the master (vicakrame) of the two destinations (srti) attained by the living entities.”

          One may ask: “What are these two destinations?’  Brahma answers this question by saying: “These two destinations are the enjoyment of the fruits of karma (sasana) and transcending those fruits (anasane).  Then he describes the method of overcoming the fruits of karma.  The word ‘avidya’ here means ‘the illusory potency maya’ and ‘vidya’ means ‘the spiritual potency’.  The Lord is then described as the shelter (asrayah) of both potencies.  It is said (Shrimad Bhagavatam 2.6.22):

          “From that Personality of Godhead, all the universal globes and the universal form with all material elements, qualities and senses are generated.  Yet He is aloof from such material manifestations, like the sun, which is separated from its rays and heat.”*

          In this way creation may be divided into fourths, (three-fourths) possessing all opulence, and (one fourth), possessing partial opulence.  (The verse quoted from Shrimad Bhagavatam was spoken by) Brahma to Narada.

Anuccheda 79

1        The form of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is the master of the internal spiritual potencies, is manifest by the Lord’s own potency.  By a specific potency the wonderful variety of the Lord’s many forms is manifested.  Our evidence (for the description of the Lord’s form) is given by the Four Kumaras in the next fourteen verses (Shrimad Bhagavatam 3.15.37-50):

2        “At that very moment, the Lord, who is called Padmanabha because of the lotus grown from His navel and who is the delight of the righteous, learned about the insult offered by His own servants to the saints.  Accompanied by His spouse, the goddess of fortune, He went to the spot on those very feet  sought for by recluses and great sages.*

3        “The sages, headed by Sanaka Rsi, saw that the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vishnu, who was formerly visible only within their hearts in ecstatic trance, had now actually become visible to their eyes.  As He came forward, accompanied by His own associates bearing all paraphernalia, such as an umbrella and a camara fan, the white bunches of hair moved very gently, like two swans, and due to their favourable breeze the pearls garlanding the umbrella also moved, like drops of nectar falling from the white full moon of ice melting due to a gust of wind.*

4        “The Lord is the reservoir of all pleasure.  His auspicious presence is meant for everyone’s benediction, and His affectionate smiling and glancing touch the core of the heart.  The Lord’s beautiful bodily colour is blackish, and His broad chest is the resting place of the goddess of fortune, who glorifies the entire spiritual world, the summit of all heavenly planets.  Thus it appeared that the Lord was personally spreading the beauty and good fortune of the spiritual world.*

5        “He was adorned with a girdle that shone brightly on the yellow cloth covering His large hips, and He wore a garland of fresh flowers which was distinguished by humming bees.  His lovely wrist were graced with bracelets, and He rested one of His hands on the shoulder of Garuda, His carrier, and twirled a lotus with another hand.*

6        “His countenance was distinguished by cheeks that enhanced the beauty of His alligator-shaped pendants, which outshone lightning.  His nose was prominent, and His head was covered with a gem-studded crown.  A charming necklace hung between His stout arms, and His neck was adorned with the gem known by the name Kaustubha.*

7        “The exquisite beauty of Narayana, being many times magnified by the intelligence of His devotees, was so attractive that it defeated the pride of the goddess of fortune in being the most beautiful.  My dear demigods, the Lord who thus manifested Himself is worshipable by me, by Lord Siva and by all of you.  The sages regarded Him with unsated eyes and joyously bowed their heads at His lotus feet.*

8        “When the breeze carrying the aroma of tulasi leaves from the toes of the lotus feet of the Personality of Godhead entered the nostrils of those sages, they experienced a change both in body and in mind, even though they were attached to the impersonal Brahman understanding.*

9        “The Lord’s beautiful face appeared to them like the inside of a blue lotus, and the Lord’s smile appeared to be a blossoming jasmine flower.  After seeing the face of the Lord, the sages were fully satisfied, and when they wanted to see Him further, they looked upon the nails of His lotus feet, which resembled rubies.  Thus they viewed the Lord’s transcendental body again and again, and so they finally achieved meditation on the Lord’s personal feature.*

10      “This is the form of the Lord which is meditated upon by the followers of the yoga process, and it is pleasing to the yogis in meditation.  It is not imaginary but factual, as proved by great yogis.  The Lord is full in eight kinds of achievement, but for others these achievements are not possible in full perfection.*

11      “The Kumaras said: Our dear Lord, You are not manifested to rascals, even though You are seated within the heart of everyone.  But as far as we are concerned, we see You face to face, although You are unlimited.  The statements we have heard about You from our father, Brahma, through the ears have now been actually realised by Your kind appearance.*

12      “We known that You are the Supreme Absolute Truth, the Personality of Godhead, who manifests His transcendental form in the uncontaminated mode of pure goodness.  This transcendental, eternal form of Your personality can be understood only by Your mercy, through unflinching devotional service, by great sages whose hearts have been purified in the devotional way.*

13      “Persons who are very expert and most intelligent in understand things as they are engage in hearing narrations of the auspicious activities and pastimes of the Lord, which are worth chanting and worth hearing.  Such persons do not care even for the highest material benediction, namely liberation, to say nothing of less important benedictions like the material happiness of the heavenly kingdom.*

14      “O Lord, we pray that You let us be born in any hellish condition of life, just a long as our hearts and minds are always engaged in the service of Your lotus feet, our words are made beautiful (by speaking of Your activities) just as tulasi leaves are beautified when offered unto Your feet, and long as our ears are always filled with the chanting of Your transcendental qualities.*

15      “O Lord, we therefore offer our respectful obeisances unto Your eternal form as the Personality of Godhead, which You have so kindly manifested before us.  Your supreme, eternal form cannot be seen by unfortunate, less intelligent persons, but we are so much satisfied in our minds and vision to see it.”*

16      Now these verses will be discussed.  Shridhara Svami explains the first of these verses (Text 2):

          “This verse should be understood to mean: “The Supreme Lord, who is the delight of the righteous (arya-hrdyah), learned (vibudhya) about the insult (atikramam) offered by His own servants (svanam) who had checked the movements of the Four Kumaras, headed by Sanaka Kumara.  Accompanied by the goddess of fortune, He went (yayau) to the spot (tasmin), quickly walking there (calayan) with His own feet (caranau).”

          “The Supreme Lord thought: ‘I will show My anger to these two gatekeepers because they have offended the sages who came to see My lotus feet.  Laksmi-devi and I will both pacify the desireless sages by granting them many opulences.’”

17      In order to grant spiritual bliss to the Four Kumaras, whose pleasure was self-realisation, the Lord granted them the sight of His lotus feet.  The Lord, whose superexcellent transcendental form is the abode of all eternity, knowledge and bliss, along with His pastimes-potency, the goddess of fortune, personally went to those sages.  The word ‘svanam’ is used in the plural (and not the dual) in this verse, although it refers only to the two gatekeepers.  It may be that the Lord took it that all His personal associates were responsible for the offense of these two, or it may be that the plural is used out of respect for the exalted gatekeepers.  It should not be understood that the word ‘svanam’ is used here to refer to the four (Kumaras) sages.  These sages were not intimate devotees of the Lord, as the gatekeepers of Vaikuntha were, and therefore the word “svanam” (His own servants) cannot appropriately refer to them.

18      The next five verses (Texts 3-7), describe the Supreme Personality of Godhead as He was seen by the Four Kumaras.  They say: “The sages (te) headed by Sanaka Rsi saw the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vishnu, who was formerly visible only within their hearts in ecstatic trance (sva-samadhi-bhagyam), had now actually become visible to their eyes (aksa-visayam).”  This passage may also be interpreted to mean: “As a result of their previous meditation on the Lord in ecstatic trance (sva-samadhi), the four Kumaras (te) now obtained the opportunity to directly see the Supreme Lord with their own eyes.  The Lord’s own transcendental potency, which reveals the Lord’s form to the intelligence and senses of His devotees, revealed the Lord’s form to the four Kumaras.  As the Kumaras had previously perceived the Lord in ecstatic meditation, in the same way they were now able to directly perceive the Lord, the sound of whose voice, and the touch, sight, taste and aroma of whose body are all full of complete eternity, knowledge and bliss.  The Kumaras saw the Personality of Godhead as He is eternally manifested.  As a result of their meditation on Him, the Kumaras were able to see the Personality of Godhead, who in various circumstances at various times is served with various articles of worship by His own personal associates filled with the intense bliss of pure love rising from directly seeing the great wonder of the charming sweetness of the Lord’s form.  In this way the Supreme Lord’s potency of transcendental bliss reveals the role in the Lord’s pas