The Body of the Lord is Transcendental Substance
isvarera shri-vigraha sac-cid-anandakara
se-vigrahe kaha sattva-gunera vikara
shri-vigraha ye na mane, sei ta’ pasandi
adrsya asprsya, sei haya yama-dandi
The Lord’s transcendental form is eternal, full of bliss and knowledge. Those who don’t properly regard the Deity of the Lord are atheists. The Lord never reveals Himself to such persons, but remains invisible. After death such men are punished by Yamaraja. (Cc. Madhya 6.166,167)
The Name and Form of the Lord
‘nama’, ‘vigraha’, ‘svarupa’ tina eka-rupa
tine ‘bheda’ nahi, tina ‘cid-ananda-rupa’
deha-dehira, nama-namira krsne nahi ‘bheda’
jivera dharma nama-deha-svarupe ‘vibheda’
ataeva krsnera ‘nama’, ‘deha’, ‘vilasa’
prakrtendriya-grahya nahe, haya sva-prakasa
The Lord’s holy name, form, and personality are all one and the same. There is no difference between them. Since all of them are absolute, they are transcendentally blissful. There is no difference between Krishna’s body and Himself, nor between His name and Himself. For conditioned souls everything is different. One’s name is different from one’s body, from one’s original form, and so on. The holy name of Krishna, as well as His body and His pastimes cannot be understood by the blunt material senses; they are self-manifest. (Cc. Madhya 17.131,132,134)

ज्ञानेन तु तदज्ञानं येषां नाशितमात्मनः ।
तेषामादित्यवज्ज्ञानं प्रकाशयति तत्परम्‌ ॥

भावार्थ : परन्तु जिनका वह अज्ञान परमात्मा के तत्व ज्ञान द्वारा नष्ट कर दिया गया है, उनका वह ज्ञान सूर्य के सदृश उस सच्चिदानन्दघन परमात्मा को प्रकाशित कर देता है॥16॥

When, however, one is enlightened with the knowledge by which nescience is destroyed, then his knowledge reveals everything, as the sun lights up everything in the daytime.


Those who have forgotten Krsna must certainly be bewildered, but those who are in Krsna consciousness are not bewildered at all. It is stated in the Bhagavad-gita, "sarvam jnana-plavena," "jnanagnih sarva-karmani" and "na hi jnanena sadrsam." Knowledge is always highly esteemed. And what is that knowledge? Perfect knowledge is achieved when one surrenders unto Krsna, as is said in the Seventh Chapter, 19th verse: bahunam janmanam ante jnanavan mam prapadyate. After passing through many, many births, when one perfect in knowledge surrenders unto Krsna, or when one attains Krsna consciousness, then everything is revealed to him, as the sun reveals everything in the daytime. The living entity is bewildered in so many ways. For instance, when he thinks himself God, unceremoniously, he actually falls into the last snare of nescience. If a living entity is God, then how can he become bewildered by nescience? Does God become bewildered by nescience? If so, then nescience, or Satan, is greater than God. Real knowledge can be obtained from a person who is in perfect Krsna consciousness. Therefore, one has to seek out such a bona fide spiritual master and, under him, learn what Krsna consciousness is. The spiritual master can drive away all nescience, as the sun drives away darkness. Even though a person may be in full knowledge that he is not this body but is transcendental to the body, he still may not be able to discriminate between the soul and the Supersoul. However, he can know everything well if he cares to take shelter of the perfect, bona fide Krsna conscious spiritual master. One can know God and one's relationship with God only when one actually meets a representative of God. A representative of God never claims that he is God, although he is paid all the respect ordinarily paid to God because he has knowledge of God. One has to learn the distinction between God and the living entity. Lord Sri Krsna therefore stated in the Second Chapter (2.12) that every living being is individual and that the Lord also is individual. They were all individuals in the past, they are individuals at present, and they will continue to be individuals in the future, even after liberation. At night we see everything as one in the darkness, but in day when the sun is up, we see everything in its real identity. Identity with individuality in spiritual life is real knowledge.


नादत्ते कस्यचित्पापं न चैव सुकृतं विभुः ।
अज्ञानेनावृतं ज्ञानं तेन मुह्यन्ति जन्तवः ॥

भावार्थ : सर्वव्यापी परमेश्वर भी न किसी के पाप कर्म को और न किसी के शुभकर्म को ही ग्रहण करता है, किन्तु अज्ञान द्वारा ज्ञान ढँका हुआ है, उसी से सब अज्ञानी मनुष्य मोहित हो रहे हैं॥15॥

Nor does the Supreme Spirit assume anyone's sinful or pious activities. Embodied beings, however, are bewildered because of the ignorance which covers their real knowledge.


The Sanskrit word vibhuh means the Supreme Lord who is full of unlimited knowledge, riches, strength, fame, beauty and renunciation. He is always satisfied in Himself, undisturbed by sinful or pious activities. He does not create a particular situation for any living entity, but the living entity, bewildered by ignorance, desires to be put into certain conditions of life, and thereby his chain of action and reaction begins. A living entity is, by superior nature, full of knowledge. Nevertheless, he is prone to be influenced by ignorance due to his limited power. The Lord is omnipotent, but the living entity is not. The Lord is vibhu, or omniscient, but the living entity is anu, or atomic. Because he is a living soul, he has the capacity to desire by his free will. Such desire is fulfilled only by the omnipotent Lord. And so, when the living entity is bewildered in his desires, the Lord allows him to fulfill those desires, but the Lord is never responsible for the actions and reactions of the particular situation which may be desired. Being in a bewildered condition, therefore, the embodied soul identifies himself with the circumstantial material body and becomes subjected to the temporary misery and happiness of life. The Lord is the constant companion of the living entity as Paramatma, or the Supersoul, and therefore He can understand the desires of the individual soul, as one can smell the flavor of a flower by being near it. Desire is a subtle form of conditioning of the living entity. The Lord fulfills his desire as he deserves: Man proposes and God disposes. The individual is not, therefore, omnipotent in fulfilling his desires. The Lord, however, can fulfill all desires, and the Lord, being neutral to everyone, does not interfere with the desires of the minute independant living entities. However, when one desires Krsna, the Lord takes special care and encourages one to desire in such a way that one can attain to Him and be eternally happy. The Vedic hymn therefore declares:

esa u hy eva sadhu karma karayati tam yamebhyo lokebhya unninisate
esa u evasadhu karma karayati yamadho ninisate.

ajno jantur aniso 'yam atmanah sukha-duhkhayoh
isvara-prerito gacchet svargam vasvabhram eva ca.

"The Lord engages the living entity in pious activities so he may be elevated. The Lord engages him in impious activities so he may go to hell. The living entity is completely dependant in his distress and happiness. By the will of the Supreme he can go to heaven or hell, as a cloud is driven by the air."

Therefore the embodied soul, by his immemorial desire to avoid Krsna consciousness, causes his own bewilderment. Consequently, although he is constitutionally eternal, blissful and cognizant, due to the littleness of his existence he forgets his constitutional position of service to the Lord and is thus entrapped by nescience. And, under the spell of ignorance, the living entity claims that the Lord is responsible for his conditional existence. The Vedanta-sutras also confirm this:

vaisamya-nairghrnye na sapeksatvat tatha hi darsayati.

"The Lord neither hates nor likes anyone, though He appears to."


Krishna Appears in Three Categories of Forms
Svayam-rupa, Tadekatma-rupa and Avesa-rup
svayam-rupa, tad-ekatma-rupa, avesa nama
prathamei tina-rupe rahena bhagavan
That Supreme Personality of Godhead. Krishna appears in His selfsame form as svayam-rupa, in His first expansion as tad-ekatma-rupa, and in His empowered manifestations, known as avesa. (Cc. Madhya 20.165)
The two Divisions of Svayam-rupa
‘svayam-rupa’ ‘svayam-prakasa’ dui rupe sphurti
svayam-rupe eka ‘krishna’ vraje gopa-murti
Krishna reveals Himself in two forms, as svayam-rupa, His own form) and svayam-prakasa (His own manifestation). Svayam-rupa is Krishna Himself in Vrndavana, in the figure of a cowherd boy. (Cc. Madhya 20.166)
Two Divisions of Svayam-rupa Prabhava and Vaibhava
‘prabhava-vaibhava’-rupe dvividha prakase
eka-vapu bahu rupa yaiche haila rase
An example of prabhava-prakasa is when the Lord accepts two or more identical forms for the sake of enjoying His pastimes, just as He accepted many identical forms during the rasa-lila. (Cc. Madhya 20.167)
Prabhava-vilasa Expanding Many Forms
to Marry Thousands of Queens
mahisi-vivahe haila bahu-vidha murti
‘prabhava prakasa’ ei sastra-parasiddhi
In order to marry 16,108 queens, Krishna accepted 16,108 forms. These forms are known as prabhava-vilasa, and the scriptures have declared they are all trancendentally perfect. (Cc. Madhya 20.168)
sei vapu, sei akrti prthak yadi bhase
bhavavesa-bhede nama ‘vaibhava-prakase’
If a form is differently manifested, according to different emotional features, it is called vaibhava-prakasa. (Cc. Madhya 20.171)
Examples of Vaibhava prakasa
vaibhava-prakasa krsnera shri-balarama
varna-matra-bheda, saba krsnera samana
vaibhava-prakasa yaiche devaki-tanuja
dvibhuja-svarupa kabhu, kabhu haya caturbhuja
The first manifestation of the vaibhava feature of Krishna, known as vaibhava-prakasa, is Shri Balarama. Balarama and Krishna have different bodily colors, otherwise Balarama is equal to Krishna in all respects. Another example of vaibhava-prakasa is the son of Devaki. He sometimes has two hands and sometimes has four hands. (Cc. Madhya 20.174,175)
The Four-handed Vasudeva is Prabhava-vilasa
ye-kale dvibhuja, nama vaibhava-prakasa
caturbhuja haile, nama prabhava-prakasa
svayam-rupera gopa-vesa, gopa-abhimana
vasudevera ksatriya-vesa, ‘ami ksatriya’-jnana
saundarya, aisvarya, madhurya, vaidagdhya-vilasa
vrajeodra-nandane iha adhika ullasa
When the Lord is two-handed, He is called vaibhava-prakasa, and when He is four-handed, He is called prabhava-prakasa. In His original form, the Lord dresses like a cowherd boy and thinks Himself one of them. When He appears as Vasudeva, the son of Vasudeva and Devaki, His dress and consciousness are those of a ksatriya. When one compares the beauty, opulence, sweetness, and intellectual pastimes of Vasudeva, the warrior, to that of Krishna, the cowherd son of Nanda Maharaja, one sees that Krishna’s attributes are more pleasant. (Cc. Madhya 20.176-178)
sei vapu bhinnabhase kichu bhinnakara
bhavavesakrti-bhede ‘tad-ekatma’ nama taora
When the Lord’s form is a little differently manifest and its features a little different in transcendental emotion and form, it is called tad-ekatma-rupa. (Cc. Madhya 20.183)
Two Divisions of Tad-ekatma-rupa
tad-ekatma-rupe ‘vilasa’, ‘svamsa’ dui bheda
vilasa, svamsera bhede vividha vibheda
In the tad-ekatma-rupa there are two divisions pastime expansions (vilasa) and personal expansions (svamsa). According to pastime and personal expansion, there are various differences. (Cc. Madhya 20.184)
Two Divisions of Vilasa Prabhava and Vaibhava
prabhava-vilasa vasudeva, saokarsana
pradyumna, aniruddha, mukhya cari-jana
The chief quadruple expansions are named Vasudeva, Sankarsana, Pradyumna, and Aniruddha. These are called prabhava vilasa. (Cc. Madhya 20.186)
Balarama is a Vilasa Form
vraje gopa-bhava ramera, pure ksatriya-bhavana
varna-vesa-bheda, tate ‘vilasa’ taora nama
Balarama, who has the same original form as Krishna, is Himself a cowherd boy in Vrndavana. He also considers Himself to belong to the ksatriya race in Dvaraka. Thus His color and dress are different, and He is called a pastime (vilasa) form of Krishna. (Cc. Madhya 20.187)
Vaibhava-prakasa and Prabhava-vilasa Forms are
According to Different Moods and Pastimes
vaibhava-prakase ara prabhava-vilase
eka-i murtye baladeva bhava-bhede bhase
Lord Balarama is a vaibhava-prakasa manifestation of Krishna. He is also manifest in the original quadruple expansion of Vasudeva, Sankarsana, Pradyumna, and Aniruddha. These are prabhava-vilasa expansions with different emotions. (Cc. Madhya 20.188)
From That Prabhava-vilasa Comes the Catur-vyuhas,
Which are Vaibhava-vilasa Features of the Lord
adi-catur-vyuha iohara keha nahi sama
ananta caturvyuha-ganera prakatya-karana
The first expansion of the catur-vyuha is unique. There is nothing to compare with them. These quadruple forms are the source of unlimited quadruple forms. (Cc. Madhya 20.189)
The Original Catur-vyuha are the Lords in Mathura and Dvaraka
krsnera ei cari prabhava-vilasa
dvaraka-mathura-pure nitya iohara vasa
These four prabhava-vilasa pastime forms of Lord Krishna reside eternally in Dvaraka and Mathura. (Cc. Madhya 20.190)
The Twenty-four Principle Expansions From
the Original Catur-vyuha are Known as Vaibhava-vilasa
ei cari haite cabbisa murti parakasa
astra-bhede nama-bheda vaibhava-vilasa
From the original quadruple expansions, twenty-four forms are manifest. They differ according to the placement of weapons in Their four hands. They are called vaibhava-vilasa. (Cc. Madhya 20.191)
The Original Catur-vuyha Expands into Vaikuntha
punah krishna catur-vyuha lana purva-rupe
paravyoma-madhye vaise narayana-rupe
taoha haite punah catur-vyuha-parakasa
avarana-rupe cari-dike yaora vasa
Lord Krishna again expands, and within the spiritual sky, He is situated in fullness as the four-handed Narayana, accompanied by expansions of the original quadruple form. Thus, the original quadruple forms again manifest Themselves in a second quadruple expansion. The residences of these second quadruple expansions cover the four directions. (Cc. Madhya 20.192,193)
Further Expansions of the Second Quadruples
cari-janera punah prthak tina tina murti
kesavadi yata haite vilasera purti
Again these quadruple forms expand three times, beginning with Kesava. That is the fulfillment of the pastime forms. (Cc. Madhya 20.194)
Svamsa Expansions Appear in the Material World
saokarsana, matsyadika, dui bheda taora
saokarsana purusavatara, lilavatara ara
The first personal expansion is Saokarsana, and the others are incarnations like the fish incarnation. Saokarsana is an expansion of the Purusa, or Vishnu. The incarnations such as Matsya appear in different ages for specific pastimes, and are known as lila-avataras. (Cc. Madhya 20.244)
Six Kinds of Avataras
avatara haya krsnera sad-vidha prakara
purusavatara eka, lilavatara ara
gunavatara, ara manvantaravatara
yugavatara, ara saktyavesavatara
There are six types of avataras of Krishna: Incarnations of Vishnu (purusa-avataras), pastime incarnations (lila-avataras), incarnations that control the modes of nature (guna-avataras), incarnations as Manu (manvantara-avataras), incarnations in different milleniums (yuga-avataras), and saktyavesa-avataras. (Cc. Madhya 20.245,246)
Who is Called Svayam-Bhagavan
yaora bhagavatta haite anyera bhagavatta
‘svayam-bhagavan’-sabdera tahatei satta
Only the Personality of Godhead, the source of all other expansions is eligible to be described as svayam-bhagavan, or the primeval Lord. (Cc. Adi 2.88)
Avatari and the Different Avataras of the Lord
dipa haite yaiche bahu dipera jvalana
mula eka dipa taha kariye ganana
taiche saba avatarera krishna se karana
ara eka sloka suna, kuvyakhya-khandana
When from one candle many others are lit, I consider that one the original. In the same way, Krishna is the cause of all causes and the fountainhead of all avataras. (Cc. Adi 2.89,90)
The Distinction Between Avatara and Avatari
vasudevah saokarsanah pradyumno ‘niruddho ‘ham matsyah kurmo varahah nrsimho vamano ramo ramo ramah krsno buddhah kalkir aham iti
The Supreme Lord said, “I am Krishna. I appear as Vasudeva, Sankarsana, Pradyumna, and Aniruddha. I also appear as Baladeva, Matsya, Kurma, Varaha, Nrsimha, Vamana, Rama, and Parasurama. I also appear as Buddha and Kalki. (Catur-Veda-Siksa)
The Avataras of the Lord are Divine
naivaite jayante naivaite mriyate naiyamavandho na muktih sarva eva hyete purna ajara amrtah paramananda iti
The avataras of Krishna do not take birth as ordinary living entities, who are all conditioned by the modes of nature. The avataras are never covered by ignorance or have to attain freedom from material illusion. They are complete in every way. They are never subject to old age. They are immortal and eternal. They are the supreme truth and They personify the highest bliss. (Catur-Veda-Siksa)