Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Lord Krsna's Svarupa

           In the material world, there is a clear distinction between the living entities and their bodies or between the field of activities and its knower. In the spiritual world, however, such a distinction does not exist, for there everything is composed of sat, cit and ānanda. In this way, Lord Kṛṣṇa’s body and His very self are one and the same, being transcendental. His spiritual body is described in these words:

sat-puṇḍarīka-nayanaṁ meghābhaṁ vaidyutāmbaram

dvi-bhujaṁ mauna-mudrāḍhyaṁ vana-mālinam īśvaram

(Gopāla-tāpanī Upaniṣad, 1.9) (Govinda-bhāṣya, 3.3.38)

 “One should meditate on Lord Govinda, the Supreme Lord, Who has beautiful lotus eyes and two hands. His complexion is like that of a cloud, and His dress is effulgent like lightning. He wears a garland of forest flowers and is in a posture of meditative silence.”

His presence in the material world does not affect His transcendental nature, for under any condition He remains the Supreme and  any form He accepts for His pastimes is fully spiritual without any tinge of the modes of material nature:

ajo ‘pi sann avyayātmā bhūtānām īśvaro ‘pi san

prakṛtiṁ svām adhiṣṭhāya sambhavāmy ātma-māyayā

(Bhagavad-gītā, 4.6; Govinda-bhāṣya, 3.3.10)

“Although I am unborn and My transcendental body never deteriorates, and although I am the Lord of all living entities, I still appear in every millennium in My original transcendental form.”

          By His omnipotence, He pervades the whole universe in His paramātmā feature, and at the same time is one and the same Personality of Godhead:

guṇeṣu guṇa-sāmye ca guṇa-vyatikare tathā

eka eva paro hy ātmā bhagavān īśvaro ‘vyayaḥ

pratyag-ātma-svarūpeṇa dṛśya-rūpeṇa ca svayam

vyāpya-vyāpaka-nirdeśyo hy anirdeśyo ‘vikalpitaḥ

kevalānubhavānanda- svarūpaḥ parameśvaraḥ

māyayāntarhitaiśvarya īyate guṇa-sargayā

(Bhāgavatam, 7.6.20-23; Govinda-bhāṣya, 3.2.38)

“The Supreme Personality of Godhead, the supreme controller, who is infallible and indefatigable, is present in different forms of life, from the inert living beings [sthāvara], such as the plants, to Brahmā, the foremost created living being. He is also present in the varieties of material creations and in the material elements, the total material energy and the modes of material nature [sattva-guṇa, rajo-guṇa and tamo-guṇa], as well as the unmanifested material nature and the false ego. Although He is one, He is present everywhere, and He is also the transcendental Supersoul, the cause of all causes, who is present as the observer in the cores of the hearts of all living entities. He is indicated as that which is pervaded and as the all-pervading Supersoul, but actually He cannot be indicated. He is changeless and undivided. He is simply perceived as the supreme sac-cid-ānanda. Being covered by the curtain of the external energy, to the atheist He appears nonexistent.”

           Lord Brahmā states that Lord Kṛṣṇa’s body is composed of transcendental elements:

tam ekaṁ govindaṁ sac-cid-ānanda-vigrahaṁ paṣca-padaṁ vṛndāvana-sura-bhūruha-talāsīnaṁ satataṁ sa-marud-gaṇo ‘ham paramayā stutyā toṣayāmi (Gopāla-tāpanī Upaniṣad, 1.38; Govinda-bhāṣya, 3.3.62)

     "With excellent prayers, I and the Maruts constantly propitiate Govinda, Whose form consists of eternity, knowledge and bliss, Who is sitting under a desire tree in Vṛndāvana, and who is this five-word mantra."

          The Lord may assume innumerable forms. One of the prominent ones is that of Lord Viṣṇu with four arms, as the Bhāgavatam (10.3.9-10) describes:

tam adbhutaṁ bālakam ambujekṣaṇaṁ catur-bhujaṁ śaṅkha-gadādy-udāyudham

śrīvatsa-lakṣmaṁ gala-śobhi-kaustubhaṁ pītāmbaraṁ sāndra-payoda-saubhagam

mahārha-vaidūrya-kirīṭa-kuṇḍala- tviṣā pariṣvakta-sahasra-kuntalam

uddāma-kāṣcy-aṅgada-kaṅkaṇādibhir virocamānaṁ vasudeva aikṣata

“Vasudeva then saw the newborn child, who had very wonderful lotus-like eyes and who bore in His four hands the four weapons śaṅkha, cakra, gadā and padma. On His chest was the mark of Śrīvatsa and on 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 Vaidūrya, the child, decorated with a brilliant belt, armlets, bangles and other ornaments, appeared very wonderful.”

           In the battle of Kurukṣetra, Arjuna requested Kṛṣṇa to exhibit His four-armed feature:

kirīṭinaṁ gadinaṁ cakra-hastam

icchāmi tvāṁ draṣṭum ahaṁ tathaiva

tenaiva rūpeṇa catur-bhujena

sahasra-bāho bhava viśva-mūrte

(Bhagavad-gītā, 11.46)

“O universal form, O thousand-armed Lord, I wish to see You in Your four-armed form, with helmeted head and with club, wheel, conch and lotus flower in Your hands. I long to see You in that form.”

          It should not be considered that there is any ontological difference between the different incarnations of the Lord, but here the philosophical idea is diversity in oneness, therefore there is a gradation of display of potencies by which the avatāras are distinctly classified as līlā-avatāras, guṇa-avatāras, puruṣa-avatāras, yuga-avatāras, manvantāra-avatāras and śaktyāveśa-avatāras. Due to His unique transcendental attributes, the two-armed form of Govinda is considered the utmost— the Avatārī— and attractive to all, including His avatāras.

          The Lord expands Himself in quadruple forms, called catur-vyūhas. They are further classified as pertaining to Dvārkā when He manifests his bhauma-līlā, or pastimes in the material world, and as pertaining to the spiritual world. The former ones are direct expansions of svayam bhagavān Śrī Kṛṣṇa, while the latter emanate from Nārāyaṇa, Who is the Lord of the Vaikuṇṭha planets. The first expansion of Nārāyaṇa is called Vāsudeva, the presiding deity of consciousness; from Vāsudeva comes Saṅkarṣaṇa, the presiding deity of the living entities; from Him comes Pradyumna, the presiding deity of senses and the mind; and from Him comes Aniruddha, the presiding deity of the ahaṅkāra. Saṅkarṣaṇa is identified as the first puruṣa incarnation, Who enters the causal ocean to manifest the material creation, therefore called Kāraṇodakaśāyī Viṣṇu. At the end of the life span of each Brahmā, there is total devastation of all the brahmāṇḍas and all the living entities who could not attain the ultimate liberation merge in the body of Lord Saṅkarṣaṇa. When again it is time to manifest the creation, it is He who glances at prakṛti, and it is from Him that the jīvas again emanate. This whole cycle is accomplished in a mere inhalation and exhalation of Saṅkarṣaṇa: when He exhales, all the brahmāṇḍas come out from His pores; when He inhales, all the universes are absorbed in His body. The second purusa-avatara is identified as Pradyumna, Who enters each brahmāṇḍa and is known as Garbhodakaśāyī Viṣṇu. From Him comes the third puruṣa-avatāra, Lord Brahmā, and Lord Siva. Aniruddha is the third puruṣa-avatāra and is known as Kṣīrodakaśāyī Viṣṇu and Paramātmā, the One Who enters everyone’s heart and every atom. He sustains the cosmos by His potencies and controls the movements of all beings.

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