Sunday, April 25, 2010


 Once Lord Kṛṣṇa’s status was understood, the next inquiry should be regarding the relation between the Supreme Lord and His energies.

 In the śruti it is said:

na tasya kāryaṁ karaṇaṁ ca vidyate na tat-samaś cābhyadhikaś ca dṛśyate

parāsya śaktir vividhaiva śrūyate svābhāvikī jñāna-bala-kriyā ca

(Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad (6.8); Govinda-bhāṣya, 1.1.1)

“The Supreme Lord has no material body and senses. No one is equal or superior to Him. It is heard from the scriptures that He has multifarious intrinsic superior energies in the form of knowledge, power, and action. No one in the world is His master or controller. He has no characteristic mark either.

His energies work as multifarious agents to His supreme will, manifesting anything material or spiritual. They are in no respect independent of Him but rather work fully under His supervision. The different energies are thus classified:

viṣṇu-śaktiḥ parā proktā kṣetrajñākhyā tathāparā

avidyā-karma-saṁjñānyā tṛtīyā śaktir iṣyate

(Viṣṇu Purāṇa, 6.7.61; Govinda-bhāṣya, 2.1.30)

            “Lord Viṣṇu’s energy is threefold: one called parā (superior); another called aparā or kṣetrajñā (individual souls); and the third one, which is different, is named avidyā (illusion) and karma (material activities).”

The Skanda Purāṇa also clearly distinguishes the potencies of the Lord in this way:

aparaṁ tv akṣaraṁ yā sā prakṛtir jaḍa-rūpiṇī

śrīḥ parā prakṛtiḥ proktā cetanā viṣṇu-saṁśrayā

            “The inferior, imperishable energy is material nature (prakṛti) in the form of dull matter, while the superior, conscious energy is called Śrī, whose refuge is Lord Viṣṇu.”

 Being the feminine counterpart of Lord Viṣṇu, Lakṣmī shares His potencies and opulences:

nityaiva sā jagan-mātā viṣṇoḥ śrīr anapāyinī

yathā sarva-gato viṣṇus tathaiveyaṁ dvijottama

nityaiva sā jagan-mātā viṣṇoḥ śrīr anapāyinī

yathā sarva-gato viṣṇus tathaiveyaṁ dvijottama

(Viṣṇu Purāṇa, 1.8.17; Govinda-bhāṣya,3.3.40)

            “Śrī, Lord Viṣṇu’s wife, is eternal, inseparable, and the mother of the universe. Just as Lord Viṣṇu is all-pervasive, so is she, O best of the twice born.”


ātma-vidyā ca devi tvaṁ vimukti-phala-dāyinī

kā tv anyā tvām ṛte devi sarva-yajña-mayaṁ vapuḥ

 “O Goddess, you are spiritual knowledge personified and the giver of the fruits of liberation. Who else besides you sits on the lap of Lord Viṣṇu, the God of gods, Whose body is the embodiment of all sacrifices and is meditated upon by the yogīs?”


These statements defeat the wrong conception that Lakṣmī is a common living entity, for the jīva cannot at any stage be all-pervading nor a giver of liberation.

 Being the eternal companion of Lord Viṣṇu, Lakṣmī accompanies Him wherever and whenever He incarnates to display His pastimes, and for this purpose, She always assumes a compatible form. This fact is clearly explained thus:

devatve deva-deheyaṁ mānuṣatve ca mānuṣī

viṣṇor dehānurūpāṁ vai karoty eṣātmanas tanum

(Viṣṇu Purāṇa, 1.9.143))

            “When Lord Viṣṇu appears in the form of a heavenly denizen, Goddess Lakṣmī appears in the form of a heavenly denizen. When He appears in a human form, she appears in a human form. She shapes her own body in conformity with the body manifested by Lord Viṣṇu.”


            The internal energy of Kṛṣṇa is called yoga-māyā or antaraṅga-śakti. This is the energy that predominates in the spiritual world and the one that makes possible it for the Lord to enjoy unlimited pastimes in the material world, and is known as His consort, as stated:

śrīś ca te lakṣmīś ca patnyau (Śukla Yajur-Veda, 31.22; Govinda-bhāṣya, 3.3.18)

“Śrī and Lakṣmī are Your wives.”

The internal energy is further classified into sandhinī, saṁvit and hlādinī:

hlādinī sandhinī saṁvit tvayy ekā sarva-saṁśraye

hlāda-tāpa-karī miśrā tvayi no guṇa-varjite

(Viṣṇu Purāṇa, 1.12.69; Govinda-bhāṣya, 3.3.42)

“One single energy in the form of hlādinī, sandhinī, and saṁvit exists within You, the resting place of everything, but the energy that causes mundane joy, distress, and a mixture of both does not exist in You, Who are untainted by the modes of nature.”


In the Third wave of his Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu, Rūpa Gosvāmī explains:

“From the existential aspect (sat) of the svarūpa-śakti of the Lord, the sandhinī potency is eternally extant. From the cognitive aspect (cit), the saṁvit potency is manifest and from the aspect of transcendental bliss (ānanda), the hlādinī potency is present. These three aspects eternally permeate the specialized function (viśeṣa- vṛtti) of svarūpa-śakti, or in other words viśuddha-sattva. However, sometimes the presence of the hlādinī aspect within viśuddha-sattva becomes prominent, and the influence of the other two aspects is less. Sometimes the sandhinī aspect becomes prominent, and samvit and hlādinī are less, and sometimes the saṁvit aspect becomes prominent, and hlādinī and sandhinī are less.”

 Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavism identifies Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī as hlādinī śakti personified and the original source of all other incarnations of Kṛṣṇa’s energy, just as He is the avatārī. The Supreme Absolute Truth must necessarily comprise everything that might exist. Therefore God would be incomplete if He were simply a male personality. Being eternally united and distinct simultaneously, Śrī Rādhā and Śrī Kṛṣṇa are the fountainhead of all emanations. Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu, however, is the embodiment of both of Them in a unique mood, as Kṛṣṇadās Kavirāj Gosvāmī explains:

rādhā kṛṣṇa-praṇaya-vikṛtir hlādinī śaktir asmād

ekātmānāv api bhuvi purā deha-bhedaṁ gatau tau

caitanyākhyaṁ prakaṭam adhunā tad-dvayaṁ caikyam āptaṁ

rādhā-bhāva-dyuti-suvalitaṁ naumi kṛṣṇa-svarūpam

(Caitanya Caritāmṛta, Ādi 1.5)

 “The loving affairs of Śrī Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa are transcendental manifestations of the Lord’s internal pleasure-giving potency. Although Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa are one in Their identity, They separated Themselves eternally. Now these two transcendental identities have again united, in the form of Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya. I bow down to Him, who has manifested Himself with the sentiment and complexion of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī although He is Kṛṣṇa Himself.”

 Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī is described as being the original source of all śakti-tattva incarnations just as Govinda is the Avatārī from Whom all Viṣṇu-tattva incarnations emanate. To support this view, Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava ācāryas give the following quotations:

dve parśve candrāvalī rādhikā ca (…) yasya aṁśe lakṣmī-durgādikā śaktiḥ

(Puruṣa-bodhinī Upaniṣad, quoted in the Prameya-ratnāvalī, 1.15)

“Lord Kṛṣṇa resides in the land of Gokula in Mathurā-maṇḍala. At His two sides are Rādhā and Candravalī. Laksmī, Durgā, and the Lord’s potencies are expansions of Śrī Rādhā.”

devī kṛṣṇa-mayī proktā rādhikā para-devatā

sarva-lakṣmī-mayī sarva-kāntiḥ sammohinī parā

“The supreme goddess called Rādhikā, the superior energy, is Kṛṣṇa’s worshipper and is non-different from Him. All Goddesses of Fortune are her expansions and her desire to worship Kṛṣṇa is like that of all of them combined. She is always pleasing Kṛṣṇa.”

 The Supreme Lord along with His superior energy is the instrumental cause of the material world, while his external energy along with the marginal energy is the efficient cause.

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