Krishna - The Supreme Person

Srimad Bhagavatam explains that the Absolute Truth is realised in three stages –

vadanti tat tattva-vidas tattvam yaj jnanam advayam
brahmeti paramatmeti bhagavan iti sabdyate

The Absolute Truth is realized in three phases of understanding by the knower of the Absolute Truth, and all of them are identical. Such phases of the Absolute Truth are expressed as Brahman, Paramatma, and Bhagavan. (Srimad Bhagavatam 1.2.11)

Those who are attracted to the impersonal all-pervasive aspect of Godhead (Brahman) are considered to be on the primary level of spiritual advancement. For the Yogis who are inclined to worship this impersonal aspect of the Supreme Lord, Krishna says thus –

kleso ’dhikataras tesam avyaktasakta-cetasam
avyakta hi gatir duhkham dehavadbhir avapyate

For those whose minds are attached to the un- manifested, impersonal feature of the Supreme, advancement is very troublesome. To make progress in that discipline is always difficult for those who are embodied. (Bhagavad-gita 12.5)

 

Those transcendentalists that are a little more advanced are attracted to the Paramatma feature of Godhead. Paramatma resides in everyone’s heart as the controller, and gives directions for the living entity to act as he desires. However, even by meditating on the Vishnu form of Paramatma, one cannot develop a personal relationship with Him.

The final and highest stage in God realization is the stage of Bhagavan realization, the personal conception of Godhead. Bhagavan. According to the Svetasvatara Upanishad, Bhagavan is the Supreme:

eko devo bhagavan varenyo
yoni svabhavan adhitisthaty ekah

Bhagavan is worshipable by all. He is the basis of all entities that take birth. (Svetasvatara Upanihsad 1.3.28)

The word ‘bhagavan’ means ‘one who possesses all opulences’. We find in the Vishnu Purana the following verse that mentions the opulences of Bhagavan –

aisvaryasya samagrasya viryasya yasasah sriyah
jnana-vairagyayos caiva sannam bhaga itinganah

Full wealth, strength, fame, beauty, knowledge, and renunciation: these are the six opulences of Bhagavan. (Vishnu Purana 6.5.74)

All of these divine opulences are found in full within the person of Sri Krishna. But who actually is Krishna?

Krishna means all-attractive and beautiful. His eternally youthful, radiant blue-tinged form is thrice bent (tri- bhanga), and he holds a flute within his hands. Nevertheless, it is difficult to conceive that such a beautiful figure can kill the most powerful demons such as Kamsa, and defeat the strongest army of Jarasandha seventeen times over before retiring to Dvaraka to erect the most opulent fort for the Yadu Dynasty. Krishna, because of his supernatural activities, is feared by his enemies as death personified. However he is famous amongst his friends and devotees as their dearmost well-wisher.

It is a popular conception in India that Krishna is the incarnation of Vishnu who is considered to be the source of all incarnations. However, Srimad Bhagavatam, after listing all the incarnations of the Supreme Lord across different ages, clearly mentions Krishna as the Supreme Lord himself in the following verse –

ete camsa-kalah pumsah krsnas tu bhagavan svayam
indrari-vyakulam lokam mrdayanti yuge yuge

All of the above-mentioned incarnations are either plenary portions or portions of the plenary portions of the Lord, but Lord Sri Krishna is the original Personality of Godhead. All of them appear on planets whenever there is a disturbance created by the atheists. The Lord incarnates to protect the theists. (Srimad Bhagavatam 1.3.28)

The Brahma-samhita further states –

ramadi-murtisu kala-niyamena tisthan
nanavataram akarod bhuvanesu kintu
krsnah svayam samabhavat paramam puman yo
govindam adi-purusam tam aham bhajami

I worship Govinda, the primeval Lord, who by his various plenary portions appeared in the world in different forms and incarnations such as Lord Rama, but who personally appears in his supreme original form as Krishna. (Brahma-samhita 5.50)

Also, Krishna himself in the Bhagavad-gita conveys to Arjuna that there is nobody else superior to him (mattah parataram nanyat kincid asti dhananjaya) and that by all the Vedas only he is to be known (vedais ca sarvair aham eva vedyah).

All other gods, Brahma, Shiva, Indra, Durga etc. are all subservient to Sri Krishna. This is clearly stated in Bhagavatam

evam sandarsita hy anga harina bhrtya-vasyata
sva-vasenapi krsnena yasyedam sesvaram vase

This entire universe, with its great, exalted demigods like Lord Shiva, Lord Brahma and Lord Indra, is under the control of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna. (Srimad Bhagavatam 10.9.19)

Krishna is praised by Arjuna as the God of gods and the Lord of the universe (deva-deva jagat-pate). Krishna is the root of all the creation. Hence, as one waters the root of a plant, all other parts of the plant get nourishment; similarly, when Krishna is served, everything else including other gods are satisfied. However, worship of other demigods as supreme is improper. Krishna himself explains in the following verse –

ye ’py anya-devata-bhakta yajante sraddhayanvitah
te ’pi mam eva kaunteya yajanty avidhi-purvakam

 

Those who are devotees of other gods and who worship them with faith actually worship only me, O son of Kunti, but they do so in a wrong way. (Bhagavad-gita 9.23)

In the concluding verse of the ninth chapter of Bhagavad- gita Krishna instructs Arjuna in the proper method of worship –

man-mana bhava mad-bhakto mad-yaji mam namaskuru
mam evaisyasi yuktvaivam atmanam mat-parayanah

Engage your mind always in thinking of me, become my devotee, offer obeisances to me and worship me. Being completely absorbed in me, surely you will come to me. (Bhagavad-gita 9.34)

 

This method of worship is known as bhakti, or devotional service to Krishna.Devotion to Krishna cannot be compared to devotion to one’s family, one’s community, one’s nation, nor to mundane philanthropic work – devotion to Krishna is eternal and a little advancement on the path of bhakti can save one from the greatest danger, repeated birth and death in this mundane world. Everyone in this world suffers from the same infirmities – birth, death, old age and disease. Our so-called pleasure here lasts only for a short time and whatever happiness we experience in this world is temporary. No matter how much wealth we may accumulate, no matter how strong or beautiful we may be, no matter how popular and powerful we may be – all this is taken from us at the time of death and in time our names are forgotten. Devotion to Sri Krishna does not finish at the end of life. It continues perpetually and guarantees supreme happiness and spiritual fulfillment.