|Chapter 9: The Opulences of Kṛṣṇa|
Bhaktivedanta VedaBase: Teachings of Lord Caitanya
In this universe even the largest planet lies in one corner of outer space. Although the sun is thousands of times larger than the earth, it still lies in one corner of outer space. Similarly, each of the infinite planets, although unlimited in length and breadth, lies in a corner of the spiritual sky known as the brahmajyoti. In the Brahma-saḿhitā this brahmajyoti is described as niṣkalam anantam aśeṣa-bhūtam, or undivided and unlimited and without a trace of the material modes of nature. All the Vaikuṇṭha planets are like petals of a lotus flower, and the principal part of that lotus, called Kṛṣṇaloka or Goloka Vṛndāvana, is the center of all the Vaikuṇṭhas. Thus the expansions of Kṛṣṇa in various forms, as described herein, as well as His various abodes on the spiritual planets in the spiritual sky, are unlimited. Even demigods like Brahmā and Śiva cannot see or even estimate the extent of the Vaikuṇṭha planets. This is confirmed in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.14.21): "No one can estimate the length and breadth of all the Vaikuṇṭha planets." It is also stated there that not only demigods like Brahmā and Śiva are unable to make such an estimate, but even Ananta, the very incarnation of the Lord's opulence of strength, cannot ascertain any limit to the Lord's potency or to the area of the different Vaikuṇṭha planets.
The prayers of Brahmā, mentioned in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.14.21), are very convincing in this connection, for therein Lord Brahmā says:
ko vetti bhūman bhagavan parātman
yogeśvarotīr bhavatas tri-lokyām
kva vā kathaḿ vā kati vā kadeti
vistārayan krīḍasi yoga-māyām
"O my dear Lord, O Supreme Personality of Godhead, O Supersoul, O master of all mystic powers, no one can know or explain Your expansions, which You manifest by Your yogamāyā energy. These expansions extend throughout the three worlds." Brahmā also says in his prayers:
guṇātmanas te 'pi guṇān vimātuḿ
hitāvatīrṇasya ka īśire 'sya
kālena yair vā vimitāḥ sukalpair
bhū-pāḿsavaḥ khe mihikā dyubhāsaḥ
"Scientists and learned men cannot even estimate the atomic constitution of a single planet. Even if they could count the molecules of snow in the sky or the number of stars in space, they cannot estimate how it is You descend on this earth or in this universe with Your innumerable transcendental potencies, energies and qualities." (Bhāg. 10.14.7) Lord Brahmā informed Nārada that none of the great sages, including himself, could estimate the potential strength and energy of the Supreme Lord. He admitted that even if Ananta with His thousands of tongues tried to estimate the Lord's energies, He would fail. Therefore the Personified Vedas also prayed:
dyupataya eva te na yayur antam anantatayā
tvam api yad antarāṇḍa-nicayā nanu sāvaraṇāḥ
kha iva rajāḿsi vānti vayasā saha yac chrutayas
tvayi hi phalanty atannirasanena bhavan-nidhanāḥ
"My Lord, You are unlimited, and no one has estimated the extent of Your potencies. I think that even You do not know the range of Your potential energies. Unlimited planets float in the sky just like atoms, and great Vedāntists, who are engaged in research to find You, discover that everything is different from You. Thus they finally decide that You are everything." (Bhāg. 10.87.41)
When Lord Kṛṣṇa was within this universe, Brahmā played a trick on Him in order to confirm that the cowherd boy in Vṛndāvana was actually Kṛṣṇa Himself. By his mystic power, Brahmā stole all the cows, calves and cowherd friends of Kṛṣṇa and hid them. However, when he returned to see what Kṛṣṇa was doing alone, he saw that Kṛṣṇa was still playing with the same cows, calves and cowherd boys. In other words, by His Vaikuṇṭha potency, Lord Kṛṣṇa had expanded all the stolen cows, calves and friends. Indeed, Brahmā saw millions and billions of them, and he also saw millions and billions of tons of sugarcane and fruit, lotus flowers and horns. The cowherd boys were decorated with various clothes and ornaments, and no one could count their vast numbers. Indeed, Brahmā saw that each of the cowherd boys had become a four-handed Nārāyaṇa like the predominating Deity of each brahmāṇḍa, and he also saw that innumerable Brahmās were engaged in offering obeisances to the Lord. He saw that all of them were emanating from the body of Kṛṣṇa and, after a second, also entering into His body. Lord Brahmā became struck with wonder and in his prayer admitted that although anyone and everyone could say that they knew about Kṛṣṇa, as far as he was concerned, he did not know anything about Him. "My dear Lord," he said, "the potencies and opulences which You have exhibited just now are beyond the ability of my mind to understand."
Lord Caitanya further explained that not only Kṛṣṇaloka but even Vṛndāvana, Lord Kṛṣṇa's abode on this planet, cannot be estimated as far as potency is concerned. From one point of view, Vṛndāvana is estimated to be thirty-two square miles in area, yet in one part of this Vṛndāvana all the Vaikuṇṭhas exist. The area of the present Vṛndāvana miles in area, and Vṛndāvana City is estimated to be about sixteen krośas, or thirty-two miles. How it is all the Vaikuṇṭhas exist there is beyond material calculation. Thus Caitanya Mahāprabhu proclaimed the potencies and opulences of Kṛṣṇa to be unlimited. Whatever He told Sanātana Gosvāmī was only partial, but by such a partial presentation one can try to imagine the whole.
While Lord Caitanya was speaking to Sanātana Gosvāmī about the opulences of Kṛṣṇa, He was deep in ecstasy, and in that transcendental state He cited a verse from Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (3.2.21) in which Uddhava, after the disappearance of Kṛṣṇa, told Vidura:
svayaḿ tv asāmyātiśayas tryadhīśaḥ
baliḿ haradbhiś cira-lokapālaiḥ
"Kṛṣṇa is the master of all demigods, including Lord Brahmā, Lord Śiva and the expansion of Viṣṇu within this universe. Therefore no one is equal to or greater than Him, and He is full in six opulences. All the demigods engaged in the administration of each universe [brahmāṇḍa] offer their respectful obeisances unto Him. Indeed, the helmets on their heads are beautiful because they are decorated with the imprints of the lotus feet of the Supreme Lord." It is similarly stated in Brahma-saḿhitā (5.1) that Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and no one can be equal to or greater than Him. Although masters of each and every universe, Brahmā, Śiva and Viṣṇu are servants of the Supreme Lord Kṛṣṇa. That is the conclusion. As the cause of all causes, Lord Kṛṣṇa is the cause of the Mahā-Viṣṇu, the first incarnation and controller of this material creation. From the Mahā-Viṣṇu, the Garbhodakaśāyī Viṣṇu and Kṣīrodakaśāyī Viṣṇu come; thus Kṛṣṇa is master of the Garbhodakaśāyī Viṣṇu and Kṣīrodakaśāyī Viṣṇu, and He is also the Supersoul within every living entity in the universe. In Brahma-saḿhitā (5.48) it is stated that by the Mahā-Viṣṇu's breathing, innumerable universes are produced, and in each universe there are innumerable Viṣṇu-tattvas, but it should be understood that Lord Kṛṣṇa is the master of them all, and they are but partial plenary expansions of Kṛṣṇa.
From revealed scriptures it is understood that Kṛṣṇa lives in three transcendental places. The most confidential residence of Kṛṣṇa is Goloka Vṛndāvana. It is there that He stays with His father, mother and friends, exhibits His transcendental relationships and bestows His mercy amongst His eternal entourage. There yogamāyā acts as His maidservant in the rāsa-līlā dance. The residents of Vrajabhūmi think, "The Lord is glorified by particles of His transcendental mercy and affection, and we, the residents of Vṛndāvana, have not the slightest anxiety due to His merciful existence." As stated in Brahma-saḿhitā (5.43), all the Vaikuṇṭha planets in the spiritual sky (known as Viṣṇuloka) are situated in the planet known as Kṛṣṇaloka, Goloka Vṛndāvana. In that supreme planet the Lord enjoys His transcendental bliss in multiple forms, and all the opulences of the Vaikuṇṭhas are fully displayed in that one planet. The associates of Kṛṣṇa are also full with six opulences. In the Pādmottara-khaṇḍa (225.57) it is stated that the material energy and the spiritual energy are separated by water known as the Virajā River. That river flows from the perspiration of the first puruṣa incarnation. On one bank of the Virajā is the eternal nature, unlimited and all-blissful, called the spiritual sky, and this is the spiritual kingdom, or the kingdom of God. The spiritual planets are called Vaikuṇṭhas because there is no lamentation or fear there; everything is eternal. The spiritual world has been calculated to comprise three-fourths of the energies of the Supreme Lord, and the material world is said to comprise one-fourth of His energy, but no one can understand what this three-fourths is, since even this material universe, which comprises only one-fourth of His energy, cannot be described. Trying to convey to Sanātana Gosvāmī something of the extent of one-fourth of Kṛṣṇa's energy, Caitanya Mahāprabhu cited an incident from Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam in which Brahmā, the lord of the universe, came to see Kṛṣṇa at Dvārakā. When Brahmā approached Kṛṣṇa, the doorman informed Kṛṣṇa that Brahmā had arrived to see Him. Upon hearing this, Kṛṣṇa inquired as to which Brahmā had come, and the doorman returned to Brahmā and asked, "Which Brahmā are you? Kṛṣṇa has asked."
Brahmā was struck with wonder. Why did Kṛṣṇa ask such a question? He informed the doorman, "Please tell Him that Brahmā, who is the father of the four Kumāras and who has four heads, has come to see Him."
The doorman informed Kṛṣṇa and then asked Brahmā inside. Brahmā offered his obeisances unto the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa, and after receiving him with all honor, Kṛṣṇa inquired about the purpose of his visit.
"I shall tell You of my purpose in coming here," Lord Brahmā replied, "but first I have a doubt which I ask You to kindly remove. Your doorman told me that You asked which Brahmā has come to see You. May I inquire if there are other Brahmās besides me?"
Upon hearing this, Kṛṣṇa smiled and at once called for many Brahmās from many universes. The four-headed Brahmā then saw many other Brahmās coming to see Kṛṣṇa and to offer their respects. Some of them had ten heads, some had twenty, some had a hundred and some even had a million heads. Indeed, the four-headed Brahmā could not even count the Brahmās who were coming to offer their obeisances to Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa then called many other demigods from various universes, and they all came to offer their respects to the Lord. Upon seeing this wonderful exhibition, the four-headed Brahmā became nervous and began to think of himself as no more than a mosquito in the midst of many elephants. Since so many demigods were offering obeisances unto the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa, Brahmā concluded that the unlimited potency of Kṛṣṇa could not be estimated. All the helmets of the various demigods and Brahmās shone brightly in the great assembly, and the prayers of the demigods made a great sound.
"Dear Lord," the demigods said, "it is Your great mercy that You have called us to see You. Is there any particular order? If so, we will carry it out at once."
"There is nothing especially required of you," Lord Kṛṣṇa replied. "I only wanted to see you together at one time. I offer My blessing to you. Don't fear the demons."
"By Your mercy, everything is all right," they all replied. "There are no disturbances at present, for by Your incarnation everything inauspicious is vanquished."
As each of the Brahmās saw Kṛṣṇa, each thought that He was only within his universe. After this incident, Kṛṣṇa wished all the Brahmās farewell, and after offering respects to Him, they returned to their respective universes. Upon seeing this, the four-headed Brahmā at once fell down at the feet of Kṛṣṇa and said, "What I thought about You at first was all nonsensical. Everyone may say that they know You in perfection, but as far as I am concerned, I cannot begin to conceive how great You are. You are beyond my conception and understanding."
"This particular universe is only four thousand million miles broad," Kṛṣṇa then informed him, "but there are many millions and billions of universes which are far, far greater than this one. Some of these are many trillions of miles broad, and all these universes require strong Brahmās, not just four-headed." Kṛṣṇa further informed Brahmā, "This material creation is only a quarter manifestation of My creative potency. Three quarters of My creative potency is in the spiritual kingdom."
After offering obeisances, the four-headed Brahma parted from Kṛṣṇa, and he could understand the meaning of the Lord's "three-quarters energy."
The Lord is therefore known as Tryadhīśvara, a name indicating His principal abodes — Gokula, Mathurā and Dvārakā. These three abodes are full of opulences, and Lord Kṛṣṇa is the master of them all. Situated in His transcendental potency, Lord Kṛṣṇa is master of all transcendental energies, and He is full with six opulences. Because He is master of all opulences, all Vedic literatures acclaim Kṛṣṇa to be the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Lord Caitanya then sang a nice song about the opulences of Kṛṣṇa, and Sanātana Gosvāmī listened. "All the pastimes of Kṛṣṇa are exactly like the activities of human beings," the Lord sang. "Therefore it is to be understood that His form is like that of a human being. Indeed, a human being is but an imitation of His form. Kṛṣṇa's dress is just like that of a cowherd boy's. He has a flute in His hand, and He seems to be just like a newly grown youth. He is always playful, and He plays just like an ordinary boy." Lord Caitanya then told Sanātana Gosvāmī about the beautiful aspects of Kṛṣṇa. He said that one who understands these beautiful qualities enjoys an ocean of nectar. The yogamāyā potency of Kṛṣṇa is transcendental and beyond the material energy, but the Lord exhibits His transcendental potency even within this material world just to satisfy His confidential devotees. Thus He appears in the material world to satisfy His devotees, and His qualities are so attractive that Kṛṣṇa Himself becomes eager to understand Himself. When He is fully decorated and stands with His body curved in three ways — His eyebrows always moving and His eyes so attractive — the gopīs become enchanted. His spiritual abode is at the top of the spiritual sky, and He resides there with His associates, the cowherd boys, the gopīs, and all the goddesses of fortune. It is there that He is known as Madana-mohana.
There are many different pastimes of Kṛṣṇa — such as His pastimes in the forms of Vāsudeva and Sańkarṣaṇa — and in the material sky His pastimes are carried on as the first puruṣa incarnation, the creator of the material world. There are also pastimes in which He incarnates as a fish or a tortoise, and there are pastimes in which He takes the forms of Lord Brahmā and Lord Śiva, as incarnations of the material qualities. In His pastimes as an empowered incarnation, He takes the form of King Pṛthu, and He also carries on His pastimes as the Supersoul in everyone's heart and as the impersonal Brahman as well. Although He has innumerable pastimes, the most important is that of Kṛṣṇa in human form frolicking in Vṛndāvana, dancing with the gopīs, playing with the Pāṇḍavas on the Battlefield of Kurukṣetra and playing in Mathurā and Dvārakā. Of His important pastimes in human form, the most important are those pastimes in which He appears as a cowherd boy, a newly grown youth who plays a flute. It is to be understood that a mere partial manifestation of His pastimes in Goloka, Mathurā and Dvārāvatī, or Dvārakā, can overflood the whole universe with love of Godhead. Every living entity can be attracted by the beautiful qualities of Kṛṣṇa.
The manifestation of His internal potency is not even exhibited in the kingdom of God or on the planets of Vaikuṇṭha, but He does exhibit that internal potency within the universe when, through His inconceivable mercy, He descends from His personal abode. Kṛṣṇa is so wonderful and attractive that He Himself becomes attracted by His own beauty, and this is proof that He is full of all inconceivable potencies. As far as Kṛṣṇa's ornaments are concerned, when they decorate His body it appears that they do not beautify Him, but the ornaments themselves become beautiful simply by being on His body. When He stands in a three-curved way, He attracts all living entities, including the demigods. Indeed, He even attracts the Nārāyaṇa form which presides in each and every Vaikuṇṭha planet.
Copyright © The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust International, Inc.
His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda, Founder Ācārya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness