Is Krishna an expansion of Lord Vishnu?

B.shahvir balaporia, 12th November 2013

Hare Krishna!

Pardon me for my dearth of knowledge in putting forth this question.
I just needed to understand whether lord Vishnu is the plenary expansion of Lord Krishna or is it the other way round? I ask this since, as per popular Hindu belief, Lord Krishna is considered to be an avatar/expansion of Lord Vishnu. Hence, Lord Vishnu is considered as Supreme Personality of Godhead as per popular belief.

My apologies again if the context of my question is inappropriate.

regards,
Shahvir

Sudeep Manchanda, 13th November 2013

Hare Krishna,

We have had wonderful discussion on the topic in the past. Sharing a few answers:

By Harish Prabhu:

1) BG 10.21
adityanam aham visnur
jyotisam ravir amsuman
maricir marutam asmi
naksatranam aham sasi

“Of the Adityas I am Visnu, of lights I am the radiant sun, of the Maruts I am Marici, and among the stars I am the moon.”

2) Brahma Samhita 5.48:
yasyaika-nisvasita-kalam athavalambya
jivanti loma-vila-ja jagad-anda-nathah
visnur mahan sa iha yasya kala-viseso
govindam adi-purusam tam aham bhajami

Brahma and other lords of the mundane worlds, appearing from the pores of hair of Maha-Visnu, remain alive as long as the duration of one exhalation of the latter (Maha-Visnu).  I adore the primeval Lord Govinda of whose subjective personality Maha-Visnu is the portion of portion.

3) In Srimad Bhagvatam, there is a list of many incarnations of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, but Krsna is described as the original Personality of Godhead, from whom many, many incarnations and Personalities of Godhead expand.

SB 1.3.28
ete camsa-kalah pumsah
Krsnas tu bhagavan svayam
Indrari-vyakulam lokam
mrdayanti yuge yuge

“All the lists of the incarnations of Godhead submitted herewith are either plenary expansions or parts of the plenary expansions of the Supreme Godhead, but Krsna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself.”

In many of his purports also, Srila Prabhupada has quoted Visnu or Lord Krsna as same:

(BG 1.14) – Victory is always with persons like the sons of Pandu because Lord Krsna is associated with them. And whenever and wherever the Lord is present, the goddess of fortune is also there because the goddess of fortune never lives alone without her husband. Therefore, victory and fortune were awaiting Arjuna, as indicated by the transcendental sound produced by the conchshell of Visnu, or Lord Krsna.

(BG 2.2) – Persons who are led by the material conception of life do not know that the aim of life is realization of the Absolute Truth, Visnu or Bhagavan (Krsna), and they are captivated by the external features of the material world, and therefore they do not know what liberation is.

(BG 9.13) – The mahatma or great souls does not divert his attention to anything outside Krsna, because he knows perfectly well that Krishna is the original Supreme Person, the cause of all causes. There is no doubt about it. Such a mahatma, or great soul, develops through association with other mahatmas, pure devotees. Pure devotees are not even attracted by Krsna’s other features, such as the four-armed Maha-Vishnu. They are simply attracted by the two-armed form of Krsna. They are not attracted to other features of Krsna, nor are they concerned with any form of a demigod or of a human being. They meditate only upon Krsna in Krsna consciousness.  They are always engaged in the unswerving service of the Lord in Krsna consciousness.”

Even if we observe during the Tulasi aarti we perform every day morning and evening, both Lord Visnu and Krsna names are used.  Moreover it is often observed that even during chanting the first mantra for offering obeisances while bowing down (pancanga pranam) some say Visnu bhakti prade devi and some say Krsna bhaktiprade devi but anyhow later on we only chant Krsna as given below :

vrindaai tulasi devyai priyaai kesavasya ca,
visnubhaktiprade / krsnabhaktiprade devi satyavatyai namo namah
 
namo namah tulasi krsna-preyasi namo namah
radha-krsna-seva pabo ei abilasi
 
ye tomara sarana loy, tara vancha purna hoy
krpa kori koro tare vrndavana-vasi
 
mora ei abhilasa, vilasa kunje dio vasa
nayana heribo sada yugala-rupa-rasi
 
ei nivedana dhara, sakhira anugata koro
seva-adhikara diye koro nija dasi
 
dina krsna-dase koy, ei yena mora hoy
sri-radha-govinda-preme sada yena bhasi

There must be much more verses or quotes too.  But hope the above may help a bit.

By Jaya Krishna Prabhu:

Please refer previous lessons of our course.i remember once our gurudeva explained it like this,
‘vishnu is god in office and krishna is god in home’

By Sanil Prabhu:

The mentioned reply by Srila Gurudeva is pasted below:

Answers by Citing the Vedic Version:
Question: Difference Between Krishna and Narayana

Dear Gurudeva,

Please accept my humble obeisances.
All glories to Srila Prabhupada!

I read Lesson C9: Transcending the Dualities of Material Existence, which I received on Sunday 29th July 2012. Well, it is so beautifully explained and full of knowledge.

I have some questions where even devotees are quite confused at times. I have read that Krishna resides in Goloka as a cowherd boy while Narayana resides in Vaikuntha.

My questions:
1. Is Krishna different from Maha-Vishnu? How?
2. Who is Narayana? Is Narayana and Maha-Vishnu same?
3. Is Maha-Vishnu an incarnation or expansion of Krishna?

I understand that they are all one and the same, i.e. the Supreme Personality of Godhead. But, can you please tell how they (Krishna, Narayana, Maha-Vishnu) are different and at the same time the same Supreme Personality of Godhead?

Thanking you.
yours humbly

Kesaven

Answer: God at Home and God at the Office

The answer is very simple.  In His original form the Supreme Lord is two-handed and is called Krishna. In His expanded four-armed forms, of which there are many, He is known as Narayana. All the forms are Krishna Himself. Simply He is acting in different capacities. When God is at home enjoying life with His intimate associates He is known as Krishna. When is at the office engaged in managing cosmic affairs He manifests form arms and is known as Narayana.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

your Servant,
Sudeep Manchanda
B.shahvir balaporia, 13th November 2013

Hare Krishna,

Thank you

Regards,
Shahvir

Shreyas, 19th November 2013

Hare Krsna Prabhujis
Dandavat Pranam.

I hope this helps as well. Following is the conversation which is a part of the lecture Srila Gurudev delivered. I pray that this helps as well:

Q: I am still confused with Visnu and Krsna.

SDA: Visnu and Krsna. Of course we are called Vaisnavas. You know what Vaisnava mean? It means devotees of Visnu. Actually Prabhupada explained this with one gentleman he met him in NY. I have heard the tape conversation, so I am basing my answer what Prabhupada told this Indian gentleman who also had a similar confusion as you. Krsna is the original Visnu. Visnu is the category. There are thousands of millions of Visnus and most of them have four arms also. But Krsna is the original form of Lord Visnu. So Visnu and Krsna are same. But there is one Visnu from whom all the other Visnus have come and that is Krsna. Visnu is the Personality of the Godhead category. In other words Rama is Visnu, Nrsmhadeva is Visnu, Vamana is Visnu, all the avataras they are all Visnu. Sometimes the jiva is empowered to act as an incarnation but in most cases the incarnations of God, they are Visnus and it is mentioned in the Srimad Bhagvatam.

ete camsa-kalah pumsah
krishnas tu bhagavan svayam
(SB 1.3.28)

That all those Bhagawans, all those Visnus, the original one is Krsna. So Krsna is the original form of Lord Visnu. And the other Visnus are the emanations from Krsna. Just like I can have one candle flame burning very nicely I can have many other candles that are not lit. I can take that one original candle flame and I can transfer it to the second candle. The first candle is still just as powerful but now that flame is also in another candle which can be transferred to the third, fourth, the fifth candle, pretty soon  there are  hundreds  of thousands of candles, all burning with equal power but one flame is different than the others and that is the original flame. The others are simply the expansions from that. So, all the different candles they are all Visnu but the one Visnu from which all the other candles  has come, that Visnu is known as Krsna. He is the original Visnu.

your servant
Hare Krsna
B.shahvir balaporia, 19th November 2013

Hare Krishna,

Thank you… very informative!

regards,
Shahvir

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