Category Archives: Gaudiya Vaishnavism

Vishnu or Shiva – Who is Supreme? | Differences between Vishnu and Shiva

shiva ashtakam prayers vishnu

Srimad Bhagavatam reveals that Lord Shiva is the foremost of all the Vaishnavas (devotees of Vishnu) – vaishnavanam yatha sambhuh purananam idam tatha’ (Srimad Bhagavatam – 12.13.16). However, some people having incorrect sambandha gyan (knowledge of relationship with the Supreme) incorrectly claim that Lord Shiva is the Supreme Lord. The scriptures, however, unambiguously reveal that Lord Shiva is a devotee of the Supreme Lord and in fact he is a devotee of the highest order. The Mohini Murti pastime, wherein Lord Shiva was bewildered by Krishna who took the form of a beautiful attractive woman, or the pastime of Bhasmasura , wherein Lord Shiva had to flee from the asura unto whom he had bestowed several benedictions a while before, reflect the superiority and the position of Lord Krishna as the Supreme.

In fact, Shiva is always meditating and hankering to render service unto Sri Krishna who is his dear beloved Lord. In Chaitanya Mangala, it is described how Lord Shiva once became mad with ecstasy after honoring a tiny morsel of Krishna Prasadam which he had received from Narada Muni. Such were his feelings, that he began loudly singing and dancing. The dance slowly became more and more vigorous and took the shape of ‘Tandava’, a dance that is usually performed at the time of annihilation. As the whole world started shaking, the helpless demigods approached mother Parvati requesting her to console her husband. We can thus clearly understand how dear Krishna and His food remnants are to Lord Shiva.

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Glories of Srimad Bhagavatam (Bhagavata Purana) | Ripened fruit of the Vedas

vaishnava vaishnavism krishna srimad bhagavatam

#1 Srimad Bhagavatam is the literary incarnation of Krishna

Krsne sva dhamopagate dharma jnanadibhih saha
Kalau nasta-drsam esa puranarko dhunoditah
(Srimad Bhagavatam 1.3.43)

Srimad Bhagavatam is as luminous as the sun. After Lord Krishna left for His abode, accompanied by dharma and knowledge, Bhagavata Purana emerged to save the people from the darkness of Kali-yuga.

Muni, mora bhakta, ara grantha bhagavate
Yara bheda ache tara nasa bhalamate
(Chaitanya Bhagavata, Madhya,  21.18)

Myself (Supreme Lord), My devotees, and the scripture Srimad Bhagavatam – one who sees any distinction between these three will find all his intelligence destroyed.

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Atma (jiva) and Paramatma (Krishna) | Nature of Soul | Sanatan Dharma

hare krishna mahamantra kali yuga soul atma supersoul paramatma sanatan dharma

According to Sanatan Dharma, the eternal and intrinsic nature of a living entity (atman), including Man, is to perform seva (service). Sanatan dharma, being transcendental, refers to the universal and axiomatic laws that are beyond our shifting belief systems. The Vedic literatures, which are the oldest scriptures in the world, give us some much-needed insight on this subject. The Vedic scriptures, that form the very basis of the tenets of Sanatan Dharma, conclude that a living entity achieves the perfection of his existence only when he dovetails his eternal nature in serving the Supreme Lord. Instead, if he chooses to serve his own senses or his false ego, then he encircles himself in a material quagmire that only makes him suffer in multiple ways. The service attitude that a soul (atma) possesses towards Supersoul (Paramatma), is not based on any obligation, but is instead built on a foundation of a loving relationship. The whole purpose of our existence is to render loving devotional service unto the Supreme Lord, recognizing Him to be our ever well-wisher and our eternal object of love. 

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Krishna is the Supreme Lord | Evidence from Vedic scriptures

krishna accessories ornaments articles supreme lord

Lord Krishna is the Supreme Lord. The fact that He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead is confirmed throughout the Vedic scriptures. We are going to present some of these pieces of evidence in this article that shall conclusively establish this truth. Before discussing further, let us examine the opulence and qualities that characterize the Supreme Lord. According to the Vishnu Purana :

Aisvaryasya samagrasya viryasya yasasah sriyah
Jnana vairagyayas caiva san nam bhaga itingana
(Vishnu Purana 6.5.74)

One who possesses these six opulences of wealth, power, fame, beauty, knowledge, and renunciation in its entirety is known as Bhagavan or the Supreme Lord.

Chaitanya Charitamrita further elaborates this definition as follows :

Yanra bhagavatta haite anyera bhagavatta
Svayam bhagavan sabdera tahatei satta
(Chaitanya Charitamrita, Adi, 2.88)

Only He who is the source of all other divinities is eligible to be designated as svayam bhagavan or the primeval Lord.

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Yuga dharma : Chanting the Holy name of Krishna (Harinama) | Evidence from Scriptures

holy name krishna beads yuga dharma

Krishna, the Supreme Person is the origin of all dharma, the essence of all Vedas, and the meditation of all great authorities who understand the absolute truth. By practicing the yuga-dharma (spiritual practices for the specific yuga), everyone will attain the highest satisfaction of soul, mind, and body. Krishna and His holy name are non-different. His name is all-powerful, all-auspicious. Simply by chanting the holy name of Krishna, one can transcend the modes of material nature and attain the supreme spiritual goal. Kali Yuga, the age of quarrel and hypocrisy, that is marked with violence, deceit, and overall spiritual degeneration is the last of the four ages (Satya, Treta, Dvapara, and Kali). In this age of Kali, there is no means of attaining salvation other than chanting the holy names of Lord Hari.

harer-nama harer-nama harer-namaiva kevalam
kalau nasty-eva nasty-eva nasty-eva gatir anyatha
(Brhad Naradiya Purana)

In this age of Kali the only means of deliverance is chanting of the holy name of Lord Hari. There is no other way. There is no other way. There is no other way.

Hare krsna hare krsna krsna krsna hare hare
Hare rama hare rama rama rama hare hare
Iti sodasakam namnam kali kalmasa nasanam
Natah parataropayah sarva vedesu drsyate
(Kali Santarana Upanishad)

The sixteen syllables of the Hare Krishna Mahamantra: ‘Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare’ destroy all inauspiciousness in this age of Kali. This is the verdict of the Vedas.

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Kanistha, Madhyama, Uttama adhikari – Vaishnava classification

vaishnava vaishnavism krishna

Grhita visnudiksako vishnu pujaparo narah
Vaisnavo bhihito bhijnairitaro smadavaisnavah
(Padma Purana)

One who is initiated into the Vaishnava mantra and who is devoted to worshiping Lord Vishnu is a Vaishnava. One who is bereft of these practices is not a Vaishnava.

Dvedha hi bhagavata sampradaya pravrttih
Ekatah samksepatah sri narayanad brahma naradadidvarena
Anyatastu vistaratah sesat sanat kumara sankhyayanadi dvarena
(Sridhara Svami’s commentary)

Vaishnavas are classified into different sampradayas or lineages according to their inclinations. The first of these sampradayas have originated from Lord Narayana by way of Brahma, Narada, and so on. Another sampradaya comes from Sesha Bhagavan and has been delineated by the Sanat Kumaras.

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Radharani – Best devotee of Krishna | Gaudiya Vaishnavism

radharani devotee krishna madhava

#1 Prahlada is the best of the devotees

Kvaham rajah prabhava isa tamo dhike smin
Jatah suretara kule kva tavanukampa
Na brahmano na tu bhavasya na vai ramaya
Yan me rpitah sirasi padma karah prasadah
(Srimad Bhagavatam, 7.9.26)

O my Lord, O Supreme, because I (Prahlada) was born in a family of atheists and demons where the modes of passion and ignorance are dominant, what is my position? And what is to be said of Your causeless mercy, which You never offered even to Lord Brahma, Lord Shiva or the goddess of fortune, Lakshmi? You never put Your lotus hands upon their heads, but You have mercifully put it on mine.

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Who is a Guru (spiritual master) ? | Gaudiya Vaishnavism

#1 Why do we need a Guru ?

Tad vijnanartham sa gurum evabhigacchet
Samit panih srotriyam brahma nistham
(Mukunda Upanishad 1.2.12)

One who desires to know the absolute truth must approach a bonafide spiritual master and offer him everything required for sacrifice. Such a spiritual master must be fixed in the absolute truth, having heard it in disciplic succession.

bhaktivinoda thakura's house bhakti kuti guru

Yasya deve para bhaktir yatha deve tatha gurau
Tasyaite kathita hy arthah prakasante mahatmanah
(Svetasvatara Upanishad 6.23)

Only unto those great souls who possess implicit faith upon Guru and Krishna are all the imports of the Vedas fully revealed.

Janana-maranadi-samsaranala santapto dipto sira
Jala rasim iva upahara panih srotriyam
Brahma nistham gurum upasrtya tam anusarati
(Vedanta Sara 11)

Just as a person whose head is afire runs towards water, similarly one burning from the fire of material existence birth, death, old age, and disease must run to a Guru for relief. Such a guru must be well versed in the conclusions of Vedic literature. One should strictly follow the Guru’s instructions and become subservient to him.

Brahmanda bhramite kona bhagyavan jiva
guru-Krsne prasade paya bhakti lata bija
(CC, Madhya, 19-151)

Wandering throughout the universe, by the mercy of Guru and Krishna, a fortunate living entity receives the seed of the plant of devotion.

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Who is Lord Nityananda ? | Doyal Nitai

nitai gaura nityananda trayodashi

Sri Nityananda Prabhu is none other than Lord Balarama, the first expansion of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Narottam das Thakur sings ‘vrajendra nandana yei, saci suta haila sei, balarama haila Nitai’. Vrajendra Nandana is Lord Krishna, the master of Vraja (Vrindavana) and Saci suta means the son of mother Saci.So the same person who previously had been  the darling of Vrindavana has now incarnated as Sri Chaitanya, the son of Saci mata. Similarly, the person who previously had been Lord Balarama has now appeared as Nityananda Prabhu.

Lord Nityananda was born on shukla trayodashi tithi of 1474 AD (the year 1395 of the Saka era) in the village of Ekachakra (Birbhum, West Bengal, India). Nityananda Prabhu freely distributed the treasure of the Lord’s love, attaining which is rare even for demigods like Brahma, to one and all without judging one’s qualification (Brahma-ra durlabha prema sabakare yache). His uncommon unique pastimes moved even the atheists to cry tears of love.

Lord Nitai was almost completely devoid of any external consciousness and remained intoxicated in an ecstatic love of God. In such a state of utter ecstasy, He would sometimes jump high up in the air or at other times roll over the ground, while continuously glorifying the Supreme Lord.

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Vishnu Avatars | Types & Details of all Incarnations

purusha avatar vishnu incarnations

Krishna is also referred to as ‘Bhagavan Swayam’ in Srimad Bhagavatam, thereby implying that He is the source of all avatars (incarnations) of Godhead. Krishna is ‘Svayam rupa’ or the original supreme personality of Godhead, and is also referred to as ‘puskala’ or the most complete. When various forms of the Supreme Lord (Krishna) manifest their appearance in this material world for various purposes, they are known as ‘avatars’. We have previously discussed the various forms of the Supreme Lord (Svayam rupa, tad ekatma rupa, avesha) and they are known as avatars when they descend from the spiritual to the material world. These various forms of the Supreme Lord are eternally existing in their own spiritual abodes. Vishnu avatars can appear through parents, as expansions, or without the help of any agency.

For example, Lord Krishna and Ramachandra appeared as the sons of Vasudeva and Dasaratha respectively. Garbhodakasayi Vishnu originates as an expansion of Maha-Vishnu. While among those Vishnu avatars who appear without help are Matsya and Hamsa avatars.

There are six types of avatars of the Supreme Lord namely –

  • Purusha avatar
  • Guna avatar
  • Lila avatar
  • Manvantara avatar
  • Yuga avatar
  • Shaktyavesha avatar

We shall discuss briefly about each of them in this article.

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