Collaborate with us to invoke and fully manifest Srila Prabhupada's Vani-presence.
CC Madhya 24.285
- ’ātmā’-śabde kahe—sarva-vidha bhagavān
- eka ‘svayaṁ bhagavān’, āra ‘bhagavān’-ākhyāna
ātmā-śabde—by the word ātmā; kahe—it is said; sarva-vidha bhagavān—all types of Personalities of Godhead; eka—one; svayam bhagavān—the original Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa; āra—another; bhagavān-ākhyāna—the Personality of Godhead by an expansive designation.
“The word ‘ātmā’ refers to all the different Personalities of Godhead. One of them is the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself, Kṛṣṇa, and the others are different incarnations or expansions of Kṛṣṇa.
The word ātmā also includes all kinds of personalities known as Bhagavān, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This means that Kṛṣṇa has unlimited expansions. This is described in the Brahma-saṁhitā (BS 5.38):
- dīpārcir eva hi daśāntaram abhyupetya
- dīpāyate vivṛta-hetu-samāna-dharmā
- yas tādṛg eva hi ca viṣṇutayā vibhāti
- govindam ādi-puruṣaṁ tam ahaṁ bhajāmi
The expansions of Kṛṣṇa are thus compared to candles that have been lit from an original candle. All the secondary candles are equally powerful, but the original candle is that from which all the others have been lit. Kṛṣṇa is the original Supreme Personality of Godhead, and He is expanded as Balarāma, Saṅkarṣaṇa, Aniruddha, Pradyumna and Vāsudeva. In this way there are innumerable incarnations and expansions who are also called Bhagavān, the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Regarding the variety of personalities known as Bhagavān, Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura says that the Personality of Godhead known as Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead and that His expansions are also called the Personality of Godhead. In other words, Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is the origin of all other Personalities of Godhead. Speculative philosophers and mystic yogīs also meditate upon the form of Kṛṣṇa, but this form is not the form of the original Supreme Personality of Godhead. Such a Bhagavān is but a partial representation of the Lord’s full potency. Nonetheless, He also has to be understood to be the Supreme Personality of Godhead. To clarify this matter, one should simply understand that Kṛṣṇa, the son of Nanda Mahārāja in Vṛndāvana, the friend of the cowherd boys and lover of the gopīs, is actually the original Supreme Personality of Godhead. He is attained by spontaneous love. Although His expansions are also called the Supreme Personality of Godhead, They are attained only by the execution of regulative devotional service.