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King Kaṁsa not only occupied the kingdoms of the Yadu, Bhoja and Andhaka dynasties and the kingdom of Śūrasena, but he also made alliances with all the other demoniac kings, as follows: the demon Pralamba, demon Baka, demon Cāṇūra, demon Tṛṇāvarta, demon Aghāsura, demon Muṣṭika, demon Ariṣṭa, demon Dvivida, demon Pūtanā, demon Keśī and demon Dhenuka. At that time, Jarāsandha was the king of Magadha Province (known at present as Bihar State). Thus by his diplomatic policy, Kaṁsa consolidated the most powerful kingdom of his time, under the protection of Jarāsandha. He made further alliances with such kings as Bāṇāsura and Bhaumāsura, until he was the strongest. Then he began to behave most inimically toward the Yadu dynasty, into which Kṛṣṇa was to take His birth.
Being harassed by Kaṁsa, the kings of the Yadu, Bhoja and Andhaka dynasties began to take shelter in different states, such as the state of the Kurus, the state of the Pañcālas and the states known as Kekaya, Śālva, Vidarbha, Niṣadha, Videha and Kośala. Kaṁsa broke the solidarity of the Yadu kingdom, as well as the Bhoja and Andhaka. He made his position the most solid within the vast tract of land known at that time as Bhārata-varṣa.
When Kaṁsa was killing the six babies of Devakī and Vasudeva one after another, many friends and relatives of Kaṁsa approached him and requested him to discontinue these heinous activities. But all of them became worshipers of Kaṁsa.
When Devakī became pregnant for the seventh time, a plenary expansion of Kṛṣṇa known as Ananta appeared within her womb. Devakī was overwhelmed with both jubilation and lamentation. She was joyful, for she could understand that Lord Viṣṇu had taken shelter within her womb, but at the same time she was sorry that as soon as her child would come out, Kaṁsa would kill Him. At that time the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa, being compassionate upon the Yadus, who were fearful due to the atrocities committed by Kaṁsa, ordered the appearance of Yogamāyā, His internal potency. Kṛṣṇa is the Lord of the universe, but He is especially the Lord of the Yadu dynasty.
Yogamāyā is the principal potency of the Personality of Godhead. In the Vedas it is stated that the Lord, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, has multipotencies: parāsya śaktir vividhaiva śrūyate (CC Madhya 13.65, purport). All the different potencies are acting externally and internally, and Yogamāyā is the chief of all potencies. The Lord ordered the appearance of Yogamāyā in the land of Vrajabhūmi, in Vṛndāvana, which is always decorated and full with beautiful cows. In Vṛndāvana, Rohiṇī, one of the wives of Vasudeva, was residing at the house of King Nanda and Queen Yaśodā. Not only Rohiṇī but many others in the Yadu dynasty were scattered all over the country due to their fear of the atrocities of Kaṁsa. Some of them were even living in the caves of the mountains.
The Lord thus informed Yogamāyā: “Under the imprisonment of Kaṁsa are Devakī and Vasudeva, and at the present moment My plenary expansion Śeṣa is within the womb of Devakī. You can arrange the transfer of Śeṣa from the womb of Devakī to the womb of Rohiṇī. After this arrangement, I am personally going to appear in the womb of Devakī with My full potencies. Then I shall appear as the son of Devakī and Vasudeva. And you shall appear as the daughter of Nanda and Yaśodā in Vṛndāvana.
“Since you will appear as My contemporary sister, and since you will quickly satisfy desires for sense gratification, people within the world will worship you with all kinds of valuable presentations: incense, candles, flowers and offerings of sacrifice. People who are after materialistic perfection will worship you under the different forms of your expansions, which will be named Durgā, Bhadrakālī, Vijayā, Vaiṣṇavī, Kumudā, Caṇḍikā, Kṛṣṇā, Mādhavī, Kanyakā, Māyā, Nārāyaṇī, Īśānī, Śāradā and Ambikā.”
Kṛṣṇa and Yogamāyā appeared as brother and sister—the Supreme Powerful and the supreme power. Although there is no clear distinction between the Powerful and the power, power is always subordinate to the Powerful. Those who are materialistic are worshipers of the power, but those who are transcendentalists are worshipers of the Powerful. Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Powerful, and Durgā is the supreme power within the material world. Actually people in the Vedic culture worship both the Powerful and the power. There are many hundreds and thousands of temples of Viṣṇu and Devī, and sometimes they are worshiped simultaneously. The worshiper of the power, Durgā, or the external energy of Kṛṣṇa, may achieve all kinds of material success very easily, but anyone who wants to be elevated transcendentally must engage in worshiping the Powerful in Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
The Lord also declared to Yogamāyā, “My plenary expansion Ananta Śeṣa is within the womb of Devakī. On account of being forcibly attracted to the womb of Rohiṇī, He will be known as Saṅkarṣaṇa and will be the source of all spiritual power, or bala, by which one can attain the highest bliss of life, which is called ramaṇa. Therefore the plenary portion Ananta will be known after His appearance either as Saṅkarṣaṇa or as Balarāma.”
In the Upaniṣads it is stated, nāyam ātmā bala-hīnena labhyaḥ. The purport is that one cannot attain the supreme platform of self-realization without being sufficiently favored by Balarāma. Bala does not mean physical strength. No one can attain spiritual perfection by physical strength. One must have the spiritual strength which is infused by Balarāma, or Saṅkarṣaṇa. Ananta, or Śeṣa, is the source of the power which sustains all the planets in their different positions. Materially this sustaining power is known as the law of gravitation, but actually it is a display of the potency of Saṅkarṣaṇa. Balarāma, or Saṅkarṣaṇa, is the source of spiritual power, or the original spiritual master. Therefore Lord Nityānanda Prabhu, who is also the incarnation of Balarāma, is the original spiritual master. And the spiritual master is the representative of Balarāma, the form of the Supreme Personality of Godhead who supplies spiritual strength. In the Caitanya-caritāmṛta it is confirmed that the spiritual master is the manifestation of the mercy of Kṛṣṇa.
Thus ordered by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Yogamāyā circumambulated the Lord and then appeared within this material world according to His order. When Yogamāyā, the supreme power of the supremely powerful Personality of Godhead, transferred Lord Śeṣa from the womb of Devakī to the womb of Rohiṇī, both Devakī and Rohiṇī were under Yogamāyā’s spell, which is called yoga-nidrā. When this was done, people thought that Devakī’s seventh pregnancy had been a miscarriage. Thus although Balarāma appeared as the son of Devakī, He was transferred to the womb of Rohiṇī to appear as her son. After this arrangement, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa, who is always ready to protect His unalloyed devotees, entered within the mind of Vasudeva as the Lord of the whole creation, with full inconceivable potencies. It is understood in this connection that Lord Kṛṣṇa first of all situated Himself in the unalloyed heart of Vasudeva and was then transferred to the heart of Devakī. He was not put into the womb of Devakī by seminal discharge. The Supreme Personality of Godhead, by His inconceivable potency, can appear in any way. It is not necessary for Him to appear in the ordinary way, by seminal injection within the womb of a woman.
When Vasudeva was sustaining the form of the Supreme Personality of Godhead within his heart, he appeared just like the glowing sun, whose shining rays are always unbearable and scorching to the common man. The form of the Lord situated in the pure unalloyed heart of Vasudeva is not different from the original form of Kṛṣṇa. The appearance of the form of Kṛṣṇa anywhere, and specifically within the heart, is called dhāma. Dhāma refers not only to Kṛṣṇa’s form but also to His name, His qualities and His paraphernalia. Everything becomes manifest simultaneously.
Thus the eternal form of the Supreme Personality of Godhead with full potencies was transferred from the mind of Vasudeva to the mind of Devakī, exactly as the setting sun’s rays are transferred to the full moon rising in the east.
Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, thus entered the body of Devakī from the body of Vasudeva without being subject to any of the conditions of an ordinary living entity. Since Kṛṣṇa was there, it is to be understood that all His plenary expansions, such as Nārāyaṇa, and incarnations like Lord Nṛsiṁha and Varāha, were with Him, and They also were not subject to the conditions of material existence. In this way, Devakī became the residence of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is one without a second and the cause of all creation. Devakī became the residence of the Absolute Truth, but because she was confined within the house of Kaṁsa, she looked just like a suppressed fire, or like misused education. When fire is kept in a jug, the illuminating rays of the fire cannot be very much appreciated. Similarly, misused knowledge, which does not benefit the people in general, is not very much appreciated. So Devakī was kept within the prison walls of Kaṁsa’s palace, and no one could see her transcendental beauty, which resulted from her conceiving the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Kaṁsa, however, saw the transcendental beauty of his sister Devakī, and he at once concluded that the Supreme Personality of Godhead had taken shelter in her womb. She had never before looked so wonderfully beautiful. He could distinctly understand that there was something wonderful within the womb of Devakī. In this way, Kaṁsa became perturbed because he was sure that the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who would kill him in the future, had now come. Kaṁsa began to think, “What is to be done with Devakī? Surely she has Viṣṇu or Kṛṣṇa within her womb, so it is certain that Kṛṣṇa has come to execute the mission of the demigods. And even if I immediately kill Devakī, His mission cannot be frustrated.” Kaṁsa knew very well that no one can frustrate the purpose of Viṣṇu. Any intelligent man can understand that the laws of God cannot be violated. His purpose will be served in spite of all impediments offered by the demons. Kaṁsa thought, “If I kill Devakī at the present moment, Viṣṇu will enforce His supreme will more vehemently. To kill Devakī just now would be a most abominable act. No one desires to kill his reputation, even in an awkward situation; if I kill Devakī now, my reputation will be spoiled. Devakī is a woman, and she is under my shelter; she is pregnant, and if I kill her, immediately my reputation, the results of my pious activities and my duration of life will all be finished.”
He further deliberated, “A person who is too cruel is as good as dead, even in this lifetime. No one likes a cruel person during his lifetime, and after his death, people curse him. On account of his self-identification with the body, he must be degraded and pushed into the darkest region of hell.” Kaṁsa thus meditated on all the pros and cons of killing Devakī at that time.
Kaṁsa finally decided not to kill Devakī right away but to wait for the inevitable future. But his mind became absorbed in animosity against the Personality of Godhead. He patiently waited for the delivery of the child, expecting to kill Him, as he had done previously with the other babies of Devakī. Thus being merged in the ocean of animosity against the Personality of Godhead, he began to think of Kṛṣṇa or Viṣṇu while sitting, while sleeping, while walking, while eating, while working—in all the situations of his life. His mind became so much absorbed with the thought of the Supreme Personality of Godhead that indirectly he could see only Kṛṣṇa or Viṣṇu around him. Unfortunately, although his mind was so absorbed in the thought of Viṣṇu, he is not recognized as a devotee because he was thinking of Kṛṣṇa as an enemy. The state of mind of a great devotee is also to be always absorbed in Kṛṣṇa, but a devotee thinks of Him favorably, not unfavorably. To think of Kṛṣṇa favorably is Kṛṣṇa consciousness, but to think of Kṛṣṇa unfavorably is not Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
At this time Lord Brahmā and Lord Śiva, accompanied by great sages like Nārada and followed by many other demigods, invisibly appeared in the house of Kaṁsa. They began to pray to the Supreme Personality of Godhead in select verses, which are very pleasing to the devotees and which award fulfillment of their desires. The first words they spoke acclaimed that the Lord is true to His vow. As stated in the Bhagavad-gītā, Kṛṣṇa descends to this material world just to protect the pious and destroy the impious. That is His vow. The demigods could understand that the Lord had taken His residence within the womb of Devakī to fulfill His vow, and they were very glad that the Lord was appearing in order to fulfill His mission.
Then the demigods addressed the Lord as satyaṁ param, or the Supreme Absolute Truth. Everyone is searching after the truth. That is the philosophical way of life. The demigods give information that the Supreme Absolute Truth is Kṛṣṇa. One who becomes fully Kṛṣṇa conscious can attain the Absolute Truth. Kṛṣṇa is the Absolute Truth because, unlike relative truth, He is Truth in all the three phases of eternal time. Time is divided into past, present and future. Kṛṣṇa is Truth always—past, present and future. In the material world everything is being controlled by supreme time, in the course of past, present and future. But before the creation, Kṛṣṇa was existing, and when there is creation, everything is resting in Kṛṣṇa, and when this creation is finished, Kṛṣṇa will remain. Therefore, He is the Absolute Truth in all circumstances. If there is any truth within this material world, it emanates from the Supreme Truth, Kṛṣṇa. If there is any opulence within this material world, the cause of the opulence is Kṛṣṇa. If there is any reputation within this material world, the cause of the reputation is Kṛṣṇa. If there is any strength within this material world, the cause of such strength is Kṛṣṇa. If there is any wisdom and education within this material world, the cause of such wisdom and education is Kṛṣṇa. Therefore Kṛṣṇa is the source of all relative truths.
This material world is composed of five principal elements—earth, water, fire, air and ether—and all such elements are emanations from Kṛṣṇa. The material scientists accept these five primary elements as the cause of the material manifestation, but the elements in their gross and subtle states are produced by Kṛṣṇa. The living entities who are working within this material world are products of His marginal potency. In the Seventh Chapter of the Bhagavad-gītā, it is clearly stated that the whole manifestation is a combination of two kinds of energies of Kṛṣṇa, the superior energy and the inferior energy. The living entities are the superior energy, and the dead material elements are His inferior energy. In its dormant stage, everything remains in Kṛṣṇa.
The demigods continued to offer their respectful prayers unto the supreme form of the Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa, by analytical study of the material manifestation. What is this material manifestation? It is just like a tree. A tree stands on the ground. Similarly, the tree of the material manifestation is standing on the ground of material nature. This material manifestation is compared to a tree because a tree is ultimately cut off in due course of time. A tree is called vṛkṣa. Vṛkṣa means that thing which will be ultimately cut off. Therefore, this tree of the material manifestation cannot be accepted as the Ultimate Truth, because it is influenced by time. But Kṛṣṇa’s body is eternal: He existed before the material manifestation, He is existing while the material manifestation is continuing, and when it will be dissolved, He will continue to exist. Therefore only Kṛṣṇa can be accepted as the Absolute Truth.
The Kaṭha Upaniṣad also cites this example of the tree of the material manifestation standing on the ground of material nature. This tree has two kinds of fruits, distress and happiness. Those who are living in the tree of the body are just like two birds. One bird is the localized aspect of Kṛṣṇa known as the Paramātmā, and the other bird is the living entity. The living entity is eating the fruits of this material manifestation. Sometimes he eats the fruit of happiness, and sometimes he eats the fruit of distress. But the other bird is not interested in eating the fruit of distress or happiness because he is self-satisfied. The Kaṭha Upaniṣad states that one bird on the tree of the body is eating the fruits, and the other bird is simply witnessing. The roots of this tree extend in three directions. This means that the root of the tree is the three modes of material nature: goodness, passion and ignorance. Just as the tree’s root expands, so, by association of the modes of material nature (goodness, passion and ignorance), one expands his duration of material existence. The tastes of the fruits are of four kinds: religiosity, economic development, sense gratification and, ultimately, liberation. According to the different associations in the three modes of material nature, the living entities are tasting different kinds of religiosity, different kinds of economic development, different kinds of sense gratification and different kinds of liberation. Practically all material work is performed in ignorance, but because there are three qualities, sometimes the quality of ignorance is covered with goodness or passion. The taste of these material fruits is accepted through five senses. The five sense organs through which knowledge is acquired are subjected to six kinds of whips: lamentation, illusion, infirmity, death, hunger and thirst. This material body, or the material manifestation, is covered by seven layers: skin, flesh, blood, marrow, bone, fat and semen. The branches of the tree are eight: earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, intelligence and ego. There are nine gates in this body: the two eyes, two nostrils, two ears, one mouth, one genital, one rectum. And there are ten kinds of internal air passing within the body: prāṇa, apāna, udāna, vyāna, samāna, etc. The two birds seated in this tree, as explained above, are the living entity and the localized Supreme Personality of Godhead, Paramātmā.
The root cause of the material manifestation described here is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The Supreme Personality of Godhead expands Himself to take charge of the three qualities of the material world. Viṣṇu takes charge of the mode of goodness, Brahmā takes charge of the mode of passion, and Lord Śiva takes charge of the mode of ignorance. Brahmā, by the mode of passion, creates this manifestation, Lord Viṣṇu maintains this manifestation by the mode of goodness, and Lord Śiva annihilates it by the mode of ignorance. The whole creation ultimately rests in the Supreme Lord. He is the cause of creation, maintenance and dissolution. And when the whole manifestation is dissolved, in its subtle form as the Supreme Lord’s energy it rests within His body.
“At present,” the demigods prayed, “the Supreme Lord Kṛṣṇa is appearing just for the maintenance of this manifestation. Actually the Supreme Cause is one, but less intelligent persons, being deluded by the three modes of material nature, see that the material world is manifested through different causes. Those who are intelligent can see that the cause is one, Kṛṣṇa.” As it is stated in the Brahma-saṁhitā, īśvaraḥ paramaḥ krsnah . . . sarva-kāraṇa-kāraṇam (BS 5.1). “Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is the cause of all causes.” Brahmā is the deputed agent for creation, Viṣṇu is the expansion of Kṛṣṇa for maintenance, and Lord Śiva is the expansion of Kṛṣṇa for dissolution.
“Our dear Lord,” the demigods prayed, “it is very difficult to understand Your eternal form or personality. People in general are unable to understand Your actual form; therefore You are personally descending to exhibit Your original eternal form. Somehow people can understand the different incarnations of Your Lordship, but they are puzzled to understand the eternal form of Kṛṣṇa with two hands, moving among human beings exactly like one of them. This eternal form of Your Lordship gives ever-increasing transcendental pleasure to the devotees, but for the nondevotees this form is very dangerous.” As stated in the Bhagavad-gītā, Kṛṣṇa is very pleasing to the sādhus (paritrāṇāya sādhūnām) (BG 4.8). But this form is very dangerous for the demons because Kṛṣṇa also descends to kill the demons. He is, therefore, simultaneously pleasing to the devotees and dangerous to the demons.
“Our dear lotus-eyed Lord, You are the source of pure goodness. There are many great sages who simply by samādhi, or transcendentally meditating upon Your lotus feet and thus being absorbed in Your thought, have easily transformed the great ocean of nescience created by the material nature into no more than the water in a calf’s hoofprint.” The purpose of meditation is to focus the mind upon the Personality of Godhead, beginning from His lotus feet. Simply by meditation on the lotus feet of the Lord, great sages cross over this vast ocean of material existence without difficulty.
“O self-illuminated one, the great saintly persons who have crossed over the ocean of nescience by the help of the transcendental boat of Your lotus feet have not taken away that boat. It is still lying on this side.” If one takes a boat to cross over a river, the boat also goes with one to the other side of the river. And so when one reaches the destination, how can the same boat be available to those who are still on this side? To answer this difficulty, the demigods say in their prayer that the boat of the Lord’s lotus feet is not taken away. The devotees still remaining on this side are able to pass over the ocean of material nature because the pure devotees do not take the boat with them when they cross over. When one simply approaches the boat, the whole ocean of material nescience is reduced to the size of the water in a calf’s hoofprint. Therefore, the devotees do not need to take the boat to the other side: they simply cross the ocean immediately. Because the great saintly persons are compassionate toward all conditioned souls, the boat is still lying on this side. In other words, one can meditate upon the lotus feet of the Lord at any time, and by so doing one can cross over the great ocean of material existence.
Meditation means concentration upon the lotus feet of the Lord. Lotus feet indicate the Supreme Personality of Godhead. But those who are impersonalists do not recognize the lotus feet of the Lord, and therefore their object of meditation is something impersonal. The demigods express their mature verdict that persons who are interested in meditating on something void or impersonal cannot cross over the ocean of nescience. Such persons are simply imagining that they have become liberated. “O lotus-eyed Lord! Their intelligence is contaminated because they fail to meditate upon the lotus feet of Your Lordship. As a result of this neglectful activity, the impersonalists fall down again into the material way of conditioned life, although they may temporarily rise to the point of impersonal realization.” Impersonalists undergo severe austerities and penances to merge themselves into the Brahman effulgence, or impersonal Brahman existence. But their minds are not free from material contamination; they have simply tried to negate the material ways of thinking. That does not mean that they have become liberated. Thus they fall down.
In the Bhagavad-gītā it is stated that the impersonalist has to undergo great tribulation in realizing his ultimate goal. At the beginning of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam it is also stated that without devotional service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, one cannot achieve liberation from the bondage of fruitive activities. The statement of Lord Kṛṣṇa is there in the Bhagavad-gītā, and in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam the statement of the great sage Nārada is there, and here also the demigods confirm it. “Persons who have not taken to devotional service are understood to have come short of the ultimate purpose of knowledge and are not favored by Your grace.” The impersonalists simply think that they are liberated, but actually they have no feeling for the Personality of Godhead. They think that when Kṛṣṇa comes into the material world He accepts a material body. They therefore overlook the transcendental body of Kṛṣṇa. This is confirmed in the Bhagavad-gītā: avajānanti māṁ mūḍhāḥ (BG 9.11). In spite of conquering material lust and rising to the point of liberation, the impersonalists fall down. If they are engaged just in knowing things for the sake of knowledge and do not take to the devotional service of the Lord, they cannot achieve the desired result. Their achievement is the trouble they take, and that is all.
It is clearly stated in the Bhagavad-gītā that to realize Brahman identification is not all. Brahman identification may help one become joyful without material attachment or detachment and to achieve the platform of equanimity, but after this stage one has to take to devotional service. When one takes to devotional service after being elevated to the platform of Brahman realization, he is then admitted into the spiritual kingdom for permanent residence in association with the Supreme Personality of Godhead. That is the result of devotional service. Those who are devotees of the Supreme Personality of Godhead never fall down like the impersonalists. Even if the devotees fall down, they remain affectionately attached to their Lord. They can meet all kinds of obstacles on the path of devotional service, and freely, without any fear, they can surmount such obstacles. Because of their surrender, they are certain that Kṛṣṇa will always protect them. As it is promised by Kṛṣṇa in the Bhagavad-gītā, “My devotees are never vanquished.”
“Our dear Lord,” the demigods continued, “You have appeared in Your original unalloyed form, the eternal form of goodness, for the welfare of all living entities within this material world. Taking advantage of Your appearance, all of them can now very easily understand the nature and form of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Persons who belong to the four divisions of the social order (the brahmacārīs, gṛhasthas, vānaprasthas and sannyāsīs) can all take advantage of Your appearance.
“Dear Lord, husband of the goddess of fortune, devotees who are dovetailed in Your service do not fall down from their high position like the impersonalists. Being protected by You, the devotees are able to traverse over the heads of many of Māyā’s commanders in chief, who can always put stumbling blocks on the path of liberation. Dear Lord, You appear in Your eternal transcendental form for the benefit of the living entities so that they can see You face to face and offer their worshipful sacrifices by ritualistic performance of the Vedas, mystic meditation and devotional service as recommended in the scriptures. Dear Lord, if You did not appear in Your eternal transcendental form, full of bliss and knowledge—a form which can eradicate all kinds of speculative ignorance about Your position—then all people would simply speculate about You according to their respective modes of material nature.”
The appearance of Kṛṣṇa is the answer to all imaginative iconography of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Everyone imagines the form of the Supreme Personality of Godhead according to his mode of material nature. In the Brahma-saṁhitā it is said that the Lord is the oldest person. Therefore a section of religionists imagine that God must be very old, and therefore they depict a form of the Lord like a very old man. But in the same Brahma-saṁhitā, that is contradicted: although He is the oldest of all living entities, He has His eternal form as a fresh youth. The exact words used in this connection in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam are vijñānam ajñāna-bhidāpamārjanam. Vijñānam means transcendental knowledge of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Vijñānam is also experienced knowledge. Transcendental knowledge has to be accepted by the descending process of disciplic succession, as Brahmā presents the knowledge of Kṛṣṇa in the Brahma-saṁhitā. The Brahma-saṁhitā is vijñānam as realized by Brahmā’s transcendental experience, and in that way he presented the form and the pastimes of Kṛṣṇa in the transcendental abode. This knowledge is ajñāna-bhidāpamārjanam, that which can smash all kinds of speculation in ignorance. People are imagining the form of the Lord: sometimes He has no form and sometimes He has form, according to their different imaginations. But the presentation of Kṛṣṇa in the Brahma-saṁhitā is vijñānam—scientific, experienced knowledge given by Lord Brahmā and accepted by Lord Caitanya. There is no doubt about it. Kṛṣṇa’s form, Kṛṣṇa’s flute, Kṛṣṇa’s color—everything is reality. Here it is said that this vijñānam is always defeating all kinds of speculative knowledge. “Therefore, without Your appearing as Kṛṣṇa, as You are, neither ajñāna-bhidāpamārjanam (destruction of the nescience of speculative knowledge) nor vijñānam would be realized. In other words, Your appearance will vanquish the ignorance of speculative knowledge and establish the real experienced knowledge of authorities like Lord Brahmā. Men influenced by the three modes of material nature imagine their own God according to the modes of material nature. In this way God is presented in various ways, but Your appearance will establish what the real form of God is.”
The highest blunder committed by the impersonalists is to think that when the incarnation of God comes He accepts the form of matter in the mode of goodness. Actually, the form of Kṛṣṇa or Nārāyaṇa is transcendental to any material idea. Even the greatest impersonalist, Śaṅkarācārya, has admitted, nārāyaṇaḥ paro ’vyaktāt: the material creation is caused by the avyakta (impersonal) manifestation of matter, or the nonphenomenal total reservoir of matter, but Kṛṣṇa is transcendental to that material conception. That is expressed in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam as śuddha-sattva, or transcendental goodness. He does not belong to the material mode of goodness, and He is above the position of material goodness. He belongs to the transcendental, eternal status of bliss and knowledge.
“Dear Lord, when You appear in Your different incarnations, You take different names and forms according to different situations. Lord Kṛṣṇa is Your name because You are all-attractive; You are called Śyāmasundara because of Your transcendental beauty. Śyāma means ‘blackish,’ yet it is said that You are more beautiful than thousands of Cupids (kandarpa-koṭi-kamanīya). Although You appear in a color which is compared to the blackish cloud, because You are the Transcendental Absolute, Your beauty is many, many times more attractive than the delicate body of Cupid. Sometimes You are called Giridhārī because You lifted the hill known as Govardhana. You are sometimes called Nandanandana or Vāsudeva or Devakīnandana because You appear as the son of Mahārāja Nanda or Vasudeva or Devakī. Impersonalists think that Your many names or forms are given according to a particular type of work and quality because they accept You from the position of a material observer.
“Our dear Lord, the way of understanding is not to study Your absolute nature, form and activities by mental speculation. One must engage himself in devotional service; then one can understand Your absolute nature and Your transcendental form, name and qualities. Actually, only a person who has a little taste for the service of Your lotus feet can understand Your transcendental nature or form and qualities. Others may go on speculating for millions of years, but it is not possible for them to understand even a single part of Your actual position.” In other words, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa, cannot be understood by the nondevotees because there is a curtain of Yogamāyā which covers Kṛṣṇa’s actual features. As confirmed in the Bhagavad-gītā, nāhaṁ prakāśaḥ sarvasya (BG 7.25). The Lord says, “I am not exposed to anyone and everyone.” When Kṛṣṇa came, He was actually present on the Battlefield of Kurukṣetra, and everyone saw Him. But not everyone could understand that He was the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Still, everyone who died in His presence attained complete liberation from material bondage and was transferred to the spiritual world.
“O Lord, the impersonalists or nondevotees cannot understand that Your name is identical with Your form.” Since the Lord is absolute, there is no difference between His name and His actual form. In the material world there is a difference between form and name. The mango fruit is different from the name of the mango. One cannot taste the mango fruit simply by chanting “mango, mango, mango.” But the devotee who knows that there is no difference between the name and the form of the Lord chants Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare / Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare and realizes that he is always in Kṛṣṇa’s company. For persons who are not very advanced in absolute knowledge of the Supreme, Lord Kṛṣṇa exhibits His transcendental pastimes. Such persons can simply think of the pastimes of the Lord and get full benefit. Since there is no difference between the transcendental name and form of the Lord, there is no difference between the transcendental pastimes and the form of the Lord. For those who are less intelligent (like women, laborers or the mercantile class), the great sage Vyāsadeva wrote the Mahābhārata. In the Mahābhārata Kṛṣṇa is present in His different activities. The Mahābhārata is history, and simply by studying, hearing and memorizing the transcendental activities of Kṛṣṇa, the less intelligent can also gradually rise to the standard of pure devotees.
The pure devotees, who are always absorbed in the thought of the transcendental lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa and who are always engaged in devotional service in full Kṛṣṇa consciousness, are never to be considered to be in the material world. Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī has explained that those who are always engaged in Kṛṣṇa consciousness with body, mind and activities are to be considered liberated even within this body. This is confirmed in the Bhagavad-gītā: those who are engaged in the devotional service of the Lord have already transcended the material position.
Kṛṣṇa appears in order to give a chance to both the devotees and the nondevotees for realization of the ultimate goal of life. The devotees get the direct chance to see Him and worship Him. Those who are not on that platform get the chance to become acquainted with His activities and thus become elevated to the same position.
“Our dear Lord, O supreme controller, when You appear on earth, all the demons like Kaṁsa and Jarāsandha will be vanquished, and all good fortune will be ushered into the world. When You walk on the globe, Your lotus feet will impress on the ground the marks of Your soles, such as the flag, the trident and the thunderbolt. Thus You will grace both the earth and us on the heavenly planets who shall see those marks.
“O dear Lord,” the demigods continued, “You are unborn; therefore we do not find any reason for Your appearance other than for Your pleasurable pastimes.” Although the reason for the appearance of the Lord is stated in the Bhagavad-gītā (He descends just to give protection to the devotees and vanquish the nondevotees), actually He descends for His pleasure-meeting with the devotees, not really to vanquish the nondevotees. The nondevotees can be vanquished simply by one kick of material nature. “The actions and reactions of material nature (creation, maintenance and annihilation) are being carried out automatically. But simply by taking shelter of Your holy name the devotees are sufficiently protected, because Your holy name and Your personality are nondifferent.” The protection of the devotees and the annihilation of the nondevotees are actually not the business of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. When He descends, it is just for His transcendental pleasure. There cannot be any other reason for His appearance.
“Our dear Lord, You are appearing as the best of the Yadu dynasty, and we are offering our respectful humble obeisances unto Your lotus feet. Before this appearance, You also appeared as the fish incarnation, as the horse incarnation, as the tortoise incarnation, as the half-man, half-lion incarnation, as the boar incarnation, as the swan incarnation, as King Rāmacandra, as Paraśurāma and as many other incarnations. You appeared just to protect the devotees, and we request You in Your present appearance as the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself to give us similar protection all over the three worlds and remove all obstacles for the peaceful execution of our lives.
“Dear mother Devakī, within your womb is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, appearing along with all His plenary extensions. He is the original Personality of Godhead, appearing for our welfare. Therefore you should not be afraid of your brother, the King of Bhoja. Your son Lord Kṛṣṇa, who is the original Personality of Godhead, will appear for the protection of the pious Yadu dynasty. The Lord is appearing not alone but accompanied by His immediate plenary portion, Baladeva.”
Devakī was very much afraid of her brother Kaṁsa because he had already killed so many of her children. So she was very anxious about Kṛṣṇa. In the Viṣṇu Purāṇa it is stated that in order to pacify Devakī, all the demigods, along with their wives, used to visit her to encourage her not to be afraid that her son would be killed by Kaṁsa. Kṛṣṇa, who was within her womb, was to appear not only to diminish the burden of the world but specifically to protect the interests of the Yadu dynasty, and certainly to protect Devakī and Vasudeva. It is understood that Kṛṣṇa had been transferred from the mind of Vasudeva to the mind of Devakī, and from there to her womb. Thus all the demigods worshiped Devakī, the mother of Kṛṣṇa.
After thus worshiping the transcendental form of the Lord, all the demigods, with Lord Brahmā and Lord Śiva placed in front, departed for their heavenly abodes.
Thus ends the Bhaktivedanta purport of the Second Chapter of Kṛṣṇa, "Prayers by the Demigods for Lord Kṛṣṇa in the Womb."