The next evening Vrajanātha came and sat down upon the platform below the bakula tree outside the Śrīvāsāṅgana Temple. The elderly Raghunātha dāsa Bābājī had developed a paternal affection for Vrajanātha and was actually waiting for him. Several times, the thoughts of Raghunātha dāsa Bābājī had strayed to outside the temple in expectancy, so when he heard Vrajanātha’s arrival, he quickly came out of the aṅgana and greeted him with an affectionate hug. Raghunātha dāsa Bābājī then steered Vrajanātha towards his personal bhajana-kuṭīra, which was at the side of the temple courtyard surrounded by jasmine trees, and invited him to sit down. Vrajanātha reached down and touched Bābājī’s feet. After taking Bābājī’s footdust and smearing it upon his head, Vrajanātha felt greatly elated and said submissively, “Respected Bābājī, kindly instruct me upon the Daśa-mūla tenets, which contain the essence of the teachings of Nimāi Pandita, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu.”
The heart of the religious patriarch exulted upon hearing the words of the younger man, which revealed his sincere desire to learn. He replied, “My son, I will now impart to you the philosophy of Daśa-mūla. You are a scholar, ponder over the philosophy contained within the following verse, which presents the ten doctrines concisely and displays their importance:
āmnāyaḥ prāha tattvaṁ harim iha paramaṁ sarva-śaktim rasābdhiṁ
tad bhinnāṁsāṁś ca jīvān prakṛti-kavalitān tad-vimuktāṁś ca bhāvāt
bhedābedha-prakāśaṁ sakalam api hareḥ sādhanaṁ śuddha-bhaktiṁ
sādhyaṁ tat-prītim evety upadiśati janān gaura-candraḥ svayaṁ saḥ
“‘The Vedic knowledge that is received through the system of guru-paramparā, disciplic succession, is known as āmnāya, the most authoritative and exhaustive wisdom. The Vedas, known as the śruti, and the smṛti scriptures, for example the Śrīmad Bhāgavatam, which are fully in line with the śruti, are essentially transcendental and are thus presented as the pramāṇa, proof and evidence. The directly perceivable truths propounded and evidenced by the pramāṇa are designated as the prameya. They are nine in number: (1) parama–tattva, Śrī Hari is the Supreme Absolute Truth; (2) sarva–śaktimān, Śrī Hari is omnipotent; (3) akhila-rasāmṛta-sindhu, Śrī Hari is the shoreless ocean of unlimited nectarean, mellows; (4) vibhinnāṁśa-tattva, the entire range of liberated and conditioned jīvas are Śrī Hari’s eternally separated parts and parcels and comprise His jīva–śakti; (5) baddha–jīva, the conditioned jīva is infected by māyā; (6) mukta–jīva, the liberated jīva is free from māyā; (7) acintya–bhedābheda–tattva, all creation either material or spiritual is a manifestation of Śrī Hari’s inconceivable potency, which is simultaneously different and non-different from the Lord Himself; (8) śuddha-bhakti, bhakti is the only sādhana; and (9) kṛṣṇa-prīti, kṛṣṇa-prema alone is the ultimate sādhya. These nine items of prameya plus the first item of pramāṇa, the Vedas, collectively comprise the ten items known as the Daśa–mūla, the ten root truths expounded by Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya.’
“The Supreme Personality of Godhead Śrī Gauracandra has personally given these ten doctrines of Daśa–mūla to the faithful jīvas. The first of these ten doctrines enunciated in the above introductory verse is the pramāṇa-tattva and the following nine doctrines are the prameya-tattva. Therefore, the nine items of knowledge that are proven by the presentation of pramāṇa are known as prameya. And the evidence upon which the prameya is authoritatively established is known as pramāṇa.
“The above verse is the introductory summary of the Daśa-mūla doctrines. After this verse, the first verse of the actual Daśa-mūla begins and describes the various kinds of evidence. The seven following verses, that is verses second to eighth, delineate the sambandha–tattva, the principle of eternal interrelationships between Īśvara, the multifarious energies of Īśvara, and the jīva. The ninth verse discusses the abhidheya–tattva, the principle of absolute compulsory spiritual duties and the practice of those duties on the basis of sambandha–tattva. The tenth and final verse establishes the prayojana–tattva, the principle of indispensable necessity, that is the goal of spiritual practice, kṛṣṇa–prema.”
Attentively hearing this elucidation, Vrajanātha commented, “Respected Bābājī, I do not have any further questions at this point. After listening to the elaboration upon the first verse, I will present before you whatever requires clarification.”
Raghunātha dāsa Bābājī replied, “That is a good idea. Now hear the first main verse, Daśa-mūla 1:
svataḥ siddho vedo hari-dayita-vedhaḥ-prabhṛtitaḥ
pramāṇaṁ sat prāptaḥ pramiti-viṣayāṁs tan-nava-vidhān
tathā-pratyākṣādi-pramiti-sahitaṁ sādhayati no
na yuktis tarkākhyā praviśati tathā-śakti-rahitā
“‘The Vedic knowledge which Lord Brahmā and his disciplic succession received by the mercy of the Supreme Lord, Śrī Hari, is self-evidently perfect. This absolutely authoritative and exhaustive knowledge establishes, with the help of its self-effulgent and directly perceivably truths, the nine principles of prameya–tattva. The methods of logical debate and speculation are incapable of correctly ascertaining the inconceivable spiritual subject matter.’
Vrajanātha, “Is there any proof in the Vedas of a disciplic chain starting from Lord Brahmā?”
Raghunātha dāsa Bābājī, “Yes, the Muṇḍaka Upaniṣad, 1.1.1, states:
brahmā devānāṁ prathamaḥ sambabhūva viśvasya kartā bhuvanasya goptā
sa brahma-vidyāṁ sarva-vidyā-pratiṣṭhām atharvāya jyeṣṭha-putrāya prāha
“‘Lord Brahmā, the creator and protector of this universe, appeared prior to any other creature and from the lotus sprouting out of the Supreme Lord’s navel. He initiated his eldest son Atharvā in the science of the Absolute Truth, known as brahma–vidyā, the repository of all branches of knowledge.’
“In the same text, Muṇḍaka Upaniṣad, 1.2.13, we find:
yenākṣaraṁ puruṣaṁ veda satyaṁ provāca tāṁ tattvato brahma-vidyām
“‘The spiritual science brahma–vidyā, knowledge coupled with loving devotion to the Supreme Lord that reveals the infallible Supreme Truth as directly perceivable, is instructed to the disciple by a bona-fide spiritual master well versed in the philosophy of Kṛṣṇa consciousness.’
Vrajanātha, “Have you any evidence that the ṛṣis have extracted the essence from the Vedas and compiled it within the smṛti scriptures?”
Raghunātha dāsa Bābājī, “The crest jewel of all scriptures, the Śrīmad Bhāgavatam, 11.14.3-4, states:
kālena naṣṭā pralaye vāṇīyaṁ veda-saṁjñitā
mayādau brahmaṇe proktā dharmo yasyāṁ mad-ātmakaḥ
“‘The Supreme Personality of Godhead said, “O Uddhava! By the influence of time, the transcendental sound of Vedic knowledge, which propounds the nitya–dharma and thus inspires attachment to Me, was lost at the time of annihilation. Therefore, when the subsequent creation took place, I spoke the Vedic knowledge to Brahmā because I Myself am the religious principles, which are enunciated in the Vedas.’
tena proktā sva-putrāya manave pūrva-jāya sā
tato bhṛgv-ādayo ’gṛhṇan sapta brahma-maharṣayaḥ
“‘Lord Brahmā later spoke this Vedic knowledge to his eldest son, Manu, and the seven great sages headed by Bhṛgu Muni then accepted the same knowledge from Manu.’”
Vrajanātha, “What was the reason for starting the system of disciplic succession?”
Raghunātha dāsa Bābājī, “In this world, many people are misled to the perverted path of māyāvādī philosophy. If a disciplic succession and thereby a society of devotees uncorrupted by the scourge of māyāvādī views did not exist, sat–saṅga would be a rarity. The Padma Purāṇa reiterates this point:
sampradāya-vihīnā ye mantrās te nisphalāḥ mataḥ
śrī-brahma-rudra-sanaka vaiṣṇavāḥ kṣiti-pāvanāḥ
“‘Dīkśā mantras received from ācāryas coming in the line of a bona fide disciplic succession have full spiritual potency; others are impotent and cannot give any spiritual benefit. There are four bona fide sampradāyas: the Śrī–sampradāya also known as the Lakṣmī–sampradāya, the main ācārya being Śrī Rāmānuja; the Brahma–sampradāya, the main ācārya being, Śrī Mādhava; the Rudra–sampradāya, the main ācārya being, Śrī Viṣṇu Svāmī; and the Catuḥsana–sampradāya, also known as the Sanaka–sampradāya, the main ācārya being Śrī Nimbārka. These four Vaiṣṇava sampradāyas are the liberators of this world.’
“Of these, the Brahma-sampradāya is the oldest. This unbroken chain of successive spiritual preceptors continues ‘till this day. The foolproof process of guru-paramparā sampradāya, the spiritual system of disciplic succession, ensures that the knowledge and words of all the prime ancient scriptures of yore, such as the Vedas, Vedāṅga, and Vedānta, remain complete and in their original form without interpolation or change. Hence, all the Vedic mantras contained in the literatures of the bona fide sampradāyas are undoubtedly authentic. In this way, the system of sampradāya is imperative and since time immemorial has remained a most dynamic and indispensable element in the society of saintly souls.”
Vrajanātha, “Is the sampradāya chain completely linked—an unbroken line of ācāryas?”
Raghunātha dāsa Bābājī, “The names of the most prominent ācāryas, who appeared at intervals, have been recorded in an authoritative list.”
Vrajanātha, “I am very keen to hear the names of the ācāryas in the sampradāya of Lord Brahmā.”
Raghunātha dāsa Bābājī, “Then kindly listen:
para-vyomeśvarasyāsīc chiṣyo brahmā jagat-patiḥ
tasya śiṣyo nārado ‘bhūd vyāsas tasyāpa śiṣyatām
“‘The disciple of the Lord of the spiritual planets, Vaikuṇṭha-loka, the Supreme Godhead, Śrī Nārāyaṇa, was Lord Brahmā, the creator of this world. Lord Brahmā’s disciple was Śrī Nārada, and Śrī Vyāsadeva accepted initiation to become the disciple of Nārada.
śuko vyāsasya śiṣyatvaṁ prāpto jñānāvarodhatāt
vyāsāl labdho-kṛṣṇa-dīkṣo madhvācāryo mahā-yaśaḥ
“‘To arrest the propagation of impersonal empirical knowledge, Śrī Sukadeva Gosvāmī became the disciple of Śrī Vyāsadeva. The illustrious Śrī Madhvācārya later took initiation from Śrī Vyāsadeva into the science of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Śrī Narahari became the twice-born disciple of Madhvācārya.
tasya śiṣyo naraharis tac-chiṣyo mādhavo dvijaḥ
akṣobhyas tasya śiṣyo ‘bhut tac-chiṣyo jayatīrthakaḥ
“‘Śrī Mādhava Vipra was the disciple of Śrī Narahari. Śrī Akṣobhya then became the disciple of Mādhava Vipra. The disciple of Akṣobhya was Śrī Jayatīrtha.
tasya śiṣyo jñānasindhus tasya śiṣyo mahānidhiḥ
vidyānidhis tasya śiṣyo rājendras tasya sevakaḥ
“‘The disciple of Śrī Jayatīrtha was Śrī Jñānasindhu. The disciple of Jñānasindhu was Śrī Mahānidhi, and Śrī Vidyānidhi was the disciple of Mahānidhi. Śrī Rājendra was the devoted disciple of Śrī Vidyānidhi.
jayadharmo munis tasya śiṣyo yad gaṇa-madhyataḥ
śrīmad-viṣṇupurī yas tu ‘bhakti-ratnāvalī-kṛtiḥ
“‘Śrī Jayadharma Muni was to become the disciple of Śrī Rājendra. Among the many disciples and followers of Śrī Jayadharma Muni, Śrī Viṣṇu Purī was a prominent ācārya and wrote the famous book Bhakti–ratnāvalī.
jayadharmasya śiṣyo ‘bhūd brāhmaṇaḥ puruṣottamaḥ
vyāsa-tīrthas tasya śiṣyo yaś cakre’viṣṇu-saṁhitaṁ
“‘The disciple of Śrī Jayadharma Muni was Śrī Brahmaṇya Puruṣottama whose disciple was Śrī Vyāsa-tīrtha who composed the treatise Viṣṇu-saṁhitāṁ.
śrīmāl lakṣmīpatis tasya śiṣyo bhakti-rasāśrayaḥ
tasya śiṣyo mādhavendro yad-dharmo ‘yaṁ pravartitaḥ
“‘Śrī Vyāsa-tīrtha’s disciple was Śrī Lakṣmīpati and Śrī Mādhavendra Purī, an embodiment of devotional rasa, became his disciple. The science of pure devotional service was propagated by Śrīla Mādhavendra Purī.’”
Vrajanātha, “In the first Daśa-mūla śloka, the Vedas are declared as the only pramāṇa. Pratyakṣa–paramaṁ, the evidence from direct perception, has been relegated to the position of being a subordinate pramāṇa of the Vedas. However, in the philosophical schools of nyāya and sāṅkhya, etc., there is a larger group of pramāṇas. Even the followers of the Purāṇas have enumerated at least eight pramāṇas: pratyakṣa, direct perception; anumāna, inference; upamāna, analogy; śabda, knowledge revealed through sound; aitihya, traditional knowledge; anupalabdhe, knowledge deduced from the non-perceived; arthapatti, derivative knowledge; and sambhava, probability.
“Why are there conflicting views on this point? Furthermore, if pratyakṣa, direct perception, and anumāna, inference, are not acknowledged as principal pramāṇas, how is knowledge to be communicated and perceived? Kindly make me understand this point.”
Raghunātha dāsa Bābājī, “Pratyakṣa, anumāna, etc., are sentient pramāṇas, entirely dependent upon sense perception. However, the senses of the jīva are imperfect because of the four innate shortcomings: bhrama, the tendency to be illusioned; pramāda, the tendency to make mistakes because of illusion and inattention; vipralipsā, the tendency to cheat; and karaṇāpāṭava, the limitations of inadequate and imperfect senses.
“Consequently, how can knowledge or information, communicated through these imperfect senses, be accurate and authentic? It is, however, the great spiritual preceptors and wise sages deeply absorbed in meditation that have received the absolutely perfect knowledge in the form of the Vedas, revealed to them by the omnipotent and fully independent Supreme Godhead, who personally appeared in their hearts. In this way, this flawless knowledge is accepted from the Lord without the disturbances caused by the limitations of the material senses.”
Vrajanātha, “Please explain the four human failings you have just mentioned, in detail.”
Raghunātha dāsa Bābājī, “The inadequate sense organs of the jīva sometimes have fallacious, illusory perceptions upon coming into contact with matter, these misconceptions are known as bhrama. For example, the eye mistakes a mirage in a desert for water.
“Further, the mundane intelligence of the jīva is limited by nature. Therefore, he draws mistaken, erroneous conclusions if he attempts to probe the unlimited potencies of the Supreme Lord. For example, in the matter of the Lord’s supreme dominion, the jīva enquires with an intelligence restricted by the mundane concepts of time and space and therefore draws mistaken conclusions. These mistakes of inadvertence are called pramāda.
“Doubts, suspicion, reluctance to believe, and cheating constitute vipralipsā.
“Finally, the physical senses are incompetent and imperfect, and wrong decisions are often made because of the erroneous and limited information received from them in certain circumstances. This is called karaṇāpāṭava.”
Vrajanātha, “Does this mean that pratyakṣa and the other related pramāṇas, such as anumāna, have no relevance?”
Raghunātha dāsa Bābājī, “Is the cultivation of material, empirical knowledge available with any means other than pratyakṣa, etc? In understanding the spiritual world, however, pratyakṣa is impotent. The Vedas are the only evidence, which is qualified for transcendental topics. If knowledge acquired through the evidences of pratyakṣa, anumāna, etc., correspond with the perfect teachings of the Vedas, then of course we are duty-bound to accept such evidences. Consequently the self-perfected Vedas, supported by the subordinate pratyakṣa evidences, are the only true evidence.”
Vrajanātha, “Are scriptures such as the Bhagavad-gītā, Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, and so on, not true evidences?”
Raghunātha dāsa Bābājī, “The Bhagavad–gītā was directly spoken by the Supreme Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa, therefore it is as good as the Vedas and thus it has been named the Gītopaniṣad. Similarly, the doctrines of the Daśa-mūla were spoken by the Supreme Lord Śrī Caitanya so they also are as good as the Vedas. The essence of the vast Vedas is summarised and compiled in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, making this book the epitome of all evidences. As far as the teachings of the other smṛti scriptures are in pursuance of the Vedic tenets, they are also pramāṇa.
“The Tantra scriptures are of three categories: sattvika, in goodness; rājasika, in passion; and tāmasika, in ignorance. The Pañcarātra treatises are sattvika. The Sanskrit root ‘tan’ means to diffuse, and since the sattvika–tantras diffuse the secret Vedic truths they are also accepted as pramāṇa.”
Vrajanātha, “The Vedas comprise innumerable texts. Which are bona fide and which not? Kindly tell me.”
Raghunātha dāsa Bābājī, “In the course of time many unscrupulous men have interpolated chapters; maṇḍalas, sections; and mantras into the Vedas for self-interested reasons. A Vedic text may be discovered somewhere, but that does not mean that all parts of the book are authentic. Texts that have been authenticated through the ages by the ācāryas of the bona fide sampradāyas are the Vedas. Sections or even entire books rejected by these authorities are unacceptable to us.”
Vrajanātha, “Which Vedic literatures have been accepted by the ācāryas?”
Raghunātha dāsa Bābājī, “There are eleven Upaniṣads which are sattvika: the Īśa, Kena, Kaṭha, Praśna, Muṇḍaka, Māṇḍūkya, Taittirīya, Aitareya, Chāndogya, Bṛhad-āraṇyaka, and Śvetāśvatara.
“A few Tāpanīs, extremely helpful with Deity worship, and so on, are also included. They are the Gopāla-tāpany-upaniṣad, Nṛsiṁha-tāpanīyopaniṣad, etc.
“Corollary literature of the Ṛg, Sāma, Yajur, and Atharva Vedas are also bona fide. They are dissertations on the Vedas, known as the Brāhmaṇas, Maṇḍalas, etc. All these scriptures have been authorized by the previous ācāryas and are thus accepted as pramāṇas, having been authenticated by the liberated souls.”
Vrajanātha, “What is the proof that logic and rhetoric have no jurisdiction in the realm of spirituality?”
Raghunātha dāsa Bābājī, “Here are quotes from the scriptures, listen to them in the Kaṭha Upaniṣad, 1.2.9:
naiṣā tarkeṇa matir āpaneyā proktānyenaiva su-jñānāya preṣṭha
“‘O Naciketa! Now you have attained the transcendental consciousness of self-knowledge do not squander it through the tarka, logic, of dry empirical debates.’
“Here is an outstanding quote from the Vedas, giving further proof, Brahma-sūtra, 2.1.11:
“‘Contentious rhetoric and empirical logic are unable to extract the correct conclusions from the scriptures. The conclusions established through logic and argument by one scholar today are certainly refuted and dismembered the next day. Hence, logic and rhetoric have been disqualified.’
“That example was from the Vedānta-sūtra. There is further in the Mahābhārata, Bhīṣma-Parva, 5.22:
acintyāḥ khalu ye bhāvā na tāṁs tarkeṇa yojayet
prakṛtibhyaḥ paraṁ yac ca tad acintyasya lakṣaṇam
“‘That which is beyond material nature and thereby outside the parameter of sense perception is the inconceivable Absolute Truth. Therefore why attempt the impossible and endeavour to approach it through empirical arguments?’
“This verse points out the short and limited reach of logic. The grandmaster of the science of devotion, Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī, a stalwart in spiritual arbitration, writes in his monumental devotional work the Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu, Purva 1.45:
svalpāpi rucir eva syād bhakti-tattvāvabodhikā
yuktis tu kevalā naiva yad asyā apratiṣṭhatā
“‘We learn from the śabda-pramāṇa of the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam and other corollary texts that ruci, taste and attraction, for the Supreme Lord is born out of many lifetimes of pure and pious deeds. Even a minute amount of such ruci produces the subtle sense of percipience for the transcendental science of devotion. Yet, by merely employing dry speculative intellect, the philosophy of bhakti remains incomprehensible, because within bhakti logic has no locus standi.’
“Truth cannot be ascertained irrefutably by mundane logic. An ancient proverb lends support to this view, quoted in the Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu, Purva 1.46:
yatnenāpādito ‘py arthaḥ kuśalair anumātṛbhiḥ
abhiyuktatarair anyair anyathaivopapādyate
“‘An expert logician and rhetorician cleverly formulates a theory through argument and logic. Nevertheless, soon a more proficient logician demolishes it easily. This may happen to you. Therefore, logic and mundane rationale are untrustworthy.’”
Vrajanātha, “Respected Bābājī Mahārāja, I have now properly understood that the Vedas are the self-perfected pramāṇa, whose philosophical authority is contested by the logicians to no avail. Kindly tell me the second śloka of the Daśa-mūla doctrines.”
Raghunātha dāsa Bābājī, “Hear the Daśa Mūla, second verse:
haris tv ekaṁ tattvaṁ vidhi-śiva-sureśa-praṇamito
yad evedaṁ brahma prakṛti-rahitaṁ tat-tanu mahaḥ
parātmā tasyāṁśo jagad anugato viśva-janakaḥ
sa vai rādhā-kānto nava-jalada-kāntiś cid-udayaḥ
“‘The Supreme Lord, Śrī Hari, who is worshiped by Lord Brahmā, Lord Śiva, Lord Indra and other great personalities, is alone the One Absolute Truth. The Brahman is impotent and impersonal, the bodily effulgence of Śrī Hari. Paramātmā, the Supersoul, the Universal Controller, who is omnipresent throughout the material creation, is merely the partial expansion of Śrī Hari. This Supreme Personality Śrī Hari is our dearest Lord, the most beloved of Śrīmatī Rādhikā, the embodiment of spiritual ecstasy with a complexion that flouts the beauty of fresh monsoon clouds.’”
Vrajanātha, “The Upaniṣads have declared that Brahman is transcendental to this material nature and is the highest Absolute Truth. Therefore, kindly explain to me what arguments Śrī Gaura-hari Caitanya has put forward to establish that Brahman is the bodily lustre of Śrī Hari.”
Raghunātha dāsa Bābājī, “Śrī Hari is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The following statement from the Viṣṇu Purāṇa, 6.5.47, enumerates the qualifications of His divinity:
aiśvaryasya samagrasya vīryasya yaśasaḥ śriyaḥ
jñāna-vairāgyayoś caiva ṣaṇṇāṁ bhaga itīṅganā
“‘One who possesses all these six divine and inconceivable excellences known as bhaga to the utmost degree, namely opulence, power, fame, beauty, knowledge, and renunciation is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, thus known as Bhagavān.’
“These six qualities are inseparably connected, like the body and its limbs. However, which of them is the body and which of them are the limbs? ‘Body’ means that which is the resting place of the ‘limbs.’ For example, the tree trunk is the body and the branches, twigs and leaves are the limbs of the tree. Similarly, the human torso is the body and the arms and legs are the limbs of the body. Of the Lord’s qualities, unlimited beauty is the very nature of the transcendental form of the Lord and is thus the principal quality forming the body of which all other qualities are the extended limbs. In this way, opulence, power, and fame become the three main limbs of the Lord’s beauty. And from this quality of fame, the subordinate and related qualities of knowledge and renunciation radiate as the Lord’s effulgence. Therefore, Brahman is the brilliance of the entire creation—and of the Supreme Lord’s transcendental form. Perception of this radiant nirvikāra–brahman, that is the Supreme without activity and transformation, bestows brahma-jñāna, spiritual knowledge, and thereby vairāgya, material renunciation, because the nirvikāra-brahman is the effulgence of the unlimitedly beautiful body and transcendental abode of the Lord. Thus, this nirvikāra-brahman, being immutable, inactive, incorporeal, and impersonal, is in itself not the perfect absolute source, but the subordinate attribute of the Supreme Lord. The light of the fire is not the self-accomplished and dynamic principal source, but is solely dependent upon the fire for its existence.”
Vrajanātha, “On numerous occasions, descriptions of the impersonal Brahman in the Vedas are often followed by the words, auṁ śāntiḥ, śāntiḥ, hariḥ, auṁ. This sentence declares that Hari is the Supreme Divine principle. The question then arises, Who is that personality, Hari, to whom this śloka refers?”
Raghunātha dāsa Bābājī, “Hari refers to the transcendental couple, Śrī Rādhā and Śrī Kṛṣṇa, who are eternally engaged in their amorous pastimes.”
Vrajanātha, “Later, I would like to delve more deeply into that topic. However, for now kindly tell me how Paramātmā, the Universal Progenitor, is a partial expansion of the Supreme Godhead?”
Raghunātha dāsa Bābājī, “The Supreme Lord conducts the work of creation of this material cosmos through the agency of two of His potencies: opulence and power. He then enters His creation in the form of His partial expansion Śrī Viṣṇu and notwithstanding remains the complete whole in all respects, as is substantiated in the Bṛhad-āraṇyaka Upaniṣad, 5.1:
pūrṇam adaḥ pūrṇam idaṁ pūrṇāt pūrṇam udacyate
pūrṇasya pūrṇam ādāya pūrṇam evāvaśiṣyate
“‘The Personality of Godhead is perfect and complete. And because He is completely perfect all emanations from Him, such as this phenomenal world, are perfectly equipped as a complete whole. Whatever is produced of the complete whole is also complete in itself. And because He is the complete whole, even though so many complete units emanate from Him, He remains the complete balance.’
“Therefore, Śrī Viṣṇu, pervading and controlling this material world, is the Paramātmā and Supreme Progenitor. He manifests Himself in three forms: Kāraṇodakaśāyī Viṣṇu, Kṣīrodakaśāyī Viṣṇu, and Garbhodakaśāyī Viṣṇu. The limitless watery expanse that separates the spiritual world from the material universe is known as the kāraṇa–samudra, the Causal Ocean. It is also called the Virajā. The form of Viṣṇu situated within this ocean is the Kāraṇodakaśāyī Viṣṇu, Śrī Mahā Viṣṇu. He lies within the kāraṇa–samudra and glances at Māyā, His energy, and thus brings the material world into existence. Numerous references to this fact are found in the scriptures:
“In the Bhagavad-gītā, 9.10:
mayādhyakṣeṇa prakṛtiḥ sūyate sacarācaram
“‘This material nature is working under My direction, O son of Kunti, and is producing all moving and non-moving beings.’
“In the Aitareya Upaniṣad, 3.11:
sa aikṣata tat-tejo ’sṛjata
“‘He (Śrī Viṣṇu) saw, and His power sent forth the creation.’
“Further, in the Aitareya Upaniṣad, 1.1.2.
sa imān lokān asṛjata
“‘The Supreme Ātmā, the Supersoul, glanced upon His own energy (Māyā) and created all moving and non-moving beings.’
“The potency of Śrī Mahā Viṣṇu manifests in His glance, which impregnates and pervades the entire material nature, and is personified in the form of Garbhodakaśāyī Viṣṇu. The entire mass of conditioned jīvas, who are infinitesimal parts and parcels of Śrī Mahā Viṣṇu, are also produced by His transcendental glance, Garbhodakaśāyī Viṣṇu. Then, Garbhodakaśāyī Viṣṇu accepts the minuscule size of a thumb or even smaller and enters the heart of every jīva as Paramātmā. In this form, He is known as Kṣīrodakaśāyī Viṣṇu who is thus a partial expansion of Garbhodakaśāyī Viṣṇu. Both the jīva soul and Paramātmā, the latter also known as Hiraṇyagarbha, reside simultaneously within the heart of the material body of the jīva like two birds upon the same branch of a tree. The bird representing Paramātmā bestows upon the other bird, the jīva, the fruits of his labour. In this way, the jīva tastes the results of his formative material actions. This is confirmed in the scriptures:
“In the Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad, 4.6:
dvā suparṇa-sayujā sakhāyā
samānaṁ vṛkṣaṁ pariṣasvajāte
“‘The Supreme Lord and the individual soul are sitting in the body like two friendly birds in a tree.’
“In the Bhagavad-gītā, 10.41-42:
yad yad vibhūtimat sattvaṁ śrīmad ūrjitam eva vā
tat tad evāvagaccha tvāṁ mama tejo-’ṁśa-sambhavam
“‘Know that all beautiful, glorious, and mighty creations spring from but a spark of My splendour.’
atha vā bahunaitena kiṁ jñātena tavārjuna
viṣṭabhyāham idaṁ kṛtsnam ekāṁśena sthito jagat
“‘Yet, what need is there, Arjuna, for all this detailed knowledge? With a single fragment of Myself, I pervade and support this entire universe.’
“In this manner, the partial expansion of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the Paramātmā, manifests Himself within the material universe as the universal father and maintainer with but a fragment of His unlimited energy.”
Vrajanātha, “Thank you, I have now understood that Brahman is the bodily lustre of Śrī Hari and that Paramātmā is the partial expansion of Śrī Hari. Now kindly show me the scriptural evidences that Śrī Hari is Śrī Kṛṣṇa.”
Raghunātha dāsa Bābājī, “The Supreme Lord eternally manifests His two spiritual moods simultaneously, aiśvarya, unlimited majesty and opulence, and mādhurya, transcendental beauty and amorous sweetness. In His aiśvarya manifestation, He is Śrī Nārāyaṇa, Lord of the Vaikuṇṭha planets, and the fountainhead of all the Viṣṇu expansions. In His mādhurya manifestation, He is Śrī Kṛṣṇa, embodying the highest perfection of mādhurya. In fact, the intensity of mādhurya manifest in Śrī Kṛṣṇa thoroughly covers any trace of His aiśvarya. In terms of philosophy, Śrī Nārāyaṇa and Śrī Kṛṣṇa are non-different. Yet, in the consideration of transcendental rasa, Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the source and repository of all such rasa and as such He is therefore the highest and most relishable amongst all spiritual truths. The scriptures abound in verses describing His attractiveness.
“In the Ṛg-Veda 1.22.164, sūkta 31, we find this verse:
apaśyaṁ gopām anipadyamāna
mā ca parā ca pathibhiś carantam
sa sadhrīcīḥ sa viṣucīr vasāna
avarīrvati bhuvaneṣv antaḥ
“‘I saw a young cowherd boy, who being infallible and indestructible never falls from His position. He moves mysteriously, sometimes He is near, sometimes He is far away; in this manner, He moves in various ways. Sometimes, He is clothed in many robes of silk of gorgeous hues and at other times differently dressed. In this way, He is repeatedly appearing and disappearing in this universe pursuing His transcendental pastimes.’
“In the Chāndogya Upaniṣad, 8.13, we come across this verse:
śyāmāc chavalaṁ prapadye śavalāc chyāmaṁ prapadye
“‘The multifarious energies of the Supreme Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa are known as śabala. Through the process of surrendering to Kṛṣṇa, I find shelter in the hlādinī-śakti, which is the quintessence of all His energies. In the divine sanctuary of this hlādinī-śakti, I attain pure loving devotion to Śrī Kṛṣṇa, Śrī Śyāmasundara.’
“Śabala also means gaura, golden. In that sense śyāma, kṛṣṇa-bhajana, leads to gaura-caitanya, consciousness of Gaura, which then leads to gaura–bhajana, worship of Gaura, which then leads to Śyāma, Śrī Kṛṣṇa.
“The above verse describes thus the eternal spiritual activities of the liberated souls. The Śrīmad–Bhāgavatam, 1.3.28, states:
ete cāṁśa-kalāḥ puṁsaḥ kṛṣṇas tu bhagavān svayam
“‘All the incarnations are either plenary portions or parts of the plenary portions of the Lord, but Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the original Supreme Personality of Godhead.’
“The Bhagavad gītā, 7.7, explains:
mattaḥ parataraṁ nānyat kiñcid asti dhanañjaya
“‘O conqueror of wealth, there is no truth superior to Me.’
“In the Gopāla-tāpany-upaniṣad, Purva 21, we read:
eko vaśī sarva-gaḥ kṛṣṇa īḍyaḥ
eko ‘pi san bahudhā yo ‘vabhāti
“‘Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the only Supreme Personality who can bring every being under His sway. He is the Absolute Brahman, omnipresent and without a second, and the Divine Object of the worship of everyone. Although He is singular, yet by the power of His inconceivable potency He manifests Himself in a myriad of forms and thus performs unlimited variegated pastimes.’
Vrajanātha, “Śrī Kṛṣṇa possesses madhya–makara, a medium sized form. So how can He be sarvagaḥ, all pervasive? If we accept the fact that He has a form, it automatically presupposes that He is restricted to one place. This reveals certain philosophical discrepancies. Firstly, if through having form He is restricted to one place this inhibits His potency of being omnipresent. Secondly, by having a body He would be forced to be under the subjugation of the three material modes and thereby His absolute freedom and authority would be impinged upon. How can these contradictions be reconciled?”
Raghunātha dāsa Bābājī, “My son, you have allowed yourself to be trapped by mundane logic and rationalisation, so doubts cloud your mind. As long as the intelligence is encaged by the three material modes, it cannot properly perceive śuddha–sattva, pure goodness. Yet, in its vain attempt to do so, it merely interpolates the gross dimensions upon the spiritual platform of śuddha–sattva and finally constructs a material picture. Intimidated by this overbearing and confounding concoction of the material mind, the material intelligence then seeks escape into the impersonal conception of monistic Brahman. Unfortunately, if this reaction becomes fixed, it closes the doors to perception and realization of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
“However, when we understand that the human-like appearance of the Supreme Lord is completely spiritual, then the discrepancies mentioned by you are done away with. Nirākāra, formlessness, nirvikāra, immutability, niṣkriya, inactivity, and so on actually indicate the transcendental nature of Kṛṣṇa’s form, which comprises of a spiritual status inherently distinct from the qualities of the perceivable material creation. Therefore, these terms may be taken as retrospectively indicating spiritual qualities through negation. Juxtaposed with them, however, are positive descriptions of Kṛṣṇa’s excellences, such as a bright and beaming face, eyes like lotus petals, the cooling sanctuary of His lotus feet, exquisite and graceful limbs, and so on. Thus, a spiritual form in pure goodness is described. The madhya-makara human-like form of Kṛṣṇa is the embodiment of both kinds of characteristics—form and all-pervasiveness—and is supremely exquisite.
“In the Nārada Pañcarātra we come across this statement:
nirdoṣa pūrṇa guṇa grahātmā tantre
niścetanātmāka-śarīra-guṇais ca hīnaḥ
sarvatra ca svagata-bheda-vivarjitātmā
“‘The Supreme Personality of Godhead possesses a perfect, omniscient, transcendental form. The Lord’s body is not material—without consciousness and experiencing the three stages of birth, maintenance and destruction. In fact, His body is saturated with divine consciousness, devoid of mundane qualities, supramundane, and infused with spiritual bliss—all the parts and limbs of His body are blissful. His body is free from the duality that distinguishes the body from the self, the qualities from the person—it is fully spiritual, non-different from Him.’
“The purport of this verse is that the form of Śrī Kṛṣṇa is eternal, full of knowledge and bliss. His form is not tainted by any material qualities, nor does it have even the slightest in common with matter. It is beyond the touch of material time, place and circumstance. Śrī Kṛṣṇa is present in fullness everywhere, simultaneously. He is the indivisible embodiment of non-dual absolute knowledge. In the transcendental world all the inherent qualities are limitless, so within the madhya–makara spiritual form of Śrī Krsna the quality of sarvagaḥ can nicely reside even though such a quality certainly cannot exist in a middle-sized item of the material world. Furthermore, unlike all material form, the spiritual body of Śrī Kṛṣṇa is omnipresent, even upon the mundane material level. This is the inconceivable mystic potency of the sat-cit-ānanda vigraha form of the Lord.
“Is this same inconceivable mystic potency exhibited in the conception the all-pervading impersonal Brahman? Material nature is obedient to the limits of time, place and circumstance. When an entity—who is by nature actually outside the scope of time and place—is equated with the all-encompassing yet limited material space, then what extraordinary transcendental qualities are being properly evoked?
“The Chāndogya Upaniṣad states that the eternal abode of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, Vraja, is known as Brahma-pura. It is absolute, fully transcendental and endowed with unlimited spiritual variegatedness. Everything there is dynamic and spiritual, such as the paraphernalia, earth, water, all the elements, rivers, trees, the sky, sun, moon, stars, and so on. All material discrepancies are absent and Brahma-pura, Vraja, is one hundred percent infused with divine bliss.
“My son! This place of Māyāpura-Navadvīpa that you reside within is also purely transcendental. However, as there is a net of māyā covering your perception, you are unable to realize the innate transcendence of this place. When, by the mercy of the saintly souls, your spiritual vision arises, then you will be able to see this holy land as it really is. You will see that Māyāpura and Navadvīpa are transcendental realms; then only will your stay here be realized as the perfection of vraja-vāsa, residence in Vraja.
“Who has taught you that whoever possesses a madhya–makara form is automatically restricted by the mundane, material qualities? As long as your consciousness is polluted by such mundane conceptions, you will be unable to realize the purely spiritual potency of the transcendental form of the Lord, simply because it apparently resembles the human appearance.”
Vrajanātha, “Respected Bābājī, the Deity form, bodily lustre, pastime paraphernalia, associates, homes, woods, love-groves, etc., of Śrī Rādhā and Śrī Kṛṣṇa are all supramundane and the intelligent person should not have any doubts regarding their transcendental quality. However, the question that follows is, ‘How do the incarnations of the Supreme Lord manifest their transcendental vigrahas, forms; dhāmas, abodes; and līlās, pastimes, upon the limited mundane platform?’”
Raghunātha dāsa Bābājī, “For the all-powerful Supreme Lord, Śrī Kṛṣṇa, nothing is impossible and He is always engrossed in performing extraordinary activities. He is self-willed, totally independent, and omnipotent. If He so desires, He can easily manifest His transcendental vigrahas, dhāmas, and līlās within this material universe. How can anyone doubt this?”
Vrajanātha, “Truly, if the Supreme Lord wishes to show His purely spiritual, self-manifest vigraha, etc., in the material world, He can easily do so. However, when the people of this world see these manifestations they generally see the transcendental dhāma as a part of the material topography, His transcendental vigraha as a mortal, mutable, material body, and His esoteric, supramundane līlās as ordinary dealings. Why? If Kṛṣṇa has bestowed His blessings upon the world by these spiritual manifestations, then why has he excluded the people from developing the necessary transcendental vision to recognise their divine sac-cid-ānanda nature?”
Raghunātha dāsa Bābājī, “Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the proprietor of unlimited transcendental qualities. Bhakta–vatsala, loving protectiveness and favour towards His devotees, is one of them. Through the agency of His hlādinī–sakti, the Lord rewards His pure devotees with the transcendental vision to directly behold His self-manifesting spiritual vigraha. Similarly, in the hearts of His devotees the Lord’s līlās are perceived as absolutely transcendental and glorious. However, the senses of non-devotees are mundane as a result of their offensive and atheistic mentality; hence, they cannot perceive the distinction between the supramundane līlās of the Supreme Lord and ordinary historical events.”
Vrajanātha, “Yet, did Kṛṣṇa not descend to this material world out of compassion for the general population?”
Raghunātha dāsa Bābājī, “Certainly the descent of the Lord into the material universe is actually a benediction for everyone. The pure devotees perceive the Lord’s līlā of descent into the material world as a purely transcendental activity, but the non-devotees do not. These sceptics see these appearance līlās as a combination of the mystic with the material phenomena. Yet, despite of their perverted vision, they still receive a degree of greatly beneficial sukṛti from the Lord’s manifestation, merely by the acintya–śakti, inconceivable potency, of the pure spirit in action. As their sukṛti begins to swell, these doubtful individuals gradually gain śraddhā in the process of unalloyed devotional service to Kṛṣṇa. Therefore, the incarnation līlās of the Supreme Lord are also thoroughly beneficial to the general body of humanity at large.”
Vrajanātha, “Why have the līlās of Śrī Kṛṣṇa not been presented more distinctly within the Vedas?”
Raghunātha dāsa Bābājī, “Throughout, the Vedas have repeatedly sung hymns glorifying the pastimes of Śrī Kṛṣṇa. However, in some sections the pastimes are in the spotlight and in others they are not so prominent. Through the abhidhā–vṛtti, principal meaning of a word, the descriptions are direct and through the lakṣaṇā–vṛtti, secondary meaning of a word, the descriptions are indirect.
“An example of abhidhā–vṛtti is in the Chāndogya Upaniṣad: …śyāmāc chavalaṁ prapadye… ‘I take shelter of the multifarious energies of Śrī Śyāma, Kṛṣṇa, which are known as śabala.’ Similarly, at the end of the Chāndogya Upaniṣad direct meanings are used to describe devotional surrender, the eternity of rasa, and the service to Śrī Kṛṣṇa of the liberated souls, each according to his own particular intensity of rasa. Examples of lakṣaṇā–vṛtti are in the treatises of the munis, Yājñavalkya, Gārgī, and Maitreya, which begin with toned-down indirect inferences to the qualities of Śrī Kṛṣṇa. However, at the end of these treatises, the narratives prominently describe and establish the spiritual superiority of Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s qualities, which had been dealt with indirectly earlier in the text.
“In certain sections, the Vedas have chosen the anvaya–paddhati, direct method, to broadcast the eternal līlās of the Supreme Lord, and in many places they have reverted to the vyatireka–paddhati, indirect or inferential method, and thus glorified Brahman and Paramātmā. After all, the Vedic scriptures are spoken simply to describe Śrī Kṛṣṇa and His supreme excellences.”
Vrajanātha, “Revered Bābājī! I have no further doubts that Śrī Hari is the Supreme Absolute Truth. Nonetheless, what is the position of the other worshipable personages such as Lord Brahmā, Lord Śiva, Indra, Sūrya, Gaṇeśa, and the other devas? Many brāhmaṇas believe that Lord Śiva is the highest concept of Brahman. I, born in such a brāhmaṇa caste family, have heard this opinion since my childhood and have been repeating the same. Kindly explain the hidden truth interred in these differing views.”
Raghunātha dāsa Bābājī, “Please pay attention to this delineation of the different qualities inherent in the ordinary jīvas, the worshipable devas and devīs, and the Supreme Lord Himself. The excellences of Śrī Kṛṣṇa set the standard by which the gradation of the other personalities is ascertained.
Unequivocally, the following verses from the Bhakti–rasāmṛta–sindhu, 1st Wave, 11-12.14-18, establish the superiority of Śrī Kṛṣṇa:
ayaṁ netā su-ramyāṅgaḥ sarva-sal-lakṣaṇānvitaḥ
ruciras tejasā yukto balīyān vayasānvitaḥ
“‘Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Hero, has (1) the most beautiful transcendental body. This body possesses (2) all good features. It is (3) radiantly beautiful and very pleasing to the eyes. His body is (4) courageously powerful, (5) strong and (6) youthful.’
vividhādbhuta-bhāṣā-vit satya-vākyaḥ priyaṁ-vadaḥ
vāvadūkaḥ su-pāṇḍityo buddhimān pratibhānvitaḥ
“‘Kṛṣṇa is (7) the most expert linguist of all wonderful languages. He is (8) a truthful and (9) very pleasing and charming speaker. He is (10) eloquent, and He is (11) very wise, (12) a learned scholar, and (13) a resourceful genius.’
vidagdhaś caturo dakṣaḥ kṛta-jñaḥ su-dṛḍha-vrataḥ
deśa-kāla-supātra-jñaḥ śāstra-cakṣuḥ śucir vaśī
“‘Kṛṣṇa is (14) very expert in the artistic enjoyment of mellows. He is (15) highly cunning, (16) expert, (17) grateful, and (18) firmly determined in His vows. He (19) astutely knows how to deal according to time, place, person and country, and (20) He sees through the scriptures and authoritative books. He is (21) very clean and pure and (22) self-controlled, a master of the senses.’
sthiro dāntaḥ kṣamā-śīlo gambhīro dhṛtimān samaḥ
vadānyo dhārmikaḥ śūraḥ karuṇo mānya-māna-kṛt
“‘Śrī Kṛṣṇa is (23) steady, (24) His senses are controlled in forbearance, and He is (25) forgiving, (26) grave and (27) self-satisfied and calm. He is also (28) equal to all. Moreover, He is (29) magnanimous, (30) virtuous and religious, (31) chivalrous, and (32) compassionate and kind. He is (33) always respectful to worthy people.’
dakṣiṇo vinayī hrīmān śaraṇāgata-pālakaḥ
sukhī bhakta-suhṛt prema-vaśyaḥ sarva-śubhaṅ-karaḥ
“‘Kṛṣṇa is (34) very simple and liberal, (35) humble and modest, (36) shy and bashful, and (37) the protector of the surrendered souls. He is (38) very happy and (39) always the well-wisher of His devotees. He is (40) submissive to prema and (41) the all-auspicious benefactor of all.’
pratāpī kīrtimān rakta-lokaḥ sādhu-samāśrayaḥ
nārī-gaṇa-manohārī sarvārādhyaḥ samṛddhimān
“‘Kṛṣṇa is (42) very influential and (43) most famous, and He (44) is the beloved object of attachment for everyone. He is (45) the shelter of the good and the virtuous. He is (46) attractive to the minds of women and (47) worshipable by everyone. He is (48) very, very rich and opulent.’
varīyān īśvaraś ceti guṇās tasyānukīrtitāḥ
samudrā iva pañcāśad durvigāhā harer amī
“‘Kṛṣṇa is (49) superior to all, and (50) always glorified as the Supreme Controller. All the previously mentioned fifty transcendental qualities are in the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Śrī Kṛṣṇa, to an extent as deep as the ocean. In other words, the opulence of Śrī Kṛṣṇa is difficult to fully comprehend.’
jīveṣv ete vasanto ’pi bindu-bindutayā kvacit
paripūrṇatayā bhānti tatraiva puruṣottame
“‘In the jīvas these fifty qualities are sometimes exhibited as small drops, but only in the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Śrī Kṛṣṇa, are they fully exhibited as an unlimited ocean.’
atha pañca-guṇā ye syur aṁśena giriśādiṣu
“‘Apart from these fifty qualities, there are another five qualities found in the Supreme Personality of Godhead that are also partially present in the highest devas like Lord Brahmā and Lord Śiva, but not in the ordinary jīvas.’
sadā svarūpa-samprāptaḥ sarva-jño nitya-nūtanaḥ
“‘These qualities are (51) the Lord is always situated in His original position, (52) He is omniscient, (53) He is always fresh and youthful, (54) He is the concentrated form of eternity, knowledge and bliss, and (55) He is the possessor of all mystic perfection.’
athocyante guṇāḥ pañca ye lakṣmīśādi-vartinaḥ
ātmārāma-gaṇākarṣīty amī kṛṣṇe kilādbhutāḥ
“‘There are another five qualities, which are manifest in the Vaikuṇṭha planets by Śrī Nārāyaṇa, the Lord of Lakṣmī. These qualities are also present in Kṛṣṇa, but they are not present in devas like Lord Śiva or in the jīvas. These five are (56) the Lord possesses inconceivable supreme power, (57) He generates innumerable universes from His body, (58) He is the original source of all incarnations, (59) He bestows salvation upon the enemies He kills, and (60) He has the ability to attract exalted persons who are ātmārāma, satisfied within themselves. Although these qualities are present in Śrī Nārāyaṇa, the predominating Deity of the Vaikuṇṭha planets, they are even more wonderfully present in Kṛṣṇa.’
“‘Apart from these sixty transcendental qualities, Śrī Kṛṣṇa has an additional four transcendental qualities, which are not manifested even in the personality of Śrī Nārāyaṇa. These are (61) Kṛṣṇa is like an ocean filled with the waves of līlās that evoke wonder within everyone in the three worlds; (62) in His activities of conjugal love, Kṛṣṇa is always surrounded by His dear devotees who possess unequalled love for Him; (63) Kṛṣṇa attracts the minds of all the three worlds with the melodious vibration of His flute; (64) the personal beauty and opulence of Kṛṣṇa are beyond compare; no one is equal to Him, and no one is greater than Him. Thus the Personality of Godhead astonishes all living entities, both moving and non-moving, within the three worlds. He is so beautifully attractive that He is called Kṛṣṇa.’
līlā premṇā priyādhikyaṁ mādhuryaṁ veṇu-rūpayoḥ
ity asādhāraṇaṁ proktaṁ govindasya catuṣṭayam
evaṁ guṇāś catur-bhedāś catuḥ-ṣaṣṭir udāhṛtāḥ
“‘Above Nārāyaṇa, Kṛṣṇa has four specific transcendental qualities—His wonderful līlās, an abundance of wonderful associates who are very dear to Him [such as the gopīs], His wonderful beauty, and the wonderful vibration of His flute. Śrī Kṛṣṇa is more exalted than the innumerable jīvas and the devas like Lord Śiva. He is even more exalted than His personal expansion Śrī Nārāyaṇa. In all, the Supreme Personality of Godhead has these sixty-four transcendental qualities in unlimited fullness.’
“These sixty-four divine excellences are fully and eternally reposed in Kṛṣṇa, the embodiment of sac-cid-ānanda. The final four qualities belong unconditionally to Kṛṣṇa, not even His vilāsa, pastime expansions, can display them. The first sixty qualities, without the final four, reside in full brilliance in Śrī Nārāyaṇa. The first fifty-five qualities, without the last nine, are exhibited in Lord Śiva and the other devas in partial degrees. In the ordinary living entities, the first fifty excellences glimmer to varying extents.
“Lord Śiva, Lord Brahmā, Sūrya, Gaṇeśa, and Indra are especially empowered by the Supreme Lord with qualities enabling them to govern the affairs of the material universe; hence, they are empowered incarnations of the Lord. Nonetheless, their real position and original identities are as the eternal servants of Śrī Kṛṣṇa. Many individuals have attained pure devotional service to Śrī Kṛṣṇa by the mercy of these empowered servants, who are also worshipable deities for the jīvas on specific levels of spiritual progress. However, it is recommended to worship them as part and parcel of the Supreme Lord. If these empowered devas so desire, they can mercifully grant the jīva pure devotion to Śrī Kṛṣṇa, and by possessing this potency to bestow pure devotion they thereby become glorious and fit to be worshiped by all as gurus of the jīvas.
“The great devotee and best of the devas Lord Śiva has a unique position and status that makes him practically non-different from the Supreme Lord Himself. Simply for this reason, the sympathizers of māyāvādī philosophy wrongly consider Lord Śiva as the Supreme Brahman.”
Thus ends the thirteenth chapter of Jaiva-dharma, entitled: Nitya-dharma: Sambandha, Abhidheya and Prayojana, Part One: Pramāṇa, Evidence, and Prameya, Truth.