Śrī Kṛṣṇa-saṁhitā – Chapter 3 – Descriptions of the Lord’s Incarnations
bhagavac-chakti-kāryeṣu trividheṣu sva-śaktimān
vilasan vartate kṛṣṇaś cij-jīva-māyikeṣu ca
The two philosophies—advaita-vāda, or monism, from Vedānta and materialism from Sāṅkhya—have been current from time immemorial. Monism has been further divided into two, namely vivarta-vāda and māyāvāda. Among all these philosophers, some say the material world is a transformation of Brahman, some say it is false, and some have established the material world as beginningless. Swan-like persons, however, say that although Lord Kṛṣṇa is separate from all activities and their cause, by His inconceivable potency and through His three principle energies the Lord is nevertheless present and involved in the activities of Vaikuṇṭha, the living entities, and the material world.
cit-kāryeṣu svayaṁ kṛṣṇo jīve tu paramātmakaḥ
jaḍe yajñeśvaraḥ pūjyaḥ sarva-karma-phala-pradaḥ
Kṛṣṇa is personally present in spiritual activities, He is present as Supersoul in the living entities, and He is worshiped as Yajñeśvara in the material world. He alone awards the results of all activities.
sarvāṁśī sarva-rūpī ca sarvāvatāra-bījakaḥ
kṛṣṇas tu bhagavān sākṣān na tasmāt para eva hi
All the existing personal expansions and all the created separated expansions, the living entities, are products of Kṛṣṇa’s energy, therefore Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the origin of all expansions. Nothing can manifest outside of His energy, therefore He is the source of all forms. All incarnations of the Lord emanate from Him, therefore He is the source of all incarnations. Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. There is no truth superior to Him.
acintya-śakti-sampannaḥ sa kṛṣṇaḥ karuṇāmayaḥ
māyā-baddhasya jīvasya kṣemāya yatnavān sadā
That Kṛṣṇa is inconceivably powerful and merciful. He is ardently engaged in the welfare of the living entities who have been conditioned by Māyā due to misuse of their independence.
yad yad bhāgavato jīvas tat tad bhāgavato hariḥ
avatīrṇaḥ svaśaktyā saḥ krīḍatīva janaiḥ saha
When the conditioned souls receive various forms according to their nature, the Supreme Lord Kṛṣṇa, by His inconceivable potency, agrees to accompany them by incarnating and enjoying pastimes with them.
matsyeṣu matsya-bhāvo hi kacchape kūrma-rūpakaḥ
meru-daṇḍayute jīve varāha-bhāvavān hariḥ
When the living entities accept the position of fish, the Lord accepts His fish incarnation, Matsya. Matsya is without daṇḍa. When the living entities gradually accept the position of vajra-daṇḍa, then the Lord incarnates as Kūrma. When vajra-daṇḍa gradually becomes meru-daṇḍa, the Lord incarnates as Varāha.
nṛsiṁho madhya-bhāvo hi vāmanaḥ kṣudra-mānave
bhārgavo ‘sabhyavargeṣu sabhye dāśarathis tathā
When the living entities accept the combined position of human and animal, the Lord accepts His incarnation of Nṛsiṁha. When the living entities are short, He appears as Vāmana. When the living entities are uncivilised, He comes as Paraśurāma. When they are civilised, He appears as Rāmacandra.
sarva vijñāna-sampanne kṛṣṇas tu bhagavān svayam
tarka-niṣṭhanare buddho nāstike kalkir eva ca
When the living entities possess the wealth of practical knowledge, then Lord Kṛṣṇa Himself appears. When the living entities develop the tendency for argument, the Lord appears as Buddha. And when they are atheistic, the Lord comes as Kalki. These are well-known facts.
avatārā harer bhāvāḥ kramorddhva-gatimad-dhṛdi
na teṣāṁ janma-karmādau prapañco vartate kvacit
In the course of the gradual development of the living entities’ hearts, the Lord incarnates in a form corresponding to the mood of the devotees. The source and activities of those forms are untouched by material contamination.
jīvānāṁ krama-bhāvānāṁ lakṣaṇānāṁ vicārataḥ
kālo vibhajyate śāstre daśadhā ṛṣibhiḥ pṛthak
tat tat kālagato bhāvaḥ kṛṣṇasya lakṣyate hi yaḥ
sa eva kathyate vijñair avatāro hareḥ kila
After consideration, the sages have divided the history of the living entities’ advancement into ten periods of time. Each period has different symptoms, with each successive mood superior to the previous. Each progressive mood is described as an incarnation.
kenacid bhajyate kālaś catur-viṁśatidhā vidā
aṣṭādaśa-vibhāge vā cāvatāra-vibhāgaśaḥ
Some learned scholars have divided this period of time into twenty-four and ascertained twenty-four incarnations. Yet there are others who have divided it into eighteen with the corresponding number of incarnations.
māyayā ramaṇaṁ tucchaṁ kṛṣṇasya cit svarūpiṇaḥ
jīvasya tattva-vijñāne ramaṇaṁ tasya sammatam
Some people say that the Supreme Lord is omnipotent, therefore He may sometimes incarnate by His inconceivable energy in a material body, and all incarnations can therefore be accepted simply as historical incidents. According to the opinion of swan-like Vaiṣṇavas, this statement is extremely unreasonable because it is impossible for Lord Kṛṣṇa to accept a material body and perform material activities. Such action would be insignificant and abominable for Him. But His appearance and pastimes in the hearts of the realised living entities’ are accepted by both the sadhus and Kṛṣṇa.
chāyāyāḥ sūrya-sambhogo yathā na ghaṭate kvacit
māyāyāḥ kṛṣṇa-sambhogas tathā nasyāt kadācana
As the sun cannot enjoy its shadow, Kṛṣṇa cannot enjoy māyā.
māyāśritasya jīvasya hṛdaye kṛṣṇa-bhāvanā
kevalaṁ kṛpayā tasya nānyathā hi kadācana
What to speak of Kṛṣṇa enjoying māyā, He is not even seen by persons who are under the shelter of māyā. Yet simply by the mercy of Kṛṣṇa one can easily see Him through samādhi.
śrī kṛṣṇa-caritaṁ sākṣāt samādhi-darśitaṁ kila
na tatra kalpanā mithyā netihāso jaḍāśritaḥ
The pure activities of Kṛṣṇa have been perceived through the samādhi of swan-like persons like Vyāsadeva. Kṛṣṇa’s activities are not exactly historical like those of people under the clutches of māyā, because Kṛṣṇa’s activities are not limited to any time or place. Nor are His activities comparable with the activities of ordinary people.
vayaṁ tu caritaṁ tasya varṇayāmaḥ samātasaḥ
tattvataḥ kṛpayā kṛṣṇa- caitanyasya mahātmanaḥ
After careful consideration and by the mercy of Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya we will herein briefly describe the activities of Kṛṣṇa.
sarveṣām avatārāṇām artho bodhyo yathā mayā
kevalaṁ kṛṣṇa-tattvasya cārtho vijñāpito ‘dhunā
The explanation on the science of Kṛṣṇa that is presented in this book may be applied to His various incarnations. The conclusion is that Kṛṣṇa is the root cause and seed of all incarnations. He is eternally enjoying pastimes with the living entities as the Supersoul. The Supersoul reciprocates according to the mood and realisation a living entity acquires while traveling on the path of fruitive activities. But Kṛṣṇa does not personally appear until spiritual attachment arises in the hearts of the living entities. Therefore, all other incarnations appear from the Supersoul, of whom Kṛṣṇa is the original seed (see Chapter 2 verses 22-23).
vaiṣṇavāḥ sāra-sampannās tyaktvā vākya-malaṁ mama
gṛhnaṁ tu sāra-sampattiṁ śrī kṛṣṇa-caritaṁ mudā
We appeal to the swan-like Vaiṣṇavas to ignore the imperfections of these verses and happily relish Kṛṣṇa’s activities, which are the essence and wealth of all living entities.
vayaṁ tu bahu-yatnena na śaktā deśa-kālataḥ
samuddhartuṁ manīṣāṁ na prapañca-pīḍitā yataḥ
Regarding these descriptions of Kṛṣṇa’s activities, despite much effort we were unable to restrain our intelligence from considerations of time and space, because we are not free from the pangs of material life.
tathāpi gaura-candrasya kṛpā-vāri-niṣevaṇāt
sarveṣāṁ hṛdaye kṛṣṇa rasābhāvo nivartatām
Still, after drinking the shower of mercy from Śrī Gauracandra, the son of Śacī and our only guide, let whatever little we have described herein enter the hearts of all living entities to fill the absence of kṛṣṇa-rasa; that is, let everyone relish the transcendental mellows in relationship with Kṛṣṇa.
Thus ends the Third Chapter of Śrī Kṛṣṇa-saṁhitā, entitled
“Descriptions of the Lord’s Incarnations.”
May Lord Kṛṣṇa be pleased.