The article on “Avatara” by Shyamananda Dasa was very beautiful. The author has wonderfully compared the illusory world created by James Cameron to the actual spiritual world as explained in Vedic scriptures.

As I was going through the article, I was surprised looking at the list of dashavataras mentioned. Some spiritual books state that Lord Sri Maha Vishnu took the incarnation of Krishna in dvapara-yuga and Lord Venkatesvara in kali-yuga. However, instead of these names, the names of Lord Balarama and Lord Buddha are mentioned in the list in the article. Can you please clarify?

Few books also mention that Lord Sri Maha Vishnu is the Supreme Lord and He took the incarnation of Rama, Krishna, Venkatesvara etc. but BTG refers to Lord Krishna as the Supreme Lord. Can you please provide reasons for this? (Ravi Kanth P M, Hyderabad)

Our Reply:Thank you for your appreciation of the article on “Avatara” by Shyamananda Dasa.

After compiling all the Vedic scriptures, the author Srila Vyasadeva was feeling dissatisfaction in his heart. On the order of his spiritual master Narada Muni, he compiled the Srimad-Bhagavatam which is considered to be the essence of all Vedic literature. This scripture mentions a list of incarnations of the Supreme Lord manifesting throughout the universe. After presenting this list, the Srimad-Bhagavatam(1.3.28) states ete camsa-kalah pumsah Krishnas tu bhagavan svayam, “All of the above-mentioned incarnations are either plenary portions or portions of the plenary portions of the Lord, but Lord Sri Krishna is the original Personality of Godhead.”

Since you have not mentioned the source of your information about Lord Krishna and Lord Venkatesvara being the eighth and ninth incarnation of Maha Vishnu, I can’t comment on it. We understand from the Srimad-Bhagavatam (1.3.26) that the Supreme Lord has innumerable incarnations just as innumerable rivulets flow constantly from an inexhaustible source of water. Information that Lord Balarama and Lord Buddha are eighth and ninth incarnations of Lord Krishna is from the authoritative work “Dasavatara-stotra” by the noted vaishnava acharya Jayadeva Goswami. This is a bhajan glorifying the ten primary lila-avataras of the Supreme Lord. In this bhajan, the acharya directly mentions Lord Krishna as the Supreme Person who has assumed the forms of particular incarnations.

Sri Brahma-samhita, a set of prayers by Lord Brahma at the dawn of creation also mentions,

yah karanarnava-jale bhajati sma yoga
nidram ananta-jagad-anda-sa-roma-kupah
adhara-saktim avalambya param sva-murtim
govindam adi-purusam tam aham bhajami

I adore the primeval Lord Govinda who assuming His own great subjective form, who bears the name of Shesa, replete with the all-accommodating potency, and reposing in the Causal Ocean with the infinity of the world in the pores of His hair, enjoys creative sleep [yoga-nidra].

Also, from an analytical examination of the personalities of Vishnu and Krishna we can understand that, whereas Vishnu is worshiped with awe and reverence up to the relationship of servitude(dasya) (out of the five rasas viz. santa, dasya, sakhya, vatsalya and madhurya in increasing order of intimacy), only in Krishna can you worship or adore God as your dearmost friend(sakhya), or even as your child(vatsalya), or ultimately engage with God in a reciprocal relationship of lover and beloved(madhurya). These are found only in Krishna.

Thus, we can understand that Lord Krishna is the Supreme Lord and Lord Maha Vishnu is one of His expansions specifically for the purpose of primary material creation. For more details, you may also check Srimad-Bhagavatam(2.6.42) on