After reading about the birth of Lord Krsna in Srila Prabhupada's Krsna book, I am confused about who comes first Krsna or Visnu. I thought Krsna was the original Personality of Godhead, but in the Krsna book Visnu appears and transforms into Krsna.

Please respond for my sake and that of others who may also be curious to know the facts.

Gladstone Muma
Kitwe, Zambia


OUR REPLY: You are right in saying we should respond for the benefit of those persons who are curious to know the facts. It is a very common but mistaken assumption that Lord Krsna is an incarnation of Lord Visnu. This misunderstanding is routinely made by people who jump to the Tenth Canto of the Srimad-Bhagavatam, where Krsna's pastimes are described, and neglect to read the earlier nine cantos, wherein all the groundwork for understanding the Tenth Canto is set forth.

According to the Vedic scriptures and Lord Krsna's own words in the Bhagavad-gita, the two-handed form of Krsna is the original form of Godhead. Krsna says, aham adir hi devanam: "I am the origin of all the gods," and mattah parataram nanyat. "There is no truth superior to Me." All other forms of the Lord are expanded from Krsna. The Srimad-Bhagavatam states, krsnas tu bhagavan svayam: Krsna is the original form of God. This is also the verdict of Lord Brahma, Lord Siva, Narada Muni, Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu, and many other Vedic authorities.

At the time of His appearance as Krsna, the Lord first appeared as Visnu and then changed into Krsna, but that does not mean Krsna came from Visnu. Krsna exists eternally, and His form is the origin of all other forms. Because He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, He can appear as Krsna or Visnu according to His Will.

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I have been reading Back to Godhead magazine now for a few years. I have found it very inspiring, so much so that I have erected an altar for Lord Krsna in my cell and offer whatever decent food is available. I am a vegan, so the food I receive is what Krsna wishes to be offered no meat, fish, or eggs. I also chant Hare Krsna on homemade beads and read His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada's very nice books.

The only thing I feel a bit confused about is why there has never been an article about persons practicing Krsna consciousness in jail. Here and even more so in America, I would imagine there are a lot of inmates who chant Hare Krsna but, alas, are not at liberty to directly engage in the Lord's service. It would be nice to read about my fellow prisoners who chant Hare Krsna.

Paul Burke
Glasgow, Scotland


OUR REPLY: We're happy to learn that you are a regular reader of Back to Godhead, and that you have facility in prison to worship Krsna and offer food to Him. We have no reason for not featuring an article on Krsna consciousness in the prisons, other than that no one has submitted an article on that subject. We rarely assign specific articles to be written by members of our staff. Generally we run articles submitted by our staff and devotees around the movement that they themselves have chosen to write. We print whatever is philosophically correct and meets a certain standard of readability.