Krishna Above Vishnu

I refer to the letters column in the May/June 2009 issue of Back to Godhead. You have mentioned that Krishna is above Brahma, Vishnu, and Siva. Now, I have read that Krishna is one of the ten avatars, or incarnations, of Vishnu. How can Krishna be above Vishnu? – J. Partha

Our reply: The Srimad-Bhagavatam (Bhagavata Purana) is to be consulted in answering this question. It was written by Srila Vyasadeva in his maturity under the direction of his guru, the great saint Narada Muni. It is thus more authoritative than other Vedic books. It explains that Krishna is not just another avatar. After a list of avatars, Srimad- Bhagavatam (1.3.28) says,

“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. . . .”

There is also evidence in the Bhagavad-gita (7.7), where Krishna states, “There is no truth superior to Me,” and later (10.8), when He says, “Everything emanates from Me.” Also, that Krishna shows the universal form and the Vishnu form to Arjuna in Chapter 11 demonstrates that He is superior to these other forms.

From these two scriptures one can make a good case for Krishna being superior to all forms of Vishnu.

Rectifying Mistakes

I am an American-raised Indian who has been vegetarian for fourteen years. I took a vow to the Lord two or three years ago to give up eggs. Unfortunately I broke this vow when I ate some veggie burgers that contained egg whites being given away for free at the university I attend. I also ordered a vegan burger from a popular restaurant, and the waitress accidentally gave me a real burger. I bit into the beef and swallowed it before realizing it was animal flesh.

I feel bad for the animals and would like to set everything straight. What do our scriptures recommend that I do? – Ravi

Our reply: The best remedy for both purposeful and accidental impious activities in this age is to sincerely chant the Hare Krishna maha-mantra: Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.

If you are already daily chanting a fixed number of rounds of the Hare Krishna maha-mantra, then nothing else is required other than a truly repentant attitude, which is evident by your e-mail.

Often devotees will also read a chapter of Bhagavad-gita in such situations as a special offering of love to Lord Krishna.

The Advent of Humans

I wish to know approximately how long ago the human generation started. Some of my friends say it started only six thousand years ago. They say that the oldest book is the Rig Veda, which is only four thousand years old.- Soman Kokkaraveetil

Our reply: Although the Rig Veda was compiled by Srila Vyasadeva at the beginning of Kali-yuga, some 5,000 years ago, prior to this time the Veda existed in an oral tradition and was passed down from spiritual master to disciple. So one cannot use the supposed age of the Rig Veda to determine the beginning of mankind.

We learn from the Vedas that Lord Krishna, in His form as Garbhodakasayi Vishnu, is the origin of Lord Brahma at the time of the creation of the universe and that from Brahma all the various species are generated according to the Lord’s direction. This knowledge refutes the Darwinian conception that mankind’s origin resulted as a result of evolutional development. The human species has existed from the beginning of the creation of the universe.

All this is described in the Second Canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam, the cream of all Vedic knowledge.

How to Surrender?

I have experienced a blast of knowledge from Krishna. But I am unable to comprehend much of it, as there are a lot of books but I can read only one at a time. How do I surrender unto Krishna? I have the urge to understand Him, but currently I am not in the association of any devotees, I live quite far from the temple, and I am not yet initiated.- Milan Kalra

Our reply: Your studies should primarily focus on Srila Prabhupada’s Bhagavad-gita As It Is and the Srimad-Bhagavatam. By reading these books daily and chanting the maha-mantra a fixed number of rounds, you will make steady progress in your spiritual life. Daily devotional practice is most important for developing practical knowledge of Lord Krishna. Reading many books is not so important. Try to fully value and understand the spiritual knowledge contained in Bhagavad-gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam.

Using Everything for Krishna

How can we become so sincere and determined in Krishna consciousness that we use everything we have for Krishna’s service? – Reena

Our reply: Our service to Krishna will naturally improve simply by engaging in the processes of Krishna consciousness. The more we perform the nine processes of devotional service as recommended by Prahlada Maharaja hearing, chanting, remembering, and so on the more our enthusiasm, steadiness, determination, and taste for advancing in spiritual life will grow. Krishna consciousness is not artificial; it is a natural practice that enriches our heart.

The practice of Krishna consciousness centers on our steady, attentive, heartfelt calling out to Krishna by chanting the maha-mantra. As we become fully devoted to the regulated daily chanting of Hare Krishna, all good qualities and attributes will embellish our spiritual practice and advancement.

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