Part IV The Forms of Krishna's Manifestations and Incarnations
By devotional service one can understand that Krishna first of all manifests Himself as Sayamrupa, His Personal Form, then as Tadekatmarupa, and then Avesarupa. In these three features He manifests Himself in His transcendental Form. The feature of Sayamrupa is the form in which Krishna can be understood by one who may not understand His other features. In other words. the form in which Krishna is directly understood is called Sayamrupa, or His Personal Form. The Tadekatmarupa is that form which most resembles the Sayamrupa but has some differences of bodily features. This Tadekatmarupa is divided into two manifestations, called the Personal expansion and the Pastime expansion. As far as Avesarupa is concerned, sometimes Krishna empowers some suitable living entity to represent Him; when a living entity is acting as a representative of the Supreme Lord, he is called Avesa avatar, or Saktavesh avatara. His Personal Form is again divided into two: Sayamrupa and Sayapraksa. As far as His Sayamrupa is concerned, it is in that form that He remains always in Vrindaban (also called Pastime Form) with all the inhabitants of Vrindaban. That Personal Form is again divided into two, known categorically as Prabhavav and Braibhava Forms. For example, Krishna expanded Himself in multi forms in the Rasa Dance, and when He danced with the Gopis, He expanded Himself in multi forms to dance with each and every Gopi who took part in that dance. Similarly, He expanded Himself also in 16, 000 forms at Dwarka when He married 16, 000 wives.
There are some instances of great mystics also expanding their bodily features in different way, but that sort of expansion by yoga process is not applicable to Krishna. There are instances in the Vedic history such as Saubhary Rishi, a sage who expanded himself into eight forms by the yoga process, but that expansion was not actually into eight forms it was simply a manifestation, for Saubhary remained one. But as far as Krishna is concerned, when He manifested Himself in different forms each and every one of them was a separate individual. When Narada Muni visited Krishna at different Palaces at Dwarka, he was astonished, and yet Narada is never astonished to see the expansion of the body of a yogi since he knows the trick himself. But in a verse in the Srimad Bhagawatam states that Narada was astonished to see the expansion of Krishna. He explains his wonder as to how the Lord was present in each and every house of the 16,000 palaces with His queens. Krishna Himself was in a different form with each queen, and He was acting in different ways. For example, in one Form He was talking with His wife; in another Form He was engaged with His children and yet another Form He was performing some household work. These different activities are called actions in the Lord's different emotions, and when He is in these "emotional" Forms, the expansions are known as Vaibhavapraksa. Similarly there are other unlimited expansions of the Forms of Krishna, but even when they divided or expanded in such unlimited Forms they are still one and the same. There is no difference between one Form and another; that is the Absolute conception of the Personality of Godhead.
In the Srimad Bhagawatam it is stated in the 10th canto, 40th chapter that at the time when Akrura was carrying both Krishna and Balarama from Gokula to Mathura, he entered into the water of the Yamuna and could see all the spiritual planets in the spiritual sky he saw there the Lord in His Vishnu Form along with Narada and the four Kumaras, and he saw how they are worshipping. This is described in the Srimad Bhagawatam as "Form." It is stated in the Bhagavat Purana that there are many worshippers who are purified by different processes of worship, as the Vaisnav, or the Aryan who also worship the Supreme Lord according to their convictions and their spiritual understanding; each process of worship involves the understanding of different Forms of the Lord mentioned in the Scriptures, but the ultimate idea is to worship the Supreme Lord Himself. In the feature of His Vaibhavapraksa, the Lord manifests Himself as Balarama. The feature of Balarama is as good as Krishna; the difference is that Krishna is blackish and Balarama is whitish. The Vaibhavapraksa Form was also displayed when Krishna appeared in the four handed form of Narayana before Devaki when He was appearing in this world, and by the request of His parents He transformed Himself into a two handed Form. Therefore, sometimes He becomes four handed and sometimes He becomes two handed. When He is in a Form of two hands that is actually Vaibhavapraksa, and when He is four handed that is Vravhavabilasa. In His Personal Form He is just like a cowerd boy and He thinks Himself, but when He is in the Vasudeva Form He thinks Himself as the son of a Ksatriya, and He feels Himself also as a Ksatriya or a princely administrator.
Form, Opulence, Beauty, Wealth, Attractiveness, and Pastimes are fully exhibited in His Form as the Son of Nanda. In some of the Vaisnav literature it is found that sometimes in His Form as Vasudeva He becomes attracted to the Form of Govinda in Vrindaban; sometimes as Vasudeva He desires to enjoy like Govinda, although the Govinda Form and the Vasudeva Form are one and the same. There is a passage in the Laleeta Madhava 4th chapter in which Krishna addresses Uddhava as follows: "My dear friend, this Govinda, Form as a cowherd boy attracts Me. I wish to be like the damsels of Vraja and be attracted by this Govinda Form." Similarly, in the Laleeta Madhava, 8th chapter, Krishna says: "O how wonderful it is, Who is this Personality? Exactly after seeing Him I am attracted by Him, so that now I am desiring to embrace Him just like Radhika. When this Form of Krishna becomes a little differentiated, it is called Tadekatma.
In this Tadekatmarupa or Form there are two divisions also: one is called Svamsa. Both in the Vilasa and Svamsa forms also there are many differential features which are also divided into Prabhava and Braibhava. As far as Vilasa Forms are concerned, there are innumerable Prabhava Vilasa. Krishna expands Himself as Vasudeva, Samkarsan, Pradyumna, Aniruddha. Sometimes the Lord thinks Himself a cowherds boy, and sometimes He thinks Himself the son of Vasudeva, a Ksatriya, and this "thinking" of Krishna is called "Pastimes." In His Prabhava Prakasa and Prabhava Vilasa He is in the same Form but appears differently as Krishna and Valadeva. As mentioned above, His expansion as Vasudeva, Samkarsan, Pradyumna, and Aniruddha is in the Original Chaturvuha, or four armed Forms.
There are innumerable four armed Formal manifestations in different planets and different places. For instance, this four Formal manifestation is both in Dwarka and Mathura eternally. And from these four Forms originally there are the principle twenty four Forms, named differently in terms of the different adjustments of the symbols in the hands and they are called Baibhivabilasa. The same four Formal manifestations of Krishna is in each planet of the Spiritual Sky, called the Narayan loka or Vaikuntha loka. In the Vaikuntha loka He is manifested in a four handed Form called Narayan. And from each Narayan there is a manifestation of the four formal Forms as mentioned above. Therefore Narayan is in the center, and the four formal Forms are surrounding the Narayan Form. Each of the four Forms again expands in three different Forms, and they all have their different names, beginning from Keshava, and they are twelve in all. Such Forms are understood by different names according to the different placements of the symbols in the hands of Narayan. As far as the Vasudeva Form is concerned, in the four formal Forms they are three, namely Keshava, Narayana, and Madhava. The three Forms of Govinda are known as Govinda, Vishnu, and Sri Madhusudana. It should be noted however that this Govinda Form is not the same Govinda Form as manifested in Vrindaban (as the son of Nanda). Similarly, Pradyumna is also divided into three Forms known as Trivikrama, Vamana, and Sridhara, and similarly there are three Forms of Aniruddha known as Hrisikesa Padmanabha and Damodara.
End of Part IV