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Will we ever understand fully the greatness of Krsna and His opulence?

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śrī-bhagavān uvāca



hanta te kathayiṣyāmi

divyā hy ātma-vibhūtayaḥ

prādhānyataḥ kuru-śreṣṭha

nāsty anto vistarasya me

śrī bhagavān uvāca—the Supreme Personality of Godhead said; hanta—yes; te—unto you; kathayiṣyāmi—I shall speak; divyāḥ—divine; hi—certainly; ātma-vibhūtayaḥ—personal opulences; prādhānyataḥ—principally; kuruśreṣṭha—O best of the Kurus; na asti—there is no; antaḥ—limit; vistarasya—to the extent; me—My.


The Blessed Lord said: Yes, I will tell you of My splendorous manifestations, but only of those which are prominent, O Arjuna, for My opulence is limitless.


It is not possible to comprehend the greatness of Kṛṣṇa and His opulences. The senses of the individual soul are imperfect and do not permit him to understand the totality of Kṛṣṇa’s affairs. Still the devotees try to understand Kṛṣṇa, but not on the principle that they will be able to understand Kṛṣṇa fully at any specific time or in any state of life. Rather, the very topics of Kṛṣṇa are so relishable that they appear to them as nectar. Thus they enjoy them. In discussing Kṛṣṇa’s opulences and His diverse energies, the pure devotees take transcendental pleasure. Therefore they want to hear and discuss them. Kṛṣṇa knows that living entities do not understand the extent of His opulences; He therefore agrees to state only the principal manifestations of His different energies. The word prādhānyataḥ (principal) is very important because we can understand only a few of the principal details of the Supreme Lord, for His features are unlimited. It is not possible to understand them all. And vibhūti, as used in this verse, refers to the opulences by which He controls the whole manifestation. In the Amara-kośa dictionary it is stated that vibhūti indicates an exceptional opulence.

The impersonalist or the pantheist cannot understand the exceptional opulences of the Supreme Lord nor the manifestations of His divine energy. Both in the material world and in the spiritual world His energies are distributed in every variety of manifestation. Now Kṛṣṇa is describing what can be directly perceived by the common man; thus part of His variegated energy is described in this way.

When I was a child I thought, 'when I get to heaven I will understand what God is fully....this mystery will all be explained?'


As a man at some point I realized, 'I may never know fully even in the after-life!' I was somewhat despondent to realize this...


Now I ponder, 'do I really need to know all?' Its relishable to hear of His glories? What is so sweet about the sweetness?


If any of you would like to glorify Sri Krsna please feel free to post here.

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Srila Narayana Maharaja:


As we see from Krishna's lila, there is more aisvarya in Vrindavan than there is in Vaikuntha, Dvaraka, or Mathura. However, it is covered by so much sweetness that the opulence cannot be tasted. [For clarification an example is given of salt and sugar: There are four cups. The first has 1 ounce of salt and no sugar. The second has 2 ounces of salt and 1½ ounces of sugar. The third has 3 ounces of salt and 3 ounces of sugar. And the fourth has 4 ounces of salt and 100 ounces of sugar. Although the fourth cup has more salt, one cannot taste it because of all the sugar.] In Goloka Vrindavana the opulence is covered.



Krishna's madhurya-lila includes aisvarya. When Krishna lifted Govardhana Hill the cowherd boys thought that He must be tired. They considered, 'We should also help to hold up Govardhana with our sticks.' Others thought, 'Because of Nanda Maharaja's austerities, Lord Narayana had entered Krishna's body. It is actually Lord Narayana who is holding Govardhana.' The gopis were glaring with crooked eyes upon Govardhana. They said to him, 'If you fall down on Krishna, we will curse you.' So these are human-like pastimes. When Krishna was a baby He showed His mother His universal form. Everything was there within His mouth-all incarnations, all universes, all elements, all senses, and so forth. Despite this, Yasodamayi could not conceive that her son was God.


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Knowing completely the infinite is impossible even for the best of liberated soul.


But for whoever has taken birth for whom devotional service will be attributed, the neccessary and required amount of knowledge concerning the supreme will be made available.

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Alvar means 'One who is immersed in Bhakti'. There were 12 alvars. As a result of their divine experiences, a torrent of divine hymns in chaste tamil poured out from them, which not only extolled the opulences of the Lord, but also contained the philosophy of Vishishtadvaita, which was the basis of Bhagavad Ramanujacharya's reasoning.


I will post some of the english translations of the hymns in this thread if you wish. However, it surely won't be the same as knowing them in tamil.

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I will post some of the english translations of the hymns in this thread if you wish. However, it surely won't be the same as knowing them in tamil. by dark


Yes please Dark. I would like that very much.


And it was due to His wish to show Himself to them, and not due to their own endeavours. The Divya Prabandham shows this clearly. by dark


Also could you sure your insights about Bhakti being causeless.

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The Sri Vaishnava alvars had perfect knowledge of almost all His opulences, in my humble opinion. And it was due to His wish to show Himself to them, and not due to their own endeavours. The Divya Prabandham shows this clearly.


No my friend, no one can understand the Lord Perfectly... Not even the Mahajanas.

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No arguments. Atleast let this thread pass without debate.


I will post the charitra of the first 3 alvars:


The first three alvars were called 'Poigai Alvar, Boothathalvar and Peyalvar' (too difficult to explain the reason for their names). According to tradition, these 3 alvars were born on three consecutive days on flowers (not a normal birth).


Now, these 3 alvars did not meet each other at any point in time, until for some reason, all three of them decided to make a trip to Tirukkovalur, where there is a Divya Desam of Lord Vishnu.


It was a dark and stormy night at Tirukkovalur, with rain coming down in torrents, the threatening roar of thunder shaking all souls and with flashes of lightning serving as the only illumination. It was a night when none would venture out and everyone had shut himself up tight in his home. Yet, it was a night on which three Yogis, who had the Lord entrenched in their hearts, chose to be out and about. When they reached Tirukkovalur separately by different routes, they found all houses shut, all choultries locked up, with the inmates unlikely to open up. The first to reach was Poigayalvar, who found a narrow passage in the front portion of an ashramam belonging to Mrigandu Maharshi and lay down, prepared to spend the night among the inhospitable and confined environs. Sometime later, Bhoothathalhwar too discovered the same place and finding someone already occupying the space, enquired whether there would be room for one more person. The first occupant welcomed the stranger, saying that if there was space enough for one person to lie down, two could sit there. An hour or so passed and there came knocking another worthy, wet and drenched to the skin and seeking shelter in the passage. He too was welcomed by the other two, who thought that three could at least stand comfortably in the small space, which could seat two and provide a bed for one.


The three Azhwars were thus standing in the pitch dark, sharing with one another their experiences of the Lord and His auspicious attributes. All of a sudden, they felt rather tight pressed. Where they were standing comfortably earlier, they now felt that the available space had diminished, as if a fourth person, unknown to the other three, had entered the narrow passage and was crowding them. Apparently, someone had sneaked into the already constricted space without announcement and was standing as one with them.



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Sure. Have you ever read the Prabandham?


Nobody can understand Him. That is why I said He doesn't act according to our limited conceptions.


The alvars, apparently had some vision that even we couldn't conceive.


You are right, maybe they've conceived Sri Ram, 100000000...0000... times for than me, but still it is never complete.

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The three alvars were bewildered, because it appeared as though there were many invisible persons squeezing into the little place, although they could not see them.


Then, by virtue of divine experience, the three of them started flowing with hymns. They decided to find out who the intruder was, thusly:


In order to see who it was, Poigai Alvar composed this hymn:


Poigaialvar started with the first one: vaiyam thagaliyA, vArkadlE neyyAga/ veyyakkadirOn viLakkAga/ sudarAzhiyAn adikkE soottinEn son mAlai/ Idar neenghugavE enRu/


Meaning: Lord Narayana, who holds the Divine Chakra, is the cause of this wonderful universe and the seas. I am singing these malai (Garland) of verses(pasurams) and dedicating to Him, whose vision I had is the light of the lamp of the earth, and oil being the seas, the sun being the source of the light.


Then, Boothathalvar had a vision, and he too composed this hymn:


anbE thagaliyA, ArvamE neyyAga/ inburugu sindhai idu thiriyA/ naNpurugi GnAna chudar viLakku EtrinEn/Gnana thamizh purindha nAn/


Meaning: " I dedicate myself to the service of the lord, by singing this song that blesses wisdom(Jnana), with love as the lamp, endearing involvement as the oil(Ghee), and knowledge as the wick of the torch.


Finally, the three alvars could see who was with them. It was none other than the Lord Narayana Himself, who had come with Sri Lakshmi Devi, Garuda, Adi Sesha and every one of His servants. The Lord knew that 3 very exalted devotees were residing in this hut. And as everyone knows, He loves to touch His devotees, be very close to them, and never leave them. Therfore, He had come racing to be with them.


Just like Lord Krishna loved to be close to the gopis, Sriman Narayana wanted to touch and hug the three alvars, hence, He, along with His servants, was squeezing and pressing against them!!


Peyalvar, in tremendous delight, composed this hymn:


thirukkaNdEn, ponmEni kaNdEn- thigazhum/arukkan Ani niRamum kaNdEn-seruk kiLaRum/ ponAzhi kaNdEn puri sangham kai kaNdEn/ en Azhi vaNNan pAl inRu/


Meaning:" I found the Glorious, GOLDEN form of the Lord. I have seen the Glory of Sri and Narayana and His beauty and His Sea colour, His brightness and brilliance like the Sun and His sanghu (Divine Conch) on one hand and chakrA (Discus) on the other."


And He continued in this vein, but that is too long to post.


Remember the Bhagavad Gita verse, 'My Devotees are always interested to converse about Me. They delight in telling each other stories about Me.'


Exactly what these three alvars were doing in the Hut, when the Lord came to them.

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nectar...one can never be satiated with verse dripping in bhakti...


proof enough of His unlimited glory:)


thx dark warrior...I relished that short discussion immensely!


who is Lord Narayana's internal potency? is this Laksmi?


I would like to learn more about Laksmi, Bhakti Devi, Vrinda Devi etc.

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Lakshmi Narayana is the same as Radhe Krishna. Everyone should understand that.


Remember the Gita verse, 'My Devotees love to talk about Me. They are always conversing with one another about My Pastimes'.


That is what the three alvars were doing in the hut when Lord Narayana came to them. And that is why Sri Vaishnavas consider the life of our alvars and acharyas as 'Bhagavad Gita being enacted perfectly'.

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Lakshmi Narayana is the same as Radhe Krishna. Everyone should understand that. dark


Yes I understand this. I also understand that a Vaisnava loves all Vaisnavism.


I read the other day that Bhakti devi is Sri Krsna's internal potency. I think I read that - I must look at the book again. (basic I am lol)


Is this the same with Sri Narayana? I presume it is if they are the same.

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Lakshmi is the eternal consort of Narayana. So are Bhu Devi and Nila Devi.


The whole collection of the alvars is called Nalayira (4000) Divya Prabandham (Divine Collection).


Bhagavatam actually is thought to prophesise the advent of the alvars in the 11th canto, I believe. Here is an exercept from the commentary of Sri Veeraraghavacharya.



krtAdishu prajA rAjann, kalau icchanti sambhavam.] (1)


**The men of krta-yuga times, oh king, wish for being born in the kali-yuga.


~~ The Krta-yuga is spoken of as the golden age when men lived of an ennobled character, but these very men look forward to be reborn in the Kali-yuga which is regarded as a decadent time with loss of human qualities and marked by devilries and orgnistic worship.


[ kalau khalu bhavishyanti nArAyaNa-parAyaNA: ] (2)


**(for) it is in kali that (several) devotees of Narayana would appear.



~ Their keen anticipation of the onset of Kali-yuga is occasioned by the wholesome prospect of the appearance of devotees of Sriman-Narayana. It is not that the Kali marks the first incidence of Naryana worship. "vishnu-mukhA vai dEvA:" is the categorical affirmation of the Veda.

All the same, even the noble devotees of the earlier aeons of Time-cycle remain committed to an overwhelming ritualistic protocol as denied them of the unalloyed joy and fulfilment that exclusive worship of The Lord yields. This manner of ritualistic burden contrasts unfavourably with the luminous culture of Kali which consists of just "kalau kESava-keertanam" (fulfilment lies just in Kesava-worship in Kali).


[ kvachit-kvachinn mahAbhAga dramiDEshu cha bhUriSa: ] (3)


**They will be (found) here and there, but preponderantly in the Dravida parts (of the land),


~~Such devoted (monotheistic) Narayana-devotees would, of course, figure in all parts of the land, but they would preponderate in the Dravida parts; their preponderance ["bhUriSa:"] would be (not in number alone but) in terms of the intensity and joy of their devotion, and also through the extraordinary philosophic authenticity and tranquil diction of their hymns. The _expression_ "bhUriSa:" is to be understood as a prelude ('avatArikA') to the ensuing geography-specific reference to the profound alvars.


[ tAmraparNee nadee yatra, krtamAlA, payasvinee,

kAvEree cha mahAbhAgA, prateechee cha mahA-nadee.] (4)


**as down the course of (river) Tamra-parni, of Krita-mala (vaikai), of Payasvinee (Palar), the sacred Kaveri, and the westward Periyar.


~~ Tamraparni is, of course, the riverine track hallowed by the places where Nammalvar and Sri Madhurakavi Alvar were born; Kritamala is vaikai, the bhakti-rich track marked by Perialvar and his blessed daughter ANDAL; payasvinee-palar is the vast spread rich in the gem where Kulasekhara Alvar was born, and Kaveri is where Thondaripodi alvar, Thiruppanalvar and Thirumangai Alvar were born.


[yE pibanti jalam tAsAm manujA, manujESvara,

prAyE bhaktA bhagavati vAsudEvE amalASrayA: ] (5)


**Those men that imbibe of these waters, oh leader of men, are the true devotees in the sanctified refuge of Bhagavan Vasudeva


Extending this prophecy, one can say that these verses even predict the later births of Sri Adi Sankaracharya, Sri Ramanujacharya and Sri Madhvacharya, who were also great devotees born near the rivers mentioned above. But it is the alvars who came first and this verse alludes to their prabandham especially.

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The first three alvars, Poigaialvar, Bhoothathalvar, Peyalvar were born in Dwapara Yuga. They were present even while Krishna was gracing the Earth with His lotus feet. The Bhagavatam does not mention these three alvars because they were not born in Kali Yuga.


Madhurakavi Alvar was born at the end of the Dwapara Yuga, but He lived predominantly in Kali Yuga.


Nammalvar was born on the 43rd day after the disappearance of Lord Krishna. Andal on the 97th day of Kali Yuga. And so on. The youngest alvar, Thirumangai Alvar was born in 1000 BC or so.


Now, mordern scholars do not accept these dates because they say:


1) Thirmangai alvar and Thirumazhisai alvar refer to Buddhism, so they were born in 7-8th century AD.


But since Buddhism itself is considered to be an eternal religion that existed even during Dwapara Yuga, I do not consider this argument to hold weight.


2) Thirumangai Alvar says that Thondaiman King was a great bhagavata. The Thondaiman King ruled 1500 years ago.


This is again, refuted by the fact that there were many Kings who bore the title of 'Thondaiman'. Granted, there was one 1500 years ago, but there may have been another King in 1000 BC with that title.


3) The first three alvars sing very little about Krishna. They mainly sing about Trivikrama, Rama, etc. This may be an indication that they lived while the Mahabharata was taking place. Therefore, they didn't sing much about Krishna!!


Therefore, I do not trust mordern scholars. I have more faith in Srimad Bhagavatam anyway. And in any case, dates do not matter when it comes to Prabandham.

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Thanks Dark Warrior for these information. I have read about these Great Soul some time, but it was not that profound.


I think, I've got some homework to do. Thanks again for converting my idle time into something sensical.


Thanks also to you the enlightened Kangaroo:)

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Jai Amlesh...to all animals that care for the young in pouches!


Its really interesting Dark Warrior. Nice tonight learning about these elevated saints of bhakti. I feel it is very important for spiritual life to accept scripture as it is, so I appreciate your faith in this thread. Maybe we can talk about our realizations why it is important oneday. And the inner aspect of the benefit with such an approach.


Good night (how do I say that in tamil):eek4:


ps...my Krsna deity is from Tamil as far as I know. Found him all neglected in a junk shop here. Rare to find such a thing in this one horse town...occasionaly you can even see a kangaroo jump by if you are really luck (trust me):rolleyes:

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