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Yoga-maya, Maha-maya, Subhadra, Durga

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In Krishna section in similar thread it says Krsna is same as Durga. {Powerful and the Power} But these are my confusions:


Yoga-maya appeared in the house of Nanda Maharaja as Durga. Right? But if you read all the extracts, it says Durga is different from Subhadra {who also appeared as Krishna Sister}. So when Durga appeared before Kamsa in the Jail, where did she disappear to? And when was Subhadra born? I just need it explaining. From somebody who knows. No speculation please.




In this Krishna book it says:


The Yogamaya is the principal potency of the Personality of Godhead. In the Vedas it is stated that the Lord, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, has multipotencies. Parasya saktir vividhaiva sruyate. All the different potencies are acting externally and internally, and Yogamaya is the chief of all potencies. He ordered the appearance of Yogamaya in the land of Vrajabhumi, in Vrndavana, which is always decorated and full with beautiful cows.

__ Krishna Book Chp2 {Prayers by the Demigods for Lord Krsna in the Womb}


Same Chapter:


"Since you will appear as My contemporary sister, people within the world will worship you with all kinds of valuable presentations: incense, candles, flowers and offerings of sacrifice. You shall quickly satisfy their desires for sense gratificiation. People who are after materialistic affection will worship you under the different forms of your expansions, which will be named Durga, Bhadrakali, Vijaya, Vaisnavi, Kumuda, Candika, Krsna, Madhavi, Kanyaka, Maya, Narayani, Isani, Sarada and Ambika."

Krsna and Yogamaya appeared as brother and sister--the Supreme Powerful and the supreme power. Although there is no clear distinction between the Powerful and the power, power is always subordinate to the Powerful. Those who are materialistic are worshipers of the power, but those who are transcendentalists are worshipers of the Powerful. Krsna is the Supreme Powerful, and Durga is the supreme power within the material world. Actually people in the Vedic culture worship both the Powerful and the power. There are many hundreds of thousands of temples of Visnu and Devi, and sometimes they are worshiped simultaneously. The worshiper of the power, Durga, or the external energy of Krsna, may achieve all kinds of material success very easily, but anyone who wants to be elevated transcendentally must engage in worshiping the Powerful in Krsna consciousness




Else where:


Subhadra is yogamaya. The spiritual energy is called yogamaya. And she has 16 different expansions. Out of these 16 expansions, Subhadra is one. The mahamaya of the material energy is also expansion of the energy of yogamaya; and both yogamaya and mahamaya are equally important to Krishna as much as any government department is equally important for functioning of the government. The police department may be horrible for the criminals, but to the government it is a department as good as university department. Similarly, mahamaya is horrible to the conditioned soul, but to the liberated soul, there is no fear of mahamaya, because he is protected by yogamaya. It is stated in the Bhagavad-gita when Krishna said the following: ``I am not visible to everyone on account of being curtained by yogamaya.'' So when a conditioned soul surrenders unto Krishna, the yogamaya winds up the curtain and Krishna is visible to the devotee.

__ Letter to: Madhusudana,, Montreal, 29 July, 1968




Regarding your question about Subhadra and Durga, they are not at all the same. Durga's other name is Bhadra, not Subhadra, and Durga's activities are within the material world. Subhadra does not work as Durga. Subhadra is internal energy, and Durga is external energy. As energy, they have a relationship as much as we are energies of Krishna, but the energies are working in different capacities. Although originally the energy is one, by their expansion, the accents of the energies are different, and as we are not impersonalists, this variegatedness of actions are essential for the Supreme Personality of Godhead, as much as the government is one but there are multi-departments for management of the government. The education department and the criminal department are all departments of the government. The government is connected with all parts and departments, but the education activities are different from the criminal activities. This is the philosophy of inconceivably simultaneously one and different manifestations of the Absolute Truth.

__ Letter to: Manager of Bank of Baroda, , Los Angeles, 1 February, 1969

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"As energy, they have a relationship as much as we are energies of Krishna(1), but the energies are working in different capacities(2). Although originally the energy is one(3), by their expansion, the accents of the energies are different(4), and as we are not impersonalists, this variegatedness of actions are essential(5) for the Supreme Personality of Godhead"


(1) Krishna is actually the one in control, of both us and Yogamaya and Mahamaya.


(2)Durga and Yogamaya are essentially the same, but are different due to being enagaged in different activities. Just like if you are the manager at your workplace, and then when you go home you manage your household. The job of management is there, but the activities are different, and the persona is different, as well as the relationships you have with other people differ. In the workplace you have a more official impersonal work relationship with the people. You have to follow strict rules of the workplace. Whereas at home, it is more personal and you don't have to follow strict rules. Although when you manage your housing situation, wealth, investments, schooling for your children, spending, etc, you are still acting in an official capacity as manager. So that is the difference between Yogamaya and Mahamaya. Both are the aspects of God that are enagaged in managing, and they are both non different from Krishna. But they are not the same as Krishna. Krishna is only enagaged in Lila. If I could create expansions of myself, and the original me did nothing but play around and have fun, and I left the actual work of managing my affairs to my expansions, who are also me, then that is similar to what Krishna does. I would actually be doing everything, but my expansions would be aspects of me, and not the full me, even though they would be non different then me.


(3)see previous explanation


(4)see previous explanation


(5)Your job as a manager at your workplace mandates that you put on an official persona when dealing with people. When you go home and manage your household you are acting with a different persona. So in that sense you are a different person. Or you can be a father, a brother, and a son, at the same time. Different personas, same person.

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Hare Krishna and dandavats


SB 10.1.56

atha kala upavrtte

devaki sarva-devata

putran prasusuve castau

kanyam caivanuvatsaram


"Each year thereafter, in due course of time, Devaki, the mother of God and all the demigods, gave birth to a child. Thus she bore eight sons, one after another, and a daughter named Subhadra."


Kamsa did not do anything to Subhadra because the eighth male child was supposed to kill him.



SB 10.4.9

sa tad-dhastat samutpatya

sadyo devy ambaram gata

adrsyatanuja visnoh



"The child, Yogamaya-devi, the younger sister of Lord Visnu, slipped upward from Kamsa's hands and appeared in the sky as Devi, the goddess Durga, with eight arms, completely equipped with weapons."



"Kamsa tried to dash the child downward against a piece of stone, but since she was Yogamaya, the younger sister of Lord Visnu, she slipped upward and assumed the form of the goddess Durga. The word anuja, meaning "the younger sister," is significant. When Visnu, or Krsna, took birth from Devaki, He must have simultaneously taken birth from Yasoda also. Otherwise how could Yogamaya have been anuja, the Lord's younger sister?"


This also explains the statements that Yashodanandana-Krsna never leaves Braja-bhumi -- He is born from Yashoda; Krsna in Mathura and Krsna in Dwarka are His different forms. When Vasudeva brought Krsna from Mathura to Nanda's house the two forms merged.

Thus both Durga and Subhadra are sisters of Krsna.



SB 10.4.13

iti prabhasya tam devi

maya bhagavati bhuvi


bahu-nama babhuva ha


"After speaking to Kamsa in this way, the goddess Durga, Yogamaya, appeared in different places, such as Varanasi, and became celebrated by different names, such as Annapurna, Durga, Kali and Bhadra."


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Hare Krishna


From Additional notes for SB chapter 10.1



The word karyarthe refers to one who attracted the pregnancy of Devaki and bewildered mother Yasoda. These pastimes are very confidential. The Supreme personality of Godhead ordered yogamaya to bewilder His associates in His pastimes and bewilder demons like Kamsa. As stated previously, yogamayam samadisat. To give service to the Lord, yogamaya appeared along with mahamaya. Mahamaya refers to yaya sammohitam jagat, "one who bewilders the entire material world." From this statement it is to be understood that yogamaya, in her partial expansion, becomes mahamaya and bewilders the conditioned souls. In other words, the entire creation has two divisions--transcendental, or spiritual, and material. Yogamaya manages the spiritual world, and by her partial expansion as mahamaya she manages the material world. As stated in the Narada-pancaratra, mahamaya is a partial expansion of yogamaya. The Narada-pancaratra clearly states that the Supreme Personality has one potency, which is sometimes described as Durga. The Brahma-samhita says, chayeva yasya bhuvanani bibharti durga. Durga is not different from yogamaya. When one understands Durga properly, he is immediately liberated, for Durga is originally the spiritual potency, hladini-sakti, by whose mercy one can understand the Supreme Personality of Godhead very easily. Radha krsna-pranaya-vikrtir hladini-saktir asmad. The mahamaya-sakti, however, is a covering of yogamaya, and she is therefore called the covering potency. By this covering potency, the entire material world is bewildered (yaya sammohitam jagat). In conclusion, bewildering the conditioned souls and liberating the devotees are both functions belonging to yogamaya. Transferring the pregnancy of Devaki and keeping mother Yasoda in deep sleep were both done by yogamaya; mahamaya cannot act upon such devotees, for they are always liberated. But although it is not possible for mahamaya to control liberated souls or the Supreme Personality of Godhead, she did bewilder Kamsa. The action of yogamaya in presenting herself before Kamsa was the action of mahamaya, not yogamaya. Yogamaya cannot even see or touch such polluted persons as Kamsa. In Candi, in the Markandeya Purana, Eleventh Chapter, Mahamaya says, "During the twenty-eighth yuga in the period of Vaivasvata Manu, I shall take birth as the daughter of Yasoda and be known as Vindhyacala-vasini."


The distinction between the two mayas--yogamaya and maha-maya--is described as follows. Krsna's rasa-lila with the gopis and the gopis' bewilderment in respect to their husbands, fathers-in-law and other such relatives were arrangements of yogamaya in which mahamaya had no influence. The Bhagavatam gives sufficient evidence of this when it clearly says, yogamayam upasritah. On the other hand, there were asuras headed by Salva and ksatriyas like Duryodhana who were bereft of devotional service in spite of seeing Krsna's carrier Garuda and the universal form, and who could not understand Krsna to be the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This was also bewilderment, but this bewilderment was due to mahamaya. Therefore it is to be concluded that the maya which drags a person from the Supreme Personality of Godhead is called jadamaya, and the maya which acts on the transcendental platform is called yogamaya. When Nanda Maharaja was taken away by Varuna, he saw Krsna's opulence, but nonetheless he thought of Krsna as his son. Such feelings of parental love in the spiritual world are acts of yogamaya, not of jadamaya, or mahamaya. This is the opinion of Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura.

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Hare Krishna


What i wrote above "Thus both Durga and Subhadra are sisters of Krsna." is not entirely correct. The one born from Yashoda is Yogamaya and before Kamsa she appears as Durga (which is a partial expansion or covering potency). It should then be: Yogamaya and Subhadra are sisters of Krishna; Subhadra is herself an expansion of Yogamaya as posted above.

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Ok now I understand a lot more about this, that piece by Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura cleared up my doubts. I was kinda thinking to myself "How can Durga be same as Krishna"? I wasn't willing to believe, but now I know.


What you said in your last post. Now I can understand why Yoga-maya appeared as Durga before Kamsa.

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Hare Krishna


I was in some error again. When yogamaya is born to Yashoda she was alongwith her expansion mahamaya, so in that way Durga is also sister of Krishna.


N.B. The above piece was not by Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura but from Srila Bhaktivedanta Prabhupada's Srimad Bhagvatam translation.

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