Chapter 4 - Krsna is endowed with all energies

The topic of energy and the possessor of energies has been under discussion for a long time.  Some people say that whatever is seen in the universe is but a manifestation of energy. They doubt whether there is anything other than energy.  Energy is the revealer of things. The things themselves cannot be realized but are perceived only through their energy. Among the examples they give, the following is one.

Earth has various qualities.  What we call earth is but a collection of those qualities. One cannot say whether earth exists or not, after taking away the qualities.  Qualities are energy.  Therefore energy is the only principle of existence. 

Others counter this argument  by saying that energy has no separate existence; it is an inseparable nature of the object.  What the object reveals is called energy. 

The great devotees have concluded that energy  (quality) is one entity and the possessor of energy (object) is another entity.   Though they are different they are yet inseparable.  Because man's mind is limited, he cannot understand the deep relation between the energy and energetic.  The object and its energy, though distinct, are yet not different.  Difference and non-difference coexist.   This inconceivable different and non-different nature between an object and its energy is described in Caitanya Caritamrta.

radha purna sakti, krsna purna saktiman
dui vastu bheda nahi, sastra paramana
mrga mada ta'ra gandha  yaiche aviccheda
agni, jvalate, yaiche kabhu nahi bheda
radha krsna aiche sada ekai svarupa
lilarasa asvadite dhare dui rupa

Sri Radha is the full power, and Lord Krsna is the possessor of full power.  The two are not different, as evidenced by the revealed scriptures.  They are indeed the same, just as musk and its scent are inseparable, or as fire and its heat are nondifferent.  Thus Radha and Lord Krsna are one, yet they have taken two forms to enjoy the mellows of pastimes.

C.C.Adi,. 4.96-98

This conclusion can be found in the Veda and Vedanta.  In the scriptures the following statement is seen:  

sakti saktimator abhedah

The energy and the energetic are nondifferent.

Actually there is no object except Krsna.  For that reason Krsna is called advaya or without a second.  Those who are dedicated to brahman or paramatma, however, cannot easily identify Krsna as the supreme object.  Although the object is one only, that one object appears in three different ways according to qualification of the observer of the object.   

Three people may view a mountain from three different angles.  On the north side is mist.  The person viewing from the north side discerns the mountain as a huge peak surrounded by mist.   Bright sunlight is falling on the southern side.  The person who views from the south side sees the mountain as an effulgent rock wall.  The person who views the mountain from the side without any external influences sees the complete mountain clearly; he sees the actual mountain.  In perceiving the absolute truth as well, learned men see the truth differently according to their different points of view. 

Those who cultivate knowledge and try to see the absolute conclude that the absolute truth, which is the opposite of material existence, is devoid of form, change, energy and action.  This they call brahman.   However, they have not discerned the real nature of the ultimate truth.   Those who, using their intelligence, search for the final object, perceive the friend of the soul, paramatma, endowed with a form and similar in nature to the individual soul.   Those who see the absolute truth by means of bhakti yoga, whose vision is without obstacles, understand the lord as he is, as bhagavan, full of all energies, all sweetness and all opulences. 

nayam atma pravacanena labhyo
na medhaya na bahuna srutena
yam evaisa vrnute tena labhyas
tasyaisa atma vivrnute tanum svam

One cannot understand the supreme soul by studying the Vedas or by hearing many scriptures or by ones mental energy.   The Lord reveals himself to the person who accepts the Lord as his master.  That person alone attains the Lord.

Katha Upanisad 1.2.23

In the Bhagavatam it is written:

athapi te deva-padambuja-dvaya-
prasada lesanugrhita eva hi
janati tattvam bhagavan mahimna
na canya eko'pi ciram vicinvan

O Lord, only those who attain a particle of mercy for your lotus feet can understand your glory.  Those who search for you by studying the scriptures using logic cannot understand you at all.

S.B. 10.14.29

Realizations of brahman and paramatma are covered by maya.  Brahman realization has a covering of maya by negation, and paramatma realization has a covering of material energy directly.  When a person is able to see the Lord with uncovered, spiritual eyes, he sees the spiritual form of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This form is the highest truth, and his energies are his manifestations. If a person realizes the Lord devoid of energies, he has realization of brahman.   Some, according to their inclination, think that this is the final realization.  Actually, realization of bhagavan without energies, without qualities, is brahman; brahman with qualities and energies is bhagavan.  Thus bhagavan is the real truth, brahman is only his impersonal effulgence, and paramatma is the Lord's expansion who enters into the material universe.   Though he appears to be brahman through the impersonal quest, the Lord is eternally existing in an inconceivable form with qualities, separate from both matter and the living etities.

Therefore Bhagavatam says;

vadanti tat tattva-vidas tattvam yaj jnanam advayam
brahmeti paramatmeti bhagavan iti sabdyate

Learned transcendentalists who know the Absolute Truth call this nondual substance Brahman, Paramatma or Bhagavan.

S.B. 1.2.11

Realization of the Lord without energies is brahman.   Realization of the Lord as a subtle being pervading the material universe is paramatma.   Realization of the Lord in full with all qualities is bhagavan.  Realization of bhagavan pervaded by majesty is called Narayana, the lord of Laksmi.  Realization of the Lord pervaded by sweetness is called Krsna, the lord of Radha.   Kaviraj Gosvami says "Radha is the complete energy, Krsna is the complete possessor of energy."  This is the correct understanding.

Putting aside the realization of brahman and paramatma as secondary, and covering the majesty of Narayana with sweetness, Krsna, endowed with all energies, remains the highest truth.

Svetasvatara Upanisad says thus:

na tasya karyam karanam ca vidyate
na tat samas cabhyadhikas ca drsyate
parasya saktir vividhaiva sruyate
svabhaviki jnana-bala-kriya ca

Krsna has no work to perform with material senses, because he has no material body or senses.  His body is a completely spiritual form, and thus is not limited in good qualities like a material body.  Krsna, endowed with unlimited wonderful qualities performs eternal pastimes in spiritual Vrndavana.   But though he is so, he is still the supreme entity.   No other form is equal to or superior to his form, because his form is the abode of all inconceivable energies.  It is called inconceivable because by limited human intelligence the contradictions cannot be resolved. This inconceivable energy is called the superior energy, para sakti.  Though one, this intrinsic energy takes three forms: jnana (samvit), bala (sandhini) and kriya (hladini).

Svetasvatara Upanisad 6.8

Thus in the Caitanya Caritamrta it is said:

krsnera svarupa ara sakti traya jnana
yanra haya, tanra nahi krsnete ajnana
cic-chakti svarupa-sakti antaranga-nama
tahara vaibhava ananta vaikunthadi dhama
maya sakti bahiranga jagat-karana
yahara vaibhava ananta brahmandera gana
jiva sakti tatasthakya nahi yara anta
mukhya tina sakti tara vibheda ananta
ei ta' svarupa gana ara tina sakti
sabara asraya krsna, krsne sabara sthiti

One who knows the real feature of Sri Krsna and His three different energies cannot remain ignorant about Him.  The cit sakti, which is also called svarupa sakti or antaranga sakti, displays many varied manifestations.  It sustains the kingdom of God and its paraphernalia.  The external energy, called maya sakti, is the cause of innumerable universes with varied material potencies.  The marginal potency, which is between these two, consists of the numberless living beings.  These are the three principal energies, which have unlimited categories and subdivisions.

C.C.Adi. 2.96,  101-104

krsnera svabhavika tina sakti parinati
cic chakti, jiva sakti ara maya sakti

Lord Krsna naturally has three enegetic transformations, and these are known as the spiritual potency, the living entity potency and the illusory potency.

C.C.Madhya 20, 111

There is a karika to elaborate on this:

saktih svabhaviki krsne tridah cety upapadyate
sandhini tu balam samvij jnanam hladakari kriya
sakti-saktimato bhedo nastiti sara samgrahah
tathapi bheda-vaicitryam acintya-sakti- karyatah
sandhinya sarvam evaitat nama-rupa-gunadikam
cin-maya-bhedato bhedo visva-vaikunthayoh kila
samvida dvi-vidham jnanam cin-maya bhedatah kramat
cin-maya-bhedatah siddham hladinya dvi- vidham sukham
hladini sri svarupa ya saiva priyankari
mahabhava-svarupa sa hladini varsabhanavi

In the scriptures, Krsna's three intrinsic energies are described as bala (sandhini), jnana (samvit) and kriya (hladini).  The energies and the source of the energies are non-different.  This is the conclusion of the scriptures.  However, through the operation of the inconceivable energy of the Lord, variety becomes manifest.  The function of the sandhini (existence) sakti is manifestation of name, form and qualities of things.  This brings about the material existence through sandhini's material function and the spiritual existence through its spiritual function.  Jnana also has two varieties, spiritual and material samvit.  Similarly there are spiritual and material hladini energies which give rise to spiritual and material pleasure. The hladini sakti is the dear servant of Krsna.   She becomes Radha, the daughter of Vrsabhanu in manifesting mahabhava, the highest ecstasy of spiritual love.

Krsna has only one intrinsic energy called the superior energy (para sakti). This energy creates variety in the spiritual world and increases the varieties of bliss.   Though the influence of this energy is infinite, from the point of view of the jiva, it appears to have three functions: as the cit sakti, the jiva sakti and the maya sakti.  The influence of the three energies are described in many places in the Vedas.  Svetasvatara describes the cit sakti manifestation thus:

rco aksare parame vyoman yasmin deva adhivisve niseduh
yas tan na veda kim rca karisyati ya ittad vidus ta ime samasate

The verses of the g Veda describe the indestructible spiritual sky, where all the devas reside.  Of what use are the Vedas to a person who does not know this fact?  Those who understand this have been successful. 

               Svetasvatara Upanisad 4.8

There is a karika:

visnu-saktih para prokta purane vaisnave tu ya
sa caivatratma saktitve varnita tattva-nirnaye

The para sakti described in the Visnu Purana is called the svarupa sakti in philosophical discussions. 

This is likewise explained in the Svetasvatara Upanisad. 

te dhyana-yoganugata apasyan devatma-saktim sva-gunair nigudam
yah karanani nikhilani tani kalatma-yuktany adhi tisthaty ekah

The one possessor of energy appears as the controller of all causes, along with the jiva and time. The persons absorbed in yoga meditation have seen this personal energy of the Lord (atma sakti) which is surrounded by its expansions

                                                                           Svetasvatara Upanisad 1.3  

There is a karika concerning the maya sakti:

avidyakarma samjna va vaisnave hy anuvarnyate
mayakhyaya ca sa prokta hy amnayartha- vinirnaye

In the Visnu Purana what is called the energy of avidya karma is called maya sakti in the Vedic texts.

Svetasvatara Upanisad 4.8 says:

chandamsi yajnah kratavo vratani
bhutam bhavyam yac ca veda vadanti
asman mayi srjyate visvam etat
tasmims canyo mayaya sanniruddhah 

Whatever is glorified in the Vedas, such as yajnas, chanting Vedas, asvamedha kratu, vows such as candrayana, is created by the Supreme Person, controller of maya.   The jiva is bound by this same maya.

Concerning the tatastha sakti, there is a karika:

ksetra-jnakhya ca ya saktih sa tatastha nirupita
jiva-saktir iti prokta yaya  jivas canekadha

The energy called ksetra jna mentioned in the Visnu Purana is the tatastha sakti or jiva sakti.  Through this sakti unlimited jivas appear.

Svetasvatara Upanisad (4.5.) says:

ajam ekam lohita-sukla-krsnam
vahvih prajah srjamanam sarupah
ajo hy eko jusamano' nusete
jahaty enam bhukta-bhogam ajo'nyah 

The unborn person, jiva is serving the unborn material nature, which generates numerous material bodies for the living entities and is composed of goodness, passion and ignorance.  The other unborn person, paramatma, is detached from the enjoyment of material nature.

prakrtim svam avastabhya visrjami punah punah
bhuta-gramam imam  krtsnam avasam prakrter vasat

The whole cosmic order is under Me. By My will it is manifested again and again, and by My will it is annihilated at the end.


mayadhyaksena prakrtih suyate sacaracaram
hetunanena kaunteya jagad viparivartate

This material nature is working under My direction, O son of Kunti, and it is producing all moving and unmoving beings.  By its rule this manifestation is created and annihilated again and again.


bhumir apo'nalo vayuh kham mano buddhir eva ca
ahankara itiyam me bhinna prakrtir astadha

apareyam itas tv anyam prakrtim viddhi me param
jiva-bhutam mahabaho yayedam dharyate jagat

Earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, intelligence and false ego-altogether these eight comprise My separated material energies.  Besides this inferior nature, O mighty-armed Arjuna, there is a superior energy of Mine, which are all living entities who are struggling with material nature and are sustaining the universe.


Through these three energies, the spiritual world, material world and the jivas make their appearance.   In these three energies, the influence of sandhini, samvit and hladini are present.

In the realm of cit sakti, the sandhini gives rise to the qualities, the objects, and all other things which assist in the Lord's pastimes.   Krsna's form, name, qualities and pastimes are all due to the sandhini potency.  By the influence of the samvit sakti on the cit sakti all the spiritual moods arise.   By the hladini influence on the cit sakti, prema expands. 

By the influence of the sandhini on the jiva sakti, the jiva's spiritual existence, name and place appear.   Through the influence of samvit on the jiva sakti the knowledge of God arises.  Through the hladini influence the jiva experiences spiritual bliss. The jiva's experience of bliss of samadhi by practicing astanga yoga and merging into brahman are also the effects of the samvit on the jiva.  

By the influence of sandhini on maya sakti, the material universe composed of fourteen material planetary systems, the gross and subtle bodies of the jivas and material senses, and the goals of the jivas such as svaga, are manifested.   The material name, form qualities and actions of the conditioned jiva all arise from this.  By the influence of the samvit on the maya sakti, the worries, hopes, speculations and thoughts of the conditioned jiva arise. By the influence of hladini on the maya sakti, gross material bliss and the subtle material happiness of svarga arise.

One should understand that the sandhini, samvit and hladini manifest their pure, full form in the cit sakti.  In the jiva sakti, these appear in very minute quantity.  In the maya sakti these appear in a perverted or shadow form.     For the jiva, the forms manifested in maya are detrimental.  In the jiva himself, these three influences are not detrimental but dilute.  Without joining to the hladini manifested in the cit sakti, the jiva cannot experience full spiritual bliss.  Such joining cannot be accomplished, except through the mercy of Krsna or his devotee. 

On this there is as karika:

virodha-bhanjika sakti yuktasya saccid atmanah
vartante yugapad-dharmah paraspara-virodhinah
sarupatvam arupatvam vibhutvam murtir eva ca
nirlepatvam  krpavatvam ajatvam jayamanata
sarvaradhyatvam gopatvam sarva-jnam nara bhavata
savisesatva-sampattis tatha ca nirvisesata
simavad yukti-yuktanam asima-tattva-vastuni
tarko hi viphalas tasmac chraddhamnaye phala prada  

Krsna has one energy called his inconceivable, contradiction-breaking energy.  By this energy all contradictory qualities become non-contradictory and exist together eternally. Having form yet being formless, having full power, yet taking the limited form of a deity, unaffected by anything, but responsive to his devotees, unborn but taking birth as avatara, all-worshipable but taking the form of a cowherd, omniscient but appearing as a human being, being without quality but full of qualities-all such contradictory qualities  appear in the form of Krsna and assist His service to Sri Radha, the embodiment of the hladini sakti.    Logic and argument are fruitless here.  As man's power of logic is limited, it is of no use in topics which are beyond his limit.  The fortunate person gives up logic and faithfully accepts the words of scripture.   From the seed of faith, the creeper of bhakti develops, and finally the devotee attains the lotus feet of Krsna. 

The statements of scripture about the contrary qualities within the Lord are many.     

apanipado javano grahita pasyaty acaksuh sa srnoty akarnah
sa vetti vedyam na ca tasyasti vetta tam ahur agryam purusam mahantam

The Lord has no material hands or feet, yet he accepts things and goes everywhere..  He has no material eyes but sees past, present and future.  He has no ears but hears.  He knows all, but no one knows him.   The learned call him the original Supreme Person.

                                             Svetasvatara Upanisad 3.19

tad ejati tan naijati tad dure tad vantike
tad antarasya sarvasya tad u sarvasyasya bahyatah

He is moving and non-moving, far and near. He is within the universe and outside the universe.

saparyagac chukram akayam avranam asnaviram suddham apapaviddham
kavir manisi paribhuh svayam bhur yathatyato'rthan vyadadhac chasvatibhyah samabhyah

Such a person must factually know the greatest of all, who is unembodied, omniscient, beyond reproach, without veins, pure and uncontaminated, the self-sufficient philosopher who has been fulfilling everyone's desire since time immemorial.

               Isopanisad 5, 8

Talavakara Upanisad 3.6 speaks of his inconceivable power:

tasmai trnam nidadhav etad daheti
tad upapreyaya sarva javena tan na
sasaka dagdhum sa tata eva nivavrte
naitad asakam vijnatum yad etad yaksam iti

When the devas became proud after conquering over the demons in battle, the Lord, in order to curb their pride, placed a blade of grass in front of Agni.  Agni approached the blade of grass, but in spite of using all his strength, he could not burn the grass.  Coming before the devas he said, " I cannot comprehend this worshipable Lord."

Chandogya Upanisad and Gopala Tapani Upanisad speaks of his energies and form:

syamac cavalam prapadye
samalac chyamam prapadye

Through his energy I surrender to Krsna. .  Through Krsna I surrender to his energy.

                              Chandogya Upanisad 8.13.1

gopavesam sat-pundarika-nayanam meghabham vaidyutambaram
dvibhujam mauna-mudratyam vana-malinam isvaram

We worship the lord, with dress of a cowherd, lotus like eyes, complexion of a cloud, yellow cloth, two armed, showing the mauna mudra and decorated with a forest garland.

Gopala Tapani Upanisad: Purva 13.1

To understand about saktis of the Lord, the Caitanya Caritamrta should be studied:

krsnera ananta sakti ta'te tina pradhana
cic cakti, maya sakti, jiva sakti nama
antaranga, bahiranga, tatastha kahi ya're
antaranga svarupa sakti sabara upare
sac cid ananda maya krsnera svarupa
ataeva svarupa sakti haya tina rupa
anandamse hladini, sadamse sandhini
cidamse samvit, ya're jnana kari' mani
krsnake ahlade ta'te nama ahladini
sei sakti dvare sukha asvade apani
sukha rupa krsna kare sukha asvadana
bhakta gane sukha dite hladini karana
hladinira sara amsa ta'ra prema nama
ananda cinmaya rasa premera akhyana
premera parama sara mahabhava jani
sei mahabhava rupa radha thakurani

Krsna has unlimited potencies, which can be divided into three main parts.  These are the spiritual potency, the material potency and the marginal potency, which is known as the living entities.  In other words, these are all potencies of God-internal, external and marginal.  However, the internal potency is the Lord's personal energy and stands over the other two.   Originally Lord Krsna is sac cid ananda vigraha, the transcendental form of eternity, bliss and knowledge; there His personal potency, the internal potency, has three different forms.  Hladini is His aspect of bliss; sandhini, of eternal existence; and samvit, of cognizance, which is also accepted as knowledge.  The potency called hladini give Krsna transcendental pleasure.  Through this pleasure potency, Krsna personally tastes all spiritual pleasure.  Lord Krsna tastes all kinds of transcendental happiness, although He Himself is happiness personified.  The pleasure relished by His pure devotee is also manifest by His pleasure potency.  The mos essential part of this pleasure potency is love of Godhead.  Consequently, the explanation of love of Godhead is also a transcendental mellow full of pleasure.   The essential part of love of Godhead is called mahabhava, transcendental ecstasy, and that ecstasy is represented by Srimati Radharani.

               Madhya 3, 151-160

Through this inconceivable energy, Krsna appears in the material world along with his abode and associates.  By his unlimited mercy, the spiritual abode, name, form qualities and pastimes become visible to the conditioned souls.  These things cannot be seen by the material eye, but by the inconceivable energy and Krsna's mercy, these become visible to the material eye. Sometimes he also appears in other forms such as Matysa, Kurma, Varaha, Nrsimha, Vamana and Rama and performs his pastimes.  But, it should be noted that Krsna is the source of the avataras.  Yet Krsna and his expansions are all spiritual.  They are not influenced by the material energy and do not take material bodies.  Occasionally, the Lord may invest a qualified jiva with his energy, appearing as a sakti avesa avatara.

In the Caitanya Caritamrta the avataras are described thus:

prabhava vaibhava rupe dvi vidha prakasa

prabhava prabhava vaibhava rupe dvi vidha prakasa vaibhava bhede vilasa dvidhakara
prakasa vilasera ei kaila vivarana

svamsera bheda eve suna sanatana
sankarsana matsyadika dui bheda tanra


avatara haya krsnera sad vidha prakara
purusavatara eka lilavatara ara
gunavatara ara manvantara bhara ara
yugavatara ara saktyavesa avatara

In his original form, Krsna manifests Himself in two features-prabhava and vaibhava.  He expands His one original form into many, as He did during the rasa lila dance.

               C.C. Madhya 20.167

Again the vilasa forms are divided into twofold categories -prabhava and vaibhava.  Again the pastimes of these forms are of unlimited variety.

C.C. Madhya 20.185

Now please hear about the different personal expansions.  The first personal expansion is Sankarsana, and the others are incarnations like the fish incarnation.  Sankarsana is an expansion of the purusa or Visnu.  The incarnations such as Matysa, the fish incarnation, appear in different yugas for specific pastimes.  There are six types of incarnations of Krsna.  One is the purusa incarnations, and another is the lila avataras.  There are incarnations of gunas, incarnations of the Manus, incarnations in different millenniums and incarnations of empowered living entities.

C.C.  Madhya 20.243-246

Further descriptions and identity of the avataras may be obtained by consulting the 20th chapter of Madhya lila, Caitanya Caritamrta and the Laghu Bhagavatamrta.


Previous Chapter
Next Chapter