5

The first chapter of 5th Canto of Vishnu Purana makes following statements:

VP 5.1.2-4:

MAITREYA.— I wish now to hear a more particular description, holy Ṛṣi, of the portion of Viṣṇu that came down upon earth, and was born in the family of Yadu. Tell me also what actions he performed in his descent, as a part of a part of the supreme, upon the earth.

Parāśara said:— I will relate to you, Maitreya, the account which you have requested; the birth of a part of a part of Viṣṇu, and the benefits which his actions conferred upon the world.

The same chapter Lord Vishnu says:

VP 5.1.59-65:

When Brahmā had ended, the supreme lord plucked off two hairs, one white and one black, and said to the gods, “These my hairs shall descend upon earth, and shall relieve her of the burden of her distress.

Let all the gods also, in their own portions, go down to earth, and wage war with the haughty Asuras, who are there incorporate, and who shall every one of them be destroyed. Doubt not of this: they shall perish before the withering glance of mine eyes. This my (black) hair shall be impersonated in the eighth conception of the wife of Vasudeva, Devakī, who is like a goddess; and shall slay Kansa, who is the demon Kālanemi.” Thus having spoken, Hari disappeared; and the gods bowing to him, though invisible, returned to the summit of mount Meru, from whence they descended upon earth.

In the same chapter (5.1.76), Lord Vishnu says

I will myself become incarnate in the eighth conception of Devakī; and you shall immediately take a similar character as the embryo offspring of Yaśodā.

While disagreement among different puranas can be set aside for now, here we see there are three contrary statements in the same Purana and in the same chapter that can be summarized:

  1. The first statement implies Krishna is incarnation of very tiny part of Vishnu. It has 3 sub statements . Krishna as :

    A. incarnation of portion of Vishnu

    B. incarnation of part of part of Vishnu.

    C. incarnation of part of part of supreme.

  2. The second statement implies Krishna is incarnation of Vishnu's black hair.

  3. The third statement implied Krishna is incarnation of Vishnu himself.

How can these statements be harmonized in the light of Vishnu Purana itself?

Is Krishna incarnation of part of Vishnu/ part of part of Vishnu/ part of part of supreme/ Vishnu's black hair/ Vishnu himself?

  • 3
    All portions of Vishnu are equal to Vishnu, who is the Supreme. Hence 1 gets solved. The divine parts of Vishnu’s body are also equal to Vishnu, as it is a part of his divine body. Hence 2 gets solved. From the solutions of 1 and 2, Krishna is the incarnation of Vishnu himself. Hence 3 also gets solved. This is a question, that can be solved using simple logic! – user15963 Apr 26 '19 at 18:47
  • @HayagreevRam it's not about whether they have same potency. Points 1 and 2 can be merged part of part can mean hair. Then still one question remains, Is Krishna incarnation of Vishnu's black hair or Vishnu himself. Both may have same potency, but that is not the question. – Krishna Varna Apr 26 '19 at 22:32
  • Vishnu’s black hair not only has the same potency of Vishnu, it is Vishnu itself! Vishnu pervades every atom of the universe, so, why not his own divine hair! – user15963 Apr 27 '19 at 6:16
  • @KrishnaVarna Do you want answer from Vishnu purana only or any other scripture also? – hanugm Apr 28 '19 at 6:30
  • @hanugm you can write whatever you wish. – Krishna Varna May 1 '19 at 4:29
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The following interpretation is in line with the paribhāşa-sutra: 'krsnastu bhagavan svayam' is as follows:(taken from Chaitanya Mata Manjusha commentary of Srinatha pandita)

The explanation of the above controversial words is this, sequentially:

(1) aṁśāvatāraḥ (the Avatāra of an aṁśa) signifies: aṁśānāṁ nārāyaṇādīnām avatāraḥ yasmāt saḥ, “He from whom there is an Avatāra of aṁśas such as Nārāyaṇa,”

(2) aṁśāṁśena avatīrya (after descending with an aṁśa of an aṁśa) means: aṁśaḥ brahmādayaḥ teṣām aṁśena yādava-rūpeṇa saha avatīrya, “after He descended with the Yādavas, who are aṁśas of aṁśas such as Brahmā,” since it will be said: bhavadbhir aṁśair yaduṣūpajanyatām, “[Brahmā told the gods:] You should take birth as aṁśas among the Yadus” (Bhāgavatam 10.1.22), and

(3) viṣṇor aṁśāṁśa-sambhūti-caritam (the deeds of He who appeared with an aṁśa of an aṁśa of Viṣṇu) is understood as follows. At first, viṣṇoḥ caritam means śrī-kṛṣṇasya caritam (Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s deeds). What were they like? They were aṁśāṁśa-sambhūti, which means: aṁśānāṁ brahmādīnām aṁśāḥ yādavāḥ teṣāṁ samyak samīcīnā bhūtiḥ sampattiḥ yasmāt yatra vā, “either (A) because of which there is the complete prosperity of the Yādavas, who are aṁśas of aṁśas such as Brahmā; or (B) in which the prosperity of the Yādavas, who are aṁśas of aṁśas such as Brahmā, becomes complete.”

Now, one may say that Krishna is incarnation of Vishnu's hair based on 5.1.59 and the succeeding verses.

evaṁ saṁstūyamānas tu bhagavān parameśvaraḥ | ujjahārātmanaḥ keśau sita-kṛṣṇau mahā-mune || uvāca ca surān etau mat-keśau vasudhā-tale | avatīrya bhuvo bhāra-kleśa-hāniṁ kariṣyataḥ || vasudevasya yā patnī devakī devatopamā | tasyām aṣṭamo garbho mat-keśo bhavitā surāḥ ||(Vi Pu. 5.1.59-60,63)

When Brahmá had ended, the supreme lord plucked off two hairs, one white and one black, and said to the gods, "These my hairs shall descend upon earth, and shall relieve her of the burden of her distress."

"This my (black) hair shall be impersonated in the eighth conception of the wife of Vasudeva,.." (Only relevant portion of translation taken from HH Wilson)

However, the succeeding verses themselves refutes the above translation/interpretation where in Vishnu says "I will myself incarnate in the eighth conception of Devakí; and you shall immediately take a similar character as the embryo offspring of Yaśodá."

Therefore, the understanding of the verses that seem to say Krishna is incarnation of Vishnu's hair is:

The Lord took(manifested) one white hair and one black hair from Himself, not that He plucked them, since His hair is transcendental; pulling them off does not make sense. The gist is He raised both hairs; then He showed them. He did this to indicate the color.

Alternatively, [mat-keśau is interpreted as a karma-dhāraya compound]: mama kaṁ sukhaṁ tat-svarūpau īśvarau ca, “They are My happiness (mat-ka = mama sukha) and They are two Lords,” whose nature is happiness.

In regard to tasyām aṣṭamo garbho mat-keśo bhavitā, “My (black) hair will become the eighth embryo in her womb” (Viṣṇu Purāṇa 5.1.63, cited above), mat-keśaḥ (My hair) means śrī-kṛṣṇaḥ. The explanation is the same as before (“He is My happiness (mat-ka) and He is the Lord (īśa)”). Or else matkeśa means: mama kaṁ sukhaṁ yasmāt saḥ ca asau īśvaraḥ ca, “He is the Lord, because of whom I have happiness.”

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According to the Vishnu-Purana, each and everything is a form of Lord Vishnu:

devA manushyA pashavah pakshi-vrisksha-sarisripAh/rupam edad anantasya vishnor bhinnam iva sthitam// (1.19.47)

Meaning : The gods, human beings, animals,nbirds, trees, reptiles--ALL are forms of the Infinite Vishnu, just appearing differently.

:yAni murtyAni amurtyAni yAni atra anyatra vA kvachit/santi vai vastujAtAni tAnimsarvAni tadvapuh//(1.22.84)

Meaning : Whatever is here manifet or unmanifest here or elsewhere, all these are His body.

When trees and animals etc are also Sri Vishnu Himself in disguise, and He is mentioned as infinite, there is no contradiction. Each body part of Sri Vishnu is also Sri Vishnu, as there is no 'amsa-amsi veda' in case of the Purna, Who is Infinite.

purnasya purnam adAya purnammeva avasishyate// If Infinite is taken away from Infinite, what remains is Infinite.

Only what I do not understand is the white hair mentioned on Lord's head, as His is ever youth.

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  • 1
    Sorry this doesn't answer the question. – Krishna Varna Apr 26 '19 at 22:25

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