As far as i know, the gaudiya vaishnavas (iskcon people) are dualists. For them Brahman is Krishna.

According to them, Brahman (Krishna) and the jivas are always separate. The jivas always remain subservient to Him and can never merge into Him, but rather spends time with him in Goloka.

My question is, what do gaudiya vaishnavas (iskcon people) mean by "jivas being amsha or fragmental parts of Krishna?"

  • It is a metaphor used to describe the relationship between individual jivas and the Supreme. Nov 28, 2021 at 5:54
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    @SwamiVishwananda nice to see you did not close this question Nov 28, 2021 at 7:26
  • @SwamiVishwananda why do iskcon people use this metaphor with the word 'fragment', when there's no splitting off from the whole in the first place? Nov 28, 2021 at 9:55

2 Answers 2


Lord Krishna teaches in the Bhagavad gita 15.7 that we, jivas, are his parts:

mamaivāṁśo jīva-loke jīva-bhūtaḥ sanātanaḥ

The living entities in this conditioned world are My eternal fragmental parts.

The word aṁśaḥ in the verse is explained to mean "fragmental particle" or "a part". However it is important to notice that the Lord says jiva is his sanātanaḥ "eternal" particle, which actually means that the jiva has never begin to be a particle, or that is to say we jivas have been particles of Lord Krishna since ever in the past.
So, there were no so called "splitting off" from the Lord. It actually never happened.

The verse quotation taken from https://vedabase.io/en/library/bg/

  • The vice versa also true. If Jiva need to be sanatah i.e. eternal there is no merging.. as stated by some of the great scholar like srivaisanav sri ramanujachary (i dont know whether he says that all jiva will merge into lord form body of lord).
    – Prasanna R
    Nov 30, 2021 at 3:40
  • @brahmajijnasa If jivas have always existed eternally and there was never a time when jivas split off, then why iskcon use the word 'part' or 'fragment'? ... Part or fragment of what exactly? ... If you say we are part of the Lord, then in what manner are we his parts? ... Are we part of his virat rupa form (do we belong inside his virat rupa body?) Is that what iskcon mean by 'part'? Please explain. Nov 30, 2021 at 6:56
  • @PrasannaR We're not discussing here about Ramanujacharya's beliefs or his VishishtAdvaita philosophy. I'm interested only in Chaitanya Maha Prabhu's achintya bheda abheda philosophy (which the iskcon people follow). Nov 30, 2021 at 7:01
  • @TheCr Well, Lord Krishna told that verse, so it means we are his particles, namely we are particles of his self, soul, atman or Brahman. We are not particles of virat rupa. Nov 30, 2021 at 7:28
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    @PrasannaR Yes, the vice versa also is true. We never cease to exist as an individual jivatma. We stay to be particle forever. Yes, we are not like parts of the material body. Nov 30, 2021 at 8:10

Because Bhagavat Gita says so

BG 15.7 mamaivāṁśo jīva-loke jīva-bhūtaḥ sanātanaḥ

The living entities in this conditioned world are My eternal fragmental parts.

So Jivas are Hari's Eternally Fragmental Amshas.

According to Varaha Purana there are 2 types of Amsha - Sva Amsha (Incarnation of Bhagvan) & Vibhunnamsha (Frangmental parts i.e. Jivas).

According to Gaudiya Vaishnavas they are his Fragmental Amshas but more specifically his Shakti Amsha. The Jivas are considered the Tatastha Shakti Amshas of Bhagvan.

  • What are the origins of VibhunnAmshas? How are they created? If they are uncreated and always existed separate from krishna then in what manner are they amsha/part of krishna? Jun 7, 2022 at 13:02

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