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HEIRARCHY OF DEVATAS AND SWAYAM KRISHNA BHAGVAN

Heirarchy of Devatas and Swayam Krishna Bhagavan

ŚRĪ KṚṢṆA’S EXPANSIONS: Catur-Vyūha I & II, The Puruṣa Avatāras & Lord Sadāśiva

What is the Catur-Vyuha

A COMPLETE OVERVIEW OF LORD KṚṢṆA’S EXPANSIONS

THE FIRST CATUR-VYŪHA (QUADRUPAL EMANATION)

Svayam Bhagavān Śrī Kṛṣṇa, The Original Person (adi-purusa) expands into first expansion who is Lord Balarāma.

Lord Balarāma, who is vaibhava-prakāśa emanation expands into the first , what is called the “Catur-vyūha “(Quadruple Emanation).

 The Catur-vyūha (Four Emanations), Their expansions and the Vilāsa forms (pastime forms, slightly less in qualities), all together fall under the tad-ekātma category of forms of the Lord. 

Unlike the many expansions of the Svayam Rupa, These Tad-ekātma (unity in essence) forms resemble the svayaṁ–rūpa form, and have the same potency, but with some differences, (such as having 4 arms, etc.)

The Catur-vyūha are further categorized within the Svāṁśa (svā means ‘own’; and āṁśa means ‘part’)  or expansions of the Lord. 

These Prābhava (four handed forms) expand, and then divide further into more vilāsa (pastime expansions).

The first Catur-Vyūha (consisting of Vāsudeva, Saṅkarṣaṇa, Pradyumna and Aniruddha) expand into the 24 Guardian forms of Vishnu, which preside over all of the Vaikuṇṭha planets in the spiritual world, beginning from the east in consecutive order. In each of eight directions, there are three different forms. [CC Madhya 20.191]. 

Caturvyūha (चतुर्व्यूह): Catur means ‘four’, and vyūha means ‘guard’ or ‘arms’. Thus, the meaning of the word Catur-vyūha means, “the incarnations of the Lord who have four arms and guard the four directions”.

Although They all have Their residences eternally in the spiritual sky, some of Them are situated within the material universes.

THE 2ND CATUR-VYŪHA (QUADRUPAL EMANATION) FROM LORD NĀRĀYAṆA

Lord Nārāyaṇa expands from Mūla-Saṅkarṣaṇa (of the first Catur-Vyūha). 

Then a partially potent 2nd Catur-Vyūha expansion of – Vasudeva, Saṅkarṣaṇa, Pradyumna and Aniruddha – emanate from this Lord Nārāyaṇa. 

3 PURUṢĀVATĀRAS & THEIR LĪLĀ AVATĀR INCARNATIONS

Puruṣā-avatāras (पुरुषावतार) refers to Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s 3 Expansions that create the cosmic manifestation for the upliftment of the rebellious living entities:

Kāraṇod-akaśāyī (Maha-Viṣṇu) – CAUSAL (Lying in the Casual Ocean)

Garbhodakaśāyī Viṣṇu – EMBRYONIC (Lying on the Garbodha Ocean)

Kṣīrodakaśāyī Viṣṇu – MILK (Lying on the Milk Ocean)

(Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 1.3.1–3 and 2.6.39–42)

These 3 Puruṣa-Avatāras are considered part of the svāmśa-vigrahas (plenary portion forms) , which expands from the second Catur-vyūha (also situated as Guardians of the 4 Directions of the material sky)

There are thus two types of avatāras in the svāṁśa vigrahas (portions from the 2nd Saṅkarṣaṇa): 1. the 3 Puruṣā avatāras; and 2. the līlā-avatāras (the 25 pastime incarnations).

(1) Kumāras, (2) Nārada, (3) Varāha, (4) Matsya, (5) Yajña, (6) Nara-nārāyaṇa, (7) Kārdami Kapila, (8) Dattātreya, (9) Hayaśīrṣa, (10) Haṁsa, (11) Dhruvapriya or Pṛśnigarbha, (12) Ṛṣabha, (13) Pṛthu, (14) Nṛsiṁha, (15) Kūrma, (16) Dhanvantari, (17) Mohinī, (18) Vāmana, (19) Bhārgava (Paraśurāma), (20) Rāghavendra, (21) Vyāsa, (22) Pralambāri Balarāma, (23) Kṛṣṇa, (24) Buddha (25) Kalki. Because almost all of these twenty-five līlā-avatāras appear in one day of Brahmā, which is called a kalpa, they are sometimes called kalpa-avatāras.

LĪLĀ-AVATĀRS (PASTIME INCARNATIONS) APPEAR FROM KṢĪRODAKAŚĀYĪ-VIṢṆU

Kṣīrodakaśāyī-Viṣṇu appears as different incarnations to establish the principles of real religion and vanquish the principles of irreligion. Whenever there is trouble in the universe the demigods come to the beach of the ocean of milk and communicate with Kṣīrodakaśāyī-Viṣṇu. They cannot see Him on the island of Śvetadvīpa. But they offer transcendental prayers to the Lord and beseech His help to appear as an incarnation. He then descends to maintain the material world.

THE 3 PURUṢĀ-AVATĀRAS ARISE FROM THE 2nd CATUR-VYŪHA

Kāraṇodakaśāyī Viṣṇu (Maha-Viṣṇu) arises from Saṅkarṣaṇa (of the 2nd Catur-vyūha);

Garbhodhakaśāyī Vishnu arises from Pradyumna (of the 2nd Catur-vyūha);

Kṣīrodakaśāyī-Viṣṇu (who is the Paramātmā) arises from Aniruddha (of the 2nd Catur-vyūha);

ŚHAMBU EXPANDS FROM SADĀŚIVA (VIṢNU-TATTVA) A VILĀSA EXPANSION OF KṚṢṆA

Śrīla A.C. Bhaktivedānta Svāmī Prabhupāda:: “The annihilator, Rudra, is born from Saṅkarṣaṇa and the ultimate fire to burn the whole creation. In the Vāyu Purāṇa there is a description of Sadāśiva in one of the Vaikuṇṭha planets.

That Sadāśiva is a direct expansion of Lord Kṛṣṇa’s form for pastimes. It is said that Sadāśiva (Lord Śambhu) is an expansion from the Sadāśiva in the Vaikuṇṭha planets (Lord Viṣṇu) and that his consort, Mahāmāyā, is an expansion of Ramā-devī, or Lakṣmī. Mahāmāyā is the origin or birthplace of material nature.” (Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta Adi 6.79, Purport:)

Śrīla Visvanātha Cakravartīpāda: “Lord Sadāśiva is transcendental to the three modes of material nature. He is the vilāsa expansion of the Supreme Lord, Viṣṇu. And Sadāśiva is also the source of the Lord Śiva who is serving as one of the 3 Guṇa-Avatāras (Brahmā, Viṣṇu, Śiva). Thus Sadāśiva is equal to Lord Viṣṇu, superior to Lord Brahmā, and superior to and separate from the conditioned, guna-bound jivas. (Bhagavatāmrita-kana) [Śiva is Śiva-tattva; jīvas are jīva-tattva]

Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmīpāda: “Śiva’s abode is manifest in the northeast part of Vaikuṇṭhaloka.” (Laghu Bhag. I.5.298) “Sadāśiva Loka is attained by the best of Lord Shiva’s devotees who know that Shiva is nondifferent from Śri Kṛṣṇa and not by others.” (BBT tika, Brhad Bhag. I.2.96)

“Lord Shiva knows that Saṅkarṣaṇa is the original cause of his own existence, and thus he always sits in trance meditating upon Lord Sankarsana.” (Śrīmad Bhagavatam 5.17.16.)

In conclusion, Śrī Kṛṣṇa, in His form as Mūla-Saṅkarṣaṇa, expands as Maha-Viṣṇu, along side Sadāśiva.

However, Śrī Kṛṣṇa alone is the supreme, the origin and cause of all causes. In Gītā (10.8),

Śrī Kṛṣṇa emphatically proclaims this: “I am the source of everything and everything emanates from Me, ahaṁ sarvasya prabhavo mattaḥ sarvaṁ

Thus, we can better appreciate how Bhagavad-Gītā summarizes the Vedic knowledge’s highest spiritual conclusions.

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