Krishna as avatarin?

Vidyasankar Sundaresan vsundaresan at HOTMAIL.COM
Tue Jun 20 05:31:51 UTC 2000

Martin Gansten <Martin.Gansten at TEOL.LU.SE> wrote:

>Regrettably, no. But note that the verse in question does not even
>pronounce Krishna to be 'a source of other amshas'. It runs:
>         ete caa.mzakalaa.h pu.msa.h k.r.s.nas tu bhagavaan svayam /

Dear Martin,

You might want to check

1. brahmavaivartapurANa, where Krishna is avatArin and higher in hierarchy
than Vishnu. See also related comments by David Kinsley in "The Sword and
the Flute." This is perhaps old news to you.

2. vallabha's tattvadIpa and self-commentary, in addition to subodhinI.
Krishna for him is basically the author of the gItA, which has here gained a
status higher than the Vedas. His position on Krishna as avatArin also has
to be carefully interpreted, as he argues against svajAtIya, vijAtIya and
svagata bheda even between bhagavAn and antaryAmin. So he may not
necessarily say that Krishna as avatArin is higher than Narayana/Vishnu.

3. nimbArka - I haven't seen many publications of his texts, but S. N.
Dasgupta's third volume of "History of Indian Philosophies" gives valuable
details, and is perhaps more easily accessible.

4. vijnAnabhikshu's vijnAnAm.rta also quotes the above bhAgavata verse, but
looks at it in a very different manner. He makes brahmA, vishNu and
mahezvara to be lower in hierarchy than bhagavAn, but in interpreting
bhagavAn svayam, he says Krishna is equivalent only to Vishnu, "putravat".

5. Finally, to get to my favorite subject, Advaita, note that Sankara also
uses the word a.mza in his gItAbhAshya introduction - "sa AdikartA vishNuH
nArAyANAkhyaH ....... devakyA.m vasudevAd a.mzena kRshNaH kila sambabhUva."
He soon qualifies this statement with the phrases "svA.m vaishNavI.m mAyA.m
triguNAtmikA.m vazIk.rtya," "dehavAn iva" and "jAta iva". These "iva"
qualifications anticipate the later verse, "ajo'pi san" etc. But elsewhere
in the same bhAshya, he also says, "paramArthatattva.m vAsudevAkhyam" and
"vaishNava.m padam," when referring to liberation. Again, no hierarchy is
evident between Krishna/Vasudeva on the one hand and Vishnu/Narayana on the
other, even though the word a.mza is used.

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