Srimad Bhagavatam 01-09-18 - Glories of Lord Shiva (download mp3)
by Shivram Prabhu at ISKCON Chowpatty
eṣa vai bhagavān sākṣād
ādyo nārāyaṇaḥ pumān
mohayan māyayā lokaṁ
gūḍhaś carati vṛṣṇiṣu
This Śrī Kṛṣṇa is no other than the inconceivable, original Personality of Godhead. He is the first Nārāyaṇa, the supreme enjoyer. But He is moving amongst the descendants of King Vṛṣṇi just like one of us, and He is bewildering us with His self-created energy.
The Vedic system of acquiring knowledge is the deductive process. The Vedic knowledge is received perfectly by disciplic succession from authorities. Such knowledge is never dogmatic, as ill conceived by less intelligent persons. The mother is the authority to verify the identity of the father. She is the authority for such confidential knowledge. Therefore, authority is not dogmatic. In the Bhagavad-gītā this truth is confirmed in the second verse of the Fourth Chapter, and the perfect system of learning is to receive it from authority. The very same system is accepted universally as truth, but only the false arguer speaks against it. For example, modern spacecraft fly in the sky, and when scientists say that they travel to the other side of the moon, men believe these stories blindly because they have accepted the modern scientists as authorities. The authorities speak, and the people in general believe them. But in the case of Vedic truths, they have been taught not to believe. Even if they accept them they give a different interpretation. Each and every man wants a direct perception of Vedic knowledge, but foolishly they deny it. This means that the misguided man can believe one authority, the scientist, but will reject the authority of the Vedas. The result is that people have degenerated.
Here is an authority speaking about Śrī Kṛṣṇa as the original Personality of Godhead and the first Nārāyaṇa. Even such an impersonalist as Ācārya Śaṅkara has said in the beginning of his commentation on the Bhagavad-gītā that Nārāyaṇa, the Personality of Godhead, is beyond the material creation.* The universe is one of the material creations, but Nārāyaṇa is transcendental to such material paraphernalia.
Bhīṣmadeva is one of the twelve mahājanas who know the principles of transcendental knowledge. His confirmation of Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s being the original Personality of Godhead is also corroborated by the impersonalist Śaṅkara. All other ācāryas have also confirmed this statement, and thus there is no chance of not accepting Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa as the original Personality of Godhead. Bhīṣmadeva says that He is the first Nārāyaṇa. This is also confirmed by Brahmājī in the Bhāgavatam (10.14.14). Kṛṣṇa is the first Nārāyaṇa. In the spiritual world (Vaikuṇṭha) there are unlimited numbers of Nārāyaṇas, who are all the same Personality of Godhead and are considered to be the plenary expansions of the original Personality of Godhead Śrī Kṛṣṇa. The first form of the Lord, Śrī Kṛṣṇa, first expands Himself as the form of Baladeva, and Baladeva expands in so many other forms, such as Saṅkarṣaṇa, Pradyumna, Aniruddha, Vāsudeva, Nārāyaṇa, Puruṣa, Rāma and Nṛsiṁha. All these expansions are one and the same viṣṇu-tattva, and Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the original source of all the plenary expansions. He is therefore the direct Personality of Godhead. He is the creator of the material world, and He is the predominating Deity known as Nārāyaṇa in all the Vaikuṇṭha planets. Therefore, His movements amongst human beings are another sort of bewilderment. The Lord therefore says in the Bhagavad-gītā that foolish persons consider Him to be one of the human beings without knowing the intricacies of His movements.
The bewilderment regarding Śrī Kṛṣṇa is due to the action of His twofold internal and external energies upon the third one, called marginal energy. The living entities are expansions of His marginal energy, and thus they are sometimes bewildered by the internal energy and sometimes by the external energy. By internal energetic bewilderment, Śrī Kṛṣṇa expands Himself into unlimited numbers of Nārāyaṇas and exchanges or accepts transcendental loving service from the living entities in the transcendental world. And by His external energetic expansions, He incarnates Himself in the material world amongst the men, animals or demigods to reestablish His forgotten relation with the living entities in different species of life. Great authorities like Bhīṣma, however, escape His bewilderment by the mercy of the Lord.