In the ages and millenniums of Manu, He appears as different incarnations to establish the principles of real religion and vanquish the principles of irreligion.
BHAKTIVEDANTA PURPORT: The Lord Vishnu who lies in the ocean of milk incarnates Himself in various forms to maintain the laws of the cosmos and annihilate the causes of disturbance. Such incarnations are visible in every manvantara (i.e., in the course of the reign of each Manu, who lives for 71 x 4,320,000 years). Fourteen such Manus take their birth and die, to yield a place for the next, during one day of Brahma.
Cc. Adi-lila. 5.114
Unable to see Him, the demigods go to the shore of the ocean of milk and offer prayers to Him.
BHAKTIVEDANTA PURPORT: The denizens of heaven, who live in the planetary systems beginning from Svarloka, cannot even see Lord Vishnu in Shvetadvipa. Unable to reach the island, they can simply approach the beach of the milk ocean to offer transcendental prayers to the Lord, appealing to Him on special occasions to appear as an incarnation.
Cc. Adi-lila. 5.115
He then descends to maintain the material world. His unlimited opulences cannot be counted.
Cc. Adi-lila. 5.116
That Lord Vishnu is but a part of a part of a plenary portion of Lord Nityananda, who is the source of all incarnations.
BHAKTIVEDANTA PURPORT: The Lord of Shvetadvipa has immense potency for creation and destruction. Sri Nityananda Prabhu, being Baladeva Himself, the original form of Shankarshana, is the original form of the Lord of Shvetadvipa.
Cc. Adi-lila. 5.117
That same Lord Vishnu, in the form of Lord Shesha, holds the planets upon His heads, although He does not know where they are, for He cannot feel their existence upon His heads.
Cc. Adi-lila. 5.118
His thousands of extended hoods are adorned with dazzling jewels surpassing the sun.
Cc. Adi-lila. 5.119
The universe, which measures five hundred million yojanas in diameter, rests on one of His hoods like a mustard seed.
BHAKTIVEDANTA PURPORT: The Lord of Shvetadvipa expands Himself as Shesha Naga, who sustains all the planets upon His innumerable hoods. These huge global spheres are compared to grains of mustard resting on the spiritual hoods of Shesha Naga. The scientists’ law of gravity is a partial explanation of Lord Shankarshana’s energy. The name “Shankarshana” has an etymological relationship to the idea of gravity. There is a reference to Shesha Naga in Srimad-Bhagavatam (5.17.21), where it is said:
yam ahur asya sthiti janma-samyamam / tribhir vihinam yam anantam èshayar
na veda siddhartham iva kvacit sthitam / bhu-mandalam murdha-sahasra-dhamashu “O my Lord, the hymns of the Vedas proclaim that You are the effective cause for the creation, maintenance and destruction. But in fact You are transcendental to all limitations and are therefore known as unlimited. On Your thousands of hoods rest the innumerable global spheres, like grains of mustard so insignificant that You have no perception of their weight.” The Bhagavatam further says (5.25.2):
yasyedam kshiti-mandalam bhagavato ’nanta-murter sahasra-shirasa ekasminn eva shirshani dhriyamanam siddhartha iva lakshyate. “Lord Anantadeva has thousands of hoods. Each sustains a global sphere that appears like a grain of mustard.”
Cc. Adi-lila. 5.120
That Ananta Shesha is the devotee incarnation of Godhead. He knows nothing but service to Lord Krishna.
BHAKTIVEDANTA PURPORT: Srila Jiva Gosvami, in his Krishna-sandarbha, has described Shesha Naga as follows: “Sri Anantadeva has thousands of faces and is fully independent. Always ready to serve the Supreme Personality of Godhead, He waits upon Him constantly. Shankarshana is the first expansion of Vasudeva, and because He appears by His own will, He is called svarat, fully independent. He is therefore infinite and transcendental to all limits of time and space. He Himself appears as the thousand-headed Shesha.” In the Skanda Purana, in the Ayodhya-mahatmya chapter, the demigod Indra requested Lord Shesha, who was standing before him as Lakshmana, “Please go to Your eternal abode, Vishnuloka, where Your expansion Shesha, with His serpentine hoods, is also present.” After thus dispatching Lakshmana to the regions of Patala, Lord Indra returned to his abode. This quotation indicates that the Shankarshana of the quadruple form descends with Lord Rama as Lakshmana. When Lord Rama disappears, Shesha again separates Himself from the personality of Lakshmana. Shesha then returns to His own abode in the Patala regions, and Lakshmana returns to His abode in Vaikuntha.
The Laghu-bhagavatamrita gives the following description: “The Shankarshana of the second group of quadruple forms appears as Rama, taking with Him Shesha, who bears the global spheres. There are two features of Shesha. One is the bearer of the globes, and the other is the bedstead servitor. The Shesha who bears the globes is a potent incarnation of Shankarshana, and therefore He is sometimes also called Shankarshana. The bedstead feature of Shesha always presents himself as an eternal servitor of the Lord.”
Cc. Adi-lila. 5.121
With His thousands of mouths He sings the glories of Lord Krishna, but although He always sings in that way, He does not find an end to the qualities of the Lord.
Cc. Adi-lila. 5.122
The four Kumaras hear Srimad-Bhagavatam from His lips, and they in turn repeat it in the transcendental bliss of love of Godhead.
Cc. Adi-lila. 5.123
He serves Lord Krishna, assuming all the following forms: umbrella, slippers, bedding, pillow, garments, resting chair, residence, sacred thread and throne.
Cc. Adi-lila. 5.124
He is thus called Lord Shesha, for He has attained the ultimate end of servitude to Krishna. He takes many forms for the service of Krishna, and thus He serves the Lord.
Cc. Adi-lila. 5.125
That person of whom Lord Ananta is a kala, or part of a plenary part, is Lord Nityananda Prabhu. Who, therefore, can know the pastimes of Lord Nityananda?
Cc. Adi-lila. 5.126
From these conclusions we can know the limit of the truth of Lord Nityananda. But what glory is there in calling Him Ananta?
Cc. Adi-lila. 5.127
But I accept it as the truth because it has been said by devotees. Since He is the source of all incarnations, everything is possible in Him.
Cc. Adi-lila. 5.128
They know that there is no difference between the incarnation and the source of all incarnations. Previously Lord Krishna was regarded in the light of different principles by different people.
Cc. Adi-lila. 5.129
Some said that Krishna was directly Lord Nara-Narayana, and some called Him Lord Vamanadeva incarnate.
Cc. Adi-lila. 5.130
Some called Lord Krishna an incarnation of Lord Kshirodakashayi. All these names are true; nothing is impossible.
Cc. Adi-lila. 5.131
When the Supreme Personality of Godhead Krishna appears, He is the shelter of all plenary parts. Thus at that time all His plenary portions join in Him.
Cc. Adi-lila. 5.132
In whatever form one knows the Lord, one speaks of Him in that way. In this there is no falsity, since everything is possible in Krishna.
BHAKTIVEDANTA PURPORT: In this connection we may mention an incident that took place between two of our sannyasis while we were preaching the Hare Krishna maha-mantra in Hyderabad. One of them stated that “Hare Rama” refers to Sri Balarama, and the other protested that “Hare Rama” means Lord Rama. Ultimately the controversy came to me, and I gave the decision that if someone says that the “Rama” in “Hare Rama” is Lord Ramacandra and someone else says that the “Rama” in “Hare Rama” is Sri Balarama, both are correct because there is no difference between Sri Balarama and Lord Rama. Here in Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita we find that Krishnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami has stated the same conclusion:
yei yei rupe jane, sei taha kahe
sakala sambhave krishne, kichu mithya nahe
If someone calls Lord Ramacandra by the vibration Hare Rama, understanding it to mean “O Lord Ramacandra!” he is quite right. Similarly, if one says that Hare Rama means “O Sri Balarama!” he is also right. Those who are aware of the vishnu-tattva do not fight over all these details.
In the Laghu-bhagavatamrita Srila Rupa Gosvami has explained Krishna’s being both Kshirodakashayi Vishnu and Narayana in the spiritual sky and expanding in the quadruple forms known as Vasudeva, Shankarshana, Pradyumna and Aniruddha. He has refuted the idea that Krishna is an incarnation of Narayana. Some devotees think that Narayana is the original Personality of Godhead and that Krishna is an incarnation. Even Shankaracharya, in his commentary on the Bhagavad-gita, has accepted Narayana as the transcendental Personality of Godhead who appeared as Krishna, the son of Devaki and Vasudeva. Therefore this matter may be difficult to understand. But the Gaudiya Vaishnava-sampradaya, headed by Rupa Gosvami, has established the principle of the Bhagavad-gita that everything emanates from Krishna, who says in the Bhagavad-gita, aham sarvasya prabhavar: [Bg. 10.8] “I am the original source of everything.” “Everything” includes Narayana. Therefore Rupa Gosvami, in his Laghu-bhagavatamrita, has established that Krishna, not Narayana, is the original Personality of Godhead.
In this connection he has quoted a verse from Srimad-Bhagavatam (3.2.15) that states:
sva-shanta-rupeshv itarair svarupair / abhyardyamaneshv anukampitatma
paravaresho mahad-amsha-yukto / hy ajo ’pi jato bhagavan yathagnir “When pure devotees of the Lord like Vasudeva are greatly disturbed by dangerous demons like Kamsa, Lord Krishna joins with all His pastime expansions, such as the Lord of Vaikuntha, and, although unborn, becomes manifest, just as fire becomes manifest by the friction of arani wood.” Arani wood is used to ignite a sacrificial fire without matches or any other flame. Just as fire appears from arani wood, the Supreme Lord appears when there is friction between devotees and nondevotees. When Krishna appears, He appears in full, including within Himself all His expansions, such as Narayana, Vasudeva, Shankarshana, Aniruddha and Pradyumna. Krishna is always integrated with His other incarnations, like Nrisimhadeva, Varaha, Vamana, Nara-Narayana, Hayagriva and Ajita. In Vrindavana Lord Krishna sometimes exhibits the functions of such incarnations.
In the Brahmanda Purana it is said, “The same Personality of Godhead who is known in Vaikuntha as the four-handed Narayana, the friend of all living entities, and in the milk ocean as the Lord of Shvetadvipa, and who is the best of all purushas, appeared as the son of Nanda. In a fire there are many sparks of different dimensions; some of them are very big, and some are small. The small sparks are compared to the living entities, and the large sparks are compared to the Vishnu expansions of Lord Krishna. All the incarnations emanate from Krishna, and after the end of their pastimes they again merge with Krishna.”
Therefore in the various Puranas Krishna is described sometimes as Narayana, sometimes as Kshirodakashayi Vishnu, sometimes as Garbhodakashayi Vishnu and sometimes as Vaikunthanatha, the Lord of Vaikuntha. Because Krishna is always full, Mula-shankarshana is in Krishna, and since all incarnations are manifested from Mula-shankarshana, it should be understood that He can manifest different incarnations by His supreme will, even in the presence of Krishna. Great sages have therefore glorified the Lord by different names. Thus when the original person, the source of all incarnations, is sometimes described as an incarnation, there is no discrepancy.
Cc. Adi-lila. 5.133
Therefore Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu has exhibited to everyone all the pastimes of all the various incarnations.
Cc. Adi-lila. 5.134
Thus Lord Nityananda has unlimited incarnations. In transcendental emotion He calls Himself a servant of Lord Chaitanya.
Cc. Adi-lila. 5.135
Sometimes He serves Lord Chaitanya as His guru, sometimes as His friend and sometimes as His servant, just as Lord Balarama played with Lord Krishna in these three different moods in Vraja.
Cc. Adi-lila. 5.136
Playing like a bull, Lord Balarama fights with Krishna head to head. And sometimes Lord Krishna massages the feet of Lord Balarama.
Cc. Adi-lila. 5.137
He considers Himself a servant and knows Krishna to be His master. Thus He regards Himself as a fragment of His plenary portion.
Cc. Adi-lila. 5.138
“Acting just like ordinary boys, They played like roaring bulls as They fought each other, and They imitated the calls of various animals.”
BHAKTIVEDANTA PURPORT: This and the following quotation are from the Bhagavatam (10.11.40 and 10.15.14).
Cc. Adi-lila. 5.139
“Sometimes when Lord Krishna’s elder brother, Lord Balarama, felt tired after playing and lay His head on the lap of a cowherd boy, Lord Krishna Himself served Him by massaging His feet.”
Cc. Adi-lila. 5.140
“Who is this mystic power, and where has she come from? Is she a demigod or a demoness? She must be the illusory energy of My master, Lord Krishna, for who else can bewilder Me?”
BHAKTIVEDANTA PURPORT: The playful pastimes of the Lord caused suspicion in the mind of Lord Brahma, and therefore Lord Brahma, to test Krishna’s Lordship, stole all the Lord’s calves and cowherd boys with his own mystic power. Sri Krishna responded, however, by replacing all the calves and boys in the field. Lord Balarama’s thoughts of astonishment at such wonderful retaliation are recorded in this verse (SB 10.13.37).
Cc. Adi-lila. 5.141
“What is the value of a throne to Lord Krishna? The masters of the various planetary systems accept the dust of His lotus feet on their crowned heads. That dust makes the holy places sacred, and even Lord Brahma, Lord Shiva, Lakshmi and I Myself, who are all portions of His plenary portion, eternally carry that dust on our heads.”
BHAKTIVEDANTA PURPORT: When the Kauravas, to flatter Baladeva so that He would become their ally, spoke ill of Sri Krishna, Lord Baladeva became angry and spoke this verse (SB 10.68.37).
Cc. Adi-lila. 5.142
Lord Krishna alone is the supreme controller, and all others are His servants. They dance as He makes them do so.
Cc. Adi-lila. 5.143
Thus Lord Chaitanya is also the only controller. All others are His associates or servants.
Cc. Adi-lila. 5.144
His elders such as Lord Nityananda, Advaita Acarya and Srivasa Thakura, as well as His other devotees—whether His juniors, equals or superiors—are all His associates who help Him in His pastimes. Lord Gauranga fulfills His aims with their help.
Cc. Adi-lila. 5.146
Sri Advaita Acarya and Srila Nityananda Prabhu, who are plenary parts of the Lord, are His principal associates. With these two the Lord performs His pastimes in various ways.
Cc. Adi-lila. 5.147
Lord Advaita Acarya is directly the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Although Lord Chaitanya accepts Him as His preceptor, Advaita Acarya is a servant of the Lord.
BHAKTIVEDANTA PURPORT: Lord Chaitanya always offered respects to Advaita Prabhu as He would to His father because Advaita was even older than His father; yet Advaita Prabhu always considered Himself a servant of Lord Chaitanya. Sri Advaita Prabhu and Ishvara Puri, Lord Chaitanya’s spiritual master, were both disciples of Madhavendra Puri, who was also the spiritual master of Nityananda Prabhu. Thus Advaita Prabhu, as Lord Chaitanya’s spiritual uncle, was always to be respected because one should respect one’s spiritual master’s Godbrothers as one respects one’s spiritual master. Because of all these considerations, Sri Advaita Prabhu was superior to Lord Chaitanya, yet Advaita Prabhu considered Himself Lord Chaitanya’s subordinate.
Cc. Adi-lila. 5.148
I cannot describe the truth of Advaita Acarya. He has delivered the entire world by making Lord Krishna descend.
Cc. Adi-lila. 5.149
Lord Nityananda Svarupa formerly appeared as Lakshmana and served Lord Ramacandra as His younger brother.
BHAKTIVEDANTA PURPORT: Among the sannyasis of the Shankara-sampradaya there are different names for brahmacaris. Each sannyasi has some assistants, known as brahmacaris, who are called by different names according to the names of the sannyasi. Among such brahmacaris there are four names: Svarupa, Ananda, Prakasha and Chaitanya. Nityananda Prabhu maintained Himself as a brahmacari; He never took sannyasa. As a brahmacari His name was Nityananda Svarupa, and therefore the sannyasi under whom He was living must have been from the tirthas or ashramas of the Shankara-sampradaya, because one of the names for the assistant brahmacari of such a sannyasi is Svarupa.
Cc. Adi-lila. 5.150
The activities of Lord Rama were full of suffering, but Lakshmana, of His own accord, tolerated that suffering.
Cc. Adi-lila. 5.151
As a younger brother He could not stop Lord Rama from His resolution, and so He remained silent, although unhappy in His mind.
Cc. Adi-lila. 5.152
When Lord Krishna appeared, He [Balarama] became His elder brother to serve Him to His heart’s content and make Him enjoy all sorts of happiness.
Cc. Adi-lila. 5.153
Sri Rama and Sri Lakshmana, who are plenary portions of Lord Krishna and Lord Balarama respectively, entered into Them at the time of Krishna’s and Balarama’s appearance.
BHAKTIVEDANTA PURPORT: With reference to the Vishnu-dharmottara, the Laghu-bhagavatamrita explains that Rama is an incarnation of Vasudeva, Lakshmana is an incarnation of Shankarshana, Bharata is an incarnation of Pradyumna, and Shatrughna is an incarnation of Aniruddha. The Padma Purana describes that Ramacandra is Narayana and that Lakshmana, Bharata and Shatrughna are respectively Shesha, Cakra and Shankha (the conchshell in the hand of Narayana). In the Rama-gita of the Skanda Purana, Lakshmana, Bharata and Shatrughna have been described as the triple attendants of Lord Rama.
Cc. Adi-lila. 5.154
Krishna and Balarama present Themselves as younger brother and elder brother, but in the scriptures They are described as the original Supreme Personality of Godhead and His expansion.
Cc. Adi-lila. 5.155
“I worship Govinda, the primeval Lord, who by His various plenary portions appears in the world in different forms and incarnations such as Lord Rama, but who personally appears in His supreme original form as Lord Krishna.”
BHAKTIVEDANTA PURPORT: This is a quotation from Brahma-samhita (5.39).
Cc. Adi-lila. 5.156
Lord Chaitanya is the same Lord Krishna, and Lord Nityananda is Lord Balarama. Lord Nityananda fulfills all of Lord Chaitanya’s desires.
Cc. Adi-lila. 5.157
The ocean of Lord Nityananda’s glories is infinite and unfathomable. Only by His mercy can I touch even a drop of it.
Cc. Adi-lila. 5.158
Please listen to another glory of His mercy. He made a fallen living entity climb to the highest limit.
Cc. Adi-lila. 5.159
To disclose it is not proper, for it should be kept as confidential as the Vedas, yet I shall speak of it to make His mercy known to all.
Cc. Adi-lila. 5.160
O Lord Nityananda, I write of Your mercy out of great exultation. Please forgive me for my offenses.
Cc. Adi-lila. 5.161
Lord Nityananda Prabhu had a servant named Sri Minaketana Ramadasa, who was a reservoir of love.
Cc. Adi-lila. 5.162
At my house there was sankirtana day and night, and therefore he visited there, having been invited.
Cc. Adi-lila. 5.163
Absorbed in emotional love, he sat in my courtyard, and all the Vaishnavas bowed down at his feet.
Cc. Adi-lila. 5.164
In a joyful mood of love of God he sometimes climbed upon the shoulder of someone offering obeisances, and sometimes he struck others with his flute or mildly slapped them.
Cc. Adi-lila. 5.165
When someone saw the eyes of Minaketana Ramadasa, tears would automatically flow from his own eyes, for a constant shower of tears flowed from the eyes of Minaketana Ramadasa.
Cc. Adi-lila. 5.166
Sometimes there were eruptions of ecstasy like kadamba flowers on some parts of his body, and sometimes one limb would be stunned while another would be trembling.
Cc. Adi-lila. 5.167
Whenever he shouted aloud the name Nityananda, the people around him were filled with great wonder and astonishment.
Cc. Adi-lila. 5.168
One respectable brahmana named Sri Gunarnava Mishra was serving the Deity.
Cc. Adi-lila. 5.169
When Minaketana was seated in the yard, this brahmana did not offer him respect. Seeing this, Sri Ramadasa became angry and spoke.
After saying this, he danced and sang to his heart’s content, but the brahmana did not become angry, for he was then serving Lord Krishna.
BHAKTIVEDANTA PURPORT: Minaketana Ramadasa was a great devotee of Lord Nityananda. When he entered the house of Krishnadasa Kaviraja, Gunarnava Mishra, the priest who was worshiping the Deity installed in the house, did not receive him very well. A similar event occurred when Romaharshana-suta was speaking to the great assembly of sages at Naimisharanya. Lord Baladeva entered that great assembly, but since Romaharshana-suta was on the vyasasana, he did not get down to offer respect to Lord Baladeva. The behavior of Gunarnava Mishra indicated that he had no great respect for Lord Nityananda, and this idea was not at all palatable to Minaketana Ramadasa. For this reason the mentality of Minaketana Ramadasa is never deprecated by devotees.
Cc. Adi-lila. 5.172
At the end of the festival Minaketana Ramadasa went away, offering his blessings to everyone. At that time he had some controversy with my brother.
Cc. Adi-lila. 5.173
My brother had firm faith in Lord Chaitanya but only a dim glimmer of faith in Lord Nityananda.
Cc. Adi-lila. 5.174
Knowing this, Sri Ramadasa felt unhappy in his mind. I then rebuked my brother.
Cc. Adi-lila. 5.175
“These two brothers,” I told him, “are like one body; They are identical manifestations. If you do not believe in Lord Nityananda, you will fall down.
Cc. Adi-lila. 5.176
“If you have faith in one but disrespect the other, your logic is like the logic of accepting half a hen.
Cc. Adi-lila. 5.177
“It would be better to be an atheist by slighting both brothers than a hypocrite by believing in one and slighting the other.”
Cc. Adi-lila. 5.178
Thus Sri Ramadasa broke his flute in anger and went away, and at that time my brother fell down.
Cc. Adi-lila. 5.179
I have thus described the power of the servants of Lord Nityananda. Now I shall describe another characteristic of His mercy.
Cc. Adi-lila. 5.180
That night Lord Nityananda appeared to me in a dream because of my good quality in chastising my brother.