Bhagavān

How Kṛṣna is beyond the constraints of space and time

Śrī Jīva Goswami derives a number of insights into the nature of Śrī Kṛṣna’s existence by analyzing the direct experience of āptajanas, or reliable witnesses. One such individual is Śrī Nārada, who visited Dwaraka and was astonished to see Kṛṣna’s Līlā there. From an analysis of his experience, and that of Bhīṣma, Śrī Jīva Goswami distills the insight that Śrī Kṛṣna is present everywhere in all of space, and beyond, in his medium-sized form.

Śrī Kṛṣna is present at every point in space

In Anucchedas 41-43 of the Bhagavat Sandarbha, Śrī Jīva Goswami analyzes the vision of Śrī Nārada when he saw Kṛṣna marrying 16,000 wives simultaneously in different palaces at the same time. Nārada was astonished because each of the forms was doing different things, and yet was only one person, Kṛṣna. Therefore, these forms were not kāya-vyūhas, or expansions from Kṛṣna (which is also possible for sages like Nārada himself to do), but instead were the same person doing different things simultaneously in different places (which is not possible for even Nārada).

This is one way in which Kṛṣna is beyond space and beyond time. Unlike objects in space which by definition are present in only one place at one time, Kṛṣna can be at all points in space at the same time and still appear limited in His medium-sized form. Sri Jiva concludes from this analysis of Nārada’s vision that Kṛṣna’s medium-sized body is present at every point in space.

One might question how Nārada was able to see Kṛṣna in so many palaces at once, given that he himself is a limited entity. To this, Śrī Jīva replies that he saw Kṛṣna through the power bestowed upon him by Kṛṣna Himself.

Śrī Kṛṣna is the Paramātmā

In Anuccheda 44, Śrī Jīva continues this analysis by examining Bhīṣma’s vision. After the Mahābhārata war, Bhīṣma was lying on the bed of arrows and waiting to die. On the last day, before his moment of departure, Śrī Kṛṣna came to meet him. At that point, Bhīṣma spoke the following:

tam imam aham ajaṁ śarīra-bhājāṁ hṛdi hṛdi dhiṣṭhitam ātma-kalpitānām
pratidṛśam iva naikadhārkam ekaṁ samadhi-gato ’smi vidhūta-bheda-mohaḥ
Being free from the delusion of duality, I have come to understand that Kṛṣna, who is situated before me, is one. Though He is unborn, He appears in the hearts of all embodied beings, who have been manifested from within Him, just as the sun is one, though appearing differently to everyone.

Śrī Jīva’s explanation of this verse is as follows:

अथवा तं पूर्ववर्णितस्वरूपमिममग्रत एवोपविष्टं शरीरभाजां हृदि हृदि सन्तमपि समधिगतोSपि।यद्यप्यन्तर्यामिरूपमेतस्माद् रूपादन्याकरं तथाप्येतद् रूपमेवाधुना तत्र तत्र पश्यामि।सर्वतो महाप्रभावस्यैतस्य रूपस्याग्रतोSन्यस्य रूपस्य स्फुरणाशक्तेरिति भाव।अत्र दृष्टान्तो देशभेदेSप्यभेदबोधनाय ज्ञेयो..।

I now realize that the form I described earlier as sitting in front of me is also in the heart of every living being. Although the form of Paramātmā is different [in appearance] from this form [of Kṛṣna], at present I am seeing this selfsame form present in all those hearts. The import is that because of the supreme influence of this form, no other form can be perceived in its presence. This illustration is given to show that the Lord’s form is one, even though present in different places..

This shows that Kṛṣna Himself is situated in everyone’s heart, and that Paramātmā is He Himself. To the yogis who would like to see Him as Paramātmā, He manifests as Paramātmā (as four handed Viṣnu). As expressed in the famous vadanti tat tattva vidas verse of the Bhāgavatam, Absolute reality or tattva is only one, Kṛṣna Himself, who appears in different ways to people of different inclinations, as Bhagavān, Paramātmā or Brahman.

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