Qualities of Krishna - An answer to few questions like - Why Krishna is The Supreme Personality of Godhead, What are the sixty-four (64) qualities of Krishna, What are the qualities of Vishnu, Siva and Brahma.
The Divine and Transcendental Qualities of Krishna
ananta kṛṣṇera guṇa, cauṣaṭṭi — pradhāna
eka eka guṇa śuni’ juḍāya bhakta-kāṇa
“The transcendental qualities of Lord Kṛṣṇa are unlimited. Out of these, sixty-four are considered prominent. The ears of the devotees are satisfied simply by hearing all these qualities one after the other.
[Sri Caitanya Caritamrita - Madhya-līlā 23.69]
Attempting to analyze the transcendental qualities of Krishna is like counting the ocean waves. Like Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, who is Krishna Himself, has said - Krishna has unlimited qualities. Out of which 64 are most prominent. This article will be attempting to discuss on these 64 qualities.
ahaṁ sarvasya prabhavo
mattaḥ sarvaṁ pravartate
iti matvā bhajante māṁ
I am the source of all spiritual and material worlds. Everything emanates from Me. The wise who perfectly know this engage in My devotional service and worship Me with all their hearts.
[Bhagavad Gita - 10.8]
na me viduḥ sura-gaṇāḥ
prabhavaṁ na maharṣayaḥ
aham ādir hi devānāṁ
maharṣīṇāṁ ca sarvaśaḥ
Neither the hosts of demigods nor the great sages know My origin or opulences, for, in every respect, I am the source of the demigods and sages.
[Bhagavad Gita - 10.2]
From the above verses of Bhagavad Gita, one can clearly understand Krishna as the Origin of the entire creation, including all Demi-Gods and Sages.
ete cāṁśa-kalāḥ puṁsaḥ
kṛṣṇas tu bhagavān svayam
mṛḍayanti yuge yuge
All of the above-mentioned incarnations are either plenary portions or portions of the plenary portions of the Lord, but Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the original Personality of Godhead. All of them appear on planets whenever there is a disturbance created by the atheists. The Lord incarnates to protect the theists.
[Srimad Bhagavatam 1.3.28]
From the above verse of Srimad Bhagavatam, one can clearly understand Krishna as The Original Personality of Godhead and as the fountainhead of all incarnations including Balaram, Narayan, Vishnu.
Three Tattvas - Vishnu, Siva & Jiva
So Krishna is the original living entity and from Him emanates many other living entities, which can be classified into three grades, as explained below
For example, some electric bulbs have the power of one thousand candles, some have the power of five hundred candles, some the power of one hundred candles, some fifty candles, etc., but all electric bulbs have light. Light is present in every bulb, but the gradations of light are different. Similarly, there are gradations of Brahman. The Viṣṇu svāṁśa expansions of the Supreme Lord in different Viṣṇu forms are like lamps, Lord Śiva is also like a lamp, and the supreme candle power, or the one-hundred-percent light, is Kṛṣṇa. The viṣṇu-tattva has ninety-four percent, the śiva-tattva has eighty-four percent, Lord Brahmā has seventy-eight percent, and the living entities are also like Brahmā, but in the conditioned state their power is still more dim. There are gradations of Brahman, and no one can deny this fact.
[Srimad Bhagavatam 4.1.15 - Purport ]
The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna, is the origin.
According to the Vedic conception, there are two types of expansions:
God's personal expansions, called viṣṇu-tattva,
His partial part-and-parcel expansions, called jīva-tattva.
There are many varieties of personal expansions: puruṣa-avatāras, śaktyāveśa-avatāras, manvantara-avatāras, and so on. For the creation of this material world, the Lord expands as Brahmā, Viṣṇu, and Maheśvara (Śiva).
Viṣṇu is a personal expansion, and Brahmā is a jīva-tattva expansion. All of us and all demigods fall under this category. Between the personal viṣṇu-tattva expansions and the jīva-tattva expansions is a kind of intermediate expansion called Śiva, or Maheśvara.
Qualities of Jiva Tattva
Out of the 64 Qualities of Krishna, the first fifty (50) qualities may appear partially in Jiva. These will be more prominent in Lord Brahma, however for us in a conditioned state, these might not manifest in full.
jīveṣv ete vasanto ’pi bindu-bindutayā kvacit paripūrṇatayā bhānti tatraiva puruṣottame
‘These qualities are sometimes very minutely exhibited in living beings, but they are fully manifested in the Supreme Personality of Godhead.’
[Sri Caitanya Caritamrita - Madhya-līlā 23.77]
Qualities of Siva Tattva
The above-mentioned qualities are also present in demigods like Lord Siva. Apart from above 50, 5 more Qualities of Krishna partially appear in Siva Tattva, so total of 55 qualities out of 64 qualities of Krishna.
atha pañca-guṇā ye syur aṁśena giriśādiṣu
‘Apart from these fifty qualities, there are five other qualities found in the Supreme Personality of Godhead that are partially present in demigods like Śiva.
[Sri Caitanya Caritamrita - Madhya-līlā 23.77]
Qualities of Vishnu Tattva
All the above qualities appear in full in Visnhu Tattva (Personal expansion of Krishna - like Narayan, Vishnu, Narasimha Dev etc). Apart from above 55, 5 more Qualities of Krishna are present in Vishnu Tattva. So Vishnu Tattva has 60 qualities out of 64 qualities of Krishna.
athocyante guṇāḥ pañca ye lakṣmīśādi-vartinaḥ avicintya-mahā-śaktiḥ koṭi-brahmāṇḍa-vigrahaḥ
There are another five qualities, which exist in the Vaikuṇṭha planets in Nārāyaṇa, the Lord of Lakṣmī. These qualities are also present in Kṛṣṇa, but they are not present in demigods like Lord Śiva or in other living entities.
[Sri Caitanya Caritamrita - Madhya-līlā 23.80]
List of Qualities - Jiva Tattva
Beautiful features of the entire body
Marked with all auspicious characteristics
An expert judge of time and circumstances
Sees and speaks on the authority of Vedas, or scriptures
The protector of surrendered souls
The well-wisher of devotees
Controlled by love
Partial to devotees
Very attractive to all women
The supreme controller.
List of "Extra" Qualities - Siva Tattva
Besides all of the above-mentioned fifty qualities, Lord Krishna possesses five more, which are sometimes partially manifested in Lord Siva. These transcendental qualities are as follows:
sac-cid-ananda (possessing an eternal blissful body)
Possessing all mystic perfections.
List of "Extra" Qualities - Vishnu Tattva
Krishna also possesses five other qualities, which are manifest in the body of Narayana / Vishnu, and they are listed as follows:
He has inconceivable potency.
Uncountable universes generate from His body.
He is the original source of all incarnations.
He is the giver of salvation to the enemies whom He kills.
He is the attractor of liberated souls.
List of "Extra" Qualities - Krishna
Besides these sixty transcendental qualities, Krishna has four more, which are not manifested even in the Vishnu / Narayana form of Godhead, what to speak of the demigods or living entities. They are as follows:
He is the performer of wonderful varieties of pastimes (especially His childhood pastimes
He is surrounded by devotees endowed with a wonderful love of Godhead.
He can attract all living entities all over the universes by playing on His flute.
He has a wonderful excellence of beauty that cannot be rivaled anywhere in the creation.
Therefore we can summarize as
Lord Krishna. 64 qualities or 100%
Vishnu Tattva. 60 qualities or ~94%
Shiva Tattva. 54 qualities or ~84%
Jiva Tattva. 50 qualities or ~78%
To know more about Krishna who is also known as Param Purushottam, Purnavatar or Supreme Personality of Godhead, please read our article - Is Krishna Avatar of Vishnu?
Learned scholars in transcendental subjects have carefully analyzed the summum bonum Krsna to have sixty-four principal attributes. All the expansions or categories of the Lord possess only some percentages of these attributes. But Sri Krsna is the possessor of the attributes cent percent.
And His personal expansions such as svayam-prakasa, tad-ekatma up to the categories of the avataras who are all visnu-tattva, possess up to ninety-three percent of these transcendental attributes.
Lord Siva, who is neither avatara nor avesa nor in between them, possesses almost eighty-four percent of the attributes.
But the jivas, or the individual living beings in different statuses of life, possess up to the limit of seventy-eight percent of the attributes. In the conditioned state of material existence, the living being possesses these attributes in very minute quantity, varying in terms of the pious life of the living being. The most perfect of living beings is Brahma, the supreme administrator of one universe. He possesses seventy-eight percent of the attributes in full.
All other demigods have the same attributes in less quantity, whereas human beings possess the attributes in very minute quantity. The standard of perfection for a human being is to develop the attributes up to seventy-eight percent in full.
The living being can never possess attributes like Siva, Visnu or Lord Krsna. A living being can become godly by developing the seventy-eight-percent transcendental attributes in fullness, but he can never become a God like Siva, Visnu or Krsna. He can become a Brahma in due course.
The godly living beings who are all residents of the planets in the spiritual sky are eternal associates of God in different spiritual planets called Hari-dhama and Mahesa-dhama.
The abode of Lord Krsna above all spiritual planets is called Krsnaloka or Goloka Vrndavana, and the perfected living being, by developing seventy-eight percent of the above attributes in fullness, can enter the planet of Krsnaloka after leaving the present material body..
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