Are Krishna and Rama mentioned in the Vedas?

Are Krishna and Rama even mentioned in the Vedas? Is this worship of Rama and Krishna somehow new and concocted by modern religious teachers? What about Chaitanya Mahaprabhu? Is this just a case of a man masquerading as God?

Nikhil Mishra, 02nd August 2016

Hare Krsna devotees

All glories to guru and gauranga.

Humble obeisance to all of you.

A question came in my mind. That ” was reference of krsna or ram mentioned in any of the four vedas “? Kindly enlighten me on this matter.

Sincerely
Nikhil

Mahabhagavat Das SDA, 04th August 2016

Dear Sriman Nikhil,

Hare Krishna!

Please accept my humble obeisances.
All glories to Srila Gurudeva.
All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

This is an important question. Thank you for asking.

Many persons from other traditions question Vaishnava practices on the plea that the Vedas are bona fide literatures, the other Vedic literature is not, therefore the tradition of accepting Lord Rama or Lord Krishna as the Supreme is wrong. Many preachers actually attempt to use this argument to discredit the Bhagavad Gita and Srimad Bhagavatam as authoritative.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

First of all, yes, Lord Vishnu is mentioned in the Vedas directly, several times. The Rig Veda alone mentions Lord Vishnu and established Him as the Supreme at least 9 times.

I humbly quote my spiritual master Srila Sankarshan Das Adhikari’s writing from 31st January 2010:

quote

Question: Is Krishna a Form of Vishnu or Vishnu a Form of Krishna?

I have a question about something you said the other day in your “Thought for the Day” Q&A section. You quoted the following verse:

“Those who are actually learned in the Absolute Truth look to the abode of and worship only the Vishnu form of the Supreme Personality of Godhead in any of His various forms such as Krishna, Rama, etc.”–Rig Veda (1.22.20)

This verse states that Krishna is a form of Vishnu. I don’t understand how this verse supports Krishna as the original Personality of Godhead. This verse seems to disagree with Krishna’s own statements in the Bhagavad-gita. I am very perplexed by this. How can I know if Vishnu is a form of Krishna or Krishna is a form of Vishnu? Please help me understand. Thank you very much.

Humbly,

C.B.


Answer: Since Krishna is the Original Vishnu, Both Are Correct.

Srila Prabhupada explains Rig Veda (1.22.20) in his Srimad Bhagavatam purport to SB 3.16.4 that the qualified brahmanas worship only the Vishnu form of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, which means Krishna, Rama and all Vishnu expansions.

What is confusing you is that the term Vishnu is used in two different ways. Sometimes Vishnu is used as the name of the category of the Supreme Lord in any one of His unlimited forms. And sometimes it used for a specific four-armed form of the Supreme Lord such as Maha-Vishnu. When we speak of the Vishnu category of beings we understand that the original Vishnu is Krishna and that all the other Vishnu category personalities are emanating from Him. This is why devotees of Krishna are known as Vaisnavas, which means “devotees of Vishnu.”

So in summary, since Krishna is the original Vishnu from whom all other Vishnus expand, we can say both that Vishnu is a form of Krishna and that Krishna is a form of Vishnu.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari
unquote

Finally, to support my claim of how the text Srimad Bhagavad Gita and Srimad Bhagavatam are equally or more important than the Vedas, I invite you to please read this exchange between Sri Narada, and Sri Veda Vyasa, two foremost Vedic authorities:

http://www.vedabase.com/en/sb/1/5

Specifically, this part which involves the disciple Veda Vyasa, asking a question to his Guru Sri Narada:

SB 1.5.5 — Śrī Vyāsadeva said: All you have said about me is perfectly correct. Despite all this, I am not pacified. I therefore question you about the root cause of my dissatisfaction, for you are a man of unlimited knowledge due to your being the offspring of one [Brahmā] who is self-born [without mundane father and mother].

SB 1.5.8 — Śrī Nārada said: You have not actually broadcast the sublime and spotless glories of the Personality of Godhead. That philosophy which does not satisfy the transcendental senses of the Lord is considered worthless.
SB 1.5.9 — Although, great sage, you have very broadly described the four principles beginning with religious performances, you have not described the glories of the Supreme Personality, Vāsudeva.
SB 1.5.10 — Those words which do not describe the glories of the Lord, who alone can sanctify the atmosphere of the whole universe, are considered by saintly persons to be like unto a place of pilgrimage for crows. Since the all-perfect persons are inhabitants of the transcendental abode, they do not derive any pleasure there.
SB 1.5.11 — On the other hand, that literature which is full of descriptions of the transcendental glories of the name, fame, forms, pastimes, etc., of the unlimited Supreme Lord is a different creation, full of transcendental words directed toward bringing about a revolution in the impious lives of this world’s misdirected civilization. Such transcendental literatures, even though imperfectly composed, are heard, sung and accepted by purified men who are thoroughly honest.
SB 1.5.12 — Knowledge of self-realization, even though free from all material affinity, does not look well if devoid of a conception of the Infallible [God]. What, then, is the use of fruitive activities, which are naturally painful from the very beginning and transient by nature, if they are not utilized for the devotional service of the Lord?

Also, Sri Krishna describes the Vedas and their purpose thus:

http://www.vedabase.com/bg/15/1

And finally, Krishna derides the ritualistic followers of the Vedas thus also:

yām imāṁ puṣpitāṁ vācaṁ
pravadanty avipaścitaḥ
veda-vāda-ratāḥ pārtha
nānyad astīti vādinaḥ
kāmātmānaḥ svarga-parā
janma-karma-phala-pradām
kriyā-viśeṣa-bahulāṁ
bhogaiśvarya-gatiṁ prati
Men of small knowledge are very much attached to the flowery words of the Vedas, which recommend various fruitive activities for elevation to heavenly planets, resultant good birth, power, and so forth. Being desirous of sense gratification and opulent life, they say that there is nothing more than this. BG 2.42.43

I hope that this is useful and helpful.

Thank you again for asking this important question! Devotees feel free to add to the answer if I have missed out anything and enrich this conversation and our collective understanding.

Sincerely,
Mahabhagavat Das

Nikhil Mishra, 04th August 2016

Thank you very much Mahabhagavat prabhu for taking out your time and address my question. Terming it as ‘ important’ , gives me a sense of humility and pride simultaneously.

Your answer makes sense to my cluttered mind.

I beg mercy of you and all devotees to overcome my physical , mental inertia so that i can start performing bhakti yoga in more sincere , regular way .

Hare krsna
Nikhil

Shreyas, 04th August 2016

Hare Krishna,
Please accept my humble obeisance!
All glories to Srila Prabhupada!

I would like to add that – It is astonishing that Lord Chaitanya’s appearance, who is the source of our Gaudiya Vaishnava Sampradaya, Krishna Himself, has been prophesied in many numbers throughout shruti and smriti. As far as 4 Vedas are concerned, the below verses confirm the same:

In the Atharva-Veda; Purusa-Bodini-Upanisad, it is said:

saptame gaura-varna-visnor ity aena sva-saktya
caikyam etya pratar avatirya saha svaih sva-manum siksayati

“In the seventh manvantara, in the beginning of the Kali-Yuga, the Supreme Personality of Godhead will, accompanied by His own associates, descend in a golden form to the earth. He will teach the chanting of His own names.”

In the Atharva Veda, the Supreme Person says:

itotham krta sannyaso’vatarisyami sa-guno nirvedo
niskamo bhu-girvanas tira-atho’ lakanandayah kalau
catuh-sahasrabdhopari panca-sahasrabhyantare
gaura-varno dirghangah sarva-laksana-yukta isvara
prarthito nija-rasasvado bhakta-rupo misrakhyo
vidita-yogah syam

“I will descend on the earth after the passage of four thousand years in the Kali-Age, [kalau chatuh sahasrabdhopari] and before the passage of five thousand years [pancha sahasra abhyantare].”

“I will come on the earth on the bank of the Ganges, [tira-sthah alakanandayah]. I will be a tall and saintly Brahmana devotee. I will have all the auspicious symptoms of an exalted person [dirghangah sarva-laksana-yuktah].”

“I will exhibit renunciation. I will have all auspicious signs. I will be a devotee, practicing bhakti yoga. I will taste the rasa of My own devotional service.”

In the Sama Veda, the Supreme Lord says:

tathaham krta sannyaso bhu-girvano ‘vatarisye
tire’lakanandayah punah punah isvara-prarthitah sa-
parivaro niralambo nirdhuteh kali-kalmasa-kavalita-
janavalambanaya

“I shall come to the earth, accompanied by My associates, in a place by the bank of the Ganges. I will advent to save the people who are afflicted and devoured by the sins of the age of Kali. I will manifest as an Avadhut Brahman Sannyasi.”

The descriptions of Lord Chaitanya’s descent are many throughout Upanishads, Mahabharata, Puranas, etc. However, I have only mentioned from 4 Vedas.

your servant
Shridhar Das

Todd Eberwine, 04th August 2016

Hare Krishna,
Please accept my humble obeisance!
All glories to Srila Prabhupada!

I just wanted to express my gratitude for these answers. I don’t often contribute to the conversations here but I am always following along, reading and learning from those more learned than I. Many thanks to all of you who take the time to give such wonderful answers to these wonderful questions.

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Idol Worship? Or Deity Worship?

Often, I have come across a denigration of the Vedic Culture of Worship of God as “idol worship”. “Idolatry is a sin, you are going to hell”, I have heard very often.

And because the education system I was schooled in was western in its origin, there were many subtle and not-so-subtle references to this idea that somehow or other, this worship of Deities in the Vedic temples was deeply wrong.

And of course, this early conditioning gave me fodder for my atheism, my voidism, my impersonalism, my agnosticism, and essentially held me back from pursuing a spiritual path of any kind.

What is an idol? And how can a stone or metal or wooden image be God? Or how can a message written down in any language represent God?

It’s a fact that God is non-material, and therefore cannot be perceived by material senses. But the material senses are all I have, then how do I perceive God?

First of course, the perception of God is by hearing about Him. His name, His pastimes, and His qualities. In other words, the Name of God is the Form of God.

So, a name written down, is also God. Because God is Absolute, then God is fully present in His name.

But those scriptures which contain God’s name also contain descriptions of God’s qualities, of God’s interactions with others like myself, persons of the flesh. Jayadvaita Swami, born into Judaism, writes “Whose worship is Idol Worship”…

That very same God with the Names, is also described to have a form. Not a form like mine, which suffers birth, death, old age, and disease, but a form that is Eternal, Full of Joy, and Full of Knowledge.

How may I perceive that form with my two little material eyes?

As confirmed in the Padma Purana,

atah shri-krishna-namadi
na bhaved grahyam indriyaih
sevonmukhe hi jihvadau
svayam eva sphuraty adah

“No one can understand the transcendental nature of the name, form, qualities and pastimes of the Lord through his materially contaminated senses. Only when one becomes spiritually saturated by transcendental service to the Lord are the transcendental name, form, qualities and pastimes of the Lord revealed to him.”

Padma Purana

Therefore, God, out of His kind mercy, appears before me in a form that I can very well perceive. But when He does, that form is non-material. That same old paint, wood, stone, and metal are transformed, just like an ordinary paper and ordinary ink are transformed with the name of God.

If worshipping a form of God according to the scriptures is wrong, then so is revering the name of the God written down or spoken even, because to utter a name in sound is to cause the form of the word to manifest.

Those who hate “idolatry” should then possess no Cross, no Qu’ran, no Wall, no Scripture, no Shrine, Nothing.

Idolatry is worship of the mundane, be it a car or a beautiful actor, be it a very knowledgeable professor of some mundane subject of the material world, or a great orator, or businessperson.

The supreme abode of the Personality of Godhead, Krishna, is described in the Brahma-samhita as chintamani-dhama, a place where all desires are fulfilled. The supreme abode of Lord Krishna, known as Goloka Vrindavana, is full of palaces made of touchstone. There are also trees called ‘desire trees,’ which supply any type of eatable upon demand, and there are cows known as surabhi, which supply a limitless supply of milk. In this abode, the Lord is served by hundreds of thousands of goddesses of fortune (lakshmis)and He is called Govinda, the primal Lord and the cause of all causes. The Lord is accustomed to blow His flute (venum kvanantam). His transcendental form is the most attractive in all the worlds—His eyes are like lotus petals and His bodily color like clouds. He is so attractive that His beauty excels that of thousands of cupids. He wears saffron cloth, a garland around His neck and a peacock feather in His hair.

A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, in the Bhaktivedanta Purports to the Bhagavad Gita As It Is

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