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Discussions on the doctrines of Gaudiya Vaishnavism. Please place practical questions under the Miscellaneous forum and set this aside for the more theoretical side of it.

Harmonizing differences in the lila-narrations - The multi-faceted Lord

Madhava - Thu, 28 Apr 2005 22:43:51 +0530
Anyone with any degree of familiarity with the different narrations of Astakaliya-lila will certainly know that there is a good deal of variety amidst the varieties of narrations.

Sri Narada-pancharatra, cited in Laghu-bhagavatamrita 5.87:

maNir yathA vibhAgena nIla-pItAdibhir yutaH |
rUpa-bhedam avApnoti dhyAna-bhedAt tathA vibhuH ||

"As a gem reflects colors such as blue and yellow when viewed from different angles, so the Great One assumes varieties of forms in accordance with varieties of meditations."

And a famous verse from the Bhagavata (3.9.11):

tvaM bhakti-yoga-paribhAvita-hRt-saroja
Asse zrutekSita-patho nanu nAtha puMsAm |
yad-yad-dhiyA ta urugAya vibhAvayanti
tat-tad-vapuH praNayase sad-anugrahAya ||

"O Master, those who are fully absorbed in bhakti-yoga see You through their ears (by hearing about you), and You reside on the lotus of their heart. On whichever of your glorious forms they meditate on, in that very same form you manifest yourself to them, thus bestowing your favor."

And Sri Jiva in his Krishna-sandarbha (172):

evaM tat-tal-lIlA-bhedenaikasyApi tat-tat-sthAnasya prakAza-bhedaH zrI-vigrahavat | tad uktam vRSNaH paramaM padam avabhAti bhUri iti zrutyA | ... | vRndAvanasya tAvat prakAza-bhedA udAhriyante |

As in his various pastimes the One is understood in different forms, so also his abode manifests in distinct ways. Thus it is said in the shruti: "The supreme abode of Vrishna appears in a multitude of forms." ... In this way, different manifestations of Vrindavan are described.

What a wondrous use of multi-faceted godly powers, to accommodate varieties of devotees with their respective moods and meditations!