One God or many gods?

In this article, we will try to discuss from a scriptural perspective about a very interesting subject - Is there one God or many gods?

The Vedic Scriptures mention that there are 33 crore demigods!! Sounds insane. Right? So many gods? But did you read the word demi-god? We will come to it later.

So, Krishna is termed as Bhagavan in Vedic Scriptures. 

The meaning of Bhagavan is very interesting. Let’s have a look at the inner meaning of the word Bhagavan.

The inner confidential meaning of Bhagavan or God

Parasara Muni describes Krishna as Bhagavan in Vishu Purana (6.5.47) - aishvaryasya samagrasya.

Aishvarya means opulence and revered qualities. Parasara Muni is calling Krishna the owner of 6 opulence - wealth, beauty, fame, knowledge, strength and renunciation. 

It is to be noted that Parasara Muni is not ordinary but is the first sage and author who wrote the very first Purana, and that is Vishnu Purana. He is the father of Vyasdeva (who later composed Srimad Bhagavatam and other Vedic kinds of literature like Mahabharata). We all must have heard about Vyasdeva and don't really need to talk about his glories.

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Parasara Muni is also well known to genuine astrologers as one of the main authorities in astrological sciences. His Parasara System of Astrology is pinpoint perfect and is well known, studied, and taught across universities globally, and especially in India. Though very few sincere students of astrology have been able to crack its meanings and it is mostly kept confidential. 

Now, knowing who Parasara Muni is, we will come back to that 6 opulence. So, Parasara Muni gives the definition of Bhagavan as the person who has all these 6 opulence in full. It is also mentioned in Bhagavad Gita (Chapter 10, Verse 1) that Krishna is Paramam Bhagavan or Supreme Personality of Godhead.

The six opulence of Krishna (Bhagavan) are stated below point by point. If one wants to know Krishna's universal form and all the below mentioned qualities in-depth, one must read Chapter 10 (The Opulence of Krishna) and Chapter 11 (Universal Form of Krishna) of Bhagavad Gita.

The six opulence of Sri Krishna:

  1. Wealth: Krishna controls the entire universe. He is the param niyatta (controller of Universe). Arjuna glories Krishna in Bhagavad Gita (11.43) stating that "Hey Krishna, You are the father and owner of the entire universe and no one can be equal to You.”
  2. Beauty: Chapter 11, Text 10,11,12 of Bhagavad Gita gives an idea about Krishna's beauty (which is really tough to even describe). It is said in this verse that if millions of suns are rising at the same time, then that might resemble Krishna’s radiance. His beautiful garlanded neck is dazzling. Rasika Vaishnavas say that billions of kamadeva (Lord of Beauty) fall down in bewilderment by just having a glimpse of the Lotus Face of Krishna.
  3. Fame: Brahma Ji, Shiva Ji, Ganesh Ji, Ved Vyas Ji, Chanakya Pandit Ji and all the exalted saints, Vedic Scriptures like Mahabharata, Rig Veda, Yajur Veda, Shiva Purana, Vishnu Purana etc. all glorify Krishna in His full feature as Supreme Personality of Godhead! If one is really serious to understand the beauty and inner confidential qualities of prema (love) of Krishna in true terms, then they can download and read authentic spiritual books on and dive deeper.
  4. Knowledge: Bhagavad Gita is the song of Krishna. Everybody should read it once to understand the knowledge embedded in the pages of this book. He is the Supreme Knowledgable and all knowledge emanates from Him. I don't really need to mention the glories and respect Vedic Literatures and especially the Bhagavad Gita commands in the scientific community and amongst true intellectuals.
  5. Strength: Kans sent three demons daily in order to kill Krishna and none were able to even touch His hair, leave apart putting up a fight. It's another thing that Krishna descends with all His devotees to teach the world the inner confidential prema-bhakti. He is the owner of the entire universe so what to speak of simple nominal strength. For those who are in the initial stages of spiritual life or don't believe in Vedic Scriptures, Rasika Acharyas say that it doesn't really make a difference if one doesn't believe that 2+2=4. Just the thing is that one needs to actually go through the Vedic scriptures under the right teacher to uncover the true fact. If a seeker is simple, humble and really wants to understand the true purpose of life, then they should pray to Krishna to guide them with direction from within. Krishna is param kripalu (most merciful) and He guides the sincere seekers really quick, either through somebody or directly in the heart of the seeker. If one approaches Krishna with 1 step, He takes 1000 steps in order to mercifully guide the seeker.
  6. Renunciation: Krishna is atmarama, or fully self-satisfied. He leaves the battlefield after Jarasandha attacked him, so as to display the level of renunciation. In spite of people calling him Ran Chor (One who leaves the battlefield), this title is a garland in His neck for His devotees. When required, Krishna can show full renunciation if it is the need of the hour. Even being with all, He is one and alone, and even if alone, He is with all.

One should not be bewildered in the spiritual life and be fearless by surrendering to Krishna wholeheartedly.

The inner meaning of Bhagavan and Krishna's internal potency can be easily understood as one makes further spiritual progress (discussed in a few chapters from now).

In every text including Chanakya Niti, Srimad Bhagavatam or Chaitanya Caritamrta, the very first sloka is dedicated to Sri Krishna in His full feature as Supreme Personality of Godhead. He is the one who has no beginning, no end, one from whom everything emanates, who is the most attractive, most powerful, most beautiful, most knowledgeable, most famous and most renounced.

All the scriptures praise Him and sing His glory. Lord Shiva praises him in Shiva Purana and offers respect. Adi Shankaracharya, who is none other than Lord Shiva writes Jagannathsakatam in praise of Lord Jagannath explaining His Vrindavan lilas (Jagannath is another name of Krishna).

Frankly, Krishna's lila, avatars, guna (qualities) and rupa (form) are endless and it is impossible for scriptures to justify it in the most glorious manner, what to speak of normal people like us. But the interesting thing to note here is that the same Krishna is owned by vrajavasis, which we will discuss later in this book. That is the most confidential secret of Krishna!

So, in all authentic Vedic Scriptures, whether be it Mahabharata, Srimad Bhagavatam, Rig Veda, Yajur Veda etc. Sri Krishna is addressed to as Sri Sri Bhagavan! Bhagavan means Supreme Personality of Godhead! Only Krishna is addressed as Bhagavan and nobody else. Rest all are called deva (demi-gods) but not Bhagavan.

Lord Brahma, Mother Durga, Mother Saraswati, Indra Dev etc. are termed devi and devata (demi-god and demi-goddess). Lord Shiva is 73% of Krishna’s potency and is termed as Mahadev (or Lord of demi-gods) and not Bhagavan.  

Lord Shiva is Vaishnavacharya, or the Acharyas of all Vaishnavas. There is a famous verse mentioned in Srimad Bhagavatam Canto 11 which states - Vaishnavam Yatha Sambhu. It means that Lord Shiva is the topmost amongst all Vaishnavas. Vaishnavas are the followers of Krishna (or Vishnu who is Krishna's expansion).

Vishnor Aradhanam Param - In this verse, Mother Parvati asks Lord Shiva what is the best worship to which he replies that the worship of Lord Vishnu (Krishna) is the highest!

Wherever there is a temple of Krishna, there exists a temple of Lord Shiva just in the vicinity or on the borders of the city where the Krishna temple is located. Lord Shiva is the shetra-pal or protector of the Dham (Any place where there is a Krishna temple is a dham in itself).

Without Lord Shiva's mercy (kripa), it is impossible for anybody to gain the Lotus Feet of Sri Krishna, what to talk about our prana-priya (Most Dear to Life) Swamini Srimati Radharani who can be only obtained to those who have excessive mercy (kripa) of both Krishna as well as Lord Shiva! Those who wish to read about Lord Shiva biography or his relationship with Krishna & Vrindavan passtims of Divine Couple, they can read it here.

So if Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, why are there 33 crore gods?

In Bhagavad Gita Chapter 9, Text 23, Krishna says, “Those who are devotees of other gods and who worship them with faith actually worship only Me, but they do so in a wrong way.” It is explained in this verse here that the best way to nourish the plant is to water the roots and not the leaves, similarly, if one has taken the shelter of Krishna, all demigods become happy by own. I will explain.

As the Prime Minister is head of state, and all cabinet ministers and officers are his subordinates for different departments, similarly, Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead and other demigods and demigoddess are entrusted with various responsibilities of creation, maintenance and destruction of the universe.

For example, to take care of 5 elements (air, water, fire, earth, ether), there are demigods assigned for it. For death, Yamadeva handles the transition. For the creation of the universe, Lord Brahma is there. Btw Lord Brahma actually sprouts from the navel of Krishna’s manifestation Garbodakasayi Vishnu (as explained in Srimad Bhagavatam 1st Canto, 2nd Chapter).

Lord Shiva is responsible for destruction, Brahma for creation and Krishna’s manifestation Vishnu is responsible for maintenance. Likewise, there are 33 crore demigods for every minute activity in the universe. Anybody who wants to explore this subject further can read Srimad Bhagavatam.

The meaning of Krishna is all attractive. He attracts everybody! 

The various incarnations of Krishna are Sri Rama, Narshima Dev, Balaram, Vaman Dev and many others. Krishna says to Arjuna in Chapter 4, Text 5 of Bhagavad Gita that both He and Arjuna have taken so many births, and Arjuna cannot remember it but He remembers all of them. 

The size of the universe is beautifully described in Srimad Bhagavatam Canto 6. Those who are interested in astronomy and aeronautics can read Srimad Bhagavatam Canto 5 & 6 for getting true insight into the structure of the universe!

What I have mentioned in this chapter is just superficial. If one actually goes writing about this subject, our Vedic Texts are full of proof (praman) to it. It will take several books to present the references. As one goes further in the book (by Volume IV), they will encounter further proof (praman) from Vedic Scriptures apart from their own experiences within their heart that will sprout all the knowledge about the true identity of Sri Krishna.

Okay, agreed that Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. So, what about other religions? Let us directly hear what Krishna says about this.

In Chapter 4, Text 7 of Bhagavad Gita, Krishna says the very popular verse, “Yada yada hi dharmasya glanir bhavati bharat". He says that whenever there is the decline of religion, He appears there to establish the principles of dharma. It means that either He comes personally, or sends His representative depending on time, circumstance and place.

Okay, but what is religion? Religion in Hindi means dharma. Dharma of sugar is to taste sweet. Dharma of salt is to taste salty. So likewise, what is dharma of humans? Krishna says in Chapter 9, Text 37 & Chapter 18, Text 65 of Bhagavad Gita that, “Always think of Me, worship Me, offer obeisances unto Me, remember me and then you shall come to me without fail. I promise you this as you are my very dear friend.”

Krishna promises this. So the prime dharma of human life is to keep meditating on Krishna. As one meditates on Krishna at all times, the inner confidential aspect of Vrindavan Prema Rasa manifests in their heart very soon. All knowledge sprouts in the heart on its own without any endeavour, simply by the causeless mercy of the Lord!

Now coming back to the point about other religions, let’s say that suppose if there is an important meeting, then the Prime Minister visits personally. If the meeting can be handled by his officers, then the Prime Minister sends the officer. Even though Prime Minister might not order the officer directly but the instruction is yet there as the officer is just honouring the Prime Minister’s will through his actions.

Similarly, Krishna or some mahapurush (associates of Krishna) descend to show the path to all to move towards their real nature as being related to the Supreme Personality of Godhead and to help them constantly think about Him.

This Kali Yuga is an age of hypocrisy. We will study more in-depth how Krishna appears in Kali Yuga in the chapter “The Inner Meaning of Hare Krishna Mahamantra” (a few chapters from now) in detail.

Before writing further, let me put a disclaimer that all other religions including Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, Sikhism are authentic. Please read this section to the bottom to get its context and so as not misunderstand this. As inspired by Sri Vrindavan Dham, I feel inspired to write it for the benefit of a few inquisitive sincere seekers. 

Prophet Mohammad comes and preaches about Allah. He appeared for a special cause. He was preaching to the barbaric people who were illiterate, uneducated and lived in desert. At that time, they were raping their own mother's and sister's. Hence Prophet Mohhamend came and established polygamy. He said that okay marry more than one times, but do not commit the sin of exploiting your own mother and sister.

Prophet Mohammed was a special representative of Supreme Personality of Godhead. Prophet means “a person regarded as an inspired teacher or proclaimer of the will of God.” In simple words, it means messenger. Saints (Acharyas) always descend to mercifully help the advancement of fallen souls. He taught them about Allah (God)! 

Interestingly, in the entire Quran, there is no details about form, abode or pastimes of Allah or God, and that is because the barbaric people were not in an intelligent condition to understand about it. As saints (acharyas) mercifully teach for the benefit of society to help all become better humans first (before approaching spirituality), likewise Prophet Mohammed mercifully gave them instructions to advance at a position where they can dive deeper by becoming better humans first. The descend of Prophet Mohammed is well predicted in Bhavisya Purana

Jesus Christ is well referred in our Vedic Scriptures as isamashi or ishputra. Ish stands for ishwar. Ishwar means god. Putra stand for son. Mashi stands for messenger. Ishputra means the son of god. Pick up any Bible or ask any practising Christian devotee that isn’t Jesus Christ referred as the Son of God? He preached about taking names of god to the people who were again not the most intelligent and were of fishermen community. 

In any religion you see, the prime importance is given to taking the name of god.

Go to church, mosque, gurudwara or a Buddhist temple, there is always names of god being taken! That is the essence of all religion - to take the names of God!

Depending on time, places and circumstance, the representatives of Krishna descend to preach about holy names. 

And Krishna is Supreme Personality of Godhead and taking His one name can help a soul cross the cycle of birth and death easily. We will be talking more about that subject in the further chapters.

Krishna says in Bhagvad Gita (14.4) that He is the seed giving father of all living beings and that He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead! There is no need to speculate. Krishna directly tells it to Arjuna at so many places in Bhagavad Gita! All details about Krishna or God in minute details are available in Srimad Bhagavatam! In the 11th chapter of Bhagavad Gita titled “The Universal Form," He beautifully describes His full feature as Supreme Personality of Godhead!

As discussed earlier as well, Krishna says in Bhagavad Gita Chapter 9, Text 23 “Those who are devotees of other gods and who worship them with faith actually worship only Me, but they do so in a wrong way.” So, worship of Krishna is like watering the roots of the plant. It directs the sincere seekers to their original state of satcidandana (eternal, full of knowledge and full of bliss).

Which God to follow?

Follow it as per your belief and as per what your heart says. There should be no commotion on this.

One should be in their own nistha (belief). If one is following Allah, follow it sincerely with love. Saints like Amir Khusrao composed poems for their guru Nizammudin Auliya (the words of which reflect the pinnacle of surrender). Jesus Christ showed excessive courage and character while dealing with his followers. It’s not ordinary. 

The purpose of all is to dive deeper into our true identity. Let this subject be guided from within. Depending on one’s sincerity, surrender, simple heart, one is guided from within in due course of time.

Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 9, Text 22 says, “As one surrenders, they shall be rewarded accordingly.”

Also, in Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 18, Text 63, Krishna says to Arjuna, "I have explained to you all the confidential knowledge. Deliberate on this fully, and then do what you wish to do." In Vedic Scriptures, nothing is imposed. There is always free will. The heart will guide the answer to the sincere seeker in the due course of time.

This is an internal subject as inspired from within. The heart already knows the answer. All are manifestations of the Supreme Personality of Godhead appearing in different rasas (mood). 

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