TEXT 155
eka isvara--bhaktera dhyana-anurupa
eka-i vigrahe kare nanakara rupa
SYNONYMS
eka isvara—the Lord is one; bhaktera—of the devotees; dhyana—meditation; anurupa—according to; eka-i—one; vigrahe—in form; kare—exhibits; nana-akara—different; rupa—forms.
TRANSLATION
"There is no difference between the transcendental forms of the Lord. Different forms are manifest due to different attachments of different devotees. Actually the Lord is one, but He appears in different forms just to satisfy His devotees.
PURPORT
In the Brahma-samhita (5.33) it is stated:
advaitam acyutam anadim ananta-rupam
adyam purana-purusam nava-yauvanam ca
The Lord is advaita, without differentiation. There is no difference between the forms of Krsna, Rama, Narayana and Visnu. All of them are one. Sometimes foolish people ask whether when we chant "Rama" in the Hare Krsna mantra we refer to Lord Ramacandra or Lord Balarama. If a devotee says that the name Rama in the Hare Krsna maha-mantra refers to Balarama, a foolish person may become angry because to him the name Rama refers to Lord Ramacandra. Actually there is no difference between Balarama and Lord Rama. It does not matter if one chants Hare Rama referring to Balarama or Lord Ramacandra, for there is no difference between Them. However, it is offensive to think that Balarama is superior to Lord Ramacandra or vice versa. Neophyte devotees do not understand this sastric conclusion, and consequently they unnecessarily create an offensive situation. In text 154 Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu clarified this in a very lucid way: isvaratve bheda manile haya aparadha. "It is offensive for one to differentiate between the forms of the Lord." On the other hand, one should not think that the forms of the Lord are the same as the forms of the demigods. This is certainly offensive, as confirmed by the Vaisnava-tantra:
yas tu narayanam devam
brahma-rudradi-daivataih
samatvenaiva vikseta
sa pasandi bhaved dhruvam
"A pasandi is one who considers the great demigods such as Lord Brahma and Lord Siva equal to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Narayana." (Hari-bhakti-vilasa 7.117)
The conclusion is that we should neither differentiate between the forms of the Lord nor equate the forms of the Lord with the forms of demigods or human beings. For instance, sometimes foolish sannyasis, thinking the body of the Lord to be material, equate daridra-narayana with Narayana, and this is certainly offensive. Unless one is instructed by a bona fide spiritual master, he cannot perfectly understand these different forms. The Brahma-samhita confirms, vedesu durlabham adurlabham atma-bhaktau. One cannot understand the differences between the forms of the Lord simply by academic study or by reading Vedic literature. One must learn from a realized devotee. Only then can one learn how to distinguish between one form of the Lord and another. The conclusion is that there is no difference between the forms of the Lord, but there is a difference between His forms and those of the demigods.

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