Brass Statue of Brahma

Brahma’s Vision, Karma, Levels of Sound, and the Order of the Holy Names

Question: In Bhagavat Sandarbha, Anuccheda 10, it is said Brahmā’s vision was of Bhagavān in His Nārāyaṇa form. But then Jīva Gosvāmī says it was Kṛṣṇa who gave instructions to Brahmā. How do we understand this? Is it that Brahmā saw Nārāyaṇa but got instructions from Kṛṣṇa? Or does Śrī Jīva not agree that the form Brahmā saw was that of Nārāyaṇa? Or that Brahmā saw Nārāyaṇa and Kṛṣṇa at different times?

Answer: The stories in śāstra sometimes belong to different kalpas but are described as if they belong to the same kalpa. For example, the story of Varahadeva, which is described in Bhāgavata Purāṇa, is actually of two different kalpas. So Brahmā saw both, Nārāyaṇa as well as Kṛṣṇa, but in different kalpas. The Bhāgavata is specifically spoken by Kṛṣṇa. 

According to Brahma-saṁhitā, he was instructed by Kṛṣṇa because he prays to Govinda, the original person.


Question: In the five subject matters in the Gītā and Vedānta, Baladeva Vidyābhuṣaṇa says Īsvara, jīva, prakṛti, and kāla are eternal but karma is not. The reason given is the karma for a jīva ends with his liberation. But isn’t it true that prakṛti and kāla end for the jīva too at liberation? Why are they considered eternal? 

Answer: Karma is related to an individual. Karma is performed by an individual and gives results. Karma comes to an end at the time of liberation. Kāla and prakṛti do not depend on any individual. When a particular jīva attains liberation, he becomes free from the influence of kāla and prakṛti, but that does not bring an end to kāla and prakṛti. Therefore they are considered eternal.


Question: Please can you clarify and tell us more about the element of ether (ākāśa). Its main quality is sound. Scientists in physics define sound as the vibration of particles in space, the propagation of sound requires a medium (particles, air, solid particles such as iron, etc.). How is sound made by ether in which there are no particles as physics says?

Answer: The Indian view of sound is much more than what modern science says. It is inclusive of the modern view. Sound is not only what is perceptible to us but beyond that. 

It exists at four levels, called vaikharī, madhyamā, paśyantī, and parā. The first one is what we perceive and speak through our vocal cords. The other three are subtler forms of the first, each being subtler than the previous one. So when Indian scriptures say that ākāśa is the substratum of sound, they are not considering only the perceptible sound.

For example, the Vedas were revealed to Brahmā. It is said that he heard the Vedas. Therefore they are called Śruti. Later also many sages heard the Vedic sound. That hearing, however, is not by the physical ears. It is hearing within the heart in the state of samādhi. This is stated in the very first verse of Bhāgavata Purāṇa, tene brahma hṛdaya adi kavaye. He revealed the Vedas to Brahmā through the heart.


Question: I understood that the actual mantra as per the Kali-saṇṭaraṇa Upaṇiṣad started with “Hare Rāma Hare Rāma.” Later, the order of the names was changed, and “Hare Kṛṣṇa” was placed first.  

Answer: Yes, in Kali-saṇṭaraṇa Upaṇiṣad, the mantra starts with “Hare Rāma.” But this mantra is also found in Sanat-kumāra Saṁhitā, where it starts with “Hare Kṛṣṇa. I have read that this mantra is also found in Brahmāṇḍa Purāna but I could not locate this in the printed version that I have. In any case, both mantras exist. Furthermore, it doesn’t matter whether it starts with Hare Kṛṣṇa or Hare Rāma. Both are names of Kṛṣṇa. Moreover, once you are chanting, which comes first, and which comes afterward does not make any difference.