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Sunday, August 09, 2015

Omniscience of Bhagavān and questions on Mahābhārata

On the Lord’s omniscience Śrī Viśvanātha Cakravartī comments on Bhagavad-Gita 7.26:

kiṁ ca māyāyāḥ svāśraya-vyāmohakatvābhāvād bahiraṅgā māyā | antaraṅgā yoga-māyā ca mama jñānaṁ nāvṛṇotīty āha vedāham iti

(Kṛṣṇa says:) “But My own knowledge is not covered by external māyā or the internal yoga-māyā, since I cannot be bewildered by that to which I give shelter. I know everything.”

The oldest Vaiṣṇava commentator, Śrīdhar Swāmī, comments similarly:

māyāśrayatvān mama | tasyāḥ svāśraya-vyāmohakatvābhāvād iti prasiddham

‘I am the shelter of māyā, and it is celebrated that there is no illusion in the shelter of illusion.”

Śrīmad Bhāgavat 10.87.41 seems to say that even Kṛṣṇa does not know His own limits - na yayur antam anantatayā tvam api. But this is the purport of Śrīdhar Swāmī to that part of that verse:

anantatayā antābhāvena na hi śaśa viṣāṇa jñānaṁ sārvajñaṁ tad aprāptir vā śakti vaibhavaṁ vihanti antatvam evāha -

“If one is ignorant of something that does not exist, like a rabbit’s horns, then that does not detract from his omniscience. And if one fails to find such a non-entity that does not limit his omnipotence.”
This shows what is meant with ‘He does not know His own limits.” Kṛṣṇa appears as Ananta Śeṣa, who has 1,000 heads that constantly glorify…...Himself. Yet they find no end to those glories. This is how the text na yayur antam anantatayā tvam api in 10.87.41 must be seen.


Q – It is said that Karṇa was named so because he was born from Kunti’s ear, the word karṇa meaning ‘ear’.

Advaitadās – “Karṇa being born from Kunti’s ear is a part of the Indonesian version of Mahābhārata only. Karṇa was named so because he cut off his own cover or shield at the request of Indra, not because he was born from Kunti's ear. The story is in the Vana parva of the Mahābhārata, ch.305-306.”

Q – It is sometimes said that when Arjun did tapasya to attain the Paśupat-weapon he defeated Shiva.

Advaitadās – “It is clearly described in all detail in Mahābhārata, Vana Parva, chapters 39 and 163, that Śiva defeated Arjuna instead of the other way around.”

Finally, it is sometimes said that the Rājasūya-sacrifice was held after the Kuruksetra war while it was held long before, when Yudhisthira got Indraprastha.


  1. Dandavat pranams, Advaitaji.

    Sridhar Swami's comment is brilliant. Do you have any suggestion as to how we can think of Lilasuka's statement quoted in RVC 2.1 in this relation?

  2. Sri Anantadas Babaji comments nicely -

    All these statements will make us accept that Kṛṣṇa was sometimes bewildered in Dvārakā, though He is usually omniscient there, and in the same way it is to be accepted that Śrī Kṛṣṇa can also be omniscient in His Vṛndāvana-līlā, although He is usually bewildered there. These contradictions bring Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s inconceivable potency to perfection. The bewilderment of the omniscient person, the defeat, fear and fleeing away of the invincible, the all-worshipable Supreme Truth offering obeisances unto the feet of Śrī Nanda and Yaśomatī, the hunger, thirst, theft and the adultery of the self-blissful and self-satisfied one with the housewives of Vraja are all the great sweetnesses and mellows of Vraja-līlā.
    Śrīpāda Līlāśuka Bilvamaṅgala Ṭhākura has also said in his Śrī Kṛṣṇa Karṇāmṛta (83): sarvajṣatve ca maugdhe ca sārvabhaumam idaṁ mahaḥ – There is no doubt about it that when Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes all show Him simultaneously omniscient and bewildered, this is the perfection of His inconceivable potency. That is because Godhead is the shelter of all contradictions. This bewilderment is also the very soul of the Lord’s blissful pastimes, that are the essence of the transcendental potency. It is not something that exceeds Kṛṣṇa’s constitutional position.

  3. Indeed.

    It seems that the last sentence resolves it: "It is not something that exceeds Krsna's constitutional position." Yoga-maya can only bewilder Krsna if he wants her to?

  4. That's the point of this blog and is pointed out in the quotes. Kṛṣṇa is ultimately in charge but He prefers mugdhatā over sarvajñatā, surely.

  5. That is helpful, thank you.

  6. It is clear from Mahabharata that Draupadi did indeed laugh at Duryodhana. The blame cannot be given only to four of the Pandavas. You have quoted one account of the incident. However, there are three accounts of the same incident in Mahabharata and they all reveal distinct aspects of what happened.
    In Mahabharata 2.46.29 Duryodhana states:
    tatra mam prahasat krsnah parthena saha sasvanam
    draupadi ca saha stribhir vyathayanti mano mama

    "Arjuna laughed, and Draupadi, accompanied by other females, joined in the laughter. That afflicts my mind with great pain."

    If Draupadi laughed along with her companions, can you be so sure that she did not make a sharp comment?