Is worshiping the Guna avatars of Krishna equal to worshiping Krishna?
Actually, Lord Krishna is the adhi Purusha, ie, the original source of all His avatars.
There are three Guna avatars of Lord.
(Krishna, His Expansions & Avatars – Differences! Whom to worship? READ HERE!)
They are: Brahma as Rajo Guna avatar; Vishnu as Satva guna avatar; Shiva as thamo guna avatar.
Though Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva are taking care of the affairs of these material planets, Vishnu is not affected by the material nature as He is a satva guna avatar. So, He remains with all His vaibhavs even while taking care of these material worlds.
But, Lord Shiva has to slightly reduce some qualities when He performs the affairs of material world, ie destruction. So, His qualities are marginally less compared to Vishnu. This difference is very narrow. That is why, Srila Prabhupada says that Lord Shiva is NEARLY EQUAL to Lord Krishna (Vishnu). However, still there is a minor and narrow difference in the qualities in Vishnu and Shiva.
Krishna possesses all the qualities 100%. When He takes Guna avatars of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva, He does not show all His qualities in those forms. He expresses only those qualities that are required to maintain the affairs of material planets.
Srila Prabhupada said that we should not consider the worship of all 3 guna avatars of Lord is equal. There are indeed some narrow differences between them. So, The SUPREME FORM OF WORSHIP is WORSHIPPING KRISHNA WHO HAS ALL THE QUALITIES 100%.
(Why Krishna alone is Supreme Personality of Godhead? READ HERE!)
So, it is good for us to DIRECTLY worship Krishna who is 100% in all the qualities and potency that makes Him the Supreme Personality of Godhead. However, we must respect the positions and statuses of Lord Brahma and Lord Shiva. As they are the GUNA AVATARS of Krishna, they will also be thinking and worshiping of Lord Krishna.
All forms of Lord Krishna are NOT equal. They have narrow differences in qualities. This is because of their level of association with the affairs of the material world.
In “Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu”, Sri Rupa Goswami lists 64 characteristics or qualities of every Jiva.
The Jivas have 50 of those qualities in minute quantities whereas Krishna possesses ALL the qualities 100%.
Out of Krishna’s Guna avatars, Brahma and Shiva and demigods possess 54 or 55 qualities and Vishnu exhibits 60 qualities.
So, worship of the Guna avatars are not equal to worshipping Krishna directly.
Worship of Krishna is the topmost form of worship.
Hope you are clear.
(24 AVATARS OF KRISHNA/ VISHNU & POPULAR DASAVATARS! READ HERE!)