Krishna and 3 Vishnus – Mahavishnu, Garbhodakasayi, Ksirodakasayi – Relationship!
(A Simplified explanation for understanding)
(1) Krishna is the Adhi Purusha, ie, the source for everything. He has no origin and end. He is ever existing. He creates and governs all these creations like the Indian President forms a government through the Prime Minister of India and State Governments through the governors.
(KRISHNA, VISHNU, NARAYANA, SIVA – DIFFERENCES! READ HERE!)
Krishna does not directly involve in governance of creations similar to the President who does not directly involve in governing the States of India.
(2) Like the Indian President governs the country through the Prime Minister, Chief ministers, MPs, MLAs, Governors and IAS Officers, Krishna expanded in different forms for the maintenance of His creations.
(3) Among these expansions (or) incarnations of Krishna, Maha-Vishnu is the first of the managers (or) controlers (or) Purushas (or) expansions of Krishna for the creation of the material universe. Maha Vishnun creates all material universes and He lies down in the Causal Ocean on the bed of Ananta Shesha and initiates the creation by glancing at His personified material energy, Maya. So, Maha Vishnu is the overall Governing body of Krishna, like the Prime Minister of India forms and runs the central government monitired by the President (Krishna).
(4) From Maha-Vishnu, the other two Vishnus originate:
(i) Garbhodakashayi Vishnu and (ii) Kshirodakashayi Vishnu.
(24 AVATARS OF KRISHNA/ VISHNU – POPULAR DASAVATARS! READ HERE!)
(5) We have already seen that Maha-Vishnu creates the innumerable universes. What is the role of Garbhodakashayi Vishnu? He enters into each individual universe to oversee it; When He enters into the material universe, the living beings are created. He (Purusha) enters into the Prakruti to give birth to creatures.
So, Maha Vishnu is the controller for all universes. Garbhodakasayi Vishnu is the controller for every universe.
Example: The Prime Minister works for entire India whereas, the Chief Ministers and governors work for the individual states of India. Like that, Maha Vishnu works for the whole creations. Garbodakasayee Vishnu works for every Individual universe.
(6) What is the role of Ksirodakashayi Vishnu? He enters into each atom and living being in every universe and sits within us (souls/athmas) in our hearts as Supersoul (Paramathma).
Simply speaking, Krishna is residing within our heart through Ksirodakasayi Vishnu.
(Krishna Vs Vishnu – Who is Supreme and Who is avatar? What are the three types of Vishnus? READ HERE!)
Let me summerize my details keeping India as example for creations:
(1) Krishna = Source for all. Like President of India who approves all the governments.
(2) Maha Vishnu = Controller for all universes like Prime Minister of India.
(3) Garbhodakasayi Vishnu = Controller of every individual universe like Chief ministers and governors of the individual states of India.
(4) Ksirodakasayi Vishnu = Vishnu present in every individual athma/ atom.
Krishna (Source) —> From Krishna, Maha Vishnu —> From maha Vishnu, two Vishnus (Garbodakasayi Vishnu and ksirodakasayi Vishnu)
Hope I have simplified for better understanding of Krishna and 3 Vishnus – Mahavishnu, Garbhodakasayi, Ksirodakasayi.
(Why Only ISKCON says Vishnu as Avatar and Krishna as Source? READ HERE!)