Krishna, His Expansions & Avatars – Differences! Whom to worship?

Krishna, His Expansions & Avatars – Differences! Whom to worship?

A male devotee asked like this:

“Hare Krishna Prabhu ji, dandawat pranam aapko.  first of all thanks a lot for maintaining this page and helping people. I also have one very simple and very important question to discuss which raises doubts in my mind sometimes.

What are the differences between these? (Krishna, His Expansions & Avatars.)

‘original supreme lord’,

‘expansions of supreme lord (Balram ji and Radha ji etc)’,

‘incarnation of lord (Narsingh dev ji, Ram ji etc)’ ‘part and parcel of supreme lord (we souls)’

and whom should we worship? original supreme lord or expansion or incarnation? or we have to worship all expansions and incarnations along with supreme lord?

cant I just concentrate on supreme lord only because he is the root of all expansions and incarnations and everything?   I guess expansions and incarnations of supreme lord are infinite, of course there would be some purpose or role of each. in temple we worship and pray to only few/some of them along with supreme lord. I dont know how these few/some incarnatins and expansions got place for our worship? what about others whose we dont discuss and even dont know.

I am sad because of these confusions. because sometimes it looks man made things that worship some particular incarnation or expansion for particular element.

And I feel very confused when someone tells that you cant reach supreme lord without worshiping this and that incarnation or expansion. it looks man made thing or someone’s inclination toward that particular expansion or incarnation.

Cant I just talk and pray to supreme lord only and think about him only and respecting and serving devotees of lord? or praying and worshiping each and every expansion and incarnation along with supreme lord is must?

I dont dis-respect any incarnation and expansion, I worship them whenever I face them in temple or anywhere. I feel that these incarnations and expansions protects devotees and helps to reach toward our goal. so we should worship them but my faith sakes when someone tells that you HAVE TO worship them otherwise you wont be able to reach supreme lord. such rigidness looks man made rule. which conflicts with love/devotion.

please guide me to come out of these confusions so I can accelerate in devotion.  Thank you again for listening to me, please dont disclose my name in reply.   Hare Krishna


Why do you find worshiping many forms of Lord as a burden?  What time it consumes and what energy it requires to offer a short worship to many forms of lord?

Ok, However, let me give some tips on Krishna, His Expansions & Avatars.


This means THE SOURCE OF ALL CREATIONS.  He is the  person who created entire creations and who existed already before the creations.  There is no other person superior to Him.  He is the Adhi Purusha.  He is Krishna Himself.

(Why Krishna is Supreme as Vyasa Puranas say many gods as Supreme? READ HERE!)


There may be no difference between Original Supreme Lord and Expansions EXCEPT IN BHAWA.  They need not come to material world to be considered as Expansion.  They are expansions though they are in Vaikunta planets. They come to material planets also, but it is not a condition to be called as expansions of Krishna.

Krishna is the original Personality of Godhead. His expansion is Balarama, who expands the original chatur vyuha or quadruple expansions.

(1) Vasudeva   (2) Sankarsana  (3) Pradyumna  (4) Aniruddha

These original chatur vyuha expansions reside in Mathura and Dvaraka.

From them twenty four forms of Visnu expand.

They are named differently according to the arrangement of the conch, disc, lotus and club in Their hands. All of these twenty four forms reside in each Vaikuntha planet with the predominating Deity of that planet.

From the original chatur vyuha the second chatur vyuha expands. In this second chatur vyuha the form of Sankarsana is also called Maha Sankarsana. It is from Maha Sankarsana that Maha Visnu becomes manifested.


KRISHNA (Original Personality of Godhead)


BALARAMA (First expansion)



(Vasudeva, Sankarsana, Pradyumna, Aniruddha)



(Vasudeva, Sankarsana, Pradyumna, Aniruddha)

(each expand into three and³then another two expansions)


(Maha Sankarsana)


MAHA VISNU  who expands into three forms:

(1) MAHA VISNU lies on the Causal Ocean which appears in one corner of the spiritual world.

(2) Maha Visnu expands as GARBHODAKASAYI VISNU, Who enters into each universe with the living entities of that particular universe and thus activates each universe by His presence.

(3) To maintain the universe Garbhodakasayi Visnu expands as KSIRODAKASAYI VISNU.



Here, Lord comes to the material worlds.  Only if He descends into a material planet or material sky it is called incarnation.

Incarnation means appearing in the material worlds for a specific purpose with all the preparations for it.

There are six kinds of incarnations:

(1) the purusa-avataras,

(2) the lila-avataras,

(3) the guna-avataras,

(4) the manvantara-avataras,

(5) the yuga-avataras, and

(6) the saktyavesa-avataras.

Lord Caitanya explains some of them to Sanatana Gosvami just to give him an idea of how the Lord expands and enjoys. These conclusions are also confirmed in Srimad-Bhagavatam (1.3.26). There it is said that there is no limit to the incarnations of the Supreme Lord, just as there is no limit to the waves of the ocean.


During Incarnation, some times, Lord hides some of His qualities.  In Krishna avatar, He came with His full Kalas and Qualities.  So, Krishna avatar is not considered as avatar, but, the descendence/ visit of Original Supreme Lord to liberate His devotees and to re-establish dharma.

(Are Brahma, Vishnu and Siva also affected by anger and emotions? READ HERE!)


Yes.. Part and parcel of Supreme Lord will have all the qualities of Supreme Lord Krishna, BUT IN VERY SMALL QUANTITIES.  In other words, parts and Parcels are QUALITATIVELY SIMILAR and QUANTITATIVELY DIFFERENT.  That is why, we too like to love like Krishna, play lilas like Krishna, steal like Krishna, etc. All the activities we do in this material world has come from Krishna only.  However, we are unable to implement them like Krishna.  For example, Krishna married 16,108 girls.  Can we marry like Him?  Maintaining even a single spouse is difficult for people now a days.  So, we have similar nature like Krishna, but, our potency/ capacity if small.

So, Part and Parcel is NOT EQUAL to Lord in capabilities.  There is a vast difference between both.  We are like an atom and Krishna is like a mountain.  But, the nature is the same for the both.

Ok, whom to worship?  You can have two types of approach in your devotional practice to avoid confusions.

Worship the Supreme Lord and Respect all His expansions, incarnations and Parts.  Simple.

(Krishna and 3 Vishnus -Mahavishnu, Garbhodakasayi, Ksirodakasayi – Relationship! READ HERE!)

How to manage the worship of Krishna, His Expansions & Avatars?

Do all the chanting and worshiping to Lord Krishna who is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna. Offer food daily to Him.  Learn more about Him.  So, keep Krishna as your ultimate worshiping deity.  This is the compulsory daily activity.  And, also offer some worships and prayers to His expansions and avatars whenever possible or for a particular purposes.  For example, you need the worship of Narshimha dev when you face some physical sufferings or barriers in all your efforts.  Worshiping Narasimha dev will also help you to come up in your Krishna Consciousness because, Narasimha dev clears all the obstacles we face in our practice of Krishna Consciousness.

So, Keep the worship of Krishna as the Primary activity DAILY.  Respect and offer some worship to other expansions/ avatars as an additional activity.  You can also give respects and due honours to demigods, devtas, other jeevans also, because they too are from Krishna only.  So, we should give respect to Krishna’s parts also.

So, you need not confuse yourself in life with WORSHIPING and RESPECTING.  WORSHIP KRISHNA AND GIVE RESPECTS TO OTHERS.  THAT’S ALL.

(Is worshiping the Guna avatars of Krishna equal? READ HERE!)

What about me?

In addition to Krishna, Radha Krishna, Maha prabhu, I also have The Pictures of Narasimmha Deva, Lord Rama+Sita+Lakshmana+ Hanuman in my altar.

When I was in ICU in the hospital in a near death condition, I was Just chanting Narasimmha kavacha in addition to Hare Krishna Maha Manthra without any requests. I just prayed to them “Lakhs of devotees will be expecting my posts daily. If you want me to serve for more time, you will protect me. If you think that my time is over, you will call me. But, I want to serve you wherever I am”

This protected me from illness and when the doctors had no hope, to their surprise, I came out alive from the hospital and now serving all of you better than before!

(Serving Krishna even when we struggle in (or) for life? – My Own Experience with death! READ HERE!)

So, We can worship Narasimha deva during tight corner situations in which we are not mentally and physically stable.  He protected the life of Prahalada. So, He will also protect the lives of His devotees.

For me, Next to Krishna, I am naturally attracted to Lord Narasimha Deva as He was a Hero who came from the pillar and killed the Hiranya cleverly and saved His devotee.

Thus, everyone can worship primarily Krishna and add any other avatar or expansion they naturally prefer according to their bhawa and taste.

Hope you are clear about Krishna, His Expansions & Avatars!.



Author: RAJAN

RAJAN from Tamil Nadu, India, a Life Patron and an Initiated Devotee being in ISKCON for nearly three decades, serves anonymously to avoid Prominence and crowd as an insignificant, Humble and Neutral Servant for all the devotees of Krishna! He promotes Social media forums and this blog-website as e-satsangha (e-forums) blessed with Lakhs of followers, to give Spiritual Solutions for all the Material Problems of the devotees since 2011! He writes friendly and practical tips to practice devotion (i) without hurting the followers of other paths, (ii) without affecting the personal and career life, and (iii) without the blind, superstitious and ritualistic approach! He dedicates all the glories and credits to his Guru and Krishna.

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