Krishna Is The Greatest Form Of God
Śrī Sanatana Goswami
Someone may raise the doubt that since Narayana, the Lord of Vaikuntha, is also described in Vedic scriptures as the avatārī, or source of all incarnations, how can Sri Krishna be greater than Narayana? Narada replies
nārāyaṇād apya vatāra-bhāve
māhātmya-vargair vividhair viśiṣṭaḥ.
And Krishna is different from Narayana, for when Krishna appears in His descent to the ma- terial world, He fully manifests the many unique glories that distinguish Him alone—charming, attractive glories that can be known only to hearts softened by prema-bhakti. Krishna is the all-victorious Supreme Personality of Godhead, greater than everyone, including the Lord of Vaikuntha. When Krishna descends to the material world, He reveals especially sweet qualities that attract the hearts of everyone. What kinds of qualities distinguish Sri Krishna as greater than all avatāras, even the avatārī Narayana? To understand this topic properly one needs a heart softened by pure love for Krishna. However, even without meeting that requirement, one can consider that most forms of God- head, like the Narayana of Badarikashrama, are only avatāras, whereas the supreme controller Śrī Narayana, the Lord of Vaikuntha, is not an avatāra but the avatārī. Krishna, however, is both avatārī and avatāra. Thus Krishna displays in His role as avatāra the sweetness of His varied pastimes and in His role as the avatārī the supreme status of the absolute controller. Therefore, Krishna is the greatest form of God. Even the pastimes of Krishna in which He de- feats and kills evil persons are sweeter and more charming than anyone can describe or can infer by logic. This is because each enemy Krishna kills receives Krishna’s complete mercy. Moreover, the ways that Krishna defeats and kills demons are supremely attractive. What then to speak of the ways Krishna reciprocates in kind with His lovingly surrendered devotees? Krishna deals with each and every one of His devotees according to their rasa—sharing meals with them, relaxing with them, playing His flute for their pleasure, dancing with them in the rāsa-līlā, and so on. This will be described more fully later on.
— 2:4:187, Śrī Bṛhad Bhāgavatāmṛta of Śrīla Sanatana Goswami, Volume Two. Translated by Gopī-parāṇa-dhana Dāsa.