Eight Stages of Genocide


By Gregory H. Stanton (Originally written in 1996 at the Department of State; presented at the Yale University Center for International and Area Studies in 1998)

Genocide is a process that develops in eight stages that are predictable but not inexorable. At each stage, preventive measures can stop it.

The later stages must be preceded by the earlier stages, though earlier stages continue to operate throughout the process.

The eight stages of genocide are:










All cultures have categories to distinguish people into us and them by ethnicity, race, religion, or nationality: German and Jew, Hutu and Tutsi. Bipolar societies that lack mixed categories, such as Rwanda and Burundi, are the most likely to have genocide. The main preventive measure at this early stage is to develop universalistic institutions that transcend ethnic or racial divisions, that actively promote tolerance and understanding, and that promote classifications that transcend the divisions. The Catholic Church could have played this role in Rwanda, had it not been driven by the same ethnic cleavages as Rwandan society. Promotion of a common language in countries like Tanzania or Cote d’Ivoire has also promoted transcendent national identity. This search for common ground is vital to early prevention of genocide.


We give names or other symbols to the classifications. We name people Jews or Gypsies, or distinguish them by colors or dress; and apply them to members of groups. Classification and symbolization are universally human and do not necessarily result in genocide unless they lead to the next stage, dehumanization. When combined with hatred, symbols may be forced upon unwilling members of pariah groups: the yellow star for Jews under Nazi rule, the blue scarf for people from the Eastern Zone in Khmer Rouge Cambodia. To combat symbolization, hate symbols can be legally forbidden (swastikas) as can hate speech. Group marking like gang clothing or tribal scarring can be outlawed, as well. The problem is that legal limitations will fail if unsupported by popular cultural enforcement. Though Hutu and Tutsi were forbidden words in Burundi until the 1980’s, codewords replaced them. If widely supported, however, denial of symbolization can be powerful, as it was in Bulgaria, when many non Jews chose to wear the yellow star, depriving it of its significance as a Nazi symbol for Jews. According to legend in Denmark, the Nazis did not introduce the yellow star because they knew even the King would wear it.


One group denies the humanity of the other group. Members of it are equated with animals, vermin, insects or diseases. Dehumanization overcomes the normal human revulsion against murder. At this stage, hate propaganda in print and on hate radios is used to vilify the victim group. In combating this dehumanization, incitement to genocide should not be confused with protected speech. Genocidal societies lack constitutional protection for countervailing speech, and should be treated differently than in democracies. Hate radio stations should be shut down, and hate propaganda banned. Hate crimes and atrocities should be promptly punished.


Genocide is always organized, usually by the state, though sometimes informally (Hindu mobs led by local RSS militants) or by terrorist groups. Special army units or militias are often trained and armed. Plans are made for genocidal killings. To combat this stage, membership in these militias should be outlawed. Their leaders should be denied visas for foreign travel. The U.N. should impose arms embargoes on governments and citizens of countries involved in genocidal massacres, and create commissions to investigate violations, as was done in post genocide Rwanda.


Extremists drive the groups apart. Hate groups broadcast polarizing propaganda. Laws may forbid intermarriage or social interaction. Extremist terrorism targets moderates, intimidating and silencing the center. Prevention may mean security protection for moderate leaders or assistance to human rights groups. Assets of extremists may be seized, and visas for international travel denied to them. Coups d’etat by extremists should be opposed by international sanctions.


Victims are identified and separated out because of their ethnic or religious identity. Death lists are drawn up. Members of victim groups are forced to wear identifying symbols. They are often segregated into ghettoes, forced into concentration camps, or confined to a famine struck region and starved. At this stage, a Genocide Alert must be called. If the political will of the U.S., NATO, and the U.N. Security Council can be mobilized, armed international intervention should be prepared, or heavy assistance to the victim group in preparing for it’s selfdefense. Otherwise, at least humanitarian assistance should be organized by the U.N. and private relief groups for the inevitable tide of refugees.


Extermination begins, and quickly becomes the mass killing legally called genocide. It is extermination to the killers because they do not believe their victims to be fully human. When it is sponsored by the state, the armed forces often work with militias to do the killing. Sometimes the genocide results in revenge killings by groups against each other, creating the downward whirlpool like cycle of bilateral genocide (as in Burundi). At this stage, only rapid and overwhelming armed intervention can stop genocide. Real safe areas or refugee escape corridors should be established with heavily armed international protection. The U.N. needs a Standing High Readiness Brigade or a permanent rapid reaction force, to intervene quickly when the U.N. Security Council calls it. For larger interventions, a multilateral force authorized by the U.N., led by NATO or a regional military power, should intervene. If the U.N. will not intervene directly, militarily powerful nations should provide the airlift, equipment, and financial means necessary for regional states to intervene with U.N. authorization. It is time to recognize that the law of humanitarian intervention transcends the interests of nation states.


Denial is the eighth stage that always follows a genocide. It is among the surest indicators of further genocidal massacres. The perpetrators of genocide dig up the mass graves, burn the bodies, try to cover up the evidence and intimidate the witnesses. They deny that they committed any crimes, and often blame what happened on the victims. They block investigations of the crimes, and continue to govern until driven from power by force, when they flee into exile. There they remain with impunity, like Pol Pot or Idi Amin, unless they are captured and a tribunal is established to try them. The best response to denial is punishment by an international tribunal or national courts. There the evidence can be heard, and the perpetrators punished. Tribunals like the Yugoslav, Rwanda, or Sierra Leone Tribunals, an international tribunal to try the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, and ultimately the International Criminal Court must be created. They may not deter the worst genocidal killers. But with the political will to arrest and prosecute them, some mass murderers may be brought to justice.

Copyright© 1998 Gregory H. Stanton

Genocide Watch

P.O. Box 809

Washington, D.C.

20044 USA

Ph. 703-448-0222 Fax 703-448-6665


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Srimad Bhagvatam 1.7.16


Våndävana, September 14, 1976


tadä çucas te pramåjämi bhadre
yad brahma-bandhoù çira ätatäyinaù
gäëòéva-muktair viçikhair upähare
tväkramya yat snäsyasi dagdha-puträ
[SB 1.7.16]

So here, Açvatthämä, he’s born of a brähmaëa father, but his work has been proved just like a butcher. Therefore he is called brahma-bandhu. He’s called not a brähmaëa: brahma-bandhu. Brahma-bandhoù çira ätatäyinaù. Ätatäyinaù, aggressor. A brähmaëa does not require to kill a person with weapon. No. That is kñatriya’s business. If one is actually a brähmaëa—of course, in the Kali-yuga such brähmaëa is not to be found—his simply curse is sufficient to kill a man. If a brähmaëa curses somebody… Just like Mahäräja Parékñit, he was cursed by a brähmaëa’s son. Means not fully brähmaëa, not grown-up. A child, a boy twelve years old, he cursed Parékñit Mahäräja that “Within seven days you’ll be bitten by a serpent,” and it came to be true. So brähmaëa does not require any sword or any arrow to kill a man. His very word is sufficient. Therefore when somebody was to be killed, the brähmaëa would bring him to the kñatriya—not killing himself by weapon. Just like Viçvämitra, he wanted to kill one räkñasé, so he came to Mahäräja Daçaratha, kñatriya, to do the business of killing. There are so many… That is shastric evidences.

So here, a brahma-bandhu… Açvatthämä was born of a brähmaëa, Droëäcärya. But he killed the five sons of Draupadé most abominably, when they were sleeping. So what to speak of brähmaëa, he’s less than a kñatriya even. Because a kñatriya also do not kill anybody while one is sleeping. A kñatriya challenges, offers him weapon, fights, and then one of them is killed. That is… So here it is brahma-bandhoù ätatäyinaù. Ätatäyinaù, aggressor. Anyone who kidnaps one’s wife is called aggressor. One who sets fire in your house, he’s aggressor. One who is coming to kill you with weapon, he’s aggressor. In this way there is a list of aggression. So aggressor can be killed immediately. If somebody is aggressor, there is no sin in killing aggressor. Enemy who sets fire to the house, administers poison, attacks all of a sudden with deadly weapon, plunders wealth, or usurps agricultural field, or entices one’s wife is called an aggressor. Everything… This is Vedic knowledge. Everything has got definition.

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(Pursuant to the Religious Corporation Law of the State of New York)

We, the undersigned, for the purpose of forming a corporation pursuant to the Religious Corporation Law of the State of New York, do hereby make, subscribe and acknowledge this certificate as follows:


SECOND: The purposes for which the corporation is organized are:

(a) To systematically propagate spiritual knowledge to society at large and to educate all peoples in the techniques of spiritual life in order to check the imbalance of values in life and to achieve real unity and peace in the world.

(b) To propagate a consciousness of Krishna as it is revealed in the Bhagawat Gita and Srimad Bhagawatam.

(c) To bring the members of the Society together with each other and nearer to Krishna, the prime entity, and thus to develop the idea, within the members, and humanity, at largo, that each soul is part and parcel of the quality of Godhead (Krishna).

(d), To teach and encourage the Samkirtan movement congregational chanting of the holy name of God as revealed in the teachings of Lord Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.

To erect for the members, and for society at large, a holy place of transcendental pastimes, dedicated to the personality of Krishna.

(f) To bring the members closer together for the purpose of teaching a simpler and more natural way of life.

(g) With a view towards achieving the aforementioned purposes, to publish and distribute periodicals, magazines, books and other writings.

THIRD: The corporation shall have the power, either directly or indirectly, either alone or in conjunction or cooperation with others, to do any and all lawful acts and things and to engage in any and all lawful activities which may be necessary, useful, suitable, desirable, or proper for the furtherance, accomplishment, fostering, or attainment of any or all of the purposes for which the corporation is organized, and to aid or assist other organizations whose activities are such as to further, accomplish, foster, or attain any of such purposes. Notwithstanding anything herein to the contrary, the corporation shall exercise only such powers as are in furtherance of the exempt purposes of organizations set forth in Section 501(c) of the Internal Revenue Code and its Regulations as the same now exist or as they may be hereafter amended from time to time.

FOURTH: The corporation is not organized for profit, and no part of the net earnings of the corporation shall inure to the benefit of any private shareholder or individual. In the event of the liquidation or dissolution of the corporation, whether voluntary or involuntary, no member shall be entitled to any distribution or division of its remaining property or its proceeds, and the balance of all money and other property received by the corporation from any source, after the payment of all debts and obligations of the corporation, shall be used or distributed, subject to the order of the Supreme Court of the State of New York as provided by law, exclusively for purposes within those set forth in Article SECOND of this certificate and within the intendment of Section 501(c) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954 and its Regulations as the same now exist or as they may be hereafter amended from time to time.

FIFTH: The operations of the corporation are to be conducted principally within the State of New York.

SIXTH: The principal place of worship of this Society is intended to be located at No. 26 Second Avenue in the City, County and State of New York.

SEVENTH: The number of trustees of the Society shall be nine.

EIGHTH: The names and addresses of the trustees until the first annual meeting of the corporation are as follows:

MICHAEL GRANT 110 Bowery, New York, N. Y.
JAN OSLUND 110 Bowery, New York,.N. Y.
JAMES S. GREENE 324 East 6th Street, New York, N. Y.

The names and addresses of the trustees until the second annual meeting of the corporation are as follows:

PAUL GARDINER 38 East 76th Street, New York, N. Y.
DONALD W. CHAPDELAINE 26 Second Avenue, New York, N. Y.
RAYMOND MARAIS 26 Second Avenue, New York, N. Y.

The names and addresses of the trustees until the third annual meeting of the corporation are as follows:

KARL YEARGENS 218 Centre Street, New York, N. Y.
RAPHAEL BALSAM 26 Second Avenue, New York, N. Y.
ROBERT LEFKOWITZ 1847 49th Street, Brooklyn, N. Y.

NINTH: The first annual meeting for the annual election of trustees shall be held on July 6, 1967, at 7:00 P.M. at No. 26 Second Avenue, in the City, County and State of New York.

TENTH: The matters set forth in paragraphs FIRST through EIGHTH of this certificate were determined at a meeting held for that purpose pursuant to Section 192 of the Religious Corporation Law on July 6, 1966 at No. 26 Second Avenue in the City, County and State of New York. Said meeting was held pursuant to due written notice as provided in Section 191 of the Religious Corporation Law.

ELEVENTH: All of the subscribers to this certificate are of full age and all are members in good and regular standing of the church seeking incorporation through the filing of this certificate by admission with full membership therein in accordance with the rules and regulations thereof.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF we have made, subscribed, and acknowledged this certificate of incorporation this 13th day of July, 1966.

[signed:] A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami, Carol Bekar, Raymond Marais


On the 13th day of July, 1966 before me personally came A. C. BHAKTIVEDANTA, SWAMI, RAYMOND MARAIS and CAROL BEKAR to me known and known to me to be the individuals described in and who executed the foregoing certificate of incorporation and they severally acknowledged to me that they severally executed the same.

NO. 81-1489875
Qualified in New York County
Commission Expires March 30, 1967


STEVEN J. GOLDSMITH, being duly sworn, deposes and says: That he maintains an office for the practice of law at Two Park Avenue, Borough of Manhattan, City and State of New York; that he is the attorney for the subscribers to the annexed certificate of incorporation of INTERNATIONAL SOCIETY FOR KRISHNA CONSCIOUSNESS, INC.; that he has made diligent search of the records of the Clerk of the County of New York, and as revealed by such search, that no prior corporation with the same or similar name as INTERNATIONAL SOCIETY FOR KRISHNA CONSCIOUSNESS, INC. has filed a certificate of incorporation in New York County. [handwritten:] The undersigned affirms this made under penalty of perjury.
[signed:] Steven J. Goldsmith

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Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 7.7.46

DATED: 22 MARCH, 1967 LOCATION: San Francisco

Image result for prahlada bhagavatam


nirūpyatām iha svārthaḥ
kiyān deha-bhṛto ‘surāḥ
niṣekādiṣv avasthāsu
kliśyamānasya karmabhiḥ
[SB 7.7.46]

Prahlāda Mahārāja is instructing his friends, all small children, about Kṛṣṇa consciousness. He is instructing so many things. We have been discussing this subject matter for the last few days. Now he’s placing before them for submitting, for consideration. “My dear friends,” deha-bhṛtām, those who have accepted this material body, asura… Asura means demons. He also belonged to the family, atheistic family. His father was great atheist, and all his friends… Because his father was king, so all his friends happened to be the citizens of that atheistic kingdom. So all of them are being addressed as asura. Asurameans demons, godless. There are two kinds of people, asura and sura, or deva and asura. So who are asuras and who are devas? Devas means godly, and asura means nongodly, or atheistic. In the Vedic literature you’ll find there are definition that there are two kinds of people. Dvau bhūta-sargau loke daiva āsura eva ca [Bg. 16.6]. There are two kinds of people in this world = viṣṇu-bhakto bhaved daiva. And who are… Daiva means godly. Who are godly? Viṣṇu-bhaktaḥ, those who are devotee of the Supreme Personality of Godhead or those who are in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, they are called godly. And āsuras tad-viparyayaḥ. Tad-viparyayaḥ means just the opposite number. What is the opposite number? The atheists. At once they hear something of God, oh, they become fire = “What is this God? I am God.” So he is asura.

So Prahlāda Mahārāja is asking the asuras, his friends, “My dear…” Friends are sometimes addressed in strong languages. That does not affect friends, in friendly terms. So Prahlāda Mahārāja directly asserting that “You are all atheists.” But he was speaking among friends. There was no questions of offending. And actually they were sons of all atheists. So he is submitting, “My dear friends,” that nirūpyatām iha svārthaḥ, “you just try to find out what is your interest. You do not know your interest.” Everyone is called selfish = “I am self-interested.” Yes. You should be self-interested. Everyone should be self… And that is the nature. I am thinking for my self-interest; you are thinking for your self-interest. When we become philanthropist, there is also self-interest. “I want to become a very welfare worker in the society because there is my self-interest that you will elect me as president or some big officer.” Oh. So self-interest is natural. That is not abominable. If you become self-interested, that is not abominable. That is nice. But you do not know what is your self-interest. Prahlāda Mahārāja submits that nirūpyatām: “Just try to analyze what is your self-interest.”

nirūpyatām iha svārthaḥ
kiyān deha-bhṛto ‘surāḥ
karmāṇy ārabhate dehī… niṣekādiṣv avasthāsu
kliśyamānasya karmabhiḥ

Now you are trying to be happy by your work. Everyone is trying to be happy by his work. A man, ordinary worker, he is also trying to be happy by working, and a great capitalist, he is also trying to be happy by work. But Bhagavad-gītā says that they are trying to be happy in what sense? They’re trying to be happy with the body for sense gratification. But how long you shall be able to satisfy your senses? Your interest is different = not sense gratification. Your interest is that you have to find out what you are. So that is described in Bhagavad-gītā very nicely, that you are this consciousness. Avināśi tu tad viddhi yena sarvam idaṁ tatam. That you are, that permanent, the consciousness. And what is that consciousness? That consciousness is, pure form, is Kṛṣṇa consciousness, that “I am servant of God.” This is pure consciousness. So long my consciousness is designated, “I am American,” “I am Indian,” “I am Chinese,” “I am Russian,” “I am Hindu,” “I am Muslim,” “I am Christian…” These are all designations due to this body. But actually I am neither American, neither Indian, nor Christian, nor Hindu, nor Muslim, but I am eternally the servant of God. So Prahlāda Mahārāja is submitting that “If you are servant of God, eternally, then you find out your engagement, eternal engagement. That is the duty of your human form of life. Don’t be misled by designation.” Kṛṣṇa consciousness means to become free from all designations. Sarvopādhi-vinirmuktam [Cc. Madhya 19.170]. You have to become free from all designations. Tat-paratvena nirmalam. And in connection with the Supreme Lord you have to become nirmalam. Nirmalam means without any contamination.

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Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhya-līlā 8.128


Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhya-līlā 8.128

Bhuvaneśvara, January 24, 1977
Prabhupāda: (chants Jaya Rādhā-Mādhava, incomplete)
kibā vipra, kibā nyāsī, śūdra kene naya
yei kṛṣṇa-tattva-vettā, sei ‘guru’ haya
[Cc. Madhya 8.128]

This verse we were discussing last night, Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s statement that Kṛṣṇa consciousness is not reserved for any particular person or nation or religion. The central point is that one must understand what is Kṛṣṇa. The other day somebody inquired, “What is the meaning of ‘Kṛṣṇa’?” “Kṛṣṇa” means all-attractive. Unless God is all-attractive, how He can become God? So Vṛndāvana life means Kṛṣṇa comes, descends Himself to show what is Kṛṣṇa, what is God. So the picture, Vṛndāvana life, that is village life. There are villagers, cultivators, cows, calves—that is Vṛndāvana. It is not a big city like New York, London. It is village, and the central point is Kṛṣṇa. This is Vṛndāvana life. There the gopīs, they are village girls and the cowherd boys, they are also village boys. Nanda Mahārāja is the head of the village, agriculturist. Similarly, the elderly persons and the elderly gopīs, mother Yaśodā and her other friends—all are attracted by Kṛṣṇa. This is Vṛndāvana life. They even did not know what is Kṛṣṇa. They did not know by reading Vedas, Purāṇas, Vedānta, to understand Kṛṣṇa. But their natural affection was for Kṛṣṇa.

So this svābhāvika ākarṣaṇa can be… At the present moment we have no natural attraction for Kṛṣṇa; therefore we must understand by knowledge what is Kṛṣṇa. That is Kṛṣṇa tattva vettā. So why one should be attracted to Kṛṣṇa unless Kṛṣṇa has all the attractive features? The attraction… Generally, in this material world we are attracted to a rich man or to a powerful man, man or woman. Just like our Prime Minister, she is woman, but because she is powerful, we are attracted. We talk of her. So the points of attraction are discussed by Parāśara Muni as bhaga. Bhaga means opulence. So these opulences… When one is very rich, he is opulent. One is very powerful, he is attractive. One is very influential, one is very beautiful, one is very highly learned… In this way, attraction. So if we scrutinizingly study the life of Kṛṣṇa, you will find in the history of the world than Kṛṣṇa there was no richer person, no powerful person than Kṛṣṇa, no beautiful person than Kṛṣṇa, more learned and person of knowledge, philosophy than Kṛṣṇa. If you study you’ll find everything. The six opulences are fully represented in Kṛṣṇa; therefore He is Bhagavān. Bhaga means opulences, and vān means one who possesses. This is the meaning of Kṛṣṇa, that He is all-attractive because He possesses all the six opulences. This is the description of Kṛṣṇa. So we should not accept anyone and everyone as Bhagavān. We must test whether he has got the six opulences. A person who is begging from door to door, and when there is some bodily pain he immediately goes to the doctor—”Toothache, sir. Please give me medicine,” so does it mean that he is Bhagavān? A Bhagavān cannot cure his tooth pain even? This class of Bhagavān we should not accept. Bhagavān is described in the Bhagavad-gītā, asamaurdha. Nobody can be equal to Bhagavān and nobody can be greater than Bhagavān. Therefore Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu says particularly, yei kṛṣṇa-tattva-vettā sei guru haya: [Cc. Madhya 8.128] “One who knows Kṛṣṇa specifically, not superficially, but in all details, What is the meaning of Kṛṣṇa, what is Kṛṣṇa, he can become guru.” Kṛṣṇa says in the Bhagavad-gītā about Himself, kṛṣṇa-tattva, about…, the truth about Kṛṣṇa we can understand from Bhagavad-gītā with our intelligence. Just like Kṛṣṇa describes that mattaḥ parataraṁ nānyat kiñcid asti dhanañjaya [Bg. 7.7]. Now you study this one line that Kṛṣṇa says, “There is nobody greater than Me.” Now you study Kṛṣṇa’s life, Compare with anyone and you’ll find, “Yes. Nobody is greater or equal to Kṛṣṇa.” This is Kṛṣṇa.

So at the present moment the defect is that people are not very serious to understand of Kṛṣṇa, because in this age, as it is stated in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam about the people of this age,

prāyeṇālpāyuṣaḥ (sabhya)
kalāv asmin yuge janāḥ
mandāḥ sumanda-matayo
manda-bhāgyā hy upadrutāḥ
[SB 1.1.10]

Prāyeṇālpāyuṣaḥ. People are living not as they used to live formerly. In this age, Kali-yuga, the maximum years one can live: hundred years in this Kali-yuga. Hundred years. In the Dvāpara-yuga it was one thousand years. In the Tretā-yuga it was ten thousand years. In the Satya-yuga it was hundred thousand years. It is reducing. Kali-yuga means the duration of age will reduce, the memory will reduce, the bodily strength will reduce, mercifulness will reduce. In this way everything will reduce. This is Kali-yuga. Supply of foodstuff will be reduced. This is Kali-yuga. So mandāḥ. Everyone is bad, not full strength. Mandāḥ sumanda-matayo. And everyone has got a sumanda-mata. Mata means opinion or system which is also sumanda. Not only mandāḥ but sumanda. Everyone is manufacturing a type of Bhagavān, a type of religious system. That is not bona fide at all. Sumanda-matayo. Mandāḥ sumanda matayo. And everyone is unfortunate, manda-bhāgyā, unfortunate in this sense: they do not know what is the aim of life, how human life should make progress.


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Acyutya – Infallible

Srimad Bhagavatam

Canto 1

September 14, 1976

Very difficult to inflame. Similarly, when we fall down from the fire, spiritual world, we associate with three qualities. Puruṣaḥ prakṛti ‘stho hi bhuṅkte prakṛti-jān guṇān [Bg. 13.22]. This is the statement of Bhagavad-gītā. Prakṛti-jān guṇān. In the prakṛti, in this material world, there are three modes of material nature: sattva-guṇa, rajo-guṇa, tamo-guṇa. So there is chance… When you fall down, you can fall down anywhere. This example, the same example. A spark falls down from the original fire, so it can fall down on the dry grass, it can fall down on the water, it can fall down on the ground. There are three chances. Similarly, when the living entity, originally part and parcel of God, the same quality… Not the same quantity. Just like spark and fire, they are same quality but not same quantity. Fire is very big; therefore the big fire is acyuta. It is never degraded. But the small fire is degraded.

So when Kṛṣṇa comes, big fire comes, He is not degraded. He’s acyuta. He is… Don’t think that because Kṛṣṇa has come in this material world, so He is also affected by the material qualities. No. In Bhāgavata it is said, etad īśanam īśasya. This is controlling power. Although He comes in this material world, He’s not affected by the material qualities. He’s not fallible; He’s Acyuta. Therefore Kṛṣṇa is described as acyuta. When Arjuna was asking Kṛṣṇa to move his chariot, so he addressed Him as Acyuta. Senayor ubhayor madhye rathaṁ sthāpaya me acyuta [Bg. 1.21]. Why Acyuta? Because Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Lord and Arjuna is living being, entity. Arjuna is servant and Kṛṣṇa is the master. Jīvera svarūpa haya nitya-kṛṣṇa-dāsa [Cc. Madhya 20.108-109]. How the servant can order the master? It is not the etiquette, neither it is possible. Therefore Arjuna reminded Kṛṣṇa, “Acyuta, my dear friend, You are Acyuta, never fallible. You promised that You shall drive my chariot. So now because You are my driver, I’m asking You to follow my orders. Don’t be sorry. Acyuta.” This is the purpose. Therefore senayor ubhayor madhye rathaṁ sthāpaya me acyuta [Bg. 1.21]. In this way we find Kṛṣṇa never failed in His promise. He remained always… When He was pierced with the arrows… Sometimes the chariot driver is killed. the horses are killed to make the enemy inactive. Because without horses, without chariot driver, how he can drive?

So Kṛṣṇa is Acyuta. He never falls. So this is a false theory that when God falls down He becomes a jīva, and when He is again revived in His original position, He becomes God. This is nonsense theory. It has no meaning. God never falls down. But rascals, avajānanti māṁ mūḍhā mānuṣīṁ tanum āśritam [Bg. 9.11], because they’re rascals, they think Kṛṣṇa as ordinary human being. Avajānanti māṁ mūḍhāḥ. Therefore Kṛṣṇa’s līlā in Vṛndāvana, so many rascals, they think that Kṛṣṇa’s dealing with the gopīs is the same as one young man or young boy plays with other young girls. No. They are different. Ānanda-cinmaya-rasa-pratibhāvitābhiḥ [Bs. 5.37]. This dealing, in this material world, between young boys and girls, they’re material. They’re simply a reflection of the original dealings. The verse in the Vedānta-sūtra, janmādy asya yataḥ [SB 1.1.1]. From Brahman everything is emanating. Without being in Brahman, nothing can be manifest or existing within this world. So these love affairs between young girls and young boy, is there in Brahman. That is the dealing of Kṛṣṇa and the gopīs. So that dealing is pervertedly reflected within this material world. It is not the same thing. It is different. But those who are not in the knowledge, they take it that the dealings… Idam Viṣṇu and the vraja-vadhū… It is so nice that actually if one hears about the dealings of the gopīs and Kṛṣṇa, then he becomes so elevated in devotion that he forgets the lusty dealings between man and woman. That is the result. It is stated in the Bhāgavatam, apahinoti, bhaktiṁ pratilabhya apahinoti kāmam.. If one is eligible to hear the dealings of gopīs and Kṛṣṇa, the result will be he’ll forget the lusty desires of this material world. Therefore it is not for all. These dealings of gopīs and Kṛṣṇa is meant for the liberated person. They can hear, not the ordinary persons. Therefore this kṛṣṇa-līlā is given in the Tenth Canto of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. So don’t jump over. First of all you try to understand Kṛṣṇa, Acyuta. Janmādy asya yataḥ anvayād itarataś cārtheṣv abhijñaḥ svarāṭ [SB 1.1.1]. To understand Kṛṣṇa, not only… The Bhagavad-gītā is the ABCD, and Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam begins when one is actually Kṛṣṇa conscious. Sarva-dharmān parityajya mām ekam [Bg. 18.66]. Then Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam begins. So don’t jump over the kṛṣṇa-līlā or jump over Rādhā-kuṇḍa unless you are a liberated person. This is the instruction. Acyuta. You must be also acyuta—not falling down from the standard of pure devotional service. Acyuta-gotra.

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Teachings of Lord Caitanya: Chapter 8


Srila Prabhupada

Any intelligent person can understand the characteristics of a real incarnation by understanding two kinds of features—the principal features, called personal characteristics, and the marginal features, comprising His activities. The scriptures describe both kinds of features. For example, in the beginning of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (1.1.1), the features of an incarnation are nicely described. In that verse, the two terms param (supreme) and satyam (truth) are used, and Lord Caitanya indicated that these words reveal Kṛṣṇa’s principal feature. The other, marginal features are that He taught Vedic knowledge to Brahmā and incarnated as the puruṣa-avatāra to create the cosmic manifestation. These are occasional features manifested for some special purposes. One should be able to understand and distinguish the principal and marginal features of an avatāra. No one can declare himself an incarnation without referring to these two features. An intelligent man will not accept anyone as an avatāra without studying the principal and marginal features. When Sanātana Gosvāmī tried to confirm Lord Caitanya’s personal characteristics as being those of the incarnation for this age, Lord Caitanya Himself indirectly confirmed Sanātana’s conclusion by simply saying, “Let us leave aside all these discussions and continue with a description of the śaktyāveśa-avatāras.”

The Lord then pointed out that there is no limit to the śaktyāveśa-avatāras but that some can be mentioned as examples. The śaktyāveśa incarnations are of two kinds—direct and indirect. When the Lord Himself comes, He is called a sākṣāt, or direct, śaktyāveśa-avatāra, and when He empowers a living entity to represent Him, that living entity is called an indirect, or āveśa, incarnation. Examples of indirect avatāras are the Four Kumāras, Nārada, Pṛthu and Paraśurāma. These are actually living entities who are given some specific power by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. When a specific opulence of the Supreme Lord is invested in specific entities, they are called āveśa-avatāras. The Four Kumāras represent the Supreme Lord’s opulence of knowledge. Nārada represents devotional service to the Supreme Lord. Devotional service is also represented by Lord Caitanya, who is considered the full representation of devotional service. In Brahmā the opulence of creative power is invested, and King Pṛthu is invested with the power for maintaining the living entities. Similarly, in Paraśurāma the power for killing evil elements is invested. As for vibhūti, or the special favor of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, in the Tenth Chapter of the Bhagavad-gītā Lord Kṛṣṇa says that a living entity who is especially powerful or beautiful should be known to be especially favored by the Supreme Lord.

Examples of direct, or sākṣāt, śaktyāveśa-avatāras are the Śeṣa incarnation and the Ananta incarnation. In Ananta the power for sustaining all the planets is invested, and the Śeṣa incarnation is invested with the power for serving the Supreme Lord.

After describing the śaktyāveśa incarnations, Caitanya Mahāprabhu began to speak about the age of the Supreme Lord. He said that the Supreme Lord Kṛṣṇa is always like a sixteen-year-old boy, and when He desires to descend to this universe He first sends His father and mother, who are His devotees, and then He Himself appears. All His activities—beginning with the killing of the Pūtanā demon—are displayed in innumerable universes, and there is no limit to them. Indeed, at every moment, at every second, His manifestations and various pastimes are seen in different universes (brahmāṇḍas). Thus His activities are just like the waves of the Ganges River. Just as there is no limit to the flowing of the waves of the Ganges, there is no cessation of various features of Lord Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes in different universes. From childhood He displays many pastimes, and ultimately He exhibits the rāsa dance.

It is said that all the pastimes of Kṛṣṇa are eternal, and this is confirmed in every scripture. Generally people cannot understand how Kṛṣṇa performs His pastimes, but Lord Caitanya clarified this by comparing the performance of His pastimes to the orbit of the sun. According to Vedic astrological calculations, the twenty-four hours of a day are divided into sixty daṇḍas. The days are again divided into 3,600 palas. The sun disc can be perceived crossing the sky in steps of sixty palas each, and that time constitutes a daṇḍa. Eight daṇḍas make one prahara, and the sun rises and sets within four praharas. Similarly, four praharas constitute one night, and after that the sun rises. And just as the sun can be seen in its movement through 3,600 palas, all the pastimes of Kṛṣṇa can be seen in any of the universes.

Lord Kṛṣṇa remains in this universe for only 125 years, but all the pastimes of that period are exhibited in each and every universe. These pastimes include His appearance, the activities of His boyhood and youth, and His later pastimes, including those at Dvārakā. Since all these pastimes are present in one or another of the myriad universes at any given time, they are called eternal. Just as the sun is eternally existing, although we see it rise and set, appear and disappear, according to our position on the earth, so Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes are eternally going on, although we can see them in this particular universe only at certain intervals. As stated earlier, Kṛṣṇa’s abode is the supreme planet, known as Goloka Vṛndāvana, and by His will this Goloka Vṛndāvana is manifested in this universe and in other universes as well. Like Kṛṣṇa’s name, fame and everything else directly connected to Him, Goloka Vṛndāvana is absolute and is therefore equal to Him.

Thus the Lord is always in His supreme abode, Goloka Vṛndāvana, and by His supreme will His activities there are also manifested at particular places in innumerable universes. And whenever and wherever Kṛṣṇa appears, He displays His six opulences.

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