How can Krishna be Shakti, Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva at the same time?

In the Bhagavad Gita, it says that Krishna is the creator, preserver, and destroyer of the universe. This seems to mean that he is Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva. Furthermore, he says “I am the cosmic serpent” which seems to be saying that he is Shakti. How can he be all these Gods at the same time?


Answer by Raakhee V. Menon:

With reference to the context in which this statement was made, the Gita talks of the ideology of Advaita or non-duality. When it says that Krishna is Shiva, Shakti, Vishnu, Brahma, and all the cosmic beings, it just means to say that at the crux of it, there is just one Power which gets manifested in so many different forms. They are not different from each other.

That Power manifests itself in you, in me, in every living thing. The Gita is basically a Q&A between Krishna and a very confused Arjuna on the battlefield of Kurukshetra. Krishna is making him understand that all the people that he has to fight/kill are all ultimately part of one single Power. Krishna makes him understand that Arjuna can only destroy their physical bodies, their souls are immortal and eventually return to be a part of that Power from where they came.

The very basic idea of Sanatana Dharma is this. That there is just one Power that manifests itself as Vishnu, Shiva, Brahma, Rama, Krishna, Arjuna, Draupadi, all the people on the battle field, all the people off the battle field, the people who died, the people who are yet to be born, the animals, the birds, the plants…everything! Nobody is exclusive from another. This is why Krishna says that He is the creator, the preserver, the destroyer, He is everything and everything is Him. He is just talking about Parabrahman…the ultimate Power.

This is the way I see it 🙂

How can Krishna be Shakti, Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva at the same time?

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