seeing through the eyes of scriptures
All glories to the lotusfeet of Sri Guru and Gauranga
All glories to Srila Prabhupada
One devotee asked me about Srivatsa so Ekanath Prabhu from Germany has written something but it is not complete and some misunderstandings are there.
The meaning of Srivatsa on Visnu
What exactly is the mark of Srivatsa on Lord Visnu's or Krsna's chest? There are a number of passages in our books that seem to offer different explanations, and many devotees do wonder what this mark actually is.
The Gaudiya Vaisnava Abhidhana, an exhaustive Bengali Vaisnava encyclopedia, which was published in Navadvipa in the year 1956, lists five different meanings under the entry 'Sri-vatsa':
1. A lock of hair on the right side of Sri Visnu's chest. 2. The mark of Laksmi on the chest of Visnu. 3. The Kaustubha gem. 4. The mark of Bhrgu's foot. 5. Laksmi in the form of a golden line.
Point one seems to be the most commonly accepted meaning. It is also described that this lock of hair is white and that it is more or less shaped like a cross. It is sometimes, on paintings or Deities, symbolized by a flower.
Srila Prabhupada writes:
"Srivatsa is a curl of white hair on the chest of the Lord which is a special sign of His being the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In Vaikunthaloka or in Goloka Vrndavana, the inhabitants are exactly of the same form as the Personality of Godhead, but by this Srivatsa mark on the chest of the Lord He is distinguished from all others." (SB 3.19.15)
"The Srivatsa mark is described by the Vaisnava-tosani as being a curl of fine yellow hair on the upper portion of the right side of Lord Visnu's chest. This mark is not for ordinary devotees. It is a special mark of Visnu or Krsna." (SB 10.13.48)
Point number two is also often offered as the meaning, namely that the mark of Srivatsa indicates the place of Laksmi, that is where she rests on the Lord's chest. This second meaning has also been used by Srila Prabhupada as follows:
"The Lord is further described as having the mark of Srivatsa, or the sitting place of the goddess of fortune, and His bodily hue is deep bluish. The Lord is a person, He wears a garland of flowers, and He is eternally manifest with four hands, which hold [beginning from the lower left hand] a conchshell, wheel, club and lotus flower." (SB 4.8.47)
The third meaning, namely that Srivatsa can also be the Kaustubha jewel, is less known. Both Srivatsa and Kaustubha are generally listed together in the same line, often in the same word even, in the verses of the Bhagavatam. But then such a compound word always has a dual ending, indicating that these are two things. Haridasa dasa, the compiler of the Gaudiya Vaisnava Abhidhana, supports the third meaning with a reference to a book of the name "Bhakti-candrika-patala". This book was compiled by Lokananda Acarya and it contains the direct instructions of Narahari Sarakara, an associate of Lord Caitanya.
Point four was also confirmed by Srila Prabhupada in his letter to Yamuna devi:
"...Regarding the footprint on Krishna's chest which you say is Radharani's, that is not correct. That footprint is of Bhrgu Muni." (Los Angeles 69-08-12)
The story of Bhrgu Muni and how it came that he placed his foot on Lord Visnu's chest, is explained in the Krsna Book, Chapter 89.
Point five is explained as follows in the end of the purport to SB 10.15.8:
"The goddess of fortune, who lives in Vaikuntha on the chest of Lord Narayana, once desired to be embraced on the chest of Sri Krsna, and thus she performed severe austerities to achieve this blessing. Sri Krsna informed her that her actual place was in Vaikuntha and that it was not possible for her to dwell upon His chest in Vrndavana. Therefore she begged Krsna to allow her to remain on His chest in the form of a golden line, and He granted her this benediction. Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura recounts this incident from the Puranas."
The meaning of the word Srivatsa, may be given as, "The darling of Sri". The idea is, that He who is the darling of Sri, the goddess of fortune, is distinguished from others by a special sign on His chest. Thus Srivatsa and Srivatsa-vaksah (He who has the mark of Srivatsa on His chest) are names of Lord Visnu. And because Laksmi is kept on the Lord's chest exactly at this spot, this spot came to be known under the same name. The origin of that spot is explained differently by different Puranas and other works.
There is a further meaning listed in the Mahabharata: A symbol on Lord Narayana's chest, originally made by the mark of Lord Siva's lance.
Comment: Srivatsa is there on Krsna .Some claim it is on all 10 Avatars but I have never read this in sastra anywhere.
Some not all certainly not Buddha and Lord Balarama I have never read He has Srivatsa mark.
Srivatsa is mentioned in many places in Srimad Bhagavatam such as:
atha ha tam āviṣkṛta-bhuja-yugala-dvayaḿ hiraṇmayaḿ puruṣa-viśeṣaḿ kapiśa-kauśeyāmbara-dharam urasi vilasac-chrīvatsa-lalāmaḿ daravara-vanaruha-vana-mālācchūry-amṛta-maṇi-gadādibhir upalakṣitaḿ sphuṭa-kiraṇa-pravara-mukuṭa-kuṇḍala-kaṭaka-kaṭi-sūtra-hāra-keyūra-nūpurādy-ańga-bhūṣaṇa-vibhūṣitam ṛtvik-sadasya-gṛha-patayo 'dhanā ivottama-dhanam upalabhya sabahu-mānam arhaṇenāvanata-śīrṣāṇa upatasthuḥ
Lord Viṣṇu appeared before King Nābhi with four arms. He was very bright, and He appeared to be the best of all personalities. Around the lower portion of His body, He wore a yellow silken garment. On His chest was the mark of Śrīvatsa, which always displays beauty. He carried a conchshell, lotus flower, disc and club, and He wore a garland of forest flowers and the Kaustubha gem. He was beautifully decorated with a helmet, earrings, bangles, belt, pearl necklace, armlets, ankle bells and other bodily ornaments bedecked with radiant jewels. Seeing the Lord present before them, King Nābhi and his priests and associates felt just like poor people who have suddenly attained great riches. They received the Lord and respectfully bent their heads and offered Him things in worship.
I was looking close at pictures of Lord Vyenkatesvara and Lord Ranganatha to see if I could see this Srivatsa on Their pictures , but no luck in the pictures I saw.
Lord Caitanya never exhibited Srivatsa in this material world at least. He question is would Sri Radha not take offence to the mark of laxmi on Krsnas chest. Certainly ....unless we understand that Srivatsa on Krsna really represent Radha as She is Sarva laxmi ,the source of all Laxmis . Devotees of Radha Krsna will only see the Srivatsa as representing Sri Radha.Laxmi could not enter the Rasa lila so some take it that She did tapasya in Sri Vana and became the Srivatsa mark on Krsna, but that is only an explanation given to honor Laxmi .But really the Srivatsa mark on Krsna is that Radha is so dear to Him and He honors Her even by keeping the Srivatsa on His chest in Her honor in form of a golden line.
The Kaustubha jewel is completly different from the Srivatsa , it is a jewel in a locket with a Vatsa a small calfe, this Kaustubha is described for example in Srila Visvanath Chakravatis , Sri SvapnaVilasamrtastakam from his Stavamrta Lahari:
In Vaikuntha where all Visnu forms have Srivatsa they distuinguise the other residents of Vaikuntha.Just like Gopa Kumara when he came to Vaikuntha addressed all as "Om Nama Narayanaya" untill they pointed out they where all servants of Sri Narayana that has Srivatsa mark on His chest .
Sri Ramachandra also has Srivatsa mark also and this represents Sita or Laxmi
Lord Ramachandra is also the shelter of Laxmi and one of His names is :
OM SHRIMATE NAMAHA
Obeisances to Sri Rama, the Abode of Lakshmi
In the 108 names of Krsna it is stated:
OM SHRIVATSA KAUSTHUBHA-DHARAYA NAMAHA
To the Lord who wears the Shri Vatsa (representing Shri Lakshmi) and the Kaustubha gem
So clearly the Sri Vatsa and kaustubha gem is different.
Vatsa also means calf but this does not refere to the Srivatsa mark, also there is no indication that Krsna wears the mark of Brghu munis feet ,that would be offensive , He is by far inferior than the Gopis .
I hope this clears up some of the doubts about Srivatsa .
Lord Narasimha also has Srivatsa on His lotuschest some Sri Vaisnavas state that because when He manifest His Ugra Narasimha form She can only be on His chest.
Of course in the Spiritual world Vaikuntha the form of Lord Narasimha is a Narayana form
One of Lord Narasimhadeva names is :Om srivatsamkaya namah
Obeisances to the Lord Who is just like Krishna, being marked with symbol of Laksmi
So yes we shoud certainly see the Srivatsa as the symbol of Laxmi.But who is the souce of Laxmidevi?
In the Brihad-Gautamiya Tantra, Radharani is described as follows:
devi krishna-mayi prokta
kantih sammohini para
"The transcendental goddess Srimati Radharani is the direct counterpart of Lord Sri Krishna. She is the central figure for all the goddesses of fortune. She possesses all the attractiveness to attract the all-attractive Personality of Godhead. She is the primeval internal potency of the Lord."
To me the Srivatsa on the chest of Krsna is honoring Radha . (Laxmi is already included in Radha)
vaisnava das anu das
One should not mistake the Srivatsa with the Kaustubha :
Official Name: Sri SvapnaVilasamrtastakam
Author: Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura
Book Name: Stavamrta Lahari
priye svapne dṛṣṭā saridina-sutevātra pulinaḿ yathā vṛndāraṇye naṭana-paṭavastatra bahavaḿ mṛdaṇgādyaḿ vādyaḿ vividham iha kaścid dvija-maṇiḥ sa vidyud-gaurāńgaḥ kṣipati jagatīḿ prema-jaladhau
kadācit kṛṣṇeti pralapati rudan karhicid asau kva rādhe hā heti śvasiti patati projjhati dhṛtim naṭaty ullāsena kvacid api gaṇaiḥ svaiḥ praṇayibhis tṛṇādi-brahmāntaḿ jagad atitarāḿ rodayati saḥ
tato buddhir bhrāntā mama samajani prekṣya kim aho bhavet so 'yaḿ kāntaḥ kim ayam aham evāsmi na paraḥ ahaḿ cet kva preyān mama sa kila cet kvāham iti me bhramo bhūyo bhūyān abhavad atha nidrāḿ gatavatī
priye dṛṣṭvā tās tāḥ kutukini mayā darśita-carī rameśādyā mūrtīr na khalu bhavatī vismayam agāt kathaḿ vipro vismāpayitum aśakat tvāḿ tava kathaḿ tathā bhrāntiḿ dhatte sa hi bhavati ko hanta kim idam
iti procya preṣṭhāḿ kṣaṇam atha parāmṛṣya ramaṇo hasann ākūta jñaḿ vyanudad atha taḿ kaustubha-maṇim tathā dīptaḿ tene sapadi sa yathā dṛṣṭam iva tad vilāsānāḿ lakṣmaḿ sthira-cara-gaṇaiḥ sarvam abhavat
vibhāvyātha proce priyatama mayā jñātam akhilaḿ tavākūtaḿ yat tvaḿ smitam atanuthās tattvam asi saḥ sphuṭaḿ yan nāvādīr yad abhimatir atrāpy aham iti sphurantī me tasmād aham api sa evety anumime
yad apy asmākīnaḿ rati-padam idaḿ kaustubha-maṇiḿ pradīpyātraivādīdṛṣad akhila-jīvān api bhavān sva-śaktayāvirbhūyasvam akhila-vilāsaḿ pratijanaḿ nigadya premābdhau punar api tadāhāsyasi jagat
yad uktaḿ gargeṇa vraja-pati-samakṣamśruti-vidā bhavet pīto varṇaḥ kvacid api tavaitan na hi mṛṣā ataḥ svapnaḥ satyo mama ca na tadā bhrāntir abhavat tvam evāsau sākṣād iha yad anubhūto 'si tadṛtam
pibed yasya svapnāmṛtam idam aho citta-madhupaḥ sa sandeha-svapnāt tvaritam iha jāgarti su-matiḥ avāptaś caitanyaḿ praṇaya-jaladhau khelati yato bhṛśam dhatte tasminn atula-karuṇāḿ kuñja-nṛpatiḥ
TRANSLATION 1) Srimati Radharani said: Beloved, in a dream I saw a river shore like the Yamuna here. There were many expert dancers as in Vrndavana. There were mrdangas and other instruments. There was a brahmana jewel as splendid as lightning who was tossing the universe into an ocean of pure love.
2) Sometimes He calls out: "O Krsna!" and sometimes He sighs: "O Radha, where are You?" Sometimes He falls to the ground, sometimes He acts wildly, losing all composure, and sometimes He dances ecstatically with His loving associates. He has made all the residents of this world, from the blades of grass up to Lord Brahma, loudly call out the name of Krsna.
3) As I gazed at Him, My intelligence became bewildered. If He is my lover, where am I? If He is I, where is My lover? If He is My lover, where am I? As I slept, I became more and more bewildered.
4) Sri Krsna said: O inquisitive girl, when I showed You Narayana and My other forms You were not surprised. Why does this brahmana surprise You? Why does He bewilder You so You say "Who is He?"
5) After speaking these words to His beloved, the smiling lover, Krsna, touched His Kaustubha jewel. The jewel, understanding the Lord's intent, glowed and then showed all the same pastimes and all the moving and non moving entities She saw in her dream.
6) Srimati Radharani reflected for a moment and said: Beloved, I know what is in Your heart now that makes You smile. You are He. What You have said and thought is now clear to Me, and therefore I think I am also He.
7) Making this Kaustubha jewel, which is so delightful to Us, shine in this way, You have revealed Yourself to all living entities. By Your own transcendental potency You will appear, display Your pastimes, teach everyone, and again plunge the world into the ocean of pure love.
8) In the king of Vraja's presence, the learned Vedic scholar Gargacarya said that You will appear with a yellow complexion. He did not lie. This dream of Mine is true. It is not an illusion. In this dream I have directly seen You.
9) If the bumble-bee of the reader's mind drinks the nectar of this Svapna-vilasamrta, then that intelligent reader will quickly awaken from the dream of materialistic doubt. Such a reader will attain Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu. He will sport in the ocean of pure love. He will attain the peerless mercy of the king of Vrndavana.