Sastra Caksusa

seeing through the eyes of scriptures

Dandavat pranams

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

Ekanath Das

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:

Bhaktivedanta VedaBase: Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 5.3.3

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 :


Obeisances to Sri Rama, the Abode of Lakshmi

In the 108 names of Krsna it is stated:


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

radhika para-devata

sarva-lakshmi-mayi  sarva

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

Paramananda das

One should not mistake the Srivatsa with the Kaustubha :

Official Name: Sri SvapnaVilasamrtastakam

Author: Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura

Book Name: Stavamrta Lahari

Language: Sanskrit



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.

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Comment by Paramananda das on July 28, 2012 at 7:30pm

Bhrgu Muni stepped Visnu in the chest, Krsna has no foot print of Bhrgu Muni that is only on Ksirodaksyai Visnu , 

Comment by Paramananda das on July 28, 2012 at 7:39pm

SB 10.89.5: Bhṛgu then went to Mount Kailāsa. There Lord Śiva stood up and happily came forward to embrace his brother.

SB 10.89.6-7: But Bhṛgu refused his embrace, telling him, "You are a deviant heretic." At this Lord Śiva became angry, and his eyes burned ferociously. He raised his trident and was about to kill Bhṛgu when Goddess Devī fell at his feet and spoke some words to pacify him. Bhṛgu then left that place and went to Vaikuṇṭha, where Lord Janārdana resides.

SB 10.89.8-9: There he went up to the Supreme Lord, who was lying with His head on the lap of His consort, Śrī, and kicked Him on the chest. The Lord then rose, along with Goddess Lakṣmī, as a sign of respect. Coming down from His bedstead, that supreme goal of all pure devotees bowed His head to the floor before the sage and told him, 'Welcome, brāhmaṇa. Please sit in this chair and rest awhile. Kindly forgive us, dear master, for not noticing your arrival.

SB 10.89.10-11: "Please purify Me, My realm and the realms of the universal rulers devoted to Me by giving us the water that has washed your feet. This holy water is indeed what makes all places of pilgrimage sacred. Today, my lord, I have become the exclusive shelter of the goddess of fortune, Lakṣmī; she will consent to reside on My chest because your foot has rid it of sins."

SB 10.89.12: Śukadeva Gosvāmī said: Bhṛgu felt satisfied and delighted to hear the solemn words spoken by Lord Vaikuṇṭha. Overwhelmed with devotional ecstasy, he remained silent, his eyes brimming with tears.


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