Dear Guru Maharaj,
Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to You and Srila Prabhupada
The Srimad-Bhagavatam talks about Krsna having marks on His feet. Does Krsna really have these marks on the bottom of His feet?
Did Lord Chaitanya have these marks on the bottom of his feet?
Is looking for these marks at the bottom of the feet a way to figure out if it is really Krshna?
And, do all the incarnations of Krsna have these markings? For example, the tortoise, the boar, or the dwarf?
Please clarify this for me.
Dear Bhakta Richard,
Please receive my blessings. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.
The marks on Radha Krishna’s soles are distinctive of Their divinity. Also, Sri Caitanya and Sri Nityananda have particular signs on Their soles.
There is no information (or at least not in the books I have read so far) of marks on other Avataras like the ones you mention.
When I find some information about it, I will let you know.
We find a nice description of Radha Krishna’s lotus feet in the “A Glorification of Sri Sri Radha-Madhava” by Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura.
candrardham kalasam tri-kona-dhanushi kham goshpadam proshthikam
sankham savya-pade ´tha dakshina-pade konashtakam svastikam
cakram chatra-yavankusam dhvaja-pavi jamburdhva-rekhambujam
bibhranam harim unavimsati-maha-lakshmy-arcitanghrim bhaje
“I worship Lord Hari (Krishna), whose feet are endowed with the 19 great opulences: On the left foot, a halfmoon, a water-pot, a triangle, a bow, a sky, a cow´s hoofprint, a fish, a conch, and on the right foot, the eight-pointed star, a svastika, a wheel, a parasol, a barleycorn, an elephant-goad, a flag, a thunderbolt, a jambu fruit, an urdhva-rekha, and lotus.”
ardhendum ca yavam ca vamam anu ya saktim gadam syandanam
vedi-kundala-matsya-parvata-daram datte ´nv asavyam padam
tam radham ciram unavimsati-maha-lakshmy-arcitanghrim bhaje
I worship Sri Radha, whose feet are endowed with the 19 great opulences of, on the left foot, the parasol, ari, flag, vine, flower, bracelet, lotus, urdhva-rekha, elephant-goad, halfmoon, and barleycorn, and on the right foot, the sakti, club, chariot, altar, earrings, fish, mountain, and conchshell.
Meaning of the Auspicious Marks:
HALF-MOON (ardha-candra) – This mark symbolizes how the lotus feet truly concede the desired objectives of the devotees. It signifies that even devatas like Lord Siva (whose symbol is a half-moon) have decorated their own heads with the soles of the feet. It also shows that devotees who likewise decorate their own head with the lotus feet can become exalted like Lord Siva. Just as the moon showers nectar with its cooling rays, similarly the lotus feet shower nectar upon the devotees, extinguishing the threefold material miseries. So that the minds of the devotees may reside at the feet, they bear the symbol of the moon (which is the devata or presiding deity of the mind) upon the feet. Just as the moon is one, yet it destroys the darkness seen by many people simultaneously, similarly the Lord is one and yet by His cleverness can deliver Bhakti to many souls at the same time. The half-moon also indicates that since the Lord´s toenails appear like ten splendorous full-moons, the real moon has shriveled up in shame and appears in half-form.
PITCHER (kalasa) – This mark shows that the lotus feet hold the golden pitcher full of purely nectarean ambrosia to be freely consumed by the surrendered souls; indeed, they will never be bereft of nectar for this pitcher always remains full. This mark also indicates that the feet can pour out nectar that extinguishes the blazing three-fold miseries of the separated devotees. The full pitcher is a symbol to show that no inauspiciousness can come near the devotees. Rather, the feet bring ripples of happiness emanating from divine auspiciousness.
BOW (dhanu) – This mark reveals that those who take shelter of the lotus feet will be perpetually free from all worries and difficulties. It also shows that those who are stupefied in the material world remain motionless like a target and do not come to lotus feet. Whereas, those who come to the ultimate goal of the feet remain there and never go back to the material world. Further, when the mind of the devotee meets the target of the feet, then prema condenses as a result and overflows as the tears showering from their eyes.
SKY (ambara) – This mark indicates that the feet are all pervading throughout the entire creation, both within and without all manifestations. It also shows that even though the feet are everywhere, they are unattached just like the sky.
COW-HOOF (gospada) – This mark signifies that for those who have taken full shelter of uninterrupted meditation on the feet, the great ocean of worldly existence becomes very small and insignificant like the water held in a calf’s hoof-print and is thus easily crossed over.
FISH (matsya) – This mark shows that just as a fish cannot live without water, similarly the surrendered devotees cannot live a moment without directly associating with the feet. It also shows that all the most cherished desires and longings of those who resort to the lotus feet will be truly fulfilled. It also means that the mind is very fickle, just like a fish who wavers this way and that, and so only after much meditation the feet finally come into the heart. It also indicates that the lotus feet will come to live in one’s heart only if the heart has been liquified by soft loving emotions. The feet do not thrive where it is dry.
CONCH (sankha) – This auspicious mark indicates that those who take shelter of the lotus feet are always rescued from all sorts of distress. Just as during the arati ceremony the conch shell is used to hold water that is offered directly after the fire of the ghee-lamp, similarly, the lotus feet hold transcendental water that soothes His devotees from the blazing fire of material miseries. Also, this symbol proclaims ultimate victory for the devotees, since the conch shell mark on the feet contains the entire ocean of material existence that may now be easily crossed. This mark also shows that those who resort to the lotus feet become completely fearless.
DISK (cakra) – This mark cuts down the six enemies of the devotees – lust, anger, greed, illusion, envy, and bewilderment. It indicates teja-tattva, or the principle of brilliance by which the Lord destroys the darkness of sins from within His devotee’s hearts.
GOAD (ankusa) – This mark indicates that meditation on the lotus feet brings the elephants of the devotee’s minds under control and keeps them on the right path. It also shows that those who thus stay on the path toward the feet become superior among men, just as one riding on top of an elephant travels far above the rest.
FLAG (dhvaja) – This mark announces that for the devotees meditating on the feet, They give security and safe protection from all sorts of fear.
THUNDERBOLT (vrajra) – This mark reveals that meditation on the lotus feet smashes to pieces the mountain of the devotee’s karmic reactions to past sins. It also indicates that whoever holds on to the feet becomes as exalted as Lord Indra (whose weapon is the thunderbolt).
LOTUS (kamala) – This mark increases greed for nectar in the minds of the beelike devotees who meditate on the lotus feet. The lotus also signifies that just as a lotus grows out of water, similarly those whose eyes swell with tears upon holding the Divine lotus feet to their heart receive the highest benefit. This mark also shows that the goddess of fortune, Sri Laksmi Devi always resides at His feet rendering humble service. In addition, it signifies that His feet are so soft that they can only be compared to lotus petals; indeed, upon first glancing at the lotus feet, you would think you are directly seeing fresh lotus blossoms. It also reveals that just as a lotus blooms by day and contracts by night, similarly those who remain steeped in meditation on lotus feet always feel the blossoming unfoldment of brilliant sattvika ecstasies that dispel the darkness of ignorance. It also means that the bee of the devotee’s mind cannot fly beyond the bondage of dry jnana (knowledge) and vairagya (renunciation) without the temptation offered by the superior nectar of the lotus feet.
FLOWER (puspa) – This mark shows that the divine fame of the feet spread everywhere just like the fragrance of a flower. It also shows that the feet are not hard, but soft as flower petals. And it means that just as every fruit comes into being after the plant blooms, similarly all spiritual fruits come into being after first blossoming at the soles of the feet.
CLUB (gada) – This mark is to show that lotus feet are capable of chastising the elephant of sinful lust. It further indicates that for whoever takes shelter of the feet, all their ancestors will also receive benefit.
ALTAR (vedi) – This mark proclaims that the sins of those who meditate upon the feet are burned up as if on the altar of sacrifice. Furthermore, it indicates that just as the universe is nourished by the brahmanas offering fire-sacrifices, similarly those who offer their minds in sacrifice to the feet stimulate universal nourishment that affects all of the creation.
UMBRELLA (catra) – This mark proves that those who take shelter in the lotus feet are shielded from the incessant rainfall of material miseries. It also denotes that those who sit in the shade of the feet become exalted just like maharajas (great kings), who usually have umbrellas held over their heads.
Manonatha Dasa (ACBSP)
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