Question: "Can you explain "Bhagavan Shree Vishnu is Triyuga"-Siddhanta from "Shree Padma-Purana" and "Shree Bhagavata-Purana"? This Siddhanta boggles my mind, as it states that Bhagavan Shree Vishnu appears only in Satya, Treta and Dwapara Yugas, but not in Kali-Yuga!
As if in contradiction with TriYuga-Siddhanta the famous Pramana from "Shree Bhagavata-Purana" says that some "Channa"-Avataras (Hidden Avataras) of Bhagavan Shree Vishnu do appear in Kali-Yuga!!! How to reconcile Triyuga and Channa statements? Can we meet Bhagavan Shree Vishnu in Kali-Yuga or not?".
Answer by Vishnudut1926: "There is no contradiction in both Triyuga and Channa Pramanas, the very ticklish point here is that both Pramanas must be explained with the help of the additional Pramanas from chief Vaishnava-Puranas, particularly via the predictions from "Shree Vishnu-Dharmottara-Purana".
Let's determine the origin ofTriyuga and Channa Pramanas at first.
1. TRIYUGA-PRAMANA. You can find "Bhagavan Shree Vishnu is Triyuga" Praman in "Shree Vishnu-SahasraNam" from "Shree Padma-Purana" (Uttara-Khanda, 71.170) and "Shree Narada-PanchaRatra" (4.3.58).
Both Pramanas sound like twins in both sources - सहस्रनामा त्रियुगश्चतुमूर्तिश्चतुर्भुजः - sahasranAmA triyugashchatumUrtishchaturbhujaH
Let's exclude "Shree Narada-PanchaRatra" from our Pramanas. We are discussing Shree Ramanuja-Sampradaya-Siddhanta/Shree Madhwa-Sampradaya-Siddhanta and "Shree Narada-PanchaRatra" is not considered to be authoritative and credible by both Sampradayas. But the Pramana from "Shree Padma-Purana" is more than great for us - we can accept it without any hesitations!
And let's also take 4 additional Pramanas from "Shree Bhagavata-Purana": त्रियुगं व्रजामहे - triyugaM vrajAmahe (8.5.27), कर्मशुक्लाय त्रियुगाय नमस्ते - karmashuklAya triyugAya namaste (5.18.35), त्रियुगमाज्ञाय विबुधर्षभम् - triyugamAj~nAya vibudharShabham (3.24.26) and त्रियुग त्रिभिः - triyuga tribhiH (3.16.22)
2. CHANNA-PRAMANA. It is from "Shree Bhagavata-Purana", 7.9.38 - छन्नः कलौ यदभवस्त्रियुगो ऽथ स त्वम् - ChannaH kalau yadabhavastriyugo .atha sa tvam - "You (Bhagavan Shree Vishnu) is Triyuga, because You appear in Krita, Treta and Dwapara Yugas, but in Kali-Yuga You remain hidden".
Now let's set logical limits, because before proving that Bhagavan Shree Vishnu is hidden in Kali-Yuga, we must prove that Lord Shree Vishnu was present in previous Yugas (Satya, Treta, Dwapara).
A. Krita-Yuga (Satya-Yuga) - Bhagavan Shree Adi-Narayana:
"Shree Varaha-Purana", 10.15 - स च नारायणो देवः कृते युगवरे प्रभुः - sa cha nArAyaNo devaH kRRite yugavare prabhuH - "Bhagavan Shree Narayana is The Deva of Krita-Yuga".
"Shree Varaha-Purana", 70.24 - कृते नारायणः शुद्ध सुक्ष्मरुप उपास्यते - kRRite nArAyaNaH shuddha sukShmarupa upAsyate - "In Krita-Yuga Bhagavan Shree Narayana is worshipped in Shuddha Rupa".
B. Treta-Yuga - Shree Rama-Avatara:
"Shree Bhagavata-Purana", 9.10.52 - त्रेतायां वर्तमानायां कालः कृतसमोऽभवत् रामे राजनि - tretAyAM vartamAnAyAM kAlaH kR^itasamo.abhavat rAme rAjani... - "Shree Rama-Avatara ruled in Treta-Yuga..."
C. Dwapara-Yuga - Shree Krishna-Avatara:
"Shree Vishnu-Purana", 4.124.108 says:
यदैव भगवान्विष्णोरंशो यातो दिवं द्विज |
वसुदेवकुलोद्भूतस्तदैवात्रागतः कलिः | |
yadaiva bhagavAn viShNor aMsho yAto divaM dvija |
vasudevakulodbhUtastadaivAtrAgataH kaliH | |
"Kali-Yuga starts, when Shree Krishna-Avatara (Amsha of Bhagavan Shree Vishnu) leaves the Earth at the end of Dwapara-Yuga".
And "Shree Vishnu-Purana", 4.24.109 adds, that यावत्सपादपद्माभ्यां पस्पर्शेमां वसुंधराम् तावत्पुथ्वीपरिष्वङ्गे समर्थो नाभवत्कलिः - yAvatsapAdapadmAbhyAM pasparshemAM vasuMdharAm tAvatputhvIpariShva~Nge - "Until Shree Krishna-Avatara presents on the Earth personally, the sins of Kali can't touch the planet".
Bhagavan Shree Vishnu is Hidden - we will discuss why and where further.
As you have probably noticed the Pramana from "Shree Padma-Purana" also says चतुर्भुजः - chaturbhujaH (Four-Armed) and "Shree Bhagavata-Purana" (the Verse next after the Channa Pramana 7.9.38, that is 7.9.39) says विकुण्ठनाथ - vikuNThanAtha - "The Lord of Shree Vaikuntha", so both these Pramanas say about Bhagavan Shree Narayana.
Now let's formulate all the gathered Pramanas in more precise and terse way:
"Bhagavan Shree Narayana, The Lord of Shree Vaikuntha, appears as Adi-Narayana in Satya-Yuga, as Rama-Avatara in Treta-Yuga and as Krishna-Avatara in Dwapara-Yuga, but in Kali-Yuga Bhagavan Shree Narayana (Shree VaikunthaNatha) appears in Hidden Form!".
Not only Bhagavan Shree Narayana is hidden in Kali-Yuga, but the exact meaning of "Channa"-Pramana as well: we should turn to the predictions from "Shree Vishnu-Dharmottara-Purana" for its correct explanation.
"Shree Vishnu-Dharmottara-Purana", 3.1.5 says:
विशेषेण कलौ काले कर्तव्यं देवतागृहम् ।
कृतत्रेताद्वापरेषु नराः पश्यन्ति देवताम् । ।
visheSheNa kalau kAle kartavyaM devatAgRRiham |
kRRitatretAdvApareShu narAH pashyanti devatAm | |
"In the previous Yugas (Krita, Treta, Dwapara) people could personally meet Devatas, but in Kali-Yuga all the Devatas are hidden in Murtis".
"Shree Vishnu-Dharmottara-Purana", 3.93.2-6 gives the extended explanations of "Hidden in Murtis"-Siddhanta:
प्रत्यक्षेणापि पश्यन्तस्त्रेताद्वापरयोर्जनाः ।
देवानां प्रतिमाः कृत्वा पूजयन्ति युथाविधि । ।
pratyakSheNApi pashyantastretAdvAparayorjanAH |
devAnAM pratimAH kRRitvA pUjayanti yuthAvidhi | |
"Everyone could personally meet Devatas in Treta-Yuga and Dwapara-Yuga, but in spite of this the Temple Worship was not abandoned. People worhipped various Pratimas (Murtis) of Devatas in strict accordance with Shastras".
गृहे प्रतिष्ठा तत्रापि त्रेतायां तु प्रवर्तिता ।
द्वापरे चाप्यरण्येषु ऋषिभिस्तु ततः कृता । ।
gRRihe pratiShThA tatrApi tretAyAM tu pravartitA |
dvApare chApyaraNyeShu RRiShibhistu tataH kRRitA | |
"In Treta-Yuga Murtis were installed in houses, but in Dwapara-Yuga Murti-Archana was widespread only among Rishis, in the forests".
कलौ प्रवृत्तः सर्वोऽयं प्रतिष्ठा करणे जनः ।
ज्ञानं परं कृतयुगे त्रेतायां च तपः परम् । ।
kalau pravRRittaH sarvo.ayaM pratiShThA karaNe janaH |
j~nAnaM paraM kRRitayuge tretAyAM cha tapaH param | |
"In Kali-Yuga people are very busy in Murti Worship. Krita-Yuga is Jnana-Yuga, Treta-Yuga is Tapasa-Yuga".
द्वापरे तु तथा ज्ञेयं प्रतिष्ठा तु कलौ युगे ।
देवतावेश्मपूर्वाणि नगराणि कलौ युगे । ।
dvApare tu tathA j~neyaM pratiShThA tu kalau yuge |
devatAveshmapUrvANi nagarANi kalau yuge | |
"Dwapara-Yuga is Tapasa-Yuga also, but in Kali-Yuga people inhabit cities, where they always worship various Murtis".
Question: "Does this Pramana from "Shree Vishnu-Dharmottara" say about Lord Shree Vishnu with various Devas or just various Devas without Bhagavan Shree Vishnu? Or about Bhagavan Shree Vishnu solely?".
Answer by Vishnudut1926: "This Pramana tells about Bhagavan Shree Vishnu with various Devas, implying that Bhagavan Shree Vishnu is AdiDeva, because:
A. This Pramana is from 3-rd Khanda of "Shree Vishnu-Dharmottara" and this Khanda is primarily dedicated to the Murtis of Bhagavan Shree Vishnu.
B. "Shree Bhagavata-Purana", 11.4.3 says नारायण आदिदेवः - nArAyaNa AdidevaH
"Shree Bhagavata-Purana", 7.6.18 says नारायणमादिदेवं स मुक्तसङ्गैरिषितोऽपवर्गः - nArAyaNamAdidevaM sa muktasa~NgairiShito.apavargaH
"Shree Bhagavata-Purana, 2.7.13 says - उन्मथ्नताममृतलब्धय आदिदेवः - unmathnatAmamR^italabdhaya AdidevaH
"Shree Vishnu-SahasraNam", Mantra 336 sings "ॐ आदिदेवाय नमः - OM AdidevAya namaH".
Question: "Shree Vishnu-Dharmottara-Purana" is considered to be the supplement to "Shree Vishnu-Purana". Can we trust to the predictions from "Shree Vishnu-Dharmottara-Purana" in the same degree as we trust to the Pramanas from 6 Central Vaishnava-Puranas (Vishnu, Garuda, Bhagavata, Padma, Varaha and Narada)?"
Answer by Vishnudut1926: "In spite of being the supplement, "Shree Vishnu-Dharmottara-Purana" is as authoritative and reputable as the original "Shree Vishnu-Purana".
Whenever you turn to the Pramanas from "Shree Vishnu-Dharmottara-Purana", it is always very important to remember statements from Moksha-Khanda of "Shree Garuda-Purana", especially विष्णुधर्मोतरं चैव तन्त्रं भागवतं तथा - viShNudharmotaraM chaiva tantraM bhAgavataM tathA - "Shree VishnuDharmottara is Sattvika-Vaishnava-Purana, that's why you can completely trust all the Pramanas from Shree VishnuDharmottara!" ["Shree Garuda-Puranam", 3.1.57]
So the authority of "Shree Vishnu-Dharmottara-Puranam" is based not only on its being the part of "Shree Vishnu-Purana", but on the Pramanas from "Shree Garuda-Puranam"!
Question: "So the right understanding of Triyuga/Channa Pramanas is that in Kali-Yuga Bhagavan Shree Narayana is hidden in Murtis?
Is it for this reason namely Acharyas of Shree Ramanuja-Sampradaya/Madhwa-Sampradaya highlight and emphasize the worship of Shree VenkatEshwara/RangaNatha and Shree Krishna/Shree Rama/Shree NaraSimha at Udupi?
Channa-Avatara = Murti-Avatara = Shree VenkatEshwara and, for example, Shree Udupi-Krishna? Correct?"
Answer by Vishnudut1926: "Precisely! Actually, in Kali-Yuga Channa-Avataras = All the Murtis of Bhagavan Shree Narayana with PanchaRatrika Murti-Pratishta!!!
So, not only such grand Vishnu-Murtis as Shree VenkatEshwara, Shree Udupi-Krishna, Shree NaraSimhas of Ahobilam and many others are Channa-Avataras, but even all the Vishnu-Murtis at the homes of Vaishnavas (in case their domestic Vishnu-Murtis were sanctified with PanchaRatrika Murti-Pratishta!).
In "Shree Varaha-Purana", 66.12-13 Bhagavan Shree Narayana says ब्राह्मणक्षत्रियविशां पञ्चरात्रं विधीयते शूद्रादीनान्तु - brAhmaNakShatriyavishAM pa~ncharAtraM vidhIyate shUdrAdInAntu - "In Kali-Yuga brahmanas, kshatriyas and vaishyas must worship Me in concordance with Shree PanchaRatra-Agamas, but the shudras and the fallen can only recite My Names and attend Vishnu Mandiras (because Pancharatrika Worship is forbidden for them)!".
"Shree Bhagavata-Purana", 11.5.31 says नानातन्त्रविधानेन - nAnAtantravidhAnena - "In Kali-Yuga Murti-Worship in compliance with various Vaishnava-Tantras (that is Agamas and Samhitas of "Shree PanchaRatra") is prescribed".
The diligent study of Moksha-Khanda of "Shree Garuda-Purana" is also strongly recommended for understanding this Siddhanta.
Question: "Some Vaishnava Puranas (especially "Shree Kalki-UpaPurana") mention that Shree Kalki-Avatara and Buddha are also Kali-Yuga-Avataras. Can we infer that Shree Kalki-Avatara and Buddha are "Channa"-Avataras (Hidden Avataras) also?".
Answer by Vishnudut1926: "Yes, because Buddha never reveals Himself to be Lord Shree Vishnu and Shree Kalki-Avatara will hiddenly manifest Himself at the end of Kali-Yuga, but these Pramanas are not very much helpful from the PanchaRatrika Vaishnavism point of view, so they have very secondary priority in comparison with the above-mentioned PanchaRatra-and-Murtis-related Pramanas.
"Shree NaraSimha-UpaPurana", 36.9 states:
कलौ प्राप्ते यथा बुद्धो भवेन्नारायणः प्रभु:
कल्किरुपं समास्थाय यथा म्लेच्छा निपातिताः
kalau prApte yathA buddho bhavennArAyaNaH prabhu:
kalkirupaM samAsthAya yathA mlechChA nipAtitAH
"In Kali-Yuga Bhagavan Shree Narayana will appear in the form of Kalki and Buddha".
Nevertheless, nobody of us will ever meet Shree Kalki-Avatara at the end of Kali-Yuga, but we meet Shree Lakshmi-Narayana or Shree Padmavati-VenkatEshwara Pratimas every day at our homes! That's the point!
In other words "Hidden Avatara in Kali-Yuga" means that we meet Shreemati MahaLakshmi-Devi and Bhagavan Shree Narayana as Murtis every day at our homes! And every night in deep sleep (sushupti), because अतो ब्रह्मैव साक्षात्सुषुप्तिस्थानम् - ato brahmaiva sAkShAtsuShuptisthAnam as OM VishnuPad Shree RamanujAcharya says in His Tika to "Shree Vedanta-Sutra", 3.2.7.
In Kali-Yuga everything is hidden in "Shree PanchaRatra" - true Vaishnava Worship, true Siddhanta, true Bhagavan Shree Vishnu!
That's why the indefatigable study of "Shree PanchaRatra" ("Shree Lakshmi-Tantra", "Shree Parama-Samhita" and other PanchaRatra Granthas) is especially crucial in Kali-Yuga, because Shreemati MahaLakshmi-Devi and Bhagavan Shree Narayana are hidden in Shree PanchaRatra Granthas and PanchaRatrika-Pratishta-Murtis in Kali-Yuga.
It is impossible to find the answers to the fundamental questions about Vaishnava-Siddhanta without the help of "Shree Pancharatra" - as Devala says in "Shree Parama-Samhita", 1.3 - वेदाः साङ्गोपाङ्गास्सविस्तराः - vedAH sA~NgopA~NgAssavistarAH:
"I have learned all the Vedas, all the Puranas and all the Agamas, but without Shree Vaishnava PanchaRatra-Agama I could not find Supreme Vaishnava-Ananda - Bhagavan Shree Narayana".
And as Markandeya Rishi says in "Shree Parama-Samhita", 1.9 - आचार्या बहवो दृष्टाः शास्त्राणि च सहस्रशः - AchAryA bahavo dRRiShTAH shAstrANi cha sahasrashaH:
"Thousands of worthless Acharyas, thousands of worthless Shastras - everything is worthless without true Vishnu-Worship based on genuine Shree PanchaRatra".
So, this was the true "Bhagavan Shree Vishnu is TriYuga and Channa"-Siddhanta, which is actually PanchaRatrika Siddhanta in its essence! To sum up I have compiled the logic map of the above-mentioned Siddhanta, you can also find/download this logic map on flickr, dropbox, gett:
Article, answers, translation of Pramanas from Sanskrit to English
by Vishnudut1926, Moscow, Russia, August 2018