The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa, appears in various expansions, as stated in the Brahma-saṁhitā (BS 5.38):
- rāmādi-mūrtiṣu kalā-niyamena tiṣṭhan
- nānāvatāram akarod bhuvaneṣu kintu
- kṛṣṇaḥ svayaṁ samabhavat paramaḥ pumān yo
- ovindam ādi-puruṣaṁ tam ahaṁ bhajāmi
"I worship the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Govinda, who is always situated in various incarnations such as Rāma, Nṛsiṁha and many subincarnations as well, but who is the original Personality of Godhead known as Kṛṣṇa and who incarnates personally also." Kṛṣṇa, who is viṣṇu-tattva, has expanded Himself in many Viṣṇu forms, of which Lord Rāmacandra is one. We know that the viṣṇu-tattva is carried by the transcendental bird Garuḍa and is equipped with different types of weapons in four hands. Therefore we may doubt whether Lord Rāmacandra could be in the same category, since He was carried by Hanumān, not by Garuḍa, and had neither four hands nor the śaṅkha, cakra, gadā and padma. Consequently this verse clarifies that Rāmacandra is as good as Kṛṣṇa (rāmādi-mūrtiṣu kalā). Although Kṛṣṇa is the original Supreme Personality of Godhead, Rāmacandra is not different from Him. Rāmacandra is unaffected by the modes of material nature, and therefore He is praśānta, never disturbed by those modes.
Unless one is saturated with love for the Supreme Personality of Godhead, one cannot appreciate the transcendental value of Lord Rāmacandra; one cannot see Him with material eyes. Because demons like Rāvaṇa have no spiritual vision, they consider Lord Rāmacandra an ordinary kṣatriya king. Rāvaṇa therefore attempted to kidnap Lord Rāmacandra's eternal consort, Sītādevī. Actually, however, Rāvaṇa could not carry off Sītādevī in her original form. As soon as she was touched by Rāvaṇa's hands, she gave him a material form, but she maintained her original form beyond his vision. Therefore in this verse the words pratyak praśāntam indicate that Lord Rāmacandra and His potency, the goddess Sītā, keep themselves aloof from the influence of the material energy.
In the Upaniṣads it is said: yam evaiṣa vṛṇute tena labhyaḥ-labhyaḥ Kaṭha Upaniṣad 1.2.23. The Supreme Lord, Paramātmā, the Personality of Godhead, can be seen or perceived only by persons who are saturated with devotional service. As stated in the Brahma-saṁhitā (BS 5.38):
- santaḥ sadaiva hṛdayeṣu vilokayanti
- yaṁ śyāmasundaram acintya-guṇa-svarūpaṁ
- govindam ādi-puruṣaṁ tam ahaṁ bhajāmi
"I worship the primeval Lord, Govinda, who is always seen by the devotee whose eyes are anointed with the pulp of love. He is seen in His eternal form of Śyāmasundara, situated within the heart of the devotee." Similarly, in the Chāndogya Upaniṣad it is stated, etās tisro devatā anena jīvena. In this verse of the Chāndogya Upaniṣad the word anena is used to distinguish the ātmā and Paramātmā as two separate identities. The words tisro devatā indicate that the body of the living entity is made of three material elements—fire, earth and water. Although the Paramātmā enters the heart of the jīvātmā, who is influenced and designated by a material body, the Paramātmā has nothing to do with the jīvātmā's body. Because the Paramātmā has no material connections, He is described here as anāma-rūpaṁ niraham. The Paramātmā has no material identity, whereas the jīvātmā does. The jīvātmā may introduce himself as an Indian, American, German and so on, but the Paramātmā has no such material designations, and therefore He has no material name. The jīvātmā is different from his name, but the Paramātmā is not; His name and He Himself are one and the same. This is the meaning of niraham, which means "without material designations." This word cannot possibly be twisted to mean that the Paramātmā has no ahaṅkāra, no "I-ness" or identity. He has His transcendental identity as the Supreme. This is the explanation given by Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī. According to another interpretation, given by Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura, niraham means nirniścayena aham. Niraham does not mean that the Supreme Lord has no identity. Rather, the stress given by the word aham proves strongly that He does have His personal identity because nir not only means "negative" but also means "strong ascertainment."