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Second Chapter-Bhagavan alone is the Supreme Truth
BHAGAVAN ALONE IS THE SUPREME TRUTH
Q. Who is Bhagavan, the Supreme Personality of Godhead?
A. Bhagavan is the one who expands all jivas and all matter by His own inconceivable energy (acintya-sakti), and then enters into these creations as the Supreme Lord (Isvara-svarupa). He also transcends all souls and matter as the impersonal Brahman effulgence (brahma-svarupa), which is far beyond all imagination; and moreover, it is He who manifests His divine potency (para-sakti) to reveal His form of eternity, knowledge and bliss (sac-cid-ananda svarupa), thereby becoming the object of devotion for all souls.
Q. What are the different types of the Lord's potencies?
A. We are unable to fully describe the Lord's potencies. The reason for this is His saktis have no boundaries, whereas we have boundaries; therefore, His energies are called para-sakti. These saktis are completely imperceptible to us, but on the other side of the matter, in the divine realm of His para-sakti, all things are accomplished effortlessly. Thus the para-sakti simultaneously conducts the opposing affairs of spirit and matter automatically.
Q. Then is Bhagavan subordinate to the sakti?
A. It is not that Bhagavan is one thing and the sakti is another, just as the burning power of the fire is inseparable from the fire, similarly Bhagavan's sakti is inseparable from Bhagavan.
Q. If Bhagavan is the one and only Supreme truth then why did Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu give His followers instructions about devotional service to Shri Krishna (Krishna Bhakti)?
A. Bhagavan has six eternal qualities - He possesses all wealth, strength, fame, beauty, knowledge and renunciation. Different forms of the Lord (Bhagavad-svarupa) manifest according to whether certain of these qualities are being expressed to greater or lesser degrees. For example, when His wealth feature is foremost, then He manifests as Narayana, the Lord of Vaikuntha; when His beauty and sweetness predominate, then He manifests as Vrindavana-Candra Shri Krishna. Therefore, only Shri Krishna is the topmost supreme manifestation of Bhagavan.
Q. How many types of forms does the Lord have?
A. All of His forms are fully conscious, supremely beautiful, overflowing with divine bliss, all attractive, vibrantly active, and perceivable by pure love. According to the different natures of different souls, the Lord's eternal form manifests in an infinite number of ways. Thus, according to these differences in the Lord's manifestation, different natured souls are eternally attached to Him in their own original forms. Only the form of Shri Krishna is the eternal blissful svarupa.
Q. What is Shri Krishna's lila?
A. Among the limitless variegated realms of the entire spiritual world, the most supremely charming portion is called Shri-Vrndavana. There, Sac-Cid-Ananda Shri Krishna is present in the form of Shri Shri Radha-Krishna for the purpose of performing eternal pastimes. When souls manifest their own form of divine bliss, then they live in Vrindavana in the mood of Shri Radhika's girlfriends (since She is the personification of supreme bliss), and thus they attain the qualification for participation in Shri Krishna's eternal pastimes.
Q. What are the obstacles to the attainment of Shri Krishna lila?
A. There are two types of obstacles:
1) material consciousness (jada-buddhi) and
2) beyond the conception of material consciousness, there is impersonal consciousness (nirvisesa-buddhi).
Q. What is material consciousness?
A. Material consciousness is an awareness that is limited to material time, place, objects, aspirations, thoughts and activities. According to material consciousness, one sees the realm of Vrindavana dhama to be a material place. Time is divided into three parts: past, present and future. Objects refer to all perishable things. Aspiration refers to the hopes for impermanent happiness, such as attaining the heavenly planets, etc. In this condition, the soul can think only in material thoughts. Such a soul imagines the following temporary activities to be worthwhile:
- the culture of civilization
- moral ethics
- scientific learning
- industrial development
- and the increase of domestic prosperity.
Q. What is impersonal consciousness?
A. First, the principle in the material world which separates all things is called visesa (distinction based upon material quality). By merely renouncing material thinking, one only gives up the conception of material distinction, and thereby one's consciousness falls into the realm of nirvisesa (non-distinction). In this condition, one is unable to perceive the differences between material objects, since the self is situated in nirvana or merging with the impersonal abode of Brahman. This state is not a happy one at all; being bereft of the natural bliss of the eternally conscious soul, the prema or ecstatic love for the Lord remains concealed. The eternal pastimes of Shri Krishna are certainly beyond matter; indeed, they are endowed with cin-maya-visesa, or divinely conscious distinction.
Q. If Shri Krishna's pastimes are beyond matter, then how does He enact His lila in the material world at the end of the Dvapara-Yuga?
A. Shri Krishna-Lila is certainly transcendental to matter, but by the power of His inconceivable potency (acintya-sakti) He manifests His sports within the material sphere. Even though manifested there, Shri Krishna's pastimes never blend with matter or become subject to the rules of matter. These pastimes of Shri Krishna have two phases: 1) Prakata (manifest in the material world), 2) Aprakata (manifest only in the spiritual world beyond matter) and both conditions are visuddha-chinmaya, or pervaded with the purest divine consciousness. His pastimes are performed only in the most purely sacred realm of Vaikuntha, and they are centered in the forest of Shri Vrindavana. Their manifestation in the material world and in the hearts of jivas is only due to His acintya-sakti as well as His causeless mercy. Even when Krishna's lila is performed in the world of matter, the conditioned souls who partake of the material consciousness (jada-buddhi) are unfortunately cheated; their contact with matter makes them see the lila with faulty vision. Whoever becomes freed from jada-buddhi, just like the two rascals Jagai and Madhai did during the pastimes of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, then they will also be able to understand these truths. Becoming relieved of faulty material vision, such fortunate souls are then attracted to the Lord's pastimes. As long as the jivas cannot understand Shri Krishna-Tattva (the truth about the Lord), then they cannot taste rasa or divine relishable mellows.
Q. These truths of Shri Krishna-tattva are the religious principles of the Vaishnava-dharma. What about people who are involved with other types of religion?
A. Different religions have different instructions for the worship of either Isvara (the personal God), Paramatma (the localized Supersoul in the heart) or Brahman (His all-pervading impersonality) - but all three of these types of religions are ultimately pointing in the direction of Krishna-Tattva. After the jivas evolve upwards through their various courses of development, they eventually will attain Krishna Bhakti in the end. Even though they attain the incompleteness of their various religious paths, Shri Krishna Bhakti is still available to them. The awareness of the supreme nature of Shri Krishna-tattva is the ultimate knowledge inherent within each and every living entity.