PART ONE : "The Glories of Devotional Service"

Chapter 2
The Lord is not Impersonal


The Lord has form and His form is very beautiful

Everywhere in the Scriptures it says the Lord has form. He is neither nirakara nor nirvisesa, without form or qualities. He has form and qualities, savisesa, whether we can see it or not. If He didn't have form the creation of this material world wouldn't be possible.

This is easy to understand. As a human being I have a brain and thus I have the ability to think, feel and will; so it is not possible the Lord, my Creator, does not have these qualities. The whole universe was created by a conscious power, and that power is a guardian power. It is a fully conscious power whether we can see it or not.

The Upanisads say:

apani-pado javano grahita
pasyaty achaksuh sa srnoty akarnah

(Svetasvatara Upanisad, 3.19)

The Lord is present everywhere. He is in the smallest atom—anor aniyan—and He is in the biggest universe—mahato mahiyan. He can see and hear everything perfectly.

The Lord has an identity and an external form and that form is like the glow of a fire or the sunshine which emanates from the sun.

The Brahma-samhita (verse 40) also says:

yasya prabha prabhavato jagad-anda-koti-
tad brahma niskalam anantam asesa-bhutam
govindam adi-purusam tam aham bhajami

The external form of the original person, Govinda, is called brahma, or the brahmajyoti, and brahma is like the glow of a fire or the sunshine which emanates from the sun. Brahma is not the Lord's complete form. When you see the light of brahma, or glow, from a distance it appears to be His complete form but if you enter into that glow, what will you see? You will see, jyotir abhyantare rupam, atulam Syamasundaram—you will see the eternal form of the Lord, Syamasundar, who is very beautiful and who has a blackish complexion just like a rain cloud.

The nyaya (logic) Scriptures give an example of this. When we see a forest from a distance we may see a bird enter it. From a distance it appears the bird disappears or merges into the forest. We cannot see anything inside the forest; but if we can enter the forest we will see the bird has a nest, a husband and babies and she is playing with her babies. From inside the forest we see many things but from a distance we only see the outline of the forest.

The effulgence of the abode of Krsnaloka is similar. It is called paravyoma. From a distance paravyoma appears as brahma, but as it is said in the above sloka, tad brahma niskalam anantam asesa-bhutam—inside that glow Govinda is living and He is playing with His family and associates just like an ordinary human being.


Natural tendency—real religion

Once a devotee of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, named Sanatan Goswami, asked Him, "Who am I and why do we go to different species of life after we leave this body, and why do we suffer so much in this material world?

'ke ami', 'kene amaya jare tapa-traya'
iha nahi jani—'kemane hita haya'

(Sri Chaitanya-charitamrta, Madhya 20.102)

Mahaprabhu replied that all the Scriptures say the jiva-souls have an eternal spiritual body. Through their own activities (karma) they are getting the results of those activities, and those results take them to different bodies such as a human body, an animal body or a plant body. We are now aware of this because science has proved that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. So the question is, how can we get relief and liberation from the illusory environment and how can we find our own joyful happy life where there is no sorrow or unhappiness?

Mahaprabhu said real religion (dharma) means everyone and everything has some natural tendency and it is necessary to discover what that natural tendency is. For example, water is liquid. Wherever it is, it will flow downwards. That is its natural tendency. Fire is hot and it will burn. If it gets cool or goes out, that is not its natural position. The sky also has its natural tendency or religion. It tries to observe everything in the universe. The planets have their own religion. They are always moving in a natural synchronized way.

Mahaprabhu said the natural tendency of everyone and everything is their real religion. All jiva-souls have their own religion (jaiva dharma), and the one thing everyone has in common is they are all able to think, feel and will; plus they all have their own spiritual bodies. And, since the jiva-souls are small, they will naturally be attracted by a greater power.


Magnetic attraction

In the Rg Veda, which contains seventy-five percent of the wealth of the Vedas, there is this famous mantra (1.22.20):

om tad visnoh paramam padam sada
pasyanti surayah diviva chaksur-atatam
tad vipraso vipanyavo jagrvamsah
samindhate visnor yat paramam padam

The primary meaning is that in our search for spiritual life and God, it is not necessary to immediately mention the Name of Krsna. In this world and in the spiritual world there is a powerful glow which is like the glow of the Sun which is called the brahmajyoti. We, the jiva-souls, are like tiny rays of that glow and we exist in that glow. That glow has a powerful magnetic effect, and everything that exists in this mundane world exists in that glow, and the qualities that exist in the spiritual world are much greater than the qualities found here.

Since that glow has a strong magnetic power, everything is attracted by it. How are they attracted? By its beauty, its charm, its love, its affection and its harmonious dealings. Whatever we want exists in that large glow and is attracting us.

We have all come from that glow and we are small particles of that glow. We are like sun rays in the sunshine, or waves in the ocean. We are all very small, like atoms. All our power—our thinking, feeling and willing—comes from that powerful glow, and that powerful glow is attracting the smaller particles of power, the jiva-souls, like a magnet attracts iron particles. Unfortunately, the iron has become rusty, and the jiva-souls are not attracted; that magnetic power cannot attract them, so they are going to the mundane environment.


Clean your mirror

Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu said it is natural that the jiva-souls want to go to their own abode, because that abode is transcendental and the jiva-souls are also transcendental.

When a particular sadhu came from India to the West some years ago, he was honored as a representative of Indian religion, although he wasn't actually a representative of the religion of the Vedas. When he gave a lecture at the University of Chicago, all religious leaders of the world were present. He began his lecture with these words, "My brothers and sisters in America!" Everyone was charmed when they heard this. Everyone was thinking, "We are brothers and sisters of this Indian sadhu." By his humble and inviting mood he showed the real mood of the Vedic religion. We are all brothers and sisters because we have all come from that same big glow and we all have the same qualities in our heart.

Naturally all the jiva-souls want to go to their own abode but because they are covered by the illusory environment they cannot see that glow, and because of their small ability to be attracted, that glow cannot attract them.

Mahaprabhu gave the example of a mirror. He said cheto-darpana-marjjanam. When a mirror is covered by dust we cannot see ourselves. If we clean the dust, we can see ourselves. He said it is necessary to clean the dust from the jiva-soul's own form, then all the jiva-souls will get their own natural religion back. They will be attracted, naturally, by their own abode.

I am describing this glow, this effulgence of the Lord's abode as a transcendental glow, but actually it has an infinite form.

The Taittiriya Upanisad (3.1) says:

yato va imani bhutani jayante yena
jatani jivanti yat prayanty abhisam-visanti
tad brahma tad vijijnasasva

"All the jiva-souls and all the universes have come from that abode. That glow is maintaining all the jiva-souls as well as all of the universes and it is the place where they will go at the end of creation. It exists as part of the complete spiritual body of the Lord."

It is said in our Scriptures, the Vedas: srnvantu visve amrtasya putrah, "O sons of nectar, sons of the nectarean ocean-sea, you are born of nectar, and you are born to taste nectar. Why are you suffering with birth and death and many other unwanted things? You have your own abode. Please come back to that abode."

asato ma sad gamah, tamasa ma jyotir gamah,
mrtor ma amrta gamah

(Brhadaranyaka Upanisad)

"From the mortal, go to the eternal. From ignorance, from darkness, go to knowledge. Go to light. From unhappiness, go to happiness." All Scriptures give us this advice: "Don't go to the illusory environment. Go to reality."


Soul's choice

Srila Krsna Das Kaviraj Goswami said:

krsnera yateka khela, sarvottama nara-lila,
nara-vapu tahara svarupa,
gopa-vesa, venu-kara, nava-kisora, nata-vara,
nara-lilara haya anurupa

(Sri Chaitanya-charitamrta, Madhya 21.101)

Sometimes we see ourselves in a very fallen position, something like that of a beast, which is to say our feelings may come in that way if we can understand how great the difference between our material and spiritual form is. In the spiritual world there is form and in the material world there is form but the difference between the two is very great.

Krsna has given everyone freedom. He says in the Srimad Bhagavad-gita (9.25):

yanti deva-vrata devan, pitrn yanti pitr-vratah
bhutani yanti bhutejya, yanti mad-yajino 'pi mam

"If you want to go to heaven you can worship the deva-vrata, the demigods. If you want to go to where your forefathers are you can worship the planet where they have gone, pitr-loka." But finally Krsna gives His advice: "Those who worship Me will come to My abode."

When I first joined Srila Guru Maharaj's Mission I would sometimes stay with Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada in Calcutta as the Calcutta branch of Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math was in his house. Every day I went for collection and preaching and many people would ask me why they should worship Krsna instead of Mother Kali. I didn't know what to tell them so I asked Prabhupada and he said jokingly, to tell them: "What will you get by worshiping Mother Kali? What will be your food and who will be your associates?"

Then he would say to tell them, "Mother Kali lives in the cremation fields where there are many ghosts and other undesirable things. Her food is the blood of her sons, the asuras, after she kills them, and her garland is made of their skulls. This is Mother Kali's style. If you want to be her associate we don't object, but our Krsna lives in Vrndavan Dham where He has many girlfriends, lots of cheese, milk, sandesa, butter, fruits, sweets and many other wonderful things. There we shall eat and play with the cows and cowherd boys in the fresh waters of the Yamuna. We shall play in the nice gardens and beautiful forests nestled around Govardhan Hill. There are many wonderful things described in Vrndavan and we will become associates of Krsna there. We want that life! So you can do what you like." Srila Prabhupada always gave me good advice and nourishment like this.

Sometimes Prabhupada would take me to preaching programs. He was firmly situated in the Bengali chemical industry and had a lot of higher class friends. They would invite us to their homes for preaching programs and since I was wearing saffron, Srila Prabhupada would have me sit on the Vyasasan. In India saffron is given more respect than white cloth. Also I was a good singer and could play the mrdanga and I could read Sanskrit; so after the kirtans, Srila Prabhupada, who was sitting a little lower, would have me read the Sanskrit slokas, and then he would explain everything. He was very enthusiastic to preach and we went to many programs at the houses of important and prominent gentlemen in Calcutta. Sometimes when he had a very big program he would take Guru Maharaj and the three of us would go. This was our preaching style. Srila Prabhupada was always giving me encouragement and nourishment in the preaching field.


The Lord's promise

The Lord promises in the Bhagavad-gita, "Whoever worships Me will come to My abode and will not come back to this world."

What is the abode of Lord Krsna?

na tad bhasayate suryo, na sasanko na pavakah
yad gatva na nivartante, tad dhama paramam mama

(Srimad Bhagavad-gita, 15.6)

"The sun and the moon cannot give light in My abode; it has its own light. Everything is new there." If you go to Krsna's abode complete transcendental feelings and realization will appear in your heart and you will never come back to this mortal world.


Indra's awakening

There is nothing undesirable or unwholesome in the transcendental world. The saints and the Scriptures are showing us the way to the spiritual world but unfortunately we are not always so receptive to that.

One time, Indra, the King of Heaven, was cursed by a rsi to become a pig. When the curse was finished Brahma, the creator, came to take Indra from his pig's body.

Brahma said to Indra, "The time of your curse is finished. Come and take charge of the heavens. If you jump in the lake you will change your body from a pig's body to your heavenly body."

Indra was identifying himself with a pig's body. He was thinking his wife and children belonged to him. When he saw Brahma he thought, "Who are you? You have four heads and a long beard. Why should I hear from you?"

Brahma could understand that Indra was very involved with his family life, especially his children, so he took all of Indra's children and threw them in the lake. Indra became very upset. When all his children were dead he tried to catch Brahma and kill him. He thought, "This four-headed man with a long beard has killed my children and now he is trying to kill my wife!"

Indra couldn't catch Brahma so Brahma suddenly grabbed Indra's wife and threw her in the lake.

Indra was lamenting because his whole family was dead. Again Brahma said to him, "Please, jump in the lake and you will get a beautiful heavenly body. Your wife and children have already got their heavenly bodies back although you can't see them. If you jump in the lake you will get yours."

Finally Indra was thinking, "What value does this hog's body have? I am alone. I have nothing." He jumped in the lake, left his body, and got back his beautiful form as the King of Heaven.

Then Brahma stood and said, "Do you want to go back to that hog's body? If you do I can arrange it. You were fighting with me. Now do you understand what your form is?"

Indra shyly said, "I do not want to see that body again."

This is also our position. We are thinking if we leave our body and family it will be bad for us but our spiritual, conscious body—svarup-siddhi—is very beautiful, and the abode of the Lord is also very beautiful. We have a relationship with the Lord, His abode and His paraphernalia and that relationship is always attracting us.


Five kinds of relationships

In Krsna's abode all residents have one of five types of relationships with Him: santa, dasya, sakhya, vatsalya and madhura-rasa. Santa-rasa means peacefulness. It is the primary relationship and its main characteristic is firmness or steadiness in the service of Krsna.

Dasya-rasa means we will develop a loving serving mood towards Krsna and His devotees. We will begin to hanker for service to Krsna.

As we advance further we will develop a friendship with Krsna, sakhya, and when we advance even further, more intimacy develops, and that relationship becomes parenthood or vatsalya-rasa.


Paramour: love's highest spiritual manifestation

Consorthood with Krsna is called madhura-rasa, or a conjugal relationship. It is the highest. It has two parts: one pertains to marriage and the other to paramour love. In Vrndavan paramour love is the highest; it is the mother of all rasas.

In the mundane world we consider paramour love to be very bad. But if we understand for whom paramour love is really meant, all such bad feelings will go. "Who is my master? Who is the heart of my heart? Who is the wealth of my life and soul, my all in all?" If we really know this, all bad feelings will vanish.

In this material world we have seen how paramour love is manifested, but we must also see how that love shows itself through many different transcendental manifestations. There are many varieties of tastes within paramour love and each one displays progressively more and more ecstatic manifestations.

During Mahaprabhu's first meeting with Srila Rupa and Srila Sanatan Goswamis in Ramakeli on His way to Vrndavan, He advised them on how to harmonize their external positions as important government officials with their internal desire to render exclusive service the Lord.

He advised them:

para-vyasanini nari vyagrapi grha-karmasu
tad evasvadayaty antar nava-sanga-rasayanam

(Sri Chaitanya-charitamrta, Madhya 1.211)

"Continue your external life but keep your paramour relationship with Krsna inside your heart. It is not important whether others see it or not. Keep it in your heart in a hidden way. Just as a married girl always thinks of her paramour lover when she is busily engaged in her household affairs, you also think of Krsna while you do your external work."

We have made many rules and regulations to live in this mundane world. We have divided one part of the land for ourselves and another part for others. We have said, "This food is for the cows and this is for me." We have made many adjustments in this material world so bad reactions will not come to society. Whoever ignores these rules will be punished.

But when the mood of paramour love is firmly followed in the spiritual world there is nothing bad. There is nothing bad in the spiritual world. Everything is good there. That is why it is said in the Scriptures, "Here is water and there is nectar," or, "That abode has its own light and is always effulgent. It never burns and is always pleasant."

This is Mahaprabhu's supreme conception and this is our goal of life.

aradhyo bhagavan vrajesa tanayas tad dhama vrndavanam
ramya kachid upasana vraja-vadhu-vargena ya kalpita
srimad-bhagavatam pramanam-amalam prema pumartho mahan
sri chaitanya mahaprabhor-matam-idam tatradarah na parah

"Krsna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. We have five special types of relationships with Him. The highest is that of the Vraja-gopis, composed of conjugal relationship, which in its highest manifestation is paramour love."







Part One: The Glories of Devotional Service
1 The Service of Vrndavan
2 The Lord is not Impersonal
3 Evidence of the Conception of a Personal God in the Scriptures of India
4 Preparing to Understand Krsna's Transcendental Pastimes

Part Two: Krishna's Four Super-excellent Qualities
1 Krishna's Sweet Pastimes
2 Krishna's Wonderful Associates
3 Krishna's Transcendental Flute
4 Krishna's Unparalleled Beauty and Opulence