Nomenclature of the Absolute (pg 1-5)
Shri Krishna Chaitanya, though He came more than four hundred years ago, is present among us when His Words are explained anywhere in this world. His message has little connection with our ordinary ideas. It is something supernatural. It refers to 'transcendence'. There are occasions when many of us also can peep into transcendence, but most of our messages get contaminated with ideas of a worldly nature. Shri Krishna Chaitanya had no ambition to speak anything that would facilitate sensuous activities. Ordinary religionists speak much about things which we grasp by our senses. But Shri Krishna Chaitanya has spoken to us some transcendental words which, although they have affinity to ordinary ideas and things should not be applied to what we find on the mundane plane.
It is necessary first of all to know His standpoint. He spoke on devotional lines. Devotion is not a mental exploitation in which the words which are used take us to a region which is beyond our sensuous scope. But we can see things in that line of devotion only when its language is an adaptation of what we use in connection with what we meet with in this world. On that score we should not equate the words meant for transcendence with the same category meant for mundane things.
Often people try so hard to find happiness through sense pleasure that they may attempt to gratify several or all of their senses at the same time. For example, you may simultaneously be watching TV, listening to the radio, munching potato chips, sipping beer, and smoking a cigarette. Perhaps you may have your arm around the shoulders of your girlfriend or boyfriend. You may also have a magazine at your side, which you look at during commercials. You try to fill up every sense; yet still you're not satisfied; still you want something more.
In the first place He has not departed from the ideas and hymns of the Vedas, the Shrutis and the Upanishads. He had no ambition to talk anything not supported by the revealed Scriptures. He said that the Transcendental Sound has to come in order to regulate the senses which at present are merely working to get some fruit for us through our actions; but whatever results may come out of our outward acts will be only for our individual purposes; our friends are not profited thereby. So some zealous activities are found among our friends which are concerned with fruitive results. The Transcendental Sound regulates the senses which are always troubling us to secure some riches for ourselves which are not shared by others, and so we have to expect some hostility from friends and foes as well. But He says that the Transcendental Sound Will bring Love, an amplitude of love, uniting us with the Absolute. Though We are likely to be unsteady we should not allow ourselves to be disturbed by sense-satisfying performances. He says that love is the principal subject to be roused up, that love which now lies within us in a dormant condition. We are attracted and deluded by outer features of things which tempt us in a greater or lesser degree and captivate our senses. Such things though appearing enjoyable at the moment seem to trouble us in the long run. What we recognize is perfect peace and real severance from painful sensation. Our predilection is always for what is pleasing to our senses. There are deluding aspects which often hide from us the sight of the inner face. We should be cautious not to accept what is presented by the senses. The senses require regulation. Everything is shifting. We can trace nothing here that is permanent in the world. Time changes everything. The Absolute never changes. This should be realized.
We should hear everything about the Absolute; otherwise we will confuse Him with ordinary things, with perishable things. Our empiric activities will not allow us a permanent standing ground that will not be changed. Our standpoint of the thirtieth year proves false in our fiftieth year. Our growing experience adds more knowledge to our stored-up conceptions. These sometimes undergo a change. This convinces us that what we consider as Truth is really uncertain and as it is meant for the time being only it will not serve us all along.
Man claims a supreme position among the sentient objects who have transactions with the worldly phenomena, entertaining the future hope of a continuity of such conditions even after the transformation of the present tabernacle. Rationalism is associated with man, and according to our needs we entertain hopes of using our discretion in the fittest way as far as possible. We know we are dependent on entities without whom our rational activities cannot find real display. Dependence is an inseparable element in us, though our ego is always exercising a power inherent in us for dispelling all discomforts of the mundane atmosphere. We are endowed with senses and the senses have no other predilections than to secure felicities in every transaction. When we take up an individual case, we find that gratification of our senses is the principal characteristic in our person. And this attitude of many among us often promotes a further desire to seek our own gratification from our co-sharers. When we actually put ourselves in difficulty in search of sensuous pleasures and expect others to help us we should be able to contribute towards social harmony by some effort. If we do not desire to encroach upon our friends and co-sharers we cannot live, but the obligatory social regulations to control our senses dominate our decisions on civic principles. We find ourselves quite restricted in our movements, though non-restriction is felt as a desirable factor for happy life. We now depend upon the Absolute to guide us to a harmonious solution of this position.
Nor is sense gratification considered "bad." Sense gratification comes and goes as a natural occurrence of the senses. For example, one cannot eat without tasting. The point is that a life that is centered around sense enjoyment, that makes sense enjoyment the goal, is a wasted life. Economic development is necessary for the maintenance of the body; so therefore it cannot be neglected. But to seek economic development simply for the sake of endlessly increasing sensual pleasure is foolish. No amount of sensual pleasure will ever really satisfy a person, so no amount of economic development will ever be considered "enough." This is why people in modern Western societies are still not satisfied, even though they are so economically advanced and thus have so much facility for sense enjoyment. They always want more.
The pressure of our needs makes us discuss the merits and demerits of the situation in which we are to take cognizance of the very fountain-head of all phenomenal representations. When we are not satisfied with the conception that this universal demonstrative aspect is a holy shelter to supply our needs, we revert to our previous ratiocination for the hidden treasure behind the exoteric manifestations. But the Esoteric Fountain-Head comes up before our vision, always setting Himself free from being handicapped in the phenomenal region. So we are compelled to consider the situation of the Eternal Blissful Knowledge transcending all regions of mental speculations. This Oversoul claims to incorporate pure uncontaminated souls on His Harmonious Plane. Our mental speculations may trouble us by asking why the principal Transcendental object should not incorporate an all-pervading conception of both non-matter and matter, the conception of parts and the whole, and the inclusion of the two ends of specification. On the other hands the very mental speculation would lead us to rank pantheistic speculation where all sorts of phenomenal exclusions are the principal factors. As individuation is a necessary element in me, and as I find such individual situations to be the objects of our reciprocal activities, and as they are numerous and the various positions, experienced in our present phenomenal range, are found to be rapturous, there should be a uniting tie to cement the positions and we often jump into impersonation and dissociative ideas of relativities for a solution. The Personality of the Absolute can then only pacify the unsympathetic jealousy innate in the view of mundane persons. This would thereby lead to that Highest Magnitude Who is free from all mundane restrictions of temporary aspects and locations in a particular limited space. Again, the phenomenal restrictive views should not be imposed on the Personality of a thoroughly Independent Integer. So the Personality of Godhead is to be approached instead of being considered as an accused in the dock for answering our sensuous inspection. We should allow Him to retain Everything His Own. This method of approach is known as unalloyed theism.
The Supreme Lord Shri Krishna Chaitanya has asked all sections of the people of this world not to tamper or mutilate the Absolute Truth by their crippled attempts at regulating Him, but to approach Him with an absolutely clean and sincere heart in which will be revealed His Own Phase. He can show different Manifestive aspects of His Own consistent with the eligibility of the approachers.
The Supreme Lord has mercifully disclosed the Name of the real object of pure theism as Shri Krishna. The conception of an impersonal God, void of all attributes or all possession of different potentialities is included in Shri Krishna, as being one of His partial Phases where all sorts of sensuous attributes are eliminated.
What Shri Krishna Chaitanya means by Theism He has demonstrated clearly to the people. We find that He has brought home to us the conception of different sorts of Transcendental and Unalloyed services that can be rendered to the Supreme Absolute Shri Krishna as well as a special feature of service which was hitherto quite unknown to theists. And that special aspect of service was given by Him to the people everywhere. The conception of Theism before His disclosure was confined to reverential and lawful principles only. Shri Krishna Chaitanya has taught us that we may approach Shri Krishna with our unconditional services in all sorts of aspects. And He has shown us the comparative excellence of the most confidential relationship between Godhead and human souls. Up to His time, we were quite familiar with the idea of approaching Shri Krishna by our other devotional principle only. We were simply worshipping Him, leaving aside the most attractive aspect in rendering our services to the Lord. We were thinking that the services to the object of our worship should be performed by the upper part of the body and the lower part of our transcendental eternal body cannot possibly offer any acceptable service to the Beloved Whose secondary conception of Omnipotence and Omniscience etc., only were prominent to the theists.
The body is yours—but it is not you. The body is a garment that you are wearing, a machine that you are using, a vehicle that you are driving. The body is your possession. Just as a person does not identify himself as being the shirt he is wearing, he also should not identify himself with the body that he is wearing.
We were neglecting that we have got a transcendental entity called 'Soul', however infinitesimal, inside our external frame; or inside our astral body. So, up to that time we were confounding ourselves with a philosophy which meant mental speculation only, always restricted by external views of the world and avoiding the cognisance of our unalloyed ego who is meant for rendering eternal service to the Transcendental Object, as the Sentient Being, I meant the eternal Over-Soul. So the level of Theism that we had reached up to that time was not elevated enough and we were denied service of the Lord in higher aspects, I mean serving Godhead as our closer and more confidential Friend, Godhead as our Son and Godhead as our Consort. Thus we were keeping this transitory relationship with only perishable objects here. But our Theism should not delimit our vision and make us ignore the confidential services which can be offered by a free human soul to Shri Krishna. Hitherto we were not positive as regards the Position and the Entity of the Oversoul, that He alone should be the Object of our devotion in all aspects of Shri Krishna.
We find that unless the Supreme Absolute Krishna kindly graces us as the willing Recipient of our services, we cannot do for Him all sorts of Confidential service, and in any other Aspects of Krishna i.e., in Matsya, Koorma, Varaha, Nrisingha, Vamana, Rama, etc., our reverential activities are rather limited to a certain extent. Here in this perverted world we can offer our confidential services in all the five rasas (relishing relationship). Shri Krishna and no other is the Centre, the very Fountain-head of all Divine Aspects Whom we could serve with all the aspects of our confidential services. Shri Krishna is 'Akhila-Rasamritamoorti', that is the Fountain-head of all Rasas. And we can approach Him in any one of His five different reciprocal aspects. In engaging all our activities in Him by our transcendent soul's body, we can offer Him our eternal services in five different aspects; whereas, in other Forms of the Entity of Godhead we are debarred from offering our confidential service.
For instance, in the case of Ramachandra, we cannot offer our services in all the five different aspects. He cannot stand as our Consort, because Seeta might prove that Her devoted husband Ramachandra would be crossing His limits and His ethical Principles, if He did so; and moreover Seeta would never allow any other soul the privilege of rendering that sort of service to Ramachandra. We find the best example in the case of the Dandakaranya Rishis who approached Ramachandra; Ramachandra would not accept them because they had male forms and He was devoted to only one wife; in other words, for fear of violating ethical principles He could not accept that sort of service from them. Ramachandra could accept the services of His subjects, could accept the services of His servant Anjaneya, could accept the services of Lakshmana and the service of others in some aspect other than consorthood; whereas Shri Krishna is eternally lovable and can very easily be called the Bahu-Vallabha. He can accommodate hundreds of His dependents as His consorts whereas Ramachandra can welcome only four dependents, I mean, His parents, His brother-friends, His servants and the neutral subjects of His Realm who render unalloyed service to Ramachandra. All others, except Seeta, are debarred from offering any confidential services to Ramachandra in the capacity of consorts.
But in Shri Krishna, we find that there is no such restriction. Every soul can offer all sorts of unalloyed services to Shri Krishna. Moreover we find that Shri Krishna welcomes everybody. He does not deny anyone. Though He does not allow anybody to keep that sort of mundane relationship among His temporary pseudo-servants, He admits every servant if he has got such capacity to approach Him in any of the loftiest moods and positions. Shri Krishna Himself would always wish His devotees to accept Him as the Consort.
A famous football player in the United States who recently retired was discussing the particular event that made him decide to quit playing. He had been running with the football toward the goal, with two tacklers chasing him. As his legs started giving out, he thought, "Come on, you old legs—don't give out on me now!" This is like a race car driver who talks to his car: "Keep on going, Betsy—don't let me down now!" In other words, you use your body as a type of vehicle; but like all vehicles, it is bound to break down sooner or later.
No souls are hindered from making progress towards the confidential services to the Over-soul in that capacity provided the Lord is convinced that, being ever subservient to His Predominated Counter-Whole, they can offer that sort of service to Him. So Shri Krishna never checks any sort of confidential services that we in our unconditioned stage are bent upon offering Him. The thing is that, in His other aspects we are barred from offering such services as are not acceptable to Him because we do confine ourselves in alloyed mentality or in mental speculations.
If we give up worshipping with our mental speculations, if our independent soul can have a wider and larger scope, we can easily approach that transcendental Being with all our earnest and sincere endeavour. He does not deny any body, neither does He allow anybody to keep that sort of engagement which is meant for some other Aspects of Him, inasmuch as He is the One Who is ever engrossing our soul. So we should scrutinise most minutely whether we should at all utilise and engage some limbs for our personal benefits and some portion of our transcendental body for Godhead! But the real truth is that all our engagements - the whole of our occupation - may be engaged for Shri Krishna, whereas in other Aspects of Godhead we do not have the rarest fortune of performing all these things in the best way possible.
Shri Krishna Chaitanya has not taught us any anthropomorphic idea. Ordinary people might think that they may indulge in this sort of carrying ideas of this world produced by Nature to that Transcendental Realm, but such anthropomorphic ideas are never enjoined or entertained by Shri Krishna Chaitanya. All that we must know is that Godhead is the Full, Complete and Perfect Being and that He should in His Person have no partial and crippled aspects. We must not be thinking that all that we have here in this world with us - all that might be feasible or practicable and ethical here - we should carry along with us to a region where such imperfect acquisitions are not wanted. We have no such ambition.
Shri Krishna Chaitanya told us that self-determination is first of all necessary; otherwise we would be confusing the mind with the soul. Mind is quite different from the soul. The thing is that mind is the conductor of the Physical World. Mind gets the impression of nature through the medium of senses and through the working of our body, that is through the former's inter-mingling with external things which are made of matter.
Though we are used to meddle with those things yet when we take theism for our consideration, that is when we enquire what the actual Figure of Godhead is, we find in the Chatushloki Bhagavatam that the Absolute Fountainhead said to Brahma, the Creator: "If I am to bestow My mercy on anybody, I must expose Myself to him fully.
Perfection means being in tune with reality. The first thing we must understand is reality—the reality of my identity, i.e., my essence, position and function. Who am I? Just as a person does not identify himself as being the shirt that he is wearing, he also should not identify himself with the body that he is wearing.
Persons who have wrong aspirations and speculations of mind will be debarred from having any unobscured perception of the actual Size, the Figure and the Colour that I have. They will be simply missing Me if I do not confer on them My mercy". So Shri Krishna Chaitanya has disparaged all mundane thinkers who are busy with high-class philosophies or are sticking to their mundane ethical principles, as well as those persons who are engaged in their altruistic enterprises.
In substance however we find in our Acharya's writings: "Nobody should misconstrue that we are talking of a wholly different Object Who is not Ramachandra when we talk of Shri Krishna. By the talk of Shri Krishna we do not mean that we are differentiating Shri Krishna from Shri Ramachandra. Shri Ramachandra and Shri Krishna are not substantially different Objects. They are identical. But as we find in this perverted region that one man considers himself as the father of somebody or the son of somebody or the physician of somebody, similarly in Transcendental Realm also we find manifold Aspects of the same Absolute.
So let nobody imagine that we are talking of wholly different objects when we mention the Avatars. Vasudeva is the same as Lakshmi-Narayana: Lakshmi-Narayana is identical with Seeta-Rama. Seeta-Rama is the same as Krishna. We do not find any differences among Them. There should not be any controversy in this matter, and there cannot be any scope to draw distinction between Shri Krishna and Shri Rama save in the planes of respective Rasas. We want to appreciate the respective positions of the One Absolute.