What do we mean when we say that everything is God?
A lecture in Mayapur, India, on March 25, 1975
vande gurun isa-bhaktan
tat-prakasams ca tac-chaktih
"I offer my respectful obeisances unto the spiritual masters, the devotees of the Lord, the Lord's incarnations, His plenary portions, His energies, and the primeval Lord Himself, Sri Krsna Caitanya." (Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Adi 1.1)
Lord Caitanya is Krsna Himself. That was observed by Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya, who composed one hundred verses praising the glories of Lord Caitanya. But because Caitanya Mahaprabhu was playing the part of a devotee, He threw away the verses. "Oh, this is not for Me." That was Caitanya Mahaprabhu's humbleness.
But the devotees know that Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu is Krsna Himself: mahaprabhu sri-caitanya, radha-krsna-nahe anya. "Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu is none other than Radha and Krsna combined." In the beginning there was Krsna; then Krsna divided into two Radha and Krsna. And then He again combined. That combination is Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.
So, the Gosvamis' siddhanta, or conclusion, is that Krsna is one. There is no rival for Krsna. God is one: ekam brahma dvitiyam nasti. There cannot be many Gods.
When God, or Krsna, wants to enjoy, He expands His pleasure potency, and that potency is Radharani. As the sastra [scripture] states, sakti-saktimatayor abhedah: "There is no difference between the energy and the energetic." Sakti means "potency," and saktimat means "one who possesses potency." So Radha and Krsna are equal. There is no difference.
The sun is a good example. The sun is the powerful, and the sunshine is the power. So, there is heat in the sun, and there is also heat in the sunshine. There is light in the sun, and there is light in the sunshine also. Therefore, so far as heat and light are concerned, the sun and the sunshine are qualitatively one. But the temperature of the sun and the temperature of the sunshine are different. So there is a quantitative difference.
This is the basic principle of Lord Caitanya's philosophy: acintya-bhedabheda. Acintya means "inconceivable," bheda means "difference," and abheda means "nondifference." This describes the whole situation: there is one God, but He has expanded Himself in many different ways (eko bahu syam). And these expansions are all one with Him and at the same time different from Him.
This philosophy of acintya-bhedabheda is described here in the first verse of Caitanya-caritamrta. Krsna Caitanya Mahaprabhu expands Himself as gurun, the spiritual masters. The spiritual master is directly Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Saksad-dharitvena samasta-sastrair uktah: "In all the sastras, the guru is accepted as Krsna." So when you offer your devotion and respects to the guru, you offer them to Krsna. The gurudoes not think that he is Krsna, but he collects the devotional services of his disciples and offers them to Krsna. This is the process.
We cannot approach Krsna directly; we should approach Him through the guru. Tasmad gurum prapadyeta jijnasuh sreya uttamam. The injunction of the sastra is that one should approach a guru who can accept the disciple's service and transfer it to the Supreme Person. Therefore one's first offering is to the guru vande gurun.
The guru's business is to canvass on behalf of the Supreme Lord. In the Bhagavad-gita [18.66] Krsna says, sarva-dharman parityajya mam ekam saranam vraja: "Give up all material engagements and just surrender unto Me." In the material world we have created so many so-called duties. This is our disease. Sociology, communism, nationalism, internationalism, this "ism," that "ism" many, many duties we have created. But they are all material. Therefore, out of His causeless mercy Krsna descends to teach us our real duty.
Human life is meant for one thing: Athato brahma jijnasa to inquire about the Supreme Absolute Truth. But instead of doing that, people have created so many "isms." That is their misfortune. In this human life nature gives us the opportunity to inquire about the Absolute Truth. We have the intelligence to inquire in this way, whereas the cats and dogs do not. The trees, the plants, the aquatics, the animals, the beasts, the uncivilized men out of 8,400,000 species of life, only the civilized men can inquire into the Absolute Truth. So it is a rare opportunity.
Because we are part and parcel of God, naturally we have the qualities of God in minute quantity. That is natural. But on account of our material association, those qualities are now covered by various designations. This is our material disease.
When a piece of gold is covered by dirt, it does not exhibit the qualities of gold. Similarly, because we are covered by our material designations, we are not exhibiting our godlike qualities. Actually, we are small Krsnas very small. Because we are part and parcel of Krsna, we are of the same quality. But that quality is now covered, and the covering is given various names socialism, communism, and so on. "I am Indian….. I am American." "I am Hindu." "I am Muslim." "I am white." "I am black." All these designations cover our real nature as servants of Krsna. It is the business of the guru to clear away these designations, these dirty things.
Therefore we first offer our respects to the guru, because he is the agent of Krsna. Krsna says, "Give up all these designative dharmas and surrender to Me. That is your real dharma." But Krsna does not force us. And even upon the request of Krsna we do not give up our designations. This is the difficulty.
Krsna said, "Surrender to Me," but except for the Pandavas and a few other devotees, practically nobody took His order seriously. This was five thousand years ago, so what to speak of today? Now so many scholars speak on the Bhagavad-gita, but without stressing Krsna. That is their business. These demons are teaching Bhagavad-gita without Krsna! Nobody says what Krsna wants: sarva-dharman parityajya mam ekam saranam vraja. Krsna wants that everyone simply surrender to Him, but these so-called scholars misinterpret His words in various ways and divert people's attention most foolishly.
Many of you have come from Western countries. So, for at least the last two hundred years the Bhagavad-gita has been popular in Europe and America, at least among scholars and theosophists and theologists. But nobody has understood Krsna. That is the problem. But for the last, say, five or ten years, because we have presented Krsna as He is, it has become very easy for you to understand Him. Unadulterated Krsna. Before this, everything presented about Krsna was adulterated. Therefore, there was no effect.
So if you push on this movement by presenting unadulterated Krsna, it will go on. And as soon as you adulterate Krsna, it will not go on. It will not be effective. You may be a very good scholar or politician, this or that, but you'll never understand what Krsna is. As Krsna says in the Bhagavad-gita [7.25], naham prakasah sarvasya yogamaya-samavrtah: "I do not reveal Myself to everyone, being covered by My illusory energy." In other words, if you pollute Krsna, He will never be revealed to you. By the grace of Krsna you have taken shelter of His lotus feet. It is a great fortune for you. So do not adulterate Krsna. That is my request. Try to understand Krsna as He is.
And to help us understand and approach Krsna, Krsna Himself appeared as Sri Krsna Caitanya Mahaprabhu. His life and teachings are described in the Caitanya-caritamrta. Caitanya means "spiritual, living." So since Caitanya Mahaprabhu is Krsna, that means Krsna is the supreme living force.
We reject the so-called scientific theory that life has come from chemicals. No. We have engaged our scientist students in proving that life does not come from matter but rather from the Supreme Spirit, Krsna. Already one student has written a small book, The Scientific Basis of Krsna Consciousness, and we are soon going to publish another book. What is the title?
Devotee: Life Comes from Life.
Srila Prabhupada: Yes. Life comes from life. That is a fact. These modern so-called scientific theories that life comes from matter are all foolish.
We have all experienced what is living force and what is dead matter. Krsna explains the living force in the Bhagavad-gita [2.20], na hanyate hanyamane sarire: "The living force is not finished after the annihilation of the body." When we are alive, our body is moving, and we can feel the presence of the living force. And when we see a dead body, one that is not moving, we should ask, "Why was the body moving before and is now not moving?" If we simply study this difference of condition, we can understand what the living force is. It is not very difficult. Simply understand, "Now the living force has gone out of this body; therefore the body is no longer moving and is simply dead matter." The Caitanya-caritamrta talks of the living force, not dead matter. We should always remember this.
Now, the guru is part of that living force, and so are the Lord Himself, His incarnations, His expansions, His devotees, and His internal energies. All of them are on the spiritual platform, part of the living force(caitanya-samjnakam).
Therefore the personification of all living forces is Krsna Caitanya, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Unfortunately, people mistake Krsna Caitanya Mahaprabhu for an ordinary devotee or sadhu or yogi. That is a mistake. Caitanya Mahaprabhu is the original living force, Krsna.
Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya understood Lord Caitanya as He is. So did Srila Rupa Gosvami. Similarly, the followers of Rupa Gosvami and Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya all understand Krsna Caitanya Mahaprabhu. And for one who understands or follows the path enunciated by Krsna Caitanya Mahaprabhu, Krsna is very easily obtained. This is all described in the Caitanya-caritamrta.
Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya described Caitanya Mahaprabhu's mission as follows:
siksartham ekah purusah puranah
krpambudhir yas tam aham prapadye
Here Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya says that Sri Krsna Caitanya is purusah puranah Krsna, the original Personality of Godhead. Why did Krsna Caitanya appear? Sarvabhauma says, vairagya-vidya … siksartham. To teach detachment and knowledge of devotional service. Because we are suffering here on account of so many designations, out of His great mercy Sri Krsna Caitanya Mahaprabhu came to purify us of all these nonsense designations. And the way is through vairagya-vidya. Raga means "material attachment," and vairagya is "freedom from material attachments." These false attachments we have to give up. How to do this in our practical life how to love Krsna, how to approach Him is taught by Sri Krsna Caitanya Mahaprabhu.
Lord Caitanya is described in the Srimad-Bhagavatam, Eleventh Canto, as krsna-varnam tvisakrsnam. Krsna-varnam means either "one who belongs to the same category as Krsna" or "one who is always describing Krsna," and tvisakrsnam means "with a nonblackish complexion." Lord Caitanya's only business is to describe Krsna, and His complexion is not blackish. Krsna has many colors. One of His colors is pitagolden. So Lord Caitanya is known as the golden avatara. Then, sangopangastra-parsadam: "Lord Caitanya is always accompanied by His close associates." These associates are described here in this first verse of the Caitanya-caritamrta the gurus, the Lord's devotees, His incarnations, expansions, and energies.
So, study this Caitanya-caritamrta. Now, following in the footsteps of our Guru Maharaja, Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura Prabhupada, we have published this very elaborately explained English edition. There is no other edition of Caitanya-caritamrta like this, so elaborately explained. It can be understood by the advanced student.
Anyone can become advanced. "Advanced" means that at least you should understand that Krsna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. If you simply understand this that Krsna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead then you are advanced. It is not very difficult. All Vedic literatures are meant for understanding Krsna. What is that understanding? That Krsna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. If you become convinced of this, your study of the Vedas is complete.
In the Bhagavad-gita [7.7] Krsna says, mattah parataram nanyat kincid asti dhananjaya: "My dear Arjuna, there is no authority or person or truth superior to Me." If you simply have faith in these words of Krsna's, you become advanced in Krsna consciousness. You may believe blindly or after careful study. It doesn't matter. Whether you touch fire blindly or purposely, it will act. Similarly, even if you blindly accept Krsna as the Supreme Person, you become advanced. Take it from me: if you simply have this conviction "Yes, Krsna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead" you are an advanced student in spiritual life.
So, all the persons associated with Sri Krsna Caitanya Sri Nityananda, Sri Advaita, Gadadhara, and Srivasa all of them are one in the sense that they are all interested in pushing Krsna consciousness on. Sri Krsna Caitanya Mahaprabhu, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is personally trying, and Nityananda Prabhu, Advaita Prabhu, Srivasa, and Gadadhara are helping Him.
To approach these five supreme persons, you require the help of a guru. Therefore the guru is offered respectful prayers first: vande gurun. Plural number gurun. Still, the gurus are one. For example, Krsna has many forms, but that does not mean He is many. No, Krsna is one. Similarly, there may be many gurus, but their philosophy must be one: to teach everyone that Krsna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. That is the test of a genuine guru. If someone is teaching something else, some nonsense, then he is not a guru. As stated in the sastra,
avaisnavo gurur na sa syad
vaisnavah sva-paco guruh
A brahmana is usually very expert in chanting Vedic mantras, understanding the tantras, etc. That is the test of the brahmana that he is very learned. But if he does not know what Krsna is, or if he's not a devotee of Krsna, he cannot become a guru. On the other hand, one who is coming from the family of dog-eaters, the lowest of human beings, can become a guru if he's a Vaisnava, a devotee of Krsna.
So, the guru is very important because he has accepted Krsna as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, he has seen the truth, and he is teaching pure Krsna consciousness. This is the test of a genuine guru. The bona fide guru does not claim to be Krsna Himself, but rather he canvasses door to door: "Please become a devotee of Krsna." This is the sign of a genuine guru.
Thank you very much.