In the instruction of Lord Chaitanya to Sanatan Goswami we can understand the Science of God in the matter of His transcendental Form, His opulences, and His devotional service for everything is being described to Sanatan Goswami by the Lord Himself. At the time Sanatan fell at the feet of the Lord and with great humility asked about his real identity. He spoke as follows: "I am born of a lower family, my associations are all abominable, and I am fallen and the most wretched of mankind. I was suffering in the dark well of material enjoyment, and I never knew the actual goal of my life. I do not know what is beneficial to me although in the ordinary way I am what is known as a great learned man; in fact, I am so much of a fool that I even accept that I am a learned man. You have accepted me as your servant and you have delivered me from the entanglement of material life; now you can tell me what my duty is in this liberated state of life." In other words, we see by this plea that liberation is not the final word of perfection; there must be activities in liberation. Sanatan clearly asks, "You have saved me from the entanglement of material existence; now after liberation, what is my duty? Kindly explain it to me." Sanatan further inquired "Who am I? Why are the three-fold miseries always giving me trouble? Finally, tell me how I will be relieved from this material entanglement? I do not know how to question about spiritual advancement of life, but I beg that you kindly, mercifully let me know everything that I should know."
This is the process of acceptance of a spiritual master by the disciple. One should approach a spiritual master and humbly submit to him and then inquire from him about one's spiritual progress. The Lord was pleased by Sanatan's submissive behavior and He replied to him as follows: "You are already benedicted by Lord Krishna, therefore you know everything and you are free from all miseries of material existence." The Lord further replied that because Sanatan was in Krishna Consciousness, naturally, by the grace of Krishna, he was already conversant with everything, but, "Because you are a humble devotee you are asking me to confirm what is already realized by you. This is very nice." These are the characteristics of a true devotee. In the Narada sutra it is said that one who is very serious about developing his Krishna Consciousness, by the grace of the Lord, has his desire for understanding Krishna very soon fulfilled. The Lord said, "You are a suitable person for protecting the devotional service of the Lord, therefore it is my duty to instruct you in the science of God, and I will explain to you one of the orders."
It is the duty of a disciple approaching a spiritual master to enquire about his constitutional position. In response to that spiritual process, Sanatan has already asked, "What am I and why am I suffering from threefold miseries?" The threefold miseries are called adhyatmic, adhibhautic, adhidaivic. Adhyatmic means pertaining to the body and mind, therefore there are two kinds of miseries suffered by the living entity: sometimes he is suffering bodily, and sometimes he is distressed mentally both are miseries. We are put into miseries even in the womb of the mother. And there are also many forms of misery that take advantage of our delicate body and give us pain. Miseries inflicted by other living entities are called adhibhautic. There are many living entities such as bugs born of eggs, that give us miseries while we are sleeping in bed. There are many living entities, like cockroaches, that sometimes give us pain, and there are other living entities born on different kinds of planets, and they also give us miseries. So far asadhidaivic miseries are concerned, they are offered by the demigods from the higher planets. For instance, sometimes we suffer from serious cold weather, sometimes we suffer by the thunderbolt, sometimes earthquakes, tornadoes, droughts and all other natural disasters. So we are always in either of these three kinds of miseries. Sanatan's enquiry was, "What is the position of the living entities? Why are they always put into these three kinds of miseries?" Sanatan has admitted his weakness; although he was known by the mass of people as a great learned man (and actually he was a highly learned scholar in the Sanskrit language) and although he accepted the designation of a very learned man given him by the mass of people, yet he did not actually know what his constitutional position was, and why he was subjected to the threefold miseries.
The necessity of approaching a spiritual master is not a fashion, but is for him who is seriously conscious of the material miseries and who wants to get out of them; it is the duty of such a person to approach the spiritual master. We find similar circumstances in the Bhagavad Gita. When Arjuna was perplexed by so many problems, whether to fight or not to fight, he accepted Lord Krishna as his spiritual master. There also it was a case of the Supreme Spiritual Master instructing Arjuna about the constitutional position of the individual entity. In the Bhagavad Gita we are informed that the constitutional position of the individual entity is spirit soul; he is not matter, therefore as a spirit soul he is part and parcel of the Supreme Soul, Absolute Truth, Personality of Godhead. We also learn that it is the duty of the spirit soul to surrender, for only then can he be happy. The last instruction of the Bhagavad Gita is that the spirit soul is to surrender completely unto the Supreme Soul, Krishna, and in that way realize happiness. Here also, Lord Chaitanya in answering the questions of Sanatan is repeating the same truth, but without giving him information of the spirit soul which is described in the Gita. He begins from the point where Krishna ended his instruction. It is calculated by great devotees that Lord Chaitanya is Krishna Himself. And as He ended His instruction in the Gita, from that point he begins His instruction again, to Sanatan. The Lord said to Sanatan, "Your constitutional position is that you are pure living soul. This material body is not the identity of your real self, neither is your mind your real identity, nor your intelligence, nor is false ego the real identity for self. Your identity is that you are eternal servitor of the Supreme Lord, Krishna. Your position is that you are transcendental. Superior energy of Krishna is spiritual in constitution, and inferior external energy is material. In other words, you are between the material energy and the spiritual energy, therefore your position is marginal. In other words, you belong to the marginal potency of Krishna. You are simultaneously one with and different from Krishna because in a sense you are spirit, therefore you are not different from Krishna; but because you are only a minute particle of Krishna, you are therefore different from Krishna."
This simultaneous oneness and difference always exists in the relationship between the living entities and the Supreme Lord. From the marginal position of the living entity, this "simultaneously one and different" is understood. The living entity is just like a molecular part of sunshine, whereas Krishna is compared to the blazing and shining sun. Lord Chaitanya compared the living entities to the blazing sparks from the fire, and the Supreme Lord to the blazing fire of the sun. The Lord cites in this connection a verse from Vishnu Purana in which it is stated that everything that is manifested within this cosmic world is but a different energy of the Supreme Lord. For example, as the fire emanating from one place exhibits its illumination and heat all around, similarly the Lord, although situated in one place in the spiritual world, is manifesting His different energies everywhere, and the whole world of cosmic representation is but different manifestations of His energy. The energy of the Supreme Lord is transcendental and spiritual, and the living entities also belong to that energy, but there is another energy which is called hard-working material energy, which is covered by the cloud of ignorance and therefore divided into the three modes of material nature. Lord Chaitanya quoted from Vishnu Purana that all inconceivable energies are there in the Supreme Personality of (sic:) ceivable energy is there in the Supreme Lord, and the whole cosmic manifestation is acting due to the same inconceivable energy of the Supreme Lord. For example, as the heat of the fire is all perceivable, similarly the inconceivable energy of the Supreme Lord is always perceivable by an intelligent person.
The Lord says that the living entities are also known as ksetrajna, or "knower of the field of activities." In the Gita in the 13th Chapter the living entity is described as ksetrajna, the body is described as the field of activities, and the living entity is the knower of that field. Although the living entity is constitutionally conversant with spiritual energy, or has the potency of understanding, he is being covered by the material energy, and he consequently understands this body to be himself. This is called false ego. In material existence, under this false ego, the bewildered living entity is changing his different bodies and suffering different kinds of miseries. The knowledge of understanding his true position is present to various extents in different varieties of living entities. In other words, it is to be understood that the living entity is part and parcel of the spiritual energy of the Supreme Lord. The material energy is inferior energy, and therefore man has the potency to uncover this material energy and utilize the spiritual energy. It is stated in the Bhagavad Gita that the superior energy is covered by the inferior energy. Due to this covering, the living entity is subjected to the miseries of the material world, and, according to the different degrees of obscuration, is proportionately suffering material miseries. Those who are a little enlightened are suffering less, but on the whole, everyone is subjected to material miseries on account of being covered by the material energy. The Lord also quoted from the Gita, 7th Chapter, in which it is stated that earth, water, fire, air, sky, mind, intelligence, and ego, all combine together to form the inferior energy of the Supreme Lord. But the Superior Energy is the real identity of the living entity; on account of that energy the whole material world is working. The cosmic manifestation, made of material energy or material elements, has no power to act unless it is moved by the Superior energy, the living entity. So actually, the conditional life of the living entity is forgetfulness of his relationship with the Supreme Lord in Superior energy. When that relationship is forgotten, conditional life is the result. Only when man revives his real identity, that of eternal servitor of the lord, does he become liberated.
(PART II OF LORD CHAITANYA'S TEACHING WILL APPEAR IN NEXT ISSUE)