One of the most interesting points of Gaudiya Vaisnava philosophy is the understanding of the Absolute Truth in five features. Many in India as well as outside know the philosophy: God is one. And it is in fact true. There cannot be two Gods; otherwise there will be a conflict of interest. But what is possible is the understanding of God in many features.

In the Bhagavad-gita Lord Krishna describes Himself: “O Arjuna, please understand that there is no truth superior to me.” And in the Srimad -Bhagavatam , which is the graduate study of spiritual education, we are introduced to the concept of non-dual knowledge, or advaya-jnana. The Srimad -Bhagavatam describes three features of the same Absolute Truth as impersonal Brahman (effulgence), localized Paramatma and Bhagavan, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Sri Krishna . In other words, God is understood as being present everywhere, even in an atom; in the hearts of all living entities; and finally as the topmost personality. We can understand this with an analogy. The sunshine is spread everywhere, the sun planet is localized and the sun-god is the predominator of that planet.

In the pastimes of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu we are introduced to understanding God in five features, or Panca-tattva (Five Truths). They are all one and at the same time different. First let us understand how everything is one. The gita explains that the soul and the body are different. At the same time, however, because the soul and the body are both coming from Krishna , they are same. Spirit and matter are both energies of the Supreme Lord, Sri Krishna , and therefore their source is one.

However, we cannot say that since air, water and sky are coming from Krishna , therefore we can live on any of the elements. No. Since human bodies are made in a specific way, they can only safely survive on land without extra endeavor. In conclusion, the understanding that things can be simultaneously one with each other and yet remain different is vital. Krishna is the reservoir of all pleasure and actually wants to relish as well as share pleasure with all His parts and parcels.

We experience pleasure in a variety of dealings — relationship between husband and wife, master and servant, friend and friend, father and son, mother and daughter, lover and beloved etc. This taste is essential. The only difference is that in the material world these relationships are temporary while those in the spiritual realm are eternal. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu in five features comprises of Sri Caitanya, Sri Nityananda, Sri Advaita acarya, Sri Gadadhara Pandit and Sri Srivasa. Here Caitanya, Nityananda and Advaita acarya belong to the Vishnu-tattva category, Gadadhara Pandit is the Lord’s internal potency and Sri vasa is in the jiva category. Just as sugar, milk and fire in the right combination can give rise to hundreds of varieties of sweets, this variety is the spice of spiritual life.