Srimad Bhagavatam-11-02-31(B) - Understanding Krishna Consciousness with the help of Consciousness of Krishna and his Devotees (download mp3)
by Prem Kishor Prabhu at ISKCON Chowpatty
dharman bhagavatan bruta
yadi nah srutaye ksamam
yaih prasannah prapannaya
dasyaty atmanam apy ajah
Please speak about how one engages in the devotional service of the Supreme Lord, if you consider me capable of properly hearing these topics. When a living entity offers loving service to the Supreme Lord, the Lord is immediately satisfied, and in return He will give even His own self to the surrendered soul.
Within the material world there are two classes of mundane philosophers who present their opinions about the Supreme Lord. Some so-called theologians claim that we are infinitely different from God, and therefore they tend to look upon the Lord as something far beyond our power to understand. Such extreme dualistic philosophers outwardly or officially claim to be pious and religious believers in God, but they consider God so much different from that which is within our experience that according to them there is little profit in even trying to discuss the personality or attributes of the Supreme Lord. Such outwardly faithful persons generally take to fruitive activities and gross materialistic sense gratification, being infatuated with the mundane relationships of the material world, which appear under the headings society, friendship and love.
The advaita-vadis, or nondualistic philosophers, claim that there is no difference between God and the living entity and that the highest goal of life is to give up our personal existence, which is due to illusion, and merge into the impersonal Brahman effulgence, which is devoid of name, form, paraphernalia and personality. Thus neither class of speculative philosopher is able to understand the transcendental Personality of Godhead.
Caitanya Mahaprabhu, in His sublime teaching of acintya-bhedabhedha-tattva, or simultaneous oneness and difference, has clearly demonstrated that we are qualitatively one with God but quantitatively different. God is personal consciousness, and He has His personal form. Similarly we are also personal consciousness, and ultimately, when liberated, we also have eternal forms. The difference is that the eternal form and personality of the Supreme Lord contain unlimited potency and opulence whereas our potency and opulence are infinitesimal. We are conscious of our personal body, whereas Lord Krsna, the Absolute Truth, is conscious of everyone’s body, as stated in Bhagavad-gita (ksetra-jñam capi mam viddhi sarva-ksetresu bharata). But although God is infinitely greater than the living entity, both God and the living entities are eternal personalities with form, activities and feelings.
The Supreme Lord, Krsna, expands Himself into innumerable living entities to enjoy rasas, or ecstatic relationships, with them. The living entities are part and parcel of Lord Krsna, and they are meant to serve Him with love. Although the Supreme Lord is eternally the predominator and the living entity is eternally the predominated, when the living entity surrenders unto the Lord with a sincere loving attitude, desiring to serve the Lord eternally without the slightest expectation of personal reward for such service, the Lord immediately is pleased, as expressed here by the word prasannah. Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is so unlimitedly merciful and magnanimous that in His gratitude to such a surrendered and loving servitor, He is immediately inclined to offer anything, even Himself, to His surrendered devotee.
There are numerous practical, historical examples of this loving propensity of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Because of the love of Mother Yasoda, child Krsna, in His form as Damodara, surrendered Himself to His loving mother and allowed Himself to be bound with ropes as a childhood punishment. Similarly, feeling indebted to the Pandavas for their intense love for Him, Krsna in His form as Partha-sarathi happily agreed to drive the chariot of Arjuna on the Battlefield of Kuruksetra. Similarly, Krsna in Vrndavana is always thinking of ways to satisfy the gopis, who are universally recognized as the most exalted loving devotees of the Lord.
Such intense loving feelings exchanged between the Lord and His pure devotees would not be possible were the living entities not qualitatively one with the Supreme Personality of Godhead and indeed inseparable parts and parcels of the Lord. On the other hand, because both the Supreme Personality of Godhead and the living entities are eternally individuals, each with his own eternal individual consciousness, such loving exchanges are a perpetual reality in the kingdom of God. In other words, absolute oneness with God and absolute difference from God are theoretical imaginations of different schools of speculative philosophy. The perfection of spiritual love, as described in this verse, is based on simultaneous oneness and difference, and this absolute reality was elaborately presented by Lord Krsna Himself in His brahminical incarnation as Caitanya Mahaprabhu. The followers of Caitanya Mahaprabhu have expounded this perfect doctrine in innumerable books, culminating in the teachings of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, who has most perfectly presented this knowledge in a way that is understandable not only in India but to all the people of the world. Our present insignificant attempt is simply to complete his translation and commentary on Srimad-Bhagavatam, and we are constantly praying for his guidance so that this work can simply be completed exactly as he would have desired. If one can understand these teachings of Caitanya Mahaprabhu as they are being presented in Western languages, surely the Lord will be satisfied with such a sincere seeker of spiritual truth.