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Yuga Dharma Acarya His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada

 

 

Daily Darsan
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Prayers
 
Absolute Personality
His Divine Grace Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Goswami Maharaja
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The Reality is a person. He is like man, a most beautiful male human being. This is the nearest analogy supplied by the language of this world to express the Nature of the Divinity as He really is.

The word Vishnu, revealed by the scriptures as the name of Godhead, means etymologically 'one who pervades'. The Personality of Godhead is not any limited conception. He is the One Spiritual Reciprocal to the infinity of individual souls.

Man occupies the highest position among the animate beings of this world. Man is not unalloyed soul in his present state. His soul is overlaid by his physical body joined to a subtle mental casing which are adventitious factors. These two entangle the soul of man in this phenomenal world.

The physical body is subject to birth, growth and dissolution. The mental body is the subtle or causal physical body. Its activity tends to the growth and functioning of the gross physical casing. The mind of man naturally seeks to function through the medium of the gross physical body. Even in dreams, the mind acts on the basis of the stored-up memory of the activities of the gross physical body. Without the help of such memory it seems to be lacking in the complementary part of its existence. If the mind tries to conceive the personality of the soul, it can only suppose him to be an intelligent entity like itself and, like itself, possessing a physical body resembling the human. Even the philosophising tiger of the fairy land is really a human mind wearing, for the time being, the external mask of a tiger, covering a very real human physique. So the human body is the unavoidable basis of any possible human conception of personality. The human body is the visible expression of personality to the human mind.

Godhead cannot have any physical or mental form. He is, however, the transcendental source even of all limited forms. The body of God is declared to be both one, as well as many derived from the one. The one divine form is the reciprocal of the spiritual human body of the soul. The many forms are the reciprocals of the spiritual bodies that correspond to the physical forms of the entities other than man. This spiritual reciprocity between divine and individual personality is expressed by the analogy of sex. Godhead is the only male (dominating Absolute) or master. All individual souls are servitors or manifestations of the dominated moiety of the Absolute. Godhead's one divine form corresponds to the most highly developed physical body of the male human being. His many derivative spiritual forms correspond to the less developed physical bodies of man and of other entities.

Godhead is not to be supposed to be male in the physical nor mental sense. The masculinity of Godhead is spiritual. He is the only spiritual husband or consort of all spiritual females. He is the only master of all souls who depend on His Initiative for their activity. He accepts the services of the latter for His pastimes as the sole enjoyer and master of all active spiritual entities. All neutral spiritual entities depend on the initiative of the Divinity for their equable existence. They wait on His pleasure by abstaining from all function.

It is possible for the soul to serve Godhead only by the help of another serving entity. There is an infinity of eternal servitors of Godhead of all types. If any soul is desirous of serving Godhead by the method of depending entirely on His initiative he is in a position to do so by the causeless mercy of the infinity of other similarly disposed eternal spiritual servitors who are part and parcel of Godhead. The mercy of such entities enables the soul in quest of Divine service to realise his spiritual function to the Absolute person engaged in eternal Blissful Pastimes with His servitors as an accepted subservient of such servitors.

The absolute Person pervades positively and negatively all entities by each and all of His forms. But the pervading character of the Divine Personality does not extinguish the individual personality of any entity. Godhead enables all entities to maintain their individual personalities in all their serving activities. He absolutely dominates, ie - receives the full service of all entities by enabling them to offer themselves to be so dominated.

The soul has his spiritual form, who is identical with his individual entity. The form of the soul is definite without being subject to the conditions of limited space or time or any other form of limitation. The soul functions as an incorporated tiny adjunct of variegated divine spiritual power. The form of the soul is not like any female or neuter form of this world. The individual soul is of the essence of the spiritual power of the Divinity by his true nature. The Sanskrit word for the soul is 'atman' which means the 'entity' possessing the potentiality of unlimited functioning. The soul can assume all serving forms without having to give up his own specific spiritual form. It is for this reason that the terms 'male' and 'female' in their mundane sense are wholly inapplicable to the soul.

For a similar reason, when the functions of the soul are expressed in terms of the mundane vocabulary, they are also liable to be grossly misunderstood by those who are not in a position to receive their real significance to the spiritual plane.

The principle of personality is dimly and pervertedly reflected in our present conception and realisation of human personality. But in spite of an inconceivable similarity between the two, the one is essentially different from the other. Self-realised souls are privileged to be able to speak analogically of the entities' arid occurrences of the spiritual plane in terms of the mundane vocabulary. But the spiritual sense of their words cannot be grasped by those who have no access to their own plane. No amount of rationalistic explanation or argument can impart the faculty for the substantive realisation of spiritual form or activity to a person who has no access to the plane of transcendence.

When, therefore, a person in the conditioned state readily enough admits his belief in the Personality of Godhead, he only commits the offence of supposing the Personality of the Divinity to resemble that of a human being as perceived by his limited mind. The absurdity of such belief is patent to anyone who stops to consider how such conception is to be correlated to one's actual practice.

Those who are eager to ascribe a personality to Godhead, with ill-considered haste, find themselves unable to understand the statements of the scriptures that declare Godhead to be all-pervasive, transcendental and one without a second. There is, for example, a class of speculative thinkers who are extremely anxious to exploit the 'historicity' of Christ for establishing the reality of his divinity. But how can historicity be a proof of reality unless reality is supposed to be an entity within the scope of our mental conception? How would such thinkers distinguish between the mental and the spiritual or between human and Divine?

The scriptures tell us that the Divine Personality bears the name Krishna; that He is a cowboy in Goloka; that He is the eternal consort of the spiritual milkmaids of Braja etc, etc. They tell us at the same time the Name, Form, Quality, Activity, Abode and Entourage of the Divinity are transcendental entities located beyond the scope of the limited mental faculty of human beings. They further inform us that the only way of realising the nature of Godhead is by submitting to be enlightened by the mercy of his eternal servitors who are sent by Godhead into the world for imparting such enlightenment to those who are disposed to seek for the same, in the spirit if unreserved submission.

This absolute humility, does not mean the abdication of rational function. The rational faculty is to be valued, but it is also not to be abused. Those who are perfectly rational are alone aware of the severe and insurmountable limitations under which their present rational nature is placed. It is only such persons who may be said to be really disposed to make the proper use of their present rational faculty, and to be really willing to seek to approach the reality with due sense of their utter incapacity for realising the same with their present resources. This is the right use of the present rational faculty. Those who are averse to make such use of it miss the sight of the Truth by following an irrational course.

There is no meaning in believing or disbelieving the testimony of the scriptures in the case of persons who have no access to the spiritual plane. But it is obligatory on all truly rational persons to lend their ears to the Message of the Absolute from those who are really competent to impart the same under these impossible circumstances. It is both insincere and unprofitable to choose to remain satisfied with the conviction that it is not possible for any of us to know the Absolute Reality. Such conviction contains only half the truth. It does not allow for the initiative of the Truth Himself, who is certainly able and willing to enlighten us about Himself by means of His chosen agents.

The Transcendental Name of Krishna, in the form of the sound appearing on the lips of His pure devotees, can impart even to the present imperfect aural faculty of man the realisation of the Divinity. This truth has been taught by Sri Krishna-Chaitanya as being the sum and substance of the revelations of all the scriptures.

The above proposition states a fact of the spiritual plane and not a conclusion or inference from observation of mundane occurrences. It requires to be tested as to its spiritual validity by reference to its spiritual character. The ordinary worldly tests cannot apply to the spiritual entity. The question, therefore, resolves itself into this: How can the spiritual nature of the name Krishna, that is claimed for the audible sound issuing from the lips of any particular person, be tested as to His spiritual validity with our present cognitive resources? The clear answer is furnished by the scriptures. The name Krishna is identical with the Divinity. He can be approached by the fully serving aural faculty. If, therefore, he is approached in the attitude of being regulated and enabled, by means the spiritual ear restored by His causeless mercy in lieu of full submission for offering one's services to the Divine sound, He promises to reveal Divinity to such listener.

There is nothing irrational about these propositions unless one has the hardi-hood to disallow to the Absolute any real, or in other words, specific initiative. The facts of this mundane world do not stand in need of the sanction of our ignorant approval for beings, what they are. They have, been what they are by a superior dispensation, whose nature passes our tiny understanding. In the case of the facts of this world it has, therefore, been universally recognised as the only useful business of our poor cognitive faculty to seek to understand their real nature instead of idly repudiating their very entities.

In the same way it would be wholly irrational to repudiate an occurrence of the transcendental plane merely for the reason that he chooses to reveal himself to our benighted understanding for being approached by it. Are we not always trying to approach the occurrences of this world by means of experience supplied by the actual occurrences themselves? Does such seeking deprive us of our faculty of perfectly independent thinking?

How can such an apparently unpromising entity as light convey to our brain the tidings of the distant most stars? Why cannot the Transcendental Sound make Himself be heard by us by our submissive ear being mercifully restored the corresponding spiritual function which is now dormant? Is it scientifically and philosophically absurd?

Neither empiric philosophy, nor empiric science proposes to present us with any fact of the transcendental plane. Neither of them has it in their power to do so. Both are strictly confined to mundane occurrences, perceptually, conceptually and inferentially. But the Transcendental Sound is a fact of the spiritual plane and neither percept, concept, nor inference of any mundane experience. Why then should empiric science or empiric philosophy refuse to give the revealed scriptures a hearing on their own terms, provided there is an exponent of transcendence who does not require us to sink below the level of our present paltry rational existence? There should be no ground for refusing to give our attentive hearing to preachers of the Truth who do not propose any suicidal course to our rational faculty.

But how is one to recognise the genuine devotee of Krishna? The devotee of Krishna serves the Absolute Person by all his spiritual faculties. He preaches only what he practices. No one, therefore, should be given a hearing as a bona fide servant of Krishna, who does not actually serve Krishna at all time. The preacher, however, should be given the chance of explaining himself. By this method all our limited rational assets will be preserved to us intact till we are actually relieved of our present unnatural heritage by being restored to the normal spiritual condition by listening to the Transcendental Name of Krishna from the lips of His genuine devotees.

Gauranga Prema
Yuga Acarya
His Divine Grace
Srila Gour Govinda Swami Srila Gurudeva

 

 

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