Eternal Servants of Sri Krishna and Sri Krishna Chaitanya
Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, the father of Srila Prabhupada’s guru, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati, was a prolific writer and creative thinker. He composed Sanskrit verses and wrote in various genres in English and Bengali. His Bengali novel Jaiva Dharma is probably his most famous work. The basic format of the book is a series of discussions between disciples and gurus during which the author reveals the gamut of the philosophy, practice, and perfection of Krishna consciousness.
The gurus in the book are Gaudiya Vaishnavas, or devotees in the line of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, so they worship Lord Chaitanya as Krishna Himself appearing in a different form. In Part 5 of Jaiva Dharma, the guru Raghunatha Dasa Babaji explains the “oneness and difference” of Lord Krishna and Lord Chaitanya (Gauranga):
“Sri Krishna and Sri Gauranga are nondifferent in terms of tattva; they are the same Absolute Truth and both are the fountainheads of madhura-rasa, nectarean, honeylike mellows. However, there are two ways in which madhura-rasa manifests: madhurya, transcendental conjugal sweetness; and audarya, transcendental magnanimity. When madhurya is preeminent, Sri Krishna is manifest, and when audarya is prominent, Sri Gauranga is manifest. In the original Vrindavana, Goloka, there are two symmetrical halves: krishna-pitha, the abode of Sri Krishna; and gaura-pitha, the abode of Sri Gauranga. In krishna-pitha reside those jivas whose devotional mood is primarily madhurya, appended with audarya – they are the devotees of Sri Krishna. In gaura-pitha reside those jivas whose devotional mood is most pronouncedly audarya, supported by madhurya – they are the eternal servitors of Sri Gauranga. In certain cases, some eternally liberated souls are present simultaneously in both the pithas through their svarupa-vyuha, personal expansions. In other instances, particular parshadas [associates] participate in one pitha in their spiritual form, being absent in the other.
“Devotees who worship Sri Gauranga exclusively in their period of sadhana attain gaura-pitha when they are liberated and perfect, whereas those who worship Sri Krishna exclusively in their period of sadhana serve in krishna-pitha after liberation. Then there are those devotees who in their period of sadhana worship both Sri Krishna and Sri Gauranga. After obtaining liberation, they acquire two transcendental forms and serve Sri Krishna in krishna-pitha and Sri Gauranga in gaura-pitha simultaneously. This is the divine and confidential mystery of the inconceivable, simultaneous oneness and difference of Sri Krishna and Sri Gauranga.” (Translation by Sarvabhavana Dasa.)
Here, from the pen of the liberated soul Bhaktivinoda Thakura, we learn what it means for a perfected Gaudiya Vaishnava to go back to Godhead. Assuming that one is blessed with pure love for both Lord Krishna and Lord Chaitanya, one will receive spiritual bodies by which to serve in Their pastimes simultaneously.
In our present state, this may sound impossible, but we must be humble enough to admit that the nature of the spiritual world is beyond our comprehension. We can get a theoretical understanding of Goloka Vrindavana by hearing the unimpeachable testimony of the Vedic scriptures and pure self-realized devotees of the Lord. But until our consciousness transcends the conditioning of material time and space, our knowledge will remain theoretical.
When Lord Krishna was present on earth as Lord Chaitanya five centuries ago, He mostly hid his identity as Krishna. And while the Vedic scriptures do mention Lord Chaitanya, references to Him are relatively few. For details about Him, we rely mostly on the pure devotional insights of His contemporary associates. Besides what they taught about Lord Chaitanya, they themselves, we learn, have two spiritual forms, one to serve Lord Krishna, and one to serve Lord Chaitanya. Because they have pure love for both these forms of the Absolute Truth, this makes perfect sense.
– Nagaraja Dasa