By His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada Founder-Acarya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness
The sun and the sunshine provide an example to help us understand God and His energies.
“Just as the illumination of a fire situated in one place is spread all over, the energies of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Para-brahman, are spread all over this universe.”
— Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita, Madhya-lila 20.110 (quoted from Vishnu Purana 1.22.53)
Lord Krishna says in the Bhagavad-gita (4.1): “I instructed this imperishable science of yoga to the sun god.” The present sun god, the predominating deity of the sun, is named Vivasvan, and his son is Vaivasvata Manu. We are passing through the age of Vaivasvata Manu.
Krishna is a person, and Vivasvan, the sun god, is also a person. Otherwise how could Krishna speak to him? Krishna instructed Vivasvan just as He instructed Arjuna, person to person. The predominating deity in the sun is a person, and there are many other persons there. Like the sun god, their bodies are made of fire, so they can stay in the fire. The sun is very, very big, fourteen hundred thousand times bigger than this earth, and it is congested with population. Because they are all fiery and everything there is fiery, the sun’s illumination spreads all over the universe.
The so-called scientists cannot understand this. It is beyond their conception. But this is a fact. And the moon is also fiery, like the sun, and its illumination is distributed. But the difference is that a cool atmosphere surrounds the moon’s fire. Because the heat is coming through a cool atmosphere, the moon’s rays are pleasing at night.
The sun’s illumination is hot, and the moon’s illumination is cool, very soothing. Krishna is so kind that both things are there, and both things are required. Krishna says, “I am the light of the sun and the moon.” (Bhagavad-gita 7.8) Foolish persons challenge, “Can you show me God?” But why don’t you see God here? Do you not see the sunshine, the moonshine? Why do you say, “I do not see God”? What is this argument? If Krishna, God, says, “Here I am. I am the moonshine, I am the sunshine,” why don’t you see Him?
You have to see according to your capacity. You cannot see the Supreme Personality of Godhead with your present eyes. That is not possible. See the illumination of God.
For example, everyone knows sunshine, but not everyone is aware of the temperature of the sun or the person within the sun. It is a fact that there is a person within the sun. Otherwise, Krishna would be lying when He says, “I spoke this philosophy to the sun god.” So the sun god is there; that’s a fact. And if the sun god is there, his associates are also there.
We have information that all the planets are full of living entities. The word in the Vedic literature is janakirna, “congested with living entities.” We see that New York City is congested with so many living entities. But if you go higher, then you cannot appreciate that New York City is so congested. Similarly, we have no knowledge of these planets, but each of the millions and trillions of planets is congested, full of living entities. This is Vedic information. It is not imperfect imagination. No. It is fact.
Everything Has Its Necessity
We learn from the shastra (scriptures) that vegetation is flourishing on every planet because of the illumination of the moon. Here we see the effect of the moon on the waves of the seas and oceans.
Everything has its necessity and is acting as potency, or shakti, of the Supreme Lord. Everything is shakti, not shaktiman. Saktiman means one who possesses the potency. That is God. We are all shaktis.
Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is going to explain the three chief potencies of the Lord: the spiritual potency, the material potency, and the marginal potency. He will explain how God’s potencies are acting throughout the cosmic manifestation and beyond. His potencies emanate from Him as light from a source. We see here in this room a light bulb, localized in one place, but its illumination is spread throughout the room. We can take advantage of the illumination. And we see practically how by the sun’s illumination trees are growing colorful leaves. Everything is due to the sunshine. Where there is no sunshine, especially in these countries, all the leaves fall down, and as soon as there is sunshine, immediately millions and trillions of leaves come out.
In this way at least you have to understand how Krishna’s potency is working, just as the sunshine, the potency of the sun, is acting wonderfully. Everything-the flowers, the leaves-is perfectly done. The nondevotees will say it is happening automatically. No. God’s potency is working perfectly so nature appears to be automatic. You’ll find potencies acting everywhere. You shave your head, and the next day hair has come again. You do not know how this is happening.
Like the sunshine and the moonshine, the potencies of the Supreme Lord are working everywhere. They are different potencies of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, situated in their own place, and they are influencing the creation.
Similarly, although Krishna is in Goloka Vrindavana playing with His cowherd boyfriends, the gopis, His father and mother, still He’s expanded all over the creation. That is Krishna. For example, we live in some apartment. Now we are here, so we are absent from that apartment. God is not like that. God is in His apartment, and at the same time He is present everywhere in the universe.
God is unlimited. Krishna says in the Bhagavad-gita (9.11):
“Fools deride Me when I descend in the human form. They do not know My transcendental nature as the Supreme Lord of all that be.” Krishna appears like a human being with two hands and two legs. But the rascals do not understand the quality of these two hands and two legs. They think He has two hands and two legs like us; therefore they are called mudha, fools. And God does not have only two hands; He has many millions and trillions of hands and legs all over the universe. That is Krishna.
The Result of Understanding Krishna
Don’t take Krishna as an ordinary human being. If you do you’ll be regarded as one of the rascals. Don’t be a rascal; be intelligent and understand Krishna. And if you understand Krishna, then you become liberated immediately. Krishna says in the Bhagavad-gita (4.9),
naiti mam eti so ‘rjuna
“One who knows the transcendental nature of My appearance and activities does not, upon leaving the body, take his birth again in this material world, but attains My eternal abode, O Arjuna.” That is the qualification. As soon as you understand Krishna-not thoroughly, but at least partially understand His nature-then immediately you become liberated. We cannot become perfect in this material world, but to some extent if we become perfect, then our life becomes successful.
Krishna’s energy, expanding from Him, is impersonal. But Krishna is not impersonal. Foolish people do not understand Him. We see daily that the sunshine is so expansive, all over the universe, but the source of the sunshine is the sun globe. So which is more important, the sunshine or the sun globe? That we can see practically. And which is more important, the sun globe or the sun god? Similarly, God the person is more important than His energy.
You can study Krishna’s position by understanding the example of the sun. The sunshine is a combination of illuminating molecules, each of them a particle. Not that it is homogeneous. Every atomic particle is distinct. Similarly, living entities are small particles in the impersonal Brahman effulgence. The shastra describes the size of the living entities as being one ten-thousandth of the tip of a hair, such a small particle. They are congested in what is called the Brahman effulgence.
If you want to merge into the Brahman effulgence, that is not difficult, because you are a small particle of spiritual identity. If you don’t want your individuality, you can stay in the Brahman effulgence. But what is the profit? There is no profit. Suppose you are placed in the sky, in the sunshine, and somebody says, “Now remain in the sky,” will you agree? Will anyone agree-“Let me remain in the sky as a small particle of the sunshine”? No. You can agree out of some sentiment, but you cannot stay there. That is not possible.
Falling from Brahman
Therefore, those who merge into the existence of impersonal Brahman fall down. For example, astronauts are going on moon excursions, but they cannot stay there. Simply rotating in the sky is not very pleasant. We have experience on airplanes. If we go five or six hours in the airplane, we become suffocated. It is not possible to stay there for a long time.
Therefore those who merge into the Brahman effulgence fall down, because they have no engagement in Krishna’s business. They have never cultivated knowledge of service to Krishna. The Mayavadis, the impersonalists, think, “What is this nonsense, serving Krishna? Krishna is maya, illusion. We are not going to serve maya. We are going to become one with God, one with the effulgence.” But because they have no information about serving Krishna, they come down again to this material world and serve maya—opening hospitals and doing other philanthropic work in this world, which they consider maya. Because they have no information about serving Krishna, they fall down from Brahman, or param padam, the spiritual world. Brahman is also param padam. It is not material; it is the spiritual world. But those who have no shelter at the lotus feet of Krishna fall down again to the shelter of maya.
This whole cosmic manifestation is nothing but the expansion of the potency or energy of Krishna. This is the conclusion. This expansion of energy is impersonal. Krishna is not impersonal; He is the original source. The sunshine is coming from the sun globe, but the sun globe is more important than the sunshine. Similarly, Krishna’s personality is more important than His impersonal feature, the expansion of His energy. If we understand the example of the sun, then it is very easy to understand the difference between the impersonal and the personal features of the Absolute Truth.
Thank you very much.