“My Lord Govinda, because of separation from You, I consider even a moment a great millennium. Tears flow from My eyes like torrents of rain, and I see the entire world as void.” (Lord Chaitanya, Chaitanya Charitamrita, Antya 20.39)
śūnyāyitaṁ jagat sarvaṁ
Living in the material world means succumbing to the dualities that arise from desire and hate. Like being stuck on a pendulum that constantly swings back and forth, the living entity one second thinks that happiness will come from wanting something and the next they think removing that previously desired object is what will give them peace. The truth, however, is that the mind stays with us wherever we go, even if we travel to a destination with completely new surroundings. As Lord Chaitanya points out, this entire world is like a void when the association of the Supreme Lord Govinda is missing.
Imagine this situation. You’ve lived your whole life in one area. You know pretty much all of the neighbors. On an innocent trip to the supermarket to pick up milk you are bound to run into people you know. They fill you in on the latest. “Did you hear about such and such? They got married and didn’t tell anyone. Did you see what that person did the other day?” To be polite, you volunteer some information yourself. In this way there are no secrets.
After a traumatic experience from a broken relationship, you decide that you’ve had enough. You need a change of scenery. You look at the map of your particular country and pick out a new destination. “I will start my life over from there,” you tell yourself. You quit your job, find a new apartment and pack up all of your belongings. On to bigger and better things, but one thing accompanies you that will keep you from achieving peace: the mind.
It is the mind which desires things and it is the mind which then develops hatred. Hate is a strong word, but dislike is appropriate in this context as well. Think of those things which you don’t like. Think of the places you try to avoid. Juxtaposing those with the things that you do prefer, you get the dualities mentioned by Shri Krishna in the Bhagavad-gita. All of us are born into delusion at first. We get bewildered by these dualities. No matter where we turn, desire and hate will come up. Even if we move into completely new surroundings, with new people and everything, the same problems are sure to arise again. After all, the previous setting was once new. The people from whom we are running away were once strangers to us.
Lord Chaitanya says that this entire world is like a void. There is no substance to it. He speaks the truth. The person you once loved can become your bitter enemy. You can try everything in your power to prevent that from happening, but as they are an independent spirit, free to think as they please, they have every right to turn away from you. Thus the thing you relied on most for your happiness could vanish in a second. Happiness from such interactions is not real, and this is the only kind of happiness available in the material world.
Govinda’s association fixes the situation. He is the lone reality. He removes the void. He is permanent. He is always the best friend. A secret known to the bhaktas on the highest platform of consciousness is that God is not allowed to separate from those who desire only His association. Though He is the supreme powerful, He comes under the sway of those who love Him.
Anyone can desire to have His association, which means that anyone can escape the void and enter the reality. The name itself is capable of bringing that association. If you constantly say the name “Govinda” then you are with Govinda. If you feel lonely, if you feel as if the void is sucking you back into its trap, simply say “Govinda” again. If the concentration is not there, find a situation where it will be. Remove the obstacles in your way of saying “Govinda.”
The mission of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is to give all the fallen souls a chance at this association. The grass is greener on the other side when that other side is devotional service. It brings a kind of happiness previously thought impossible. Real happiness is prema, or pure love, for God. Govinda is one such name for Him, and “Krishna” is another. “Rama” too addresses Him, and “Hare” calls out to His perfect energy. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is a combined incarnation of Hare and Krishna, and so it is no wonder that He always chants the holy names in the maha-mantra: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
śarīraṁ yad avāpnoti
yac cāpy utkrāmatīśvaraḥ
vāyur gandhān ivāśayāt
“The living entity in the material world carries his different conceptions of life from one body to another as the air carries aromas.” (Lord Krishna, Bg. 15.8)
Just as the mind comes with you when you move in this present life, the consciousness as a whole travels with you at the time of death. It goes on to the next body, traveling like the aromas through the air. The negative side to this is that if you are presently very sinful and constantly have unclean thoughts, your next destination will be fit for that thinking. The positive is that if you sincerely desire the association of Govinda, the Supreme Lord who gives pleasure to the cows and to the senses, then He will be with you in the next life. He will illuminate the darkness and give meaning to the otherwise void existence.
With present surroundings can’t cope,
A change of scenery renewing hope.
But again the unhappiness to find,
Since to come with you the mind.
Better if attached to Govinda sound,
In reality everything to turn around.
If you desire Him Govinda you will get,
His company there even after death.