“The difference between the singular living entity and the plural living entities is that the singular living entity is the Lord of all. Lord Chaitanya is that supreme living entity, and He descended to reclaim the innumerable fallen living entities. In other words, the specific purpose of Lord Chaitanya’s advent was to establish the Vedic fact that there is one Supreme Personality of Godhead predominating over and maintaining the innumerable personalities of all living entities.” (Teachings of Lord Chaitanya, Ch 17)
Does God really exist? Is He a figment of the imagination? Is the concept merely a coping mechanism, used for dealing with the harsh reality of inevitable death? But is it really inevitable or can that formidable force be defeated? Is man made in the image of God or the other way around? Are we all Divine in a sense, just unaware at the moment?
With so many competing and sometimes contradicting philosophies, it is understandable for a person to be confused. Rather than follow any sort of religion, hope is placed in material accumulation. Increase power, fame, beauty or possessions and then look for happiness. If that doesn’t work, go in the opposite direction. Give up the world, live renounced, and maybe elusive peace will finally arrive.
Who better to clear the confusion than the Almighty Himself? On the occasion of Gaura Purnima we celebrate the appearance of the golden avatara, who is beautiful in every way, Gaurasundara. Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself, playing a role unique among His innumerable other descents. Rather than annihilating the miscreants through physical weapons, He destroys ignorance through the fullest representation of pure knowledge: the holy name.
The fundamental truth revealed and established without doubt through the life and teachings of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is that there is one living entity supporting all the other living entities. Like with the newborn child which requires constant attention in order to develop and grow, no one could continue to live without the support of the Almighty. From the tiniest ant up to the most powerful demigod in heaven, the underlying source of the strength is God. He is the sanctioning authority for every decision made.
Acknowledged is that there is a God and He supports everyone, but what is the position of the individual? Chaitanya Mahaprabhu reveals the philosophy of achintya-bhedabheda-tattva. The truth is that the individual and the Supreme are simultaneously one and different. This contradictory position is impossible to understand, achintya.
Rather than attempt to know theoretically, the truth has to be experienced. How? Simply by serving. What is the best way to serve? Just chant the holy names: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. This chanting is connecting with the Divine, the union of the individual soul with the Supreme Soul. The union is known as yoga.
Not a mere sentimentalist, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu describes the highest philosophy, in-depth, to anyone with doubts. He relies on the authority of Vedic texts like the Bhagavad-gita, Shrimad Bhagavatam and Brahma-samhita. There is proof that from all angles of vision the decision for bhakti-yoga is the proper one.
But how effective can speech really be? I take a class on how to start making money in real-estate investing. I am enthusiastic after learning the various principles, but nothing will happen until I take action. Prior to that the achievement, saphala, is only in the potential state.
In a similar manner, every living entity already has the potential to make perfect the link in yoga. The remaining step is to take up the process. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu has made the path very easy. He advises to simply chant the holy names. There are many authorized names for the Almighty, so Gaurahari is not even strict about specifically saying the names of Krishna. Any name for God will suffice.
The aim is to make the connection, to always be conscious of the one who is the supreme consciousness, supporting everyone else. All other philosophies are flawed, and the depth of their invalidity corresponds directly with the degree of deviation from the simultaneous-oneness philosophy described by Chaitanya. The most merciful golden avatara arrives in this dark age of Kali to shine light into our hearts, and anyone who takes His shelter is always protected.
An amazing truth to reveal,
That even beyond God is real.
To this world as Chaitanya came,
To teach both different and the same.
The living entity and God forever,
Understood through mind never.
From practice only, in bhakti’s union to see,
Through His grace Kali at distance to be.