“The holy name of Krishna is nondifferent from Krishna, and one who attempts to spread the holy names throughout the world is beloved of Him.” (Teachings of Lord Chaitanya, Ch 1)
Friend1: Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.
Friend2: The golden avatara.
Friend1: Whose identity is hidden. Kept confidential, known to a select few.
Friend2: More important to show the example, that the ideal life is bhakti-yoga, devotional service.
Friend1: No need to necessarily proclaim to the whole world that you are a combined incarnation of Radha-Krishna.
Friend2: Appearing in the form of a brahmana, inducing people to chant the holy names: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
Friend1: Starting from the beginning of life. As a child crying until someone would say the name of Hari.
Friend1: Mahaprabhu especially showed signs of separation.
Friend2: The feelings. This is the mood of Radharani. I believe the Sanskrit term is vipralambha. There is a unique kind of emotion. It’s like feeling the blues, but the transcendental variety.
Friend1: And it is not negative.
Friend2: Right. It’s not like crying after your best friend has moved to another city. It’s not like missing your parents after being dropped off at school for the first time. It’s this intense separation anxiety that is actually blissful deep down.
Friend1: Shri Chaitanya is searching after Krishna, at least in the manifest pastimes.
Friend2: He is not proclaiming to everyone that, “I have found God and my work is finished.” In fact, the effort is never complete. That is the meaning to spiritual; always expanding.
Friend1: Here is an obvious question, at least to me.
Friend1: We are taught that the holy names are non-different from the Supreme Lord.
Friend2: Yes, but this is very difficult to realize. Emphasis placed on repetition. Numerical strength. Repeat the maha-mantra on a daily basis, as routine. Of course forced action, monotonous repeated behavior, is not bhakti, but the routine hopefully brings the individual to a point where they will feel spontaneous love.
Friend1: Let’s say that we have reached that destination. There is bhava. No need to try anymore.
Friend1: If the holy name is non-different from Krishna, why feel any pain at all?
Friend2: What do you mean?
Friend1: There is no separation. I have the name of Krishna. I have the name of Rama. That means that the Almighty is always with me. Actually, we don’t have to go that far. Take the example of the deity. This is the merciful incarnation, the Supreme Lord appearing within supposedly material elements.
Friend2: Saguna. The accurate depiction helps to give an idea of what spiritual attributes mean, that God indeed has a form.
Friend1: I get that, but I know if the worship is done properly the deity is non-different from Krishna. That is to say even if I haven’t perfected chanting the holy names, I can find God in the temple.
Friend2: For sure. That is a preliminary stage. The wise person knows that Krishna is all-around. He is not limited in residence to a specific place.
Friend1: Or places even. There are thousands of temples around the world. People keep deities within the home. At the higher stages of consciousness we see God everywhere, including in every living species.
Friend2: Because everyone has Supersoul inside them.
Friend1: Mahaprabhu is teaching vipralambha-seva and at the same time visiting temples and showing symptoms of ecstasy during times of darshana.
Friend2: Sure. The vision is that important. See with the eyes of love.
Friend1: Okay, but I don’t get the separation angle. Why is the search continuing? You have found Krishna. He is there in the deity. He is there in the holy names.
Friend2: Right, so take that as another sign of mercy. Mahaprabhu is the most advanced and yet He won’t show it. He will display the opposite, that He still feels the need to search. The same for the Gosvamis of Vrindavana. They never said they found God. They worship in the temple and chant the holy names to show that these are ways to stay connected, especially in consciousness.
Friend1: I get that.
Friend2: Moreover, if you have found Krishna through these practices, then wouldn’t you want to hold on to Him?
Friend1: What do you mean?
Friend2: If you say that God is close by through the sound of His holy names and then you don’t regularly chant those names, it means that you haven’t really realized the non-difference.
Friend1: Hmm. Never thought of it that way, but I guess you are right.
Friend2: Yeah, so if you really believe, if you really understand, then you will always worship the deity. You will always chant the holy names. I’m trying to say that if you find God in truth, then you will take up more service. Like the case with Shri Hanuman, where meeting Rama was actually the beginning of more work; it wasn’t the end.
After years of prayers to send,
Realization not the end.
That non-different is He,
In that beautiful deity to see.
Mahaprabhu vipralambha displaying,
And urging for holy names saying.
Separation for others showing,
Search to benefit them knowing.