The Person, the Globe, or the Sunshine?
A conversation with His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Allen Ginsberg: How far beyond special study centers can a Krishna consciousness movement or any religious movement grow? Because the need is for a large single, unifying religious movement in America.
Srila Prabhupada: Yes. So here is Krishna: all-attractive. You now have to find out as much as possible about Him. Of course, you can say, "Why shall I accept Krishna?" You can talk like that. But your first question is about finding the right unifying agent. So I say, "Here is Krishna.” Now we can analyze. You may ask, “Why shall we accept Krishna?” Then I shall reply, “Why shall you not?”
First, what do you expect from the Supreme Being or the perfect unifying agent? Everything is there in Krishna. Wealth—Krishna. Beauty—Krishna. Wisdom—Krishna. Fame—Krishna. Renunciation—Krishna. Strength—Krishna. You’ll find everything in Krishna. Whatever you want you’ll find in Krishna. He is the unifying agent, the center. And of that I will convince you. Krishna is the unifying center, actually.
And in the Bhagavad-gita He says, mama vartmanuvartante manushyah partha sarvashah: “Everyone is trying to come to Me.” Everyone is trying to come to Krishna. Then He adds, ye yatha mam prapadyante: “But some are realizing Me not directly but indirectly, through My various energies. Still, everyone is trying to come to Me.” We are talking about Krishna as the perfect unifying agent. Insofar as His unifying power is concerned, He appeals, in His various manifestations, to all varieties of truth seekers.
Essentially, there are three varieties of truth seekers: mental speculators, meditators or yogis, and devotees. The mental speculators are trying to understand the Absolute Truth in an impersonal way, without a personal form. And the meditators or yogis are trying to find Krishna within their heart, through meditation. Finally, the devotees are trying to find the Absolute Truth through personal activity, through reciprocation of loving service.
Now, all three of these manifestations—impersonal all-pervasiveness, personal presence in the heart, and active personal reciprocation—are in Krishna. And Srimad- Bhagavatam says that it is the only business of the human being to search out this Absolute Truth. Now, in the Bhagavatam’s second chapter, the Absolute Truth is explained, analyzed. Vadanti tat tattva- vidas tattvam yaj jnanam advayam.
First, the Absolute Truth must be one entity. The Absolute Truth cannot be two different entities. Two different entities would mean relative truths. No, the Absolute Truth must be one. Therefore the knowledge of the Absolute Truth is one. Vadanti tat tattva- vidas. Tattva-vidas means “those in knowledge of the Absolute Truth,” and the verse goes on to say that such persons confirm that the Absolute Truth is one. But He’s realized in three phases.
Brahmeti paramatmeti bhagavan iti shabdyate. Brahman means His impersonal all-pervasiveness, through His effulgent energies; Paramatma or Supersoul means His personal presence within the heart; and Bhagavan means His overt personal presence as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. So, these are different stages of realization.
For instance, you go through different stages in realizing the sun. In the first stage, you experience the sun’s impersonal effulgence all over the sky. But that effulgence is not more important than the sun globe—because it is from the sun globe that the effulgence is coming. So anyone will understand, “This sunshine is not as important as the sun globe.” And if you approach the sun globe and penetrate into the sun—if you have really got the scientific power to go within the sun globe—then you’ll find there is a sun-god. That information we get from Bhagavad-gita.
Imam vivasvate yogam proktavan aham avyayam.
Krishna says, “I first taught this science of God realization to Vivasvan, the sun-god.” So, therefore, behind the sunshine and the sun globe there is a person. And why not a person? Our imagination is not the ultimate truth. We have to get information from Krishna, and He explains that behind these other manifestations there is a person, the sun-god. So, as far as sun realization is concerned, there is a person—he’s sitting there. Now, if we consider these different stages one passes through in realizing the sun—sunshine, sun globe, and sun-god—which is the most important? Which is the most important?
Allen Ginsberg: The person, the globe, or the sunshine?
Srila Prabhupada: Yes.
Allen Ginsberg (laughing): I don’t know.
Srila Prabhupada: Why don’t you know? You cannot say which of these three manifestations is the most important? The sunshine, the sun globe, and within the sun globe, the sun-god. Now, which is the most important?
Allen Ginsberg: If we could apprehend it in terms of person, the person.
Srila Prabhupada: Yes.
Allen Ginsberg: But if we could apprehend it only in terms of the globe, then the globe.
Srila Prabhupada: So that means your own realization may extend only up to the globe, but that realization is not complete.
Allen Ginsberg: Yes.
Srila Prabhupada: That realization is not complete. You have to go further. As we learn in the Upanishads, we should pray, “O Lord, please withdraw Your effulgence, so that I can see Your true face.” Sri Ishopanishad says this. You will see it in Sri Ishopanishad. The author, Srila Vyasadeva, is praying, “Please wind up this glaring effulgence of Yours, so that I can see Your real face.” So the Lord’s real face is there. And in Bhagavad- gita Krishna says, brahmano hi pratishthaham: “This impersonal Brahman effulgence is resting on My personal existence.”
And Brahma- samhita says,
yasya prabha prabhavato jagad-anda-koti- kotishv ashesha-vasudhadi vibhuti- bhinnam tad brahma nishkalam anantam ashesha-bhutam govindam adi-purusham tam aham bhajami
“I worship Govinda, the primeval Lord, who has great power. The impersonal Brahman is simply the glowing effulgence of His transcendental form.” And so forth. So this Brahman effulgence is nothing but the effulgence emanating from Krishna’s body.
You see, Krishna has a very powerful bodily effulgence. And within that bodily effulgence, all creation has manifested. Just as within the sun’s effulgence all these planets are moving and all this vegetation is growing—everything is existing within the sunshine—so, similarly, sarvam khalv idam brahma: Everything is existing within the brahmajyoti, Krishna’s effulgence. And in the Bhagavad-gita Krishna says, maya tatam idam sarvam jagadavyakta-murtina: “This impersonal exhibition of this whole manifestation—it is I.” Mat- sthani sarva-bhutani: “Everything existing is within Me.” But na caham teshv avasthitah: “And yet I am not directly there.”
So we have to study everything intelligently. I want some intelligent persons from America to study this great science and share it with the whole world. Then it will be nicely done.