In the Caitanya-caritāmṛta, the author, Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja Gosvāmī, after studying all the Vedic literatures and hearing from all authorities, has given his opinion that Kṛṣṇa is the only supreme master and that all living entities are His eternal servants. His statement is confirmed in the prayers by the personified Vedas. The conclusion is, therefore, that everyone is under the control of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, everyone is serving under the supreme direction of the Lord, and everyone is afraid of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. It is out of fear of Him that activities are rightly executed. Everyone's position is to be subordinate to the Supreme Lord, yet the Lord has no partiality in His view of the living entities. He is just like the unlimited sky; as the sparks of a fire dance in the fire, similarly, all living entities are like birds flying in the unlimited sky of the Supreme Lord. Some of them are flying very high, some are flying at a lower altitude, and some are flying at a still lower altitude. The different birds are flying in different positions according to their respective abilities, but the sky has nothing to do with this ability. In the Bhagavad-gītā the Lord confirms that He awards different positions to different living entities in proportion to their surrender. This proportionate reward by the Personality of Godhead to the living entities is not partiality. Therefore, in spite of the living entities' always being under the control of the Supreme Personality of Godhead in their different positions, spheres and species of life, He is never responsible for their different living conditions. It is foolish and artificial, therefore, to think oneself equal to the Supreme Lord, and it is still more foolish to think that one has not seen God. Everyone is seeing God according to his capacity; the only difference is that the theist sees God as the Supreme Personality, the most beloved, Kṛṣṇa, and the atheist sees the Absolute Truth as ultimate death.
The personified Vedas continued to pray. "Dear Lord," they said, "from all Vedic information it is understood that You are the supreme controller and all living entities are controlled. Both the Lord and the living entities are called nitya, eternal, and so are qualitatively one, yet the singular nitya, or the Supreme Lord, is the controller, whereas the plural nityas are controlled. The individual controlled living entity resides within the body, and the supreme controller, as Supersoul, is also present there, but the Supersoul controls the individual soul. That is the verdict of the Vedas. If the individual soul were not controlled by the Supersoul, then how could one explain the Vedic version that a living entity transmigrates from one body to another and enjoys or suffers the effects of his past deeds, sometimes being promoted to a higher standard of life and sometimes being degraded to a lower standard? Thus the conditioned souls are not only under the control of the Supreme Lord but are also conditioned by the control of the material nature. This relationship of the living entities with the Supreme Lord as the controlled and the controller definitely proves that although the Supersoul is all-pervasive, the individual living entities are never all-pervasive. If the individual souls were all-pervasive, there would be no question of their being controlled. The theory that the Supersoul and the individual soul are equal is therefore a polluted conclusion, and no sensible person accepts it; rather, one should try to understand the distinctions between the supreme eternal and the subordinate eternals."
The personified Vedas therefore concluded: "O Lord, You are the unlimited eternal (dhruva), and the living entities are the limited eternals." The form of the unlimited eternal is sometimes conceived as the universal form, and in Vedic literatures like the Upaniṣads the form of the limited eternal is vividly described. It is said therein that the original, spiritual form of the living entity is one ten-thousandth the size of the tip of a hair. It is also stated that spirit is greater than the greatest and smaller than the smallest. The individual living entities, who are eternally part and parcel of God, are smaller than the smallest. With our material senses we can perceive neither the Supreme, who is greater than the greatest, nor the individual soul, who is smaller than the smallest. From the authoritative sources of Vedic literature we have to understand both Him who is greater than the greatest and him who is smaller than the smallest. The Vedic literature states that the Supersoul is sitting within the heart of every living entity's body and is as big as a thumb. Therefore the argument may be put forward, How can something the size of a thumb be accommodated within the heart of an ant? The answer is that this thumb measurement of the Supersoul is imagined in proportion to the body of the living entity. In no circumstance, therefore, can the Supersoul and the individual living entity be taken as one, although both of them enter within the material body of a living entity. The Supersoul lives within the heart to direct or control the individual living entity. Although both are dhruva, or eternal, the living entity is always under the direction of the Supreme.
It may be argued that because the living entities are born of the material nature they are all equal and independent. In the Vedic literature, however, it is said that the Supreme Personality of Godhead impregnates the material nature with the living entities and then they come out. Therefore, the appearance of the individual living entities is not factually due to material nature alone, just as a child produced by a woman is not her independent production. A woman is first impregnated by a man, and then a child is produced. As such, the child produced by the woman is part and parcel of the man. Similarly, the living entities are apparently produced by the material nature, but not independently. It is due to the impregnation of the material nature by the supreme father that the living entities are present. Therefore the argument that the individual living entities are not parts and parcels of the Supreme cannot stand. For example, the different parts of the body cannot be taken as equal to the whole; rather, the whole body is the controller of the different limbs. Similarly, the parts and parcels of the supreme whole are always dependent and are always controlled by the source of the parts and parcels. It is confirmed in the Bhagavad-gītā that the living entities are parts and parcels of Kṛṣṇa: mamaivāṁśaḥ. No sane man, therefore, will accept the theory that the Supersoul and the individual soul are of the same category. They are equal in quality, but quantitatively the Supersoul is always the Supreme, and the individual soul is always subordinate to the Supersoul. That is the conclusion of the Vedas.
The significant word used in this connection is yan-maya, or cin-maya. In Sanskrit grammar, the word mayaṭ is used in the sense of "transformation," and also in the sense of "abundance." The Māyāvādī philosophers interpret that the word yan-maya, or cin-maya, indicates that the living entity is always equal to the Supreme. But one has to consider whether this affix, mayaṭ, is used for "abundance" or for "transformation." The living entity never possesses anything exactly in the same proportion as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Therefore, this mayaṭ affix cannot be used to mean that the individual living entity is quantitatively equal with the Lord. The individual living entity never has complete knowledge; otherwise, how could he have come under the control of māyā, or the material energy? The word "abundant" can be accepted, therefore, only in proportion to the magnitude of the living entity. The spiritual oneness of the Supreme Lord and the living entities is never to be accepted as homogeneity. Each and every living entity is individual. If homogeneous oneness is accepted, then by the liberation of one individual soul, all other individual souls would have been liberated immediately. But the fact is that every individual soul is differently enjoying and suffering in the material world.
As mentioned above, the word mayaṭ is also used in the sense of "transformation"; sometimes it is also used to mean "by-product." The impersonalist theory is that Brahman Himself has accepted different types of bodies and that this is His līlā, or pastime. There are, however, many hundreds and thousands of species of life in different standards of living conditions, such as human beings, demigods, animals, birds and beasts, and if all of them were plenary expansions of the Supreme Absolute Truth, then there would be no question of liberation, because Brahman would already be liberated. Another interpretation put forward by the Māyāvādīs is that in every millennium different types of bodies are manifest, and when the millennium is closed all the different bodies, or expansions of Brahman, automatically become one, ending all different manifestations. Then in the next millennium, according to this theory, Brahman again expands in different bodily forms. If we accept this theory, then Brahman becomes subject to change. But this cannot be accepted. From the Vedānta-sūtra we understand that Brahman is by nature joyful. He cannot, therefore, change Himself into a body which is subject to so many painful conditions. Actually, the living entities are infinitesimal parts and parcels of Brahman, and as such they are prone to be covered by the illusory energy. As explained before, the particles of Brahman are like sparks blissfully dancing within a fire, but there is a chance of their falling from the fire to smoke, although smoke is another condition of fire. This material world is just like smoke, and the spiritual world is like a blazing fire. The innumerable living entities are prone to fall down to the material world from the spiritual world when influenced by the illusory energy, and it is also possible for the living entity to be liberated again when by cultivation of real knowledge he becomes completely freed from the contamination of the material world.
The theory of the asuras is that the living entities are born of material nature, or prakṛti, in touch with the puruṣa. This theory also cannot be accepted, because both the material nature and the Supreme Personality of Godhead are eternally existing. Neither the material nature nor the Supreme Personality of Godhead can be born. The Supreme Lord is known as aja, or unborn. Similarly, the material nature is called ajā. Both these terms, aja and ajā, mean "unborn." Because both the material nature and the Supreme Lord are unborn, it is not possible that they can beget the living entities. But it is accepted in the Vedic literature that as water in contact with air sometimes presents innumerable bubbles, so a combination of the material nature and the Supreme Person causes the appearance of the living entities within this material world. As bubbles in the water appear in different shapes, the living entities also appear in the material world in different shapes and conditions, influenced by the modes of material nature. Therefore it is not improper to conclude that the living entities appearing within this material world in different shapes, such as human beings, demigods, animals, birds and beasts, all get their respective bodies due to different desires. No one can say when such desires were awakened in them, and therefore it is said, anādi-karma: the cause of such material existence is untraceable. No one knows when material life began, but it is a fact that it does have a point of beginning because originally every living entity is a spiritual spark. As a spark's falling onto the ground from a fire has a beginning, so a living entity's coming to this material world has a beginning, but no one can say when. Even though during the time of dissolution all the conditioned living entities remain merged within the spiritual existence of the Lord, as if in deep sleep, their original desires to lord it over the material nature do not subside. Again, when there is cosmic manifestation, they come out to fulfill the same desires, and therefore they appear in different species of life.
The living entities merged into the Supreme at the time of dissolution are compared to honey. In the honeycomb, the tastes of different flowers are conserved. When one drinks honey, one cannot distinguish what sort of honey has been collected from what sort of flower, but the palatable taste of the honey presupposes that the honey is not homogeneous but is a combination of different tastes. Another example is that although different rivers ultimately mix with the water of the sea, this does not mean that the individual identities of the rivers are thereby lost. Although the water of the Ganges and the water of the Yamunā mix with the water of the sea, the river Ganges and river Yamunā still continue to exist independently. The merging of different living entities into Brahman at the time of dissolution involves the dissolution of different types of bodies, but the living entities, along with their different tastes, remain individually submerged in Brahman until another manifestation of the material world. As the salty taste of seawater and the sweet taste of Ganges water are different and this difference continuously exists, so the difference between the Supreme Lord and the living entities continuously exists, even though at the time of dissolution they appear to merge. The conclusion is, therefore, that even when the living entities become free from all contamination of material conditions and merge into the spiritual kingdom, their individual tastes in relationship with the Supreme Lord continue to exist.
The personified Vedas continued: "Dear Lord, it is therefore our conclusion that all conditioned living entities are attracted by Your material energy and that it is only due to their mistakenly identifying themselves as products of the material nature that they are transmigrating from one kind of body to another in forgetfulness of their eternal relationship with You. Because of ignorance, these living entities misidentify themselves in different species of life, and especially when elevated to the human form of life, they identify with a particular class of men, or a particular nation or race or so-called religion, forgetting their real identity as eternal servants of Your Lordship. Due to this faulty conception of life, they are undergoing repeated birth and death. Out of many millions of them, if one becomes intelligent enough by associating with pure devotees, he comes to the understanding of Kṛṣṇa consciousness and comes out of the jurisdiction of the material misconception."