Actually, we have to reach to the point of Personality of Godhead, person. Before that, Brahman realization and Paramātmā realization, that is partial realization of the Absolute Truth, because Kṛṣṇa says in the Bhagavad-gītā, brahmaṇaḥ ahaṁ pratiṣṭhā. The impersonal Brahman is resting on Kṛṣṇa. Just like the sunshine. Sunshine is very all-embracing, wide, widely spread all over the universe, the sunshine. But the sunshine is resting on the sun globe. We see the sun globe, localized. It is floating in one corner of this universal sky. But the sunshine is covering the whole universe. That does not mean the sunshine is more important than the sun globe. And if you can penetrate within the sun globe, then you'll find there is sun-god.
That is also mentioned in the Bhagavad-gītā, imaṁ vivasvate yogaṁ proktavān aham avyayam (BG 4.1). Kṛṣṇa says that "This yoga system, bhakti-yoga system, as they are mentioned in the Bhagavad-gītā, it was first explained to the sun-god, Vivasvān." The śāstra gives us the name of the predominating deity of the sun globe. Just like any gentleman can know or give the name of your president, Mr. Nixon. He might not have seen, but he knows that the present president of U.S.A is Mr. Nixon. Similarly, actually, those who are in knowledge, they know who are the predominating deities of the different planets. They know. Not to speak of others, Kṛṣṇa, who can know better than Him? Vedāhaṁ samatītāni (BG 7.26). Kṛṣṇa knows past, present, and future. So He's saying that imaṁ vivasvate yogaṁ proktavān aham avyayam (BG 4.1). "This imperishable yoga system, bhakti-yoga..." It is imperishable, avyayam. This very word is very significant. Bhakti-yoga is imperishable. Other yoga systems may be perishable, but bhakti-yoga is not perishable. Whatever you execute in this life, bhakti-yoga, that becomes your permanent asset, so that in the next life you can begin from the point where you ended in this life. If you can finish in this life, cent percent, that is very nice. If not,... Suppose you have finished fifty percent. Still it is permanent asset. It will never be lost. Therefore Kṛṣṇa says avyayam, inexhaustible. Imaṁ vivasvate yogaṁ proktavān aham avyayam (BG 4.1).
So here we find that the Absolute Truth is realized as Brahman, Paramātmā and Bhagavān. Bhagavān is the ultimate, the last word in the understanding of the Absolute Truth. Unless you come to the point of Bhagavān, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa... Bhagavān means original Bhagavān is Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇas tu bhagavān svayam (SB 1.3.28). All other Bhagavāns, They are expansions, plenary or part of the plenary expansion of Bhagavān, Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇas tu bhagavān svayam. So in the spiritual world also one has to go farther and farther until he reaches to the point of Kṛṣṇa. That is ultimate progress. It is said therefore in the Bhagavad-gītā,
- bahūnāṁ janmanām ante
- jñānavān māṁ prapadyate
- vāsudevaḥ sarvam iti
- sa mahātmā sudurlabhaḥ
- (BG 7.19)
After many, many births, understanding the Brahman... Brahman understanding is certainly transcendental, but because Brahman is only partial realization of the Absolute Truth, only the eternity... The Absolute Truth is eternal, blissful, knowledgeable, cognizant. So Brahman realization means realization of the eternity portion. Paramātmā-realization is knowledgeable. Paramātmā knows everything. Paramātmā is present in everyone's heart, and He knows everyone's activities. But actual realization, complete realization, means ānanda, sac-cid-ānanda. That ānanda-realization is in Kṛṣṇa-realization. Ānandamayo 'bhyāsāt (Vedānta-sūtra 1.1.12). Kṛṣṇa is by nature jolly, always full of bliss. You have seen the picture of Kṛṣṇa. He's always tri-bhaṅga-murāri, with two hands, with, playing on flute, surrounded by the gopīs, enjoying. That is blissfulness.
So brahmeti paramātmeti bhagavān iti śabdyate (SB 1.2.11), step by step. But if you approach Kṛṣṇa and try to understand Him through devotional service, then automatically you understand Brahman and Paramātmā. There is no need of separate endeavor for understanding Brahman and Paramātmā. Anyone who knows Kṛṣṇa, tattvataḥ, in fact... Kṛṣṇa says in the Bhagavad-gītā,
- manuṣyāṇāṁ sahasreṣu
- kaścid yatati siddhaye
- yatatām api siddhānāṁ
- kaścin māṁ vetti tattvataḥ
- (BG 7.3)
So one has to know Kṛṣṇa in tattvataḥ, as He is. So this tattvataḥ means accept the process of devotional service. Tattvataḥ, Kṛṣṇa as He is, cannot be understood by the other methods, namely by mental speculation or mystic yogic exercises. Kṛṣṇa cannot be understood in that way. If we want to understand Kṛṣṇa, then we have to accept the Kṛṣṇa method, bhakti method. That is plainly spoken by Kṛṣṇa: bhaktyā mām abhijānāti (BG 18.55). Kṛṣṇa does not say that you can know Him by mental exercises or yogic practices. No. Yogi can know... Tad-gatena manasā paśyanti yaṁ yoginaḥ (SB 12.13.1). Dhyānāvasthita-tad-gatena manasā paśyanti yaṁ yoginaḥ. Yogi also, by meditation, they see Kṛṣṇa. That is real yoga. As it is explained in the Bhagavad-gītā, the first-class yogi is he who always thinks of Kṛṣṇa within himself.
- yoginām api sarveṣāṁ
- śraddhāvān bhajate yo māṁ
- sa me yuktatamo mataḥ
- (BG 6.47)
- That is first-class yogi.
So you are thinking of Kṛṣṇa by chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa because the more you practice, immediately with your chanting, the name, the form, the quality, the pastimes, everything will be revealed. As we go on cleansing our dirty heart by chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra, and as we chant faultless, offenseless harer nāma, Kṛṣṇa reveals. Sevonmukhe hi jihvādau svayam eva sphuraty adaḥ (Brs. 1.2.234). By service attitude, if you chant Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra without any offense, then Kṛṣṇa will reveal Himself. You cannot try to see Kṛṣṇa by your speculation or yogic practice. If you simply submissively, surrendering yourself, chant His holy name... There is no difference between Kṛṣṇa's name and Kṛṣṇa. Abhinnatvān nāma-nāminoḥ (CC Madhya 17.133). People generally ask that what is the meaning of chanting this Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra. We explain, you know, chanting of Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra means immediately, directly associating with Kṛṣṇa. One has to approach Kṛṣṇa by yogic practice or mental speculation for many, many births. Bahūnāṁ janmanām ante (BG 7.19). They can come to the conclusion that "Here is Kṛṣṇa." Vāsudevaḥ sarvam iti. But if you take to this chanting of Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra without any offense, then immediately you contact Kṛṣṇa. You save so much time. Why should you wait for many, many births?
That is the gift of Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu. It is in the śāstra. Caitanya Mahāprabhu does not give you anything which is not in the śāstra. He's ācārya, although He's God Himself. He can make śāstra. Whatever He does, whatever He speaks, that is śāstra. But still, because He's playing the part of ācārya, He immediately gives Vedic evidences. That is the way of ācārya. Ācāryas will never say, "I think." "It is in my opinion." No. Such things are not accepted. No personal opinion. It must be supported by Vedic evidences. That is called paramparā system, genuine system of understanding. As Kṛṣṇa says, evaṁ paramparā-prāptam imaṁ rājarṣayo viduḥ (BG 4.2). No change. Therefore we are presenting Bhagavad-gītā as it is. We do not change. We have no power to change. Then where is the authority of Bhagavad-gītā? I am a third-class man, and if I change the statements in the Bhagavad-gītā, then where is the authority of Bhagavad-gītā? That is going on. Therefore it is practically... You have got experience that there are hundreds of Bhagavad-gītā editions in the Western countries, but because we are presenting Bhagavad-gītā as it is, our sale is better than all others. There is a report from the trade manager of Macmillan. He says, "While other editions are dwindling, going down, this edition is coming up." They published our, this present enlarged edition of Bhagavad-gītā, fifty thousand in the month of August. They are going to print again, second edition, August, September, October. So the reason is that if we present things as they are, it will be accepted. Without any adulteration. Sometimes, you know, people say that I have done miracles. They say everywhere. But I do not know anything, miracles or magic. If there is any miracle, that miracle is that we present things as they are. That's all. Without any adulteration. So that should be the principle. Present as it is. It will be accepted.
So Bhagavān. Brahmeti paramātmeti. We, we do not present Brahma-jñāna. Brahma-jñāna automatically comes if one is conversant with the knowledge of Kṛṣṇa. Then he can understand that this Brahman effulgence is the bodily rays of Kṛṣṇa.
- yasya prabhā prabhavato jagad-aṇḍa-koṭi-
- koṭiṣv aśeṣa-vasudhādi-vibhūti-bhinnam
- tad brahma niṣkalam anantam aśeṣa-bhūtaṁ
- govindam ādi-puruṣaṁ tam ahaṁ bhajāmi
- (Bs. 5.40)
So we immediately understand that this brahmajyoti, impersonal effulgence of brahmajyoti is the rays of Kṛṣṇa's body. Yasya prabhā (Bs. 5.40). Kṛṣṇa also confirms this in the Bhagavad-gītā: brahmaṇo 'haṁ pratiṣṭhā. Ahaṁ sarvasya prabhavaḥ (BG 10.8). Kṛṣṇa says everything is emanating from Him. The Brahman is also emanation from Him. Paramātmā is also expansion of Kṛṣṇa.