śrī śrī guru gaurāṅga jayataḥ!

Rays of The Harmonist On-Line Edition

Year 8, Issue 11
Posted: 30 November 2015

Dedicated to
nitya-līlā praviṣṭa oṁ viṣṇupāda

Śrī Śrīmad Bhakti Prajñāna Keśava Gosvāmī Mahārāja

Inspired by and under the guidance of
nitya-līlā praviṣṭa oṁ viṣṇupāda

Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja

Associates of Śrī Caitanya – Part Three
Bhaktas, Avatāras, Manifestations and Śakti

by Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura Prabhupāda

(Portrait of Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura Prabhupāda)

Associates of Sri Caitanya – Part One: Six Features of Godhead
Associates of Sri Caitanya – Part Two: Sri Nityananda Prabhu

The guru admits us into service to Śrī Kṛṣṇa.

* * *

The next category of Divinity is the bhakta, or devotee. As with the guru, the bhakta’s expression of service to the Divine – which is the distinctive function of the bhakta – is not confined solely to Him. These servants have been divided into two classes, namely (1) servants other than consorts and (2) consorts. While the guru has the distinctive function as master, the servant has no such distinctive function. This distinguishes the guru from the bhakta. The bhakta is also Godhead in the form of His own servant; the one to whom the guru manifests the Divinity. The mercy of the bhakta enables the dissociable soul to receive the mercy of the guru. The guru and the bhakta are the inseparable divine counterparts of one another.

The guru and the bhakta are thus two distinct entities among the five categories of Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya’s associates.

* * *

The avatāras (descending divinities) are the third category. They have their distinctive functions in the maintenance and deliverance of those jīvas who are inclined to serve the Divine. They have distinctive functions as master. The difference between the avatāras’ role of being master and that of the Divine consists in this: the avatāras are derivatives from the Divine, who still possess the absolute divine nature. The relation between the two is analogous to that between the original, self-existing source-light and other shining lamps that have been lit from that source. There is no difference between them in substance or magnitude, but they have distinct functions. The avatāras have their own distinctive natures, but the Divine is their common source. The Divine possesses all of their distinctive functions in a synthesis, which distinguishes Him from the avatāras, and His own divinity does not suffer any diminution on account of the eternal, parallel co-existence of the distinctive activities and personalities of the avatāras, who are themselves Divinities.

* * *

Another divine category is the group of divine manifestations. The manifestations are divine forms who are identical with the Divine or else identical with a distinctive nature of His. Kṛṣṇa can appear simultaneously in the same form or in different forms to different people and simultaneously retain His own form. All these other forms are His own manifestations.

* * *

The fifth divine category is divine power (śakti). Divine power is the predominated moiety of the Divine, who is Himself the predominating whole. Śrī Rādhikā is the predominated counter-whole of Śrī Kṛṣṇa. Śrī Rādhikā has Her duplicates and constituents, who are also of the nature of plenary powers of the Divine. Śrī Rādhikā is the female consort in the Supreme Divine Pair. She is the source of all the distinctive divine powers that serve as the corresponding counter-wholes of the infinite manifestations and avatāras of Divinity. She also directly serves Śrī Kṛṣṇa in an infinity of ways in her countless distinctive plenary and secondary forms.

* * *

There are five divine categories of Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya’s associates. If any of these categories are left out, the Truth, who is indivisibly one, refuses to present Himself to the arrogant aptitude of the pedant who does not fully submit to be enlightened by grace regarding the necessity of serving Divinity in and through these distinctions.

The pedant is disposed toward skepticism by dint of his lurking belief that it is the responsibility of the Divine to make Himself known to him. But the jīva is a dissociable particle of the Divine essence. It is the jīva’s responsiblity to choose for himself what relationship he will have with Divinity – one of service, one of neutrality, or one of disobedience. He cannot escape the privilege of exercising this responsibility except by conscious self-deception or by hypocrisy.

The dissociable individual soul is distinct from the divine categories. He is a particle of the marginal potency of the divinity. Śrī Nityānanda, who is identical with Balarāma, is the ultimate source of the jīva. The conditioned soul is a particle of the marginal potency. He has been sent to this world by the will of the puruṣa, Viṣṇu, who is a plenary part of Nityānanda. Viṣṇu lies tranquilly upon the surface of the Causal Ocean and exercises His divine function as the creator of all mundane existence, including the conditioned state of consciousness, without belonging to the mundane plane Himself.

Adapted from The Gaudiya, Volume 49, Number 7
by the Rays of The Harmonist team

Rays of The Harmonist On-line, Year 8, Issue 11, "Associates of Sri Caitanya – Part Three: Bhaktas, Avataras, Manifestations and Sakti" by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura Prabhupada, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License to ensure that it is always freely available. You may redistribute this article if you include this license and attribute it to Rays of The Harmonist. Please ask for permission before using the Rays of The Harmonist banner-logo.