For Krishna Janmashtami

Accept the Superior Knowledge of Ishwar

by Srila Bhakti Ballabh Tirtha Goswami Maharaja


The Bhagavad Gita says: Bhagavan uvaca – the Supreme Lord said…, indicating that it is the Supreme Lord Himself who is speaking.

Krishna is referred to as Bhagavan in the Gita. Bhaga means opulence, and van means one who possesses. God or Bhagavan is des-cribed as one who possesses all opulence, knowledge, wealth, power, beauty, fame and renunciation. There are many rich, wise, famous, beautiful or powerful men, but no one man can claim to possess all of these opulences. Only Krishna claims to possess them in totality.

Bhaga also signifies shakti or potency. So Bhagavan is Sarvashaktiman, one who possesses infinite opulence. Ishwar or God means One who has power and wealth. To disbelievers I’d like to ask that when in every worldly sphere of activity we are willing to submit to and get enriched by experts in their respective fields, why not accept and submit to the all-encompassing wisdom of the Almighty?

By our refusal to accept the Almighty, He will lose nothing, says the Ishopanishad. That is, if you subtract Purna from Purna (the whole from the whole) the remainder will be Purna, it will not be zero. Infinite minus Infinite is also Infinite.

I once invited the Nobel prize-winning scientist C V Raman to preside over a function on the occasion of Sri Krishna Janmashtami at Sri Gaudiya Math, Bagh Bazar, Calcutta . The scientist declined the invitation on the ground that Krishna was fictitious and he had got no intention of wasting valuable time on such functions.

Dr Raman said that if I could reveal Krishna to him, he would go to attend the function, as he did not believe in something that could not be comprehended by observation and experiment. Behind the northern portion of his laboratory was North Calcutta . I asked him: I am unable to see anything beyond this wall. If I say there is nothing outside this wall, will it be correct? Dr Raman said, I can see through my instruments.

When I pointed out that there is a limit to the power of instruments for you can see only as far as your instruments allow you to see, Dr Raman said: I will not give my attention to anything that is not within my sense-experience. Can you show me your God? I said: If your students say to you, they will study your scientific findings only if you make them realised first, then what would you say? Dr Raman said, No, they are to take my process through which I have rea-lised the truth. I said, If this is true for you and your scientific knowledge, can the seers of ancient India not say exactly the same thing? Why not follow their process and see whether you experience God’s existence or not.

The Supreme Lord is Asamor-dha – there is no equal to Him and no more than Him. Nothing, not even a dust particle can be outside the Infinite and Absolute. As there is no equal to Him and no more than Him, without His will nobody can realise Him. He is One, so realisation of Him is also one – to submit to His will. Service means to act according to the will of the served. This is Bhakti or devotion.

Bhakti is the best way to attain God. While the Karmis want non-eternal benefits in this world and in the higher worlds, Jnanis want emancipation, merging into Formless Imperso-nal Brahma. The ultimate goal of Yogis is to attain 18 kinds of Yogasiddhis or Kai-valya (merging into Paramatma). Shuddha Bhakta or Krishna Bhakti is scarce.

(The writer is President Acharya of Sri Chaitanya Gaudiya Math and President, World Vaishnav Association )


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