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Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead

This section of the FAQ covers general questions on God in general and more specific, Lord Krishna.

Q: I feel that my faith in god is very hollow. How do I know that god exists?

A: We can know that God exists just like we know that a government, made of people, exists when we see traffic lights and just like we know an artist exists when we see a painting or just like we know that parents exist (or did exist) when we see a child. We know that this God must be intelligent beyond our imagination, and that this God must be a person, because only a person has intelligence.

Q: How should I understand the personification of God?

A: How do scientists, when discovering artifacts of an old civilization, determine whether or not what they find is from humans or nature? There is always a clear indication of an intelligent, personal creator in the creation. Similarly, there is ample evidence in nature of an intelligent person behind it. How could God be less than His creation which includes so many individuals, not only humans? The impersonal idea defies common sense and observation, although Krishna has His impersonal aspects, also.

Q: Is Krishna personal or impersonal?

A: The impersonal brahman effulgence is one aspect of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Sri Krishna, but it is only a partial representation of the Lord and is ultimately a subordinate emanation from His personal feature. Thus if one stops at the impersonal understanding of the Absolute Truth, his or her knowledge of God remains incomplete.

The Lord has two other features known as Paramatma and Bhagavan. In His Paramatma feature the Supreme Lord exists within each and every atom of His creation and also within the hearts of every living being In this way he pervades and supports the entire universe. This feature of the Lord is also a subordinate emanation from His eternal, original personal form.

The word Bhagavan indicates the personal form of the Lord, which is the ultimate source of all other existences and energies, and all other aspects and manifestations of Godhead. That is why Krishna is described as the "Supreme Personality" of Godhead. This personal feature of the Lord is most sublime and therefore the Lord is known as Krishna, or He who is all-attractive.

To deny the Lord His beautiful personal feature, by which He reciprocates in loving exchange with all living beings who desire His association, is insulting because it denies the Lord all of the most attractive and appealing aspects of personal existence. With our tiny brains and limited understanding, we may not be able to comprehend how it is that the Supreme Lord can maintain His eternal, individual form and personality, while simultaneously expanding into everything else. But this poor fund of knowledge is no reason to deny the Lord's unlimited, transcendental form.

Q: Aren't you limiting God by giving Him a form?

A: Certainly not. You are limiting God by saying that He doesn't have a form.

God is the source of all that exists, and since the source cannot emanate that which it doesn't possess we can understand that the Supreme Lord has His own form. That form, however, is not limited as our material forms are. God has a spiritual form and from that form the whole creation, spiritual and material, is coming.

angani yasya sakalendriya-vrttimanti
pasyanti panti kalayanti ciram jaganti
govindam adi-purusam tam aham bhajami

"I worship Govinda, the primeval Lord, whose transcendental form is full of bliss, truth and substantiality and is thus full of the most dazzling splendor. Each of the limbs of that transcendental figure possesses, in Himself, the full-fledged functions of all the organs, and eternally sees, maintains and manifests the infinite universes, both spiritual and mundane." (Brahma-samhita 5.32)

He has an impersonal aspect and a personal aspect. God's original supreme form is that of Sri Krishna, as confirmed in the Srimad-Bhagavatam (1.3.28), krsnas tu bhagavan svayam: "Lord Sri Krishna is the original Personality of Godhead Himself."

Q: Is there anything known about the disappearance of Krishna?

A: Krishna's disappearance is presented in the 30th and 31st chapters of Canto 11 of the Srimad-Bhagavatam. To briefly summarize, the Lord entered the forest and sat down in meditation. A hunter-devotee thought His lotus foot was the face of a deer and fired an arrow which grazed the Lord's foot. The hunter then came before Krishna and begged forgiveness for his offense. Showing His four-armed form, encircled by His personified weapons and symbols, He blessed the hunter and sent him to the spiritual world. The Lord then sent His weapons, symbols and His divine chariot to the spiritual world with His chariot driver Daruka. And then, in the view of Lord Brahma, Lord Shiva and all the demigods, Krishna ascended into the spiritual world Himself.

Q: In this age of Kali would it not be logical to think that Lord Krishna would come down to wash this society of all it's bad deeds? I mean, can things get any worse then they are? Or will the Lord just sit back and let us foolish humans destroy our own home?

A: According to the teachings of the Vedas and the opinions of authorities on the spiritual subject, Lord Krishna has descended in the Kali Yuga as Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, who appeared five hundred years ago to inaugurate the sankirtan movement which Srila Prabhupada brought to the Western world 30 years ago in the form of this Hare Krishna movement. It is said that people who are actually intelligent will take advantage of this movement to obtain spiritual knowledge and participate in the public glorification of the name, form, pastimes and qualities of the Supreme Lord. In this way they will get, and help to give others, relief from the unfortunate state of affairs in this modern society in the age of Kali.

Q: How could Krishna have 16108 wives?

A: When Krishna comes to this world He exhibits transcendental activities. He is exhibiting the activities from the spiritual world here. To be really the friend of all living entities Krishna has time for unlimited living entities. Not that in the spiritual we have to make an appointment and can see Him every one billion years for two seconds. In order to be always with us in the material world He expands himself as the Supersoul in everyone's heart and accompanies us through millions of forms, trying to convince us to come home. In the Spiritual world there is no paramatma feature. Instead, Krishna expands Himself there into unlimited forms according to the nature of the souls there to communicate with them all the time. And just like in the spiritual world Krishna expands Himself in so many forms to give us His association all the time, so when He comes down He exhibits the nature of the spiritual world by expanding Himself in so many husbands (in Dvaraka) or so many lovers (in Vrindavan) or so many dancers as there were kirtan parties (as Caitanya Mahaprabhu in Puri).

This is the Superexcellent power and mercy of the Supreme Lord. What concern for each and every one! What incomparable kindness to all! Yet in our mundane conception we mistake the wonderful exhibits of His kindness to be mundane.

Why should we think that Krishna needs someone like some sex monger needs a harem of women to satisfy his lust. Let us not think like that. Krishna is not an ordinary person. But in our impure mind we are misunderstanding His wonderful activities by projecting our mundane conceptions on Him.

Q: If God is so wonderful, why was I send here to suffer? If He can do anything, can't He get me out of here?

A: Yes, it is true that God can do anything. But He will not interfere with our minute independence, He will not impose Himself on the living being. Our suffering in this world is due to the misuse of our own independence. We are going to have to face our own responsibilities in this regard and stop blaming God. The sufferings we are currently undergoing are like the suffering of the dreamer in a nightmare. Ultimately they have no reality nor do they affect the soul who is simply undergoing the dreamlike conditions of material life due to his misidentification of the self with the material body.

One might still say that while the dreamer dreams his sufferings are very real to him. True. But there is another purpose to our sufferings. They are meant to gradually move us in the direction of inquiring into the problems of life and into our relationship with God. The ultimate suffering of the living being is the feeling of incompleteness and dissatisfaction that the part must feel unless it is in proper relation to the whole. We are all suffering in this world due to the fact that we have voluntarily separated ourselves from God and thus we will always feel unfulfilled, incomplete and unsatisfied, no matter how much we attempt to enjoy this world, because we are functioning artificially outside of our loving relationship with God.

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