Q: Is Krishna the Supreme Personality of Godhead or just a teacher like Jesus?
Krishna is not Parabrahman, the Absolute Being, and Jesus is not the Godhead, either. Nor are they “just teachers,” either.
Both Krishna and Jesus were perfect siddhas, thoroughly deified persons, truly god, having evolved through all the worlds of relative existence and transcended them in total union with the Absolute. Though finite, their consciousness and power is infinite. And this is true of all incarnations of God (avatars) such as Rama and Buddha. (See the book Robe of Light.)
A totally liberated being, a siddha, is far beyond the concept of God held by human beings, for being finite humans cannot at all even begin to correctly conceive of God. This is why the truly God-realized never attempt to describe or explain the nature of God.
Words from a Master
As Sri Ramakrishna said,
“What Brahman is cannot be described. All things in the world–the Vedas, the Puranas, the Tantras, the six systems of philosophy–have been defiled, like food that has been touched by the tongue, for they have been read or uttered by the tongue. Only one thing has not been defiled in this way, and that is Brahman. No one has ever been able to say what Brahman is.
“A man had two sons. The father sent them to a preceptor to learn the Knowledge of Brahman. After a few years they returned from their preceptor’s house and bowed low before their father. Wanting to measure the depth of their knowledge of Brahman, he first questioned the older of the two boys. ‘My child,’ he said, ‘You have studied all the scriptures. Now tell me, what is the nature of Brahman?’ The boy began to explain Brahman by reciting various texts from the Vedas. The father did not say anything. Then he asked the younger son the same question. But the boy remained silent and stood with eyes cast down. No word escaped his lips. The father was pleased and said to him: ‘My child, you have understood a little of Brahman. What It is cannot be expressed in words.’
“Men often think they have understood Brahman fully. Once an ant went to a hill of sugar. One grain filled its stomach. Taking another grain in its mouth it started homeward. On its way it thought, ‘Next time I shall carry home the whole hill.’ That is the way shallow minds think. They don’t know that Brahman is beyond one’s words and thought. However great a man may be, how much can he know of Brahman? Sukadeva and sages like him may have been big ants; but even they could carry at the utmost eight or ten grains of sugar!
“As for what has been said in the Vedas and the Puranas, do you know what it is like? Suppose a man has seen the ocean, and somebody asks him, ‘Well, what is the ocean like?’ The first man opens his mouth as wide as he can and says: ‘What a sight! What tremendous waves and sounds!’ The description of Brahman in the sacred books is like that. It is said in the Vedas that Brahman is of the nature of Bliss–It is Satchidananda.
“Suka and other sages stood on the shore of this Ocean of Brahman and saw and touched the water. According to one school of thought they never plunged into it. Those who do, cannot come back to the world again.
“In samadhi one attains the Knowledge of Brahman–one realizes Brahman. In that state reasoning stops altogether, and man becomes mute. He has no power to describe the nature of Brahman.
“Once a salt doll went to measure the depth of the ocean. It wanted to tell others how deep the water was. But this it could never do, for no sooner did it get into the water than it melted. Now who was there to report the ocean’s depth?”
“Sankaracharya retained the ‘ego of Knowledge’ in order to teach others. After the vision of Brahman a man becomes silent. He reasons about It as long as he has not realized It. If you heat butter in a pan on the stove, it makes a sizzling sound as long as the water it contains has not dried up. But when no trace of water is left the clarified butter makes no sound. If you put an uncooked cake of flour in that butter it sizzles again. But after the cake is cooked all sound stops. Just so, a man established in samadhi comes down to the relative plane of consciousness in order to teach others, and then he talks about God.
“The bee buzzes as long as it is not sitting on a flower. It becomes silent when it begins to sip the honey. But sometimes, intoxicated with the honey, it buzzes again.
“An empty pitcher makes a gurgling sound when it is dipped in water. When it fills up it becomes silent.”
How glorious is the scope of Sanatana Dharma! How vast and deep are its concepts! Those with small minds will prefer small ideas, but we can revel in the vision of the Rishis of India.
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