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Although Brahman, Paramatma and Bhagavan are the same and one absolute truth, still devotees like Kamsa or Sisupala could attain only to the Brahman effulgence. They could not have realization of Paramatma or Bhagavan. That is the distinction

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"Although Brahman, Paramātmā and Bhagavān are the same and one absolute truth, still devotees like Kaṁsa or Śiśupāla could attain only to the Brahman effulgence. They could not have realization of Paramātmā or Bhagavān. That is the distinction"

Other Books by Srila Prabhupada

Nectar of Devotion

In the First Canto of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam it is said that the absolute truth is one, and He is manifested as impersonal Brahman, Paramātmā (supersoul), and Bhagavān (the Supreme Personality of Godhead). Here is a spiritual distinction. Although Brahman, Paramātmā and Bhagavān are the same and one absolute truth, still devotees like Kaṁsa or Śiśupāla could attain only to the Brahman effulgence. They could not have realization of Paramātmā or Bhagavān. That is the distinction.

The attraction of the gopīs for Kṛṣṇa and the affection of the members of the Yadu dynasty are both accepted as spontaneous, or rāgānugā. The attraction of Kaṁsa to Kṛṣṇa in fearfulness and the attraction of Śiśupāla in enviousness are not accepted as devotional service, however, because their attitudes are not favorable. Devotional service should be executed only in a favorable frame of mind. Therefore, according to Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī, such attractions are not considered to be in devotional service. Again, he analyzes the affection of the Yadus: If it is on the platform of friendship, then it is spontaneous love, but if it is on the platform of regulative principles, then it is not. And only when affection comes to the platform of spontaneous love is it counted in the category of pure devotional service.

There may be some difficulty in understanding that both the gopīs and Kaṁsa achieved the same goal, so this point should be clearly understood, because the attitudes of Kaṁsa and Śiśupāla were different from that of the gopīs. Although in all these cases the focus is on the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and all of the devotees are elevated to the spiritual world, there is still a distinction between these two classes of souls. In the First Canto of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam it is said that the absolute truth is one, and He is manifested as impersonal Brahman, Paramātmā (supersoul), and Bhagavān (the Supreme Personality of Godhead). Here is a spiritual distinction. Although Brahman, Paramātmā and Bhagavān are the same and one absolute truth, still devotees like Kaṁsa or Śiśupāla could attain only to the Brahman effulgence. They could not have realization of Paramātmā or Bhagavān. That is the distinction.

An analogy can be given with the sun globe and the sunshine: to remain in the sunshine does not mean one has gone to the sun globe. The temperature of the sun globe is different from the temperature of the sunshine. One who has gone through the sunshine in jet planes or in space ships has not necessarily gone to the sun globe. Although the sunshine and the sun globe are actually one and the same, still there is a distinction, for one is the energy and one is the energetic source. The absolute truth and His bodily effulgence are in the same way simultaneously one and different. Kaṁsa and Śiśupāla attained to the absolute truth, but they were not allowed to enter into the Goloka Vṛndāvana abode. Impersonalists and the enemies of the Lord are, because of attraction to God, allowed to enter into His kingdom, but they are not allowed to enter into the Vaikuṇṭha planets or the Goloka Vṛndāvana planet of the Supreme Lord. To enter the kingdom and to enter the king's palace are not the same thing.

Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī is trying here to describe the different achievements of the impersonalists and the personalists. Generally, those who are impersonalists and inimical to the Supreme Personality of Godhead get entrance only into the impersonal Brahman, when and if they reach spiritual perfection. The impersonalist philosophers are in one sense like the enemies of the Lord because the out-and-out enemies of the Lord and the impersonalists are both allowed to enter only into the impersonal effulgence of the brahma-jyoti. So it is to be understood that they are of similar classification. And actually the impersonalists are enemies of God because they cannot tolerate the unparallelled opulence of the Lord. They try always to place themselves on the same level with the Lord. That is due to their envious attitude. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu has proclaimed the impersonalists to be offenders of the Lord. The Lord is so kind, however, that even though they are His enemies, they are still allowed to enter into the spiritual kingdom and remain in the impersonal brahma-jyoti, the undifferentiated light of the absolute.