Knowledge is information gathered from the scriptures, and science is practical realization of that knowledge. Knowledge is scientific when it is gathered from the scriptures through the bona fide spiritual master, but when it is interpreted by speculation, it is mental concoction. By scientifically understanding the scriptural information through the bona fide spiritual master, one learns, by one's own realization, the actual situation of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The transcendental form of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is different from material manifestations, and it is above the reactions of matter. Unless one scientifically understands the spiritual form of the Personality of Godhead, one becomes an impersonalist. The sunshine in itself is illumination, but that illumination is different from the sun. Yet the sun and the sunshine are not differently situated, for without the sun there can be no sunshine, and without sunshine there is no meaning to the word sun.
Unless one is freed from the influence of material energy, he cannot understand the Supreme Lord and His different energies. Nor can one who is captivated by the spell of material energy understand the spiritual form of the Supreme Lord. Unless there is realization of the transcendental form of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, there is no question of love of God. Unless one can realize the transcendental form of the Supreme Lord, he cannot actually attain love of God, and without love of God there is no perfection in human life. Just as the five gross elements of nature—namely earth, water, fire, air and ether—are both within and without all living beings in this world, the Supreme Lord is both inside and outside this existence, and those who are His devotees can realize this.
Pure devotees know that they are meant to serve the Supreme Personality of Godhead and that all things that exist can be means by which one can serve the Supreme. Because a devotee has been blessed by the Supreme from within his heart, he can see the Supreme Lord wherever he looks. Indeed, he can see nothing else. In Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (11.2.55) the relationship between the devotee and the Supreme Lord is confirmed as follows:
- viṣṛjati hṛdayaṁ na yasya sākṣād
- dharir avaśābhihito 'py aghaugha-nāśaḥ
- praṇaya-raśanayā dhṛtāṅghri-padmaḥ
- sa bhavati bhāgavata-pradhāna uktaḥ
"If a person's heart is always tied to the lotus feet of the Supreme Lord with the rope of love, the Lord does not leave him. Indeed, even if his remembrance is not perfect, he is to be considered a first class devotee." There is an example of this described in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, Daśa-skandha (10.30.4). When the gopīs assembled to join the rāsa dance with Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa left them. Consequently the gopīs began to chant the holy name of Kṛṣṇa and, being overwhelmed with madness, began to inquire about Kṛṣṇa from the flowers and the creepers in the forest. Kṛṣṇa is like the sky; He is situated everywhere.
By studying Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, we can obtain information about our eternal relationship with the Supreme Lord, understand the procedure by which the Lord can be attained and receive the ultimate realization, which is love of Godhead. In explaining to Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī how one can achieve the Supreme Personality of Godhead by devotional service, Lord Caitanya quoted a verse from Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (11.14.21) in which the Lord says that He can be realized only through devotional service executed with faith and love. Indeed, it is devotional service alone which purifies the heart of the devotee and elevates him to the ultimate realization by which he, established in faith, renders service unto the Supreme Lord. Even if one is born in a low family, like a family of caṇḍālas (dog-eaters), one can become filled with transcendental symptoms through realization of the supreme stage of love of Godhead. These transcendental symptoms are described in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (11.3.31):
- smarantaḥ smārayantaś ca
- mitho 'ghaugha-haraṁ harim
- bhaktyā samjātayā bhaktyā
- bibhraty utpulakāṁ tanum
"When devotees discuss subjects dealing with the Supreme Lord, who can cleanse the heart of His devotee from all kinds of sinful reactions, they become overwhelmed with ecstasy and display different symptoms due to their devotional service." The Bhāgavatam further states: "Due to their spontaneous attachment for the Lord, when they chant His holy names they sometimes cry, sometimes laugh, dance, sing and so on, not caring for any social convention." (SB 11.2.40)