There are innumerable living entities, and all of them are individuals. This is very easy to understand: We are all individual in our thoughts and desires, and the Supreme Lord is also an individual person

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"There are innumerable living entities, and all of them are individuals. This is very easy to understand: We are all individual in our thoughts and desires, and the Supreme Lord is also an individual person"

Sri Caitanya-caritamrta

CC Preface and Introduction

There are innumerable living entities, and all of them are individuals. This is very easy to understand: We are all individual in our thoughts and desires, and the Supreme Lord is also an individual person. He is different, though, in that He is the leader, the one whom no one can excel. Among the minute living entities, one being can excel another in one capacity or another. Like each of these living entities, the Lord is an individual, but He is different in that He is the supreme individual.

If we wish to become fully Kṛṣṇa conscious, we have to give up the shackles of māyā. Or, if we remain with māyā, we should live in such a way that we will not be subject to illusion, as did the many householders among Lord Caitanya’s closest devotees. With His followers in the renounced order, however, Lord Caitanya was very strict. He even banished Junior Haridāsa, an important kīrtana leader, for glancing lustfully at a woman. The Lord told him, “You are living with Me in the renounced order, and yet you are looking at a woman with lust.” Other devotees of the Lord had appealed to Him to forgive Haridāsa, but He replied, “All of you can forgive him and live with him. I shall live alone.” On the other hand, when the Lord learned that the wife of one of His householder devotees was pregnant, He asked that the baby be given a certain auspicious name. So while the Lord approved of householders having regulated sex, He was like a thunderbolt with those in the renounced order who tried to cheat by the method known as “drinking water under water while bathing on a fast day.” In other words, He tolerated no hypocrisy among His followers.

From the Caitanya-caritāmṛta we learn how Lord Caitanya taught people to break the shackles of māyā and become immortal. Thus, as mentioned above, the title may be properly translated as “the character of the living force in immortality.” The supreme living force is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He is also the supreme entity. There are innumerable living entities, and all of them are individuals. This is very easy to understand: We are all individual in our thoughts and desires, and the Supreme Lord is also an individual person. He is different, though, in that He is the leader, the one whom no one can excel. Among the minute living entities, one being can excel another in one capacity or another. Like each of these living entities, the Lord is an individual, but He is different in that He is the supreme individual. God is also infallible, and thus in the Bhagavad-gītā He is addressed as Acyuta, which means “He who never falls down.” This name is appropriate because in the Bhagavad-gītā Arjuna falls into illusion but Kṛṣṇa does not. Kṛṣṇa Himself reveals His infallibility when he says to Arjuna, “When I appear in this world, I do so by My own internal potency.” (BG 4.6)

Thus we should not think that Kṛṣṇa is overpowered by the material potency when He is in the material world. Neither Kṛṣṇa nor His incarnations ever come under the control of material nature. They are totally free. Indeed, in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam one who has a godly nature is actually defined as one who is not affected by the modes of material nature although in material nature. If even a devotee can attain this freedom, then what to speak of the Supreme Lord?

The real question is, How can we remain unpolluted by material contamination while in the material world? Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī explains that we can remain uncontaminated while in the world if we simply make it our ambition to serve Kṛṣṇa. One may then justifiably ask, “How can I serve?” It is not simply a matter of meditation, which is just an activity of the mind, but of performing practical work for Kṛṣṇa. In such work, we should leave no resource unused. Whatever is there, whatever we have, should be used for Kṛṣṇa. We can use everything—typewriters, automobiles, airplanes, missiles. If we simply speak to people about Kṛṣṇa consciousness, we are also rendering service. If our mind, senses, speech, money and energies are thus engaged in the service of Kṛṣṇa, then we are no longer in material nature. By virtue of spiritual consciousness, or Kṛṣṇa consciousness, we transcend the platform of material nature. It is a fact that Kṛṣṇa, His expansions and His devotees—that is, those who work for Him—are not in material nature, although people with a poor fund of knowledge think that they are.