The scriptures have clearly indicated that the ecstasy of devotional service to the Supreme Lord is far superior to the bliss of impersonal liberation, brahmānanda. Indeed, the happiness of merging into the Lord's existence (sāyujya-mukti) is like a puddle of water in a calf's hoofprint compared with the ocean of bliss derived from devotional service. The devotee never prays for the jñānī's sāyujya-mukti, for it is an impossible proposition. By sāyujya-mukti the impersonalists mean relinquishing one's identity, or individuality. This is nothing less than spiritual suicide. In this regard, I reproduce Dr. Radhakrishnan's comment on the Bible:
The doctrine of the Incarnation agitated the Christian world a great deal. Arioes maintained that the Son is not the equal of the Father but created by Him. The view that they are not distinct but only different aspects of one Being is the theory of Sabellius. The former emphasized the distinctness of the Father and the Son and the latter their oneness. The view that finally prevailed was that the Father and the Son were equal and of the same substance; they were, however, distinct persons. ("Introductory Essay," p. 35).
These words vaguely describe the philosophy of "simultaneously one and different"; therefore we acknowledge it. Jesus, the son of God, is a jīva, a separated part of the Supreme Godhead. But the jīva is also spiritual, and hence Jesus is qualitatively the same as the Supreme Lord. But the son can never be equal to the Father in all respects; that is to say, the jīva is never on the same platform as the Supreme Lord. Also, all the jīvas are separate individuals. And just as each jīva is a unique personality, so God is also a unique personality, but the difference is that He is absolute. By describing the Lord as impersonal and formless, one loses sight of His perfect wholeness. We find the Brahma-saṁhitā (5.39) boldly declaring the Lord's Supreme Personality:
- rāmādi-mūrtiṣu kalā-niyamena tiṣṭhan
- nānāvatāram akarod bhuvaneṣu kintu
- kṛṣṇaḥ svayaṁ samabhavat paramaḥ pumān yo
- govindam ādi-puruṣaṁ tam ahaṁ bhajāmi
I worship Govinda the primeval Lord, who manifested Himself personally as Kṛṣṇa and the different avatāras in the world in the forms of Rāma, Nṛsiṁha, Vāmana, etc., as His subjective portions.
All these incarnations of the Supreme Lord are full-fledged divinities. They are not influenced by anyone's whims; they do not become impersonal or formless upon someone saying so. They are eternally present. When They deem it necessary, They appear in their original transcendental forms, and then They disappear, just as the sun rises and sets. After Their appearance They perform manifest pastimes, and after Their disappearance They continue with Their unmanifest pastimes. According to the above-mentioned Brahma-saṁhitā text, Lord Kṛṣṇa is the original Supreme Personality and all the incarnations are His partial expansions. But the Lord's incarnations are never in the category of the jīvas. Śrīla Vyāsadeva has also expounded this truth in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (1.3.28): ete cāṁśa-kalāḥ puṁsaḥ kṛṣṇas tu bhagavān svayam. "All the above-mentioned incarnations are either plenary portions or portions of the plenary portions of the Lord, but Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the original Personality of Godhead." In other words, not only do the incarnations appear, but Lord Kṛṣṇa, the source of all incarnations, also appears, both as Himself and as an incarnation. These esoteric subjects are understood by the Lord's devotees, not by others, even though they may be erudite sholars.