Is the Supersoul actually expanded in every heart or is it an appearance of expansion?
Transcribed by: Argha Maji
Question: Is the Supersoul actually expanded in every heart or is it an appearance of expansion?
Answer: Yes now in 13.17 BG Krishna refers to this,
avibhaktam ca bhūteshu
vibhaktam iva ca sthitam
So he is talking about the Supersoul and he says avibhaktam, is not separated but then vibhaktam iva ca, as if separated he appears and then later in 13.31 BG
tata eva ca vistāram
brahma sampadyate tadā
So here also the point is yadā bhūta-prithag-bhāvam, there is a lot of variety, eka-stham anupaśyati, there is one and then there is tata eva ca vistāram, so there is one and after that there is vistāram also. There is expansion. So we see the Bhagavad Gita first says vibhaktam iva ca, it is as if situated separately and then it says tata eva ca vistāram, afterwards there is expansion. So it will seem the Bhagavad Gita supports both these points. Now, whenever we talk about the concept of oneness and difference, always there is certain amount of inconceivability in it. But as we know advaitam acyutam anādim ananta-rūpam, the Brahma Samhita says about the various forms of the Lord. So, are Krishna and Vishnu different or same, it depends on what is the context we are talking about. In terms of rasa, yes they are different. In terms of tattva, they are the same same tattva, they are same person, different personalities. They have different moods, different personalities. So in that sense the difference between Vishnu and Krishna is easier to understand. Now, the difference between Paramātmā and Paramātmā, actually it is not same person, different personalities. Because all Supersouls are the same, its not that the Supersoul in your heart is a different personality from the Supersoul in my heart. Its the same supersoul who is there. That means unlike Vishnu, Krishna where there is a difference in personalities, between the various manifestations of Ksirodakasayi Vishnu, there is no difference. And that’s why we see that all the Supersoul expansions have the same name Ksirodakasayi Vishnu. In the Caitanya Caritamrita, it is given that the different Vishnu expansions have different names depending on which hand they hold conch, lotus. So, they have different names. There are differences over there. Like between Vasudev, Sankarsana, Pradyumna, Aniruddha, there are differences.
Like that there is no difference between Ksirodakasayi Vishnus, there is only one Ksirodakasayi Vishnu. So in that sense all the Supersouls are one.
But is it just an appearance of expansion or is it actually an expansion? This depends on understanding the difference between material and spiritual. That means for something material, to be here and to be there, material things have a specific materially characterised form. That means if I am present here, I cannot be present in some other room. But we know that Krishna is infinite and that’s why being spiritual, he can be present in many places at the same time. So the Supersoul is in one sense the same, all the Supersouls are same. But at the same time there is a difference in the sense that the Supersoul is primarily focused on guiding that particular soul who is in the heart. So, has the supersoul actually expanded?
Now as far as the artistic depictions are concerned we do clearly see under the paintings that Prabhupada directed, Prabhupada directed the Supersoul be shown in every heart and there is distinct Supersoul. And there is a picture also that, specially this picture tata eva ca vistāram brahma sampadyate tadā (BG 13.31) that is illustrated by how there is one Supersoul who is above and then there is Supersoul in heart of all living beings. So in different contexts either the oneness aspect will be emphasised or the diversity aspect will be emphasised. But the fact is that there is a Supersoul who is present in each heart and the example of the sun which is given that is not the most precise example. We can have another example. The same sun appears to be overhead for different people, wherever they are. So sun is one but it appears different. Now that example is more precisely used for saying how the God who appears to be different is still one. Something which appears different is still one.
But if we want to talk about the diversity aspect, another example is given is, if there are hundred pots on the ground and there is sun above. And sun is reflected on all the hundred pots. So, it is the same sun that is reflected. But if we shake one pot only that reflection will be shaken, the other reflections will not get shaken. That means there is some distinctiveness of that reflection as compared to other reflections. So the supersoul in our heart is the supersoul who is reciprocating with us and he is indeed personally present in our heart. So, Krishna does expand and its not just appearance of expansion there is actual expansion.
Now if we go back to the appearance of expansion then we can even say that Garbhodakaśāyī Vishnu is an appearance of expansion of Mahavishnu. And Mahavishnu is an appearance of expansion of Sańkarshana. In this way we can go back and say that only Krishna is present and everything else is an appearance. Now in terms of kinds of expansions that are described in Caitanya Caritamrita, there is no cutoff that these expansions are appearances of expansions and these expansion are actual expansions. So we know Krishna expands to Balarama, then from Balaram, we have Vāsudeva, Sańkarshana, Pradyumna and Aniruddha. Then we have Narayana. Now we know these are real. Balarama is a real person. Its not just appearance. So as the sequence of expansion is real and in that same flow when Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is talking with Sanatana Goswami he describes how Lord expands as Mahavishnu also and then as Garbhodakaśāyī Vishnu and Kshīrodakaśāyī Vishnu. So there is no description anywhere that these forms are real expansions and these forms are appearances of expansions. They are all real expansions. And the point is Krishna does really expand and sometimes when the point that they are one is to be stated or is to be emphasised at that time it may be said that these are actually one and it appears as if they are different. But the appearance is not of existence, the appearance is of difference. That means when we talk of something of being apparent, we are not talking about their existence being apparent, what we are saying is the perception that they are different, that is apparent thing, that is not actual. vibhaktam iva ca sthitam. ( BG 13.17). That iva refers not to the vibhaktam but to the stitham. It refers not to the existence but to the difference. They are all one and all of them truly exist. But when it appears that they are different, we should understand that they are not different, they are one but they are definitely existing as distinct manifestations of the Supreme Lord. Thank you.