Four types of abheda between Kṛṣṇa and His śaktis

Now that Śrī Babaji has concluded his classes on the topic, I am resuming the series of articles on the Kṛṣṇa Sandarbha. For this article, I am going out of sequence and starting at the end.

Caitanya Vaiṣṇavas subscribe to the view of acintya bheda-abheda, which I have examined in several articles here, here, here and here. In Anuccheda 189 of the Kṛṣṇa Sandarbha, Śrī Jīva Goswami reveals some fundamental truths about Śrī Rādhā. At issue is a statement of Śrī Durgā in which she states that she is Rukmiṇī in Dvārakā, Rādhā in the forest of Vṛndāvana, Devakī in Mathurā, Paramesvarī in Pātāla, Sītā in Citrakuṭa and Vindhya-nivāsinī in Vindhyācala. Śrī Jīva Goswami explains that such statements are made by Śrī Durgā, considering herself non-different from Śrī Rādhā and the others; i.e. considering that there is abheda between her and Śrī Rādhā. Considered this way, Śrī Rādhā is then not a portion of Śrī Durgā as the statement implies at first glance, but rather it is the other way around.

In explaining this, Śrī Jīva Goswami presents four ways in which there is abheda between Kṛṣṇa and His śaktis which is a very useful way to summarize the complex subject. I present the translations and commentary by Śrī Babaji below.

यथा सर्वं खल्विदं ब्रह्म (छा ३/१४/१) इति कारणादनन्यत्वेन – By considering the effect as one with it cause, as in, “All this is verily Brahman” (CHU 3.14.1).

Śrī Babaji’s commentary – An effect can be considered as nondifferent from its cause, since it is nothing other than the explicit manifestation of the potential implicit within the cause.

यथा तत् त्वमसि (छा ६/८/७) इति परमात्मजीवयोश्चित्साम्येन – By considering Paramātmā and the individual living being (jīva) as equal in terms of consciousness, as in, “You are that”” (CHU 6.8.7).

The individual living being and the Supreme Being can be considered as nondifferent from the point of view that both are conscious nature, the former being an integrated part. This insight is meant to support the authentic self in abandoning its false identification with the body-mind complex, which is a product of inert matter.

यथा सर्वं समप्नोषि तोतोSसि सर्वः (गीता ११/४०) इत्यधिष्ठानाधिष्ठात्रोरभेदोपचारेण – By regarding as non-different the support and the supported, as in, “You pervade everything, and so You are everything” (Gītā 11.40).

The supported can be considered as nondifferent from the support, in the sense that the former’s existence is entirely rooted in and dependent upon the latter. We cannot exist without Bhagavān, who is the support of everything.

यथा वा रामोSहम् इत्यादिकमहङ्ग्रहोपासनेनेति – And by the process of meditating upon oneself as identical with the Supreme (ahaṅgrahopāsanā), as in, “I am Rāma” (Rāma-tāpanī Upaniṣad 2.5).

The individual self can be considered as nondifferent from the Supreme Self on the basis of the insight disclosed through ahaṅgrahopāsanā, or the process of meditating upon oneself as identical with the Supreme. It is out of such identity consciousness that Durgā speaks of being Rādhā in Vṛndāvana. This indicates that Durgā is but a minute portion of Śrī Rādhā.

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