Just as the sun is a localized planet with the sunshine expanding unlimitedly from that source, so the Absolute Truth is the Supreme Personality of Godhead with His effulgence of energy, Brahman, expanding unlimitedly. From that Brahman energy the creation appears, just as a cloud appears in sunshine. From the cloud comes rain, from the rain comes vegetation, and from the vegetation come fruits and flowers, which are the basis of subsistence for many other forms of life. Similarly, the effulgent bodily luster of the Supreme Lord is the cause of the creation of infinite universes. The Brahman effulgence is impersonal, but the cause of that energy is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. From Him, in His abode, the Vaikuṇṭhas, this brahmajyoti emanates. He is never impersonal. Since impersonalists cannot understand the source of the Brahman energy, they mistakenly choose to think this impersonal Brahman the ultimate or absolute goal. But as stated in the Upaniṣads, one has to penetrate the impersonal effulgence to see the face of the Supreme Lord. If one desires to reach the source of the sunshine, he has to travel through the sunshine to reach the sun and then meet the predominating deity there. The Absolute Truth is the Supreme Person, Bhagavān.
(Sri Caitanya Caritamrta——1:1:53——-purport).
It is confirmed by the statement of Brahma-saṁhitā that the Brahman effulgence is the bodily ray of Kṛṣṇa; the Brahman effulgence is simply an exhibition of the energy of Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa is the source of the Brahman effulgence, as He Himself confirms in Bhagavad-gītā. From this we can conclude that the impersonal feature of the Absolute Truth is not the ultimate end; Kṛṣṇa is the ultimate end of the Absolute Truth.
(Nectar of Devotion).
The qualifications of a saintly person are described in the Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu as follows. A saintly person is one who understands fully that simply by discharging devotional service he can become confident of liberation. He is always situated in the regulative principles of devotional life and at the same time aspires to be liberated from material entanglement. A saintly person thinks like this: “When shall I be able to live alone in the caves of the mountains? When shall I be dressed simply with undergarments? When shall I be satisfied by eating simply a little fruit and vegetables? When will it be possible for me to think always of the lotus feet of Mukunda, who is the source of the Brahman effulgence? When, in such a spiritual condition of life, shall I fully understand my days and nights to be insignificant moments in eternal time?” The devotees and self-realized persons who are engaged in preaching the glories of the Lord always maintain an ecstatic love for the Lord within their hearts. Thus they are benefited by the rays of the ecstatic moon, and they are called saintly persons.
(Nectar of Devotion).
Govinda is the original person, the cause of all causes. In the Bhagavad-gītā also it is stated that You are the source of the Brahman effulgence. No one should conclude that Your body is like an ordinary material body. Your body is akṣara, indestructible. The material body is always full of threefold miseries, but Your body is sac-cid-ānanda-vigraha: (Bs. 5.1) full of bliss, knowledge and eternality. You are also nirañjana because Your pastimes, as the little son of mother Yaśodā or the lover of the gopīs, are never contaminated by the material qualities. And although You exhibited Yourself as so many cowherd boys and calves, Your transcendental potency was not reduced. You are always complete. As it is described in the Vedic literature, even if the complete is taken away from the complete—the Supreme Absolute Truth—it remains the complete Supreme Absolute Truth.
In the Bhagavad-gītā (14.27) Lord Kṛṣṇa says, “And I am the basis of the impersonal Brahman, which is the constitutional position of ultimate happiness.” This verse unequivocally declares that Brahman is Lord Kṛṣṇa’s bodily effulgence. Since Lord Kṛṣṇa is the source of Brahman, devotional service to Lord Kṛṣṇa establishes the true meaning of sarvaṁ khalv idaṁ brahma. A sacrifice is properly performed only when all the sacrificial ingredients—the offerings, the fire, the ghee, and so on—become spiritualized, or reach the stage of Brahman, by their contact with Lord Kṛṣṇa. And since the performance of sacrifice culminates in the manifestation of real love for Lord Viṣṇu, loving devotional service to Lord Viṣṇu is the very best form of sacrifice. Such a stage can be also described as total absorption in Brahman.
(Renunciation through Wisdom).
Brahman exists as the all-pervading energy in this phenomenal world. Therefore the Vedas have defined Brahman as formless, impersonal, pure, and so on. But the source of Brahman is an eternal personality who has no material form but who has a transcendental form full of spiritual potencies and all divine qualities. He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the embodiment of eternity, knowledge, and bliss. He possesses all six transcendental opulences to an infinite degree, He performs superexcellent divine pastimes, and He alone is to be searched out and known in all the scriptures.
(Renunciation through Wisdom).
Sometimes material nature, or prakṛti, is referred to as Brahman, the reason being that Brahman is the cause of the material nature. In one sense a cause and its effect are identical. But Lord Kṛṣṇa is the ultimate source of Brahman. The Lord impregnates Brahman in the form of the material nature with the seed of Brahman known as the jīva. As Kṛṣṇa says in the Bhagavad-gītā (14.3),
mama yonir mahad brahma
tasmin garbhaṁ dadhāmy aham
tato bhavati bhārata
The total material substance, called Brahman, is the source of birth, and it is that Brahman that I impregnate, making possible the births of all living beings, O scion of Bharata.
This verse explains the famous saying sarvaṁ khalv idaṁ brahma from the Upaniṣads, meaning “Everything is Brahman.” In other words, the Supreme Brahman, Lord Kṛṣṇa, is identical with both the jīva and prakṛti in that they are all Brahman.
(Renunciation through Wisdom).
The supreme enjoyer, the Personality of Godhead, is the Supreme Brahman or the summum bonum because of His being the supreme cause of all causes. The conception of impersonal Brahman realization is the first step, due to His distinction from the illusory conception of material existence. In other words, impersonal Brahman is a feature of the Absolute distinct from the material variegatedness, just as light is a conception distinct from its counterpart, darkness. But the light has its variegatedness, which is seen by those who further advance in the light, and thus the ultimate realization of Brahman is the source of the Brahman light, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the summum bonum or the ultimate source of everything. Therefore, meeting the Personality of Godhead includes the realization of the impersonal Brahman as realized at first in contrast with material inebriety. The Personality of Godhead is the third step of Brahman realization. As explained in the First Canto, one must understand all three features of the Absolute—Brahman, Paramātmā and Bhagavān.
As soon as a living entity forgets his constitutional position and endeavors to become one with the Supreme, his conditional life begins. The conception that the Supreme Brahman and the living entity are equal not only in quality but also in quantity is the cause of conditional life. If one forgets the difference between the Supreme Lord and the living entity, his conditional life begins. Conditional life means giving up one body to accept another and undergoing death to accept death again. The Māyāvādī philosopher teaches the philosophy of tat tvam asi, saying, “You are the same as God.” He forgets that tat tvam asi applies in terms of the marginal position of the living entity, who is like sunshine. There is heat and light in the sun, and there is heat and light in the sunshine, and thus they are qualitatively one. But one should not forget that the sunshine rests on the sun. As the Lord says in Bhagavad-gītā, brahmaṇo hi pratiṣṭhāham (B.G.14:27): “I am the original source of Brahman.” The sunshine is important because of the presence of the sun globe. It is not that the sun globe is important because of the all-pervasiveness of the sunshine. Forgetfulness and misunderstanding of this fact is called māyā. Because of forgetfulness of one’s constitutional position and that of the Supreme Lord, one comes into māyā, or saṁsāra—conditional life.
All the boys would be differently engaged. Some boys blew their flutes, and others blew bugles made of horn. Some imitated the buzzing of the bumblebees, and others imitated the voice of the cuckoo. Some boys imitated flying birds by running after the birds’ shadows on the ground, some imitated the beautiful movements and attractive postures of the swans, some sat down with the ducks, sitting silently, and others imitated the dancing of the peacocks. Some boys attracted young monkeys in the trees, some jumped into the trees, imitating the monkeys, some made faces as the monkeys were accustomed to do, and others jumped from one branch to another. Some boys went to the waterfalls and crossed over the river, jumping with the frogs, and when they saw their own reflections on the water they would laugh. They would also condemn the sounds of their own echoes. In this way, all the cowherd boys used to play with Kṛṣṇa, who is the source of the Brahman effulgence for jñānīs desiring to merge into that effulgence, who is the Supreme Personality of Godhead for devotees who have accepted eternal servitorship, and who for ordinary persons is but another ordinary child. The cowherd boys, having accumulated the results of pious activities for many lives, were able to associate in this way with the Supreme Personality of Godhead. How can one explain their great fortune?” As recommended by Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī, tasmāt kenāpy upāyena manaḥ kṛṣṇe niveśayet (Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu 1.2.4) (S.B.7:1:32). Somehow or other, whether one thinks of Kṛṣṇa as an ordinary human child, as the source of the Brahmaneffulgence, as the origin of Paramātmā, or as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, one should concentrate one’s full attention upon the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa. That is also the instruction of Bhagavad-gītā (18.66): sarva-dharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja. Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is the easiest way of directly approaching Kṛṣṇa.