Published on July 6th, 2022 | by Madhudvisa dasa


Krishna: Monism or Duealism?

I was debating something for quite some time and I was wondering if you could help me out. Does Krishna preach monism(the universe is one big manifestation of God and the idea of a personal God is replaced by this universe) or dualism (the idea that this universe is pervaded by the Lord but also seperate from Him.) I would greatly greatly appreciate an answer back. This has been on my mind for a long time and I am suffering greatly from the inability to get an answer. God bless whoever returns this message. Jacob.

Dear Jacob

Hare Krishna! Please accept my humble obeisances.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada!

Krishna is God, whatever He says is correct. He is a person and He is the source of everything. Ultimately the source of everything, the cause of all causes, is a person and that person is called Krishna. Krishna is a name that describes God. In one sense God has no names, but He also has many names that describe Him and His pastimes. So the name Krishna means the “all attractive person.” It means the person who has all knowledge, all strength, all beauty, all fame and all renunciation. If you think about it even in this world we are attracted by people who are beautiful, people who are famous, people with a lot of knowledge, etc. So Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, he is the person who has all these attractive qualities in full.

We have the same qualities as Krishna, as God, but we have them in a minute quantity but Krishna has them in an unlimited quantity. That is the difference between Krishna, God, and us. In every way Krishna is unlimited and in every way were are very limited. God is great and we are very tiny, very small. Still we have the same qualities as Krishna. A drop of ocean water contains the same qualities as the entire ocean and by studying that drop one can find out a lot about the ocean. The drop is the same as the ocean in quality. But to say the drop of ocean water is the same as or equal to the ocean is a great mistake. Because the ocean is unlimited in quantity and the drop is very tiny.

It is this mistake that the people you are talking to make. They understand we are the same as Krishna in quality but they do not understand that we are like the tiny drop of the ocean water and Krishna is like the entire ocean. We can never be equal to Krishna at any point in our existence, liberated or conditioned. We will always be small and Krishna will always be great. And although we are parts and parcels of Krishna we have our own individual existence and that will continue eternally. Krishna will continue to exist eternally as a person and so will we.

The idea that God or Krishna becomes the creation or is transformed into the creation or is the creation is material and completely incorrect. The whole material world, within which our universe is like a very tiny insignificant speck of dust, is only a very small part of Krishna’s energy. Beyond the material world is the spiritual world, that is where Krishna and his expansions, incarnations, and devotees are living. In the spiritual world everyone is a liberated soul. The spiritual world is far, far bigger than the material world. Everyone there is serving Krishna in one of four different relationships. Some are serving Krishna in a neutral way, as the trees give shade and fruit, the grass provides a nice place for Krishna and the cowherd boys to play, and provide food for Krishna’s cows. That is shanta-rasa. Then there is dasya-rasa. That is royal worship, like the worship of a King. Some devotees are worshiping Krishna like a King in the spiritual world. Then there is shakya-rasa, devotees who are friends of Krishna. This is a very special relationship. The friends of Krishna do not realize that Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, they think He is just their friend. It is a very nice relationship indeed. Then there is vatsalya-rasa, some devotees are worshiping Krishna as their son. They have taken the position of Krishna’s parents and are exhibiting their love and service to Krishna in that way. The highest relationship is that of conjugal love. That is the called madhurya-rasa and that is the relationship Krishna has with His wives in Dvarka and with the gopis in Vrndavana.

These relationships with Krishna are perversely reflected in the material world. All these relationships exist here but because here the center is not Krishna they are perverted and can not give us real happiness.

Our real purpose is to re-establish our original relationship with Krishna and that can easily be done in this age of Kali by chanting the Hare Krishna maha mantra:

Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare
Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare

In summary Krishna certainly is not the material world or the material universe. Krishna is in the spiritual world and He never leaves the spiritual world.

When Krishna comes to this material world he does not leave the spiritual world. He brings it with Him. This whole material world is but a tiny part of Krishna’s unlimited energies. Krishna is existing in the spiritual world and He really does not have any direct connection with the material world. He has his representatives the demigods here and they are managing everything. He is not directly connected with the material world. Although everything is going on on Krishna’s energy He is not here personally. But He is personally present wherever His pure devotees are chanting his holy names, the Hare Krishna maha mantra.

Actually the philosophy of Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, who is Krishna Himself and who appeared as a perfect devotee of Krishna 500 years ago in India and who is the inaugurator of the Hare Krishna movement, is not monism or dualism. It is acintya beda abeda tattva–“inconceivably simultaneously one and different.”

Hope it helps. Chant Hare Krishna and be happy!

Your servant

Madhudvisa dasa

About the Author

My first contact with a Hare Krishna was a most merciful Mataji in Oxford Street, London who sold me a "Higher Taste" cook book in 1984 while I was on holidays there. I started seriously reading Srila Prabhupada's books in Australia 1985 and by 1986 Srila Prabhupada had convinced me "Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead" and "we should surrender to Krishna." I joined the Hare Krishnas in Perth, Western Australia in 1986. Since then I have been chanting Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare, reading and distributing Srila Prabhupada's books and preaching as much as I can. That's my life and full-time occupation now really. I like it more than anything I've ever experienced before. Srila Prabhupada's books are so amazing... Even after reading them all many times they're still fresh and new. They are truly transcendental! That's it really. Now I'm just hankering to once again see the world chant Hare Krishna, dance and feast and float away in the ecstasy of Lord Caitanya's Sankirtana movement as it did in Srila Prabhupada's physical presence. Let the whole world drown in the ecstatic flood of love of Krishna!

5 Responses to Krishna: Monism or Duealism?

  1. Aditya says:

    Hare Krishna prabhuji,

    I had a doubt like prabhupada told us that krishna always remains in goloka highest planet and when krishna goes somewhere to present his lila his planet also descends with him. Now if there are many universes coming from maha vishnu constantly then maybe due to there relative time it may be that krishna will be doing his lila their then does goloka remains in spiritual sky or descends there only.

    Hare Krishna

    • Not exactly that the planet comes with Him, Vrindavan comes with Him, the atmosphere of the spiritual world comes with Him, His eternal associates come with Him, so Vrindavan in India becomes a replica of the spiritual world when Krishna descends.

  2. Ratnadeep Ray says:

    Hare Krishna prabhu,

    I do agree that we never become equal to Krishna. But there are some ways in which we can bigger greater than Krishna. For example, Yashoda mayi bound Krishna, Krishna became the charioteer of Arjuna etc, Krishna is called Madana Mohana whereas Radharani is called Madana Mohana Mohini, etc..

    So if we have the tremendous devotions for Him, then He makes us greater than Him. In that way the pure devotees can control Krishna.

  3. Balgopal das says:

    Hare Krsna
    Srila Prabhupada in a lecture explained that “the car is a Ford but Mr Ford is not a car”

  4. Deva Krishna Das says:

    As far as I understand it, the middle ground between monism and dualism is Panentheism (not to be confused with Pantheism). Panentheism holds that God, the deity, Krishna, whatever you care to call it is both imminent and transcendent of the universe, that “all is in God AND God is in all.”

    Does that make sense? There’s a good wikipedia article on it.

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