Nature of the Absolute

Chaitanya presents a comprehensive concrete monism, dipolar monotheism or panentheism. The personal Absolute enfolds even the formless, attributeless Absolute. God-dess’ inconceivable power to reconcile the irreconcilable reconciles our imperfect and contradictory ideas of qualified and unqualified Absolute in a higher synthesis.

The Absolute cannot be completely expressed by words, but this does not mean it cannot be expressed at all. Being infinite and unbounded, the Absolute cannot be limited by words. Chaitanya and his followers reject the idea of the Absolute as a pure, undifferentiated being.

The Absolute must be a positive concept to be intelligible and real. Since nothing positive is without attributes, the Absolute must be qualified. Being infinite, the Absolute must be determined and qualified in endless ways. It is all encompassing and lacks nothing. The idea of personality is both consistent and essential to the infinite Absolute. God-dess has character, which implies something definite and limiting. God-dess is unlimited in the sense being immeasurable and all encompassing.

Vedic “scriptures describe the Absolute as both qualified and unqualified.” (83) They often clearly describe the Absolute as both qualified and unqualified in the same breath. Those who wish to merge with the unqualified Absolute may do so. Those who wish a relationship with the personal Absolute, God-dess, may do so. The Absolute is both and. God-dess reciprocates according to our approach.

We are finite, and God-dess is infinite. We cannot delimit the infinite with human thought and words. We do not want to define a God that is too small and fits neatly in our box. God-dess’ inconceivable potency transcends the law of contradiction, blending contradictory ideas or qualities within itself. “The infinite is infinite because there is nothing that does not fall within it…The infinite logically excludes the possibility of the existence of anything other than itself.” (85-6) Whatever exists is a manifestation of the Absolute and is internally related to it. “Nothing exists apart from it and independent of it…functional differences in the Absolute…naturally follow from its inconceivable potency. Anything that we can speak or think of must in some way be a manifested part of the infinite.” (86)

“The concepts of infinity and personality are both essential to the real nature of the Absolute.” (87) Denial of qualities and attributes to the Absolute is an imperfect, limiting concept. God-dess possesses infinite attributes and forms. “The concept of the inconceivable implies that there are stages of being and intelligence higher than our own.” Naturally, the power of God-dess, “whose dimensions are unlimited, should appear as inconceivable to our finite minds.” (89)


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