Achintya-bhedabheda-tattva



Achintya-bhedabheda-tattva refers to the inconceivable oneness and difference of the Supreme Person and His energies. This is one of the key points of theistic philosophy taught by Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. As parts of God’s energy, we’re also equal in quality with God, but there’s a vast difference in quantity. We’re each infinitesimal sparks of spiritual energy, and the Supreme Person, Krishna, is the infinite, supreme source of all energies.

Some parts of the Vedas say that all beings are one with God, and others say that God is different from all beings. Vedanta philosophers have long argued back and forth about this, but Chaitanya Mahaprabhu taught that both statements are simultaneously true.

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Just as the sun is the source of heat and light, God is the ultimate source of all energy. The sun is inseparable from its rays, and God is inseparable from His energies. God and His energies are therefore nondifferent. At the same time, God and His energies are distinct. The sun and its rays are one, but they’re also different: we can feel the sun’s light and heat while the sun itself is millions of miles away.

Similarly, God is omnipresent by His energy but also maintains His distinct personal identity – His own name, form, qualities, home, activities, and associates. Since everything is a display of God’s energy, God is simultaneously different (bheda) and nondifferent (abheda) from everything. This truth (tattva) is inconceivable (achintya) to the mundane mind. All that exists within the spiritual world and the material world is also God’s energy, and therefore one with and different from God simultaneously.