guṇa jñāḥ sāra-bhāginaḥ
It is stated here that among the four ages — Satya, Tretā, Dvāpara and Kali — Kali-yuga is actually the best because in this age the Lord mercifully distributes the highest perfection of consciousness, namely Kṛṣṇa consciousness, very freely. The word ārya has been defined by Śrīla Prabhupāda as “one who is advancing spiritually.” The nature of an advanced person is to search for the essence of life. For example, the essence of the material body is not the body itself but the spirit soul that is within the body; therefore an intelligent person gives more attention to the eternal spirit soul than to the temporary body. Similarly, although Kali-yuga is considered to be an ocean of contamination, there is also an ocean of good fortune in Kali-yuga, namely the saṅkīrtana movement. In other words, all of the degraded qualities of this age are completely counteracted by the process of chanting the holy names of the Lord. Thus it is stated in the Vedic language,
dhyāyan kṛte yajan yajñais
tretāyāṁ dvāpare ’rcayan
yad āpnoti tad āpnoti
kalau saṅkīrtya keśavam
“Whatever is achieved in Satya-yuga by meditation, in Tretā by offering ritual sacrifices and in Dvāpara by temple worship is achieved in Kali-yuga by chanting the names of Lord Keśava congregationally.”
The Vedic process gradually lifts the conditioned entity out of the darkness of ahaṅkāra, or false identification with the gross material body, and brings him to the platform of self-realization, or ahaṁ brahmāsmi, “I am spirit soul. I am eternal.” One has to make further progress to discover that although one is eternal, there is a superior eternal entity, who is the Lord Himself within one’s own heart and within every atom in the material universe. Beyond this second phase of self-realization there is the third and final stage of perfection, which is realization of Bhagavān, or the Supreme Personality of Godhead, in His own abode.
The Supreme Personality of Godhead is not primarily the superintendent of this world but rather the enjoyer of His own world, which is beyond the most fantastic dreams of the conditioned living entity. In other words, although the king or president of a country is ultimately the controller of the prison department, the king or president derives actual pleasure within his own palace and not in administering justice to the foolish prisoners. Similarly, the Lord appoints the demigods to administer the material creation on His behalf while He Himself personally enjoys the ocean of transcendental bliss in His own transcendental kingdom. Thus, realization of the Lord within His own kingdom is far superior to the primitive understanding that the Lord is the “creator” of the prison of the material world. This realization of Bhagavān begins with understanding that there are innumerable Vaikuṇṭha planets in the spiritual sky and that on each of them a particular expansion of Nārāyaṇa dwells with His innumerable devotees who are attached to that particular form. The central and chief planet in the spiritual sky is called Kṛṣṇaloka, and there the Personality of Godhead exhibits His supreme and original form of Govinda. As confirmed by Lord Brahmā, govindam ādi-puruṣaṁ tam ahaṁ bhajāmi. Lord Brahmā also states:
īśvaraḥ paramaḥ kṛṣṇaḥ
anādir ādir govindaḥ
Thus, love of Kṛṣṇa and entrance into Kṛṣṇa’s planet in the spiritual sky is the most supremely perfect and exalted status of life available anywhere, at any time, throughout the totality of existence. That perfection is available in Kali-yuga simply by chanting the holy names of God: Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/ Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare. Therefore every sane man, woman or child should deeply understand the unprecedented opportunity offered by Caitanya Mahāprabhu and seriously take up this chanting process. Only the most unfortunate and irrational person will neglect this transcendental opportunity.