Srila Sanatana Gosvami inquired from Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, “I have come to this world, but I do not know who I am. Who am I?”
In order to understand this subject, we will turn to the translations of Srila Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja. In Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya-lila 20.102-103 his translation states:
Who am I? Why do the threefold miseries always give me trouble? If I do not know this, how can I be benefited? Actually, I do not know how to inquire about the goal of life and the process for obtaining it. Being merciful upon me, please explain all these truths.
None of us know who we are by spiritual constitution. Someone may consider, “I am Isa Prabhu,” another may think, “I am Kesava Prabhu,” and others may conjecture that they are this or that person. Therefore, in order to indicate our true identity, Srila Sanatana Gosvami humbly questioned Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.
Mahaprabhu replied, “You know everything, but you are inquiring about your true identity so as to uplift others. Although a saintly person knows everything, he remains very humble and tries to confirm his statements by asking the higher authorities.”
krsna-sakti dhara tumi, jana tattva-bhava
jani’ dardhya lagi’ puche,-sadhura svabhava
(Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya-lila 20.105)
Since you possess Lord Krsna’s potency, you certainly know these things. However, it is the nature of a sadhu to inquire. Although he knows these things, the sadhu inquires for the sake of strictness.
Mahaprabhu continued, “You are not really Sanatana, in the sense that you are not this physical body.”
jivera ‘svarupa’ haya——krsnera ‘nitya-dasa’
krsnera ‘tatastha-sakti’ ‘bhedabheda-prakasa’
suryamsa-kirana, yaiche agni-jvala-caya
svabhavika krsnera tina-prakara ‘sakti’ haya
(Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya-lila 20.108–109)
It is the living entity’s constitutional position to be an eternal servant of Krsna, because he is the marginal energy of Krsna – a manifestation simultaneously one with and different from the Lord, like a molecular particle of sunshine or spark of fire. Krsna has three varieties of energy.
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu explained that by spiritual constitution, all those who have life – such as human beings, birds, animals, trees and creepers, and even worms and insects – are all eternal servants of Lord Krsna. All souls are transformations of the Lord’s marginal potency (tatastha-sakti parinama). They are not direct transformations of svarupa-sakti.
June 2, 2000 in Badger, California