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Evolution of Theism
By Swami B.G. Narasingha
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About the Author
His Holiness Swami B. G. Narasingha is a leading disciple of His Deivine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada and a faithful admirer of the divine instructions given by Shrila Bhakti Rakshaka Shridhara Deva Goswami Maharaja as imparted in the Gaudiya Sampradaya in the line of the Six Goswamis, headed by Shri Rupa, the chief disciple of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.
To distribute the message of the Gaudiya Sampradaya, His Holiness Swami B. G. Narasingha founded the International Gaudiya Vaishnava Society in 1988 with it's world headquarters at Shri Vrndavana Dham, the abode of Lord Shri Krishna.
His Holiness Swami B. G. Narasingha is also the author of several books and innumerable articles and essays on the science of the Krishna conception
Throughout the historn of mankind it is noted that events repeat themselves. As many times as man turns his llife toward material acquisition and pleasures, inevitably he will turn back to a theistic search. This is due to the inner nature of all living entities. One cannot excape one's eternal spiritual nature no matter what external trappings one may wear.
sadhya kabhu naya
Pure love of God is eternally situated within everyone's heart and only needs to be awakened by association. This is the special mercy of the great spiritual masters - to kindly the fire of devotion to the Supreme Godhead within everyone.
In the present book, Evolution of Theism, an overview of the lives of the great masters Buddha, Shankara, Ramanuja, Madhva, and Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is presented along with a treatise of their philosophical teachings. These teachings form a theistic evolution starting with Buddha and continuing through Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.
We think that this book will be well received by the educated classes both in India and abroad. The subject of truth which is treated in this book in elegant language is not a truth which belongs to one man or another, but it is of universal application. Now is the time for all genuine spiritualists to stand together in the name of truth against the evil of illusion. We feel that this book will help to server that purpose.
Swami Bhakti Bhavana Vishnu
It is sometimes found that the students of various spiritual disciplines argue amongst themselves as to who's teaching is right or wront. It is often the case that the students argue simply on the basis of dogma and never really touch upon the truth. In yet another instance the students are seen to argue about the truth, each supporting his own knowledge or realization but not realizing that his opponent is also discussing the same Absolute Truth but from a different angle of vision.
To illustrate this point there is a very nice Sufi poem entitled:
THE BLIND MEN AND THE ELEPHANT
It was six men of Hindustan
To learning much inclined
Who went to see an Elephant
Though each of them was blind
That each by observation
Might satisfy his mind.
The First approached the Elephant,
And happening to fall
Against his broad and sturdy side,
At once began to bawl:
"God bless me! But the Elephant
Is very like a wall!"
The Second, feeling of the tusk,
Cried, "Ho! What have we here
So very round and smooth and sharp?
To me tis very clear
This wonder of an Elephant
Is very like a spear!
The Third approached the animal,
And happening to take
The squirming trunk within his hands,
Thus boldly up and spake:
"I see, quoth he, "The Elephant
Is very like a snake!"
The fourth reached out his eager hand,
And felt about the knee
"What this most wondrous beast is like
Is mighty plain!" quoth he:
"Tis clear enough the Elephant
Is very like a tree!"
The Fifth who chanced to touch the ear,
Said: "Even the blindest man
Can tell what this resembles most:
Deny the fact who can,
This marvel of an Elephant
Is very like a fan!"
The Sixth no sooner had begun
About the beast to grope,
Than seizing on the swinging tail
That fell within his scope,
"I see," quoth he, "the Elephant
Is very like a rope!"
And so these men of Hindustan
Disputed loud and long.
Each in his own opinion
Exceeding stiff and strong,
Though each was partly in the right
And all were in the wrong.
So oft in theologic wars,
The disputants, I ween,
Rail on in utter ignorance
Of what the others mean,
And prate about an Elephant
Not one of them has seen!
According to India's great literature, Shrimad Bhagavat, the Absolute Truth is realized in three stages according to the position of the seer: Brahman, Paramatma, and Bhagavan.
vatanti tat tattva-vidas
tattvam yaj jnanam advayam
bhagavan iti shabdyate
Learned transcendentalists who know the Absolute Truth call this nondual substance Brahman, Paramatma and Bhagavan.
Brahman is the stage of impersonal realization. Paramatma is the partial representation of the Absolute Truth in the heart of every living entity. And Bhagavan is the stage of realization of the Personality of Godhead, Shri Krishna as the fountainhead of ecstatic mellows of divine love. The "ONE" Absolute Truth is thus manifest in three stages.
To help the fallen souls in this world in their march toward the divine realm of Shri Krishna in Goloka Vrindavana, the supreme spiritual abode, the Lord sometimes comes Himself or sends His bonafide representative. Knowing this important fact a sincere seeker of the truth can draw down the ultimate good from all bonafide spiritual masters.
At a glance such spiritual masters may appear to have differing opinions and even contradict each other. But to the actually learned person these differences are only external while internally he sees the spiritual unity amongst them in what they work only for the benefit of the world and work only under the orders of the Supreme Lord.
Although the truth is eternal , the truth nevertheless evolves in human society in gradual stages. In presenting these five essays on the lives and teachings of India's leading spiritual authorities, beginning with Buddha, we hope that our readers will not only gain a wealth of knowledge about the lives of these saints but that they will also understand the contribution of each in a progressive way culminating in the teachings of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the Great Master.
The truths discussed in this book are not a sectarian concern and we do not place any master above another on the basis of sectarian favoritism. Yet the truth is dynamic and it can be seen at its apex in the teachings of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Therefore if one sincerely reads this book with an open and pure heart hew ill surely understand the ultimate goal of life and how to achieve it.
Swami B. G. Narasingha