Click here to load whole tree
NITAAI-Veda.nyf > All Scriptures By Acharyas > Bhaktivinoda Thakura > Bhaktivinoda Vani Vaibhava > Bhaktivinoda Vani Vaibhava Part 1 > Philosophy




1.How is the material, metaphysical, and spiritual science divided?


According to their qualifications, living entities in the world are divided into three categories: mundane, metaphysical, and spiritual. People say that philosophy is of six kinds, but we have divided it into three categories. Material philosophy consists of Nyaya, Vaisesika, and Purva-mimarhsa. Metaphysical philosophy consists of Sahkhya, Patanjala, and the Mayavada commentary on Vedanta-sutra. Spiritual philosophy consists of the Vedanta itself. (Krsna-karnamrta introduction)


2.Where is the synthesis of various philosophies preached by different acaryas?


The philosophies such as kevalddvaita-vdda (exclusive monism), kevaladvaita-vdda (exclusive dualism), dvaitadvaita-vdda (monism and dualism), visistadvaita-vdda (specific monism), and suddhddvaita-vdda (purified monism) quarrel for the sake of name only. The suprerne truth, which remains after the isms of different philosophies, is the philosophy of acintya-bheddbheda (inconceivable oneness and difference).The Vedas and the great authorities approve this supreme philosophy. (Sri Bhdgavatdrka-marici-mdld 10/4)


3.Why is the philosophy ot acintya-bheddbheda complete?


In his book Sarvasambddini, Sri Jiva GosvamI has established this philosophy of acintya-bheddbheda as the ultimate conclusion. The dvaitddvaita philosophy propounded by Sri Nimbarka was not complete. However, the Vaisnava world accepted this philosophy as perfect through the teachings of Sriman Mahaprabhu. Since the acceptance of the Lord's eternal sac-cid-dnanda form found in Sri Madhva-sampradaya is the main principle of the acintya-bheddbheda philosophy, Sriman Mahaprabhu has accepted the Madhva-sampradaya. Since there are some little scientific differences in the conclusions of the previous Vaisnava dcdryas, different sampraddyas have come into being. By the strength of His omniscience, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu has fulfilled the deficiencies of the different philosophies. He made the philosophies and conclusions of Sri Madhva, Sri Ramanuja, Sri Visnusvami, and Sri Nimbarka faultless and perfect, and mercifully gave everyone in the world His pure conclusion of acintya-bhedabheda. (Sri Manah-siksa Verse 9)


4.Is the conclusion of acintya-bheddbheda based on the Vedas and on universal philosophical conclusions?


Since the philosophies of kevala-vdda, kevald-vdda, suddhadvaita, and visistadvaita consist of partial statements of the Vedic literature, they are opposed to the remaining parts. The philosophy of acintya-bheddbheda is universal and it is the actual purport of the Vedas. It is the object of the living entities constitutional faith, and saintly persons accept it.(Sri Manah-siksd Verse 9)


5.Why is the philosophy of acintya-bheddbheda accepted by everyone?


The conclusion of acintya-bheddbheda is based on devotional scriptures. The more one discusses it with reasoning the more one will find it pure and perfect. Arguments are of two kinds: argument to support one's own side and arguments to defeat one's opposition. The Vedas, the Purdnas, and the conclusions of the mahdjanas nourish the acintya-bheddbheda philosophy; they are arguments to support this philosophy. Sri Satikaracarya and other dry speculators are opposed to this philosophy. Sri Sahkara has said, "O Lord! When the difference between You and me is removed, I will remain Yours, but I cannot say that You are mine." Such opposing arguments also nourish the acintya-bheddbheda philosophy. Everyone therefore accepts this conclusion.

(Brhad-bhdgavatdmrta purport)


6.Why is the word "acintya," inconceivable, used in the conclusion of acintya-bhedabheda'?


The truth has been established; the living entities are simultaneously one with and different from Krsna, and the material world is also simultaneously one with and different from Krsna. Since limited human reasoning cannot comprehend it, this eternal truth of simultaneously oneness and difference has been called acintya.(Caitanya-siksdmrta 1/5)


7.Is the philosophy of kevaladvaita-vdda nondual knowledge, and is it approved by the Vedas?


Many people think that the philosophy of advaita-vdda is advaya-jhana or nondual knowledge. But this is not a fact. The philosophy of kevaladvaita-vdda is opposed to the Vedas. The philosophy of oneness is established in many places in the Vedas and the philosophy of eternal separation is also established in many places in the Vedas. Vedic literature is perfect knowledge; therefore, there is no possibility of any contradiction. The Vedas conclude that simultaneous oneness and difference are eternal and perfect, because of the inconceivable potency of the Supreme Brahman. Thus, the material world and the living entities are simultaneously one with and different from the Supreme Brahman. Dvaita and advaita are simultaneously a fact; therefore in the science of oneness, there is a difference between matter and spirit, and in the science of the self, the minute spirit souls are eternally different from the Supreme Lord. One who knows the truth of oneness and difference has nothing more to know. When one realizes the conclusion of acintya-bhedabheda, one automatically achieves advaya-jhana or nondual knowledge. The living entity who is the seer cannot see anything separate from the Absolute Truth. When he is under the control of material vision, he only sees a difference in them. Since matter is an eternally perfect element, it appears separate from consciousness. This is called dvaita-jhana. (Sajjana-tosani 2/6)


8. Who perfected the philosophical conclusions preached by the authorized Vaisnava dcdryas?


Sri Ramanujacarya preached devotional service according to the philosophy of visistddvaita-vada. Sri Madhvacarya preached devotional service according to the philosophy of suddhadvaita-vada. Sri Nimbadityacarya preached devotional service according to the philosophy of dvaitadvaita-vada. Sri Visnusvami preached devotional service according to the philosophy of suddhadvaita-vada. All four are preachers of pure devotional service. In the opinion of Ramanuja, the Supreme Lord is one, and matter and spirit are His qualities. In the opinion of Madhva, the living entities are separate from the Supreme Lord, and devotional service to the Lord is the nature of the living entities. In the opinion of Nimbaditya, the living entities are simultaneously one with and different from the Supreme Lord; thereby the eternity of difference is accepted. In the opinion of Visnusvami, the object is one but the Supreme Brahman and the living entities are eternally different. Even though there are differences in their opinions, all of them have accepted that devotional service is eternal, the living entities are eternal servants of the Supreme Lord, and love of God is the ultimate goal of life. Therefore, all of them were Vaisnavas. Although they were authorized Vaisnavas, their philosophies were incomplete and there were differences between them. Sri Caitanyadeva, who is directly the Supreme Personality of Godhead, appeared in the world and, after removing those scientific imperfections, taught the people of th& world scientific pure devotional service. (Sri Manah-siksa Verse 9)


9.Is the conclusion of Sri Ramanujacarya opposed to the conclusion of the Gaudiyas?


The conclusions of Srimad Ramanuja Svami are like the foundation of our Gaudiya temple of love. (Sajjana-tosani 7/3)


10.Are the philosophy of Sri Nimbaditya and the conclusion of acintya-bhedabheda the same?


Many people say that the philosophy of the Gaudiya Vaisnavas is identical to that of Sri Nimbaditya, but that is not true. The philosophy of Nimbaditya is dvaitadvaita and the Gaudiya philosophy is acintya-bhedabheda. (Sajjana-tosani Volume 7)


11.When was philosophical literature composed?


The Darsana-sastra, philosophical scriptures, was compiled a short time after the compilation of the Mahabharata. There are six prominent philosophical systems current in India—Nyaya (logic), Sahkhya, Patanjala (yoga), Kanada or Vaisesika, Purva-mimamsa or Karma-mimamsa, and Uttara-mimamsa or Vedanta. All these philosophical systems were introduced after Buddhism. The rsis who propounded these systems first composed their philosophies in sutras. The Vedic sutras were compiled to facilitate easy remembrance, but this was not the case with the sutras of these philosophical systems. When the brahmanas were attacked by the mighty Buddhist philosophy, they first compiled the Upanisads, which are the pinnacle of Vedic literature, and thus they strengthened their doctrine with logic and argument. The Buddhists gradually presented many philosophical systems such as Saugata, Madhyamika,and Yogacara. Soon afterwards, the Buddhists entered into intense debate with the brahmanas. The brahmanas then introduced their six philosophical systems, beginning with Nyaya and Sahkhya. They kept their teachings in the form of sutras and passed them on only to their disciples. During the time of Ramacandra, Gautama Rsi composed AnviksikI, Vedic logic, which was accepted at that time. According to their needs, the brahmanas composed the present system of Nyaya under Gautama's name and substituted it for the previous system. In Gautama's sastra, there are statements that could be used against the Saugata philosophy. The scriptures of Kanada come under the category of Nyaya scriptures. In the system of Sahkhya, there are also many statements against Buddhism. The system of Patanjala falls under the category of Sahkhya. The Purva-mimamsa propounded by Jaimini supports the karma-kanda system that was rejected by the Buddhists. Although Vedanta scriptures are the most recent, they have been accepted as another form of AnviksikI, since they are based on the Upanisads. Therefore all philosophical scriptures were written during the 800 years between 400 B.C. and A.D. 400.

(Sri Krsna-samhita introduction)


12. What are the nine conclusions found in the philosophy of Buddhism?


In the opinion of the Buddhists, there are two ways of understanding philosophy: Hinayana and Mahayana. There are nine conclusions for those who traverse through these paths. (1) The universe is beginningless therefore godless. (2) The world is false. (3) The sense of "I" is the only truth. (4) Reincarnation and the next life are real. (5) Lord Buddha is the means of achieving the truth. (6) Nirvana is the supreme truth. (7) Buddhism is the only philosophical path. (8) The Vedas are composed by human beings. (9) Following religious principles such as compassion is the way of the Buddhists. (Caitanya-caritdmrta Madhya 9/49 commentary)


13. Which well-known foreigners followed the six Indian philosophies?


There is no doubt that philosophical literature originated in India. Although there are many kinds of philosophies, they are grossly divided into six categories. These six categories of philosophy are known in India as sad-darsana. These six philosophies are also widely respected in Greece. Through intensive research, Garbe, who was a professor in Greece, has recently ascertained that Aristotle was the disciple of Gautama's philosophy of Nyaya, Thelis was the disciple of Kanada's philosophy of Vaisesika, Sacretis was the disciple of Jaimini's Mlmarhsa, Pluto was the disciple of Vyasadeva's Vedanta, Pythagoras was the disciple of Kapila's Sahkhya, and Zino was the disciple of Patanjali's yoga.

(Sajjana-tosani 111)


14. Is there any pure spiritual truth in the philosophy of Patanjali?


The state of liberation that was described in the philosophy of Patanjali is a mood of gross and subtle existence, but there is no discussion about spiritual science found in it. (Tattva-viveka 1/23)


15.What is the position of the Yoga-sastras?


The Yoga-sastra is one of the irrelevant positions found among all irrelevant positions between gross matter and pure spiritual truth.

(Tattva-viveka 1/23)


16.What is the devotional explanation of the Vedic statement tat tvam asi!


The MayavadI commentators say that the Vedic statement tat tvam asi concludes that the Supreme Brahman and the living entities are nondifferent. The word tat means "He," the word tvam means "you," and the word asi means "are"; so the words tat tvam asi means "you are the Supreme Brahman." There is no difference between you and Him. But the Vaisnava commentators have given different meanings of the word tat tvam asi. According to them, the word tat means "He who is infallible" and this word has been derived from the word tasya meaning "His." Therefore, the word tat tvam asi means "you belong to Him." The word tasya makes the distinction between the Supreme Brahman and the living entities. From this, it is concluded that you are not the Supreme Brahman. {Tattva-sutra 6)


17.Do the compilers of the six philosophies accept Lord Visnu as the Supreme Personality of Godhead? Is Lord Visnu in the mode of material goodness?


Jaimini rejected devotional service, which is the purport of the Vedas, and made the Supreme Lord subordinate to karma. Kapila rejected the true purport of the Vedas and declared that material nature is the cause of the material world. Gautama and Kanada stated that the atom is the cause of the material world. In the same way, Mayavadls, such as Astavakra, said that the impersonal Brahman is the cause of the material world. The raja-yogis, headed by Patafijali, established their imaginary God to be the Absolute Truth,based on their Yoga-sastras. All these acaryas rejected the Supreme Lord, who is supported by the Vedas, and they established their own idea of God. After carefully discussing and refuting the opinion of these six philosophers,, Sri Vyasadeva compiled Vedanta-sutra, which establishes the supremacy of the Lord. In the opinion of Vedanta, the Supreme Brahman has a sac-cid-ananda form. The impersonalists say that the Supreme Brahman is without qualities and sometimes with material qualities. But actually the Absolute Truth is not only transcendental to the modes of the material nature but He is also the source of unlimited spiritual qualities. His body is purely spiritual. According to other philosophers, no one can achieve Visnu, the supreme cause. In other words, they do not accept Visnu as the cause of all causes. Yet they endeavored to establish their own opinion by refuting the true authorized conclusion.(Caitanya-caritdmrta Madhya 25/45-55 commentary)