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NITAAI-Veda.nyf > All Scriptures By Acharyas > Bhaktivinoda Thakura > Bhaktivinoda Vani Vaibhava > Bhaktivinoda Vani Vaibhava Part 2 and 3 > Vol 2 Abhidheya > Impersonal Philosophy

77-Impersonal Philosophy


1. Who are the Mayavadis?


Those who accept all spiritual objects as illusion, think that Brahman is beyond illusion, the Supreme Controller is affected by illusion, and that the bodies of the Lord's incarnations illusory are Mayavadis. They say that the functions oimaya are present in the living entities' constitution. In other words, the living entities' false egos are created by may a. Therefore, when the living entities are liberated, they do not remain in an individual state as pure living entities. They also teach that after liberation, the living entities become one with Brahman.

(Commentary on Caitanya-caritdmrta Adi 7.29)


2. Is impersonalism the conclusive opinion of the Vedas ?Where was impersonalism born?


The philosophy of impersonalism has been around a long time. It is a partial Vedic opinion. Although many scholars have preached the philosophy of impersonalism outside India, there is no doubt that this philosophy was spread throughout the world from India. A few scholars came to India with Alexander and carefully learned this philosophy. Those scholars then partially preached impersonalism in their respective books and countries. (Tattva-siltra 30)


3. Why are Mayavadis more condemned than Buddhists?


Since Lord Buddha opposed the Vedic injunctions, Vedic Aryans called him an atheist, but the Mayavadis' propagation of atheism under the shelter of the Vedas is more dangerous than Buddhism because an enemy in the guise of a friend is more dangerous than an enemy. (Commentary on Caitanya caritamrta Madhya 6.168)


4.Are the Mayavadis' commentaries not opposed to Vyasadeva's codes?


Factually, the Lord's devotional service is described in the Vedanta-sutra, but the Mayavadl philosophers prepared a commentary known as Sdriraka-bhdsya, in which the Lord's transcendental form was denied. The Mayavadl philosophers think that the living entity is identical with the Supreme Soul, Brahman. Their commentaries on the Vedanta-sutra are completely opposed to the principle of devotional service. (Commentary on Caitanya caritamrta Madhya 6.169)


5. Can the existence of the living entities be illusory?


The living entities are eternally spiritual; they are not subjected to bondage or distress. They suffer miseries due to the misconception of identifying their body as the self. Thinking the rope a snake and the oyster silver are two examples given in the Vedas in this regard. Mayavadis mistakenly consider the living entity's very existence illusory. When a person, by the mercy of a bona fide spiritual master, understands that these two examples have not been given in regard to the living entity's existence but in regard to misunderstanding the gross and subtle bodies as the self, then he finds the real path. (Caitanya-siksdmrta 1/6)


6. How do the Mayavadis offend Krsna?


A Mayavadl naturally offends Krsna because he says that Krsna's form, name, and pastimes are material. The word 'material" means illusory, or the product of matter. According to the Mayavadis' opinion, the Absolute Truth is formless and without variety. If the Absolute Truth wishes to accomplish something, therefore, He must take shelter of illusion and accept a material form. They consider the forms of Rama and Krsna to be material. Mayavadis consider the name of the Absolute Truth to be Brahman, Paramatma, or Caitanya, the forms of Rama or Krsna products of matter, the names of Rama and Krsna material sound vibration, and Their pastimes mundane. The difference they see between the living entity and Rama or Krsna is that the living entity is forced to accept a material body as a result of karma, but Caitanya (or consciousness) accepts a material body out of His own sweet will to fulfill His mission in this world. He also gives up His material body out of His own sweet will. This proves to them that the names, forms, and pastimes of Rama or Krsna are material. According to the Mayavadis, as long as a practitioner has not attained knowledge, he should worship personalities like Rama or Krsna. After attaining knowledge, however, he will no longer need to chant or meditate on such material names and forms. At that point, he should chant only Brahman, Paramatma, or Caitanya. This means that the Mayavadis think the forms of Rama and Krsna to be more abominable than the Absolute Truth. That is why the Mayavadis are the greatest offenders at Krsna's feet.

(Sajjana Tosani 5/12)

7. Is the Mayavadis' glorification of Krsna an offense against the chanting of the holy name?


The Mayavadis' glorification of Krsna while they perform their sadhana is also offensive. Pure devotees should not approve their chanting of Krsna's names, because in their association one will simply commit ndmdparddha. Even though Mayavadis display various symptoms of ecstatic love, such as shedding tears or having their hair stand on end, these symptoms are not genuine. They are simply a shadow of a reflection of the transformation of ecstatic love. Hence they are offenses. (Sajjana Tosani 5/12)


8. Why shouldn't devotees hear Mayavadi commentaries or philosophy?


Even though someone firmly fixed in devotion to Krsna's service might not be deviated by hearing the Mayavada bhdsya, that bhdsya is nevertheless full of impersonal words and ideas, such as Brahman, which although representing knowledge are impersonal. The Mayavadis say that the world created by mdyd is false, that there is no living entity but only a spiritual effulgence. They further say that God is imaginary, that people think of God only out of ignorance, and that when the Supreme Absolute Truth becomes fooled by the external energy (Maya), He becomes ajlva. Upon hearing all these nonsensical ideas from the nondevotee, a devotee can become as afflicted as if his heart and soul were broken.

(Commentary on Caitanya caritdmrta Antya 2.98-99)


9. Where did godlessness and impersonalism originate?


Nescience results in the adoration of matter, and too much jfidna results in atheism and monism. Adoration of matter has two forms. Positive adoration means to accept material characteristics as knowledge of the Supreme Lord, and negative adoration means to accept material characteristics as the Supreme. Those who engage in positive adoration accept and worship a material image as the Supreme. Those who engage in negative worship accept the negative features of material characteristics as Brahman. Such people conclude that the Supreme is impersonal, without form, without activity, and without senses. (Sri Krsna Samhitd Conclusion)


10. What is the result of dry argument and too much jhana?.


Therefore acceptance of the gross form of the Supreme, as well as acceptance of the impersonal form, are both products of nescience and always contradictory. When reasoning overcomes knowledge and becomes established as argument, then one does not accept the soul as eternal. In this situation the philosophy of atheism is born. When knowledge comes under the subordination of reasoning and gives up its nature, then one aspires to merge with Brahman. This aspiration is born from too much jfidna and does not benefit the living entity.

(Sri Krsna Samhitd Conclusion)


11. Is theosophy another form of impersonalism?


The theosophy preached in countries like America is also impersonalism. Whatever the proud scholars preach, the less intelligent people naturally accept. In our country, many proud scholars like Dattatreya, Astavakra, and Sankara, all of whom were fond of arguments, preached this philosophy from time to time in different forms. Nowadays, all philosophies other than Vaisnava philosophy are subordinate to impersonalism. (Caitanya-siksdmrta 5/3)


12. Are atheism and merging into the existence of Brahman unhealthy symptoms of consciousness?


After becoming civilized, when a living entity cultivates various types of knowledge, then through his false arguments he covers his faith to some extent and thereby either accepts atheism or the desire to merge into Brahman. It is to be understood that this clumsy faith is the symptom of an undeveloped, weak consciousness. (Caitanya-siksdmrta 1/1)


13. Does too much jnana or advaita philosophy approach proper reasoning?


Even with proper reasoning, too much jndna cannot be beneficial. We will now give four considerations in this regard:

1. If merging with the Supreme Brahman were the living entities' ultimate goal, then we would have to imagine that the Lord, out of cruelty, has created the living entities. If we did not introduce such an improper existence, we would not feel any difficulty. If we accept Maya as the sole creator in order to verify Brahman as faultless, then we are bound to accept an independent truth separate from Brahman.

2. When a soul merges with Brahman, neither is benefited.

3. In the eternal pastimes of the Absolute Truth, there is no need for the souls to merge with Brahman.

4. If one does not fully accept the quality of variegatedness, which is the manifestation of the Lord's energies, then there is no possibility of existence, knowledge, or happiness, and as a result, the Supreme Brahman will be considered impersonal and without basis. One may even develop doubts about the existence of Brahman. But, if one accepts the quality of variegatedness as eternal, then the soul cannot merge with Brahman.

(Sri Krsna Samhitd Conclusion)