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102- Four Objectives of Life
1. Is bondage to fruitive activities destroyed by observing vows and fasts with a desire to achieve heavenly pleasure?
O my mind! I have wasted my time in the pit of fruitive activities. The knots of karma entangle me because I desired to enjoy heavenly pleasures. The network of karma is just like a spider's web. I voluntarily accepted bodily suffering by fasting and observing vows, but this was as useless as pouring ghee on ashes. Due to my faults, I am now entangled in the cycle of birth and death. Hence I cannot be delivered. (Kalyana-kalpataru, Song 3)
2.Are lust and love the same?
O brothers! There is no difference between lust and love as far as the symptoms are concerned. Still, lust cannot be called love. How will you benefit if you engage in lust and call it love?
(Kalyana-kalpataru Song 18)
3. Why is liberation, or merging into the Brahman effulgence, suicidal?
We cannot achieve happiness through renunciation or cultivating knowledge. Renunciation and knowledge vanquish our material bondage and deliver liberation, but liberation does not bring happiness. Rather, it brings ruination. Liberation is therefore extremely abominable. Just consider this: on the one hand, liberation means we lose material enjoyment, yet do not achieve the highest benefit. (Navadvipa-mahatmya 7)
4. Why is merging into Brahman useless?
The impersonalist desires to merge the soul into the impersonal Brahman, but searching for liberation by merging into Brahman is a mistake. It is the stealing of the self, because there is no happiness in that state. Neither the living entity nor the Lord gains anything from such merging. (Sri Krsna-samhita 8.23)
5. Why isn't the liberation that comes from merging into Brahman praiseworthy?
How can the liberation of merging into the existence of Brahman be praiseworthy when even demons like Karhsa, who have been condemned by sastra as killers of cows and brahmanas, attained this state? (Brhad-bhagavatamrta, purport)
6. Why is merging into the Supreme Lord's body more abominable than merging into the Brahman effulgence?
There are two kinds of merging, merging into the Brahman and merging into the Supreme Lord's body. According to the opinion of Mayavadi Vedantists, the living entity's ultimate goal is to merge into Brahman. According to Patanjali, in the liberated stage the living entity merges into the Supreme Lord's body. Of these two types of liberation, merging into the Supreme Lord's body is more abominable. When merging with the Brahman, we attain nonvariegatedness because we have cultivated impersonal knowledge, but when merging into the Lord's body after meditating on that personal body, we are more condemnable. This type of liberation only proves what a degraded mentality we possess. The Patanjali system describes the Lord's form as klesa-karma-vipakasayair aparamrsta purusa-visesa Isvara: "The Supreme Personality of Godhead is a person who does not partake of a miserable material life." The followers of the Patanjali system therefore accept the eternality of the Supreme Lord. They also say, sa purvesam api guru kalanavacc heddt: "Such a person is always supreme and is not influenced by the element of time." Yet according to them, purusartha-sunyanarh pratiprasava kaivalyam svarupa-pratistha va citi-saktir iti. That is, they believe that in the perfectional stage, the purusa conception is vanquished. This yoga system is therefore abominable because its final conception is impersonal. The purport is that instead of attaining a substantial result due to substantial worship, such people attain an abominable result.
(Commentary on Caitanya-caritamrta Madhya 6.269)
7. Why is happiness derived from devotional service unliinitedly greater than happiness derived from merging into the Lord's existence?
Happiness derived from merging into the Lord's existence is always insignificant and abominable, but the happiness derived from devotional service is wonderful and full of variety, because Sri Hari's ecstatic pastimes are full of sweetness. These two kinds of happiness are always opposed to one another. Those who have not relished the happiness of devotional service find the topic about which happiness is superior worth debating, since they are able to discuss the topic.