|NITAAI-Veda.nyf > All Scriptures By Acharyas > Bhaktivinoda Thakura > Jaiva Dharma > Chapter-9|
Nitya-dharma O Prakrita-vijnan Evam Sabhyata
Eternal Religion and Modern Science-Civilization
Living among the Vaishnavas in Godruma for three or four years, Lahiri Mahashaya became pure in heart. He always chanted the holy names of Lord Hari. He wore simple clothing. He had neither sandals nor wooden slippers. His pride of caste was now thrown far away. Whenever he saw a Vaishnava, he would at once offer dandavat obeisances and insist on taking the dust of that Vaishnava's feet. He would search for pure Vaishnavas and accept the remnants of their meals. Sometimes his sons would visit. understanding his situation, they would not propose that he return home. Everyone could see that Lahiri Mahashaya was a Vaishnava babaji. Following the conclusion accepted by the Vaishnavas of Shri Godruma, he understood that renunciation was needed within the heart, and the the external trappings of renunciation were not important. Following the example of Shrila Sanatana Gosvami, he would take one piece of cloth and divide it into four. Those would be his garments. He still wore a sacred thread around his neck. Sometimes his sons would try to give him money. Saying, "I do not accept money from materialists", he would not take it. Once Candrashekhara tried to give him a hundred coins to have a great festival for the Vaishnavas. Remembering the example of Raghunatha dasa Gosvami, Lahiri Mahashaya refused the money.
One day the paramahamsa babaji said, "O Lahiri Mahashaya, you never act in any way improper for a Vaishnava. Though I am the sannyasi, you who teach me what true renunciation is. If you accept a Vaishnava name from me, then everything will be complete."
Lahiri Mahashaya replied, "You are my parama-guru. Whatever you wish, that will be done."
The saintly babaji said, "You come from Shantipura, therefore I will call you Advaita dasa."
Offering dandavat obeisances, Lahiri Mahashaya accepted the merciful gift of his new name. From that day forward, everyone called him Advaita dasa, and the cottage where he performed devotional service they called Advaita-kutira.
Advaita dasa had a childhood friend named Digambara Cattopadhyaya. Holding various high posts in the Mohammedan government, he had become wealthy. Attaining old age, he retired from his government post, returned to his home town of Kalna, and tried to find Kalidasa Lahiri. He heard that Kalid\asa L\ahiri had gone to Shri Godruma, accepted the name Advaita d\asa, and was always chanting the holy names of Lord Hari.
Digambara Cattopadhy\aya was a fanatical devotee of Goddess Durg\a. His response to hearing a Vaishnava's name was to cover his ears with his hands. Hearing that his old friend had become fallen in that way, he declared, "O Vamana dasa, arrange for a boat. I will go to Navadvipa and rescue my unfortunate old friend, Kalidasa. Quickly arranging for the boat, Vamana dasa returned and informed his master. Digambara Catöopadhyaya was very intelligent. He was learned in the Tantras, and he was also learned in the ways of the Mohammedans. Arguing in Persian and Arabic, he could even defeat the best Mohammedan scholars. Arguing about the Tantras, he made the best brahmana scholars speechless. His name was well known in Delhi, Lucknow, and other places. In his leisure time he had written a book titled Tantra-sangraha (An Anthology from the Tantras). He was learned in many subjects and could discourse on many scripture passages.
Proudly grasping his Tantra-sangraha, Digambara stepped into the boat. After a six hour journey the boat landed at Shri Godruma. Staying in the boat, he send an intelligent messenger to Shri Advaita dasa.
Shri Advaita dasa was sitting in his cottage and chanting the holy names of Lord Hari. Digambara Caööopadhyaya's messenger approached and bowed down. Advaita dasa asked him, "Who are you and why have you come?" The messenger replied, "I am sent by Shri Digambara Caööopadhyaya. He asks this question: `O Kalidasa, do you remember me, or have you forgotten?'
Shri Advaita dasa replied, "Digambara? Where? My childhood friend! Do I have the power to forget him? Has he taken shelter of the Vaishnava religion?" The messenger said, “He is sitting in a boat by the landing place. I cannot say whether he has become a Vaishnava." Advaita dasa said, “Why does he stay at the landing place? Why does he not come to my cottage?" Hearing this, the messenger left.
After an hour, Digambara Caööopadhyaya appeared at Advaita-kuöira with three or four gentlemen. Digambara always was generous at heart. When he saw his old friend, his heart became filled with joy. Singing some verses he himself had written, he embraced Advaita dasa. He sang:
(kali) tomar lila-khela ke jane ma tri-bhuvan
kabhu purush kabu nari kabhu matta hao go rane
brahma ha'ye shrishöi kor shrishöi nasha ha'ye hor
vishnu haye bishva-byapi pala go ma sarba-jane
krishna-rupe brindabane bamshi rajao bane bane
abar gaura ha'ye nabadwipe matao sabe sankirtane
"O Mother Kali, who in the three worlds knows all about Your transcendental pastimes? Sometimes You are a man, sometimes a woman, and sometimes a ferocious warrior. You become Brahma and create the world. You become Shiva and destroy it. You become all-pervading Vishnu and protect everyone. You become Krishna and play the flute in Vrindavana forest. You become Gaura and make all of Navadvipa wild with the chanting of the holy names."
Advaita dasa said, "My brother, come in. Come in." Digambara sat on a leaf-seat. Tears of love glistened in his eyes. He said, "Dear brother Kalidasa, where shall I go? Now you are sannyasi and you have given up duties and demigods. How hopeful I was when I first came from the Punjab. Our boyhood friends: Pesa, Pagla, Khenda, Girisa, Ise Pagla, Dhana Mayara, Kele Chutor, Kanti Bhattacarji, all have died. Only You and I remain. I thought some days I would cross the Ganges and visit you at Shantipura, and other days you would cross the Ganges and visit me at Ambika. In the few days that remain for us, we would sing together and study the Tantras together. Alas, bad luck has struck my head. You have become a bullheaded fool, useless in this world and the next. Look at yourself. Tell me: How has this happened to You?"
Advaita dasa could see that this person was very bad company. He began to think how he could escape the hands of his childhood friend. He said, "Brother Digambara, do you remember how one day when we were playing dandaguli we gradually came to that old tamarind tree?
Digambara: Yes, yes. I remember. That was near Gauridasa Pandita's house. The tamarind tree where Gaura-Nitai used to sit.
Advaita: As we were playing you said, "Don't touch that tamarind tree! Aunt Shaci's son used to sit here. If we touch this tree we will become sannyasis."
Digambara: I remember. I could see that you liked the Vaishnavas. I said, "You will fall into Gauranga's trap."
Advaita: Brother, for a long time I was like that. I was always just about to fall into that trap. Now I have fallen in.
Digambara: Catch hold of my hand and come out. It is not good to stay in a trap.
Advaita: Brother, I am very happy in this trap. I pray that I shall stay here forever. Just once you should touch this trap and see what it is like.
Digambara: I have seen. In the beginning it is happiness. But in the end it is a hoax.
Advaita: Do you think the trap where you live will bring you happiness at the end? My mind says it will not.
Digambara: Let us see. We are servants of Goddess Mahavidya. In this life we have happiness, and in the next life we also have happiness. You think that you are happy, but I don't see that you are happy. In the end there will be no end to your sufferings. Why does someone become a Vaishnava? I cannot say. Look, We enjoy eating fish and meat and other things. We are happy. We are more civilized than you. We enjoy all the good things modern science provides. You have renounced all these good things. And in the end for you there will be no escape.
Advaita: Why, brother, will there be no escape for me?
Digambara: If Mother Nistarini becomes averse, then even Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva cannot escape. Mother Nistarini is the primordial power. She gives birth to Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva. By her power she protects them. When the great mother wills, the great pot of the material universe will again enter her womb. Have you worshiped the mother, so she will have mercy on you?
Advaita: Is Mother Nistarini conscious, or is she unconscious matter?
Digambara: She is consciousness personified. All her desires are at once fulfilled. It is by her wish that spirit was created.
Advaita: What is spirit, and what is matter?
Digambara: Vaishnavas only worship. They know nothing of philosophy. Spirit and matter are like the two halves of a chick-pea. Unhusk it, and there are two halves. Leave the husk untouched, and there is one chick-pea. Spirit is conscious, and matter is unconscious. When consciousness and unconsciousness join and become one, that is called Brahman.
Advaita: Is your mother female or male?
Digambara: Sometimes she is male and sometimes female.
Advaita: Spirit and matter are like the two halves of a chick-pea. Which is the mother and which the father?
Digambara: You are eager to know the truth? We know the truth very well. The truth is that matter is mother and spirit is father.
Advaita: Who are you?
Digambara: When I am bound by ropes of illusion I am an individual soul. When those ropes are untied, I am Lord Sadashiva.
Advaita: You are spirit? You are not matter?
Digambara: I am spirit. Mother is matter. When I am bound by illusion she is my mother. When I am free of illusion she is my wife.
Advaita: Now the truth is out! Now doubt is gone. Where did you get these truths?
Digambara: Brother, you are always saying, “Vaishnava! Vaishnava!" I am not like that. I have associated with many sannyasis, brahmacaris, and tantrik saints. I have studied the Tantras day and night. That is how I have attained this knowledge. If you like, I can teach it to you.
Advaita: (thinking to himself) How horrible! How unfortunate! (aloud) Very good. Please explain one thing to me: What is civilization, and what is modern science?
Digambara: 1. To speak in such a way that pleases respectable people, 2. to wear clothing that pleases them, and 3. to eat foods they like, to do things like them, and not to do anything to displease them. You do not do any of these three!
Advaita: How is that?
Digambara: You do not associate with others. You are very unsocial. The Vaishnavas have never learned the art of flattering others with sweet words. When they see someone they always tell him to chant the name of Hari. Can't they say something else? When people see your clothing they refrain from inviting you to visit them. You wear a stupid tuft of hair on the top of your head and a bastketful of beads around your neck, and your own garment is a loin-cloth! You only eat vegetables and roots! You are not civilized, even slightly.
Advaita: (thinking to himself) If I quarrel with him, he will go away. That would be good for me. (aloud) Does this kind of civilization make one's next life auspicious?
Digambara: It does not make the the next life auspicious. If there is no civilization how will society become uplifted? First society must be uplifted. When it is uplifted, then people may try to improve the next life.
Advaita: Brother, if you do not become angry, I could say something.
Digambara: You are my boyhood friend. I would give up my life for your sake. Why would I not peacefully tolerate a single statement of yours? We are civilized men. Even if we are angry, sweet words still stay on our mouths. The more we hide our true feelings, the more civilized we become.
Advaita: Human life is for only a few days. Still, it contains many troubles. In this very short life one should sincerely worship Lord Hari. The "civilization" you talk about is only a way to cheat the soul. Therefore I say that this "civilization" is only another word for “cheating". When men walk on the path of truth, they are simple and honest. When men's actions are a collection of lies, their hearts are full of cunning, their deeds are sins, and their words are empty flattery. That is your “civilization". True civilization is not like that. In true civilization men are honest and sincere. Nowadays people merely hide the wickedness in their hearts, and that hiding they call "civilization". The true meaning of “civilization" is "honesty and goodness". What you call "civilization" is only cheating and wickedness. Civilization that is sinless is found only among the Vaishnavas. So-called "civilization" that is filled with sins is liked only by they who are not Vaishnavas. The “civilization" you describe has nothing to do with the soul's eternal nature. If wearing fashionable clothes that please others is the true mark of civilization, then prostitutes are the most civilized. The purpose of clothing is only to cover the body. Clothing should be neat and clean, and free from unclean odors and other faults. Food should be pure and nutritious. There is nothing wrong with food like that. You think only that food should be palatable. You don't consider whether it is pure or not. Liquor and meat are naturally impure and unholy. A “civilization" that lives by enjoying them is only a collection of sins. What you call "modern civilization" is the civilization of Kali-yuga.
Digambara: Have you forgotten the very civilized society of the Muslim emperors? You should see how the people dress fashionably and speak politely in the Muslim emperor's court!
Advaita: That is only material politeness. What does a man lose if he is unaware of this exaggerated politeness? Brother, you spent too many days working for the Muslims. That is why you defend the Muslim ways. True civilization is when men are free from sins. "Civilization" that encourages sin is the civilization of Kali-yuga. That kind of civilization is only a pathetic joke.
Digambara: Look, the modern idea is "humanism". They who don't accept modern civilization aren't considered human. Fashionable clothing that makes women attractive and masks their imperfections are very popular nowadays.
Advaita: You consider whether this is good or bad. I see that the people who advance this modern civilization are only clever opportunists. Partly because they are superstitious and partly because they like to conceal their own flaws, these people like this dishonest "civilization". Will a wise man be happy in such a civilization? This civilization of rogues can be kept together only by meaningless words and by brute force.
Digambara: Some say that the people of the world are gradually becoming more educated. As they become more educated, they will become more civilized, and as the people become more civilized, the earth will gradually become Svargaloka.
Advaita: Those philosophers are smoking ganja. Anyone who believes those stories is rich in blind faith. They who don't believe those stories are fortunate. There two kinds of knowledge: 1. spiritual, and 2. material. I don't think spiritual knowledge is increasing. In many places spiritual knowledge collapsing. I think it is material knowledge that is increasing. Does material knowledge touch the soul eternally? When material knowledge increases, then the heart becomes attracted to material things and has contempt for the spiritual truth. I agree that material knowledge is increasing, but from that knowledge comes a dishonest civilization. That "civilization" brings great misfortune to the soul.
Digambara: Why misfortune?
Advaita: As I said before, human life is very short. The soul is like a traveler briefly staying at an inn. He should use this short time to attain spiritual perfection. If the travelers are concerned only with how to be most comfortable at the inn, the time they should be spending on planning their journey is lost. As material knowledge increases, the time spent on spiritual things will decrease. I think that material knowledge should be accepted only as far as is needed in ordinary affairs. There is no need for more material knowledge or its lady friend, material civilization. For how many days will the benefits of this world last?
Digambara: I have fallen into the company of a fanatic sannyasi. Is society not important?
Advaita: Different kinds of society bring different results. If one associates with Vaishnavas, then there is a good result. If one associates with materialists, then the results are not good for the soul. Let us stop talking of this. What is material science?
Digambara: Many kinds of material sciences are described in the Tantras. Whatever knowledge, skill, and beauty are present in the material world are all described in material science. Military science, medicine, music, and astronomy are all examples of material sciences. The material nature is the first power (again I describe the spiritual truth!). She gave birth to the material world. From her it is manifested. By her power it is filled with wonderful variety. One by one, all forms come from her. One by one, all kinds of knowledge come from her. When a person understands this, Mother Nistarini frees him from sin and he becomes liberated. The Vaishnavas will not seek out Mother Nistarini. However, we attain liberation by understanding these truths. Look, by the careful study of material knowledge Plato, Aristotle, Socrates, the famous Hakim, and many other great souls in the yavana countries have written many, many books.
Advaita: You said that the Vaishnavas are not interested in science. That is not true. Why not? The Vaishnavas are interested in the science of pure knowledge, which is described in these words of Shrimad-Bhagavatam's four nutshell verses (2.9.30):
jnanam parama-guhyam me
sarahasyam tad-angam ca
grihana gaditam maya
"The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: Knowledge about Me as described in the scriptures is very confidential, and it has to be realized in conjunction with devotional service. The necessary paraphernalia for that process is being explained by Me. You may take it up carefully."*
Pleased by Brahma's devotional service, the Supreme Personality of Godhead gave him this instruction even before the material world was created. In this way the Lord taught him the pure Vaishnava religion. The Lord said: "O Brahma, knowledge about Me as described in the scriptures is very confidential, and it has to be realized in conjunction with devotional service. The necessary paraphernalia for that process is being explained by Me. You may take it up carefully."* O Digambara, there are two kinds of knowledge: 1. spiritual knowledge, and 2. material knowledge. Because it is attained through the material senses, material knowledge is very impure. Neither is it needed for spiritual advancement. It is needed only for the conditioned soul's life in the material world. Spiritual knowledge is called "shuddha-jnana" (pure knowledge). That eternal knowledge is the foundation-stone of the Vaishnavas' temple of devotional service. Spiritual knowledge and material knowledge are very different. They are opposites. You call material knowledge "science", but it is not science at all. You call medical knowledge and other kinds of material knowledge "science", but it is spiritual knowledge, which is different from material knowledge, that should be called “science". "Knowledge" and "science" are synonyms. Direct perception of the spiritual truth is called “knowledge". When it eclipses material knowledge, pure spiritual knowledge is called "science". Thus these two are actually the same thing, called either "knowledge" or "science" in different circumstances. You call material knowledge "science". The Vaishnavas call the proper use of material knowledge "science". Military skill, medicine, astronomy, chemistry, and all other kinds of material knowledge have no eternal relation to the soul. Therefore they have no bearing at all on the soul's eternal activities and eternal duties. The Vaishnavas do not criticize the materialists who perform Vedic rituals (karma-kanda) for material elevation. Why not? Indirectly their attempts for material elevation help the spiritual advancement of the Vaishnavas. You may call material knowledge "material science". What is wrong with that? It is foolish to squabble over names.
Digambara: Well, if there were no progress in material knowledge, it would not be so easy for you to pass your life in devotional service. Therefore you also should strive for material progress.
Advaita: Different people, with different desires, try in different ways, and the Supreme Controller gives each person the fruits of his actions.
Digambara: Why do people have different desires?
Advaita: Desires are created by past karma. One whose material desires are strong becomes learned in material things and expert in material work. What is produced in this way may help the Vaishnavas in their service to Lord Krishna. However, the Vaishnavas themselves need not become expert in these different skills. Look, a carpenter may make a cart, and householder Vaishnava may use that cart to carry the Deity of the Lord. Bees may gather honey, and the devotees of the Lord may take the honey a employ it in the Lord's service. Not everyone in this world is interested in spiritual advancement. From their different desires different kinds of work are manifested. men are of different kinds, some exalted and others lowly. They whose desires are lowly may work in different ways, and they whose desires are lofty may use the result of that work for good purposes. Pushed by these differences, the circle of the world turns. Materialistic men work in different ways, and what they produce may helpful to the spiritualists, the Vaishnavas. The materialists do not understand how they are helping the Vaishnavas. Still, bewildered by Lord Vishnu's maya potency, they act in that way. Thus the entire world unknowingly serves the Vaishnavas..
Digambara: What is the illusory potency of Lord Vishnu you mentioned?
Advaita: In the Candi-mahatmya of the Markandeya Purana it is said:
yogamaya hareh shaktir
yaya sammohitam jagat
"The entire world is bewildered by Lord Hari's maya potency."
These words describe Lord Vishnu's maya potency.
Digambara: Then who is the goddess I know as Mother Nistarini?
Advaita: She is Lord Vishnu's maya potency.
Digambara: (opening his book about the Tantras) Look! Here it says, "My Mother is the form of spiritual consciousness. Her desires are at once fulfilled. She is beyond the touch of the three modes, but still She manifests the three modes." Your maya potency of Lord Vishnu is not beyond the three modes. How can you say that your maya potency of Lord Vishnu is the same as my Mother? When I see how you Vaishnavas are such closed-minded fanatics, it does not make me happy at all.
Advaita: Brother Digambara, please don't be angry. After so many days you have seen me again. I want to make you happy. If I say "the maya potency of Lord Vishnu", how have I become small-minded? Lord Vishnu is the all-knowing Supreme Personality of Godhead. All that exists is His potency. The word "potency" does not mean a substance. Rather it means the quality that a substance possesses. Therefore the statement that a potency is the root of all existence goes counter to the truth. A potency cannot exist apart from its substance. An original substance with a spiritual form must first be accepted. After all, the commentary on Vedanta-sutra declares:
"The potency and the possessor of the potency are not different."
The meaning, then, is that the potency does not exist apart from its substance. The only true substance is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the master of potencies. The nature of the potency is either to be a quality of the Supreme Lord, or submissive to His will. When it is said that the potency has pure consciousness, that means that because the potency and the master of potencies are not different, therefore, like the master of potencies, the potency also has a form of spiritual consciousness, has desires that are at once fulfilled, and is beyond the touch of the three modes. It is not a mistake to say these things. Will and consciousness are qualities of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. By itself, the potency does not possess will, but rather it carries out the will of the Supreme. For example, you have power, and by Your will, your potencies act. If you say, "the power acted", then that means that the possessor of the power was actually behind the action. To say that "the power acted" is only to use a figure of speech. In truth, the Supreme Personality of Godhead has only one potency. When she performs spiritual actions, she is called the spiritual potency, and when she performs material actions, she is called the material potency, or maya. The Vedas (Shvetashvatara Upanishad 6.8) explain:
parasya shaktir vividhaiva shruyate
"The potency of the Supreme is manifested in many different ways."
The potency that manifests the three modes is the material potency. She creates and destroys the material universes. Those are her duties. In the Puranas and Tantras this potency is called by many names, such as Vishnu-maya, Maha-maya, and Maya. Allegorically she is also called "the mother of Brahma. Vishnu, and Shiva", "the killer of Shumbha and Nishumbha", and other like names that describe her different activities. As long as he remains deeply enmeshed in material consciousness, the soul is under her power. When he attains pure spiritual knowledge, the soul can understand the nature of his original spiritual form. Then he is freed from the ropes of Maya. Then he is under the power of the spiritual potency. Then he becomes happy.
Digambara: Are you under the power of one of these potencies, or are you not?
Advaita: Yes. We are also a potency. We are “jiva-shakti", individual souls. When we become free from the ropes of the maya potency, we are in the power of the spiritual potency.
Digambara: Then you are also a shakta, a worshiper of the potency.
Advaita: Yes. The Vaishnavas are naturally shaktas. We are the servants of Shri Radhika, who is the spiritual potency. Under Her patronage we worship and serve Lord Krishna. Who is more of a shakta than we? I don't see any difference between the shaktas and the Vaishnavas. They who do not take shelter of the spiritual potency, but only take shelter of the material potency Maya may be shaktas, but they are not Vaishnavas. They are materialists. In the Narada-pancaratra, Goddess Durga explains:
tava vakshasi radhaham
rase vrindavane vane
"O Krishna, I am Radha, who stays on Your chest during the rasa dance in Vrindavana forest."
Thus from Durga-devi's words we can understand that the Lord does not have two potencies. There is only one potency, who manifests Herself as the spiritual potency Radhika and the material potency Vishnu-maya. When the potency is free from the material modes, she is called the spiritual potency, and when she is within the sphere of the material modes, she is called the material potency.
Digambara: You said that you yourself are a potency, the "jiva-shakti". What potency is that?
Advaita: In Bhagavad-gita (7.4-5), the Supreme Personality of Godhead explains:
bhumir apo 'nalo vayuh
kham mano buddhir eva ca
ahankara itiyam me
bhinna prakritir ashöadha
"Earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, intelligence, and false egoaltogether these eight comprise My separated material energies.*
apareyam itas tv anyam
prakritim viddhi me param
yayedam dharyate jagat
"Besides this inferior energy, O mighty-armed Arjuna, there is a superior energy of Mine, which are all living entities who are struggling with material nature and are sustaining the universe."*
Digambara, do you know the glory of Bhagavad-gita? It is the best of all scriptures. It solves all the problems of life. It explains that the individual souls are superior to dull matter, and that they are one of the potencies of the Lord. The wise call the individual souls "taöastha-shakti" (marginal potency). The marginal potency is superior to dull matter and inferior to the Lord's cit-shakti (internal potency). Therefore the individual spirit souls are one of the potencies of the Lord.
Digambara: Kalidasa, have you seen this Bhagavad-gita?
Advaita: Yes. I have read that book.
Digambara: What does it teach?
Advaita: Brother Digambara, men praise molasses only as long as they have not tasted sugar-candy.
Digambara: My brother, you are a fanatic. Devi-bhagavata and Devi-gita are honored by everyone. You Vaishnavas alone have not heard of them.
Advaita: My brother, have you read Devi-gita?
Digambara: No. Why should I lie? I tried to make a manuscript copy of them, but I was not able.
Advaita: How can I say that a particular book, which I have not read, is good of bad? Am I the fanatic, or are you?
Digambara: My brother, I am always afraid of you. You were always very talkative. As a Vaishnava you are even more talkative. Whatever I say, you refute.
Advaita: I am a fool. But I can see that there is no pure religion but the Vaishnava religion. For a long time you held a grudge against the Vaishnavas. That is why you could not see that path that leads to your own auspiciousness.
Digambara: (a little angry) Is it! I do so much worship and devotion, and you say I cannot see the path to my own good! Have I been walking the wrong path all along? Look! Here is the Tantra-sangraha! How I labored on it! Now that you are a Vaishnava you like to blaspheme modern science and modern civilization! What can I do to convince you? Go to civilized people as see whether they praise you or me!
Advaita: (thinks to himself) How good it will be when this very bad company runs away! (aloud) Very well! Brother, when you die you will see how much benefit modern science and modern civilization have given you!
Digambara: Kalidasa, you are being foolish. Is there anything after death? As long as you stay in this world try to become famous among civilized men, and try to enjoy the five material pleasures. Enjoy. At the time of death Mother Nistarini will take you to a good place. She will protect you. Death will come at its own time. Why should you suffer before then? When you die, and the ingredients of your body mingle with the the other ingredients of the world, where will you be? This world is an illusion. It is Maya, Yogamaya, and Maha-maya. It is she who gives you pleasure here, and it is she who will give you liberation after death. Nothing exists but the potency. From the potency you have come. Into the potency you will enter at the end. Serve the potency! Just see the power in the knowledge she gives! Try to increase your own spiritual power! At the end you will see that there is nothing but the spiritual potency! What ganja did you smoke to dream up the fantastic story that an all-knowing personal God exists? By believing that story you attained only suffering. In the next life what benefit will you earn that I will not also get? I do not know. What is the use of believing in a personal God? Serve the potency! You will merge into the potency. In her you will rest forever.
Advaita: My brother, you are very attached to the material potency. If an all-knowing personal God exists, what will be your fate after death? What is happiness? Happiness is peace of mind. Renouncing material pleasures, I have found peace and happiness inside my heart. If something good exists after death, I will attain it. You are not peaceful and happy. The more you enjoy, the more your thirst for evermore pleasure increases. You have never known real happiness. Again and again you call out “Pleasure!" "Pleasure!" One day you will become plunged in an ocean of sufferings.
Digambara: Whatever will be, will be. Why do you shun the company of good people?
Advaita: I do not shun the company of good people. I already have their company. I only shun the wicked.
Digambara: Who are these wicked?
Advaita: Please don't become angry when you hear. I say this (Shrimad-Bhagavatam 4.30.33):
yavat te mayaya sprishöa
bhramama iha karmabhih
sangah syan no bhave bhave
"Dear Lord, as long as we have to remain within this material world due to our material contamination and wander from one type of body to another and from one planet to another, we pray that we may associate with those who are engaged in discussing Your pastimes. We pray for this benediction life after life, in different bodily forms and on different planets."*
Again, in the Seventh Canto it is said:
asadbhih saha sangas tu
na kartavyah kadacana
yasmat sarvartha-hanih syad
adhah-patash ca jayate
"One should never associate with materialists and non-devotees. By their association all is lost. By their association one falls into the lower worlds."
In the Katyayana-samhita it is said:
"Even if one is forced to live within a cage of iron or in the midst of a blazing fire, he should accept this position rather than live with nondevotees, who are through and through against the supremacy of the Lord."*
In the Third Canto it is said (Shrimad-Bhagavatam 3.31.33-34):
satyam shaucam daya maunam
buddhih shrir hrir yashah kshama
shamo damo bhagash ceti
yat-sangad yati sankshayam
"(By associating with unrighteous people, a person) becomes devoid of truthfulness, cleanliness, mercy, gravity, spiritual intelligence, shyness, austerity, fame, forgiveness, control of the mind, control of the senses, fortune, and all such opportunities.*
teshv ashanteshu mudheshu
sangam na kuryac chocyeshu
"One should not associate with a coarse fool who is bereft of knowledge and self-realization and who is no more than a dancing dog in the hands of a woman."*
In the Garuda Purana it is said:
antam gato 'pi vedanam
yo na sarveshvare bhaktas
tam vidyat purushadhamam
"Even though one may have gone to the other side of all the Vedas, and even though one is well-versed in all the revealed scriptures, if one is not a devotee of the Supreme Lord, he must be considered the lowest of mankind."*
IN Shrimad-Bhagavatam (6.1.18) it is said:
na nishpunanti rajendra
"My dear king, as a pot containing liquor cannot be purified even if washed in the waters of many rivers, nondevotees cannot be purified by processes of atonement even if they perform them very well."*
In the Skanda Purana it is said:
hanti nindati vai dveshöi
krudhyate yati no harsham
darshane patanani shaö
"A person who attacks, criticizes, or hates the Vaishnavas, or who becomes angry with them, does not respectfully greet them, or is not pleased to see them, finds himself in the six hells."
Digambara, association with wicked people will never bring one any good. What will one gain by associating with them?
Digambara: What I fine fellow I have come to talk with! He thinks we are all wicked people! You stay with your pure Vaishnavas! I am going home.
Advaita: (thinking to himself) It is almost done. Now I had best speak very sweetly to him. (aloud) Ah, now you must go home. You are my boyhood friend. I do not wish to see you go. If you are kind, then please stay. Stay for some time, take prasadam, and then go.
Digambara: Kalidasa, you know very well that I eat only havishya, and I already had some havishya before I came here. I am glad to see you. I will come again if I find the time. I can't stay the night because I must follow the spiritual practices my guru gave me. For today, brother, I must go.
Advaita: Let us go then. I will walk with you to the boat.
Digambara: No. No. You do your own business. I have some friends with me.
After speaking these words, Digambara burst into a song glorifying Goddess Durga, and left. Advaita dasa returned to his cottage and, without encountering any more interruptions, chanted the holy names of Lord Hari.