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First Realization


 Text 1


jayati sac-cid-ananda-


procyate sac-cid-ananda-

      nubhutir yat-prasadatah


     jayati—glory; sat—eternity; cid—knowledge; ananda—bliss;  rasa—nectar; anubhava—perception; vigrahah—form; procyate—is  spoken; sat-cid-anandanubhutir—the perception of eternity,  knowledge and bliss; yat-prasadatah—by the mercy of whom.


     Glory to Shri Krishna Chaitanya, the Supreme Personality of  Godhead, in whose form rest eternity, knowledge, bliss, and the  taste of nectar. By His mercy this book, which bears the title  "Sac-cid-anandanubhuti" (Directly Seeing the Supreme  Personality of Godhead, in Whose Form Rest Eternity, Knowledge,  and Bliss) has been written.


 Text 2


ko 'ham va kim idam vishvam

      avayoh ko 'nvayo dhruvam

atmanam nivrito jivah

      pricchati jnana-siddhaye


     ko—who?; aham—am I; va—or; kim—what?; idam—this;  vishvam—world; avayoh—of us both; ko—what?; anvayo—the  relationship; dhruvam—always; atmanam—himself;  nivrito—surrounded by matter; jivah—the soul; pricchati—asks;  jnana-siddhaye—to find the truth.


     "Who am I? What is this world? What relation have I  with this world?" To learn the truth, a soul in this material  world will always ask himself these questions.


Commentary by Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura



      Many days after their birth, human beings finally attain  good knowledge of sense objects. The outside world perceived by  the senses is called "vishaya" (the world of sense  objects). As his sensory powers grow, a child becomes  increasingly aware of the world of sense objects. Tasting  pleasure there, he is drawn to the world of sense objects. Thus  attracted to the world of sense objects, a human being thinks of  and acts for nothing else. Becoming a constant companion, sound,  touch, form, taste, and smell gradually turn the human mind into  their slave. In this way human beings are plunged into the world of  sense objects. "Death must come, and when it does, I will  have no relationship with this world of senses objects." When  this thought arises, a fortunate person turns from the world of  sense objects and yearns to know the truth. He then asks these  questions: "Who am I, the person who perceives this  world? What is this world? What relation have I with this world?"


 Text 3


atma prakriti-vaicitryad

      dadati citram uttaram

sva-svarupa-sthito hy atma

      dadati yuktam uttaram


     atma—self; prakriti—nature; vaicitryad—because of the  variety; dadati—gives; citram—variegated; uttaram—reply;  sva—own; svarupa—original form; sthito—situated; hy—indeed;  atma—self; dadati—gives; yuktam—proper; uttaram—reply.


     Because of their different natures, those who ask these  questions attain a great variety of answers. Only a soul  situated in his original spiritual form attains the true  answers.


Commentary by Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura



      A person who has turned away from the world of sense objects  finds an answer to these three questions. Scriptures and  philosophies attempt to answer these three questions. In our  country answers are given by the Vedas, Vedanta, and other books  following the Vedic teachings. Answers are also given by  philosophies that misinterpret the Vedic teachings, philosophies  like nyaya, pseudo-sankhya, patanjala, vaisheshika, and  karma-mimamsa. Answers are also given by philosophies that  openly oppose the Vedic teachings, philosophies like Buddhism and  the philosophy of the atheist Carvaka. In this way many  philosophies give many different answers. In China, Greece,  Persia, France, England, Germany, Italy, and other countries many  different philosophies were preached, philosophies like  Materialism, Positivism, Secularism, Pessimism, Scepticism,  Pantheism, and Atheism. Many philosophers used logic to prove the  existence of God. Then again, in other places was preached the  idea that one should simply believe in God and worship Him. In  many places were preached religions that claimed to be originally  given by God. Some religions were rooted in each person's own  individual faith in God. In other places it was said that God  Himself had given the teachings of religion. Religion rooted in  each person's own individual faith is called Theism. Included  among the religions with belief-systems and scriptures given by  God are Christianity and Mohammedanism. The answers to the  poreviously mentioned three questions are truly of two kinds: 1.  the answer given by a soul situated in his original form, and 2.  the great variety of answers given by all others. Why is not a  single answer only given to each of these questions? The true  answers are given by a pure person situated in his original  spiritual form. All persons situated in their original spiritual  forms give the same answers. However, the persons who have fallen  into the material world are not situated in their original  spiritual forms. The material world is not their real home. It is  a world born from material illusion. The Supreme Truth (para- tattva) has a spiritual potency (para shakti). The shadow of  that spiritual potency is the potency of illusion (maya-shakti).  Maya-shakti is the mother of the material world. The great  variety of qualities maya offers are accepted by the souls  residing in the material world as their own qualities. In this  way the soul's original qualities are withdrawn and the specific  mixture of qualities and an identity offered by maya are  accepted by the soul. In this way the spirit soul identifies with  matter. Spiritual and material ideas thus become mixed together  in many different ways in the mind of the spirit soul. Each  accepting a different mixture of material qualities, the spirit  souls misidentifying with matter each give his own answers to  these three questions. In this way a great variety of answers is  manifest. Influenced by the traditions, activities, associates,  foods, language, and thought patterns of the countries where they  live, the souls in this world give answers to these three  questions. In this way time, place, and circumstance combine to  create a great variety of natures. Firstly, the souls come in  contact with matter in different ways. Those different kinds of  contact bring one set of variations of nature. Secondly, their  different countries, languages, families, and other circumstances  bring another set of variations of nature. In this way the a  great variety of natures becomes multiplied. Only a person who  has traveled to every country, learned every language, and  studied every country's history can understand the scope of that  variety. Here I will only point in the direction of that variety.  I will not do more. It would be a great trouble. Of the two kinds  of answers given by the living entities, one is the true answer.  The other is the great variety of answers according to the views  of different philosophies. The great variety of answers may be  divided into two groups. The first group is called “jnana" and the second group is called "karma". Here  someone may protest: "When you say the true (yukta)  answer you imply that you honor logic (yukti) as the way to know  the truth. Why, then, do you not accept the great variety of  answers that logic brings?" To this protest I reply: Spiritual  logic does not depend on the material logic that brings a variety  of answers. Therefore when I use the words logic (yukti) and  truth (yukta), I refer to the logic and truth accepted by  liberated souls purified of matter's touch, logic and truth that  properly distinguish between matter and spirit. Logic that is  material, that takes shelter of matter, will always lead to a  great variety of conclusions. A liberated soul situated in his  original spiritual form can give the true, the genuinely logical  answer. Among the great variety of answers is seen the group  called jnana. Employing jnana, the spirit soul in contact with  matter tries to distinguish spirit from matter. When it speaks  positively (anvaya), jnana affirms the primacy of matter,  saying matter is the beginningless root of all that exists. When  it speaks negatively (vyatireka) jnana says that matter cannot  be destroyed, for it is merely a transformation of the Supreme  (brhaman), who has no potencies (nihshakti). They who follow  karma say God does not exist, and therefore the living entities  should engage in material activities. Pure jnana and karma have  their place in true spiritual love and spiritual activities. They  are part of the true answers to our three questions. They will be  discussed later in this book, when devotional service (bhakti)  will be described. Because they are material in nature, words  cannot completely describe the pure spiritual truth.


 Text 4


citram bahu-vidham viddhi

      yuktam ekam svarupatah

citram adau tatha cante

      yuktam eva vivicyate


     citram—variety; bahu-vidham—many kinds; viddhi—please  know; yuktam—truth; ekam—one; svarupatah—naturally;  citram—variety;  adau—first; tatha—then; ca—also; ante—at the end; yuktam—the  right answer; eva—indeed; vivicyate—is considered.


     Please know that there are a great variety of answers, and  there is also one true answer. First we will consider the great  variety of answers, and then we will consider the one true  answer.


 Text 5


atmathava jadam sarvam

      svabhavad dhi pravartate

svabhavo vidyate nityam

      isha-jnanam nirarthakam


     atma—soul; athava—or; jadam—matter; sarvam—all;  svabhavad—naturally; hi—indeed; pravartate—is manifest;  svabhavo—own nature; vidyate—is; nityam—eternal; isha- jnanam—knowledge of God; nirarthakam—without meaning.


     Some philosophers say that matter is everything, matter  is self-manifest, matter is eternal, and any conception of God is  a senseless lie.


 Text 6


sarvatha ceshvarasiddhir

      isha-karta prayojanat

para-loka-katha mithya

      dhurtanam kalpanerita


     sarvatha—in all respects; ca—and; ishvara—God;  asiddhir—lacxk of proof; isha—God; karta—creator;  prayojanat—because of the need; para- loka-katha—talk of a spiritual world; mithya—false;  dhurtanam—of rascals; kalpana—imagination; irita—spoken.


     They say no one has ever proved God's existence, God is  created by men, and talk of a spiritual world is a lie imagined  by rascals.


 Text 7


samyogaj jada-tattvanam

      atma chaitanya-samjnitah

pradurbhavati dharmo 'yam

      nihito jada-vastuni


     samyogaj—from contact; jada-tattvanam—of material  elements; atma—soul; chaitanya-samjnitah—known as  consciousness;  pradurbhavati—is manifested; dharmo—religion; ayam—this;  nihito—placed; jada-vastuni—in matter.


     Thewy say the inert material elements combine to create  conscious life. In this way conscious life is manifest in inert  matter.


 Text 8


viyogat sa punas tatra

      gacchaty eva na samshayah

na tasya punar avrittir

      na muktir jnana-lakshana


     viyogat—from separation; sa—that; punas—again; tatra—there;  gacchaty—goes; eva—indeed; na—no; samshayah—doubt; na—not;  tasya—of that; punar—again; avrittir—return; na—not;  muktir—liberation; jnana-lakshana—characterized by  knowledge.


     They say that when it dies, conscious life ceases to exist,  and of this they have no doubt. They say there is no soul that can  be reborn in this world or liberated from it by attaining  spiritual knowledge.


Commentary by Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura



      Among the great variety of philosophies, materialism (jada- vada) is very widespread. Materialism is of two kinds: 1. the  philosophy of attaining material pleasures (jadananda-vada),  and 2. the philosophy of extinguishing (nirvana) material  existence altogether (jada-nirvana-vada). Now we will  consider these two materialistic philosophies. First we will look  at materialism in a general way. All varieties of materialism  say this: Inert matter exists, conscious life exists, and  everything is created from inert matter. Conscious life does not  exist before inert matter. Philosophies that teach about God are  a useless waste of time. Inert matter is eternal. If someone  talks abou "God", he is talking about a being who exists  only in his imagination. If any God exists one should search to  find a higher "God" that controls that God. God's  existence has never been proved. In every country and province  are religious books describing God and describing the soul's  residence in a spiritual world. These books are the wild  imaginations of various rascals. They do not describe anything  that truly exists. Therefore the words self (atma) and  consciousness (chaitanya) refer only to certain aspects of matter.  Self and consciousness are created only by a variety of forward  (anuloma) or backward (viloma) interactions (samyoga) of material  elements (jada-tattva). When the interactions are forward, there  is creation of self and consciousness. When the interactions are  backward, self and consciousness are again merged into matter.  A self's taking birth again and again in different forms, or  reincarnation, is not possible. Attaining liberation from matter  by learning the truth about Brahman is not possible either.  Because the self is not different from matter, the self cannot  become liberated from matter. Therefore matter is the ultimate  reality. All existence is only a variety of aspects of matter.  All atheists accept these ideas. One group of atheists claims  that each person's attainment of material pleasure is for him the  goal of life. Another group of atheists, understanding that  material pleasure is temporary and pathetic, searches after the  happiness of nirvana (cessation of material existence).

      Now we will consider the philosophy of attaining material  pleasures (jadananda-vada). The philosophy of attaining  material pleasures is of two kinds: 1. the philosophy of selfish  material pleasures (svartha-jadananda-vadi), and 2. the  philosophy of unselfish material pleasures (nihsvartha- jadananda-vadi).

      They who follow the philosophy of selfish material pleasures  think: "Neither God, nor soul, nor afterlife, nor karmic  reactions exist. Therefore, concerned only for results visible in  this world, let us spend our time in sense pleasures. We don't  need to waste our time performing useless religious activities."  Because of bad association and sinful deeds, this atheistic  philosophy has existed in human society from ancient times.  However, this philosophy has never become prominent among  faithful, respectable people. Still, in different countries some  people have taken shelter of this idea and even written books  propounding it. In India the brahmana Carvaka, in China the  atheist Yangchoo, in Greece the atheist Leucippus, in Central  Asia Sardanaplus, in Rome Lucretious, and many others in many  countries all wrote books propounding these ideas. Von Holback  says that one should perform philanthropic deeds to increase  one's personal happiness. By working to make others happy, one  increases one's own happiness, and that is good.

      Trying to persuade the people in general, the authors of  modern books prpounding the philosophy of material pleasure often  talk about unselfish material pleasure, or doing good,  materially, to others. In India atheism existed even in ancient  days. With great erudition, one philosopher wrote a great  distortion of the Vedic teaching, a distortion called the  Mimamsa-sutras, which begin with the words "codana- lakshano dharmah", a which replace God with an "an  abstract origin before which nothing existed" (apurva). In  Greece a philosopher named Democritus preached this philosophy  also. He said that matter and void exist eternally. When these  two meet, there is creation, and when they are separated, there  is destruction. Material elements are different only because  their atoms are of different sizes. Otherwise the elements are  not different. Knowledge is a sensation that comes when something  within touches something without. His philosophy holds that all  existence is composed of atoms. In out country also Kanada in  his vaisheshika philosophy also taught that the material  elements are composed of eternal atoms. However, the vaisheshika  philsophy is different from Democritus' atomic theory, for the  vaisheshika philosophy accepts the eternal existence of both God  and soul. In Greece Plato and Aristotle refused to accept an  eternal God as the only creator of the material world. Kanada's  errors are also seen in their views. Gassendi accepted the  existence of atoms, but concluded that God created the atoms. In  France Diderot and Lamettrie preached the theory of unselfish  material pleasure. The theory of unselfish material pleasure  reached its high point in France's philosopher Compte, who was  born in 1795 and died in 1857. His impure philosophy is called  Positivism. It is inappropriately named, for it accepts the  existence of matter only, and nothing else. It claims: Aside from  sense knowledge there is no true knowledge. The mind is only a  special arrangement of material elements. In the final  conclusion, no origin of all existecne can be described.  Furthermore, there is no need to discover any origin of the  material world. There is no sign that any conscious creator of  the material world exists. The thinking mind should categorize  things according to their relationships, results, similarities,  and dissimilarities. One should not accept the existence of  anything beyond matter. Belief in God is for children. Adults  know God is a myth. Discriminating between good and evil, one  should act righteously. One should try to do good to all human  beings. That is the philosophy of unselfish material pleasure.  Thinking in this way one should act for the benefit of all human  beings. One should imagine a female form and worship it. That  form is, of course, unreal. Still, by worshiping it one attains  good character. The earth, or the totality of material  iexistence, is called the "Supreme Fetich", the land is  called the "Supreme Medium", and the primordial human  nature is called the "Supreme Being". A female form with  an infant in her hands should be worshiped morning, noon, nad  night. This imaginary female form, who is an amalgam of one's  mother, wife, and daughter, should be meditated and worshiped in  the past, present, and future. One should not seek any selfish  benefit from these actions. In England a philosopher named Mill  taught a philosophy of entimentalism that is largely like  Compte's philosophy of unselfish material pleasure. In this way  atheism, or secularism, attracted the minds of many youths in  England. Mill, Lewis, Paine, Carlyle, Bentham, Combe, and other  philosophers preached these ideas. This philosophy is of two  kinds. One kind was taught by Holyoake, who kindly accepted God  existence to some extent. The other kind was taught by Bradlaugh,  who was a thorough atheist.

      The philosophy of eelfish material pleasure and the  philosophy of unselfish material pleasure, although different in  some ways, are both materialistic. When one deeply thinks about  the ideas of all these materialistic philosophers, one will see  that materialism is useless and untenable. When one simply  glances at them with the eyes of pure spiritual logic, one will  reject these ideas as pathetic and untenable. Even ordinary  material logic will show these ideas are untenable and should be  rejected. This is seen in the following ways:

      1. The philosophy of materialism searches for a single  principle that is the root of all existence. This is a great  folly. If one thinks the material atoms are eternal, the void is eternal,  the relation between the void and the material elements is  inconceivable, and the powers, qualities, and actions of the  material atoms are also eternal, and all these thingsare eternal  and beginningless, then he cannot accept that the material world  was ever created. A person who accepts these ideas cannot reduce  the material world to a single underlying principle. He must  accept the simultaneous existence of many principles. What is  time? That he has no power to say. In this way their attempt to  find a single underlying principle that governs the material  world is only the wild babbling of a child.

      2. The philosophy of Materialism is unnatural and  unscientific. It is unnatural because every nature has a cause.  To assume that matter is eternal and is the cause of  consciousness, which appears only as a by-product of matter, is  very illogical. The presence of causes and effects is natural in  the world of gross matter. Without causes and effects the  material world would not be as it is. The philosophy of  Materialism is unscientific because consciousness has the power  to manipulate and control inert matter. Therefore the idea that  consciousness is merely a by-product of matter is fiercely  opposed to true scientific thinking.

      3. Consciousness is naturally superior to inert matter. Only  fools say consciousness is a by-product of matter. Professor  Ferris has clearly explained all this.

      4. Can anyone proove that matter is eternal? Professor  Tyndall has clearly shown there is evidence to prove the eternity  of matter. If someone claims that he has looked eternally into  the past and eternally into the future and he has seen that  matter is eternal, no one should believe him.

      5. Buchner and Molescott claim that matter is eternal. That  is an imagination that exists only in their heads. If in the  course of time matter ceases to exist, their ideas will become  lies.

      6. Comte writes: "We shouid not try to discover the  origin or the conclusion of the material world. That ettempt only  childish curiosity." However, because the living entity is by  nature conscious, he naturally curious to know these things. The  living entity cannot perform a funeral rite to celebrate the  death of his own natural curiosity. The search for causes and  effects is the mother of all true knowledge. If Compte's idea is  accepted, human intelligence will be destroyed in a few days. Of  that there is no doubt. Then human beings will all become  stunted, numbed, and unthinking.

      7. No one has ever seen human consciousness created from  dull material eleements. Only fools believe this will ever  happen. In the book I hold in my hand, a history book describing  three thousand years of human history, no one has ever seen an  human being spontaneously manifested from inert matter. If human  life is manifest from the spontaneous interactions of material  elements, then in the course of all those years at least one  human being would have been spontaneously manifested from inert  matter.

      8. The graceful and harmonious arrangement of human beings,  animals, trees, and other living entities in this world points to  a creator and controller. In this way it is seen that there must  be a conscious supreme creator.

      In these many ways the philosophy of Materialism is refuted  even by ordinary logic. Only very unfortunate people accept the  ideas of Materialism. They have no idea of spiritual happiness.  Their desires are very petty. The philosophy of material  extinction (nirvana) will be discussed later in this book.


 Text 9


kartavyo laukiko dharmah

      papanam viratir yatah

vidvadbhir lakshito nityo

      svabhava-vihito vidhih


     kartavyo—should be done; laukiko—material; dharmah—nature;  papanam—of sins; viratir—cessation; yatah—because;  vidvadbhir—by the wise; lakshito—seen; nityo—eternal;  svabhava—by nature; vihito—placed; vidhih—rules.


     The materialists say these words: Ordinary morality should  be followed, for then immoral activities are stopped. The wise  see that the eternal rules of morality are spontaneously  manifested from human nature.


 Text 10



      jijnasyo sa sukhaptaye

jivane yat sukham tat tu

      jivanasya prayojanam


     punkhanupunkha-rupena—thoroughly; jijnasyo—to be  inquired; sa—he; sukha—of happiness; aptaye—for attainment;  jivane—in life; yat—what; sukham—happiness; tat—that;  tu—indeed; jivanasya—of life; prayojanam—the need.


     One should diligently try to attain material happiness, for  material happiness is the true goal of life.


 Text 11


jivane yat kritam karma

      jivanante tad eva hi

jagatam anya-jivanam

      sambandhe phala-dam bhavet


     jivane—in life; yat—what; kritam—done; karma—action;  jivana—of life; ante—at the end; tad—that; eva—indeed;  hi—indeed; jagatam—of the universes; anya—of other;  jivanam—living entities; sambandhe—relationship; phala- dam—giving result; bhavet—will; be. 


     After a person dies, the activities he performed during his life  will still bring results to other living entities, to persons who  had a relationship with him.


 Text 12


na karma nasham ayati

      yada va yena va kritam


      kurute sarvam unnatam


     na—not; karma—action; nasham—to destruction; ayati—goes;  yada—when; va—or; yena—by whom; va—or; kritam—done;  apurva—wodnerful; shakti—power; rupena—with the form;  kurute—does; sarvam—all; unnatam—elevated.


     Reagrdless of when or by whom they were performed, good  material activities are never lost. They have a wonderful power  to elevate everyone.


Commentary by Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura



      Now we will consider the ordinary activities of persons who  follow the philosophy of Materialism. They say: "Even  though there is no God, no soul, and no afterlife, human beings  should still follow the rules of morality. By acting morally one  will attain happiness in this life, and by acting immorally one  will be placed in a fearful situation. These immoral activities  are also called `sins'. If one acts selflessly to make others  happy, one's own happiness will spontaneously follow. Therefore  one should follow the principles of morality. One should follow  morality and cast sins far away, for sins bring only troubles and  sufferings. Nature always has its own laws. Therefore, since  every being is a part of nature, every being must follow nature's  laws. Philosophers should try to discover the laws that govern  the material world. Pious happiness is the highest good attained  in this life. To attain one's own happiness one should diligently  try to discover and follow nature's laws. If you say, `After  death I will exist no longer. Why should I renounce my own  unbridled pleasure and follow the rules of morality?', then I  reply: Your actions are not in vain. Even after your death they  will not stop bringing results to others. After your death the  actions you performed in your life will bring various results to  various people in the world. If you married and begat children,  gave your children and education and taught them about morality,  then your actions will bring results enjoyed by many people. If  you earn money and build schools, hostels for travellers, roads,  bathing places, and other like things, then many people will  enjoy the results of your actions. If you say, `The results of  those actions will quickly perish,' then I reply: Why should you  not act? Your actions will never perish. When they are mature,  actions have a very wonderful power. In the future these actions  will become very powerful. They will make this endless world a  very exalted place. Therefore one should act without selfish  motives."

      The philosophy of materialism collapses of its own accord.  It is like a house without a foundation or walls. No one will  follow a relgion without hope or fear for what will happen in the  afterlife. As their very name shows, the followers of the  philosophy of selfish material pleasures are all selfish. Indeed,  the followers of the philosophy of unselfish material pleasures  are in truth selfish also. It is not possible to follow the idea  of unselfish material pleasures for long. Writing under the pen- name Mirabond, the philosopher Holbach wrote a book, “System of Nature" in the year 1770. In that book he wrote,  "Unselfishness does not exist in this world. I say a good  faith is one where one becomes happy by others' happiness." I see  it that way also. Unselfish materialism has no meaning. It is  like a flower imagined to float in the sky. Unselfishness is  merely a way to attain one's own happiness and freedom from  troubles. One thinks, "If people hear I am unselfish,  they will trust me. Then I will easily attain my ends." A  mother's love, brother's love, friendship, and the love of a man  and a woman: Are these unselfish? If they do not bring one's own  personal happiness, these kinds of "love" do not last. To  attain spiritual bliss at the end, some people pass their whole  lives in renunciation. Every religion and philosophy is based on  selfishness. Love of God is also selfish. It is everyone's nature  to be selfish. The very phrase "one's own nature" hints  at selfishness. Selfishness is natural. Unselfishness is very  unnatural. Therefore it is never truly seen. Without the hope of  future life and future happiness, no one would perform any  action. Persons of purified intelligence are not attracted to  Jaimini's apurva philosophy or the life-force philosophy of some  western thinkers. Anyone who follows these philosophies becomes  cheated. In India even the smarta-panditas who quote Jaimini's  apurva philosophy in their writing all believe in God's grace and  in a blissful existence in a spiritual world. If they knew the  truth, that Jaimini's apurva philosophy is opposed even to God's  existence, they would at once turn their backs on Jaimini and his  ideas. Jaimini knew well that belief in God naturally stays in  the hearts of human beings. Therefore in his apurva philosophy he  carefully and cunningly crafted an imaginary God who bestows the  results of actions. Thus concealed under the cloak of belief in  God, the atheistic karma-mimamsa philosophy preached by the  smarta-panditas has a strong following in India. One person's  self interest often conflicts with another person's self  interest. When a person of average intelligence hears the word  "unselfishness", he becomes attracted, for he thinks that  by following the philosophy of unselfishness his own desires will  be fulfilled. That is another reason the philosophy of atheistic  materialism has become widespread. How the preacher of the  philosophy of unselfish material pleasure induces his followers  to act morally in the world is not easily understood. Pushed by  their own selfish desires, people may act morally for some time,  but when they think it over, they will eventually sin. They will  say to themselves: "O my brother, don't stay away from  sense pleasures. Enjoy sense pleasures as you like, as long as  others do not know of them. Why not? I do not think the world  will collapse because of them. There is no God, an all-seeing God  who gives to us the results of our actions. What have you to  fear? Just be a little careful, so no one will know. If they  learn of it, then you will lose your good reputation, and perhaps  the government or bad people will make trouble for you. If that  happens neither you nor others will be happy." Know for certain  that if the hearts of the preachers of atheistic morality were  examined, these thoughts would be found. One day a smarta-pandita  prescribed the candrayana-vrata and other harsh penances to a  person who had asked him about the atonement for a certain sin.  Hearing this, the person said, "O Bhattacarya  Mahashaya, if I must perform a candrayana-vrata for killing  that spider, then your son, who was also implicated in that act,  must also perform that penance." Seeing this would be a great  calamity for his son, the Bhattacarya Mahashaya turned two  or four more pages in his big book and said, "Aha! I made  a mistake. Now I see. The books says: `A dead spider is only a  piece of rag.' That being the case, you need not perform any  atonement at all." The atheist smarta-panditas are like that.  They accept the worship of God only to promote their atheist  philosophy. If sometimes they accept the ideas if an afterlife  and of a God who gives the results of actions, they accept these  two ideas only a subordinate parts of their karma philosophy.  True devotion (bhakti) to God is never seen in their ideas. It is seen  that what is the beginning is unselfishness gradually turns into  selfishness. To prevent this from happening some atheist karma- mimamsa philosophers accept the existence of a single all- knowing  God who gives the results of actions. They then quote  many passages from scripture to show how the worship of God is a  part of the karma-mimamsa philosophy. In this way they accept  an imaginary God. Compte, fearing that morality would not be  taken seriously, imagined a God that would be considered real.  Compte was more honest. Jaimini was more farsighted. Compte's  tirickery was caught, and therefore his idea of imaginary worship  of God never attracted many followers. Jaimini had a deeper  understanding, and therefore his karma-mimamsa philosophy did  gain wide acceptance in the smarta-pandita community. In the  end Compte and Jaimini held the same philosophy. If one examines  the ideas and activities of the smarta-panditas, one will see  that the karma-mimamsa philosophy is untenable. Why is it not  tenable? It is not tenable because it will never bring true  auspiciousness to human society. Secularism, Positivism, or  smarta karma-mimamsa have no power to uproot sins. Rather,  for many days they will make many great obstacles to stop true  pure devotion (bhakti) to God, devotion that is the true purifier of sins.  Time after time the karma-mimamsa philosophy tells` devotion  to God: "I am your follower. I make people qualified to  follow you. I purify the sinful people and place them at your  feet." These words are only cheating. They are not sincere. True  karma (pious action) is devotional service to God. As long as  karma continues to call itself "karma" it is not a  part of devotional service. When it is truly a part of devotional  service, karma calls itself by the name "bhakti". As long  as it calls itself by the name "karma", karma is a rival  of devotional service and it always tries to make itself more  important than devotional service. Karma claims that it helps  philosophy, civilization, and art. However, when karma becomes  transformed into bhakti, then philosophy, civilization, and art  become much more glorious and exalted. In this place I will not  discuss this in more detail.


 Text 13


bhavah klesho 'bhavah kesham

      mate saukhyam iti sthitam




     bhavah—material existence; klesho—suffering; abhavah—non- existence; kesham—of some; mate—in the idea;  saukhyam—happiness; iti—thus; sthitam—situated; nirvana—of  non-existence; sukha—of happiness; sampraptih—attainment;  sharira—of the material body; klesha—of the sufferings;  sadhanat—because of the activities.


     Some think existence is suffering and happiness comes when  existence stops. Because the material body brings so many  sufferings, they think they will become happy by ceasing to  exist.


Commentary by Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura



      As long as they find pleasure in material things,  materialists will hunt for material pleasures. Whether selfish or  so-called unselfish, they will seek the dull pleasures of the  material world. Material pleasures are in truth very pathetic and  insignificant. They are not a good companion to spiritual things.  Among the materialists those who are intelligent cannot find any  satisfaction in material pleasures. Ignorant of spiritual  existence, how can they search after eternal spiritual pleasures?  They come to think the cessation (nirvana) of their own  existence is the only happiness. To that happiness they run. They  say, "Existence is suffering. Cessation of existence is  happiness. Because this material body brings only sufferings, let  us strive for the happiness of ceasing (nirvana) to exist." At  the time in India when the atheistic karma-mimamsa of seeking  material pleasures was very prominent, and when the Vedas, which  are filled with spiritual truths, were considered the only true  scriptures, and when, claiming that the Vedas teach the atheistic  karma-mimamsa philosophy, many materialistic brahmanas sought by  performing yajnas to attain sensory pleasures in this life and  apsaras and nectar in Indra's city in the next life, a certain  person dissatisfied with material pleasures, a person named  Shakyasimha and born in a kshatriya family, deciding one day  that there was no escape from the sufferings of the material body  and that true happiness rests in cessation (nirvana) of  existence, founded the philosophy of Buddhism. Even before that  time the same philosophy of nirvana was preached, a fact for  which is is ample evidence. However, it was at the time of  Shakyasimha that this philosophy found many followers. From  that time on there were many preachers and followers of Buddhism.  Shakyasimha was not the only preacher of Buddhism. During his  time, or a little before, a person named Jina, who was born in a  vaishya family, preached a philosophy much like Buddhism. His  philosophy is called Jainism. Jainism remained within India. But  Buddhism crossed the mountains, rivers, and oceans and entered  China, Tatarstan, Thailand, Japan, Mynamar (Burma), Ceylon, and  many other countries. Even today this philosophy is followed in  many countries. Buddhism has many branches. Still, the ideas of  void (shunya) and of cessation of existence (nirvana) are seen  in all the branches. Still, human beings cannot reject their  natural belief in God, so in some branches of Buddhism worship of  God is also seen.

      I once asked some questions of a Buddhist monk from Mynamar,  a fellow who did not understand the true teachings of Buddhism.  He answered my questions by saying, "God is  beginningless. He created the entire world. Assuming the form of  Buddha, He descended to this world and then, again assuming His  form as God, He returned to heaven. If we act piously and follow  the rules of religion, then we will go to His abode." From what  he told me, I could see that this Buddhist monk from Mynamar did  not know the true Buddhist philosophy. In the name of Buddhist  philosophy he simply repeated the common religious ideas that are  part of human nature. Philosophy based on tricks of logic cannot  bring good to human society. Such tricky philosophy is cherished  only in the hearts and books of professional philosophers. The  people in general who claim to follow these philosophies will  tend to revert to the common religious ideas that are part of  human nature. The "universal love" preached by Compte,  the karma-mimamsa and imaginary apurva-God preached by  Jaimini, and the cessation (nirvana) of existence preached by  Shakyasimha will all gradually become transformed by their  followers into the common religion that is part of human nature.  That is inevitable. At this moment it is happening.

      A philosophy of cessation (nirvana) of existence, a  philosophy like the Buddhist and Jain philosophies, was also  preached in Europe. This philosophy was called “Pessimism." Buddhism and Pessimism are not at all different.  They are different in only one way. In Buddhism the soul wanders  from one birth to another, always suffering. By following the  principles of Buddhism the soul gradually attains nirvana  (preliminary cessation of existence) and then parinirvana  (final cessation of existence). In the philosophy of Pessimism  the soul does not have birth after birth. Thus the philosophy  of cessation of existence is of two kinds: 1. cessation of  existence after one birth, and 2. cessation of existence after  many births.

      Buddhism and Jainism belong in the second group. Both accept  transmigration of the soul. According to Buddhism, after many  births of practicing kindness and renunciation, one becomes first  a bodhisattva and finally a buddha. In this philosophy by  practicing humbleness, peacefulness, tolerance, kindness,  selflessness, meditation, renunciation, and friendliness, the  soul eventually attains parinirvana. In parinirvana the soul no  longer exists. In ordinary nirvana the souls continues to exist  in a form of mercy. The followers of Jainism say: "By  practicing kindness and renunciation, and by cultivating all  virtues, the soul gradually passes through the stages of  Naradatva, Mahadevatva, Vasudevatva, Paravasudevatva,  Cakravartitva, and, at the end, when he attains nirvana,  Bhagavattva. Buddhism and Jainism both accept the following  ideas: The material world is to be eternal. Karma has no  beginning, but it does have an end. Existence is suffering, and  cessation of existence (parinirvana) is happiness. Jaimini's  karma-mimamsa philosophy, which claims to accept the Vedas'  authority, is inauspicious for the living entitties. Cessation of  existence (parinirvana) is auspicious for the living entities.  Although they are masters of the followers of karma-mimamsa,  Indra and the demigods are servants of the sages who seek  nirvana.     Schopenhauer and Hartmann belong in the first group of  philosophers who preach cessation of existence. Schopenhaur  taught that by abandoning the will to live, and by fasting,  desirelessness, renunciation, humbleness, bodily mortification,  purity, and renunciation the soul attains nirvana. In  Hartmann's philosophy thereis no need for bodily mortification.  At the moment of death one automatically attains nirvana.  A philosopher named Harry Benson taught that suffering is eternal  and nirvana an impossibility.

      Here it may be said that the Advaita (Monism or  Impersonalism) philosophy is only another kind of materialistic  philosophy of cessation of existence. All the impersonalists  yearn to end their own individual existence and then taste the  spiritual bliss of merging into impersonal Brahman. That is their  philosophy. However, after nirvana they no longer exist. If they  do not exist, then they cannot experience bliss or anything else.  Actually, their philosophy is exactly like the materialistic  philosophy of nirvana. The materialistic philosophy of the  cessation of existence is completely untenable, for it has not  decided on the nature of the individual person. If the individual  persons are merely creations of matter, then one falls into the  philosophy of accepting only material pleasures as important.  That is pure atheism. But if, on the other hand, the individual  persons are different from matter, independent of the  transformations of matter, then how will they cease to exist? Is  there any evidence that non-material persons, or spirit souls,  ever cease to exist? In the end all these philosophies are  complete atheism. It was to stop the wickedness of the karma- mimamsa idea that the preachers of these nirvana philosophies  preached their own idea so fervently. Because of the brahmanas'  oppressive ways and their embracing the karma-mimamsa idea, the  kshatriyas and other castes became very disturbed and staged a  philosophical revolt against the brahmanas. For this reason the  kshatriyas all accepted Buddhism and the vaishyas all accepted  Jainism. When people divide into factions and hate each other in  terms of those factional groupings, that hatred can become very  strong. Passionatly loyal to their faction, the people no longer  give any thought to what ideas are logical or illogical. That is  how Buddhism and Jainism were spread in India. They were also  spread to other countries. Weak in spiritual reasoning, the  people of those countries accepted those philosophies as sent by  God. In Eurpoe some people who hated Christianity also preached  the philosophy of nirvana. That is revealed in history.


 Text 14


kecid vadanti maya ya

      sa kartri jagatam kila

cid-acit-savini sukshma

      shakti-rupa sanatani


     kecid—sopme; vadanti—say; maya—illusion; ya—what;  sa—that; kartri—the creator; jagatam—of the material worlds;  kila—indeed; cid—spirit; acit—matter;  savini—mother; sukshma—subtle; shakti—potency; rupa—form;  sanatani—eternal.


     Some say Maya (illusion) is a subtle eternal potency, the  mother of spirit and matter and the creator of the worlds.


Commentary by Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura



      Some say: "The beginningless potency named `Maya'  created all the worlds. This Maya exists in a subtle form. She  gave birth to the two principles spirit and matter." When the dry  philosophy of Buddhism becanme prominent, this philosophy of  Maya persevered, although it mutated into newer and newer  forms. Then Buddhism gradually became influenced by the Tantra- shastras. At that time the Mayavada philosophy was created.  It was then that the name "Buddhism" became attached to  the Tantric philosophy. Among the people who has not accepted  Buddhism, the Mayavada philosophy, a philosophy that was  actually Buddhism in disguise, was preached. When that philosophy  based the the Vedas wa preached, the activities of the  Mayavadi-Vedanta philosophers began. In the mountainous part  of India this philosophy was preached in a different form, in a  form following the Tantras, preached by the Tantra acaryas who  described the philosophy of Maya-shakti. Many people say the  Tantra philosophy comes from pseudo-Kapila's philosophy. I do not  agree with that view. Although pseudo-Kapila agreed that material  nature (prakrti) is the creator of the world, he also affirmed  that the spiritual truth is beginningless. He said of the  purusha:


 pushkara-palasha-van nirlepah



      "As a lotus-petal is untouched by water, so the  Supreme Spirit is untouched by the material world."


     In my view it is the Shaiva philosophy that has come from  pseudo-Kapila's Sankhya. However, because in the Shaiva  philosophy material nature (prakriti) is especially honored,  undiscriminating persons often mistakenly think the Shaiva and  Tantric philosophies are the same. Although in the Tantric  philosophy the purusha (the Supreme Spirit) and prakriti  (material nature) are often compared to the two halves of a  chick-pea, in the end the Tantric thinkers say prakriti is the  mother who has created spirit itself.

      The Tantric thinkers also imagine a kind of nirvana where  the individual souls cease to exist. Belief in God is not seen in  the philosophy that worships the material potency. The worshipers  of the Lord's spiritual potency offer prayers to the all-knowing  Supreme God. Imitating and mocking those prayers, the  worshiperr of matter sometimes also offer prayers to the material  potency. The staunch atheist Von Holbach offered these prayers to  the material energy:

      "O Nature, O Goddess of all elements, O Piety and  Truth, who are Nature's two children, please always be our  protectors. May the human race sing your glories. O Goddess of  Nature, please set us on the path of Your happiness. Drive  illusions far from our minds. Cast wickedness from our hearts.  Keep us from falling as we walk the path of progress. Make for us  a kingdom of true knowledge. Grant goodness to us. Place peace in  our hearts."

      The Nature-philosopher Von Holbach also says there is no  soul, no God, and no afterlife. He says everyone should seek his  own happiness. He says material nature is the supreme controller.

      In the Maha-nirvana Tantra Lord Shiva offers these  prayers to the original material potency, Goddess Kali:


 shrishter adau tvam ekasit

      tamo-rupam agocaram

tvatto jatam jagat sarvam




      "In the beginning of material creation, You alone  existed in the form of complete darkness. Then, when the Supreme  Brahman desired to create, you gave birth to the entire material  world."


     This Tantra preaches the idea of the sankhya philosophy,  for it describes a purusha aloof from matter and a prakriti  active in matter's world. It that Tantra Lord Shiva also tells  Goddess Kali:


 punah svarupam asadya

      tamo-rupam nirakritih

vacatitam mano-'gamyam

      tvam ekaivavashishyate



      "You manifest a form of darkness, and then, when the  material worlds are dissolved, you are again formless. You are  beyond the power of the mind to know or words to describe. When  the world is unmanifest, you alone remain.


 tvam eva jivo loke 'smims

      tvam vidya-para-devata



      "In this world you are the living entities. You are  knowledge personified. You are the supreme goddess."


     Here it is said that the individual living entities are not  different from the potency of material nature. This contradicts  the view of sankhya.


 yavan na kshiyate karma

      shubham vashubham eva va

tavan na jayate moksho

      nrinam kalpa-shatair api



      "As long as good and bad karma are not destroyed,  there is no liberation for the conditioned souls, even after a  hundred kalpas.


 kurvanah satatam karma

      kritva kashta-shatany api

tavan na labhate moksham

      yavat jnanam na vindati



      "Even if he performs pious deeds again and again,  and even if he performs a hundred harsh penances, if he has no  transcendental knowledge, the living entity will not attain  liberation.


 jnanam tattva-vicarena

      nishkamenapi karmana

jayate kshina-tapasam

      vidusham nirmalatmanam



      "They who are wise and pure-hearted, and who seek  after the truth and perform pious deeds without expectation of  reward, attain transcendental knowledge.


 na muktir japanad dhomad

      upavasa-shatair api

brahmaivaham iti jnatva

      mukto bhavati deha-bhrit



      "One does not attain liberation by chanting mantras  or performing yajnas, or by fasting a hundred times. Only one  who knows, `I am Brahman', attains liberation.


 manasa kalpita muktir

      nrinam cen moksha-sadhani

svalpa-labdhena rajyena

      rajano manavas tatha



      "If the people could attain liberation by imagining  themselves so, then they could also become kings simply by  dreaming of kingdoms.


 jnanam jneyam tatha jnata

      tritayam bhati mayaya

vicaryamane tritaye

      atmaivaiko 'vashishyate



      "Knowledge, the objectof knowledge, and the knower  are all manifested from illusion (maya). When these three are  carefully investigated and properly understood, only the spirit  self remains.


 jnanam atmaiva cid-rupo

      jneyam atmaiva cin-mayah

vijnata svayam evatma

      yo janati sa atma-vit


      "Knowledge is the spirit soul. The object of  knwoledge is also the spirit soul. The knower is also the spirit  soul. One who knows this knows the truth of the spirit soul."


     The truth is that the different Tantras expound very  different philosophies. It cannot be said that every Tantra  teaches the worship of the material energy (shakti-vada). IN  some Tantras that philosophy isaccepted, and in other Tantras it  is not. It is vehemently opposed. In some Tantras it is said that  the Supreme Brahman is the creator, in others that material  nature (prakriti) is the creator, and in others that the  individual soul (jiva) is the creator. In some Tantras it is  said that the individual souls are illusory (mithya), and in  other it is said that the individual souls are real (satya). In  some Tantras it is said that the letter m in the sacred syllable  Om is the creater, in other Tantras that the Supreme Person  (purusha) and material nature (prakriti) are both the creators,  and in other Tantras that material nature is the sole creator of  all. In conclusion it may be said that so many different  philosophies are tuught in the Tantras that no one of them can be  singled out as the only philosophy of the Tantras. In the  previously quoted verse beginning with the words “shrishter adau" it is said that before the material world  was created, material nature alone existed, and that by the  Supreme Brahman's desire, the material nature created the  material world. What is the material nature? Who is the supreme  Brahman? When he attains transcendental knowledge will the  individual spirit soul become the Supreme Brahman? In the verse  beginning with the words "Tvam eva jivo loke 'smin" it  is said that the individual souls are identical with the material  nature. Those words make no sense. In the Tantras are also  described "lata-sadhana" (ritual illicit sex), “panca-makara-sadhana" (ritual activities of sex and  consumption of flesh, fish, and wine), and "sura- sadhana" (ritual wine drinking). What kind of religious  activities are these? I have no idea how thse can be considered  religious activities. These ideas are like the atheistic karma- mimamsa or the goddess of material nature imagined by Compte.  This kind of Tantric worship was created in someone's  imagination. I will not say anything more about it.


 Text 15


athava bhava eva syat

      neshvaro na jagaj-janah

bhavo nitya-vicitratma

      nabhavo vidyate kvacit


     athava—or; bhava—ideas; eva—indeed; syat—is; na—not;  ishvaro—God; na—not; jagat—world; janah—people; bhavo—ideas;  nitya—eternal; vicitra—variety; atma—self; na—not;  abhavo—without ideas; vidyate—exists; kvacit—anywhere.


     Some say: "Ideas alone exist. There is no God.  There is no world. There are no living entities. Ideas are  eternal and of great variety. Nothing elso exists."


Commentary by Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura



      Some philosophers think only the ideas in their minds truly  exist. Nothing else exists.They say the "objective  world", the world percieved by the senses, does not truly exist.  They say ideas, or "subjective reality", are what truly  exists. They say one should not perform activities. They say  ideas alone exist. Nothing else exists in truth. Bishop Berkeley  and other philosophers preached this philosophy of ideas, which is  called "idealism". Mill accepted a modified version of  this idealism. It is not correct to say that this “idealism" is the same as "spiritualism". When a  person thinks about the information that came from his senses,  those thoughts are called "ideas". The "ideas"  that come in this way are only thoughts based on the material  senses' touch with the world of matter. These thoughts are not  about anything beyond the world of matter. Gathering the light  that filters in through the senses, the mind thinks. In this way  ideas arise. Therefore "idealism" is not something above  materialism. Among the impersonalists (advaitavadi) some say,  "There is no God. There is no world. There are no living  entities. All these are only ideas. Ideas are eternal and of  great variety. These ideas will never cease to exist. Ideas are  the absolute reality." This philosophy is very pathertic and  foolish. Only a madman would be inclined to believe it. If we  examine the lives of the philosophers who professed these  opinions in their books, we will see that, as far as their  actions went, they did not believe the "idealism" they  preached. It is not wrong to say that ideas are a subtle form of  matter. Therefore this "idealism" must be counted among  the different varieties of Materialism.


 Text 16


satyam eva tv asan nityam

      sad evanitya-bhavana

kecid vadanti mayandhah



     satyam—truth; eva—indeed; tv—but; asat—untruth;—  nityam—eternal; sad—truth; eva—indeed; anitya—not eternal;  bhavana—idea; kecid—some; vadanti—say; maya—by illusion;  andhah—blinded; yukti-vada—to the philosophy of logic;  parayanah—devoted.


     Blinded by illusion, some philosophers devoted to the tricks  of logic say, "Whatever is said to be true will one day  be learned to be untrue. Therefore truth is always temporary and  relative."


Commentary by Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura



      Some philosophers express this view: "Whatever  anyone says to be `true' is only `true' temporarily. Therefore no  truth is eternal and absolute. All truth is temporary and  relative. What is considered true now will eventually be changed  or refuted. At the end it will be considered untrue. Therefore  the only unchanging absolute truth is the statement that there is  no absolute truth." This idea gives birth to great laughter, for  there is no truth in it at all. Only some professional  philosophers, blinded by illusions and addicted to the tricks of  logic, accept this foolish, illogical idea.

      These philosophers accept the idea that truth is relative,  that absolute truth cannot be. In the Bengali language this idea  is expressed by the words, "Noyi hoy ebam hoyi noy." (It  is not this. It is not that.) From this illogical idea the  philsophy of doubts arise. In the English language this  philosophy is called "Scepticism". Hume and other  philosophers preached this idea. Although this Scepticism, or the  philosophy of doubts, is unnatural and untenable, it has somehow  been accepted by many philosophers. The philosophy of material  pleasures and the philosophy of cessation of existence  (nirvana) brought great harm to their followers, and therefore  the people in general became filled with horror merely to hear  hte names of these philosophies. Human nature is originally pure.  It wears the ornament of devotional service to God. By following  the philosophies of Materialism, human beings do not find  happiness. In this way the philosophy of Materialism grabbed  logic, shackled its hands and feet with hard iron bands and threw  it into a dark prison cell. In order to cut its own shackles,  logic thus created Scepticism, or the philosophy of doubts.The  Materialist philosophy holds that matters is eternal, and matter  is all that exists. Professor Huxley preached this idea, and  since then it has come from many other mouths also. These people  say: "Without speaking of material causes and effects no  true description of events can be spoken. No conclusions may be  drawn that are not based on material causes and effects. At the  end the words `spirit' and `love' will be cast far away from  every book. Then the people will gradually become free to be  carried away by the waves of Materialism. Then the idea of free- will will be bound and imprisoned, and the truth that all  activities are determined by material laws will be proved beyond  any doubt." When many people began to speak in this illogical  way, human nature, seeing that it was about to fall into  degradation, turned and began to walk on the path of a different  philosophy. "This new philosophy will bring no bad  results. Why not? Because it will destroy Materialism." Making  this promise, logic gave birth to Scepticism, the philosophy of  doubts. Scepticism threw the rubbish of Materialism far away.  However, it also created another obstacle to stop belief in God.  It made people doubt: "I do not have the power to see  things as they really are. I see only some aspects of things.  Where is the proof that I see things correctly? With my senses I  perceive only certain aspects of things. With my eyes I perceive  form, with my ears sound, with my nose smell, with my skin touch,  and with my tongue taste. Through these five doors of knowledge I  learn about the qualities of things. If I had more than five  senses, if I had, perhaps, ten senses, I would learn other,  different things about the objects I perceive. In this way I have  gathers a little bit of knowledge with my senses, but it is  knowledge riddled with doubts." In this way, even though it  destroyed the philosophy of Materialism, Scepticism did not help  the cause of true Spiritual philosophy. Scepticism does not doubt  the material world's existence, it merely says: "I do not  have complete knowledge of things, and there is no way I will  ever have complete knowledge. Therefore I will never understand  things as they really are." At the end Scepticism refutes itself.  If there is a genuine truth to be understood, then from what root  does this philosophy of doubts grow? With craeful thinking one  will see that this philosophy of doubts is merely idle chatter.  "Do I exist, or not?" Who expresses that doubt? I do.  Therefore i exist.


 Text 17


sarvesham nastikanam vai

      matam etat puratanam


      lakshitam ca prithak prithak


     sarvesham—of all; nastikanam—atheis6t philosophies;  vai—indeed; matam—view; etat—this; puratanam—ancient;  desha—country; bhasha—and language; vibhedena—with divisions;  lakshitam—seen; ca—and; prithak—different; prithak—different.


     From the earilest times many different varieties of atheist  philosophy have been preached in different countries and  languages.


Commentary by Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura



      1. Materialism, or the worship of material nature, 2.  Idealism, and 3. Scepticism are three of the oldest kinds of  atheism. All other kinds of atheism are included within them. It  is a mistake to think that the various modern forms of atheism  were all only recently invented. With different names and in  somewhat different forms, these same kinds of atheism existed  also in ancient times. Many different kinds of atheism were thus  preached in our country. Among them nyaya, vaisheshika, and  karma-mimamsa were openly atheistic. Patanjali's yoga  philosophy and the philosophy of Vedanta Monism (advaita) were  covered atheism. You may wish to take a look at these  philosophies, so we will now briefly consider them.

      Sankhya—This is an ancient philosophy expounded by pseudo- Kapila in his book. Maharshi Kapila says in his book:





      "God's existence has never been proved." (Kapila- sutra 1.92)


 mukta-baddhayor anyatarabhavan na tat-siddhih



      "God is either free from matter or imprisoned by  matter. Nothing more may be said of Him." (Kapila-sutra 1.93)


     God is either free from matter or imprisoned by matter.  What more may be said of Him? If God is liberated, then no one  can know anything about Him. If God is imprisoned by matter He  is not God at all. To explain this passage the commentator  Vijnana Bhikshu says:


 nanv evam ishvara-pratipadaka-shrutinam ka gatis tatraha



      "What is the meaning of the Veda passages that  assert the existence of God? In Kapila-sutra (1.96) the  explanation is given:


 muktatmanah prashamsa upasasiddhasya va



      "The descriptions of `God' in the Vedas are actually  only the praises or worship of the liberated souls."


     In this way the sankhya philosophy affirms that God does  not exist.


     Nyaya—the philosophy propounded by Gautama. Gautama  asserts:


 pramana-prameya-samshaya-prayojana-drishtanta-siddhantavayava-tarka-nirnaya-vada-jalpa-vitanda-hetv-abhasa-chala-jati-nigraha-sthananam tattva-jnanan nihshreyasadhigamah



      "By studying the different branches of logic,  namely: pramana, prameya, samshaya, prayojana, drishtanta,  siddhanta, avayava, tarka, nirnaya, vada, jalpa, vitanda,  hetu, abhasa, chala, and jati-nigraha, one attains the highest  benefit."


     What is the great benefit of which Gautama speaks? That I  cannot see. Perhaps he means that expert knowledge of logic is  a great benefit for the living entities. God is not included  among the sixteen items he says bring great benefit. That is why  the Vedas affirm:


 naisha tarkena matir apaneya



      "God cannot be understood by material logic."


     Gautama sees liberation in this way:


 duhkha-janma-pravritti-dosha-mithya-jnananam uttarottarapaye tad-anantarapayad apavargah



      "Liberation means attaining the knowledge that frees  one from the ignorance that is the birthplace of sufferings."


     In general, this sutra may be seen to support the idea  that liberation is the cessation of sufferings. Spiritual bliss  is not present in Gautama's conception of liberation. In his  conception there is no bliss of meeting God. For this reason  Gautama's Nyaya-shastra is opposed to the Vedas. That  concludes our description of the nyaya philosophy.


     Vaisheshika—the philosophy propounded by Kanada. There is  no need to consider this philosophy at legnth. In the sutras  written by Kanada it is said that there is no eternal God. Some  authors writing in the tradition of this philosophy count `the  Supersoul residing within the individual soul who resides in the  material body' among the seven basic principles of existence.  They did that in an attempt to drive the atheism from their  philosophy. Still, in their commentaries on Vedanta-sutra,  Shankaracarya and other panditas consider Kanada's  philosophy atheistic and anti-Vedic. The truth is that any  philosophy that does not accept God as the independent supreme  creator and instead posits some other conception of God is  actually atheism. God's nature is that He is the master of all.  Any philosophy that accepts some other eternal being as equal to  God is atheism.


     The author of the karma-mimamsa-sutras—Jaimini. He did  not write about God. His primary topic was pious deeds. He said:


 codana-lakshano 'rtho dharmah. karmaike tatra darshanat.



      "The Vedas teach religion. That religion is called  `karma' (pious deeds)."


     Shabara Svami, the commentator on these sutras, writes:


 katham punar idam avagamyate. asti tad apurvam.



      "How should this be understood? It is understood in  terms of the `apurva'."


     He says: "First pious deeds are performed. Then,  from those deeds the `apurva' (abstract secondary principle) is  manifest. That apurva gives the results of the pious deeds. Why  is there any need, then, for a God to give the results of  actions?" Compte and the modern atheists have no power to say  anything more outrageous than this.


     The Vedanta-sutra propounds only devotion to God. In their  commntaries on this book many atheists preached the Advaita  philosophy (impersonalism), which is covered Buddhism. However,  to show humankind the right path, the saintly devotees have  carefully written the correct commentaries on Vedanta-sutra.  Later in this book we will explain why the Advaita  (impersonalist) philosophy is wrong.


     The Yoga-shastra is also called the Patanjala-shastra.  It was written by Patanjali Rishi. In the Sadhana-khanda  section of this book is the following sutra:


 klesha-karma-vipakashayair aparamrishtah purusha-vishesha  ishvarah. tatra niratishayam sarvajnya-bijam. sa tu  purvesham api guruh kalenanavacchedat.



      "God is a certain person who is untouched by  suffering, karma, destiny, or calamity. He knows everything.  Because He is untouched by time, He is the master of all."


     Seeing this description of God, many may think Patanjali is  a true devotee of God. However, at the end of Patanjali's book  that mistaken impression is dispelled. In the Kaivalya-pada  section of that book Patanjali writes:


 purushartha-shunyanam pratiprasavah kaivalyam svarupa- pratishtha va citi-shaktir iti



      "When the goals of life are no more, then  liberation, which establishes the soul's original nature, or the  soul's spiritual potency, is manifest."


     In the Bhoja-vritti, this sutra is explained in these words:


 cic-chakter vritti-sarupya-nivrittau svarupa-matre  'vasthanam tat kaivalyam ucyate



      "When the soul no longer has form, when it is  situated in its spiritual essence, that is called `kaivalya'  (liberation)."


     This means: When the spiritual potency is situated in its  own nature, that is called "kaivalya" (liberation). In  this passage what is the meaning of the phrase “liberation of the spiritual potency". Does it mean here that  when he attains liberation, the individual soul no longer  performs any action? Does it mean that after he attains  liberation the individual soul continues to have a relationship  with God? Unfortunately, this Yoga-shastra book does not answer  these questions? After again and again reading this book one will  become convinced that the "God" described in the sadhana- khanda section is considered only an imaginary being created to  help attain spiritual perfection, and after the soul attains  perfection the idea of God is no longer taken seriously. Is this  book theistic or atheistic? You give the answer?

      In the different countries and in different languages the  philosophy of atheism has been preached in many ways and called  by many different names.


 Text 18


karma-jnana-vimishra ya

      yuktis tarkamayi nare

citra-mata-prasuti sa




     Mixed with karma (fruitive work) and jnana (philosophical  speculation), material logic places a great variety of ideas in  human society. Thus logic brings many material results in this  world of birth and death.


Commentary by Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura



      Logic (yukti) is of two kinds: pure (shuddha) and mixed  (mishra). Pure logic is present in the spirit soul in his  original, pure nature. When the spirit soul is imprisoned in  matter and his activities are mixed with material conceptions,  then he possesses what I call mixed logic (mishra-yukti). This  mixed logic is of two kinds: mixed with fruitive action (karma- mishra) and mixed with philosophical speculation (jnana- mishra). This mixed logic is also known by the word “tarka" (material speculation). This mixed logic is very bad,  for seen within it are the four defects: bhrama (mistakes),  pramada (illusions), vipralipsa (cheating), and  karanapatava (sensory inefficiency). The conclusions attained  by this mixed logic are always faulty. Pure logic always arrives  at the same conclusions. Mixed logic arrives at a great host of  mutually contradictory conclusions. By acting according to the  conclusions of mixed logic, the souls in the material world  attain the result of being more and more stringently confined in  the prison of the material world.


 Text 19


yuktes tu jada-jataya

      jadatite na yojana

ato jadashrita yuktir

      vadaty evam pralapanam


     yuktes—from logic; tu—but; jada—from matter;  jatayah—born; jada—matter; atite—bryond; na—not;  yojana—able; ato—then; jada—of matter; ashrita—taken shelter;  yuktir—logic; vadaty—says; evam—thus; pralapanam—nonsense talk.


     By employing the logic that is born from matter one cannot  go above matter. Material logic speaks only nonsense.


Commentary by Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura



      Mixed logic is born from matter. Looking through the door of  the senses, the soul imprisoned in matter catches a glimpse of  material images, a glimpse carried by the nerves to the brain.  There the images are preserved by the power of memory. It is then  that material logic does its work. In this way many ideas and  imaginations are created. Sorting through these material images,  material logic arranges them in pretty patterns. This is called  science and philosophy. Looking this way and that at the sensory  images, logic comes to certain conclusion. This is called reason.  Compte says, "Carefully preserve and organize what you  have seen. Examine that information to find the truth." By  examining the images seen by the material senses, logic may  understand something of the material world. Why should that logic  not be called "material logic"? However, how can that  material logic hope to understand the nature and activities that  are beyond the material world? If something indeed exists beyond  the material world, then a specific process to understand it must  certainly also exist. If, unaware of that spiritual process of  obtaining knowledge, and not wishing to understand whether such a  process exists, an uneducated barbarian takes shelter of material  logic alone, then that person will talk only nonsense. How can  there be any doubt of that? Only when it is directed towards  understanding the workings of the material world does that  material logic bring any good results. For engineering, medicine,  warfare, music, and other like material activities mixed logic is  very suitable. First is material logic mixed with philosophical  speculation (jnana-mishra yukti). In this, the theoretical  stage, the scientist understands general principles. After that  comes the second stage, where the theoretical knowledge is  applied to solving practical problems. This is called karma-mishra  yukti. For example, in building a railroad, first comes the  theoretical stage (jnana-mishra yukti), and then the stage of  appilcation (karma-mishra yukti), where the railroad is actually  built. Engineering and other like activities are the proper  sphere of mixed logic. The world beyond matter is not the proper  sphere of mixed logic. Mixed logic cannot understand that world.  Only spiritual logic can understand the world beyond matter.  Materialism, the worship of material nature, the philosophy of  the cessation of existence (nirvana), and Scepticism take  shelter of material logic to understand the original cause of the  material world, a cause that is beyond matter. Using material  logic for this purpose will never bring a happy result. That is  why these philosophies have become the object of laughter.  Whatever books these philosophers have written are only nonsense  chattering.


 Text 20


pralapantiha sa yuktir

      udanti svatma-siddhaye carame parameshanam

      svi-karoti bhayatura


     pralapanti—talking nonsense; iha—here; sa—that;  yuktir—logic; udanti—saying; sva-own; atma—self; siddhaye—for  perfection; carame—at the end; parameshanam—God; svi- karoti—accepts; bhaya—with fear; atura—filled.


     Material logic talks nonsense. Sometimes, at the end, to  bring perfection to the soul, frightened material logic accepts  the existence of God.


Commentary by Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura



      Pure spiritual logic is the natural endowment of the soul.  Still, when he is imprisoned in the world of matter, the soul,  always meditating on matter, thinks mixed logic is better. In  this way most of the people in this world are followers of mixed  logic. It is rare in this world to find a follower of pure logic,  the logic that is beyond matter. Onlu those fortunate souls who  know the secrets of service to God appreciate pure spiritual logic, for they know the glories of rapt meditation (samadhi) on  God. For a long time the people of this external material world  have, hoping in this way to fulfill their selfish desires,  honored mixed logic. They gave great honor to the ideas material  logic gave, but in the end the people could find no happiness.  This material, or mixed logic will not leave the soul. Sometimes  material logic tries to help the soul. Arguing for a great  variety of philosophies, as speaking in many different ways,  mixed logic did not become happy. Then material logic began to  hate itself. Talking and talking, material logic wept and  lamented. It said, "Alas! For how long have I labored in  this external material world? I have fallen very far away from  the soul, my eternal companion. I have rejected my own true  nature." Lamenting and lamenting in this way, and now filled with  fears, at the end material logic accepts God as the original  cause of all causes. In country after country is found this kind  of preaching about God, preaching born from the human mind and  from material logic. Udayana Acarya described this idea in his  book Kusumanjali. In Europe and the West this kind of dry  belief in God, called "Deism" or "Natural  Theology", has come from many minds. There it has a certain  popularity. When it is thus established by mixed logic, knowledge  of God is very incomplete and imperfect. That is because material  logic is very weak and unqualified to bring the soul closer to  God. Because it is thus against its own nature, material logic  cannot elevate the soul. Material logic cannot bring spiritual  knowledge or guide the soul. This will be shown later in this  book.


 Text 21


kadacid isha-tattve sa

      jada-bhranta-pralapini dvaitam traitam bahutvam va-

      ropayaty eva yatnatah


     kadacid—sometimes; isha-tattve—ijn knowledge of God;  sa—that;  jada—matter; bhranta—bewildered; pralapini—talking nonsense;  dvaitam—two; traitam—three; bahutvam—many; va—or;  aropayaty—imagines; eva—indeed; yatnatah—with effort.


     Bewildered by matter, and talking wildly, material logic  sometimes declares that there are two, three, or many Gods.


Commentary by Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura



      Mixed logic may sometimes accept the existence of God.  Still, bewildered by matter and always talking nonsense, mixed  logic has no power to accept that there is only one God.  Sometimes mixed logic thinks there are two Gods. Then it thinks  there is a God of spirit and a separate God of matter. The God of  spirit brings auspiciousness, and the God of matter brings  troubles. A philosopher named Zarathustra taught this idea: That  there is a God of spirit and a God of matter. In his book  Zendavesta he taught that these two Gods are eternal. The  devotees of God have only contempt for these old speculations. In  the same way they also have contempt for the atheistic jnana- kanda (philosophy of speculative knowledge) and karma-kanda  (philosophy of fruitive work). Zarathustra is a very ancient  philosopher. When his philosophy found no honor in India,  Zarathustra preached it in Iran. It was by the influence of  Zarathustra's ideas that Satan, an equally-powerful rival to God,  made his imaginary appearance first in the religion of the Jews  and then in the religion based on the Koran. Then, influenced by  Zarathustra's idea of two Gods, the idea of three gods, or a “Trinity" made its appearance in the religion that had come  from the Jewish religion. At first they were considered three  Gods, but then, when the philosophers were displeased with that  idea, the Trinity became God, the Holy Ghost, and Christ. At the  same time, in India, Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva came to be  considered three different competing Gods: a very foolish idea.  Some philosophers then preached that these three are actually  only one God, and indeed many passages of the Vedic scriptures  forbid us to think of them as three separate, independent rival  Gods. In many other countries is seen faith in many different  Gods simultaneously. Indeed, among the countries with the lowest  level of civilization it is difficult to find pure belief in one  God. Sometimes Indra, Candra, Vayu, and others are considered  independent rival Gods. Different philosophers refuted that  mistaken idea and proved that Brahman alone is God. These ideas  of many Gods are only the foolish babbling of ordinary logic  bewildered by matter. There is only one God. If there were more  than one God this material world would not be organized so well.  If there were many competeing independent Gods, they would decree  different, conflicting material laws, each according to his own  desire. Of this there is no doubt. Looking at the material world,  an intelligent and thoughtful person cannot failt to accept the  idea that it was created according to the will of a single  Supreme Person.


 Text 22


jnanam sahajikam hitva

      yuktir na vidyate kvacit

katham sa parame tattve

      tam hitva sthatum arhati


     jnanam—knowledge; sahajikam—natural;  hitva—asbandoning; yuktir—logic; na—not; vidyate—is;  kvacit—anywhere; katham—how; sa—that; parame—in the Supreme;  tattve—Truth; tam—that; hitva—abandoning; sthatum—establish;  arhati—should.


     There is no true logic separate from the natural knowledge  of the soul. How, turning away from that natural knowledge, can  one understand the Supreme Truth?


Commentary by Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura



      Logic that comes from the soul's own natural knowledge is  pure and faultless. The philosophy that comes from such logic is  the actual truth. Separated from that natural knowledge, true  logic has no power to stand. However, logic that comes from  material knowledge, the logic that is seen everywhere in this  world, is always mixed and impure. Philosophies that come from  such mixed logic are always faulty and lacking. Such philosophies  are never good at describing God. Mixed logic is not the proper  tool to describe the Supreme Truth. Pure logic which takes  shelter of the soul's natural knowledge is the proper tool to  describe the Supreme Truth. Here someone may ask, "What  is this natural knowledge of which you speak?" The answer is: The  soul is spiritual, and therefore naturally full of spiritual  knowledge. That original knowledge possessed by the soul is  called here "natural knowledge". That natural knowledge  is eternally present in the soul. It is not created by perceiving  the contents of the material world. The activities of that  natural knowledge are called pure logic. That natural knowledge  was known by the soul before the soul ever had any knowledge of  the mateeial world.

      That knowledge is: (1) I am. (2) I continue to be. (3) I am  happy. (4) My happiness comes from a certain place. a shelter, a  reservoir of happiness. (5) It is natural for me to take shelter  of that reservoir of happiness. (6) I am eternally a follower of  that reservoir of happiness. (7) That reservoir of happiness is  very beautiful. (8) I have no power to abandon that reservoir of  happiness. (9) My present condition is lamentable. (10)  Abandoning that lamentable condition I should take shelter of  that reservoir of happiness. (11) This material world is not my  eternal home. (12) By becoming elevated in this mateerial world I  do not become elevated eternally.

      If logic does not takle shelter of this natural knowledge,  logic remains mixed with matter. Then logic is only a babbler of  nonsense. Even in ordinary material science, first some axioms  must be accepted. In mathematics, astronomy, or other sciences,  one cannot make progress if one does not first accept the axioms.  In the science of understanding the Supreme Truth one must also  first accept some axioms, the axioms given by natural knowledge.  Those axioms are the root from which the tree of spiritual  knowledge grows.


 Text 23


ekatvam api tad drishtva

      tat-samadhi-cchalena ca

sthulam bhittva tu linge sa

      yogashraya-caraty aho


     ekatvam—oneness; api—also; tad—that; drishtva—seeing;  tat—on that; samadhi—of rapt meditation; chalena—on the pretext; ca—also; sthulam—gross; bhittva—breaking; tu—but; linge—in  the subtle; sa—that; yoga—of yoga; ashraya—shelter; carati—goes;  aho—aha.


     Some accept the philosophy of oneness. Breaking through the  barriers of the gross material world, resting in the subtle  material world, and pretending to remain in a trance of  meditation, they take shelter of yoga.


Commentary by Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura



      Some philosophers do not believe in the soul's natural  knowledge. Nor do they completely believe in material logic.  Others, accepting the idea of the soul's natural knowledge,  believe in one God. Filled with various mental speculations,  they take shelter of a rapt trance of meditation. However, their  meditational trance is not the real thing. It is only a trick. In  their pretended meditation they pretend to break through the  walls enclosing the material world and then they pretend to see  the world of spirit. Why is their meditation only a pretense? The  spiritual world is revealed only in a genuine trance of  meditation. It is not revealed in this pretended trance. Seeing  only the subtle material world, the world of thoughts, they think  they have seen the final spiritual abode of the spiritual beings.  In truth they have taken shelter of the world of subtle matter,  the world of thoughts. The world of subtle matter and the world  of gross matter are different in this way: The world of gross  matter is the world perceived by the material senses, and the  world of subtle matter is the world of thoughts perceived by the  mind. Subtle matter was manifested before gross matter was  manifested. This the material world is divided into two parts:  the world of the gross material elements, and the subtle,  effulgent world of thoughts. The "astral body" described  by the Theosophists is an effulgent material body made of  thoughts. This is the subtle material body, or the mind. The  subtle glorious world described in Patanjali's Yoga-shastra and  in the philosophy of the Buddhists is again only the subtle  material world, the world of thoughts. The spiritual world  is different. It is different from the gross and subtle material  worlds, and it is also different from the "liberation"  (kaivalya) described in Patanjali's Yoga-shastra. Patanjali's  Yoga-shastra does not describe the world of the spirit. In  describing the practices performed by the aspiring yogi, the  Yoga-shashtra explicitly describes the soul and his relationship  with God. However, in describing liberation, the Yoga-shastra  does not say anything about God or about the liberated soul's  relationship with God. If the intention is that the individual  souls and God have merged and become one, then the yoga  philosophy is not different from impersonalist Monism (advaita).  The philosophy described by Patanjali in his yoga-shastra does  not bring eternal auspiciousness to the spirit souls. The  philosophy of the Yoga-sastra may be considered one of many  philosophies that stay in between the world of gross matter and  the world of spirit. That is why the souls seeking true spiritual  happiness do not like it.


 Text 24


kecid vadanti vishvam vai

      paresha-nirmitam kila

jivanam sukha-bhogaya

      dharmaya ca visheshatah


     kecid—some; vadanti—say; visvam—universe; vai—indeed;  paresha—by God; nirmitam—created; kila—indeed; jivanam—of  the individual spirit souls; sukha—happiness; bhogaya—for  enjoyment; dharmaya—for religion; ca—and;  visheshatah—specifically.


     Some philosophers say God created this world to give the  individual souls an opportunity either to enjoy sense pleasures  or to accumulate piety.


Commentary by Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura



      Some philosophers say God created this world to give us an  opportunity to enjoy sense pleasures. Then, after sinlessly  enjoying and enjoying many sense pleasures, we will perform pious  deeds and attain God's mercy. However, if God head truly created  this material world for the souls' pleasure, He would not have  created it with so many defects. After all, He is all-powerful,  and whatever He wishes is done at once. If He had created the  material world for the souls' pleasure, He would have made it  faultless. If He created the material world for the souls'  performing pious deeds, He would have made it very different  from the way it is. Of this there is no doubt. Why is there no  doubt of this? Because in the material world pious deeds are not  easily performed by every creature.


 Text 25


adi-jivaparadhad vai

      sarvesham bandhanam dhruvam


      vibhor dandena nishkritih


     adi—original; jiva—soul; aparadhad—because of the  offense; vai—indeed; sarvesham—of all; bandhanam—bondage;  dhruvam—indeed; tatha—so; anya—of other; jiva-bhutasya—souls;  vibhor—of God; dandena—by the punishment;  nishkritih—deliverance.


     Some philosophers say that because of the first living  entity's sin all the other living entities are imprisoned in the  material world. Later, punishing Himself for their sins, God  delivers the living entities.


Commentary by Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura



      Thinking about the virtues and faults of this world, some  moralist monotheists concluded that this material world is not a  place of unalloyed pleasures. Indeed, the sufferings outweigh the  pleasures. They decided that the material world is a prison to  punish the living entities. If there is punishment, then there  must be a crime. If there were no crime, then why would there be  any punishment? What crime did the living entities commit? Unable  to properly answer this question, some men of small intelligence  gave birth to a very wild idea. God created the first man and  placed him in a pleasant garden with his wife. Then God forbade  the man to taste the fruit of the tree of knowledge. Following  the evil counsel of a wicked being, the first man and woman  tasted the fruit of the tree of knowledge, thus disobeying God's  command. In this way they fell from that garden into the material  world filled with sufferings. Because of their offense, all other  living entities are offenders from the moment of their birth. Not  seeing any other way to remove this offense, God Himself took  birth in a humanlike form, took on His own shoulders the sins of  His followers, and then died. All who follow HIm easily attain  liberation, and all who do not follow Him fall into an eternal  hell. In this way God assumes a humanlike form, punishes Himself,  and thus liberates the living entities. An intelligent person  cannot make sense of any of this.


 Text 26


janmato jiva-sambhavo

      maranante na janma vai

yat-kritam samshritau tena

      jivasya caramam phalam


     janmatah—from birth; jiva—of the living entities;  sambhavo—birth; marana—death; ante—at the end; na—not;  janma—birth; vai—indeed; yat—what; kritam—done; samshritau—in  the world; tena—by that; jivasya—of the living entity;  caramam—final; phalam—result.


     (These philosophers say that) the living entity's life  begins at birth and ends with death. After death, he is not born  again. After death he attains the results of his actions in that  one lifetime.


Commentary by Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura



      To accept this mixed-up religion one must first believe  these rather implausible things: "The living entity's  life begins at birth and ends at death. Before birth the living  entity did not exist, and after death the living entity will no  longer stay in the world of material activities. Only human  beings have souls. Other creatures do not have souls." Only  extremely unintelligent persons believe this religion. In this  religion the living entity is not spiritual in nature. By His own  will God created the living entities out of matter. Why are the  living entities born into very different situations? The  followers of this religion cannot say. Why is one living entity  born into a house filled with sufferings, another living entity  born into a house filled with joys, another living entity born  into the house of a person devoted to God, and another living  enttity born into a wicked atheist's house? Why is one person  born in a situation where he is encouraged to perform pious  deeds, and he performs pious deeds and becomes good? Why is  another person born in a situation where he is encouraged to sin,  and he sins and becomes bad? The followers of this religion  cannot answer all these questions. Their religion seems to say  that God is unfair and irrational.

      Why do they say that animals have no souls? Why do birds and  beasts not have souls like human beings? Why do the human beings  have only one life, and, because of their actions in that one  life are rewarded in eternal heaven or punished with eternal  hell? Any person who believes in a truly kind and merciful God  will find this religion completely unacceptable.


 Text 27


atra sthitasya jivasya

      karma-jnananushilanat vishvonnati-vidhanena

      kartavyam isha-toshanam


     atra—here; sthitasya—situated; jivasya—of the soul;  karma—fruitive work; jnana—mental speculation; anushilanat—by  cultivating; vishva—world; unnati—elevation; vidhanena—by the  way; kartavyam—to be done; isha—of God; toshanam—satisfaction.


     (These philosophers say that) by cultivating fruitive work  and speculative philosophy one should make improvements in the  material world and in this way please God.


Commentary by Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura



      The followers of this religion have no power to worship God  selflessly. In general their idea is that by cultivating fruitive  work and speculative philosophy one should work to make  improvements in the material world and in this way please God. By  building hospitals and schools, and by doing various  philanthropic works, they try to do good to the world and thus  please God. Worship of God by performing fuitive work (karma) and  by engaging in philosophical speculation (jnana) is very  important to them. They have no power to understand pure  devotional service (shuddha-bhakti), which is free of fruitive  work and philosophical speculation. Worship of God done out of a  sense of duty is never natural or unselfish. "God has  been kind to us, and therefore we should worship Him." These are  the thoughts of lesser minds. Why is this not a good way to  worship God? Because one may think, "If God is not kind  to me, then I will not worship Him." In this way one has the  selfish, bad desire to get God's kindness in the future. If one  wishes that God will be kind by allowing one to serve Him, then  there is nothing wrong with that desire. But the religion under  discussion does not see it in that way. This religion sees God's  kindness in terms of one's enjoying a happy life in this material  world.


 Text 28


isha-rupa-vihinas tu

      sarvago vidhi-sevitah pujito 'tra bhavaty eva



     isha—of God; rupa—form; vihinas—without; tu-but;  sarvago—all-pervading; vidhi—by rules; sevitah—served;  pujito—worshiped; atra—here; bhavaty—is; eva—indeed;  prarthana—by prayers; vandan—by bowing down; adibhih—beginning  with.


     (Some other philosophers say that) God has no form. He is  all-pervading. Still, following the rules of scripture, many  worship Him, bow before Him, pray to Him, and serve Him in many  ways.


Commentary by Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura



      The followers of this philosophy, which in modern times has  appeared in many versions, claim that God is formless and all- pervading. For these people philosophical speculation is the most  important activity. "People who say God has a form are  stunted dwarves." This thought always agitates their minds. “In our path of knowledge we know that God is formless and  all-pervading." These people cannot go beyond these kinds of  thoughts. The unintelligent people who follow this path have an  idea of God that is foolish idolatry. They think that God is  formless and all-pervading, like the material sky. Thus the  object of their worship is material. Beyond the 24 material  elements is the individual spirit soul, and beyond the individual  soul is God, who has numberless qualities, whose form is  spiritual, who is all-pervading, whose true nature si different  from the formless God the impersonalists imagine, who is the  supreme master, who is supremely merciful, who is the individual  spirit souls' true friend, who has all opulences, and who is the  supreme controller, and whose handsome transcendental form the  followers of this philosophy have no power to see or understand.  These philosophers' worship of God is very faulty and incomplete.  Their worship consists only of bowing down and reciting prayers.  Only bowing down and reciting prayers, their worship is  very material in nature. Again and again chewing various kinds of  philosphical speculation, they are very afraid to worship the  glorious spiritual Deity form of God and become His servant, a  servant completely sold to Him. Agitated in this way, they preach  to the world that one should not imagine a spiritul form of God.  They say that to worship the Deity form of God is to worship only  a statue made of material elements. These people have no power to  understand the true form of God, a form beyond the touch of  matter, a form that is eternal and full of knowledge and bliss.  Each of these people thinks he himself is the best and the most  important. They say it is a bad idea to take shelter of the feet  of a spiritual master. Afraid, they will not search to find a  genuine, a saintly spiritual master. They will not devotedly  serve a spiritual master's feet. Afraid that they will meet an  imposter spiritual master and by him be set on the wrong path,  they shun even the genuine, the saintly spiritual masters. Some  among them say that by one's own effort one can find the  spiritual truth in one's own heart, and therefore there is no  need to take shelter of a spiritual master's feet. Others among  them say that one should accept only the most prominent, most  famous spiritual master (pradhana-acarya). The most famous  spiritual master is God Himself. He is the true teacher, the true  protector. He enters our hearts and destroys our sins. There is  no need to accept a human being as a spiritual master. Others  among them say that one should only worship the scriptures, which  are given by God. Still others among them say that the scriptures  are filled with errors. Afraid in this way, they will not honor  any scripture.


 Text 29


idam eva matam viddhi


ishvare doshadam sakshat

      jivasya kshaudra-sadhakam


     idam—this; eva—indeed; matam—philosophy; viddhi—please  know; sarvatra—everywhere; eva—indeed; asamanjasam—wrong;  ishvare—to God; doshadam—giving faults; sakshat—directly;  jivasya—of the soul; kshaudra—smallness; sadhakam—attaining.


     Please know that is philosophy is wrong in every way. It  thinks God has many faults. It is of small help to the individual  spirit souls.


Commentary by Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura



      Although within it belief in one God rests, in may places  this philosophy is wrong. This philosophy implies that God is  cruel and unjest. Also, thinking them unimportant, this philosophy  also slights the devotees eager to serve God. God is one. He is  a person. It is by His will that the individual souls have free  will and thus may choose to sin. Then, abanonding their original  nature, they have no power against the Lord's Maya-shakti (potency  of illusion), and then, become spiritually weak, they sin. Thus  the sins of the individual spirit souls all come from weakness.  If one rejects the idea that piety and sin have no beginning, then  one must say that God is at fault for making the individual souls  weak and thus prone to sin. Although with their mouths these  people say God is faultless, they actually hurl insults at Him,  saying He has many faults. These people have no power to  distinguish between the spirit soul and the gross and subtle  material bodies. Their theoretical and practical knowledge are  both polluted and stunted, and for this reason they have no  power to understand the nature and secrets of the soul. Although  they are very proud of their material knowledge, their knowledge  of spirit is stunted, and their religious activities bring only  meager results. Their highest goal is to reside in Svargaloka in  their subtle material bodies. They mistake the subtle material  body, or the mind, for the spirit soul. Thus they have no power  to distinguish the soul from the mind.


 Text 30


kecid vadanti sarvam yac


brahma sanatanam sakshad

      ekam evadvitiyakam


     kecid—some; vadanti—say; sarvam—all; yat—what; cit—spirit; acit—matter; ishvara—God; adikam—beginning; brahma—Brahman;  sanatanam—etertnal; sakshad—directly; ekam—one; eva—indeed;  advitiyakam—without a second.


     Some other philosophers say that spirit, matter, God, and  everything else are all the eternal impersonal Brahman, and  nothing exists but this Brahman.


Commentary by Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura



      The impersonalist philosophy, which is known as Advaita  (Monism), has existed for a very long time. From a few isolated  passages of the Vedas this philosophy has come. Although this  impersonalist philosophy has been preached by various  philosophers in many countries, it is from India that it  originslly came. Of this there is no doubt. Some learned men who  came to India with Alexander the Great learned this impersonal  philosophy, returned to their own country, and incorporated parts  of this philosophy in their own books. The impersonal philosophy  teaches: "Brahman is the only thing that exists. Nothing  else exists. The idea that spirit, matter, and God are different  things is useful only for ordinary activities. In truth Brahman  is the unchanging root from which they all have grown. Brahman is  eternal, changeless, formless, and qualityless. It has no  characteristics. It has no power. It has no activities. Brahman  never changes into anything else. All these statements are found  in different places in the Vedas." The impersonalist philosophers  believe all these ideas. Still, casting a glance on the variety- filled material world, they thoyght, "How is it possible  that the impersonal Brahman is the origin of this material world?  We can see this world with our own eyes. How did it come into  existence? If we cannot answer these questions our philosophy  will not stand. Thinking and thinking, they considered these  points: "Brahman never performs any activity. How can it  have created the world? How can we accept that it has the power  to perform activity? If we accept that something else exists  besides Brahman, then our whole Advaita (non-dual) philosophy  will be broken." Thinking and thinking in this way, they came to  this conclusion: "If we say that Brahman has the power to  transform itslef into other things, that will not destroy our  Advaita philosophy. Therefore, Brahman transformed itself into  the things of this world. That we can believe."


 Text 31


vastunah parimanad va

      vivarta-bhavatah kila

jagad-vicitrata sadhya

      jagad anyam na vartate


     vastunah—in truth; parimanad—from transformation;  va—or; vivarta-bhavatah—from the state of transformation;  kila—indeed; jagad—of nthe material world;  vicitrata—the variety; sadhya—is attainable; jagad—the  material world; anyam—another; na—not; vartate—is.


     (They say) the variety-filled material world is in truth a  transformation of Brahman. It is not different from Brahman.


Commentary by Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura



      In this way a theory of transformation becamne accepted. But  then another impersonalist philosopher said, "It is not  right to say that Brahman has a defect. If Brahman becomes  transfromed, then it no longer remains Brahman. Therefore this  theory of transformation should be thrown far away and in its  place the theory of illusion should be accepted. Brahman never  becoems transformed into any other thing. Therefore the theory of  transformation is impossible. However my theory, which maintains  that all that exists is in reality Brahman and Brahman alone, and  the idea that a variety of things exists is really only an  illusion is a beautiful theory, beautiful in every limb. When one  mistakes a rope for a snake, one becomes afraid. When one  mistakes the glitter in a seashell for silver, one becomes filled  with hopes. Therefore if my theory of illusion is accepted, then  Brahman has no defect. The material world is an illusion. ONly  because of ignorance does one believe it exists. In this way my  therory is proved. The material world does not exist. Life does  not exist. Only Brahman exists. The belief that the material  world exists is only pretending on the part of Brahman. This  pretending is called by the names `avidya' (ignorance), `maya'  (illusion) and other like words found in dictionaries. The  pretending here does not posit the existence of something  different from Brahman. Therefore Brahman is the only reality.  Nothing else exists. The reality is spirit, and the the  pretending, the illusion, is matter. That is now proved. When  material consciousness is defeated by spiritual truth, then the  material pretending is destroyed, the true reality is revealed,  and liberation is attained."


 Text 32


athava jiva-cintayam

      jatam sarvam jagad dhruvam

jiveshvare na bhedo 'sti

      jivah sarveshvareshvarah


     athava—or; jiva—of the individual spirit soul;  cintayam—in the idea; jatam—born; sarvam—all; jagad—world;  dhruvam—indeed; jiva—in the individual spirit soul; ishvare—and  in God; na—no; bhedo—difference; asti—is; jivah—individual  spirit soul; sarveshvareshvarah—the supreme God of all gods.


     (Some other philosophers say:) This material world is born  from the soul's thoughts. In truth the individual soul is not  different from God. The individual soul is himself the God of all  gods.


Commentary by Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura



      Some other philosophers do think think this theory of  pretending is true. They say: "The pretending that is the  material world is not manifested spontaneously from nothing.  Brahman first pretends that it is the individual soul, and then  it pretends that the material world exists. How can the  individual spirit soul be something different from Brahman? It  cannot. If it is said that the soul is different from Brahman,  the the philosophy of impersonalism will be killed at once.  Therefore the individual spirit soul is the pretending of  Brahman." These philosophers eventually divided into two groups  with two different philosophies. The first of these groups says:  "Brahman is like a great sky. The individual soul covered  by illusion is like the small portion of sky within a clay pot.  When ignorance cuts Brahman into tiny pieces, those pieces are  the individual souls. In that way the soul and Brahman are  different." The second group of philosophers argues against this  idea, saying, "This idea is an embarrassment to Brahman,  for this idea says that Brahman can be cut into pieces, and also  that Brahman itself may be overpowered by illusion. The truth is  not like that. Please know that the individual spirit soul is  like a reflection of Brahman. The individual spirit soul is like  the sun or moon reflected on the water. The individual soul is an  illusion, and by him the illusory material world is imagined to  exist. In truth only Brahman exists. There is nothing but it. The  individual soul is not different from it, and neither is the  material world different from it." A great blunder rests in both  these philosophies, a blunder that, blinded by unthinking  allegience to their ideas, these philosophers have neither the  desire nor the power to see. The blunder is their idea that  Brahman alone exists and there is nothing but it. If they do not  accept that Brahman has inconceivable power, then all their ideas  are worthless. Some talk of maya (illusion, other talk of acvidya  (igbnorance), others talk of pretending, and still others talk of  pretending to pretend, but if they say that Brahman has no power  to do anything, then how can they establish their idea that only  Brahman, and nothing else, exists? In every one of their ideas is  seen the fatal flaw that kills the impersonalist philosophy. If  we accept the idea that Brahman has inconceivable power, and if  we say Brahman is the only thing that exists, then Brahman has no  need to take shelter of anything but itself. Then Brahman is not  different from any substance or any power. Then, by Brahman's  inconceivable power, change and changelessness, form and  formlessness, qualities and qualitylessness, and a host of other  mutually contradictory natures may simultaneously and eternally  exist within Brahman without negating each other's existence.  Even the greatest effort of human reason cannot understand  Brahman's inconceivable power. Why should we not accept the truth  that Brahman has inconceivable power? The glories of Brahman who  has inconceivable powers is infinitely greater than the glory of  the impersonal qualityless Brahman. I glorify the Supreme  Brahman. The Brahman who has transcendental powers is the  Supreme Brahman. The Brahman without qualities or powers is  called merely Brahman. That Brahman is merely a part of the  Supreme Brahman. The philosophy that turns away from the Supreme  Brahman and accepts only the partial Brahman is a very inferior  kind of philosophy, a philosophy born of small minds. Of this  there is no doubt. This impersonalist philosophy has no power to  satisfy the questions posed by good logic. It has no power to  understand the true meaning of the Vedas. It has no power to give  to the individual spirit souls the greatest auspiciousness.


 Text 33


eteshu vada-jaleshu

      tat sad eva vinishcitam


      advaya-jnanam eva yat


     eteshu—in these; vada—of philosophies; jaleshu—in the  nets; tat—this; sad—real; eva—indeed; vinishcitam—determined;  anvaya—directly; vyatirekabhyam—and indirectly; advaya- jnanam—non-dual knowledge; eva—indeed; yat—which.


     The truth lies somewhere in this network of conflicting  philosophies. Directly and indirectly, the non-dual Brahman is  understood there.


Commentary by Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura

      These different philosophies are like a great net, a net  badly woven by the different philosophers. In the midst of all  these different philosophies the truth is somewhere to be found.  Finding out what is untrue, throwing those untruths far away, and  searching for what is the real truth is called "finding  the truth". A French philosopher named Victor Kunja tried to  understand the truth in this way, but in the end he could not  find it. He failed because he searched only among the thoughts  of the western thinkers. The western intelligence is very  materialistic. The western philosophers had no power to  understand the subtle difference between the spirit soul and what  is not the spirit soul. Their minds firmly attached to matter,  they said that material mind is the spirit soul. As a search for  rice grains among the empty husks of already-threashed rice  brings no result, so Victor Kunja's search was fruitless in the  end. In the Ishopanishad (mantra 15) it is said:


 hiranmayena patrena

      satyasaphihitam mukham

tat tvam pushann apavrinu




      "O my Lord, O sustainer of all that lives, Your real  face is covered by Your dazzling effulgence. Please remove that  covering and exhibit Yourself to Your pure devotee."*


     In Shrimad-Bhagavatam it is said:


 anubhyash ca brihadbhyash ca

      shastrebhyah kushalo narah

sarvatah saram adadyat

      pushpebhya iva shatpadah



      "As a bee takes honey from many different flowers,  so a wise man takes the truth from many different great and small  books."


     In this way the Vaishnava philosophers find the truth in  books like the Vedas and Shrimad-Bhagavatam. In the less important  books, the books written by materialistic philosophers, and in  the very important books, the books that truly explain the  sceince of the soul, the Vaishnavas find the real truth. Part  of that truth is called "advaya-jnana" (the knowledge of  impersonal Brahman). That impewrsonal Brahman is only a small  porton of the whole Supreme Truth, the Truth that is eternal and  full of knowledge and bliss. By the word "sat" (the  truth), the Supreme is described. When that sat (truth) is  manifest, then the asat (untruth) is thrown far away. The word  "sat" also refers to the world of spirit. This world of  matter, which is called "asat", is only a reflection of  that world of spirit. .pa