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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.
ko 'ham va kim idam vishvam
avayoh ko 'nvayo dhruvam
atmanam nivrito jivah
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?"
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.
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.
atmathava jadam sarvam
svabhavad dhi pravartate
svabhavo vidyate nityam
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.
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.
pradurbhavati dharmo 'yam
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.
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.
kartavyo laukiko dharmah
papanam viratir yatah
vidvadbhir lakshito nityo
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.
jijnasyo sa sukhaptaye
jivane yat sukham tat tu
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.
jivane yat kritam karma
jivanante tad eva hi
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.
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.
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.
kecid vadanti maya ya
sa kartri jagatam kila
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:
"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
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
"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
"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.
"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
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
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
"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.
athava bhava eva syat
neshvaro na jagaj-janah
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.
satyam eva tv asan nityam
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.
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.
yuktis tarkamayi nare
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.
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.
pralapantiha sa yuktir
udanti svatma-siddhaye carame parameshanam
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.
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.
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.
ekatvam api tad drishtva
sthulam bhittva tu linge sa
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.
kecid vadanti vishvam vai
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.
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.
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.
atra sthitasya jivasya
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.
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.
idam eva matam viddhi
ishvare doshadam sakshat
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.
kecid vadanti sarvam yac
brahma sanatanam sakshad
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."
vastunah parimanad va
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."
jatam sarvam jagad dhruvam
jiveshvare na bhedo 'sti
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.
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:
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