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NITAAI-Veda.nyf > Compiled and Imp Scriptures > Jaiva Dharma > 18. Prameya: Bhedabheda-Tattva


C H A P T E R 18

Prameya: Bhedabheda-Tattva


Veni-madhava had a wicked mind. Thus when Vrajanatha

scorned him, he decided to seek revenge by teaching

Vrajanatha and the Mayapura Vaishnavas a lesson. He made a plan

with some like-minded friends that when Vrajanatha returned

from Mayapura, they would surround him in a secluded place near

Laksmana Hill, and give him a sound thrashing. Somehow or other,

Vrajanatha got wind of all this, and consulted with Babaji. They

agreed that he would come to Mayapura less frequently, and then

only during the day, and accompanied by a bodyguard.


Vrajanatha had some tenants in the village, amongst whom

Harisa was expert at stick-fighting. One day Vrajanatha called him

and made a request. He said "Harisa, I am having a little difficulty

these days, but if you help me, I might have a way out".


Harisa said, "Thakura, I can lay down my life for you. I will kill

your enemy today, if you tell me."


Vrajanatha replied, "Veni-madhava is a very wicked man, and

he means to cause me some trouble. He is creating so much disturbance

that I dare not go to visit the Vaishnavas in Shrivasangana.

He has arranged with some of his devious friends to create trouble

for me on my way home."


Harisa became disturbed when he heard this, and he replied,

"Thakura, as long as there is breath in my body, you need have no

fear. It looks as if this stick of mine will soon come to good use

against Veni-madhava. Just take me along with you whenever you

go to Mayapura and I will handle a hundred opponents by myself."

After Vrajanatha had made this arrangement with Harisa, he

resumed his visits to Mayapura every second or fourth day, but he

could not stay late. Yet he remained dissatisfied within himself

when he could not discuss tattva.


After some ten or twenty days had passed in this way, the wicked

Veni-madhava was bitten by a snake, and died. When Vrajanatha

heard the news, he wondered, "Did he meet such a fate because of

his envy of the Vaishnavas?" Then he concluded, "His allotted lifespan

had finished, and so he died.


adya vabda-satante va

mrtyur vai praninam dhruvah

Shrimad-Bhagavatam (10.1.38)


One may die today, or after hundreds of years, but death is

sure for every living entity. This is an eternal truth.


"Now my path to Shrivasangana in Mayapura is clear."

That day, Vrajanatha reached Shrivasangana a little after dusk.

He offered his obeisances to Raghunatha dasa Babaji, and said,

"From today I will be able to come to serve your lotus feet every

day, for the obstacle in the form of Veni-madhava has left this

world." At first, the soft-hearted Babaji became a little disturbed

on hearing about the death of this spiritually unconscious person

(anudita-viveka-jiva). Then he calmed himself and said, Sva-karmaphala-

bhuk puman. "Everyone enjoys or suffers the result of his

karma." The jiva belongs to Krishna, and he will go wherever Krishna

sends him. Anyway, Baba, I hope you have no other anxiety."


Vrajanatha: Only one: I have missed hearing your nectarean talks

all these days. Today I want to hear the remaining instructions on



Babaji: I'm always available for you. Now, where did we stop last time?

Are there any questions in your heart after our last conversation?


Vrajanatha: What is the name of Shri Gaura Kisora's pure and invaluable

philosophical teachings? The previous acaryas have established

the philosophies of advaita-vada (exclusive monism),

dvaita-vada (dualism), suddhadvaita-vada (purefied non-dualism),

visistadvaita-vada (specialized non-dualism), and dvaitadvaita-vada

(dualism-with-monism). Has Shri Gaurangadeva accepted any of

these, or has He founded a different philosophical school?


When you were instructing me about the system of sampradaya,

you said that Shri Gaurangadeva belongs to the Brahma-sampradaya.

In that case, should we consider Him to be an acarya of

Madhvacarya's dvaita-vada?


Babaji: Baba, you should hear the eighth sloka of Dasa-mula:


hareh sakteh sarvam cid-acid akhilam syat parinatih

vivartam no satyam srutim iti viruddham kali-malam

harer bhedabhedau sruti-vihita-tattvam suvimalam

tatah premnah siddhir bhavati nitaram nitya-visaye


The entire spiritual and material creation is a transformation

of Shri Krishna's sakti. The impersonal philosophy of

illusion (vivarta-vada) is not true. It is an impurity that has

been produced by Kali-yuga, and is contrary to the teachings

of the Vedas. The Vedas support acintya-bhedabheda-tattva

(inconceivable oneness and difference) as the pure and

absolute doctrine, and one can attain perfect love for the

Eternal Absolute when he accepts this principle.


The conclusive teachings of the Upanisads are known as

Vedanta, and in order to bring their precise meaning to light,

Vyasadeva compiled a book of four chapters, called Brahma-sutra

or Vedanta-sutra. The Vedanta commands great respect amongst

the intellectual class. In principle, Vedanta-sutra is widely accepted

as the proper exposition of the truths taught in the Vedas. From

this Vedanta-sutra, the different acaryas extract different conclusions,

which are just suitable to support their own philosophies.


Shri Sankaracarya has used Vedanta-sutra to support his impersonal

theory of illusion, which is called vivarta-vada. He said that

one compromises the very essence of brahma if one accepts any

transformation in brahma, that the doctrine of transformation

(parinama-vada) is therefore completely faulty, and that vivartavada

is the only reasonable philosophy. According to his own

needs, Shri Sankaracarya collected some Vedic mantras to support

His vivarta-vada, which is also known as Mayavada. We can

understand from this that parinama-vada has been popular from

early times, and that Shri Sankara checked its acceptance by

establishing vivarta-vada, which is a sectarian doctrine.


Shriman Madhvacarya was dissatisfied with vivarta-vada, so he

propounded the doctrine of dualism (dvaita-vada), which he also

supported with statements from the Vedas to suit his own purpose.

Similarly, Ramanujacarya taught specialized non-dualism

(visistadvaita-vada), Shri Nimbadityacarya taught dualism-withmonism

(dvaitadvaita-vada) and Shri Vishnusvami taught purefied

non-dualism (suddhadvaita-vada). Shri Sankaracarya's Mayavada

philosophy is opposed to the basic principles of bhakti. Each of the

Vaishnava acaryas has claimed that his principles are based on bhakti,

although there are differences between the various philosophies

that they taught. Shriman Mahaprabhu accepted all the Vedic conclusions

with due respect, and gave their essence in His own

instructions. Mahaprabhu taught the doctrine of acintya-bhedaabheda-

tattva (inconceivable difference and oneness). He remained

within the sampradaya of Shriman Madhvacarya, but still Shriman

Mahaprabhu only accepted the essence of Madhvacarya's doctrine.


Vrajanatha: What is the doctrine of parinama-vada (transformation)?


Babaji: There are two kinds of parinama-vada: brahma-parinamavada

(the doctrine of transformation of brahma), and tat-saktiparinama-

vada (the teaching of the transformation of energy).

Those who believe in brahma-parinama-vada (the transformation

of brahma) say that the acintya (inconceivable) and nirvisesa

(formless) brahma transforms itself into both living beings and

the inert material world. To support this belief, they quote from

the Chandogya Upanisad (6.2.1), ekam evadvitiyam, "Before the

manifestation of this universe there existed only the Absolute

Truth, a non-dual tattva that exists in truth."


According to this Vedic mantra, brahma is the one and only vastu

which we should accept. This theory is also known as non-dualism,

or advaita-vada. Look, in this theory, the word parinama

(progressive transformation) is used, but the actual process that

it describes is in fact vikara (destruction or deformation).

Those who teach transformation of energy (sakti-parinamavada)

do not accept any sort of transformation in brahma. Rather,

they say that the inconceivable sakti, or potency of brahma, is transformed.

The jiva-sakti portion of the potency of brahma transforms

into the individual spirit jivas, and the maya-sakti portion transforms

into the material world. According to this theory, there is

parinama (transformation), but not of brahma.


sa-tattvato 'nyatha-buddhir vikara ity udahrtah

Sadananda's Vedanta-sara (59)


The word vikara (modification) means that something

appears to be what it is factually not.


Brahma is accepted as a vastu (basic substance), from which two

separate products appear, namely the individual souls and this

material world. The appearance of substances that are different

in nature from the original substance is known as vikara, (modification).


What is a vikara? It is just something appearing to be what it is

actually not. For example, milk is transformed into yogurt.

Although yogurt is milk, it is called yogurt, and this yogurt is the

vikara or modification of the original substance, in this case, milk.

According to brahma-parinama-vada, the material world and the

jivas are the vikara of brahma. Without any doubt, this idea is

absolutely impure for the following reasons: Those who put forward

this theory accept the existence of only one substance,

namely the nirvisesa-brahma. But how can this brahma be modified

into a second substance, if nothing else exists apart from it? The

theory itself does not allow for modification of brahma.


Accepting modification of brahma defies logic, which is why

brahma-parinama-vada is not reasonable under any circumstances.

However, there is no such fault in sakti-parinama-vada, because

according to this philosophy, brahma remains unaltered at all times.

Bhagavan's inconceivable sakti that makes the impossible possible

(aghatana-ghatana-patiyasi-sakti) has an atomic particle, which is

transformed at some places as the individual souls, and it also has

a shadow portion, which is transformed in other places into

material universes. When brahma desired, "Let there be living

entities," the jiva-sakti part of the superior potency (para-sakti) immediately

produced innumerable souls. Similarly, when brahma

desired the existence of the material world, the maya potency, the

shadow form of para-sakti, at once manifested the unfathomable,

inanimate material world. Brahma accepts these changes while

remaining free from change itself.


One may argue: "Desiring is itself a transformation, so how can

this transformation occur in the desireless brahma?" The answer

to this is, "You are comparing the desire of brahma to the desire

of the jiva, and calling it a vikara (modification). Now, the jiva is

an insignificant sakti, and whenever he desires, that desire comes

from contact with another sakti. For this reason, the desire of

the jiva is called vikara. However, the desire of brahma is not in

this category. The independent desire of brahma is part of its

intrinsic nature. It is one with the sakti of brahma, and at the

same time different from it. Therefore, the desire of brahma is the

svarupa of brahma, and there is no place for vikara. When brahma

desires, sakti becomes active, and only sakti is transformed. This

subtle point is beyond the discriminating power of the jivas'

minute intelligence, and can only be understood through the

testimony of the Vedas.


Now we must consider the parinama (transformation) of sakti.

The analogy of milk changing into yogurt may not be the best

example to explain sakti-parinama-vada. Material examples do not

give a complete understanding of spiritual principles, but they

can still enlighten us regarding certain specific aspects. The

cintamani gem is a material object that can produce many varieties

of jewels, but it is not transformed or deformed itself in any

way. Shri Bhagavan's creation of this material world should be

understood as being something similar to this. As soon as

Bhagavan desires, His acintya-sakti (inconceivable potency) creates

innumerable universes of fourteen planetary systems and

worlds where the jivas can live, but He Himself remains absolutely



It should not be understood that this "untransformed" Supreme

is nirvisesa (formless) and impersonal. On the contrary, this

Supreme is the great and all-encompassing substance, brahma

(brhad-vastu-brahma). He is eternally Bhagavan, the master of the

six opulences. If one accepts Him as merely nirvisesa, one cannot

explain His spiritual sakti. By His acintya-sakti, He exists

simultaneously in both personal and impersonal forms. To suppose

that He is only nirvisesa is to accept only half the truth, without

full understanding. His relationship with the material world is described

in the Vedas using the instrumental (karana) case to signify

'by which...'; the ablative (apadana) case to signify 'from which...';

and the locative (adhikarana) case to signify 'in which...'. It is stated

in the Taittiriya Upanisad (3.1.1):


yato va imani bhutani jayante

yena jatani jivanti

yat prayanty abhisamvisanti

tad vijijnasasva tad brahma


One should know that brahma is He from whom all living

beings are born, by whose power they remain alive, and into

whom they enter at the end. He is the one about whom you

should inquire, He is brahma.1




1 "The one about whom you are asking-that is brahma."





In this sloka, 'yato va imani', the ablative (apadana) case for Isvara

is used when it is said that the living beings are manifested from

Him; 'yena', which is the instrumental (karana) case, is used when

it is said that all sentient creatures live by His power; and 'yat',

which indicates the locative (adhikarana) case, is used when it is

said that all living beings enter into Him in the end. These three

symptoms show that the Absolute Truth is Supreme; this is His

unique feature. That is why Bhagavan is always savisesa (possessing

form, qualities, and pastimes). Shrila Jiva Gosvami describes the

Supreme Person in these words:


ekam eva parama-tattvam svabhavikacintya-saktya

sarvadaiva svarupa-tad-rupa-vaibhava-jiva-pradhana-rupena

caturdhavatisthate suryantar-mandala-stha-teja iva

mandala tad-bahirgata-tad-rasmi-tat-praticchavi-rupena


The Absolute Truth is one. His unique characteristic is that

He is endowed with inconceivable potency, through which

He is always manifested in four ways: 1) svarupa (as His

original form), 2) tad-rupa-vaibhava (as His personal

splendor, including His abode, and His eternal associates,

expansions and avataras), 3) jivas (as the individual spirit

souls), and 4) pradhana (as the material energy). These four

features are likened to the interior of the sun planet, the

surface of the sun, the sun-rays emanating from this surface,

and a remotely situated reflection, respectively.


These examples only partially explain the Absolute Truth. His

original form is sat-cid-ananda (full of eternity, knowledge and

bliss) and His spiritual name, abode, associates and the entire

paraphernalia in His direct service are opulences that are nondifferent

from Himself (svarupa-vaibhava). The countless nityamukta

and nitya-baddha jivas are dependent, conscious atoms (anucit).

Pradhana includes maya-pradhana, and its products are the

entire gross and subtle material worlds. These four features exist

eternally, and similarly, the oneness of the Supreme Absolute is

also eternal. How can these two eternal contradictions exist

together? The answer is that it seems impossible to the limited

intelligence of the jiva, and it is only possible through Bhagavan's

inconceivable energy.


Vrajanatha: What is vivarta-vada?


Babaji: There is some reference to vivarta in the Vedas, but that is

not vivarta-vada. Shri Sankaracarya has interpreted the word vivarta

in such a way that vivarta-vada has come to mean the same as

Mayavada. The scientific meaning of the word vivarta is:


atattvato' nyatha buddhir vivarttam ity udahrtah

Sadananda's Vedanta-sara (49)


Vivarta is the illusion of mistaking one thing for another.


The jiva is an atomic, spiritual substance, but when he is bewildered,

he imagines that the subtle and gross bodies in which

he is encaged are his self. This bewilderment is ignorance born

of lack of knowledge, and it is the only example of vivarta found

in the Vedas. Someone may think, "I am brahmana Ramanatha

Pandey, the son of the brahmana Sanatana Pandey," and another

may think, "I am the sweeper Madhua, son of the sweeper

Harkhua," but really, such thoughts are completely illusory. The

jiva is an atomic spiritual spark and is neither Ramanatha Pandey

nor the sweeper Madhua; it only seems to be so because he identifies

with the body. The illusions of mistaking a rope for a snake,

and seeing silver in the reflection on a conch shell are similar



The Vedas use various examples to try to convince the jivas to

become free from this vivarta, the illusion of identifying one's self

with this mayika body. Mayavadis reject the true conclusions of

the Vedas and establish a rather comical theory of vivarta-vada.

They say that the idea "I am brahma" is essential understanding,

and the idea "I am a jiva" is vivarta (erroneous understanding). The

Vedic examples of vivarta do not contradict sakti-parinama-vada

at all, but the theory of vivarta-vada that the Mayavadis put forward

is simply foolish.


The Mayavadis propose various types of vivarta-vada, of which

three are most common:


1. The soul is really brahma, but he became bewildered into

thinking himself to be an individual soul.


2. The jivas are reflections of brahma.


3. The jivas and the material world are just the dream of brahma.


All these varieties of vivarta-vada are false and contrary to Vedic



Vrajanatha: What is this philosophy called Mayavada? I am unable

to understand it.


Babaji: Listen carefully. Maya-sakti is just a perverted reflection

of the spiritual kingdom, and it is also the controller of the material

world which the jiva enters when he is overpowered by ignorance

and illusion. Spiritual things have an independent

existence, and are independently energetic, but Mayavada does

not accept this. Instead, the Mayavada theory declares that the

individual soul is itself brahma, and only appears to be different

from brahma because of the influence of maya. This theory states

that the jiva only thinks himself to be an individual entity, and

that the moment the influence of maya is removed, he understands

that he is brahma. According to this conception, while under the

influence of maya, the atomic spiritual spark has no independent

identity separate from maya, and therefore the way of liberation

for the jiva is nirvana, or merging in brahma. Mayavadis do not

accept the separate existence of the pure individual soul. Furthermore,

they state that Bhagavan is subordinate to maya, and has to

take shelter of maya when He needs to come to this material world.

They say, "This is because brahma is impersonal and does not have

any form, which means that He has to assume a material (mayika)

form in order to manifest Himself in this world. His Isvara aspect

has a material body. The avataras accept material bodies and perform

wonderful feats in this material world. In the end, They leave

Their material body in this world, and return to Their abode."


Mayavadis show a little kindness towards Bhagavan, for they

accept some differences between the jiva and the avataras of Isvara.

The distinction they make is that the jiva has to accept a gross

body because of his past karma. This karma carries him away, even

against his wishes, and he is forced to accept birth, old age and

death. The Mayavadis say that Isvara's body, designation, name

and qualities are also material, but that He accepts them of His

own accord, and that whenever He desires, He can reject

everything and regain His pure spirituality. He is not forced to

accept the reactions resulting from the activities that He performs.

These are all misconceptions of the Mayavadis.


Vrajanatha: Is this Mayavada philosophy found anywhere in the



Babaji: No! Mayavada cannot be found anywhere in the Vedas.

Mayavada is Buddhism, We read in Padma Purana:


mayavadam asac-chastram

pracchannam bauddham ucyate

mayaiva vihitam devi

kalau brahmana-murtina

Uttara-khanda (43.6)


In answer to a question by Umadevi (Parvati), Mahadeva

explains "O Devi! Mayavada is an impure sastra. Although

actually covered Buddhism, it has gained entry into the

religion of the Aryans, disguised as Vedic conclusions. In

Kali-yuga, I shall appear in the guise of a brahmana and

preach this Mayavada philosophy."


Vrajanatha: Prabhu, why did Mahadeva perform such an ugly task,

when he is the leader of the devatas and the foremost among



Babaji: Shri Mahadeva is Bhagavan's guna-avatara. The supremely

merciful Lord saw the asuras taking to the path of bhakti and worshiping

Him to get fruitive results and to fulfill their wicked desires.

He then thought, "The asuras are troubling the devotees by

polluting the path of devotional service, but the path of bhakti

should be freed from this pollution." Thinking thus, He called for

Sivaji and said, "O Sambhu! It is not auspicious for this material

world if My pure bhakti is taught amongst those who are in the

mode of ignorance and whose character is asurika. You should

preach from sastra and spread Mayavada philosophy in such a way

that the asuras become enamored and I remain concealed from

them. Those whose character is asurika will leave the path of

devotional service and take shelter of Mayavada, and this will give

My gentle bhaktas the chance to taste pure devotional service



Shri Mahadeva, who is the supreme Vaishnava, was at first somewhat

reluctant to accept such an arduous task with which

Bhagavan had entrusted him. However, considering this to be His

order, he therefore preached the Mayavada philosophy. Where is

the fault of Shriman Mahadeva, the supreme guru, in this? The

entire universe functions smoothly like a well-oiled machine under

the guidance of Bhagavan, who expertly wields in His hand

the splendid Sudarsana Cakra for the well-being of all creatures.

Only He knows what auspiciousness is hidden in His order, and

the duty of the humble servants is simply to obey His order. Knowing

this, the pure Vaishnavas never find any fault in Sankaracarya, Siva's

incarnation who preached Mayavada. Listen to the evidence from

sastra for this:


tvam aradhya tatha sambho grahisyami varam sada

dvaparadau yuge bhutva kalaya manusadisu

svagamaih kalpitaistvanca janan madvimukhan krru

manca gopaya yena syat srstiresontarontara

Padma Purana, Uttara khanda (42.109-110)

and Narada-pancaratra (4.2.29-30):


Vishnu said, "O Sambhu, although I am Bhagavan, still I have

worshiped different devatas and devis to bewilder the asuras.

In the same way, I shall worship you as well, and receive a

benediction. In Kali-yuga you should incarnate amongst

human beings through your partial expansion. You should

preach from sastras like Agama, and fabricate a philosophy

that will distract the general mass of people away from Me,

and keep Me covered. In this way, more and more people

will be diverted away from Me, and My pastimes will become

all the more valuable."


In Varaha Purana, Bhagavan tells Siva:


esa moham srjamy asu ye janan mohayisyati

tvanca rudra mahasaho mohasastrani karaya

atathyani vitathyani darsayasva mahabhuja

prakasam kuru catmanamprakasanca mam kuru


"I am creating the kind of illusion (moha) that will delude

the mass of people. O strong-armed Rudra, you also create

such a deluding sastra. O mighty-armed one, present fact as

falsehood, and falsehood as fact. Give prominence to your

destructive Rudra form and conceal My eternal original form

as Bhagavan."


Vrajanatha: Is there any Vedic evidence against the Mayavada



Babaji: All the testimony of the Vedas refutes Mayavada philosophy.

The Mayavadis have searched all the Vedas and isolated four

sentences in their support. They call these four sentences mahavakya,

'the illustrious statements.' These four statements are:


1) sarvam khalv idam brahma, "All the universe is brahma."

Chandogya Upanisad 3.14.1.


2) prajnanam brahma, "The supreme knowledge is brahma."

Aitareya Upanisad 1.5.3.


3) tat tvam asi svetaketo, "O Svetaketu, you are that"

Chandogya Upanisad 6.8.7.


4) aham brahmasmi, "I am brahma."

Brhad-aranyaka Upanisad 1.4.10.


The first maha-vakya teaches that the whole universe, consisting

of the living beings and non-living matter, is brahma; nothing

exists that is not brahma. The identity of that brahma is explained



na tasya karyam karanam ca vidyate

na tat-samas cabhyadhikas ca drsyate

parasya saktir vividhaiva sruyate

svabhaviki jnana-bala-kriya ca

Svetasvatara Upanisad (6.8)


None of the activities of that para-brahma Paramatma is

mundane, because none of His senses - such as His hands

and legs - is material. Thus through the medium of His

transcendental body, He performs His pastimes without any

material senses, and He is present everywhere at the same

time. Therefore, no one is even equal to Him, what to speak

of being greater than Him. The one divine potency of

Paramesvara has been described in sruti in many ways,

among which the description of His jnana-sakti (knowledge),

His bala-sakti (power), and His kriya-sakti (potency

for activity) are most important. These are also called citsakti

or samvit-sakti; sat-sakti or sandhini-sakti; and anandasakti

or hladini-sakti respectively.


Brahma and His sakti are accepted as non-different from each

other. In fact, this sakti is said to be an inherent part of brahma,

which is manifested in different ways. From one point of view, it

may be said that nothing is different from brahma, for the potency

and the possessor of potency are non-different. However, when

we look at the material world, we can see that in another sense

brahma and His sakti are certainly different.


nityo nityanam cetanas cetananam

eko bahunam yo vidadhati kaman

Katha Upanisad (2.13) and

Svetasvatara Upanisad (6.10)


He is the one supreme eternal being among all eternal

beings, and the one supreme conscious being among all conscious

beings. He alone is fulfilling the desires of everyone.


This statement from the Vedas accepts variegatedness within the

eternally existing substance (vastu), brahma. It separates the sakti

(potency) from saktiman (the possessor of the potency), and then it

considers His jnana (knowledge), bala (power) and kriya (activities).


Now let us consider the second maha-vakya, prajnanam brahma,

"The supreme knowledge is brahma" (Aitareya Upanisad 1.5.3). Here

it is said that brahma and consciousness are identical. The word

prajnanam, which in this sentence is said to be one with brahma, is

also used in Brhad-aranyaka Upanisad (4.4.21), where it is used to

mean prema-bhakti:


tam eva dhiro vijnaya prajnamam kurvita brahmanah


When a steady and sober person attains knowledge of

brahma, he worships Him with genuine loving feelings



The third maha-vakya is tat tvam asi svetaketo, "O Svetaketu, you

are that," (Chandogya Upanisad 6.8.7). This sloka gives instructions

on oneness with brahma, which is more elaborately described in

Brhad-aranyaka Upanisad (3.8.10) as follows:


yo va etad aksaram gargy aviditvasmal lokat praiti sa krpanah

ya etad aksaram gargi viditvasmal lokat praiti sa brahmanah


O Gargi! Those who leave this material world without

understanding the eternal Vishnu are krpanah, extremely

miserly or degraded, whereas those who leave this material

world in knowledge of that Supreme Eternal are actually

brahmanas, knowers of brahma.


The words tat tvam asi therefore mean, "He who gains true

knowledge eventually attains devotional service to para-brahma,

and he is to be known as a brahmana."


The fourth maha-vakya is aham brahmasmi, "I am brahma" (Brhadaranyaka

Upanisad 1.4.10). If the vidya that is established in this

vakya does not become bhakti in the end, then it is thoroughly

condemned in Shri Isopanisad (9), which says:


andham tamah pravisanti ye 'vidyam upasate

tato bhuya iva te tamo ya u vidyayam ratah


Those who are situated in ignorance enter deep darkness,

and those who are in knowledge enter deeper darkness still.


This mantra means that those who embrace ignorance, and do

not know the spiritual nature of the soul, enter the darkest regions

of ignorance. However, the destination of those who reject

ignorance, but who believe that the jiva is brahma, and not a spiritual

atom, is far worse.


Baba! The Vedas have no shoreline and are unsurpassed. Their

precise meaning can only be understood by studying each and every

sloka of the Upanisads separately, and by deriving the meaning from

all of them combined. If one singles out a particular sentence, he

may always be diverted by some misinterpretation. Shri Chaitanya

Mahaprabhu therefore investigated all the Vedas thoroughly, and

then preached that the individual spirit souls and the material

world are simultaneously and inconceivably one with Shri Hari and

different from Him.


Vrajanatha: I understand that the Vedas establish the teaching of

acintya-bhedabheda-tattva. Will you please explain this more clearly

with proofs from the Vedas themselves?


Babaji: Here are some of the many passages that describe the oneness

aspect (abheda-tattva) of bhedabheda-tattva:


sarvam khalv idam brahma, "Everything in this world is

certainly brahma." (Chandogya Upanisad 3.14.1)


atmaivedam sarvam iti, "Everything that is visible is spirit

(atma)." (Chandogya Upanisad 7.52.2)


sad eva saumyedam agra asid ekam evadvitiyam, "O gentle one,

this world initially existed in a non-dual, spiritual form; and

before the manifestation of this universe, the Supreme Spirit

was just a non-dual substance." (Chandogya Upanisad 6.2.1)


evam sa devo bhagavan varenyo yoni-svabhavan adhitisthaty ekah,

"Bhagavan Himself is the master of all, even of the devatas,

and He is the only one who is worthy of worship. He is the

cause of all causes, but He Himself remains unaltered, just as

the sun remains stationary, while spreading its radiance in

all directions." (Svetasvatara Upanisad 5.4)


Now listen to the mantras that support bheda (difference):


om brahma-vid apnoti param, "One who understands brahma attains

the para-brahma." (Taittiriya Upanisad 2.1)


mahantam vibhum atmanam matva dhiro na socati, "A sober, intelligent

person does not lament, even on seeing a soul confined

in a material body, because he knows that the soul is great

and present everywhere." (Katha Upanisad 1.2.22)


satyam jnanam anantam brahma yo veda nihitam, "Brahma is truth,

knowledge and eternity personified. That brahma is situated

in the spiritual sky (Paravyoma), and is also present in the

depth of all living entities' hearts. One who knows this attains

siddhi through his relationship with that indwelling

Supersoul (antaryami), the omniscient brahma." (First

Anuccheda of Taittiriya-brahmananda-valli)


yasmat param na param asti kincit..., "There is no truth superior to

that Supreme Person. He is smaller than the smallest, and

greater than the greatest. He stands alone, immovable like a

tree in His self-effulgent abode. This entire universe rests

within that one Supreme Person." (Svetasvatara Upanisad 3.9)


pradhana-ksetra-jna-patir gunesah, "The Parabrahma is the Lord

of the unmanifested material nature (pradhana), the Master

of that Paramatma who knows all the individual living entities,

and the Isvara of the three modes of material nature. He

is Himself transcendental to the modes of material nature."

(Svetasvatara Upanisad 6.16)


tasyaisa atma vivrnute tanum svam, "He reveals His body only to

those people in a very particular way." (Katha Upanisad 2.23)


tam ahur agryam purusam mahantam, "Those who know the Absolute

Truth chant His glories, knowing Him to be Mahan

Adi-purusa, the Great Personality, and the Cause of all

causes." (Svetasvatara Upanisad 3.19)


yathatathyato 'rthan vyadadhat, "By His inconceivable potency,

He maintains the separate identities of all the eternal elements,

along with their particular attributes." (Isopanisad,

Mantra 8)


naitad asakam vijnatum yad etad yaksam iti, "Agnideva, the devata

of fire said to the assembled devatas, 'I cannot fully comprehend

the identity of this yaksa.' " (Kena Upanisad 3.6)


asad va idam agra asit..., "In the beginning, this universe was

just an unmanifested form of brahma. This unmanifest became

manifest in the form of brahma. That brahma manifested

Himself in male form. For this reason that male form is known

as the creator." (Taittiriya Upanisad 2.7.1)


nityo nityanam, "Who is the supreme Eternal Being among all

the eternal beings?" (Katha Upanisad 2.13 and Svetasvatara

Upanisad 6.13)


sarvam hy etad brahmayam atma brahma so'yam atma catuspat, "All

this is a manifestation of the inferior potency of brahma. The

spiritual form of Krishna is none other than the para-brahma.

By His inconceivable potency, He eternally manifests Himself

in four nectarean forms, even though He is one."

(Mundaka Upanisad, Mantra 2)


ayam atma sarvesam bhutanam madhu, The Vedas speak about

Krishna in an indirect way by describing His attributes, and

here they say that "Among all living beings, it is only Krishna

Himself who is sweet like nectar." (Brhad-aranyaka Upanisad



In these and countless other passages, the Vedas declare that

the individual souls are eternally different from the Supreme.

Every part of the Vedas is wonderful, and no portion of them can

be neglected. It is true that the individual jivas are eternally different

from the Supreme; and it is also true that they are eternally

non-different from the Supreme. We can find evidence in the Vedas

to support both bheda (difference) and abheda (non-difference),

because bheda and abheda exist simultaneously as aspects of the

Absolute Truth. This relationship of the jivas with the Supreme

as simultaneously one with Him and different from Him, is inconceivable

and beyond mundane intelligence. Logic and arguments

about the matter only lead to confusion. Whatever has been said

in the various parts of the Vedas is all true, but we cannot

understand the complete meaning of those words because our

intelligence is very limited. That is why we should never disregard

Vedic teachings.


naisa tarkena matir apaneya

Katha Upanisad (2.2)


Naciketa! It is not proper to use argument to destroy the

wisdom of the Absolute Truth that you have received.


naham manye su-vedeti no na vedeti veda ca

Kena Upanisad (2.2)


I do not think that I have thoroughly understood brahma.


These Vedic mantras give clear instructions that the sakti of the

Isvara is inconceivable, and hence beyond mundane reasoning.

Mahabharata says:


puranam manavo dharmah sanga-vedan cikitsitam

ajna-siddhani catvari na hantavyami hetubhih


The sattvata Puranas, the dharma instructed by Manu, the

Sad-anga-veda and Cikitsa-sastra are the authentic orders

of the Supreme, and it is improper to try to refute them by

mundane arguments.


Thus it is quite clear that the Vedas support the acintyabhedabheda-

tattva. Bearing in mind the ultimate goal of the jiva, it

seems that there is no siddhanta that is higher than the principle

of acintya-bhedabheda-tattva; in fact, no other siddhanta even seems

true. Only when one accepts this philosophy of acintya-bhedabheda

can one realize the eternal individuality of the jiva, and his eternal

difference from Shri Hari. Without understanding this difference,

the individual soul cannot attain the true goal of life, which is

priti (love for the Supreme).


Vrajanatha: What is the evidence that priti is the ultimate goal for

the jiva?


Babaji: It is said in the Vedas:


prano hy esa yah sarva-bhutair vibhati

Mundaka Upanisad (3.1.4)


The Supreme Person is the Life of all that lives, and He

shines within all beings. Those who know that Supreme

Personality by the science of bhakti do not look for anything

else. 2 Such jivan-muktas are endowed with attachment for

the Supreme (rati), and they participate in His loving

pastimes. Such bhaktas are the best of all those who are in

knowledge of brahma.




2 No topic other than the glories of Shri Krishna holds any further

interest for those who are liberated beings (jivan-mukta).




In other words, the most fortunate of those who know brahma

associate with Krishna actively in His loving pastimes. This sentiment

of rati is a symptom of love for Krishna. It is explained further

in Brhad-aranyaka Upanisad (2.4.5 and 4.5.6):


na va are sarvasya kamaya sarvam priyam bhavaty

atmanas tu kamaya sarvam priyam bhavati


Yajna-valkya said, "O Maitreyi, everyone is not dear to us

because of their necessities; rather, they are dear to us

because of our own necessities."


It is evident from this mantra that priti (love for the Supreme)

is the only prayojana for the jiva. Baba, there are many examples of

such statements in the Vedas, Shrimad-Bhagavatam and Taittiriya

Upanisad (2.7.1):


raso vai sah

ko hy evanyat kah pranyat

yad esa akasa anando na syat

esa hy evanandayati


The para-brahma, Paramatma, is nectar personified. The jiva

finds pleasure in associating with that nectarean

Paramatma, and who could live if He was not present in the

heart? It is Paramatma alone who gives bliss to the jivas.


The word ananda (bliss) is a synonym for priti (affection). All

living beings are in search of pleasure and bliss. A mumuksu believes

that liberation is the ultimate pleasure, and that is why he

is mad for liberation. The sense enjoyers (bubhuksus) believe that

the objects of sense gratification are the ultimate pleasure, so they

pursue the objects of sense gratification until the end of their lives.

It is the hope of achieving pleasure that induces everyone to perform

all his activities. The bhaktas are also endeavoring for Shri

Krishna's devotional service. In fact, everyone is looking for priti -

so much so that they are even ready to sacrifice their lives for it.

In principle, everyone's ultimate aim is priti, and no one can disagree

with this. Everyone is exclusively searching for pleasure,

whether they are believers or atheists, fruitive workers, karmis,

jnanis, and whether they have desires or are desireless. However,

one cannot achieve priti simply by seeking it.


The fruitive workers believe that celestial pleasures are the

ultimate bliss, but it is explained in Bhagavad-gita (9.20):


ksine punye martya-lokam visanti


After the residents of the gigantic celestial planets have

completed the results of their good karma, they have to take

birth again on the mortal earthly planets. The karmis who

desire sense gratification constantly transmigrate from one

planet to another in this way.


According to this sloka of Gita, everyone realizes their mistake

only when they fall from the celestial planets. A person may begin

to covet the pleasures of the heavenly planets again when he fails

to find pleasure in the wealth, children, fame and power that is

available in the world of human beings. However, while he is falling

from the celestial worlds, he adopts a respectful attitude towards

an even greater happiness than that of Svarga (the heavenly

planets). He becomes indifferent to the pleasures of the human

worlds, the celestial planets and even the higher planets up to

Brahmaloka when he understands that they are all temporary, and

that their happiness is also not fixed or eternal. He then becomes

renounced and starts to investigate brahma-nirvana and endeavor

earnestly for impersonal liberation. However, when he sees that

impersonal liberation also lacks bliss, he takes an unbiased

(tatastha) position and searches for another path that will enable

him to achieve priti, or pleasure.


How is it possible to experience priti in impersonal liberation?

Who is the personality who is supposed to experience such bliss?

If I lose my identity, who will exist to experience brahma? The

very concept of the bliss of brahma is meaningless because

whether there is pleasure in brahma or not, the theory of impersonal

liberation does not admit that anyone actually exists in

the liberated state to enjoy such pleasure. So what conclusion

can be drawn from such a doctrine? If I cease to exist when I am

liberated, then my individuality is lost along with my existence.

Nothing pertains to me any more by which I can experience bliss

or pleasure. Nothing exists for me if I myself do not exist. Someone

may say, "I am brahma-rupa." However, this statement is false,

because the "I" who is brahma-rupa is nitya (eternal). In other

words, if one says that he is brahma, then he is also eternal. In

that case, everything is useless for him, including the process to

attain perfection (sadhana) and perfection itself (siddhi). Therefore,

priti is not to be obtained in brahma-nirvana. Even if it is

perfect, it is something that is not experienced, like a flower

growing in the sky.


Bhakti is the only path by which the jiva can attain his true goal.

The final stage of bhakti is prema, which is eternal. The pure jiva is

eternal, pure Krishna is eternal, and pure love for Him is also eternal.

Consequently, one can only attain the perfection of true love in

eternity when he accepts the truth of acintya-bhedabheda. Otherwise,

the ultimate goal of the jiva, which is love for the Supreme,

becomes non-eternal, and the existence of the jiva is also lost.

Therefore, all the sastras accept and confirm the doctrine of

acintya-bhedabheda. All other doctrines are simply speculation.


Vrajanatha returned home in a blissful state of mind, deeply

absorbed in thoughts about pure spiritual love.