|NITAAI-Veda.nyf > Other Scriptures by Acharyas > Tattva Muktavali|
[ also known as Mayavada-shata-dushani ]
by Shrila Sacchidananda Bhaktivinoda Thakura
The Pearl Necklace of Truths:
100 Refutations of the Mayavada Fallacy
All glories to Lord Krishna, who is simultaneously the protector of the faithful devotees and the devastating eternal time factor destroying the cruel demon kings. Krishna, the son of Maharaja Nanda, is as splendid as a young tamala tree. He is the source of the limitless Brahman effulgence. He is the master of all potencies. He is decorated with a vaijayanti flower garland, and His forehead is splendidly decorated with tilaka.
A devotee has full faith in the words of the Puranas. Every morning he faithfully and happily studies the Puranas, and in this way his mind penetrates the actual meaning of the scriptures.
A certain imaginative Vedanta commentator has presented a false theory that the individual spirit soul and the Supreme Personality of Godhead are one in all respects. A devotee scholar, learned in the Puranas, rejects this fallacy and, with expert logic, establishes the eternal distinction between the individual spirit soul and the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Quoting abundant evidence from the shruti and smriti, the devotee scholar presents many arguments to conclusively prove the difference between the individual spirit soul and the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
The individual spirit soul is always limited. The Supreme is always unlimited. The difference is clearly established in the descriptions of Vedic literature. Because the natures of the Supreme and the individual spirit soul are so different, it must be concluded that they are eternally different entities. They cannot be the same.
The Mayavadis may object: "The individual spirit souls are not different from the Supreme, just as the air in a pot and the air in the sky are not different. Indeed, simply by citing this analogy, I have proved that the individual spirit souls are identical with the Supreme." To this statement I reply: "This is not a very good argument. The Supreme is unlimited and cannot be compared to any limited material manifestation, such as the material sky. He is not at all like the material sky and, therefore, your analogy is not very good evidence to support your views."
The Mayavadi commentator on the Vedanta claimed that the words tat tvam asi are the maha-vakya, the most important statement in the Vedas. According to this explanation, tat means "the Supreme," tvam means "you," and asi means "are." He interpreted the phrase to mean "you are the Supreme" and he claimed that there is no difference between the Supreme and the individual spirit souls.
The Vaishnava commentator on Vedanta interpreted these words in a different way, saying that tat-tvam is a possessive compound word (sasthi-tatpurusa-samasa). According to his explanation, tat means "of the Supreme," and the entire phrase means "you are the servant of the Supreme." In this way the proper meaning of the scriptural statement is clearly shown.
O friend, the Supreme is all-knowing and He sees everything. From Him, this entire astonishing and variegated material cosmos has emanated. He creates, maintains, and destroys the entire universe by slightly moving His eyebrow. O friend, you are not like Him. You are ignorant of so many things and your vision is limited, although you wish to see everything. The Supreme is full of all opulences, and He is the ultimate witness who observes everyone. O friend, the individual living entities are numerous, but the Supreme is one only. You are stunted and impure by material contact, but He remains always pure and free from the touch of matter. O friend, your nature is completely different from His in these ways.
The objection may be raised: "The Vedas say brahmaham asmi ('I am Brahman'). The word brahman is certainly in the nominative case (prathama vibhakti). You cannot say it is possessive (sasthi) and thus change the meaning. How is it that you have foolishly interpreted tat tvam asi as a possessive compound (sasthi-tatpurusa-samasa)? How can you avoid interpreting the quote api ca so 'yam devadattah ('O Devadatta, you are that') in the nominative (prathama) and try to make it genitive (sasthi)?"
To this I reply: "When the scriptures explain that the individual spirit soul is Brahman, the proper understanding is that the individual souls are like tiny sparks that have emanated from the great fire of the Supreme Brahman. As far as the possessive compound (sasthi-tatpurusa) interpretation of tat tvam asi: you may not like it, but it is certainly grammatically sound. Why do you not accept it?"
Accustomed to speak in metaphors, poets say: "This youthful brahmana is a blazing fire," "This beautiful face is the disc of the full moon," "These breasts are Mount Meru," or "These hands are blossoming twigs." The charm of these metaphors lies in considering two things, which are actually different, to be completely equal because they have one common feature. The poetic author of the Vedas has used this device in the phrase brahmaham asmi. The spiritual living entities have emanated from the Supreme Brahman, but they are not equal to Him in all respects.
Innumerable waves splash within the great ocean and, in the same way, countless spirit souls exist within the Supreme Brahman. A single wave can never become the ocean. O individual spirit soul, how do you think you will become the Supreme Brahman?
Everywhere in the Vedic scriptures pairs of opposites are described. Spiritual enlightenment and spiritual darkness, religion and irreligion, knowledge and ignorance are all described as different. The Vedic scriptures also describe the Supreme Brahman and the individual spirit soul as different in the same way. O saintly audience, how can anyone, with an honest heart, claim that the individual spirit soul and the Supreme Brahman are identical in all respects?
The Supreme Personality of Godhead is the foundation upon which everything rests. He is the supreme monarch and the independent controller of the illusory potency (maya). O individual spirit soul, you are simply a reflection of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Only one moon shines in the sky, although innumerable reflections of that moon may appear in the water or other places. O individual spirit soul, the Supreme Personality of Godhead is like that single original moon, and the individual spirit souls are like innumerable reflections of Him. Just as the reflections remain always distinct from the moon itself, in the same way the individual spirit souls remain eternally different from their original source, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. O individual spirit soul, this is the eternal distinction between you and the Supreme.
The Vedic scriptures say that the Supreme Brahman is immeasurable, inconceivable, and without any material activities or duty. O individual spirit soul, you are very easily perceivable by the material mind and describable by material words. How is it possible, then, that you are the same as the inconceivable Supreme Brahman?
O individual spirit soul, your intelligence has been stolen by the darkness of the Mayavada theory, and for this reason you continually mutter brahmaham asmi ("I am the Supreme Brahman") as if you have become mad. I say to you, "If you are the Supreme Brahman, where is you unparalleled opulence? Where is you supreme dominion over all? If you are the Supreme Brahman, where is you all-pervasiveness and all-knowledge? Your equality with the Supreme Brahman is like the equality of a mustard seed with Mount Meru!"
O individual spirit soul, you are by nature very limited, but the Supreme Lord is unlimited. You can only be at one place at one time, but the Supreme is eternally everywhere. At one moment you enjoy, and at another moment you suffer. In this way, your happiness and suffering is all temporary, but the Supreme Lord experiences the perfection of transcendental bliss at every moment. O individual spirit soul, why are you not embarrassed to speak these words so 'ham ("I am the Supreme")?
Glass is glass. A jewel is a jewel. An oyster is an oyster. Silver is silver. They will never lose their nature and become each other. If one thinks that glass is a jewel, or an oyster is silver, he is mistaken. Impelled by the same kind of illusion, the individual spirit soul imagines he is the same as the Supreme Brahman. Illusioned in this way, the spirit soul propounds the Mayavada interpretation of tat tvam asi and other statements of the Vedas.
The Vedic statement tat tvam asi should be interpreted in the following way: tat means "the Supreme Brahman who is like a nectar ocean of perfect transcendental bliss." Tvam means "the distressed individual spirit soul, whose mind is anguished by the fears produced by continued residence in the material world." Because the natures of the individual spirit soul and the Supreme Brahman are different in this way, they cannot be equated. In reality the Supreme Brahman is the supreme object of worship for innumerable universes, and the individual spirit soul is His servant. This is the actual meaning of tat-tvam asi.
The Mayavadis claim that when the Supreme Person is described in the Vedic literatures, one should reject the literal meanings of such descriptions, and instead accept them allegorically, or not in the sense conveyed by the primary meaning of the words.
O Mayavadis, if you insist on interpreting the Vedic description of the Supreme in an allegorical, or indirect, sense, then please tell us why you abandon the direct literal meaning in favor of this indirect interpretation?
There are three reasons for rejecting a word's primary meaning and accepting a secondary meaning instead. They are: 1. If the primary meaning makes no sense; 2. If tradition or common usage supplants the primary meaning with a generally accepted secondary meaning; 3. If an authorized commentary explains that a secondary meaning should be understood. In these circumstances one may reject the primary meaning and accept the secondary meaning of a word.
If the primary meaning is senseless, one must find a secondary meaning that makes sense.
One should not accept the primary meaning if it makes no sense. For example, the primary meaning of grama is "village," but if the grama is described as unlimited, one must reject the primary meaning and accept a secondary one ("multitude"). In the same way, the primary meaning of putra is "son," but if the putra is described as appearing without a father, the primary meaning should be rejected and a secondary one ("that which rescues from hell") should be accepted.
The sentence kumbha-khadga-dhanur-banah pravisanti is an example of the use of secondary meaning. Pravisanti means "enter" and kumbha, khadga, dhanuh, and bana mean "pitchers, swords, bows and arrows" respectively. The primary meaning of the sentence is "pitchers, swords, bows, and arrows enter." This interpretation clearly makes no sense. In these circumstances, the secondary meaning should be accepted. If the first two words are accepted as bahuvrihi-samasas, then the secondary interpretation "men carrying pitchers, swords, bows, and arrows enter" may be accepted to replace the rejected primary meaning.
The sentence gangayam ghosah is another example of the use of secondary meaning. The primary meaning here is "the River Ganges spoke." This primary meaning should be rejected because a body of water cannot speak. Here the secondary interpretation "he spoke the word Ganges" is more appropriate.
The sentence ayur ghrtam is another example of the use of secondary meaning. Taken literally, the sentence means, "Clarified butter is identical with long life." In this sentence clarified butter and long life are equated although they are not at all the same thing. In this sentence, the secondary interpretation "Eating foods prepared with clarified butter prolongs one's life" must be accepted if the sentence is to make sense.
A text may be interpreted in three ways: 1. The literal (primary) meaning may be accepted; 2. One may reject the literal meaning and accept a secondary, not so commonly used, meaning of the words, or 3. One may accept the statements as metaphorical or allegorical. In order to establish their theory, the Mayavadis have diligently rejected the literal interpretation of the Vedic statements and have put forward an interpretation based on accepting the secondary meanings of the words.
Taken literally, the Vedic statements do not at all support the theory that the individual spirit soul is the same as the Supreme Brahman. For this reason, the Mayavadis have rejected the literal meaning of the texts and concocted a figurative interpretation based on accepting obscure definitions of words and rejecting the commonly used meanings of words. How do the Mayavadis expect to understand the truth about Brahman if they adopt this devious policy?
The Vedas directly state that the Supreme Brahman is the original creator of the universe (jagat-karta). From this statement it is only logical to infer that the one Supreme is the cause of the many living entities. The many living entities thus have the Supreme as their creator. This is the direct meaning of the Vedic statement.
The sruti and smrti give abundant evidence to support this interpretation: that the one Supreme Brahman is the creator of the many living entities. That the Vedas describe the distinct individuality of the one Supreme Brahman and the many individual spirit souls is confirmed by Lord Krishna in Bhagavad-gita, where He said (15.15): vedais ca sarvair aham eva vedyah ("by all the Vedas I am to be known").
The Mayavadis claim that the Vedas say that the material world is unreal. O Mayavadis, even if this is so, how can you infer from it that the Supreme Brahman, who is full of all opulences and the origin of all moving and unmoving entities is also unreal?
The Mayavadis may say that the Vedic scriptures clearly state that the Supreme cannot be understood by the mind or described in words.
To this I respond: "O Mayavadis, please hear my reply. This statement means that the Supreme cannot be understood by the mental gymnastics of foolish speculators. The Supreme can only be understood when one hears about Him from the right source and with the proper devotional spirit. Furthermore, because the Supreme Brahman possesses infinite and unfathomable transcendental qualities, no one is able to completely know or describe Him."
The Mayavadis claim that the Vedic statement avan- manasa-gocaram ("the Supreme cannot be understood by the mind or described in words") proves that the Supreme cannot be described or understood. To this I reply: "This description may apply to ordinary words or thoughts, but not to the words of the Vedas. The Vedas elaborately describe the Supreme Brahman. Please do not think that the statements of the Vedas are like a limping cripple who cannot describe the Supreme."
O proud Mayavadis, you think yourselves to be great scholars although you actually have no place in the company of the learned. The Vedas say, sabda-brahmani nisnatah para-brahmadhigacchati ("expert in understanding the Supreme, they who are actually learned attain the spiritual realm"). There is no error in these words of the Vedic sages. Please do not say that no one can understand or describe the Supreme.
The word ghata has a specific meaning, and the word pata also has a specific meaning. Various words indicate specific objects. In the Vedas the words sat ("eternity"), cit ("knowledge"), and ananda ("bliss") are used to directly indicate the Supreme Brahman.
Words have both primary and secondary meanings. If the meaning of a word is ambiguous, then in the course of the conversation the proper meaning will become clear by the context. If one enters a conversation when someone asks a boy, "please bring the saindhava," the meaning of the man's statement may be unclear, for the word saindhava may mean either "salt" or "horse." However, when the boy returns with the saindhava the person's intention will be at once understood. In the same way, the proper meaning of ambiguous words in the Vedas become clear when the serious student studies the entire body of Vedic literature and sees the ambiguous statement in the proper perspective.
By repeatedly hearing the words of the spiritual master and by thoroughly studying the Vedic literature, the sincere student will be able to understand the proper meaning of brahman and the other words in the Vedic vocabulary.
The Supreme Personality of Godhead is also the supreme controller and the supreme performer of activities and, therefore, His form is perfect and eternal. A performer of activities always has a form. No one has ever seen a formless performer of activities.
If the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is also the supreme controller, has a form and is not formless, then we may easily conclude that He has a human-like form similar to the forms that we ourselves bear. This may be concluded because al performers of activity have forms that are quite similar. We do not see why the Supreme Personality of Godhead should be an exception in this regard.
There is a difference between the one all-powerful Supreme Personality of Godhead and the many living entities. The living entities are continually beset by the six waves (beginning with hunger and thirst) of material existence. In order to accomplish something, the living entities have to work very hard, holding shovels, plows, and scythes in their hands. In this way, very fatigued by working hard, the living entities become morose at heart. The Supreme Personality of Godhead is not at all like the individual living entities in this matter. Simply by moving an eyebrow the Supreme Personality of Godhead can attain whatever He wishes.
The Supreme Personality of Godhead is able to effortlessly do anything, change anything, or destroy anything. This is a very great difference between the Supreme and the tiny jivas (individual spirit souls).
Someone may say: "If the living entities in the material world sometimes suffer and sometimes enjoy because of their bodies, then, if the Supreme has a body, He must also suffer and enjoy in the same way." To this I reply: "The conditioned living entities possess material forms subject to six changes (growth, decay, death, etc.). The spiritual body of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, because He is the master of all opulences, is not at all like these material forms. The Lord's spiritual body is never subjected to old-age, decay, and death, and His happiness never diminishes."
Someone may object: "Every living entity attains a certain body because of his past karma and, therefore, when the Supreme manifests a body, He has also attained that body as a karmic reaction."
To this I reply: "The Supreme is the ultimate controller, and it is He who awards the karmic results to us living entities. As the ultimate administrator of the laws of karma, He is not under their jurisdiction. That is the relationship between Him and us."
Someone may object: "All bodies are temporary. Therefore, the body of the Supreme must also be a temporary manifestation."
To this I reply: "No! The body of the Supreme is eternal. Just as earth assumes various temporary shapes, although the atoms that are the source of the earth element remain eternal, in the same way, the eternal living entity accepts different material bodies because of his karma. The original spiritual forms of both the Supreme and the subordinate living entities remain eternal, although the conditioned soul may accept different material coverings because of his karma."
The Vedic literatures explain that under ordinary circumstances the conditioned living entity cannot negate the results of his past karma. In order to maintain the truth of this statement, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who holds the Sudarsana cakra in His hand, pretends to be bound by the reactions of past pious and impious deeds when He appears in this world disguised as an ordinary person.
I have heard in the Puranas that this entire universe came into existence from the lotus flower sprouted from the navel of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Are we then to conclude that the Supreme has only a disembodied navel and not a complete body? If the Supreme Lord has a navel, then He must have a body complete with all limbs and senses also.
The transcendental form of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is elaborately described in all the Vedas. That celebrated form is very handsome, and it completely delights the senses of all the devotees. That transcendental form is endowed with the six opulences of all beauty, strength, fame, knowledge, wealth, and renunciation. The sacred Ganges river is the water that has washed the Lord's lotus feet.
Whenever, by the force of time, irreligion increases and religion declines, the Supreme Personality of Godhead protects the saintly devotees and destroys the demons.
The Supreme Personality of Godhead manifests Himself in two features: 1. In His original form as the source of all incarnations; 2. In His many visnu-tattva incarnations. The many living entities may also be divided into two groups: 1. The devotees (who are free from the influence of the illusory energy); 2. The nondevotees (who are bound by the illusions of maya).
Some theorists claim that the individual spirit souls are actually the Supreme, just as reflections on water are the same as the reflected object. By simply fabricating this analogy, these foolish persons do not at all establish the identity of the individual spirit soul and the Supreme.
How is it possible that the individual spirit souls are reflections of the Supreme and equal to Him in all respects? The individual spirit souls are not equal to the Supreme. If they are equal, then why is the Supreme described as unlimited, all-pervading, and free from material contamination? Why are the individual living entities described as being conditioned, subject to material illusion, engaged in the pious and impious deeds described in the Vedas, and thus experiencing the mixed happiness and suffering of material existence? The Supreme is niranjana, never subject to the influence of matter.
The sun or some other object fixed in a certain place and not all-pervading may be reflected in another place. By definition, the Supreme is all-pervading. Something not localized, but present in every place, cannot be reflected. Therefore the all-pervading Supreme cannot be reflected. The analogy of reflection is completely inappropriate to describe the relation between the Supreme and the many living entities, and by using this analogy one cannot draw the conclusion that the Supreme and the many living entities are equal.
Ramanujacharya, the most exalted of spiritual philosophers, has already refuted the Mayavada theory that the Supreme and the individual spirit souls are identical, just as the sun and his reflection. Because of his expert refutation, intelligent readers will no longer accept the Mayavada idea, but will simply joke and laugh at its foolishness.
The sruti-sastra explains that the Supreme and the individual spirit soul are like two friendly birds sitting on a tree. It is clearly explained there that they are two, and in this way the eternal distinction between them is established. How have the Mayavadis become so bewildered that they now contradict the Vedic statement and say that they are both one?
The Vedas explain brahmaivaham na samsari ("I am Brahman; I do not belong to this material world of birth and death"). This means that the advanced transcendentalist no longer identifies himself as a product of material nature but understands that he is spirit, different from matter. In this way he becomes free from all lamentation and all kinds of material contamination. This is the proper explanation of this statement, not the false oneness imposed by the Mayavadis.
The Vedas explain aham eva khalu brahma ("I am Brahman"). This means that the advanced transcendentalist gives up the cripple-minded conception of materialism and understands his actual spiritual identity in relation to the Supreme, but it does not mean that at any time he will become identical with the Supreme Brahman.
Some theorists claim that by meditating on the Supreme with fixed concentration of the mind, the aspiring yogi becomes the Supreme, just as a larva meditates on becoming a bumblebee and actually becomes transformed by that meditation. To this I reply: "You have created this analogy in the factory of your fertile brain, but it is not supported by any Vedic literature. Just a the larva becomes a bumblebee, an individual spirit soul may attain some of the qualities of the Supreme in minute degree, but he never actually becomes equal to the Supreme Personality of Godhead."
By continually worshipping intellectuals with great devotion a person born with only small intelligence does not become an intellectual, although in some ways he may adopt the habits of an intellectual. In the same way, by meditating on the Supreme no one becomes the Supreme. Who will accept the foolish statements of the Mayavadis?
In Vedanta-sutra Shrila Vyasadeva affirms the eternal distinction between the Supreme and the individual spirit souls in the statement karma-kartr-vyapadesac ca ("there are two performers of activity"). In his commentary on this sutra, Sankaracharya admits the eternal distinction between the Supreme and the individual spirit souls. In explaining this sutra, Sankaracharya quotes the statement of the Upanishads : guham pravistau ("two living entities, the individual spirit soul and the Supreme Paramatma, reside in the heart").
In his commentary on Vedanta-sutra 1.2.5, Sankaracharya quoted verses from Bhagavad-gita* that clearly show that the Supreme Lord and the individual spirit souls are eternally different entities. If Sankara did not accept that the Supreme Lord and the individual spirit souls are eternally different, then how could he have quoted these verses that clearly reveal their relationship as master and servant?
* "The Supreme Lord is situated in everyone's heart, O Arjuna, and is directing the wanderings of all living entities, who are seated as on a machine made of material energy."
- Bhagavad-gita 18.61
"O scion of Bharata. surrender unto Him utterly. By His grace you will attain transcendental peace and the supreme and eternal abode."
- Bhagavad-gita 18.62.
I am subject to conditional life, where I enjoy at certain times and at other times I suffer. The Supreme Personality of Godhead, however, is naturally always full of transcendental bliss and He never suffers. This is the distinction between the Supreme and myself. How is it possible for us to be identical if we are so different in this way?
The Supreme is eternal, self-effulgent, always free from material contact, supremely pure, and the sole all-pervading, all-knowing witness and overseer of the entire universe. No reasonable person can present any evidence that these words may also be a description of the individual spirit soul. These words are a thunderbolt that strikes the tree of impersonalist monism and fells it.
In the Vedas we find the word jivatmanoh ("of the individual spirit soul and the Supreme"). Although the obvious meaning of this word is that he individual spirit soul and the Supreme are eternally different and never become identical in a homogeneous merging, still, in order to keep their theory intact, the Mayavadis reject the rules of Sanskrit grammar and foolishly deny that jivatmanoh is a dvandva-samasa.
In order to keep their theory intact the Mayavadis interpret the word jivatmanoh as a karmadharaya (adjective) compound. In this way they say that the word "individual living entity" is an adjective modifying the noun "the Supreme," just as the word "blue" may be employed to modify the noun "lotus flower." In this way, they reject the obvious meaning and by grammatical jugglery try to establish their own unfounded and fanciful interpretation.
In Vedic literature we find the phrase annam brahma ("spiritual food") many times. This phrase means that, when food is offered in sacrifice to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, it becomes spiritualized. In the same way, when we find the phrase brahmaham asmi ("I am Brahman"), these words should be interpreted to mean that by engaging in devotional service to the Supreme the individual spirit soul becomes able to abandon the misconception of identifying the external material body as the self and understand that he is actually spirit (Brahman) and not matter.
Many passages from the Vedas and Puranas may be quoted to prove that the individual spirit souls are different from the Supreme, and many other passages may also be quoted to prove that they are not different. Abandoning all envy, learned spiritual philosophers have carefully considered these points and have concluded that both the Supreme and the individual spirit souls possess eternal distinct forms and personalities.
O bewildered individual spirit soul, your intelligence has been stolen away by the Mayavada illusion. Please give up this continual muttering of brahmaham asmi ("I am Brahman") and understand that because you are drowning in the middle of the impassable ocean of repeated birth and death, helplessly tossed by the waves of the reactions of past actions, you cannot possibly see the Supreme.
The Supreme is the husband of the goddess of fortune. He is a nectar ocean of transcendental bliss. Lord Shiva and all the great demigods serve Him. The sacred Ganges is water that has washed His feet. Before the material cosmos was manifested, He created everything in a moment simply by slightly moving His eyebrow. O individual spirit soul, your continual muttering of so 'ham ("I am the Supreme") is completely unreasonable and illogical. He is the supreme master, the monarch who rules all existence and you are His small son, always dependent on His protection.
O foolish individual spirit soul, how is it that you are saying, "I am the Supreme who pervades the entire universe"? O individual spirit soul, who has placed you within this material universe? From where have you come? Why are you forced to suffer so greatly within this world? O individual spirit soul, please honestly reflect within your heart and try to understand what is the actual truth. Please give up this illusory path of the Mayavada theory.
O individual spirit soul, please give up this muttering of so 'ham ("I am the Supreme"). Know that you are the eternal servant of Lord Hari, engage in His pure devotional service and thus become qualified to enter the eternal spiritual world. If you reject the service of Lord Hari, you will fall down into the wombs of mothers from may different species and you will suffer great anguish as you wander among the hells and heavens of the material world.
O individual spirit soul, you have made a great mistake by accepting the motto so 'ham ("I am the Supreme"). Please reject this illusion and engage in pure devotional service to Lord Krishna. Let your motto become "Lord Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the supremely powerful and opulent master of the three worlds, and I am His eternal servant." Give up the Mayavada fallacy and understand the eternal distinction between Lord Krishna and yourself. In this way, attain unflinching pure devotion for Lord Krishna.
The eternal distinction between the Supreme and the individual spirit souls is clearly described in the Narada-pancaratra and all other Vedic literatures. Still, because their intelligence is devoured by the demonic Mayavada theory, many great scholars have become stubborn and impious. They are now unable to understand the difference between the Supreme and the individual spirit souls.
They who are afflicted with jaundice cannot taste the sweetness of sugar and, indeed, to them sugar is very bitter. They whose eyes are diseased cannot see the whiteness of a conchshell, because they see everything to be yellow. Those whose minds are always disturbed by frantic plans to attain sense gratification cannot understand spiritual purity. In the same way, they who are afflicted with the Mayavada disease cannot perceive the happiness in worshipping and glorifying Lord Krishna.
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By the Supreme Personality of Godhead's mercy, the individual living entities are endowed with a tiny fragment of consciousness. O rascal Mayavadi, do not, on this account, arrogantly proclaim, "I am actually the Supreme." By saying this you have become like a criminal-minded persons who obtains elephants, cavalry, and infantry from the king on the plea of begging for protection during a journey and then decides to use all these soldiers as his own personal army of bandits to plunder the king's property on the royal roads.
The powerful illusory material potency, who bewilders the three worlds and is known as Maya, is the submissive servant of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is the ultimate controller, the master of all transcendental opulences, eternal, and full of all knowledge and bliss. The individual living entities are strictly subject to the control of that illusory potency, and for her they are like domestic animals led about by a ring in the nose. Please consider for a moment. This is a very substantial difference between the Supreme and the individual living entities.
After carefully studying the six schools of philosophy (Kapila, Kanada, Gautama, Patanjali, Jaimini, and Bhatta Bhaskara), intelligent persons raise the question: "What is the conclusion? Are the Supreme and the individual spirit souls different? Are they the same? Is it possible for them to be one and different simultaneously?"
In many places in the Vedas, Puranas, and Vedanta-sutra I have read that the Supreme and the individual spirit souls are eternally different. Then again, in many places of the same scriptures I have also read that they are the same. We must therefore conclude that the Supreme and the individual spirit souls are simultaneously one and different. This is certainly very astonishing.
The Supreme is described as the supremely independent creator and controller of the entire universe. The individual spirit soul is described as always dependent on higher forces. How is it possible that these two radically different descriptions apply to the same person? They must describe two distinct beings.
Different medicinal plants and herbs manifest different flavors. Some are bitter, some sweet, and some a variety of complex tastes. They are not all one. If they were all one, then why are specific herbs useful for curing specific diseases and not others? Even if the herbs are mixed together to form a medicine, each herb still retains its specific powers within the mixture. In the same way, when the individual spirit souls merge into the body of Lord Vishnu at the time of cosmic annihilation, they retain their individuality. They do not become one. When the material cosmos is again manifested from Lord Vishnu's body, the individual spirit souls also emerge and again enter various material bodies according to the pious and impious deeds they performed in the previous cosmic manifestation. When the individual spirit souls enter Lord Vishnu's body at the time of cosmic annihilation, therefore, they do not lose their individuality and become Lord Vishnu.
Ocean water is salty and river water has no salt. By observing their different qualities, the difference between the river s and the oceans may be perceived. The difference between the individual spirit souls and the Supreme Personality of Godhead may be seen in the same way: by becoming conscious of their different qualities.
Although the waters of the rivers flow into the ocean from all directions, the rivers and oceans do not become one in all respects. The ocean water remains salty and the river water remains fresh. They do not lose their natures. In the same way, milk and water are also very different. They also do not lose their natures even when they are mixed together.
When water and milk are mixed together, an ordinary person cannot distinguish where is the milk and where is the water, although a swan can separate them in a moment. In the same way, when the individual spirit souls enter the body of Lord Maha-Vishnu at the time of cosmic devastation, the Mayavadis cannot distinguish where are the individual spirit souls and where is the Lord, although the devotees, who understand everything through the instructions of the bona fide spiritual master, can distinguish them immediately.
A quantity of milk may be mixed with some milk and a quantity of water may be mixed with some water. Even though the substances are the same, the smaller quantity does not become one in all respects with the larger quantity. Rather, the difference of volumes remains. In the same way, by engaging in yoga meditation, one may appear to merge into the Supreme. The yogi does not actually become the same as the Lord, because the yogi remains tiny and the Lord remains all-great. This is the description given by transcendentalists who are pure at heart.
There are some scholars who, although they carefully follow the wrong path and are actually drowning in the great ocean of faulty logic, are nevertheless very expert at flowery speeches and debate. These persons are filled with hundreds of faulty theories and they expound their ideas in many words, proclaiming: "I am the Supreme Brahman" and "Everything visible is nothing but the moving and non-moving Supreme." In this way, they have cheated and misled the entire world. In this way, they have openly exposed to view the very sinful desire that pollutes their hearts.
O Mayavadi friend, if you, I, and everyone and everything else are all actually the same Supreme Brahman and there is no real distinction between us, then we are actually all one. If this is true, then your wealth, children, wife, and all your possessions are actually also mine. I claim them all now. Give them to me at once.
O Mayavadi friend, if we are actually all the Supreme, then the divisions of the varnasrama system have no meaning, and the orders and prohibitions of the Vedas are also without meaning. You claim to base your theory on the Vedas, but your theory leads its followers to ultimately reject the Vedas. What is the difference between your theory and atheistic Buddhism? If the Buddhists are heretics and offenders for rejecting the Vedas, why are you also not heretics for the same reason?
O Mayavadi friend, please listen. In the Third Canto of Shrimad-Bhagavatam, Lord Kapila carefully explained to His mother that the Supreme Personality of Godhead is eternally different from the five gross material elements, the material senses, the mind, the intelligence, the false ego, and the individual spirit soul. He carefully explained the eternal difference between the individual spirit soul and the Supreme.
Some meditate on the void described by their teacher. With an empty heart and mind, they see everything as empty and they conceive of the Supreme Personality of Godhead as a void that cannot be described. The actual void is in their intelligence, and they receive nothing as the result of their labors.
In the Mahabharata, Shrila Vyasadeva criticized the voidists by saying, "They who believe that the Supreme is a void stand in the darkness of ignorance. Now and in the future they stand in the dark."
In the Mahabharata, Shrila Vyasadeva has refuted the impostor Kapila's theory that the Supreme is an empty spiritual effulgence.
Although the Supreme Personality of Godhead is like an ocean of auspicious transcendental qualities, the Mayavadis, like a flock of sheep blindly following Sankaracharya, claim that the Supreme has no qualities. Misinterpreting the words of the Vedanta-sutra, they mislead their unfortunate followers.
The Supreme Personality of Godhead is the unlimitedly powerful original creator of everything, and He is full of all opulences and transcendental qualities. How can the Mayavadis be so foolish that they say He has no qualities? The Mayavadis are heretics who refuse to accept the words of the Vedas.
The Supreme Personality of Godhead is full of knowledge. He is the enjoyer of a host of transcendental pastimes. His every desire is immediately fulfilled without His endeavor. He is full of all transcendental opulences and auspicious qualities. Where do the Vedas say that He has no qualities or opulences? O friend, why have you become silent? Why will you not say anything to describe the lack of auspicious transcendental qualities in the Supreme, who is like an ocean of transcendental qualities? O friend, please consider all these points within your heart and mind. Try to understand what is the actual truth.
Something that exists but has no qualities has never been perceived, either in anyone's direct experience or in the transcendental revelation of the Vedas. This conception of a qualityless substance is a phantasmagoria that exists only in the mind of the Mayavadis. It is like a great flower imagined to float in the sky. O friend, if by juggling words you think you have found a scriptural quote describing this mythical qualityless substance, then I say no intelligent person will believe you. You will search the Vedas in vain for this description.
The Vedic texts explain that just as when a Vedic sacrifice is completed the performer of the sacrifice may become inactive for a moment, in the same way, the Supreme may sometimes be described as qualityless for He sometimes declines to display His transcendental qualities.
When the Vedas explain that the Supreme is without qualities, they mean that He has no material qualities imagined by a fanciful worshiper.
O friend, although you say the Supreme has no qualities, the Vedas will not support your view. The Vedas say, sa satya-dharmah ("the Supreme is full of auspicious transcendental qualities").
One can only conceive of a thing by understanding its qualities. If one does not properly understand the qualities of something, then he misunderstands it. For example, a glittering oyster shell looks like silver and one may easily mistake it for silver. Such an illusion arises from misunderstanding the qualities of the two objects. As one may mistake an oyster for silver, in the same way, one may mistakenly think that the Supreme has material attributes. The attributes of the Supreme are perfectly spiritual.
The Vedas explain, yato va imani bhutani jayante ("the entire cosmic manifestation has emanated from the Supreme"). Some foolish theorists claim that the material cosmos is simply a transformation of ignorance and does not have the Supreme as its creator. No intelligent person will accept this foolish idea.
It is not logical to say that this material universe is manifested of ignorance. This world cannot be simply ignorance, for the Supreme Lord Krishna enacts His eternal transcendental pastimes here.
The Mayavadis compare material existence to a dream, but in truth it is not at all like a dream. The dreaming condition is full of many faults. In a dream one may eat and drink unlimitedly, but he will never became satiated, although in the waking condition one quickly becomes satiated by eating and drinking. The use of this analogy by the Mayavadis is a great blunder, for the waking condition is not at all like a dream.
If this material world is an illusion, as you say, then why do you perform different activities for material and spiritual elevation? Just as an earthen pot is useful for carrying water, in the same way, this material world is useful to the individual spirit souls. It may be temporary, but it is not unreal.
If the material universe is simply created from illusion and is false, then all religious principles and penances described in the religious scriptures are meaningless. If this world is an illusion, then why should pious kings punish thieves and criminals? Because the Mayavadis are full of dirty material desires, they are very fond of saying that this material world is false. In this way, they seek to become free from all moral restraints.
O Mayavadi friend, you say that this material world is unreal, just as when a garland of flowers is mistaken for a snake in the dark, the imagined snake has no actual existence. This is a poor analogy. In this analogy one thing is mistaken for another, but still the garland exists. This analogy does not at all show that the material world has no existence. In truth, the material world exists eternally, although is constantly changing.
This material world is created by the real Supreme Personality of Godhead, the husband of the goddess of fortune. Because the real Lord has created it, and because He is present as the Supersoul within every atom of His expanse, this material world is reality. Indeed, when the productions of this world are offered to the Supreme Lord with devotion, these material products become spiritually pure, just as ordinary bell metal becomes gold by the touch of a sparsamani ("alchemist's stone").
Pure devotional service to Lord Krishna bears no relation at all to the enjoyment or renunciation of material objects. The devotee accepts all conditions of his life as the great mercy of the Lord. He does not consider his own sense gratification, but only the Lord's service.
When one is intent on enjoying material sense objects, he is called a visayi "materialist"). Rejection of that enjoying spirit is called viraga ("renunciation").That renunciation makes one eligible to attain the supreme goal of life (pure devotional service).
In the company of saintly devotees, we repeatedly hear the description of the transcendental pastimes of the supremely opulent and powerful Personality of Godhead, and in this way the lake of our hearts has become overwhelmed by great tidal waves of pure love and devotion. We reject the false Mayavada theory of impersonal monism, and we accept the truth that the Supreme Personality of Godhead is eternally distinct from the many individual spirit souls. Fixed in this truth, we worship the two lotus feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the husband of the goddess of fortune.
In the ordinary affairs of this world, the king's representative is often called "king" or "his majesty," although the person is not the king himself but only his representative. In the same way, the Vedic literatures describe the individual spirit souls as "brahman," not because they are the Supreme Brahman, but because of their eternal relationship with Him.
The Supreme Personality of Godhead is the source from whom the sun, moon, all the planets, and the entire cosmos has arisen. At the time of cosmic devastation, everything enters the body of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Even the demigod Brahma is not able to describe the Supreme Personality of Godhead by speaking the Vedas. The Supreme Personality of Godhead is the supreme controller of everything. The Supreme Personality of Godhead is beyond the touch of the three modes of material nature. O Mayavadi teacher, why do you teach the slogan so 'ham ("I am the Supreme")? I do not show any signs of supremacy at all. In fact, I am very weak, unlucky, and bereft of all opulence.
Just as a troop of insects resides within a ripe udumbara fruit, all the material universes, composed of subtle and gross material elements and populated by innumerable spirit souls, rest within the form of the Supreme Personality of Godhead during the time of cosmic devastation, and then emerge at the time of cosmic creation. At that time they do not rest within the Lord. In truth, they remain always separate from Him. O Mayavadi teacher, I am not as great as He. How is it possible or sensible for the slogan so 'ham ("I am the Supreme") to come from my mouth?
By the mercy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, a dumb man can become an eloquent orator, a lame man can leap over mountains, and a man blind from birth can attain a pair of beautiful lotus eyes. I offer my respectful obeisances to the moon-faced Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is the son of Maharaja Nanda and a cintamani jewel for His devotees.
Devotional service to Lord Vishnu brings a great and eternal result. In addition to attaining that result, I shall also become famous in some circles for some time on this earth as result of having written this book.
I have carefully studied the book Shri Narayana-bhakti-bhusa composed by Shri Narayana Bhatta, the best of scholars, as well as many other similar books. By the mercy of the devotees, I have been able to understand the confidential truths of devotional service, which I have described in this book of one hundred verses, Shri Tattva-muktavali, a description of the truth of the eternal difference between the individual spirit souls and the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
If in the course of writing this book we have become bewildered and made some mistake, we beg the expert scholars to please correct all the mistakes. Just as a baby crawling on his hands and feet may sometimes stumble and fall down, the speaker of this discourse may have become bewildered and spoken something against the revelation of scripture.
An envious person will search for some small defect in the poetry of a saintly devotee and will ignore all the good qualities in his poem. He is like a person who searches for an ant hole in a great palace bedecked with jewels. Such a person will never see the good in anything.
Let they whose intelligence has been destroyed by envy find fault with my verses and refrain from seeing any good in them. They who know how to see the good in others will see only good and no faults in my poem. Let that saintly audience delight in this book.
O most exalted devotees of the Lord, if you wish to attain in your hearts pure devotion to the Lord, then please hear and read this book, Tattva-muktavali, written by a poet who is now filled with happiness. This book is very pure and is full of very beautiful poetry. It is very auspicious because it carefully distinguishes truth from illusion. It describes the truth of pure devotional service and reveals the eternal difference between the individual spirit souls and the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
This book is filled with many poetic ornaments. Its verses are very sweet. It is very charming, splendid, and beautiful. Its words are like nectar. It is a pleasure garden where the intelligent devotees enjoy many pastimes. It is full of all good qualities and free from the slightest fault. May this book, Tattva- muktavali ("The Pearl Necklace of Truths"), always rest upon the neck of the devotees.