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How do you apply the concept of consciousness and life to a God conceived of in the terms like this image here?

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"how do you apply the concept of consciousness and life to a God conceived of in the terms like this image here"


General Lectures

Image... The image, we are not worshiping image.
Lecture Excerpt -- Montreal, July 18, 1968:

Guest: Swamijī, we always think of the pictures of Viṣṇu and Kṛṣṇa. There are, full of pictures, here, and also the usual pictures which you... When you think of the word "consciousness" and "life," as applied to the image of God, it seems to make sense. But how do you apply the concept of consciousness and life to a God conceived of in the terms like this image here?

Prabhupāda: Image... The image, we are not worshiping image.

Guest: No, what I meant was in the vague, abstract sense of thought, as we're talking about with Brahman...

Prabhupāda: There are stages, stages of God realization. Brahman realization is the first realization of God. Just like if you want to go to the... If you come to the light, sunshine, your first experience is the sunshine. But if you go still further, you..., if you are able to enter into the sun planet, that is another stage. And if you can find out the predominating deity in the sun planet, that is another stage. Similarly, the Brahman means you come out of the darkness of ignorance or māyā. That is Brahman realization. But if you go further, then you realize Supersoul, Paramātmā. And if you go further, then you realize the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Brahmeti paramātmeti bhagavān iti śabdyate (SB 1.2.11). The... Just like the same example, the sunshining, sun and the sun-god, they are one and the same. But when you are in the sunshine, you cannot say that you are seeing the sun-god. That will be mistake. But one who is in association with the sun-god, he's already in the sun planet, he is in front of the sun-god, and he is in sunshine. Is that clear? Yes. Brahmeti paramātmeti bhagavān iti śabdyate. Advaya-jñāna. Vadanti tat tattva-vidas tattvaṁ yaj jñānam advayam (SB 1.2.11). Advayam, that light, is everywhere. Either sunshine or sun planet or sun-god, there is light. There is no darkness. Similarly, either you remain in the impersonal Brahman or absorbed in Paramātmā or in association with the Supreme Personality, it is all spiritual stage. But when you compare, then a person who is in direct touch with sun-god, he's far superior than the person who is in the sunlight. He cannot claim equal status. Sunlight may be possible within your room. That does not mean that you are associating with the sun-god.

So impersonal Brahman realization is also Brahman realization. The personal Brahman realization is the highest platform. Brahmaṇo 'ham pratiṣṭhā. In the Bhagavad-gītā you'll see that Kṛṣṇa says that "The impersonal Brahman is resting on Me." Ahaṁ pratiṣṭhā. Just like this bag is resting on this table. The table is more important than this bag. Similarly... Just like the sun planet. Although we are seeing it is just like a disk and the sunshine is overcast all over the universe, that does not mean that sunshine is more important than the sun disk. It is due to the sun disk that the sunshine is all over the universe. And if you think that sunshine is distributed all over the universe, therefore it is greater than the sun disk—no. The importance of the sun disk is more than the universally distributed sunshine. So impersonal Brahman realization is just like realization of the sunshine, but there are other stages. And the highest stage is to associate with the Supreme. Just like this picture, they are associating person to person. Another point is, as individual soul we require association, person to person. That is our nature. The Bhāgavata replies, ye 'nye 'ravindākṣa vimukta-māninas tvayy asta-bhāvad aviśuddha-buddhayaḥ (SB 10.2.32). If somebody thinks by simple impersonal realization of Brahman, if he thinks that he has become liberated, then his intelligence is polluted. Ye 'nye 'ravindākṣa vimukta-māninas tvayy asta-bhāvad aviśuddha-buddhayaḥ. Aviśuddha means not free from contamination. His intelligence is not free. Why? Āruhya kṛcchreṇa paraṁ padaṁ tataḥ patanty adho (SB 10.2.32).

The same example can be given. Suppose you are taking a jet plane to go to the sun planet or moon planet, but you are in the sunshine. You are more higher above the cloud region. Cloud is after, say, a few miles up, if you go, there is no more cloud. Finished. If you go above seven miles up, there is no more clouds. There is no question of māyā. That's all right. But if you go continually, if you do not get shelter in any other planet, then the next stage will be you have to come back. You cannot remain in that impersonal sunshine. You have to take shelter. If you don't get shelter, then you come back. Similarly, the impersonalist, for the time being they may think that they have Brahman realization, but because by nature he wants association, without getting association of the Supreme Lord he has to come back to make association with this nonsense. And this is practically we have seen. Many sannyāsīs, brahma satyaṁ jagan mithyā, "Brahman is truth and the world is false." They take sannyāsa, and after some time they come to the hospital opening business. They come down again to politics, hospitals, philanthropy, welfare work. Why? If brahma satyaṁ jagan mithyā, if this whole world is false, why you are taking this hospital business? Because there is no place. He has no engagement and he wants association. He wants to render some service, but there is no service to Kṛṣṇa. He comes to give service to the nonsense māyā. So āruhya kṛcchreṇa paraṁ padam (SB 10.2.32). After accepting sannyāsa and all this renunciation, because he has no shelter to render service to the Supreme Lord, he comes down to render service to this nonsense thing which he left. Mithyā, it is false. He again comes to the false. I have seen one sannyāsī in India, very learned, very good scholar. Now he's rotting in the jail. He has taken to political movement. He wants to make, nullify this Pakistan and so many things. Now he has become a politician. Vivekananda came here to preach in 1893 to Vedānta. Now he learned the business of opening hospital. If you have taken sannyāsa, that brahma satyaṁ jagan mithyā, "The world is false; Brahman is reality," then why you come to the false platform again? He has to, because he has no information of the reality. He wants to render service, but because he has not found out where to render service, he has to come to engage himself in this mithyā platform, which he has rejected as mithyā. So āruhya kṛcchreṇa paraṁ padaṁ tataḥ patanty adho (SB 10.2.32). Even by their austerity and penances they go so up... Just the same example. A very nice sputnik, and running 20,000 miles an hour... (end)