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In the Bhagavad-gita it is stated that the impersonalist has to undergo great tribulation in realizing his ultimate goal

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"In the Bhagavad-gītā it is stated that the impersonalist has to undergo great tribulation in realizing his ultimate goal"

Other Books by Srila Prabhupada

Krsna, The Supreme Personality of Godhead

In the Bhagavad-gītā it is stated that the impersonalist has to undergo great tribulation in realizing his ultimate goal. At the beginning of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam it is also stated that without devotional service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, one cannot achieve liberation from the bondage of fruitive activities.

Meditation means concentration upon the lotus feet of the Lord. Lotus feet indicate the Supreme Personality of Godhead. But those who are impersonalists do not recognize the lotus feet of the Lord, and therefore their object of meditation is something impersonal. The demigods express their mature verdict that persons who are interested in meditating on something void or impersonal cannot cross over the ocean of nescience. Such persons are simply imagining that they have become liberated. “O lotus-eyed Lord! Their intelligence is contaminated because they fail to meditate upon the lotus feet of Your Lordship. As a result of this neglectful activity, the impersonalists fall down again into the material way of conditioned life, although they may temporarily rise to the point of impersonal realization.” Impersonalists undergo severe austerities and penances to merge themselves into the Brahman effulgence, or impersonal Brahman existence. But their minds are not free from material contamination; they have simply tried to negate the material ways of thinking. That does not mean that they have become liberated. Thus they fall down.

In the Bhagavad-gītā it is stated that the impersonalist has to undergo great tribulation in realizing his ultimate goal. At the beginning of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam it is also stated that without devotional service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, one cannot achieve liberation from the bondage of fruitive activities. The statement of Lord Kṛṣṇa is there in the Bhagavad-gītā, and in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam the statement of the great sage Nārada is there, and here also the demigods confirm it. “Persons who have not taken to devotional service are understood to have come short of the ultimate purpose of knowledge and are not favored by Your grace.” The impersonalists simply think that they are liberated, but actually they have no feeling for the Personality of Godhead. They think that when Kṛṣṇa comes into the material world He accepts a material body. They therefore overlook the transcendental body of Kṛṣṇa. This is confirmed in the Bhagavad-gītā: avajānanti māṁ mūḍhāḥ (BG 9.11). In spite of conquering material lust and rising to the point of liberation, the impersonalists fall down. If they are engaged just in knowing things for the sake of knowledge and do not take to the devotional service of the Lord, they cannot achieve the desired result. Their achievement is the trouble they take, and that is all.

It is clearly stated in the Bhagavad-gītā that to realize Brahman identification is not all. Brahman identification may help one become joyful without material attachment or detachment and to achieve the platform of equanimity, but after this stage one has to take to devotional service. When one takes to devotional service after being elevated to the platform of Brahman realization, he is then admitted into the spiritual kingdom for permanent residence in association with the Supreme Personality of Godhead. That is the result of devotional service. Those who are devotees of the Supreme Personality of Godhead never fall down like the impersonalists. Even if the devotees fall down, they remain affectionately attached to their Lord. They can meet all kinds of obstacles on the path of devotional service, and freely, without any fear, they can surmount such obstacles. Because of their surrender, they are certain that Kṛṣṇa will always protect them. As it is promised by Kṛṣṇa in the Bhagavad-gītā, “My devotees are never vanquished.