Individual existence

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Bhagavad-gita As It Is

BG Chapters 1 - 6

The Māyāvādī theory that after liberation the individual soul, separated by the covering of māyā, or illusion, will merge into the impersonal Brahman and lose its individual existence is not supported herein by Lord Kṛṣṇa, the supreme authority.
BG 2.12, Purport:

The Māyāvādī theory that after liberation the individual soul, separated by the covering of māyā, or illusion, will merge into the impersonal Brahman and lose its individual existence is not supported herein by Lord Kṛṣṇa, the supreme authority. Nor is the theory that we only think of individuality in the conditioned state supported herein. Kṛṣṇa clearly says herein that in the future also the individuality of the Lord and others, as it is confirmed in the Upaniṣads, will continue eternally. This statement of Kṛṣṇa's is authoritative because Kṛṣṇa cannot be subject to illusion. If individuality were not a fact, then Kṛṣṇa would not have stressed it so much-even for the future. The Māyāvādī may argue that the individuality spoken of by Kṛṣṇa is not spiritual, but material. Even accepting the argument that the individuality is material, then how can one distinguish Kṛṣṇa's individuality? Kṛṣṇa affirms His individuality in the past and confirms His individuality in the future also. He has confirmed His individuality in many ways, and impersonal Brahman has been declared to be subordinate to Him. Kṛṣṇa has maintained spiritual individuality all along; if He is accepted as an ordinary conditioned soul in individual consciousness, then His Bhagavad-gītā has no value as authoritative scripture.

Generally, they compare the living entities to the bubbles of the ocean, which merge into the ocean. That is the highest perfection of spiritual existence attainable without individual personality.
BG 4.10, Purport:

Such materialists cannot even imagine that there is a transcendental body which is imperishable, full of knowledge and eternally blissful. In the materialistic concept, the body is perishable, full of ignorance and completely miserable. Therefore, people in general keep this same bodily idea in mind when they are informed of the personal form of the Lord. For such materialistic men, the form of the gigantic material manifestation is supreme. Consequently they consider the Supreme to be impersonal. And because they are too materially absorbed, the conception of retaining the personality after liberation from matter frightens them. When they are informed that spiritual life is also individual and personal, they become afraid of becoming persons again, and so they naturally prefer a kind of merging into the impersonal void. Generally, they compare the living entities to the bubbles of the ocean, which merge into the ocean. That is the highest perfection of spiritual existence attainable without individual personality. This is a kind of fearful stage of life, devoid of perfect knowledge of spiritual existence. Furthermore there are many persons who cannot understand spiritual existence at all. Being embarrassed by so many theories and by contradictions of various types of philosophical speculation, they become disgusted or angry and foolishly conclude that there is no supreme cause and that everything is ultimately void.

As for those who are impersonalists and who want to commit spiritual suicide by annihilating the individual existence of the living entity, Kṛṣṇa helps also by absorbing them into His effulgence.
BG 4.11, Purport:

In the transcendental world also, Kṛṣṇa reciprocates with His pure devotees in the transcendental attitude, just as the devotee wants Him. One devotee may want Kṛṣṇa as supreme master, another as his personal friend, another as his son, and still another as his lover. Kṛṣṇa rewards all the devotees equally, according to their different intensities of love for Him. In the material world, the same reciprocations of feelings are there, and they are equally exchanged by the Lord with the different types of worshipers. The pure devotees both here and in the transcendental abode associate with Him in person and are able to render personal service to the Lord and thus derive transcendental bliss in His loving service. As for those who are impersonalists and who want to commit spiritual suicide by annihilating the individual existence of the living entity, Kṛṣṇa helps also by absorbing them into His effulgence. Such impersonalists do not agree to accept the eternal, blissful Personality of Godhead; consequently they cannot relish the bliss of transcendental personal service to the Lord, having extinguished their individuality. Some of them, who are not firmly situated even in the impersonal existence, return to this material field to exhibit their dormant desires for activities.

The Kṛṣṇa conscious person, like Arjuna, however, sacrifices everything for the satisfaction of Kṛṣṇa, and thus all his material possessions as well as his own self—everything—is sacrificed for Kṛṣṇa. Thus, he is the first-class yogī; but he does not lose his individual existence.
BG 4.25, Purport:

The demigods are powerful living entities appointed by the Supreme Lord for the maintenance and supervision of all material functions like the heating, watering and lighting of the universe. Those who are interested in material benefits worship the demigods by various sacrifices according to the Vedic rituals. They are called bahv-īśvara-vādī, or believers in many gods. But others, who worship the impersonal feature of the Absolute Truth and regard the forms of the demigods as temporary, sacrifice their individual selves in the supreme fire and thus end their individual existences by merging into the existence of the Supreme. Such impersonalists sacrifice their time in philosophical speculation to understand the transcendental nature of the Supreme. In other words, the fruitive workers sacrifice their material possessions for material enjoyment, whereas the impersonalist sacrifices his material designations with a view to merging into the existence of the Supreme. For the impersonalist, the fire altar of sacrifice is the Supreme Brahman, and the offering is the self being consumed by the fire of Brahman. The Kṛṣṇa conscious person, like Arjuna, however, sacrifices everything for the satisfaction of Kṛṣṇa, and thus all his material possessions as well as his own self—everything—is sacrificed for Kṛṣṇa. Thus, he is the first-class yogī; but he does not lose his individual existence.

Srimad-Bhagavatam

SB Canto 2

Just like a kind father, either in His favor upon the devotees or His punishment of the demons He is ever kind to everyone because He is the complete existence for all individual existence.
SB 2.4.13, Purport:

The devotees, who are aware of His transcendental form, render Him service; therefore the Lord also reciprocates by His causeless mercy and thus delivers His devotees from all distresses. The pious men who follow the rulings of the Vedas are also dear to Him, and therefore the pious men of this world are also protected by Him. The impious and the nondevotees are against the principles of the Vedas, and so such persons are always hampered from making advances in their nefarious activities. Some of them, who are specially favored by the Lord, are killed by Him personally, as in the cases of Rāvaṇa, Hiraṇyakaśipu and Kaṁsa, and thus such demons get salvation and are thereby checked from further progress in their demoniac activities. Just like a kind father, either in His favor upon the devotees or His punishment of the demons He is ever kind to everyone because He is the complete existence for all individual existence.

The paramahaṁsa stage of existence is the highest perfectional stage of spiritual values. According to Śrīmatī Kuntīdevī, the Lord is factually understood by the paramahaṁsas only. As there is gradual realization of the transcendence from impersonal Brahman to localized Paramātmā to the Personality of Godhead, Puruṣottama, Lord Kṛṣṇa, similarly there is gradual promotion of one's situation in the spiritual life of sannyāsa.

SB Canto 3

According to the monists, when a yogī becomes one with the Supreme and loses his individual existence, he attains the highest stage, called kaivalya.
SB 3.21.12, Purport:

According to Patañjali, when one becomes free from all material desires he attains his real, transcendental situation, and realization of that stage is called spiritual power. In material activities a person engages in the modes of material nature. The aspirations of such people are (1) to be religious, (2) to be economically enriched, (3) to be able to gratify the senses and, at last, (4) to become one with the Supreme. According to the monists, when a yogī becomes one with the Supreme and loses his individual existence, he attains the highest stage, called kaivalya. But actually, the stage of realization of the Personality of Godhead is kaivalya. The oneness of understanding that the Supreme Lord is fully spiritual and that in full spiritual realization one can understand what He is—the Supreme Personality of Godhead—is called kaivalya, or, in the language of Patañjali, realization of spiritual power. His proposal is that when one is freed from material desires and fixed in spiritual realization of the self and the Superself, that is called cit-śakti. In full spiritual realization there is a perception of spiritual happiness, and that happiness is described in Bhagavad-gītā as the supreme happiness, which is beyond the material senses. Trance is described to be of two kinds, samprajñāta and asamprajñāta, or mental speculation and self-realization. In samādhi or asamprajñāta one can realize, by his spiritual senses, the spiritual form of the Lord. That is the ultimate goal of spiritual realization.

Both in material existence and in spiritual existence the individuality continues; the only difference is in the quality of the identity.
SB 3.27.16, Purport:

The Māyāvādī philosophers' position is that at the ultimate issue the individual is lost, everything becomes one, and there is no distinction between the knower, the knowable and knowledge. But by minute analysis we can see that this is not correct. Individuality is never lost, even when one thinks that the three different principles, namely the knower, the knowable and knowledge, are amalgamated or merged into one. The very concept that the three merge into one is another form of knowledge, and since the perceiver of the knowledge still exists, how can one say that the knower, knowledge and knowable have become one? The individual soul who is perceiving this knowledge still remains an individual. Both in material existence and in spiritual existence the individuality continues; the only difference is in the quality of the identity. In the material identity, the false ego acts, and because of false identification, one takes things to be different from what they actually are. That is the basic principle of conditional life. Similarly, when the false ego is purified, one takes everything in the right perspective. That is the state of liberation.

It is stated in the Īśopaniṣad that everything belongs to the Lord. Īśāvāsyam idaṁ sarvam (ISO 1). Everything exists on the energy of the Supreme Lord. This is also confirmed in Bhagavad-gītā. Because everything is produced of His energy and exists on His energy, the energy is not different from Him—but still the Lord declares, "I am not there."

Sri Caitanya-caritamrta

CC Adi-lila

Sadānanda Yogīndra describes both collective and individual existence in darkness.
CC Adi 7.114, Purport:

In simple language, it is the opinion of Sadānanda Yogīndra that since everything is nirākāra (formless), the conception of Viṣṇu and the conception of the individual soul are both products of ignorance. He also explains that the viśuddha-sattva conception of the Vaiṣṇavas is nothing but pradhāna, or the chief principle of creation. He maintains that when all-pervading knowledge is contaminated by the viśuddha-sattva, which consists of a transformation of the quality of goodness, there arises the conception of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is the omnipotent, omniscient supreme ruler, the Supersoul, the cause of all causes, the supreme īśvara, etc. According to Sadānanda Yogīndra, because īśvara, the Supreme Lord, is the reservoir of all ignorance, He may be called sarva-jña, or omniscient, but one who denies the existence of the omnipotent Supreme Personality of Godhead is more than īśvara, or the Lord. His conclusion, therefore, is that the Supreme Personality of Godhead (īśvara) is a transformation of material ignorance and that the living entity (jīva) is covered by ignorance. Thus he describes both collective and individual existence in darkness. According to Māyāvādī philosophers, the Vaiṣṇava conception of the Lord as the Supreme Personality of Godhead and of the jīva, or individual soul, as His eternal servant is a manifestation of ignorance.

In the Vedanta-sūtra, devotional service is clearly indicated, but the Māyāvādī philosophers refuse to accept the spiritual body of the Supreme Absolute Person and refuse to accept that the living entity has an individual existence separate from that of the Supreme Lord.
CC Adi 7.114, Purport:

Vyāsadeva composed the Vedānta-sūtra to deliver the conditioned souls from this material world, but Śaṅkarācārya, by presenting the Vedānta-sūtra in his own way, has clearly done a great disservice to human society, for one who follows his Māyāvāda philosophy is doomed. In the Vedanta-sūtra, devotional service is clearly indicated, but the Māyāvādī philosophers refuse to accept the spiritual body of the Supreme Absolute Person and refuse to accept that the living entity has an individual existence separate from that of the Supreme Lord. Thus they have created atheistic havoc all over the world, for such a conclusion is against the very nature of the transcendental process of pure devotional service. The Māyāvādī philosophers' unrealizable ambition to become one with the Supreme through denying the existence of the Personality of Godhead results in a most calamitous misrepresentation of spiritual knowledge, and one who follows this philosophy is doomed to remain perpetually in this material world. Therefore the Māyāvādīs are called aviśuddha-buddhayaḥ, or unclean in knowledge. Because they are unclean in knowledge, all their austerities and penances end in frustration.

Although the energies of the Supreme Personality of Godhead interact within the cosmic manifestation, each keeps its separate individual existence.
CC Adi 7.121, Purport:

This mantra confirms that the entire cosmic manifestation emanates from the Absolute Truth, rests upon the Absolute Truth and after annihilation again reenters the body of the Absolute Truth, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The living entity is originally spiritual, and when he enters the spiritual world or the body of the Supreme Lord, he still retains his identity as an individual soul. In this connection Śrīpāda Rāmānujācārya gives the example that when a green bird enters a green tree it does not become one with the tree: it retains its identity as a bird, although it appears to merge with the greenness of the tree. To give another example, an animal that enters a forest keeps its individuality, although apparently the beast merges with the forest. Similarly, in material existence, both the material energy and the living entities of the marginal potency maintain their individuality. Thus although the energies of the Supreme Personality of Godhead interact within the cosmic manifestation, each keeps its separate individual existence. Merging with the material or spiritual energies, therefore, does not involve loss of individuality. According to Śrī Rāmānujapāda's theory of Viśiṣṭādvaita, although all the energies of the Lord are one, each keeps its individuality (vaiśiṣṭya).

CC Madhya-lila

He ambitious Māyāvādī philosophers desire to merge into the existence of the Lord, and this may be accepted as sāyujya-mukti. However, this form of mukti means denying one's individual existence.
CC Madhya 6.169, Purport:

Factually, the devotional service of the Lord is described in the Vedānta-sūtra, but the Māyāvādī philosophers, the Śaṅkarites, prepared a commentary known as Śārīraka-bhāṣya, in which the transcendental form of the Lord is denied. The Māyāvādī philosophers think that the living entity is identical with the Supreme Soul, Brahman. Their commentaries on the Vedānta-sūtra are completely opposed to the principle of devotional service. Caitanya Mahāprabhu therefore warns us to avoid these commentaries. If one indulges in hearing the Śaṅkarite Śārīraka-bhāṣya, he will certainly be bereft of all real knowledge.

The ambitious Māyāvādī philosophers desire to merge into the existence of the Lord, and this may be accepted as sāyujya-mukti. However, this form of mukti means denying one's individual existence. In other words, it is a kind of spiritual suicide. This is absolutely opposed to the philosophy of bhakti-yoga. Bhakti-yoga offers immortality to the individual conditioned soul. If one follows the Māyāvādī philosophy, he misses his opportunity to become immortal after giving up the material body. The immortality of the individual person is the highest perfectional stage a living entity can attain.

The Buddhist philosophy depends on argument, but there can be no argument if one simply depends on "I am." There must be a "you," or another person also. The philosophy of duality—the existence of the individual soul and the Supersoul—must be there.
CC Madhya 9.49, Purport:

The Buddhists maintain that the principle "I am" is the ultimate truth, but this excludes the individuality of "I" and "you." If there is no "I" and "you," or individuality, there is no possibility of argument. The Buddhist philosophy depends on argument, but there can be no argument if one simply depends on "I am." There must be a "you," or another person also. The philosophy of duality—the existence of the individual soul and the Supersoul—must be there. This is confirmed in the Second Chapter of the Bhagavad-gītā (2.12), wherein the Lord says:

na tv evāhaṁ jātu nāsaṁ na tvaṁ neme janādhipāḥ
na caiva na bhaviṣyāmaḥ sarve vayam ataḥ param

"Never was there a time when I did not exist, nor you, nor all these kings; nor in the future shall any of us cease to be."

We existed in the past in different bodies, and after the annihilation of this body we shall exist in another body. The principle of the soul is eternal, and it exists in this body or in another body. Even in this lifetime we experience existence in a child's body, a youth's body, a man's body and an old body. After the annihilation of the body, we acquire another body. The Buddhist cult also accepts the philosophy of transmigration, but the Buddhists do not properly explain the next birth. There are 8,400,000 species of life, and our next birth may be in any one of them; therefore this human body is not guaranteed.

The ultimate goal of the yoga system is to become one with the Absolute. This means finishing one's personal existence. But the spiritual part and parcel of the Supreme Personality of Godhead has an eternal individual existence.
CC Madhya 20.135, Purport:

The mystic yoga process is compared to a black snake that devours the living entity and injects him with poison. The ultimate goal of the yoga system is to become one with the Absolute. This means finishing one's personal existence. But the spiritual part and parcel of the Supreme Personality of Godhead has an eternal individual existence. The Bhagavad-gītā confirms that the individual soul existed in the past, is existing in the present and will continue to exist as an individual in the future. Artificially trying to become one with the Absolute is suicidal. One cannot annihilate his natural condition.

A yakṣa, a protector of riches, will not allow anyone to take away riches for enjoyment. Such a demon will simply create disturbances. In other words, a devotee will not depend on his material resources but on the mercy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who can give real protection. This is called rakṣiṣyatīti viśvāsaḥ or (in the Bengali poetry of Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura's Śaraṇāgati) "avaśya rakṣibe kṛṣṇa"—viśvāsa pālana. The surrendered soul must accept the fact that his real protector is Kṛṣṇa, not his material acquisitions.

Other Books by Srila Prabhupada

Nectar of Devotion

The impersonalists desire to merge into the spiritual existence, to end their individual existence, but according to Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, mukti is only the beginning of one's becoming situated in his normal condition.
Nectar of Devotion 12:

It is said in the Ādi Purāṇa, "A person who is constantly engaged in chanting the holy name and who feels transcendental pleasure, being engaged in devotional service, is certainly awarded the facilities of devotional service and is never given just mukti (liberation)."

Mukti means liberation from material contamination; when liberated, one does not have to take birth again in the material world. The impersonalists desire to merge into the spiritual existence, to end their individual existence, but according to Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, mukti is only the beginning of one's becoming situated in his normal condition. The normal condition of every living entity is to be engaged in the devotional service of the Lord. From the statement of the Ādi Purāṇa it appears that a devotee is satisfied simply with being engaged in devotional service. He does not aspire for any liberation from material, conditional life. In other words, anyone who is engaged in devotional service is not in the material condition of life, although he may appear so.

Krsna, The Supreme Personality of Godhead

The real fact is that oneness does not mean merging into the Supreme and losing one's own individual existence. Merging into the spiritual existence is the living entity's realization of qualitative oneness with the Supreme Lord in His aspects of eternity and knowledge.
Krsna Book 87:

Similarly, when our senses are purified, they are freed from all material stages, namely anna-maya, prāṇa-maya, mano-maya and vijñāna-maya, and they become situated in the highest stage—ānanda-maya, or blissful life in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. The Māyāvādī philosophers consider ānanda-maya to be the state of being merged in the Supreme. To them, ānanda-maya means that the Supersoul and the individual soul become one. But the real fact is that oneness does not mean merging into the Supreme and losing one's own individual existence. Merging into the spiritual existence is the living entity's realization of qualitative oneness with the Supreme Lord in His aspects of eternity and knowledge. But the actual ānanda-maya (blissful) stage is attained when one is engaged in devotional service. That is confirmed in the Bhagavad-gītā: mad-bhaktiṁ labhate parām (BG 18.54). Here Lord Kṛṣṇa states that the brahma-bhūta ānanda-maya stage is complete only when there is an exchange of love between the Supreme and the subordinate living entities. Unless one comes to this ānanda-maya stage, his breathing is like the breathing of a bellows in a blacksmith's shop, his duration of life is like that of a tree, and he is no better than the lower animals like the camels, hogs and dogs.

Lectures

Bhagavad-gita As It Is Lectures

The only difference is that the impersonalist says that after liberation, after getting freed from this bodily contamination, the spirit soul mixes with the Supreme Soul, all-pervading, without any individual existence.
Lecture on BG 2.13-17 -- Los Angeles, November 29, 1968:

So far the constitution of the spirit is concerned, it is eternal. That is accepted by all philosophers, personalists and impersonalists. The only difference is that the impersonalist says that after liberation, after getting freed from this bodily contamination, the spirit soul mixes with the Supreme Soul, all-pervading, without any individual existence. Just like the same example, that the small sky within the pitcher. When the pitcher is broken, the small sky within the pitcher mixes with the big sky. The Vaiṣṇava philosopher says that the small sky is individual. It mixes with the big sky, but it keeps its individuality. The example is given in this connection: just like a green bird entering a green tree. So when the bird enters the tree, nobody can find out where is the bird because the leaves of the tree are green and the bird is also green. Nobody can trace out. But that does not mean the bird has lost its individuality. The individuality is there. Just like you see one airplane is flying in the air, and when it goes too far, it appears that it has disappeared. It seems to us that there is no more that airplane. It has mixed with the sky. But actually it is not. It is still there, individual existence. It is my ignorance that I see that it is no more separate, it has mixed with the sky. Just like in the daytime we don't find any star in the sky. Due to the dazzling sunshine, we cannot see any stars. At night, we can see millions of stars, there are. Similarly, that is the impersonalism and personalism. One whose knowledge is not perfect, they think imperson, everything homogeneous.

You are merged in matter; still, you have got your individual existence. What is your body? This is matter. Is it not? Then are you not merged with matter? Then still you have got your individual existence. Don't you agree?
Lecture on BG 4.11-12 -- New York, July 28, 1966:

Prabhupāda: Similarly, from that atomic spiritual existence, you can develop your spiritual body. What is the difficulty? It is the same process. As you have developed your material body, similarly, you can develop your spiritual body. What is the difficulty in understanding it?

Woman: But by merging, we come to be all alone, one spirit.

Prabhupāda: You are merged in matter; still, you have got your individual existence. What is your body? This is matter. Is it not? Then are you not merged with matter? Then still you have got your individual existence. Don't you agree? Similarly, I may merge in the spiritual existence, but still, my individuality will be there. You are merged already in this matter. Just like when you leave this body, your body will be transformed into earth. That means it is already merged. Still, you have got separate existence. And what is that separate existence? Due to that spirit. So even in the matter, if the spirit can maintain separate existence, don't you think in spirit it cannot maintain its separate existence?

Merging means just like aeroplane. Aeroplane is flying in the air, in the sky. When it goes too far, it becomes too small, you say, "It has merged into the sky." But it has got, even in that position, it has got its separate existence. Just like a bird, a parrot, enters a tree. The tree is also green, and the bird is also green. When it enters the tree, you see no separate existence of the bird, but it has got a separate existence. Similarly, either you are in material existence or in spiritual existence you are already merged, but you have got your separate existence. Is it clear? Thank you.

Srimad-Bhagavatam Lectures

If he has got little Kṛṣṇa consciousness, he'll deny, that "What is this merging? This is hellish. We want to dance with Kṛṣṇa. Why shall I merge and lose my existence, individuality?"
Lecture on SB 1.5.8-9 -- New Vrindaban, May 24, 1969:

The exact analogy of phantasma..., equivalent word in Sanskrit of phantasmagoria, which has no actual existence, is called ākāśa-puṣpa, "flower of the sky." There is no flower in the sky, but you can say. Or in common Bengali words, "eggs of the horse." Now, horse never gives eggs, but there are words like that. (chuckles) Just like Vivekananda has manufactured: daridra-nārāyaṇa. How Nārāyaṇa can be daridra? So it is something like horse eggs. You see? So these words are very... Tri-daśa-pūrākāśa-puṣpāyate. By the grace of Lord Caitanya you'll find to merge into the effulgence, to become one with the Supreme will be considered as hell, actually. If you ask any pure devotee, "Do you want to merge into the existence, impersonal Brahman?" he'll deny. If he has got little Kṛṣṇa consciousness, he'll deny, that "What is this merging? This is hellish. We want to dance with Kṛṣṇa. Why shall I merge and lose my existence, individuality?" And karmīs, they are trying to be elevated in the higher planets. Just like they are trying to go to the higher planets by sputniks, similarly, there are ritualistic ceremonies. Yānti deva-vratā devān (BG 9.25). By performing all the ritualistic ceremonies, sacrifices, you can elevate yourself to the higher planets: yānti deva-vratā devān. That is another method. And this method also, another method, they want to go direct by machine. But that tendency is there everywhere, that "We may go to this sun planet, moon planet, this planet."

These Māyāvādī philosophers, they think that: "Why shall I keep my individual, separate existence? I shall become merged into..." That is not possible.
Lecture on SB 1.8.27 -- Los Angeles, April 19, 1973:

Because Kṛṣṇa has no difference between body and self. He's simply self, spirit soul. So we have got now this body and self. I am self, but I possess this body. Then when actually we become dependent on Kṛṣṇa, as Kṛṣṇa is self-satisfied, similarly we can be also self-satisfied with Kṛṣṇa. Kaivalya, kaivalya-pataye namaḥ. The Māyāvādī philosophers, they, monists, they want to become one with the Supreme. As Supreme is self-satisfied, they also want to be self-satisfied by becoming one with the Supreme. Our philosophy is also the same, kaivalya. But we depend on Kṛṣṇa. We do not become one with, one with Kṛṣṇa. That is oneness. If we simply agree to abide by the order of Kṛṣṇa, there is no disagreement, that is oneness.

These Māyāvādī philosophers, they think that: "Why shall I keep my individual, separate existence? I shall become merged into..." That is not possible. Because we are created, not created, from the very beginning... We are separated part and parcel. We are separated parts and parcels. therefore Kṛṣṇa says in the Bhagavad-gītā: "My dear Arjuna, you, Me, and all these persons who have assembled in this battlefield, we were in the past individuals. We are, at present, individuals, and in the future, we shall continue to remain as individuals. We are all individual." Nityo nityānāṁ cetanaś cetanānām (Kaṭha Upaniṣad 2.2.13). He's the Supreme nitya, Supreme Living Force amongst many, innumerable living forces. We are jīva, innumerable, ananta.

"I shall make me void. I shall finish my existence, individual existence. I shall merge into the existence of the Absolute," this conception, mokṣa, mukti, is also commented by Śrīdhara Svāmī, "This is another cheating, another cheating."
Lecture on SB 3.26.27 -- Bombay, January 4, 1975:

So dharma... generally, people think that "Becoming religious, we shall be economically developed." Dharma artha. "We shall get artha. We shall be..." That is... Automatically it comes. If you are actually following the religious principle, artha will come. There is no doubt. And... But we do not know what is dharma. That is the difficulty. That you have to learn from Kṛṣṇa, athāto brahma jijñāsā, from the guru. And what guru says, Kṛṣṇa says? sarva-dharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja (BG 18.66). This is dharma. Anything else, that is all cheating. Dharmaḥ projjhita-kaitavaḥ atra. Kaitava. Kaitava means cheating. And Śrīdhara Svāmī says, "This mokṣa is also another cheating." Mokṣa is another... "I shall make me void. I shall finish my existence, individual existence. I shall merge into the existence of the Absolute," this conception, mokṣa, mukti, is also commented by Śrīdhara Svāmī, "This is another cheating, another cheating." Because there cannot be mokṣa. You cannot become one with the Supreme. How you can be? As it is said in the Bhagavad-gītā, mamaivāṁśo jīva-bhūtaḥ jīva-loke sanātanaḥ (BG 15.7). Sanātanaḥ. You are part and parcel of the Supreme. How you can become one? So this kind of attempt is also cheating. You cannot become one. Because eternally, sanātana, eternally, you are different. Kṛṣṇa says in the Bhagavad-gītā that "Myself, My dear Arjuna, yourself, and all the soldiers and kings who have assembled in this battlefield, they were the same individual in the past, and they are individual now, and they will continue to remain individual." So where there is oneness? In the past, present, future the individuality is there.

So far we are concerned, we don't want even to merge into the existence of God, but we want to become associated with God in friendship, in love, in servitude, in so many ways. We want to keep our existence, individual existence, and associate with God.
Lecture on SB 5.5.2 -- Boston, April 28, 1969:

Vimukteḥ means... Vimukti. Mukti means liberation, and, adding the word, vi... Vi means specifically liberation. There are five kinds of liberation. One liberation is to merge into the Supreme. Another liberation is to live with the Supreme Personality of Godhead in the same planet. Another liberation is to achieve the status quo of life as good as God. Sārūpya, sāyujya, sālokya, sāmīpya. You can associate yourself with God. That is another liberation. In this way, there are five kinds of liberation. Generally the Māyāvādī philosophers, they want to merge into the existence of God. That also, one of the recommended process of liberation. But so far we are concerned, we don't want even to merge into the existence of God, but we want to become associated with God in friendship, in love, in servitude, in so many ways. We want to keep our existence, individual existence, and associate with God. That is the Vaiṣṇava philosophy.

So mahat-sevāṁ dvāram, if you associate with great souls... Our Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is to produce some great souls. If people get opportunity to associate with great souls, then automatically his path of liberation will be open. Mahat-sevāṁ dvāram āhur vimukteḥ (SB 5.5.2). And tamo-dvāraṁ yoṣitāṁ saṅgi-saṅgam. And if you associate with persons who are simply interested in sense gratification, then you must know that your door for going into the darkest region of ignorance is open. Two doors: one door to the path of liberation, and one door to the path of darkest region of ignorance.

Conversations and Morning Walks

1969 Conversations and Morning Walks

Individually we are that, in our present existence, everyone of us individual. You have got your individual views, I have got my individual views. We agree on common platform, that is different thing, but we are individual. That is our nature.
Room Conversation with Allen Ginsberg -- May 11, 1969, Columbus, Ohio:

Prabhupāda: Yes, all, all circumstances, but it is the question of my appreciation, or my realization. That will depend on my purity. Otherwise this Kṛṣṇa sound and Kṛṣṇa, non-different. Therefore if we vibrate sound Kṛṣṇa, then I am immediately in contact with Kṛṣṇa, and if Kṛṣṇa is whole spirit, then immediately I become spiritualized. Just like if you touch electricity, immediately you're electrified. And the more you become electrified, more you become Kṛṣṇized. Kṛṣṇized. So when you are fully Kṛṣṇized, then you are in the Kṛṣṇa platform. Tyaktvā dehaṁ punar janma naiti mām eti kaunteya (BG 4.9), then fully Kṛṣṇized, no more comes back to this material existence. He remains with Kṛṣṇa. The impersonalists shall say merging. That is less intelligence. Merging does not mean losing individuality. Just like a green bird enters a green tree; it appears merging, but the bird has not lost his individuality. There is individuality. Similarly Kṛṣṇa says in the Fourth Chapter, no, Second Chapter that I, you, adyam(?), I and all these people who have assembled; it is not that they did not exist previously neither it is that they'll not exist. That means I, you, and all these persons, they were individual in the past. At the present we see it practically, and in future they'll remain individuals. And individually we are that, in our present existence, everyone of us individual. You have got your individual views, I have got my individual views. We agree on common platform, that is different thing, but we are individual. That is our nature. Therefore there is disagreement sometimes. So the individuality is never lost. But our proposition, bhakti-mārga, is to keep individuality and agree with you.

1976 Conversations and Morning Walks

Kṛṣṇa says in the Bhagavad-gītā that, "I, you and all these kings who are assembled here, we existed in the past, we are now existing, and we shall exist in the future." That means individual existence will continue.
Room Conversation with Life Member, Mr. Malhotra -- December 22, 1976, Poona:

Prabhupāda: I will give you practical example. Just like you take red water, colored water. So put into the sea, does this mean that sea becomes red? That little spot may be for the time being. Besides that, merging, this is the philosophy of the Māyāvādīs. Actually that is superficial. Just like a bird, green bird, enters into the green tree. You see that bird is vanished. Because the tree is green and the bird is green, you do not know the separate identification. But the bird is there, separate identification. It is not the bird has become zero. A airplane goes to the sky, after some time you don't find the airplane. That doesn't mean the airplane has no more identity, separate. It is separate. It is your defective eyes that you cannot see, that it has got separate existence. Kṛṣṇa says in the Bhagavad-gītā that, "I, you and all these kings who are assembled here, we existed in the past, we are now existing, and we shall exist in the future." That means individual existence will continue. He explains past, present and future. So where is imagination?

Mr. Malhotra: No imagination. But paraṁ pada that is nirvāṇa, or whatever...

Prabhupāda: Yes, paraṁ pada is just like you fly in the sky, go very high. So from here we cannot see that you are separately existing. But you are separately existing. It is my deficient eyes that I see that you are not separate.

Facts about "Individual existence"
Compiled byMatea +
Completed sectionsALL +
Date of first entryAugust 2, 0010 JL +
Date of last entryAugust 2, 0010 JL +
Total quotes23 +
Total quotes by sectionBG: 4 +, SB: 3 +, CC: 6 +, OB: 2 +, Lec: 6 +, Conv: 2 + and Let: 0 +