One who does not understand the transcendental nature of the body of Kṛṣṇa becomes Kṛṣṇa's enemy and defies or fights with Him. The enemies eventually merge into the Lord's Brahman effulgence. Such mukti or liberation into the Brahman effulgence is never desired by the Lord's devotees. There are five kinds of liberation: (1) attaining the planet where the Lord resides, (2) associating with the Lord, (3) attaining a transcendental body like the Lord's, (4) attaining opulence like the Lord, and (5) merging into the existence of the Lord. A devotee has no particular interest in any of these types of liberation. He is satisfied simply by being engaged in the transcendental loving service of the Lord. A devotee is especially adverse to merging into the existence of the Lord and losing his individual identity. Indeed, a devotee considers oneness with the Lord to be hellish. He will, however, accept one of the four other kinds of liberation in consideration for being engaged in the service of the Lord. Out of the two possibilities of merging in transcendence—namely becoming one with the impersonal Brahman effulgence and becoming one with the Personality of Godhead—the latter is more abominable to the devotee. The devotee has no aspiration other than engaging in the transcendental loving service of the Lord.
Merge into the Brahman effulgence
- 1 Bhagavad-gita As It Is
- 2 Srimad-Bhagavatam
- 3 Sri Caitanya-caritamrta
- 4 Other Books by Srila Prabhupada
- 5 Lectures
- 6 Conversations and Morning Walks
- 7 Correspondence
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. 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.
From the foregoing explanation of different types of sacrifice (namely sacrifice of one's possessions, study of the Vedas or philosophical doctrines, and performance of the yoga system), it is found that the common aim of all is to control the senses. Sense gratification is the root cause of material existence; therefore, unless and until one is situated on a platform apart from sense gratification, there is no chance of being elevated to the eternal platform of full knowledge, full bliss and full life. This platform is in the eternal atmosphere, or Brahman atmosphere. All the above-mentioned sacrifices help one to become cleansed of the sinful reactions of material existence. By this advancement in life, not only does one become happy and opulent in this life, but also, at the end, he enters into the eternal kingdom of God, either merging into the impersonal Brahman or associating with the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa.
SB Canto 2
The topmost transcendentalist is not interested in anything material, and his taking interest in the matter of the Lord's activities is definite proof that the Lord is not like one of us in the material world. In the Vedic literatures also, it is confirmed that the Supreme Lord is one, but that He is engaged in His transcendental pastimes in the company of His unalloyed devotees and that simultaneously He is present as the Supersoul, an expansion of Baladeva, in the heart of all living entities. Therefore, the highest perfection of transcendental realization is to take pleasure in hearing and describing the transcendental qualities of the Lord and not in merging into His impersonal Brahman existence, for which the impersonalist monist aspires. Real transcendental pleasure is realized in the glorification of the transcendental Lord, and not in the feeling of being situated in His impersonal feature. But there are also others who are not the topmost transcendentalists but are in a lower status, and who do not take pleasure in describing the transcendental activities of the Lord. Rather, they discuss such activities of the Lord formally with the aim of merging into His existence.
SB Canto 3
In this verse the words spṛhaṇīya-dhāma indicate that the Lord is the reservoir of all pleasure because He has all the transcendental qualities. Although only some of these are aspired for by persons who hanker after the pleasure of merging in the impersonal Brahman, there are other aspirants who want to associate with the Lord personally as His servants. The Lord is so kind that He gives shelter to everyone—both impersonalists and devotees. He gives shelter to the impersonalists in His impersonal Brahman effulgence, whereas He gives shelter to the devotees in His personal abodes known as the Vaikuṇṭhalokas. He is especially inclined to His devotee; He touches the core of the heart of the devotee simply by smiling and glancing over him. The Lord is always served in the Vaikuṇṭhaloka by many hundreds and thousands of goddesses of fortune, as stated by the Brahma-saṁhitā (lakṣmī-sahasra-śata-sambhrama-sevyamānam (Bs. 5.29)).
Yogīs are generally attracted to the by-products of mystic yogic power, for they can become smaller than the smallest or greater than the greatest, achieve anything they desire, have power even to create a planet, or bring anyone they like under their subjection. Yogīs who have incomplete information of the result of devotional service are attracted by these powers, but these powers are material; they have nothing to do with spiritual progress. As other material powers are created by the material energy, mystic yogic powers are also material. A perfect yogīs mind is not attracted by any material power, but is simply attracted by unalloyed service to the Supreme Lord. For a devotee, the process of merging into the Brahman effulgence is considered to be hellish, and yogic power or the preliminary perfection of yogic power, to be able to control the senses, is automatically achieved. As for elevation to higher planets, a devotee considers this to be simply hallucinatory. A devotee's attention is concentrated only upon the eternal loving service of the Lord, and therefore the power of death has no influence over him. In such a devotional state, a perfect yogī can attain the status of immortal knowledge and bliss.
It is clearly stated herein that a pure devotee does not desire ekatva, oneness with the Supreme Lord, as desired by the impersonalists, the mental speculators and the meditators. To become one with the Supreme Lord is beyond the dream of a pure devotee. Sometimes he may accept promotion to the Vaikuṇṭha planets to serve the Lord there, but he will never accept merging into the Brahman effulgence, which he considers worse than hellish. Such ekatva, or merging into the effulgence of the Supreme Lord, is called kaivalya, but the happiness derived from kaivalya is considered by the pure devotee to be hellish. The devotee is so fond of rendering service to the Supreme Lord that the five kinds of liberation are not important to him. If one is engaged in pure transcendental loving service to the Lord, it is understood that he has already achieved the five kinds of liberation.
It is the misconception of the impersonalists that one can worship any imaginary form of the Lord, or Brahman, and at the end merge in the Brahman effulgence. Of course, to merge into the bodily effulgence (Brahman) of the Supreme Lord is also liberation, as explained in the previous verse. Ekatva is also liberation, but that sort of liberation is never accepted by any devotee, for qualitative oneness is immediately attained as soon as one is situated in devotional service. For a devotee, that qualitative equality, which is the result of impersonal liberation, is already attained; he does not have to try for it separately. It is clearly stated here that simply by pure devotional service one becomes qualitatively as good as the Lord Himself.
It is recommended in the Second Canto of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam that whether one is a devotee or fruitive actor or liberationist, if he is intelligent enough he should engage himself with all seriousness in the process of devotional service. It is also explained that whatever one desires which is obtainable by fruitive activities, even if one wants to be elevated to higher planets, can be achieved simply by execution of devotional service. Since the Supreme Lord is full in six opulences, He can bestow any one of them upon the worshiper.
The one Supreme Personality of Godhead reveals Himself to different thinkers as the Supreme person or impersonal Brahman or Paramātmā. Impersonalists merge into the impersonal Brahman, but that is not achieved by worshiping the impersonal Brahman. If one takes to devotional service and at the same time desires to merge into the existence of the Supreme Lord, he can achieve that. If someone desires at all to merge into the existence of the Supreme, he has to execute devotional service.
After many, many years of much trouble, a yogī or wise philosopher may come to Him, but his path is very troublesome, whereas the path of devotional service is easy for everyone. One can achieve the result of wise philosophical speculation simply by discharging devotional service, and unless one reaches the point of understanding the Personality of Godhead by his mental speculation, all his research work is said to be simply a labor of love. The ultimate destination of the wise philosopher is to merge in the impersonal Brahman, but that Brahman is the effulgence of the Supreme Person. The Lord says in Bhagavad-gītā (14.27), brahmaṇo hi pratiṣṭhāham amṛtasyāvyayasya ca: "I am the basis of the impersonal Brahman, which is indestructible and is the supreme bliss." The Lord is the supreme reservoir of all pleasure, including Brahman pleasure; therefore, one who has unflinching faith in the Supreme Personality of Godhead is said to be already realized in impersonal Brahman and Paramātmā.
SB Canto 4
My Lord, the transcendental bliss derived from meditating upon Your lotus feet or hearing about Your glories from pure devotees is so unlimited that it is far beyond the stage of brahmānanda, wherein one thinks himself merged in the impersonal Brahman as one with the Supreme. Since brahmānanda is also defeated by the transcendental bliss derived from devotional service, then what to speak of the temporary blissfulness of elevating oneself to the heavenly planets, which is ended by the separating sword of time? Although one may be elevated to the heavenly planets, he falls down in due course of time.
The transcendental bliss derived from devotional service, primarily from śravaṇaṁ kīrtanam (SB 7.5.23), hearing and chanting, cannot be compared to the happiness derived by karmīs by elevating themselves to the heavenly planets or by jñānīs or yogīs, who enjoy oneness with the supreme impersonal Brahman. Yogīs generally meditate upon the transcendental form of Viṣṇu, but devotees not only meditate upon Him but actually engage in the direct service of the Lord. In the previous verse we find the phrase bhavāpyaya, which refers to birth and death. The Lord can give relief from the chain of birth and death. It is a misunderstanding to think, as do the monists, that when one gets relief from the process of birth and death he merges into the Supreme Brahman. Here it is clearly said that the transcendental bliss derived from śravaṇaṁ kīrtanam by pure devotees cannot be compared to brahmānanda, or the impersonal conception of transcendental bliss derived by merging into the Absolute.
When one who is not inspired by material desires and is not contaminated by the processes of fruitive activity and empiric speculation fully engages in the favorable service of the Lord, his service is called bhagavad-dharma, or pure devotional service. In this verse the word brahmaṇi does not refer to the impersonal Brahman. Impersonal Brahman is a subordinate feature of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and since impersonal Brahman worshipers desire to merge into the Brahman effulgence, they cannot be considered followers of bhagavad-dharma. After being baffled in his material enjoyment, the impersonalist may desire to merge into the existence of the Lord, but a pure devotee of the Lord has no such desire. Therefore a pure devotee is really bhagavad-dharmī.
It is clear from this verse that Mahārāja Pṛthu was never a worshiper of the impersonal Brahman but was at all times a pure devotee of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Bhagavati brahmaṇi refers to one who is engaged in devotional service to the Personality of Godhead. A devotee's knowledge of the impersonal Brahman is automatically revealed, and he is not interested in merging into the impersonal Brahman. Mahārāja Pṛthu's activities in devotional service enabled him to become fixed and steady in the discharge of devotional activities without having to take recourse to karma, jñāna or yoga.
When a living entity gives up the material coverings, he remains a spirit soul. This spirit soul must enter into the spiritual sky to merge into the Brahman effulgence. Unfortunately, unless the living entity has information of the spiritual world and the Vaikuṇṭhas, there is a 99.9 percent chance of his falling down again into material existence. There is, however, a small chance of being promoted to a spiritual planet from the Brahman effulgence, or the brahmajyoti. This brahmajyoti is considered by impersonalists to be without variety, and the Buddhists consider it to be void. In either case, whether one accepts the spiritual sky as being without variety or void, there is none of the spiritual bliss which is enjoyed in the spiritual planets, the Vaikuṇṭhas or Kṛṣṇaloka. In the absence of varieties of enjoyment, the spirit soul gradually feels an attraction to enjoy a life of bliss, and not having any information of Kṛṣṇaloka or Vaikuṇṭhaloka, he naturally falls down to material activities in order to enjoy material varieties.
The word labdhvāpavargyam is significant in this verse, because according to Jīva Gosvāmī, āpavargyam, or the path of liberation, does not refer to merging into the impersonal Brahman but to sālokyādi-siddhi, which means attaining the very planet where the Supreme Personality of Godhead resides. There are five kinds of liberation, and one is called sāyujya-mukti, or merging into the existence of the Supreme, or the impersonal Brahman effulgence. However, since there is a chance of one's falling down again into the material sky from the Brahman effulgence, Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī advises that in this human form of life one's only aim should be to go back home, back to Godhead. The words sa vañcitaḥ indicate that once a person has obtained the human form of life, he is actually cheated if he does not make preparations to go back home, back to Godhead. The position of all nondevotees, who are not interested in going back to Godhead, is very much lamentable, for the human form of life is meant for executing devotional service and nothing else.
As pointed out by Prabodhānanda Sarasvatī Ṭhākura, a great devotee of Lord Caitanya, kaivalya, or merging into the Brahman effulgence, is just like going to hell. He similarly states that elevation to the upper planetary systems for the enjoyment of heavenly life is just so much phantasmagoria. This means that a devotee does not give any importance to the ultimate goal of the karmīs and jñānīs. The ultimate goal of the karmīs is promotion to the heavenly kingdom, and the ultimate goal of the jñānīs is merging into the Brahman effulgence. Of course, the jñānīs are superior to the karmīs, as confirmed by Lord Caitanya. Koṭi-karmaniṣṭha-madhye eka 'jñānī' śreṣṭha: "one jñānī, or impersonalist, is better than many thousands of fruitive actors." (CC Madhya 19.147) Therefore a devotee never enters upon the path of karma, or elevation by fruitive activities. Nārada Muni took compassion upon King Prācīnabarhiṣat when he saw the King engaged in fruitive activity. In comparison to mundane workers, those who are trying to be elevated to the higher planetary systems by performing yajñas are undoubtedly superior.
The Absolute Truth is realized in three features—impersonal Brahman, localized Paramātmā and ultimately the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Bhagavān. The word apavarga means "liberation." pavarga means "material existence." In material existence, one always works very hard but is ultimately baffled. One then dies and has to accept another body to work very hard again. This is the cycle of material existence. Apavarga means just the opposite. Instead of working hard like cats and dogs, one returns home, back to Godhead. Liberation begins with merging into the Brahman effulgence of the Supreme Lord. This conception is held by the jñānī-sampradāya, philosophical speculators, but realization of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is higher. When a devotee understands that the Lord is satisfied, liberation, or merging into the effulgence of the Lord, is not very difficult. One has to approach the Supreme Personality of Godhead through the impersonal Brahman effulgence just as one has to approach the sun through the sunshine. It is not very difficult to merge into the impersonal effulgence of the Lord, Brahman, if one has satisfied the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Even a moment's association with a pure devotee cannot be compared to being transferred to heavenly planets or even merging into the Brahman effulgence in complete liberation. For living entities who are destined to give up the body and die, association with pure devotees is the highest benediction.
The great saint Prabodhānanda Sarasvatī, a devotee of Lord Caitanya, has stated: kaivalyaṁ narakāyate tridaśa-pūr ākāśa-puṣpāyate. For a pure devotee, kaivalya, merging into the existence of Brahman, the Brahman effulgence, is no better than living in hell. Similarly, he considers promotion to heavenly planets (tridaśa-pūr) just another kind of phantasmagoria. In other words, a pure devotee does not place much value in the destination of the karmīs (the heavenly planets) or in the destination of the jñānīs (merging into the Brahman effulgence). A pure devotee considers a moment's association with another pure devotee to be far superior to residing in a heavenly planet or merging in the Brahman effulgence. The topmost benediction for those who are living in this material world and are subjected to the repetition of birth and death (transmigration) is association with pure devotees. One should search out such pure devotees and remain with them.
Impersonalists do not take to devotional service, but take to other practices, such as the analytical study of the material elements, the discrimination between matter and spirit, and the mystic yoga system. These are beneficial only insofar as they are complementary to devotional service. Caitanya Mahāprabhu therefore told Sanātana Gosvāmī that without a touch of devotional service, jñāna, yoga and Sāṅkhya philosophy cannot give one the desired results. The impersonalists wish to merge into the Supreme Brahman; however, merging into the Supreme Brahman also requires a touch of devotional service. The Absolute Truth is realized in three phases—impersonal Brahman, Paramātmā and the Supreme Personality of Godhead. All these require a touch of devotional service. Sometimes it is actually seen that these Māyāvādīs also chant the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra, although their motive is to merge into the Brahman effulgence of the Absolute. The yogīs also at times take to chanting the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra, but their purpose is different from that of the bhaktas. In all processes—karma, jñāna or yoga—bhakti is required. That is the purport of this verse.
SB Canto 5
Similarly, all kinds of material happiness are undesirable for a person who wants spiritual salvation. If a person does not come to the conclusion that he has nothing to do with any kind of material happiness, he cannot come to the platform of understanding the Absolute Truth, or tattva jñāna. Karmīs, jñānīs and yogīs are after some material elevation. The karmīs work hard day and night for some bodily comfort, and the jñānīs simply speculate about how to get out of the entanglement of karma and merge into the Brahman effulgence. The yogīs are very much addicted to the acquisition of material perfection and magical powers. All of them are trying to be materially perfect, but a devotee very easily comes to the platform of nirguṇa in devotional service, and consequently for the devotee the results of karma, jñāna and yoga become very insignificant. Therefore only the devotee is on the platform of tattva jñāna, not the others. Of course the jñānī's position is better than that of the karmī but that position is also insufficient. The jñānī must actually become liberated, and after liberation he may be situated in devotional service (mad-bhaktiṁ labhate parām (BG 18.54)).
In Bhārata-varṣa one has the opportunity to visit many holy places, especially Lord Caitanya's birthsite and Lord Kṛṣṇa's birthsite-Navadvīpa and Vṛndāvana—where there are many pure devotees who have no desire other than to execute devotional service (anyābhilāṣitā-śūnyaṁ jñāna-karmādy-anāvṛtam (CC Madhya 19.167)), and one may thus become free from the bondage of material conditions. Other paths, such as the path of jñāna and the path of karma, are not very profitable. Pious activities can elevate one to the higher planetary systems, and by speculative knowledge one can merge into the Brahman existence, but that is not real profit, for one has to come down again even from the liberated condition of being merged in Brahman, and certainly one must come down from the heavenly kingdom. One should endeavor to go back home, back to Godhead (yānti mad-yājino 'pi mām (BG 9.25)). Otherwise there is no difference between human life and the lives of jungle animals and birds. Animals and birds also have freedom, but because of their lower birth, they cannot use it. Taking advantage of all the facilities offered him, a human being who has taken birth in the land of Bhārata-varṣa should become a fully enlightened devotee and go back home, back to Godhead. This is the subject matter of the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement.
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu has instructed that an unalloyed devotee should consider himself a servant of the servant of the servant of the Supreme Lord (gopī-bhartuḥ pāda-kamalayor dāsa-dāsānudāsaḥ (CC Madhya 13.80)). In Vaiṣṇava philosophy, one should not even become a direct servant. Prahlāda Mahārāja was offered all the blessings of an opulent position in the material world and even the liberation of merging into Brahman, but he refused all this. He simply wanted to engage in the service of the servant of the servant of the Lord. Therefore Bali Mahārāja said that because his grandfather Prahlāda Mahārāja had rejected the blessings of the Supreme Personality of Godhead in terms of material opulence and liberation from material bondage, he truly understood his self-interest.
SB Canto 6
After the annihilation of everything, the Supreme Lord, because of His sac-cid-ānanda-vigraha (Bs. 5.1), remains in His original form, but since the other living entities have material bodies, the matter merges into matter, and the subtle form of the spirit soul remains within the body of the Lord. The Lord does not sleep, but the ordinary living entities remain asleep until the next creation. An unintelligent person thinks that the opulence of the Supreme Lord is nonexistent after the annihilation, but that is not a fact. The opulence of the Supreme Personality of Godhead remains as it is in the spiritual world; only in the material world is everything dissolved. Brahma-līna, merging into the Supreme Brahman, is not actual līna, or annihilation, for the subtle form remaining in the Brahman effulgence will return to the material world after the material creation and again assume a material form. This is described as bhūtvā bhūtvā pralīyate (BG 8.19). When the material body is annihilated, the spirit soul remains in a subtle form, which later assumes another material body. This is true for the conditioned souls, but the Supreme Personality of Godhead remains eternally in His original consciousness and spiritual body.
A yogī, however, especially a bhakti-yogī, is callous to the opinions of this material world. He is not interested in traveling to the higher planetary systems of the demigods to enjoy a long life in an advanced materialistic civilization. As stated by Prabodhānanda Sarasvatī, kaivalyaṁ narakāyate tridaśa-pūr ākāśa-puṣpāyate: for a devotee, merging into the Brahman existence is hellish, and life in the higher planetary systems of the demigods is a will-o'-the-wisp, a phantasmagoria with no real existence at all. A pure devotee is not interested in yogic perfection, travel to higher planetary systems, or oneness with Brahman. He is interested only in rendering service to the Personality of Godhead. Since Prajāpati Dakṣa was a karmī, he could not appreciate the great service Nārada Muni had rendered his eleven thousand sons. Instead, he accused Nārada Muni of being sinful and charged that because Nārada Muni was associated with the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the Lord would also be defamed. Thus Dakṣa criticized that Nārada Muni was an offender to the Lord although he was known as an associate of the Lord.
The other class of jñānīs, whose jñāna is mixed with bhakti, are also of two kinds—those who are devoted to the so-called false form of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and those who understand the Supreme Personality of Godhead as sac-cid-ānanda-vigraha (Bs. 5.1), the actual spiritual form. The Māyāvādī devotees worship Nārāyaṇa or Viṣṇu with the idea that Viṣṇu has accepted a form of māyā and that the ultimate truth is actually impersonal. The pure devotee, however, never thinks that Viṣṇu has accepted a body of māyā; instead, he knows perfectly well that the original Absolute Truth is the Supreme Person. Such a devotee is actually situated in knowledge. He never merges in the Brahman effulgence. As stated in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.2.32):
- ye 'nye 'ravindākṣa vimukta-māninas
- tvayy asta-bhāvād aviśuddha-buddhayaḥ
- āruhya kṛcchreṇa paraṁ padaṁ tataḥ
- patanty adho 'nādṛta-yuṣmad-aṅghrayaḥ
"O Lord, the intelligence of those who think themselves liberated but who have no devotion is impure. Even though they rise to the highest point of liberation by dint of severe penances and austerities, they are sure to fall down again into material existence, for they do not take shelter at Your lotus feet."
"Those who are thus bewildered are attracted by demoniac and atheistic views. In that deluded condition, their hopes for liberation, their fruitive activities and their culture of knowledge are all defeated." Such persons do not know that Kṛṣṇa's body is not material. There is no distinction between Kṛṣṇa's body and His soul, but because less intelligent men see Kṛṣṇa as a human being, they deride Him. They cannot imagine how a person like Kṛṣṇa could be the origin of everything (govindam ādi-puruṣaṁ tam ahaṁ bhajāmi **). Such persons are described as moghāśāḥ, baffled in their hopes. Whatever they desire for the future will be baffled. Even if they apparently engage in devotional service, they are described as moghāśāḥ because they ultimately desire to merge into the Brahman effulgence.
Those who aspire to be elevated to the heavenly planets by devotional service will also be frustrated, because this is not the result of devotional service. However, they are also given a chance to engage in devotional service and be purified.
SB Canto 7
Generally it is understood that by merging into the existence of Brahman, the impersonal feature of the Absolute Truth, one becomes completely happy. The words brahma-nirvāṇa refer to connecting with the Absolute Truth, who is realized in three features: brahmeti paramātmeti bhagavān iti śabdyate (SB 1.2.11). One feels brahma-sukha, spiritual happiness, by merging into the impersonal Brahman because the brahmajyoti is the effulgence of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Yasya prabhā prabhavato jagad-aṇḍa-koṭi (Bs. 5.40). Yasya prabhā, the impersonal Brahman, consists of the rays of Kṛṣṇa's transcendental body. Therefore whatever transcendental bliss one feels from merging in Brahman is due to contact with Kṛṣṇa. Contact with Kṛṣṇa is perfect brahma-sukha. When the mind is in touch with the impersonal Brahman one becomes satisfied, but one must advance further to render service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, for one's remaining merged in the Brahman effulgence is not always assured. As it is said, āruhya kṛcchreṇa paraṁ padaṁ tataḥ patanty adho 'nādṛta-yuṣmad-aṅghrayaḥ: (SB 10.2.32) one may merge in the Brahman feature of the Absolute Truth, but there is a chance that one may fall because of not being acquainted with Adhokṣaja, or Vāsudeva.
Then one automatically feels transcendental bliss, just as one becomes happy seeing the shining of the moon. One acquires natural happiness upon seeing the moon, but when one can see the Supreme Personality of Godhead, one's transcendental happiness increases hundreds and thousands of times. As soon as one is very intimately connected with the Supreme Personality of Godhead, one surely becomes free from all material contamination. Yā nirvṛtis tanu-bhṛtām. This cessation of all material happiness is called nirvṛti or nirvāṇa. Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī says in Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu (1.1.38):
- brahmānando bhaved eṣa
- cet parārdha-guṇī-kṛtaḥ
- naiti bhakti-sukhāmbhodheḥ
- paramāṇu-tulām api
"If brahmānanda, the bliss of merging in the Brahman effulgence, were multiplied one hundred trillion times, it would still not equal even an atomic fragment of the ocean of transcendental bliss felt in devotional service."
He should properly place the fire element in his own self and in this way give up bodily affinity, by which one thinks the body to be one's self or one's own. One should gradually merge the material body into the five elements (earth, water, fire, air and sky).
The body is an effect of a cause, namely the five material elements (earth, water, fire, air and sky). In other words, one should know perfectly well that the material body is nothing but a combination of the five elements. This knowledge constitutes merging of the material body and the five material elements. Merging into Brahman in perfect knowledge means understanding perfectly that one is not the body but a spiritual soul.
The difference between the philosophy of the Māyāvādīs and that of the Vaiṣṇavas is explained herein. Both the Māyāvādīs and Vaiṣṇavas know that in materialistic activities there is no happiness. The Māyāvādī philosophers, therefore, adhering to the slogan brahma satyaṁ jagan mithyā, want to refrain from false, materialistic activities. They want to stop all activities and merge in the Supreme Brahman. According to the Vaiṣṇava philosophy, however, if one simply ceases from materialistic activity one cannot remain inactive for very long, and therefore everyone should engage himself in spiritual activities, which will solve the problem of suffering in this material world. It is said, therefore, that although the Māyāvādī philosophers strive to refrain from materialistic activities and merge in Brahman, and although they may actually merge in the Brahman existence, for want of activity they fall down again into materialistic activity (āruhya kṛcchreṇa paraṁ padaṁ tataḥ patanty adhaḥ (SB 10.2.32)). Thus the so-called renouncer, unable to remain in meditation upon Brahman, returns to materialistic activities by opening hospitals and schools and so on. Therefore, simply cultivating knowledge that materialistic activities cannot give one happiness, and that one should consequently cease from such activities, is insufficient. One should cease from materialistic activities and take up spiritual activities.
The word tattvataḥ, meaning "in reality," is very important. Tato māṁ tattvato jñātvā. Unless one understands Kṛṣṇa in truth by the mercy of the spiritual master, one is not free to give up his material body. As it is said, āruhya kṛcchreṇa paraṁ padaṁ tataḥ patanty adho 'nādṛta-yuṣmad-aṅghrayaḥ: (SB 10.2.32) if one neglects to serve the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa, one cannot become free from the material clutches simply by knowledge. Even if one attains the stage of brahma-padam, merging in Brahman, without bhakti he is prone to fall down. One must be very careful in regard to the danger of falling down again into material bondage. The only insurance is to come to the stage of bhakti, from which one is sure not to fall. Then one is free from the activities of the material world. In summary, as stated by Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, one must get in touch with a bona fide spiritual master coming in the paramparā of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, for by his mercy and instructions one is able to get strength from Kṛṣṇa. Thus one engages in devotional service and attains the ultimate goal of life, the lotus feet of Viṣṇu.
SB Canto 8
In this verse the word vimokṣya is significant. For a devotee, mokṣa or mukti—salvation—means getting the position of the Lord's associate. The impersonalists are satisfied to get the liberation of merging in the Brahman effulgence, but for a devotee, mukti (liberation) means not to merge in the effulgence of the Lord, but to be directly promoted to the Vaikuṇṭha planets and to become an associate of the Lord. In this regard, there is a relevant verse in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.14.8):
- tat te 'nukampāṁ susamīkṣamāṇo
- bhuñjāna evātma-kṛtaṁ vipākam
- hṛd-vāg-vapurbhir vidadhan namas te
- jīveta yo mukti-pade sa dāya-bhāk
"One who seeks Your compassion and thus tolerates all kinds of adverse conditions due to the karma of his past deeds, who engages always in Your devotional service with his mind, words and body, and who always offers obeisances unto You, is certainly a bona fide candidate for liberation." A devotee who tolerates everything in this material world and patiently executes his devotional service can become mukti-pade sa dāya-bhāk, a bona fide candidate for liberation.
"I worship Govinda, the primeval Lord, who is endowed with great power. The glowing effulgence of His transcendental form is the impersonal Brahman, which is absolute, complete and unlimited and which displays the varieties of countless planets, with their different opulences, in millions and millions of universes." Although the impersonal feature of the Absolute is an expansion of the rays of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, He does not need to take care of the impersonalists who enter the brahmajyoti. Kṛṣṇa says in Bhagavad-gītā (9.4), mayā tatam idaṁ sarvaṁ jagad avyakta-mūrtinā: "In My impersonal feature I pervade this entire universe." Thus the avyakta-mūrti, the impersonal feature, is certainly an expansion of Kṛṣṇa's energy. Māyāvādīs, who prefer to merge into this Brahman effulgence, worship Lord Śiva. The mantras referred to in text 29 are called mukhāni pañcopaniṣadas taveśa. Māyāvādīs take all these mantras seriously in worshiping Lord Śiva.
SB Canto 9
A pure devotee is uninterested not only in elevation to the higher planetary systems but even in the perfections of mystic yoga. Real perfection is devotional service. The happiness derived from merging in the impersonal Brahman and the happiness derived from the eight perfections of mystic yoga (aṇimā, laghimā, prāpti and so on) do not give any pleasure to the devotee. As stated by Śrīla Prabodhānanda Sarasvatī:
- kaivalyaṁ narakāyate tridaśa-pūr ākāśa-puṣpāyate
- durdāntendriya-kāla-sarpa-paṭalī protkhāta-daṁṣṭrāyate
- viśvaṁ pūrṇa-sukhāyate vidhi-mahendrādiś ca kīṭāyate
- yat kāruṇya-kaṭākṣa-vaibhavavatāṁ taṁ gauram eva stumaḥ
- (Caitanya-candrāmṛta 5)
When a devotee has achieved the position of rendering transcendental loving service to the Lord through the mercy of Lord Caitanya, he thinks the impersonal Brahman to be no better than hell, and he regards material happiness in the heavenly planets to be like a will-o'-the-wisp. As far as the perfection of mystic powers is concerned, a devotee compares it to a venomous snake with no teeth. A mystic yogī is especially concerned with controlling the senses, but because the senses of a devotee are engaged in the service of the Lord (hṛṣīkeṇa hṛṣīkeśa-sevanaṁ bhaktir ucyate (CC Madhya 19.170)) there is no need for separate control of the senses.
Because he is fixed in devotional service, a devotee does not regard any position in the material world as important. Śrīla Prabodhānanda Sarasvatī has therefore written (Caitanya-candrāmṛta 5):
- kaivalyaṁ narakāyate tri-daśa-pūr ākāśa-puṣpāyate
- durdāntendriya-kāla-sarpa-paṭalī protkhāta-daṁṣṭrāyate
- viśvaṁ pūrṇa-sukhāyate vidhi-mahendrādiś ca kīṭāyate
- yat-kāruṇya-katākṣa-vaibhavavatāṁ taṁ gauram eva stumaḥ
For one who becomes a pure devotee through devotional service to great personalities like Caitanya Mahāprabhu, kaivalya, or merging into Brahman, appears no better than hell. As far as the heavenly planets are concerned, to a devotee they are like a phantasmagoria or will-o'-the-wisp, and as far as yogic perfection is concerned, a devotee does not care a fig for such perfection, since the purpose of yogic perfection is achieved automatically by the devotee. This is all possible when one becomes a devotee of the Lord through the medium of Caitanya Mahāprabhu's instructions.
Because of his limited knowledge, however, the living entity thinks he is enjoying in this material world. Manaḥ ṣaṣṭhānīndriyāṇi prakṛti-sthāni karṣati. He is actually under the full control of material nature, but still he thinks himself independent (ahaṅkāra-vimūḍhātmā kartāham iti manyate). Even when he is elevated by speculative knowledge and tries to merge into the existence of Brahman, the same disease continues.
Āruhya kṛcchreṇa paraṁ padaṁ tataḥ patanty adhaḥ (SB 10.2.32). Even having attained that paraṁ padam, having merged into the impersonal Brahman, he falls again to the material world.
In this way, the conditioned soul undergoes a great struggle for existence in this material world, and therefore the Lord, out of compassion for him, appears in this world and instructs him.
SB Canto 10.1 to 10.13
By karma-miśra-bhakti one is elevated to the celestial kingdom, by jñāna-miśra-bhakti one is able to merge in the Brahman effulgence, and by yoga-miśra-bhakti one is able to realize the omnipotency of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. But pure bhakti does not depend on karma, jñāna or yoga, for it simply consists of loving affairs. The liberation of the bhakta, therefore, which is called not just mukti but vimukti, surpasses the five other kinds of liberation-sāyujya, sārūpya, sālokya, sārṣṭi and sāmīpya. A pure devotee always engages in pure service (ānukūlyena kṛṣṇānuśīlanaṁ bhaktir uttamā (CC Madhya 19.167)). Taking birth in the upper planetary system as a demigod is a chance to become a further purified devotee and go back home, back to Godhead. Nārada Muni indirectly gave Maṇigrīva and Nalakūvara the greatest opportunity by his so-called curse.
But the liberation of those who are on the transcendental platform of love and affection is vimukti, special liberation. Thus the serpent first entered the body of Kṛṣṇa personally and mixed with the Brahman effulgence. This merging is called sāyujya-mukti. But from later verses we find that Aghāsura attained sārūpya-mukti. Text 38 explains that Aghāsura attained a body exactly like that of Viṣṇu, and the verse after that also clearly states that he attained a completely spiritual body like that of Nārāyaṇa. Therefore in two or three places the Bhāgavatam has confirmed that Aghāsura attained sārūpya-mukti. One may then argue, How is it that he mixed with the Brahman effulgence? The answer is that as Jaya and Vijaya, after three births, again attained sārūpya-mukti and association with the Lord, Aghāsura received a similar liberation.
The foremost process of cheating is to desire to achieve liberation by merging into the Supreme, for this causes the permanent disappearance of loving service to Kṛṣṇa.
The desire to merge into the impersonal Brahman is the subtlest type of atheism. As soon as such atheism, disguised in the dress of liberation, is encouraged, one becomes completely unable to traverse the path of devotional service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
"Naked saints and sannyāsīs who undergo severe physical penances, who can raise the semen to the brain, and who are completely equipoised in Brahman can live in the realm known as Brahmaloka."
In this verse from Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (11.6.47), vāta-vāsanāḥ refers to mendicants who do not care about anything material, including clothing, but who depend wholly on nature. Such sages do not cover their bodies even in severe winter or scorching sunshine. They take great pains not to avoid any kind of bodily suffering, and they live by begging from door to door. They never discharge their semen, either knowingly or unknowingly. By such celibacy they are able to raise the semen to the brain. Thus they become most intelligent and develop very sharp memories. Their minds are never disturbed or diverted from contemplation on the Absolute Truth, nor are they ever contaminated by desire for material enjoyment. By practicing austerities under strict discipline, such mendicants attain a neutral state transcendental to the modes of nature and merge into the impersonal Brahman.
“These liberations are sārṣṭi (achieving opulences equal to those of the Lord), sārūpya (having a form the same as the Lord's), sāmīpya (living as a personal associate of the Lord) and sālokya (living on a Vaikuṇṭha planet). Devotees never accept sāyujya, however, since that is oneness with Brahman.
Those engaged in devotional service according to the ritualistic principles mentioned in the scriptures attain these different kinds of liberation. But although such devotees can attain sārṣṭi, sārūpya, sāmīpya and sālokya, they are not concerned with these liberations, for such devotees are satisfied only in rendering transcendental loving service to the Lord. The fifth kind of liberation, sāyujya, is never accepted even by devotees who perform only ritualistic worship. To attain sāyujya, or merging into the Brahman effulgence of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is the aspiration of the impersonalists. A devotee never cares for sāyujya liberation.
In his Bṛhad-bhāgavatāmṛta, Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī has explained that the attainment of salvation by merging into the Brahman effulgence of the Lord cannot be accepted as the highest success in life, because demons like Kaṁsa, who were famous for killing brāhmaṇas and cows, attained that salvation. For devotees such salvation is abominable. Devotees are actually in a transcendental position, whereas nondevotees are candidates for hellish conditions of life. There is always a difference between the life of a devotee and the life of a demon, and their realizations are as different as heaven and hell.
Demons are always accustomed to being malicious toward devotees and to killing brāhmaṇas and cows. For demons, merging into the Brahman effulgence may be very glorious, but for devotees it is hellish. A devotee's aim in life is to attain perfection in loving the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Those who aspire to merge into the Brahman effulgence are as abominable as demons. Devotees who aspire to associate with the Supreme Lord to render Him transcendental loving service are far superior.
"Dear Lord, always remembering Your childhood pastimes at Vṛndāvana is better for us than aspiring to merge into the impersonal Brahman. During Your childhood pastimes You liberated the two sons of Kuvera and made them great devotees of Your Lordship. Similarly, I wish that instead of giving me liberation You may award me such devotion unto You." In the Hayaśīrṣīya-śrī-nārāyaṇa-vyūha-stava, in the chapter called Nārāyaṇa-stotra, it is stated:
- na dharmaṁ kāmam arthaṁ vā
- mokṣaṁ vā vara-deśvara
- prārthaye tava pādābje
- dāsyam evābhikāmaye
"My dear Lord, I do not wish to become a man of religion or a master of economic development or sense gratification, nor do I wish for liberation. Although I can have all these from You, the supreme bestower of benedictions, I do not pray for any of these. I simply pray that I may always be engaged as a servant of Your lotus feet." Nṛsiṁhadeva offered Prahlāda Mahārāja all kinds of benedictions, but Prahlāda Mahārāja did not accept any of them, for he simply wanted to engage in the service of the lotus feet of the Lord.
Nṛsiṁhadeva offered Prahlāda Mahārāja all kinds of benedictions, but Prahlāda Mahārāja did not accept any of them, for he simply wanted to engage in the service of the lotus feet of the Lord. Similarly, a pure devotee wishes to be blessed like Mahārāja Prahlāda by being thus endowed with devotional service. Devotees also offer their respects to Hanumān, who always remained a servant of Lord Rāma. The great devotee Hanumān prayed:
- bhava-bandha-cchide tasyai spṛhayāmi na muktaye
- bhavān prabhur ahaṁ dāsa iti yatra vilupyate
"I do not wish to take liberation or to merge in the Brahman effulgence, where the conception of being a servant of the Lord is completely lost." Similarly, in the Nārada-pañcarātra it is stated:
- dharmārtha-kāma-mokṣeṣu necchā mama kadācana
- tvat-pāda-paṅkajasyādho jīvitaṁ dīyatāṁ mama
"I do not want any one of the four desirable stations. I simply want to engage as a servant of the lotus feet of the Lord."
While executing devotional service, one must be naturally inclined to serve Kṛṣṇa in one of these transcendental relationships. That is the actual success of life. For a devotee, to get liberation is not very difficult. Even one who is unable to establish a relationship with Kṛṣṇa can achieve liberation by merging into the Brahman effulgence. This is called sāyujya-mukti. Vaiṣṇavas never accept sāyujya-mukti, although sometimes they accept the other forms of liberation, namely sārūpya, sālokya, sāmīpya and sārṣṭi. A pure devotee, however, does not accept any kind of mukti. He wants only to serve Kṛṣṇa in a transcendental relationship. This is the perfectional stage of spiritual life. Māyāvādī philosophers desire to merge into the existence of the Brahman effulgence, although this aspect of liberation is always neglected by devotees. Śrīla Prabodhānanda Sarasvatī Ṭhākura, describing this kind of mukti, which is called kaivalya, or becoming one with the Supreme, has said, kaivalyaṁ narakāyate: "Becoming one with the Supreme is as good as going to hell."
Therefore the ideal of Māyāvāda philosophy, becoming one with the Supreme, is hellish for a devotee; he never accepts it. Māyāvādī philosophers do not know that even if they merge into the effulgence of the Supreme, this will not give them ultimate rest. An individual soul cannot live in the Brahman effulgence in a state of inactivity; after some time, he must desire to be active. However, since he is not aware of his relationship with the Supreme Personality of Godhead and therefore has no spiritual activity, he must come down for further activities in this material world. This is confirmed in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.2.32):
- āruhya kṛcchreṇa paraṁ padaṁ tataḥ
- patanty adho ’nādṛta-yuṣmad-aṅghrayaḥ
Because Māyāvādī philosophers have no information regarding the transcendental service of the Lord, even after attaining liberation from material activities and merging into the Brahman effulgence, they must come down again to this material world to open hospitals or schools or perform similar philanthropic activities.
"Anyone who engages in spiritual devotional service without motivation, rendering such service for the satisfaction of the Lord, is elevated immediately to the spiritual platform, and all his activities are spiritual." Brahma-bhūyāya refers to Brahman (spiritual) activities. Although Māyāvādī philosophers are very eager to merge into the Brahman effulgence, they have no Brahman activities. To a certain extent they recommend Brahman activities, which for them means engagement in studying the Vedānta and Sāṅkhya philosophies, but their interpretations are but dry speculation. Lacking the varieties of spiritual activity, they cannot stay for long on that platform of simply studying Vedānta or Sāṅkhya philosophy.
Although Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu accepted the then-existing order of sannyāsa (namely eka-daṇḍa), He still recited a verse from Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam about the tridaṇḍa-sannyāsa accepted by the brāhmaṇa of Avantīpura. Indirectly He declared that within that eka-daṇḍa, one daṇḍa, four daṇḍas existed as one. Accepting ekadaṇḍa-sannyāsa without parātma-niṣṭhā (devotional service to Lord Kṛṣṇa) is not acceptable to Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. In addition, according to the exact regulative principles, one should add the jīva-daṇḍa to the tri-daṇḍa. These four daṇḍas, bound together as one, are symbolic of unalloyed devotional service to the Lord. Because the ekadaṇḍi-sannyāsīs of the Māyāvāda school are not devoted to the service of Kṛṣṇa, they try to merge into the Brahman effulgence, which is a marginal position between material and spiritual existence. They accept this impersonal position as liberation. Māyāvādī sannyāsīs, not knowing that Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu was a tridaṇḍī, think of Caitanya Mahāprabhu as an ekadaṇḍi-sannyāsī.
Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura states in his Amṛta-pravāha-bhāṣya that according to the injunction of the Upaniṣads ("the Supreme Absolute Truth is He from whom everything emanates"), it is understood that the whole cosmic manifestation emanated from Brahman, the Supreme Absolute Truth. The creation subsists by the energy of the Supreme Brahman and, after annihilation, merges into the Supreme Brahman. From this we can understand that the Absolute Truth can be categorized in three cases—ablative, instrumental and locative. According to these three cases, the Absolute Truth is positively personified. In this connection, Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī quotes the Aitareya Upaniṣad (1.1.1): ātmā vā idam eka evāgra āsīn nānyat kiñcana miṣat sa īkṣata lokān nu sṛjā iti.
When reciting this verse from Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.14.8), Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya changed the original reading from mukti-pade to bhakti-pade. Mukti means liberation and merging into the impersonal Brahman effulgence. Bhakti means rendering transcendental service unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Because of having developed pure devotional service, the Bhaṭṭācārya did not like the word mukti-pade, which refers to the impersonal Brahman feature of the Lord. However, he was not authorized to change a word in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, as Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu will explain. Although the Bhaṭṭācārya changed the word in his devotional ecstasy, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu did not approve of it.
Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya replied, "The awakening of pure love of Godhead, which is the result of devotional service, far surpasses liberation from material bondage. For those averse to devotional service, merging into the Brahman effulgence is a kind of punishment."
In the Brahmāṇḍa Purāṇa it is said:
- siddha-lokas tu tamasaḥ pāre yatra vasanti hi
- siddhā brahma-sukhe magnā daityāś ca hariṇā hatāḥ
"In Siddhaloka (Brahmaloka) there live two kinds of living entities—those who are killed by the Supreme Personality of Godhead due to their having been demons in their previous lives and those who are very fond of enjoying the impersonal effulgence of the Lord." The word tamasaḥ means "the coverings of the universe." Layers of material elements cover the universe, and outside these coverings is the impersonal Brahman effulgence. If one is destined to remain in the Lord's impersonal effulgence, he misses the opportunity to render service to the Personality of Godhead. Therefore devotees consider remaining in the impersonal Brahman effulgence a kind of punishment. Sometimes devotees think of merging into the Brahman effulgence, and consequently they are promoted to Siddhaloka. Because of their impersonal understanding, they are actually punished. Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya continues to explain the distinction between mukti-pada and bhakti-pada in the following verses.
The Bhaṭṭācārya continued, “The impersonalists, who do not accept the transcendental form of Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa, and the demons, who are always engaged in blaspheming and fighting with Him, are punished by being merged into the Brahman effulgence. But that does not happen to the person engaged in the devotional service of the Lord.
“There are five kinds of liberation: sālokya, sāmīpya, sārūpya, sārṣṭi and sāyujya.
Sālokya means that after material liberation one is promoted to the planet where the Supreme Personality of Godhead resides, sāmīpya means remaining an associate of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, sārūpya means attaining a four-handed form exactly like that of the Lord., sārṣṭi means attaining opulences like those of the Supreme Lord, and sāyujya means merging into the Brahman effulgence of the Lord. These are the five types of liberation.
Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya continued, "There are two kinds of sāyujya-mukti: merging into the Brahman effulgence and merging into the personal body of the Lord. Merging into the Lord's body is even more abominable than merging into His effulgence."
According to the opinion of the Māyāvādī Vedāntists, the living entity's ultimate success is to merge into the impersonal Brahman. The impersonal Brahman, or bodily effulgence of the Supreme Lord, is known as Brahmaloka or Siddhaloka. According to the Brahma-saṁhitā (5.40), yasya prabhā prabhavato jagad-aṇḍa-koṭi: the material universes are generated from the bodily rays of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Yogīs who follow the principles of Patañjali accept the personality of the Absolute Truth, but they want to merge into the transcendental body of the Supreme Lord. That is their desire. Being the greatest authority, the Supreme Lord can easily allow many millions of living entities to merge into His body. The origin of everything is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Bhagavān, and His bodily effulgence is known as the brahmajyoti, Brahmaloka or Siddhaloka.
"Completely rejecting all religious activities which are materially motivated, this Bhāgavata Purāṇa propounds the highest truth, which is understandable by those devotees who are pure in heart. The highest truth is reality distinguished from illusion for the welfare of all. Such truth uproots the threefold miseries. This beautiful Bhāgavatam, compiled by the great sage Śrī Vyāsadeva, is sufficient in itself for God realization. As soon as one attentively and submissively hears the message of Bhāgavatam, he becomes attached to the Supreme Lord."
Those who aspire after liberation attempt to merge into the impersonal Brahman. To this end they execute ritualistic religious ceremonies, but Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam considers this a cheating process. Indeed, such people can never dream of returning home, back to Godhead. There is a gulf of difference between the goal of dharma, artha, kāma and mokṣa and the goal of devotional service.
Consequently neither karmīs nor jñānīs are purified. In the words of Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Ṭhākura, they are kukarmīs and kujñānīs—bad fruitive actors and bad speculators. The Māyāvādīs and karmīs should therefore turn their attention to the magnanimous Vāsudeva Datta, who wanted to suffer for others in a hellish condition. No one should consider Vāsudeva Datta a mundane philanthropist or welfare worker. Nor was he interested in merging into the Brahman effulgence or in gaining material honor or reputation. He was far, far above philanthropists, philosophers and fruitive actors. He was the most exalted personality to ever show mercy to the conditioned souls. This is not an exaggeration of his transcendental qualities. It is perfectly true. Actually, there cannot be any comparison to Vāsudeva Datta. As the perfect Vaiṣṇava, he was para-duḥkha-duḥkhī, very much aggrieved to see others suffer. The entire world is purified simply by the appearance of such a great devotee. Indeed, by his transcendental presence the whole world is glorified and all conditioned souls are also glorified.
Although karmīs, jñānīs and yogīs fulfill their desires by performing various activities, they are never satisfied. A karmī may work very hard to acquire a million dollars, but as soon as he gets a million dollars he desires another million. For the karmīs, there is no end of desire. The more the karmī gets, the more he desires. The jñānīs cannot be desireless because their intelligence is unsound. They want to merge into the Brahman effulgence, but even though they may be raised to that platform, they cannot be satisfied there. There are many jñānīs or sannyāsīs who, after taking sannyāsa and giving up the world as false, return to the world to engage in politics or philanthropy or to open schools and hospitals. This means that they could not attain the real Brahman (brahma satyam). They have to come down to the material platform to engage in philanthropic activity. Thus they again cultivate desires, and when these desires are exhausted, they desire something different. Therefore the jñānī cannot be niṣkāma, desireless.
Devotional service is meant only for the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Sometimes men with a poor fund of knowledge maintain that bhakti can be applied to material things also. In other words, they say that devotional service can be rendered to one's country or to the demigods, but this is not a fact. Devotional service is especially meant for the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and it is beyond this material range. There is a river, or causal ocean, between the spiritual and material natures, and this river is free from the influence of the three modes of material nature; therefore it is called Virajā. The prefix vi means vigata ("completely eradicated"), and rajas means "the influence of the material world." On this platform, a living entity is completely free from material entanglement. For the jñānīs who want to merge into the Brahman effulgence, there is Brahma-loka. The bhakti-latā, however, has no shelter in the material world, nor has it shelter in Brahma-loka, although Brahma-loka is beyond the material world. The bhakti-latā grows until it reaches the spiritual sky, where Goloka Vṛndāvana is situated.
One who is fully surrendered is qualified with the six following characteristics: (1) The devotee has to accept everything that is favorable for the rendering of transcendental loving service to the Lord. (2) He must reject everything unfavorable to the Lord's service. This is also called renunciation. (3) A devotee must be firmly convinced that Kṛṣṇa will give him protection. No one else can actually give one protection, and being firmly convinced of this is called faith. This kind of faith is different from the faith of an impersonalist who wants to merge into the Brahman effulgence in order to benefit by cessation of repeated birth and death. A devotee wants to remain always in the Lord's service. In this way, Kṛṣṇa is merciful to His devotee and gives him all protection from the dangers found on the path of devotional service. (4) The devotee should accept Kṛṣṇa as his supreme maintainer and master. He should not think that he is being protected by a demigod. He should depend only on Kṛṣṇa, considering Him the only protector.
“There are three types of people who worship the impersonal Brahman. The first is the beginner, the second is one whose thoughts are absorbed in Brahman, and the third is one who is actually merged in the impersonal Brahman.
“"Even a liberated soul merged in the impersonal Brahman effulgence is attracted to the pastimes of Kṛṣṇa. He thus installs a Deity and renders the Lord service."
Highly elevated Māyāvādī sannyāsīs sometimes worship the Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa Deity and discuss the pastimes of the Lord, but their purpose is not elevation to Goloka Vṛndāvana. They want to merge into the Lord's effulgence. This statement is quoted from Śaṅkarācārya's commentary on the Upaniṣad known as Nṛsiṁha-tāpanī.
“Those who wish to merge into the impersonal Brahman are also divided into three categories—those desiring to be liberated, those already liberated and those who have realized Brahman.
The four Kumāras (Catuḥsana), Śukadeva Gosvāmī and the nine Yogendras were absorbed in Brahman realization, and how they became devotees is described herein. There are three kinds of impersonalists—the mumukṣu (those desiring liberation), the jīvan-muktas (those liberated in this life) and the prāpta-svarūpas (those merged in Brahman realization). All three types of jñānīs are called mokṣākāṅkṣīs, those desiring liberation. By associating with devotees, such people give up the mumukṣu principle and render devotional service. The real cause for this change is the association of devotees. The Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is meant to attract all types of men, even those who desire things other than the Lord's devotional service. Through the association of devotees, they gradually begin to render devotional service.
“"O great learned devotee, although there are many faults in this material world, there is one good opportunity—the association with devotees. Such association brings about great happiness. Due to this good quality, our strong desire to achieve liberation by merging into the Brahman effulgence has become weakened."
“"Even a liberated soul merged in the impersonal Brahman effulgence is attracted to the pastimes of Kṛṣṇa. He thus installs a Deity and renders the Lord service."
This is a quotation from Śaṅkarācārya's commentary on the Nṛsiṁha-tāpanī Upaniṣad.
One should be completely free from all material desires and should serve Kṛṣṇa simply to please Him. When people become interested in their own sense gratification (bhukti-mukti-siddhi-kāmī), some of them desire to enjoy the material world to the fullest extent, some of them desire to be liberated and merge into the existence of Brahman, and others want to perform magic through mystic power and thus become incarnations of God. These are all against the principles of devotional service. One must be free from all material desires. The desire of the impersonalist to merge into the existence of Brahman is also material because such an impersonalist wants to gratify his senses by merging into the existence of Kṛṣṇa instead of serving His lotus feet. Even if such a person merges into the Brahman effulgence, he falls down again into material existence. As stated in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.2.32):
- āruhya kṛcchreṇa paraṁ padaṁ tataḥ
- patanty adho ‘nādṛta-yuṣmad-aṅghrayaḥ
Because Māyāvādī philosophers have no information regarding the transcendental service of the Lord, even after attaining liberation from material activities and merging into the Brahman effulgence, they must come down again to this material world.
Other Books by Srila Prabhupada
Teachings of Lord Caitanya
The sages mentioned in the Upaniṣads and in śruti also desire the post of the gopīs, and they also follow in the footsteps of the gopīs in order to attain that highest goal of life. This is confirmed in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.87.23) when it is said that the sages practice prāṇāyāma (trance) by controlling the breathing process, mind and senses through the mystic yoga practice. Thus they try to merge into the Supreme Brahman. This same goal is attained by atheists who deny the existence of God. If such atheists are killed by an incarnation of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, they also merge into the Brahman existence of the Supreme Lord. However, when the damsels of Vṛndāvana worship Śrī Kṛṣṇa, it is as though they have been bitten by a snake, for Kṛṣṇa's body is compared with the body of a snake. A snake's body is never straight; it is always curling. Similarly, Kṛṣṇa often stands in a three curved posture, and He has bitten the gopīs with transcendental love. The gopīs are certainly better situated than all mystic yogīs and others who desire to merge into the Supreme Brahman. The sages of Daṇḍakāraṇya also follow in the footsteps of the damsels of Vraja in order to attain a similar position. One cannot attain that position simply by following the regulative principles.
Nectar of Devotion
Kṛṣṇa's transcendental body is eternal, full of knowledge and bliss. Sat means ever-existing for all time and in all places; in other words, all-pervading in time and space. Cit means full of knowledge. Kṛṣṇa has nothing to learn from anyone. He is independently full of all knowledge. Ānanda means the reservoir of all pleasure. The impersonalists are seeking to merge into the Brahman effulgence of eternity and knowledge, but the major portion of the absolute pleasure which is in Kṛṣṇa is avoided by them. One can enjoy the transcendental blissfulness of merging into the Brahman effulgence after being freed from the contamination of material illusion, false identification, attachment, detachment and material absorption. These are the preliminary qualifications of a person who can realize Brahman. It is stated in Bhagavad-gītā that one has to become full of joyfulness; this is not exactly joyfulness, but a sense of freedom from all anxieties. Freedom from all anxieties may be the first principle of joyfulness, but it is not actual joyfulness.
The members of the Vaiṣṇava schools therefore never try to merge into the Brahman effulgence in their pursuit of spiritual perfection. They accept Kṛṣṇa as the ultimate goal of self-realization. Therefore Kṛṣṇa is called Parambrahman (the Supreme Brahman) or Parameśvara (the supreme controller). Śrī Yāmunācārya has prayed as follows: "My dear Lord, I know that the gigantic universe and gigantic space and time within the universe are covered by the ten layers of the material elements, each layer ten times larger than the previous one. The three material modes of nature, the Garbhodakaśāyī Viṣṇu, the Kṣīrodakaśāyī Viṣṇu, the Mahā-Viṣṇu, and beyond them the spiritual sky and its spiritual planets, known as Vaikuṇṭhas, and the Brahman effulgence in that spiritual sky—all of these taken together are nothing but a small exhibition of Your potency."
Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī was once told that although She had stopped all activities, She was still the supreme source of inspiration for all kinds of devotional service. The statement says, "My dear Rādhārāṇī, in separation from Kṛṣṇa You are now as still as the most beautiful tree, whose gracefulness is not blocked by any covering of leaves. Your tranquil mood makes You appear to be completely merged in Brahman realization!" In this example there is a mixture of conjugal love and neutral love, but the conjugal love has surpassed everything. Actually, Brahman realization is only a stunted existence. There is the following statement by Kṛṣṇa Himself: "Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī has become peace personified for Me. Because of Her, I now go without sleep. I stare constantly without blinking My eyes, and I am always in a meditative mood. Because of Her I have even made My home in the cave of a mountain!" This is an example of conjugal love mixed with neutral love, but there is no incompatibility.
Krsna, The Supreme Personality of Godhead
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.
Akrūra continued: "My dear Dhṛtarāṣṭra, I beg to advise you not to be blind to the facts of material existence. Material, conditioned life, either in distress or in happiness, is to be accepted as a dream. One should try to bring his mind and senses under control and live peacefully for spiritual advancement in Kṛṣṇa consciousness." In the Caitanya-caritāmṛta it is said that except for persons in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, everyone is always disturbed in mind and full of anxiety. Even those trying for liberation, or merging into the Brahman effulgence, or the yogīs who try to achieve perfection in mystic power cannot have peace of mind. Pure devotees of Kṛṣṇa have no demands to make of Kṛṣṇa. They are simply satisfied with service to Him. Actual peace and mental tranquillity can be attained only in perfect Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
Employing this analogy of Brahman with earth, the impersonalists especially stress the Vedic statement sarvaṁ khalv idaṁ brahma: "Everything is Brahman." The impersonalists do not take into account the varieties of manifestation emanating from the supreme cause, Brahman. They simply consider that everything emanates from Brahman and after destruction merges into Brahman and that the intermediate stage of manifestation is also Brahman. But although the Māyāvādīs believe that prior to its manifestation the cosmos was in Brahman, after creation it remains in Brahman, and after destruction it merges into Brahman, they do not know what Brahman is. The Brahma-saṁhitā, however, clearly describes Brahman: "The living entities, space, time and the material elements like fire, earth, sky, water and mind constitute the total cosmic manifestation, known as Bhūḥ, Bhuvaḥ and Svaḥ, which is manifested by Govinda. It flourishes on the strength of Govinda and after annihilation enters into and is conserved in Govinda." Lord Brahma therefore says, "I worship Lord Govinda, the original personality, the cause of all causes."
Renunciation Through Wisdom
Lord Viṣṇu's impersonal aspect is known as Brahman. So when the jīva soul, a product of Lord Viṣṇu's superior, spiritual energy, attains sāyujya-mukti, or liberation by merging with Brahman, it is not at all surprising. The energetic principle always enjoys the prerogative of enfolding within itself His own energy, but that does not destroy the energy's eternal individuality. The impersonalists, desiring to merge with Brahman and knowing that it is feasible, still experience intense suffering in their effort to reach brahmānanda, "the bliss of Brahman." The Lord's devotees consider the pleasures of such liberation worse than hell. The impersonalists, in trying to destroy the illusion inherent in material forms, do away with even the eternal spiritual forms. That is indeed very foolish. Treating a patient to cure his disease is one thing, but ending the patient along with the disease is the work of an idiot.
The impersonalists are obsessed with the idea that the Supreme Being is impersonal and that the final goal is to merge into that Brahman existence. Naturally the Lord does not object. If a patient wants to end his disease by ending his life, then who will suffer but him? The more intelligent person will surely want to cure his disease without ending his life, and to that end he will strive to regain his original health. Similarly, the soul infected with the material disease should want to return to his pure, original state without annihilating his individual identity. Lord Kṛṣṇa saves such persons from the jaws of the demoniac conception of trying to become one with God. It is suicidal for the spirit soul to attempt to lose his inherent individuality. The happiness the impersonalist experiences by disentangling himself from the knots of material existence is automatically available to the Lord's devotee as a by-product of devotional service.
Hence when a person is seen to be situated on the platform of pure devotional service, it is to be understood that his ignorance has been destroyed. We have discussed this point in some detail in the previous essay, "The Science of Devotion." The empirical philosophers generally put forward the idea that human life is meant for achieving perfect knowledge. To them, knowledge means the ability to discern reality from illusion. By eradicating illusion and establishing that truth and reality are nondifferent from Brahman, they want to merge into the existence of Brahman. This, then, is their definition of perfect knowledge, which they aspire to attain birth after birth. They declare that the highest stage of knowledge is reached when the knower, the knowledge, and the object of knowledge become one entity, which then finally merges into Brahman, attaining liberation. Lord Caitanya has described this state of liberation as bhava-mahādāvāgni-nirvāpanam, "extinguishing the flames of material existence." He cited many verses from the revealed scriptures proving that a pure devotee easily attains this state of liberation by chanting the holy names of God.
The dry speculators describe the field and its knower according to their own lopsided logic. They say that the body is like a container and that Brahman enters this container like the all-pervasive sky. Once this container is broken—that is, at the time of liberation—the jīva merges back into Brahman, symbolized by the sky. There are many loopholes in this argument. First of all, the jīva is spiritual energy, while the sky is matter. It is wrong to compare a spiritual subject to a material object. This is a typical example of how the impersonal speculators waste their time trying to equate spiritual substance with mundane things. Such empirical exercises can never be termed jñāna-yoga, the path of perfect knowledge. According to the impersonalists, the infinitesimal jīva merges into the infinite Brahman at the time of liberation. But such merging does not affect the infinite in any way. Unfortunately, the impersonalists are oblivious of the tremendous damage such liberation causes to the infinitesimal living entity.
The Māyāvādīs try to imitate Śrīpād Śaṅkarācārya. Pretending to be orthodox, they reject the truth that the jīva is part and parcel of Parabrahman, the Supreme Lord. They also deny the fact that it is only the part and parcel aspect of Parabrahman (the jīva) and not Parabrahman Himself who falls under the spell of māyā. And worst of all, they deny that Parabrahman is none other than the Supreme Personality of Godhead. According to their lop-sided argument, when the jīva attains mukti (liberation) he merges into the impersonal Brahman and loses his individual identity. By this logic, when the Supreme Lord, the Parabrahman, incarnates in this material world or appears in the Deity form, He becomes an ordinary jīva. Thus the foolish Māyāvādīs draw a distinction between the Lord and His form, and in this way they commit great offences against Him.
Besides the eternally conditioned jīvas, there are others, who are eternally liberated (nitya-mukta). They never come to this material world. Among the eternally conditioned jīvas (nitya-baddha) are those who make a big show of gaining liberation from this world. An analogy the Māyāvādīs often repeat is "All rivers flow into the ocean." This means that all jīvas merge into Brahman. But the truth that escapes them is that many large aquatics are permanent residents of the ocean and are never attracted to go and live in the river. The eternally liberated souls need not strive for liberation.
Dr. Radhakrishnan has used the expression "self-conscious man." We do not object to this term if it indicates a state of consciousness of the self in which a person realizes he is an eternal servant of God, Kṛṣṇa. Lord Caitanya came to teach this truth. Once the jīva realizes he is an eternal servant of Lord Kṛṣṇa, he ends his life of misery. He becomes liberated by that realization. And later he understands that liberation personified is standing nearby, waiting to serve him and all other eternal servitors of the Supreme Lord, Kṛṣṇa.
Bhagavad-gita As It Is Lectures
Therefore Kṛṣṇa says in the Bhagavad-gītā, janma karma me divyaṁ ca. Divyam (BG 4.9). These transcendental activities of Kṛṣṇa, if anyone can understand, simply if anyone can understand, then he becomes liberated immediately. Liberated. Not liberated ordinary liberation, but for going back to home, back to Godhead. Tyaktvā dehaṁ punar janma naiti mām eti kaunteya (BG 4.9). The greatest liberation. There are different types of liberation also. Sāyujya sārūpya sārṣṭi sālokya sāyujya... (CC Madhya 6.266). Five kinds of liberation. So sāyujya means to merge into the existence, Brahman, brahma-laya (merging in the impersonal). That is also liberation. The Māyāvādīs or the jnani sampradāya, they want to merge into the existence, Brahman existence. That is also mukti. That is called sāyujya-mukti. But for a devotee, this sāyujya-mukti is just like hell. Kaivalyaṁ narakāyate. So for Vaiṣṇava, kaivalyam, to, monism, to merge into the existence of the Supreme, is compared with hell.
This example is generally given by the Māyāvādī philosophers. The drop of water is, when mixed up with the ocean water, they become one. That is only imagination. Every water, molecular. There are, there are so many individual molecular parts. Apart from that, suppose you mix up with the water, and merge into the Brahman existence, the samudra, the sea, or the ocean. Then again you'll be evaporated, because the water is evaporated from the ocean and it become cloud and again falls down on the ground, and it goes down again to the ocean. This is going on. This is called āgamana-gamana, coming and again mixing. So what is the benefit? But the Vaiṣṇava philosophy says that we do not want to mix up with the water; we want to become a fish within the ocean. That is very nice. If one becomes fish, a big fish, or small fish... It doesn't matter. If you go deep into the water, then there is no more evaporation. You remain.
Similarly, the spiritual world, the Brahman effulgence, if... Nirbheda-brahmānusandhi. Those who are trying to merge into the Brahman existence, for them, it is not very safe. That is explained in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam: vimukta-māninaḥ. Vimukta-māninaḥ. They're thinking that "Now I have merged into the Brahman effulgence. Now I am safe." No, it is not safe. Because it is said, āruhya kṛcchreṇa paraṁ padaṁ tataḥ patanty (SB 10.2.32). Even after great austerities and penance, one may rise, paraṁ padam, in the, merging into the Brahman effulgence. Still, from there, he falls down. He falls down. Because Brahman, the spirit soul, is ānandamaya. As Kṛṣṇa, or the Absolute, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is ānandamayo 'bhyāsāt (Vedānta-sūtra 1.1.12), sac-cid-ānanda-vigrahaḥ (Bs. 5.1). So simply by merging into the Brahman existence, one cannot become ānandamaya.
So nirviśeṣa, without varieties, there cannot be any ānanda. Variety is the mother of enjoyment. So we are trying to... We are disgusted with these material varieties. Therefore some is trying to make these varieties zero and some is trying to make these varieties impersonal. But that will not give us the exact transcendental pleasure. If you can go up into the Brahman effulgence and take shelter of Kṛṣṇa or Nārāyaṇa... There are innumerable planets in the Brahman effulgence. They are called Vaikuṇṭhaloka. And the topmost Vaikuṇṭhaloka is called Goloka Vṛndāvana. So if you are fortunate enough to take shelter in one of these planets, then you are eternally happy in blissful condition of knowledge. Otherwise, simply to merge into the Brahman effulgence is not very safe. Because we want ānanda. So in impersonal zero standard there cannot be any ānanda. But because we have no information, the Māyāvādī philosophers, of the Vaikuṇṭha planets, they come back again to these material planets. Āruhya kṛcchreṇa paraṁ padaṁ tataḥ patanty adhaḥ (SB 10.2.32). Adhaḥ means in this material world. That I have explained many times. There are so many big, big sannyāsīs. They give up this material world as mithyā, jagan mithyā, and take sannyāsa, and then again, after a few days, they come to social service, politics.
And they are eternally part. Not that circumstantially it has become part, and again it can join. It can join, but not that in a homogeneous way, mixed-up way. No. Even it is joined, it, the soul keeps his separate existence. Just like a green bird, when he enters into the tree, it appears that the bird is now merged into the tree, but it is not that. The bird keeps its identity within the tree. That is the conclusion. Although both the tree and the bird being green, it appears that the bird is now merged into the tree, this merging does not mean that, that the bird and the tree has become one. No. It appears like that. Because both of them are the same color, it appears that the bird has..., there is no more existence of the bird. But that is not a fact. The bird is... Similarly, we are individual spirit soul. The quality being one, say, greenness, when one merges into the Brahman effulgence, the living entity does not lose his identity. And because he does not lose the identity, and because the living entity, by nature, is joyful, he cannot stay in the impersonal Brahman effulgence for many days. Because he has to seek out joyfulness. That joyfulness means varieties.
So that pleasure of life cannot be had in the spiritual effulgence. Therefore in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam we get this information that āruhya kṛcchreṇa paraṁ padam (SB 10.2.32). Kṛcchreṇa, after undergoing severe austerity and penance, one may merge into the Brahman effulgence... Sāyujya-mukti. It is called sāyujya-mukti. Sāyujya, to merge. So āruhya kṛcchreṇa paraṁ padam. Even one goes up to that point, to merge into the Brahman existence after severe austerity and penances, still, they fall down. Patanty adhaḥ. Adhaḥ means again comes into this material world. Āruhya kṛcchreṇa paraṁ padaṁ tataḥ patanty adhaḥ (SB 10.2.32). Why they fall down? Anādṛta-yuṣmad-aṅghrayaḥ. They'll never agree God is person. They'll never agree. Their teeny brain cannot accommodate that God, the Supreme, can be a person. Because he has experience of the person of himself, or others. If God is a person like me and you, then how He can create universe, innumerable universes?
But practically, Kṛṣṇa, so far those who are transcendentalists, they want to be controlled by three phases of Kṛṣṇa: Brahman, Paramātmā and Bhagavān. Those who are impersonalists, they want to be merged into the Brahman effulgence. That is also acceptance of being controlled.
Just like if you merge into the ocean... They give this example, generally. So they think that by merging, by dipping into the ocean, they become also ocean. That is not possible. You become controlled by the ocean. Suppose you dip, you dive into the ocean. Does it mean that you become ocean? You become controlled by the ocean. They are under the impression that "I am now a small drop. So if I merge into the ocean, the Brahman, then I'll become Brahman." Is that a very reasonable proposal? You are a drop of water. Scientifically, what is said? Suppose a drop of water is mixed in with the sea water, does it mean the drop becomes sea? What is your scientific explanation?
But we are actually eternity, bliss and knowledge, very small portion. Simply eternity will not satisfy us. So eternity also part and parcel of Kṛṣṇa. So you can enter. Kṛṣṇa has given you freedom. Therefore He says, ye yathā māṁ prapadyante. "If you want to merge into the Brahman effulgence, that you can do. Or if you simply want to realize the Paramātmā, localized, that you can also do. And you can do also, come to Me." Just like Bhagavad-gītā says that
- yānti deva-vratā devān
- pitṟn yānti pitṛ-vratāḥ
- bhūtāni yānti bhūtejyā
- yānti mad-yājino 'pi mām
- (BG 9.25)
So if you want to go to Kṛṣṇa and directly serve Him, associate with Him, that also you can do. Everything is open to you. Ye yathā māṁ prapadyante.
The materialists, they are surrendering to the material nature. That also, Kṛṣṇa says yes. They are working so hard, day and night, to gain a material profit. Kṛṣṇa says, "All right, you can get it." That is also possible. But actual instruction of Kṛṣṇa is that sarva-dharmān parityajya mām ekam (BG 18.66). "You just personally unto Me surrender. That will be beneficial to you."
Māyāvādī philosophers, they do not know that there is relationship that the Parabrahman and Brahman can be engaged in loving transaction. That they do not understand. They think that Brahman, when merges into the existence of Parabrahman, then business is finished. No. Business is not finished. Because we are individuals. It is not possible to remain without any activity. That is theory, that without any activity we can remain. That is not possible. And if we have no information of the spiritual activity, then we have to come back again to this material activity. That is practical example. There are many sannyāsīs. They so-called merging into Brahman, but they come back in material activities, in politics, in sociology and so on. So therefore these instructions are very valuable. nirāśīr yata-cittātmā tyakta-sarva-parigrahaḥ śārīraṁ kevalaṁ karma. Śārīra, just to maintain your body. Be satisfied. Whatever is supplied by Kṛṣṇa, be satisfied. Don't aspire more and more.
So they do not know it. Therefore Kṛṣṇa says manuṣyāṇāṁ sahasreṣu (BG 7.3). Out of millions and millions of persons, one can understand what is siddhi. And even one is siddha... One who becomes merged into the Brahman effulgence, because paraṁ padam, so they are also not siddha. Suppose if you merge into the Brahman effulgence, the jñānīs' ultimate goal, to become one with the Brahman effulgence, sāyujya-mukti... That is also a siddhi. That is also partial siddhi. That is not perfect siddhi. Because we are spiritual sparks, small, very small. That magnitude has been described in the śāstras. Keśāgra-śata-bhāgasya śatadhā kalpitasya ca (CC Madhya 19.140). As spiritual spark, our magnitude is one ten-thousandth part of the upper portion of the hair. We are such a small. And this... Just like the sunshine is combination of bright molecules, shining molecules. They are not one. They are also small, atomic, molecular parts. Similarly, brahmajyoti means combination of all the living entities, the spiritual sparks. To become one with the brahmajyoti means... Just like one bird enters into the green tree. It appears that it has become one. The tree is also green and the bird is also green.
Therefore people do not know what is siddhi. It is not my version. Kṛṣṇa says. Manuṣyāṇāṁ sahasre... What is siddhi? If you do not know what is siddhi, what is the use? Śrama eva hi kevalam (SB 1.2.8). You do not know what is the ultimate goal of life, what is siddhi, and you're working so hard. So Bhāgavata says, śrama eva hi kevalam: "He is working uselessly, laboriously." That's all. They do not know siddhi. Manuṣyāṇāṁ sahasreṣu kaścid yatati siddhaye, yatatām api siddhānām (BG 7.3). Yatatām api siddha, siddhānāṁ kaścit. These siddhas, those who are self-realized, athāto brahma jijñāsā... Even if he thinks that "I am the supreme," that is partially in the... That is also light. Just like if you come to the sunlight, sunshine, that is also light, but that is not perfection. If you can go within the sun globe and see the origin of shining, brightening principle, the sun-god, that is siddhi. Similarly, to merge into the Brahman is not siddhi. That is the verdict of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. Actually, it is a fact. Bhāgavata, whatever it says, that is real fact.
After brahma-jñāna... Sometimes the Māyāvādī philosophers they say, "By bhakti one gains brahma-jñāna, and one becomes liberated, merged into Brahman," and so on, so on, because they say, "Bhakti is meant for the less intelligent class of men." Their accusation is like that. No. That is not the fact. Bhakti, kaniṣṭha-adhikārī, in the lower stage of bhakti, that is also higher than the Māyāvāda philosophy. In the lower status of bhakti means that arcā-vigraha, anyone, any person, he does not clearly understand what is God, but by the instruction of the spiritual master one is engaged in the service of the Lord. This morning we have explained the Deity worship. Here is God. Here is God, factually, but He has no realization that here is God. That is called kaniṣṭha-adhikārī, in the lower stage of devotional service. But if he accepts even theoretically that "Here is God," then he becomes more advanced than the Māyāvādī who are thinking of God without head and leg, nirviśeṣa-vādī.
So simply to realize that "I am Brahman," ahaṁ brahmāsmi, that is not perfection. That is aviśuddha-buddhayaḥ, uncleansed intelligence. Ye 'nye 'ravindākṣa vimukta-māninas tvayy asta-bhāvād aviśuddha-buddhayaḥ (SB 10.2.32). Simply understanding ahaṁ brahmāsmi will not help us because it is stated in the śāstra that āruhya kṛcchreṇa paraṁ padaṁ tataḥ patanty adhaḥ (SB 10.2.32), even by severe austerities and penances one comes to the stage of merging into Brahman, sāyujya mukti, still, there is chance of falling down. Āruhya kṛcchreṇa paraṁ padaṁ tataḥ patanty adhaḥ (SB 10.2.32). Why? Now anādṛta-yuṣmad-aṅghrayaḥ. One who has not realized the lotus feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead Kṛṣṇa, he falls down.
We have seen many big, big sannyāsīs in India, very learned scholar, and very nicely they can describe śāstra also, but they are entangled in politics. Why? If this world is mithyā, jagan mithyā, you have rejected it, then why you are again coming to politics? Why you are coming in the mithyā world? Because there is no realization. Aviśuddha-buddhayaḥ.
So because it is not fully realized, therefore such living entities who take sāyujya-mukti, they again fall down in due course of time. Because he doesn't get in the sāyujya-mukti the other two parts, component parts of his life, blissfulness and knowledge, full knowledge. Āruhya kṛcchreṇa paraṁ padaṁ tataḥ patanty adhaḥ anādṛta-yuṣmad-aṅghrayaḥ (SB 10.2.32). The impersonalist Māyāvādīs, they undergo severe austerities, penances, and rise up to the Brahman effulgence, becomes merged into it, but again falls down. Just like the spark: it enters the flame of the fire, but there is again chance of falling down.
So sāyujya-mukti... Sārūpya-mukti, to have the... For Vaiṣṇavas, they don't accept this sāyujya-mukti, to merge into the existence of the Lord. They accept sārūpya-mukti. Sārūpya-mukti means to have the same features of the body like Viṣṇu. In Vaikuṇṭhalokas all the living entities, devotees, they have got four hands.
So the real business is, as Nārada Muni says, māyānubhāvam, anubhāvam avidam. One should know what is māyā. Yena, after complete knowledge of māyā and Kṛṣṇa, yena gacchanti tat-padam, then one is promoted to the spiritual world. But the promotion... I have already described, there are five kinds of promotion, elevation. Out of that, the one promotion, namely to merge into the existence of the Supreme, that is very dangerous. Dangerous means that is risk of falling down. Because it is not possible to merge into the personal body of Kṛṣṇa. Or you can take the bodily effulgence or the rays of the body. Everything is absolute. (aside:) Who is talking? So merge into the Brahman effulgence, that is also Kṛṣṇa's bodily rays. Yasya prabhā (Bs. 5.40). So we are a small particle. So we, we merge into the Brahman effulgence. Brahman effulgence means collection of so many Brahmans together. That is Brahman effulgence. Unlimited number. Anantyāya kalpate. We are a small particle. Keśāgra-śata-bhāgasya śatadhā kalpitasya ca (CC Madhya 19.140). One ten-thousandth part, a small particle. Just like the sunshine, it is a combination of bright molecules of sunshine.
These people, these Māyāvādīs who are trying to become God... Āruhya kṛcchreṇa paraṁ padaṁ tataḥ (SB 10.2.32). To merge into the existence of the Supreme. You can merge, but you cannot be equal. That is not possible. Asamordhva. But the Māyāvādīs, they are thinking, "We are as good as Kṛṣṇa." Therefore they do not go to the temple of Kṛṣṇa. Because they think self, Nārāyaṇa, Kṛṣṇa. But that is a mistake. Therefore śāstra says that ye 'nye 'ravindākṣa vimukta-māninaḥ. They are thinking that they have become liberated, become Nārāyaṇa, Nārāyaṇa, God, but that is aviśuddha-buddhayaḥ. Because... They are thinking like that because their intelligence is not yet cleansed. Aviśuddha-buddhayaḥ. Therefore āruhya kṛcchreṇa paraṁ padaṁ tataḥ patanty adhaḥ anādṛta-yuṣmad-aṅghrayaḥ (SB 10.2.32). Āruhya kṛcchreṇa, by performing severe austerities, penances, they come to the stage of merging in the Brahman effulgence, but that (does) not solve the problem. In the Brahman effulgence they fall down again.
We are also aja because we are part and parcel of Kṛṣṇa. And nitya. Nityaḥ śāśva... Ajo nityaḥ. Nitya... The Māyāvāda philosophy is that we are aja, and Supreme Brahman is aja. So when we are uncovered by this material body, we mix with the aja. That is their theory, monist. We merge into the existence of aja. But that is not fact. You merge. That is like merging a green bird into a green tree. When a green bird enters a green tree it appears that the green bird is now merged and he, it has no more existence. No. That is not... One can understand. The bird enters into the green tree does not mean the bird has lost his existence. His individuality is still there. Similarly, when we merge, even in Brahman effulgence, we do not lose our individuality. Although it appears that we have lost our identity, individuality, but actually that is not the fact. And because it is not fact, therefore our another quality is ānandamayo 'bhyāsāt: (Vedānta-sūtra 1.1.12) we want ānanda.
At least we should know. They have no intelligence. Because they are entangled. Just see this list. Here is, brahma-varcasa-kāmas tu. Brahma-varcasa means those who are desiring to become one with the effulgence, to merge into the effulgence of the Lord. Varcasa. Varcasa means the effulgence of Kṛṣṇa. Yasya prabhā prabhavato jagad-aṇḍa-koṭi (Bs. 5.40). Just like the sun and the sunshine. Similarly, Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Brahma, and His effulgence is called brahmajyoti. So these jñānīs, they are desiring to merge into the Brahman effulgence. Therefore, it is called brahma-varcasa-kāmas tu. And kāma means desire. Therefore, they are still desiring. They are fed up with these ordinary desires. Ordinarily, they are desiring, "I shall become rich man. I shall become minister. I shall become this, I shall become that." And they are also desiring to merge into the effulgence of Kṛṣṇa. That is also desire, kāma. The word is explicitly said, kāma. Kāma means desire.
Either you are materially desirous, anxious to get so many things, karmī... Akāma means devotee. Sarva-kāma means karmī. Karmīs, they are simply wanting, "Give me this, give me that, give me this, give me that." So many things. There is no end of their demands. That is called karmī. And jñānīs means they also want...
They want salvation, to merge into the impersonal Brahman effulgence of the Lord. And yogis, they also want some mystic power. So karmī, jñānī, yogi—everyone wants something, but a devotee does not want anything. That is devotion. They know, "What shall I do with all these things?" They have no attraction for anything material. These are all material. Some, a better position, and in some lower position. That's all. Karmīs are entangled in this materialistic way of life, and the jñānīs, they are also some or less entangled. Because they have no idea what is God, they think God is impersonal. God is impersonal means there is no God. So if they have no idea of God, how to go back to kingdom of God? So they are also materialistic. Negation of material, negation. Because they are very much frustrated. Just like in your country, the hippies. The hippies means negation of a positive materialistic life. That's all. Negation. They are simply denying that "I, we don't want the way of life as our father and grandfathers are going on."
There is sometimes question, "How one who lived in association with Kṛṣṇa, how he fell down?" Generally those who are living with Kṛṣṇa or Vaikuṇṭha, they never fall down. But those who are in the effulgence of Kṛṣṇa, in the impersonal Brahman, they fall down. Because it is the propensity of the living entity to enjoy. But one cannot enjoy; there is no ānanda. Those who are merging in the Brahman effulgence, they are getting the department of eternity. The Brahman is sac-cid-ānanda. So they are simply accepting sad-aṁśa. Sad-aṁśa means only eternity. Just like if you are asked to sit down in a place eternally, no, it will be impossible. You must desire a change, variety, because we are living entities, living beings. So therefore our Vaiṣṇava philosophy has varieties of enjoyment.
He says, janmani janmani, "birth after birth." That means He does not require even salvation, because salvation means apunar bhava-janma, no more janma, no more birth. No more birth—there are two kinds of more more birth. For the Māyāvādīs, or impersonalists, they want to stop birth, to merge into the existence of the Supreme, brahma-nirvāṇa. Brahma-nirvāṇa... The Buddha philosophy teaches nirvāṇa, devoid of all material desires, that much. He does not give any more. Śaṅkarācārya gives further, more, that brahma-nirvāṇa, that "You become desireless of this material world, but you enter, merge into Brahman." That is called brahma-nirvāṇa. And the Vaiṣṇava philosopher says that "You make null and void all your material desires, enter into Brahman and be engaged in the service of the Lord." This is called bhakti. So brahma-nirvāṇa is also siddhi, but more than that siddhi is to be engaged in the service, Brahman service.
Śrī Śukadeva Gosvāmī is describing when the cowherd boys were playing with Kṛṣṇa, that description. He says that "These cowherd boys, they are not ordinary human being." Kṛta-puṇya-puñjāḥ: "They have accumulated many, many births' pious activities, as the result of which, they are now playing with Kṛṣṇa." And who is Kṛṣṇa? Itthaṁ satāṁ brahma-sukhānubhūtyā: "Big, big ṛṣis and yogis, those who are interested in brahma-sukha or to merge in the Brahman effulgence—the source of Brahman effulgence is here playing: Kṛṣṇa." Yasya prabhā prabhavato jagad-aṇḍa (Bs. 5.40).
So this little, little accumulation of puṇya, very easy. No expenditure, no experience, no education, nothing. Simply come here and join this chanting and dancing. Even a child. Kṛta-puṇya-puñjāḥ. Little, little, little—one day he will be able to play with Kṛṣṇa.
Except becoming Kṛṣṇa conscious, except this desire, no more other desires. Anyābhilāṣitā-śūnyaṁ jñāna-karmādy-anāvṛtam ānukūlyena kṛṣṇānuśīlanam: (CC Madhya 19.167) Simply cultivating the knowledge of Kṛṣṇa consciousness favorably, favorably, Kṛṣṇa consciousness, not like Kaṁsa. Therefore, this word has been used, ānukūlyena, "favorably." Kaṁsa, he was afraid of Kṛṣṇa. He was always Kṛṣṇa conscious. Because he was thinking, "Kṛṣṇa may come, may come and kill me. Where He is now? How He's coming?" His consciousness was always absorbed in Kṛṣṇa, but it was not ānukūlyena; it was prātikūlyena. Prātikūlyena means adverse. He was thinking of Kṛṣṇa as enemy. So that was prātikūlyena. But still, he got salvation. He became merged into the effulgence. So the enemies of Kṛṣṇa get that position, merge into the Brahman effulgence. Is that a very good place for the devotees? No. Why the devotees should accept impersonal Brahman effulgence. They must go to Kṛṣṇa directly and play with Him and dance with Him.
So sakṛd api kṛṣṇa manaḥ. Mind has to be fixed up to something. The yogis, karmīs, the jñānīs and the bhaktas. The karmīs, their mind is fixed up, "Where to get money? Where to get money?" That's all. This is karmī. Just to live comfortably, enjoy sense gratification, this is karmī. And jñānī means they want to... Because they are disgusted. They are better than the karmīs. They want to merge into the impersonal Brahman effulgence, jñānī. And yogi, they... Actual, their business is, yogi, dhyānāvasthita-tad-gatena manasā paśyanti yaṁ yoginaḥ (SB 12.13.1). The yogis, they are always in meditation and thinking of Kṛṣṇa. That is real yogi, not to show some gymnastic feats. These things are required to concentrate the mind. But where to concentrate the mind? Concentrate the mind in the Supreme Soul, or Kṛṣṇa, or Viṣṇu. That is yoga system. So a Kṛṣṇa conscious person is above all of them because by nature, by chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra, he cannot think anything else except Kṛṣṇa. He is worshiping the Deity in the temple, he is going to distribute books, Kṛṣṇa books, he is talking of Kṛṣṇa, he is eating kṛṣṇa-prasādam, and always absorbed in Kṛṣṇa. So here it is said sakṛd api.
So the śūnyavādī and the nirviśeṣavādī, they want to make these varieties of enjoyment zero. That is called nirvāṇa philosophy, Buddha philosophy, that "These varieties of enjoyment is followed by painful condition, so you should make this variety zero." Just like sometimes one commits suicide. When these varieties become intolerable, social condition unbearable, then he commits suicide. So this śūnyavādī, māyāvādī, means it is spiritual suicide, because they have no information of the spiritual varieties. Anādṛta-yuṣmad-aṅghrayaḥ. They do not know that these varieties of enjoyment can be executed with the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and that will endure eternally, and we shall enjoy eternally. That they cannot understand. That is the difference between Vaiṣṇava and others. They, being disgusted... Brahma satyaṁ jagan mithyā, Śaṅkara's philosophy, impersonalist, that "Take to Brahman. The so-called varieties of enjoyment in this material world is mithyā, false. So take to Brahman, merge into the Brahman, and remain there perpetually. Don't seek after these varieties of enjoyment."
Just like the sunshine is a combination of molecular parts, something shining. Is it not? Similarly, brahmajyoti is combination of the individual parts and parcels of God. But without individual activity they cannot stay in the brahmajyoti for long. Because everyone wants some individual activity. Just like we are sitting together now. After some hour, every one of us will feel what is our individual... Everyone will be engaged in his individual activity. Therefore, according to Bhagavat-siddhānta, āruhya kṛcchreṇa paraṁ padaṁ tataḥ patanti (SB 10.2.32). The individual soul who simply tries to merge into the effulgence, Brahman effulgence... That position is attained after many, many years' austerity and penances. Āruhya kṛcchreṇa. Kṛcchreṇa means with great trouble and difficulty one is elevated to that position, merging into the impersonal brahmajyoti. Āruhya kṛcchreṇa paraṁ padam (SB 10.2.32). That is called paraṁ padam. But again says, patanty adhaḥ: "But they still, again they are prone to fall down." Why they fall down? Anādṛta-yuṣmad-aṅghrayaḥ: "Because they do not care for Your lotus feet."
So if the world is false, then why they come down to open schools and colleges and hospitals? That means they could not stay in the Brahman atmosphere for want of activity. Therefore this devotional service is Brahman activity. One can stay. Without this Brahman activity, even one is elevated to the Brahman position, he falls down. Āruhya kṛcchreṇa paraṁ padaṁ tataḥ patanty adho anādṛta-yuṣmad-aṅghrayaḥ (SB 10.2.32). They are not very much inclined or decline practically to accept this devotional service. The Māyāvādīs, they say this devotional service, this arcana-śravaṇaṁ kīrtanaṁ viṣṇoḥ smaraṇam pāda-sevanam (SB 7.5.23)—they take it as a means to merge into the Brahman effulgence. They do not understand that this is the perpetual engagement of a devotee. Nitya-yuktā upāsate. In the Bhagavad-gītā it is said that devotees, they are eternally engaged in devotional service. Eternally means after liberation, not that after liberation the whole thing is changed. No. The process is so transcendental that the devotees, they are serving the Supreme Personality of Godhead, even when he is conditioned... A devotee is not conditioned. Even accepting he is conditioned, but his engagement in the liberation stage does not change. The same condition goes on, the same worshiping, his chanting.
Take for example: goodness is brāhmaṇa. How at the present moment the brāhmaṇa, the hereditary brāhmaṇa, by birth, how they have fallen on account of attack of these base qualities. But they're trying to keep their brahminical platform in spite of being polluted by the other two base qualities. Therefore the Caitanya-caritāmṛta author's statement that ei bhāla, ei manda, saba bhrama: even if you are raised to the brāhmaṇa quality, there is always chance of falling down. Therefore you have to keep always in the transcendental platform, brahma-bhūtaḥ prasannātmā na śocati na kāṅkṣati... (BG 18.54). Even from brahma-bhūtaḥ platform one falls down. One who is already mixed, or merged into the Brahman, they fall down. Āruhya kṛcchreṇa paraṁ padaṁ tataḥ patanty adhaḥ (SB 10.2.32). Why? Anādṛta yusmad aṅghrayaḥ. Unless one is very rigid devotee, even he has approached the other feature—that means the Brahman feature: Brahman, Paramātmā and Bhagavān—so he falls down, very, very easily. And why? That is this attachment—sneha-pāśair dṛḍhair baddham. Dṛḍhair baddham. That, I was citing Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura's song, jaḍa-vidyā saba māyāra vaibhava tomāra bhajane bādhā, anitya saṁsāre moha janamiyā jīvake karaye gādhā. Gādhā means ass. Uṣṭra khara. Śva-viḍ uṣṭra khara. So this so-called advancement of civilization means the living entity is always compared as an ass, mūḍha.
That is also. Any place in the spiritual sky, they are eternal. If that is your question... Now either Viṣṇu planet or Kṛṣṇa planet, they are all in the spiritual world. Or the impersonal Brahman, that is also in the spiritual world. So somebody wants to be merged into the Brahman effulgence, so that is also a spiritual world. Somebody wants to go into the Viṣṇu planet, that is also in the spiritual world. And somebody wants to go to this Kṛṣṇa planet, that is also in the spiritual sky. But there are differences even in the spiritual sky. The difference between spiritual sky and material sky is that everything in the spiritual sky, they are eternal, and everything in the material sky, they are temporary. That's all.
Nectar of Devotion Lectures
If you act otherwise, then it is karma-bandhana. Yajñārthe karma anytra. Anyatra. Anyatra means except Kṛṣṇa consciousness activities, the activities of the karmīs and the jñānīs and the yogis, they are all karma-bandhana, bound up. Suppose karmīs, they are going to the heavenly planet or higher planetary system for getting higher standard of life, to take birth by pious activities in nice family, to become rich. But that is bandhana. That is bondage.
Similarly, the so-called mukti, jñānīs, they merge into the existence, Brahman existence, of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Nirbheda-brahmānusandhana. Nirbheda, without any distinction, enter, merge into the Brahman. That is also bandhana, bondage. Why? Because we find in the śāstras: āruhya kṛcchreṇa paraṁ padaṁ tataḥ patanty adhaḥ (SB 10.2.32). Āruhya kṛcchreṇa paraṁ padam. Paraṁ padam means brahma-pada, to merge into the effulgence, brahmajyoti. That is called paraṁ pada. According to Vaiṣṇava, paraṁ pada means to go to Vaikuṇṭha or Goloka Vṛndāvana and be engaged as servant, eternal servant of the Lord.
According to Vaiṣṇava, paraṁ pada means to go to Vaikuṇṭha or Goloka Vṛndāvana and be engaged as servant, eternal servant of the Lord. But according to the jñānīs, the paraṁ pada means merge into the effulgence of brahmajyoti. Śāstra says that āruhya kṛcchreṇa paraṁ padam (SB 10.2.32). To go to that paraṁ padam, that is also not very easy. Kṛcchreṇa. Severe austerities and penances, one has to undergo to merge into the Brahman effulgence. Therefore you'll find, the Māyāvādī sannyāsīs, their stricture is very rigid. They must take bath thrice in, in a day and lie down underneath a tree and... Their renunciation is very rigid. Of course, those who are strictly following. In our Brahmā, Vaiṣṇava sannyāsa, there is little leniency. Because they live in Kṛṣṇa, so there is no need of very strict, rigid following. Although it is stated that they should live like this. But there is leniency. But Māyāvāda, they are very rigid in their principles of sannyāsa life. That is called āruhya kṛcchreṇa. Kṛcchreṇa, with great difficulty, they merge into the Brahman effulgence. Āruhya kṛcchreṇa paraṁ padam (SB 10.2.32). They attain in the perfectional stage. Not perfectional. Paraṁ padam. In the spiritual realm. But patanty adhaḥ. Again falls down. Again falls down means because in the effulgence there is no varieties.
That is practically experienced. We have seen many, many great sannyāsīs. They give up this world and take sannyāsa for merging into Brahman, but later on they come back again to the material activities for opening hospital, schools, and philanthropic work. Why? Because they could not get there. In their so-called Brahman realization, they could not get any pleasure. Therefore they come down again to the material activities. You have left this material world as brahma satyaṁ jagan mithyā. Then why you come back again to this mithyā world, to open hospitals and schools? The reason is they could not get any pleasure in so-called Brahman-realization. Therefore they come back to give food to the poor, to open hospital, philanthropic work.
Bhakti-rasa is better than liberation, mukti. Because generally the Māyāvādī philosophers, jñāni-sampradāya, they consider mukti means to merge into the spiritual existence, Brahman. Brahma-sayujya-mukti, to, to merge into the impersonal Brahman effulgence of the Absolute. They consider it, that is the highest. And the Buddha philosophers, they think to make all these activities zero, śūnyavādī. Dismantle. Because on account of this combination of matter, earth, water, fire, air, ether, this body's made, and the body is subjected to pains and pleasure on account of this mixture. So Buddha philosophy is that you dismantle this mixture. Let earth go to the earth portion and water portion to the water portion. Then there is no existence of the body, and there is no pains and pleasure. Make it zero. This is called śūnyavādī. And the Māyāvādī, their philosophy is stop this variegatedness. We are suffering pains and pleasure within this material world on account of these varieties.
So anyway, there are varieties. As there are varieties within this material world, similarly there are varieties in the spiritual world. This material world is only a reflection of the spiritual world. So unless we merge into, unless we get shelter in one of the planets of the spiritual world, if we simply merge into the Brahman effulgence, we cannot stay there for long.
Just like in the sky. If you simply fly your aeroplane only in the sky, you don't get any shelter in any planet. You'll have to come back again. You'll have to come back again. You cannot stay in the sky. Similarly those who are merging into the Brahman effulgence, they cannot stay there because we, as living entities, we want a varieties. Just like when I was, when I was travelling in the... Everyone has got experience. Either sky or on the water. So, and for weeks together, simply water, water. And the, on board the ship, it become very much sickness. Is called sea-sickness. As soon as there is some land visible, "Oh, there is land again." Because we want varieties. So those who are trying to merge into the variety-less Brahman effulgence, they cannot stay there. That information we get from Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, āruhya kṛccheṇa paraṁ padaṁ tataḥ patanti adhaḥ: After great perseverance, austerity, penances, they merge into the Brahman effulgence, but they again fall down. They again fall down.
So that is not our ultimate goal. The ultimate goal is to take shelter unto the lotus feet of the Lord. Āruhya kṛcchreṇa paraṁ padaṁ tataḥ. Ye 'nye 'ravindākṣa vimukta-māninas (SB 10.2.32). Simply to concoct that I become, I have become liberated. And, that... Ye 'nye 'ravindākṣa vimukta-māninaḥ tvayy asta-bhāvād aviśuddha-buddhayaḥ. They, those who are thinking that they have become liberated simply by merging into the Brahman effulgence, they are aviśuddha-buddhayaḥ, they are still, their intelligence is not very clear, not purified. Why? Now, although they have gone there, and thinking that they are liberated, āruhya kṛcchreṇa paraṁ padaṁ patanti (SB 10.2.32), they'll fall down. They cannot remain there. Because there is no varieties. And our life, because we are living entities, we want varieties. Without varieties, it is hackneyed. We cannot stay there. Therefore they fall down. Those who merge into the Brahman effulgence, they fall down. Go on. Therefore a bhakta does not accept the Brahman, brahmānanda. Brahmānanda, they know. Brahmānanda is, there is brahmānanda. That is liberation from the material ānanda. But unless one is engaged in sevānanda, service of the Lord, this brahmānanda will not be sufficient to keep him in the spiritual world.
And once we understand Kṛṣṇa, our life is successful. Janma karma me divyaṁ yo jānāti tattvataḥ. Anyone who understands Kṛṣṇa in truth, his life is perfect. Tyaktvā dehaṁ punar janma naiti (BG 4.9). The perfection of life is that after giving up this body, we shall not accept any more material body. That is perfection. The people do not know that. They think... People, the karmīs, they think that "If we get a nice body in the heavenly planet, that is perfection of life." Svargaloka. And the jñānīs, they think that "I am not this body; I am spirit soul. But somehow or other, if we finish my body, and merge into the Brahman effulgence, that is perfection of life." The yogis, they think that "We may keep this body, but with this body, if we can play some jugglery, magic, that is perfection of life." Sometimes we see somebody plays some jugglery, magic, little magic, not very nice magic... One cannot show greater magic than Kṛṣṇa, because Kṛṣṇa, when He was seven years old, He lifted the Govardhana Hill with little finger. So who can show this magic? There are so many imitation Gods, but if I ask him that "You just lift this one hundred kilo burden with your finger," it will be very difficult for him. You see.
Spontaneous means when we shall rise to the platform that "Here is a service for Kṛṣṇa. Let me do it." Immediately. "Let me do it." Just like Yudhiṣṭhira was advised by Kṛṣṇa that "You just go to Dronācārya and speak him lie that his son is dead." Yudhiṣṭhira hesitated: "Oh, how can I speak lie? I never done it in my life." This is karma-kāṇḍīya vicāra. This is karma-kāṇḍīya vicāra. He is, he is looking after his own benefit. Karma-kāṇḍa vicāra means I do something and I profit and I enjoy it. I do some sacrifices, I become elevated to the heavenly planet, and I enjoy life. This is karma-kāṇḍa. And jñāna-kāṇḍa means that this world is false: brahma satyaṁ jagan mithyā; therefore let me merge into the Brahman effulgence. Nirbheda brahmānusandhana. This is jñāna-kāṇḍa. Nirbheda brahmānusandhana. But bhakti means jñāna-karmādy-anāvṛtam (CC Madhya 19.167). One must be free from this karma-kāṇḍīya vicāra and jñāna-kāṇḍa vicāra. Must be pure devotee. What is that? Ānukūlyena kṛṣṇānu-śīlanam. Simply to carry out.
But people are enamored by this material life to have high parentage, janmaiśvarya-śruta-śrī (SB 1.8.26). They are enamored by these things. "I must have birth in high family, in brāhmaṇa family, in king's family, in heavenly planet, in demigod's family." They think this is life. But a devotee knows, "No, this is not life." For devotee... Vidhi-mahendrādiś ca kīṭāyate. What to speak of this rich family or that family or brāhmaṇa family? Vidhi-mahendrādiś ca kīṭāyate. Even vidhi... Vidhi means Lord Brahma, and mahendra means Lord Indra. They are also considered, "What? They are insects, a pāpa living entity, just like ordinary insects." That is the position. The devotee is richest. Just like somebody... We were discussing. Somebody was speaking about me that "You are richest." Yes, I am richest. Why not richest? Because a devotee does not care liberation. Kaivalyaṁ narakāyate. The jñānīs are after merging into the Brahman effulgence. A devotee thinks, "What is this Brahman effulgence?" Narakāyate tri-daśa-pūr ākāśa-puṣpāyate. And the heavenly planet, that is phantasmagoria. What is this? Durdāntendriya-kāla-sarpa-paṭalī protkhāta-daṁṣṭrāyate. And the yogis, they are trying to subjugate the indriyas. But for devotees, although the indriyas are just like serpent, the poison teeth have been taken away.
This verse was written by one of your South Indian devotee of Lord Caitanya, Prabodhānanda Sarasvatī. So he, I mean to say, realized, yat-kāruṇya-kaṭākṣa-vaibhavavatāṁ taṁ gauram eva stumaḥ: "By the mercy of Lord Caitanya I have achieved this success." Kaivalyaṁ narakāyate tri-daśa-pūr ākāśa-puṣpāyate (Caitanya-candrāmṛta 5).
So actually devotee is the richest because they don't care even for yoga-siddhi or heavenly planet or merging into the Brahman effulgence or become very rich and a brāhmaṇa, or... No. They don't want. Caitanya Mahāprabhu says, "No."
- na dhanaṁ na janaṁ na sundarīṁ
- kavitāṁ vā jagadīśa kāmaye
- mama janmani janmanīśvare
- bhavatād bhaktir ahaitukī tvayi
(Cc. Antya 20.29, Śikṣāṣṭaka 4)
This is devotee. This is pure devotion. They don't want anything. Therefore they are śāntaḥ. If you want śāntaḥ, then you stop demanding, "I want this, I want this, I want this, I want this." So long you'll want, you are in need, how there can be santaḥ? There is no possibility. Bhukti-mukti-siddhi-kāmī sakali aśānta. Everyone... Bhukti means karmī, and mukti means jñānī, and siddhi means yogi. They are wanting something. So they cannot be śāntaḥ. Kṛṣṇa-bhakta niṣkāma ataeva śāntaḥ (CC Madhya 19.149). Kṛṣṇa-bhakta doesn't want anything. Kṛṣṇa... Kṛṣṇa-bhakta even does not want Kṛṣṇa even. He wants only Kṛṣṇa's service. That's all. "Why I shall bother Kṛṣṇa? Kṛṣṇa is busy in His own business. Let Him dance with the gopīs. I shall simply serve Him. That's all. Why shall I want Kṛṣṇa? Why shall I disturb Him?" This is devotion.
Our philosophy is go back to home, back to Godhead. Not in the spiritual sky. Paravyoma. Spiritual sky, there is chance of falling down. Why chance? It is sure. Those who are merging into the Brahman effulgence, the śāstra says that they again fall down. Āruhya kṛcchreṇa paraṁ padaṁ tataḥ patanty adhaḥ (SB 10.2.32). Āruhya kṛcchreṇa. They, jñānīs, they undergo severe austerities, penances to merge into the existence of impersonal Brahman. But they fall down again. They fall down again because they have no shelter. Anādhṛta-yuṣmad-aṅghrayaḥ. As, as in this sky, there are many planets. You can go with high speed to the Moon planet or Venus planet. But if you have no shelter to stay there, you come back again on this earthly planet, that is practically experienced, similarly you may merge into the Brahman effulgence. Just like our plane goes very high and, at a certain point, we see it is invisible, merged. Actually, it is not merged. Our eyes cannot see any more. They take it as merge.
Mukti, she'll stand with folded hands, "My dear sir, what can I do for you?" This is the position of bhakta. One, if one becomes bhakta, then mukti becomes her maidservant. Why shall I ask for mukti? Mukti is nothing. Kaivalyaṁ narakāyate. What is the mukti? It is as good as hell. Mukti means to merge into the Brahman effulgence, but there is no service of Kṛṣṇa. It is simply merging, to become one. Just like sunshine, and if you are put into the sunshine, what benefit do you get? Simply to have scorching heat on, that's all. What benefit would you get? And mukti is like that. That is light. Sunshine is light. Similarly from darkness, if I go to the light and don't get any shelter, anywhere, simply I remain in that sunshine, what benefit do I get?
Everything is resting on me, but it is not that I am there. So this philosophy, so devotional service is not only mixing, but to remain steady, engaged. The same example. The rivers, that is superficial, you..., we are seeing the ocean superficially. There is no varieties, simply water, simply water, simply water. But if you go deep into the water, there are so many varieties, so many varieties. Similarly, simply entering, merging to the Brahman effulgence, brahmajyoti, that is not secure position. The secure position is within the brahmajyoti. That is explained in the Īśopaniṣad. Within the brahmajyoti there are planets, Vaikuṇṭha planets. So you have to take shelter in one of the planets. Just like the fish, the comparison of the fish, the shark fish. He has taken shelter of the ocean. Therefore the, for him there is no evaporation. The water, although it is also sea water, that, that is subjected to be evaporated. So simply by entering into the Brahman effulgence is not safe.
So that is the beginning of human life—religion, dharma. Then generally, because we are in the bodily concept of life, therefore economic development: "I want money. I want comfortable position, comfortable situation, so that I can eat, drink, sleep nicely." This is called economic development. So dharma, artha... Then why I don't, why I want economic development? Now kāma. Because I have got my senses, I have to gratify it. I'll gratify my senses. When my children grow up, I also give them chance to gratify their senses. Yan maithunādi-gṛhamedhi-sukhaṁ hi tuccham (SB 7.9.45). So we think by sense gratification we shall be happy. That is called kāma. And when we are dissatisfied or frustrated by this process of sense gratification, economic development, then we give up. Brahmā satyaṁ jagan mithyā: "This is all false. Now I shall merge into Brahman." This mokṣa. But Bhāgavata says this is not life. This is not life. What is that verse? Dharmasya... Dharmaikāntasya.
Kṛṣṇa should be thought favorably. Ānukūlyena kṛṣṇānuśīlanam. Na prātikūlyena. No. You cannot think of Kṛṣṇa and commit sinful life at the same time. That is prātikūla. Kṛṣṇa does not want that you shall remain sinful, because you cannot approach Kṛṣṇa without being free from sinful activities. Yeṣām anta-gataṁ pāpam. Kṛṣṇa is pavitra, paramam. Apāpa-viddham. These are the description. Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Pure. You cannot approach the Supreme Pure being sinful and make Kṛṣṇa your order-supplier, that you go on committing sinful life and Kṛṣṇa will wash it. Kṛṣṇa washes it—once, twice, thrice. But if you consciously go on, continue the sinful life, then you'll have to be punished. So we should not think pervertedly, like Rāvaṇa and Kaṁsa. Kaṁsa was always absorbed in thinking of Kṛṣṇa. Also he got salvation. But not as associate, but he merged into the Brahman effulgence.
We should not take either to karma, karma-kāṇḍa, fruitive activities for elevating to the heavenly planets; jñāna-kāṇḍa, for stopping birth and death and merge into the impersonal Brahman... That is jñāna-kāṇḍa. So karma-kāṇḍa jñāna-kāṇḍa. Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura says everything is viṣa bhāṇḍa, the poison pot. Why poison pot? Karma-kāṇḍa amṛta yeba baliyā khāya. If we drink poison pot, thinking it as nectar, then the result will be that we have to accept another body and we have to be under the tribulation of material nature. And sometimes we get the body of the King of Heaven, and sometimes we get the body of a hog for eating stool. This is going on. Nānā yoni brahman kare. We have to wander in different species of life and we have to eat all abominable things. Tāra janma adhah-pāte yāya.
Dharmārtha-kāma-mokṣa (SB 4.8.41). There are, people are generally after four principles of happiness: being religious, being economically developed, being very good candidate for satisfying senses, and when one is frustrated to derive any happiness from these three principles, he wants liberation, nirbheda-brahmānu-sandhana. That is also not actual happiness, because, as I was explaining this morning, that even one merges into the Brahman effulgence after severe penances and austerity, there is chance of falling down. There is chance. Āruhya kṛcchreṇa paraṁ padaṁ tataḥ patanti (SB 10.2.32). Paraṁ pada is to merge into the Brahman effulgence existence. But from there also, one falls down, as I was giving the example of many big sannyāsīs in the modern age. They are very learned scholar. They took to sannyāsa, giving up this world as false, but again, after some time, they come to politics, sociology. That means that is their falldown.
Sri Caitanya-caritamrta Lectures
Prabodhānanda Sarasvatī, he has made one poetry, kaivalyaṁ narakāyate. Kaivalya means to merge into the Brahman existence—no difference, oneness. That is called kaivalya. So for a Vaiṣṇava the kaivalya is as good as the hell. Prabhodānanda Sarasvatī said, kaivalyaṁ narakāyate. This kaivalya.... No Vaiṣṇava will say, "Now I am going to merge into the existence," no, because they hate it as hell. Kaivalyam narakāyate. Then? Heavenly planets? Tridaśa-pūr ākāśa-puṣpāyate. Tridaśa-pūr means the heaven, where so many millions of demigods live. They consider, Vaiṣṇava consider as ākāśa-puṣpa, will o' the wisp, phantasmagoria. It has no value. Ākāśa-puṣpāyate. That means karmī, jñānīs. Jñānīs, they are after liberation, merging into the existence, Brahman existence, kaivalya. The Vaiṣṇava thinks, "Oh, this achievement is as good as one who goes to the hell." Then? Heavenly planet? Karmīs? They might have pious activities. They want to go to the heavenly planet. So Vaiṣṇava says that "What is this heavenly planet? It is phantasmagoria. It has no..." Actually it is so. Then yogi? The yogi's main business is to control the senses. That is real yoga.
So if you want to merge into the Brahman effulgence, it is not difficult, because you are a small particle of spiritual identity. If you don't want your individuality, you can stay in the Brahman effulgence. That is not very difficult for Kṛṣṇa, if you want to merge into the Brahman effulgence. But what is the profit? There is no profit. Suppose if you are placed in the sky, in the sunshine, and if somebody asks, "Now, you remain in the sky," would you agree? Huh? Will anyone agree that "Let me remain in the sky as a small particle of the sunshine"? No. You can agree out of some sentiment, but you cannot stay there. That is not possible. Therefore, those who merge into the existence of Brahman, impersonal Brahman, they again fall down. Just like they are going moon excursion, Mars excursion. "Stay there." They cannot stay. Because, actually, whether they are going or not—that's another thing—but there is no staying place. Simply rotating in the sky is not very pleasant thing. We have got experience in the airplane. If we go five or six hours in the planes, we become suffocated. So it is not possible. Therefore those who merge into the Brahman effulgence, they again fall down, because they have no engagement in Kṛṣṇa's business. They never cultivated such knowledge.
Anyone who understands about the appearance and disappearance of God or His incarnation, simply by understanding this, one is liberated. And that person who understands, after quitting this material body, no more he comes here, but he goes back to Godhead to become one of His associates. Such persons who knows about the incarnations, they are not impersonalists. Therefore they do not merge in the impersonal Brahman feature, but they go to the different spiritual planets.
So viṣṇos tu trīṇi rūpāṇi: "That Viṣṇu, for the creation of this material world, takes into three forms, trīṇi rūpāṇi." Viṣṇos tu trīṇi rūpāṇi purusākhyāny atho viduḥ: "And all of them are known as puruṣāvatāras." Mahā-Viṣṇu puruṣāvatāra, Garbhodakaśāyī Viṣṇu puruṣāvatāra and Kṣīrodakaśāyī Viṣṇu puruṣāvatāra. They are called puruṣāvatāra. Ekaṁ tu mahataḥ sraṣṭṛ: "And the first puruṣāvatāra, who is called Mahā-Viṣṇu, He creates the material ingredients, which is called mahat-tattva." Everything requires ingredients.
Sri Isopanisad Lectures
The demons who are killed by Kṛṣṇa, they are immediately transferred to this Brahman effulgence. So just imagine, the place which is given to the enemies of Kṛṣṇa, is that very covetable thing? Suppose if somebody comes who is my enemy, I give him some place, and somebody, my intimate friend, I give him some other place. Similarly, this Brahman effulgence is not at all covetable. Therefore Prabodhānanda Sarasvatīpāda, he has composed a verse, that Brahman... Kaivalyaṁ narakāyate. Kaivalya means the Brahman effulgence, simply spiritual light. So kaivalyaṁ narakāyate. He says that this Brahman effulgence is just like hell. For a devotee, this Brahman... The jñānīs who are trying to merge into the Brahman effulgence, for devotee it is stated as hell. Kaivalyaṁ narakāyate. Tri-daśa-pūr ākāśa-puṣpāyate (Caitanya-candrāmṛta 5). And tri-daśa-pūr means the planets of the demigods within this material world. People are very much anxious to go into the heavenly planet. That is called tri-daśa-pūr or tri-daśa-pūr, the residential quarters of the demigods. And for a devotee it is understood as will-o'-the-wisp, ākāśa-puṣpāyate. And durdāntendriya-kāla-sarpa-paṭalī protkhāta-daṁṣṭrāyate. And the yogis, they are trying to control the senses, which are considered as venomous serpents, the senses. That's a fact.
So it is to be concluded, therefore, that this tridaṇḍī sannyāsīn order is coming down since a time long, long years ago. And within five hundred years of time Lord Caitanya adopted this order of life. And in the latest years His Divine Grace Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Thakur Prabhupāda adopted it personally and made many of his disciples tridaṇḍī sannyāsīs. We are also following his footsteps, and the purport of this mantra is that the ekadaṇḍī sannyāsī is devoid of paramaṁ niṣṭha, which is explained above. In other words, impersonalists cannot have any faith in the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and they prefer to merge into the impersonal Brahman effulgence. In the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam we do not find any mention of ekadaṇḍa sannyāsa. This tridaṇḍa sannyāsa is accepted, therefore, as standard. Lord Caitanya accepts Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam as the supreme authority. Under the circumstances, persons who accept Lord Caitanya as ekadaṇḍī sannyāsī are mistaken. So following the footsteps of Lord Caitanya, still the tridaṇḍī sannyāsīs are in existence, keeping the sacred thread and śikhā intact, distinct from the Māyāvādī ekadaṇḍī sannyāsīs, who give up the sacred thread and śikhā.
So, Caitanya Mahāprabhu's proposal is: by the mercy of sādhu, holy man, or saintly person, or devotee... Who is a sādhu? We know this term sādhu. Sādhu means saintly person. But actually there are different kinds of sādhus. Generally people accept a sādhu when he is dressed with the saffron garment, but there are different types of sādhus, mahātmā. Some of them may be jñānīs who wants to merge into the Brahman effulgence. And another sādhu may be yogis, those who are trying to—the same ambition—to merge into the supreme by finding out in the heart. Yoginaḥ, paśyanti yaṁ yoginaḥ. Dhyānāvasthita-manasā, by meditation, meditative mind, dhyānāvasthita-manasā dhiyāṁ paśyanti yaṁ yoginaḥ. Yoginaḥ, they are trying to see the Supreme Personality of Godhead by meditative mind. That is yogi, and he is also sādhu. And bhaktas. Just like we have taken the path of devotional service to serve Kṛṣṇa at any cost. We don't think anything greater than the service of the Lord. That is the bhakta's position. Ānukūlyena kṛṣṇānuśīlanam (CC Madhya 19.167), that is bhakti.
This is called māyā. Actually we are not enjoying; we are serving. Suppose I become president of a certain state. What is my position? My position is to serve the country there. But I am thinking, "Now I am president." Similarly, in family life the head of the family, he's thinking that he's master, but actually he's serving his wife, his children, his servant. So our actual position is servitude. We serve. Either I become president or minister or head of the family, head of the community, society—whatever I may be, my position is servant, but I'm thinking that I have become master. This is called illusion. And sometimes when I become exasperated by becoming such master, false master, I give up this world. I say brahma satyaṁ jagan mithyā, "This world is false. Now I shall become Brahman, the Supreme Brahman. I shall merge into Brahman." This is... Just like the grapes are sour. The jackal and the orchard... You have knowledge of this story. This jackal wanted to capture the grapes, and when he could not capture, he gives it up: "Oh, the grapes are sour. It is no use." Similarly, first of all we try to become master—master of family, master of society, master of community, master of nation, master of international figure—and when you're baffled, then you give up this world. So-called give up.
But that is not the fact. You can make an experiment that you take a little red water and put it in the ocean. The ocean does not become red. So chemically also, the water, they are composition of molecules of water. But it is mixed with water. That is a fact, but there is another process which evaporates the water. Suppose you are mixed with the water. The Māyāvādī philosophy, that "We... Let us mix with the big water. Then I become big..." Because here in the material world he tried to become big in so many ways but he could not become big, therefore he wants to merge into the biggest, Brahman, so that he thinks that he will become... He is already Brahman. So the Brahman effulgence is combination of so many sparks of living entities.
So this philosophy, to merge into the big Brahman, Supreme Brahman, or effulgence, brahmajyoti, that is not very secure position. It is said in the śāstra that āruhya kṛcchreṇa paraṁ padaṁ tataḥ patanty adhaḥ: (SB 10.2.32) they fall down. We have seen that many Māyāvādī philosophers or sannyāsīs, they give up this world as mithyā, false, but after some time, they again come to this false material world for some philanthropic work, humanitarian work, because they could not get Kṛṣṇa.
Prabhupāda: Yes, the denial, both the... There are two kinds of sects: this Māyāvādī and the Vaiṣṇava. So both of them know that this material world is flickering, and sometimes they say it is false, unreal. So there is another life; that is spiritual world. So the Māyāvādī philosopher, their spiritual life means to merge into the Brahman effulgence, and the Vaiṣṇava philosopher to go back to Goloka Vṛndāvana, Vaikuṇṭha, where God is situated, and become His associate person. So both the ideas, spiritual ideas, that is attained after death. What does he say that is good about Hindus? He says that denial...
Hayagrīva: He sees it basically as a denial of the will.
Prabhupāda: Yes, but denial of the will for material happiness. So we will not deny willing, that willing for spiritual happiness. That is required. As you deny something, you must accept something; otherwise... You cannot remain in the neutral position. That is not possible. Paraṁ dṛṣṭvā nirvatanta. When you get a better position, then you give up this willing for lower position.
Purports to Songs
Of course, the last incarnation, Kalki, will simply kill. Long, long after, He will come. But here Lord Caitanya, His mission is no killing, simply favoring. That is the specific characteristic of Lord Caitanya. Because in this age, of course, there is very much prominence of irreligiosity. But if Lord Caitanya wanted to kill them, then there was no question of their salvation. They would be... Of course, anyone who is killed by incarnation he also gets salvation. But not to the spiritual planets, but they merge into the Brahman effulgence as the impersonalists desire. In other words, the impersonalist's goal of salvation is as good as the goal of salvation of the enemies of God. That is not a very difficult job. So Lord Caitanya is very merciful because He is embracing everyone by bestowing love of Kṛṣṇa. Rūpa Gosvāmī has described Lord Caitanya as the most munificent of all the incarnations because He is giving Kṛṣṇa to everyone, without any qualification. So Locana dāsa Ṭhākura says that parama koruṇa, pahū dui jana, nitāi gauracandra, that They are essence of all incarnation.
Conversations and Morning Walks
1973 Conversations and Morning Walks
Prabhupāda: Otherwise, there are so many religions, pseudo religions. They have been described in the Bhāgavata as kaitava. And Śrīdhara Svāmī gives his comments on this kaitava: chala-dharma. Chala-dharma means cheating. And he says particularly, mokṣa-vāñchāpi nirastam. That desire of merging into the Brahman effulgence, that is called mokṣa. Dharma-artha-kāma-mokṣa (SB 4.8.41, Cc. Ādi 1.90). Generally, people understand these four principles: religiosity, economic development, sense gratification and then merge into the effulgence, mokṣa, liberation. So Śrīdhara Svāmī says, up to mokṣa-vāñchā is cheating, kaitava. Up to mokṣa-vāñchā. Mokṣa-vāñchāpy atra nirastam, kevala bhagavad-upāsanā. That is dharma. That is real dharma. Bhagavad-upāsanā. So we are teaching that religion, bhagavad-upāsanā. Simply. We have no such ambition, to be elevated to the heavenly planet or to merge into the Brahman effulgence. No. We can live anywhere, even in the hell. It doesn't matter. But our worship of Kṛṣṇa shall continue. This is our religion. So we are not ambitious to go to heaven or higher planetary system or higher standard of life. We have no such ambition. We simply want Kṛṣṇa and worship Him, that's all. Never mind where it is. This is real dharma.
1974 Conversations and Morning Walks
Prabhupāda: Karma-kāṇḍa. There are three kāṇḍas: karma-kāṇḍa, jñāna-kāṇḍa and upāsanā-kāṇḍa. So upāsanā-kāṇḍa is bhakti. So instead of accepting this upāsanā-kāṇḍa, worshiping the Supreme, sarva-dharmān parityajya (BG 18.66), if one takes to the other processes, karma-kāṇḍa, jñāna-kāṇḍa, they are viṣera bhāṇḍa, they're all poison pots. The result is, if they take to that path, then their, this transmigration of the soul, will continue, and they'll have to eat all nasty things. Because this time you may be human being. And next time you may be hog. So this is karma-kāṇḍa jñāna-kāṇḍa kevala viṣera bhāṇḍa, the all poison pots. Simply bhakti-kāṇḍa, we have to take. Otherwise our life is at risk. The jñāna-kāṇḍa is also not safe, because their ultimate goal of jñāna-kāṇḍa is to merge into Brahman. But there, they cannot stay. Because in Brahman simply it is eternal life, eternity, but there is no ānanda. but we are seeking ānanda. In the Brahman... Suppose if you are asked that "You will eternally live in this land, will you like that? You'll never die. You'll live eternally, but nobody will come here.
Prabhupāda: So one day, she was carrying that load of fuel. It fell down. So nobody was there to help him. So she began to cry, "Who will help me?" So she began to pray to God "Kindly help me." And God came: "What do you want?" "Who are you, Sir?" "I am God." "Kindly help me to take this burden on my head." Yes. "All right." From God, she's asking, "Please help me to get this burden on my head." That's all. So everyone is going on, "Let family be very happy, my son be married. He may... Let him pass MA examination." But it is the same thing, "Give me the burden on my head." This is the prayer. Mūḍhāḥ. Na māṁ prapadyante mūḍhāḥ (BG 7.15). The life was meant for understanding Kṛṣṇa and worship Him, and he's asking, "Give me the burden on my head." Therefore mūḍha, rascal, fool. He's asking something which will never make him happy, even by merging into the effulgence, Brahman effulgence. It will never make him happy. But he does not know. Therefore he's mūḍha, rascal.
Prabhupāda: They are performing different ritualistic ceremonies for being promoted to the heavenly planet, like that. So they are all karmīs. Either in this world or in the next world, they are called karmīs. So karmī means they want comfort of this body. And the yogis, they are also on the concept of this body. They are identifying this body as designated Brahman, upādhi-brahma, "Brahman with designation." But their central point is this body. That... This bodily concept of life, so long it continues in the form of karma-yogī or dhyāna-yogī, it can give him relief from the cycle of birth and death and merge into the Brahman effulgence. Brahma-sāyujya-mukti, this is called, technically. The jñānīs also. But that is not final. There is still farther. Even there is brahma-sārūpya-mukti, brahma-sālokya-mukti, brahma-sarṣṭi-mukti. So generally, the yogis and the jñānīs, they aim at brahma-sāyujya-mukti, to merge into the Brahman effulgence. But that is not final. Final is bhakti-yoga. After advancing, if the yogi gets the chance of associating with pure devotee and he engages himself in the transcendental loving service of the Lord, that is final perfection.
1975 Conversations and Morning Walks
Prabhupāda: Everything exists. For the time being, he may merge; then again he'll come to enjoy this material body. Āruhya kṛccheṇa paraṁ padaṁ tataḥ patanty adhaḥ. Patanty adhaḥ. Even they become merged into the existence of Brahman, again they come back because there is no āśraya. Just like these air, airplanes or the jets. They have invented very good machine, eighteen thousand miles per hour, going very high, but there is no place. They come down again. That is a fact. What is the use of going so high, eighteen thousand miles per hour, and travel and then again come back. Why do you take unnecessary trouble if you cannot stay there? You migrated from Europe and other countries to America. You got shelter. You stayed there. That colonization was successful. But if you are going to colonize in the moon and there is no place to stay, then why you are spending so much money unnecessarily? What is this foolishness? And they have stopped now. So in this way they are trying to merge into the Brahman effulgence, but where to stay? They can stay in the Brahman effulgence as minute particle of soul, but the soul wants ananda, then again—"It was better to live in the material world." They come back again. That is statement of the śāstra.
Madhudviṣa: What is the difference between an impersonalist and a Māyāvādī?
Prabhupāda: Very little difference, but still, there is difference.
Trivikrama: Māyāvādīs are offenders.
Prabhupāda: Māyāvādīs means they are speaking that "Everything is māyā; Kṛṣṇa is also māyā." And impersonalist means they are thinking that "To merge into the Brahman effulgence is better than to keep our personal identity."
Satsvarūpa: Śrīla Prabhupāda, this Professor Dimmock was going to arrange a Vaiṣṇava conference at which we were going to attend. You yourself was going to be invited with many professors, but I received a report from one of the professors that when they tried to contact other professors, none of them wanted to come because they said, more or less, that we are like fanatics and we wouldn't actually discuss things in a philosophic way, that we would just use the conference to proselytize. So in this way, they're rejecting us from...
Prabhupāda: What is the harm? Let them reject.
Satsvarūpa: We don't need them.
Prabhupāda: Our business will go on, and there will be many professor Dimmocks who will support us. And they are doing that.
Prabhupāda: Senses are there. It is purified. Sarvopādhi-vinirmuktaṁ tat-paratvena nirmalam (CC Madhya 19.170). The bhakti process is completely, complete process to purify you. Other process are not. Karma, jñāna, yoga cannot purify you cent percent, but bhakti process can purify you cent percent.
Harikeśa: Śrīla Prabhupāda, what's the difference between a Brahmavādī and a Māyāvādī?
Prabhupāda: That you already questioned. We answered.
Harikeśa: I did?
Prabhupāda: Yes. (break) ...vādī means those who are aspiring to merge into the impersonal Brahman effulgence.
Harikeśa: And Māyāvādīs, they do not attain that impersonal realization?
Prabhupāda: Māyāvādīs remain fools forever.
Harikeśa: They never leave this material platform.
Prabhupāda: They do not know. They have no knowledge. Aviśuddha-buddhayaḥ (SB 10.2.32), always impure. Otherwise how they are thinking, so 'ham: "I am same. I am God. I am moving the sun, I am..." Such rascals, they remain always in ignorance. (break) ...no sense that "If I am the same, then why I have fallen down in this māyā?" They say, "It is my līlā. I have become dog. So it is my līlā. I have become hog. It is my līlā." (laughs) This is their philosophy.
1976 Conversations and Morning Walks
Prabhupāda: So he is given the chance, "All right, go to the material world and become a master." But that is a falldown. So he's trying struggle for existence, and everyone is trying to become master. Even one is in this spiritual knowledge that "I am spirit soul," still he's trying to become master. That is Māyāvāda. They have understood that "I am not this body, ahaṁ brahmāsmi, but I am the supreme Brahman." The same disease is there—master. Therefore they are condemned, arūhya kṛcchreṇa paraṁ padam tataḥ (SB 10.2.32). Because the mentality to remain master is continuing, even they are in the Brahman, merge into the Brahman, the mastership mentality is there; therefore he falls down again. Because mastership exhibition can be done in this material world. So many Māyāvādī sannyāsīs, they give up, "This world is false," and they merge, so-called merge, but the mastership mentality is there. But in the void, simply spiritual light, he cannot do any mastership; therefore again falls down in this false world, and he wants to be by becoming a leader of hospital, and school, college, a Christian missionary. And our Vivekananda also imitated that.
Prabhupāda: If there is rock, if there is sand, then why don't you colonise there? What is their answer? If there is same sand, same rock there, then why not... (break) ...some money and can bring some sand and bluff people that you have gone to moon planet. And people are satisfied, they're paying for another excursion to the Mars. This is going on. If you have gone there, there is land. If you fly in the sky and if you get a land then you can stay there. And because you cannot stay there, you come back again. So their... The Māyāvādīs position is there, āruhya kṛcchreṇa param, they merge into the impersonal Brahman but there is no place to stay, they come down again to this material world. You may go many thousands and millions of miles in the sky but you want to stay somewhere. But if you cannot get any place to stay then again you come to this Moscow and New York. So our enquiry is that if you have gone there, then why don't you stay there?
Prabhupāda: Even it is properly done. Karma-kāṇḍa, by performing ritualistic ceremonies of karma-kāṇḍa, you can go to the heavenly planet. But what is the benefit there? You can enjoy there materialistic way of life in higher standard. That's all. You can live for a very, very long duration of period. But that does not mean that you become immortal. The demigods, they are called amara. Amara means they have got very long duration of life. Does not mean he is immortal. So by karma-kāṇḍa you can elevate yourself to the higher planetary system. Even it is properly done... And now it is not possible to do it properly. And even it is properly done, that is condemned. It is not required. Similarly jñāna-kāṇḍa. Even it is properly done... You can merge yourself into the Brahman effulgence. But that is also not safe because in the śāstra we see that arūhya kṛcchreṇa paraṁ padaṁ tataḥ patanty adhaḥ (SB 10.2.32). Even one merges oneself into the impersonal Brahman, he again falls down. Patanty adhaḥ.
Prabhupāda: Limited period, no. Because he cannot remain there. Just like if you go in the sky you cannot remain in the sky. If you don't get any shelter you have to come again. They are going to, trying to go to the other planets, but because they cannot, they come back again. Similarly, you are living entity, you want enjoyment. So what enjoyment you will have in the sky? You require society, friends, love, everything. So these impersonalists, their mokṣa is temporary because they think by merging into the impersonal Brahman I shall be happy. But that he cannot. Āruhya kṛcchreṇa paraṁ padaṁ tataḥ patanty adhaḥ (SB 10.2.32). Although they go to the impersonal Brahman, but there is no ānanda. The living entity is seeking after ānanda-mayo 'bhyāsāt. By nature he is seeking ānanda. So you do not get any ānanda.
Prabhupāda: o out of these four classes of men, the three classes means karmī, jñānī and yogi, they are restless. Because they actually did not find out what is the solution. One after another, there are different classes, there are classification. One is better than the other. That is another thing. But none of them... They are still misled. A karmī, he is thinking that "I am poor man. If I become rich man, I will be happy." He is thinking in that way. Jñānī is thinking that "Poor and rich doesn't matter. I am Brahman. I am spirit soul. If I merge into the Supreme Brahman I will be happy." Yogi is thinking that "The Absolute is present everywhere in His personal feature. Īśvaraḥ sarva-bhūtānāṁ hṛd-deśe arjuna tiṣṭhati (BG 18.61). So if I become one with Him, I will be happy." But still there is a demand, "If I become like this." So so long he is not self-realized, he will try to become something and so long he'll try to become something, then there will be restlessness. There cannot be happiness.
My point is one God. Ultimately you want to merge in the formless, or you want some material facilities, or you want to serve Krishna as His personal associate. Never mind, whatever you want, you worship one God, Krishna, and not bothering with the ultimate gain. The ultimate gain can be achieved as one desires. Krishna is all powerful, so if somebody wants material gain from Krishna, it is not difficult for Him to award such benediction. Similarly, if anyone wants to merge in the Impersonal Brahman effulgence, formless, He can also award the facility. In the same way, if anyone wants to associate with Krishna in five transcendental relationships, he can award also that facility. So, my point is, that whatever you want at the end, that doesn't matter, but you worship Krishna, and He will award whatever you desire. One God, Krishna, means that let everyone come to one God, Krishna, and be engaged in Krishna Consciousness, and the award will be as the devotee desires.
Akama means the devotees, sarvakama means the fruitive workers or Karmis, and Moksakama means the salvationist who wants to merge in the formless Brahman. So there are three classes of men and all are recommended to worship the Supreme Person Krishna with great energy of devotional service. So we invite everyone to join this movement, accepting Krishna as the tangible God for all practical purposes, and the worship of God is made easy by chanting the Mantra Hare Krishna, which is accepted even in far Western countries. You will be pleased to know that Hare Krishna Mantra is being chanted not only in America, but also in Europe by my record albums, and followers. I have got already invitations from many parts of Europe and they are appreciating my movement. Nobody feels reluctance in joining the chanting of Hare Krishna Mantra. Your good self also believes in the Mantra and certainly in Krishna as God.
The impersonalist who prefers to merge with the Brahman effulgence has no shelter at the lotus feet of Krishna. Therefore such impersonalist even though raised to the Brahman platform come down again to the material world for pleasure's sake. In India you will find many sannyasis who merge into the Brahma effulgence, but without any pleasure there, they come down to the platform of material activities of opening schools and hospitals—Daridra Narayana, etc. Such men with poor fund of knowledge do not know that in the material world however you try to arrange things very right, it will always fail. But in the spiritual world the spiritual varieties displayed by Krishna along with his associates gives eternal pleasure. That is wanted. The Brahma effulgence, there the pleasure is temporary.