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Prabhupada, in this Vedic verse, tat tvam asi, is this where the Mayavadis, have begin their impersonal philosophy, "Thou art that," or...?

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"Prabhupada, in this Vedic verse, tat tvam asi, is this where the Mayavadis, have begin their impersonal philosophy" |"Thou art that"


Bhagavad-gita As It Is Lectures

Yes. We also. We cannot deny the Vedic version. Tat tvam asi is a Vedic version. So either you are Māyāvādī or Vaiṣṇava, you cannot deny it.
Lecture on BG 4.7-10 -- Los Angeles, January 6, 1969:

Madhudviṣa: Prabhupāda, in this Vedic verse, tat tvam asi, is this where the Māyāvādīs, have begin their impersonal philosophy, "Thou art that," or...?

Prabhupāda: Yes. We also. We cannot deny the Vedic version. Tat tvam asi is a Vedic version. So either you are Māyāvādī or Vaiṣṇava, you cannot deny it.

Just like two lawyers are arguing in the court. The medium is the law court. So neither of them can deny the law court, but one has to establish his convictions by argument, by logic. So similarly, tat tvam asi is the code of Vedic principle or Vedas, "You are that." Tat tvam asi. Tat means that supreme spirit. "You are." So our philosophy, Vaiṣṇava philosophy, we begin from this point. As Kṛṣṇa began Bhagavad-gītā from the point that "You are not this body," we begin from this version, tat tvam asi. Tat tvam asi. "You are not this." That means "What I am?" Then I must be something; otherwise what is my identity? That reply is your identity is that "You are as good as God." That means you are qualitatively the same. Tat tvam asi. Qualitatively you are...

The mistake of the Māyāvāda philosophy is that "You are the same." You are the same in which way? I am the same in quality, not in quantity. Just like if I say, "You are as good as President Nixon," there is nothing wrong because you are American, he is American. Is there anything wrong? From the point of view, American citizenship, you are as good as President Nixon. But when you go deep into the matter, you will find, oh, you are far, far away from President Nixon. Similarly, we are identifying ourself with this matter, but Vedas says that "You are not matter. You are supreme spirit soul." Not supreme, "You are spirit soul."

That understanding is tat tvam asi. You have to understand ahaṁ brahmāsmi: "I am Brahman. I am not matter." Our disease is that I am identifying with this matter, "I am this material body," which is foreign to me. This is the beginning of Bhagavad-gītā instruction, that "You are not this body."Tat tvam asi: "You are spirit soul." So we also have to accept. We are accepting that "I am not this body; I am spirit soul." But my constitutional position is part and parcel of the supreme whole. So just like the gold mine and a small particle of gold. That small particle of gold is also gold. But that does not mean it has the same value as the gold mine. Tat tvam asi. Just like a drop of sea water. Chemical composition is the same. Salty taste is the same.

Similarly, if you can understand yourself, then you can understand even God. If you study yourself, that "Although I am very small..." What to speak of myself? Even a small ant, it has got individuality. A ant is going on. You stop it. It will struggle. That means it wants to keep its individuality. Therefore, if you are the same, then God is also individual. He is not impersonal. Immediately you can understand. How you can...? I have got so much... I am so small, tiny; still, I have got my individuality, personality, and how God can be impersonal? Even a common sense man can understand.

If I have got tendency to love nice girls and dance with her, or a girl—everyone is individual—why God shall not be? He must have that tendency. Otherwise wherefrom this tendency comes? Because I am part and parcel of God, unless the tendency is there, wherefrom I get this tendency? So if you simply try to understand the tat tvam asi, you can immediately understand your position and God. It is so nice.

So ānanda-mayo 'bhyāsāt. Ānanda-mayo 'bhyāsāt. The Vedic version says, Vedānta, that "A spirit soul is by nature joyful." Therefore—we are spirit soul—we are hankering after joy, where there is dance, where there is cinema, where there is nice food, where there is nice song, nice picture, nice beautiful woman or man. Everyone is searching after joy. Therefore the Supreme must be joyful. But I am conditioned. Therefore my joy is being checked up. But He is not conditioned. His joy is unlimited. He is everlastingly in enjoyment in Vṛndāvana, dancing with gopī.

So you simply study this tat tvam asi. You can understand yourself and God, if you are a philosopher, if you are thoughtful. The tat tvam asi is so nice. But if you simply become more fool, "Oh, I am God, so I have nothing to do. I have become God. I have no seeing. I have no... Yes. Meditation. That's all." This is another foolishness. Just try to understand. "You are the same." That's nice.

But why your process of enjoyment is checked? You want unchecked happiness. You do not wish to die. Why death overcomes you? We are sitting here very peacefully. If there is any information, "Oh, the ceiling is going to fall down," we shall immediately vacate this floor because we are afraid of death. That means I want eternal life, but death is there. These questions should be answered. Why I am subject to death? Why I am subjected to birth? Why I am subjected to disease, old age?

This is called brahma-jijñāsā. Athāto brahma jijñāsā. This is called inquiry, real inquiry. That is human life's inquiry. The beasts, the birds, the animals, they can(not) inquire these things. They are suffering, but they cannot inquire, "Why I am suffering?" Here is an opportunity. Here you can understand that "I am as good as God, although I am very small." Then you can prepare yourself. Tat tvam asi: "You are the same." You can also join with Kṛṣṇa and dance with Him. Why you are forgetting that? But you have to qualify yourself. You cannot dance with the dog and God at the same time. If you want to dance with the dog, then remain here. Go on perpetually dancing with the dog. But if you want to dance with God, you can prepare yourself and go there and dance with him. That is up to you because tat tvam asi: "You are the same." That, everything, is my choice, what I want to do.

In the practical life also. President Nixon is the head of your state. You can also become. But you must have the capacity. Simply by thinking that "I am President Nixon, Nixon, Nixon...," that will not do. Tat tvam asi means that, "You have got the same quality as God. Now you have to realize and you have to act. Don't misuse your life simply in animal propensity and go to dog." No. Therefore Vedic... Tamasi mā jyotir-gama: "Don't remain in the darkness. Come out to the light." Tamasi mā jyotir-gama: "Don't remain in birth and death cycle. Come to the eternal life." So everything is there. You can have eternal life, blissful life, life of knowledge.

So this Kṛṣṇa consciousness means training people for becoming fit to enter into that eternal life, blissful life. That training is meant for human being, not for animals. So you should not misuse this human form of life. Try to understand tat tvam asi, and act accordingly. That will be successful of our activities. Is that clear? Yes. You have question?