In this way, Kṛṣṇa is endowed with all opulences, transcendental qualities and mystic powers. No ordinary living being can compare to Him. Therefore, the Māyāvādīs’ theory that the Supersoul and the individual soul are equal is only a misconception. The conclusion is, therefore, that Kṛṣṇa is worshipable and that all other living entities are simply His servants. This understanding is called self-realization. Any other realization of one’s self beyond this relationship of eternal servitorship to Kṛṣṇa is impelled by māyā. It is said that the last snare of māyā is to dictate to the living entity to try to become equal to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The Māyāvādī philosopher claims to be equal to God, but he cannot reply to the question of why he has fallen into material entanglement. If he is the Supreme God, then how is it that he has been overtaken by impious activities and thereby subjected to the tribulations of the law of karma? When the Māyāvādīs are asked about this, they cannot properly answer. The speculation that one is equal to the Supreme Personality of Godhead is another symptom of sinful life. One cannot take to Kṛṣṇa consciousness unless one is completely freed from all sinful activities. The very fact that the Māyāvādī claims to be one with the Supreme Lord means that he is not yet freed from the reactions of sinful activities. Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam says that such persons are aviśuddha-buddhayaḥ (SB 10.2.32), which means that because they falsely think themselves liberated and at the same time think themselves equal with the Absolute Truth, their intelligence is not purified. The personified Vedas said that if the yogīs and the jñānīs do not free themselves from sinful desires, then their particular process of self-realization will never be successful.
“Dear Lord,” the personified Vedas continued, “if saintly persons do not take care to eradicate completely the roots of sinful desires, they cannot experience the Supersoul, although He is sitting side by side with the individual soul. Samādhi, or meditation, means that one has to find the Supersoul within himself. One who is not free from sinful reactions cannot see the Supersoul. If a person has a jeweled locket in his necklace but forgets the jewel, it is almost as though he does not possess it. Similarly, if an individual soul meditates but does not actually perceive the presence of the Supersoul within himself, his meditation is useless.” Persons who have taken to the path of self-realization must therefore be very careful to avoid contamination by the influence of māyā. Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī says that a devotee should be completely free from all sorts of material desires. A devotee should not be affected by the results of karma and jñāna. One has to simply understand Kṛṣṇa and carry out His desires. That is the pure devotional stage. The personified Vedas continued: “Mystic yogīs who still have contaminated desires for sense gratification are never successful in their attempt, nor can they realize the Supersoul within the individual self. As such, the so-called yogīs and jñānīs who are simply wasting their time in different types of sense gratification, either by mental speculation or by exhibition of limited mystic powers, will never be liberated from conditioned life and will continue to go through repeated births and deaths. For such persons, both this life and the next life are sources of tribulation. Such sinful persons are already suffering tribulation in this life, and because they are not perfect in self-realization they will be plagued with further tribulation in the next life. Despite all endeavors to attain perfection, such yogīs, contaminated by desires for sense gratification, will continue to suffer in this life and the next.”
Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura remarks in this connection that if sannyāsīs (persons in the renounced order of life, who have left their homes for self-realization) do not engage themselves in the devotional service of the Lord but become attracted by philanthropic work, such as opening educational institutions, hospitals or even monasteries, churches or temples of demigods, they find only trouble from such engagements, not only in this life but in the next. Sannyāsīs who do not take advantage of this life to realize Kṛṣṇa simply waste their time and energy in activities outside the jurisdiction of the renounced order. A devotee’s attempt to engage his energies in such activities as constructing a Viṣṇu temple, however, is never wasted. Such engagements are called kṛṣṇārthe akhila-ceṣṭā, variegated activities performed to please Kṛṣṇa. A philanthropist’s opening a school building and a devotee’s constructing a temple are not on the same level. Although a philanthropist’s opening an educational institution may be pious activity, it comes under the laws of karma, whereas constructing a temple for Viṣṇu is devotional service.