Nirvisesa within us

Margaret Dale - April 8, 2007 9:02 pm

I've been hearing that we should be careful about holding any ideas of impersonalism within our hearts, because it will prevent us from ever getting Krsna prema. I'm not sure how such impersonalist ideas would be manifest, so I'm unsure of where to start weeding. :Confused: Would you guys mind sharing what types of impersonalism you have run into and how you overcame it? Thank you.

Gopisvara Dasa - April 8, 2007 9:52 pm

Almost every other eastern path(not Middle Eastern) other than Vaisnavism is polluted largely,if not completely with this impersonal conception of God. It goes under many names;monism,dvaita vedanta,mayavada,etc. When Shankaracarya propounded this(on Vishnu's order) it served the purpose of re-instating the Veda in a way that would bridge the voidism of Buddhism(which dismissed the Veda because of rampant misuse) and the Veda. It was a strategic event in history that served a specific purpose. To follow it today demonstrates not only a lack of proper knowledge on the subject, but also may show an inner envy of the Lord,not wanting to acknowledge His personal form. The abheda(non-difference between us and God) part of our achintya bhedabheda philosophy is stressed over the bheda(difference). The half-baked conlusion derived from that is that "we are God" which is appealing to those who have no tendency to serve. The goal of many on this path is to merge into the effulgenge of the Lord,attempting to dissolve their individuality which cannot really be done because we are eternally individuals. They get waylaid in the Brahmajyoti,going into a "comfortable coma" forgeting their real nature for a long,long time. Therefore we are warned to avoid association with those who are of this mentality. It is descibed in Bhagavatam as being swallowed by a whale-devouring fish(timingila).


Our unique individuality is our greatest asset(when used in Krishna's service) and is dulled when we become clones of the group-think and get sidetracked from seeing it in others as well as offering our respects there.The Mayavada conception is an insult to Bhagavan. The more generalized impersonalism is an insult to Paramatma as well as the localized jiva . But both stem from a lack of knowledge and humility.

Nitai Joseph - April 8, 2007 10:21 pm

I've come up with a concept about impersonalism that I'd like to share and be corrected if necessary.


Before taking, however meagerly, to KC, my circle of friends was the vegetarian, yoga, new age, pot-smoking crew. Most of us are probably at least theoretically familiar with this crowd. Anyway my realization of this crowd was it was like the perverted reflection of the maha-bhagavat. They try to see how everything is spiritual in some way, whereas a maha-bhagavat actuallysees Krsna everywhere. When they do it, it is a way of justifying sense gratification. A maha-bhagavat spontaneously serves the Lord out of intense desire for that service and an understanding of matter and spirit. The people I'm speaking about spontaneously(seemingly)gratify their senses out of desire for just that, and concoct a philosophy that "spiritualizes" it. There is a "music" festival in the US called "All-Good", following a common phrase amongst young people, "its all good". ONLY a maha-bhagavat can really see that everything is all-good. I hope that made sense. I know that there is a much more "solid" form of impersonalism that at least has some philosophy and such.


One way I see tinges of impersonalism in devotees and myself sometimes is the tendency to think, in relation to some service, "well if I just try my best, and am sincere Krsna will make it possible." The one missing link is that since He is a person, that might not be the service he wants in which case all the sincerity in the 3 worlds won't make it happen.


I would think your probably already weeding things you dont even notice.

Syamasundara - April 8, 2007 10:21 pm

I am afraid I got too much sun on my head today to think straight, but for now I'll just say that impersonalism and mayavada should not be lumped together.

Reality is both personal and impersonal at all times, and a few personalities mentioned in the Bhagavata, like the four kumaras, were absorbed in brahman, way before Sankaracarya appeared.

Mayavada is a different thing.

Vivek - April 9, 2007 4:22 am

I agree with syamasundar mayavada and jnana marga(or general impersonal realisation) cannnot be lumped together. Sukhdeva gosvami and 4 kumars were first in impersonal brahman realization before they went to bhaki. Mayavadi in a strict sense is someone who is offensive to the form of the lord and considers lord's form and pastimes to be material.

Gopisvara Dasa - April 9, 2007 7:53 am

Yes,Brahmavada is the realization of Brahman on the way up to Bhakti(no envy). That is not the type of impersonalism that is dangerous per se,but in today's arena they are intertwined and only one with knowledge of Bhakti can tell them apart. In my experience(in America) the majority of people I have met in other spiritual groups have gravitated to that place because they don't necessarily want a personal God to have to answer to,please,etc.Impersonalism allows them to keep reality comfortably out of focus and change the script to suit their agenda. This is what we are to avoid. By dissolving the false ego(envy)our real nature comes more and more into focus(our svarupa).

Syamasundara - April 9, 2007 9:11 am

Mayavadis are as concerned about effacing the ego, and realizing that there's nowhere to go: you are that.

Tat tvam asi, so 'ham, aham brahmasmi, they all sound fine to me, but with my backing of gaudiya siddhanta.

Gopisvara Dasa - April 9, 2007 6:06 pm

What is so ego-effacing about thinking "I am God"? They shift the ground of these aphorisms,conveniently ignoring the bheda side of the equation.And in the west, where most of us are,most people involved don't have sufficient understanding of tattva to know the difference.


(quote)Mayavadis are as concerned about effacing the ego, and realizing that there's nowhere to go: you are that.(quote)


Realizing that there's nowhere to go? How about back to Godhead? Yes,you can say that we are already perfect as a soul,only covered by masses of ignorance.But when our true self is experienced,it won't be a Mayavadi.That is a concoction. Again the difference between Brahmavadi and Mayavadi.


(quote) I'll just say that impersonalism and mayavada should not be lumped together.(quote)


In Srila Prabhupada's pranam mantra it reads "delivering the Western countries,which are filled with impersonalism and voidism". He didn't come to deliver us from the Brahmavadis. He is refering to Mayavadis and Buddhists.


Those who go on from impersonal realization to personal realization are in the minority(Manusyanam sahasresu) and usually go on to become devotees. And of course I use the phrase 'impersonal realization" very loosely,for how many are truly on the Brahma bhuta platform?


So if someone warns you to be wary of politicians because they are untrustworthy,it would be wiser to heed the advice,rather than argue that there may me a few honest ones.

Citta Hari Dasa - April 9, 2007 8:35 pm

The tendency to aspire for liberation without service to Bhagavan is injurious to the cultivation of Vraja bhakti, which is why we are cautioned against it by the acaryas.


How does this manifest in oneself? Lots of different ways, but primarily I think would be the tendency to want to know rather than to just surrender and serve, e.g., one may be very interested in studying philosophy, but when it comes time to wash the pots or scrub the toilets the interest is no longer so keen. The only way I know of to overcome this is to keep the sangha of devotees who can engage us according to what if favorable for bhakti, which often means our minds will not like it. But if we do it anyway, over time the heart is cleansed and the tendency to want to serve the Lord becomes stronger, and the desire to be liberated so that we will not suffer any more diminishes accordingly.