Lord Caitanya Defeats Mayavada Philosophy.
The following is an excerpt from Srila Prabhupada's original Delhi Bhagavatam, in which he details Lord Caintanya's dismantling of the Mayavada philosophy as presented by Sripad-Bhattarcarya.
Bhattacharya was the professor of many Sanyasins in the order of the Shankaracharya Sampradaya and he himself also belonged to that cult. As such the Bhattacharya desired that the young Sannyasi Lord Chaitanya may also hear from him about the teachings of Vedanta.
Those who are followers of the Shankara cult are generally known as the Vedantist. It does not, however, mean that Vedanta is a monopoly study of Shankara Sampradaya. Vedanta is studied by all the bonafide Sampradayas but they have their own interpretations. But the Shankar Sampradaya is generally known as the Vedantist without any knowledge of the Vedantist Vaishnavas. For this reason the Bhaktivedanta title was first offered to the author by the Vaishnavas.
The Lord agreed to take lessons from Bhattacharya on the Vedanta and they sat together in the temple of Lord Jaggannath. The Bhattacharya went on speaking continually for seven days and the Lord heard him with all attention without any interruption. This dumb like hearing of the Lord before the Bhattacharya raised some doubts in his heart and he asked the Lord how it was that He did not ask anything good or bad in the matter of hearing the explanations of Vedanta.
The Lord posed Himself before the Bhattacharya as a foolish student and pretended that He heard the Vedanta from him because he wanted Him to do so as the duty of a Sanyasi; otherwise He hardly could follow or understand the lectures delivered by him.
By this the Lord indicated that the so called Vedantist amongst the Shankara Sampradya or any other Sampradaya who do not follow the instructions of Srila Vyasadev, are mechanical students of the Vedanta without any introspection within the great knowledge. The explanation of the Vedanta Sutras is given by the author himself in the text of the Srimad Bhagwatam. Any one who has no study or knowledge in the Bhagwatam will hardly be able to know what the Vedanta says.
The Bhattacharya as a vastly learned man could follow the sarcastic remarks on the popular vedantist by the Lord. He therefore asked Him why He did not question on any point which He could not follow. The Bhattacharya could understand the purpose of His dead-silence for the days He heard him. This shows clearly that the Lord had something else in His mind and he requested Him to disclose his mind.
Upon this the Lord spoke as follows-"My dear sir, I can undelstand the meaning of the Sutras like 'JANMADYASYA YATAH' 'SHASTRAYO NITWAT' 'ATHATO BRAHMAJIJNANASA' of the Vedanta Sutras but when you explain them in your own way it becomes difficult for me to follow them. The purpose of the Sutras is already explained in them but your explanations are just like covering them with something else. You do not purposely take the direct meaning of the Sutras but indirectly you give your own interpretations."
The Lord thus attacked all Vedantists who interpret the Vedanta Sutras fashionably according to their limited power of thinking and also to serve their own purpose. Such indirect interpretations of the authentic literatures like the Vedanta is hereby condemned by the Lord.
The Lord continued to say, "Srila Vyasdeva has summarised the direct meanings of the Mantras in Upanishads in the Vedanta Sutras. Unfortunately you do not take the direct meaning of them and indirectly you interpret them in a different way".
"The authority of the Vedas is unchallengeable and goes with out any question of doubt. And whatever is stated in the Vedas must be accepted in toto otherwise it becomes a challenge to the authority of the Vedas".
"The conchshell and cowdung are bone and stool of two living beings. But because they have been recommended by the Vedas as pure people accept them as such and that is the authority of the Vedas".
The idea is that nobody can apply his imperfect reason on the authority of the Vedas. The orders of the Vedas must be obeyed as it is without any mundane reasoning. The so called followers of the Vedic injunction make out their own interpretations of the Vedic injunctions and thus they establish different parties and sect of the Vedic religion. Lord Buddha directly denied the authority of the Vedas and He established his own religion. For this reason only the Buddhist religion was not accepted by the strict followers of the Vedas. But those who are socalled followers of the Vedas are more harmful than the Buddhist. The Buddhist has the courage to deny the Vedas directly but the so called followers of the Vedas have no courage to deny the Vedas and indirectly they disobey all the injunctions of the Vedas. Lord Chaitanya condemned this class of followers of the Vedas.
The example of the conchshell and that of the cowdung given by the Lord is very much appropriate in this connection. If some body argues that cowdung is the stool of a living creature and therefore the stool of a learned Brahmin will be still more pure, that sort of argument will not be accepted. The cowdung will be accepted and the stool of a highly posted Brahmin will be rejected with equal abhorrence. The Lord therefore continued to say.
"The Vedic injunctions are self-authorised and if some mundane creature wants to adjust the interpretations of the Vedas certainly he will commit blunder upon the authority of the Vedas. It is foolish to think of oneself as more intelligent than Srila Vyasa deva. He has already expressed himself in his Sutras and there is no need of help from personalities of lesser importance. His set up of the Vedanta Sutras are as much dazzling as the midday Sun and when some body wants to give his own interpretations on the self effulgent Sun-like Vedanta Sutras, certainly such person attempts to cover the sun with a kind of cloud of one's own imagination."
"The purpose of the Vedas and Puranas are one and the same. They want to ascertain the Absolute Truth and the Absolute Truth is greater than everything else. The Absolute Truth is ultimately realised as the Absolute Personality of Godhead with Absolute Controlling Power. As such the Absolute Personality of Godhead must be completely full of opulence, strength, fame, beauty, knowledge and renunciation. And as such the transcendental Personality of Godhead is astonishingly ascertained as impersonal."
"The impersonal description of the Absolute Truth in the Vedas is meant for nullifying the mundane conception of the Absolute whole. Personal features of the Lord is completely distinguished from all kinds of mundane features. The living entities are all individual persons and they are all parts and parcels of the Supreme whole. If the parts and parcels are individual persons, the source of their emanation must not be impersonal. He is the Supreme Person amongst all the relative persons."
The Vedas inform us that from Him (Brahman) everything emanates and on Him only everything rests. And after annihilation everything merges in Him only. Therefore, He is the ultimate dative causative and accommodating cause of all causes. And all these causes cannot be ascertained to an impersonal object."
"The Vedas inform us that He alone becomes many and when He so desires He puts His glance over the material Nature".
"Before His such glance over the material Nature, there was no material cosmic creation. And, therefore, His glancing over the material nature is certainly not one of material creation. Material mind or senses were unborn when the Lord placed His glance over the material Nature; and all these evidences of the Vedas prove it without any doubt that the Lord has transcendental eyes and mind distinguished from the material one. His impersonality therefore is negation of material but not denial of His transcendental Personality".
"Brahman means ultimately the Personality of Godhead. Impersonal Brahman realisation is just the negative conception of the mundane creations. Paramatma realisation is localised aspect of Brahman within all kinds of material bodies. Ultimately the Supreme Brahman realisation is the realisation of the Personality of Godhead. Lord Sri Krishna is that Supreme Personality of Godhead according to all evidences of the revealed scriptures. He is the ultimate source of Vishnu Tatwas".
"The Puranas are also supplimentary to the Vedas. The Vedic mantras are too stiff for an ordinary man. Women, Sudras and the socalled twice-born higher castes are unable to penetrate into the sense of the Vedas. And thus the Itihasha or the Mahabharat as well as the Puranas are made easy to explain the truths of the Vedas. In the prayers of Brahma before the boy Sri Krishna He said that there is no limit of the fortune of the residents of Brajabhumi headed by Sri Nanda Maharaj and Yasodamayee; because the eternal Absolute Truth has become their intimate relative."
"The Vedic mantra describes that the Absolute Truth has no legs and no hands and yet goes faster than all and accepts everything that is offered to Him in devotion. These statements of going faster or accepting everything by hand definitely suggest the Personal features of the Lord, although He is distinguished from mundane hands and legs or other senses."
"Brahmam is, therefore, never Impersonal but when such Mantras are indirectly interpreted it is wrongly established that the Abolute Truth is impersonal. The Absolute Truth Personality of Godhead is full of all opulences and therefore He has a transcendental Form of full existence, knowledge and bliss. How one can establish thus the Absolute Truth as impersonal."
"Brahman being full of opulences, it is understood that He has manifold energies and all such energies are classified under three headings under the authority of Vishnu Puranam (6.7.60). It says that the transcendetal energies of the Lord Vishnu are primarily three. His spiritual energy as well as the energy of the living entities are classified as superior energy whereas the material energy is inferior one which is sprouted out of ignorance."
"The energy of the living entities is technically called Kshetrajna Energy. This Ksehtrajna Shakti although equal in quality with the Lord, becomes over powered by material energy out of ignorance and thus sufferes all sorts of material miseries. In other words the living entities are marginal energy between the superior spiritual and inferior material energy and in proportion of the living being's contact with either of the material or spiritual energies, the living entities become situated in proportionately higher and lower levels of existence."
"The Lord is beyond the inferior and marginal energies as above mentioned and His spiritual energy is manifested in three different phases. They are manifested as eternal existence, eternal bliss and eternal knowledge. So far eternal existence is concerned it is conducted by the Samdhini potency, similarly bliss and knowledge are conducted by the Ahladini and Sambit potencies respectively. As the Supreme energetic Lord He is the Supreme controller of the spiritual marginal, and material energies. And all these different phases of energies are connected with the Lord in eternal devotional service."
"The Supreme Personality of Godhead is thus enjoying in His transcendental eternal Form and therefore it is astounding that one may dare to call the Supreme Lord as non-energetic ?"
"The Lord is the controller of all the above mentioned energies and the living entities are parts and parcles of one of the energies. Therefore, there is a gulf of difference between the Lord and the living entities. How then one can say that the Lord and the living entities are one and the same thing."
"In the Bhagwat Geeta also the living entities are described to belong to the Superior energy of the Lord. On the principles of intimate co-relation between the energy and the energetic, both of them are non-different also. Therefore, the Lord and the living entities are non-different as the energy and the energetic".
"Earth, water, fire, air, sky, mind, intelligence and ego all these elements are inferior energies of the Lord but the living entities are different from all of them as superior energy and that is the version of the Bhagwat Geeta."
"The transcendental form of the Lord is eternally existent and full of transcendental bliss. How then such Form can be a product of the material mode of goodness? Any one, therefore, who does not believe in the Form of the Lord, such person is certainly a faithless demon and as such he is untouchable, not to be seen person-nongrata and fit to be punished by the regulation of the Plutonic king."
"The Buddhist are called atheist because they have no respect for the Vedas but those who defy the Vedic conclusions as above mentioned under the cover of being follower of the Vedas, are verily more dangerous than the Buddhists."
"Sri Vyasdeva very kindly compiled the clause of the Vedic knowledge in his Vedanta Sutras and if somebody hears the commentation of the Mayavadi school (as represented by the Shamkara Sampradaya), certainly such audience will be misled on the path of spiritual realisation".
"The theory of emanations is the beginning for the Vedanta Sutra and as such all the cosmic manifestations are emanations from the Absolute personality of Godhead by His inconceivable different energies."
"The example of the touch-stone is verily comparable with the theory of emanation. The touchstone can convert unlimated quantity of iron into gold and still the touch stone remains as it is. Similarly the Supreme Lord can produce all the manifestive world by His inconceivable energies and yet He is full and unchanged. He is Purna (complete) and unlimited number of Purnas being emanated from Him, He is still Purna."
"The theory of illusion by the Mayavada school is advocated on the ground that the theory of emanation will cause transformation of the Absolute Truth. And in that case Vyasdeva will be put into error and to save this anomaly of the great Master, they have skillfully brought in the theory of illusion."
"The world or the cosmic creation is not illusion or false as it is advocated by the Mayavada school. But it has no permanent existence. A non-permanent thing cannot be called as false altogether. But the conception of the material body by the living being, as his self, -is certainly wrong."
"Pranaba (Om) or the Omkara in the Vedas is the primeval hymn and the transcedental sound is identical with the Form of the Lord. All the Vedic hymns are based on this Pranaba Omkara."
"Tatwamasi" is but a side word of the Vedic literatures and therefore this word cannot be the primeval hymn of the Vedas instead of the Omkara. Sripada Shankaracharya has given more stress on the side word Tatwamasi than the primeval principle "OMKARA".
*The Lord thus spoke on the Vedanta Sutras and defied all the propaganda of the Mayavada school. The Bhattacharya tried to defend himself and his Mayavada school by jugglery of logic and grammer but the Lord was able to defeat all such jugglery of words by His forceful arguments. He affirmed that we are all related with the Personality of Godhead eternally and the devotional service is our eternal function to exchange dealings of our relations. And the result of such exchange of dealing is to attain Prema or Love of Godhead. When Love of Godhead is attained, love for all other beings automatically follows because the Lord is the sumtotal of all the living beings.
*In our Chaitanya Charitamrita Essays and Text we have more elaborately explained all these philosophical intricacies Srimad Bhagwatam clears them all.
The Lord said except these three items namely eternal relation with God, exchange of dealings thereof and to attain to the stage Love of Godhead, all that are instructed in the Vedas are Superfluous only, and besides these three items everything is concocted imagination.
The Lord further added that the Mayavada Philosophy catered by Sripad Shankaracharya is something imaginary explanation of the Vedas but it had to be done by Him (Shankaracharya) because He was ordered to do so by the Personality of Godhead. In the Padmapuranam it is stated that the Personality of Godhead ordered His Lordship Shiva to deviate the human race from Him (the Personality of Godhead). The Personality of Godhead was to be so covered that people may be encouraged to generate more and more population. His Lordship Mahadeva said to the Devi "In the Kaliyuga, I shall preach the Mayavada Philosophy which is nothing but clouded Buddhism, in the garb of a Brahmin."
After hearing all these speeches of the Lord Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the Bhattacharya was struck with wonder and awe and began to see Him in dead silence. The Lord then encouraged him with assurance that there was no cause of wonder, "I say that DEVOTIONAL SERVlCE UNTO THE PERSONALITY OF GODHEAD IS THE HIGHEST NEED OF HUMAN LIFE". He than quoted a sloka from the Bhagwat and assured him that even the liberated souls who are absorbed in the Spirit and spiritual realisation, do also take to the devotional service of the Lord Hari because the Personality of Godhead has such transcendental qualities as He attracts the heart of the liberated soul too.