“äbädhito ‘pi hy äbhäso

yathä vastutayä småtaù

durghaöatväd aindriyakaà

tadvad artha-vikalpitam”

Srimad Bhagavatam 7.15.58



äbädhitaù—rejected; api—although; hi—certainly; äbhäsaù—a reflection; yathä—as; vastutayä—a form of reality; småtaù—accepted; durghaöatvät—because of being very difficult to prove the reality; aindriyakam—knowledge derived from the senses; tadvat—similarly; artha—reality; vikalpitam—speculated or doubtful.



Although one may consider the reflection of the sun from a mirror to be false, it has its factual existence. Accordingly, to prove by speculative knowledge that there is no reality would be extremely difficult.



The impersonalist’s try to prove that the varieties in the vision of the empiric philosopher are false. The impersonalist philosophy, vivarta-väda, generally cites the acceptance of a rope to be a snake as an example of this fact. According to this example, the varieties within our vision are false, just as a rope seen to be a snake is false. The Vaishñëavas say, however, that although the idea that the rope is a snake is false, the snake is not false; one has experience of a snake in reality, and therefore he knows that although the representation of the rope as a snake is false or illusory, there is a snake in reality. Similarly, this world, which is full of varieties, is not false; it is a reflection of the reality in the Vaikuntha world, the spiritual world.

The reflection of the sun from a mirror is nothing but light within darkness. Thus although it is not exactly sunlight, without the sunlight the reflection would be impossible. Similarly, the varieties of this world would be impossible unless there were a real prototype in the spiritual world. The Mäyävädé philosopher cannot understand this, but a real philosopher must be convinced that light is not possible at all without a background of sunlight. Thus the jugglery of words used by the Mäyävädé philosopher to prove that this material world is false may amaze inexperienced children, but a man with full knowledge knows perfectly well that there cannot be any existence without Krsna. Therefore a Vaishñëava insists on the platform of somehow or other accepting Krsna (tasmät kenäpy upäyena manaù Krsña niveçayet [SB 7.1.32]).

When we raise our unmixed faith to the lotus feet of Krsna, everything is revealed. Krsna also says in Bhagavad-gétä (7.1):

“mayy äsakta-manäù pärtha

yogaà yuïjan mad-äçrayaù

asaàçayaà samagraà mäà

yathä jïäsyasi tac chåëu”

“Now hear, O son of Påthä [Arjuna], how by practicing yoga in full consciousness of Me, with mind attached to Me, you can know Me in full, free from doubt.” Simply by raising one’s staunch faith in Krsna and His instructions, one can understand reality without a doubt (asaàçayaà samagraà mäm). One can understand how Krsna’s material and spiritual energies are working and how He is present everywhere although everything is not Him. This philosophy of acintya-bhedäbheda, inconceivable oneness and difference, is the perfect philosophy enunciated by the Vaishñëavas. Everything is an emanation from Krsna, but it is not that everything must therefore be worshiped. Speculative knowledge cannot give us reality as it is, but will continue to be nefariously imperfect. So-called scientists try to prove that there is no God and that everything is happening because of the laws of nature, but this is imperfect knowledge because nothing can work unless directed by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This is explained in Bhagavad-gitä (9.10) by the Lord Himself:

“mayädhyakñeëa prakåtiù

süyate sacaräcaram

hetunänena kaunteyaagad viparivartate”

“This material nature is working under My direction, O son of Kunti, and it is producing all moving and unmoving beings. By its rule this manifestation is created and annihilated again and again.” In this regard, Srila Madhväcärya gives this note: durghaöatväd arthatvena parameçvareëaiva kalpitam. The background of everything is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Väsudeva. Väsudevaù sarvam iti sa mahätmä sudurlabhaù [Bg. 7.19]. This can be understood by a mahätmä who is perfect in knowledge. Such a mahätmä is rarely seen.


Personalism In Impersonalism

The example that is used often by the impersonal class of philosophers is that this material world is not real. It is illusion. Sripad Sankaracarya taught us “Brahman satyam Jagat mithya”. This is the basic principle of the mayavad philosophy.                      That Brahman or the spirit soul the supreme spirit is truth and Jagat the universe is mithya, it is false, it is an illusion. Therefore anything that is not brahman is not real and because brahman is devoid of any form, devoid of any attributes personality, or characteristics. Therefore wherever we find personality, form, quality, or characteristic that is in illusion. It is not real. They consider that everything that has qualities is a manifestation of Maya. Indeed even when the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself appears in this world, His forms, His personalities, His qualities, or Maya. It is only that essence within Him Brahman that is true. The other night we were giving a lecture and an elderly gentleman after the lecture; he began to explain his belief. He said that I am Krishna. You are Krishna. We are all Krishna. But now we are in caged in this form just as Krishna was in caged in form. But the essence of you, the essence of me is none different than the essence of Krishna. Another word what he is saying is that Krishna’s form and Krishna’s personality is like your form and your personality. This is a basic principle of Mayavad philosophy. Although Krishna may be liberated soul. They accept that Krishna is not an ordinary man that Brahma has appeared. The supreme brahman in this form to give us knowledge, ultimately it is just like a custom, which is castaway as soon as His incarnation is finished. Another words, he accepts form of illusion or Maya simply to reach us because our senses are played by attachment to the illusion of Maya. But of course there is no logic to this sort of philosophy. Because if we are the supreme Brahma then how is it possible that we are under the influence of illusion. Krishna says in Bhagavad-Gita

“mayädhyakñeëa prakåtiù

süyate sa-caräcaram”

Bhagavad-Gita 9.10

He is always the controller of the Maya. This material energy is working under His direction. So how is it possible for him to be subordinate to one of His energies? In essence the Brahmasutra describes “paräsya çaktir vividhaiva çrüyate” this means that the supreme Lord has multifarious energies. This is the basic principle between the Mayavad Philosophy and the Vaisnava philosophy. You see the Vaisnavas accept that Krishna has multifarious energies.

“oà pürëam adaù pürëam idaà

pürëät pürëam udacyate

pürëasya pürëam ädäya

pürëam evävaçiñyate”

The supreme absolute truth is perfect and complete and therefore all emanations, all of His divine energies are also perfect and complete. They are not illusion. They are real. But the impersonality do not accept that the Lord has various energies because as soon as there is various energies, there is duality. They consider that the absolute truth Brahman is simply an oneness and invisible transcendental oneness, in which there can be no separate energies.

Superior and Inferior Energy

But Krishna in Bhagavad-Gita explains that

“bhümir äpo ‘nalo väyuù

khaà mano buddhir eva ca

ahaìkära itéyaà me

bhinnä prakåtir añöadhä”

Bhagavad-Gita 7.4

That this inferior separate energy of mine consist of earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, intelligence, and false ego.

“apareyam itas tv anyäà

prakåtià viddhi me paräm

jéva-bhütäà mahä-bäho

yayedaà dhäryate jagat”

Bhagavad-Gita 7.5

He says besides this inferior energy there is a superior energy, which is the spirit soul, which give life to matter. So in Bhagavad-Gita Krishna explains that there are various energies that are manifesting from him. In essence there are three principal energies, the superior energy which is Krishna Himself, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Bhagavan. The marginal energy which is the Jivatama, the soul who is spiritual by constitution and the material energy Maya shakti which is the illusory forms of this world. We do not accept that the forms in this world are in illusion. But they are illusory. What is the difference? This material energy is real and this material energy is eternal. But the manifestations of this material energy are temporary.


Scientific Explanation

Even in science there is a theory that really in matter there is never destruction, there is only a change. What is the name of that theory? Conservation of energy and mass. Another words When a particular former object see to it’s exist. It only appears to our eyes to see to it is exist, due to our imperfect sense perception. But actually that mass and energy as simply being transformed into another form, correct. And although this is a great scientific discovery, the scientist it’s really their whole purpose, initially was to increase people’s faith in the glory of the god. The greatest scientist the founding fathers of western science they were all ministers, they were all very holy religious man. Then their idea is let us investigate the underline truth of this world and the more we know about how this world is working in such a wonderful way, the more the glories of the god will be reveal to us. Just like if there is a great person, the more you know about that person, the more that person is glorified in your heart. Therefore people are always very interest to want to know more, more, and more about great persons. Because the more you know, the more you naturally understand that person’s greatness.


Krishna’s Business

So in the western scriptures be divine lila of Sri Krishna is not at all described, basically the supreme lord is defined as the Creator. You see the Vaisnavas they are not exclusively concerned with, how Krishna creates. Because they understand that this is not really his principal work. Krishna He expands Himself as “Karonodakhsya Vishnu”. Garvodakshya Vishnu” “kshirodakshya Vishnu” and then He empowers the most munificent living entity, Lord Brahma and through these agency He creates the material cosmos. But personally he had nothing to do with this material world. Personally He is Rasaraja. He is simply the king of loving exchanges in the spiritual world of Goloka. So therefore the devotees they are more interested in hearing the beautiful pastimes of Sri Krishna. Because they know that this is Krishna’s real business. Simply loving exchange.

People go to Vrindavana, people go to Ajyodha, to Jagannath Puri Dham, to Dwaraka Dham. These holy places to hear about the glories of Krishna’s personal Lila. Rarely do we hear in these holy places about Krishna’s various techniques to create the material cosmos. But you see in the western world the religions according to time and circumstance they are not revealing the confidential pastimes of the lord. Rather they are mainly describing this material world and how to live somehow or other in this material world and how to prosper and flourish greater in this material world. Just like in Old Testament there is very little discussion about going back to godhead, most of the benediction that god has giving to the original Jews, is that may your people flourish and be prosperous and multiply on this earth. Because this is what most people are looking for the things of this earth. Therefore they approach God for their things of this earth and if you are approaching God for the things of this earth, your faith will be to the extent you understand and He is the supreme controller of this earth, correct. And what is the greatest evidence that he is the supreme controller of this earth that He is the creator of the earth. Therefore the supreme lord is generally approached as the creator. He has created everything that exists all the planets, all the living entities, all the multifarious forms of this world. Therefore the western religion basically consider that this is the main work of God, creating. There was one religion, the fastest growing religion in America. It is a – of Christianity and in this religion they have millions and millions of followers at this time. They have a very-very interesting idea of what takes place after salvation. You see their idea is that God essentially is the creator. Therefore when you attain salvation, you take your whole family with you. Because when we are married, your marriage is eternal. Do you imagine having an eternal marriage? My god, no vaisnava, whatever want to join this religion. Vaisnava is thinking in its terms. A married man is thinking, when will I take sannyäsé become free from this whole massive business. But they are thinking once you are consequented in marriage it is for the rest of eternity. So I ask for one of these people, what if you do not like your wife. Seems like it would be worse than hell to have to be marry to her eternally. He said, no-no. Why do not like your wife? I said I won’t? Not that I do not like my wife. But I am just asking, what if most numerous country, practically every marriage is a divorce. That means you do not like your wife. He said, you may not like her here but after you die then you will like. Because you will have a pure body. Pure body very nice. Then what about children. Yes, the children they will all go with you, wherever you go. Of course this philosophy does not make so much sense. I said what if you had a child that died before you joined your church. Does that child get go back godhead with you. Then he said, I do not know. These questions we do not. I say, what you will do when you take your family. He said, you will get your own planet and there you get too be the creator of universes. Eternally you and your family will just be creating universes. This is essentially what they teach. Another words you become like God or creator. Because they have no conception of anything beyond creation. Therefore there conception of God is simply that he is the creator and if you really want to serve him nicely then you will assist him in creating. Then this religion is becoming very-very popular. Because everyone wants to eternally live with their family and be a creator, be an enjoyer.


Simple Science and Divine Philosophy

Therefore we can understand that this is really the greatness of the god in the eyes of a western man that he is the creator of the universe. So therefore the original scientist of the western world, who are Christians and Jews, they decided that the greatest thing is the creation, because it is the supreme work of God. So the more we can understand the creation, the more we can understand God. The more we can dive deeper and deeper and deeper in to the subtleties, how this existence is working. The more the greatness of the God there will be reveal to us. So the scientist were preachers. Every discovery would be a newer enlivening presentation to glorify God and to convert people to deeper and deeper faith on him. That is why we find that in India this type of science never been very much emphasized because in India the people they are basically transcendental scientist. They are more concerned with divine philosophy than simply trying to figure out how matter is operating. Because they understand the higher principle of God. That he is beyond this creation and really has very little to do with this creation. Therefore the Vaisnavas they will enter into this arena of science only to convert the atheist. They have no much concerned for these things. Even in the west, because the man had become so very expert at in his own mind, he became very expert in analyzing, how things were happening in this material existence. He became so proud, he became so puffed up that he began to create his own theories, which deny the existence of God altogether. So it began as a genuine effort to glorify Krishna and ended up as the most formidable means of denying Krishna in the whole world. Every atheist will support His arguments on the basis of modern science to disprove the existence of God. Because you see they do not understand. According to the higher authority beyond their sense perception that the Lord has multifarious energies and each of these divine energies is real. It is various aspects of the one supreme truth. Truth is one but truth is infinitely variegated.

One God or Many Gods?

Sankaracarya taught Munism which means God is one. Madhavacarya, he taught suddhadvaita that God is more than one and Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu he explained that Munism and dualism neither one are independent. The absolute truth is Achintya Aveda vedatatva. Simultaneously one and variegated. Therefore one has no difficulty in understanding the glory of God in his unlimited, variegated opulence. Just like in the western world the religions emphasize that there is only one God. Because you see the people at that time they had no saddhus, they had no sashtra, therefore they only had very distinct remnants of the original Vedic culture that permeated the world that one time and they had just so many superstitious conceptions of many Gods. They did not understand a supreme God or they were thinking in terms of so many Gods. If you want this you worship this God, if you want that you worship that God. But they did not understand what is the cause of all causes and what is the source of everything. So therefore people worship completely materialistic in sinful. So therefore God appeared to Ibrahim and pronounce worship no other God before me, except me. I am the one supreme God. The Jews says and later on the Christian says, Islamic say, their main emphasis is there is only one God. The first commandment of the ten comments “is though so worship no other God, except me” there is only one God. Of course due to a very limited neophytic understanding of what this means. People have taken this as an excuse to become very sectarian and hateful to anyone who worships, a from of God different than their own. There is only one God. If you call God by any other name than mine, if you give any attribute to him other than what is our scripture therefore you are the greatest sinful demon because you are misleading the world. It is this narrow minded conceptions based on the idea one God. That is the cause of so much conflict hate and violence in this world in the name of the religion. But the vaisnavas they are most fortunate. Because the great acaryas are explaining, yes there is only one God. But what is the glory and the nature of that one god. Although He is one, He manifest Himself in so many wonderful forms and so many wonderful pastimes. Krishna says in Bhagavad-Gita.

“pariträëäya sädhünäà

vinäçäya ca duñkåtäm


sambhavämi yuge yuge”

Bhagavad-Gita 4.8

In order to annihilated the miscreants to deliver the pious and reestablish the principles of religion, I appears in this world again and again and again.

“yadä yadä hi dharmasya

glänir bhavati bhärata

abhyutthänam adharmasya

tadätmänaà såjämy aham”

Bhagavad-Gita 4.7

That every millennium Krishna appears.

“janma karma ca me divyam

evaà yo vetti tattvataù

tyaktvä dehaà punar janma

naiti mäm eti so ‘rjuna”

Bhagavad-Gita 4.9

One who understands the transcendental nature of Krishna and His appearance, he never has to take birth in this material world again. So therefore the devotees, they worship Radha and Krishna. They also bow down before Lakshmi Narayan and Sita Rama and Lakshmi Narashima Deva, Bhumi and Barah Deva. They also bow down before Kurma Rupa and Parsurama. And also they are willing to bow down before and Allaha and Jahoba. Because they understand that the beautiful glory of Krishna is revealing Himself to all these wonderful forms for the upliftment of humanity. So God is one. But at the same time His personality is infinity and therefore there infinity personality expresses itself to us in infinity ways. It is said in Srimad Bhagavatam that the incarnations of Lord are like the waves on the ocean. They are countless. They are all coming from one ocean.


Krishna Consciousness

So therefore Krishna Consciousness is a very great and deep science. It is not just the sentimental process based on faith. But the more we philosophically understand in truth the science of Krishna Consciousness, the more our faith is fortified unshakable. Srila Prabhupada used to be very insistent that you must read his books. In this modern society there are so many onslaughts of impersonalism and atheism. The whole atmosphere even in the name of religions filled with this disease. Therefore unless our faith is very strongly rooted in the philosophy on the authoritative scriptures of the previous Acaryas then we will easily relate a stray from their path of pure devotional service.


Prabhupad Books and Harinaam

In 1972, I was in New York and Srila Prabhupada was there. It was I remember on the third of July and Srila Prabhupada, he was speaking to many hundreds of devotees, who came from all over America to meet with him. He had just come from India and Europe after a long absence from the United States. At that time every one was very enthusiastic to distribute Srila Prabhupada’s books. In fact there was hardly a single person who is living in the temple that they did not go out all day to distribute His books. If you are not willing to distribute books, you are not allowed to live in the temple. And believe me distributing books in America is not an easy thing. It is a great austerity. A lot of insult, a lot of prosecution, a lot of humiliation, and a lot of hard work. But in those days this movement was full of very serious devotees, who are willing to sacrifice so much for their guru. There was no question of living a comfortable life in any ISKCON temple in those days. Because you have to go out and do two things all day long. Hari Nama Sankirtan and book distribution. That was the Hare Krishna movement. You chant all day and you distribute books all day. And Srila Prabhupada was very much pushing this preaching movement. So he was giving class on this one morning from Srimad Bhagavatam and he was preaching very strongly. He was saying, you are going out and distribute my books. He said that is very good. He said, but my question is, are you reading my books? He said, you are not reading my books, how will you convince the content what is within them? And if you are not convinced the content, how will you convince another? He said, if someone asked you want me to buy this book? Well, can you tell me what is within this book? Do you read this book? And you will say, I will do not read them, I only sell them. Will that person take it seriously? He said, you should know my books the way the lawyer knows the law books. Any question in life that ever comes before you, you should able to before exactly to a place in my books because everything is answered in my books. Then he explain, I write my books for my disciples primarily. I am spending them most precious hours of my life to write these books for my disciples. You must read them. Then he said, tapasya means to read my books at least two three hours everyday, this is the real meaning of Tapasya. Devotees were shocked, my god, Srila Prabhupada wants to just read his books, we are only supposed to sell them. Why does he want to read his books? Because, if you do not read the books your faith will be subjected to great disturbance. If you have a very strong philosophical foundation and all questions and all doubts are continuously and regularly being destroyed by the profound philosophy of the Vaisnava literatures. Then nothing can ever divert your attention away from the path of Bhakti.


Srila Prabhupad is equal to his Books!

I remember in New Vrindavana all the devotees were always longing for Srila Prabhupada to come. When Srila Prabhupada would come at the most once every two years and some of the leading devotees they would get to see Srila Prabhupada else where. 99% of the devotees would never get to see Srila Prabhupada, when Srila Prabhupada came to New Vrindavana, which was once every two or three years. He came in 68; he came the next time four years later in 72. The next time was two years later in 74 and the next time was two years later in 76. He was very rare. But through his books, through his representatives who were repeating his words, we were always associating with Srila Prabhupada 24 hours a day. And there was no question of lack of faith. There was no question of disturbance in mind. Because we were hearing his words, we were convinced of the philosophy. We were reading his books. We were engaging his service. So therefore we should know that it is very important to have a philosophical basis to our Krishna Consciousness. Sentimentalism can keep us attached to Guru and Krishna for sometime. But without a philosophical understanding gradually we will find that we see so much confusion and conflict within our own spiritual life. Therefore we have a have to have a very strong philosophical basis. Sentimental conceptions are very nice for a neophyte. But that sentiment has to be purifying the philosophical awareness. When Maya strikes, we become very week. So let us understand that the philosophy of Krishna Consciousness, the philosophy of vaisnava thought which is presented by the great Acaryas, should be very carefully understood. We should each and everyone of us everyday read the acaryas books with the same attention and same enthusiasm as we are now chanting our rounds. We are now chanting our rounds very nicely. We are arising at 4 or 3:30 in the morning. We are coming to the temple. There is no sound, there is no distraction. Actually we should study these books in the same light because our process is based on the principles of hearing and chanting. Yes 99% of our advancement by chanting the holy name but unless we are hearing nicely, unless we are philosophically convinced, we will not continue chanting properly. Our mind will be easily disturbed and diverted away from our chanting. So therefore we must attentively hear and we must attentively chant the holy names. If we follow this principle, then we will never be disturbed by the arguments, which are trying to deviate our intelligence away.

Written by

Radhanath Swami

H.H Radhanath Swami is one of today’s most beloved and respected spiritual teachers. A Bhakti Yoga practitioner for 40 years, he is a guide, community builder, philanthropist, and acclaimed author.Born and raised in Chicago,at the age of 19 he discovered India's Mystical devotional tradition and now spread his message of compassion and love around the world.

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About Me

Radhanath Swami

H.H Radhanath Swami is one of today’s most beloved and respected spiritual teachers. A Bhakti Yoga practitioner for 40 years, he is a guide, community builder, philanthropist, and acclaimed author.Born and raised in Chicago,at the age of 19 he discovered India's Mystical devotional tradition and now spread his message of compassion and love around the world.