An Open Letter to All

Bhaskar Y.R. bhaskar.yr at IN.ABB.COM
Wed May 10 04:08:28 CDT 2000

Dear Members of Advaita-L,
First  of  all  i  would like to convey U all that  i  am a regular attendent of
Bhagavata  and BG classes in ISKCON, B.lore every sunday and holidays.  so it is
quite  natural  that my thoughts are completely immersed in ISKCON's philosophy.
I would like to be more open and straight forward when giving you the opinion of
ISKCON on Mayavada or Monism.  I shall try to give here exactly what they taught
us  on  advaita  philosophy.   By  doing  this  if  i hurt anyone's feelings   I
sincerely apologise them.

Mayavada, Or Monism

Sripada  Shankaracharya, or popularly known as Adi Shankara, one of the greatest
acharyas  who  appeared  in the Kali yuga, after the incarnation of Lord Buddha,
came  with  the  mission  of  advancing the consciousness of the people a little
more,  from  the point where Lord Buddha left, and thus leave the people fertile
for  the  following  Vaishnava acharyas. He is an incarnation of Lord Shiva, the
demigod  incharge  of  dissolution of the material cosmic manifestation, and the
Lord  incharge of the tamo guna or the mode of ignorance. Acharya Shankara also,
just  like  Lord  Buddha had specific missions to be accomplished, like bringing
the  atheist  Buddhists  to  follow  theism, and to drive away the non-believing
Buddhists  from  the  Holy  land  of  Bharatavarsha  or  India.  He  did this by
promulgating  the  advaita philosophy or universal oneness. This philosophy that
he propunded is also known as the monist or mayavada philosophy.
Adi  Shankara's monist theory came into being almost 3000 years after the advent
of  Kali, at a time when the presence of atheist Buddhists was rampant. The main
crux of his advaita philosophy was that, the Paramatma or the Super Soul and the
jivatma or the atomic spirit soul were the same, but presently the jiva has come
under the influence of maya or illusion. He said that once this maya's influence
is  removed,  the  jiva has the capacity to become God and loses it's individual
identity  by  merging with the Supreme Brahman. He also said that the impersonal
Brahman  or  the effulgent light that emanates out of the transcendental body of
the  Supreme  Lord,  is  the  highest  object  of  realisation, much against the
conclusion of the Shastras.
If Acharya Shankara had spoken to the atheists about the Spiritual World and the
possibility  of  the  living  entity  personally associating with a Supreme Lord
there,  nobody would have taken him seriously at that time. So, he had to preach
this lower but deviant philosophy, in order to gradually bring the atheists into
the  spiritual  realm. So, he said that though God is there, He is present as an
all-pervading,  impersonal  energy, and is the cause of all causes. He said that
this  material cosmos was false, much opposed to the knowledge that the Shastras
propose  that  the material world is real and true, but is temporary (dukhalayam
asasvatam  -  a  place  full  of miseries and temporariness). Something which is
temporary cannot be called untrue or non-existent.
Srila  Prabhupada explains, "Adi Shankara, as an incarnation of Lord Shiva knows
all  the spiritual existences, but he did not disclose them to his then Buddhist
followers because it was impossible for them to know about the Spiritual World."
Adi  Shankara  had said, "brahma satyam jagan mithya: material variegatedness is
false but spiritual variegatedness is fact". Srila Prabhupada further clarifies,
"In  the  Padma Purana (Mr. Jaldhar Prabhuji has straight away discarded this as
forged  Padma  Purana  and these verses are found in Bengali Version only, but i
donot  know  bengali  i read this in Kannada version of Padma Purana pulished by
Krishnaiah  Shetty  and Sons, Balepet, B.lore)   Lord Shiva has admitted that he
had  to  preach the philosophy of maya, or illusion, in the Kali yuga as another
edition  of  the  'void' philosophy of Buddha. He had to do this by the order of
the  Lord  for  specific  reasons.  He  disclosed  his  real  mind  however,  by
recommending  that  people  worship  Krishna,  for no one can be saved simply by
mental  speculations  composed of word jugglery and grammatical manuovres." Just
like  how  Jesus  Christ  avoided  disclosing  the  complete Truth to his shudra
followers,  so did Sripada Shankaracharya avoid preaching the highest philosophy
(Vaishnava philosophy) to his followers.
In  the  Shiva  Purana  it  is  stated  that, the Supreme Personality of Godhead
instructs Lord Shiva as follows:
dvaparadau yuge bhutva
kalaya manusadisu
svagamaih kalpitais tvam ca
janan mad-vimukhan kuru
"In  the  Kali  yuga,  mislead  the  people  in general by propounding imaginary
meanings for the Vedas to bewilder them."
This  was done by the Lord to make people forget Him and increase the population
in the planet.
In  the  Padma  Purana,  Lord  Shiva  discloses  to  His  wife Parvati Devi, the
following facts:
mayavadam asac chastram
pracchannam bauddham ucyate
mayaiva kalpitam devi
kalau brahmana-rupina
brahmanas caparam rupam
nirgunam vaksyate maya
sarva-svam jagato 'py asya
mohanartham kalau yuge
vedante tu maha-sastre
mayavadam avaidikam
mayaiva vaksyate devi
jagatam nasa-karanat
"The mayavada philosophy is impious. It is covered Buddhism. My dear Parvati, in
the  form  of  a  brahmana  in  the  Kali  yuga  I  teach  the imagined mayavada
philosophy.  In  order to cheat the atheists, I describe the Supreme Personality
of  Godhead  to  be without form and without qualities. Similarly, in explaining
the  Vedanta  I  describe  the  same mayavada philosophy in order to mislead the
entire population toward atheism by denying the personal form of the Lord."
Lord  Shiva  specifically mentions that mayavada is asat-shastra, or the Shastra
which  is  not  sat, or untrue, impious shastra. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati
Thakura,  the Guru Maharaj of Srila Prabhupada has said that one who follows the
principles of the Sariraka-bhasya (the commentary of Adi Shankara) is doomed.
This  is  further  confirmed in the Padma Purana, where Lord Shiva tells Parvati
srnu devi pravaksyami
tamasani yatha-kramam
yesam sravana-matrena
patityam jnaninam api
apartham sruti-vakyanam
darsayal loka-garhitam
atra ca pratipadyate
naiskarmyam tatra cocyate
paratma-jivayor aikyam
mayatra pratipadyate
"My  dear  wife,  hear  my  explanations  of how I have spread ignorance through
mayavada  philosophy.  Simply  by hearing it, even an advanced scholar will fall
down.  In  this  philosophy,  which is certainly very inauspicious for people in
general,  I  have  misrepresented  the real meaning of the Vedas and recommended
that  one give up all activities in order to achieve freedom from karma. In this
mayavada philosophy I have described the jivatma and Paramatma to be one and the
Srila Prabhupada further explains, "How the mayavada philosophy was condemned by
Sri    Caitanya    Mahaprabhu    and    His    followers    is    described   in
Sri-Caitanya-caritamrta, Antya-lila, Second Chapter, verses 94 through 99, where
Svarupa-damodara  Gosvami  says  that  anyone  who  is  eager  to understand the
mayavada  philosophy  must  be  considered  insane. This especially applies to a
Vaisnava who reads the Sariraka-bhasya and considers himself to be one with God.
The  mayavadi philosophers have presented their arguments in such as attractive,
flowery  language that hearing mayavada philosophy may sometimes change the mind
of even a maha-bhagavata, or very advanced devotee."
As  an  incarnation  of the Supreme Lord, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu has said that
Sripada Shankaracharya is not to be blamed for his actions, because it was under
the  Lord's  instructions  that he's acted, and for a devotee there is no bigger
pleasure than acting under the Supreme Lord's instructions. Adi Shankara however
has said that one has to worship the Supreme Lord, to escape the hands of death.
He composed a hymn,
bhaja govindam bhaja govindam
govindam bhaja mudha-mate
samprapte sannihite kale
na hi na hi raksati dukrn-karane
"You  intellectual  fools,  just  worship  Govinda,  just  worship Govinda, just
worship  Govinda. Your grammatical knowledge and word jugglery will not save you
at the time of death."
He's  specifically mentioned that grammatical knowledge (or the process of jnana
yoga)  won't  help, unlike what the mayavadis claim that considering the process
of jnana to be different from bhakthi yoga is ignorance.
Lord Krishna says in the Bhagavad Gita,
yoginam api sarvesam
sraddhavan bhajate yo mam
sa me yuktatamo matah
"And  of all the yogis, the one with great faith who always abides in Me, thinks
of  Me  within  himself, and renders transcendental loving service to Me - he is
the most intimately united with Me in yoga and is the highest of all."
This,  the  Lord  says in the end of the sixth chapter, after discussing all the
yoga  processes, including bhakthi yoga. He gives His verdict in this last verse
of  the  sixth  chapter,  declaring  bhakthi  yoga  as  the  highest of all yoga
processes,  higher  than  all  others like jnana, karma, dhyana, astanga, hatha,
etc. ( but what i am hearing here is Jnana marga is the advanced stage of bhakti
marga,  its totally confusing)  The followers of Acharya Shankara's opinion that
jnana  yoga and bhakthi yoga are the same is ignorance. Transcendental knowledge
alone  won't help, unless it fructifies into bhakthi. Their own acharya has said
that  it  is  the Supreme Lord Govinda who is to be worshipped. He's said 'bhaja
govindam'  and  not 'bhaja namashivayam', or something else, but still there are
his own followers who consider the worship of Lord Sri Krishna and Lord Shiva to
be equal, out of their ignorance and foolishness. This definitely shows that the
followers  of  Acharya Shankara are mental speculators, who are deluded by their
own  imperfect senses, thus corrupting even the straight forward instructions of
their  acharya.  Here I would like to quote the  mail received from Mr. VVS Mani
of Advaita-L ( I have read Mr. Jaldhar Prabhuji's comment on this)
aparimita dhruvas tanu-bhrto yadi sarva-gatas
tarhi na sasyateti niyamo dhruva netaratha
ajani ca yan-mayam tad avimucya niyantr bhavet
samam anujanatam yad amatam mata-dustataya
"O   Supreme   Eternal!  If  the  embodied  living  entities  were  eternal  and
all-pervading  like  You,  then they would not be under Your control. But if the
living  entities are accepted as minute energies of Your Lordship, then they are
at  once  subject  to  Your  supreme  control. Therefore real liberation entails
surrender  by  the living entities to Your control, and that surrender will make
them  happy.  In  that  constitutional  position  only  can they be controllers.
Therefore,  men with limited knowledge who advocate the monistic theory that God
and  the  living  entities  are  equal  in all respects are actually guided by a
faulty and polluted opinion."
The  monistic  view  of God is held by most of the people who are worshippers of
Lord Shiva. It is a sad fact that many of them follow this philosophy because of
their  association  with  monist  philosophers or elders in the family. In South
India  especially,  it  is  not  very uncommon to see a child born in a brahmana
family  to  be trained up spiritually also, even though the family might well be
materialistic,  with  the  head  of the family working somewhere to maintain his
family. The Shastras say that, as soon as a brahmana accepts money for his work,
he is no more a brahmana. Children brought up in such families, trained by their
grandfathers,  fathers, uncles or brothers, who in turn would have inherited the
knowledge  from  their  seniors, naturally tend to take up this monistic view of
the  Supreme  Absolute Truth. This kind of so-called spiritual education without
the proper guidance of a bonafide Spiritual Master, and without proper reference
to  the  Shastras,  is  actually atheistic education. So, actually some can't be
really  blamed  for their ignorance. But, it is not false that the mayavadis are
very  very  obstinate  and  refuse  to  lend  their  ears to descriptions of the
Absolute  Truth, as it is. The mayavadi philosophers, who out of their imperfect
knowledge  propagate  their crazy ideas should be defeated, but the minds of the
followers of this mayavada philosophy because of their birth in such a family or
due  to  wrong  association,  needs  to  be  changed  and  cleared  of all their
misconceptions.  The  children  born  in  such  a  family  are  exposed  to this
philosophy  as  the  highest  truth,  right from a very tender age. The children
start  building  all  their conceptions and theories around the belief that they
are Gods, and their minds get fixed up in that thought. This is a very dangerous
condition  and  unless the centre of this thought, the monist view is shattered,
the children cannot be saved from the path to hell.
The Lord says in the Bhagavad Gita as follows:
avyaktam vyaktim apannam
manyante mam abuddhayah
param bhavam ajananto
mamavyayam anuttamam
"Unintelligent  men,  who  do  not  know Me perfectly, think that I, the Supreme
Personality of Godhead, Krishna, was impersonal before and have now assumed this
personality.  Due  to  their small knowledge, they do not know My higher nature,
which is imperishable and supreme."
This  is  the  position  of  a  person  who  considers that God is an impersonal
all-pervading  energy  -  uninitelligent.  i  too had been holding the same view
about  God,  that He was an all-pervading formless energy, until my beliefs were
shattered  by my Guru Maharaj. i eternally owe Him my service, for He is the one
who  saved  me  from  the hands of death and from the path to hell. As the above
verse  clearly illustrates that unitelligent people claim that the Lord acquires
a  form  only  when He descends, the mayavadis also say that the Lord takes up a
material body while descendiing.
Lord Brahma says in the Brahma Samhita,
ishvara parama krishnah
sachitananda vigrah
anadir adir govindah
sarva karana karanam
"The  Supreme  Controller  is Lord Krishna, Govinda, who has an eternal blissful
form full of knowledge, and is the beginning of everything though He Himself has
neither a beginning nor an end, and is the cause of all causes."
But  for  the  preacher  of mayavada Sripada Shankaracharya, all the other major
acharyas  were  Vaishnavas  who  accepted  that  the  jivatma was quantitatively
different  from the Paramatma. Some of them like Madhvacharya and Lord Chaitanya
were  not  ordinary human beings. Madhvacharya is the son of Varuna, and another
form  of  the  greatest  devotee  of  Lord  Rama, Hanuman, and a devotee of Lord
Krishna,  Bhimasena. Lord Chaitanya, as a channa avatara, or covered incarnation
of  the  Lord,  is  the  Supreme  Personality  of Godhead Himself. After Acharya
Shankara  established  the  position  of  the  Vedic  Scriptures  as the highest
authority,  Madhvacharya  established  the  point  that  the  living  entity  is
different from the Super Soul. Later, Lord Chaitanya revealed the complete Truth
by  way  of His achinthya bedhabedha tattva that, the two are simultaneously and
inconceivably   one   as  well  as  different.  This  means  that  the  two  are
quantitatively different though they are qualitatively one.
The above is ofcourse is an extract of one of ISCKON's home pages.

I once again request you to pardon be if i hurt anybody's beliefs.

Your Humble servant
Hari Hari Hari Bol
Bhaskar Y.R.

bhava shankara deshikame sharaNam

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