[Advaita-l] In praise of ISKCON?!

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Fri May 18 03:16:35 EDT 2018

On Fri, May 18, 2018 at 12:20 PM, Sujal Upadhyay via Advaita-l <
advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org> wrote:

> Pranams Shri Bhaskar Prabhu ji,
> Not just ISKCONites but some Gaudiya-s too. I had discussion with him. He
> doesn't like ISKCON's way of preaching. He said, you advaitins out-rightly
> reject Krishna's form as illusion and mithyA. I asked him have you read
> Sankara Bhashya? He said no. Then I quoted some sloka-s randomly from Gita
> Bhashya. Finally, I said if veda-s are an authority for Advaitin, if Gita
> is an essence of vedanta, then how can Krishna be Illusion. He could not
> reply. Then I said, we accept even jivahood, but only in aJYAna (as said in
> chandogya upanishad Bhashya 6.5.xx or maybe 7.1.xx while explaining food
> being divided into 3 parts - gross, medium and sutble). He then said, - ok,
> but you consider form of God as inferior. I simply replied, that is
> different from 'out-rightly rejecting a form and calling it as an
> illusion'. Also know that we do revere forms of God as they are inseparable
> from Brahman, however, we do not consider it as last step. Last step is to
> completely loose one's identity. Whatever exists is Brahman only. So
> NirguNa, nikArAkAra Brahman is our ultimate goal. Even Yoga is practised by
> many advaitins, infact yoga and advaita used to go hand in hand. We see it
> in daily prANAyama practice that Brahmins do like anuloma viloma. Bhakti is
> the foundation of any spiritual practice. Without faith, everything is
> mechanical.

At the very beginning of the bhashya (said to be of Shankara) for the
Nrsimha Tapini Upanishad, it is said: saakaara brahman is taken up as the
upaaya for realizing the niraakaara brahman.

Thus, the formed-deity is a support for the aspirant to reach the formless


> Secondly, they think at Adi Sankara, during his last days realised that his
> philosophy was incomplete so he composed bhaja Govindam. I had to correct
> him on that too. Thirs, I explained to him that many things are said which
> are applicable to jIva ShriSthTi i.e. individual consciousness and not
> collective consciousness. I said, during meditation, negate samsAra that is
> in our mind and perception will change. Atleast go to this level, even
> bhakti needs change in perception of samsAra. It is transient and misery.
> In samAdhi, samsAra is not destroyed, it is negated.
> Hare Krishna
> Sujal

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