“Fools deride Me when I descend in the human form. They do not know My transcendental nature and My supreme dominion over all that be.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 9.11)Download this episode (right click and save)
Friend1: I’ve got a good one for you.
Friend1: Is an impersonalist an asura?
Friend2: Ooh, that does sound good. First define the two terms.
Friend1: Impersonalist believes that God is without form. You can’t worship Him directly, since He is incorporeal. Everything is part of God. Everything is one.
Friend2: That’s more or less it. What about the asura?
Friend1: They are generally against God. The word is a negation of sura, which means “devotee” or “someone who believes in God.”
Friend2: Okay. Do you think you have answered your own question?
Friend1: What if the impersonalist doesn’t know any better? What if they are not particularly against God; they just don’t know that He has a form?
Friend2: You’re talking about the distinction between a Brahmavadi and a Mayavadi. A Brahmavadi concludes that everything is impersonal. They simply don’t know better. That is the summit to their knowledge. They have yet to experience the blissful life that comes through devotion to God the person. The Mayavadi has heard about God’s form and has rejected it.
Friend1: I see. The reason I am asking is sometimes I see impersonalists get very upset when people talk about devotional service, especially to Shri Krishna.
Friend2: Of course. That makes total sense.
Friend1: But why would they care? If everything is impersonal, then wouldn’t that include worship of Krishna? Why wouldn’t they get just as upset at people watching sports or giving praise to a politician?
Friend2: Those are good questions. They’re angry because the authorized teachings of Shri Krishna found in the Bhagavad-gita debunk the Mayavada-impersonalist philosophy. It’s a challenge to their erroneous way of thinking.
Friend1: They view Krishna and His devotees as a threat.
Friend2: Exactly. The impersonalist philosophy basically makes everyone God. It also makes every activity legitimate. Do whatever you want. It doesn’t really matter. The goal is to merge into the impersonal spiritual energy that is Brahman, anyway. That goal is difficult to achieve. You have to take sannyasa, the renounced order, and live by very strict guidelines.
Friend1: By worshiping Krishna, it becomes acknowledged that someone else is God. There is more to it than the collective.
Friend2: Exactly. Shri Krishna addresses this in the Bhagavad-gita. He says that fools deride Him when He appears in the human form. They think that He has assumed material elements just like they have. They don’t know His true nature, which is changeless and supreme. Since it’s impossible to misinterpret such a straightforward statement, the cheaters take to attacking the very idea of personalism. They don’t accept it. If the impersonalists did, then they would have to admit their path is inferior. That’s why they get so angry.
Friend1: What should the reaction be on the other side?
Friend2: Take it as a sign of success. You’re discussing the glories of the Supreme Lord. The bad people will always object. Like you said before, if they really believed in their impersonal philosophy, they wouldn’t have a problem. They are actually still in maya, or illusion. They don’t know things as they are, and therefore they become threatened by the genuine religion.
Impersonal Brahman in everything to see,
So why angry at yogis in bhakti to be?
Why not having reaction the same,
To playing sports, praising politicians by name?
Since devotion to their philosophy a threat,
That beyond Brahman, more from religion to get.
Worship of Shri Krishna, the supreme being one,
Then Mayavadis to have recourse none.