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acintya bhedabheda

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Inconceivable simulataneous oneness and difference. I thought this is what made Lord Caitanya's teaching unique and the final word in God realization. But it seems many on this forum disagree preferring a more straight line dualist approach.

 

So let me ask the followers of Mahaprabhu to please explain acintya bhedabheda and specifically how it relates to the jiva and his relation to the Supreme Lord

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Inconceivable simulataneous oneness and difference. I thought this is what made Lord Caitanya's teaching unique and the final word in God realization. But it seems many on this forum disagree preferring a more straight line dualist approach.

 

So let me ask the followers of Mahaprabhu to please explain acintya bhedabheda and specifically how it relates to the jiva and his relation to the Supreme Lord

Well you didn't ask *me* (you specified "the followers of Mahaprabhu"), but I'll chime in nonetheless :)

 

I like the analogy of cells in the body--we are all cells in the body of the Lord, and the Lord is *more* than just the sum-total of the cells in His body.

 

Yet, since this analogy is "conceivable", it is necessarily deficient. Our true relation with the Lord is inconceivable--we can attain an intimacy with the Lord far greater than the intimacy of the body's cells with the body's predominating deity (the jiva-soul, we call "I").

 

Still, the cell analogy is *useful*.

 

After all, if we are cells in the body of the Lord, we might be able to exist apart from the Lord for some time, but we won't find out highest happiness and fulfillment unless we are acting in concert with the other cells for the satisfaction of the body (the Lord). If we are fighting the will of the Lord, we are "cancer" cells.

 

I suppose the highest expression of acintya-bheda-bhed is to be found in the Divine Couple, Sri Sri Radha-Krishna. They are one and the same, and yet they feel such intense pangs of separation for one another! Inconceivable!!!

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First in relation to His energies in general.

 

 

TRANSLATION Bg 7.8

O son of Kunti, I am the taste of water, the light of the sun and the moon, the syllable om in the Vedic mantras; I am the sound in ether and ability in man.

PURPORT

This verse explains how the Lord is all-pervasive by His diverse material and spiritual energies. The Supreme Lord can be preliminarily perceived by His different energies, and in this way He is realized impersonally. As the demigod in the sun is a person and is perceived by his all-pervading energy, the sunshine, so the Lord, although in His eternal abode, is perceived by His all-pervading diffusive energies. The taste of water is the active principle of water. No one likes to drink sea water, because the pure taste of water is mixed with salt. Attraction for water depends on the purity of the taste, and this pure taste is one of the energies of the Lord. The impersonalist perceives the presence of the Lord in water by its taste, and the personalist also glorifies the Lord for His kindly supplying tasty water to quench man's thirst. That is the way of perceiving the Supreme. Practically speaking, there is no conflict between personalism and impersonalism. One who knows God knows that the impersonal conception and personal conception are simultaneously present in everything and that there is no contradiction. Therefore Lord Caitanya established His sublime doctrine: acintya bheda-and-abheda-tattva—simultaneous oneness and difference.

The light of the sun and the moon is also originally emanating from the brahmajyoti, which is the impersonal effulgence of the Lord. And pranava, or the omkara transcendental sound in the beginning of every Vedic hymn, addresses the Supreme Lord. Because the impersonalists are very much afraid of addressing the Supreme Lord Krishna by His innumerable names, they prefer to vibrate the transcendental sound omkara. But they do not realize that omkara is the sound representation of Krishna. The jurisdiction of Krishna consciousness extends everywhere, and one who knows Krishna consciousness is blessed. Those who do not know Krishna are in illusion, and so knowledge of Krishna is liberation, and ignorance of Him is bondage.

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Here's Crispian Mills' (son of Hayley Mills) take on the topic--it's a little hippy-dippy, but fun, nonetheless:

 

Tattva

by Kula Shaker

 

Tattva, acintya bheda bheda tattva (4 times)

Like the flower and the scent of summer, like the sun and the shine

Well the truth may come in strange disguises

Send the message to your mind

 

Tattva, acintya bheda bheda tattva (4 times)

At the moment that you wake from sleeping and you know its all a dream

Well the truth may come in strange disguises

Never knowing what it means

 

Tattva, acintya bheda bheda tattva (4 times)

For you shall be towmorrow, like you have been today

If this was never ending

What more can you say?

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Practically speaking, there is no conflict between personalism and impersonalism. One who knows God knows that the impersonal conception and personal conception are simultaneously present in everything and that there is no contradiction.

Wow!! I've never noticed this bit before. Considering how much Mayavadi-bashing goes on, this is remarkable.

 

Practically-speaking, focusing on this sentence would be best for the purposes of preaching/distribution.

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I also see the cell analogy as useful. Each cell is a product of the body and nothing more. Yet we know it is not the whole body.

 

I see the jiva like this in relation to Krsna. If I examine my make up I can see only Krsna. Therefore I can say I am Krsna. Yet we know I am not the Cause of All Causes and that the Cause of All Causes exits prior to me, independent of me, and that I am limited Krsna whereas He is unlimited Krsna.

 

There is much opposition to this conception on this board but no one has taken the time to show me where I am wrong. Perhaps someone could be gracious enough to do so now.

 

 

Also I wish I understood holograms enough to use the example of the holographic universe and how the whole is in the part and yet far beyond it but I will leave that for someone who can better explain it.

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Quote:

<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="100%"> <tbody><tr> <td style="border: 1px solid rgb(102, 102, 102); padding-left: 3ex; padding-right: 3ex;" bgcolor="#e0e0e0"> Originally Posted by theist quoting BG

Practically speaking, there is no conflict between personalism and impersonalism. One who knows God knows that the impersonal conception and personal conception are simultaneously present in everything and that there is no contradiction.

</td> </tr> </tbody></table>

<!-- END TEMPLATE: bbcode_quote -->

Wow!! I've never noticed this bit before. Considering how much Mayavadi-bashing goes on, this is remarkable.

 

Practically-speaking, focusing on this sentence would be best for the purposes of preaching/distribution.

-------------

 

I agree. It is a very important understanding I believe. Srila Prabhupada laid stress on the eternal subordination of the jiva to the Supreme Lord to save his students from being swallowed by simple monism.

 

Lord Caitainya taught a qualified monism as well as a qualified dualism in that they don't cancel each other out and are both true but must be qualified harmoniously with the truth of the other.

 

To me it is this sublime and all emcompasing teaching of Lord Caitanya that is so attractive.

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Yes indeed!! While we are neophytes, we must be discriminating (between "favorable" and "unfavorable").

 

Ultimately, when our vision is clear, we see that the Krishna conception is all-encompassing, all-accomodating (even the demons are accomodated in Krishna-lila!!), and absolutely-harmonizing.

 

Hopefully the day will come when we can see, as Guru does, that "every wave is favorable."

 

 

To me it is this subluime and all emcompasing teaching of Lord Caitanya that is so attractive.

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Ultimately, when our vision is clear, we see that the Krishna conception is all-encompassing, all-accomodating (even the demons are accomodated in Krishna-lila!!), and absolutely-harmonizing.

 

I forgot the most important "all", "all-attractive"!!!

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TRANSLATION SB 2.6.13-16

Beginning from me [brahma] down to you and Bhava [siva], all the great sages who were born before you, the demigods, the demons, the Nagas, the human beings, the birds, the beasts, as well as the reptiles, etc., and all phenomenal manifestations of the universes, namely the planets, stars, asteroids, luminaries, lightning, thunder, and the inhabitants of the different planetary systems, namely the Gandharvas, Apsaras, Yakshas, Rakshas, Bhutaganas, Uragas, Pasus, Pitas, Siddhas, Vidyadharas, Caranas, and all other different varieties of living entities, including the birds, beasts, trees and everything that be, are all covered by the universal form of the Lord at all times, namely past, present and future, although He is transcendental to all of them, eternally existing in a form not exceeding nine inches.

 

PURPORT

The Supreme Personality of Godhead, by His partial representation, measuring not more than nine inches as Supersoul, expands by His potential energy in the shape of the universal form, which includes everything manifested in different varieties of organic and inorganic materials. The manifested varieties of the universe are therefore not different from the Lord, just as golden ornaments of different shapes and forms are nondifferent from the original stock reserve of gold. In other words, the Lord is the Supreme Person who controls everything within the creation, and still He remains the supreme separate identity, distinct from all manifested material creation. In the Bhagavad-gita (9.4-5) He is therefore said to be Yogesvara. Everything rests on the potency of Lord Sri Krishna, and still the Lord is different from and transcendental to all such identities. In the Vedic Purusha-sukta of the Rig mantra, this is also confirmed. This philosophical truth of simultaneous oneness and difference was propounded by Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, and it is known as acintya-bhedabheda-tattva. Brahma, Narada and all others are simultaneously one with the Lord and different from the Supreme Lord. We are all one with Him, just as the gold ornaments are one in quality with the stock gold, but the individual gold ornament is never equal in quantity with the stock gold. The stock gold is never exhausted even if there are innumerable ornaments emanating from the stock because the stock is purnam, complete; even if purnam is deducted from the purnam, still the supreme purnam remains the same purnam. This fact is inconceivable to our present imperfect senses. Lord Caitanya therefore defined His theory of philosophy as acintya (inconceivable), and as confirmed in the Bhagavad-gita as well as in the Bhagavatam, Lord Caitanya's theory of acintya-bhedabheda-tattva is the perfect philosophy of the Absolute Truth.

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Haribol, theist, and thanks for starting this thread.

 

I got a frowny face on my last post, because I was touching on a subject that REALLY CANNOT BE EXPLAINED without the key, acintya bheda bheda tattwa. In fact, acintya means "cannot really be explained".

 

How can something be the same, yet different? I have always liked Srila Prabhupadas analogy with the US Postal Service. And because this subject matter is personal, I will change it a little, from post office and mailbox, to postmaster general and mailman.

 

The postmaster general and the mailman have the same job and the same authority, yet their positions are vastly different. The Postmaster general is the boss, and the mailman is his employee. While employed, the mailman has sworn an oath to carry out the duties of the postmaster general, and the delivery and acceptance for delivery of mail is the same exact function. However, the mailman knows that he is not the postmaster general. The postmaster general also has acceptance for delivery and delivery of mail as the same function, however, it is on his authority that the entire system is operated., and he also has the authority and power to employ whomever he wishes, as many as he wishes to employ, to do this function. Whereas, if I were a mailman, and I got sick, I certainly cannot ask my neighbor to do this work for me. My neighbor is not qualified nor authorized to have anything to do with this function. (actually, this is a very good analogy regarding the 30 year old controversy of appointed acaryas, where some claimed that someone other than Krsna in his function as chaita guru appointed acaryas outside his realm of authority or responsibility, but this is a whole other topic.)

 

Oneness and difference pertains to function. While the jiva certainly has divine qualities, eternality, etc these qualities are limited in quantity. So the difference is quantity. In the case of shaktavesa avatar, a jiva tattwa being empowered to act like the Supreme Lord in this realm, this is not such a big deal. Srila Prabhupada actually used this word to describe one who had extraordinary powers. But in his teachings, he uses this word to describe the likes of King Prthu and Queen Arci, Srila Vyasadeva, Lord Parusarama, and these beings are the biggest of deals. They are such exalted beings that their Divine Qualities are of a quantity that is beyond our scope of understanding as well. Srila Prabhupada, therefore, does not use this phrase (shaktavesa avatar) frivolously. However, in eacdh case, he describesw these beings as not of the Visnu Catagory, meaning their quantity does not approach that of Lord Narayana. As jiva tattwa, they are only possessing 78%, max, of the quantitative features of Lord Krsna. Lord Siva is never referred to as shaktiavesa avatar because he exceeds the quantitative qualities of all jiva tattwa, including the quantity of Lord Brahma. He possesses 84% of the quantitative features of Lord Krsna.

 

Great subject, it is unfortunate that the christian community cannot accept this tattwa. It is doubly unfortunate because Lord Jesus Christ actually taught this in a limited way as well. He is here about his fathers business, but his father is referred to as good, while lord jesus refuses this adjective. They are different personalities, but their purpose is the same, to remind all of our position as subserviant to God. The quality of their association is non-different, as Srila Prabhupada also teaches by his acceptance of vyasa puja anbd guru puja. He is God because he is full of divine service, but he does not nullify the existance of God by spouting off this "we are all one" or "all roads lead to sears" nonsense. Only God is God.

 

hare krsna, ys, mahaksadasa

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The paradox of the one vs the many has generated philosophical discourse for centuries in the history of Western thought, dating from Parmenides.

In fact most schools of philosophy can be classified according to how this discourse, this dialectic has resolved.

Of Dualism, monism, pluralism, the latter has been the most promising and is still widely accepted, being the basis of Enlightenment democratic thought.

It's still a struggle, inconceivable, because Western thinkers are bound by binary logic such as the Principle of the excluded Middle and the Principle of Non Contradiction.

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Hey mahak,

 

I knew where you were coming from. The Christians that claim Jesus as being the Supreme Being in all respects are actually concocting some strange brew of something like mayavad but they don't know enough to follow it through and put the pieces together. At heart they are theist but they unknowingly speak mayavad.

 

For instance, they will say that God is spirit and they never qualify tha b explaining He is spirirtual form. Some will go so far as to say since He is spirit He is formless. This formless God became the person of Jesus to relate to us humans and now that he has resurreted he has gone back to being God, who is formless. Couple this with Jesus's prayers for his disciples that they be one with him as he is one with the father and it is the classic impersonalist rap.

 

Now they say this and at the same time saying he is sitting on the right hand of God. They have no consistency amongst all the saved souls presenting a picture of variety in the spirirtual world.

 

The insidious mayavadi virus is working it's way into the Christian church and it finds no opposition from the Bible because of the Bibles not addressing these issues. My opinion is to keep the gospels and leave aside the rest of the Bible but that is unlikely to happen.

 

My concern is that people reading Srila Prabhupadsa's books and not understanding oneness and differrence. By that I mean just the very basic idea. One reason is that if the Christians are ever to get straight on these very important points it will have to come from Prabhupada's students.

 

Those that would make that more difficult by insulting Christ are actually working against the mission of Srila Prabhupada who came specifically to deliver the west from impersonalism and voidism.

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The paradox of the one vs the many has generated philosophical discourse for centuries in the history of Western thought, dating from Parmenides.

In fact most schools of philosophy can be classified according to how this discourse, this dialectic has resolved.

Of Dualism, monism, pluralism, the latter has been the most promising and is still widely accepted, being the basis of Enlightenment democratic thought.

It's still a struggle, inconceivable, because Western thinkers are bound by binary logic such as the Principle of the excluded Middle and the Principle of Non Contradiction.

 

I have no idea what these terms mean cbrahma. Care to elaborate a bit?

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Post # 13 is truely excellent and puts the whole issue very plainly. This is Srila Prabhupadas mission. Despite the sectarianism shown by many, Srila Prabhupada states that he is not about folks changing from one religion to another. He has come to enhance what another poster has mentioned as the "essence of religion".

 

Just as Lord Chaitanya had rooted out the impersonalism and defeated the incomplete logic of vedantists who leaned in that direction, Srila Prabhupada has considered the similar incompleteness that the christian has been systematically taught. Because Theist's title deals with acintya bheda bheda tattwa, we do not, in this case, attack the impersonal concepts, but simply note the incompleteness of such doctrine. Which comes to another excellent point of theist's post. As vaisnavas, we do not disturb the faith of another, we do not interfere with how Lord Nityananda Prabhu is guiding the individual. Our business is not about destroying Christianity and crushing it underfoot in favor of other religions similarly steeped in voidist philosophy even worse than the man-made concoction of the vatican and the free-masons.

 

As theist expertly notes: "One reason is that if the Christians are ever to get straight on these very important points it will have to come from Prabhupada's students. Those that would make that more difficult by insulting Christ are actually working against the mission of Srila Prabhupada who came specifically to deliver the west from impersonalism and voidism."

 

I agree full-heartedly. As often stated, I had plenty opportunity to become a christian. I had good education, access to great and rare works, studied many great thinkers. However, only when infused with bhakti given by Srila Prabhupada, the teachings of Lord Jesus Christ become alive. I especially appreciate the Coptic Pope whose position is no one can speak about God but one who knows him and the followers of one who knows Him. Srila Prabhupada actually did order some of his students to do just as you have stated. Not defeat their religion, but give them the essence of their religion.

 

Hare Krsna, ys, mahaksadasa

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And there is no relief in sight. acintya bheda bheda tattwa is the key to understanding the four items that are eternal and real. Iswara, jiva, prakrti, kala. Karma just is in the material world, so, though it is a fact, it is a temporary fact. Iswara (Godhead, the supreme person), jiva (all the rest of those who live), prakrti (nature), and kala (eternal time) are the subject matter of bhagavad Gita, which is the whole thesis on personal realization of the self and of God. Without the understanding that god is not only impersonal, he is also the source of the impersonal feature, that religionists fail to see.

 

The hindus are not beyond the religion of any of the others, so those who want unity of all religions actually dont have to work very hard, because they are already as united as can be. So Krsna tells us to abandon such nonsense in favor of actually having a personal relationship with Him. The vaisnava is not about religious unity, rather the essence that was spoken of no nicely earlier, the hidden truth given by the acarya to the one he has been inspired to appear before. Our business as preachers (gosthyanandi, the style of those who follow Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu) is not to say "oh, your religion is nice, you feed the hungry, heal the sick, give folks peace on Sunday." We dont do that. We say that the persons understanding of their own scripture, their own founders of their line, is not complete if they can only be blinded by the light of god. Unless they come to the point of ESTABLISHING (rekindling) their personal and intimate, reciprocal relationship with the Supreme Lord (all Lord Jesus Christ is really asking of his flock, BTW), then all the rest is empty, as empty as Vyasadevas veda which just produced frustration in the author. Without the extra gift of Sri Narada Muni, Vyasadeva is just another book writer, publish or perish, and this is his own opinion of Himself, not an offensive declaration 5,000 years later by the critic mahaksadasa.

 

There is nothing wrong with Brahmana realizatyion, there is nothing wrong with feeling the lords presence in ones heart, but without establishment of rasa with the Supreme Lord, all the tattwas of brahmana and paramatma realization are simply considered partial, incomplete understanding of the self.

 

Hare Krsna, ys, mahaksadasa

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these folks who insist that God is a nothing, that the knowledge is god, the emotion is god, love is god, peace is god. To call God all these things, regardless of how enlightened such glorifications of these things are, this is still atheism.

 

God is not Love, someone else got that job. God is not knowledge, he delegates authority on that one. God is not peace, just ask arjuna. God is not a good feeling, Srimati Radharani has only tears of separation.

 

Who cares about god anyway, this is not my concern, this god stuff. Ill let him go on speaking in tongues to the US President or guiding dattaswami to his own confusion. I read about Krsna, Srila Prabhupadas books, not for god. I gave him up long ago. I read because I am affected by the devotion of Iswara Puri to Madhavendra Puri. This is all I care about. I like the way Sri Jatayu takes on Ravanna, and almost defeats him, even though way too old and fully blind and incapacitated. Just because Sitadevi needs him. No gods in Ramayana, just Sita, Rama, Guha, Jatayu, Jambhavana, Hanuman and the devotee son of Ravana.

 

God! How stuffy, how provincial. Even the word has a bad sound, God is no name to chant. I like the story of where God appears before the gopis, and they say the proper prayers, but they really just want him to go away and stop disturbing them, because they are after the bad boy, krsna, who is hiding from them.

 

Madhavendra Puri knows the true, read his pastimes, get away from this hodgepodge of godism used by demons to promote atheism.

 

Hare Krsna, ys, mahaksadasa

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All of our traditions are invaded by Mayavadi .. even SB. I know that may seem like blasphemy to many, but I have studied SB and analysis points to Mayavadi infiltration, particularly to the degree of Mayavadi influence on the translator.

 

We (most of us) on this forum love Srila Prabhupada's translation because of the high degree of devotional personalism retained in his translation.

 

BUT the readers should recognized just how much Srila Prabhupada Personalizes BG and SB. Read the actual sanskrit and many impersonal technical terms are in the BG and SB

 

HS and yours

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BUT the readers should recognized just how much Srila Prabhupada Personalizes BG and SB. Read the actual sanskrit and many impersonal technical terms are in the BG and SB

 

Have you considered that the compilers of the various dictionaries to which you are referring may themselves be contaminated by Mayavadi philosophy? Perhaps the dictionary definitions are not wholly accurate?

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BUT the readers should recognized just how much Srila Prabhupada Personalizes BG and SB. Read the actual sanskrit and many impersonal technical terms are in the BG and SB

 

Not at all.

That is a big misconception.

It is only due to faulty understanding that any "impersonal" conceptions are at all visible in Bhagavad-gita.

 

The misunderstanding comes when academics dabble in the Bhagavad-gita and any impersonal misconceptions arise.

 

When self-realized Maha-Bhagavats renders the Bhagavad-gita the true concepts become obvious.

 

Academics and jnanis are unfit to touch the Bhagavad-gita.

When they do they butcher the siddhanta of Krishna's song.

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All of our traditions are invaded by Mayavadi .. even SB. I know that may seem like blasphemy to many, but I have studied SB and analysis points to Mayavadi infiltration, particularly to the degree of Mayavadi influence on the translator.

 

We (most of us) on this forum love Srila Prabhupada's translation because of the high degree of devotional personalism retained in his translation.

 

BUT the readers should recognized just how much Srila Prabhupada Personalizes BG and SB. Read the actual sanskrit and many impersonal technical terms are in the BG and SB

 

HS and yours

 

I don't know sanskrit but even the english translations have many verses that could be taken as indicating mayavada philosophy if one was inclined to hear in that way.

 

But Bhaktivedanta means from everywhere in vedanta he extracts only bhakti. Even in the Brahman effulgence filled with slumbering living beings we can sense bhakti lying dormant in the hearts of all the individuals there.

 

So we have become very fortunate indeed to be attracted to hearing from such a Bhaktivedanta. His vision pierces the ever present Brahmajyoti which is blinding to the majority, and his focus is stayed on Radha Krsna.

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the impersonal aspect of God is only a partial representation.

Clear white light cannot really be "God" in the sense that God is Paramesvara or the supreme controller.

to be God really there must be Bhagavan, the possessor of all opulences in full.

the impersonal feature of the absolute is just the shining effuglence of God, not God proper.

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