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Impersonal Brahman

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Happiness derived from pure devotional service is the highest, because it is eternal. The happiness derived from material perfection or understanding oneself to be Brahman is inferior because it is temporary. There is no preventing one's falling down from material happiness, and there is even every chance of falling down from the spiritual happiness derived out of identifying oneself with the impersonal Brahman.


It has been seen that great Mayavadi (impersonalist) sannyasis-very highly educated and almost realized souls-may sometimes take to political activities or to social welfare activities. The reason is that they actually do not derive any ultimate transcendental happiness in the impersonal understanding and therefore must come down to the material platform and take to such mundane affairs. There are many instances, especially in India, where these Mayavadi sannyasis descend to the material platform again. But a person who is fully in Krsna consciousness will never return to any sort of material platform. However alluring and attracting they may be, he always knows that no material welfare activities can compare to the spiritual activity of Krsna consciousness.

__ NOD 1 Happiness in Krsna Consciousness {extracted}



"One who is thus transcendentally situated at once realizes the Supreme Brahman and becomes fully joyful. He never laments nor desires to have anything; he is equally disposed to every living entity. In that state he attains pure devotional service unto Me."

__ Bg.18.51



So it seems just knowing who you are is not enough for Transcendental Happiness. You must also know Param Brahman.

So what is Impersonal Brahman?







We may build a nice spaceship and send it off into space, and the astronauts may go up there and fly in the impersonal sky, but eventually they will become tired and pray to God, "Please let us return to land." We have read that the Russian astronauts were simply missing Moscow while they were traveling in space. This impersonal traveling is actually very agitating; similarly, impersonal realization of the Absolute Truth cannot be permanent because one wants variety.

__ Teaching of Lord Kapila 5.6 {extracted}



The last word of tattva jnana is to understand Krsna, who is full of variety. Kapiladeva is tattva-margagra-darsanam. He is an incarnation of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and He will explain to His mother what tattva is, how one can approach the tattva jnana, and how one can actually enjoy tattva jnana. This is not simply dry speculation. This Krsna consciousness philosophy includes spiritual variety. People sometimes misunderstand this variety to be material, and they hanker for nirvisesa, nirakara, void. However, our philosophy is not void; it is full of variety and transcendental bliss. This will later be specifically enunciated by Lord Kapiladeva.

__ Teaching of Lord Kapila 5.6 {extracted}



We have often given the example of impersonal understanding being like the understanding of the sunshine. One may see the sunshine entering through a window into his room, but this does not mean that one knows everything about the sun. Impersonal understanding of the Absolute Truth is like that. The sunshine is impersonal (Brahman), the sun itself is localized (Paramatma) and the sun-god residing within the sun is a person (Bhagavan). Just as one can understand the three aspects of the sun-the sunshine, the sun itself and the sun-god-one can also understand the three aspects of the Supreme Absolute Truth-Brahman, Paramatma and Bhagavan.

__ Teaching of Lord Kapila 15.36



From all the above Impersonal aspect means just that Impersonal. In complete knowledge. Prabhupada says in above example the astronauts, they want to come back to this plain material plain. Great analogy. Amazing. So..








Thus one who is actually situated in Brahman realization has no reason to lament or desire. He is equal to everyone and is thus eligible for devotional service. This was also accepted by Bilvamangala Thakura, who, in his later life, lamented: "I was situated as a monist in order to become one with the Supreme, but somehow or other I contacted a naughty boy and became His eternal servitor." In other words, those who attain self-realization by the execution of devotional service attain a transcendental body, and, being attracted to the transcendental qualities of Krsna, engage fully in pure devotional service.

__ TLC 15 {extracted}



Those who are under the impression that there is material contamination in the form of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and in His devotional service are called Mayavadi. According to their imperfect speculation, the impersonal Brahman is considered to be the only existence in the cosmic manifestation. As soon as the Supreme Personality of Godhead is introduced, they consider that His personality arises from maya, or the external material energy. Such persons consider all incarnations of the Supreme Lord to be contaminated by this material nature. According to them, the material body and the activities of matter which identify the living entity are all material manifestations. According to them, liberation means the end of individual identification, or of the pure living entity. In other words, the Mayavadis maintain that when a living entity is liberated, he becomes one with the supreme impersonal Brahman. According to such Mayavadi philosophy, the Personality of Godhead, His abode, His devotional service and His emotional devotees are all under the spell of maya and are consequently subjected to the material condition.

__ TLC 17 {extracted}



Impersonalists, after undergoing severe austerities and penances, merge themselves into the Brahman effulgence or impersonal Brahman existence. But their minds are not free from material contamination; they have simply tried to negate the material ways of thinking. That does not mean that they have become liberated. Thus they fall down.

__ Krishna Book, Prayers by the Demigods for Lord Krsna in the Womb Chp 2 {extracted}



Arjuna then saw the effulgence of light known as the brahmajyoti. The brahmajyoti is situated outside the covering of the material universes, and because it cannot be seen with our present eyes, this brahmajyoti is sometimes called avyakta. This spiritual effulgence is the ultimate destination of the impersonalists known as Vedantists. The brahmajyoti is also described as anantaparam, unlimited and unfathomed. When Lord Krsna and Arjuna reached this region of the brahmajyoti, Arjuna could not tolerate the glaring effulgence, and he closed his eyes. Lord Krsna's and Arjuna's reaching the brahmajyoti region is described in Harivamsa. In that portion of the Vedic literature, Krsna informed Arjuna, "My dear Arjuna, the glaring effulgence, the transcendental light which you are seeing, is My bodily rays. O chief of the descendants of Bharata, this brahmajyoti is Myself." As the sun disc and the sunshine cannot be separated, similarly Krsna and His bodily rays, the brahmajyoti, cannot be separated. Thus Krsna claimed that the brahmajyoti is He Himself. This is clearly stated in the Harivamsa, when Krsna says, "aham sah." The brahmajyoti is a combination of the minute particles known as spiritual sparks, or the living entities known as citkana. The Vedic word so'ham, or "I am the brahmajyoti," can also be applied to the living entities, who can also claim to belong to the brahmajyoti. In the Harivamsa, Krsna further explains, "This brahmajyoti is an expansion of My spiritual energy."

Krsna told Arjuna, "The brahmajyoti is beyond the region of My external energy, known as maya-sakti." When one is situated within this material world, it is not possible for him to experience this Brahman effulgence. Therefore, in the material world this effulgence is not manifested, whereas in the spiritual world, it is manifested. That is the purport of the words vyakta-avyakta. In the Bhagavad-gita it is said avyakto 'vyaktat sanatanah: both these energies are eternally manifested.

After this, Lord Krsna and Arjuna entered a vast extensive spiritual water. This spiritual water is called the Karanarnava Ocean or Viraja which means that this ocean is the origin of the creation of the material world. In the Mrtyunjaya Tantra, a Vedic literature, there is a vivid description of this Karana Ocean, or Viraja. It is stated there that the highest planetary system within the material world is Satyaloka, or Brahmaloka. Beyond that there are Rudraloka and Maha-Visnuloka. Regarding this Maha-Visnuloka, it is stated in the Brahma-samhita, yah karanarnava-jale bhajati sma yoga: "Lord Maha-Visnu is lying in the Karana Ocean. When He exhales, innumerable universes come into existence, and when He inhales, innumerable universes enter within Him." In this way, the material creation is generated and again withdrawn. When Lord Krsna and Arjuna entered the water, it appeared that there was a strong hurricane of transcendental effulgence brewing, and the water of the Karana Ocean was greatly agitated. By the grace of Lord Krsna, Arjuna had the unique experience of being able to see the very beautiful Karana Ocean.

Krishna Book, The Superexcellent Power of Krsna Chp 89 {extracted}



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