9 - The Material World and the Jiva are Simultaneously
and Non-different from the Lord ((Bhedabheda)
studying the Vedas and Vedanta, the acaryas have
come to two different conclusions On the basis of
the conclusions of Dattatreya, Astavakra, Durvasa
and other rsis, Sankaracarya preached the philosophy
of absolute monism That is one type of conclusion.
On the other hand, following in the footsteps of
Narada, Prahlada, Dhruva, Manu and others, the Vaisnavas
have preached the philosophy of pure bhakti.That
is the second type of conclusion reached from studying
are four types of bhakti philosophy. Ramanujacarya
preached visistadvaita; Madhvacarya preached suddha
dvaita; Nimbarkacarya preached dvaitadvaita; and
Visnu Svami preached suddha advaita. They are all
preachers of pure bhakti.
to Ramanujacarya, there is only one reality, the
Lord (advaita), who is qualified (visista) by cit
and acit. According to Madhvacarya, the jiva is
a reality or entity distinct from the Lord (dvaita)
, but has a nature of devotion to the Lord. According
to Nimbarka, the jiva is simultaneously different
and non-different from the Lord (dvaita advaita),
but he accepts the concept of eternal difference
of jiva and the Lord. According to Visnu Svamii,
though there is only one substance (advaita), there
are still eternal states of difference in the form
of brahman and jiva . Though there are differences
amongst the philosophies, all the vaisnava acaryas
have accepted the eternal nature of bhakti, bhagavan,
the jiva 's eternal servitorship and the goal of
prema They are true Vaisnavas But though they are
all Vaisnavas, their realizations, being slightly
different for each other, were partial or imperfect
When Mahaprabhu appeared, he removed incompleteness
from those realizations and taught the world the
pure science, the highest truth of pure bhakti.
vyasera sutrete kahe parinama vada
vyasa bhranta bali' ta'ra uthaila vivada
parinama vade isvara hayena vikari
eta kahi'vivarta vada sthapana ye kari
vastutah parinama vada sei se pramana
dehe atmabuddhi haya vivartera sthana
avicintya sakti yukta sri bhagavan
icchaya jagad rupe paya parinama
tathapi acintya saktye haya adhikari
prakrta cintamani tahe drstanta dhari
nana ratna rasi haya cintamani haite
tathapiha mani rahe svarupe avikrte
brhad vastu brahma kahi sri bhagavan
sad vidha aisvarya purna para tattva dhama
tanre nirvisesa kahi, cic chakti na mani
ardha svarupa na manile, purnata haya hani
apadana, karana, adhikarana -karaka tina
bhagavanera savisese ei tina cihna
sad aisvarya purnananda vigraha yanhara
hena bhagavane tumi kaha nirakara
his Vedanta sutra, Srila Vyasadeva has described
that everything is but a transformation of the energy
of the Lord. Sankaracarya, however, has misled the
world by commenting that Vyasadeva was mistaken..
Thus he has raised great opposition to theism throughout
the entire world.According to Sankaracarya, by accepting
the theory of the transformation of the energy of
the Lord, one creates an illusion by indirectly
accepting that the Absolute Truth is transformed.
of energy is a proven fact. It is the false bodily
conception of the self that is an illusion. The
Supreme Personality of Godhead is opulent in all
respects. Therefore by His inconceivable energies
He has transformed the material cosmic manifestation.
the example of a touchstone, which by its energy
turns iron to gold and yet remains the same, we
can understand that although the Supreme Personality
of Godhead transforms His innumerable energies,
He remains unchanged.
touchstone produces many varieties of valuable jewels,
it nevertheless remains the same. It does not change
its original form.
who is greater than the greatest, is the Supreme
Personality of Godhead. He is full of six opulences,
and therefore He is the reservoir of ultimate truth
and absolute knowledge. When we speak of the Supreme
as impersonal, we deny His spiritual potencies.
Logically, if you accept half of the truth , you
cannot understand the whole.
( C.C. Madhya 7.121-126, 138, 140)
personal features of the Supreme Personality of
Godhead are categorized in three cases-namely, ablative,
instrumental and locative. (C.C. Madhya 6.144 )
you describing as formless that Supreme Personality
of Godhead whose transcendental form is complete
with six transcendental opulences? (C.C.Madhya 6
Vyasa in the Vedanta Sutras has taught parinama
vad (transformation), not vivarta vada (illusion).
But Sankaracarya, claiming that in parinama vada
the Lord becomes subject to change, changed the
meaning of the sutras and established vivartavada.
The meaning of the words 'parinama' and 'vivarta'
are given in the Vedantasara written by Sadananda
Yogindra, 59 verse:
satattvato'nyatha buddhir vikara ity udiratah
atattvato'nyatha buddhir vivarta ity udahrtah
perception of a different object when a real object
takes another form is called parinama. Perception
of a different object when there is actually no
different object is called vivarta.
is transformation of an object. The example is the
formation of yogurt from milk. An example of vivarta
is mistaking a rope for a snake .
these definitions, the followers of Sankaracarya
say that the jiva and the material world can never
be a transformation of the Lord. If one accepts
such a transformation of the Lord, it must be considered
a perverted state of the Lord. As yogurt is a perverted
state of milk, one must say that the world is a
perverted state of the Lord. Therefore, they say,
parinama is not acceptable. If out of ignorance
a person accepts a rope as a snake, from that mistake
many difficulties arise. They claim the perception
of the material world is similar to this. The world
does not exist. Out of ignorance that which is perceived
as world is actually an illusion, vivarta. By accepting
this proposition, the Lord is not subject to change
or transformation. By such reasoning, the theory
of vivarta is established.
teaching is as follows. There is no substance to
the theory of vivarta vada. Thinking the material
body to be the self is comparable to the mistaking
a rope for a snake. That is vivarta. However the
material body is not false. And to claim that the
Lord, through illusion or vivarta, becomes the material
body and the material world, that the Lord falls
under the illusion of thinking he is a jiva , is
a detestable belief.
is accepted in the Vedanta Sutras of Vyasa. By rejecting
parinama, one admits that all-knowledgeable Vyasa
is mistaken. Just as milk transforms into yogurt,
the Lord's inconceivable energy, by his wish, is
transformed into the jiva and the material world.
There is no transformation of the Lord or Brahman
What is transformed through the influence of the
Lord's variegated, inconceivable energies can never
make the Lord the object of transformation.
a material example cannot fully represent spiritual
matters, by accepting an example one can clarify
a spiritual topic. Thus it is stated
that touchstone, though producing piles of jewels,
remains unchanged. On the spiritual level, one can
think of the Lord's creations in the same way. Though
creating unlimited jivas and unlimited universes
by his inconceivable energy just by his will, the
Supreme Lord remains without change.
should not think the words "without change"
make the Lord impersonal, absolutely without quality.
The absolute truth is endowed with the six opulences
in full as Bhagavan. By claiming the Lord is absolutely
without qualities, one is claiming he is without
spiritual energies. However, by his
inconceivable energies, the Lord is eternally endowed
with qualities as well as being devoid of qualities.
To claim absolute absence of qualities is acceptance
of only half of the Lord's form. By this, one is
destroying his completeness.
three ways in which the Lord is the cause (ablative,
instrumental, locative- from whom, by whom and in
whom everything exists) is explained in the sruti:
va imani bhutani jayanteyena jatani jiva nti yat
prayanty abhisamvisanti tad vijijnasasva tad brahma
about the brahman from who everything is born, by
whom everything is sustained, and into whom everything
(Taittiriya Upanisad 3.1)
whom all beings are born" describes the Lord
in the ablative function. "By whom all beings
continue to live" describes the Lord in his
instrumental function. "Into whom they enter"
describes his locative function. The supreme being
is qualified by these characteristics; these are
his qualities. Thus the Lord is always endowed with
qualities, and can never be without form or qualities.
The form of eternity, knowledge, and bliss, full
of the six opulences, is the Lord's eternal spiritual
Jiva Gosvami in his Bhagavat Sandarbha has
explained the Supreme Personality of Godhead as
ekam eva paramam tattvam svabhavikacintya saktya sarvadaiva svarupa-tad-rupa-vaibhava-jiva-pradhana-rupena caturdhavatisthate suryantara-mandala-sthita-teja iva mandala-tad bahirgata-tad-rasmi-tat-praticchavi rupena
is one Supreme Being. He is naturally endowed
with inconceivable energies. Through these energies
he exists eternally in four states: His own form,
His spiritual expansions, the jiva and pradhana
(matter). These four states may be compared to the
sun's power, the sun globe, the sun's rays and the
sun's effulgence. (Bhagavat Sandarbha 16)
the above quoatation, His own form (svarupa) means
the form of eternal bliss and knowledge. His spiritual
abode, names, associates and all objects assisting
in pastimes are the expansions (vaibhava). The eternally
liberated and eternally conditioned souls are the
jivas. Maya and all the gross and subtle elements
of the universe are indicated by the word "pradhana".
These four manifestations are manifested from the
eternal supreme being.
can eternally contradictory objects exist within
the Supreme Being? For the intelligence of the jiva
, this is impossible, because the intelligence of
jiva is limited. However, by the inconceivable
energy of the Lord, it is not impossible. Sri Jiva
Gosvami has called this conception acintya bhedabheda
in his work Sarva Samvadini. The philosophy of difference
and non-difference called dvaitadvaita of Nimbarkacarya
is not perfect (not explaining the contradiction).
The Vaisnava world has received the perfection of
this philosophy through the teachings of Caitanya
Mahaprabhu. Since the root of acintya bhedabheda
lies in Madhvacarya's acceptance of the eternal
form of the Lord, full of eternal bliss and knowledge,
Caitanya Mahaprabhu accepted the Madhva sampradaya.
Because the previous Vaisnava acaryas' philosophies
all had a slight philosophical deficiency, they
appeared as different sampradayas with mutually
differing philosophies. By the power of his
own omniscience, Caitanya Mahaprabhu hascompleted
what is lacking in all these philosophies.
Madhva's acceptance of the eternal form of the Lord;
Ramanuja's conception of the energies (qualities)
of the Lord; Visnu Svami's concept of the Lord'
oneness by complete dedication to Him; and Nimbarka's
conception of the Lord's simultaneous difference
and non-difference, Caitanya Mahaprabhu made them
perfect, mercifully offering to the world the pure
scientific philosophy of acintya bhedabheda. Very
soon there will be only one sampradaya of bhakti
philosophy, called Sri Brahma sampradaya. All other
sampradayas will reach their perfection in this
is the following karika to summarize this:
sarvatra sruti-vakyesu tattvam eka viniscitam
navidyakalpitam visvam na jiva-nirmitam kila
atattvato' nyatha buddhir vivarta ity udahrtah
satattve visva etasmin vivarto na pravartate
acintya-sakti-yuktasya paresasyeksanat kila
maya-namny apara saktih suyate sacaracaram
bhedabhedatmakam visvam satyam kintu vinasvaram
na tatra jiva-jatanam nitya-sambandha eva ca
na brahma-parinamo vai sakteh parinatih kila
sthula-lingatmakam visvam bhogayatanam atmanah
one examines all the statements of all the scriptures,
one can understand that there is one eternal truth.
The world is true, not a false object imagined through
ignorance. It has arisen through the free will of
the Supreme Lord, not through the jiva . Perception
of a false object is called vivarta. Though the
world is temporary, it is real, having arisen through
the glance or will of the Lord endowed with inconceivable
energies. There is no factor of illusion or vivarta
here. The Supreme Lord's inferior energy is maya.
By her will, this material world of moving and non-moving
entities appears. The whole universe is at once
identical with and different from the Lord by his
inconceivable energy. Though the world is real,
it is not the ultimate reality The Kathopanisad
and Svetasvatara Upanisad prove this: nityo nityanam
cetanas cetananam (I am the chief eternal and
the chief of all conscious entities.)
duality, exclusive monism, pure monism or qualified
monism-these philosophies all agree with some of
the statements of the scriptures, but contradict
other scriptural statements. But the philosophy
of acintya bhedabheda is a philosophy which agrees
with all the statements of scripture. It is the
natural object of the faith of the jiva and approved
by all the devotees.
jiva does not have an eternal relation with this
material world, which is a transformation of the
Supreme Brahman's energy, not a transformation of
the Lord, Himself. This world of subtle and gross
matter is simply a stage for jiva's forlorn attempt