Three Basic Challenges To The Mayavada Philosophy

[Shri Krishna]“By Me, in My unmanifested form, this entire universe is pervaded. All beings are in Me, but I am not in them.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 9.4)

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मया ततम् इदं सर्वं
जगद् अव्यक्त-मूर्तिना
मत्-स्थानि सर्व-भूतानि
न चाहं तेष्व् अवस्थितः

mayā tatam idaṁ sarvaṁ
jagad avyakta-mūrtinā
mat-sthāni sarva-bhūtāni
na cāhaṁ teṣv avasthitaḥ

From consulting the books of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, it is no secret that the stalwart representative of the Supreme Lord took special aim at a particular class of philosophers. Their theories bear similarities to Vedic culture and Vedic knowledge.

Shri Krishna confirms in the Bhagavad-gita that the impersonal aspect of the Divine exists. It pervades the entire creation. This is one way to know God. He is the universe. Take everything and view as a collective. Abstract out to the highest conceived macro level and you have a bit of an understanding of the complexity and potency of the Supreme Lord.

Where the philosophy deviates is the issue of oneness. Brahmavada is reaching the conclusion that everything is part and parcel of the Supreme Absolute Truth known as Brahman. Mayavada is believing that everything is maya, or illusion. Anyone who appears in such a world is also a product of maya.

Correspondingly, the Mayavadi will say that everyone is God. Brahman is truth and everything else is false. The philosophy of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, which is the actual representation of Vedanta, is simultaneous oneness and difference.

You and I and every other living being are most certainly Brahman. We are not the maya that covers us at present. We cannot say, however, that we are the Supreme. If we were to make such a claim, there are several basic challenges that defeat the proposal.

1. How can God become a dog?

This is a living entity, after all. They are spirit soul on the inside. They eat, sleep, mate and defend. They undergo the cycle of birth and death. They suffer in pain, rejoice upon a welcome event, and feel saddened upon separation. They are as much a living being as the more intelligent human species.

In the Mayavada philosophy, the dog is also God. But how could that be? If someone is the Supreme, how could they end up in a subordinate position, where they are under the control of other beings?

[Varaha avatara]Yes, we certainly understand the concept of an avatara. These are Divine descents enumerated in sacred texts such as Shrimad Bhagavatam and Mahabharata. Vishnu once appeared as a boar. But we see that the animal form was different. It was not typical of that species. The same applies for the human avataras of Rama and Krishna.

2. Why are you suffering life after life?

If I am God, why am I suffering? Seriously. Think about it. Should I not be able to get anything that I want, whenever I want it? This ability is equivalent with the prapti-siddhi of yoga, but even that requires some effort to attain. We do not exit the womb as yogis.

If I am God, it means that God suffers. He falls into illusion. He mistakes a snake for a rope. He falls prey to the allures of the opposite sex. He is overcome by the dualities of attraction and aversion. He is forced to quit the body, crushed under the ruthless wheel of time.

3. Can you control anything, even?

Sure, modern scientists think they can control the weather. If you dig deeper into their proposals, you see the subtle admission that they don’t really expect any change to happen. Simply increase taxes and fees to keep the common people poor, while the elite class continues to live like they did before.

If I were God, I could stop time. I could halt its influence. I would be able to remember everything, including past lives. Shri Krishna gave the sobering information to Arjuna that this is not possible.

श्री-भगवान् उवाच
बहूनि मे व्यतीतानि
जन्मानि तव चार्जुन
तान्य् अहं वेद सर्वाणि
न त्वं वेत्थ परन्तप

śrī-bhagavān uvāca
bahūni me vyatītāni
janmāni tava cārjuna
tāny ahaṁ veda sarvāṇi
na tvaṁ vettha parantapa

“The Blessed Lord said: Many, many births both you and I have passed. I can remember all of them, but you cannot, O subduer of the enemy!” (Bhagavad-gita, 4.5)

These challenges are necessary to voice due to the fact that others may be misled. They will receive an invalid conception of spiritual life. If I am God, it also means that I can behave in any way that I choose, without facing punishment.

[Shri Krishna]The truth is that everyone is under the control of nature, prakriti, which is indeed an inferior force. We are amshas springing from the original powerhouse of spiritual energy. We are meant to enjoy His association, to serve Him, to think of Him, to worship Him, to honor Him. Mayavada is a challenge to Him; really no different than following the way of the bhogi and hoping that accumulation and enjoyment will lead to a god-like position.

In Closing:

Hoping that to God-like will lead,
Where in enjoyment to proceed.

Mayavada actually the same,
Identical challenge but different name.

Where everyone as Divine saying,
But logic their philosophy betraying.

A dog or subordinate how to become?
Divine never under illusion can come.

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