“But those who worship Me with devotion, meditating on My transcendental form – to them I carry what they lack and preserve what they have.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 9.22)
अनन्याश् चिन्तयन्तो मां
ये जनाः पर्युपासते
योग-क्षेमं वहाम्य् अहम्
ananyāś cintayanto māṁ
ye janāḥ paryupāsate
yoga-kṣemaṁ vahāmy aham
Friend1: I think I found another flaw in the Mayavada philosophy.
Friend2: That you can’t have an impersonal energy unless there is a personal as the basis?
Friend1: I already knew that one. It’s true, if you think about it.
Friend2: Has to be.
Friend1: I guess I am along the same topic. There is this exception, which I guess the Mayavadis don’t like.
Friend2: Exception to what?
Friend1: To everything that we otherwise agree upon. For instance, they say that everything in this world is maya. Except for Brahman, of course.
Friend2: Which is the spiritual energy. We are in a dream-like experience. When we wake up, nothing from the dream remains; it dissipates like a riven cloud.
Friend1: We are on the same page, with the exception of the avataras of the Supreme Lord. He is not maya when He appears. His body and spirit are of the same nature; there is no distinction for Him.
अवजानन्ति मां मूढा
मानुषीं तनुम् आश्रितम्
परं भावम् अजानन्तो
avajānanti māṁ mūḍhā
mānuṣīṁ tanum āśritam
paraṁ bhāvam ajānanto
“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)
Friend2: Exactly. An exception to the rule.
Friend1: Well, I thought of something else. If you don’t believe in the personal side of God, what is your end goal?
Friend2: If you are a spiritualist, I guess it would be to merge into the Brahman energy.
Friend1: Precisely, and that goal is difficult to obtain.
Friend2: Especially for one who is embodied.
क्लेशो ऽधिकतरस् तेषाम्
अव्यक्ता हि गतिर् दुःखं
kleśo ‘dhikataras teṣām
avyaktā hi gatir duḥkhaṁ
“For those whose minds are attached to the unmanifested, impersonal feature of the Supreme, advancement is very troublesome. To make progress in that discipline is always difficult for those who are embodied.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 12.5)
Friend1: In order to cancel the “embodied” classification, you need to follow strict rules and regulations.
Friend2: I believe the Mayavadis require the sannyasa ashrama at a minimum. If you are not fully renounced, you don’t have a prayer (no pun intended).
Friend1: This is where they run into trouble, if you ask me. You need to be entirely focused on Brahman in order to merge. The renounced order of life is like the admission step when entering college. The thing is, you still need to function as a human being.
Friend2: What do you mean?
Friend1: Eat, sleep, defend, moving around. You have to worry about the future. There is daily life.
Friend2: Of course.
Friend1: And in that style of living there is every chance of forgetting Brahman. If I happen to step on a rock that cuts my foot, the pain will distract me from Brahman. If I don’t get enough food to eat, the hunger will eat away at me (no pun intended).
Friend2: This is why Goswami Tulsidas puts such a person in the list of those who are constantly worrying. At the very least, you have a difficult time sleeping at night since you are worried about maintaining your vairagya.
Friend1: They don’t believe in exceptions, either, since they don’t think there is anyone to save them.
Friend2: No personal God. Instead, I am God and so are you. We are all God.
Friend1: If we were on a daytime talk show, it would be “God for everyone.”
Friend2: Shri Krishna explains that attaining perfection along the impersonal path is difficult.
Friend1: You need that exception. That is the flaw with Mayavada. In bhakti-yoga, you can equally be as distracted. You have to take care of your kids. You have to cook dinner.
Friend2: If you are Arjuna, you have to fight valiantly in a “war of the worlds” scenario, against the best fighters.
Friend1: The difference is that Krishna will offer assistance.
Friend2: He brings to the devotees what they lack and preserves what they have.
Perfect concentration lacking,
Maya my efforts attacking.
So that perfect not to stay,
But in ignorance no other way.
Thus exception of some kind needed,
There when in bhakti proceeded.
Krishna Himself the control taking,
And successful my efforts making.