Chapter 21 - Mayavada Philosophy
This philosophy was established by Sripad Sankaracarya, in
order to refute Buddhistic doctrine.
The Mayavadis believe that the Supreme Truth is brahman or
spiritual energy which is unlimited, without form, qualities,
or activity. According to Mayavada philosophy, all living entities
are one with brahman, but at present, are covered by illusion,
and therefore temporarily seperated from brahman. When the illusion
is gone, the living entity becomes again one with the brahman
and loses its identity.
The main idea is that everything is God, meaning that you too
are God but somehow or other you forgot that you were God.
Out of this perspective, the Mayavadis neither accept the
form nor the personality of Krsna as absolute but as creation
of maya. Therefore, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu called the Mayavadis
the biggest offenders of Krsna.
Mayavada-philosophy is also spread under the name "Vedanta-philosophy".
The majority of all western philosophers (if they are not dogmatic
followers of the Bible) who are studying Indian culture and philosophy
also fall into this category because they do not differentiate
between the higher, spiritual energy, and the lower, material
energy. They do not have a proper understanding of the transcendent
nature of God.
Since people in general do not have sufficient information
about the transcendental form of God, they are easily influenced
by Mayavada philosophy. Whenever we meet people who accept the
Vedas we will find that it is not so difficult to establish the
Personality of Godhead on the basis of sastra. Since the majority
of people are neither interested in any proofs from the sastra
and don't recognize sastra as such, we have to establish Vaisnava
philosophy on the basis of logic. There are some fatal defects
in Mayavada philosophy which we should be able to recognize when
confronted with it or otherwise have to deal with the subject:
1. Since we possess individuality, it is not logical that
our ultimate source doesn't possess individuality. Since we can
normally observe that personality is superior to an impersonal
energy, we can conclude that personality is superior to impersonal
energy. Since the Vedanta sutra explains that the Absolute Truth
is the source of all existence, it must also be the source of
personality and possess personality.
2. The Mayavadis say that the brahman is manifested in a personal
form in this material world. How can something personal be manifested
from something impersonal? Where do we have an experience of
such a phenomena? Lord Krsna explains in Bg 7:24 that this theory
is extremely illogical and indicates a lack of intelligence.
3. It is said that brahman is unchangeable. How then can it
split into different living entities within the material world?
And why should it do that? In Bhagavad-gita, Lord Krsna explains
(15:7) that the living entities are eternal parts and parcels
of the Supreme and states than individuality is an eternal principle
4. If we were all God, why is there so much suffering and
ignorance in the world? Also, if we say that we are God but just
temporarily covered by illusion, then illusion would be more
powerful than God, which doesn't make any sense.
5. The speculation that Krsna's body is material clearly indicates
a complete misunderstanding regarding the transcendental appearance
and nature of Krsna. Krsna's body does not consist of matter
and contains unlimited, varied energies and attracts even liberated
personalities, who are free from material attachments. (SB 1.7.10)
6. Reality according to Mayavada philosophy is beyond material
form and duality. But they are erring in the premise that there
is no spiritual form or variety. The negation of these facts
is a materialistic concept and doesn't provide us any information
about spiritual reality.
7. The desire to become one with God is called the "last
snare of maya". Because the Mayavadis got frustrated with
their attempt to become the supreme enjoyer in this material
world, they want to become one with the Supreme. This desire
is illusory because the soul is by constitution Krsna's servant.
The Srimad Bhagavatam(10:2:32) explains that the misconception
of the impersonalists is caused by an impure intelligence and
that consequently their realizations are not ultimate and they
are thus forced to fall down again to the material platform.
8. The material world is not false ("brahma satyam, jagan
mithya" is one of their favourite slogans)/ because the
material world originates in the Absolute Truth, it is real but
temporary. However, the belief that the material world is permanent
is false-in other words the material world is real but temporary.