Errant Philosophy of Sankaracharya
BY: JOSH HAWLEY
Apr 29, 2010 — MAURITIUS (SUN) —
"All different varieties of atmaramas [those who take pleasure in atma, or spirit self], especially those established on the path of self-realization, though freed from all kinds of material bondage, desire to render unalloyed devotional service unto the Personality of Godhead. This means that the Lord possesses transcendental qualities and therefore can attract everyone, including liberated souls." (Srimad Bhagavatam 1.7.10
Srimad Bhagavatam, Mahabharata, and other Puranas describe the Kali Yuga beginning with the unqualified son of a brahmana, when he cursed Pariksit Maharaja, a devotee of Krishna, without just cause. Kali began with the immature Brahmana Sringi. But it has been definitively solidified by the impersonalist teachings of Adi Shankaracharya. This errant philosophy of Mayavada, or the theory that the absolute becomes covered by illusion, has laid the philosophical ground work for, and has allowed the supposed justification for, essentially all subsequent acts of evil in the modern age.
Mayavada philosophy has pre-positioned itself as the basis for the formula for the modern scientific framework which states that matter is the ultimate cause. The errant philosophy of Shankara, which is purely speculative and has no actual basis in the Vedic Sastras, appears to allow for the atheistic conclusion to have been manifest as an authentic Vedic Conclusion. This attempt to mislead the followers of the Vedas from its actual theistic conclusion is false. Padma Purana (Uttara khanda 25.7) reveals the hidden identity of Shankaracarya as an incarnation of Lord Siva:
pracchannam bauddham ucyate
mayaiva vihitam devi
"The Mayavada philosophy', Siva informed his wife Parvati, ‘is covered Buddhism. In the form of a brahmana in the kali-yuga, I teach this imagined philosophy'."
Prior to the introduction of Shankaracharya's opposed Vedic philosophy there was no room for chance. According to Bhagavada-gita there are five causes for action: adhistanam tatha karta karanam ca prthag-vidham vividhas ca prthak cesta daivam caivatra pancamam - "The place of action, the performer, the senses (5 working senses and 5 knowledge acquiring senses), the endeavor, and ultimately the Super consciousness or Supersoul. It was Shankaracharya's deliberate intention to misdirect his followers from this fifth and Ultimate Cause, The Paramatma.
Adi Shankaracharya's basic flaw is his speculative reduction of the fundamental cause of matter, i.e., consciousness, to be a product or subject of that (or subject to) same material energy. This is contrary to the Vedic conclusion: janmady asya yatah, which declares the ultimate causative as personal and conscious. This also contradicts the Vedic aphorism aham bramasmi: I am consciousness or transcendental spiritual energy. That primeval consciousness existed before the manifestation of the material energy. Therefore how is it possible to conclude that source is subject to its manifestation?
om namo bhagavate vasudevaya
janmady asya yato 'nvayad itaratas carthesv abhijnah svarat
tene brahma hrda ya adi-kavaye muhyanti yat surayah
tejo-vari-mrdam yatha vinimayo yatra tri-sargo 'mrsa
dhamna svena sada nirasta-kuhakam satyam param dhimahi
om -- O my Lord; namah -- offering my obeisances; bhagavate -- unto the Personality of Godhead; vasudevaya -- unto Vasudeva (the son of Vasudeva), or Lord Sri Krsna, the primeval Lord; janma-adi -- creation, sustenance and destruction; asya -- of the manifested universes; yatah -- from whom; anvayat -- directly; itaratah -- indirectly; ca -- and; arthesu -- purposes; abhijnah -- fully cognizant; sva-rat -- fully independent; tene -- imparted; brahma -- the Vedic knowledge; hrda -- consciousness of the heart; yah -- one who; adi-kavaye -- unto the original created being; muhyanti -- are illusioned; yat -- about whom; surayah -- great sages and demigods; tejah -- fire; vari -- water; mrdam -- earth; yatha -- as much as; vinimayah -- action and reaction; yatra -- whereupon; tri-sargah -- three modes of creation, creative faculties; amrsa -- almost factual; dhamna -- along with all transcendental paraphernalia; svena -- self-sufficiently; sada -- always; nirasta -- negation by absence; kuhakam -- illusion; satyam -- truth; param -- absolute; dhimahi -- I do meditate upon.
"O my Lord, Sri Krsna, son of Vasudeva, O all-pervading Personality of Godhead, I offer my respectful obeisances unto You. I meditate upon Lord Sri Krsna because He is the Absolute Truth and the primeval cause of all causes of the creation, sustenance and destruction of the manifested universes. He is directly and indirectly conscious of all manifestations, and He is independent because there is no other cause beyond Him. It is He only who first imparted the Vedic knowledge unto the heart of Brahmaji, the original living being. By Him even the great sages and demigods are placed into illusion, as one is bewildered by the illusory representations of water seen in fire, or land seen on water. Only because of Him do the material universes, temporarily manifested by the reactions of the three modes of nature, appear factual, although they are unreal. I therefore meditate upon Him, Lord Sri Krsna, who is eternally existent in the transcendental abode, which is forever free from the illusory representations of the material world. I meditate upon Him, for He is the Absolute Truth."
(Srimad Bhagavatam 1.1.1)
Srimad Bhagavatam is Srila Vyasadeva's own commentary on the Vedanta Sutra, of whom he himself is the author. His opinion as the author of Vedanta Sutra, and compiler of the Vedas, clearly set the overriding precedent to that of Shankaracharya's speculative Mayavada treatise.
The Bhagavatam describes the param brahma or transcendental source thus depending on the respective view of the practitioner.
vadanti tat tattva-vidas
tattvam yaj jnanam advayam
bhagavan iti sabdyate
vadanti -- they say; tat -- that; tattva-vidah -- the learned souls; tattvam -- the Absolute Truth; yat -- which; jnanam -- knowledge; advayam -- nondual; brahma iti -- known as Brahman; paramatma iti -- known as Paramatma; bhagavan iti -- known as Bhagavan; sabdyate -- it so sounded.
"Learned transcendentalists who know the Absolute Truth call this nondual substance Brahman, Paramatma or Bhagavan."
Lord Brahma, the original manifest living entity in this universe, found himself in perplexity, upon waking in total darkness. The Brahma Samhita describes his situation thus:
tat-kalam kila coditah
sisrksayam matim cakre
dadarsa kevalam dhvantam
nanyat kim api sarvatah
sanjatah -- on being born; bhagavat-saktya -- by the divine potency; tat-kalam -- at that time; kila -- indeed; coditah -- being guided; sisrksayam -- to the act of creation; matim -- his mind; cakre -- turned; purva-samskara-samskrtah -- under the impulse of previous impressions; dadarsa -- he saw; kevalam -- only; dhvantam -- darkness; na -- not; anyat -- else; kim api -- anything; sarvatah -- in every direction.
"On coming out of the lotus, Brahma, being guided by the divine potency tuned his mind to the act of creation under the impulse of previous impressions. But he could see nothing but darkness in every direction. nothing but darkness in every direction."
(Sri Brahma-samhita 5.23)
Goddess Sarasvati saw his condition, and being merciful, bestowed upon him the Gayatri mantra. Having taken initiation into the austerity of spiritual practice, through the method of spiritual association by mantra, he was thus guided in the process of creation. His perfection of practice culminated in the realization of the Absolute Reality beyond this material cosmic manifestation.
Lord Brahma continued his austerities for 1000 celestial years. One celestial year is equal to 6 x 30 x 12 x 1000 of our years. The Personality of Godhead was pleased with Brahma's efforts, and thus manifest Himself and His transcendental abode. Brahma was then able to see the Lord surrounded by the subjective energies including the material energies, which are subordinate to the Supreme Lord. His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada describes these subordinate energies in his purport to the Srimad Bhagavatam 2.9.17:
"The Lord is naturally endowed with His six opulences. Specifically, He is the richest, He is the most powerful, He is the most famous, He is the most beautiful, He is the greatest in knowledge, and He is the greatest renouncer as well. And for His material creative energies, He is served by four, namely the principles of prakr?ti, purus?a, mahat-tattva and ego. He is also served by the sixteen, namely the five elements (earth, water, air, fire and sky), the five perceptive sense organs (the eye, ear, nose, tongue and skin), and the five working sense organs (the hand, the leg, the stomach, the evacuation outlet and the genitals), and the mind. The five includes the sense objects, namely form, taste, smell, sound and touch. All these twenty-five items serve the Lord in the material creation, and all of them are personally present to serve the Lord. The insignificant opulences numbering eight (the as?t?a-siddhis, attained by yogis for temporary overlordship) are also under His control, but He is naturally full with all such powers without any effort, and therefore He is the Supreme Lord."
Lord Krishna accepted Brahma as His friend and shook his hand. Brahma then submissively requested the Lord to explain Himself. The Lord instructed Brahma thus:
"Srimad Bhagavatam 2.9.33: "Brahma, it is I, the Personality of Godhead, who was existing before the creation, when there was nothing but Myself. Nor was there the material nature, the cause of this creation. That which you see now is also I, the Personality of Godhead, and after annihilation what remains will also be I, the Personality of Godhead.
2.9.34: O Brahma, whatever appears to be of any value, if it is without relation to Me, has no reality. Know it as My illusory energy, that reflection which appears to be in darkness.
2.9.35: O Brahma, please know that the universal elements enter into the cosmos and at the same time do not enter into the cosmos; similarly, I Myself also exist within everything created, and at the same time I am outside of everything.
2.9.36: A person who is searching after the Supreme Absolute Truth, the Personality of Godhead, most certainly search for it up to this, in all circumstances, in all space and time, and both directly and indirectly."
These four verses are collectively known as the Chatur Sloki Bhagavata, and make up the essence of the Vedic Conclusion. The source of matter is Bhagavan, lying beyond matter and existing prior to the manifestation of matter. After the destruction of matter that same transcendental Brahman continues to exist as He was, is, and always will be. The theory that Brahman falls under illusion as advocated by Shankaracharya is obviously false and clearly contradicts the conclusion of Srila Vyasadeva, the author of the Vedanta Sutra, whose commentary is the Srimad Bhagavatam. The succinct Vedic aphorism sarvam khalva idam brahma, which is expanded upon in the above four verses, cannot be accounted for by Shankaracharya, and so he conveniently avoids the issue. Moreover he deliberately avoids touching the Srimad Bhagavatam.
It is also interesting to note the devotionally imbued prayers by Shankacharya composed in the later part of his life. The Bhaja Govindam prayers are also known as Moha Mudgara (Hammer to Shatter Illusion). These prayers are an apparent admission to his fault of misleading innocent people with the atheistic Mayavada conclusions, and in his guilt he counters his own Mayavada interpretation with the solution. Bhaja Govindam, Bhaja Govindam, Bhaja Govindam mudha mate... Just worship Govinda, just worship Govinda, just worship Govinda, O Crazy Mind.
Shankaracharya's errant conclusion of nondistinction of the living entity is countered by Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and His proposal of Achintya-bheda-abheda-tattva. Inconceivable simultaneous oneness and difference of the Lord and the living Entity. This negates Shankaracharya's misinterpretation of the Vedic aphorism: aham bramasmi. Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is none other than the self same Govinda whom Shankaracharya advocates worshiping in his Bhaja Govindam prayers:
yajanti hi su-medhasah
"In the age of Kali, Krsna appears in a golden form, chanting the two syllables krs-na. He descends along with His weapons, saktis, limbs, and eternal confidential associates. Those with intelligence worship Him with the sankirtana yajna. (1)
(Srimad Bhagavatam 11.5.32)
This Avatara of Lord Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is mentioned in many other places throughout the Vedic literatures. Swami B.G. Narsingha compiled this extensive list of the locations where Mahaprabhu is mentioned through out the Vedic literatures.
itotham krta sannyaso'vatarisyami sa-guno nirvedo
niskamo bhu-girvanas tira-atho' lakanandayah kalau
gaura-varno dirghangah sarva-laksana-yukta isvara-
prarthito nija-rasasvado bhakta-rupo misrakhyo
I will descend on the earth after the passage of four thousand years in the Kali-Age, and before the passsage of five thousand years. I will come on the earth on the bank of the Ganges,. I will be a tall and saintly brahmana devotee. I will have all the auspicious symptoms of an exalted person. I will exhibit renunciation. I will have all auspicious signs. I will be a devotee, practicing bhakti-yoga. I will taste the rasa of My own devotional service. (Atharva Veda)
saptame gaura-varna-visnor ity aena sva-saktya
caikyam etya pratar avatirya saha svaih sva-manum siksayati
In the seventh manvantara, in the beginning of the Kali-Yuga, the Supreme Personality of Godhead will, accompanied by His own associates, descend in a golden form to the earth. He will teach the chanting of His own names. (Atharva-Veda Purusa-Bodhini-Upanisad 8)
tathaham krta sannyaso bhu-girvano 'vatarisye
tire'lakanandayah punah punah isvara-prarthitah sa-
parivaro niralambo nirdhuteh kali-kalmasa-kavalita-
I shall come to the earth, accompanied by My associates, in a place by the bank of the Ganges. I will advent to save the people who are afflicted and devoured by the sins of the age of Kali. I will manifest as an avadhuta Brahmana sannyasi. (Sama Veda)
mahan prabhur vai purusah
su-nirmalam imam praptim
isano jyotir avyayah
The Supreme Personality of Godhead is Mahaprabhu, who disseminates transcendental enlightenment. Just to be in touch with Him is to be in contact with the indestructible Brahmajyoti. (Svetasvatara Upanisad 3.12)
yada pasyah pasyate rukma-varnam
kartaram isam purusam brahma-yonim
One who sees that golden-colored Personality of Godhead, the Supreme Lord, the supreme actor, who is the source of the Supreme Brahman, is liberated." (Mundaka Upanisad 3.1.3)
His appearance is also mentioned and authenticated in numerous authorized Puranas.
aham eva dvija-srestha
lokan raksami sarvada
"O best of the brahmanas, My disguised form is eternal. In this way, with My own form hidden from ordinary sight I take the form of a devotee and appear among the people in general in order to establish and protect religious principles." (Adi Purana)
aham eva kvacid brahman
sannyasa asramam asritah
hari bhaktim grahayami
kalau papa-hatan naran
‘O Brahmana, I occasionally take the sannyasa asrama in an attempt to bring the fallen people of Kali Yuga to take up the path of bhakti or devotional service to Lord Krsna. (Upa-purana)
janma prathama sandhyayam
The Supreme Person will appear in the first part of the age of Kali. He will appear in the home of a brahmana to save the embodied conditioned souls burning in the troubles of Kali-Yuga. (Kurma-Purana)
janma prathama sandhyayam
aham purno bhavisyami
bhavisyami saci sutah
kaleh prathama sandhyayam
lakshmi- kanto bhavisyati
In the first part of the age of Kali, I will come among the brahmanas to save the fallen souls, who are being burned by the troubles of the age of Kali.
I will take birth as the son of Saci, in Navadvipa-Mayapura.. I will come in my complete spiritual form in the first part of Kali-Yuga.
In the first part of Kali-Yuga, the Supreme Personality of Godhead will come in a gold-like form. First He will become the husband of Laksmi (Srimati Laksmi Devi, Lord Caitanya's first wife). Then He will become a sannyasi, near Lord Jagannatha who will appear in a divine wooden form. (Garuda-Purana)
paribhavan rameti namakrtih
gopalan paripalayan vraja-pure
bharam haran dvapare
kali-yuge caitanya-nama prabhuh
"The Supreme Personality of Godhead who in the Satya-yuga appeared as a half-man, half-lion to cure a terrible disease that had ravaged the daityas, and who in the Treta-yuga appeared as a person named Rama (Lord Ramacandra), a person who defeated the ten- headed Demon Ravana, and who in the Dvapara-yuga removed the earth's burden, and protected the Gopa (cowherd men) people of Vraja-pura, will appear again in the Kali-yuga. His form will be golden, He will delight in chanting the Lord's holy names, and His name will be Caitanya." (Nrsimha Purana)
caitanya vapur aste vai
The Supreme Personality, Janardana, who is the object of the yogis' meditation, who saves the devotees from various sufferings, and who is the master of all yogic practices, who is always full of divine transcendental ecstasy and bliss, will advent in His own divine form of Sri Caitanya.
I shall appear on this earth in the first part of Kali-yuga in a beautiful place on the bank of the Bhagirathi. I shall have a golden form, and I shall take birth as the son of Saci. (Padma-Purana)
aham eva kalau vipra
lokan raksami sarvada
divija bhuvi jayadhvam
jayadhvam bhakta rupinah
kalau sankirtana rambhe
aham eva dvija-srestho
lokam raksami sarvada
O Vipra, in the age of Kali, I will come disguised as a devotee and I will save all the worlds.
O Divija (demigods), please come and advent as devotees on this earth in the age of Kali-yuga. I will incarnate as the son of Saci to inaugurate the congregational chanting of the name of Krsna.
I shall advent in the form of a brahmana devotee and I shall hide my factual identity. I shall deliver all the worlds. (Narada Purana)
kaleh prathama sandhyayam
I will reveal my eternal golden form in the first part of Kali-yuga. I will advent on the earth on the bank of the Bhagirathi. (Brahma-Purana)
sarve mama eva draksyanti
O austere sage, you should know that in the age of Kali, everyone will see my transcendental form as a sannyasi. I will be exhibiting symptoms of ecstasy like shedding tears of bliss and hairs standing in ecstasy. (Bhavisya-Purana)
prasantatma lamba-kanthas gaurangas ca suravrtah
The Supreme Personality of Godhead will come in a golden form, full of peace, and a beautiful long neck. He will be surrounded by many saintly devotees. (Agni-Purana)
mundo gaurah su-dirghangas
In the age of Kali, I shall advent where the three rivers meet. I shall have a shaven head. I shall have a golden complexion. I will be very kind and always chant the holy name of Krsna. (Matsya-Purana)
golokam ca parityajya
In the Kali-Yuga, I will leave Goloka and, to save the people of the world, I will become the handsome and playful Lord Gauranga. (Markandeya-Purana)
aham eva dvija-srestho
lokan raksami sarvada
I shall come as the best of the brahmanas. I will exhibit many pastimes in the form of a devotee. I shall deliver the people of the world. (Varaha-Purana)
sarvan acara varjitan
sacigarbhe ca sambhuya
O Narada Muni, I will take birth in the womb of Saci. I shall save the people, who will give up all proper good conduct, from the terrible darkness of the age of Kali-Yuga. (Vamana-Purana)
tatra dvija-kulam prapto
tena lokasya nistaras
tat kurudhvam mamajnaya
dharitri bhavita cabhir
I shall advent in the month of Phalguna, when the star Phalguni is conjoined with the full moon. I shall incarnate in a golden complexion in the womb of Saci and Purandara Misra.
I will be born in the city of Navadvipa, on the Ganges' shore, in a Brahmana's family. I shall take the renounced order of life (sannyasa) and show kindness to the people in general and engage them in bhakti. I will be known as Sri Krsna Chaitanya.
All of you should follow My order and deliver the people of the world. I shall appear as a Brahmana. I shall make this earth fearless. (Vayu-Purana)
bhavisyami kalau yuge
In the age of Kali-yuga, I shall come in a place on the bank of the Ganges. I will be very pure, have a fair complexion, and be very tall and chant the holy names of Krsna. (Vayu-Purana)
kalau sankirtanarambhe bhavisyami saci-sutah
"In the Age of Kali when the sankirtana movement is inaugurated, I shall descend as the son of Sacidevi." (Vayu Purana)."
The Golden Avatara, Lord Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is also described in the Mahabharata.
"He appears in a golden form, His limbs are the complexion of molten gold. His body is extremely beautiful and decorated with sandalwood pulp." (Mahabharata, Visnu Sahasranama)
"He accepts sannyasa and shows equanimity. He is peaceful. His mind is always fixed and He performs chanting." (Mahabharata, Visnu Sahasranama)
The Ananta Samhita also describes His Lordship and the Various Names by which He is known thus:
sa eva bhagavan krmo
srsty-adau sa jagannatho
gaura asin mahesvari
aprakasyam idam guhyam
na prakasyam bahir mukhe
bhaktam bhakti-pradam svayam
na jnasyanto bahir-mokhah
striyo ye purusah priyah
gopa dvadasa balakah
a viharisyami tair aham
kale nastam bhakti-patham
sthapayisyamy aham punah
gacchantu bhuvi te putrah
kurvantu te mamajnaya
prabhur gauro gaura-harir
To show mercy to the people and give them devotional service, the Supreme Personality of Godhead will appear in a Brahmana's home in Navadvipa by the Ganges's shore. The Supreme Person, Sri Krsna Himself, who is the life of Srimati Radharani, and is the Lord of the universe in creation, rnaintenance, and annihilation, appears as Gaura, O Mahesvari.
In Kali-yuga, I will descend to the earth with My associates. In Navadvipa, which is surrounded by the Ganges, I will take birth in Saci-devi 's womb.
They who are bewildered by My illusory potency will not understand the great secret of the appearance in this world of Me in My personal form, in My form as the incarnation of devotion, in My form as the incarnation of a devotee, in My form bearing the name of a devotee, in My form as a devotee, and in My form as the giver of devotional service.
This secret is not to be revealed to them. Only the saintly, pure, renounced devotees, diligently engaged in My devotional service, will be able to understand Me in these five forms.
My dear male and female associates, headed by Sridama and Subala, who came to this world at the time of My advent as Lord Krsna, will come again during the Kali-yuga.
The Gopas will become the sixty-four mahantas and the twelve gopalas. To establish the truth of religion, I will enjoy many pastimes with them.
In this way I will again reveal the path of devotional service, which has been destroyed in the course of time. My sons should also descend to the earth, assume the forms of devotees, and, by My order, also work to re-establish the principles of true religion.
At this time My names will be: Krsna Chaitanya, Gauranga, Gauracandra, Sacisuta, Mahaprabhu, Gaura and Gaurahari. Chanting these names will bring devotion to Me. (Ananta-Samhita)"
Finally He is mentioned in the Tantra Sastras.
punya-ksetre navadvipe bhavisyami saci-sutah
"I shall appear in the holy land of Navadvipa as the son of Sacidevi." (Krsna-yamala-Tantra)
atha vaham dharadhame
mayayam ca bhavisyami
"Sometimes I personally appear on the surface of the world in the garb of a devotee. Specifically, I appear as the son of Saci in Kali-yuga to start the sankirtana movement."
(Brahma-yamala Tantra - Collection of Slokas)