They are all in one family. Vaiṣṇavas are not different from Kṛṣṇa. Caitanya Mahāprabhu is not different from Kṛṣṇa. This is unity in diversity. There is nothing that can be called one, this oneness cannot be defined by any dictionary also. “O-N-E,” these are three letters. In Hindi, one is called ek, E-K. In Urdu and different languages, one is called in many different terms. You may just say that one is a term consisting of some lines on a sheet. But, one single line has lakhs and lakhs of dots. So, there is nothing that can be considered as one. When the māyāvādīs (impersonalists) speak of everything being as one, they are quite wrong, quite wrong. They cannot give any examples of this state of ‘oneness.’ Two substances, which are mixed together will produce another substance. One plus one equals two and not one.
I have a very interesting story to tell of Śaṅkarācārya. By the time, Śaṅkarācārya was a boy of twelve, he had read all the scriptures and he was ready to take the renounced order of life. His mother told him, “Bring some eggplants from the garden because some guests have come and I have to cook. So bring them.”
He went and got one eggplant. His mother asked, “Why have you bought only one eggplant? It will not do. It will not be sufficient to feed all the guests. So, bring more.”
Śaṅkarācārya replied, “There are no more eggplants in the garden. I saw only one in the entire garden.” Then Śaṅkarācārya’s mother was worried and she thought, “Perhaps the thieves have come and stolen all the eggplants away. And only one eggplant was left.”
She took her boy and went there. There, she saw that many eggplants were present. She started to count them and realized that there were ten hundred eggplants.
After seeing his mother count the eggplants, Śaṅkarācārya said, “No mother, you have forgotten to count the right way.”
Looking at the eggplants, Śaṅkarācārya counted them and said, “One, one, one, one.”
Then, Śaṅkarācārya’s mother twisted his ears and gave him a slap.
She said, “For twelve years I have taught you and even sent you to school. But, have you not read anything there? Is that why you say, ‘One, one, one, one,’ while counting the eggplants?”
So, Śaṅkarites say, “One plus one is equal to one.” But, this conception is like zero, even one cannot be defined. According to them, Brahma has no qualification. Brahma is without any potencies or energies. Brahma has no name and body. Brahma is nothing!
They say, “We are this same Brahma. Aham brahmāsmi.”
But, if you give them a slap, their Brahma will go away. A brahmavādī came to me and said, “Aham brahmāsmi. I am Brahma.”
I said, “Very good. Very good! You are my master. Come on, come on.”
I told the brahmacārīs, “Bring a burning log of wood. And place it in the mouth of this person. We will see then how he is Brahma.”
On listening to me speak to the brahmacārīs, he fled from the temple immediately. I called out, “Wait a little! Wait a little!” But he was quick on his heels to flee. So, this theory of oneness is quite wrong.
[CC-by-NDNC Bhakta Bandhav]