Hari-katha Articles If Someone Say: “God has no form...”

If Someone Say: “God has no form…”

The followers of this philosophy, which in modern times has appeared in many versions, claim that God is formless and all-pervading. For these people philosophical speculation is the most important activity. “People who say God has a form are stunted dwarves.” This thought always agitates their minds. “In our path of knowledge we know that God is formless and all-pervading.” These people cannot go beyond these kinds of thoughts.

The unintelligent people who follow this path have an idea of God that is foolish idolatry. They think that God is formless and all-pervading, like the material sky. Thus the object of their worship is material. Beyond the 20 material elements is the individual spirit soul, and beyond the individual soul is God, who has numberless qualities, whose form is spiritual, who is all-pervading, whose true nature is different from the formless God the impersonalists imagine, who is the supreme master, who is supremely merciful, who is the individual spirit souls true friend, who has all opulence, and who is the supreme controller, and whose handsome transcendental form the followers of this philosophy have no power to see or understand.

These philosophers worship of God is very faulty and incomplete. Their worship consists only of bowing down and reciting prayers. Only bowing down and reciting prayers, their worship is very material in nature. Again and again chewing various kinds of philosphical speculation, they are very afraid to worship the glorious spiritual Deity form of God and become His servant, a servant completely sold to Him. Agitated in this way, they preach to the world that one should not imagine a spiritual form of God. They say that to worship the Deity form of God is to worship only a statue made of material elements. These people have no power to understand the true form of God, a form beyond the touch of matter, a form that is eternal and full of knowledge and bliss. Each of these people thinks he himself is the best and the most important. They say it is a bad idea to take shelter of the feet of a spiritual master. Afraid, they will not search to find a genuine, a saintly spiritual master. They will not devotedly serve a spiritual master’s feet.

Afraid that they will meet an imposter spiritual master and by him be set on the wrong path, they shun even the genuine, the saintly spiritual masters. Some among them say that by one’s own effort one can find the spiritual truth in one’s own heart, and therefore there is no need to take shelter of a spiritual master’s feet. Others among them say that one should accept only the most prominent, most famous spiritual master (pradhana-acarya). The most famous spiritual master is God Himself. He is the true teacher, the true protector. He enters our hearts and destroys our sins. There is no need to accept a human being as a spiritual master. Others among them say that one should only worship the scriptures, which are given by God. Still others among them say that the scriptures are filled with errors. Afraid in this way, they will not honor any scripture.

Although within it belief in one God rests, in many places this philosophy is wrong. This philosophy implies that God is cruel and unjust. Also, thinking them unimportant, this philosophy also slights the devotees eager to serve God. God is one. He is a person. It is by His will that the individual souls have free will and thus may choose to sin. Then, abandoning their original nature, they have no power against the Lord’s Maya-sakti (potency of illusion), and then, become spiritually weak, they sin. Thus the sins of the individual spirit souls all come from weakness. If one rejects the idea that piety and sin have no beginning, then one must say that God is at fault for making the individual souls weak and thus prone to sin.

Although with their mouths these people say God is faultless, they actually hurl insults at Him, saying He has many faults. These people have no power to distinguish between the spirit soul and the gross and subtle material bodies. Their theoretical and practical knowledge are both polluted and stunted, and for this reason they have no power to understand the nature and secrets of the soul. Although they are very proud of their material knowledge, their knowledge of spirit is stunted, and their religious activities bring only meager results. Their highest goal is to reside in Svargaloka in their subtle material bodies. They mistake the subtle material body, or the mind, for the spirit soul. Thus they have no power to distinguish the soul from the mind.

The impersonalist philosophy, which is known as Advaita (Monism), has existed for a very long time. From a few isolated passages of the Vedas this philosophy has come. Although this impersonalist philosophy has been preached by various philosophers in many countries, it is from India that it originally came. Of this there is no doubt. Some learned men who came to India with Alexander the Great learned this impersonal philosophy, returned to their own country, and incorporated parts of this philosophy in their own books.

The impersonal philosophy teaches: “Brahman is the only thing that exists. Nothing else exists. The idea that spirit, matter, and God are different things is useful only for ordinary activities. In truth Brahman is the unchanging root from which they all have grown. Brahman is eternal, changeless, formless, and quality-less. It has no characteristics. It has no power. It has no activities. Brahman never changes into anything else. All these statements are found in different places in the Vedas.”

The impersonalist philosophers believe all these ideas. Still, casting a glance on the variety-filled material world, they thought, “How is it possible that the impersonal Brahman is the origin of this material world? We can see this world with our own eyes. How did it come into existence? If we cannot answer these questions our philosophy will not stand. Thinking and thinking, they considered these points: “Brahman never performs any activity. How can it have created the world? How can we accept that it has the power to perform activity? If we accept that something else exists besides Brahman, then our whole Advaita (non-dual) philosophy will be broken. Thinking and thinking in this way, they came to this conclusion: “If we say that Brahman has the power to transform itself into other things, that will not destroy our Advaita philosophy. Therefore, Brahman transformed itself into the things of this world. That we can believe.”

In this way a theory of transformation became accepted. But then another impersonalist philosopher said, “It is not right to say that Brahman has a defect. If Brahman becomes transformed, then it no longer remains Brahman. Therefore this theory of transformation should be thrown far away and in its pl ace the theory of illusion should be accepted. Brahman never becomes transformed into any other thing. Therefore the theory of transformation is impossible. However my theory, which maintains that all that exists is in reality Brahman and Brahman alone, and the idea that a variety of things exists is really only an illusion is a beautiful theory, beautiful in every limb. When one mistakes a rope for a snake, one becomes afraid. When one mistakes the glitter in a seashell for silver, one becomes filled with hopes. Therefore if my theory of illusion is accepted, then Brahman has no defect. The material world is an illusion. Only b e cause of ignorance does one believe it exists. In this way my theory is proved. The material world does not exist. Life does not exist. Only Brahman exists. The belief that the material world exists is only pretending on the part of Brahman. This pretending is called by the names avidya (ignorance), maya’ (illusion) and other like words found in dictionaries. The pretending here does not posit the existence of something different from Brahman. Therefore Brahman is the only reality.

Nothing else exists. The reality is spirit, and the the pretending, the illusion, is matter. That is now proved. When material consciousness is defeated by spiritual truth, then the material pretending is destroyed, the true reality is revealed, and liberation is attained.”

Excerpted from “Tattve-viveka”, Commentary on verses 28-31

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Krsna’s Abhiseka – Govinda-lilamrta

How can living entities cross beyond mundane existence and enter the eternal world? For this purpose, the gosvāmīs in Mahāprabhu’s movement manifested strong connections to the spiritual world. Anyhow, from morning to evening, if one is absorbed in Kṛṣṇa's name, the holy dhāma and Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes there, remembering this day and night, he will automatically achieve great benefit, becoming connected to spiritual power. Mahāprabhu came to distribute vraja-prema, vraja-rasa, and vraja-bhakti. There is a barrier between Māyā and Yogāmāya, or the mundane world and Vraja-maṇḍala. It is as if there is a great dam separating the material and spiritual worlds. How can the flow of love from the spiritual world come into the mundane world? Mahāprabhu requested Nityānanda Prabhu to break this dam and freely distribute pure love. Nityānanda Prabhu went everywhere and distributed this vraja-prema, rasa and bhakti. All Mahaprabhu’s associates distributed this in their own unique way. Gadādhara Paṇḍita, Śrīvāsa Paṇḍita, Vakesvrara Paṇḍita, Haridāsa Ṭhākura—all had specialties. The line is not different, but the process of distribution is unique. With the saṅkīrtana movement, Nityānanda Prabhu went to everyone and took all anarthas from them, and then gave this vraja-prema. Gadādhara Paṇḍita served Gopinātha and anyone who came to him, he gave entrance into the service of Gopinātha and vigraha-sevā. Śrīvāsa Paṇḍita distributed saṅkīrtana rasa. Adavita Ācārya Prabhu gave the conclusions of śāstra, and all spiritual knowledge. He collected the living entities and offered them to the lotus feet of Mahāprabhu. Making them related to Mahāprabhu and giving them respect for Him. The Gosvāmīs, having understood fully the movement of Mahāprabhu, distributed pure love by describing the pastimes of Kṛṣṇa. If there is no relation with Kṛṣṇa's pastimes, then attachment will remain for mundane pastimes and activities. Hence, the Gosvāmīs began to distribute vraja-līlā, and vraja-bhakti. Do not think this is mundane or any worldly conception or speculation. If anyone passes along this way, their family members generally do not make their lives into a biography and save it. Kṛṣṇa-līlā, vraja-līlā, is not like this. The Gosvāmīs collected all of Kṛṣṇa's pastimes in Vraja, from dawn to dawn, and distributed it in the form of literature. When one drinks a little bit of this nectar, he realizes how powerful it is and how much benefit comes. Kavirāja Gosvāmī distributes the eternal pastimes of the spiritual world. If anyone wants to enter the holy dhāma and make relationship with the Vrajavāsīs, they must take shelter of līlā-śakti. Līlā-śakti doesn't look at any qualification or disqualification. If a person has greed to enter the dhāma and the eternal pastimes of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa then She will give it without condition. If you humbly offer yourself to līlā-śakti, she will not look to see if You have anarthas, or are a sanyasi, Bābājī, brahmacārī or gṛhastha. She does not think about any of this. Līlā-śakti looks only to see if you have some respect. If She sees your desire is pure then She will take you to that world. Therefore, the guru-varga did not give so much emphasis on a person being qualified or unqualified. Once, when Śrīla Gurudeva was the west, some people asked him, "Why did you give dīkṣā to this new person? Why did you not wait for some time to see if he was qualified?" Śrīla Gurudeva said, "The living entities have been moving in this world for millions of lifetimes. They are disconnected from the Lord and their eternal relationship with Him. If they are connected to svarūpa-śakti and līlā-śakti, then they will be pulled out of this endless sea of misery and brought to Kṛṣṇa." If someone bathes in the Gaṅgā or Yamunā, they will feel clean and well. Similarly, the guru-varga brings one to the lotus feet of līlā-śakti. Līlā-śakti comes directly from svarūpa–śakti and svarūpa-śakti has unlimited power, being the personal energy of the Unlimited Himself. By drinking and bathing in the holy waters of the Lords pastimes, automatically one changes. This is the power of līlā-śakti. By one’s own sādhana he cannot cross māyā and come to God. The living entities have no strength. They may have good desire, but they have no strength. Mercy is required. Once, a paṇḍita was speaking on the tenth canto of Śrīmad Bhagvatam before a faithful assembly. The paṇḍita spoke of Kṛṣṇa’s amazing power, His sweet pastimes and also his enchanting svarūpa, decorated by His mother with many ornaments and precious jewels such as the Kaustubha-maṇi. In the large assembly there was a thief who was thinking to steal from anyone who fell asleep or lost themselves in the sweet hari-kathā. “I will steal their necklaces, and their gold right from their pockets,” he thought. This was his nature. However in the course of the thief plan, he heard so much description of Kṛṣṇa’s valuable ornaments that his greed became fixed on those riches alone. Now all he could think was, “How can I steal Kṛṣṇa's wealth?" His clever mind formulated a plan and he suddenly began to cry loudly in the middle of the assembled listeners.

WHY WILL WE ALWAYS SUFFER IF WE DON'T COLLECT THIS BHAKTI RASA?

Vilāpa-kusumāñjali 8 O Devī, please rescue this unfortunate person drowning in an ocean of pain. Place him on the strong boat of Your mercy and carry him to the wonderful realm of Your lotus feet.He says, “O Rādhe! I am not merely sad, I have fallen in the ocean of distress where I am burning in separation. I don’t know how to come out. Be merciful upon me, send a boat to help and carry me across this ocean to Your lotus feet. They are my all and all. Please bring me close to Your lotus feet. Otherwise, for millions of lives I take shelter of ordinary people, but they don’t accept me. They only kick me. O Rādhike, You are my life and soul. Please give me shelter. This will be my permanent post and service. Otherwise, I have no power.”Rādhārānī may say, “Oh, why are you sad? Why are you disturbed? Why are you crying?”“O Devī! Before, I had no knowledge that this world is a prison. Many cruel animals are present who are always cheating me, stealing my life. They appear like friends but they only steal my life, time, and energy. They make me perform bad karma, sending me away from bhakti and God.“By the mercy of Caitanya Mahāprabhu and Guru-pāda-padma, I have realized this and come here. Without Your mercy it is not possible to cross over this mundane world. I cannot cross beyond this attachment. If I have no protection and shelter, then I would be forced to go back. If You don’t give taste and relation, then I would have to go to others and work constantly for their pleasure.“I have no shelter. Without You I am very small. Your lotus feet are very wonderful. Many millions and millions of siddha-sevakas are present there.“Please give me a small place there as well. I will sit by Your lotus feet and Your sevakas will teach and guide me.”In the ninth verse Dāsa Gosvāmī prays: tvad-alokana-kalāhi-daṁśair eva mṛtaṁ janamtvat-padābja-milal-lakṣa-bheṣajair devi jīvayaVilāpa-kusumāñjali 9 O Devī, with the medicine of the red lac from Your lotus feet, please bring back to life this person now dead from the bites of the black snake of not seeing You. “O Devī, I can’t see You. The serpent of time is stealing away my life. It bites me and injects me with poison. I can’t protect myself. By its poison I am suffering and feeling so much pain. O Devī! Tat-padābjam, Your lotus feet are like life-giving medicine. Please give me life and strength, so that I may return to You. Now I am wounded, as if dead by the influence of mahā-kāla. Poisonous snakes always come and bite me. Babies go to their mother and father, who take them in their lap, and kiss and play with them. With all types of love and affection, relatives poison us and keep us disconnected from our soul and the Supreme Soul. These family members are the soldiers of time.“O Devī, Your lotus feet are covered with reddish kuṁkum. Please give me a particle of kuṁkum from Your feet. This medicine will cure the material disease and bestow anurāga.”Caitanya Mahāprabhu covered Himself with this anurāga. In Anurāga-vallari, Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura wrote that in the early morning Śrīmatī Rādhārānī watched many pulina-kanyās going to collect dry wood and cow dung. They saw Kṛṣṇa’s foosteps and kuṁkum on the grass. Where did this come from? The Vraja-devīs put Kṛṣṇa’s feet on their breasts that are smeared with kuṁkum and that kuṁkum becomes imprinted on the grass when Kṛṣṇa walks through the forest. The pulina-kanyās place this kuṁkum on their heads and chests. Śrīmatī sees this and says, “How much love they have for this Kṛṣṇa!”Caitanya-candra wore cloth the reddish color of this anurāga. He said, “I always keep the Vraja-devīs’ footdust with Me. This footdust is their anurāga.”This anurāga color is medicine that treats our material condition. How can hṛd-roga, lust, go? Dāsa Gosvāmī Prabhu says, “If you take a little bit of this footdust and smear it on your body and pray to that dust, then your hṛd-roga will go away. The serpents of time will no longer bite you. Even if you can’t bring Her feet directly in your heart, if you can collect a little of this kuṁkum and place it in your heart, then that will cure you and bring you to Vraja-dhama.”Some people say, “I have no time, when can I chant? I will chant later. I will serve later.” This is the poisonous effect of kāla-sarpa, the serpents of time. If you want to be saved from these serpents, then you must take shelter of the Vraja-devis’ foot dust.vande nanda-vraja-strīṇāṁ pāda-reṇum abhīkṣṇaśaḥyāsāṁ hari-kathodgīrṇaṁ punāti bhuvana-trayam Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 10.47.63 I constantly glorify the dust of the feet of the women of Nanda’s cowherd pastures. Their chanting of the activities of Śrī Kṛṣṇa purifies the entire universe. Brahmā and Uddhava pray like this. This dust is available. Why don’t you take it? You don’t have the desire. How can desire come? For that desire you must worship Śrīmatī Rādhārānī’s lotus feet.Śrīla Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura sings: rādhikā-caraṇa-renu, bhūṣaṇa koriyā tanuanāyāse pābe giridhārīrādhikā-caraṇāśraya, je kore se mahāśayatāre moi jāo bolihārī Ornament your body with the dust of Śrīmatī Rādhikā’s lotus feet and you will easily attain Giridhārī. I congratulate such a great soul who takes shelter of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī’s lotus feet.jaya jaya rādhā-nāma vṛndāvana jāra dhāmakṛṣṇa-sukha vilāsera nidhiheno rādhā guṇa gāna, na sunilo mora kānavañcito korilo more vidhi All glories, all glories to She whose name is Rādhā, whose divine abode is Vṛndāvana, and who is a treasury of pastimes that bring joy to Kṛṣṇa. Alas! If my ears have not heard Rādhā’s glories, then destiny has cheated me. Everything we sing, we sing without desire to accept. We sing, pray, and pass our time, and then run another way. Why? We have no desire to accept this.Dāsa Gosvāmī Prabhu says, “Color yourself from top to bottom with this kuṁkum. Then nothing else can touch or disturb you.”If we don’t read the Gosvāmīs’ books, like this Vilāpa-kusumāñjali, how can we understand what process the Gosvāmīs left for us? How can we cross māyā? How can we collect bhakti-rasa? Without this, our lives pass uselessly. If we only cry and think about the negative, what benefit will come to us? We accept nothing positive. We will be weak if we take no food and have no rasa. Vaidhī-mārga is not useless, but who can actually follow all rules and regulations? Those who have anurāga follow all rules and regulations naturally. They come everyday to maṅgala-āratī to serve in niśānta-līlā. There is no need to bang on their doors and shout, “Wake up!” They naturally follow everything with anurāga. Vaidhī-mārga followers do everything by force. If sometimes they are sick, then how can they follow? This anurāga is the only thing necessary for strength in bhajana. devi te caraṇa-padma-dāsikāṁ         viprayoga-bhara-dāva-pāvakaiḥdahyamānatara-kāya-ballavīṁ     jīvaya kṣaṇa-nirīkṣaṇāmṛtaiḥVilāpa-kusumāñjali 10 O Devī, with the nectar of a moment’s glance, please restore the life of this maidservant of Your lotus feet, who now burns in the great forest-fire of separation from You. What does Devī mean? In the transcendental realm of Vṛndāvana-dhāma, You control Śrī Kṛṣṇa with Your over-world-power-love and keep Him always near You, thus You are Devī.“O Devī, I am burning; my body, mind, and senses—everything is burning. Everywhere I look there is only fire, dryness, and ashes. Please cool me with the nectar from Your lotus feet. Śiva Ṭhākura sits in a crematorium and smears his body with ashes, saying, ‘In this world there is only fire and ash, fire and ash.’ O Devī, this world is a forest-fire and my body is like a burning creeper. I am a very small dāsī at Your lotus feet. Kṛpā kaṭākṣa bhājanam—please just o nce grace me with Your merciful glance. If You don’t look at me and take care of me, then everyone will come with fire and attack me, saying, ‘Hey, don’t do this, do what I am telling, follow me.’ The government, educators, parents, friends, and the so-called gurus and ācāryas—everyone in this world smashes us and squeezes out our life. They like to take all our time and life. But they don’t say, ‘Follow this line of the Gosvāmīs; this is good for you.’ ”When a goat or pig is young and healthy, everyone is ready to check, “How much does it weigh? How tasty will it be?” The fire of peoples’ desires burns us. People are always ready to attack and digest us.Dāsa Gosvāmī says, “Kṛṣṇa is transcendental. He is in my heart, but I can’t meet with Him because I am surrounded by fire. How can I cross this fire and go to meet with Kṛṣṇa? It is not possible. I am burning in my desire-fire, lust-fire, anger-fire, and so many other fires. I collect fire from all others; they give me this by force. Also, I am sentimental and sensitive—this is one fire. Even worse is the fire of pratiṣṭhā, greed for name and fame. O Devī, if these fires aren’t vanquished, I will not be able to cross beyond this fearsome world and reach You. I have been burning, burning, burning for millions of lives. Now I have only a little time left. I cannot tolerate this torment any longer. Without Your merciful glance, I will be burnt to ashes and destroyed. Please give me Your kṛpā-kaṭākṣa-bhājanam, without which I cannot cross over this fearsome world.“This body that You gave is always demanding attention and wants me to be its slave. It is a vortex of fire in which I am always burning. I desire to engage my body always as an instrument of Your service. But these fires are burning me and keep me from serving You. In a forest there are many big trees. Sometimes, when wind rubs them against each other, fire is generated. This fire burns the whole forest down. Similarly, mundane people have fire and they steal us away from bhakti and bhajana. This is like a forest-fire. How can I protect myself from the fires of this world? I don’t know. Please help me.“Your darśana is not possible for me. I can’t see you, but You can see me. Please give me Your glance of mercy, otherwise I cannot cross over this world and go to You." svapne ‘pi kiṁ sumukhi te caraṇāmbujāta-        rājat-parāga-paṭavāsa-vibhūṣaṇenaśobhāṁ parām atitarām ahahottamāṅaṁ        bibhrad bhaviṣyati kadā mama sārtha-nāmaVilāpa-kusumāñjali 11 O beautiful-faced one, when, even in a dream, will I, by decorating my head with the splendid perfumed powder of Your lotus feet, attain the goal of my life? (Click on the Title to see more)

WHO WILL BE THE FOLLOWER OF THE VRAJAVASIS?

Then the very special mood of the Vrajavāsīs will automatically enter your heart. Thus, it will be very easy to achieve vraja-sevā. You will gain entrance into Vraja-bhūmi. You will not be far away from guru-sevā. Guru Mahārāja is watching every one of us. He sees our services. By his mercy, his services in the spiritual world will manifest in your heart. For instance, when Śrīla Gurudeva would go to America and other countries, all of us would become orphans in Mathurā and Vṛndāvana. Although we had no physical connection—the class he would give would also automatically manifest in our classes. We would become so happy then...

Message of Mantra – Govinda-lilamrta

Bhagavatī Paurṇamāsī is Yogamāyā, the expansion of svarūpa-śakti. She notices that early hours of dawn, there were many sādhana-siddhas waiting for Kṛṣṇa to wake and chanting gopāla-mantra or kṛṣṇa-gāyatrī. Having achieved their perfected forms, they now waited for service. While chanting their mantra, they offered their love and desire to serve. This love and service tendency are the same thing. To love Kṛṣṇa means to always desire to serve Him. Don't think mantra should be chanted dryly. You must have love and affection for the mantra-devatā. If you don't offer the mantra-devatā anything, you will not get relationship. If you stay with Śrī Guru or the Vaiṣṇavas, gradually by serving them, and offering them something every day, your love for them will increase and you will become closer to them day by day. You will get more and more desire to serve. In the same way, when one offers puṣpāñjali, or chants mantra, what must be the mood? The sādhaka prepares many offerings and arranges all kinds of paraphernalia for the pleasure of the Lord and His associates and offers it to them. This is most beneficial when done in brāhma-muhūrta. But how is it possible to directly offer all these things. Therefore, the sādhaka offers everything mindly with his mantra to the mantra devata.

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O Devī Gāndharvike! I am suffering greatly and therefore, today, I am throwing myself on the ground like a stick and desperately imploring You, with a choked voice, to be merciful to this fool and count me as one of Your own confidantes...

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