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By Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur

Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur

January, 1929

Published in The Harmonist (Sree Sajjanatoshani)

Part II

Q: -- I have truly been astonished to hear from your Holiness these mysteries of the Vaishnava Philosophy and their scientific analysis with the most reasonable arguments. I could not even think before that there are in the Vaishnava Philosophy such excellent solution, corroboration and elucidation of the problems of Indian Philosophy.

A: -- The Vaishnava Philosophy has spoken about true wisdom. True wisdom is not subject to an attack from any rival camp like the changeable and fluctuating knowledge of the empiricists; this is the special feature of the Vaishnava Philosophy. The philosophies that have been, are being and will be built on the foundation of empiricism will be abandoned, enlarged and altered along with the increase and decrease of experience. Before the civilization five-thousand years old, the three-thousand year old civilisation is imperfect; and the seven-thousand year old one is more enlarged; and in ten thousand years it will be still further changed and enlarged. The Vaishnava Philosophy built, as it is, upon the strong unalterable foundation, of true and perfect wisdom is not fit for change and reformation through scuffling and disputes even like the foot-ball being kicked to and fro.

The Shrimad Bhagavatam which is the essence of the Vedas and Vedantas speaks of the real Truth. This scripture describes something which is beyond the regions of human civilisation and all the rules and regulations of society, and speaks about the attainment of another or spiritual body by the soul. Some empiricists of the inductive school do not recognize this change of body for the soul. There are others who try to prove such a change by various mundane reasonings. Some of them cite the example of the tendency of a newly born monkey to grasp the branch of a tree, or that of a new-born rhinoceros to fly away from the mother, considering which, they say, every one must have to admit the previous life of creatures and cannot disbelieve the transmigration of souls. As a baby-rhinoceros is born, it runs away from the mother lest the mother should lick its skin. Her tongue is so sharp that the bark of a tree licked by her is removed. The baby comes to the mother only when its hide gets hardened in the course of a few days. Seeing these, the empiricists realise that this habit of the baby rhinoceros is indicative of its previous birth.

The Vedic scriptures, however, have given a scrutinising analysis of the mutual difference of the soul, the mind and the body as the atomic sentience, pseudo-sentience and matter. The soul (atma) is the owner of the body and the mind. These two are the properties of the soul which again is the property of the Supra-soul (paramatma). The Supra-soul is the casual sentience and the soul (jivatma) is the effectual sentience. The soul has two bodies or distinguishing properties; one is the subtle one or mind and the other the crude one i.e., material body. The outer body is the aggregate of atoms of the five elements of matter; the inner or mental body is the conductor of the outer body. The soul in its conditioned or bound state is connected with foreign properties through the mind. The soul is now asleep and inattentive to the service of the Supra-soul. Seeing the owner asleep, the subordinate workers, mind and body, are busy about their mean self-interest, instead of looking after the interest of their owner. All the universe, animate and inanimate, is included within the Supra-Soul; in reality every creation is animate. Our scriptures have proved this since time immemorial. Sir Jagadish Chandra Bose has proved, even by the inductive process, before the empiric school, that there exists animation even within grass shrubs, creepers, etc.

Q: -- I shall some time see Dr. Bose. Is the conception of our difference from the Supra-Soul born of our ignorance?

A: -- We shall consider how in our conditioned state we have been enveloped by the two distinguishing properties, and how again we shall be liberated there-from. These two are non-souls. Even in this conditioned state we are animate, not insentient. The non-souls, viz. The body and the mind, are connected with the outer and mental worlds. We have yet to attain to what is beyond the body and the mind. By 'jiva' is meant 'soul', 'mind' and 'body'. According to Shri Ramanujacharya the Supra-Soul is indeed one Sentient Body. He has two Bodies; in His mental Body there is the aggregate of jivas; the outer Body is the material world. The different parts of the mental Body of the Supra-Soul are the jivatmas or atomic sentience. When the jivatma or atomic sentience feels himself as a protege of the Full Sentience or Supra-Soul and becomes steady in His eternal service, his nescience or ignorance becomes extinct. It is this contact through service between the Supra-Sentience and the atomic sentience as the Asylum and the dependant respectively that amounts to the absence of the material conception of differentiation.

In the all-world philosophical conception, the son-ship to Nanda of the Plenary God as found in the Vaishnava Philosophy is entirely a novelty. There is no such highest conception about God-ship, so nice in every respect, in any other philosophy. The other philosophies can conceive of only the Father-hood of God-head. But the excellence of the Son-hood of God-head in which has been manifest the climax of love of God, has not found place in the brain of any other philosopher.

Q: -- What other conception can be better than the Father-hood of God-head? It is only Jesus who has taught us to call God as 'Father." No other feeling can there be better in the religious world than the love that arises in the mind when God is called 'O God, Thou the Great Father.'

A: -- Yes, it is true that the Father-hood of God is a special feature of Christianity. Why in Christianity alone, the Parent-hood of God is found in some Indian religious conceptions too. But if we consider with a scrutinising scientific analysis, we can find that this Parent-hood has been attributed to God from the inductive standpoint of view, i.e., out of gratitude to God whose kindly presence we admit on the analogy of the worldly father or from some desire to get some worldly benefit from Him. There is only to be traced the attitude of gratefulness of a being or that of an indifferent spirit of his, when the different religions of India too call Him as the 'Creator', 'Sustainer of the Universe', 'Protector of the World', 'Controller of the Universe', 'Great Father', etc., from the angle of vision of the attributes of Nature on the one hand, or Brahman, etc., from an angle contrary thereto, on the other. And so such conceptions are only indirect or secondary instead of being the principal or chief ones. But in the indirect conception there is no attachment or love. This point has rather got to be understood carefully.

Though there is no connection between the attributes of Nature and the Names of God like "Narayana', 'Vasudeva', 'Hrishikesa', etc., as prevalent in the Vaishnava Philosophy, yet they are indicative of His Majesty. There is a spirit of regard and reverence behind these. But where there is no such restriction of reverence, rather where, in spite of some reference to His Supreme Majesty, there is a want of the rise of such reverential spirit, the innate loving spirit remains steady and does not become slackened. The conception of Son-ship of God has its basis on the feeling of such sweetness of the highest Love.

Vasudeva and Devaki were told by Krishna: "I reveal My Majesty before you that you may know Me to be God; or else you would have known Me as a human being." God told Arjuna too: "Just see My Majestic Form." Vasudeva told Krishna: "You are not our son, but the Over-Lord of Divine Spirit and Nature." Arjune in the Gita [1] asked pardon of Krishna for having called Him his Friend, etc. In both these examples God's Majesty has been indicated. But such was not the conception of Nanda and the ladies of Braja. They regarded even that God as their Son and Lover, as the case might be, whose Lotus-Feet are adored by all the scriptures, by deities like Brahma, Shiva, etc., men, gandarbhas, etc., and worshipped with low salutations. Nanda, Yasoda, etc., did not look upon Krishna as the Supreme Father or the Highest God. If a person becomes the overlord of the wealthiest millionaire of the world, his parents do not stand like other people before him with folded palms in awe and reverence, offering prayers and expressing gratitude, nor do his friends hesitate to be jocular as ever in his presence, nor does his wife deal with him with special veneration like the people of the outside world and stay at a respectable distance. When the cow-herd boys, His friends, reported to mother Yasoda, that He had put some earth into His Mouth, she rebuked Him. She could not do so, if she had the idea that Krishna, the Supreme Father, was the object of her reprimand. She was able to regard the Highest Entity as her own object of so close and affectionate love that due to the depth of that love she could chide or even beat Him and think of the Sole Maintainer of all maintainers as worth maintenance and nourishment at her hands. This is not intelligible to the mere theorists of gratefulness who are foreigners to affectionate love towards God. When chidden [sic] by his mother, Krishna, afraid, as it were, of her, opened His Mouth to prove His innocence; and she saw the limitless universe within It. Yet her feeling towards Him as her son was not removed, such was the depth of her affectionate love for God.

Q: -- So far it has been the effusion of emotionality only. Please convince me rationally how the conception of God's Son-ship is superior to His Father-hood.

A: -- It appears as if you were either inattentive for a while, or unable to closely follow me. I was all this time giving you scientific reasonings. In the Vaishnava Philosophy there is no place for material emotion of any kind. The ephemeral emotionality relating to matter is no devotion; it is only the property of the mind. Our conception is that of the property of the soul. I was so long adducing reasons and examples to convince you how the natural love of the soul for God reached its climax in the conception of His Son-ship as the Son of Shri Nanda. You will not be able to easily get that idea with the help of reasoning only. You should not think of material emotionality when the actual example is given. With innumerable reasonings I shall show you that the conception of the Father-hood of God emanates only from a sense of gratefulness. Father-hood has been attributed to God more or less in accordance with such conceptions as God has created us, He has been sustaining us with the various gifts of nature, and for these He is Father and we should be paying Him reverential homage on that account.

Q: -- Our Jesus Christ has called God as Father not exactly on these grounds; Jesus introduced himself as God's son for something else.

A: -- Yes, about Jesus' son-hood you say: "The son is the complete revelation of the Father whose nature he shares, and of whose powers he is the sole heir, the only begotten son, and he is in absolute dependance [sic] on the Father. 'My Father and I are one. My Father workest hitherto and I work.' The son can do nothing except what he seeth the Father do. As son, he knows the Father; as God he can speak for God. As wholly dependant on the Father, and wholly obedient to His will, the message is true."

Now the ideal of regard based on the sense of gratitude of the son to the Supreme Father is not absent because of the conception of Jesus' son-hood of God on account of his being His heir in respect of His nature, power and attributes. I think that you conceive of God as the Supreme Father in imitation of Christ, His son, and read hymns to Him with various praises indicative of gratefulness. In our Gaudiya Philosophy there is no sense of gratitude or any other cause at the root of the love or attachment towards God. Where there is some cause, the Gaudiya Philosophy does not call such love as causeless or motiveless. The attribution of Parenthood to God must have some cause behind it. Him or her whom we call father or mother and who are adorable, we cannot worship, when, averse to God, we stay in the mother's womb; even after being born we cannot do so in our infancy or childhood. Rather we being their indulged pets treat them as our servants. There is no devotional piety during those periods when instead of worshipping them, we demand and accept service from them. It is no mean outrage on such adorable parents to convert them to servants. This is the effect of our desires. Thus we see that human or other beings do not acquire fitness for serving parents from the very beginning. Though with the growth of intelligence we show some efforts to serve them, generally this has its origin in a retributive sense of gratitude or dutifulness in return for the benefit received from them. Often we show such efforts in order to inherit the property earned by them with labour and left behind them. Under the circumstances it is in the sense of gratitude or obedience to established order originating from motives, that is at the root of the conception of parent-hood; there is absolute want in it of causeless or motiveless love.

The offering of service to the master in consideration that if the money paid by him as wages is not discharged, there will be sin committed - amounts to trafficking. The service of God or attribution of Parenthood to Him or calling Him as the Sustainer, Protector, Saviour, Affectionate, Gracious, etc., arising out of the sense of awe, hope, dutifulness or gratitude, all these originate from some motive or cause and, as such, are far from His service and worship arising from the natural love of the soul towards Him.

Q: -- Do you recognize caste distinction? The caste Hindus look down upon the other classes with an eye of contempt and neglect. Do you too do so?

A: -- As the judgment of the Vaishnava Philosophy is favourable towards the service of God, the technologies giving expression to it are also different from those of the ordinary judgments of moralists or other sects. You have already heard that the Vaishnavas have no regard for the morality or ethical principles of atheists. They do not also pay much respect to the reality of the moral principles of the theists in whose judgment worship of God is only of secondary importance. They say that the service of God or love of God is the principal matter. Other matters should be helpful and subservient to that principal matter. When the two things, viz., innate tendency and circumstance of man become ready to be helpful towards the principal matter viz., God's service, then is established a good social order known as Daiva Varnasrama (Divine System of castes and stages of life). Till the natural tendency of the human soul is fully manifest, the violation of this order causes much disorder and difficulty both individually and aggregately. This caste system follows man's nature and predilection. It is scientific to ascertain one's caste in accordance with one's natural predilection. Much disturbance is created, both individually and aggregately, on account of the non-acceptance of this inviolable scientific principle of natural predilection as observed and promulgated by our ancient sages of vast experience, and the wrong adoption of the seminal principle only i.e., the principle of determining caste by birth alone. It is due to the fact that this principle of caste determination was at one time perfect and nice at all points in India, that even this day the Indians are able to stand erect with a challenging mood before the world on the glorious foundation of the past. If we examine the present social system of the Europeans, we find that whatever beauty we find in that system has as its source the determination of the caste or social order according to natural predilection. There we find that a person having a martial tendency (i.e., that for the life of a Kshatriya) joins the army; another with a tendency of a Vaisya is engaged in improving commerce; those with the tendency peculiar to Shudras serve others. No society can work well, if it does not, more or less, adopt the caste system based on natural inclination in some form or another. Even among the European natives in marital relationships and during social feasts a distinction is made between the higher and lower forms of society governed by natural predilection to which the participants belong. Thought the natural caste system is to a certain extent adopted by the European Society, it has not yet acquired scientific perfection. It can do so alongside of the progress in civilization and knowledge. In India, however, this system attained to perfection on the basis of the determination of the natural predilection. The great history of India, viz., the Mahabharata, gives thousands of instances to prove this fact. It is on account of the fact that in India such a system was based on a scientific foundation that all other nations of the world adored the Indians as their spiritual guides. Even the people of Egypt, China, etc., received instructions in all matters with their heads bent down before Indians.

We find in the ancient history of India that formerly there was only one caste and that later on society became most scientifically divined into the castes of Brahmanas, Kshatriya etc., according to disparity in the instinctive inclination for the service of Godhead. The Acharya placed one in the higher or lower grade of caste system according as the degree of liking for God's service was high or low. Those who were attached towards this service with the strongest devout ardour and as such evinced the greatest intelligence became Brahmanas. They formed the head of the huge body of the society. According to the guidance of this head were conducted the hands, the thighs and the legs, viz., the Kshatriyas, Vaisyas and Shudras respectively.

Please consider this. It is this head of ours that occupies the highest place in our body, and it is the propellant of all our senses. What need is there to say more, when all the senses, viz., the eyes, the ears, the nose, the tongue and the skin are all combined in the head. It is there that these along with the mind, intellect and egoism, are all settled. When any other limb becomes disordered, its work may be conducted in some other way; for example, when a hand is amputated, oftentimes its function is managed by means of fixing up an artificial hand in its place. But when the brain becomes defective or when the head is decapitated, none of the limbs like the hands, legs, etc., can work. In the same way, the head of the social body, which guides its intelligence indicates the faculty of the Brahmana. So prayer is offered for being directed with the mood for serving God in the Gayatri-mantra (Rig Vedic hymn) to be daily recited by a Brahmana with a worshipful spirit. The Brahmanas have no other intellectual aptitude than such an ardent mood of service to God-head. One is degraded to a Kshatriya, Vaisya or Shudra according to the degree of his fall from that ardent mood of divine service, under the guidance of some other motive. The Brahmanas represent the brain and the mouth. The function of the brain is to regulate all with the aptitude of devotion towards God, and that of the mowth [sic] is to propagate the accounts about God. It is these Brahmanas that are the real owners of everything; because they are the Goswamis or masters of the senses i.e., servitors of God. They do not misappropriate anything to their own use, but they appropriate everything to God. For this all persons of the society confide in them and choose them as their spiritual guides. They who, instead of accepting such a Brahmana, rather bear a grudge against him, fall off from the path of all good. After this brain and mouth comes the consideration of the arms to which are compared the Kshatriyas then that of the thighs which the Vaishyas represent, and then come the Shudras, who, on account of their base character and unsteady mind are likened to the feet. And those whose lives are altogether uncontrolled are known as Antyajas (untouchables) and regarded as outside the group of the four classes, as above. The Vaishnava Philosophy recognizes Daiva Varnasrama Dharma which implies classification according to the divine system by which men are divided into castes according to their natural predilection. In the present society is found its corrupted form. There arises no question of hating or disregarding any body according to the system of Varnasrama recognised by Mahaprabhu Shri Chaitanya Deva or according to the process of culturing devotion to God as shown by Him, which is ever beyond that system. In the teaching given by Him there is found instruction to show respect to every creature in its relationship with God. The judgment of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is far superior to the slight improvement of the condition of the lower castes as proposed by the modern social reformers, nay, it far excels even the impartial equality as taught in the Gita. The proposal of the worldly-minded moralists for slightly raising the status of the lower forms of society has some extraneous motive as its cause; there are various purposes hiding behind it, such as political objects, personal interests, motive for acquiring fame and such other ends. These subordinate principles have given rise to attempts for uplifting the lower castes, which are of an extremely worldly character and clearly betrary [sic] their hypocrisy. The instruction in the Gita to look on all as equal to the self from the principle that all are souls is several times more elevated than they and is free from the worldly dirt. But the teaching of Shri Chaitanya Deva is not merely prohibitive of worldliness and based on impartiality, but it is a positive one of the character of transcendentalism or of a supra-mundane type.

Shri Chaitanya Deva wants to engage all jivas in the service of God and thereby to elevate them to the highest status. He converts a crow to Garuda (the prince of Eagles). The religion promulgated by Him is not meant for Bengal alone, nor for India even, but for all countries, all villages. His is the universal religion for all creatures. So has He said: "My Name will be propagated in all towns, all villages that exist in the world." His universal religion of love attracted animals, trees, grass, shrubs, creepers and even the ferocious creatures like tigers, etc., from their outward identification to the inward one of the very essential constitution, having been spread among them too.

The religion as promulgated by Him is that of the soul; and not that of the society, physical, mental and moral, and is not restricted to the usual form of devotion of the servant to the Majestic Lord. Every jiva is entitled to culture His religion, for it is property belonging to every jiva. His religion discovers the innate nature of the jiva soul and is manifested in the unabated plenary love for God. The message of love as propagated by Him is not merely the instruction of pseudo-love founded on gratitude. According to Him, Krishna is the Absolute Personality, the Spiritual Despot. The religion of love consists in the full gratification of His Senses. The jiva should be the fuel to the fire of the gratification of the Senses of the unrestrained Autocrat Whose Will is law. It is the service of that Autocrat under the guidance of those (devotees) who are well established in the eternal service of the gratification of the Senses of Krishna (Who is the very Figure embodying the succulence in pleasure) that is the object to be accomplished by a jiva and also the means to that end. The difference between the Vaishnava Philosophy and all the other philosophies of the world lies in the fact that in the former both the object for accomplishment and the means leading to it are identical without any distinction. The means when purified and matured reveal themselves as the Object. According to the Gaudiya Philosophy the chanting of the mellifluous Name of God constitutes both the end and the means for it. This doctrine concerning the Name of God is a main feature of this Philosophy.

"I do not know, how fortunate I am to have met your Holiness and got spiritually enlightened in this manner," said the interlocutor at the end.


[1] Vide XI.41