When the Absolute Truth is Realised Only Partially

Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura

(From "Bhakti Tattva Viveka" - click to read more from it.
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By the cultivation of jnana it will appear that impersonal brahma is the supreme tattva.

Here the subtlety is that jnana itself is material, meaning in the material world whatever knowledge we acquire or whatever principle (siddhanta) we establish is done by depending solely upon material attributes.

Therefore, either that principle is material or by applying the process of negation of the material (vyatireka) we conceive of a principle which is the opposite of gross matter, but by this method one cannot achieve the factual supreme tattva.

In his Bhakti-sandarbha, Srila Jiva Goswami has outlined the tattva which is attained by those who pursue the path of impersonal jnana as follows:

prathamatah shrotrinam hi vivekastavan eva, yavata jadatiriktam cinmatram vastupasthitam bhavati.

tasminsh cinmatre ’pi vastuni ye visheshah svarupa-bhuta-shakti-siddhah bhagavattadi-rupa varttante tams te vivektum na kshamante.

yatha rajani-khandini jyotishi jyotir matratve ’pi ye mandalantar bahish ca divva-vimanadi-paraspara-prithag-bhuta-rashmi-paramanu-rupa visheshas tamsh carma-cakshush na kshamanta ity anvayah tad vat.

purvavac ca yadi mahat-kripa-visheshena divya drishtita bhavati tada visheshopalabdhish ca bhavet na ca nirvishesha cinmatra-brahmanubhavena tal lina eva bhavati.

(214) idam eva (Gita 8.3) “svabhavo ’dhyatmam ucyate” ity anena sri-gitas uktam.

svasya shuddhasyatmano bhavo bhavana atmany adhikritya vartamanatvad adhyatma-shabdenocyate ity arthah.


“In the beginning the students who are pursuing the path of jnana require sufficient discrimination to comprehend the existence of a transcendent entity (chinmaya-vastu) which is beyond the contamination of gross matter.

Although the specific attributes of Godhead established by the potencies inherent within the Lord’s very nature are intrinsically present within that transcendent entity, the adherents of the path of jnana are unable to perceive them.

For example, the sun is a luminary which dispels the darkness of night.

Although its luminous quality is easily understood, the inner and outer workings of the sun planet, the difference which exists between individual particles of light, and the specific distinguishing features of the innumerable atomic particles of light are all imperceptible to human eyes.

Similarly, those who view the transcendent entity through the eyes of impersonal jnana are unable to perceive the Lord’s divine personal attributes.

If, as previously described, one acquires transcendental vision by the special mercy of great devotees, one will be able to directly recognise the Lord’s personal attributes.

Otherwise, by realisation of the impersonal existential brahma, one will attain only the state of merging into that brahma.” (Anuccheda 214)

“This knowledge is stated in the Bhagavad-gita (8.3): svabhavo ’dhyatman ucyate — ‘The inherent nature of the living entity is known as the self.’ The meanings of the words svabhava and adhyatma are as follows.

Sva refers to the shuddha-atma or pure self, and the word bhava refers to ascertainment.

Consequently the ascertainment of the pure living entity as a unique individual, eternally related to the Supreme, is known as svabhava.

When the atma or self is made the principal subject of focus and thus given the power to act in its proper function, it is known as adhyatma.” (Anuccheda 216)

The purport of this is that when spiritual knowledge is acquired through the process of negation (neti-neti), the Absolute Truth, which is transcendental to maya, is realised only partially.

The variegated aspect of transcendence which lies much deeper within is not realised.

If one who follows this process meets a personalist, self-realised Vaisnava guru, then only can he be protected from the anartha of impersonalism.(from Part 1 – "The Intrinsic Nature of Devotion")

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Harih Om Tat Sat.

Natural Brotherhood (Bhaktivinoda Thakura):

BhaktiVinoda Thakura

"Gradually, when the offensive portions of the established religions are destroyed, there will be no more differences in the bhajana performed by the various Sampradayas nor any quarrel between them.

Then as brothers, the people of all castes and countries will spontaneously chant the Holy Names of the Supreme Lord together.

At that time, no one will hate anyone or consider others dogeaters; nor will anyone be overwhelmed by the pride of high birth.

The living entities will not forget the principle of natural brotherhood."

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