The Many Faces of Impersonalism

BY: MAYESA DASA (ACBSP) - 27.6 2019

IMPERSONALISM is the cancer of humanity. It appears everywhere.

Impersonalism is behind the killing of the unborn. Impersonalism is behind the call for Socialism and Communism.

In Vaisnava spiritual circles, impersonalism appears in many guises. Lets analyze a few.

1) Misinterpretation of words

The word rtvik is not a new word. It is found in Visnusmrti, Manusmrti, Puranas. It therefore has a definition. We are not at liberty to invent a new definition for the word anymore than those throughout the ages had liberty to do so.

Rtviks were all devotees initiated into the parampara. How in the world could we have the effrontery to define Rtvik as a new form of initiation outside the parampara?

2) Guru is God

We sing in ISKCON temples worldwide Srila Visvanatha Thakur's words that guru is able to give mercy of Bhagavan to his disciple. This can be misunderstood.

We see how it is especially misunderstood when disciples think that the guru has the power to change the very process of the parampara itself. This is identifying the guru as God.

At first blush, awarding such authority to the guru seems loving and surrendered. In reality it is banal. Guru takes his authority from parampara. How is it he can deconstruct his own authority?

3) Sastra's source

Sastra is spiritual sound vibration enunciated by the Supreme Lord, who is outside the material nature. Impersonalists think sastra is a material representation of the formless Absolute.

4) The push to create woman guru

There is no more obvious an intrusion by impersonalism into Vaisnava circles than the push to install a class of woman guru. Our philosophy--all Vedic philosophy--begins with realization of one's Self separate from one's material body.

But there is a difference between the fact that each of us is an eternal soul and the realization of this fact. An insect is equal to a man as a spiritual fact. But their consciousness is not equal.

Man and woman are not equals because it is the subtle body that carries the soul. It is not just the body that differs.

5) Fall down

After His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta departed this earth there erupted the argument of whether souls fall down from Vaikuntha. One prominent disciple I will not name contended that ISKCON had misunderstood the acharya.

He argued that my guru was engaged in subterfuge in order to make Krsna Consciousness more palatable to neophytes when he had taught that fall down is possible at any stage by misuse of free will.

Often the argument is used that we come from a place called the tatastha. But Chaitanya Mahaprabhu defines tatastha as our eternal nature, not any place other than the soul himself.

That the Supreme Lord Krsna could relegate souls to millions of lifetimes of suffering for a decision they did not make--a crime they never committed--is to deny God's merciful, loving nature.

How is Krsna then all-attractive? Does this not deny His personality to the ultimate degree?

6) The Personalities of Godhead

It is certainly a difficult concept, but His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta has mentioned in Bhagavad-gita purport, Srimad Bhagavatam purport and his personal letters the Personalities of Godhead, plural.

For a neophyte it is difficult to conceive, but just as the jivatma has his separate individual personality from Krsna so too the Visnu-tattva is situated as individual personalities. In other words, Krsna is not pretending to be a separate personality, Balarama, but Balarama is an actual separate person.

An example is Balarama laughing when Krsna adjusted Govardhana Hill and there was a murmur of fear from the Vrajavasis. Krsna felt a little shame that Balarama had read His mind but Balarama had not guessed the cause of Krsna's movement -- the gopi's breasts.

7) Vedic Cosmology

In a morning walk HDG A.C. Bhaktivedanta mentioned Meru mountain. He said that it was composed of gold and that if men knew it existed they would be mad to go there.

He did not say that it was composed of subtle energy. Yet this is the common statement we hear so much regarding so much of Vedic information -- that it is subtle.

These are only 7 ways in which the soul is diverted to IMPERSONALISM.