Śacīmātā defeats Māyāvādī philosophies

June 20, 2021 in Articles by Laksman dasa

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Śacīmātā defeats Māyāvādī philosophies

Caitanya Caritamrta, Adi Lila, Chapter 14Lord Caitanya’s Childhood PastimesTEXT 24ekadina śacī kha-i-sandeśa āniyābāṭā bhari’ diyā baila,–khāo ta’ basiyāSYNONYMSekadina—one day; śacī—mother Śacī; kha-i—fused rice; sandeśa—sweetmeat; āniyā—bringing; bāṭā—tiffin dish; bhari‘-filling; diyā—delivering; baila—said; khāo—eat; ta‘-now; basiyā—sitting down.TRANSLATIONOne day while the Lord was enjoying His playful sports with the other little children, mother Śacī brought a dish filled with fused rice and sweetmeats and asked the child to sit down and eat them.TEXT 25eta bali’ gelā śacī gṛhe karma karitelukāñā lāgilā śiśu mṛttikā khāiteSYNONYMSeta bali‘-saying this; gelā—returned; śacī—mother Śacī; gṛhe—in the house; karma—duties; karite—to execute; lukāñā—hiding; lāgilā—began; śiśu—the child; mṛttikā—dirt; khāite—to eat.TRANSLATIONBut when she returned to her household duties, the child hid from His mother and began to eat dirt.TEXT 26dekhi’ śacī dhāñā āilā kari’ ‘hāya, hāya’māti kāḍi’ lañā kahe ‘māṭi kene khāya’SYNONYMSdekhi‘-seeing this; śacī—mother Śacī; dhāñā—rushing; āilā—came back; kari‘-making a noise; hāyahāya—”What is this! What is this!”; māṭi—dirt; kāḍi‘-snatching; lañā—taking; kahe—she said; ‘māṭi kene khāya‘-why is the child eating dirt?TRANSLATIONSeeing this, mother Śacī hastily returned and exclaimed, “What is this! What is this!” She snatched the dirt from the hands of the Lord and inquired why He was eating it.TEXT 27kāndiyā balena śiśu,–kene kara roṣatumi māṭi khāite dile, mora kibā doṣaSYNONYMSkāndiyā—while crying; balena—says; śiśu—the child; kene—why; kara—you become; roṣa—angry; tumi—you; māṭi—dirt; khāite—to eat; dile—gave Me; mora—My; kibā—what is; doṣa—fault.TRANSLATIONCrying, the child inquired from His mother, “Why are you angry? You have already given Me dirt to eat. What is My fault?TEXT 28kha-i-sandeśa-anna yateka–māṭira vikāraeho māṭi, seha māṭi, ki bheda-vicāraSYNONYMSkha-i—fused rice; sandeśa—sweetmeat; anna—eatables; yateka—all; māṭira—of dirt; vikāra—transformations; eho—this is also; māṭi—dirt; seha—that; māṭi—dirt; ki—what; bheda—of difference; vicāra—consideration.TRANSLATION“Fused rice, sweetmeats and all other eatables are but transformations of dirt. This is dirt, that is dirt. Please consider. What is the difference between them?TEXT 29māṭi–deha, māṭi–bhakṣya, dekhaha vicāri’avicāre deha doṣa, ki balite pāriSYNONYMSmāṭi-dirt; deha-this body; māṭi-dirt; bhakṣya-eatable; dekhaha-just try to see; vicāri‘-by consideration; avicāre-without considering; deha-you put; doṣa-fault upon Me; ki-what; balite-to say; pāri-I am able.TRANSLATION“This body is a transformation of dirt, and the eatables are also a transformation of dirt. Please reflect upon this. You are blaming Me without consideration. What can I say?”PURPORTThis is an explanation of the Māyāvāda philosophy, which takes everything to be one. The necessities of the body, namely, eating, sleeping, mating and defending, are all unnecessary in spiritual life. When one is elevated to the spiritual platform there are no more bodily necessities, and in activities pertaining to the bodily necessities there are no spiritual considerations. In other words, the more we eat, sleep, have sex and try to defend ourselves, the more we engage in material activities. Unfortunately, Māyāvādī philosophers consider devotional activities to be bodily activities. They cannot understand the simple explanation in Bhagavad-gītā (14.26):māṁ ca yo ‘vyabhicāreṇa
bhakti-yogena sevate
sa guṇān samatītyaitān
brahma-bhūyāya kalpate“Anyone who engages in spiritual devotional service without motivation, rendering such service for the satisfaction of the Lord, is elevated immediately to the spiritual platform, and all his activities are spiritual.”Brahmabhūyāya refers to Brahman (spiritual) activities. Although Māyāvādī philosophers are very eager to merge into the Brahman effulgence, they have no Brahman activities. To a certain extent they recommend Brahman activities, which for them means engagement in studying the Vedānta and Sāṅkhya philosophies, but their interpretations are but dry speculation. Lacking the varieties of spiritual activity, they cannot stay for long on that platform of simply studying Vedānta or Sāṅkhya philosophy.Life is meant for varieties of enjoyment. The living entity is by nature full of an enjoying spirit, as stated in the Vedāntasūtra (1.1.12): ānanda-mayo ‘bhyāsāt. In devotional service the activities are variegated and full of enjoyment. As stated in Bhagavad-gītā (9.2), all devotional activities are easy to perform (susukhaṁ kartum) and they are eternal and spiritual (avyayam). Since Māyāvādī philosophers cannot understand this, they take it for granted that a devotee’s activities (śravaṇaṁ kīrtanaṁ viṣṇoḥ smaraṇaṁ pādasevanam, etc.) are all material and are therefore māyā. They also consider Kṛṣṇa’s advent in this universe and His activities to be māyā. Therefore, because they consider everything māyā, they are known as Māyāvādīs.Actually, any activities performed favorably for the satisfaction of the Lord, under the direction of the spiritual master, are spiritual. But for a person to disregard the order of the spiritual master and act by concoction, accepting his nonsensical activities to be spiritual, is māyā. One must achieve the favor of the Supreme Personality of Godhead through the mercy of the spiritual master. Therefore one must first please the spiritual master, and if he is pleased, then we should understand that the Supreme Personality of Godhead is also pleased. But if the spiritual master is displeased by our actions, they are not spiritual. Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura confirms this: yasya prasādād bhagavat-prasādo yasyāprasādān na gatiḥ kuto ‘pi. Activities that please the spiritual master must be considered spiritual, and they should be accepted as satisfying to the Lord.Lord CaitanyaMahāprabhu, as the supreme spiritual master, instructed His mother about the Māyāvāda philosophy. By saying that the body is dirt and eatables are also dirt, He implied that everything is māyā. This is Māyāvāda philosophy. The philosophy of the Māyāvādīs is defective because it maintains that everything is māyā but the nonsense they speak. While saying that everything is māyā, the Māyāvādī philosopher loses the opportunity of devotional service, and therefore his life is doomed. Śrī CaitanyaMahāprabhu therefore advised, māyāvādibhāṣya śunile haya sarvanāśa (Cc. Madhya6.169). If one accepts the Māyāvāda philosophy, his advancement is doomed forever.TEXT 30antare vismita śacī balila tāhāre”māṭi khāite jñāna-yoga ke śikhāla toreSYNONYMSantare—within herself; vismita—surprised; śacī—mother Śacī; balila—replied; tāhāre—unto Him; māṭi—dirt; khāite—to eat; jñānayoga—philosophical speculation; ke—who; śikhāla—taught; tore—You.TRANSLATIONAstonished that the child was speaking Māyāvāda philosophy, mother Śacī replied, “Who has taught You this philosophical speculation that justifies eating dirt?”PURPORTIn the philosophical discourse between the mother and the son, when the son said that everything is one, as impersonalists say, the mother replied, “If everything is one, why do people in general not eat dirt but eat the food grains produced from the dirt?”TEXT 31māṭira vikāra anna khāile deha-puṣṭi hayamāṭi khāile roga haya, deha yāya kṣayaSYNONYMSmāṭira—of the dirt; vikāra—transformation; anna—food grains; khāile—by eating; deha—of the body; puṣṭi—nourishment; haya—becomes; māṭi—the dirt; khāile—by eating; roga—disease; haya—becomes; deha—the body; yāya—goes; kṣaya—to destruction.TRANSLATIONReplying to the Māyāvāda idea of the child philosopher, mother Śacī said, “My dear boy, if we eat earth transformed into grains, our body is nourished, and it becomes strong. But if we eat dirt in its crude state, the body becomes diseased instead of nourished, and thus it is destroyed.TEXT 32māṭira vikāra ghaṭe pāni bhari’ ānimāṭi-piṇḍe dhari yabe, śoṣi’ yāya pāni”SYNONYMSmāṭira—of the dirt; vikāra—transformation; ghaṭe—in the waterpot; pāni—water; bhari‘-filling; āni—I can bring; māṭi—of dirt; piṇḍe—on the lump; dhari—I hold; yabe—when; śoṣi‘-soaking; yāya—goes; pāni—the water.TRANSLATION“In a waterpot, which is a transformation of dirt, I can bring water very easily. But if I poured water on a lump of dirt, the lump would soak up the water, and my labor would be useless.”PURPORTThis simple philosophy propounded by Śacīmātā, even though she is a woman, can defeat the Māyāvādī philosophers who speculate on oneness. The defect of Māyāvāda philosophy is that it does not accept the variety that is useful for practical purposes. Śacīmātā gave the example that although both the lump of dirt and the earthen pot are basically one, for practical purposes the waterpot is useful whereas the lump of dirt is useless. Sometimes scientists argue that matter and spirit are one, with no difference between them. Factually, in a higher sense, there is no difference between matter and spirit, but one should have practical knowledge that matter, being an inferior state, is useless for our spiritual, blissful life, whereas spirit, being a finer state of existence, is full of bliss. In this connection the Bhāgavatam gives the example that dirt and fire are practically one and the same. From the earth grow trees, and from their wood come fire and smoke. Nevertheless, for heat we can utilize the fire but not the earth, smoke or wood. Therefore, for the ultimate realization of the goal of life, we are concerned with the fire of the spirit, but not the dull wood or earth of matter.TEXT 33ātma lukāite prabhu balilā tāṅhāre”āge kena ihā, mātā, nā śikhāle moreSYNONYMSātma—Himself; lukāite—to hide; prabhu—the Lord; balilā—replied; tāṅhāre—unto Śacīmātā; āge—in the beginning; kena—why; ihā—this; mātā—My dear mother;  śikhāle—you didn’t teach; more—unto Me.TRANSLATIONThe Lord replied to His mother, “Why did you conceal self-realization by not teaching Me this practical philosophy in the beginning?PURPORTIf one is taught from the beginning of life the Vaiṣṇava philosophy of duality or variety, the monistic philosophy will not very much bother him. In reality, everything is an emanation from the supreme source (janmādy asya yataḥ). The original energy is exhibited in varieties, exactly like the sunshine, the original energy emanating from the sun, which acts as light and heat in variety. One cannot say that light is heat and heat is light, yet one cannot separate one from the other. Therefore Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s philosophy is acintya-bhedābheda, inconceivable nonseparation and distinction. Although there is an affinity between the two physical manifestations light and heat, there is a difference between them. Similarly, although the whole cosmic manifestation is the Lord’s energy, the energy is nevertheless exhibited in varieties of manifestations.TEXT 34ebe se jānilāṅ, āra māṭi nā khāibakṣudhā lāge yabe, tabe tomāra stana piba”SYNONYMSebe—now; se—that; jānilāṅ—I understand; āra—more; māṭi—dirt; —not; khāiba—I shall eat; kṣudhā—hunger; lāge—arises; yabe—when; tabe—at that time; tomāra—your; stana—breast; piba—I shall suck.TRANSLATION“Now that I can understand this philosophy, no more shall I eat dirt. Whenever I am hungry I shall suck your breast and drink your breast’s milk.”
Key points:

  • This is an explanation of the Māyāvāda philosophy, which takes everything to be one.Unfortunately, Māyāvādī philosophers consider devotional activities to be bodily activities. They cannot understand the simple explanation in Bhagavad-gītā (14.26):
  • māṁ ca yo ‘vyabhicāreṇabhakti-yogena sevatesa guṇān samatītyaitānbrahma-bhūyāya kalpate
  • “Anyone who engages in spiritual devotional service without motivation, rendering such service for the satisfaction of the Lord, is elevated immediately to the spiritual platform, and all his activities are spiritual.” 
  • They also consider Kṛṣṇa’s advent in this universe and His activities to be māyā.
  • Therefore, because they consider everything māyā, they are known as Māyāvādīs.
  • Actually, any activities performed favorably for the satisfaction of the Lord, under the direction of the spiritual master, are spiritual. 
  • Therefore one must first please the spiritual master, and if he is pleased, then we should understand that the Supreme Personality of Godhead is also pleased.
  • By saying that the body is dirt and eatables are also dirt, He implied that everything is māyā. This is Māyāvāda philosophy. 
  • The philosophy of the Māyāvādīs is defective because it maintains that everything is māyā but the nonsense they speak.
  • If one accepts the Māyāvāda philosophy, his advancement is doomed forever.
  • This simple philosophy propounded by Śacīmātā, even though she is a woman, can defeat the Māyāvādī philosophers who speculate on oneness.
  • Factually, in a higher sense, there is no difference between matter and spirit, but one should have practical knowledge that matter, being an inferior state, is useless for our spiritual, blissful life, whereas spirit, being a finer state of existence, is full of bliss.
  • If one is taught from the beginning of life the Vaiṣṇava philosophy of duality or variety, the monistic philosophy will not very much bother him.