Compiled by Damaghosa dasa (Seattle, USA)
Hare Krishna – Below is a short description of exactly how the impersonalists do their "meditation". Srila Prabhupada also explains the evolution of human consciousness (life after life) from gross matter (materialists) up to spirit and how that kind of individual takes to certain types of worship. Finally at the end he explains how, except for the devotee, everyone is giving trouble to God with our own "plans".
But the real plan is to surrender, that's all.
Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati App day Feb15 1971
…Say, for meditation, it is very difficult to meditate on impersonal feature. Therefore, they artificially think like that: "I am the whole. I am moving the stars, I am moving the moon." Or some color display is taking place. Artificially. This meditation is artificial. Therefore, they do not get any result. Simply waste time, and they remain the number one debauch, as they are. So this kind of meditation… Because they will not put any form… "The Brahman is impersonal." So how they can think of any form? It is very difficult to adjust. Therefore Bhagavad-gita says, klesho dhikataras tesham [Bg. 12.5]. They want to meditate upon impersonal Brahman, but it is very troublesome. Because Brahman is not impersonal, but force, they want to make Brahman impersonal.
So in order to mitigate this troublesome position, some of their acharyas, Shankaracharya, has said that "You imagine a form. There is no real form, but you imagine some form." And he has recommended five forms. The first form is Durga, Shakti. The second form is Surya, the sun, sun worshiper. And the third form is Ganesha, and the fourth form is Shiva. And the fifth form is Viṣhnu. Of course, these are the different stages of spiritual development. Durga… Durga means the material power, energy. So when a person is in the lowest stage of material existence, he realizes some power. That's a fact. The scientists also, they realize some power, there is some power in the material world. They go on searching after what is the ultimate power, but they cannot find it out. That is not possible. But they accept that there is some power, nature's power. So that is the stage of shakta stage, Durga worship. Then… Power… Just like modern scientists, they also have gone to the power of the sun. That power, another power. That power is sun, and that is called saura, worshiping the sun. Just like there is a Parsi community in India. Fire worship is recommended in the Vedas. So that powerful sun, sun-god, they worship the sun. That is the stage of saura, saura stage. And then, next is the power vox populi, the power of the votes. That is the stage of Gaṇapati. Gaṇa… Gaṇa means the number of people. Just like in nationalism they are counting upon the power. In this way, they realize some sort of power, I mean to say, moving force or the soul. That is the stage of… They say, shivo ham. Shivo ham. Aham brahmasmi. That is the stage of shaiva. And when they expand that, that "This power, this spiritual power, soul, is all over, all-pervading, impersonal Brahman," that is… They, sometimes they accept Viṣṇu. Viṣṇu means all-pervading. But their realization of Viṣhnu is impersonal.
When Caitanya Mahaprabhu was discussing with Ramananda Raya what is the process of elevation, sadhya, sadhana, what is the ultimate objective, Ramananda Raya quoted a verse from the Vishnu Purana that,
purushena parah puman
vishnur aradhyate pantha
[Cc. Madhya 8.58]
The beginning of real human civilization is observance of the institute of four varṇas and four ashramas. That is the beginning of civilized life. Otherwise, it is not civilized life; it is crude, uncivilized life, where there is no varnashrama, where there (is) no division of society according to work and quality and ashrama, spiritual life division. So Ramananda Raya recommended this verse, that this is the process to satisfy the Supreme Lord Viṣṇu. But Caitanya Mahaprabhu said that eho bahya age kaha ara, "This is external. If you know something more, better than this, you say." Why He said? There is the version, viṣṇur aradhyate. Does it mean that He is rejecting Viṣṇu worship? No, He's not rejecting. Because generally, they, these impersonalists, Mayavadis, they also worship sometimes Viṣnu, these five demigods and God. But their idea is that ultimately impersonal. The impersonal takes the form by the help of this material world. The formation takes place simply in the material. That is their opinion. Therefore they say, call, saguṇa. Saguṇa-upasana.
…So this bodily development given by the nature is also adduced to the body of Krishna. That is Mayavadi philosophy. Mayavadi philosophy means they accept Krishna as God, but He has assumed a body which is given by this material nature, as it is given to us. That is their policy. They count Krishna an ordinary man, on the same level. But that is not a fact. Therefore Krishna condemns this philosophy, avajananti mam muḍha manuṣhim tanum ashritam [Bg. 9.11]. "Because I appear as a human being, therefore these rascals consider that I am ordinary man." The rascals, muḍhaḥ. Muḍhaḥ means rascals, gadhaḥ, asses. Their designation is given by Krishna as asses, rascals.
There is a Bengali proverb that how God works, that one man, a householder is praying to God, "My dear Lord, there may not be any theft case, burglary, in my home this night. Please save me." So one man is praying prayer, praying like that. Another man is praying, the thief, "My dear Lord, this night I shall commit burglary in that house. Please help me to get something." Now, what is Krishna's position? (laughter) Krishna is everyone's heart. So Krishna has to satisfy so many prayers. The burglar and the thief and the householder, so many prayers. So Krishna's adjustment… But He's still… That is Krishna's intelligence, how He adjusts. He gives everyone freedom. And everyone is given facilities, but still He's in botheration. Therefore Krishna advises to his devotees that "Don't plan anything. You rascal, you nonsense, you don't give Me trouble. (laughter) Please surrender unto Me. Just go under My plan; you'll be happy. You are making plan, you are unhappy; I am also unhappy. I am also unhappy. (laughter) So many plans are coming daily, and I'll have to fulfill." But He's merciful. If a… Ye yatha mam prapadyante tams... [Bg. 4.11].
So except the devotee of Krishna, everyone is simply giving Krishna trouble, trouble, trouble, trouble. Therefore, they are called dushkritina. Dushkritina, most miscreant, the miscreants. Don't make any plan. Accept Krishna's plan. That will be simply giving trouble to Krishna. Therefore, a devotee does not pray even for his maintenance. That is pure devotee. He doesn't give trouble to Krishna even for his bare maintenance. If he has no maintenance, he'll suffer, fasting; still, he'll not ask Krishna, "Krishna, I am very hungry. Give me some food." Of course, Krishna is alert for His devotee, but a devotee's principle is not to place any plan to Krishna. Let Krishna do. Simply we have to do according to the plan of Krishna.
So what is our plan? Our plan is, Krishna's says, sarva-dharman parityajya mam ekam sharaṇam [Bg. 18.66]. Man-mana bhava mad-bhakto mad-yaji. So our plan is the same thing. We are simply canvassing for Krishna, that "You become Krishna conscious." We have to show our example, how we are becoming Krishna conscious, how we are worshiping Krishna, how we are going on the street for vibrating Krishna's name, transcendental name. Now we are distributing Krishna's prasadam. As far as possible, our business is to induce persons how he becomes Krishna conscious. That's all. For that reason, you can make your plan, because that is Krishna's plan. But that should also be sanctioned by Krishna. Don't make your own manufactured, concocted plan. Therefore, to guide you, a Krishna's representative required. That is spiritual master.