tanhara nahika dosa, isvara-ajna pana
gaunartha karila mukhya artha acchadiya
tanhara—of Sri Sankaracarya; nahika—there is none; dosa—fault; isvara—the Supreme Lord; ajna—order; pana—receiving; gauna-artha—indirect meaning; karila—make; mukhya—direct; artha—meaning; acchadiya—covering.
"Sankaracarya is not at fault, for he has thus covered the real purpose of the Vedas under the order of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
The Vedic literature is to be considered a source of real knowledge, but if one does not take it as it is, one will be misled. For example, the Bhagavad-gita is an important book of Vedic literature that has been taught for many years, but because it was commented upon by unscrupulous rascals, people derived no benefit from it, and no one came to the conclusion of Krsna consciousness. Since the purpose of the Bhagavad-gita is now being presented as it is, however, within four or five short years thousands of people all over the world have become Krsna conscious. That is the difference between direct and indirect explanations of the Vedic literature. Therefore Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu said, mukhya-vrttye sei artha parama mahattva: "To teach the Vedic literature according to its direct meaning, without false commentary, is glorious." Unfortunately, Sri Sankaracarya, by the order of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, compromised between atheism and theism in order to cheat the atheists and bring them to theism, and to do so he gave up the direct method of Vedic knowledge and tried to present a meaning which is indirect. It is with this purpose that he wrote his Sariraka-bhasya commentary on the Vedanta-sutra.
One should not, therefore, attribute very much importance to the Sariraka-bhasya. In order to understand Vedanta philosophy, one must study Srimad-Bhagavatam, which begins with the words om namo bhagavate vasudevaya, janmady asya yato 'nvayad itaratas carthesv abhijnah sva-rat: "I offer my obeisances unto Lord Sri Krsna, son of Vasudeva, who is the Supreme All-pervading Personality of Godhead. I meditate upon Him, the transcendent reality, who is the primeval cause of all causes, from whom all manifested universes arise, in whom they dwell and by whom they are destroyed. I meditate upon that eternally effulgent Lord who is directly and indirectly conscious of all manifestations and yet is fully independent." (Bhag. 1.1.1) Srimad-Bhagavatam is the real commentary on the Vedanta-sutra. Unfortunately, if one is attracted to Sri Sankaracarya's commentary, Sariraka-bhasya, his spiritual life is doomed.
One may argue that since Sankaracarya is an incarnation of Lord Siva, how is it that he cheated people in this way? The answer is that he did so on the order of his master, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This is confirmed in the Padma Purana in the words of Lord Siva himself:
mayavadam asac chastram
pracchannam bauddham ucyate
mayaiva kalpitam devi
brahmanas caparam rupam
nirgunam vaksyate maya
sarva-svam jagato'py asya
mohanartham kalau yuge
vedante tu maha-sastre
mayaiva vaksyate devi
"The Mayavada philosophy," Lord Siva informed his wife Parvati, "is impious [asac chastra]. It is covered Buddhism. My dear Parvati, in the form of a brahmana in the Kali-yuga I teach this imagined Mayavada philosophy. In order to cheat the atheists, I describe the Supreme Personality of Godhead to be without form and without qualities. Similarly, in explaining Vedanta I describe the same Mayavada philosophy in order to mislead the entire population toward atheism by denying the personal form of the Lord." In the Siva Purana the Supreme Personality of Godhead told Lord Siva:
dvaparadau yuge bhutva
svagamaih kalpitais tvam ca
janan mad-vimukhan kuru
Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura comments that mukhya-vrtti ("the direct meaning") is abhidha-vrtti, or the meaning that one can understand immediately from the statements of dictionaries, whereas gauna-vrtti ("the indirect meaning") is a meaning that one imagines without consulting the dictionary. For example, one politician has said that Kuruksetra refers to the body, but in the dictionary there is no such definition. Therefore this imaginary meaning is gauna-vrtti, whereas the direct meaning found in the dictionary is mukhya-vrtti or abhidha-vrtti. This is the distinction between the two. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu recommends that one understand the Vedic literature in terms of abhidha-vrtti, and the gauna-vrtti He rejects. Sometimes, however, as a matter of necessity, the Vedic literature is described in terms of the laksana-vrtti or gauna-vrtti, but one should not accept such explanations as permanent truths.
The purpose of the discussions in the Upanisads and Vedanta-sutra is to philosophically establish the personal feature of the Absolute Truth. The impersonalists, however, in order to establish their philosophy, accept these discussions in terms of laksana-vrtti, or indirect meanings. Thus instead of being tattva-vada, or in search of the Absolute Truth, they become Mayavada, or illusioned by the material energy. When Sri Visnusvami, one of the four acaryas of the Vaisnava cult, presented his thesis on the subject matter of suddhadvaita-vada, immediately the Mayavadis took advantage of this philosophy and tried to establish their advaita-vada or kevaladvaita-vada. To defeat this kevaladvaita-vada, Sri Ramanujacarya presented his philosophy as visistadvaita-vada, and Sri Madhvacarya presented his philosophy of tattva-vada, both of which are stumbling blocks to the Mayavadis because they defeat their philosophy in scrupulous detail. Students of Vedic philosophy know very well how strongly Sri Ramanujacarya's visistadvaita-vada and Sri Madhvacarya's tattva-vada contest the impersonal Mayavada philosophy. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, however, accepted the direct meaning of the Vedanta philosophy and thus defeated the Mayavada philosophy immediately. He opined in this connection that anyone who follows the principles of the Sariraka-bhasya is doomed. This is confirmed in the Padma Purana, where Lord Siva tells Parvati:
srnu devi pravaksyami
patityam jnaninam api
atra ca pratipadyate
naiskarmyam tatra cocyate
"My dear wife, hear my explanations of how I have spread ignorance through Mayavada philosophy. Simply by hearing it, even an advanced scholar will fall down. In this philosophy, which is certainly very inauspicious for people in general, I have misrepresented the real meaning of the Vedas and recommended that one give up all activities in order to achieve freedom from karma. In this Mayavada philosophy I have described the jivatma and Paramatma to be one and the same." How the Mayavada philosophy was condemned by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and His followers is described in Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Antya-lila, Second Chapter, verses 94 through 99, where Svarupa-damodara Gosvami says that anyone who is eager to understand the Mayavada philosophy must be considered insane. This especially applies to a Vaisnava who reads the Sariraka-bhasya and considers himself to be one with God. The Mayavadi philosophers have presented their arguments in such attractive, flowery language that hearing Mayavada philosophy may sometimes change the mind of even a maha-bhagavata, or very advanced devotee. An actual Vaisnava cannot tolerate any philosophy that claims God and the living being to be one and the same.
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