parinama-vade isvara hayena vikari
eta kahi' 'vivarta'-vada sthapana ye kari
parinama-vade—by accepting the theory of transformation of energy; isvara—the Supreme Lord; hayena—becomes; vikari—transformed; eta kahi'-saying this; vivarta—illusion; vada—theory; sthapana—establishing; ye—what; kari—do.
"According to Sankaracarya, by accepting the theory of the transformation of the energy of the Lord, one creates an illusion by indirectly accepting that the Absolute Truth is transformed.
Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura comments that if one does not clearly understand the meaning of parinama-vada, or transformation of energy, one is sure to misunderstand the truth regarding this material cosmic manifestation and the living entities. In the Chandogya Upanisad (6.8.4) it is said, san-mulah saumyemah prajah sad-ayatanah sat-pratisthah.The material world and the living entities are separate beings, and they are eternally true, not false. Sankaracarya, however, unnecessarily fearing that by parinama-vada (transformation of energy) Brahman would be transformed (vikari), has imagined both the material world and the living entities to be false and to have no individuality. By word jugglery he has tried to prove that the individual identities of the living entities and the material world are illusory, and he has cited the examples of mistaking a rope for a snake or an oyster shell for gold. Thus he has most abominably cheated people in general.
The example of misunderstanding a rope to be a snake is mentioned in the Mandukya Upanisad, but it is meant to explain the error of identifying the body with the soul. Since the soul is actually a spiritual particle, as confirmed in the Bhagavad-gita (mamaivamso jiva-loke), it is due to illusion (vivarta-vada) that a human being, like an animal, identifies the body with the self. This is a proper example of vivarta, or illusion. The verse atattvato 'nyatha-buddhir vivarta ity udahrtah describes such an illusion. To not know actual facts and thus to mistake one thing for another (as, for example, to accept the body as oneself) is called vivarta-vada. Every conditioned living entity who considers the body to be the soul is deluded by this vivarta-vada. One can be attacked by this vivarta-vada philosophy when he forgets the inconceivable power of the omnipotent Personality of Godhead.
How the Supreme Personality of Godhead remains as He is, never changing, is explained in the Isopanisad: purnasya purnam adaya purnam evavasisyate. God is complete. Even if a complete manifestation is taken away from Him, He continues to be complete. The material creation is manifested by the energy of the Lord, but He is still the same person. His form, entourage, qualities and so on never deteriorate. Srila Jiva Gosvami, in his Paramatma-sandarbha, comments regarding the vivarta-vada as follows: "Under the spell of vivarta-vada one imagines the separate entities, namely, the cosmic manifestation and the living entities, to be one with Brahman. This is due to complete ignorance regarding the actual fact. The Absolute Truth, or Parabrahman, is always one and always the same. He is completely free from all other conceptions of existence. He is completely free from false ego, for He is the full spiritual identity. It is absolutely impossible for Him to be subjected to ignorance and fall under the spell of a misconception (vivarta-vada). The Absolute Truth is beyond our conception. One must admit that He has unblemished qualities that He does not share with every living entity. He is never tainted in the slightest degree by the flaws of ordinary living beings. Everyone must therefore understand the Absolute Truth to possess inconceivable potencies."
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