naitat svarupam bhavato ’sau padartha-
bheda-grahaih puruso yavad ikset
jnanasya carthasya gunasya casrayo
mayamayad vyatirikto matas tvam
brahma uvaca—Lord Brahma said; na—not; etat—this; svarupam—eternal form; bhavatah—Your; asau—that other; pada-artha—knowledge; bheda—different; grahaih—by the acquiring; purusah—person; yavat—as long as; ikset—wants to see; jnanasya—of knowledge; ca—also; arthasya—of the objective; gunasya—of the instruments of knowledge; ca—also; asrayah—the basis; maya-mayat—from being made of material energy; vyatiriktah—distinct; matah—regarded; tvam—You.
Lord Brahma said: My dear Lord, Your personality and eternal form cannot be understood by any person who is trying to know You through the different processes of acquiring knowledge. Your position is always transcendental to the material creation, whereas the empiric attempt to understand You is material, as are its objectives and instruments.
It is said that the transcendental name, qualities, activities, paraphernalia, etc., of the Supreme Personality of Godhead cannot be understood with our material senses. The attempt of the empiric philosophers to understand the Absolute Truth by speculation is always futile because their process of understanding, their objective and the instruments by which they try to understand the Absolute Truth are all material. The Lord is aprakrta, beyond the creation of the material world. This fact is also accepted by the great impersonalist Sankaracarya: narayanah paro ’vyaktad andam avyakta-sambhavam. Avyakta, or the original material cause, is beyond this material manifestation and is the cause of the material world. Because Narayana, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is beyond the material world, one cannot speculate upon Him by any material method. One has to understand the Supreme Personality of Godhead simply by the transcendental method of Krsna consciousness. This is confirmed in Bhagavad-gita (18.55). Bhaktya mam abhijanati: only by devotional service can one understand the transcendental form of the Lord. The difference between the impersonalists and the personalists is that the impersonalists, limited by their speculative processes, cannot even approach the Supreme Personality of Godhead, whereas the devotees please the Supreme Personality of Godhead through His transcendental loving service. Sevonmukhe hi: due to the service attitude of the devotee, the Lord is revealed to him. The Supreme Lord cannot be understood by materialistic persons even though He is present before them. In Bhagavad-gita, Lord Krsna therefore condemns such materialists as mudhas. Mudha means “rascal.” It is said in the Gita, “Only rascals think of Lord Krsna as an ordinary person. They do not know what Lord Krsna’s position is or what His transcendental potencies are.” Unaware of His transcendental potencies, the impersonalists deride the person of Lord Krsna, whereas the devotees, by dint of their service attitude, can understand Him as the Personality of Godhead. In the Tenth Chapter of Bhagavad-gita, Arjuna also confirmed that it is very difficult to understand the personality of the Lord.
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