A soul liberated from material bondage can't find refuge in impersonal oneness.
A lecture given in Vrndavana, India, on March 18, 1974
nidraya hriyate naktam
vyavayena ca va vayah
diva carthehaya rajan
"The lifetime of an envious householder is passed at night either in sleeping or in sex indulgence, and in the daytime either in making money or in maintaining family members." Srimad-Bhagavatam2.1.3
TO BE A HOUSEHOLDER, a married person, is not bad. That is not condemned. What is condemned? Apasyatam atma-tattvam: to not know the aim of life.
Ask anyone, "What is the aim of your life?" He will simply say, "It is my duty to earn money, to maintain my children, to give them education, to give them a good opportunity for their future. And if I have any extra money, then I can give charity to the poor." These are his programs. But no one knows the necessity of liberating the soul, which is conditioned by the material covering. No one knows not even big, big professors. If you ask, "Why are you constructing some big, big scheme?" they will reply, "Oh, for the future generations." That's all.
No one knows about the importance of the soul. No one has any vision of atma-tattva, the science of the soul. Everyone is simply talking superfluously. That is the defect today.
The whole scheme of Vedic knowledge centers on the truth "I am not this body." Because people do not know that understanding this truth is the necessity of life, they have created so much news big, big newspapers full of rubbish news and advertisements. But you won't find any talk about the necessity of spiritual knowledge.
To be a grhastha, a married person, is not bad. But to be unaware of the necessity of the soul that is bad.
The Mayavadis, or impersonalists, renounce married life as maya illusion and become sannyasis. But they have no idea what the goal of life is. They simply think in a negative way: "This married life is very troublesome." They have realized that even in the highest material position there is no happiness. Even President Nixon the president of the richest country has no happiness. He is embarrassed and attacked in so many ways, and he does not know how to defend himself or keep his position.
Everyone is missing the point. No one sees, "Why am I embarrassed? I have become the president of the U.S.A., and still I am embarrassed. When I was an ordinary lawyer, no one cared about me. At that time I was also embarrassed. I tried to improve my position, and now I have come to the highest point of success in the material world. Still I am embarrassed."
One should question one's life in this way. But people cannot see things correctly. No one thinks, "I was embarrassed from the very beginning of my life. I was embarrassed even within the womb of my mother. I was packed in there. And when I came out of the womb I was also embarrassed. I could not express my pains and pleasures. Some ant was biting me, and I was crying, but my mother gave me more milk, although I was fully fed."
This is the baby's embarrassment. He wants something, but the mother gives him something else. The mother cannot understand the child's pain, because the child cannot express himself. Otherwise, why does the child cry? He's feeling some pain, but his mother does not know how to relieve it.
Then comes childhood. I do not like to go to school, but my parents force me to go. More embarrassment. Then I become married or enjoy sex life and have children. More embarrassment. Then I die and enter the womb of a mother, where I may be killed by abortion.
Our whole life is full of embarrassment. But the question "Why am I embarrassed?" does not arise.
The Zero Solution
The Mayavadis think, "Make me zero, void. Then there will be no pains and pleasures, no embarrassment." Impersonalism and voidism are the same thing: "Make it zero." The Mayavadis are like the foolish man who wants to avoid all the embarrassment by committing suicide. He thinks, "If I end this body, then my embarrassment will be finished."
People do not know how they the soul can get relief from all embarrassments. Apasyatam atma-tattvam. No one sees, "I am spirit soul. My needs are different from those of the body."
The body is only the temporary home for the soul. But we are always trying to keep this home very neat and clean. That is our business. We do not know that there is another business. That is our defect.
It is the duty of every human being to understand atma-tattva, the science of the soul. Sanatana Gosvami made that point when he went to Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Sanatana Gosvami said, "I was a government minister, so I was quite comfortable. People called me a learned scholar, but I did not know why I was suffering despite being a minister. And people say that I am a learned man, but I do not know how to get out of the suffering."
People are trying to get out of the suffering, but they do not know how. They should inquire about that. They do not know the nature of atma, the soul, or what the atma wants and how the atma will be comfortable.
Information about the atma is given by Lord Caitanya. Jivera svarupa haya krsnera nitya dasa: "Every living entity is the eternal servant of Krsna." Therefore unless we come to the platform of serving Krsna, there is no question of happiness. Krsna says the same thing. Duhkhalayam asasvatam: "This place is simply full of miseries."
The whole world is missing the point that we are not the body. The body is our encagement. Sometimes we get a golden cage, sometimes an iron cage, sometimes a silver cage, sometimes a wooden cage. And we think that by changing the cage we will be happy. But as long as we are not free, we will not be happy. A bird kept in a cage is unhappy. The cage may be golden, but that doesn't matter. Similarly, we cannot be happy with this encagement. We must be free. That is called liberty, mukti. That is required.
The Mayavadi philosopher thinks, "Suppose I get free. Where shall I go? I shall be free in the sky." That is impersonalism. The sky is impersonal. If a bird is given freedom but he flies in the sky, will he be happy? No, because he wants more than that. So he'll think, "It was better in the cage. What is the value of this freedom? I'm not happy." He'll return to the cage.
In India people sometimes take a certain kind of bird in a cage to an open field. They open the door of the cage, and the bird walks and flies around for some time. He is given freedom. Then the person calls the bird, and the bird returns. The bird was thinking, "I have been given freedom now. But where shall I go? I have to eat." So he comes back: "Better to live within this cage."
The Mayavadi's position is like that. We devotees are sure we are going to Krsna. But the Mayavadis have no Krsna. Therefore they return to the material world. Because they have no shelter, they come back. They cannot stay very long in the impersonal feature of the Absolute.
Therefore the Mayavada philosophy of voidism or impersonalism is not very good. You cannot stay impersonal or in a void, because you are a living entity, part and parcel of the supreme living entity, Krsna. Krsna is anandamayo 'bhyasat; He is always full of jubilation. So being part and parcel of Krsna, you also want jubilation. But how can you be jubilant in the sky, in the zero? That is the difference between Mayavada philosophy and the philosophy of Krsna consciousness.
You cannot be happy even by getting free from this encagement, the material world. And if you place yourself in impersonalism and voidism, that will not help you.
Try to understand this. Impersonalism and voidism will not help you. You have to go back home, back to Krsna, where everything exists in spiritual variety. You can play with Krsna. You can dance with Krsna. You can talk with Krsna. You can fight with Krsna. Krsna's friends the cowherd boys fight with Him. They enjoy in that way. Everything in the spiritual world with Krsna is enjoyment.
The Krsna consciousness movement is trying to give information to those mentioned as apasyatam atma-tattvam, those who do not know the nature of atma what the soul wants and how the soul will be happy. They are trying to be happy here within the cage. That's all. But that is not possible.
Without knowing the philosophy of Krsna consciousness, people will be unhappy whether within the cage or outside the cage. Their imagined liberty outside the cage is also unhappiness, because they do not know where to go. Therefore after staying for some time in that impersonal stage, they return to the cage. That coming and going will not help them.
Atma-tattva means to know the nature of the atma. That is all explained by Krsna in the Bhagavad-gita. If we take advantage of His lessons and instructions, our life will be successful.
Thank you very much.