Talk to Prof. Dr. Stella Kramrisch, M. A., Ph.D – 1931

Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur
December 9, 1931 – Published in The Harmonist (Sree Sajjanatoshani)

The Name of the Personality of God-head is Vishnu. The impersonal face is designated Brahman in Sanskrit to denote ‘magnanimous’, ‘large’, ‘big’, etc., representing the macroscosmic view. The Personality which is apart from His creation is Vishnu. Vishnu has three Energies. One of them is meant for manifestation of His eternal Abode, another Potency is for creating all human souls who are emanations from His Tatastha-shakti found between the temporal and eternal worlds. By this potency He creates human souls. The human soul has two different predilections. If he desires to serve God-head he is allowed into the Eternal Region. If he desires to lord it over this world he comes down for enjoying in different capacities the products of the Deluding Potency.

In this world everything is changing and transforming, everything is subject to birth, growth and death. In the present form of existence we cannot expect to be otherwise than being subject to birth, growth and death. The position is always changing. When we do not want to be subject to these we feel the necessity of seeking a way to get back to the original position. This position, which is like the geometrical line, is designated Tatastha-shakti, the fountain-head of all human souls. Tatastha-shakti is located between the two potencies of Vishnu one of which maintains this transforming world and the other is the source of the manifestation of the eternal world that does not change like this world. These potencies belong to the Personality of God-head Vishnu.

Rudra, God of destruction and Brahma, God of generation are two wings of the Personality of Vishnu. Some people think that the destructive aspect of the Divine Personality should be final, that the goal should be cessation of all activity. They prefer the worship of the destructive face i.e. Rudra or Shiva. But the destructive function is only a specific department of the Divine Activities. Existence is different from destruction. The Eternal funcion [sic] of cherishing and fostering all sorts of manifestations, is strictly confined to Vishnu Who is the centre of all theism.

In the Gita the Personality of God-head is maintained everywhere. The Gita closes with the proposition that we should embrace the Feet of Vishnu leaving aside all abortive speculations. If a man does note serve Vishnu he engages himself in some other activities e.g., keeping dogs, horses etc., in order to serve them. All sorts of service are to be rendered to the Absolute. Any proposition to lord it over others means that we desire to be raised to the position of God-head Who alone is to be served by them. All of us are to render service to Him only. When there is any division or argument on this point, when we cease serving Him, we want to make things subservient or serviceable to us. If we want to enjoy, if we want that God-head should not enjoy, we don’t feel that any service is necessary for Him. This leads to a serious conflict.

If I require that some one should serve me and that some one requires that I should serve him the service due to the Head is disturbed by such selfish deflection. This produces conflict of loyalties. It becomes detrimental to Harmony. Unless all activities are harmonised every one will be troubled.

We should not be meddling with earthly things that are always shifting and changing. Whenever we get a thing for supplying a want it should be to serve God-head. Otherwise we require service from others and thereby want to enjoy this world. This would debar us from the Absolute.

If we pick up shifting things we shall be dragged to some puzzling region. We would arrive at no decision. It is necessary that all our activities should be directed to the Absolute Knowledge, identical with God-head.

If we agree to serve, we would find what the position of the Absolute should be. In the Old Testament the pronoun ‘It’ stands for the Absolute, or the Neuter face. The Fountain-Head is deprived of animation by the proposition that all prerogative, everything predominating, should cease in the Absolute.

When we disagree from the above we think He should have some initiative. ‘It’ should be ‘He.’ The Gita refers to a ‘He-God.’ The Moiety of the Thing is thus established. The predominating Aspect is recognised. The predominated Aspect is ignored. The Masculine should have the reciprocal Feminine Aspect. Otherwise one Moiety is ignored. The Two Moieties form the Complete Whole. Matter which has no initiative is eliminated.

The two halves of the Whole viz., the Predominating the predominated Aspects, should be represented. The Distinctive Monism of Shri Ramanuja admits three fundamental entities, viz., spirit, matter and their Lord, — Chit, a-chit and Iswara.

All animate things are vested with the spiritual form. The inanimate cannot exercise any activity, cannot take the initiative. The Masculine and Feminine both show initiative faculties. Inanimate form should not be traced as the Fountain-Head.

The choice up to this has lain between ‘It-God’ and ‘He-God’. There is also a third alternative viz., a ‘She-God’. We have decided that ‘He-God’ is the subject to be ascertained and not ‘It-God’. It-God is equivalent to Agnosticism, Scepticism, Atheism, etc. If any methodic or cosmic principle is to be admitted we should require that ‘It-God’ cannot produce He-God. Because He-God can take initiative. It-God cannot. The pair, ‘He’ and ‘She’ is Union and is the Second Form. Before this animation is wholly or partially eliminated from God.

In the Gita the male Form is represented as the God. The Feminine Form of God-head should supply the full Integral Value by satisfying the requirements of the reciprocal situation in animation. Sita-Rama standard of Theism, in which the Ethical side is fully manifested, may be taken as the favourite instance of the third or “Pair-God’ form.

But what appears at first sight to be the special merit of the worship of Sita-Rama, viz., its ethical value safeguarded by one Consort and one Husband, also restricts the Predominating Aspect of the Absolute to that value, on the ground that in this world it would create great dissension if the husband should have many wives. The Feminine share is ignored by this mundane reference.

The fourth stage of Thesim [sic] is supplied by the worship of Krishna as King of Dwaraka. Krishna is One Master served by hundreds and thousands of souls who follow Him. Hundred and thousands of wives serve Krishna by the relation of consort-hood. We have every right to join the service of God-head in that capacity.

Human souls are many, but the Over-Soul is One. Ramanuja says that plurality of wives should be allowed to serve God-head, while others who hold that Divine service should be restricted to Rishis living in the Dandaka forest, require that we should have Rama as our consort. Sita would refuse us this favour. Theism is restricted by reference to this world. The equilibrium that is sought, is not maintained. We males have got to pass through one sort of ideas and females through another. But our experience is a perverted reflection.

We are many. We must not think that our Lord should be many. Polytheistic thought must be avoided. The Christian Theology offers a Male-God, Who is Father and Creator of everything. But Male-God without the feminine Moiety cannot produce any boy here. That sort of idea of Male-God would not give us fullness of devotion.

Lakshmi-Narayana is better than Male-God. Rama-sita is also better. In Dwarakesha (King of Dwaraka) we find that He is Lord of many subservients. Many servitors are allowed access to Him as their Husband.

In this world there are found five different reciprocal relationships. If the reverential view of worship is allowed we are deprived of confidential services. If we serve Rama only we can do so in two capacities, either as His menial servant or as His subservient friend. We cannot suppose that we are better friends of Rama than Himself. We can also be neutral towards Him. In Son-hood of God, we understand the Birth and Childhood of God-head. We are care-takers of our son. We as parents can serve Him as a Boy. This is the form of Bala-Gopala (Cow-Boy) worship. In the fourth stage of Theism parental love may not be directed to the mundane boy; but the Transcegdental [sic] Boy is placed in that position.

The external or internal body is not the soul. The ownership of both is attributed to the soul. These bodies are the outward apparel. We require a loftier foliage, a truer expansion than is possible for them in order to approach God-head. In other words we need not be restricted to the atheistic face. The qualitative (Saguna) and non-qualitative (Nirguna) alike restrict us to a particular form. This should not be.

There are four different restricted groups viz., the ideas of thoughtless atheists and those corresponding respectively to the qualitative, the non-qualitative and neuter faces of the Absolute by mundane reference. These are the non-Theistic groups. In the Theistic group there are (1) Male-God, (2) Vague Pair-God (Lakshmi-Narayana), (3) Definite Pair-God viz., Rama-Sita. These also are restricted by reference to the ethical principle, which has proved efficacious here. We should not carry this mundane reference thither to make the realm of the Absolute also miserable. That realm is a permanent region. If we think it is not permanent we would be pessimists and cynics always afraid of troubles from outside.

We should have a Theistic turn of mind. God-head need not be dissociated from the principles of Real Existence, Knowledge and Bliss (Sat, Chit, Ananda). We are never God. Pantheists think that after liberation we are God and identical with that Thing, that God should have no reference to observer, observation and observed as this is our bitter experience here. As these troublous positions are found to be against our peace here, we are deluded to accept the position of atheists to merge the distinctions in a union where there is no specification.

In the actual liberated condition we need not think that we should merge in the Absolute and that there should be no differentiation between God-head and our humble selves. Such thinking, which belongs to the conditioned state, is pure hallucination.

God-head should have a position which should not be confused with that of hundreds and thousands of souls here. He should be possessed of qualities that are not to be compared to ours and we should find a permanent position of relationship to Him.

That our present position is for a time and it is to end on merging with the Absolute, is Upanishadic speculation. In it mind is confused as soul. Our soul is now lying in a dormant condition. The soul delegates power to mind to meddle with the affairs of this world. Mind and soul have different location and different attributes. Matter and soul are supposed to be one by Pantheists.

Theism proper is found in the Gita. The Ramayana gives us the worship of Rama-sita. The Pancharatra offers the worship of the Eternal Pair-God. In Rama-Sita our ethical merits are met. The Predominating aspect in man needs to be restricted but not the Predominating Aspect of God-head.

The empiricists often show dread of changing things. They shift their positions when they meet with contrary arguments. They also learn from their professors, in the same way. This will not lead to the Absolute.

We should find the Position of God-head in the Absolute and non-Absolute. In the Eleventh chapter of the Gita, Arjuna is shown a figure of God-head. The sun and moon are His eyes. All smaller gods, the whole universe and all others attributions which are not shown to Arjuna by his chariot-Driver, are displayed to the view of Arjuna. These are delegated to Baladeva, the Second Facsimile of God-head in Whom all sorts of powers are to be found.

The first Face is free from all mundane reference. Such reference would minimize Him. Those who are truly subservient will approach the True Face of God-head. Dazzled persons approach the second Divine Personality as Baladeva. They cannot touch Krishna and his consort Radha in the region where there are innumerable pairs.

All-Potency is delegated with the Second Facsimile, the creator of the different aspects of Theism traced by us. But He is not the Supreme Authority. Krishna is Supreme. But He has delegated all powers.

The position of God-head is All-round. We have only two eyes. We see only half the horizon. Looking up at the sky we see the zodiac but not the other half viz., that containing the meridinal stars. We cannot see this other half unless there is rotation. When a globular sphere is considered we can see only a quarter of the globe as in this mundane world. So far as the sphere is considered only one-fourth is shown to us, but we can calculate from the sight of the quarter. There are the first, second, third and fourth quadrants.

In the Pancharatra God-head is visible here by mundane activity in the first quadrant only; Vasudeva, Sankarsana, Pradyumna and Aniruddha forming the All-Round Circle. Shankaracharya repudiated the four Gods. The Hindu Astronomy has twenty-four divisions of the arc. There are twenty-four Vaikunthas in each quadrant. The Jainas have tought that the Jinas are twenty-four. The Vaishnavas do not subscribe to that view, as they are uncompromising Theists.

Q: — How to get such super-mundane realisation?

A: — Knowledge of first dimensions is acquired first. All mental speculation should cease. All forms of service for God-head mean that our mind should first of all be controlled. The mind is busy picking up ideas and thoughts from this world. If these are carried there it would be anthropomorphic. There should be no such attribution to God-head.

We have to engage in hundred percent service. We should know that the apotheotic ideas cannot be tolerated, and should be ruled out of consideration. We should be always hearing the Absolute through the transcendental Sound. The sound of our atmosphere describes Nature’s products. It informs us about America or any corner of the globe. The aptitude should be dismissed in the case of transcendental Sound which is not from this region of three dimensions.

Sound from the Absolute Realm (Vaikuntha) has a peculiar reference. It requires no corroboration by the other senses. In the case of mundane sound nasal activity is required to test its correctness, the tongue and other senses must also help in the process. There are always the four corroborative senses that are engaged in testing the validity of the mundane sound. But they are quite unserviceable in the case of the transcendental Sound.

The transcendental Sound has got a popular distinctive reference of its own. It refers to Non-divisible Absolute Knowledge (Advaya-Jnana). No challenge is to be offered to that Sound. If these examinations fail to follow that Sound He would still act on our system and we should still listen to Him and ask questions to satisfy us as to whether anything can be traced of that Sound.

The transcendental Sound comes here to designate God-head. The transcendental Sound is the Name of God-head. The mundane sound designates something else than itself. The transcendental Sound should be heard and no challenging question should be placed to contradict it. The Absolute should be only approached and should not be opposed by any empiric acquisition. It will be killing time if we do otherwise.

We should be always attending, and trying to know by interrogatories. We do not pay sufficient attention so long as we think that He should be challenged from other positions. But the Absolute does not propose to be challenged by any sensuous experience. The transcendental Sound comes through one who does not desire to meddle with anything of this world as the Chemists, Physicists, and others do, who do not remember older ideas in the course of enjoying the troublous process of approaching the mundane sound.

The transcendental Sound would destroy all acquisitions. To take the help of those acquisitions would be like taking help of the lantern for the purpose of looking for the Sun. We should not take such help. This sort of education has no propriety, no efficacy there. The transcendental Sound should come through the uncontaminated pipe of the true devotee. One who thinks that he should have anything to do with this world cannot be the bearer of the message of the Absolute.

All things are found to evaporate even before they are acquired. This is the case when there is a paralytic seizure. There are two quite different things, the external body and the subtle body which are impeding our progress. If we are relieved of this, if we ignore this, if we do not lead our lives like ordinary people of this world, we would get rid of the construction of our incorporated bodies.

The soul is quite different from the physical body and the internal mind. The working of the brain or sense-percepts would lead to atheism. This is the plight of men who are busy with the acquisitions of the senses. The soul is wrapped up by the subtle body and confined to the mundane representations. These exoteric impressions of the soul are not true Theism.

The soul is free from the subtle body just as we are free when we cast off our old apparel. These bodies are brought from outside. The Ego is different, it is their proprietor and need not be wrapped up nor incorporated by these tempting thoughts of this world by material considerations. We should be always dismissing mental speculation when receiving the transcendental Sound. This sort of knowing, willing, feeling need not be incoporated. [sic] We should sever our connection; otherwise it would lead us to subscribe to metempsychosis and we would think that as we have more lives in store ‘we could make up in our later lives for our present sins and so in this life let us be sinning’. By one-life theory people would be more careful.

A man should be thoroughly ethical. He must not be encroaching upon the right of others. But mental demeanour is made up of things that would lead to those troubles. The mentalist is, therefore, not at all moral. This poor idea of morality is found among many of us here, even though they may have a sufficient long existence.