Unalloyed Theism

by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura Prabhupada

Among all the sentient entities who interact with this phenomenal world, man holds the supreme position, and he entertains the hope of remaining in such a position into the future, even after the transmutation of his present tabernacle. The quality of rationality is associated with man, who harbours the hope that, as much as possible, he may use his faculty of discrimination in the most appropriate fashion.

We know we are dependent upon other rational entities for our own rational activities to find real display. Such dependence is an inseparable element of our being. Yet, in spite of that, our ego ceaselessly tries to dispel all the discomforts of the mundane atmosphere by compelling us to exercise some intrinsic power of our own.

We are all endowed with material senses, and these have no other predilection than to secure felicities in every transaction. Indeed, when we examine an individual case, we find that the impetus to gratify our senses is our principal characteristic. This feature, found in so many of us, often promotes further desires to seek out our own gratification from our fellows in this world. When, in search of sensuous pleasures, we instead put ourselves into difficulty and expect others to come to our aid, then we ought, thereafter, to make some effort to contribute to social harmony. And yet, if we suppress our proclivity to encroach upon our friends and fellows in this world, we cannot live. Still, the social mandate to control our senses dominates all of our decisions by virtue of our concern for civic principles. Hence, while autonomy is felt as a desirable factor for happiness in life, we find ourselves quite restricted in our movements.

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We must now depend upon the Absolute to guide us toward a harmonious solution to this quandary. The pressure of our need for happiness obliges us to rationally reflect upon the merits and demerits of our situation. In such rational reflection we take notice that all phenomenal representations can be traced to some original source. Yet even then, we become dissatisfied with the conception that this universal demonstrative aspect is itself a holy shelter full of all the supplies we need. We therefore revert to our previous mode of rational reflection in an attempt to uncover the still hidden treasure behind all exoteric manifestations.

The esoteric fountainhead perpetually supersedes the handicaps of the phenomenal region. Hence, when he comes before our vision, we are compelled to consider His situation: He is eternal, blissful knowledge, transcendent to all regions of mental speculation.

Nevertheless, upon hearing that this Oversoul proclaims to incorporate none but pure, uncontaminated souls into the midst of His harmonious plane, we may become agitated by the subsequent speculations of our mind:

“Why should that Supreme Soul, the principal Transcendental Object, not imbibe the all-encompassing conception? That is to say, why should He not include both non-matter and matter, both the part and the whole, and why should He not incorporate both ends of the continuum of variegated realities?”

Yet, the fact is, this very same faculty of our mind for speculating will also lead us to give credence to the theory that God is identical with everything, a theory of which the principal trait is total negation of every kind of phenomena.

Individuation is a necessary element in me, as it is in everyone. I find that the individual situations of all of us are the subject matter of our reciprocal activities. Such individual situations are numerous, and with their varied dispositions within the scope of our present experience of phenomenal existence, they are found to be rapturous. Should there not be some underlying bond amidst such a multitude of positions? To accomplish the same, we often jump into ideas of impersonal reality and dissociative relativities.

Perceiving absolute oneness in this way, mundane persons thus demonstrate the conceited apathy innate in their conception, which is tantamount to jealousy of the position of the Absolute Being. Just to pacify them, the Absolute Being then presents them with His aspect of infinitude, which is beyond all mundane, restrictive designations in terms of time and space. Factually, our restricted perspective in relation to the phenomenal domain should not be imposed on the Personality of a thoroughly Independent Integer. The Personality of Godhead is to be humbly approached, not subjected to our sensuous inspection, as though He were an accused in the court. We should accept that all existences are, and ought to be, His own. This method of approach is known as unalloyed theism.

Adapted from The Gaudiya, Volume 25, Number 10
by the Rays of The Harmonist team.
Published in Rays of The Harmonist No. 21 Gaura-purnima 2010

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