by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati | 83,221 words
Shri Gaudiya Kantahara (English translation) was published by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati to train devotees in the philosophy of Krishna-consciousness and to be able to quote the authoritative parts of the Vedas. A collection of over a thousand verses, sorted by tattva, includes general index, alphabetical index of verses. Verses in in Roman tr...
The Śruti on the Subject of Acintya-bhedābheda-tattva
eko vaśī sarvabhūtāmtarātmā
ekaṃ rūpaṃ bahudhā yaḥ karoti
tam ātmasthaṃ ye' nupaśyanti dhīras-
teṣāṃ sukhaṃ śāśvataṃ netareṣām
Although His form is one, the Supersoul, who is the indwelling witness and controller of all living beings, is manifest in innumerable ways. The wise who can see that Supreme Soul within his heart becomes peaceful and enjoys transcendental bliss. (Kaṭha Upaniṣad 2.2.12)
Śrīmad Bhāgavatam on Acintya-bhedābheda-tattva
ṛte 'rthaṃ yat pratīyeta na pratīyeta cātmani
tad vidyād ātmano māyāṃ yathābhāso yathā tamaḥ
O Brahmā, whatever appears to be of any value, if it has no relation to Me, has no reality. It is My illusory energy that reflection which appears to be in darkness. (Bhāg. 2.9.34)
yathā mahānti bhūtāni bhūteṣūccāvaceṣv anu
praviṣṭāny apraviṣṭāni tathā teṣu na teṣv aham
O Brahmā, please know that the universal elements enter into the cosmos and at the same time do not enter into the comos; similarly, I Myself also exist within everything created, and at the same time I am outside of everything. (Bhāg. 2.9.35)
yatra yena yato yasya yasmai yad yad yathā yadā
syād idaṃ bhagavān sākṣāt pradhāna-puruṣeśvaraḥ
You are the substratum, the agent, and the instrument of the universe. You are its source and its object or purpose. Whenever or whatever form it assumes is You. As the universe evolves, all the causes thereof, including time and manner, are You, the Almighty Lord, the controller of both prakṛti (the enjoyed) and puruṣa (the enjoyer) and who transcends them both. (Bhāg. 10.85.4)
Śmṛti on Acintya-bhedābheda-tattva
mayā tatam idaṃ sarvaṃ jagad avyakta-mūrtinā
mat-sthāni sarva-bhūtāni na cāhaṃ teṣv avasthitaḥ
In My unmanifest form I pervade this entire universe. All beings are in Me, but I am not in them. (Bhagavad-gītā 9.4)
na ca mat-sthāni bhūtāni paśya me yogam aiśvaram
bhūta-bhṛn na ca bhūta-stho mamātmā bhūta-bhāvanaḥ
And yet everything that is created does not rest in Me. Behold My mystic opulence! Although I am the maintainer of all living entities and although I am everywhere, I am not a part of this cosmic manifestation; for I am the very source of creation. (Bhagavad-gītā 9.5)
Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī on Acintya-bhedābheda-tattva
ekam eva tat parama-tattvaṃ svābhāvikācintya-śaktyā sarvadaiva svarūpa-tad-rūpa-vaibhava-jīva-pradhāna-rūpeṇa caturdhāvatiṣṭhate sūryāntarmaṇḍalastha-teja iva maṇḍala
The Absolute Truth is one. His natural characteristic is that He has inconceivable potency. His inconceivable potencies are reposed in four different stages: His personal form (svarūpa), the expansions of His divine form (tad-rūpa-vaibhava), the jīvas, and the material ingredients (pradhāna). With regard to the sun, there is the sungod, the internal power of the sun, and that power when it is expanded as the external rays of the sun. Then there is the shadow of the sun, that is to say, the sun's reflection which is in darkness, far from the sun's influence. This illustration is used as an example. The point of the example is that in the same way as the sun appears in this fourfold manifestation (the sungod, its internal power, its external rays, and its shadow), there is one eternal Supreme Truth (the Lord) whose form is eternal, but who is possessed of different potencies: svarūpa-śakti, jīva-śakti, and māyā-śakti.
There seems to be a contradiction in this matter between the Lord being one eternal Absolute Truth and His simultaneously possessing inconceivable potency. How is it possible to understand such a contradiction? To that it is said acintya means beyond the jīva's capacity to understand. An event which is extremely rare or unlikely, even physically impossible, is inconceivable. For the Supreme Lord, however, nothing is impossible for He has inconceivable power. [Therefore the Lord's oneness with (and distinction from) His energy is said to be inconceivable acintya-bhedābhedā-vāda.] (Bhagavata-sandarbha 16)
Note: Śrīla Prabhupāda paraphrased this section of Jīva Gosvāmī's Bhagavata-sandarbha as follows:
Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī states in Bhagavata-Sandarbha (16) That by His potencies, which act in natural sequences beyond the scope of the speculative human mind, the Supreme Transcendence, the summum bonum, eternally and simultaneously exists in four transcendental features: His personality, His impersonal effulgence, His potential parts and parcels (the living beings), and the principal cause of all causes. The Supreme Whole is compared to the sun, which also exists in four features, namely the personality of the sun-god, the glare of his glowing sphere, the sun-rays inside the sun planet, and the sun's reflections in many other objects. The ambition to corroborate the existence of the transcendental Absolute Truth by limited conjectural endeavors cannot be fulfilled, because He is beyond the scope of our limited speculative minds. In an honest search for truth we must admit that His powers are inconceivable to our tiny brains. The exploration of space has demanded the work of the greatest scientists of the world, yet there are countless problems regarding even fundamental knowledge of the material creation that bewilder such scientists. Such material knowledge is far removed from the spiritual nature, and therefore the acts and arrangements of the Absolute Truth, are, beyond all doubts, inconceivable.
apare tu "tarko-pratiṣṭhānāt" bhede' pya-bhede' pi
nirmaryāda-doṣa-santati-darśanena bhinnatayā cintaryitumaśakayatvādabhedaḥ sādhyantaḥ
tad-vad-abhinnatayāpi cintayiuamaśakyatvādbhedamapi sādhayanto' cintyabhedābhedavāda svīkurvanti.
tatra bādarā-paurāṇika-śaivānāṃ mate bhedābhedau bhāskaramate ca.
māyāvādinām tatra bhedāṃśo vyavahārika eva prātītiko vā.
gautama-kaṇāda-jaimini-kapila-patañjalimate tu bheda eva.
śrī rāmānuja-madhvācāryamate cetyapi sārvatrikī prasiddhiḥ.
svamate tvacintyabhedābhedāvevā acintyaśaktimayatvāditi
Other sampradāyas of Vedāntists admit that boundless essays, dissertations, and theses can never be established as truth through any amount of argument. Still, they think that the principle of oneness and difference existing together in the same place transgresses the boundaries of reality. They take it that this is a symptom of the fault of neglecting the nature of universality that is, that if difference is true, then it must be true universally, and if oneness is true then it must be true universally. Following this faulty logic they therefore think that these two difference and nondifference cannot independently coexist. There cannot be both duality and oneness, they reason; one of these doctrines must have supremacy over the other. Those who think it is one, find that their attempts to practice the doctrine of oneness are impossible. In the same way, those who attempt to practice a doctrine of absolute difference will find their position untenable. In this way, both the practitioners of absolute oneness and the practitioners of absolute duality will be unable to realize their philosophy. Therefore, in light of the difficulties of trying to realize oneness without distinction or distinction without oneness, the principle of acintya-bhedābheda-vāda, or inconceivable, simultaneous oneness and distinction, has been accepted as the highest harmonizing principle.
The true opinion of the sage Bādasa and the Purāṇas is bhedābheda-vāda, oneness and difference. Even the followers of Śiva sometimes accept this. For example, the commentator Bhāskara accepts bhedābheda-vāda in the idea that there is a difference between the articles offered to the Deity and the Deity Himself. In the opinion of the māyāvādis, the branches of difference are merely vyavahārika, mundane or apparent. Gautama, Kaṇāda, Jaimini, Kapila, and Patañjali admit the existence of distinction. In the opinions of Rāmānuja and Mādhva's this principle reaches a higher level of perfection. Rāmānuja's viśiṣṭādvaita philosophy supports difference and nondifference, and Mādhva's śuddhādvaita philosophy supports the principle of difference. The Supreme Lord has inconceivable potency; and He supports the conclusion of acintya-bhedābheda-vāda. This is our conclusion. (Paramātma-Sandarbha, Sarva-saṃvādinī-tīkā, Jīva Gosvāmī)
The Brahmā-sūtras Support the View of Śakti-pariṇāmavāda
vyāsera sūtrete kahe 'pariṇāma'-vāda
pariṇāma-vāde īśvara hayena vikārī
eta kahi' 'vivarta'-vāda sthāpanā ye kari
icchāya jagad-rūpe pāya pariṇāma
tathāpi acintya-śaktye haya avikārī
prākṛta cintāmaṇi tāhe dṛṣṭānta ye dhari
nānā ratna-rāśi haya cintāmaṇi haite
tathāpiha maṇi rahe svarūpe avikṛte
prākṛta-vastūte yadi acintya-śakti haya
In Vedānta-Sūtra, Śrīla Vyāsadeva has described that everything is but a transformation of the energy of the Lord. Śaṅkarācārya has misled the world, however, by claiming that Vyāsadeva was mistaken. Thus he has raised great opposition to theism throughout the world. According to Śaṅkarācārya, 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. Transformation of energy is a proven fact. It is the false bodily conception of the self that is an illusion. The Supreme Personality of Godhead is opulent in all respects. By His inconceivable energies, therefore, He has transformed the material cosmic manifestation. Using the example of a touchstone, which by its energy turns iron to gold and yet remains the same, we can understand that although the Supreme Personality of Godhead transforms His innumerable energies, He remains unchanged. Although a touchstone produces many varieties of valuable jewels, it nevertheless remains the same. It does not change its original form. If there is such inconceivable potency in material objects, why should we not believe in the inconceivable potency of the Supreme Personality of Godhead? (Cc. Ādi 7.121-127)
The Meaning of Pariṇāma-vāda and Vivarta-vāda
satattvato' nyathā prathā vikāra ityudīritaḥ
atattvato' nyathā prathā vikarta ityudāhṛtaḥ
When a real substance takes another form it is called vikāra, or transformation. An example of this is the transformation of milk into yogurt. When something is mistaken for something else it is called vivarta, or illusion, like when a rope is taken as a snake. (Sadānanda Yogindra, Vedānta-sāra 59)
Thus ends the Eleventh Jewel of Gauḍīya Kaṇṭhahāra, entitled Acintya-bhedābheda-tattva