Giriraj Swami: This morning while chanting japa in front of my deities, I perceived some lingering impersonalism within me, and to purify myself, I thought of presenting Srila Prabhupada’s strong refutation of impersonalism from his morning walk on Juhu Beach on January 12, 1976, which I had heard just the night before.
“Impersonal philosophers are more dangerous than atheists,” Prabhupada began.
“That you think,” Dr. Patel retorted.
“No, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu says. Veda na maniya bauddha haila nastika. Vedasraya bauddha-vada nastika ke adhika. We accept as atheist, one who does not believe in the Vedas. Therefore we have rejected the Buddha philosophy. They could not exist in India. But those who are preaching atheism through the Vedas—impersonalism—they are more dangerous.”
“For example?” an Indian man asked.
“Any impersonalist—‘God has no form.’ There are so many rascals. He has got form to speak against God, and God has no form. This is going on all over the world. He speaks against God, that ‘God is not a person.’ So, he is a person, and God is not person. Just see their foolishness. He is made by God, and he is a person, and He who made him, He is not a person. This is foolishness”
The Indian man agreed, “Yes, there’s good sense in what you say.”
“Therefore the impersonalists are senseless. It is understood that I am person, my father is person, his father is person, and the supreme father is not a person. Just see. If the supreme father is not a person, then wherefrom these personal fathers came? Mudho nabhijanati mam ebhyah param avyayam [Bg 7.25]. ‘Mam’—this is person. The mudhas cannot understand that the supreme father is a person. Therefore when Arjuna understood Bhagavad-gita, he declared that ‘It is very, very difficult to understand Your personality. It is very, very difficult.’ Arjuna said. And he accepted Krishna as person, purusam sasvatam: ‘You are eternally person.’ Param brahma param dhama pavitram paramam, purusam sasvatam divyam adyam [Bg 10.12]. These things are there. The real understanding is there. And Arjuna said, ‘This is accepted by Vyasadeva, Narada, Devala.’ Svayam caiva: ‘And You are also speaking.’ Then where is the question of imperson? Therefore Krishna says, bahunam janmanam ante jnanvan mam prapadyate [Bg 7.19]: ‘You are person; I surrender unto You’—this knowledge comes after many, many births of the impersonalist. Vasudevah sarvam iti sa mahatma: ‘That great mahatma is very rare.’ So one who believes and accepts the Supreme as person, he immediately becomes a mahatma. Otherwise he remains duratma.”
Srila Prabhupada reminded me of his description of his spiritual master, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura:
“Absolute is sentient
Thou hast proved,
Thou hast moved.”
I earnestly pray that Srila Prabhupada will remove all impersonalism from within me, so I can properly worship the holy names, my deities, and all persons.