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Nirvisesa-sunyavadi, impersonalism and voidism, they are practically the same

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Expressions researched:
"almost the same" |"of the same group" |"of the same nature" |"one and the same" |"practically the same" |"the same thing"

Notes from the compiler: VedaBase research queries: "nirvises* sunyavad* same"@30; "impersonal* void* same"@30

Lectures

Bhagavad-gita As It Is Lectures

Impersonalism is covered void philosophy. They are all the same. Śaṅkara's philosophy of impersonalism and Lord Buddha's philosophy void is almost the same. Real life, real spiritual life is this Vaiṣṇava philosophy.
Lecture on BG 5.26-29 -- Los Angeles, February 12, 1969:

And nirvāṇa, nirvāṇa, the Buddha philosophy is just above the material conditional life but on the margin of spiritual existence. That is... Nirvāṇa means void of material existence. Nirvāṇa, this impersonal conception is also nirvāṇa. Therefore Caitanya Mahāprabhu said that this impersonal philosophy is another phase of the void philosophy. Veda... Covered void philosophy. Impersonalism is covered void philosophy. They are all the same. Śaṅkara's philosophy of impersonalism and Lord Buddha's philosophy void is almost the same. Real life, real spiritual life is this Vaiṣṇava philosophy. Vaiṣṇava philosophy, to associate with the Supreme Personality of Godhead face to face. Just like we are sitting here face to face. We are talking, you are hearing. You can have this perfection. That is personal conception of spiritual perfection.

Impersonalists and the voidists, they are of the same group, denying the existence of God. But that is not the fact.
Lecture on BG 7.1 -- Hong Kong, January 25, 1975:

We are interlinked always with God, with Kṛṣṇa. But some way or other, there is some difficulty. That is called māyā. Just like we are living under the sunshine always. At night there is some difficulty to see the sun, but sun is there, and I am also here. That's a fact. Everyone knows. Now, the earthly planet has turned around. The sun is on the back side of this earth. It is in America now. So sun is there, the American people are seeing sun, but on account of the different position of this earth we cannot see the sun. That does not mean there is no sun. The sunshine is always existing. It is shadowed by this earthly planet. Similarly when... Our relationship with God or Kṛṣṇa is always existing, but when there is some intervention, māyā, then we think, "There is no God" or "I am God," like that.

So this misconception of life, that "I am God," "There is no God..." Atheists and voidists, they say like that. The voidists, they say śūnyavādi. They say, "There is no God." And the impersonalists, they say that there is God, but there is no head, there is no leg, there is no hand, there is no mouth, there is no, no, no... Ultimately, what is their God? If God has no head, no leg, no body, no mouth, then what is that God? That is also another way of explaining God as zero. The voidists, they directly say, "There is no God. We don't believe in God." That is understandable. But this impersonal explanation of God, that is not understandable. What is this? "God has no leg, neither God has no head, God has no hand, God has no mouth." Then what is that God? They cannot say.

So this impersonalists and the voidists, they are of the same group, denying the existence of God. But that is not the fact. There is God. The devotees know there is God, and He is Bhagavān.

Srimad-Bhagavatam Lectures

The impersonalist, voidists, they have no conception of God. Voidists—"Ultimately everything is zero," and the impersonalists, "God has no form." Both are the same thing, in a different language. The voidists, they say, "Ultimately there is nothing but zero," and the impersonalists statement that "Maybe something, but it is not person, it is imperson." Therefore in the Padma Purāṇa this Buddhist theory, voidism, and the Śaṅkara's theory, impersonalism, they are taken as one and the same.
Lecture on SB 1.3.11-12 -- Los Angeles, September 17, 1972:

So here we see that you can have God as your son. There are so many instances. Just like Devakī got Kṛṣṇa as his (her) son; mother Yaśodā got God as his (her) son; Śacī-mātā, (s)he also got Caitanya Mahāprabhu as son. So this is better philosophy than to accept God as father. That is especially in the Vaiṣṇava philosophy. Others, the impersonalist, voidists, they have no conception of God. Voidists—"Ultimately everything is zero," and the impersonalists, "God has no form." Both are the same thing, in a different language. The voidists, they say, "Ultimately there is nothing but zero," and the impersonalists statement that "Maybe something, but it is not person, it is imperson."

Therefore in the Padma Purāṇa this Buddhist theory, voidism, and the Śaṅkara's theory, impersonalism, they are taken as one and the same. Pracchannaṁ bauddham ucyate. Pracchannaṁ bauddham. The Buddhists, they decline to accept the authority of Vedas, and the Māyāvādīs, the impersonalists, they want to accept the authority of Vedas, but under the garb of Buddhism. Therefore Caitanya Mahāprabhu has given His remark, veda nā māniyā bauddha haya ta' nāstika. According to Vedic line of thought, anyone who does not accept the authority of Vedas, he is called atheist. Just like the Muhammadans, they also call "kafir." One who does not accept the authority of Koran, they call "kafir." And the Christians also, they call "heathens." So there are different terms. So according to our Vedic line of thought, anyone who does not accept the Vedic way of life, he is called atheist. Therefore Buddhist, according to Vedantists, Buddhist are called atheist. Actually Buddha philosophy does not accept God, neither soul. They simply philosophize on the material elements, and they want to finish the material exis..., dismantle the material elements. Nirvāṇa. So Caitanya Mahāprabhu has remarked that the Buddhists are honest. They frankly say that "We don't accept your Vedas." But the Shankarites, they are cheaters, because they are accepting Vedas, but on the basis of Buddha philosophy. That is cheating.

The Māyāvādī philosophers, they want to negate. Or the Buddhist philosopher. "Make it zero. Make it zero." Śūnyavādi. Śūnyavādi. Nirviśeṣavādi. Nirviśeṣavādi and śūnyavādi, almost the same. So they are after negation. But that is not possible.
Lecture on SB 1.16.6 -- Los Angeles, January 3, 1974:

So actual civilization means to deny material conveniences. That is actual civilization. That is perfection of civilization. Otherwise the cats and dogs, they are also after food, after sleeping, after sexual intercourse, after defense. Then what is the difference? The difference is the animals after it and the human beings should be not after it. Negation. That is perfection of life. So how we can negate? The Māyāvādī philosophers, they want to negate. Or the Buddhist philosopher. "Make it zero. Make it zero." Śūnyavādi. Śūnyavādi. Nirviśeṣavādi. Nirviśeṣavādi and śūnyavādi, almost the same. So they are after negation. But that is not possible. Artificially, if you negate, "I shall not eat," you cannot continue it for very many days. That is not possible. That is not possible. Similarly, eating, sleeping, mating—everything—artificially you cannot do. But you can do it as perfectly, as much possible, simply by Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Therefore it is said here that kim anyair asad-ālāpaiḥ. If we stop hear Kṛṣṇa talking, then that is negation. If we stop artificially these mundane talks, that will be artificial. You cannot sit down. If I say that the so-called meditation... So meditation is artificially stopping mundane activities. That is meditation. But how long you will do that? He is becoming suffocated, "When I shall talk? When I shall talk? I am meditating, meditating, meditating." But how will it stop? That is not possible. Just like these Māyāvādī philosophers, they say, "Become desireless, no more desire." That is not possible. I am a living entity. How can I be desireless? It is not possible.

The Māyāvādīs, they think that "Make me zero, void. Then there will be no pains and pleasure, no embarrassment." Their philosophy is like that. Impersonal, that is also the same thing. Or void. Voidism, the same thing. "Make it zero." Just like the foolish man, when one is embarrassed, he commits suicide. He commits suicide. He thinks, "If I end this body, then my embarrassment will be finished."
Lecture on SB 2.1.3 -- Vrndavana, March 18, 1974:

The Māyāvādī sannyāsīs, they are sannyāsīs. They have also renounced gṛhastha life. But they have no idea what is the goal of life. They are simply thinking in negative way: "This life is very troublesome." That they have realized, that even in highest stage of life of the material relation, your country, President Nixon, he's the president of the most rich country, but there is no happiness. He is now embarrassed, so many attacks are upon him. And he does not know how to defend him, how to keep his position. He's embarrassed. So in this way, everyone is missing the point. Nobody sees that "Why I am embarrassed? I have become now President of USA, and still I am embarrassed. And when I was a, a nonsignificant man, ordinary man or ordinary lawyer, nobody cared for me. That time I was also embarrassed. I was trying to improve my position. And now I have come to the highest point of success in the material world. Still I am embarrassed." Is it not a question?

These rascals, they cannot see. Apaśyatām ātma-tattvam (SB 2.1.2). That is the defect. Nobody thinks that, that "I was embarrassed from the very beginning of my life. I was embarrassed even within the womb of my mother. I was packed-up. And when I came out from the womb of my mother, there also I was embarrassed. I could not express my pains and pleasure. I was crying. Some ant was biting me, but I was crying and my mother gave me more milk, (laughter) although I was fully fed." This is embarrassment. I wanted something; my mother gave me something else. Because mother cannot understand that what is the pain and..., neither he can express what is the pains and pleasure. So the embarrassment was at the beginning. Otherwise why the child cries? He's feeling some pain, but mother does not know how to relieve. But he's crying. This is going on. Then childhood. I do not like to go to school. My parents force me to go to school. So embarrassment. Then all right. I became married, or I enjoyed sex life. Then children. Then embarrassment. Contraceptive. That is also embarrassment. So this embarrassment is going on. And then again death. Then again go to the womb of the mother, and be killed within the womb of the mother, abortion. So the whole life is full of embarrassment. Why? That "why" question does not arise, that "Why I am embarrassed?"

So therefore the Māyāvādīs, they think that "Make me zero, void. Then there will be no pains and pleasure, no embarrassment." Their philosophy is like that. Impersonal, that is also the same thing. Or void. Voidism, the same thing. "Make it zero." Just like the foolish man, when one is embarrassed, he commits suicide. He commits suicide. He thinks, "If I end this body, then my embarrassment will be finished." So these are the circumstances. Why? Now, apaśyatām ātma-tattvam (SB 2.1.2). He does not know "What is the necessity of me, soul, how to get me relieved from that." That he does not know. So therefore this word is used: apaśyatām ātma-tattvam (SB 2.1.2). He does not see that "I am spirit soul. My necessity is different from the bodily necessity." (break) "Then I'll become comfortable." Even one knows that "I am not this body," but the body is home... Or I know that "I am not this room," but I am engaged always how to keep this room very neat and clean. That is my business. I do not know that there is another business. Apaśyatām ātma-tattvam (SB 2.1.2). That is the defect.

Viśeṣa means varieties. And nirviśeṣa or nirvāṇa-practically the same thing: "Finish these varieties and again become nirviśeṣa, no variety, neutral stage." That is the highest perfection of Buddha philosophy, nirviśeṣa-śūnyavādi. There are two kinds of atheistic philosophers. One is nirviśeṣa, and the other is śūnyavādi.
Lecture on SB 3.26.17 -- Bombay, December 26, 1974:

Prakṛter guṇa-sāmyasya nirviśeṣasya. Guṇa-sāmya. When the three modes of material nature is not agitated, it is in the neutral stage, guṇa-sāmya. The guṇa-sāmya... The Buddha philosophy is... The highest goal is guṇa-sāmya, where there is no manifestation by the agitation of the guṇas. That is their ultimate goal, guṇa-sāmya, nirvāṇa. On account of agitation of the three guṇas, these manifestations are there, and that is called viśeṣa. Viśeṣa means varieties. And nirviśeṣa or nirvāṇa-practically the same thing: "Finish these varieties and again become nirviśeṣa, no variety, neutral stage." That is the highest perfection of Buddha philosophy, nirviśeṣa-śūnyavādi. There are two kinds of atheistic philosophers. One is nirviśeṣa, and the other is śūnyavādi. So my students, therefore, they address, nirviśeṣa-śūnyavādi-pāścātya-deśa-tāriṇe. So whole world is nirviśeṣa-śūnyavādi. Some of them are advocates of zero. There are many big, big philosophers writing on zero. They believe in zero, but they write volumes of books. Why you are wasting time writing volumes of books on zero? After all, if you are going to be zero, remain zero. So zero means disgust.

Just like the Buddhist philosophers, they think śūnyavādi. And the Māyāvādī, nirviśeṣa. They are practically the same. The Buddhists say, "There is no God." And the Māyāvādīs say, "There is God, but He has no head, tail, nothing." It is in the indirect way to say there is no God.
Lecture on SB 7.6.1 -- Madras, January 2, 1976:

Actually brahma-līna means to be engaged twenty-four hours in devotional service. That is brahma-līna. There is not a second vacant without Kṛṣṇa's service. Just like Caitanya Mahāprabhu said, śūnyāyitaṁ jagat sarvaṁ govinda-viraheṇa me: "I am seeing everything vacant without Govinda." That is Kṛṣṇa consciousness. He is thinking simply on Kṛṣṇa. And without Kṛṣṇa, everything is zero. So simply to make the material world zero, śūnyavādi... Just like the Buddhist philosophers, they think śūnyavādi. And the Māyāvādī, nirviśeṣa. They are practically the same. The Buddhists say, "There is no God." And the Māyāvādīs say, "There is God, but He has no head, tail, nothing." It is in the indirect way to say there is no God. What is difference? If somebody says, "There is no God," and if somebody says, "There is God, but He has no head, He has no tail, He cannot eat, He cannot sleep," negatively. The same definition in a negative way.

Sri Caitanya-caritamrta Lectures

Nirviśeṣa-śūnyavādi. The nirviśeṣavāda, impersonalism and voidism, they are of the same nature. The Buddhist philosopher, they say, "Ultimately, everything is zero." And the Māyāvādī philosopher says not zero, but impersonal. But actually that is not fact.
Lecture on CC Adi-lila 1.5 -- Mayapur, March 29, 1975:

So when Kṛṣṇa wants to enjoy—the enjoy means these loving affairs between man and woman—that is a fact. That is not an artificial thing. Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura has explained Vedānta-sūtra, janmādy asya yataḥ (SB 1.1.1). He has said, ādi rasasya janma yatra. Ādi-rasa. There are twelve kinds of rasas, mellow. Of all of them, the ādi-rasa... Ādi-rasa means the loving affair between man and woman. This is called ādi-rasa. So, Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura explains, janmādy asya means the ādi-rasa, loving affairs between man and woman, that is from the Supreme Person. That's a fact. Unless the loving propensity is there in the Supreme, how it can be reflected? Because this is perverted reflection only, so there must be the origin. So the Māyāvādī philosophers, they cannot understand this. Because they have got bitter experience of this material world, they try to make zero or without any varieties the ultimate goal. Śūnyavādi. Nirviśeṣa-śūnyavādi. The nirviśeṣavāda, impersonalism and voidism, they are of the same nature. The Buddhist philosopher, they say, "Ultimately, everything is zero." And the Māyāvādī philosopher says not zero, but impersonal. But actually that is not fact. There is everything, variety and personal. But because the philosophers with poor fund of knowledge, they cannot understand, they make it zero or varietyless, nirviśeṣavāda. That, to clean, that to clear the idea, our Kavirāja Gosvāmī says that this Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa prema, loving affairs between Rādhā Kṛṣṇa, it is a fact. It is not imagination. It is a fact. But this fact is different from the fact we have got experience in this world. That is to be understood.

"There is no God. It is impersonal." So practically the same thing: ultimately, it is void or there is no God.
Lecture on CC Madhya-lila 25.40-50 -- San Francisco, January 24, 1967:

There is no practically difference between Buddha philosophy and Śaṅkara's philosophy. Buddha philosophy says that the matter is everything. Beyond matter there is nothing, everything void, and the combination of matter is the source of our miseries. So you make a dismantlement of the matter, nirvāṇa—there will be no more miseries. And Śaṅkara's philosophy says that brahma satyaṁ jagan mithyā. It is little, little farther advanced, admitting the spirit, but he says that spirit is impersonal. "There is no God. It is impersonal." So practically the same thing: ultimately, it is void or there is no God. But Vedānta philosophy does not say that.

Conversations and Morning Walks

1975 Conversations and Morning Walks

Nirviśeṣa-śūnyavādi. They are practically the same. Buddhists say that everything is zero ultimately. And the Māyāvādīs say zero, just like the sky. The sky is there, but it is zero. You cannot see the planet.
Morning Walk -- November 17, 1975, Bombay:

Prabhupāda: This service to Kṛṣṇa has disappeared on account of this māyāvāda philosophy.

Dr. Patel: You think so.

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Dr. Patel: And māyāvāda philosophy was necessary to dislodge the Buddhist, degenerated Buddhism.

Prabhupāda: Yes. Śūnyavādi. Nirviśeṣa-śūnyavādi. They are practically the same. Buddhists say that everything is zero ultimately. And the Māyāvādīs say...

Dr. Patel: Māyāvādīs, sir, have been proved that if everything is zero, who sees the zero? Who sees the zero?

Prabhupāda: No, no. Māyāvādī says zero, just like the sky. The sky is there, but it is zero. You cannot see the planet.

Dr. Patel: But who sees all these things? That is what...

Prabhupāda: And he cannot see; therefore he says it is zero. Just like now you do not see the stars, but it is on account of my deficient vision I do not see, and I say, "It is zero," less intelligent.

Dr. Patel: Apahṛta-jñāna. Apahṛta-jñāna.

Prabhupāda: Yes. Hare Kṛṣṇa. Jaya. Apahṛta-jñāna Māyāvādīs, they have spoiled the whole thing.

1976 Conversations and Morning Walks

Zero, they are śūnyavādī, zero, and nirviśeṣavādī. The same thing. But we are not śūnyavādī. Whole is not zero. The anxiety.... You cannot become anxiety-less. That is artificial. If you artificially become anxiety-less, then artificially you can remain anxiety-less for some time. Again you fall down.
Morning Walk -- April 26, 1976, Melbourne:

Prabhupāda: To become anxiety-less, no more anxiety. That is nonsense.

Guru-kṛpā: They say, "Kṛṣṇa says, na śocati na kāṅkṣati."

Prabhupāda: Eh?

Guru-kṛpā: Na śocati na kāṅkṣati.

Prabhupāda: That is material, śocati, kāṅkṣati. But in spiritual world the same śocati, kāṅkṣati, is there, but for Kṛṣṇa. First of all you have to negate the material śocati, kāṅkṣati. Then spiritual, mad-bhaktiṁ labhate parām. Beginning is brahma-bhūtaḥ prasannātmā na śocati na kāṅkṣati, samaḥ sarveṣu bhūteṣu (BG 18.54). Then spiritual anxiety begins. When this is neutralized, then actual life begins. That is bhakti. Otherwise what is the mean...? Mad-bhaktim. In bhakti there is anxiety. That is spiritual anxiety.

Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: Otherwise, what is the meaning of bhakti? It comes after.

Prabhupāda: Zero, they are śūnyavādī, zero, and nirviśeṣavādī. The same thing. But we are not śūnyavādī. Whole is not zero. The anxiety.... You cannot become anxiety-less. That is artificial. If you artificially become anxiety-less, then artificially you can remain anxiety-less for some time. Again you fall down. Āruhya kṛcchreṇa paraṁ padaṁ tataḥ patanty adhaḥ (SB 10.2.32). Falls down. But the anxiety should be purified. That is wanted. Not anxiety-less. You are living being. You cannot be anxiety.... That means you are dead. A living being has no anxiety—that means he is dead. That is not the ideal. The anxiety should be purified from material contamination, and it should be only for Kṛṣṇa. Then it is perfect. Here the anxiety with some designation, "I am the father of this family," this is my anxiety, how to maintain them. "I am the leader of this nation." That is my anxiety. So all these anxieties are material, upādhi. I am neither father nor leader. I am servant of Kṛṣṇa. I have created artificial anxieties. So therefore I have to become free from this artificial anxiety. And nitya-kṛṣṇa-dāsa. And when he is pure servant of Kṛṣṇa, he's always anxious how to serve Kṛṣṇa. This is the.... The anxiety is there, and now it is purified. Sarvopādhi-vinirmuktaṁ tat-paratvena nirmalam (CC Madhya 19.170), completely fresh. And then with that senses, hṛṣīkeṇa hṛṣīkeśa-sevanaṁ bhaktiḥ. This is bhakti. Mad-bhaktim labhate.