Prabhupāda: Cloud cannot cover the sun. There may be a cloud overcast in the sky for hundred miles, but even hundred miles, is it possible to cover the sun, hundred miles cloud? The sun is itself so many hundreds of thousand times more than this earth. So māyā cannot cover the Supreme Brahman. Māyā can cover the small particles Brahman. So we may become covered by māyā or cloud, but the Supreme Brahman is never covered by māyā. That is the difference of opinion between Māyāvāda philosophy and Vaiṣṇava philosophy. The Māyāvāda philosophy says that the Supreme is covered. The Supreme cannot be covered. Then how He becomes supreme? The covering becomes supreme. Oh, there are so many arguments and so many... But we follow that the cloud covers the small particles of sunshine. But sun remains as it is. And we practically see also when we go by jet plane, we are over the cloud. There is no cloud outside. Sun is clear. In the lower status there is some cloud. If you go thousands of miles up, we don't see any cloud. Everything sunshine. Is there any question?
Devotee (1): Is the cloud in our mind or is the cloud in the sky also?
Prabhupāda: Everything is in your mind. Yes. So you have to clear your mind. That's all. Ceto-darpaṇa-mārjanam (CC Antya 20.12). The whole process is to clear the mind. Yes?
Devotee (2): Prabhupāda, even when the mind is cleared, does there not continue to be an objective temporary existence of material phenomena? Even when the mind is cleared, the material world still exists for so long as the (indistinct), so there's still temporary existence.
Devotee (2): So is that material principle which is manifested in beings is gone...
Prabhupāda: No. Material principle is side by side. Just like the cloud is always there in the sky, but if you be above the cloud, then it is all right. So you have to become above the material principles. And to become above the material principles means to accept everything in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, dovetailed with Kṛṣṇa. That will save you. You have to become above the cloud. Just like the jet plane takes the friendly sky. So we have to take the friendly energy, the spiritual energy. Mahātmānas tu māṁ pārtha daivīṁ prakṛtim āśritāḥ (BG 9.13). Mahātmā, those who are mahātmā, great souls, they take shelter of the nature where there is no more cloud. Then it is very nice. You go on. So we have to become above the cloud. Not to be influenced by the material nature, but we take shelter of Rādhārāṇī, the spiritual nature. Not of Durgā.
Devotee (2): But the cloud still exists within the mind.
Prabhupāda: That doesn't matter. The police exists, but if you are not criminal it has nothing to do with you. You are not afraid of the police. Mām eva ye prapadyante māyām etāṁ taranti te. Police has nothing to do with law-abiding persons. Let the māyā remain there. You have nothing to do with her. Yes?
Guest: Swamijī, we always think of the pictures of Viṣṇu and Kṛṣṇa. There are, full of pictures, here, and also the usual pictures which you... When you think of the word "consciousness" and "life," as applied to the image of God, it seems to make sense. But how do you apply the concept of consciousness and life to a God conceived of in the terms like this image here?
Prabhupāda: Image... The image, we are not worshiping image.
Guest: No, what I meant was in the vague, abstract sense of thought, as we're talking about with Brahman...
Prabhupāda: There are stages, stages of God realization. Brahman realization is the first realization of God. Just like if you want to go to the... If you come to the light, sunshine, your first experience is the sunshine. But if you go still further, you..., if you are able to enter into the sun planet, that is another stage. And if you can find out the predominating deity in the sun planet, that is another stage. Similarly, the Brahman means you come out of the darkness of ignorance or māyā. That is Brahman realization. But if you go further, then you realize Supersoul, Paramātmā. And if you go further, then you realize the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Brahmeti paramātmeti bhagavān iti śabdyate (SB 1.2.11). The... Just like the same example, the sunshining, sun and the sun-god, they are one and the same. But when you are in the sunshine, you cannot say that you are seeing the sun-god. That will be mistake. But one who is in association with the sun-god, he's already in the sun planet, he is in front of the sun-god, and he is in sunshine. Is that clear? Yes. Brahmeti paramātmeti bhagavān iti śabdyate. Advaya-jñāna. Vadanti tat tattva-vidas tattvaṁ yaj jñānam advayam (SB 1.2.11). Advayam, that light, is everywhere. Either sunshine or sun planet or sun-god, there is light. There is no darkness. Similarly, either you remain in the impersonal Brahman or absorbed in Paramātmā or in association with the Supreme Personality, it is all spiritual stage. But when you compare, then a person who is in direct touch with sun-god, he's far superior than the person who is in the sunlight. He cannot claim equal status. Sunlight may be possible within your room. That does not mean that you are associating with the sun-god.