Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura comments in this connection that in all Vedic scriptures the jīva-tattva, the truth of the living entities, is mentioned to be one of the energies of the Lord. If one does not accept the living entity to be a minute, infinitesimal spark of the Supreme but equates the jīva-tattva with the Supreme Brahman or Supreme Personality of Godhead, it must be understood that his entire philosophy is based on a misunderstanding. Unfortunately, Śrīpāda Śaṅkarācārya purposely claimed the jīva-tattva, or living entities, to be equal to the Supreme God. Therefore his entire philosophy is based on a misunderstanding, and it misguides people to become atheists, whose mission in life is unfulfilled. The mission of human life, as described in the Bhagavad-gītā, is to surrender unto the Supreme Lord and become His devotee, but the Māyāvāda philosophy misleads one to defy the existence of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and pose oneself as the Supreme Lord. Thus it has misguided hundreds of thousands of innocent men.
In the Vedānta-sūtra, Vyāsadeva has described that the Supreme Personality of Godhead is potent and that everything, material or spiritual, is but an emanation of His energy. The Lord, the Supreme Brahman, is the origin or source of everything (janmādy asya yataḥ (SB 1.1.1)), and all other manifestations are emanations of different energies of the Lord. This is also confirmed in the Viṣṇu Purāṇa:
- eka-deśa-sthitasyāgner jyotsnā vistāriṇī yathā
- parasya brahmaṇaḥ śaktis tathedam akhilaṁ jagat
“Whatever we see in this world is simply an expansion of different energies of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is exactly like a fire that spreads illumination for a long distance although it is situated in one place.” This is a very vivid example. Similarly, it is stated that just as everything in the material world exists in the sunshine, which is the energy of the sun, so everything exists on the basis of the spiritual and material energies of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Thus although Kṛṣṇa is situated in His own abode (goloka eva nivasaty akhilātma-bhūtaḥ (BS 5.37)), where He enjoys His transcendental pastimes with the cowherd boys and gopīs, He is nevertheless present everywhere, even within the atoms of this universe (aṇḍāntara-stha-paramāṇu-cayāntara-stham (BS 5.35)). This is the verdict of the Vedic literature.
Unfortunately, the Māyāvāda philosophy, misguiding people by claiming the living entity to be the Lord, has created havoc throughout the entire world and led almost everyone to godlessness. By thus covering the glories of the Supreme Lord, the Māyāvādī philosophers have done the greatest disservice to human society. It is to counteract these most abominable activities of the Māyāvādī philosophers that Lord Caitanya has introduced the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra.
- harer nāma harer nāma harer nāmaiva kevalam
- kalau nāsty eva nāsty eva nāsty eva gatir anyathā
“In this age of quarrel and hypocrisy, the only means of deliverance is chanting the holy name of the Lord. There is no other way. There is no other way. There is no other way.” People should simply engage in the chanting of the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra, for thus they will gradually come to understand that they are not the Supreme Personality of Godhead, as they have been taught by the Māyāvādī philosophers, but are eternal servants of the Lord. As soon as one engages himself in the transcendental service of the Lord, he becomes free.
māṁ ca yo ’vyabhicāreṇa bhakti-yogena sevate sa guṇān samatītyaitān brahma-bhūyāya kalpate “One who engages in full devotional service, unfailing in all circumstances, at once transcends the modes of material nature and thus comes to the level of Brahman.” (BG 14.26) Therefore the Hare Kṛṣṇa movement, or Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement, is the only light for the foolish living entities who think either that there is no God or that if God exists He is formless and they themselves are also God. These misconceptions are very dangerous, and the only way to counteract them is to spread the Hare Kṛṣṇa movement.