ISKCON Press


Letter to Sai Baba

Type:
Various
Date:
September 13
Year:
1976
Place:
Vṛndāvana

Pradyumna: This says, “God is an Indian.” Puttaparthi. “God is an Indian. His contemporary avatāra…

Prabhupāda: Puttaparthi? What is that?

Pradyumna: Puttaparthi is in Andhra. “His contemporary avatāra rests in the trinity of Sirti Baba, Sai Baba, and Prem Baba to come. So Satya Sai Baba, the second of the triple incarnation, asserted in the course of a marathon interview to add, ‘In my present avatāra, I have come armed with the fullness of the power of the formless God to save humanity.’ ”

Prabhupāda: So, to whom we shall address this letter?

Pradyumna: Well, it depends where we want to send it for publishing. To this or to another magazine.

Prabhupāda: He says that “I’m avatāra.” So therefore it should be addressed to him. He says. So address to Satya Sai Baba. Where is he? At Bombay?

Pradyumna: No, he stays at this Puttaparthi or in Bangalore.

Prabhupāda: Puttaparthi…

Pradyumna: That is a small village.

Prabhupāda: Oh. Post office, Puttaparthi. And it is in, where? Bangalore?

Pradyumna: That is in Andhra.

Prabhupāda: Andhra. Hmm. “Dear Sai Baba, just recently in the Blitz paper, published on”—give the date—“we are surprised to find one article, ‘God is an Indian,’ and you have claimed to become an incarnation of God to save the human society. What is the ground of your claiming as incarnation? And what you have done to save the human society? Will you explain for enlightenment of us? Or many of us? We have got the list of incarnations recorded in the Vedic scriptures and their respective activities also. So where is that record in the Vedic scripture about your appearing as incarnation? Lord Kṛṣṇa’s incarnation is fully described in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam…” Lord Kṛṣṇa’s incarnationship, or [indistinct]. What it should be?

Pradyumna: Lord Kṛṣṇa’s incarnation…

Prabhupāda: There may be so many, but I mean to say Lord Kṛṣṇa is incarnation, so avatāratva. So what is the English, avatāratva?

Pradyumna: The incarnation-ness, or quality of being an incarnation. But that is not… The quality of being an incarnation is not… The most literal is incarnation-ness.

Prabhupāda: Therefore say that. “Lord Kṛṣṇa’s incarnation-ness is fully described in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. Similarly, Lord Rāmacandra’s incarnation-ness or Lord Buddha’s incarnation-ness, Lord Caitanya’s incarnation-ness, we have got full information in the Vedic literatures.”

Pradyumna: “Lord Rāma’s incarnation-ness, Lord Buddha’s incarnation-ness…”

Prabhupāda: Lord Caitanya.

Pradyumna: Oh.

Prabhupāda: “Where is your incarnation is described? Will you kindly give the reference? Anyone can say like you, that one is incarnation, as it has become a fashion nowadays. But is that claim only is the proof of one’s becoming incarnation? Some such unauthorized claim of becoming an incarnation is certainly ridiculous.” Such…

Pradyumna: “…unauthorized claim of one’s becoming an incarnation…”

Prabhupāda: “…is certainly ridiculous. Then you have claimed to take form.” What is he has written?

Pradyumna: “Then you have claimed to take…”

Prabhupāda: No, no. What he has written.

Pradyumna: “In my present avatāra I have come armed with the fullness of the power of the formless God to save humanity.”

Prabhupāda: “So you have claimed to…” What is that? Again read it.

Pradyumna: “I have come armed with the fullness of the power of the formless God to save humanity.”

Prabhupāda: “So you have claimed to take a form of the formless God. But we see in the Bhagavad-gītā that God is never formless.” Find out this verse, avyaktaṁ vyaktim āpannaṁ manyante mām abuddhayaḥ.

Pradyumna:

avyaktaṁ vyaktim āpannaṁ
manyante mām abuddhayaḥ
paraṁ bhāvam ajānanto
mamāvyayam anuttamam
[Bg. 7.24]

“Unintelligent men who know Me not think that I have assumed this form and personality. Due to their small knowledge, they do not know My higher nature, which is changeless and supreme.”

Prabhupāda: Purport.

Pradyumna: “Those who are worshipers of demigods have been described as less intelligent persons, and here the impersonalists are similarly described. Lord Kṛṣṇa in His personal form is here speaking before Arjuna, and still, due to ignorance, impersonalists argue that the Supreme Lord ultimately has no form. Yāmunācārya, a great devotee of the Lord in the disciplic succession from Rāmānujācārya, has written two very appropriate verses in this connection. He says, ‘My dear Lord, devotees like Vyāsadeva and Nārada know You to be the Personality of Godhead. By understanding different Vedic literatures, one can come to know Your characteristics, Your form and Your activities, and one can thus understand that You are the Supreme Personality of Godhead. But those who are in the modes of passion and ignorance, the demons, the nondevotees, cannot understand You. They are unable to understand You. However expert such nondevotees may be in discussing Vedānta and Upaniṣads and other Vedic literatures, it is not possible for them to understand the Personality of Godhead.’ In the Brahma-saṁhitā it is stated that the Personality of Godhead cannot be understood simply by study of the Vedānta literature. Only by the mercy of the Supreme Lord can the Personality of the Supreme be known. Therefore in this verse it is clearly stated that not only the worshipers of the demigods are less intelligent, but those nondevotees who are engaged in Vedānta and speculation on Vedic literature…”

Prabhupāda: You can give up to that Yāmunācārya’s quotation. What you have written?

Pradyumna: So far? Everything? Or just… “Only, is one’s word only…”

Prabhupāda: What you have written.

Pradyumna: “Dear Sai Baba, just recently…”

Prabhupāda: No, no, no. Last what you have written.

Pradyumna: “Similarly, Lord Rāma’s incarnation, Lord Buddha’s incarnation, Lord Caitanya’s incarnation-ness, we have got full information from the Vedic scriptures. Where is your incarnation described? Will you kindly give the reference? Anyone can say like you, that one is an incarnation, as it has become a fashion nowadays. But is that claim only the proof of one’s becoming an incarnation? Such unauthorized claim of one’s becoming an incarnation is certainly ridiculous. Then you have claimed to take a form of the formless God. But we see in the Bhagavad-gītā that God is never formless.”

Prabhupāda: [dictating:] “Only the rascals and less intelligent class of men think that God is formless, and when He incarnates, He takes a particular form. In this connection, a verse from Yāmunācārya may be quoted as follows.” You have quoted the Bhagavad-gītā? That quote?

Pradyumna: Well, it doesn’t mention the Sanskrit here of that Yāmunācārya verse.

Prabhupāda: No, no. “In the Bhagavad-gītā it is said”—what you have written?

Pradyumna: Oh. We can put the Sanskrit, avyaktaṁ vyaktim āpannam [Bg. 7.24].

Prabhupāda: No, what you have written here?

Pradyumna: “Such unauthorized claim of one’s becoming… Then you have claimed to take a form of the formless God, but we see in the Bhagavad-gītā…

Prabhupāda: That you have to quote.

Pradyumna: Yes. So, Bhagavad-gītā 7.24, Sanskrit and translation. “But we see in the Bhagavad-gītā…

Prabhupāda: Read it.

Pradyumna:

avyaktaṁ vyaktim āpannaṁ
manyante mām abuddhayaḥ
paraṁ bhāvam ajānanto
mamāvyayam anuttamam
[Bg. 7.24]

“Unintelligent men, who know Me not, think that I have assumed this form and personality. Due to their small knowledge, they do not know My higher nature, which is changeless and supreme.” So “…that God is never formless. Only the rascals and less intelligent class of men think that God is formless and when He incarnates He takes a particular form. In this connection a verse from Yāmunācārya may be quoted as follows.”

Prabhupāda: So what is Yāmunacārya’s quotation?

Pradyumna: “My dear Lord, devotees like Vyāsadeva and Nārada know You to be the Personality of Godhead. By understanding different Vedic literatures, one can come to know Your characteristics, Your form and Your activities, and one can thus understand that You are the Supreme Personality of Godhead.”

Prabhupāda: You have to quote that verse and the meaning.

Pradyumna: But the Sanskrit wasn’t give here.

Prabhupāda: The Sanskrit is there.

Pradyumna: No, but this verse from Yāmunācārya.

Prabhupāda: Oh. You’ll find the Sanskrit in the Caitanya-caritāmṛta.

Pradyumna: Oh. Which place?

Prabhupāda: In the Ādi-līlā. Tam. It begins with tam. You can find out. Call, call him. [bell rings] Read. The Sanskrit verse is not…

Pradyumna: No, it’s not quoted here.

Prabhupāda: Tam paribhāvita, like that. There is a verse.

Pradyumna: Oh. I will find it.

Prabhupāda: Ādi-līlā.

Hari-śauri: Which volume?

Prabhupāda: Caitanya-caritāmṛta.

Hari-śauri: First volume?

Prabhupāda: I think. There is, what is called, index?

Pradyumna: Yes, for Ādi-līlā? Where’s the verse index?

Hari-śauri: Which verse is it? If you give me the verse I can…

Pradyumna: It begins tam paribhāvita. T-a-m. T-a-m. Tam paribhāvita something.

Prabhupāda: You can bring here. Then?

Pradyumna: So this quote goes on. “But those who in the modes of passion and ignorance, the demons, the nondevotees, cannot understand You. They are unable to understand You. However expert such nondevotees may be in discussing the Vedānta and the Upaniṣads and other Vedic literatures, it is not possible for them to understand the Personality of Godhead.”

Prabhupāda: “So in this connection, the statement of Bhāgavatam is especially important. Brahmeti paramātmeti bhagavān iti śabdyate [SB 1.2.11]. Brahman is impersonal, Paramātmā is localized, and Bhagavān is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The Supreme Personality of Godhead…”

Pradyumna: “Brahman is the impersonal.”

Prabhupāda: “Brahman is impersonal.” Not “the.” “Paramātmā is localized, and Bhagavān is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. When Arjuna understood Kṛṣṇa after hearing Bhagavad-gītā, he addressed Kṛṣṇa as follows.” Quote this, paraṁ brahma paraṁ dhāma [Bg. 10.12]. Find out. No. Find out in the book.

Pradyumna:

paraṁ brahma paraṁ dhāma
pavitraṁ paramaṁ bhavān
puruṣaṁ śāśvataṁ divyam
ādi-devam ajaṁ vibhum
[Bg. 10.12]

Prabhupāda: Puruṣaṁ śāśvatam…

Pradyumna: Puruṣaṁ śāśvataṁ divyam.

Prabhupāda: Divyam. “So here Arjuna addresses Lord Kṛṣṇa as śāśvataṁ puruṣam, eternally the Personality of Godhead. It is never admitted that Supreme Lord is originally imperson. Puruṣam.” I have described puruṣam? Yes. What you have written?

Pradyumna: “When Arjuna understood Kṛṣṇa after hearing Bhagavad-gītā, he addressed Kṛṣṇa as follows: paraṁ brahma paraṁ dhāma [Bg. 10.12], etc. Here Kṛṣṇa addresses… Here Arjuna addresses Kṛṣṇa as śāśvataṁ puruṣam, or the eternal Personality of Godhead. It is never admitted that the Supreme Lord is originally impersonal.”

Prabhupāda: Then, you read the other verses. Param…

Pradyumna:

paraṁ brahma paraṁ dhāma
pavitraṁ paramaṁ bhavān
puruṣaṁ śāśvataṁ divyam
ādi-devam ajaṁ vibhum
[Bg. 10.12]

Prabhupāda: Then?

Pradyumna: Āhus tvām ṛṣayaḥ sarve devarṣir nāradas tathā.

Prabhupāda: You have to quote this. Then? Read.

Pradyumna: Translation?

Prabhupāda: No, no. That you have to give a quotation and…, then? What is next verse?

Pradyumna: In Bhagavad-gītā after this?

Prabhupāda: Āhus tvām, then next, what is next verse?

Pradyumna: Ah,

vaktum arhasy aśeṣeṇa
divyā hy ātma-vibhūtayaḥ
yābhir vibhūtibhir lokān
imāṁs tvaṁ vyāpya tiṣṭhasi
[Bg. 10.16]

“Please tell me in detail of Your divine…”

Prabhupāda: That’s all right. Next.

Pradyumna:

kathaṁ vidyām ahaṁ yogiṁs
tvāṁ sadā paricintayan
keṣu keṣu ca bhāveṣu
cintyo ‘si bhagavan mayā
[Bg. 10.17]

“How should I meditate on You?”

Prabhupāda: That’s all right. Next.

Pradyumna:

vistareṇātmano yogaṁ
vibhūtiṁ ca janārdana
bhūyaḥ kathaya tṛptir hi
śṛṇvato nāsti me ‘mṛtam
[Bg. 10.18]

“Tell me in detail, O Janārdana, of Your mighty potencies and glories, for I never tire of hearing…”

Prabhupāda: The point is that “Your personality cannot be understood without Your mercy.” There is a verse. [Pradyumna looks for verse] Āhus tvām ṛṣayaḥ sarve. Find out that verse.

Pradyumna: Aham?

Prabhupāda: Āhus.

Pradyumna: Oh, āhus.

Prabhupāda: Āhus tvām ṛṣayaḥ. You read just now.

Pradyumna: Yes.

āhus tvām ṛṣayaḥ sarve
devarṣir nāradas tathā
asito devalo vyāsaḥ
svayaṁ caiva bravīṣi me
[Bg. 10.13]

Prabhupāda: Next verse.

Pradyumna:

sarvam etad ṛtaṁ manye
yan māṁ vadasi keśava
na hi te bhagavan vyaktiṁ
vidur devā na dānavāḥ
[Bg. 10.14]

Prabhupāda: Vyaktyam?

Pradyumna: Vyaktim. Na hi te bhagavan vyaktiṁ vidur devā na dānavāḥ. “O Kṛṣṇa, I totally accept as truth all that You have told me. Neither the gods nor demons, O Lord, know Thy personality.”

Prabhupāda: Yes, that’s it.

Pradyumna: Oh, it says,

svayam evātmanātmānaṁ
vettha tvaṁ puruṣottama
bhūta-bhāvana bhūteśa
deva-deva jagat-pate
[Bg. 10.15]

Hari-śauri: There’s no verse index in any of the Ādi-līlā.

Prabhupāda: There is, but we are missing.

Pradyumna: I have the Bengali.

Prabhupāda: “The all ācāryas say that Your personality, although there are so many evidences in śāstra and authorized persons, still, the rascals cannot understand.” So here is another verse, āhus tvām ṛṣayaḥ sarve.

Pradyumna: So do you want to quote this verse?

Prabhupāda: Hmm. Must quote.

Pradyumna:

sarvam etad ṛtaṁ manye
yan māṁ vadasi keśava
na hi te bhagavan vyaktiṁ
vidur devā na dānavāḥ
[Bg. 10.14]

Prabhupāda: [dictating:] “So one has to accept the statement of Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, how He is originally the puruṣa, or person. Impersonal Brahman is expansion of the rays of His personal body, exactly like the sunshine is expansion of the rays of the sun-god, Vivasvān. Vivasvān is a person in the sun globe, and Kṛṣṇa is also a person who spoke the philosophy of Bhagavad-gītā long, long years before He spoke the same to Arjuna. Imaṁ vivasvate yogaṁ proktavān aham avyayam [Bg. 4.1]. Therefore the conclusion is that originally God is always a person. Impersonal Brahman is emanation from the personal God. In other words, God, personal God, is not from impersonal Brahman, but impersonal Brahman is from the personal God. That is confirmed in the Bhagavad-gītā as follows.”

Pradyumna: “Impersonal Brahman is an emanation of the personal God. It is not…, it is not that the personal God is an emanation of…, from…, or it is that impersonal Brahman is an emanation. It is not that the personal God is an emanation of impersonal Brahman.”

Prabhupāda: “Impersonal Brahman is resting on the personal God, exactly like illumination of light is resting on the bulb. Not that the bulb is resting on the illuminated light.”

Pradyumna: “Exactly like illumination of light is resting…”

Prabhupāda: “…on the bulb, electric bulb. Not the bulb is resting on the illumination. Besides that, we learn from Bhagavad-gītā, Second Chapter…” Find out that verse, “It is not that we were…”

Pradyumna: Na tv evāham?

Prabhupāda: Ah.

Pradyumna:

na tv evāhaṁ jātu nāsaṁ
na tvaṁ neme janādhipāḥ
na caiva na bhaviṣyāmaḥ
sarve vayam ataḥ param
[Bg. 2.12]

“Never was there a time when I did not exist, nor you, nor all these kings, nor in the future shall any of us cease to be.”

Prabhupāda: “So Kṛṣṇa has personally said to Arjuna that in the past He was person.”

Pradyumna: So “Kṛṣṇa, in person”?

Prabhupāda: No, no. Yes. “Kṛṣṇa, as a person, says to Arjuna that both of them existed in the past as person, and they’ll continue to remain person in the future.”

Pradyumna: “Both of them existed in the past as person, and both of them shall continue to…”

Prabhupāda: “…remain as person in the future. So without knowing all this knowledge, a mūḍha accepts the incarnation of God as coming from imperson. Avajānanti māṁ mūḍhā mānuṣīṁ tanum āśritam [Bg. 9.11]. Under this heading you have proved yourself to become a mūḍha. And how a mūḍha, or an ass, can become the incarnation of God?” Then? Read that Blitz paper, one after another.

Pradyumna: Then, this is the end of his quote, and then the editor, the writer, is speaking. “This may appear an extraordinarily controversial claim to those unfamiliar with the spiritual depths of Hindu religio-philosophy. The latter totally accepts the avatāra concept, which broadly means the descent of the divine principle into human affairs. In the Bhagavad-gītā Lord Kṛṣṇa intervenes to save…”

Prabhupāda: That is the editor’s.

Pradyumna: Yes, this is the editor’s. “In the Bhagavad-gītā Lord Kṛṣṇa intervenes to save humanity from evil forces. The Purāṇas personify earth, the mother, as groaning under a similar burden to supplicate God for relief.” Then heading, “Solution and cure to world’s ills.” “To Baba’s devotees, the avatāra has similarly come to provide both the solution and the cure to a world living in terror of a nuclear holocaust. The false dichotomies created by Western thought between God and man, puruṣa and deva, simply do not exist in the Indian scriptures, which prescribe…”

Prabhupāda: What is that?

Pradyumna: “The dichotomies.”

Prabhupāda: Dichot…?

Pradyumna: Dichotomies

Prabhupāda: What is that?

Pradyumna: Dichotomy means some kind of distinction, to make a distinction. He said, “The dichotomies created by Western thought between God and man, puruṣa and deva…” Differences or analysis of differences. “…simply do not exist in the Indian scriptures…”

Prabhupāda: Why not?

Pradyumna: “…which prescribe the assimilation of God in man and man in God as the basis of religion.”

Prabhupāda: This is another rascaldom. God is always distinct from man.

Pradyumna: Sai Baba also quotes later… He is directly saying, also, later.

Prabhupāda: What he says?

Pradyumna: Now here’s the quote. “Baba personifies this philosophy. As he told me, ‘God is man and man is God. All of us have something of God, the divine spark, within us. All men are divine, like myself, with the spirit embodied in human flesh and bone. The only difference is that they are unaware of this Godhood.’ ” I’ll get it for you.

Prabhupāda: So?

Pradyumna: Here he says, “The mission of the present avatāra is to make everybody realize that since the same God or divinity resides in everyone, people should respect, love, and…”

Prabhupāda: No, no. If he resides in everyone, then why he has special claim?

Pradyumna: Yes, well he says he has remembered.

Prabhupāda: He remembers? How God can forget?

Pradyumna: That he says. That he says here. He says that “Take paddy or rice by way of an illustration. Every grain of rice is enclosed in a husk. You have to remove the husk to get the grain of rice. Now husk and rice both come from the same seed. Rice is the equivalent of God in man.”

Prabhupāda: But still husk is not rice. You cannot say husk is rice.

Pradyumna: He says the husk… He says, “Rice is the equivalent of God in man, while the husk can be compared to desire which reduces God to man.”

Prabhupāda: No, no.

Pradyumna: “Therefore my desire is life plus desire equals man. Life minus desire equals God.”

Prabhupāda: [dictating:] “You are desiring to become God. There cannot be no desire. But you’re unceremoniously desiring to become God, although there is no proof in the śāstras. In the Bhagavad-gītā it is accepted that the living entities are sparks of…, part and parcel of God, Kṛṣṇa.”

Pradyumna: “In the Bhagavad-gītā it is accepted that the living entities…”

Prabhupāda: “…are part and parcel of God. But part is never equal to the whole.” [break]

Pradyumna: “So you can claim as a spark of God, as every living entity can claim, but you cannot claim as the…”

Prabhupāda: “…the Supreme Person with full power. That is misleading. You can show a little magic, as other magicians also can show…”

Pradyumna: “You can show a little magic, as other magicians can also show.”

Prabhupāda: “…but you cannot show the full magic, as Kṛṣṇa displayed or Lord Rāmacandra displayed. Therefore your claim as a full power is completely false and blasphemous.”

Pradyumna: “Therefore your claim for full power is completely false…”

Prabhupāda: “…and blasphemous.” In this way find out.

Pradyumna: Completely Māyāvādī.

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Pradyumna: Completely.

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Pradyumna: Now someone may bring up the one point, they say, “Well, if an avatāra comes, if He must show all kinds of great opulences and powers,” then he says, “sometimes the incarnation shows this, but sometimes, like when Lord Caitanya appeared, He didn’t show viśvarūpa or…”

Prabhupāda: But He never claimed that “I am avatāra.” But we understand from the śāstric evidence. He never claimed. Rather, when He was addressed as Kṛṣṇa He blocked His ears, “You don’t say like that.” He never claimed. He fully displayed Himself as a devotee, not Bhagavān. Therefore Gaurāṅgavāda is illegal. Gaurāṅga-nāgarī. That is illegal. Moha-vāda or something like that.

Pradyumna: Gaurāṅga-nāgarī, mentioning Lord Caitanya in the role of Kṛṣṇa dancing with the…

Prabhupāda: In this way, find out the faulty statement and give him proof. He can claim… Hmm. That’s all.

Pradyumna: Thank you, Śrīla Prabhupāda. [end]

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