Monism puts the head and heart at war with each other; devotion harmonizes them

Many aspiring spiritualists think that the Absolute Truth is non-differentiated oneness. Because attachment to material form and personality causes illusion and bondage, they hold that spirituality is the reality beyond variety. They downplay the personal absolute as a temporary meditational tool for less intelligent sentimentalists who can’t meditate on the oneness.

Monism claims that all personality and reciprocity exist only in the temporary material realm. By deeming enlightenment as a love-less state of oneness, monism denies our heart’s deepest longing to love and be loved. Moreover, because it labels the personal manifestation that reciprocates love an intellectually inferior conception, monism puts our heart at war with our head.

But this war is rendered redundant if we scrutinize monism’s unexamined presumption: that all of reality is like material reality, that all form and personality are temporary. Countering this presumption, the Bhagavad-gita (07.26) calls unintelligent those who think that Krishna was initially impersonal and has only temporarily manifested as a person. In fact, the Gita (14.27) inverts the monistic conception: it declares that Krishna is the foundation of the impersonal effulgence, not a temporary manifestation of the effulgence. As the supreme transcendental person, he exists beyond both the illusion of this world and the oneness beyond this world. His form is not limited or limiting; it is infinite, and meditating lovingly on it takes us to the infinite spiritual reality: his personal abode.

What puts the heart and head at war is not spiritual reality, but a materially extrapolated conception of spiritual reality. The head and the heart are perfectly harmonized in those seers who understand Krishna’s transcendental personality (15.19) – they become enriched with all knowledge (sarva-vid) and all love for him (sarva-bhavena).

By thus understanding Krishna, we go beyond illusion to the supreme liberation of immortal love.

Think it over:

  1. What is monism’s unexamined extrapolation?
  2. What is the relationship between Krishna and the impersonal oneness?

How are the head and heart harmonized in the understanding of Krishna as the supreme spiritual reality?

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