Impersonal or Personal?

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Impersonal or Personal?

Postby naktibalda » Thu Apr 07, 2016 2:13 am

I find it interesting that the Bhagavad Gita stresses that the highest spiritual aspirant is the one who focuses on the personal feature of God and not the impersonal, unmanifested feature. In contrast to Eckhart Tolle's teaching stressing the importance of the impersonal unmanifested, the BG says the highest God is a person.

Arjuna Inquired: Which are considered to be more perfect, those who are always properly engaged in Your devotional service or those who worship the impersonal Brahman, the unmanifested?

The Supreme Personality of the Godhead said: Those who fix their minds on My personal form and are always engaged in worshiping me with great and transcendental faith are considered by Me to be most perfect.

For those whose minds are attached to the unmanifested, impersonal feature of the Supreme, advancement is very troublesome. To make progress in that discipline is always difficult for those who are embodied. (Bhagavad Gita-As It Is.12.1-2,5)


In Eckhart's books he states that the word God is almost unusable since it is so full of differing opinion and beliefs. However, to say that the impersonal aspect of God is the Absolute, might not be the whole story.

So I feel that a counterpoint is found here to Eckhart Tolle's stressing of the unmanifested universal consciousness. It seems to make sense to me that a person should not worship the impersonal as the absolute goal of spirituality-- and that instead it should be god in a personal form who is the real aim.
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Re: Impersonal or Personal?

Postby DavidB » Thu Apr 07, 2016 10:11 am

The Supreme Personality of the Godhead said: Those who fix their minds on My personal form and are always engaged in worshiping me with great and transcendental faith are considered by Me to be most perfect.


I'd imagine the supreme 'personality' would say that. The fact that it represents the supreme 'personality' of the godhead, may somewhat biased its perspective.

It seems to make sense to me that a person should not worship the impersonal as the absolute goal of spirituality-- and that instead it should be god in a personal form who is the real aim.


You're right, we ought not worship the impersonal, we ought not worship anything at all. Rather, we ought to realize that the impersonal God consciousness and the personal individual consciousness are one and the same.
“Wisdom is knowing I am nothing, Love is knowing I am everything, and between the two my life moves.” ― Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj
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Re: Impersonal or Personal?

Postby naktibalda » Thu Apr 07, 2016 6:19 pm

No that's not what I'm saying at all. It is much more fearful if God is a person, because then why do I feel imperfect? The only answer is that I must have turned away from his personality to the impersonal aspect. I believe this is what Maya tries to get men to do. She lures them from the personal God into worshipping the impersonal feature and thus men loose their personalities. Even if you don't believe you are worshipping a god, you are. The idea of the inconceivable as being the ultimate is still impersonal. Chaos is impersonal. It's much harder to believe that God has a personality. So why did you turn away from Him? Because the impersonal was so alluring. Instead I choose the personal.
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Re: Impersonal or Personal?

Postby Enlightened2B » Thu Apr 07, 2016 10:08 pm

Understand the time that the Gita was written, in that the wording cannot be taken at face value. I'm not sure if you are taking the wording literally as to mean a God separate from you or that you do understand that God IS you.

Yet, that aside, the point of that quote, as I take it is that, worshiping the impersonal often leads people to bypass their human lives and not live their lives. Human incarnation is not about constantly striving for an impersonal relationship with the absolute (you already ARE the absolute and it is not something you can attain, since you cannot attain that which you already are), but instead is meant for us to BRING the impersonal (our true nature) into the personal through our own unique expression of that impersonal. The impersonal and the personal are not separate. That's where Eckhart Tolle's teachings succeed.

How you integrate that impersonal within your own unique life is entirely up to you and we each do it differently. Embracing your humanness and learning to love yourself is a great start. Personally, I don't even even the jive with the term impersonal. Ultimately, it's all impersonal, but each of us is the arms and legs that together make up that impersonal.

But, that aside, what exactly is your question? :D
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Re: Impersonal or Personal?

Postby DavidB » Fri Apr 08, 2016 12:17 pm

naktibalda wrote:It is much more fearful if God is a person, because then why do I feel imperfect?


It's part of the human condition to be imperfect, all forms are imperfect. Being imperfect is not a personal problem, it is part of the human condition.

naktibalda wrote:So why did you turn away from Him? Because the impersonal was so alluring. Instead I choose the personal.


I didn't choose to turn away from Him, I chose to not live in misery and suffering, I chose not to continue to manifest an imagined sense of self, with all it's problems, hang ups and dysfunctional personalities. Ultimately, I chose to be consciously aware of what was creating my suffering and then realized what would end that suffering.

I don't know, maybe what you are saying is being lost in translation? It is interesting though.
“Wisdom is knowing I am nothing, Love is knowing I am everything, and between the two my life moves.” ― Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj
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Re: Impersonal or Personal?

Postby naktibalda » Tue Apr 19, 2016 1:11 am

Focusing on the unmanifested is not the final goal. You would rather be here and living than liberated to the impersonal efflugence. Here's two quotes on this subject:

O Lord, You are the master, and I am Your servant. I do not desire any kind
of liberation from the bonds of repeated birth and death that will also
break our relationship

- Hanuman


Our real disease is that conditioned souls want to enjoy independent
of God; when one is frustrated in one's attempts for material
enjoyment, one turns to inquiring into the Absolute, but because of
this deep- rooted spirit of independent-mindedness one becomes
attracted to impersonal speculations by which one can philosophically
put God out of existence and conveniently continue the illusion of
being independent of the Lord. Obviously, if ultimately there is only
non-differentiated Brahman, there is no need for my surrender or
submission to anyone, you see! Therefore, not only the acharyas but
even Lord Krishna Himself soundly defeats this dangerous misconception
throughout the Bhagavad- Gita, for the benefit of conditioned souls,
so that we may not be misled.

- HH Romapada


Higher than identity, there is personality. If you dive into the impersonal light you may lose your personality and that's a greater loss than an identity which you may gain.
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