The Chicken and the Egg,
Nondualism and God
Swami Jnaneshvara Bharati
Below are two very different views on the relationship between the notion of a Dualistic/Dvaita "God" and the Nondual/Advaita (Brahman) reality. Both sets of quotes are from commentaries on the Bhagavad Gita by Swami Bhaktivedanta Prabhupada and Swami Rama.
Like the question of which comes first, the chicken or the egg, these two swamis have opposite views of which comes first, the nondual reality (Brahman) or the dualistic God (in this case Krishna). One opines that the realization of Brahman is easy and that the higher realization is of the dualistic Krishna. The other opines that gods are projections of the unconscious mind of the ignorant.
Swami Bhaktivedanta Prabhupada founded ISKCON, the International Society of Krishna Consciousness, popularly known as the "Hari Krishnas". Swami Rama of the Himalayas founded several organizations under the general name Himalayan Institute of Yoga Science and Philosophy, and the well known Himalayan Institute of Medical Sciences in India. Both have written many books and taught many people. Both have left the body.
"The first six chapters of the Gita are meant for those who are interested in transcendental knowledge, in understanding the self, the Superself and the process of realization by jnana-yoga, dhyana-yoga and discrimination of the self from matter. However, Krishna can be known only by persons who are in Krishna consciousness. Other transcendentalists may achieve impersonal Brahman realization, for this is easier than understanding Krishna. Krishna is the Supreme Person, but at the same time He is beyond the knowledge of Brahman and Paramatma. The yogis and jnanis are confused in their attempts to understand Krishna.... it is very difficult to know Krishna, even though one has transcendental realization of impersonal Brahman."
"The ignorant think that gods dwell in celestial worlds and have power to control human destiny. Such gods are merely projections of one's internal organization, the creation of gods in the external world is a projection of the unconscious. The belief in gods was created to help those who are not aware of their internal resources and are in need of an objectification of supernatural powers. They need to believe in gods that will help them fulfill desires that they feel inadequate to fulfill through their own means. It is said that those who have seen gods are fools, for they have seen something of their own self and mistakenly believe that they have seen gods. Externalists have created gods for their own convenience, but in actuality those gods are symbols of unknown phenomena that occur within.
"For those aspirants who cannot contemplate on the attributeless Eternal, symbols are recommended by spiritual teachers. In the path of meditation certain symbols are used to make the mind one-pointed. The student is then advised to go beyond the symbol to comprehend its meaning rather than remaining dependent on the symbol forever. Thus in meditation one leaves the symbol behind and goes forward.
"The ignorant worship the symbols without knowing and understanding that which lives behind and beyond the symbol. But if one is capable of exploring that which is being expressed by the symbol, he may eventually discover the existence of the formless archetype that is clothed in the forms of the symbol. With further work he may attain direct experience of the archetypes, not as objects but by becoming on with the archetypes themselves."