Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj illuminates the spirit of sincere spiritual discussion.
You see too much discussion may oppose faith. Ultimately everything is adhoksaja [transcendental]. Krishna is adhoksaja and approachable only through faith. He is not approachable by intellect, reason, or argument. Argument is necessary to help intellectual people to a certain extent. But to want that everything must come within one’s fist is drawback for a devotee. As much as possible we try to understand Krishna and explain Him to others, but at the same time we maintain within our subconscious that everything is backed by Krishna’s sweet will and that nothing can be measured.
maya tatam idam sarvam
(Srimad Bhagavad-gita: 9.4)
“I am everywhere; I am nowhere. Everything is within Me; nothing is in Me. Find my position through your intellect if you can, O Arjun.”
We must always keep this warning on our brain. Then we shall go to analyse, and analyse, and analyse. Ultimately we must think, “He is unknown and unknowable, and everything in His hand. He is everywhere; He is nowhere. Everything is in Him, and nothing is in Him.”
He is achintya [inconceivable]. Mahaprabhu said achintya-bhedabheda: Krishna is not within the fist of anyone. Everything is controlled by His sweet will. Our brain has been warned in this way. We try to discuss Krishna, but too much intellectualism hampers our faith. Our faith may be based on intellectual understanding, and in the madhyam-adhikar [intermediate stage of devotional practice] it is necessary. Thus Bhakti Vinod Thakur said that the madhyam-adhikar is a dangerous one. By deluding us with intellectualism, God may also forbid us from coming to perfect theism from the madhyam-adhikar. And a kanishta-adhikari [neophyte practitioner], if he comes in contact with an uttam-adhikari [advanced practitioner], can clearly pass over the madhyam-adhikar. So the madhyam-adhikar is a dangerous zone.
It is necessary, however, to a certain extent, to consolidate our faith.
siddhanta baliya chitte nā kara alasa
iha ha-ite kṛṣṇe lage sudridha manasa
(Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita: Adi-lila, 2.117)
But we must always remember that the intellect should help to strengthen our faith. Shraddha [faith] can approach the infinite. The intellect can never approach the infinite. Only shraddha can, and how much shraddha we can hope to have? A bit; a bit of shraddha. “Nothing is impossible in the infinite.” On the basis of our experience, how much shraddha we can develop? When we discuss the shrota-siddhanta [scriptural truths], the positive thing that has been given to us, we try our best to use our experience to understand its wholesome character. But trying to do this too much will disturb our faith. The possibility for that is there. In the background we must always remember, “He is unknown, and His ways are unknowable. I cannot bring Him within my fist.”
The intellect should not disregard the characteristic of Krishna that shraddha can reach. Krishna’s jurisdiction should not be encroached on by the intellect. His sweet will should not be pushed. Krishna’s sweet will, His independence, should not be cornered. The intellect should not be indulged in that way. “He is all-in-all. He can make and mar.” This understanding will help us. Shraddha, faith, will help us!
tad viddhi pranipatena pariprashnena sevaya
(Srimad Bhagavad-gita: 4.34)
Pariprashna [sincere inquiry] is allowed. Pariprashna means questions which help one’s faith, seeking conclusions which help one’s faith. So questions should be put forth only to corroborate one’s faith. With that caution we shall try to know anything and everything, but we should understand that we are limited and we are going to tackle the unlimited. This idea must never be forgotten at any stage in our discussion.
Hare Krishna Gauraharibol Gauraharibol Nitai Nitai.