Śrīla Bhakti Rakṣak Śrīdhar Dev-Goswāmī Mahārāj points out the shared defects in absolute monism and scientific materialism.
Does advaita [non-duality] mean that we are in an organic whole or a nondifferentiated whole? The whole, advaita, advaya-jñān [non-dual knowledge], is admitted by all spiritual thinking men. But what is the proper conception of advaita? Do other things remain within it or does everything vanish into a nondifferentiated oneness? If everything vanishes, then how has everything sprung up from that position? The concept of such nondifferentiated oneness is just like that of the fossil, a spiritual fossil we may say. Why can’t we admit that an organic whole can be eternal? Why can only nondifferentiated static be eternal? Why shouldn’t advaita be something dynamic? Why shouldn’t the eternal substance be a cosmos, a harmonised whole? Our conception of advaita should be that of an organism, an organic whole, a dynamic harmony. Otherwise, we are forced to think that the dynamic has sprung up from the static, that a static state is the origin. If that is so, then where does motion come from? And if the static is not conscious, then where does consciousness come from? Whether we conceive of our origin as a fossil or as Brahma [non-differentiated spirit], we face the same difficulty.
Why must things of lower nature be able to produce things of higher nature? Why can’t things of higher nature be permanent? Why when the question of eternity comes must we have a static conception, either one of the fossil or that of Brahma?
From equilibrium, movement comes? Why can’t movement be eternal? We find that in the sky nothing can remain static; everything is moving. Recently, this satellite Sputnik was sent into space, and what have we found? That it is always moving, and that it is difficult to make it stay fixed in one position.
So, we see that dynamic character is natural even outside the earth. Dynamic character should be seen as the eternal thing, the basis of everything, and the static should be understood as a diseased condition, a paralysed condition of the dynamic. The dynamic is the original, and the static is artificial. That is the basis of Vaiṣṇava-dharma.
Why must the original thing be static and of the very lowest order? And why must whatever good or higher things that exist have to have sprung up from that fossil? That is a bad mentality. The revealed truth has always said: “There is God. He said, ‘Let there be water. Let there be light.’ And there was light, and there was water.” In this way, the truth expresses itself. By His order, things come into existence. It is not that a lower thing is producing God, a fossil is producing God. Rather, God is producing the fossil.
Spoken 22 September 1981.