If the personal God of Vaikuntha—who is the Supreme Brahman—, would not have any sort of influence over His direct personal associates, they could be considered independently powerful. Manifesting the will and strength to voluntarily leave the personal company of the Lord tantamount to be equal to Him. It requires having the capacity of being indifferent to Krishna’s all-attractive loving characteristic, as His very name indicates. Therefore the jivas would be all-powerful or exactly equal to the Supreme Brahman.
If as personal companions of the Lord, the jivas could consciously or willingly exercise an independent capacity of turning back into their primordial shape as spiritual sparks, whenever they desire so, the consequent consideration would be that as the parts and parcels of the Supreme could do so (i.e., to become “merged” in their spark-like primordial aspect), the Lord also would have the same propensity (since now He can be understood as the conglomerate of all jivas) and ultimately become “merged” in His own Brahman aspect. Under such concept then the impersonal Brahman becomes the primordial aspect of God.
The faulty assumption that the jivas could or want to leave the personal company of the Lord leads to the establishment of a Mayavada philosophy. Such theory would only lead to the idea that the ultimate personalistic realization of achieving one’s final spiritual form (our svarupa in the spiritual realm) could be indistinctly turned into impersonal (by becoming again a spiritual spark either in the brahmajyoti or in a material body), and it could be only a matter of the jiva’s exclusive independent consideration. Therefore, this faulty reasoning should be considered a misguiding philosophy, also known as apa-siddhanta.
Mankind’s four main conceptions to understand the Absolute Truth manifest from the Vedic literature of ancient India, and the Scriptures from Middle East. This knowledge gave way to the major religions commonly known today as: Hinduism, Judaism, Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam. The four main philosophical conceptions drawn from their theological postulates are:
1. Voidism: The ultimate attainment of nothingness, or the total dissolution of one’s identity in Complete Emptiness. It is driven by gross materialism, as taught by Kanada through his Vaisheshika philosophy; and is also revealed as a spiritual goal through the Shuniavada philosophy as propounded by Siddhartha Gautama, the original Buddha (c.563-c.483 BC). Both philosophies were originally delineated in what today is known as the Indian subcontinent.
2. Impersonalism: To merge one’s identity in the Complete Oneness of the Formless Absolute Truth as Light-Energy-Love. Propounded by the Indian born acharya Sri Shankar (788-820 AC) through his Advaitavada philosophy. This conception is directly or indirectly practiced in almost all religions of the world.
3. Antipersonalism: To neglect the personal loving service attitude or direct companionship of Godhead in the Paradise or the Garden of Eden, or even in the very spiritual realm, by dint of consciously or unconsciously rejecting Him. Propounded in the Bible through the fall of Adam and Eve. Officially introduced in Vaishnavism for the first time in history by the majority of leaders of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, through the ISKCON-GBC PRESS publication of 1996 entitled Our Original Position. The Sanskrit word to identify this philosophy is “Patanavada” (patana: falling down; vada: philosophical speculation or conclusion). This is the first time in history when a need to use this Sanskrit term has arisen, since this philosophical proposal does not exist in Vedic or Vaishnava literature.
4. Personalism: To practice eternal service—by means of a transcendental body—to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Who Himself has a transcendental body of unlimited powers and from Whom everything emanates. Lightly proposed in the Christian religion, and thoroughly explained in Vaishnava philosophy. Throughout the Vedas it has been understood that Vaishnavism has never been historically established since it eternally exists. Vaishnavism refers to the inherent status of all living entities as parts and parcels of Godhead. Since the Vaishnava conception is all embracing, its philosophical principles apply to any religion, cult, faith or spiritual movement in all universes.
Each of the above described ways of attaining to the Ultimate Goal of life manifest the following conceptions about the identity of the soul:
1. Voidism: The Goal is to merge in the Total Void —which is described as the Tatastha Area or Viraja-nadi in Vaishnava literature—, and any proposal to conceive an identity for the soul is illusory. It is the law of karma that promotes the idea of existence. Therefore, the Ultimate Goal is to deride any possible identity of the self by disintegrating the circle of birth and death (samsara), and become total nil.
2. Impersonalism: The Goal is to merge in the all-pervading Light-Energy-Love of the Absolute, and become imbibed in its Complete Homogeneous Oneness the individuality of the soul is illusory.
By Followers of the Bible: 1- The soul has been in the Garden of Eden or Heaven under the impersonal supervision of God, from where it was thrown out. 2- The rebellious souls on earth are forever condemned to suffer in Hell. 3- The deep belief that only a small sect or caste of followers are the exclusive chosen of God. From these concepts the following consequences are drawn: The identity of Godhead remains impersonal —somehow equal to the Vedic version of the Heavenly planets. The identity of the soul is characterized by constant displeasures, whether on earth and obviously in Hell —which is similar to the Vedic conclusions. Therefore the Goal is to recognize that God’s behavior and Identity are inconceivable, and to be dogmatically followed. Thus God’s will is dogmatically autocratic, incomprehensible, and to some God doesn't reach Hell since it is controlled by an independent dark entity. Thus those claiming to be the CHOOSEN ones are meant to reach the same position of SUPREME INDIVIDUALITY as God —a state of consciousness also observed by some followers of the Vedas, or the orthodox Caste Brahmins.
A philosophical misconception never officially found in the Vedas. The patanavada misconception was introduced by the official ISKCON GBC Resolutions Nos. 79-80 of 1995, and further confirmed in 1996 through the ISKCON GBC PRESS official publication Our Constitutional Position: Since the soul has been in the spiritual realm of Krishnaloka or Vaikuntha, thus engaged in the personal company of Sri Krishna or Lord Narayana, and fell down to the material world due to envy, these consequences are drawn: The identity of the Lord as of a weird being who lacks full control over the spiritual kingdom. The identity of the soul is of eternal displeasure since it cannot be happy in the divine realm nor the material world, thus is better to become a CHOOSEN ONE —or a specially selected "acharya"—, and enjoy life as EQUAL TO GOD. The Patanavada goal is to DOGMATICALLY admit that the soul is envious of the Lord's personal company, even in the spiritual world. Thus, it should be subliminally admitted that the soul is equal to Krishna, since He cannot lovingly control, or retain the direct personal company of anyone willing to leave His personal company. One may worship Krishna, but will consider that when the soul acquires again the identity of a minute spiritual spark after leaving the spiritual world, the following truths manifest:
a) The law of karma is fully active in the realm of Krishna.
b) The soul has two undifferentiated eternal identities, as a spiritual spark and as a spiritual body as well, which can be used independently at free will. Consequently, an antipersonalist or patanavadi understands that there are equal benefits in any of those identities.
d) Since the soul has a spiritual body that holds the strength and power to face Krishna as an equal, thus being able to override his sweetness or supposed attraction, an antipersonalist enjoys independence as a spiritual spark after leaving Him again —proper of mayavadis and patanavadis.
e) Since the shastras declare that Brahman is the conglomerate of all souls, it confirms that being SUPREMELY INDEPENDENT all souls are as powerful as Krishna, and happier being spiritual sparks.
Thus any true patanavadi student will have to finally conclude that one is not different from Krishna in all respects, whether in the spiritual realm or the material realm. However, a seeker should practice to worship Krishna to fully realize it. Subsequently, since only exists the unstable state of being in either the spiritual or material realms at intervals, one gradually learns to exploit others for gross or subtle pleasure. Although aimed to play the role of Krishna’s servant, the patanavada philosophy finally induces to worship Krishna to gradually reject him, since it is Krishna who created all this incongruent eternal reality. The patanavada philosophy exposes the conditioned soul to becoming exhausted of his unsubstantiated faith in Krishna and turns against Him. Thus, this process is called Antipersonalism or betrayed Personalism.
4. Personalism: The Means to the Goal is to practice vaidhi-sadhana-bhakti or/and raganuga-sadhana-bhakti under the strict observance of Vaishnava principles, and following the directions of guru-sadhu-shastra. The Goal is to unveil the constitutional spiritual body or siddha-deha, which is eternally lying in a seed form in the soul’s inherent identity manifested as a spiritual spark. Once having revealed a spiritual body, the soul can never lose it to become a spiritual spark again, and thus eternally serves the Supreme Personality of Godhead in one of His various eternal Identities. Therefore the identity of the soul is of eternal submissive eternal individuality, which is exercised through loving relationships in transcendental dynamics.