By His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda
Lord Vishnu cannot be placed within the category of the demigods. Those who are actually bewildered by the Māyāvāda philosophy and are still in the darkness of ignorance consider Lord Vishnu to be a demigod, in defiance of the Rig-vedic mantra om tad visnoh paramam padam (“Vishnu is always in a superior position”). This mantra is confirmed in the Bhagavad-gitā: mattah parataram nānyat [Bg. 7.7]—there is no truth superior to Lord Krishna, or Vishnu. Thus only those whose knowledge has been bewildered consider Lord Vishnu to be a demigod and therefore suggest that one may worship either Lord Vishnu, the goddess Kālī (Durgā) or whomever one likes and achieve the same result. This is an ignorant conclusion that is not accepted in the Bhagavad-gita (9.25), which distinctly says, yānti deva-vratā devān . . . yānti mad-yājino ’pi mām: The worshipers of the demigods will be promoted to the respective planets of the demigods, but devotees of the Supreme Lord will go back home, back to Godhead. Lord Krishna explains very clearly in the Bhagavad-gita (7.14) that His material energy is very difficult to overcome: daivī hy esā guna-mayī mama māyā duratyayā. Māyā’s influence is so strong that even learned scholars and spiritualists are also covered by māyā and think themselves to be as good as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Actually, however, to free oneself from the influence of māyā one must surrender to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, as Krishna also states in the Bhagavad-gita (7.14): mām eva ye prapadyante māyām etām taranti te. It is to be concluded, therefore, that Lord Vishnu does not belong to this material creation but to the spiritual world. To misconceive Lord Vishnu to have a material body or to equate Him with the demigods is the most offensive blasphemy against Lord Vishnu, and offenders against the lotus feet of Lord Vishnu cannot advance in spiritual knowledge. They are called māyayāpahrta-jnāna, or those whose knowledge has been stolen by the influence of illusion.
There is no difference between Lord Vishnu’s body and Vishnu’s soul
One who thinks that there is a difference between Lord Vishnu’s body and His soul dwells in the darkest region of ignorance. There is no difference between Lord Vishnu’s body and Vishnu’s soul, for they are advaya-jnāna, one knowledge. In this world there is a difference between the material body and the spiritual soul, but in the spiritual world everything is spiritual and there are no such differences. The greatest offense of the Māyāvādī philosophers is to consider Lord Vishnu and the living entities to be one and the same. In this connection the Padma Purāna states, arcye visnau silā-dhir gurusu nara-matir vaisnave jāti-buddhih . . yasya vā nārakī sah: “One who considers the arcā-mūrti, the worshipable Deity of Lord Vishnu, to be stone, the spiritual master to be an ordinary human being, and a Vaishnava to belong to a particular caste or creed is possessed of hellish intelligence.” One who follows such conclusions is doomed.
[Bhaktivedanta Purport to the Chaitanya Charitamrita Adi 7.115]