Jiva Tattva

by Srila Bhakti Ballabh Tirtha Maharaja

Sri Sri Guru Gaurangau Jayatah!

Dear Prabhujis and Matajis,
Dandavat Pranams.

Answering one of the questions by a devotee about Jiva Tattva, Our Most Revered Srila Gurudev, out of deep compassion, said the following. He said, "This answer is for everyone. Everyone should know this." When I asked, "Do you want me to send it to devotees?", He said, "Yes." It is Srila Gurudev's wish that all of us read the following answer.

Prahlad Das

Srila Gurudev: Supreme Lord Sri Krishna and the jivas are eternally related with each other. Lord Sri Chiatanya Mahaprabhu has termed this relation as Achintya-bhed-abhed. This means we are different and simultaneously non-different from Supreme Lord Sri Krishna.

When I was at home I had several doubts about jiva-tattva, bhagwad-tattva, etc. in my mind and I used to write letters to my Most Revered Srila Gurudev. One time Srila Gurudev asked me to read 'Jaiva-dharma', written by Srila Bhakti Vinode Thakura. I went to a library and got that book. When the book was issued to me, the librarian said, "You are the first person who has asked for this book. So far no one has got this issued." When I read `Jaiva dharma', all my doubts about jiva-tattva and bhagvad-tattva were clarified. You may also read Jaiva-dharma. You will get all the answers to your questions because Srila Bhakti Vinode Thakura is not an ordinary human being. He is Sri Kamal Manjari in Goloka-lila.

The jivas here means all the living entities, including beasts and birds. There are 8,400,000 kinds of living entities. In Manu Samhita it is said:

jalaja nava laksani sthavara laksa vimsati
krmayo rudra-sankhyakah paksinam dasa laksanam
trimsal laksani pasavah catur laksani manusah
`There are 900,000 kinds of aquatics, 2,000,000 kinds of trees and plants, 1,100,000 kinds of insects and reptiles, 1,000,000 kinds of birds, 3,000,000 kinds of four-legged beasts, and 400,000 kinds of human species.'

The human birth is very rare and one should not lose this precious opportunity. Only human beings have got the capacity to worship Supreme Lord. Other living entities have got no capacity. So it is not wise to lose the precious human birth for mundane pleasures. In Srimad Bhagavatam (11.9.29) it is said,

labdhva sudurlabham idam bahu-sambhavante
manusyam arthadam anityam apiha dhirah
turnam yateta na pated anu mrtyu yavan
nihsreyasaya visayah khalu sarvatah syat
`This human form of life is obtained after many, many births, and although it is not permanent, it can offer the highest benefits. Therefore a sober and intelligent man should immediately try to attain the highest benefit in life before another death occurs. One should avoid sense gratification, which is available in all circumstances.'
Our Most Revered Paramguru-Padapadma Nityalila Pravista Om 108 Sri Srimad Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur Prabhupad had spoken on the above verse continuously for a month at Ultadanga, Kolkata. In spite of that he was not satisfied. Two students of Scottish Church College, Kolkata went there to see. Our Most Revered Srila Param-Gurudev said that even a moment of human birth should not be wasted. The two students said that they have come only to see what was happening there and that they have to go back to their home. Srila Prabhupad said, "turnam – immediately you should start the worship of Supreme Lord."
The two students then said, "Oh! Our house is burning."
Srila Prabhupad, "Let it burn."
The students, "Our neighboring houses will get burnt."
Srila Prabhupad, "Let the entire world burn. You are brahma-bhuta (of the Lord and from the Lord) not samsara-bhuta (of this world and from this world)."
Later the two students stayed in the Math.

Sri Prahlad Maharaj instructs in Srimad Bhagavatam (7.6.1)

kaumara acaret prajno dharman bhagavatan iha
durlabham manusam janma tad apy adhruvam arthadam

`One who is sufficiently intelligent should use the human form of body from the tender age of childhood to practice the activities of devotional service, giving up all other engagements. The human body is most rarely achieved, and although temporary like other bodies, it is meaningful because in human life one can perform devotional service.'

Hence it is unwise to use this human birth, which is rare, for transitory happiness. We may lose this opportunity any time. We will fall down to lower species. It happened with king Bharat. He left his kingdom and family to worship Supreme Lord. He went to fetch some water. Then he saw a pregnant female deer jumping over the water pool. She gave birth to a child-deer and died. Thinking that the child is motherless, he started taking care of him and in the process he got attached to the child-deer. Since he remembered the deer at the time of his death, he had to take birth as deer in his next life. But he remembered his past life and the reason for his birth as a deer. He did not mix with other deers, instead associated with sadhus. Again in his next life he became Jada Bharat and attained Lord in that life. So, we may also lose this opportunity anytime. Those who have got human birth should worship Supreme Lord Sree Krishna under all circumstances.

My Memoirs

After I got my M. A. degree…
All people, whether Hindus or Muslims, knew me very well in my village. When I went there after finishing my M. A. degree, people were after me. Everyone would ask me to teach their children. I taught one child for 2 days but I did not like. After that I did not go. When I met on the way, his father asked, "What happened? Why have you not come?" I did not say that I am going (to join Math). He said, "You have to teach at least for a month." But I denied. I said, "Can you pay me for two days?" Later he paid me for entire month. The village people used to trouble me so much saying "Teach my child, teach my child." Somehow I escaped from there. It is very difficult if you are the only educated person in a village (laughs).

Childhood plays
Our grandfather was our enemy (laughing). Whenever we used to play he used to come with a cane in his hand to beat us. One day all of my friends ran away but I could not run. He has caught me and taken me. Out of fear I went to my mother and sat in her lap. My fear was gone. My grandfather would come and say, "You!" and would show me the stick. I did not fear as I was in my mother's lap. Even now I remember. If you are in your mother's lap you are fearless, is it not? I have observed it many times.

My mother's affection…
I used to play daily in the veranda. One day I hit a stone and fell down. I could not breathe properly. There were many old women and grandmothers sitting little far. I was signaling them but nobody came. All of a sudden my mother came there, somehow. She came towards me but suddenly took a turn in another direction because she did not see me. Later she saw me and came to me running. Then she rubbed me and I could breathe properly after that. Then I understood that even if mother is far from the child she knows about him. Those who were close by did not come to me. I have seen this practically. That relation (mother-child) is very different. She was some where; somehow she knew that her child is in trouble. She came running and none of those who were sitting there came. There is a gulf of difference.

My first meeting with Gurudev..
Our Radha Mohan Prabhu was clerk to my uncle, who was an advocate. When Guruji stayed at his (Radha Mohan Prabhu's) house, I wanted to see him. Sri Radha Mohan Prabhu said, "Guruji is a great saint. Because we worship Radha Krishna, Mahaprabhu at house, all devotees like us. So he is in our house. We also do not eat items that are not offered." So I went there to see Gurudeva. Along with me was my college friend. Guruji was speaking there at that time and I heard him. But I did not understand anything that Gurudev spoke. The language (philosophy) was totally new to me. Now I use those words but that time I did not know that terminology. I used to wear shoes and have hair on my head that time as I was a student then. Listening to Gurudeva, I only understood that he is a Krishna Bhakta. I thought, "I want Krishna Bhakti, I'll go." I did not understand anything more than that.

Wherever Gurudev went I followed him. After few days Gurudev was supposed to go to another village and a river was needed to be crossed. Now-a-days there is steamer but that time there was only boat. Many people from my village went there to take darsan of Gurudev. They said to me, "You have inclination to hear Harikatha. Come there. We are going, you also come there." My father was next to me that time. I was afraid. So I did not say anything; I was silent. Neither could I go nor could I ask my father. I did not have enough courage to speak to my father. So many people went there but I did not go. Later I had written a letter and sent it through Radha Mohan Prabhu. Guruji also replied to his address. I used to go to his place and listen Hari katha from him. Sometimes after I returned home from Radha Mohan Prabhu's house, my grandmother used to serve food and I used to say, "I ate there because here the food is not offered." She used to scold me, "You have gone mad."

After I joined Math...
After I joined math, I got a letter from my father. I asked Guru Maharaj if I can reply. He said, "No. If you reply, you will go home. You will not be able to stay in Math." My heart was floundering. After few days I got another letter. My mind got disturbed. I went to Guru Maharaj. He said, "I told you already. If you reply, you will not be able to stay here." Some days later, about 32-34 persons from my village came there to Hazra Road (Kolkata) in search for me. I was sent by Guru Maharaj to another place. I did not understand the reason. They searched for me there but did not find me. They made all arrangements for my marriage. They wanted to take me and get married. Guruji asked one devotee to take me to station. I was surprised why Guruji wanted me to go all of a sudden. If those persons had seen me, it would have been difficult for me.

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