A Response to the Controversy: Origin Of Jiva Tattva

by Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayan Gosvami Maharaja

[Srila Narayana Maharaja recently gave a 5-day seminar in Paderdon, Germany, on the first two chapters of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura's Jaiva Dharma. One of the important topics in Chapter Two is the nature and origin of jiva-tattva. Therefore, in his class explaining that chapter, Srila Maharaja took the opportunity to discuss the controversy over whether or not the living entity fell from the spiritual world. Srila Maharaja had given a very similar class one year earlier, in Badger, California (New Vraja) on June 2, 2000. Therefore, rather than re-invent the wheel, or rather than transcribe this recent Dec.15th lecture, we pray that the lecture of June 2nd will give you inspiration.]

If you want to have krsna-prema, you will have to follow the six Gosvamis. Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami, Srila Jiva Gosvami, Srila Rupa Gosvami -- all were like this. None are inferior to the other. When we will try to judge, we will see that each one of them is so high. We will not be able to decide. They were so humble, knowing all these special truths. If we want to achieve the goal of our life, which is krsna-prema, we will have to follow in this birth. Or, if it is not possible to fully follow in this birth, we will have to gradually follow the process for lakhs and lakhs of births. It may take a day or a moment, but you will have to follow. There is no other way. Better to follow in this life.

Sri Sanatana Gosvami asked Mahaprabhu, "I have come to this world, but I don't know who I am. Who am I?" Mahaprabhu replied…

[Sripad Aranya Maharaja:] Sri Caitanya Caritamrta, Madhya lila, chapter 20, text 102: 'ke ami kene amaya jare tapa-traya, iha nahi jani kemane hita haya'. Translation by Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. In this verse Srila Sanatana Gosvamipada is inquiring from Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. "Who am I? Why do the threefold miseries always give me trouble? If I do not know this, how can I be benefited? Actually, I do not know how to inquire about sadhya, the goal of life, and sadhana, the process for obtaining it. Being merciful upon me. Please explain all these truths."

[Srila Narayana Maharaja:] I consider that, "I am Narayana Maharaja." He considers that, "I am Isa prabhu", "I am Krsna Bhajana prabhu." Why did this question come? Really, none of us know who we are by constitution. Mahaprabhu is telling Sanatana Gosvami, "You know everything, but you are questioning for the benefit of others. Sadhura svabhava… ["Therefore He is saying that 'By the grace of Krsna you are empowered, and so you have come to Me to help Me. You are asking. That is very good on your part because jani, you know everything." Dardhya lagi' puche sadhura svabhava. A sadhu, a saintly person, although he knows everything, still he remains very humble and tries to confirm from the higher authorities, 'I think this is right. Is it not right?' He knows it is all right, but still he waits for the higher authority to confirm it. So this is the relationship between Sanatana Gosvami and Caitanya Mahaprabhu.' (1976 Cc. Mad.20.105 lecture by Srila Prabhupada)] Why do sadhus ask questions? To confirm. Therefore you are asking." Then He said, "You are not really Sanatana, in the sense that you are not this physical body. Jivera svarupa haya…" What has Srila Swami Maharaja written?

[Sripad Aranya Maharaja:] Caitanya Mahaprabhu replied to Sanatana Gosvami, "It is the living entity's constitutional position to be an eternal servant of Krsna, because he is tatastha sakti, the marginal energy of Krsna, and a manifestation, simultaneously one and different from the Lord, like a molecular particle of sunshine or fire."

[Srila Narayana Maharaja:] Mahaprabhu is answering, "Jivera svarupa haya…By constitution, all human beings, all creatures, birds, animals, even trees and creepers, even very small worms and insects, those who somehow have life -- are all by constitution eternal servants of Krsna. So we are also like this. Krsnera tatastha sakti. All souls are tatastha sakti parinam."

[Sripad Aranya Maharaja:] They are the transformation of the marginal potency.

[Srila Narayana Maharaja:] They are not the transformation of hladini and samvit. They are not from the spiritual world. Then Mahaprabhu is telling, "Krsna bhuli' sei jiva."

[Sripad Aranya Maharaja:] Mahaprabhu continued, "Forgetting Krsna, the living entity has been attracted by the external feature from time immemorial. Therefore, the illusory energy, maya, gives him all kinds of misery in this material existence."

[Srila Narayana Maharaja:] Here a question comes. If all souls are eternal servants of Krsna, then when did they become bahirmukha? When did they become adverse to Krsna? Why did they turn away from Krsna? Krsna dasa Kaviraja Gosvami has explained this by quoting the version of Caitanya Mahaprabhu: "krsna bhuli' sei jiva" Who is the jiva? He is the eternal servant of Krsna. He is tatastha-sakti: not pure svarupa-sakti. This should be remembered always. The jiva is a manifestation of svarupa-sakti. From svarup-sakti comes Krsna, Nrsimha, Rama, and so on. They are svansa, and they have come from there. The vibhinnansa-tattva jiva never came from svarupa-sakti, and therefore he is called vibhinnansa jiva. Why did he become adverse to Krsna? This is the question. If he is Krsna's eternal servant, he must serve Him. This is explained in chapter 22, verses 10-13, beginning, 'sei vibhinnansa jiva.'

[Sripad Aranya Maharaja:] "The living entities, the jivas, are divided into two categories."

[Srila Narayana Maharaja:] Yes, the jiva has been divided into two categories.

[Sripad Aranya Maharaja:] "Some are nitya-mukta, eternally liberated, and others are eternally conditioned."

[Srila Narayana Maharaja:] Eternally?

[Sripad Aranya Maharaja:] Conditioned.

[Srila Narayana Maharaja:] What does it mean? Eternally? What is the meaning?

[Sripad Aranya Maharaja:] Eternally conditioned.

[Sripad Brajanatha Prabhu:] Eternally, what does it mean?

[Sripad Aranya Maharaja:] Eternally? Forever.

[Srila Narayana Maharaja:] No.

[Devotee:] The time that we have been conditioned is so vast that it cannot be calculated, but it doesn't mean forever.

[Srila Narayana Maharaja:] Yes. Then, 'nitya-mukta nitya krsna carane unmukha.'

[Sripad Aranya Maharaja:] "Those who are eternally liberated…."

[Srila Narayana Maharaja:] Those who are senior should very carefully hear this. Those who are beginners cannot understand, but they should also try to understand.

[Sripad Aranya Maharaja:] "Those who are eternally liberated…"

[Srila Narayana Maharaja:] This is a very prominent thing.

[Sripad Aranya Maharaja:] "Those who are eternally liberated are always awake to Krsna consciousness and they render transcendental loving service at the feet of Lord Krsna. They are to be considered eternal associates of Krsna."

[Srila Narayana Maharaja:] They are eternal associates of Krsna; always engaged in serving Krsna. There is no maya; only yogamaya. They are always tasting and relishing this sweetness of serving Krsna. They cannot forget Krsna or be adverse to Him. Never, never. Their love and affection will always be new, new, new, new and renewed. And even if there is no place to be new, still it renews.

[Sripad Aranya Maharaja:] 'Nitya bandha krsna haite.'

[Srila Narayana Maharaja:] What is the meaning?

[Sripad Aranya Maharaja:] "Apart from the ever-liberated devotees, there are conditioned souls." Separate from the liberated souls, there are the conditioned souls.

[Srila Narayana Maharaja:] 'Krsna haite nitya bahira-mukha.' The second category of jiva has never tasted or served Krsna. Never. And therefore this category is called 'nitya bahir-mukha.' From the beginning they are bahir-mukha. 'Nitya-samsara bhunje narakadi duhkha.'

[Sripad Aranya Maharaja:] "Apart from the ever-liberated devotees, there are the conditioned souls who always turn away from the service of the Lord. They are perpetually conditioned in this material world and thus subjected to the material tribulations, brought about by different bodily forms in hellish conditions. "

[Srila Narayana Maharaja:] 'Ei dose maya pisaci danda kare tare…'

[Sripad Aranya Maharaja:] "Due to his being opposed to Krsna consciousness, the conditioned soul is punished by the witch of the external energy."

[Srila Narayana Maharaja:] Why are they being punished? What have they done wrong? Here is the point. Try to understand. They have done something wrong and that is why Krsna's maya is punishing them. What is the defect? What have they done wrong? You should know that here 'nitya-baddha' means 'anadi-baddha.'They are considered 'eternal baddha' because they are conditioned from the beginning of time. They have never served Krsna. They have not relished the sweetness of serving Krsna. Although they don't know anything about this, still they are eternal servants by their constitutional position. That is why a word has come here: tatastha-sakti. What is tatastha-sakti? It is the marginal potency.

["The jivas have grown out of the jiva-sakti of Krsna. Cit–sakti is Krsna's plenary sakti, whereas as the jiva-sakti is the incomplete sakti. From the plenary potency are produced complete entities, but from the incomplete potency have grown the jivas as atomic cit. Krsna manifests entities of different types in accordance with the kind of sakti He applies. When He is established in His essential cit-sakti, He reveals His essential nature as Krsna Himself on the one hand, and on the other as Sri Narayana, the Lord of Vaikuntba. When He desired to have His nitya parisada, eternal servitors in His transcendental plane of Goloka Vrndavana, Vaikuntha etc., then, through Baladeva, He created those eternal associates as nitya-mukta jivas in those divine worlds. He reveals or manifests the three forms of Visnu: Karanodakasayi, Ksirokakasayi and Garbhodakasayi. In Vraja He reveals His own nature as Krsna, with cit in fullness. As Baladeva He reveals the eternally free associate jivas for the performance of the eight kinds of service to Himself as Sri Krsna. Again, in Vaikuntha, as Maha Sankarsana, He reveals or manifests the eternally free associate jivas for service to Sri Narayana. Mahavisnu, the incarnation of Sankarsana, establishing Himself in the heart of jiva-sakti as Paramatma, creates the jiva-souls of tatastha-sakti. These jivas are susceptible to the influence of maya. Till, by dint of God's grace they get shelter under the hladini-sakti, they are liable to be overcome by maya." (Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura's Jaiva Dharma, ch. 15)]

Krsna has His svarupa-sakti, and that sarupa-sakti has three vrttis. Vrttis means?

[Sripad Aranya Maharaja:] Functions. Three functions.

[Srila Narayana Maharaja:] What are these functions? Hladini, samvit, and sandini.

Though they are servants by constitution, those jivas have never been in Goloka Vrindavan. Never. They are from the marginal point, and that marginal point is called tatastha-sakti. Tatastha-sakti is one of the saktis of svarup-sakti, but it is not full. A certain type of jiva has come from there, either from Baladeva in Goloka Vrndavan or from Maha Sankarsana in Vaikuntha; but not all jivas. Those jivas who are always serving Krsna are called nitya-unumuka to Krsna. They are always serving. This second kind of jiva is coming from Narayana, that is, Karanodaksayi Visnu. That jiva is tatastha-sakti. Srila Jiva Gosvami has clarified this. He states: 'Tadaivam anantam eva jiva'. There are ananta, unlimited, jivas emanating from tatastha-sakti and, from there, some are bahiramukha. This means they turn away from Krsna and enter the material world.

This place, this material world, is like a svapnasthana, a dream-place. Try to understand this. We are now in full worldly knowledge. It seems that we are awake, that someone else is dreaming, and that someone else is fast asleep without dreaming at all. But actually this place is like a dream-place. When we see any dream, we are neither fast asleep nor in such deep sleep that we are fully unconscious. Because he is part of cid-vastu, spiritual substance, the conditioned jiva is in a dream-like state, but he is thinking that he is in full consciousness.

The tastatha-sakti jiva comes from Karanodakasayee Visnu, and then comes out through His divine light-filled glance. From there, from that light, Krsna has given the anadi-baddha jivas the intelligence and freedom to consider, "What should I do?" There is a very fine imaginary line between paraloka, the transcendental world, and this loka, the material world. Krsna gave the jiva some freedom, saying, "From here you can see this world of maya, and from here you can see towards the spiritual world. It then depends on you what you choose. I will give a minute of time only. You should at once decide." When certain jivas somehow looked towards this world, they were attracted and decided that they should relish it. As for those who looked from tatastha-sakti and were attracted to Krsna, Yogamaya at once gave them the power to come and serve Krsna for eternity.

[Devotee:] Do they go to Vaikuntha or Goloka?

[Srila Narayana Maharaja:] They are liberated. As far as where they go, that question will come afterwards. If you say that the jiva has fallen from there, from Goloka Vrndavana, then Bhagavad-gita will be false. How? 'Yad gatva na nivartante.' (Gita, 15.6) What is the meaning? By practicing bhakti-yoga for thousands and thousands of births, one is liberated and has a chance to go to that loka. Then he will never return. The transcendental souls who are serving Krsna there are eternally liberated. Those from this world who are liberated by practicing bhakti-yoga are serving Krsna in Vaikuntha, in His forms like Rama, Nrsinga, Kalki, Vamana, or in Goloka as Mathuresa or Krsna. They are all liberated. They have no chance to return. Prabhupada, Srila Swami Maharaja, has written this.

[Srimati Syamarani dasi:] Gurudeva, the people who disagree with this principle say, "Yes, we accept what Krsna spoke in the Bhagavad Gita, that once being in this world and going to Vaikuntha, you don't fall again. But you do fall the first time -- before you first came to this world."

[Srila Narayana Maharaja:] No. We should try to follow our tattva-acharyas like Srila Jiva Gosvami, Srila Baladeva Vidyabhusana, Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura, and especially Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura. If anyone says this, we will have to reconcile from other very bona fide gurus. Jiva Gosvami is a very bona fide guru in tattva, especially in his Sandarbhas. He has explained every subject without room for doubt. We will have to read his books in order to reconcile. You should especially read Bhaktivinoda Thakura, the Sattvam, seventh Gosvami. He is a bona fide guru, as are Srila Rupa Gosvami, Srila Jiva Gosvami, and all others like them. Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura has clearly explained all this in Jaiva-dharma. There he has written that there are so many eternal souls who are coming from Baladeva Prabhu in Goloka Vrindavan. Nanda Baba and all the sakhas are there. And what about the gopis? They are all Nitya-siddha kayavuyha rupa of Srimati Radhika. Those who are not bodily manifestations of Radhika are jivas coming from Baladeva. They are also eternally liberated and they are serving Krsna. This is also true Dvaraka, and also in Vaikuntha. In Dvaraka they are coming from Mula Sankarsana, and in Vaikuntha from Maha Sankarsana. They are all eternal servants, serving in two ways: in madhurya (Krsna's sweet, human-like pastimes) and in aisvarya (those pastimes in His opulent feature as Dvarakadhisa or Narayana.

And some jivas are coming from Karanodakasayi Visnu; from the tatastha or marginal line, from tatastha-sakti. They are also of two kinds: some are liberated and some are conditioned. Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura has clearly explained all these truths and now we will have to reconcile. Srila Swami Maharaja has accepted this line of guru parampara -- more than we have. And he is a realized soul. He cannot differ from all the previous acaryas. He will never say anything that our guru parampara has not accepted. Srila Prabhupada has accepted Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura and he has accepted his Gurudeva: he does not differ. And we do not have any difference in opinion from Prabhupada, Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja.

["The innumerable jivas as spiritual particles emanating from the Oversoul in the form of pencil-rays of effulgence, have no relation with the mundane world when they come to know themselves to be the eternal servants of the Supreme Lord. They are then incorporated into the realm of Vaikuntha. " (Sri Brahma Samhita, purport to text 16)]

["The svarupa-sakti, or internal potency of Krsna, which is spiritual, functioning as His own personal power, has manifested His pastimes of Goloka. By Her grace individual souls who are constituents of the marginal potency can have admission into even those pastimes." (Sri Brahma-Samhita, purport to text 6)]

["The Lord of the mundane world, Maha-Visnu, possesses thousands of thousands of avataras as His thousands of thousands of plenary portions. He is the creator of thousands of thousasnds of individual souls." (Sri Brahma-Samhita, text 11)]

["It should be understood that the jiva soul is neither produced of this material world, nor created in the transcendental world. They are originated from the marginal line between the transcendental and mundane spheres" (Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura's Bhakti-tattva Veveka 2.4)]

["Avidya is the name for the forgetfulness of the souls' essential nature that, "I am Krsna's servant.' This avidya did not commence within the course of the mundane time. That root of karma of the jiva arose when he was in the tatastha position." (Jaiva Dharma ch. 16)]

So we will have to reconcile all these things. Your Prabhupada has accepted Jaiva-dharma, and that is why the Iskcon-leaders wanted to publish this book. But they are fearing. I know that they cannot print Jaiva-dharma and Bhakti-sandarbha of Jiva Gosvami. If they do, their cheating will be exposed.

[Sripad Aranya Maharaja:] They translated it, but they never…

[Srila Narayana Maharaja:] They translated it, but then they saw all their own defects. A person who is kanistha and has not realized all these truths, and has not served his guru properly, cannot reconcile. They cannot reconcile. There is no doubt in the words of Srila Swami Maharaja. He has written correctly what sastra has told, but they have no eyes to look at it.

I pray to Prabhupada, Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja, that he may sprinkle mercy on them so they will know what he wanted, and so that they will realize all truths. Any sincere devotee will realize this fact. Srila Swami Maharaja explained the same thing that was told by our guru parampara. He has simply explained it in English. Nothing else.

[Devotee:] I don't want to disagree with you, but… I am a neophyte devotee. I am a disciple of A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada and twenty-nine years initiated. I have read the books and I just don't find… Now, I am aware that Bhaktivinoda Thakura said these things in Jaiva–dharma, and I am aware that the Gaudiya Matha conception is that we come from the tatastha region; and I cannot reconcile all these things.

[Srila Narayana Maharaja:] You can reconcile. You are a sincere Vaisnava.

[Devotee:] But also, for example, you mentioned the verse which states that one who goes back to the spiritual world will never fall down; he will never come back again. Our common understanding of this verse is that once you stick your hand in the fire, you have been burned, so you won't do it again. Not necessarily that we come from the tatastha region. That is one example.

[Srila Narayana Maharaja:] That is the same thing I am saying. Our constitution is such that everything is there in seed. The example is given of a mango-seed. If you will give it water, gradually a sprout will come. After a few days some leaves will come, then some branches, and after a few years it will be a big tree. At that time there will be so many leaves, so many branches, so many flowers, and so many manjaris. Then, one day, the mangos will come, and after some time they will be ripened and a sweet juice will come. Similarly, the full form of the jiva is there in our constitution. Everything is there in seed, but it has never been developed. It was never developed. It was situated in tatastha-sakti in Karanodakasyai Visnu It was never functioning. By constitution everything is there in the mango seed -- all the potencies of the tree's leaves, branches, and fruits. The number of leaves, how sweet or sour are the fruits -- everything is there in this seed. It is all there, but it is not manifest. In the same way, in their constitutional forms as seeds, the jivas were in the body of Karanodakasayi Visnu. When they came out along with His glance they fell in maya. If you want to know all these things clearly, you should read Brahma Samhita very carefully, under the guidance of a Vaisnava. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu Himself said that it is a very authentic book. You can see very vividly that everything is there.

[Devotee:] The Back to Godhead magazine that Prabhupada began publishing in 1944 says, 'Back to Home, Back to Godhead'. What is the meaning of 'Back to Home, Back to Godhead'?

[Srila Narayana Maharaja:] Back from where? Back from that position, from the marginal line. Then you will have to go to Vaikuntha. You have not come from Goloka or Vaikuntha. Neither Srila Swami Maharaja nor any acarya has written like this. This is mental speculation. Somehow we will have to follow our guru parampara.

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