Are the Vedas Inherent in the Heart? (2)

While commenting upon SB 1.7.5 also, Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī writes that a conditioned jīva is devoid of jñāna of Bhagavān, jīvānām anādi-bhagavad-ajñānam. In these statements, the words abhāva and ajñānam very clearly point out that a jīva has no knowledge of Bhagavān or the Veda inherent in him. In fact, the very reason that māyā can overpower the jīva is because he lacks knowledge of Bhagavān. This knowledge has to be received from a qualified guru. This is the significance of the Bhāgavatam verse 11.22.10.

On this, one may raise the pūrvapakṣa (objection) that in Anuccheda 19, Jīva Gosvāmī has cited verses about the svarūpa of a living being from Padma Purāṇa and Jamātṛ Muni of the Śrī Sampradāya. In these verses, the word cidānanda-ātmaka is used as one of the characteristics of the jīva. This means that the jīva has knowledge (cit) and bliss (ānanda) in him.

This, however, is not true, because while explaining this term in section 28, Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī writes that the meaning of the jīva being of the nature of cit, or jñāna, is that he is not inert, and the meaning that he is of the nature of ānanda, or bliss, is that he is devoid of suffering, tatra tasya jaḍa-pratiyogitvena jñānatvaṁ duḥkha-pratiyogitvena tu jñānatvam ānandatvam ca. In other words, the term cidānanda-ātmaka does not mean that the jīva is full of knowledge and bliss, as it is misunderstood sometimes. It means that he is devoid of inertness and suffering.

Nowhere in his analysis of the constitution of the jīva does Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī write that the knowledge of the Vedas or that of Bhagavān is inherent in the svarūpa of the jīva or ātmā. No such statement is found in any of his writings, such as Ṣat Sandarbha, Sarva Samvādini or Krama Sandarbha, the commentary on the complete Bhāgavatam. Personally, I have not come across any statement in the writings of Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmī, Śrī Sanātana, Śrī Jīva, Śrī Viśvanātha Cakravarti Thākur, or Śrī Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa, which says that knowledge of the Veda or that of Bhagavan is inherent in the svarūpa of the jīva or ātmā.

In the same vein, Kṛṣṇadās Kavirāja says in Caitanya-caritāmṛta: guru-kṛṣṇa-prasāde pāya bhakti-latā-bīja [Cc. Madhya 19.151] that the seed of bhakti is attained by the grace of guru and Kṛṣṇa. It does not say that the seed is already inside and that it manifests by sādhana-bhakti. In another place, Caitanya-caritāmṛta says that by performing sadhana-bhakti, the seed of bhakti blooms into devotion (śravaṇādi śuddha-citte karaye udaya (Cc. Madhya 22.107)

Rūpa Gosvāmī also asserts the same in Bhakti Rasāmṛta -sindu 1.2.2 where he says that bhakti is eternally existent in pure devotees and it manifests in the heart of a sādhaka by the grace of guru (nitya-siddhasya bhāvasya prākaṭyaṁ hṛdi sādhyatā). While commenting on this verse, Mukunda Das Gosvāmī  clearly writes that nitya-siddha bhāva here refers to the bhāva of nitya-siddha bhaktas. This is also made clear by Jīva Gosvāmī in his commentary on verse 1.3.1 from Bhakti Rasāmṛta-sindu.

There are various statements which clearly state that the jīva is devoid of any knowledge, although he is a conscious being and has the potential to acquire knowledge. This is certainly supported by Śrīmad Bhāgavatam in verses such as:

svato na sambhavād anyas
tattva-jño jñāna-do bhavet
(SB 11.22.10)

ekasyaiva mamāṁśasya
jīvasyaiva mahā-mate
bandho ‘syāvidyayānādir
vidyayā ca tathetaraḥ
(SB 11.11.4)

deho ‘savo ‘kṣā manavo bhūta-mātrām
ātmānam anyaṁ ca viduḥ paraṁ yat
sarvaṁ pumān veda guṇāṁś ca taj-jño
na veda sarva-jñam anantam īḍe
(SB 6.4.25)

yadṛcchayopasṛtā yam āpnuyur
vimuktido naḥ paramo gurur bhavān
(SB 8.24.46)

A similar statement is also found is Garuḍa Purāṇa, Preta Kalpa, 49.7.

anādi-avidyo ‘pahatā yathāgnau visphuliṅgakahāḥ
dehādi-upādhi-sambhinnāste karmabhir anādibhiḥ

“The living beings, which are like sparks in a big fire, are conditioned by beginningless ignorance having the adjuncts of gross and subtle bodies due to beginningless karma.”

In the very first verse of Śrīmad Bhāgavatam (1.1.1), it is clearly stated that the Vedic knowledge was imparted to Brahmā by Bhagavān through the heart, tene brahma hṛdā ya ādi-kavaye. The third case in hṛdā means that Bhagavān revealed the Vedas through the heart and not through the ears. This means that Brahmā received Vedic Knowledge while in a trans-cognitive state, samādhi. This is also confirmed by Svetāśvatara Upaniṣad 6.18. While giving the four-versed Bhāgavatam to Brahmā, Bhagavān says, “Take this knowledge from Me, jñānam … gṛhāṇa.” (SB 2.9.30). In this verse, it is not said that Bhagāvān revealed the knowledge that was already existing in the heart of Brahmā. Sometimes, when it is said that the knowledge is revealed, it means that knowledge is given in the heart in a super-cognitive state. It does not mean that knowledge is already there inside the ātmā and then it is revealed within the heart. This is seen in the case of Brahmā receiving the catuḥ-ślokī Bhāgavatam.

From the above it is very clear that a conditioned jīva does not have inherent knowledge in him. Knowledge is received from an external source. The reception happens in two ways: One is through the external senses, which is an experience of every common person, and the other is in a trans-cognitive state, samādhi, as in the case of Brahmā receiving the four-verses Bhāgavatam, or Vyāsa (SB 1.7.4.-7).


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Comments ( 3 )
  1. vinodh r

    Thank you for the excellent article. This clarifies a point that has often confused me. I have a question.

    You have mentioned,
    “In fact, the very reason that māyā can overpower the jīva is because he lacks knowledge of Bhagavān”

    Even after getting the knowledge, maya sometimes overpowers. Why is that?

    • Malatimanjari Post author

      Babaji’s reply:

      When I use the phrase “knowledge of Bhagavan”, I do not mean
      theoretical knowledge but an experience of it. Knowledge of Bhagavan
      has two steps, the theoretical in the form of sabda and its
      actualization. When one has theoretical knowledge and has not
      realized it, one can still be influenced by Maya if one commits
      offense. However, once one has attained an experience of it, which
      happens after the state of bhava bhakti, then such a person cannot be
      influenced by Maya any more.

  2. vinodh r

    Thank you Babaji.

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