Question: Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī writes in his Paramātma Sandarbha (44):
tad evam ananta eva jīvākhya taṭasthaḥ śaktayaḥ.
tatra tāsāṁ varga dvayaṁ. eko vargaḥ anādita eva bhagavad unmukhaḥ anyas tu anādita eva bhagavat parāṅmukhaḥ svabhāvataḥ tadīya jñāna bhāvāt tadīya jñānābhāvāc ca:
“There are innumerable spirit souls and they are the marginal potency of God. There are two classes of them: one class is favorable to God from beginningless time, and the other class is turned away from God from beginningless time. The first class is naturally full of knowledge and the other is without knowledge.”
This seems to me so unfair. This statement makes Kṛṣṇa out to be especially merciful to some jivas, and less so to others. That would contradict Kṛṣṇa’s teaching in the Gītā, where He says He is equal to all.
Answer: This does not contradict Kṛṣṇa’s teachings. Such a doubt arises by not understanding the word anādi, beginningless. Kṛṣṇa is not creating some jīvas as nitya-baddha and others as nitya- mukta. If that were the case, they would not be anādi. Just as Kṛṣṇa Himself has no beginning, His energies also have no beginning. His taṭasthā, or intermediary, potency also has no beginning. This taṭasthā-śakti has two divisions, which are also beginningless. This is what Jīva Gosvāmī is saying in the above statement. Anything which is beginningless is also causeless. It therefore does not contradict Kṛṣṇa’s statement. He is equal to both of them. It would contradict His statement if He would have personally put some jīvas under the influence of māyā and spared the others. Not understanding this fact, you are wrongly construing it is Kṛṣṇa who has put some jīvas in ignorance and others in knowledge. As I said above, such misconception arises because of the limitation of our material mind, which always thinks in cause and effect relations. It is inconceivable for the mind to think of something as beginningless. Therefore, although you are quoting Jīva Gosvāmī, you are giving your own meaning to it and hence the confusion arises.
It should also be noted that in this context, nitya-baddha doesn’t mean that the jīva is eternally condemned to be “baddha“, in a fallen state. It refers to being in that position since beginningless time.
By practicing sādhana-bhakti, the jīva becomes imbued with the svarūpa-śakti, as a combination of its hlādinī and saṁvit aspects, descending into the heart of the jīva. Attaining svarūpa-siddhi, the jīva becomes immersed in the endless ocean of unlimited bliss full of prema-bhakti.
If we fail to accept the fact that we are nitya-baddhas and if we waste our time trying to find out how something happened which never happened at all, we may lose the opportunity to engage all our precious time in attaining the highest goal of life.
It is as if we are lost in an ocean and above our heads we can see a helicopter, throwing us a life preserver, but we are still completely immersed in and totally occupied by finding out how the hell we ended up in this ocean.
We are in this ocean. We need to get out.
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Daily Bhakti Byte
If one is serious about spiritual life it is important to understand one’s own mind, capabilities and shortcomings. You start from the place where you stand. Thus it is important to know your identity clearly.