This long awaited book conclusively deals with the nature of the living being as per the Gauḍīya School of thought and related aspects. It also deals with various misconceptions about the jīva that are prevalent in Vaiṣṇava circles.
Knowledge about the jīva is gained from śāstra. However, if one does not know how to interpret it properly, śāstra can be misunderstood. It is for this reason that there are differences of opinion about the nature of the jīva in different groups of spiritualists. In this book, some basic principles are discussed that govern how śāstra is meant to be understood at different levels and how its true intentions are realized.
On any spiritual path, including bhakti, there are three factors involved: the practitioner, the practice, and the goal to be achieved. To be successful in one’s spiritual practice, one must have a clear understanding of all three of these factors. Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī calls them sambandha, abhidheya, and prayojana, respectively. As a practitioner on the path of bhakti, one must know one’s identity and relationship with Kṛṣṇa clearly. To practice bhakti successfully, one should also know what bhakti is and how it is to be practiced. And finally, one must have a clear understanding of the goal one is aspiring for in one’s practice. Jiva Tattva primarily focuses on providing authoritative knowledge about the practitioner, the jīva.
The main points that have are established are as follows:
The jīva is an eternal conscious being belonging to Kṛṣṇa’s intermediary potency (taṭasthā-śakti) and has the potential to act, know, and experience.
In the conditioned state, the jīva is under the influence of Kṛṣṇa’s external potency, called māyā.
The conditioning of the jīva has no beginning.
The conditioning of the jīva can come to an end by the grace of bhakti.
Bhakti is attained by the grace of a devotee or Kṛṣṇa.
Bhakti is not dormant within the svarūpa of the jīva.
When a jīva becomes perfected in bhakti, he is awarded a spiritual body at the time of giving up the physical body.
The spiritual body is not dormant or inherent within the svarūpa of the jīva.
The spiritual bodies attained by perfected jīvas exist eternally in the spiritual world and a particular spiritual body suitable to each particular perfected jīva is awarded to them for their eternal service to Bhagavān.
Once the jīva attains a spiritual body, the jīva is never again conditioned by māyā.
No jīva ever falls from the spiritual abode back down in the material world of māyā.
There is no such thing as taṭastha region and thus there is no fall-down from there.