Question: Can you explain where the jivas have their origin. I understand it is in Paramatma, but Krsna also says that the living entities are his eternal fragmental parts (Gita 15.7). So what exactly does it mean?
Answer: The simple principle, which I am sure you know, is that Bhagavan has three distinct saktis, namely antaranga, bahiranga and tatastha. The Jiva is neither part of antaranga nor of bahiranga sakti. Jiva is part only of tatastha sakti. Paramatma is in charge of bahiranga as well as tatastha sakti. Therefore, truly speaking, jiva is part of Paramatma’s tatastha sakti. This is stated by Shri Jiva Gosvami in Paramatma Sandarbha.
There are three Paramatmas, namely Karanadakasayi Vishnu, Garbhodaksayi Vishnu, and Ksirodaksayi Vishnu. Karanodaksayi Vishnu is the Paramatma for the aggregate material nature (samasti prakriti) and the aggregate, or samasti, jivas. Garbhodaksayi Vishnu is the Paramatma for the individual universe, and Ksirodaksayi Vishnu is the Paramatma for the vyast, or individual, jivas.
If there is total annihilation, or samasti pralaya, then all jivas enter into Karanodaksayi Vishnu. But really speaking, it never happens. There are always some universes manifest and some are dissolving. Universes are at different stages of a cycle. Everything is cyclic. But even if you consider a total annihilation, then Karanodaksayi Vishnu enters into Sankarsana (part of caturvyuha in paravyoma , or Vaikuntha) with the totality of prakriti and the jivas, i.e., samasti bahiranga and tatastha saktis. When it is time to create, then Karanodaksayi Vishnu manifests from Sankarsana along with the complete material nature and the jivas.
So when Krsna says mamaivamsa jivaloke, He means that jiva is part of Paramatma’s tatastha sakti. Paramatma is His part, so there is nothing wrong in His statement.
Karma without Beginning
Question: I’ve been having a discussion with someone about the topical issue of the origin of the soul, and have argued in favor of the traditional Vedāntic viewpoint of beginningless, or anādi karma. The person I’ve been debating subscribes to a less-than-literal reading of the word anādi, and believes karma is not actually without beginning, but that jīvas originally lie in a dormant state within Brahman, and their karma has to be actuated at some point, prior to which there is no karma as such. I naturally disagreed with this but would still like to hear from you as to whether my understanding is scripturally sound.
Answer: Yes, your understanding is proper because anadi means beginningless. Karma is literally beginningless. There are no statements in scripture indicating that it is not beginningless. Sanskrit language is very precise and doesn’t lack words to convey a meaning. If karma were anything else than beginningless, other words would have been used.
In so many places the word anandi has been used in scripture and by commentators such as Sri Jiva Gosvami, BaladevaVidybhusana and Visvanath Cakravarti Thakura. If the word anadi in some particular verse had meant anything else, they would have made it very clear in their commentaries. While commenting on BG 13.20 (in some editions 19), both Baladeva and Visvanath Cakravarti clearly state that the conditioning of the jiva is beginningless:
Prakriti and jiva [and their combination] are without origin. Also, in SB 11.22.10 Krsna very clearly says that the jiva is covered by beginningless ignorance: anādy-avidyā-yuktasya.
However, we have to understand that karma per se is not beginningless. It is perpetual, because every individual karma has a beginning and an end. If jiva is in Brahman and karma were actuated at a particular point, then what kind of karma would such a jiva get? Does he/she start with a zero karma? If yes, how would he/she relate with anybody or anything in this world? What would cause him/her to have a first material body, which is supposed to be the product of past karma and the field for the future karma?
Question: During the course of the discussion, the classes of living entities in existence were equally touched upon, and there ensued a comparison of the terms nitya-siddha and nitya-baddha. In particular, the following point was put forward:
‘I think this misconception of some jivas never having to undergo sadhana starts with a misunderstanding of what Jiva Goswami wrote in Paramatma Sandarbha:
tadevamananta eva jIvAkhyAs taTasthAH zaktayaH. Tatra tAsAM vargadvayam. Eko vargo’nAditaH eva bhagavadunmukhaH, anyas tvanAditaH eva bhagavat-parAGmukhaH-svabhAvatastadIya jJAna-bhAvAt tadIya-jJAnAbhAvAcca.
“In this way the marginal energies called jivas are unlimited. They have two classes. One class is devoted to the Lord beginninglessly (anadi) and the other is not devoted to the Lord beginninglessly (anadi). This is because the former class of jivas naturally have knowledge of the Lord and the second class of jivas naturally do not have knowledge of the Lord.”
Now it would appear as if this supports the idea of two inherently different classes of jivas, if what he says is taken in the wrong way.
Answer: Yes, it is true that there are two different classes of jivas and it is clearly stated in this text—one is nitya mukta and the other one is nitya baddha. How can it be taken in the wrong way?
Question: That makes Krishna out to be especially merciful to some jivas, and less so to others. That would contradict Krishna’s teaching in the Gita, where he says he is equal to all.
Answer: This does not contradict Krsna’s teachings. Such a doubt arises by not understanding the word anadi, beginningless. Krsna is not creating some jivas as nitya baddha and others as nitya mukta. If that were the case, they would not be anadi. Just as Krsna Himself has no beginning, His energies also have no beginning. His tatastha (or intermediary) potency also has no beginning. This tatastha shakti has two divisions, which are also beginningless. This is what Jiva Gosvami is making the above statement. And anything which is beginningless is also causeless. It therefore does not contradict Krsna’s statement. He is equal to both of them. It would contradict his statement if he would have personally put some jivas under the influence of maya and spared the others.
Question: We know from śāstra that there are many, many more souls in the paravyoma than there are in the material world, and that most of these liberated beings have never been conditioned, i.e. they are nitya-siddha. Are these eternally liberated bhaktas, who have never been in touch with maya, then not jīvas at all, but another category of entity, e.g. expansions of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa?
Answer: In the spiritual world there are two types of devotees, the first category are those who are an expansion of the Lord. They do not belong to the tatastha potency. These are usually referred to by the word parsada. The devotees of the second category belong to the tatsatha potency. These devotees have never been conditioned and will never be conditioned by maya.
Question: Is it a fact that all jīvas, as he says, by definition have to undergo sādhana before they can attain the transcendental realm?
Answer: For the above mentioned reason it is not true that every devotee has to do sadhana to become perfect. Only those who are in the conditioned state, nitya baddhas, have to undergo sadhana to get freedom from their conditioning
Align your consciousness with the eternal consciousness called prema. Then you will see the magic happening all around you. Prema is the only magic. When your mind is aligned with love, you will see beauty all around you. When your consciousness is not aligned with prema, then you will see problems all around you – problem after problem. When you have love for Krishna, then you will see that there is nothing else but Krishna and His play. Then you will be intoxicated. That is the real high.
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