The third book of the Ṣaṭ Sandarbhas has just been released and is availble now in our Online-Store. It is an elaborate essay on the nature of Paramātmā. The distinction between Absolute Reality’s manifestations as Paramātmā and Bhagavān is relatively unknown, even to specialists in the field of Vedānta. These two specific designations are often used synonymously to refer to a single aspect of the tattva. It was Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī’s genius to clearly define them and enumerate their characteristics and functions in detail. There is no other work in the entire gamut of Indian theological and philosophical literature that throws light on this subject so lucidly.
Paramātmā, also called Puruṣa, is akin to what people usually conceive of as God, the creator and overseer of the cosmos, whereas Bhagavān is God in His supreme transcendence, without reference to the phenomenal world — God in His own intrinsic being. Paramātmā is the regulator of the intermediary potency (taṭasthā-śakti) and the extrinsic potency (bahiraṅgā-śakti), otherwise known as māyā. He is never influenced by this extrinsic potency, even while present in the midst of it.
Among the four Sandarbhas that delineate the knowledge of sambandha, Paramātma Sandarbha is the most important because it analyzes the nature of the self and its conditioning by māyā.
Some spiritualists are of the opinion that it is enough to know the process and goal. This situation can be compared to a person lost in a forest, who knows his destination but does not know which direction to take. Without knowing our present condition, we cannot become clear about the process. For this reason, Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī has explained sambandha in the first four Sandarbhas, the new volume being the third in this series. Thus, Paramātma Sandarbha is crucial to imbibe the knowledge of sambandha, and every serious practitioner should study it carefully. The truths contained in this book can uproot many of the common misconceptions that may be lurking in our minds, sometimes even without our being aware of them. Among these misconceptions, the most troublesome are those that are akin to radical nondualism. Even Vaiṣṇavas on the path of bhakti can be subject to such pitfalls.
Here a list of the essential points discussed in this volume:
1. The difference between the Paramātmā and Bhagavān manifestations of tattva
2. The three primary manifestations of Paramātmā and their functions.
3. The role of the three guṇāvatāras, popularly known as “the Hindu Trinity,” and their relative positions.
4. The difference between the terms jīva and ātmā.
5. The inherent nature of the ātmā.
6. Māyā and its various functions.
7. The relationship between māyā and the jīva.
8. The mystery behind the bondage and release of the jīva.
9. The dynamics involved in the evolution of the cosmos.
10. Examination of the nature of the world as real or unreal
11. The intent behind the acts of creation, sustenance, and dissolution of the cosmos.
12. Exploration of the question as to why God does not relieve the suffering of humanity.
13. The unbiased nature of God.
Paramātmā Sandarbha is the most philosophical of the Six Sandarbhas, and it demands focused attention and an unbiased attitude on the part of the reader. Anyone who is willing to take up this challenge will reap rich benefits from Śrī Jīva’s profound knowledge and unique insight into the above subjects. From my lifetime of study of the systems of Indian philosophy, I am unaware of any other book that so lucidly explains the nature of ātmā, Paramātmā, māyā, and the cosmos (jagat). My commentaries are based upon my studies of the book under my Gurudeva. I share them with my readers and trust that they will benefit from them on their spiritual journey, as I did on mine.
External situations cannot force you to give up Bhakti. External situations can force you to give up specific actions of Bhakti. But the essence of Bhakti is fixity of mind on Krishna. Only an offense can trigger you to give up Bhakti. But then you will come back to Bhakti anyway once the offense has given its result.
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