Jivas Enthralled and Emancipated



śrī śrī guru gaurāṅga jayataḥ!

Rays of The Harmonist On-Line Edition

Year 9, Issue 2
Posted: 28 March 2016


Dedicated to
nitya-līlā praviṣṭa oṁ viṣṇupāda

Śrī Śrīmad Bhakti Prajñāna Keśava Gosvāmī Mahārāja


Inspired by and under the guidance of
nitya-līlā praviṣṭa oṁ viṣṇupāda

Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja


Jīvas Enthralled and Emancipated

by Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura Prabhupāda

prabhupad9

We have heard the following from the holy lips of our Divine Lord in His instructions to Sanātana Gosvāmī:

Kṛṣṇa is one without a second, and His attributes, form, name and pastimes are one and the same. He is eternally served by His plenary spiritual power. He manifests Himself as plenary constituent factors of His own self and as differentiated parts, and indulges in transcendental pastimes in this world, as well as in the infinite Vaikuntha – the spiritual world. His plenary manifestations are Vāsudeva, Saṅkarṣaṇa, Pradyumna and Aniruddha.

The created world is the example of His differentiated power. Individual souls are of two classes: one is ever liberated and the other ever fettered to the world. The ever-liberated are ever eager for serving Kṛṣṇa’s feet. They follow Kṛṣṇa exclusively and enjoy the bliss of serving Him.

The ever-fettered are ever excluded from Kṛṣṇa and ever feel the sufferings of limited existence; fury and illusion, or māyā, constantly haunts them and for that reason, the three afflictions scourge them. They are kicked at by lust and anger and other deadly sins of whom they are slaves. If in the course of their life’s roaming they meet with an ever-liberated soul while seeking a healer, his teachings will exorcise the demon māyā (illusion) from them. Then they will experience devotion to Kṛṣṇa and come to Him.

And later:

The soul of man is the eternal servant of Kṛṣṇa and is His marginal power. It is the manifestation of Him that is simultaneously identical and distinct – just as the ray to the sun or the spark to the fire.

Again, in the course of His instruction to Śrī Rūpa, He says:

Behold in the universe countless beings that pass through eighty-four hundred thousand births. The form of a jīva is infinitesimally small.

In His teaching to Sārvabhauma Bhattācārya, He says:

God and jīva differ: God is Master and the jīva is the servant who is ever liable to be led astray from his natural and unconditional allegiance. And yet you [Sārvabhauma Bhattācārya] do not hesitate to declare that the jīva is identical with the Creator. In the Gītā we have it that the individual soul (jīva) is a potency of God. Yet you make such power identical with God, the Possessor thereof.

From these great words we gather that Krishna has inconceivable powers and His will is free and unrestrained. By the exercise of His spiritual power He manifests Himself as plenary entities and as distinct entities. As plenary entities, He manifests Himself in the fourfold forms of the four component limbs and innumerable manifestations on the mundane plane, and as distinct entities, He is manifest as innumerable jīvas all over the world.

Plenary manifestations are the actions of His full spiritual power and are all identical with Him. From the perfect whole, every part derives full power, just as innumerable lamps may be lit from one great, lighted lamp without the latter’s light being dimmed in the least. Every one of the derived lights gives as much light as the original source. Similar is the case with the plenary divine persons, who are full manifestations of God Himself. They are all Lords of all lords and are not subject to the law of consequential activities like mortals. Their will is well-nigh as free as that of Kṛṣṇa Himself but subordinate only to His Supreme Will.

jīva is only a scintilla of the full spiritual power and is called marginal power because he exists on the margin where the bounds of the spiritual power meet those of the illusory power. He is not of the essence of the illusory power, but, being only a minute particle, he is liable to be overpowered by it.

The individual souls spring from the inconceivable power of Kṛṣṇa by Kṛṣṇa’s unrestrained will and must receive the consequences of their own actions. As long as the soul exercises his own free will and chooses to serve Kṛṣṇa, he will not be dominated by the illusory power. But as he abuses his free will and craves enjoyment, forgetting that service to Kṛṣṇa is his real nature and that he is the eternal servant of Kṛṣṇa, he is infatuated by the illusory power of Kṛṣṇa and reaps the fruit appropriate to such actions.

The very act of remembering his free, natural condition – that he is meant for serving Kṛṣṇa – restores the soul to his unalloyed senses and frees him from the bondage of fruitive work and cures him of the disease of illusion. As he has been in bondage from before his coming under the domain of divisible time, his bondage is called eternal and he is said to be eternally fettered. Those who are bound are under eternal thralldom. For these reasons there is a good deal of difference between God and the individual soul. God is the Master of māyā– the limiting power – while the jīva is liable to fall under the influence of māyā and be fettered by it.

As the soul is a particle of the great all-spiritual Kṛṣṇa, he may well be called a particle of the all-soul and regarded as distinct from Kṛṣṇa./; So/so our Lord Śrī Caitanyadeva has called the relationship between God and the jīva one of inconceivable, simultaneous distinction and non-distinction (acintya bhedabheda tattva). He has likened it to the relationship between fire and the spark or the sun and the ray. The passages in the Vedas dealing with only one of the aspects of the issue, such as “ahaṁ brahmāsmi – I am brahma (spirit)” cannot authoritatively be used to assert that God and the jīva are the same. Kṛṣṇa, or the All-pervasive Reality Viṣṇu, is the only Ultimate Powerful Infinitude.

Adapted from The Gaudiya, February 2009
by the Rays of The Harmonist team


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