June 2, 2000, Badger (New Braja) California, USA
[Respected Hari-katha Readers,
As we mentioned in a previous hari-katha mail-out, upon Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja's request we are preparing a publication of some of his lectures on the truths of the spirit soul. In the course of preparing the individual discourses, we are sharing them with you. As usual, we look forward to your feedback.
In his discourse below, Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja discusses a conversation between Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and Srila Sanatana Gosvami, from Srila Krsnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami's book, Sri Caitanya-caritamrta. Srila Sanatana Gosvami is playing the role of a conditioned soul who is seeking divine self-awareness and freedom from material miseries. He has inquired about his own true identity, beyond the body.]
Crest Jewel of Enquiry
[Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja:] Srila Sanatana Gosvami inquired from Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, "I have come to this world, but I do not know who I am. Who am I?"
Please read from the translations and purports of Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja.
[Devotee reads:] Sri Caitanya Caritamrta, Madhya-lila, chapter 20, text 102-103:
'ke ami', 'kene amaya jare tapa-traya'
iha nahi jani--'kemane hita haya'
'sadhya'-'sadhana'-tattva puchite na jani
krpa kari' saba tattva kaha ta' apani"
Translation by Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada: "In this verse Srila Sanatana Gosvamipada is inquiring from Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, ‘Who am I? Why do the threefold miseries always give me trouble? If I do not know this, how can I be benefited? Actually, I do not know how to inquire about sadhya, the goal of life, and sadhana, the process for obtaining it. Being merciful upon me, please explain all these truths.'"
[Srila Narayana Maharaja:] Why did Srila Sanatana Gosvami ask this question? He asked for our spiritual benefit. Actually, none of us know who we are by spiritual constitution. Someone may think, "I am Isa Prabhu," another may think, "I am Kesava Prabhu," and others may consider themselves to be this or that person.
Mahaprabhu replied to Sanatana Gosvami, "You know everything, but you are questioning for the upliftment of others. Although a sadhu, a saintly person, knows everything, he remains very humble and tries to confirm his statement by inquiring from the higher authorities."
krsna-sakti dhara tumi, jana tattva-bhava
jani' dardhya lagi' puche,-sadhura svabhava
["Since you possess Lord Krsna's potency, you certainly know these things. However, it is the nature of a sadhu to inquire. Although he knows these things, the sadhu inquires for the sake of strictness." (Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya-lila, 20.106)]
Mahaprabhu then said, "You are not really Sanatana, in the sense that you are not this physical body."
What has Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja translated?
[Devotee reads:] Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya-lila 20.108-109:
jivera ‘svarupa' haya-krsnera ‘nitya-dasa'
krsnera ‘tatastha-sakti' ‘bhedabheda-prakasa'
suryamsa-kirana, yaiche agni-jvala-caya
svabhavika krsnera tina-prakara ‘sakti' haya
"It is the living entity's constitutional position to be an eternal servant of Krsna, because he is the marginal energy of Krsna - a manifestation simultaneously one with and different from the Lord, like a molecular particle of sunshine or spark of fire. Krsna has three varieties of energy."
[Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja:] Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu explained, "Jivera svarupa haya krsnera nitya dasa." By spiritual constitution, all those who have life - including human beings, birds, animals, trees and creepers, and even very small worms and insects - are eternal servants of Lord Krsna. There is no doubt of this, and this also applies to us. *[See endnote 1]
Then He said, "Krsnera tatastha sakti - all souls are transformations of the Lord's marginal potency (tatastha-sakti)." *[See endnote 2] They are not direct transformations of His pleasure potency (hladini-sakti) or His knowledge potency (samvit-sakti), which are aspects of the svarupa-sakti (His intrinsic internal potency), and therefore they are not pure svarupa-sakti. *[See endnote 3]
Two Kinds of Souls
[Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja:] Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu then said:
Krsna bhuli' sei jiva anadi-bahirmukha
ataeva maya tare deya samsara-duhkha
[Devotee reads:] Mahaprabhu continued, "Forgetting Krsna, the living entity has been attracted by the external feature from time immemorial. Therefore, the illusory energy, maya, gives him all kinds of misery in this material existence." (Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya-lila 20.117)
[Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja:] A question arises: if all souls are eternal servants of Sri Krsna, when did they become adverse (bahirmukha) to Him? When did they turn away from Him? Srila Krsnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami has explained this by quoting the version of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu: "Krsna bhuli' sei jiva." Who is the jiva referred to in this verse? He is the eternal servant of Sri Krsna, Krsna's marginal potency (tatastha-sakti). This should be remembered always; the jiva is not a direct manifestation of Sri Krsna's internal potency.
Svarupa-sakti, that is, Sri Krsna's complete spiritual, internal potency, has three transcendental manifestations, namely hladini (Krsna's potency of transcendental happiness), samvit (His divine knowledge potency), and sandhini (His spiritual existence potency). From svarupa-sakti Lord Nrsimha, Lord Rama, and other incarnations manifest, and these incarnations are called svamsa, personal expansions of Krsna. The vibhinnansa jiva, meaning the separated, infinitesimal part and parcel of Sri Krsna, never came directly from svarupa-sakti, and that is why he is called vibhinnamsa. *[See endnote 4]
Why did the jiva become adverse to Krsna? This is the question. If he is Krsna's eternal servant, he must certainly be engaged in His service. The answer is explained in Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya-lila chapter 22, verses 10-13, beginning, "sei vibhinnansa..."
sei vibhinnamsa jiva-dui ta' prakara
eka-‘nitya-mukta', eka-‘nitya samsara'
(Sri Caitanya-caritamrta Madhya-lila 22.10)
"The living entities, the jivas, are divided into two categories. Some are nitya-mukta, eternally liberated, never having been conditioned, and others are eternally conditioned (nitya-samsara)." [See endnote 5]
[Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja:] What is the meaning of ‘eternally conditioned'? It does not mean ‘forever conditioned'. It means that the time we have been conditioned is so vast that it cannot be calculated.
‘nitya-mukta'-nitya krsna-carane unmukha
‘krsna-parisada' nama, bhunje seva-sukha
(Sri Caitanya-caritamrta Madhya-lila 22.11)
"Those who are eternally liberated are always awake to Krsna consciousness, and they render transcendental loving service at the feet of Lord Krsna. They are to be considered eternal associates of Krsna, and they are eternally enjoying the transcendental bliss of serving Him."
[Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja:] This verse conveys a very important point. Those who are senior in bhakti will greatly benefit by attentively hearing the meaning of this verse. Those who are beginners may not be able to comprehend the meaning, but they will profit by even trying to understand.
The liberated jivas are eternal associates of Sri Krsna, always engaged in serving Him and always tasting and relishing the sweetness of their service. In the Lord's abode there is no maya (the material potency, which bewilders the conditioned soul and encourages him to identify with his body and bodily extensions). Only yogamaya (the spiritual potency that nourishes the service mood of liberated souls) is there. There is nothing in the spiritual world to make one forget Krsna, and therefore the Lord's associates there cannot forget Him or become adverse to Him. The love and affection of these associates is always fresh and ever-new. Even though, on one hand, there is no room for their ever-fresh love to become still newer, it does so.
‘nitya-baddha'--krsna haite nitya-bahirmukha
‘nitya-samsara', bhunje narakadi dukha
(Sri Caitanya-caritamrta Madhya-lila 22.12)
"Apart from the ever-liberated devotees, there are the conditioned souls, who always turn away from the service of the Lord. They are perpetually conditioned in this material world and are thus subjected to the material tribulations brought about by different bodily forms in hellish conditions."
sei dose maya-pisaci danda kare tare
adhyatmikadi tapa-traya tare jari' mare
(Sri Caitanya-caritamrta Madhya-lila 22.13)
"Due to his being opposed to Krsna consciousness, the conditioned soul is punished by the witch of the external energy, maya. He is thus ready to suffer the threefold miseries brought about by the body and mind, the inimical behavior of other living entities, and natural disturbances caused by demigods."
[Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja:] The souls in the second category - the conditioned souls - have never directly associated with Krsna, nor have they tasted His service. Therefore, they are called ‘perpetually conditioned' (nitya-bahirmukha). They have been conditioned from beginningless time.
Why are they being punished? What have they done wrong? Try to understand this important point. They have done something wrong, and that is why Lord Krsna's maya is punishing them. What is their defect? They have chosen to turn away from Krsna. They have chosen to look towards the material world for pleasures, and in this way they are opposed to Krsna consciousness.
The souls in this world are considered to be 'nitya-baddha', or eternally conditioned, which actually means they are ‘anadi-baddha', conditioned since beginningless time or time immemorial. Still, although they have never relished the sweetness of serving Krsna nor do they know anything about such service, they are eternal servants by their constitutional position.
A certain type of jiva has come from the spiritual world, either from Baladeva in Goloka Vrndavana or from Baladeva's expansion known as Maha Sankarsana (Lord Narayana) in Vaikuntha; but not all jivas. Those jivas who manifest from Baladeva and Maha Sankarsana are called nitya-mukha. That is, they are always serving Krsna.
Although the tatastha-sakti jivas are servants by constitution, this second kind of jiva have not come from Goloka Vrndavana. The conditioned souls of this world have never been in Goloka Vrndavana. This second kind of jiva is coming from Karanodakasayi Visnu. *[See endnote 6]
Srila Jiva Gosvami has clarified the understanding of the two kinds of jivas. He states:
tad evam ananta eva jivakhyas tatasthah saktayah
tatra tasam varga-dvayam
eko vargo 'nadita eva bhagavad-unmukhah
anyas tv anadita eva bhagavat-paranmukhah
svabhavatas tadiya-jnana-bhavat tadiya-jnanabhavac ca
(Paramatma Sandarbha - Anuccheda 47 text 1)
["Thus the Lord's marginal potency is comprised of individual spirit souls. Although these individual spirit souls are limitless in number, they may be divided into two groups: 1) the souls who, from time immemorial, are favorable to the Supreme Lord; and 2) the rebellious souls who, from time immemorial, are averse to the Supreme Lord. One group is aware of the Lord's glories, and the other group is not aware of them."]
There are unlimited jivas emanating from tatastha-sakti, and from there, some have turned away from Krsna. They turned away from Krsna and chose to enter the material world.
As mentioned above, the conditioned souls are coming from Karanodakasayi Visnu, from His divine light-filled glance. From that light, Sri Krsna in His form as Sri Visnu, gives them the intelligence and freedom to consider, "What should I do?" There is a very fine, imaginary line between the transcendental world and the material world. Krsna gave the jivas some freedom, saying, "From here you can see this world of maya, and you can also see towards the spiritual world. What you will choose depends upon you. I am giving you a moment to choose."
Certain jivas looked toward the spiritual world and were attracted. Yogamaya at once gave them the power to go to the spiritual world and serve the Lord there for eternity. Others looked towards this world. They were attracted and decided to relish it.
This material world is like a dream-place (svapna-sthana). Try to understand this. It seems that we are now in full worldly knowledge. It seems that we are awake and that someone else is fast asleep without dreaming at all, but actually this place is like a dream-place. We are seeing a dream. We are not in such deep sleep that we are fully unconscious, because we are part of the spiritual conscious substance (cid-vastu) even when we are not liberated.
All in the Divine Seed
Our constitution is such that everything of our spiritual identity is already present in the soul, in seed form. In this regard an analogy is given of a mango seed. *[See endnote 7]
If you plant a mango seed in fertile land and give it water, gradually a sprout will manifest. After a few days some leaves will come, then some branches, and after a few years the plant will become large. At that time there will be so many leaves, branches, flowers, and manjaris (buds). Then, one day, mangos will begin to appear, and after some time these mangos will ripen and become sweet and juicy.
By constitution, everything about the mango tree is present in the mango seed. All the potencies of the tree's leaves, branches, and fruits are present there. The number of leaves and the sweetness or sourness of the fruits are already in the seed, but they have not yet manifest.
Similarly, the full form of the soul is present in his constitution. Everything is there in the soul, even though the pure transcendental form has not yet developed and was never previously developed. The jivas were in the body of Karanodakasayi Visnu in seed form, and when they came out through His glance, some fell in maya. To understand these truths clearly, kindly read Sri Brahma-samhita very carefully under the guidance of a pure Vaisnava. You will be able to see vividly all these truths there.
Eternal Message of the Guru-parampara
If the jiva had fallen from there, from Goloka Vrndavana, Bhagavad-gita would be false. How? Bhagavad-gita states, Yad gatva na nivartante, tad dhama parama mama (Gita, 15.6). What is the meaning? By practicing bhakti-yoga for thousands upon thousands of births, one is liberated and has a chance to go to that spiritual realm. And he will never return from there. The transcendental souls who are serving Krsna there are eternally liberated. Those from this world who are now liberated by practicing bhakti-yoga are serving Him in Vaikuntha, in His forms like Rama, Nrsimha, Kalki, or Vamana, or in Goloka as Mathuresa or Krsna. They have no chance to return. Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja has also written this.
[Question:] Someone may say, "Yes, we accept what Krsna spoke in the Bhagavad Gita, that once going to Vaikuntha from this world, we souls don't fall again. But we did fall the first time - before we first came to this world."
[Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja:] If that were true, this principle as stated in the Gita and other scriptures would still be a fallacy. For those souls who are already serving in that realm, there is no maya at all. There is no chance of becoming adverse to Krsna; no chance at all. Both for one who is eternally there and for one who has gone there from here - there is no maya in that realm.
We must try to follow our tattva-acaryas, our disciplic line of spiritual masters who have presented these truths; like Srila Jiva Gosvami, Srila Baladeva Vidyabhusana, Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura, and especially Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura. If anyone has this doubt, due to his misunderstanding the words of Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja, he will have to reconcile from other very bona fide gurus. Jiva Gosvami is a bona fide guru in established philosophical truths (tattva), especially in his Sandarbhas. He has explained every subject without room for doubt. We will have to read his books in order to understand.
It is especially essential to read the books of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, the Seventh Gosvami. He is also a bona fide guru. He has clearly explained all this in Jaiva-dharma. There he has written that innumerable eternal souls who are coming from Baladeva Prabhu in Goloka Vrndavana, where Nanda Baba and all the cowherd-men and boys reside. Regarding the gopis there, they are all nitya-siddha kayavyuha-rupa (bodily manifestations) of Srimati Radhika. Those gopis who are not bodily manifestations of Radhika are jivas coming from Baladeva. They are also eternally liberated and they are serving Krsna. This principle is also true in Dvaraka, and also in Vaikuntha. In Dvaraka, jivas are coming from Mula Sankarsana, and in Vaikuntha from Maha Sankarsana. They are all serving in one of two ways: in madhurya (Krsna's sweet, human-like pastimes) or in aisvarya (Krsna's opulent pastimes as Dvarakadhisa or Narayana).
Regarding those jivas manifested from the tatastha or marginal line, from Karanodakasayi Visnu, they also serve in madhurya or aisvarya when they are liberated.
Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja has accepted this line of guru parampara, and we have accepted the same. Also, he is a realized soul. He does not differ from the previous acaryas. He will never say anything that our guru parampara has not accepted. Srila Prabhupada Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura has accepted Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, and Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja has accepted his Gurudeva.
I pray to Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja, that he may sprinkle his mercy on all of his followers so they will know what he wanted, and so that they will realize all truths. Any sincere devotee will realize that Srila Swami Maharaja explained the same thing that was told by our guru parampara. He has simply explained it in English. It is his great contribution that he has explained the same truths and nothing else.
"Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura explains these verses as follows: Sri Sanatana Gosvami asked Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, ‘Who am I?' In answer, the Lord replied, ‘You are a pure living entity. You are neither the gross material body nor the subtle body composed of mind and intelligence. Actually you are a spirit soul, eternally part and parcel of the Supreme Soul, Krsna. Therefore you are His eternal servant. You belong to Krsna's marginal potency. There are two worlds - the spiritual world and the material world - and you are situated between the material and spiritual potencies. You have a relationship with both the material and the spiritual world; therefore you are called the marginal potency. You are related with Krsna as one and simultaneously different from him. Because you are spirit soul, you are one in quality with the Supreme Personality of Godhead, but because you are a very minute particle of spirit soul, you are different from the Supreme Soul. Therefore your position is simultaneously one with and different from the Supreme Soul. The examples given are those of the sun itself and the small particles of sunshine and of a blazing fire and the small particles of fire.' (Sri Caitanya-caritamrta Madhya-lila 20.108-109 purport by Srila Prabhupada) "
"Lord Krsna naturally has three energetic transformations, and these are known as the spiritual potency [cit-sakti], the living entity potency [tatastha-sakti] and the illusory potency [maya-sakti]." (Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya 20.111)]
"Svarupa-sakti possesses three properties: hladini, samvit, and sandhini. The transcendental loving exchanges created by the hladini-sakti keep Sri Krsna captivated in bliss. The sublime amorous desires flowing out of the samvit-sakti fan the erotic moods, rasa, of Sri Krsna. The spiritual realm of Sri Vrndavana-dhama, brilliant and pure, has been manifested by the sandhini-sakti, as the arena for the eternal loving pastimes. [jaiva-dharma, Ch.14]
"The svarupa-sakti, or internal potency of Krsna, which is spiritual, functioning as His own personal power, has manifested His pastimes of Goloka. By Her grace individual souls who are constituents of the marginal potency can have admission into even those pastimes." (Sri Brahma-Samhita, purport to text 6)
Svarupa-sakti manifests the world within the sphere of the spiritual sun, and the function outside the sphere of the sun is carried out by jiva-sakti, which is the direct partial representation of cit-sakti. Therefore, the activities related to the jiva are those of jiva-sakti...According to this scriptural aphorism, the cit-sakti is a manifestation of the para-sakti. It emanates from its own sphere, the spiritual realm. The jiva-sakti, in the marginal region between the spiritual and the material worlds, manifests innumerable, eternal jivas, who are like atomic particles in the rays of the spiritual sun. (Jaiva-dharma, Ch.15)
"Thus the Lord's marginal potencies, who are called the individual spirit souls, are limitless in number. Still, they may be divided into two groups: 1. the souls who from time immemorial are favorable to the Supreme Lord, and 2. the rebellious souls who from time immemorial are averse to the Supreme Lord. This is because one group is aware of the Lord's glories and the other group is not aware of them. (from Srila Jiva Gosvami's Sri Priti-sandarbha Anuccheda 7)."
The tatastha-sakti has two divisions. One division is engaged in devotional service to the Supreme Lord from beginningless time. The other has been averse to Him since then. These two divisions of jivas are endowed with knowledge of the Lord and the absence of Him respectively. The first have received the favor of antaranga-sakti, the internal potency, and are the Lord's associates like Garuda. The second are conditioned souls, who are defeated by the external energy maya because of their indifference to the Lord. (Srila Jiva Gosvami's Paramatma-Sandharba 47 texts 1,2)]
"svamsa-vibhinnamsa-rupe hana vistara
ananta vaikuntha-brahmande karena vihara
"So Krsna is both in the spiritual world and the material world. Because we represent Krsna, we are in this brahmanda - conditioned. But there are many living entities who are eternally liberated. They never come to this world. How it is, that? Just like the ocean and the rivers. In the river you will find fishes and in the ocean you will find fishes. Sometimes it may be that the fishes of the river may go to the ocean, but the fishes of the ocean never come to the river - never come to the river. There is no place for them.
"sei vibhinnamsa jiva-dui ta' prakara
eka-'nitya-mukta', eka-'nitya samsara'
"Now, this energy manifested as the living entities, they are also of two kinds. What are they? Eka-nitya-mukta. One class of living entities, they are eternally liberated. Just like the fishes in the ocean. Take the ocean as the place of liberation. That individuality is there, and that individuality is reciprocated between Krsna and the individual souls. They are called nitya-mukta, eternally liberated. And the other class, who are just like fishes in the river, they are called nitya-baddha. Their limited sphere is in the river or in the pond or in the well.
(Lecture by Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, NY Jan. 8, 1967, Cc Mad. 22.6)
"'nitya-mukta'-nitya krsna-carane unmukha
'krsna-parisada' nama, bhunje seva-sukha
"Yesterday we were discussing two kinds of living entities. One class, nitya-mukta, eternally liberated; they never come to this material world. They are eternally liberated. And another class, just like we, are conditioned. We are eternally conditioned. Eternally conditioned means we do not know when we have been conditioned like this. It is not possible to trace out the history because living entity, by nature, is not conditioned. But actually we see that we are conditioned, and there is no possibility to trace out the history. Many, many Brahma's lives. Not only one Brahma; there are so many Brahmas changed, and we are conditioned. So therefore we are called ‘eternally conditioned'.
"What is the difference between the two? Those who are eternally free, liberated, they are godly. They are always ready to render transcendental loving service to the Lord. They are satisfied in that way. Just like mother is satisfied simply by loving child, or friend is satisfied simply by loving. Of course, that sort of love is not possible in this material world, but there are some rare instances. At least we can get an idea. Similarly, the eternal liberated souls are satisfied simply by loving Krsna. That is their satisfaction."(Lecture on Cc Mad. 22. 11-15, NY Jan 9, 67)]
The categorization here is simply between those who are nitya mukta (ie never baddha at any time) and nitya baddha (never in the spiritual world at any time). Therefore, the nitya mukta category will include nitya parikaras who come from Baladeva, and also the jivas who came from Karanodakasayi Visnu and fortunately ‘looked' toward Yogamaya rather than Mahamaya. -ed.]
"The Lord of the mundane world, Maha-Visnu, possesses thousands of thousands of avataras as His thousands of thousands of plenary portions. He is the creator of thousands of thousands of individual souls." (Sri Brahma-Samhita, text 11)]
"The innumerable jivas as spiritual particles emanating from the Oversoul, in the form of pencil-rays of effulgence, have no relation with the mundane world when they come to know themselves to be the eternal servants of the Supreme Lord. They are then incorporated into the realm of Vaikuntha." (Sri Brahma Samhita, purport to text 16)]
"Avidya is the name for the forgetfulness of the souls' essential nature that, "I am Krsna's servant.' This avidya did not commence within the course of the mundane time. That root of karma of the jiva arose when he was in the tatastha position." (Jaiva Dharma ch. 16)
"It should be understood that the jiva soul is neither produced of this material world, nor created in the transcendental world. They are originated from the marginal line between the transcendental and mundane spheres" (Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura's Bhakti-tattva Viveka 2.4)]
"In further reference to your question about the form of the spirit soul of the conditioned living entity, there is a spiritual form always, but it develops fully only when the living entity goes back to Vaikuntha. This form develops according to the desire of the living entity. Until this perfectional stage is reached, the form is lying dormant, as the form of the tree is lying dormant in the seed." (Letter to: Rupanuga, Los Angeles 8 August, 1969).]
Transcriber: Premanidhi dasi
Proofreader: Krsna-kamini dasi
Editor: Syamarani dasi
Painting by Syamarani dasi, copyright Bhaktivedanta Book Trust.