VNN Editorial - More About Jivas

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December 11, 1998   VNN2657   See Related VNN Stories

More About Jivas


EDITORIAL, Dec 11 (VNN) — With a straw in my mouth - More about Jivas

My dear Urdhvarga Prabhu,

Please accept my humble obeisances. All Glories to Srila Prabhupada and all his followers. I had written the article about the Jiva and its origin in particular in order to set aside this issue and to move forward towards other more pressing issues in the world. Just because you accuse me of speculating I feel it is my duty to clarify the source of my opinions. I really wish that as Srila Prabhupada wished, we could do something to make the world aware of the wonderful teachings of our spiritual master and also make our respective projects dignified places where people women and children, man and elders, Brahmacaries and Grihastas can live peacefully and happily. Even if there are some type of disagreements, we can simply humbly approach Guru, Sastra and Sadhu to resolve these issues. Finally, if that is impossible, then we might simply list the different versions of explanations as given by different Acaryas.

To enter into the discussion whether Srila Prabhupada in certain moments presented a simplified explanation of something like the jiva for the sake of preaching and not perfectly siddhanta is not for me to discuss now. It simply has been proposed by those who wanted to harmonize some apparent contradiction which appeared from your last quote toward the declaration of Srila Prabhupada and Lord Krishna that no one falls from the spiritual world.

For example: Sri Isopanishad seventeenth mantra page 100 purport: "The brahmajyoti emanating from the transcendental body of the Lord is full of spiritual sparks that are INDIVIDUAL ENTITIES with the full sense of existence. Sometimes these living entities want to become enjoyers of the senses, and therefore they are placed in the material world to become false lords under the dictation of their senses."

In the mantra 16 Page 96 it says: "The all-pervading feature of the Lord-which exists in all circumstances of waking and sleeping as well as in potential states and from which the Jiva Shakti (living force) is generated as both conditioned and liberated souls-known as Brahman."

On the other hand please consider what is said in the Chaitanya Charitamrita, Madya Lila 20.108-109: "The living entity's constitutional position is to be an eternal servant of Krishna. As a manifestation of Krishna's MARGINAL ENERGY he is simultaneously one and different from the Lord, like a particle of sunshine of fire. Krishna has THREE varieties of energy: cit-sakti, tatashta-sakti, and maya-sakti."

Urdvaga Prabhu wrote:

>Recently I have come across some papers, speculating on The Origin Of The
>Soul And Other Important Topics, in which the author tries to convince the
>reader about the existence of an imaginary "third plane" (marginal plane)
>from which the living entities are supposed to fall down.

It was deliberate that no chronological description of the Jiva's entering into the material world exists. The word "wanting to enjoy" is given as the reason.

>As far as I have understood from Srila Prabhupada's books, there are only
>TWO planes, namely the material and the spiritual. The third principle,
>which is choosing between the two planes, is called the living entity,
>also known as the marginal energy of the Lord.

This third energy is called Brahman or Tatashta sakti (see quotes above)

>The Srimad Bhagavatam says:
>"The Supreme Lord has TWO energies, material and spiritual. The living
>entities are marginal energy. As marginal energy, a person may be under the
>control of the material energy (Maha-maya) or the spiritual energy (Yoga-
>Maya). SB 3.23.10 pp.

We cannot enter this Jiva generating shakti of the Lord with chronological time or space calculations. True, the Brahman is also a spiritual sphere and therefore sometimes only the Antanga and Bahiranga shakti are mentioned. But the Brahman nevertheless is differentiated from Bhagavan and Paramatma. It is simply another perspective taken.

>"Because the living being can appear either in matter or in spirit, the
>jiva is called the marginal potency" CC Adi 5.41 pp.

>"The living entity (jiva-atma) takes different positions - sometimes he
>merges into the dark material nature and identifies himself with matter,
>and sometimes he identifies himself with the superior spiritual nature.
>THEREFORE, he is called the Lord's marginal energy. " BG 8.3 pp.

>"The fact is that individual living entities are eternally part and parcel
>of the Supreme Lord, and both of them are very intimately related as
>friends. But the living entity has the tendency to reject the sanctions of
>the Supreme Lord and act independently in an attempt to dominate the
>supreme nature, and BECAUSE HE HAS THIS TENDENCY, he is called the marginal
>energy of the Supreme Lord. " BG 13.23 pp.

It is precisely this type of simplified explanation that you can find in the writings of not only Srila Prabhupada, but also in the writings of Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur, Srila Bhakti Prajnan Kesava Maharaj and all other Vaisnava writers. But finally, when the focus is pointed to the siddhanta on this issue, they all say what Srila Prabhupada wrote in mantra 17 of the Sri Isopanishad.

>In the above verses, Srila Prabhupada explains that marginal energy means
>the TENDENCY of the living entity to reject the sanction of the Lord and
>act independently.

>So, marginal energy, or tatastha-shakti, is NOT a
>particular place or area in outer space where souls drop from, but it
>denotes the NATURE of the jiva-soul. It refers to a living entity with the
>nature of independently choosing between the Lord's two energies.
>Therefore, the living entities DO NOT expand from the marginal energy, but
>their natures are called marginal. This marginal energy (jiva-soul) is an
>expansion of Lord Krishna, who is the origin of the living entities.

You try to logically extract from these quotes the conclusion of your presentation. And believe me, not for the sake of argument, but only to humbly show how I have learned about this topic from many great Vaisnava scholars, I am showing on what authority we present as the conclusion that the Brahman is the origin of the Jiva. Of course that means that Krishna is the origin of the Jivas, because Krishna is the cause of the Brahman. Finally, what does it matter? We want to go to the highest love. Serve and surrender to the sweet will of Krishna. If I disturbed anyone in his search for Sri Krishna I would condemn every breath coming from my mouth.

>To summarize it: There is no such thing as a marginal plane. Marginal
>energy refers to the particular nature of the jiva-soul, not to any
>location or place. As marginal energy, the living entity has an independent
>nature and free will to choose between the Lord's TWO energies. The two
>energies of the Lord are the external energy (material word) and the
>internal energy (spiritual world), and the via medium who chooses between
>these two, is the living entity, who is called marginal because of his
>aptitude to be in contact with both of the energies. In other words, the
>marginal energy, which is the living entity itself, can choose only between
>two energies, namely the external or internal. It CANNOT choose between
>three energies because the third, the marginal, which is doing the
>choosing, is the living entity itself. One should, therefore, not mistake
>the marginal energy, tatastha- shakti, for something like a concocted
>marginal plane.

Again here it is not a question of becoming or joining a plane. Aham Brahmasmi means that this is our stage of existence and it is possible to go to that level. Otherwise what happens when a Brahman realized person stops reincarnating and does not go to Vaikuntha? Obviously he exists somewhere, since he later will come back to again see what he missed by neglecting the invitation of the devotees to go the path of Prema Bhakti.

>If marginal energy (the living entity with its independent nature) chooses >to be in contact with the external energy of the Lord, it still remains >marginal. (See CC Adi 2.96)

>If marginal energy (the living entity with its independent nature) chooses
>to be in contact with the external energy of the Lord, it still remains
>marginal. (See CC Adi 2.96)

>If the marginal living entity chooses to go
>back to the internal energy (the spiritual world), it still keeps his
>marginal independence. It does not change his nature into internal energy
>and becomes Vishnu-tattva. Although the living entities are equal in
>quality to the internal potency of Krishna (which is spiritual), they
>nevertheless keep their marginal independence. Jiva-tattva (the marginal
>energy) does not turn into Vishnu-tattva (the internal energy), otherwise
>the living entity would turn into God Himself as in Mayavadi philosophy.

>Marginal energy can be situated either in the external or internal energy
>of the Lord and according to the living beings free will and contact with
>either the material or spiritual energies, the living being is situated in
>proportionally higher or lower levels of existence. If marginal energy can
>freely choose to be situated in either external or internal energy, then
>marginal energy (because of his free will) can also choose to leave either
>external or internal energy.

>In the Caitanya-caritamrita it is stated: "The marginal energy is
>ORIGINALLY under the control of the SPIRITUAL energy, but, under the
>control of the material energy, the living entities have been wandering in
>forgetfulness within the material world since time immemorial. The
>SPIRITUAL PLATFORM, for this separates the living entity from the
>association of the spiritual energy. In the conditioned state, the living
>entities of the marginal energy are a mixture of spiritual and material
>energies. The marginal jiva, or living entity, misuses his independence and
>becomes averse to the eternal service attitude when he independently thinks
>he is not energy but the energetic. This misconception of his own
>existence leads him to the attitude of lording it over material nature.
>But when the living entity is enlightened by the grace of the Supreme or
>His pure devotee and becomes inclined to revive his original state of
>loving service, he is on the most auspicious platform of eternal bliss and
>knowledge." CC Adi 5.66 pp.

>The above verse not only says that falldown is due to misuse of
>independence but also clearly says WHERE that misusing is done, namely on
>the spiritual platform and not on a concocted marginal plane, i.e. "by
>misuse of the individual independence of the spiritual platform". In other
>words, when the living entity on the spiritual platform misuses his
>individual independence, it falls down to the material platform. The above
>verse does not mention a third plane from where the choosing is done.

Yes , this is true. Since we come from the spiritual plane it is a great fall down to come here. But it does not invalidate what I explained with the above respective quotes.

>Again in the Srimad-Bhagavatam it is stated: "Originally pure Krishna
>consciousness exists, but because of misuse of marginal independence there
>is a chance of forgetting Krishna. From the state of pure consciousness,
>the false ego is born because of misuse of independence. We cannot argue
>about why false ego arises from pure consciousness. Factually, there is
>always the chance that this will happen, and therefore one has to be very
>careful." SB 3.26.23-24 pp.

>Srila Prabhupada says in the above verse, that by misuse of independence in
>the state of pure consciousness, the material ego takes its birth and that
>ONE CANNOT ARGUE ABOUT why false ego arises from pure consciousness.

>To be in pure consciousness means to be with Krishna. There is no such thing as
>to be in "pure Krishna consciousness" and not to be with Krishna.
>"Originally pure Krishna consciousness exists". So if one is with Krishna
>in pure Krishna consciousness and misuse his free will, the false ego
>arises, and then one will fall down. So the falldown, it seems, starts on
>the spiritual plane, as described in the above purport of Srila Prabhupada.

You do present a very clear view. It is a way to say all this. But the same Acarya who wrote the quotes you gave also wrote for present times. What can be done? We have the right to go and live and let live. The real issue is the common interest we all have as Vaisnavas; that is, to help the suffering souls and ourselves become Krishna Conscious. Please pray for me that I will be able to go forward and do not take offense that I made these points in this letter.

>It is also absurd to write papers on "The Origin Of The Soul" when the soul
>as such is eternal - that means without a beginning - It is foolish to
>attribute ANOTHER ORIGIN than Krishna to the souls manifestation when
>Krishna says, that everything emanates from Him, that He is the cause of
>all causes and the origin of all.

No one has doubted this in the above article. It is just about how, where and when Krishna brought the souls into existence and when and how and where the souls desired to lord it arose.

>Srila Prabhupada says that we cannot argue about it. Therefore, as
>Prabhupada's disciples, we have to accept his final words: "Because he
>falls down from brahma-sayujya, he thinks that may be his origin; but he
>does not remember that before that even he was with Krishna. Formerly we
>were with Krishna in His lila or sport" (Lecture in Australia)

Since Srila Prabhupada clearly said that he has written everything important in his books, you may excuse me that I have presented here some quotes that apparently contradict this last letter's quote.

Actually it is nice that we are concerned with this topic today instead with the movies, politics or other useless topics; all due to the mercy of Srila Prabhupada. Therefore I end this answer to you just to make sure that the absurdity may be my own condition, but if we lose the love for our wonderful Vaisnavas of all Vaisnava Missions we would surely have a reason to lament.

Your fallen servant,
Swami B.A. Paramadvaiti

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