03/11/98 - 1685
Srila Prabhupada's Books Are As Good As Shastra
USA (VNN) - by Agrahya das (see also VNN story# 1682)
All glories to Sri Guru and Sri Gauranga. All glories to Srila
I noted with interest a recent article which brought out quotations
from Srila Prabhupada in an attempt to support the theory that
living entities do fall from Krishna's pastimes.
My interest in this is not in the debate itself. The origin of
the jiva is a rather pointless topic. Srila Prabhupada once illustrated
the pointlessness of it by relating the kAka-tAlIya-nyAya, or
the logic of the crow and the tal fruit. Who cares how I became
conditioned, I want to become situated in my constitutional position
of service to Krishna.
My interest in this discussion is that Srila Prabhupada's books
are being disregarded. There are a number of references in Srila
Prabhupada's books to whether living entities fall from Vaikuntha.
Why should they be ommitted from the article by Kailash Chandra
Prabhu, or from the OOP book (Our Original Position)? Let's examine
some of these quotations first:
'From Vedic scriptures it is understood that sometimes even Brahma
Indra fall down, but a devotee in the transcendental abode of
'The conclusion is that no one falls from the spiritual world,
Vaikuntha planet, for it is the eternal abode.'
'This ordinary living being is of two kinds -- nitya-baddha or
nitya-mukta. One is eternally conditioned and the other eternally
liberated. The eternally liberated living beings, are in the Vaikuntha
jagat, the spiritual world, and they never fall into the material
'Pure devotional service is so spiritually relishable that a devotee
becomes automatically uninterested in material enjoyment. That
sign of perfection in progressive devotional service. A pure devotee
continuously remembers the lotus feet of Lord Sri Krishna and
forget Him even for a moment, not even in exchange for all the
opulence of the three worlds.'
'Sometimes it is asked how the living entity falls down from the
spiritual world to the material world. Here is the answer. Unless
is elevated to the Vaikuntha planets, directly in touch with the
Supreme Personality of Godhead, he is prone to fall down, either
the impersonal Brahman realization or from an ecstatic trance
'The living entities are divided into two categories the eternally
liberated and eternally conditioned. Those who are ever-liberated
never come in contact with maya, the external energy. The
ever-conditioned are always under the clutches of the external
This is described in Bhagavad-gita:
daive hy ena guna-maye
mama maya duratyaya
"This divine energy of Mine, consisting of the three modes of
nature, is difficult to overcome." (Bg. 7.14)
The nitya-baddhas are always conditioned by the external energy,
the nitya-muktas never come in contact with the external energy.'
'False devotees, lacking the conclusion of transcendental knowledge,
think that artificially shedding tears will deliver them. Similarly,
other false devotees think that studying books of the previous
is unadvisable, like studying dry empiric philosophies. But Srila
Gosvami, following the previous acaryas, has inculcated the
conclusions of the scriptures in the six theses called the
Sat-sandarbhas. False devotees who have very little knowledge
conclusions fail to achieve pure devotion for want of zeal in
accepting the favorable directions for devotional service given
self-realized devotees. Such false devotees are like impersonalists,
who also consider devotional service no better than ordinary fruitive
Krishna Book, Chapter 28,
Releasing Nanda Maharaja from the clutches of Varuna (p. 186)
'The mature devotees, who have completely executed Krishna
consciousness, are immediately transferred to the universe where
Krishna is appearing. In that universe the devotees get their
opportunity to associate with Krishna personally and directly.'
'Maharaja Yudhisthira inquired: "What kind of great curse could
even liberated vishnu-bhaktas, and what sort of person could curse
even the Lord's associates? For unflinching devotees of the Lord
fall again to this material world is impossible. I cannot believe
In Bhagavad-gita (8.16) the Lord clearly states, mam upetya tu
kaunteya punar janma na vidyate: one who is purified of material
contamination and returns home, back to Godhead, does not return
this material world. Elsewhere in Bhagavad-gita (4.9) Krishna
janma karma ca me divyam
evam yo vetti tattvatah
tyaktva deham punar janma
naiti mam eti so 'rjuna
"One who knows the transcendental nature of My appearance and
activities does not, upon leaving the body, take his birth again
this material world, but attains My eternal abode, O Arjuna."
Yudhisthira, therefore, was surprised that a pure devotee could
to this material world. This is certainly a very important question.'
'The bodies of the inhabitants of Vaikuntha are completely spiritual,
having nothing to do with the material body, senses, or life air.
Therefore, kindly explain how associates of the Personality of
were cursed to descend in material bodies like ordinary persons.
Therefore it is to be understood that when Jaya and Vijaya descended
to this material world, they came because there was something
done for the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Otherwise it is a
that no one falls from Vaikuntha.'
(Quotations Copyright (C) BBTI)
There are two things we may consider here:
1. These quotations are not relevant to a discussion of the origin
of the jiva. This can be easily rejected by examining the quotes.
It is hard to overlook their directness and relevancy.
2. These quotations are inconvenient as they do not support the
theory that living entities fall from Krishna's abode, 'that place
from which, having gone, one does not return.'
There are a small number of quotes from Srila Prabhupada's books
cited in the article. In none of them is there any reference to
jivas falling from the Lord's abode. The author has emphasized
phrases which refer to the potential for the jiva to fall. But
nowhere has Srila Prabhupada said, "the cowherd boys sometimes
fall down," or "the gopis sometimes fall down." Such statements
were never made by His Divine Grace and to make such considerations
would be a great offense to the Lord's eternal devotees and an
offense at the lotus feet of bhakti.
The author asserts that the "few" quotations given above which
"appear" to support that the jiva does not fall from the Lord's
abode were invented by Srila Prabhupada and placed in his books
to "soften the blow" of a brand new philosophy which differs from
that of our previous acaryas.
We would like to suggest that rather than throwing out all the
previous acaryas in favor of a fanciful interpretation such as
this, we can easily reconcile the apparent contradiction. When
there appears to be a contradiction, we are enjoined by shastra
not to throw out the part that doesn't "fit" but to seek an understanding
by which the apparent contradictions may be harmonized. In other
words, the defect is in our understanding, not in Srila Jiva Goswami
or any of our previous acaryas.
The apparent contradiction is not between Srila Prabhupada and
the Gaudiya Math, as Kailash Chandra Prabhu and others would have
us believe. It is only by disregarding a substantial number of
statements by Srila Prabhupada that we might think he supported
the idea that jivas fall from Krishna's abode.
In short, this idea of "fall from Krishna's abode" is presented
based on statements in letters and room conversations, and is
reinforced with references to the potential for the jiva to fall
under the influence of maya. But we understand this also in terms
of the nature of the Lord's abode, in which there is no influence
of maya. It is only under Maya's influence that the living entity
can have any conception of separate existence from the Lord.
There is a very important point to consider here, which the discussion
of origin of the jiva is only tangential to. Srila Prabhupada
heavily emphasized his books. "I have put everything in my books."
Who are we to doubt His Divine Grace? In his books we also find
references to the Sandarbhas, Brihad-Bhagavatamrita, and other
bonafide literatures. Should we neglect them, thinking they are
not part of Srila Prabhupada's books? They ARE in Srila Prabhupada's
books! So why are we ignoring parts of Srila Prabhupada's books?
Why are we trying to contradict Srila Prabhupada's books by quoting
letters, room conversations, and even unbonafide books like Advaita
Prakash? Do we not have faith in his books?
The author suggests that controversy should not be avoided. This
is true, as stated by Srila Krishnadas Kaviraj Goswami. It is
unfortunate that in some sections all debate and discussion of
the "jiva controversy" has been banned. It is unfortunate in the
sense that some of these statements reveal a disregard for Srila
Prabhupada's books. They should be the centerpiece of our understanding
of Krishna consciousness. If we examine the quotes given regarding
fall from the Lord's abode we will see there is in fact NO FALL
FROM THE SPIRITUAL WORLD.
Proponents of the "fall from Vaikuntha" theory like to say that
their opponents are mayavadis for suggesting the jivas fall from
the tatastha region as suggested in Jaiva-dharma. This is typically
misrepresented, and this persists as represented recently in one
letter to me from an Iskcon guru and GBC member.
If we have faith in Srila Prabhupada's books and remain true to
ourselves and true to Srila Prabhupada's mission, there can be
no bewilderment from such things. We will instead find harmony
and inspiration. We will not find a need to invent fanciful interpretations
of Srila Prabhupada and his mission. We can accept him as an eternally
liberated associate of the Lord, a Rupanuga, a follower of Srila
Rupa Goswami. He claimed that he did not invent anything. He gave
us the philosophy "as it is." Many of us do not need any more
proof than that. We do not need to concoct new terminology to
make Srila Prabhupada into something "more." We do not need to
make his books into something "more" than they are. They are as
good as shastra. He is as good as God, because he is a topmost
confidential servitor of the Lord. We will surely commit offense
if we think we will glorify him by awarding him some new titles.
Does he need our rubber-stamp approval and awarding of titles?
The author makes the statement:
Ever get the idea that mixing the flowery discussions of personal
svarupa with Krishna along with the impersonal origination theory
is a bit of a rasabhasa? Ever consider that listening to such
presentations, or reading them, may be counterproductive to advancement
on the path of sadhana bhakti? In what direction do these kinds
of talks or writings take us--up or down? Are they truly pleasing
to the heart?
We should in fact consider the following:
1. Is it possibly offensive to disregard Srila Prabhupada's books
and re-interpret them based on statements in letters and room
conversations? Did he want us to do this?
2. Is it possibly rasabhasa to consider that the eternally liberated
associates of Krishna sometimes fall?
3. Is it possibly highly offensive to think that the eternally
liberated associates of Krishna sometimes fall?
4. Will it possibly impede our development of bhakti to doubt
the statement "once having gone there, one never returns?"
5. Can we consider that it is blasphemy to suggest that the Lord's
eternal associates DO fall from His abode? For example, is it
blasphemous to equate the curses exchanged between Sudama and
Vrindadevi with the fall of conditioned souls?
6. Will it possibly impede our development of bhakti to hear blasphemy
of Srila Prabhupada and the Lord's eternal associates without
strongly denouncing it?
7. Will taking to an understanding of such things lead us up or
8. Is it pleasing to the heart to promote this philosophy of "fall
Sometimes we will hear statements which are averse to the development
of pure devotional service. If we do not strongly reject such
statements we may certainly become affected.
Srila Prabhupada's books are as good as shastra. We should take
them as is with whole-hearted enthusiasm and faith. We should
not disregard parts which do not support our views but we should
seek harmony. There is one verse which describes siddhanta in
vyAmohAya carAcarasya jagatas te te purANAgamAs tAM tAm eva hi
devatAM paramikAM jalpantu kalpAvadhi siddhAnte punar eka eva
bhagavAn viSNuH samastAgamA vyApAreSu vivecana-vyatikarAM nIteSu
To bewilder all moving and non-moving living beings, the different
Puranas and scriptures each present some different worshipable
deity. Let the wranglers argue until the end of the world! But
in the siddhanta, we find again and again that Vishnu is the one
and only Supreme personality. Leading all the various scriptures
to their conclusions with discrimination and care we ascertain
Thus if we seek to understand Srila Prabhupada's books, we must
take everything in context and always seek an understanding which
does not contradict any part of his teachings.
This short presentation has only briefly touched on a few points.
The main point here is that we should not disregard or doubt very
clear statements made in Srila Prabhupada's books, nor should
we try to disprove them using quotes taken out of context from
his letters and room conversations.
There is an excellent presentation on this topic by HH B.B. Vishnu
'Therefore it is to be understood that when Jaya and Vijaya
descended to this material world, they came because there was
something to be done for the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Otherwise it is a fact that no one falls from Vaikuntha.'
(SB 7.1.35 purport)
Regarding your second question, have the conditioned souls ever
Krsna? Were they with the Lord before being conditioned by the
lord it over material nature?
Yes, the conditioned souls are parts and parcels of the Lord and
they were with Krsna before being conditioned. Just as the child
have seen his father because the father places the child in the
the mother, similarly each soul has seen Krsna or the Supreme
But at that time the conditioned souls are resting in the condition
called susupti which is exactly like deep sleep without dream,
or anesthetized state, therefore they do not remember being with
when they wake up in the material world and become engaged in
(Srila Prabhupada letter to Jagadish, 1970)
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