If you ever wanted to find out about your Existence, your Self and God, The Jaiva Dharma By Srila Bhaktivinodha Thakura is a must read. This excerpt is only a small passage of the book but you will be astonished about how much spiritual knowledge is revealed already.
Posted on July 2, 2011 by Devarsi
This excerpt is only a small passage of the book but you will be astonished about how much spiritual knowledge is revealed already. This knowledge can only be fully realised in combination with Bhakti Yoga under the direction of a bonafied genuine spiritual master and the chanting of the Holy Names of God. Otherwise it will just remain theoratical knowledge. Therefore please visit one of our temples and begin chanting the Holy Names of God.
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna
Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama
Rama Rama Hare Hare
Having heard the illuminating description of jiva-tattva in Dasa-mula, Vrajanatha returned home. Lying on his bed, he was unable to sleep, and he began to reflect deeply, “I have received an answer to the question, ‘Who am I?’ Now I can understand myself to be simply an atom of light in the effulgent rays of the spiritual sun, Sri Krsna. Although atomic by nature, I have my own inherent value, purpose, knowledge, and a drop of spiritual bliss (bindu-cidgata-ananda). My svarupa is a spiritual particle (cit-kana). Even though that form is atomic, it is like Sri Krsna’s human-like form. Now, I cannot see this form; and this is my misfortune, only an extremely fortunate soul can realize it. It is important that I understand clearly why I suffer in this unfortunate condition. Tomorrow I will inquire about this from Sri Gurudeva.”
An excerpt from Jaiva Dharma Chapter 16 Translated by Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja
Thinking thus, he finally fell asleep at around midnight. Before dawn, he dreamt he had left his family and accepted Vaisnava dress. When he awoke, he joyfully thought, “It appears that Krsna will soon pull me out of this samsara.”
The next morning, while he was sitting on the porch some students approached him. Offering their respects, they said, “For a long time you have taught us very nicely, and under your guidance we have learnt many profound subject matters pertaining to nyaya. We hope that you will now instruct us on nyaya-kusumanjali.” With great humility Vrajanatha replied, “My dear brothers, I am unable to teach you any more, for I cannot fix my mind on teaching at all. I have decided to take another path. Under these circumstances, I suggest that you study under the guidance of some other teacher.”
When they heard this the students became unhappy, but since there was nothing that they could do, gradually one by one they began to leave.
Srila Bhaktivinodha Thakura. A pure devotee of Lord Krishna
About that time, Sri Caturbhuja Misra Ghataka came to the house to present a proposal to Vrajanatha’s paternal grandmother for his marriage. He said, “I am sure you know Vijayanatha Bhattacarya. His family is good, and quite well off; thus it will be a suitable match for you. Most importantly, this girl is as qualified as she is beautiful. On his side, Bhattacarya will make no conditions regarding the marriage of his daughter with Vrajanatha. He is ready to marry her in whichever way you desire.” Hearing this proposal, Vrajanatha’s grandmother became exhilarated, but Vrajanatha felt dissatisfied within his heart. “Alas!” he thought, ”My grandmother is arranging my marriage while I am planning to leave my family and the world. How can I feel happy to discuss marriage at this time?”
Later, there was an intense struggle of arguments and counter arguments in their home regarding marriage. Vrajanatha’s mother, grandmother and the other elderly ladies were on one side, while on the other, completely alone, was Vrajanatha. The ladies insisted in various ways that Vrajanatha should get married, but he did not agree. The discussion continued the entire day. Around evening time, it began to rain heavily, and kept pouring throughout the night, so that Vrajanatha could not go to Mayapura. The next day, because of the heated arguments about marriage, he could not even eat his meals properly. In the evening he went to Babaji’s cottage. He paid obeisances and sat down close to Babaji, who said, “Yesterday night it was raining quite heavily. That’s probably why you couldn’t come. Seeing you today gives me much happiness.” Vrajanatha said, “Prabhu, I am facing a problem which I will tell you about later. First please explain to me, if the jiva is a pure spiritual entity, how did he become entangled in this miserable world?”
Babaji smiled and said :
svaruparthair hinan nija-sukha-paran krsna-vimukhan
harer maya-dandyan guna-nigada-jalaih kalayati
tatha sthulair lingai dvi-vidhavaranaih klesa-nikarair
mahakarmalanair nayati patitan svarga-nirayau
Dasa-mula, Sloka (6)
By his original nature the jiva is an eternal servant of Krsna.
His svarupa-dharma is service to Sri Krsna. Bhagavan’s bewildering
energy (maya) punishes those jivas who are bereft of that svarupa-dharma.
These jivas are diverted fromKrsna, and are concerned with their own happiness. She binds them in the ropes of the three modes of material nature sattva, rajah and tamah – covers their svarupa with gross and subtle bodies, throws them into the miserable bondage of karma, thus repeatedly causing them to experience happiness and distress in heaven and hell.
“Innumerable jivas appear from Sri Baladeva Prabhu to serve Vrndavana-vihari Sri Krsna as His eternal associates in Goloka Vrndavana, and others appear from Sri Sankarsana to serve the Lord
Lord Narayana and Laksmi devi
of Vaikuntha, Sri Narayana, in the spiritual sky. Eternally relishing rasa, engaged in the service of their worshipable Lord, they always remain fixed in their constitutional position. They always strive to please Bhagavan, and are always attentive to Him. Having attained the strength of cit-sakti, they are always strong. They have no connection with the material energy. In fact, they do not know if there is a bewildering energy called maya or not. Since they reside in the spiritual world, maya is very far away from them and does not affect them at all. Always absorbed in the bliss of serving their worshipable Lord, they are eternally liberated and are free from material happiness and distress. Their life is love alone, and they are not even conscious of misery, death or fear. “There are also innumerable, atomic, conscious jivas who emanate as rays in Karanodakasayi Maha-Visnu’s glance upon His mayasakti. Since these jivas are situated next to maya, they perceive her wonderful workings.
Instant sense gratification
Although they have all the qualities of the jivas that I have already described, because of their minute and marginal nature, they sometimes look to the spiritual world, and sometimes to the material world. In this marginal condition, the jiva is very weak because at that time he has not attained spiritual strength from the mercy of the object of his worship (seva-vastu). Among these unlimited jivas, those who want to enjoy maya become engrossed in mundane sense gratification and enter the state of nitya-baddha. On the other hand, the jivas who perform cidanusilanam of Bhagavan receive spiritual sakti (cid-bala) by His mercy, and enter the spiritual world. Baba! It is our great misfortune that we have forgotten our service to Sri Krsna, and have become bound in the shackles of maya. Only because we have forgotten our constitutional position, are we in this deplorable condition.”
Vrajanatha: Prabhu, I understand that this marginal position is situated in tatastha-svabhava, or junction, of the spiritual and material worlds. Why is it that some jivas go from there to the material world, while others go to the spiritual world?
I am not interested, i do what i like.
I am not interested, i do what i like.
Babaji: Krsna’s qualities are also present in the jivas, but only in a minute quantity. Krsna is supremely independent, so the desire to be independent is eternally present in the jivas as well. When the jiva uses his independence correctly, he remains disposed towards Krsna, but when he misuses it, he becomes vimukha (indifferent) to Him. It is just this indifference that gives rise to the desire in the jiva’s heart to enjoy maya. Because of the desire to enjoy maya, he develops the false ego that he can enjoy material sense gratification, and then the five types of ignorance – tamah (not knowing anything about the spirit soul), moha (the illusion of the bodily concept of life), maha-moha (madness for material enjoyment), tamisra (forgetfulness of one’s constitutional position due to anger or envy) and andha-tamisra (considering death to be the ultimate end) – cover his pure, atomic nature. Our liberation or subjugation simply depends on whether we use our minute independence properly, or misuse it.
Vrajanatha: Krsna is karunamaya (full of mercy), so why did He make the jiva so weak that he became entangled in maya?
Krishna God, is performing wonderful pastimes
Babaji: It is true that Krsna is karunamaya, overflowing with mercy, however, He is also lilamaya, overflowing with desire to perform pastimes. Desiring various pastimes to be enacted in different situations, Sri Krsna made the jiva’s eligable for all conditions, from the marginal state to the highest state of mahabhava. And to facilitate the jiva’s progressing practically and steadfastly towards becoming qualified for Krsna’s service, He has also created the lower levels of material existence, beginning from the lowest inert matter up to ahankara, which are the cause of unlimited obstruction in attaining paramananda. Having fallen from their constitutional position, the jivas who are entangled in maya are indifferent to Krsna and engrossed in personal sense gratification. However, Sri Krsna is the reservoir of mercy. The more the jiva becomes fallen, the more Krsna provides him with opportunities to attain the highest spiritual perfection. He brings this about by appearing before him along with His spiritual dhama and His eternal associates. Those jivas who take advantage of this merciful opportunity and sincerely endeavor to attain the higher position gradually reach the spiritual world and attain a state similar to that of Sri Hari’s eternal associates.
Vrajanatha: Why must the jivas suffer for the sake of Bhagavan’s pastimes?
Babaji: The jivas possess some independence. This is actually a sign of Bhagavan’s special mercy upon them. Inert objects are very insignificant and worthless because they have no such independent desire. The jiva has attained sovereignty of the inert world only because of his independent desire.Misery and happiness are conditions of the mind. Thus what we may consider misery is happiness for one engrossed in it. Since all varieties of material sense gratification finally result in nothing but misery, a materialistic person only achieves suffering. When that suffering becomes excessive, it gives rise to a search for happiness. From that desire, discrimination arises, and from discrimination, the tendency for inquiry is born. As a result of this, one attains sat-sanga (the association of saintly people), whereupon sraddha develops. When sraddha is born, the jiva ascends to a higher stage, namely the path of bhakti.
Everyone suffers from something, there are no exeptions.Gold is purified by heating and hammering. Being indifferent to Krsna, the jiva has become impure through engaging in mundane sense gratification. Therefore, he must be purified by being beaten with the hammers of misery on the anvil of this material world. By this process, the misery of the jivas averse to Krsna finally culminates in happiness. Suffering is therefore just a sign of Bhagavan’s mercy. That is why far sighted people see the suffering of jivas in Krsna’s pastimes as auspicious, though the near sighted can only see it as an inauspicious source of misery.
Vrajanatha: The jiva’s suffering in his conditioned state is ultimately auspicious, but in the present state it is very painful. Since Krsna is omnipotent, couldn’t He think of a less troublesome path?
Babaji: Krsna’s lila is extremely wonderful and of many varieties; this is also one of them. If Bhagavan is independent and almighty, and performs all kinds of pastimes, why should this be the only pastime that He neglects? No pastime can be rejected if there is to be full variety. Besides, the participants in other types of pastimes also must accept some sort of suffering. Sri Krsna is the enjoyer (purusa) and the active agent (karta). All ingredients and paraphernalia are controlled by His desire and subject to His activities. It is natural to experience some suffering when one is controlled by the desire of the agent. However, if that suffering brings pleasure in the end, it is not true suffering. How can you call it suffering? The so-called suffering that one undergoes in order to nourish and support Krsna’s pastimes is actually a source of delight. The jiva’s independent desire has caused him to abandon the pleasure of serving Krsna, and instead accept suffering in maya. This is the jiva’s fault, not Krsna’s.
Vrajanatha: What harm would there have been if the jiva had not been given independent desire? Krsna is omniscient, and He gave this independence to the jivas, even though He knew that they would suffer on account of it, so isn’t He responsible for the jiva’s suffering?
Babaji: Independence is a precious jewel, in the absence of which inert objects are insignificant and worthless. If the jiva had not received independence, he would also have become as insignificant and worthless as the material objects. The jiva is an atomic, spiritual entity, so he must certainly have all the qualities of spiritual objects. The only difference is that Bhagavan, who is the complete spiritual object, possesses all these qualities in full, whereas the jiva only has them to a very minute degree. Independence is a distinctive quality of the spiritual object, and an object’s inherent quality cannot be separated from the object itself. Consequently, the jiva also has this quality of independence, but only to a very minute degree, because he is atomic. It is only because of this independence that the jiva is the supreme object in the material world, and the lord of creation.
Lord Caitanya teaching the impersonalists philosophers
The independent jiva is a beloved servant of Krsna, and thus Krsna is kind and compassionate towards him. Seeing the misfortune of the jiva, as he misuses his independence and becomes attached to maya, He chases after him, weeping and weeping, and appears in the material world to deliver him. Sri Krsna, the ocean of compassion, His heart melting with mercy for the jivas, manifests His acintya-lila in the material world, thinking that His appearance will enable the jiva to see His nectarean pastimes. However, the jiva does not understand the truth about Krsna’s pastimes, even after being showered by so much mercy, so Krsna then descends in Sri Navadvipa in the form of guru. He personally describes the supreme process of chanting His name, form, qualities and pastimes, and personally instructs and inspires the jivas to take to this path by practicing it Himself. Baba, how can you accuse Krsna of being at fault in any way when He is so merciful? His mercy is unlimited, but our misfortune is lamentable.
Vrajanatha: Is maya-sakti the cause of our misfortune then? Would the jivas have had to suffer like this if the omnipotent and omniscient Sri Krsna had kept maya away from them?
Maya or Durga devi is Krsna’s maidservant
Babaji: Maya is a reflected transformation of Krsna’s internal potency, svarupa-sakti, and it is like a fiery furnace where the jivas who are not qualified for Krsna’s seva are chastized and made fit for the spiritual world. Maya is Krsna’s maidservant. In order to purify the jivas who have turned against Krsna, she punishes them, gives appropriate therapy, and purifies them. The infinitesimal jiva has forgotten that he is an eternal servant of Krsna, and for this offense, maya, taking the form of a witch (pisaci), punishes him. This material world is like a jail, and maya is the jailer who imprisons the estranged jivas and punishes them. A king constructs a prison for the benefit of his subjects, and in the same way, Bhagavan has shown His immense mercy towards the jivas by making this prison-like material world and appointing maya as its custodian.
Vrajanatha: If this material world is a prison, it also requires some suitable shackles. What are they?
Babaji: Maya incarcerates the offensive jivas with three types of shackles: those made of goodness (sattva-guna), those made of passion (rajo-guna), and those made of ignorance (tamo-guna). These fetters bind the jiva, whether his inclination is tamasika, rajasika, or even sattvika. Shackles may be made of different metals such as gold, silver or iron – but that makes no difference to the pain of being bound by them.
Vrajanatha: How can the shackles of maya bind the atomic, conscious jivas?
Babaji: Objects of this material world cannot touch spiritual objects. However, as soon as the jiva develops the conception that he is an enjoyer of maya, his atomic, spiritual form is covered by the subtle body made of false ego. That is how the shackles of maya bind his legs. The jivas having a sattvika ego reside in the higher planets and are called devatas; their legs are bound by sattvika shackles made of gold. The rajasika-jivas have a mixture of the propensities of the devatas and of the human beings, and they are confined in rajasika shackles made of silver. And the tamasika jivas, who are mad to taste jadananda (bliss derived from dull matter), are bound in tamasika iron shackles. Once the jivas are bound in these shackles, they cannot leave the prison. Even though they suffer various types of miseries, they remain in captivity.
Vrajanatha: What sort of karma (activities) do the jivas perform while confined in maya’s prison?
Babaji: Initially, the jiva performs karma to provide himself with his desired sense pleasure, in accordance with his material propensities. Then, he performs karma (activity) to try and dispell the miseries that result from being bound by the shackles of maya.
Vrajanatha: Please explain the first type of karma in detail.
Babaji: The covering of the gross material body has six stages, namely, birth, existence, growth, creating by-products, decline and death. These six transformations are the inherent attributes of the gross body, and hunger and thirst are it’s deficiencies. The pious jiva who is situated in the material body is controlled by eating, sleeping and sensual activities, as his material sense desires dictate. In order to enjoy material comforts, he engages in a variety of activities (karma) that are born of his material desires. During the course of his lifetime, he performs ten types of purificatory ceremonies (punya samskaras), and eighteen other sacrificial rites prescribed in the Vedas. His intention is to accumulate pious credits through these karmas, so that he can enjoy material pleasures by taking birth in a brahminical or other high-class family in this world, and thereafter, have godly pleasures in the higher planets. Thus, he undertakes the path of karma.
In contrast, impious conditioned jivas take shelter of adharma, and enjoy sense gratification sacrilegiously by performing various types of sinful activities. Jivas in the first category attain the higher planets and enjoy celestial pleasures as a result of their pious activities. When this period of enjoyment ends – as it must – they take birth in the material world again as human beings or in other life-forms. Jivas in the second category go to hell because of their sinful activities, and after suffering a variety of miseries there, take birth on earth again. Thus the jiva, bound in maya and entangled in the cycle of karma, wanders hither and thither seeking to enjoy sense gratification. Intermittently, he also enjoys some temporary pleasures as a result of pious activities (punya-karma), and suffers miseries because of his papa (sins).
Vrajanatha: Please describe the second type of karma as well.
Good Karma Bad Karma, a bhakti yogi fully absorbed in Bhakti has no more karma
Babaji: The jiva situated in the gross body undergoes immense suffering due to the deficiencies of the gross body, and he performs various types of karma in an attempt to minimize these miseries. He collects various foods and drinks to assuage his hunger and thirst, and he toils arduously to earn money, so that he can buy food easily. He collects warm clothes to protect himself from the cold, marries to satisfy his desire for sensual pleasures, and works hard to maintain his family and children and fulfill their needs. He takes medicines to cure diseases of the gross body, fights with others, and goes to courts of law to protect his material assets. He indulges in various sinful activities – such as fighting, enviousness, stealing, and other misdemeanors – because he is controlled by the six foes, namely, kama (lust), krodha (anger), mada (intoxication), moha (illusion), matsarya (envy) and bhaya (fear). All these activities are to alleviate his sufferings. Thus the entire life of the bewildered jiva is wasted in trying to fulfill his desires and avoid suffering.
Vrajanatha: Wouldn’t maya’s purpose have been served if she had only covered the jiva with the subtle body?
Babaji: The gross body is also necessary, because the subtle body cannot perform work. Desires develop in the subtle body because of the activities that the jiva performs in his gross body, and the jiva receives another gross body that is suitable to fulfill those desires.
Vrajanatha: What is the connection between karma and its fruits? According to the Mimamsa school of thought, Isvara cannot award the fruits of karma because He is only an imaginary object. The followers of this school say that performing karma produces a tattva called apurva, and this apurva gives the fruits of all the karmas. Is this true?
Babaji: The followers of the Mimamsa school do not know the actual meaning of the Vedas. They have a very basic understanding that the Vedas generally prescribe various types of sacrifices, and they have concocted a philosophy based on this, but their doctrine is not found anywhere in the Vedas. On the contrary, the Vedas state very clearly that Isvara awards all fruits of karma. For example, Svetasvatara Upanisad (4.6), Mundaka Upanisad (3.1.1) and the Rg Veda (1.164.21) state:
dva suparna sayuja sakhaya
samanam vrksam parisasvajate
tayor anyah pippalam svadv atty
anasnann anyo ’bhicakasit
Ksirodakasayi Visnu and the jiva are residing in this temporary body, like two friendly birds in a pippala tree. Of these two birds, one – the jiva – tastes the fruits of the tree according to his karma, while the other – Paramatma – does not taste the fruits, but simply observes as a witness.
Whatever the doe, Krishna in His expansion as the supersoul is the witness to all our activities and awards good karma or bad karma according to our activities.
The purport of this sloka is that this samsara (material world or material body) is like a pippala tree in which two birds are perched. One of these is the conditioned jiva, and the other is his friend, Isvara (Paramatma). The first bird tastes the fruits of the tree, while the other bird simply watches him. This means that the jiva who is bound by maya performs karma and enjoys the fruits that Isvara, the Lord of maya, awards according to the jiva’s karma. This pastime of Sri Bhagavan continues until the jiva turns towards Him. Now, where is the apurva of the followers of Mimamsa philosophy here? Think about this yourself. Godless doctrines can never be complete and perfect in all respects.
Vrajanatha: Why have you said that karma is beginningless?
Babaji: The root of all karma is the desire to perform karma, and the root cause of this desire is avidya (ignorance). Avidya is forgetfulness of the truth: “I am an eternal servant of Krsna,” and it does not have its origin in mundane time. Rather, it originates in the tatastha junction of the spiritual and material worlds. That is why karma does not have its beginning in mundane time, and is therefore called beginningless.