Anadi for Beginners: We All Have to Start Somewhere… Or Do We?
Published on May 7th, 2014 | by Harmonist staff286
By Swami B. V. Tripurari, originally published on June 24, 2012. For further discussion on this topic, see his follow-up article, Anadi Again.
What comes first, the seed or the tree? Vedanta, with its cyclical sense of beginningless world cycles, answers this Zen koanlike question, “Neither.” The Hindu cosmos involves beginningless cycles of expanding and contracting universes—of trees within seeds within trees within seeds. The Sanskrit word for beginningless (itself a word not found in the English dictionary) is anadi. It is used throughout the sacred texts of the Hindus in reference to the world and its source, Mahavisnu.
We find the word anadi in the Vedanta-sutra, a cryptic text that seeks to explain the significance of the Upanisads. In the text’s second section, chapter 1, aphorism 34, the subject of theodicy is raised—the question of God’s responsibility for the evil in the world. The sutra thus asks how God can be impartial when we find good and evil in the world he created. Some suffer while others enjoy.
Vedanta-sutra 2.1.34 reads,
vaisamya-nairghrnye na sapeknatvat tatah hi darsayati
The literal translation of this text is, “Not inequality and cruelty, because of having consideration. Thus indeed it demonstrates.”
Ramanujacarya, Sankaracarya, and Gaudiya Vedanta acarya Sri Baladeva Vidyabhusana all explain in their respective commentaries that this sutra is saying one cannot argue that God is partial and thereby responsible for suffering. The reason this is so, they continue, is that the Upanisads clearly teach that God only rewards and punishes the living beings with due consideration of their good and evil deeds. Such deeds and their due rewards are what is commonly known as karma. Karma and the world of repeated birth and death are inextricably entwined. Hence this sutra says, “No, God is not guilty of inequality and cruelty, because we must take karma into consideration. This is clearly stated in the Upanisads.”
In his commentary, Baladeva Vidyabhusana cites the Brhad-aranyaka Upanisad for support. There it is explained that in consideration of materially pious (sadhu-karma) and impious (asadhu-karma) acts God arranges for the elevation and degredation of living beings:
esa eva sadhu-karma karayati tam yamebhyo lokebhya unnininate
esa evasadhu karma karayati tam yam adho niniyate
In this statement from Brhad-aranyaka found in his Bhagavatam commentary, Srila Prabhupada appropriately renders the words sadhu-karma and asadhu-karma as pious and impious karmic activities, not as bhakti and nondevotional activities, as some have misconstrued the words to mean in this context.
The next aphorism of Vedanta-sutra takes an opposing position for the sake of argument and then refutes it. Sutra 2.1.35 states,
na karmavibhagad iti cen nanaditvat
If it be objected that it is not so on account of the non-distinction, we refute the objection on the ground of being without a beginning.
Again, Ramanuja, Sankara, and Baladev Vidyabhusana have explained this sutra uniformly with regard to the term anadi. They show that this sutra raises the objection that before the first world cycle there was no karma, no distinction between souls on the basis of their merit and demerit—karma. To this objection, the sutra replies that this is incorrect because there is no beginning to the world cycles, to the cycles of birth and death each soul experiences under karmic law. The world cycles, its souls, and the karma that binds them together are all anadi, beginningless, as is Vishnu himself. Indeed, the world cycles are compared to his breathing, and God has no first breath. There is no first world cycle, and before each individual world cycle manifests, the infinite number of individual souls under the influence of karma remain within Mahavishnu in susupti, or deep sleep and content-less experience. At this time, their karma from the previous world cycle, which materially distinguishes them from one another, is still present, but in a dormant condition. Thus there is no time when karma did not exist, whether inside or outside of time—during the manifest creation or during its unmanifest condition. With all this in mind, this sutra is to be understood as follows:
If it be objected that it is not correct to say that karma is responsible for the evil in the world, since before the world cycles began there was non-distinction between souls on the basis of their karma, we refute the objection on the grounds that the world cycles and their karmic influence on the souls has no beginning.
On this aphorism (2.1.35), the Vedanta-sutra ends its discussion on theodicy with the conclusion that God is not partial or guilty of unfairly rewarding some and punishing others in the material world. No, reward and punishment are a result of the living entities’ own actions, their karma, which is anadi. Here it matters not how well such an argument satisfies one’s material intellect or how well one feels the issue of theodicy has been dealt with by Vedanta and Hinduism overall. This is Hinduism’s position on the topic, a subject matter (beginninglessness) that one can only understand by virtue of sastra—sastra yonitvat.1 Sastra reaches where reason on its own cannot rise.
Following this topic, the sutras begin the discussion of a new but somewhat related topic concerning Bhagavan’s spiritual partiality toward his devotees—how he is overwhelmed by the influence of bhakti constituted of his own svarupa-sakti. While material partiality would have been a great fault for God, his spiritual partiality towards his devotees is his greatest ornament. This is the emphasis of Baladeva Vidyabhusana in his Govinda-bhasya commentary on Vedanta-sutra.2
Lest anyone be unclear as to what Sri Baladeva understands the sutras to be referring to when they speak of anadi, we can turn to his commentary on the Gita. In Bhagavad-gita 5.15, Krishna says that he does not take responsibility for the karma of the jivas and attributes it to the influence of ignorance. In his commentary to this verse, Baladeva Vidyabhusana cites the relevant sutras of Vyasa quoted above. There he clearly explains that anadi in the sutras refers to karma, and that by the word karma he is referring to material pious and impious activities. Thus, again, sutras 2.1.34 and 35 speak of anadi karma, whereas 2.1.36 speaks of bhakti.
We find the same teachings differentiating karma from bhakti throughout Srimad-Bhagavatam, which declares itself to be the essence of the Upanisads—sruti saram ekam. Sri Caitanya considered the Bhagavata to be the “natural commentary on the sutras,” as stated in the Garuda Purana, artho ‘yam brahma-sutranam. Thus the doctrine of anadi karma found in the Upanisads that is discussed in Vedanta-sutra is also posited in Srimad-Bhagavatam. The following list is a sampling of relevant verses from the text mentioning the beginningless nature of the jiva’s karmic entanglement with material nature: 5.14.1, 5.25.8, 5.26.3. 6.5.11, 11.11.4, 12.10.41.
While some have argued for a less-than-literal interpretation of the word anadi with regard to karma, any such rendering of the term leaves God open to the charge of being responsible for the suffering in the world. It undercuts the clear response to this charge that is given by the sutras, which in responding as they do, underscore a core teaching that is woven into the entire fabric of Vedanta—from monistic to theistic and throughout both the sruti and the smrti.
However, some contemporary Gaudiya Vaishnava acaryas have chosen to speak creatively about anadi karma with a view to emphasize the free will of the jiva;3 for example, speaking repeatedly of anadi karma as a time too distant to trace out but nonetheless not literally beginningless, or as being triggered by a choice “outside of time.” Such preaching strategies appear to have been developed in consideration of the Western audience and modernity with its Christian influence and conception of fall from grace as well as a penchant for concrete and linear explanations. Gaudiya Vedanta met these influences head on in the time of Thakura Bhaktivinoda. However fruitful such strategies were in their time, under scrutiny they fail both scripturally and logically. They inevitably allow for a starting point in one’s karmic sojourn and thereby a starting point in the world cycles, for there is no meaning to a material world cycle in which karma is not operative.
The idea that anadi karma begins outside of time is a logical contradiction. Something that exists outside of time has always existed. And there is no opportunity to make a choice in susupti where anadi karma is already present although dormant, as are the jivas themselves. As they arise from their slumber, so too does their karma from the previous world cycle. It arrests them and the world starts over again. And sastra posits no condition of the baddha-jiva prior to susupti other than another previous world cycle.
For that matter, even if anadi karma was to be taken figuratively and there was an actual beginning to karma that involved an initial choice on the part of the jiva, without full knowledge of the choices at hand there would not be much meaning to the jiva’s so-called free will. And if partial knowledge of Krishna and maya were available to the jiva to choose from in a condition of limbo, how could the jiva possibly choose maya over Krishna if indeed he is “all attractive.” Furthermore, how could the jiva choose and thereby ascend to Vaikuntha without bhakti?
Nonetheless, in preaching, taking liberties that contradict siddhanta has had its place at times in Gaudiya Vaisnavism. Among the foundational acaryas of the Gaudiya sampradaya, Sri Jiva Goswami adopted such a course with his emphasis on an eternal marriage of Radha and Krsna (svakiya) in the unmanifest lila, seemingly relegating their unwedded and apparent adulterous (parakiya) romantic life to the manifest lila alone. However, the entire Gaudiya sampradaya has unanimously concluded that although Jiva Goswami was a parakiyavadi and acknowledged the eternality of parakiya-bhava in the unmanifest lila, he did so somewhat covertly while overtly stressing svakiya-bhava in consideration of his audience.
In explaining the truth of parakiya in Krishna’s unmanifest lila, Visvantha Cakravarti Thakura cites Sri Jiva’s own cryptic verse in his commentary on Ujjvala-nilamani, in which he says that he has written about two opinions, his own and that of others:
Some portions I have written as my own opinions, and some portions I have written are the opinions of others. What is consistent is my view and what is not consistent is the view of others.
Sri Visvanatha has not shed light on the circumstances that compelled Sri Jiva Goswami to write two contradictory opinions, giving voice to opinions of others as well as those of himself as if both were his own. He has merely explained why there must be parakiya in the unmanifest lila. Cakravarti Thakura identifies Sri Jiva’s opinion as that which concurs with Rupa Goswami as to the eternality of parakiya-bhava in Krishna’s unmanifest lila.
But perhaps even more compelling is the precedent that the Bhagavatam itself establishes for embracing preaching strategies that do not posit actual metaphysical truths. The puranas embrace exaggeration for effect. This is one of the reasons we are told not to think that the glories of nama-dharma are an exaggeration. Unlike the puranas that sometimes seek to motivate through fear or material prospect and thus exaggerate the results of impiety and piety to bring humanity in the religious direction, the efficacy of nama-dharma is not an exaggeration. Bhaktivinoda Thakura points out an example of puranic exaggeration when he writes in his famous Bhagavat speech that while punishment and reward are certainly consequences of karmic engagement, the various descriptions of hells in the Bhagavatam are not to be taken as literal metaphysical truths, but rather constitute a preaching strategy.
From the Vaishnava perspective, we also find that the Buddha avatara employed a comprehensive preaching strategy. When asked about the existence of God he was silent and told his followers to focus on the immediate: the world is about suffering. This, the Vaishnavas say, does not mean that he did not accept the existence of God, but rather that he chose not to distract his followers from what he saw as the immediate necessity of ending suffering through extinguishing desire. Similarly several modern day Buddhist scholars/practitioners have reasoned well with support from the Pali cannon that the Buddha himself acknowledged the metaphysical existence of consciousness distinct from matter, but that he chose not to speak about it directly as part of a preaching strategy.4 Instead, they argue, he emphasized his doctrine of “no self” only with reference to the false self or conventional ego. He chose to emphasize a focus on dismantling the conventional ego—employing a doctrine of no self—at the cost for the moment of speaking about the transcendent self.
Returning to the topic of anadi karma, under scrutiny we find that some contemporary acaryas in the parivara of Thakura Bhaktivinoda have written about the implications of anadi karma in ways that contradict each other. Some have written that jivas fall from grace or a condition beyond karmic influence into a karma bound life by exercise of their free will, while some have also written that jivas do not fall into a karma bound life and by implication are literally materially conditioned from a time without beginning. As it is clear from the discussion of the relevant sutras above, the former position is not Gaudiya siddhanta. The latter position is. However, about the former position Thakura Bhaktivinoda has written thus in his Jaiva Dharma:
All Vaisnavas say that the jiva is an eternal servant of Krsna, that his eternal nature is to serve Krsna, and that he is now bound by maya, because he has forgotten that eternal nature. However, everyone knows that the jiva is an eternal entity, of which there are two types: eternally liberated and eternally conditioned. Thus the subject has been explained in this way (jivas forgetting Krsna, etc.) only because the conditioned human intellect being controlled by inattentiveness is unable to comprehend a subject matter.
Thus it is clear that to speak about the jiva’s “choice” and “fall” or to explain anadi figuratively rather than literally, when in fact the karmic conditioning of the materially illusioned souls has no beginning, is not in accordance with Gaudiya siddhanta, nor the siddhanta of any other school of Vedanta. As others have before me, and in greater detail, I have taken the position that although a “fall/choice” notion is not siddhanta, it may nonetheless have its place for preaching at times as a strategy to help illusioned jivas think about beginningless-ness, which again is a word not even found in the English dictionary. For that matter, Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura does state once in his Bhagavatam tika that one cannot know “when and how” anadi karma began, and in this way he also appears to speak of anadi figuratively for a moment. Thus, doing so, as some acaryas of the Bhaktivinoda parivara have, is not entirely without precedent, despite its being contrary to siddhanta. The difference here of course is the development of a repeated strategy to explain anadi karma figuratively that we find in the Bhaktivinoda parivara, as opposed to occasionally discussing anadi karma with figurative language as acaryas of the more distant past have on occasion.
However, some have objected to this proposal that the fall notion is a preaching strategy. With tortured interpretations of sastra and faulty logic, they have tried to portray it as siddhanta. Furthermore, in their efforts to establish a fall doctrine as siddhanta, they have failed to make any effort to explain why the same esteemed acaryas in the Bhaktivinoda parivara that have posited a fall doctrine have also clearly written in other places that there is no such fall. This is poor scholarship at best.
To cite my own gurudeva, Srila A. C Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, “It is a fact, no one falls from Vaikuntha.” Notably he writes this in his commentary on Srimad-Bhagavatam 7.1.35, the only place in the Bhagavata that this question is directly addressed. In verse 7.1.34, Yudhistira, speaking to Narada, states that, with regard to the apparent fall of the Vaikuntha gatekeepers Jaya and Vijaya, he cannot believe that anyone could fall from Vaikuntha, even on the strength of a sadhu’s (the Kumaras) curse, what to speak of by any other lesser influence. Why? He answers his own question in the following verse (7.1.35): Because the inhabitants of Vaikuntha have spiritual bodies. They have bodies constituted of Krishna’s svarupa-sakti. And this svarupa-sakti has not only the power to completely dispel the influence of the maya-sakti, which cannot stand in its presence anymore than darkness can stand in light, but moreover, it has the power to overwhelm Krishna!
The jiva, or tatastha-sakti, does not have the power to dispel the darkness of the maya-sakti, despite its being a unit of light or consciousness itself. However, when it comes under the influence of bhakti, the essence of the svarupa-sakti, not only can it dispel the influence of maya-sakti, it can also overwhelm Bhagavan with love and therefore obviously can never be overcome by the maya-sakti. This is so for sadhana siddhas, who have attained Vaikuntha and beyond owing to the ingress of Krishna’s svarupa-sakti into their lives—suddha sattva visesatma—and that much more so for nitya siddhas, who are constituted of svarupa-sakti.5
Thus the two positions—fall and no fall—cannot stand together as siddhanta. The two nonetheless need to be harmonized. Again, preaching and siddhanta are not always one. I once raised this point to a scholarly disciple of Bhaktisiddnatha Saraswati Thakura, Adi Kesava dasa—Dr. O. B. L. Kapoor. He replied that this was a policy of his gurudeva but that he was not entirely comfortable with it. At that time my Godbrother, Bhakti Gaurava Narasingha Maharaja, stated that were it not for such a policy he would not be a Gaudiya Vaishnava. With a chuckle, Dr. Kapoor replied, “Neither would I.” Consideration of time, place, and circumstances are the hallmark of effective parampara preaching. And, in the words of Thakura Bhaktivinoda, one should “live with times that are with thee, and progress thee shall call.”
- Vedanta-sutra 1.1.3. This sutra explains that comprehensive knowledge can only be arrived at through revelation, of which scripture is the principle manifestation. [↩]
- The adikaranas or topics of the sutras are divided differently by different acaryas. While Baladeva understands sutra 2.1.36 to be referring to a new topic, Sankara and Ramauja do not. These latter two connect 2.1.34 and 35 with 2.1.36, understanding it to further confirm the conclusion of the former two verses with regard to karma and its beginningless-ness. Thus any explanation of these three sutras that connects all three together under one topic does not follow the lead of Sri Baladeva, and any explanation of them that connects all three together but does not support the doctrine of anadi karma does not follow Ramanuja or Sankara. [↩]
- Note that the doctrine of anadi karma does not do away with free will. The jivas that experience beginningless material conditioning always have the opportunity to make choices including the choice to embrace God’s grace in the form of bhakti. Baladeva Vidyabhusana states in his Govinda-bhasya that were this not so, the scriptures prohibitions and proscriptions would be meaningless. Overall Baladeva’s Govinda-bhasya takes a compatibilist position on free will vs determinism. Jivas can choose but their ability to realize their choice is dependent upon the determination of God. [↩]
- See https://harmonist.us/2012/05/buddhism-and-the-self/ [↩]
- See Bhaktirasamrta-sindhu 1.3.1 for a definition of bhava-bhakti and how it constitutes an infusion of the svarupasakti into the jiva-sakti. This is a subjective union of the two consciousness-saktis similar to the chemistry of falling in love. It is unlike the encasement of the jiva in the maya-sakti in which the two never really touch, one being cit and the other acit. [↩]
Thank you Swami Tripurari for this wonderful post. The material mind certainly can not grasp the concept of anadi but at least through this post we can logically understand how it is impossible for anadi karma not to exist. This part about the jiva is especially beautiful ; “when it (the jiva) comes under the influence of bhakti, the essence of the svarupa-sakti, not only can it dispel the influence of maya-sakti, it can also overwhelm Bhagavan with love”.
You are quite welcome. And thank you for your attentive reading. I agree, the passage you highlight is the beautiful reality of bhakti.
Hare Krishna. Dandavat pranam Maharaj. Thank you for such a nice educative article.
I would also like to share few points.
Srila Krishna Das Kaviraj Goswami says in CC in Sanatan siksa (madhya, 20.305) that if it happens that there is no qualified jiva to act as Brahma (the first created being in material universe), then Krishna himself takes this responsibility and gives a verse from Bhagavatam to support it.
It means that Vishnu, his sristi-lila and karma remain anadi and at same time it doesn’t neccessary mean that any tatashta jiva is involved.
As BVT explains, there is a starting point for jiva to become involved in karma and at same time that doesn’t neccessary start anadi world cycles.
Involvment in anadi karma for jivas starts outside of material time, not anadi karma.
Bhagavatam states that Mahavishnu situates himself in between two worlds and glances towards maya-sakti and impregnates her with jivas. This explains that without the will of Vishnu (who is the giver of result of actions of jivas) no jiva can enter into baddha-state and that material creation is not without a spiritual cause. When jivas are as Mahavishnu’s glance (beyond material time) they can see both sides and choose where they want to act.
Still it is eternal relative free will of jiva, without which love would not be possible. eko’ham bahu syami is for raso vai sah.
One could as well ask how is it that not all baddha-jivas (in no fall theory) are immediately attracted to serve Krishna when He appears as Avatar to save them. In that case world and karma would stop and their literal anadi could not stand.
And as that devotee already pointed out, if it is Vishnu’s desire that we are anadi conditioned (in no fall theory), why then bother about choosing bhakti at all? And if it is not the desire of Vishnu that we are conditioned (as his desire is that we do bhakti), then whose desire it is then, which moves the world around? And only consciouss being can desire.
The topic of how tatashta jiva enters into nitya-baddha state is nicely explained in BVT’s Jaiva dharma in 16th ch. and why Vishnu creates material world.
Bhakti is always and everywhere available to tatashta jiva, but not all are immediately choosing it, due to lack of experience, as nicely explained by BVT in Jaiva dharma 16th ch.
This passage from BVT’s Jaiva dharma was a part of answer if there is any material component in the constitution of jiva (15 ch.), not in relation of jiva forgeting Krishna (16th ch.).
BVT uses fall in all his writtings. Mahaprabhu in his 5th verse of Shikshataka also and Kaviraj Goswami in explaining it also. And there are so many other statements in CC that say it is jiva’s desire (or fault – dosh) that she is conditioned/baddha (“fallen”). God is involved only in fulfilling the desire of jiva and is thereby not guilty of jiva’s baddha state nor of evil in the world. This also is a sign of mercy as nicely explained in Jaiva dharma, 16th ch.
Your comments demonstrate your inability or uwillingness to understand what is written in the article. I will cite them in quotations and answer them below the quoted passages, but they are often repetitive of what you have raised earlier that has already been addressed and is further addressed in the article itself. They also demonstrate a how “a little bit of knowledge” can be counterproductive.
“Srila Krishna Das Kaviraj Goswami says in CC in Sanatan siksa (madhya, 20.305) that if it happens that there is no qualified jiva to act as Brahma (the first created being in material universe), then Krishna himself takes this responsibility and gives a verse from Bhagavatam to support it.
It means that Vishnu, his sristi-lila and karma remain anadi and at same time it doesn’t neccessary mean that any tatashta jiva is involved.”
No, it simply means that no jiva is qualified to take the post of Brahma and therefore Visnu takes the post himself. And furthermore Brahma, either as an empowered jiva or as Visnu taking the role of Brahma, is the samasti jiva. The samasti-jiva is the collective of all jiva souls at the dawn of each creation before they emerge into differentiated states under the influence of the principle of karma. Srimad-Bhagavatam describes both Brhama’s lotus seat sprouting from the navel of Narayana and Brahma himself as this collective of all materially conditioned souls. Brahma alone is born from the lotus, but his desire to create the world is largely a result of his being the embodiment of innumerable jivas, whose desires necessitate the creation of the world for their fulfillment. And it is only in this sense that the materially conditioned soul is first born as Brahma during each cycle of creation.
“As BVT explains, there is a starting point for jiva to become involved in karma and at same time that doesn’t neccessary start world cycles. Involvment in anadi karma for jivas starts outside of material time, not anadi karma.”
It is apparent from this statement that you are unable to understand the topic at hand. You think anadi karma is going on and that some souls enter into it at some point. And you think that makes sense. If anadi karma is going on, it is going on in relation to nitya-baddha jivas. But in your imagination it is going on for some while others enter into it at some point outside of time. If you continue with this ridiculous line of so called reasoning, I will ignore any such points you continue to raise.
“Bhagavatam states that Mahavishnu situates himself in between two worlds and glances towards maya-sakti and impregnates her with jivas. This explains that without the will of Vishnu (who is the giver of result of actions of jivas) no jiva can enter into baddha-state and that material creation is not without a spiritual cause. When jivas are as Mahavishnu’s glance (beyond material time) they can see both sides and choose where they want to act.”
Of course the world has a spiritual casue! Visnu desires to become many. But there is no initial beginning to this desire. The glance of Visnu is the activation of pradhana and the next world cycle. It is not a place where jivas choose to enter the world or not. Prior to the glance all the jivas are in susupti, a condition of suppressed dormant karma. When Visnu glances their karma is awakened. This has already been explained in my article. Your attachment to your own ideas is getting in the way of your ability to understand simple truths and giving rise to distorted reasoning hardly worth addressing.
“One could as well ask how is it that not all baddha-jivas (in no fall theory) are immediately attracted to serve Krishna when He appears as Avatar to save them. In that case world and karma would stop and literal anadi cannot stand. “
You miss an important difference here in the two situations. In the limbo of the so called tatastha region there is said to be no karma, no conditioning that would need to be removed in order to be able to see Krsna for who he is. Whereas in the material world itself the jiva is conditioned by karma and thus is hampered in its ability to see Krsna for who he is. But at any rate, this is but a minor point.
“And as that devotee pointed out, if it is Vishnu’s desire that we are anadi conditioned (in no fall theory), why then bother about choosing bhakti at all? And if it is not the desire of Vishnu that we are conditioned (as his desire is that we do bhakti), then whose desire it is then, which moves the world around? And only consciouss being can desire.”
I have already answered these points.
“The topic of how tatashta jiva enters into nitya-baddha state is nicely explained in BVT’s Jaiva dharma in 16th ch. and why Vishnu creates material world.”
As I mentioned in my article, it does not matter how well the sastric conclusion on this issue appeals to your logic. But it is apparent that for now you need to subscribe to a preaching strategy. Thus the need for such strategies is evident. Jaya Thakura Baktivinode!
“bhakti is always available to tatashta jiva, but not all are immediately choosing it, due to lack of experience, as nicely explained by BVT in Jaiva dharma.”
It is available wherever there are devotees creating the good fortune (yadrcchaya) of jivas. Where bhakti comes from is nicely described in Madhurya Kadambini. Its birth is in sadhu sanga, which itself is bhakti. So for there to be bhakti in the so called tatastha region, there needs to be sadhu sanga, etc. there as well. You are making it up as you go along. I am not interested in that.
“This passage from BVT’s Jaiva dharma was a part of answer if there is any material component in the constitution of jiva (15 ch.), not in relation of jiva forgeting Krishna (16th ch.).”
As the passage itself says “all jivas have forgotten krsna,” etc. are merely figures of speech. The passage speaks of more than the limits to which you care to contain it within.
“BVT uses fall in all his writtings. Mahaprabhu in his 5th verse of Shikshataka also and Kaviraj Goswami in explaining it also. And there are so many other statements in CC that say it is jiva’s desire (or fault – dosh) that she is conditioned/baddha (“fallen”). God is involved only in fulfilling the desire of jiva. This also is a sign of mercy as nicely explained in Jaiva dharma, 16th ch.”
I refer you to the passage of BVT I cited. “Fall” is used figuratively, not literally.
And if Mahavishnu, world and karma are anadi, then if baddha-jiva (in no fall theory) ends her anadi karma by starting bhakti, how or by whom will the world and anadi karma go on in anadi cycles?
There are an infinite number of jivas in the world at all times. The world cycles will never stop. There will always be materially conditioned jivas. Don’t think about it.
“Don’t think about it.”
That’s a good idea because the scriptural concept of anadi as it relates to the jiva’s predicament is pretty hard to swallow and doesn’t make all that much sense. Neither does it exonerate God from the jiva’s suffering as it tells us that the jiva is in this confused beginningless condition for no fault of his own. If the jiva did not do anything to get in this suffering condition than whose arrangement is it then?
The only reason given is “The Joy of God” an explanation that in our present state we can neither understand nor much appreciate. Thus it’s no wonder that some in Gaudiya Vaisnavism found reason to borrow the Lucifer and the Adam and Eve fall stories/analogies from the Christians.
According to Catholicism Lucifer and his followers were driven out of heaven because he was envious and wanted the power of God, and Adam and Eve were driven out of Paradise for much the same reason. This makes sense as envy and punishment for disobedience and insubordination is something that we have experience of and can thus understand.
No Fault beginningless Karma—-who can understand that?
Who is there to blame when there is only God and his saktis that have no independent existence from him? And if the one did not become many, then what? The fact that the many are small and cannot hold up in the face of Mahavisnu’s maya sakti is not God’s fault. Had he made them big like himself then what? There is no place for claims of no taxation without representation. It is what it is.
Does it make sense that there would be envy in Heaven/Vaikuntha? Not to me.
At any rate, preaching strategies have their place and they have their limitations as well. In my opinion God cannot be entirely divorced from the evil or suffering in the world. Christianity and other religions have tried (much more than Hinduism) to exonerate him, and I would say that they have been unsuccessful. Hinduism makes a moderate effort by way of anadi karma. Faulting this argument is like arguing why God made a material world to begin with or why did God make souls subject to ignorance or sin. All answers fall short for souls who think themselves to be something other than what they are. and in any panentheistic or pantheistic worldview God either is the world or is such that the world is not outside of him. So if there is evil in the world . . . “But God must be all good!” Perhaps, but what does it mean to be good? Must he measure up to the illusioned atma’s conception of good?
How interesting! I saw your reply right before I was going to post the following:
“It is what it is.”
This truth doesn’t answer anything as to the ‘why’ of it all. Why is the beginningless Jiva subject to illusion, suffering, envy, hate, and so on?
It seem to me a rationalization (akin to the fall down theory) to say its not Gods fault. Whose fault is it then?
The first sloka of the Bhagavatam describes Krsna as the cause of all causes and says only by his will do the universes appear real and are the living entities subject to illusion in the three modes.
So it must be Gods fault. In fact the doctrine of anadi karma while in one sense trying to exonerate God in another sense makes him ultimately responsible for the plight of the jivas. He did it. He manifested the marginal jiva sakti and the maya that has been covering the jivas throughout eternity. If God is all-powerful then why does it have to be this way?
It is what it is–Is just another way of saying it’s Gods will. So why not just admit that the plight of the Jiva is the will of God?
Yes, Its Gods fault.
At the same time if we understand that God becomes many and the world issues forth and jivas interact with the world and thereby cause distress and happiness, where is the fault of God? The argument of anadi is that God did not create the jivas or the world. They have no beginning, just like God himself, being his saktis.
That God becomes many is not an event in time. The many have always existed. But he becomes many in the context of the sristi lila—the manifestation of the world cycle. The lila has an “appearance of beginning.” That is the play. But the reality is that there is no beginning to the jiva-sakti or the may-sakti. And similarly their interaction with one another that constitutes karma has no beginning. God merely sanctions the world environment’s responses the jiva’s action, and moreover he tries to deliver them from suffering. How is he to blame for their suffering? He did not create a world with evil in it. It has always existed along with himself as the interaction of two of his saktis. And he defers to the law of karma in a manner that he can be called just, while at the same time he is merciful by way of his intervention in the world through bhakti.
maybe too late to post this comment, but if you happen to see it, try this one on for size and see if you like it. sometimes the material world is compared to a prison house. it appears that this prison is there complete with prisoners whose crime is that they are simply criminals and they always have been. they did not become criminals. they just are. that is their role. and because they are criminals naturally they are locked up. can’t have them running around vaikuntha causing a disturbance. in the kingdom of god everything exists under the jurisdiction of his lila. conditioned souls play the role of prisoners. some one has to do it. otherwise a huge part of the drama would be spoiled. devotees are actually quite pleased with this part of the drama and follow it closely. sb. 1-1-17-19. they do not say hey you are all-powerful couldn’t you find a better way to do this. everything he has done is already perfect and complete and there need be no change. iso. invocation. since the whole show is simply a drama, the conditioned souls who play the roles of villans are actually just actors. in truth they are indestructible little souls who are never even scratched by their involvement with material nature. bg.2-17-25. just see how nice god is: no one in all of creation ever actually comes to any harm. therefore there is no blame to hand around. god is blameless and the conditioned souls are also blameless. everyone is playing their part to perfection.
Amazing article Maharaja. It is so great to have read this article which sheds light (siddhanta)on such an important topic of anadi karma.
I also appreciated the “preaching strategy” section and especially the following:
“However, some have objected to this proposal that the fall notion is a preaching strategy. With tortured interpretations of sastra and faulty logic, they have tried to portray it as siddhanta. Furthermore, in their efforts to establish a fall doctrine as siddhanta, they have failed to make any effort to explain why the same esteemed acaryas in the Bhaktivinoda parivara that have posited a fall doctrine have also clearly written in other places that there is no such fall. This is poor scholarship at best.”
Music to my ears: “It is a fact, no one falls from Vaikuntha.”
Thanks for this article!
“Again, preaching and siddhanta are not always one. I once raised this point to a scholarly disciple of Bhaktisiddnatha Saraswati Thakura, Adi Kesava dasa—Dr. O. B. L. Kapoor. He replied that this was a policy of his gurudeva but that he was not entirely comfortable with it.”
1)It would be nice to get some clarification on this “policy” that is being referred to. It seems like BSST’s policy was that “preaching and siddhanta need to be harmonized”….Am I understanding this correctly?
2)I’m wondering what made Dr.Kapoor uncomfortable about it?
3)Also, I’m wondering what exactly Narasingha Maharaja meant by:
“were it not for such a policy he would not be a Gaudiya Vaishnava.”
Just wanted to request Swami and others to offer thoughts in response to my queries about BSST’s “policy”, and why it made Dr.Kapoor uncomfortable.
Of course, we’ve all heard the famous example of the compassionate mother feeding her child medicine coated with candy. And how this apparent “trickery” or “cheating” is glorified.
If a “no fall” siddhanta and a “fall” preaching strategy are incompatible, how is one to harmonize them, per BSST’s “policy”?
Dr. Kapoor was simply saying that the overall preaching that at times included strategies that did not square with siddhanta brought him in. Great souls cheat other souls for a great cause. But there is a downside to such a means justifies the ends policy. And Dr. Kapoor noted that.
Fall strategy and siddhanta are not at odds with one another when understood as such.
Yes, I see what you are saying.
One of the dangers of confronting the “no fall” siddhanta is a crisis of faith. Especially for someone who is deeply invested in the conception of an all-loving God called Krishna.
Given the risk of weakening/loss of faith, one may wonder: why bother emphasizing the siddhanta at all? Why not just downplay it, like BVT? Why not just continue the “fall” preaching strategy, if that is what keeps the sadhaka going?
Great souls have the unrestricted license to cheat for a great cause, anyway, right?
Yes, it seems that all religions have this dynamic tug-o-war with time, place and circumstance. If a religion becomes static then it is a dead religion!
Ok Maharaj, as you like.
For me BVT explanation works, both scripturaly and logicaly. And it doesn’t contradict the explanation of sastra and acharyas you cited in the article of how God is impartial and not cruel for which I’m thankful.
I appreciate your bhakti preaching efforts.
Kindly please forgive me if I did any offence to you.
Dear Swami Tripurari,
I wish to check with you to see if I am understanding correctly.
All nitya badha jivas have never been anything other than eternally conditioned. We have never fallen from grace. Our involvement in karmic activity is eternal. It is beginningless. And it is endless.
But although it is endless, we can become attracted to the bhakti platform by being blessed with the contact of a pure devotee. And then by pleasing the pure devotee, such devotee may be moved to bestow upon us the influence of the svarupa shakti, or pure devotional service. Aside from his mercy there is no way to achieve the eternally liberated platform. But once achieving it, we cannot fall.
Therefore although I accept that I have been created as an eternaly conditioned being, I should now strive to acquire the mercy of the pure devotee so that I can be eternally liberated.
I should also understand that when Krishna or His avataras come to this material realm for establishing dharma or devotional service, this is all part of His blissful lila, and my position as an eternally conditioned soul is an indispensable aspect of God’s lila. In other words, it appears that He likes to “save” us, and so has created us as entities that require saving.
Although I can now understand that I should not feel badly for being eternally conditioned, as if it is because of having made a bad choice, still, now that I know that a choice is available, I should endeavor with all my ability to embrace the bhakti path. Otherwise my continued suffering will in fact be my responsbility, my fault.
So although there was no beginning or starting point, I have been created as one who lives and struggles under the influence of maya. This is part of God’s blissful lila, His offering of bhakti to us is part of that same lila, and I should very happily embrace the bhakti path as much as I can, with a desire to in some way have a tiny role to play in extending Krishna’s mercy to the conditioned souls.
Also, although I am tatastha shakti, marginal energy of Krishna, as a conditioned soul, that marginal capacity can only be indicated to me by the mercy of the spiritual master. And moreso, that marginal capacity can only be exercised maturely by the grace of the spiritual master.
Am I on track?
Yes, Ishan, you are on track on this issue. But I would prefer to portray our beginningless material condition as an inevitable result of Mahavisnu becoming many, given that the many are small and Mahavisnu’s jurisdiction is over the maya sakti. Thus while his ply or lila is to become many, the many inevitably find themselves overwhelmed in the face of maya sakti. Then to remedy the situation, Visnu descends, etc. So it is not a planned out play in which Visnu has the lead role as savior, but it is nonetheless a lila in which he is such in the context of becoming many. The principle focus of the lila then is his desire to become many. A secondary consequence of this is his need to become the savior.
Dear respected Swami,
I admit that I am dismayed to understand that Mahavishnu’s desire to become many would result in so much suffering to so many who are, it seems, faultless, in so far as they have no choice but to persue maya’s dictates.
It appears that we have not been placed under the jurisdiction of maya shakti as a consquence of being envious of Krishna’s position as the Supreme Enjoyer. Rather, that Expansion of Lord Vishnu, Who desires to become many, is also that One Who has “jurisdiction over the maya shakti.” And so when He becomes many, we are placed under that jurisdiction.
Is this the reason that O.L.B. Kapoor and the devotee he was speaking with admitted that if Krishna Consciousness was presented to them in that way, then they might have not been attracted to vaishnavism, viz., that they would have felt that this play of Mahavisnu was unfair, unkind ?
Prabhu, I so desperately wish for Krishna consciousness to be a reality and a solution that I am afraid to assume an attitude wherein I will find fault with God. And I only want to come closer to Him. But this new perspective on why I find myself in this horrific predicament of life in the material world comes as a shock. After so much selfishness and unkindness that we experience in this realm, to think that this was imposed unreasonably – induces some fear in me with regard to the unlimited kindness of Krishna.
Still, as I say, without this hope in Krishna Consciousness as my life line to eternal safety, I am completely undone. So I dare not indulge in feelings of resentment, and try only to be grateful for the opportunity to advance spiritually, in spite of the fact that it is, for me, not an easy path to tread at times.
Are there some words of wisdom that you can provide in order to help me be at peace with this new understanding?
I have re-xplained the reality in my most recent post. Please read it over.
Please, are you referring to the above article?
I am referring to comments on the article I made in response to Brahma dasa, the last of which I reiterated in a separate comment.
Dear Beginner. Can you present any proof from any Purana or Upanisada of jiva falling down? It is nowhere in sastra. Moreover it is nowhere in the teachings of any sampradaya be that Madhva, Ramanuja, Rupa, Sanatana, Jiva. They all never said that. Instead of that they all said that jiva has been always in the material world. It is through all their commentaries on BG and SB. And another question. Can you present from sastra (Upanisada, Purana) what is the tatastha region? Where is that? Is it between Chukotka and Alaska? Or where is that?
I found myself saying “Wow, Oh my God” when I read this. It never before occured to me that the “spiritual body” is the swarup shakti.
I would like to make this point again:
God did not create anything. Although there is an appearance of such in the context of sristi lila. Tatashta sakti and maya sakti have no beginning. They are aspects of God. Ramanujacaraya calls them his attributes. Tatastha sakti interacts with maya sakti. This we see. There is no reason to assume that there is a beginning to this interaction.
Svarupa sakti does not interact with maya sakti. Those constituted of svarupa sakti interact directly with God. And there is no reason to assume that there is beginning to this interaction.
God did not favor some souls and not others. All jiva sakti souls interact with maya sakti. Nonetheless God, while sanctioning the just reaction of maya sakti to its exploitation on the part of the jiva sakti, also intervenes in the form of bhakti (svarupa sakti). Those who take advantage are delivered and experience the ingress of the svarupa sakti, as a result of which they can interact directly with God.
what can i say…wow…that topic was in mine mind for a while,it is very important to understand correctly, thank you for helping us understand it.
Because i feel that if we understanding it wrong-that what is the point for bhakti…how can we become envious of God in a spiritual world, where there is no such thing,we can fall here again…lots of questions can be asked here..
Thank you again.
again editing service for last comment
tatashta/jiva sakti and maya sakti.
and it is in tatashta/jiva sakti’s constitution that she can interact with svarup sakti or maya sakti.
viṣṇu-śaktiḥ parā proktā
kṣetrajñākhyā tathā parā
tṛtīyā śaktir iṣyate
“‘Originally, Kṛṣṇa’s energy is spiritual, and the energy known as the living entity is also spiritual. However, there is another energy, called illusion, which consists of fruitive activity. That is the Lord’s third potency.’
yayā kṣetra-jña-śaktiḥ sā
veṣṭitā nṛpa sarva-gā
avāpnoty atra santatān
“‘O King, the kṣetra-jña-śakti is the living entity. Although he has the facility to live in either the material or the spiritual world, he suffers the threefold miseries of material existence because he is influenced by the avidyā [nescience] potency, which covers his constitutional position. (Vishnu puran, CC, madhya, 20)
Precisely. There is no third alternative.
The fall of jiva concept is somewhat supported in the Bhagavatam. If you go to the 4th Canto 28th chapter verse 51 etc. you will find Narada narrating an allegorical instruction that could easily lead to the “fall from Goloka” conclusion. It’s best to just read the whole 28th chapter where you will find this “Brahmana” who is supposed to allegorically be representing the Paramatma saying things like:
“The brahmana continued: My dear friend, even though you cannot immediately recognize Me, can’t you remember that in the past you had a very intimate friend? Unfortunately, you gave up My company and accepted a position as enjoyer of this material world.”
“My dear gentle friend, both you and I are exactly like two swans. We live together in the same heart, which is just like the Mänasa Lake. Although we have been living together for many thousands of years, we are still far away from our original home.”
Before we go to the extremes of becoming offensive to a section of devotees over their beliefs, it’s best if we are actually thoroughly conversant with the Bhagavat siddhanta.
The fall of the jiva concept is not something newly manufactured, in fact it has it’s origins in the Bhagavatam and the teachings of such siddhas as Narada Muni who hails from siddhaloka.
Your post is an example of how to distort the SB. First of all it takes a statement from the SB and interprets it such that it is in conflict with what is repeatedly taught throughout the book (as I have referenced in my article, citing numerous SB verses): literal anadi karma. Secondly your interpretation contradicts the section of the book that specifically deal with the issue, which I also cited. And finally, Jiva Goswami and Visvantah Cakravarti Thakura have both clearly stated in their tikas on this section that the brahmana is speaking about the sristi-lila, not Vaikuntha. Their explanations are obviously in concert with points one and two raised above and thus constitute siddhanta. Siddhanta is not arrived at by picking out a verse and explaining it in a manner that contradicts the clear teaching found throughout the book.
Talk about not being thoroughly conversant with the Bhagavata siddhanta! You win the prize. Basically you don’t know what you are talking about and you are proud of it enough to criticize those that do. Such are the unfortunate times in which we live.
Before we go to the extremes of becoming offensive to a section of devotees over their beliefs, it’s best if we are actually thoroughly conversant with the Bhagavat siddhanta.
Before you tell such things you have to study this exact section of SB with commentaries of acaryas, but not to give your understanding.
In SB 4.28.52 it is mentioned that the jiva was with God, but according to Sri Visvanatha Cakravarti in his ‘Sarartha Darsini’-commentary the jiva here only merged with Him as Mahavisnu during the universal dissolution. [mayy eva militva means] “Being merged in Me (Mahavisnu) you experienced happiness by My association.” sahasram parivatsaran mahapralayo yavad ityartha “Until the end of the great dissolution.” [Visvanatha’s tika of verse 54]. Sri Jiva Gosvami declares in his comment on SB 4.28.64:
“Being svasthah means ‘being free from the possession of material nature” tad vyabhicarena means ‘not devoted to the swan called isvara’. Because of this the memory was lost – nastam. punar apa means ‘regained the consciousness of friends’ as was stated in words such as janasi kim sakhayam mam (4.28.52). Here the use of the words ‘punah’ and smrtih are used to indicate the disappearance or destruction of forgetfulness. But that forgetfulness is certainly beginningless although the friendship, which is also covered without beginning, is natural.”
This commentary of Jiva Gosvami is siddhanta. Please, be conversant with it.
Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu mentions anadi in Sanatan-siksa CC Madhya Ch20.117
You will also find the following verses later in Sanatan-siksa:
“The Viraja, or Causal Ocean, is the border between the spiritual and material world. Maya is situated on one shore of that ocean, and CANNOT ENTER onto the other shore, which is the spiritual sky” CC Madhya 20.269
“In the spiritual world, there is neither the mode of passion or ignorance, nor a mixture of both, nor is there adulterated goodness, the influenece of time or maya herself. Only the pure devotee of the Lord…” CC Madhya 20.270
If I “fell” from the spiritual sky, what made me fall? It cleary wasn’t maya as the two verses above teach us. The explanations given by the “fallvadis” are not satisfactory and, as Maharaja observes, always tinted with the Lucifer’s-fall-from-grace story.
I recall raising these points with some Iskcon devotees. Here’s a selection of their replies: “I don’t care what Mahaprbhu says I follow Srila Prabhupada!”
“Bhaktivinoda is not important. I’m only interested in Srila Prabhupada…”
Herein is the problem. Some people want fallvadism to be correct because they believe to think otherwise makes them an offender to Srila Prabhupada.
Kundali dasa covers this ground in The Hare Krishna Movement: The Postcharismatic Fate of a Religious Transplant.
Dear Subala Sakha dasa, can you please tell me, how may I get in contact with Kundali dasa? I’d like to translate some of his books into Russian. I’ve tried to find any data in the net, but with no seccess. If you, or anyone has this information, please, contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org
Dear Tripurari Swami, O vastly learned one,
we are grateful for the light you shed,
to safeguard our tiny steps upon the path.
In your Siksastakum, text #5, we have:
“O son of Nanda, I am your minion,
fallen into maya’s frightfull sea.”
“Due to the results of beginningless karma, I have fallen into the material ocean.”
Seeking consistancy in understanding, I am taking “fallen”, in these quotes, not as, “fallen from Vaikuntha”, but simply as: “overwhelmed by maya’s influence.” Previous to receiving your recent explanations, I would have taken “fallen” in these quotes to mean, “fallen from vaikuntha”.
Therefore, “fallen into maya’s frightful sea”, which might lead one to think “into, from outside of…..”, is more, in the sense you wrote this, intended as a poetic metaphoric device than as a literal factual conception. May I conclude in this way?
And the same reasoning with the Thakur’s, “I have fallen into the material ocean.”, although you have pointed out that he had adopted a preaching stance wherein one would be encouraged to take this literally.
In any case, I am simply digesting your guidance and considering it when reading these materials, through the lens of your conclusions. Thank you for accepting the task.
Words the acaryas and Srila Prabhupada have used such as “fallen”, “BACK to Godhead”, etc. are deficient in giving full meaning to the concept they try to explain. In English they invoke geographic, directional, or linear time frame images to our conditioned minds. We need to divorce ourselves from these assumptions. “Fallen” in the context you’re bringing up here does not mean coming down from anywhere as if fallen from a roof top, off a ladder, or from a “higher” planet to a “lower” one. Rather, fallen means in a lesser state than the jiva’s constitutional position of nitya dasa; jivera svarupa haya krsnera nitya dasa. That is our glorious (higher) position, not as a much lower servant of the senses wedded to the illusory attempt at enjoying with maya-sakti.
Now don’t be fooled! The referenced verse above does not mean the jiva is eternally a servant of Krsna in the spiritual world in rasa, rather by constitution we are dependent. In a generic sense we are dasa, utterly dependent upon God.
Yes that is correct. As BVT has written, the jivas are nitya-baddha, but still out of material convention and the limits of language we say they have “fallen,” “forgotten,” “back to Godhead,” etc.
Anadi (For Advanced Philosophers)
Srila B.R. Sridhara Maharaja
Consciousness means to be endowed with free will. Without free will no consciousness can be conceived. Consciousness means free will. This individual point of consciousness (jiva) means very meager free will. By the exercise of his free will the jiva is asserting itself. It may go that side (Vaikuntha), or this side (the land of exploitation). Some jivas are going that side; some are coming this side from the marginal plane.
(Article continues – http://gosai.com/writings/anadi-for-advanced-philosophers)
The article of Srila Sridhar Maharaj you provide implies a choice by the jiva before conditioned life to accept devi-dhama or vaikuntha-dhama as its place of residence. It is obvious from this reference that SSM is repeating the position that Thakur Bhaktivinoda has presented in Jaiva-dharma. As Swami Tripurari has discussed in this article and in previous discussions, this idea as well as the “fall from Vaikuntha” idea presented more recently in Gaudiya Vaisnava preaching must be taken as simply that – preaching. If we take this concept of the jiva having free will to choose maya over Krsna at some time outside of creation, it does not square with sastra, nor does it stand up to logic.
Sastra’s presentation is anadi karma. That’s it.
Logically it does not make sense that a jiva exists in some geographical place called tatastha, outside of time, from where and when it looks at both options (hellish repeated birth and death for what seems like eternity – OR – eternally youthful ever fresh loving pastimes with Krsna with no time factor) and chooses maya. Furthermore, if the jiva’s choice is uninformed, the blame for the “bad” choice of maya lies on the shoulders of God.
Now the way that the “choice” and the “free will” argument of the jiva does hold up is in everyday life. Everyday the jiva makes a choice to serve maya or to look towards and serve Vaikuntha. This correctly portrays our tatastha birth and our gift of free will – not at some time before creation, with a decision we eternally suffer for, but rather an every day, every moment choice.
Bad title to your article Giri Maharaja, but it constitutes a nice presentation of BVT’s preaching strategy. If you want it to be taken as siddhanta, you need to address the points raised in my article.
I could post an article based on a talk given by Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada claiming that on the basis of the jiva’s free will it is not only possible for it to fall from Goloka, but that it does. You identify that as a preaching strategy because it is not supported by sastra. Unless you prove otherwise, the same holds true for your article citing Pujyapada Sridhara Maharaja.
Indeed, posting such an article in response to mine is reminiscent of what Iskcon devotees who think the jiva falls from Goloka do: They respond to an article conclusively demonstrating from sastra that no such fall is possible by merely citing Prabhupada saying jivas do fall from Goloka. I am sorry, but my response to you and the article you posted is to ask you to think of how you mentally respond to Iskcon devotees doing this. That will give you some idea of how I think about your post. Still I like the preaching strategy of Bhaktivinode represented in your article better than the version of it Prabhupada sometimes invoked.
Respected Tripurari Maharaja,
As most of us know, Srila Sridhara Maharaja was a deep thinker, a plain speaker and in his own words to Sudhira Gosvami it was Krsna’s arrangement that he was still living to explain higher topics. On more than one occasion Srila Sridhara Maharaja became irritated by the lower nature of questions and emphatically said again and again, “I am not for these lower things!” We do not find anywhere wherein Srila Sridhara Maharaja thought on a point and did not think deeply. Hence, our anadi article is “For Advanced Philosophers”.
Yes, we accept Srila Sridhara Maharaja’s preaching as siddhanta, as do all his followers and disciples. It is a novel idea that someone would say that Bhaktivinoda’s explanations on jiva-tattva in Jaiva-dharma were simply a ‘strategy’, when in fact no pandita or opponent of the Thakura ever doubted his siddhanta on jiva-tattva during his lifetime. None of his followers such as Sarasvati Thakura nor his disciples ever doubted Bhaktivinoda or suggested publicly or privately that Bhaktivinoda’s siddhanta on jiva-tattva was a strategy. Not even Gaudiya Matha defectors like Ananta Vasudeva, Sundarananda Vidyavinoda or Navina-Krsna Vidyalankara with all their scholarship challenged Bhaktivinoda’s jiva-siddhanta. Neither did Vipina-vihari Gosvami (an orthodox Baghnapara brahmana-scholar) nor any of the orthodox Vaisnava scholars of the day such as Priyanatha Nandi and Rasika-mohana Gosvami challenge Bhaktivinoda’s jiva-siddhanta. If Bhaktivinoda’s jiva-siddhanta was such a blatant deviation from the true understanding of the jiva, free will and maya, than why did it go unchallenged for over 100 years? The only opposition to Bhaktivinoda comes from the present day Sahajiyas and so-called scholarly section of our day – not from any friendly section.
Yes, one could compile an article by Srila Prabhupada showing that the jiva did fall from the spiritual world, but that would only be possible by word jugglery and intellectual dishonesty. The majority of Prabhupada’s statements on jiva-tattva are ambiguous and thus malleable to suit whatever one wants him to say. Furthermore, to write such an article one would have to completely ignore Prabhupada’s conclusive statement found in the Fourth Canto of the Bhagavatam that, “The conclusion is that no one falls from the spiritual world.”
By taking such a strong stand on what Srila Sridhara Maharaja has stated on the jiva, we are not like Iskcon as you have suggested because Srila Sridhara Maharaja spoke in such unambiguous detail on the topic following in the footsteps of Bhaktivinoda and Sarasvati Thakura. There can be no mistake about what he meant to say. He said what he meant and meant what he said – the anadi of the jiva has its adi [beginning] in the spiritual record. So contrary to what you have said, there is certainly reason to assume that there was a beginning between the relationship of the jiva and maya.
In fact, as you know, Srila Sridhara Maharaja was so respected for his siddhantic and sastric presentations that Srila Bhakti Pramoda Puri Maharaja commented that, “If one has a different siddhanta than that of Sridhara Maharaja then that person cannot be counted among the followers of Sarasvati Thakura.” Thus we cannot accept such a proposal that Srila Sridhara Maharaja was simply following Bhaktivinoda’s ‘strategy’ – especially when we remember that Srila Sridhara Maharaja was known as sastra-nipuna (endowed with scriptural genius). Yes, Srila Sridhara Maharaja did follow Bhaktivinoda’s siddhanta — following in his footsteps and giving us his own deep understanding on the origin of the jiva and how we came in connection to this material world.
In the 1980’s Iskcon came to Srila Sridhara Maharaja with many misconceptions on gaura-tattva, sannyasa-tattva, krsna-tattva, sakti-tattva, rasa-tattva, jiva-tattva and more. In each instance Srila Sridhara Maharaja removed their misconceptions and established bona fide Gaudiya siddhanta. Are you really suggesting that on the jiva issue Srila Sridhara Maharaja removed one misconception to substitute it with another? Highly unlikely.
I have always held you in high regard, but I have trouble accepting your anadi conception because no acarya in the line of Bhaktivinoda supports your view. Sometime ago I wrote to every acarya I know in the current Gaudiya Vaisnava sampradaya and asked their opinions of your (anonymous) view point on anadi. I also asked if Bhaktivinoda’s jiva explanations in Jaiva-dharma were siddhanta or just a preaching strategy? Of course, you can imagine the responses that I received – no one agreed with your view on anadi or even remotely suggested that what Bhaktivinoda has given us in Jaiva-dharma is anything less than a revelation of pure and absolute truth (a ‘Neo-Upanisadic’ literature one might say)
Most of the responders on this forum are challenging what Srila Sridhara Maharaja has said and insist on sastric support. We accept the revelation of Srila Sridhara Maharaja to be as good as sastra. In fact like Ramananda Raya, Srila Sridhara Maharaja has brought many divine revelations down to us such as the Gayatri-nigudhartha, Rg Tatparyam and more. His explanations on jiva-tattva are just as important and we hold them in the same regard – as revelation and not as strategy. In future kalpas perhaps one will find the discourses of Srila Sridhara Maharaja recorded along with other Upanisads like Brhad-aranyaka Upanisad or Katha Upanisad.
I must say it’s somewhat disappointing to see on your site that there’s not much regard for the revelations and discourses of Srila Sridhara Maharaja, as well as a failure to acknowledge Srila Sridhara Maharaja as advanced and intimate among the followers of Srila Rupa Gosvami. Therefore, Srila Sridhara Maharaja’s discourses are accepted by us to be as good as the sastric references that some of the responders on this forum demand.
Swami B.V. Giri
Your is an “argument from incredulity.” It does not deal with the sastra I cited. You want to see what I see as a strategy for preaching as a new revelation. I acknowledge that there may be new revelations. However, I do not think they can overtly contradict previous precedents and be held as such. And it is very obvious that BVT employed preaching strategies. One only needs to read his Sri Krsna-samhita to understand this, and this is a book that Pujyapada Sridhara Maharaja personally told me to study to see his way of preaching.
Your effort to bring into question my fidelity to Pujyapada Sridhara Maharaja may scare some but it does not scare me. If you want to share notes with me on who is a “real” follower of His Divine Grace, I look forward to that session.
Thank you Maharaja for your comments. Everything is duly noted.
Let me make myself more clear. The sutras say karma is the cause of inequality in the world, not God. When challenged that if we go to the time before karma began then we can no longer blame karma, the sutras answer that there is no time when karma was not operative in the jiva’s beginningless existence. Karma is anadi.
If “new revelation” says that actually there is a beginning to karma, the sutras are contradicted and their answer to the question is wrong. So we are forced to make a choice as to who is wrong. While you express indignation and make out as though my choice on this particular topic of siding with the sutras, the Upanisads, the Gita and the Bhagvatam for siddhanta rather than BVT is heretical, I not only disagree, I also do not put one in a position of having to say one is wrong and the other is right, at least not in any absolute sense. I do this by viewing BVT’s position as a preaching strategy. And I give support to my position on BVT’s preaching strategy by pointing out that he hatched a few of them and acknowledged that even the Bhagavatam itself employs them. I also pointed out the similarities of this particular strategy with modernity and Christianity regarding free will and falling from grace.
So you say new revelation and I say preaching strategy. Why do we have to take either of these position? Because whatever we call what BVT has taught on this subject it does not square with sastra. So we seem to agree on that point. But you offer no reasoning to support the idea that it is new revelation other than the fact that there is at times some scope for new revelation. I agree that there is scope at times for new revelation. And you agree that there is scope at times for preaching strategies that are not one with siddhanta. Because I choose preaching strategy over new revelation on this issue, I see no reason why anyone is justified in questioning my fidelity to BVT and other luminaries in his parivara. My choice may be out numbered by those who choose new revelation, as you make out, but even if that is so it says nothing about the reasons for my choice nor should it bring my fidelity to the parivara into question. I am not of the herd mentality, but I am a herd bull if you will. And I believe such independent spiritual thinking that I am known for constitutes essential fidelity to what the parivara of BVT is all about. I may not always follow in form, but I follow in substance.
And as for majority opinions among the followers of BVT, there are many followers yet to come. My claim is strong but I have supported it with strong evidence, as is mandated. As I do not find your responses to involve a discussion of my evidence, I am content to leave it for others to decide for themselves on the issue and leave it at that. Forgive me for the caustic elements in my previous reply. I know you are a sincere follower and defender of our parivara. May the current o BVT forever remain alive in the world!
I find your response to Tripurari Maharaj filled with disappointing allegations of lack of faith in Srila Sridhar Maharaj. For two missions (your and ours) that have risked their very lives on faith in his teachings, I find this tactic of yours to be very very sad. Please recognize that you have fallen into this logical fallacy, avoiding discussion of the merits of the argument by diverting attention, creating a side issue of question of allegiance. Please, get on track and for the benefit of the readers withdraw these claims.
Please consider for a moment that what you’ve done in this comment is the exact same thing ISKCON did in response to the “Leaves” book in the mid 1990’s. They too avoided philosophy and garnered support for their position by accusing the authors of lack of faith in their guru and putting words in their mouths saying “Prabhupada cheated us.” Unfortunately logical fallacy works for people who rely on emotionalism more than critical thinking. People unfamiliar with the sastric arguments rallied behind ISKCON’s leadership and the OOP’s book because these were portrayed as being “loyal” to Prabhupada. Hence the apasiddhanta of falling from Goloka persists. And no, what you say about having to use word jugglery and intellectual dishonesty is not the case with Prabhupada’s statements. In some cases he has quite directly spoken of a “fall.” That is why familiarity with previous acaryas statements and sastric references are necessary to harmonize Prabhupada’s statements with a preaching strategy. No lack of faith in Prabhupada, but rather staunch dedication to him requires that his statements be harmonized with the purvacaryas.
What you have done invoking faith in SSM’s teaching is the exact same thing, and I would expect and hope for a sastric or logically based argument coming from you, learned and devoted to study as you are. Do you really mean to suggest that the saying “preaching and siddhanta aren’t always one” does not ever apply to our dear param gurudeva Srila Sridhar Maharaj? Could it not be possible that SSM is just repeating the teaching of BVT and didn’t bother to consider the issue further? What is the fault there? As you know, the Gaudiya matha in general were staunchly devoted to the teaching of BVT, and Prabhupada’s argument of free will of the jiva, shifting blame away from God and “fall from Vaikuntha” is just another instance of that same devotion. But, as Tripurari Maharaj pointed out before, BVT obviously preached according to time, place and circumstance and yet his teachings in Krsna-samhita are not presented by most of BSST’s followers as siddhanta.
Let us get to the point: Considering that acaryas previous to BVT did not present the baddha jiva’s plight in the framework of “choice”, but rather only anadi karma, how do we square the “choice-vada” idea with our sastra gurus (the goswamis) or sastra itself? This question in no way implies lack of faith in or fidelity to our guru parampara, rather it implies critical thinking. Take the question on its own: How do we make this philosophy add up logically or sastrically? Sastra and our acaryas have not described “tatastha” as a place, but rather the nature or the very tattva of the jiva’s existence. We can go either way, spiritual or material. Having a choice about the matter in some time before creation puts us in a different category, that of an isvara, which we are not. We are dasa, servant of either maya sakti or svarupa sakti, eternally conditioned or eternally liberated without beginning. Our choice comes in our extremely limited free will after our birth in service to either of these shaktis.
Problems with “choice-vada.”
1. Lack of precedence for its presentation by sastra or purvacarya pre-BVT.
2. Logical inconsistency of “choice” being a quality of the jiva outside of conditioned life – making the jiva appear as an isvara rather than dasa.
3. Theodicy problem – God is to blame for the jiva’s choice of devi-dhama being uninformed.
4. Problem of jiva choosing suffering over eternal bliss. Why?
Forgive me for the caustic elements in my previous reply. I know you are a sincere follower and defender of our parivara. May the current o BVT forever remain alive in the world!
That is simply not true.
It is in the Third Canto, 16 chapter.
Please, give any sastra evidence to that. (Upanisada, Purana)
There is no other siddhanta, than siddhanta. Not BVT siddhanta, not BSS siddhanta. Siddhanta is siddhanta. If it’s not following Vyasa, than it’s something else but not siddhanta.
I do not. I’m sorry. You need to present from sastra, but not from Sridhar Svami. And if it is as good as sastra, why don’t you present the same from sastra?
This sounds like neophyte is speaking. Upanisads are apauruseya. They are not created by anyone, even by God Himself. They exists eternally and they are sound vibration analogue of all matter. No one can change anything in any word of Upanisads.
Actually, Prabhupada says the same thing twice – once in SB 3.16.26: “The conclusion is that no one falls from the spiritual world, or Vaikuṇṭha planet, for it is the eternal abode.”
– AND THEN AGAIN –
in SB 7.1.35 Prabhupada supports and clarifies Maharaj Yudhisthira’s statement “for unflinching devotees of the Lord to fall again to this material world is impossible” by saying himself: “Otherwise it is a fact that no one falls from Vaikuṇṭha.”
Respected Giri Maharaja,
It seems that you believe that Srila Sridhar Maharaj, BVT etc should not be challenged. But if that is so, then you will have to relinquish the claim that Gaudiya Vedanta tradition is scientific. Rather it is dogmatic. Dogmas cannot be challenged, science can be challenged. I acknowledge the great contribution of BVT and Shridhar Maharaj and they are truly heroes. But that dosen’t mean that whatever they said should be cast in stone. If ideas no longer make sense, they should be revised. And the idea proposed by BVT has logical flaws as is being pointed out by many people here, hence it needs to be revised.
If you disagree with this, then your version of Gaudiya Vedanta is no different than fundamentalist Christianity or Islam. Commandments written in stone that can never be revised.
In your article on modern science and Vedas, you write
“See the fun – the Vedic knowledge is easily dismissed or not recognized at all. These are simply stories and myths they say, but theoretical physics/science — now that’s something you can believe in!”
This is because they don’t make sense. People look at Vedic literature as a revelation and thus not subject to revision or critical analysis. And Science demands that we look at everything critically. And when we look at Vedas critically, most don’t make sense, so they are rejected.
If you think Vedas are not simply fairy tales, and it is serious science, why don’t you publish a paper establishibg Vedic concepts in a respected journal.
The same is true for BVT, Sridhar Maharaj’s position on jiva tattva, when one looks at it critically, it dosen’t make much sense. And this does not make BVT and Sridhar Maharaj any less, they were great people and will always be respected for what they have contributed.
It seems that most devotees are not really interested in the truth, but only interested in defending their tradition/dogmas from modernity.
If one can accept this statement as true, it clarifies why preaching strategies are employed.
The mind may twist us into innumerable and infinitesimal knots, the least of which could serve to undermine the faith that sastra is supposed to confer and bolster. This explains why Tripurari Maharaja’s advice to beginner_devotee stating…
…is so very appropriate. Unfortunately, we hear all the time about the dangers of speculation and many devotees take this admonishment to mean “don’t think [at all] about it,” but this tends to produce an over-reliance on dogma. Matters become worse when dogma is comprised of preaching strategy because most devotees do not progress far enough to have the requisite faith (and realization) for treading the esoteric inner path.
Due to the scrutiny given to visionary acaryas such as Swami Tripurari and the vested interests of organizational behemoths such as ISKCON, it should be no surprise that today’s cultural landscape is producing a preponderance of dogmatic religious practice. But this is not any different than what we see in most other religious schools. Furthermore, the sad fact that people approach spiritual philosophy as a flavor of experience cannot be divorced from the challenge of appealing to their inherent desire for things to “make sense”.
It’s great to debate the particulars in order to appreciate the splendor of the canon, so to speak, but I perceive that the real problem is pride and pettiness. I cringe whenever I hear that Bhakti-yoga is the highest conception of spirituality. I try to accept it as preaching strategy, but it immediately creates an “us versus them” attitude, which is the beginning of divisiveness, which spills into sectarianism. Harmonizing the various branches of philosophical thought will require that the leadership exhibits a humility devoid of awe and reverence and that this become the hallmark of the “devotee on the street”. Ultimately, differences in preaching strategies or in what one considers to be revelation should not be significant enough for one’s faith to be shaken or threatened (and therefore guarded). The humility I speak of is a symptom of realization. What we need more than anything is more realized souls.
Dear Giri Maharaja,
I agree with others that the piece by Srila Sridhara Maharaja is a valuable contribution to the discussion. However, I would like to address a couple of concerns I have after reading your posts here.
I have been puzzled by the zeal of your response to Tripurari Maharaja’s article, especially in your objections to characterizing as a preaching strategy any assertion of Bhaktivinoda Thakura that differs at all from what all the acaryas previous to him taught about the beginningless nature of the jiva, karma, etc. You use phrases such as “simply a ‘strategy,’” or “just a preaching strategy” as if the characterization somehow denigrated Bhaktivinoda Thakura’s approach.
Moreover, you suggest that Tripurari Maharaja thinks somehow that BVT’s approach was a “blatant deviation” from what was previously taught. But nowhere in Tripurari Maharaja’s article do I see anything that suggests any such attitude toward BVT’s assertion. Rather, he presents evidence that BVT—and other acaryas—did indeed employ what may be called preaching strategies as a way of reaching out to those not already moved to engagement in pure devotional service. That doesn’t sound to me like cheating or lying, but causeless mercy.
Also, you haven’t yet used any evidence from sastra to refute the assertions made in Tripurari Maharaja’s article. You rely pretty much solely on Srila Sridhara Mahararaja’s authority and his presentation in the Krishna Talk article. But our acaryas teach us that, in discussing such topics, we should support our positions with evidence from guru, sadhu and sastra. In his purport to Bg. 17.15, in which Krsna describes austerity of speech, Srila Prabhupada writes, “The process of speaking in spiritual circles is to say something upheld by the scriptures. One should at once quote from scriptural authority to back up what he is saying.” Your points would be strengthened by citing scripture which supports them, rather than simply insisting that whatever guru says constitutes sastra. (More on this when I address my final concern.)
Moreover, Srila Sridhara Maharaja’s argument in the piece in question is not as cut and dried, or as black and white, as one may assume from your remarks. After all, he concedes at the end that “It is a very intricate question – troublesome, intricate and puzzling. The nature of too much discussion may oppose faith. Ultimately, everything is adhoksaja. . . . We must have some respect for that and it is approachable only through faith – sraddha, and not by intellectual reason or argument. The solution is not within our mental scope. Mahaprabhu says acintya. It is not within the bound of your intellect. . . . We may try our best to use our experience to know the wholesale character of it, but . . . [w]e must always keep it in the background of our discussion that His ways are unknown and unknowable; we cannot bring Him within our fist.” The topic, being beyond the realm of matter, is inherently adhoksaja, beyond the ken of the senses and the intellect. We acknowledge those limitations by relying on the authority of the one absolutely reliable pramana: sabda. In his “Sarva-samvadini” commentary on his own Tattva Sandarbha, Srila Jiva Goswami writes, “If one carefully examines the ten kinds of evidence, . . . revelation, sruti, is considered to be superior for it is above the four defects. Sruti is, therefore, the root of all evidence.” Mahaprabhu himself says, “the evidence given in the Vedic version must be taken as foremost. Vedic versions understood directly are first-class evidence. The Vedic statements are self-evident. Whatever they state must be accepted.” Since Tripurari Maharaja’s argument has its basis in the sastra, it would behoove those who would refute it to use sastric evidence to make their cases. I can’t help wondering why you decline to do so.
What I find most puzzling, though, is the insistence that any suggestion that an utterance by an acarya that appears not entirely consistent with the Vedic version may be part of a strategy for outreach is somehow offensive. My perplexity is compounded by your objection to any comparison of this position to that of ISKCON regarding the idea of the jiva’s fall from Vaikuntha. After all, it was your own Swami B. B. Visnu who, some years ago, presented an elaborate and (his word) “irrefutable” argument that any suggestion we find from His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada that the jiva has fallen from Goloka or Vaikuntha is part of a preaching strategy. Otherwise, he wonders, how could we possibly reconcile any of Srila Prabhupada’s statements that appear at odds with sastra? “If we rule out a preaching strategy,” he writes, “we are admitting that Srila Prabhupada is making statements against sastra, implying he either doesn’t know sastra or is introducing a new siddhanta. Both of these choices are very dangerous for a disciple to assume.”
And he doesn’t refer to it as “just a preaching strategy,” or any such denigrating term. Instead he lauds its intelligence. Not only that, but he compares it to preaching strategies used by previous acaryas, including (Wait for it!) Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura and Srila Jiva Goswami. In support of this claim he cites many of the same examples Tripurari Maharaja uses in his article.
As we may remember, ISKCON members attacked such a suggestion as characterizing Srila Prabhupada as a liar or a cheater, and stated that anyone who accepted it as offensive, guru-druha, etc. But when you say the same things here, you say it’s not at all like ISKCON’s earlier behavior. As is the case with other readers, I’m afraid you have simply lost me here. The inconsistency of these positions cannot but bewilder even careful readers. And it certainly raises questions about your claim that those on this site have less regard for Srila Sridhara Maharaja and Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura than you.
Although you appear to have bowed out of the discussion, I would be grateful if you would address these concerns.
Giri Svami, when you speak about free will, why don’t you back your words by reference from sastra (Upanisada or Purana)?
Ananta Govinda das,
Baladeva Vidyabhusana cites SB 11.25.26 in his Govinda-bhasya (2.3.38) to support the idea that the jiva is an agent of action in both worlds. In other words he says that sastra says that the jiva is constituted of will, among other things. He openly states this position in this section of his Govinda-bhasya, citing other references he interprets to support this contention. His supporting logic: What would be the meaning of scriptural do’s and do not’s if the jiva had no will, no choice. But this position has nothing to do with the idea that anadi karma is preceded by choice, as he himself explains.
Baladeva says here in VS 2.3.38: “It is foolish for a person to think himself the sole performer of action and ignore the five factors of action. Of course it is not that the individual spirit soul never performs any action.”
Here we can clearly understand, that Baladeva speaks about a performer in the material world, because he mentions about five factors of action. And speaks about conditioned jiva, with a very weak acknowledgement that it is not that jiva NEVER performs any action. It’s not like the jiva chose where to be in the beginning. Cause there is no beginning then that’s no choice. As Visvanatha Cakravarti clearly said in SB 3.7.10 there is no cause and no purpose of jiva’s aversion.
Yes, the jiva does not choose bondage at some beginning point. But in this section of Vs Baladeva is not dealing with this issue. He is dealing with the issue of whether or not the jiva is an agent of action. He clearly concludes that it is, that the jiva as an agent is a factor in action.
Here is a perfect answer and an explanation on both subjects (anadi karma and jiva doer) by Baladeva Vidyabhusana:
Though one should be tolerant of those persons absorbed in karma, the difference between the person in knowledge and the person in ignorance is expressed in two verses.
The person bewildered by false ego thinks that he is the doer of activities. By the sutra na lokavyaya-nistha (Panini 2.3.69) genitive case is not used to express the agent or the object when the word is governed by certain active participles or nouns of agency such as karta. The accusative case is instead used to denote the object. He who is bewildered by ego thinks “I am the doer (karta) of the activities (karmani).” Thus karmani (accusitive case) is used instead of the genitive case karmanam.
The actions are described. He thinks he is the doer of all actions actions (karmani) whether non-prescribed or prescribed by the Vedas, which are in fact performed by the products (gunaih) of the Lord’s maya (prakrteh), in the form of the body, senses and pranas, impelled into action by the Lord.
The following should be understood by determining the intention of the statement. The jivatma, with a body made of knowledge (samvit), has a sense of ‘I’ and is actually the doer. But overcome with impressions (vasana) of enjoying material sense objects from begenningless time, he is embraced by prakrti, who is situated next to him, who is the cause of his pleasure. Through false ego, a product of prakrti, he becomes bewildered, devoid of knoweldge of the self, thinking himself to be a material body. He then thinks that the activities which are accomplished by the Lord and the material body, senses and life airs, are being done only by himself.
The doership of the atma is only made possible by the body, senses and life airs, and by the paramatma, who is the activator of all things. The jiva is not the only factor. That the jiva thinks that he is the only doer is a result of bewilderment from false ego. This is understood from three verses in the eighteenth chapter starting with adhisthanam tatha kartha . (BG 18.14)
The verse karya-karana-kartrtve hetuh prakrtir ucyate (BG 13.18) describes prakrti as the doer through the body and senses, but it is not possible to consider that prakrti is the only doer because one must accept that prakrti comes into action only by contact with the Lord. Therefore it will be explained later that the doership of the Lord can never be rejected.
Yes the jiva, according to Baladeva, is inherently an agent of action but not an independent agent. Its agency is not the only factor in action. And its karma is literally anadi.
I believe that free will is much more of prominent idea in Christianity than it is in Vedanta. Christians have invoked this argument in discussing theodicy perhaps more than any other argument.
In Bhagavatam Kapil Bhagavan answers to mother Devahuti about how she can be liberated :
“Certainly, mind (consciousness) is the cause of attachment and also mind is the cause of emancipation. When mind is attached to the external potency of Supreme Lord (Triguna) consisting of three primeval qualities— Sattva, Rajah and Tamah, it causes bondage. When mind is attached to Nirguna (Transcendental)
Bhagavan, it causes deliverance from the clutches of Maya (illusory energy).” (SB 3.25.15)
And consciousness means freedom of choice. So our desire or our choice must have been sometime somewhere involved in us becoming conditioned by maya-sakti. And since Bhagavan is everywhere and also in every living entity (BG) it means sadhu sanga must also somehow be available everywhere and always. Anadi is beyond human comprehension.
At present I understand that tatashta region is glance of Mahavishnu towards maya-sakti. His glance is jivas. So they are not Him, as Mahavishnu never directly touches maya and they are also not in maya-sakti, as He is looking towards maya-sakti. There they choose what they want to do.
tatashta sakti = tatashta region = tatashta state of consciousness = between svarup sakti and maya sakti = not svarup sakti, not maya sakti but tatashta sakti
Free choice/free will. Does it too have a beginning in your book?
At any rate, this point addresses none of the points in my article. My article acknowledges that the jiva has free will. read Govinda-bhasya.
What kind of choice were you making in the tatastha region? What could you observe there? Did you senses and mind to perceive the realities on the two sides? What kind of form was that a human form in tatastha region?
tatashta sakti = tatashta region = tatashta state of consciousness = between svarup sakti and maya sakti = not svarup sakti, not maya sakti but tatashta sakti
This is nonsense. Why don’t you read the explanation of Visvanatha Cakravarti and Baladeva Vidyabhusana?
According to Srila Jiva Gosvami, maya conditioning of the jiva has no beginning, it is anadi. Although statements such as “she covers the real nature of the jiva” imply a beginning, in fact there is no beginning to the jiva’s bondage. Lord Krsna confirms this in Bhagavad-gita (13.20):
prakṛtiḿ puruṣaḿ caiva
viddhy anādī ubhāv api
vikārāḿś ca guṇāḿś caiva
Material nature and the living entities should be understood to be beginningless. Their transformations and the modes of matter are products of material nature.
Commenting on this verse, both Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura and Baladeva Vidyabhusana have confirmed that the bondage of the jiva is beginningless. Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura states:
maya-jivayor api mac chaktitvena anaditvat tayoh samsleso’py anadir iti bhavah. (The Lord is saying), “‘Because both maya and jiva are My potencies, they both are beginningless. Thus their union is also beginningless.‘ This is the sense of Lord Krsna’s words.”
Here he is using the nyaya principle that the qualities of anadi objects are also anadi. Naturally, a beginningless object or entity cannot have a prior state of existence, for it could not be said to be beginningless. In this case the objects, material nature and the jivas, are anadi, and their shared quality, separation from Krsna, is also anadi.
In fact, in the beginning of his comment on the verse he says, “In this verse Lord Krsna is answering two questions why or how did the union of the jiva and maya occur? And when did it occur? He says that both of these are answered by the word anadi. For the first question anadi means na vidyate adi karanam yayoh, the union of maya and jiva has no cause. The answer to the second question is also anadi, it has no beginning.”
Baladeva Vidyabhusana, commenting on this same verse of the Bhagavad-gita writes, evam mitho vivikta-svabhavayor anadyoh prakrti-jivayoh samsargasyanadi-kalikattvam, “In this way material nature and the living entity, who have a distinct nature and who are beginningless, are united together without beginning.” He uses the word anadikalikattvam, “the beginningless union of the jiva with maya.”
Thank you Ananta Govinda das for adding this meaningful comment.
Maharaj, thank you for writing this much needed article. I will take the opportunity to clarify my doubts.
It seems that the sages( Shri Vedavyasa) who wrote the Vedanta were trying to fuse naturalism with theism.
This seems to be naturalistic, an impersonal law governing everything.
This is clearly theistic.
In Bhagavad Gita and Bhagvatam one can find this fusion of naturalism and theism. For e.g. the story of Gajendra, Shri Vishnu comes personally to save Gajendra( or in CB it is Shri Haridas Thakura). But in the story of the Avanti Bramhan, although the Bramhana undergoes the worst form of torture, he sings the famous bhikshu Gita and sees everything as a naturalistic process( and this is praised by Shri Krishna).
But does this indicate that Shri Bhagavan can interfere and change karma? Even if one assumes that Shri Krishna can interfere in human affairs out of extreme love, His interference will not make any difference for that person since a person who develops extreme love for God does not care for karmic results. But maybe it will serve as bait to attract others to bhakti. The story of Prahlad and Shri Narsinghadeva nicely illustrates this. People worship Shri Narasinghadeva for obtaining protection them from fearful situations. This is very different from what Prahlad did. Prahlad had transcended fear. He simply loved to worship Shri Krishna.
A person who cares for karmic results has not developed love, hence Shri Krishna will not respond. So can we conclude, that according to Vedanta, for all practical purposes reality is naturalistic and only for extraordinary people( those who have transcended ignorance) reality is theistic? Which really means that Shri Krishna will not respond to the pleas of devotees requesting relief from ill health, bad financial condition, relationship problems and all other forms of suffering. And one should not expect Him to respond like that. One’s business should be to eliminate ignorance, develop bhakti and then there will be a response. So bhakti is not a path, its a goal. Meditation is the path, and elements from the bhakti tradition are used as tools for meditation, like the lila or mantra.
But then how do we reconcile this with the glories of the Hare Krishna Mahamantra or even calling out to Shri Krishna. Devotees love to tell stories of how Shri Narsinghadeva saved them. About two years ago, there was this herculean effort of chanting Narsingha kavaca and mantras, to save Jayapataka Maharaj of ISKCON who suffered from a stroke. There is a temple in India called Visa Venkateshwara. Devotees believe that worshiping the deity of Shri Venkateshwara(Lord Vishnu) will grant them US Visa and fulfill their dream of immigrating to the US. Hence the name Visa Venkateshwara. One could give innumerable examples.
Also regarding Buddhism you wrote,
From this it seems that in Buddha’s opinion worshiping God/bhakti cannot end suffering. The Buddha claimed that he was enlightened, he referred to himself as the “Tathagatha”. If he knew the truth about Shri Krishna and efficacy of bhakti to remove suffering he would have told his disciples. He clearly did not, so either he did not know( but then he is enlightened) or in his opinion bhakti was not really useful or possibly not conducive to spiritual life.
And this can be said of many saints from other traditions who claimed to have reached a high spiritual state, and did not recommend anything remotely close to what is mentioned in the Bhagvatam.
Personally, for me I don’t like to see Shri Krishna or MahaVishnu or anyone as God( omnipotent, benevolent and omniscient). I would just keep the benevolent and remove omniscient and omnipotent. And hence He cannot wave a wand and remove my ignorance. But He can help us through the agency of his saints. And one can experience a loving relationship with Him by removing ignorance. And even if one does all kinds of nonsense, it is karma which will create trouble, not Him and He has not designed this system of karma, nor has He created the Universe. For questions pertaining to origin of the Universe and origin of life, I turn to science. I would go even further to say that considering Shri Krishna omnipotent is an insult to Shri Krishna, because that makes Him cruel or foolish.
It seems Shri Sanatana Gosvami shared this view. He writes in Brihad Bhagvatamrita that Shri Vishnu was very happy to see Gopakumar, and Shri Vishnu had hoped for eons that Gopakumar will turn to Him. Which means that He could not personally go and fetch Gopakumar. He was unable to interfere, all He could do is to wait and hope.
You ask a lot. But on God’s involvement with karma, the idea from sastra is that he defers to karma without interfering, but his devotees intervene by way of showing mercy. They are his krpa-sakti. The are “yadrcchaya” the good fortune of the jiva. The create opportunities for bhakti sukriti and thereby predispose the jiva toward bhakti even before it has any choice in the matter. That is an interesting point regarding the insistence by some on the need for free will to choose bhakti or not relevant to the discussion.
However, once one takes to sadhana-bhakti one’s position changes with regard to God’s intervention in one’s life. Krsna is bhakata vastsala.
There are of course different opinions about Buddha. But he appears to have been quiet about God and the self. The “no self” doctrine taken as a metaphysical position is difficult to swallow. Taken as a preaching strategy is it digestible. His silence on God leads me to believe question his realization on the matter. Thus if we take his no self doctrine as a strategy, he ends up being a kind of jnani I guess.
Thank you for taking time to reply. I am sorry if my post sounded a bit harsh. You wrote,
This sounds good and I agree.
You also wrote.
What is exactly meant by bhakta vatsala? and how does the position change? We see that devotees suffer from karma. Does it mean Shri Krishna’s vatsalya is not good enough to help them? I am afraid this position still does not solve the problem of evil. I am reminded of Voltaire and the Great Lisbon Earthquake. Devotees(Christian devotees) were trapped between a terrible fire on one side and Tsunami on other, and thus they died a gruesome death. Recently some devotees were killed due to the airline crash in Nepal.
Also it is said that chanting the MahaMantra alleviates all kinds of material difficulties. But we don’t see such things happening. If this was true, Vaishnavite Bengal should have been free from problems.
There is this book on miracles performed by Lord Jagannatha of (Rajapura) in Mayapura. Apparently when people prayed to Him, He cured the village of a dangerous disease. Now people all over the world are suffering from dangerous diseases and most are theists, but they are not cured. So then we have to conclude that if the above story is true, then Lord Jagganatha is not really Jagganatha but simply Rajapuranath.
So to get around the problem of evil and other inconsistencies, I have to conclude that bhakta vatsalya means a superlative loving exchange and it does not necessarily mean change in karmic situation
So what to do about statements in the Bhagavad Gita and Bhagvatam like describing Shri Krishna as an all powerful God ? Maybe it is just a strategy to attract people to bhakti.
I heard this excellent debate on “Is there an afterlife?” Hitchens & Harris, vs Rabbi David Wolpe & Rabbi Bradley Shavit. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xbzd6ZbCowY
The Rabbis conceded that religion was man made and God is not omnipotent, but works through his devotees. I think this is the only position which is logically feasible.
Many great devotees have suffered considerably. The Pandavas are a prime example, yet they profusely praised Krsna and considered him affectionate to his devotees (bhakata vatsala). What is karma and what is Krsna’s involvement and what is a bit of both is difficult to sort out. But overall suffering is a result of attachment and thus a perspective.
If I become a bhakta will I stay away when the object of my bhakti is suffering? Hardly. Bhakti means interference. Non-interference is inherent to abhakti.
Jesus, Prabhupada, Jayananda das were bhaktas. Why did they suffer so terribly in their last days? If God is a Person and bhakta of His own bhaktas why did He prefer to stay away?
,The spirit behind your question is “What kind of God would allow such devotees to suffer. Hence perhaps there is no God, or if there is he/she is not worth loving.” But your question might best be answered by asking Prabhupada, Jesus, or Jayanada. Of course you can’t ask them now. But the fact is that they never felt God was not worth loving or did not exist. Why he let them suffer is difficult to say. Perhaps to point out their extraordinary standard of devotion to others. And ultimately they are examples of those who through divine seva transcended suffering.
Ivan, if you were a father whose son went by his own choice to a military academy to get training, would you expect to intervene in that training every time your son experienced pain and suffering? I hope not. That would make such training totally worthless.
There is much more to life than minimizing suffering. And if you are suffering, most of the time it is a result of your own actions. No pain, no gain, they say. And they are right.
“if you were a father whose son went by his own choice to a military academy to get training, would you expect to intervene in that training every time your son experienced pain and suffering?”
If the son is captured, tortured and crucified at the end of his training, his father can do nothing as he is not God. On the contrary, God is usually depicted as a loving bodyguard rushing at Bhishma with a chariot wheel to protect his bhakta from death.
All you are doing here is repeating the preaching strategy of BVT (kind of)—taking anadi figuratively. Such statements are meaningless as a response to my article.
Great article! I wanted to post some evidence I’ve come across that supports the conclusions of the article.
1. In his Govinda-bhasya Baladeva-vidyabhusana writes, “Vyasa has accepted that karma and the jivas are beginningless, just like Brahman.”
2. In his Priti-sandabha Jiva Goswami writes, “Although the jiva is part of the Lord, he is devoid of knowledge about Him and this deficiency has no beginning.”
3. In his Gita commentary on 7.27 Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura writes, “If someone asks, ‘Since when are the jivas bewildered by Your maya’, the Lord speaks the current verse. At the beginning of the creation all jivas become bewildered. By what? By the desire and hatred which springs from the karma performed in the past.”
4. in Vaisnavism Real and Apparent, Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura says that “Tata not being a resting place, jivas must go this side or that.” If someone properly understands this statement, it will be clear that the idea that we make a choice to enter the material world from a “tatastha region” is a provisional preaching strategy.
Why? The jivas enter the world in endless cycles, when Visnu glances at the world. Each of these maha-kalpas corresponds with the life of a different Brahma. According to the choice-from-the-tatastha conception, either the jivas have to all enter the world on the same life of Brahma or in different maha-kalpas. Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura’s statement makes it clear that the jivas couldn’t enter the material world on different maha-kalpas because if on a particular maha-kalpa some souls hadn’t chosen to enter the spiritual or material worlds, they would have nowhere to remain but in the tata. But this contradicts BSST’s statement that the tata isn’t a resting place. Therefore it is not possible that the jivas’ choices could correspond with different maha-kalpas.
But the jivas couldn’t all make a choice that corresponds with the same maha-kalpa either. Why not? Because there would then be no jivas in the preceding maha-kalpa. This would contradict the scriptural assertion that the material world is eternal. Problem.
Resolution: The idea that jivas make a choice from the tatastha region is a provisional preaching strategy that has flaws that are not present in the scriptural explanation of anadi karma.
5. I read some of Narayana Maharaja’s book Journey of the Soul. In it he closely follows Bhaktivinode Thakura’s explanation of a choice from the tatastha region. However, it is clear that the explanation he gives almost exclusively is a preaching strategy because in a section that has questions and answers, he breaks from his previous presentation about the tatastha region and makes this comment: “The jiva is actually cit-sakti. The philosophy of tatastha-sakti has been given only as an indication. In actuality there is no specific geographic area between the spiritual and material worlds called tatastha. Tatastha as a line between the two worlds is imaginary.”
6. Srila Sridhara Maharaja does a similar thing in a question/answer session, calling the tatastha region a “fictitious demarkation”:
Devotee: Is it alright to ask one more question? Earlier today I was told that you were speaking about the original position of the jiva within the brahmajyoti.
Sridhara Maharaja: A very intricate question, very troublesome and very intricate and puzzling. Because this is marginal. What is margin? Neither water nor land, a fictitious demarkation, line of demarkation.
Another indication that Srila Sridhara Maharaja is using a preaching strategy is that he says that the tatastha region is in the brahmajyoti. Since the brahmajyoti is a plane within the spiritual world, this statement appears to contradict his definition of the tatastha region as “Neither land or the water, the meeting place of both, neither spirit nor matter.”
Great research Vrindaranya! I especially like the clarification by followers of BVT that tatastha is not a place. Prabhupada, from a 1974 SB lecture
Try putting your finger on that “place” between the covered or uncovered beach! Some sakti of Bhagavan has forever been wet (svarupa sakti), the ocean of prema, and some has been forever dry, sandy and dead (prakrti, matter). The jiva since time without beginning has been wandering the demarcation, building sand castles, and running away from the water when the tide rises. Some jivas are dipping their toes in, testing the waters, and still others are adept swimmers, diving and surfacing in the bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu. Bestowing the greatest mercy they sometimes catch a wave in and let us know how nice it is, and how we should stop eating sand…
Yes, for the record, Srila Sridhara Maharaja’s spoke of the brahmajyoti, tatastha, and susupti as the jiva’s place from which it enters the world. All three cannot be correct. 1 and 2 are preaching. 3 is siddhanta. As you point out, Vrindaranya, the brahmajyoti is beyond the gunas, a liberated position. Tatastha is figurative (fictitious) in terms of it being spoken of as a location. It is reality the very nature of the jiva. Whereas susupti is its actual resting place of the jiva before the world cycle begins again. And susupti is often likened to the brahmajyoti to help us understand turiya, or the liberated condition beyond the gunas. Why? Because in susupti, deep dreamless sleep within Mahavisnu, the psychic (svapna) and physical (jagrat) dimensions of materially conditioned consciousness are unmanifest, closed down. And therein the atma resides in itself, as it does in the brahmajyoti. However, there is one important difference between he two states: In susupti karma is not manifest but not destroyed either. It is only suspended, and thus it again manifests as the world cycle begins again. Whereas in the brahmajyoti karma has been destroyed.
Here Srila Prabhupada explains what he really means when he says that jivas were previously with Krsna. There were in susupti, in sristi-lila.
Here SP gives the siddhanta.
This is a great quote, because you can see from it how Prabhupada is using very personal, time-based language “they do not remember being with Krsna” which we see is so often misinterpreted to meaning at a previous time we lived in the spiritual world in siddha-deha’s interacting with Krsna.
What is great about this quote is that Prabhupada previously clarified that “personal” relationship, comparing it to a child who has “seen” his father before being placed in the womb. We understand that this relationship with the father is not personal, not in rasa, the child cannot “forget” this impersonal relationship, such relationship is not eternally situated in the heart of the child, etc. etc. Rather the child in the womb has the potential for a personal relationship with the father, being born of the father, created from the same genetic makeup (sat-cit-ananda) in minute portion. Until the child emerges from the womb, develops out of its own independence and freewill a relationship of love with the father, there is nothing there between the two except biology and the well wishes of the father (paramatma) during the child’s life in the womb (material nature). Glorious is the child that goes “back” to father-head by tracing out his roots, establishing a relationship of love with the father, over and above just a genetic match (aham brahmasmi).
Ponder the matter of the origin of karma deeply and you will have to come to the conclusion that a decision to turn away from God could not actually have occurred outside of time. It must have occurred within time because what exists outside of time has always existed. There is not a starting point to things that exist outside of time or an ending point. Therefore if a jiva turns away from God outside of time, the jiva has always turned away from God and will always turn away from God. It is not possible to have one “point” outside of time where you turn away from God and another point where you turn towards God—both events would be eternal.
Therefore Bhaktivinode Thakura’s way of presenting the issue of the jiva’s origin/the “origin” of karma is a preaching strategy. It presents a difficult concept in a way that is more palatable to those who have a problem with the idea that jivas don’t have a choice whether or not to enter the material world (although they always have a choice to exit the material world).
When you read BVT’s descriptions of when this choice is made, it corresponds with descriptions of jivas emerging from susupti at the beginning of a maha-kalpa. The jivas have a choice at that time, as they have a choice at every moment, but by emphasizing the choice made at the beginning of a maha-kalpa, it sounds like the jivas had a choice whether or not to enter the material world, not just whether to exit the material world.
That’s why it is “Anadi for Beginner’s”—it appears to give a beginning point to anadi and it sounds good until the problems with a beginning point become apparent to you and you are ready for a more in-depth explanation. A lot of devotees are in need of such an explanation because the downside of this preaching strategy has become apparent to them. If we stubbornly deny the reality of this issue, such devotees will conclude that our sampradaya has strayed from sastra. We need to address the needs of all devotees and not falsely accuse those who accept the sastric position on this issue of being heretics. Let some continue to use this preaching strategy—they wouldn’t accept that it is a preaching strategy anyway—and let all devotees choose the presentation that enlivens them the most in Gaudiya Vaisnavism.
Thank you for your deep insights and scriptural citations. I am not sure if you are the first to mention it, but I was hoping that your following thought would be presented in this discussion. Indeed, it appears that misunderstanding the role of time is the underlying pitall when one attempts to understand anadi karma.
This seems to suggest that free will is a matter of time. Is there scripture that addresses this point directly? Currently, I understand that basically while in susupti there is essentially rest and no action by the jiva, thereby making free will a moot point within this state (outside of time). Also, the anadi karma seems to ‘answer the question’ for the jiva, as if to say “I belong in maya,” assuming that the vessel of karma has not been emptied, purified or otherwise nullified. The jiva then makes additional choices within maya as to whether to perpetuate the cycle of bondage to karma. Yet, one can be liberated of karma and choose to operate within maya for altruistic purposes, so karma cannot be the entire story.
Following your logic further, I have the impression that all jivas are destined to experience free will within maya, because the jiva must experience time in order to make the ‘decision’ to turn away from God not ‘outside of time’, or rather ‘within time’. However, this seems to be contrary to the scriptural concept of a nitya-siddha. In this case, I am referring to a nitya-siddha who did not ever experience maya as a nitya-baddha, as opposed to a nitya-siddha who was nitya-baddha but who reconnected with his original nature through attaining saddhana-siddha status.
Below follows a quote from Srila Prabhupada which establishes that a nitya-baddha can regain his nitya-siddha status through sadhana (from his New York lecture on Caitanya-caritamrta, July 13, 1976):
Since karma is anadi (beginningless), as Swami Tripurari (Guru Maharaja) has explained, and the choice to turn away from God is being made within time, as you have deduced, which is to say ‘within maya’, how could a nitya-siddha who was never subjected to maya-shakti have made a choice to stay with Krishna?
On the flip side, it is far easier for me to grasp that a nitya-baddha is (truly) eternally conditioned, due to misuse of free will combined with a lack of sufficient grace. However, in a lecture on Bhagavad Gita in Mayapur, June 20, 1973, Srila Prabhupada states:
If I understand correctly, this statement implies that our eternal aspect (sac/sat) is nitya-siddha and therefore it may seem as though as soul is nitya-baddha, but that this state is never truly eternal because a choice can be made within time to reconnect with our nitya-siddha deha. I much prefer the idea that we are a nitya-siddha operating as a nitya-baddha due to choice, but how one enters into time in order to make the choice is the my question. If entering time itself is not a choice whose sole purpose is to make free will available so that a choice to turn away from God can be made, is such entry into time a result of the anadi karma pulling the jiva into maya like a magnet? It seems probable, but it still does not explain how a nitya-siddha who was never touched by maya would make such a choice, since the choice cannot be made ‘outside of time’.
This conception causes me to conclude that either the idea that a choice is made within time (aka within maya) is faulty, or the concept of a nitya-siddha that has never been touched by maya is itself impossible. The only siddhanta for this conundrum that I can arrive at is that the tattastha shakti is actually the facility through which the choice is made by the jiva and that tattastha operates in a state that is neither in time nor out of time. I would call this pure potential or statelessness. With this understanding, the choice to ‘enjoy’ maya via our tattastha ‘nature’ would make our nitya-baddha deha ‘materialize’, which carries with it our anadi karma and causes us to enter time / maya. This makes further sense to me because the choice to turn away from God cannot be significant and ‘free’ if karma is the source of the choice. The choice must come from pure potential. When one has options, one wonders and thereby potentially wanders away. This viewpoint also substantiates the idea (although of debatable value) that all jivas are created equal within the eyes of God, for it is the tattastha shakti that defines the jiva’s potential for service to God or service to maya.
Finally, in conclusion, it seems logical that an external influence, grace, brings the conditioned jiva into an awareness of its tattastha nature as the beginning step towards self-realization. The empowerment of knowing that a (relatively) sovereign choice can be made and that this choice is always available, is the microcosmic manifestation of the macrocosmic reality of the jiva.
In this respect, it seems to me that understanding tattastha shakti is even more paramount than understanding anadi karma in the truest sense, since it is the means through which liberation can be attained.
Ananda Gopal das
Ananda Gopal, forgive my reply to your questions addressed to Vrindaranya, just a few thoughts…
This makes absolutely no sense. What you propose here does not happen.
Your problem in understanding the nitya-siddha being touched by maya, etc. is a simple language problem that not sounding right you have tried to draw out unwarranted implications and thereby complicated the issue. When Prabhupada says in your references that we are all nitya-siddhas, that we can become “again” nitya-siddha, etc., he is saying it in the simple sense that the eternal (nitya) nature and perfection (siddha) of the jiva is of service to Krsna. That is what he means by “constitutional position.” We are “krsnera nitya dasa” constitutionally – the jiva has an eternally dependent and thereby relationship of service to God. That does not mean that all jiva’s in the material world were touched by maya and went from being nitya-siddha to nitya-baddha and then have to get back to their nitya-siddha nature through the process of sadhana-siddha. This is impossible. A siddha in any sense of the term can never be touched by maya, whether in the spiritual or material world. Don’t throw in any “outside of time” dilemma to when the nitya-siddha went from siddha to baddha, because it just doesn’t happen. The spiritual sakti is by very definition stronger than the material nature and siddha in the spiritual nature means never, or never again (in the case of sadhana-siddha) touched by that less powerful nature.
Regarding the “pure potential” or “statelessness” that you have drawn from your guesses at understanding tatastha, again you are overthinking this. Tatastha is not a place, a state, or a place of potential. Tata means “in between” and stha means “situated.” So it may be a little hard to understand, but it literally means we are situated in between the two (spiritual or material) natures. We can identify with either and we have been doing so eternally until we fully identify with the spiritual nature and become siddha, from which state “one never returns.” (Gita)
Your first conclusion that “a choice is made within time (aka within maya) is faulty” is correct. Your second conclusion “the concept of a nitya-siddha that has never been touched by maya is itself impossible” is a twisted conclusion drawn from bad references, an article which demonstrates total misunderstanding of siddha in trying to back up a manufactured concept of “sampradaya acarya.” No wonder it confused you, the source material was bad!
Dandavats Ananda Gopal,
Thank you for you interesting questions.
In response to whether free will only exists within time, nitya-siddhas, sadhana-siddhas, and kripa-siddhas (who are all outside of time) have free will, but they use their free will to serve God. For example, Mother Yasoda decided to put Krishna down to tend to a pot of milk that was boiling over rather than to continue to hold him and let the milk boil over. Unlike time in the material world, time in the spiritual world does not have a beginning, middle, and end. Although there is the appearance of a progression of time for the sake of lila, each moment is eternal. Unlike in the material world, nothing is lost to time.
In the quotes that you provided, Srila Prabhupada is using the term nitya-siddha in a general sense. Technically, one cannot become a nitya-siddha; a nitya-baddha can become a sadhana-siddha (perfect by sadhana) or kripa-siddha (perfect by mercy). Whether nitya, sadhana, or kripa, all are siddha (perfect), and never (in the case of nitya-siddhas) or never again (in the case of sadhana- and kripa-siddhas) have karma.
Except in rare cases, nitya-siddhas only come to the material world when God descends to perform his lilas. They don’t come under the material modes or material time but rather are sheltered by the svarupa-sakti. To those with the spiritual eyes to see it, the divine pastimes in bauma (earthly) Vrindavana are also eternally manifest.
According to Vedanta-sutra, God is not to blame for the suffering of the jivas in the material world because he didn’t chose to put them in the material world—they have simply always been there because of their karma. Frankly, of the many explanations of why suffering or evil exists, none are entirely satisfying to everyone.
I hope this helps.
Like Vrindaranya has pointed out, there is no explanation that can satisfy the intellect. For example, why did not God only have nitya siddhas, why is there sristi lila at all, and if God in omniscient and knows all future choice for all jivas (he knows some jivas that will never accept him) why doesn’t he just annihilate those souls that will never choose him and prevent their suffering. In fact, someone from Ramanuja tradition and also I remember Jiva Goswami when faced with the question that what will happen when everyone will be liberated and world is empty, they respond quoting the scripture, ” There are many more souls suspended in susupti that have not been activated yet and are activated.” (I will find the quote if someone is interested). What does it mean to have souls in susupti that are not yet activated? What is their karma? So all these things are just strategies to answer the unanswerable.
My main problem with the later theories like BVT or Prabhupada’s theories is that they don’t resolve the problem of evil and in fact increase the contradictions. For me, a new revelation has to not only explain all things the previous revelation does, but also give additional insights to resolve the shortcomings of the previous revelation. That is what the Bhagavat attempts to do. However, Prabhupada or BVT’s explanation does not meet this standard. Therefore, they have utility that was good only for a certain time.
“According to Vedanta-sutra, God is not to blame for the suffering of the jivas in the material world because he didn’t chose to put them in the material world—they have simply always been there because of their karma.” At the same time, God is omniscient and omnipotent, so he has the foreknowledge of all future decisions of every jiva and he has the power to prevent the suffering of jivas who will not choose him. He could have chosen not to put them into the material world after every cycle to prevent their suffering. All these issues, omniscience, omnipotence, goodness and free will lead to contradictions. At the same time, there is nothing but God and his energies, so he can play with those energies as he likes in his play. I think putting down sristi lila and condemning it too much is also a materialistic perspective because if it is so bad, why is God choosing to have it?
On a humorous note,it seems so boring to know everything actually :). It is like seeing a robot controlled game where u already know what everyone will do. I thought it is more fun to not know :). Anyway, we can be happy that we are part of the sristi lila in stead of being depressed about it or else Mahavisnu should be very depressed also.
The quote you are referring to is most likely this one from the Visnu Purana cited in Prti-sandarbha:
nare muktim upagate
jagat purayate sada
However, the words “jivasyanasya sargena” do not speak of a literal creation of souls. The words should be taken in the same sense as tadatmanam srjamyaham in the Gita. And after citing this verse JG comments as follows:
“In the numberless material universes there are numberless jivas whose karma is suppressed in susupti. When God awakens them and gives them material forms (in sristi-lila), this is called ‘creation of souls.’ In truth, souls do not have a beginning, a moment when they were created. Each soul has always existed and no souls will ever cease to exist.”
And of course the very basics of the Gita are to be recalled, “Never was there a time when I, nor you, nor all souls did not exisit and never will we cease to be.” So there is no creation of new souls.
As for siddhanta vs preaching strategy, it is true that the subject defies explanation. And in this sense any effort to do justice to it with words and thought is limited at best. But it is only in this sense that even the scripture’s discussion of the issue is a preaching strategy itself. Otherwise, it is siddhanta. In other words, what the scripture tells us, as understood in our sampradaya by its foundational acaryas, is our “siddhanta.” What may be said on the topic at a later date requires support from previous acaryas. And while this leaves plenty of room for new insight, it leaves no room for blatant contradiction of doctrine to also be called siddhanta. Thus in this instance we call such contradiction a preaching strategy as opposed to siddhanta, and we have given considerable support to the idea that such strategies have their place.
What is the contradiction? It is that sastra says karma is beginningless, and if it is not, then karma can not credibly be cited as the cause of the jivas suffering. And sastra does cite it as the cause of the jiva’s suffering so as not to blame God. Therefore sastra clearly says over and over again that karma is literally beginingless, as are the jivas themselves; as is the world; as is God. When BVT states that karma is not literally beginningless, this results in a contradiction of the sastra. And in turn karma cannot be blamed for the jivas suffering. Instead BVT blames the jiva’s suffering on its free will, as Chistinaity does. That may sound good to some, but my point is merely that it contradicts sastra. And as you and others have pointed out, at this time in history BVT’s position is less appealing to the mind than the position of sastra. Furthermore, under scrutiny it brings up a number of other problems in terms of scriptural support. So as devotees go deeper into sastra the provisional nature of BVT’s position becomes clear.
As for the scriptural position, the idea is that God did not create anything. His saktis that are one with him interact with one another as if different from him. Understanding the nature of their interaction is called sambandha jnana. Of these, the jiva and maya sakti have been entwined forever. As the Gita says, jivas struggle with material existence and also support it. Jivas exploit matter and matter responds. This is called karma or justice. While God defers to justice, this does not mean that his omnipotence is compromised. If he were to override it, he could be criticized for not being just. At the same time he is also merciful. So he does intervene. He comes to the world and distributes bhakti. Some rare souls take it up and attain prema/mukti. Note that this is one in a billion.
Yes, one can argue with this and ask why did God not do this or that instead. But any such argument will only bring up different problems in the minds of others. It is not our position to ask why God did not do this instead of that, but rather to explain what he does. The is the approach of sastra.
No. Why asking?
I wanted to say that jiva, as she is a consciouss being, must have at some time at some place choosen or at least agreed to be conditioned by maya, as Kapil Bhagavan says that it is the consciousness/will that is the cause of bondage to maya.
Your article seems to say that anadi karma (bondage) of jiva is desire of God, jiva has nothing to do with it. Eternaly bonded, she can choose only sadhu/asadhu-karma or bhakti/non bhakti.
So how to harmonise this?
I feel that jiva had at some point at some place had to desire to enjoy maya, and God only fulfilled that desire, otherwise Kapila Bhagavan’s statement as to the cause of bondage to maya could not stand. How are Vishvanath Chakravorty and Jiva Goswami commenting this verse (SB 3.25.15)?
I feel that anadi karma was caused by jiva’s desire outside of material time and space, as jiva/consciousness/unit of will is beyond material time.
How is it that jiva could possibly choose maya over Krishna? She is at that time inexperienced (as I already explained in my previous post) and maya also looks attractive on the surface.
Sorry if my comments are disturbing you.
SB 3.25.15 does not say what you think it does. It is merely speaking about the nature of the mind with regard to material and spiritual life. Fix your mind on Krsna and be liberated. Fix it on maya and experience bondage. Anadi karma is not the desire of God. It is the beginningless interaction of maya sakti and jiva sakti. What you feel is one thing. What sastra says is another. What disturbs me most about your comments is that you don’t even understand what disturbs me about them, even after I tell you. Give it up.
To enjoy maya or to serve Krishna.
No, I have my eternal eyes and mind. Material mind and senses come in bondage with maya.
Unbounded blissful form, not this human form.
No, you have a vivid imagination.
No, I have my eternal eyes and mind. Material mind and senses come in bondage with maya.
Unbounded blissful form, not this human form.
eternal eyes and mind of what kind? A rhinoceros? An anteater?
So there are three kinds of form: 1) A unbounded blissful form with eternal eyes and mind located in the tatastha region 2) A spiritual form one will get if one chooses to go the spiritual world from the tatastha region 3) A material form one will get if one chooses to go the material world from the tatastha region.
Can any of you who have access to Vishvanath Chakravarti and Jiva Goswami’s commentary on SB 3.25.15 convey its meaning here?
Personally, I conclude that the anadi concept can be considered from a relative view in time and space or from an absolute consideration. Depending upon the way which one deliberates upon the concept he will either understand that karma has a beginning or does not have a beginning.
From the absolute perspective, karma does have a beginning beyond time and space, but from the relative perspective karma is without beginning. It appears that BVT addressed the subject from the absolute perspective, whereas other acharyas have dealt with it for the consideration from our conditioñed relative understanding. BVT seems to have dealt with the issue from the highest absolute level. Both views are correct depending on the relative or absolute approach to the subject.
You offer no logic and no sastra to support your personal conclusion. And for that matter it contradicts sastra and is illogical.
Any sastra reference to your speculation? Sounds like BVT is more intelligent than Visvanath, Baladev, Jiva, Madhva, Ramanuja, Vyasa…
I understand what you’re trying to say Harmonizer, but you can’t harmonize apples and oranges. You can’t harmonize a line and a circle. You can’t harmonize beginninglessness with a beginning.
Your reasoning about the perspective of sastra or acaryas is backward. The actual case is that the sastra speaks “from an absolute consideration” while acaryas speak “from a relative view in time and space.” This must be so as in the words of Srila Sridhar Maharaj, the sastra is the passive agent of divinity, while the sadhu is the active agent; explaining the sastra according to time, place and circumstance. These passive and active, or in your words absolute and relative views are exactly what Swami Tripurari has suggested in his article. Sastra is passive on this issue. It gives an absolute. Vedanta Sutra declares that God is not responsible for the suffering of the jiva as there was no beginning to karma. End of story, no further questions asked. All acaryas up to the point of BVT have supported that position. BVT and some of his followers have taken the essence of the sastras’ teaching on the subject (relieving God from blame) and tweaked it according to their “relative view in time and space” which was one where the concept of cyclical time without beginning was unheard of and the idea of “fall from grace” was prominent. Such flexibility and willingness to tweak the teaching are the hallmark of great preachers, but they do not imply absolute truth. Again and again it should be considered: preaching and siddhanta aren’t always one.
Dear Madan Gopal Prabhu,
Please know that I am not feeling any mood of challenging your words. But I really want to understand more.
” Vedanta Sutra declares that God is not responsible for the suffering of the jiva as there was no beginning to karma.”
This is mind boggling for me. Karma is anadi, beginningless. Therefore it was never imposed on us at any point in time. Therefore we cannot say that God caused us to be in a suffering condition. On the other hand, we have not made a choice that has caused us to fall from grace. And until we come in contact with a pure devotee, there is no way that we can embrace the path of bhakti. Therefore the conditioned soul is also not to blame for his suffering condition.
So, if God is not to blame for our suffering and we are not to blame for our suffering – then the concept of “blame” is simply null and void. As Swami Tripurari has pointed out, “It simply is what it is.”
It appears then, that the fault-finding or blaming propensity is an expression of the illusory conception of life in which the conditioned soul mistakenly sees himself and others as independent “doers”. And therefore, as we grow spiritually, by degree, our inclination to find fault disintegrates and is replaced with a growing sense of compassion.
And again, if there is no blame, no fault, then everything is perfect, as it is. And there is always room for improvement.
What say you?
Madan, great response!
Ishan das, I quite like your thinking on blame, although it requires a consciousness that is highly detached from karmic activity to conceive of it properly (without it being a hindrance to spiritual progress, due to over-thinking or over-analysis). To take it a step farther, all of the participating jivas are in fact co-creative with each other in maya, for our karma is mingling with everybody else’s. The extent to which this is the case is indicative of how much the jiva is “of the world”, while also being “in the world”. Seeking to be “in the world, but not of the world” necessitates the cultivation or pursuit of a consciousness that is liberated from karma (or fruitive activity).
Ananda Gopal Prabhu,
Hare Krishna! I must admit that there are times when my circuit breakers simply go off, and I can’t follow.
However, I must say that you have a very wonderful name!
Ananda Gopal! Haribol!
Sorry Ishan prabhu, I just saw your post…
As much as we are rooted in our conditioned way of thinking, yes, the concept of eternality and of beginninglessness boggles the mind. We have been conditioned “since time immemorial” to believe that things start and end. Countless births have experienced subsequent deaths. So it is somewhat natural, though conditioned, to be confused by something outside of our time bound conditioned frame of reference. Spiritual progress (adhikara) increases our ability to digest these concepts.
We are part of God’s lila, the great drama of srsti-lila. The climax of this great drama is the good fortune the jiva attains when by “chance” (yadrccaya) svarupa-sakti descends and graces the world. Without grace, the jiva is playing the part of tragedy in this drama. The bhaktas who roam the material world are the great heroes in this lila.
I agree with you that everything is perfect in a sense, and blame is a tendency of those under an illusory material vision. My only suggestion would be that the only imperfection in the world is the lack of Krsna consciousness. Having been graced with good fortune ourselves, we must assist in creating good fortune for other jivas, for the awakening of potential bhakti in the jiva’s existence is what makes this srsti-lila the greatest story ever told!
Revered Tripurari Swami, dandavat pranam.
You wrote :
As you already know, BVT says that this is the place where jivas choose to enter the world or not. Is it possible that potential for karma (action) in material world is always with tatashta-jiva sakti in dormant/potential form, in susupti and in glance and in this way anadi as stated in Vedanta? And when she is in the glance she has opportunity to enter the world and doing it. It seems previous acharyas were not explaining this in detail, but I think that this doesn’t necessarily mean that they absolutely deny it. As you also wrote :
What if he just didn’t explain it in more detail? And if I may ask, in commentary to which verse in Bhagavatam is he saying this?
And could you please share the commentary of Vishvanath Chakravarti Thakur and Srila Jiva Goswami on SB 3.25.15. as you have access to it. Really I would like to know. And for this, I also request Ananta Govinda prabhu. I don’t absolutely deny that BVT might have used preaching strategy in explaining anadi karma as he did. I’m in the process. Thank you.
Dear Tripurari Swami,
There has been some small reference to the subject of free will in this thread. The five factors of action, and one’s present activities being the propelled outcome of previous karma, Supersoul as the “doer”….
When the conditioned soul proceeds in forgetfulness of the devotional context, does he have the free will to choose whether to act piously or impiously? Or is he helplessly forced to act sometimes one way and sometimes another according to past karma?
Does our only freedom lie in the ability to accept or reject the seed of devotion when coming in contact with a pure devotee? Do we simply dance for Krishna or dance for maya, but always as a puppet/instrument in either case? Or is it simply beyond the conditioned soul’s (like me) capacity to comprehend this kind of dynamic?
Moving within the web of eternal karma, are we helplessly sometimes “good” and sometime “bad”, and if so should I look on the pious and the impious equally, not praising one or blaming the other, always knowing that I am dealing with Krishna in either case, and therefore offering an equal and highest respect to all regardless?
Is my tendancy to see some as good and others as bad, of their own accord, simply an illusion?
I understand that our vision changes as we grow spiritually. But what is really going on?
From the point of view that the nitya baddha and nitya siddha souls are supplied with different kinds of “software” by the maya shakti and svarup shakti respectively, their feelings and activites are determined according to their respective umbrellas. But within these different contexts of existence, is there freedom to make choices?
Is the siddha deha of the individual soul already fixed while that soul is still under maya’s influence, or is there some scope for “choosing a career” so to speak, as one grows spriritually?
Yes, there is some freedom to choose in these conditions. Under karma’s influence one can still make choices, although one will predisposed to make choices based on previous conditions or samskaras. Thus it is difficult to change one’s nature. And under the influence of bhakti we see Yasodamayi made the choice to put Krsna down and tend to the milk on the stove. Devotees choose how to best serve Krsna in any circumstance.
We cannot say that Krsna does not know how he would like to accept seva from any particular jiva. And it is Krsna who sends the guru to the jiva, by whose association we develop a desire for a particular rasa. So some will emphasize that the svarupa of the jiva is predetermined and others will emphasize that it is a result of association with a mahant that is steeped in a particular bhava. So the idea is that the jiva chooses to accept that influence (bhava) that God has arranged for it to come in contact with.
Dear Tripurari Swami,
Please accept my humble obeisances.
You have explained that no one falls from vaikuntha. And yet we are informed in Srila Prabhupada’s Krishna Book, that the impersonalists who merge into the brahmajyoti are prone to falling down because they have not established themselves in a loving relationship with Krishna.
Is this a preaching strategy or a factual presentaton? Does the brahmajyoti pervade the material creation, just as the paramatma pervades the material creation? When the impersonalists who are established within the brahmajyoti leave their bodies at “death”, where do they take their next birth? Do they remain absorbed in impersonal meditation there, and then become distracted by material desire, so that they again take birth among us? Upon taking birth among us, do they automatically display symptoms of detachment and/or great karmic gifts? I have read about teachers born in India in our time (such as the hugging mother) whose biographies say that they displayed great detachment, compasssion, etc., from the time of being small children, and then dedicate themselves as leaders in encouraging others in “good works”. Would they be examples of such yogis who have fallen from the platform of impersonal realization? They become powerful charismatic leaders and teachers, and can display various mystic powers, but so much of their orientation is simply “good works”. Certainly there are charletans among them, but some seem to be for real.
Please forgive me if such questions/subject matters are too far off track, inappropriate.
The verse that Prabhupada and others cite (SB 10.2.32) speaking of falling from impersonal liberation refers to jivan muktas, those who are liberated in this body but have not yet exhausted their prarabdha karma (their material bodies have not died). It also speaks of impersonalists who have no regard for bhakti. Such persons are not yet fully liberated and they never will be due to their disregard for bhakti. Thus the verse refers to them as “vimukta maninah,” “thinking they are liberated.” They are not liberated and they fall form their status as jivan muktas, the penultimate state preceding impersonal liberation. Without bhakti there is no liberation. But some who want liberation approach Bhagavan with some bhakti and he gives it to them. Therefore Kunti-devi has addressed him as “kaivalya pataye.” Such persons who are granted actual liberation do not fall from this position.
[My assumption here is that there is spiritual science and spiritual mathematics at play, outside of maya, basically the science and mathematics of infinity.]
I am interested in a future installment to Swami’s article that elaborates on the concept of jivas who are eternally liberated and eternally in bondage (to maya).
Stretching my imagination, it seems to me that there would need to be a source orientation towards either the experience of maya or of the bliss of God, but because such an orientation is beginningless we see the infinite ‘edges’ to imply eternal liberation or eternal bondage. But I would invoke destiny and therefore design, whereby an infinite distribution of jivas represents an infinite spectrum of god loving / god sensing / god forgetting / god spiting orientations (initial repository of sac-cit-ananda). The mechanics of infinite probability combined with the jivas’ free will, stored (and alive?) as karma acts like a magnet that pulls the jiva either towards God or into the pinball machine that is maya. After all, at a certain point, we feel that Bhakti is ‘doing us’, not the other way around. That is the blurry line where free will (as we think of it) begins to fade away, since it has been transmuted into a vessel or pathway for experiencing a loving exchange with the Absolute Truth. So, the magnetic flow itself is eternally in a potential state, being activated as desires for experience require manifestation, according to the grand design and a modicum of free orientation in all levels of existence.
I do not see the nature of God as good or bad, nor do I see the choice to experience the material world as good or bad. Furthermore, I perceive no reason to imagine that all jiva natures are equivalent. Show me where it says this and I would reconsider. I propose that the jiva’s nature must be employed for a choice to be relevant at all. Otherwise, all jivas would ‘choose’ infinite bliss. I have no problem with the idea that jivas can have different ‘eternal’ natures and do not start out as identically ‘oriented’. It makes no sense that God is willing (as though he is directing) a jiva to be oriented towards self-indulgence or to God-indulgence. It seems that some see the desire to experience maya to be a choice to suffer. I do not. What sastra appears to be showing is that the world itself has a nature (neither good or bad) that cycles through its own awareness. It makes sense to me that the jiva would go through similar cycles as long as they were attracted to maya because of the state of their nature. Choice fundamentally implies change. But to me choice also implies nature. I would not be writing my responses if I was seeking to take sastra as the only word. My mind is wide open and will remain so, for I have faith that good guidance will find me and that any misconceptions will be addressed. But, that being said, I do not feel that what I have written disagrees with Tripurari Maharaja’s article, even if I am imagining beyond my pathetically minuscule exposure to and understanding of sastra.
Let me also give a try 🙂
In Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur’s Chaitanya Mahaprabhu His life and precepts on the topic about jiva Thakur clearly and directly refutes a Christian dogma by : “It must be understood that Mahaprabhu believed in the very liberal theory of transmigration of the soul. Certain readers may reject the idea on the ground that certain forms of faith do not support that theory. It is not liberal to reject a theory, because it is in antagonism with the dogmas of certain sectarian creeds. Indeed, it is a matter which reason cannot dare to meddle with. Candidly examining, we do not see any strong reason to disbelieve the theory of transmigration. On the other hand, our un-prejudiced mind is inclined to stand for it. The belief that the human soul has only one trial in life is evidently illiberal, unjust and contrary to the belief that God is All Good.”
And again in the topic of worship of Sri Murti : “There are some who start at the theory of worshipping Sri Murti. “Oh.” they say, “it is idolatry to worship Sri Murti. Sri Murti is an idol framed by an artist and introduced by no other than Beelzebub himself. Worshipping such an object would rouse the jealousy of God and limit His Omnipotence, Omniscience and Omnipresence!” We would tell them, “Brethren! candidly understand the question and do not allow yourself to be misled by sectarian dogmas. God is not jealous, as He is without a second. Beelzebub or Satan is no other than an object of imagination or the subject of an allegory. An allegorical or imaginary being should not be allowed to act as an obstacle to bhakti.”
So I think he would not adjust the jiva-tattva because Christians are also his target.
Why not? As Srila Sridhar Maharaj already explained, prison is meaningful, even if it could be sometimes empty.
Yes, the cause of anadi karma (jiva’s desire for it) is beyond maya’s time and is always existing in potential for tatashta-jiva.
Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur explains that tatashta-jivas may choose to go to maya or spiritual world while Karanadokashayi Mahavishnu is glancing towards maya-sakti.
She is not fully experienced at that time.
Jiva can start bhakti from there.
nityo nityanam cetanas cetananam
eko bahunam yo vidadhati kaman
Katha Upanisad (2.13) and Svetasvatara Upanisad (6.10)
“He is the one supreme eternal being among all eternal beings, and the one supreme conscious being among all conscious beings. He alone is fulfilling the desires of everyone.”
The material world can never be empty. It is only a “world” because there is an interaction between jiva and maya sakti. Pradhana is activated by the jivas and the world cycle begins again. No jivas no world. Your misunderstanding is acute.
“The idea that anadi karma begins outside of time is a logical contradiction. Something that exists outside of time has always existed.”
There is no cause of that which is beginningless. There is no sastra that supports the idea that the jiva desires karmic involvement before it begins. Sastra sates the opposite. Karma is anadi. You are not really answering any of the points I raised. You are simply parroting the preaching strategy of BVT.
He does not state that. He speaks of a tatastha region. But regardless, we are looking for scriptural evidence to support any such ideas. No on has supplied any. And for that matter going to Vaikuntha is not possible merely be the desire of the jiva. It requires bhakti. If you want to say there is bhakti in susupti or in the glance of Visnu, you are making it up as you go along. Even BVT has not said this.
Stop trying. Your post has absolutely nothing meaningful to add to the discussion. You obviously do not understand the article. And according tot he moderator, your are “beginner devotee” trying to appear as another poster named “madan gopala.” Same IP address, give it up.
It is perfectly described in Visnu-rahasya, Chapter Five:
anadi-karmana baddha jiva nityam hy anantasah
linga-deha-yutah sarve patita murcchita iva
yadi te sthula-dehena yuta na syur ime’khilah
katham karmani kurviran visnu-bhakti-paranmukhah
apurna-bhaktayaste va katham moksam avapnuyuh
The jivas, bound by beginningless karma, are eternal and countless. They lie wrapped in subtle bodies as in a state of unconsciousness. They are not devoted to Lord Visnu and if they are not given a gross body how can they engage in karma or bhakti? And being devoid of bhakti how can they attain liberation?
I don’t know, perhaps some technical problem, but two of my comments are still awaiting moderation since two days and one who was also still awaiting moderation was deleted. Anyway, I would like to ask revered Tripurari Maharaj in commentary to which Bhagavatam verse did Vishanath Chakravorty mention that “one cannot know “when and how” anadi karma began.”
I also request if Maharaj and Ananta Govinda prabhu or any other who has access to commentary of Bhagavatam verse SB 3.25.15 of Vishvanath Chakravorty and Sri Jiva Goswami to post it here for my edification.
cetaḥ khalv asya bandhāya
muktaye cātmano matam
guṇeṣu saktaḿ bandhāya
rataḿ vā puḿsi muktaye
The mind is the cause of bondage and liberation for the jiva. Attachment to the gunas causes bondage but attraction for the Lord causes liberation.
Visvanath: “The mind of the jivas binds him up by bad association, and liberates him by good association. That is explained here. The method of bondage is mentioned. Attachment to the gunas, which create bondage, produces bondage for the jiva. Attachment or rati (ratam) to the Lord (pumsi) who is without material gunas, the destroyer of the bondage of gunas, produces liberation. Va means “but” in the sentence. The cause of rati for the Supreme Lord is bhakti alone, not jnana or yoga. Pure bhakti alone is recommended for liberation.”
You can see in the text, that the mind is the cause of bondage. And look in the very same Bhagavatam when you’re connected with material mind.
nāhaḿ mameti bhāvo ‘yaḿ
guṇa-vyūho hy anādimān
The connection with the gross body expressed through me and mine does not cease for the jiva as long as the beginningless subtle body composed of intelligence, mind, senses and sense objects continues to exist.
Visvanath: “Because the subtle body is not destroyed when the gross body is destroyed, one cannot say that there is another doer and another enjoyer in each life. This has been explained. There is another doubt. “Through the gross body, the subtle body acts as a doer and enjoyer. But the subtle body never acts alone. In the absence of the gross body, the jiva no longer is a doer. He should then get liberation.” For the jiva (puruse) the connection with the gross body, the condition of me and mine, is not cut, as long as the subtle body (guna-vyuhah), a transformation of the gunas, in the form of intelligence, mind senses and sense objects, continues to exist. “When did this start?” That subtle body does not have a known time of beginning (anadiman).
There is no other meaning of anadi than anadi (no beginning). If there is no beginning than there is no beginning. Sanskrit is not a poor language that you can’t find another word to express a different meaning (since time immemorial or something else). Krsna is anadi (anadir adir govinda). Jiva is anadi, prakriti is anadi (Gita 13.20) and the bondage is anadi (anadi bahirmukha). The same word is used.
If the bondage is not literal anadi, than the jiva, prakrti and Krsna are also not literal anadi.
Look in the sanskrit dictionary atleast, you will not find a different meaning at all.
अनादि anAdi adj. without beginning
अनादि anAdi adj. having no beginning
अनादि anAdi adj. eternal
अनादि anAdi adj. existing from eternity
अनादि anAdi adj. beginningless
So I don’t know that there are these 3 kinds of forms :). Nobody has heard about the first form 🙂
To which Beginner devotee replied: “Yes.”
As others have repeatedly asked you on this issue: where in sastra is this supposed third form spoken of? Without citing any evidence it really looks like you’re making it up as you go along.
At this point in this discussion we would like to inform everyone that only comments that offer some new perspective, with at least some semblance of sastric support, will be approved. The Harmonist has a very liberal policy about publishing comments, but unfortunately that is sometimes abused. The objections raised to this article quickly became repetitive and were, more often than not, completely irrelevant as refutations of the claims of the article. Furthermore, more than one commenter here has posted under more than one alias in what can only be interpreted as desperate attempts to appear to have popular support for their view.
Dear Srila Tripurari Maharaj,
If the jiva has been in the material world from the beginning, what is the necessity the jiva feels to go back to Godhead.
The jiva is consciousness, not matter. Thus naturally it is not fulfilled in its identification with matter. In human life it begins to search for more, more meaning, more than what meets the eye and mind. When this jiva gets sadhu sanga by the grace of God, its develops a desire for bhakti. But there is no beginning to the material world. As such, there is no beginning to karma. It is anadi. Only those who do not understand this fact think that it somehow impinges upon the jiva’s will. It does not.
I don’t understand why the preaching strategy. People are looking to blame God for suffering and the fall explanation puts the blame on the jivas. I get that. Also I get the point that it gives people something to grab onto which is familiar, the Christian fall ideas.
But why tell something that has to be reexplained later in a different way?
It seems like that strategy has become really problematic at this point because there are thousands of devotees who are thinking it is siddhanta.
That is just the nature of preaching strategies. They are provisional. They work for a certain time and circumstance but are destined to require further explanation later on.
Devotee: The living entity is never born and never dies. At some point he
has come into this material world since time immemorial.
Sridhara Maharaja: This is reality, immemorial but time, part of this
material space and time, he enters into material thought, thinking, and then
the space and time in the form of material thinking comes and captures him.
Anadi. This is before space and time. Space and time is a form of thought. So before coming into such consciousness he had no sense of space and time. Just as when you are in deep slumber, profound sleep (susupti), no consciousness of space and time. Whenever you come awake you have come to the realm of space and time. But how do you come, can you trace it? The fine stages from deep sleep to awake can you trace them? But still it is there. No consciousness sound sleep. But when you are awake you come to consciousness. And then space, time, things, body, paraphernalia, all these. … It is being repeated daily. Every experience. But that is unintelligable. So apply it in the bigger case (sristi-lila).
Here SM is explaining the siddhanta. He gives the example of how from deep sleep we awaken and come back into time and the waking world’s sensibilities. This is the classical example found in sastra to explain that in the same way we are in deep sleep (susupti) within Mahavisnu. Then we awaken and time becomes a factor as the waking state manifests. Just as we experience this daily (microcosmically), similarly this is the nature of the macrocosmic reality. Visnu “sleeps” and the world shuts down. And as he awakens the world cycle begins again. These cycles have no beginning, yet there is a beginning within each cycle. But such beginnings are predicated on the previous cycle and thus the jiva’s wakening to time is anadi in the larger sense. It has no ultimate beginning. Hence it makes no initial choice to associate with maya. Here we find SM speaking about the topic differently with no emphasis or even mention of free will. So the idea that SM spoke consistently on the issue, always repeating the same “siddhanta,” is not supported by the historical record. And the fact that he spoke what is arguably a preaching strategy at times and siddhanta at other times is apparent.
It’s fascinating to see what happens when our conceptions are challenged. Clearly our acaryas and the sastra itself employ preaching strategies to bring people in and get them situated on the path, and clearly such strategies work. But when we are faced with the fact that how we think things are is not how it really is things can get ugly. For some the very idea that preaching and siddhanta are not always the same is enough to send them down the road of doubt and aparadha. Some reject the siddhanta and cling to the provisional concept as if it were siddhanta out of what they think is loyalty to their preceptor(s) while, ironically, such explanations are a strategy. And some can see the strategy for what it is, appreciate it for how it benefited them, and also embrace the siddhanta, keeping both in proper perspective. We see this dynamic played out over and over again in relation to basic tattvas of sambandha-jnana, mostly jiva-tattva and guru-tattva. Luckily we have articles like this one to make upgrades in our understanding available to us if we so desire.
Citta Hari says,
This is something that I can say something about. I hope to do so in a manner that honors both sides: those who are challenged and those who are challenging. Maybe we can balance the argument here a bit. However, I accept from the get-go that often most people have trouble acknowledging, “how it really is”.
Early faith in a Gaudiya Vaisnavism (and other religions as well) requires that we relinquish the value we place on our own ways of knowing and accept the ways of knowing authorized by a sadhu. This means not only developing faith in the scriptures on which that sadhu is basing her/his teachings, but rather on the sadhu her/himself. This is why we need the person Bhagavata to embody the book Bhagavata.
Add to this the fact that the scriptures, combined with practice and divine mercy, result in the sadhu possessing spiritual knowledge (sambandha jnana) and mystical experience. Now the sadhu her/himself becomes an even greater source of authority. This source of authority is always going to be more valid for those of us cultivating beginning faith. From there, and for many of us much later, we carry our faith over to the sources of their teachings, the scriptures. This comes much later for most followers. Even then, we value these scriptures and teachings as embodied and reframed by the sadhu more than we do the scriptures themselves, since they were the source of and basis for our continued faith.
When those of us with tender faith are challenged in a manner that doesn’t take into consideration the fragile-ness with which we hold our faith, the fragile bond we are trying to preserve with the sadhu, we tend to feel unnecessarily attacked. Trying to get us to hold the siddhanta above the sadhu as a source of authority is a tall order. There are two ways to counter such an attack that seemingly threatens the bond with our sadhu:
1. Idealize the sadhu more so that no idea or contradiction can damage our idea of them or the authority with which they reside in our minds. The sadhu now becomes dangerously beyond reproach.
2. Devalue the challenging party. Reduce the value and significance of the challenging party, rendering them less of a threat upon our fragile faith. If you can’t build a tall building to challenge the rest, just bring the others down to size.
In Citta’s words these individuals are, “heading down the road of doubt and aparadha”. Here I suggest an answer to your implicit question. Here you have your “doubt and aparadha”. However, it is useful to remember that the main objective here, for the person being challenged, is to protect a fragile faith that is cherished despite its fragility.
So the question I pose to the challengers is, “Can we find ways to challenge people in a manner that takes what they are trying to protect into consideration?” I believe the conversation began with this in mind but devolved on both sides. We want to move the mission forward, away from dangerous misconceptions, but not at the expense of the practitioners themselves, right?
These are my thoughts. I offer them because I believe there was a missing angle to this debate. By the way, I am on the side of siddhanta and moving the mission in a siddhantically sound direction. However, I suggest we try not to lose too many participants along the way.
I assume you are referring to the fact that my article glorified the position of BVT and others—their preaching strategy. But what can be done when others see such glorification as vilification? It is difficult to imagine progress without some polarization.
Perhaps the “challenged” need to try and imagine how BVT would respond to such a well researched article. I know for my self that I would respond favorably to a similarly well-researched paper presenting the opposite conclusion from mine. This is because sadhus have the kind of faith in sastra you mention, faith in the sources of their gurus’ teachings. They understand well time and place policies and the relative as well as the absolute sides of sri guru, something Pujyapada Sridhara Deva Goswami emphasized considerably. They also understand the sastra in an essential sense and in a comprehensive manner. They have feeling for the theory embodied in sastra. Their ruci enables them to engage meaningfully in sastra-yukti, which itself is the ultimate pramana.
Also worth noting is the fact that the parampara is in essence about nonconformity, for when we conform to the will of the Absolute we become independent. The outer appearance of the guru-parampara is not its essence. Parampara is not as much about conformity and form making, but more so it is about nonconformity and form breaking. Indeed this very much characterizes our Bhaktivinode parivara. Still many of its members fail to see the through the form to the essence, the forest through the trees. And with every opportunity for bhakti comes the opportunity for aparadha.
Being challenged should result in stronger faith. Sadhus challenge us so we will move from komala sraddha to sastriya sraddha. Without such a challenge, how would we progress?
I think this is a wonderful question. Of course I agree with you that challenging one with komala sraddha is one way to strengthen sraddha. This has been the case for me as Gurumaharaja Swami Tripurari has always challenged me and continues to do so. However, this happens most successfully when I have not bowed out of the conversation that challenges me. I think GM Swami Tripurari is right on all of his inspired points. For me there is no doubt.
This said, my observation is that a few of the devotees engaged in the dialogue have now left the dialogue. The conversation seems to be engaging our side alone. The other side seems to have bowed out. I would like to think that this happened because they are in their respective homes and ashramas contemplating the begininglessness of the jiva and karma and the division between preaching and siddhanta. However, I can’t believe this. I believe they are at home and ashrama feeling discouraged by these exchanges or more resolute in their positions. I hope I am wrong and this is merely a projection of my own mind.
Swami Tripurari quotes me and responds,
Gurumaharaja, I agree with you. And yes, this is what I am referring to. I think you are a harmonizer and your vision on these issues very deep and generous. That said, I think that while polarization is unavoidable, it can also be harnessed and used in our favor. Once polarization manifests it is a great opportunity for more intimate and moderated debate. At this point the opposing side should be brought closer into the dialogue, encouraged to please restate their points in a more effective way. Set the rules for dialogue.
In fact, I think this entire conversation and a few that have ensued in the past are all perfect evidence of the need for an in-person discussion panel. Bring the conversation from the internet to Audarya, Madhuvana, or Saragrahi. We should invite these discussants in, give them time to build their arguments, host them, and allow this dialogue to play out face to face. A member from each community should be invited to come present their position and get to know yours better as well. Polarization is a great opportunity to turn damaged bonds to become mended and fortified bonds.
Gopa-ji, when people disappear from a discussion such as this you must of course take into consideration the degree to which they may or may not have lacked honest desire to explore the ideas, but furthermore, there is often some background that we as individuals may not always be aware of. Case in point: on this thread we still have people who have been objecting to the premise of the original article from the beginning (or non beginning? 😉 a few of their comments may have not been approved on the discretion of the moderators, but by and large the discussion goes on. Otherwise, and of course you can’t know this, there are literally 4 or so different posters on this article who are the same person using all different aliases, even stooping to supporting his own post under a different name (that one was not approved). This same person has a long history of such engagement on the Harmonist. I know of yet another poster on this thread who dropped out for reasons totally unrelated to the issues you present. So there is often more to the story. IF you feel other venues and approaches will bear more fruit, I say go ahead and create / facilitate them while accepting that those who may take different approaches do so intentionally, not out of ignorance but out of genuine, thoughtful, disagreement as to what is the most efficacious way to go about these things.
Now that I have this new updated shastric concept of beginningless karma, there are new ramifications perculating in me.
One is that I can understand that I have been revolving in the cycle of birth and death eternally. Never was there a time when I was capable of knowing anything else, other than the deep unconscious sleep of susupti followed by the continued chain of karmic activity in the material creation.
Frankly, it is suffering that has prompted my search for a solution. My educational career was prompted by that search. Some how or other, when I was at my wits end I came in contact with devotees. Up to now, I have always taken credit for accepting vaishnavism as the best answer yet. But perhaps, by coming in contact with Srila Prabhupada, through his students, his books, and then himself personally – perhaps the choice was not really mine, but was ajnyata sukriti, in spite of myself.
But when I think of how lost I was, and of for how long (beginningless karma)I was lost, I just feel so fortunate. I do not have the words to express both my wonder and sense of good fortune.
And when I think of the others who are struggling in so many ways, and think that they have been doing this eternally, and that they have very little or no inclination towards bhakti, simply because they don’t know any better, never having met a pure devotee – I am feeling more inclined to have compassion.
Still I know that that compassion can only be fruitful if I become a pure devotee. And yet my growth in bhakti seems so very slow. Yet somehow I feel that this kind of discussion is helping me to move forward.
Dear devotees, dandavat pranam.
Revered Swami wrote :
Very good 🙂
In CC Sanatan siksa Kaviraj Goswami states that causal ocean is in between Vaikuntha and material world. In CC adi.5.54 he explains that causal ocean is spiritual (beyond maya), but not Vaikuntha. Mahavishnu who lies in this causal ocean is shelter of all tatastha jivas and they are unlimited. Material worlds are also unlimited. It is beyond comprehension of human intelect to understand that there are unlimited jivas and unlimited jivas can be liberated and unlimited jivas can be bounded and still remain unlimited and those who are bounded are only 1/4 of unlimited jivas. So material world cycles will never start or end even if unlimited jivas choose bhakti from causal ocean, because unlimited jivas will also choose to enter the material world where unlimited jivas are already staying 🙂
So anadi karma actually means that it has no start in material time (BVT).
You are saying that anadi karma has no start, but it can end by choosing bhakti. So if it can end, then anadi Mahavishnu and anadi world cycles can also end? No, as rightly explained by revered Swami above. So choice of jiva also has two sides, for entering the world from causal ocean sphere and for coming out from material world (nityo nityananam, SB 3.25.15, SB 11.2.37). There is also a chance for jivas to enter Vaikuntha from causal ocean sphere. Why would jiva choose maya instead of Krishna? At that time she is not fully experienced of the result and maya also looks attractive.
And for the jiva who slightly awakened by sadhu sanga it is said that her entanglement with maya is so long that it is beyond her comprehension (Srila Swami Maharaj). Everything depends on the adhikar.
Sastra you cannot understand merely by reading and consulting dictionary. And not everything is always visibly manifested (no direct mention of Radha in Bhagavatam). It is revealed in the heart of a devotee to the degree of his submission. Guru is srotriya yes, but must also be Brahma-nishta, otherwise he cannot understand sastra as it is. Once Sanatan Goswami played the pastime of not understanding why Sri Rup Goswami compared hair of Radha with black snakes until he himself saw it by spiritual vision just to teach us by example. So BVT and Sridhar M. revelations we cannot just put into “preaching strategy” just because it does not fit with out intelectual/dictionary understanding of sastra.
So, some jivas may enter material world from brahmajyoti/siddhalok (if they desire to), some from tatastha/causal ocean and some via susupti.
Here you are yet again repeating the strategy of Thakura Bhaktivinoda. As has already been explained to you–more than once–the jiva does not choose to enter the world from susupti or from any other condition. You state that the jiva can “enter” the world from the causal ocean sphere. Here you miss the meaning of anadi: the baddha-jivas have been in the material world FOREVER. They DO NOT CHOOSE to enter the world because they are already in the world and have been without a beginning. You must also explain to us where in the sastra the causal ocean is said to be a resting place for the jivas. As Swami has pointed out above, the baddha-jivas are either in susupti with their karma suspended or in the world enjoying or suffering the fruits of their karma. There is no other position for the jiva, whether it be the causal ocean, the brahmajyoti, or in the Bahamas sipping iced tea. And your statement that we cannot dismiss BVT or Srila Sridhara Maharaja’s statements as a preaching strategy because they don’t square with our intellectual understanding of sastra makes no sense. Why? Because it is clearly demonstrable that such statements are at odds with the siddhanta given in the sutras. Both cannot be correct, so we have to harmonize the two somehow. The preaching strategy idea is the only one that makes sense.
“In other words, what the scripture tells us, as understood in our sampradaya by its foundational acaryas, is our “siddhanta.””
Yes I agree “interpretation of scriptures by our acaryas is our siddhanta”
Yet the point is that scripture itself is revelation to a few people in historical time, when there were not so many doctrines prevailing to conform to and get support. As time passes on, there is a greater volume of revelation, which u have to subsume and it is understandable. However, to give the special status to Vedic scripture from other revelation, apaureshtva (where God does not even create sruti like he does not create souls) was established. That doctrine fails to hold sway now for various reasons and long discussions on traditional forums have clearly established that. Apaureshtva was necessary for people to distinguish sastra from personal revelation though to me there is no distinction between the sruti and smriti and the distinction is pretty artificial given how many new upanishads were added over time.
Note that our siddhanta is a “particular interpretation” of sastra that has a history of hundreds of years. While new and even different interpretations of some texts do appear in the lineage over time, they are acceptable because they do not contradict core tenets.
Regarding anadi karma, however, taking the term literally is the position taken by all schools of Vedanta, not just Gaudiyas. And this is not an interpretation of sastra. Sastra literally says and teaches this. That is why I have written that it is woven throughout the sruti, smriti, and acknowledged by all schools, etc. Thus it is abundantly clear that any contradiction of this principle cannot be embraced as Vedanta siddhanta any more than falling from Vaikuntha can be.
Those arguing for a figurative interpretation of anadi as siddhanta need to explain to us how karma is not literally beginningless without making up tatastha regions, positing free will in susupti, time in limbo before the jivas exercise of free will, etc., etc. They also need to explain why sastra has posited literal beginningless when in their opinion karma is not so. Are the sutras wrong and teaching apasiddhanta when they clearly say karma is literally beginningless? Are the sutras positing a preaching strategy? And if so, in the very least please give us a reasonable explanation of why it was adopted.
As for the argument against Sruti being apuaruseya, that is another topic altogether. Best not to go into that here.
“Those arguing for a figurative interpretation of anadi as siddhanta need to explain to us how karma is not literally beginningless without making up tatastha regions, positing free will in susupti, time in limbo before the jivas exercise of free will, etc., etc. They also need to explain why sastra has posited literal beginningless when in their opinion karma is not so. Are the sutras wrong and teaching apasiddhanta when they clearly say karma is literally beginningless? Are the sutras positing a preaching strategy? And if so, in the very least please give us a reasonable explanation of why it was adopted. ”
Yes, I agree with this.
I agreed with what you wrote until this sentence: “So material world cycles will never start or end even if unlimited jivas choose bhakti from causal ocean, because unlimited jivas will also choose to enter the material world where unlimited jivas are already staying.”
Where did you get that understanding from the Caitanya-caritamrta verses you cited? It seems that you have taken Cc. 1.5.54 (“The water of the Karana Ocean, which is the original cause, is therefore spiritual…”) to indicate that the jivas made a choice in the Karana Ocean. This is a faulty conclusion. Please read the next two verses: “In that ocean lies a plenary portion of Lord Sankarsana. He is known as the first purusa, the creator of the total material energy. He, the cause of the universes, the first incarnation, casts His glance over maya.” (Cc. 1.5.55-56) The Paramatma and Krishna Sandarbhas of Jiva Goswami give more detail of the re-creation of the material universes. Krishna-sandarbha 1.12 says that the jivas entered the body of the purusha (Karanodakasayi Visnu) at the time of devastation and appeared to become one with him, although their individuality remained intact. In other words, the jivas are not lying in some part of the Karana Ocean. They are within the body of Karanokadasayi Visnu after having been in the material world with karma from time immemorial. To again manifest the jivas and universes, Karanodakasayi Visnu expands as the purusha incarnation. Quoting Srimad-Bhagavatam 3.20.12, Ks 1.16 answers what causes the equilibrium of the three modes of nature to be agitated and time to begin. Is it a choice on the part of the jivas? No. It is the “unseen activity of the living entity.” In other words, the previous karma of the living entities is what causes the next maha-kalpa. In his purport, Srila Prabhupada elaborates, “The cause of the material creation is described here very lucidly. The first cause is daiva, or the destiny of the conditioned soul.” Destiny means karma not choice.
Although these verses clearly indicate that the jivas were previously in the material world, perhaps you will argue that these verses just describe the cycles after the cycle where the jiva made an initial choice outside of time. If this is true, then please supply the verses where the idea that jivas made a choice outside of time is established. If it is not established anywhere and in fact something else is clearly established, then it is not useful to quote verses that establish something other than what you are trying to prove.
Bhagavad-gita 13.20 establishes that both prakriti (maya) and the living entities are without beginning. Clearing up any doubt, Visvanatha Cakravarti says this verse describes when the relationship between the jiva and maya started. In other words, he says that not only are the jiva and maya without beginning, so is the RELATIONSHIP between them. Thus if you say that the relationship began before a particular maha-kalpa, this purport of Visvanatha Cakravarti replies, “No. The relationship has always existed.”
The Paramatma-sandarbha confirms the same: “Know that all living beings are part and parcel of the unborn Supreme Personality of Godhead. When the individual souls, trapped by their own past material desires, come to this material world, the Supreme Personality of Godhead follows them to set them free.” (Ps 1.57) Paramatma-sandarbha next next states that only a soul covered by materialistic false-ego thinks that he is a material body. A soul who is free from false-ego [note that a soul free from karma has no false ego] does not enter the material world.
You may think that it would be superior for a soul to make a choice from outside of time to enter the material world, but the following verse from Visnu Rahasya clarifies the problem with this thinking:
“The jivas, bound by beginningless karma, are eternal and countless. They lie wrapped in subtle bodies as in a state of unconsciousness. They are not devoted to Lord Visnu and if they are not given a gross body how can they engage in karma or bhakti? And being devoid of bhakti how can they attain liberation? (Visnu Rahasya)
You give a definition of anadi as “no start in material time.” Please see my post above where I show the contradictions that arise by using this definition and how these contradictions are further evidence that giving anadi a new, nonliteral definition was a preaching strategy.
It is not clear what you are trying to establish with SB 3.25.15. As for SB 11.2.37, this verse couldn’t be describing an initial turning away from God because the verse says, “Fear arises when a living entity misidentifies himself as the material body because of absorption in the external, illusory energy of the Lord…” There is no fear without avidya (which you wouldn’t have if there were an original, unmanifested state) and no material body to identify with. The verse also says, “This bewildering, fearful condition is effected by the potency for illusion, called māyā.” Without karma, the jiva would not be under the influence of maya. Thus this verse is talking about a truth of material existence, not an initial entrance into the material world. “Turning away from God” is figurative language akin to “Back to Godhead.” If you take such figurative language literally then you run into contradictions with principal tenets of sastra.
Please supply scriptural quotes for the idea that jivas can enter the material world from the Brahmajyoti and answer the contradictions I highlighted in a previous post with the idea of entering from the “tatastha region.” If you cannot, then the most reasonable explanation remains that these are preaching strategies.
You say that Guru is srotriya but also must be Brahma-nistha. Are you implying that my Guru isn’t Brahma-nistham and is a mere dictionary reader? I certainly hope not. Furthermore, why should brahma-nistham contradict srotriyam? Srotriyam AND Brahma-nistham. We can’t just say, my Guru is Brahma-nistham, therefore everything he says as good as scripture. As someone mentioned earlier in the thread, if your Guru is as good as scripture, you should be able to show how what he says doesn’t contradict scripture. So it is up to the present acarya to clarify how a statement of a previous acarya conforms with scripture if there appears to be an anomaly. Its the tried-and-true guru, sadhu, sastra combo. Thus far, the only credible explanation we have heard is that choice from the tatastha is a preaching strategy.
Just because the jiva has a word for being bounded by maya (gunas) as evidenced at least by nityo nityanam verse, BG 2.47, BG 6.40, SB 3.25.15, SB 11.2.37, not to mention CC 2.20.117, CC 2.24.136.
Anadi karma means that it’s no-beginning/beginning cannot be understood by conditioned soul.
Anyway, our future is bright if we go on following shuddha bhaktas.
This isn’t a complete sentence, so I’m not clear what you are trying to say here.
You mentioned previously that we cannot understand these terms by reading the dictionary. After reading your above statement, I want to add that for you, it would be a start in the right direction.
That, at least, we can agree on! All the best to you! 🙂
That jiva’s personal will is also involved in her bondage to maya (gunas), it is not automatic or by the personal desire of God. When she doesn’t want to serve or better to say to love God, she desires anyabhilas, karma, jnana or yoga. Living means desiring and desire has to go somewhere. And we all (eventualy) agree, better to love God. I’m happy to see you already accepted the best. Sri Radhe!
Dear Prabhus, please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Guru and Guaranga!
I am confused on this matter, to a great degree. I don’t fully understand wherein the discrepancy lies which has caused such a lengthy thread. Kindly allow me to speak my understanding or lack thereof, while not delving into what the great personalities of this tradition have said or intended to, as after reading this thread I’m entirely bewildered on that front.
By Śrīla Prabhupāda’s grace, I understand that karma is temporary in relation to an individual jīva. Once pure devotion is re-attained, there is no more karma–latent or incurred–relative to an individual jīva. The existence of karma, like the material world/energy itself, is also eternal, being a śakti of Bhagavān. The material world is therefore conceived of as a gigantic reconditioner of souls; an eternal alternative to the spiritual world, if you like.
What’s wrong with the understanding that we’re here because we got ‘a little to close’ to Kṛṣṇa? Effectively desiring to assume the position of, or to be, Kṛṣṇa.
Your critiques are much appreciated.
The problem with this idea is that Krishna himself says it is not possible: yam prapya na nivartante tad dhama paramam mama (Gita 8.21). Once the jiva enters Vaikuntha, there is no possibility of coming back.
Attaining Krishna’s company implies that any potential desire to leave him has already been eliminated.
Also, in the Bhagavatam (7.1.34), Maharaja Yudhishthira expresses his disbelief that devotees of the Lord could possibly come back to the material world.
And for the “preaching strategy” of Srila Swami Maharaj there is a reference in Brihadnaradiya Puran or Brahmavaivarta Puran (I don’t remember) that once Narad Goswami (which in Pancatattva represents jiva-tattva) from personal association with Krishna in lila desired (out of curiosity) to experience suffering of maya as do the baddha-jivas. Krishna tried to prevent Him and He also said you are the one who is rescuing them (by always singing my glories) so how it will be possible and why you want to experience that suffering? But Narad was persistent and Krishna then had to make him forget Him (Krishna bhuli). By His direction Narad took bath in one lake and he “awakened” in material world drowning in the middle of ocean in a lady form crying for help to which one king rescued her, married her, produced 50 sons who married and ultimately mutualy killed each other. Narad in the form of queen suffered too much and only when he remembered Krishna he was rescued and Krishna then asked him what he saw. Narad was ashamed and narrated the whole history and how he suffered and Krishna then asked him, do you want to see again my maya? No, no, Narad replied. In brief.
This reference from sastra can be used as evidence for certain preachers of ISKCON who are saying that it is true that one cannot fall from Vaikuntha once one reaches there. They explain that being there, once you may fall and when then from the world you again reach there (now with full experience) you will never fall again (BG).
And Krishna with his Omnipotence and by not being bound by any sastra of which He Himself is the source can at any time manifest lila (and give description of it in the sastra) of jivas falling down from Vaikuntha, brahmajyoti, tatastha or being eternaly in the world if it is neccessary to remove all false ego from the heart of his sadhak devotee and to make the words of his devotee preachers truth in case someone has any doubt in them. This is His mercy.
I think it can be provisonally useful to explain to certain conditioned souls that anadi karma is literally anadi 🙂
Please devotees and non-devotees forgive my offences, I’m (trying to be) grateful to you all 🙂
I haven’t seen the story of Narada that you related, so I can’t be sure that it even exists. But nonetheless, there are apparent contradictions in sastra. According to Kurma Purana (quoted in Laghu Bhagavatamrita), “When contradictions are found in the Vedic scripture, it is not that one statement is wrong. Rather both statements should be seen in such a way that there is no contradiction.”
About the falling from Vaikuntha issue, Srila Prabhupada himself said contradictory things in regard to whether you fall or don’t fall. So best to take the siddhanta established in the crown jewel of all scriptures—Srimad Bhagavatam—to understand the conclusive answer to the question. This was the Goswamis’ approach. We find this answer in the section describing the “fall” of Jaya and Vijaya: “The conclusion is that no one falls from the spiritual world, or Vaikuṇṭha planet, for it is the eternal abode.” From there, we have to understand why Srila Prabhupada made contradictory statements.
It is not entirely clear, but you seem to be answering this question by saying that Krishna, not being bound by sastra, can do anything to make the words of his devotee preachers true. I guess you are implying that the story of Narada that you presented was manifested by omniscient Krishna because he saw that Srila Prabhupada would make a statement that jivas can fall from Vaikuntha, so he manifested a lila that contradicts core scriptural tenets but upholds the words of Srila Prabhupada.
This explanation seems rather far-fetched, so I am not sure why it works for you more than the explanation that it was a preaching strategy.
Vrindaranya, for me preaching strategy in this case is ok, but it may not be so for some of his disciples who heard it directly from him and took it as a fact and inspired/s them to serve Krishna. If later on some preacher comes and starts to explain it as preaching strategy as opposed to sastra siddhanta with some ulterior motive present and in this way discourage that devotee, Krishna may, to help both, arrange also in such a way so as to encourage discouraged and humble the preacher.
Yes, it wouldn’t be good if a preacher had an ulterior motive. By the way, I thought of a problem with the story about Narada. You mentioned:
But Narada was previously in the material world as the son of a maidservant, so if he fell to the material world after being with Krishna, then the story wouldn’t illustrate the idea that you can only fall once from the spiritual world!
If such a story is indeed in some Purana, then it must be an interpolation, given the layers of contradictions…
Here are some additional references. Note that this is not a complete list. As you can see the teaching on anadi karma is pervasive.
“When the jiva wakes from sleep which is caused by the beginningless illusion or ignorance, then he realizes that he is unborn, and free of sleep, dreams, and dualism.” (Mandukyopanisad 1.16) [Note: Some devotees claim that in the Upanisads, anadi is never used in relation to karma, only in relation to God. This verse proves that this claim is not true.]
“Because of association with avidya, which has no beginning, the jiva has forgotten his blissful and conscious nature and has developed a false ego in the material body. He suffers because of acquiring bodily characteristics and misfortune, therefore no one is to be blamed.” (Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura, commentary on SB 3.7.9) [Note: The import of the idea that the jivas make a decision to turn away from God in the tatastha region is that the jivas are to blame for their suffering. This commentary clearly says that “no one is to be blamed.” Why? Because the jiva has been associated with avidya from without beginning. If the jiva were resting in a so called tatastha-region, then it would have no avidya; however, this verse says that the jiva has avidya from without beginning.]
Avidya, which is anadi, is situated on the backside of the Lord and has the nature of ignorance. She covers the knowledge of the jivas who are situated on the backside of the Lord and are non-devotees. Their non-devotion is anadi. There is no real reason or purpose for their knowledge being covered. (Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura, commentary on SB 3.7.10) [Here again it is stated that the jivas are not to blame for their non-devotion.]
“Although the jiva is by nature an eternal servant of Bhagavan, because his face has been averted from the Lord (bhagavad-vimukhata) from a time without beginning (anadi-kala), he has been wandering in various species of life. He is thus being scorched by the threefold miseries of material existence.” (Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura, Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu-bindu, purva-vibhaga, first wave, 4)
“O Uddhava, both knowledge and ignorance, being products of maya, are expansions of My potency. Both knowledge and ignorance are beginningless and perpetually award liberation and bondage to embodied living beings.” (SB 11.11.3)
“O most intelligent Uddhava, the living entity, called jiva, is part and parcel of Me, but due to ignorance he has been suffering in material bondage from time without beginning. By knowledge, however, he can be liberated.” (SB 11.11.4)
“The living entity is bound by avidya. This bondage has no beginning, anadi, because karma is anadi; but it is possible to achieve liberation from bondage, therefore bondage has an end. On the other hand, mokña is generated, therefore it has a beginning—but it has no end because it cannot be destroyed.” (Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura, commentary on SB 11.11.4)
“Because a person who has been covered by ignorance since time without beginning is not capable of effecting his own self-realization, there must be some other personality who is in factual knowledge of the Absolute Truth and can impart this knowledge to him.” (SB 11.22.10)
See also SB 4.29.70, 5.14.1, 5.25.8, 5.26.3, 6.5.11, 8.24.46, 12, 10.41, 12.11.29
Sb 5.13.1: “He works very hard day and night exactly like a merchant who enters a forest to acquire some articles to sell later for profit. However, he cannot really achieve happiness within this material world.”
Here the Bhagavatam elucidates that jiva “enters” the “material world”.
Bg 7.27: “”O scion of Bharata [Arjuna], O conqueror of the foe, all living entities are born into delusion, overcome by the dualities of desire and hate.”
Here the Supreme Lord, Sri Krsna, elucidates that jiva is “born into” the dualities of the material world.” Thus jiva “enters” the material world.
Bg 10.8: “Everything emanates from Me.”
Jiva emanates from Krsna who is certainly situated in transcendence; therefore the jiva is a transcendental emanation. Thus jiva falls from transcendence to matter.
In this way it is incorrect to refute the clear statements of the acaryas and deny the “fall” of jiva to matter. What the acaryas are saying is directly in Vedas: Jiva falls to the material condition.
The confusion has arisen from a wrong understanding of “anadi”.
Sastra states Krsna is nirguna. This does not mean “without qualities” rather “without material qualities”.
Similarly, sastra states Krsna is nirvisesa. This does not mean “without variety’, rather without “without material variety”.
Similarly, “anadi” in the context of the discussion does not mean a simplistic understanding such as “without beginning”, rather “without material beginning”.
The beginning of the karma of jiva is thus “without material beginning” because transcendental emanation jiva chooses material engagement from a position of transcendence. Thus the origin of his entanglement, “karma” is “without material beginning”.
Therefore Jiva “falls” after emanating from Sri Krsna (Bg 10.6) “entering the forest (Sb 4.13.1 above)” and is “born into delusion (Bg 7.27 above)”.
Moreover, the acayas have never stated that all the copious descriptions of “fall by jiva to matter” is a “preaching tactic”. If a writer wants to assert such, then the onus is on him to provide specific statements from acaryas stating it is a preaching tactic. Stating “seems” only evidences the speculation of the writer. Speculation is not evidence.
Therefore this is not a preaching tactic, rather siddhanta according to Sri Krsna, Vedas and acaryas.
Aum Tat Sat
Unfortunately this post like many others on this thread completely ignores the core evidence presented in the article that anadi has always been taken literally, not figuratively, until the time of BVT. Thus the point of the article is that BVT’s position differs from sastra and how it has been understood for centuries. Why? It has been suggested that his was a preaching strategy and evidence was then given that such strategies do exist in the history of Gaudiya Vedanta.
It is meaningless at this point to cite texts that have nothing to do with anadi karma and ignore those that deal directly with it. It is also meaningless to cite BVT or others who say anadi is not literally beginningless. Why? Because that has already been addressed in the article. That is the point of the article! BVT and others have taken a different position from Vedanta-sutra, Bhagavad-gita, and Srimad Bhagavatam. Moving forward, we will be unlikely to allow posts that do not acknowledge the controversy and seek to harmonize it. This is what the article has done.
There is no word enters, “yati” means “he goes”
Here is a better translation:
“Jada Bharata said: The merchant who sees only obligation to scriptural actions divided into rajas, tamas and sattva, who, out of ignorance, is fixed on the path of material enjoyment, difficult to cross, and who is absorbed in material acquisition, while wandering about, comes to the forest of material life but cannot enjoy happiness.”
Anyway there is nothing about anadi. Jiva enters the material life from Mahavisnu again and again, this is throughout all the sastras.
Where is the word “born” here in sanskrit? See Visvanath Cakravarti commentary on this text:
“At the beginning of the creation of this universe (sarge), all the jivas (sarva-bhutani) become bewildered.”
This is your conclusion, but not sastra conclusion. Prakriti is also emanates from Krsna. See Gita 13.20. Do you think prakriti falls from transcendence?
Where is it in Vedas?
You’re absolutely right. Then, please, present another meaning of anadi from sastra.
1. Anadi means before the material creation.
If, as sastra informs us, jiva is constantly re-entering matter from Sri Maha Visnu, then logically there must be a ‘first entry’.
Therefore jiva enters matter (falls) from “above matter” from Sri Maha Visnu.
If one does not accept the concept of ‘first entry’, then one has to accept the fallacy of ‘infinite regress’.
2. Even if we accept “infinite regress” we are admitting that jiva enters matter from “above matter” from the body of Sri Maha Visnu.
Therefore jiva enters matter (falls) from “above matter” from Sri Maha Visnu, whether we accept “first entry” or an “infinite regress of entry”.
3. Therefore jiva initially emanated by Sri Krsna (Maha Visnu) in transcendence “falls” from spirit to matter.
Therefore the independent choice of jiva from “above matter” provoked this “fall” to matter.
This choice having taken place “above matter” is “beginingless” in terms of material time. Because the choice was by jiva from his proven position within Sri Maha Visnu and therefore “his choice was from above matter”.
Therefore jiva “falls” and his choice (the actual root of his karma) has “no beginning” in material time. “It cannot be traced out.”
Therefore the root of karma is anadi, before creation, beginningless in terms of material time.
Thus the topic is harmonized.
Kindly contemplate deeply before any response.
That supreme abode of mine is not illumined by the sun, the moon, or fire. Having gone there, no one returns.
My dandavat pranams to Srila Tripurari Maharaja and all others who are discussing the topic of anadi here,
It is argued in this article that from the time of BVT the explanation of jiva and anadi karma was given a twist to make it look more linear and this is not in conformity with Vedanta Sutra, Shankara, Ramanuja, etc. The article says it is a preaching strategy. History repeats. A very similar discussion happened between Srila Sridhara Maharaja and Ananta Vasudeva Prabhu. I do not mean any offense to Srila Tripurari Maharaja, but the nature of argument you state in this article is very similar to what Ananta Vasudeva Prabhu did and you can see what Srila Sridhara Maharaja replied to him. Please read the full article in the link given below.
You have repeatedly requested to those opposing your view on anadi to quote from the shastra to prove it otherwise. Srila Sridhara Maharaja answers to this in this article.
I hope this talk by Srila Sridhara Maharaja will put things in right prespective.
Sri Gopala dasa,
I am very familiar with this conversation. At any rate, you agree then that BVT’s position on this issue contradicts sastra, Vedanta-sutra, Bhagavad-gita, Srimad Bhagavatam (as has been clearly demonstrated in my article). And your way of harmonizing this contradiction is to say that what BVT has given is more correct than Vedanta-sutra, etc. on grounds that modern sadhu’s can manifest new light as to the import of sastra. Whereas my way of harmonizing it is to suggest that BVT’s position is a preaching strategy. Very unlike Ananta Vasudeva, I am not suggesting that BVT should be rejected, not at all. I think his taking the liberty to formulate a preaching strategy is characteristic of his overall writing and has merit.
Now the thing to do its to dispassionately discuss which way of harmonizing is more reasonable, without faulting one another’s character for taking a particular side to begin with. Are you up for that?
My sincerest apologies for likening your argument to Ananta Vasudeva. I should no have such audacity to find faults in your character. I agree with you that discussions should be dispassionate.
Shastric conformity and sadhu’s revelation both have its place. In general, what is told by a sadhu should be in confirmity with the shastra but the sadhu might provide newer insight into certain subject of the shastra which adds more value to it. However, if we put too much weight on sadhu’s revelation irrespective of its shastric conformity the problem would be that every disciple likes to think his acharya or parampara of acharyas are more elevated and hence that revelation should be accepted. It becomes dogmatic. If we put too much weight on shastric conformity for all that is told by a sadhu, the danger is that out there in the world there are many people who would like to do arm chair philosophizing without the backing of seva to Guru and Vaishnavas. Such people do not know what it takes to be a true disciple – the hardwork, chastisement, hardships, challenges and risks one as to take/undergo in order carry out the orders of SriGurudeva and to please him. Without such seva backing these kind of people will start scrutinizing everything the acharya(s) have told and try to give their explanation on that and slowly this may lead to deviations which might end up in becoming a apasampradaya. In this age of information, this is much more easier as the knowledge and tools of analysis are available to everyone.
BVT might have used the preaching strategy as the dominant world view at that time was of Christian and western theologians who were used to linear history. In the comments, you have also pointed out how SSM speaks siddhanta at some places and otherwise at some places. It is still hard to believe that such a advanced sadhu like SSM would repeat a preaching strategy. Why? Because devotees from ISKCON went to him to understand the jiva tattva and Guru tattva better. Why then would he tell them something that is incorrect! This question remains.
Nevertheless, to understand that jivas were always associated with maya, they go to sushupti when MahaVisnu rests and come back to maya’s world on his awakening makes things simple and clear.
Sri Gopal Ji,
“In the Vedas and Upanisads it is seen that the first consideration is the rsi. What the rsis of the ancient times saw and felt in their hearts, they recorded, and that is Vedas and Upanisads.”
Just as an aside, while I do agree with Sridhara Maharaja that Vedas and Upanishads are just personal revelations to Rishis, this is not the traditional view of Jiva Goswami or of other acaryas before. For them the scripture (the sruti) is unauthored and acaryas coming later have to support their revelation using the sruti. If we accept Sridhara Maharaja’s view that Vedas are just personal revelations to Rishis who are partially realized then certainly at any time a new person who is realized can upturn everything in the Vedas. However, that person needs to do two things : 1) Explain everything that the previous revelation could explain 2) Explain things further and/or resolve contradictions/problems in the previous revelations. Let me give an example. The spiritual world details cannot be found in Vedas and Upanishads. So new revelation speaks about details of Goloka etc and also Brahman (which was explained by previous revelation). However, in the case of the anadi doctrine, new revelation of BVT has not resolved any problems with the previous revelation and added more problems. Why don’t you also accept that Prabhupada has a new revelation that jiva falls from the spiritual world? You argument is that PRabhupada was ambiguous about that because in certain places, he said the opposite. It has been demonstrated that BVT also uses the traditional anadi doctrine in some places, so why don’t you accept that and instead accept the fall from tatastha doctrine? Otherwise, I agree that it is more about faith in the new revelation coming from a person you trust. So whatever Swaminarayana ji told his disciples that becomes sastra even if it is not demonstrated anywhere that he is an incarnation. They have their “made up” verses to prove that also and the saga continues. So please don’t say that he is not an incarnation. Have faith in the sadhu you want to pick and let others pick theirs and each person will think he is 100% right with no common ground to truth because like you said revelation of the new person is much more important than the hazy conceptions of Vedas and Upanishads. Don’t know why people quote gosai.com and attack other people for not following the sastra. They should just attack them for not following the acaryas they have faith in and their revelations as that is the the “Real sastra”.
Gaura Vijaya ji,
I agree with your concern about accepting everything a sadhu says irrespective of shastric conformity. I have talked about it in my previous post.
By the way, there are no personal attacks done here. gosai.com is not arming people with something to go out attack others. It is only publishing the views of previous bonafide acharyas of Bhaktivinoda parivara. Srila Sridhara Maharaja is certainly regarded very highly by his Godbbrothers and even by his Gurudev for his deep realizations, sharp intellect and shastric knowledge. He was such from his early days. It was for no small reason he was given the title BhaktiRakshaka by his gurudev. He taught so much about the highest aspiration of a Guadiya – the Radha Dasyam. He revealed the meaning of Gayatri mantra and showed how it leads to Radha Dasyam. His glories go on and on. When such a acharya says something it cannot be easily brushed aside. It has to be carefully dealt with. By publishing the talks and articles of such elevated acharya as SSM, gosai.com is providing devotees the opportunity to revisit their understanding on this topic. It is not meant to attack anyone.
I think your previous post has already clarified your stand. I did not read it while making my reply. Your point on gosai.com is also well taken.
[Note: Sri Gopal’s latest response came in as I was finishing this response, but I am still posting this because I think it still has some relevant points.]
Dear Sri Gopal dasa,
My dandavat pranams. Thank you for your participation in this discussion.
In the article, Srila Sridhara Maharaja says that the Vedas and Upanisads have a “hazy conception of theism.” If we consider that the Srimad-Bhagavatam is the natural fruit of the Vedas and Puranas, then anything those who preach this developed conception add is “greater sastra than the Vedas and Upanisads.” He says that Jaiva-dharma is not fictitious. “In some kalpa or other such things really happened. It may not be this kalpa, but there are so many kalpas.” He adds that if Bhaktivinoda Thakura gave something to the world for propaganda, it is not unreal but has greater value than the Vedas because ordinary rsis only appreciate Brahman and Paramatma.
Should we therefore conclude when Gaudiya Vaisnavas appear to use preaching strategies that the strategies are not actually untrue but rather greater than the Vedas and occurring in some other kalpa?
There are a few problems with this understanding. For one, we don’t have a difference of opinion merely between the Vedas and a Gaudiya acarya, we have a contradiction between statements of several Gaudiya acaryas. Therefore, the contradiction is not analogous to the situation Srila Sridhara Maharaja is commenting on, which compared ordinary rsis who only appreciate Brahman and Paramatma to those with a theistic understanding.
In our case, we actually have several different answers to the origin of karma question: (1) the Vedanta-sutra, Upanisads, etc., which corresponds with the opinion of Srimad-Bhagavatam, Jiva Goswami, Baladeva Vidyabhusana, Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura, etc. (2) Bhaktivinode Thakura (tatastha region) (3) Srila Sridhara Maharaja (tatastha, sususpti, or brahmajyoti), and (4) Srila Prabhupada (anadi or Vaikuntha).
Many followers of Srila Prabhupada conclude that his position was that we fell from Vaikuntha. By the reasoning you give, it doesn’t matter that the idea that we fell from Vaikuntha contradicts sastra because it is better than sastra. Do we conclude that all the different statements of our Gaudiya acaryas are correct in different kalpas? It doesn’t work very well in this case, does it?
I think that we need to consider that Srila Sridhara Maharaja was speaking about the development from a “hazy conception of theism” to a theistic one. Changing the definition of anadi such that it accommodates a linear conception of time rather than a cyclical one does not develop the theistic conception (it relates to the material world). For that matter, it no longer fits with the prevailing scientific understanding of the universes. At the time of Bhaktivinode Thakura, the prevailing understanding was a Newtonian linear understanding with a “big bang.” Current theoretical physicists favor conceptions that align with a cyclical understanding. Add to that the fact that it contradicts (not expands) not only the Vedas and Upanisads but Srimad Bhagavatam and the Goswamis. In light of this, it seems to me that Srila Sridhara Maharaja’s answer was faultless in terms of answering the question he was asked, but, for the reasons outlined above, incomplete for answering the current discussion.
But how is this any different than disciples of Srila Prabhupada questioning Srila Prabhupada about jiva tattva and Guru tattva? Both Srila Prabhupada and Srila Sridhara Maharaja gave developments of what Bhaktivinoda Thakura said. In those times and circumstances, they both felt that the preaching they gave was the best way to answer the question. First of all, the prevailing scientific worldview was very different at that time and furthermore, as far as I am aware, no one really pressed them about the contradictions with sastra and the previous Gaudiya acaryas. You’ll note in a post I made earlier that when Narayana Maharaja was questioned further about the tatastha region, he admitted that tatastha as a line between the two worlds is imaginary.
How can we explain that Srila Sridhara Maharaja sometimes said the jivas make a choice from the brahmajyoti (a spiritual region, not a region in-between the spiritual and material worlds)? How do we answer the apparent contradiction between a choice from the brahmajyoti from the teachings of Bhaktivinoda Thakura? These questions still need to be answered. (As well as how our acaryas can apparently contradict Srimad Bhagavatam). I don’t know how you can answer these questions. In comparison, how Srila Sridhara Maharaja could use a preaching strategy is a much smaller question with a reasonable answer.
You make really good points. I concur with your thoughts.
Thanks, Sri Gopal! My pranams to you as well!
Please, provide sastra reference about a “first entry”.
Jiva doesn’t fall but places or puts up.
Please, see the commentary of Baladeva Vidyabhusana on Vedanta Sutra on this topic:
Baladeva: “Vyasa has accepted that karma and the jivas are beginningless, just like Brahman. Thus there is no fault, because subsequent karma is inspired by the past karma. The Smrti confirms this: “Lord Visnu makes the living entities do good or bad acts according to their past karma. There is no contradiction in this because karma has no beginning.”
If someone objects, that if karma is beginningless, then it has the defect of infinite regress, we say that is not so, because the scriptures say so.”
Then all jivas fell down since time immemorial and no one jiva falls down anymore.
It’s harmonized by literal anadi only.
Thomas Aquinas made a cosmological argument for the existence of God that depends on the impossibility of infinite causal regress. Creationists are still arguing for a linear conception of time based on the infinite casual regress argument.
Baladeva Vidyabhusana answered the challenge of infinite regress with an accepted example of infinite regress in nature—the seed and the tree. A modern example might be sub-atomic particles.
In the West there have been several credible refutations to the denial of the possibility of infinite regress—Hume, Kant, challenges on mathematical grounds, and various post-Big Bang theories, such as multiverses; for example, see Endless Universe: Beyond the Big Bang by Paul Steinhardt and Neil Turok, The Hidden Reality: Parallel Universes and the Deep Laws of the Cosmos by Brian Greene, and Philosophical Perspectives on Infinity by Graham Robert Oppy.
Many atheists have obviously argued against the cosmological argument; Dawkins, for example. You can find numerous other refutations in this vein by Googling refutation infinite regress.
If we were to back up a little that would be of benefit.
It occurs that there are three topics in this discussion and there is an unhelpful crossover in the answers. If persons wish to give their responses, then they should make the relevance clearer.
The three topics:
1. What is the true understanding of anadi karma?
2. What was the position if any, in terms of location and consciousness, of jiva prior to entanglement in karma?
3. Why is jiva under karma? i.e,. Has jiva chosen to come here? Or was he put directly under karma by Krsna, thus given no choice in the matter?
Answer to 1. Now if we fix on the so-called “literal” understanding of anadi, i.e., beginningless, certainly problems arise.
A. Bhagavatam states that “words shrink back from the Unlimited Absolute Truth”. Therefore one must not be mundanely literal about any spiritual knowledge. For example, Sri Krsna is unlimitedly beautiful. Does “unlimitedly beautiful” really convey meaning, or are words just giving guidance for our contemplation?
B. The “beginning” of everything is Sri Krsna, Bg 10.8. Therefore everything has a spiritual beginning.
C. Therefore anadi jiva means “soul without material beginning”. Simply because jiva has a “spiritual beginning”. This indicates jiva’s beginning is in transcendence.
D. Furthermore, we cannot accept that jiva is “beginningless under karma”, in the sense of “eternally under karma”.
Why? Because, jiva is eternal but “karma” is “not eternal” (5 topics in Gita, two of which are “not eternal”, Karma is one of the two non-eternal.)
Therefore eternal jiva’s involvement in karma is certainly not “eternal” because karma is “not eternal”. i.e., karma starts and stops with the creation and destruction of the achit jagat (matter).
In other words, non-eternal karma cannot “cover in terms of time” eternal jiva. i.e., karma cannot cover jiva.
Answer to 2. Jiva “being eternal” certainly exists prior to the creation of the “non-eternal jagat” and “non-eternal karma” thereof.
As karma only operates within matter, and matter is only temporarily manifested, then because jiva is eternally manifested, then there must be existent of jiva prior to the “temporarily manifested” “fluctuating manifestion of karma”.
Therefore as jiva has not been “always” under “karma” there must a “spiritual beginning” to his entrance “into” karma.
Answer to 3: Choice of jiva: That “spiritual beginning” is the choice of jiva, the marginal potency of Sri Krsna, at the juncture of matter and spirit. The jiva awakens from creational susputi at this margin and chooses either material or spiritual engagement.
In Brhad-aranyaka Upanisad, 4.3.9, we find:
“‘The jiva has access to two places, both of which he may seek, this material world and the spiritual realm. He is situated in svapna-sthanam, the dream-like third state, on the margin of these two worlds. From that middle position he is able to see both the material and the spiritual worlds.’
Further, the following statement from the Brhad-aranyaka, 4.3.18, describes the nature of the marginal position of the jiva:
“‘The symptoms of the marginal existence are like those of a huge aquatic who is capable of living on both the eastern and western sides of the river at his own will. Similarly, the jiva soul, situated within the waters of the Causal Ocean, which lies between the material and spiritual worlds, is able to reside in both the dream world of matter and the spiritual world of divine wakefulness.’
“Jiva at his will chooses.”
Therefore eternal jiva has existed prior to non-eternal matter and the non-eternal karma thereof. And as Upanisad explains above his entanglement in matter is “by choice” from the “non-material tatastha position”.
Therefore jiva chooses and thus falls to matter from transcendence.
Thus the cause of his karma is “without material beginning”.
Prior to the temporary material creation.
Kindly try to understand and contemplate without attachment to previous ideas.
Main point for contemplation that will open the door to understanding is to contemplate that “jiva is eternal” but “karma is non-eternal”. So there must be a situation when jiva is free of
karma and thus free of matter.
Therefore to construe that “anadi karma” means that jiva has “always been in matter under karma” is clearly a mistake.
Jiva is eternal. Everything about him has a “spiritual beginning”. And his entanglement in matter is just a temporary passing illusion.
The rest of understanding will flow when this point is understood and accepted.
I hope to meet you all when you are all out of this temporary illusion.
Jai Sri Krsna, the Spiritual Source of Everything!
C. Therefore anadi jiva means “soul without material beginning”. Simply because jiva has a “spiritual beginning”. This indicates jiva’s beginning is in transcendence.
So the soul has a beginning, it does not always exist? It comes into being at a point of time where it makes choice? Are new souls being created in transcendence where they make this choice at this moment?
In Srila Baladeva Vidyabhusana’s commentary on Bhagavad-gita 5.15, he establishes that karma is beginningless. While citing Vedanata-sutra 2.1.35, he states that isvara is not responsible for “inaugurating” the karma of the jiva.
Just as Bhagavan himself, his jiva-sakti, and his maya-sakti are all anadi–beginningless–the karma that binds the jiva to maya is also beginningless.
The eternal cycles of material creation and destruction are based on Mahavisnu’s breathing. In between these cycles, when Mahavisnu sleeps and the jiva enters susupti, the jiva‘s karma remains present, but is temporarily inactive until the next cycle of creation.
In summary, the nitya-baddha-jiva has been under the influence of karma forever. There was never a time when the nitya-baddha-jiva was free from karma to chose between the material and spiritual worlds.
It might also help to point out that an individual jiva‘s karma can come to an end. But since there are an unlimited number of jivas, there never has been and never will be an end to the karma that fuels the material world.
The fact that everything has its origins in God has no bearing on the discussion at hand.
The jiva’s beginning is in transcendence? Surely by this you mean nothing more than the jiva is of divine nature as is God. Otherwise to speak of the jiva having a beginning contradicts its eternal nature, which you emphasize later on.
Here you fail to make an important distinction: “without beginning” and “eternal” are not the same. Karma is indeed anadi, as clearly stated throughout the sastras (see the many references in various posts above) but it is not ananta (endless). It is beginningless but it can come to an end when the jiva attains mukti (or prema). Eternal means anadi (beginningless) as well as ananta (without end).
As explained in the article, karma exists in two forms: a latent form while the jivas are in susupti within MahaVisnu, or in manifest form when the jagat is manifest. In either case the baddha-jiva is under its jurisdiction and continues to be so until graced by Bhaktidevi.
Karma cannot cover the jiva in the same way that the jiva is said in the Gita to be a non-doer; i.e., in the sense that matter and spirit never mix. However, due to the soul’s identification with matter it exists under the control of karma. If this were not true then there would be no need for preaching because everyone is already enlightened but just doesn’t realize it. You don’t really believe that, do you? If so you are off the map of Gaudiya Vedanta and into Mayavada territory.
You use phrases like “prior to the creation, spiritual beginning, and entrance into karma” as if such a thing were really possible. Yes, the jiva is eternal, but the jagat is also eternal in the sense that it comes and goes in endless cycles along with the breath of God. When did God start breathing? And again, as stated in the article, between manifestations of the jagat the baddha-jivas exist in the state of susupti within Maha-Visnu with their karma suspended, and when the jagat again manifests the jivas’ karma is activated along with them. Karma cannot be separated from the baddha-jiva any more than the baddha-jiva can be separated from the material world. They go together and have no meaning without the other.
These verses are not talking about the jiva’s “choice” to “enter” either matter or the spiritual world, they are talking about the fact that the jiva’s nature is such that she can exist either under the jurisdiction of karma or in the spiritual world. You wish to take the statement “at his own will” to mean that the jiva chooses which world to reside in, but this has also been dealt with above and you give no plausible reason why the jiva would choose ignorance over blissful life with Bhagavan.
As has also been explained many times above, tatastha is not a position or a place, it is a description of the jiva’s nature as an entity who can exist under the thralldom of karma or in the spiritual world. The world has existed in endless cycles without beginning and the baddha-jivas have existed along with it, since there is no meaning to the world without the baddha-jivas who need the world to play out their karma in.
I am afraid I wll have to agree with Vrindaranya. She noted the prideful and mediocre nature of your arguments.This does not constitute an ad hominem attack. After all, you stated that all those who did not agree with you were in illusion. Going a step further than Vrindaranya I would say that your arguments were mediocre but more so mostly apasiddhanta. But let’s see if you can take your own advice when this is pointed out.
Yes, words cannot do justice to that which transcends language, but that does not mean that we cannot say anything difinitive about the Absolute.It means we cannot say enough about the subject, iksater na sabdat (see BVB’s tika on this sutra). And thus there are many literal truths presented in sastra. For example, reincarnation is a central doctrine to Vedanta that we take literally, not figuratively. I choose this example becasue the doctrine of reincarnation and that of anadi karma are both so central to Vedanta. And Vedanta-sutra, Gita, SB, etc, all clearly teach the literal truth of anadi karma, as my article points out with references. Your point here leaves one wondering if you have read the article.
You fail to understand that “Krsna” includes his saktis. Like him they have no beginning. In our panentheistic philosophy God is also the world, one and different from it. Thus jiva-sakti and maya-sakti have no beginning any more than Krsna does. Gita 13.20 refers to them as anadi in the same sense that Krsna is anadi. So your new, speculative definition of anadi contradicts sastra and fails to understand what constitutes “Krsna” in the philosophical abheda sense. He is one with his saktis, even while he is different from them. But his difference from them is not that they were created and he was not. No, they exist eternally along with him, dependent on him and in this sense one with him.
You ignore the fact that the world cycles of God have no beginning, they are anadi and they also have no ultimate end. They are anadi-nidhanam, without beginning or end. And the pure spiritual being’s involvement with maya-sakti has no beginning. This has been pointed out in the article as well as numerous times in the discussion. See Bg 13.20 commentary of VCT and 2.12. Matter is “only temporarily manifested” in the sense that it is temporarily unmanifest within Mahavisnu along with the jivas and their latent karma. The baddha jiva has always been under the sway of karma, but this influence can be ended.
The verses from Brhad Aranyaka do not say what you think they do. They are far from a literal translation and such translations appear to be part of BVT’s preaching strategy. They are speaking about three states of material consciousness, waking, dreaming, and deep sleep. And just as the jiva moves between these three mirocosmically, so does the jiva do so macrocosmically. It moves from susupti (deep sleep) to citabahasa/svapna (dreaming) to jagrat waking to the physical and psychic dimensions of material existence by the force of their latent karma becoming manifest. This has been pointed out more than once in the discussion. But not only are the translations literally problematic, even if they were correct they would bring up other philosophical problems. Such as a time when the world had no karma because the infinite number of jivas had not yet decided to enter it. Note again that there is no creation of jivas. All of them exist at all times. It is not that during every world cycle new jivas are created and have a choice to make. There is no choice until the world is manifest and bhakti is made available. So with your translation you have all jivas at some point making a choice with a partial view of a so called material existence that has no souls in it yet, and no karma yet. There is no meaning to a material world without souls and karma. We are left to wonder what would they be looking at.
Dear Tripurari Swami,
“The verses from Brhad Aranyaka do not say what you think they do. They are far from a literal translation”
Kindly then give your translation.
Further you state:
“such translations appear to be part of BVT’s preaching strategy.”
Where does BVT state that these are “part of his preaching strategy”?
Regarding the fourth chapter third section of Brhad Aranyaka Upanisad, the subject here is The Different (material) States of the Self/Consciousness: Waking, Dreaming, and Deep Sleep. Note that deep sleep (susupti) in our every day life is compared to deep sleep within Mahavisnu and that this susupti in turn is also compared loosely to turiya, the fourth and wholly transcendent state—the other world. The difference between susupti and turiya being karma is latent in the former and absent in the latter. Thus from susupti one returns, whereas from truriya one does not. In the three states one goes from one world to the other, from waking to deep sleep, which is a contentless experience of existence beyond the psychic (dreaming) and waking (physical) states of consciousness. In this sense deep sleep is the “other world,” or according to Vedanta, the closest thing to it in materially conditioned life.
BA 4.3.9 “There are two states of the self, that of being in this world and that of being in the other world. There is also an intermediate state or junction between these two, the dream state (svapna). Dwelling in this junction one sees both those states. Having obtained the way to the other world, one sees its joys and the evils of this world. When the self sleeps it takes along the material of the all embracing world 9it closes down the psychic and physical). The self tears it apart and builds it up (it goes between sleeping and waking). It sleeps by its own brightness by its own light. In that state is becomes illumined.” (Here susupti is compared to a glimpse of the enlightenment of Brahman realization where the self exists independent of body and mind and is thus restful—shanti, shanti, shanti.)
BA 4.3.18 “Just a large fish moves along the banks of a river from one side to the other, so also does the self move through both states, the state of sleeping and the state of waking.”
BVT does not state that he formulated a preaching strategy regarding anadi karma. But neither did Jiva Goswami say that he devised a preaching strategy when writing that there is no parakiya in the aprakata lila, although he left what could be called an obscure hint. It was VCT that explained that JG’s preaching and siddhanta were not always one. He did this in his tika on Ujjvala-nilamani. There he simply states that where JG writes there is no parakiya in the aprakata lila, this is not his actual opinion but the opinion of others he is catering to, and where he acknowledges it, that is his actual opinion. Then he goes on to explain from sastra why there must be parakiya in the unmanifest lila. Neither does SB say that its description of hells is a preaching strategy. BVT tells us this. And BVT was a very creative preacher in an effort to preach to the West and to enter the stream of modernity. If you read his Sri Krsna-samhita you will find his willingness to consider and possibly accommodate modern sensibilities with regard to philosophy, time, science, and history, including yuga cycles, evolution, etc. And there he has also written with regard to such subjects that “A saragrahi, however, is not attached to a particular view, so if in the future any of my conclusions are refuted by better reasoning, then those new conclusions are worthy of my respect and consideration. Indeed, there is much hope that future spiritual seekers and intellectuals will improve on this matter.”
So some persons in this discussion do not appear to have the adhikara to discuss this subject in that their “faith” in the essence of sastra is tied to phenomenal “beliefs,” that under scrutiny do not hold up. Thus the very discussion itself threatens their faith and we experience strong and irrational responses. Here the beliefs seem to be that God created souls, souls must have a choice with regard to material or spiritual existence for the world to be fair, anadi karma cannot mean literal beginningless-ness, and so on. Add to this the belief that everything BVT wrote is the absolute truth, even when he himself writes that this is not the case. And as BVT writes, there is always a resistance to accept the words of a present acaryas as opposed to those of previous acaryas. Maybe that is why some spiritual successors stick to repeating only what the previous acraya said!
Thus to me it seems likely that in looking at the issue of anadi karma in light of modern sensibilities, BVT reasoned that it could be talked about differently, at least for some time, such that it would be more readily accepted by moderns of his time. After all, again, the notion of free will is at he center of Christian theodicy and Christians are often repulsed by the literal sense of anadi found in sastra. It raises all kinds of flags for them and then they end up making all kinds of misinformed assumptions about Hinduism. This still happens today no doubt. But today Eastern spiritual sensibilities have subtly made their way into Western thought through art, philosophy and the intellectual failure of fundamentalist Abrahamic religious sensibilities. And as others have mentioned, Weatern Gaudiya Vaisnavas are looking more deeply into their own scriptural heritage. Should we discourage them from doing to in the name of preaching to those who are not? Today it is more important that devotees read their books than it is to distribute them. And this in turn will foster an insightful outreach of greater intellectual integrity, including the writing of new books.
Wrong translation. The 3rd Chapter’s name is “Investigation of the Three States”. Janaka is asking Yajnavalkya about what serves as light for a man? After different answers given (sun, moon) Yajnavalkya said (4.3.6) “The self, indeed, is his light, for with the self as light he sits, goes out, works and returns.” Then (4.3.7-8) he describes what is the self and in the (4.3.9) he says nothing about spiritual world at all, he speaks about the next world:
“And there are only two states for that person: the one here in this world and the other in the next world. The third, the intermediate, is the dream state. When he is in that intermediate state, he surveys both states: the one here in this world and the other in the next world. Now, whatever support he may have for the next world, he provides himself with that and sees both evils (sufferings) and joys.
And when he dreams, he takes away a little of the impressions of this all-embracing world (the waking state), himself makes the body unconscious and creates a dream body in its place, revealing his own brightness by his own light – and he dreams. In this state the person becomes self-illumined.”
In (4.3.18) is nothing about spiritual world or Causal Ocean. The translation is:
“As a large fish swims alternately to both banks of a river – the east and the west – so does the infinite being move to both these states: dreaming and waking.”
Now the Upanishad gives an example. Like a huge fish in a river moving alternately towards either bank, now touching one bank and now touching the other, even so, this individual experiencer drives himself in different directions, sometimes to the dream side, sometimes to the waking side, for the purpose of the exhaustion of the impulses in the mind which are the causes of these different experiences.
After such mediocre arguments, it was really something to see the pride of your following statements:
Unfortunately, travel prevents me from taking part in the discussion today, but I look forward to the responses of others.
So instead of answering coherently to the arguments and sastric information raised all you do is focus in where you can twist words to give yourself a chance for the “ad hominem” fallacy.
Furthermore, just to dismiss arguments and statements from sastra with pejorative self-serving vacuity is to fail to answer them at all. Thus, just another valueless fallacious response.
With your arrogant posture of dismissal rather than civil response you only demean yourself.
Dharmacandra dasa, your pride indeed appears boundless. Instead of acknowledging the several arguments presented in response to your fanciful understanding of how karma is anadi, as well as ignoring the fact that your arguments, such as they are, are addressed in the original article (which, as have others, I honestly doubt you have read carefully), you accuse the others of ignoring what you’ve written and merely calling you names. Your facile dismissal of everyone who disagrees with you as being in illusion is evidence of that. In fact, your protestations are less than hollow; they read as hypocritical, as any careful reader with an open heart and mind can easily see.
Beyond that, I want to make a couple of small points that don’t seem to have been directly addressed in the other posts. One is that you exhort us to “try to understand and contemplate without attachment to previous ideas.” I think following that advice would benefit you greatly. I humbly urge you to read Swami Tripurari’s article carefully and dispassionately, setting aside any prejudices. Then we may have something to discuss.
Another is your assertion that Bg. 10.8 has Krsna claiming to be the “beginning” of everything. It’s kind of cute that you use quotation marks, as if you’re actually quoting someone’s translation. However the translations I have have Krsna claiming to be the source of everything. That’s what I see in Srila Prabhupada’s edition, as well as the others. The word in the verse is prabhavah, which Srila Prabhupada translates as “the source of generation.” Indeed, Monier-Williams concurs; his translations for the word are source, origin, cause of existence (as mother or father), etc. There is no reference to beginning, as at some point in time.
Moreover, even first-semester philosophy students learn that, metaphysically, God’s creation of souls does not refer to making any soul at any point in time, as in the minting of a coin in 1943. Rather, it means simply that God is the source of the souls.
These aren’t particularly difficult ideas to grasp. Granted, the sastric understanding of anadi karma is hard to wrap our minds around. The topic is, after all, inherently adhoksaja, beyond the ken of the senses and mind. But Tripurari Maharaja has digested this concept for us and presented it in a way that we may grasp to the degree we’re able, but only if, as I suggested before, we read carefully and with open minds and hearts. Failing that, it’s hard for me to see how anyone can take your arguments seriously.
Maharaj, you wrote :
If in lila “appearance of beginning” is there for anadi Mahavishnu becoming many, his anadi breathing, his anadi jivas, his anadi world, is it possible then that there is also an “appearance of beginning” of anadi bondage of jiva with maya?
The spirit of this comment of mine is that while in fact—tattva—jivas, prakrti, karma, and God are literally anadi, there is a lila of apparent beginnings, sristi-lila. So while there is an appearance of a beginning to the jiva’s karma with every world cycle in sristi lila, in fact its karma is literally anandi.
I was asking about “apparent beginning” of bondage of jiva with maya.
You wrote that God becomes many. And since they are small, the many find themselves in difficulty in the face of maya.
“An appearance of a beginning to the jiva’s karma” is “an apparent beginning to of the jiva’s bondage.”
Ok, thank you.
Have you ever discussed harmony between your understanding of literal anadi karma and that of BVT’s explanation with Srila Bhakti Gambhir Giri Maharaj?
No, the topic is too basic.
Krsna in Gita 10.8 says, “Everything emanates from Me.”
Now we are faced with two possibilities:
1. The jiva IS under karma at the point of emanation.
2. The jiva IS NOT under karma at the point of emanation.
Either way the karma has a “spiritual beginning”.
In 1. Karma has a “spiritual beginning” because jiva under karma emanated from Krsna who is pure spirit.
In 2. Karma has a “spiritual beginning” because jiva was NOT UNDER karma after emanation and then at some point of his spiritual situation choose to enter matter and thus COME UNDER karma FROM SPIRIT.
Therefore either way, the jiva is under or comes under from a spiritual situation.
Therefore anadi karma means “karma materially beginningless”.
Furthermore, as 1. (Jiva emanates from Krsna UNDER KARMA) contradicts the transcendental purity of Sri Krsna and Jiva, then we must accept scenario 2. (Jiva emanates from Sri Krsna NOT UNDER KARMA).
Therefore jiva emanates from Sri Krsna in a state of transcendent purity but by choice from this spiritual state chooses matter and thus comes under karma.
Thus anadi jiva and anadi karma indicate that the beginning of karma and jiva is not material but spiritual.
Anadi jiva: materially beginningless soul.
Anadi karma: materially beginningless karma.
What you fail to understand is that words like “emanate” with regard to eternal entities is not something that happens at a point in time. Such words seek to speak to us through the limits of language of the eternal present. Just as rays of sunlight emanate from the sun, similarly all things emanate from Krsna. It is not that the sun existed first and then at some point in time it emanated rays. The moon does not exist separately from its shine. It is not that at some point Krsna existed alone without Radha. Indeed, there is no meaning to Svayam Bhagavan without her. Svayam Bhagavan is the Krsna standing next to Radha, his svarupa sakti. Mahavisnu comes from Krsna/Baladeva, but he is at the same time anadi. Do you want to say that anadi Mahavisnu has a beginning? I hope not. He does not, and similarly his tatastha sakti and maya-sakti do not have a beginning. Nor do their interaction (karma). And to say that there are material beginnings and actual spiritual beginnings is a misunderstanding of the spiritual, the eternal, which by definition has no beginning becasue it is not physical and therefore not bound by time and space. In transcendence, in lila, there are only apparent beginnings for the sake of the lila. In material existence time rules, but in spiritual existence time is subordinate to bhava. Please take the time to look up the references I gave you in my previous post and read the commentaries of BVB and VCT.
And once again, if you give a opposite definition to “anadi” from what we find in Vedanta-sutra, as you have, you are not defining the term in accordance with the siddhanta of the sutras.
Dear Tripurari Swami,
I thank you for your elaborate reply on how different Vaisnavas have used “preaching strategies” in the past. The examples you gave have refreshed my memories. The examples you gave are all well known as “preaching strategies” because there are accompanying statements from the acaryas defining them as “preaching strategies”.
However, we must recognize that unless BVT has specifically stated that his presentation of “anadi karma” is a “preaching tactic” then it only remains a “supposition” that on this specific issue BVT was actually using a “preaching tactic” in his elucidation.
We should be careful about building upon the unsure foundation of a supposition.
You state: “What you fail to understand is that words like “emanate” with regard to eternal entities is not something that happens at a point in time.”
With respect, I must point out that I certainly understand that jiva is an eternal entity as is prakrti, material nature. Thus both have no “point in [material] time” at which they were created. Therefore they are “beginningless in terms of material time”.
However both matter and jiva have their origin in Krsna.
Bs 5.1: anadir adir govindah
Translation: “Govinda is beginningless [anadir] and the origin of all [adir].”
Gaudiya philosophy is acintya bedabeda.
So jiva is anadi, beginningless. Yet simultaneously he has an origin [adi Govinda].
From the point of view of “non-difference” jiva is “beginningless” as are all shaktis of Krsna and Krsna Himself.
However, from the point of view of “difference” jiva has “an origin” emanating from Krsna, as above stated by Brahmaji, no less.
So now we have the crux. On one hand jiva is “beginningless”, yet at the same time jiva “has an origin”.
To material logic these appear mutually exclusive. How can jiva be “beginningless” and at the same time have “an origin” which of course implies a beginning.
Actually it is easy to resolve these apparent opposites, but only if we accept the “acinyta shakti” of Sri Krsna. In transcendence the “acinyta” shakti has unlimited potency. And material or “literal” logic cannot be applied to understanding the operation of the acintya-shakti. Sastra expounds that in Sri Krsna and His acinyta shakti all apparent opposites are resolved.
As Bhagavatam explains “words [and the material logic thereof] shrink back from the inconceivable Lord and his inconceivable potencies”.
Thus Mahaprabhu has defined the ulitimate understanding of Vedas as “acinyta bedabeda”. And directed all conditioned souls to engage in sadhana that will eventually elevate them to the purified consciousness that will reveal the transcendent understanding of these matters that is not available to the materially conditioned whose intelligence and logic is blunted by the lower nature of this material body and mind composed of the lower and secondary prakrti.
Now if we accept the “origin” of jiva as Sri Krsna. Then, as jiva is constitutionally non-different from Sri Krsna, we must then accept that jiva originates in a pure state above material karma.
Sruti and smrti confirm this. Both explain that Bhagavan is the “great fire” and jiva is the “unlimited sparks” cascading out from the fire. This confirms the aspect of Krsna as the “adir, origin” of jiva.
So now we must consider the cause of jiva’s entanglement in matter.
Is it by Krsna’s choice or jiva’s choice?
In a previous posting, the verses have been given from the Brhad Aranyaka Upanisad 4.3.9, 4.3.18 describing the marginal position of jiva between matter and spirit from which jiva chooses his subsequent engagement in matter or spirit.
Jiva is defined as tatastha shakti. No explanation of jiva’s position can deny this. The margin of matter and spirit, throughout sruti and smrti, is defined as Karana Samudra, the Causal Ocean. “Causal” is of definition of this Ocean and so indicates. Marginal jiva manifests at this juncture.
Bhagavatam 11.2.37 explains that jiva *chooses* his entanglement in maya-shakti.
isad apetasya viparyayo ‘smrtih tan-mayayato
isat—from the Supreme Lord; apetasya—for one who has turned away; viparyayah—misidentification; asmrtih—forgetfulness; tat—of the Lord; mayaya—by the illusory energy;
“One [the soul] who turns away from the Supreme Lord forgets his own constitutional position and enters material misidentification. This bewildered condition is effected by the potency for illusion, called maya.”
“Apetasya”, turns away, establishes that the minutely independent jiva by choice turns his back to the Supreme Lord and His transcendental service. Thus jiva not Isvara is responsible for his entanglement.
Conclusion: Thus beginningless jiva having originated from Isvara manifests at the margin of matter and spirit, the Causal Ocean, and chooses his “beginningless” entanglement in the maya-shakti, having rebelled against the Supremacy of Isvara. Jiva can free himself by sädhu sanga and reestablish his transcendental position and nature, having forgotten his spiritual constitution by the action of the maya-shakti.
Thus (1) jiva is “beginningless” being an eternal shakti of Isvara; (2) yet, “acinyta”, materially inconceivably, jiva simultaneously has an “origin” from Isvara; (3) jiva being tatastha shakti chooses his fall to matter at the tata, or juncture, of matter and spirit, the Causal Ocean; (4) Isvara gave choice to jiva, but not the decision to jiva in his fall to matter; (5) jiva’s choice is previous to his entanglement in matter; (6) jiva is responsible for is “beginningless” entanglement in “karma”; (6) jiva is liberated by sädhu-sanga.
Thus by understanding the acintya-shakti all items are harmonized, material time being absent from the transcendent cit-sakti.
And the siddhanta given by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur is not an non-evidential “preaching strategy”, but rather a brilliant and perfect elucidation of the acinyta siddhanta of the Sri Brahma Gaudiya Sampradaya.
Dear Swamiji and devotees, thank you for your kind attention in this matter.
You fail to acknowledge that I have cited accepted examples of preaching strategies in our sampradaya that were not explicitly stated to be such by those who embarked upon them. That they were preaching strategies we accept on the basis of our faith in others who have explained them as such. VCT explained JG’s as such and BVT explained the Bhagavatam’s strategy as such, for example. We have no need for BVT to explicitly state that he himself formulated one on this issue in order to know that he did. We need only faith in past, present, or future acaryas who have said as much. And they have. In this discussion evidence from B.R. Sridhara Deva Goswami and B.V Narayana Goswami that the “tatastha region” is not an actual “place,” but rather a “fictitious line of demarcation” and a “provisional understanding” for beginners that in actuality does not exist. And I myself as a present acarya have taken the position that BVT has formulated a preaching strategy with supporting evidence. The fact that you do not accept my considered opinion does nothing to advance the discussion and provides no evidence whatsoever to overturn my position. You are left with only your opinion. And your opinion fails to understand that the position of BVT that you take as siddhanta, as opposed to a preaching strategy, is at in some ways at odds with sastra, as has been demonstrated time and again.
As for your ideas of spiritual beginnings outside of time, you fail to understand the import of your own citation of the fact that language cannot do justice to the nature of that which transcends it. In other words you continue to take figurative speech literally. I have already cited widely accepted examples of the sun and moon and their shine. These are examples of bhedabheda, and it is clear from the examples that the rays of these entities exist along with them at all times. Bhagavans saktis are different from him in a sense but not in the sense that they have a beginning while he does not. This is not what acintya bhedabheda says and no sastra or tika has ever said this. Just as he is termed anadi, so too are they. And there is no meaning to any beginning outside of time. As I will point out in my next article, this is merely another way of saying that something has literally no beginning at all—anadi. I have also given the example of Krsna “eternally becoming Radha.” Again, any sense of a literal origin of Radha in spiritual time is merely lila, her birth, etc. Otherwise from the perspective of siddhanta that we are discussing, any language that might be construed to imply that Radha did not exist as some point in spiritual time is only figurative language. And again BVT himself has explained this and his explanation was cited in my article. But you ignore such examples and clear explanations.
Furthermore the baddha jiva does not manifest or originate in Krsna, other than in the sense that it manifests from Mahavisnu, who himself “originates” from Krsna. He too is literally anadi. There is no time material or spiritual when he did not exist. And the tatstha sakti that the baddha jiva is constituted of inheres within him and emanates from him in the context of sristi-lila. Within him in susupti this tatastha sakti is conditioned by latent karma. That does not mean that is it in any way material. No, it is purely spiritual, as the jiva is in all conditions of life. And in susupti karma although present in latent from does not act upon the jivas. The fact that the jiva is conditioned by literal anadi karma does not mean that is constitutionally materially affected.
You cite Bhagavatam 11.2.37. Your understanding of this verse has already been shown to be incorrect earlier in this discussion. I suggest you follow your own advice and engage in sadhana, by which your capacity to understand this topic will be enhanced.
This question of Dharmacandra represents a fundamental misunderstanding of the issue, one that it seems a number of devotees are under the influence of. As my article points out, citing Vedanta-sutra 2.1.34-35, God is definitely not the cause of the jiva’s bondage. On this all commentators also agree. So the question is the wrong question to begin with. There is no argument being made that these two options are our only choices. The sutras shift the blame from God to karma and assert that karma is anadi. To say that karma is the cause and then to think that means God is the cause is a gross misunderstanding of Vedanta. Karma is a natural law that operates in relation the the interaction between maya-sakti and jiva-sakti. God does not interfere with this other than to make bhakti available through his devotees, to inject his krpa-sakti into the equation.
Now a better question to ask is whether the jiva’s bondage is its choice, or whether it is the influence of anadi karma. The obvious answer from the sutra’s is “the influence of anadi karma,” whereas BVT has answered “the jiva’s choice.” But this can be looked at with some nuance and harmonized. I will discuss this in my soon to be published follow up article (later today).
Just to reiterate what Swami Tripurari and Citta Hari have said: the premise you have stated above is fundamentally incorrect and leads to all the flawed reasoning that follows it.
Krsna is eternaly existing along with all of his saktis. His saktis are part of who he is. The existence of those saktis are dependent on Krsna (like sun and rays)–they do not exist independently of him. This is the more accurate understanding of “origin” and “emanates”–they both imply dependence.
Besides, Krsna exists beyond time. How can any of his saktis have a “beginning” within time? The answer is: they can’t. He and they are all beyond time–anadi and ananta–beginingless and endless.
Is it possible then that Ramanuj/Sankar/Baladev’s commentary on anadi karma in Vedanta explains from the view of tattva and BVT from view of lila?
You could say that from the perspective of sristi lila the jiva’s karma begins upon emerging from susupti and that this is its “beginning outside of time (very loosely),” but that would not constitute a full analysis of sristi-lila and beginning outside of time are problematic. It does not take into consideration that karma is latent in susupti and sristi lila is ongoing, world cycle after world cycle.
I am going to write another, shorter article on this subject speaking about the issue from a slightly different angle. I hope to have it out tomorrow.
Hare Krsna. Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupda.
I would just like to understand why Srila Prabhupada uses the term “back home, back to Godhead” so often. For my simple mind, this implies a return to Godhead.
Such language is characteristic of the preaching strategy started by Bhaktivinoda Thakura when presenting Gaudiya Vaisnavism to Western-educated and often Christian-influenced Indians (the Bhadralok). Such terminology was used so that people would not blame God for their suffering or for the existence of evil in the world (theodicy). “Back to Godhead” is thus figurative language and not to be taken literally. As pointed out in the article, preaching and siddhanta are not always the same; the message has to be tweaked sometimes according to the level of eligibility of the audience. Prabhupada himself did this–sometimes he spoke of going “Back to Godhead” and other times (notably, when commenting on the section of Srimad-Bhagavatam that deals with this issue directly) he gave the siddhanta: “The jiva never falls from Vaikuntha.”
What you say is no doubt true. At the same time the history of the phrase “Back to godhead” is also given in the inaugural issue of Prabhupada’s magazine. There he uses the phrase to implore the leaders of the war torn world to return to a God conscious outlook and in this sense “Back to Godhead.” In other words the phrase was not initially used to speak about going to Vaikuntha, what to speak of returning. It is after all a place of no return, thank God.
For those interested the article mentioned above has been published on the Harmonist and can be found here https://harmonist.us/2009/07/back-to-godhead/.
I think there can be even more said on the subject, but here is the section of “In Vaikuntha, Not Even the Leaves Fall” that deals with the issue of the phrase “back to Godhead”:
Visvanath Cakravarti tika: The jiva situated behind the Lord with beginningless aversion loses knowledge by beginningless ignorance which is also situated behind the Lord. There is no cause and no purpose for the jiva doing this. This is the nature of tamas that it eclipses the power of the jiva, who has only small power.
It is nothing about spirit in these verses, please read my and Swamiji comments above.
And what body and mind (operating instruments) he has in this Ocean?
This verse certainly does not say that one falls from anywhere. It is explaining the cause of our bondage, which is non-devotion. The purpose is to know the cause and then find a solution. The last part of the verse gives the solution – devotion to the Lord, bhaktya ekaya esam guru-devatatma. No previous commentator explains this verse as indicating fall from anywhere. King Nimi asked about the ultimate welfare (11.2.29). The sage replied that pure devotion is the ultimate welfare, because it will dispel the root cause of all problems, non-devotion. Nimi did not ask from where we fell or how we got bound and when. Therefore to screw out such a meaning is a deviation from the topic under discussion.
There is absolutely no talk of fall-down nor of losing one’s memory of Krsna. The verse (11.2.37) is simply analyzing the cause of the fear of a conditioned soul and how to get rid of it. The translation also says, “He forgets his own constitutional position as a servant of the Lord.” Forgetting one’s constitutional position as a servant of God does not mean one was formerly in a relationship with the Lord. The part and parcel jivatma is automatically a servant of the Lord, and his not being engaged in service automatically constitutes forgetfulness of his constitutional position. A part is always a servant of the whole. The part has to be in contact with the whole and thus render some service. This is the acintya nature of the Lord. But in the case of the jiva, he is part of the Lord’s energy and not His body. So it is possible to remain a part and yet not be connected to the whole. This forgetfulness is anadi; it has no beginning. This is the explanation of Jiva Gosvami.
Again, words such as “when a living entity misidentifies,” “when the living entity thus turns away” and “forgetting Krsna” do not signify any particular time or sequence in the bondage of the jiva. The verse does not have any Sanskrit equivalent words for “when.” It has been used in the translation simply for ease of understanding.
Dear Tripurari Swami and Citta Hari,
Surely you must accept the words of Brahmaji.
anadir adir Govinda
Govinda is beginningless and the “origin” of all.
We have to accept Krsna as the “origin” of jiva and yet simultaneously understand that jiva is “beginningless”.
To resolve these two aspects is nothing for the acintya shakti of Sri Krsna.
You seem set on only accepting the “beginningless” aspect.
But you must accept the “origin” aspect and the implications thereof.
These are the words of Brahmaji.
Remember the story of cutting the head off a chicken. We should not think that half a chicken is viable.
You have to read the replies to your comments more closely. As I and several others have pointed out, Krsna as the origin includes his saktis. And the sutras also make this clear. In adhikarana 11 (2.3.16) of his Govinda-bhasya, Sri Baladeva Vidyabhusana explains that while the previous adhikarana described Bhagavan as the origin from which everything originates and that himself has no origin, in the present adhikarana Vyasa “explains away the wrong notion that the jiva has any origin.” He cites Chandogya Upanisad “All these beings (jivas) have sat for their origin.” Thus 2.3.16 states this siddhanta, “The atma has no origin.”
BVB explains that the emanation of the jiva sakti from Mahavisnu involves only the expansion of its contracted intelligence, not any change in its eternal nature. The jivas are dormant in him having entered him at the time of pralaya. At this time their intelligence is contracted. He states that the jiva as “effect” during the expansion of the world is “really only God existing in another condition as a manifestation of himself.” Remember here that it is the One that becomes many, and that this is at the same time figurative language because the One is the many that are different manifestation of himself—one and different. And it is not that the jiva originated in “spiritual time” from Krsna, slipped into the Causal Ocean, made the wrong choice, entered the material world and THEN ended up inside Mahavisnu at the time of the pralaya. This is the kind of misconception some of us are trying to clear up.
Dear Tripurari Swami,
The quotations you have kindly given from Vedanta and the sruti are most informative.
As no doubt you understand, we must distinguish between material origin and transcendental origin. Material origin is asat and, as you quote from the sruti, transcendental origin is sat.
The bound materialist, sunyavadi, speculates that the souls or living entities of the material world have a material origin, a combination of matter.
The nirvisesa mayavadi proposes that the souls or living entities are a false creation of the material world by the reflection of Brahman within matter.
Their theories may vary in details but the bottom line is that they see the souls or living entities of this world as a material product and therefore temporary manifestations.
To clear up these false materialistic understandings, Vyasa quite rightly describes that the souls or jivas are anadi, beginningless.
[We should note at this point that “adi” means origin, and therefore with the sufix “an”, or not, means “no origin”, as well as beginningless.]
This “no origin” appellation immediately countermands the materialists’ proposal that the jiva is a temporary manifestation originating in this material world.
And simultaneously, as everything material is a temporary manifestion, this assertion of anadi jiva indicates that the origin of jiva is of a different category from the temporary manifestations of matter.
In this way Vyasa lays the groundwork for introducing to ignorant materialists that there is a transcendental region full of variety that is the “origin” of jiva souls (and all shaktis of Sri Krsna).
Thus Vyasa’s first step in educating the materialists is anadi jiva means “soul without beginning or origin [in this material energy]”.
This is confirmed as you quoted: “in the present adhikarana Vyasa “explains away the wrong notion that the jiva has any [material] origin.”
The question then naturally arises: “If jiva has no beginning or origin in matter, then what is the origin of jiva?”
Then Vyasa gives his second step in educating.
As you quote:
He cites Chandogya Upanisad “All these beings (jivas) have sat for their origin.”
So in this way we discern that Vyasa has first cancelled the false conception of material origin and led everyone to the final understanding of transcendental or “sat” origin.
Once the jivas are accepted as “having sat for their origin” the third step in understanding the origin of the jiva begins. That origin is Sri Krsna: Bs: 5.1 “anadir adir Govinda” or “Govinda who is without origin is the origin of all.”
More specific detail on this transcendental origin of jiva is give further in Brahma Samhita, 5.11:
purusah—Lord Maha-Visnu… …sahasra-suh—the creator of thousands of individual souls.
“Thus Govinda in his non-different form as Sri Maha Visnu is the creator [origin] of thousands of thousands of jiva souls.”
This detail is essential in understanding the third step of understanding the origin of the tatastha-shakti-jiva.
Sri Maha Visnu resides within the pradhana or Karana Sumudra, Causal Ocean, the Vedas describe as the margin of matter and spirit. However we should note that the Karana Sumudra is transcendental to matter [which is produced within the Maha-tattva, a transformation of pradhana caused by the glance of Maha Visnu known Sambhu of Siva Tattva.]
Within the “margin” known as the Karana Sumudra, Maha Visnu creates or emanates the tatastha “marginal jivas”. As these tatastha jivas awaken to consciousness from creational susputi, they become aware of the spiritual and material realms. As jiva is by nature ananda moya byasat, or actively pleasure seeking, jiva cannot remain nuetral or non-active. Therefore jiva chooses material or spiritual engagement on the basis of “rebellion” or “surrender” to Isvara, respectively.
In this way, anadi jiva in full ultimately indicates (1) of no material origin; (2) of “sat” origin; (3) jivas’ “sat” origin is Sri Maha Visnu at the margin of matter and spirit the Karana Sumudra; (4) whence marginal jiva chooses by his own will engagement in matter or spirit; (5) if he chooses matter he becomes “beginninglessly conditioned” from that position of “sat” above the material time factor.
In short, “anadi jiva” means of “soul of no material origin”.
And, “anadi karma” means “karma of no material origin” as the origin of jivas’ karmic involvement originates in the choice he made in the “sat” and “marginal” Karana Sumudra.
Thus the root of karma cannot be traced out in the material sphere because it’s beginning is rooted in “sat” transcendence. Thus anadi karma means in fuller understanding; “beginninglessly conditioned in matter, because of jiva’s choice originating in “sat”.”
As a helpful note we should understand that as stated in Bs 5.56: “Time is conspicuous by its absence in the transcendental realm.”
There is no time as we know it in the transcendental realm.
Therefore all emanations of that realm are “sat” or “eternal” being forever free of the past present and future of the mundane realm. The nature of transcendental realm is “inconceivable” to the mundane mind. Thus conditioned souls tend to impose material time concepts on the “emanation” of jiva in the “sat” realm. Being unable to grasp transcendental origin devoid of time, they find unease and may find themselves taking shelter of material conceptions such as “the soul has always been in the material world”, which of course contradicts your expert quotation:
“Chandogya Upanisad “All these beings (jivas) have sat for their origin.”
Thus problems arise from the application of mundane logic to the acintya sat realm, which is the origin of jiva and his choice therein.
Thanking you for your kind attention.
“Sat” does not mean “no material origin.” It means “eternal.” to say one originates in sat is to say one has no origin. And as pointed out by Ananta Govinda, citing JG on Brahma-samhita 5.1.1 that you are so fond of, “origin/adi” does not mean what you think it does:
Ananta Govinda states,
“Why don’t you acqaint yourself with the commentary of Jiva Gosvami on these verse which you’re pushing ahead?
Brahma Samhita, 5.1
The word “adi”:
Since Krsna alone is parama, endowed with such energies. he is called adi (first).
Sridhara Svami explains in his commentary that the word adyah harih refers to Krsna, In the Eleventh Canto also the quality of excellence (rsabham) is mentioned along with being first (adya).
So, the explanation of “adi” is not that Krsna has created all his energies (including jivas), but that he is Supreme (parama) Controller of his energies, He is the cheif.
The particular time of creation of the Lord energies is not mentioned anywhere in sastra. It’s the way around, in the very beginning of Gita he says opposite (2.12), “It is not that I, you and these kings did not exist, and nor in the future will we not exist.” See here, that He puts Himself and all the jivas in one line in terms of existence. (nitya nityanam cetanas cetananam)
Again, try to imagine sun without its shine and see what will come to your mind.”
And for the umteenth time, karma is already present in susupti! So when you say the jiva emanates out of creational susupti and then chooses material existence and then comes under karma. So you misunderstand. The jiva emanates from susupti within Visnu, where he rests along with his latent karma from the previous world cycle.
As for Bs 5.11, JG says sahasra suh means God is the “source of thousands of universes.” But even if you take it as the “mother of all jivas” or their “creator” you have to take “suh” figuratively. Because as has already been explained with evidence, souls are coeternal with God as his tatastha sakti. And this section of Bs is only talking about what occurs repeatedly with the manifestation of each world cycle. There is no ultimate origin that is discussed therein or anywhere else for that matter.
But I agree with you when you say, “Thus problems arise from the application of mundane logic to the acintya sat realm.” You are experiencing such problems because you are trying to fit your preconceived notions into sastra where they don’t fit. And now you are beginning to repeat yourself. If you want to continue the discussion, you must acknowledge when your points are demonstrated to be incorrect. You are not doing that. Instead you simply ignore responses to your previous posts that have taken them on point for point, instead of acknowledging that your understanding of the import of sastra has been proven wrong. Then you make “new posts” that continue to make points that have already been demonstrated to be incorrect. For examaple (and there are many to choose from), you cite Bs 5.1 and your interpretation of it. But when JG’s understanding of it is cited and yours is shown to contradict his, you do not acknowledge that you were wrong. You just go on making the same wrong point and misinterpret new verses to say the same thing that has already been proven incorrect. This is not the way to discuss sastra with a view to understanding its import (vada). And you are not alone in this. Others have done it repeatedly on this thread. I am not going to continue to discuss with those who do this.
I should add a comment to this statement of yours.
The fact that the nitya-baddha jiva, eternally materially conditioned soul, has always been in material existence does not mean it is not sat in “origin.” Why? Because while “residing in prakrti” it remains transcendental to its false identification with it that constitutes its “residence” therein. I am sorry but this is about as basic a point in Gaudiya Vedanta as one could raise. There is a difference between the soul and the body, and the fact that the soul is in the body does not mean it has a material origin. It has no origin. The contradiction you perceive does not exist.
The sutra “annada mayo ‘bhyasat” (1.1.12) does not refer to the jiva. It refers to God. See the commentary of BVB (Govinda-bhasya). There is no rebellion mentioned anywhere is sastra. Rebellion is found in the Bible.
It is bad enough that one has to defend the idea that karma has no beginning, but to have to defend the fact that the atma has no beginning is really over the top. It has no place in Vedanta. A soul with a beginning, however, does have a place in the Bible.
Seems like you don’t know what are you speaking about. Read what SB says on this point.
yat tat tri-guṇam avyaktaḿ
pradhānaḿ prakṛtiḿ prāhur
The Lord said: Prakrti is called avyakta because, though having variety, it has a state of invisibility when the three gunas are in balance. It is called pradhana because, manifesting variety, it is the best, being the shelter of all the visible elements. It is called prakrti because it is the very cause of all causes and effects. It is eternal.
svasyāḿ yonau paraḥ pumān
ādhatta vīryaḿ sāsūta
“The Supreme Lord placed the jivas into the womb of prakrti, whose gunas were agitated by time. Prakrti gave birth to the brilliant mahat-tattva.”
Why don’t you acqaint yourself with the commentary of Jiva Gosvami on these verse which you’re pushing ahead?
Brahma Samhita, 5.1
The word “adi”:
Since Krsna alone is parama, endowed with such energies. he is called adi (first).
Sridhara Svami explains in his commentary that the word adyah harih refers to Krsna, In the Eleventh Canto also the quality of excellence (rsabham) is mentioned along with being first (adya).
So, the explanation of “adi” is not that Krsna has created all his energies (including jivas), but that he is Supreme (parama) Controller of his energies, He is the cheif.
The particular time of creation of the Lord energies is not mentioned anywhere in sastra. It’s the way around, in the very beginning of Gita he says opposite (2.12), “It is not that I, you and these kings did not exist, and nor in the future will we not exist.” See here, that He puts Himself and all the jivas in one line in terms of existence. (nitya nityanam cetanas cetananam)
Again, try to imagine sun without its shine and see what will come to your mind.
nātmā śruter nityatvāc ca tābhyaḥ
The individual spirit soul was never created. Why not? The sūtra explains, śruteḥ: “Because of the statements of Śruti-śāstra.” In Kaṭha Upaniṣad [1.2.18] it is said:
na jāyate mriyate vā vipaścin
nāyaṁ kutaścin na babhūva kaścit
ajo nityaḥ śāśvato ‘yaṁ purāṇo
na hanyate hanyamāne śarīre
“O wise one, for the soul there is neither birth nor death at any time. He has not come into being, does not come into being, and will not come into being. He is unborn, eternal, ever-existing, and primeval. He is not slain when the body is slain.”
That the individual spirit soul was never born is also declared in the Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad [1.9]:
jñājñau dvāv ajāv īśānīśau
“Neither the Supreme Personality of Godhead nor the individual spirit souls were ever born.”
The word tābhyaḥ in the sūtra means “The eternality of the individual spirit soul is described in the Śruti and Smṛti-śāstras.” The word ca [and] in the sūtra means that the individual spirit soul is also conscious and full of knowledge.
In the Kaṭha Upaniṣad [2.5.13] it is said:
nityo nityānāṁ cetanaś cetanānām
“Of all eternal living souls there is one who is the leader. Of all eternal souls there is one who is the leader.”
nātmā jajāna na mariṣyati naidhate ‘sau
na kṣīyate savana-vid vyabhicāriṇāḿ hi
sarvatra śaśvad anapāyy upalabdhi-mātraḿ
prāṇo yathendriya-balena vikalpitaḿ sat
“The jiva does not undergo birth, death, growth, or deterioration since he is the seer of all conditions of changing bodies. That jiva is knowledge alone, existing constantly in the body, but endowed with activity by the power of the senses, just as prana is one but moves from body to body.”
“O wise one, for the soul there is neither birth nor death at any time. He has not come into being, does not come into being, and will not come into being. He is unborn, eternal, ever-existing, and primeval. He is not slain when the body is slain.”
Yes, jiva as elucidated above is eternally above the transformations of the body imposed by material nature.
But he is simultaneously “an emanation” of Isvara.
As he is constitutionally “sat chit ananda” and has emanated from the Supreme “sat chit ananda” it is irrefutable that he “emanated” in a state of purity.
Therefore he has fallen into material consciousness from a state of purity.
[In matter the soul remains unpolluted. However his consciousness is polluted by the three modes of material nature. This pollution of consciousness constitutes his “fall” from purity.]
He “emanates” from susupti in Mahavisnu at the beginning of each world cycle of sristi lila. There is no actual “fall” from purity.”Fall” is figurative language.
Jiva is not “sat chit ananda” and never was. It is nowhere in sastra.
Prakriti is also emanation of Isvara. But separated of Him as well as jiva. They are not part of His svarupa.
JG in Paramatma sandarbha cites Visnu Purana concerning the jiva,s nature, cit anandatmika. BVB also cites this and in Gita bhusana he also describes the jiva as a unit of knowledge and bliss (13.21). But it’s sat cit ananda is different frorm that of Bhagavan’s and that of his svarupa sakti. The jiva’s ananda is not bhaktiananda/hladhini. BVT understands it as only up to brahmananda, a great relief. But some Gaudiyas look at the ananda of the jiva as its potential
Please, specify Anuccheda of Paramatma Sandarbha and where exactly BVB cites this.
There is no word ananda in his commentary on this verse.
Yes, I found.
In Paramatma Sandarbha section 28 Srila Jiva Gosvami clearly says that when it is said that jiva is jnana svarupa it means it is not inert (not that it is full knowledge) and when it is said that it is ananda svarupa it means it is devoid of misery. Tatra tasya jada-pratiyogitvena jnanatvam duhkha-pratiyogitvena tu jnanatvam anandatvam ca. Then he further says that anandatvam means that atma is the object of love without any condition. anandatvam ca nirupadhi.premaspadatvena sadhayati
tasmat priyatama……..(SB 10.14.54)
Martyananda is the material happiness, brahmananda is freedom from material misery and bliss of being in one’s svarupa identified with Brahman.
Bhaktyananda is the bliss which is experienced by a devotee (asraya of prema) in relation to visaya of prema i.e. by giving pleasure to Krsna.
So, what jnana and ananda really mean. What is the meaning of the word ananda. Is it having any content or is it contentless? Does it have any subject/object relation or is it indeterminate?
The conclusion is that jiva is not sat cit ananda, cause brahmananda or bhaktyananda are the perfection stages. Indestructible.
You are saying that the jiva’s ananda is its potential in relation to the object it is associated with. I have no problem with that. The jiva is a relational entity by nature, tatastha.
And to say the jiva’s ananda svarupa is the absence of misery is to say it has an ananda svarupa while qualifying the nature of its ananda. The absence of misery is huge, while far from bhakti.
Excuse me, the verse I cited in Paramatma-sandarbha 19 was from Padma Purana, not Visnu Purana. But Jiva Goswami’s comments on the ananda of the jiva later in section 28 of the sandarbha don’t seem to say that the jiva has no ananda. What he says there is that because the jiva has no misery it is described as anadatvam.
And he says the same more or less about the jiva’s jnana. Because it is not dull matter it is called jnanatvam. However he is not saying the jiva is not knowledge and bliss. He is merely qualifying the nature and or measure of that bliss. It is meager in comparison to the knowledge and bliss of Bhagavan.
Then he says that because the jiva is also the object of love, it is called anandatvam. He cites the teaching from Brahma-vimohana-lila as an example of what he means. There it is taught (10.14.54) that the self is the object of love because it is really the self we love and things only to the extent that they are connected to the self. In other words we love our bodies only because we are in them or we think of them as ours. Thus it is our self , not our bodies, that is our loveable object. And by extension because the atma is an amsa of God, he is the ultimate object of love. So the teaching with regard to the anada of the jiva is that the atma is the loveable object and more so is Krsna. Why are they loveable objects? Because they themselves have love/ananda, but in different measures.
Later in Priti-sandabha 65 JG explains that it is Bhagavan’s svarupa sakti ananda that has the power to overwhelm him and “As such, it goes without saying that bhakti cannot be the bliss inherent in the jiva, since the bliss of jaivänanda is minute and thus entirely incapable of overwhelming the Lord. “
Regarding the reference I cited in Gita Bhusana, Baladeva uses the words “cit sukaika” to describe the jiva’s constitution of knowledge and bliss despite its being situated in prakrti.
Brihat-bhagavatamrta 2.2.187 states
sac cid ananda rupanam
jivanam krsna mayaya
anady avidyaya tattva
vismrtya samsrtir bhramah
“The forms of the jivas are sat cit ananda, but by beginningless ignorance of Krsna’s maya jivas forget their identities and wander in illusion.” Of course in this section Sanatana Goswami makes very little of the bliss of Brahman, what to speak of that of the jiva.
Thus there are statements describing the jiva as sat cit ananda and at the same time its ananda is qualified by other statements. So it would be more correct to say that while the sastra does at times say the jiva is sat cit ananda, its ananda and cit has also been qualified by other statements. Rather than saying that nowhere in sastra does it say the jiva is sat cit ananda.
Of course it’s potential, otherwise there would be no meaning of practice. But it’s not like that jiva is full of knowledge and bliss.
But to say that the jiva has the potential for bliss is also to say that it is ananda as well as cit and sat because it’s existence is never independent of a relationship with matter, Brahman, Paramatma, or Bhagavan (one or the other) that in conjunction with determines the nature of its ananda. And that is why the Visnu Purana describes it as anandatmika. But we are not really disagreeing if you understand me.
I do recall Brihat-bhagavatamrta also describing the jiva as sat cit ananda as well, but I do not have a copy with me. BVT’s point was that if you removed the jiva’s ignorance, it could experience up to brahmananda, not hladhini, which requires the ingress of svarupa sakti (bhakti).
As for it’s knowledge, Govinda Bhasya describes the jiva as a unit of knowledge and a cognizing entity as well.
That is the moot point, because how can you remove avidya? That is only by vidya. Real vidya or jnana is bringing jiva to mukti (Gita 4.39). But VCT says that it is only by part of bhakti mixed in his practice a mayavadi attains his mukti, even if his goal is different. That is why Madhva puts an equal sign between jnana and bhakti saying that jnana is bhakti. Same for VCT. VCT says that knowledge of bhakti is bhakti itself.
It is true that only with the addition of sattviki bhakti can one attain Brahman.
It may be helpful to point out that in susupti the gunas are not operative. So you may choose to think that before the jiva emanates it is not under their influence. But in reality this is another seed and tree issue. Which comes first, susupti or karma? The answer of course is neither.
That’s exactly I was saying. Ananda of jiva is the same bliss when you don’t feel a pain after desease is gone. It is the way different of Bhagavan’s ananda.
Sukha and ananda have different meaning and emphasis. Rupa Gosvami describes sukha in BRS as an egoistic propensity.
The meaning of sat-cid-ananda here is not same as we say for Krsna – saccidanada vigraha – full of bliss and knowledge. In case of jiva it means that jiva is real (sat), conscious (cit) and free from misery (ananda). Otherwise why is it under the influence of anadi avidya?
When I say that jiva is not sat-cit-ananda I mean it is not omniscient and not full of bliss. We all accept that it is conscious (cit), and it is untouched by any material misery.
It is stressed everywhere in sastra, that Bhagavan is sat cit ananda making the point of His exclusive position. But what about jiva? Where are pramanas of jiva’s ananda from sruti? From Gita? From Brahma sutra? From Bhagavatam? All prasthanatrayi speaks far and wide of jiva’s nature and gives so many details of his qualities, being the main source of knowledge for all sampradayas. Do you think that jiva is desribed as sat cit ananda there?
Of course the jiva is not he same as Bhagavan. Everyone knows that. Thus its cit and ananda are not the same as Bhagavan’s. I cited Padma Purana’s description of the jiva, “cid anandamaka.” And there are many statements as to the the jiva’s knowledge. But its ananda and its cit are derived, not independent. They are like heat derived from the sun and the cit ananda of Bhagavan is like the sun. Again, following sastra (including Gaudiya sastra) I prefer to say that the jiva is sat cit ananda, and then also following the acaryas, to qualify that sat cit ananda, rather than to say, as you prefer, that “the jiva is nowhere described in sastra as sat cit ananda.” Perhaps you like to do that for affect.
You know why I’m doing that. Because there is a teaching that jiva is equal to Bhagavan in qualities and just not equal in quantity. That is not a correct teaching. That’s why we have to specify what are the jiva’s cit and ananda. The way different in quality.
Ananta Govinda, Yes there is such a point made by some, but if your objective is truly clarity in pursuit of helping sadhakas understand more thoroughly, wouldn’t it be more effective to simply state the more nuanced view with reference to sastra than it would be to make dramatic statements that are actually over-emphasizing the other side of the truth. In other words, it is not the complete truth to say the jiva is only qualitatively different, but it is neither the truth to say it has no cit or ananda, so if your point is to give full scope of the truth, you have to say what sastra says: that the jiva is full of a *qualified* cit and ananda. If you want to say that such cit and ananda, being qualified, is not really cit and ananda, then you will have to take that issue up with the Padma Purana and the Brhat Bhagavatamrta.
Furthermore, it seems to me that statements of yours like “Jiva is not ‘sat chit ananda’ and never was. It is nowhere in sastra.” are arguably a more confusing distortion of the truth than the more common idea that the jiva is qualitatively the same and only quantitatively different than Bhagavan. The former is more untrue than the latter, which has done a fine job of conveying the idea that the jiva is of the nature Brahman/Bhagavan (cit), but also subject to illusion and so on. Does it perfectly convey all the details of the subject? No. But that neither makes it wrong to say nor necessarily inaccurate.
Lastly, given that you are a Western Vaishnava and therefore, for all intents and purposes, indebted to the very people who preached in the way you are objecting to, I would hope you could go about trying to help the Vaishnava community refine certain understandings without feeling the need to create an artificial enemy of the very lineage to which you are indebted. I think we can quite confidently say that were you trying to take Gaudiya Vaishnavism into uncharted territory (bringing it in contact with foreign ideas and cultures) you would resort to some simplified explanations as well, as you already have in your counter-attempt. And further, I think we can say that some people would be likely to misunderstand these simplified explanations. Such is the nature of preaching. The way Tripurari Maharaja has handled refining the issue seems much more accurate and in no way dismissive of what has been an effective explanation that barely even constitutes, if at all, a tweaking of the sastric version of the subject.
I’m sorry. I’m not indebted to the “lineage” you’re talking about. What I meant by word sastra – that is prasthanatrayi and SB. The rule is very simple, if there is a statement in the words of acaryas or some smrti texts it can be take literally only if it is confirmed in sruti. Otherwise it has a figurative meaning. So many statements and stories in Padma Purana that you can’t take literally and it is confirmed in HBV citing Vyasa that he deliberately wrote Puranas like that. SB stands absolutely exclusive. For example anadyavidya of the jiva is a literal statement, because it is far and wide in sruti, smriti, Gita and SB (almost in each Canto). But what about jiva’s ananda? Again, where is it in sruti? In Gita? (which is the perfect detailed science of the soul). In SB? How come that in these main sastras which describe the science of the soul in details, these detail is not mentioned (or maybe it’s there, but no one can give pramana from there)?
You may not feel indebted, but if you are a Gaudiya Vaishnava outside of India (and many within), I think you should. At least some respect. It seems very likely that you may not be situated where you are, in the lineage you are, were it not for those Vaishnavas to whom you claim no debt.
Anyway, the post-hoc standard you are now giving for sastra seems artificially limiting in this context. For that matter, Jiva Goswami seems to give more weight to smrti in Tattva Sandarbha than you are here. And if you want to only rely on sruti, we nonetheless find plenty of statements equating the self with Brahman and plenty of statements describing Brahman as ananda. It seems you are going to unnecessary lengths to avoid acknowledging that your initial claims were unnecessarily dramatic and that the jiva does have a qualified ananda, defined in the least as the absence of misery. No problem.
On the apaureshtva theory of the sruti, there is enough debate on it on different traditional forums like vadavali and that doctrine really has a lot of issues to be tenable. The fact that Vedas (Especially the upanishads) mention personalities that speak about cultural details and local geographical conditions of a small speck of dust at a certain point of time make it unlikely that the words appear exactly as it in every cycle and the same people have the same conversations in each cycle. Secondly, given there not just revelations but question and answers between people (for example Naciketa and Yama), it does not make sense that the “questions” and “answers” are unauthored (not even authored by God). In any case Sri Sankara has not taken too rigid a stand on apaureshtva and BhUp verse that speaks about Brahman breathing out Vedas in each cycle. Assigning Isvara/Brahman as author is not such a big problem for me. Just being confident about this doctrine (which in fact is not accepted by theistic schools like Nyaya and Yoga and accepted by non-theistic school like Mimamsa) and dismissing all opposition to me seems pretty dogmatic. If you really follow the idea that all smriti or acarya quotes should always be supported by smriti, you won’t be a Gaudiya Vaisnava. Gaudiyas have hardly used srutis to support their case. If you introspect, I don;t think your faith is coming from the faith in srutis, but how the Goswamis have interpreted the whole corpus (hardly using sruti). In fact, Jiva Goswami has equated the smriti and the sruti in his Tattva Sandarbha, so that he can use the smriti more extensively to support the doctrines he has proposed. This demarcation of sruti and smriti is artificial to me as srutis like Gopala Tapani Upanishad and others have appeared much after smritis like Bhagavat and they are not accepted as srutis by other Vaisnava sects. Also the Upanishads themselves talk about how Vedas (as if they were different from Upanishads) were not good enough to satisfy a person fully. Then the Bhagavata and the Pancharatra narrate how Vedas and Upanishads were not sufficient to satisfy the soul. I don’t want to start the apaureshtva debate here but you can email me at email@example.com if interested.
He is doing that to make SB as an exclusive sastra. But after he names SB as a best sruti (citing SB itself).
Then give pramana of this point (jiva being ananda) from Bhagavatam.
You’re saying that apauruseya nature of Upanisads is discussible and at the same time you’re refering to Jiva Gosvami Tattva Sandarbha where he claims very certainly that Vedas and Upanisadas are apauruseya thus they are free from 4 defects.
He is doing that to make SB as an exclusive sastra. But after he names SB as a best sruti (citing SB itself).
So how do you justify believing in this statement given that you want everything to be backed by sruti nor smriti? Just believe a smriti that says it is best sruti?
Then give pramana of this point (jiva being ananda) from Bhagavatam.
This is a discussion between you and Maharaja. I am not a participant to that. I just said contemporary people who are even in traditional circles examined the srutis and smritis have seen that the boundaries are hard to define. And your premise of using everything from sruti over everything else is not how you get your faith. You use smriti (Bhagavat) over “apaureshya” sruti.
You’re saying that apauruseya nature of Upanisads is discussible and at the same time you’re refering to Jiva Gosvami Tattva Sandarbha where he claims very certainly that Vedas and Upanisadas are apauruseya thus they are free from 4 defects.
Yes to me they are discussable because Jiva Goswami has put smriti as higher than the sruti, so the apaureshtva of sruti did not count for that much. A logic used in a certain climate with the information available at that time does not hold for all time according to me.
Gaura-Vijaya, I don’t understand what do you want me to do. To accept other smrti texts on a level with Bhagavatam? Please, let us finish these topic here, because here is another topic about jiva’s anadyavidya.
Just a small point here, but the word “sukha” is also often used to refer to spiritual happiness as well—the happiness of Brahmana and Bhagavan realization. And there are numerous examples of such usage. Here is one from Rupa Goswami in BRS itself:
sukham vaisayikam brahmam aisvaram ceti tat tridha
“There are three types of happiness (sukham): from material things, from
brahman realization and from the Lord.”
And in Brihat-bhagavatamrita 2.2.191 we find “Only in bhakti does the highest degree of happiness arise (sukasya tu parakastha bhaktav eva svato bhavet),
and in 2.2.193 “That happiness (bhakti) increases endlessly. It is limitless and supremely great (tat sukham vardadhate bhiksnam anantam paramam mahat). In contrast the happiness of Brahman (brahma sukham) found in mukti never increases because it is limited.”
Similarly in the Gita 5.21 we find brahma-yoga-yuktatma described as “sukahm.”
vindaty atmani yat sukham
sukham aksayam asnute
And similar use if found in 6.27 “sukham uttamam” describing God realization as well as 6.28 “sukham asnute.”
Bhagavatam 2.2.47 states brahmeti yad vidur ajasra-sukham visokam “Brahman is known as that which is unlimited happiness without grief.” Also see 5.5.1 6.15.55, 7.7.37, 10.12.11.
And in Baladeva’s use that I cited he is speaking about the happiness and knowledge of the self, despite its residing in prakrti. He is not speaking about material happiness. But otherwise it is true that the word “sukha” also has a material application that contrasts it with spiritual happiness that is more often referred to as “ananda.”
That is all true. Please, look at the BRS 1.2.56 in the context prema vs. sukha. Sukha can be also spiritual but still has an egoistic tinge. You know that acaryas put equal sign between bhaktyananda and prema.
First of all I did not say that Baladeva said the jiva has knowledge and prema!
Secondly in BRS 1.2.56 Sri Rupa is simply saying that of the four kinds of devotional liberation there are two kinds. One is predominated by desires for personal happiness and power and the other by prema in which these desires are absent. He is not saying that every use in sastra of the word sukha with regard to spiritual happiness implies ego tinged spiritual happiness. For example when Brihat-bhagavatamrita 2.2.191 states “Only in bhakti does the highest degree of happiness arise (sukasya tu parakastha bhaktav eva svato bhavet), it is not speaking only of ego tinged bhakti.
But that is the teaching of ACBS. He translated about 100 times in CC slokas of almost each chapter that prema is dormant in the hearts of the jivas.
Where is the word personal in the Rupa’s words?
Not only, but can be. And what can’t be with ananda case.
The word “personal” is not there but it really has nothing to do with the point: Baladeva wrote in his tika on Gita 13.21 that the jiva has bliss using the word “sukha.” That is what he said and that is what he meant. No one is contending here that he meant prema/’haldhini. This point is finished.
Surely you exaggerate here. But aside from that, when my Guru Maharaja writes in places that prema is dormant in the heart of the jiva he is obviously speaking figuratively. Because jivas don’t really have “hearts” to being with. He is merely saying that prema is already existing (nitya siddha) and it is not a result of any practice (sadhya kabhu nay). It is not a result that did not exist prior to such sadhana. It awakens (udaya) when the citta is purified (suddha) by bhakti (sravana adi). One does not need to receive it through so called siddha pranali. He clearly teaches over and over again (no exaggeration) that in order for this to happen one must receive the bhakti lata bija. If he meant that prema was literally part of the constitution of the jiva, he would not stress that the jiva needs to receive the seed of bhakti that gradually matures into prema from a guru. Thus he is merely speaking about the manifestation or awakening of prema in the heart (prakatyam hrdi sadhyata) of a devotee. And the devotee’s figurative heart is really in Goloka anyway. It is his or her aspiration or ideal embodied in Krsna’s associates (ragatmikas). That ideal becomes manifest in the heart just like Krsna manifested in the prison of Kamsa, while he is at the same time everywhere.
I will admit that I do sometimes whish at times that my Prabhupada had sharpened his pencil, but then again not having done so he has left me some small seva in this regard. And besides that he was too busy fulfilling Mahaprabhu’s prediction that his holy name would be heard around the world, and this at great risk to his health, undergoing great austerity and sacrifice of self comfort. I would bet that he introduced Krsna nama to your country for the first time as well. If so, your countrymen are indebted to him. He was busy during all of our waking hours distributing Krsna nama, and when we slept, he wrote. This was not a scholar’s writing schedule. It was Nityanandavesa. It was Krsna-sakti, without which (vina nahi) no one can introduce (pravartna) nama sankirtana so successfully in Kali-yuga all over the world. And Krsna-sakti here means suddha sattva visesatma. To see him brought Krsna nama to one’s lips and tears to one’s eyes. This was my experience. This kind of devotee is very rare in this world—sudurlabha bhagavata hi loke.
I’ve counted. You can do it also to check. Search “awaken” word in CC in Folio and see where is it. It is nowhere in any bengali text. “udaya” is not awaken. “haya” is not awaken and so on. But it has been translated as awaken always.
CC 2.20.117, BBT translation:
“Pure love for Kṛṣṇa is eternally established in the hearts of the living entities. It is not something to be gained from another source. When the heart is purified by hearing and chanting, this love naturally awakens.”
However everything in this translation should be opposite. Pure love is NOT established in the hearts of the living entities. It is something TO BE gained from another source (guru-krsna prasade). And this love will arise (not awaken) by sravanam.
Prema is not to be gained from anywhere by any practice in that it already exists. Bhakti comes from bhakti. “Hearts” is figurative. To arise or awaken–the sun rises and poetically it awakens. Again, he clearly taught that the source of prema in seed form was guru-krsna prasade. Bhakti comes from bhakti and sadhu sanga is bhakti. And as I said, in service to him I am his pencil sharpener. So know him through me. I am a product of his mercy.
It comes from the external source, it is not dormant in the hearts of livinig entities.
Just imaging what everybody will understand from this translation.
It is nowhere in the translation. From translation it is to be understood that it’s already in the hearts.
How one should surmise that?
The translation wasn’t poetical. It is everywhere in his teaching that we already have dormant prema in our hearts, we just have to clean our hearts and it will awaken automatically, if we do everything properly. However you can clean your heart endlessly, but bhakti is not obliged to come.
But your seniors godbrothers don’t agree with your pencil sharpenings. They (JPS, HDG, SDG etc) are preaching from A to Z that prema is dormant and we fell down from Goloka quoting ACBS only. Because that was his preaching and they learned it from him and not from anybody else.
As I have explained, the translation has to be understood in light of his emphasis on the necessity of receiving guru krsna prasade—bhakti lata bija. And we are not to understand his teaching in a vaccuum. That is not what he taught. He is part of a sampradaya and thus his teaching must be understood in light of that sampradaya. This is what he taught.
The fact that a good number of his disciples don’t understand that is their mistake. He did not teach that he was to be isolated from the sampradaya and thereby necessary context. They teach that. They are wrong. And it does not matter if they don’t accept what I am teaching as being representative of him. They have destroyed his mission. Ask yourself who is a better representative of him, them or me. Enough.
Can we then add here also bhakti (offered by Avatar, sadhu) which is also offered in every cycle? In this case we also could not say what comes first, karma, susupti or bhakti. And we could then understand SB 11.2.37 to mean that if we don’t accept bhakti (we turn away from God), we will desire karma. And CC 2.20.117 that if we forget God (Krishna), we will do karma. And since tatastha is synonim with jiva, so she could anadi choose/desire karma or bhakti. If not bhakti, then karma. If not karma, then bhakti. Is this possible?
Since susupti is a deep sleep state wherein the jiva’s karma is in a latent form and the jiva is thus not acting out her desire to enjoy sense objects, how then would the jiva be able to take advantage of bhakti, even if it were available?
As for the idea that bhakti could be available to the baddha-jiva while in susupti, the standard Gaudiya teaching is that bhakti comes to the baddha-jiva through sadhu-sanga. Sadhus extend this opportunity only while the world is manifest; we do not have the sastra tell us that they distribute Bhagavan’s mercy in susupti. A jiva who has accumulated the sukrti whereby it can engage in bhakti must wait until the next cycle of manifestation in order to do so.
SB 5.14.1: When King Pariksit asked Sukadeva Gosvami about the direct meaning of the material forest, Sukadeva Gosvami replied as follows: My dear King, a man belonging to the mercantile community [vanik] is always interested in earning money. Sometimes he ENTERS the forest to acquire some cheap commodities like wood and earth and sell them in the city at good prices. SIMILARLY, the conditioned soul, being greedy, ENTERS THIS MATERIAL WORLD this material world for some material profit. Gradually he enters the deepest part of the forest, not really knowing how to get out. Having ENTERED THE MATERIAL WORLD, the pure soul BECOMES CONDITIONED by the material atmosphere, which is created by the external energy under the control of Lord Visnu. Thus the living entity COMES UNDER THE CONTROL of the external energy, DAIVA MAYA. Living independently and bewildered in the forest, he does not attain the association of devotees who are always engaged in the service of the Lord. Once in the bodily conception, he gets different types of bodies one after the other under the influence of material energy and impelled by the modes of material nature [sattva-guna, rajo-guNn and tamo-guna]. In this way the conditioned soul goes sometimes to the heavenly planets, sometimes to the earthly planets and sometimes to the lower planets and lower species. Thus he suffers continuously due to different types of bodies. These sufferings and pains are sometimes mixed. Sometimes they are very severe, and sometimes they are not. These bodily conditions are acquired due to the conditioned soul’s mental speculation. He uses his mind and five senses to acquire knowledge, and these bring about the different bodies and different conditions. Using the senses under the control of the external energy, maya, the living entity suffers the miserable conditions of material existence. He is actually searching for relief, but he is generally baffled, although sometimes he is relieved after great difficulty. Struggling for existence in this way, he cannot get the shelter of pure devotees, who are like bumblebees engaged in loving service at the lotus feet of Lord Visnu.”
In the above sloka, Sukadeva Goswami, in three ways emphasises to Maharaja Pariksit that jiva “ENTER” the material world.
So it seems this “preaching tactic” was used by the original speaker of the Bhagavatam even five thousand years before BVT and all the other acaryas following.
So mahajana yena gatah swa panthat, we should follow in their footsteps using this tactic.
And we do! We often use language figuratively to describe our material condition. “Back to Godhead.” Here “Godhead” as Prabhupada used it refers Vaikuntha/Goloka. Do you think such a statement implies that jivas fell from Vaikuntha/Goloka?” I hope not.
We are all “emanations” of the Supreme GODHEAD. Being tatastha shakti jiva tattva we have emanated from Maha Visnu at the margin of matter and spirit, Karana Samudra.
[As Above] Then, by choice jiva “Having ENTERED THE MATERIAL WORLD, the PURE SOUL BECOMES CONDITIONED by the material atmosphere.”
In his conversation, Sri Mahaprabhu condemned the secondary interpretations of Sarvabhauma, saying secondary meanings were only necessary when the plain meaning of sastra was not obvious.
The plain meaning of “Everything emanates from Me.” Bg 10.8.
And the plain meaning of the “having entered the material world the pure soul becomes conditioned by the material nature” Sb 5.14.1
are the plain preaching tactic of Srila Veda Vyasa.
If you want the palian meaning of sastra, why explain anadi other than beginningless? Why say it is figurative speech. And were is is plainly said ins astra that jivas choose from the Kanana Samudra to enter the meterial world?
The plain meaning to the mayavadi is different to the plain meaning to the Vaisnava.
(1) The mayavadi considers:
nirguna means “without qualities” and stops there.
However the Vaisnava considers:
nirguna means “without material qualities, but with spiritual qualities”
(2 The mayavadi considers:
nirvisesa means “without variety” and stops there.
However, the Vaisnava considers”
nirvisesa means “without material variety, but with spiritual variety”
(3) anadi jiva is often mistaken to mean:
“beginningless” and the mind stops there.
However the Vaisnava considers:
“Yes, jiva is without material beginning, but with a spiritual beginning or origin, ultimately Sri Krsna and His expansions.
(4) anadi karma is often mistaken to mean:
However the Vaisnava considers:
“anadi karma means karma without material beginning, but with a spiritual beginning in the choice of marginal jiva, spiritual by constitution and spiritual by location having emanated from Maha Visnu at the margin of matter and spirit, the transcendental Karana Samudra.”
So the Vaisnava sees the true import due his comprehensive knowledge.
Thus anadi karma means: “karma without material beginning, but with a transcendental origin, jiva.”
One should understand that due to the centuries long influence of Shankarite Mayavada, sahajia, mundane scholarship, and resultant materialism, the true definitions of Vaisnava terminology were covered. The great bhakta Bhaktivinoda Thakur, the peerless paramahamsa, and the acaryas after him, destroyed this covering of Vaisnava siddhanta with their brilliant and elaborate expositions, reestablishing the true import.
You fail to understand that “outside of time” is just another way of saying literal beginningless-ness. And you provide no support for “a choice in the causal ocean” prior to susupti or how one gets into the causal ocean int he first place. Then you make up the idea that jivas were not existing at some point in “spiritual time” contrary to sastra. You take the words that should be taken figuratively that resolve these issue literally and then you take the word that should be taken literally (anadi) and render it figuratively. The sutras say that because karma has no beginning, God is not to be blamed for the jivas’ suffering. You are calling Baladeva Vidyabhusana’s understanding a “covering of siddhanta” analagous to mayavadi’s improper understanding of “nirguna” in the name of glorifying BVT. That is a big mistake. To see the brilliant work of BVT as a preaching strategy glorifies him and his predecessors in a manner that your speculation does not.
Is there any specific date of that? What is the calendar in Karana Samudra?
Vyasa didn’t say that. Please, study Vyasa’s words (sanskrit).
“Is there any specific date of that? What is the calendar in Karana Samudra?”
I am very surprised to see such a basic question. There is no time factor in the transcendental realm.
But then I remember you also did not understand the sat chit ananda composition of the jiva. Tripurari Swami’s elucidation was very nice on that point.
SB 5.14.1: samsara-atavyam—in the forest of material life; gatah—having entered;
This applies in jiva in the verse.
Gatah: having achieved, having gone, having attained,
Gatah in Sanskrit indicates transition to, attainment of, achievement of, having gone to, having entered.
Tense is Past Perfect Participle.
However your translation of “wandering” is Present Continuous and thus incorrect.
Further Gatah in correct translation carries the force of “intended transitional movement”, such as “having gone”, “having attained”, “having achieved”.
So “wandering” is wrong tense and wrong meaning.
Really? But you said it has a beginning, jiva has entered for the first time. Beginning means some point in the time scale, and before that beginning jiva wasn’t existed.
I understand jiva is not that ananda which you understand. You said that sat cit ananda jiva emanated from sat cit ananda Bhagavan, meaning they have exactly same cit and ananda. That’s not correct. You don’t understand that.
Do you think Sukadeva Gosvami spoke these english words which you have copypasted? Or he spoke in sanskrit? What are the sanskrit words you understand as “enter the material world”?
Bhagavatam far and wide speaks about anadyavidya of the jiva, but nowhere about tatastha region and choice from there.
Here is a better translation of this verse:
“The jiva, using the doors of the six senses, wanders around in samsara, having walked along the difficult road belonging to persons who identify with the body, with many obstructions, experiencing samsara with beginningless happiness and distress arising from accepting and rejecting a series of various bodies, produced by performing auspicious or inauspicious acts which are divided according to the three gunas. The jiva, like a wealthy merchant greedy for objects of enjoyment, though experiencing karmas produced by his body through the agency of maya controlled by the Lord while walking in the most inauspicious forest of samsara which is similar to a crematorium and performing useless actions with many obstacles, even now does not attain the feet of the devotees attracted to worshipping the Lord in the form of guru.”
SB 5.14.1: samsara-atavyam—in the forest of material life; gatah—having entered;
This applies in jiva in the verse.
Gatah: having achieved, having gone, having attained,
Gatah in Sanskrit indicates transition to, attainment of, achievement of, having gone to, having entered.
Tense is Past Perfect Participle.
However your translation of “wandering” is Present Continuous and thus incorrect.
Further Gatah in correct translation carries the force of “intended transitional movement”, such as “having gone”, “having attained”, “having achieved”.
So “wandering” is wrong tense and wrong meaning.
You can’t pick up the meanings of the words by yourself. My translation is made by Bhanu Swami and based on Visvanatha Cakravarty commentary. Visvanatha never spoke of any jiva’s entering. See, what is Visvanatha commenting:
VISVANATHA: In the Fourteenth Chapter the characters of the story like the plunderers and the jackals are explained to be the six senses and one’s family members. The jiva going into the forest of samsara, even today has not attained the devotees, who, like bees, are attracted to the worship of the lotus feet of guru, a form of the Lord. This means that without taking shelter of the feet of sri-guru, one wanders around in samsara, having walked along the difficult road, with many obstructions, experiencing samsara with beginningless happiness and distress arising from accepting and rejecting a series of various bodies, produced by performing auspicious or inauspicious acts which are divided according to the three gunas. “Since sansara of the jiva is made by maya, the jiva should surrender to Maya-devi. Being pleased with him, she will free him from bondage. Why should one surrender to guru?” But maya is controlled by the Lord. She cannot independently award liberation. It is said in the Gita:
daivi hyesa gunamayi mama maya duratyaya
mameva ye prapadyante mayametem taranti te
My maya made of the gunas, fit for jiva’s pleasure, is hard to surpass, but those who surrender to me alone can cross over maya. BG 7.14
The use of the word eva indicates that the Lord alone can deliver the jiva, not the combination of the Lord and maya. Performing many activities which are fruitless and with many obstacles, the jiva does not attain the devotees.
Where is here even one word about tatastha region and choice from there? Where is it in whole Bhagavatam, this weird tatastha region?
Thank you for the quote in your posting of Visvanath that supports “entry into samasara”
“The jiva going into the forest of samsara,”
Reread your post and you will see what Visvanath actually states.
So you have posted your own defeat.
I suggest you look up “gatah” having gone, having attained, having achieved, having entered”.
Thank you for the conclusive quote confirming entry in to samsara.
This is so silly. You want to take “entry” literally and “anadi” figuratively when even BVT says words like “forgetting” Krsna, etc. “entering,” “falling”) are to be taken figuratively. And all previous acaryas take “anadi” literally and thereby all such words as “entering” figuratively. I give up.
What about unmanifest (from within) sadhu sanga/caitya guru/Avatar?
Dear Tripurari Swami,
This dichotomy of literally or figuratively is your construct.
And you seem to be fixed on maintaining this construct of opposing polarity as your only perspective.
Actually the truth should be searched for in the meaning of words.
Sb 5.14.1: Gatah: means “having entered” and the commentary of Visvanath confirms that the jiva “enters” the forest of samsara.
Here again is the commentary of Visvanath:
“The jiva going into the forest of samsara,”
And that is the Truth.
“Everything has origin in Sri Krsna.” Bs 5.1
Everything emanates from Me.” Bg 10.8
Jiva begins from Krsna [or His Expansion Maha Visnu in the case of tatastha shakti jiva]. This is not a material beginning, rather a spiritual beginning.
The karma of jiva originates in jiva’s choice “outside the material forest which he “enters”. This is not a material beginning, rather a decision rooted in the “sat origin” jiva. Chan. Up,
Goodness. You really don’t understand. I know what the words literally mean. But the point is that they are words/language used to express something that trasncends the reality they speak about. And they speak about it as if there were binginnings, entrances etc. that the mind is conditioned to think in terms of. This is what BVT himself has pointed out, and I cited it in my article! If I say “He lives on the southern end of the Ganga” we are not to think that his house is in the middle of the river? No! That is figurative speech. Meanwhile everyone and all of sastra prior to BVT takes anadi literally.You don’t seem to understand that. Or if you do you, think that they were wrong and BVT has correctly taken anadi figuratively. To say figuratively is to say that while the word means beginningless it is not a literal absolute beginningless-ness but implies some beginning “outside of time.” This contradicts the sutras as you understand it. I have explained all of this so as to bring our understanding of what BVT means in line with sastra. But I have no hope of getting through to you on this point. So leave it at that. You are repeating yourself. End of discussion.
Blind see whatever he wants to see. Visvanath speaks nothing about a first entry. Moreover, in the same commentary, if you open your eyes (not only for the words entry), you will see that he speaks about that it is beginningless. Jiva is entering from susupti and coming back and there is no first time for that. That was going on always. You fail to answer a lot of questions simply ignoring them. I asked many times, what body jiva has in susupti???? Please, answer this question, be decent. Have you ever been in a deep sleep? How many choices you’ve done in that condition? Next question that you can come to Vaikuntha only by bhakti. Bhakti process is going through 9 stages. Sraddha, sadhu sanga, bhajana kriya etc. How jiva in susupti practices that? A few deep-sleep-bhakta-jivas distribute books and harinamas in this ocean? And other group pour some wine and put some beef (from deep-sleep-cows) and tries to entice you? And because of your choice you can go to Vaikuntha and see the Lord, just like that? What about the same Brahma Samhita you like to quote? Seems like you know only this sloka and understand it whatever comes to your mind ignoring commentary of Jiva Gosvami. Same Brahma Samhita 5.38 says that you can see the Lord only by eyes covered with the ointment of prema (premanjana-cchurita). Where jiva gets that krsna-prema in susupti? From sleeping prema-bhaktas? What are they doing there? Please, don’t answer with Bs 5.1 and BG 10.8, it’s already too boring to read your always repeating posts. Please, be decent, and answer each question what is your understanding and we see if it is in sastra (sure it is not though 🙂
Regarding free will of the jiva and the suffering of the jiva in srsti-lila, I particularly like this quote from Thakur Bhaktivinoda’s Jaiva Dharma:
“Vrajanatha: Why does the Lord give trouble to the jivas for the sake of his lila?
Babaji: …Misery and happiness are states of mind. what we consider misery, a person attached to it considers happiness. The end result of all types of material happiness is misery and nothing else. A man attached to sense gratification ultimately attains misery. When this misery increases then it gives rise to the desire for happiness. This desire leads to discrimination, which brings inquisitiveness. Because of inquisitiveness one attains the association of saints, which gives rise to faith. By faith one ascends the path of progression. Just as gold is purified by heating it in fire and beating it with a hammer, in the same way the jiva who is affected with the contaminations of sense enjoyment and non-devotion to Krsna is purified by putting him on the anvil of the material world and beating him with the hammer of miseries. The misery of the conditioned jiva ultimately brings him pleasure. Thus misery is an instance of the Lord’s mercy. Therefore the misery that befalls jivas as part of Krsna’s lila (srsti-lila) appears auspicious to the farsighted and miserable to the short sighted.”
Good quote. This is better than smashing people and telling them that they are sinful for being in the sristi lila. Some souls though will continue to remain in misery and participate in sristi lila.
the words of Dharmachandra Prabhu are quite right in this understand acording to my Gurudev Srila B.V.Narayan Goswami Maharaj, who told several times that “When jivas was manifestaed in tatastha shakti, that time they had no karma, only a free will to look to maya or to spiritual world.” So, the Nitya Siddha maha Bhagavata can understand the exoteric points of Veadanta, not by intelectual understanding we will understand as Srila sridhar goswami Maharaj say, “Only if He- Krishna make him comprrensive to us”. so, its clear that because our free will, we looked to maya, and then came here to taste all material things. I think some times (only some times) vedanta give some figuraive language in a points that is not possible to give a direct idea of the subject as the tatastha region be a place between sand and ocean etc … But in this subject its clear that anadi have no start and no end, and that in this anadi time, a certain point we looked at maya, had no karma before that, just free will …. Gurudev explain this clearly in the book “Jiva-Tattva” the origin of the Jiva. Hari Bol!!!
In discussing the point of why some jivas went to maya and some went to Krsna, Jaiva-dharma weighs in with the statement “Everything comes about by chance.” So was it free will or chance?
this siddhanta is sarvabhauma siddhanta accepted by all school of vaishnaviam:
1. nitya siddha
as all know the jiva is not created but its existing from time god is there ie from anadi ,implies never begining and jiva is nitya that is will never cease to exist and it is existing from time the lord is there ie anadi.
now as vedanta sutra says’vaishamya nairghrinye—-‘implies if lord would have sent somebody saying you go to spiritual world and you go to material world then there is vishamata.so nitya siddha are thesouls which are ever existing with him in vaikuntha ie they are lords expansions like lalita ,vishakha,vishwaksena etc.They come to this world for special missions or for earthly pasttimes and then they return.
except them there is anadi baddh like us who are in this material world but anadi means we are existing since the god is there in this material worls but never crossed this material world.but the point notable is we r not nitya baddha ie cant be released .no jiva is nitya baddha ie the moment he does bhakti or by mahatkripa he may be released and then he gets the position of nitya mukta ie never comes down.so nitya muktas do not incarnate like nitya siddhas.
also from this we understand that prakriti is nitya,eternal. and srishti,palan,pralaya is nitya will never cease.
####also its important to know the difference between anadi and nitya.just giving word jugglery in english will not solve this problem.
also baldev biyabhusan ji writes in gita commentary 1.1 that karma is anadi because the jiva is anadi baddha.but karma is not nitya because the baddha jiva is not nitya baddha.karma has prakabaava ie it has no begining but has end just like now this pot is being made,implies that the pot was not existing since anadi kaal but the abhav ends after the pot is made similarly is the karma theory.so karma is anadi but not nitya.
also its said’dehendriyaasuhinaanaaam vikunthapurvaasinam—‘
when this material mind,body,praana are not there in vaikuntha everything is satshitanand then where is question of raag,dwesha,misery——etc.
so prakriti is nitya
karma is anadi but anitya
god is nitya
jiva is nitya
jiva is anadi baddha
jiva when released from material world becomes nitya mukta,never comes back
nitya siddha jivas are like lords own expansion as servitors and are diffrenet from nitya muktas who were earlier anadi baddha jivas
nitya muktas are in two categories– one with the lord ,one in brahman as sayujya.both are nitya muktas.
nothing is by chance =====
hope this satisfies your querries.
Dear Tripurari Maharaj, dandavat pranam.
Why did Supreme Lord Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu answer to Srila Sanatan Goswami when asked why he is suffering treefold miseries of material existence, that suffering is due to fault of jiva being averse to Sri Krishna as recorded in CC madhya 22.12-13 ? How can He attribute fault to jiva if she had no other choice but to participate in Vishnu’s sristi-lila as a conditioned soul as you imply in your article?
‘nitya-bandha’ — kṛṣṇa haite nitya-bahirmukha
‘nitya-saḿsāra’, bhuñje narakādi duḥkha
nitya-bandha — perpetually conditioned; kṛṣṇa haite — from Kṛṣṇa; nitya — eternally; bahir-mukha — averse; nitya-saḿsāra — perpetually conditioned in the material world; bhuñje — experience; naraka-ādi duḥkha — the tribulations of hellish conditions of life.
“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 subjected to the material tribulations brought about by different bodily forms in hellish conditions.
sei doṣe māyā-piśācī daṇḍa kare tāre
ādhyātmikādi tāpa-traya tāre jāri’ māre
sei doṣe — because of this fault; māyā-piśācī — the witch known as the external energy; daṇḍa kare — gives punishment; tāre — unto him; ādhyātmika-ādi — beginning with those pertaining to the body and mind; tāpa-traya — the threefold miseries; tāre — him; jāri’ — burning; māre — gives pain.
“Due to his being opposed to Kṛṣṇa consciousness, the conditioned soul is punished by the witch of the external energy, māyā. He is thus ready to suffer the threefold miseries — miseries brought about by the body and mind, the inimical behavior of other living entities and natural disturbances caused by the demigods.
Nitya-bandha, nitya-bahirmukha, nitya-samsara, all refer to a beginning-less condition. The words nitya-bhairmukha (sometimes stated anadir-bahirmukha), eternally turning away, refer to SB 11.2.37. The proper understanding of this verse has been explained by Vrindaranya earlier in the comments on this thread. Your question is not one that has not been already answered numerous times on the thread.
Let me ask the moderator not to post questions or comments on this thread that do not add anything to the discussion.
Dear Maharaj, actually what I wanted to ask was why would Supreme Lord Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu have to use such “preaching strategy” (jiva is bound by maya due to her fault/mistake of forgetting Krishna or in Bhagavata’s verse due to turning away from Krishna) as they were not speaking to Christian influenced audience. What is the benefit or neccessity of using such strategy and for whom? Why they would just not say your bondage to maya or karma is without beginning, without cause, but now you can stop it by practising bhakti. Even Vinod Baba of Varshana is using it :
“There are two ways in front of Jeevatma one towards samsaar and another towards God. This is why Jeev is called Tatathashakti meaning the power situated in between two ways, or at the bank. On one side there is Infinite Ocean and on the other side, there is land…
So, our relationship with God was always there, is there and will always be there. There is no doubt in that! What new relationship you will establish with God? He was never a stranger! You have to correct your mistake and the mistake is that you have forgotten your relationship with God. Correcting this mistake itself is Sadhana. You must offer yourself at the feet of God.”
And also Pandit Ananta Das Babaji Maharaj of Radha kund :
“When jiva forgot Krishna ancient time, from that time all jivas are suffering, coming going, 84 lakhs births…”
“Jiva is servant of Krishna. When he forgot ancient time Krishna seva, that time got maya. And got maya, got birth, death, birth, death. Krishna vimukh jiva. Means who forgot Krishna. For them this world, maya. And that maya gave this body”.
This is precisely an example of the kind of comment we stopped approving, which you took issue with. What does this add to the discussion? Sastra and sadhus are both authorities, and both sides of this discussion have cited sastra and sadhus. Therefore, for a new citation to be relevant, it needs to add something beyond merely stating the basic argument. For example, the citation of Srila Sridhara Maharaja stating that actually tatastha is a “fictitious demarcation” actually delves into the issue, rather than merely stating the overall argument. Furthermore, as I explained elsewhere, within the global Gaudiya Vaishnava society, if we are to attempt to debate siddhanta by saying “my guru said that and he is realized!” we are only going to create further divisions while gaining no clarity on the siddhanta itself. Readers can look over this entire thread and judge for themselves if this comment has contributed to the discussion.
This comment was a specific question to Srila Tripurari Maharaj.
You do not have sufficient adhikara to participate meaningfully in this discussion. The evidence for this is that the question you ask herein has already been addressed numerous times.There is no preaching strategy employed by Mahaprabhu and his words do not mean what you think they do. I don’t think you can even accurately represent what the article is saying. And that is apparent in the responses from others you comeback with.They are not really responses to the arguments in the article. So you should either drop out of the conversation (which has been over for months) and engage in sadhana until your realization develops further, or ask your guides to actually read the article itself and then respond to it. I am quite sure they will agree with my points when the understand what I am saying and why I am saying it. Short of that I have nothing more to say to you on the subject.
Yes, you are right. Thank you. Please bless me. Dandavat. Hare Krishna.
It came earlier than I expected. Today morning I noticed that it is by my desire/decision that I connect myself to maya (first to false ego of I and mine) and consequently do karma.
Ok, thank you for answering.
BALDEV has written the following
Srila B.V.Narayan Goswami Maharaj, who told several times that “When jivas was manifestaed in tatastha shakti, that time they had no karma, only a free will to look to maya or to spiritual world.”
i have objection ,the karma is anadi but anitya that is confirmed by baldev vidyabhushanji then what is the meaning of no karma in above statement.when no karma was there then all those jivas attained which body because one gets body according to karma.implies the karmas must be there.so question is when did that karma originate? the answer is just as jivas are anadi baddha or anadi bahirmukh similarly karma associated with them is also anadi. telling that jiva didnot fall but had no karma initially is itself ambiguous.
The second point that
So, the Nitya Siddha maha Bhagavata can understand the exoteric points of Veadanta, not by intelectual understanding we will understand as Srila sridhar goswami Maharaj say, “Only if He- Krishna make him comprehensive to us”.
my point is:
One can write and understand the meaning of vedanta if one has studied under a satshastra vedagya guru.one who is not well versed in upanishad,ved,nyay,sankya,vaisheshika,vyakaran,alankar,kavya cannot understand vedanta.for this reason previously guru used to teach his competent disciples whom he considered will lead in future as sampradayacharya and the students used to be very bright blessed by guru and bhagwan and so they could write such beautiful shastras. but now acharya means he will only meet disciples during diksha and even brahmacharis who are the future leaders are not taught these matters by guru because first the guru doesnt know these matters.they meet guru in bhagwatam class. and they prepare further for giving geeta nd bhagvat class with there little knowledge.in due course as they grow in age they are given sannyasa and become guru.the statement of
Srila sridhar goswami Maharaj say, “Only if He- Krishna make him comprehensive to us”.
is correct but that doesnot mean one who has not read upanishad,ved,nyay,sankya,vaisheshika,vyakaran,alankar,kavya under the spiritual master will be able to understand the vedanta.the previous acharyas have given there life to understand first and then they could write clearly.ramanujacharya,madhva,vishwanath chakravartipad, baldev etc are nitya siddha they can only understand it properly i agree but all the future sannyasis of sampradaya cannot be nitya siddha they are baddha jivas also that doesnt mean they cannot understand vedanta provided they have studied things under competent guru.otherwise what is the meaning of —-shrotriya brahmanistham. if guru cannot clear the doubt of student,the disciples adaushraddha will be harmed.
Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur and Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Goswami Thakur gave numerous baddha jivas of this world not only sraddha but also Radha’s nitya seva. They know the meaning of Vedanta.
The Vedanta says that God would be open to charge of being cruel or partial only if He would decide high or low material positions for jivas, but He didn’t, it is by jiva’s karma, He only rewards it (why I’m saying this will be clear after reading full post).
There are innumerable jivas and innumerable can decide for bhakti and still inumerable can decide for karma, according to their free choice (please read below quotes of Acharyas and explanation), so each one’s individual choice for either bhakti or karma does not condition start or stop of world cycles and operative karma in it. And those jivas who want to do karma, they also decide how they “start” (what I mean by this start will be clear at the end of post. those who are attracted to satya guna they start as demigods, those who are attracted by rajo guna as humans and those to tamo guna as lower species. it is not decided by God, so he is not open to charge of being cruel or partial).
Srila Vishvanath Chakravorty’s translation and commentary on SB 11.2.37 (which is also cited by Krishna Das Kaviraj Gosvami for his “krishna bhuli sei jiv anadi bahirmukh” verse) by Bhanu Swami:
Translation : For the jiva averse to the Lord, there will be samsara consisting of identity with body and lack of identity with the soul, because of his absorption in the material coverings on the soul, arising from the Lord’s maya. Therefore, the inteligent person, taking guru as his Lord and very self, should fully worship the Lord with pure bhakti.
Commentary (excerpt) : However, the devotees should not fear bondage from samsara. Fear naturally is destroyed for the person who starts bhakti. Because of the false identity arising from imposition of body and senses (dvitiye) for the jiva averse to the Lord (isad apetasya), there will be fear or samsara.
Translation by my Gurudev Srila Bhakti Ballabh Tirtha Goswami Maharaj : Fear comes when there is misconception of self. He who is averse to Supreme Lord is ensnared by Lord’s illusory energy and is affected by two defects— misidentification of self with the body and forgetfulness of real self. The wise will understand that worship of Krishna with devout one-pointed devotion is the only remedy for which taking shelter of bona fide Guru is essential with the knowledge that Guru is the regulator and also the dearest.
Translation by Srila Swami Maharaj in CC : “‘When the living entity is attracted by the material energy, which is separate from Kṛṣṇa, he is overpowered by fear. Because he is separated from the Supreme Personality of Godhead by the material energy, his conception of life is reversed. In other words, instead of being the eternal servant of Kṛṣṇa, he becomes Kṛṣṇa’s competitor. This is called viparyayo ‘smṛtiḥ. To nullify this mistake, one who is actually learned and advanced worships the Supreme Personality of Godhead as his spiritual master, worshipful Deity and source of life. He thus worships the Lord by the process of unalloyed devotional service.’
In commentary to BG 5.14 Vishvanath Chakravorty Thakur wrote : “Rather the nature of the jiva in the form of beginningless ignorance alone (which jiva chooses to accept) produces this”. And to BG 5.15 “However, one of his associates, his sakti called ignorance (ajnanena) covers the inherent knowledge of the jiva (by choice of the jiva)“.
And Baladev Vidyabhusan to BG 5.15 : “The knowledge of the jiva, though eternal, disappears from view (avrtam) due to the jiva’s hostility to the Lord without beginning (ajnanena). Because of this (tena), the jivas (jantuh) are bewildered.”
I have already cited in previous posts that Chaitanya Mahaprabhu used the word “dos” or mistake of jiva why she is bound.
So all Acharyas are speaking about jiva’s aversion (or hostility) to Krishna and of her freedom of choice (and therefore posible “mistake”, which is aversion to Krishna). Jiva is eternaly conscious being with eternal freedom of choice. So no other person, except the jiva herself can decide for herself whether to be averse/hostile to Supreme Lord or not. If she is bound it means, she decided to be averse to Krishna. And if jiva’s choice in her being bound would not be included, why would all Acharyas and SB mention jiva’s aversion to Supreme Lord at all?
Vrindaranya was using the translation of SB 11.2.37 of ISKCON edition of SB : “As for SB 11.2.37, this verse couldn’t be describing an initial turning away from God because the verse says, “Fear arises when a living entity misidentifies himself as the material body because of absorption in the external, illusory energy of the Lord…” There is no fear without avidya (which you wouldn’t have if there were an original, unmanifested state) and no material body to identify with.”
Yes, jiva has no fear, but if she becomes averse to Krishna and she absorbs herself in maya on the other side she gets fear and avidya of being the body.
It is not that anadi karma didn’t always existed, but for tatastha-jiva it exists as potential which she may then water or not.
Anadi karma has always existed, and the baddha-jiva has been bound by karma without beginning as well. The baddha-jiva’s aversion to serving her master is thus also without beginning–how could it be otherwise? The baddha-jiva can exercise her free will to take advantage of the yadrcchaya (causless good fortune) extended by sadhus to take up the means of meeting her maker. The baddha-jiva cannot, however, exercise her free will to decide whether or not to participate in karma because there is no beginning to karma and she has ALWAYS been implicated in it.
You have cited the core texts dealing with the issue but completely misinterpreted them because you are not trying to find the truth of the matter, but rather trying to support your so called truth. And your conclusion in your effort to do so above is painful to read. Your measure of misunderstanding is considerable, especially when all the same texts have already been properly explained for the most part in the article itself, if not in subsequent comments. The sutras say that God is not partial because the suffering and enjoyment of the jivas is a result of karma. Then they ask, “What about in the beginning when there was no karma, before the world came into being.” To which the sutras answer, “There is no beginning.” Thus karma is anadi in the same way that Visnu is and the world cycles are. They go together. No karma, no world. It’s that simple. The sutras give us no reason to interpret anadi karma differently than the anadi world and its anadi God.
Your post should have been deleted by the moderator because it adds nothing new to the discussion, and instead it rehashes half baked ideas you have posted previously that have already be proven to be such.
In my previous post I wrote :
Here I would like to add few more words to be more clear.
It is not that anadi karma didn’t always existed, but for the tatastha-jiva it first exist only as potential which she may then water or not (in case she decides to serve Bhagavan).
If it always existed, it always existed. And it does no exist in relation to anyone or anything other than the tatastha jiva. So it did not exist for or in relation to something else and some jivas had to have been influenced by it with no beginning to that influence. Nowhere is it stated that it exists only in potential.
From Baladev Vidyabhusan Prabhu’s Govinda bhasya on 2.3.26
“The soul does not become conscious merely by contact with the mind, for soul and mind are both indivisible and cannot interact. Turning away from the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the soul obscures its natural spiritual knowledge. Turning towards the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the soul revives its natural spiritual consciousness.”
I also got same experience.
What this sutra and section of the Sutras is talking about is that the atma is eternally conscious. If it associates with matter its eternal consciousness and conscious nature is obscured. If it associates with God, its eternal nature is revealed. This is a basic point in Vedanta.
So the point raised has nothing to do with the subject you seek to comment meaningfully on. You are reading with a view to have your opinion validated, and thus when you find some wording that seems to work with your opinion, you think the sastra supports it, despite the fact that the sastra is not even talking about the point you are concerned with in particular section you are reading.
This article is unsatisfactory. Krishna says that creation have a beginning (BG 14.3).
MahaVisnu has a beginning because He is an incarnation of Krishna (SB 10.14.14).
This articles is incomplete.
Mahavisnu hase no beginning. He is anandi as are you and I, his tatastha sakti. The fact that he is an incarnation of Krsna does not mean that he has a beginning. All faces of Krsna are begining-less.The “beginning” of creation is but one series of expanding universes in sristi-lila in the mists of a series of expanding and contracting universes that have no beginning.
According to Vedanta Sutra God is not cruel as He didn’t throw us into the vicious circle of anadi karma, anadi samsara, anadi avidya, anadi duhkha.
If something exists anadi does it mean that it has no cause at all?!
Or is it itself its own cause, and independent therefore?
Or is God its cause?
If none of these then isn’t it a Predetermination independent on God?
That which exists is God, which includes his saktis. God did not make the world. It exists and is constituted of two of his saktis. He deals with it with a sense of justice with defence to his maya sakti and with compassion and mercy in relation to his tastha sakti. Predetermination independent of the cause of all causes is meaningless.
If Predetermination independent of the cause of all causes is meaningless then we have the following:
– The world is cruel because of anadi karma.
– Anadi karma is predetermined for jiva.
– The predetermination is dependent of the Cause of all causes.
– The cruelty of the world and anadi karma are dependent of the Cause of all causes.
Predetermination is meaningless if no one chooses in advance.
God did not choose in advance to make the world the way it is.
The world consists of anadi karma
Suffering is a result of anadi karma
God is not responsible for the suffering of the world.
But at any rate, some things can only be known from revelation, and thus those who accept this premise and have thus sastriya sradhha, which qualifies them to tread the path of bhakti, stop here: “Mahavisnu is not partial. Differences among jivas are due to karma and karma is anadi.”
What is revelation? How does it correspond with sastrayonitvat?
Bhagavan wins 🙂
Dear Tripurari Maharaj, dandavat pranam. By the grace of Harinam, I got something which I want to share.
You say there are no beginnings outside of time. Baladev explains in Vedanta that Brahma is anadi, jiva is anadi and karma is anadi and sristi-lila is anadi, eternal (as seed and tree). When baddha jiva by sadhu sanga accepts bhakti she will eventualy enter Goloka right? And Goloka is nitya lila. So how is it possible to “enter” Goloka? Where and how will jiva “start” there if there are no beginnings beyond time? And if jiva can “enter” Goloka from one eternity (sristi-lila) why would it not be possible to “enter” sristi-lila from point outside of sristi-lila time and I don’t mean falling from Goloka by that. And forgetting or turning away from Krishna as mentioned in sastra also does not mean fall from Goloka, it just means jiva didn’t want to serve Krishna but to enjoy maya. If jiva can go from one eternal lila/place to another, then the principle applies for both sides, either up or down (but not down from Goloka). Like if one is in one house with 3 floors. He is always in one house, at any floor he is in. So, Krishna is eternal and everything about Him is eternal. So if from this eternal sristi-lila jiva can “enter” Goloka, why not “enter” sristi-lila from jiva’s marginal position? What would be the use of using word tatastha (tata = border, stha = place, position) in CC 1.2.101-104 when explaining Vaikuntha dham, maya-sakti brahmandas and in relation to them jiva-sakti as tatastha, and Jiva Goswami in Paramatma sandarbha 37, and in sastra that jiva has eternal freedom to choose what she wants to do and if she becomes averse to Bhagavan (isad apetasya) she becomes bound? Please consider. I’m not challenging anything, just want to ask you to please consider this point of going from one eternal position to another. Because jiva is eternal. So in whatever position she is in as per her action, that is her eternal position at that “time”. That is why word nitya baddha or nitya mukta are used. By acintya sakti of Bhagavan, if jiva can “enter” Goloka, why it would not be possible that anadi/eternal jiva has no karma (at tatastha plane, position) and if she decides to enjoy maya, she has eternal/anadi karma, because she is eternal and her actions are eternal? In Goloka, prema is eternal (nitya siddhasya bhava), so if jiva can “enter” there, why not “enter” into eternal seed and tree karma? By acintya sakti of Bhagavan what is impossible for our inteligence to grasp is possible by His acintya sakti. Actualy in these Vedanta verses, God would be open to charge of partiality or cruelty only if He would decide our specific karmic position. But He didn’t, we “started” or “entered” as per our specific attraction for specific enjoyment of maya and got that position – dvitiya abhinivesh. Number of jivas is unlimited, so unlimited jivas can “enter” in Goloka and unlimited jivas can “enter” sristi-lila and unlimited jivas can “enter” Goloka from sristi-lila and still unlimited jivas will stay in sristi-lila. It is as per sastra, it is by logic of acintya sakti, so Baladeva’s two “contradictory” statements in Vedanta (about anadi seed and tree karma and in Vedanta 2.3.26 about jiva obscuring her eternal consciosness (bondage) by aversion to Bhagavan) and those of Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur on anadi karma are all simultaneously true and perfectly harmonised, with no preaching strategy involved. Thank you.
Krsna prema is nitya siddha, eternally perfect. It is eternally existing in Krsna’s associates. The baddha jiva’s connection with this nitya siddha prema begins inside of time, in this world. The bhava is eternal but our participation in in has a beginning within time. And in Goloka this bhava is always manifesting itself differently in newer and newer ways. Prema is full yet always increasing. So because of the nature of the svarupa sakti there are events in the spiritual world. Two things may be eternal but yet to meet one another. Prti-sandarbha explains that spiritual forms eternally exist in Goloka and jivas who desire such forms in their sadhana are blessed with them upon attaining their spiritually desired sadhya.
So your logic is faulty and your entire argument is convoluted and demonstrates misunderstanding of the sections of the scripture you cite in support of your position. And all of this has been explained earlier in this discussion. What I have presented is very simple and straightforward and also very pleasing to the spiritual mind.
I think that this thread should be closed.