Jiva tattva

Madan Gopal Das - July 10, 2014 4:27 pm

I was having a discussion via chat with Subal today and thought to bring it here in case anyone else wants to participate. Subal was asking questions related to GM's recent class "Bringing dignity to the Bhaktivinoda parivar."


Subal Das
...turning over the concept of there being no bhakti inherent in the atma, and still we are eternal servants of Krsna. I'm thinking the atma is an infinitesimal part of the whole (Krsna) so the part is naturally meant to serve the whole. At the same time we are constituted of three ingredients sat, cit, and ananda. Bhakti is received through sanga with others how already have bhakti.
Madan Gopal
yeah, what u said is correct. the points GM is making are often confused by devotees because they will cite "jivera svarupa haya krsnera nitya dasa" - that the "jiva is an eternal servant of krsna." At face value it sounds like the jiva IS a devotee, has a svarupa, and can lead to the conclusion that the jiva was with krsna, made bad choice of freewill and fell from spiritual world. That doesn't work, doesn't make sense and isn't siddhanta.
- so, krsnera nitya das means that the jiva in a general sense is a servant. that in its "constitutional position." it serves maya or it serves spiritual energy. it is a dependent entity and is influenced (serves) according to its association.
- otherwise, if krsnera nitya dasa meant specifically "dasa" like in a spiritual svarupa sense, it would imply that all jivas are in dasya bhakti - why not madhurya, sakhya, vatsalya also?
- yes, the jiva being constituted of sat, cit and ananda means an infinitesimal part of the spiritual nature - opposite of the makeup of matter. But that does not imply that bhakti is part of that. When graced by bhakti, the jiva which is spiritual by nature relates back to its source, its own nature through love. Without being graced by bhakti it is a spiritual spark trying to associate with and serve matter which is of a foreign nature.
- then the other verse which is cited a lot incorrectly is "nitya siddha krsna prema" and devotees suggest that it is saying the jiva has krsna prema inside it, it just needs to be uncovered... and then we're back onto falling from Goloka where we had our original svarupa which is now covered... Again, that doesn't work. This verse is misunderstood because it you look at where it is referenced, it is not speaking about the jiva, but rather about bhakti. the point being made where the verse is from is that krsna prema is eternal, and it is manifest not by an activity but is rather causeless. The verse is not about the jiva and the original text is saying nothing about krsna prema being manifest "in the heart" at all.
Subal Das
Right, I follow you. The next thing I've heard many times is that the jiva's svarup or spiritual body and eternal rasa with Krsna is also inside the atma. Meaning that one's eternal relationship with Krsna in the spiritual world is pre-determined (since when and by who, I don't know). Dasa-mula 7 (JD chapter 17 pg. 403)
When, in the course of wandering amongst the higher and lower species in the material word, a jiva is able to behold a Vaisnava absorbed in the flowing rasa of sri-hari-bhakti, ruci arises in his heart for following the Vaisnava way of life. By chanting sri-ksna-divya-nama, he gradually becomes free from his conditioning. Step by step, he then gains his intrinsic, cinmaya-svarupa (transcendental form), and becomes qualified to taste the pure and spiritual rasa of direct service to Sri Krsna
Madan Gopal
well first, we have to consider whether the idea that the jiva was with krsna in a lila svarup previous to being in the material world - whether that idea makes sense. It doesn't, nor does any sastra say this. For the jiva to previously be in the spiritual world in a svarupa in lila and now be in the material world means that maya is more powerful than krsna, material energy stronger than spiritual energy.
- so if that point is understood, any reference from anywhere will be seen in the correct framework.
Subal Das
I agree. The fact that we have been in the material world since infinity and are working our way back to Krsna by acquiring bhakti makes since.
Madan Gopal
- for example, the quote from Jaiva dharma is saying the correct thing, although it could sound different if one misunderstands the "origin" of the jiva as being in the spiritual world. the quote is saying the correct theory: the jiva is graced by bhakti from the outside - from association with a vaisnava. Then, by practice (sadhana) he will gain his svarupa and then become qualified for direct service. The word "intrinsic" could throw people off, because it sounds like the svarupa is already there, but it is not. The only thing intrinsic in the jiva is the serving potential, the potential for a svarupa because of the jiva's spiritual nature and relation to the bigger spiritual nature (Parabrahman).
Subal Das
What exactly determines a jiva's eternal lila svarup? Is it only by association? I remember GM saying jivas will be exposed to the appropriate association to develop their relationship with Krsna. Is the jiva's lila svarup fluid for fixed?



Subal Das - July 10, 2014 5:41 pm

This also leads into guru tattva as the guru is instrumental in giving a particular type of bhakti to the disciple.

Gauravani Dasa - July 10, 2014 5:46 pm

Is the jiva's lila svarup fluid or fixed?
I think the svarupa in the lila is fixed given that the svarupa is determined by the devotee's bhava/rasa. Is that correct? A jiva in sakhya would not be interested in madhurya, and vice-versa, both subjectively considering their own bhava to be the best.


Otherwise, before the jiva enters the lila, could sadhu-sanga influence the bhava being cultivated by the jiva, enough to change it from one rasa to another? Or would it be more of a nuanced change, say from sakhya to priya-narma sakhya?

Madan Gopal Das - July 10, 2014 6:31 pm

Subal Das

What exactly determines a jiva's eternal lila svarup? Is it only by association? I remember GM saying jivas will be exposed to the appropriate association to develop their relationship with Krsna. Is the jiva's lila svarup fluid for fixed?



GM has explained the manifestation of sampradayas in the world as an expression of ways that Bhagavan wants to receive service. In this sense, our rasa could be said to be predetermined in that we will come in touch with a flavor of service through the sampradaya that graces us. In our Gaudiya sampradaya we are attracted to either a gopa or a gopi svarupa, because that is what the sampradaya offers. Association is everything, and our attraction is influenced by our association as well as lifetimes of connection to guru (Subal's point above), which Krsna may be engineering in his desire to accept service in a certain way. For example, we aren't attracted to reverential bhakti as some of the other sampradaya's offer. Here is a relevant quote from GM on FB:



In Sri Rupa's Brs. 2.5.38 he explains that the reason one develops a taste for one ideal/rasa/svarupa or another is because of association with a devotee influenced by a particular bhava in this and previous lives. Such association creates a bhakti rasa samskara/vasana, or latent impression stored in one's citta. This then gives rise to a desire for that same rasa as one engages in sadhana bhakti, and within that rasa the details of one's spiritual form and seva are a result of the will of the jiva influenced by that bhava/rasa.


Here is the relevant comment by Visvanatha Cakravarti:


"Among the various tastes such as sweet, sour and bitter, a particular

person has a particular liking because of previous impressions.

Because of impressions from past life of a particular rasa

such as däsya, in this life also, the person has that taste alone and

not others, by the mercy of a great devotee with a similar taste.

This is the case of for the two types of däsya and the other three

higher rasas."


As for the lila svarupa being fixed, yes it is eternal and unchanging, because it is a form made of a certain flavor of bhava. Madhurya, Sakhya, Vatsalya, etc. There may be secondary rasas that influence/enhance the main, but they do not overwhelm it or change it, for example a gopa being overwhelmed by madhurya bhava and becoming instead a gopi.


Before entering the lila, the jiva is cultivating a bhava-deha in sadhana that fits in a certain rasa. The bhava is sthayi - fixed. If the bhava is influenced by varied sadhu-sanga, I would say the person was in the earlier stages of bhakti and not clear what his/her bhava was. Maybe that influence of sadhu's is clearing that up as the sadhaka is practicing. But true cultivation of a sthayi bhava in middle/higher stages of sadhana will not be changed by association.