The next day, Vrajanatha reached Srivasangana earlier than on previous days. The Vaisnavas from Godruma had also come before evening to take darsana of sandhya arati, and Sri Premadasa Paramahamsa Babaji, Vaisnava dasa, Advaita dasa, and other Vaisnavas were already seated in the arati-mandapa. When Vrajanatha saw the bhavas of the Vaisnavas from Godruma, he was struck with wonder, and thought, “I will perfect my life by having their association as soon as possible.” When those Vaisnavas saw his humble and devotional disposition, all of them bestowed their blessings on Vrajanatha.
When arati was over, Vrajanatha and the elderly Babaji began to walk southwards together in the direction of Godruma. Raghunatha dasa Babaji saw an incessant stream of tears flowing from Vrajanatha’s eyes and, feeling very affectionate towards him, asked lovingly, “Baba, why are you weeping?”
Vrajanatha said, “Prabhu, when I remember your sweet instructions, my heart becomes restless and the entire world seems to be devoid of all substance. My heart is becoming eager to take shelter at Sri Gaurangadeva’s lotus feet. Please be merciful to me and tell me who I really am according to tattva, and why I have come to this world.”
Babaji: My dear son, you have blessed me by asking such a question. The day that the jiva first asks this question is the auspicious day on which his good fortune arises. If you will kindly hear the fifth sloka of Dasa-mula, all your doubts will be dispelled.
sphulingah rddhagner iva cid-anavo jiva-nicayah
hareh suryasyaivaprthag api tu tad-bheda-visayah
vase maya yasya prakrti-patir evesvara iha
sa jivo mukto ‘pi prakrti-vasa-yogyah sva-gunatah
Just as many tiny sparks burst out from a blazing fire, so the innumerable jivas are like atomic, spiritual particles in the rays of the spiritual sun, Sri Hari. Though these jivas are non-different from Sri Hari, they are also eternally different from Him. The eternal difference between the jiva and Isvara is that Isvara is the Lord and master of maya-sakti, whereas the jiva can fall under the control of maya, even in his liberated stage, due to his constitutional nature.
Vrajanatha: This is an exceptional siddhanta, and I would like to hear some Vedic evidence to support it. Sri Bhagavan’s statements are certainly Veda, but still, people will be bound to accept the teachings of Mahaprabhu if the Upanisads can substantiate this principle. Babaji: This tattva is described in many places in the Vedas. I will cite a few of them:
yathagneh ksudra visphulinga vyuccaranti
evam evasmad atmanah sarvani bhutani vyuccaranti
Brhad-aranyaka Upanisad (2.1.20)
Innumerable jivas emanate from para-brahma, just like tiny sparks from a fire.
tasya va etasya purusasya dve eva sthane
bhavata idan ca paraloka-sthanan ca
sandhyam trtiyam svapna-sthanam
tasmin sandhye sthane tisthann ete ubhe
sthane pasyatidan ca paraloka-sthanan ca
Brhad-aranyaka Upanisad (4.3.9)
There are two positions about which the jiva-purusa should inquire – the inanimate material world, and the spiritual world. The jiva is situated in a third position, which is a dreamlike condition (svapna-sthana), and is the juncture (tatastha) between the other two. Being situated at the place where the two worlds meet, he sees both the jada-jagat (inert world) and the cid-jagat (spiritual world).
This sloka describes the marginal nature of jiva-sakti. Again, it is said in Brhad-aranyaka Upanisad (4.3.18):
tad yatha maha-matsya ubhe kule ‘nusancarati
purvan caparan caivam evayam purusa etav ubhav antav
anu sancarati svapnantan ca buddhantan ca
Just as a large fish in a river sometimes goes to the eastern bank and sometimes to the western bank, so the jiva, being situated in karana-jala (the water of cause that lies between the inert and conscious worlds), also gradually wanders to both banks, the place of dreaming and the place of wakefulness.
Vrajanatha: What is the Vedantic meaning of the word tatastha?
Babaji: The space between the ocean and the land is called the tata (shore), but the place that touches the ocean is actually nothing but land, so where is the shore? The tata is the line of distinction separating the ocean and the land, and it is so fine that it cannot be seen with the gross eyes. If we compare the transcendental realm to the ocean, and the material world to the land, then tata is the subtle line that divides the two, and the jiva-sakti is situated at the place where the two meet. The jivas are like the countless atomic particles of light within the sunrays. Being situated in the middle place, the jivas see the spiritual world on one side and the material universe created by maya on the other. Just as Bhagavan’s spiritual sakti on one side is unlimited, maya-sakti on the other side is also very powerful. The innumerable subtle (suksma) jivas are situated between these two. The jivas are marginal by nature because they have manifested from Krsna’s tatasthasakti (marginal potency).
Vrajanatha: What is the tatastha-svabhava (marginal nature)?
Babaji: It is the nature that enables one to be situated between both worlds, and to see both sides. Tatastha-svabhava is the eligibility to come under the control of either of the saktis. Sometimes the shore is submerged in the river because of erosion, and then again it becomes one with the land because the river changes its course. If the jiva looks in the direction of Krsna – that is, towards the spiritual world – he is influenced by Krsna sakti. He then enters the spiritual world, and serves Bhagavan in his pure, conscious, spiritual form. However, if he looks towards maya, he becomes opposed to Krsna and is incarcerated by maya. This dual-faceted nature is called the tatastha-svabhava (marginal nature).
Vrajanatha: Is there any material component in the jiva’s original constitution?
Babaji: No, the jiva is created solely from the cit-sakti. He can be defeated – that is, covered by maya – because he is minute by nature and lacks spiritual power, but there is not even a scent of maya in the jiva’s existence.
Vrajanatha: I have heard from my teacher that when a fraction of the conscious brahma is covered by maya, it becomes the jiva. He explained the sky to be always the indivisible maha-akasa, but when a part of it is enclosed in a pot, it becomes ghata-akasa. Similarly, the jiva is originally brahma, but when that brahma is covered by maya, the false ego of being a jiva develops. Is this conception correct?
Babaji: This doctrine is only Mayavada. How can maya touch brahma? The Mayavadis propose that brahma has no sakti (luptasakti), so how can maya – which is a sakti – possibly approach brahma, if sakti is supposed to be non-existent? The conclusion is that maya cannot possibly cover brahma and cause such a miserable condition. Conversely, if we accept the transcendental sakti (parasakti) of brahma, how can maya, which is an insignificant sakti, defeat the cit-sakti and create the jiva from brahma? Besides, brahma is indivisible, so how can such a brahma be divided? The idea that maya can act upon brahma is not acceptable. Maya plays no role in the creation of the jivas. Admittedly, the jiva is only atomic, but even so, it is still superior as a tattva to maya.
Vrajanatha: Once another teacher said that the jiva is nothing but a reflection of brahma. The sun is reflected in water, and similarly, brahma becomes jiva when it is reflected in maya. Is this conception correct?
Babaji: Again this is simply another example of Mayavada philosophy.
Brahma has no limits, and a limitless entity can never be reflected. The idea of limiting brahma is opposed to the conclusions of the Vedas, so this theory of reflection is to be rejected. Vrajanatha: A dig-vijaya sannyasi once told me that in reality there is no substance known as jiva. One only thinks of himself as a jiva because of illusion, and when the illusion is removed, there is only one indivisible brahma. Is this correct or not?
Babaji: This is also Mayavada doctrine which has no foundation at all. According to sastra, ekam evadvitiyam: “There is nothing apart from brahma.” If there is nothing except brahma, where has the illusion come from, and who is supposed to be in illusion? If you say that brahma is in illusion, you are saying that brahma is not actually brahma; rather, it is insignificant. And if you propose that illusion is a separate and independent element, you negate the undivided oneness (advaya-jnana) of brahma.
Vrajanatha: Once an influential brahmana pandita arrived in Navadvipa, and in a conference of intellectuals, he established that only the jiva exists. His theory was that this jiva creates everything in his dreams, and it is because of this that he enjoys happiness and suffers distress. Then, when the dream breaks, he sees that he is nothing but brahma. To what extent is this idea correct?
Babaji: This is, again, Mayavada. If, as they say, brahma is undifferentiated, how can it possibly produce the jiva and his dreaming state? Mayavadis use examples, such as, ‘the illusion of seeing mother-of-pearl in an oyster shell as gold’ and ‘the illusion of taking a rope to be a snake,’ but their philosophy cannot provide a consistent basis for advaya-jnana.
Vrajanatha: So maya has nothing whatever to do with creating the svarupa of the jivas – this has to be accepted. At the same time, I have also clearly understood that the jiva is by nature subject to the influence of maya. Now I want to know, did the cit-sakti create the jivas and give them their tatastha-svabhava (marginal nature)?
Babaji: No, the cit-sakti is paripurna-sakti, the complete potency of Krsna, and its manifestations are all eternally perfect substances.The jiva is not nitya-siddha, although when he performs sadhana, he can become sadhana-siddha and enjoy transcendental happiness like the nitya-siddhas, eternally perfect beings. All the four types of Srimati Radhika’s sakhis are nitya-siddha, and they are direct expansions (kaya-vyuha) of the cit-sakti, Srimati Radhika Herself. All the jivas, on the other hand, have manifested from Sri Krsna’s jiva-sakti. The cit-sakti is Sri Krsna’s complete sakti, whereas the jiva-sakti is His incomplete sakti. Just as the complete tattvas are all transformations of the complete potency, similarly innumerable atomic, conscious jivas are transformations of the incomplete sakti.
Sri Krsna, being established in each of His saktis, manifests His svarupa according to the nature of that sakti. When He is situated in the cit-svarupa, He manifests His svarupa as Sri Krsna and also as Narayana, the Lord of Paravyoma; when He is situated in the jiva-sakti, He manifests His svarupa as His vilasa-murti of Vraja, Baladeva; and being established in the maya-sakti, He manifests the three Visnu forms: Karanodakasayi, Ksirodakasayi and Garbhodakasayi. In His Krsna form in Vraja, He manifests all the spiritual affairs to the superlative degree. In His Baladeva svarupa as sesa-tattva, He manifests nitya-mukta-parsada-jivas, eternally liberated associates, who render eight types of service to Krsna sesitattva-svarupa, the origin of sesa-tattva. Again, as sesa-rupa Sankarsana in Paravyoma, He manifests eight types of servants to render eight kinds of services as eternally liberated associates of sesi-rupa Narayana. Maha-Visnu, who is an avatara of Sankarsana, situates Himself in the jiva-sakti, and in His Paramatma svarupa, He manifests the jivas who have the potential to be involved in the material world. These jivas are susceptible to the influence of maya, and unless they attain the shelter of the hladini-sakti of the cit-sakti by Bhagavan’s mercy, the possibility of their being defeated by maya remains. The countless conditioned jivas who have been conquered by maya are subordinate to the three modes of material nature. Bearing all this in mind, the siddhanta is that it is only the jiva-sakti, and not the cit-sakti, that manifests the jivas.
Vrajanatha: You said earlier that the cit world is eternal, and so are the jivas. If this is true, how can an eternal entity possibly be created, manifested or produced? If it is created at some point of time, it must have been non-existent before that, so how can we accept that it is eternal?
Babaji: The time and space that you experience in this material world are completely different from time and space in the spiritual world. Material time is divided into three aspects: past, present and future. However, in the spiritual world there is only one undivided, eternally present time. Every event of the spiritual world is eternally present.
Whatever we say or describe in the material world is under the jurisdiction of material time and space, so when we say – “The jivas were created,” “The spiritual world was manifested,” or “There is no influence of maya in creating the form of the jivas,” – material time is bound to influence our language and our statements. This is inevitable in our conditioned state, so we cannot remove the influence of material time from our descriptions of the atomic jiva and spiritual objects. The conception of past, present and future always enters them in some way or another. Still, those who can discriminate properly can understand the application of the eternal present when they comprehend the purport of the descriptions of the spiritual world. Baba, be very careful in this matter. Give up the inevitable baseness, or the aspect of the description that is fit to be rejected, and have spiritual realization.
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: nitya-mukta and nitya-baddha. The subject has been explained in this way only because the conditioned human intellect being controlled by pramada (inattentiveness), is unable to comprehend a subject matter. Realized sadhakas, though, experience transcendental truth through their cit-samadhi. Our words always have some material limitation, so whatever we say will have some mayika defects. My dear son, you should always endeavor to realize the pure truth. Logic and argument cannot help at all in this regard, so it is futile to use them to try to understand inconceivable subject matters.
I know that you will not be able to understand these subjects in a moment, but as you cultivate these transcendental moods within your heart, you will realize cinmaya-bhava more and more. In other words, all the transcendental moods will manifest themselves in the core of your purified heart. Your body is material, and all the activities of your body are also material, but the essence of your being is not material; you are an atomic conscious entity. The more you know yourself, the more you will be able to realize how your svarupa is a tattva superior to the world of maya. Even if I tell you, you will not realize it, or simply be hearing you will not attain it. Cultivate the practice of chanting hari-nama as much as possible. As you go on chanting hari-nama, these transcendental bhavas will begin to manifest in your heart automatically, and to the degree that they do so, you will be able to realize the transcendental world. Mind and speech both have their origin in matter, and they cannot touch the transcendental truth, even with the greatest endeavor. The Vedas say in Taittiriya Upanisad (2.9)
yato vaco nivartante aprapya manasa saha
The speech and the mind return from brahma, being unable to attain Him.
I advise you not to inquire about this matter from anyone, but to realize it yourself. I have just given you an indication (abhasa).
Vrajanatha: You have explained that the jiva is like a spark of a burning fire, or an atomic particle in the rays of the spiritual sun. What is the role of jiva-sakti in this?
Babaji: Krsna, who in these examples is compared to the blazing fire or the sun, is a self-manifest tattva. Within the compass of that blazing fire or sun – in other words, Krsna – everything is a spiritual manifestation, and the rays spread far and wide beyond its sphere. These rays are the fractional function (anu-karya) of the svarupa-sakti, and the rays within that fractional function are paramanu (atomic particles) of the spiritual sun. The jivas are compared to this very localized, atomic tattva. Svarupa-sakti manifests the world within the sphere of the spiritual sun, and the function outside the sphere of the sun is carried out by jiva-sakti, which is the direct partial representation of cit-sakti. Therefore, the activities related to the jiva are those of jiva-sakti. Parasya saktir vividhaiva sruyate (Svetasvatara Upanisad 6.8), “That acintya-sakti is called para-sakti. Although it is one, this innate potency (sva-bhavikisakti) has manifold varieties based on jnana (spiritual knowledge), bala (spiritual strength), and kriya (spiritual activities).” According to this aphorism of sruti, the cit-sakti is a manifestation of the para-sakti. It emanates from its own sphere – the spiritual realm –as the jiva-sakti, and in the marginal region between the spiritual and the material worlds, it manifests innumerable, eternal jivas, who are like atomic particles in the rays of the spiritual sun.
Vrajanatha: A burning fire, the sun, sparks, and the atomic particles of sunshine – these are all material objects. Why has a comparison been made with these material objects in the discussion of cit-tattva?
Babaji: As I have already said, inevitably there are material defects in any material statements we make about cit-tattva, but what alternative do we have? We are obliged to use these examples, because we are helpless without them. Therefore, those who know tattva try to explain cid-vastu by comparing it to fire or the sun. In reality, Krsna is far superior to the sun; Krsna’s effulgence is far superior to the radiance of the sun; and Krsna’s rays and the atoms in them – that is the jiva-sakti and the jivas – are far superior to the rays of the sun and the atomic particles in the rays. Still, these examples have been used because there are many similarities within them.
Examples can explain some of the spiritual qualities, but not all. The beauty of the sun’s light and the ability of its rays to illuminate other objects are both qualities that compare with the cittattva, for it is the quality of spirit to reveal its own beauty and to illuminate other objects. However, the scorching heat in the sunrays has no counterpart in the cid-vastu, nor does the fact that the rays are material. Again, if we say, “This milk is like water,” we are only considering the liquid quality of water in the comparison; otherwise, if all the qualities of water were present in milk, why would the water not become milk? Examples can explain certain specific qualities of an object, but not all of its qualities and traits.
Vrajanatha: The spiritual rays of the transcendental Krsna-sun and the spiritual atoms within those rays are non-different from the sun, yet at the same time they are eternally different from it. How can both these facts be true simultaneously?
Babaji: In the material world, when one object is produced from another, either the product is completely different from its source, or else it remains a part of it. This is the nature of material objects. For example, an egg becomes separate from the mother bird once it is laid, whereas a person’s nails and hair remain part of the body until they are cut, even though they are produced from his body. However, the nature of cid-vastu is somewhat different. Whatever has manifested from the spiritual sun is simultaneously one with it, and different from it. The rays of the sun and the atomic particles in the rays are not separate from the sun, even after they have emanated from it. Similarly, the rays of Krsna’s svarupa, and the atoms in those rays – that is jiva-sakti and the jivas – are not separate from Him, even though they are produced from Him. At the same time, although the jivas are non–different from Krsna, they are also eternally different and separate from Him, because they have their own minute particle of independent desires. Therefore, the jiva’s difference and non-difference from Krsna is an eternal truth. This is the special feature of the cit realm.
The sages give a partial example from our experience of inert matter. Suppose you cut a small piece of gold from a large piece, and use it to make a bangle. From the perspective of the gold, the bangle is not different from the original piece of gold; they are nondifferent. However, from the perspective of the bangle, the two are different from each other. This example is not a completely correct representation of cit-tattva, but it illustrates an important aspect: from the point of view of cit-tattva, there is no difference between Isvara and the jiva, whereas from the perspective of state and quantity, these two are eternally different. Isvara is complete cit, whereas the jiva is atomic cit. Isvara is great, whereas the jiva is insignificant. Some people give the example of ghata-akasa and maha-akasa (the sky in a pot, and the unlimited sky) in this regard, but this example is completely inconsistent with regard to cit-tattva.
Vrajanatha: If transcendental entities and material objects belong to completely different categories, how can material objects be used as appropriate examples for understanding transcendental entities?
Babaji: There are different categories of material objects, and the panditas of the Nyaya school consider them eternal. However, there is no such categorical difference between the cit (transcendental) and jada (material). I have already said that cit is the only reality, and jada is simply its transformation (vikara). The vikara is different from the original source, but it is still similar to the pure, original object in many respects. For example, ice is a transformation of water, and it becomes different from water through this transformation, but the two remain similar in many of their qualities, such as coldness. Hot and cold water do not both have the quality of coldness, but their quality of fluidity is the same. Therefore, the transformed object certainly retains some similarity to the pure object. According to this principle, the transcendental (cit) world can be understood to some extent with the help of material examples. Again, by adopting the logic of arundhati-darsana1, one can use material examples to understand something about the spiritual nature.
Krsna’s pastimes are completely spiritual, and there is not even the slightest scent of a material mood in them. The vraja-lila described in Srimad-Bhagavatam is transcendental, but when the descriptions are read in an assembly, the fruits of hearing them are different according to the respective qualifications of the various listeners. Appreciating the ornamental figures of speech from the mundane perspective, those who are absorbed in material sense gratification hear it as a story of an ordinary hero and heroine. The madhyama-adhikaris take shelter of arundhati-darsana-nyaya, and experience the transcendental pastimes, which are similar to mundane descriptions. And when the uttama-adhikari bhaktas hear the descriptions of those pastimes, they become absorbed in the rasa of pure transcendental cid-vilasa, which is above all mundane qualities. The Absolute Truth is aprakrta-tattva, so how can we educate the jivas about it without taking help of the principles that I have just described? Can the conditioned jiva understand a subject that renders the voice dumb and stops the working of the mind? There doesn’t appear to be any method of explaining these subjects other than the principle of similarity, and the logic of arundhati-darsana1.
Material objects can be either different or non-different from each other, so difference and non-difference are not visible in them at one and the same time, but this is not the case with paramatattva. We have to accept that Krsna is simultaneously different and non-different from His jiva-sakti and from the jivas in it. This bhedabheda-tattva (simultaneous difference and oneness) is said to be acintya (inconceivable) because it is beyond the limit of human intellect.
1 Arundhati is a very small star, which is situated close to the Vasistha star in the Saptarsi constellation (the Great Bear). In order to view it, its location is first determined by looking at a bigger star beside it, then if one looks carefully one can see Arundhati close by.“Similarly, the madhyama-adhikari, although taking help from the senses and the language of the material world in describing the spiritual world, realizes and sees the aprakrta-tattva after having applied the anjana, ointment, of prema to the eyes of bhakti.”
Vrajanatha: What is the difference between Isvara and the jiva?
Babaji: First you should understand the non-difference between Isvara and the jiva, and after that, I will explain their eternal difference. Isvara is the embodiment of knowledge (jnana-svarupa), the knower (jnata-svarupa), one who considers or reflects (mantasvarupa) and the enjoyer (bhoktr-svarupa). He is self-effulgent (svaprakasa) and He also illuminates others (para-prakasa). He has His own desires (iccha-maya), and He is the knower of all (ksetra-jna). The jiva, too, is the form of knowledge, the knower, and the enjoyer; he too, is self-effulgent, and he illuminates others; and he too, has desires, and is the knower of his own field (ksetra-jna). From this perspective, there is no difference between them.
However, Isvara is omnipotent, and by dint of this omnipotence, He is the basis of all these qualities, which are present in Him in full. These qualities are also present in the atomic jiva, but only to a minute degree. Thus, the nature and form of Isvara and the jiva are eternally different from each other because one is complete and the other is minute; and at the same time, there is a lack of distinction between Isvara and the jiva because of the similarity between their qualities.
Isvara is the Lord of svarupa-sakti, jiva-sakti and maya-sakti because of the completeness of the internal potency (atma-sakti). Sakti is His maidservant, and He is the Lord of sakti, who is activated by His desire; this is the svarupa of Isvara. Though the qualities of Isvara are present in the jiva to a minute degree, the jiva is nonetheless under the control of sakti.
The word maya has been used in Dasa-mula not only to indicate material maya, but also to indicate svarupa-sakti. Miyate anaya iti maya, “Maya is that by which things can be measured.” The word maya refers to the sakti that illuminates Krsna’s identity in all the three worlds, namely, the cit-jagat, acit-jagat, and jiva-jagat. Krsna is the controller of maya and the jiva is under the control of maya. Therefore, it is said in the Svetasvatara Upanisad (4.9-10):
asman mayi srjate visvam etat
tasmims canyo mayaya sanniruddhah
mayan tu prakrtim vidyan mayinan tu mahesvaram
tasyavaya-bhutais tu vyaptam sarvam idam jagat
Paramesvara is the Lord of maya, He has created the entire world wherein the jivas are bound in the illusion of material identification. It should be understood that maya is His prakrti, and He is Mahesvara, the controller of maya. This entire world is pervaded by His limbs.
In this mantra, the word mayi is used to indicate Krsna, the controller of maya, and prakrti is used to indicate the complete sakti. His great qualities and nature are the special characteristics of Isvara; they are not present in the jiva, and he cannot attain them, even after liberation. It is stated in Brahma-sutra (4.4.17), jagatvyapara- varjjam prakaranasannihitatvat, “The creation, maintenance and control of the entire transcendental and inert world is the work of brahma only, and no one else.” Except for this activity in relation to the cit and acit worlds, all other activities are possible for liberated jivas. The sruti states, yato va imani bhutani jayante (Taittiriya Upanisad 3.1): “He is that by which all the jivas are created and maintained, and into which they enter and become unmanifest at the time of annihilation.” These statements have only been made in relation to brahma, and they cannot be applied to the jiva by any amount of manipulation, because there is no reference to liberated jivas here. The sastras state that it is only Bhagavan, and not the liberated jiva, who performs activities of creation, maintenance and annihilation. One may suppose that the jiva can also perform these activities, but this gives rise to the philosophy of many isvaras (bahv-isvara-dosa), which is defective. Therefore, the correct siddhanta is that the jiva is not qualified for the above-mentioned activities, even when liberated.
This establishes the eternal difference between the jiva and Isvara, and all learned people support this. This difference is not imaginary, but eternal; it does not disappear in any state of the jiva. Consequently, the statement that the jiva is an eternal servant of Krsna should be accepted as a fundamental statement (maha-vakya).
Vrajanatha: If one can only prove the eternal difference between Isvara and the jiva, how can one accept the oneness? Another point is that, if there is oneness, do we have to accept a state of merging with Isvara (nirvana)?
Babaji: No, not at all. The jiva is not one with Krsna at any stage.
Vrajanatha: Then why have you spoken about acintya-bhedabheda (inconceivable oneness and difference)?
Babaji: From the qualitative perspective of cid-dharma, there is oneness between Krsna and the jivas, but from the quantitative perspective of their essential nature and individual personalities (svarupa), there is eternal difference between them. Despite the eternal oneness, it is the perception of difference that is eternally prominent. Though the abheda-svarupa is an accomplished fact, there is no indication that any such state has independent existence. Rather, it is the manifestation of nitya-bheda (eternal difference) that is always prominent. In other words, where eternal difference and eternal oneness are present simultaneously, the perception of bheda is stronger. For example, let us say the owner of a house is called Devadatta, his house is simultaneously a-devadatta (independent of Devadatta) and sa-devadatta (identified with Devadatta). Even though from some points of view it may be considered independent of Devadatta, still its specific characteristic of being identified with Devadatta eternally exists. Similarly, in the case of Isvara and the jivas, non-difference, or oneness, is not part of the essential identity, even at the stage of svarupa-siddhi, just as the house can be called both a-devadatta and sa-devadatta.From one perspective it may be viewed as a-devadatta, but still, the real identity is sa-devadatta.
Let me give you another example from the material world. Sky is a material element, and there is also a basis for its existence, but even though the basis is present, only the sky is actually visible. Similarly, even within the abheda existence, the distinctive nityabheda, which is real, is found, and that is why nitya-bheda is the only definitive characteristic of the essential reality (vastu).
Vrajanatha: Please explain the eternal nature of the jiva even more clearly.
Babaji: The jiva is atomic consciousness and is endowed with the quality of knowledge and is described by the word aham (‘I’). He is the enjoyer, the thinker, and the one who comprehends. The jiva has an eternal form which is very subtle. Just as the different parts of the gross body, the hands, legs, nose, eyes and so on combine to manifest a beautiful form when established in their respective places, similarly a very beautiful atomic spiritual body is manifest, which is composed of different spiritual parts. However, when the jiva is entangled in maya, that spiritual form is covered by two material bodies. One of these is called the subtle body (linga-sarira) and the other is called the gross body (sthulasarira). The subtle body, which is the first to cover the atomic spiritual body, is unavoidable (apariharya) from the beginning of the jiva’s conditioned state until his liberation. When the jiva transmigrates from one body to the next, the gross body changes, but the subtle body does not. Rather, as the jiva leaves the gross body, the subtle body carries all its karmas and desires to the next body. The jiva’s change of body and transmigration are carried out through the science of pancagni (the five fires) which is delineated in the Vedas. The system of pancagni, such as the funeral fire, the fire of digestion and rain, has been described in the Chandogya Upanisad and Brahma-sutra. The jiva’s conditioned nature in the new body is the result of the influences from his previous births, and this nature determines the varna in which he takes birth. After entering varnasrama, he begins to perform karma again, and when he dies, he repeats the same process. The first covering of the eternal spiritual form is the subtle body, and the second is the gross body.
Vrajanatha: What is the difference between the eternal spiritual body and the subtle body?
Babaji: The eternal body is the actual, original body, and it is atomic, spiritual, and faultless. This is the real object of the ego – the real ‘I’. The subtle body arises from contact with matter, and it consists of three vitiated transformations, namely, of the mind, intelligence and ego.
Vrajanatha: Are mind, intelligence, and ego material entities? If they are, how do they have the qualities of knowledge and activity?
bhumir apo ’nalo vayuh kham mano buddhir eva ca
ahankara itiyam me bhinna prakrtir astadha
apareyam itas tv anyam prakrtim viddhi me param
jiva-bhutam maha-baho yayedam dharyate jagat
etad-yonini bhutani sarvanity upadharaya
aham krtsnasya jagatah prabhavah pralayas tatha
My separated eight-fold apara or maya-prakrti consists of the five gross elements – earth, water, fire, air and space – and the three subtle elements – mind, intelligence and false ego. Besides this, O mighty-armed Arjuna, I have a tatastha-prakrti, which can also be called para-prakrti (superior nature). That prakrti is in the form of consciousness, and the jivas. All the jivas who have manifested from this para-prakrti make the inert world full of consciousness. The jiva-sakti is called tatastha because it is eligible for both worlds; the spiritual world, which is manifest from My antaranga-sakti; and the material world, which is manifest from My bahriranga-sakti.
Since all created entities are manifested from these two types of prakrti, you should know that I, Bhagavan, am the sole original cause of creation and destruction of all the worlds of the moving and non-moving beings.
These slokas of Gita Upanisad describe the two types of prakrti of sarva-saktiman Bhagavan. One is called para-prakrti (the superior energy) and the other is called apara-prakrti (the inferior energy). They are also known as jiva-sakti and maya-sakti respectively. The jiva-sakti is called para-sakti, or srestha-sakti (the superior sakti), because it is full of spiritual atomic particles. The maya-sakti is called apara (inferior) because it is material and inert (jada).
The jiva is a completely separate entity from the apara-sakti, which contains eight elements: the five gross elements – earth, water, fire, air, and space – and the three subtle elements mind, intelligence and ego. These last three material elements are special. The aspect of knowledge that is visible in them is material, and not spiritual. The mind creates a false world by basing its knowledge of sensual objects on the images and influences that it absorbs from gross subjects in the mundane realm. This process has its root in mundane matter, not in spirit. The faculty that relies on that knowledge to discriminate between real and unreal is called buddhi, which also has its root in mundane matter. The ego, or sense of ‘I-ness’ that is produced by accepting the above knowledge is also material, and not spiritual.
These three faculties together manifest the jiva’s second form, which acts as the connection between the jiva and matter, and is called ‘the subtle body’ (linga-sarira). As the ego of the conditioned jiva’s subtle body becomes stronger, it covers the ego of his eternal form. The ego in the eternal nature in relationship to the spiritual sun, Krsna, is the eternal and pure ego, and this same ego manifests again in the liberated state. However, as long as the eternal body remains covered by the subtle body, the material self-conception (jada-abhimana) arising from the gross and subtle body remains strong, and consequently the abhimana of relation with spirit is almost absent. The linga-sarira is very fine, so that the function of the gross body covers it. Thus, identification with the caste and so on of the gross body arises in the subtle body because it is covered by the gross body. Although the three elements –mind, intelligence and ego – are material, the abhimana of knowledge is inherent in them because they are vitiated transformations of the function of the soul (atma-vrtti).
Vrajanatha: I understand the eternal svarupa of the jiva to be spiritual and atomic in nature, and within that svarupa is a beautiful body composed of spiritual limbs. In the conditioned state, that beautiful spiritual body remains covered by the subtle body, and the material covering of the jiva-svarupa in the form of the jadasarira causes its material transformation (jada-vikara). Now, I want to know whether the jiva is completely faultless in the liberated state.
Babaji: The atomic spiritual form is free from defect, but because of its minute nature, it is inherently weak and therefore incomplete. The only defect in that state is that the jiva’s spiritual form may be covered through association with the powerful maya-sakti.
It is said in Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.2.32),
ye ’nye ’ravindaksa vimukta-maninas
tvayy asta-bhavad avisuddha-buddhayah
aruhya krcchrena param padam tatah
patanty adho ’nadrta-yusmad-anghrayah
O lotus-eyed Lord, non-devotees, such as the jnanis, yogis and renunciants, falsely consider themselves to be liberated, but their intelligence is not really pure because they lack devotion. They perform severe austerities and penances, and achieve what they imagine to be the liberated position, but they still fall from there into a very low condition due to neglecting Your lotus feet.
This shows that the constitution of the jiva will always remain incomplete, no matter how elevated a stage the liberated jiva may achieve. That is the inherent nature of jiva-tattva, and that is why it is said in the Vedas that Isvara is the controller of maya, whereas the jiva remains eligable to be controlled of maya in all circumstances.