The following are excerpts from various lectures of His Holiness Bhaktividyā Pūrṇa Svāmī on the origin and fall of jīva.

"The spiritual world is controlled by Yogamāyā, but you can see Mahāmāyā. The material world is controlled by Mahāmāyā, but you can see Yogamāyā. Because they are the same person, the same energy. It is just differently applied. Prabhupāda gives the example of electricity, one heats and one cools, the same energy. That’s why the Vaiṣṇavas aren’t so worried about, they don’t get caught up on this whole thing of time and space and this, because both are happening simultaneously. The superior manifestation is the internal potency, the inferior is the external potency. But the perception of it and the result you get from it can be exactly the same because the person who is managing both is the same person. That’s why then it is not a worry about this whole thing of where the jīva is coming from, where he is falling from, how could he fall from the spiritual world? 

"The whole thing is, because the jīva is in the position he can see both. The internal potency doesn’t. The internal potency is what manifests as the external potency. So why are they going to see the external potency? The guy at home is a husband and a father, at work he is a judge. So when he is at home he is the other, but he doesn’t manifest that, he is not interested in that. The friend can see both.

"So the jīva, he is able to see both because that is his nature. That’s where he is positioned. When the internal potency manifests one way or the other way, when the Svarūpa-śakti manifests as the internal or as the external potency, then the jīva is what is in-between.

"Because it is the same person, you go to the edge, your expansion is on the edge. But now, because of the reflection you flip it there, that puts the jīva in the middle.

"Because mundane is only in connection with the jīva. God doesn’t see mundane, His spiritual potency doesn’t see mundane. The material energy is just inferior Brahman, so it is not seeing mundane. Pārvatī is engaged in the Lord’s service, she is Vaiṣṇavī. She and her husband, they sit around and discuss so much about Kṛṣṇa. So where is the mundane? The mundane is the perception of the jīva, that he sees the Lord’s potency separate from Him and something he can enjoy. That’s what makes the Māyā."

(Śrī Īśopaniṣad Thematic Study lecture, Bhaktivedānta Academy, Śrīdhāma Māyāpura)

"The spiritual world without Kṛṣṇa will manifest to us as Māyā. We are sitting here [in Māyāpura], Lord Caitanya and His eternal associates are always doing their Navadvīpa Saṅkīrtana pastimes here, it is always going on. What do we see? Why? Because of that: not connecting it to Kṛṣṇa. You connect it to Kṛṣṇa, you start to perceive it. It’s that simple. So, therefore, one is not in the spiritual world if that is his avowed perspective. One is here out of the Lord’s kindness, in His realm, so that we can see, we can take part, we can become inspired.

"Therefore this idea also... When Prabhupāda says, you fall from the spiritual realm in the Lord’s pastimes, to say that that can’t happen, that’s also atheism. Because these demons are doing it all the time. So why can’t other souls? Only they can do it? Only they can be in the spiritual world and be envious and jealous? That’s the whole thing, 'You can’t be envious in the spiritual world.' Who said? No, those who are envious aren’t allowed to stay there. The demon is kicked out quite quickly. So they can’t stay there, but it doesn’t mean they can’t be there. It’s simply a consciousness, it’s a perception.

"You see it in connection with Kṛṣṇa in a favorable way, that is devotional service. So there is no enviousness. You see it in connection with Kṛṣṇa not favorable, then it is not devotional service. You don’t even see it connection to Kṛṣṇa, it doesn’t matter. Kaṁsa sees Kṛṣṇa, He sees everything in connection with Kṛṣṇa, anything reminds him of Kṛṣṇa but it’s not favorable. So still it’s not devotional service. Śaṅkhacūḍa doesn’t even see Balarāma as something special, he just walks in and says, 'Hey, check this out!' So either, it is not devotional. It’s atheistic.

"So, therefore, the position is, we are people, and the same person who you are, the same person is going back to Godhead. You are just going to give up all your conditioned perspectives. You are going to take up the devotional. But the same soul is going to go, not that it is some magic and 'Puff!' it becomes somebody else.

"It’s not the externals that change, it’s not that, 'Oh, if I had the spiritual body everything would be fine,' no. It’s your mentality that generates the spiritual or material body. So it’s up to us.

"Therefore self-realization, don’t worry about the next guy. 'Oh, until the community becomes Kṛṣṇa conscious, how can I be inspired?' It has nothing to do with that. As we said yesterday, Prahlāda Mahārāja, if he said that, where would he be? He had nobody else."

(Śrī Īśopaniṣad Thematic Study lecture, Bhaktivedānta Academy, Śrīdhāma Māyāpura)

Prabhu: How can one build up one’s rasa with the Lord?

HH BVPS Mahārāja: He mentions it: "By regularly rendering devotional service, one gradually becomes attached to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. When that attachment is intensified, it becomes love of Godhead." [Śrī Caitanya Caritāmṛta, Madhya 19.177]

By the performance of your sādhana-bhakti, that is how you are going to develop it. So when you are in the temple you are in the temple, when you are chanting you are chanting, otherwise you are thinking of Him in the heart, whatever works. The point is to be always in connection with Kṛṣṇa, always remember Him, never forget Him. Where the Deity is, that is always the spiritual world, so He is always there. The Lord is sitting in your heart, He is sitting in the spiritual world. If you are at His lotus feet you are also situated there, if you are not you are in the material world. 
Material and spiritual is a platform of consciousness. It is not we are here and therefore it has to be mundane. Because this is Kṛṣṇa’s energy, it is one of His potencies. Because it is His potency and He is sarva-śaktimān. The material energy is His potency, does that make Kṛṣṇa mundane? Material is a consciousness, it is not a place. In the same way, spiritual is a consciousness, it is not a place.

"This is where we get ourselves in trouble when we try to get into really hair-splitting technical points. We are trying to take spiritual and fit it into time and space, which is a material concept. And because of this then we make mistakes. As we discussed before, the position of the fall of the jīva - that is one of the big times for this kind of mistake because we have to demand that it will be brought into the purview of time and space. But spiritual and material are consciousness.

Prabhupāda is looking at one thing, he is situated spiritually. Someone else is looking at the same thing, they are situated materially. So you are going to say that he is not in the spiritual world? Wherever there is Kṛṣṇa and there is His devotee - that is the spiritual world. But where there is people who don’t recognize Kṛṣṇa - that is the material world.

So on the same field of Vṛndāvana you have Ariṣṭāsura and you have the Vrajavāsīs. So is that field the spiritual world or the material world? Which is it? Kṛṣṇa is there, His devotees are there, it is Vṛndāvana. But there is this demon here who thinks 'Here is this punk kid that I am going to kill.' So that is the taṭastha-śakti. The taṭastha-śakti is where both of those energies are in the same time. This potency, the cit-potency can reconcile all these differences. We maybe can’t understand it, but that is not the definition.

The definition is, the inconceivable potencies can all be contradictory potencies, they can all be reconciled by this one energy. We may not like it, it may not sound logical to us, so what? It is going on there. And then the demon comes up and touches Kṛṣṇa, or Kṛṣṇa touches the demon, then what? You are still dealing with material and spiritual. Somebody is in the Deity room offering āratika, he is thinking of the Deity, he is on the transcendental platform. Someone else is thinking of 'Did I lock the door? What about this and that,' so many things… Where are they? They are in the spiritual world, but their consciousness is in the material world, so where are they? Material world. So that is the whole thing, everything is Brahman, then where is the living entity? In the spiritual world or in the material world? It is consciousness. Because it is all Kṛṣṇa as Brahman. Not Brahmajyoti, Brahman. Brahmajyoti is an aspect of Brahman.

This kind of vision, by developing that then one sees differently. That is the idea: How to see according to śāstra, not according to our senses. In other words, the senses will pick up sense objects. But through those sense objects you can see Brahman, Paramātmā or Bhagavān. Because everything that you see has come from Kṛṣṇa. 

(Śrī Caitanya Śikṣāmṛta lecture, Bhaktivedānta Academy, Śrīdhāma Māyāpura) 

Reading from Daśa-mūla-tattva by Śrīla Bhaktiviṇoda Ṭhākura: "The jīva is a spiritual, conscious, knowing entity. The jīva appeared by the marginal energy at the dividing line between spirit and matter. From that position, he began to gaze at the spiritual and material worlds. Those jīvas who were attracted somewhat to realization of the Supreme Person became desirous of the spiritual realm- because of that contact of knowledge. They then obtained strength from the hlādinī potency of the abundant cit śakti, which made them favorable to the Lord eternally, and they were brought into the spiritual world as associates of the Lord."

HH Bhaktividyā Pūrṇa Mahārāja: Very clear. So that means, they appeared by the marginal energy at the dividing line. Then at that dividing line some are attracted somewhat to realization of the Supreme. So then it says, by the strength from the hlādinī potency they become favorable. That means, by the association of those devotees of the internal potency or under the internal potency, then they develop that faith by which they then come fully under the protection of the internal potency. So then they become the eternal associates.

Now we see, they are called eternally liberated. But this eternal liberation doesn’t mean that it started on the platform of prema. It just means they weren’t conditioned. "From that position, he began to gaze at the spiritual and material worlds. Those jīvas who were attracted somewhat to realization of the Supreme Person… " It says, "somewhat attracted. …became desirous of the spiritual realm- because of that contact of knowledge. They then obtained strength from the hlādinī potency of the abundant cit śakti, which made them favorable to the Lord eternally, and they were brought into the spiritual world as associates of the Lord." So it made them eternally on that position. Because they had never been conditioned then they are considered always liberated. But then it made them favorable eternally and they were brought into the spiritual world. So they became favorable. They were inclined towards it, but then they were made on that platform.

In other words, we are discussing the word here, this 'anādi-business', that created so much problem for those who are so much attached to words. This anādi was always like that. So when we say 'eternally liberated' and 'eternally bound', so just as those who are eternally liberated were always liberated, but were not on the platform of prema, they weren’t an eternal associate, then they become one. So in the same way, the jīva starts off that way and then goes the other way. So that eternal doesn’t mean every last nano-second. It means there is a process and then when they come to one situation and the other, they have been that way since time immemorial. So how do you count that? So if you can’t count that then it is eternal. Because that means we are people, always have been people and the reason we are here is our own foolishness. All these other things are actually so that we don’t feel so foolish. 

Prabhu (1): All these other definitions?

HH Bhaktividyā Pūrṇa Mahārāja: Because you are from Brahman or this or that, then we are okay. Because even if they say you don’t fall from the spiritual world, still how was there a distinction between the jīvas that went to the spiritual world and those that came to the material world? How do you define that? Why would there be, if everyone is coming from Brahman, how would that happen? How would they be able to see them both and then... Because it says, they start to gaze on both. "From that position, he began to gaze at the spiritual and material worlds." That means, that position, at that border you have to be able to see both. So this can’t be defined by those. All they want to say is…

My point is, so much discussion happens where the jīva is falling from, but what does it matter really? Because what happens is, they split things up. Because one says 'Goloka' and the other says, 'You can’t fall from there.' But that is still not an argument. The point is, you are here and you got here by making this mistake. You can see the spiritual, you can see the material, you make this mistake. So he says, they become inimical. They become inimical by not acting. You act, then it becomes good. You don’t act, you become inimical.

Reading from Daśa-mūla-tattva by Śrīla Bhaktiviṇoda Ṭhākura: "Those who, by their own free will..."

HH Bhaktividyā Pūrṇa Mahārāja: Notice, 'own free will.'

Reading from Daśa-mūla-tattva by Śrīla Bhaktiviṇoda Ṭhākura: ...became bewildered and became greedy for Māyā situated on the opposite side, being beckoned by māyā, then became attracted to the material universe, and were thrown in the universe by Kāraṇārṇavaśāyī Viṣṇu, the controller of Māyā. That was but the result of their eternal aversion to the Supreme Lord. The moment they entered the material realm, they became overcome by ignorance, the function of Māyā. Overcome by ignorance, they fell into the wheel of binding karma in order to become fully absorbed in their task."

HH Bhaktividyā Pūrṇa Mahārāja: So that means, there is a process by which he actually comes under the control of Māyā. That means he didn’t start under her control. So he is saying nitya-baddha, but he came into it, then he is eternally conditioned. 

So now he is thrown in that. It was because of the eternal aversion to the Lord. The jīva, when they have experiences they are fully absorbing the experience, whatever it may be. There is an element of concept of eternity. You are happy, you think this will go on forever. And then there is a point where you get reminded it is not. So as children you cry, and as adults, it is kind-of like, 'Oh yeah, I got to go to bed, tomorrow is…' so there is that concept of that. So in the jīva’s mind if he is not attracted by the Lord then that mood takes on that eternal effect. Then it actually comes to pass that he is in that position and then he is stuck there.

Reading from Daśa-mūla-tattva by Śrīla Bhaktiviṇoda Ṭhākura: "Such jīvas have been compared to a bird enjoying the fruit of karma.

dvā suparṇā sayujā sakhāyā samānaṁ vṛkṣaṁ pariṣasvājate
tayor anyaḥ pippalaṁ svādvatty anaśnan anyo abhicākaśīti

"Kṣīrodaśāyī Viṣṇu and the jīva are living like friends in the tree of the temporary material world. The jīva is eating the fruits of the tree according to his karma. The other bird, paramātmā, is not enjoying the fruit but serving as witness." Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad, 4.6 Muṇḍaka Upaniṣad, 3.1.1

samāne vṛkṣe puruṣo nimagno'nīśayā śocati muhyamānaḥ

"In the same tree, the jīva, bewildered by Māyā, has fallen into lamentation." Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad, 4.7, Muṇḍaka Upaniṣad, 3.1.2

It is written in the Śrīmad Bhāgavatam:

bhayaṁ dvitīyābhiniveśataḥ syād īśād apetasya viparyayo'smṛtiḥ

Being averse to knowledge of God, the jīva, becoming absorbed in the second principle (material ignorance), then experienced fear of repeated birth, misidentified himself with the material body (viparyaya), and fell into forgetfulness of his true form (asmṛtiḥ). (Śrīla Bhaktiviṇoda's translation) Ś.B.11.2.37

HH Bhaktividyā Pūrṇa Mahārāja: So, averse to knowledge of the Lord. In other words, there is knowledge of the Lord. He could get attracted to that, but he wasn’t attracted to that, so he got attracted to Māyā. So knowledge of the Lord means you are there and you hear about Kṛṣṇa, hear about His activities and that. So then there are those that are interested in it: 'Wow, what’s that?' Then by that they’ll further progress. Then they’ll get the association of the eternal associates who are fully absorbed in pure love for Kṛṣṇa. Then that will naturally by association develop in the jīva. Then they come to the platform of being an eternal associate. Then they go to the spiritual world.

But the other is that he may hear about, but he is not, there is no interest or attraction. So this lack of interest or attraction, that can also be counted as eternal because there was no interest otherwise, so you are only liberated if you are in relationship to Kṛṣṇa. You are not in relationship with Kṛṣṇa, you are not liberated. So then that way also you could say the jīva is then eternally conditioned. Because he is in the taṭastha position and on hearing about Kṛṣṇa he didn’t go 'That is interesting.' So he is starting from the neutral position, but from the neutral you have to go one way or the other. Either for us or against us, there is nothing else.

The one takes up and moves in that direction, the other one is not interested. So, therefore you have to be interested in something. There must be some desire, some action, there must be some goal, so if it is not Kṛṣṇa then it’s got to be Māyā.

You have two choices, you have these two rocks here. Choose one or the other. As soon as you choose one the other one is… Which one don’t you want? 'I don’t want that one.' So that means you automatically got this one.
So in other words, they are both given a choice. One takes, 'Okay I’ll take that one,' and the other one is, 'I don’t want that one. I am not interested in that one.' If you are not interested in that one, then there is only one other option, and that is Māyā. Therefore Kṛṣṇa consciousness is simply wanting Kṛṣṇa, wanting to know Kṛṣṇa, wanting to establish oneself back in that position. If that is there, because it mentions it is just an interest, slight. 'Attracted somewhat to realization of the Supreme Person became desirous of the spiritual realm - because of that contact of knowledge.'

Prabhu (2): This would answer the question that devotees often ask, how is it possible that in the spiritual world we were attracted by Māyā?

HH Bhaktividyā Pūrṇa Mahārāja: Why not?

Devotee (2): Because you just said that he is not attracted by Māyā, but he...

HH Bhaktividyā Pūrṇa Mahārāja: He is not attracted by Kṛṣṇa. So, therefore, automatically the other comes to pass.

"The thing is, they are saying, 'How could I not be attracted by Kṛṣṇa?' and then what do they do the rest of the day? It is going on right now, so it is the same thing. Gopīs heard about Kṛṣṇa, and that is all they wanted. We hear about Kṛṣṇa and, 'Well, that is nice,' and then an hour later we are doing something else."

It is like I used to see these… one form of these Indian magpies, they are like cousins of them. They get together, magpies, they make so many sounds, I have seen it a few times. They somehow or another get down to each other and their beaks may be an inch apart from each other. And they will be making so many sounds, just constant sounds. And they will be swinging their heads back and forth, in kind-of opposite directions, just going on like that. And then at one moment something catches their eye, like a bug, and then they both just walk off and go like this and that. They are having this great conversation, and then just one bug - and gone. They don’t say, 'Hey, excuse me,' they are just gone.

That is the point, one could go on that way. But we are so conditioned the other way, even we come in contact, this is great and nice, that is what keeps us going. But then so easily you get distracted. That is the taṭastha position. So it is only when you have obtained strength from the hlādinī-potency, then that makes him favorable to the Lord. Then they were brought into the spiritual world as associates. So this is really fine.

That means the situation in Vraja... Because it is like, we are sitting in Māyāpura, it is the spiritual world. But at the same time, there is this thin covering of Māyā that we can see it otherwise. So that means that one has to be situated in Vṛndāvana, in-between the spiritual dhāma itself and that thin coating of that thin layer. And one can see both. One can see the spiritual nature, one can see the material. One then has an interest, a slight inclination in the spiritual and then by association that deepens to the point where they become an eternal associate. The other one sees that and then is interested in that and then crosses to that. Because then even here, without acintya-bhedābheda-tattva how do you explain this aspect?

Because otherwise it is still a problem that we are in the spiritual world. One is that spiritual world has to mean Goloka, it can’t mean anything else. That is by our locative definition of the spiritual world. Then even if we accept that Vṛndāvana where Kṛṣṇa has His pastimes is the spiritual world because the Bhāgavatam talks about it like that and that is where the pastimes happen, so then even it happens there we have to be right in the spiritual world, so then how can you fall?

But it is this taṭastha what is in-between. That means, you are situated there and in-between, like you are situated now. We can see the spiritual, we can see the material. So we are still in the same position. Just now we are conditioned and it is a little more obvious, our situation, but the other one is not. You are not conditioned so there is no problems. So the existence is okay, so there is no inspiration. It is not like now there is inspiration that this place is bad, we want to go to the spiritual world. But there they are already situated in-between, so they are fine, they are not suffering. They can either take it up, 'Oh, that is interesting,' and then there is that spark, that life and then moving in that direction. Or they are not interested, so, therefore then that spark or life will generate in the material energy. So we are dealing with very fine lines here.

Prabhu (1): If we do get back, what is the guarantee that we don’t come back again?

HH Bhaktividyā Pūrṇa Mahārāja: Why would we come back again?

Prabhu (1): Because we are still taṭastha.

HH Bhaktividyā Pūrṇa Mahārāja: Yes, but if you are in the fire of the internal potency why would you?

Prabhu (1): Because you are gaining strength from there you are going to be able to stay there?

HH Bhaktividyā Pūrṇa Mahārāja: Yes, so why you wouldn’t stay there? Second, you have been in the material world, so it is 'been there, done that.' It is not like you forget. It is just not very interesting. Like we could go through the whole day, and you are not going to remember how you picked your nose this morning. But if I asked you about it, you can remember if you need to. But it is not a great significance so it doesn’t… 'What did you do today?' You don’t go through, 'Well, I picked my nose and then I cleaned my finger, and I washed it. I wiped it on my chaddar, down in this corner over here. But I wasn’t sure, then I was thinking, maybe this corner? Should I have done it on my dhoti instead? That was the first 50 seconds in my day. You want to hear the other second by second blow, the next thing? Then I went down and grabbed the pump and I pulled it up and then I pushed it down, then I pulled it up again and pushed it down...'

You are going to take what is absorbing, of interest. So in the spiritual world, what goes on there - that is interesting. What happened in the material world - none of that was very interesting.

Prabhu (3): Can we assume that the living entity, being situated in this marginal position and is seeing both, it sounds like they must both be equally attractive?

HH Bhaktividyā Pūrṇa Mahārāja: Not equally attractive. The one is the natural position, so that is actually very attractive. The other one, because you are not interested in it, since you have to do something, that is the only other. It is just like, let us just take the element of in principle of dealing with something else. Let’s say you are interested in one thing. There is two things, you are interested in one, but that is not available, so then what happens? You develop an interest in the other. You have to be practical.

You want to eat this, you have two things to eat, but you are hungry. The one is not available, therefore you eat the other. So in the same kind of principle is that the natural position is to serve Kṛṣṇa, to be interested in the spiritual. But if you don’t do that then there is only one other alternative.

Prabhu (3): And one takes some effort and the other one doesn’t. It is a matter of laziness. 

HH Bhaktividyā Pūrṇa Mahārāja: That is ignorance because knowledge means action. Because there was interest therefore there was that little bit of endeavor.

"Therefore, any little endeavor, the Lord’s eternal associates, then they pull you in. If there is any inkling. If there is a spark they’ll fan it. But if there is no spark there is nothing to fan. So that’s all. So therefore then there has to be a spark. So you get a material spark and then Māyā fans that for you. She is good at that, you don’t have to worry."

(Śrī Caitanya Śikṣāmṛta lecture, Bhaktivedānta Academy, Śrīdhāma Māyāpura)

Photo: Bhaktivedānta Academy Māyāpura 2015, courtesy of Riktānanda Dāsa

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