More on the Origin of Jiva and the Siddhanta

Question: A question regarding Bhāgavatam 2.10.12

dravyaḿ karma ca kālaś ca
svabhāvo j
īva eva ca
yad-anugrahataḥ santi
na santi yad-upekṣayā

Do you feel this is one of the pramānas establishing that the origin of the jīva is in Mahāviṣṇu / Puruṣa?

I hear the verse like this: “He produced the fundamental material elements, and the templates for causality, time, psychology, and of course the material projections of consciousness. These things exist by his affection for us. If he ignored us, they would not exist.”

So, the word “anugraha” seems problematic to the concept that the jīva spoken of here is the original  living entity. Śukadeva seems to be saying that Viṣṇu has anugraha towards some entity, and therefore manifests the jīvas. Therefore I think that the jīva is not the living entity himself, but is a word that refers specifically to the living entity’s projection into svabhāva, kāla, karma, and dravya.

So, my questions are: Is this an apasiddhantic or a siddhantic opinion? If it is apasiddhantic, how is the word anugraha meaningful? If it is siddhantic, what is the term for the living entity who is not projected into the aṇḍa?

Answer: The meaning of a verse should not be given independent of the context. In this chapter the main theme is that the tenth item is the shelter, asraya (SB 2.10.1), and it is with the intention to understand this asraya, that the other things are described. So the emphasis of the verse is on He (Krishna) being the asraya and everything else dependent upon him.

The meaning is therefore that by His anugraha everything exists, including the jīvas. They cannot exist independent of Him. He alone is the independent reality. This is the basic siddhanta of the Bhagavatam and was stated in the very beginning (SB 1.2.11). Later this siddhanta is explained more elaborately.

Question: Thank you for reminding me of the context. I had the idea from my understanding of a translation of Viśvanātha’s commentary that the subject of the 10 lakṣaṇa finished at 2.10.9, with 8-9 being the elaboration on the 10th. I thought that from 2.10.10 Śuka begins answering Parikṣīt’s request for clarification about the virat-rupa and his connection to the objects of the senses experienced in the world. Thanks to your clarification that the āśraya is the central theme of the entire chapter, I have a clearer picture: Śuka is answering that question from 10 onward, but still within the context of illustrating how Bhagavan / Paramātmā / Brahman is the āśraya.

Please let me know if the above is incorrect.

Answer: Yes, this is correct. Bhagavan is the ashraya but not directly.

Question: A few questions still remain, if you would please consider them:

This 2.10.12 (and elsewhere in Canto Two) mentions “jīva” among other primordial components of material creation – like dravya, karma, kāla, svabhāva, etc. This causes two questions:

Since these other entities mentioned are not transcendental, does this mean “jīva” is also not a transcendental entity?

Answer: No, this is not the case. The jīva is trans-material. Just because it is listed with other objects does not make it of the same quality. Even kala and karma have a different nature than dravya. The stress is on their being dependent on the tenth item, Krishna.

Question: Since these other entities mentioned come from Puruṣa, does it mean that jīva also comes from Puruṣa?

Answer: Jīva is part of Purusa, and not of Bhagavān directly.

Question: If we say, “yes, that’s right: jīva is part of the material creation emanating from Puruṣa” – then another question arises: Is there a deeper component to the living entity? Deeper than the jīva?

Answer: No.

Question: SB 2.10.12 says “yad-anugrahataḥ santi na santi yad-upekṣayā,” which seems to mean that the jīva (et. al.) would not exist if he (Puruṣa / Āśraya) ignored us. The jīva (et. al.) exists because he is affectionate to us. So, who is the “us”? Who is the object of the anugraha / upekṣayā?

Answer: santi (lit. exist) here means manifest, and na santi (lit., do not exist) means not manifest. Again, another principle – meaning is given not only according to context but also in coherence of the rest of the book. So the meaning of the verse is that all these things – dravya etc. manifest by grace of Purusa otherwise remain unmanifest.

Question: These answers are extremely helpful. Thank you! To make sure I understand correctly:

Jīva is “trans-material” because by nature it is superior to matter. However, like matter, jīva originates from Puruṣa.

Answer: Just to remind you that “originates’ means manifests, and that it is not created.

Question: The jīva and all things that come from Puruṣa gain and lose their manifest reality (sant) according to Puruṣa’s desire. When he becomes inclined towards them (anugraha) they manifest. When he becomes disinclined (upeskṣa), they do not manifest.

Follow-up questions:

  1. Since the jīva is a product of Puruṣa and manifests from him, the pronoun mama in “mamaivāṁśa jīva loke” can’t be literal and direct.

Answer: YES.

Question: It’s not impossible for my mind to embrace that jīva comes from Puruṣa, but it’s a little challenging because there is a lot of other information up there in my head, too. So, I wonder if there is a conclusive statement from Jīva Goswami to this effect?

Answer: Yes, in Paramātma Sandarbha he says this very clearly.

Question: If souls are made manifest by Puruṣa within the material domain, how is it that some of them are nitya-siddha?

Answer: There are two types of ātmās, i.e. nitya siddhas and nitya baddhas. The first ones are in Vaikuntha without a beginning and have never come under the sway of maya. The second ones are in bahiranga sakti without a beginning and have never come under the sway of antaranga sakti but can come.

Question: Is there any difference at all between the term “ātmā” and the term “ jīva“?

Answer: Usually the term jīva is used for conditioned ātmā. But this distinction is not always observed.

Question: It appears that nitya-baddha-jīvas are made manifest originally in the bahiranga shakti by Puruṣa, while nitya-siddha-jīvas are made manifest originally in the antaranga shakti by ____?

Answer: If you can understand the meaning of the word beginningless then this question will not arise.

Question: It seems then that it is not the decision of the jīva as to where it will originate? Who decides? Why?

Answer: Try to meditate on the word anādi (beginningless). Then all these questions will drop. Unless you grasp the concept of anādi these questions will keep popping up in different forms. But they are meaningless because they are assuming that jīva has a beginning.