Tag Archives: Gaudiya theology

New Book Release: Jiva Tattva!

This long awaited book conclusively deals with the nature of the living being as per the Gauḍīya School of thought and related aspects. It also deals with various misconceptions about the jīva that are prevalent in Vaiṣṇava circles.

Knowledge about the jīva is gained from śāstra. However, if one does not know how to interpret it properly, śāstra can be misunderstood. It is for this reason that there are differences of opinion about the nature of the jīva in different groups of spiritualists. In this book, some basic principles are discussed that govern how śāstra is meant to be understood at different levels and how its true intentions are realized. 

On any spiritual path, including bhakti, there are three factors involved: the practitioner, the practice, and the goal to be achieved. To be successful in one’s spiritual practice, one must have a clear understanding of all three of these factors. Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī calls them sambandha, abhidheya, and prayojana, respectively. As a practitioner on the path of bhakti, one must know one’s identity and relationship with Kṛṣṇa clearly. To practice bhakti successfully, one should also know what bhakti is and how it is to be practiced. And finally, one must have a clear understanding of the goal one is aspiring for in one’s practice. Jiva Tattva primarily focuses on providing authoritative knowledge about the practitioner, the jīva.

The main points that have are established are as follows: 

  1. The jīva is an eternal conscious being belonging to Kṛṣṇa’s intermediary potency (taṭasthā-śakti) and has the potential to act, know, and experience.
  2. In the conditioned state, the jīva is under the influence of Kṛṣṇa’s external potency, called māyā.
  3. The conditioning of the jīva has no beginning.
  4. The conditioning of the jīva can come to an end by the grace of bhakti.
  5. Bhakti is attained by the grace of a devotee or Kṛṣṇa.
  6. Bhakti is not dormant within the svarūpa of the jīva.
  7. When a jīva becomes perfected in bhakti, he is awarded a spiritual body at the time of giving up the physical body.
  8. The spiritual body is not dormant or inherent within the svarūpa of the jīva.
  9. The spiritual bodies attained by perfected jīvas exist eternally in the spiritual world and a particular spiritual body suitable to each particular perfected jīva is awarded to them for their eternal service to Bhagavān.
  10. Once the jīva attains a spiritual body, the jīva is never again conditioned by māyā.
  11. No jīva ever falls from the spiritual abode back down in the material world of māyā.
  12. There is no such thing as taṭastha region and thus there is no fall-down from there.

Jiva Tattva cover pageYou can order the book here from our Onlinestore. 

Apparent Contradictions in Shastra

Question: Srila Jiva Gosvami’s Bhakti Sandarbha, anuccheda 286 says :

“The asuras, or demons, however, who participated in the Lord’s pastimes in this world, are not present as conscious entities in the Lord’s abode. Rather, they are felt to be there in a figurative sense as representations of the same forms witnessed in this world. In the Bhagavata Sandarbha and elsewhere, it was logically shown that Krsna and His friends regularly enact the pastimes of His various incarnations [including the battles with various demons] in a spirit of pure enjoyment, as expressed by Sri Suka: ‘Thus, Krsna and Balarama passed their childhood in Vraja performing childlike pastimes, such as hide-and-seek, building bridges [in imitation of Lord Rama] and jumping like monkeys [who crossed the ocean to assist Rama in His battle against the demon Ravana].’ (SB. 10.14.61)”

However,  in Srila Sanatana Gosvami’s Brhad Bhagavatamrtam 2.6.354 we read that Krishna in Goloka kills Kamsa, Aghasura, Bakasura repeatedly.

So if Krishna goes away to Mathura to kill Kamsa who is not there but just some rumour or representation of him, then He has to put up a big show of illusion for the Vrajavasi’s and Mathura inhabitants; e.g. He can’t take any gopa to the Aghasura killing because it is all fake, Krishna can’t take the gopi’s on a ride of Kaliya because Kaliya is not real.

How to harmonize Brhad Bhagavatamrtam and Bhakti Sandarbha?

This Brhad Bhagavatamrtam section seems to well fit with SB 3.15.25 Sarartha Darsini-commentary by Sri Visvanatha Cakravartipada:

‘In some Puranas it is seen that even demons may briefly enter Vaikuntha. That is, however, without them experiencing the transcendental bliss that normally goes with residing there. Just as in a jewelled royal palace, which may be endowed with many attributes like fragrance, bears and tigers may be allowed in on the order of the king for the entertainment of the inhabitants, similarly the Lord may occasionally amuse His devotees, who reside in His transcendental abode, by freely showing them mundane phenomena, which may sometimes be horrid creatures like demons, sometimes persons in the mode of goodness like Bhrigu Muni and others, or persons who transcend the three modes of nature, like the four Kumaras, and then again He may quickly eject them again as He sees fit.”

“In Puranas and other scriptures, one sometimes hears that there is some momentary appearance of demons in the spiritual world, but this should not be considered actually entrance into the spiritual world, since they lack realization of spiritual happiness. However, an example may be given. Sometimes tigers or bears enter into the jewel-covered palace of the king endowed with various fragrances, since for amusement, the king desires that the populace see those animals. Similarly, the Supreme Lord, for fun, by his will brings material objects, ferocious demons, saintly persons like Bhrgu, or persons beyond the three gunas such as the Kumaras to Vaikuntha, to show to them the inhabitants of the spiritual world, and then quickly takes them away as is suitable for his purpose.”

How is it that He imports Kamsa, Aghasura, Bakasura and puts them out of the spiritual world and  in which sastra it is written that Krishna’s killing a demon in the spiritual world is only a rumor?

Final question: When Krishna empties Mathura, all the inhabitants of it go to Dwaraka with Him. In the spiritual world there is Mathura and Dwaraka as well. Are the inhabitants of these two places same or different souls?

Jiva Gosvami celebrationAnswer: To answer your questions there has to be a basic understanding of the principles behind bhakti sastras which I cannot just give in an email. These books need to be studied properly from the beginning because they build the Gaudiya theology gradually. Both Sri Jiva Gosvami and Srila Sanatan Gosvami are right. The fact is that there is no difference between pastimes here and there.

As is avesha so is pravesha. [Yatha avesha tatha pravesha: Whatever is the absorption while living as a sadhaka, that is what you enter into.] But this principle is not easy to grasp. I am sorry that I can not give you any satisfactory reply thru email. Some of these issues are too comlex, like the issue of svakiya and parakiya. You will find both type of statements in the writings of Gosvamis. It is not a matter of debate but understanding the siddhanta.