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NITAAI-Veda.nyf > All Scriptures By Acharyas > Bhaktivinoda Thakura > Bhaktivinoda Vani Vaibhava > Bhaktivinoda Vani Vaibhava Part 2 and 3 > Vol 2 Abhidheya > One's Constitutional

53 One's Constitutional Propensities


1. What are one's constitutional and temporary propensities, and how is our nature determined?


The eternal nature of an object is its constitutional propensity. The nature of an object arises from its constitution. When an object is created by Krsna's will, a nature is also created as that object's eternal companion. This nature is the object's eternal propensity. Later, when due to some reason or different association that object undergoes changes, its nature also changes or becomes perverted. After a while, this perverted nature becomes stronger and appears as if it is the constitutional propensity. Such perverted nature is not the living entities' constitutional propensity. Rather, the perverted nature simply occupies the position of the constitutional propensity and passes for it. For example, water is an object and liquidity is its nature. If incidentally the water turns to ice, then hardness becomes its nature and acts like its constitutional nature. The perverted nature is not eternal; it is temporary, because it is caused by something, and when the cause disappears, so does the perverted nature. The actual constitutional propensity of the living entity is eternal. Even when our nature is perverted, our constitutional propensity remains with us in a dormant condition. In due course, it will again manifest. (Jaiva Dharma, Chapter 1)


2. What is the eternal, constitutional propensity of the living entities?


Krsna is the infinite supreme spirit and the living entities are the fragmental parts and parcels of that supreme spirit. In spiritual quality, they are identical, but Krsna is perfect and the living entities are imperfect. Therefore, their natures are different. Krsna is the eternal Lord of the living entities, and the living entities are eternally His eternal servants. This is natural. Krsna is all-attractive, and the living entities are all-attracted. Krsna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and the living entities are under His control. Krsna is the seer, and the living entities are the seen. Krsna is complete, and the living entities are poor and insignificant. Krsna is omnipotent, and the living entities are powerless. Therefore, eternal subordination or service to Krsna is the living entities' eternal nature and constitutional duty. The constitutional duty of a living entity is to love God. The living entity is not a product of matter. Rather, he is transcendental to matter. Consciousness is his constitution; to love God is his nature. Service to Krsna means pure love of God. Therefore, the constitutional duty of a living entity is to love Krsna by engaging in His service. {Jaiva Dharma, Chapter 1)


3. Why is Vaisnava dharma the eternal religious principle?


The pure Vaisnava dharma found in Srimad-Bhdgavatam is the eternal constitutional dharma of the living entities. All religious principles that have been preached throughout the world can be divided into three categories: eternal religious principles, occasional religious principles, and temporary religious principles. Those religious principles in which there is no discussion about God, and the eternality of the spirit soul is denied, are called temporary religious principles. Those  religious principles that accept the eternality of God and the spirit soul but that preach that one can attain God's favor only through temporary methods are called occasional religious principles. Those religious principles that teach the attainment of Krsna's service through pure love are called eternal religious principles. Even though eternal religious principles appear different according to the various countries, castes, and languages in which they are found, they are one and are most relishable. The Vaisnava religion that is widely spread throughout India presents the ideal of eternal religious principles. Moreover, great personalities and exalted devotees have accepted that the religious principles taught by our most beloved Lord Gaurahari, the son of Saci, are the pure Vaisnava religion. (Jaiva Dharma, Chapter 2)


4. Which religious principles are purest of all?


That religion is the purest, which gives you the purest idea of God. The absolute religion requires an absolute conception.

(The Bhagavat: Its Philosophy, Its Ethics, and Its Theology)


5. Which religious principle is worth being called the "actual religious principle"?


The religious principle that's ultimate goal is pure love of God is the actual religious principle. (Caitanya-siksamrta 1/1)


6. Are religious principles many?


The religious principles of human beings can never be many. That religious principle that is eternal for all human beings can never become different due to time, place, and  circumstances. In fact, an eternal religious principle is one without a second.(Sri Manah-Siksd, Chapter 1)


7. Is the eternal religious principle one?


The eternal religious principle is one. Every living entity has an eternal religious principle, and it is called Vaisnava dharma. This dharma cannot be changed due to differences in language, country, or caste. Many people address this dharma of the living entities by various names, but they cannot create any separate dharma through these names. Rather, the minute spirit soul's loving propensity toward the supreme spirit is its eternal constitutional propensity or jaiva-dharma. Since the living entities have different natures, their constitutional propensity also appears in different shapes or perversions. That is why the pure state of the living entities has been addressed as Vaisnava dharma. Other religious systems are pure in proportion to how much Vaisnava dharma they possess. (Jaiva Dharma, Chapter 2)


8. What is pure Vaisnava dharma?


Two separate dharmas pass in this world as Vaisnava dharma, Vaisnava dharma and perverted Vaisnava dharma. Even though pure Vaisnava dharma is one in truth, because it appears different according to the various rasas in which it is expressed, it has been categorized into four: Vaisnava dharma in the ddsya mood, sakhya mood, vdtsalya mood, and mddhurya mood. Actually, pure Vaisnava dharma is one without a second. Other names for this dharma are nitya-dharma and para-dharma. The following statement from the Vedas refers specifically to pure Vaisnava dharma: jajjhdte sarvarh vijnatam bhavati, Vaisnava dharma is that which by knowing, " everything else becomes known." (Jaiva Dharma, Chapter 4)


9. Why is only bhdgavata-dharma considered eternal?


Due to the spiritual propensity, all fortunate souls have a natural taste for pure devotional service to the Lord. Their worship of the Supreme Lord is neither part of fruitive activities (karma) nor mental speculation (jhdna). Rather, it is pure devotional service. Such worship is called pure Vaisnava dharma. It is stated in Srimad-Bhdgavatam 1.2.11:


vadanti tat tattva-vidas tattvam yaj jnam advayam

brahmeti paramatmeti bhagavan Hi sabdyate


"Learned transcendentalists who know the Absolute Truth call this nondual substance Brahman, Paramatma or Bhagavan."


The Absolute Truth, which includes Brahman and Paramatma, is the ultimate goal of all truths. The Absolute Truth is Visnu-tattva, and all pure spirit souls are His servants. The spirit soul's pure propensity is called devotional service. Devotional service to Hari alone is known as suddha Vaisnava dharma, nitya-dharma, jaiva-dharma, bhdgavata-dharma, paramartha-dharma, or para-dharma. All religious principles that have arisen from the principle of Brahman and Paramatma are simply occasional religious principles, because the cultivation of such religion contains material motives. For example, those who cultivate an understanding of the impersonal Brahman consider material bondage the cause of their conditioned state. Thus, they take shelter of occasional religious principles in the form of searching after the impersonal Brahman to alleviate their suffering. Thus, cultivation of the path leading to the impersonal Brahman is not eternal. Even those living entities who follow the principles of Paramatma dharma with the desire to attain the pleasures oisamadhi are also worshiping for subtle material enjoyment  and thus following the path of occasional religious principles. Cultivation of Paramatma dharma is also not eternal. Only pure bhagavata-dharma is eternal. (Jaiva Dharma, Chapter 4)


10. Why has the one religious principle become many?


Why has the one religious principle become many? The answer is that in their pure state, the living entities have only one dharma. After becoming conditioned, however, their dharma becomes two—materially designated dharma and pure dharma. Pure religious principles never change under any circumstances, but according to time, place, persons, and due to the differences in the natures of materially designated living entities, the materially designated dharma has naturally separated from pure dharma. This materially designated dharma takes various shapes and names in different countries. The more the living entities become purified, however, the more their dharma becomes free of material designation. On the pure spiritual platform, all living entities have only one eternal dharma. (Sri Manah-Siksa, Chapter 1)


11. Why can't the existence of the spirit soul and the Supersoul be established by argument and reasoning? What can be proven by direct perception?


The truth is never lost; it only remains hidden. The eternity of the spirit soul and the existence of Brahman cannot be established by logical argument because logic has no access to subject matter beyond the material universe. Direct self-perception is the only way to establish such truths. By direct perception or spontaneous samadhi, saintly persons constantly realize the eternal abode of Vaikuntha and Krsna's service. (Sri Krsna-samhita 9/5)


12. What is the religion of the soul?


It would indeed be the height of error to conceive that all the opposite qualities of matter, space, and time define spirit. Hence we must look to some other attributes if we wish to understand spirit. Love and wisdom are certainly spiritual attributes that are not opposite qualities of matter. Man must be wise and love God. That is the religion of the soul.

("The Temple of Jagannatha at Purl," an English essay)


13. Is the soul's religion sectarian?


We do not profess to belong to any of the religious sects under the sun because we believe the Absolute Faith, founded upon instinctive love of God, is natural in human souls.

("The Temple of Jagannatha at Purl," an English essay)


14. Why is the ultimate goal of the soul's religion beyond the realization of mental speculators and ordinary, righteous people?


Bhakti (love) is thus perceived in the very first development of man in the shape of the mind, then in the shape of the soul, and lastly in the shape of the will. These shapes do not destroy one another but beautifully harmonize themselves into a pure construction of what we call the spiritual man or the ekanta of Vaisnava literature. But, there is another sublime truth behind this fact that is revealed to a few who are prepared for it. We mean the spiritual conversion of the soul into a woman. It is in that sublime and lofty state that the soul can taste the sweetness of an indissoluble marriage with the God of love. The fifth or highest of Vaisnava developments is what we call madhurya-rasa, and on this alone, the most beautiful portion of the Vaisnava literature so ably expounds. This phase of human life, mysterious as it is, is not attainable by all, nay, we should say, by any but God's own. It is so very beyond the reach of common people that the rationalists and even the ordinary theists cannot understand it. Nay, they go so far as to sneer at it as somewhat unnatural.

("To Love God," Journal of Tajpur, August 25, 1871) 


15. How is love of God the eternal religion of the soul, and how is it beneficial to all?


The essence of the soul is wisdom and its action is to love the Absolute. The absolute condition of man is his absolute relation to the Deity in pure love. Love, then, alone is the religion of the soul and consequently of the whole man. ("To Love God," Journal of Tajpur, August 25. 1871)


16. What are the ordinary principles of devotional service?


You must love God with all thy strength and all thy will. You are wrong to conclude that you will lose your active existence. Rather, you will get it even more. Work for God and work to God, proceeding from no self-interested views but from a holy free will (which is above the strength of man except when he is identifying himself with pure love). This description is of bhakti in general.  ("To Love God," Journal of Tajpur, August 25, 1871)


17. What are the pratyag-gati and parag-gati of the living entities?


When a soul sits in the chariot of the mind and chases the sense objects through the gates of the senses, this is called parag-gati. When this current again flows toward the soul's own abode, it is called pratyag-gati. With a desire to convert material attachment into spiritual attachment, all the spiritual emotions are mixed with material emotions for giving up parag-gati and practicing pratyag-gati. The pratyag-dharma of being greedy to eat palatable foods is to eat maha-prasada. The pratyag-dharma of the eyes is to see holy places and the Lord's beautiful form. The pratyag-dharma of the ears is to hear devotional songs and the pastimes of Hari. The pratyag-dharma of the nose has been exemplified by the four Kumaras when they smelled the tulasi and sandalwood offered to the Lord's feet. The pratyag-dhaima of associating with the opposite sex through marriage for the prosperity of a Vaisnava family was exemplified by Manu, Janaka, Jayadeva, and Pipaji. The pratyag-dharma of festivals is seen in the festivals celebrating the pastimes of Lord Hari. These human characteristics filled with emotions of pratyag-dharma are seen in the lives of pure swanlike personalities. (Sri Krsna-samhita 10/11)


18. Is there any difference between attachment to material objects and attachment to the Supreme Lord?


Attachment is present whether the repository of our attachment is the Lord or something mundane. The only difference between the two kinds of attachments is their repository. When attachment is turned toward Vaikuntha, then no attachment for the material world remains; one only accepts what is required for maintenance of the body. When the objects that are thus accepted become transcendental, then all attachments become spiritualized. (Sri Krsna-samhita 10/2)