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NITAAI-Veda.nyf > All Scriptures By Acharyas > Bhaktivinoda Thakura > Dashamula Tattva > Chapter-VI

Chapter 6

Jivas are  Separated Parts of Krishna


There is much disagreement concerning the nature of the individual soul or jiva.   According to his nature, each human being will hold a different conclusion about the jiva.  Those under the influence of ignorance believe that the jiva is an object arising from material elements.  According to them, the jiva arises in material nature along with the material body. 


Those who are influenced by a mixture of ignorance and passion say that only human beings have souls or may be classified as jivas.  Animals are less than jivas, and are meant for the enjoyment of humans.  According to them, the associates of the Lord are a higher class than the jivas.  They do not believe in previous or future bodies for the human being.  They cannot say why one person for the first time attains a comfortable position in life and another person attains a miserable position.


Those in the mood of passion say that humans, animals and birds are all jivas and they believe in previous and future lives, but they do not believe in a pure spiritual destination beyond the gross material realm.   Persons of mixed passion and goodness believe in elevation to higher planets but not the spiritual world.  Those in the mode of goodness believe in the undifferentiated brahman beyond the material world as the goal of the jiva.  Those bewildered by maya consider the jiva in this manner.   Those who succeed in piercing the three gunas, and  therefore can reason without prejudice, accept with devotion the words of Chaitanya Caritamrita.


mayadisha, mayavasha ishvare jive bheda

hena jive ishvara-saha kaha ta'abheda?

gita-shastre jiva rupa shakti kari' mane

hena jiva bheda kara ishvarera sane


The Lord is the master of the potencies, and the living entity is the servant of them.  That is the difference between the Lord and the living entity.  However, you declare that the Lord and the living entities are one and the same. In Bhagavad Gita the living entity is established as the marginal potency of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.  Yet you say that the living entity is completely non-different from the Lord.

                                      C.C.Madhya 6, 162-3


jivera svarupa haya krishnera nitya dasa

krishnera tatastha shakti bhehabeda prakasha

suryamshu kirana yena agni jvalacaya

svabhavika krishnera tina-prakara ‘shakti’ haya


It is the living entity's constitutional position to be an eternal servant of Krishna because he is the marginal energy of Krishna and a manifestation simultaneously one and different from the Lord, like a molecular particle of sunshine or fire.   

                                      C.C.Madhya 20.108-9


krishna bhuli'sei jiva anadi bahir mukha

ataeva maya tare deya samshara duhkha


Forgetting Krishna, the living entity has been attracted by the external feature from time immemorial.  Therefore the illusory energy gives him all kinds of misery in his material existence.

                                      C.C.Madhya 20. 117


maya sanga vikare rudra-bhinnabhinna rupa

jiva tattva haya, nahe krishnera svarupa

dugdha yena amla yoge dadhi rupa dhare

dugdhantara vastu nahe, dugdha haite nare


Rudra, Lord Shiva, has various forms, which are transformations brought about by association with maya.  Although Rudra is not on level with the jiva -tattvas, he still cannot be considered a personal expansion of Lord Krishna.   Milk is transformed into yogurt when it associates with a yogurt culture.  Thus yogurt is nothing but milk, but still it is not milk.

                             C.C.Madhya 20, 308-309


svanga visheshabhasa rupe prakriti sparshana

jiva rupa bija tate kaila samarpana


To impregnate with the seeds of living entities, the Lord Himself does not directly touch the material energy, but by His specific functional expansion, He touches the material energy, and thus the living entities, who are His parts and parcels, are impregnated into material nature.

                                      C.C. Madhya 20, 273


svamsha vistara-caturvyuha, avatara gana

vibhinnamsha jiva tanra shaktite ganana

sei vibhinnamsha jiva dui ta'prakara

eka nityamukta eka nitya samshara


Expansion of His personal self-like the quadruple manifestations-descend as incarnations from Vaikuntha to this material world.  The separated expansions are living entities.  Although they are expansions of Krishna, they are counted among His different potencies.  The living entities are divided into two categories.  Some are eternally liberated, and others are eternally conditioned. 

                                      C.C. Madhya 22, 9-10


Those equipped with sattvika knowledge, when they consider the opposite of material knowledge, conclude that there is no difference between the jiva  (individual) and brahman (Supreme).  Whatever differences are perceived are apparent only, not really spiritual.   They have three schools of thought.  Among them, some believe that the idea of difference (between jiva and brahman) is false, being but a perception due to maya. By the imposition of ignorance, the jiva percieves an illusion of difference, like the sky and the pot containing a portion of sky.  When ignorance disappears, the illusion of difference ceases, and only the great sky or brahman remains.  At that time the jiva or the false ego disappears.   This doctrine is called pariccheda paricchinna vada. 


The second school believes that brahman is reality and the jiva is a perception of its reflection due to ignorance.  The jiva has no actual existence.  Ignorance is a particular function of maya shakti.  When the ignorance is removed, the existence of jiva ceases.   The third school says that actually nothing exists.  There is some disturbance called maya by which there is a perception of difference. 


Reviewing these theories one can understand that they are all pompous talk generated from logic.   By skillful logic, they can be quickly defeated.  These philosophies arise by taking support from some portions of the Vedas, but they are not the conclusion of the Vedas.  The conclusion of the Vedas is that the Lord is naturally the controller of maya and the jiva is naturally controlled by maya. 


The Vedas say:


chandamsi yajnah kratavo vratani

bhutam bhhavyam yac ca veda vadanti

asman mayi shrijate vishvam etat

tasmimsh canyo mayaya sanniruddhah


mayas tu prakritim vidyan

mayinam tu maheshvaram


The controller of maya, the Lord, creates the material universe by maya.   The jiva, different from the Lord, falls under the control of maya in the material world.  Maya is an energy of the Lord and the Lord is the controller of maya. 

                                      Shvetashvatara Upanishad 4. 9-10


Thus the jiva is, under no condition, the same as the Lord.  In the Bhagavad Gita, the jiva is called energy. That means the jiva cannot be the same as the Lord.


bhumir apo'nalo vayuh kham mano buddhir eva ca

ahankara itiyam me bhinna prakritir ashtadha


apareyam itas tv anyam prakritim viddhi me param

jiva bhutam mahabaho yayedam dharyate jagat


Earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, intelligence and false ego-altogether these eight comprise My separated material energies.  Besides this inferior nature, O mighty-armed Arjuna, there is a superior energy of Mine, which are all living entities who are struggling with material nature and are sustaining the universe.



The jiva is the servant of Krishna. The jiva is the marginal energy of Krishna, being simultaneously different and non-different from the Lord.   That means that the jiva is neither completely different from the Lord, nor absolutely identical with the Lord.


Brhadaranyaka Upanishad says:


tasya va etasya purushasya dve eva sthane bhavata

idam ca paraloka-sthanam ca sandhyam tritiyam

svapna-sthanam tasmin sandhye sthane tishthan ete

ubhe sthane pashyati idam ca paraloka-sthanam ca


The purusha or jiva has two locations, the material world and the spiritual world.  The jiva is situated at a third position, called svapna sthana, on the border between these two places.  Situated in this marginal place, he can see both the material and spiritual worlds.

                   Brhadaranyaka Upanishad


This marginal position is described as follows:


tad yatha maha matsya ubhe kule'

nusancarati purvam ca param caivam

evayam purusha etav ubhav antav

anusancarati svapnantam ca buddhantam ca


Just as a large fish living in the river wanders from one bank to the other, so the jiva is of similar quality, and is equipped to wanders in the Karana waters between the material and spiritual worlds (svapnanta and buddhanta).

                   Brhadaranyaka Upanishad


Though all the jivas are generated from the Supreme Lord through the tatastha shakti, they have a separate existence from Him.  They may be compared to the atoms in the sun's rays, or the sparks of a fire.


yathagne kshudra visphulinga vyuccaranti evam

evasmad atmanah sarvani bhutani vyuccaranti


Just as sparks arise from fire, all the jivas arise from Krishna, the supreme soul.

                   Brhadaranyaka  Upanishad 2.1.20


From this it may be determined that jivas are small, separate conscious particles which may find their place either in the material or spiritual worlds due to their dual nature (tatastha). But their essential nature is to be the servant of Krishna.


The moment that the jivas desire to enjoy independently while gazing at the two banks of the river, they become averse to Krishna, who is like the sun.  They are called by maya, who is situated close by, to accept a place of enjoyment.  Due to loss of remembrance of Krishna, they are averse to Krishna with no beginning.  They are in this state due to misuse of their independence.


One should not attribute this unfortunate situation to fault or cruelty on the part of Krishna, for Krishna has no responsibility at all for the misuse that the jiva makes of his spiritual quality of independence.  When this misuse takes place, Krishna places the jivas like seeds in the material world, through a special functional expansion   (Mahavishnu).  (see above  C.C.Madhya 20.273)


Krishna does not touch matter, but through the form of Mahavishnu, who glances upon matter, he places the offending jivas in matter.  Due to this offense, matter or maya punishes the jivas by inflicting the sufferings of repeated births in the material world.


The Lord has two types of expansions, svamsha and vibhinnamsha.  The caturvyuha and avataras are all svamsha.  The jivas are vibhinnamsha.  The difference between svamsha and vibhinnamsha is that the svamsha entites are always endowed with all powers, and always identify themselves as the Lord.  Krishna's desire is their desire.  They have no independence.  The vibhinnamshas eternally identify themselves as separate from Krishna.   Being of small form, the jivas have small power, and their desires are separate from Krishna's.  In this manner, though unlimited jivas emanate from Krishna, they do not in any way decrease the perfect nature of Krishna.  


The offense of turning from Krishna occurs before the entrance of all jivas into matter.   Because the root of this offense occurs before material time, it is called beginningless aversion to Krishna (anadi bahir mukhata).


Because of transformation due to association with matter, Rudra also is different and non-different from the Lord.  He is not the svarupa of Krishna.  By contact with tamarind, milk becomes yogurt. It is not something completely different from milk, but it is not milk as well.  (see CC M. 20.307-9).


In the Paramatma Sandarbha  (19) of Jiva Gosvami Jamatr Muni 's quote from the Padma Purana, Uttara Khanda   is found describing the jiva:


jnanashrayo jnana-gunash cetanah prakriteh parah

na jato nirvikarash ca eka-rupa-svarupa-bhak

anur nityo vyapti-shilash cid anandatmakas tatha

aham-artho'vyayah kshetri bhinna-rupah sanatanah

adahyo'yam acchedyo' kledyo' sosyakshara eva ca

evam adi gunair yuktah shesha-bhutah parasya vai


The jiva is the shelter of knowledge, has the quality of knowledge, is conscious, non-material, without birth, unchanging, has one natural form, is a particle, eternal, pervasive, full of knowledge and bliss, has a sense of "I", is master of his body, does not decrease, is a separate form,  cannot be burned, cut, or dried and is indestructible.  He is the servant of the Lord.


Shelter of knowledge means that the jiva is a knower; having the quality of knowledge means that knowledge is his attribute.  The jiva is beyond matter, he has no birth or change, and is more subtle than the material atoms.  Pervasive means that the jiva pervades his whole body.  .  He identifies himself as "I", he is the master of his body, is separate from the Lord's form, and is devoid of impermanent qualities.


Narada in the Pancaratra has spoken of the tatastha shakti.


yat tatastham tu cid rupam svakam vedyad vinirgatam


The particle of consciousness emanating from the cit shakti is called tatastha.


Jiva Gosvami has explained about the nature of the tatastha shakti:


tatasthatvam ca maya-shakty atitatvat

asyavidya-para-bhavadi-rupena doshena

paramatmano lepabhavac ca ubhaya kotav

apravishtes tasya tac caktitve saty api

paramatmanas tal lepabhavas ca yatha kvacid

eka-desha-sthe rashmau chayaya tiraskrite'pi

suryasyatiraskaras tadvat


The tatastha or jiva shakti is different from maya shakti.   It is not considered in the category of maya.  However, because of the fault of being overcome by ignorance, the jiva shakti cannot be considered in the category of Paramatma, which is free from the influence of maya.   Though the jiva is the shakti of the Paramatma, Paramatma is not touched by the jiva's contamination of ignorance.  Though a particular ray of the sun may be covered by shadow, the sun is not covered. 

                             Paramatma Sandarbha 37


These jivas are of two types: eternally conditioned and eternally liberated. 


Shri Jiva says: 


tad evam ananta eva jivakhyas tatasthah shaktayah

tatra tasam varga-dvayam eko vargo' nadita

eva bhagavad-unmukhah anyas tv anadita eva bhagavat-paranmukhah svabhavatas tadiya-jnana-bhavat tadiya-jnanabhavat ca  tatra prathamo' ntaranga- shakti vilasanu

grihito  nitya-bhagavat-parikara rupo garudadikah asya

ca tatasthatvam jivatva-prasiddher ishvaratva-kotav

apraveshat aparam tu tat paranmukhatva-

doshena labdha-chidraya mayaya paribhutah samshari


The number of jivas is unlimited.  They are divided into two classes.  One class is favorable to the Lord without beginning.  The other class is averse to the Lord without beginning.  The first class is favorable to the Lord because of knowledge of relationship with the Lord.  The second class is averse to the Lord because of lack of that knowledge.   The favorable jivas are all recipients of the Lords splendid internal energy.  They are the eternal associates of the Lord, such as Garuda.  They are not in the category of the Lord, as in shown by the scriptures.   They are still tatastha or jiva.   The second class of jivas is devoid of the help of the internal energy as they are averse to the Lord. Because of this lack, they are overwhelmed by maya and take repeated birth in the material world.

                             Paramatma  Sandarbha 47


cit suryah paramatma vai jivas cit paramanavah

tat kirana-kanah shuddhash cinmad arthah svarupatah

acintya-shakti-sambhuta-tatastha-dharmatah kila

cit svarupasya jivasya maya-vashyam ca sidhyati

apareyam itas tv anyam prakritim viddhi me param

jiva bhutam mahabaho yayedam dharyate jagat

iti yad bhagavad vakyam gitopanishadi shrutam

jivasya tena shaktitve siddhe bhedo na sidhyati

jivo maya-vashah kintu mayadhishah pareshvarah

etad amnaya vakyat tu bhedo jivasya sarvada

bhedabheda prakasho'yam yugapaj jiva eva hi

kevalabheda-vadasyavaidikatvam nirupitam

maya-vashatva-dharmena mayavado na sambhavet

yato maya'para shaktih paraya jiva nirmitah

maya-vrittir ahankaro jivas tad atiricyate

maya-sanga vihino'pi jivo na hi vinashyati

mayavada-bhramartanam sarvam hasyas- padam matam

advaitasya nishkalasya nirliptasya ca brahmanah

pratibimba-paricchedau katham syatam ca kutracit

advaita siddha labhe'pi katham nirbhayata bhavet


advaita-hanir evasyad yathodahriteshu vai

brahma-lina yada maya tada tasyah kriya katham

kasya va sprihaya tasyah pravrittir upajayate

brahmeccha yadi tad dhetuh kutas tan nirvikarata

mayeccha yadi va hetur durbhagyam brahmano'hi tat

mayavadam asac chastram sarvam veda- viruddhakam

prakritam yuktim ashtritya prakritartha- vidambanam

acintya-shakti-vishvasat jnanam sunirmalam bhavet

brahmani nirvikare syad iccha-shakt-visheshatah

tad iccha sambhava shristis tridha tad ikshana- shruteh

mayika jaiviki shuddha katham yuktih pravartate

naham manye suvedeti no na vedeti veda ca

shruti-vakyam idam labdhva' cintya-shaktim vicaraya

bheda-vakyani lakshyani dva suparnadi suktishu

tattvam asyadi vakyeshu cabhedatvam pradarshitam

sarvajna-veda-vakyanam virodho nasti kutracit

bhedabhedatmakam tattvam saytam nityam ca sarthakam

eka-deshatham ashritya canya-deshartha- kalpanam

matavada-prakashartham shruti-shastra-kadarthanam

karma-mimamsakanam yad vijnanam shruti- nindanam

murkhatvam eva tesham tat na grahyam tattvavij janaih

vibhinnamso hi jivo'yam tatastha-shakti- karyatah

sva-svarupa-bhramad asya maya-karagriha-sthitih


Paramatma is the spiritual sun.  All the jivas are particles of his rays.   The real nature of the jiva is purely spiritual.   The jiva is by nature possessed of individual identity.    Because of the nature of tatastha shakti which emanates from the inconceivable energy of paramatma, the jiva, being minute, is liable to fall under the control of maya.   In the verse of Bhagavad Gita, Krishna teaches that the jiva is a superior energy to maya, and thus the jiva is not qualitatively different from paramatma, nor is he the same.   The jiva is controlled by maya and the Lord is the controller of maya.   Through this scriptural statement it is understood that the jiva is simultaneously different and non-different from the Lord.   The doctrine of absolute monism is not according to Vedic evidence.   


If the jiva is under the control of maya, one cannot say that everything is maya.   According to the doctrine of maya, the jiva is a temporary phenomenon, like a reflection.   When we say the jiva is controlled by maya, it meams that spiritual particle called jiva is different from maya and is capable of falling under the influence of maya because of his minute nature.   Maya is inferior energy and the jiva is composed of superior energy.   The fnction of maya is material identification.  The jiva is a separate category, a spiritual being.   Though the jiva is absorbed in maya, it does not lose its nature as jiva.   The mayavada philosophy is erroneous.


The opinions of those contaminated by this error are ridiculous.   According to them, brahman is one, uncontaminated.  Then how is it possible that this brahman becomes divided?    How can there be any freedom from fear once the jiva has attained oneness?   The examples of the rope and snake, shell and silver are inappropriate.  Rather than prove the concept of advaita, they defeat it.  If one tries to say that maya dissolves in brahman, the concept of absolute advaita fails.   If one argues that maya is desire, how does that desire act?  By whose desire does maya act?  If brahman is the source of this desire, then brahman is not unchanging.   If one maintains the changeless nature of brahman and existence of the desire of maya, then there arises another being opposing brahman which divides up the desireless brahman.   That is a great disaster for brahman! 


If one images that brahman becomes ishvara and then creates the world of maya, in the absence of independent desire of brahman, it means that brahman becomes unfortunately controlled by one of its energies.   Thus mayavada is an unauthorized doctrine, contrary to all the Vedas.  By material logic the non-material subject of the Vedas becomes lost.  


If a person has faith in the Lord's inconceivable energy, his knowledge becomes perfect.   Accepting that brahman is non-dual, and changeless, if one also accepts that brahman has inconceivable energy, both the changeless state and desire can harmoniously coexist and act without contradiction.


The Vedas say, sa aikshata ("He glanced.") This statement illustrates that by the Lord's desire alone, his inconceivable energy creates the material energy, the jivas and the spiritual energies.    If one believes in this inconceivable energy, his doubts will be dissipated.    In the words, naham manye suvedeti no na vedeti veda ca (I do not think I know Brahman well. I know and I do not know) of the Kena Upanishad, the inconceivable energy is accepted.    In the statement dva suparna ("two birds in a tree"), the eternal difference is taught, and in tat tvam asi ("you are that") eternal non-difference is taught.   There is no contradiction anywhere in the perfect Vedas.   Thus, the Vedas conclude that the existence of