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NITAAI-Veda.nyf > Compiled and Imp Scriptures > Jaiva Dharma > 1. The Eternal & Temporary Dharmas of the Jiva



C H A P T E R 1

The Eternal

& Temporary Dharmas

of the Jiva


Within this world, the island of Jambudvipa is most excellent.

In Jambudvipa, the land of Bharata-varsa is eminent

and within Bharata-varsa, the topmost place is Gauda-bhumi.

Within Gauda-bhumi, the nine-island region of Shri Navadvipamandala

is most distinguished, and in one area of Shri Navadvipamandala,

on the eastern bank of the Bhagirathi river, a beautiful

settlement named Shri Godruma is eternally situated.


In ancient times, many stalwart practitioners of bhajana lived

in the various places of Shri Godruma. It was here that Shri Surabhi,

a cow of divine origin, previously worshiped the Supreme Lord

Bhagavan Shri Gaurachandra in her own kunja, a grove shaded with

fragrant flowering creepers. At a little distance from this kunja is

Pradyumna-kunja. Here, Shri Premadasa Paramahamsa Babaji, a

siksa disciple of Pradyumna Brahmacari, the best among the associates

of Shri Gaurachandra, now lived in a kutira (hut) covered with

vines and dense foliage, and spent his time constantly immersed

in the divine rapture of bhajana.


Shri Premadasa Babaji was a refined scholar, and was fully conversant

with all the conclusions of the sastras. He had taken shelter

of the forest of Shri Godruma with single-minded conviction,

knowing it to be non-different in essence from Shri Nandagrama.

As a daily routine, Babaji Maharaja chanted two hundred thousand

holy names and offered hundreds of obeisances to all the

Vaishnavas. He maintained his existence by accepting alms from the

houses of the cowherd men. Whenever he found a spare moment

from these activities, he spent his time not in idle gossip but in

reading the book Prema-vivarta, by Shri Jagadananda, a confidential

associate of Shri Gaurasundara.


At such times, neighboring Vaishnavas gathered and listened

with great devotion as Babaji read with tear filled eyes. And why

would they not come to hear? This divine treatise, Prema-vivarta,

is filled with all the conclusions of rasa, the condensed liquid essence

of integrated transcendental emotions. Moreover, the

Vaishnavas were inundated by the waves of Babaji's sweet, resonant

voice, which extinguished the venomous fire of sensuality in their

hearts like a shower of nectar.


One afternoon, having completed his chanting of shri-harinama,

Babaji Mahasaya sat reading Prema-vivarta in his bower,

shaded by vines of madhavi and jasmine, and became immersed

in an ocean of transcendental emotions. Just then, a mendicant

in the renounced order of life approached him, fell at his

feet, and stayed prostrated in obeisance for a considerable time.

At first Babaji Mahasaya remained absorbed in the bliss of transcendental

ecstasy, but after a while, when he returned to external

consciousness, he beheld the sannyasi mahatma lying

before him. Considering himself more worthless and insignificant

than a blade of grass, Babaji fell in front of the sannyasi

and began to weep, exclaiming, "O Chaitanya! O Nityananda!

Please be merciful upon this fallen wretch." The sannyasi then

said, "Prabhu, I am extremely vile and destitute. Why do you

mock me like this?"


The sannyasi proceeded to take the dust of Babaji Mahasaya's

feet upon his head, and then sat before him. Babaji Mahasaya offered

him a seat of banana tree bark, and sitting beside him, spoke

in a voice choked with love, "Prabhu, what service may this worthless

person offer you?"


The sannyasi set aside his begging bowl, and with folded hands,

began to speak. "O Master, I am most unfortunate. I have spent my

time in Kasi and other holy places, debating the analytical conclusions

of the religious texts - such as sankhya, patanjala, nyaya,

vaisesika, purva-mimamsa and uttara-mimamsa - and exhaustively

studying the Upanisads and the other Vedanta-sastras. About

twelve years ago, I accepted the renounced order of life from Shri

Saccidananda Sarasvati. Having accepted the staff of the renounced

order, I traveled to all the holy places, and wherever I

went in India, I kept the company of sannyasis who adhere to the

doctrine of Shri Sankara. In due course of time, I passed beyond the

first three stages of the renounced order - kuticaka, bahudaka, and

hamsa - and attained the highest status of paramahamsa, in which

I have remained for some time. In Varanasi, I adopted a vow of silence,

and abided by those statements that Shri Sankaracarya proclaimed

to be the maha-vakya (chief axioms) of the Vedas, aham

brahmasmi, prajnanam brahma, and tat tvam asi.

However, the happiness and spiritual satisfaction that I was

supposed to find did not come to me.


"One day I saw a Vaishnava sadhu loudly singing about the pastimes

of Shri Hari. I opened my eyes and saw that he was bathed in

streams of tears, and in his ecstatic rapture the hairs of his body

were standing on end. He was chanting the names "Shri Krishna

Chaitanya, Prabhu Nityananda!" in a choked-up voice, and as he

danced, his feet slipped so that he fell on the ground again and

again. When I saw him and heard his song, my heart filled with an

indescribable ecstasy. Although that mystical experience was so

overwhelming, in order to protect my status as a paramahamsa, I

did not speak with him at all. Alas! Fie on my rank and status!

Cursed be my destiny! I don't know why, but since that day my heart

has become attracted to Shri Krishna Chaitanya's lotus feet.


"Shortly thereafter, I became obsessed with the desire to find

that Vaishnava sadhu, but I could not see him anywhere. Never

before had I experienced anything like the untainted bliss that I

felt when I saw him and heard the holy name emanating from his

mouth. After considerable thought, I concluded that the highest

benefit for me would be to take shelter at the lotus feet of the



"I left Kasi and went to the beautiful holy land of Shri Vrndavanadhama.

There I saw many Vaishnavas, uttering the names of Shri

Rupa, Sanatana, and Jiva Gosvami in a mood of great lamentation.

They were absorbed in meditation on the pastimes of Shri Radha-

Krishna, and they rolled on the ground, chanting the name of Shri

Navadvipa. When I saw and heard this, a greed arose within me to

behold the beautiful holy dhama of Navadvipa. I circumambulated

the one hundred sixty-eight square miles of Shri Vraja-dhama, and

came to Shri Mayapura just a few days ago. I heard of your glories in

the town of Mayapura, so I have come today to take shelter of your

lotus feet. Please fulfill my life's aspiration by making this servant

an object of your mercy."


Paramahamsa Babaji Mahasaya took a blade of grass between his

teeth. Weeping, he said, "O Sannyasi Thakura, I am absolutely

worthless. I have uselessly spent my life filling my belly, sleeping,

and engaging in futile talks. It is true that I have taken up residence

in this sacred place where Shri Krishna Chaitanya enacted His

pastimes, but as the days fly by, I find myself unable to taste this

thing known as krishna-prema. You are so fortunate, for you have

tasted that divine love merely by seeing a Vaishnava for just a moment.

You have received the mercy of Krishna Chaitanyadeva. I will

be very grateful if you will kindly remember this fallen wretch for

a moment when you are tasting that prema, then my life will become



Saying this, Babaji embraced the sannyasi and bathed him with

his tears. When Sannyasi Maharaja thus touched the limbs of the

Vaishnava, he experienced unprecedented bliss within his heart.

He began to dance as he wept, and as he danced, he began to sing:


(jaya) shri krishna-chaitanya shri prabhu nityananda

(jaya) premadasa guru jaya bhajanananda


All glories to Shri Krishna Chaitanya and Prabhu Nityananda.

All glories to my divine master Premadasa, and to the bliss

of bhajana.


Premadasa Babaji and Sannyasi Maharaja danced and performed

kirtana for a long time. When they stopped, they spoke

together on many topics. Finally, Premadasa Babaji said very humbly,

"O Mahatma, kindly stay here in Pradyumna-kunja for a few

days just to purify me."


The sannyasi said, "I have offered my body at your lotus feet. Why

do you speak of a few days only? My anxious prayer is that I may

serve you until I give up this body."


Sannyasi Thakura was an erudite scholar of all the sastras. He

knew very well that if one stays in the residence of the guru, one

will naturally receive the guru's instructions, so he took up residence

in that grove with great delight.


After a few days Paramahamsa Babaji said to the elevated

sannyasi, "O Mahatma, Shri Pradyumna Brahmacari has mercifully

given me shelter at his lotus feet. At present he lives in the village

of Shri Devapalli on the outskirts of Shri Navadvipa-mandala, where

he is absorbed in the worship of Shri Nrsimhadeva. Today, after

collecting alms, let us go there and take darsana of his lotus feet."


Sannyasi Thakura replied, "I will follow whatever instructions

you give me."


After two o'clock, they crossed the Alakananda River, and arrived

in Shri Devapalli. They then crossed the Suryatila River and

took darsana of the lotus feet of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's associate,

Shri Pradyumna Brahmacari, who was in the temple of Shri

Nrsimhadeva. From afar, Paramahamsa Babaji fell to the ground

and offered prostrated obeisances to his guru. Pradyumna

Brahmacari then came out of the temple, his heart melting with

affection for his disciple. Lifting Paramahamsa Babaji with both

hands, and embracing him very lovingly, he enquired about his

welfare. After they had discussed topics concerning bhajana for

some time, Paramahamsa Babaji introduced Sannyasi Thakura to

his guru.


Brahmacari Thakura said with great respect, "My dear brother,

you have obtained a most qualified guru. You should study the book

Prema-vivarta under Premadasa's direction.


kiba vipra kiba nyasi sudra kene naya

jei krishna-tattva-vetta sei guru haya


Whether one is a brahmana, a sannyasi, or a sudra, if he is fully

conversant with all the truths regarding transcendental

knowledge of Shri Krishna, he can become a guru. (Chaitanyacharitamrita,

Madhya 8.128)


Sannyasi Thakura humbly offered obeisances at the lotus feet

of his parama-guru and said, "Prabhu, you are an associate of Shri

Chaitanyadeva and you can purify hundreds of arrogant sannyasis

like me just by your merciful glance. Please bestow your mercy upon



Sannyasi Thakura had no previous experience of the reciprocal

behavior between Vaishnavas. However, he accepted the mutual

dealings that he observed between his guru and parama-guru as

the sad-acara (proper etiquette) that he himself should follow, and

from that day on, he behaved accordingly toward his own guru without

a trace of duplicity. When the evening arati was over, the guru

and sisya returned to Shri Godruma.


A few days after residing in the kunja, Sannyasi Thakura became

anxious to inquire about spiritual truths from Paramahamsa

Babaji. By this time, the sannyasi had adopted all the ways of a

Vaishnava, except for his outer dress. During his previous training,

Sannyasi Thakura had developed qualities such as full control

over his mind and senses, and had become firmly established

in the conception of the non-dual, all-pervading Absolute

(brahma-nistha). In addition, he had now acquired staunch faith

in the transcendental pastimes of Parabrahma Shri Krishna, and had

become deeply humble.


One morning, after performing ablutions at the break of dawn,

Paramahamsa Babaji sat in the madhavi grove chanting hari-nama

on his tulasi-mala. At that time, Shri Shri Radha and Krishna Yugala's

nisanta-lila (Their pastimes just prior to dawn) gradually manifested

within his heart. Because this was the time that Shri Shri Radha

and Krishna part from each other's company, leaving the kunja to

return to Their respective homes, Paramahamsa Babaji felt great

pangs of separation, and tears of love streamed continuously from

his eyes. While absorbed in meditation on this pastime, he was

internally engaged in service appropriate for that period of the

day in his perfected spiritual form; thus, he had lost all awareness

of his physical body. Sannyasi Thakura was captivated by Babaji's

state, and sat beside him, observing his sattvika-bhavas, transcendental

symptoms of ecstasy.


Suddenly Paramahamsa Babaji said to him, "O sakhi, silence

Kakkhati (Shrimati Radhika's monkey) at once, otherwise she will

rouse Radha-Govinda from Their sleep of divine pleasure; then

Lalita-sakhi will become distressed, and will rebuke me. Look there!

Ananga Manjari is signaling for you to do this. You are Ramana

Manjari and this is your designated service. Be attentive in this



After uttering these words, Paramahamsa Babaji fell unconscious.

From that moment, Sannyasi Maharaja, now acquainted

with his spiritual identity and service, engaged himself accordingly.

Thus, the day dawned and the morning light spread its luster in

the east. Birds began chirping melodiously in every direction, and

a gentle breeze blew. The extraordinary beauty of the madhavi grove

of Pradyumna-kunja, illuminated by the crimson rays of the rising

sun, was beyond description.


Paramahamsa Babaji was seated on a cushion of banana bark.

As he gradually regained external consciousness, he began to chant

shri-nama on his beads. Sannyasi Thakura then offered prostrated

obeisances at Babaji's feet, sat next to him, and with folded hands

spoke with great humility, "Prabhu, O Master, this destitute soul

wishes to submit a question before you. Kindly reply and pacify my

anguished heart. May you be pleased to infuse vraja-rasa into my

heart, which has been scorched by the fire of brahma-jnana (knowledge

aimed at the impersonal Absolute devoid of form, qualities

and activities)."


Babaji replied, "You are a fit candidate. Whatever questions you

ask, I will answer as far as I am able."


Sannyasi Thakura said, "Prabhu! For a long time I have heard of

the pre-eminence of dharma. On numerous occasions I have asked

the question, 'What is dharma?' to so many people. It is a cause of

distress to me that the answers those people have given contradict

each other. So please tell me, what is the true constitutional

dharma of the jivas? And why do different teachers explain the nature

of dharma in such diverse ways? If dharma is one, why don't all

learned teachers cultivate that one universal dharma which is

without a second?"


Paramahamsa Babaji meditated upon the lotus feet of Bhagavan

Shri Krishna Chaitanya, and began to speak: "O most fortunate one,

I shall describe to you the principles of dharma as far as my knowledge

allows. An object is called a vastu, and its eternal nature is

known as its nitya-dharma. Nature arises from the elementary

structure of an object (ghatana). By Krishna's desire, when an object

is formed, a particular nature is inherent in that structure

as an eternal concomitant factor. This nature is the nitya-dharma

of the object.


"The nature of a given object becomes altered or distorted when

a change takes place within it, either by force of circumstance, or

due to contact with other objects. With the passage of time, this

distorted nature becomes fixed, and appears to be permanent, as if

it were the eternal nature of that object. This distorted nature is

not the svabhava (true nature); it is called nisarga, that nature

which is acquired through long-term association. This nisarga occupies

the place of the factual nature, and becomes identified as

the svabhava.


"For example, water is an object and its svabhava is liquidity.

When water solidifies, due to certain circumstances, and becomes

ice, the acquired nature of solidity takes the place of its inherent

nature. In reality, this acquired nature is not eternal; rather, it is

occasional or temporary. It arises because of some cause, and when

that cause is no longer effective, this acquired nature vanishes

automatically. However, the svabhava is eternal. It may become distorted,

but it still remains inseparably connected to its object, and

the original nature will certainly become evident again when the

proper time and circumstances arise.


"The svabhava of an object is its nitya-dharma (eternal function),

while its acquired nature is its naimittika-dharma (occasional function).

Those who have true knowledge of objects (vastu-jnana) can

know the difference between eternal and occasional function,

whereas those who lack this knowledge consider acquired nature

to be true nature, and they consequently mistake the temporary

dharma for eternal dharma."


"What is it that is called vastu, and what is the meaning of

svabhava?" asked Sannyasi Thakura.


Paramahamsa Babaji said, "The word vastu is derived from the

Sanskrit verbal root vas, which means 'to exist', or 'to dwell'. The

verbal root becomes a noun when the suffix tu is added. Therefore,

vastu means 'that which has existence or which is self-evident'.

There are two types of vastu: vastava and avastava. The term

'truly abiding substance', vastava-vastu, refers to that which is

grounded in transcendence. Temporary objects, avastava-vastu, are

dravya (solid objects), guna (qualities), and so on. Real objects have

eternal existence. Unreal objects only have a semblance of existence,

which is sometimes real and sometimes unreal.


"It is said in the Shrimad-Bhagavatam (1.1.2)

vedyam vastavam atra vastu sivadam


Only a truly abiding substance, which is related to the Supreme

Absolute Truth and which yields supreme auspiciousness

is worthy of being known.


"From this statement it is clearly understood that the only real

substance is that which is related to the Supreme Transcendence.

Shri Bhagavan is the only real Entity (vastava-vastu). The living

entity (jiva) is a distinct or individual part of that Entity, while

maya-the potency that produces bewilderment-is the energy

of that Entity. Therefore, the word vastu refers to three fundamental

principles: Bhagavan, the jiva, and maya. Knowledge of the

mutual relationship between these three principles is known as

pure knowledge (suddha-jnana). There are innumerable apparent

representations of these three principles, and they are all regarded

as avastava-vastu, unreal substances. The classification of phenomena

into various categories such as dravya (objects) and guna

(qualities), which is undertaken by the Vaisesika school of philosophy,

is merely a deliberation on the nature of avastava-vastu,

temporary objects.


"The special characteristic (visesa-guna) of any truly abiding

substance is its factual nature. The jiva is a real entity, and his eternal

characteristic quality is his true nature."


Sannyasi Maharaja said, "Prabhu, I want to understand this

topic very clearly."


Babaji Mahasaya replied, "Shrila Krishnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami,

who was an object of the mercy of Shri Nityananda Prabhu, showed

me a manuscript that he had written with his own hand. Shriman

Mahaprabhu has instructed us on this subject in the book named

Shri Chaitanya-charitamrita (Madhya 20.108) as follows:


jivera svarupa haya krsnera nitya-dasa

krsnera tatastha-sakti bhedabheda-prakasa


The constitutional nature of the jiva is to be an eternal servant

of Shri Krishna. He is the marginal potency of Krishna, and

is a manifestation simultaneously one with Him, and different

from Him.


krishna bhuli sei jiva anadi-bahirmukha

ataeva maya tare deya samsara-duhkha

Chaitanya-charitamrita, (Madhya 20.117)


The jiva who has forgotten Krishna has been preoccupied with

the external potency since time without beginning. Consequently,

Krishna's illusory potency (maya) gives him misery

in the form of material existence.


"Krishna is the complete transcendental substance (cid-vastu). He

is often compared to the sun of the spiritual realm, and the jivas

are compared to the sun's atomic particles of light. Jivas are innumerable.

When it is said that they are individual parts of Krishna, it

does not mean that they are like the pieces of stone that form a

mountain. Although innumerable jiva portions emanate from Shri

Krishna, He is not diminished by this in the slightest. For this reason,

the Vedas have compared the jivas in one respect to sparks

emanating from a fire. In reality, no adequate comparison can be

made. No comparison-whether to sparks of a blazing fire, atomic

particles within the rays of the sun, or gold produced from powerful

mystic jewels-is completely appropriate. The true nature of

the jiva is easily revealed in the heart, but only when the mundane

conception of these comparisons is given up.


"Krishna is infinite spiritual substance (brhat-cid-vastu), whereas

the jivas are infinitesimal spiritual substance (anu-cid-vastu). The

oneness of Krishna and the jivas lies in their spiritual nature (ciddharma),

but they are undoubtedly different as well, because their

natures are complete and incomplete respectively. Krishna is the eternal

Lord of the jivas, and the jivas are Krishna's eternal servants. This

interrelationship is natural. Krishna is the attractor, and the jivas

are attracted. Krishna is the supreme ruler, and the jivas are ruled.

Krishna is the observer, and the jivas are observed. Krishna is the complete

whole, and the jivas are poor and insignificant. Krishna is the

possessor of all potency, and the jivas are devoid of potency. Therefore,

the eternal svabhava or dharma of the jiva is krishna-dasya, eternal

service and obedience to Krishna.


"Krishna is endowed with unlimited potencies. His complete potency

(purna-sakti) is perceived in the manifestation of the spiritual

world, cit-jagat. Similarly, His tatastha-sakti, or marginal potency,

is observed in the manifestation of the jivas. A special potency

acts in assembling the finite world (apurna-jagat), and this

potency is known as tatastha-sakti. The action of the marginal

potency is to create an entity (vastu) which exists between the

animate objects (cid-vastu) and inanimate objects (acid-vastu) and

which can maintain a relationship with both the spiritual and material

worlds. Purely transcendental entities are by nature quite

the opposite of inanimate objects, and therefore have no connection

whatsoever with them. Although the jiva is an animate spiritual

particle, he is capable of a relationship with inanimate matter

due to the influence of aisi-sakti, a divine potency, which is

known as the tatastha-sakti.


"The boundary region between land and the water of a river is

known as a tata or shore. This tata may be considered to be both

land and water; in other words, it is situated in both. The divine

aisi-sakti, which is situated in the border region, upholds the properties

of both land and water, as it were, in one existential entity.


The jiva's nature is spiritual, but still, his composition is such that

he can become controlled by jada-dharma, the inert nature. Therefore

the baddha-jiva (conditioned soul) is not beyond all connection

with matter, unlike the jivas in the spiritual domain. NoneTHE

theless, he is distinct from dull matter because of his animate,

spiritual nature. Since the jiva is by nature different from both the

purely spiritual entities and dull matter, he is classified as a separate

principle. Therefore, the eternal distinction between

Bhagavan and the jiva must be accepted.


"Bhagavan is the supreme ruler of maya (His external potency

which creates bewilderment), which is under His full control. The

jiva, on the other hand, may under certain circumstances be controlled

by maya, for he is subject to its influence. Hence, these three

principles-Bhagavan, the jiva, and maya-are real (paramarthika

satya) and eternal. Of these three, Bhagavan is the supreme eternal

principle, and is the foundation of the other principles. The

following statement of Shri Katha Upanisad (2.2.13) confirms this.

nityo nityanam cetanas cetananam


He is the supreme eternal amongst all eternals (and the

fundamental sentient being among all sentient beings).

"The jiva is by nature both an eternal servant of Krishna, and a

representation of His marginal potency. This demonstrates that

the jiva is distinct from Bhagavan, yet at the same time is not separate

from Him. He is, therefore, a manifestation that is both different

and non-different (bhedabheda-prakasa). The jiva is subject

to domination by maya, whereas Bhagavan is the controller of

maya. Herein lies an eternal distinction between the jiva and

Bhagavan. On the other hand, the jiva is by his constitutional

nature a transcendental entity, cid-vastu, and Bhagavan is also by

nature cid-vastu. Moreover, the jiva is a special potency of

Bhagavan. Herein lies the eternal non-distinction between these

two. Where eternal distinction and non-distinction are found at

one and the same time, eternal distinction takes prominence.

"The nitya-dharma of the jiva is servitorship to Krishna. When he

forgets this, he is subjected to the tyranny of maya, and from that

very moment he becomes diverted from Krishna. The fall of the jiva

does not take place within the context of material time. Accordingly,

the words anadi-bahirmukha are used, meaning that the jiva

has been diverted since time without beginning. From the moment

of this diversion and the jiva's entry into maya, his nitya-dharma

becomes perverted. Therefore, by the association of maya, the jiva

develops nisarga, an acquired nature, which thus facilitates the

display of his temporary function and disposition known as

naimittika-dharma. The nitya-dharma (eternal function) is one,

indivisible, and faultless in all different situations; but the

naimittika-dharma (temporary function) assumes many different

forms when seen in diverse circumstances, and when it is described

in various ways by men of divergent opinions."


Having spoken thus, Paramahamsa Babaji stopped and began to

chant shri-hari-nama-japa. Hearing this explanation of spiritual

truths, Sannyasi Thakura offered prostrated obeisances and said,

"Prabhu, I shall deliberate on all these topics today. Tomorrow I

shall submit at your lotus feet any questions that may arise."