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C H A P T E R 1
& 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
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
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,
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
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
"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,
"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
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."
THUS ENDS THE FIRST CHAPTER OF JAIVA-DHARMA,
ENTITLED "THE ETERNAL AND TEMPORARY DHARMAS OF THE JIVA