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NITAAI-Veda.nyf > Compiled and Imp Scriptures > Jaiva Dharma > 2. The Nitya Dharma of the Jiva is Pure & Eternal



C H A P T E R 2

The Nitya Dharma of the Jiva

is Pure & Eternal


The next morning Sannyasi Mahasaya found no opportunity

to inquire from Premadasa Babaji, who was internally immersed

in vraja-bhava, mellows of service in the mood of the residents

of Vraja. At midday, after accepting alms from the houses of

the villagers, they sat together in the arbor known as shri-madhavimalati

mandapa. Paramahamsa Babaji Mahasaya then began to

speak compassionately: "O best of the bhaktas, what conclusions

have you reached after yesterday's discussion on the subject of



Feeling supreme bliss (paramananda), Sannyasi Thakura asked,

"Prabhu, if the jiva is infinitesimal, how can his eternal dharma be

full and pure? And if the natural function of the jiva is formed at

the time he is constituted, how can that function be eternal?"


When Paramahamsa Babaji heard these two questions, he meditated

on the lotus feet of Shri Shachinandana€````@P@``€``PP@P€°`° `@```š`@°°`°°  @@P` ` P@ °P`0@````@`` P`€@ `P€PP```@`PP`°°°Ppppppp p````@@@@€p€€€€€€€pppp````````` P````    ```````€````````_›8œȰ_Ȱ_粜娈粜が粞〼粞 and then, smiling, said,

"Respected sir, although the jiva is infinitesimal, his dharma is full

and nitya (eternal). Minuteness is only a trait by which he is identified.

Parabrahma Shri Krishnacandra, is the one and only infinite

substance (brhad-vastu), and the jivas are His innumerable atomic

particles. Like sparks emanating from an undivided fire, the jivas

emanate from Krishna, who is the embodiment of immutable consciousness.

Just as every spark is endowed with the potency of the

complete fire, so each and every jiva is capable of displaying the

full function of consciousness. If a single spark has enough fuel, it

can kindle a blazing fire that will incinerate the whole world.

Similarly, even a single jiva can bring about a great inundation of

love by obtaining Shri Krishnacandra, who is the real object of love.

As long as he fails to contact the real object of his spiritual function

(dharma-visaya), the infinitesimal, conscious jiva is incapable

of exhibiting the natural development of that function. In reality,

it is only when the jiva is in connection with his object that

the identity of its dharma becomes apparent.


"What is the nitya-dharma, or eternal, constitutional function

of the jiva? You must examine this question carefully. Transcendental

love for Krishna (prema) is the jiva's nitya-dharma. The jiva is

a substance transcendental to mundane matter, and consciousness

is that which he is constituted. His eternal function is divine love,

and the nature of that pure prema is service to Krishna. Therefore,

the constitutional function of the jiva is service to Krishna, which

is the nature of prema.


"Jivas exist in two conditions: suddha-avastha, the pure liberated

state; or baddha-avastha, the conditioned state. In the liberated

state, the jiva is completely spiritual (chinmaya), and has no

connection with mundane matter. However, even in the liberated

state, the jiva is an infinitesimal entity.


"The jiva can undergo a change in condition because he has the

quality of minuteness. Krishna, however, never undergoes a change

of condition, for by His very nature He is the entity of infinite

cognition. By His essential constitution as a vastu (a factual existent

entity), He is supreme, completely pure, and eternal, whereas

the jiva, by his essential constitution as a vastu is minute, a part,

liable to contamination, and subject to repeated change. Nevertheless,

by virtue of the jiva's dharma, or unadulterated spiritual

function, he is great, undivided, pure, and everlasting. As long

as the jiva is pure, his dharma displays its spotless character. However,

when he is contaminated by involvement with maya, his

true nature is perverted, and he becomes impure, bereft of shelter,

and oppressed by mundane happiness and distress. The jiva's course

of material existence comes into effect as soon as he forgets his

attitude of service to Krishna.


"As long as the jiva remains pure, he maintains his identity and

self-conception in accordance with his unadulterated spiritual

function (sva-dharma). His innate and original egoism is therefore

rooted in the conception that he is a servant of Krishna. However,

that pure egoism recedes and assumes many different forms

as soon as he is contaminated by association with maya. The gross

and subtle bodies then cover his pure constitutional identity, and

as a result, a different egoism emerges in the subtle body (lingasarira).

When this combines with the soul's identification with

the gross body (sthula-sarira), a third form of egoism is assumed. In

his pure spiritual form, the jiva is exclusively a servant of Krishna.

When the jiva identifies with the subtle body, his original, pure

egoism of being a servant of Krishna is covered, and he thinks that

he can enjoy the fruits of his actions. He then obtains a gross body

and thinks, 'I am a brahmana; I am a king; I am poor; I am miserable;

I am overwhelmed by disease and lamentation; I am a woman; I am

the master of this person and that person.' Thus, he identifies himself

with many different types of gross bodily conceptions.


"When the jiva associates with these different types of false

egoism, his constitutional function becomes perverted. The intrinsic,

constitutional function (sva-dharma) of the jiva is unalloyed

prema. This prema manifests in a perverted way in the subtle

body in the form of happiness and distress, attachment and aversion,

and so on. This perversion is observed in a more concentrated

form in the gross body as the pleasures of eating, drinking,

and contact with sense objects. You should understand clearly

that the eternal function of the jiva, known as nitya-dharma, is manifest

only in his pure state. The dharma that arises in the conditioned

state is known as naimittika, circumstantial. Nitya-dharma

is by nature complete, pure, and eternal. I will explain naimittikadharma

at length another day.


"The unalloyed vaishnava-dharma that has been depicted in the

Shrimad-Bhagavatam is eternal religion (nitya-dharma). The various

types of dharma that are propagated in the world may be divided

into three categories: nitya-dharma, naimittika-dharma (circumstantial

dharma), and anitya-dharma (impermanent religion).

Anitya-dharma is religion that does not speak about the existence

of Isvara and does not accept the eternality of the soul. Naimittikadharma

acknowledges the existence of Isvara and the eternality of

the soul but only endeavors to obtain the mercy of Isvara through

provisional methods. Nitya-dharma strives to obtain the service

of Bhagavan by means of unalloyed prema.


"Nitya-dharma may be known by different names according to

differences of country, race, and language. However, it is one, and

supremely beneficial. The ideal example of nitya-dharma is

vaishnava-dharma, which is prevalent in India. The pristine state

of vaishnava-dharma is that dharma which Bhagavan Shachinandana€````@P@``€``PP@P€°`° `@```š`@°°`°°  @@P` ` P@ °P`0@````@`` P`€@ `P€PP```@`PP`°°°Ppppppp p````@@@@€p€€€€€€€pppp````````` P````    ```````€````````_›8œȰ_Ȱ_粜娈粜が粞〼粞,

the Lord of our heart, has taught to the world. It is for this reason

that great personalities absorbed in the bliss of divine love have

accepted these teachings and taken help from them."


At this point Sannyasi Thakura with folded hands said, "Prabhu,

I am constantly witnessing the super-excellence of the spotless

vaishnava-dharma which Shri Shachinandana€````@P@``€``PP@P€°`° `@```š`@°°`°°  @@P` ` P@ °P`0@````@`` P`€@ `P€PP```@`PP`°°°Ppppppp p````@@@@€p€€€€€€€pppp````````` P````    ```````€````````_›8œȰ_Ȱ_粜娈粜が粞〼粞 has revealed, and I have

clearly realized the contemptible nature of Sankaracarya's monistic

doctrine. Still, something has come to my mind, which I feel I

must submit to you; I don't want to hide it. I understand that

mahabhava, which was displayed by Shri Chaitanya, is the highest state

of concentrated prema. Is it different from the attainment of the

perfection of absolute oneness (advaita-siddhi)?"


When Paramahamsa Babaji heard the name of Shri Sankaracarya,

he offered prostrated obeisances unto the acarya and said, "Respected

sir, sankarah sankarah saksat: 'Sankaracarya is none other

than Mahadeva-Sankara, or Sivaji.' You should always remember

this. Sankara is guru for the Vaishnavas, and for this reason

Mahaprabhu has referred to him as acarya (spiritual preceptor).

For his own part, Shri Sankara was a perfect Vaishnava.


"At the time Shri Sankara's appeared in India, there was a great

need for a guna-avatara like him, an incarnation who presides over

the qualities of material nature. The study of the Vedic sastras and

the practice of varnasrama-dharma had become practically extinct

in India due to the influence of sunyavada (voidism), the nihilistic

Buddhist philosophy. Sunyavada is vehemently opposed to the

personal conception of Bhagavan. Although it partially accepts

the principle of the living being's identity as a conscious, spiritual

soul (jivatma), it is an extreme example of anitya-dharma (impermanent

religion). The brahmanas of that era had abandoned

the Vedic dharma and had in effect all become Buddhists. At that

point, Sankaracarya appeared as an extremely powerful incarnation

of Mahadeva. He re-established the credibility of the Vedic

literatures and converted the sunyavada doctrine of voidism into

the brahmavada doctrine of nirvisesa (featureless) brahma. This was

an extraordinary feat, and India will remain ever indebted to Shri

Sankaracarya for this tremendous contribution.


"All activities in this world fall into one of two categories: some

are relative to a particular period of time, and some are applicable

for all time. The work of Sankaracarya was relative to a particular

period and bestowed tremendous benefit. Sankaracarya laid the

foundation upon which great acaryas such as Shri Ramanujacarya

erected the edifice of pure vaishnava-dharma. Consequently,

Sankaravatara was a great friend and preceptor who pioneered



"Vaishnavas are now reaping the fruit of Sankaracarya's philosophical

precepts. For the jivas who are bound by matter, there is a great

need for sambandha-jnana, knowledge of the soul's entanglement

in material nature and of his relationship with Bhagavan.

Sankaracarya and the Vaishnavas both accept that the sentient

living entities in this material world are completely distinct and

separate from their gross and subtle material bodies, that the jivas

are spiritually existent, and that liberation (mukti) entails giving

up all connection with this material world. Consequently, there

is a great deal of agreement between the doctrine of Sankara and

that of the Vaishnava acaryas, up to the point of liberation. Sankara

has even taught that the worship of Shri Hari is the method by

which one can purify the heart and attain liberation. He has only

remained silent regarding what extraordinary destination the jiva

attains after liberation.


"Sankara knew perfectly well that if the jivas could be prompted

to strive for liberation through the worship of Hari, they would

gradually become attached to the pleasure of bhajana and thus

become suddha-bhaktas, pure devotees. That is why he simply

pointed out the path and didn't reveal further confidential secrets

of vaishnava-dharma. Those who have scrutinized the commentaries

of Sankara can understand his inner intention, but those who

are only preoccupied with the external aspect of his teachings

remain far from the threshold of vaishnava-dharma.


"From one specific point of view, the perfected state of absolute

oneness (advaita-siddhi) seems identical to prema. However, the

narrow interpretation of absolute oneness is certainly different

from the meaning of prema. What is prema? You should understand

clearly that prema is the unadulterated function by which two

transcendental entities are spontaneously attracted to each other.

Prema cannot occur without the separate existence of two transcendental

entities. Krishna-prema is the dharma by which all transcendental

entities are eternally attracted to the supreme transcendent

Entity, Shri Krishnacandra. The ideology of prema rests on

the eternally established truths that Krishnacandra has His own

eternal, separate existence, and that the jivas have their own eternal,

separate existence, following His leadership (anugatya); and

that this prema-tattva is also an eternally perfect truth (nityasiddha-

tattva). The distinct presence of three seperate ingredients

- the relisher, the object of relish, and the act of relishing - is a

fact. If the relisher of prema and the object of relish are one and

the same, then prema cannot be an eternal reality.


"We can say that absolute oneness or advaita-siddhi is the same

as prema if we define advaita-siddhi as the pure state of a transcendental

entity who has no relationship with insentient matter. This

conception of advaita-siddhi implies oneness in the sense that

spiritual entities have become one in their spiritual nature and

function (cid-dharma). However, modern scholars who have

adopted the doctrine of Sankara are not satisfied with this idea,

and they have tried to establish that spiritual entities, cid-vastu

have themselves become indistinguishably one and the same substance.

In so doing, they have disregarded the true Vedic conception

of non-distinction and have propagated a distorted version

in its place. Vaishnavas declare this philosophy to be opposed to

the Vedas because it denies the eternality of prema.


"Sankaracarya described the state of non-distinction simply as

the unadulterated condition of spiritual substance. However, his

modern-day followers could not understand his inner intention,

and consequently they have marred their guru's reputation by

teaching a thoroughly debased doctrine known as Mayavada, which

describes the various states of prema as illusory phenomena.


"Mayavadis deny from the very outset that anything exists except

the one spiritual substance (brahma), and they also deny that the

function of prema exists within that spiritual substance. They claim

that brahma is beyond the influence of maya as long as it remains

in a state of oneness, but that brahma becomes overwhelmed by

maya when it becomes embodied and takes on various shapes in

the form of jivas. Consequently, they believe that the form of

Bhagavan is an illusory manifestation. In reality, though, His form

is eternally pure and constituted of concentrated consciousness.

For this reason, they have concluded that prema and its various

manifestations are illusory, and that the knowledge of non-duality

(advaita-jnana) is beyond the influence of maya. Their mistaken

conception of advaita-siddhi or oneness can never be equated with



"Shri Chaitanyadeva instructed the world to taste prema, and He

personally taught it by His transcendental behavior and activities.

This prema is completely beyond the jurisdiction of maya, and

it is the highest development of the unalloyed state of perfect

oneness (advaita-siddhi). The state known as mahabhava is a special

transformation of this prema, in which premananda is extraordinarily

powerful. Consequently, both the separateness and intimate

relationship of the lover and the beloved are transported to

an unprecedented state. The inconsequential theory of Mayavada

is useless for understanding the subject matter of prema in any of

its stages."


Sannyasi Thakura said with great reverence, "O Prabhu, My

heart is deeply pierced with the realization that the Mayavada

doctrine is most insignificant. Today, you have mercifully dispelled

whatever lingering doubts I had in this regard. I feel a strong desire

to give up wearing this Mayavada sannyasa garb."


Babaji Mahasaya said, "O Mahatma, I never give instruction on

external dress. When the dharma or spiritual function of the heart

becomes purified, the external dress will be set right easily and

naturally. Where there is too much concern for external appearance,

there is inattention to the soul's inner function. When your

heart becomes pure, you will automatically develop attachment

for the external behavior of Vaishnavas, and there will be no fault

if you change your external dress then. Absorb your heart completely

in trying to follow the teachings of Shri Krishna Chaitanya,

and later you may adopt the external items of vaishnava-dharma to

which you are naturally inclined. You should always remember this

instruction of Shriman Mahaprabhu:


markata-vairagya na kara loka dekhana

yathayogya visaya bhunja' anasakta hana

antare nistha kara, bahye loka-vyavahara

acirat krishna tomaya karibe uddhara

Chaitanya-charitamrita, Madhya (16.238-239)


Do not adopt markata-vairagya (external, monkey renunciation)

simply to impress the general populace. You should

accept without attachment whatever sense objects are appropriate

for maintaining your devotional practices and

give up all material desires within your heart. Internally

develop staunch faith in Shri Krishna and externally carry out

your worldly responsibilities in such a way that no one can

detect your inner mood. If you act like this, Shri Krishna will

very quickly deliver you from material existence.


Sannyasi Thakura understood the deep significance of this discussion,

and made no further suggestion about changing his outer

dress. Folding his hands he said, "Prabhu, since I am now your

disciple, and I have taken shelter at your lotus feet, I will bear upon

my head whatever instructions you give, without any argument. I

have understood from your instructions that unadulterated krishnaprema

constitutes the only vaishnava-dharma. This love for Krishna

is the nitya-dharma of the jivas, and it is complete, pure, and natural.

But what of the various dharmas that are prevalent in different

countries-how should I regard these different religions?"


Babaji Mahasaya said, "O Mahatma, dharma is only one, not two

or many. The jivas have only one dharma, and it is known as

vaishnava-dharma. Differences of language, country, or race cannot

create differences in dharma. Jaiva-dharma is the constitutional

function of the jiva. People may give it different names, but they

cannot create a different constitutional function. Jaiva-dharma is

the unadulterated spiritual love that the infinitesimal entity has

for the Infinite Entity. It appears to become distorted into various

mundane forms because the jivas possess different material natures.

That is why the name vaishnava-dharma has been given to identify

the pure form of jaiva-dharma. The degree of vaishnava-dharma in

any religion or dharma is a measure of its purity.


"Some time ago, in Shri Vraja-dhama, I submitted a question at

the lotus feet of Shriman Mahaprabhu's confidential associate, Shri

Sanatana Gosvami. I asked him whether the word ishqh in the Islamic

religious tradition means unadulterated love, or something

else. Sanatana Gosvami was a learned scholar of all the sastras,

and his erudition in the Arabic and Farsi languages in particular

knew no bounds. Shri Rupa Gosvami, Shri Jiva Gosvami, and other

exalted spiritual preceptors were present in that assembly. Shri

Sanatana Gosvami kindly answered my question as follows:


" 'Yes, the word ishqh means love. Adherents of Islam do use the

word ishqh in relation to the worship of Isvara, but the word generally

means love in the ordinary worldly sense. Islamic religious

teachers have not been able to understand the true conception of

the pure spiritual entity, or suddha-cid-vastu. This is evident from

the poetical account of the devoted lovers Laila and Majnun and

from the literary descriptions of ishqh by the great poet Hafiz. They

have referred to ishqh either as physical love pertaining to the gross

body, or as emotional love in relation to the subtle body. Thus they

cannot have had any experience of unadulterated divine love or

prema towards Bhagavan. I have never seen this type of prema described

in any religious texts of the Muslim teachers; I have only

seen it in the Vaishnava sastras. The same is true of the Muslim word

ruh, which means soul or spirit. It does not seem that Muslim teachers

have used the word ruh to mean the suddha-jiva (the liberated

soul); rather, they have used the word ruh in the sense of the

baddha-jiva, the soul bound by matter.


" 'I have not seen unadulterated love for Krishna taught in any

other religion, whereas descriptions of krishna-prema are common

throughout the teachings of vaishnava-dharma. In the second sloka

of Shrimad-Bhagavatam, krishna-prema has been lucidly described in

the statement, projjhita-kaitava-dharma: 'This Shrimad-Bhagavatam

propounds the highest truth from which all pretentious religiosity

has been rejected.' Nonetheless, I have full faith that Shri Krishna

Chaitanya was the first to give full instructions on the religion of

unalloyed krishna-prema. If you have faith in my words, you may accept

this conclusion.' Having heard these instructions, I offered

prostrated obeisances to Sanatana Gosvami again and again."


When Sannyasi Thakura heard this explanation from Babaji

Maharaja, he immediately offered dandavat-pranama to him.

Paramahamsa Babaji then said, "O best of the bhaktas, I will now

answer your second question. Please listen attentively. The words

'creation' and 'formation', when applied to the jiva, are used in a

material context. The speech of this world functions by drawing

from the experience of material phenomena. The time that we experience

is divided into the three phases of past, present and future.

This is material time (jadiya-kala), which is connected with

the material energy, maya. In the spiritual domain, there is spiritual

time, cit-kala, which eternally exists in the present, with no

divisions of past and future. The jivas and Krishna exist in that spiritual

time, so the jiva is eternal and ever-existing.


"The functions of creation, formation and falling take place

under the influence of material time, and they are used to describe

the jiva after he is bound in this material world. However, even

though the jiva is infinitesimal, he is an eternal, spiritual entity,

and his fundamental constitution existed before he entered this

material world. Since past and future do not exist in the spiritual

world, whatever occurs within that spiritual time frame is eternally

present. Therefore, in reality, the jiva and his constitutional

function are both ever-present and eternal.


"I have explained all this to you in words, but you can only understand

their true meaning to the extent that you have realized

and experienced the unalloyed spiritual realm. I have just given

you a glimpse; you should try to realize the meaning of what I have

said through cit-samadhi, spiritual meditation. You will not be able

to understand these topics through mundane logic or by debate.

The more you can free your faculty of experience from material

bondage, the more you will be able to experience the spiritual



"First you should cultivate the realization of your pure spiritual

identity and practice chanting shri-krishna-nama purely, then your

spiritual function known as jaiva-dharma will be clearly revealed.

Spiritual realization and experience cannot be fully purified by

the eightfold yoga system known as astanga-yoga or brahma-jnana

by cultivating knowledge of the all-pervading, featureless brahma.

The jiva can only manifest his nitya-siddha-dharma or eternal spiritual

function, by constantly cultivating activities directly meant

for Krishna's pleasure.


"You should constantly practice chanting hari-nama with great

enthusiasm. Such practice is true spiritual culture. By chanting

hari-nama regularly, you will develop unprecedented attachment

for shri-krishna-nama within a short time, and you will directly experience

the spiritual realm. Chanting shri-hari-nama is the foremost

of all the different limbs of bhakti, and it yields the quickest results.

This is confirmed by Shri Mahaprabhu's instructions in Shri

Krishnadasa Kaviraja's magnificent work, Shri Chaitanya-charitamrita

(Antya 4.70-71):


bhajanera madhye srestha nava-vidha bhakti

'krishna-prema', 'krishna' dite dhare maha-sakti

tara madhye sarva-srestha nama-sankirtana

niraparadhe nama laile paya prema-dhana


Of all the different types of spiritual practice, the nine forms

of bhakti (sravanam, kirtanam, etc.) are the best because they

have tremendous power to deliver Krishna and krishna-prema.

Of these nine practices, nama-sankirtana is the best. By

chanting shri-krishna-nama without offense, one obtains the

priceless treasure of prema.


"Mahatma, if you ask how to recognize a Vaishnava, I will tell you

that a Vaishnava is someone who has given up all offenses, and who

chants shri-krishna-nama with great feeling. There are three categories

of Vaishnavas: the kanistha (neophyte), the madhyama (intermediate),

and the uttama (most exalted). A kanistha Vaishnava

chants the name of Krishna occasionally, a madhyama Vaishnava

chants the name of Krishna constantly, and an uttama Vaishnava

causes others to chant shri-nama by his very presence. According

to Mahaprabhu's instructions, we do not need any other criteria

to discern who is a Vaishnava."


Sannyasi Thakura was deeply immersed in the nectar of Babaji

Maharaja's instructions, and he began to dance as he chanted shrikrishna-

nama: 'Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare /

Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare'. On that day, he

experienced ruci, a natural taste, for hari-nama. Offering prostrated

obeisances unto the lotus feet of his guru, he prayed, "Prabhu! O

friend of the destitute! Please bestow your mercy upon this

wretched soul."