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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`@ `PPP```@`PP`°°°Ppppppp p````@@@@ppppp````````` P```` ```````````````_8Ȱ_Ȱ_娜粜娈粜が粞〼粞ぜ粞 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`@ `PPP```@`PP`°°°Ppppppp p````@@@@ppppp````````` P```` ```````````````_8Ȱ_Ȱ_娜粜娈粜が粞〼粞ぜ粞,
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`@ `PPP```@`PP`°°°Ppppppp p````@@@@ppppp````````` P```` ```````````````_8Ȱ_Ȱ_娜粜娈粜が粞〼粞ぜ粞 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
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
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
THUS ENDS THE SECOND CHAPTER OF JAIVA-DHARMA,
"THE NITYA-DHARMA OF THE JIVA IS PURE AND ETERNAL"