AND WHAT A VERY BIG "IF" THAT IS

by Kailasa Candra dasa

Yasmin vijnate sarvam evam vijnatam bhavati. Anyone who is a devotee of the Lord knows about the Lord to some extent, and devotional service to the Lord makes him able to know everything by the grace of the Lord. ALTHOUGH A DEVOTEE MAY APPARENTLY EXPRESS HIMSELF TO BE IGNORANT, he is full of knowledge in every intricate matter."(Srimad-Bhagavatam Canto 3: Chapter Seven, Text 8)

"People who are ignorant of their own history will have others write it for them."??George Orwell

Authorized quotations and logic seldom constitute the chopping technique. However, to infer that someone else's beliefs "WILL CREATE A DARK SHROUD OF IGNORANCE OVER THE ENTIRE WORLD" is hypocritical in the context of a gentle presentation.  We're not opposed to the chopping technique per se, but we're appalled when it's disguised as something else.

How can criticizing Prabhupada for his naming of deities ever help us in understanding the Absolute Truth? His naming of deities is absolute and perfect. Anyone who criticizes him for doing that--no matter how such criticism is cloaked--will only disseminate doubts and questions about his level of realization, choking off his mercy.

". . . the name Radha-Partha-sarathi is rasabhasa because Srimati Radhika never leaves Vrndavan."

"Krsna's another name is Partha-sarathi. Partha. Arjuna's name is Partha. Partha means, 'The son of Partha'. Kunti's another name is Prtha. Kunti's fathers name was Prthu, so Kunti's name was Prtha. Therefore Arjuna's name was Partha. And because Krsna served as the chariot driver of Arjuna, His another name is Partha-sarathi. Prabhupada's Lectures Srimad-Bhagavatam 1974

Acyutananda: The Deities’ name is Radha-Parthasarathi.
Prabhupada: Hm?
Acyutananda: The name of the Delhi Deities is Radha-Parthasarathi. So how do we understand? Because Partha means Arjuna. So Radha, how does Radha get there?
Prabhupada: When Krsna is Parthasarathi, Radha is out of Him? Does it mean?
Morning Walk Madras, January 9, 1976

The purport is self-evident. 

Similarly, to endlessly try proving that Prabhupada did not teach the jiva's originally having been in the spiritual world with Krsna (before entering the material illusion) is nothing but mental speculation. Philosophical speculation about his presentation is trying to understand how Prabhupada was absolutely correct in this area. Mental speculation about this topic, on the other hand, only quickens the disintegration of his Krsna Consciousness movement. It fans the fire now burning within the house he built to shelter the whole devotional world. Such "gentle" articles, with all their "respectful" points, are centrifugal in nature.

"Regarding your second question, have the conditioned souls ever seen Krsna? Were they with the Lord before being conditioned by the desire to lord it over material nature? Yes, the conditioned souls are parts and parcels of the Lord and thus they were with Krsna before being conditioned. Just as the child must have seen his father because the father places the child in the womb of the mother, similarly each soul has seen Krsna or the Supreme Father. But at that time the conditioned souls are resting in the condition called susupti which is exactly deep sleep without dream, or anesthetized state, therefore they do not remember being with Krsna when they wake up in the material world and become engaged in material affairs." (Letter to: Jagadisa : 70-04-25 Los Angeles) emphases added

Now our friends claim that we originally came from Maha-visnu, from the state of susupti. If that is so--and what a very big "if" that is--then there are ramifications. This quotation appears to buttress their theory, but its value is restricted as far as other quotes on this topical discussion are concerned. 

A misinterpretation of this quotation is akin to doubting Prabhupada when he clearly states that souls have climbed up into the brahmajyoti and then (in some cases, many times) fallen back down into material affairs--but, before that even, they were with Krsna in His lila or pastimes. So, in this April, 1970 quote, they have not even reached the brahmajyoti when the dissolution of the universe takes place. As such, they merge into Maha-visnu and enter into the susupti state. This is well known as the situation for conditioned souls between universal manifestations. 

They are allowed to see their Supreme Father while in this condition. Do they see Maha-visnu? Well, since they're in His body and will issue forth from Him--and He will be their father when they are re-injected into the material manifestation--it's not an illogical explanation. In the context of the quote, it makes perfect sense.

However, these souls in susupti are conditioned previous to their entering into Maha-visnu during the stage of universal annihilation. Thus, their re-emergence into material affairs is not exactly the same as their previous entrance into the state of illusory coverings. They'll get a modified destiny, because their vasanas will have been modified during the previous sojourn. When they get covered over again, they do not remember their previous situation with Maha-visnu. As they take one body after another, they do not remember even their previous lifetime. Similarly, before having emerged from susupti within Krsna (Maha-visnu), before that even, they were originally with Krsna in His lila in the spiritual world. They don't remember that either, of course.  

But some of them now decry this Truth in the name of perpetuating a so-called orthodox teaching (less than a century old) proclaimed to be in the line of spiritual succession to Srila Bhaktisiddhanta and Srila Bhaktivinode. It's incomprehensible that someone, while clinging to this impersonal origination interpretation, could chant the Holy Name in the line of Srila Prabhupada and think that he or she is pleasing Prabhupada.

Srila A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada says that, even if the souls reach Vaikuntha after having been covered by material existence, they can re-enter the material world again. They generally don't, but they can. Free will is part of their intrinsic and eternal character. Whatever exchange may be present while seeing Maha-visnu during susupti is not the original relationship the jiva has with God. It is not the same as the Lord's lila in the spiritual world with His eternal servant. We don't remember that relationship. Conditioned souls don't remember how they interfaced with Maha-visnu during the universal dissolution, either.  

We misused our minute independence in the spiritual world. Immediately we were put into a state of forgetfulness. All the conditioned souls were in this position. They were all purely situated at one time. Some of them exercised the wrong prerogative. Then, no longer wishing to serve Him, they immediately are ripped out of the spiritual world (praksepatmika-sakti) and, just as quickly, completely covered over (avaranatmika-sakti). There is no maya in the spiritual world, because the tatastha-sakti, as soon as it wishes not to serve, is transported to another world--immediately. This does not interfere in the pastimes of the Supreme Lord nor does it mark the entrance of maya into the spiritual kingdom.

"In further reference to your question about the form of the spirit soul of the conditioned living entity, there is a spiritual form always, but it develops fully only when the living entity goes back to Vaikuntha. This form develops according to the desire of the living entity. Until this perfectional stage is reached, the form is lying dormant like the form of a tree is lying dormant in the seed." (Srila Prabhupada's letter to Rupanaga in 1969) emphases added

Often, Prabhupada says that the living entity falls from the spiritual world. Then again, in a few places, he says that no one falls from the spiritual world. This, of course, is an apparent contradiction. There can be no actual contradiction, however. Those who advocate the hard-line "no-fall" position take an extreme interpretation, namely that all of Prabhupada's references to the jiva's having fallen are gauna-vritti. Prabhupada says it specifically in so many places, but it's all supposed to be interpreted indirectly and not literally accepted. Disregarding this wrong-headed use of gauna-vritti, a synthesis of the two apparently contradictory positions is far more appropriate:

"Some of these souls have fallen into the material atmosphere, whereas others, called nitya-mukta, are everlastingly liberated. The nitya-muktas are never conditioned. These souls that have fallen into this material world in order to gratify their senses are called nitya-baddha, eternally conditioned. By "eternal," we mean that no one can estimate the amount of time the conditioned soul has to spend within the material world." Dialectical Spiritualism, critique of Plotinus, emphases added

In both of the last quotations, the conditioned soul is considered nitya-baddha, eternally conditioned. Technically, however, this means he has been conditioned for so long that it's just like being eternally conditioned. So, in that context, this "eternally" conditioned soul "only" develops his rasa when he goes back to Godhead. However, the quote from Dialectic Spiritualism clearly says that the conditioned souls have fallen from the same place where non-fallen nitya-muktas eternally reside. 

Utilizing some buddhi-yoga is required here. The sentence of the 1969 letter uses the verb "develops." This is so, in the context of his immeasurably long conditioning. Actually, he'll develop his rasa with Krsna during the Lord's descent for pastimes in another universe. That should not be taken as a distraction. Originally, we enjoyed our relationship with the Lord in full bliss and knowledge.  

To use an analogy, an accomplished athlete is stricken by a severe physical ailment. He goes into the hospital for a month, but he recovers. Upon leaving the hospital, he is weak. He can't do what he used to be able to do on the field. However, by persistent practice, he builds his strength and stamina. At a certain point, he's just as skilled an athlete as before the hospitalization. He developed once again what was originally there and what he had originally enjoyed. 

In other words, the term "fallen" is used, but it must be understood properly. Similarly, the term "eternally conditioned" is used, but it also must be understood properly. Genuine spiritual synthesis of these terms is required, not a stubborn insistence upon an unauthorized extreme position. Unnecessarily taking shelter of the gauna-vritti loophole is indicative of a rear-guard action, designed to protect the vested interests of false egos.

Srila Prabhupada: ". . . (M)an is made in the image of God; therefore, man is originally perfect . . . but if he falls into a diseased condition, it is not his imperfection. It is something external that has attacked a healthy man. According to his original nature, man is healthy."

Syamasundara dasa: "For Aristotle, the goal of action is to realize our potential and attain the greatest happiness or pleasure. Since God created man for self-realization, it is realization that will bring him satisfaction."

Srila Prabhupada: This means that in the beginning God created man imperfect. . . (W)hy should he be imperfect? That would indicate that God is unjust. Why should God create something that has to come to the perfectional point by realization?"?Dialectic Spiritualism, critique of Aristotle

The state of susupti, both in definition and application, is one of the three prominent states of conditioned existence. Returning to this state is automatically scheduled for all conditioned souls, with or without their having attained a guru during universal manifestation. Susupti is the least turbulent and, in that sense only, the highest of those three primary states; nevertheless it is an imperfect state. Otherwise, why is it called the state of unconsciousness, the anesthetized state?  

We are all originally Krsna conscious entities. Are we all originally unconscious and anesthetized? If susupti were our original "consciousness", why not just wait for it to come around again on its own accord? Why struggle to become free from Maya's kingdom? Every conditioned soul is destined to enter this state--where we see Lord Visnu with our so-called original consciousness--for an immeasurably long duration. 

The Supreme Personality of Godhead did not create the jiva in such an imperfect consciousness. If He did, that would have been unjust. It would have meant that we were created imperfect in order to realize a perfection we never originally enjoyed. Prabhupada explicitly rejects this view. We also would not even slightly be responsible for this "original" susupti, a condition that inevitably leads to entanglement and suffering during material manifestation.  

If the Supreme Lord originally established such a situation, where is the chance for liberation? Tiny jiva power can never overcome the Supreme Power. All acts could only serve to ultimately uncover the original state of susupti. The only counter-argument to this would have a stunning ramification: God would then have created something that is inherently impefect, thrown into the world of suffering in order to have bestowed upon it a perfectional point that jiva never constitutionally possessed. 

Krsna left a material body so that the atheists would have something upon which to base their faithlessness. Similarly, Prabhupada, here and there, has presented a couple of quotes capable of being twisted just enough to argue that he believes in the so-called "no-fall" theory. Of course, to claim that he says this, you have to disregard and rationalize his tens (if not hundreds) of quotes presenting the opposite siddhanta. His Divine Grace is so kind. 

Prabhupada's movement is being severely attacked from both within and without. Some devotees think that it may soon be ruined, even within our lifetimes. Nevertheless, if Prabhupada's presentation of Krsna conscious is to survive--and what a very big "if" that is--then this erroneous origination matrix should be resisted, exposed, and eventually overcome. It may be both subtle and attractive (like mayavada), but it's a complete nonsense and has no connection to Prabhupada's teachings. Susupti is not our original state of consciousness. 

The preachers of the impersonal origination theory--a disciplic succession that is not at all connected to the genuine teachings of the former pure ISKCON movement--misuse a word in the 1969 quotation ("only") to establish their point. They are neither representatives of ISKCON nor Srila Prabhupada when they do so. As far as being members of ISKCON or the family thing is concerned, dredging up that sentiment again and again is over time losing its power of influence. This unauthorized philosophy misunderstands the fall of the jiva and misunderstands the concept of the jiva's being eternally conditioned.

When someone or some group contradicts Prabhupada, we reject what they say--and we do not believe that they have a pure connection with either the parampara or with the Supreme Lord while propagating those conflicting teachings. There can only be one opinion. That opinion is Prabhupada's. We're not interested in anyone else's opinion. Every other opinion works at cross-purposes to the plan of Providence and further cracks a divided house that cannot stand.

The conclusion is that the jiva, although he does fall from the spiritual world, does not completely fall from it. Just as the jiva is eternally conditioned (because the duration of time is so immeasurable), he is also not forever conditioned. When this perspective is assimilated, the apparent contradiction of both of these terms is very easily removed.  

The living entity lives out material dreams of his or her karmic choice in body after body after body. But, when the jiva soul, in human form, sincerely, seriously, and intensely decides to perform bhakti-yoga and awaken, he or she will discover within a specific, personal, ever-liberated (non-fallen) eternal relationship with the Lord. If the living entity actually fell completely from the spiritual world, that relationship would have been extinguished. Such is not the case. It is almost totally covered over, but it is not actually extinguished. It can be revived. If the living entity was an eternally conditioned soul, then there could never be any hope for liberation and the promises of devotional service would be a colossal hoax.  

From this perspective, the spiritual master can and does say that the conclusion is that the living entity never actually falls from the spiritual world.

Paramahamsa: So we can come to the spiritual world and return?
Prabhupada: Yes.
Paramahamsa: Fall down?
Prabhupada: Yes. As soon as we try, "Oh, this material world is very nice," "Yes," Krsna says, "yes, you go." Just like nobody is interested in Krsna consciousness. Do you think everyone is interested? So. They want to enjoy this material world. Otherwise what is the meaning of free will? Every living entity has got a little free will. And Krsna is so kind, He gives him opportunity, "All right, you enjoy like this." Just like some of our students, Krsna conscious, sometimes go away, again come back. It is free will, not stereotyped. Just like one goes to the prisonhouse, not that government welcomes, "Come on. We have got prisonhouse. Come here, come here." He goes out of his free will; again comes out, again goes. Like that. (Morning Walk At Cheviot Hills Golf Course--May 13, 1973, Los Angeles) emphases added

Bhaktijana: Has my soul ever been liberated?
Prabhupada: That you know. I do not know.
Bhaktijana: If I was once liberated...
Prabhupada: You are liberated. You are liberated. Simply just a cloud has covered you. Drive away the cloud. There is no question that you were ever. You are ever-liberated. That, the sky is always spiritual, but it is sometimes overcrowded with cloud, this maya. This is called maya. Actually, you are not conditioned. You are thinking. Just like in the dream you are thinking that tiger is eating you. You were never eaten by tiger. There is no tiger. So we have to get out of this dream. (Lecture on Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Adi-lila 7.108--San Francisco, February 18, 1967) emphases added

 It is the jivas who are the attendants in His Sports. They become attached to matter, having deviated from their own essential nature as the result of their desire for enjoyment. But when again the soul . . . gains true wisdom of the transcendental region of God . . . he begins to get back his pure essential nature . . . - Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Prabhupada, Sri Caitanya's Teachings, p. 323.

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Quotes from the books of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada are copyright by the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust