|HOW THE IMPERSONAL
PHILOSOPHY CAN STAND
"Each and every living entity is originally attached to a particular type of transcendental service, because he is eternally the servitor of the Lord". - Srimad Bhagavatam 3.9.11, purport
"A person in ignorance of the principles of religionwho, therefore, does nothing in the matter of religionis far better than a person who misguides others in the name of religion without reference to the factual religious principles of devotional service". - Srimad Bhagavatam 3.9.10, purport
PRABHUPADA: If you create an artificial God, it is better that He is dead so that He cannot inflict more injuries.
Since we are all jivas, this topic of the origination of the jiva has profound implications to all of us, since it involves all of us. But I am not as much concerned about all of us as I am concerned about you. It is to you personally that this article is directed.
Currently, the world of devotional service is conflicted in three divisions, constituting a kind of triangulation of the Absolute Truth. Almost every devotee is either affected by--or actually caught up in--this conflict, which is ironically fittingconsidering that Mars, the planet of conflict and strife, rules the number three. All three of the angles represent a philosophical illusion in relation to the science of God consciousness. As such, each creates its own conception of "God", despite the fact that none of those misconceptions has any actual value. You are originally a lover of God. You have an eternal and pure and personal relationship with Him, and that is the only thing that is actually valuable to you.
Nevertheless, Sri Isopanisad exhorts us to understand the principles of both Absolute Truth and nescience. As such, this article attempts to enlighten its readers about one of these influential pillars of triangulated nescience.
At this point of Kali Yuga, twenty-eight years since the disappearance of Srila Prabhupada, "truth" is determined mostly by power politics, bureaucratic institutionalism, fanaticism, and, at the base of all these, black magic. Many if not most of our godbrothers are currently covered over by major misconceptions. They have become enchanted enough to even consider these misconceptions divine. Those who are completely deluded cannot really be helped by anyone except a mahabhagavat (even such a transcendental personality may not be able to help some of them). But I am not really all that concerned about them, because they are engaged in pushing these misconceptions for their own vested interests to the detriment of everyone else.
Those who mislead others via a covert form of impersonalism--when and if they read this article--will get little from it. Sure, some of them will become angry when they read it, but that anger led them into their current delusion--and has now become a comfort zone for them. This article threatens that comfort zone. It disturbs "the harmony", although some of them may even confront the original anger (after frustration) that had plunged them into the delusion in the first place.
Their vested interests, however, are far too great to even consider the value of this article. Its points may jar them a bit, and even their intelligences may also be stimulated. Nevertheless, they will not contemplate any doubts, dismissing such doubts as the products of sin. However, its their vested intereststheir upadhisthat are the actual sources of sin.
True, doubt often is the product of sin. Conversely, on the providential side of the coin, doubt is an integral constituent of intelligence (buddhi-yoga). That doubt is your ally on the path to self-realization and God-realization. If this article helps to bring out that doubt, then you have benefited from reading it.
Where did we come from? Did you come from the undifferentiated plane of impersonal luminescence? Sounds good, doesnt it? It has a kind of intoxicating allurement in that you had no responsibility whatsoever for your current entanglement in matter. "Somehow or other". Somehow or other, you fell into this material world. Nice. And now you are told that you can go back (go back?) to the spiritual world, and you can never and will never fall from there. Not only you cannot fall, but even the leaves on the trees of the spiritual world never fall down.
I have known many qualified and charismatic devotees who have fallen victim to the enticement of the no-fall philosophy. Indeed, in some present-day circles, this philosophy has more or less attained prominence. What a disaster that is! The siddhanta must be personal. However, in relation to devotees who are pushing this covert impersonalism, I shall observe Lord Jesus the Christ?s dictum: hate the sin and not the sinner. I am not going to personally attack anyone pushing that philosophy in this article.
I have no illusions about its devolutionary momentum, however. The current direction material nature is carrying most of its devotees is not good. Many other devotees who do not buy it (and they are in a shrinking minority) are entangled in one of the other angles of conflict. In other words, these devotees are right on the philosophy as it concerns the fall/no-fall controversy, but they are very much wrong in relation to some other delusional standard. Their pushing another kind of deviation hurts the cause of the Absolute Truth, and no-fall gains a widening foothold.
Only an uttama-adhikari could possibly reverse all of this. There are those who say that one or more mahabhagavats are currently active on this planet. I am not in concurrence with this view nor are any of the other members of the Vaishnava Foundation. Indeed, one of the angles of triangulation, although averse to our group, is in complete agreement with us on this very point. The other is probably in basic concurrence.
This illustrates the irony of the present-day situation. If you could cull out all of the good and truth and beauty of the three camps (purporting to represent Gaudiya Vaishnavism in todays milieu), you would pretty much have the complete philosophical package. In all three cases, what they each preach is far more right than it is wrong. Unfortunately, in the case of each of these contenders, there is at least something pushed which is way off. If you could, somehow or other, remove those evils, these groups could coalesce and unify for a glorious result that would benefit the whole world. However, only a mahabhagavat could possibly accomplish this transcendental objective, and, quite franklydue to the free will of the living entitiesI doubt that even he could do it.
So, until a mahabhagavat manifests, we must persevere. The last God- realized acharya in our line, His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada, left us his extensive commentaries on the devotional literature of Lord Chaitanyas movement. At the beginning of this dreadful age, Lord Krishna left us the Book Bhagavat. We are thus not without recourse, and we are not without ultimate solace. These remnants of Reality allow us a means of deliverance. They also afford us some spiritual strength in the matter of treading water, i.e., holding up against the assaults of the opposing nesciences contained in the aforementioned triangulation. We also have the Holy Name. There will be no triumphalism on the part of any of those three parties. They are each working against the other two. They appropriately hammer away at the evils they perceive in the other camps, and the karmic realities of the situation dictate against any of that letting up anytime soon.
As far as the rittvik followers are concerned, we are not against them, but, instead, understand and empathize and sympathize with their desperation. As far as the leaders of this camp are concernedespecially those who were actually initiated by Srila Prabhupada during the time of his manifest mission?that?s another matter altogether. They should know better.
At the apex of the triangle is the group that has burnt out, freaked out, psyched out, and, even in some circumstances, checked out various devotees for over two decades now. The list of the social flaws within this group is endlessly mutable, although there has been noticeable, albeit superficial, progress made here in recent years. They have, however, done one laudable thing over the last two decades: they?ve preached against the no-fall philosophy. I sincerely praise them for this. Whatever redeeming features this group may still have left, their preaching against such covert impersonalism must top the list. I've consulted and even featured some of that research in compiling this article.
This group and the rittviks are currently engaged in a bitter struggle, which has become even more exacerbated due to a recent multi-million dollar lawsuit. Each is irreconcilably opposed to the other, especially in the matter of initiation. Yet, as this struggle becomes more vitriolic, I hope that each of these camps has the good spiritual sense not to compromise with the no-fall party. Whatever short-term advantages may be obtained such compromising will only redound to each of their great disadvantages in the long run. When the clouds finally clear from Lord Chaitanya?s movement (and this may or may not happen in our lifetimes), strategic compromises with absolute philosophical truths will be thoroughly condemned.
Those who arrange to manipulate such compromises will be condemned as welland will live on in infamy. Know it for a fact that the no-fall institution is seeking to devour each of your camps. Its already going on. Prabhupadas movement is in jeopardy. Dont compromise at all with them. You want unity? You think you will get unity by comprise? You will get devouredthats what youll get!
MONISM AND LOVE OF GOD GO ILL TOGETHER
". . . the devotional activities are real activities towards the end of the Great Plan, and they never disturb the adjustment of the Great Plan, whereas all other activities--may they be good or bad--are simply disturbing to the Great Plan". -Theosophy Ends in Vaishnavism, Back to Godhead.
"The presentation of this knowledge in a systematic and scientific manner will bring about universal sublime peace. Yet . . . unauthorized cults have mushroomed into prominence and are fast expanding their illegitimate fold with naïve disciples. What one fails to comprehend is how the leaders of these cults . . . can suddenly rise to the position of spiritual master themselves. The subject matter that needs to be promulgated among the people is not some cheap, sentimental concoction meant to deceive them. - Renunciation Through Wisdom, page 117
Beyond concoction, the need is for personal transformation, real transformation. This cannot be accomplished by erecting some apparently impressive edifice atop a faulty foundation. Instead, the promulgation of Krishna consciousness needs to be established upon the firm foundation of the Absolute Philosophy, the Absolute Science--the Absolute Truth.
That Absolute Truth is personal. The jivas are part of that Absolute Truth, and they are also all personal. They have fallen from a personal relationship with the Supreme Lord in the spiritual world. It is only upon this foundation that the enlightenment of the world can proceed, culminating in the establishment of a truly impressive edifice. Transformational love of God, the personal philosophy of Krishna consciousness, needs to be put firmly in place from the very beginning.
For now, however, the emphasis must be individual transformation. All conflicting concepts (of the aforementioned trine of pseudo-devotion) must first be eschewed at the individual level. In order to accomplish this, sincere and serious devotees must first uproot the nescient philosophy of impersonal origination, i.e., the no-fall philosophy pushed by one angle of that trine. Before proceeding to the evidence and the proofs of that personal origination of the soul, the importance of philosophy in Krishna consciousness must be considered.
Krishna consciousness is not an artificial imposition on the mind. Pure devotional service is the living entity's eternal birthright. Surrendering yourself, however, to bogus philosophy will never get you there. That is an artificial imposition on the mind. The no-fall philosophy is part of just such a fabrication. It is a product of conditional life, not eternal life. The human mind needs to awaken and blossom in pure Krishna consciousness. Fanaticism is counterproductive to that blossoming process of Love for Krishna.
"With realization of these transcendental truths comes knowledge of the actual nature of the material energy in its pure form. And when these spiritual realizations gradually mature, one achieves a natural distance from the dualities of material nature." -Renunciation Through Wisdom, page 31
Fanatics and sentimentalists never achieve that distance. They instead become completely absorbed in the polarities of the conflicts. The minds of such congregations increasingly become constricted. Their understanding of the transcendental philosophy remains muddled. They surrender themselves to the apparent proofs of personality and "results", falsely concluding that clarity in Absolute Philosophy is a phantasmagoria.
Srila Prabhupada, however, wants you to become knowledgeable. He wants that knowledge in you to mature and evolve into wisdom (vijnana). He shares this desire as a representative of the parampara. The Supersoul also wants to see you move in this direction, but He will not interfere. If you insist upon becoming a fanatic, He will help you to do that. If you insist upon digging yourself ever more deeply into one of the corners of the triangulation of devotional service, He will provide you with greater and greater rationalizations in order to do so. That will not help you become actually fixed up in devotional service, however.
"(W)ithout first properly understanding the science of the Absolute Truth, one cannot possibly develop firm devotion to the Supreme Lord". -Renunciation Through Wisdom, page 30
There is scant progress on this path when you are beguiled by covert monism. Without knowledge about the origination of the jiva, i.e., how you came to be in this material world, a wrong idea inevitably leads to misconceptions about guru, initiation, pure devotional service, etc. As Prabhupada so concisely put it: "Monism and Love of God go ill together". Before developing firm devotional service, we need to understand the basic building blocks of the Absolute Philosophy. You will have a very hard time unmasking pretension unless you first catch onto the Truth of Origination.
Why did Srila Prabhupada write so many books? What is in all of those books? Those books are loaded from cover to cover with theistic philosophy. If such philosophy is so unimportant or subsidiary, why did Prabhupada stress his books so much? Did rituals predominate in his books, in his lectures, in his room conversations, in his letters, or on his walks? No, Philosophy did. Did sentiment predominate when Prabhupada wrote and spoke? No, Philosophy did. The Absolute Truth perfectly presented in a philosophical format dominated the speaking, lecturing, and writing of His Divine Grace.
And the origination of the jiva was a major topic within all of those presentations. Did Prabhupada stress the distribution of his books so his devotees could get money? No, he wanted them to learn--to become knowledgeable--and he wanted the people who purchased his books to similarly become knowledgeable.
Others talk about his so-called emphasis on "results", or they tell you how enamored they are with someone who gets them amped up for obtaining results. Results? Anyone can get results. Frenetically work at something, and you'll get "results". Perform austerities, and you'll get "results". Believe in something fanatically, and you'll get "results". There are numerous cults throughout the world that have opulent temples, crystal cathedrals, huge spreads, colossal churches, hundreds of thousands of followers, and big bank balances. Does that prove that any of them are actually representing the Absolute Truth? Does that prove that any of them can actually help you become advanced in spiritual understanding? Does that prove that, within these institutions, all the followers are even on the same page when it comes to basic philosophical beliefs?
For example, one such institution internationally now numbers a billion followers. Its leader unequivocally condemns abortion, yet half of its congregation in America believes that abortion is acceptable enough to be legalized. Many of them have even had an abortion. And yet they partake in all the rituals of the faith and profess to be members of the congregation in good standing. And most of them probably think that they understand the philosophy as well.
Similarly, anyone can take shelter of the hierarchical apparatus of a Vaishnava sect and believe that he or she is in good standing with the Lord. Identifying with the leaders, with the numbers, with the properties, with the deities, with the bureaucratic facilities, with the rituals, with the public relations--and, of course, with the initiations--such devotees may even give lip service to "Swami Maharaj". If they don't even understand what Prabhupada has revealed about the source of the jiva soul, does that mean Prabhupada is actually approving their activities?
As this article will show, His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada does not approve the unauthorized preaching of covert impersonalism. The no-fall theory is not connected to Ultimate Reality. Following such a flawed presentation of transcendence can never be a holistic endeavor. Fractionalization of individual consciousness is the inevitable result of such apa-siddhantic partiality.
"We also find relationships centering on religious beliefs . . . however much we might endeavor to adapt to such partial personalities of the self, and however we try to increase the number of these fractional identities, we will remain infinitesimal and partial." -Renunciation Through Wisdom, page 27
The onus is always on the guru. We are followers of Srila Prabhupada. He did not present his version of the Absolute Truth; he presented the Absolute Truth as it is. That presentation continues in his books, tapes, and letters. He warned that anyone who would come (in his name) and preach to his devotees would have to present the knowledge of Krishna consciousness exactly as he presented it. If not, then chaos would ensue. Chaos has indeed ensued. Yes, their criticisms have merit, but are they presenting the transcendental philosophy exactly as Srila Prabhupada so mercifully imparted that Truth?
A follower of Prabhupada is not enjoined to cease all preaching simply because he or she does not have full control of the senses or is not advanced to the stage of liberation or realization of the light of God. Quite the contrary, preaching is the means to make any and all advancement, from any level, including even the lowest rungs of kanistha-adhikari. But the guru--if he is a guru--must automatically be presenting all philosophical tenets of Vaishnavism (particularly, Gaudiya Vaishnavism) exactly as Srila Prabhupada imparted them. The presentation of the Absolute Philosophy is not a ways-and-means option. Those kinds of adaptations have to do with cultural considerations, sadhana applications, and the like. The philosophy of Krishna consciousness is not subject to such changes or adaptations. It must be presented right.
Failing to do so, the state of conflict will be perpetuated, and the entire world's good fortune will be bollixed up. There is no buddhi-yoga in a warped philosophical presentation of the eternal message. Neither can any intelligent person believe that all three angles of the contemporary triangulation of (so-called) Krishna consciousness are all genuine, pure, and complete--somehow or other. You become the laughing-stock of all these societies--and all devotees outside of these societies--when you throw discrimination to the wind via the foolish theory of yata mata, tata patha ("All ways lead to the Truth").
The present age has seen a remarkable increase in interest about spiritual life. This is mostly due to Srila Prabhupada's manifest mission, inaugurated in the West in the mid-Sixties. The knowledge of Bhagavad-gita needs to be authentically transmitted, but, as long as fanaticism is still prevalent, how this transformation will be accomplished? Lord Caitanya's teachings harmonize all conflicting concepts when they are accepted in Truth. Pretension, sectarian bias, ostracism, aparadha, excommunication--and a morbid infatuation or fetish centering around "initiation"--can never, and will never, create this harmony.
Maybe this will change in due course or in our lifetimes, maybe not. The Supreme Lord in your heart can relieve your pains and doubts in a moment. The vehicle for this is the Holy Name in combination with the Absolute Philosophy of the Book Bhagavat. Srila Prabhupada gave all of us this transcendental opportunity for enlightenment.
This treatise is mainly concerned with helping you transcend one of those trine's misleading presentations. Utilize the knowledge received here in order to dive deeply into the ocean of Srila Prabhupada's divine gift--his presentation of the Absolute Truth in the form of the Book Bhagavat. The sphere of influence of the triangulation is part of the age of Kali--but there's no injunction that you must be victimized by it:
"The jivas in Kali-yuga are predominantly in the mode of ignorance, and, with the increase of this mode, the threefold material miseries expand unlimitedly. Thus people today are afflicted by a short life-span, ill luck, warped intelligence, lethargy, disease, and many other sufferings." -Renunciation Through Wisdom, page 202
Chant and be happy. Understand properly the source of your origination. Don't prematurely accept some kind of "initiation". Sure, it will produce some kind of transformation, but that is not wanted. The soul needs to be redeemed by the mental, emotional, intellectual, and ultimately spiritual transformation inherent in the proper understanding of Krishna conscious philosophy. Our guru emphasized the importance of this philosophy, and we are doing our bit to transmit that message to you. The Truth works to establish intelligence (buddhi-yoga), i.e., to un-warp it.
The Absolute Truth is that you originally had a personal relationship with God in the spiritual world. You still have that relationship, although it's in a dormant state during your conditioned sojourn. You fell from that relationship due to offense, the misuse of your minute independence, the misuse of your personal free will. Now Prabhupada, as shiksa-guru (along with other acharyas), is going to help clarify and remind you about all of this. They are all going to help free you from covert impersonalism.
"Try to understand this philosophy. The whole world is impersonal. They do not know anything, of course, but they have got an impersonal philosophy.How the impersonal philosophy can stand? Every individual entity is a person, therefore origin must be a Person, adi-purusham." - Lecture on Brahma-samhita, New York City, July 26, 1971.
TRY TO UNDERSTAND THIS PHILOSOPHY
"As soon as we try to become Lord, immediately we are covered by Maya. Formerly, we were with Krsna in His lila or sport, but this covering of Maya may be of very, very, very, very long duration. . .
. . . Unless one develops full devotional service to Krsna, he goes up only to brahma-sayujya but falls down. After millions and millions of years of keeping oneself away from the lila of the Lord, when one comes to Krsna consciousness, this period becomes insignificant, just like dreaming. Because he falls down from brahma-sayujya, he thinks that may be his origin, but he does not remember that before that even he was with Krsna".- Australian conversation transcribed in BBT Report. Nectar of the Month, January 1982.
The format for this section of the article is as follows: we shall present quotes from various sources by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. After most quotes, we'll usually present some brief explanation. The assertion by the no-fall theorists is that the living entity has never actually had any kind of personal relationship with the Supreme Lord Sri Krishna or any of his personal expansions. This misconception is expunged by Prabhupada's statements. We accept Srila Prabhupada as the authority, as the God-realized sage. Most of his statements on this topic are self-evident. The position he presents makes sense and is supported (secondarily, of course) by other theistic traditions of the world. In these quotations, all emphases are added, unless otherwise noted.
"These spirit souls and all spirit souls are coming from Vaikuntha, but in these material worlds, they are taking various grades of bodies". - Letter, July 9, 1970.
Prabhupada could have easily said that the souls were coming from the brahmajyoti, but he specifically says that they are coming from the spiritual planets, which are called the Vaikuntha planets.
". . . if he is properly guided, then he is very easily sent back to home, back to Godhead wherefrom originally he fell down." - Letter, January 20, 1971
If you go back to some place, then you were once there. This is basic logic. Also, the adverb originally is used in this statement.
". . . we have also come down from Vaikuntha some millions and millions of years ago. Anadi karama-phale. Anadi means before the creation. . . The real desire is how to go to home, back to Godhead." - Lecture on Bhagavad-gita, London, August 6, 1973
The Sanskrit word anadi is explained concisely in these sentences. Misapplication of this word is one of the sources of controversy stirred up by the no-fall philosophers. That the living entity came from the spiritual planets of Vaikuntha and is meant to go back there is once again clearly established.
". . . we may fall down from Vaikuntha at any moment . . . so even in the Vaikuntha, if I desire that 'Why shall I serve Krsna? Why not become Krsna?' I immediately fall down." - Lecture in Honolulu, July 4, 1974 (personally attended by author)
Now the doubt may be raised that Vaikuntha is bathed in the transcendental light of the brahmajyoti, so maybe the Vaikuntha being spoken of here is in reference (obliquely) to that light, rather than the planets and personal relationships there. Notice, in this quote, that the motivations for coming to the material are explained rather graphically. The mystique that Vaikuntha may be referring to the light is smashed in the next reference.
"He is fallen already from Vaikuntha planet. He is fallen in this material world, and he is again trying to make progress." - Bhagavatam lecture in Los Angeles, June 15, 1972.
The purport is self-evident.
"As soon as we try to become Lord, immediately we are covered by Maya. Formerly, we were with Krsna in His lila or sport, but this covering of Maya may be of very, very, very, very long duration. . .
. . . Unless one develops full devotional service to Krsna, he goes up only to brahma-sayujya but falls down. After millions and millions of years of keeping oneself away from the lila of the Lord, when one comes to Krsna consciousness, this period becomes insignificant, just like dreaming. Because he falls down from brahma-sayujya, he thinks that may be his origin, but he does not remember that before that even he was with Krsna". - Australian conversation transcribed in BBT Report Nectar of the Month, January, 1982.
If you're in the brahmajyoti, you're not with Krsna in His sporting pastimes. The brahmajyoti may be a secondary origination for many or even most of us, on the presumption (verified in this statement) that many of us have attained that stage of liberation at some time during our conditional sojourn. So, on that basis, we may be inclined to that as our origination. However, our ultimate origination "before that even" was in a personal relationship with the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This Australian conversation really covers the essence of the whole controversy and settles it conclusively--for those who actually have faith in the teachings of Srila Prabhupada, i.e., the philosophy of the Absolute Truth.
DISCIPLE: In the spiritual sky, when the living entity is in his pure state of consciousness . . . does something act upon him to make him illusioned at that point, also?
The important concept of having originally made offense in the spiritual world is introduced in this room conversation. The comparison is with Jaya and Vijaya. However, our falldown was not exactly like the falldowns of Jaya and Vijaya. The comparison is, in reality, only partial. This will be explained later in the treatise.
DISCIPLE: If Krsna did not want us to come, why are we here?
Actually, the living entity is never the controller at any time during his eternal existence. In reality, he controls nothing. Even in his rebellion against the Lord, the Lord has to create a place where the jiva can come and completely forget his actual identity. If God did not allow you to forget Him, you would be unable to forget him on your own. The living entity requires the Lord's sanction even in the matter of leaving the spiritual world and the jiva's personal relationship with the Personality of Godhead. The no-fall philosophy is just another way of forgetting our original relationship with God--all in the name of re-establishing(?) that relationship.
"When the living being imitates the Supreme Personality of Godhead, then he falls down." - Bhagavatam lecture in Vrindavan, November 25, 1976
This is one of the reasons why disciples are strongly enjoined never to imitate the spiritual master, although this injunction was not observed by everyone after Prabhupada departed in November of 1977.
"Actually, we are not fallen. We cannot be fallen. But . . . we have simply created a situation. We have not created a situation. Krsna has given us a situation. Because we wanted to imitate Krsna, so Krsna has given an opportunity: 'All right. Imitate'. . . So this situation, our contact with matter, is just like dream. Actually, we are not fallen. Therefore, because we are not fallen, at any moment we can revive our Krsna consciousness. . . we can break this material connection at any moment as soon as we come to the point of Krsna conscious. . . We can simply give up that illusory condition at any moment. At any moment. . . This is the position. We are not fallen. We are thinking fallen. So we have to give up this nonsense thinking. Then we are liberated."- Bhagavatam lecture in Tokyo, April 20, 1972.
The no-fall philosophers have jumped the gun, imitating guru. How a genuine guru can present the no-fall philosophy for the general bewilderment of his followers and the world in general? It is unconscionable. How can this impersonalism stand?
"Eternally conditioned means we do not know when we have been conditioned like this. It is not possible to trace out the history . . . Many, many Brahma's lives, not only one . . ." - Lecture in New York City, January 9, 1967.
Do you start to get the picture of how important the proper understanding of this issue really is? We've been rotating here for such a long, long time and still we are going to let this nonsense triangulation bottle up our opportunity for self-realization and God-realization? Our human life is too important and the proper understanding of this philosophy--particularly on this point of origination--too essential. The no-fall philosophers like to harp on nitya-baddha and anadi in order to establish their convictions. Being in the material world for many lifetimes of Lord Brahma easily makes the understanding of nitya-baddha self-evident. Although technically it's not so (the living entity is not eternally conditioned), for all practical purposes, it is so. "It appears that we are eternally conditioned. Because we cannot trace out the history or the date when we became conditioned, therefore, it is technically called eternally conditioned. Otherwise, the living entity is not actually conditioned". - Letter, November 14, 1967.
The issue of anadi, i.e., its proper clarification, will be similarly dealt with in the following quotes:
"There is history, but that is not possible to trace out. Therefore, it is said anadi . . . Anadi means: adi means the creation. Creation . . . before creation I contaminated this desire . . . " - Bhagavatam lecture in Bombay, January 1, 1975
Anadimeans before the material creation, that's all.
". . . it is impossible to trace out. Vaishnava poets say, therefore, anadi karma-phale, which means that these actions and reactions of one's activity cannot be traced, for they may even continue from the last millennium of Brahma's birth to the next millenium". - Bhagavatam lecture on verse 44 of Canto Three, Chapter thirty-one (date unclear).
The no-fall philosophers stubbornly insist that anadi be interpreted to mean "eternally". That is one interpretation, but the Sanskrit word anadi is not limited to that meaning. For example, the Sanskrit word krishna means black, but that word is not limited to that interpretation, as we all well know. Here, Prabhupada clarifies how anadi is to be properly understood in the context of the fall/no-fall controversy: it means before the initiation of material time. This was verified by Prabhupada early on in his mission within a letter written by him on October 27, 1969. In that letter, he stated: "Constitutionally, every living entity, even if he is in the Vaikuntha-loka, has chance of falling down. Therefore, the living entity is marginal energy. . . Time is so unlimited that the conditioned souls appear to be eternally so (conditioned), but from the philosophical view, he cannot be eternally conditioned". Our relationship with the Personality of Godhead was existing before the creation of any material universe and, as such, before the initiation of material time. There is no contradiction whatsoever, and this is the authorized understanding of the Absolute Truth. The contention that we originally fell down from the brahmajyoti is smashed by Prabhupada in the next quotation:
"Existence in the impersonal brahma is also within the category of non-Krsna consciousness. Those who are in the brahman effulgence, they are also in the fallen condition. So there is no question of falling down from a fallen condition".- Letter, June 13, 1970.
The purport is self-evident. . .
"We are all originally situated on the platform of Krsna consciousness in our eternal personal relationship of love of Krsna". - Letter, November 17, 1970.
. . . and even more self-evident here, so let's run with a string of these easily understood statements:
"(H)e has fallen means he has given up the service of Krsna". - Lecture in Tokyo, April 20, 1972.
"(L)ittle independence, we can misuse that. Krsna-bahirmukha hana bhoga vancha kare: that misuse is the cause of our falldown". - Room conversation in Mayapur, February 19, 1976.
"After all, the living entity falls down from the spiritual world. Just like Jaya-Vijaya. There is possibility . . .even if you are in Vaikuntha, you will fall down, what to speak of this material world". - Bhagavad-gita lecture of July 4, 1974
"Because by independence, you can become foolish. Otherwise, there is no meaning of independence". - Room conversation in Los Angeles, June 23, 1975
DISCIPLE: When we are in the spiritual sky and serving Krsna, we have a perfect relationship with Krsna. What causes us to fall down in the material world, because we're already serving Krsna"?
In the final part of the treatise, we'll examine why the no-fall philosophy is resorted to for a false sense of psychological security. The two following references will be relevant to that examination. These quotations all concern the eternal truth that, a conditioned soul--once having cast off his or her conditioning and regained entrance into the spiritual world--can once again fall back down into the material world.
DISCIPLE: . . . so, if the conditions in the spiritual world are so nice and everything is spiritual, how is it that one can become envious of Krsna in such conditions?
DISCIPLE: When the souls that were never conditioned at all . . . do they also have the independence?
Although there are many points to be gleaned from these two discussions, there's only need to consider one of those at this time. If Prabhupada says that a living entity can go back to the spiritual world and fall again to the material world, then, logically, a living entity can fall from the spiritual world. He doesn't--but he can. There may be rare instances even where he does. How can the conditioned soul know? Only God can know whether or not any conditioned soul has ever exercised the option. Since it is possible, then fall from the spiritual world is substantiated.
Let's consider this logically. Theoretically, let's accept the living entity falls from the brahmajyoti "originally". It's not so, but for argument's sake, let's accept it. O.K. Now, he gets liberation back to the spiritual sky in the spiritual planets. Then he misuses his free will and falls from there. How could you differentiate him from the other conditioned souls who "originally" fell from the brahmajyoti, i.e., who have never entered Vaikuntha?
Here are some more quotations from His Divine Grace:
"O friend, do you remember the unknown friend, the soul? Leaving Me, searching for a posiiton, he went away, absorbed in worldly enjoyment." - Srimad Bhagavatam 4.28.53.
"When the living entity falls down into the material world, the Supreme Lord, through His svamsa expansion, keeps company with the living entity. In this way, the living entity may some day return home, back to Godhead." - Purport to this Bhagavatam verse.
"This conditional life is due to his forgetfulness of his relationship with the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Therefore, without the Lord's mercy, how can he again engage in the transcendental loving service to the Lord"? - Purport to Srimad Bhagavatam 3.31.15.
"Therefore, if we practice devotional service . . . we will be reinstated in our original, constitutional position and thus be saved." - Purport to Srimad Bhagavatam 10.2.39
"Therefore, the rasas were originally exchanged between the spiritual living being and the spiritual whole, the Personality of Godhead." - Purport to Srimad Bhagavatam, 1.1.3.
"When the pure soul wants to give up the Lord's service to enjoy the material world, Krsna certainly gives him a chance to enter the material world". - Introduction to Srimad Bhagavatam (5.14)
There's no service in the brahmajyoti. That's one of the reasons the brahmajyoti exists: so part and parcels who develop maximum aversion to devotional service have somewhere to go and exist.
"He should be restored to his pure identity, in which he engages his senses in the service of the proprietor of the senses." - Purport to Srimad Bhagavatam, 4.24.61.
"Therefore, the whole process of God consciousness is meant to rectify the conditional activities of the senses and to re-engage them in the direct service of the Lord". -Purport to Srimad Bhagavatam, 2.9.39.
Re-engage? How can you be re-engaged in "direct service" of the Lord if you've originally come from the brahmajyoti or some other place that does not facilitate direct, personal engagement in devotional service?
"If we revive our original intimate relationship with Krsna, our distressed condition in the material world will be mitigated". - Purport to Caitanya-caritamrita, Madhya-lila, 20.130
Everything I've read about the brahmajyoti contra-indicates that there's anything intimately related to Krsna there. You just get void-comped of personality and sent there into an eternal position of floating existence without feeling.
"As stated in the Srimad Bhagavatam, liberation means reinstatement in one's original position. The original position is one of rendering service to the Lord". -Purport to Srimad Bhagavatam, 3.27.1
Or, as Prabhupada so famously said: "We are all originally Krsna conscious entities". But where did he also say that he was speaking like this in order to placate our Christian conditioning? Our protagonists sometimes dismiss all of the above-listed references with one fell swoop, rationalizing that Prabhupada preached in this way in order not to alienate his Western devotees. After all, the overwhelming majority of them come from a karmic background seeped in Judeo-Christian conceptions. As exemplified in Milton's Paradise Lost, that tradition teaches that we all fell from some kind of personal contact with God. It's a hazy conception, but it definitely has that element to it. So the no-fall theorists have a convenient escape clause from having to explain away all of these crystal clear quotes from Prabhupada: just did it to keep all the (former) Christians engaged. Nice strategy. But where is this self-serving and very convenient rationalization verified? Are all of our protagonists on this topic great mind readers? In other words, do they have ready access to the motives of the mahabhagavat? Although for many of them, they were never his disciples, do they know Srila Prabhupada better than we do?
We need some mukhya-vritti here, gentlemen: we need some direct evidence. If you've got a quote where Prabhupada supposedly said this, by all means bring it into the light of day. It would be a devastator, but bring it out if you've got it. If you don't have it, then we say that your tactic of preaching like this is most disingenuous.
In conclusion, Jaya and Vijaya's falldown was not like ours. Yes, they made some offense to the Kumaras, but that was arranged by the Lord. For this reason, It could be said that they "accidentally" fell down from Vaikuntha. Establishing the no-fall philosophy by quoting Prabhupada where he says "otherwise it is a fact that no one falls from Vaikuntha" is tantamount to pouring clarified ghee on ashes. You are not just relishing your relationship with God in the spiritual sky and then, accidentally, you step into some worm-hole and get sucked back into the material world. The falldowns don't happen like that. We didn't fall down like that. And "it is a fact that no one falls from Vaikuntha" like that. We choose to leave our relationship of service to Krsna; that's why we come down here. We do not come down here because the Lord wishes it; we come down here because we wish it.
The no-fall theorists contend that Prabhupada preached "fall philosophy" in order to ameliorate his Christian disciples, but he "gave hints" here and there that such preaching was not really factual. They further contend that previous acharyas did not preach like Prabhupada, i.e., they did not preach the siddhanta that the living entity was originally with Krsna in the spiritual world. We shall now proceed to challenge that contention, also.
THE STANDARD PHILOSOPHY and THE STANDARD SERVICE
"No amount of plans, either of five, ten, or thousands and millions of years, can therefore bring in permanent happiness to us unless and until we take up the plan of the Supreme Lord and execute it sincerely. That is called the Standard Service".- The Mahatma and The Mahajan, Back toGodhead.?Emphases not added.
"'Improvement' makes straight roads, but the other roads, without improvement, are roads of genius". - William Blake.
Srila Prabhupada did not improve upon the philosophy of Vaishnavism first presented to the West by Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur. Prabhupada instead repeated what the Thakur said. Sure, using some subtle and esoteric techniques in transcribing the Bengali, a number of the Thakur's commentaries lend themselves to the no-fall belief explanation. However, just as many-- actually more--dovetail very explicitly into the understanding that the jiva was originally with Lord Krsna in the spiritual world before coming here. Ultimately, this topic may boil down (for some) to nit-picking about the Bengali interpretation of the Thakur or his great son, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Maharaj. However, for devotees of His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada, he is the authority.
We look to the previous acharyas in our line, as well as other Vaishnava lines, in order to buttress and elucidate the philosophical Truths which Prabhupada unequivocally presents. That is not an offense toward the previous acharyas; indeed, it would be an offense to do otherwise. Srila Prabhupada is the most recent uttama-adhikari, and it's his books that will be the manuals establishing Absolute Truth and its lawful application by humanity for the next 9,500 years. He is now the prominent acharya. If somebody actually becomes God-realized acharya after Prabhupada, that exalted personality will have to be repeating Prabhupada exactly. Ways and means may differ, but philosophy of the Absolute cannot differ a bit. Prabhupada did not differ a bit from the Thakur, and the accurate translations from Bhaktivinode's Bengali only highlight that transcendental reality.
"But in his functional, manifest nature, the jiva is also infinite, pure, and eternal. As long as the jiva is pure, for that long his nature manifests as perfectly pure. But when, by contact with maya, the jiva becomes impure, then a distortion of his proper functional nature occurs. He becomes impure, devoid of shelter, and pummeled by happiness and distress. As soon as the jiva has forgotten his servitude to Krsna, the paths of samsara confront him". - Jaiva Dharma, second chapter.?
How can you forget something you never had? Or, more specifically, if you're floating along in the brahmajyoti--not serving Krsna at all--then how can you fall from there (originally) and forget the servitude to Krsna you supposedly had there?
The Thakur was presenting the same thing Prabhupada presents, and it gets even better:
"Presiding over His jiva-sakti, He manifests His vilasa form of Baladeva in Vraja". -Jaiva Dharma, second chapter.
The inference is obvious. The jiva-sakti belongs to Lord Balaram. Lord Balaram is the vilasa form of Lord Krsna in the spiritual world--in the world of personal relationships (rasas) with the various forms of the Godhead. The jiva is indicated herein to originally be an integral part of that transcendental, personal environment. The living entity is contra-indicated to originally be situated in a state of anesthesia or susupti in the body of Maha Visnu. Certainly, floating about in the brahmajyoti is out of the question.
"From the knowledge of that sambandha tattva, we have learned that the jiva, having forgotten his eternal relation with Krsna, has fallen in to the sea of samsara . . .". -Sri Caitanya-siksamrtam, p.43.
"The thought of the cit body of the jiva, which was existent prior to its contact with matter, is just and natural".?- Sri Caitanya-siksamrtam, p. 157.
Krsna consciousness is the ultimate supernatural process. When the living entity makes his or her move toward ultimate evolution, Krsna consciousness becomes more and more a natural and holistic process in thought, feeling, and action. The intelligence (buddhi-yoga) becomes naturally and spontaneously attuned to Krsna consciousness. Herein, the Thakur is referring to devotees. He is saying that, for devotees, the natural process is to think about their original relationships with Krsna. They are also completely justified when they do so ("just and natural").
"The jiva, who is essentially cit . . . had the sense of determining right and wrong and also pure intellect for enjoying . . He had knowledge that God is the Ultimate Being". - Sri Caitanya-siksamrtam, p. 220.
"Even in his unalloyed spiritual state, the jiva is infinitesimal. He is liable to undergo change of condition . . . The worldly course makes its appearance simultaneously with the jiva's loss of all recollection of the servitorship of Krsna". - Jaiva Dharma, Chapter One.
We were in one condition, but we underwent a change of condition. We do not at all recollect our original condition, but, when we become devotees--if we are not misled by false philosophy--we may indeed begin to recollect it in due course.
"In his true nature, the jiva is the devoted servant of Krsna. The jivas, who have gone astray against that nature of theirs--due to their seeking after their own pleasure--turned away from Krsna and, as such, became punishable". - Jaiva Dharma.
The jiva was originally a servant--as in a personal relationship with God in one of the five rasas (or, technically, you could say in one of the four higher rasas, but we get very esoteric at that point). He went astray from his originally relationship with God. More powerfully stated, he turned away, indicating an intentional act of responsibility and volition. He became punishable for this offensive act of rebellion. How could you become punishable for falling out of the impersonal brahmajyoti?
The Thakur has also something to say about the understanding of the enigmatic--and very relevant Sanskrit adjective--"anadi". The no-fall theorists use their interpretation of this Sanskrit word as a pillar of their philosophy. Anadi also happens to be a part of two very famous and oft-quoted citations:
Krsna bhuli sei jiva anadi-bahirmukha
"Forgetting Krsna, the living entity has turned his face away from the Lord from time immemorial". - Caitanya-caritamrita, Madhya lila, 20.108.
na karmavibhagad iti can nanaditvat?- Vedanta-sutra, 2.1.35.
"Not activity, because of non-distinction. No, because it is beginningless".
In both of these cases, the no-fall philosophers use anadi to make their point. They say that the living entity has eternally been averse to the service of the Lord. They say that Vedanta-sutra proves that everyone did not have the same karma at the beginning of creation, because both karma and the living entity's entanglement in it is beginningless or eternal. These appear to be stalwart points, but they both fall apart when the proper interpretation of anadi for these texts is applied. The Thakur says:
". . . the seed of karma lies in the matrix of jiva's marginal position. Since karma's source within the material world is untraceable, it is described as beginningless". - Jaiva Dharma
"Service of Sri Krsna is the eternal nature of a jiva. When he forgets this relationship, he is overwhelmed by the influence of maya . . . (s)ince the backward condition of a jiva springs up along with his coming into this mayika world, the history of his downfall within the bounds of time and space is out of the question. Hence, the significance of the expression bahirmukha, eternally backward".?- Jaiva Dharma, First Chapter.
"When he forgets Krsna, he is averse to serve Krsna, and his aversion has no beginning as it dates before his incarnation within the four walls of time and space". - Jaiva Dharma, First Chapter.
". . . the origin of jiva's karma, i.e., aversion to God, is coming even prior to material time. . . therefore, karma has been designated as anadi, i.e., without any beginning". - Sri Caitanya-siksamrtam, p. 158
Previously in this position paper, we brought out some quotations from Prabhupada which say, in essence, the same thing the Thakur was preaching. However, repetition of Truth is never hackneyed, so here's another verification from His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada on the accurate interpretation of anadi:
"This external energy of the Lord covers up the pure knowledge of the living entity's eternally existing with Him, but the covering is so constant that it appears that the conditioned soul is eternally ignorant". - Srimad Bhagavatam, 2.5.19, purport.
Srila Bhaktivinode's view of the origination of the jiva continues:
"When we are imprisoned in the material world, we search for what had been in the Vaikuntha-rasas". - Prema-pradipa, p. 96.
"However, because of contact with matter, the imprisoned soul loses the memory of his original spiritual form in Vaikuntha. . . material rasas are perverted reflections of the soul's original spiritual rasas". - Prema-pradipa, p. 83.
Now, it may be debated that Srila Prabhupada was more explicit about the personal origination of the jiva than the Thakur. In light of the last quote (above), one would be hard-pressed to claim that Bhaktivinode did not explicitly preach that we originally came from a personal relationship with Krsna. The comparative debate can still be made, but Srila Bhaktivinode presented one hard-hitting quotation that even Srila Prabhupada only inferentially touched upon:
"Jiva's imprisonment commenced due to his offenses. The original offense is jiva's forgetfulness of his position as the eternal servant of Krsna". - Jaiva dharma.
We fall down due to aparadha. The seed of the aparadha first sprouts when we forget that we are dasa, dasa, dasa . . . not God, but dasa . . . servant, servant.
Jivera svarupa haya nityera krsna dasa. Try to remember that, prabhus. Try to remember. Try to remember, because you--like me and like all of us--made original offense. Now the offense is continuing, covering everybody up with the no-fall, no responsibility, no (real) free will, no ultimately personal source theory of apasiddhantic aparadha polluting the Hare Krsna movement worldwide. Jivera svarup haya nitya krsna das, prabhus. Jivera svarupa haya--dasa, dasa, dasa.
"Jiva is the proprietor of an eternal identity that is extremely esoteric and subtle". - Jaiva Dharma.
Spiritual realization is undoubtedly difficult and subtle. First jnana, then vijnana. But the jnana must be jnana--otherwise, there will only be hallucination, not wisdom. Esoteric realization in devotional service must be based upon the standard service, but how can there be standard service when the Absolute Philosophy is warped into the no-fall presentation? It's not all that esoteric to understand that the Standard Philosophy is the Standard Service.
REGAINING THE TRUE FUNCTION
"The child, Bimala Prasad, pretending the childish nature, ate up the mangoes without the knowledge of his father". -Back to Godhead, Volume One, Part IX, March, 1952 Article entitled: Paramahansa Sree Sreemad Bhakti Siddhanta Sarasvati Goswami Maharaj
"Instead of passing our time here, we want to go back to our eternal abode". - Sri Caitanya's Teachings, p. 111.
Many devotees in the Madhva-Gaudiya sampradaya are inclined to call our spiritual master "Swami Maharaj" but are loath to call him "Prabhupada". Sometimes, they say "your Prabhupada" or something like that. Still, these devotees, without exception, all glorify Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur with the term "Prabhupada". All of us agree there. What we may not agree upon, however, is whether or not Srila Bhaktisiddhanta actually (and explicitly) preached the doctrine of the fall of jiva from the spiritual world.
Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Prabhupada was the foremost sidereal astrologer in modern (20th Century) times, as well as the foremost scholar of the Vaishnava teachings. He was so scholarly in fact, that some parts of his English writings are practically incomprehensible. His Bengali tract on Surya-siddhanta is likewise a tour-de-force in esoteric astronomical science. He was preaching to a scholastic crowd in much of his writings. These kinds of people, when they study Vedic or Vaishnava teachings, are invariably attached to the Mayavada interpretation of the Vedas. After his father Bhaktivinode put a big dent in the prominent sahajiyaism of that time, mayavada pollution started to seep into the Vaishnava teachings. The modern age was on the ascendant during the era of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta, and sophisticated mayavada (mixed with so-called bhakti) was coming into vogue.
Srila Bhaktisiddhanta needed to blunt and, wherever possible, convert that influence. As such, his prolific writings do not contain an over-abundance of references to the personal fall of the jiva, as this epistemology was interpreted (by the sophisticated set) to be retro, a fallback to the dangerous sentimentality of a religion they both despised and rejected. If the scholarly understanding of Vaishnavism ultimately led to the conclusion that there was not much difference between it and Christianity, they would reject it out of hand. Srila Prabhupada Bhaktisiddhanta had to maintain his connection to Western scholasticism, and, at the same time, not compromise our teachings. It was a daunting task, and, befitting a God-realized acharya, he carried it out perfectly.
So, in our research, we have not found a plethora of references by Bhaktisiddhanta Srila Prabhupada to the personal origination of the jiva. In other words, we didn't find as many as we did from his illustrious father, Bhaktivinode Thakur. But find some we did, and, although a few of these may be considered cryptic, others are quite direct:
"Jiva is a spiritual atomic part of Krsna. When he forgets his service of Krsna, he is at once deflected by the attracting power of maya in this world, who throws him into the whirlpool . . ." - Brahma-samhita, purport to Text 44.
No service to forget in brahmajyoti. No service to forget in susupti, either.
"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 . . ."?- Sri Caitanya's Teachings, p. 323.
This quotation contra-indicates the no-fall conclusion to such an extent that we cannot help but wonder how devoted followers of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta could possibly think that he represented their modern viewpoint. It could be argued that Bhaktivinode Thakur was trying to preach to Western religious sentimentality, but the writings of Siddhanta Sarasvati were of a radically different nature. How can any sane person rationalize that Srila Prabhupada Bhaktisiddhanta was simply tailoring his presentation to the Western religious mindset in this quotation?
"This stage is known as regaining the true function after the expiry of his term of imprisonment as an enjoyer". - Explorations in Vedantic Truth
Regaining? How can you regain something if you never had it in the first place?
Regaining the true function is what the whole process of Krsna consciousness is meant for, and the no-fall philosophy is a huge stumbling block put in the soul's way.
"We can go back to the higher rasa if we are anxious to be eternal rasikas". - Sri Caitanya's Teachings, p. 116.
The state of brahman (floating in the brahmajyoti) or the state of susupti (lying dormant like under anesthesia in the body of Maha Visnu) are never considered states of higher rasa. Something else is being referred to, something else that entails a personal relationship (rasa) with God.
"Liberation is nothing but going back to the original position, that is, offering our services to the Eternal Being". - Sri Caitanya's Teachings, p. 116.
All devotees should philosophically return to square one and go back to the original position: the Truth Absolute that the living entity was once in a position of offering services to God in a personal relationship. Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur preached this, and any other conclusion is belied by these quotes.
Srila Prabhupada was initiated by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta. Srila Prabhupada perfectly represented his spiritual master; they both stood for the same things. They both preached the same Truths. We can plainly see that they were in essential agreement on this important subject. They may have pretended many things in their lives, because preaching will always entail that. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta, while he was known by the childhood name of Bimal Prasad, pretended to steal away bhoga (an unoffered mango), but his transcendental purposes were nevertheless accomplished in that act.
As such, we should never try to predicate the minds of mahabhagavats. The intelligence of the saktyavesh avatar is beyond our comprehension. We should not label direct preaching of the Absolute Truth as subterfuge. It is as dangerous to do so as it is nonsense. Prabhupada said we must know when to laugh and when not to laugh. Similarly, we must know when there may be some kind of transcendental trickery (for the spiritual evolution of all concerned) and when there cannot be, i.e., when there is mukhya-vritti in the form of straight preaching of the Absolute. These empowered incarnations were never ordinary men. We should not think even for a moment that they were bewildered in any way--or engaged in a kind of metaphysical sleight of hand--when they preached the original position of the jiva and his fall from a personal relationship in the Godhead.
"The position of the jiva is a part of the tatastha-sakti that can enjoy, cease to enjoy, and go back to his original positon".?- Sri Caitanya's Teachings, p. 101.
The bakery attendant says: "Buy some bread--it's fresh out of the oven". So, you could say that the oven is the source of the bread. It's not false to say so, although it's not ultimately the case. There were previous stages for the bread; its source was ultimately the field. For many if not most jivas (as referenced previously in the Prabhupada quotation from Australia), their most recent source may well have been the brahmajyoti. All of us may have climbed up there and fallen from there repeatedly. A conditioned soul cannot know. So, someone can say that his or her source is from his or her mother's womb. That would not be inaccurate. But someone else could say, before even that, his or her source was the brahmajyoti. That could very well be accurate, also. However, before that even, the ultimate source was the Godhead, the personal relationship with Krsna. The tatastha-sakti originally comes from that position, and Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Maharaj Prabhupada also expounded upon that revelation.
"Then, being bewildered and covered, he is fallen from advaya-vaikuntha". - Vivritti commentary on Srimad Bhagavatam, 11.2.48
This citation is subtle. The no-fall philosophers may use it to establish their siddhanta. In doing so, they would emphasize "advaya". The brahmajyoti is often called "advaita". The mayavada philosophy of Sankaracharya is also called "advaita", and the term advaya is integrally related with the Sanskrit advaita.
However, we may consider the other term: vaikuntha. Prabhupada says that existence in the brahmajyoti, merging in the brahmajyoti, is ultimately just another form of conditioned life. Sri Isopanisad enjoins the living entity to appeal to God for the lifting of such brahman realization, as it covers His face. As such, vaikuntha, the land of the Lord, is not actually synonymous with the brahmajyoti.
Is Srila Bhaktisiddhanta trying to hint that the living being was originally tossed down from the effulgent advaya light--but ameliorating his followers' conditioning by adding the term "vaikuntha" into this compound? Or, rather, was he trying to ameliorate the hardened conditioning of his scholastic well-wishers--and even some of his devotees (who had become affected by that prevalent interpretation)--by throwing in the term "advaya" to the compound advaya-vaikuntha. This is a cryptic citation, and you can see how subtle the debate gets when these kinds of quotations are referenced.
Now, can advaya have any connection to the personal teachings of achintya bhedabheda or visistadvaita--or Madhva's straight dvaita--in our Krsna consciousness movement? We don't have to look far for the answer. Simply we have to ask ourselves this question: who was responsible for bringing about the incarnation of the Krsna consciousness movement? The answer, of course, is advaita, as in Advaita Acharya. So, if the incarnation of Maha Visnu can take the name of Advaita in His pastimes with Lord Caitanya, why cannot Srila Bhaktisiddhanta also employ the term when referring to the spiritual world?
THE PATH ALWAYS STAYS THE SAME
"All the liberated souls in ancient times acted with this understanding of My transcendental nature. Therefore, you should also perform your duty, following in their footsteps". -Bhagavad-gita 4.15
"It is not possible to be disconnected, but it is possible to be covered". - Srimad Bhagavatam commentary to 3.25.13, Bombay, April, 1974
"No one can manufacture a new path of religion, as is the fashion for certain ambitious persons". - Commentary to Srimad Bhagavatam 1.8.35 From Teachings of QueenKunti, Ch. 18,
Strong evidence has been presented in the preceding section that shows Prabhupada's depiction of the origination of the jiva is non-different from his predecessor spiritual masters, viz. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati and Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur. However, what about spiritual masters further back and what about gurus in other lines? Is personal origination also part of their siddhanta?
Let us consider the pratisthacharya of the Sri sampradaya, Srila Ramanujacharya:
atma-svarupa-matrasya prag eva siddhatve'pi karma-bandha-vinirmuktaparicchinna-jnanadi-svarupasya hy atravirbhava ucyate.
"Here it's stated that the specific form of the jiva's constitutional body was known, existing in perfection. Upon the manifestation of that form of unlimited knowledge, the jiva is freed from karmic bondage". - Vedanta-sara commentary on Vedanta sutra 4.4.2
Especially consider the clause prag eva siddhatve 'pi. Siddha means the perfection of existence, especially in the context of this condition being known or manifested. Prag means before that time, i.e., before the time that the perfect condition is manifested--or, more precisely and accurately, re-manifested. The spiritual body has spiritual senses. These senses are meant for reciprocation with the Lord of those senses, the Supreme Person.
Their previous existence in perfection could only indicate their previous activity--otherwise, there would be no perfect existence of those transcendental senses in that constitutional body. The other clause adds emphasis to this point: the jiva existed in personal form and personal sensual perfection prior to his (or her) re-manifestation of that perfection at vimukti, complete liberation.
Or, as Lord Caitanya puts it: nitya-siddha krsna-prema. Originally, the soul was (is) perfectly active in a loving, eternal relationship with the Supreme Lord. Sripad Ramanujacharya is in complete agreement with this understanding, as evidenced by his commentary to the above-mentioned verse of Vedanta-sutra.
Most of Prabhupada's devotees remember that he consulted a thick, greenish book of commentaries on Srimad Bhagavatam while he was compiling his own of the Bhagavat. That book is still available today. For example, the Varanasi library has a copy of it. Basically, the book contains the commentaries of various acharyas in the four sampradayas on each verse of the Bhagavatam. Of course, they didn't all comment on every one of the verses. The initial commentary is by Sridhar Svami, and this turned out to be a subject of some contention between Lord Caitanya and Vallabha. That pastime is tangental to our current topic, but suffice it to say that these commentaries had value to His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada, otherwise he would not have consulted them.
One of those commentators is Sri Viraraghavacharya:
evam svasya guna-traya-karma-bandhbhvam uktva jivasyapi
samsara-banddha aupadhikatvad anitya ity aha soketi.
"There is no karmic bondage of the three modes for God, and, in the verse beginning with lamentation, the jiva's bondage to the cycle of birth and death is said to not be eternal (anitya), because it is based on material designations". - Commentary on Srimad Bhagavatam 11.11.2
Many of our friends in the no-fall camp are considered advanced scholars in Sanskrit, Vaishnava literature, and the study of siddhanta. The Sanskrit in this commentary is neither cryptic, nor obscure, nor complicated. The meaning is self-evident. Viraraghavacharya states that karmic bondage is anitya. Anitya. Not eternal. Temporary, like everything else concocted in this material world--including the no-fall apasiddhanta.
Another commentator to the Bhagavatam is Sri Vijayadhvaja Tirtha:
nija varnam paramatma-gatim ananda-svarupam ca bhajeta
kinca sa jivah punar avyayo'samvrtah avarana-rahito bhavati.
"Upon attaining the goal of the Supreme Soul, He serves in his own personal luster and color and in his own personal form of bliss. At that time, the jiva again attains his imperishable form, completely uncovered and free from impediment". - Pada-ratnavali commentary to Srimad Bhagavatam 8.24.48
Notice "again attains". Trying to explain away punah ("again") to not mean what it so self-evidently means is like the mayavadis trying to say that aham does not mean "I". We once were active in a personal, loving relationship with God. When we attain liberation in the original form of our lustrous body and color, we shall again be actively engaged in that original relationship. The process of devotional service is really to learn about Krsna: it is to become educated about Him.
The Latin educare means "to bring out". We need to bring out what has always been there and always will be there. We have to bring out those memories. We have to again (punah) bring out that transcendent devotional experience. This is what it means to remember Krsna. Thus the concept of revelation, indicating that Krsna is again revealed to us.
Realization is important, but, having not even understood the ultimate origination of the jiva--such an essential point of philosophy--how can our friends in the no-fall camp possess any great level of realization or revelation? Hopefully, this article will help jar some of those memories a bit, because knowledge has to be given to everyone--but according to personal capacity.
And, last but certainly not least, what about the great scholar Jiva Gosvami? He is one of the prominent commentators on the Bhagavatam, and you'll find his purports often in that aforementioned book of commentaries. What does he have to say on this important topic? Here's his commentary on Srimad Bhagavatam 11.11.3:
vastuto nitya-mukto'pi pratitito 'nadi-baddha
iti yugapad ubhayatvam ghatata ity arthah.
"Simultaneously, both are transpiring: the jiva is eternally liberated in substantive form and is bound without beginning".
The Sanskrit anadi-baddha embodies the exact same concept as nitya-baddha; they are absolutely non-different in meaning--and not much different even in the Sanskrit. So Prabhupada has been previously quoted about the concept of nitya-baddha ("Eternally conditioned means we do not know when we have been conditioned like this. It is not possible to trace out the history".). This is the correct context for understanding Sri Jiva Gosvami's use of anadi-baddha in the referenced commentary.
We are considered eternally conditioned, because it has been such a long, long time. The history can never be traced out. The history may well be previous to this kalpa's Brahma. The history of our conditioning is before the material creation:
"And some of them, those who are not fit to live in that spiritual world, they are--I mean to say--sent to this material world". - Lecture, Buffalo, April 23, 1969.
The circular fallacy of argument has been in vogue for so long in our movement, but we must, somehow or other, put a stop to it. We undermine shastra by misinterpreting Jiva Gosvami's commentary. Mental speculation is a serious sin. Jiva Gosvami should only be understood in relation to the current acharya in his line: Srila Prabhupada. We can, however, employ philosophical speculation (tattva-jnanartha-darsanam, Bg. 13.12). That is wanted. We can try to understand, in the framework of Prabhupada's interpretation of nitya-baddha, how the jiva is simultaneously eternally liberated in his spiritual form and nitya-baddha (conditioned forever in the context of material time).
There's no need to beg the question. If you've not proved something, you can't use it as evidence for arguing another point (circular logic). We shall never ascertain the conclusion by such a bogus method. Prabhupada tells us what nitya-baddha means, and he goes on to inform us that we have all fallen from a personal relationship with God in the spiritual world. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta and Bhaktivinoda Thakur concur with his conclusion. So does Ramanuja, Viraraghava, and Vijayadhvaja-tirtha. And so does Sri Jiva Gosvami.
All the liberated souls acted with this understanding in the past. Ambitious persons should stop trying to manufacture a new philosophy in the name of Vaishnava siddhanta as it applies to the origination of the soul. The standard philosophy is necessary for the practice of the standard service, and the means and the end are the same: re-establishing a loving personal relationship with Lord Sri Krsna.
YOU CAN TEACH UP TO THE POINT YOU KNOW
"The Supreme Personality of Godhead is known as bhava-grahi janardana, because He takes only the essence of the devotee's attitude. . . Thus, even though, externally, a devotee may not render full service, if he is internally sincere and serious, the Lord welcomes his service nonetheless. Thus the Lord is known as bhava-grahi janardana, because He takes the essence of one's devotional mentality". -Srimad Bhagavatam 8.23.2,purport
"By this attitude of service, God will reveal Himself . . . you have to create a situation--you have to put yourself in a situation--in which God will be revealed". - Perfect Questions, Perfect Answers, The Real Goal of Life, pp. 25-26.
"You see, corruption is part of us, all of us, the very heart of us". - Gorky Park, 1983.
What is the essence of the devotee's attitude if he or she accepts no-fall? Down deep, at that very essence, how is it possible to uproot hatred for God? How can there not be hatred for God, when one believes that he or she is not personally responsible for having come to this place of terror, grief, and temporariness Evil-is-supreme will continue to haunt all those afflicted by such a covert form of impersonalism.
If we did not make the original offense that sent us here from the spiritual sky, then how can we ultimately accept responsibility for having become stationed here? We are in an obvious state of corruption. That corruption is due to our original betrayal of the Lord in the spiritual world, our initial aparadha. As Prabhupada said, "All hatred starts at the top". Indeed, that original betrayal is intrinsically linked to our current state of corruption, to the point that they are, for all practical purposes, an inseparable quality. And a most evil quality it is, a quality that we must, in the words of Friedrich Nietzsche, "shake off with one shrug (that) vermin that would have buried itself deep in others".
In the material world, we must get free from intrigue, treachery, and betrayal during the probationary period in order to regain our relationship with God. The cause will always remain in the effect, and the effect will always demonstrate the cause. Just consider all of the horrific effects in the Hare Krishna movement since Prabhupada left. If you analyze them, you'll find that all of them were based upon betrayal of trust. As such, that environment was diametrically opposed to one in which a genuine service attitude is created, to a situation where God can be revealed to the trusting devotee. Instead, trust got hammered, and naive devotees nailed by intrigue, treachery, and betrayal remain severely fractionalized by the experience (to this day!).
We have repeated what Prabhupada has said from his tapes, his letters, and, yes, from his books. We have repeated what his direct predecessor gurus have said on this topic, as we have read it in their writings, from their books. We have repeated from acharyas even previous to them, as per their written commentaries in the Book Bhagavat. What more can we do then this? This is the process: to hear and then to repeat:
BOB:But presently you do not receive information directly from Krishna. It comes through the disciplic succession from the books.
The siddhanta has been established, and no-fall is not that siddhanta. There can only be a bizarre form of service emanating from a devotee caught in the throes of no-fall. The Supreme Lord knows well the essence of all of our service attitudes. Our philosophical conceptions (and misconceptions) reflect that hidden service attitude--or, conversely, other (usually impersonal) attitudes. The most disastrous effect of the no-fall apasiddhanta is its intoxicating and insidious power to keep the original offense--the tendency toward exploitation and corruption--energized by not recognizing its very source of existence. It's hard to uproot an aparadha you don't even believe in.
We cannot possibly get free from this dreadful land
as long as we allow this impersonalism to stand.
Quotes from the books of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada are copyright by the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust