“What Is The Eternal, Constitutional Function Of The Jiva?/Soul?” 

Making A “Case” for the Reconstitution of Srila Prabhupada’s “Mission”

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Segment 002: Chapter 1,

“What is it That is Called Vastu, and What is the Meaning of True Nature?” Part 1

The word vastu, is derived from the Sanskrit verbal root vas, which means “to exist”.  The verbal root becomes a noun, when the suffix tu is added.  Therefore, vastu means,

“that which has existence or which is self-evident”.

There are two types of vastu: vastava and avastava

The term vastava-vastu (truly enduring substance; essential nature), refers to that which is supreme, lying beyond the ordinary range of perception, and being beyond the limits of ordinary human experience. 

Temporary objects, avastava-vastu, are dravya (solid objects), guna (qualities), and so on. 

Real objects have eternal existence.  Unreal objects only have a semblance of existence, which is sometimes real, and sometimes unreal; sometimes manifested, and sometimes unmanifest.

It is said in the Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.1.2,

“Only a truly abiding substance, which is related to the Supreme Absolute Truth, and which yields supreme auspiciousness, is worthy of being known”.

From this statement, it is clearly understood that the only real substance, is that which is related to the Supreme Transcendence.  Sri Bhagavan is the only real Entity (vastava-vastu). 

The jiva is a distinct, or individual part of that Entity, while maya[1]—the potency that produces bewilderment—is the energy of that Entity.  Therefore, the word vastu refers to three fundamental principles: 

  1. Bhagavan,
  2. The jiva,
  3. And maya.

Knowledge of the mutual relationship between these three principles, is known as pure knowledge.  There are innumerable apparent representations of these three principles, and they are all regarded as unreal substances.  The classification of phenomena into various categories, such as dravya (objects), and guna (qualities); merely facilitate discussion, and consideration of all sides of the nature of temporary objects.

The special characteristic of any truly enduring substance, is its factual nature.  The jiva is a real entity, and his eternal characteristic quality is his true nature.

Srila Krishnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami[2], who was an object of the mercy of Sri Nityananda Prabhu[3], has written with his own hand, the instructions given by Sriman Mahaprabhu on this subject in the book named Sri Caitanya-caritamrta[4] (Madhya 20.108) as follows:

“The constitutional nature of the jiva is to be an eternal servant of Sri Krishna.  He is the marginal potency of Krishna, and is a manifestation simultaneously one with Him, and different from Him.  The jiva who has forgotten Krishna has been preoccupied with the external potency since anadhi (time without beginning or a cause).  Consequently, Krishna’s illusory potency (maya) gives him misery in the form of material existence”.

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[1] Maya—illusion; an energy of Krishna’s which deludes the living entity into forgetfulness of the Supreme Lord.  That which is not, unreality, deception, forgetfulness, material illusion.  Under illusion a man thinks he can be happy in this temporary material world.  The nature of the material world is that the more a man tries to exploit the material situation, the more he is bound by maya’s complexities; This is a Sanskrit term of many meanings.  It may mean energy; yoga-maya is the spiritual energy sustaining the transcendental manifestation of the spiritual Vaikunöha world, while the reflection, maha-maya, is the energy of the material world.  The Lord’s twofold maya bewilders the jiva, hence maya also means bewilderment or illusion.  Transcendental bewilderment is in love, by which the devotee sees God as his master, friend, dependent or amorous beloved.  The material bewilderment of the living entity begins with his attraction to the glare of the brahmajyoti.  That attraction leads to his entanglement in the modes of material nature.  According to Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Öhakura, maya also means that which can be measured.  This is the feature of Lord Krishna’s prakrti that captures the minds of scientific materialists.  The Vaisnava and Mayavada explanations of maya are not the same.

[2] Krishnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami—author of the immortal Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, considered the greatest work on the life and philosophy of Lord Caitanya.  He composed it in his nineties, despite bodily infirmity.  This book is especially revered by Gaudiya Vaisnavas.  He was ordered by Lord Nityananda in a dream to go to Vrindavana where he studied the Gosvami literature under the direction of Raghunatha dasa Gosvami.

[3] Nityananda Prabhu—the incarnation of Lord Balarama who appeared as the principal associate of Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.

[4] Caitanya-caritamrta—translated as “the character of the living force in immortality,” it is the title of the authorized biography of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu written in the late sixteenth century and compiled by Srila Krishnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami, presenting the Lord’s pastimes and teachings.  Written in Bengali, with many Sanskrit verses as well, it is regarded as the most authoritative book on Lord Caitanya’s life and teachings; Written by Srila Krishnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami, this biography of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu is the single most important text of Gauòiya Vaisnava philosophy.  Caitanya-caritamrta means the immortal character of the living force.  It is the postgraduate study of spiritual knowledge, and so is not intended for the novice.  Ideally, one begins with Bhagavad-gita and advances through Srimad-Bhagavatam to the Sri Caitanya-caritamrta.  Although all these great scriptures are on the same absolute level, for the sake of comparative study Sri Caitanya-caritamrta is considered to be on the highest platform.

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