“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 003: Chapter 1,

“What is it That is Called Vastu, and What is the Meaning of True Nature?”  Part 2.

Krishna is the complete transcendental substance.  He is often compared to the sun of the spiritual realm, and the jivas are compared to the sun’s atomic particles of light.  Jivas are innumerable.  When it is said that they are individual parts of Krishna, it does not mean that they are like the pieces of stone that form a mountain.  Although innumerable, jiva portions emanate from Sri Krishna, Krishna is not diminished by this in the slightest.  For this reason, the Vedas have compared the jivas, in one respect, to sparks emanating from a fire.  In reality, no adequate comparison can be made.  No comparison—whether to sparks of a blazing fire, atomic particles within the rays of the sun, or gold produced from powerful mystic jewels—is completely appropriate.  The true nature of the jiva, is easily revealed in the heart, when the mundane, commonplace, and ordinary conception of these comparisons is given up.

Krishna is infinite spiritual substance, whereas the jivas are infinitesimal spiritual substance.  The oneness of Krishna and the jivas, lies in their spiritual nature, but they are undoubtedly different as well, because their natures are complete and incomplete respectively. 

  • Krishna is the eternal Lord of the jivas, and the jivas are Krishna’s eternal servants. This interrelationship is natural. 
  • Krishna is the attractor, and the jivas are attracted.
  • Krishna is the supreme ruler, and the jivas are ruled.
  • Krishna is the observer, and the jivas are observed.
  • Krishna is the complete whole, and the jivas are parts and parcel, poor and insignificant.
  • Krishna is the possessor of all potency (energy), and the jivas are devoid of potency.
  • Therefore, the eternal true nature or dharma of the jiva, is eternal service and obedience to Krishna.
  • Krishna is endowed with unlimited potencies (energies).


Krishna’s complete potency is perceived in the manifestation of the spiritual world. 

Similarly, His marginal potency is observed in the manifestation of the jivas.  This marginal energy acts in assembling the finite worldThe action of the marginal potency is to create an entity which exists between the animate objects, and inanimate objects, and which can maintain a relationship with both the spiritual, and material worlds.  Purely transcendental entities, are by nature, quite the opposite of inanimate objects, and therefore have no connection whatsoever with them.  Although the jiva is an animate spiritual particle, he is capable of a relationship with inanimate matter.

The jiva’s nature is spiritual, but still, its composition is such that it can become controlled by the inert nature of the material world.  Therefore, the conditioned jiva (conditioned soul) is not beyond all connection with matter, unlike the jivas in the spiritual domain.  Nonetheless, the jiva is distinct from dull matter, because of its animate, spiritual nature.  Since the jiva is by nature different from both the purely spiritual entities, and dull matter, the jiva is classified as a separate principle.  Therefore, the eternal distinction between Bhagavan and the jiva must be accepted.

Bhagavan is the supreme ruler of maya (His external potency which creates the material world and bewilderment), which is under His full control.  On the other hand, the jiva may be controlled by maya, under certain circumstances, for it is subject to its influence.  Hence, these three principles—Bhagavan, the jiva, and maya—are real and eternal.  Of these three, Bhagavan is the supreme eternal principle, and is the foundation of the other principles.  The following statement of Sri Katha Upanisad (2.2.13) confirms this, 

“He is the supreme eternal amongst all eternals; and the fundamental sentient being among all sentient beings”.

The jiva is by nature both an eternal servant of Krishna, and a representation of His marginal potency.  This demonstrates that the jiva is distinct from Bhagavan, yet at the same time is not separate from Him.  The jiva is, therefore, a manifestation that is both different and non-different.  The jiva is subject to domination by maya, whereas Bhagavan is the controller of maya.  Herein lays an eternal distinction between the jiva and Bhagavan.  On the other hand, the jiva is by its constitutional nature a transcendental entity, and Bhagavan is by nature a transcendental entity as well.  Moreover, the jiva is a special potency (energy) of Bhagavan.  Herein lays the eternal non-distinction between these two.  Where eternal distinction and non-distinction are found at the same time, eternal distinction takes prominence.

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