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How and When Did the Jiva Makes a Choice to be in This Material World?
In ISKCON, the question of the origin of the jiva has come up again and again from the very beginning. The earliest record is in the question-and-answer period, in a Caitanya-caritamrta class in San Francisco in 1967.
Even then it is clear that Prabhupada gave ambiguous statements on this point: He clearly says that the nitya-muktas, eternally liberated souls, never misuse their free will to leave Krishna.” They were never conditioned. They were never conditioned, never conditioned. They are called nitya-mukta, eternally liberated.”
Lecture, Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Adi-lila 7.107-109—San Francisco, February 15, 1967:
“How could we make a poor choice if we were part and parcel of Krishna? How could we have chosen the material world?”
“Oh, because you have got independence. Do not you see so many students come. They go away again. Yesterday Kirtanananda went to call Ranchora. He said, “Oh, I have forgotten this!” So you can forget. . ..”
“But Krishna will always be there if we want to go back?”
“Eh? Krishna is always prepared to accept you. He’s always prepared. But because He has given us independence, we misuse it and we fall under the clutches of maya.
That is our misfortune. We create this misfortune, and we can create our good fortune.” Man is the architect of his own fortune.” So if you become Krishna conscious, it is to your good fortune. If you become maya conscious, it is to your bad fortune. You are the creator.”
“When the souls that were never conditioned at all… do they also have the independence?”
“Yes, but they have not misused. They know that “I am meant for Krishna’s service,” and they are happy in Krishna’s service.:
“Could they ever misuse it?”
“Yes, they can misuse it also. That power is there. Yes?”
“Well, I believe you once said that once a conditioned soul becomes perfected, and gets out of the material world and he goes to Krishnaloka, there’s no possibility of falling back.”
“No! There is possibility, but he does not come.”
On the one hand, Prabhupada asserts the infallibility of the liberated souls, and on the other hand, he stresses the misuse of free will as the reason we are here. Yet he says that the liberated souls never misuse their free will.
The clear conclusion is that we were never liberated souls. And if so, where did we come from? But Srila Prabhupada never comes out and states clearly what is the case. But it is interesting, that after stressing that liberated never, never become conditioned, he only talks about the process of going back. His examples, all have to do with going from here to there, and not coming from there to here. Of course, in other places, he said openly that we came from Krishna lila; and that is understandable, because everything is Krishna lila, for everything that exists, is not independent from Krishna.