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What is The Eternal & Constitutional Function of The Jiva/Soul?
Chapter "One"
The Eternal & Temporary Natures of the Jiva/Soul

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Segment 5
“How and When Did the Jiva Makes a Choice to be in This Material World”
Part 2

These contradictory instructions on the jiva-whence[1] question has caused devotees to become divided.  Some favor the fall position; others argue for the no fall position.  We have found that the debate cannot be settled strictly on the basis of Srila Prabhupada’s books, letters, lectures, and conversations.  We end up in a deadlock of argument and counter-argument, quoting and counter-quoting.  A better solution is to go back the chain of parampara and determine which of Prabhupada’s two statements is confirmed as the siddhanta, and which is to be taken as secondary.  This is the system of seeking to resolve controversial issues by relying on guru, sastra and sadhu to confirm each other. 

This was accomplished in 1996 in Vrindavana, by Satyanarayana Dasa, and Kundali Dasa.  They wrote a book by the title “In Vaikuntha[2] Not Even the Leaves Fall” (IVNETLF).  This book, you can find in the “food for Thought” Section on this Website.  In this and the following segments, you will find what Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura wrote in this regard.

Before the time of Bhaktivinoda, none of our acaryas wrote at length explaining the origin of the jiva prior to conditioned life.  The question of whether the jiva fell from Vaikuntha, or any other place simply did not come up.  In Bhagavad-gita (13.20), and in other places the Sastras state that both the material nature, and the living entity are anadi, beginningless, and the acaryas repeated that.  

The understanding being that the relationship between the jivas, and material nature, is also anadi.  Everyone understood that there can be no prior condition to a beginningless event, and so the need for elaboration was nonexistent. 

Our acaryas simply stated that conditioned existence of the jiva is anadi, without any beginning, then go on to explain devotional service as the answer to the miseries of conditional existence.  In Western culture, we have no equivalent word for the concept of anadi in the English language, in philosophy or in logic, therefore the term is not properly understood and thus questions about the origin of the jiva prior to conditioned life arise. 

In In the book IVNETLF, there are two chapters explaining the philosophical import of the word anadi, both from the philosophical and the logical point of view.  Our predecessor acaryas did not have this problem.  While it is a fact that they did not go beyond anadi to explain the origin of the jiva, they did clearly state that no one–whether a nitya-siddha[3] or sadhanasiddha[4]falls from Vaikuntha. 

In 1996, at the Mayapur Gour Purnima Festival, celebrating Srila Prabhupada’s Centennial, I witnessed what the acharya’s of the other 3 Vaisnava Sampradayas, said.  They all basically said the same thing,

“Those who are there, never come here.  And those who are here, have never been there.”

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FOOT NOTES:

[1] Whence: from which; from where

[2] Vaikuntha—the eternal planets of the spiritual world, the abode of Lord Narayana, which lies beyond the coverings of the material universe.  Literally, “the place with no anxiety”.

[3] Nitya-siddha—one who has attained eternal perfection attained by never forgetting Krishna at any time; an ever-purified associate of the Lord.

[4] Sadhana-siddha—one who has attained perfection by executing the rules and regulations of devotional service.

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