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How and When Did the Jiva Makes a Choice to be in This Material World?
The jivas suffering is not inflicted by the Lord. Their suffering is on account of their desire to lord it over the material energy of the Lord.
If the jivas give up trying to become isvara, they would not suffer for being engaged in the Lord’s lila with His material energy. Their suffering is caused because of their exhibiting their lording over propensity, which has no beginning. Indeed, for one who engages in pure devotional service, there is no distinction between the material world and the spiritual world.
Thus conditioned souls are suffering, not because the Lord wills it on them, but because they desire not to act as His servant. They can reverse this entanglement, by surrendering to the Lord in devotional service. Suffering serves as an impetus for such surrender. For those who do, there is no difference between heaven and hell.
In other words, the unalloyed devotee makes no distinction between the spiritual world, and the material world. Even if one argues that his being here, is beginningless, and therefore the jiva could not have had any choice in the matter of whether it wanted to be in the limited potency, or unlimited potency, of the Lord’s lila; the fact remains that the decision to lord it over the limited potency, is entirely his. The conditioned jivas always had the choice either to look towards maya or towards the Lord.
The jiva therefore is always situated in the tatastha condition. Once the jiva reaches the spiritual sky, however, having attained the shelter of the internal potency of the Lord,
the jiva never comes back to maya. Now the jiva has joined the eternal lila of the Lord in His unlimited potency, “which is never created or destroyed.” And those who have never been to the material world, never fall, because they have the protection of cit-sakti. This is all very consistent with the passages cited from Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, who says that the Lord has diverse lilas, in which He engages His energies, and this is but one of His many varieties of lilas.
Readers should also take note, that in both Srila Bhaktivinoda’s and Prabhupada’s definitive explanations of the nature of the Lord, and the bondage of the jiva, both are in agreement; and in both cases, there is no mention of souls falling from Vaikuntha. If anyone doubts that this is the definitive description of the siddhanta, readers should take note of the concluding sentence in the passage from Srila Prabhupada,
“This is the perfect philosophical understanding of the Absolute Truth.”
Earlier in the same purport before the part that is quoted, he wrote,
“This is pure philosophical understanding.”
Such conclusive statements leave no room for doubt, that in this purport, Srila Prabhupada laid bare the siddhanta. And if someone says that it does not deal with the jiva issue, we hasten to point out that he does raise the question,
“Why is there a need to create the spiritual sparks?” and answers it.