Srila Jiva Gosvami is Not Different
[Dandavat pranama, all glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga.
In the following discourse, Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja is demonstrating that there is no contradiction in the messages of the acaryas in our Gaudiya Vaisnava disciplic succession. In the following translation of his Hindi lecture, given on November 23, 2002, he shows, in particular, that there is no difference between Srila Jiva Gosvami all the other acaryas in his line. When the conditioned soul sometimes sees contradictions, he is fortunate to hear the reconciliation from the lips of any of those acaryas.
Your aspiring servants, the Harikatha team]
APPARENTLY CONTRADICTORY STATEMENTS
vaikuṇṭhasya bhagavato jyotir-aṁśa-bhūtā vaikuṇṭha-loka-śobhā-rūpā yā anantā mūrtayas tatra vartante, tāsām ekayā saha muktasyaikasya mūrtiḥ bhagavatā kriyata iti vaikuṇṭhasya mūrtir iva mūrtir yeṣām ity uktam
(Prīti-sandarbha, Anuccheda 10)
In Vaikuṇṭha there are unlimited spiritual forms which are all jyotir-aṁśa-bhūtā – forms which have emanated from the effulgence of the form of the Supreme Lord. When a devotee becomes liberated, then the Lord makes that soul one with one of those unlimited forms.
We hear that Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmīpāda has written in Prīti-sandarbha, Anuccheda 10, in relation to sālokya-mukti: There are unlimited spiritual bodies of associates in the Vaikuṇṭha planets that have manifested from the effulgence of Bhagavān. These spiritual bodies are waiting to be occupied by the living entities who have become perfect by sādhana-bhajana.
When a jīva attains perfection, the Lord gives him one of these bodies. He mixes a particular associate’s body with the jīva and gives that body to him. These associates’ bodies are illuminated by the Lord’s energy, yet they are nirjīva (inactive), or dormant, while waiting for the jīva to attain perfection. Life is there, but they remain as if unconscious (acetana). When the jīva merges into one of those spiritual associates’ bodies, with this body he serves Bhagavān.
Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura – who is known as the Seventh Gosvāmī, no less than any Gosvāmī, and who is also Kamala Mañjarī – has explained jīva-svarūpa in a different way. He has said that of the nitya-parikaras, eternal associates, who have manifested from Baladeva Prabhu, some are performing devotional service in Vṛndāvana in their spiritual forms, some are serving in Dvārakā, and some in Vaikuṇṭha.
They are all called parikaras, associates, not jīvas; the word jīva is not used. They are called parikaras regardless of whether they are sādhana-siddha (having attained perfection through their bhajana) or nitya-siddha (eternally perfect). Some nitya-siddha associates are the kāya-vyūha-prakāśa (bodily manifestations) of Baladeva Prabhu and some are the kāya-vyūha-prakāśa of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī.
Regarding the jīva who has come from the region of taṭasthā – the marginal line, the imaginary line between the spiritual and material worlds. His situation has been compared to the bank of a river. Sometimes the water will go up over the bank and sometimes the water will go down. The taṭa-rekha, the marginal line lying between the water of the river and its bank, is both water and land, being situated where the two meet. Since the divine taṭasthā-śakti is situated at the margin of matter and spirit, sometimes the jīva is under the influence of matter and sometimes of spirit.
Among those who have come from taṭasthā-śakti, some looked towards the Lord and some looked away from Him. Those who looked towards Him went to Vaikuṇṭha. Those who looked towards the material world became attracted to the material energy and came to the material world.
However, even for those jīvas who became attracted to this world, in their jīva-svarūpa – jīvera ‘svarūpa’ haya kṛṣṇera ‘nitya-dāsa’ – their perfectional relationship with Kṛṣṇa is already there, but in the form of potency, as in a seed. In potency, the whole tree is present in the seed: the flowers, branches, and fruits. Similarly, as a potency, everything is there in the jīva’s svarūpa, or constitutional form, but not yet manifested or developed (vikasita).
By the mercy of guru and by performing sādhana-bhajana, when the jīva enters the stage of rati, or bhāva-bhakti, guru reveals to him his siddha-deha and gives him the ekādaśa-bhāvas and five more bhāvas (transcendental moods). After this, the sādhaka begins to experience all those bhāvas, and after this he leaves this material world and becomes situated in his eternal body.
All of our Gosvāmīs have written in this way. For example, in Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa Prabhu’s commentary of Vedānta-sūtra called Govinda-bhāṣya, he has written in the way I am explaining and in the way Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura has explained. In the jīva’s svarūpa, everything is cinmaya (transcendental) and eternal. Even now it is eternal, in the form of potency. The particular bhāva of serving Kṛṣṇa in the jīva’s perfected (siddha) form is available in that seed, in the form of potency.
ŚRILA JIVA GOSVAMI is NOT DIFFERENT
How do we reconcile this with Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī’s statement? Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī seems to say that there is a body of an associate in that spiritual world, and when the jīva attains siddhi (perfection), both merge; then he can do service. Before that, the jīva is not able to do any kind of service. How will we be able to reconcile this?
In this, a question arises: In that world the jīva’s svarūpa is being saved for him, while he is still here doing sādhana? The svarūpa which is here, and the svarūpa of the parikara, which is there, will be different? The Gosvāmīs are saying that in the jīva’s svarūpa everything is present. So how can we reconcile Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī’s statement with what our other Gosvāmīs are saying?
A śloka has recently been mentioned. Do you remember this śloka? You can check Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (1.6.28), in the description of the character of Nārada Ṛṣi:
prayujyamāne mayi tāṁ
śuddhāṁ bhāgavatīṁ tanum
Having been awarded a transcendental body befitting an associate of the Personality of Godhead, I quit the body made of five material elements, and thus all acquired fruitive results of work (karma) stopped.*
Prayujyamāne. After having been awarded the body of an eternal associate, Nārada’s pāñca-bhautikaḥ, his body made of five material elements, was dissolved. In the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, in the commentaries of Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī and other ācāryas, we have explanations of this śloka.
Prayujyamāne. What is awarded? What two things mix? Bhagavān’s kṛpā and guru’s kṛpā is one thing that is awarded. Merely performing thousands of sādhana activities will not do. However, when these two meet – the hard work of sādhana and guru’s kṛpā – one is ‘awarded’ a parikara body by which one can serve Bhagavān.
Now, this point must be presented: Material language is incompetent, or unable, to comprehend and express spiritual matters; it fails in that. There will always be some fault. Some kind of fault will be there, even if Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī speaks, or Bhagavān Himself speaks, or whoever speaks. When they speak, those who are from that spiritual world will understand; but conditioned souls, persons from this material world, will not be able to comprehend. There will be some defect in understanding. Even when you utter the word taṭasthā, marginal, which is a Sanskrit word, there is some defect. If we say that Kṛṣṇa “performed” His pastimes, does this mean that His pastimes were not being performed before that time? There is some impurity in mundane language. Only by sādhana is one able to understand and experience any spiritual topic. Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura has said in Jaiva-dharma: “Don’t question about this too much. Perform sādhana-bhajana. By this you will receive Bhagavān’s mercy and realization will come."
The svarūpa of the jīva is in the latent situation. It is spiritual (aprākṛta) because it is of the spiritual world, either of Vaikuṇṭha or Goloka, but it is covered in this world. Similarly, the jīva’s form as an associate is also present in his svarūpa (constitutional position), even in the conditioned state when the jīva is bound. The siddha-svarūpa, or eternal form, is still there, but it is in a hidden form.
Prayujyamāne. Here, the mercy of Bhagavān along with the sādhana of the jīva combine. When they both combine, the parikara-svarūpa, in other words the siddha-svarūpa, or siddha-deha, is manifested, or ‘awarded,’ and realized; not before. Do you understand? Our nitya-siddha body is thus realized and illuminated and thereafter understood at that time, not before.
This occurs at the stage of bhāva, and this is what is known as prayujyamāne. “Nitya-siddhasya bhāvasya, prākaṭyaṁ hṛdi sādhyatā.” That siddha-deha is here in this world, but is of Goloka Vṛndāvana. Therefore, don’t just call it a mood, or bhāva. Understand fully that by Bhagavān’s mercy – a nitya-siddha svarūpa that is completely transcendental and of Goloka Vṛndāvana will manifest. There is no question of joining a jīva with a spiritual body that is waiting in Vaikuṇṭha. There is only one spiritual body; with what will it join? Prayujyamāne means that when kṛpā and sādhana mix, then realization and illumination occur – realization and illumination are bestowed upon that jīva.
Try to understand one thing. The jīva has one siddha-deha, one perfected form. Since when? Right from the moment the jīva was ‘created.’ From that ‘time’ onward – this has nothing to do with material time – there is one perfected svarūpa (body) of the jīva in which he performs service to the Lord, or in which he can serve Bhagavān in the future. This perfected form and the jīva are not separate.
There is a difference between the jīva and his material body, but not between the jīva and his constitutional form. When will we realize this? By the mercy of Bhagavān and guru, and by performing continuous sādhana-bhajana, that nitya-siddha body and bhāva will manifest and come into our realization.
NARADA ‘AWARDED’ a SPIRITUAL BODY
One more thing will help you understand this.
prayujyamāne mayi tāṁ
śuddhāṁ bhāgavatīṁ tanum
After Nāradajī performed sādhana and bhajana for a long time, he received a momentary darśana of Bhagavān. After that the Lord vanished, at which time Nārada Muni began suffering in intense separation. This suffering may be compared to a fish out of water: chaṭ-paṭ, chaṭ-paṭ.
The Lord then told Nārada in an aerial voice: “There are still some impurities in you. Until those impurities (kaṣāyas) are eradicated, My darśana will not be possible. To increase your desire, I have given you a very special darśana. From now on, you will not get darśana until those impurities are completely eradicated – not in svarūpa-siddhi, but in vastu-siddhi only. At that time, you will be able to have My darśana and serve Me constantly.”
After the Lord disappeared, Nāradajī engaged in his sādhana-bhajana, being detached from all material desire. He followed the principles delineated in the following śloka:
śṛṇvan su-bhadrāṇi rathāṅga-pāṇer
janmāni karmāṇi ca yāni loke
gītāni nāmāni tad-arthakāni
gāyan vilajjo vicared asaṅgaḥ
An intelligent person who has controlled his mind and conquered fear should give up all attachment to material objects such as wife, family, and nation and should wander freely without embarrassment, hearing and chanting the holy names of the Lord, the bearer of the chariot wheel. The holy names of Kṛṣṇa are all-auspicious because they describe His transcendental birth and activities, which He performs within this world for the salvation of the conditioned souls. Thus the holy names of the Lord are sung throughout the world.***
Being completely detached (asaṅgaḥ) and taking a vīṇā in his hand, by the order of the Lord, Nārada began roaming throughout the world, chanting His holy names, glories, and pastimes. Engaged in this way, Nārada waited for that time to come.
Then, in the course of time, when his prārabdha-karma was removed by the mercy of the Lord, then and there, his material body made of five elements was also removed. It is said in this Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam śloka (1.6.28), “Nyapatat pāñca-bhautikaḥ,” meaning that Nārada quit his gross material body of five elements.
WHAT REALLY HAPPENED?
What do we see now? Nārada Ṛṣi is traveling throughout the universes in a similar kind of body – in a body that looks like he previously looked in his stage as a sādhaka. What, then, was really dropped? Did he quit his material body as we do? What really happened?
Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura explains [inMādhurya-kādambinī] that the first mood of sādhana-bhakti is kṛṣṇa-sevā-vāsanā, the desire to serve Kṛṣṇa; this is the core, and it is attained by sādhu-saṅga.
What is kṛṣṇa-sevā-vāsanā? It is the minutest part of svarūpa-śakti. From there, systematically, beginning from śraddhā, the jīva comes to the stages of sādhu-saṅga, anartha-nivṛtti, niṣṭhā, ruci, āsakti, bhāva, svarūpa-siddhi, and finally vastu-siddhi.
To the extent that bhakti manifests in the form of śraddhā, niṣṭhā, ruci, and so on, to that extent one’s pāñca-bhautikaḥ bhāva disappears and one’s cinmaya-svarūpa manifests. When Nāradajī had darśana of the Lord, he came into svarūpa-siddhi, but he had not yet attained vastu-siddhi. At this stage of svarūpa-siddhi, he was singing everywhere and waiting for his time to come.
That body which he had then, as a sādhaka, is seen after his attaining perfection – even today. “His pāñca-bhautikaḥ body was removed” means that the pāñca-bhautikaḥ bhāva that was previously in his heart was removed, and thus his spiritual body fully manifested.
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja proceeds to explain the subtle nuances in Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura’s Sārārtha-Darśinī commentary of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 10.29.10.
Rather than taking much time in creating a thoroughly new translation of this nuanced section of his discourse, we have substituted the first part of it with an excerpt from his already translated bhāvānuvāda of the Ṭhākura’s commentary of Śrī Rāsa-pañcādhyāyī:
tam eva paramātmānaṁ
jahur guṇa-mayaṁ dehaṁ
Those gopīs who were not able to meet with their beloved were subjected to extreme suffering in the intolerable fire of separation; and thus all their remaining inauspiciousness was burnt off. In their meditation they attained the supreme bliss of the tight (acyuta) embrace of Śrī Acyuta, and thus all their material piety was wiped away. In this way the gopīs became free from all kinds of auspicious and inauspicious bondage, and they met with Paramātmā Śrī Kṛṣṇa as their paramour. That very moment they gave up their material bodies.
Sārārtha-darśinī Bhāvānuvāda: ... In the face of the happiness that the gopīs enjoyed from Kṛṣṇa’s embrace in their meditation, all the material happiness contained in millions and millions of universes, and the spiritual joy experienced by thousands who have realized the impersonal brahma are puny in comparison.
Sinful and pious reactions (prārabdha karmas) are only wiped out by suffering and enjoying them; so the gopīs’ agony in separation and their happiness in union with Bhagavān can be seen as the reactions to their previous sin and piety. However, Vaiṣṇavas do not accept this view. Misery felt in separation from Bhagavān is not the reaction of sin and the bliss enjoyed in meeting with Him is not the fruit of piety; but for the sādhaka in the stage of anartha-nivṛtti, his prārabdha karmas are destroyed by his worship of Kṛṣṇa. In this way, it can be reconciled harmoniously. ...
Dhutāśubhāḥ: the intense, intolerable fire which arose from separation from their loved one. This fire removed the gopīs’ inauspiciousness, that is, the material aspect of their bodies was purified in a special way, and in their meditation they attained Śrī Acyuta’s embrace. Thus, their auspiciousness (maṅgala) increased, meaning their bodies became fully spiritual.
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja’s original discourse now continues
Some of those gopīs were able to participate in the rāsa of Kṛṣṇa that very night. Those who still had some impurities (kaṣāyas) may be compared to unripe mangos. Among the hundreds of mangos on the same tree, not all of them ripen on the same day. Some ripen today, some tomorrow, some the day after. Similarly, among those gopīs from the group who felt intense separation from Kṛṣṇa, some of them, by the association of the nitya-siddha gopīs, went to join the rāsa. Some of them, though not completely ready, were embraced by Kṛṣṇa, became qualified, and then joined the rāsa later on – next night or the night after. The rest of the gopīs slowly became qualified and were then able to participate.
None of those gopīs died. If they had died, it would have been most inauspicious. They did not have a guṇa-maya body to leave behind. Rather, their guṇa-maya bhāva was removed.
The same is true for Nārada. The pāñca-bhautikaḥ bhāva that was previously present in his heart was completely destroyed. How? By realization and with a feeling of deep separation, bit by bit all auspiciousness came and his kaṣāya – his desire to perform tapasya in a lonely forest and to attain Bhagavān in this condition – vanished. His desire to worship Bhagavān in a mode of goodness forest (sāttvika vanavāsa) at the expense of sādhu-saṅga went far away. Only then was he ‘awarded’ his true svarūpa – prayujyamāne. Nārada received Bhagavān’s mercy, his self-conception was perfected, all his material conceptions disappeared, and he became as he is at present, wandering throughout the transcendental world.
I have now explained this truth, but you will not understand it or have any realization of it without deeply studying and without sādhana-bhajana. Especially, this understanding and realization comes by guru-kṛpā.
Some persons think that bhakti can be performed with the mind, but realization will not occur in this way. We read śāstra and memorize it and speak it to others, but we ourselves have no realization. Realization is the fruit of surrender to guru and the performance of sādhana-bhajana. Also, know that no material language can truly explain spiritual subject matters. Only by sādhana-bhajana can we understand.