Watch out for the little guys

Do you watch out for the little guys when you are out and about? Yes, the ants,the snails, and others with smaller bodies than you?

Whenever I need to take the train to get to the office, I pass by an area that is home for snails. Yes, the slow and slimy little fellows with the shell.

For some reason, at around sunrise, many of them decide to cross the paved path that leads to the train station, out from their grassy home onto the bare asphalt. I took the time to pick them and put them back into the grass. Fortunately I didn’t miss my train. One famous so-called spiritual leader called that “stupid compassion”. I then learned that even though he is Buddhist, he eats meat. He lost my respect as a spiritual leader at that time, and now I see him as a mere social and political leader.

For people walking, running, or dashing to catch the train, these snails are practically invisible, to some they are a game “crunch, crunch, crunch”. Crushed under someone’s foot. I feel tremendous sorrow to see those that were crushed.

Imagine getting crushed to death! No need to imagine… we have indeed been crushed many times. The only reason we don’t remember is because otherwise we would be down with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder! As spirit souls, we have wandered around many many times in practically every one of the 8.4 million species of life. Yes Eight Million Four Hundred Thousand species.

We are all coming from the same eternal source. A genuine spiritualist feels oneness with all living entities. Not that all of us “are one” or that there is no individuality, but we are “of the One”. In other words, all of us have the same Original father and mother.

When we have that vision and realization, how can we possibly crush our own brothers and sisters under our feet? Would we not want to watch out for them? If you had a weak little sibling, would you crush him under your feet when he was in your way? Would you crush your little baby under your foot when she was crawling across the living room floor? Why then would one not extend the same kindness to an ant or a snail?

Unavoidable accidents are one thing, but any human should do their best to watch out for the little fellows in our way. In some cases, such as in fighting disease or pestilence, it may be necessary to kill other living creatures, indeed, we can’t even breathe without killing so many micro-organisms. But how can we transform ourselves to being more compassionate towards the little ones?

The famous example of this is Mrgari, the hunter – and here is an instructive lesson from the Chaitanya Charitamrita. A hunter, who once took pleasure in half-killing animals was inspired to become a great saint. Here is the entire incident in brief, if you would like to read… here is a beautiful summary for your pleasure…

Once upon a time the great saint Nārada, after visiting Lord Nārāyaṇa in the Vaikuṇṭhas, went to Prayāga to bathe at the confluence of three rivers — the Ganges, Yamunā and Sarasvatī.
Nārada Muni saw that a deer was lying on the path through the forest and that it was pierced by an arrow. It had broken legs and was twisting due to much pain.


Farther ahead, Nārada Muni saw a boar pierced by an arrow. Its legs were also broken, and it was twisting in pain.
When he went farther, he saw a rabbit that was also suffering. Nārada Muni was greatly pained at heart to see living entities suffer so.


When Nārada Muni advanced farther, he saw a hunter behind a tree. This hunter was holding arrows, and he was ready to kill more animals.
The hunter’s body was blackish. He had reddish eyes, and he appeared fierce. It was as if the superintendent of death, Yamarāja, were standing there with a bow and arrows in his hands.


When Nārada Muni left the forest path and went to the hunter, all the animals immediately saw him and fled.
When all the animals fled, the hunter wanted to chastise Nārada with abusive language, but due to Nārada’s presence, he could not utter anything abusive.
The hunter addressed Nārada Muni: ‘O gosvāmī! O great saintly person! Why have you left the general path through the forest to come to me? Simply by seeing you, all the animals I was hunting have now fled.’
Nārada Muni replied, ‘Leaving the path, I have come to you to settle a doubt that is in my mind.

‘I was wondering whether all the boars and other animals that are half-killed belong to you.’
Nārada Muni then inquired, ‘Why did you not kill the animals completely? Why did you half-kill them by piercing their bodies with arrows?’
The hunter replied, ‘My dear saintly person, my name is Mṛgāri, enemy of animals. My father taught me to kill them in that way.

 ‘When I see half-killed animals suffer, I feel great pleasure.’
Nārada Muni then told the hunter, ‘I have one thing to beg of you.’
 ‘I have many skins, if you would like them. I shall give you either a deerskin or a tiger skin.’
Nārada Muni said, ‘I do not want any of the skins. I am asking only one thing from you in charity.
 ‘I beg you that from this day on you will kill animals completely and not leave them half-dead.’


The hunter replied, ‘My dear sir, what are you asking of me? What is wrong with the animals’ lying there half-killed? Will you please explain this to me?’
Nārada Muni replied, ‘If you leave the animals half-dead, you are purposefully giving them pain. Therefore you will have to suffer in retaliation.’
Nārada Muni continued, ‘My dear hunter, your business is killing animals. That is a slight offense on your part. But when you consciously give them unnecessary pain by leaving them half-dead, you incur very great sins.’
Nārada Muni continued, ‘All the animals that you have killed and given unnecessary pain will kill you one after the other in your next life and in life after life.’


In this way, through the association of the great sage Nārada Muni, the hunter was a little convinced of his sinful activity. He therefore became somewhat afraid due to his offenses.
The hunter then admitted that he was convinced of his sinful activity, and he said, ‘I have been taught this business from my very childhood. Now I am wondering how I can become freed from these unlimited volumes of sinful activity.’
The hunter continued, ‘My dear sir, please tell me how I can be relieved from the reactions of my sinful life. Now I fully surrender unto you and fall down at your lotus feet. Please deliver me from sinful reactions.’


Nārada Muni assured the hunter, ‘If you listen to my instructions, I shall find the way you can be liberated.’
The hunter then said, ‘My dear sir, whatever you say I shall do.’
The hunter replied, ‘If I break my bow, how shall I maintain myself?’
Being thus assured by the great sage Nārada Muni, the hunter broke his bow, immediately fell down at the saint’s lotus feet and fully surrendered. After this, Nārada Muni raised him with his hand and gave him instructions for spiritual advancement.
Nārada Muni then advised the hunter, ‘Return home and distribute whatever riches you have to the pure brāhmaṇas who know the Absolute Truth. After you have distributed all your riches to the brāhmaṇas, you and your wife should leave home, each of you taking only one cloth to wear.’
Nārada Muni continued, ‘Leave your home and go to the river. There you should construct a small cottage, and in front of the cottage you should grow a tulasī plant on a raised platform.
 ‘After planting the tulasī tree before your house, you should daily circumambulate that tulasī plant, serve her by giving her water and other things, and continuously chant the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra.’
Nārada Muni continued, ‘Every day I shall send sufficient food to you both. You can take as much food as you want.’


The three animals that were half-killed were then brought to their consciousness by the sage Nārada. Indeed, the animals got up and swiftly fled.
When the hunter saw the half-killed animals flee, he was certainly struck with wonder. He then offered his respectful obeisances to the sage Nārada and returned home.
After all this, Nārada Muni went to his destination. After the hunter returned home, he exactly followed the instructions of his spiritual master, Nārada.

The news that the hunter had become a Vaiṣṇava spread all over the village. Indeed, all the villagers brought alms and presented them to the Vaiṣṇava who had formerly been a hunter.
In one day enough food was brought for ten or twenty people, but the hunter and his wife would accept only as much as they could eat.


One day, while speaking to his friend Parvata Muni, Nārada Muni requested him to go with him to see his disciple the hunter.
As the saintly sages approached the hunter’s place, the hunter could see them from a distance.
With great alacrity the hunter began to run toward his spiritual master, but he could not fall down and offer obeisances because ants were running hither and thither around his feet.


Seeing the ants, the hunter whisked them away with a piece of cloth. After thus clearing the ants from the ground, he fell down flat to offer his obeisances.
Nārada Muni said, ‘My dear hunter, such behavior is not at all astonishing. A man in devotional service is automatically nonviolent. He is the best of gentlemen.
 ‘O hunter, good qualities like nonviolence, which you have developed, are not very astonishing, for those engaged in the Lord’s devotional service are never inclined to give pain to others because of envy.’


The hunter then received the two great sages in the courtyard of his house. He spread out a straw mat for them to sit upon, and with great devotion he begged them to sit down.
He then fetched water and washed the sages’ feet with great devotion. Then both husband and wife drank that water and sprinkled it on their heads.


When the hunter chanted the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra before his spiritual master, his body trembled and tears welled up in his eyes. Filled with ecstatic love, he raised his hands and began to dance, waving his garments up and down.
When Parvata Muni saw the ecstatic loving symptoms of the hunter, he told Nārada, ‘Certainly you are a touchstone.’
Parvata Muni continued, ‘My dear friend Nārada Muni, you are glorified as the sage among the demigods. By your mercy, even a lowborn person like this hunter can immediately become attached to Lord Kṛṣṇa.’


Nārada Muni then asked the hunter, ‘My dear Vaiṣṇava, do you have some income for your maintenance?’
The former hunter said, ‘Please do not send so much grain. Only send what is sufficient for two people, no more.’
Nārada Muni approved his not wanting more than a daily supply of food, and he blessed him, saying, ‘You are fortunate.’ Nārada Muni and Parvata Muni then disappeared from that place.


Thus I have narrated the incident of the hunter. By hearing this narration, one can understand the influence of association with devotees

https://vedabase.io/en/library/cc/madhya/24/

Compared to all the other living entities, the “littleness” is only in the external covering, otherwise, as spirit souls, all of us are the same size. The crusher becomes the crushed, and the crushed becomes the crusher. So, compassion is in our own best self-interest, first and foremost. The only stupidity is to be devoid of compassion.

Your freedom ends where my nose begins. Your freedom ends where the ant’s body begins. Your freedom ends where the snail lies across the road. Take note dear spiritualists, and try your best to tread lightly in this world, and watch out for those brothers and sisters everywhere around us.

This can be taken literally as well as figuratively. You may be a big businessperson, famous artist, some big shot in a religious organization, or just more powerful than others in some way.

If we don’t see those little ones around us or if we don’t feel compassion, then what can we do? We can hang out with those who do feel compassion. We can receive their association. The pure Vaishnavas are most compassionate, they wouldn’t hurt an ant or snail, let alone bigger animals. We can accept their instructions. And this we can be eligible for spiritual advancement. Please let me know how I may assist you? I know a lot of compassionate saints!

The religion of fire, the religion of water, and the religion of the soul

What is your religion? What is the religion of fire? What is the religion of water?

What is your religion, people ask me sometimes. I tell them I’m beyond labels. They sometimes don’t understand. Sometimes they misunderstand.

What is the religion of fire?

What is the religion of water?

Fire gives heat, and fire gives light. And fire burns, whether you know how to handle it or not. Whether the fire is in a spaceship or in Australia, or in a submarine in the Pacific, fire is fire. If a fire doesn’t give heat or light, it is in an unnatural state.

Water is liquid, water quenches thirst, water wets, and water drowns also. No matter where the water is, water is water. When the water is vapour or has frozen to ice, it is in an unnatural state.

I am a living entity. You are a living entity. We are both living entities.

My religion is the same as yours, service, service to the Supreme’s little sparks, service to the Supreme.

We are pleased only when we serve. In fact, we find greater pleasure in service than we do in any form of gratification for ourselves. This is why if we don’t have any humans to serve, we seek out dogs and cats and ferrets.

But the problem with ordinary service to any other living entity is that this service is not always reciprocated, and almost never perfectly. There are mothers who served their children really sincerely but their children didn’t reciprocate with them. There are men who served women, women who served men, and they were not treated well or just tossed out.

There are people who have served organizations, and organizations who have served people.

In the best of situations, no one feels satisfied with this service.

But no one is fully satisfied by serving anyone else other than God.

Why is that?

Because God can reciprocate fully with all of us. Yes, even when billions and trillions of souls serve God simultaneously, God has the capacity to reciprocate with each of us as if we were the only one.

As if I were the only one.

Lovers aspire for this, “feel what I feel” closeness, but on the material level, it is all too fleeting, only to be replaced by heartbreak, disappointment, or just plain indifference.

We desire to be special, to be unique, to be one-of-a-kind. Someone special to someone special, forever. But we already are! Every single living entity is unique, that the specific flavour, the specific mellow of service, the specific mood is unique and irreplaceable.

My dear reader, please serve God as He wants to be served. That is your religion, as is mine. And when you find someone serving God in another way than you were taught according to you tradition, don’t think they are of another religion. Instead, rejoice.

I know God as Krishna. Someone knows Him as Allah. Someone else, as Jehovah or Christ. Someone loves Rama, someone loves Yahweh. Someone adores Adonai. Someone follows Jesus, yet another follows Nanak.

When you meet someone, anyone, serving God, you have met your kin.

Rejoice. And serve them in their service as much as you can.

राजविद्या राजगुह्यं पवित्रमिदमुत्तमम् ।
प्रत्यक्षावगमं धर्म्यं सुसुखं कर्तुमव्ययम् ॥ २ ॥

rāja-vidyā rāja-guhyaṁ
pavitram idam uttamam
pratyakṣāvagamaṁ dharmyaṁ
su-sukhaṁ kartum avyayam

This knowledge is the king of education, the most secret of all secrets. It is the purest knowledge, and because it gives direct perception of the self by realization, it is the perfection of religion. It is everlasting, and it is joyfully performed.

https://vedabase.io/en/library/bg/9/2/

One God. One Religion. Service to God.

Despite COVID-19 you go on forever

The COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic is serious. But rest assured you are immortal.

With all the hue and cry over the worldwide pandemic caused by the Novel Coronavirus COVID-19, there is tremendous stress.

Some people are sick, others have had to move out of their bodies to their next destination. Some have lost their jobs, others can’t get supplies. Some have seen their lifetime savings diminish on the stock market.

It is a good time to remind ourselves of some of these fundamental truths.

जातस्य हि ध्रुवो मृत्युर्ध्रुवं जन्म मृतस्य च ।
तस्मादपरिहार्येऽर्थे न त्वं शोचितुमर्हसि ॥ २७ ॥

jātasya hi dhruvo mṛtyur
dhruvaṁ janma mṛtasya ca
tasmād aparihārye ’rthe
na tvaṁ śocitum arhasi

One who has taken his birth is sure to die, and after death one is sure to take birth again. Therefore, in the unavoidable discharge of your duty, you should not lament.

https://vedabase.io/en/library/bg/2/27/

However, most importantly, it is the body that can be harmed, not that which enlivens the body…

वासांसि जीर्णानि यथा विहाय
नवानि गृह्णाति नरोऽपराणि ।
तथा शरीराणि विहाय जीर्णा-
न्यन्यानि संयाति नवानि देही ॥ २२ ॥

vāsāṁsi jīrṇāni yathā vihāya
navāni gṛhṇāti naro ’parāṇi
tathā śarīrāṇi vihāya jīrṇāny
anyāni saṁyāti navāni dehī

As a person puts on new garments, giving up old ones, the soul similarly accepts new material bodies, giving up the old and useless ones.

https://vedabase.io/en/library/bg/2/22/

And finally, you reading this, and me, writing this, and all other living entities, will not, cannot die.

न जायते म्रियते वा कदाचि-
न्नायं भूत्वा भविता वा न भूयः ।
अजो नित्यः शाश्वतोऽयं पुराणो
न हन्यते हन्यमाने शरीरे ॥ २० ॥

na jāyate mriyate vā kadācin
nāyaṁ bhūtvā bhavitā vā na bhūyaḥ
ajo nityaḥ śāśvato ’yaṁ purāṇo
na hanyate hanyamāne śarīre

For the soul there is neither birth nor death at any time. He has not come into being, does not come into being, and will not come into being. He is unborn, eternal, ever-existing and primeval. He is not slain when the body is slain.

https://vedabase.io/en/library/bg/2/20/

That said, these bodies, especially human bodies, are gifts from God, meant to realize that Supreme Absolute Truth, knowing which, one never returns to the world of the temporary flickering manifestations…

आब्रह्मभुवनाल्ल‍ोका: पुनरावर्तिनोऽर्जुन ।
मामुपेत्य तु कौन्तेय पुनर्जन्म न विद्यते ॥ १६ ॥

ā-brahma-bhuvanāl lokāḥ
punar āvartino ’rjuna
mām upetya tu kaunteya
punar janma na vidyate

From the highest planet in the material world down to the lowest, all are places of misery wherein repeated birth and death take place. But one who attains to My abode, O son of Kuntī, never takes birth again.

https://vedabase.io/en/library/bg/8/16/

These are good reminders. Yes, I may feel discomfort, I may feel pain, I may even feel the pain when my soul is ripped out of this body. But no matter what, I will go on, as will you, regardless of COVID-19.

The mind is not the brain. You are not your mind. You are not your body.

The mind is a fascinating entity. Human society strives to define what is the mind, to understand it, to make sense of what is this thing.

The subject matter of “mind” is very deep and complex, no doubt, but there is one thing we need to understand…

The mind is not the brain.

Modern science has gone in the direction of equating the mind with the physical, chemical, and electrical features of what is observed in the brain. And there has been some apparent success too, stimulating a certain part of the brain causes certain emotions, cutting off a certain part of the brain causes certain memories or abilities to disappear, observing the electrical signals in the brain gives a sense that “this part of the brain is responsible for that type of thought or activity”.

So one may be forgive for thinking that the mind is the brain.

However, looking deep into the Vedic texts, one finds that the mind is described as a subtle material entity…

Bg. 7.4
भूमिरापोऽनलो वायुः खं मनो बुद्धिरेव च ।
अहंकार इतीयं मे भिन्ना प्रकृतिरष्टधा ॥ ७.४ ॥
bhūmir āpo ’nalo vāyuḥ
khaṁ mano buddhir eva ca
ahaṅkāra itīyaṁ me
bhinnā prakṛtir aṣṭadhā

Earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, intelligence and false ego – all together these eight constitute My separated material energies.

https://vedabase.io/en/library/bg/7/4/

Analyzing the body itself, including the brain, all the material elements of the brain fall into the “earth, water, fire, air, which all take ether (space) categories. The mind is distinct from these, and what is interesting, is that the mind is also distinct from intelligence and the sense of identity (ego).

So how do we understand the role of the brain in the manifestation of the mind?

We can turn to modern computer science. In a typical computer, we see the hardware, the wired up silicon wafers. By themselves, they are pretty much worthless, no more useful than beach sand.

There’s also something called the “software” which is also pretty useless until it actually runs on those silicon circuits. Software is written by conscious entities, and represents their thought process. It comes “alive” when it runs on the hardware.

Going one level deeper, there is something called the “firmware”, which is the first layer of basic software which allows the silicon circuits to be able to run the software. All these of course are useless unless there is an expert programmer who can combine the right hardware, firmware, and software together to create something useful.

In the context of the body, you, the spirit soul, atma, are the driver of both your body and your mind, that is, if you don’t let the machines randomly drive you here-and-there chasing after mirages.

To those in the know about the essence of spirituality, life comes form the spirit spark that inhabits the body, the ego represents the sense of identity of that spirit spark, intelligence represents the discrimination that comes from that sense of identity, and the mind represents the actualization of the intelligence into thinking, feeling, and willing.

This makes the brain merely the subtle hardware, where the mind manifests its own workings, which then manifests in the gross hardware, as words and deeds.

But this does not make the mind simply the brain just as an electrical wire delivering power to a lightbulb is not the power generation station.

This deserves some reflection… you are not this body, and you are certainly not your mind, and contrary to what is commonly understood today, your brain is not your mind. You carry your mind with you life after life after life, until of course, you are free of the material mind, being completely pure in your spiritual identity and consciousness.

Be pure. Be free.

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How did we fall into the material world?

Rathin Mandal, 14th May 2013

Hare Krishna,

Please accept my humble obeisances,
All glories to Srila Gurudeva and Gurumataji,
All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

We say that modes of material nature is there only in the material world,
But when we decided to enjoy separately from Krishna, look for our identity separate of Krishna and to lord the Manifestation ourself.
How should this nature of us be understood which is independent of modes of material nature?

your Servant
Rathin

Mahabhagavat Das SDA, 15th May 2013

Dear Rathin Mandal,

Hare Krishna,

Please accept my humble obeisances.
All glories to Srila Gurudeva.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

Yes, it is correct that the modes of material nature do not exist in the spiritual world.
But free will, that exists in the spiritual world. The desire to enjoy separately and independently from Krishna is the root cause of the living entity’s bondage in the material world. When the living entity desires to enjoy in this way, then the living entity then comes under the modes of material nature and is transferred to the material world.

In purport to SB 4.29.65, Srila Prabhuda wrote:

kṛṣṇa-bahirmukha hañā bhoga-vāñchā kare

nikaṭa-stha māyā tāre jāpaṭiyā dhare

(Prema-vivarta)

Actually the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa, is the supreme enjoyer. When a living entity wants to imitate Him, he is given a chance to satisfy his false desire to lord it over material nature. That is the beginning of his downfall. As long as he is within this material atmosphere, he has a subtle vehicle in the form of the mind, which is the stockpile of all kinds of material desires. Such desires become manifest in different bodily forms. Śrīla Nārada Muni requests the King to accept this fact from him because Nārada is an authority. The conclusion is that the mind is the storehouse of our past desires, and we have this present body due to our past desires. Similarly, whatever we desire in this present body will be expressed in a future body. Thus the mind is the source of different kinds of bodies.

If the mind is purified by Kṛṣṇa consciousness, one will naturally in the future get a body that is spiritual and full of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Such a body is our original form, as Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu confirms, jīvera ‘svarūpa’ haya — kṛṣṇera ‘nitya-dāsa’: [Cc. Madhya 20.108] “Every living entity is constitutionally an eternal servant of Kṛṣṇa.” If a person is engaged in the devotional service of the Lord, he is to be considered a liberated soul even in this life. This is confirmed by Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī:

īhā yasya harer dāsye

karmaṇā manasā girā

nikhilāsv apy avasthāsu

jīvan-muktaḥ sa ucyate

“One who engages in the transcendental service of the Lord in body, mind and words is to be considered liberated in all conditions of material existence.” (Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu 1.2.187) The Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is based on this principle. We must teach people to absorb themselves always in the service of the Lord because that position is their natural position. One who is always serving the Lord is to be considered already liberated. This is also confirmed in Bhagavad-gītā (14.26):

māḿ ca yo ‘vyabhicāreṇa

bhakti-yogena sevate

sa guṇān samatityaitān

brahma-bhuyāya kalpate

“One who always engages in the spiritual activities of unalloyed devotional service at once transcends the modes of material nature and is elevated to the spiritual platform.” The devotee is therefore above the three modes of material nature and is even transcendental to the brāhmaṇa platform. A brāhmaṇa may be infected by the two baser modes — namely rajo-guṇa and tamo-guṇa. A pure devotee, who is free from all material desires experienced on the mental platform and who is also free from empiric philosophical speculation or fruitive activity, is always above material conditioning and is always liberated.

——end purport —-
Plus, Srila Gurudeva’s answer here is very instructive, worth meditating on.

This is from TTFD dated 4th Nov 2009.
Have the category of souls known as nitya-baddha always been in the material hemisphere, hence the term “eternally conditioned”?

According to the philosophy of some Gaudiya Vaisnava groups this is the case. They say that the nitya-baddhas have never ever been in the spiritual world, thus the term “eternally conditioned” and that the nitya-siddhas have never left Krishna’s association. They say that the nitya-baddhas have been in a place known as the tatashta-shakti from where they descended into the material world of their own free choice. However, His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada states that we were once face to face with Sri Krishna in the spiritual planets, that we fell down to become little imitation lords here, and that we are then known as nitya-baddha, eternally conditioned. What is the exact situation of the living being?

Question No.2 : The jivatmas in the spiritual world decided by their own free will to depart. They were sac-cid-ananda vigraha: eternally in full knowledge and bliss. How and why could they they have decided by their own free will to leave Krishna’s association, since everything in the spiritual world is fully spiritual and the material influence of maya or illusion is conspicuous by her absence? Though he has a free choice to depart as he desires [Free-will always been the prerogative of the living being as well as his dharma- pure loving servants of the Supreme Person Krishna,], how could he have possibly been influenced to do so? For example, a split second second decision to leave due to temptation of being an enjoying over lord in the heavenly planets. Is this not some kind of material maya? Would he not have known the consequences due to his higher spiritual aware state of knowledge? Why would he have wanted to leave Krishna’s blissful association?

Answer:

The reason that many devotees get confused over the terms nitya siddha (eternally liberated) and nitya baddha (eternally conditioned) is that they consider them from within the context of time. In other words in material consciousness we are conditioned by kala or time into thinking that there are such things as past, present, and future. If we remember that in the liberated state there is no influence of time, that there is simply the eternal present with no past or future, then we can begin to understand how one can be eternally conditioned or eternally liberated and can switch from one status to the other.

To say that the conditioned souls have never been in the spiritual world with Krishna is anti-sastric and absurd when we consider that Lord Caitanya states that the constitutional nature of every living being is that he is the eternal servant of Krishna.

The eternally liberated souls in the spiritual existence have the independence to either love Krishna or leave Krishna. There has to be a choice. Otherwise love cannot exist, because love is voluntary. As long as the independence of free choice is there, there has to be a possibility of misusing that free choice. And possibility means that there must be certain degree of probability as well. Of course in this case the probability would be smallest possible percentage of 1 divided by infinity (1/?). But if we apply this infinitesimal percentage against the infinite number of living beings who inhabit the spiritual world, guess what we get. We get an infinite number of living beings who misuse their free will and give up the Lord’s association. (1/? x ? = ?)

At the boundary between the spiritual and material worlds time does not exist. Therefore the crossing of the living being over this boundary cannot be measured in time. This means that there is no moment in time when he entered the material world. In other words, if he is in the material world there is no moment in time when he entered it and he has therefore been there eternally. Hence, the term “eternally conditioned”. And when he chooses to surrender to Krishna and go back to Godhead he enters into that realm where there is no past or future. Therefore when he goes back to Godhead, he was always there. Hence the term “eternally liberated”.

Of course, as long as our thought patterns are conditioned by time we cannot fully comprehend these things. But if you will chant Hare Krishna regularly with love and devotion your consciousness will be liberated from the constraints of time, and you will be able to gradually realize these things in full.

And another answer from TTFD dated 29 July 2012:

“In this regard it is confirmed by Srila Prabhupada in a lecture he gave in Mayapur on 11 February 1976 that every living entity is originally nitya-siddha or eternally liberated. But sometimes just as a king may fall asleep and dream that he is a pauper, the eternally liberated soul, because of his marginal nature, may fall into the illusion that he can enjoy separately from Krishna or God. And just as a dream of only a few seconds can appear to be going on forever, when the soul forgets his identity, his illusioned dream-like state seemingly goes on forever and he is thus designated as nitya-baddha or eternally conditioned. Therefore when the living being does not misuse his free will he is known as nitya-siddha and when he misuses his free will he is known as nitya-baddha. “

Sincerely,
Mahabhagavat Das

Rathin Mandal, 15th May 2013

Hare Krishna,

Please accept my humble obeisances,
All glories to Srila Gurudeva and Gurumataji,
All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

Thank you very much for the answer Prabhuji. This helps me to understand the subject more clearly.

your Servant
Rathin

Update: Q&A from Thought for the Day Dated 09 Apr 2020

Question:  Why Did We Leave the Spiritual World?  

Dear Sankarshan Das Prabhu,   Haribol.   Why did we souls in the material universe leave the spiritual universe in the first place?  

Mayur  

Answer:  We Wanted to Become God

From: ISKCON Austin, Texas USA
My Dear Mayur, 

Please accept my blessings.
All glories to Srila Prabhupada.  

In this connection Srila Prabhupada explains as follows in his purport to Srimad Bhagavatam, Fourth Canto, Chapter 28, Text 54 as follows:  

“The original home of the living entity and the Supreme Personality of Godhead is the spiritual world. In the spiritual world both the Lord and the living entities live together very peacefully. Since the living entity remains engaged in the service of the Lord, they both share a blissful life in the spiritual world. However, when the living entity wants to enjoy himself, he falls down into the material world. ”  

In conversation recorded in Washington, D.C. on 8 July 1976 Srila Prabhupada also explains:   “So even in the Vaikuntha, if I desire that ‘Why shall I serve Krishna? Why not become Krishna?” I immediately fall down. That is natural. A servant is serving the master, sometimes he may think that ‘If I could become the master.’ They are thinking like that, they are trying to become God. That is delusion. You cannot become God. That is not possible.”  

I hope this meets you in the best of health and in an ecstatic mood.

Your ever well-wisher, 
Sankarshan Das Adhikari

Please subscribe to daily inspirational emails from His Grace Sriman Sankarshan Das Adhikari (Writings and lectures archived at sda-archives.com), written fresh every day from his travels around the world sharing the highest spiritual knowledge with everyone. Sign up now at www.backtohome.com

Why does the soul fall?

Cigdem, Jan 19 2012

All Glories to Sri Guru!

All Glories to Srila Prabhupada!

Hare Krishna!

Dear Devotees!

According to the mail of Mahabhagavat Das from today, I have a question:

The spirit soul is sat-cit-ananda, eternal, full of knowledge, and full of bliss. Why and how does it fall into the trap of the material platform?

Thank you

Your servant

Cigdem Ongen

 

Nashvin, Jan 25 2012

Hare Krsna!

Please accept my humble obeisances.  All glories to Srila Prabhupada!

His Grace Sriman Sankarshan das Adhikari has answered this question as follows:

“We became envious of Krishna, infected with the desire that we should become God.”

(http://www.sda-archives.com/tftd/2005/oct/tftd_102205.html)

Also, here is an article I read on the website of His Holiness Jayadvaita Swami:

Where Do the Fallen Souls Fall From?

Your servant,

Nashvin

Mahabhagavat Das SDA, Jan 26 2012

Hare Krishna!

Nice answer from Bhakta Nashvin.

A couple more answers to this question, which Srila Gurudeva gives are as follows:

“Because the minute living being is qualitatively one with the Lord, who is unlimitedly independent, the minute living being naturally possesses a minute degree of independence. If he misuses this independence, he comes to this material world to try to enjoy separately from the Lord, and thus suffers miserably in the cycle of repeated birth and death. After doing so, if he is indeed fortunate, he comes into contact with the bona fide spiritual master, who enlightens him about his original position in the spiritual world and how to regain it. Then with the merciful blessings of the spiritual master, he returns to his original position in the spiritual world never to make the same mistake again. The living being may misuse his minute independence once, but after having learned his lesson, he will not misuse his independence ever again.”

http://archive.aweber.com/usr_course/SH7B/h/Saturday_5_February_2011_The.htm

And here is another answer:

“It is a fact that one is always free to opt out of the kingdom of God because the devotees there are not slaves. They have full freedom. They may make the mistake once out of curiosity of wondering what it is like on the other side of existence, but it is extremely unlikely that they would make the same mistake twice.

The living being came under the influence of Maya by the misuse of his minute independence. If the potential for misuse were not there, we cannot say that the living being has any independence. And if the jiva has no independence, there is no meaning to his existence. Love can only be expressed by a living being, who possesses independence. Without independence he is nothing more than a robot. It is not possible to have loving relationship with a robot.

This is why Krishna has given us independence. We can choose to love Him or to leave Him. He leaves it up to us to decide which we want. To understand how or when we fell into this material existence is a very difficult subject matter. The easiest program is to fully qualify yourself to regain your original position.

One major difficulty with this philosophy that we were not originally in the spiritual world is that time does not exist in the spiritual world. This means that once you attain it there will be no time that you were ever not there. In the other words, it will be impossible for you to have ever not been there. What this means is that actually we are always there. It’s just that right now we do not realize this. We are currently suffering from amnesia.

Once you regain it, you will then understand everything perfectly. If you are shot with an arrow, what is your first business? To understand where the arrow came from? No. Your first business is to get the arrow out of your chest. Then you can investigate where it came from in full detail. Right now you are pierced by the arrow of conditioned consciousness. Become free from this by total surrender at Lord Krishna’s lotus feet, and then you will understand everything perfectly. In short, go there and you will then fully understand.”

http://www.sda-archives.com/tftd/2007/mar/tftd_030207.htm

Your servant,

Mahabhagavat Das