Hilo, Hawaii: February 11, 2005
Shri Shrimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja
[Just a small report first: Shrila Narayana Maharaja is now in Penang, and island in Malaysia. He is writing there and also taking advantage of the ocean waters just outside his door. On the oppposite side of the ocean is Jagannatha Puri, where Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu himself bathed daily. Shrila Maharaja said he likes this place even better than Hawaii, and wants to spend time here, perhaps twice a year.]
[Question:] In your class a few days ago you gave an analogy, saying that the nature of the jiva is eternal and unchangeable, yet it becomes distorted – just like water changes to ice when the weather is cold. But if the jiva’s nature is eternal and unchangeable, how can it be distorted? Is it that it is covered by a distortion or does the nature of the jiva itself become distorted?
[Shrila Narayana Maharaja:] Water’s nature is liquid, whether it will be steam or ice. In some circumstances water becomes ice, but even at that time water is dripping from the ice drop by drop. Then, if heat is given, the ice will become liquid. When the water becomes ice it is called nisarga, meaning that its nature is changed.
[Question:] Its nature is transformed?
[Shrila Narayana Maharaja:] Yes, but the original transcendental nature is the same. In the same way, jivas are servants of Krishna. They are related to Krishna in one of the five rasas (relationships of neutrality, servitorship, friendship, parenthood and conjugal lover). This is forever unchangeable. An analogy is given of the seed of a mango, neem and other trees that are planted on the bank of the Ganges. They get the same water, the same air, the same sun and the same gardener, but the seed determines the potency. The type of plant will be determined only by the seed. It cannot be changed. Now, the conditioned living entity is very attached to children, wife, etc. and he has innumerable varieties of material thoughts. When he will be liberated however, his constitutional form and relation to Krishna will manifest.
[Question:] The nature is unchangeable. So is it that the contaminated consciousness of that nature is distorted? I’m asking this because if the nature is unchangeable, then it itself, cannot be distorted. Is that correct?
[Shrila Narayana Maharaja:] The jiva is partly independent. As Lord Shri Krishna is fully independent, the jiva is partly independent. Krishna does not control him. He has given the soul freedom, and that freedom is a very valuable thing. Using that freedom, he can serve Krishna eternally, and if he misuses it, then maya comes and covers his original nature.
[Question:] So to say that the soul’s nature is never distorted itself, but it is covered by a distortion is more clear?
[Shrila Naryana Maharaja:] Yes.
[Question:] When a lady becomes pregnant, her belly becomes big. She has undergone transformation, but she is still the same. So how is the transformation of the jiva…
[Shrila Naryana Maharaja:] There is no transformation of the jiva. For the time being, its nature is changed by his independence. In other words, maya covers him, and it seems like it has changed. But when he will become liberated, then the original nature will appear.
[Question:] So he is covered by a distortion?
[Shrila Narayana Maharaja:] He never changes. My Guru Maharaja used to give the example of a watch. The watch is ticking and working, but it is covered with a cloth. You cannot see it, but really the watch is actually ticking and working; its hands are moving. Those who are liberated can see the soul serving Krishna. Those who are here in this world see others differently, and they see themselves differently. Any worldly analogy or example won’t be completely clear.
[Question:] It’s the “moon on the branch” logic?*[see endnote]
[Shrila Narayana Maharaja:] Yes
[Question:] Last night I believe I heard you say that if anyone has an original constitutional position that is something other than unnatojjvala-rasam sva-bhakti-sriyam, still, Lord Chaitanya is giving him special mercy. If Lord Chaitanya says we should pray for this, and if all of our gurus say we should pray for this, then we would be foolish not to take advantage of what they are telling us. Did I hear you correctly?
[Shrila Narayana Maharaja:] This can never be. Those who have that constitution will be attracted to Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Others will not come.
[Question:] So all those who come to Lord Chaitanya…
[Shrila Narayana Maharaja:] Even Krishna Himself will not change a soul’s constitution. He is bound by rules and regulations.
[Question:] I’m sorry. I could not hear everything, but I was trying to listen carefully to all the classes. I did not understand how the soul can go to two places. You say that we should be one-pointed. Shripad Madhava Maharaja said in his class that the soul can go to two places. I don’t know what to think of this.
[Question:] It is said in Jaiva Dharma that when the soul becomes liberated, it can go to Navadvipa and Goloka Vrndavana simultaneously.
[Shrila Narayana Maharaja:] This refers to those whose nature is like that. They want to serve Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and also Shri Shri Radha-Krishna. They are like Lord Shri Krishna in the sense that Krishna is everywhere, in so many forms. He can have millions of forms. Do you understand? In rasa Krishna became millions. His liberated devotees are so powerful that they can go here and there at the same time. There are millions of manifestations of Nanda Baba – not only one. In millions of universes in millions of forms, these manifestations are serving millions of manifestations of Shri Krishna.
[Question:] Should we still be one-pointed?
[Shrila Narayana Maharaja:] Yes, still; because Shri Shri Radha-Krishna and Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu are the same.
[Question:] You gave me the name Latika dasi. Can you explain about Latika’s pastime as a sakhi? Shripad Madhava Maharaja was explaining the types of sakhis.
[Shrila Narayana Maharaja:] Don’t be worried about this. Chant and remember, and then gradually you will realize everything. At this time there is no need to tell who you are. Everything will come. Don’t be concerned for now. If you can realize your transcendental form in millions of lives, that will be considered a very short time. Such a realization is very rare.
Don’t be utsaha-mayi (with puffed-up enthusiasm). As soon as one is initiated, he at once thinks, “Tomorrow I will go to Goloka Vrndavana.” Everything will come in its time.
I am inviting you all to Navadvipa.
[Abhirama dasa:] Regarding the verse: tad-vijnanartham sa gurum evabhigacchet samit-panih srotriyam brahma-nistham
[“To understand these things properly, one must humbly approach, with firewood in hand, a spiritual master who is learned in the Vedas and firmly devoted to the Absolute Truth.” (Mundaka Upanisad 1.2.12)
It says one should come to sri guru with firewood for sacrifice. What is that firewood for sacrifice?
[Shrila Narayana Maharaja:] It implies sraddha, firm faith and surrender to guru. At first, all gurus used to perform fire sacrifices. There was no money like nowadays, and their disciples used to come with firewood for use in their guru’s sacrifice. [Nowadays disciples bring money to construct temples and print books, which is all for the benefit of others. This is compared with carrying the wood for the fire sacrifice, which the spiritual master performed in order to benefit the entire world.] Some used to bring cow ghee, because the guru would have some cows in his asrama. In the course of carrying the firewood, they had faith in their guru and the surrendered understanding that, “I must obey you. I have faith that you can liberate me from this world.”
*[endnote 1] Someone may ask, "Can you tell me, where is the moon?" Another person may reply, "You can see it there, on the branch." The moon is not on the branch. It is millions of miles away, but some idea is given. The logic used to understand that which is not within our understanding is thus called sakha-candra-nyaya, the logic of the moon on the branch.