Shri Shrimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja
Mexico, May 26, 2002
You should know your spiritual identity, your identity beyond the body. Everyone should know the true conception of jiva-tattva, the established truth of the spirit soul, and for this purpose I will explain the Dasa-mula Tattva (the ten conclusive truths established by Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu) as written by Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura in Shri Jaiva-dharma. [The first of the ten is actually the body of evidence (pramana), that which establishes the conclusive fundamental truths, and the next nine are those truths, which are proven by the pramana.]
amnayah praha tattvam harim iha paramam sarva-saktim rasabdhim
tad-bhinnamsams ca jivan prakrti-kavalitan tad-vimuktams ca bhavad
bhedabheda-prakasam sakalam api hareh sadhanam suddha-bhaktim
sadhyam tat-pritim evety upadisati janan gaura-candrah svayam sah
“1. Pramana (that which establishes the conclusive fundamental truths)
The teachings of the Vedas received through the guru-parampara are known as amnaya. The infallible evidence of the Vedas, of the smrti-sastras (the corollaries to the Vedas) headed by the Shrimad Bhagavatam, as well as evidence such as direct sense perception, that concur with the guidance of the Vedas, these are all accepted as pramana (evidence). This pramana establishes the following prameyas (conclusive truths):
2. Parama-tattva – Shri Hari alone is the Supreme Absolute Truth.
3. Sarva-saktiman – He is the possessor of all potencies.
4. Akhila-rasamrta-sindhu – He is the ocean of all nectarean mellows and divine sweetness.
5. Vibhinnamsa-tattva – Both the mukta (liberated) and baddha (conditioned)
jivas are His eternally separated parts and parcels.
6. Baddha-jivas –Conditioned souls are subject to the control and covering of maya.
7. Mukta-jivas – Liberated souls are forever free from maya.
8. Acintya-Bhedabheda-tattva – The entire universe, consisting of the conscious
(cit) and unconscious (acit), is Shri Hari’s acintya-bhedabheda-prakasa, that is
to say, it is His manifestation which is inconceivably both different and nondifferent
9. Suddha-bhakti – Pure devotional service is the only practice (sadhana) to
attain spiritual perfection (sadhya).
10. Krishna-priti – Transcendental love and affection for Shri Krishna is the one and
only final object of attainment (sadhya-vastu).
The Supreme Personality of Godhead Shri Gaurangadeva has herein instructed ten distinct tattvas (fundamental truths) to the faithful jivas.” (Dasa-mula, verse 1)
Regarding any subject matter, in order for us to determine whether that subject matter is wrong or right, we want some proof. In regard to transcendental jiva-tattva (the science of the soul), Krishna-tattva (the science of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Shri Krishna), bhakti-tattva (the science of loving devotion to that Supreme Personality of Godhead), and other tattvas, (established truths) we must know what the proof is.
The proof is the Vedic literature, as told by the Supreme Lord Himself, which is accepted by the guru-parampara (disciplic succession of bona fide spiritual masters). Proof cannot be a mortal or mundane thing. Your mother is the authority for knowing who your father is. Can you give any proof regarding the identity of your father or mother? You cannot. You will have to say that, “My mother and father are proof.” Your mother says, “He is your father.” You were not an eye-witness. It is impossible for you to have seen your father when you were conceived, so you accept your mother’s authority. Similarly, to know who the Supreme Lord is, who we are, and what bhakti is, we accept the authoritative words of the Supreme Lord, Krishna, which our guru-parampara has accepted.
What does the guru-parampara tell us regarding what is to be proved by the evidence of the Lord’s words? It is nine items presented in the Dasa-mula tattva. If we want to perform bhajana, devotional service with a distinctive mood of spontaneous loving devotion to the Lord, we must know these nine items of Dasa-mula which are proven in the Vedas.
The first evidence is as follows:
haris tv ekam tattvam vidhi-siva-suresa-pranamitah
yad evedam brahma prakrti-rahitam tat tv anumahah
paratma tasyamso jagad-anugato visva-janakah
sa vai radha-kanto nava-jalada-kantis cid-udayah
“Indeed Shri Hari, to whom Brahma, Siva, Indra and other demigods continuously offer pranama, is the only Supreme Absolute Truth. Nirvisesa-brahma that is devoid of sakti is Shri Hari’s bodily effulgence. Maha-Visnu, who has created the universe and who has entered into it as the indwelling Supersoul of all, is simply His partial manifestation. It is that Shri Hari alone, the very form of transcendental reality (cit-svarupa), whose complexion is the color of a freshly formed thunder cloud, who is Shri Radha-vallabha, the beloved of Shri Radha.” (Dasa-mula, verse 2)
Krishna is the Absolute Truth, and I will explain this in an easy way for your understanding.
We accept Shri Krishna as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, but the father of Jesus Christ, God, Allah, Khoda, and Jehovah are also said to be the Supreme Personality of Godhead. There are not two Gods. The fact is that the Supreme Lord is one without a second. In different languages, in different countries, and in different sections of the world, people call that same Supreme Lord by various names.
But the conception of the Supreme Lord should be perfect. We accept the Supreme Lord according to the different languages and cultures, but those conceptions should be perfect, otherwise the various conceptions will not be the same. If they are all perfect, they will all be the same. *[see endnote 1]
It must be considered whether or not God has a form. The Supreme Lord must have a form. He must be very humble, very merciful, and stronger than anyone; He should have all qualities. Krishna is very beautiful and charming, and He has a sweet form. He can attract anyone by playing on His flute, while He is wearing a peacock feather on His head, and sporting with innumerable beautiful cows. He has many sweet pastimes, such as placing His head on the lotus feet of His most beloved Shrimati Radhika, and going cow-herding. He is extremely merciful; there is no comparison to His mercy and compassion. Whenever and wherever you call Him, He will come in His personal form.
Now we will compare different religious understandings in order to determine whether or not God has a form. The Bible states that God created man after His own image. God must have some form, but what form He has is not mentioned. Has he performed any sweet pastimes? Has He given His audience? We cannot ascertain this from the Bible. We have heard that He is merciful, but how merciful is He? Can He maintain us? Can He bring something to us? In the Bhagavad-gita it has been told:
ananyas cintayanto mam
ye janah paryupasate
yoga-ksemam vahamy aham
[“Those who always worship Me with exclusive devotion, meditating on My transcendental form—to them I carry what they lack, and I preserve what they have.” (Bhagavad-gita, 9.22)]
He has maintained all the Pandavas, and all the varieties of His devotees.
We want to know whether or not God has any pastimes and an attractive form and qualities. Does He have a mother and father or not? If all other incarnations and manifestations of God are in Him, then He is the Supreme Lord – otherwise He is only the Lord. We need to know that the manifestations of His body are called Allah, Khoda, and other nomenclatures, and the rays of His body are called the brahmajyoti, brahma, Brahman, and other nomenclatures.
If you pray to Krishna from the core of your heart, He will come and give you His audience. He will play with you, and He will accept you as His mother, father, friend, or most beloved. If you pray to a formless God, will He come? Will He accept you as father, mother, beloved, or friend? He will not, because He has no form. If you pray to Krishna’s incarnation Narayana, who has a transcendental form, He may come, but we cannot have a distinct relationship with Him. It is very easy to have the audience of Krishna if you call Him as He is, in His sweet, human-like form. He will come and play with you like your family member.
The evil witch Putana came to kill Krishna with very strong poison. However, because she disguised herself in the form of a mother, Krishna gave her a motherly position. How wonderful and merciful Krishna is! We have not heard about Allah, Khoda, or any other incarnation of the Supreme Lord being as merciful as Krishna.
I am going to tell you a very interesting story. In his young age, Jesus went to Vrindavan, Jagannatha Puri, and other holy places in India. He saw the Deities of Jagannatha and Krishna, and then he returned to his own land and began to preach about Christ. Who is Christ? We call Him Krishna. In Jagannatha Puri we call him Kroosna. From Kroosna came Christa (‘Krishna’ in Hebrew), and then Christas, and then Christ. So Christ is none other than Krishna. Jesus is the son of Christ, meaning Krishna. He accepted and preached that because his father has a form, he also has a form. The Bible is true – that God created man after His own image. Krishna is the same as Christ. There is no difference.
Now I am coming to our Muslim brothers. They accept the Koran. It is written in the Koran, "Inallah kalaka mein suratihi – Allah or Khoda has form, and from that form He fashioned man.” Surht means ‘form.’ What is the meaning? It means there is none greater than Allah. The same thing has been written in the Koran. Allah, or Khoda, is so much greater than any living being, but there is no information about His being minute. On the other hand, the Vedas state that Krishna is greater than everything else and at the same time He is smaller than everything else. *[See Endnote 2] So all names are the names of the Supreme Lord Krishna, and thus we can call out and remember Krishna as the Supreme Lord, as has been told by our guru-parampara.
Sometimes, when medicines are very bitter, the mother or father gives them sugar-coated. What we are explaining may seem very bitter, but it is very important. We want to give a place for some ‘bitter’ medicine in your heart, so that it will make you healthy, wealthy, and wise.
parakhyayah sakter aprthag api sa sve mahimani
sthito jivakhyam svam acid-abhihitam tam tri-padikam
sva-tantrecchah saktim sakala-visaye prerana-paro
vikaradyaih sunyah parama-puruso ‘yam vijayate
“Athough Shri Bhagavan is non-different from His inconceivable transcendental potency (para-sakti), He has His own independent nature and desires. His para-sakti consists of three aspects – cit-sakti (spiritual potency), jiva-sakti (marginal potency), and maya-sakti (external potency) – and He always inspires them to engage in their respective functions. That para-tattva (Supreme Absolute Truth) even while performing all these activities, still remains immutable and is eternally situated in the fully transcendental svarupa of His own glory.” (Dasa-mula verse 3)
sa vai hladinyas ca pranaya-vikrter hladana-ratas
tatha sri-sandhinya krta-visada-tad-dhama-nicaye
rasambodhau magno vraja-rasa-vilasi vijayate
“There are three functions of svarupa-sakti: hladini, sandhini and samvit. Krishna remains perpetually immersed in the pranaya-vikara of the hladini-sakti. Because of the confidential bhavas evoked by samvit-sakti, He is ever-situated as rasika-sekhara in relishing newer and newer rasa. That supremely independent pastime prince, Shri Krishna, is ever-drowned within the ocean of vraja-rasa in His transcendental bliss-filled abodes, headed by Vrindavan, which are manifest through sandhini-sakti. All glories to Him!” (Dasa Mula, verse 4)
What is the purport? The Supreme Lord Krishna is so merciful that if you so desire, He will come and play with you. No other incarnation of God can come and play with us. Therefore, we should worship Shri Shri Radha and Krishna. You are all fortunate to come to this line, chanting and worshipping this very Krishna. Moreover, one day you will become fortunate enough to be like Krishna’s most elevated associates, the gopis and cowherd boys.
sphulingah rddhagner iva cid-anavo jiva-nicayah
hareh suryasyaivaprthag api tu tad-bheda-visayah
vase maya yasya prakrti-patir evesvara iha
sa jivo mukto ‘pi prakrti-vasa-yogyah sva-gunatah
“Just as many tiny sparks burst out from a blazing fire, so the innumerable jivas are like atomic, spiritual particles in the rays of the spiritual sun, Shri Hari. Though these jivas are non-different from Shri Hari, they are also eternally different from Him. The eternal difference between the jiva and the Supreme Lord is that the Lord is the master of maya-sakti, whereas the jiva can fall under the control of maya, even in his liberated stage, due to his constitutional nature.” (Dasa-mula, verse 5)
Now we are coming to the fifth point. Who are we? Who is the soul? There are two kinds of souls.
[Question:] Why did the jiva, who was not influenced by maya when he was in the tatastha region, glance towards the material energy instead of the spiritual energy? Why from the tatastha would one want to jump to something where he is going to get whipped?
[Shrila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja:] Krishna’s mercy is causeless and unlimited. He has given us a precious jewel, which is called independence. No one can override this independence, and even Krishna cannot override it although it was He who gave it. So, anywhere the jiva may be, he is independent to do anything – but he is bound to take the fruit or result of his activities. Krishna may crush him or give him so many sweet things.
This independence is a very high class of jewel for the jiva, without which he would be a material thing, inert, like a stone, and would thus be of no importance. Krishna Himself has free will and is quite independent to do anything. The jiva is a minute part of that Supreme Lord, and that is why he also has independence, but because he is minute he can be covered by maya by misuse of that independence.
At that time, when the jiva had to choose, he had no intelligence to determine what is good or what is bad, for he had neither seen the material world nor the spiritual world.
[Question:] It seems to me that it is just chance that somebody who has no knowledge decides to go up to the spiritual world or down to this material existence.
[Shrila Narayana Maharaja:] You can think that it is chance, but it is not. It is the will of Krishna. It is a kind of pastime of Krishna.
[Question:] From that position of tatastha, before the jiva first comes to this material world, it is very difficult to use one’s freewill to go to the spiritual world, isn’t it?
[Shrila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja:] It is not difficult. It is difficult to come to this world, because the potency of the jiva is to serve Krishna. It is very much possible to go to Goloka or Vaikuntha from there, but since you are here, follow me and I will take you.
All those who have doubts may come forward, and we will try to eradicate those doubts.
[Question:] Why is there so much confusion on this topic, even amongst certain gurus and sannyasis?
[Shrila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja:] Confusion about this subject is due to ignorance, due to not associating with Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, in whose Jaiva-dharma all the proper information is found. Not only Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, but also Shrila Jiva Gosvami, Shrila Rupa Gosvami, Shrila Sanatana Gosvami, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Brahma, Narada, Suka, and all other self-realized souls confirm the same truths.
You should know what Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura has told in Jaiva-dharma from the words of Shrila Jiva Gosvami and Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Shrila Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja has also given the same philosophical conclusions.
What is your question?
[Question:] Since we are manifest from God, how could we have been so ignorant as to have chosen to come here?
[Shrila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja:] The seed of a tree, or creeper, or plant has all the potency of what will appear later on, but what will later appear is now in a latent position. The jiva is like that. Everything about the form, nature, and service of the spirit soul is present in potency, but not manifested. As long as the jiva is not exposed to the spiritual energy, not performing bhagavat-bhajana, the condition of his spiritual identity is that of a seed. He has no true power of discrimination.
[Question:] Like a baby?
[Shrila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja:] You should know the answers intellectually. After that you should practice and realize these truths for yourself. It is best to follow the principles of bhakti, to do bhajana, to chant and remember Krishna – and then all kinds of knowledge will automatically come to you and you will realize that knowledge. Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura has explained this.
It is not that every ‘why’ has an answer. It is like someone asking, “If Krishna dies, what will happen?” This is not a good question to ask. Try to chant, remember and meditate on Krishna, and everything will come in your trance.
[*Endnote 1: [Oh, yes, certainly. Certainly. Yes. The same thing, just like I have given example several times that pocket dictionary and the big dictionary, both of them are dictionaries. It is not that because it is small pocket dictionary, therefore it is not dictionary. It is also dictionary. So when he's advanced and finished pocket dictionary, he may consult the big dictionary. That is the difference. Bible is not different from Bhagavad-gita, but when one is perfectly conversant with Bible, he'll understand more nicely Bhagavad-gita. It is not contradictory. It is helpful. (Shrila Prabhupada’s lecture on, Chaitanya-caritamrta, Adi-lila 7.109-114, San Francisco, February 20, 1967)
[*Endnote 2: Similarly, one may think of Krishna as smaller than the smallest. That is also a kind of greatness. Krishna can manufacture this gigantic cosmic manifestation, and He can also manufacture a small insect. In a book one may sometimes find a small running insect smaller than a period. This is Krishna's craftsmanship. Anor aniyan mahato mahiyan (Katha Upanisad 1.2.20): He can create something greater than the greatest and smaller than the smallest. Now human beings have manufactured the 747 airplane, which according to their conception is very big. But can they produce an airplane as small as a flying insect? That is not possible. Actual greatness, however, is not one-sided. One who is actually great can become greater than the greatest and smaller than the smallest. (Teachings of Queen Kunti, Chapter 13, by Shrila Bhaktivedanta Svami Prabhupada)
We understand from Vedic literature that Brahman, or the spirit, is anor aniyamsam, smaller than an atom, and mahato mahiyamsam, greater than the greatest. As far as we can conceive, the space which contains the universe is the greatest, but Krishna has shown millions of universes in His mouth. The greatness of God cannot be comprehended by the living entities, who are part and parcel of God. As living entities, we are very minute, infinitesimal, and God is infinite. Indeed, the magnitude of the individual spirit soul is so microscopic that it cannot be seen. One cannot even imagine it with his material senses. Therefore it is said that the spirit soul is smaller than an atom (anor aniyamsam). (The Mathless Gift, by Shrila Bhaktivedanta Svami Prabhupada)
Six atoms, trasarenu. Six atoms, when it is combined, we can see through the windows with the sunshine so many trasarenu. Those small particles which we see through the window with sunshine, they are combination of six atoms. They are not original atom. But the atomic constitution of the living entity is a thousand times smaller than the atom. Therefore anor aniyan mahato mahiyan: "He is greater than the greatest and smaller than the smallest." The smaller than the smallest, we are. We are also part and parcel. Just like the sun and the sunshine. The sunshine is combination of small atomic molecular parts, shining parts. They are also different. They are not combined together. That is scientific. Similarly, we are also sparks of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. (Shrila Prabhupada’s lecture of Auckland, N.Z., 1972)]
-- Harikatha Team, July 2009