“Forgetting Krishna, the living entity has been attracted by the external feature from time immemorial. Therefore the illusory energy [maya] gives him all kinds of misery in his material existence.” (Chaitanya Charitamrita, Madhya 20.117)
कृष्ण भुलिऽ सेइ जीव अनादि-बहिर्मुख
अतएव माया तारे देय संसार-दुःख
kṛṣṇa bhuli’ sei jīva anādi-bahirmukha
ataeva māyā tāre deya saṁsāra-duḥkha
Friend1: I know people have debates about the fall of the jiva.
Friend2: What do you mean by “fall”? And define “jiva.”
Friend1: Jiva is the conditioned living entity. Technically belonging to the marginal energy of God.
Friend2: What are on the sides of this margin?
Friend1: The spiritual energy and the material energy. Everything is eternal since it emanates from the Almighty, but the two sides are opposite in nature.
Friend2: How so?
Friend1: With the spiritual energy there is no degrading influence of time. Spirit and body together; no dichotomy. No negative illusion and most importantly, no forgetfulness of the Supreme Lord.
Friend2: Bhagavan, the one with transcendental features that can be enumerated to an extent.
Friend1: And also quantified to a degree, though He is beyond the measurement of blunt instruments, Adhokshaja.
Friend2: We can say that Bhagavan is strong enough to hold a mountain on His pinky finger for seven straight days. He has enough power in His arms to lift an amazingly heavy bow that the most capable rulers around the world cannot even move.
Friend1: He can take the incarnation of a boar and hold up the entire earth. The list goes on. Anyway, so the jiva is in between. Sometimes they associate with the spiritual energy and sometimes not. The potential is there to fall from grace, so to speak.
Friend2: Descend to mrityu-loka, the land of birth and death. Spin on the wheel of reincarnation.
Friend1: Transmigrating from one body to another.
Friend2: What is the debate exactly?
Friend1: As to where the jiva was originally. Before they fell, were they in the spiritual realm with Bhagavan or somewhere else.
Friend2: The tatastha-shakti. The place in between. I’ve heard the comparison to dropping mustard seeds on a blade. Some will fall to one side and some to the other.
Friend1: Right, like it’s almost a random determination where the jivas end up. This accompanies the teaching that no one ever falls from the spiritual realm, Vaikuntha.
Friend2: Even though people are known to appear in this world from there.
Friend1: Yes, that is referred to as a descent. The classic case is the two doorkeepers, Jaya and Vijaya. They got cursed to take birth as Rakshasa demons, but this isn’t considered falling down. It was part of the Supreme Lord’s plan, to fill character roles in His lila.
Friend2: That is the other argument, then. No one actually falls. Wrap your head around that for a second.
Friend1: What do you mean?
Friend2: Falling is simply forgetting. Like falling asleep and going into a dream, the setting seems real, but everything vanishes upon waking up.
Friend1: But the experience was real. The emotions you felt were not fake. Otherwise, there would not be sweating and an elevated heart-rate.
Friend2: Precisely. Anyway, liberation is like waking up. Getting out of the dream. Returning to the original consciousness, which is connected to God.
Friend1: I see. Then why is it referred to as “falling”? If it is only forgetfulness, why the directional reference?
Friend2: It’s just easier to understand. Up and down get inverted if I stand upside down, no? Everything is relative. If you think about it, that’s exactly what life in maya is. You’ve fallen but you think you’re flying high. Engaged in sense gratification, you are sinking down deeper, but you think that advancement is taking place.
Friend1: Like building a palace to live in. Accumulating wealth to somehow enjoy. Rising in stature in society.
Friend2: Which are not negative on their own. Everyone has to fit in somewhere in life. Yet if you think that such achievements are the only reason for living, then the illusion has a strong hold. Escape and enter the reality. Where you were at some point in the past is not very important. There is always infinity to consider, as well. This means that prior to falling on the blade, the mustard seeds had to be somewhere.
न त्व् एवाहं जातु नासं
न त्वं नेमे जनाधिपाः
न चैव न भविष्यामः
सर्वे वयम् अतः परम्
na tv evāhaṁ jātu nāsaṁ
na tvaṁ neme janādhipāḥ
na caiva na bhaviṣyāmaḥ
sarve vayam ataḥ param
“Never was there a time when I did not exist, nor you, nor all these kings; nor in the future shall any of us cease to be.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 2.12)
As Shri Krishna explains in the Bhagavad-gita, never was there a time that any of us did not exist.
With construction higher up going,
But of my actual fall not knowing.
Since into illusion deep,
Like person fast asleep.
Liberation the condition upon awaking,
Initiative for spiritual life taking.
Not relevant where at certain time,
Opportunity for destiny making mine.