“The living entities, who are residents of the spiritual as well as the material expansions, are His marginal energy (tatastha-shakti), and they are at liberty to live in either of the energies, external or internal. Those who live within the spiritual expansion of the Lord are called liberated souls, whereas the residents of the external expansion are called the conditioned souls.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Shrimad Bhagavatam, 2.6.17 Purport)
The living entity is described as a jiva. The functional unit of life is spirit. Long before modern science discovered it, the Vedas described atomic theory. Anu and Paramanu. Get down to the lowest level and you have a basic building block of life.
The living spirit, chetana, is encased in a covering lacking a spiritual component. That is to say a jiva resides within an ever changing-body. Everything is originally sourced in the creator and beyond. The person using the three modes of nature as ingredients for construction had to first receive the creative potency from somewhere.
That source is the Supreme Lord, who has three main energies in terms of analysis. One is the material energy, of which we are quite familiar. The jivas are also His energy, and they are technically known as tatastha. This is marginal, like remaining on the shore of an ocean. Sometimes the waves come over and the resident is part of the spiritual energy, the third category. Sometimes they are without shelter and left to fend with material nature.
That supreme shelter has specific characteristics, distinguishing it from the material energy. The jiva always has the choice, and from knowledge, jnana, they can more clearly see the urgency for going with the spiritual energy.
1. No degrading influence of time
Without that shelter, kala always acts. This Sanskrit word actually has two main definitions. One is time. When we see pictures from childhood it is easy to notice the difference from the present. The individual is the same since they are spirit soul on the inside. Spirit is never created and it can never be destroyed.
न जायते म्रियते वा कदाचिन्
नायं भूत्वा भविता वा न भूयः
अजो नित्यः शाश्वतो ऽयं पुराणो
न हन्यते हन्यमाने शरीरे
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 never birth nor death. Nor, having once been, does he ever cease to be. He is unborn, eternal, ever-existing, undying and primeval. He is not slain when the body is slain.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 2.20)
The body changes and the instrument of that change is time. Kala has yet to be defeated. Its other meaning is “death.” Time’s final work, so to speak, at the individual level is effecting the last change of the body. This is the moment when the jiva inside travels to an entirely different body. The process is transmigration, or what is commonly referred to as reincarnation.
The spiritual energy lacks this degrading influence of time. That is to say if a spirit soul takes complete shelter of the spiritual energy, they eventually receive their svarupa, or true form. Then the entire distinction between body and spirit vanishes. The eyes, legs, arms, feet, etc. are of a different nature; they also identify the individual, as they are non-different from the vital force.
2. No spirit-body dichotomy
Kala acts on something that is not ours. One meaning for maya is “that which is not.” The material energy is maya because it is not Brahman. The external world, the objects manifest before the eyes, do not truly represent the spiritual energy. This is because of the presence of the vital force inside.
The best evidence is death. The only difference is the lack of a vital force. The same organs may be there. The same form that was animated maybe moments prior is no longer so. What is the cause of the change? What provided the spark before and why is it absent now?
As mentioned above, with the spiritual energy the dichotomy ceases to exist. Proof is there in the Supreme Lord Himself, whose transcendental body is full of bliss and knowledge. When He appears in this world from time to time, the properties remain the same. That is why Shri Krishna on the battlefield of Kurukshetra still appeared like a youth just entering the teenage years. He was nava-yauvanam after over one hundred years having elapsed since His emergence from the womb of mother Devaki.
3. No negative illusory force
Maya begins to act as soon as there is birth. The child is mostly in ignorance. They have to learn, through both personal experience and the guidance of authority figures. The false identification may never cease. The spiritual vision is required, and only someone who has seen the truth can help others to see it.
तद् विद्धि प्रणिपातेन
उपदेक्ष्यन्ति ते ज्ञानं
tad viddhi praṇipātena
upadekṣyanti te jñānaṁ
“Just try to learn the truth by approaching a spiritual master. Inquire from him submissively and render service unto him. The self-realized soul can impart knowledge unto you because he has seen the truth.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 4.34)
With the spiritual energy there is also maya, but of a different nature. The illusory energy is positive; the interaction is auspicious in every way. The best example is the effect on the residents of the planet of Goloka Vrindavana.
They are with God constantly, yet they are not consciously aware of His Divine status. They see Him in a variety of relationships, and this so-called ignorance only increases their attachment for Him. In that life in liberation the bliss they feel always increases.
4. No forgetfulness of Krishna
The fall to the material world is merely an issue of forgetfulness. The status of remaining on the shore without the waves is not the result of randomness. There is a choice which can be acted upon at any moment.
This is another way to see the superiority of the bhakti path. Love and devotion connected to the Divine, bhakti-yoga, is nothing more than changing the status from forgetful to always remembering. Any person, at any stage of life can trigger the requisite transformation. The other paths of spiritual life, which bring benefits that are like shadows always following the goddess of devotion, Bhakti Devi, have strict requirements.
The liberated state is always remembering Krishna. As mentioned before, He may not always be remembered as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Bhagavan. The cows see Him as their beloved caretaker. The parrots sing of His glories and His amorous dealings with Shrimati Radharani. The mother sees Krishna as her beloved dependent, and the friends see Him as their equal with whom to enjoy each and every day. The devotees in this world see Him as their eternal object of service, the one called out to with love through the maha-mantra: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
Spiritual energy divided by line,
Such as not influenced by time.
Body can identify me,
Despite changes to see.
Maya having different effect,
Where His nature not to detect.
Always thinking of Krishna instead,
The one by mother Yashoda fed.
Categories: the four