“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)
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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
His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada presents the story of a tala fruit falling from a tree at or around the same time as a crow associating with the same tree. There is speculation as to the actual cause. This speculation corresponds nicely with the debate over the origin of the jiva, who is the living entity.
1. The crow shook the limb
“Dude, it was totally the crow. That thing flew in here and caused havoc. The fruit fell because the crow came in and made a stir. There is no doubt about it. No sane person would disagree.”
2. The fruit was heavy due to ripeness
“Are you serious, man? The fruit was absurdly ripe. We can see it. You can examine the fruit with your own eyes. Because the fruit was so big, it was going to fall, regardless. The crow happened to deal the final blow. By landing on the branch, there was enough friction to sever the last remaining bond to the tree. The fruit then fell to its destiny.”
3. Due to some other cause
“The ripeness of the fruit had nothing to do with it. The crow was not a factor, either. You people are crazy. There was something else at play. The fruit was already detached from the tree before the crow arrived. That is why the crow flew away so quickly. Don’t you see? It got frightened by the movement of the fruit.”
If we had the time, we could come up with even more explanations. The event has already occurred, however. If there were video surveillance footage available, that is still no guarantee of settling the debate. We see this play out in professional sports in the modern day.
There is the relatively new concept of the replay challenge. The coach for one of the participating teams can ask the officials to take a closer look at the most recently concluded play. If there is an in-depth study, then maybe the official ruling will change. A catch becomes a drop. A play blown-dead becomes a goal. A runner considered safe is now out, and so forth. Still, on many occasions there is no consensus on what exactly took place.
With respect to the fallen fruit, the event is over. There is acknowledgment of the outcome. The fruit is on the ground. There is no dispute on this issue. The reality of the situation is the fallen fruit.
In the same way, the jiva soul is in the material world. There is the possibility that the originating position is the spiritual effulgence known as brahmajyoti. As time is infinite in both directions, there is always a beginning to a beginning and an end to an end.
Moreover, the living being always has choice. They are never compelled in one direction or another. Since they have the vulnerability to forgetting their constitutional position, they are considered to be in the marginal position.
Sometimes they are in transcendence. Sometimes they are not. Sometimes they remember the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Sometimes they forget Him. Someone may be in the Vaikuntha realm, as a resident, and a few moments later the gears of the cycle of birth and death are grinding.
Since there is always the link to transcendence, there is really no such thing as separation from God. We are always with Him. My entire existence is based on this connection. To be separated from God means to lose existence, which is not possible.
To speculate endlessly as to the origin of the jiva soul falls in the category of kakataliya nyaya. It is like speculating endlessly as to why the fruit fell from the tree. A person could say that diagnosing the cause of a specific disease is beneficial in preventing the onset for others, but for the person suffering the only concern is getting better.
The solution for the fall of the jiva, which is like forgetting God within the period of a dream, is remembering. Those who always remember the Supreme Personality of Godhead keep Him close by. He is never lost to them. Neither are they lost to Him.
यो मां पश्यति सर्वत्र
सर्वं च मयि पश्यति
तस्याहं न प्रणश्यामि
स च मे न प्रणश्यति
yo māṁ paśyati sarvatra
sarvaṁ ca mayi paśyati
tasyāhaṁ na praṇaśyāmi
sa ca me na praṇaśyati
“For one who sees Me everywhere and sees everything in Me, I am never lost, nor is he ever lost to Me.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 6.30)
The time of last remembrance of Divinity may have been so long ago that we consider a person to be nitya-baddha, or eternally bound. It seems like there is no hope in sight, that they will continue to be forgetful. But when the moment of remembrance arrives, the past time in forgetfulness dissipates. It is almost like it never happened.
This means that the endless speculation is insignificant on both sides. During the period of forgetfulness it is a way to continue the baddha state. During the period of remembrance, the forgetfulness feels like the dream from last night, which I no longer recall.
Occurring in a dream,
But no longer seen.
Unable to recall,
Same with jiva’s fall.
Supreme remembering when,
No longer bound then.
To material world’s situation,
Destined now for liberation.
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