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The Fall of the Jiva: 
Srila Prabhupada's Answer — Again

by Dravida dasa

Atul Krishna Prabhu has provided many quotes from Srila Prabhupada's books to show that the conditioned living entities were never in the spiritual world. Here's a bunch that show the opposite.

[Srimad-Bhagavatam 4.28.53]

[Translation]: The brahmana continued: My dear friend, even though you cannot immediately recognize Me, can't you remember that in the past you had a very intimate friend? Unfortunately, you gave up My company and accepted a position as enjoyer of this material world.

[Purport] ... This is an explanation of how the living entity falls down into this material world. In the spiritual world there is no duality, nor is there hate. The Supreme Personality of Godhead expands Himself into many. In order to enjoy bliss more and more, the Supreme Lord expands Himself in different categories.... The vibhinnamsa expansions, the marginal potencies of the Lord, are the living entities. When the living entities desire to enjoy themselves, they develop a consciousness of duality and come to hate the service of the Lord. In this way the living entities fall into the material world.

In the Prema-vivarta it is said:

krsna-bahirmukha hana bhoga-vancha kare
nikata-stha maya tare japatiya dhare

The natural position of the living entity is to serve the Lord in a transcendental loving attitude. When the living entity wants to become Krsna Himself or imitate Krsna, he falls down into the material world. Since Krsna is the supreme father, His affection for the living entity is eternal. When the living entity falls down into the material world, the Supreme Lord, through His svamsa expansion (Paramatma), keeps company with the living entity. In this way the living entity may some day return home, back to Godhead.

By misusing his independence, the living entity falls down from the service of the Lord and takes a position in this material world as an enjoyer. That is to say, the living entity takes his position within a material body.

———————————

[Srimad-Bhagavatam 4.28.54]

[Purport] The original home of the living entity and the Supreme Personality of Godhead is the spiritual world. In the spiritual world both the Lord and the living entities live together very peacefully. Since the living entity remains engaged in the service of the Lord, they both share a blissful life in the spiritual world. However, when the living entity wants to enjoy himself, he falls down into the material world.

———————————

[Srimad-Bhagavatam 4.20.37]

[Purport] Because the Supreme Personality of Godhead is all-spiritual, He can descend from the spiritual sky without changing His body, and thus He is known as acyuta, or infallible. When a living entity falls down to the material world, however, he has to accept a material body, and therefore, in his material embodiment, he cannot be called acyuta. Because he falls down from his real engagement in the service of the Lord, the living entity gets a material body to suffer or try to enjoy in the miserable material conditions of life. Therefore the fallen living entity is cyuta, whereas the Lord is called acyuta.

—————————————-

[Caitanya-caritamrta, Adi-lila 15.9]

[Purport] From the very beginning of His childhood life Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu introduced the system of observing a fast on the Ekadasi day. In the Bhakti-sandarbha by Srila Jiva Gosvami there is a quotation from the Skanda Purana admonishing that a person who eats grains on Ekadasi becomes a murderer of his mother, father, brother and spiritual master, and even if he is elevated to a Vaikuntha planet, he falls down.

————————————————-

[Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya-lila 20.130]

Thus Krsna knows the cause of the distressed condition of the conditioned soul. He therefore descends from His original position to instruct the conditioned soul and inform him about his forgetfulness of his relationship with Krsna. Krsna exhibits Himself in His relationships in Vrndavana and at the Battle of Kuruksetra so that people will be attracted to Him and again return home, back to Godhead.... If we revive our original intimate relationship with Krsna, our distressed condition in the material world will be mitigated.

———————————————-

[Srimad-Bhagavatam 5.14.1]

When the pure soul wants to give up the Lord's service to enjoy the material world, Krsna certainly gives him a chance to enter the material world.

———————————————-

[Srimad-Bhagavatam 2.5.19]

[Translation] These three modes of material nature, being further manifested as matter, knowledge, and activities, put the eternally transcendental living entity under conditions of cause and effect and make him responsible for such activities.

[Purport] Because they are between the internal and external potencies, the eternally transcendental living entities are called the marginal potency of the Lord. Factually, the living entities are not meant to be so conditioned by material energy, but due to their being affected by the false sense of lording it over the material energy, they come under the influence of such potency and thus become conditioned by the three modes of material nature. This external energy of the Lord covers up the pure knowledge of the living entities eternally existing with Him, but the covering is so constant that it appears that the conditioned soul is eternally ignorant.

—————————————————-

[Srimad-Bhagavatam 2.10.6]

[Translation] "Liberation is the permanent situation of the form of the living being after he gives up the changeable gross and subtle material bodies."

[Purport]. . . [S]ome of the conditioned souls, who follow the transcendental sound in the form of the Vedic literatures and are thus able to go back to Godhead, attain spiritual and original bodies after quitting the conditional gross and subtle bodies. The material conditional bodies develop out of the living entities' forgetfulness of their relationship with Godhead, and during the course of the cosmic manifestation, the conditioned souls are given a chance to revive their original status of life with the help of revealed scriptures, so mercifully compiled by the Lord in His different incarnations.

——————————————-

This list could be expanded, of course.

So the question is, How do we resolve the seeming contradiction in Srila Prabhupada's books concerning the fall or no-fall of the jiva?

This question has been hashed and rehashed for 20 years now, so to arrive at the answer quickly, I would suggest we go to the Crow-and-Tal essay, which Srila Prabhupada dictated to Revatinandana Prabhu in the early seventies precisely to answer this puzzle. Essence of the answer?

"Formerly we were with Krsna in His lila, or sport."

And we should also go to the letters Srila Prabhupada wrote in answer to this specific question. Typical answer?

"We are all originally situated on the platform of Krsna consciousness in our eternal personal relationship of love of Krsna. But due to forgetfulness we become familiar with the material world or Maya. As soon as one chants the Hare Krsna Mantra with sincerity and without offense . . . his original Krsna consciousness is immediately revived. [By chanting Hare Krsna and performing other devotional activities] we are always remembering Krsna and that is our natural conscious state. So naturally everything about Krsna is originally known to us all and as soon as we begin to associate with the devotees of the Lord and chant His Holy Name, this memory gradually becomes stronger as we remember our constitutional position of always serving Krsna in different ways." [letter to Sriman Stan, 1970]

Another one:

Regarding your questions concerning the spirit souls falling into Maya's influence, it is not that those who have developed a passive relationship with Krsna are more likely to fall into nescient activities. Usually anyone who has developed his relationship with Krsna does not fall down in any circumstance, but because the independence is always there, the soul may fall down from any position or any relationship by misusing his independence. But his relationship with Krsna is never lost, simply it is forgotten by the influence of Maya, so it may be regained or revived by the process of hearing the Holy Name of Krsna and then the devotee engages himself in the service of the Lord which is his original or constitutional position. The relationship of the living entity with Krsna is eternal as both Krsna and the living entity are eternal; the process is one of revival only, nothing new. [Letter to: Jagadisa das, 1970]

One more:

Regarding your several questions: Where are the spirit souls coming from that are taking microbe bodies? It is not a matter of any particular body. These spirit souls and all spirit souls are coming from Vaikuntha, but in these material worlds they are taking various grades of bodies according to their material activities. [letter to Jagadisa das, 1970]

—————————-

And we should go to the face-to-face answers Srila Prabhupada gave in lectures or conversations, addressing the specific question before us. A few examples:

[Atlanta, 1975]

Devotee III: If one is fortunate enough to revive his natural position in the spiritual sky, how can he keep from falling down again? ...

Prabhupada: How your Nixon is dragged down? How your president Nixon is dragged down? He was in the exalted post, and why he was dragged down?

Devotee IV: They dragged him down.

Prabhupada: Yes. He was forced to come down. Why?

Tamal Krsna: He broke the rules.

Prabhupada: Anyone, even in this world or spiritual world, he has got the potency of coming down by misusing his little independence. It is nothing like that, that if you become president, you are secure. If you are not perfect, then you will be dragged down. Or if you think imperfectly... The formula is that in the spiritual world everyone is engaged in the service of the Lord. There is no other conception as in this material world everyone is engaged to serve his senses. He likes something, and he is engaged for that purpose. That service is there, but it is service to himself, his senses. But in the spiritual world there is no such thing as giving service to the senses. Simply giving service to the Lord. That is spiritual world. So as soon as you think that "Why shall I give service to Krsna? Why not become independent?" you fall down immediately. So there is potency of thinking like that. Krsna bhuliya jiva bhoga vancha kare, pasate maya tare japatiya dhare. As soon as one forgets the service of the Lord and he wants to become himself Lord, immediately maya will capture. This maya means this material world.

——————-

[Washington, D.C., 1976]

Devotee (4): Srila Prabhupada, you say in your books so many times that somehow or other we have fallen into this material world due to our enviousness or our independence.

Prabhupada: Many, there are many reasons.

Devotee (4): I can't seem to get a grasp on this at all. If we in our original constitutional position as part and parcel of Krsna, and in that position, that original position of full knowledge and full bliss and being in our eternal nature...Now I have some experience of how strong this material energy is and how maya works somewhat, but if I had known this and had full knowledge, then I would have had this knowledge of how maya works and how I might fall.

Prabhupada: You read the life of Jaya and Vijaya, Hiranyakasipu and Hiranyaksa? They were Krsna's doorkeepers. How they fell down? Did you read the life of Hiranyakasipu and Hiranyaksa?

Devotee (4): Yes, Prabhupada.

Prabhupada: So how they did fall? They are from Vaikuntha. They are Krsna's personal associates, keeping the doorkeepers. How did they fall down? Anyway, there is chance of falling down at any moment.

Devotee (4): Well, in his family they wanted to enjoy the material world.

Prabhupada: Whatever it may be, the falldown is there. So because we are living entities, we are not as powerful as Krsna, therefore we may fall down from Vaikuntha at any moment. Iccha-dvesa samutthena sarge yanti parantapa. Find out this verse.

Pusta Krsna:

iccha-dvesa samutthena dvandva-mohena bharata sarva-bhutani sammoham sarge yanti parantapa

"O scion of Bharata [Arjuna], O conqueror of the foe, all living entities are born into delusion, overcome by the dualities of desire and hate."

Prabhupada: Purport.

Pusta Krsna: "The real constitutional position of the living entity is that of subordination to the Supreme Lord, who is pure knowledge. When one is deluded into separation from this pure knowledge, he becomes controlled by illusory energy and cannot understand the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The illusory energy is manifested in the duality of desire and hate. Due to desire and hate the ignorant person wants to become one with the Supreme Lord and envies Krsna as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. ..."

Prabhupada: So even in the Vaikuntha, if I desire that "Why shall I serve Krsna? Why not become Krsna?" I immediately fall down. That is natural. A servant is serving the master, sometimes he may think that "If I could become the master." They are thinking like that, they are trying to become God. That is delusion. You cannot become God. That is not possible. But he's wrongly thinking.

Vipina: Why doesn't Krsna protect us from that desire?

Prabhupada: He's protecting. He says, "You rascal, don't desire, surrender unto Me." But you are rascal, you do not do this.

Vipina: Why doesn't He save me from thinking like that?

Prabhupada: That means you lose your independence.

Vipina: And no love.

Prabhupada: That is force. [indistinct] prema. In Bengal it is said "If you catch one girl or boy, 'You love me, you love me, you love me,'" is it love? [laughter]. "You love me, otherwise I will kill you." [laughter] Is that love? So Krsna does not want to become a lover like that, on the point of revolver, "You love me, otherwise I shall kill you." That is not love, that is threatening. Love is reciprocal, voluntary, good exchange of feeling, then that is love, not by force.

——————

So, something's gotta give. If we're going to insist, with Atul Krishna Prabhu, that it is "unserious" and "improper" to qualify "no one" in such statements of Srila Prabhupada's as "it is a fact that no one falls from Vaikuntha," or to qualify "never" in such statements as "those who have once entered a Vaikuntha planet can never fall down," then what do we make of so many of Srila Prabhupada's statements directly saying that souls can and do fall from the spiritual world or Vaikuntha? You have to qualify them: "Oh, that's just in the letters and conversations," or "That's a preaching strategy; Srila Prabhupada didn't really believe it," or "Ok, Srila Prabhupada said both, so let's go outside of Srila Prabhupada's corpus to resolve the issue." I choose to stay within the words of Srila Prabhupada and qualify the "never"s and the "no one"s, as he did. Therefore, Srila Prabhupada's conclusion is...

1. Since Krsna's energies are all-pervading, we can never truly be separated from Krsna, and therefore no one falls from the spiritual world in the literal sense.

2. Occasionally one of Krsna's jiva-soul servitors in the spiritual world, who are by nature in the marginal position, somehow or other develops the desire to enjoy separate from Krsna. This desire causes the soul to be covered by illusion and thus forget Krsna, His abode, and service to Him. This forgetfulness, likened to a dreaming state, is sometimes known as "falling from the spiritual world."

3. By practicing bhakti-yoga we can revive our original Krsna consciousness, regain our original spiritual form (svarupena vyavasthitih), and return to our original position of loving devotional service to Krsna in the spiritual world.

Drutakarma Prabhu has compiled a book of evidence and argument supporting the conclusion that, according to Srila Prabhupada and the previous acaryas, the conditioned souls were once in a developed, intimate relationship of service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. If you want the book in Word(rtf) format, write me at dravida@mindspring.com .

[Drutakarma Prabhu’s book can now be downloaded from Chakra—Ed]

© CHAKRA 6 December 2001

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