4-The jivas originate from the tatastha

Innumerable references from prominent acaryas, some of which are given below, clearly and repeatedly state that the jivas originate from the tatastha-sakti of the Lord. It is not clearly stated anywhere in sastra that all the jivas bound by maya in the material world originated in eternal lila with the Lord in Vaikuntha. All references from books printed by the Gaudiya Matha are quoted exactly as translated by their leading devotee scholars, portions of which were directly overseen by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura. These books are originally written in their native language (Bengali) and many of these disciples were personally trained by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta. Every single disciple (or grand disciple) of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta in the Gaudiya Matha that we have spoken with or read their writings has unhesitatingly and adamently stated that noone falls from the spiritual world. To state that we fall from the spiritual world is to say that they are all wrong.

Srila Bhaktivinode Thakura:

It should be understood that the jiva soul is neither produced of this material world, nor created in the transcendental world. They are originated from the marginal line between the transcendental and mundane spheres. (Tattva Viveka 2.4, by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, page 55)

Among the unlimited potencies of Sri Krsna, there is one known as tatastha-sakti (border-potency). From that sakti comes out the jiva-souls remaining at the junction of the two worlds, viz., the transcendental and the mundane ones, may contact them both. In its composition it is only the atomic cit (pure sentience) . . . On account of the purity in its composition, it has got the capacity for being the eternal denizen with divine bliss in the transcendental power. (Jaiva Dharma, chapter 4, page 46)

A jiva is a spark of the eternal consciousness. A jiva is first situated on the line of demarcation between the material world and the spiritual world. There those jivas who do not forget their relation with Krsna derive the power of consciousness and are drawn into the spiritual world-they come in eternal touch with Krsna and enjoy beatitude arising from the worship of Krsna. And those who forget Krsna and give themselves up to maya's enjoyments, maya'with her own force draws them into herself. It is from that very moment that we fall into the misery of this world. (Jaiva Dharma, chapter 7, page 95-96)

The semblance or dim reflection of the internal Cit-potency is the jiva-sakti (potency) or Tatastha-sakti stationed in between cit-jagat and a-cit-jagat or mayic-jagat whereas the shadow or perverted reflection of that internal cit potency is the maya-sakti or external a-cit potency. All the jivas emanate from the tatastha-sakti of God and accordingly the mundane worlds emanate from the maya-sakti of God. (Sri Srimad Bhagavat-arka Marichimala, chap. 1, Introd., By Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura)

The jiva-souls are emanated from the jiva-sakti of Sri Krsna and they are spiritual but atomic. In the very self of the jiva-soul or in his constitution practically there remains no maya. As jiva-souls are atomic in size and being emanated from the tatastha-sakti of Sri Krsna (viz. from the intermediary-potency which exists in between cit-jagat and mayic-jagat) jiva-soul is liable to be subjected to maya when becomes averse to his constitutional right of serving the Lord. Jiva-soul in bondage misconstrues himself as the doer and enjoyer, therefore is affinated to the adopted bodies which are provided by prakrti. A jiva by dint of spiritual virtue may possess steadfast devotion to Sri Krsna and getting rid of worldly affinity goes back to the abode of bliss. (Sri Srimad Bhagavat-arka Marichimala, ch. 7, text 34, purport by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura)

The constituent particles, in the form of pencils of effulgence of Maha-Visnu are manifest as the individual souls (jivas). (Brahma-Samhita 10, purp.)

The cit-potency of God is boundless, so is His maya-potency also enormous; between them are the innumerable minute jivas. The Jivas emanate from the tatastha sakti (border potency) of Sri Krsna; so is the nature to tatastha (border potency) of Sri Krsna. (Jaiva Dharma, chapter 15, page 213)

The root of all actions is the desire for acts, the root of which again is avidya. Avidya is the name for the forgetfulness of soul's essential nature that 'I am Krsna's servant.' This avidya did not commence within the course of the mundane time. That root of karma of the jiva arose when he was at the tatastha position. As such, the beginning of karma is not to be traced within mundane time, and, on that account karma is beginningless. (Jaiva Dharma, page 234)

There are two types of jivas liberated from maya--nitya-mukta, eternally liberated, and baddha-mukta, those who were bound but became liberated. The jivas who were never bound by maya are called nitya-mukta. The nitya-muktas are also of two types, aisvarya gata nitya mukta and madhurya gata nitya mukta. The former are the associates of Lord Narayana in Vaikuntha and are the atomic particles from mula Sankarsana. The latter are the associates of Lord Krsna in Goloka. They are the atomic particles of Sri Baladeva situated in Goloka Vrndavana. (Jaiva-Dharma, Chapter 17, p. 251)

The following excerpt [translated by leading devotee scholars] is taken directly from the Jaiva Dharma without any interpretation or change, exactly as originally published in English:

Vrajanatha: Now my question is whether the cit-potency has framed the jiva with the tatastha (border) natural?

Babaji: No, the cit-potency is Krsna's plenary potency; whatever she produces is all eternally accomplished; the jiva is not so eternally accomplished; when he becomes accomplished by practices (sadhana-siddha), he enjoys bliss like those eternally accomplished entities. The four kinds of confidantes of Sri Radha (to be described hereafter) are eternally accomplished; their bodies are about the same, with slight variations, with that of Sri Radhika who is essentially the cit-sakti. The jivas have grown out of the jiva-sakti of Sri Krsna. Cit-sakti is Sri Krsna's full (plenary) sakti, whereas the jiva-sakti is the incomplete sakti. From the plenary potency are produced complete entities, but from the incomplete potency have grown the jivas as atomic cit. Krsna manifests entities of different types in accordance with the kind of the sakti He applies. When established in His essential cit-sakti He reveals His essential Nature as Sri Krsna Himself on the one hand and on the other as Sri Narayana, the Lord of Vaikuntha.

When He desired to have His adherent attendance 'nitya-parsada' servitors in His Transcendental plane Goloka-Vrndavana, Vaikuntha, etc. He through Baladeva created those Eternal Parsada as nitya-mukta jivas at those divine worlds. He reveals the three Forms of Visnu, viz. Karanodakasayi, Ksirodadasayi and Garbhodakasayi. At Vraja He reveals His own Nature as Krsna with cit in fullness; as Baladeva, He reveals the eternally free associate jivas for the performance of the eight kinds of service of Himself as Sri Krsna.

Again at Paravyoma (Vaikuntha) He, as Sankarsana, reveals the eternally free associate jivas for the performance of the eight kinds of service to Narayana.

Mahavisnu, the Incarnation of Sankarsana, establishing Himself in the heart of jiva-sakti as Paramatma, creates the jiva-souls of tatastha-sakti. These jivas are susceptible to the influence of maya. Innumerable jivas, overcome fastened by maya, are attached to the three gunas. (sattva, rajah, tamah) of maya. As such, the conclusion is that it is the jiva-sakti that begets the jivas, and not the cit-sakti. (Jaiva-Dharma, p. 215-216)

Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura:

Visnu has three energies, one of them is meant for manifestation of His eternal abode, another Potency is for creating all human souls who are emanations from His tatastha-sakti found between the temporal and eternal worlds. By this potency He creates human souls. The human soul has two different predilections. If he desires to serve Godhead he is allowed into the Eternal Region. If he desires to lord it over this world he comes down for enjoying in different capacities the products of the Deluding Potency. (Sri Caitanya's Teacings-Part II, Chapter One, Third Edition, p. 365-6 by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta)

Tatastha has both the power of associating with temporal as well as eternal planes. Souls who have got their stations at tatastha have got free will. Each of the individual souls by exercising his free will can abuse or properly use his independence . . . The souls in the tatastha position are not one, but many in number. Thay are not to associate themselves with unalloyed Cit Sakti or unalloyed Acit or Maya Sakti. In the tatastha position, souls do not show any activity but they are found to be in an indolent stage. (Sri Chaitanya's Teachings-Part II, Chapter One, p. 391-2, Third Edition)

The inconceivably narrow line of demarcation between land and water or the line where land and water meet is called Tata; so also the meeting line of the Cit world or the eternal abode of the Supreme Lord and the Acit world or the region of maya is called Tata. The power of the Supreme Lord displayed at the Tata is known as the Tatastha (lying at the Tata) or marginal power. All the jivas being the display of this power, have the inherent oscillating tendency and capability of going to the Cit or the Acit world. Tata not being a resting place, jivas must go this side or that . . . (From an English article by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura and Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati entitled, Vaisnavism Real and Apparent, 10th paragraph)

Srila B. R. Sridhara Maharaja [named by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura as Sastra-nipuna, one who is highly learned in sastra] explains similarly in Search For Sri Krsna:

How does the soul first appear in this world? From what stage of spiritual existence does he fall into the material world? This is a broad question, which requires some background information.

There are two classes of souls, jivas, who come into this world. One class comes from the spiritual Vaikuntha planets by the necessity of nitya-lila, the eternal pastimes of Krsna. Another comes by constitutional necessity.

The brahmajyoti, the nondifferentiated marginal plane, is the source of infinite jiva souls, atomic spiritual particles of nondifferentiated character. The rays of the Lord's transcendental body are known as the brahmajyoti, and a pencil of a ray of the brahmajyoti is the jiva. The jiva soul is an atom in that effulgence, and the brahmajyoti is a product of an infinite number of jiva atoms.

Generally, souls emanate from the brahmajyoti which is living and growing. Within the brahmajyoti, their equilibrium is somehow disturbed and movement begins. From nondifferentiation, differentiation begins. From a plain sheet of uniform consciousness, individual conscious units grow. And because the jiva is conscious it is endowed with free will. So, from the marginal position they choose either the side of exploitation or the side of dedication.

In his book, "Subjective Evolution of Consciousness," Srila B. R.Sridhara Maharaja explains further:

Dr. T. D. Singh (Bhaktisvarupa Damodara Swami, GBC, Iskcon Acarya): When scientists speak of evolution they mean that life has evolved from matter. I have heard you speak of evolution with quite a different concept. You say that everything is evolving from consciousness.

Sridhara Maharaja: Yes, consciousness comes first and then matter. The basis of all things material is consciousness, which is spiritual. Consciousness can contact consciousness directly. When consciousness comes into the stage of matter, material conception, we experience a kind of vague consciousness; first there is hazy consciousness and then material consciousness. But everything has its spiritual side. And as eternal souls, our direct connection is really only with the conscious aspect of existence. For example, the Earth is conceived of as a woman. According to the Vedas, the presiding deity of the Earth is a woman. And the sun is conceived of as a devata, a male god.

The soul, coming into material consciousness, must come through some hazy reflection of consciousnes, cidabhasa. Only then can the soul experience material consciousness. Before pure consciousness evolves to material consciousness, it will pass through a hazy stage of consciousness or cidabhasa. So in the background of every material thing, there is a spiritual conception. This cannot but be true.

Dr. T. D. Singh: What is cidabhasa?

Sridhara Maharaja: Something like mind. Suppose consciousness comes to feel matter. When consciousness is coming to the material world to know the material world, it has to first pass through material consciousness, and then it can feel what is matter.

According to Darwins Theory, matter gradually produces consciousness, but before producing consciousness it must produce some hazy consciousness, then mind, and then the soul. But in reality, it is just the opposite. So subjective evolution parallels objective or material evolution. But in the evolution of consciousness, the supersubject is first, then the individual soul or jiva-subject is next. Then, from the subjective consciousness of the jivas, matter is produced. But consciousness must penetrate hazy consciousness to perceive matter.

Consciousness cannot jump at once into the conception of matter; it must pass through a process to come to material consciousness. From the marginal position, from the verge of the higher eternal potency, evolution and dissolution of this material world begins. This takes place only on the outskirts of svarupa-sakti, which is the system responsible for the evolution of the spiritual plane, and is an eternally evolving dynamic whole. It is not that nondifferentiation is the origin of differentiation. An eternally differentiated substance exists. That plane is filled with lila, dynamic pastimes. If a static thing can be conceived of as eternal, then why can't a dynamic thing be conceived of as eternal? That plane of svarupa-sakti is fully evolved within. It is eternal. Evolution and dissolution concern only the degradation of the subtle spirit to the gross material platform and his evolution towards perfection. Here there is evolution and dissolution, but these things do not exist in the eternal abode of svarupa-sakti.

Dr. T. D. Singh: Objective evolution is what modern science calls Darwinian evolution, but how does subjective evolution unfold in Krsna conscious science?

Sridhara Maharaja: You have to take the example of hypnotism. Through a form of mystic "hypnotism," the supersubject controls the subject to see a particular thing, and he is bound to see that. One may think that as we see a stone, the stone compels us to see it as stone, but it is just the opposite: we are compelled to see it as stone being under the influence of the supersubject who displays everything as he likes. The objective world is fully controlled by the subjective. This is confirmed in Bhagavad-gita, where Krsna says pasya me yogam aisvaryam: "If I say, 'Behold my mystic power,' you are bound to see it. You have no other choice."

The soul, when going to experience any material conception, will have to pass through a medium which influences his consciousness to see things as material. What is concrete matter is unknown. It is a mere effect of consciousness. As everything material must have some conscious origin, or origin in personal consciousness, there must be a personal conception of the sun, the moon, the Earth, and all the planets. Before we reach the conception of a shadow or other object, the soul has to pass through a conscious stage. That stage has some spiritual existence as a person. Therefore the Bhagavatam refers to the sun, the moon, and the planet Rahu, as persons.

Student: I have heard it said that according to Vedic ontology, the soul is marginal. Do the jiva souls in the marginal or tatastha position have knowledge that there is an upper and a lower world, that there is suffering in the material world and divine service in the spiritual world?

Sridhara Maharaja: A jiva soul has adaptability of both sides; marginal means "endowed with adaptability towards both the spiritual and material worlds without participation or any experience of either."

The marginal soul (tatastha) has only seed adaptability towards both. He is situated in the margin between the spiritual and material worlds, and the margin strictly means that one is in a position to analyze adaptability. He can go towards the spiritual world and he can come towards the material world. The possibility of either is there in potentiality, but he is left to exercise his freedom. Because the soul is a conscious unit, he has free will. Freedom is inseparable from consciousness. A conscious unit and freedom are one and the same. Conscious atom means endowed with freedom. Without freedom, it is matter.

Student: The soul has freedom, but does it have knowledge of the different aspects of reality?

Sridhara Maharaja: Because the soul is very small, his freedom is also imperfect; a soul in the marginal position is very vulnerable. Freedom does not mean absolute freedom. Because the soul's existence is small, his freedom is defective-there is the possibility of committing a mistake. Freedom of the minute soul does not mean perfect freedom. Complete freedom would be perfect reality, but the minute soul is endowed with the smallest atomic freedom. This is the position of the atoms of consciousness, and this is why they are vulnerable. They may judge properly or improperly; that is the position of those who are situated in the marginal position. If the soul were not endowed with the freedom to determine his position, we would have to blame God for our suffering. But we cannot blame God. The starting point of the soul's suffering is within himself.

The first cause of our entanglement with material nature was our mixing with maya in a play of curiosity. But as much as we make friends with her, so much she comes to devour us. ln this way we are in the clutches of maya. But in the beginning our involvement was very slight, like one experimenting with drugs. The beginning of our play with maya involved the voluntary misuse of our free will, and that has led us to this present stage where maya has devoured us. Maya means our attraction for intoxication: where there is love of exploitation, there is maya. And truth is the opposite of exploitation. Truth is found in dedicating everything for the center, for Krsna.

Student: If in the marginal position (tatastha) the soul has exposure to both reality and illusion, why doesn't he have enough discrimination to come to the right path?

Sridhara Maharaja: He has no real depth of discrimination; only a little discrimination. But it is there. However small it may be, it is there.

Srila Prabhupada writes similarly:

According to Visnu Purana, Bhagavad-gita and all other Vedic literature's, the living entities are generated from the tatastha energy of the Lord. (Bhag. 3.7.9, purport)

The conclusion is that the origin of all life is the bodily effulgence of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This is confirmed in Brahma-samhita: yasya prabha prabhavato jagad-ananda-koti. (Bhag. 4.30.5, purport)

Thus the body is considered material and the soul is considered spiritual. The origin of them both, however, is the same Supreme Personality of Godhead. . . Everything is born of the Supreme Brahman, from which everything emanates as different energies. (Bhag. 8.12.8, purport)

The symptoms of the rainy season may be compared to the symptoms of the living entities who are covered by the three modes of material nature. The unlimited sky is like the Supreme Brahman, and the tiny living entities are like the covered sky, or Brahman covered by the three modes of material nature. Originally, everyone is part and parcel of Brahman. The Supreme Brahman, or the unlimited sky, can never be covered by a cloud, but a portion of it can be covered. As stated in the Bhagavad-gita, the living entities are part and parcel of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. But they are only an insignificant portion of the Supreme Lord. This portion is covered by the modes of material nature, and therefore the living entities are residing within this material world. The brahmajyoti-spiritual effulgence-is just like the sunshine; as the sunshine is full of molecular shining particles, so the brahmajyoti is full of minute portions of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Out of that unlimited expansion of minute portions of the Supreme Lord, some are covered by the influence of material nature, whereas others are free. [Krsna Book, Ch. 20, Description of Autumn]

The all-pervading feature of the Lord which exists in all circumstances of waking and sleeping as well as in potential states and from which the jiva-sakti (living force) is generated as both conditioned and liberated souls-is known as Brahman. (Isopanisad, Text 16, purport)

As we have learned from previous mantras, the brahmajyoti emanating from the transcendental body of the Lord is full of spiritual sparks that are individual entities with the full sense of existence. Sometimes these living entities want to enjoy their senses, and therefore they are placed in the material world to become false lords under the dictation of the senses. (Isopanisad, Text 17, purport)

As spiritual sparks of the beams emanating from the transcendental body of the Lord, we are all permanently related with Him and equal to Him in quality. (C.C. Madhya-lila 5.22)