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Two Birds

"The Lord is the constant companion of the living entity as Paramatma, or the Supersoul, and therefore He can understand the desires of the individual soul, as one can smell the flavor of a flower by being near it."

Bhagavad-gita 5:15 Purport

"The Vedas, like the Mundaka Upanisad, as well as the Svetasvatara Upanisad, compare the soul and the Supersoul to two friendly birds sitting on the same tree. One of the birds (the individual atomic soul) is eating the fruit of the tree, and the other bird (Krsna) is simply watching His friend. Of these two birds--although they are the same in quality--one is captivated by the fruits of the material tree, while the other is simply witnessing the activities of His friend. ...Although they are friends, one is still the master and the other is the servant. Forgetfulness of this relationship by the atomic soul is the cause of one's changing his position from one tree to another or from one body to another. The jiva soul is struggling very hard on the tree of the material body, but as soon as he agrees to accept the other bird as the supreme spiritual master--as Arjuna agreed to do by voluntary surrender unto Krsna for instruction--the subordinate bird immediately becomes free from all lamentations. ...Although the two birds are in the same tree, the eating bird is fully engrossed with anxiety and moroseness as the enjoyer of the fruits of the tree. But if in some way or other he turns his face to his friend who is the Lord and knows His glories--at once the suffering bird becomes free from all anxieties."

Bhagavad-gita 2:22 Purport

"Lord in His Paramatma feature is situated within both the heart of the dog and that of a brahmana. The perfect yogi knows that the Lord is eternally transcendental and is not materially affected by His presence in either a dog or a brahmana. That is the supreme neutrality of the Lord. The individual soul is also situated in the individual heart, but he is not present in all hearts. That is the distinction between the individual soul and the Supersoul. One who is not factually in the practice of yoga cannot see so clearly. A Krsna conscious person can see Krsna in the heart of both the believer and the nonbeliever."

Bhagavad-gita 6:29 Purport

"Intelligence gives one direction like some higher authority, and the living being cannot see or move or eat or do anything without the use of intelligence. When one fails to take advantage of intelligence he becomes a deranged man, and so a living being is dependent on intelligence or the direction of a superior being. Such intelligence is all-pervading. Every living being has his intelligence, and this intelligence, being the direction of some higher authority, is just like a father giving direction to his son. The higher authority, who is present and residing within every individual living being, is the Superself.

At this point in our investigation, we may consider the following question: on the one hand we realize that all our perceptions and activities are conditioned by arrangements of material nature, yet we also ordinarily feel and say, "I am perceiving" or "I am doing." Therefore we can say that our material senses of perception and action are moving because we are identifying the self with the material body, and that the superior principle of Superself is guiding and supplying us according to our desire. By taking advantage of the guidance of Superself in the form of intelligence, we can either continue to study and to put into practice our conclusion that "I am not this body," or we can choose to remain in the false material identification, fancying ourselves to be the possessors and doers. Our freedom consists in orienting our desire either toward the ignorant, material misconception or the true, spiritual conception. We can easily attain to the true, spiritual conception by recognizing the Superself (Paramatma) to be our friend and guide and by dovetailing our intelligence with the superior intelligence of Paramatma. The Superself and the individual self are both spirit, and therefore the Superself and the individual self are both qualitatively one and distinct from matter. But the Superself and the individual self cannot be on an equal level because the Superself gives direction or supplies intelligence and the individual self follows the direction, and thus actions are performed properly. The individual is completely dependent on the direction of the Superself because in every step the individual self follows the direction of the Superself in the matter of seeing, hearing, thinking, feeling, willing, etc.

So far as common sense is concerned, we come to the conclusion that there are three identities, namely matter, spirit and Superspirit. Now if we go to the Bhagavad-gita, or the Vedic intelligence, we can further understand that all three identities, namely matter, individual spirit, and the Superspirit, are all dependent on the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The Superself is a partial representation or plenary portion of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The Bhagavad-gita affirms that the Supreme Personality of Godhead dominates all over the material world by His partial representation only. God is great, and He cannot be simply an order supplier of the individual selves; therefore the Superself cannot be a full representation of the Supreme Self, Purusottama, the Absolute Personality of Godhead. Realization of the Superself by the individual self is the beginning of self-realization, and by the progress of such self-realization one is able to realize the Supreme Personality of Godhead by intelligence, by the help of authorized scriptures, and, principally, by the grace of the Lord. The Bhagavad-gita is the preliminary conception of the Personality of Godhead Sri Krsna, and Srimad-Bhagavatam is the further explanation of the science of Godhead. So if we stick to our determination and pray for the mercy of the director of intelligence sitting within the same bodily tree, like a bird sitting with another bird (as explained in the Upanisads), certainly the purport of the revealed information in the Vedas becomes clear to our vision, and there is no difficulty in realizing the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vasudeva. The intelligent man therefore, after many births of such use of intelligence, surrenders himself at the lotus feet of Vasudeva, as confirmed by the Bhagavad-gita (7.19)."

Srimad-Bhagavatam 2:2:35 Purport

Bhaktivedanta Book Trust. HDG A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada.