Mar 18, 2017 CANADA (SUN) Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur's English introduction to "Srimad-Gaurangalila-Smaranamangal Stotram", in eight parts.
4) The soul is His Vibinangsha or separated part. By soul are meant all sorts of souls whether animal, human or celestial. It must be understood that Mahaprabhu believed in the very liberal theory of transmigration of the soul. Certain readers may reject the idea on the ground that certain forms of faith do not support that theory. It is not liberal to reject a theory because it is in antagonism with the dogmas of certain sectarian creeds. Indeed it is a matter which reason can not dare to meddle with.
Candidly examining, we do not see any strong reason to disbelieve the theory of transmigration. On the other hand, our unprejudiced mind is inclined to stand for it. The belief that the human soul has only one trial in life is evidently illiberal, unjust and contrary to the belief that God is all good. When our spiritual sentiment supports the theory and the Vedas, the receptacles of inspirations, have taught us the fact of continual existence of the soul in different stages in creation, we can not but give up the idea of disbelieving in the theory of transmigration of the soul. However educated and scientific a man may be, he is always liable to a creeping error. That which holds good regarding a man holds good also regarding a nation or a sect.
The soul, according to Chaitanya, is an atomic part of the Divine soul. It is a sort of God's power to produce beings who are spiritual in essence but liable to be enthralled by 'Maya' when they forget their position as eternal servants of the Deity. God here is compared with the sun and the souls are said to be the atomic portions of that sun's ray, unable to stand freely unless they are protected by another competent attribute of God's power. By the word part is not meant to be portions cut out of a piece of stone by the axe, but is meant to be like one lamp lighted from another, or gold produced from an alchemic stone as believed by the ancients. The souls are also compared with separate atomic emanations of the burning fire. Each soul has drawn from its fountain-head a proportionate share of the attributes and consequently a small proportion of the free will. These souls are naturally located between the 'chit- jagat' and 'Mayik-jagat.'
Those who chose to serve their God were protected from fall by the interference of the hladini attribute of the supreme 'chit-shakti', They have been admitted as etenral servant of the Deity in various ways. They know not the troubles of maya and her Karma-Chakra or the rotative principle of Mayic action and its result. Those who wanted to enjoy were grasped by Maya from the other side. They are in Maya's Karma-Chakra ending only when they again see their original position as servants of the Deity. These souls whether liberatad from Maya or enthralled by her are separate responsible beings depending on the Deity. Hari is the Lord of Maya who serves Him at His pleasure. The soul or Jiva is so constructed as to be liable to be enthralled by Maya in consequence of want of power when unassisted by the Hladini Shakti of the Deity. Hence there is a natural and inherent distinction between God and Jiva which no pantheistic manouvre can annihilate. Please avoid the misleading question " when were these Jivas created and enthralled? The Mayic time has no existence in spiritual history because it has its commencement after the enthralment of Jivas in matter and you can not therefore employ Mayik chronology in matters like these.
5) Certain souls are engrossed by Prakriti or illusory energy. Prakriti, God's Maya, Pradhan, Prapancha and Avidya are different names of the same principle on account of its different phases and attributes. Maya is not an independent Shakti from the supreme Svarup Shakti. She is simply a reflected and outward phase of the supreme Power serving God in executing His penal orders on those who become ungrateful to Him. In fact Maya is in charge of God's house of correction. Those Jivas who in abusing their free will, forgot that they were eternal servants of the Deity and thought of enjoying for themselves were grasped by Maya for their penal servitude and correction. Maya has three attributes Satwa, Raja and Tama. Those attributes are just like chains used to tie up the ungrateful souls. Maya then applied a double case on the spiritual form of the soul. The double case is described by the words linga and sthhul. The Mayik existence has twenty four substances; the five elements:— the earth, the water, the fire, the air, and the firmament; the five properties :— the sound, the touch, the sight, the taste and the smell and ten Indrias i e the five senses; the eye, the ear, the nose, the tongue and the touch and five working organs such as hands, legs &c.
These twenty form the sthhul or outer case. The mana, the buddhi, the chitta and the ahankar i e the mind, the understanding, the attention and the perverted ego, compose the linga deha or the inner case. Then after encasing the spiritual form of the soul, Maya employs the fallen souls to work. Mayik work is composed of Karma, Akarma and Vikarma. Karma is conventionally good action done to obtain punya or virtue such as performance of duties enjoined by the Varnasram-dharma of the smartas. Akarma is ommission to do duty. Vikarma is sin or crime. Karma procures heavenly elevations up to the Brahmalok. Akarma gives an unpleasant state on earth. Vikarma hurls down souls to hell. The fallen souls travel from body to body with their linga deha doing Karma or Vikarma, rising up to the heavens and again coming down at the exhaustion of their virtues, going down to hell and, after suffering punishment, again rising up to the platform of work. Thus the state of the fallen souls is deplorable in the extreme. There they enjoy and suffer, massacre and murder, and go on in this state, some times smiling as princes and some times ruing as sufferers. The world is therefore a prison or a house of correction and not a place for enjoyment as some people assert.
6) Certain souls are released from the grasp of Prakriti. Jivas are travelling in the path of mayik existence from time out of mind experiencing all sorts of pleasure and pain. How to get rid of this unpleasant state of existence ? No, dharma, performance of duty, yog, devolopement of powers of the sthhul and the linga, Sankhya, or the division of substances under their categories and simple knowledge that one is a spiritual being, and Vairagya ( abnegation ) giving up all enjoyments in the world, are not the proper means by which one can actually get what he wants. When a man comes in contact with a Vaishnav, whose heart has been melted by Hari-bhakti rasa, it is then that he loves to imbibe the sweet principle of Bhakti by following his holy foot steps, by constant study of Krishna bhakti. He slowly washes off his mayik condition and in the end obtaining his true nature he enjoys the sweetest unalloyed rasa which is the ultimatum of the soul. Satsanga or the company of the spiritual people is the only means to obtain the ultimate object of man.
Bhakti is a principle which comes from soul to soul and, like electricity or magnetism in gross matter, it conducts itself from one congenial soul to another. The principle of Bhak¬ti is sincere and entire dependence on the Deity in every act of life. The principle of duty is no part of Bhakti as it acts as gratitude for favor obtained and it works like an obligation which is contrary to natural love. The principle of morality in the mortal world, though good in its own way, does scarcely give spiritual consequence in the end. Faith in the su¬preme beauty of the Deity, a desire for the eternal unselfish service of that Being and a consequent repulsion of every other thought of pleasure or self-aggrandizement are the three principles which constitute shradha or actual hankering after Bhakti. Bhakti by nature is ananya or exclusive. Is it chance then which brings Bhakti ? No, Sukriti or good work is the prime moving principle. Good work is of two classes. One class, passing as morals, includes those works which bring virtue and aggrandizement. The other class of good work includes all acts which have a tendency to bring spiritual culture. This latter class of good work or sukriti brings one in contact with a sincere Vaishnav from whom the man at first imbibes sraddha or faith in spirit and being then capable of receiving Bhakti obtains a flash of that principle from the Vaishnav who is the actual Guru of the man.
7) All spiritual and material phenomena are Achintya Bhedabhed prakash of Hari the Almighty. Metaphysical discussions are perfectly useless. The Vedas go some times to establish that Jiva is distinct from the Deity, and some times that Jiva is the same as the Deity. In fact the Vedas always tell the truth. Jiva is simultaneously distinct from and identical with God. This is not understood by the rationalist. Hence it must be said that in exercise of his powers beyond human comprehension, God is distinct from Jiva and the world, and again identical with them at all times. The Vedanta teaches us the Sakti-parinamvad and not the erroneous Vivartavad of San-karacharya. Sankar's teachings are explained in different ways. Some say that the world and Jiva have emanated from God and others establish that Jiva and the world are but developments of the God-head.
Sankar in order to avoid Brahmaparinam i e transformation of the Godhead into the world establishes that Vyas teaches us Vivartavad which is this, that God undergoes no change whatever, but it is Maya which covers a part of the Deity, (Just as a pot encloses a part of the firmament) creates the world; or that God is reflected on avidya or ignorance, while in fact nothing else than God has yet come to existence. These are worthless and abstruse arguments. It is plain that the Vedant teaches us that God is unchangable and is never subject to modifications. His power alone creates Jiva and the material world by its own parinam (modification). The example is in the action of the Alchemist's stone the power of which comes in the form of gold while the stone remains unchanged. Thus Chit shakti goes in the form of the chit-jagat with all its particularities of eternal rasa and Jiv-shakli goes in the form of innumerable Jivas, some staying in Vaikuntha as parshadas or angels and others moving in this world in various shapes and forms and under very different circumstances. Maya shakti creates numerous worlds for the habitations and entertainments of the fallen souls. Vivartavad is no doubt an error and is quite opposed to the teachings of the Vedas. Now 'Sakti parinam vad' alone is true and supports the facts that spiritual love is eternal. If Vivartavad were true the natural consequence would be to declare spiritual love to be a temporary principle.