The Purpose of the creation of the individual beings (soul)
The universe (jagata) is the insentient creation of the Brahma. In the sport or Līlā of the Brahma, the universe is like the playground or stage. In the absence of the actors, only with the stage, the drama can’t be performed; likewise the playground may be there, but if the player is not there, then the play can’t take place. Without an artist or a player, the stage or the playground will be quite lifeless, passive, and meaningless. Similarly, if the beings are not there in the universe, the universe too will become utterly lifeless and inactive. The sport (līlā) , then wouldn’t have taken place. Again the Brahma would have remained alone only; and wouldn’t be able to enjoy the sports in spite of the available revealed creation (the universe). Sportsmen are a must for the sport, and actors are necessary for the drama. Similarly, it was an utmost necessity to manifest beings (jīva) to perform the sport, otherwise it would have been an insentient and lifeless universe. This is the very reason why Brahma has created sentient beings (jīva) along with the insentient creation (jagata).
The Emergence of the individual beings
The beings (jīva) emerge from the sat (existing attribute of Brahma) and cit (attribute of being conscious about the existence) parts of the Brahma. Narrating the process of this emergence, it has been said in the Upaniṣad: ‘I may manifest into many forms out of one’. The Brahma had this kind of desire to become many, so innumerable particles of insentient things (jaḍa) and sentient beings (jīva) have emerged out of the Brahma as countless sparks that emanate from the fire. Thus, as the Brahma himself manifests as beings (jīva), similar to the insentinent universe (jagata), beings are also part (aṃśa) of the Brahma , of the nature of Brahma (Brahmātmaka) & departed from the Brahma.
From where does the separation take place?
The process of the manifestation of beings from the Brahma has been explained thus; as the sparks emanate from the fire, innumerable beings are also separated from the Brahma. Considering this process, naturally a question may arise that if the Brahma is all pervading as an infinite entity, which place can there be where the beings separated from the Brahma may enter into? Or can anything really be separated from Brahma?
This doubt can be resolved by the illustration of the sea and its waves. As the waves of the sea arise from the sea and are absorbed back in the sea as well, these beings having the nature of Brahma are separated from the Brahma, in the region of Brahma itself and are absorbed back in the Brahma. Everything is possible in Brahma as he is the resort of contradictory attributes – ‘viruddha-dharmāśraya’. Insentient Universe is The Work of The Brahma, But The Individual Soul is The Particle of The Brahma
Whatever is produced is called the ‘act’ – ‘Kārya’. E.g. A tree. The thing from which something is produced is called the ‘cause’ – ‘Kāraṇa’, e.g. The seed. According to this definition of act and cause – effect and cause, the universe is called “The Act of Brahma”. But, here is a thing of consideration that even though the individual being has been manifested from the Brahma, the being is not called ‘The act of Brahma’ but the particle of the Brahma only. What is the reason?
The universe and the being, both have their manifestation from the Brahma. Yet, after they are manifested, the objects of the universe such as the pot, the cloth, the house, the body, the river, the mountain, iron, the wood etc. hold various names and forms. These different names and forms become their distinct identity from one another. It doesn’t happen so with regard to the individual soul. The individual souls are innumerable, but so far as the names, forms, colours, shape, weight etc. are concerned, they are not like lifeless objects. Being similar to one another like the drops of water, it becomes difficult to know them distinct from one another. Body, organs, etc attached to them can be different but souls cannot be recognized distinctly. The identity of the individual souls is not as easy as that of the insentient objects. For this very reason, the beings are stated to be the particles of the Brahma, while the universe is called the act of the Brahma.
The Individual being is atomic in form
In scriptures, the size or the volume of the individual soul is considered as having the quantum of an atom. The Brahma is omnipresent, while the individual soul is atomic/subtle. The individual soul is sentient, and sentiency is the dharma of the individual soul. As the sentiency of the individual soul is experienced throughout the body, some people consider the individual soul too as omnipresent as Brahma, but this belief is faulty. A flower is located at only one place in the garden, but one can feel its fragrance everywhere in the garden. However, for this reason, the flower can’t be taken as an omnipresent object. Similarly, the individual soul is only an atom, a particle. The body dwells at one place, yet the attribute of its sentiency is felt, like the fragrance of the flower, throughout the body. The individual soul and the insentient universe can’t be separated from Brahma.
The individual soul & the sentient world are inseparable from the Brahman
At various places in scriptures it has been stated that nothing else exists except the Brahma. Only Brahma is the absolute reality. Whatever is there over here that is only Brahman. Because of such scriptural statements, some people with fear conclude that if nothing can exist or happen here except the Brahma, the experience of an insentient universe and the innumerable individual souls with their wide variety then has to be our illusion. Hence, Śrī Śankarācārya believed that the world is an illusion. In the chapter on the consideration of the universe – Prapañca Vivek’ we have been provided the understanding that the insentient universe cannot be an illusion. This means that the universe is true and real. Similarly, the individual soul too, being the particle of the Brahma is invariably true. The question that arises is: what kind of relation exists amid the insentient universe, the individual soul and the Brahma?
The insentient universe and the individual souls are two forms that only one reality has held. Concealing its ‘Cit’ (attribute of being conscious) and ‘Ānanda’ (unlimitedness) attribute, when Brahma manifolds only its ‘Sat’ (attribute of existing) those particles of the Brahma are termed as ‘The insentient universe – jaḍa’ (nonliving organisms or matter). Similarly, when the Brahma conceals its ānanda attribute and manifests its sat-cit attributes into uncountable particles, such cit particles of Brahma are designated as the individual souls or the ‘sentient beings’ - Jīva. Thus, we can quite evidently say that when various ornaments like the ring, the garland, the bangle, the anklet etc. are made from gold, the element of the ring or the bangle does not undergo any change. Similarly, when the Brahma, by his own will, has held various forms of insentient things and sentient beings, it is naturally true that only the Brahma remains as one ultimate reality. After knowing this much, now we can understand that as the ornaments made from gold are not different from the gold; the universe and the beings made out of the Brahma being an ingredient himself are also not different from the Brahma.
The concealment of the attribute of bliss
The attributes of ‘cit and ānanda’ of the Brahma are concealed in the universe, while in the individual souls, the particle of only the bliss(ānanda) is concealed. When the individual souls are manifested as particles from the Brahma, the Brahma’s attribute of bliss and unlimitedness also has its manifestation along with the attribute of ‘sat’ and ‘cit’ in them, as the sparks emanate from the fire. As the fire remains manifested in the sparks for some time, the attribute of bliss being manifested in them, Bhagavān’s divine attributes like Aiśvarya, Vīrya, Yaśa, Śrī, Jñāna and Vairāgya (Divinity, Valor, Fame, Wealth, Knowledge and Detachment – in an unlimited proportion) too, manifest in the soul.
Thereafter, by Bhagavān’s wish, the part of ānanda disappears in the soul. With the disappearance of bliss, all the 6 attributes of Aiśvarya, Vīrya, Yaśa, Śrī, Jñāna and Vairāgya gifted as parts of divine attributes also disappear from the individual soul. This cit-consciousness particle - the particle of Brahma is called ‘a being’ - Jīva, when the particle of bliss disappears from it.
The disappearance of divine attributes brings various adverse effects on the being. Let us see now which attributes with their disappearance cause what kind of adverse effect upon the being:-
- Aiśvarya: Unlimited freedom is received because of the attribute of aiśvarya. As Bhagavān controls and regulates the creation, the individual having aiśvarya has power to control others. But with the disappearance of ‘aiśvarya’ the beings become humiliated. Such humiliated people are naturally dependent and ‘sāpekṣa’ – related to other things. By the loss of aiśvarya, the attributes of humility and dependence take place in the individual soul.
- Vīrya:The individual soul who possesses the attribute of vīrya is powerful or potential. But when vīrya disappears, the being becomes powerless and is subjected to fear, just as a person who loses strength becomes fearful. The fearful man has to struggle to save his life from his enemies. Similarly, the being who loses the attribute of vīrya is entangled in seeking the ways to be free from worldly and otherworldly fears in which he is caught.
- Yaśa: The best person is the one who succeeds.That person becomes an ideal for an ordinary person. With the absence of ‘yaśa’ various kinds of vices enter into the being. “Karṇa possessed various powers, he was heroic and extremely generous. Again, he was born of Kuntī – the mother of Pāndavas, by the grace of the sun-god .He was the eldest among all the Pāndava brothers. However, as he was nourished and brought up by a maid-servant named Rādhe, he was suffering from an inferiority complex and regarded himself as the son of Rādhā. Because of this complex of being the son of a maid servant all his fame was brought to an end. All his excellent ideals had lost their value. Because of this, he took the side of adharma. If a tiger’s cub is brought up along with the crowd of sheep, it will develop the traits of the sheep and will begin to bleat like the sheep and eat grass, and this itself is the lowliness. The lowly individual being void of self-confidence thinks that it is good for him to imitate what people around him do. The being who is void of yaśa too, becomes the imitator.
- Śrī: Śrī means splendor, beauty, wealth, good-act etc. The splendor of the Brahma lies in its pervading power. The man who has lost śrī is entwined by the coverings of the subtle and gross bodies. Because of the relation of the body, the being has to pass through six changes like 1 birth, 2 existence, 3 growth, 4 vipariṇāma (adverse consequences), 5 apakśaya and 6 death. Again, as he becomes void of sources, wealth, and good deeds, he has to face the calamities of birth, old age, diseases, and death. Again, as a lustful man remains entwined in seeking the ways to satisfy his desires, the being too has to try unnecessarily to satisfy the desires of the body and the senses.
- Jñāna: The individual being with knowledge is having full intuition as to his duties regarding his own self and the supreme self. When the knowledge leaves him, the being stops to have all such intuition. Consequently, the body he is having in the rounds of birth and death, is taken by the being as his original form - svarūpa. Then he begins to think, “I am a man”, “I am a woman”, “I am a Brāhmiṇa”, “I am wealthy/poor” etc, he then delimits himself in the ego that is born due to the body or bodily status. The being becomes the doer of deeds such as his petty, insignificant ego leads him to do at whatever time it wills. Thus, the being becomes subjected to the body.
- Vairāgya: To remain glad in one’s own self and to remain satisfied is the characteristic of a detached person. When vairāgya disappears, the being is beset with dis-satisfaction and dis-pleasure (want of delight). As a result of this, the being becomes subjected to worldly pleasures and develops my-ness (mamatā) in objects such as the husband, wife, mother, father, children, brothers, relatives, house, wealth etc. that he obtains and loses in birth after death.
Varaṇa – The Divine selection of beings done by Bhagavān himself
When Bhagavān forms the individual beings from his sat and cit attributes and hides the attribute of ānanda from him, Bhagavān makes the varaṇa or chooses the souls on the basis of his independent wish into whatever kind of fruit he wishes to bestow upon them. With the desire of bestowing various kinds of fruits, Bhagavān chooses the souls in different paths. Basically, the three divisions as stated in “Puṣṭi-Pravāha-Maryādā Bheda” grantha by Śrī Mahāprabhujī are: (1)Puṣṭi jīva, (2) Maryādā jīva and (3) Pravāhī jīva. Varaṇa means to choose. In a drama, the director first makes the choice by deciding which particular roles be given to which artists for performance. Similarly, Bhagavān makes distribution of the roles to be performed by beings in the world just before the sport begins. No being or no one else has the power to make changes in the choice of the fruit, the path, the means, or the life that Bhagavān has made for any particular being.
The Relation of Being with ‘Panca parvā Avidyā’
After the beings are chosen, their relation with avidyā - nescience is fixed according to the will of Bhagavān. Avidyā is a kind of one function of māyā. The relation of avidyā binds the being with the bondages of I ness - Myness, birth-death, sins- virtues etc. Avidyā performs the function of these bondages by five kinds of ‘illusions -adhyāsa’. These adhyāsa are: (1)Antaḥkaraṇādhyāsa (2)Prāṇādhyāsa (3)Indriyādhyāsa (4)Dehādhyāsa (5)Svarūpavismṛti Adhyāsa means illusion. These five Adhyāsa’s are also known as “Panca parvā Avidyā”. Now we shall know them in the order as given above:
- Antaḥkaraṇādhyāsa: Cit-consciousness, ahamkāra-ego, buddhi-intellect, and Mana-mind are collectively known as ahtaḥkaraṇa-the internal organ. The antaḥkaraṇa is insentient. However, as the being is related to antaḥkaraṇa, he takes himself to be the antaḥkaraṇa and relates itself with all the functions done by antaḥkaraṇa and the results of the deeds also. This is the first illusion/adhyāsa of the being. Because of this illusion of antaḥkaraṇa, the being begins to regard itself as the doer and availer of good and bad deeds as well as good and bad fruits.
- Prāṇādhyāsa: Prāṇa - the breath itself is insentient but the relation of the being with prāṇa leads him to have and illusion that he himself is the prāṇa. This is called the Prāṇādhyāsa – the illusion of being the life of the soul. As a result of this illusion, we feel that a human survives and dies because of the presence and absence of the breath, and not because of the soul.
- Indriyādhyāsa: The sensory organs are also insentient. Yet, when the being’s relation with sensory organs takes place, he begins to regard himself as the sensory organs. Because of the happiness and pain of the objects experienced by senses, the being is led to have the illusion of happiness or sorrow. This is called Indriyādhyāsa - the illusion of being the sensory organs.
- Dehādhyāsa: Our gross body which we can see with our physical eye is called ‘Deha’- the body. This body too is insentient, but because of its relation, the being takes himself to be the body and so he regards bodily joys and sorrows as his joys and sorrows. This is called the Dehādhyāsa – the illusion of being the body.
- Svarūpavismṛti: The being is originally the particle of the Brahma. But when the being forgets such divine svarūpa of his own, it is called svarūpavismṛti. As the above stated illusions attach themselves to the beings, he goes on forgetting his own svarūpa more and more. Consequently, he is flung further and further away from Bhagavān, and forgets his relation with Bhagavān of being a particle of Brahma which is his original Svarūpa.
When the child is born, it is quite innocent. Its “I-ness” is restricted only to its own self. Its “myness” too is restricted in having its mother’s milk. But as it is going to have contact with its father, brother, sister, food, clothes, toys, slate pen, books, school etc., the limits of its I-ness and My-ness begins to grow. In the beginning, the I-ness remains only in the body. Gradually, when we get the knowledge of our father’s name attached behind the name of our body, or the knowledge of the caste and clan of our body, our I-ness gets a bit extended. Thereafter, when we get the knowledge of the home in which we dwell, well protected and safe, our I-ness gets extended that way too. We begin to develop the I-ness with regard to our own self in relating us to our father, caste, class, or house. When somebody speaks immodestly in the matters of our caste-class etc. or does harm to it, we come to understand that to what extent we have become one with our caste, class, mother, father, or house. When such an occasion arises, it begins to give us trouble as if somebody has encroached upon us. Exactly in the same way the being too, begins to regard his antaḥkaraṇa and prāṇa –the internal organs and life to be totally indistinct from him. This is the greatest illusion of the being.
Every insentient object is formed with the attributes of sattva, rāja and tama - attributes of ‘Prakṛti-natural disposition or temperament’. Our body, senses etc being insentient are originally formed by ‘prākṛta- worldly attributes’. In the ‘Gītā’, Bhagavān explains to Arjuna that the inbuilt temperament of all the attributes of ‘Prakṛti’- (comprising 3 attributes of Sātvika-Rājasa-Tāmasa guṇa or attributes having specific characters) is already decided. Every attribute performs its function spontaneously according to its own nature. The being infatuated by Māyā, as he is, is imprisoned in the body, characterized by the attributes of sattva-rājasa-tāmasa. Hence, as the ringless horses (that are out of control) drag their riders randomly in any unwanted direction, similarly, the body, the senses, the breath, the internal organs and forgetfulness of svarūpa too drag the individual soul towards their own subjects. This tugging will go on until the individual soul becomes free from the illusions of the body etc.
Deha Prāpti – The attainment of the body
After having contact with Panca parvā Avidyā, the being attains the subtle and gross bodies. There are 2 types of bodies with the soul attains:
Sūkṣma Deha – the subtle body
The subtle body is formed by the above ten subtle senses, five “Tanmātrā”- in the form of sight, flavor, smell, touch, and word & antaḥkaraṇa. The powers like the action, the movement, the vision, the taste, the smell, the touch, and the hearing that have remained in the gross senses are called subtle-senses. The subtle body is not destroyed with the destruction of the gross body. The subtle body with passions and cultural impressions of good as well as bad deeds done in former births, keeps moving from one body to another body along with the being.
Sthūla Deha – the gross body
The body made of bones and skin, that we can see with our physical eyes and that is rendered into ashes by the performance of the fire-ceremonial is called “Sthūla Deha”-the gross body. This gross-body is made out of “Pañca Mahābhūta” – earth, water, light, air, and space. The five Tanmātrā - sensory organs are sight, flavor, smell, touch, and word. Five organs of knowledge are- eyes, nose, ears, tongue, and skin; and five physical organs are: hands, legs, mouth, rectal organ, and genital organ. By obtaining the subtle and the gross body, the being characterized by the body experiences birth and death. The beings keep moving in the cycles of birth and death. From the beings, whom Bhagavān has selected for liberation attain good- association and Panca parvā vidyā by the grace of Bhagavān.
Panca parvā vidyā
- Vairāgya: To detach. Absence of attachment to worldly objects like house, family, wealth etc is known as vairāgya.
- Sānkhya: To understand the difference between the ultimate element and perishable universal objects. When detachment is obtained, the Saṃnyāsa or renouncement of all the materialistic objects become possible by the knowledge of difference between the eternal soul and other perishable materials.
- Yoga: After having renouncement, one must study Aṣṭāṅga Yoga observing Yama, Niyama, Āsana, Prāṇayāma, Pratyāhāra, Dhāraṇa, Dhyāna and Samādhi in order to stabilize the mind and other sensory organs in the supreme soul.
- Tapa – Austerity. The being should keep meditating attentively on the nature of the visible universe as the pervading power of Brahma and the nature of the individual and one as the particle of the Brahma. Together with this, he should develop the quality of equality in the dualities of happiness and pain, blame and praise, friend, and foe etc and should bear these dualities by fixing the mind on the sports of Bhagavān.
- Bhakti – Devotion means to have deep love for Bhagavān by constantly feeling our relation with Bhagavān with the sentiments of being “Aṃśa” and “Aṃśī”, the particle and the whole. If the being develops love for Bhagavān because of the sentiment that Bhagavān must bestow the fruit of liberation, such devotional love with the expectation of liberation is called Maryādā Bhakti. In Puṣṭi devotion, the being should utterly be void of desire for liberation.
Three states of the individual souls
The individual souls pass through 3 states because of 5 types of the above mentioned Avidyā and Vidyā – nescience and knowledge.
- Ṣuddha – Pure: After having manifested from the Brahma as the particle, the state of the being from the disappearance of the particle of bliss till the non-formation of relation of Avidyā - nescience is called ‘the pure state’ of the being.
- Baddha – bound: When the being is having the relation with Avidyā - nescience, he is bound in the cycles of birth and death. So, this state is called the Baddhāvasthā - the bound state or Saṃsārī Avasthā – the worldly state of the being until he obtains Panca parvā vidyā, the being dwells in this state.
- Mukta – liberated: After the attainment of Panca parvā vidyā, the being is liberated from the cycles of birth and death. Hence, this state of the being is called ‘the state of liberation’.
Beholding the individual soul
The space has no form, colour and shape, so it can’t be seen with eyes. Similarly, the beings characterized by the subtle body are void of gross, worldly (prākṛta) form. Hence, we cannot have their experience with our worldly – physical senses. For this reason, ordinary men cannot see the beings. No one else except Bhagavān can see them as they cannot be seen in explicit form. How can men know which particular being is Puṣṭi Mārgīya or Pravāha Mārgīya? However, on the basis of the test as to which beings have liking, faith, love and loyalty to follow which Mārga, we can ordinarily guess and make an assumption about the Mārga in which Bhagavān may have placed that being but we can’t say that by surety. However, in the following three extraordinary states, the individual souls can be seen.
The individual soul can be visible to a man whose mind is elevated with powerful knowledge that can develop the divine vision to behold the self through the means of Yoga by which he can fix and concentrate his mind in Nijātma Kaivalya – the blissful supreme self.
It becomes possible to behold or have visible Darśana of the individual soul by the divine vision obtained through the grace of Bhagavān, such as bestowed upon Arjuna by Bhagavān to have his Darśana on the battlefield of Kurukṣetra.
The man whose vision has become divine through the knowledge of the Brahma by following the means of the path of knowledge can also see the individual soul through such divine vision that has been enriched by the knowledge of the Brahma. And, sometimes as some exception to Bhagavān’s wish, that the men may behold their own self or the supreme self, it becomes quite possible for them to behold the soul with their physical eyes. For example, when Bhagavān assassinated Śiśupāla, the divinity splendorous soul of Śiśupāla was seen by all the members of the assembly to have been ushering out of Śiśupāla’s body and entering into Bhagavān Śrī Kṛṣṇa. The deities too can behold the individual soul.
Types of beings
As shown in Śrīmad-Bhagvad-Gītā there are chiefly two kinds of beings, ‘Daivī and Āsurī’ – divine and asuri.
- Daivī Jīva - divine beings: Those beings in whom Bhagavān has established subtle good passion-virtues, are known as Daivī Jīva. Because they possess virtues, these divine beings have in their liking, aptitude, and eligibility to practice the means of the upliftment of the self. By pursuing means, they can obtain liberation or devotion by the grace of Bhagavān.
- Āsurī Jīva – asuri beings: Jīva has manifested asuri beings for continuation of the sport of creation and not for the sport of liberation. The asuri beings are also called “Pravāhī beings”. There are two sub-distinction of these beings. (1)Durjña and (2)Ajña. Durjña means one who has all the worst attributes (as described in the 16th chapter of Gītājī) and Ajña is one who is ignorant.
In the treatise named ‘Puṣṭi-Pravāha-Maryādā Bheda’ Śrī Mahāprabhujī has narrated in detail about these varieties of the beings. Accordingly, Daivī beings – divine beings are mainly of two types :-
The beings who are not having any interest in worldly matters forbidden by scriptures, who are not having any sort of liking for obtaining heavenly fruits and liberation – as shown in scriptures are known as Puṣṭi beings; moreover, the beings who are having attachment to the svarūpa and worship of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, should be taken as Puṣṭi beings. Again, Puṣṭi beings mean such beings who are not interested in worldly and otherworldly fruits or liberation. The beings who believe that the blessedness of their life lies in service, narration of glories and devotion of Bhagavān Śrī Kṛṣṇa are called Puṣṭi beings. Here Puṣṭi word means grace. So, the conclusion is that the beings who are blessed and chosen by Bhagavān for his Bhakti are known as Puṣṭi beings.
Again, Puṣṭijīva can be divided into the following four types:-
When Bhagavān bestows love upon beings by his manifestation or by any other kind of favor, that being, like the Vraja devotees, develop deepest love for Bhagavān. Hence, the beings having deep sentiments like those of Vraja devotees are called Ṣuddha Puṣṭi beings. Without following any of the methods of developing love for Bhagavān, these beings have a natural tendency of having bhakti. Therefore, they are known as Ṣuddha Puṣṭi beings.
Puṣṭi Puṣṭi Jīva
Those who are Puṣṭi beings, they easily obtain the knowledge of all the matters that are useful in the service of Bhagavān, knowledge about the greatness of Bhagavān and of the divine attributes of Bhagavān. Through the association of the good guru and Vaiṣṇavas, the Puṣṭi beings upon whom such grace of Bhagavān showers are termed as Puṣṭi-Puṣṭi Jīva. The three attributes required in Puṣṭi Jīva are– Love for Lord Kṛṣṇa. Complete knowledge regarding the form of Bhagavān as prescribed in Śrīmad Bhāgavata Mahā Purāṇa and the other authentic scriptures. Urge for performing sevā of Śrī Kṛṣṇa.
Puṣṭi-Puṣṭi beings have all these attributes. Difference between Ṣuddha Puṣṭi Jīva and Puṣṭi-Puṣṭi Jīva is that, that Ṣuddha Puṣṭi Jīva has all the attributes inbuilt and Puṣṭi-Puṣṭi Jīva needs to develop those sentiments through some means or inspiration.
The Puṣṭi beings who have devotion and love towards Kṛṣṇa, but are more interested in hearing, singing, and remembering the divine attributes of Bhagavān rather than having proportionately more interest in performing seva of Śrī Kṛṣṇa are known as Maryādā Puṣṭi Jīva. They have tendency of learning more about the divine attributes of Bhagavān as explained in Veda, Gīta, Bhāgavata Purāṇa etc.
Pravāhī Puṣṭi Jīva
The Puṣṭi beings who are more interested in the external duties regarding the service of Bhagavān, but have less attachment to the svarūpa of Bhagavān and have less interest in gaining knowledge regarding Bhagavān from the scriptures are known as Pravāhī Puṣṭi Jīva.
Maryādā beings too are not extremely interested in worldly objects but are rigid towards the scriptures and have a tendency of attaining liberation, of doing virtuous deeds proposed by scriptures. They have an urge to obtain liberation through desireless action (Karma Mārga), pursuance of knowledge(Jñana Mārga) or maryādā devotion within the limits of means preached by scriptures. So, such beings are called Maryādā jīva.
Two types of divine beings eligible for liberation
Puṣṭi beings and Maryādā beings are the two beings eligible for being liberated. Although eligible, the types of their liberation are different as prescribed in the scriptures.
Liberation of Puṣṭi beings
By the distinct grace of Bhagavān, the Puṣṭi beings first of all become void of desire of even liberation. They are followers of ‘nirguṇa-niṣkāma bhakti’. This type of devotion is characterized by the attachment to the svarūpa of Bhagavān on the earth. Hence, after their death, in the abode of the ‘Vaikuntha - the abode of Bhagavān Śrī Kṛṣṇa’ they obtain the result of having body there and the chance to perform sevā of Bhagavān there also.
Liberation of Maryādā beings
Various means like the Karma Mārga – the way of performing every deed being detached, Jñana Mārga – the method to obtain the knowledge of differentiating soul from worldly matters, sāṃkhya, etc are prescribed for Maryādā beings as methods for attaining liberation the scriptures. By practicing these means, Maryādā beings obtain liberation according to their eligibility.
Various types of liberation
By performing only desire-less actions, the benefit of liberation characterized by the bliss of the soul can be obtained. This method of attaining liberation is known as Karma Mārga.
Through Vaidika actions along with the knowledge of the Brahma, liberation with the availment of the bliss of the Brahma can be obtained. This method of attaining liberation is known as Jñana Mārga.
By worshiping the svarūpa of Agni, Varuna etc as stated in the veda; the svarūpa of Viśṇu, Dūrgā, Śiva etc as stated in the puranas by having the sentiment of being Brahma in them, throughout life without any desire and devout sentiment, the liberation characterized by ‘Sālokya’ (having place in their divine abode), ‘Sārṣṭi’ (having the divine powers like the worshiped form), ‘sāmipya’(being an associate of the worshipped form), ‘sārupya’ (having a form like the worshipped form), ‘Sāyujya’ (merging into the divine form of the worshipped form) etc can be attained.
Without resorting to any deity, liberation in the form of experiencing the bliss of the self can be obtained by the methods of ‘Sāṃkhya’ and ‘Yoga’.
Liberation of the Asuri beings
So far as the liberation of the asuri beings is concerned, we should understand thus:- At the very time of making choice, Bhagavān establishes vicious passions in the beings whom he wishes to make asuri. Vicious passion causes obstruction in obtaining liberation. On account of this vicious passion asuri beings obtain asuri bodies. By nature, they are interested in doing condemnable deeds. As a result of this, they have to take their birth in the world. Thus, the asuri beings remain subjected to birth and death in the worldly condition up to the very deluge, and do not obtain liberation upto deluge. When Bhagavān wishes to wind up the creation during Pralaya, he destroys the nescience of the asuri beings and absorbs them in his own svarūpa. How so many methods they adopt before that, but asuri beings can’t attain liberation before the Pralaya. During Pralaya as everything merges into Bhagavān, they too get absorbed in the unlimitedness of Brahma, but they can’t leave this world before that.
For Further Reading
- “Jīva Viveka” - Second chapter of “Prameyaratnarṇava” composed by Śrī Lalubhaṭṭajī
- “Śāstrārth Prakaraṇ”- First Chapter of “Tatvārthadīpa Nibandha” composed by Śrī Mahāprabhujī
- “Jīvāṇutvavāda” composed by Śrī Puruśottamajī
- “Iīvapratibimbatvakhanḍanavāda” composed by Śrī Puruśottamajī
- “Prasthāna Ratnākara” composed by Śrī Puruśottamajī
- Preface of the newly published “Brahmasūtrāṇubhāśya” (Section-4) composed by Śrī Śyāma Manoharajī