Question: Presently, we’re studying SB 1.6.28 wherein the topic of receiving (prayujyamāne) the sidda-deha is being described by Nārada. I’ve been hearing your 1st Canto lectures as well to help our study. This topic of siddha-deha lead to many questions, given the siddha-deha is eternal, i.e without beginning and without end. Your insight is greatly sought b/c doubts concerning this topic has haunted the minds of a few devotees here. Thank you so much.
To begin with, if the siddha-deha has no beginning, how precisely does it exist in the spiritual reality before being gifted to a deserving devotee like Nārada in his previous life?
Answer: It exists like a 3D picture, and it is activated when it is awarded to a devotee.
Question: How is it decided that a specific siddha-deha is gifted to a particular devotee? Does Krsna know from the outset what type a siddha-deha that a particular jiva will cultivate, given a pre-determined sense of this concept OR are there simply unlimited siddha-dehas and one is given that corresponds to the parameters of devotees cultivation?
Answer: There are unlimited siddha-dehas suitable to unlimited types of moods of would-be devotees. Just remember that Krsna is unlimited, ananta, and has unlimited potencies. Everything about Him is unlimited. Even if you consider one part of His body, that is also unlimited. It is just mind-boggling when you try to deliberate on this, because the mind is very limited. It has difficulty in grasping the concept of a limitless object.
Question: The concept of the siddha-deha’s eternality is to avoid the contradiction that would be there if it be said that the Lord “created” the siddha-deha in the eternal spiritual world in reciprocation with a particular devotee’s approach. But does not the concept of the jiva’s entering the eternal flow of lila contradict the lila’s eternality? In other words, if jiva’s are constantly entering, how is the lila not changed by that “new recruit” so to speak?
Answer: The Lord’s lila is eternal, but it can have some variety in it. Moreover, the jiva entering into the spiritual world is not equal to creating a new jiva.
Question: As a more general question, is there a plasticity to the word eternity? Maybe some insight can be provided by the Sanskrit words for eternity?
Answer: The word “eternal” referring to an object generally means something which has no pre-nonexistence and no post-nonexistence. For example, if you cook a meal, then the meal has pre-nonexistence before it is cooked and after the meal has been eaten, it has post-nonexistence. Therefore, the meal is not eternal. When it refers to an activity, then it can have two meanings. First is that the activity never comes to an end and had never begun. The second meaning is that an activity undergoes repetition, which has no beginning or end. Here one may argue that if the activity is repeated then it is not the same activity. But such is not the case, even in our day-to-day life. When we do something repeatedly we say that we are doing the same activity over and over again. For example, if you chant one round of the mahamantra, you don’t say, “I did 108 chants.” Rather, you say, “I chanted 108 times.” So the activity of chanting the mahamantra is only one, although done 108 times. Each chanting of the mahamantra may not be exactly the same. In fact, that will be the case most of the time. There will be some variety in the chanting. Yet, it is still considered as one activity. Similarly, krsna-lila can have some variety in it and yet be called the same lila.
Question: Oftentimes devotees give some material examples to illustrate how the constitutional name, form, nature and everything is included in a latent or unmanifest form in the constitution of the jiva. In other words, the siddha deha is present in a seed form. Now, the jiva is tatastha sakti and the siddha deha is svarupa sakti. So there cannot be svarupa sakti within the tatastha sakti since beginningless time, right?
Answer: Yes, because svarupa sakti cannot be covered by maya. Only tatastha sakti falls prey to maya. Svarupa sakti coming under the sway of maya is tantamount to Sri Krsna Himself becoming conditioned by maya.
Question: Then such examples about different types of fruits existing in different seeds are not applicable here?
Answer: Examples do not make siddhana. Examples are given to make a siddhanta clear. Unfortunately people misuse examples to concoct siddhanta.
Question: What would happen if a jiva merges with Brahman and thereby loses its individuality if everything were fixed, inherent and preordained as a seed? How can one even leave eternal brahman mukti?
Answer: Brahman mukti means final liberation. So the poor seed would never get a chance to sprout!!
Question: Why is this metaphor of the seed-form-siddha-deha used?
Answer: If you need to explain something, then the general procedure is to refer to shastra and then give an example to illustrate it. The example of a seed is meant to convey the idea how a siddha deha can remain unmanifest within the atma. Generally apasiddhanta is an outcome of misinterpreting shastra and then giving an example to illustrate the misinterpretation. And sometimes apasiddhanta is just based upon an example, like the famous example of Ramakrsna Paramahamsa that Realization of the Absolute is like a salt doll entering into an ocean. Once it enters, there is no more doll, only the ocean. The example is very good but there is no shastra to support it.
Question: In my humble understanding, the jiva is cit-kana, a drop of pure consciousness, and formless before attaining svarupa siddhi. Is there any shastric evidence for this?
Answer: The best analysis is in Paramatma Sandarbha, Anucchda 19, and up to Anuccheda 47. Read these sections carefully and you will get all your answers. But even if you only read Anuccheda 19, you will understand the nature of the jiva very clearly.
Question: Some people think that the jiva has an original form and use the “jivera svarupa hoya” verse (CC Madhya 20.108) as evidence for it. But is “svarupa” here not used ontologically in the sense of essential identity as eternal servant of the Lord?
Answer: The word svarupa in Sanskrit can mean one’s own form (sva-rupa), or nature. The first meaning is not applicable because atma is anu. Besides, it cannot mean form here, because it is ridiculous to say that the form of jiva is to eternal servant. It is not that some particular form can be servant and others not. Rather, it is the nature of the jiva to be servant because one’s nature can be of servant or not servant.
In Paramatma Sandarbha, Anuccheda 19 the jiva is listed there as anu (atomic). Anu in Indian philosophy is the minutest particle which is formless and indivisible. Anu has no parts and thus it is indivisible. A partless object cannot have form. That is why Krsna says in the Gita that atma is avyakta and acintya. Therefore svarupa here means nature.