All about origin of Jiva

The Vedanta-sutra (1.1.1) states, athato brahma jijnasa: “Now one should inquire about Brahman – The absolute truth, the transcendental, spiritual nature“. So when we start inquiring about absolute truth a question naturally appears in our mind. ” Who am I ?” .  Am I created out of some chemical fusion or is there some superior truth in it ?
First of all, we have to know that Sri Krishna(The cause of all causes and the support of everything) has three energies:

1. Cit/Antaranga -sakti(Internal potency)
2. Bahiranga-sakti(External Potency)
3. Tatastha-sakti(Marginal potency)

The energies of the Lord are divided in three categories, namely antaranga-sakti (internal potency) which is further divided into three prominent aspects (sandhini, samvit and hladini), tatastha-sakti (the jivatmas) and bahiranga-sakti (the external energy ) ”  (Chaitanya Charitamrita 1.2.101-103)

krishnera svabhavika tina-sakti-parinati
cit-shakti, jiva-sakti, ara maya-sakti (Sri Caitanya Caritamrita Madhya 20.111)
“Lord Krishna naturally has three energetic transformations, and these are known as the spiritual potency, the living entity potency and the illusory potency.”
1. Cit-sakti(Internal potency):

This is His inner energy. His Own spiritual world pure cit-sakti. This cit-sakti(internal potency) again consists of three energies:

hladini sandhini samvit
tvayy eka sarva-samsthitau
hlada-tapa-kari mishra
tvayi no guna-varjite

“O Lord, You are the support of everything. The three attributes hladini, sandhini and samvit exist in You as one spiritual energy. But the material modes, which cause happiness, misery and mixtures of the two, do not exist in You, for You have no material qualities.” Visnu Purana (1.12.69)  

a. Sandhini-sakti
b. Samvit-sakti
c. Hladini-sakti

Chaitanya Charitamrita further explains these there parts of Cit shakti.

“The essential aspect of sandhini is known as pure existence, which is the abode of the Lord’s existence. Krishna’s mother, father, place, house, bed, seat and the rest are transformations of pure existence. Awareness of Sri Krishna’s godhood is the essence of samvit, and knowledge of Brahman and so forth are of the same category. Hladini causes the relish of bliss in Sri Krishna, and through hladini the devotees are nourished.” (Sri Caitanya Caritamrita 1.4.64-65)

“Thus in a sequence of superiority sandhini, samvid and hladini are understood. As all pots are made by a pot maker, similarly whatever exists is the outcome of a cause. In the scriptures (Chan. Upanishad. 6.2.1) it is said that Bhagavan exists on account of His own nature: ‘O gentle Sir, in the beginning only He existed.’
His destroying and creating, bestowing and preserving existence at all places, all times and all circumstances, is caused by sandhini. Through samvit, He knows and causes others to know. Through hladini, the foremost of all, He rejoices and causes joy, thus it is considered.” (Bhagavat Sandarbha 117)
2. Bahiranga-sakti(External Potency):

This is His “outer” energy. The material world is made of this energy.

Material nature is called prakrati,  as described in the Narada Pañcaratra, one of the Satvata-tantras:

“For material creation, Lord Krsna’s plenary expansion assumes three Visnus. The first one, Maha-visnu, creates the total material energy, known as the mahat-tattva. The second, Garbhodaka-sayi Visnu, enters into all the universes to create diversities in each of them. The third, Khirodaka-sayi Visnu, is diffused as the all-pervading Supersoul in all the universes and is known as Paramatma. He is present even within the atoms. Anyone who knows these three Visnus can be liberated from material entanglement.”

Earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, intelligence and false ego – all together these eight constitute My separated material energies. (Bhagavat Gita 7.4)
3. Tatastha-sakti(Marginal potency):

The energy “in between” the spiritual and the material world and is considered to be superior to material nature(bahiranga shakti).

B.G  7.5 states   — “Besides these, O mighty-armed Arjuna, there is another, superior energy of Mine, which comprises the living entities who are exploiting the resources of this material, inferior nature.”

The spiritual soul is said to be like a tiny spiritual “drop of consciousness” (cit-kana). The jiva belongs to the tatastha-sakti. The jiva (the spiritual soul) is an infinitesimal particle of spiritual consciousness, like an atomic particle of light emanating from the sun.

jivera ‘svarupa’ haya — krishnera ‘nitya-dasa’
krishnera ‘tatastha-sakti’ ‘bhedabheda-prakasa’
suryamsa-kirana, yaiche agni-jvala-caya
svabhavika krishnera tina-prakara ‘sakti’ haya (Sri Caitanya Caritamrita Madhya 20.108-109)
“It is the living entity’s constitutional position to be an eternal servant of Krishna because he is the marginal energy(tatastha-sakti) of Krishna and a manifestation simultaneously one with and different from the Lord, like a molecular particle of sunshine or fire. Krishna has three varieties of energy.”
Paramatma-sandarbha lists the inherent qualities of Jiva as :

1) it is ever pure self (atma nityanirmalah)
2) it maintains a sense of “I am” (ahamartha) (otherwise it would not be able to perceive itself as an atman)
3) it is singular or uniform (ekarupa-svarpa-bhak)
4) it is free of transformation (vikara-rahita)
5) it a part (ekasesa) of the Paramatman
6) it is self-luminous and not simply consciousness (but also conscious)
7) it is very small and different in each “field”
8) it has traits of sat, cit, and ananda


who are Nitya Siddha , Nitya Baddha , Sadhana Siddha ?

Those  who eternally live in the spiritual planets are expansions of Lord and are called Nitya Siddha(eternally liberated). The Jiva which originates from tatastha shakti are Nitya Baddha (eternally conditioned ) who can only enter spiritual planets by surrendering to Lord. A Jiva can attain the spiritual world by performing Bhakti and thus on perfection he becomes Sadhana Siddha. Please note those who meditate on the Nirakar(impersonal) Brahman aspect on attaining liberation  merge into Brahmjyoti which is at the juncture of material and spiritual world . He is also considered sadhana siddha . But there is a chance for him to  again come back to the material world from Brahmjyoti after developing a desire to enjoy the material nature  . But one who reaches the spiritual planet never comes back as he becomes an associate of Lord in his different abodes.

Yet there is another nature, which is eternal and is transcendental to this manifested and unmanifested matter. It is supreme and is never annihilated. When all in this world is annihilated, that part remains as it is. (BG 8.20)

That supreme abode is called unmanifested and infallible, and it is the supreme destination. When one goes there, he never comes back. That is My supreme abode. (BG 8.21)

Though there are instances where a nitya siddha comes to this material world but it happens when lord himself descends or sends the nitya siddha for some purpose or mission  to be fulfilled .


The theory of Anadi Karma(beginning-less karma)

Vedanta-Sutra 2.1.34 reads,
vaisamya-nairghrnye na sapeknatvat tatah hi darsayati

Translation: “No partiality and cruelty (can be charged against God) because of (His) taking other factors into consideration.”

Analysis : Ramanujacarya, Sankaracarya , Nimbarkacharya , and Gaudiya Vedanta acarya Sri Baladeva Vidyabhusana all explain in their respective commentaries that this sutra is saying one cannot argue that God is partial and thereby responsible for suffering. The reason this is so, they continue, is that the Upanisads clearly teach that God only rewards and punishes the living beings with due consideration of their good and evil deeds. Such deeds and their due rewards are what is commonly known as karma. Karma and the world of repeated birth and death are inextricably entwined.
Hence this sutra says, “No, God is not guilty of inequality and cruelty, because we must take karma into consideration.” This is clearly stated in the Upanisads.

The next aphorism of Vedanta-sutra takes an opposing position for the sake of argument and then refutes it. Sutra 2.1.35 states,
na karmavibhagad iti cen nanaditvat

Translation: “If it be objected that it is not so on account of the non-distinction, we refute the objection on the ground of being without a beginning.”

Another translation : If it be argued that it is not possible (to take Karma into consideration in the beginning), since the fruits of work remain still undifferentiated, then we say, no, since the transmigratory state has
no beginning.”

ANALYSIS: Again, Ramanuja, Sankara, and Baladev Vidyabhusana have explained this sutra uniformly with regard to the term anadi. They show that this sutra raises the objection that before the first world cycle there was no karma, no distinction between souls on the basis of their merit and demerit—karma.
To this objection, the sutra replies that this is incorrect because there is no beginning to the world cycles, to the cycles of birth and death each soul experiences under karmic law. The world cycles, its souls, and the karma that binds them together are all anadi, beginningless, as is Vishnu himself. There is no first world cycle, and before each individual world cycle manifests, the infinite number of individual souls under the influence of karma remain within Mahavishnu in susupti, or deep sleep and content-less experience. At this time, their karma from the previous world cycle, which materially distinguishes them from one another, is still present, but in a dormant condition.

Let us present the direct commentary by some acharyas on the above two sutras:

In Vedanta Sara, Sri Ramanujacharya comments :

Purvapaksha :  Oneness is apprehended in the scriptural text,
“Existence(Sat) alone,  My dear, was in the beginning; One only ” ( ChAnd Up 6.2.1).
At that time, the individual selves were not extant(Note: Dictionary meaning: still in existence; surviving). Hence, the karma do not attach themselves to the individual selves.

Siddhantam/ Samadanam :  It is not so; as the individual selves have not a beginning, the stream of their deeds also have not a beginning. This is reasonable. The individual selves have not a beginning; yet the scriptural text that states the non-difference, only establishes the non-distinction due to the absence of name and form. The text is this ‘Verily at that time, this world was undifferentiated. It became differentiated just by name and form” ( Bruh Up 1.4.7). The view said above is in harmony with the text.

In Vedanta Deepa, for this Vedanta sutra 2.1.35, again Bhagavad Ramanuja raises the purvapaksham ( ie. No karma is available during the beginning of a creation)  and gives the answer ” Jeeva and karma are both anadi. If the above theory of the result of karma is not accepted, it leads to the absurdity that jeeva enjoys or suffers at the very beginning of creation for no reason. It may also be that jeeva is deprived of the result (good or bad) of his karma “.

Nimbarkacharya comments on sutra 2.1.34 in his Vedanta parijata saurabha:

If it be objected that since the text “The existant alone,my dear was this in the beginning”(Chand 6.2.1) declares the non distinction of works prior to creation,the Supreme Being’s dependence on the works does not fit in,(We reply) No, as work exists even then,the works done by the individual souls in previous birth being eternal. And a prior creation “fits in”, as a sudden subsequesnt creation is unreasonable. And this is “observed also” in the text:’The creator fashioned the sun and moon as he did before.'(RgV 10.190.3) and so on.”

Shankara’s Commentary Brahma sutra 2.1.34:

Opponent: God cannot reasonably be the cause of the world.
Why?For that would lead to the possibility of partiality and cruelty. For it can be reasonably concluded that God has passion and hatred like some ignoble persons, for He creates an unjust world by making some experience happiness e.g. gods and others, some experience extreme misery e.g. animals etc., and some experience moderate happiness and
sorrow e.g. humans etc. Hence there will be a nullification of God’s nature of extreme purity, (unchangeability), etc., that are declared in the Vedas and Smritis. And owing to infliction of misery and destruction on all creatures, God will be open to the charge of pitilessness and extreme cruelty, abhorred even by a villain. Thus on account of the possibility of partiality and cruelty, God is not an agent (i.e. the cause of the world).

Vedantin: To this we say, “No partiality or cruelty can be charged
against God.” How can this be so?
“Because of His taking other factors into consideration.” Had God created this erratic world by Himself, irrespective of other factors, He would be open to these charges of partiality and cruelty. But in His isolation (from these) He has no creatorship, for God makes this unequal creation by taking the help of other factors.  What factors does he take into consideration?
We say that these are merit and demerit. No fault attaches to God, since this unequal creation is brought about in conformity with the virtues and vices of the creatures that are about to be born…Thus God
is not open to the defects of partiality and cruelty, since He takes other factors into consideration…

Shankara’s Commentary Brahma sutra 2.1.35:

Opponent: There could have been no Karma before creation, in accordance with which a diverse universe could have emerged; for nondifferentiation is emphasized in the text, “O amiable one, in the beginning all this was but Existence, one without a second. (Ch. U. 4.2.1). it is only after creation that results of work, depending on the diversification into bodies etc. could be possible, and the differentiation into bodies could be possible by depending on the results of work. This will lead to the fallacy of mutual dependence (logical seesaw). Thus, well may God become active by depending on the
fruits of work after the creation of multiplicity. But before this emergence of diversity it would perforce be without any variety, since the fruits of work bringing about differentiation would be absent.

Vedantin: That is no defect, since the transmigratory state has no beginning. This defect would have arisen if transmigration had a beginning. But if that state has no beginning, there is nothing contradictory for the fruits of work and the variety in creation to act as cause and effect of each other on the analogy of the seed and
sprout.  How again is it known that this transmigratory state has no beginning?
To this the answer is: 2.1.36: “Moreover, this is logical, and (so) it is met with (in the
Shankara’s Commentary for 2.1.36:

And it is logical for the transmigratory existence to have no beginning; for had it emerged capriciously all of a sudden, then there would have been the predicament of freed souls also being reborn here, as also the contigency of results accruing from non-existing causes, for the differences in happiness and misery would have no logical

Baladeva Vidyabhusana in  his commentary of Gita Bhusana  on Gita 13.21 states:

“Though the jiva is knowledge and bliss, he is situated in prakrti due to his impressions of beginningless karma. . . . In all of this, the jiva alone is the agent.

“The cause of the association (between prakrti and jiva) is explained. The cause is beginningless desire for objects made of the gunas (guna sanah). The meaning is this: the beginningless jiva is contaminated with beginningless imprints(samskaras) in the form of karma(from previous births). The jiva desiring enjoyable objects because of his being and enjoyer, will take shelter of prakrti equipped with the desirables that she offers to him until those imprints of karma are destroyed by devotee association.


The conflict: So what about the philosophy of jiva’s choice in tatastha region at the beginning of the creation ?

From the above two sutras of vedanta sutra and commentaries by various acahryas the question of jiva’s choice at the beginning of creation is not valid as per scriptures as karma and creation is beginningless . In addition to that there is no mention of tatastha region in any sastra but tatastha sakti.

Some recent Gaudiya Vaishnava acharyas in order to simplify the matter and to present the difficult tattva in more acceptable way to western new devotees have incorporated a system of choice by the jivas at the beginning of creation . According to that theory the jiva can chose Krishna or Maya while present in tatastha region at the beginning of creation of jiva. One must understand that these claims have nothing to do with the credibility of the acharya as their sole intention was preaching the neophyte devotees. We have seen some recent acaryas use ontological value of tatastha sakti as  a location or boundary . Please be assured there is no mention of the word REGION along with tatastha in any  sastra but SHAKTI.

It is also claimed that Bṛhad Āranyaka Upaniṣad say that text 4.3.9 there proves their theory of jiva’s choice at tatastha region.  They translate it as: “The jīva has 2 places: the material region and the cit-region. And there is another place, a border-region called tatastha, which forms the contact of the material and spiritual regions. Being in that region, the jīva sees these both places.”

One must understand The translation has been twisted to present the choice of jiva and tatastha region to the new devotees and that the actual  text is about consciousness, not about the jīva.  –

tasya vā etasya puruṣasya dve eva sthāne bhavataḥ: idaṁ ca para-loka-sthānaṁ ca; sandhyaṁ tṛtīyaṁ svapna-sthānam; tasmin sandhye sthāne tiṣṭhann, ubhe sthāne paśyati, idaṁ ca para-loka-sthānaṁ ca atha yathākramo’yaṁ para-lokasthāne bhavati, tam ākramam ākramya, ubhayān pāpmana ānandāṁś ca paśyati. sa yatra prasvapiti, asya lokasya sarvāvato mātrām apādāya, svayaṁ vihatya, svayaṁ nirmāya, svena bhāsā, svena jyotiṣā prasvapiti; atrāyam puruṣaḥ svayaṁ-jyotir bhavati.
“There are two states for that person, one here in this world, one in the other world, and a third in an intermediate state, the dream-place. When in that intermediate state, he sees both those states together, the one here in this world, and the other in the other world. Now whatever his admission to the other world may be, having gained that admission, he sees both the evils and the blessings. And wherever he dreams, then after having taken away with him the material from the whole world, destroying and building it up again, he dreams by his own light. In that state the person is self-illuminated.”
Otherwise the Upaniṣads would contradict Śruti and Vedānta, which unanimously say that ignorance and karma are beginningless. These verses are speaking about the position of ātma in different states of existence i.e. waking, dream and birth and death. You can see this from the context. It is a dialogue between Janaka and Yajñavalkya. The king asks about ātma in 4.3.7. Yajñavalkya is explaining how ātma is different from all the modifications of the mind experienced in the waking and dream state:

“He, remaining the same, wanders along the two worlds, as if thinking, as if moving. During sleep (in dream) he transcends this world and all the forms of death.”

In 4.3.8 he explains about the transmigration of the ātma – “On being born that person, assuming his body, becomes united with all evils; when he departs and dies, he leaves all evils behind.” In 4.3.9 he combines what he said in 4.3.7 and 4.3.8. There is no talk of any spiritual world. Paraloka refers to next body or birth.


The supporter of  tatastha REGION  theory in  another text 4.3.18, quote to prove the tatastha region-point, even the word svapna-sthāna, ‘dream-place’, is stated explicitly, “As a fish swims between two banks, the ātma experiences the waking and dream states.”
tad yathā mahā matsya ubhe kule’ nusancārati pūrvaṁ ca paraṁ caivam
evāyam puruṣa etav ubhāv antav anusancārati svapnāntam ca buddhāntam ca
(Their  translation:) “Just as a large fish living in the river wanders from one bank to the other, so the jīva is of similar quality, and is equipped to wander in the Kāraṇa waters between the material and spiritual worlds (svapnānta and buddhānta).” Bṛhad-Āraṇyaka Upaniṣad

Here again are the words svapnāntam, dreaming state and buddhāntam, wakeful state of consciousness. Where is there any mentioning of the Kārana ocean? It does not fit in the context at all. That whole section of the Upaniṣad, texts 8-18, is all about consciousness.“



This tattwa is very nicely explained in Jaiva Dharma Chapter 15:

Vrajanatha: The spiritual rays of the transcendental Krsna-sun and the spiritual atoms within those rays are non-different from the sun, yet at the same time they are eternally different from it. How can both these facts be true simultaneously?

Babaji: In the material world, when one object is produced from another, either the product is completely different from its source, or else it remains a part of it. This is the nature of material objects.  For example, an egg becomes separate from the mother bird once it is laid, whereas a person’s nails and hair remain part of the body until they are cut, even though they are produced from his body.  However, the nature of cid-vastu is somewhat different.
Whatever has manifested from the spiritual sun is simultaneously one with it, and different from it. The rays of the sun and the atomic particles in the rays are not separate from the sun, even after they have emanated from it. Similarly, the rays of Krsna’s svarupa, and the atoms in those rays – that is jiva-sakti and the jivas – are not separate from Him, even though they are produced from Him.

At the same time, although the jivas are non–different from Krsna, they are also eternally different and separate from Him, because they have their own MINUTE(quantity) particle of independent desires. Therefore, the jiva’s difference and non-difference from Krsna is an eternal truth. This is the special feature of the cit realm.
The sages give a partial example from our experience of inert matter. Suppose you cut a small piece of gold from a large piece, and use it to make a bangle. From the perspective of the gold, the bangle is not different from the original piece of gold; they are nondifferent. However, from the perspective of the bangle, the two are different from each other. This example is not a completely correct representation of cit-tattva, but it illustrates an important aspect: from the point of view of cit-tattva, there is no difference between Isvara and the jiva, whereas from the perspective of state and quantity, these two are eternally different.

Isvara is complete cit, whereas the jiva is atomic cit. Isvara is great, whereas the jiva is insignificant. Some people give the example of ghata-akasa and maha-akasa (the sky in a pot, and the unlimited sky) in this regard, but this example is completely inconsistent with regard to cit-tattva.

1. Teachings of Srila Ananta Das Babaji Maharaj .

2  Jaiva Dharma by Srila Bhaktivinode Thakura.

3. Blogs of HH Tripurari Swami .on anadi karma



6. Sri Advaita Das ji’s blog

3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Ram Gunjal
    Nov 29, 2015 @ 12:08:57

    Jai Hari,

    Does the energies of three vishnu fall under material energy? Kindly clarify more on this topic.


  2. krishnadasanudas
    Nov 30, 2015 @ 13:06:05

    There is no difference between the potency of different Avataras of Krishna . Golokapati Krishna(cause of all causes) , Vaikunthapati Narayana and Mahavishnu(Who takes the responsibility of creation) are the same person and equipotent. Similar is the potency of Garbhodakasayi Vishnu who presides in each universe, and Ksirodakasayi Vishnu, who presides in the hearts of all living entities, and is also known as the Paramatma.

    Srimad Bhagvatam 11.6.16 states : “My dear Lord, the original purusha-avatara, Maha-Vishnu, acquires His creative potency from You. Thus with infallible energy He impregnates material nature, producing the mahat-tattva. Then the mahat-tattva, the amalgamated material energy, endowed with the potency of the Lord, produces from itself the primeval golden egg of the universe, which is covered by various layers of material elements.”

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ram Gunjal
    Nov 30, 2015 @ 13:30:59

    Jai Hari, Appreciate your detailed explanation.


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