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Q&A: How Can We Fall From the Spiritual world?

Here we are publishing an exchange between our viewer and the B.L.I.S.S. founder Purujit Dasa. If you have a question you would like to ask, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Patrick Coyne, USA

I have a question Prabhu, in the video Why Mayavadis are atheists. That we are in this material world due to wanting to control or be like God or be the enjoyer. Then you say in the spiritual world there is only service and we were in the spiritual world before we came to the material world. I guess I don’t understand how we can fall or want to be the enjoyer if the spiritual world is all fulfilling. This has been an ongoing issue for me and many devotees, and it divides alit of devotees can you please explain or do a pod cast on it,,, Thank you for your service I enjoy listening

Purujit Dasa responds:

Hare Krishna, dear Patrick!

Again thank you for your thoughtful question and thank you for listening our podcast and following our social media. You write: "we are in this material world due to wanting to control or be like God or be the enjoyer. Then you say in the spiritual world there is only service and we were in the spiritual world before we came to the material world.

Of course, there might be different opinions on this topic, but since we want to attain perfection of Krsna consciousness, we must take the opinion of a perfect authority, who is coming in a disciplic succession. In fact no genuine devotee will claim anything of his own speculation but simply present the message as it is coming through the disciplic succession from Lord Krishna Himself. Since the Supreme Personality of Godhead is all-knowing and all-perfect, if we get in touch with the bona fide spiritual master coming in a bona fide succession, our information is perfect. This is called avaroha-pantha (descending process of acquiring knowledge) So whatever I have presented in the class I have learned from my spiritual master Srila Prabhupada only and since Srila Prabhupada is a bona fide spiritual master coming in disciplic succession that knowledge is perfect.  I will now show you how Srila Prabhupada explains this topic and you may then deliberate on the topic freely and make your own conclusion.

First of all, please note the following references from Srila Prabhupada's books on the topic of jiva's fall from the Lord's abode:

"Both the Lord and the living entity, being qualitatively spirit soul, have the tendency for peaceful enjoyment, but when the part of the Supreme Personality of Godhead unfortunately wants to enjoy independently, without Krsna, he is put into the material world, where he begins his life as Brahma and is gradually degraded to the status of an ant or a worm in stool."

(Bhag. 9.24.58, purport)

"The marginal jiva, or living entity, misuses his independence and becomes averse to the eternal service attitude when he independently thinks he is not energy but the energetic. This misconception of his own existence leads him to the attitude of lording it over material nature."

(Cc. Adi 5.66, purport)

In the same purport, Srila Prabhupada further says:

"One should understand that due to his desire to enjoy himself in competition with Krsna, the living entity comes into material existence."

(Cc. Madhya 20.117, purport)

If one contradicts the bona fide acharya, or belittle his position, it is an indication that such a person is outside of the disciplic succession or sampradaya. We should not associate with such persons because we will never be able to understand the science of Krsna perfectly by their speculative understanding.

A siksa-guru who instructs against the instruction of spiritual[master], he is not a siksa-guru. He is a demon.

(Bhagavad-gita 17.1-3 -- Honolulu, July 4, 1974 )

As indicated in Bhagavad-gita, whenever we find someone extraordinary preaching the bhakti cult, we should know that he is especially empowered by Lord Visnu or Lord Krsna. As confirmed in Caitanya-caritamrta, krsna-sakti vina nahe tara pravartana: one cannot explain the glories of the holy name of the Lord without being specifically empowered by Him. If one criticizes or finds fault with such an empowered personality, one is to be considered an offender against Lord Vissnu and is punishable. Even though such offenders may dress as Vaisnavas with false tilaka and mala, they are never forgiven by the Lord if they offend a pure Vaisnava.

(Sb 4.19.37)

keha ta' acarya ajnaya, keha ta' svatantra

sva-mata kalpana kare daiva-paratantra

Some of the disciples strictly accepted the orders of the acarya, and others deviated, independently concocting their own opinions under the spell of daivi-maya.


This verse describes the beginning of a schism. When disciples do not stick to the principle of accepting the order of their spiritual master, immediately there are two opinions. Any opinion different from the opinion of the spiritual master is useless. One cannot infiltrate materially concocted ideas into spiritual advancement. That is deviation. There is no scope for adjusting spiritual advancement to material ideas.

(Adi 12.10)

So it is very important first of all that you understand that the conclusion should be taken from the bona fide spiritual master. Every conditioned soul is suffering from the four defects of material consciousness: He has imperfect senses, he commit mistakes, he falls into illusion and he has a tendency to cheat. It is therefore impossible for a conditioned soul to give perfect knowledge. Especially on the topic you have raised. We do not even understand what this material universe is, how can we come to a perfect conclusion in regards to the question of our original fall down or beginning of the samsara cycle. That is completely beyond our understanding. Srila Prabhupada writes:

With one's limited senses, one cannot argue about that which is inconceivable. Therefore the inconceivable is called acintya, that which is beyond cintya, our thoughts and arguments. Acintya refers to that which we cannot contemplate but have to accept. Srila Jiva Gosvami has said that unless we accept acintya in the Supreme, we cannot accommodate the conception of God. This must be understood. Therefore we say that the words of sastra should be taken as they are, without change, since they are beyond our arguments. Acintyah khalu ye bhava na tams tarkena yojayet: "That which is acintya cannot be ascertained by argument." People generally argue, but our process is not to argue but to accept the Vedic knowledge as it is. When Krsna says, "This is superior, and this is inferior," we accept what He says. It is not that we argue, "Why is this superior and that inferior?" If one argues, for him the knowledge is lost.

(SB 10.13.57)

There of course might be different spiritual masters besides Srila Prabhupada or even different disciplic succession, but the principle of surrender to one guru is the same. One guru cannot contradict another guru. Srila Prabhupada says:

Although hundreds and thousands of acaryas have come and gone, the message is one. The real guru cannot be two, for the real guru does not speak differently from his predecessors. Some spiritual teachers say, "In my opinion you should do this," but this is not a guru. Such so-called gurus are simply rascals. The genuine guru has only one opinion, and that is the opinion expressed by Krsna, Vyasadeva, Narada, Arjuna, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, and the Gosvamis.

(SSR 2a: What Is a Guru?)

Then you write: "I guess I don’t understand how we can fall or want to be the enjoyer if the spiritual world is all fulfilling."

Yes, on one hand it is a logical conclusion.If the spiritual world is all-fulfilling, there should be no desire left unfulfilled. If Krsna is all-powerful and all-loving there would should be no question of a soul situated in the spiritual world lacking anything. However, there is a different logic also and with your permission I would like to point your attention to this different type of logical and reasonable argument on this same point. It is concluded by all the Vedic scriptures that the soul is eternally a minute part and parcel of the Lord. It is not as the Mayavadis say that at the time of liberation the soul becomes one with the Supreme. This is confirmed in the Bhagavad-gita by the Lord Himself:

Never was there a time when I did not exist, nor you, nor all these kings; nor in the future shall any of us cease to be.

(Bg 2.12)

Because the Lord is the supreme and all-pervading, He is acyuta, or infallible. He cannot be covered by maya since maya is only His emanation.It would be illogical for maya to be superior to God. since the very word refers to the supreme. Srila Prabhupada writes:

The living entity is bewildered in so many ways. For instance, when he thinks himself God, unceremoniously, he actually falls into the last snare of nescience. If a living entity is God, then how can he become bewildered by nescience? Does God become bewildered by nescience? If so, then nescience, or Satan, is greater than God.

(Bg 5.16 purport)

The minute part and parcel however is fallible because of his quality of minuteness. He is spirit eternal, full of knowledge, full of bliss but in a minute form and therefore there is always a possibility for the soul to become covered by maya. Srila Prabhupada befittingly compares the living entity to a spark of fire in the following purport:

The Mayavadi cannot explain how the individual soul came into existence simply by ignorance and consequently became covered by the illusory energy. Nor was it ever possible to cut the individual souls from the original Supreme Soul; rather, the individual souls are eternally separated parts of the Supreme Soul. Because they are atomic individual souls eternally (sanatana), they are prone to be covered by the illusory energy, and thus they become separated from the association of the Supreme Lord, just as the sparks of a fire, although one in quality with the fire, are prone to be extinguished when out of the fire. In the Varaha Purana, the living entities are described as separated parts and parcels of the Supreme. They are eternally so, according to the Bhagavad-gita also. So, even after being liberated from illusion, the living entity remains a separate identity, as is evident from the teachings of the Lord to Arjuna. Arjuna became liberated by the knowledge received from Krsna, but he never became one with Krsna.

(Bg 2.23 purport)

Therefore as minute parts and parcels, we are eternally subordinate to the Lord. He is the supreme enjoyer and we are the enjoyed. This is our constitutional position. The spiritual world is all-fulfilling for the minute souls only within the parameters of this constitutional position. As soon as they desire to assume the position of the Supreme controller, the Lord fulfills their desire by covering them by maya. Thus the living entity takes his position in the material world, which is a covered portion of the spiritual sky. This is not a punishment from the side of the Lord, rather it is the kindness of the Lord to fulfill anything the minute soul wants. In this connection His Divine Grace Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada remarks:  “Some may ask why the all-powerful God gives facilities to the living entities for enjoying this material world and so lets them fall into the trap of the illusory energy. The answer is that if the Supreme Lord as Supersoul does not give such facilities, then there is no meaning to independence.”

(Bg.7.21 purport)

To say that the soul can never fall down from the Lord's abode brings with it many undesirable subsequent conclusions tinged with impersonalism. Namely that: a) The soul does not love Krsna out of his free will and thus there is no meaning to their relationship.

b) The soul's minuteness becomes meaningless. He becomes equal to the Lord in all respects.

There are a few conversations where Srila Prabhupada is asked this very same question. This is one of many: Hrdayananda: Many times, the professors, they say that "If God..., if God were actually all..., all-good and all-perfect, then when He created us, we would also be all-good..."

Prabhupada: Yes. But you are contaminated. You are all-good. That's a fact. Because you are part and parcel of God, you cannot be bad. But you are contaminated.

Hrdayananda: Well, they say that "Even..., even if I have the potential... Even to say that I ha..."

Prabhupada: You have got the potential. That's it.

Hrdayananda: But if I say that... If I, I'm originally in the spiritual world, but even the potential to fall down is an imperfection in the creation.

Prabhupada: No, potential does not fall down. Just like a child has got the potency to pass the M.A. examination. So he has to be educated. If you don't educate him, he'll remain a foolish child. So we are educating to develop that potentiality.

nitya-siddha krsna-bhakti sadhya kabhu naya

sravanadi-suddha-citte karaye udaya

[Cc Madhya 22.107]

[Pure love for Krsna is eternally established in the hearts of the living entities. It is not something to be gained from another source. When the heart is purified by hearing and chanting, this love naturally awakens.]

They, that potentiality is eternal. God is eternal. We are eternal. Our relationship eternal. Everything is eternal. But because we are small, minute fragments, sometimes we fall down.

Hrdayananda: They say, "God should have..., God should have created us so that we..."

Prabhupada: Why you should dictate God? God has created perfectly. He has given you independence. You fall down. It is your fault. God has made you perfect, given you independence. But if you misuse your independence, you fall down. Just like government gives everyone opportunity. Why do you become criminal and go to the jail? That is your fault.

Hrdayananda: They say that God should have created us so that we...

Prabhupada: Why "should have created"? He has created already perfect. Because you are perfect, therefore you have got the independence to misuse. You are not a dead stone. That is perfection. Ye yatha mam prapadyante [Bg 4.11].

[All of them -- as they surrender unto Me -- I reward accordingly. Everyone follows My path in all respects, O son of Prtha.]

You can go anywhere, sarva-ga. You can go to the Vaikuntha. Yanti deva-vrata devan [Bg 9.25].

[Those who worship the demigods will take birth among the demigods; those who worship ghosts and spirits will take birth among such beings; those who worship ancestors go to the ancestors; and those who worship Me will live with Me.]

You can go to the higher planets. You can go to the hell. When you go to the hell, it is your choice. God has given you all perfection. Purnam idam purnam adah purnat purnam udacyate [Isopanisad, Invocation].

Everything is complete, perfect, and because you are perfect, you have got the independence. But misusing that independence, you are imperfect. Again, reviving your independence, you can become perfect, although you are imperfect now. That is Krsna consciousness. Krsna consciousness movement means raising the imperfect to the perfect platform. That is Krsna consciousness. Other fools, they say, "We are perfect now." In a fallen condition also, they're thinking perfect. That is maya. Asurim raksasim caiva mohinim prakrtim sritah [Bg 9.12].

[Those who are thus bewildered are attracted by demonic and atheistic views. In that deluded condition, their hopes for liberation, their fruitive activities, and their culture of knowledge are all defeated.]

Krsna has made you perfect. There is no doubt about it. Just like some of our student, all of a sudden, they deviate, go away. So what is that? Our movement is imperfect, or he's imperfect?

Hrdayananda: He's imperfect.

Prabhupada: He's imperfect. Our movement is perfect. But he becomes imperfect by his misuse of independence. He thinks that "This is nice," and goes to hell. What can be done? That independence is there. That is perfectness.

Morning Walk – December 6, 1973, Los Angeles

As I said we will try to make a podcast on this topic and we will be posting more of these conversations on where you can go through them.

I hope this helps.

your servant Purujit Dasa

Patrick Coyne

Haribol thank you for such an elaborate answer, you are very kind, and yes we have to follow Prabhupada in what he said. I guess what confused me the most in the B.G. Prabhupada says once you are liberated and enter into the spiritual world and you never return to the material, so does that mean you can be not liberated and be in the spiritual world be falling to the material plane. And if we want to be the enjoyer then is there jealous in the spiritual world,,, thanks again can’t wait for the pod cast, all glory’s to Srila Prabhupada

Purujit Dasa

Hare Krsna, dear Patrick. You are very much welcome. I am supplying you a quote you might appreciate that answers your particular question. We will post more on on this topic next week along with the podcast, so please stay tuned. Guru-krpa: They say that in the spiritual world we say that everything is peaceful, there is no birth and death, there is no material conditions, so if the conditions in the spiritual world are so nice and everything is spiritually, everything is spiritual, how is it that one can become envious of Krsna in such conditions? This is a very... Acyutananda: The original sin. Sudama: Why we are envious... Guru-krpa: How is it that, if everything is free from envy, free from bad material elements... Prabhupada: Yes. Guru-krpa: How is it that... Prabhupada: That is independence. That is independence. In spite of all these things, because you have got little independence, you can violate. Sudama: It is very hard thing to understand. Prabhupada: No, it is not difficult. It is not difficult. Acyutananda: It is not difficult. They don't want to understand. Prabhupada: Because you are part and parcel of God, God has got full independence, but you have got little independence, proportionately, because you are part and parcel... Acyutananda: But in the Gita, it says,"Once coming there, he never returns." Prabhupada: But if he likes, he can return. Acyutananda: He can return. Prabhupada: That independence has to be accepted, little independence. We can misuse that. Krsna-bahirmukha hana bhoga vancha kare. That misuse is the cause of our falldown.

(Conversation, Mayapur, February 19, 1976)

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