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(4/16) What Is a Soul?

His Divine Grace Om Vishnupad
Srila Bhakti Nirmal Acharya Maharaj
Sri Ganga Sagar, evening class,
11 January 2019, part 4
Translated from Bengali


It is very popular to say, 'Do jiva-seva! Serve others!' People give food, money, clothes to others and call this service to jiva souls. But neither Srila Prabhupad Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur, nor Mahaprabhu did that. Mahaprabhu said that we must show compassion to jiva souls (jive daya): it means to rescue and send back to the Lord the souls who are averse to Krishna and have fallen into material bondage. Taking jiva souls to their own home is the real mercy to souls. This is Mahaprabhu's conception.

We were singing just now in a kirtan, and I also tell this to my gurudev, 'Gurudev, please hijack me!'

শক্তিবুদ্ধিহীন আমি অতি দীন
কর মোরে আত্মসাথ ॥

sakti-buddhi-hina ami ati dina
kara more atma-satha

'I have no power, no intelligence, I am very poor. Please hijack me.'

(Saranagati, Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur)

'Gurudev, I have no strength, no intelligence, I do not have anything! Please hijack me!'

We always write, 'Sri Sri Guru Gaurangau jayatah. All glory to Sri Sri Guru Gauranga.' First, we offer obeisance to our gurudev. 'Guru bade Gauranga bhaje, sei papi raurave pade majhe: the sinner who worships Gauranga bypassing the guru falls into a terrible hell.' You cannot worship Gauranga bypassing the guru. You cannot attain the Lord bypassing the guru.

When I went to the first grade of school, I learnt something; when I went to the second grade, I learnt something, too; when I studied later in high school, college and then university, I also learnt something there. There is no end of learning. You can find many karmi teachers, jnani teachers, yogi teachers, but what do the scriptures say?

গুরুর্ন স স্যাৎ স্বজনো ন স স্যাৎ,
পিতা ন স স্যাজ্জননী ন সা স্যাৎ ।
দৈবং ন তৎ স্যান্ন পতিশ্চ স স্যান্ন,
মোচয়েদ্ যঃ সমুপেতমৃত্যুম্ ॥

gurur na sa syat svajano na sa syat
pita na sa syaj janani na sa syat
daivam na tat syan na patis cha sa syan
na mochayed yah samupeta-mrtyam

'It is not your guru, it is not your family, it is not your father, it is not your mother, it is not your god, it is not your husband if that person cannot save you from the world of birth and death.'

(Srimad Bhagavatam, 5.5.18)

Srimad Bhagavatam says that if a guru cannot rescue you from the jaws of death (from this deathly material world), then it is not a guru. 'Jaws of death' means that you will leave this body one day and take birth again in another material world ‒ you will get another body, then again give up that body and again go to take birth in another world. We keep coming and going in this way. Sometimes, we are born in a cow's family, sometimes in a goat's family, sometimes in a cat's family, sometimes in a frog's family, sometimes in a snake's family, sometimes in a pig's family. What do people drool over in this world? Over money (kanaka), women (kamini) and fame (pratistha).

We are not preachers of Hinduism, Islam, Christianity or Buddhism.

নাহং বিপ্রো ন চ নরপতির্নাপি বৈশ্যো ন শূদ্রো
নাহং বর্ণী ন চ গৃহপতির্নো বনস্থো যতির্বা ।
কিন্তু প্রোদ্যন্নিখিলপরমানন্দপূর্ণামৃতাব্ধে-
র্গোপীভর্ত্তুঃ পদকমলয়োর্দাসদাসানুদাসঃ ॥

naham vipro na cha nara-patir napi vaisyo na sudro
naham varni na cha grha-patir no vanastho yatir va
kintu prodyan-nikhila-paramananda-purnamrtabdher
gopi-bhartuh pada-kamalayor dasa-dasanudasah

'I am not a brahman, not a ksatriya, not a vaisya, not a sudra; neither am I a brahmachari, a householder, a vanaprastha or a sannyasi. I identify Myself as a servant of the servant of the servant of the lotus feet of Lord Sri Krishna, who is the beloved of the gopis, an ocean of nectar, eternally self-effulgent (self-manifest) and filled with the entire scope of all possible highest ecstasy.'

(Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita, 2.13.80; Padyavali)

We are not ksatriyas (fighters), we are not brahmans (priests), we are not vaisyas (businesspeople), we are not sudras (workers), we are not brahmcharis (celibates), sannyasis (renunciates) or anything else. What are we? I told you at the beginning that we must first learn our own identity, then you can know all these things. If something looks like a cow, we say, 'This is a cow.' If we see a goat, we say, 'This is a goat.' If we see a dog, we say, 'This is a dog,' we do not call it a cat. If you see a human, you call the person a human, and if you have some affection to the person, you will call the person by his or her name. All these names are identities of bodies. But I and this body are not the same thing. Mahaprabhu taught this.

জীবের 'স্বরূপ' হয়—কৃষ্ণের 'নিত্যদাস' ।
কৃষ্ণের 'তটস্থা-শক্তি', 'ভেদাভেদ-প্রকাশ' ॥

jivera 'svarupa' haya—krsnera 'nitya-dasa'
krsnera 'tatastha-sakti' 'bhedabheda-prakasa'

'By its intrinsic nature, the soul is an eternal servant of Krishna; souls come from the marginal energy of Krishna and are simultaneously one with and different from the Lord.'

(Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita, 2.20.108)

The soul is both one with the Lord and different from the Lord – it is the Lord's marginal potency, and by its innate nature, the soul is an eternal servant of Lord Krishna.


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Size: 42.7 Mb
Length: 86 min
Language: Bengali




1) Keep Trying
2) Highest Realm of Devotion
3) Bribing and Increasing Stool
4) What Is a Soul?
5) Service with Faith and Love
6) Core of Devotion
7) Set Your Heart for Govinda
8) Think and Learn
9) Think about Your Soul
10) Sadhya-Sadhan-Tattva
11) With Faith and Surrender
12) Surrender and Learn
13) Bhakta-Seva Pravritti
14) See Good and Do Good
15) See Through It
16) 'Lord Exists for Those Who Have Devotion'




Lord Nrisimhadev and
'Krishna in my heart'
Succint answers to two frequent questions: can we worship Lord Nrisimhadev, and can we think that Krishna is in my heart and be satisfied with that?

Anyabhilasa sunya: when we do service, other desires must be zero.