Q/A: How can Kṛṣṇa be the cause of anādi creation, when anādi means without cause?

I received a long reply from a proponent of the jiva-choice theory- but I did not publish it as it violates the rules for posting on this site. I will answer one question, which is worth answering:

The writer quotes me from the previous article:

Question: You yourself wrote: “Thus, Kṛṣṇa is the ultimate cause of creation, while Mahā Viṣṇu is a more proximal cause.”. And above you wrote that Vishvanath says that jīva and māyā and their combination is anādi. So how Krishna can be the “cause” of anadi creation?

Answer: This is a substantial misunderstanding of the word anādi as applied to creation, versus anādi as applied to the jīva’s presence conjoined with prakṛti.

Creation, occurs at a specific point of time! Creation of the current world occurred billions of years ago. The world will be destroyed in the future, there will be *nothing* and then creation will occur again. As such, creation is a *recurring event*.

Any event that occurs has a preceding cause. As such, creation has a preceding cause.

What is the cause of creation? There has been considerable argument about this in the scriptures. The Sankhyaites say it is prakṛti itself which is the cause. Others say it is Brahmā. Some Vaiṣṇava scriptures proclaim Mahā Viṣṇu as the cause. The Brahma-saṁhitā says that it is Kṛṣṇa Himself who is the cause of all causes.

Thus, we have

Kṛṣṇa is the ultimate preceding cause of the event of creation, while Mahā Viṣṇu is a more proximal cause, Brahmā is an even more proximal cause, and prakṛti is a more proximal cause.

Why is creation called ‘anādi’ then? Because creation has beginninglessly been occurring, and Kṛṣṇa is called its anādi cause, because He has beginninglessly been its cause.

Imagine we time-travel back in time for t years, such that t is a very large number- say a quadrillion years. We will find that even before this time, infinite creations have already occurred. And we will find that for each of these creations, Kṛṣṇa was the preceding cause.

Contrast this with the jīva’s conjunction with prakṛti. This is not an event that occurred at any point; the jīva has always been with prakṛti.

It is meaningless to talk about a cause for an event that did not occur. This is why Sri Visvanatha clearly says: the jīva’s conjunction with prakṛti has *no cause* as discussed in the preceding article.

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  1. It is very difficult for our mind to understand and realize anadi concept.
    But,as we accept that Krishna is never created,born,then all His potencies and energies are also without beginning…
    It is useful to always think of them as part of Krishna and then we will accept…

    • Indeed! Anadi avidya is the root problem of the jiva; this is part of sambandha gyana. Those who have a distorted understanding that the jiva made a choice torture others and themselves with the guilt of having made a decision which they never made. With such understanding and the willful intent to preach it to others which hurts others’ prospects, how can bhakti ever bear its fruit? It only produces an unhealthy frame of mind and has an undesired effect- misery in this life and the next.

  2. Therefore, if Krishna is beginingless that means he also is causeless which implies that the beginingless(anadi and ananta recurring…jivas are unlimited) cycle of creation and destruction is also causeless, because its origin(Krishna) is also originiless as per Brahma Samhita verse. That just means karma is anadi (chicken and egg situation)…no cause, no choice, no one to blame , simple as that.Then we take to Bhakti under a proper parampara and proper learned guru and we live happily ever after and others who disagree stay in their lane and do as they please…i wish.

    • This is a very important observation indeed! Imagine the creation cycle drawn as a circle with a center, with the event of creation indicated with arrows at various points on the circle. Label the center of the circle as Krsna. Draw a dashed arrow from the center to the arrows on the circle. This is a depiction of Krsna as the preceding cause of the creation. When did Krsna get into this relationship with creation? The question has no answer because the relationship is beginningless. So, there is *no cause* for the beginningless cause and effect relation between Krsna and the creation. All anadi examples involving cause and effect (karana-karya) can be understood the same way- for example Krsna’s birth from Yasoda, Radha and Krsna becoming one as Sri Krsna Caitanya, and so on.

  3. There are no cause and no motive behind these beginningless nescience, wandering and suffering. Thus, no aim and no purpose?

      • How to understand it? There is no cause and motive, but the purpose is there. I don’t understand. Could you please explain it?

      • You are making the logical error of assuming that something which is beginningless can have no purpose. What is the justification for thinking this way? Do you accept that the world is beginningless? It is an observable fact that things have a purpose in this world.

      • If this prison of samsara is beginningless then it was not created. Thus its purpose was not created too.

      • The scriptures describe that the world goes through cycles of creation and destruction. The creation has a purpose, the destruction has a purpose. Such purposes have existed from beginningless time. There have been infinite creations of the universe. It is not like Christianity where the world was created once

      • By samsara I mean these beginningless cycles of creation and destruction. Is there any goal or aim of samsara? Is there any purpose?
        If this “prison” of samsara is beginningless then it was not created by God. Then its purpose was not created by God too.

      • The scriptures say that the universe is created by bhagavan. If you go back in time, this universe was created by Him with a purpose. If you go further back in time, the previous universe was also created by Him with a purpose and then destroyed with a purpose. And you keep going back in time, you will see that He created yet another one. Clear?

      • So, there is cyclic creation and dissolution of sadi objects like universe. They are created by Bhagavan without a motive or goal but with a purpose.
        This cyclic process is anadi, and it has no cause. Does it have any goal, aim, purpose?

      • What is the difference between motive or goal, and purpose? The universe is created for devotees to perfect their devotion. That is the purpose.

        The cyclic process has a cause. Bhagavan is its cause. The cyclic process is anadi. He is its anadi cause.

      • Vedanta-Sutra:
        vaisamya-nairghrnye na sapeknatvat tatah hi darsayati
        na karmavibhagad iti cen nanaditvat
        As far as I understand from your words, this theodicy concerns the Evil in the universes but not the Evil of Samsara.

      • I think we discussed this already. Something that is anadi does not have a cause. Things just are the way they are. Why does evil exist? It exists because it does. No reason.
        If you are looking for an answer like – it exists because of ‘free will’, or it exists because of the ‘devil’, – well no, there is no such thing in Hindu theology.

      • Regarding the statement that something that is anadi does not have a cause.
        You mentioned earlier that anadi process can have anadi cause:
        – The cyclic process has a cause. Bhagavan is its cause. The cyclic process is anadi. He is its anadi cause.

      • I meant something that exists from anadi time. The atma is anadi. That does not have a cause. The law of Karma is anadi. No cause. Bhagavan is anadi. No cause. The universe is not anadi. It has a beginning. So it has a cause. But the relation between bhagavan and the cycle of creation- no cause. That means the relation has always existed.

      • May I conclude then that any beginningless phenomenon didn’t ask Bhagavan for His opinion, it just existed, so Bhagavan is not to blame?

      • So, these anadi phenomenons (anadi existence of Bhagavan, jivas, karma, etc.) are like beginningless independent Force Majeure above Bhagavan which He has to accept? God above God?

      • Everything is under His control from beginningless time. You have not understood the principle that nothing is independent of Him from beginning less time.

      • If He (or atma, or karma, or maya) existed always then this beginningless existence didn’t ask Him whether He want it to exist or not. So He is not guilty. This existence just was there, just existed. Therefore it seems to be independent, God above God. Where I am wrong?

      • Understand the concept of beginningless and your questions will disappear. Go back in time, say a trillion trillion years. Nothing is independent of Bhagavan at that time. Go back another trillion trillion years. Still nothing is independent of Bhagavan.

        You imagine that maya, karma and the atma came into existence at some point- then ask whether that coming into existence was by Bhagavan’s will. That is meaningless.

        That which is beginningless did not occur ever. So the question of independence or dependence does not arise.
        Try to get out of the usual (Western) linear thinking, and grasp the anadi concept properly.

      • By “it” I mean the existence. Our existence didn’t ask for our opinion or will. It just was there, our existence. God above us. Bhagavan’s existence didn’t ask for His opinion or will. It just was there. God above God.

      • Our existence is in the current moment. Not some event back in time. In the current moment, we are dependent on God. And in all moments in the past, we were dependent on Him.

        Existence cannot ask for our opinion. To have an opinion, we have to first exist.

      • Yes, we are dependent, I didn’t doubt it.
        Yes, existence cannot ask for our opinion. May we conclude then that if Bhagavan exists His existence didn’t ask for His opinion, too?

        If I am wrong in the following, please correct me. The phenomenon which anadi exists for a person, which is anadi given to this person as a reality, as a certainty, looks like Force Majeure above him, God above him. Bhagavan was not asked for His opinion or will: the existence of all anadi tattvas (Himself, jivas, karma, maya, etc.) has been given to Him. Given anadi. This existence without a choise looks like God above God.

      • Existence is not a sentient being. It cannot talk or ask anything. This is very strange thinking.

        Existence is a quality of Bhagavan. Not something that was given to Him. It is His intrinsic nature. There is no one to ask Bhagavan what He wants because He is the only thing that exists. Who can ask Bhagavan what He wants? There is no one that exists other than Him.

        Anything that is anadi is not given.

      • I didn’t mean that existence is a sentient being and can ask. It was a metaphor.

        And by the word “given” I meant something one has to accept without a choise. When I said “The existence of Bhagavan, jiva, karma, maya is given anadi” I meant that the anadi existence of Bhagavan, jiva, karma, maya is a REALITY that everyone (including Bhagavan) just has to accept, without a choise, whether he wants it or not.

      • As I mentioned above, existence is Bhagavan’s quality. He doesn’t have to accept it. It is Him. You’re making a false distinction between existence and Bhagavan.

      • I thought that, according to your parivara siddhanta, Bhagavan is one with His shaktis and simultaneously different (achintya-bhedabheda). Unlike in advaita-vedanta theory where only Brahman exists. Otherwise, if only Bhagavan exists, as the only thing that exists, then I am He, and it is He who is in samsara now, not me.

      • May I conclude from your words that existence of anything (including anadi avidya):
        1. Is in Bhagavan’s intrinsic nature,
        2. Is Bhagavan’s quality?

      • Then in whose nature is existence of anadi avidya?
        Whose quality is existence of anadi avidya?

      • Existence is Bhagavan’s intrinsic nature. And because anadi avidya is His sakti, the quality of existence is also present in anadi avidya.

  4. If some process is material and it has purpose then there must be some cause and motive behind this purpose.

    • Do you mean ‘effect’ when you use the word ‘purpose’? Every cause has an effect. Yes, correct. And this relation exists from beginningless time between the cause and the effect. So water flows down the hill because of its potential energy. And water has been flowing downhill (and not uphill) from beginning-less time. I dont see the problem.

      • Let me illustrate my doubt with two quotes from the article https://www.jiva.org/why-does-god-create-the-world which says that the Lord creates the prison without a goal and… with a goal:

        The first quote:
        sṛstyādikaṁ harir naiva prayojanam apehsya tu I kurute kevalānandādyathā mattasyanartanam || pūrnānandasya tasyeha prayojana-matih kutah I muktā avyāpta-kāmāḥ syuḥ him utāsy akhilātmanaḥ ||
        “Without a goal, the Lord carries out creation out of bliss alone, like a mad man dancing. What is the question of a goal for the Lord who is complete bliss? Persons who are liberated have no desires to be fulfilled. What then to speak of desires in the Lord, the soul of all beings?” (Nārāyaṇa-saṁhitā)

        The second quote:
        “Why does He create a prison? He creates it so that people can become devotees. […] He is only trying to help the beginningless conditioned soul to get out of the conditioning.”

        So, I can’t understand: if the Lord has no goal then whose goal is this?

      • Do you think Bhagavan feels hungry like us? No. But He still steals yogurt. Why? He has no reason to steal yogurt but He still steals it. Why?

      • The question is ill-posed. Why is water wet? It is how it is. But the suffering can make us want to get out.

        Note also that all suffering is in the mind. Suffering does not touch the atma. If we accept the atma’s existence, who is suffering? If we reject it, who is suffering?

      • So, besides beginningless Perfection (God) there is beginningless Imperfection in the world, beginningless Godlessness. Even the human intelligence can understand, let me call it, sense in existence of Perfection. But what is the sense in Imperfection… How to explain such a state clearly for human intelligence?!

      • Let me say it in other words. Even the human buddhi can see meaning/purport in beginningless existence of Perfection (God). But what is the meaning/purport in beginningless existence of Imperfection and Godlessness (anadi avidya)?.. Is there any clear explanation understandable by human buddhi?

      • Even the human buddhi can see reason for beginningless existence of Perfection (God). Some will say this reason is Love, some that it is eternity, knowledge and bliss, etc.
        But what is the reason for beginningless existence of Imperfection and Godlessness (anadi avidya)?.. Is there any clear explanation understandable by human buddhi? Is the reason in sufferings and wanderings from time immemorial? Hardly. Or to develop the motive to get out? But this could be accomplished by being anadi in vidya like many atmas are. And the motive to get out of sufferings is impure.
        There are many good explanations in your teachings, so it could be here, too. “It is just the way it is” explains nothing.

  5. I have a friend who recently bought a house. It needed a lot of fixing, refurbishment and cleaning up, due to mold( a living organism) and some insects etc. In the process of cleaning it and fixing it up, a lot of these organisms had to die. From his (this friend of mine) perspective he was not doing evil, in fact his main concern was the refurbishment of the house. The word “evil” is a dualistic term from the conditioned experience of a jiva in the material world. Creation, maintenance and destruction are part of the material world. Its all about perspective, when I look at traffic from an aerial view( airplane), I see beauty due to the lights coming from the cars and the arrangement. However, from the perspective of someone on the ground stuck in traffic (and late for an appointment) its “evil”.

      • 1. I never said there is no evil, instead what I said was that good and bad(evil) are dualistic experiences imposed by the three gunas . Both good and bad are actually not conducive in “getting out”. Although good is generally helpful in giving one a favorable situation to meet devotees and to practice sadhana peacefully. However, to get the password (shraddha/transcendental “faith”) is not up to pious endeavors, its causeless. Ask anyone working at a gas station, or office if they want to get out of the material world…they will give you a blank stare. The only people who are thinking of getting out are those acquainted with vedic “liberation” texts such as the Upanishads. Although most rely only on sattva guna instead of the authorized password of bhakti-shraddha.

        2. A self-realized soul (jivanmukta) can be in this world of dualities and not be affected; so in a sense such souls do not “need to get out”. They are already attuned to a higher consciousness. For them there is no difference between “here and there”. A prominent example of a great soul who travels to the material world and even gets “cursed” for encouraging others to “get out” is Sri Narada Muni.

        3.However, jivas are still under the thralldom of the three gunas, so they continually feel the pangs of material existence. These pangs are felt due to identification with the material body.

        4. I am not a sanskrit expert but I have a feeling that those from a western perspective study vedic realities in a “contained/biased” manner. For instance, uttama bhakti is not about getting out but about Krishna Prema.

      • If you want to impose the “evil” term in such discussions, I can only suggest that “evil” is a beginningless/causeless lack of Krishna Prema / Bhakti. That “evil” is threefold (sattva/rajas/tamas)…however, on careful inspection this term simply does not work in the world of bhakti philosophy and vedic understanding. “Evil” implies that someone is purposefully inflicting pain on you; we know that karma is anadi and its you( the individual jiva) who creates karmic impressions by acting under the gunas. These karmic impressions are without a beginning, so there is no need of even bringing up the word “evil”.

      • What is dharma of each of anadi tattvas and phenomenons: Bhagavan, Jiva, Prakriti, Samsara, etc.? And what is svarupa of jiva? And what is definition of this term, svarupa?

  6. Srimad Bhagawatam 11.11.4:
    एकस्यैव ममांशस्य जीवस्यैव महामते ।
    बन्धोऽस्याविद्ययानादिर्विद्यया च तथेतर: ॥ ४ ॥
    ekasyaiva mamāṁśasya
    jīvasyaiva mahā-mate
    bandho ’syāvidyayānādir
    vidyayā ca tathetaraḥ

    Here the word anadi is applicable to avidya or to vidya, too? It seems to me I have read somewhere that both vidya and avidya are beginningless. Is it true?

  7. To Ergo , you said “Even the human buddhi can see reason for beginningless existence of Perfection (God). Some will say this reason is Love, some that it is eternity, knowledge and bliss, etc.”

    First of all give a quote from sastra to support the above statement, in as far as sastric understanding is concerned, there is no reason behind beginningless phenomena. Bliss, Knowledge(transcendental), Eternity and Prema are beginningless. So tell me Ergo, how can you give a reason behind such phenomena if they are beginningless ( they have always existed). You can give a reason for concepts/phenomena that have a beginning. Your statement implies ( this is a problem with dualistic language) that these beginningless phenomena are brought into existence at some point and then meaning or reason is assigned to them by someone ( a very dangerous path to confusion).

    Secondly, human buddhi cannot see reason behind transcendental phenomena…ask non Vaishnavas these questions to put to test your “human buddhi” understanding . Even aspiring sadhakas who have not yet experienced bhava or prema cannot fully discern(experientially) but they do understand beginningless concepts due to their buddhi being blessed with transcendental faith (sastriya shraddha). Otherwise its difficult for an ordinary human being to understand. This is what you are trying to do ; to contain such phenomena using material logic ( an impossible task).

    Thirdly, I can ask you to infinity to explain the reason behind Love, Bliss, and Eternity? If you give an answer I will keep on asking you to explain further the reason behind that answer and that answer until we become mentally exhausted.

    There is no reason behind Anadi Avidya and Anadi Vidya; they co-exist without a beginning. The only concern you should be pressing yourself about is the question; “how do I get out of samsara?” Instead, you are challenging the very same people who are trying to help you get out. This means you are not interested in getting out. You are interested in being a Pandit or Debate Champion.

    Anything beginningless has no reason behind it. Bhagavan is beginningless and has three main potencies that are beginningless. Can you tell me why God exists if he has no beginning in the first place? My dear sir, once the word “anadi” is assigned to anything that means ITS JUST THE WAY IT IS. If you want answers follow the Christians, they will tell you its because of Satan, and then you will be mentally satisfied. For the rest of us who have faith in bhakti sastra, ITS JUST THE WAY IT IS.

    • Svayambhu Das Ji, by reason I meant purpose. When something makes sense. So, if there is no sense and purpose in anadi avidya and anadi samsara then we can say:
      – There is pointless, senseless beginningless ignorance. As well as pointless, senseless beginningless suffering and wandering.

      • Wrong. Because in another article from this website we read:
        – What is the purpose of existence?
        – The purpose of existence is to acquire love for Śrī Kṛṣṇa.

      • Isn’t this “purpose” a “reason” behind beginningless existence in suffering and pain?

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