I present an FAQ regarding the jīva’s svarūpa:
- Is the svarūpa of the jīva already fixed?
Answer: If by svarūpa, you mean ‘own form’, the jīva does not have a svarūpa.
2. But doesn’t the jīva have a form in Vaikuṇṭha?
Answer: yes, but that form is not inherent to the jīva – it is not its own form. The form is made of Bhagavān’s svarūpa śakti.
3. Then does the jīva go through different stages till finally settling onto a form in Vaikuṇṭha? I have heard that one may become a butterfly first, then a flower, and so on till one settles on perhaps becoming a gopī?
Answer: no. The form comes from the bhāva, and the bhāva comes from the guru when the jīva is still in the material world. Without the bhāva, there is no entry possible into Vaikuṇṭha. Therefore the jīva has no choice in the matter, except when the jīva chose a guru.
4. Does the jīva have an inherent or intrinsic form?
Answer: no. The jīva is aṇu, and therefore is formless.
5. Did the jīva not already have a form before it fell from Vaikuṇṭha?
Answer: no, because the jīva did not fall from Vaikuṇṭha.
6. What kind of form does the jīva get upon attaining Vaikuṇṭha?
Answer: that is decided by the bhāva one gets from the guru. The form is suitable for the bhāva.
7. Then why is the jīva in the material world?
Answer: This question is ill-posed because the jīva has been in the material world from beginningless time, and beginningless events do not have a cause.
8. Can the jīva get the position of a gopī?
9. What is a manjarī then?
Answer: A servant of the gopī.
10. What according to you is the meaning of the word ‘svarūpa’?
Answer: it means inherent nature. It is commonly used to distinguish inherent nature from upādhi. Red color is not in the inherent nature of a glass (i.e. not in its svarūpa) if the red color is only perceived due to the rose next to it. The word svarūpa is commonly used to assert that Bhagavān’s form is inherent to Him, and not an upādhi.
11. Doesn’t the word svarūpa refer to one’s own form?
Answer: It depends on the context. But the most popular use of this word is to convey the meaning of ‘inherent nature’.
12. Can you show this?
Answer: read this article: https://bhaktitattva.com/2021/07/24/what-is-the-meaning-of-the-word-svarupa/
13. Is bliss in the svarūpa of the jīva?
Answer: no. An absence of misery is.
14. Why is the jīva called ‘ānanda’ then?
Answer: ānanda simply means that the jīva has the potential for experiencing bliss, and not that it has ānanda inside of it.
15. What is ānanda?
Answer: it is Bhagavān’s svarūpa śakti.
16. Is there anything positive in the jīva’s svarūpa?
Answer: yes, consciousness.
17. What about knowledge?
Answer: that is not in the jīva’s svarūpa.
18. What is in Bhagavān’s svarūpa?
Answer: Knowledge, form, ānanda and unlimited śaktis.
19. What is ānanda?
Answer: It is Bhagavān’s svarūpa śakti.
20. Can you say nothing positive about this ānanda?
Answer: The essence of this ānanda is experienced in serving Bhagavān’s devotees.
21. But Bhagavān is served. He is not a devotee.
Answer: Bhagavān is a devotee of His devotee.
22. Then what is the difference between Bhagavān and His devotee?
Answer: The difference is that bhakti is Bhagavān’s śakti, not the devotee’s.
23. Is there prema in the jīva?
24. Then how can he get it?
Answer: from the guru.
25. How does the guru have prema?
Answer: He or she got it from his or her guru.
26. Ultimately where did the prema come from?
Answer: in our parivāra, it came from Pandit Goswami who is Śrī Rādhā herself.
27. That means, if the guru does not have prema, we cannot get it?
28. What if we cannot find a guru who has it?
Answer: then you cannot get it.
29. That doesn’t seem fair.
Answer: it is what it is. Don’t expect Bhagavān to conform to our notions of what is fair and unfair. We are insignificant and irrelevant in the scheme of things.