Q: I had a question about an article by a devotee. He says that the śuddha citta in which prema manifests is the citta of the spiritual body, and not the material citta. What is your opinion on this?
A: How does this author explain this verse from the Caitanya Caritāmṛta?
nitya-siddha kṛṣṇa-prema sādhya kabhu naya
śravaṇādi-śuddha-citte karaye udaya
Of note is the second line:
śravaṇādi-śuddha-citte – in the citta purified by hearing and other processes, kṛṣṇa-prema manifests.
Is the author suggesting that the citta in the siddha deha is being purified by śravaṇādi? If yes, that goes against hundreds of verses in the scriptures. śravaṇādi purifies the material citta – this is common knowledge and not controversial at all. When the citta is completely pure, then the prema manifests in it.
Q: He does not seem to have noticed that flaw in his reasoning.
A: If we take his interpretation as valid, we will have to interpret Sri Caitanya’s ceto-darpaṇa-mārjanaṁ as cleaning the mirror of the heart of the siddha deha which is ridiculous. What is the reason this devotee proposed this new strange idea?
Q: According to him, the conditioned citta is a product of māyā and is thus an unfit container for receiving prema. Also he wants to reconcile the dormant prema idea by stating that the dormant prema is in the siddha deha, and the practitioner gets the siddha deha when he becomes successful. The siddha deha identifies with the practitioner and in the heart of that siddha deha, the prema which was dormant becomes active.
A: Here are my initial thoughts on this:
1) Śrī Kṛṣṇa states in the Gita that He is present in the hearts of all living beings as Paramātmā: īśvaraḥ sarva-bhūtānāṁ hṛd-deśe ’rjuna tiṣṭhati. He makes it clear that these hearts or cittas are in material bodies in the material world in the next line- bhrāmayan sarva-bhūtāni yantrārūḍhāni māyayā. If Śrī Kṛṣṇa can be in the material citta, what is the problem with His śakti (prema) being in it?
2) Dhruva, Prahlāda, Nārada, and countless other devotees experienced Śrī Kṛṣṇa while being in the material body. Śrī Kṛṣṇa never showed Himself to Nārada again for the reason that Nārada’s citta was not completely pure at that time. The citta in the spiritual deha cannot be impure! Also see the verse in the Gita – yaṁ yaṁ vāpi smaran bhāvaṁ tyajaty ante kalevaram. This verse makes it clear that bhāva comes first. One gets the deha according to the bhāva. So there is no question of bhāva manifesting in the citta of the siddha deha. That idea has no support from any of the Goswamis to my knowledge.
3) There is no support for the notion that prema is dormant in the Goswamis’ writings anywhere. If this person has a reference, he should provide it. Otherwise, he is trying to reconcile an apasiddhānta, the whole argument is founded on an aśāstric premise, and is not worth my time.
4) The siddha deha cannot identify with the jīva. It is the jīva who identifies with the siddha deha.
Q: Do we get to pick our siddha deha like picking a specific color from a palette of thousands of colors?
A: Sādhu-sanga happens yadṛcchayā, and bhakti manifests yadṛcchayā. It is like winning a lottery without buying a ticket or even being aware that the lottery exists! Once we get bhakti, we cannot choose a siddha deha like color in a palette – the guru’s bhāva is what we will get, and after death, the body will be decided by that bhāva. So we are irrelevant in the process.
Q: The devotee writes that one must try to reconcile contradictions if one is a sāragrāhī Vaiṣṇava. Isn’t that something worth doing?
A: So if you do not reconcile, you are not a sāragrāhī Vaiṣṇava, while the author is? In Hindi we say, cit main jita, pat tu hara – heads I win, tails you lose. Why should anyone try to reconcile apasiddhānta? One reaches aśāstric conclusions that contradict the Goswamis’ teachings.