Q: What is taṭasthā śakti?
A: The jīvas.
Q: Do jīvas have taṭasthā śakti?
A: That is like asking if the mind has a mind or color has color or taste has taste. The mind is the mind. Color is color. The jīvas are taṭasthā śakti.
Q: But then why is it called śakti?
A: Because it is one of three types of śaktis of Bhagavān.
Q: Is the jīva still taṭasthā śakti when it reaches Goloka as a siddha?
Q: But the word ‘taṭasthā’ means ‘situated on the bank’, and the jīva is not on the ‘bank’ between māyā and Bhagavān anymore.
A: The jīva is a distinct śakti of Bhagavān. Its svarūpa is different from Bhagavān’s svarūpa. Bhagavān’s svarūpa is made of His svarūpa śakti or ‘internal’ śakti which is made of hlādinī, sandhinī and samvit.
The jīva is also not inert, i.e. non-conscious, like māyā.
So it does not belong to the category of Bhagavān. And it does not belong to the category of māyā. As such, it is put in a separate category. This is not going to change even if it goes to Goloka.
Q: But doesn’t it get a siddha deha in Goloka. Now it has Bhagavān’s svarūpa śakti.
A: It does, but it remains a jīva in its intrinsic nature or svarūpa. The siddha deha is external to it. Just as māyā cannot enter the jīva, Bhagavān’s svarūpa śakti does not enter it, except that the jīva now has an aham-ta of being a bhakta of Bhagavān.
Q: So the jīva remains unchanged in its svarūpa.
A: Yes. If it has Bhagavān’s svarūpa śakti inside of it (i.e. bhakti is inside of it), it has the same svarūpa as Him. Cakravarti-pāda writes that considering Bhagavān’s svarūpa to be the same as that of the jīva is an offense, and a cause of saṁsāra.
Q: But what if it is considered to be just a small spark of Bhagavān’s svarūpa śakti?
A: Big or small, the svarūpa is the same – i.e. essentially both Bhagavān and the jīva are made of the same substance. A gram of gold and a kilogram of gold have the same essential properties.
Further, if it has Bhagavān’s svarūpa śakti inside of it, why is it put in a third distinct category? Only two śaktis should exist.
Q: True, but the third category is needed for those jīvas who are in māyā.
A: False, because Sri Jiva writes this:
tad evam anantā eva jīvākhyās taṭasthāḥ śaktayaḥ | tatra tāsāṁ varga-dvayam
In this way, there are verily unlimited intermediary śaktis, called jīvas. They form two groups.
eko vargo’nādita eva bhagavad-unmukhaḥ, anyas tv anādita eva bhagavat-parāṅmukhaḥ,
One consists of those whose consciousness is turned toward Bhagavān (bhagavad-unmukha) without beginning; the other consists of those whose consciousness is turned away from Bhagavan (bhagavat-parāṅmukha) with no beginning.
atra prathamo’ntaraṅgā-śakti-vilāsānugṛhīto nitya-bhagavat-parikara-rūpo garuḍādikaḥ |
Jīvas of the first group are favored by the blessings of Bhagavān’s intrinsic śakti and are His eternal associates, such as Garuḍa,
Śrī Garuḍa is not in māyā. He is still a jīva, i.e. he is still taṭasthā śakti.
- An electron remains an electron whether it is in gold or in copper. The jīva remains a jīva, whether in Goloka or in the material world.
- It is an offense to think that the svarūpa of the jīva is the same as the svarūpa of Bhagavan. That is, it is an offense to think that the jīva has Bhagavān’s svarūpa śakti inside of it.
- This offense is the cause of saṁsāra.