Q/A: does Śrī Jīva Goswami state that the jīva is Bhagavān’s cit-śakti?

Q: You wrote in a previous article that the jīva is not Bhagavan’s cit-śakti. But doesn’t Śrī Jīva Goswami state the opposite in Anuccheda 56 of the Paramātmā Sandarbha?

A: No. The purpose of this part of the anuchheda is to note that there are three distinct śaktis, but confusingly, the same word can be used to refer to different śaktis depending on the context. Śrī Jīva Goswami composed the verses at the start of Anuccheda 56 to warn against the pitfalls of confusing the word ‘cit’ when it is used for Bhagavān’s antaraṅgā-śakti, with when it is used for the jīva, and likewise to warn against confusing other terms. I will present what he writes below, sentence by sentence.

He begins as follows:

tad evaṁ sandarbha-dvaye śakti-traya-vivṛtiḥ kṛtā |

In this way, in these two Sandarbhas ( Bhagavat and Paramātmā ), the three energies have been explained

[my notes- the three śaktis are the jīvas, Bhagavān’s cit-śakti or antaraṅgā-śakti, and māyā or prakṛti].

tatra nāmābhinnatā-janita-bhrānti-hānāya saṅgraha-ślokāḥ

In order to dispel any confusion caused by the nondifferentiation of the names used for these, we have compiled the following summary in verse:

[These verses are his own composition. Recognizing that the words prakṛti and cit are sometimes also used for the jīva, and māyā is used for Bhagavān’s cit-śakti, he composed ślokas so that we do not get confused by these terms. I present the verses line by line]

māyā syād antaraṅgā yā bahiraṅgā ca sā smṛtā |

The word māyā , which is used [primarily] for the antaraṅgā-śakti, is also used for the bahiraṅgā-śakti.

[We see the word māyā used routinely to refer to Bhagavān’s antaraṅgā-śakti; he is warning us not to misinterpret māyā as bahiraṅgā-śakti in such contexts.]

pradhāne’pi kvacid dṛṣṭā tad-vṛttir mohinī ca sā ||

In some places, it is also used for pradhāna as well as for its deluding aspect.

[so the word māyā can mean bahiraṅgā-śakti, pradhāna or antaraṅgā-śakti depending on the context]

ādye traye syāt prakṛtiś

The word prakṛti is used for the first three [ māyā , antaraṅgā-śakti and bahiraṅgā-śakti].

cic-chaktis tv antaraṅgikā

The word cit-śakti , however, is used for the antaraṅgā-śakti.

[Note here that he started the Anuchheda by mentioning that he has established the existence of three śaktis in Bhagavān. It would be meaningless for him to then reduce three śaktis to two śaktis by including the jīvas under cit-śakti, and that too in this particular context, where he is explaining that the same word that refers to one śakti in some context, can refer to another śakti in another. But let us continue:]

śuddha-jīve’pi te dṛṣṭe

The words prakṛti and cit-śakti are seen to be used for the pure jīva also,

[And here it comes. He is stating that the words prakṛti and cit-śakti (the pronoun ‘te’ is in dual case, and refers to the two items mentioned in the previous line; the word dṛṣṭe, ‘seen’, is also in dual case and qualifies ‘te’) refers to the pure jīva in some contexts. The meaning is plain – these two words can sometimes mean “the pure jīva”, and should not be confused with the bahiraṅgā-śakti and antaraṅgā-śakti of Bhagavān respectively in those contexts.

As an example, the word ‘prakṛti’ is used in Bhagavad Gita 7.5 for the pure jīva. I use the word ‘pure’ because verse 7.5 is discussing the pure jīva, unmixed with or separated from the inferior or material prakṛti. This is the sense in which Śrī Jīva uses the word ‘pure’ in the above line also – separating it from the antaraṅgā-śakti and bahiraṅgā-śakti of Bhagavān.

Just because the word prakṛti in BG 7.5 refers to the pure jīva, it does not follow that the pure jīva is Bhagavān’s bahiraṅgā-śakti. Obviously, the sense of the word is different there. Likewise, when the word ‘cit’ is used for the pure jīva, as the word cit in ‘sat-cit-ānanda’, it does not follow that the pure jīva is Bhagavān’s antaraṅgā-śakti. Obviously the sense of the word is different there.]


as well as for the knowledge and prowess of Bhagavān.

[The two words prakṛti and cit-śakti also sometimes are used to refer to the knowledge and prowess of Bhagavān. They should not be misinterpreted to refer to ‘māyā’ or ‘pure jīva’ in those contexts].

cin-māyā-śakti-vṛttyos tu vidyā-śaktir udīryate

Vidyā-śakti is used for aspects of both the cit and māyā-śaktis.

cic-chakti-vṛttau māyāyāṁ yoga-māyā samā smṛtā ||

The word yoga-māyā is [also] used for the functions of both the cit and māyā-śaktis .

[These lines should be similarly understood as warning against confusion and misinterpretation].

pradhānāvyākṛtāvyaktaṁ traiguṇye prakṛtau param |

The words pradhāna , avyākṛta, and avyakta are used only for prakṛti consisting of the three guṇas ,

[Here is an exception. These words have only one meaning, which makes life just a little bit easier!]

na māyāyāṁ na cic-chaktāv

not for māyā or the cit-śakti .

ity-ādy ūhyaṁ vivekibhiḥ|| iti

This should be understood by the wise.


The words ‘cit’, ‘māyā’, ‘prakṛti’, ‘vidyā’ and ‘yoga-māyā’ can refer to distinct śaktis depending on the context. To warn against confusion and the resulting misinterpretation, Śrī Jīva Goswami composed these verses. The word ‘cit’ can refer either to the jīvas or to Bhagavān’s cit-śakti or to His knowledge depending on the context.

Categories: concepts, Definitions, jīva-tattva, Q/A

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  1. Basically , chit shakti of bhagvAn here is his gyAna.

    Chit shakti of jiva is , jivas gyAn.

    Chit shakti/gyAn of jivas and bhagvAn is obviously different and not the same

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