jīva-tattva

The jīva uses the ātmā’s own jñāna śakti, and not Bhagavān’s svarūpa śakti or māyā śakti, to know – Part II

I continue to examine the evidence that some offer to support the claim that the ātmā uses māyā’s jñāna śakti or the material jñāna śakti to know when in the material body.

Claim: In Paramātma Sandarbha 19, Śrī Jīva Goswami states that the jīva’s knowership, doership, and enjoyership in relation to this world are his extrinsic or accidental attributes (taṭastha-lakṣaṇa), and not his intrinsic attributes (svarūpa-lakṣaṇa) arising from his svarūpa. This proves that the jīva’s intrinsic knowership, which is part of the cit sakti of Bhagavān, is not active in the material body.

Response:

An object has two types of defining characteristics ( lakṣaṇa), called taṭastha and svarūpa . The purpose of defining the characteristics of an object is to distinguish it from others, both similar and dissimilar, in order to determine how to deal with it appropriately (vyāvṛttir vyavahāro vā lakṣaṇasya prayojanam ). Taṭastha , extrinsic or incidental defining characteristics, are those that are identifiable as extraneous to the object being defined, which do not belong to its essential nature but by which it is commonly recognized. Svarūpa characteristics are those that are part of the object itself, essential, and intrinsic to it.

Now let us examine what Śrī Jīva Goswami actually states:

atha paramātma-parikareṣu jīvaḥ | tasya ca taṭastha-lakṣaṇaṁ kṣetrajña etāḥ [bhā.pu. 5.11.12] ity evoktaṁ

The jīva, or the individual self, is counted among the attendants of Paramātmā. Its extrinsic characteristic ( taṭastha-lakṣaṇa ) was stated earlier [in Anuccheda 1] in SB 5.11.12 , namely, that it is the conditional knower of the presentational field of its own body-mind complex.

[My notes: he explicitly specifies what the taṭastha-lakṣaṇa is. The taṭastha-lakṣaṇa of the jīva is its state of being the conditioned knower of its own body-mind complex. Note that the Sanskrit above cannot be translated to mean that the pure jīva’s intrinsic knowership is not active when it knows the material body-mind complex. Nor does the Sanskrit state anywhere that the pure jīva’s intrinsic knowership manifests only in liberation where it is doing bhakti to Bhagavān. Such a claim is at best an inference, and it is totally incorrect, as we shall see below.

First, here is verse SB 5.11.12:]

kṣetrajña etā manaso vibhūtīr jīvasya māyā-racitasya nityāḥ
āvirhitāḥ kvāpi tirohitāś ca śuddho vicaṣṭe hy aviśuddha-kartuḥ
kṣetrajña ātmā puruṣaḥ purāṇaḥ sākṣāt svayañ-jyotir ajaḥ pareśaḥ
nārāyaṇo bhagavān vāsudevaḥ sva-māyayātmany avadhīyamānaḥ

The pure knower of the presentational field ( kṣetrajña ) merely perceives these beginningless modifications ( vibhūtis ) of the impure actor, the mind, which is but an adjunct [ upādhi ] of the empirical self ( jīva ) and a product of māyā. Its modifications are sometimes manifest [in the waking and dream states] and sometimes unmanifest [in deep sleep and samādhi ]. The [Supreme] witness of the field is the Immanent Self ( ātmā ), the Primordial Person ( puruṣa ), [the most] ancient ( purāṇa ), who is unmediatedly self-revealing ( sākṣāt svayañ-jyotiḥ ), unborn ( aja ), the almighty controller ( pareśa ), the interior regulator of all beings (Nārāyaṇa), inherently endowed with potency (Bhagavān), the substratum of all beings (Vāsudeva), and who is established in His own intrinsic being ( ātmani ) by virtue of the potency that is innate to His own being ( sva-māyayā ). ( SB 5.11.12–13 ) 3

And I provide Śrī Jīva Goswami’s commentary below:

yaḥ śuddho’pi māyātaḥ paro’pi māyā-racitasya vakṣyamāṇasya sarva-kṣetrasya māyayā kalpitasya manaso’ntaḥ-karaṇasya etāḥ prasiddhā vibhūtīr vṛttīr vicaṣṭe viśeṣeṇa paśyati, paśyaṁs tatrāviṣṭo bhavati, sa khalv asau jīva-nāmā sva-śarīra-dvaya-lakṣaṇa-kṣetrasya jñātṛtvāt kṣetrajña ucyate ity arthaḥ |

The one who, even though pure (śuddhaḥ api), perceives the familiar modifications of the mind, and upon seeing them becomes identified, is known as the jīva . “Even though pure” ( śuddhaḥ api ) means “although transcendental to māyā .” The verb vicaṣṭe (perceives) means “clearly seeing.” The phrase “these familiar presentations ( vibhūtis ) of the mind” refers to the modifications ( vṛttis ) of the mind, which is the internal or psychical apparatus, generated by the māyā of He who is the witness of all fields [i.e., of Bhagavān as the Supreme Immanent Self], who will be described [in the next verse]. The jīva is [also] referred to as a witness of the field ( kṣetrajña ) because it is the knower ( jñātṛ ) of the field ( kṣetra ) of its own two bodies [psychic and physical].

[Note how clear this passage is. The pure (śuddhaḥ) jīva perceives the material mind. Here again, śuddha cannot mean Brahman-identified jīva- that would be nonsensical given the context. This pure jīva is the knower (I bolded the translation above for the reader’s convenience). Knowership that functions in this state is the pure jīva’s. Again, its intrinsic knowership enables it to perceive the mind’s modifications, because the pure jīva is the knower here . This totally refutes the notion that the pure jīva uses the material jñāna-śakti to know, and its intrinsic knowership is unmanifest, when in the material body. But let us continue.]

tad uktam—

yayā saṁmohito jīva ātmānaṁ triguṇātmakaṁ |

paro’pi manute’narthaṁ tat-kṛtaṁ cābhipadyate || [bhā.pu. 1.7.5] iti |

As is said:
Bewildered by this extrinsic potency, the individual self, although transcendental to the three guṇas of material nature, thinks of itself as consisting of the three guṇas and thus undergoes the misery resulting from this identification. ( SB 1.7.5 )

tasya manasaḥ kīdṛśatayā māyā-racitasya ? tatrāha—jīvasya jīvopādhitayā jīva-tādātmyena racitasya | tataś ca tattayopacaryamāṇasyety arthaḥ | tataś ca kīdṛśasya ? aviśuddhaṁ bhagavad-bahirmukhaṁ karma karotīti tādṛśasya | kīdṛśīr vibhūtīḥ ? nityā anādita evānugatāḥ | atra ca kadā kīdṛśīḥ ? ity apekṣāyām āha—jāgrat-svapnayor āvirbhūtāḥ suṣuptau tirohitāś ca iti |[3]

By what characteristics is the mind [to be understood as] a product of māyā ? In response [Jaḍa Bharata] says that the mind is that “which pertains to the empirical self ( jīva ),” meaning that it is created as an adjunct ( upādhi ) of the empirical self. This indicates that the mind is a creation with which the jīva becomes identified, meaning that it [the mind as adjunct] is thenceforth taken to be the living entity’s actual identity.
How is the mind further described? It is a performer of impure actions. The word “impure” here means those actions that are undertaken from the separate self-sense rooted in non-awareness of Bhagavān ( bhagavad-bahirmukha ). How are the presentations ( vibhūtis ) or modifications [of the mind] described? They are continuous ( nitya ), meaning that they are beginningless ( anādita ) and that they proceed in perpetual succession ( anugata ). How and when are these modifications [manifest and unmanifest]? In response to this, [Jaḍa Bharata] says, “They appear during the waking and dreaming states, and disappear during deep sleep.”

[Here he states that the pure jīva has tādātmya with māyā (jīva-tādātmyena) which means that it becomes identified with māyā, i.e. that it takes the mind to be its identity. The proponents of the above claims, support those claims by also claiming that the pure jīva can not have tādātmya with the material mind and body, and therefore it is ‘only indirectly a doer’. They are trying to refute Śrī Jīva Goswami himself].

Summary

Taṭastha , extrinsic or incidental defining characteristics, are those that are identifiable as extraneous to the object being defined, which do not belong to its essential nature but by which it is commonly recognized.

The taṭastha-lakṣaṇa of the jīva is its state of identifying with its own material body-mind complex, i.e. the state of being a conditioned knower. Its identity with the material mind and body (tādātmya) is not its intrinsic identity.

The pure jīva is the knower when identified with the mind and body (tādātmya), and it knows in that state because it has intrinsic jñāna śakti.

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