Duty, True Religion, Consciousness & Inherent Nature of Man -A Crash Course on Philosophy

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Hare Krishna, Welcome to this session with ‘The Gaudiya Treasures of Bengal’. This is your servant Diptiman Gaurahari das. So in this video we are going to talk about the eternal duty of man; we are going to discuss about the nature of the soul. We are going to talk about who we actually are, what we are made up of, and our eternal tendencies, natural characteristics and our intrinsic nature that wants to find its expression in our day to day lives.

So any substance which exists or any entity which exists, possesses a set of natural characteristics or a set of natural traits, which is part of its intrinsic constitution. This inherent permanent nature of a substance is also known as its Nitya Dharma. Now sometimes it might so happen that when this substance comes in contact with other substances…or may be under the influence of the external circumstances… the original permanent set of characteristics of this particular substance might get transformed. Over time, this transformed nature gets stable, and it might come across as the permanent nature of the particular substance or the ‘Nitya Dharma’ of the particular substance.However this is merely a deception as these distorted set of characteristics is not the original genuine nature of the substance. These newly acquired traits of that particular substance is also known as its Naimittika Dharma, which is different to the set of its permanent intrinsic characteristics …or the Nitya Dharma of that particular substance.

Nitya Dharma vs Naimittika Dharma :

So if we take the example of water…liquidity is its intrinsic natural characteristic..and it might be said liquidity is the Nitya Dharma of water.Similarly heat and light is the Nitya Dharma of fire. Sweetness is the Nitya Dharma of sugar…so on and so forth. But if we take the example of water, then liquidity might be its Nitya Dharma but the same water when put under freezing conditions…it freezes into ice. So Solidity now becomes its acquired nature.So when water comes in contact with the freezing conditions…these freezing conditions acts as a catalyst and transforms the liquid water into solid ice. So this happens when a particular circumstance..which is the freezing conditions in this case..acts as a catalyst for a particular change to occur.

Liquidity is water’s Nitya dharma or its permanent characteristic..whereas solidity in this case is its Naimittika Dharma or its set of acquired characteristics. Naimittika Dharma is temporary by nature..and the substance once again reveals its original characteristics as soon as the circumstance which acts as a catalyst for the change is removed.So for example in this case, if the ice is returned to normal temperature and is taken away from the freezing conditions, it once again transforms itself into water. So Nitya Dharma or the original characteristics of a substance is never lost.. it never vanishes…But it stays latent within the substance even if the substance gets distorted or acquires a temporary nature. So in time the Nitya Dharma or the permanent nature of the substance which is intrinsic to its own constitution – it reveals itself. So there are two things to be considered over here – one is the Nitya Dharma or the permanent intrinsic set of characteristics of the particular substance or an entity ; the second is the Naimittika Dharma or the set of acquired characteristics. So those who have true knowledge can differentiate between the eternal and the occasional functions of a particular being. In other words they can differentiate between the Nitya Dharma and the naimittika Dharma of a particular entity. However those who do not possess this knowledge mistake the acquired traits of a particular being to be its permanent nature.

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God and the Living Entity (jiva):

This principle of the Nitya Dharma and the Naimittika Dharma applies to all beings including us the living entities. The ancient Vedic scriptures reveal that God is the Supreme Being and the jivas emanate from the Supreme Lord just as the sunlight emanates from the sun. The sunlight, though it emanates from the sun, does not diminish the sun in the slightest. Similarly God is not diminished in the slightest though we jivas ,the living entities, emanate from Him. Just as the sunlight and the sun are the same qualitatively, similarly we jivas and the Supreme Lord, are the same when it comes to spiritual nature and our consciousness. However the stark difference lies in the fact that He is the infinite..the Supreme Lord is infinite..whereas we the jivas, the living entities ,are infinitesimal. He is the complete whole whereas we , the jivas, are His tiny part and parcel.So the Supreme Lord and the jiva are simultaneously one and different from each other. There is a natural loving relationship between the two – God is the attractor whereas we are the attracted… God is the observer whereas we are the observed… God is the master of all potencies whereas the tiny jiva is devoid of any… God is our all-loving father whereas we are simply incomplete without His love…So that brings us to our original question – what is the Nitya Dharma or the eternal characteristics, the eternal tendencies ,the eternal traits of a living entity ? To discuss further on this, we need to understand a little bit about the Supreme Lord and His various energies.

Supreme Lord & His energies :

The Supreme Lord is the possessor of unlimited energies and of unlimited potencies..For example, His ‘Antaranga shakti’ or His internal energy is responsible for manifesting the spiritual world.Similarly His external energy or the ‘Bahiranga shakti’, creates and controls the material world. We, the jivas or living entities, are a manifestation of the ‘tathasta shakti’ or the marginal potency of the Supreme Lord. ‘Tat’ refers to the boundary region between land and water and is considered to be a part of both. ‘Tat’ upholds the characteristics of both land and water. Similarly the consciousness of the jiva or the conditioned living entity , lies at the boundary of pure spiritual realm and the realm of dull matter. The jiva’s nature is spiritual but its composition is such that it can come under the influence of the mundane material energy as well. Therefore the jiva is considered to be a part of this marginal potency…or the ‘tathasta shakti’  of the Supreme Lord as it can come under the influence of either the internal energy , the ‘Antaranga shakti’ of the Supreme Lord…or the ‘Bahiranga shakti’ ,the external energy of the Supreme Lord.

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By nature the spiritual and the material energies of the supreme Lord are incompatible with each other. However this marginal potency creates an entity which can interact with both spirit as well as with dull matter. In this way the jiva or the conditioned living entity has innate characteristics which is different from matter as well from pure spirit. 

The Bahiranga shakti , or the external energy of the Supreme Lord, which is also known as ‘Maya’ , bewilders the conditioned living entity and covers up the reality of the spiritual realm from him. The jiva, the conditioned living entity, under certain circumstances, gets bewildered and comes under the influence of matter…it becomes controlled by Maya..for he is subject to its influence.

So these three principles – the Bhagawan, or the Supreme Lord..the jiva, or the conditioned being..and Maya, the external energy of the Supreme..these are three eternal principles. The Supreme Lord or Bhagawan is the founding principle of the other two, as has been confirmed in Katha Upanishad – 

‘nityo nityanam, cetanas cetananam’ – ‘Bhagawan is the supreme eternal amongst all other eternal beings. He is the fundamental conscious being among all the other conscious beings’.

Eternal religion :

So what is our Nitya Dharma ? What is the eternal duty of man ? 

Sri Chaitanya Charitamrita explains :

jivera svarupa haya krishnera nitya-dasaThe nitya dharma of the jiva , the conditioned living entity, is to serve Sri Krishna, the supreme personality of Godhead.

So rendering loving devotional service unto Sri Krishna, the Supreme Lord, is the Nitya Dharma or intrinsic characteristic , the intrinsic original nature of the living entity. Krishna is the eternal master, while jiva is His eternal servitor. The jiva, or the conditioned living entity, is the manifestation of the marginal potency of the Supreme Lord. There is a natural loving constitutional relationship between the two. Now we can discuss in a separate video as to why we are referring to Sri Krishna as the Supreme Lord.  The scope of this video is limited..hence we can defer that discussion for a later video. However the truth is that the Nitya Dharma or the eternal characteristics of a conditioned living entity comes into light only when he comes in contact with Krishna, his eternal master. When the jiva, the conditioned living entity, forgets his eternal nature..his Nitya Dharma…he then comes in contact with the material energy and becomes enslaved by Maya. The Nitya Dharma is one ,indivisible and faultless in all situations. However the Naimittika Dharma or the temporary nature of the living entity assumes different forms under the influence of various circumstances. This set of distorted acquired characteristics which the living entity develops when it comes in contact with the material energy is the root cause of all the evils that pervades one’s consciousness. 

The living entity is like a tiny spark emanating from a big undivided fire. And just as a spark of fire possesses the same qualities, the same traits as the big, undivided fire…similarly a living entity, no matter how tiny he is..he possesses the same qualities and the same characteristics as that of the Supreme Lord. A tiny fire which is in contact with inflammable objects can ignite a raging wildfire which can subsequently engulf the entire world..similarly a jiva, a living entity, who has obtained the ultimate objective of love of God, and is firmly situated in his Nitya dharma of rendering loving devotional service unto the supreme..he can flood the entire universe with his ecstatic devotion. On the other hand a living entity who is forgetful of his Nitya Dharma of serving the Supreme and is always busy serving his own senses …such a living entity appears debilitated.

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In ‘suddhavasta’ or the pure state of existence, a living entity executes his Nitya Dharma and renders loving devotional service unto the Supreme Lord. Such a person derives immense satisfaction and bathes his body,mind and soul in divine bliss. On the other hand a conditioned living entity who lives under the influence of ‘Maya’ suffers the pangs of material miseries. So the solution to all the material problems lies in rejecting our temporary nature, the Naimittika Dharma, and cultivating our Nitya Dharma, which is by nature is Pure, complete and Eternal.

So Thank you very much for watching this video. Hope you liked this session …Hope this session proved to be useful. Please also don’t forget to visit our website thegaudiyatreasuresofbengal.com for more such interesting videos and articles. Also there is an online bookstore that we have and our books are delivered all over the world…This is a spiritual bookstore which has been widely appreciated. Please don’t forget to like, Share and Subscribe to our Youtube Channel. Thank you very much.Thanks once again for watching this video. Hare Krishna.

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