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Jīva in Pañcarātras

The individual souls are called ātmā, jīva, cetana and citśakti. Śakti or God remains in the first kośa which is called śakti kośa, while the selves which are of different kinds are spread over in the other kośas. Śakti is the sentient being. The soul is only Śakti in Her shrunken form (saṁkoca).

pramātā cetanaḥ prokto satsaṁkocaḥ sa ucyate |

saṁkoco māmakaḥ so ̍ yaṁ svaccha svacchanda cid dhanaḥ ||

asminnapi jagadbhāti darpaṇodara śailavat ||

It is stated here that the individual self represents the shrunken state of cit śakti. The analogy is the huge mountain appearing small in a mirror.

This means the individual souls are not different from Śakti, rather they are Śakti in minute form. The souls are held to be different from Supreme Śakti due to Her own will. They represent the Bhūti Śakti of Śrī. They are omniscient. They are dull, intense in thought by being the śakti of Viṣṇu.They are seized by avidyā and come under the influence of misery. They become subjected to bondage and also become released from it. They come down to manifested Universe on account of their karmas and remain here according to the will of Viṣṇu and they also move from place to place.

The deeds, which accumulated in the past births, bear results, but they do not bear fruit at one and the same time. Some are beholden to Viṣṇu when they are born and this is due to their good deeds emerging to bear fruit. At other times, they are different from each other. The relative greatness in the case of their merit brings about the difference among the selves. Discriminative knowledge in knowing Bhagavān's delay or quickness results from the favour of Bhagavān who shows Himself only at times and to some persons and therefore there is need to admit the rise of vyūhas.

Why does Bhagavān bestow His favour in this way? The different levels of Bhaktas have egoism and selfishness in different levels. As a result of this, the qualifications of those Bhaktas to win Bhagavān's favour are not of the uniform kind. If they do not have discriminative knowledge of Bhagavān's vibhava forms, Bhagavān has to take several forms to induce them to acquire that knowledge. Śakti or Śrī finds the jīvas afflicted by miseries caused by contact and separation among themselves.

The miseries torture their bodies, senses, mind and intellect. Śrī then becomes filled with sympathy for them. Continuously receiving Her grace, the selves become absolved of their sins. Then they are no longer miserable. This favour shown by Śrī to them is called Śaktipāta. Then they gradually transcend material body. The selves cannot know by any means when the divine grace would alight on them. The jīvas who recieve Her grace would indulge in good deeds and acquire knowledge of the Upaniṣads and become Vaiṣṇavas. Then they reach the Supreme Brahman called LakṣmīNārāyaṇa.

The Ahirbudhnya Saṁhitā tells that self must desire to get released from the bondage after getting Bhagavān's grace.

How to know that the grace of Bhagavān has alighted on a soul? This is known by the soul itself which ignores and treats both good and bad deeds alike. The soul shall then get detachment from life which arises through its getting discriminative knowledge about the acts, to be done and those which are to be avoided. The Pāñcarātras are to be reflected upon, that is, what is taught in the Pāñcarātra texts and what is taught by their pravaktās shall be reflected upon. The self must approach a preceptor for this purpose.

The size of the soul is atomic. Its pure form is observed by karman -

ākārasya tīrodhānādaṇutvaṁ puṁsa ucyate ||.

Consequently, the power to control others become inaffective, that is, it becomes incapable of doing anything. Since knowledge shrinks, the soul is said to ignorant. Viṣṇu will make the self completely, obscured and hence it is called atomic in size, capable of doing little and knowing little -

aiśvaryasya tīrobhāvād kiñcit karatā sthitā |

puṁsā vijñāna saṁkocādjñatvaṁ samudāhṛtaṁ ||

tirohitaḥ pumān śaktyā viṣṇu saṅkalpa rūpayā |

tirohitaḥ pumān śaktyā viṣṇu saṅkalpa rūpayā |

anuḥ kiṅcitkaraśceti kiṁ cijjñaśceti kathyate ||

The selves are of three kinds, those who in bondage, those who are liberated from worldly life and those who are ever free.

🙏 Namo Narasimha 🙏

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