The following is an excerpt from Walking with A Saint – Morning Walks and Conversations 2010 by Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja


Walking with A Saint – Morning Walks and Conversations (Darśana) July 5, 2010

Śrīpāda Śrautī Mahārāja: Is jīvātmā (the spirit soul) active, or not active, in the conditioned state?
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: The jīva cannot be silent. He must be doing something, whether he is in Goloka Vṛndāvana or here. Moreover, Kṛṣṇa does not interfere with the jīva’s freedom, either here or there. So the jīva always has freedom.
Śrīpāda Śrautī Mahārāja: But is he always active?
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: Are we not doing something?
Is this person not doing something?
Śrīpāda Śrautī Mahārāja: I’m talking about the soul. The senses are the apparent self. The senses are active, but what about the soul in the back stage? Is the ātmā sometimes sleeping?
Śrīpāda Mādhava Mahārāja: Gurudeva said “always active.” In Vedānta-sūtra there is a commentary by Śrī Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa: deha bala kovat, meaning “the soul is always active.” If you read that commentary, you can understand what Gurudeva is saying.
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: We are all doing something. Some are doing nonsense. Some are doing good. Some better, some still better than that, and some are in Goloka Vṛndāvana.
Bhagavān Kṛṣṇa states that the fruits of whatever actions the jīvas perform do not go to Him. This is because Kṛṣṇa has no sense of possessiveness in relation to their actions, whereas they have that sense. The jīvas are yantra-ārūḍhāni, mounted upon machines [these bodies], and the fruits of their actions are awarded to them by Kṛṣṇa. The jīva can do anything he likes, but he will have to personally suffer or enjoy the karmic reactions of his activities.

īśvaraḥ sarva-bhūtānām
hṛd-deśe ’rjuna tiṣṭhati
bhrāmayan sarva-bhūtāni
yantrārūḍhāni māyayā

Bhagavad-gītā (18.61)

[O Arjuna, the indwelling Supersoul is situated in the heart of all living beings. By His illusory potency, He is causing them to wander in the cycle of birth and death, as if they are mounted on a machine.]

Kanhaiyā-lāla dāsa: In Bhagavad-gītā, the description is that a yogī sees that all the senses are working, and everything is going on. But he, the soul, is different from that; he is not doing anything.
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: Those who are liberated will see that all are in Goloka Vṛndāvana, doing something. They will not see that anyone in this world is not serving Kṛṣṇa somehow or other. Śukadeva Gosvāmī never sees that anyone is not serving. Nārada Ṛṣi is the guru of the demon Kaṁsa, and also of the Vrajavāsīs. He is happy with them all; he sees that all of them are serving in some way.

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