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Types of Jiva

According to Vishishtadvaita Doctrines, the Jivans, which are infinite in number are quite different from one another , based on their Karmic history.The three types of Jivans are : Baddha, Mukta and Nitya Jivans.

BADDHA JIVAN OR SOULS IN BONDAGE: they are associated with bodies as a result of unexpended Karmas from previous births The birth of the Jivans in the world is due to Avidya or Nescience in them. Avidya results from Karma. The repeated performance of Karma by the Jivans leaves Vasana or the latent impressions in their mind,which in turn generates Ruci or propensity to do or engage in an act. This in turn leads to PrakrtiSambhanda or association with the Prakrti or Body. This embodiment causes further Avidya and consequent Karma. Thus , all of the above--Avidya, Karma , embodiment -- work in a cycle. Each one is influenced by the one that precedes it and is the cause of the other that follows. This has been going on from time immemorial. The law of Karma works with relentless vigour and no one can escape its consequences.

MUKTA JIVAN OR FREED SOUL: A Baddha Jiva , who by a study of the sastras at the feet of a qualified Acharya acquires the correct knowledge about the nature of the Body, Jivan, Achetana and Iswaran or Paramatman. He or She then experiences a desire for Moksha( Freedom from the cycles of Births and Deaths) and becomes a Mumukshu. When at the end of earthly existence, such a person casts the mortal coils and the Jivan travels the Arcvhiraadi Margam and reaches Sri Vaikuntam and becomes an enjoyer of the bliss of Sri Vaikuntam and offers eternal service to the Lord and His Consort. There , the Mukta Jivan associates with the Nitya Suris on an equal footing and enjoys the bliss of Paramapadam.

NITYA JIVANS OR EVER FREE SOULS: Some examples of them are Garuda, Adi Sesha and Vishvaksena. They as a class have not even a shadow of the touch of Karma, and therefore have not been the victims of Samsara or the empirical world of suffering.

The difference between the Nityas and Muktas is that the Mukta attained the perfect bliss of residence in Vaikuntam and service to the Paramatman AT A POINT IN TIME ,WHEREAS THE NITYAS HAVE BEEN EXPERIENCING IT FROM " BEGINNINGLESS " TIME .

The Nityas are of two kinds. Bhaktas, who serve Paramatman directly and Bhagavatas who serve the Bhaktas and thus serve the Supreme Lord indirectly. Ananta , Garuda and Vishvaksena and the like belong to the first category and the rest to the second Category. There are other Nityas who are not doing any particular service. They behold the others serving the Lord and Bhagavata Nityas with reverence and pride. There is no rivalry between the two categories (ie) the Nitya Suris, the erstwhile Mukta, who joined the ranks of Nityas serving the other Nityas and those, who are enjoying the bliss of Vaikuntam without offering any kainkaryam directly or indirectly..

The Nityas occasionally come down to our world either with their Lord or by themselves .If they do so, it is not because of the power of Karma, but by their own will or at the behest of their Lord. They come down to assist and continue the work of their Lord related to the redemption of the Baddha Jivans. The Azhwars and the Acharyas are recognized as the incarnations of one or other Nityas. When their work is over,they return to their home in Sri Vaikuntam. When they are in this world,they behave like their Lord themselves (ie) they are like human beings subject to the rules and restrictions, the sorrows and sufferings of the world.They are however NOT the victims of Karma. In their case, it is only the semblence of suffering on the stage of the world like that of a consummate actor on the stage (Rangam). They undertake this work on this earth to please their Supreme Lord.

The Muktas and Nityas differ from Iswaran in that they unlike their Lord are not responsible for the creation , maintenance and destruction of this universe. He and He alone has "Jagat Kaaranatvam ,Sarvesvaratvam, Vyapaktvam, Sarva Seshitvam, Sarva Karma samaaraadhyatvam, Sarva Pala Pradhatvam,--- Svataa Satyasankalpatvam ". These are Isvara Lakshanams..

Source: material for this posting comes from Professor A.Srinivasa Raghavan"s outstanding Monograph on Visishtaadvaitam released by T&T Devasthaanam in 1985.


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