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How Did We Get Here?

What's a spiritual person like you doing in a material world like this?

The self (soul, jiva, atma) is beginningless and endless. All selves coexist eternally with the supreme self, Krishna. We're His inseparable parts; He has always existed, and so have we. Our natural home is with Krishna in the spiritual world, where everything and everyone is permanent, enlightened with knowledge, and full of perfect happiness.

So how did we get to be here—in the material world—where everything is temporary, and where even after twenty years of education we don't know how to be happy?

Our sources say that at some point we made a choice to turn away from Krishna—and away from our eternal life in the spiritual world—just because we could. We think, "Why should Krishna be God? Why can't I be God?" So Krishna obligingly provides us with an environment where we can imagine ourselves as the center of existence.

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We never actually leave Krishna, but we think we do. And once we're here, it's as if we've always been here. From a time-bound, material viewpoint, we've become "eternally conditioned," and from Krishna's viewpoint, we're never separate from Him for a moment.

Some say we've never actually been in the spiritual world, or that we've always been in the material world. Some argue back and forth about this. But really, the question, "how did we arrive?" isn't as important as, "how do we leave?"

This is the conclusion that Srila Prabhupada consistently presented; that somehow or other we made some unfortunate choices that landed us in a lot of trouble. The process for permanently getting out of our seemingly permanent troubles is Krishna consciousness.

QT How Did We

We like to quote our sources. This page is based on the following:

  • Bhagavad-gita, 7.27:

    "All living entities are born into delusion, overcome by the dualities of desire and hate."

  • Srimad-Bhagavatam, 4.28.54, purport:

    "The original home of the living entity and the Supreme Personality of Godhead is the spiritual world. In the spiritual world both the Lord and the living entities live together very peacefully. Since the living entity remains engaged in the service of the Lord, they both share a blissful life in the spiritual world. However, when the living entity wants to enjoy himself, he falls down into the material world."

  • Srimad-Bhagavatam, 4.28.53, purport:

    "The natural position of the living entity is to serve the Lord in a transcendental loving attitude. When the living entity wants to become Krishna Himself or imitate Krishna, he falls down into the material world"

  • Srimad-Bhagavatam, 4.28.53:

    "My dear friend, even though you cannot immediately recognize Me, can’t you remember that in the past you had a very intimate friend? Unfortunately, you gave up My company and accepted a position as enjoyer of this material world. My dear gentle friend, both you and I are exactly like two swans. We live together in the same heart, which is just like the Manasa lake. Although we have been living together for many thousands of years, we are still far away from our original home."

  • Srimad-Bhagavatam, 2.9.1, purport:

    "The first sinful will of the living entity is to become the Lord, and the consequent will of the Lord is that the living entity forget his factual life and thus dream of the land of utopia where he may become one like the Lord."

  • Srila Prabhupada, in a letter to Aniruddha Dasa, November 14, 1968:

    "You are eternally liberated, but since we have become conditioned on account of our desire to enjoy [the] materialistic way of life, from time immemorial, therefore it appears that we are eternally conditioned. Because we cannot trace out the history of the date when we became conditioned, therefore it is technically called eternally conditioned. Otherwise the living entity is not actually conditioned."

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