How Did We Get Here?

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.