Question: Eternally Conditioned and Eternally Liberated?
According to the philosophy of some Gaudiya Vaisnava groups this is the case. They say that the nitya-baddhas have never ever been in the spiritual world, thus the term "eternally conditioned" and that the nitya-siddhas have never left Krishna's association. They say that the nitya-baddhas have been in a place known as the tatashta-shakti from where they descended into the material world of their own free choice. However, His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada states that we were once face to face with Sri Krishna in the spiritual planets, that we fell down to become little imitation lords here, and that we are then known as nitya-baddha, eternally conditioned. What is the exact situation of the living being? Please clear up this doubt. Please elucidate on this issue for me.
Question No.2 : The jivatmas in the spiritual world decided by their own free will to depart. They were sac-cid-ananda vigraha: eternally in full knowledge and bliss. How and why could they they have decided by their own free will to leave Krishna's association, since everything in the spiritual world is fully spiritual and the material influence of maya or illusion is conspicuous by her absence? Though he has a free choice to depart as he desires [Free-will always been the prerogative of the living being as well as his dharma- pure loving servants of the Supreme Person Krishna,], how could he have possibly been influenced to do so? For example, a split second second decision to leave due to temptation of being an enjoying over lord in the heavenly planets. Is this not some kind of material maya? Would he not have known the consequences due to his higher spiritual aware state of knowledge? Why would he have wanted to leave Krishna's blissful association?
Answer: You Have to Transcend the Influence of Time
The reason that many devotees get confused over the terms nitya siddha (eternally liberated) and nitya baddha (eternally conditioned) is that they consider them from within the context of time. In other words in material consciousness we are conditioned by kala or time into thinking that there are such things as past, present, and future. If we remember that in the liberated state there is no influence of time, that there is simply the eternal present with no past or future, then we can begin to understand how one can be eternally conditioned or eternally liberated and can switch from one status to the other.
To say that the conditioned souls have never been in the spiritual world with Krishna is anti-sastric and absurd when we consider that Lord Caitanya states that the constitutional nature of every living being is that he is the eternal servant of Krishna.
The eternally liberated souls in the spiritual existence have the independence to either love Krishna or leave Krishna. There has to be a choice. Otherwise love cannot exist, because love is voluntary. As long as the independence of free choice is there, there has to be a possibility of misusing that free choice. And possibility means that there must be certain degree of probability as well. Of course in this case the probability would be smallest possible percentage of 1 divided by infinity (1/∞). But if we apply this infinitesimal percentage against the infinite number of living beings who inhabit the spiritual world, guess what we get. We get an infinite number of living beings who misuse their free will and give up the Lord's association. (1/∞ x ∞ = ∞)
At the boundary between the spiritual and material worlds time does not exist. Therefore the crossing of the living being over this boundary cannot be measured in time. This means that there is no moment in time when he entered the material world. In other words, if he is in the material world there is no moment in time when he entered it and he has therefore been there eternally. Hence, the term "eternally conditioned". And when he chooses to surrender to Krishna and go back to Godhead he enters into that realm where there is no past or future. Therefore when he goes back to Godhead, he was always there. Hence the term "eternally liberated".
Of course, as long as our thought patterns are conditioned by time we cannot fully comprehend these things. But if you will chant Hare Krishna regularly with love and devotion your consciousness will be liberated from the constraints of time, and you will be able to gradually realize these things in full.