We are eternal. We are eternally individual.
Bhagavad Gita 2.12
The constitutional duty of every soul is to serve krsna.
na tv evāhaṁ jātu nāsaṁ
na tvaṁ neme janādhipāḥ
na caiva na bhaviṣyāmaḥ
sarve vayam ataḥ param
Never was there a time when I did not exist, nor you, nor all these kings; nor in the future shall any of us cease to be.
When we say soul never dies, but body does. It means soul takes another body. Unless soul does not taking devotional service to krsna, it keeps on doing conditional duty, which causes sufferring. When progressing and striving in devotional service, the soul realizes his eternal constitutional duty. Thus, the soul becomes eligible to go back to godhead to do his constitutional duty, and relief from birth, death, diseases and old age.
Every soul is an individual even it merges with impersonal brahman , it still comes back to material world, because merging in impersonal brhaman is not it’s consitutional duty.
A soul never losses it’s individuality. Just like a green parrot gets entered into green forest, one may not recognize or even the parrot does not recognize self. But still green parrot and forest are different. This what happens with impersonal brhaman merge or voidism, they are frustrated and again comes to this world of sufferring.
Eternally individual means we all have a unique service and a specific relation to Lord krishna,which is our eternal dharma. .
We are spirit soul part and parcel of Krsna and our nature is to serve Him. Chaitnaya mahaprabhu definituon of soul is ” jivera swarup hoi nitya krishna das”
Jiva is eternal as Krsna is eternal. Krsna is unlimited. Krsna expands unlimitedly. When Krsna expands unlimitedly, a minute infinitesimal particle is called Jiva.
In this way Jiva is eternally identical to the lord and eternally different from the lord (acintya bhedha abheda). In the statement tat tvam asi (you are that) the eternal non difference is taught and in dva suparna (“two birds in a tree”) the eternal difference is taught. There is no contradiction anywhere in the perfect Vedas.
Since Jiva is a marginal potency (tatastha sakthi) of Krsna, he is prone to fall down just like in fire we can see some spark of fire comes out and gets extinguished. Krsna also confirms this ‘jiva bhuutaam mahaabaaho yayedam dhaaryate jagat’ O mighty armed Arjuna, there is a superior energy of Mine, which are living entities who are struggling with material nature.
How to understand the eternity of Jiva? Faculty of mind cannot be employed for understanding eternity of jiva as mind have only experiences of an object with a beginning and an end. The eternity of Jiva can be understood through Bg. 2.16. Anything which is temporary is changing and anything which is permanent is changeless. Matter is changing and Sprit is changeless. Our body is changing and the person residing in the body is changeless. This is the evidence that Jiva is eternal.
some excerpts taken from Dasa Moola Tattva (Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura).
Soul, and the Mayavadi
Purport by Srila Prabhupada:
In the Vedas – in the Katha Upanisad as well as in the Svetasvatara Upanisad – it is said that the Supreme Personality of Godhead is the maintainer of innumerable living entities, in terms of their different situations according to individual work and reaction of work. That Supreme Personality of Godhead is also, by His plenary portions, alive in the heart of every living entity. Only saintly persons who can see, within and without, the same Supreme Lord can actually attain to perfect and eternal peace.
nityo nityanam cetanas cetananam
eko bahunam yo vidadhati kaman
tam atma-stham ye ’nupasyanti dhiras tesam santih sasvati netaresam
(Katha Upanisad 2.2.13)
The same Vedic truth given to Arjuna is given to all persons in the world who pose themselves as very learned but factually have but a poor fund of knowledge. The Lord says clearly that He Himself, Arjuna and all the kings who are assembled on the battleﬁeld are eternally individual beings and that the Lord is eternally the maintainer of the individual living entities both in their conditioned and in their liberated situations. The Supreme Personality of Godhead is the supreme individual person, and Arjuna, the Lord’s eternal associate, and all the kings assembled there are individual eternal persons. It is not that they did not exist as individuals in the past, and it is not that they will not remain eternal persons.
Their individuality existed in the past, and their individuality will continue in the future without interruption. Therefore, there is no cause for lamentation for anyone. The Mayavadi theory that after liberation the individual soul, separated by the covering of maya, or illusion, will merge into the impersonal Brahman and lose its individual existence is not supported herein by Lord Krsna, the supreme authority. Nor is the theory that we only think of individuality in the conditioned state supported herein. Krsna clearly says herein that in the future also the individuality of the Lord and others, as it is conﬁrmed in the Upanisads, will continue eternally. This statement of Krsna’s is authoritative because Krsna cannot be subject to illusion. If individuality were not a fact, then Krsna would not have stressed it so much – even for the future.
The Mayavadi may argue that the individuality spoken of by Krsna is not spiritual, but material. Even accepting the argument that the individuality is material, then how can one distinguish Krsna’s individuality? Krsna afﬁrms His individuality in the past and conﬁrms His individuality in the future also. He has conﬁrmed His individuality in many ways, and impersonal Brahman has been declared to be subordinate to Him. Krsna has maintained spiritual individuality all along; if He is accepted as an ordinary conditioned soul in individual consciousness, then His Bhagavad-gita has no value as authoritative scripture. A common man with all the four defects of human frailty is unable to teach that which is worth hearing. The Gita is above such literature. No mundane book compares with the Bhagavad-gita. When one accepts Krsna as an ordinary man, the Gita loses all importance.
Also see: https://vedabase.io/en/library/bg/2/12/
The Mayavadi argues that the plurality mentioned in this verse is conventional and that it refers to the body. But previous to this verse such a bodily conception is already condemned. After condemning the bodily conception of the living entities, how was it possible for Krsna to place a conventional proposition on the body again? Therefore, individuality is maintained on spiritual grounds and is thus conﬁrmed by great acaryas like Sri Ramanuja and others. It is clearly mentioned in many places in the Gita that this spiritual individuality is understood by those who are devotees of the Lord.
Those who are envious of Krsna as the Supreme Personality of Godhead have no bona ﬁde access to the great literature. The nondevotee’s approach to the teachings of the Gita is something like that of a bee licking on a bottle of honey. One cannot have a taste of honey unless one opens the bottle. Similarly, the mysticism of the Bhagavad-gita can be understood only by devotees, and no one else can taste it, as it is stated in the Fourth Chapter of the book. Nor can the Gita be touched by persons who envy the very existence of the Lord.
Therefore, the Mayavadi explanation of the Gita is a most misleading presentation of the whole truth. Lord Caitanya has forbidden us to read commentations made by the Mayavadis and warns that one who takes to such an understanding of the Mayavadi philosophy loses all power to understand the real mystery of the Gita.
If individuality refers to the empirical universe, then there is no need of teaching by the Lord. The plurality of the individual soul and the Lord is an eternal fact, and it is conﬁrmed by the Vedas as above mentioned.
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