(SPL to Upendra, October 9th, 1971)
“So far your question, the soul is fundamentally pure but he has an aptitude to come to the impure state of material contamination. He is therefore called tatastha or marginal. He has got the liberty of staying within the pure state or becoming contaminated. That is his choice. This marginal point can be understood in this way just like you are standing on the shore of the sea.
So you can remain on the land or sometimes you can jump into the water to enjoy as you will see on the beaches. So many young boys are enjoying. But that is dangerous at the same time. One who does not know swimming expertly well he may become drowned. Similarly the soul from the spiritual platform sometimes jumps over the material ocean of nescience.
The Vedic knowledge gives him specific instruction how to swim over but if he is a rascal, he does not take the instruction through the bona fide representative, the spiritual master, and he becomes drowned. That is the position. The Vedic instruction is so nice that the soul, when he jumps over this material ocean, the Vedic instruction teaches him how to swim and come back again to the shore.
This swimming process, according to Vedic instruction, is called sacrifice, charity, and penance. One who learns these techniques of swimming over the ocean of nescience, he goes back to home, back to Godhead. One who does not take to this swimming process, he becomes drowned. In the Bhagavad-gita this is stated: iccha-dvesa-samutthena, sarge yanti parantapa; which means deluded by desire to enjoy the material world and become envious of Krsna, one comes to this material world. (B.G. 7.27) So read our literature profusely and you will get sufficient knowledge.”
SB 4.29.27 purport... It is clearly explained herein that the living entity has a little independence, indicated by the word sva-dṛk, meaning “one who can see his own welfare.” The living entity’s constitutional position is very minute, and he can be misled in his choice. He may choose to imitate the Supreme Personality of Godhead. A servant may desire to start his own business and imitate his master, and when he chooses to do so, he may leave the protection of his master.
Sometimes he is a failure, and sometimes he is successful. Similarly, the living entity, part and parcel of Kṛṣṇa, starts his own business to compete with the Lord. There are many competitors out to attain the Lord’s position, but to become like the Lord is not at all possible. Thus there is a great struggle for existence with the material world as different parties try to imitate the Lord. Material bondage is caused by deviation from the service of the Lord and attempts to imitate Him.
The Lord is imitated by Māyāvādī philosophers who try to become one with the Lord in an artificial way. When the Māyāvādī philosophers think of themselves as liberated, they are under the delusion of mental concoction. No one can become one with or equal to God. To imagine this is to continue one’s bondage in material existence.
Some Conclusions - The first letter above Srila Prabhupada tells us we came to this material world because we got too close to the material nature (the ocean shore) and as a result we are now almost drowning in that ocean of maya. This can be corrected very easy if we take the instructions of Gods representative, the spiritual master and learn how to escape the dangers of the ocean thru the activities of sacrifice charity and penance. The greatest sacrifice, charity and penance in this age is to chant Hare Krsna mantra ourselves,and give it to others.
The second example above Prabhupada tells us we came to the material world because we wanted to compete with the supreme orders of God by imitation of it. This imitation is caused by one thing only-deviation from the service of God, Krsna. To correct this mistake requires only that we, by the mercy and blessings of the spiritual master, put ourselves back in the correct position-as servants of God, Krsna. These two examples are repeated hundreds of time over and over in Prabhupadas books, and by that repetition, hopefully someday we will understand it.
ONE SHOULD ALWAYS THINK OF HIMSELF AS THE MOST FALLEN AMONG SOULS SO THAT KRSNA WILL TAKE CARE OF HIM.
There is no essential difference between a fully surrendered soul and a person in the renounced order of life. The only difference is that a fully surrendered soul is completely dependent upon Kṛṣṇa. There are six basic guidelines for surrender. The first is that one should accept everything that is favorable for the discharge of devotional service, and one should be determined to accept the process.
The second is that one should give up everything that is unfavorable to the discharge of devotional service, and one should be determined to give it all up. Thirdly, one should be convinced that only Kṛṣṇa can protect him and should have full faith that the Lord will give that protection. An impersonalist thinks that his actual identity is in being one with Kṛṣṇa, but a devotee does not destroy his identity in this way.
He lives with full faith that Kṛṣṇa will kindly protect him in all respects.
Fourthly, a devotee should always accept Kṛṣṇa as his maintainer. Those who are interested in the fruits of activities generally expect protection from the demigods, but a devotee of Kṛṣṇa does not look to any demigod for protection. He is fully convinced that Kṛṣṇa will protect him from all unfavorable circumstances.
Fifth, a devotee is always conscious that his desires are not independent; unless Kṛṣṇa fulfills them, they cannot be fulfilled. Lastly, one should always think of himself as the most fallen among souls so that Kṛṣṇa will take care of him.
Such a surrendered soul should take shelter of a holy place like Vṛndāvana, Mathurā, Dvārakā, Māyāpur, etc., and should surrender himself unto the Lord, saying, "My Lord, from today I am Yours. You can protect me or kill me as You like."
A pure devotee takes shelter of Kṛṣṇa in such a way, and Kṛṣṇa is so grateful that He accepts him and gives him all kinds of protection. This is confirmed in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (11.29.34) where it is said that if a person who is about to die takes full shelter of the Supreme Lord and places himself fully under His care, he actually attains immortality and becomes eligible to associate with the Supreme Lord and enjoy transcendental bliss.
[Excerpt from the 'Teachings of Lord Caitanya'- Ch.12 by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta swami Prabhupada