sa nityo nitya-sambandhaḥ
prakṛtiś ca paraiva sā
saḥ nityaḥ – He is that same eternal person (who for limitless time pervades the innumerable aggregate of the potency that manifests the living entities); ca eva – and indeed; sā parā prakṛtiḥ – Bhagavān’s superior potency known as the marginal potency (the aggregate of the living entities); nitya-sambandhaḥ – (there is) an eternal relationship between the two.
The living entities are eternal, and they have an eternal relationship with Bhagavān that extends throughout time, with neither beginning nor end. By constitution they are intrinsically His superior potency.
The constitutional position of the living entities is being described in this half śloka beginning with the words sa nityaḥ. The word nitya (eternal) indicates that the living entity exists throughout beginningless and endless time. The living entity has an intimate and inseparable eternal relationship with Bhagavān, called samavāya-sambandha. The living entities have an eternal relationship with Bhagavān, just as the rays of the sun are always related to the sun. This has been explained in Śrī Nārada-pañcarātra:
yat taṭasthantu cid-rūpaṁ
saṁvedāt tu vinirgatam
sa jīva iti kathyate
The entity who is constituted of the marginal potency, who has been manifested from the knowledge aspect of transcendence, but who is colored by the influence of māyā’s qualities of goodness, passion and ignorance, is called the living entity (jīva).
It has also been stated in Bhagavad-gītā: “mamaivāṁśo jīva-loke jīva-bhūtaḥ sanātanaḥ – the living entity is My part and parcel. He exists eternally as an individual living entity, and is therefore eternal by nature.” Thus the living entity is called superior energy. Prakṛti means that the living entity is a reflection of the image of Bhagavān, who is manifest as the indwelling witness, the Supersoul. In the form of the knower of the body, the living entity has attained a state like one of the Lord’s predominated potencies. Therefore it is also stated in Bhagavad-gītā: “prakṛtiṁ viddhi me parām, jīva-bhūtām – the living entity is My superior potency.”
The eternal intrinsic nature of the living entity is also established by the Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad (4.6): dvā suparṇa-sayujā sakhāyā; there, the individual jīvātmā and Paramātmā have been compared to two birds sitting on a branch of the same pīpala tree.
Just as the relationship beween the sun and its rays is eternal, similarly the living entities have an eternal relationship with Bhagavān, the transcendental sun. Since the living entities are particles of the rays of Bhagavān, they are not temporary like material substances, and His spiritual qualities are also partially present in them. Therefore, by his intrinsic nature, the living entity is knowledge, the knower, the possessor of ego, the enjoyer, the thinker and the doer. Śrī Kṛṣṇa is unlimited, omniscient and omnipotent.
The living entity is Bhagavān’s eternal servant, and Bhagavān is the jīva’s eternal master. The living entities are also eligible for exchanging transcendental loving mellows with Bhagavān. From the Bhagavad-gītā statement apareyam itas tv anyāṁ prakṛtiṁ viddhi me parām, it is understood that the living entity is Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s superior potency. All the qualities of the pure jīvātmā are beyond the eight components of the inferior energy, beginning with false ego. Thus, although the potency that comprises the living entities is insignificant, being composed of tiny spiritual particles, it is still superior to māyā. This potency is also known as the marginal potency. The word “marginal” (taṭasthā) indicates that it is situated on the marginal line between the material energy and the eternal reality of spiritual existence. The living entity is liable to come under the control of māyā because of his infinitesimal nature. The living entities who have been conditioned from time immemorial suffer the distress of material existence, and repeatedly rotate in the cycle of birth and death. However, when the living entity submits and remains under the control of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the master of māyā, he can never fall under the control of māyā.