Apr 13, 2014 CANADA (SUN) A serial presentation of the holy places mentioned in the Jaiva Dharma of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur - Part 55.
The next sacred location included on the Jaiva Dharma 'Glossary of Places' is the most famous of all: Goloka Vrndavana:
"Goloka Vrndavana - the highest realm of the spiritual world. This is the abode of Sri Krsna where He is manifest in His original and topmost feature as a cowherd boy, surrounded by His intimate and loving servitors, the gopas and gopis of Vraja."
As with some of the other place names in the Glossary, there are many mentions of Goloka Vrndavana in Jaiva Dharma -- too many to list here. And given that sastra is replete with statements about the Lord's topmost abode, we will focus in this segment only on the references contained within Jaiva Dharma itself.
In the second half of the book (chapters 24 to 40), Srila Bhaktivinoda gives a tremendous amount of instruction on the nature and qualities of Goloka Vrndavana -- more than on any other place name covered thus far in our series. And in fact, Jaiva Dharma is brought to a close on the point of explanation that Gokul and Goloka Vrndavana are non-different.
In chapter four we find this description of the Supreme Personality of Godhead:
"With His potency of transcendental power (aisi sakti) He manifests the material universes and places the individual souls within them. Then He expands to become the Supersoul. As the Supersoul He enters the material universes. In this way He is the Supreme controller. When He manifests His feature of supreme opulence, He is Lord Narayana in the spiritual sky. When He manifests His feature of supreme sweetness, He is Lord Krsnacandra, the gopis' beloved in Goloka Vrndavana. His different forms and pastimes are all limitless and eternal. No person or thing is His equal."
In chapter seven, Goloka is mentioned as one of the pure spiritual worlds, along with Vaikuntha and Vrndavana. Countless numbers of souls who have become free from maya are living there.
In chapter fourteen, in an exchange between the characters Vrajanath and Babaji, another distinguishing quality of Goloka is given:
"Vrajanatha: I wish to know the truth about Sri Navadvipa-dhama.
Babaji: "Goloka", "Vrndavana", and "Svetadvipa" are the names of the innermost places in the spiritual world. In Goloka the Lord's svakiya pastimes are manifested, in Vrndavana the parakiya pastimes are manifested, and in Svetadvipa other pastimes are manifested. Gokula, Vrndavana, and Svetadvipa are not different in nature. Sri Navadvipa is therefore not different from Svetadvipa and Vrndavana. The residents of Sri Navadvipa are most fortunate - They are the eternal associates of Lord Gauranga. It is because in past lives they performed many pious deeds that now they are able to reside in Sri Navadvipa. The transcendental mellows (rasa) that were not revelled in Sri Vrndavana have been revealed in Sri Navadvipa. When a person becomes qualified, he is able to taste the sweetness of those mellows."
Lord Balarama's association with Goloka Vrndavana is mentioned in chapters sixteen and seventeen. In the first, Srila Bhaktivinoda explains that Goloka is manifested by Lord Baladeva. In chapter seventeen, another important fact is revealed by the Babaji:
"Vrajanatha: What are the different kinds of souls free of Maya's prison?
Babaji: The souls free from Maya's prison are of two kinds: 1. nitya-mukta (the souls who were never placed in Maya's prison), and 2. baddha-mukta (the souls who were at one time imprisoned, but now are free). The nitya-mukta souls may be divided into two groups: 1. aisvarya-gata (souls who appreciate the Lord's feature of opulence), and 2. madhurya gata (souls who appreciate the Lord's feature of sweetness). The aisvarya-gata nitya-mukta souls are personal associates of Lord Narayana, the master of Vaikuntha. They are particles of spiritual effulgence emanated from Lord Mula-Sankarsana, who resides in Vaikuntha. The madhurya-gata nitya-mukta souls are personal associates of Lord Krsna, the master of Goloka Vrndavana. They are particles of spiritual effulgence manifested from Lord Baladeva, who resides in Goloka Vrndavana."
(Goloka Vrndavana, to be continued…)