The Holy Places of Jaiva Dharma: Indraloka, Indrapuri & Nandana-kanana


Krsna uproots a branch of the Parijata tree from Indraloka

Apr 19, 2014 — CANADA (SUN) — A serial presentation of the holy places mentioned in the Jaiva Dharma of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur - Part 61.

In this segment we will explore three more places listed on Jaiva Dharma's 'Glossary of Places'. The spiritual locales in this grouping are very closely associated -- Indraloka, Indrapuri and Nandana-kanana:

    "Indraloka - the planet of Indra in the celestial planets (svarga); a place of great opulence and heavenly pleasure.

    Indrapuri - the capital city of Indra in svarga, the celestial planets."

    Nandana-kanana - Indra's heavenly garden of paradise."

There is a single passage in Jaiva Dharma in which all three of these divine domains are mentioned, in chapter twelve:

    "They who have material bodies generally think sense pleasures are the best and most important attainment. The material world is, after all, the abode of material sense pleasures. The material sense pleasures the soul attains from the time of birth until the time of death are called 'pleasures this world', and the material sense pleasures one may attain after dying are called 'pleasures of the next world'. There are many different kinds of pleasure in the next world. In Svargaloka and Indraloka there are the pleasures of seeing the apsaras' dancing, the pleasure of drinking heavenly nectar, smelling the flowers and other scented objects in the Nandana gardens, seeing the beauty of Indrapuri and the Nandana gardens, hearing the singing of the gandharvas and others, and living with the Vidyadharis are all pleasures attainable in Svargaloka. To a lesser degree these same kinds of material sense pleasure are also available in Tapoloka and Maharloka. In Bhuloka (the earth) the material sense pleasures are gross. As one goes to higher and higher planets, the sense pleasures become more and more subtle. In this way they are different. Still, they are all material sense pleasure. It is not that any of them are not material sense pleasures. None of these planets are spiritual. The subtle body of mind, intelligence and false ego is a perverted reflection of spirit. In the higher planets the pleasures are pleasures of the subtle body. All these different kinds of material pleasures are called 'bhukti'. The conditioned souls trapped in the circle of karma take shelter of karmic activities in order to attain material sense pleasures. That is called their 'sadhana', the means they adopt to attain what they see is the true goal of life."

In Nectar of Devotion, Chapter 21, the pastime of Krsna taking the parijata from Indra's garden is described:

    "Any person who observes regulative principles and fulfills his promises by practical activity is called determined. As far as the Lord's determination is concerned, there is an example in His dealings in the Hari-vamsa. This is in connection with Lord Krsna's fighting the King of heaven, Indra, who was forcibly deprived of the parijata flower. Parijata is a kind of lotus flower grown on the heavenly planets. Once, Satyabhama, one of Krsna's queens, wanted that lotus flower, and Krsna promised to deliver it; but Indra refused to part with his parijata flower. Therefore there was a great fight, with Krsna and the Pandavas on one side and all of the demigods on the other. Ultimately, Krsna defeated all of them and took the parijata flower, which He presented to His queen. So, in regard to that occurrence, Krsna told Narada Muni, "My dear great sage of the demigods, now you can declare to the devotees in general, and to the nondevotees in particular, that in this matter of taking the parijata flower, all the demigods--the Gandharvas, the Nagas, the demon Raksasas, the Yaksas, the Pannagas--tried to defeat Me, but none could make Me break My promise to My queen."

Sri Krsna's fight with Lord Indra to claim the Parijat sparked a great drama not only in Indraloka, but also in Krsna's Dvaraka household with His wives, Satyabhama and Rukmini. This is described in the 1st Canto of Srimad Bhagavatam:

    "After killing Narakasura, Lord Krsna visited the palace of Narakasura accompanied by Satyabhama. He went to Indraloka also with Satyabhama, and she was received by Sacidevi, who introduced her to the mother of the demigods, Aditi. Aditi was very much pleased with Satyabhama, and she blessed her with the benediction of permanent youth as long as Lord Krsna remained on the earth. Aditi also took her with her to show her the special prerogatives of the demigods in the heavenly planets. When Satyabhama saw the parijata flower, she desired to have it in her palace at Dvaraka. After that, she came back to Dvaraka along with her husband and expressed her willingness to have the parijata flower at her palace. Satyabhama's palace was especially bedecked with valuable jewels, and even in the hottest season of summer the inside of the palace remained cool, as if air-conditioned. She decorated her palace with various flags, heralding the news of her great husband's presence there. Once, along with her husband, she met Draupadi, and she was anxious to be instructed by Draupadi in the ways and means of pleasing her husband. Draupadi was expert in this affair because she kept five husbands, the Pandavas, and all were very much pleased with her. On receipt of Draupadi's instructions, she was very much pleased and offered her good wishes and returned to Dvaraka. She was the daughter of Satrajit. After the departure of Lord Krsna, when Arjuna visited Dvaraka, all the queens, including Satyabhama and Rukmini, lamented for the Lord with great feeling. At the last stage of her life, she left for the forest to undergo severe penance.

    Satyabhama instigated her husband to get the parijata flower from the heavenly planets, and the Lord got it even by force from the demigods, as a common husband secures things to please his wife. As already explained, the Lord had very little to do with so many wives to carry out their orders like an ordinary man. But because the queens accepted the high quality of devotional service, namely administering the Lord all comforts, the Lord played the part of a faithful and complete husband. No earthly creature can expect to have things from the heavenly kingdom, especially the parijata flowers, which are simply to be used by the demigods. But due to their becoming the Lord's faithful wives, all of them enjoyed the special prerogatives of the great wives of the denizens of heaven. In other words, since the Lord is the proprietor of everything within His creation, it is not very astonishing for the queens of Dvaraka to have any rare thing from any part of the universe."

    (Srimad Bhagavatam 1.14.37 Purport)

In the Third Canto there is another passage describing the famed parijata of Indra's Nandana-kanana garden:

    "Just to please His dear wife, the Lord brought back the parijata tree from heaven, just as an ordinary husband would do. But Indra, the King of heaven, induced by his wives (henpecked as he was), ran after the Lord with full force to fight Him.

    Purport: The Lord once went to the heavenly planet to present an earring to Aditi, the mother of the demigods, and His wife Satyabhama also went with Him. There is a special flowering tree called the parijata, which grows only in the heavenly planets, and Satyabhama wanted this tree. Just to please His wife, like an ordinary husband, the Lord brought back the tree, and this enraged Vajri, or the controller of the thunderbolt. cause he was a henpecked husband and also a fool, listened to them and dared to fight with Krsna. He was a fool on this occasion because he forgot that everything belongs to the Lord.

    There was no fault on the part of the Lord, even though He took away the tree from the heavenly kingdom, but because Indra was henpecked, dominated by his beautiful wives like Saci, he became a fool, just as all persons who are dominated by their wives are generally foolish. Indra thought that Krsna was a henpecked husband who only by the will of His wife Satyabhama took away the property of heaven, and therefore he thought that Krsna could be punished. He forgot that the Lord is the proprietor of everything and cannot be henpecked. The Lord is fully independent, and by His will only He can have hundreds and thousands of wives like Satyabhama. He was not, therefore, attached to Satyabhama because she was a beautiful wife, but He was pleased with her devotional service and thus wanted to reciprocate the unalloyed devotion of His devotee."

    (Srimad Bhagavatam 3.3.5 Translation and Purport)

(Indraloka, Indrapuri and Nandana-kanana, to be continued…)


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