The Holy Places of Jaiva Dharma:
Sva and Svarga-loka


Bhaktivedanta Book Trust

Jul 17, 2014 — CANADA (SUN) — A serial presentation of the holy places mentioned in the Jaiva Dharma of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur - Part 150.

In chapter sixteen of Jaiva Dharma we find another instructive passage on the nature of Svargaloka and the jivas who inhabit it. Responding to Vrajanatha's inquiries about why the jivas have fallen into the material condition, Prema-dasa Babaji replies:

    "Covering them with gross and subtle material forms, chaining them with the modes of nature, and pulling them with the painful ropes of karma, Maya leads to Svargaloka and to hell the criminal souls who, forgetting their own spiritual welfare, have turned from Krsna and become intent on their own happiness."

Later in this section there is further detail provided:

    "The sthula-sarira is the gross material body covering the soul. It has six stages of existence: 1. the birth of the material body, 2. its maintenance, 3. its decline, 4. its growth, 5. its change, and 6. its dissolution. The gross material body undergoes these six changes. Hunger, thirst, and other like desires are also part of the body's nature. Pushed by the desire for material pleasures, the soul within the material body becomes an obedient servant of eating, sleeping, associating with women, and other material activities. To attain material pleasures he performs the ten pious rituals that begin with birth and end on the funeral pyre. He performs the eighteen kinds of yajnas described in the Vedas. He hopes "By following the path of pious deeds (karma), I will enjoy with the demigods in Svargaloka. When I again enter the human realm, I will take birth in a brahmana's home and I will enjoy many happinesses."

    Or, the imprisoned soul may follow the impious path. By performing many sins, he enjoys sense pleasures. By the first course of action one attains Svargaloka and other higher material planets. Then, when his period of enjoyment ends, the soul again attains a human body. By the second course of action one goes to hell because of his many sins. When his period of suffering ends, the soul again attains a human body. In this way the soul imprisoned by Maya travels on the wheel of karma."

In chapter seventeen, the desire to reside in the Svargaloka planetary realm is described as being the first of our kinds of anarthas. Desiring residence on Svargaloka is a sub-set of the second of these four types of anarthas, which are:

    "1. sva-svarupa-aprapti (things that prevent one from reviving one's original spiritual nature), 2. asat-trsna (thirst for material things), 3. aparadha (offenses), and 4. hrdaya-daurbalya (weakness of heart). Forgetting "I am pure, a particle of spirit, a servant of Lord Krsna, the imprisoned soul goes far away from his original nature. That [is] the first anartha: sva-svarupa-aprapti. One may think "I am material, and these material objects are my property". In this way one thirsts for happiness in the realm of material things. This is called asat-trsna. The three kinds of asat-trsna are: 1. desire for good children and descendants, 2. desire for wealth and 3. desire to reside in Svargaloka."

In the next chapter, eighteen, we find Vrajanatha himself explaining that material desires are simply stepping-stones to the final goal of life -- love for the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Vrajanath recites this conclusions from Mundaka Upanisad 3.1.4:

    "One may be an atheist, one may be a theist, one may be a proponent of fruitive work (karma-vadi), one may be an impersonalist (jnana-vadi), one may be a hedonist (kami), one may be an ascetic (niskami), all living entities are searching for pleasure and love. All search for pleasure and love, but not everyone finds it. The proponents of fruitive work think they will find pleasure and love in Svargaloka. However, the Bhagavad-gita (9.21) says of them:

    "When they have thus enjoyed heavenly sense pleasure, they return to this mortal planet again. Thus, through the Vedic principles, they achieve only flickering happiness."*

    This means that eventually they must fall down from Svargaloka. In this way their plan to enjoy becomes frustrated. When a person fails to find true pleasure in the wealth, children, fame, power, and other things available in the world of human beings, he begins to desire the pleasures available in Svargaloka. When he must fall from Svargaloka he realises that the pleasures available there are not very valuable. Then he sees that the pleasures of the human worlds, of Svargaloka, and of the highest material planets, even up to the planet of the demigod Brahma, are all temporary. Then he begins to search for impersonal. When he finally attains impersonal liberation, he sees that there is not real pleasure in that either. Then he searches for another path to follow."

The final reference to Svargaloka is found in chapter thirty-two, and this mention is in a different context than the previously cited instructions on the nature of Svarga and its conditioned inhabitants. Here, Vijaya-kumara is asking the Gosvami for a description of the devis:

    "When Lord Krsna took birth as an amsa incarnation among the demigods in Svargaloka, some eternally dear (nitya priya) gopis took birth as amsa incarnations among the demigoddesses to please Him. When Krsna took birth in His original form in Gokula, they took birth as daughters of the gopas. They became the dear friends (prana-sakhi) of the eternally dear (nitya-priya) gopis."


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