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


King Citraketu, Lord Sankarsana and Kumaras
Bhaktivedanta Book Trust

Jul 18, 2014 — CANADA (SUN) — A serial presentation of the holy places mentioned in the Jaiva Dharma of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur - Part 151.

Svarga-loka is described in many ways throughout sastra. Sometime passages extol the glories of the degree of sense gratification that is available there, while other statements explain that residing there is simply another kind of hellish condition. In the Sri Brhad-Bhagavatamrta, Srila Sanatana Goswami explains some of the different levels of the svargas:

    Text 5

    tebhyas casraus am adbhutam
    svarga-namordhva-dese 'sti
    devaloko 'ntarikshitah

    "From those brahmanas learned in many scriptures I heard something wonderful: that in the sky above is a place named Svargaloka, where the demigods live.

    Text 6

    vimanavalibhih sriman
    nirbhayo duhkha-varjitah

    That place is glorious with many airplanes. In it are no fears, sufferings, old-age, death, disease, or any other faults.

    Text 7

    maha-sukhamayo labhyah
    punyair atrottamaih kritaih
    yasya sakro 'dhipo jyayan
    bhrata sri-jagadisituh

    That very happy place, where the king is Indra, the elder brother of the Lord of the universes, is attained by performing many great pious deeds.

    Srila Sanatana Gosvami explains that King Indra is the elder brother of Lord Vamana.

    Text 8-9

    yadyapy asti vila-svargo
    bhauma-svargas ca tad-dvipa-
    varshadishu pade pade

    tathapy urdhvataro loko
    divyas tabhyam visishyate

    That realm, named Divya-svarga, is better than the realm of Vila-svarga, which is decorated with the forms of Lord Vishnu, Lord Sesha, and other forms of the Lord, and it is also better than Bhauma-svarga, which in its continents, countries, and other places, is splendid with festivals of worship for Lord Krishna, who appears in many forms.

    Srila Sanatana Gosvami explains that Lord Vishnu is the Deity of Sutalaloka and Lord Sesha is the Deity of Saptama-patalaloka. The word "adi" refers to Deities described in the Ramayana, as well as to Lord Kapila. who is the Deity of Atalaloka, and the Rudras, who are the Deites of Vitalaloka.

    The word "dvipa" refers to continents, such as Jambudvipa, the word "varsha" refers to countries, such as Bharata-varsha, and the word "adi" refers to other places, such as the ocean of milk. In Plakshadvipa the Deity is Lord Surya, in Ilavrita-varsha the Deity is Lord Sankarshana, and in Bhadrasva the Deity is Lord Hayagriva, Thus in the different places are different forms of Lord Krishna, as is described in the Fifth Canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam. Divya-svarga is the abode of the demigods. The other svargas here are the other planets, below that realm."

While the environment for getting material pleasure is great on Svargaloka, Srila Rupa Goswami describes the more important nature of the place in Sri Padyavali:

    svargarthiya vyavasitir asau dinayaty eva lokan
    mokshapeksha janayati janam kevalam klesa-bhajam
    yogabhyasah parama-virasas tadrisaih kim prayasaih
    sarvam tyaktva mama tu rasana krishna krishneti rautu

    svarga-the heavenly material realms; arthiya-to attain; vyavasitih-the attempt; asau-this; dinayati-impoverishes; eva-certainly; lokan-the worlds; moksha-for liberation; apeksha-the desire; janayati-makes; janam-a person; kevalam-only; klesa-of sufferings; bhajam-the possessor; yoga-of yoga; abhyasah-the endeavors; sarvam-all of them; tyaktva-abandoning; mama-of me; tu-indeed; rasana-the tongue; krishna-Krishna; krishna-Krishna; iti-thus; rautu-may chant.

    The attempt to attain the heavenly svarga planets impoverishes the entire world. The desire to attain impersonal liberation brings only trouble. The regimen of yoga is dry and tasteless. What is the use of endeavors like these? I will abandon them all, and simply make my tongue chant "Krishna, Krishna". -author unknown

    (Sri Padyavali, Nama-mahatmya, Text 27)

Another interesting perspective on Svarga-loka is found in Srila Jiva Goswami's Sri Bhakti-sandarbha:

    "Here the Lord says, "Anything (sarvam) that may be attained by other (itaraih) spiritual paths, such as going on pilgrimage to holy places and following religious vows, My devotee (mad-bhaktah) attains (labhate) by engaging in My devotional service (mad-bhakti-yogena). He attains it easily (anjasa) and without any great effort." What is the everything (sarvam) mentioned here? The Lord answers with the words "svargapavargam" (promotion to Svargaloka or liberation). "Svarga" means "material happiness" and "apavarga" means "the happiness of liberation, which is attained by gradually becoming situated in the platform of pure goodness". Then the Lord describes a happiness greater than even the happiness of impersonal liberation. He says "mad-dhama" (My abode), which refers to the realm of Vaikuntha. Sometimes one's material desires help him attain devotional service. King Citraketu's desire to attain Svargaloka is an example of that. How his material desire helped him attain devotional service is described in these words (Srimad Bhagavatam 6.17.2-3):

      "Being praised by great sages and saints and by the inhabitants of Siddhaloka and Caranaloka, Citraketu, the most powerful mystic yogi, wandered about enjoying life for millions of years. With bodily strength and senses free from deterioration, he travelled within the valleys of Sumeru Mountain, which is the place of perfection for various kinds of mystic power. In those valleys he enjoyed life with the women of Vidyadhara-loka by chanting the glories of the Supreme Lord, Hari."

    (Sri Bhakti-sandarbha, Vol. I, Anuccheda 84.4-5)


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