The Holy Places of Jaiva Dharma: Tapoloka
BY: SUN STAFF
Jul 24, 2014 CANADA (SUN) A serial presentation of the holy places mentioned in the Jaiva Dharma of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur - Part 157.
In the Bhagavat Sandarbha of Srila Jiva Goswami, there is a description of Tapoloka and the situation of its inhabitants just prior to and during the annihilation. Being in a higher planetary system than some of the lower planetary residents, their experience is described as being somewhat less miserable:
"The three quarters spiritual creation of the Lord has as its counterpart the material world. This is implied by the word punah (lit. again) in the fourth mantra of the Purusha Sukta. Srila Jiva Gosvami says that the fuller meaning of this word is explained in S.B. 2.6.20. Beyond the heavenly planets are four planetary systems, Maharloka, Janaloka, Tapaloka, and Satyaloka. These represent the tripada vibhuti, and the three planetary systems below that, Bhurloka, Bhuvaraloka, and Svarloka, represent the ekapad vibhuti. The ekapad vibhuti is the place for the grihamedha, or the householder. griha eva medha buddhir yasya sa grihamedha--A person whose intelligence is centered around his house is called grihamedha. The word griha, although it literally means "house", implies a wife, as is said--na griham grihamityahu grihini griham ity ucyate--The house is not called "house", but the wife is called "house". For a grihastha, house has no meaning without a wife. Therefore the meaning is that a grihamedha is one who is attached to enjoying sex life. Such people rotate within the triloki. They cannot ascend beyond the heavenly planets.
Sridhara Swami explains that although Maharloka is the place of gradual liberation (krama mukti), the happiness there is perishable, because at the end of Lord Brahma's day the residents feel the heat coming from the mouth of Sankarshana during the partial devastation, however, the happiness of people in Janaloka is indestructible. They do not have to leave their abode at the end of Brahma's day. Therefore, Janaloka represents amritam. From Janaloka they see people traveling from Maharloka out of misery. Therefore they have some miserable experience by seeing them. The residents of Tapaloka however are completely aloof. So Tapaloka represents kshemam. Satyaloka, however, is the place of abhaya, because the residents achieve liberation along with Brahma (Kurma Purana 12.273):
"All those pious souls enter into the abode of the Lord along with Lord Brahma at the end of the duration called para when it is time for complete annihilation."
In Sri Brhad-Bhagavatamrta, Srila Sanatana Goswami mentions Tapoloka several places, in different contexts. In one verse, he is commenting on the Four Kumaras, who famously reside there:
Texts 92 and 93
hitartham parshada iva
vasanti ca tapoloke
prabhum narayanam vina
anathanam iva kshemam
"These four, who are incarnations of the Lord in the forms of devotees, who are the best of celibate sages, and who appear to be the Lord's associates, wander about for the welfare of the worlds. They reside in Tapoloka, bringing auspiciousness to the sages who stay there bereft of Lord Narayana's company, feeling lost and without a master.
Srila Sanatana Gosvami explains that the four sages here are the four Kumara's, headed by Sanaka, who are devotee-incarnations of the Lord of Vaikuntha. They bring auspiciousness to the residents of Tapoloka by glorifying the Supreme Lord's pastimes."
Sri Brhad-Bhagavatamrta, Part Two, Chapter Three
In a later verse of the Brhad-Bhagavatamrta, Srila Sanatana refers to another resident of Tapoloka -- the muni Pippalayana:
premno 'ntarangam kila sadhanottamam
manyeta kaiscit smaranam na kirtanam
ekendriye vaci vicetane sukham
bhaktih sphuraty asu hi kirtanatmika
"Some think that remembering the Lord, not glorifying Him, is the best, most confidential way to attain spiritual love because the devotional service of glorifying the Lord is easily manifested, is done without knowledge, and only appears on one sense: the voice.
Srila Sanatana Gosvami explains that this is the opinion of Pippalayana Muni and the other sages in Tapoloka. According to them, because glorifying the Lord is done with one of the working senses (the voice) and not one of the knowledge-acquiring senses, it is done without knowledge. They also say that because glorifying the Lord quickly brings a result, that result, because it is quickly attained, must be inferior."
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