The Holy Places of Jaiva Dharma: Vaikuntha
BY: SUN STAFF
Lord Narayana on Sesanaga, with Brahma and Shiva in Vaikuntha
Trichinopoly, c. 1820
Victoria & Albert Museum Collection
Jul 27, 2014 CANADA (SUN) A serial presentation of the holy places mentioned in the Jaiva Dharma of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur - Part 160.
Because we are summarizing the key references to Vaikuntha found in Jaiva Dharma, it is difficult to preserve their appearance in the unfolding storyline. Instead, we will group the remaining excerpts together by topic.
There are three references in chapter thirty-one to Vaikuntha's placement in the spiritual sky, and to the sacred abodes that are manifest in Vaikuntha, as explained by the Goswami:
"You know that Lord Krsna's opulences are four quarters. Three quarters are the spiritual world, and one quarter is the material world. Within that one quarter of the Lord's opulences exist the material universes that have fourteen planetary systems. On the boundary that divides the material and spiritual world flows the Viraja river. On the father shore of the Viraja is the spiritual world. The spiritual world is enclosed by a wall of light called the Brahmajyoti. Beyond that wall may be seen the spiritual sky of Vaikuntha. …. Above Vaikuntha is Goloka."
Although no one can see Goloka, by His mercy, the Lord allowed his devotees in Vrindavana to see Vaikuntha:
"Sri Sukadeva Gosvami explains (Srimad Bhagavatam 10.28.14-15):
"Krsna immediately thought that His devotees in Vrndavana should be informed of the spiritual sky and the Vaikuntha planets therein. Thus Krsna showed them the eternal, ever-existing spiritual sky, which is unlimited and full of knowledge. Information of the spiritual sky can be had only from great sages and saintly persons who have already surpassed the influence of the three material modes of nature."
In another passage from this chapter, Vijaya-kumara inquires if the Lord's wives in Dvaraka reside in Vaikuntha or Goloka? The Gosvami replies:
"All bliss is found in Vaikuntha in the spiritual world. There is no attainment higher than Vaikuntha. Dvaraka and all the cities where the Lord resides are manifested in Vaikuntha. each in her own abode, the Lord's wives in these different cities serve the Lord there. As far as madhura-rasa is concerned, only the girls in Vraja reside in Goloka. Whatever pastimes were manifested in Vraja in the material world are all manifested in Goloka. Also, in the Gopala-tapani Upanisad it is seen that Rukmini devi, following the svakiya rasa, enjoys pastimes in Mathura-puri in Goloka."
In chapter seventeen, Vrajanath is inquiring as to the different kinds of souls who are free of Maya's prison:
"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.
The baddha-mukta souls (who were once imprisoned but now are free) are of three kinds: 1. aisvarya-gata (souls who appreciate the Lord's feature of opulence), 2. madhurya-gata (souls who appreciate the Lord's feature of sweetness), and 3. brahmajyotir-gata (souls situated within the Lord's spiritual effulgence). Souls who during their period of practicing sadhana-bhakti are attracted to the Lord's opulence become eternal associates of Lord Narayana, the master of Vaikuntha. They attain salokya-mukti (the liberation of residing on the same planet as the Lord).
Souls who during their period of practicing sadhana-bhakti are attracted to the Lord's sweetness, after liberation enjoy the sweetness of direct service to Lord Krsna in the eternal spiritual abode of Vrndavana and other like abodes. Souls who during their period of sadhana are attracted to become one with the Lord, after liberation attain brahma-sayujya-mukti (the liberation of merging with the Lord). In this way these souls are completely destroyed."
In chapter twenty-three we read:
"The holy name easily gives impersonal liberation to they who want it. In the Varaha Purana the Supreme Personality of Godhead declares:
"A person who always chants, 'Narayana! Acyuta! Ananta! Vasudeva! may, if he wishes, merge into My existence."
In the Garuda Purana it is said:
"What is the use of sankhya? What is the use of yoga? O king of kings, if you wish to attain impersonal liberation, then you should chant the holy name of Lord Govinda."
The holy name of Lord Hari sends the individual souls to the spiritual world of Vaikuntha. In the Nandi Purana it is said:
"Persons who in the past have committed every possible sin in every possible situation, but who now chant the holy name of the Lord, go to the supreme abode of Lord Visnu.'"
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