The Holy Places of Jaiva Dharma: Vrndavana

BY: SUN STAFF

Radha-Madana-Mohana Temple in Vrndavana


Aug 12, 2014 — CANADA (SUN) — A serial presentation of the holy places mentioned in the Jaiva Dharma of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur - Part 176.

Jaiva Dharma describes the qualifications of those who attain the highest spiritual abodes, and the glories of their pure devotional sentiments for Sri Krsna. In chapter seven, Vrndavana is described as one of the abodes of liberated souls:

    "The individual spirit soul has two state of existence: 1. the liberated state, and 2. the state of bondage in the prison of the material world. An individual soul who is a pure devotee of Lord Krsna is not bound by the illusory potency maya. By Lord Krsna's mercy such a soul is liberated from the material world of maya. He is a liberated soul. His state of existence is the liberated state. On the other hand, a soul who tries to avoid Lord Krsna falls into the gaping mouth of the illusory potency maya.. Such a soul is imprisoned in the material world. His state of existence is residence in the material world. A soul liberated from maya is always conscious of his original spiritual identity. His whole life is service to Lord Krsna. Such a soul does not reside in the material world. He resides in one of the pure spiritual worlds. Goloka, Vaikuntha and Vrndavana are the names of some of these pure spiritual worlds. The souls free from maya are limitless in number. They cannot be counted."

In chapter seventeen, the character Vrajanatha is inquiring of his guru as to the specific qualities of such liberated persons:

    "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."

Prior to achieving liberation from the clutches of Maya, the devotees of the Lord gradually develop an increasing degree of Krsna consciousness, and their attraction for Vrndavana is one of the symptoms. In chapters twenty and twenty-two, there are several passages describing the bhakta's attraction to living in Vrndavana-dham. Here, the Babaji explains the symptoms of bhava's appearance to his disciple:

    "When the seed of ecstatic emotion (bhava) for Krsna fructifies, the following nine symptoms are manifest in one's behaviour: forgiveness, concern that time should not be wasted, detachment, absence of false prestige, hope, eagerness, a taste for chanting the holy name of the Lord, attachment to descriptions of the transcendental qualities of the Lord, and affection for those places where the Lord resides - that is a temple or holy place like Vrndavana. These are all called 'anubhava', subordinate signs of ecstatic emotion. They are visible in a person in whose heart the seed of love of God has begun to fructify."

In chapter twenty the conversation between these two characters delves further into the qualities of loving attraction for Krsna, and the desire to live in the holy dhamas. First, the Babaji is describing the sixty-four limbs of devotional service as enumerated by Srila Rupa Gosvami. Among the first ten limbs, number seven is:

    "residing in a sacred place of pilgrimage like Dvaraka or Vrndavana".

In the continuing description of the sixty-four limbs that are gateways to devotional service, item number fifty-five emphasizes the importance of residing in the holy dhamas:

    "One should live in a sacred place like Mathura, Vrndavana or Dvaraka."

As the conversation continues, Vijaya-kumara inquires further about this topic, asking what devotional limb number seven means - residing at a sacred place of pilgrimage like Dvaraka or Vrndavana? The reply:

    "When one lives at the holy places where the Supreme Lord was born or enjoyed pastimes, or at places by the Ganges, or other sacred rivers, one naturally attains faith in devotional service."

Next the disciple inquires about limb number fifty-five, and what the instruction "One should live in a sacred place like Mathura, Vrndavana or Dvaraka" means? His guru replies:

    "One should hear about, remember, glorify, visit, touch, reside in, and serve Mathura. In this way one will attain his spiritual desires.. Know that the same applies to Sri Mayapura."


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