Vaikuṇṭha Is Part of the Lord’s Svarūpa (Bhagavat Sandarbha, 49 – Part 1)

The following in an excerpt of Satyanarayana Dasa Babaji’s translation and commentary of Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī’s BHAGAVAT SANDARBHA. We are starting with anuccheda 49 [editor’s choice] and will weekly post consecutive sections.

 

The following in an excerpt of Satyanarayana Dasa Babaji’s translation and commentary of Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī’s BHAGAVAT SANDARBHA. We are starting with anuccheda 49 [editor’s choice] and will weekly post consecutive sections.

Srila Jiva Gosvami

Srila Jiva Gosvami

It was previously established that the Lord’s abode is also part of His essential nature, in verses such as, “He showed [Brahmā] His own planet, Vaikuṇṭha” (SB 2.9.9).  Nonetheless, for the sake of clarifying the topic for those who would otherwise misconstrue the Absolute through aberrated intellectualism, we will demonstrate it here once again, as follows:

1.    The Lord’s abode, being identical with the nondual Reality, cannot be attained by dualistic action, which is to say, by result-oriented action of any kind (karma);
2.    It is described in the Vedas as transcendental to the manifested cosmos;
3.    It is glorified for the reason that those who attain it, being pervaded by its intrinsic nature, do not fall down to the material world;
4.    It can be attained only by one permanently established in freedom from the guṇas of material nature;
5.    The abodes of the Lord within the material world are also said to be transcendental to the guṇas because of the Lord’s presence in them; this being the case, Vaikuṇṭha is certainly ascertained to be transcendental by the a fortiori principle;
6.    Scriptures declare that the Lord’s abode is, by Its very nature, beyond material nature;
7.    They declare it to be eternal;
8.    It is attained only by pure devotion, [or in other words, by nondual action that is causeless, uninterrupted, produces no extraneous effects and is one in nature and orientation with the nondual complete whole, Śrī Bhagavān.] Such nondual devotion belittles even the bliss of liberation, which is merely the negation or absence of dualistic or result-oriented action;
9.    It is referred to as saccidānanda-ghana, a highly compact mass of eternal being, consciousness and bliss.

(1) The first of these, the characteristic of being unattainable by dualistic or result-oriented action of any kind (karmādibhir aprāpyatvam) is stated by Lord Kṛṣṇa as follows:

devānām eka āsīt svar bhūtānāṁ ca bhuvaḥ padam
martyādīnāṁ ca bhūr-lokaḥ siddhānāṁ tritayāt param
adho’surāṇāṁ nāgānāṁ bhūmer eko’sṛjata prabhuḥ
trilokyāṁ gatayaḥ sarvāḥ karmaṇāṁ triguṇātmanām
yogasya tapasaś caiva nyāsasya gatayo’malāḥ
mahar-janas-tapaḥ-satyaṁ bhakti-yogasya mad-gatiḥ

Svarloka is the residence of the celestial beings; Bhuvarloka is that of the spirit entities; Bhūrloka is the world of mortals. The worlds attained by the Siddhas, or those who have attained mastery over the paranormal powers, exist beyond these three divisions. Lord Brahmā created the region below the Earth for the ungodly (asuras) and the serpent race (nāgas). In this manner, the various destinations available within the three worlds have been arranged in accordance with the scale of action conducted under the influence of the three guṇas. Through yoga discipline, severe austerities and adherence to the renounced order of life, the spotless destinations of Maharloka, Janoloka, Tapoloka and Satyaloka can be reached. One who embraces the yoga of unalloyed devotion, however, attains My abode. (SB 11.24.12-14)

The Siddhas, or those perfected in paranormal ability, by processes such as yoga, attain planets like Mahar, which are beyond the three planetary systems. The region below the Earth refers to the group of planets beginning with Atala. Included in the three planetary systems are Bhūḥ, Bhuvar, and Svaḥ, with Pātāla and the other lower planets counted as part of Bhūrloka.

Actions conducted under the influence of the three guṇas is a reference to the duties of a God-centered married life, embedded in a social network (gārhasthya-dharma). Tapas, or austerity, refers to the duties associated with retirement from household life and the related social network (vānaprastha). It also refers to the duties of student life, involving education, character formation and grounding in truth (brahmacarya). Of these, those who follow the two types of brahmacarya, i.e., upakurvāṇa and naiṣṭhika, attain to Maharloka and Janoloka respectively. By following the vānaprastha duties, one reaches Tapoloka, and by sannyāsa, Satyaloka. But all these can be attained by different degrees of advancement in yoga.

Mad-gatiḥ (lit., My destination) means Vaikuṇṭha-loka and can be reached only by the yoga of unalloyed devotion (bhakti-yoga), as substantiated by the verse yan na vrajanti (SB 3.15.23), which will be quoted [in Section 57] below, as well as by this present description of the planets.

In the Third Canto, Lord Brahmā said to the devas:

Vaikuṇṭha abounds with air-ships, which are available to the devotees merely as a result of bowing down at the feet of the Lord. (SB 3.15.20)
Śrīdhara Svāmī also comments, “[Brahmā] further distinguishes the Vaikuṇṭha world: Tat-saṅkulam means ‘abounding with them.’ With what? With the air-ships of the devotees, which have become available to them simply by offering obeisances to Lord Hari’s lotus feet, and not by means such as dualistic or result-oriented action.”

The Śruti also confirms this:

After passing through all the worlds attainable by karma, a learned brāhmaṇa becomes indifferent to it all, realizing that the akṛta world, or in other words, the world that is prior and transcendental to dualistic action [Vaikuṇṭha], cannot be achieved by such action, kṛta. (MuU 1.2.12)
In this mantra, the word akṛta, prior and transcendental to dualistic action, qualifies the word “world” (loka) and not anything else, as worlds, or lokas, are the subject under discussion.

Lord Kṛṣṇa also confirms that the eternal abode is attainable only through His shelter [and not through dualistic effort] in the Gītā, in the series of verses beginning with, “The Supreme Lord resides in the hearts of all beings” (18.61),  which is followed by:

O Bhārata, take shelter of Him alone with the totality of your being and awareness. By His grace you will attain supreme peace and the eternal abode. (Gītā 18.62)

Commentary

After confirming that the body, dress, weapons and ornaments of the Lord are part of His svarūpa, Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī demonstrates that the same applies for Vaikuṇṭha. Anuccheda 7 briefly touched on this point with reference to Brahmā’s vision of Lord Kṛṣṇa and His abode, wherein it was shown that Vaikuṇṭha is free from māyā, the material nature and her by-products. Because māyā and the guṇas are absent in Vaikuṇṭha, time has no influence. Vaikuṇṭha is a manifestation of śuddha-sattva, or nondual being, free from the guṇas of nature (PP, Uttara-khaṇḍa 227.58).  Anuccheda 7 also stated that this pure sattva, or nondual being, is not just material sattva emptied of any tinge of passion and ignorance, but is the Lord’s own internal potency.

While Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī incidentally discussed the transcendental nature of Vaikuṇṭha in Section 7, he will now focus his attention on this topic for the next twelve anucchedas. He begins by listing nine characteristics of Vaikuṇṭha:

1.    It is not attainable by dualistic action, or in other words, by result-oriented action of any kind (karmādibhir aprāpyatvam, discussed in this anuccheda);
2.    It is beyond the visible or manifested cosmos (prapañcātītatvam, Anucchedas 50, 52);
3.    Its residents are infallible (tato’skhalanam, 51, 52);
4.    Only a person permanently established in freedom from the guṇas of material nature can attain it (nairguṇya-prāpyatvam, 53);
5.    It is the seat of unalloyed being, free from the guṇas (nairguṇyāśrayatvam, 54);
6.    It is transcendental to material nature (prakṛteḥ paratvam, 55)
7.    It is eternal (nityatvam, 56);
8.    It is attainable only through bhakti, or unalloyed devotion, which belittles the bliss of liberation, since that bliss is no more than the absence of dualistic action (mokṣa-sukha-tiraskāri-bhakty-eka-labhyatvam, 57);
9.    It is by nature eternal, full of consciousness and bliss (sac-cid-ānanda-rūpatvam, 58).

Śrī Jīva Prabhu provides evidence for these nine characteristics in twelve anucchedas, beginning with this one, showing that Vaikuṇṭha is not a manifestation of the external energy but belongs to the Lord’s svarūpa.

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Comments ( 2 )
  1. scooty ram

    Namaste.

    Are there articles in this site to help me understand what constitutes svarupa of the lord?
    I was thinking all shaktis(Antaranga, bahiranga and tattastha) arise from the lord and this means all shaktis are in his svarupa.
    Is there anything that exists which is not part of Lords svarupa?If it does , where do they exist?

    I understand Lord has infinite shaktis and each shakti has inconceivable powers . I have also read multiple shaktis with contradictory capacities co-exist harmoniously in the Lord by his will.

    Regards

    • malati Post author

      Rajagopal ji, Babaji is not able to reply because he is completely absorbed in the Sandarbha project. Bhagavat Sandarbha is almost ready for print, so please wait and read the whole book, then it will become clear. Jiva Gosvami systematically establishes the Lord’s transcendental nature, Krsna as the complete form of Bhagavan and how all of Krsna’s opulences and characteristics are part of His essential nature, His svarupa.

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