Question: Some people deny the authority of Bhagavad Gītā because Arjuna did not attain liberation after hearing it. If he attained heaven, which is in the material realm, then what is the sense in reading and hearing the Bhagavad Gītā?
Answer: This is a very vague and weak allegation. The inquirer must substantiate his claim from scripture, then we can reply.
Question: My question is, did the Pāṇḍavas go to heaven, or to the spiritual world? What was their final destination?
Answer: Refer to the following two verses from Srīmad Bhāgavata, which describe that Arjuna attained freedom from rebirth and attained brahma-sampatti (Kṛṣṇa) by remembering Bhagavad Gītā. These verses describe his state of mind after Kṛṣṇa left the earth and after Arjuna had returned to Hastināpura from Dvārakā:
“Arjuna then recollected the knowledge of the Gītā given by Kṛṣṇa on the battlefield, which had become covered by time, activities and ignorance.”
“By attaining the Absolute (Kṛṣṇa), he became free from sorrow. All his doubts about the dual nature [of this world] were dispelled. As he transcended the three guṇas of material nature, he became free from the subtle body and rebirth. ” (SB 1.15.30, 31)
Then also refer to the following verses in the same chapter:
“Having relinquished everything, including silk garments, bracelets and other ornaments, Yudhiṣṭhira became free from thoughts of “I” and “mine”, and cut off all bonds [of attachments].”
“He [mentally] offered his speech into the mind, the mind and other senses into prāna, prāna into apāna, apāna into death. Then he offered death into his body made up of the five elements.”
“The muni (Yudhiṣṭhira) offered the five elements of his body into the three guṇas. He then offered the guṇas into prakṛti, prakṛti into the jīva, and the jīva into the imperishable Brahman.” (SB 1.15.40-42)
This is applicable not only to Yudhiṣṭhira but to all the Pāṇḍavas. Now, read the following verses in the same chapter:
“Having fully achieved all goals of life, they [the Pāṇḍavas] meditated with their minds on the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa, knowing them to be their eternal shelter.”
“Their intellects were purified by devotion, which was intensified by meditation, with their minds completely fixed on the lotus feet of Śrī Kṛṣṇa. In this way, with trans-material bodies, they attained that destination, the abode of Kṛṣṇa, which is attained by sinless people and is difficult to attain by unrighteous people who are absorbed in sense objects.” (SB 1.15.46-48)
“Also, when Draupadī saw that her husbands had become indifferent [to the world], then her mind became fully absorbed in Kṛṣṇa and she attained Him.” (1.15.50)
From all these verses, it is very clear that the Pāṇḍavas along with Draupadī attained Kṛṣṇa and not heaven.
If you meet a celebrity whom you do not recognize but have heard of, you will not pay attention to him. But if someone tells you his name you will immediately be attentive towards him. This shows that name is more important than form.
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