Question: I have a question about the holy dhama of the Lord. When the Lord descends to this world, He also manifests His eternal abode, associates, etc. After the disappearance of the Lord and His associates from the vision of the people, the dhama of the Lord still remains manifest to the people of this world. My question is that: Is the dhama which we see with our eyes the exact same spiritual abode of the Lord which was manifest when the Lord was present as the avatara before the people or is it some semblance of the spiritual abode of the Lord? If it is the exact same spiritual abode of the Lord, then why don’t we see the spiritual features of the abode like beautiful forests, Yamuna with lotuses, etc.? Is it just because we do not have the spiritual eyes of prema to see the dhama? Kindly clarify my doubts.
Answer: Your assumption that the dhama remains manifest after the disappearance of the Lord and His associates is wrong. The dhama also becomes unmanifest along with them. Therefore, the rest of your questions do not arise.
Question: So then why do we say that the dhama of the Lord like Vrindavan, Ayodhya, etc. is a holy place? What are the various places in the dhama, like Govardhan Hill, Barsana, etc.? Are they just imaginations by some people that the Lord did His pastimes there? Is it not that Krishna actually lifted the Govardhan Hill that we now see with our eyes? Is it not that He performed various pastimes at places, which we see with our eyes, like Kaliya ghat, Chirghat and Keshighat along the banks of the Yamuna?
Answer: There are three types of dhama—the aprakata dhama (the unmanifest), which is not visible to people of this world, the prakata dhama (the manifest), which was visible to people of this world when Krsna was personally present, and the bhauma dhama (the terrestrial or earthly dham). When Krsna appears, the prakata dhama becomes manifest in the bhauma dhama. The bhauma dhama appears material to material eyes and has characteristic like any other material object. But to those who have spiritual vision, it does not have material characteristics. In this very bhauma dhama they see the unmanifest dhama.
So basically, what you see now is the replica of the original dhama. This is where the dhama was manifest and now still exists in an unmanifest state. It can still be witnessed by qualified people.
Ultimately, it is non-different from the original dhama. Just as the deity form of Krsna, that appears to be made of stone or other material, but is actually Krsna Himself. As Mahaprabhu said, pratima nahi tumi saksat vrajer nandana, “O Lord, You are not the deity but directly the son of Vrajendra, Krsna”. However, this fact can be realized only by a qualified devotee. So simultaneously both exist—the deity as seen by a common person and Krsna directly, as witnessed by a qualified devotee. The same is true about the dhama according to the acintya-bheda-abheda principle.
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Daily Bhakti Byte
Although passion and dispassion are opposite to each other, in bhakti they can co-exist.
Jay Sri Radhe Syama!
Once babaji told me that the essence of the whole Gaudiya Vaisnava philosophy according to Jiva Gosvami is that this life is the real life,and in this life we have to learn how to love.And Vrindavan is the real place.It is not that there is any other place beyond.And now
we have to attain prema.Without prema a human being is an animal.And it is not that one is going to attain prema after death.One has to attain it in this very life.And in this life one is going to see
everything sitting in Vrindavan.Because Krishna is here and no spiritual messenger has to come to take us anywhere.One will enter directly in this very Vrindavan.
Doctor Kapoor says that the veracity of the claim that the phenomenal
Vrindavan,which looks so much like any other part of the material world to our material eyes,is itself the spiritual Vrindavan,the highest abode of Bhagavan,surpassing even Goloka in excellence,may be questioned.
But Sri Caitanya and his followers are ever so emphatic in their statements about its transcendental character.
Sri Rupa Gosvami says that the devotees,who have ardent love for Krishna,are even today blessed with a vision of His divine Lila in this very Vrindavan.
Sanatan Gosvami says that Vrindavan is here on earth and Krishna,s
unmanifest lila is going on in it even now,but none except those to whom He or His devotees are kind,can see it.
Prabodhananda Sarasvati describes how he actually sees this Vrindavan in its real form with all its transcendental beauty and excellence:
“Oh! this Vrindavan of mine,stationed above every other Dhama!
How it shines near me like a big moon in all its resplendent beauty!