saubhagyam atulam labhet
satya dharma rato bhutva
mrto vaikuntham apnuyat
“By observing the vow of Janamastami, one receives good children, good health, and unlimited good fortune. One also becomes truly righteous and ascends to Vaikuntha after death.”
tatra nityam vimanena
varsa laksam yudhisthira
bhogan nana vidhan bhuktva
punya sesad ihagatah
“O Yudhisthira, while residing in Vaikuntha, such a person will freely travel in his airplane and enjoy transcendental happiness for millions of years. Thereafter, when his piety becomes exhausted, he will return to this material world.”
I understand that this deal with the milk ocean in the material world, not the Vaikuntha in the spiritual world. However, did not Sanatan Goswami say in Brihad Bhagavatamrita that one cannot even fall down from Swetadwip in the material world? Is this just a figurative glorification of Janmastami rather than a concrete fact?
Answer: Bhakti can give anything such as material wealth and status, residence in heaven, liberation or prema. So this verse is describing how by performing a devotional act one can even visit the Vaikuntha planets and come back. These verses are spoken to allure disinterested people to engage in devotion. There are different types of statement in shastra; some give siddhanta and some are used to inspire people to follow the siddhanta.
This does not support any falldown theory of a devotee from the Vaikuntha planets. For more details on this topic, read “In Vaikuntha not even the Leaves Fall”.
Question: In shastra often a temporary trip to Vaikuntha is promised as a reward for fruitive pious activities to fruitive workers, along with their families. Can we take such statements seriously or perhaps this applies to the Vaikuntha in the material world’s kheer saagar?
Answer: Yes the temporary trip to Vaikuntha is not a false statement. This is possible as a reward for pious action desired by the executors. It is granted in the Vaikuntha manifest in the material world.
Question: In Brihad Bhagavatamrita 2.4.36, it is said that the Vaikuntha-vasis are shape-shifters, able to assume different forms –
kecid vicitra-rupani dhrtva dhrtva muhur muhuh |
vicitra-bhusanakara- viharadhya manoharah ||36||
How does that rhyme with our concept of sthayi bhava, in which one person has one eternal spiritual form ? Or is there a difference in this between Vaikuntha and Goloka?
Answer: I see no problem. I am a servant of my guru. I can do various services to him, in goshala, temple, fundraiser, teacher, manager. I may use a suitable dress to do each. But my bhava is same. In Vaikuntha they can change form, not just dress. Bhava remains same.
Question: Continuing on the issue of going to Vaikuntha, Suniti was travelling to Vaikuntha along with Dhruva (4.12.33) – was this:
1. Due to her own pure devotion
2. Solely due to being Dhruva’s mother
3. Because they went to the pole star in the material world
4. or is this all a lila of eternally liberated souls?
The tikas say nothing about this. What about Dhruva’s changing his material body to a spiritual body? Is this normal procedure or an exception?
Answer: It is a combination of both, one and two. The changing of his body it is an exception to the normal procedure.
There are two solutions to material attachment (raga) and hatred (dvesha). Either consider the world as imaginary like a dream or know it to be manifestation of Krishna’s energy. The first is the advaitic view and is not very practical.
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