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The Spiritual World - Our Original Home
The Brahma-samhita (5.37) describes that the s Absolute Personality of Godhead has His transcendentsntal abode, known as Goloka, where He remains and engage.sges in His pastimes, yet by His inconceivable potencies He can simultaneously reach every part of His creative energy. In the Vishnu Purana His potencies are compared to the heat lat and light that emanate from a fire. Although situated in one plailace, a fire can distribute its light and heat; similarly, the . Absolute Personality of Godhead, although fixed in His transcmscendental abode, can diffuse His different energies everywhere.
The Three Principal Energies of the Lord
Although the Lord's energies are innumerable, they<sey can be divided into three principal categories: the internal |1I potency, the marginal potency and the external potency. Tl There are hundreds and millions of subheadings to each of these categories. T^he dominating demigods who are empowered to control and atdminister such natural phenomena as air, light and rain are all classified within the marginal potency of the Absolute Perrson. Lesser living beings, including humans, also belong to thie Lord's marginal potency. We are marginal, because the jiiva is found sometimes in the material world and other times im the spiritual world, like the bank of a river, which is sometimess wet and sometimes dry. But once the soul achieves the : spiritual world, he never falls down to material world. The maaterial world is the creation of the Lord's external potency, 'bahiiranga shakti'. And the spiritual sky, where the kingdom of Gjod is situated, is the manifestation of His internal potency, 'antgaranga shakti'. The pure devotees of the Lord, called 'mahattmas' are under the shelter of internal potency presided by thfie goddess of fortune - Srimati Radharani, Sita or Lakshmi. The3 'duratmas' who are against the purpose of the Lord are undder the external potency presided by maya or Durga.
The Supreme Truth is a Person
Thus the diffecrent energies of the Lord are present everywhere. Although the Lord and His energies are non-different, one should not misstake these energies for the Supreme Truth. Nor should one vwrongly consider that the Supreme Lord is distributed ewerywhere impersonally or that He loses His personal existeence. Men are accustomed to reach conclusions according to thheir capacity for understanding, but the Supreme Lord is not subbject to our limited capacity for understanding. It is for this reaseon that the Upani shads warn us that no one can iaPproach the Lord by his own limited potency. In the bhagavad-gita i (10.2) Lord Sri Krishna says that not even the igreat jnanis (sppeculators) and suras (demigods) can know Him.
Then what to speak of the asuras (demons), for whom there is no question of understanding the ways of the Lord?
We can see practically and scientifically that as soon as the sun rises above the ocean level, the sunshine immediately reaches earth and due to the sunshine, colorful fruits, green vegetables and beautiful flowers grow. Thus though the sun is far away, by its energies - heat and light, it accomplishes wonderful things on the earth. Similarly, the supreme sun is Krishna. Through multifarious energies He accomplishes everything, but He remains aloof as the Supreme Energetic Person behind all the energies.
Our Ultimate Resting Place
The abode of Lord Sri Krishna is described in the Bhagavad-gita, Fifteenth Chapter, sixth verse:
na tad bhasayate suryo na sasanko na pavakah
yad gatva na nivartante tad dhama paramam mama
"That supreme abode of Mine is not illumined by the sun or moon, nor by fire or electricity. Those who reach it never return to this material world."
This verse gives a description of that eternal sky. Of course we have a material conception of the sky, and we think of it in relationship to the sun, moon, stars and so on, but in this verse the Lord states that in the eternal sky there is no need for the sun nor the moon nor electricity or fire of any kind because the spiritual sky is already illuminated by the brahmajyoti, the rays emanating from the Supreme Lord. We are trying with difficulty to reach other planets, but it is not difficult to understand the abode of the Supreme Lord.
The supreme abode of the Personality of Godhead, Krishna, is described in the Brahma-samhita as cintamani-dhama, a place where all desires are fulfilled. The supreme abode of Lord Krishna, known as Goloka Vrindavan, is full of palaces made of touchstone. There are also trees, called "desire trees," that supply any type of eatable upon demand. In the material world a mango tree can only supply mango and a banana tree cannot supply coconut water to quench our thirst. But the 'desire tree' can provide any eatable or anything upon request. And there are cows, known as surabhi cows, which supply a limitless supply of milk and at anytime. In this abode, the Lord is served by hundreds of thousands of goddesses of fortune (Lakshmis), and He is called Govinda, the primal Lord and the cause of all causes. The Lord is accustomed to blow His flute (venum kvanantam). His transcendental form is the most attractive in all the worlds - His eyes are like lotus petals, and the color of His body is like the color of clouds. He is so attractive that His beauty excels that of thousands of Cupids. He wears saffron cloth called 'peetambar', a 'vaijayantimala' garland around His neck and a peacock feather in His hair. In the Bhagavad-gita Lord Krishna gives only a small hint of His personal abode, Goloka Vrindavan, which is the supermost planet in the spiritual kingdom, A vivid description is given in the Brahma-samhita. Vedic literatures (Katha Upanishad 1.3.11) state that there is nothing superior to the abode of the Supreme Godhead, and that abode is the ultimate destination. When one attains to it, he never returns to the material world. On this earth, Vrindavan, ninety miles southeast of Delhi, is a replica of that supreme Goloka Vrindavan located in the spiritual sky. When Krishna descended on this earth, He sported on that particular tract of land known as Vrindavan.
In the Brahma-samhita (5.37) it is described: goloka eva nivasaty akhilatma-bhuto. The Lord resides eternally in His abode Goloka, yet He can be approached from this world, and to this end the Lord comes to manifest His real form, sat-cit-ananda-vigraha (Brahma-Samhita 5.1). When He manifests this form, there is no need for our imagining what He looks like. To discourage such imaginative speculation, He descends and exhibits Himself as He is, as Syamasundar. Unfortunately, the less intelligent deride Him because He comes as one of us and plays with us as a human being. But because of this we should not consider the Lord to be one of us. It is by His omni potency that He presents Himself in His real form before us and displays His pastimes, which are replicas of those pastimes found in His abode.
In the effulgent rays of the spiritual sky there are innumerable planets floating. The brahmajyoti emanates from the supreme abode, Krishnaloka, and the ananda-maya, cin-maya planets, which are not material, float in those rays. The Lord says, 'yad gatva na nivartante tad dhama paramam mama' (Bhagavad-gita 15.6). One who can approach that spiritual sky is not required to descend again to the material sky. In the material sky, even if we approach the highest planet (Brahmaloka), what to speak of the moon, we will find the same conditions of life, namely birth, death, disease and old age. No planet in the material universe is free from these four principles of material existence.
Our Relationship With The Lord
Lord Krishna tells Arjuna in the Bhagavad-gita (4.3) that He is relating the supreme secret of the knowledge about God, the living entity and their mutual relationship to him (Arjuna) because he is His devotee and His friend. The purport of this is that Bhagavad-gita is a treatise which is especially meant for the devotee of the Lord. There are three classes of transcendentalists, namely the jnani, the yogi and the bhakta, or the impersonalist, the meditator and the devotee. Here the Lord clearly tells Arjuna that He is making him the first receiver of a new parampara (disciplic succession) because the old succession was broken. It was the Lord's wish, therefore, to establish another parampara in the same line of thought that was coming down from the sun-god to others, and it was His wish that His teaching be distributed anew by Arjuna. He wanted Arjuna to become the authority in understanding the Bhagavad-gita.
So we see that Bhagavad-gita is instructed to Arjuna especially because Arjuna was a devotee of the Lord, a direct student of Krishna, and His intimate friend. Therefore Bhagavad-gita is best understood by a person who has qualities similar to Arjuna's. That is to say he must be a devotee in a direct relationship with the Lord. As soon as one becomes a devotee of the Lord, he also has a direct relationship with the Lord. That is a very elaborate subject matter, but briefly it can be stated that a devotee is in a relationship with the Supreme Personality of Godhead in one of five different ways:
1.Devotee in a passive state (shanta rasa - Neutrality)
2.Devotee in an active state (dasya rasa - Servitude);
3.Devotee as a friend (sakhya rasa - Friendship);
4.Devotee as a parent (vatsalya rasa - Parental affection);
5.Devotee as a conjugal lover (madhurya rasa - Conjugal love)
Arjuna was in a relationship with the Lord as friend. Of course there is a gulf of difference between this friendship and the friendship found in the material world. This is transcendental friendship, which cannot be had by everyone. Of course everyone has a particular relationship with the Lord, and that relationship is evoked by the perfection of devotional service. But in the present status of our life, not only have we forgotten the Supreme Lord, but we have forgotten our eternal relationship with the Lord. Every living being, out of the many, many billions and trillions of living beings, has a particular relationship with the Lord eternally. That is called svarupa. By the process of devotional service, one can revive that svarupa, and that stage is called svarupa-siddhi - perfection of one's constitutional position. So Arjuna was a devotee, and he was in touch with the Supreme Lord in friendship.
Loving Reciprocation Between Krishna and His Devotees
Although Lord Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, out of His causeless mercy He was engaged in the service of His friend. He never fails in His affection for His devotees, and thus He is addressed by the name 'acyuta' which means 'infallible'. As charioteer, He had to carry out the orders of Arjuna, and since He did not hesitate to do so, He is addressed as infallible. Although He had accepted the position of a charioteer for His devotee, His supreme position was not challenged. In all circumstances, He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Hrsikesa, the Lord of the total senses. The relationship between the Lord and His servitor is very sweet and transcendental. The servitor is always ready to render service to the Lord, and, similarly, the Lord is always seeking an opportunity to render some service to the devotee. He takes greater pleasure in His pure devotee's assuming the advantageous position of ordering Him than He does in being the giver of orders. Since He is master, everyone is under His orders, and no one is above Him to order Him. But when He finds that a pure devotee is ordering Him, He obtains transcendental pleasure, although He is the infallible master of all circumstances.
The Five Divine Mellows
In the spiritual world, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Sri Krishna can perfectly reciprocate one's loving propensities in different relationships called mellows, or rasas. Basically there are twelve loving relationships, five of which are primary. One can love Krishna as the supreme unknown, as the supreme master, the supreme friend, the supreme child, and the supreme lover. The devotees surcharged with the ideas of their respective service serve Krishna eternally and ultimately reach the goal of their respective ideals. They attain the real nature of their self befitting their respective rasas. Those who are advocates of 'shanta rasa' attain the neutral roles of trees, water, flowers and serve silently in meditation. Those who are in 'dasya rasa' engage in varieties of services. Those in 'sakhya rasa' treat Krishna equally just as they treat one another and they are never afraid of Him, nor do they ever beg His pardon. The cowherd boy friends sometimes ride on Krishna's shoulders. Those in 'vatsalya rasa' like mother Yashoda and Nanda shower parental affection upon Krishna by feeding, maintaining, protecting and caring. The gopis are the topmost amongst all devotees. They are in "madhurya rasa' (conjugal love) with Krishna and enjoy the most intimate relationships with Krishna.
Goloka Vrindavan is the highest planet in the spiritual world. Krishna enjoys various loving relationships by manifesting the 64 arts like singing, playing instruments, dancing, painting, splashing water sports, setting ornaments, solving riddles etc. In order to go there, one has to penetrate the cover of the material universe, penetrate the Brahmajyoti effulgence and then one reaches this supreme abode. In brahmajyoti there are also other planets called Vaikuntha planets. One has to become a pure devotee of the Lord by understanding Bhagavad-gita like Arjuna, to be noticed by the Lord and transported to His abode.