The Holy Places of Jaiva Dharma: Brahmaloka

BY: SUN STAFF - 14.8 2019

Lord Brahma

A serial presentation of the holy places mentioned in the Jaiva Dharma of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur - Part 38.

Following our opening discussion on Brahmaloka in the last segment, and the fact that there is a temporary Brahmaloka and a sanatana Brahmaloka, we find the point emphasized in the purport to Srimad Bhagavatam 5.1.7:

"A significant word in this verse is sva-bhavanat, indicating that Lord Brahma descended from his own abode. Every demigod has his own abode. Indra, the King of the demigods, has his own abode, as do Candra, the lord of the moon planet, and Surya, the predominating deity of the sun planet. There are many millions of demigods, and the stars and planets are their respective homes. This is confirmed in Bhagavad-gita. Yanti deva-vrata devan: "Those who worship the demigods go to their different planetary systems." Lord Brahma's abode. the highest planetary system, is called Satyaloka or sometimes Brahmaloka. Brahmaloka usually refers to the spiritual world. The abode of Lord Brahma is Satyaloka, but because Lord Brahma resides there, it is also sometimes called Brahmaloka."

This point is also made in the purport to Srimad Bhagavatam 9.3.29, and in S.B. 4.29.42-44, Srila Prabhupada mentions that on (the sanatana) Brahmaloka, Lord Brahma resides along with the four Kumaras: Sanaka, Sanatana, Sanandana and Sanat-kumara.

Likewise, in S.B. 9.5.22 we find the story of Durvasa's travel to the sanatana Brahmaloka, which is described as being "devoid of agnostics and dry philosophical speculators". In his purport, Srila Prabhupada writes:

"In Brahmaloka, everyone is self-realized, and thus there is no need of philosophical speculation to come to the conclusion of the Absolute Truth."

However, there are also some fine points regarding these designations which may appear to be an interchangeable use of the names, Brahmaloka and Satyaloka with their categorizations as temporary or eternal abodes.

In S.B. 2.5.39 we read that Satyaloka is not eternal (sanatana). However, in the Bhaktivedanta Purport to S.B. 5.1.21, we read:

"…in Satyaloka there is no birth, death, old age or disease. In other words, since Satyaloka is situated next to Brahmaloka, or the Brahman effulgence, it is almost as good as Vaikunthaloka."

This purport follows, in more context:

Srimad Bhagavatam 5.1.21 Purport:

"Both Priyavrata and Narada were exalted personalities who knew how to respect Lord Brahma. Therefore instead of looking upon Brahma with resentment, they very feelingly offered him their respect. Lord Brahma then returned to his celestial abode, known as Satyaloka, which is described here as being impeccable and being unapproachable by words.

It is stated in this verse that Lord Brahma returned to his residence, which is as important as his own personality. Lord Brahma is the creator of this universe and the most exalted personality within it. His lifetime is described in Bhagavad-gita (8.17). Sahasra-yuga-paryantam ahar yad brahmano viduh. The total duration of the four yugas is 4,300,000 years, and when that is multiplied a thousand times, it equals twelve hours in the life of Brahma. Therefore we cannot factually comprehend even twelve hours of Brahma's life, to say nothing of the one hundred years that constitute his entire lifetime. How, then, can we understand his abode? The Vedic literatures describe that in Satyaloka there is no birth, death, old age or disease. In other words, since Satyaloka is situated next to Brahmaloka, or the Brahman effulgence, it is almost as good as Vaikunthaloka. Lord Brahma's abode is practically indescribable from our present status. Therefore it has been described as avan-manasa-gocara, or beyond the description of our words and the imagination of our minds. The Vedic literatures thus describe the abode of Lord Brahma: yad vai parardhyam tad uparamesthyam na yatra soko na jara na mrtyur nartir na codvegah. "In Satyaloka, which is situated many millions and billions of years away, there is no lamentation, nor is there old age, death, anxiety or the influence of enemies."

In the purport to S.B. 2.5.39, the "Satyaloka planetary system", which appears to be different than the single planetary orb of Satyaloka. What bearing this has on the usage of names, we don't know. It is interesting to note Srila Prabhupada's comment in the purport to S.B. 9.3.29:

"It appears that Brahmaloka, the abode of Lord Brahma, is also transcendental, above the three modes of material nature (apavrtam)."