The Holy Places of Jaiva Dharma: Vraja-dhama

BY: SUN STAFF - 29.4 2020

Govinda Fluting
Trichinopoly, c. 1825

A serial presentation of the holy places mentioned in the Jaiva Dharma of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur - Part 167.

As mentioned previously, in Jaiva Dharma there are so many references to Vraja-dhama that they can hardly be summarized here. We can only call attention to some of the key passages mentioning Vraja. In chapter thirteen we find this description:

"Lord Krsna's transcendental abode of Vraja is described in the Chandogya Upanisad, which calls it "Brahma-pura". That abode is perfectly spiritual. It has all spiritual wonders. Its activities are all spiritual. Its places are spiritual. Its land and water are spiritual. Its rivers and trees are spiritual. Its sky is spiritual. Its sun, moon, and stars are all spiritual. They have not the slightest drop of any material flaw. Rather they filled with spiritual bliss. O baba, the Navadvipa-Mayapura where you are sitting now is that same spiritual world. However, because you are trapped in Maya's net you cannot reach out and touch it. When you attain the mercy of a great saintly person you will see that everything in this place is spiritual. Then you will be living in the spiritual world of Vraja."

Another important description is found in chapter fourteen:

"Sri Navadvipa-dhama and Sri Vrndavana-dhama are not different. This Mayapura is the highest spiritual abode. Sri Mayapura is to Navadvipa what Sri Gokula is to Vraja. Mayapura is the holiest place in Navadvipa. In Srimad Bhagavatam (7.9.38) it is said:

"O Lord, in the age of Kali, however, You do not assert Yourself.* In that age Your incarnation is hidden."

As the Supreme Lord's incarnation is hidden in the Kali-yuga, so the Supreme Lord's abode, Sri Navadvipa, is also hidden. In the age of Kali there is no holy place like Sri Navadvipa. A person who understands the spiritual nature of Sri Navadvipa has become qualified to reside in the spiritual world of Vraja. Material eyes see Vraja and Navadvipa are both material places, made of the five material elements. Only persons who have become fortunate to have their spiritual eyes opened are able to see the truth of these holy abodes."

In chapter fifteen, the Lord's Vraja-lila is discussed:

"Lord Krsna manifests different kinds of entities according to the different kinds of potencies He employs to create them. When He is manifested in His cit-sakti, He appears as Krsna and as Narayana, the master of Vaikuntha. When He is manifested in the jiva-sakti, He appears as Baladeva, His pastime form (vilasa-murti) in Vraja. When He is manifested in the maya-sakti, He appears as the three forms of Karanodakasayi Visnu, Garbhodakasayi Visnu and Ksirodakasayi Visnu. In Vraja He appears in His original form, as Krsna, a form manifested by His complete potency. Appearing as Baladeva, He manifests His sesa-tattva (nature of Lord Sesa). In this way He manifests the eight kinds of services the eternally liberated associates offer to Him."

The inconceivable glories of Vraja-dhama are stated in chapter twenty-five:

"The holy name is the budding flower of love. It is the resting place of wonderful nectar. It shows so much power. The budding flower begins to open. It shows a little of its beauty and virtue. Binding me with the ropes of Krsna, it steals my heart.

When it opens fully, that flower carries me to Vraja. It shows me its own form and pastimes. It gives me a perfect spiritual body. It places me by Krsna's side. It completely destroys my material body."

And in chapter thirty-two, the preeminence of Sri Krsna's potencies in Vraja are described in the context of various categories of heroes He embodies:

"As far as we are concerned, there is no hero but Krsna. In Dvaraka He is perfect. In Mathura He is more perfect. In Vraja He is most perfect. In each of these places He is both husband and paramour. In this way He is six (3 x 2) heroes. In each of these six different situations He is also the four kinds of heroes that begin with dhirodatta. In that way he becomes 24 (2 x 3 x 4) different kinds of heroes. In each of these 24 situations he is also an anukula, daksina, satha and dhrsta hero. In this way He becomes 96 (2 x 3 x 4 x 4) kinds of heroes. Thus there are 24 svakiya heroes and 24 parakiya heroes. The svakiya heroes are less prominent and the parakiya heroes are more prominent. In the rasas and pastimes of Vraja the 24 kinds of parakiya heroes are manifested eternally. In different kinds of pastimes a different kind of hero is required. In this way Krsna assumes the roles of these different kinds of heroes."