The Holy Places of Jaiva Dharma: Vraja-dhama

BY: SUN STAFF - 5.5 2020

Radharani, the Queen of Vraja

A serial presentation of the holy places mentioned in the Jaiva Dharma of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur - Part 170.

In Part Four of our segment on Vaikuntha, we covered one aspect of the rasas engaged in by the Gopis, and the distinguishing elements of their pastimes in Vaikuntha, Vrindavana, or Gokul/Goloka. In Jaiva Dharma's discussion of Vraja-dhama, this subject matter is brought to its highest point, as Srila Bhaktivinoda instructs us on the loving nature of the damsels of Vraja-dhama.

In chapter fourteen, we find an interesting passage that begins with a quote from Dasa-mula:

"Glory to Lord Sri Krsna, who enjoys nectar pastimes in Vraja, who plays in a nectar ocean of transcendental mellows, who enjoys the feelings of ecstatic love brought by the Hladini-sakti, who tastes the nectar of the confidential love brought by the samvit-sakti, and who resides in the pure transcendental abode created by the sandhini-sakti."

Thus the Lord's internal potency manifests three features: 1. hladini, 2. sandhini and 3. samvit. The hladini-sakti which in its complete form is Sri Radha, the daughter of Vrsabhanu, brings transcendental bliss to Lord Krsna. The form of the highest ecstatic love (maha-bhava), is the very dear and pleasing to Lord Krsna. She expands into many other forms. She expands as the eight principal gopis (asta-sakhi), the dear gopis (priya-sakhi), the gopis speaking joking words (narma-sakhi), the gopis more dear than life (prana-sakhi), and the most dear gopis (parama-prestha-sakhi). These four kinds of gopis are manifested for different kinds of devotional service. These gopis are eternally-perfect souls who reside in the spiritual world of Vraja. The samvit-sakti manifests the different relationships of the people of Vraja. The sandhini-sakti manifests the land, water, villages, forests, hills like Govardhana Hill, pastime-places of Sri Krsna, Sri Radha, Their gopa and gopi friends, Their servants, the cows, and all the other residents of Vraja, their spiritual forms, and the paraphernalia used in their pastimes. Pushed by the feelings of ecstatic love brought by the hladini-sakti, Lord Krsna is always filled with transcendental bliss. The activities of love are brought by the samvit-sakti, activities like Lord Krsna attracting the gopis by playing on the flute, His herding the cows, and His rasa-dance pastimes. To perform all these activities, Lord Krsna takes shelter of His samvit-sakti. Always swimming in the nectar of transcendental mellows, Lord Krsna enjoys pastimes in the land of Vraja, a land manifested by the sandhini-sakti. Of all spiritual abodes, the land of Vraja is the best."

In chapter twenty-nine, Vrajanatha inquires as to the identities of the anuga devotees, and the Gosvami offers this explanation:

"The anugata devotees, whose hearts are always eager to serve the Lord are of two kinds: 1. the servants who stay in Dvaraka, and 2. the devotees who stay in Vraja. Sucabdra, Mandala, Stambha, and Sutambha are included among the anuga devotees in Dvaraka. Raktaka, Patraka, Patri, Madhukantha, Rasala, Suvilasa, Premakandha, Makarandaka, Ananda, Candrahasa, Payoda, Bakula, Rasada and Sarada are included among the anuga servants in Vraja. Raktaka is the best of the anuga servants in Vraja."

In chapter thirty-one, the character Vijaya-kumara is asking the Gosvami why, if Goloka is Lord Krsna's highest abode, is Vraja gloried as the most wonderful place?

"Gosvami: Vraja, Gokula, Vrndavana, and many other places are all situated within Mathura-mandala. Goloka is the highest abode. When it is manifested within the material world, Goloka is called Mathura-mandala. They are both the highest abode.

Vijaya-kumara: How is that possible? I don't understand.

Gosvami: It is possible by the power of Lord Krsna's inconceivable potency. Lord Krsna's inconceivable potency cannot be understood by material thought process or material logic, the spiritual realm called Goloka comes to the material world and is then called Mathura-mandala. In the Lord's unmanifested pastimes (aprakata-lila) that same world is called Goloka. Lord Krsna's transcendental pastimes are eternal. When one is qualified to see pure spirit, then he can see the world of Goloka. Then he sees that the Gokula present in the material world is the same as Goloka in the spiritual world. However, when a person's intelligence is tortured by material ideas, he cannot see that Goloka is the same as Gokula. He sees that they are different. He sees that Gokula is part of the material world."

Vijaya-kumara then asks if all the liberated souls are able to see Goloka?

"Gosvami: Among millions and millions of liberated souls it is hard to find a single devotee of the Supreme Lord. Persons who follow the path of astanga yoga or the path of impersonal speculation may attain liberation, but in that kind of liberation they forget their original spiritual identity in the spiritual world of Vraja. Devotees who are attracted by the Supreme Lord's opulences also cannot see the world of Goloka. Following their hearts, they go to Vaikuntha and there they serve the Supreme Lord in His form of opulence and majesty. Among the devotees who worship Krsna according to the rasas of Vraja, only they who by Lord Krsna's mercy are released from Maya's prison are able to see Goloka."