The Holy Places of Jaiva Dharma: Vraja-dhama

BY: SUN STAFF - 7.5 2020

Sri Sri Radha Krsna

A serial presentation of the holy places mentioned in the Jaiva Dharma of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur - Part 171.

Continuing with the instructions on Vraja-dhama found in Jaiva Dharma , all the remaining key passages take place in the discourse between Vijaya-kumara and his guru, the Gosvami.

Beginning again in chapter thirty-one, Vijaya-kumara inquires as to the difference between Goloka and Vraja. The Gosvami's replies in this and subsequent passages form an essential part of Jaiva Dharma's overall message:

"Whatever can be seen in Vraja can also be seen in Goloka. However, persons with different kinds of qualification may see Vraja differently. The truth is that Goloka and Vrndavana are not different in anyway. However, there may be differences in different persons' ability to see. A person tightly bound by the mode of ignorance will see Vraja as just another place in the material world. A person influenced by the mode of passion will see Vraja as a pleasant place. A person in the mode of pure goodness will see Vraja more clearly than the others. In this way different people are more or less able to properly see the land of Vraja.

Vijaya-kumara: O master, I can understand a little. Please give one or two examples to help me understand. Examples comparing things in the spiritual world to things in the material world are always imperfect. Still, they can be useful, for the nature of one thing can be hinted by comparing it to another.

Gosvami: This is a very difficult topic. If one has a direct spiritual vision, he is forbidden to reveal it to others. If by Krsna's mercy one is able to see directly, one must keep that revelation always a secret. I will repeat to you what the previous acaryas have taught about this. Anything more than that you will soon see for yourself by Lord Krsna's mercy. Pure spiritual perception exists in Goloka. Material ideas do not exist there at all. To nourish the rasas, the Lord's spiritual potency (cit-sakti) manifests all wonderful states of being (bhava). In this way many ideas and conceptions are manifested. In Goloka Krsna is beginningless. He is never born. Still, to help the Lord's pastimes, the Lord's spiritual potency convinces Nanda and Yasoda that they are Krsna's parents. In this way the vatsalya rasa is manifested. In madhura rasa the wonderful varieties of vipralambha (separation) and sambhoga (enjoying pastimes together) are also manifested by the Lord's spiritual potency. In this way the parakiya rasa and svakiya rasa are manifested in an eternal present (nitya-vartamana). Look, in this way many different ideas and beliefs are manifested by Yogamaya in Vraja. Yogamaya convinces Yasoda that Krsna was born in her maternity room. Yogamaya convinces the gopis that they were married to Abhimanyu, Govardhana-gopa, and others. In this way the parakiya rasa is nourished. These various ideas and beliefs created by Yogamaya are not really untrue. They are part of the total reality of Goloka. Thus the different residents of Goloka do indeed see things differently.

Vijaya-kumara: Should one purify his thoughts by meditating on the Lord's pastimes in the eight periods of the day (asta-kalina-lila) and in this way be able to see the Lord in meditation?

Gosvami: It is not like that. One first sees the Lord's pastimes in Vraja, and then one remembers those pastimes of the eight periods of the day. By engaging in devotional service one obtains Krsna's mercy, and then the Lord's pastimes are manifested before one. There is no need to first purify one's thoughts by meditating on the Lord's pastimes.

Vijaya-kumara: It is said: "One attains perfection that corresponds to his meditation." Does this mean that when one attains perfection he will obtain what he meditated on during the period of sadhana-bhakti? Therefore one should strive to meditate purely one Goloka.

Gosvami: What you say is true. All the ideas and beliefs present in vraja are pure truths. There is nothing imperfect or wrong with about them. If there were anything untrue about them, they would be faulty. When one perfectly practices sadhana bhakti, he attains perfection. What one purely meditates on during the practice of sadhana bhakti, one directly sees when one attains perfection. Try to perform the duties of sadhana bhakti nicely. Do not try to purify these activities. To purify them is beyond your power. With His inconceivable potency, Lord Krsna Himself will purify them. If you try to purify them yourself, you will be pricked by the thorn of material ideas. If Krsna is merciful to you, the fruit you pick will not be bitter."

Vijaya-kumara goes on to inquire further into the eternal nature of Vraja, asking how it is that if the Lord's pastimes in His Vraja-dhama abode are eternal and Vraja is also found here, then what happens to Vraja in the material world at the time of the cosmic devastation?

"Gosvami: The Lord's pastimes in Vraja are eternal in two ways. Travelling in a great circle through the numberless material universes, the Lord manifests all His pastimes, one after another. In this way the Lord's pastimes are manifested eternally. Also, the Lord's pastimes always exist in the spiritual eternal present (nitya-vartamana), even when they may be invisible to material eyes (aprakata).

Vijaya-kumara: If the Lord openly manifests (prakata-lila) His pastimes in every material universe, does that mean that every universe has its own land of Vraja?

Gosvami: Yes, it does. Goloka has the power to manifest itself anywhere. In every material universe the abode of the Lord's pastimes is manifested. The world of Goloka also manifests itself in the heart of every devotee of the Lord. Why does the land of Mathura (Mathura-mandala) continue to exist in the material world, even though the Lord no longer manifests (prakata) His pastimes there?

Vijaya-kumara: The Lord continues to enjoy pastimes there eternally, even though those pastimes cannot be seen by material eyes (aprakata). Also, to show mercy to the devotees, the Lord keeps His abode manifested in the material world.

In that way the day's conversation ended. Again and again thinking of the Lord's pastimes during the eight periods of the day (asta-kaliya-seva), Vijaya-kumara returned to his residence."