The Holy Places of Jaiva Dharma: Vrndavana

BY: SUN STAFF - 20.5 2020

Sri Krsna and the Gopis
Picchvai, Rajasthan, 19th c.

A serial presentation of the holy places mentioned in the Jaiva Dharma of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur - Part 177.

Before moving onto a general discussion of the pastime forests of Vrndavana-dhama, we will cover the remaining notable references to Vrndavana found in Jaiva Dharma.

Just as the point is made that Vrndavana is non-different than Navadvipa-dhama, so is the point made that Goloka and Vrndavana are non-different. In chapter thirty-one we find this exchange:

"Vijaya-kumara: If Goloka is Lord Krsna's highest abode, why 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: O master, what is the difference between Goloka and Vraja?

Gosvami: 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."

Srimati Radharani is mentioned as the Queen of Vrndavana a few places in Jaiva Dharma, such as in chapter thirty-three:

"Vijaya-kumara: Please describe the most prominent transcendental qualities of Sri Radha?

Gosvami: Like the qualities of Sri Krsna, the qualities of Vrndavana's queen Radha are limitless and cannot truly be counted or listed in full. Among them these twenty five may be considered prominent." ….

And in chapter thirty-six:

"Vijaya-kumara: Please describe the anubhavas of mohana?

Gosvami: Embraced by His beloved, Krsna falls unconscious. Although she suffers unbearably, a gopi still thinks only of how Krsna will be happy. Thirsting for the touch of Krsna, a gopi becomes mad and decides to commit suicide, thus filling the spiritual and material worlds with anxiety and making the nearby animals weep. Mohana-bhava is possible in Sri Radha, the queen of Vrndavana. These mohana vyabhicari-bhavas are not present in anyone but Radha."

Just as previously discussed in the Vaikuntha and Vraja segments, there are precise definitions given in Jaiva Dharma of the rasas found in Vrndavana-dhama. In chapter thirty-four we read:

"O Vijaya-kumara, the Lord's pastimes and rasas in Vrndavana are very wonderful. The Lord's madhura-rasa is very different from the amorous pastimes of the material world. By studying Srimad-Bhagavatam's five chapter description of the Lord's rasa dance, a devotee will uproot the desire that grows in his heart. What disease grows in the heart of the souls imprisoned by Maya? The disease is material lust. A soul who has taken shelter of the subtle material body consisting of mind, intelligence and false ego, who is filled with material desires, who identifies with the gross material body made of seven elements beginning with flesh, and who thinks it is a man or a woman, does not have the power to throw material lust far away very easily. Only by hearing about the Lord's Vraja pastimes will that soul be able to throw material lust far away. In the end, such a person is able to see the great wonder that is the Lord's madhura-rasa pastimes in Vrndavana. When He throws the impersonalists philosophy far away, then the spiritual madhura-rasa is eternally manifest before him. When he understands the lesser importance of the Lord's majestic feature in Vaikuntha, the soul can understand the supreme glory of the Lord's eternal and splendid rasas. Then the soul is filled with intense transcendental bliss. Then the dry happiness of impersonalism and the dull pleasures of the material world become very unimportant for him. Then he is filled with a bliss that is perfect and complete."

Describing the nature of anuraga, this explanation is given in chapter thirty-six:

"Vijaya-kumara: What is the glorious wonder that this raga manifests?

Gosvami: It brings the lover under the beloved's control and the beloved under the lover's control. It creates prema-vaicittya. It makes one yearn to take birth even as a very lowly being (if that birth is within the holy abode [of] Sri Vrndavana). It is limitless and most exalted. It makes Krsna present even when the devotee is separated from Him.

Vijaya-kumara: I can easily understand how anuraga brings the lover and beloved under each other's control and how it makes one yearn to take birth as a tree or other lowly being (within the holy abode of Sri Vrndavana)."

And later in that chapter, there is a description of parakiya-rasa:

"Lord Krsna is rasa personified. He is limitless, all knowing, and all powerful. Nothing is unknown by Him, unattainable for Him, or impossible for Him to do. He is inconceivably and simultaneously one and different from the rasas. He is each rasa and He is all rasas. He accepts each rasa. In this way He is 'atmarama' (the enjoyer of the spiritual rasas). Nothing in the rasas is apart from Him. He is present in all the rasas simultaneously. Aside from Krsna's own (atma) rasa, there is also the rasa of others (para). Both these kinds of rasas bring the experience of the happiness of spiritual pastimes. When the rasa of others (para) is manifest in its highest stage, it is called 'parakiya-rasa'. This highest stage is manifested in all its glory in the land of Vrndavana. When the atma-rasa (svakiya-rasa) is completely unknown, and only parakiya-rasa is known, that is the highest stage of madana-rasa. In this way madana-rasa is purely manifested in the Lord's aprakata (invisible to material eyes) pastimes in Goloka. It is also manifested in the land of Vraja situated in the material world."