In the Spiritual World of Vṛndāvana

Rādhārāṇī and Kṛṣṇa as seated beneath a wish-fulfilling tree in Vṛndāvana on a throne decorated with valuable jewels

In a temple of jewels in Vṛndāvana, underneath a desire tree, Śrī Śrī Rādhā-Govinda, served by Their most confidential associates, sit upon an effulgent throne. I offer my humble obeisances unto Them. (CC/Adi/1/16)

Govinda resides eternally in Vṛndāvana. In the spiritual world of Vṛndāvana the buildings are made of touchstone, the cows are known as surabhi cows, givers of abundant milk, and the trees are known as wish-fulfilling trees, for they yield whatever one desires.

Rādhārāṇī and Kṛṣṇa as seated beneath a wish-fulfilling tree in Vṛndāvana on a throne decorated with valuable jewels. There Kṛṣṇa’s dear friends, the cowherd boys and the gopīs, serve Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa by singing, dancing, offering betel nuts and refreshments and decorating Their Lordships with flowers.

In Vṛndāvana Kṛṣṇa herds the surabhi cows, and He is worshiped by hundreds and thousands of gopīs, cowherd girls, who are all goddesses of fortune.

चिन्त्āमṇइप्रकरसद्मसु कल्पव्ṛक्ṣअ
लक्ṣāव्ṛतेṣउ सुरभिरभिप्āलयन्तम्
गोविन्दम्āदिपुरुṣअṁ तमहṁ भज्āमि ॥  ५.२९॥

cintāmaṇi-prakara-sadmasu kalpa-vṛkṣa-
lakṣāvṛteṣu surabhir abhipālayantam
govindam ādi-puruṣaṁ tam ahaṁ bhajāmi
Brahma-saṁhitā || 5.29||

I worship Govinda, the primeval Lord, the first progenitor who is tending the cows, yielding all desire, in abodes built with spiritual gems, surrounded by millions of purpose trees, always served with great reverence and affection by hundreds of thousands of lakṣmīs or gopīs.

When Kṛṣṇa descends to the material world, this same Vṛndāvana descends just as an entourage accompanies an important personage. Because when Kṛṣṇa comes, His land also comes, Vṛndāvana is not considered to exist in the material world. Therefore devotees take shelter of the Vṛndāvana in India, for it is considered to be a replica of the original Vṛndāvana. Although one may complain that no kalpa-vṛkṣa, wish-fulfilling trees, exist there, when the Gosvāmīs were there, the kalpa-vṛkṣa were present. It is not that one can simply go to such a tree and make demands; one must first become a devotee. The Gosvāmīs would live under a tree for one night only, and the trees would satisfy all their desires. For the common man this may all seem very wonderful, but as one makes progress in devotional service, all this can be realized.

Vṛndāvana is actually experienced as it is by persons who have stopped trying to derive pleasure from material enjoyment. “When will my mind become cleansed of all hankering for material enjoyment so I will be able to see Vṛndāvana?” one great devotee asks. The more Kṛṣṇa conscious we become and the more we advance, the more everything is revealed as spiritual. Thus Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja Gosvāmī considered Vṛndāvana in India to be as good as the Vṛndāvana in the spiritual sky, and in Caitanya-caritāmṛta he describes Rādhārāṇī and Kṛṣṇa as seated beneath a wish-fulfilling tree in Vṛndāvana on a throne decorated with valuable jewels. There Kṛṣṇa’s dear friends, the cowherd boys and the gopīs, serve Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa by singing, dancing, offering betel nuts and refreshments and decorating Their Lordships with flowers. Even today in India people decorate thrones and recreate this scene during the month of July. Generally at that time people go to Vṛndāvana to offer their respects to the Deities there. [TLC/introduction]


So, description of Vṛndāvana, Vṛndāvana and Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa situated there. The Vṛndāvana… Vana means forest, and vṛnda means tulasī. Mostly there are tulasī plants and other trees also, but all the trees are living desire trees, spiritual. They can serve Kṛṣṇa in any way, desire. They have become trees by their voluntary desire. They’re all spiritual beings—there is no force—but everyone has got a particular tendency to serve Kṛṣṇa in a different way. So these trees and plants, they are also living beings. They are not ordinary living beings, but they have decided to serve Kṛṣṇa by supplying fruits and flowers. They want that service. Everyone has got his particular propensity. So someone is serving as the land there, someone is serving as the throne, someone is serving as the supplying agent of fruits and flowers, someone is engaged in His service as the gopīs, confidential servitors. The cows, calves, everything—they are all different living entities. They are not made of these material things, material body. Ānanda-cinmaya-rasa-pratibhāvitābhis tābhir ya eva nija-rūpatayā kalābhiḥ [Bs. 5.37]. They are all also expansion of Kṛṣṇa’s pleasure potency. In one sense they are also Kṛṣṇa; they are not different from Kṛṣṇa. Śakti-śaktimatayor abheda: “The power and the powerful, they are not different, identical.” Just like the sun and the sunshine. So in the sun globe there is heat and light, and the sunshine, there is heat and light. So, so far heat and light is concerned, they are one. Similarly, Kṛṣṇa and Kṛṣṇa’s pleasure potency, ānanda-cinmaya, ahlādinī… It is already described, rādhā kṛṣṇa-praṇaya-vikṛtir hlādinī-śaktir asmāt.

So whatever description is there of Vṛndāvana, that is expansion of Kṛṣṇa’s pleasure potency. They are not different. Therefore in the beginning it is said, dīvyad, “shining,” or “divine,” “transcendental.” So we should not consider Vṛndāvana as ordinary forest. Here we have got Vṛndāvana on this planet. That is also not ordinary forest. The exactly the same Vṛndāvana as it is Goloka Vṛndāvana… There is no difference. Therefore Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura says that

viṣaya chāḍiyā kabe śuddha ha ‘be mana
kabe hāma herabo, śrī-vṛndāvana

Viṣaya chāḍiyā. Our present position is that we are materially diseased, so we have to become free from the material disease. Material disease means sense gratification, and the most formidable disease is sex. This is called material disease. So viṣaya chāḍiyā. We have to be, become free from the contamination of viṣaya, material enjoyment. This is the statement of Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura.

viṣaya chāḍiyā kabe śuddha ha ‘be mana
kabe hāma herabo śrī-vṛndāvana

When my mind will be cleansed of all material desires, then I shall be able to see what is Vṛndāvana.” It is very difficult to see Vṛndāvana with material desires. Bhakti means the first qualification is to become free from all material desires. Sarvopādhi-vinirmuktam.

tat-paratvena nirmalam
hṛṣīkena hṛṣīkeśa-
sevanaṁ bhaktir ucyate
[Cc. Madhya 19.170]

ānukūlyena kṛṣṇānu-
śīlanaṁ bhaktir uttama
[Brs. 1.1.11]

You know all these definition of bhakti given in our Nectar of Devotion. So spiritual life means free from material desires. And material desires mean just to hanker after sense gratification. This is material desire. When we have no more desire for sense gratification, then we should think that we are on the spiritual platform.

So this description of Vṛndāvana is spiritually described; therefore in the beginning the word is used, dīvyad. Dīvyad means divine. Kṛṣṇa says, janma karma ca me divyam [Bg. 4.9]. This is not ordinary material thing. So desire tree also described in the Brahma-saṁhitā: Cintāmaṇi-prakara-sadmasu kalpa-vṛkṣa [Bs. 5.29]the same kalpa-vṛkṣa-lakṣāvṛteṣu surabhīr abhipālayantam, lakṣmī-sahasra-śata-sambhrama-sevyamānam. This lakṣmī-sahasra-śata-sevyamānam is described here as preṣṭhālībhiḥ sevyamānau. Preṣṭha-ālībhiḥ. Preṣṭha means very dear, and ālī means gopīs, associates of Rādhārāṇī, friends. So they are all Lakṣmīs, goddess of fortune. Lakṣmī… You have heard the name Lakṣmī, Lakṣmī-Nārāyaṇa, associates of Nārāyaṇa. Kṛṣṇa is Nārāyaṇa. So all these gopīs, they are expansion of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, the original Lakṣmī. This is spiritual world. It is not impersonal, neither nirākāra, formless. Everything form, but that form is different from this form. That form is sat-cid-ānanda form—eternal, full of bliss, full of knowledge. This is not this material form. When we speak of formless, that means without any material form. Formless does not mean Kṛṣṇa and His expansion, they are formless. They are not of material form. Aprakṛta, not material. Here everything is prakṛta. It is not, neither, eternal nor blissful nor full of knowledge. It is temporary, full of ignorance and always miserable, this form. We can understand it.

So that is just opposite. This form is temporary. Everyone knows this form will be finished. Antavanta ime dehā [Bg. 2.18], Kṛṣṇa says. This body is antavat. Antavat means it will be finished. It grew at a certain date, and it will increase, it will stay, then it will dwindle, then it will produce some by-products and then vanish. This is called ṣaḍ-vikāra, six kinds of changes of the material body. Of the spiritual body there is no such change. That is the difference between spiritual body and material body. Therefore it is called sat. Sat means eternal; there is no change. Just like Kṛṣṇa. His body is sac-cid-ānanda; therefore He never grows old. You’ll never find a picture of Kṛṣṇa that He has grown old. No. There is no change. Advaitam acyutam anādim ananta-rūpam ādyaṁ purāṇa-puruṣam [Bs. 5.33]. Purāṇa-puruṣam means the oldest person. Because Kṛṣṇa is the origin of everything… Sometimes they consider, “Because God is very old, therefore He must have big, big beard and…” That is imagination. Here you find the real description of God: advaitam acyutam anādim ananta-rūpam ādyam [Bs. 5.33], “Original,” Purāṇa-puruṣam, “the oldest of all,” nava-yauvanaṁ ca, “but His bodily feature is just like a fresh young man.” That is Kṛṣṇa. You’ll never find Kṛṣṇa… Kṛṣṇa, when He was in the battlefield of Kurukṣetra, He was a great-grandfather, but you’ll find a young boy. That is Kṛṣṇa. So that is eternal.

Now our body is not sat. Kṛṣṇa’s body is sat, cid, ānanda. Our, this material body—asat. And because we have got… Asat means temporary, that will not exist. And because we have accepted this material body, therefore we are full of anxiety. Ultimately, what is our anxiety? We are always trying to… This is called struggle for existence, survival of the fittest. So we are trying to become the fittest, to exist. But that is not possible in this body. That is not possible, because it is asat; it is not sat. And because the struggle is that we want to exist in this body, therefore there is anxiety. Asad-grahāt sadā samudvigna-dhiyām asad-grahāt [SB 7.5.5]. The śāstra says that we are always full of anxieties. Why? Now, asad-grahāt: “We have accepted this body, which will not exist.” Asad-grahāt. These are facts. Study śāstra in that way. Why we are full of anxiety? Because we have accepted this body. So our main business is how to get out of this entanglement of this temporary body. The people are not very seriously thinking, neither they have got sufficient knowledge how the temporary body is obtained, how it is changed, another temporary body, and there are 8,400,000 different forms of body, and we are changing one after another. Why this disease? “If I am, my position is, as I understand from Bhagavad-gītā, na hanyate hanyamāne śarīre [Bg. 2.20]—I am not destroyed after the destruction of this body—why I am in this position that I have to change my body?” Tathā dehāntara-prāptiḥ [Bg. 2.13]. This is intelligence. When you come to this intelligence, then athāto brahma jijñāsā; then the inquiry about spiritual life begins. But unfortunately, we are in such a civilization that we have no time to think of this great dangerous position of changing body one after another, and we have accepted it that “There is no remedy; we have to change or die for good.” These theories, this ignorance, is going on, and Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is the only movement which is trying to educate man to this standard of knowledge, that he may at least think that “I am not this body, as I understand from the śāstras. I am within the body. So how I can become free of this material body?” That is our real problem. Janma-mṛtyu-jarā-vyādhi-duḥkha-doṣānudarśanam [Bg. 13.9].

So if we take it very seriously, then we become gradually advanced and eligible or fit candidate to go into the spiritual world—dīvyad-vṛndāraṇya-kalpa-drumādhaḥ. We can go there. That is wanted. Be serious. Don’t be misled by the allurement of māyā. Remain strong. And then, in this life, you’ll be able to become fit candidate to go back to home, back to Godhead. Dīvyad-vṛndāranya-kalpa-drumādhaḥ. You’ll also be one of the associates of Kṛṣṇa, as you desire. Kṛṣṇa will give you the opportunity to serve Him as you desire. If you want to serve Him as a gopī, you’ll get that position. If you want to serve Him as cowherds boyfriend, you’ll get that opportunity. If you want to serve Kṛṣṇa following the footsteps of mother Yaśodā, accepting Kṛṣṇa as your son, you’ll get it. Accepting Kṛṣṇa as your son, Nanda Mahārāja following… We have to follow their principles, not that “I shall become Nanda Mahārāja” or “I shall become Yaśodā,” “I shall…” No, that is Māyāvāda. You have to follow how they are loving Kṛṣṇa. You have to learn that. Then you’ll get the chance of Kṛṣṇa’s association.

Dīvyad-vṛndāraṇya-kalpa-drumādhaḥ, preṣṭālībhiḥ sevyamānau smarāmi. The Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava, generally, following the footsteps of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, they aspire to become one of the assistants of the gopīs. There are others also who like to be the assistants of the cowherd boys. So our Gosvāmīs, Rūpa Gosvāmī, śrī rūpa sanātana bhaṭṭa raghunātha, they were all the assistants of the gopīs. Gopī-bhāva-rasāmṛtābdhi-laharī-kallola-magnau muhur vande rūpa-sanātanau raghu-yugau śrī-jīva-gopālakau. These six Gosvāmīs, rūpa sanātana bhaṭṭa raghunātha śrī jīva gopāla bhaṭṭa dāsa raghunātha, they were all very, very big men, not ordinary men—ministers, zamindars, learned scholars. They were not ordinary men. And they gave up everything. Tyaktvā tūrṇam aśeṣa-maṇḍala-pati-śreṇīṁ sadā tucchavat. Just like Rūpa Gosvāmī, Sanātana Gosvāmī, he was, they were ministers in the government of Hussain Shah. Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī was the only son of his father and uncle, very, very big zamindar, landholder. Twelve lakhs of rupees’ income. Five hundred years twelve lakhs—twelve crores now. He was so rich man. Similarly, Gopāla Bhaṭṭa Gosvāmī, Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī, they were very, very learned. Jīva Gosvāmī was the nephew of Rūpa Gosvāmī, very learned scholar. So either scholar, rich men, big politician—all of them gave up their occupational, material occupational duty and joined Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu in His saṅkīrtana movement. So they were always absorbed in the gopīs’ activities, always thinking. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu was always thinking of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī’s activities, and the Gosvāmīs, they were also thinking of the gopīs’ activities. Gopīs’ activities means to assist Śrīmad-Rādhārāṇī how to serve Kṛṣṇa. Preṣṭālībhiḥ sevyamānau. They are always ready.

So in this way there is the description of the spiritual world. You just have a glimpse of the spiritual world, how they are perpetually enjoying blissful life with full knowledge. That is described here. Dīvyad-vṛndāraṇya-kalpa-drumādhah-śrīmad ratnāgāra-siṁhāsana-sthau. There the siṁhāsana, the throne, that is also spiritual. That is not material. Everything spiritual. Simply in different capacity they are serving. There the water is also spiritual. So this spiritual realization, if we get the opportunity fortunate enough, then naturally we shall aspire to enter into the spiritual world. Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura said, kṛṣṇera saṁsāra kara chāḍi’ anācāra: “If you want to enter into this association of spiritual kingdom, then practice here the family of Kṛṣṇa.” Just like here we are trying to be family members of Kṛṣṇa. Here Kṛṣṇa is sitting, Rādhā-Mādhava is sitting on the throne. He is the enjoyer, and we are trying to serve Him so that He may very nicely enjoy. This is called Kṛṣṇa family-center, Kṛṣṇa. Just like in ordinary family the head man is there, and he is the chief man, and all other—his wife, children, servants, and other friends, associates, even animals, cats, dogs, cows—everyone is serving the center point, master. Similarly, our Kṛṣṇa family means Kṛṣṇa is the master, and He is the supreme enjoyer. Bhoktāraṁ yajña-tapasāṁ sarva-loka-maheśvaram [Bg. 5.29]. And if we understand this point, that Kṛṣṇa is the center, He is the enjoyer, and we are meant for serving Him for His enjoyment, that is Kṛṣṇa family.

So we have to, according to the śāstric injunction, according to the spiritual master instruction, everywhere we have to organize this Kṛṣṇa family. So Kṛṣṇa family does not mean starvation. Kṛṣṇa family means to enjoy simply. Simply minus this material contamination. Chāḍi anācāra. Anācāra. Anācāra means not proper behavior. Proper behavior means to remain always pious, and improper behavior means to become impious, sinful. If you become sinful, then you cannot enter into the family of Kṛṣṇa; that is not possible. Kṛṣṇa is described in the Bhagavad-gītā by Arjuna—paraṁ brahma paraṁ dhāma pavitraṁ paramaṁ bhavān [Bg. 10.12]. Pavitra. Pavitra means pure, completely pure, without any material contamination. So if you want to enter into Kṛṣṇa’s family, then you have to become also completely pure. Otherwise, there is no chance. Completely pure of all material contamination. That can be done when we give up our designations. That can be done. If I think, “I am American,” “I am Indian,” “I am brāhmaṇa,” “I am kṣatriya,” “I am vaiśya,” “I am white,” “I am black,” these are upādhi, designations. And if we think like Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, that “I am not this, I am not a brāhmaṇa, I am not a kṣatriya, I am not a vaiśya, I am not a śūdra, I am not a brahmacārī, I am not a…, not, not this, not this…” Then what you are? Gopī-bhartuḥ pada-kamalayor’ dāsa-dāsa-dāsānudāsaḥ: [Cc. Madhya 13.80] “I am simply servant of the servant of Kṛṣṇa.” That is sarvopādhi-vinirmuktam [Cc. Madhya 19.170]. Then you’ll remain pure. And as soon as you will think in the bodily concept of life, then you will remain impure. This is the process how to give up this bodily concept of life. That is called sarvopādhi-vinirmuktam.

So in this way, in one life we may practice how to become free from this material contamination and execute devotional service as it is prescribed in the śāstra and by the instruction of spiritual master. If we keep ourself pure without material contamination, then we become fit to enter into the family of Kṛṣṇa. This is the process.

Thank you very much. (end)

text pasted from; Prabhupada News

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