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
लक्ṣम्īसहस्रśअतसम्भ्रमसेव्यम्āनṁ
गोविन्दम्āदिपुरुṣअṁ तमहṁ भज्āमि ॥  ५.२९॥

cintāmaṇi-prakara-sadmasu kalpa-vṛkṣa-
lakṣāvṛteṣu surabhir abhipālayantam
lakṣmī-sahasra-śata-sambhrama-sevyamānaṁ
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]

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Goloka Vṛndāvana; The Supreme Abode

Goloka

With the beginning of a new year, I am always apt to take up my studies with renewed enthusiasm, a resolution and firmness of purpose, to read more from Srila Prabhupada’s books, and to delve more deeply into the practice of bhakti-yoga. This morning I was reading about the spiritual sky; Goloka Vṛndāvana.

The abode of Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa is described in the Bhagavad-gītā, Fifteenth Chapter, sixth verse:

na tad bhāsayate sūryo na śaśāṅko na pāvakaḥ
yad gatvā na nivartante tad dhāma paramaṁ mama

“That abode of Mine is not illumined by the sun or moon, nor by electricity. And anyone who reaches it never comes back to this material world.” (Bg. 15.6)

This verse gives a description of that eternal sky. Of course we have a material conception of the sky, and we think of it in relationship to the sun, moon, stars and so on, but in this verse the Lord states that in the eternal sky there is no need for the sun nor for the moon nor fire of any kind because the spiritual sky is already illuminated by the brahmajyoti, the rays emanating from the Supreme Lord. We are trying with difficulty to reach other planets, but it is not difficult to understand the abode of the Supreme Lord. This abode is referred to as Goloka. In the Brahma-saṁhitā it is beautifully described: Goloka eva nivasaty akhilātma-bhūtaḥ. The Lord resides eternally in His abode Goloka, yet He can be approached from this world, and to this end the Lord comes to manifest His real form, sac-cid-ānanda-vigraha. When He manifests this form, there is no need for our imagining what He looks like. To discourage such imaginative speculation, He descends and exhibits Himself as He is, as Śyāmasundara. Unfortunately, the less intelligent deride Him because He comes as one of us and plays with us as a human being. But because of this we should not consider that the Lord is one of us. It is by His potency that He presents Himself in His real form before us and displays His pastimes, which are prototypes of those pastimes found in His abode. (from Introduction to the Bhagavad-gita As It Is)

…The ultimate goal in practicing yoga is now clearly explained. Yoga practice is not meant for attaining any kind of material facility; it is to enable the cessation of all material existence. One who seeks an improvement in health or aspires after material perfection is no yogī according to Bhagavad-gītā. Nor does cessation of material existence entail one’s entering into “the void,” which is only a myth. There is no void anywhere within the creation of the Lord. Rather, the cessation of material existence enables one to enter into the spiritual sky, the abode of the Lord. (from purport to Bg 6.15)

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The Essence of Everything is the Supreme Lord

govinda with cows

Sometimes when I am sitting and reading from Srila Prabhupada’s Srimad Bhagavatam, a verse or sentence from the purport just jumps out from the page almost like it is in 3D, and I catch a glimpse of what the Spiritual World must be like. It is beyond even my imagination, but sometimes I catch a glimmer of light, through a transcendental window, by the grace of my spiritual master His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.

…The transcendental abode of the Lord where the trees are all desire trees and the buildings are made of touchstone. The Lord Govinda is engaged there in herding the surabhi cows as His natural occupation.

“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.” (Bs 5.29)

…The Lord Govinda is engaged there in herding the surabhi cows as His natural occupation. And those who are artists, overtaken by the beautiful creation, should better see to the beautiful face of the Lord for complete satisfaction. The face of the Lord is the embodiment of beauty. What they call beautiful nature is but His smile, and what they call the sweet songs of the birds are but specimens of the whispering voice of the Lord.

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