I have been attending group activities related to Hinduism in a sect dedicated to a form of Vaishnavism called The International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) and the Hare Krishna Movement.
This sect claims that all that is required to reach liberation during this current age of the Kali Yuga one may chant the holy names Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. Play musical instruments and drums, dance, sing, read the holy scriptures Bhagavad-Gita and the Vedas, and eat natural organic vegetarian food called prasadam which is first offered to the deity Krishna by being placed upon the alter in front of him and reciting prayers or mantras where the food is then blessed and then becomes known as prasadam. Krishna is the avatar of Lord Vishnu the preservation and maintenance god of Hinduism and the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Knowledge refers to devotional service, which consists of nine different activities: hearing, chanting, remembering, serving, worshiping, praying, obeying, maintaining friendship and surrendering everything. By the practice of these nine elements of devotional service one is elevated to spiritual consciousness, Krishna consciousness.
In the realms of reality there are 3 modes of existence. The most common is Raja the mode of passion. People of this mode like to have a good time with their friends, go to parties, listen to high energy music and eat tasty fancy well prepared foods. The second most common is Tama the mode of ignorance. Ignorance means to ignore a certain area of knowledge. People can only grasp and understand a small percentage of knowledge which is around the range of 10% or less of all knowledge in the universes. People of this Tama mode of ignorance do not understand what is and is not proper behavior. They do not know how to act polite or have proper cultured manners. They do not ponder or consider the consequences of their actions and are not aware of the laws of karma. They like to steal from others, judge and mock others, compare themselves to others, physically harm others, they lust after material pleasures and personal gain. They eat foods heavy in fats, they eat lots of meat and many animal parts, processed and packaged junk foods, sodas and candies. The least common of these modes of consciousness are people in Sattva the mode of goodness, purity and knowledge. People of this mode are the most compassionate, they think before they speak or act and they ponder and consider their individual impact on the world at large deeply before taking any action that will afflict their karma. They are always kind and courteous to others and do not go out of their way to hurt or take advantage of others for self-gain and dominion over others.
Sattva – Purity and knowledge – Sāttvik man – lives in service of society with no expectation of recognition or reward or any ulterior motive
Raja – Action and passion – Rājasik man – lives more for personal gain and achievement
Tama – Ignorance and inertia – Tāmasik man – has no problem about stepping on other’s toes to get ahead or harming society
Personality defects: Complete control on emotions, thoughts and actions
Virtues: All virtues, truthful and lawful, tolerant, serene, stable intellect, not egotistical.
Eventually goes beyond virtues and defects. Fearless about death.
Main way of gaining happiness: Acquiring knowledge, skills, helping others, meditation, increasing spiritual level. Eventually goes beyond happiness-unhappiness and towards Bliss
In relation to others: Living to serve society and help people grow spiritually. Here growing spiritually means in a more universal sense according to the 6 basic laws of spiritual practice.
Sleep: 4-6 hours
Spiritual Power: High
Personality defects: Angry, jealous, proud, egoistic, bossy, attention seeking, greedy, going to any extent to fulfil worldly ambitions and desires, worrying, day dreamer
Virtues: Industrious but directionless efforts in terms of spiritual growth
Main way of gaining happiness: Gaining authority, worldly possessions
In relation to others: Self-centred or helping others with a lot of ego about the help being given
Sleep: 7-9 hours
Spiritual Power: Slight
Personality defects: Lazy, inactive, depressed, extremely selfish, not thinking about others or even harming them when fulfilling one’s selfish ends, irritable
Main way of gaining happiness: Eating, drinking, sexual intercourse etc.
In relation to others: Harming others. Most tamasik – harming society at large in the name of religion or some ideology.
Sleep: 12-15 hours
Spiritual Power: Very low 1
Planes of Existence
There are several levels, planes, or realms of existence within this illusory reality matrix. The realm at the very bottom is known as the Demoniac World or aka Hell. Hell is like a prison for very bad souls who have done very bad things to hurt or betray other souls. They are disciplined and punished according to their works and bad fruits and they are even tortured so as to understand the pain that they have caused and inflicted upon others and the world. This Hellish state of consciousness does not last for eternity however such as the Christians would tell you but this reality is merely a temporary state of hellish existence. God is merciful enough to give all soul beings many chances to repent from their wicked and evil ways, to have another chance to incarnate into the Material Human World and to have another chance to seek out and attain liberation through Gnosis and pure good devotional deeds to exist within the heavenly planets and to attain a heavenly state of consciousness. Devas are beings that have attained this liberation and a heavenly state of consciousness but chose to remain bound to the Earth realm to assist others in achieving liberation as well.
The hell is a dark world, filled with evil doers and their relentless cries of pain and agony, undergoing different kinds of torture and punishment as a consequence of their bad deeds in their previous lives. Unlike in other religions, the hell of Hindu religion is not ruled by an evil persona, but by Yama, a god of highest virtue, endowed with self-discipline and unmatched judging power. Aided by his court minister Chitragupta, who keeps an account of all the deeds done by all of the people upon the earth, he administers justices and accords punishments to the beings who arrive at the doors of hell after completing their lives upon earth.
For many Hindus these two worlds are as real as their own. The possibility of going to heaven or hell through performing good or bad deeds in this world, coupled with a strong belief in the theory of karma, is what regulates the behavior of an average Hindu and influences his or her code of conduct upon earth.
At a much deeper level of understanding, Hindu scriptures do not conclude with the description of just one heaven and one hell. Frankly, Hindus well versed in scriptures, do not believe in just one heaven or one hell. They believe in multiple heavens or worlds of light and multiple hells or worlds of darkness stretching across the vast spaces of the manifest universe. According to Hindu cosmology, creation is an endless phenomenon and as mysterious as the mystery of the Divinity itself. Creation is God’s play (leela) and measuring its dimensions is not possible even for the gods. The universe consists of multiple worlds, layers and planes of existence, some known and some unknown, some within the field of awareness and sensory knowledge and some much beyond. These worlds are inhabited and controlled by different powers, beings, objects, energies, deities and mysterious events. It is difficult to specify how many such worlds are identified by the scriptures. They are indeed many. Just as the mind can envision many worlds and objects in its infinite inner space, the Hindu cosmology comes up with a universe of infinite dimensions and innumerable possibilities. In the Paingala Upanishad we come across a description of the many worlds created by Brahman:
“Out of the elements thus quadruplicated, He created many millions of Brahmandas (macrocosms), fourteen worlds appropriate to each (of these macrocosms) and globular gross bodies appropriate (to each of these worlds).”
It is interesting that today’s scientists are also talking about the same concepts in a more scientific and organized way trying to explain the possibilities of parallel universes and coexistence of multiple realities in the same space and time dimensions. This is akin to the vision of a spectacular scale which the ancient seer saw, that does not preclude the possibility of either evolution or theories of quantum physics, mathematical or particle basis of the origin of the universe or relativity. Thousands of years ago Hindu seers spoke about atoms and finer particles forming the basic building blocks of the object matter of the universe.
In some of the Upanishads we come across mainly three planes of existence, Bhur (the earth), Bhuva (heavenly worlds), Suvah (Solar worlds) and Maha (The highest worlds). The famous Gayatri mantra refers to these three worlds.
The Bhagavad-Gita mentions two paths which a soul may follow after leaving the body depending upon the time of death and the nature of deeds performed. They are the path of light, aslo called the path of devas and the path of the night, also called the path of the pitra devas or ancestors. The first one leads to the world of the sun and the second one to the world of the moon. The scripture also mentions that those who indulge in heinous deeds and accumulate very bad karma, do not qualify to follow either of these two paths, but go down and descend into fiendish hells where they suffer for a long time till they are cleansed and purified.
According to the Bhagavad-Gita going to either hell or heaven has its own limitations. Beings who go to these worlds are bound to return to earth once the merits or demerits of their previous karma are exhausted. Life in these worlds is also not permanent and secure as they are also subject to change and flux and attacks from beings of darker worlds. So the scripture suggests that human beings should look for a permanent solution by aiming for union with the Divine through control of the senses, devotion to God and by performing deeds as an offering to God. Complete liberation is possible only when men transcend their lower and higher desires and withdraw into themselves to attain the highest world of Supreme Brahman. However, there is no unanimity among the different sects of Hinduism, as to what constitutes the Supreme Abode of God. For the Vaishanavites it is Vaikunth, for the Shivites it is Kailash and for the Jnana Margis it is Brahmalok.
In Hinduism we also encounter another argument concerning the possibilities of life after death. According to this the body is made up of five elements, known as mahabhutas. These are earth, fire, water, air and ether. After the death of a person, elements of the gross body merges into the gross elements of the earth, which are basically the earth, fire, water and air, while the subtle bodies (Jiva constituting prana, manas and vignana) go to the subtle or ethereal worlds along with the soul. After exhausting karma in each of these planes and shedding the respective bodies there, the soul returns again to earth with a few memories and samskaras of the Jiva to undergo further evolution.
On the individual plane, Hindu scriptures identify the heaven and hell in the human body also. The heaven is the pleasure principle in our consciousness and it is created by the movements of the senses whose ruler is Indra, the sixth sense, the mind itself. The hell is the pain principle, which is created by evil thoughts and desires and the suffering we undergo because of our wrong deeds. Beyond these two are the world of dreams (corresponding to Bhuva) , the world of deep sleep (Suvah) and the transcendental world of bliss (corresponding to Maha).
Thus we can see Hindu cosmology offers a very complex structure of the universe, in which heaven and hell are just two worlds, which are not necessarily the only places to which human beings go after death. Heavenly existence is not permanent. So also the existence in hell. It is the karma which is the ultimate deciding factor. And it is through karma a person moves in the labyrinth of worlds, till he or she is permanent released into the highest abode of God.”
– Jayaram V
When one is demoniac and is seeking to control others through fear tactics to gain power and influence to reach the heights of authority and dominion over others they soon slip lower and lower and closer to the narrow passages and prison cells of hell. The way to liberation and true eternal life is through the practice of renouncing greed and other material lusts that separate yourself from humanity. Everything in moderation and for good enjoyment is acceptable but over stepping the laws of honesty, fair community play, and wrong doings against the mutual consent of individuals is a sure way to find yourself wound up in a world of miseries, distrust, foul play, and sinister deeds that will lead you into a state of consciousness on a wave length and vibration equal to that of the Hell realms.
Holding onto hope in the face of darkness will lead to success.
Abandon all hope ye who enter into the Hells.
de·mo·ni·ac (dəˈmōnēˌak) adjective: demoniac
- 1. of, like, or characteristic of a demon or demons.
“a goddess with both divine and demoniac qualities”
noun: demoniac; plural noun: demoniacs
- 1. a person believed to be possessed by one or more evil spirits.
Divine and Demoniac Natures
Chapter 16, Verse 1-3
The Blessed Lord said: Fearlessness, purification of one’s existence, cultivation of spiritual knowledge, charity, self-control, performance of sacrifice, study of the Vedas, austerity and simplicity; nonviolence, truthfulness, freedom from anger; renunciation, tranquility, aversion to faultfinding, compassion and freedom from covetousness; gentleness, modesty and steady determination; vigor, forgiveness, fortitude, cleanliness, freedom from envy and the passion for honor-these transcendental qualities, O son of Bharata, belong to godly men endowed with divine nature.
Chapter 16, Verse 4
Arrogance, pride, anger, conceit, harshness and ignorance-these qualities belong to those of demonic nature, O son of Pṛthā. Chapter XVI – The Yoga of the Distinction Between Liberating and Binding Conditions
Krishna said: Fearlessness, purity of heart, perseverance in the yoga of knowledge, charity, sense restraint, sacrifice, study of the scriptures, austerity, honesty; Nonviolence, truthfulness, absence of anger, renunciation, equanimity, abstaining from malicious talk, compassion for all creatures, freedom from greed, gentleness, modesty, absence of fickleness; Splendor, forgiveness, fortitude, cleanliness, absence of malice, and absence of pride; these are the qualities of those endowed with divine virtues, O Arjuna. Hypocrisy, arrogance, pride, anger, harshness, and ignorance; these are the marks of those who are born with demonic qualities, O Arjuna. Divine qualities lead to nirvana, the demonic (qualities) are said to be for bondage. Do not grieve, O Arjuna, you are born with divine qualities. There are two types of human beings in this world: the divine, and the demonic. The divine has been described at length, now hear from Me about the demonic, O Arjuna. Persons of demonic nature do not know what to do and what not to do. They neither have purity nor good conduct nor truthfulness. They say that the world is unreal, without a substratum, without a God, and without an order. The world is caused by lust (or Kama) alone and nothing else. Adhering to this view these lost souls, with small intellect and cruel deeds, are born as enemies for the destruction of the world. Filled with insatiable desires, hypocrisy, pride, and arrogance; holding wrong views due to delusion; they act with impure motives. Obsessed with great anxiety until death, considering sense gratification as their highest aim, convinced that this (sense pleasure) is everything, Bound by hundreds of ties of desire and enslaved by lust and anger; they strive to obtain wealth by unlawful means for the fulfillment of desires. They think: This has been gained by me today, I shall fulfill this desire, this is mine and this wealth also shall be mine in the future; That enemy has been slain by me, and I shall slay others also. I am the Lord. I am the enjoyer. I am successful, powerful, and happy; I am rich and born in a noble family. I am the greatest. I shall perform sacrifice, I shall give charity, and I shall rejoice. Thus deluded by ignorance; Bewildered by many fancies; entangled in the net of delusion; addicted to the enjoyment of sensual pleasures; they fall into a foul hell. Self-conceited, stubborn, filled with pride and intoxication of wealth; they perform Yajna only in name, for show, and not according to scriptural injunction. Clinging to egoism, power, arrogance, lust, and anger; these malicious people hate Me (who dwells) in their own body and others’ bodies. I hurl these haters, cruel, sinful, and mean people of the world, into the wombs of demons again and again. O Arjuna, entering the wombs of demons birth after birth, the deluded ones sink to the lowest hell without ever attaining Me. Lust, anger, and greed are the three gates of hell leading to the downfall (or bondage) of Jeeva. Therefore, one must (learn to) give up these three. One who is liberated from these three gates of hell, O Arjuna, does what is best, and attains the supreme goal. One who acts under the influence of their desires, disobeying scriptural injunctions, neither attains perfection nor happiness nor the supreme goal. Therefore, let the scripture be your authority in determining what should be done and what should not be done. You should perform your duty following the scriptural injunction. This is the end of Chapter XVI of the Bhagavad Gita Entitled “Daivasurasampadvibhaga-Yoga,” Or “The Yoga of the Distinction Between Binding and Liberating Conditions”
The Brotherhood of Darkness
The Brotherhood of Darkness only seeks to reach the top of their Diabolical Qliphothic Pyramid and be in control of the most wealth and therefore control the labor and lives of everyone else below them. The reality is that those who are thinking they are at the top of the pyramid are actually at the very bottom of an upside down pyramid. The first cell is the prison cell where those who have done wicked deeds and have gained bad negative karma go to ponder their wrong doings and try to learn a different path or point of view to better their chances at reaching liberation in their next life through a karmic system of disciplined punishments and rewards. Those of Demoniac Nature and Dark Sorcerers wind up in hell out of their own desires and pure choice. They wouldn’t be in a Hellish reality if they didn’t want to be there and they are thrown back into material existence again and again as the most abominable manifestations of life until they learn and change their ways to achieve liberation and transcend to the Heavenly planets and Aetheral realms.
The Realm of Earth
The Material World
The next realm is that of material nature and existence of life shared with other conscious beings including other humans, animals, fungi & plants. The Human World is a mix of the Hell Realm and the Divine Realm mixed into one solid material manifestation. In this case reality is an illusion and illusion is manifested into reality. There is no escaping this matrix structured system. You will always exist on some level of reality and illusion perceiving yourself as some sort of individual separate yet one and one will experience an interaction with your environment. The Human World is the realm where if one gets the chance to incarnate as a Human Being will have a chance at attempting to learn and understand the sacred transcendental knowledge, apply it into practice in their lives and achieve liberation from the material existence to reach a level of Gnosis and heavenly godliness. There are different places one can go to from the Human World. One can either come directly back to the material plane after spending some time in the Divine World. One can come back to the material world after spending some time in the Demoniac World. Or one can find a path to directly reach the Realm of Eternal Life and they never have to come back to the Human World again if they do not wish to or if they do chose to come back to Earth again these liberated beings do so with the intention, purpose and goal of assisting and guiding other beings to a path of liberation. These incarnated divine beings are known as physical Devas or Demigods within the human world and are considered and perceived as Avatars.
The Divine Realm
The realm above the Human World is the Divine World a plane where the Devas and the Demi-gods live and those spirits of Divine Nature. Here is the realm of existence which is more pure and blissful than that of the existence on earth which is full of physical and emotional miseries and suffering. The physical earth human world is merely a corrupted reflection of the laws and nature of the Aetheral worlds and the Vaikuntha planets. Human beings and heavenly beings of diving nature share the same pastimes such as sexual intercourse union, touch, smell, taste, hear, sight, as well as empathic and telepathic senses and a psychic link and connection to the other demi-god beings. Those who devote themselves to a particular demigod wind up in the realm or planet of that being when they pass on and exist in the divine world of that demigod for a perceived amount of time, then they return to earth if they have not found a way to liberation or the Highest heavenly planet known as the Eternal World and the Realm of Eternal Life known as the Krishna Loka planet, Goloka Vrindavan, and similar Vaikuntha planets which exist in a purely spiritual sense and are not physical planets even though all the same physical experiences and senses can still be experienced there on the heavenly planets. This realm is full of Eternal and Infinite Life, Imagination, Consciousness, Time, Space and Love. The Eternal World is full of Infinite and Eternal Thought, Contemplation, Knowing, Bliss, Peace, Kindness, and Happiness.
Ways of Perceiving the Reality of Illusions
According to what I have read from Hindu sources there are at least three different ways to perceive reality in the Eternal Realm of the afterlife in heaven. The first most common way that beings prefer to perceive reality in Krishna Loka is being an individual one among many beings who are presenting themselves as the divine image of God. This image typically takes a humanoid form of either a male or a female with 2 to 4 or more arms. All of the individuals who have achieved the ability to manifest themselves as the purist form of God get to experience all the pleasures and the pastimes of God on the heavenly planet of Krishna Loka. Here the many individual manifestations of God interact with each other in the most loving way, they are always transfixed in devotional service to God and one another. They play wonderful enchanting music for themselves, sing and chant the holy mantras for themselves, dance and move for themselves, eat the divine fruits from divine trees, drink the divine nectar of the gods known as soma, and fulfil each other’s most intimate and pleasurable desires of love. The second most common way is to perceive yourself in the Eternal World is sitting in a void plane horizon completely alone by yourself with your own thoughts and imaginings of reality. Basically you become aware of yourself as the one God who is continuously slipping in and out of dreams or story dramas being played out within your consciousness. The third way to perceive the highest eternal afterlife realm is to see yourself as one of the three gods of the Hindu trinity. Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva and you have discourse, discussion with dance and play amongst yourselves. A fourth way of perceiving this heaven reality is that you are with the Hindu trinity and your perspective feminine consorts as well. Or you can be just the Goddess architypes existing amongst yourselves. A fifth way to perceive the highest heavenly realm is to be only yourself and your consort and you are either perceiving yourself as the male or the female or both and engaging in pastimes like caring for each other or engaging in intimate lovemaking tantric sexual union with yourselves while feeling the orgasm and ecstasy of cosmic divine union, birth, death, creation and destruction all being carried out within you since you now basically inhabit the totality of all and you literally are all of the universes existing as one and beyond.
No matter where you are and no matter how much you know you are one with God and everything in the universe you will always perceive yourself as an individual being existing within a bubble of a world of some sort. You and your environment are one but you always perceive yourself existing on an individual level of separation to some degree.
Warning to the Wise
My Guru Gidi Dadi Devi Das told me that he was previously a scientific rocket propulsion physics engineer when he lived in Russia. He told me that the military came to him to hire him so that he could provide his rocket technology to the Russian military so that they may put bombs in it and use it as a weapon of war. According to the teachings and the laws of karma that even one who assists in creating a situation where multiple people could die or be hurt is a serious offense to God and that it would build up bad negative karma reactions and energies for you to suffer through your next incarnations. Karma is the reaction. Karma is the effect of an action. Karma is equal to fruitive activities. Some activities produce good fruits and some activities produce bad fruits. Karma is a part of natural law because the laws of cause and effect exist within nature and karma is simply just the effect or result of an action inspired by some motivation or cause or intention. My guru refused and turned down the job offer to supply the military with his scientific rocket technology because he knew that it would not produce good fruits in the world and that it would reflect back negatively on him. He made a wise choice. He is from and was born in Italy. He was also a member of the Catholic Vatican Church of Rome but he converted from being a Catholic priest to being a devotee of Lord Krishna in the Hare Krishna Consciousness Movement.
Whatever level you are perceiving reality at is your choice. Reality is an Illusion and Illusion is a Reality. The experience in the waking physical world is no more real or unreal than anything else you experience within a dream while sleeping and experiencing the astral realm. If you can experience it then it is just as real as anything else that you could possibly experience. If something is not real then it couldn’t possibly exist as a perceivable object, idea or concept within your reality. Therefore all things are real as well as all things are illusion. There is no escaping this truth. As many as there are harsh truths such as impermanence and that all things must come to an end there are just as many beautiful wonderful truths such as you are loved by many. It is better to face the truth rather than to look away in denial of what is obvious.
Information Compiled by Cyrus Azoth Dreifuz
Description of Vaikuntha
From Srimad-Bhagavatam (3.15.16–23)
“In those Vaikuntha planets there are many forests which are very auspicious. In those forests the trees are wish-fulfilling trees, and in all seasons they are filled with flowers and fruits because everything in the Vaikuntha planets is spiritual and personal.
“In the Vaikuntha planets the inhabitants fly in their airplanes, accompanied by their wives and consorts, and eternally sing of the character and activities of the Lord, which are always devoid of all inauspicious qualities. While singing the glories of the Lord, they deride even the presence of the blossoming madhavi flowers, which are fragrant and laden with honey.
“When the king of bees hums in a high pitch, singing the glories of the Lord, there is a temporary lull in the noise of the pigeon, the cuckoo, the crane, the cakravaka, the swan, the parrot, the partridge, and the peacock. Such transcendental birds stop their own singing simply to hear the glories of the Lord.
“Although flowering plants like the mandara, kunda, kurabaka, utpala, campaka, arna, punnaga, nagakeshara, bakula, lily, and parijata are full of transcendental fragrance, they are still conscious of the austerities performed by Tulasi, for Tulasi is given special preference by the Lord, who garlands Himself with Tulasi leaves.
“The inhabitants of Vaikuntha travel in their airplanes made of lapis lazuli, emerald, and gold. Although crowded by their consorts, who have large hips and beautiful smiling faces, the male inhabitants cannot be stimulated to passion by their mirth and beautiful charms.
“The ladies in the Vaikuntha planets are as beautiful as the goddess of fortune herself. Such transcendentally beautiful ladies, their hands playing with lotuses and their leg bangles tinkling, are sometimes seen sweeping the marble walls, which are bedecked at intervals with golden borders, in order to receive the grace of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
“The goddesses of fortune worship the Lord in their own gardens by offering Tulasi leaves on the coral-paved banks of transcendental reservoirs of water. While offering worship to the Lord, they can see on the water the reflection of their beautiful faces with raised noses, and it appears that they have become more beautiful because of the Lord’s kissing their faces.
“It is very much regrettable that unfortunate people do not discuss the description of the Vaikuntha planets.”
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Vishnuloka, Vaikuntha (Sanskrit वैकुंठ, vaikuṃṭha), Vaikuntha-loka, Brahmaloka-sanatana or Abode of Brahman, Brahmajyoti, Param Padam (‘supreme abode’), or Paramapadam is the home of the Supreme Lord Vishnu. It is the eternal abode of Narayana or Vishnu or Hari, his consort Lakshmi, and Shesha, upon whom they rest.[not in citation given] In most of the extant Puranas, and Vaishnava traditions, Vaikuntham (Vishnuloka) is located in the direction of the Makara Rashi (Shravana Zodiac) which coincides with the Capricorn constellation. Vishnu’s eye is supposed to be located at the South Celestial Pole as well.
The Rigveda (1.22.20) states, Oṃ tad viṣṇoḥ paramam padam sadā paśyanti sūrayaḥ: “All the suras (devas) look towards the Supreme Abode of Lord Vishnu”, referring to Vaikuntha, the Supreme Abode. Vaikuntha is considered by Vaishnavites to be the ultimate destination of souls who attain moksha or liberation.
Vaikuntha is known as Paramdhama where liberated souls dwell for eternity enjoying pure bliss and happiness in the company of God Narayana or Vishnu. Vaikuntha is beyond the periphery of the material universe and hence, cannot be perceived or measured by material science and logic.
Ksheera Sagara or Ocean of milk is known to be the topmost realm in the material universe where Sheshashayee Lord Vishnu rests on Ananta Shesha. Cosmologically, the Ksheera Sagara is supposed to be situated to the south of the Jambudvipa-globe (the Earth-sphere), and is depicted as being in the Southern Hemisphere in related Hindu Cosmography (Cartography). It is also sometimes known as local Vaikuntha of the material universe which is approachable by devas or demigods in order to meet Lord Vishnu in case of any emergency or disturbance in the equilibrium of the universe. Vaikuntha itself, is beyond the material universe and so is free from the universal creation and annihilation which happens again and again.
Lord Brahma was shown a glimpse of the eternal and supreme abode Vaikuntha, by Supreme Lord Narayana at the time of the creation of the cosmos when Brahma satisfied Lord Narayana by the penance after being born on the lotus emanated from the navel of Lord Narayana (Vishnu). According to the Bhagavata Purana, which is considered to be the essence of vedic knowledge and the greatest of all puranas[need quotation to verify][not in citation given], this event is described as follows:
The Personality of Godhead, being thus very much satisfied with the penance of Lord Brahma, was pleased to manifest His personal abode, Vaikuntha, the supreme planet above all others. This transcendental abode of the Lord is adored by all self-realized persons freed from all kinds of miseries and fear of illusory existence. In that personal abode of the Lord, the material modes of ignorance and passion do not prevail, nor is there any of their influence in goodness. There is no predominance of the influence of time, so what to speak of the illusory, external energy; it cannot enter that region. Without discrimination, both the demigods and the demons worship the Lord as devotees. The inhabitants of the Vaikuntha planets are described as having a glowing sky-bluish complexion. Their eyes resemble lotus flowers, their dress is of yellowish color, and their bodily features very attractive. They are just the age of growing youths, they all have four hands, they are all nicely decorated with pearl necklaces with ornamental medallions, and they all appear to be effulgent. Some of them are effulgent like coral and diamonds in complexion and have garlands on their heads, blooming like lotus flowers, and some wear earrings. The Vaikuntha planets are also surrounded by various airplanes, all glowing and brilliantly situated. These airplanes belong to the great mahatmas or devotees of the Lord. The ladies are as beautiful as lightning because of their celestial complexions, and all these combined together appear just like the sky decorated with both clouds and lightning.
The goddess of fortune in her transcendental form is engaged in the loving service of the Lord’s lotus feet, and being moved by the black bees, followers of spring, she is not only engaged in variegated pleasure — service to the Lord, along with her constant companions — but is also engaged in singing the glories of the Lord’s activities. Lord Brahma saw in the Vaikuntha planets the Personality of Godhead, who is the Lord of the entire devotee community, the Lord of the goddess of fortune, the Lord of all sacrifices, and the Lord of the universe, and who is served by the foremost servitors like Nanda, Sunanda, Prabala and Arhana, His immediate associates. The Personality of Godhead, seen leaning favorably towards His loving servitors, His very sight intoxicating and attractive, appeared to be very much satisfied. He had a smiling face decorated with an enchanting reddish hue. He was dressed in yellow robes and wore earrings and a helmet on his head. He had four hands, and His chest was marked with the lines of the goddess of fortune. The Lord was seated on His throne and was surrounded by different energies like the four, the sixteen, the five, and the six natural opulences, along with other insignificant energies of the temporary character. But He was the factual Supreme Lord, enjoying His own abode.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Goloka (Goloka Vrindavana or Gokula) is the eternal Supreme Abode of Krishna, Svayam bhagavan according to some Vaishnava schools, including Gaudiya Vaishnavism and the Swaminarayan Sampraday. The scriptural basis for this comes from texts like Narada Pancaratra, Garga Samhita, Brahma Samhita and Brahma vaivarta. Among all 18 puranas, Brahma vaivarta purana explicitly describes about Goloka vrindavan throughout it’s all contents.
While in most of the Bhagavata Purana, Krishna is presented as the cosmic Vishnu, the Supremely Powerful God. He is especially portrayed as the highest person who resides in his abode Goloka according to the interpretation of Jiva Goswami.
In the Bhagavata Purana, Krishna states that he shall ascend to his eternal supreme abode, Vaikuṇṭha, after the purpose of his incarnation is accomplished.
According to some sources, Goloka is part of Vaikuṇṭha, while other sources claim that Goloka is a highest planet or realm (loka) of the Vaikuṇṭha planets for the devotees of Krishna, who is known as the protector of cows; hence, the latter are found in abundance in Goloka. Also sometimes referred to as Vrindavan, it is described as a land of plenty, rich with natural beauty.
One standard Vaishnava description of Goloka is found at verse 5.29 of the Brahma-Samhita: “I worship Govinda, the primeval Lord, the first progenitor, who is tending the cows, yielding all desires, in abodes built with spiritual gems and surrounded by millions of purpose trees. He is always served with great reverence and affection by hundreds and thousands of devotees resembling goddesses of fortune.” Similarly, Gaudiya Vaishnava saint-scholar Śrĩla Sanãtana Goswãmĩ declares: “Sri Goloka is considered the ultimate destination of spiritual endeavour.”
In Goloka Krishna resides with Radharani, Krishna’s eternal consort, and countless other devotees, wherein he performs his divine play, known as lila. It is believed that mortal or “conditoned” souls return to the material world again and again to perfect themselves before going on to Krishna’s abode, known as the Vaikunthas. However, Goloka Vrndavana is the topmost of all the planets in either the material or spiritual worlds, and rare is the soul who is allowed to go there.
According to Hindu scriptures, the term Goloka is synonymous with Vaikuntha and Saket Loka.
Goloka means the world of cows. The Sankrit word ‘go’ can refer to either cows or star, and loka is translated as world or planet.
In the Vedas and Upanishads there is no direct mention of Goloka. Nevertheless it does not refutes authenticity of “Goloka” from the Canon of vedic literatures. In Brahma vaivarta purana, which is one of the 18 major puranas describes Goloka vrindavan to be 500 million yojanas(4000000000miles) above Vaikuntha loka and it expands till 30 million yojanas(240000000miles). This depiction could be similize with a verse found in brahma samhita 5.43. However Acharyas of Gaudiya Vaishnavaism explains it to be limitless. Further statements declares, Both Vaikuntha and Goloka to be Nitya Dhama or eternal realm of existence. Which are not prone to annihilation even after the whole cosmic dissolution. Lord Krishna in his two-armed form eternally reside in the realm of Goloka and in his four-armed form, as Lord Vishnu he eternally resides in the realm of Vaikuntha loka.
Mention of Goloka is also found in other Puranas, such as Skanda Purana and Markandeya Purana.
Evam bahu-vidhai rupais
caramiha vasundharam brahmalokam ca kaunteya golokam ca sanatanam.
“O son of Kuntī, in many different forms I wander in the material world, in the spiritual world, and in the eternal realm of Goloka.”
In Brihad-bhagavatamrita, Srila Sanatana Goswami explains this verse is quoted from Skanda Purana and it is spoken by Lord Krishna to Arjuna.
In the Markandeya Purana, the Supreme Personality of Godhead declares:
Golokam ca parityajya
lokanam trana-karanat kalau gauranga-rupena lila-lavanya-vigrahah.
“In the Kali-Yuga, I will leave Goloka and, to save the people of the world, I will become the handsome and playful Lord Gauranga.”
Shri Gaulokvihari (centre) at the Swaminarayan Temple Mumbai
In some temples, such as the Shri Swaminarayan Mandir Mumbai, the murtis installed are those of Shri Gaulokvihari and Radhikaji. Gaulokvihari is Krishna, (vihari means “a resident of”; hence, one of Krishna’s names, as a resident of Goloka, is Gaulokvihari) and Radhika is Radha, his consort.
All the Vaikuntha planets are said to be like petals of a lotus flower, and the principal part of that lotus, called Krsnaloka or Goloka Vrndāvana, is the center of all the Vaikunthas. Thus the expansions of Krsna in various forms, as well as His various abodes on the spiritual planets in the spiritual sky, are unlimited. Krsnaloka is divided into three different portions: Gokula, Mathurā and Dvārakā. As stated in Brahma-samhitā (5.43), all the Vaikuntha planets in the spiritual sky (known as Vishnuloka) emanate from the predominating Deity of Krsnaloka, Goloka Vrndāvana, known as Bhagavan.