To come to the stage of manipulating finer elements like mind, intelligence and spirit, one needs appropriate training, an appropriate mode of life and appropriate association. Such training depends upon sincere prayers, devotional service, achievement of success in mystic perfection, and the successful merging of oneself in the activities of the soul and Supersoul. A gross materialist, whether he be an empiric philosopher, a scientist, a psychologist or whatever, cannot attain such success through blunt efforts and word jugglery.
Materialists who perform yajnas, or great sacrifices, are comparatively better than grosser materialists who do not know anything beyond laboratories and test tubes. The advanced materialists who perform such sacrifices can reach the planet called Vaishvanara, a fiery planet similar to the sun. On this planet, which is situated on the way to Brahmaloka, the topmost planet in the universe, such an advanced materialist can free himself from all traces of vice and its effects. When such a materialist is purified, he can rise to the orbit of the pole star (Dhruvaloka). Within this orbit, which is called the Shishumara-chakra, are situated the Aditya-lokas and the Vaikuntha planet within this universe.
A purified materialist who has performed many sacrifices, undergone severe penances and given the major portion of his wealth in charity can reach such planets as Dhruvaloka, and if he becomes still more qualified there, he can penetrate still higher orbits and pass through the navel of the universe to reach the planet Maharloka, where sages like Bhrigu Muni live. In Maharloka one can live even to the time of the partial annihilation of the universe. This annihilation begins when Anantadeva, from the lowest position in the universe, produces a great blazing fire. The heat of this fire reaches even Maharloka, and then the residents of Maharloka travel to Brahmaloka, which exists for twice the duration of parardha time.
In Brahmaloka there is an unlimited number of airplanes that are controlled not by yantra (machine) but by mantra (psychic action). Because of the existence of the mind and intelligence on Brahmaloka, its residents have feelings of happiness and distress, but there is no cause of lamentation from old age, death, fear or distress. They feel sympathy, however, for the suffering living beings who are consumed in the fire of annihilation. The residents of Brahmaloka do not have gross material bodies to change at death, but they transform their subtle bodies into SPIRITUAL BODIES and thus enter the spiritual sky. The residents of Brahmaloka can attain perfection in three different ways. Virtuous persons who reach Brahmaloka by dint of their pious work become masters of various planets after the resurrection of Brahma, those who have worshiped Garbhodakashayi Vishnu are liberated with Brahma, and those who are pure devotees of the Personality of Godhead at once push through the covering of the universe and enter the spiritual sky.
The numberless universes exist together in foamlike clusters, and so only some of them are surrounded by the water of the Causal Ocean. When agitated by the glance of Karanodakashayi Vishnu, material nature produces the total elements, which are eight in number and which gradually evolve from finer to gross. A part of ego is the sky, a part of which is air, a part of which is fire, a part of which is water, a part of which is earth. Thus one universe inflates to an area of four billion miles in diameter. A yogi who desires gradual liberation must penetrate all the different coverings of the universe, including the subtle coverings of the three qualitative modes of material nature. One who does this NEVER has to return to this mortal world.
According to Shukadeva Gosvami, the above description of the material and spiritual skies is NEITHER IMAGINARY NOR UTOPIAN. The actual facts are recorded in the Vedic hymns, and Lord Vasudeva disclosed them to Lord Brahma when Brahma satisfied Him. One can achieve the perfection of life only when he has a definite idea of Vaikuntha and the Supreme Godhead. One should always think about and describe the Supreme Personality of Godhead, for this is recommended in both the Bhagavad-gita and the Bhagavata Purana, which are two authorized commentaries upon the Vedas. Lord Chaitanya has made all these subject matters easier for the fallen people of this age to accept, and Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita has therefore presented them for the easy understanding of all concerned.
Cc. Adi-lila. 5.23
Lord Krishna manifests His own form in Mathura and Dvaraka. He enjoys pastimes in various ways by expanding into the quadruple forms.
Cc. Adi-lila. 5.24
Vasudeva, Shankarshana, Pradyumna and Aniruddha are the primary quadruple forms, from whom all other quadruple forms are manifested. They are all purely transcendental.
Cc. Adi-lila. 5.25
Only in these three places [Dvaraka, Mathura and Gokula] does the all-sporting Lord Krishna perform His endless pastimes with His personal associates.
Cc. Adi-lila. 5.26
In the Vaikuntha planets of the spiritual sky the Lord manifests His identity as Narayana and performs pastimes in various ways.
Cc. Adi-lila. 5.27–28
Krishna’s own form has only two hands, but in the form of Lord Narayana He has four hands. Lord Narayana holds a conch-shell, disc, club and lotus flower, and He is full of great opulence. The sri, bhu and nila energies serve at His lotus feet.
BHAKTIVEDANTA PURPORT: In the Ramanuja and Madhva sects of Vaishnavism there are extensive descriptions of the sri, bhu and nila energies. In Bengal the nila energy is sometimes called the lila energy. These three energies are employed in the service of four-handed Narayana in Vaikuntha. Relating how three of the Alvars, namely Bhuta-yogi, Sara-yogi and Bhranta-yogi, saw Narayana in person when they took shelter at the house of a brahmana in the village of Gehali, the Prapannamrita of the Sri-sampradaya describes Narayana as follows:
tarkshyadhirudham tadid-ambudabham / lakshmi-dharam vakshasi pankajaksham
“They saw the lotus-eyed Lord Vishnu, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, mounted on Garuda and holding Lakshmi, the goddess of fortune, to His chest. He resembled a bluish rain cloud with flashing lightning, and in two of His four hands He held a conch-shell and disc. His arms stretched down to His knees, and all His beautiful limbs were smeared with sandalwood and decorated with glittering ornaments. He wore yellow clothes, and by either side stood His energies Bhumi and Nila.”
There is the following reference to the sri, bhu and nila energies in the Sitopanishad: maha-lakshmir deveshasya bhinnabhinna-rupa chetanacetanatmika. sa devi tri-vidha bhavati, shakty-atmana iccha-shaktir kriya-shaktir sakshach-chaktir iti. iccha-shaktis tri-vidha bhavati, sri-bhumi-nilatmika. “Maha-Lakshmi, the supreme energy of the Lord, is experienced in different ways. She is divided into material and spiritual potencies, and in both features she acts as the willing energy, creative energy and the internal energy. The willing energy is again divided into three, namely sri, bhu and nila.”
Quoting from the revealed scriptures in his commentary on the Bhagavad-gita (4.6), Madhvacharya has stated that mother material nature, which is conceived of as the illusory energy, Durga, has three divisions, namely sri, bhu and nila. She is the illusory energy for those who are weak in spiritual strength because such energies are created energies of Lord Vishnu. Although each energy has no direct relationship with the unlimited, they are subordinate to the Lord because the Lord is the master of all energies.
In his Bhagavat-sandarbha (Text 23), Srila Jiva Gosvami Prabhu states, “The Padma Purana refers to the eternally auspicious abode of Godhead, which is full in all opulences, including the energies sri, bhu and nila. The Maha-samhita, which discusses the transcendental name and form of Godhead, also mentions Durga as the potency of the Supersoul in relationship with the living entities. The internal potency acts in relation with His personal affairs, and the material potency manifests the three modes.” Quoting elsewhere from the revealed scriptures, he states that Sri is the energy of Godhead that maintains the cosmic manifestation, bhu is the energy that creates the cosmic manifestation, and nila, Durga, is the energy that destroys the creation. All these energies act in relation with the living beings, and thus they are together called jiva-maya.
Cc. Adi-lila. 5.29
Although His pastimes are His only characteristic functions, by His causeless mercy He performs one activity for the fallen souls.
Cc. Adi-lila. 5.30
He delivers the fallen living entities by offering them the four kinds of liberation—salokya, samipya, sarshti and sarupya.
BHAKTIVEDANTA PURPORT: There are two kinds of liberated souls—those who are liberated by the favor of the Lord and those who are liberated by their own effort. One who gets liberation by his own effort is called an impersonalist, and he merges into the glaring effulgence of the Lord, the brahmajyoti. But devotees of the Lord who qualify themselves for liberation by devotional service are offered four kinds of liberation, namely salokya (status equal to that of the Lord), samipya (constant association with the Lord), sarshti (opulence equal to that of the Lord) and sarupya (features like those of the Lord).
Cc. Adi-lila. 5.31
Those who attain brahma-sayujya liberation cannot gain entrance into Vaikuntha; their residence is outside the Vaikuntha planets.
Cc. Adi-lila. 5.32
Outside the Vaikuntha planets is the atmosphere of the glowing effulgence, which consists of the supremely bright rays of the body of Lord Krishna.
Cc. Adi-lila. 5.33
That region is called Siddhaloka, and it is beyond the material nature. Its essence is spiritual, but it does not have spiritual varieties.
Cc. Adi-lila. 5.34
It is like the homogeneous effulgence around the sun. But inside the sun are the chariots, horses and other opulences of the sun-god.
BHAKTIVEDANTA PURPORT: Outside of Vaikuntha, the abode of Krishna, which is called paravyoma, is the glaring effulgence of Krishna’s bodily rays. This is called the brahmajyoti. The transcendental region of that effulgence is called Siddhaloka or Brahmaloka. When impersonalists achieve liberation, they merge into that Brahmaloka effulgence. This transcendental region is undoubtedly spiritual, but it contains no manifestations of spiritual activities or variegatedness. It is compared to the glow of the sun. Within the sun’s glow is the sphere of the sun, where one can experience all sorts of varieties.
Cc. Adi-lila. 5.35
“As through devotion to the Lord one can attain His abode, many have attained that goal by abandoning their sinful activities and absorbing their minds in the Lord through lust, envy, fear or affection.”
BHAKTIVEDANTA PURPORT: As the powerful sun, by its glowing rays, can purify all kinds of impurities, so the all-spiritual Personality of Godhead can purify all material qualities in a person He attracts. Even if one is attracted by Godhead in the mode of material lust, such attraction is converted into spiritual love of Godhead by His grace. Similarly, if one is related to the Lord in fear and animosity, he also becomes purified by the spiritual attraction of the Lord. Although God is great and the living entity small, they are spiritual individuals, and therefore as soon as there is a reciprocal exchange by the living entity’s free will, at once the great spiritual being attracts the small living entity, thus freeing him from all material bondage. This is a verse from Srimad-Bhagavatam (7.1.30).
Cc. Adi-lila. 5.36
“Where it has been stated that the Lord’s enemies and devotees attain the same destination, this refers to the ultimate oneness of Brahman and Lord Krishna. This may be understood by the example of the sun and the sunshine, in which Brahman is like the sunshine and Krishna Himself is like the sun.”
BHAKTIVEDANTA PURPORT: This verse is from the Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu (1.2.278) of Srila Rupa Gosvami, who further discusses this same topic in his Laghu-bhagavatamrita (Purva 5.41). There he refers to the Vishnu Purana (4.15.1), where Maitreya Muni asked Parashara, in regard to Jaya and Vijaya, how it was that Hiranyakashipu next became Ravana and enjoyed more material happiness than the demigods but did not attain salvation, although when he became Shishupala, quarreled with Krishna and was killed, he attained salvation and merged into the body of Lord Krishna. Parashara replied that Hiranyakashipu failed to recognize Lord Nrisimhadeva as Lord Vishnu. He thought that Nrisimhadeva was some living entity who had acquired such opulence by various pious activities. Being overcome by the mode of passion, he considered Lord Nrisimhadeva an ordinary living entity, not understanding His form. Nevertheless, because Hiranyakashipu was killed by the hands of Lord Nrisimhadeva, in his next life he became Ravana and had proprietorship of unlimited opulence. As Ravana, with unlimited material enjoyment, he could not accept Lord Rama as the Personality of Godhead. Therefore even though he was killed by Rama, he did not attain sayujya, or oneness with the body of the Lord. In his Ravana body he was too much attracted to Rama’s wife, Janaki, and because of that attraction he was able to see Lord Rama. But instead of accepting Lord Rama as an incarnation of Vishnu, Ravana thought Him an ordinary living being. When killed by the hands of Rama, therefore, he got the privilege of taking birth as Shishupala, who had such immense opulence that he could think himself a competitor to Krishna. Although Shishupala was always envious of Krishna, he frequently uttered the name of Krishna and always thought of the beautiful features of Krishna. Thus by constantly thinking and chanting of Krishna, even unfavorably, he was cleansed of the contamination of his sinful activities. When Shishupala was killed by the Sudarshana cakra of Krishna as an enemy, his constant remembrance of Krishna dissolved the reactions of his vices, and he attained salvation by becoming one with the body of the Lord. [ONE SHOULD NOT MISTAKE THE KILLINGS OF SHISHUPALA AND DANTAVAKRA OF THIS PARTICULAR INCIDENT, AS REFERING TO THE SAME PASTIME EXECUTED BY KRISHNA'S ETERNAL PARIKARAS JAYA AND VIJAYA. THEY ARE NOT THE SAME.]
From this incident one can understand that even a person who thinks of Krishna as an enemy and is killed by Him may be liberated by becoming one with the body of Krishna. What then must be the destination of devotees who always think favorably of Krishna as their master or friend? These devotees must attain a situation better than Brahmaloka, the impersonal bodily effulgence of Krishna. Devotees cannot be situated in the impersonal Brahman effulgence, into which impersonalists desire to merge. [ALTHOUGH THE CONSTITUTIONAL IDENTITY OF THE JIVA MANIFESTS AS A SPIRITUAL SPARK, ALSO CONSTITUTIONALLY CARRIES A ETERNAL SVARUPA OR SPIRITUAL BODY. WHEN THE JIVA BECOMES TOTALLY SELF-REALIZED FULLY MANIFEST ITS/HIS/HER SVARUPA.] The devotees are placed in Vaikunthaloka or Krishnaloka.
This discussion between Maitreya Muni and Parashara Muni centered on whether devotees come down into the material world in every millennium like Jaya and Vijaya, who were cursed by the Kumaras to that effect. In the course of these instructions to Maitreya about Hiranyakashipu, Ravana and Shishupala, Parashara did not say that these demons were formerly Jaya and Vijaya. He simply described the transmigration through three lives. It is not necessary for the Vaikuntha associates of the Supreme Personality of Godhead to come to take the roles of His enemies in all the millenniums in which He appears. The “fall down” of Jaya and Vijaya occurred in a particular millennium; Jaya and Vijaya do not come down in every millennium to act as demons. To think that some associates of the Lord fall down from Vaikuntha in every millennium to become demons is TOTALLY INCORRECT.
The Supreme Personality of Godhead has all the tendencies that may be found in the living entity, for He is the chief living entity. Therefore it is natural that sometimes Lord Vishnu wants to fight. Just as He has the tendencies to create, to enjoy, to be a friend, to accept a mother and father, and so on, He also has the tendency to fight. Sometimes important landlords and kings keep wrestlers with whom they practice mock fighting, and Vishnu makes similar arrangements. The demons who fight with the Supreme Personality of Godhead in the material world are sometimes His associates. When there is a scarcity of demons and the Lord wants to fight, He instigates some of His associates of Vaikuntha to come and play as demons. When it is said that Shishupala merged into the body of Krishna, it should be noted that in this case he was NOT Jaya or Vijaya: he was actually a demon.
In his Brihad-bhagavatamrita, Srila Sanatana Gosvami has explained that the attainment of salvation by merging into the Brahman effulgence of the Lord cannot be accepted as the highest success in life, because demons like Kamsa, who were famous for killing brahmanas and cows, attained that salvation. For devotees such salvation is abominable. Devotees are actually in a transcendental position, whereas nondevotees are candidates for hellish conditions of life. There is always a difference between the life of a devotee and the life of a demon, and their realizations are as different as heaven and hell.
Demons are always accustomed to being malicious toward devotees and to killing brahmanas and cows. For demons, merging into the Brahman effulgence may be very glorious, but for devotees it is hellish. A devotee’s aim in life is to attain perfection in loving the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Those who aspire to merge into the Brahman effulgence are as abominable as demons. Devotees who aspire to associate with the Supreme Lord to render Him transcendental loving service are far superior.
Cc. Adi-lila. 5.37
Thus in the spiritual sky there are varieties of pastimes within the spiritual energy. Outside the Vaikuntha planets appears the impersonal reflection of light.
Cc. Adi-lila. 5.38 That impersonal Brahman effulgence consists only of the effulgent rays of the Lord. Those fit for sayujya liberation merge into that effulgence.
Cc. Adi-lila. 5.39
“Beyond the region of ignorance [the material cosmic manifestation] lies the realm of Siddhaloka. The Siddhas reside there, absorbed in the bliss of Brahman. Demons killed by the Lord also attain that realm.”
BHAKTIVEDANTA PURPORT: Tamas means darkness. The material world is dark, and beyond the material world is light. In other words, after passing through the entire material atmosphere, one can come to the luminous spiritual sky, whose impersonal effulgence is known as Siddhaloka. Mayavadi philosophers who aspire to merge with the body of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, as well as demoniac persons who are killed by Krishna, such as Kamsa and Shishupala, enter that Brahman effulgence. Yogis who attain oneness through meditation according to the Patanjali yoga system also reach Siddhaloka. This is a verse from the Brahmanda Purana. Cc. Adi-lila. 5.40
In that spiritual sky, on the four sides of Narayana, are the second expansions of the quadruple expansions of Dvaraka.
BHAKTIVEDANTA PURPORT: Within the spiritual sky is a second manifestation of the quadruple forms of Dvaraka from the abode of Krishna. Among these forms, which are all spiritual and immune to the material modes, Sri Baladeva is represented as Maha-shankarshana.
The activities in the spiritual sky are manifested by the internal potency in pure spiritual existence. They expand in six transcendental opulences, which are all manifestations of Maha-shankarshana, who is the ultimate reservoir and objective of all living entities. Although belonging to the marginal potency, known as jiva-shakti, the spiritual sparks known as the living entities are subjected to the conditions of material energy. It is because these sparks are related with both the internal and external potencies of the Lord that they are known as belonging to the marginal potency.
In considering the quadruple forms of the absolute Personality of Godhead, known as Vasudeva, Shankarshana, Pradyumna and Aniruddha, the impersonalists, headed by Sripada Shankaracharya, have interpreted the aphorisms of the Vedanta-sutra in a way suitable for the impersonalist school. To provide the intrinsic import of such aphorisms, however, Srila Rupa Gosvami, the leader of the six Gosvamis of Vrindavana, has properly replied to the impersonalists in his Laghu-bhagavatamrita, which is a natural commentary on the aphorisms of the Vedanta-sutra.
The Padma Purana, as quoted by Srila Rupa Gosvami in his Laghu-bhagavatamrita, describes that in the spiritual sky there are four directions, corresponding to east, west, north and south, in which Vasudeva, Shankarshana, Aniruddha and Pradyumna are situated. The same forms are also situated in the material sky. The Padma Purana also describes a place in the spiritual sky known as Vedavati-pura, where Vasudeva resides. In Vishnuloka, which is above Satyaloka, Shankarshana resides. Maha-shankarshana is another name of Shankarshana. Pradyumna lives in Dvaraka-pura, and Aniruddha lies on the eternal bed of Shesha, generally known as ananta-shayya, on the island called Shvetadvipa, in the ocean of milk.
Cc. Adi-lila. 5.41
Vasudeva, Shankarshana, Pradyumna and Aniruddha constitute this second quadruple. They are purely transcendental.
BHAKTIVEDANTA PURPORT: Sripada Shankaracharya has misleadingly explained the quadruple form (chatur-vyuha) in his interpretation of the forty-second aphorism of Chapter Two of the second khanda of the Vedanta-sutra (utpatty-asambhavat). In verses 41 through 47 of this chapter of Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita, Srila Krishnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami answers Sripada Shankaracharya’s misleading objections to the personal feature of the Absolute Truth.
The Supreme Personality of Godhead, the Absolute Truth, is not like a material object that can be known by experimental knowledge or sense perception. In the Narada-pancharatra this fact has been explained by Narayana Himself to Lord Shiva. But Shankaracharya, the incarnation of Shiva, under the order of Narayana, his master, had to mislead the monists, who favor ultimate extinction. In the conditioned stage of existence, all living entities have four basic defects, of which one is the cheating propensity. Shankaracharya has carried this cheating propensity to the extreme to mislead the monists.
Actually, the explanation of the quadruple forms in the Vedic literature cannot be understood by the speculation of a conditioned soul. The quadruple forms should therefore be accepted just as They are described. The authority of the Vedas is such that even if one does not understand something by his limited perception, he should accept the Vedic injunction and not create interpretations to suit his imperfect understanding. In his Shariraka-bhashya, however, Shankaracharya has increased the misunderstanding of the monists.