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Thursday, January 14, 2010

The wonders of Vaikuṇṭha and the boat of rock

Late last year I picked up quite a few interesting things from the Bhāgavata on the internet -

Śrīmad Bhāgavata 3.15.20-

yeṣāṁ bṛhat-kaṭi-taṭaḥ smita-śobhi-mukhyaḥ
kṛṣṇātmanaṁ na raja ādadhur utsmayādyaiḥ

„The broad hips and beautifully smiling faces of Vaikuṇṭha’s ladies do not sexually agitate the men there, for they have offered themselves to Kṛṣṇa.”

Jīva Goswāmī’s Krama-sandarbha ṭīkā - rajo nādadhuḥ kintu tāsām api parama-bhaktatvād bhakty-uddīpanam eva jātam ity arthaḥ – „The ladies incite devotion, not lust, because they are the greatest devotees.”

This is an answer to the raised eyebrows often caused by reading the earlier verse, 17, which says that the denizens of Vaikuṇṭha enjoy flying in airplanes with their wives – vaimānikaḥ sa-lalanāś caritāni śaśvad gāyanti yatra śamala-kṣapanāni bhartuḥ, which seems like separate enjoyment from the Lord, which is normally impossible in the spiritual sky. Śrīdhar Swāmī writes in his comment on verse 17: anena bhagavat-pārṣadānāṁ niratiśaya-viṣaya-sukhe’pi bhagavad-bhajanānandāsaktir darśita « Here it is shown that, although the associates of the Lord enjoy great sensual happiness, they are attached to the ānanda of bhagavad-bhajan. » This may be another, spiritual way, of dharmāviruddha kāma, desire that does not conflict dharma, as mentioned in Bhagavad Gītā 7.11.

SB 3.15.25 Sārārtha Darśinī-commentary by Śrī Viśvanātha Cakravartīpāda:

kvacit purāṇādāv asurāṇām api kadācit keṣāṁcit tatra yat kṣaṇika-gamanaṁ śrūyate, tat tu tatratya-cid-vibhūti-sukhānubhavābhāvāt gamanam apy agamanāyamānam eva yathā vividha-saurabhyādi-guṇa-yukteṣu maṇi-maya-rāja-sadaneṣu vyāghra-bhallukādīnāṁ praveśaḥ sva-purastha-parijana-vṛndāny eva kautuka-viśeṣa-vaśāt tāṁs tān darśayitum iccho rājña evājñayā bhavati tathaiva svīyāprākṛta-nitya-dhāma-nivāsinaḥ svajanān kautuka-vaśād darśayituṁ prākṛta-padārthān kadācit ghora-sattvān asurān kadācit sāttvikān bhṛgv-ādīn kadācit triguṇātikramiṇaḥ sanakādīṁś ca svecchayaiva bhagavān eva nayati punaḥ śīghram eva tad-yogyatvāt tato niḥsārayati ca .

This verse deals with the description of Vaikuṇṭha – ‘In some Purāṇas it is seen that even demons may briefly enter Vaikuṇṭha.  That is, however, not real entry, because they cannot experience the transcendental bliss that normally goes with residing there. Just as in a jeweled royal palace, which may be endowed with many attributes like fragrance, bears and tigers may be allowed in on the order of the king for the entertainment of the inhabitants, similarly the Lord may occasionally amuse His devotees, who reside in His transcendental abode, by freely showing them mundane phenomena, which may sometimes be horrid creatures like demons, sometimes persons in the mode of goodness like Bhṛgu Muni and others, or persons who transcend the three modes of nature, like the four Kumāras, and then, after showing them, too, the residents of Vaikuṇṭha, He may quickly eject them again as He sees fit. (Just as a tiger is not part of a court, the asuras' entry into Vaikuṇṭha  is as good as no entry.)

About the age of the residents of Vaikuṇṭha, In Śrīmad Bhāgavata 2.9.11 the Vaikuṇṭha-vasis are called supeśa, which all the ācāryas gloss as ati-sukumāra, very tender, though it is sometimes translated as adolescent [though they may well be adolescent, too].
And finally:
teṣāṁ kupatha-deṣṭṛṇāṁ patataṁ tamasi hy adhaḥ
ye śraddadhyur vacas te vai majjanty aśma-plavā iva

« Those who believe the words of those who advise the wrong path, fall into darkness, as anyone who boards a ship made of rock will sink along with it. » 6.7.14

The Guru is the captain of the ship that should ferry us across the ocean of birth and death (guru-karṇadhāra) – but if the ship is made of rock, it will not even set sail – it will sink on the spot, in the harbour, along with all of its passengers. So similarly a kupatha-deṣṭṛ, an advisor on the broad path of sin and deviation, will sink in the bhava-sāgara (ocean of birth and death) along with all his followers. There is a similar verse in Haribhakti Vilāsa and Bhakti Sandarbha, quoted from Śrī Nārada Pañcarātra -

yo vakti nyāya-rahitam anyāyena śṛṇoti yaḥ
tāv ubhau narakaṁ ghoraṁ vrajatah kālam akṣayam

«Both a speaker who is bereft of morality and the audience who hears such immoral sermons, go to hell for eternal time. »

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