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Thursday, April 12, 2018

Vrajavāsīs' Vaikuṇṭha-darśana and sādhana-exemption

Śrīmad Bhāgavata, 10.28.16, speaks of the Vrajabāsīs' darśana of the spiritual world -

te tu brahma-hradam nītā magnāḥ kṛṣṇena coddhṛtāḥ
dadṛśur brahmaṇo lokaṁ yatrākrūro’dhyagāt purā

"The cowherd men were brought by Kṛṣṇa to the Brahma-hrada, made to submerge in the water, and then lifted up. From the same vantage point that Akrūra saw the spiritual world, the cowherd men saw the world of the Absolute Truth."

Viśvanātha Cakravartipāda comments: "The unlimited spiritual effulgence, called the brahmajyoti in Text 15, is compared to a lake called Brahma-hrada, which actually exists in the river Yamunā. Śrī Kṛṣṇa submerged the cowherd men in that lake literally, and also in the sense that He submerged them in the awareness of the impersonal Brahman. But then, as indicated by the word uddhṛtāḥ (uplift), Kṛṣṇa lifted them up to a higher understanding, that of the world of the Lord, Vaikuṇṭha. This is also stated in the Bhāgavata (2.7.31): ahnayāpṛtaṁ niśi śayānam ati śrameṇa lokaṁ vaikuṇṭham upaneṣyati gokulaṁ sma, “Kṛṣṇa brought the Gokula-residents, who were sleeping at night after a day's hard labor, to Vaikuṇṭha."

Though 10.28.16 seems impersonal, in the next verse it is said that Kṛṣṇa showed them Vaikuṇṭha - 10.28.17 - kṛṣṇaṁ ca tatra cchandobhiḥ stūyamānaṁ su-vismitāḥ 'He was praised there by the Personified Vedas, to the cowherds' astonishment'

So this vision could not have been of the indistinct brahma-jyoti if the Personified Vedas are there.

Śrīdhara Swāmī's ṭīkā to 2.7.31 is nice -

ahni āpṛtaṁ vyāpāra-yuktaṁ niśi śayānam iti ca vaikuṇṭha-prāpti-sādhanānuṣṭhānābhāvo darśitaḥ

"The Brijbasis were so busy in the day that they slept at night. It shows one can attain Vaikuṇṭha without practising sādhana (just by being dear to Kṛṣṇa)"

So verse 2.7.31 shows the power of love beyond sādhana prasaṅga bhakti (the devotees´ regular duties of chanting one's rounds etc). 

It is also a beacon of hope for gṛhastha bhaktas who may have no or little time for nāma-sādhana.

The same thing goes for the Pāṇḍavas, as Sanātana Goswāmī comments on his Bṛhad-bhāgavatāmṛta (1.4.109) - vinaiva kiñcit sādhanaṁ tān prati prasannaṁ kṛta kāruṇya-bharam "Kṛṣṇa was pleased with them without them doing any sādhana, He was filled with compassion."

There is a caution given however, that if there is spare time it must surely be utilized in sādhana.
Sādhu Bābā’s householder disciple asked: “Bābā, how can we be devoted to the Lord?”
Bābā replied: “Take shelter of Śrī Guru’s lotus feet, believe Śrī Guru’s words, earnestly do bhajana according to Śrī Guru’s instructions, then surely the goddess of devotion will be pleased with you. 'sādhya-vastu' 'sādhana' vinu keho nāhi pāy (C.C.) “Without practising no one can attain spiritual perfection.” Those who must work all day should at least in the evening do some japa and meditation, for the śāstras provide us with this hope: krome krome pāye lok bhava sindhu kūle (C.C.) “Slowly and gradually the people will reach the shore of the ocean of material existence.`