Understanding the Kingdom of God

Gusti Nyoman Ambara, 14th June 2013

Hare Krishna

Please accept my humble obeisances,
All glories to Srila Gurudeva and Gurumataji,
All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

The kingdom of the Lord is so glorious because not only that kingdom is eternal, full of knowledge and all blissful, but also it is spiritual, full of variegatedness and free from anxieties, Srila Prabhupada explained in the beginning of purport to SB 3.15.15 that this kingdom cannot be understood by any process other than hearing from the description of the Vedas.

There are many informations describing situation in the kingdom written in Srimad Bhagavatam, Srimad Bhagavad Gita and Sri Brahma Samhita. Here are some of them :
That supreme abode of Mine is not illumined by the sun or moon, nor by fire or electricity. Those who reach it never return to this material world (BG 15.6).
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 lakshmis or gopis (Bs 5.29).
Lowest of all is located Devi-dhama (mundane world), next above it is Mahesa-dhama (abode of Mahesa); above Mahesa-dhama is placed Hari-dhama (abode of Hari) and above them all is located Krishna’s own realm named Goloka. I adore the primeval Lord Govinda, who has allotted their respective authorities to the rulers of those graded realms (Bs 5.43).
In the Vaikuntha planets all the residents are similar in form to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. They all engage in devotional service to the Lord without desires for sense gratification (SB 3.15.14).
In the Vaikuntha planets is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is the original person and who can be understood through the Vedic literature. He is full of the uncontaminated mode of goodness, with no place for passion or ignorance. He contributes religious progress for the devotees (SB 3.15.15).
In those Vaikuntha planets there are many forests which are very auspicious. In those forests the trees are desire trees, and in all seasons they are filled with flowers and fruits because everything in the Vaikuëöha planets is spiritual and personal (SB 3.15.16).
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 mädhavi flowers, which are fragrant and laden with honey (SB 3.15.17).
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 (SB 3.15.18).
Although flowering plants like the mandara, kunda, kurabaka, utpala, campaka, arna, punnaga, nagakesara, 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 (SB 3.15.19).
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, they cannot be stimulated to passion by their mirth and beautiful charms (SB 3.15.20).
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 (SB 3.15.21).
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 (SB 3.15.22).
After reading them, some questions appear in my mind. I humbly beg you to help me deepen my understanding  in this topic. Please forgive me for my offensive and inappropriate questions.
Is Mahesa-dhama an eternal realm like the Vaikunthas or is it somewhat similar to Devi-dhama which will be annihilated in due course of time?
For the resident of the spiritual kingdom there is no question of birth, death, old age and disease, and therefore they are not anxious (Purport to SB 3.15.13). Does it mean that time is eternal there? Is it always “now” there? How to understand the eternity of time?
Srila Prabhupada explained in purport to BG 15.6 that all the planets in the spiritual sky are self-luminous. Does it mean that it is always daylight without any night in the spiritual kingdom? Therefore, is sleeping activity needed or there is no need for sleeping activity there? Do the inhabitants there never get tired?
Regarding lakshmis which is mentioned in Bs 5.29, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati explained in the purport that lakshmi denotes gopi. In the purport to SB 3.15.21, Srila Prabhupada explained that these millions and trillions of goddesses of fortune who reside in the Vaikuntha planets are not exactly consorts of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, but are the wives of the devotees of the Lord and also engage in the service of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. If I am not mistaken, lakshmi is shakti-tattva and gopi is jiva-tattva. Why the gopis or the wives of the devotees in the spiritual sky were considered to be the lakshmis?
Srila Prabhupada explained that spiritual variegatedness means that everything is animate.There is nothing inanimate. Even the trees, the ground, the plants, the flowers, the birds and the beasts are all on the level of Krishna consciousness  (Purport to SB 3.15.18). My understanding is that all of them are liberated jivas who obtain their most suitable spiritual forms and rasas to serve the Lord. In this case, is it a free choice to serve The Lord in a particular form and rasa or it is determined by the Lord Himself?
The resident of Vaikuntha are similar in form to the Lord, which is four handed. Is it sarupya-mukti? Is the form obtained in sarupya mukti is always the four handed form? Or is there any other form similar to any of unlimited Lord’s form which also can be obtained?
Regarding the term “wife” and “consort” used in the verses, is there any classification between male-female or man-woman in spiritual sky? How to understand this? Is catur-ashrama (brahmacari, grhasta, wanaprashta, sanyasa) also performed there? So there are marriages and family life there. Since there are no birth, does it mean that the families there never have offspring?
In Vaikunthaloka there is no occupation but the service of the Lord, and this service is not rendered with a purpose. Although every service has a particular result, the devotees never aspire for the fulfillment of their own desires; their desires are fulfilled by rendering transcendental loving service to the Lord (purport to SB 3.15.14). Being having direct association with the Lord, is arcanam still performed there? Are there also temples there? How do they prepare food and drink for prasadam? Do they have to cook or do they obtain them instantly from the desire trees and the surabhis?
The spiritual (cit) potency has built the spiritual world of transcendental gems or cintamani (purport to Bs 5.29). What kind of buildings are there in the spiritual sky? How do the bulidings look like and how are they designed? For example, do the houses have bedrooms, kitchens, bathrooms or restrooms/toilets (I mean, do the inhabitants also need sleeping, cooking, bathing and evacuation?)
Thank you very much. Please again, forgive my offensive and inappropriate questions.

your insignificant servant,
Gusti Nyoman Ambara

Mahabhagavat Das SDA, 14th June 2013

Dear Gusti,

We will answer those questions which I do know the answers to, but bottom-line is that you’re going to have to go to the spiritual world to find out for yourself. Qualify yourself to see Krishna face-to-face, as Srila Gurudeva was instructed by Srila Prabhupada.

Sincerely,
Mahabhagavat Das

Gusti Nyoman Ambara, 18th June 2013

Hare Krishna

Dear Mahabhagavat Prabhuji,

Please accept my humble obeisances,
All glories to Srila Gurudeva and Gurumataji,
All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

Thank you very much for your answer. It is very true.
Thank you.

your insignificant servant,
Gusti Nyoman Ambara

Mahabhagavat Das SDA, 18th June 2013

Dear Gusti,

Hare Krishna!

OK, here are answers to those questions where I have authoritative information from hearing or reading from those firmly situated in Parampara. But I am a conditioned nitya baddha, so I cannot fully answer any of these questions. I may not even be able to clarify any further than this.

1. Is Mahesa-dhama an eternal realm like the Vaikunthas or is it somewhat similar to Devi-dhama which will be annihilated in due course of time?
It is not fully eternal, it is semi-eternal, but for practical purposes it is eternal from our perspective in devi dham. Lord Sadashiva is the glance of Maha Vishnu impregnating the womb of material nature with souls who desire to lord it over material nature. Mahesha dham, the abode of Sadashiva, exists so long as there is a need for the material universes to exist. As per Srila Gurudeva, if an infinitesimal fraction of souls from an infinite number of souls desire to lord it over material nature, then practically, there will be an infinite number of souls in the material world. Srila Prabhupada says in his purport to SB 1.3.1 (I made certain items bold):

“In the Bhagavad-gītā it is also mentioned that the material world is created at certain intervals and then again destroyed. This creation and destruction is done by the supreme will because of the conditioned souls, or the nitya-baddha living beings. The nitya-baddha, or the eternally conditioned souls, have the sense of individuality or ahańkāra, which dictates them sense enjoyment, which they are unable to have constitutionally. The Lord is the only enjoyer, and all others are enjoyed. The living beings are predominated enjoyers. But the eternally conditioned souls, forgetful of this constitutional position, have strong aspirations to enjoy. The chance to enjoy matter is given to the conditioned souls in the material world, and side by side they are given the chance to understand their real constitutional position. Those fortunate living entities who catch the truth and surrender unto the lotus feet of Vāsudeva after many, many births in the material world join the eternally liberated souls and thus are allowed to enter into the kingdom of Godhead. After this, such fortunate living entities need not come again within the occasional material creation. But those who cannot catch the constitutional truth are again merged into the mahat-tattva at the time of the annihilation of the material creation. When the creation is again set up, this mahat-tattva is again let loose.This mahat-tattva contains all the ingredients of the material manifestations, including the conditioned souls. Primarily this mahat-tattva is divided into sixteen parts, namely the five gross material elements and the eleven working instruments or senses. It is like the cloud in the clear sky. In the spiritual sky, the effulgence of Brahman is spread all around, and the whole system is dazzling in spiritual light. The mahat-tattva is assembled in some corner of the vast, unlimited spiritual sky, and the part which is thus covered by the mahat-tattva is called the material sky. This part of the spiritual sky, called the mahat-tattva, is only an insignificant portion of the whole spiritual sky, and within this mahat-tattva there are innumerable universes. All these universes are collectively produced by the Kāraṇodakaśāyī Viṣṇu, called also the Mahā-Viṣṇu, who simply throws His glance to impregnate the material sky.”

From this we can understand better if we meditate and reflect upon this.

2. For the resident of the spiritual kingdom there is no question of birth, death, old age and disease, and therefore they are not anxious (Purport to SB 3.15.13). Does it mean that time is eternal there? Is it always “now” there? How to understand the eternity of time?

Yes, time is eternal everywhere, time is a feature of Krishna. Yes, correct, in the spiritual world it is the eternal ever-present. Not that time is not present, but the negative effects of time are absent. It is not that time does not pass, for example, there are seasons in Goloka, and day and night etc., but everything is meant to facilitate the pastimes of Krishna, there is no sense of loss of passing, it is one adventure after another, one sweetness after another. In the material world, there is anxiety for things past, lamentation that they didn’t come or last longer. Also there is anxiety for future promises, of long life, wealth, health, beauty, prestige, sense gratification, relationships, friendship, love, etc., and most of them do not materialize and therefore cause lamentation again… so anxiety for the future, dissatisfaction of the present, and lamentation for the past are the characteristics of the material world. But this eternal ever-present can be experienced also in the material world by those who are situated in spiritual consciousness. If you want to observe this, see a spiritual master parting from the disciples, the disciples are in lamentation (and rightly so) but spiritual master does not manifest that same lamentation. Spiritual master knows that he will be with the sincere disciples even while “away” and for all time to come. Same experience is had by advanced or perfected chanters of Hare Krishna Mahamantra. You might also have this experience when you are deeply and purely engrossed in some service or celebration, you don’t feel tired, you don’t feel hungry or thirsty, you don’t feel the passage of time, and you don’t have any space to think of past, present, or future, you are not thinking “am I enjoying, am I happy, am I OK”, simply you are engrossed in the service or celebration completely. That “zone” is the eternal privilege of the residents of the spiritual world.
3. Srila Prabhupada explained in purport to BG 15.6 that all the planets in the spiritual sky are self-luminous. Does it mean that it is always daylight without any night in the spiritual kingdom? Therefore, is sleeping activity needed or there is no need for sleeping activity there? Do the inhabitants there never get tired?

There is day and night, but not the kind of night which is manifested of ignorance. It is a night which facilitates Krishna’s pastimes with His devotees. Sleeping etc., are available, but they are again of the nature of pastimes, leela, no one has a material body, so the tiredness, fatigue, etc., it is all simply to increase the varieties of enjoyments. For example, when Krishna and Balaram are out with the cowherd boys in the forest, after taking lunch, sometimes Krishna gets “tired” and “goes to sleep”, but this is simply to give an opportunity for His friends to fan Him, bring Him a refreshing drink, etc. And Krishna enjoys this loving reciprocation.

4. Regarding lakshmis which is mentioned in Bs 5.29, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati explained in the purport that lakshmi denotes gopi. In the purport to SB 3.15.21, Srila Prabhupada explained that these millions and trillions of goddesses of fortune who reside in the Vaikuntha planets are not exactly consorts of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, but are the wives of the devotees of the Lord and also engage in the service of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. If I am not mistaken, lakshmi is shakti-tattva and gopi is jiva-tattva. Why the gopis or the wives of the devotees in the spiritual sky were considered to be the lakshmis?

The Gopis are all Lakshmis. There is not only one but billions and trillions of Lakshmis. Maha Lakshmidevi herself is an expansion of Radharani (though the details of how are unknown to me). In the spiritual world, the husband-wife relationship is not based on a false sense of proprietorship (mamaaham) but on the basis of service to Krishna (as Bhaktivinode Thakura sings in his famous manasa deha geha song) – “Mind, body, family, everything I own I offer at Your lotus feet, O Nanda-kishora!” We should not extrapolate our knowledge of the perverted marriage relationship as known in the material world to the pure devotees marriage relationships or the marriage relationships in the spiritual world. The jiva tattva is “tatastha shakti – marginal potency” and must always act under other potency, for example, in material world, the conditioned jiva acts under maya shakti. A pure devotee in Goloka Vrindavana acts under yoga maya and is under the hladini shakti. The spiritual master for example, acts in the potency of Sri Balarama – samvit.
5. Srila Prabhupada explained that spiritual variegatedness means that everything is animate.There is nothing inanimate. Even the trees, the ground, the plants, the flowers, the birds and the beasts are all on the level of Krishna consciousness  (Purport to SB 3.15.18). My understanding is that all of them are liberated jivas who obtain their most suitable spiritual forms and rasas to serve the Lord. In this case, is it a free choice to serve The Lord in a particular form and rasa or it is determined by the Lord Himself?

Krishna reciprocates as per the pure devotee’s desire. It is not some sort of “here, I will put you in your place, and you stay there you little jiva”. It is purely voluntary by Krishna’s grace. The pure devotee who takes the form of a blade of grass in Goloka Vrindavana is totally blissed out experiencing the touch of Krishna’s lotus feet upon His head, the touch of the cows’ feet, the touch of the devotees’ feet, and takes great pleasure in providing the perfect sensation of softness and support, taking his service very seriously. He experiences the nectar of the dust of the lotus feet of Krishna and His devotees. With his fellow blades of grass, they sing Krishnakatha and have kirtan endlessly, eat from the dust of Vrindavana and drink from the nectarean rain that falls from the sky in the spiritual world, they breathe the magical air of Goloka. He gets taken by the cows (willingly and eagerly, because there is no pain or suffering, just voluntary loving devotional service) and transformed into the most flavorful milk for Krishna, and renews himself with an even better wonderful grass body, and his service is in producing the best texture for Krishna’s foot, the most flavorful taste that will go in harmony to produce the most heavenly fragrant milk, with the help of the cow who is taking service from so many blades of grass in her service to Krishna. Then this milk is transformed into the most delightful of preparations by those exalted gopis and mother Yashoda. It is all interconnected and wonderfully woven into endless pleasure for Krishna, and of course, everyone enjoys with Him. It is only in material conception that I think that a blade of grass is insignificant. Krishna does not fail to notice ANYTHING or ANYONE. Right now, Krishna is missing the flavor of service that I can provide Him, so foolish I am that I deprive Him of my service.

6. The resident of Vaikuntha are similar in form to the Lord, which is four handed. Is it sarupya-mukti? Is the form obtained in sarupya mukti is always the four handed form? Or is there any other form similar to any of unlimited Lord’s form which also can be obtained?

Yes, sarupya mukti. There is always a distinction between the form of the Lord and His associates… we see the description of the 2 associates of the Lord, Nanda and Sunanda who came to fetch Dhruva Maharaja in the Vaikuntha flying vehicle… same thing with Jaya and Vijaya, they are all not facsimile copies, they are each unique with those features of 4 handed, same complexion etc. Why don’t you tell me which form you got once you get it? 🙂 Better still, when you go there, you beg and plead with Krishna and please come back for me.
7. Regarding the term “wife” and “consort” used in the verses, is there any classification between male-female or man-woman in spiritual sky? How to understand this? Is catur-ashrama (brahmacari, grhasta, wanaprashta, sanyasa) also performed there? So there are marriages and family life there. Since there are no birth, does it mean that the families there never have offspring?

There is definitely a clear distinction between male and female in the spiritual world. There, the service relationship with Krishna defines the body, not karma as in the material world. For example, The varnashrama system is there, but is not enforced or unnatural and there are no imperfections there, everyone is in their natural position and blissfully happy in their service to Krishna and His devotees. perverted sex life is not present in the spiritual world. The reason for this sex life is to enable birth. Birth is a misery, and is absent in the spiritual world, except when the spiritual world appears on the material plane, such as in Gokula Vrindavan.

8. In Vaikunthaloka there is no occupation but the service of the Lord, and this service is not rendered with a purpose. Although every service has a particular result, the devotees never aspire for the fulfillment of their own desires; their desires are fulfilled by rendering transcendental loving service to the Lord (purport to SB 3.15.14). Being having direct association with the Lord, is arcanam still performed there? Are there also temples there? How do they prepare food and drink for prasadam? Do they have to cook or do they obtain them instantly from the desire trees and the surabhis?

Yes, archanam is definitely performed, but it can be done effortlessly, not like someone has to struggle to bathe, cleanse, get the paraphernalia together, etc. Yes, there are temples also to facilitate the pastimes, remember, in Goloka, no one believes Krishna is God 🙂 There is no need to struggle to prepare anything, just think of how you want to serve Krishna, and this manifests itself effortlessly and naturally. There is the activity of cooking etc., but it is not a chore or any effort. It just flows. I have personally seen how some devotees can conjure up a feast seemingly out of thin air! Have you seen Gurumataji’s feasts? She can prepare 20+ items in no time at all. And each item is PERFECT. This is a manifestation of the spiritual world in the material realm, just to give us a glimpse of what it is like on the other side.
9. The spiritual (cit) potency has built the spiritual world of transcendental gems or cintamani (purport to Bs 5.29). What kind of buildings are there in the spiritual sky? How do the bulidings look like and how are they designed? For example, do the houses have bedrooms, kitchens, bathrooms or restrooms/toilets (I mean, do the inhabitants also need sleeping, cooking, bathing and evacuation?)

The buildings are exactly what is needed for Krishna’s pastimes. In Vaikuntha, everything is palatial, even the servants quarters are palaces. In Goloka, there are sweet huts, little shelters, goshalas, and homes. But everything is of a very high standard, not needing mundane maintenance etc. They can eat unlimitedly but have no need to evacuate. Evacuation is needed due to mundane material embarrassment of having a material body! A material body is “avidya jaal”, a network of ignorance. So its byproducts are nasty and horrible. But a purely spiritual body, consuming purely spiritual food, does not create any material nasty byproducts. In fact, there are accounts of pure devotees in this world, whose so-called bodily byproducts are actually not unpleasant but very wonderful and attractive… One relatable example is that ordinarily food leftover after someone eats them are considered to be unpleasant. But Krishna’s remnants? Is that unpleasant? And the spiritual master’s remnants are also relished by those who know that the spiritual master is really a pure devotee.

Bottom-line, you go there and find out for yourself.

Sincerely,
Mahabhagavat Das

Gusti Nyoman Ambara, 26th June 2013

Hare Krishna

Dear Mahabhagavat Prabhuji,

Please accept my humble obeisances,
All glories to Srila Gurudeva and Gurumataji,
All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

Thank you very much for your nice and interesting answers and explanations, They are very wonderful, especially your explanation about Srimati Gurumataji feasts.  Really, I am so happy to read them all. Thank you so much.

your insignificant servant,
Gusti Nyoman Ambara

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