Verse: Srimad Bhagavatam 4.12.26
H H Lokanath Swami Maharaj sings “Jaya Jaya Jagannatha Sachira Nandana” and then “Jaya Radha Madhava” followed by the “Hare Krishna” maha mantra.
anasthitam te pitrubhir
anyair apy aìga karhicit
atishtha jagatam vandyam
tad vishnoh paramam padam
Dear King Dhruva, neither your forefathers, nor anyone else before you ever achieved such a transcendental planet. The planet known as Vishnloka, where Lord Vishnu personally resides, is the highest of all. It is worshipable by the inhabitants of all other planets within the universe. Please come with us and live there eternally.
Maharaja reads the purport by His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada: When Dhruva Mahäräja went to perform austerities, he was very determined to achieve a post never dreamed of by his forefathers. His father was Uttanapada, his grandfather was Manu, and his great-grandfather was Lord Brahma. So Dhruva wanted a kingdom even greater than Lord Brahma could achieve, and he requested Narada Muni to give him facility for achieving it. The associates of Lord Vishnu reminded him that not only his forefathers but everyone else before him was unable to attain Vishnuloka, the planet where Lord Vishnu resides. This is because everyone within this material world is either a karmi, a gyani or a yogi, but there are hardly any pure devotees. The transcendental planet known as Vishnuloka is especially meant for devotees, not for karmis, gyanis or yogis.
Maharaja explains: Vishnuloka is specially reserved for pure devotees. Your seat is also reserved there. Whenever you go there, you will get it. In fact, a seat is reserved there for everyone. But gyanis, yogis or even karmis will not go there. Their arrival will be awaited in the Vishnuloka. When they become pure devotees, a transcendental airplane will be sent for them, just like the airplane received by Dhurva maharaja. Thus the gyanis, yogis or karmis can become pure devotees and then take up their respective vacant seats in Vishnuloka.
Maharaja continues to read the rest of the purport: Great rishis or demigods can hardly approach Brahmaloka, and as stated in Bhagavad–gita, Brahmaloka is not a permanent residence. Then maharaja explains: Even if someone reaches Brahma loka, he cannot be a permanent resident there. One doesn’t get permanent residency there, but only transit visa. One can take a stop there as in transit, as will be explained further in the purport.
Maharaja continues to read the purport: Lord Brahmä‘s duration of life is so long that it is difficult to estimate even the duration of one day in his life, and yet Lord Brahmä also dies, as do the residents of his planet. Bhagavad-gétä (8.16) says, äbrahma-bhuvanäl lokäù punar ävartino ‘rjuna: except for those who go to Viñëuloka, everyone is subjected to the four principles of material life, namely birth, death, old age and disease. Maharaja speaks: Even the residents of Brahma loka are not free from the four rules of life – namely, birth, death, old age and disease. Life may be prolongated there, but death comes nonetheless. Kshinye punye martya lokam vishanti (Bhagavad Gita 9.26 when the results of their pious activities are exhausted, they return to this mortal planet again).
Purport continues: The Lord says, yad gatva na nivartante tad dhama paramam mama: “The planet from which, once going, no one returns, is My supreme abode.” (Bg. 15.6). Maharaja continues to speak – Srila Prabhupada is pointing out the difference between the two. Someone who is a ‘punya atma’, great soul who has worshiped demigods, who has done various sacrificial performances, austerities etc. can get the resultant fruit of going upwards to heavenly planets, but has to come down again to Mrityu loka. In fact there are 14 planetary systems – seven above the Eartha known as Bhuvar loka, swarga loka, Jana loka, Mahar loka, Tapo loka, Satya (or Brahma) loka or there are seven hellish planets below the Earth. Thus there are total 14 planetary systems called ‘bhuvanas’. However the devotee of the Lord who returns to the abode of the Lord, never returns to the mortal world. (yad gatva na nivartante tad dhama paramam mama). Such supreme abode of the Lord is being approached by Dhruva maharaja. Such an achievement of the supreme abode of the Lord is rare. It is not different from attaining the Lord Himself.
Purport continues: Dhruva Mahäräja was reminded, “You are going in our company to that planet from which no one returns to this material world.” Material scientists are attempting to go to the moon and other planets, but they cannot imagine going to the topmost planet, Brahmaloka, for it is beyond their imagination. Material scientists are attempting to go to the moon and other planets, but they cannot imagine going to the topmost planet, Brahmaloka, for it is beyond their imagination.
Maharaja continues: In the early morning, we can see the sun in the sky but the sunrays don’t immediately reach us. It takes eight minutes for the rays of sunlight to reach us on the earth planet. Here also, Prabhupada writes in the purport: By material calculation, traveling at the speed of light it would take forty thousand light-years to reach the topmost planet. By mechanical processes we are unable to reach the topmost planet of this universe, but the process called bhakti-yoga, as executed by Mahäräja Dhruva, can give one the facility not only to reach other planets within this universe, but also to reach beyond this universe to the Vishnloka planets. We have outlined this in our small booklet Easy Journey to Other Planets.
The current verse is spoken by Sunanda and Nanda, the messengers of Lord Vishnu who have brought the airplane from the Vishnu loka to Dhurva maharaja. They two are addressing him and inviting him to take his seat in the airplane and telling him that the final destination of this plane is Vishnu loka. We will take you to the abode of Lord Vishnu, which is the supreme and which is worshipable by the entire material world.
Just now we were singing: Jaya jaya Jagannatha Sachirnandana, tribhuvane kori jara charana vandana – all the three planetary systems are worshipping Your lotus feet. Krishnam vande jagat gurum (Krishna is worshipped as the Guru of all the worlds). “Aradhyo Bhagavan Vrajesh-tanayas tad dham Vrrindavanam.” The Lord is worshipped and His abode is also worshipped. Please come with us to that abode, please stay there. In fact, you will live there forever, not requiring to go back to the material world. The other members of your family, your father Uttanapada, your grandfather Manu or even your great grandfather, Brahma also did not achieve such a supreme position. You desired such supreme position and so you decided to find the Lord. You worshipped the Lord with this mood. The Lord is happy with you and thus your desire is being fulfilled. The Lord is like “Vancha kalpa taru”. This ‘vancha kalpa taru’ is also said in reference to the devotees. It refers to a personality like a tree who supplies whatever you desire for from it. So the Lord Himself, being such desire tree, is fullfilling your desires.
Soul’s no-return journey to Lord’s eternal abode:
So such a place, which was not approachable by anyone else in the past is being given to Dhruva maharaja. If the soul reaches the place to which he belongs, he will never think of leaving that place again. In this material world, from time immemorial the soul becomes “bahirmukha”, meaning averse to the Lord and makes many desires. The condition of such a soul is like “nikatastha maya tare zapatiya dhare”. By being ‘bahirmukha’, the soul totally forgets his original identity in this material world and keeps unlimited desires and expectations. Very soon, ‘nikatastha maya’, the illusory energy of the Lord who roams around in the material world, suddenly captures the soul. The desires of this material world are not very beneficial for the soul. No sooner the soul supersedes his original dharma or disobeys the laws of God; or even just considers of breaking the laws of God, than immediately he is seized by the nearby illusory energy ‘maya’. Just as when one neglects the law of traffic, a nearby policeman runs and captures the person. One who obeys the traffic laws has nothing to fear from the nearby police. Similarly, maya devi is the police officer of the Lord. ‘danda marahati’. She is there to punish the law breakers. The fine for neglecting traffic law may be simple but for more serious disobeying, the punishment could be even death!
So the soul who does ‘bhoga-vancha’ or keeps desires to enjoy separate from Krishna, the nearby illusory energy seizes him. However, when the soul obeys the laws that the Lord has made for him, then he is free from the clutches of maya devi, the illusory energy of the Lord.
Yamaraja – one of the twelve bhagavatas & judge of the highest court:
There is the story of Ajamila. The superintendent of death, Yamaraja, had ordered his servants – Yamadutas to capture and bring to him those souls who do not offer homage to him or who don’t utter his name. So the Yamadutas went to capture the of soul of this Ajamila who had done hundreds of sins, very grave sins to fulfill his unlimited desires to enjoy. But they failed to seize him. They returned to Yamaraja and reported to him, “we had gone to seize this Ajamila according to your order, but another party had already arrived there. They fought us and won over us. We never ever before failed to carry your orders and were always successful in bringing the disobeying souls to you. But this time we failed.” Yamaraja asked what happened. Yamaraja is one of twelve pure devotees – Bhagavatas. He very well knew the real religious principles.
Srimad Bhagavatam, 6.3.20 states the list of the Bhagavatas: “Svayambhur Naradah Shambhuh, Kumarah Kapilo Manuh, Prahlado Janako Bhishmo Balir Vaiyasakir vayam.”
(Lord Brahma, Narada, Lord Shiva, the four Kumaras, Lord Kapila [the son of Devahuti], Svayambhuva Manu, Prahlada Maharaja, Janaka Maharaja, Grandfather Bhishma, Bali Maharaja, and Shukadeva Gosvami). There is no reference to the name of Yamaraja in this list of only eleven names. But ‘vayam’ means ‘we people’ and this is being said by Yamaraja himself. Yamaraja enlisted the names of eleven Bhagavatas and said ‘vayam’ or we. Thus Yamaraja is included in the list as the twelfth Bhagavata. He said, ‘dharman tu saksat Bhagavat pranitam’. Just as we cannot concoct the laws of traffic at our home and start following them on the road, no one is going to recognize the family-made traffic laws.
Similarly, the religious principles of Bhagavat Dharma are established by the Lord Himself. “dharma sansthapanarthaya sambhavami yuge yuge” (BH Gita 4.8) Those who are very well conversant with the Lord’s Bhagavat dharma are called the twelve Bhagavatas. Yamaraja is one of them. When Yamaraja punishes someone it is not injustice; in fact it is justice according to the law or rules and regulations of the Lord. A soul promoted to higher planets in the mode of goodness or demoted to the lower planets in the mode of ignorance is awarded a suitable body by Yamaraja according to the law-bound administration of his justice department. Yamaraja is the judge of the highest court. That is the ultimate court for the soul. There may be numerous courts on earth with numerous types of laws made by governments. Now it is legalized by our government to kill an infant in the womb. Abortion is permitted according to the constitution of the government. But in the court of Yamaraja, such person will be punished. So government may make any whimsical rules; what can we speak about it?
Alas, if the government could be composed of ‘rajarshis’ or the kings who associate with sages and heed to their advice while ruling over the kingdom! Such kings use their weapons according to scriptural rules – they use shastra (weapon) according to the shaastra (scripture). If they would not understand shaastra, then consult sadhus and acharyas (saintly teachers) before using weapons. That is called ‘anushasan’ or real administration. Anu means to follow and shasan means according to scripture. Sages and saintly teachers are brahmanas representing the head of the social body of the human society. Without listening to the head, if only the hands are working, legs are working or stomach is being filled, then it is called the head-less society having lost the real purpose of life, being direction less.
Yamaraja’s job-description of his servants:
There is a very nice verse about Yamaraja’s orders to his servants to bring to him all the sinful people: Srimad Bhagavatam 6.3.29 –
“jivha na vakti Bhagavat-guna-namadheyam, chetas cha na smarati tat-charanaravindam, Krishnaya no namati yat-shira ekadapi, tan anayadhvam asatah akrita Vishnu-krityan”
Yamaraja said to his servants, “My dear servants, please bring to me only those sinful persons who do not use their tongues to chant the holy name and qualities of Krishna, whose hearts do not remember the lotus feet of Krishna even once, and whose heads do not bow down even once before Lord Krishna. Send me those who do not perform their duties toward Vishnu, which are the only duties in human life. Please bring me all such fools and rascals.”
That means, if a person has even once bowed his head before Krishna, then he is not brought before Yamaraja. Such a great benefit! Bhagavad Gita 2.39 says, Svalpam api asya dharmasya trayate mahato bhayat (a little advancement on this path can protect one from the most dangerous type of fear.) See the Lord is so kind. Even if a person bows before Him only once is protected and is given further opportunities to progress. By bowing down once, he cannot go back to the Lord’s abode, but he is given further opportunity to progress. That person whose tongue doesn’t vibrate even once “Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare, Hare Ram Hare Ram, Ram Ram Hare Hare”, to such a person bring before me, Yamaraja says.
Further while giving the job description to his servants, Yamaraja says in Bhagavatam verse 6.3.28:
tan anayadhvam asato vimukhan Mukunda-padaravinda-makaranda-rasat ajasram –
“My dear servants, bring to me for punishment only persons who are averse to the taste of the honey of the Lotus feet of the Lord, who do not associate with paramahamsas and who are attached to family life and worldly enjoyment, which form the path to hell.”
“Radha-Krishna padaravindam bhajana-nandena mattalikau” – Krishna’s devotees who are engrossed in enjoying the honey of chanting the glories of the lotus feet of Radha and Krishna are not to be touched by the Yamadutas according to this instruction of Yamaraja. In fact, they should not even get an indirect glance of the Yamadutas. Those who wear a kanthi mala are not to be touched because they have a supreme master. Just like the dogs who do not have a neck-belt are traced and captured by the township vans. No one knows the destiny of such dogs. Similarly, Yamadutas also keep away from those who wear Tulasi mala, who chant the names of the Lord with their mouths, whose hearts remember the lotus feet of the Lord.
When Lord Krishna was dancing on the hoods of Kaliya, swiftly landing on that hood which indicated some live force and thus subduing it (Kaliya-damana), at that time the wives of Kaliya (Nagapatnis) prayed to the Lord (Bhagavatam 10.16.33): nyyato hi dandah – The punishment this offender has been subjected to is certainly just.” Your punishment to our husband is very justified, it is well done, we were expecting the same thing to happen one day for the welfare of our husband. This is ‘khala-nigrahaya’ (After all, You have incarnated within this world to curb down envious and cruel persons.) Bhagavad Gita (4.8) says, vinashaya cha duskritam. This is ‘anugraha ayam bhavatau’ – What You have done here is actually mercy for us. There are many other things said by the naga-patnis, but the following is one more prayer by the naga patnis in Srimad Bhagavatam 6.11.25: na naka-pristham, na cha sarva-bhaumam, na paramesthyam, na rasadhipatyam, na yoga-sidhhir apunar-bhavam va, vanchanti yat-pada-rajam prappanah: Those who have attained the dust of Your lotus feet never hanker for the kingship of heaven, limitless sovereignty, the position of Brahma or rulership over the earth. They are not interested even in the perfections of yoga or in liberation itself.
Sri Vishnoho paramam padam. The topmost planet is Vishnu loka. So the naga patnis are also saying the Vedic conclusion about those who have surrendered to the dust of Your lotus feet. Caitanya mahaprabhu has also expressed the same mood: sthita dhuli sadrisham vichintaya – please make me a particle of the dust of Your lotus feet. Those who desire the dust of Your lotus feet want neither heavenly kingship, nor liberation from the cycle of birth and death in the material world. Mahaprabhu says, “mama janma janmanishvare bhavatat bhaktir ahaituki tvayi”. (O almighty Lord, I have no desire to accumulate wealth, nor do I desire beautiful women, nor do I want any number of followers. I only want Your causeless devotional service, birth after birth.)
Material desires reduced to ‘zero’ :
So when we reduce the material desire, hankerings to zero, then this Vishnoho paramam padam is possible. Then we will not desire for any object of this material world. No attachment or greed for anything material. Not asking for any svartha, adhipatya, svamitvah (selfish motive, control or supremacy over any material object) but only desiring for attaining the Lord. This is neti neti – not this – no this; just You O Lord.
The six gosvamis who desired only dust of Lord’s lotus feet:
Raghunatha Das Gosvami established the fact that he had no other material desires or hankerings. He was the son of very wealthy landlord. But he had no attachment to any land or lordship, but wanted Mahaprabhu’s association. The family decided to bound him in married life. But even that did not make him attached to family life. His mind was but over occupied with the name of the Lord. He would run away and the family would bring him back and keep under the control of attendants. But when the Lord pulls a soul towards Himself, all other ropes of the material world are cut off. So Raghunatha Das somehow reached Jagannatha Puri and started begging alms at the entrance of the Puri temple. Heaps of wealth at home – boats full of gold coins. It was all rejected by him.
Sanatana gosvami was the prime minister under the rule of Shahenshah. Dabir Khas and Sakir Mallik were the names given by the Muslim ruler to the two brothers Rupa and Sanatana. Their family names were Amar and Santosh. When Caitanya Mahaprabhu initiated them, they were given the names Rupa and Sanatana. They also had a brother Vallabh who worked as a treasurer under the government. Thus the three brothers were serving at the very important positions in the Muslim government. But when they got attracted to Caitanya Mahaprabhu and met Him at Ramkeli, they had His darshan, meeting, association, Krishna katha, kirtan of Hare Krishna mahamantra, they decided that their services with Shahenshah were meaningless. They resigned from their big designations for the sake of attaining Mahaprabhu, of attaining Krishna. Rupa and Anupam quickly gave up all the services and moved out to meet Mahaprabhu in Vrindavana. Sanatana Gosvami was the prime minister. He obtained a sick leave in the beginning. Under the pretext of sickness, he gathered all the great learned Vedic scholars and began studying Srimad Bhagavatam. The Muslim king found him healthy and well doing, he arrested and imprisoned Sanatana. He bribed the jailor and jumped from the wall. He started walking towards Puri.
Rupa and Anupama who tried to meet with the Lord at Vrindavana could not catch up with Him since Mahaprabhu had already left for Prayag. So they both met Mahaprabhu in Prayag and upon their meeting, Knowing the real identity of Mahaprabhu, Rupa offered this prayer to Mahaprabhu: “namo maha vadanyaya Krishna prema pradayate, Krishnay Krishna Caitanya Gaura tvishe namah.”
Caitanya Mahaprabhu instructed Rupa for ten days and sent the two brothers to Vrindavana. He Himself set for the next travel to Benaras. He stayed with one devotee called Chandrasekhar. One day, a mendicant came to their door. Mahaprabhu told Chandrasekhar to get that person. Chandrasekhar found an ordinary looking person at the door and thought him to be some Muslim mendicant. Thinking that he may not the right person whom Mahaprabhu would like to meet, he announced there was no one. Mahaprabhu insisted upon meeting whosoever was sitting at the door because He knew who was outside. He is sarvagya – omniscient. His eyes are everywhere even though He didn’t have any cameras like today. So Chandrasekhar got this person inside. Mahaprabhu knew that he is Sanatana, my eternal associate and servitor in Vrindavana.
When Mahaprabhu desired to embrace Sanatana, he said, ‘no, no! I am untouchable. I am fallen. My clothes are very soiled.’ But Mahaprabhu very eagerly embraced him and then told him to get clean and wear clean clothers. Later Sanatana remained in Mahaprabhu’s company for two months to receive spiritual instructions from Him.
Just like Rupa Gosvami, Sanatana Gosvami also wrote many books, the four most prominent being
- Bhrihad Bhagavatamrita,
- Vaishnava Toshani (his commentary based on the tenth canto of Srimad Bhagavatam),
- Hari Bhakti Vilas (Standards of behavior, Vaishnava etiquettes and deity worship, various sanskaras) and
- Krishna Stava mala.
Such were the great devotees, who had all the opportunity to obtain honorable public designations, great wealth or beautiful woman; but in fact chose to aspire for only the dust of the lotus feet of Lord Krishna – ‘yat pada-raja prappnah/vanchanti’ – Vishno paramam padam’.
Such were their desires (sankalpas) and they were fulfilled when they took shelter of the lotus feet Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu. They got residence in Vrindavana dham and finally entered the nitya-lila (eternal pastimes) of Lord Krishna in His abode to do nitya-seva (eternal service).
Deserve before desire – how to train oneself to qualify for the desire:
It is said that one must ‘deserve’ before one desires. Anybody can desire. Here in the current verse, it is said to Dhruva maharaja what kind of desires he had in the beginning (achieve a post never dreamed of by his forefathers). And he accordingly prepared for it as well to make him qualified or deserving for such a desire on the basis of his sadhana-dhyana-dharana-tapasya-dham vasa (devotional practices, meditation, austerity and residence in holy places). But he became free from all the material contaminations and was left with but one focus on meditation on the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Later when he was asked what he wanted, he said – nothing! Just the lotus feet of the Lord. Karmi, gyani, yogi? No, just Krishna bhakti.
Krishna-bhakta nishkama, atah eva shanta; bhukti mukti siddhi kami sakali ashanta (Caintanya Caritamrita Madhya 19.149) – Because a devotee of Lord Krishna is desireless, he is peaceful. Fruitive workers desire material enjoyment, gyanis desire liberation, and yogis desire material opulence; therefore they are all lusty and cannot be peaceful.
Rupa Gosvami’s Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu (Nectar of devotion), well known as the science of devotional service (bhakti yoga) is a standard of rules and regulations for all the devotees. We must do our devotion (bhakti) according to this scripture. Sindhu means ocean. He made four sections of this ocean and each chapter was named by him as the waves of this ocean. The devotees can bathe or drown in these waves of this nectarean ocean of devotion.
“Avatirne Gaura Chandre, vistirne prema-sagare” (from the purport of Caitanya Caritamrita Adi 13.123 – The advent of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu is just like an expanding ocean of nectar.)
In this way, Rupa Gosvami expanded the ocean of love of Godhead in his scripture Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu. This book includes many topics on devotional service. Out of the total 64 topics, there are five topmost ones. Even if one is able to barely come in contact with these five topics, it is called as sarva-siddhi – complete perfection.
The five topics are considered important for devotional practitioners (sadhakas)
- Sadhu sanga, (association of saintly persons)
- Nama sankirtan, (chanting of holy names)
- Bhagavat shravan, (reading of Srimad Bhagavatam)
- Mathura vasa, (residence at Mathura)
- Vigraha aradhana (Faithful Deity worship)
First is sadhu sanga. In the holy association one will automatically get to do the other items, namely nama sankirtan, bhagavat shravan, Mathura vasa and vigraha aradhana. Therefore the basic foundation is sadhu sanga. “sadhu sanga, sadhu sanga sarva shastra kaya, lava matra sadhu sanga sarva siddhi haya” (Caitanya Caritamrita Madhya 22.54 – The verdict of all revealed scriptures is that by even a moment’s association with a pure devotee, one can attain all success.)
What is that success? Vishnoho paramam padam. To attain the lotus feet of Lord Krishna is that success.
Q: What is exact position of Dhruva loka in universal sky?
A: Dhurva loka has all the arrangements just like Vishnu loka. Vishnu loka is in Vaikuntha. We can identiy Dhurva star in the night sky. In the army, soldiers are trained how to identify Dhurva star in the night sky in order to determine north if one loses the sense of direction in the dark. Dhruva means fixed, parmenent (sthira). Dhruva loka is a part of (extention of) Vaikuntha or Vishnu loka but is still a part of this material universe. We are able to see this Dhurva loka since it is based within this universe. If it was outside this universe, how could we see it? Planets outside of the universe are not to be seen by us. Just like Sveta Dvipa, which is a part of Brahma loka is a part of this universe (brahmanda), yet is the residing place of Kshirodakashayi Vishnu. In the ocean of milk, Kshirodakashayi Vishnu lies on this Sveta Dvipa. It is like an extension of Vishnu loka. These Vrindavana, Mayapur are also such extensions. Hence there is no difference between this Vrindavana and Goloka Vrindavana. At the time of universal devastation, these abodes are not destroyed, they are kept intact. Similar is this Dhurva loka.
Q: What is the position of Earth in the universal sky?
A: Earth is just one planet. Each loka has many planets. Earth is not a loka. Earth is one planet of Bhuloka. Bharat Varsha is a vast area. There are Sapta dvipa (seven islands) and nine Varshas. Varsha is a part of Dvipa. This is the cosmology. The fourteen planetary systems are situated in the stem of the lotus flower emanating from the lotus naval of Lord Vishnu. The flower of this lotus is the topmost Brahma loka.
Thank you. Hari bol.