|Madhya-līlā||Chapter 23: Life's Ultimate Goal — Love of Godhead|
Bhaktivedanta VedaBase: Śrī Caitanya Caritāmṛta Madhya 23.116
hari-vaḿśe kahiyāche goloke nitya-sthiti
indra āsi' karila yabe śrī-kṛṣṇere stuti
hari-vaḿśe — the revealed scripture known as Hari-vaḿśa; kahiyāche — has told of; goloke — on the planet called Goloka; nitya-sthiti — the eternal situation; indra — King Indra of the heavenly planets; āsi' — coming; karila — offered; yabe — when; śrī-kṛṣṇere stuti — prayers to Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa.
In the revealed scripture Hari-vaḿśa, there is a description of Goloka Vṛndāvana, the planet where Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa eternally resides. This information was given by King Indra when he surrendered to Kṛṣṇa and offered prayers after Kṛṣṇa had raised Govardhana Hill.
In the Vedic scripture Hari-vaḿśa (Viṣṇu-parva, Chapter Nineteen), there is the following description of Goloka Vṛndāvana:
manuṣya-lokād ūrdhvaḿ tu khagānāḿ gatir ucyate
ākāśasyopari ravir dvāraḿ svargasya bhānumān
svargād ūrdhvaḿ brahma-loko brahmarṣi-gaṇa-sevitaḥ
tatra soma-gatiś caiva jyotiṣāḿ ca mahātmanām
tasyopari gavāḿ lokaḥ sādhyās taḿ pālayanti hi
sa hi sarva-gataḥ kṛṣṇaḥ mahā-kāśa-gato mahān
upary upari tatrāpi gatis tava tapo-mayī
yāḿ na vidmo vayaḿ sarve pṛcchanto 'pi pitām aham
gatiḥ śama-damāṭyānāḿ svargaḥ su-kṛta-karmaṇām
brāhmye tapasi yuktānāḿ brahma-lokaḥ parā gatiḥ
gavām eva tu goloko durārohā hi sā gatiḥ
sa tu lokas tvayā kṛṣṇa sīdamānaḥ kṛtātmanā
dhṛto dhṛtimatā vīra nighnatopadravān gavām
When the King of heaven, Indra, surrendered to Kṛṣṇa after Kṛṣṇa had raised Govardhana Hill, Lord Indra stated that above the planetary systems wherein human beings reside is the sky, where birds fly. Above the sky is the sun and its orbit. This is the entrance to the heavenly planets. Above the heavenly planets are other planets, up to Brahmaloka, where those advancing in spiritual knowledge reside. The planets up to Brahmaloka are part of the material world (Devī-dhāma). Because the material world is under the control of Devī, Durgā, it is called Devī-dhāma. Above Devī-dhāma is a place where Lord Śiva and his wife Umā reside. Those brightened by spiritual knowledge and liberated from material contamination reside in that Śivaloka. Beyond that planetary system is the spiritual world, where there are planets called Vaikuṇṭhalokas. Goloka Vṛndāvana is situated above all the Vaikuṇṭhalokas. Goloka Vṛndāvana is the kingdom of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī and the parents of Kṛṣṇa, Mahārāja Nanda and mother Yaśodā. In this way there are various planetary systems, and they are all creations of the Supreme Lord. As stated in the Brahma-saḿhitā (5.43):
goloka-nāmni nija-dhāmni tale ca tasya
devī-maheśa-hari-dhāmasu teṣu teṣu
te te prabhāva-nicayā vihitāś ca yena
govindam ādi-puruṣaḿ tam ahaḿ bhajāmi
"Below the planet named Goloka Vṛndāvana are the planets known as Devī-dhāma, Maheśa-dhāma and Hari-dhāma. These are opulent in different ways. They are managed by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Govinda, the original Lord. I offer my obeisances unto Him."
Thus Goloka Vṛndāvana-dhāma is situated above the Vaikuṇṭha planets. The spiritual sky containing all the Vaikuṇṭha planets is very small compared to Goloka Vṛndāvana-dhāma. The space occupied by Goloka Vṛndāvana-dhāma is called mahākāśa, or "the greatest sky of all." Lord Indra said, "We asked Lord Brahmā about Your eternal planet, but we could not understand it. Those fruitive actors who have controlled their senses and mind with pious activities can be elevated to the heavenly planets. Pure devotees who are always engaged in Lord Nārāyaṇa's service are promoted to the Vaikuṇṭhalokas. However, my Lord Kṛṣṇa, Your Goloka Vṛndāvana-dhāma is very difficult to attain. Yet both You and that supreme planetary system have descended here upon this earth. Unfortunately, I have disturbed You by my misdeeds, and that was due to my foolishness. I am therefore trying to satisfy You by my prayers."
Śrī Nīlakaṇṭha confirms the existence of Goloka Vṛndāvana-dhāma by quoting the Ṛg-saḿhitā (Ṛg Veda 1.154.6):
tā vāḿ vāstūny uśmasi gamadhyai
yatra gāvo bhūri-śṛńgā ayāsaḥ
atrāha tad urugāyasya kṛṣṇaḥ
paramaḿ padam avabhāti bhūri
"We wish to go to Your [Rādhā's and Kṛṣṇa's] beautiful houses, about which cows with large, excellent horns are wandering. Yet distinctly shining on this earth is that supreme abode of Yours that showers joy on all, O Urugāya [Kṛṣṇa, who is much praised]."
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His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda, Founder Ācārya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness