|Canto 2: The Cosmic Manifestation||Chapter 9: Answers by Citing the Lord's Version|
Bhaktivedanta VedaBase: Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 2.9.10
pravartate yatra rajas tamas tayoḥ
sattvaḿ ca miśraḿ na ca kāla-vikramaḥ
na yatra māyā kim utāpare harer
anuvratā yatra surāsurārcitāḥ
pravartate — prevail; yatra — wherein; rajaḥ tamaḥ — the modes of passion and ignorance; tayoḥ — of both of them; sattvam — the mode of goodness; ca — and; miśram — mixture; na — never; ca — and; kāla — time; vikramaḥ — influence; na — neither; yatra — therein; māyā — illusory, external energy; kim — what; uta — there is; apare — others; hareḥ — of the Personality of Godhead; anuvratāḥ — devotees; yatra — wherein; sura — by the demigods; asura — and the demons; arcitāḥ — worshiped.
In that personal abode of the Lord, the material modes of ignorance and passion do not prevail, nor is there any of their influence in goodness. There is no predominance of the influence of time, so what to speak of the illusory, external energy; it cannot enter that region. Without discrimination, both the demigods and the demons worship the Lord as devotees.
The kingdom of God, or the atmosphere of the Vaikuṇṭha nature, which is called the tripād-vibhūti, is three times bigger than the material universes and is described here, as also in the Bhagavad-gītā, in a nutshell. This universe, containing billions of stars and planets, is one of the billions of such universes clustered together within the compass of the mahat-tattva. And all these millions and billions of universes combined together constitute only one fourth of the magnitude of the whole creation of the Lord. There is the spiritual sky also; beyond this sky are the spiritual planets under the names of Vaikuṇṭha, and all of them constitute three fourths of the entire creation of the Lord. God's creations are always innumerable. Even the leaves of a tree cannot be counted by a man, nor can the hairs on his head. However, foolish men are puffed up with the idea of becoming God Himself, though unable to create a hair of their own bodies. Man may discover so many wonderful vehicles of journey, but even if he reaches the moon by his much advertised spacecraft, he cannot remain there. The sane man, therefore, without being puffed up, as if he were the God of the universe, abides by the instructions of the Vedic literature, the easiest way to acquire knowledge in transcendence. So let us know through the authority of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam of the nature and constitution of the transcendental world beyond the material sky. In that sky the material qualities, especially the modes of ignorance and passion, are completely absent. The mode of ignorance influences a living entity to the habit of lust and hankering, and this means that in the Vaikuṇṭhalokas the living entities are free from these two things. As confirmed in the Bhagavad-gītā, in the brahma-bhūta stage of life one becomes free from hankering and lamentation. Therefore the conclusion is that the inhabitants of the Vaikuṇṭha planets are all brahma-bhūta living entities, as distinguished from the mundane creatures who are all compact in hankering and lamentation. When one is not in the modes of ignorance and passion, one is supposed to be situated in the mode of goodness in the material world. Goodness in the material world also at times becomes contaminated by touches of the modes of passion and ignorance. In the Vaikuṇṭhaloka, it is unalloyed goodness only.
The whole situation there is one of freedom from the illusory manifestation of the external energy. Although illusory energy is also part and parcel of the Supreme Lord, illusory energy is differentiated from the Lord. The illusory energy is not, however, false, as claimed by the monist philosophers. The rope accepted as a snake may be an illusion to a particular person, but the rope is a fact, and the snake is also a fact. The illusion of water on the hot desert may be illusion for the ignorant animal searching for water in the desert, but the desert and water are actual facts. Therefore the material creation of the Lord may be an illusion to the nondevotee, but to a devotee even the material creation of the Lord is a fact, as the manifestation of His external energy. But this energy of the Lord is not all. The Lord has His internal energy also, which has another creation known to be the Vaikuṇṭhalokas, where there is no ignorance, no passion, no illusion and no past and present. With a poor fund of knowledge one may be unable to understand the existence of such things as the Vaikuṇṭha atmosphere, but that does not nullify its existence. That spacecraft cannot reach these planets does not mean that there are no such planets, for they are described in the revealed scriptures.
As quoted by Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī, we can know from the Nārada-pañcarātra that the transcendental world or Vaikuṇṭha atmosphere is enriched with transcendental qualities. These transcendental qualities, as revealed through the devotional service of the Lord, are distinct from the mundane qualities of ignorance, passion and goodness. Such qualities are not attainable by the nondevotee class of men. In the Padma Purāṇa, Uttara-khaṇḍa, it is stated that beyond the one-fourth part of God's creation is the three-fourths manifestation. The marginal line between the material manifestation and the spiritual manifestation is the Virajā River, and beyond the Virajā, which is a transcendental current flowing from the perspiration of the body of the Lord, there is the three-fourths manifestation of God's creation. This part is eternal, everlasting, without deterioration, and unlimited, and it contains the highest perfectional stage of living conditions. In the Sāńkhya-kaumudī it is stated that unalloyed goodness or transcendence is just opposite to the material modes. All living entities there are eternally associated without any break, and the Lord is the chief and prime entity. In the Āgama Purāṇas also, the transcendental abode is described as follows: The associated members there are free to go everywhere within the creation of the Lord, and there is no limit to such creation, particularly in the region of the three-fourths magnitude. Since the nature of that region is unlimited, there is no history of such association, nor is there end of it.
The conclusion may be drawn that because of the complete absence of the mundane qualities of ignorance and passion, there is no question of creation nor of annihilation. In the material world everything is created, and everything is annihilated, and the duration of life between the creation and annihilation is temporary. In the transcendental realm there is no creation and no destruction, and thus the duration of life is eternal unlimitedly. In other words, everything in the transcendental world is everlasting, full of knowledge and bliss without deterioration. Since there is no deterioration, there is no past, present and future in the estimation of time. It is clearly stated in this verse that the influence of time is conspicuous by its absence. The whole material existence is manifested by actions and reactions of elements which make the influence of time prominent in the matter of past, present and future. There are no such actions and reactions of cause and effects there, so the cycle of birth, growth, existence, transformations, deterioration and annihilation — the six material changes — are not existent there. It is the unalloyed manifestation of the energy of the Lord, without illusion as experienced here in the material world. The whole Vaikuṇṭha existence proclaims that everyone there is a follower of the Lord. The Lord is the chief leader there, without any competition for leadership, and the people in general are all followers of the Lord. It is confirmed in the Vedas, therefore, that the Lord is the chief leader and all other living entities are subordinate to Him, for only the Lord satisfies all the needs of all other living entities.
Copyright © The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust International, Inc.
His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda, Founder Ācārya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness