No One Falls From Vaikuṇṭha – Part 12 (Bhagavat Sandarbha, 51)

Continuation of the commentary by Satyanarayana Dasa:

The Divine Couple Radha and KrishnaSometimes it is suggested that the jīva falls due to being envious of Kṛṣṇa. But as declared earlier, māyā is not present in Vaikuṇṭha, so from where could such envy arise? In Bhagavad Gītā 13.7, the Lord says that hatred, or envy, is connected to the material body.

Some argue that envy arises by seeing Kṛṣṇa enjoying with the gopīs. But it is explained that devotees derive far greater pleasure from serving other devotees, who are in direct association with Kṛṣṇa, than from direct service to Him. Lord Caitanya prayed to become a servant of the servant. Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu considers following in the footsteps of the residents of Vraja to be the highest mood of service. Moreover, Caitanya-caritāmṛta says that the gopīs derive ten thousand times more pleasure by seeing Kṛṣṇa than He does by seeing them. So how could any devotee feel dissatisfied at being a servant? This would mean that the well-propounded devotional conclusion of becoming a servant of the servant is defective. And, ultimately, this notion indicates a defect in Kṛṣṇa for not being able to satisfy His servants. Moreover, not everyone serves Kṛṣṇa directly, so it would imply that there are a lot of envious devotees in Vaikuṇṭha.

Śrīmad Bhāgavatam states that pure bhakti is free from all types of cheating, and is meant only for non-envious devotees (nirmatsarāṇām satām, SB 1.1.2). The Lord also promises in the Gītā, “I arrange for the provision of what they lack and the preservation of what they have” (yoga-kṣema vahāmy aham, Gītā 9.22). So when the devotee is by nature free from envy, and in fact all forms of ego-centrism, and the Lord has unlimited capacity for provision and care, how could anyone feel dissatisfied, become envious and leave?

Moreover, if the jīvas do fall, do they do so only from Kṛṣṇaloka, and not from other Vaikuṇṭha planets? Were this the case, then Kṛṣṇaloka would have to be considered inferior to the Vaikuṇṭha planets, owing to its being less secure. This proposal contradicts scriptures like the Brahma-saṁhitā, which describes Kṛṣṇaloka as the highest realm. Secondly, if everyone falls from Kṛṣṇaloka only, why is it that later on some become devotees of other avatāras, like Rāma, or Nṛsiṁha, and end up in Vaikuṇṭha? This would mean they are not going back to their original home, but to a new home. How could they change their natural disposition of love for Kṛṣṇa to some other avatāra?

Were it possible to fall from Vaikuṇṭha, Yudhiṣṭhira Mahārāja’s question to Nārada Muni regarding Jaya and Vijaya’s descent would be meaningless:

What kind of horrible curse could affect even liberated Viṣṇu bhaktas, and what sort of person could curse even the Lord’s associates? For unflinching devotees of the Lord to take birth in this material world is impossible. I cannot believe this [story of Jaya and Vijaya’s being cursed]. The bodies of the inhabitants of Vaikuṇṭha are completely spiritual, having nothing to do with the material body, senses or life air. Therefore, kindly explain how associates of the Supreme Person were cursed to descend in material bodies like ordinary people. (SB 7.1.34-35)

The concept of nitya-baddha, or perpetually bound, is not easy to grasp. Comprehension normally functions by processing ideas and events with reference to our material experience, which concerns objects and actions that have a beginning and an end. If the word nitya (eternal) in nitya-baddha is applied strictly, it would imply that the bondage of the jīva is without beginning or end. All wisdom traditions accept that the jīva can be liberated from bondage. .Therefore, nitya does not apply to the future in the sense of endless. Rather, it implies indefinite continuance till the moment of awakening. Now, if a soul were to fall from Vaikuṇṭha, their bondage would begin at that point, in which case the term nitya would have no bearing in respect to the past. So from the perspective of both future and past, the term would lose all significance. Then why use the word nitya at all? Or why use the word anādi (beginningless), in nitya-baddha and anādi-karma, when the fall signals a definite beginning? Why not just say that we are baddha instead of saying nitya-baddha?

Some interpret the term anādi in a non-technical sense as time immemorial. This lack of precision, however, is misleading because it implies that the origin of our conditioned state cannot be traced simply because it occured so long ago. That is not the case. Rather, we cannot trace the beginning because it is without beginning. How can you trace out something that does not even exist, since material bondage is in truth nothing other than the beginningless non-existence of awareness of the Real?

If one falls from Vaikuṇṭha, how can it be considered superior to the material heavenly planets? One may answer that everyone without exception must fall from heaven, but only those who have never been to the material world are subject to falling from Vaikuṇṭha, so it is superior in this sense. But where is the śāstric evidence for such a proposal? Vaikuṇṭha is a place free from anxiety. The three-fold miseries do not exist there. The residents there do not suffer from the pangs of birth, death, disease and old age. If the threat of falling from there existed, the residents would be in anxiety about it. And the more joy a resident experiences there, the more anxiety he would feel at the prospect of losing it. Since the bliss experienced in Vaikuṇṭha is superior even to the bliss of Brahman (brahmānanda), the anxiety of losing it would have to be immense. But who would accept that Vaikuṇṭha is a place of anxiety, much less, the place of supreme anxiety? What to speak of falling down, one can not even slip, which is why Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī has used the word askhalanam and not apatanam!

So, the conclusion is that the living being does not fall from Vaikuṇṭha. And the good news is that although we are nitya-baddhas—perpetually bound—we can achieve liberation and become nitya-muktas.

Thus ends the commentary of Satyanarayana Dasa on Anuccheda 50

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