No One Falls From Vaikuṇṭha – Part 7 (Bhagavat Sandarbha, 51)

Continuation of the commentary by Satyanarayana Dasa:

It has been shown logically that falling from Vaikuṇṭha is not possible under any circumstances. Nor is there any scriptural evidence to support such an event. However, there are many scriptural texts to the effect that it is impossible to fall down from the spiritual world, regardless of whether one has resided there eternally or has attained it after many lifetimes in the mundane world.

Still, to address any possible remaining doubt, we ask, “Have the nitya-siddhas attained Vaikuṇṭha or not?” If the answer is in the affirmative, then they cannot fall down. If they have not, where are they? They must be in Vaikuṇṭha, otherwise they are not nitya-siddhas. So how is it that they exist in Vaikuṇṭha, but have not attained it? Or is it that they are not in Vaikuṇṭha? If yes, then there is no falldown; and if no, then there is no falldown.

The reason most verses dealing with this subject use verbs like “having attained,” or “after reaching,” is because these instructions are meant for the conditioned souls. The Lord has no need to say this to the nitya-siddhas. First, the nitya-siddhas are not in ignorance of this knowledge. Second, when something is denied, it indicates the possibility of opposite action. If the Lord were to tell a nitya-siddha, “You will never fall because you are my devotee,” this would imply the possibility of falldown, otherwise why the reassurance? But the Lord never says that one can fall from Vaikuṇṭha (nor do they have any experience of this), and thus there is no need to reassure the nitya-siddhas. But the Lord does assure the conditioned souls that His abode is distinct in nature—it is a place of no return. He does this because conditioned souls know from scriptures that one can and does fall from the heavenly planets.

Scriptures inform us about subjects that are unknown to us and which we are unable to know by ourselves—śāstro’jñāta-jñāpakaḥ. Scriptural instructions are meant for the conditioned souls. Perfected souls are called nirgrantha (SB 1.7.10) and dūre-yamā (SB 3.15.25), “beyond the rules and regulations of scripture.” Lord Kṛṣṇa says, “You will step beyond everything that has been heard or is to be heard” (Gītā 2.52).  Pure devotees hear scriptures to relish the Lord’s pastimes, not to be given assurance that they will not fall. For them there is no difference between heaven and hell (SB 6.17.28).

Therefore, Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī says tato’skhalanam—Vaikuṇṭha is a place of no falldown. He did not say “a place of no return,” otherwise he could have said tato’nāvartanam. He knows very well the difference between the two statements. Vaikuṇṭha is called acyuta-padam (SB 4.12.37). This can either mean the place of Lord Acyuta, or the place from where no one falls. Acyuta is a name of the Lord which means, “one who never falls,” and also, “one whose devotees never fall” (na cyavati cyāvayati vā ity acyutaḥ). This is confirmed in Skanda Purāṇa:

His devotees do not fall down even during the great dissolution; therefore, He is supreme, imperishable and omnipresent in all the planetary systems. (SkandaP 4.20.10)

Thus, Kṛṣṇa’s abode is here referred to as acyuta-padam—the place of no falldown. Lord Kṛṣṇa says:

No effort on the yoga path is ever lost, nor can any obstacle ever hold one back forever. Just a little progress on this path can protect one from the greatest fear. (Gītā 2.40)

(to be continued)

Gopal / Vrindavan Art