God and The Absolute Truth

Who is God? What is the Absolute Truth? Does all God do is work to keep us all in line? What gives?

J Raul C, 12th November 2016

Hare Krishna!!

All Glories to Srila Prabhupada and Gurudeva!!

vancha-kalpa-tarubhyashcha

kripa-sindhubhya eva cha

patitanam pavanebhyo

vaishnavebhyo namo namaha

Dear devotees,

Please help me to understand the conception of God and the conception of Absolute Truth.

I have read and heard so many times in the scriptures and purports that God is Krishna and at the same time we talk about Absolute Truth as the supreme person or param satyam also we know Krishna as the Supreme Person

Please elaborate as God and Absolute Truth are not on the same level.

Thank you kindly,
J Raul C.

Premananda das, 12th November 2016

Hare Krsna Vaisnavas

Please accept my humble obeisances
All glories to Srila Prabhupada

God means controller and Absolute Truth means the source and end of everything and all the energies that exist.

Actually the conception of Absolute Truth is way beyond God.

Absolute Truth actually makes an impression on the mind that it is not just a religious enthusiasm but profound philosophy.
It answers the most important question that He is the origin and destination of everything.

In the Srimad Bhagavatam Canto 1.1.1 it is explained that Krsna is beginning and end of everything and it also defeats the idea that matter is the source of creation which is prominent in today’s modern world.

It is not only om namo bhagavate not vague but it is Vasudevaya son of Vasudeva and Devaki primeval Bhagawan.

This list is check point of whether someone is God and Absolute Truth.

Absolute Truth is Sri Krsna son of Vasudeva and Devaki.

oṁ namo bhagavate vāsudevāya
janmādy asya yato ’nvayād itarataś cārtheṣv abhijñaḥ svarāṭ
 tene brahma hṛdā ya ādi-kavaye muhyanti yat sūrayaḥ
tejo-vāri-mṛdāṁ yathā vinimayo yatra tri-sargo ’mṛṣā
 dhāmnā svena sadā nirasta-kuhakaṁ satyaṁ paraṁ dhīmahi

O my Lord, Śrī Kṛṣṇa, son of Vasudeva, O all-pervading Personality of Godhead, I offer my respectful obeisances unto You. I meditate upon Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa because He is the Absolute Truth and the primeval cause of all causes of the creation, sustenance and destruction of the manifested universes. He is directly and indirectly conscious of all manifestations, and He is independent because there is no other cause beyond Him. It is He only who first imparted the Vedic knowledge unto the heart of Brahmājī, the original living being. By Him even the great sages and demigods are placed into illusion, as one is bewildered by the illusory representations of water seen in fire, or land seen on water. Only because of Him do the material universes, temporarily manifested by the reactions of the three modes of nature, appear factual, although they are unreal. I therefore meditate upon Him, Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa, who is eternally existent in the transcendental abode, which is forever free from the illusory representations of the material world. I meditate upon Him, for He is the Absolute Truth.

He is the source and end of everything.
He is supremely conscious and independent.
He is the original source of all knowledge.
He is the original source of bewilderment.
He makes the three worlds appear real like mirage.
He resides in the eternal abode free from illusion.
He is the highest Truth to be mediated upon.(Son of Vasudeva)

your servant

Premananda Das

Mahabhagavat Das SDA, 16th November 2016

Dear Sriman Raul,

Hare Krishna!

Please accept my humble obeisances.
All glories to Srila Gurudeva.
All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

Who is “God” – this is the generic name for some kind of administrative and executive function/position in the creation, maintenance, and dissolution of the manifestation. Actually Krishna is greater than “God”, because Krishna is the source of “God”.

It is like saying “Man”, does not identify a specific individual but a class of individual.

This is why Srila Prabhupada used the phrase “Supreme Personality of Godhead” to describe Krishna, though he did call Krishna God in some specific contexts, like when he explained the phrase “krishnas tu bhagavan svayam”.

There are many “gods”, like for example each of us control something in our own and others’ lives… and because Krishna expands Himself unlimitedly in Vishnu Tattva expansions actually one can say that there are also many “Gods”… but the “gods” and “Gods” are all servant Gods, and everyone is ultimately serving Krishna in some way or another.

A riverhead is the source of a river. A river is a continuously flowing stream of water… even though we say “here is a river”, it is not the same at any two moments – the water in it is different at every moment practically.

Similarly, “God” is a concept that is impossible to explain materially, and is dynamic. Krishna is the source of that infinite dynamism, the source of the power of all powers, all energies, all living entities. If the word Godhead is considered, then that Godhead is the Source of “God”, but that Source of God has many many personalities, like Balarama, Sankarshana, Pradyumna, Aniruddha, and then the second set of those, Maha Vishnu Garbhodakashayi Vishnu, Kshirodakashayi Vishnu, etc.

We read from the Srimad Bhagvatam how Krishna expands “bahu syam” (I shall be many) into different types of expansions, “svamsha” or Vishnu Tattva expansions, and “vibbinamsha” or separated jiva expansions. Then there are the shaktis, the shiva tattva. There are the potencies of hladini, sandhini, samvit, and so many further expansions and so much complexity in the spiritual and material manifestation.

But in the end, Krishna has nothing to do, He simply plays His flute, and enjoys pastimes with His associates, no “duty” to do, like having to keep track of who is doing what, punishment and reward, that is the “God” function which is played by His arrangements in so many elaborate ways.

I hope this helps.

your servant,
Mahabhagavat Das

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Love and devotion!

Yamini Narang, 25/07/2015

Hare Krishna!

Please accept my humble obeisances
All glories to Srila prabhupada

What is difference between love and devotion?

your servant,
Yamuna dd
Bhakta Sunil, 27/07/2015

Hare Krishna

Please accept my humble respects
All Glories to Srila Prabhupada


We all want love and to be loved. This is the most natural thing in the world. It is the purpose of our existence. Lets see what Srila Prabhupada has to say about what real love is and where we can find it. And then let us hear from a beautiful professional prostitute on true love (now that I got your attention read on).

Prabhupada: The…just the opposite word of kama is prema, love.

So in the material world there cannot be prema. Prema means love. The prema is only possible in the spiritual world. Here, what is going on as love, that is not love, that is lust. A boy loves a girl, a girl loves a boy. That is not love, that is lust. As soon as there is some disturbance in lusty affair, they divorce. So therefore that is not love. So we should note it, that so-called love is bogus in this material world. Love cannot be possible. This very word love, prema, is specially reserved for Krsna. Prema pum-artho mahan. That is Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s preaching, that the highest perfection of life is to evoke one’s dormant love for Krsna.

The love is there. It is reserved for Krsna, but due to our foolishness, we are distributing that love in so many ways, up to the dog. This is called illusion. We do not know where to apply love. If you see, all these words is touched with the word kama, kama. Kama means lust. There is no question of love. And love … Prema and kama is described in Caitanya-caritamrta. What is prema and what is… prema and kama. Atmendriya-priti-vancha tara bali kama [Cc. Adi 4.165]. Kama. What is lust? Atmendriya-priti, to satisfy one’s own senses. That is kama. Here, a boy and girl love. They say “love,” but no, it is not love. The boy wants to satisfy his senses, and the girl wants to satisfy her senses. That’s all. Therefore, atmendriya-priti-vancha. Everyone is trying to satisfy her own senses. That is kama. Lust. And then, what is prema? Krsnendriya-priti-iccha dhare prema nama. When the same propensity is transferred for satisfying Krsna’s senses… just like gopis.

The superexcellence of gopis is due that they wanted to satisfy Krsna. They dressed very nicely because they thought that “Krsna become very pleased seeing us nicely dressed.” Not that … In this material world, a woman or a girl dress very nicely just to attract the opposite sex for his sense gratification. That’s all. So everyone, all this description is given there: brahma-varcasa-kama, virya-kama, then vasu-kama. Devim mayam tu sri-kamah. Sri. (aside) You can stand near the wall. Others may not… Sri means beauty. In the Durga-puja, Devi-puja, they ask… After offering Mother Durga all sorts of paraphernalia, then they puspanjali, they pray favor, dhanam dehi rupam dehi balam dehi. Dehi dehi. Dehi means “give me.” After puja… Therefore it is called puja. Puja, just like in business circle, if you want to take some business from a big merchant, so you satisfy him, flatter him, and sometimes invite him in hotel and give him nice dinner.

In this way, after he is satisfied, “Sir, if you kindly give me this contract.” (laughter)
(Srimad-Bhagavatam 2.3.1-3 – Los Angeles, May 22, 1972)

Srimati Pingala, from the Srimad Bhagavatam, an expert in the arts of so called “lovemaking” (who was once a prostitute and later became a fully self realized soul) very nicely elaborates on this point and reminds us where to repose our loving tendency so we may actually achieve the love of our hearts!

The prostitute Pingala said: I am such a fool that I have given up the service of that person who, being eternally situated within my heart, is actually most dear to me. That most dear one is the Lord of the universe, who is the bestower of real love and happiness and the source of all prosperity. Although He is in my own heart, I have completely neglected Him. Instead I have ignorantly served insignificant men who can never satisfy my real desires and who have simply brought me unhappiness, fear, anxiety, lamentation and illusion.
(SB 11.8.31)

— courtesy of Devotee Blog

Hope this helps,

Bhakta Sunil

Mahabhagavat Das SDA, 27th July 2015

Dear Mother Yamuna,

Please accept my humble obeisances.
All glories to Srila Prabhupada!

Congratulations on your spiritual initiation! All glories to your spiritual master!

There can be a big discussion about this, especially in the linguistic and semantic sense, in some cases they are synonyms, in some cases not.

Dut in short, devotion is the key symptom of love. Without devotion, any love professed, whether material or spiritual, is false.

Now, as per Sriman Sunil’s quotes of Srila Prabhupada – only that which seeks to satisfy Krishna is love, and the steps taken to serve Krishna and His devotees is ‘devotional’ service. Of course, devotional service can be performed without love also. For example I am chanting Hare Krishna every day but I have no love for Krishna. But it is impossible to actually love Krishna without also performing devotional service.

Anyone who claims to love Krishna but does not perform devotional service is not being truthful, but for someone who is performing devotional service, love for Krishna is guaranteed, in fact, it is actually love for Krishna, only the devotee does not perceive due to lingering material inebriation.

Sincerely,
Mahabhagavat Das
Yamini Narang, 31st July 2015

Hare Krishna!

Please accept my humble obeisances
All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

Dear Mahabhagavat Prabhu,
Thank you very much for he best wishes and reply but I’m not yet initiated. You can a at it’s just that I’m renamed by senior devotees our of love. But yes, by all of your prayers and blessings I’m hopefully going to be initiated as my guru comes back to india in early October this year or around match next year!

Well, coming back.. Thank you very much for your reply. I had a doubt because I often heard “serve your guru and Krsna with love and devotion”.. So wanted to inquire what’s the difference between the two! And my doubt is pretty much cleared.

Thank you!
Please forgive for any offences committed!

yours in service to Srila prabhupada,
Yamuna dd

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Understanding the Kingdom of God

Gusti Nyoman Ambara, 14th June 2013

Hare Krishna

Please accept my humble obeisances,
All glories to Srila Gurudeva and Gurumataji,
All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

The kingdom of the Lord is so glorious because not only that kingdom is eternal, full of knowledge and all blissful, but also it is spiritual, full of variegatedness and free from anxieties, Srila Prabhupada explained in the beginning of purport to SB 3.15.15 that this kingdom cannot be understood by any process other than hearing from the description of the Vedas.

There are many informations describing situation in the kingdom written in Srimad Bhagavatam, Srimad Bhagavad Gita and Sri Brahma Samhita. Here are some of them :
That supreme abode of Mine is not illumined by the sun or moon, nor by fire or electricity. Those who reach it never return to this material world (BG 15.6).
I worship Govinda, the primeval Lord, the first progenitor who is tending the cows, yielding all desire, in abodes built with spiritual gems, surrounded by millions of purpose trees, always served with great reverence and affection by hundreds of thousands of lakshmis or gopis (Bs 5.29).
Lowest of all is located Devi-dhama (mundane world), next above it is Mahesa-dhama (abode of Mahesa); above Mahesa-dhama is placed Hari-dhama (abode of Hari) and above them all is located Krishna’s own realm named Goloka. I adore the primeval Lord Govinda, who has allotted their respective authorities to the rulers of those graded realms (Bs 5.43).
In the Vaikuntha planets all the residents are similar in form to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. They all engage in devotional service to the Lord without desires for sense gratification (SB 3.15.14).
In the Vaikuntha planets is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is the original person and who can be understood through the Vedic literature. He is full of the uncontaminated mode of goodness, with no place for passion or ignorance. He contributes religious progress for the devotees (SB 3.15.15).
In those Vaikuntha planets there are many forests which are very auspicious. In those forests the trees are desire trees, and in all seasons they are filled with flowers and fruits because everything in the Vaikuëöha planets is spiritual and personal (SB 3.15.16).
In the Vaikuntha planets the inhabitants fly in their airplanes, accompanied by their wives and consorts, and eternally sing of the character and activities of the Lord, which are always devoid of all inauspicious qualities. While singing the glories of the Lord, they deride even the presence of the blossoming mädhavi flowers, which are fragrant and laden with honey (SB 3.15.17).
When the king of bees hums in a high pitch, singing the glories of the Lord, there is a temporary lull in the noise of the pigeon, the cuckoo, the crane, the cakravaka, the swan, the parrot, the partridge and the peacock. Such transcendental birds stop their own singing simply to hear the glories of the Lord (SB 3.15.18).
Although flowering plants like the mandara, kunda, kurabaka, utpala, campaka, arna, punnaga, nagakesara, bakula, lily and parijata are full of transcendental fragrance, they are still conscious of the austerities performed by tulasi, for tulasi is given special preference by the Lord, who garlands Himself with tulasi leaves (SB 3.15.19).
The inhabitants of Vaikuntha travel in their airplanes made of lapis lazuli, emerald and gold. Although crowded by their consorts, who have large hips and beautiful smiling faces, they cannot be stimulated to passion by their mirth and beautiful charms (SB 3.15.20).
The ladies in the Vaikuntha planets are as beautiful as the goddess of fortune herself. Such transcendentally beautiful ladies, their hands playing with lotuses and their leg bangles tinkling, are sometimes seen sweeping the marble walls, which are bedecked at intervals with golden borders, in order to receive the grace of the Supreme Personality of Godhead (SB 3.15.21).
The goddesses of fortune worship the Lord in their own gardens by offering tulasi leaves on the coral-paved banks of transcendental reservoirs of water. While offering worship to the Lord, they can see on the water the reflection of their beautiful faces with raised noses, and it appears that they have become more beautiful because of the Lord’s kissing their faces (SB 3.15.22).
After reading them, some questions appear in my mind. I humbly beg you to help me deepen my understanding  in this topic. Please forgive me for my offensive and inappropriate questions.
Is Mahesa-dhama an eternal realm like the Vaikunthas or is it somewhat similar to Devi-dhama which will be annihilated in due course of time?
For the resident of the spiritual kingdom there is no question of birth, death, old age and disease, and therefore they are not anxious (Purport to SB 3.15.13). Does it mean that time is eternal there? Is it always “now” there? How to understand the eternity of time?
Srila Prabhupada explained in purport to BG 15.6 that all the planets in the spiritual sky are self-luminous. Does it mean that it is always daylight without any night in the spiritual kingdom? Therefore, is sleeping activity needed or there is no need for sleeping activity there? Do the inhabitants there never get tired?
Regarding lakshmis which is mentioned in Bs 5.29, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati explained in the purport that lakshmi denotes gopi. In the purport to SB 3.15.21, Srila Prabhupada explained that these millions and trillions of goddesses of fortune who reside in the Vaikuntha planets are not exactly consorts of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, but are the wives of the devotees of the Lord and also engage in the service of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. If I am not mistaken, lakshmi is shakti-tattva and gopi is jiva-tattva. Why the gopis or the wives of the devotees in the spiritual sky were considered to be the lakshmis?
Srila Prabhupada explained that spiritual variegatedness means that everything is animate.There is nothing inanimate. Even the trees, the ground, the plants, the flowers, the birds and the beasts are all on the level of Krishna consciousness  (Purport to SB 3.15.18). My understanding is that all of them are liberated jivas who obtain their most suitable spiritual forms and rasas to serve the Lord. In this case, is it a free choice to serve The Lord in a particular form and rasa or it is determined by the Lord Himself?
The resident of Vaikuntha are similar in form to the Lord, which is four handed. Is it sarupya-mukti? Is the form obtained in sarupya mukti is always the four handed form? Or is there any other form similar to any of unlimited Lord’s form which also can be obtained?
Regarding the term “wife” and “consort” used in the verses, is there any classification between male-female or man-woman in spiritual sky? How to understand this? Is catur-ashrama (brahmacari, grhasta, wanaprashta, sanyasa) also performed there? So there are marriages and family life there. Since there are no birth, does it mean that the families there never have offspring?
In Vaikunthaloka there is no occupation but the service of the Lord, and this service is not rendered with a purpose. Although every service has a particular result, the devotees never aspire for the fulfillment of their own desires; their desires are fulfilled by rendering transcendental loving service to the Lord (purport to SB 3.15.14). Being having direct association with the Lord, is arcanam still performed there? Are there also temples there? How do they prepare food and drink for prasadam? Do they have to cook or do they obtain them instantly from the desire trees and the surabhis?
The spiritual (cit) potency has built the spiritual world of transcendental gems or cintamani (purport to Bs 5.29). What kind of buildings are there in the spiritual sky? How do the bulidings look like and how are they designed? For example, do the houses have bedrooms, kitchens, bathrooms or restrooms/toilets (I mean, do the inhabitants also need sleeping, cooking, bathing and evacuation?)
Thank you very much. Please again, forgive my offensive and inappropriate questions.

your insignificant servant,
Gusti Nyoman Ambara

Mahabhagavat Das SDA, 14th June 2013

Dear Gusti,

We will answer those questions which I do know the answers to, but bottom-line is that you’re going to have to go to the spiritual world to find out for yourself. Qualify yourself to see Krishna face-to-face, as Srila Gurudeva was instructed by Srila Prabhupada.

Sincerely,
Mahabhagavat Das

Gusti Nyoman Ambara, 18th June 2013

Hare Krishna

Dear Mahabhagavat Prabhuji,

Please accept my humble obeisances,
All glories to Srila Gurudeva and Gurumataji,
All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

Thank you very much for your answer. It is very true.
Thank you.

your insignificant servant,
Gusti Nyoman Ambara

Mahabhagavat Das SDA, 18th June 2013

Dear Gusti,

Hare Krishna!

OK, here are answers to those questions where I have authoritative information from hearing or reading from those firmly situated in Parampara. But I am a conditioned nitya baddha, so I cannot fully answer any of these questions. I may not even be able to clarify any further than this.

1. Is Mahesa-dhama an eternal realm like the Vaikunthas or is it somewhat similar to Devi-dhama which will be annihilated in due course of time?
It is not fully eternal, it is semi-eternal, but for practical purposes it is eternal from our perspective in devi dham. Lord Sadashiva is the glance of Maha Vishnu impregnating the womb of material nature with souls who desire to lord it over material nature. Mahesha dham, the abode of Sadashiva, exists so long as there is a need for the material universes to exist. As per Srila Gurudeva, if an infinitesimal fraction of souls from an infinite number of souls desire to lord it over material nature, then practically, there will be an infinite number of souls in the material world. Srila Prabhupada says in his purport to SB 1.3.1 (I made certain items bold):

“In the Bhagavad-gītā it is also mentioned that the material world is created at certain intervals and then again destroyed. This creation and destruction is done by the supreme will because of the conditioned souls, or the nitya-baddha living beings. The nitya-baddha, or the eternally conditioned souls, have the sense of individuality or ahańkāra, which dictates them sense enjoyment, which they are unable to have constitutionally. The Lord is the only enjoyer, and all others are enjoyed. The living beings are predominated enjoyers. But the eternally conditioned souls, forgetful of this constitutional position, have strong aspirations to enjoy. The chance to enjoy matter is given to the conditioned souls in the material world, and side by side they are given the chance to understand their real constitutional position. Those fortunate living entities who catch the truth and surrender unto the lotus feet of Vāsudeva after many, many births in the material world join the eternally liberated souls and thus are allowed to enter into the kingdom of Godhead. After this, such fortunate living entities need not come again within the occasional material creation. But those who cannot catch the constitutional truth are again merged into the mahat-tattva at the time of the annihilation of the material creation. When the creation is again set up, this mahat-tattva is again let loose.This mahat-tattva contains all the ingredients of the material manifestations, including the conditioned souls. Primarily this mahat-tattva is divided into sixteen parts, namely the five gross material elements and the eleven working instruments or senses. It is like the cloud in the clear sky. In the spiritual sky, the effulgence of Brahman is spread all around, and the whole system is dazzling in spiritual light. The mahat-tattva is assembled in some corner of the vast, unlimited spiritual sky, and the part which is thus covered by the mahat-tattva is called the material sky. This part of the spiritual sky, called the mahat-tattva, is only an insignificant portion of the whole spiritual sky, and within this mahat-tattva there are innumerable universes. All these universes are collectively produced by the Kāraṇodakaśāyī Viṣṇu, called also the Mahā-Viṣṇu, who simply throws His glance to impregnate the material sky.”

From this we can understand better if we meditate and reflect upon this.

2. For the resident of the spiritual kingdom there is no question of birth, death, old age and disease, and therefore they are not anxious (Purport to SB 3.15.13). Does it mean that time is eternal there? Is it always “now” there? How to understand the eternity of time?

Yes, time is eternal everywhere, time is a feature of Krishna. Yes, correct, in the spiritual world it is the eternal ever-present. Not that time is not present, but the negative effects of time are absent. It is not that time does not pass, for example, there are seasons in Goloka, and day and night etc., but everything is meant to facilitate the pastimes of Krishna, there is no sense of loss of passing, it is one adventure after another, one sweetness after another. In the material world, there is anxiety for things past, lamentation that they didn’t come or last longer. Also there is anxiety for future promises, of long life, wealth, health, beauty, prestige, sense gratification, relationships, friendship, love, etc., and most of them do not materialize and therefore cause lamentation again… so anxiety for the future, dissatisfaction of the present, and lamentation for the past are the characteristics of the material world. But this eternal ever-present can be experienced also in the material world by those who are situated in spiritual consciousness. If you want to observe this, see a spiritual master parting from the disciples, the disciples are in lamentation (and rightly so) but spiritual master does not manifest that same lamentation. Spiritual master knows that he will be with the sincere disciples even while “away” and for all time to come. Same experience is had by advanced or perfected chanters of Hare Krishna Mahamantra. You might also have this experience when you are deeply and purely engrossed in some service or celebration, you don’t feel tired, you don’t feel hungry or thirsty, you don’t feel the passage of time, and you don’t have any space to think of past, present, or future, you are not thinking “am I enjoying, am I happy, am I OK”, simply you are engrossed in the service or celebration completely. That “zone” is the eternal privilege of the residents of the spiritual world.
3. Srila Prabhupada explained in purport to BG 15.6 that all the planets in the spiritual sky are self-luminous. Does it mean that it is always daylight without any night in the spiritual kingdom? Therefore, is sleeping activity needed or there is no need for sleeping activity there? Do the inhabitants there never get tired?

There is day and night, but not the kind of night which is manifested of ignorance. It is a night which facilitates Krishna’s pastimes with His devotees. Sleeping etc., are available, but they are again of the nature of pastimes, leela, no one has a material body, so the tiredness, fatigue, etc., it is all simply to increase the varieties of enjoyments. For example, when Krishna and Balaram are out with the cowherd boys in the forest, after taking lunch, sometimes Krishna gets “tired” and “goes to sleep”, but this is simply to give an opportunity for His friends to fan Him, bring Him a refreshing drink, etc. And Krishna enjoys this loving reciprocation.

4. Regarding lakshmis which is mentioned in Bs 5.29, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati explained in the purport that lakshmi denotes gopi. In the purport to SB 3.15.21, Srila Prabhupada explained that these millions and trillions of goddesses of fortune who reside in the Vaikuntha planets are not exactly consorts of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, but are the wives of the devotees of the Lord and also engage in the service of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. If I am not mistaken, lakshmi is shakti-tattva and gopi is jiva-tattva. Why the gopis or the wives of the devotees in the spiritual sky were considered to be the lakshmis?

The Gopis are all Lakshmis. There is not only one but billions and trillions of Lakshmis. Maha Lakshmidevi herself is an expansion of Radharani (though the details of how are unknown to me). In the spiritual world, the husband-wife relationship is not based on a false sense of proprietorship (mamaaham) but on the basis of service to Krishna (as Bhaktivinode Thakura sings in his famous manasa deha geha song) – “Mind, body, family, everything I own I offer at Your lotus feet, O Nanda-kishora!” We should not extrapolate our knowledge of the perverted marriage relationship as known in the material world to the pure devotees marriage relationships or the marriage relationships in the spiritual world. The jiva tattva is “tatastha shakti – marginal potency” and must always act under other potency, for example, in material world, the conditioned jiva acts under maya shakti. A pure devotee in Goloka Vrindavana acts under yoga maya and is under the hladini shakti. The spiritual master for example, acts in the potency of Sri Balarama – samvit.
5. Srila Prabhupada explained that spiritual variegatedness means that everything is animate.There is nothing inanimate. Even the trees, the ground, the plants, the flowers, the birds and the beasts are all on the level of Krishna consciousness  (Purport to SB 3.15.18). My understanding is that all of them are liberated jivas who obtain their most suitable spiritual forms and rasas to serve the Lord. In this case, is it a free choice to serve The Lord in a particular form and rasa or it is determined by the Lord Himself?

Krishna reciprocates as per the pure devotee’s desire. It is not some sort of “here, I will put you in your place, and you stay there you little jiva”. It is purely voluntary by Krishna’s grace. The pure devotee who takes the form of a blade of grass in Goloka Vrindavana is totally blissed out experiencing the touch of Krishna’s lotus feet upon His head, the touch of the cows’ feet, the touch of the devotees’ feet, and takes great pleasure in providing the perfect sensation of softness and support, taking his service very seriously. He experiences the nectar of the dust of the lotus feet of Krishna and His devotees. With his fellow blades of grass, they sing Krishnakatha and have kirtan endlessly, eat from the dust of Vrindavana and drink from the nectarean rain that falls from the sky in the spiritual world, they breathe the magical air of Goloka. He gets taken by the cows (willingly and eagerly, because there is no pain or suffering, just voluntary loving devotional service) and transformed into the most flavorful milk for Krishna, and renews himself with an even better wonderful grass body, and his service is in producing the best texture for Krishna’s foot, the most flavorful taste that will go in harmony to produce the most heavenly fragrant milk, with the help of the cow who is taking service from so many blades of grass in her service to Krishna. Then this milk is transformed into the most delightful of preparations by those exalted gopis and mother Yashoda. It is all interconnected and wonderfully woven into endless pleasure for Krishna, and of course, everyone enjoys with Him. It is only in material conception that I think that a blade of grass is insignificant. Krishna does not fail to notice ANYTHING or ANYONE. Right now, Krishna is missing the flavor of service that I can provide Him, so foolish I am that I deprive Him of my service.

6. The resident of Vaikuntha are similar in form to the Lord, which is four handed. Is it sarupya-mukti? Is the form obtained in sarupya mukti is always the four handed form? Or is there any other form similar to any of unlimited Lord’s form which also can be obtained?

Yes, sarupya mukti. There is always a distinction between the form of the Lord and His associates… we see the description of the 2 associates of the Lord, Nanda and Sunanda who came to fetch Dhruva Maharaja in the Vaikuntha flying vehicle… same thing with Jaya and Vijaya, they are all not facsimile copies, they are each unique with those features of 4 handed, same complexion etc. Why don’t you tell me which form you got once you get it? 🙂 Better still, when you go there, you beg and plead with Krishna and please come back for me.
7. Regarding the term “wife” and “consort” used in the verses, is there any classification between male-female or man-woman in spiritual sky? How to understand this? Is catur-ashrama (brahmacari, grhasta, wanaprashta, sanyasa) also performed there? So there are marriages and family life there. Since there are no birth, does it mean that the families there never have offspring?

There is definitely a clear distinction between male and female in the spiritual world. There, the service relationship with Krishna defines the body, not karma as in the material world. For example, The varnashrama system is there, but is not enforced or unnatural and there are no imperfections there, everyone is in their natural position and blissfully happy in their service to Krishna and His devotees. perverted sex life is not present in the spiritual world. The reason for this sex life is to enable birth. Birth is a misery, and is absent in the spiritual world, except when the spiritual world appears on the material plane, such as in Gokula Vrindavan.

8. In Vaikunthaloka there is no occupation but the service of the Lord, and this service is not rendered with a purpose. Although every service has a particular result, the devotees never aspire for the fulfillment of their own desires; their desires are fulfilled by rendering transcendental loving service to the Lord (purport to SB 3.15.14). Being having direct association with the Lord, is arcanam still performed there? Are there also temples there? How do they prepare food and drink for prasadam? Do they have to cook or do they obtain them instantly from the desire trees and the surabhis?

Yes, archanam is definitely performed, but it can be done effortlessly, not like someone has to struggle to bathe, cleanse, get the paraphernalia together, etc. Yes, there are temples also to facilitate the pastimes, remember, in Goloka, no one believes Krishna is God 🙂 There is no need to struggle to prepare anything, just think of how you want to serve Krishna, and this manifests itself effortlessly and naturally. There is the activity of cooking etc., but it is not a chore or any effort. It just flows. I have personally seen how some devotees can conjure up a feast seemingly out of thin air! Have you seen Gurumataji’s feasts? She can prepare 20+ items in no time at all. And each item is PERFECT. This is a manifestation of the spiritual world in the material realm, just to give us a glimpse of what it is like on the other side.
9. The spiritual (cit) potency has built the spiritual world of transcendental gems or cintamani (purport to Bs 5.29). What kind of buildings are there in the spiritual sky? How do the bulidings look like and how are they designed? For example, do the houses have bedrooms, kitchens, bathrooms or restrooms/toilets (I mean, do the inhabitants also need sleeping, cooking, bathing and evacuation?)

The buildings are exactly what is needed for Krishna’s pastimes. In Vaikuntha, everything is palatial, even the servants quarters are palaces. In Goloka, there are sweet huts, little shelters, goshalas, and homes. But everything is of a very high standard, not needing mundane maintenance etc. They can eat unlimitedly but have no need to evacuate. Evacuation is needed due to mundane material embarrassment of having a material body! A material body is “avidya jaal”, a network of ignorance. So its byproducts are nasty and horrible. But a purely spiritual body, consuming purely spiritual food, does not create any material nasty byproducts. In fact, there are accounts of pure devotees in this world, whose so-called bodily byproducts are actually not unpleasant but very wonderful and attractive… One relatable example is that ordinarily food leftover after someone eats them are considered to be unpleasant. But Krishna’s remnants? Is that unpleasant? And the spiritual master’s remnants are also relished by those who know that the spiritual master is really a pure devotee.

Bottom-line, you go there and find out for yourself.

Sincerely,
Mahabhagavat Das

Gusti Nyoman Ambara, 26th June 2013

Hare Krishna

Dear Mahabhagavat Prabhuji,

Please accept my humble obeisances,
All glories to Srila Gurudeva and Gurumataji,
All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

Thank you very much for your nice and interesting answers and explanations, They are very wonderful, especially your explanation about Srimati Gurumataji feasts.  Really, I am so happy to read them all. Thank you so much.

your insignificant servant,
Gusti Nyoman Ambara

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What is the difference between Advaita, Dvaita, and Vishishtadvaita philosophies?

Geetha, 12th March 2013
Hare Krishna,
Please accept my humble obeisances,
All glories to Srila Prabhupada,

I want to know in detail, what is the difference between Dvaita, Advaita and Vishistadvaita philosophies. Please help me.

Thank you,
Your servant,
Geetha

Harish, 16th March 2013

Hare Krishna !

Thank you for the question.

Please find below a answer replied by Srila Gurudeva Sriman Sankarshan Das Adhikari on the same topic in year 2004 :

Quote:
“My Dear Abhay,
Please accept my blessings. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

Dvaita philosophy states that God and the living entity are eternally Two. Advaita philosophy states that God and the living entity are in actuality eternally One. The actual fact is that both philosophies are correct. The philosophy which synthesizes them both is known as Acintya Bhedabheda Tattva. This means that the Absolute Truth is simultaneously, inconceivably one and different. How is this so? The Lord is eternal, full of knowledge, and bliss and the living entity is also eternal, full of knowledge, and bliss. Therefore the Lord and the living entity are qualitatively the same, just like a drop of ocean water has the same chemical composition as the entire ocean. However there is a gulf of difference between the quantity of water contained in the drop and the entire ocean, just as quantitatively the Lord and the living entity are Two. The Lord is very big, He is the source of everything, while we are very tiny. We his emanations. He is the Complete Whole are we are the part. Since the part is always meant to serve the whole, we are meant to serve Him. Is this clear?

Unquote

Hare Krsna !

Thank you for the question.

I have no idea about Vishistadvita Philosophy.
Also find an excerpt from Srila Prabhupada’s secretary on the same :

At the press conference in Hyderabad one reporter asked right away whether Srila Prabhupada was an advaita (monistic) or dvaita (dualist) philosopher. Srila Prabhupada scoffed at the question. “What is the point of discussing such things—whether one is dvaita or advaita. Krsna says, annad bhavanti bhutani: ‘All living beings subsist on food grains’ Annad means grains. The people have no grains. Grains are produced from rain, and the rain from yajna (sacrifice).’ So perform yajna. Become Krsna conscious. Dvaita or advaita you may be, but you still need grains.”

Srila Prabhupada was recalling the press conference. One newspaper reported that he had said that Bhagavad-gita contains all answers to all problems—social, political and otherwise—and should not be misinterpreted. He smiled when he heard that and said, “They have captured the main points of my talk.” As for dvaita/advaita, he said, “Krsna never says we are all one. If a servant says, ‘Yes, I am the same as the master,’ that is his impudence. But the master never says it. Krsna says to Arjuna, ‘Many births you and I have had, but you are not the same as Me. You forget; I do not. Therefore you should surrender to Me.’ Where is the question of advaita if Krsna says ‘Surrender to Me’? Our philosophy is both advaita and dvaita. We are one with Krsna in our qualities, but He is much greater than us.”

Thank you.
your servant
Harish

Geetha, 17th March 2013

Hare Krishna,
Please accept my humble obeisances,
All Glories to Srila Prabhupada.

Thank you Harish Prabhu for your reply.

Thank you,
Your servant,
Geetha.

Jayendran Chandrasekaran, 18th March 2013

Hare Krishna Mataji,
Please accept my humble obiesances,
Dandavat pranams,

Each of these philosophies is an ocean and I would try to  list down the differences as per my limited  understanding  and time available.

Advaita- 
The philosophy of oneness where there is  only one truth. There are no two ‘truths’. The sannyasis of the tradition carry a ‘Ekadanda’ to signify only one truth. There is only Brahman and when the one Brahman is superimposed on Maya, creation springs forth. Hence Krishna is also a product of Maya according to  advaita. The jivas see duality within this world  because of  Avidya(ignorance). Unlike in Vaishnavism, the definition of  maya is different from that of avidya. Avidya clouds the living entity making them view suffering and pleasure differently.

They have a famous Rajju-Sarpa Nyaya(Snake-Rope  analogy)  to explain creation saying that creation is like a person mistaking a rope  to be a snake. So the snake was not there. It  is an illusion. Similarly this world and jivatams is not  real.  There is only the rope(Brahman) and the confusion is  because of  the Avidya and Maya present. Maya is neither true nor  false.

While Maya is said to be the cause for  creation of this world, avidya is attributed to suffering. Hence being free from suffering is not the ultimate Moksha in Advaita, since one can still remain within the adjuncts of Maya(like thinking oneself as different from Brahman(Krishna).
There are three levels of reality that the Mayavadis posit. One is Pratibhasika, next is Vyavaharika, other is Paramarthika.  The stage where all worldly people are present is said to be pratibhasika where they view pain and pleasure differently and the stage where one sees himself and the god as different is  said to be Vyavaharika Satya( The mayavadis comfortably  interpret all the statements supportive of Bhakti in the Gita using this philosophy and saying that it is a lower level of  reality) and the last satya where one sees only one truth, nothing second , is called Paramarathika where there is only  one truth(Ekameva  advitiyam Brahmam). It hugely draws strength from five Mahavakyas in the Upanishads. One of the popular being ‘Aham Brahmasmi’ and the other one popular being ‘ Tat Tvam asi’.
There are different types of  Advaita, one proposed by Sankara and the other popular one is by Yadava  Prakasa(Guru of Ramanujacharya). The differences arise in the matter of whether Maya is true or  not.

Vishishtadvaita

According to Sripada Ramanujacharya , Sriman Narayana is the Brahman and his attributes are the Jada(matter) and Chit(Living entities). It is like a soul with a body. Like we have a soul and a body. Sriman Narayana is the soul of everything in this world and everything else is his  body. So  when we see the world around us , it is to be understood to be as a body to that soul. And everything is his body. Hence there is only  one truth(hence the term advaita  in Vishishtadvaita), but since there are attributes  to  this one truth, it has got VIsheshana. Hence, :”Vishishtoyoho advaita Vishishtadvaita”- An advaita with variety.

An analogy for this would be like a King with his subjects. When we think of a King, it does not mean a King  alone, since it is  inclusive of  all the subjects he has in his kingdom. So when the Sastras say Brahman it includes his attributes which are the JIvatmas and the Insentient (Jada). So to say anything of this is  unreal is equivalent to  denigrating the Brahman itself, since everything is  his attribute. But, again  there is only  truth. That is Sriman Narayana(according to Sripada  Ramanujacharaya). There are hence three truths(realities), but actually only one truth in another perspective ,Sriman Narayana, Jivatmas(living entities) and Jada(Matter).

Sarangathi is stressed as  the best means for Moksha and is  distinctly stressed as being different from Bhakti. Bhakti  is seen more as an effort from the individual(Karma mishra Bhakti equivalent in Gaudiya sampradaya) , while Saranagati(Shuddha Bhakti equivalent)  is seen more as an utter dependence on God  for Moksha.

Dvaita

The necessity of Dvaita springs forth because Sripada Madhvacharya felt that even Vishistadhvaita does not give full freedom to  Sri Hari as much as he deserves, since according to Sripada Ramanujacharya, Brahman is in one sense,Krishna plus the living entities and Matter. Hence, the dependence of Krishna on the living entities, to exist as Krishna, was seen as a shortcoming. by Sri Madhwa. Also, Sri Ramanuja posits that upon Moksha,the living entities gain an equal status as Krishna, which Sri Madhwa was not very happy about.  Also, Sri Madhwa felt that Sri Ramanuja grouped both the living entities and matter in one group under the banner of being a body to Brahman, without stressing its difference  too much.

Hence, Sri Madhwa gave the  highest authority to Sri Hari, in comparison to whom the Living entity  is like a dust. There are  also varieties amongst the living  entities, both in the conditioned state and in the liberated state, even in the amounts of bliss they experience. There is also difference between different types of matter  that exist(for eg; 24 elements) . Hence Sri Madhwa posits five difference doctrine(Pancha Bheda).

Sri Madhwa  gives the concept  of Parantantra and Svatantra satya. Sri Hari  is the  independent reality while the jivatmas and matter is dependent reality. He offers a taratamya(gradation) amongst different living entities (even amongst demigods) and matter .To explain this, Sri Madhwa  gives  this example.

” When we talk of a coconut, though we actually mean the kernel of the coconut, we also use it to refer it to a coconut that has its shell. By addressing the shell of the coconut as the coconut itself would be foolish but yet, because of the presence of the kernel inside we also include the shell when we think of a coconut.Similarly, the kernel of all existence is Krishna himself. Yet when we address this creation, sometimes we consider them as good as God himself, only because all of these contain within them God as the Paramatma, the kernel. A disconnection of that object(shell) from God(kernel) would rid itself of all meaning and hence is ignorance.”

So he concludes that Sri Hari is independent reality, the kernel of the coconut, yet there are different realities that are apart from the kernel, like the shell,namely, the jivatmas and the jada that are dependent on the kernel. The shell is different from  the Kernel and is eternally so. He vehemently condemned  Mayavada  during his  preaching. Hence according to Sri Madhwa, Sri Hari is the supreme reality, the jivatmas can reach him through the process of Bhakti.

There are various verses iin the Bhagavad Gita, I feel are against the philosophy of Advaita and where Prabhupada has mentioned. I am pasting it here. Please go through these verses carefully along with the purports to understand how to defeat advaita.(The most important that all Acaryas have mentioned is 2.12 in BG)

Important Verses with Prabhupad purports against Mayavada

30 key slokas:

2.12,13,14

3.13,19,27,37

4.2,7,9,34
5.18
7.1,8,14,19,23
9.10,11,13,14,22
10.8,9,10,11
12.5
15.6
18.55,66
Another reference I often look upon is By His Holiness Suhotra Swami..here is the link

http://www.suhotraswami.net/library/Mayavadi_Philosophy.php

Sri Gauranga Mahaprabhu took the best of all these and put them in the right perspective and got  the juice called ‘Achintya Bheda Abheda tattva’ . Devotees who are more senior to me can post here about Gaudiya Sampradaya so  that I may learn.  And, There might be many devotees who can correct me from whatever I have  posted here. Please do so , so that I may improve my understanding.

Dandavats,
Your servant,
Jayendran

Mahabhagavat Das SDA, 19th March 2013

Hare Krishna Geetha,

Please accept my humble obeisances.
All glories to Srila Gurudeva.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

Good question, and I relished reading the answer by Jayendran.

Primarily, the common features of all these Sampradayas is that “I am not this body, I am spirit soul”. Sometimes discussions on these lofty subject matters as discussion of the various philosophies is carried out without being on the basic platform of spiritual knowledge, to be free from the bodily platform of understanding.

Reading Srila Prabhupada’s books very carefully gives us a strong understanding of our own Sampradaya and the others also.

Sincerely,
Mahabhagavat Das

Geetha, 20th March 2013

Hare Krishna,
Please accept my humble obeisances,
All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

Thank you very much Jayendra Prabhu for giving detail explanation about three Philosophies. Now I got a little knowledge about these philosophies. Thank you once again,

Thanking you,
Your servant,
Geetha.

Please subscribe to daily inspirational emails from His Grace Sriman Sankarshan Das Adhikari (Writings and lectures archived at sda-archives.com), written fresh every day from his travels around the world sharing the highest spiritual knowledge with everyone. Sign up now at www.backtohome.com. com