Going Beyond Vaikuntha
Ch.1 - The Brahmana Meets Gopa-kumara
Ch.2 - .Gopa-kumara’s Remarkable Journey
Ch.3 - The Superiority of Nama-sankirtana
Ch.4 - The Moods of Intimacy and Sweetness
Ch.5 - ..Bhagavan’s Incarnations are One
Ch.6 - Krsna's Glories are Inconceivable
Ch.7 - Bhagavan’s Inconceivable Potency
Ch.8 - .The Glories of Yogamaya
Ch.9 - ..Krsna Gives Prema Even To His Enemies
Ch,10 - The Gradations in Service
Ch.11 - The Proper Mood for Arcana
Ch.12 - Ultimately Prema Cannot Be Described
Introduction to Going Beyond Vaikuntha
The soul’s nature is to seek real freedom, to hanker for lasting pleasure. We seek satisfaction and happiness in the world around us, but our experiences over time expose the futility of such ephemeral pleasure. Enlightened souls, who are full of compassion, describe the reality of a permanent bliss based on a lasting spiritual existence. Their writings provide us with an intimate insight into reality, which is replete with variety, form, qualities and exquisite, lustrous personalities. Their writings also invite us to participate in the sweetness of ever-increasing transcendental love, or prema. They thus direct us to that ultimate destination, which is achieved by attaining the spiritual perfection that they themselves possess. What they describe is called the path of love, distinct among the philosophies of India as bhakti-yoga, or devotion to God.
Bhakti-yoga is the essence of the Vedas (India’s vast body of ancient Sanskrit scriptures; Veda means “knowledge”). It is the path that all paths ultimately lead to, since it reveals the topmost condition of the heart. Although bhakti-yoga has been practised since time immemorial, the bhakti-yoga movement underwent a renaissance five hundred years ago in Bengal, coinciding with Europe’s own Renaissance period. The leading figure and reformer of this bhakti movement was Sri Krsna Caitanya, also known as Mahaprabhu, ‘the Great Master’. The general populace of India regard Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu as a most extraordinary saint, but actually, He is an avatara, an incarnation of the Lord who comes to this world with a specific mission.
He chose to incarnate as compassion personified in order to benefit the world in the troubled Age of Kali (our current epoch, the age of quarrel and hypocrisy). According to Sri Caitanya Mahäprabhu, worldly social distinctions are utterly irrelevant to one’s eternal spiritual identity, which can easily be realized by chanting the names of God in the maha-mantra – Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
The Hare Krsna maha-mantra is Sri Radha and Sri Krsna personified as sacred sound. The vibration of the mantra is not a material sound as it comes directly from the spiritual platform and is beyond the realm of the mind. One can chant it all day and night and never feel tired. The more one chants, the more our spiritual consciousness is revived. The maha-mantra consists of three words: Hare, Krsna, and Rama. Each word is in the vocative, a calling out to Radha and Krsna. Krsna is the source of all spiritual potency and Sri Radha is the complete embodiment of that potency. She is known as Hara (one who steals away) because She can captivate Krsna’s mind. In the vocative case, “Hara” becomes “Hare”. Because He bestows bliss upon the residents of Vrndavana, He is referred to as Krsna, the all-attractive one. The extraordinary beauty of His transcendental form always surcharges the minds and senses of the cowherd damsels and the other residents of Vraja with ever increasing spiritual bliss. For this reason He is glorified as Rama.
Sri Krsna has many forms. All of them are perfect, but the Vedic scriptures state that Sri Krsna’s original form in Vrndavana is the most perfect. That holy abode is fully resplendent with His sweetness, which even predominates over His divine opulence. The residents of that holy place are imbued with such elevated feelings for the Supreme Lord that their worship of Him is devoid of the reverence normally offered to God. Those with a parental relationship with Him chastise Him, His friends defeat Him in games and order Him about, and His beloved gopis sometimes become angry with Him and refuse to speak with Him. Such charming exchanges please Him unlimitedly more than exalted, reverential prayers offered by persons who do not have the same purity of love for Him.