Where is Golok Vrindavan?
You would be curious to know about Golok?
In this context, we already find the description of Swarga, Naraka, Brahma lok, Vaikuntha and other planetary systems.
It seems like they are a separate planet altogether.
In the Puranas, especially in the Srimad Bhagavatam, there is the description of Durvasa muni fleeing to Brahma loka, Shiva loka and Vaikuntha fearing the Sudarshana Chakra.
Similarly, in the Ramcharitmanas, Kakabhusundi ji travels to various lokas.
Even the Sanak Kumaras have accessed Vaikuntha where they cursed the two doorkeepers Jay and Vijay.
Likewise, not only seers but even demons like Hiranyakashipu and Bhasmasura can enter these abodes, then where does Golok stand in its ranking?
Such questions shall naturally follow.
Where did creation begin?
Many Acharyas have claimed Vaikuntha to be a part of Brahmalok.
While some others consider Saket and Golok to be parts of Vaikuntha and Brahma Lok.
However, they did not pay heed to the anomalies in believing so.
A German Philosopher had once said- God resides in outer space.
Furthermore, he presented some evidence proving the existence of aliens on our planet.
However, our Puranas have a completely different say on this.
According to our Puranas, creation first began in Brahma lok.
Svayambhuva Manu, His wife Shraddha, the ten sons of Brahma: Marichi, Atri, Angira, Pulastya, Pulaha, Kritu, Bhrigu, Vashishta, Daksha, and Narada first appeared in Brahma lok.
From Brahma lok, they appeared on earth from time to time with their progeny including Kardama and Kashyapa.
In this subject, remember, sun is the locus (Centre) of the universe.
In scientific terms, you can call one universe, a solar system.
Science believes in uncountable stars but Puranas believe in multiverses, countless solar systems.
These universes operate under the supervision of Maya.
Material world Vs Spiritual world
पादोस्य विश्वा भूतानि त्रिपादस्यामृतं दिवि |
The Shruti says-
One step of the Supreme Being covers the entire gamut of material existence while three steps contain his divine, eternal abode.
Each universe possesses a separate Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva for its creation, maintenance and destruction.
This the Puranas clearly say.
Their abodes known as Brahma lok, Vaikuntha and Shiva lok lie within the boundaries of the material universe.
As far as their residents are concerned, they have access limited to these realms, be it an Asura, Deva, Rishi, or even Brahma.
Can Brahma travel to Golok Dham?
Some scriptures like the Gargasamhita show Brahma entering Golok or Saket.
Know that this description is situational meant to explain an esoteric concept.
It isn’t literal.
It is not an actual event.
Time, Place and substance are products of Maya (Illusion).
Those who experience time and place are under Maya’s parentage.
Outside Maya’s jurisdiction, there is no trace of time and place.
They just evaporate.
Hence, all problems are due to the interference of Maya.
Problems of a universe are solved by presiding deity of that particular universe.
Like the sun god operate in each universe, you will also see the lokas of Ganapathi and Shakti Devi.
Therefore, each universe has its own ruling deity who settles its issues.
Just like- Sun operates in each universe- you will also see the lokas of Ganapathi and Shakti Devi.
However, Bhagavan’s eternal abode is beyond time and place.
It is imperceptible and beyond the functioning of mind.
The rules of the material world do not apply to the spiritual world.
We describe the divine abode in material terms since there is no other way to describe that imperceptible abode.
Now, Vaishnava acharyas consider Grantha, Nama, Rupa, Leela and Dham to be non-different from Bhagavan.
When the Lord descends on earth to enact his pastimes, his eternal abode (धाम) manifests along with him.
The manifestation site of the Dham in the material world is known by its name.
But, after the Lord’s departure, his eternal abode disappears along with him.
Hence, for an advanced devotee, the Lord’s eternal abode appears along with His form and pastimes.
Brahman VS Dham
As per Shankara Philosophy, Brahman is pure, unalloyed knowledge (चिन्मात्र). It is formless. However, the dham of the Lord (धाम) is the same principle but with form.
The dham is full of Knowledge (चिद्घन) but it has form and qualities.
Yet, both principles are non-different like two sides of the same coin.
How the Dham functions?
It is clear by now, that the eternal abode is one.
Multiplicity arises due to the presence of time and place.
However, Time and place have no entry in the spiritual world.
Now, the second question- Why have people glorified Vaikuntha and Shiva loka over Golok and Saket?
Know that the eternal abode (धाम) functions on emotions.
Just as the one supreme form principle multiplies into Durga, Kali, Shiva, Surya, Ganesh, Sri Rama, Sri Krishna and Narayana to please devotees of different temperaments.
His abodes being many are essentially one.
This multiplicity arises due to difference in emotions
Being many, they are essentially one.
Experience in Vaikuntha
Just like the formless the Form principle is inexpressible.
देहेन्द्रियासुहीनानां वैकुण्ठपुरवासिनाम् |
The Vaikuntha Vasis do not experience the differentiation of body, mind, and soul. Their form is the embodiment of knowledge.
This description refers to Vaikuntha of this universe where the 2 doorkeepers Jay and Vijay were cursed. However, Vaikuntha’s description far exceeds this.
There, Body, senses, life force, are all embodiments of bliss.
A toy horse molded with sugar, its senses, organs, and form; are all sugar through and through.
Can a description translate to its substantial experience?
Similarly, the lord’s eternal abode cannot be expressed in linguistic terms.
रघुपति भगति वारि छालितचित, बिनु प्रयास ही सूझै |
तुलसिदास यह चिद्विलास जग, बूझत बूझत बूझै ||
This world that appears material to us, isn’t material. It is the Lord’s amusement park.
But, this riddle is too hard to decode.
How can the reflection of the spiritual word be material?
The material world is existential.
Here, though consciousness operates, senses and their objects are given importance since there is direct experience.
Indeed, the Lord is Bliss personified.
Even His associates carry the same excellent traits.
In this mortal world, that very bliss appears as love.
You see all excellent virtues in your loved one.
However, since this love is applied towrds the material world, it loses its purity.
प्रेम हरी कौ रूप है, सो हरि प्रेम स्वरूप |
Love is a form of Hari, while Hari is Love personified.
The Lord (भगवान) is Sat-chit-ananda.
The material world is the existential principle (सद्घन).
The Supreme Being is the Blissful principle (आनन्दघन), while his eternal abode is the knowledge principle (चिद्घन).
Extract from the Book Golok Ek Parivar (Author- Sudarshan Singh Chakra)