Bhagavān

The nine characteristics of Vaikuṇṭha

Understanding Bhagavān is a difficult task because knowledge of Him is not easily comprehensible, and the scriptures do not always speak directly about Him. In the Bhagavat Sandarbha, Śrī Jīva took considerable effort to analyze the Bhāgavatam and distill key concepts about Him. One important concept is that Bhagavān’s abode, Vaikuṇṭha, is also a manifestation of Him, because it is His own svarūpa or essential nature.

Śrī Jīva examines the nature of Vaikuṇṭha in twelve Anucchedas. In Anuchheda 61, he begins by listing nine characteristics of Vaikuṇṭha:

१. यतः स कर्मादिभिर्न प्राप्यते। Vaikuṇṭha cannot be attained by result-oriented action (karma).

२. प्रपञ्चातीतत्वेन श्रूयते। The śrutis describe Vaikuṇṭha as transcendental to the material world.

३. तं लब्ध्वतामस्खलनगुणसात्म्येन स्तूयते। Vaikuṇṭha is glorified because those who attain it do not fall down to the material world, having become of its essential nature.

४. नैर्गुण्यावस्थायामेव लभ्यते। It can only be attained by one permanently established in freedom from the guṇas of material nature.

५. लौकिकभगवन्निकेतस्यापि तदावेशान् नैर्गुण्यमतिदिश्यत इत्यतः स तु तद्रूपतया सुतरामेव गम्यते। The abodes of Bhagavān within the material world are also said to be transcendental to the guṇas because of His presence in them. Therefore, Vaikuṇṭha is certainly ascertained to be transcendental by the a fortiori principle.

६. साक्षादेव प्रकृतेः परत्वेन श्रूयते। The śrutis declare that Bhagavān’s abode is by its very nature beyond material nature.

७. नित्यतयोद्घोष्यते। They declare it to be eternal.

८. मोक्षसुखमपि तिरस्कुर्वन्त्या भक्त्यैव लभ्यते। It is only attained by pure devotion, which disregards the bliss of liberation even.

९. सच्चिदानन्दघनत्वेनाभिधीयत इति। It is called sat-cit-ānanda-ghana, a compact form of eternal being, consciousness and bliss.

To establish these points, Śrī Jīva will cite a number of different verses from the Bhāgavatam and other sources, which we will take up in future articles.

Categories: Bhagavān

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