It is stated in Bhagavad-gītā that one may elevate himself to the higher planetary systems, even up to Brahmaloka, by dint of pious activities, but when the effects of such pious activities are finished, one again comes back to this earth to begin a new life of activities. Thus even though one is promoted to the higher planetary system for enjoyment and a long duration of life, still that is not a permanent settlement. But as far as the devotees are concerned, their assets - the achievement of devotional service and the consequent opulence of Vaikuṇṭha, even on this planet - are never destroyed. In this verse Kapiladeva addresses His mother as śānta-rūpa, indicating that the opulences of devotees are fixed because devotees are eternally fixed in the Vaikuṇṭha atmosphere, which is called śānta-rūpa because it is in the mode of pure goodness, undisturbed by the modes of passion and ignorance. Once one is fixed in the devotional service of the Lord, his position of transcendental service cannot be destroyed, and the pleasure and service simply increase unlimitedly. For the devotees engaged in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, in the Vaikuṇṭha atmosphere, there is no influence of time. In the material world the influence of time destroys everything, but in the Vaikuṇṭha atmosphere there is no influence of time or of the demigods because there are no demigods in the Vaikuṇṭha planets. Here our activities are controlled by different demigods; even if we move our hand and leg, the action is controlled by the demigods. But in the Vaikuṇṭha atmosphere there is no influence of the demigods or of time; therefore there is no question of destruction. When the time element is present, there is the certainty of destruction, but when there is no time element - past, present or future - then everything is eternal. Therefore this verse uses the words naṅkṣyanti no, indicating that the transcendental opulences will never be destroyed.
The reason for freedom from destruction is also described. The devotees accept the Supreme Lord as the most dear personality and reciprocate with Him in different relationships. They accept the Supreme Personality of Godhead as a dearmost friend, relative, son, preceptor, well-wisher or Deity. The Lord is eternal; therefore any relationship in which we accept Him is also eternal. It is clearly confirmed herein that the relationships cannot be destroyed, and therefore the opulences of those relationships are never destroyed. Every living entity has the propensity to love someone. We can see that if someone has no object of love, he generally directs his love to a pet animal like a cat or a dog. Thus the eternal propensity for love in all living entities is always searching for a place to reside. From this verse we can learn that we can love the Supreme Personality of Godhead as our dearmost object - as a friend, as a son, as a preceptor or as a well-wisher - and there will be no cheating and no end to such love. We shall eternally enjoy the relationship with the Supreme Lord in different aspects. A special feature of this verse is the acceptance of the Supreme Lord as the supreme preceptor. Bhagavad-gītā is spoken directly by the Supreme Lord, and Arjuna accepted Kṛṣṇa as his guru, or spiritual master. Similarly, we should accept only Kṛṣṇa as the supreme spiritual master.
When we speak of Kṛṣṇa, we include His confidential devotees; Kṛṣṇa is not alone. Kṛṣṇa includes His name, His form, His qualities, His abode, His associates, etc. For example, a king is always associated with his secretary, his commander, his servant and so much paraphernalia. As soon as we accept Kṛṣṇa and His associates as our preceptors, no ill effects can destroy our knowledge. In the material world the knowledge we acquire may change because of the influence of time, but nevertheless the conclusions received from Bhagavad-gītā, directly from the speeches of the Supreme Lord Kṛṣṇa, can never change. There is no use interpreting Bhagavad-gītā; it is eternal.
Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Lord, should be accepted as one's best friend. He will never cheat. He will always give His friendly advice and protection to the devotee. If Kṛṣṇa is accepted as a son, He will never die. Here we may have a very loving son or child, but the father and mother, or those who are affectionate toward him, always hope, "May my son not die." But Kṛṣṇa actually never will die. Therefore those who accept Kṛṣṇa, or the Supreme Lord, as their son will never be bereft of their son. In many instances devotees have accepted the Deity as a son. In Bengal there are many such instances, and even after the death of the devotee, the Deity performs the śrāddha ceremony for the father. The relationship is never destroyed. People are accustomed to worship different forms of demigods, but in Bhagavad-gītā such a mentality is condemned; therefore one should be intelligent enough to worship only the Supreme Personality of Godhead in His different forms such as Lakṣmī-Nārāyaṇa, Sītā-Rāma and Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa. Thus one will never be cheated. By worshiping the demigods, one may elevate himself to the higher planets, but during the dissolution of the material world, the deity and his abode will be destroyed. But one who worships the Supreme Personality of Godhead is promoted to the Vaikuṇṭha planet, where there is no time, destruction or annihilation. The conclusion is that time cannot act upon devotees who have accepted the Supreme Personality of Godhead as everything.
Spiritual life is eternal; it cannot be destroyed. Whatever we have here in the material world is subject to destruction. In this material world we aspire for a nice house, good property, children, friends and riches, but ultimately all of these will be destroyed, including ourselves. Nothing here is permanent; therefore everything is called illusory. Actually we do not understand this; we take all this as permanent. The fact is, however, that only Kṛṣṇa is permanent. Kṛṣṇa's material energy is not permanent.
Māyāvādīs think that in the spiritual world there are no relationships. However, in the śāstras it is stated that in the spiritual world there is real life. Life in this material world is simply a shadow of that life. In the Fifteenth Chapter of Bhagavad-gītā this material world is likened to a banyan tree with its roots above and branches below. This means that it is like a shadow. When we stand beside a reservoir of water, we see the tree reflected upside down. We also have the experience of a mirage in the material world. We think that there is water, but actually there is none. Sometimes sailors at sea think they see land, but actually this is a mirage in the water. This material world is like that. In our lives we think we are enjoying some rasa, some relationship. Our children are calling us father, and we are enjoying our relationship with our wife, but all of these relationships are like shadows, although people have no information of this. The true enjoyment derived from these relationships can be attained in the spiritual world with Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa therefore comes in person to teach us that we can enjoy the same relationship with Him. We can enjoy Him as our master, our friend, our son, our father or our lover.
The Māyāvādī philosophers say that if Kṛṣṇa has become everything, there is no question of Kṛṣṇa as an entity or a person. This is a materialistic idea. If we tear up a piece of paper into small pieces and throw it away, the paper no longer has an existence. However, Kṛṣṇa is not like that.
- advaitam acyutam anādim ananta-rūpam
- ādyaṁ purāṇa-puruṣaṁ nava-yauvanaṁ ca
"I worship the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Govinda (Kṛṣṇa), who is the original person - absolute, infallible, without beginning, although expanded into unlimited forms, still the same original, the oldest, and the person always appearing as a fresh youth." (Bs. 5.33) Kṛṣṇa has many millions of expansions, and He is also situated in everyone's heart. He is not only within human beings but within animals, trees, plants, aquatics and so forth. It is materialistic to think that Kṛṣṇa has no individual existence if He has entered into so many millions of hearts. Even though Kṛṣṇa has distributed Himself in many millions of parts, He is still present in the same strength. Kṛṣṇa is sarvaiśvarya-pūrṇa. He is never diminished.
There is an interesting story of a poor boy who was a student in school. During an annual Father's Day ceremony, the teacher requested the students to give some kind of a contribution. Formerly teachers would not earn a salary but would receive whatever the students would bring from their parents' homes or by begging. Generally the brāhmaṇas were teachers, and they could not charge anything. Thus some students brought the teacher rice, and some students brought other crops. This one student was so poor that he could think of nothing to bring; therefore he told his teacher that he would speak to his mother first. After school, the student told his mother, "My dear mother, all my class contribute?" The mother replied, "My dear son, we are so poor that we cannot give anything. However, Kṛṣṇa is the friend of the poor. If He gives you something, you can promise it to your teacher." "Oh, where is Kṛṣṇa?" the little boy asked. "Well, I understand that He is in the forest," the mother said. Therefore the little boy went to the forest and called for Kṛṣṇa. He then began to cry, and finally Kṛṣṇa came. When a devotee is very eager to see Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa is so kind that He comes. "So, what are you asking?" Kṛṣṇa said to the little boy. "You are the friend of the poor," the little boy said. "I am very poor, and what can I promise my teacher?" Kṛṣṇa then told him, "You can tell him that you will supply him some yogurt, some dahī." The little boy was very satisfied with this, and the next day he went to his teacher and said, "I will supply you as much yogurt as you need." The teacher felt that this was very nice, and he was pleased with the boy. On the day of the ceremony, the boy again went to the forest and called for Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa appeared and gave him a quart of yogurt. The little boy took this yogurt to his teacher and said, "This is my contribution, sir." The teacher looked at the quart and said, "What is this? Hundreds of people will be coming, and you have only given this much yogurt?" The teacher became so angry that he spilled the yogurt out of the container. When he bent down to pick it up, he saw that the container was again full. He dropped it again, and it was again full. He could then understand that it was spiritual.
This is the nature of Kṛṣṇa. One can take everything, and yet the same will remain. In the material world, one minus one equals zero, but in the spiritual world, one minus one equals one. That is called advaya jñāna. There is no duality in the spiritual world. One plus one equals one, and one minus one equals one. If we love Kṛṣṇa, that love will not be destroyed as love is in the material world. In the material world, a servant serves the master as long as the servant is pleased and as long as the master is pleased. The servant is pleased as long as the master pays, and the master is pleased as long as the servant renders good service. However, in the spiritual world, if the servant cannot serve under certain conditions, the master is still pleased. And if the master does not pay, the servant is also pleased. That is called oneness, absolute. A guru may have hundreds of disciples, hundreds of servants, but he doesn't have to pay them. They are serving out of spiritual love, and the guru is teaching without receiving a salary. This is a spiritual relationship. There are no cheaters and cheated in such a relationship. If we accept Kṛṣṇa as our son, friend or lover, we will never be cheated. However, we have to give up the false, illusory servant, son, father or lover, for they will surely cheat us. We may love our son with our heart and soul, but that very son may some day be our enemy. We may love our wife very much, but some day that wife may be such an enemy that she will kill us for her own interests. There are many instances of this in history. Māyāvādī philosophers are afraid of having such relationships because they have bitter experience with these relationships in the material world. They therefore want to negate all relationships, and therefore they say no more son, daughter, lover, master or whatever. Being disgusted with these things, they try to make everything void. Yet if we have the same relationship with Kṛṣṇa, we will never be cheated or disappointed. Our enthusiasm will increase more and more. Therefore Kṛṣṇa encourages us to accept Him as our son, as our friend and as our master. Then we will be happy.