The Lord suggests that we attain the spiritual world in the following manner (BG 15.5):
- nirmāna-mohā jita-saṅga-doṣā
- adhyātma-nityā vinivṛtta-kāmāḥ
- dvandvair vimuktāḥ sukha-duḥkha-saṁjñair
- gacchanty amūḍhāḥ padam avyayaṁ tat
That padam avyayam, or eternal kingdom, can be reached by one who is nirmāna-moha. What does this mean? We are after designations. Someone wants to become "sir," someone wants to become "lord," someone wants to become the president or a rich man or a king or something else. As long as we are attached to these designations, we are attached to the body, because designations belong to the body. But we are not these bodies, and realizing this is the first stage in spiritual realization. We are associated with the three modes of material nature, but we must become detached through devotional service to the Lord. If we are not attached to devotional service to the Lord, then we cannot become detached from the modes of material nature. Designations and attachments are due to our lust and desire, our wanting to lord it over the material nature. As long as we do not give up this propensity of lording it over material nature, there is no possibility of returning to the kingdom of the Supreme, the sanātana-dhāma. That eternal kingdom, which is never destroyed, can be approached by one who is not bewildered by the attractions of false material enjoyments, who is situated in the service of the Supreme Lord. One so situated can easily approach that supreme abode.
Elsewhere in the Gītā (8.21) it is stated:
- avyakto 'kṣara ity uktas
- tam āhuḥ paramāṁ gatim
- yaṁ prāpya na nivartante
- tad dhāma paramaṁ mama
Avyakta means unmanifested. Not even all of the material world is manifested before us. Our senses are so imperfect that we cannot even see all of the stars within this material universe. In Vedic literature we can receive much information about all the planets, and we can believe it or not believe it. All of the important planets are described in Vedic literatures, especially Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, and the spiritual world, which is beyond this material sky, is described as avyakta, unmanifested. One should desire and hanker after that supreme kingdom, for when one attains that kingdom, he does not have to return to this material world.
Next, one may raise the question of how one goes about approaching that abode of the Supreme Lord. Information of this is given in the Eighth Chapter. It is said there:
- anta-kāle ca mām eva
- smaran muktvā kalevaram
- yaḥ prayāti sa mad-bhāvaṁ
- yāti nāsty atra saṁśayaḥ
"And whoever, at the end of his life, quits his body remembering Me alone at once attains My nature. Of this there is no doubt." (BG 8.5) One who thinks of Kṛṣṇa at the time of his death goes to Kṛṣṇa. One must remember the form of Kṛṣṇa; if he quits his body thinking of this form, he surely approaches the spiritual kingdom. Mad-bhāvam refers to the supreme nature of the Supreme Being. The Supreme Being is sac-cid-ānanda-vigraha (Bs. 5.1)—that is, His form is eternal, full of knowledge and bliss. Our present body is not sac-cid-ānanda. It is asat, not sat. It is not eternal; it is perishable. It is not cit, full of knowledge, but it is full of ignorance. We have no knowledge of the spiritual kingdom, nor do we even have perfect knowledge of this material world, where there are so many things unknown to us. The body is also nirānanda; instead of being full of bliss it is full of misery. All of the miseries we experience in the material world arise from the body, but one who leaves this body thinking of Lord Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, at once attains a sac-cid-ānanda body.
The process of quitting this body and getting another body in the material world is also organized. A man dies after it has been decided what form of body he will have in the next life. Higher authorities, not the living entity himself, make this decision. According to our activities in this life, we either rise or sink. This life is a preparation for the next life. If we can prepare, therefore, in this life to get promotion to the kingdom of God, then surely, after quitting this material body, we will attain a spiritual body just like the Lord's.
As explained before, there are different kinds of transcendentalists—the brahma-vādī, paramātma-vādī and the devotee—and, as mentioned, in the brahma-jyotir (spiritual sky) there are innumerable spiritual planets. The number of these planets is far, far greater than all of the planets of this material world. This material world has been approximated as only one quarter of the creation (ekāṁśena sthito jagat (BG 10.42)). In this material segment there are millions and billions of universes with trillions of planets and suns, stars and moons. But this whole material creation is only a fragment of the total creation. Most of the creation is in the spiritual sky. One who desires to merge into the existence of the Supreme Brahman is at once transferred to the brahma-jyotir of the Supreme Lord and thus attains the spiritual sky. The devotee, who wants to enjoy the association of the Lord, enters into the Vaikuṇṭha planets, which are innumerable, and the Supreme Lord by His plenary expansions as Nārāyaṇa with four hands and with different names like Pradyumna, Aniruddha and Govinda associates with him there. Therefore at the end of life the transcendentalists think either of the brahma-jyotir, the Paramātmā or Supreme Personality of Godhead Śrī Kṛṣṇa. In all cases they enter into the spiritual sky, but only the devotee, or he who is in personal touch with the Supreme Lord, enters into the Vaikuṇṭha planets or the Goloka Vṛndāvana planet. The Lord further adds that of this "there is no doubt." This must be believed firmly. We should not reject that which does not tally with our imagination; our attitude should be that of Arjuna: "I believe everything that You have said." Therefore when the Lord says that at the time of death whoever thinks of Him as Brahman or Paramātmā or as the Personality of Godhead certainly enters into the spiritual sky, there is no doubt about it. There is no question of disbelieving it.