The troubles of penance accepted by Lord Brahmā were certainly in the line of devotional service (bhakti). Otherwise there was no chance that Vaikuṇṭha or svalokam, the Lord's personal abodes, would become visible to Brahmājī. The personal abodes of the Lord, known as Vaikuṇṭhas, are neither mythical nor material, as conceived by the impersonalists. But realization of the transcendental abodes of the Lord is possible only through devotional service, and thus the devotees enter into such abodes. There is undoubtedly trouble in executing penance. But the trouble accepted in executing bhakti-yoga is transcendental happiness from the very beginning, whereas the trouble of penance in other processes of self-realization (jñāna-yoga, dhyāna-yoga, etc.), without any Vaikuṇṭha realization, ends in trouble only and nothing more. There is no profit in beating husks without grains. Similarly, there is no profit in executing troublesome penances other than bhakti-yoga for self-realization.
Executing bhakti-yoga is exactly like sitting on the lotus sprouted out of the abdomen of the transcendental Personality of Godhead, for Lord Brahmā was seated there. Brahmājī was able to please the Lord, and the Lord was also pleased to show Brahmājī His personal abode. Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī, in the comments of his Krama-sandarbha annotation of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, cites quotations from the Garga Upaniṣad Vedic evidence. It is said that Yājñavalkya described the transcendental abode of the Lord to Gārgī, and that the abode of the Lord is situated above the highest planet of the universe, namely Brahmaloka. This abode of the Lord, although described in revealed scriptures like the Bhagavad-gītā and the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, remains only a myth for the less intelligent class of men with a poor fund of knowledge. Herein the word sva-dṛṣṭavadbhiḥ is very significant. One who has actually realized his self realizes the transcendental form of one's self. Impersonal realization of self and the Supreme is not complete, because it is just an opposite conception of material personalities. The Personality of Godhead and the personalities of devotees of the Lord are all transcendental; they do not have material bodies. The material body is overcast with five kinds of miserable conditions, namely ignorance, material conception, attachment, hatred and absorption. As long as one is overwhelmed by those five kinds of material miseries, there is no question of entering into the Vaikuṇṭhalokas. The impersonal conception of one's self is just the negation of material personality and is far from the positive existence of personal form. The personal forms of the transcendental abode will be explained in the following verses. Brahmājī also described the highest planet of the Vaikuṇṭhaloka as Goloka Vṛndāvana, where the Lord resides as a cowherd boy keeping transcendental surabhi cows and surrounded by hundreds and thousands of goddesses of fortune.
- cintāmaṇi-prakara-sadmasu kalpa-vṛkṣa-
- lakṣāvṛteṣu surabhīr abhipālayantam
- govindam ādi-puruṣaṁ tam ahaṁ bhajāmi
- (BS 5.29)
The statement of the Bhagavad-gītā, yad gatvā na nivartante tad dhāma paramaṁ mama (BG 15.6), is also confirmed herewith. param means transcendental Brahman. Therefore, the abode of the Lord is also Brahman, nondifferent from the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The Lord is known as Vaikuṇṭha, and His abode is also known as Vaikuṇṭha. Such Vaikuṇṭha realization and worship can be made possible by transcendental form and sense.