2- The Vaikuntha world is suddha-sattva; cinmaya-rasa: no mundane influence. It's residents are fully self-realized and in full knowledge of their position

Maha-maya is the deluding potency which covers the living entity in material existence. "The living entity cannot be forgetful of his real identity unless influenced by the avidya potency." (Bhag. 3.7.5, purp.) In the spiritual world there is no illusion, no fear whatsoever, nor anxiety . The following quotes show that no mundane qualities whatsoever exist in the spiritual world. The inherent qualities of the residents of the spiritual worlds and of the spiritual world itself, do not allow it's residents to become bewildered, envious or susceptible to maya.

Sastric texts:

In the personal abode of the Lord . . . There is no predominance of the influence of time, so what to speak of the illusory, external energy [maha-maya]; it cannot enter that region. (Bhag. 2.9.10, TEXT)

. . . Vaikuntha, where there is no fear. (Bhag. 12.11.19, text)

The Viraja, or Causal Ocean, is the border between the spiritual and material worlds. The material energy is situated on one shore of that ocean, and it cannot enter onto the other shore, which is the spiritual sky. (Cc. Madhya-lila 20.269, text)

Srila Jiva Gosvami

In Bhagavat-sandarbha text 75-78, Sri Jiva describes that the Lord's associates have transcendental bodies, possess qualities identical to those of the Lord, they are beyond the influence of time, are all suddha-sattva in nature, eternal, immutable, devoid of the lower modes, free from lust and greed, are effulgent with Vedic knowledge and are the personification of the fivefold worship of the Lord.

Srila Sanatana Gosvami:

Devotional service cannot be performed without disturbance in any place other than Vaikuntha and in the association of like-minded devotees. (Brhad-Bhag. 2.3.131-2) Sanatana Gosvami comments further, "In Vaikuntha there are no obstacles to bhakti created by elements such as time."

Srila Bhaktivinode Thakura:

The jivas who are the eternal devotees of God in Goloka Vrndavana and in Paravyoma (Vaikuntha) . . . are adroit in the service of the worshipable entity, God . . . they have nothing to do with maya, without any knowledge even of the existence of a sakti known as maya-sakti . . . They are ever free from bondage. It is love that is their very life; affliction, death and fear are quite unknown to them. Also, the atomic jivas who are the outcomes of the rays of the glance of Mahavishnu lying in the ocean of karana (cause) towards maya-are numberless. Because they are by side of maya, the variegatedness of maya is visible to them. The characteristics that have been stated of the jivas in common are in them; yet due to their atomic character turn their eyes towards the cit region as also the world of maya from the border line. In this condition, the jivas are too weak, because they have not acquired the cit strength through the grace of the Entity (God) to Whom their service is due. (Jaiva Dharma, Chapter 16, p. 227, translated and published by the Madras Gaudiya Matha)

Srila A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

Each and every Vaikuntha planet is many, many times bigger than the biggest universe within the material world, and in each of them there are innumerable inhabitants who look exactly like Lord Visnu. These inhabitants are known as the Maha-paurusikas, or persons directly engaged in the service of the Lord. They are happy in those planets and are without any kind of misery, and they live perpetually in full youthfulness, enjoying life in full bliss and knowledge without fear of birth, death, old age or disease, and without the influence of kala, eternal time. (Bhag. 1.14.35-6, purp.)

In the spiritual world there is no struggle for existence because everyone there exists eternally. There is no disparity because everyone wants to render service to the Supreme Lord, and no one wants to imitate the Lord in becoming the beneficiary. The Lord, being creator of everything, including the living beings, factually is the proprietor and enjoyer of everything that be, but in the material world, by the spell of maya, or illusion, this eternal relation with the Supreme Personality of Godhead is forgotten, and so the living being is conditioned under the law of struggle for existence and survival of the fittest. (Bhag. 1.15.25-6, purp.)

The well-situated self, or Brahman-realized soul, perfectly understands that the Supreme Brahman, or the personality of Godhead, is the all-powerful Väsudeva and that he (the self-realized living being) is a part and parcel of the supreme whole. As such, his constitutional position is to cooperate with Him in all respects in the transcendental relation of the served and the servitor. Such a self-realized soul ceases to exhibit his useless activities of attempting to lord it over material nature. Being scientifically well informed, he fully engages himself in faithful devotion to the Lord. (Bhag. 2.2.19)

. . . those planets in the spiritual sky, which comprises the seventy-five percent expansion of the internal potency of the Lord . . . The inhabitants of those planets are liberated from birth, death, old age and diseases and have full knowledge of everything; they are all godly and free from all sorts of material hankerings. They have nothing to do there except to render transcendental loving service to the Supreme Lord . . .The Lord and His eternal servitors in the transcendental kingdom all have eternal forms which are auspicious, infallible, spiritual and eternally youthful . . . In the material world there is always anxiety or fearfulness . . . in the kingdom of God . . . no influence of time and therefore no fear whatsoever . . . Happiness in spiritual nature always increases in volume with a new phase of appreciation; there is no question of decreasing the bliss. Such unalloyed spiritual bliss is nowhere to be found within the orbit of the material universe. (Bhag. 2.6.18, purport)

In the Padma Purana, Uttara-khanda, it is stated that beyond the one-fourth part of God's creation is the three-fourths manifestation . . . This part is eternal, everlasting, without deterioration, and unlimited, and it contains the highest perfectional stage of living conditions. In the Sankhya-kaumudi it is stated that unalloyed goodness or transcendence is just opposite to the material modes. All living entities [in the Vaikunthalokas ] are eternally associated without any break. . . everything in the transcendental world is everlasting . . . There are no such actions and reactions of cause and effects there, so the cycle of birth, growth, existence, tranformations, deterioration and annihilation-the six material changes-are not existent there. It is the unalloyed manifestation of the energy of the Lord, without illusion as experienced here in the material world. (Bhag. 2.9.10, purport)

The Lord and His devotees reside in the Vaikuntha planets, and they are of the same transcendental quality, namely, suddha-sattva, the mode of pure goodness. (Bhag. 3.15.15, purp.)

In the spiritual sky the planets are called Vaikuntha because the residents of these planets are free from all anxieties. . . . On the other hand, the residents of the material planets are always afraid . . . full of anxieties. (Bhag. 3.15.13, purport)

In the Vaikuntha planets there is no scarcity of the things which are available in the material world; they are available, but they are more valuable because they are spiritual and therefore eternal and blissful... The word yoga-maya is used in this verse. Yoga-maya-balena vikuntham. The transcendental happiness exhibited in the spiritual world and all other spiritual manifestations there are made possible by the influence of yoga-maya, the internal potency of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. (Bhag. 3.15.26, purport)

Those who are ever-liberated never come in contact with maya, the external energy. (Bg. 7.14, purport)

Everything in the Goloka Vrndavana planet is a spiritual expansion of sac-cid-ananda. Everyone there is of the same potency­ananda-cinmaya-rasa. The relationship between the Supreme Personality of Godhead and His servitor is cinmaya-rasa. Krsna and His entourage and paraphernalia are of the same cinmaya potency. (Cc. Madhya-lila 19.154, purp.)

. . . Maha-maya is horrible to the conditioned soul, but to the liberated soul, there is no fear of maha-maya, because he is protected by yoga-maya. (SP Ltr Madhusudhana, July 29th 1968)

One thing you may inform all devotees that maya cannot touch a pure devotee. When you find a devotee is supposed to be in difficulty it is not the work of maya but is the work of the Lord by His personal internal energy . . . It is clearly stated in the Bhagavad-gita that anyone who is cent per cent engaged in the service of the Lord is transcendentally situated and the influence of maya has no more any action on such body. The Lord and His pure devotees are always beyond the range of maya's action. Even though they appear like the action of maya, we should understand their action of yoga-maya or the internal of potency of the Lord. (SP Ltr Satsvarupa: April 3, 1968)

In the ISKCON GBC Position booklet it is stated that the residents of the spiritual world have the free will to leave, as a crazy man has the free will to jump off the roof. In this booklet they state that these residents are indeed crazy (bewildered) when they leave. Yet we find quotes (presented below) that everyone in the spiritual world is fully cognizant in their sat-cit-ananda spiritual body, fully in knowledge of their position and cannot become illusioned; additionally, illusion being a product of maya, is not allowed there-na yatra maya (Bhag. 2.9.10).

Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura writes,

Because of association with avidya, which has no beginning, the jiva has forgotten his blissful and conscious nature and has developed a false ego in the material body. He suffers because of acquiring bodily characteristics and misfortune, therefore no one is to be blamed. (Commentary on Bhag. 3.7.9)

Bhaktivinoda Thakura writes,

The root of all actions is the desire for acts, the root of which again is avidya. Avidya is the name for the forgetfulness of [the] soul's essential nature that 'I am Krsna's servant.' This avidya did not commence within the course of the mundane time. That root of karma of the jiva arose when he was at the tatastha position. As such, the beginning of karma is not to be traced within mundane time, and, on that account karma is beginningless. (Jaiva Dharma, page 234)

Srila Prabhupada writes,

How then can the living entiry become forgetful of his real identity as pure spirit soul and identify with matter unless influenced by something beyond himself? The conclusion is that the living entity is influenced by the avidya potency, as is confirmed in both the Visnu Purana and the beginning of Srimad-Bhagavatam . . . The living entity cannot be forgetful of his real identity unless influenced by the avidya potency. (Bhag. 3.7.5, purp.)

A living entity misuses his little independence when he wants to lord it over material nature. This misuse of independence, which is called maya, is always available, otherwise there would be not independence. Independence implies that one can use it properly or improperly. (Bhag. 3.31.15, purp.)

The devotees of the Lord do not misuse their freedom. (Bhag. 1.8.23, purp.)

Bhaktijana: When the souls that were never conditioned at all..., do they also have the independence?

Prabhupada: Yes, but they have not misused. They know that "I am meant for Krsna's service," and they are happy in Krsna's service. (670218CC.SF)

Everyone in the spiritual world is fully cognizant of their actual position. To desire something else when in full knowledge, fully satisfied and full of bliss is highly unlikely:


My devotee actually becomes self-realized by My unlimited causeless mercy, and thus, when freed from all doubts, he steadily progresses towards his destined abode, which is directly under the protection of My spiritual energy of unadulterated bliss. That is the ultimate perfectional goal of the living entity. (Bhag. 3.27.28-29, text)

A pure devotee of the Lord can never forget those lotus feet in any circumstance. (Bhag. 11.2.53, text)

Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura

In Cit-jagat there is no ignorance whatsoever of free souls. (Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura: Sri Caitanya's Teachings-Part II, Chapter One, p. 390-1)

Srila A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

. . . enjoying life in full bliss and knowledge without fear of birth, death, old age or disease, and without the influence of kala, eternal time. (Bhag. 1.14.35-6, purp.)

The inhabitants of those planets are liberated from birth, death, old age and diseases and have full knowledge of everything. (Bhag. 2.6.18, purp.)

They eternally live in bliss and knowledge in the various Vaikuntha planets in the spiritual sky. (Bhag. 3.5.29, purp.)

One who does not forget this position and knows that he is part and parcel of the Supreme Lord is nitya-mukta. (Bhag. 4.16.19, purp.)

Those who are in the spiritual world are known to be completely self-realized because on the spiritual platform the living entity is not forgetful of his service to the Lord. Therefore in the spiritual world all those who are in the devotional service of the Lord are eternally fixed, for they understand the position of the Supreme Being, as well as their individual constitution. (Bhag. 4.24.33, purp.)

They are all self-realized souls who are nitya-mukta. (Bhag. 6.1.34-6, purp.)

[Nitya-mukta] He never forgets his eternal servitorship to Krsna. (Cc. Madhya-lila 20.118, purp.)

The nitya-siddhas are eternally Krsna conscious without any forgetfulness. (Nectar of Devotion, p. 205)

In the Vaikuntha sky everyone is in full knowledge. (Krsna Book, Ch. 28, 7th parag.)

"When one goes to a transcendental planet, it is necessary to change both the finer and gross bodies, for one has to reach the spiritual sky completely in a spiritual form." (Cc. Adi-lila 5.22, purp.)

Where not only is life eternal, blissful and full of knowledge . . . ignorance, misery, egoism, anger and envy-are completely absent . . . the influence of maya, the total external energy, which induces us to become more and more materialistic and forget our relationship with God, is also absent there . . . the living beings in Vaikunthaloka are never forgetful of their identities (Cc. Madhya-lila 5.22, purp.)

He has His eternal form of bliss and knowledge (sac-cid-ananda-vigraha). Everything in the Goloka Vrndavana planet is a spiritual expansion of sac-cid-ananda. Everyone there is of the same potency­ananda-cinmaya-rasa. The relationship between the Supreme Personality of Godhead and His servitor is cinmaya-rasa. Krsna and His entourage and paraphernalia are of the same cinmaya potency. (Cc. Madhya-lila 19.154, purp.)

The inhabitants of those planets are liberated from birth, death, old age and diseases and have full knowledge of everything. (Bhag. 2.6.18, purp.)

Prominent mistakes:

We contrast these descriptions of self-realization and full knowledge regarding the residents of the spiritual worlds with that presented in the GBC Position Booklet. Therein, "full of knowledge" is defined as "possessing only a small portion of knowledge according to ones small capacity and necessity." It is also stated that, "the living entity, covered by envy, cannot recognize that he will suffer in the material world...Covered by lust, the living entity forgets his original knowledge and enters into the material domain to try to satisfy his desires." Here in particular, three mistakes are made. The first mistake is the assumption that "full knowledge," in reference to the residents of the spiritual world, can be interpreted to mean that these residents are not fully self realized--as stated througout sastra and repeatedly by Srila Prabhupada. Numerous supporting references have already been presented earlier in this section.

In the material world the minute jivas, who are sac-cid-ananda by nature, are covered over by maya and are thus in a bewildered state. When the living entity uses his free will to try and enjoy independently of the Lord in the material world, he is covered by maya and is forced to serve maya. He has no choice, in the sense that he is attached and thinks this is in his best interest. Although he has the free choice to choose spiritual life, he sees this as a threat to his sense gratification and therefore undesirable. Therefore materialistic atheists resist the efforts of preachers.

In the spiritual world however, the living entity, fully absorbed in ecstatic love, cannot bear the thought of doing anything averse to the Lord's interest--seeing this as a threat to his continued absorption in pure loving devotional service--his very life. Here in the spiritual world, all the living entities are fully self-realized, in that they have fully realized the conclusions of sastra--that they are an eternal servant of the Lord, and they are fully experiencing their realizations of eternal blissfulness. It is not that they know every last detail of sastra. For example, some of the gopis were previously the Personified Vedas. Although as gopis, they exhibited the highest standard of devotion as recognized by Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu-ramya kacit upasana vraja-vadhu-vargena, they had almost no knowledge of the Vedas, and state as much in their wonderful prayers upon meeting their beloved Krsna after so long at Kuruksetra. (Bhag. 10.82.48) Yet we should not agree with them that they are ordinary girls simply engaged in household affairs. They are the personification of the Vedas, absorbed in the highest mellows of devotion.

The second mistake as mentioned above, is that the living entity may be covered by envy and lust while still within the spiritual world.

The third mistake is that a resident of the spiritual world has desires to satisfy. These points are discussed in section three.

As stated above by Srila Prabhupada, residents of the spiritual world are blissful and are never forgetful of their eternal position as servitors of the Supreme Lord. For them to turn away from the Lord toward the material world is equivalent to a normal sane man considering jumping off of a roof as a viable option in life. They have the freedom to do so, but never consider it for a moment.