Goloka (Goloka Vrindavana or Gokula) is the eternal Supreme Abode of Krishna, Svayam bhagavan according to some Vaishnava schools, including Gaudiya Vaishnavism and the Swaminarayan Sampraday. The scriptural basis for this comes from texts like Narada Pancaratra, Garga Samhita and Brahma Samhita.
While in most of the Bhagavata Purana, Krishna is presented as the cosmic Vishnu, the Supremely Powerful God under whom all other partial divinities work. He is especially portrayed as the highest person who resides in his abode Goloka according to the interpretation of Jiva Gosvami.
According to some sources, Goloka is part of Vaikuṇṭha, while other sources claim that Goloka is a highest planet or realm (loka) of the Vaikuṇṭha planets for the devotees of Krishna, who is known as the protector of cows; hence, the latter are found in abundance in Goloka. Also sometimes referred to as Vrindavan, it is described as a land of plenty, rich with natural beauty.
One standard Vaishnava description of Goloka is found at verse 5.29 of the Brahma-Samhita: "I worship Govinda, the primeval Lord, the first progenitor, who is tending the cows, yielding all desires, in abodes built with spiritual gems and surrounded by millions of purpose trees. He is always served with great reverence and affection by hundreds and thousands of devotees resembling goddesses of fortune." Similarly, Gaudiya Vaishnava saint-scholar Śrĩla Sanãtana Goswãmĩ declares: "Sri Goloka is considered the ultimate destination of spiritual endeavour."
In Goloka Krishna resides with Radharani, Krishna's eternal consort, and countless other devotees, wherein he performs his divine play, known as lila. It is believed that mortal or "conditoned" souls return to the material world again and again to perfect themselves before going on to Krishna's abode, known as the Vaikunthas. However, Goloka Vrndavana is the topmost of all the planets in either the material or spiritual worlds, and rare is the soul who is allowed to go there.
According to Hindu scriptures, the term Goloka is synonymous with Vaikuntha and Saket Loka.
In the Vedas, Upanisads and the 18 Maha-Puranas there is no direct mention of the words "Goloka Vrindavan". This strongly argues against the authenticity of the claims that Goloka is the supreme abode as per Vedic shastras (scriptures). However, many sects within Hinduism still propagate the ideology that Goloka is the highest abode, the most vocal of which is the gaudiya vaishnava sampradaya, who believe that Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, the most recent incarnation of Krishna and the yuga avatara, or descended incarnation for this age, is a hidden incarnation.
In some temples, such as the Shri Swaminarayan Mandir Mumbai, the murtis installed are those of Shri Gaulokvihari and Radhikaji. Gaulokvihari is Krishna, (vihari means "a resident of"; hence, one of Krishna's names, as a resident of Goloka, is Gaulokvihari) and Radhika is Radha, his consort.
All the Vaikuṇṭha planets are said to be like petals of a lotus flower, and the principal part of that lotus, called Kṛṣṇaloka or Goloka Vṛndāvana, is the center of all the Vaikuṇṭhas. Thus the expansions of Kṛṣṇa in various forms, as well as His various abodes on the spiritual planets in the spiritual sky, are unlimited. Kṛṣṇaloka is divided into three different portions: Gokula, Mathurā and Dvārakā. As stated in Brahma-saṁhitā (5.43), all the Vaikuṇṭha planets in the spiritual sky (known as Viṣṇuloka) emanate from the predominating Deity of Kṛṣṇaloka, Goloka Vṛndāvana, known as Bhagavan.
References and notes
- goloko nitya-vaikuntho yathakaso yatha disah
- 1.23, 2.14, etc.
- SCHWEIG, G.M. (2005). Dance of divine love: The Rasa Lila of Krishna from the Bhagavata Purana, India's classic sacred love story. Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ; Oxford. p. 10. ISBN 0-691-11446-3.
- Śrĩla Sanãtana Goswãmĩ, Śrĩ Bṛhad Bhãgavatãmṛta, Dig-darśinĩ commentary to Part Two (Śrĩ-goloka-mãhãtmya) 1.24 (tr. Gopiparanadhana Dasa, Bhaktivedanta Book Trust, p. 39) ISBN 0-89213-346-5
- Giuliano, Geoffrey (2006). Revolver: The Explosive Truth About the Beatles. John Blake Publishing, Limited. pp. 292. ISBN 1-84454-160-6.