“That supreme abode is called unmanifested and infallible, and it is the supreme destination. When one goes there, he never comes back. That is My supreme abode.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 8.21)
अव्यक्तोऽक्षर इत्युक्तस्तमाहु: परमां गतिम् ।
यं प्राप्य न निवर्तन्ते तद्धाम परमं मम ॥
avyakto ’kṣara ity uktas
tam āhuḥ paramāṁ gatim
yaṁ prāpya na nivartante
tad dhāma paramaṁ mama
“It is finally here. I can’t believe it. You have no idea how long I have waited. I check the weather reports on a regular basis. The process has been made easier with the rapid advancements in technology. Some people keep a widget up on their desktop screen, so that the forecast is visible throughout the day.
“I have not gone to that extreme. My primary concern is the amount of sunlight. It could be freezing outside, with hurricane-like winds. As long as there is the bright, soothing, warming light penetrating through the window upstairs, I am happy.
“It makes a huge difference. The sun is everything to me. As an adult, I appreciate it so much more. I never want to go without it. I can see why certain spiritual traditions place heavy emphasis on appreciation of this most luminous object.”
“I knew what I was getting into. I can’t really blame anyone else. Nevertheless, the depression is real. I can’t believe they would do this to us. We are filming a reality television show, and the theme for this year is a Soviet-era torture facility.
“We haven’t necessarily rubbed people the wrong way. We have not made political enemies. The conditions are just a way to test strength, which in this case is mental. The longer we make it on the show, without getting eliminated, the longer we will have to live here. I believe it will be eight weeks in total.
“There is no sunlight to speak of. No windows. No connection to the outside world. We are in rooms well below the ground. They pump in artificial air. We have to travel up and outside in order to use the facilities.
“Some days we go outside to participate in competitions, and let me tell you, the sun is not a welcome sight. It almost seems unnatural. I would rather it go away. That is how crazy life here is. I never want to go through this again. Once I get accustomed to normal life, after this is over, I want to see the sun every day.”
In these two situations, which are opposite of one another, the sun is the same. In one case, it is visible. This is known as prakata in Sanskrit. In the other case, it seems like the sun has vanished. It is non-manifest, aprakata.
His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada uses this comparison for explaining the eternal pastimes of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Shri Krishna. The ability to see has no bearing on the existence in itself.
For instance, if we travel backwards in the timeline, we reach a point where Krishna’s lila is prakata. This takes place in areas like Gokula, Vrindavana, Mathura, and Dvaraka. There are eyewitnesses. The people speak amongst themselves. Just as witnesses to a major world event share their experiences, so the fortunate souls seeing Krishna directly describe to others.
At present, it seems like Krishna’s lila is aprakata. In truth, the same pastimes are taking place in another part of the universe. Those locations are inaccessible based on our abilities, but they exist all the same. Just as when the sun has set in one part of the world, it is rising in another.
The same concepts of manifest and unmanifest apply to physical locations. Krishna explains in Bhagavad-gita that His eternal home is avyakta. It is called unmanifest, but that is only in relation to our ability to perceive. That place is well beyond the limit to our sense of sight, even when augmented by physical travel or the use of technology.
The avyakta-dhama is the topmost. One who reaches it never has to leave. They do not have to come back to the land of duality, featuring visible and invisible. They do not have to experience the joys of gain and the pains of loss. They do not have to suffer birth and death.
Krishna’s association is forever, if a person so chooses. That sustained relationship features interactions in a variety of moods, in a specific location, without a negative influence from time.
Not negatively impacted,
By time toll not exacted.
Unmanifest that place to say,
Where eternally can stay.
Whether blind or at present to see,
No bearing on existence to be.
Where Krishna’s lila to wage,
Playing now on some other stage.
Categories: the two