Pain In Separation Spiritually Means Highest Ecstasies

Srimad Bhagavatam 09.11.18-19 - Pain In Separation Spiritually Means Highest Ecstasies (download mp3)
by Radhanath Swami at ISKCON Chowpatty

SB 9.11.18
tata urdhvam brahmacaryam
dharyann ajuhot prabhuh
agnihotram akhanditam

After mother Sita entered the earth, Lord Ramacandra observed complete celibacy and performed an uninterrupted Agnihotra-yajña for thirteen thousand years.

SB 9.11.19
smaratam hrdi vinyasya
viddham dandaka-kantakaih
sva-pada-pallavam rama
atma-jyotir agat tatah

After completing the sacrifice, Lord Ramacandra, whose lotus feet were sometimes pierced by thorns when He lived in Dandakaranya, placed those lotus feet in the hearts of those who always think of Him. Then He entered His own abode, the Vaikuntha planet beyond the brahma-jyotir.

The lotus feet of the Lord are always a subject matter for meditation for devotees. Sometimes when Lord Ramacandra wandered in the forest of Dandakaranya, thorns pricked His lotus feet. The devotees, upon thinking of this, would faint. The Lord does not feel pain or pleasure from any action or reaction of this material world, but the devotees cannot tolerate even the pricking of the Lord's lotus feet by a thorn. This was the attitude of the gopis when they thought of Krsna wandering in the forest, with pebbles and grains of sand pricking His lotus feet. This tribulation in the heart of a devotee cannot be understood by karmis, jñanis or yogis. The devotees, who could not tolerate even thinking of the Lord's lotus feet being pricked by a thorn, were again put into tribulation by thinking of the Lord's disappearance, for the Lord had to return to His abode after finishing His pastimes in this material world.

The word atma-jyotih is significant. The brahma-jyotir, which is greatly appreciated by jñanis, or monistic philosophers who desire to enter it for liberation, is nothing but the rays of the Lord's body.

yasya prabha prabhavato jagad-anda-koti-
kotisv asesa-vasudhadi-vibhuti-bhinnam
tad brahma niskalam anantam asesa-bhutam
govindam adi-purusam tam aham bhajami

"I worship Govinda, the primeval Lord, who is endowed with great power. The glowing effulgence of His transcendental form is the impersonal Brahman, which is absolute, complete and unlimited and which displays the varieties of countless planets, with their different opulences, in millions and millions of universes." (Bs. 5.40) The brahma-jyotir is the beginning of the spiritual world, and beyond the brahma-jyotir are the Vaikuntha planets. In other words, the brahma-jyotir stays outside the Vaikuntha planets, just as the sunshine stays outside the sun. To enter the sun planet, one must go through the sunshine. Similarly, when the Lord or His devotees enter the Vaikuntha planets, they go through the brahma-jyotir. The jñanis, or monistic philosophers, because of their impersonal conception of the Lord, cannot enter the Vaikuntha planets, but they also cannot stay eternally in the brahma-jyotir. Thus after some time they fall again to this material world. Aruhya krcchrena param padam tatah patanty adho 'nadrta-yusmad-anghrayah (SB 10.2.32). The Vaikuntha planets are covered by the brahma-jyotir, and therefore one cannot properly understand what those Vaikuntha planets are unless one is a pure devotee.