[Advaita-l] Eternal Loka

Vidyasankar Sundaresan svidyasankar at hotmail.com
Wed Jul 24 11:25:24 CDT 2013

> From: rajaramvenk at gmail.com
> Date: Sat, 20 Jul 2013 11:59:05 +0000

> I definitely will cite the shruti and smrti verses that talk about eternal loka. However, I'd like to first ascertain based on textual evidence that (early) advaita acharyas deny existence of an eternal loka in vyavahara. You and ShrI SadAnanda categorically deny that there is an eternal vaikuntha and would like to know if there is evidence that your position is supported by the acharyas in the tradition. 
> Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device

Rajaram, it is not my intention to rekindle a discussion that seems to have run its course a
couple of days ago, but I would like you to clarify what you intend by the phrase "existence
of an eternal loka in vyavahAra." 


The gItA tells you that all loka-s from brahmaloka onwards are subject to the cycle of birth
and death (punarAvartinaH), therefore not eternal. This is the very definition of vyavahAra,
whereas paramArtha, by definition, is that which is not subject to punarAvartana. The basic
logic of advaita places the concept of true eternality distinct from vyavahAra, so an "eternal
loka in vyavahAra" is ultimately an oxymoron.


If you are thinking of vaikuNTha or kailAsa as places in time and space, and seeking to find
a more permanent existence for them over brahmaloka, and you are further asking advaitins
why they deny their eternal existence, you are mistakenly presuming a lot of things and are 
asking for the impossible. 


vaikuNTha, understood as "tad vaishNavaM padam", as described in the gItAbhAshya, is a
synonym for moksha, which is eternal. If this is called a loka by an advaita teacher, it is only
meant in a figurative sense. vaikuNTha, as understood by most non-advaitic ways of thinking,
is a very different thing altogether. It is typically taken as a loka in a literal sense, with an 
entrance and gatekeepers, so that there is a place that is vaikuNTha, set apart from places
that are not vaikuNTha.


So long as that is the case, such a vaikuNTha is, from the advaita vedAnta perspective, subject
to limitation and change, therefore, non-eternal. Eternality or otherwise of a loka is not to be
discussed as if a loka is a material or non-material entity that stands apart from the person(s)
inhabiting it. If you take vaikuNTha as a place where the sanatkumara-s come to visit for some
time and then go away, or from which jaya and vijaya fall, to return only after three births as
asura-s, then why, such a vaikuNTha is not an eternal loka, either for the sanatkumara-s or for
jaya and vijaya!

If you say that vaikuNTha has to be eternal nevertheless, because it is the home of vishNu, you
have to first recognize that such a conception of the eternality of vaikuNTha is heavily dependent
on the tattva that vishNu is eternal. Now you also have to grant that vishNu is all-pervading. So,
logically speaking, the entire universe is, in one sense, vaikuNTha. Talking about the eternality
or otherwise of vaikuNTha then becomes equivalent to deliberating on whether the universe is
a permanent and eternal entity or not. If you truly come to such a way of thinking, only then
should you ask for clarifications for such questions from advaita AcArya-s, not before.




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