ithin the boundless, all-pervading effulgence
is the densely blissful, inner light of Lord Vishnu.
That realm also has an inner light
of immeasurable transcendental bliss.
Therein lies this forest, Vrindavan.
tasyāpy antar-jyotir asty aprameyā-
nandāsvādaṁ tatra vṛndāṭavīyam||
Prabodhananda now makes a statement on Vrindavan tattva. We are accustomed to hearing of the spiritual realm as being one of light. God is customarily associated with light, and especially with the “inner light.” This is because the external light like that of the sun is harsh, whereas the inner light which shines in the darkness of one’s inner being, is soft and cooling like the moon.
It has already been stated that Vrindavan contains all the other realms of being in VMA 1.8. Here Prabodhananda summarizes the Vaishnava sambandha-tattva in relation to the abode.
Each form of God has, along with it, a particular “realm” or world associated with it. These realms lie within each other, and the most profound concepts of God are found in the inner, innermore and innermost realms.
All transcendentalists prioritize the inward movement, the subjective, the ideal, over the so-called reality of phenomena, which are constantly changing and always defective, and therefore illusory, only a sparkling object that attracts the lust of a childish mind.
The first movement inward is to Brahman. The violence of the turn inward makes the naked glory of Brahman’s light blind one to all that lies beyond it. Intuiting this, the devotee prays:
satyasyāpihitaṁ mukham |
tat tvaṁ pūṣann apāvṛṇu
satya-dharmāya dṛṣṭaye ||
The face of Truth is concealed
behind a cover of gold.
Therefore, O Sustainer, remove it
for this eye, devoted to Truth.
There, one comes face-to-face with the supremely effulgent God of gods, his ever serene and blissful face calling out to relish his love in the rasa called “the peaceful.”
kintv ātma-saukhyam aghanaṁ ghanaṁ tv īśa-mayaṁ sukham ||
“[In this śānta-rasa], the happiness is of almost the same genre as that experienced in the self by the yogis, but in this case, the happiness felt in the self is not as intense as that experienced in the consciousness of God.” (BRS 3.1.5)
dāsādivan manojñatva-līlāder na tathā matā ||
“The predominant cause of this is in the intensity of the experience of God’s essential nature. The Lord’s charming pastimes are not considered to be the cause, as is the case for those in the moods of dāsya, sakhya, vātsalya and madhura.” (BRS 3.1.6)
So this class includes those who are called nirguṇa-bhaktas.
The light within this light is the one that begins to truly reveal the forms that lie within, the blueprints of creation, the true image of God, the Logos.
This is the domain of the aprameyānandāsvādaṁ, the taste of limitless joy, where the waves of love start to wash over the devotee and push him deeper and further into the deep emotional seas of relationship with God.
And this level goes deeper and deeper through the different kinds of relationship with God, each of which, however idealized, has its own realm, environment or heaven in which it exists. That is called its effulgence or Dhāma.
But at the very center of it all is the blissful union of the Divine Couple, from whose love everything emanates. The realm of this union, the effulgence that this union emanates and in which it remains nestled, is called Vrindavan.