The spiritual world exists not just at a different location but at a different level of reality

The Bhagavad-gita informs us about the spiritual world, which is the ultimate destination for us as souls. This spiritual world is sometimes shown to be situated beyond a particular boundary till which the material world extends. Such depiction may make us believe that the spiritual world is in geographical contiguity to the material world, just as, say, Canada is above the US in the world map.

However, the attempt to depict anything spiritual using any material tool of depiction such as a map is fraught with limitation. The spiritual world exists not just at another location, but at another level of reality. The Bhagavad-gita (08.20) underscores the spiritual world’s existing in a different category: it exists beyond the manifest and the unmanifest – and continues to exist when everything in this world is destroyed.

If the material world is like an apple, the spiritual world is not like a mango that, though a different fruit, can still be appreciated by the same parameter: tasting. It is like a diamond that requires a significantly different parameter to be appreciated.

The categorical difference of the spiritual world from the material world implies that it is attained not by physical travel, but by elevation of consciousness to the spiritual level. Spiritualizing our consciousness requires sustained practice of yoga, especially bhakti-yoga. Indeed, yogis with spiritualized consciousness are said to be jivan-mukta, liberated while still living in their body.

By understanding the categorically different nature of the spiritual world, we can avoid becoming discouraged by thinking that it is so far away. Instead we can become encouraged by contemplating that the opportunity to go closer to it beckons us at every moment – we just need to spiritualize our consciousness right now by focusing in on Krishna.

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1 Comment

  1. Dear Prabhu, Hare Krishna,

    It is very nice explanation you provided for the whereabouts of the spiritual world. I always imagined birds, animals, trees, rivers and Radha Krishna with other souls in the spiritual world like it is shown usually in the pictures to depict Golok/Vrindavan. But as you said, one must elevate the consciousness to be able to observe the spiritual world.

    I also think at times how Srila Prabhupada would have seen Krishna always, what were his ways and methods. He must have followed the scriptural ways of seeing Krishna as He never deviates from scriptures.

    There is no question I am asking actually, just wanted to share about my thoughts. 🙂

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