The supreme abode is the Supreme’s abode
The supreme abode refers to life’s ultimate destination. Some people think that the ultimate destination is the impersonal Brahman effulgence, the infinite oneness into which we merge on liberation.
However, Gita wisdom offers a more nuanced understanding. While the impersonal effulgence is a spiritual reality, it is not the supreme spiritual reality. It comes from and rests on Krishna, who is the ultimate reality, the personal Absolute Truth (14.27).
Undoubtedly, the impersonal effulgence is a spiritual destination, but it is the penultimate destination, not the ultimate destination. The Bhagavad-gita (08.21) identifies the supreme destination to be Krishna’s eternal abode by using two unambiguous words paramam gatim (the supreme destination) and mama param dhama (my supreme abode). On attaining that abode, we never return to this mortal world.
This point is reiterated in the Gita’s fifteenth chapter, which begins by depicting the illusory nature of this world using the metaphor of an upside-down tree. On understanding this world’s nature, what do we do? We strive to free ourselves from worldly entanglement using the weapon of detachment (15.03). Then, we seek the destination from which no one returns, wherein we surrender to the Supreme who is the source of everything (15.04).
Who is that Supreme? The Gita reveals that unambiguously two verses later (15.06) when identifying the supreme abode to be Krishna’s abode. That abode is described as self-luminous, not needing sources of illumination like sun, moon or electricity. Having attained that abode, we don’t return to this world. This common characteristic of irreversible liberation described in these verses 15.04 and 15.06 implies that both refer to the same object: the supreme destination, which is the Supreme’s abode.
Thus, Krishna’s abode is not a pre-liberation stopover; it is the post-impersonal zenith of liberation. There, we rejoice in a life of eternal love and eternal joy.
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