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tatrāpi bhāratam eva varṣaṁ karma-kṣetram anyāny aṣṭa varṣāṇi svargiṇāṁ puṇya-śeṣopabhoga-sthānāni bhaumāni svarga-padāni vyapadiśanti
tatra api—out of all of them; bhāratam—known as Bhārata-varṣa; eva—certainly; varṣam—the tract of land; karma-kṣetram—the field of activities; anyāni—the others; aṣṭa varṣāṇi—eight tracts of land; svargiṇām—of the living entities elevated to the heavenly planets by extraordinary pious activities; puṇya—of the results of pious activities; śeṣa—of the remainder; upabhoga-sthānāni—the places for material enjoyment; bhaumāni svarga-padāni—as the heavenly places on earth; vyapadiśanti—they designate.
Among the nine varṣas, the tract of land known as Bhārata-varṣa is understood to be the field of fruitive activities. Learned scholars and saintly persons declare the other eight varṣas to be meant for very highly elevated pious persons. After returning from the heavenly planets, they enjoy the remaining results of their pious activities in these eight earthly varṣas.
The heavenly places of enjoyment are divided into three groups: the celestial heavenly planets, the heavenly places on earth, and the bila heavenly places, which are found in the lower regions. Among these three classes of heavenly places (bhauma-svarga-pada-ni), the heavenly places on earth are the eight varṣas other than Bhārata-varṣa. In Bhagavad-gītā (BG 9.21) Kṛṣṇa says, kṣīṇe puṇye martya-lokaṁ viśanti: when the persons living in the heavenly planets exhaust the results of their pious activities, they return to this earth. In this way, they are elevated to the heavenly planets, and then they again fall to the earthly planets. This process is known as brahmāṇḍa bhramaṇa, wandering up and down throughout the universes. Those who are intelligent—in other words, those who have not lost their intelligence—do not involve themselves in this process of wandering up and down. They take to the devotional service of the Lord so that they can ultimately penetrate the covering of this universe and enter the spiritual kingdom. Then they are situated on one of the planets known as Vaikuṇṭhaloka or, still higher. Kṛṣṇaloka (Goloka Vṛndāvana). A devotee is never caught in the process of being promoted to the heavenly planets and again coming down. Therefore Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu says:
- ei rūpe brahmāṇḍa bhramite kona bhāgyavān jīva
- guru-kṛṣṇa-prasāde pāya bhakti-latā-bīja
- (CC Madhya 19.151)
Among all the living entities wandering throughout the universe, one who is most fortunate comes in contact with a representative of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and thus gets the opportunity to execute devotional service. Those who are sincerely seeking the favor of Kṛṣṇa come in contact with a guru, a bona fide representative of Kṛṣṇa. The Māyāvādīs indulging in mental speculation and the karmīs desiring the results of their actions cannot become gurus. A guru must be a direct representative of Kṛṣṇa who distributes the instructions of Kṛṣṇa without any change. Thus only the most fortunate persons come in contact with the guru. As confirmed in the Vedic literatures, tad-vijñānārthaṁ sa gurum evābhigacchet: [MU 1.2.12] one has to search out a guru to understand the affairs of the spiritual world. Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam also confirms this point. Tasmād guruṁ prapadyeta jijñāsuḥ śreya uttamam: (SB 11.3.21) one who is very interested in understanding the activities in the spiritual world must search out a guru—a bona fide representative of Kṛṣṇa. From all angles of vision, therefore, the word guru is especially meant for the bona fide representative of Kṛṣṇa and no one else. Padma Purāṇa states, avaiṣṇavo gurur na syāt: one who is not a Vaiṣṇava, or who is not a representative of Kṛṣṇa, cannot be a guru. Even the most qualified brāhmaṇa cannot become a guru if he is not a representative of Kṛṣṇa. Brāhmaṇas are supposed to acquire six kinds of auspicious qualifications: they become very learned scholars (paṭhana) and very qualified teachers (pāṭhana); they become expert in worshiping the Lord or the demigods (yajana), and they teach others how to execute this worship (yājana); they qualify themselves as bona fide persons to receive alms from others (pratigraha), and they distribute the wealth in charity (dāna). Yet even a brāhmaṇa possessing these qualifications cannot become a guru unless he is the representative of Kṛṣṇa (gurur na syāt). Vaiṣṇavaḥ śva-paco guruḥ: but a Vaiṣṇava, a bona fide representative of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Viṣṇu, can become a guru, even if he is śva-paca, a member of a family of dog-eaters. Of the three divisions of heavenly planets (svarga-loka), bhauma-svarga is sometimes accepted as the tract of land in Bhārata-varṣa known as Kashmir. In this region there are certainly good facilities for material sense enjoyment, but this is not the business of a pure transcendentalist. Rūpa Gosvāmī describes the engagement of a pure transcendentalist as follows:
- ānukūlyena kṛṣṇānu-
- śīlanaṁ bhaktir uttamā
- (CC Madhya 19.167)
"One should render transcendental loving service to the Supreme Lord Kṛṣṇa favorably and without desire for material profit or gain through fruitive activities or philosophical speculation. That is called pure devotional service." Those who fully engage in devotional service to Kṛṣṇa just to please Him are not interested in the three divisions of heavenly places, namely, divya-svarga, bhauma-svarga and bila-svarga.