The spiritual world is the greater reality beyond the limited material world of our experience. The world we know is made of temporary matter, but the permanent, spiritual world is made of spirit, which is the essence of all life. The spiritual world is also known as Vaikuntha, the place of no anxiety, where there’s no death, disease, or enmity. Life is harmonious because everyone has a common purpose—transcendental, loving service to the Supreme Person.
The Supreme Person has unlimited energies, both spiritual and material. The spiritual world is made completely of His spiritual energy, which is characterized by complete happiness, full consciousness, and permanence. He lives on each Vaikuntha planet, either in His original form as Krishna or in a Vishnu form. The innumerable Vaikuntha planets are all self-luminous, and beautiful beyond our imagination.
Everyone there is free to stay or go as they like, but most are so satisfied in their relationships with Krishna that they never want to leave. The spiritual world is all-pervading, so it’s not actually possible to “leave,” but whoever wants to is put into maya, the illusion of separateness from Krishna. This is also known as the material world. We can return to the spiritual world when we decide we’ve had enough of this material world’s troubles, such as repeated birth and death, disease, violence, taxation, and mosquitoes.
We re-enter spiritual reality by reawakening our original, spiritual, Krishna consciousness. When our spiritual consciousness becomes mature, we can see that everything is actually spiritual, and everything is Krishna’s energy. Then, our imagined separateness from Krishna is over. Krishna promises that those who develop their natural affection for Him return to the spiritual world. Such persons never come back to this material world, which occupies an insignificant fraction of the unlimited spiritual sky.
(Image is a painting of the Vaikuntha planets in the spiritual world, based on descriptions found in the Srimad-Bhagavatam.)
- What Is This Material World Made Of?
— A list of “ingredients.”
- This Material World Is Zero
— In this conversation with a graduate student, Srila Prabhupada analyzes the relative value of the temporary, material creation.
- What’s the Difference Between Spirit and Matter?
— A look at what makes the material world different from the rest of reality.
- Krishna’s Energies
— How to distinguish between the Supreme Person’s innumerable potencies.
We like to quote our sources. This page is based on the following:
- Bhagavad-gita As It Is, Introduction: “In this material world we find that everything is temporary. It comes into being, stays for some time, produces some by-products, dwindles and then vanishes. That is the law of the material world, whether we use as an example this body, or a piece of fruit or anything. But beyond this temporary world there is another world of which we have information. That world consists of another nature, which is santana, eternal.”
- Bhagavad-gita As It Is, 7.4: “Earth, water, ﬁre, air, ether, mind, intelligence and false ego – all together these eight constitute My separated material energies.”
- Srimad-Bhagavatam, 2.9.28, Purport: “The exact example is the spider and spider’s web. The web is created by the spider, and it is maintained by the spider, and as soon as the spider likes, the whole thing is wound up within the spider. The spider is covered within the web. If an insignificant spider is so powerful as to act according to its will, why can’t the Supreme Being act by His supreme will in the creation, maintenance and destruction of the cosmic manifestations?”
- Bhagavad-gita As It Is, 8.20: “Yet there is another unmanifest nature, which is eternal and is transcendental to this manifested and unmanifested matter. It is supreme and is never annihilated. When all in this world is annihilated, that part remains as it is.”