This material creation is manifested and subsequently destroyed during Lord Brahmā's day and night. But beyond this material world is an eternal existence—the spiritual sky—which is untouched by creation and annihilation. That spiritual abode is known as the Vaikuṇṭha planets. Even when this material creation is destroyed, the Vaikuṇṭha planets remain unscathed and intact. Once anyone enters these planets, he never again suffers the repetition of birth and death, which is inevitable for earthly beings. While the material world is covered and pervaded by the material sky, the spiritual planets are suspended in the spiritual sky, known as paravyoma. All the planetary systems within the paravyoma are transcendental abodes where the Supreme Lord performs His pastimes eternally.
Earlier we discussed that the Supreme Lord possesses two main energies, the material energy and the spiritual energy. The Vaikuṇṭha planets are a product of the spiritual energy of the Lord. The living entities belong to this spiritual energy, but because they can reside in either the spiritual world or the material world, even though they are originally spiritual they are designated as taṭastha-śakti, or "marginal potency."
The Vaikuṇṭha planets are a manifestation of the Lord's internal potency, while the material world is a manifestation of His external potency. Since the Supreme Lord is the master of all energies, it is an irrefutable fact that He is in full control of both the spiritual and material worlds. The perfect analogy is an earthen pot: What is needed to manufacture an earthen pot are clay, a potter's wheel, and a potter. The clay is the material, or ingredient cause of the pot, the wheel is the instrumental or efficient cause, and the potter is the prime cause. Similarly, while the material energy is both the ingredient and efficient cause of this cosmic creation, the Supreme Lord, Kṛṣṇa, is the prime cause. Like a shadow, the material energy works strictly in accordance with the Supreme Lord's dictates. As Lord Kṛṣṇa explains in the Bhagavad-gītā (9.10):
- mayādhyakṣeṇa prakṛtiḥ
- sūyate sa-carācaram
- hetunānena kaunteya
- jagad viparivartate
This material nature, which is one of My energies, is working under My direction, O son of Kuntī, producing all moving and nonmoving beings. Under its rule this manifestation is created and annihilated again and again.
The sad fact is that although Kṛṣṇa reveals the truth about Himself throughout the Bhagavad-gītā and other Vedic literatures, the luckless populace cannot regard Him as the Supreme Lord. In particular, the impersonalistic philosophers, who make tall claims of being bastions of religiosity, reduce the Supreme Lord to the level of a mediocre mortal and thereby accrue heavy sins. Such atheistic offenders can never approach the subject of God on their own merit. The Supreme Lord and His surrendered servitors have in various ways clarified and transmitted the knowledge of the Supreme Absolute, but those who offend the Supreme Lord and His devotees can never comprehend such topics.