Goloka (Gokul) And Braj

Shri Chaitanya Charitamrit (Adi-Lila 5.17) states:[3]

"Shri Gokul, the topmost abode, has many names Braj, Goloka, svetadvipa and Vrindavan."

Thus, these names are all considered synonymous. Shri Rupa Goswami, an intimate associate of Shriman Mahaprabhu, resolves any confusion about Gokul and Goloka in his book Shri Laghubhagavatamrit:[4] He states here that the glory of Gokul is identical with the glory of Goloka. In fact, Goloka is merely the glory of Gokul. Similarly, Vrindavan and Gokul are simply different names for Braj. The second verse of Brahma Sanhita describes this Gokul dham:[5]
Shri Bhakti Vinod Thakur has explained the meaning of this verse as follows: "Maha-Vaikunth, or Paravyoma-dhama, is eternally situated beyond the Viraja River. This holy abode is the embodiment of three divine opulences: being imperishable, free from sorrow and free from all types of fear. The extremely sweet Gokul, otherwise known as Goloka, which is full of unlimited transcendental opulence, is situated beyond that Paravyoma-dhama. Sometimes Goloka is also called Gokula, but Goloka is actually the opulence or manifestation of Gokul, the abode of all sweet pastimes. This holy abode, radiant as Goloka or Gokul, appears in the form of Gokul below Vaikunth on the Earth planet."
In Shri Brhad Bhagavatamirta (2.5.168), the quintessence of all scriptures, Shri Sanatan Goswami writes:[6] "Krishna's pastimes in Gokul, which is situated on the material plane, are the same as those in Goloka. The only difference between Goloka and Gokul is that Goloka is situated in the highest region and Gokul manifests on the Earth planet." In Krishna Sandarbha, Shri Jiv Goswami has accepted Goloka as the manifestation of Vrindavan.[7]

Mood of Unwedded Amorous Love

Braj Related Links

In Shri Chaitanya Charitamirt (Adi-lila 4.47) Shri Kaviraj Goswami states:[8] Shri Bhaktivinod Thakur comments in his Amrita Pravaha Bhasya on this verse: "Many people think that Shri Krishna is performing His pastimes eternally in Goloka and appears in Braj for a short time just to perform His pastimes in parakiya-bhava, the mood of unwedded amorous love. This, however, is not the opinion of our Gaudiya gosvamis, who accept also the pastimes in Braj as eternal. Braj is the name of the absolute inner chamber of the transcendental and eternal Goloka-dhama. The same pastimes Shri Krishna performs in Vrindavan on Earth, including those of parakhiya-rasa, transpire eternally in the supremely situated, eternal Braj Dhama."
Shri Kaviraj Goswami states in Shri Chaitanya Charitamrit (Adi Lila 110):[9] Here the words vrajera sanhita, "along with Braj", clarify that also existing in transcendental Goloka Dhama is one inconceivably sweet abode named Braj. Shri Krishna appeared on Earth along with this very abode, with the help of His inconceivable potency. Parakiya-rasa is permanently present only in this eternal Braj, which lies within the inner chambers of Goloka. This is because the supreme mellow, parakiya-rasa, is present there with qualities unlimitedly superior to those found anywhere else in Goloka. Even in the Braj manifest on this Earth planet, living entities have been able to directly witness the variegated nature of the unmanifest Braj in the transcendental realm. Besides prakata prakasha (the manifest appearance) and aprakata-prakasha (the unmanifest appearance) the only remaining mystery is that on Earth there is also a drishyaman-prakash, which is the vision ordinary people have of Vrindavan and other holy abodes when the pastimes are no longer manifest there.