na tad bhāsayate sūryo
na śaśāńko na pāvakaḥ
yad gatvā na nivartante
tad dhāma paramaḿ mama
Translation of Bhagavad Gita 15.6
That supreme abode of Mine is not illumined by the sun or moon, nor by fire or electricity. Those who reach it never return to this material world.
Commentary by Sri A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
The spiritual world, the abode of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna—which is known as Krishnaloka, Goloka Vrindavana—is described here. In the spiritual sky there is no need of sunshine, moonshine, fire or electricity, because all the planets are self-luminous. We have only one planet in this universe, the sun, which is self-luminous, but all the planets in the spiritual sky are self-luminous. The shining effulgence of all those planets (called Vaikunthas) constitutes the shining sky known as the brahmajyoti. Actually, the effulgence is emanating from the planet of Krishna, Goloka Vrindavana. Part of that shining effulgence is covered by the mahat-tattva, the material world. Other than this, the major portion of that shining sky is full of spiritual planets, which are called Vaikunthas, chief of which is Goloka Vrindavana.
As long as a living entity is in this dark material world, he is in conditional life, but as soon as he reaches the spiritual sky by cutting through the false, perverted tree of this material world, he becomes liberated. Then there is no chance of his coming back here. In his conditional life, the living entity considers himself to be the lord of this material world, but in his liberated state he enters into the spiritual kingdom and becomes an associate of the Supreme Lord. There he enjoys eternal bliss, eternal life, and full knowledge.
One should be captivated by this information. He should desire to transfer himself to that eternal world and extricate himself from this false reflection of reality. For one who is too much attached to this material world, it is very difficult to cut that attachment, but if he takes to Krishna consciousness there is a chance of gradually becoming detached. One has to associate himself with devotees, those who are in Krishna consciousness. One should search out a society dedicated to Krishna consciousness and learn how to discharge devotional service. In this way he can cut off his attachment to the material world. One cannot become detached from the attraction of the material world simply by dressing himself in saffron cloth. He must become attached to the devotional service of the Lord. Therefore one should take it very seriously that devotional service as described in the Twelfth Chapter is the only way to get out of this false representation of the real tree. In Chapter Fourteen the contamination of all kinds of processes by material nature is described. Only devotional service is described as purely transcendental.
The words paramam mama are very important here. Actually every nook and corner is the property of the Supreme Lord, but the spiritual world is paramam, full of six opulences. The Katha Upanishad (2.2.15) also confirms that in the spiritual world there is no need of sunshine, moonshine or stars (na tatra suryo bhati na candratarakam), for the whole spiritual sky is illuminated by the internal potency of the Supreme Lord. That supreme abode can be achieved only by surrender and by no other means.
Commentary by Sri Vishvanatha Chakravarthi Thakur of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
What are the qualities of that object which is attained? The words “Sun, moon and fire do not light it” means that it is self-revealing, self-dependent, self-sufficient, and devoid of miseries such as heat and cold (caused by the sun, moon and fire), tad dhama paramam mama means that light (dhama) which is non-material, beyond the material senses (paramam), which illuminates or reveals everything else, and which belongs to me. The Hari Vamsa says:
tat param paramam brahma sarvam vibhajate jagat
mamaiva tad ghanam tejo jnatum arhasi bharata
That supreme brahman lights up this whole universe. You should know that this intense light belongs to me, O Bharata. HariVamsa 2.114.12
The sruti says:
na tatra suryo bhati na candra-tarakam
nema vidyuto bhanti kuto’yam agnih
tam eva bhantam anubhati sarvam
tasya bhasa sarvam idam vibhati
The sun does not shine there, nor do the moon or stars. Nor does lightning shine. How, then, can fire burn? When he shines, all of these shine. Through his light, all things shine. Katha Upanisad 2.2.15
Commentary by Sri Ramanuja of Sri Sampradaya:
15.6 The sun cannot illumine the light of the self, nor moon, nor fire. For, knowledge is indeed that which illumines them all. External lights, however, are helpful only in removing the darkness which hinders the contact between the senses and the objects. It is the intelligence of the self that reveals such external lights. What reveals this (i.e., the self) is Yoga (i.e., meditation) only. Beginningless Karma is the hindrance. It has been taught that the way for the erasing of Karma is self-surrender to the Lord through detachment etc. That supreme light, reaching which they do not return any more is the self, which is My glory (Vibhuti) and therefore belongs to Me and is a part of Myself. Such is the meaning. The supremacy of this light (i.e., individual self) consists in its capacity to illumine the light of knowledge. Knowledge alone can illuminate all things (including the light of the sun which sheds only physical light on objects.).
Commentary by Sri Sridhara Swami of Rudra Sampradaya:
The attributes of the spiritual worlds are briefly delineated by Lord Krishna. The sun, moon, fire are not required to illuminate it as it is naturally self-lluminating. Once attained a jiva or embodied being never returns to the transitory material existence and is no longer enslaved by the bondage of samsara or the perpetual cycle of birth and death. As the Supreme Lords abode is transcendental and beyond the scope of material existence it is not subject to the dualities and defects of material nature and is eternally perfect in every way.
Commentary by Sri Madhvacharya of Brahma Sampradaya:
Sri Madhvacharya did not comment on this sloka.
Commentary by Sri Keshava Kashmiri of Kumara Sampradaya:
Lord Krishna briefly explains some characteristics of that imperishable Supreme state, His eternal abode. There the light of the sun or the moon or fire is not necessary because His eternal abode is self-illuminating and self-effulgent without any association with material existence and always beyond the darkness of nescience. This is confirmed in the Svetasvatara Upanisad III.VIII beginning: veda hametam purusam meaning: The Supreme Lord, more resplendent then the sun, illuminates all within and without, only by realising Him is a jiva or embodied being able to transcend samsara the perpetual cycle of birth and death, there is no other possibility. The usage of the word mama meaning my dispels any illusions of seperation or seperate identity of His abode. It is not an independent entity nor is it non-different from Him. The Supreme Lord’s eternal abode is a portion of His divine potency.
Commentary by Sri Adi Shankaracharya of Advaita Sampradaya:
15.6 Na suryah, niether the sun-though possessed of the power of illumining everything; so also, na sasankah, nor the moon; na pavakah, nor even fire; bhasayate, illumines; tat, That [-this (word) refers to the remote word dhama (Abode) at the end of the verse-], that Abode which is of the nature of light. That abode, the State of Visnu, gatva, reaching, attaining; yat, which; they na, do not; nivartante, return, and which the sun etc. do not illumine; tat, that; is mama, My, Visnu’s; paramam, supreme; dhama, Abode, State. Objection: It has been said, ‘reaching which they do not return’. Is it not well known that all goings end, verily, in returning, and unions are followed by separations? How is it said that there is no return for those who come to that Abode? Reply: As to that, listen to the reason:
Commentary by Sri Abhinavagupta of Kaula Tantra Sampradaya:
15.6 Na tat etc. There is no scope for the sun etc., in [illumining] That. For, they are conditioned by time etc., because they are objects of knowledge, [and] because they are the helpers of the sense organs. On the other hand, That [Absolute] is unrestricted by space, time etc. It is the knower, the one inducer of the sense organs and also the one transcending them.
Sanskrit Shloka Without Transliteration Marks:
na tad bhasayate suryo
na sasanko na pavakah
yad gatva na nivartante
tad dhama paramam mama
Sanskrit to English Word for Word Meanings:
na — not; tat — that; bhāsayate — illuminates; sūryaḥ — the sun; na — nor; śaśāńkaḥ — the moon; na — nor; pāvakaḥ — ﬁre, electricity; yat — where; gatvā — going; na — never; nivartante — they come back; tat dhāma — that abode; paramam — supreme; mama — My.