I was reading a commentary on Goloka by Jiva Goswami which led me to the Rig Veda Book 1, Hymn 154 that's dedicated to Lord Vishnu and ends with an exhortation to reach his Supreme abode:

  1. I WILL declare the mighty deeds of Viṣṇu, of him who measured out the earthly regions, Who propped the highest place of congregation, thrice setting down his footstep, widely striding.

  2. For this his mighty deed is Viṣṇu lauded, like some wild beast, dread, prowling, mountain-roaming; He within whose three wide-extended paces all living creatures have their habitation.

  3. Let the hymn lift itself as strength to Viṣṇu, the Bull far-striding, dwelling on the mountains, Him who alone with triple step hath measured this common dwelling-place, long, far extended.

  4. Him whose three places that are filled with sweetness, imperishable, joy as it may list them, Who verily alone upholds the threefold, the earth, the heaven, and all living creatures.

  5. May I attain to that his well-loved mansion where men devoted to the Gods are happy. For there springs, close akin to the Wide-Strider, the well of meath in Viṣṇu's highest footstep.

  6. Fain would we go unto your dwelling-places where there are many-horned and nimble oxen, For mightily, there, shineth down upon us the widely-striding Bull's sublimest mansion.

As I discussed in this answer Goloka or the Abode of Cows is the highest Loka in this world where Lord Krishna is supposed to reside. The above RV verses also seem to hint towards the same calling it the highest abode where many cattle are thriving. Jiva Goswami's commentary of course interprets it in a Vaishnava way seeing a reference to Krishna's abode in the verse:

Goloka is also described in these words of the Rg Veda:

O Krsna and Balarama, we aspire to attain that place where You enjoy transcendental pastimes, and where there are beautiful surabhi cows with large horns.

The Vedas describe that place as the transcendental abode of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who fulfills all desires.

In this verse the word "tah" means "these", "vam" means "of You both", or in other words "of Krsna and Balarama", "vastuni" means "places of pastimes", "gomadhyai" means "to attain", and "usmasi" means "we desire".

The question may be asked: "How may the pastime places be more elaborately described?"

The answer is given in the phrase beginning with the word "yatra". "Yatra" means "in which places", and "bhuri-srngyah" means "cows with large horns". The word "bhuri" is explained in the passage from the Upanisads:

The word 'bhuri' here means 'great' not 'numerous'.

The dictionary explains: The word bhuri means either numerous or great.

"Ayasah" here means "beautiful". This is confirmed by the Amara-kosa, which gives the following definition:

The word 'ayah' here means beautiful'.

The word "ayasah" here uses the affix 'asah" as in the word "devasah". "Vrsnah" means "fulfilling all desires", "atra" means "in this place celebrated in the Vedas as Goloka', "urugayasya" means "of the Supreme Personality of Godhead", "bhuri' means "manifested in many ways", and "aha" means "the Vedas declares".

But are there any other commentaries or scriptures that can confirm (or refute) that the Supreme Abode of the thrice-stepping Vishnu of RV I.154 is actually Goloka?

  • You said As I discussed in this answer Goloka or the Abode of Cows is the highest Loka in this world where Lord Krishna is supposed to reside. -- Goloka which is known to be Lord Krishna's abode is not the highest loka or planet in this material world but is way above this material world, and is the highest loka in the spiritual world also known as World of Brahman or Vaikuntha. I think that is seen even from those quotations which you posted there in that answer at that link above. Commented Sep 15, 2018 at 17:33
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    There was also Nilakantha who was a commentator on Mahabharata who said those Rig Veda verses are talking about Goloka. Commented Sep 15, 2018 at 17:34
  • Cows in golaka? Go doesnot necessarily mean cow!
    – user17294
    Commented Jan 24, 2019 at 12:04
  • The current title is a bit misleading since you provide a link which already interprets it as Goloka. This would make a better title: "What are some other interpretations that confirm or refute Jiva Goswami's interpretation of RV I.154 that the Supreme Abode of the thrice-stepping Vishnu is actually Goloka?" Commented Aug 13, 2019 at 23:03
  • Thanks @sv. fr the edit Commented Aug 16, 2019 at 16:24

2 Answers 2


It is a selective interpretation of the Rig Vedic verses, which is not correct, in my opinion. There is no description of Goloka there.

To understand Rig Vedic ideas, we need to understand the way of thinking of the seers, who saw/heard the divine ideas, and transmitted to the qualified humans orally.

For this purpose, the seers of Rig Vedic era adopted esoteric way, but not the exoteric way of expression. It was done because they want to keep the sacred divine ideas away from the less interested/materialistic persons.

SIR FRANCIS YOUNGHUSBAND rightly observed in his Foreward to "A Search in Secret India" - The holiest things in life are not bruited abroad in public. The sure instinct of the human soul is to keep them withdrawn in the inmost recesses accessible to few - perhaps to none. Certainly only to those who care for spiritual things.

  1. Coming to the verses mentioned in the question part, it is to be understood that mantras 1 to 4 extols the all pervasiveness of the Almighty God.

The word Vishnu has etymological roots in viś, meaning to pervade, thereby connoting that Vishnu is "one who is everything and inside everything".

The story of Vamana, covering 3 areas in 3 steps, has roots in this eulogisation of the Almighty God.

  1. The expression in the 5th mantra - May I attain to that his well-loved mansion where men devoted to the Gods are happy - indicates the stage, which all realised seers reached, due to which they attained ABSOLUTE BLISS.

Here, abode does not indicate a physical world or mansion, but a stage.

The Bliss was expressed esoterically as illumination/springs/flow of waters, etc. That is why it was mentioned as springs at Vishnu's feet.

We have to remember that the same illumination is being prayed for in the Gayatri mantra (Rig Veda (Mandala 3.62.10)) - तत सवितुर्वरेण्यं भर्गो देवस्य धीमहि | धियो यो नः परचोदयात ||

  1. Cow indicate illumination about Self. Elsewhere in Rig Veda, while praising Agni, it was mentioned a search for a cow, hidden in a cave. (Rig veda I.65.1)

ONE-MINDED, wise, they tracked thee like a thief lurking in dark cave with a stolen cow: Thee claiming worship, bearing it to Gods: there nigh to thee sate all the Holy Ones.

Sri Ramana Maharshi says as follows:

“Realisation is not acquisition of anything new nor is it a new faculty. It is only removal of all camouflage

The same camouflage was called dark cave in Rig Veda. Hence, it is about Self- Realisation only, but does not indicate abode of cows in Goloka.

In Rig Veda, the Almighty God is called Indra, Vishnu, Agni, etc.

At places, Indra and Vishnu were stated to be the same Brahman (Rig veda 2.1.3).

Hero of Heroes, Agni! Thou art Indra, thou art Visnu of the Mighty Stride, adorable: Thou, Brahmanaspati, the Brahman finding wealth: thou, O Sustainer, with thy wisdom tendest us.

Rig Veda 1.164.46 states the same.

They call him Indra, Mitra, Varuṇa, Agni, and he is heavenly nobly-winged Garutmān. To what is One, sages give many a title they call it Agni, Yama, Mātariśvan.

Vishnu or Indra or Agni, etc, denotes the same Almighty God (Brahman).

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    Thanks for trying but it doesnt really answer the question which is based on the specific verse given above. Do add something if you have an alternate explanation for the same verse. Commented Aug 10, 2019 at 17:39
  • Cow indicate illumination about Self. Rig Veda uses metaphors to indicate self realisation. Cow does not indicate physical aspect. Will supplement my answer. @Dr. Vineet Aggarwal Commented Aug 10, 2019 at 22:57
  • @Dr.VineetAggarwal: I have updated my answer please. Commented Aug 11, 2019 at 0:58

Rigveda 1.154 5. May I attain to that his well-loved mansion where men devoted to the Gods are happy. For there springs, close akin to the Wide-Strider, the well of meath in Viṣṇu's highest footstep.

Is actually said to ayodhya (the supreme centre of goloka)

गोलोक संज्ञके नित्ये साकेतभवनोत्तमे। भातृभ्रिरनु जैर्भाति देव देवः सनातनः‌।।

(Sundari tantra)

The best of all bhawan(mansion) in nitya golok dham is saket where god of all gods swaym bhagwan Shri Ram resides with his brothers.

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