48. The moon, or Candraloka, is one of the four important places of residence for the demigods. Beyond Mānasa Lake is Sumeru Mountain. On the eastern side of this mountain is the planet Devadhānī, where Indra resides. On the southern side is the planet known as Saṁyamanī, where Yamarāja resides. On the western side is the planet known as Nimlocanī, the residence of Vāyu, the demigod who controls the wind. And on the northern side of the mountain is the moon, which is also known as Vibhāvarī.
All these various planets are within the universe in which our planet is situated. Persons who are too materialistic always engage in sense enjoyment. Such persons worship the material demigods and goddesses to fulfill their material desires. They are fond of performing many yajñas to propitiate the various demigods and the forefathers in heaven. Such persons are automatically promoted to the moon, where they enjoy soma, a celestial beverage.
The moon is too cold for the inhabitants of this earth, and therefore ordinary persons who want to go there with earthly bodies are attempting to do so in vain. Merely seeing the moon from a distance cannot enable one to understand the real situation of the moon. One has to cross Mānasa Lake and then Sumeru Mountain, and only then can one trace out the orbit of the moon. Besides that, no ordinary man is allowed to enter that planet. Even those admitted there after death must have performed the prescribed duties to satisfy the pitās and devas. Yet even they are sent back to earth after a fixed duration of life—on the moon.
Men with developed consciousness, therefore, do not waste time making excursions, real or imaginary, to the moon. Such intelligent persons do not endeavor to achieve temporary sense enjoyment. Rather, they apply their conserved energy for the sake of spiritual cultivation. They discharge religious duties for the satisfaction of the Supreme Lord, and not for personal sense enjoyment. The signs of such exceptional devotees of the Lord are that they are unattached to material enjoyment, contented, pure in heart, attached to devotional service, free from affection for temporary things, and devoid of false ego. According to Vedic injunctions, such great personalities ultimately attain the place where the Supreme Personality of Godhead predominates and where there is no death, no birth, no old age, and no disease. On the way to these spiritual planets, such personalities pass through the sun line called arcir-mārga. And on the way they can see all the planets between here and the spiritual world.