magnāḥ kṛṣṇena coddhṛtāḥ
dadṛśur brahmaṇo lokaṁ
yatrākrūro ’dhyagāt purā
te — they; tu — and; brahma-hradam — to the lake known as Brahma-hrada; nītāḥ — brought; magnāḥ — submerged; kṛṣṇena — by Kṛṣṇa; ca — and; uddhṛtāḥ — lifted out; dadṛśuḥ — they saw; brahmaṇaḥ — of the Absolute Truth; lokam — the transcendental planet; yatra — where; akrūraḥ — Akrūra; adhyagāt — saw; purā — previously.
The cowherd men were brought by Lord Kṛṣṇa to the Brahma-hrada, made to submerge in the water, and then lifted up. From the same vantage point that Akrūra saw the spiritual world, the cowherd men saw the planet of the Absolute Truth.
The unlimited extension of spiritual light, called the brahmajyoti in text 15, is compared to a lake called Brahma-hrada. Lord Kṛṣṇa submerged the cowherd men in that lake in the sense that He submerged them in the awareness of the impersonal Brahman. But then, as indicated by the word uddhṛtāḥ, He lifted them up to a higher understanding, that of the Personality of Godhead in His own planet. As clearly stated here, dadṛśur brahmaṇo lokam: They saw, just as Akrūra did, the transcendental abode of the Absolute Truth.
The evolution of consciousness may be briefly summarized as follows: In ordinary consciousness we perceive and are attracted to the variety of material things. Rising to the first stage of spiritual consciousness, we transcend material variety and focus instead on the undifferentiated One, which lies behind and gives existence to the many. Finally, rising to Kṛṣṇa consciousness, we find that the absolute, spiritual One contains its own eternal variety. In fact, since this world is a mere shadow of eternal existence, we would expect to find spiritual variety within the One, and indeed we do find it in the sacred text of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam.
Astute readers may note that the pastime involving Akrūra takes place later in the Bhāgavatam, after the present affair with the cowherd men. The reason Śukadeva Gosvāmī says Akrūra saw Vaikuṇṭha purā, “previously,” is that all these incidents took place many years before the conversation between Śukadeva Gosvāmī and Mahārāja Parīkṣit.