Srimad-Bhagavatam: Canto 3 - Chapter 1 - Verse 36


स एवं स्वान्तरं निन्ये युगानामेकसप्ततिम् ।वासुदेवप्रसङ्गेन परिभूतगतित्रय: ॥ ३६ ॥


sa evaṁ svāntaraṁ ninyeyugānām eka-saptatimvāsudeva-prasaṅgenaparibhūta-gati-trayaḥ


He passed his time, which lasted seventy-one cycles of the four ages [71 × 4,320,000 years], always thinking of Vāsudeva and always engaged in matters regarding Vāsudeva. Thus he transcended the three destinations.


The three destinations are meant for persons who are under the control of the three modes of material nature. These destinations are sometimes described as the awakened, dreaming and unconscious stages. In Bhagavad-gītā the three destinations are described as the destinations of persons in the modes of goodness, passion and ignorance. It is stated in the Gītā that those who are in the mode of goodness are promoted to better living conditions in higher planets, and those who are in the mode of passion remain within this material world on the earth or on heavenly planets, but those who are in the mode of ignorance are degraded to an animal life on planets where life is lower than human. But one who is Kṛṣṇa conscious is above these three modes of material nature. It is stated in Bhagavad-gītā that anyone who engages in devotional service to the Lord automatically becomes transcendental to the three destinations of material nature and is situated in the brahma-bhūta, or self-realized, stage. Although Svāyambhuva Manu, the ruler of this material world, appeared to be absorbed in material happiness, he was neither in the mode of goodness nor in the modes of passion or ignorance, but in the transcendental stage. Therefore one who fully engages in devotional service is always liberated. Bilvamaṅgala Ṭhākura, a great devotee of the Lord, stated, “If I have unflinching devotion to the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa, then Mother Liberation is always engaged in my service. The complete perfection of material enjoyment, religion and economic development is at my command.” People are after dharma, artha, kāma and mokṣa. Generally they perform religious activities to achieve some material gain, and they engage in material activity for sense gratification. After being frustrated in material sense gratification, one wants to be liberated and become one with the Absolute Truth. These four principles form the transcendental path for the less intelligent. Those who are actually intelligent engage in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, not caring for these four principles of the transcendental method. They at once elevate themselves to the transcendental platform, which is above liberation. Liberation is not a very great achievement for a devotee, to say nothing of the results of ritualistic performances in religion, economic development or the materialistic life of sense gratification. Devotees do not care for these. They are situated always on the transcendental platform of the brahma-bhūta stage of self-realization.