Q: Did Krishna create the jiva soul (atma)? Bhagavad-gita 2.12 says soul was never created. So is God only a maintainer? Is there a difference and gradation between Vaikuntha and Goloka Vrindavan. All the previous acharyas like Shankara, Ramanuja, and Madhva have talked about Vaikuntha. I have heard about Goloka Vrindavan only in ISKCON.
Answer: You are misquoting Bhagavad-gita 2.12. Krishna does not say that the soul is not created. He says that the soul is eternally existing. That is something different. Krishna says in Bhagavad-gita 10.8 that everything is emanating from Him. Therefore we can understand that the souls are the eternal creations or emanations of the Lord. Accepting the truth of both statements, it is very easy to understand that Krishna is eternally emanating the souls from Himself. So, the jivas, the souls, are not created by God at a certain point in time. They are eternally existing as emanations or creations of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
It is not that only the devotees in ISKCON talk about Goloka Vrindavan. Millions of years ago at the beginning of universe Lord Brahma revealed the glories of Goloka Vrindavan in the Brahma Samhita as the topmost planet in the spiritual sky:
goloka-nāmni nija-dhāmni tale ca tasya
devi maheśa-hari-dhāmasu teṣu teṣu
te te prabhāva-nicayā vihitāś ca yena
govindam ādi-puruṣaṁ tam ahaṁ bhajāmi
"Lowest of all is located Devi-dhama [mundane world], next above it is Mahesa-dhama [abode of Mahesa]; above Mahesa-dhama is placed Hari-dhama [Vaikuntha, the abode of Hari] and above them all is located Krishna's own realm named Goloka. I adore the primeval Lord Govinda, who has allotted their respective authorities to the rulers of those graded realms."
Sankarshan Das Adhikari