Mahaprabhu moved with such speed, that He appeared to be simultaneously present at every point of His circumambulation. Such a sight is certainly astonishing, but our amazement should not stop there. What bhava was manifesting in Sriman Mahaprabhu at a given moment, and what internal transformations was He undergoing as a result? This was the foundation of His dance...
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As I have explained before, Mahaprabhu very rarely sees Jagannatha, Baladeva, and Subhadra. When He does, He at once enters a mood of very intense separation and prays, "After a long time I am meeting with My most beloved, for whom I was burning in the fire of separation." He addresses Jagannatha as gopibhartuh and prays, "Pada-kamalayor dasa-dasanudasah"...
Today is the day of gundica-mandira-marjana, the cleansing of the Gundica Temple. Sri Caitanya-caritamrta states that the temple of Jagannatha represents Dvaraka, while the temple at Gundica is called Sundaracala and represents Vrndavana. All the gopis, such as Lalita, Visakha, and Srimati Radhika, are there in Vrndavana, and so are Nanda Baba, Yaçoda, and all the other Vrajavasis. Vasudeva, Devaki, Baladeva, Subhadra, and all the other Dvarakavasis reside in Dvaraka...
Today is a very auspicious day. In all our mathas we are engaged in arranging for the Ratha-yatra festival for Jagannatha, Baladeva, and Subhadra; but prior to that we celebrate the divine disappearance day of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura and Srila Gadadhara Pandita.
Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura and Gadadhara Pandita are in the same line. We can say, and it is also stated in sastra, that Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura is a manifestation of Srila Gadadhara Pandita. Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura was always in a mood of service to Srila Gadadhara Pandita. He is Kamala Manjari, serving the Divine Couple Sri Sri Radha-Krsna under the guidance of her beautiful friend Rupa Manjari, with a special inclination towards Srimati Radhika.
For us, this means some exceptionally good fortune. We are very fortunate, because only little time has passed since he disappeared. When I joined the Gaudiya Vedanta Samiti, Caitanya Mahaprabhu's Mission, I could have even met and served his son and real disciple, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Thakura, for some little while. At that time I was old enough to have had his darsana and served him, but unfortunately – even though I was very near, I was not able to meet and associate with him.
But still I'm very fortunate, because his direct disciple, his very bold disciple, the life and soul of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, my Guru Maharaja, took me by my sikha and engaged me in his service.
Once I had a discussion with disciples of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Prabhupada. When they spoke some siddhanta that was not proper, I could not appreciate it and I told them, "I have seen Srila Prabhupada; you have not seen him. I saw him through my ears, and you saw him only through your eyes. My vision is perfect."
Then they complained to my Guru Maharaja, saying, "He is very proud. He is challenging us that we did not see Srila Prabhupada but he has seen him!" My Guru Maharaja politely answered, "He is right. He actually saw him, by hearing from me, and you saw him only by your eyes. The eye can cheat, but the ear cannot cheat."
I am very lucky that my Guru Maharaja was pleased with me, and kept me with him and engaged me in his service; and still I can serve him. He even wrote something about me in his preface to Jaiva Dharma, and therefore I feel very fortunate.
If we follow the instructions of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura and Srila Gadadhara Pandita, especially Sri Sri Gaura-Gadadhara, we can develop our Krsna-consciousness. We should read and hear their teachings deeply, so that we may become inspired to follow them.
[Prema-prayojana dasa tells about the life and character of Sri Gadadhara Pandita.]
Srila Gurudeva: Why did Caitanya Mahaprabhu forbid Gadadhara Pandita to leave Jagannatha Puri? Why did He 'cruelly' order him to stay there, while He went to Vrndavana without him? What was His real, internal mood? The answer is that if Gadadhara Pandita would remain with Him, then His mood of being Krsna would arise. When they would go together to Govardhana, to Vrndavana, Rasa-sthali and other places, then Gadadhara Pandita would say something like:
barhapidam nata-vara-vapuh karnayoh karnikaram
bibhrad vasah kanaka-kapisam vaijayantim ca malam
randhran venor adhara-sudhayapurayan gopa-vrndair
vrndaranyam sva-pada ramanam pravisad gita-kirtih
["I worship that Parabrahma, whose crown is decorated with a peacock feather, whose large forehead is marked with tilaka of musk, whose shark-shaped earrings swing around His neck, whose eyes resemble lotus flowers, whose neck has three lines like a conchshell, whose lotus face is graced with a gentle smile, who holds a flute to His bimba fruit-like lips, whose bodily complexion is like that of a fresh mosoon cloud, who is supremely peaceful, who stands in a delightful three-fold bending posture, whose yellow cloth is resplendent like the rays of the sun, who is adorned with a victory flower garland, who is surrounded on all sides by hundreds of gopis, and who resides in Sri Dhama-Vrndavana in the guise of a cowherd-boy."]
By hearing this, Mahaprabhu would not have been able to control Himself. His krsnatva (His being in His identity as Krsna) would have become visible to all, and His pastime of giving raganuga-bhakti and tasting Radha's mood would have been finished.
[Prema-prayojana dasa tells the pastime of Gadadhara Pandita and Pundarika Vidyanidhi.]
Srila Gurudeva: There is an important teaching here. When Gadadhara Pandita first went to meet Pundarika with Mukunda, he misunderstood him. It was only by the mercy of Mukunda that Gaadhara was able to see Pundarika Vidyanidhi's true ecstatic moods. The teaching in this pastime is that if you want to know who is a Vaisnava, you cannot understand him by your sense perception. You cannot recognize a Vaisnava by yourself. You will have to go to him under the guidance of a Vaisnava; then you can understand.
Sri Gadadhara Pandita is Srimati Radhika Herself; he cannot commit any mistake. Only to teach us that we have to take shelter of a high-class, bona fide guru, he played a role and performed this pastime. Only through this process we can achieve pure bhakti: You may be intelligent or an important person, but without a guru you cannot serve Sri Sri Radha-Krsna. Your bhakti cannot develop.
[Gadadhara Pandita and Mukunda were very dear friends and always kept each other's company. Mukunda thus told Gadadhara Pandita, "Listen carefully Gadadhara, a very great devotee has come to Navadvipa. You have been hankering for the association of pure Vaisnavas and today your desire will be fulfilled. I will take you to see a wonderful Vaisnava devotee. In return for this, I simply want you to think of me as your dear servant."
The excited and happy Gadadhara Pandita called out the name of Krsna as they proceeded towards the great Vaisnava's residence with Mukunda. Arriving there, they found Pundarika Vidyanidhi sitting comfortably. Gadadhara offered his obeisances and was respectfully seated.
Vidyanidhi inquired from Mukunda, "What is his name and from which village does he come? I can see that his body is effulgent due to rendering devotional service to the Supreme Lord Visnu, both his form and demeanour are extremely wonderful."
"His name is Sri Gadadhara," Mukunda replied. "He is very fortunate because from early childhood, he has been totally detached from family life. In his external material identity, he is the son of the brahmana Sri Madhva Misra. Since he is absorbed in devotional service, he only associates with Vaisnavas, and he is extremely dear to all the devotees. When he heard about you, he was anxious to meet you."
After hearing the wonderful qualities of Gadadhara Pandita, Vidyanidhi was very pleased to meet him. The great personality, Sri Pundarika Vidyanidhi, sat like a prince. His beautiful bed was made of wood, covered with intricate brass and reddish stone inlay work. Above it were three tiers of ornamental drapes made of glittering brocade cloth. He was seated on a soft mattress covered with clean expensive sheets, and silk pillows were placed under his back.
On either side of him, many small and large water pots sat within his reach, as well as a nice shining brass plate with neatly prepared betel pan upon it. Two large ornate mirrors hung on either side of him into which he continually glanced while smiling with lips reddened from chewing pan. He wore a sandalwood paste tilaka mark upon his forehead and his face was decorated with dots made from a mixture of sandalwood and perfume. As for his hair, it was well-groomed and shining with delicately perfumed hair oil.
Two persons stood behind him fanning him gently with long peacock feathers and in front of him was a nicely prepared hammock. As he followed a life of pure devotional service, he looked as charming as Cupid himself. Those who did not know him would consider him a prince, as everything about him and around him gave the impression that he was a man of the easy and comfortable life, given to pleasure.
When Gadadhara Pandita saw these luxurious items and a general atmosphere of materialistic life, he became suspicious. Since Gadadhara was a fully renounced soul from his early childhood, naturally some doubts regarding the character of Pundarika Vidyanidhi entered his heart. He thought, "What sort of a Vaisnava is he, surrounded by so much finery and lavish living? Hearing about his devotional mood, I developed great respect for this person, but now upon seeing him, it is slowly giving way to doubt and suspicion."
Mukunda understood the mind and heart of Gadadhara Pandita, thus he took it upon himself to reveal the true nature of Pundarika Vidyanidhi. By the special mercy of Lord Krsna, Gadadhara Pandita would be allowed to perceive everything; nothing would remain unknown to him.
In a very sweet voice, Mukunda began to sing a verse from the Srimad Bhagavatam describing the glories of devotional service, "Alas, how shall I take shelter of one more merciful than He who granted the position of mother to the she-demon, Putana? Putana was unfaithful and always hankering for the blood of human children. With that desire in mind, she prepared deadly poison to be sucked from her breast and came to kill Krsna, but because she offered her breasts to the Lord, she attained the greatest achievement."
As soon as these words concerning devotional service entered his ears, Pundarika Vidyanidhi began to weep, tears of ecstatic love welled up in his eyes, rolling down his face profusely like streams of the Gaìga. Simultaneously, all the symptoms of ecstasy manifested on his person. He wept, trembled, rolled, horripilated, roared and finally fell into an unconscious state of ecstasy.
Then suddenly regaining consciousness, he said in a loud voice, "Speak! Speak!" and again fell down to the ground. Agitated with spiritual emotions, he kicked everything that was near him and all the luxurious paraphernalia went crashing to the ground. The shining brass pots of water, the container of betel pan, pillows, bed sheets, everything became a confused jumble. He began tearing his fine clothes, and his well-groomed hair went haywire as he wept and rolled in the dust.
He cried out, "O Krsna, My Lord, My soul, My very life, You have made me hard-hearted like a stone!" He lamented loudly, piteously crying out, "I have been deprived of the Lord's association in His most merciful incarnation!" He rolled around and crashed down to the ground. Everyone was afraid he might break his bones.
He trembled so violently that three persons could not hold him down. He kicked everything that was in his way, as his disciples stood by helplessly, unable to control him. In this way, the storm of ecstatic love continued until it finally abated and he fell into an unconscious state of bliss. He lay down without breathing, totally submerged in an ocean of spiritual ecstasy.
Amazed at what he had witnessed, Gadadhara Pandita began to worry, thinking, "What inauspiciousness has overcome me to make me think in such an offensive manner about this great personality?" He embraced Mukunda, being extremely pleased with him. Drenching him with tears of love, he said, "Mukunda you have acted like a true friend, you have shown me a pure and unalloyed devotee of the Lord. It would be difficult to find another pure Vaisnava like him anywhere in this entire creation.
"One can become totally purified simply by observing his devotional attitude. Today, because you are right next to me, I have been able to avoid a great catastrophe. When I saw all the luxurious paraphernalia surrounding Pundarika Vidyanidhi, I was convinced that he was a materialistic Vaisnava given to the pleasures of life.
"You could read my mind and being a greatly magnanimous soul you have revealed to me the unlimited extent of Pundarika Vidyanidhi's love of Krsna. Yet, today, I have been offensive and the extent of my offence can only be mitigated by your mercy. You must be merciful to me and purify my heart.
"All the devotees who have surrendered to the Lord by the process of devotional service have accepted the shelter and instructions of a guide. Yet, I do not have such an instructor, so I have decided to take shelter of Pundarika Vidyanidhi and follow devotional service under his guidance. I shall counteract all my offences to him by becoming his disciple."
Thus, Gadadhara Pandita revealed to Mukunda his desire to become a disciple of Pundarika Vidyanidhi. Mukunda was extremely pleased with the decision and patted him on the back saying, “Very good, very good.” (Sri Caitanya-bhagavat, Madhya-lila ch.6]
Seeing Gadadhara Pandita’s doubt, Mukanda Datta recited one verse to Pundarika Vidyanidhi:
aho baki yam stana-kala-kutam
jighamsayapayayad apy asadhvi
lebhe gatim dhatry-ucitam tato 'nyam
kam va dayalum saranam vrajema
["How astonishing! When Putana, wicked sister of Bakasura, tried to kill child Krsna by offering Him deadly poison on her breast, He bestowed upon her the position of His nursemaid. Could I ever have as merciful a shelter as that of Lord Krsna?"]
Upon hearing this, Pundarika Vidyanidhi became overwhelmed with ecstatic emotions.
[Prema-prayojana Prabhu tells the story of Vallabhacarya, who visited Mahaprabhu, trying to prove his scholarship.]
A question comes: Krsna dasa Kaviraja Gosvami has stated that Svarupa Damodara, Raya Ramananda and Sikhi Mahiti are Mahaprabhu's antaranga, most confidential associates. He even spoke about Madhavi devi as being His half intimate associate, but why did he not mention Gadadhara Pandita?
The answer is that Sri Gadadhara Pandita, as Srimati Radhika, is non-different from, or in other words, is in Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Caitanya Mahaprabhu is always in the mood of Srimati Radhika – sometimes in mood of another sakhi, but always in the mood of Srimati Radhika – and always crying. When Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu is in the mood of Srimati Radhika, Gadadhara Pandita has no function there like others who are antaranga. He is Radhika. Radhika is not different from Krsna, She is not an antaranga.
We can learn so many things in these pastimes. Without a guru one may be powerful like Brahma or Sankara, but one cannot even become liberated, what to speak of serving Radha-Krsna. Caitanya Mahaprabhu personally took initiation from Isvara Puripada, and He inspired Gadadhara Pandita to also take initiation. Initiation is very important.
Some people think that they don't need a guru. They think that the mantras are written in books, so to read and repeat them is sufficient. But this is absurd. I have seen many sannyasis and other senior male and female devotees who do not even chant their mantras given by their bona fide Guru Maharaja Srila Bhaktivedanta Svami Prabhupada. They do not meditate on them. So how can one who does not even have a guru become inspired? From where will he get strength?
To except a guru is essential. An initiated devotee will think: "I must carry out the order given by my Gurudeva." We must accept any high class rasika Vaisnava guru. Some may think: "We came in this line because of Bhaktivedanta Svami Prabhupada. We are reading Svami Prabhupada's books and are following him. There is no need of any other guru." Even some whose gurus fell down think in this way: "I believe that Srila Prabhupada is my guru, no need to take initiation from anyone else."
But this will not do. One has to take proper initiation and follow his guru, as did Lord Ramacandra Himself, Caitanya Mahaprabhu, and Nityananda Prabhu, who is akhanda-guru-tattva, the original guru Himself. Nityananda Prabhu personally took initiation from Laksmipati Tirtha, and after that He accepted as His siksa-guru Madhavendra Puripada, whose status was even higher then that of Laksmipati Tirtha. Even Sri Krsna, along with Balaramji, took initiation. They were disciples of Bhaguri Muni. Do not think they took initiation from Sandipani Muni. Sandipani Muni was a school teacher who taught Krsna and Balarama the sixty-four arts, but Their real diksa-guru was Bhaguri Muni.
Krsna personally spoke this to the gopis. The gopis were telling Him: "You do not have a guru, so You are a bogus person." Krsna replied: "Why are you saying so? You can go and ask Durvasa Muni. It was in front of him that My father Nanda Baba had Me take initiation from Bhaguri Muni. Bhaguri Muni came to my house and I took initiation from him."
As Nityananda Prabhu gave even more respect to Madhavendra Puripada, his siksa-guru, if the siksa-guru is more qualified and rasika, we should honor him and give him respect. Giving respect to our diksa-guru, we should serve such a siksa-guru even more. There are thousands upon thousands of such examples in our Vaisnava scriptures. Don't be weak. If you are developing your Krsna-consciousness, your life will be successful, otherwise not. And, someone who is inspiring me in my Krsna-consciousness, especially one who helps me to become a rasika Vaisnava, he is more superior than anyone else. He is really guru. We do not consider Kesava Bharati to be the guru of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, although he was a Vaisnava in the line of Isvara Puripada. Rather, we consider him to be the vesa-guru of Mahaprabhu (who gave Him saffron cloth).
It is very hard to recognize a Vaisnava. We see that even a devotee like Gadadhara Pandita (in his human-like pastimes) could not recognize a pure Vaisnava. He rejected Pundarika Vidyanidhi, because Pundarika Vidyanidhi was chewing betel-nut and living in luxury like a king. If the internal mood of a Vaisnava is high, then such a Vaisnava is to be accepted as highly advanced. A devotee may have a five-, six-, or eight-kilo japa-mala, very long, big tilaka, and thick kanti-mala, and he will start to chant "Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna" as soon as he sees someone. But that person may not be a pure Vaisnava. And another devotee, who is not chanting on a japa-mala, like Pundarika Vidyanidhi, may put us in a dilemma regarding whether or not he is a devotee.
Therefore Mahaprabhu is advising: Do not try to understand who is a Vaisnava by his external appearance. Only an uttama-adhikari can recognize an uttama-adhikari. Even a madhyama-adhikari may be confused. Therefore, do not criticize any Vaisnava or judge him according to his external appearance.
Your life should be successful. If you can develop your Krsna-consciousness, then your life is successful. You may possess great wealth, position, power, beauty, and so many good qualities, but if this one quality, Krsna-consciousness, is not there, your life cannot be successful. Endeavor only to develop your Krsna-consciousness. If the whole world is against you, or if you don't become wealthy or acquire any position, there is no harm in that. Try to maintain your life only for the purpose of developing Krsna-consciousness; this is the teaching of Srila Rupa and Raghunatha and our guru-parampara. Don't try to buy bhakti by wealth and money. Only by pure hearted internal service to Sri Guru you can purchase it. Always remember what Krsna promised in Bhagavad-gita:
ananyas cintayanto mam
ye janah paryupasate
yoga-ksemam vahamy aham
["But those who always worship Me with exclusive devotion, meditating on My transcendental form – to them I carry what they lack, and I preserve what they have."]
Those who continuously chant and remember Krsna have no time to maintain themselves and their family; therefore Krsna will come to maintain them. He has promised this. Why fear? If we have strong faith in His words, certainly He is bound to fulfill His promise. But we are very unfortunate; we don't have such strong faith; this is the problem. Try to overcome this and maintain strong faith, total faith, in Krsna. He is bound to fulfill His promise. All others may fail to keep their promises, but He cannot fail. He cannot.
Try to realize this, and be always conscientious to become a high-class devotee. Give your life only for developing bhakti – bhakti, bhakti, bhakti.
harer nama harer nama harer namaiva kevalam
kalau nasty eva nasty eva nasty eva gatir anyatha
["In this age of quarrel and hypocrisy the only means of deliverance is chanting the holy name of the Lord. There is no other way, no other way, no other way."]
Harer bhakti harer bhakti harer bhakti eva kevalam – There is no other way; only bhakti, only bhakti, only bhakti.
[Srila Gurudeva leads the devotees in first singing Radhika-astakam and then the kirtana of "Jaya Gaura-Gadadhara."]
Jaya jaya Gaura-Gadadhara ki jaya! Gadai-Gaurangaji ki jaya! Gaura-premanande hari hari bol!
Now we should discuss about the incarnation of Gadadhara Pandita, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura. But don't hear in such a way that my words will go in one ear in and out the other. Hear with both ears, and take what you hear into your heart.
[Syamarani dasi speaks about the presence of many sahajiya sects during the time of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura's preaching]
Srila Gurudeva: We find so many 'Lalita-sakhis' in Navadvipa. Male persons put on Indian style saris and nose rings, and say, "We are gopis". At the same time, they engage in nonsense, illicit activities. Even among us, I know many ladies and gentlemen who can't even chant five or six rounds, but are very interested to taste goopi-bhava – they want it immediately. For this so-called attainment they can even give up their high-class Guru Maharaja Srila Bhaktivedanta Svami Prabhupada, and istead they go to any babaji, pay two rupies, and get goopi-bhava very cheaply. Such so-called gurus tell them, "You are Lalita, you are Vishaka, and you are Citra, Rupa Manjari etc." Bogus.
Everywhere, in France and also here (in England), I see these bogus gurus, those who cheat devotees. I request all devotees to be careful. First follow Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura and read Jaiva Dharma. Chant continuously and follow the instruction given by Srila Rupa Gosvami in his Nectar of Instruction (Upadesamrta):
vaco vegam manasa krodha vegam...
atyaharah prayasas ca...
utsahan niscayad dhairyat...
Also, give proper honor to proper Vaisnavas. This is more important. If you have no interest to chant the holy names and listen to hari-katha, then listen more, again and again. Come to the point of tan-nama-rupa-caritadi sukirtananu (pure chanting of the holy names). Then, when renunciation will appear in your heart and all material desires will disappear, automatically your siddha-deha, your perfected spiritual body, will appear. At that time you will be able to remember asta-kaliya-lila. This is the process of suddha-bhakti, or pure bhakti, as Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura has clearly told; there is no other path. Don't worry for your siddha-deha. Don't try to prematurely think, "I'm the dasi of Rupa Manjari" and so on. First practice very steadfastly and determinedly.
Remember this sloka from Srimad-Bhagavatam (1.2.7):
vasudeve bhagavati bhakti-yogah prayojitah
janayaty asu vairagyam jnanam ca yad ahaitukam
["By rendering devotional service unto Bhagavan Sri Krsna, one immediately acquires causeless knowledge and detachment from the world."]
Ahaitukam (causeless knowledge) will come. Wait for that, otherwise you will be like an unripe jackfruit.
[Pundarika dasa explains how sometimes a jackfruit is plucked prematurely. The persons who want to eat it first cut it, and their fingers get entangled in the sticky glue-like substance inside that become a source of trouble.]
Srila Gurudeva: All the teachings of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura can be summarized by one verse from his Gitavali:
krsnera samsara koro jadi anacara
jiva daya krsna nama sarva dharma sar.
["Carry on your worldly duties, but in relation to Krsna. Show compassion to all souls by loudly chanting the holy name of Krsna – this is the essence of all forms of religion."]
What is the meaning?
[Prema-prayojana dasa explains]
Srila Gurudeva: The essence of this sloka is jiva-daya, mercy towards all living entities. Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura explained what is real kindness towards jivas, and we should try to follow this. If you can turn the mood of even one person toward Krsna, so that he chants the holy name and remembers Krsna in the way given by our acaryas, this kindness is millions times better than opening millions of hospitals or schools.
So, I want that next year each of you will bring five new devotees. Then I will think that you have preached. Otherwise, if one cannot inspire a single person, if he is only engaged in sense gratification, than fie on such a wretched person.
What is the meaning of "krsna-samsara" (making one's home Krsna-centered)? It doesn't mean to be an ordinary family person. It means to be family persons like the gopas, like Sridama, Subala, and Madhu-mangala. Sudhama married, but he married for Krsna.
Once, while Srila Gaurakisora das Babaji Maharaja was staying in Navadvipa near the Ganges, and was doing bhajana without any hut or other possessions, a man came to him and said, "Babaji Maharaja, I am your disciple. Today I have collected a Krsna-dasi. I just married her; please sprinkle your mercy upon her." Babaji replied, "I am very happy; you are fortunate to have collected a Krsna-dasi. Worship her daily and don't be lusty; don't try to enjoy her, otherwise you will be finished forever." Hearing this, that man quickly ran away and never came back.
So, our marriage should be for Krsna, like the gopas, without any lust at all. I want that you preach, thus showing jiva-daya, mercy towards all living entities. Collect sincere devotees who will come to hear hari-katha. The managers here should not have problems how to accommodate everybody; I want this. Preach everywhere. Don't depend on any preaching center. Whether there are preaching centers or not, preach. If the preaching center is easily accomplished, very good; but even without it, preach and distribute the message of Sri Caitaniya Mahaprabhu and help others to become pure sincere devotees regardless of their asrama. They can be family men, brahmacaris, or vanaprasthas, but they should be sincere devotees.
This is the teaching of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura. He wrote more than one hundred books in different languages. He was like Srila Rupa Gosvami, Srila Raghunatha das Gosvami, and Srila Jiva Gosvami, and therefore he is called Saptama-gosvami, the Seventh Gosvami. As Maharaja Bhagiratha brought the river Ganga from the heavenly planets to this Earth to liberate his ancestors, similarly Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura brought the current of pure bhakti, bhakti-bhagirathi, prema-dharma, and especially upapati-bhava (unnatojjvala-rasa) from Goloka Vrndavana to this world. What he brought was not only from heaven like the Ganges; he brought the very sacred stream of love and affection from its original place in Radha-kunda, from the lotus feet of Srimati Radhika. Thus, he is called Saptam-gosvami. There is so much more to say in his glorification. His glories are like an unlimited ocean. We tried only to touch a little from the shore of that ocean.
Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura ki jaya! Gaura premanande!
Tridandisvami Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja
An Excerpt of His Glories
Badger, Jun 1st, 2002
[June 19 and 20, 2017 is the appearance day of Srivasa Thakura, who is the intimate associate of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, and who is Sri Narada Muni in krsna-lila. Srila Gurudeva spoke on a drop of his glory on June 1st, 2002, and we are enclosing his words of wisdom herein. The main topic of Srila Gurudeva's class was the subject of ruci, or taste for krsna-bhajana, and he gave Srivasa Thakura as an example of a pure devotee who had no taste in material affection due to his taste for bhajana, listen here:]
Vamsi dasa Babaji was always in a mood of intimacy with Caitanya Mahaprabhu. You, on the other hand, are always engaged in maintaining your life. Sometimes business is very good, and you think, "Oh, this is very good." And sometimes it is down and you think, "What to do? What to do? What to do?" You forget to chant and you forget to worship. This is not ruci (taste for bhakti). If you are in the stage of ruci, all items for your maintenance will come to you automatically. If anything is not coming for your maintenance, like money, food, or anything else, you will not worry.
When Srila Gaura Kisora dasa Babaji Maharaja was residing near Govinda-kunda, he saw that many persons were engaged in eating very delicious food at a picnic. He thought, "I should also have some delicious food." And then he replied to himself, "You want delicious food? Very good. I will arrange that right away." He took some very bitter neem leaves, ate them, and told himself, "Take this and be satisfied." Sometimes he used to eat the mud of the kundas (ponds) and thus he became blind, but he didn't care. He was simply absorbed in chanting, "O Radhe! Radhe! Where are You?"
premamayi radhe, radhe, radhe
vrndavana vilasini, radhe, radhe
vrsabhanu-nandini, radhe, radhe
kanu-mana-mohini, radhe, radhe
astasakhira siromani, radhe, radhe
He prayed, "Tomara kangala tomaya dako, radhe radhe. I am a very poor beggar, begging Your darsana." He was always chanting, "O Radhe, O Radhe," and he was always in a mood of separation from Her. If you, on the other hand, are worried for your maintenance, thinking, "Today there is no food!" "Our business is down!" "My relative has died!" and you are busy in those thoughts, how will you attain krsna-prema?
You should follow Srivasa Pandita. During kirtana one day, his only son died and his wife and relatives began to weep. He told them, "If you disturb the kirtana, I will jump in the Ganges at once." Mahaprabhu had also been participating in that kirtana, and when He understood what happened, He entered the son's room and told that dead boy, "Why are you sleeping? Wake up." The boy then opened his eyes and began to speak. He said, "I am doing very well in the place where I have just taken birth. It is favorable for doing bhajana there, and here it is not." Mahaprabhu then told him, "Yes, go there."
In this world, it is essential to maintain our life. Without this, we can't do our bhajana. But don't be worried about this. Your maintenance will come automatically, according to your previous activities. If something comes, that is okay, and if something that you have collected is lost, still, don't worry.
Suppose you have deposited many thousands of dollars in a bank, but somehow your business failed and your money was lost. Don't worry about that. You cannot achieve krsna-prema, or anything else, by money. You cannot eat your bank money. You can only eat two capatis or two slices of bread – nothing more. Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura quotes in his Bhajana Rahasya:
alabdhe va vinaste va
harim eva dhiya smaret
"The mind of one who has taken shelter of the holy name is undisturbed even if food and clothes are not easily obtained, or if they are obtained but then lost. Leaving behind all material attachments, he takes complete shelter of Govinda."
Chant Hare Krsna without any worry. Remember Srivasa Pandita and his four brothers, who chanted throughout the night, "Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare," and "Hari haraya nama krsna yadavaya namah."
There was nothing to eat in Srivasa Pandita's house, and Mahaprabhu told him, "You chant Hare Krsna day and night, but you should also try to maintain yourself. Make some money by working or by begging. Somehow or other you should maintain yourself and your family."
Srivasa Pandita replied, "We will not do so. We will only chant." Then he clapped three times as he said, "One, two, three." Mahaprabhu asked, "What are you doing?" Srivasa Pandita replied, "I will wait one day, and if there is no food, I will wait for another day, and then for a third day. Then, if nothing comes by the third day, I will jump in the Ganges. I will say 'Hare Krsna' and jump."
Mahaprabhu then told all the devotees, "Those who have sincerely taken shelter of the holy name and are sincerely chanting will never have to beg. Laksmi, the Goddess of Fortune herself, may beg, but My devotees will never have to do so. I will take responsibility for the maintenance on My own head, and I will arrange everything for them. I will maintain them; this is My promise." Have strong faith in this.
[Devotee:] Gurudeva, you described some of the glories of Srivasa Pandita. You said he was not even concerned when his little son died during the kirtana. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu told the boy to come back, but he said, "No, I am in a better place now." My question is: what better place could he be in? He was already in Mahaprabhu's kirtana with Srivasa Pandita.
[Srila Gurudeva:] Krsna had called him to participate in the pastimes He was performing in prakata Vraja in one of the universes. He was playing with Krsna and His associates there, and he was very happy. He therefore told Mahaprabhu, "Let me stay here; I am very happy here." It may be that due to his sadhana-bhajana he had become a gopi and he was residing with all the gopis. He may have been with Sri Rupa Manjari, so why would he want to return? His new situation was the fruit of his serving Caitanya Mahaprabhu.
Tridandisvami Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja
Badger, California: May 15, 2003
[This year, 2017, two auspicious holy days fall on May 10th and 11th around the world – the appearance day of Srila Madhavendra Puri and the appearance day of Srinivasa Acarya. In order that we may remember and glorify them and take their shelter, so that they may bless us in Krsna consciousness, Srila Gurudeva spoke the following lecture in Badger, California, on May 15, 2003. Whether it be the appearance day, or disappearance day, of Srila Madhavendra Puri and Srila Srinivasa Acarya – both are the same:]
You should know that Krsna was controlled by Madhavendra Puri, who is superior to Sri Prahlada Maharaja in various ways. I think Prahlada Maharaja cannot touch the lotus feet of Madhavendra Puri.
Madhavendra Puripada is the root, or first sprout, of prema-bhakti, the prema kalpataru (the desire tree of love of God). The Deity of Srinathaji (Krsna, the lifter of Govardhana) manifested to him and gave him constant darsana. Prahlada Maharaja and Nrsimhadeva had association for only a moment, and Bhagavan often gave His association to Bali Maharaja in the planet Sutala, but Madhavendra Puri is a special maidservant of Srimati Radhika.
Madhavendra Puri has special love and affection for the Divine Couple Sri Sri Radha and Krsna. His devotion is so high. He is the root of Vraja-rasa (the mellow of conjugal love for Krsna), for he brought such love to this world. Sri Isvara Puri received that gopi mood from him and then gave it to Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Such wealth was then bestowed upon Sri Svarupa Damodara, Sri Raya Ramananda, and the Six Gosvamis, and it is thus coming down in disciplic succession.
Srinivasa Acarya was the disciple of Srila Gopal Bhatta Gosvami, and He was trained by his siksa-guru, Srila Jiva Gosvami. He introduced many melodies for kirtanas, and he was such an exalted devotee that our Gosvamis depended upon him. They directed him: "You should go and preach in Bengal, and distribute all the literature written by us. Along with his associates, Srila Narottama dasa Thakura and Srila Syamananda Prabhu, he took their order and books, bound for Bengal.
Along the way, some dacoits looted all the books. They thought they'd gained a trunk full of jewels. An astrologer had told the dacoits' leader, "This trunk is full of treasure", and for this they had stolen the cart with all the books. The three devotees became mad in separation from the manifest heart of the Gosvamis – their writings. Srinivasa Acarya sent both his associates to Bengal, telling them, "I'll stay here until I discover the location of the books."
The local king was the leader of all the dacoits, but he was also a devotee. Though he used to loot so many things, he would also meditate and hear scriptures – Srimad Bhagavatam especially. There was a Bhagavata pandita in his council who read aloud and explained Srimad Bhagavatam. Srinivasa Acarya, in a very simple dress, went there one day when a Bhagavata discourse was taking place. He humbly sat in that assembly, hearing from the court pandita. After the Srimad Bhagavatam discourse was finished for that day, Srinivasa requested, "May I comment on what he has explained?"
The king said, "Oh yes, very well; you may explain something about these topics." The pandita had been speaking on Bhramara-gita, but he was not able to explain it very deeply.
Srinivasa Acarya stood up and began to explain it, weeping and making the audience weep. He gave the explanations that were also given by Srila Sanatana Gosvami and Srila Jiva Gosvami in their purports to Srimad- Bhagavatam.
The king at once approached Srinivasa Acarya and offered dandavat pranams, begging, "I want to take diksa initiation from you, and I want to hear Srimad-Bhagavatam." Srinivasa accepted the king and gave him initiation. Then the king offered, "I want to give you some donation for this – guru-daksina. As you like, I can give."
Srinivasa replied, "Oh, you are promising? Then you should try to arrange to get our cart full of all the books."
The king immediately answered, "Oh, it is with me! It is with me! My astrologers told me, 'three persons are coming, devotees from Vrndavana, with lots of jewels – more than jewels.' And that is why we took the trunk. We could not tell in what way they are jewels; but now, hearing from you, I know that they are so much more than jewels."
Jewels cannot give krsna-bhakti. They cannot help us. Those books can help us thousands of times more than jewels. You are coming here only by the grace of those books.
In this way, the books of Srila Jiva Gosvami, Srila Sanatana Gosvami, Srila Rupa Gosvami, and all the other Gosvami literature were saved. So this was Srinivasa Acarya, a very high class of devotee.
We pray to the lotus feet of Srila Madhavendra Puri and Srila Srinivasa Acarya to sprinkle their mercy on us.
Tridandisvami Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja
May 10, 1998
Respected Harikatha Readers,
Please accept our humble obeisances. All glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga.
This year, 2017, the auspicious appearance day of Lord Nrsimhadeva is May 9th and 10th around the world. Srila Gurudeva gave an amazing discourse on the Lord's appearance day in 1998, in Wales, and he is sharing this with you for the occasion this year. (To hear the audio lecture click here.)
Just as Srila Sukadeva Gosvami's speaking of Srimad-Bhagavatam 5,000 years ago is as fresh and relevant today, just as Srila Rupa Gosvami's books, written 500 years ago, nourish us today, just as Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura's songs, written 100 years ago, nurture us each day, so there is no difference between the 'old' or 'new' discourses of Srila Gurudeva. In all of them he is speaking to us anew, each and every day.
Your aspiring servants, the Harikatha team]
Lord Nrsimha's Mercy
Ito nrsimhah parato nrsimho, yato yato yami tato nrsimhah
bahir nrsimhah hrdaye nrsimho, nrsimham adhim saranam prapadye
Ito Nrismhah parato nrsimho. Nrsimha is here, Nrsimha is there; above, below, in front, in back, in all corners, and everywhere else. Wherever I go, wherever I walk, and travel, I see Nrismha everywhere. He is in our heart, He is in the creepers and plants, and everywhere else. There is not a single place – even an atom – where He is not present.
Since He is everywhere, if you pray to Him to save you, He will come at once and save you as He saved Prahlada Maharaja from Hiranyakasipu. He will take away all of your problems, as He took away all the problems of Prahlada Maharaja. He quickly destroyed Prahlada's demonic father, Hiranyakasipu, who had been given a boon of immortality. Hiranyakasipu was strong like iron. He was blessed not to die in the sky, by weapons, demons, humans, animals, fire, poison, or any other force of this world. Still, Nrsimhadeva killed him very quickly.
Nrismham adhim saranam prapadye. We take shelter of Nrsimhadeva.
If you experience any difficulty or danger in your life, you can chant this mantra. Lord Nrismha surely will save you; He has come only to save you. You can test this. If you are very faithful to Him, as Prahlada Maharaja was faithful, He will take away all your difficulties in chanting, remembering, and becoming a pure devotee. He has come as the embodiment of Krsna's mercy. So chant this mantra, especially today, and He will protect you from everything inauspicious.
[Srila Gurudeva sang the mantra again, along with the assembled devotees, and proceeded to sing with them the mantra below.]
Prahlada jaya jaya. Nrsimha jaya jaya, Nrsimha jaya jaya, Prahlada jaya jaya,
Nrsmadeva is always greedy to help us. He wants to help us, but we don't want His help.
It is rare to find anyone who has such faith, and love and affection, for Krsna, as Prahlada Maharaja. Prahlada tried to teach his demonic father this beautiful truth.
naisam matis tavad urukramanghrim
sprsaty anarthapagamo yad-arthah
niskincananam na vrrnita yavat
["Unless they smear upon their bodies the dust of the lotus feet of a Vaisnava completely freed from material contamination, persons very much inclined toward materialistic life cannot be attached to the lotus feet of the Lord, who is glorified for His uncommon activities. Only by becoming Krsna conscious and taking shelter at the lotus feet of the Lord in this way can one be freed from material contamination."]
Prahlada told his father that those in material consciousness are blind, and they are like dogs. Dogs think that they are intelligent, but they are not.
matir na krsne paratah svato va
mitho 'bhipadyeta grha-vratanam
adanta-gobhir visatam tamisram
punah punas carvita-carvananam
["Prahlada Maharaja replied: Because of their uncontrolled senses, persons too addicted to materialistic life make progress toward hellish conditions and repeatedly chew that which has already been chewed. Their inclinations toward Krsna are never aroused, either by the instructions of others, by their own efforts, or by a combination of both."]
Some dogs once found a dry bone, which had absolutely no juice. One of the dogs approached that bone, quickly grabbed it with his teeth, and ran away. He then looked back towards the other twenty dogs, who now began to pursue him in order to take that dry juiceless bone away from him. At last they all caught hold of him and began to viciously attack him.
That dog, now full of injuries and blood, gave up that bone. His tail going inside his legs, he watched from the sidelines as another dog, while trying to relish the bone, was also violently attacked.
We are like this. Our fathers and forefathers have tried to take the juice of material enjoyment from this world, tasting only dry bone. If you ask your grandfathers, who are eighty, ninety, or a hundred years old, if they are happy with their life's accomplishments, they will all say, "No." When you ask, "Why not?" they will reply, "I am now old. I can no longer enjoy the taste of wonderful foods because I cannot digest anything I eat. I am going to die. I am not happy."
Ironically, their children consider, "Doing what we have seen our fathers and grandfathers do, we will now be very happy."
Suppose a man thinks, "I will drink a great quantity of wine;" what will happen to him? He will become like a madman. He will faint and fall in a drain, at which time he will think, "I am sitting on a golden throne. I am the monarch of all." Dogs will approach him, smell his body, and think, "What a good smell!" They will taste him with their tongues and thus wash his face. Thus, there is no real pleasure in worldly objects of enjoyment.
Prahlada Maharaja explained this truth to Hiranyakasipu, hearing which, Hiranyakasipu became furious and decided to kill him. Hiranyakasipu tried several methods to kill him, which all subsequently failed, and he concluded, "I cannot kill him. I fear that my death will come from him. It is I who will die."
In the meantime, his very dear sister named Holika approached him and said, "My dear brother, why are you so anxious and worried? Can I help you?"
He replied, "No one in this world can help me."
Holika then said, "I can help you. What do you want?"
He said, "I want my son to be killed."
She said, "I can do this very easily. I performed severe austerities and received a benediction that I will not burn in fire. I now have this power, so I will bring that boy into a fire and he will burn very easily."
Hiranyakasipu began to laugh and said, "O sister, you have saved me."
Holika replied, "Yes. Tomorrow, you should arrange a heap of dry wood. I will then take that boy on my lap and sit on the heap of wood. Some ghee and oil should be poured on the wood, and at once the fire will go so high that in a minute he will be burned. I will then come out of the flames."
The next morning, a very big heap of dry wood was brought and abundant ghee poured on it. Holika took Prahlada and said, "My dear nephew, nephew, nephew; please come and sit on my lap. I will give you much milk to drink." She then sat comfortably in the midst of the dry wood, and took Prahlada Maharaja on her lap. At once a fire was started all around, and the flames very quickly created a great sound and began to touch the sky.
All the spectators watched as both Holika and Prahlada were covered by fire, and considered that they must both have been burned to death. Hiranyakasipu was quite satisfied, thinking that his sister would come to him laughing, and that Prahlada would be finished.
However, everyone present very soon saw Prahlada Maharaja walk out of the fire. Holika, on the other hand, was burned to ashes, never to return.
Hiranyakasipu asked Prahlada, "How were you saved?"
Prahlada replied, "When I was sitting there, I saw my aunty burn within a moment. At the same time, someone came to me and clothed me in an ice-like covering. I was easily saved, but I was so worried for my dead aunty." Hiranyakasipu's fury rose.
Prahlada's teachers, the two sons of the depressed Hiranyakasipu's guru, drew near Hiranyakasipu and asked him, "Why are you worried? You have conquered the entire world. You have conquered air, fire, all five elements. You can easily fly in the air, and you can take a thunderbolt and defeat Indra. So why are you worried? Wait a little. Our father will soon come and solve this problem.
Prahlada was again sent to school. Then, one day the teachers, desirous to engage in some household jobs, told him, "Prahlada, you should be the monitor and see that the other children do not do anything wrong. The boys can be somewhat naughty, so you must control them. We will return soon."
Prahlada began teaching his fellow students about Krsna consciousness, but the boys initially resisted with the excuse that they would take up Krsna consciousness in their old age. They told Prahlada that now was the time to play.
Prahlada replied, "We may die at an early age. We may even die when we are seven, eight, nine, or ten. If you die at a young age, you will not become old."
"In order to marry and become happy with family, and in order to nourish and support one's children, a person thinks, 'I will build a first-class house and make a very beautiful garden. I will have strong, beautiful dogs, and I will enjoy.'"
"This is a waste of time. We don't want to suffer, but suffering comes to us by our past births' impressions. We don't want to become old, but old age also comes. If you have performed any pious activity in the past, your present happiness will come automatically. Maintenance of your life, your good wife, good children, and everything else will come automatically. Since happiness comes automatically as a result of our past lives' activities, why are you making so many efforts to become happy? Why not chant Krsna's name and remember Him from the beginning of life?"
Prahlada continued, "Now you are boys of three, four, five, six, and seven years of age. Now you are free from worldly entanglements and your hearts are like plain sheets of paper, without anything written there. Later, when you mature, you may marry a beautiful lady. At that time, if you want to leave this world to perform bhajana, she will weep. How will you be able to give up such a beautiful, qualified wife?"
"Moreover, if you also have some children, beautiful sons or daughters, you will be engaged in serving them. Even if you try to give them up, you will not be able to do so. If the children call out to you in their sweet voices and broken language, 'Father, Father, Father,' how will you ever be able to give them up? You will think, 'I must support all these children. They are babies and cannot do anything. If I give up my household life, they will all die.' You may also lament, 'Oh, my beautiful dog and cow can't live without me.' Suppose you make a good garden with many trees and flowers, and later you decide to give it up to associate with devotees to chant and remember Krsna. You will then consider, 'Who will take care of this garden if I leave? All the flowers will die.' You will not be able to leave."
Prahlada continued, "It is better that you chant and remember Krsna from childhood, when you are free from all these worldly entanglements." All the students were inspired, but at the same time they had some doubt.
"We accept that what you are telling is true," they said. "Now we have great faith in you; but we want to know where you learned all these truths. You always remain within the palace, where it is very difficult to associate with any great personality."
Prahlada Tells His History
With a view to removing the doubts of his classmates, Prahlada said, "Some time ago, when my father was angry with Lord Visnu for killing his brother, Hiranyaksa, He began to consider, 'My brother has been killed by Varahadeva, an incarnation of Visnu. If I take revenge against Visnu now, he will surely kill me. So, I should first become immortal.' He began to perform severe austerities at Mandaracala Mountain, where he fully fasted from eating and drinking. He fasted even from dry leaves, and even water and air, for 60,000 years. He entered into a trance, and was thus oblivious to the fact that his body had been eaten by ants and only his bones remained."
In Satya-yuga, one's life could reside in one's bones, without the rest of the body. Nowadays, if we do not eat anything we will die in two or three days, but at that time it was different.
"In the meantime the demigods became worried. In Hiranyakasipu's absence, therefore, the demigods, headed by King Indra, made an attempt to subdue all the demons in warfare. A great battle ensued between the demons and demigods, wherein the generals of Hiranyakasipu were smashed. The victorious demigods plundered my father's palace and destroyed everything within it. Then Indra, King of heaven, arrested my mother, the Queen, planning to take her to a heavenly planet."
The demigods considered that Prahlada was probably a demon, like his father, so they planned to kill him as soon as he would take birth from his mother's womb. In the meantime, the sage Narada was coming from heaven and asked them, "Why are you doing such nonsense? You are demigods and you are taking a lady in this way? She cannot fight with you, so why are you taking her? Moreover, there is a great devotee in her womb."
Prahlada continued, "When the great saint Narada Muni spoke thus, King Indra immediately released my mother. Because of my being a devotee of the Lord, all the demigods circumambulated her. Then, after they left for their celestial kingdom, Narada brought my mother to his asrama, assured her of all protection, and taught me, within her womb, the truths of bhakti."
Further Teachings of Prahlada
Prahlada continued: "We can never be happy by our material activities. No one has ever become happy by such engagement. If you want to be happy in life, go to an expert guru and at once take initiation and a spiritual name from him. Then, under his guidance, try to follow the rules and regulations of devotion."
sraddhaya tat-kathayam ca
["One must accept the bona fide spiritual master and render service unto him with great devotion and faith. Whatever one has in one's possession should be offered to the spiritual master, and in the association of saintly persons and devotees one should worship the Lord, hear the glories of the Lord with faith, glorify the transcendental qualities and activities of the Lord, always meditate on the Lord's lotus feet, and worship the Deity of the Lord strictly according to the injunctions of the sastra and guru."]
The boys told Prahlada, "This seems very difficult. We cannot do these things."
sarvesam api bhutanam
harir atmesvarah priyah
bhatair mahadbhih sva-kataih
["The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Hari, is the soul and the Supersoul of all living entities. Every living entity is a manifestation of His energy in terms of the living soul and the material body. Therefore the Lord is the most dear, and He is the supreme controller."]
Prahlada assured his classmates, "There is nothing difficult in chanting Krsna's names, remembering Him, and engaging in devotional activities for His pleasure. We are eternal servants of God, Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and therefore devotional service is our natural activity. We must accept that Krsna is our holy master, father, mother and all other relations. After going to a guru and receiving initiation, we then begin to learn spiritual activities and develop to the exalted stage of uttama-bhakti (the topmost pure devotion). Guru will tell us everything about how to advance in devotion."
Guru will tell us that there are sixty four kinds of bhakti, among which nine are prominent:
sravanam kirtanam visnoh
arcanam vandanam dasyam
iti pumsarpita visnau
bhaktis cen nava-laksana
kriyeta bhagavaty addha
tan manye 'dhitam uttamam
["Hearing and chanting about the transcendental holy name, form, qualities, paraphernalia and pastimes of Lord Visnu, remembering them, serving the lotus feet of the Lord, offering the Lord respectful worship with sixteen types of paraphernalia, offering prayers to the Lord, becoming His servant, considering the Lord one's best friend, and surrendering everything unto Him (in other words, serving Him with the body, mind and words) – these nine processes are accepted as pure devotional service. One who has dedicated his life to the service of Krsna through these nine methods should be understood to be the most learned person, for he has acquired complete knowledge."]
Among these nine kinds of bhakti, five are most important:
sadhu-sanga, nama-kirtana, bhagavata-sravana
mathura-vasa, sri-murtira sraddhaya sevana
(Sri Caitanya-caritamrta Madhya-lila, 22.128)
["One should associate with devotees, chant the holy name of the Lord, hear Srimad-Bhagavatam, reside at Mathura and worship the Deity with faith and veneration."]
Amongst all devotional activities, if one is not committing offenses and is touched by any of the five limbs – chanting the holy name, being in the association of a qualified Vaisnava or guru, worshiping the Deity very faithfully, living in a holy place like Vrndavana, and hearing Srimad-Bhagavatam – he can attain all success.
sakala-sadhana-srestha ei panca anga
krsna-prema janmaya ei pancera alpa-sanga
(Sri Caitanya-caritamrta Madhya-lila, 22.129)
["These five limbs of devotional service are the best of all. Even a slight performance of these five awakens love for Krsna."]
Most important among all the limbs of bhakti, which is also the root of bhakti, is harinama-sankirtana.
tara madhye sarva-srestha nama-sankirtana
niraparadhe nama laile paya prema-dhana
(Sri Caitanya-caritamrta Antya-lila, 4.71)
["Of the nine processes of devotional service, the most important is to always chant the holy name of the Lord. If one does so, avoiding the ten kinds of offenses, one very easily obtains the most valuable love of Godhead."]
Prahlada told the boys, "We should begin harinama-sankirtana today."
The boys asked, "How can we do this? Do we have to be expert in playing musical instruments Do we have to bring any instruments?"
Prahlada replied, "There is no need. Krsna has given us the very beautiful karatalas (hand cymbols) of our hands. We can clap our hands. Krsna has also given us our tongue and mouth to sing in a sweet voice."
Prahlada Maharaja then instructed them, "Repeat after me. 'Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare,'"
The boys told Prahlada, "We are tired. We want something easier. This is so long. We want an easy kirtana."
Prahlada told them, "Repeat after me again: 'Haribol, haribol, haribol.'"
The boys all blissfully engaged with Prahlada in harinama sankirtana.
Hiranyakasipu's Last Try
After some time Hiranyakasipu overheard what was taking place. Grabbing Prahlada's hands, he demanded:
he durvinta mandatman
nesye tvadya yama-ksayam
["O most impudent, most unintelligent disruptor of the family, O lowest of mankind, you have violated my power to rule you, and therefore you are an obstinate fool. Today I shall send you to the place of Yamaraja."]
Hiranyakasipu said, "What nonsense are you doing?! You are so disobedient! You are like a dull stone, with no intelligence at all. I am from an aristocratic dynasty. You have become like the handle of an axe that is trying to chop down my entire dynasty. I will teach you a lesson! I am now going to kill you! Let us see who will save you now!"
["My son Prahlada, you rascal, you know that when I am angry all the planets of the three worlds tremble, along with their chief rulers. By whose power has a rascal like you become so impudent that you appear fearless and overstep my power to rule you? (Srimad-Bhagavatam, 7.8.6)]
["Prahlada Maharaja said: My dear King, the source of my strength, of which you are asking, is also the source of yours. Indeed, the original source of all kinds of strength is one. He is not only your strength or mine, but the only strength for everyone. Without Him, no one can get any strength. Whether moving or not moving, superior or inferior, everyone, including Lord Brahma, is controlled by the strength of the Supreme Personality of Godhead." (Srimad-Bhagavatam, 7.8.7)]
Hiranyakasipu asked Prahlada Maharaja, "Where is your Lord? Is He present in this pillar?"
Prahlada Maharaja fearlessly replied, "Yes, my Lord is present everywhere."
satyam vidhatum nija-bhrtya-bhasitam
vyaptim ca bhutesv akhilesu catmanah
stambhe sabhayam na mrgam na manusam
["To prove that the statement of His servant Prahlada Maharaja was substantial – in other words, to prove that the Supreme Lord is present everywhere, even within the pillar of an assembly hall – the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Hari, exhibited a wonderful form never before seen. The form was neither that of a man nor that of a lion."]
To convince Hiranyakasipu that the statement of Prahlada Maharaja was unmistakably true, the Lord appeared from the pillar, with flames emanating from His mane. By manifesting His form as Nrsimhadeva, the Lord also preserved the truth of Lord Brahma's promise that Hiranyakasipu was not to be killed by any animal or any man. The Lord appeared in a form that could not be said to be fully a man or a lion. He was extremely angry, and no one could pacify Him. Brahma, Sankara, and all other demigods present became worried regarding how to pacify Him.
After offering Him their beautiful prayers of glorification from a little afar, they requested Laksmi-devi, "Please go and pacify your husband."
She replied, "Today I am afraid to go. He may also kill me."
Next they requested Brahma, "You should go; He is like your father."
Brahma replied, "Today, I cannot go."
Then they told Lord Siva, "You are a friend of Krsna. You should go." Siva replied, "Today we are not at all friends."
Finally, Brahma requested Prahlada, "You should go. He is like your father."
Prahlada Maharaja immediately went to Lord Nrsimhadeva and jumped upon His lap. Nrsimhadeva at once became pacified and tears fell from His eyes. He had been so angry; but now, in a moment, He was fully pacified. He began licking Prahlada Maharaja, as animals do, and said, "I came so late, and I am upset about that. I want to give you a benediction."
Prahlada replied, "I am not a businessman. I do not perform devotional service to You in order for You to give me something in return. This is business. If any desire is hiding somewhere in my heart, please remove it so that I can become your pure devotee. You have asked me to take a benediction. That makes me think there may be some material desire hidden in my heart – but I don't know where it is hidden."
Lord Nrsimhadeva said, "I know that you are pure; you never require anything. Still, I desire that you take any benediction."
Prahlada Maharaja replied, "If You insist that I take a benediction, I desire that You deliver my father. He has offended You and me, and he has given great troubles to all the devotees. He has cut down all the green trees so that no one would be able to get any wood or fruit. He killed many cows so that no one would be able to get milk, ghee, and butter to be used for devotional activities like hommas, fire sacrifices, and offering of bhoga to the Lord. He has also killed so many brahmanas, and in this way he has committed innumerable sins. Please forgive him."
Lord Nrsimhadeva said, "Don't worry about this at all. Your father has already been liberated. In fact twenty-one generations of your forefathers will be liberated."
For the uttama-adhikari, twenty-one generations – forward and back – will be liberated. Regarding those who are madhyama-adhikari, who are always chanting, remembering and performing devotional activities, their relatives of fourteen generations will be liberated. Regarding those who are kanistha-adhikari, who are chanting, and remembering, who have taken initiation and are trying to engage in pure harinama and other devotional activities but cannot properly do so, seven generations of their relatives will be liberated.
"I want to give you a benediction. My darsana should not go in vain."
Prahlada replied, "All these conditioned souls, who have forgotten You and who are engaged in many sinful activities are greatly suffering. I cannot tolerate their suffering. I desire that my pious and devotional activities be given to them, so that they may be liberated and become devotees. I want to take all the fruits of their sinful activities and suffer for them for millions of births."
Nrsimhadeva said, "In this conversation, you have won and I am defeated. I am giving you the benediction that all persons who hear the hari-katha about Myself and yourself – the pastimes of Prahlada Maharaja and Nrsimhadeva – will be quickly liberated. They will not have to suffer."
Those who hear, chant, and remember the sweet and powerful hari-katha of Prahlada Maharaja and Lord Nrsimhadeva, who participate in today's Appearance Day festival and performs abhiseka will all be liberated by Lord Nrsimhadeva. He promises to take away all their suffering and sorrows, and He will surely fulfill His promise. We can have very strong faith that He will not cheat us. Whatever He promises to do, He will surely do. Have strong faith that He will be merciful to us, that we will gradually develop our Krsna consciousness, and that He will give us inspiration to accept the path of pure bhakti.
Now let us first perform sankirtana, and then perform the abhiseka (auspicious bathing ceremony) of Lord Nrsimhadeva.
Tridandisvami Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja
Sri Jagannatha Puri: October 7, 2001
[This year, 2017, the divine Appearance Day of Sri Gadadhara Pandita is April 25th and 26th around the world. You can also listen to audio of a related lecture on Sri Gadadhara Pandit from July 4, 1997.
[In October, 2001, Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja led several hundred international pilgrims on parikrama to several holy places of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu's pastimes in Jagannatha Puri. On October 7th he took the parikrama pilgrims to Tota Gopinatha Mandira.
Tota Gopinatha is the Deity manifested by Sriman Mahaprabhu. Tota Gopinatha is the Deity Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu entered at the time of His disappearance from this world. Visitors who approach the outside of the temple on the left side can see the enchanting garden where Mahaprabhu heard Srimad-Bhagavatam from Sri Gadadhara Pandita.
There in the temple, Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja spoke in Hindi, Bengali and English. The following is a transcription of his English, and also the English translation of his Hindi:]
If anyone thinks that when Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu took Srimati Radhika's bhava, She became zero, it is not correct. In a drama, someone may play the part of someone else, and that second person is still present. He has not become zero. Someone may play Sri Sri Radha and Krsna, and Radha and Krsna may also be present, watching. Similarly, when Lord Sri Krsna 'took' the bhava of Srimati Radhika and became Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, She was also present, watching, as Sri Gadadhara Pandita.
Srimati Radhika came in the form of Sri Gadadhara. You should try to know Gadadhara-tattva. There is no difference between Sri Gadadhara Pandita and Srimati Radhika, but the activities are different in Krsna's pastimes and Gaura's pastimes. In Gaura-lila Sri Gadadhara Pandita is in the mood of a servant.
No gopi, including Candravali, Lalita, and Visakha, can experience Srimati Radhika's madanakya-mahabhava. Krsna experiences the ecstatic loving moods of rudha and adirudha, but not madanakhya-bhava. Sri Gadadhara Pandita, on the other hand has madanakya-mahabhava. In Gaura-lila, however, it is covered, so that he can help Krsna to play the part of Srimati Radhika. In the form of Sri Gadadhara Pandita, Srimati Radhika is looking and examining, and if there is something wrong in Krsna (as Mahaprabhu), She corrects it.
Sri Gauranga (Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu) is not nagara (the male lover). No one can serve Gauranga by thinking himself a gopi and thinking of Gauranga as Sri Krsna. Everyone has to serve Him in dasya-bhava, as a servant. No one should think, "I am Lalita”, or “I am Visakha”, or any other gopi. This is called ‘gauranga-nagari-vada’.
It is possible for Krsna to be the enjoyer of conjugal mellows, but not Mahaprabhu. Mahaprabhu is always in the role of a gopi, Srimati Radhika. Anyone can serve Mahaprabhu in dasya-rasa, but not in madhurya-rasa. In Mahaprabhu’s pastimes, this would be absurd. Sri Caitanya-caritamrta says that gauranga-nagari-vada *, is sahajiya. The scripture Sri Caitanya-bhagavata, and our entire guru-parampara, reject this idea. Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura has defeated their arguments.
Sri Gadadhara Pandita is Srimati Radhika and he therefore has up to madanakya-mahabhava, but He wants to serve Mahaprabhu. He wants to do what Krsna wants, and thus he covers his madhurya-bhava. Sri Gadadhara Pandita knows what Mahaprabhu wants: Mahaprabhu wants to play the part of Srimati Radhika. Right from the beginning He is in Srimati Radha's mood, and He is chanting, "Krsna prana-natha (My beloved Krsna)!" He came to Tota-Gopinatha Temple to hear Srimad-Bhagavatam from Sri Gadadhara Pandita – Srimati Radhika – to learn how to play Her part. In its deepest understanding, Srimad-Bhagavatam is really the glories of Srimati Radhika's moods.
(Srimad Bhagavatam 10.47.63)
"I repeatedly offer my respects to the dust from the feet of the women of Nanda Maharaja's cowherd village. When these gopis loudly chant the glories of Sri Krsna, the vibration purifies the three worlds."
Why did Mahaprabhu come to hear from Sri Gadadhara Pandita? Since Sri Gadadhara Pandita is Srimati Radharani, he was able to explain Her moods described in Srimad-Bhagavatam. The explanations of Gadadhara Pandita are the highest explanations and glorification of Her mood. His explanations will be greater than those of Vyasa, Sukadeva, and Krsna Himself. Mahaprabhu came here to know the glories of all the gopis, and especially Srimati Radharani:
aksanvatam phalam idam na param vidamah
sakhyah pasun anuvivesayator vayasyaih
vaktram vrajesa-sutayor anuvenu-justam
yair va nipitam anurakta-kataksa-moksam
(Venu-gita, text seven)
"The gopis began to speak among themselves: O sakhis! We think that for those who have eyes, there is but one thing which is a suitable object of vision. Success of the eyes lies in beholding this object alone; we know of no other. And what is that most precious object of attachment for the eyes? It is the vision of the two sons of Maharaja Nanda, Sri Krsna and Baladeva, accompanied by the gopas, as They enter the forest taking the cows, or as They bring them back to Vrndavana. They hold Their flutes to Their lips and look upon us with mild smiles and amorous sidelong glances filled with love. At that time we drink the sweetness of Their faces."
This verse in Venu-gita of Srimad-Bhagavatam is spoken by Srimati Radhika and the gopis when Krsna goes cowherding. Sri Krsna is behind and Baladeva is ahead. Krsna is playing on His flute and searching for Srimati Radhika. Srimati Radhika comes and takes His flute, and He begins looking at Her with sidelong glances. If Srimati Radhika explains this pastime Herself, saying, "My mood was such and such," it is surely the best explanation.
mrgayur iva kapindram vivyadhe lubdha-dharma
striyam akrta virupam stri-jitah kama-yanam
balim api balim attvavestayad dhvanksa-vad yas
tad alam asita-sakhyair dustyajas tat-katharthah
(Srimad Bhagavatam 10.47.17)
"Like a hunter, He cruelly shot the king of the monkeys with arrows. Because He was conquered by a woman, He disfigured another woman who came to Him with amorous desires. And, even after consuming the gifts of Bali Maharaja, He bound him up with ropes as if he were a crow. So let us give up all friendship with this dark-complexioned boy, even if we can't give up talking about Him."
This verse and the one below were uttered by Srimati Radhika at Uddhava Kyari, when Krsna was residing in Mathura. The deepest meanings of these verses were revealed to Mahaprabhu by Gadadhara Pandita Prabhu.
sapadi grha-kutumbam dinam utsrjya dina
bahava iha vihanga bhiksu-caryam caranti
(Srimad Bhagavatam 10.47.18)
"To hear about the pastimes that Krsna regularly performs is nectar for the ears. For those who relish just a single drop of that nectar, even once, their dedication to material duality is ruined. Many such persons have suddenly given up their wretched homes and families and, themselves becoming wretched, traveled here to Vrndavana to wander about like birds, begging for their living."
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu came here to hear, and when He heard, He fainted. Both He and Sri Gadadhara Pandita fainted. Gadadhara Pandita knew that by Mahaprabhu's hearing from him, Mahaprabhu would become more perfect to play Srimati Radhika's part. Srimati Radhika is the principal in the school of Srimad-Bhagavatam, in the course of tasting its meanings.
There were three and a half confidential associates of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu in Gambhira. Why was Sri Gadadhara Pandita not one of them? He is superior to these other three and a half confidential associates. This is a hidden secret. If Sri Gadadhara Pandita were there, Mahaprabhu's separation mood would not have come. In the association with Srimati Radhika He would have thought Himself to be Krsna.
One day, after hearing Srimad Bhagavatam, Mahaprabhu was sitting on the sand here at Cataka Parvata, which He considered to be Govardhana. He told Gadadhara Pandita, "Gadadhara, I want to give you My most valuable property. Will you accept it?" When Gadadhara Pandita agreed, Mahaprabhu said, "This is the property of My heart." He began removing the sand and said, "My prana-dhana (beloved wealth of My life) is here." In the mood of Srimati Radhika. He exposed Gopinatha's head and crown, and others began to help to reveal His form. Mahaprabhu then requested Sri Gadadhara Pandita, "Please take Him and serve Him throughout your life."
At the time of His disappearance, Mahaprabhu entered the Deity Tota-Gopinatha. Mahaprabhu left the world at 48 years, when Sri Gadadhara Pandita was 47. Out of great separation, Gadhadara Pandita quickly became like an old man, and he also very soon disappeared. We see in Krsna's pastime that the wife of Sudama Vipra appeared like an old person. She was young, but she was very lean and thin like an old person, with practically no breasts and no shape. She was almost like a skeleton. Similarly, in his mood of separation from Mahaprabhu, Sri Gadadhara Pandita may have also appeared like that.
MORE ABOUT SRI GADADHARA PANDITA PRABHU
Jagannatha Puri: October 13, 2001 Darsana
Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja: Gadadhara Pandita is always serving Krsna. In Krsna-lila, whatever Krsna wishes, Srimati Radhika always serves Him more than Candravali, Lalita, Visakha, and all others. Her whole mood is to satisfy Krsna. In Mahaprabhu-lila, because Krsna wants to relish His own self, He takes Radhika's mood, and She responds accordingly: "He wants that, so I should not disturb Him. If I help Him in this, this will be My service." Do you understand?
When Mahaprabhu was calling, "Krsna! Krsna! O Prananatha!" Radhika was there, but as an obedient servant. She was in a daksina (submissive) mood. The relationship of dasa (servant) always constitutes a daksina mood. Sri Gadadhara Pandita was even more daksina than Rukmini. Rukmini sometimes had some maan (transcendental loving anger or sulky mood), but Sri Gadadhara Pandita was not like that. If He had been in a vamya (left-wing or unsubmissive) mood, it would have been unfavorable to the mood of Krsna as Mahaprabhu. Gadadhara Pandita was always thinking, "I am His servant." If he had said to Mahaprabhu, "My dear Krsna, my dear beloved," Mahaprabhu's mood would have been disturbed.
Tunga-vidya dasi: That was in Puri. But what was the mood in Navadvipa?
Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja: In Navadvipa also. At that time Gauranga was also calling out, "Krsna, Krsna," not "Radha, Radha." But at that time He was untrained. He was not yet admitted in the school of Visakha – Sri Svarupa Damodara. At that time also, Gadadhara Pandita always served as an obedient servant, covering all his moods as Srimati Radhika.
Tunga-vidya dasi: Are Mahaprabhu and Gadadhara Pandita in the same mood in nitya-Navadvipa Dhama as well?
Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja: Same mood. Gauranga was not in the mood of nagara (Krsna as the male lover). We never accept Him as nagara.
*[Endnote – From of a letter by Srila Bhaktivedanta Svami Prabhupada, dated June 16, 1968: "A similar example is Lord Caitanya. Although He is Krsna Himself, He appeared as a devotee, not as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. We should accept the Lord's mood in particular appearances and we should worship Him in those moods. Because Lord Caitanya is Krsna Himself, somebody may worship Him in the same manner as Krsna. But Krsna was in the role of enjoyer, and Lord Caitanya was in the role of being enjoyed. The party known as gauranga-nagari is therefore considered to be deviated from pure devotional service. This is on account of it giving Lord Caitanya the same facility as Krsna, which He did not like. Our service mood should be compatible with the attitude of the Lord. It is not that we should overlap the attitude of Krsna upon Lord Caitanya, or Lord Caitanya upon Krsna, or Krsna upon Ramacandra, or Ramacandra upon Krsna."]
Mathura, April 13, 2000
Tridandisvami Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja
Janaka Maharaja had given the definition of bhakti to Lord Rama’s brother, Bharata. "Anyabhilasita-sunyam, jnana-karmady-anavrtam, anukulyana krsnanu-silanam bhaktir uttama. One who has no other desire than to please Krsna, and who is not influenced by the process of jnana-marga (cultivation of knowledge) karma, and so on, is situated in pure bhakti.” The king told him that nothing can control prema (pure love of God); it has its own law. One who has prema will always consider the desires of his object of love. He has no personal interest. He will always think, "How will my beloved be pleased?" Our real purpose is to please our worshipful deity, God and Guru; not to please ourselves."
After Ravana was killed, Sita devi had to undergo the agni pariksa, fire test. Of course, Maya-Sita entered the fire, and the real Sita devi remained unharmed – proving that she was completely pure and chaste. Rama then gave the kingdom of Ravana to Vivisana, Ravana's brother, and after that he took Sita devi and all their associates to Ayodhya on a mystic airplane. There were millions and billions of associates, but this airplane was able to expand so that they could all fit on it.
On their journey, Rama pointed out to Sita all the places where they had enjoyed pastimes together, or where He and Laksmana had killed various demons. For example, Rama would say, "Oh look, here is where we built the bridge to Lanka. Do you remember?" When they reached Kishkinda, where all of Rama's monkey associates lived, they stopped. Sita devi then invited all the wives of the monkeys to come aboard the airplane, as they were also very interested to see Rama's coronation
The party stayed one night and then went to Citrakut. Hanuman took the form of a brahmana and went to the place where Bharata was staying in Nandigram. Bharata was living the life of a renunciate, wearing simple cloth, with matted hair and living on fruits and roots; and all of his ministers lived in the same way. In the guise of a brahmana, Hanuman approached Bharata and said, "Oh Bharata Maharaja, Rama has come. Prepare to welcome him!" Upon hearing that his dear brother had finally returned, he was overjoyed and fainted. When he came to consciousness he said, "I want to give you many gifts. So please accept 18,000 cows, as many beautiful women as you desire, horses and other wealth. Still I cannot give you anything equal in value to the news you have given me." Hanuman then returned to his original form, and Bharata said, "Oh, you are Hanuman!"
After Rama’s abhiseka ceremony, he wanted to give many gifts to everyone. Sita devi thought of a very nice gift to give Hanuman, so she gave him her most beautiful pearl necklace. Hanuman took it, examined it and broke it, and the pearls scattered all over the floor. Sita devi was surprised and asked, "What are you doing?" Hanuman replied, "Oh, I was just seeing if 'Rama' is written anywhere here." "But don't you know Rama is in your heart?" she said. Then Hanuman tore open his chest. In this way, Rama’s associates teach us that whatever is given to others should be in connection with Krsna.
Lord Rama and Sita devi stayed together for many years, and everyone was very happy within their kingdom. Some people, however, criticized Rama for accepting Sita back after she had been in the palace of Ravana. According to Vedic principles, it is unacceptable to accept one's wife after her being away for one night – what to speak of one year. One evening, the wife of a washer-man came home late. Her husband immediately told her that she could not enter the house. He threw her out saying, "I am not like Rama, who accepted his wife back after she'd been with another man."
This news spread and the story got back to Rama. He was most disturbed, and realized that he had to do something. How could he rule a kingdom in which some of the people did not have faith in him? He called a meeting, asking all his brothers to come; but none of them could give him any advice. He himself then realized what to do. He remembered that Sita had desired to visit all the sages in the forest and shower them with gifts. He asked Laksmana to take her to the asrama of those sages, deliver his sorrowful message to her, and then leave her in the forest. Laksmana was devastated that he was called upon to do this, but he could not say anything, as he was Rama's younger brother. He therefore had to accept that responsibility.
Sumanta was Laksmana's chariot driver, and moreover a very great minister of Rama. Laksmana told everything about Rama's order to Sumanta and said, "My life is full of miseries. Now, today is the biggest misery of my life!" They passed Prayag and went across a river. "Valmiki's asrama is here," Laksmana told Sita. Then, with a heavy heart he told her, "Everyone is accusing Rama of accepting an unchaste wife. Many people don't have full faith in him now; so how is it possible for him to rule the kingdom and guide the citizens properly?"
When Sita devi heard this she fainted, and when she revived she said, "I don't want to create any difficulties for him. I do not want him to be disturbed by the public. Please pay my obeisances to all. Laksmana, I want to pray at your lotus feet, as I have offended you twice. The first night in Ayodhya, after our marriage ceremony, I stopped you from massaging Rama's lotus feet. Though this had been your cherished duty for many years, I took this away from you. When you asked Rama about this, he could not answer. Then we asked the great sage Vasistha and he said, 'The duties now have to be divided. So Laksmana, all the duties outside of the house should be taken by you. Sita devi should now perform all the duties inside of the house.' In this way it was decided.
"Secondly, I was once allured by a deer in the forest when we were in exile. I heard Marici call out, 'Alas, Laksmana!' Assuming it was Rama's voice, I told you to go immediately to help Him. You said, 'No Sita, it is an illusion created by a demon.' I insisted and told you, 'I know. You are a spy of Bharata, and you have lusty feelings for me. That is why you don't want to save your brother!' These words pierced your heart. You replied that you always saw me as your mother and had never even seen my face; you had only seen my feet. You could not bear these harsh words. Then, when you went to see Rama, he chastised you saying, 'Why did you take heed of the words of that woman?' Then Ravana came here and begged, 'biksana dehi' three times. When I did not want to come outside of your circle of protection he threatened me, 'I curse you that your husband will die if you do not give anything to me here!' So please forgive me for these offenses."
After leaving Sita devi in the forest Laksmana lamented, "Oh, alas! I will surely give up my life!" Sumanta tried to pacify him, and told him the truth of the matter. "Once I was with Dasaratha Maharaja, and at that time two sages, Vasistha Rsi and Durvasa Muni, came to visit him. Maharaja Dasaratha served them very nicely and then asked them to kindly tell him about the future of his four children. Vasistha Rsi remained silent and Durvasa Muni responded by saying, ‘Oh, you have four sons. Very good." Dasaratha Maharaja said, "Yes, first tell me about Rama's future." Durvasa said, "Rama's future will undoubtedly be full of miseries. He will have to leave Ayodhya, and everyone there will feel unbearable separation from Him. You will not be able to bear His absence, and you will die in separation. Rama will later have to be separated from his wife, and after suffering immensely they will become reunited. Then again they will have to be apart; and Rama will rule the kingdom alone without his wife. Do not tell this to anyone." Dasaratha Maharaja was in complete shock, but he promised that he would not speak what he had heard to anyone. He said, "From today, I am your disciple."
Having heard this from Sumanta, Laksmana realized that his brother Rama is in fact the Supreme Lord Visnu. Sumanta continued telling Laksmana the story that Durvasa Muni had told to Dasaratha Maharaja: "Once, a very big battle ensued between the demigods and the demons. The demons were defeated and went to the wife of Brghu Maharaja to take shelter; and, being very merciful, she gave them shelter. The demigods went to Lord Vamanadeva and told him the situation. He then took His cakra and beheaded Brghu Maharaja's wife. Brghu Maharaja was very upset and cursed Vamanadeva saying, "You are responsible for my wife's death. I loved her very much. Now I will have to suffer so much in separation from her. For this I curse you that you will have to suffer in the same way in the future. You will have a very beautiful wife who will serve you in every way. You will be fully satisfied and completely enamored with her feminine grace and charm, and her saintly qualities. You will then be separated from her, and you will always suffer immensely from that pain of separation." Hearing this, Vamanadeva happily accepted the curse. He knew that in the future the whole world would be benefited by this. Also, this was but a pretext, as separation naturally increases the happiness of meeting.
Sita devi was walking towards the asrama of Valmiki Rsi, when some of his brahmacaris spotted her. They informed Valmiki that a lady looking like a demigoddess was coming. Valmiki came out to greet her, and immediately recognized who she was. He said, "Oh, you are Sita devi, the wife of Lord Rama. I know this because I have written the Ramayana. Please come in." The ladies there were very pleased to see Sita devi and said, "Oh, please allow us to serve you." Valmiki instructed them how to serve her in every way.
When Rama sent Satrughna to Mathura, he happened to come near to Valmiki's asrama on the way. He paid obeisance to Sita devi and her sons, Luv and Kush, from a distance. Luv and Kush were very intelligent children. Valmiki was very expert in archery, singing and music, and he taught Luv and Kush these arts. They could thus sing in all ragas very sweetly. Valmiki also taught them the Ramayana.
No one in the entire kingdom was there to console Rama. However, the ladies were there to console Sita devi in the asrama of Valmiki. One day Rama turned to Vasistha Rsi and said, "Will you please perform a sacrifice?" Vasistha replied, "Then you must call your wife back." "Oh, I cannot do that." "Then you must remarry," he insisted. Rama said, "It is not possible." "Then you will have to make a golden deity of Sita devi." Vasistha then performed the sacrifice. In fact, every year he performed a very big sacrificial ceremony for Rama, near Naimisaranya on the bank of Gomati, with a new golden deity of Sita devi each year.
One year many kings and sages were called, and Valmiki came with Luv and Kush. The boys were extremely beautiful, with very broad chests and slender waists. During a rest period, Valmiki asked them to sing Ramayana. They had melodious voices, and they sang in such a heart-rendering way that they captured everyone's hearts. Rama was especially touched, and tears came to His eyes. Valmiki had previously warned the boys, “If anyone asks you who you are, tell them, 'I am a disciple of Valmiki'”. Rama ordered Laksmana, "Go and give them eighteen thousand gold coins and many, many beautiful clothes and gifts. Then ask them who they are."
When they were presented with these gold coins, clothes, and gifts, they said, "What will we do with all these things? We are brahmacaris." Then Laksmana asked which dynasty they belonged to, and they replied, "You seem very learned. Why ask this? Why not ask who is our Gurudeva? We are disciples of Valmiki Rsi." For five or seven days they came and recited the Ramayana, and after many days Rama and others came to know who they were.
Rama then called Valmiki and requested that Sita devi come and prove Her chastity so that he could call her back. Valmiki said, "I have never spoken a lie in my life. I can assure you that Sita is completely pure and chaste." Rama said, "I know that. I'm quite confident of this, but I want proof for my citizens. So please bring Her here. Then we'll see what we can do."
At this time Brahma, Sankara, and many demigods and goddesses came, curious to see this event. Sita devi sent Luv and Kusa ahead to their father. She arrived thereafter, and Valmiki spoke gently to her, "O daughter, Sita devi. Come forward and prove your chastity." Sita devi said, "Mother, please prove this to one and all, that I have never served any other man. I have never even had thoughts of any man other than Rama in my whole life. Please accept me, mother." Pritivi-devi appeared from the earth and Sita sat on her lap on a golden throne. In a moment, Prthivi-devi completely covered Her. In other words, she took Sita devi with her, back under the Earth. Rama couldn't bear to see Sita leave him like this, and he fainted. Then, when he returned to consciousness, he prayed to Prthivi-devi, requesting her to bring back Sita. He told her, "One time I went with a bow to the ocean and he was very much afraid. So I can turn you into dust in a moment." Just then Brahma came and told Rama, "No. Don't do it! This is the last time. Sitaji has gone to your own abode, so you should very quickly wind up your pastimes and go there."
Mathura - April 12th, 2000
[April 4th & 5th 2017 is the appearnce day of Lord Rama. We hope that you will relish this lecture that Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja gave several days before Lord Rama's appearance day on April 12, 2000 in Mathura:]
Today is a very auspicious day. It is the Appearance Day of Lord Sri Rama. Who is Sri Rama? He is Krsna Himself, and Sita is Radhika Herself. In order to establish the principles of maryada, regulative etiquette, Krsna appeared in the form of Sri Rama. His associates also appeared in Rama-lila. Gopisvara Mahadeva manifested as Hanuman and Baladeva appeared as Laksmana. Satrugna and Bharata are also manifestations of Krsna because they are His weapons. They are respectively Sanka and Cakra. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu Himself read and glorified the pastimes of Sri Rama.
Valmiki has described the pastimes of Rama in great detail. He was a siddha mahatma, a realized soul. Popular Indian stories say that in his previous life he was a dacoit, and he used to kill people for his living. One time he met Narada Rsi and, by that meeting, his heart was transformed and he became a sadhu. According to the scriptures, Valmiki was actually the son of a great rsi. He performed austerities for a long time and by that he became perfect. One of his disciples, a very famous rsi, was named Bharadraja. Once they both went to bathe in the river. After Valmiki took his bath, he saw a male and female kraunch-bird sitting in a tree. A hunter struck the male bird with his bow, killed him, and the bird fell out of the tree. Valmiki became angry and spontaneously cursed this hunter, "How cruel you are! How could you do this? May all your happiness go away, and may you never be happy again in your life."
When Valmiki returned to his asrama, he thought, "Why did I become so angry? I am supposed to be a rsi and have control over my senses. Life and death are very temporary, so why did I get disturbed seeing this? And how did these particular words come out of my mouth?" His words were very special. They had four gerands – four lines with the same meter as the slokas in Ramanyana. He therefore wondered why these particular words and this particular meter came out from his mouth.
Lord Brahma then appeared and said, "You should write the pastimes of Lord Rama, using verses which are in this meter." Valmiki replied, "How can I do that?" At that time Narada Muni appeared and initiated Valmiki. He said, "You should meditate upon the pastimes of Lord Rama in samadhi, and by bhakti all those pastimes will manifest in your heart. Valmiki followed those orders and, as the pastimes manifested in his heart, he began writing the Ramayana.
Valmiki was on the planet at the same time as Lord Rama. But before Rama enacted most of His pastimes Valmiki had already written about them, except for one – when Sita entered the earth. Why did he not write about this? Because he taught Rama's pastimes to Luv and Kush. If he would have told them in advance what happened to Sita, they would have been very disturbed. Just as Vyasadeva never preached Srimad Bhagavatam, but Sukadeva Gosvami later preached it all over the world, similarly, Valmiki Rsi taught Rama-lila to Luv and Kush.
Maharaja Dasaratha is the actual father of the Lord, birth after birth, and Kauslaya is His mother. They are eternally the mother and father of Krsna in His different manifestations. Yasoda and Nanda are non-different from Dasaratha and Kausalya.
Maharaja Dasaratha was getting quite old and he was disturbed that he had not begotten a son. He therefore asked his spiritual master, Vasistha Rsi, to perform a parestha yajna – a sacrifice with the goal to get a son. Half of the kheer, (sweet rice), offered in the yajna, was given to Kausalya, one quarter was given to Kaikeyi, and one quarter to Sumitra.
In due course of time all of the queens gave birth to sons – Kausalya to Rama, Kaikeyi to Bharata, and Sumitra to Laksmana and Satrughna. They were loved, they did childhood pranks, and they went to the asrama of Valmiki. Along with Visvamitra Rsi they went to siddha asrama and there they killed two demons who came to disturb the rsis' sacrifices. He also delivered Ahalya, who by the curse of her husband, had been transformed into stone. Suppose you have a fruit of amla in your hands. You can see it very clearly. Similarly Valmiki, by the blessings of Narada, saw all these pastimes as clearly as if they were happening in front of his eyes.
Along with Visvamitra and Laksmana, Rama went to Janakapuri for the svayambara of Sita devi. There He broke the bow of Lord Siva which had been given by Parasurama to Maharaja Janaka. At that time Parasurama appeared and manifested all the anger that was in his heart. When Rama strung the bow without any effort, Parasurama then understood that Lord Rama was the amsi, the actual source from whom he himself had manifested. Lord Rama told him, "Now that this bow is in my hands, I have to kill something – either you or that anger that is in your heart. Previously he had to be angry in order to kill all the demoniac kings who had been ruling the earth. Now that work was over and therefore Rama said, "I should kill that anger within you." Parasurama prayed, "Please take out that anger which is in my heart." After Lord Rama took it away, he was transformed into a rishi and after that he performed many austerities. Lord Rama and Sita Devi were then married and went back to Ayodhya.
There is a secret meaning behind the pastime of Queen Kaikeyi asking her two boons from Maharaja Dasaratha. Kaikeyi was not cruel. She loved Sri Rama more than she loved Bharata. When Rama was a young boy, He sat in the lap of Mother Kaikeyi and requested, "I want to ask you something. When I grow up and return home after My marriage, My father will think of giving this kingdom to Me. I want you to ask him to give the kingdom to Bharata, and to send Me to the forest for fourteen years." Hearing this, Kaikeyi fainted. When she regained consciousness she said, "I cannot do such a cruel thing." But then Lord Rama said, "For the benefit of the whole world, you will have to do this." So Kaikeyi agreed.
There is another important point in this connection. When King Dasaratha married Kausalya, he did not beget any sons from her. He further married 360 queens, but still there was no son. One day, when he was out in the forest hunting animals, he traveled all the way to the border of Afghanistan. He was very tired and therefore went to visit his friend Maharaja Kaikeya, the king of that entire area. Maharaja Kaikeya ordered his daughter to take care of the king. The next day, very pleased by her service, Maharaja Dasaratha asked him if he could marry his daughter, Kaikeyi. The king said, "Yes, you can marry her, but with one condition. If she begets a son, that son will become the king of your entire kingdom." Maharaja Dasaratha replied, "There is nothing that will please me more. I have no son, so if she begets a son I will be very happy to give my entire kingdom to him." This was another reason why Bharata became the king instead of Rama.
There is still another reason. One day Bharata's maternal uncle came and requested Bharata and Satrugna to accompany him for a few days. In the meantime, Rama Navami came – the Appearance Day of Sri Rama. On this day the celebration of His appearance took place, and His marriage also took place. On the day before, Maharaja Dasaratha had told Vasistha that he would like to give his kingdom to Rama and make him Yuvaraja. Rama would conduct all the duties of Maharaja Dasaratha in his absence and after he would leave the world, Rama would become the king. Everyone was very happy to hear this. Vasistha said, "Tomorrow, Rama Navami, all the planetary positions will be very auspicious. You should give him the sacred initiation tomorrow." There was no time to talk with Bharata and Satrugna. Also, Maharaja Dasaratha thought, "I have already promised that I will give my kingdom to Bharata. So how, in front of him, can I give it to Sri Rama?"
When Kaikeyi heard the news about Rama's coronation she was very pleased, and she gave her garland to her maidservant, Mantara. By the influence of the demigods and because Rama had to perform His pastimes, Mantara's mind became evil. She told Kaikeyi, "How can you be so foolish? If Rama becomes the king, Bharata will become a servant, and you will become a maidservant. For the rest of your life you will have to serve Kausalya and Sri Rama." Initially Kaikeyi resisted and was not influenced by Mantara's words. But then she remembered Sri Rama's request to her in His youth – that she should ask Maharaja Dasaratha to send Him to the forest. Remembering this, she made her heart very hard. Then she went to Maharaja Dasaratha and asked him for her two boons. Maharaja Dasaratha fainted. When Lord Rama heard what happened He was very pleased that Mother Kaikeyi had done what He had requested. He came to Maharaja Dasaratha and Queen Kaikeyi and she ordered Him to go to the forest, saying that this was also the desire of Maharaja Dasaratha.
When Rama was exiled and was living in Chitrakuta, Bharata, accompanied by many citizens, went there to request him to return to Ayodhya. On his way to see Rama, they also passed by Baradvaja Rsi's asrama. Bharadvaja requested Bharata, "Please, be our guests for a day here. You should rest and take prasada." But Bharata replied that he had come with lakhs of people. Almost the entire population of Ayodhya has come with me. How could they all fit in your asrama?" But Bharadraj said, "Please give me a chance to serve you." By his mystic power Bharadraj manifested an entire city, which was greater and more opulent than Ayodhya. For each of the queens there was a raj-bhavan. There were so many kinds of foods and preparations – just like anakuta. Mountains of prasada were created and everyone was served.
Kaikeyi also went to Rama and said, "I was the one who asked for the boon that you be banished to the forest. Since I was the one who asked you to go, now I take it back. Now I am asking you to come back." Lord Rama replied, "No, the command was not only from you. You and father both asked it together. Father is here no more, and you are only half, fifty percent. I don't know if it is his desire or not. So I cannot go back."
There was an assembly meeting held wherein Maharaja Janaka spoke with Bharata. Janaka Maharaja described the meaning of prema. He said that real love is to understand what pleases the beloved. Janaka said, "If it is Lord Rama's desire to stay here, then it is better to follow what He wants, and not try to force your desire on Him."
Rama, Laksmana, and Sita devi then traveled to Chitrakuta. There Rama performed jalanjali, offering water the ancestors. Actually Maharaja Dasaratha had never died, so ultimately there was no point of His doing this. However, since He was performing narvata-lila, human like pastimes, he offered the water.
Sita and Rama went to the asrama of Anasuya, who gave Sita a special 'anga vastra' that even if she didn't eat, her body would never dwindle. That is why, when she was at Ravana's place, although she never ate any food given by Ravana for a whole year, her body never dwindled. Anasuya was the wife of Atri Muni who had performed great austerities. By these austerities Brahma, Visnu and Mahesh had all appeared. She made them become her little children, and all their wives came requesting her to please let them go.
Agastya Rsi gave Rama the bow with which He killed Ravana. Then Surpanaka came and Laksmana cut off her nose. Then Rama killed Kara and Dusha. Kara means donkey. He next killed a demon named Trisura. Ravana then came to revenge Surpanaka's dishonor. He stole Sita, Rama killed Maricha, they met Sabari, and then at Kishkinda they met Hanuman. Hanuman first appeared to Them in the form of a brahmana, to test if they were really Rama and Laksmana. Later, at Rsimukha Parvat Hill Sugriva met Lord Rama and they made a treaty of friendship there. After Sugriva explained what Bali had done to him, Lord Rama killed Bali.
[Given at Sri Keshavaji Gaudiya Matha, on the divine birthday of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu]
Navadvipa, India: March 14, 2006 pm
Tridandisvami Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja
After the completion of Lord Sri Krsna's pastimes in Vrndavana and Dvaraka in Dvarapa-Yuga, He was thinking very deeply. He considered, "I went to the material world and tasted the moods and relationships of dasya (servitude), sakhya (friendship), vatsalya (parental affection) and madhurya-rasa (conjugal love). Although I did so, however, I was not completely satisfied."
Sri Krsna was not totally satisfied, because He had three unfulfilled desires:
sri-radhayah pranaya-mahima kidrso vanayaiva-
svadyo yenadbhuta-madhurima kidrso va madiyah
saukhyam casya mad-anubhavatah kidrsam veti lobhat
tad-bhavadhyah samajani saci-garbha-sindhau harinduh
["Desiring to understand the glory of Radharani's love, the wonderful qualities in Him that She alone relishes through Her love, and the happiness She feels when She realizes the sweetness of His love, the Supreme Lord Hari, richly endowed with Her emotions, appeared from the womb of Srimati Saci-devi, as the moon appeared from the ocean. (Sri Caitanya-caritamrta Adi-lila 1.6)]
Krsna was trying very hard to understand the nature of Srimati Radhika's affection for Him. After the attainment of prema there is sneha (melting heart), then maan (sulky mood) and then pranaya (a sense of oneness with one's beloved). Pranaya means very deep affection. After pranaya comes raga, anuraga, bhava, mahabhava, and ultimately Radhika's madanakya-mahabhava.
Krsna was trying to understand the glory of Radharani's pranaya, Her love for Him. He was thinking, "I feel happy upon seeing Radha; but when She sees Me, She becomes completely maddened. What is in Me that She tastes?" I cannot taste the extent of My sweetness as She can.
Krsna has four special types of sweetness: the sweetness of His form, the sweetness of His flute playing, the sweetness of His pastimes, and the sweetness of the love He generates in the hearts of the Vrajavasis.
How can Krsna taste His own sweetness? He cannot do so. Only Srimati Radharani can taste His sweetness completely. Krsna had a desire to understand what Radhika experiences. He was thinking, "I am the most beautiful personality in the entire world. No one is more beautiful than I. But Radhika is much more beautiful than I. And yet there is something in Me which drives Her mad upon seeing Me. What is that thing?" He could not understand, and He thus developed greed to taste His own sweetness. In order to do this, He descended as Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.
There is another reason for Mahaprabhu's advent given in Sri Caitanya-caritamrta (Adi-lila 4.15-16):
prema-rasa-niryasa karite asvadana
raga-marga bhakti loke karite pracarana
rasika-sekhara krsna parama-karuna
ei dui hetu haite icchara udgama
["The Lord's desire to appear was born from two reasons: the Lord wanted to taste the sweet essence of the mellows of love of God, and He wanted to propagate devotional service in the world on the platform of spontaneous attraction. Thus He is known as supremely jubilant and as the most merciful of all."]
Krsna is rasika-sekhara. He is the crest-jewel of all enjoyers. He is the ocean and embodiment of all devotional mellows, and He is the supreme taster. He is also parama-karuna, the most merciful. Because of these two qualities He descended to this world. He came to taste something Himself, and He also came to give something – raga-marga, the path of spontaneous attraction. Just hear the pastimes of Sri Krsna. Study the commentaries of our acaryas.
The Srimad-bhagavatam has described how Lord Krsna's cowherd-boy friends, headed by Sridama, Subala, Arjuna and Stoka-krsna, love and serve Him. Nanda Baba and Mother Yasoda also have love for Him. The Srimad-bhagavatam also describes the love of the gopis and their service mood towards Him. The service of these eternal associates in Vrndavana is called ragatmika. Those who try to follow in the footsteps of these ragatmika devotees are called raganuga. Anugamana means to follow.
There are two types of raga-marga (the path of spontaneous love): raganuga-bhajana and rupanuga-bhajana. Rupanuga-bhajana consists of two sections. First, following the manner in which Srila Rupa Gosvami, in his form as a sadhaka or spiritual practitioner, served in the pastimes of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and fulfilled His innermost desires. In the second section the devotee follows the manner in which Rupa Manjari (Srila Rupa Gosvami in his siddha form, a maidservant of Sri Radha and Krsna) served and fulfilled all the desires of Sri Radha. Sriman Mahaprabhu came to this world to sprinkle upon the fortunate living entities the special service mood manifested by Sri Rupa Manjari. That mood is called manjari-bhava.
On this night, 520 years ago at the time of the lunar eclipse, in order to avoid the bad effects of that eclipse, millions upon millions of people entered the Ganga and chanted "Haribol, haribol." At that time the Muslims were thinking, "All those Hindus are chanting harinama and Hare Krsna." Thus, they also chanted "Haribol, haribol", and in this way they were chanting nama-abhasa. Somehow or other everyone was chanting the holy name at the appearance of Sacinandana Gaurahari.
Mahaprabhu's mother, Sacimata, had lost her first eight sons, and therefore she gave this child the special name Nimai. Nimai was born under a neem tree because neem keeps away ghosts, witches and evil spirits. When a parent loses children, they give the child a special name in order to protect their child so Yamaraja will not take them seriously.
Here in Navadvipa, Nimai manifested his balya-lila (one to five years) up to His kishora-lila (youth). After His kishora-lila He took sannyasa and went to Jagannatha Puri. From Jagannatha Puri, on the excuse of looking for his elder brother Visvarupa in Pandarapura, He went to South India and met with Raya Ramananda at Godavari. There Raya Ramananda narrated the pastimes of Sri Sri Radha-Krsna to Mahaprabhu.
When He was in Jagannatha Puri in the association of Sri Svarupa Damodara and Sri Raya Ramananda, He tasted the ecstasy of Srimati Radharani in the small room of the Gambhira. How high were His bhavas there! Somehow or other He would escape by passing through the seven locked doors of the Gambhira, even though they remained locked. He would roam about in transcendental ecstasy. The ecstatic emotions He experienced in Jagannatha Puri are to some extent described in Sri Caitanya-caritamrta. Sometimes His joints would become distended and He would become very long, and sometimes He would assume a contracted form, like a turtle.
You have now come to the land of Gaura-bhumi. The place we are presently situated, Kuliyagrama, is called aparadha-bhajana-patha. One may have committed offenses to devotees or to Sri Guru, and for some reason that pure devotee or Guru is not forgiving them. Still, by staying here, taking shelter here and weeping with a feeling of repentance, Gaura-Nityananda Prabhus will purify him from that offense. You have come to that place where offences are destroyed.
Tomorrow is the last day of our parikrama, and after that everyone will be returning to their homes. My Gurudeva used to say, "When you go home, don't tell anyone of the problems you experienced here, such as the heat and bathrooms. Rather you should tell everyone, "There were no problems at all at the Kesavaji Gaudiya Matha. There were a variety of subjis (vegetables) and air-conditioned rooms and attached toilets. Premananda prabhu gave everyone rasagulas (a fancy Bengali sweet) and parathas. We had great happiness." Don't tell anyone about the problems you may have incurred during the parikrama. Rather you should glorify the parikrama. Preach, and next year each of you should bring two or three more people. This year there were 15,000 pilgrims on parikrama, and next year we will make arrangements for 30,000 pilgrims.
Now there will be an enactment of Sriman Mahaprabhu's pastimes in the Bengali language, performed by a Bombay dance-drama group named Nritanjali, whose leader is Mr. Tushar Guha. Please stay for that.
Shri Bhaktiprajnana Keshava Goswami Maharaja
Orignally appearing in August, 21 1958 issue of Bhagavat Patrika entitled 'The appearance of Sri Baladeva'.
Who says Rupanuga Bhajana is only for those in parakiya-madhurya-rasa is a sahajiya. Certain sahajiyas, following the theory of 'ichari-paka', or expecting ripe fruit prematurely, say that "rupanuga-bhajana' consists of only the acceptance of parakiya madhura-rasa. They have established that other rasas such as dasya, sakhya and vatsalya are not included within rupanuga-bhajana. Such statements identify the sahajiyas section as being without proper understanding of rasa-tattva, and as being uncontrolled [independent]. These days, many persons situated within the line of conception flowing from Sri Saraswati Thakura and Srila Bhaktivinode Thakura, are fallen from the true line of thought of Sri Rupa Goswami, and have actually taken shelter of the feet of the followers of the sahajiya-section, and are believers in this 'ichari-paka' philosophy; Such imitationists say 'what will you get from preaching? What is there in kirtana? Do bhajana, just do bhajana!" This class of offenders think that their exchanging of the chanting of the Holy Name for deceitfully 'pulling rope' on their japa-mala, while sitting and performing silent bhajana, is actual bhajana. It is a matter of great astonishment that even though a great many people are doing this, still they have no shame. Service to Hari kirtana is actual rupanuga-bhajana, otherwise not.
Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja
Sri Devananda Gaudiya Matha, Navadvipa: Mar.12, 2000
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu appeared in Navadvipa and performed His pastimes there. It is said that after these pastimes were completed, He took sannyasa and went to Puri. Later He went to South India, met Srila Ramananda Raya, and revealed to him His form as Sri Sri Radha and Krsna combined – Rasaraja-mahabhava. This form of Rasaraja-mahabhava is also described in the Srimad-Bhagavatam, as the pastimes of Radha and Krsna. Krsna is Rasaraja (the king of all tasters of transcendental mellows) and Radhika is Mahabhava-svarupa (the quintessence of transcendental loving emotions towards Krsna).
In Navadvipa, Sri Gauranga performed sakhya-bhava pastimes with His friends in His naravata, human-like, lila. Some people say that after taking sannyasa in Navadvipa, He left and performed higher pastimes in Puri. After that, on the bank of Godavari He met Ramananda Raya and learned how to taste Krsna in a still more intense mood of separation. It is not actually true, however, that Puri and Godavari are higher than Navadvipa, nor is it true that Sri Sacinandana Gaurahari ever leaves Navadvipa.
It is said that Mahaprabhu was able to taste what He came to this world to taste – only after He met Raya Ramananda, who is Visakha-devi in Krsna-lila. He learned from him how to taste radha-bhava. Do you know why He learned from Ramananda Raya instead of Srila Svarupa Damodara, who is Lalita-devi in krsna-lila? Lalita devi is the first expansion of Radharani and Visakha-devi is the second expansion. But Visakha's birthday is the same as that of Srimati Radharani, so her nature is the same. She has practically the same qualities and the same form. Krsna could not be taught by Lalita-devi because her mood is pragalba, bold and outspoken. Srimati Radhika and Srimati Visakha, although also left-wing gopis, are the same as each other – madhya-nayika, heroines who are a mixture of pragalbha and mrdvi (sweet and gentle). Therefore. Mahaprabhu had to learn from Ramananda Raya how to taste Radha-bhava. Because it was at Godavari that Mahaprabhu learned to taste that Radha-bhava, some say that Godavari is higher than Navadvipa.
But this is not so. Navadvipa itself is the highest abode, and it includes Godavari and Jagannatha Puri. We can understand this by a comparative study of aisvarya-mayi-lila and madhurya-mayi-lila ('mayi' means 'consisting of'). What is the difference between aisvarya and madhurya? Aisvarya-lila are displays of opulence which cannot be performed by any human being, whereas madhurya-lila are those pastimes which appear human-like, even if there is a great display of opulence. If there is no opulence, activities are simply mundane. So there may be opulence in madhurya-mayi-lila, but that lila still appears sweet and human-like, and so it is called madhurya. Whether opulence is clearly present or not, in madhurya-lila there does not seem to be opulence.
As we see from Krsna's lila, there is more aisvarya in Vrndavana than there is in Vaikuntha, Dvaraka, or Mathura. However, it is covered by so much sweetness that the opulence cannot be tasted. [For clarification an example is given of salt and sugar: There are four cups. The first has 1 ounce of salt and no sugar. The second one has 2 ounces of salt and 2 ounces of sugar. The third has 3 ounces of salt and 6 ounces of sugar. And the fourth has 4 ounces of salt and 100 lbs. of sugar. Although the fourth cup has more salt, one cannot taste it because of all the sugar.] In Goloka Vrndavana the opulence is covered.
Krsna's madhurya-lila includes aisvarya. When Krsna lifted Govardhana Hill, the cowherd boys thought that He must be getting tired. They considered, "We should also help to hold up Govardhana, with our sticks." Others thought, "Because of Nanda Maharaja's austerities, Lord Narayana entered Krsna's body. It is actually Narayana who is holding up Govardhana." The gopis were glaring upon Govardhana and said to him, "If you fall down on Krsna, we will curse you." So these are human-like pastimes. When Krsna was a baby He showed His mother His universal form, and everything was there within His mouth – all incarnations, all universes, all elements, all senses, and so forth. Despite this, Yasoda-maiya could not conceive that her son is God.
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu is Krsna Himself, and His dhama, Sri Navadvipa, is Vrndavana itself. In Navadvipa He was known as Saci-putra and Sacinandana, the son of Saci-mata and Jagannatha Misra. He was also called Visnupriya-pati, the husband of Srimati Visnupriya-devi. Practically no one there knew that He is the Supreme Lord.
Two of His friends at that time were Jagadananda Pandita and Svarupa Damodara. They were his fellow-students when He attended the school of Gangadasa Pandita, and they all performed their madhurya-lila there. As there are so many human learned scholars or panditas, the residents of Navadvipa considered Saci-putra to be Nimai Pandita, a very good human pandita.
There is no aisvarya in this name Nimai Pandita. It is naravata, human-like. When Kesava Kasmiri, the digvijaya (challenging scholar), came to defeat the panditas of Navadvipa, they decided to make Nimai Pandita their representative. They considered Him to be just a boy. Therefore, if He would lose, they could then say, "He's just a boy." And if He would win, they could consider it a great victory for Navadvipa that their boy-scholar was successful.
Being fellow-students in Gangadasa Pandita's school, Jagadananda Pandita and Nimai Pandita used to have friendly arguments about logic. Sometimes they would argue about the definition of mukti. Jagadananda Pandita would quote the verse beginning, "Atyantya dukha nivritti – Liberation means to be delivered from the miseries of maya." But Nimai Pandita would say, "No. The real definition of mukti is: 'Mukti hitva anyata rupam, svarupena vyavastiti – Mukti is that condition in which one realizes his own svarupa and the svarupa of Krsna, and he realizes his relationship with Krsna. Liberation from all false identifications is only possible when one knows his real identification. When one surrenders to the lotus-feet of Radha and Krsna and serves Them with one's transcendental body and senses, that is mukti. Otherwise mukti is only partial.'" So this is nara-lila – human-like friends arguing together.
In Jagannatha Puri, on the other hand, there were so many opulent pastimes, which everyone knew could not be performed by a human being. For example, when Mahaprabhu jumped in the ocean and was caught in the fisherman's net, His body became elongated and all His joints were separated by eight inches. This is opulence, and this is very deep and hard to understand. After Mahaprabhu completed his talks with Ramananda Raya, He tasted the fruits in Gambhira and only three-and-one-half persons were allowed to enter there – Sri Ramananda Raya, Sri Svarupa Damodara, Sikhi Mahiti, and his sister, Srimati Madhavi devi.
Dvaraka is full of opulence. There are so many palaces, elephants, horses, and chariots there. Similarly, in Puri there was so much veneration by all Mahaprabhu's devotees, and all were fearful to make proposals to Him. In Navadvipa, on the other hand, Kolaveca Sridhara would have arguments with Nimai Pandita – and Nimai would even steal his vegetables.
In Vraja, Sri Krsna is considered an ordinary cowherd boy. In Navadvipa, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu is considered an ordinary brahmana's ordinary son. No one in Navadvipa could conceive of Him being called Mahaprabhu. Only when He went to Puri did He begin to be called Mahaprabhu. In Navadvipa He sucked the breast of Saci-devi. He played with the girls who were worshiping Siva-linga to get a good husband. He also sometimes behaved as a mischievous student. His lila, therefore, is called madhurya-mayi-lila.
Someone may object to this statement, considering that He manifested as Nrsimhadeva and Varaha in Navadvipa. This is true, but hardly anyone saw this. Practically all the devotees always thought He was simply Saci-nandana. Only a few were in the mood of worship, like Murari Gupta (who is Hanuman in Rama-lila) or Srivasa Pandita (who is Narada Muni in Krsna-lila), understood Him as the Supreme Lord.
Comparing the Three Features
There is a comparison between the three features of Caitanya Mahaprabhu and the three features of Srimati Radharani. There is an original Radhika, and Her complete and original form is called Vrsabhanu-nandini Radhika. She never leaves Vrndavana, and She only feels short-term separation from Krsna – as when He goes cow-herding for a few hours each day. Vrsabhanu-nandini Radhika is always experiencing Her nitya-lila, or astakaliya-lila, pastimes with Krsna, which take place twenty-four hours a day – from one early morning to the next. She is actually never separated from Krsna. There is only an abhimana, or self-conception, that They are sometimes separated.
Vrsabhanu-nandini has two manifestations. One is Viyogini Radhika: Radhika feeling separation from Krsna at Uddhava Kyari when Krsna was in Mathura and Dvaraka. Her other manifestation is in Kuruksetra, and that is Sanyogini Radhika. It is Sanyogini Radha who meets with Krsna in Kuruksetra. Just as Dvarakadisa-Krsna and Mathuresa-Krsna are always within purnattama (Krsna's most complete form) Vrajendra-nandana Sri Krsna, so these other two manifestations of Vrsabhanu-nandini Radhika are included within Her original form.
Radhika's full, original form also feels separation, but only at certain times. For example, She may wake up one morning and think, "Oh, what a terrible dream I had. Krsna went to Dvaraka and married so many queens." Also, now and then some conception comes, "Oh, Krsna has left. No, Krsna is here after all." That sentiment or conception takes a tangible form in prakata-lila, Krsna's pastimes as preformed in this material world.
The three features of Srimati Radhika – Vrsabhanu-nandini, Viyogini, and Sanyogini – are defined in the Sanat Kumara Samhita. Just as She has three features, Sri Sacinandana Gaurahari has three features. Sri Krsna Caitanya Radha Krsna nahi anya. Mahaprabhu is no one but Radha and Krsna combined.
When Srimati Radhika is speaking to the bumblebee at Uddhava Kyari, She is Viyogini Radhika.
madhupa kitava-bandho ma sprsanghrim sapatnyah
vahatu madhu-patis tan-manininam prasadam
yadu-sadasi vidambyam yasya dutas tvam idrk
["O black bee, don't touch me. I know you are a representative of Krsna from Mathura, and you are trying to make some compromise. But I will never compromise with that Krsna. I know that the red of your whiskers has come from the kunkuma which came from the breasts of His beloveds there in Mathura. It was smeared on Krsna's garland when He embraced them, and then came on your mustaches."]
This mood of transcendental madness is of Viyogini Radhika, and this is compared to Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu at Puri. Sri Caitanya-caritamrta explains that the mood of Srimati Radhika which was seen by Uddhava was the constant mood of Caitanya Mahaprabhu at Gambhira.
"Vrndavana parityaja na padam ekam gacchati." Krsna never leaves Vrndavana. Nandanandana is always in Vrndavana. Vrsabhanu-nandini also never leaves Vrndavana, and similarly Sacinandana never leaves Navadvipa.
In Godavari, Caitanya Mahaprabhu manifested his Rasaraja-mahabhava svarupa. There in Godavari He discussed all tattvas: rasa-tattva, prema-tattva, and radha-tattva. But who saw this? Only Ramananda Raya. This manifestation of Rasaraja-mahabhava was not an ordinary activity. No one else could have shown Himself as Radha and Krsna. Therefore it is an opulence; it is aisvarya, and it is not the highest lila.
Srimati Radhika's partial moods and forms are included within Her original form, and this is also true with Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. In Mahaprabhu's lila, Puri is like Dvaraka. When He is in Gambhira, He is experiencing Radharani's separation from Krsna at Dvaraka, in the mood of Viyogini Radhika. When Mahaprabhu is in Godavari, He is like Sanyogini Radhika. This aspect of Srimati Radhika meets Krsna at Kuruksetra in order to bring Him back to Vrndavana. These two aspects of Mahaprabhu are included in Navadvipa.
In Jagannatha Puri, no one accepted the names Sacinandana, etc. Everyone there had a reverential mood towards Mahaprabhu. Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya realized, "Here is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. I've never seen such a person in this world." Sri Caitanya-caritamrta (Madhya 6. 9-13) states that while examining the body of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, Sarvabhauma saw that His abdomen was not moving and that He was not breathing. Seeing this condition, he became very anxious. He then took a fine cotton swab and put it before Mahaprabhu's nostrils. When he saw the cotton move very slightly, he became hopeful. Sitting beside Mahaprabhu, he thought, "This is a transcendental ecstatic transformation brought about by love of Krsna." Upon seeing the sign of suddipta-sattvika bhava, the Bhattacarya could immediately understand the transcendental ecstatic transformation in Mahaprabhu's body. Such a sign could take place only in the bodies of Krsna's eternally liberated associates like the gopis, and especially in Srimati Radhika. The Bhattacarya considered, "The uncommon ecstatic symptoms of adhiruddha-bhava are appearing in the body of Mahaprabhu. This is very wonderful! How are they possible in the body of a human being?"
Navadvipa is gupta (hidden) Vrndavana. Although the twelve forests of Vrndavana are hidden in Navadvipa, they are in a different sequence. Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura has described this as acintya, inconceivable. He has explained that it is the speciality of this dhama. It is hidden and crooked, so it cannot be exactly in the same sequence. This is the nature of hidden prema.
stealing clothesRadha-kunda is not far from Devananda Gaudiya Matha. Because Govardhana is here, Radha-kunda and Syama-kunda must also be here. My Guru Maharaja, nitya-lila pravista om visnupada Paramahamsa Srila Bhakti-prajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja has fulfilled the innermost heart's desire of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Maharaja and Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura by establishing this temple in the valley or plain of Govardhana.
Caitanya Mahaprabhu sometimes stayed here and performed pastimes. One pastime, as explained in Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, was when some young girls were making offerings to Siva-linga with fruits, flowers, and other paraphernalia of worship. At that time Nimai Pandita forcibly stole the offerings and told the girls that they should not waste their time worshiping Lord Siva. He said, "I am the Supreme Personality of Godhead. You should worship Me. All the demigods and demigoddesses are My servants. If you do not worship Me, I will curse you all to get old, ugly husbands who already have five wives." They were all joking in this way, and they did not believe that He was the Supreme.
All the Vrndavana pastimes are there in Navadvipa. Govardhana and Rasa-sthali are present where we are now sitting, in Koladvipa, at the Devananda Gaudiya Matha. Krsna is dancing here with the gopis. One may say that the highest place in Navadvipa is Yogapitha at Mayapura, because that is where Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu appeared. But actually, Koladvipa is superior. We must consider the siddhanta (conclusive truth). Comparing Navadvipa to Vrndavana, Mathura-Gokula is the place where Krsna appeared. He appeared simultaneously as Lord Vasudeva in Mathura and as a baby in Gokula. But this place in Koladvipa is Govardhana, where Krsna appeared in His original and most complete form, His kaisora (teenage) form, His Radha-Krsna yugala form. This is also where rasa-lila, the highest pastime, took place. It can be concluded, therefore, that this place is so much higher.
Srila Rupa Gosvami confirms in his Upadesamrta, "The holy place known as Mathura is spiritually superior to Vaikuntha, the transcendental world, because the Lord appeared there. Superior to Mathura-puri is the transcendental forest of Vrndavana, because of Krsna's rasa-lila pastimes. And superior to the forest of Vrndavana is Govardana Hill, for it was raised by the divine hand of Sri Krsna and was the site of His various loving pastimes. And, above all, the super-excellent Sri Radha-kunda stands supreme, for it is over-flooded with the ambrosial nectarean prema of the Lord of Gokula, Sri Krsna. Where, then, is that intelligent person who is unwilling to serve this divine Radha-kunda, which is situated at the foot of Govardhana Hill?"
After the class
After the class, at an informal darsana just outside Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja's room, a disciple questioned, "You said this morning that there was no opulence manifestation in Navadvipa. But Caitanya Mahaprabhu revealed His Virat-rupa, His universal form, there in Navadvipa." Srila Maharaja replied, "Yes, but only to a few; to Srivasa Thakura as Narada Muni."
Another devotee questioned, "You said in class that Jagannatha Puri represents Dvaraka and Godavari represents Kuruksetra. How is Godavari Kuruksetra?" Srila Maharaja replied, "It is not that Godavari is the same as Kuruksetra. This comparison is given because of its display of opulence. When Srimati Radhika first met Krsna at Kuruksetra, She saw so much opulence: horses, chariots and elephants, and Krsna was dressed as an opulent prince. Similarly, when Mahaprabhu manifested His transcendental form as Rasaraja-mahabhava, this was a great display of opulence. Another thing was that the great happiness Srimati Radhika felt by meeting Krsna in Kuruksetra after such a long time was only momentary. When She realized that Their meeting and relationship could not be the same as it was in Vrndavana, it became a pathetic scene. Similarly, the opulent display of Mahaprabhu's Rasaraja-mahabhava form was only revealed for a moment.
Holland, July 3, 1997
Tridandisvami Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja
Sri Narada has gone to Sankara, Lord Siva, and is glorifying him; “You are very near and dear to Lord Krsna. Not only that, you are Krsna’s manifestation; you are non-different from Him. You can give moksa, liberation, and also krsna-prema.” Hearing Narada glorify him in numerous ways, Sankara became somewhat angry and said, “Your glorification of me is all false. I am not very dear to Krsna – not at all – but I want to be. I want to be Krsna’s beloved, but actually I am not. I’ve done so many things against Him.”
Sankara had performed a number of activities that were apparently opposed to Krsna, such as giving a benediction to Ravana, as well as other activities opposed to krsna-bhakti. He told N arada, “You know, my boy, what no one in this world can do, Krsna tells me to do.” When the demigods were churning the ocean, first came poison – maha-poison. It was very dangerous and the entire world was burning by it." The demigods had approached Krsna, who told them to worship Sankara and request him to swallow that poison. So they worshipped Sankara and told him, “O Sankara, save us! No one else can save us.” Sankara at once took that poison and drank it. He took it in his mouth, but he didn’t want to take it in his stomach. This was because he considered, “Oh, Krsna is in my heart, and the poison will affect Him”. He therefore took it only in his throat. His throat was burned and it thus turned blue.
In kali-yuga many persons wanted to worship Krsna, God, thinking, “He should fulfill all our desires. Simply by worshipping Krsna or His incarnations, He will be pleased and satisfy our worldly, material desires.” In this way they began to worship – not to please Krsna, but only because they wished that He would very easily arrange all of their needs. Sri Krsna thought, “This is very dangerous.” He called Sankara and told him, “Tell all the false devotees that, “You yourself are Brahma. Brahma satyam jaganmitya jiva brahma evanapara. This world is false. Jiva is Siva, jiva is Brahma, all these souls are Brahma. There is no need to worship any other God. You are God Himself. You are Paramabrahma.”
Sankara told Krsna, “Can you please tell someone else to do this? I am not qualified to do this service.”
Krsna replied, “No, you will have to do it. In the entire world I see no one else qualified to do this.”
Now Sankara told Narada, “At last, I had to agree with this, and I preached everywhere, ‘You are Brahma, you are Brahma, you are Brahma. The whole world is false. ’ Now, I am so much regretting this. Why am I making all these jivas so offensive? It is an offense, I know. But yet, to carry out the orders of Lord Krsna, I am doing this. Because He sometimes orders me in this way, I am not His dear one.
"Also, you know that I always wear ashes from the burial grounds, and I always wear skulls. I have trigunas, three qualities: satya, rajas, and tamas (material goodness, passion and ignorance). All my associates are like bhutas (ghosts) and pisachis (witches). So actually I am not qualified to be Krsna's dear one.”
Narada then said, “Prabhu, don’t cheat me. I know something. I have heard that the enemies of Krsna and the Pandavas, or the enemies of any bhaktas, worship you, and you give them some benediction. But that benediction is not totally foolproof. There is always some loophole there. Actually you cheat them to please your Lord Sri Krsna. I know that whatever you do, you do to ple ase Krsna. You are His dearest friend.”
In Mahabharata there was a king named Jayadratha who was the brother-in-law of Duryodhana. Duryodhana had given his sister, Dushala, to Jayadratha, and so he was also like the brother-in-law of the Pandavas. Once Jayadratha tried to take Draupadi as his wife, and he put her on his chariot by force. Weeping, she told him, “I am the wife of the Pandavas. If they come, they will punish and kill you.” Jayadratha was so arrogant, however, that he did not hear what she said. In the meantime, Rsi Narada came to the Pandavas and told them, “Oh, I saw Jayadratha take away Draupadi, and she is weeping!” At once Bhima and Arjuna ran after him, and Jayadratha saw that they were coming very quickly. Bhima left his chariot and began to run faster than Jayadratha’s horses. Arjuna told Bhima, “I am going to arrest and kill Jayadratha. You should take care of the rest of the Pandavas.” He thus took his bow and arrows, and by those arrows he created a fire that surrounded the chariot of Jayadratha. Jayadratha was captured in that fire and could not move. At once Arjuna and Bhima arrested him, bound him to the chariot, and took him to the place where Yudhisthira was staying with Draupadi and the others.
Bhima told Yudhisthira “I want to kill him. Please order me to kill him”. Arjuna also said, “Jayadratha has performed a heinous act; he should be killed.” Yudhisthira said, “We should take the case to Draupadi, and whatever she orders we will do”. This was because it was Draupadi whom Jayadratha had taken. They went to Draupadi and kept Jayadratha at her feet. Draupadi was now very merciful. Although Bhima repeatedly said, “I want to kill him at once”, Draupadi told them, “Don’t kill him. Forgive him, because he is our brother-in-law. If you kill him, your sister will be a widow and she will weep forever.”
Indian wives are always very chaste. They can give their lives for their husbands. Their husbands may give them up or divorce them, but these women will never give up their husbands. Rama left Sita, but Sita never left Rama. This is Indian Vedic culture, and we should try to follow this because Parama-pujyapada Srila Swami Maharaja wanted it. Both husband and wife should help each other. You should never think, “I will give up my husband.” First follow Varnasrama-dharma, and then bhakti will come. When you are matured, then you can choose to either give it up or not give it up; no harm. But now you should try to follow Varnasrama-dharma. Some of the devotees were not following, and Srila Swami Maharaja was worried. Males and females should both be like this – very chaste. You can give up your life, no harm, because your soul will never die. However, if given to anyone, be chaste like this. Otherwise you can also give up Lord Krsna . So practice here. Take a vow that, “In my life I will never divorce; I will never give up my husband (or wife).” Then you will be chaste and you will never give up Krsna. Nowadays it is very easy to give up Gurudeva and to take a new one – like western women. In a second, for nothing, they can change their husbands. Although it may be a problem for their children, they are accustomed to act in that way. We should try to change this habit.
So Draupadi said, “Your sister will be a widow, and she will weep for her entire life.” Bhima and Arjuna asked Sri Krsna, “What should we do? We have promised to kill Jayadratha, and now Draupadi is telling us that we should forgive him.” Krsna replied, “If a man is very much respected but requires punishment, then he should be dishonored; and this will be like death.” Arjuna then shaved his head, keeping five sikhas, and he shaved one side of his face while leaving the othe r side half-shaved. This system is practiced in France, and nowadays it is a very good fashion. But Jayadratha was insulted there, and he felt totally humiliated.
When Bhima and Arjuna released him, Jayadratha thought, “It was better to die than to live.” He vowed, “I will somehow take revenge.” He therefore did not go to his home. Instead he went to Kailasa and performed very severe austerities there. After some months he gave up all food, water, and everything else, and he was about to die.
At that time Sankara came and asked him, “What do you want?” Jayadratha said, “I want to take revenge against the Pandavas. I want to defeat all the Pandavas and kill them.”
Sankara told Jayadratha, “You can defeat the Pandavas once, and only Yudhisthira, Bhima, Nakula and Sahadeva; but not Arjuna”
Jayadratha said, “If you cannot give me a benediction to my full satisfaction, t hen you should give me the benediction that neither Arjuna nor anyone else can kill me.”
Sankara replied, “If anyone kills you by cutting off your head, then, if it falls on the ground, that person who made your head land on the ground will die immediately. Your life will be saved and your head will be joined back to your body. However, if your head goes to your father, and your father throws it on the ground, then you will remain dead. If someone kills you hundreds and thousands of times, you will not be able to be killed, but if your father throws your head anywhere, then you will be killed.”
Jayadratha was satisfied. He thought, “My father will never do this!” Later, when the Mahabharata battle was fought, Arjuna cut off Jayadratha’s head with his arrow. It was evening and the sun was setting, and his father was doing arpana to the Sun-god (offering some water). In the meantime, Arjuna shot Jayadratha’s head into the hands of his father. Without thinking, his father tossed it on the ground, opened his eyes and said, “What is this wet thing?” But it had already gone from his hand. He now saw that this was the head of his son and began to cry, “O my son, O my son! You are now dead.” Thus, if Sankara gives any benediction to the enemies of Lord Krsna’s devotees, there is always some loophole. He is so clever, and he is always serving Krsna.
There was a very big demon named Tripurasura, who performed severe austerities to please Sankara. When Sankara came, Tripurasura told him, “I want a benediction that I can make three airplanes. They should be managed only by mind, so that when I order them to go to heaven, they will go there. They should not be like present-day machines. They should do as I wish. In summer they should be air-conditioned. If two men are seated, then there should be only two seats. And if I want to travel on the airp lanes with hundreds of thousands of persons, then that many seats should be arranged. They should never fall down due to mechanical difficulty. Never. They should be made of gold, copper, and silver, and they should be equipped with all kinds of weapons.
After attaining his benediction, Tripurasura began to fight with Lord Sankara himself. Sankara fled and took shelter of Krsna. Tripurasura also had a khupa, a well, and that well was full of nectar. If anyone would try to kill him, he could at once take that nectar and then he would not die. Sankara was very worried. Because so much warfare was going on between them, he took shelter at the lotus feet of Krsna. In order to save him, Krsna, as Visnu, then took the form of a cow. That cow drank all the nectar from the well, after which Sankara was able to kill Tripurasura and the other demons. We can see here that Sankara even gives benedictions to his own enemies, knowing that Krsna will save him.
So don& rsquo;t fear. Sri Krsna will save you if you offer yourself to Him. He has promised, “Sarva dharma parityaja mam ekam saranam vraja, aham tvam sarva papebhyo moksayisami ma sucah.” If you give your whole responsibility – your intelligence, your senses, your everything – to Krsna, He will take all responsibility for you. Don’t fear. No sufferings or sorrows of any kind will come to you. Arjuna killed hundreds of thousands of soldiers, but he did not have to taste the fruit of that. In other words, He did not have to suffer from the results of his actions. Ajamila committed so many sinful activities, but he also did not have to taste the fruit of that. He went to Vaikuntha. So you should try to give all your responsibilities, Varnashrama-dharma and everything to Krsna – and be happy forever. Then only you can enter into bhakti.
Sankara is always serving Krsna. Narada knows this fact, but he wanted to glorify Sankara so that every one will know that he is very near and dear – and non-different from Krsna. How? “Saksad haritvena samasta sastrair uktas tatha bhavyata eva sadbhih kintu prabhor yah priya eva tasya vande guroh sri caranaravindam”. Here saksad haritvena means priyatvena haritvena. He is very near and dear. “Vaisnavanam yata sambhu – he is the greatest Vaisnava”.
Sankara-tattva is extremely complex. Brahma-tattva is not so complicated; he is always jiva-tattva. And sometimes, when there is no qualified jiva, Lord Visnu himself comes as Brahma. But Sankara is not like this. He is not jiva-tattva. Where does he live? Beyond Brahmaloka. After passing through the eight kinds of material coverings, after crossing the Viraja, Muktidhama, Mahakalapuram, and then Brahmaloka, there is the planet of Sankara. There he is known as Sadasiva, and he is Visnu-tattva.
For any reason, if something sour is put into milk, it becomes yogurt. Yogurt is nothing but milk. It has all the potencies that are in milk, like ghee and so forth, but it is not milk. Milk can become yogurt, but yogurt cannot become milk. Sankara is like that. He is not an ordinary jiva. Sometimes, but very rarely, there may be a reason that Sadasiva cannot come to this world – if he is engaged in his destruction of the universe, or anything like that. In that case a qualified jiva can work as Siva; temporarily, but not permanently. So you should always try to honor Lord Sankara.
I can tell some pastimes of Sankara from Srimad Bhagavatam and Skanda Purana. When Sri Ramacandra was making the bridge to go to Sri Lanka with his hundreds of thousands of soldiers, He established a Siva-linga of Ramesvara. When it was established, all the male human beings were glorifying Sankara, shouting, “Ramesvara ki jayaho! Ramesvara ki jaya! They were calling Ramesvara “Rama Isvara”. “You are isvara; you are the God of Rama.&rdq uo; Thus they used the name Ramesvara. The Demigods were not happy or satisfied by this. They said, “Ramas ca asau isvarah”. Rama is God, and Sankara is also God. Both of them are the same. Hearing this, the Sankara-sila (linga or stone) broke. Sankara came out from it and told them, “You are all foolish; you do not know my tattva, the established truths regarding my identity. Rama is my God, and that is why I am called Ramesvara.”
Common people generally don’t know very much, and so they thought that Ramesvara meant that Sankara is the God of Rama, and that Rama is controlled by Sankara. The demigods were of the opinion that Rama and Sankara are the same and both are God. But Lord Siva, Sankara himself, told them, “I am not the God of Rama. Rama is my beloved and my God.” Sankara is called Ramesvara because of this. He himself told this.
We see in Srimad Bhagavatam that once Sankara went to the council of Praja pati Daksa, and everyone there was honoring Daksa. Daksa Prajapati had given his daughter in marriage to Sankara, so he thought that Lord Siva was like his son. He offered pranamas to Brahma because he was his father, but not to Sankara. All were honoring Daksa except Sankara, who was only sitting and chanting, "Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama Hare Hare. Daksa Prajapati felt insulted, cursed Lord Siva, and so many incidences took place after that. Sankara returned to Kailasa. From that time on Daksa thought Sankara his enemy, but Sankara never thought like this.
One day, in Treta-yuga, Sankara and his wife Sati came to Dandakaranya Forest. At that time Rama had been living in the forest for 14 years with Sita and Laksmana, to obey the order of his father, King Dasaratha. Now Ravana had stolen away Sita and taken her to Lanka. Rama was now weeping so much, and Laksmana was trying to pacify Him. The more Laksmana tr ied to pacify Him, however, the more He wept. He was asking the trees of Pancavati, “O Pancavati! Have you seen Sita? Where has She gone? O deer, have you seen Sita?” And He was crying – bitterly weeping – asking the Godavari River, “O Godavari, have you seen My dear Sita? Where has She gone? Why has She left me?” Rama became mad in separation.
Sankara came with Sati to the Dandakaranya Forest to see Rama’s divine pastimes and to take darsana of Him. Sankara was very moved and his heart was melting, He offered sasthang-pranama (full obeisances, with all the eight limbs of the body touching the ground) to Rama, and glorified Him, saying, “O, these pastimes are so beautiful and marvelous that anyone’s heart will melt to see them.” He then did parikrama from very far, far away, weeping, “O these pastimes are so beautiful”. When he did his final pranama and was ready to go back to Kailasa, Sati as ked, “My beloved, to whom are you doing pranama?” Sankara told Sati, “Rama is my worshipful deity. I always worship Him.” She told her husband, “Why? I see that Rama is like an ordinary man, weeping for His wife. Even I know where Sita is, and He does not know and He is weeping? He is not strong enough to bring Sita back? He is very weak; so He must be a man, not God. Why are you doing pranama to Him? Who is He?” Sankara told Sati, “You are ignorant; you do not know that He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead.” She had no belief or trust, so Sankara told her to test Him somehow.
Sankara went from there and rested under a banyan tree. Sati changed her form to look like Sita, went to the place where Rama was searching for Sita, and came in front of Rama. Rama was weeping, “Oh Sita, where are you, where are you?” Sati thought, “If I appear before Rama as Sita, then He will look at me and He will at once come and embrace me, saying “Oh, I have received my Sita.” And He will be happy.” But Rama was ignoring Sati. Again and again she came in front of Him, yet He was looking away. Then He told her, “Mother, why are you roaming here alone? Where is Sankara?” Sati wondered how Rama knew who she really was. Now she was afraid and did pranama to Rama. Then she saw that all the trees, all the creepers, and everything else became Rama and Sita. Wherever she looked, here and there and everywhere, she only saw Sita Rama, Sita Rama, Sita Rama. Rama showed Sati that, “Sita is never separated from Me, She is always with Me. I am doing this pastime for all human beings, so they will remember My lila.”
Sati realized, “Sankara can never be ignorant. He was right and I was wrong.” After Sati offered pranama and stood up, she saw that now Rama was there alone with Laksmana, and He was still weeping. “Oh Sita, where ar e you, where are you?”
Sati then went back to the place where Sankara was waiting under the banyan tree, and he asked her, “Have you tested Him to see who He is?” Sati replied, “Prabhu, what can I do? I believed you and I didn’t test Him.” She told a lie. You should always have faith in your Guru. Sankara was the Guru of Sati, but she did not believe him when he had told her that Rama is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. If a disciple does not obey his Gurudeva, what will happen? His bhakti and spiritual life will go down. Never tell any falsehoods to your Gurudeva, otherwise you again go to hell. She lied to Sankara, saying “I have not tested Him." But Sankara saw in his trance that she had tested Him, and he saw how she had become Sita. He considered, "She has taken the form of Sita, who is my mother. She is therefore not my wife; now she is my mother. Now I will always treat her as my mother.” When he made this vow, the demigods at once showered flowers from heaven, and they praised him, “You have made such a marvelous vow.” Sati asked her husband, “What vow have you made?” But he was silent and never said anything.
When they returned to their cottage in Kailasa, Sankara gave Sati a seat in front of him. The wife can sit on the left side of her husband, and the mother always sits in front, as a guru. In the same way, a disciple should not offer pranama to his Gurudeva while keeping his left side to him. The disciple should always sit at the front of his Gurudeva, and ask some very good questions with honor. If the disciple does not do this, he is not a disciple. He should ask some questions – not always being silent. He should serve and inquire from the Guru. "Tad vidhi pranipatena pariprasna." Questions should be there – not with a challenging mood, but to learn. So Sankara gave Sati a seat in front.
Sa ti thought, “Sankara has left me. He is treating me like his mother because I took the form of Sita. In this body he will not accept me as his wife, so I’ll have to give up this body.” After some time, Sankara went into a trance for hundreds and thousands of years, and Sati was feeling grievous separation. She was ready to give up her body.
One day, after Sankara had returned to external consciousness, Sati saw that so many goddesses were going to the palace of her father, Daksa, because a very good sacrifice was taking place there. Daksa’s daughters were also going there, and he had invited everyone except for Sankara. Sati also wanted to go, but she asked Sankara first. He replied, “A woman can go without an invitation to see her Gurudeva, or her father and mother; but if a father thinks that her husband is his enemy, then the wife should not go to see him. You know that your father thinks I am his enemy, although I never think like this. At the same time I cannot order you to not go there. You must decide.” Sati left that place and went to her father’s house, and there she saw that Daksa Prajapati was dishonoring Sankara. At once she became furious and left her body by burning to ashes, with the help of a fire that came from her heart. Here we see that Sankara’s worshipful diety is Rama, and because Sati took the form of Sitadevi, he left her. So he is a chaste Vaisnava, and he is always serving.
Don’t have any doubt in your Gurudeva. You should test him before initiation, and after initiation you should have very firm belief in him. Don’t give him up. If he is a madhyama-adhikari, and not so much qualified, then you can go to a siksa-guru, taking your Gurudeva’s permission. He must give permission. If he does not give permission, then he is not a pure devotee. There is no difference between siksa-guru and diksa-guru. Both are the same. Sometimes the siks a-guru may be higher, and sometimes the diksa-guru may be higher. No harm. If the guru does not know all siddhanta, conclusive philosophical truths, but he is a Vaisnava with very firm belief in Krsna, drdha-sraddha, then don’t give him up. Serving him and honoring him, you can go to a siksa-guru, but you’ll have to honor him. However, if he’s offensive to his Gurudeva, he is not following the line of bhakti, he has so much wrong attachment and he is fallen, at once give him up. That guru cannot help you, and he will create so many problems for you. So give up this guru forever, and accept a new initiation from any bona-fide Guru who can give this bhakti and take you to Krsna.
All good qualities are in Sankara.
Sri Sanatana Gosvami has written that some Vaisnavas don’t observe Siva Caturdasi, the appearance day of Lord Siva or Sankara. In Hari Bhakti Vilasa he has written that Vaisnavas should honor Sankara, and they may observe that date. I observe that date. I know Sankara, because in his form of Bankandi Mahadeva in Vrndavana he was the friend of Sanatana Gosvami. He became Bankandi Mahadeva from Gopisvara. Do you know this history?
When Sri Sanatana Gosvami became old, Sankara told him, “Now you are old. You should not come daily to see me, because you are coming from so very far away. Sanatana Gosvami replied, “I should come. I cannot change this habit.” Then Gopisvara Mahadeva said, “Then I’m going to come very near to you – as Bankandi Mahadeva.” He thus became Bankandi Mahadeva and resided very near the Madana Mohana Temple. Srila Sanatana Gosvami is also the very dear friend of Cakralesvara Mahadeva in Govardhana. He also used to be with Sankara in Kamyavan, where he is known as Kamesvara. He cannot be without Sankara.
As Nandisvara, Sankara has become the mountain of Nandagaon. He wanted that all Krsna’s pastimes be p erformed on his back. Regarding Brahma, he has become Brahma-parvata in Varsana. Because he is so near to Radhika, he is therefore our Gurudeva
These are the tattvas. We should try to honor Sankara as a great Vaisnava and as Guru. Don’t dishonor him. We don’t worship him separately, but we can observe Siva Caturdasi and glorify him in relation to his relationship with Sri Krsna. We should offer pranama to him with prayers like:
vrndavanavani-pate! jaya soma soma maule
prema prayaccha nirupadhi namo namaste
["O gatekeeper of Vrndavana! O Soma, all glories to you! O you whose forehead is decorated with the moon, and who is worshipable by the sages headed by Sanaka, Sanandana, Sanatana and Narada! O Gopisvara, desiring that you bestow upon me that prema for the lotus feet of Sri Sri Radha-Madhava who perform joyous pastimes in Vraja-dham a, I offer obeisances unto you time and again."]
Sankara is telling Sri Narada that Prahlada Maharaja is superior to him. Why? Because he is “tricky”. He does this only to give some encouragement to worldly persons. Actually, Prahlada cannot go to Vrndavana, but Sankara, as Gopisvara, resides there. As Hanuman, Sankara is always with Rama. As Bhima, he is with Krsna. When Hanuman and Bhima combine together in Kali-yuga, they become Madvacarya, our Sampradaya-guru.
Thus, Lord Sankara serves in so many ways, and we should always honor him as our Guru. He is hundreds of thousands of times superior to Prahlada because he knows and meditates on asta-kaliya-lila. Parvati also meditates on asta-kaliya-lila. This is very secret, yet they both do it. Although Sankara is so much superior and more worshipful than Prahlada, still he says that Prahlada is superior. Why? There are some reasons which I will explain later.
Gaura Premanande ! Hari Hari Bol!
Devotee: In the Gita Krsna says, “Of all the Rudras, I am Sankara.”
Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja: Here Krsna is telling about His vibhutis. Vibhuti means opulence. Arjuna is an opulence, and Sankara also. The Pippal tree is an opulence, and gaya, cows, are also - but they are not Krsna Himself. In this way, so many things and personalities represent Krsna's opulence - things that are very near and dear to Him.
Trindandisvami Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja
Germany: February 21, 2003
Today is a very auspicious day. It is the very holy birthday of Srila Prabhupada Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Thakura. I want to speak something of his glory.
If this great self-realized soul had not descended in this world, no one would have known the meaning of pure bhakti. No one would have known the identity of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, the book Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, or the books and glories of the Gosvamis.
Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura gave us two jewels, the first one being the holy birthplace of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. He manifested Gaura-dhama. Before him, no one knew where Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu had taken birth. No one knew where Sridhama Mayapura was actually located.
Secondly, he gave the jewel of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, who preached throughout the world and universe the glories of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, Sri Nityananda Prabhu, the conceptions of the disciplic line of Srila Rupa Gosvami, and the glories of Sri Sri Radha and Krsna. Before the birth of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami and Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, and after the disappearance of Srila Narottama Thakura, Sri Syamananda Prabhu, Srinivas Acarya, and especially Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura and Srila Baladeva Vidyubusana, pure bhakti was covered. The sahajiyas' ideas were spread throughout Sri Vraja-dhama and Sri Navadvipa dhama. Their influence prevailed and there were hardly any real Vaisnavas.
In the name of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, His philosophy and His prema-dharma, the sahajiyas were degraded in character and were most sinful. To live with widows, to dance and sing with them, and to smoke cigarettes and drink wine with them – this was their idea of parakiya- and vaisnava-dharma. Because of their influence, none of the learned and aristocratic persons even wanted to hear the name 'Gaudiya Vaisnavas', what to speak of follow them. They hated Gaudiya Vaisnavas.
There are eleven sahajiya groups, like gaura-nagari, sakhi-bekhi, aul, baul and so on. In India, their main function was widow-bhajana, and they maintained their lives by doing professional kirtanas during funeral processions. After following a dead body and singing, they would receive a donation from the deceased relatives. True vaisnava-dharma is completely pure, but due to these practices, all aristocratic persons began to hate it, and Mahaprabhu's message was thus in danger.
At that time, Srila Prabhupada Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati appeared in Sri Jagannatha-dhama as the son of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura. He was born with many symptoms of a great soul, such as natural tilaka marks on his body and the impressions of kanti-mala on his neck. At that time Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura told his wife Bhagavati-devi, "He is not an ordinary boy. No ordinary boy can have these natural tilaka, kanti-mala and other signs. He has taken birth in Jagannatha Puri, and also I have prayed to Vimala devi, the consort of Lord Jagannatha. He has come by Her mercy." The Thakura thus gave his boy the name Vimala Prasada. Prasada means 'mercy'.
After six months, the baby became qualified to have his anna-prasana mahotsava (grain ceremony in which a baby is fed grains for the first time). At the same time the Jagannatha Chariot festival was taking place. The three carts carrying Jagannatha, Baladeva and Subhadra were in procession and had stopped in front of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura's house for three days. The Thakura was the manager of the entire festival. Therefore, without any problem or obstacle, he took his son upon the chariot and placed him in front of Jagannatha-deva. He took some prasadam from there and placed it in the mouth of Vimala Prasada, and at that time the flower garland from the neck of Lord Jagannatha dropped on the baby's head. It is a very good sign when the Deity's garland falls in this way, for it means the recipient is being blessed by the mercy of Lord Jagannatha, Sri Govinda-deva, Sri Gopinatha, or any other Deity. This also happened to Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu Himself. Thus, Vimala Prasada's anna-prasana mahotsava was observed.
Gradually he began to grow up. After some time, when he became a boy of five years, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura himself gave him harinama and the arcana mantra for the worship of Lord Kurmadeva, the Deity of Sri Krsna's Tortoise incarnation.
He began to learn many things. He was always with Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, carrying his father's Sri Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu, Sri Ujjvala-nilamani, Sri Caitanya-caritamrta and other books on his own head as he accompanied him to various places for preaching or giving classes. Thus, from the beginning of his life, very good samskaras came to him. This, of course, was his naravata-lila (human-like pastimes), because he was actually the eternal associate of Sri Varsabhanavi-devi dayitaya, near and dear to Varsabhanavi devi, Srimati Radhika. In his pranama mantra he is referred to as krsna-presthaya. Krsna has so much love and affection for the manjaris, so Srila Sarasvati Thakura Prabhupada is also near and dear to Him.
The words 'gaura-vani-sri murti' is also present in his pranama-mantra. This adjective has also been used in the pranama mantra of Parama-pujyapada Srila Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja, and we must go deep to uncover its meaning. Gaura-vani refers to that which Gaura (Sacinandana Gaurahari) preached, and that which He inspired in the heart of Srila Rupa Gosvami – the glorification of the mood of the gopis and Srimati Radhika. Sri Gauracandra said, "O Nityananda, O Haridasa Prabhu, you should go door to door and preach 'Bolo Krsna, bhaja Krsna, karo Krsna (chant Sri Krsna's name, worship Him, and serve Him)". This is gaura-vani.
It is also what Mahaprabhu discussed with Sri Raya Ramananda and Sri Svarupa Damodara in the Gambira. In that regard it is especially His hidden revelation of the meaning of ceto-darpana-marjanam, yugayitam nimesena caksusa pravrsayitam, and aslisya va pada-ratam. This is gaura-vani. It is also the love and affection explained by Srila Rupa Gosvami in Sri Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu, Sri Ujjvala-nila-mani, Sri Vidagda-madhava and Sri Lalita Madhava. This is gaura-vani.
Our entire parampara descended to this world from Goloka Vrndavana, and Srila Bhaktisiddanta Sarasvati Thakura was one of the most prominent acaryas. If he had not come, everything would have been transferred into sahajiyaism – wherein all philosophy is asat-sampradaya (outside the parampara line of philosophy, spiritual sentiments and behavior.)
If one is not serving his Gurudeva, if he does not have strong belief in his Gurudeva, and if he is not following his line of thought, such a person must be sahajiya. This is taking place nowadays. We are preaching and therefore they are somewhat stopped, but I do not know what will happen after I leave this world. A very dangerous stage is coming.
Many Iskcon devotees left Srila Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja, their Guru, Srila Prabhupada, and they went to Radha-kunda. They wanted to remember the 24-hour daily amorous pastimes of Sri Sri Radha and Krsna (asta-kaliya-lila) as goopis – not gopis, but goopis – and for this offense they went to hell. They became 'babajis'. Keeping two, three, or four widows with them, they began to relish their 'parakiya-bhajana'. I know not only two or three or four, but so many. They want to jump – not to practice bhakti-yoga. They want to be gopis by paying two pennies to any bogus person who will 'give' them siddha-deha, their perfected personal identity, and tell them, "You are a gopi." Such persons will give a name, and all other false information, about that 'gopi'. Then, after some time, such 'disciples' imagine themselves absorbed in Sri Sri Radha and Krsna's most confidential pastimes in the kunjas. Please do not try to be like that – do not go in that direction.
There are some ill-charactered persons who have been rejected from the Gaudiya Matha, and they also went to Radha-kunda to become babajis in that asat-sampradaya. Such characterless or unqualified persons imagine themselves to be absorbed in the asta-kaliya-lila of Radha and Krsna in Their midnight and end of the night (nisanta-lila) pastimes. At that time, Radha and Krsna are meeting in a kunja. If They are alone, half naked and kissing each other, what will that 'meditator' think? Material ideas will come to him. He is bound to think in this way, and this is wrong.
Sri Sri Radha-Krsna-lila is transcendental. Only a saintly person like Sri Sukadeva Gosvami who was a brahmacari from his birth, or like Sri Narada Gosvami who is a liberated soul, or like Lord Sankara who is an ideal personality, can properly think of asta-kaliya-lila.
You should offer obeisances to such pastimes and try to practice bhakti-yoga as our predecessors acaryas have taught us. Gradually begin from the root of the tree, then be qualified to climb, and then reach the top. Then you can take the fruits. Otherwise, you will have nothing but these bogus ideas. Try to follow Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saravasti Prabhupada, our Gurudeva Srila Bhaktiprajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja, and Srila Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja. Otherwise, you will be like those misdirected persons and you will also go to hell.
Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura sent his son to a Sanskrit college and, at the age of twelve perhaps, he received the degree in astrology and the title Siddhanta Sarasvati. At that time he had become the champion in astrology throughout Bengal, and therefore all the elevated scriptural scholars gave him that title. Sometimes Srila Saravasti Thakura would defeat the arguments of his teachers, and he therefore left that college. Our Gurudeva also left college. They both left because they had nothing to learn from the teachers there.
During that time, the governor of Bengal was Ashutos Mukarji. At that time the Indian government was ruled by the British, and the British had made him governor. He was very qualified. He established the Calcutta University, and there he reserved a seat for Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura. He requested him, "Oh, please come and be the head of the department. Please oversee it. You are the most qualified for this." Srila Sarasvati Thakura replied: "I have not come to this world to count the stars in the universe. I have not come to count the sands on the ocean beaches of the world. I cannot fulfill your desire." As long as Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati remained in this world, that post was reserved for him, but he never accepted it.
Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura then thought: "What should I do for this boy?" He established a medical dispensary and told his son, "Remain there, and somehow maintain it so that there are no losses. Srila Prabhupada Sarasvati Thakura began to do so, but the dispensary failed, and again the father wondered what to do.
There was a king in India at that time who was the king of Kashim Bazar, and he was a bosom friend of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura. He told the Thakura, "I want a tutor for my son. He will be king after me, so I want a tutor for him." Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura replied. "Let us try; I will tell my son to teach him." At that time the salary was very high.
Srila Sarasvati Thakura went to the king and began to teach his son that the entire world, along with all the sandhis and samas (movements of the moon) is an emanation of Krsna and non-different from Him. He taught as Mahaprabhu taught when He was a teacher in Navadvipa. After some time the boy became very learned and a scholar in Vaisnava philosophy, and the result was that he became renounced. He was not like you. Many of you have been hearing for sixteen or twenty years, but you have not become detached. On the other hand, being taught by Srila Saravati Thakura, that prince became detached from worldly enjoyment.
The boy's mother became very disturbed, and she told her husband, the king: "You have only one son, and you want to make him a sannyasi? Your only son? I do not want this. If you continue in this way I will take poison and die." The king became upset and asked Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, "What should I do?" Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura replied, "I will tell my boy to return home." The King said, "I will continue to give you money, the same salary that I have been giving, but he should return."
At that time the king had a very big library, and Srila Sarasvati Thakura Pabhupada studied the thousands of books there – all the Gosvami's books, Srimad Bhagavatam, Brahma-sutra, books of the other sampradayas, and so on. Though he already knew their contents, he studied those books just to set an example for us. Quickly, in one or two years, he completed that study.
After that he returned home, and Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura again considered what might be a good engagement for his son. He purchased land in Mayapura, beginning from Jagannatha Bhavan (the house of Sri Sacinandana), the Yogapitha, Candrasekara Bhavan and beyond. He gave the entire area to Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, and he himself then began to perform bhajana in Svarupa-ganja, in Godruma. He told his son, "We have discovered the birthplace of Mahaprabhu by the help and mercy of Srila Jagannatha dasa Babaji Maharaja. Now you should glorify it."
Srila Saravati Thakura then made a hut where Sri Gauracandra, Srimati Visnupriya, Srimati Laksmipriya and Pancha-tattva were established, and his father then ordered him, "You should perform arcana in the Deities' hut, and you can maintain yourself by depending on Lord Krsna while performing His worship and service."
As you may know, in general, a father does not believe that his boy is very intelligent and capable. Our Guru Maharaja considered us his babies and thought, "What will they do?" He told us that he had made this Gaudiya Matha with bricks, and added, "After I leave this world, if you cannot maintain yourself you should sell these bricks and somehow maintain." Similarly, Srila Bhaktivinoda used to think, "My baby is the same as he was when he was young."
Srila Prabhupada very quickly preached over the entirety of Bengal. He began to establish the Navadvipa-dhama parikrama and Kartika parikrama. Then, after some time he gave sannyasa to very qualified disciples – who were practically only boys. At that time Pujyapada Bon Maharaja, Pujyapada Sridhara Maharaja, Pujyapada Vaikhanas Maharaja, Pujyapada Auduloumi Maharaja and many others were only about 25, 26, or 27, and they were the cream of all qualified personalities in Bengal and all of India. They were the upper-class. He brought them to himself, gave them brahmacarya and sannyasa, and established Sri Caitanya Matha.
What is the meaning of the word 'matha'? Mathanti vasanti satrah – it is a place in which students study and learn under the guidance of their Gurudeva. It is like the gurukulas of previous times, wherein boys would study and become very qualified in all kinds of siddhanta (philosophical conclusions). Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura established this. He gave brahmacarya to many beautiful boys, and thus very quickly preached all over India.
After some time he wished that this religion of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu would also go to the Western countries, and he inspired Srila Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja – Sri Abhaya Caranaravinda. By his mercy Parama-pujyapada Srila Svami Maharaja went abroad and preached throughout the world in just a few years. Srila Svami Maharaja established preaching centers and translated and published many books, which were in turn translated in all the prominent languages of the world. You have come by his mercy, and the root mercy is that of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Thakura.
Shri Shrimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja
Singapore, February 11, 2001, pm
Today is the very sacred anniversary of the birth of my spiritual master, nitya-lila pravistha om visnupada Sri Srimad Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja. He appeared in this world, on this day, to fulfill the needs of his dear-most Radha-Krsna Conjugal, Gaura-Nityananda Prabhu, and Gaura-Gadadhara. He came to help all the conditioned souls to come out of this jail. We are in jail – all of us. He came to save us from the jail of this world.
Who is he? Our Gurudeva is the manifestation of jagad-guru Srila Vyasadeva. It may also be said that he is a manifestation of akanda-guru-tattva Baladeva Prabhu or Nityananda Prabhu. Since Vyasadeva is Narayana Himself, we can surely say that Sri Gurudeva is a manifestation of Vyasadeva. He sits on the vyasasana, the 'vyasa seat', the seat on which Vyasadeva used to sit. In other words, he sits on the seat from which Vyasadeva preached the glory of Radha and Krsna Conjugal all over the world.
Today we should glorify him. We will also glorify guru-tattva and explain how guru-tattva descends from Goloka Vrndavana. Although we do not have much time – only 2 hours – we will explain all these truths today. I request all the speakers to speak only 15 to 20 minutes, and glorify guru-tattva.
Don’t think that this bhakti philosophy is useless. Don’t think in this way, otherwise you will be very weak and give up the bhakti line. I am hearing about this problem – daily, daily, and daily. So many disciples of Parama-pujyapada Srila Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja and other pure acaryas are giving up bhakti and becoming weak. They are leaving Krsna consciousness and accepting worldly family life. Why? It is because they don't know this philosophy.
Try to know all these truths. If you do not know them now, one day you will have to know them. It may be after thousands of lives, but one day you will have to know all these philosophical conclusive truths. Don't think that it is useless to know them. If you don’t want to fall down, then know all the philosophical truths and arguments very, very deeply.
My Guru Maharaja rendered so many direct services to his Guru Maharaja Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura Prabhupada, like massaging him, and he was always with him for as long as Srila Prabhupada was present in this world. His glory is like an ocean. You have heard so many Prabhus glorify him, but we can never complete His glorification.
You should know that the backbone of krsna-bhakti is guru-nistha, unalloyed faith in Sri guru. If one has no guru-nistha, he has no bhakti at all. In Indian Vedic culture it is the tradition that one should accept a guru – a transcendental guru. If one has not accepted guru, no one will take any food that he has prepared. No one will even drink the water that as been offered by him – not even his father or mother will drink it.
Do you understand what I am telling? Even if a son or daughter is married, if he or she has not accepted a guru, his or her cooking or offering will not be accepted by that family. First, one will have to accept a high class of guru. Then he or she can cook and perform all related services. In Indian tradition, in Vedic culture, from ancient times up to now, it was essential to accept a bona fide guru. Nowadays, however, the Western breeze is also coming towards India, and thus India is rejecting all these principles. We are especially rejecting guru. Instead we think, "What is gurudeva? Gurudeva is nothing. There is no need of gurudeva."
Minute by minute people are changing their wives and husbands. They are divorcing so many in one life, and therefore no one is happy. If you want to be happy, you must accept a qualified guru and guru-parampara. If you do not do so, you will have to experience the miseries of old age and death. When you die, whatever you have collected in your life cannot be taken with you. Always remember that death is sure. No one can save you from death. What, then, will become of the palatial buildings and the many other things you have collected? Try to understand this. By guru-bhakti our lives will be changed, and we will be happy forever.
What is vyasa? The line that touches the opposite sides of the circumference of a circle by going through the central point is called the diameter or vyasa. What is the meaning? Krsna is the center of all. Not only this one world, but so many universes – millions upon millions of universes are in this circle. Vyasa is touching Krsna and going to all the innumerable ends of material existence. Who is Vyasa? He who is preaching the glories of Krsna to all, teaching everyone: "You should serve Krsna; otherwise no one can save you from this endless chain of birth and suffering." Vyasa is he who is always serving Krsna from one point to another – everywhere in this world.
Vyasa took birth between Mathura and Vrndavana, on an island in the Yamuna. Parasara Muni was his father, and his mother was Srimati Matsyodhari. Parasara was going somewhere and wanted to cross the Yamuna. He called the boatman, but that boatman was very tired and sent his adopted daughter instead. Because his daughter had been born from the womb of a fish, a fishy odor emanated from her, but at the same time she was very beautiful. He ordered her, “Oh, take the ferry boat and help that Rsi Parasara.” Ordered by her father, Matsyodari took the boat and told Parasara, “You can come. I will take you across.” When she reached the island in the middle of the Yamuna, Parasara looked upon her. At once she became pregnant, and in a moment she gave birth to a very tall, beautiful, blackish youth of sixteen years. Who was he? Vyasa. He had come by the mercy of Krsna through Parasara, but he was actually Narayana. He thus immediately renounced this world.
After some time he divided the Vedas in four – Rg Veda, Sama Veda, Yajur Veda and Atharva Veda. After that he wrote the essence of all the Vedas, and that was called Brahma Sutra, Sariraka Sutra, or Vedanta Sutra. After that he wrote thirty-six kinds of Puranas: Puranas, Upa Puranas and Sakha Puranas. Then, for all persons – for ladies, sudras, and all those who always lament and who are entangled in worldly intoxications – he wrote the Mahabharata, and in that he gave the jewel-like Gitopadesa, or Bhagavad-gita. Prior to this he gave the Catuh-sloki Bhagavatam, which Narada had taken from Brahma. There was yet no Srimad Bhagavatam, however, so he was not satisfied with his life.
Narada came to Vyasa and asked, “Why you are so upset?”
Vyasadeva replied, “Gurudeva, I don’t know.”
Narada then told him, “You have not glorified Krsna and His pastimes of Vrndavana, and you have not discussed how the gopis and all the Vrajavasis serve Him. You should glorify Him, and especially His many devotees, His beloveds, the gopis, and His beloved Radhika.”
Vyasadeva then saw all the pastimes of Krsna and His associates in his trance, and thus he wrote Srimad-Bhagavatam and became happy. The essence, therefore, of all Vedic literature – Upanisads, Puranas, and Bhagavatam – is Vraja-prema, or gopi-prema, and especially the love and affection of Srimati Radhika, who controls Krsna and always keeps Him in Her heart.
A guru can give these truths, otherwise it is not possible to understand them. Otherwise we cannot know all these truths – all these mysterious truths. A guru gives all this to the sisya so that he can be happy. You know that Ravana had so much opulence, and so many millions of servants who lived in palaces made of gold and jewels. All kinds of opulences were present in Lanka; there were no poor people there. Ravana had ten mouths, ten heads, twenty eyes, and twenty ears, and he conquered the whole world. But he was not happy. He could not control his heart. He could not control his mind. He could not control his lust. Therefore, who is the greatest and strongest person? He who can control his six urges:
vaco vegam manasah krodha vega
etan vegan yo visaheta dhira
sarvam apimam prthivim sa sisyat
[“A sober person who can tolerate the urge to speak, the mind’s demands, the actions of anger and the urges of the tongue, belly, and genitals is qualified to make disciples all over the world.”]
If one cannot control his anger, his words, his tongue, and his mind, he cannot do anything to help himself. You know the ex-president of America, Clinton. He was so famous and he was a very strong personality, but he could not check his heart and he became entangled with an office girl. Such persons cannot do anything productive. Therefore, if you want to be happy in this world, try to follow Vyasadeva – try to follow a real guru.
Before writing Srimad-Bhagavatam, Vyasa made four disciples: Paila, Sumanta, Jaimini, and Vaisampayana; and he trained each of them in one of the four Vedas. Especially in South India, the Vedas, Upanisads, and Sanskrit sastras are followed. Nowadays, however, especially those outside of India have gradually left their traditions. Something is in their blood; they believe in God, but they have given up all religious principals and instead take meat, eggs, wine, and so on. They cannot control the six urges. Understanding the future, therefore, Vyasa gave one Veda to each of these four disciples, and he gave the Mahabharata and Puranas to Ugrasrava Suta.
Vyasa served his gurudeva. He followed the teachings of Narada and he preached the glory of Radha-Krsna Conjugal everywhere. This is guru-bhakti, the tradition of guru. He preached the supremacy of Krsna and Radha’s love and affection throughout the world. This is Vyasa.
A disciple is he who can serve his gurudeva as more dear to him than his own life and soul. He is not a disciple who is simply satisfied with the thought, “Oh, Gurudeva has given me a name;” but he does not chant, he does not realize anything, and especially he does not follow the principles of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, which is the essence of all the Vedas:
trnad api su-nicena taror iva sahisnuna
amanina manadena kirtaniya sada harih
[“One should chant the holy name of the Lord in a humble state of mind, thinking oneself lower than the straw in the street; one should be more tolerant than a tree, devoid of all sense of false prestige and should be ready to offer all respect to others. In such a state of mind one can chant the holy name of the Lord constantly.”]
If you want to be a disciple of a bona fide guru, you should be tolerant. If you do not have this tolerance, then, when a mosquito comes, you will make a hydrogen bomb to kill it. You will think, “How shall I save myself from this?!” The whole day and night you will be thinking about this, and krsna-bhajana will disappear. To protect and maintain our life is essential, but why is it essential? Not for living like dogs, hogs, or pigs. If anyone is spending his whole time maintaining himself, he is like a dog and other nonsense animals. These animals can do more than you. You are very worried about one child, but dogs can have fifteen or sixteen. Two times in a year they can have so many children, and there are many other animals that can have still more than this. So don’t think you are more advanced than animals in this way, or that you are so intelligent. No, they are more intelligent than you.
If you want to be actually intelligent, then always remember your death and your old age. Always remember that you cannot take anything with you at death, and, if you are not doing bhajana, you will be crushed by maya – thoroughly crushed. At that time you will lament, “Why did I not do bhajana? I have failed."
labdhva sudurlabham idam bahu-sambhavante
manusyam arthadam anityam apiha dhira
turnam yateta na pated anumrtyu yavan
nihsreyasaya visayah khalu sarvatah syat
[“After many births we have attained this human form. Therefore, before death comes, we should engage ourselves in the transcendental loving service of the Lord. That is the fulfillment of human life.”]
The main object of this human life is to try at once, immediately, to realize who is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. We should realize, “Who am I? I am not this body.” This is the teaching of Vyasa.
sa vai punsam paro dharmo
yato bhaktir adhoksaje
[“The supreme occupation (dharma) for all humanity is that by which men can attain to loving devotional service unto the transcendent Lord. Such devotional service must be unmotivated and uninterrupted to completely satisfy the self.”]
The purpose of this life is to serve the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna, as stated in these two slokas which were preached widely by my Guru Maharaja:
aradhyo bhagavan vrajesa tanayas tad dhama vrndavanam
ramya kacid upasana vrajavadhu vargena va kalpita
srimad-bhagavatam puranam amalam prema pumartho mahan
sri caitanya mahaprabhor matam idam tatradarah na parah
[“The Personality of Godhead Sri Krsna, Who is known as the son of the King of Vrajadhama, Sri Nanda Maharaja, is the ultimate worshipful Lord of all Lords. Similarly His residential abode, the holy place of Vrndavana, is as worshipful as the Lord Himself. The ways of His worship may be various, but the one which was conceived by the damsels of Vrajadhama is unsurpassable by any other devotee. Srimad-Bhagavatam Purana is the unalloyed guidance for approaching the worshipful Lord, which is the ultimate goal of life. This is the sum total opinion of Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. We shall bow down our heads before His opinion, and not accept another.”]
[“The authoritative knowledge of Vedas received through the bona fide disciplic succession, establishes the following fundamental truths:
1. Hari is the supreme absolute truth.
2. He is omnipotent.
3. He is the reservoir of all mellows.
4. The living entities are His separated parts and parcels.
5. The conditioned souls are covered by Maya.
6. The liberated souls are beyond the influence of Maya.
7. The entire cosmic manifestation is simultaneously one and different from Him.
8. Suddha-bhakti is the only means to achieve love of Godhead.
9. The goal is to attain love of Godhead.
These teachings have been instructed by Gauracandra Himself.”]
If anyone is going on this path, he must be happy. No one will be able to check his happiness.
Hiranyakasipu was almost immortal. He had so much opulence. He used to control Vayu, the god of air, Indra, and all other gods and goddesses, but he could find no happiness. A new being – animal plus man – came to him, and in a moment He pulled out his intestines. If you do not follow this bhakti principal, then from the beginning of your life, day and night, you'll only be thinking, “Money, money, money.” And, after death you will become money. Realize this. It is to give you this message that we have come here. We have come to tell you that you should always remember your death. And you should always remember Vyasadeva.
Especially those of you who are Indians should remember the place from which you have come. India was previously known as Bharata. What is the meaning of Bharata? ‘Bha’ means illumination, or light. What is that light? Tattva-jnana. You come from that land where Narada Rsi, Brahma, Sankara, and all the acaryas were present. Transcendental knowledge is everywhere in Bharata. I have come to help you. And for those of you who are Indian, I have come to remind you that you are coming from Bharata. Don’t forget this knowledge. You can make some money for your maintenance, but what is the purpose of maintaining yourselves? It is to follow the teachings of Srila Vyasadeva.
In relation to Vyasa, there are four personalities who founded the four sampradayas: Brahma, Rudra, Sri, and Sanaka. From them came the four sampradaya-acaryas, Madhva, Visnusvami, Ramanuja, and Nimbaditya respectively, and they all made commentaries on Vedanta-sutra, or Brahma-sutra. Sri Sankaracarya wrote an explanation of Brahma-sutra called Sariraka-bhasya, or Brahma-sutra-bhasya, and his philosophy was known as advaita-vada, or kevaladvaita-vada. He claimed that brahma has no shape and is avyakta-anadi. He has no sakti, power. He has no visesa, special qualities, and therefore He is nirvisesa-brahma. Sankaracarya gave all these negative ideas, but he never gave any positive explanation. He said that brahma satya jagan mitya – this entire world is false, and only brahma is truth – but that brahma is powerless. There is nothing in Him. Sankaracarya's philosophy was therefore called advaita-vada or mayavada.
After Sankaracarya, Ramanujacarya came and defeated all his arguments. He taught that these are not the ideas of Vedas. Rather, these ideas are against the Vedic principles. We should not follow this. Only demons can follow these ideas. No Vedic person will accept the theory that the Supreme Personality of Godhead has no shape, no attributes, and no power. Ramanujacarya defeated all of the arguments of Sankaracarya and called his philosophy visista-advaita-vada (specific monism). There are innumerable jivas and innumerable worlds. The Supreme Personality of Brahma has attributes. Innumerable jivas have come from Him, and this world also comes from Him. The Supreme Personality of Brahma exists along with this world and the jivas. What was the abhideya, practice, described in Ramanuja's philosophy? It was bhakti. What was the prayojana, the goal?
It was service to the lotus feet of Narayana. Ramanuja accepted the form of Narayana, His attributes, His power, and also His bhakti. He rejected the mayavadi philosophy of advaita-vada.
After Ramanuja came Madhvacarya. He established a certain portion of the Vedas, and his philosophy is called visuddhadvaita or dvaitadvaitavada. In this philosophical understanding there are five differences. (To Prema-prayojana dasa) You should explain the five differences.
Prema-Prayojana dasa: Madhvacarya established the philosophy that there is a difference between brahma and maya, there is a difference between jiva and maya, there is difference between jiva and jiva, and between different manifestations of maya and maya there are also differences. These five types of differences are called dvaitavada.
Sriila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja: His practice was bhakti and his prayojana was the service of the Supreme Lord in the form of Vasudeva. Which Vasudeva? He who has a churning rod in His hand. This form was also accepted by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.
After Madhva came Nimbarka, or Nimbaditya, and his philosophy was visuddha- vedaveda, but svabhavika (natural). He preached that brahma has vikrit, transformation, and it is from brahma that the whole world is coming. Brahma is alone, but still there are so many jivas and so many associates, like His father and mother. His dhama is there, but advaita. Caitanya Mahaprabhu did not like this. He took the essence of all the Vedas – not only part of the Vedas. He fully took all the moods of the essence of the Vedas, and discovered acintya-bhedabheda-tattva. It is not directly from Krsna that this world and jivas have come, but rather from His energy. This is called sakti-parinama-vada, transformation of sakti, energy. Caitanya Mahaprabhu fully adopted this philosophy because it asserts that everything has not come from Krsna Himself, but from the power of Krsna. Thus, Mahaprabhu defeated the arguments of Nimbarka’s bhedabheda svabhavika and founded acintya-bhedabheda.
We cannot imagine this truth by our mental speculation. It can only be understood through the words of the Vedas – by amnaya, the Vedic literature which has been accepted by our guru–parampara. He established the service of Radha-Govinda, Radha-Gopinatha, and Radha-Madana-Mohana. What was the sadhana, practice? That practice begins with vaidhi-bhakti and then changes to raganuga- bhakti. By that practice one can achieve Vraja-prema, and this is the supreme goal of life.
If anyone accepts this practice or goal, he is truly in the line of Vyasa. We should try to realize all this. Somehow you should know the essence of krsna–bhakti, that bhakti which Caitanya Mahaprabhu brought from Goloka Vrndavana – gopi-prema. This is the goal of our life. If we accept this, then our Vyasa-puja is complete. The followers of Sankaracarya ‘worship’ Vyasa, but they don’t follow him. They say Vyasa was ignorant because he wrote that brahma is anandamaya-bhyasa, all-blissful. The followers of Sankaracarya reject this. They say that brahma is bliss, but He is not blissful. In other words He is not a person. This is not service to guru. A disciple must obey his gurudeva and serve his gurudeva. Serving gurudeva outwardly by worship, and at the same time cutting the arguments and teachings of gurudeva, is not the duty or service of a disciple – yet, Sankaracarya did that.
Why did he do so? It was because Narayana ordered him in that way, to save Himself from being disturbed by demons who came to Him in the name of bhakti but who really only wanted Him to fulfill their selfish desires. Narayana told Sankaracarya, “You should preach in this world, ‘You are brahma. Aham brahmasmi. Sarvam kalvidam brahma. Tat-tvam-asi.’”
There are so many things to discuss, but somehow try to know this: If you want to be happy in this world, then accept a high class of transcendental guru, who knows Gita, Bhagavatam, the Puranas, and Veda sastra, who can remove all doubts, and who practically chants harinama sankirtana following trnad api sunicena taror iva sahisnuna. He practices bhakti as received from Vyasa, Narada, and all other bona fide spiritual masters.
He serves and glorifies his gurudeva throughout the world, as we see in the lives of Srila Bhaktisiddanta Saraswati Gosvami, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, Srila Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja, my gurudeva, and so on. If you want to follow, you can be happy.
Gaura Premanande Hari Hari Bol.
Tridandisvami Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja
February 22, 1997
Today is a very auspicious day. It is the birthday of Srila Narottama dasa Thakura, who is one of the solid and strong pillars of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu's preaching. After the generation of the Six Gosvamis and Srila Krsnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami, Narottama Thakura, Syamananda Prabhu and Srinivasa Acarya became the leaders of the Vaisnavas in Bengal. They took all the books of the Six Gosvamis and other authentic Vaisnava literatures and preached all over Bengal. Especially, Narottama Thakura preached in Eastern India, in such places as Assam and Manipura.
Srila Narottama Thakura was a prince. He was the son of very famous king in that area. From childhood he had impressions of pure devotion and wanted to cultivate them. He therefore went to Vrndavana, where he heard about the glory of Sri Jiva Gosvami and became attracted to him. Together with Syamananda and Srinivasa, he studied all the sastras from Jiva Gosvami – Vedanta-sutra, Srimad-Bhagavatam, and especially the Six Sandarbhas. In this way, the three of them became learned in Caitanya Mahaprabhu's Gaudiya siddhantas.
Syamananda Prabhu was a disciple of Hrdayananda of Kalna, yet he joined in to hear the lectures of Sri Jiva Gosvami, and he treated him more like his guru than his Gurudeva, Sri Hrdayananda. Sri Narottama Thakura also studied in the school of Sri Jiva Gosvami. Jiva Gosvami personally told him to take initiation from Lokanatha dasa Gosvami, and he told Srinivasa Acarya to take initiation from Gopala Bhatta Gosvami. In those days there were no restrictions as there are today. Everyone was free to associate with topmost Vaisnavas.
In fact, gurus would advise their disciples: "Take the association of these most exalted Vaisnavas, and in this way you will develop your Krsna consciousness." There was no caste consciousness as there is today: "Don't go to other Vaisnavas, even though they may be very high-class. This is our party, and that is their party, and that is the other group's party." At that time there was no party spirit at all; everyone belonged to the family of Caitanya Mahaprabhu. All used to hear from all.
Jiva Gosvami had such a pure heart, free from any envy, that he told Narottama Thakura and Srinivasa Acarya to take initiation from these two high-class Vaisnavas. They had made up their minds to take initiation from Jiva Gosvami, but he told them: "Oh, they are my seniors. You will be more benefited by taking their shelter." We are not pure enough to speak in this way to our subordinates. Our hearts are not so improved.
Thus, Jiva Gosvami sent them to those two great Vaisnavas – but the two had vowed to not make any disciples.
The pastimes of Lokanatha dasa Gosvami have not been told in Caitanya-caritamrta or in any other book. Lokanatha dasa Gosvami was such a topmost elevated Vaisnava that he warned Krsnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami, Srila Rupa Gosvami, Srila Sanatana Gosvami, and other writers: "If you want my mercy, then do not glorify me or write my name in your books." When they assured him of this, only then did he give his blessings and tell them: "Your books will be successfully completed. Krsna's mercy will be on you." It is for this reason that these great Vaisnava authors have not mentioned his name. They obeyed him; they followed his order.
One day, by the order of Jiva Gosvami, a very beautiful prince, that boy Narottama, came to Lokanatha dasa Gosvami and took his foot-dust. Lokanatha dasa Gosvami asked him: "Who are you?"
Narottama replied, "I am a very wretched person, a fallen boy. I want to take shelter of your lotus feet. Please initiate me."
Lokanatha dasa Gosvami flatly refused. He told Narottama, "You can go to any famous Vaisnava and take his shelter. I am a worthless person. I don't know how to do bhajana. I only eat, drink, and sleep. I do not engage in bhakti. It is better that you go to any learned and qualified person."
Narottama dasa Thakura requested again and again, but Lokanatha das Gosvami remained grave and refused to initiate him. Although Narottama dasa Thakura left at that time, he began to think how he could possibly get initiation from this maha-bhagavata.
Narottama dasa was very worried, and began to think how to please him. He began to clean the place where Lokanatha dasa Gosvami was passing stool in the forest. He thus cleaned regularly, every night, and he also cleaned the path to that place. Once, in a very dark night, at about midnight, Lokanatha dasa Gosvami caught hold of the hand of this boy and asked him, "Who are you, and why are you doing this?" Narottama dasa Thakura began to weep bitterly and replied, "Because I want to please you."
"Oh, you are very pure devotee. What do you want?"
"I only want to be initiated by you." Narottama dasa again began to weep.
On seeing the boy's devotion Lokanatha dasa Gosvami was at once moved and accepted him. He told him, "Please come to me after taking bath in the Yamuna."
The next morning Narottama took bath and came to Lokanatha dasa Gosvami, who initiated him into the krsna-mantra (gopala-mantra), klim krsnaya svaha, and the kama-gayatri, klim kamadevaya. He gave him these two mantras and advised him: "Don´t go anywhere. Be seated here with me in my bhajana kutira." He built a hut for him, right next to his own, and said, "Always remain here with me, chant harinama, and hear from me." Narottama dasa did as he was told.
One day at midday, when the sun was very hot, a thirsty farmer came and asked Lokanatha dasa Gosvami, "Please give me some water, or give me some rope and a bucket so that I can pull water from the well." Lokanatha dasa Gosvami did not replay; perhaps he did not even see that person, as he was quite absorbed in his bhajana. Because Lokanatha dasa Gosvami could not hear him, the farmer went to the next hut and asked Narottama: "Oh, young babaji, can you give me some water?" Narottama came out and gave him some water. Thus, the farmer was satisfied and went away.
Later, Lokanath dasa Gosvami called Narottama and said "You don´t know what is bhajana? Krsna is personally His name; there is no difference at all between them."
nama cintamanih krsnas
purnah suddho nitya-mukto
["The holy name of Krsna is transcendentally blissful. It bestows all spiritual benedictions, for it is Krsna Himself, the reservoir of all pleasure. Krsna's name is complete, and it is the form of all transcendental mellows. It is not a material name under any condition, and it is no less powerful than Krsna Himself. Since Krsna's name is not contaminated by the material qualities, there is no question of its being involved with maya. Krsna's name is always liberated and spiritual; it is never conditioned by the laws of material nature. This is because the name of Krsna and Krsna Himself are identical." (Padma Purana)]
"In some ways the name is even superior to Krsna. You don´t know this truth? You are serving Krsna (chanting or remembering Krsna means serving Him), but you were thinking that the service of chanting harinama is inferior to giving water to a thirsty person; that is why you served him. You have no belief that Krsna can quench his thirst. Krsna can give anything, but you have no faith in Him. So, return at once to your home. Become qualified there, and then you can come back. At present you are not qualified."
One should have strong faith in Krsna's name. You know the strong faith of Haridasa Thakura? He was whipped in twenty-two market places and his skin and muscles became shredded, but he never left his chanting of harinama.
Lokanatha dasa Gosvami thus ordered Narottama dasa Thakura, "Leave this place." Hearing this Narottama began to weep bitterly. Although Lokanatha das Gosvami had a very soft heart, like a flower, he desired auspiciousness for Narottama dasa, and so he became hard like a stone. It was for Narottama's welfare that he said, "Go from here."
Narottama das Thakura was not an ordinary devotee. He was an associate of Srimati Radhika Herself, and in his manjari form he is Vilasa-manjari. He was playing a role only, to give inspiration to devotees.
He was weeping and returned to his home, but he realized everything. In fact, he began to chant and sing in such a way that Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu with all His associates would come to listen to his classes and his singing. He sang pathetically, with tears in his eyes and a choked voice, "Krsna Krsna Hare Hare," and [Lalasmayi Prarthana (Songs of the Vaisnava Acaryas)]:
'gauranga' bolite ha'be pulaka-sarira
'hari hari' bolite nayane ba'be nira
["When will that time come that my hairs will stand on end upon singing the name Gauranga? When will my eyes overflow with tears as I chant the holy names of "Hari Hari?"]
ara kabe nitai-cander karuna hoibe
samsara-vasana mora kabe tuccha ha'be
["And when will the moon of Nityananda Prabhu bestow His mercy on me? When will material desires become small and insignificant?"]
visaya chadiya kabe suddha ha'be mana
kabe hama herabo sri-vrndavana
["When will I renounce material enjoyment and my mind will become purified? When will I see the cinmaya svarupa of Sri Vrndavana?"]
rupa-ragunatha-pade hoibe akuti
kabe hama bujhabo se jugala-piriti
["When will I eagerly follow the path of Sri Rupa Gosvami and Sri Raghunatha dasa Gosvami? By their instructions I will be able to understand the divine love of Sri Radha and Krsna."
rupa-raghunatha-pade rahu mora asa
prarthana koroye sada narottama dasa
["My only aspiration is to attain the lotus feet of Sri Rupa Gosvami and Sri Raghunatha dasa Gosvami. This is Narottama dasa's constant prayer."]
He sang kirtana along with mrdanga, and each word of his kirtana was uttered by his mrdanga. The mrdanga sounded like the singing of Narottama himself, although it was actually the sweet sound was coming from his mrdanga. Narottama's mood was such that Caitanya Mahaprabhu, Nityananda Prabhu, Svarupa Damodara, Raya Ramananda, Vakresvara Pandita, Srivasa Pandita, and all of Mahaprabhu's associates appeared and began to dance with Narottama Thakura, and when he stopped his kirtana, they at once disappeared. The thousands of devotees present there were astonished. When he was singing about Sri Radha and Krsna, Radha-Krsna personally came to hear, with all of Their associates, and Krsna was playing beautiful songs on His flute.
Thus, in a few years Narottama dasa Thakura preached all over East Bengal, Assam, and Manipura.
He hailed from the village Kheturi; he was born and brought up there, and his father and uncle were living there. His father was a big king. Narottama dasa Thakura manifested six Thakuras (Deities) there, namely Radha-Govinda, Radha-Gopinatha, Radha-Madana-mohana, Radha-Vamsidhari, Radha-Giridhari, and Radha-Vallabhi-kanta.
He also organized a great festival that became famous in the Gaudiya-Vaisnava history. Srimati Jahnava-devi (who is Ananga-manjari in krsna-lila), the wife of Nityananda Prabhu, was elected as president. All accepted her like their preceptor, including Srila Jiva Gosvami and Raghunatha dasa Gosvami.
When Virabhadra, the son of Nityananda Prabhus wife Vasudha, became sixteen years old, he wanted to take initiation, but he could not find any person whom he considered qualified. Someone told him, "Why are you not taking the shelter of Srimati Jahnava-devi and being initiated by her?" He said, "She is a lady; I don't want to be initiated by a lady." Then, one early morning, Srimati Jahnava-devi was pulling water from a well to take a shower, when Viracandra came to take some advice from her for some necessary work. He saw her pulling out water from the well half naked, with just a towel covering the lower half her body. Both of them were ashamed to see each other in this circumstance, even though she was an elderly and like a mother to him. Srimati Jahnava-devi at once manifested four-arms, with two pulling water from the well and the other two covering her breasts. Astonished, Virabhadra immediately he fell flat at her lotus feet and begged her to forgive his offences. He told her, "I have nothing more to do. I want to take initiation from you right now. You are my guru."
So Srimati Jahnava-devi is a very exalted personality, the power (sakti) of Sri Nityananda Prabhu, and she serves Radha-Krsna in Their conjugal love in the form of Ananga-manjari. Therefore, she was elected as the supreme leader of the Gaudiya Vaisnavas. At this festival, all prominent Vaisnavas of that time came together, like Sri Syamananda Prabhu, Sri Srinivasa Acarya and hundreds of thousands of other devotees. It was one the biggest festivals in the history of Vaisnavism.
All present were charmed on hearing the sweet songs of Sri Narottama dasa Thakura, and all of them were blessed with the darsana of Sri Radha Krsna and Caitanya Mahaprabhu, who came to hear these sweet melodies.
Narottama dasa Thakura was the best devotee of his time. He is an associate of Sri Sri Radha-Krsna and Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, and in fact he is a manifestation of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.
Sri Lokanatha dasa Gosvami is also an associate of Sri Sri Radha-Krsna, by the name of Manjulali-manjari. By sending Narottama Thakura back to his village, he played a trick, and by this trick he sent Narottama dasa Thakura to preach all over the world. Had he not done so, no such preaching would have been done; all preaching would have been destroyed. If he had continued to request Narottama to sit and chant harinama in his kutira, there would not have been such great preaching.
You can also look at the example of Sri Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Thakura and Srila Gaurakisora dasa Babaji Maharaja. Srila Gaurakisora dasa Babaji Maharaja was a follower of Lokanatha dasa Gosvami. He never wanted name, fame, or anything like this. He always chanted harinama and used to sing in the deepest of moods, with tears in his eyes: "Oh Radhe, Prema-mayi Radhe Radhe, Govinda, where are You?"
gosai eka-bara dake radha-kunde
abara dake syama-kunde, radhe radhe
[...sometimes at Radha-kunda, sometimes at Syama-kunda.]
gosai eka-bara dake vrndavane
eka-bara dake bandhirvane
Gosai in this connection refers to Raghunatha dasa Gosvami.
Srila Gaurakisora dasa Babaji Maharaja could not live without remembering Srimati Radhika, always calling out: "Oh Radhe, where are You, where are You?" Rolling down on the earth, he cried:
he radhe! vraja-devike! ca lalite! he nanda-suno! kutah
sri-govardhana-kalpa-padapa-tale kalindi-vanye kutah
gosantav iti sarvato vraja-pure khedair maha-vihvalau
vande rupa-sanatanau raghu-yugau sri-jiva-gopalakau
["I am doing vandana to the Six Gosvamis, who were always calling out, "O Radhe! O Queen of Vrndavan! Where are You? O Lalite! O son of Nanda Maharaja! Where are you? Are you seated beneath the kalpa-vrksa trees of Sri Govardhana Hill? Or are You roaming in the forests along the soft banks of the Kalindi?" They were always lamenting, overwhelmed and burning in feelings of great separation as they wandered throughout all Vraja-mandala." (Sri Sad-Gosvamyastakam, verse 8)]
Sometimes in Vrndavana and sometimes in Radha-kunda, he was weeping and rolling on the ground, crying bitterly: "Radhe! Radhe! Radhe! If You do not give me Your mercy, I shall die at once." He used to do this kind of bhajana, nirjana-bhajana, in solitary places.
He also made a vow not to initiate anyone, but Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura had vowed, "I will not take initiation from anyone but Srila Gaurakisora dasa Babaji Maharaja, otherwise I will die." Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura had to become a mediator between them. He asked Babaji Maharaja, "What is your duty towards the conditioned souls?"
"To give them mercy."
"Then why you are not giving your mercy to this boy? He is going to die!"
By the persuasion of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, he agreed and gave initiation to this one person only, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura. He ordered him, "Never go to Kali." Kali means Kolkata. But when Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura was initiated and took sannyasa, even before he took sannyasa, he first went to Kolkata. There he started his preaching, and gradually he preached all over India and the world.
Did he disobey his spiritual master by going to Kolkata? Can anyone claim this? Whoever will speak like this is committing a grave offence. What he did was a great service to his spiritual master. He glorified him all over the world by doing so. Had he not done so, we would not know about Srila Gaurakisora dasa Babaji Maharaja and Krsna. You and I and millions of devotees gather today only due to Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura's mercy, which he received from his guru, Srila Gaurakisora dasa Babaji Maharaja.
Srila Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja preached in Western and Eastern countries, but he was a part of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu's and Sri Nityananda Prabhu's preaching. The original preachers are Sri Caitanya and Nityananda Prabhu. All gurus in the disciplic succession are obeying them. If Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, Gaurakisora dasa Babaji Maharaja, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, and Srila Narottama dasa Thakura had not appeared, how could we have come together here? Therefore, we should honor all gurus in the disciplic succession. If we say that our guru is the only one and we should honor only him and not read the books of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, or others, like Sri Rupa Gosvami's Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu, then we are offenders and we will not be able to enter the realm of bhakti.
Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, though he was restricted not to go to 'Kali Rajya,' went there and began to preach from there to the whole world. He collected devotees like Srila Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja, and also our Guru Maharaja and others from Kolkata. If he had not started his preaching from there, no one would have come under the shelter of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhus beautiful siddhanta. So, we cannot say that he disobeyed his Gurudeva.
In this way we also cannot say that Sri Narottama dasa Thakura disobeyed his guru. In fact, he fulfilled the mano-bhista, or internal desire, of his divine grace. We should always try to reconcile these apparent contradictions. Sometimes pure disciples act like this, so we will have to reconcile. If we do not reconcile, we will go to hell.
There are many such incidences described in Srimad-Bhagavatam. One time, Krsna spoke to the gopis: "Go back to your homes and serve your husbands, children, and cows." But the gopis countered His arguments and said, "We are not at fault, You are at fault! We consider You to be our guru. You are instructing us to serve our husbands, children and so on; therefore You are our guru. The guru must be respected and worshiped first, before anyone else. If You are not accepting our worship, then You are guilty, not us." They defeated all of Krsna's arguments, and He was bound to accept their service.
Some time later, the gopis asked Krsna "Why did you tell us to return to our homes and serve our husbands?" Krsna replied, "I never said this. I said that the full moon nights are not dark; but you understood they are dark." In Sanskrit, these slokas have double meanings; hence we should always read and understand them under the guidance of Vaisnavas. Otherwise we may not understand their true meaning.
We should understand that Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura and Sri Narottama dasa Thakuras never disobeyed their gurus; rather they very respectfully 'more than obeyed' them.
Sometimes Srila Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja writes in his books one thing in one place, and in other places the opposite. You may find this in many places, but it should be reconciled. For example, he has written in some places that the soul has fallen from Goloka Vrndavana, and in other places that the soul can never fall from Goloka Vrndavana. Here we see some apparent contradiction.
Which statement we should follow? Don't try to follow him by your own intelligence. It is best to read his books with the understanding that his conclusions must be the same as the conclusions of Srila Jiva Gosvami, Sri Rupa Gosvami, Sri Bhaktivinoda Thakura, or Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Prabhupada. If one of his two statements is contradicting the conclusion of Sri Jiva Gosvami or Sri Rupa Gosvami, Mahaprabhu, Sri Bhaktivinoda Thakura or Srila Prabhupada, then we can conclude that Srila Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja had one special purpose in that. Otherwise, without this understanding, you will be derailed from the bhakti path and become an offender.
How can we reconcile his statement that the soul has fallen from Goloka and has now forgotten Krsna? He said this for beginners. He did right. Beginners cannot comprehend higher siddhanta. There would have been no use explaining it to them. For example, we may say to a weeping small boy that the moon is here on the tree. The moon is not on the tree, but we cannot give him any sophisticated explanation because he will not understand. Therefore, we tell him that the moon is here on the branches of the tree. This is appropriate. However, when he has gained some knowledge, at that time we can tell him that the moon is not on the tree.
Once we will be qualified, we will understand. We will read Sri Jiva Gosvami, Sri Rupa Gosvami or Sri Sanatana Gosvami and recognize that everything is there in Srila Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja's books. He has written something for general persons, for beginners. But his real conclusion is this:
Those who have gone to Goloka Vrndavana are liberated from this world. Either they became liberated, or they are kaya-vyuha manifestations of Srimati Radhika or nitya-siddha manifestations of Sri Baladeva Prabhu. There is no maha-maya in Goloka Vrndavana, only yoga-maya (Purnamasi). Bad thoughts can never enter the hearts of Goloka residents. They are always tasting the mellows of krsna-prema, so how they can fall? Srila Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja has told this very clearly many times – I can show it, and others have also told so. We should not be in confusion and thus confuse others.
He is quoted as saying that we should not read any books besides his. Why would he have said this? Because first we should become qualified, and then we must read books like Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu and Ujjvala-nilamani; otherwise we will lose everything. So, we will have to reconcile all this.
Srila Gour Govinda Maharaja sometimes spoke about raganuga-bhajana. He was qualified to speak about this, but most of his listeners were not qualified to understand how he was nearer than them to the teachings of Srila Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja. They could only comprehend primary teachings; they could not sort out such higher topics. Srila Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja has written and explained everything in his books, but we need to learn from a maha-bhagavata how to understand his books.
yaha, bhagavata pada vaisnavera sthane
ekanta asraya kara caitanya-carane
["If you want to understand Srimad-Bhagavatam, you must approach a self-realized Vaisnava and hear from him. You can do this when you have completely taken shelter of the lotus feet of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu." (Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Antya-lila, 5.131)]
Actually, there is nothing contradictory in Srila Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja's books; rather, he spoke to different levels of devotees. For example, it is written somewhere in Srimad-Bhagavatam that the world is false. This does not mean that the physical world is false, but that the world we ourselves make, our conceptions that "This is my father, mother, wife, and so on" are false; our creation is false. Worldly relations are illusory, but the sun, the moon and the pastimes of Sri Rama and Sri Krsna are not false.
We have to reconcile all these things. But we can reconcile them only if we are associating with high-class Vaisnavas.
We will discuss the pastimes of Nityananda Prabhu: Jagai and Madhai and other pastimes, such as vyasa-puja and Mahaprabu’s sannyasa-lila. The Lord’s associates went with Caitanya Mahaprabhu and Nityananda Prabhu to Jagannatha Puri. We will discuss how, in the midway, Nityananda Prabhu broke Mahaprabhu’s danda. Caitanya Mahaprabhu then left all His associates and went to Jagannatha Puri, where He took darsana of Jagannatha and prayed to that Deity, “Oh Vrajendra-nandana (the son of the King of Vraja, Nanda Maharaja), You are not a statue. You are personally Yasoda-nandana (the son of Mother Yasoda), Vrajendra-nandana.”
We will discuss how Mahaprabhu tried to reach and meet with Jagannatha-deva as soon as He saw Him, but He at once fainted. Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya came and took the unconscious Caitanya Mahaprabhu to his home, where he tried to teach Him Vedanta. We will discuss what occurred in that pastime.
We will discuss Nityananda’s pastimes in Puri at the Ratha-Yatra festival, how He returned to Navadvipa and Bengal, and how He used to preach over the whole of Bengal – especially to those who were very fallen and out of caste. After that, how He married with Jahnava-devi and Vasudha-devi, and how His son Virabhadra Prabhu took initiation from Jahnava-devi. There are so many qualified persons to speak.
[Srila Gurudeva called on a few devotees to speak, and then he continued:]
Nityananda is jagat-guru, guru of the universe. He is personally Baladeva Prabhu, (the first expansion of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.) In Krsna’s pastimes Baladeva Prabhu went to Naimisaranya, where He saw that Romaharsana-suta was giving Srimad-Bhagavatam class. All the sages and saintly kings stood up and offered pranama to Baladeva Prabhu, but Romaharsana remained on the vyasasana without standing and offering pranama to Him or welcoming Him. Baladeva Prabhu thought, “He is not qualified to read Srimad-Bhagavatam or to teach Bhagavatam. He thinks that I am born in a gopa (cowherd) dynasty, and that he is a brahmana, so literate, learned, and quite qualified to explain Bhagavata.” He then told Romaharsana, “You are not qualified. Be a bhagavata (devotee of Bhagavan, the Supreme Personality of Godhead) and then explain Bhagavata (The Supreme Personality of Godhead in the form of Srimad-Bhagavatam.)” He took up a piece of kusa grass in His hand, and by that kusa grass He at once cut off Romaharsana’s head.
In great wonder, all the rsis exclaimed, “Oh Baladeva Prabhu, what have You done? Baladeva replied, “What do you want? Do you want me to bring him back to life?”
Now they understood the glories of Baladeva Prabhu. “No we don’t want that,” they replied, “but how will we hear Srimad-Bhagavatam?” Baladeva at once brought the son of Romaharsana, Ugrasrava, who was only eight years of age. He was not wearing clothes and he looked like an ignorant person, but Baladeva made him sit on the vyasasana (the seat of honor, as the representative of Krsna’s literary incarnation Sri Vyasadeva.) Baladeva looked towards him and inspired in his heart knowledge of all Vedic literature – all Vedas, all Srimad-Bhagavatam, all Puranas, Upanisads, Smriti, Sruti, Mahabharata, and Ramayana. Ugrasrava at once uttered hymns in glorification of Baladeva Prabhu, and then he began to explain the topics of Srimad-Bhagavatam in a wonderful way.
Do not think that Baladeva Prabhu, or Nityananda Prabhu, had not attended school and that He was illiterate. He is the complete embodiment of Gurudeva (akhanda-guru-tattva).
In Krsna’s pastimes He killed Dhenukasura, a demon who was in the form of an ass. Dhenukasura represents ignorance. What kind of ignorance? Those who do not honor Vaisnavas (devotees) and yet think themselves devotees, they are all like Dhenukasura. Nityananda Prabhu honored all devotees, even those who were not devotees but who wanted to be devotees. If anyone came in the association of a pure Vaisnava, Nityananda Prabhu respected them. He brought the message of Krsna Consciousness to all those who were neglected by society.
In India, at first, the goldsmiths, oil makers, betel-nut makers, and groups like them had no right to read the Upanisads and Vedanta; they were not allowed. But Nityananda Prabhu exclaimed that even those like Jagai and Madhai are most qualified to chant Harinama and to have Krsna-prema. And, to whomever He saw, He gave initiation: He would tell everyone, “Chant ‘Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.’ Nityananda Prabhu embraced and inspired everyone in Bengal, including all those who were fallen, the most inauspicious groups of persons.
Today, we are making some mistakes. We are dishonoring sincere and senior devotees who have served Srila Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja throughout their lives. They have served Radha-Krsna and Gaura-Nityananda Prabhu their whole life, and from the beginning of his mission. I have also served so much, more than anyone in ISKCON. But I am not allowed to go to take darsana in any of the ISKCON temples, although it was I who gave samadhi to Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja in Vrndavana. The doors to his temples are now closed to me.
This is a very bad sign. By this, one goes to hell.
We should try to correct these things. We should know that we are all in Mahaprabhu’s family. Those who have not even taken initiation but are chanting Hare Krsna should be treated as the family of Caitanya Mahaprabhu. And those who are senior, sincere, and serving lovingly for so many years, should be more respected. Otherwise, one who disrespects such devotees is like Ramacandra Khan.
In His later pastimes, Nityananda Prabhu went to a village in Bengal, where a very rich person lived named Ramacandra Khan (who had previously attempted to make Haridasa Thakura fall down). That rich person did not honor Nityananda Prabhu or any of the devotees of Nityananda Prabhu. Rather, he told them, “Get out from here. You cannot be hosted for the night here.”
Nityananda Prabhu began to laugh loudly, and said, “Oh, devotees are not honored here. Devotees are disrespected here. So, we should not remain here. Let us go; but, I see that tomorrow Mohammedans will come, they will slaughter cows here and prepare meals of flesh, and the whole family of Ramacandra Khan will be destroyed.” He then left that place.
The next day, this person who was not honoring Vaisnava devotees was killes along with his entire family, his cows were slaughtered, and his entire village became barren.
So, we should always remember Nityananda Prabhu and His teachings. Don’t disrespect any Vaisnava. Always try to honor Vaisnavas according to their stage of advancement in bhakti, namely kanistha-adhikari, neophyte, madhyama-adhikari, intermediate, and uttama-adhikari, advanced.
You must know all these teachings, and if you do not know them, then you are not devotees at all. You are only show-bottle devotees.
Nowadays they are not approaching those who are strong in Vaisnava philosophy. We should try to establish ourselves in all these teachings; otherwise, being a show bottle devotee and simply giving instructions to others will not do.
Come with me to Puri, where Caitanya Mahaprabhu was calling out to Lord Jagannatha, “Oh, I am meeting with the same Vrajendra-nandana. I have been burning in a separation mood for so many years and years. I have found my Vrajendra-nandana.” Caitanya Mahaprabhu was in the mood of Radhika, calling “Krsna, Krsna. You are the same Vrajendra-nandana,” and He fell unconscious on the ground while dancing. Nityananda Prabhu was there, but not touching Him.
When Caitanya Mahaprabhu used to dance in Srivasa-angam and would faint in the courtyard, Nityananda Prabhu would not touch Him. He would do so after Mahaprabhu came to His external senses, otherwise not. Nowadays, we don’t know all the principles of transcendental etiquette, and thus we speak and write so many rasa-abhasa ideas (misrepresentations of the relationships among the personalities in the pastimes). We keep Nityananda Prabhu with Radha and Krsna in the same section of the altar [see endnote 1], and also Jagannatha. You should know the principles of etiquette by reading Caitanya-caritamrta in the association of superior, advanced devotees.
yaha, bhagavata pada vaisnavera sthane
ekanta asraya kara caitanya-carane
(Caitanya-caritamrta Antya-lila 5.131)
[“If you want to understand Srimad-Bhagavatam, you must approach a self-realized Vaisnava and hear from him. You can do this when you have completely taken shelter of the lotus feet of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.”]
That is why Nityananda Prabhu ordered Jiva Gosvami to go to Vrndavana and learn all philosophical conclusions under the guidance of Srila Rupa Gosvami and Srila Santana Gosvami. Nityananda Prabhu inspired Jiva, after which Jiva became so learned that in the whole world at that time there was no person as learned as he. He defeated so many learned persons. How? Only by the mercy of Nityananda Prabhu.
We should try to follow Nityananda Prabhu, outwardly and inwardly.
Do you know the song Nitai Pada Kamala? We will sing it.
je chayaya jagat judaya
heno nitai vine bhai, radha-krsna paite nai,
drdha kori’ dharo nitaiyer paya (1)
[“Nitai’s lotus feet are more cooling than the shining of millions of moons. Their shade gives solace to the universe. O brother, without a personality such as Nitai, it is not possible to attain Radha and Krsna. So hold on very tightly to His lotus feet.”]
se sambandha nahi jara, vrtha janma gelo tara
sei pasu bodo duracara
nitai na bolilo mukhe, majilo samsara sukhe,
vidyakule ki koribe tara (2)
[“If someone does not establish his relationship with Nityananda Prabhu, his life is wasted. Such a wicked person is no better than an animal. Not taking the name of Nitai on one’s lips, he loses himself in the so-called happiness of this world. Then what is the value of one’s education and birth in a high family or great nation?”]
ahankare matta hoiya, nitai-pada pasariya,
asatyere satya kori’ mani
nitaiyera koruna habe, vraje radha-krsna pabe,
dharo nitaiyera carana du’khani (3)
[“Forgetting Nitai’s lotus feet, one becomes maddened by the false concept of bodily life and considers the illusory energy as real. If Nitai is merciful, one can attain Sri Radha and Krsna in Vraja, so firmly catch hold of His lotus feet.”]
nitaiyera carana satya, tahara sevaka nitya,
nitai-pada sada koro asa
narottama bodo duhkhi, nitai more koro sukhi,
rakho ranga-caranera pasa (4)
[“The feet of Nitai are real and His servants are eternal. Always hope and pray for the lotus feet of Nitai. “Narottama is very unhappy! O Nitai, please make me happy. Keep me tucked close to the reddish lotuses of Your feet.”]
One of the prayers of Vrndavana dasa Thakura is Sri Nityanandastakam.
yathestam re bhratah! kuru hari-hari-dhvanam-anisam
tato vah samsarambudhi-tarana-dayo mayi laget
idambahu-sphotair-atati ratayan yah pratigrham
bhaja nityanandambhajana-taru-kandam niravadhi
[“O brothers, simply chant incessantly the names of Sri Hari, and let the responsibility of delivering you from the ocean of repeated birth and death rest upon Me.” While traveling constantly, He approached the door of every home, declaring this with outstretched arms. I perpetually worship Sri Nityananda Prabhu, the root of the krsna-bhakti tree. (verse 5)]
He is telling to all persons, without any consideration of caste or creed, wealth or poverty, inferiority or superiority, brahmana or sudra, male or female, young or old. He calls even to animals and birds, “Come on. Come on.” Raising His arms and speaking in this way: “Yathestam re bhratah! kuru hari-hari-dhvanam-anisam - O brothers, always chant ‘Hare Krsna Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare;’ loudly, and more loudly, again and again. In this way you will cross the ocean of birth and death, suffering and sorrows. And, if you are not getting the desired result, then I am liable for this. I am telling you the truth, that if you once chant ‘Hare Krsna Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare,’ I promise to take all responsibility for this – that you will certainly attain Krsna-prema.”
No one else has told anything like this.
Nityananda Prabhu used to go to each person’s door, and He would personally tell that person, “I am begging only for your devotion to Sri Krsna. I don’t want anything else.” We are now deviating from this line of Nityananda Prabhu. If you want Krsna-prema, you will have to come in this line again. Nityananda Prabhu is telling each person, “I am responsible if you are following My instructions but not getting Krsna-prema,”
In the last verse, Vrndavana dasa Thakura is telling,
rasanam adharam rasika vara sad vaishnava dhanam
rasagaram saram patita tati taram smaranatah
param nityanandastakam idam apurvam pathati yas
tad anghri dvandvabjam sphuratu nitaram tasya hrdaye
[May Sri Nityananda Prabhu’s two lotus feet brilliantly manifest in the hearts of those who recite this unprecedented and supremely potent Nityanandastakam, which is the reservoir of rasa, the treasure of exalted rasika Vaisnavas, and the abode of the essence of bhakti-rasa. It bestows liberation upon all fallen souls who simply remember it.” (verse 9)]
Don’t think that Nityananda Prabhu is merely a mad person. You should know that He is rasanam-adharam, the reservoir of all rasas. He is in dasya-rasa, in sakhya-rasa as Baladeva, vatsalya-rasa also as Baladeva, and in madhurya- rasa in the form of Ananga-manjari, the younger sister of Srimati Radhika. He came to taste these five rasas. Don’t think that He is only serving Krsna in a male form, in only four rasas. He is serving also in madhurya-rasa. So, rasanam adharam rasika vara sad vaishnava dhanam – He is so rasika.
He often used to enjoy mock-fighting with Advaita Acarya. Once, when He was throwing maha-prasadam here and there, Advaita Acarya jokingly told Him, “My dear Nityananda, I invited You, and indeed I have received the results. You have no fixed caste or dynasty. By nature You are a madman. To make Me a madman like Yourself, You have thrown the remnants of Your food at Me. You did not even fear the fact that I am a brahmana.”
Nityananda Prabhu at once began to laugh, and said, “Ho, ho ho. Oh, Advaita Acarya, I’ve heard that you are a learned person, but I see that you are not. You do not know anything. You are telling Me that by taking maha-prasadam one loses His brahmanical caste and becomes impure? Such words are offensive to the lotus feet of maha-prasadam. You do not know the real power of maha-prasadam. Maha-prasadam is Krsna Himself.” [See endnotes 1-3]
maha-prasade govinde, nama brahmani vaisnave
svalpa-punya-vatam rajan, visvaso naiva jayate
[“Those who have very few pious activities to their credit can never develop faith in maha-prasada, in Sri Govinda, in the holy name of the Lord, or in the Vaisnavas.”]
And sometimes They were quarreling in the large lake named Indradyumna Sarovara, splashing there in the water. Caitanya Mahaprabhu was so grave. Raya Ramananda and Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya were wealthy, learned persons, and also so grave. But They also began to play-quarrel like children, throwing water upon each other. During the splashing of Nityananda Prabhu and Advaita Acarya, Nityananda Prabhu defeated Advaita Acarya. Advaita Acarya told Nityananda Prabhu “I am an old person. Do you want that I should die? Would you cause Me to die?” So much good siddhanta (conclusive philosophy) was there in these quarrels.
So, Nityananda Prabhu: rasanam adharam rasika vara sad vaishnava dhanam. He was rasika vara, meaning the best of the rasika associates of the Lord. Giriraja Govardhana is also rasika-vara, but Nityananda is the root of all rasikas. Without His mercy, no one can be rasika. Those who pray to Nityananda Prabhu for His mercy will become bona fide Vaisnavas.
But always remember: don’t criticize any Vaisnava. Don’t dishonor anyone, otherwise Nityananda Prabhu will be unhappy. He will not give Krsna-prema to that offender.
Treat all who have taken shelter of Nityananda and Gauracandra as Vaisnavas. Moreover, regarding those who are not following, we should simply pray to Nityananda Prabhu, “Please bestow Your mercy upon them so that they will be reformed.” Don’t criticize. Don’t do anything against them. Always have faith in Nityananda Prabhu. Especially, I am praying for you all, and for myself also. I am praying for the whole world, that Nityananda will bestow His mercy to all, so that you will know who Mahaprabhu is and what is the identity of Krsna’s name: “Hare Krsna Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.”
May He give us ruci (taste) in Krsna-nama, and in Gaura-nama, the holy names of Sri Krsna and Sri Caitanya. A Vaisnava has written in his prayer that Krsna and Krsna’s abode and Krsna’s name have some consideration regarding offenses. They consider whether or not a person is nama-aparadhi (offender to the holy name), but Caitanya Mahaprabhu and Nityananda Prabhu have nothing to do with these things. Even if an offender calls out, “O Gaura-Nityananda Prabhu,” They bestow Their mercy.
We should also be like that. If someone is doing any nonsense, we should tolerate, and also pray for him. Don’t have any enmity towards them; nothing at all. Be like Nityananda Prabhu. Follow His footsteps. Nityananda Prabhu will then unconditionally bestow His mercy upon you.
Gaura-Nityananda Prabhu ki jaya!
Endnote 1 (from Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya-lila 3.84, 85)
His Divine Grace Advaita Acarya, after hearing the statement of Nityananda Prabhu, took the opportunity presented by the joking words and spoke to Him as follows.Advaita Acarya said, “You are a reject paramahamsa, and You have accepted the renounced order of life just to fill up Your belly. I can understand that Your business is to give trouble to brahmanas.”
There is always a difference of opinion between a smarta-brahmana and a Vaisnava gosvami. There are even smarta opinions and Vaisnava gosvami opinions available in astrological and astronomical calculations. By calling Nityananda Prabhu a bhrasta avadhuta (a rejected paramahamsa), Advaita Acarya Prabhu in a sense accepted Nityananda Prabhu as a paramahamsa. In other words, Nityananda Prabhu had nothing to do with the rules governing smarta-brahmanas. Thus under pretense of condemning Him, Advaita Acarya was actually praising Him. In the avadhuta stage, the paramahamsa stage, which is the supermost stage, one may appear to be visayi, on the platform of sense gratification, but in actuality he has nothing to do with sense gratification. At that stage, a person sometimes accepts the symbols and dress of a sannyasi and sometimes does not. Sometimes he dresses like a householder. We should know, however, that these are all joking words between Advaita Acarya and Nityananda Prabhu. They are not to be taken as insults.
In Khadadaha, sometimes people misunderstood Nityananda Prabhu to belong to the sakta-sampradaya, whose philosophy is antah saktah bahih saivah sabhayam vaisnavo matah. According to the sakta-sampradaya, a person called kaulavadhuta thinks materially while externally appearing to be a great devotee of Lord Siva. When such a person is in an assembly of Vaisnavas, he appears like a Vaisnava. Actually Nityananda Prabhu did not belong to such a community. Nityananda Prabhu was always a brahmacari of a sannyasi of the vaidika order. Actually He was a paramahamsa. Sometimes He is accepted to be a disciple of Laksmipati Tirtha. If He is so accepted, Nityananda Prabhu belonged to the Madhva-sampradaya. He did not belong to the tantrika-sampradaya of Bengal.
Endnote 2 (from Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya-lila 3.94, 96)
After saying this, Nityananda Prabhu took a handful of rice and threw it on the floor in front of Him, as if He were angry.
When the rice thrown by Nityananda Prabhu touched His body, Advaita Acarya thought Himself purified by the touch of remnants thrown by Paramahamsa Nityananda. Therefore He began dancing.
The word avadhuta refers to one above all rules and regulations. Sometimes, not observing all the rules and regulations of a sannyasi, Nityananda Prabhu exhibited the behavior of a mad avadhuta. He threw the remnants of food on the ground, and some of these remnants touched the body of Advaita Acarya. Advaita Acarya accepted this happily because He presented Himself as a member of the community of smarta-brahmanas. By touching the remnants of food thrown by Nityananda Prabhu, Advaita Acarya immediately felt Himself purified of all smarta contamination. The remnants of food left by a pure Vaisnava are called maha-maha-prasadam.
This is completely spiritual and is identified with Lord Visnu. Such remnants are not ordinary. The spiritual master is to be considered on the stage of paramahamsa and beyond the jurisdiction of the varnasrama institution. The remnants of food left by the spiritual master and similar paramahamsas, or pure Vaisnavas, are purifying. When an ordinary person touches such prasadam, his mind is purified, and his mind is raised to the status of a pure brahmana. The behavior and statements of Advaita Acarya are meant for the understanding of ordinary people who are unaware of the strength of spiritual values, not knowing the potency of food left by the bona fide spiritual master and pure Vaisnavas.
Endnote 3 (Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya-lila 3.97-99)
Advaita Acarya jokingly said, “My dear Nityananda, I invited You, and indeed I have received the results. You have no fixed caste or dynasty. By nature You are a madman.
The words sahaje pagala (“by nature a madman”) indicate that Nityananda Prabhu was transcendentally situated on the paramahamsa stage. Because He always remembered Radha-Krsna and Their service, this was transcendental madness. Sri Advaita Acarya was pointing out this fact.
“To make Me a madman like Yourself, You have thrown the remnants of Your food at Me. You did not even fear the fact that I am a brahmana.”
The words apanara sama indicate that Advaita Acarya considered Himself to belong to the smarta-brahmanas, and He considered Nityananda Prabhu to be on the transcendental stage with pure Vaisnavas. Lord Nityananda gave Advaita Acarya His remnants to situate Him on the same platform and make Him a pure unalloyed Vaisnava or paramahamsa. Advaita Acarya’s statement indicates that a paramahamsa Vaisnava is transcendentally situated. A pure Vaisnava is not subject to the rules and regulations of the smarta-brahmanas. That was the reason for Advaita Acarya’s stating, apanara sama more karibara tare: “to raise Me to Your own standard.” A pure Vaisnava, or a person on the paramahamsa stage, accepts the remnants of food (maha-prasadam) as spiritual. He does not consider it to be material or sense gratificatory. He accepts maha-prasadam not as ordinary dhal and rice but as spiritual substance. To say nothing of the remnants of food left by a pure Vaisnava, prasadam is never polluted even if it is touched by the mouth of a candala. Indeed, it retains its spiritual value. Therefore by eating or touching such maha-prasadam, a brahmana is not degraded. There is no question of being polluted by touching the remnants of such food. Actually, by eating such maha-prasadam, one is freed from all the contaminations of the material condition. That is the verdict of the sastra.
Nityananda Prabhu replied, “These are the remnants of food left by Lord Krsna. If You take them to be ordinary remnants, You have committed an offense.”
In the Brhad-visnu Purana it is stated that one who considers maha-prasadam to be equal to ordinary rice and dhal certainly commits a great offense. Ordinary edibles are touchable and untouchable, but there are no such dualistic considerations where prasadam is concerned. Prasadam is transcendental, and there are no transformations or contaminations, just as there are no contaminations or transformations in the body of Lord Visnu Himself. Thus even if one is a brahmana he is certain to be attacked by leprosy and bereft of all family members if he makes such dualistic considerations. Such an offender goes to hell, never to return. This is the injunction of the Brhad-visnu Purana.
Tridandisvami Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja
Teresopolis, Brazil: Feb 14, 2003
[[February 9, 2017 (in India) is the appearance day of Lord Nityananda Prabhu. The following is a class given by our worshipful Gurudeva Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja on this auspicious day, in Teresopolis, Brazil, Feb 14, 2003:]
Nityananda Prabhu served Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu in Navadvipa, and performed His Vyasa-puja there. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu is Lord Sri Krsna Himself. If one worships Krsna, Vyasa-puja is automatically done.
After Caitanya Mahaprabhu took sannyasa, He wanted to go to Vrndavana, but Nityananda Prabhu kindly, by trick, changed His direction and took Him to Santipura, the village of Sri Advaita Acarya. Nityananda Prabhu called all the people of Nadia, especially Mahaprabhu's mother Saci-maiya, to come and meet Him. There, Saci-maiya met with Him when He was in sannyasa dress.
After that, Caitanya Mahaprabhu went to Puri, and Nityananda Prabhu followed Him there. Nityananda Prabhu wanted to always serve Mahaprabhu, but because he had been initiated by Sri Laksmipati-tirtha, Mahaprabhu honored Him as a guru. Laksmipati-tirtha was the diksa-guru of Madhavendra Puri, Sri Madhavendra Puri's disciple was Sri Isvara Puri, and Isvara Puri's disciple was Mahaprabhu. In this way Mahaprabhu is in the disciplic succession two generations after Nityananda Prabhu, and He therefore used to show him great respect.
Nityananda Prabhu served in so many ways at the Ratha-yatra Festival, and after the festival Mahaprabhu ordered him to return to Bengal and preach His mission there. He preached without care for caste or creed, and he especially preached to those who were inferior in caste and very poor.
In the course of his preaching, he once came to the village of Ramacandra Khan, who had previously sent a prostitute to Srila Haridasa Thakura and who was always against Caitanya Mahaprabhu and bhakti. Ramacandra Khan could not understand the glory of Haridasa Thakura and had wondered, "Even though I am king of the state, nobody honors me. Instead they honor Haridasa Thakura, even though he is a Muslim." He had committed grievous offenses against Haridasa Thakura, and now Nityananda Prabhu wanted to liberate him from his sinful body.
Nityananda Prabhu went to Ramacandra Khan's village at night, with hundreds of His devotees. As it was nighttime, he requested Ramacandra Khan's servant to tell him, "Today we want to take rest in your Durga Mandapa. Hearing this, Ramacandra Khan ordered his servant to tell Nityananda Prabhu there is no place for Him in the temple, but he and his disciples could go to the goshala (cowshed), and remain in that very sacred place. Again he committed an offense.
Nityananda Prabhu began to laugh very loudly, and while laughing he told the king's servant, "Certainly your place is not pure enough for me. A cowshed is superior. You should tell the king, "Many Muslim generals and soldiers will come to your house. They will destroy you, your entire family, your cows and everything you possess; and they will
eat meat here. You have no place for me, but you will have to make a place for them." After saying this, he left the village and went to another.
The next day many Muslim soldiers came, killed the king's family, slaughtered cows and cooked them there, and then they set the entire village on fire. Those who were in favor of that king were destroyed, and thus, what Nityananda Prabhu had told was proven true.
There are many pastimes, but I am only touching some.
akrodha paramananda nityananda raya
abhimana sunya nitai nagare bedaya
["The noble Nityananda Prabhu is never angry, for he is the personification of supreme transcendental bliss. Devoid of all false ego, Nitai wanders about the town." (Akrodha Paramanda by Locana dasa Thakura, verse 1)]
The meaning is very important. Akrodha means 'not angry'. We should try to give up anger, which is the root of all kinds of evil. Even if there is a reason to be angry, we should not be angry. Nityananda Prabhu is telling us this, through the medium of this song. He is saying, "You should be like me." When Jagai and Madhai hit him and he was bleeding, he prayed to Mahaprabhu, "In this incarnation, You should forgive them, and give them krsna-prema." Thus, by the request of Nityananda Prabhu, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu gave the brothers krsna-prema.
Mahaprabhu and all our Gosvamis have told us that even if there is a cause to be angry, we should not be angry. We should control our anger. If there is need, however, if someone is criticizing one's Gurudeva, or any pure devotee, or Krsna, Mahaprabhu, or Nityananda Prabhu, then we can use our anger. At that time we should be like Hanuman, who burned all of Lanka into ashes.
Sri Vrndavana dasa Thakura has declared: "Ati parihare jei papi nindakara tabe / lati marun tera sirera upare." Do not disobey or dishonor Nityananda Prabhu. If you do so, I will kick you on your head." Only in the highest stage of bhakti are you allowed to be angry. You should control your anger; not be controlled by it. If you are so controlled, you will be destroyed.
kama esa krodha esa
viddhy enam iha vairinam
["The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: It is lust only, Arjuna, which is born of contact with the material mode of passion and later transformed into wrath, and which is the all-devouring sinful enemy of this world." (Bhagavad-gita 3.37)]
Those who have worldly desires for position and so on, and who have a false ego in this regard, will lose everything. If you cannot control your mind, you may also disobey your Guru, and you may even give up your Guru. That is why Lord Sri Krsna has told us not to be angry. Keep the anger finger out of your bead bag. Do not use this (pointer) finger in chanting, because it denotes anger. It says, "I will punish you! I will shoot you!
Do you not know who I am?! I will break your legs!" Be careful.
adhama patita jivera dvare dvare giay
hari-nama maha-mantra dicchena bilaiya
["Going from door to door, to the houses of the most fallen and wretched souls, He freely distributes the gift of the harinama maha-mantra." (Akrodha Paramananda verse 2)]
Taking the flood of krsna-prema, Nityananda Prabhu went door to door, to give that love and affection.
Gaura-Nityananda Prabhu Ki Jaya!
Mathura, India: April 9, 2000
Tridandisvami Shri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja
Today is the avirbhava, birthday, of Shri Ramanujacarya. Rama-Navami, the birthday of Lord Rama, is also coming very soon, Throughout Their entire lives, Rama and Sita-devi always had problems, even though Rama is God and Sita-devi is his svarupa-sakti, internal potency. They showed by example that in this world, even if you are a king and have a very strong personality, you will still have to suffer. So try to be like Rama, Sita, and Hanuman. Don't be worried. There are many stories of the lives of great personalities that illustrate this, such as the life of Shri Ramanujacarya.
Shri Ramanujacarya is an incarnation of Laksmana (Lord Rama's youn ger brother), and he accepted the Shri Sampradaya. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura Prabhupada took many teachings from him, such as the duties of sannyasis, the duties of disciples, and the etiquette of the Vaisnava. He utilized 108 teachings. We follow these teachings, and we have also published them in our Bhagavata Patrika and Gaudiya Patrika (Hindi and Bengali Magazines).
Correcting His Guru
Shri Ramanujacarya took birth in a simple family. His mother and father were not very wealthy, but they were of a high brahmana caste and they were very learned. Ramanuja was an outstanding boy from his childhood. While under the guidance of a Mayavadi guru named Yadavacarya, he was very careful in his studies. One day, when his guru was giving an impersonal explanation of a verse that contained the word taptyasana, he compared the lotus-eyes of the Lord to the hind part of a monkey which is reddish near its tail. Hearing this from his gurudeva's mouth, Ramanuja began to cry in great pain. He felt grief in his heart that his gurudeva had used such a bad analogy for describing the lotus-eyes of the Lord. After collecting himself, he very politely asked if he could say something about the verse. Yadavacarya assented, and Ramanuja very nicely gave many explanations according to Sanskrit grammar. He said that the term taptyasana actually means one who bring s water, and that is the sun. The lotus blossoms by the potency of the sun, and therefore the Lord's eyes are compared to the lotus, not the monkey.
When Yadavacarya heard this, he thought, "This boy is dangerous. He is very expert and is giving such nice explanations. In the future he might uproot all the impersonal teachings from the Vedas, and so I must kill him."
Protected by the Lord
Fearing in this way, he announced to the boys that they would be going on an outing on a particular day. He also very confidentially told a few of his disciples of his plan to kill Ramanuja on that day. Within the group of these disciples, one boy was a cousin-brother of Ramanuja named Govinda. He discreetly came to Ramanuja and quietly informed him of their teacher's intention.
He said, "O brother, you should be very careful, for our teacher is planning to kill yo u tonight when we are all out together."
Hearing this from Govinda, Ramanuja immediately left that place.
Throughout the day and night, he passed through the dense forest, and it was difficult for him to discern his way, especially at night. Seeing His dear devotee in such a state, the Lord appeared in the form of Bharadvaja and, holding a conch in His hand, showed Ramanuja the way. Thus, within no time at all Ramanuja crossed the entire distance of the forest, and he found himself standing outside a village. After some days, out of compassion for Yadavacarya and with a desire to deliver him, he again began studying under his guidance.
After some years, Ramanuja converted Yadavacarya to Vaisnava philosophy, whereupon his teacher became his disciple. At one point thereafter, Ramanuja began hearing of the qualities of a great Vaisnava guru in South India by the name of Shri Yamunacarya, and he eventually became Shri Yamunacarya's d isciple.
The Quarrelsome Wife
Later on he married, and his wife was very quarrelsome. Her behavior was discourteous and uncooperative, and incidents would often take place, which he would have to somehow tolerate.
A disciple of Shri Yamunacarya and elder god-brother of Ramanuja named Kancipurna came to Ramanuja's village along with his wife. Ramanuja accepted Kancipurna as a siksa-guru. One day, when Kancipurna's wife was taking some water from a well, she met Ramanuja's wife, who had also come to the well for drawing water. It so happened that while taking the water out of the well, some water from the pot of Kancipurna's wife spilled into the pot of Ramanuja's wife. Although this was a small accident, Ramanuja's wife became furious and insulted Kancipurna's wife with abusive language. Kancipurna became hurt when he later on heard about this and, wi thout informing Ramanuja, he and his wife left that place and went to Shri Rangam.
When Shri Ramanuja came to know that his wife's behavior had offended a Vaisnava, he felt very bad and thought, "She is committing vaisnava-aparadha; she has such an offensive mentality. I must do something about it."
One day, a hungry brahmana came to Ramanuja, asking for some food. Ramanuja sent this brahmana to his wife, telling him, "Go to my home and tell my wife that I sent you. She will give you some food."
When that brahmana came to Ramanuja's wife, she boldly insulted him again and again. She told him he should get out of there, and that there was no food for him.
Returning to Ramanuja, the brahmana reported what had happened, and Ramanuja replied, "Wait here for a few minutes."
He left and wrote a letter to his wife, as though it was written by her father, stating, "O my dear daughter, I am arranging the marriage of my son, your brother. So you should come. Please bring your husband with you."
Writing these words very nicely, he folded that letter and tied it with colorful threads. And, along with that, he sent a coconut and other auspicious items. He then gave that letter to the brahmana and said, "Now go again to my wife. She will welcome you nicely this time. The brahmana went again. After reading the letter, Ramanuja's wife's behavior completely changed. This time she welcomed him warmly and sweetly, and offered him all kinds of palatable food and sweets. When Ramanuja came home, his wife told him about the marriage. She cited her father's request for both of them to come and requested him to please come along.
Ramanuja said, "No, I cannot come, for I am very busy; you may go now with this brahmana. Don't be lat e."
After his wife left with that brahmana, Ramanuja locked the door of his house and went to Shri Rangam to meet his Gurudeva, Shri Yamunacarya. He wanted to take sannyasa from him, but when he reached Shri Rangam, he found that Shri Yamunacarya had just passed away and his disciples were walking in a funeral procession with his divine body. Ramanuja felt very disheartened and sad. He asked them to stop for a moment. He wanted them to uncover the transcendental body so that he could take darsana of his Gurudeva's divine form. He observed that all the fingers on one of his Gurudeva's hands were open, and on the other, three fingers were closed. He inquired from the disciples all around as to why this was, and he wanted to know when it happened.
No one could answer. They said, "We didn't notice it before; it must have happened just now."
Ramanuja became silent, and after some time he spoke, addressing Shri Yamunacarya's transcendental body. He said, "Now, I will first of all write a Vaisnava commentary on Vedanta, and I will preach that Vaisnava commentary throughout India." One finger opened, and Ramanuja spoke further, "I will take tridandi-sannyasa right now, and I will preach the message of vaisnava-dharma and your teachings."
When Shri Yamunacarya heard that, his second finger opened. Ramanuja then said, "I will systematically write about Vaisnava etiquette, explaining the behavior required to execute pure devotional service, and what precautions should be taken. I will also preach this throughout India."
After uttering this third statement, Shri Ramanujacarya observed, along with all present, that three of Yamunacarya's fingers had now opened. Then and there, Shri Ramanujacarya formally accepted tridandi sannyasa from Shri Yamu nacarya.
The Ideal Disciple
What is the duty of an ideal disciple? He should not merely stay with gurudeva; he should try to give his energy by body, mind and words, and try to serve him according to his desires. He should not just be present physically, thinking something exciting is going to happen, while remaining unenthusiastic to serve. That is not a disciple, but rather something quite opposite. A true disciple always desires, with heart and mind, to better serve his gurudeva.
Shri Ramanujacarya had now formally taken initiation from Shri Yamunacarya. Afterwards, all the disciples of Shri Yamunacarya, who were great scholars and who had served their Gurudeva for so many years, came together. Having seen the extraordinary characteristics and personality of Shri Ramanujacarya, they collectively decided that he should be appointed as the next acarya after their Guru, and they honored him with the acarya seat in Shri Rangam. Shri Ramanujacarya accepted the orders of his god-brothers, but before sitting and acting as the acarya, he went to each of his god-brothers, for two months, four months, six months, or one year, and served each of them. He thus formally endeavored to understand the teachings of Shri Yamunacarya since he had not gotten the opportunity to spend much time with him. After serving and satisfying them, Shri Ramanujacarya commenced his role as acarya of the Shri Sampradaya in Shri Rangam
Sampradaya in Shri Rangam
We should carefully follow Shri Ramanujacarya's example. Not only should we intimately serve our Gurudeva, we shoul d also respect and properly honor our god-brothers and god-sisters. If someone is senior to us, having served our gurudeva longer, we should show that person great honor. If someone is equal to us, we should give friendly honor to him, and if we encounter someone in an inferior position and who is serious about learning, we should always be merciful. We should try to perform devotional service in a very harmonious way.
Refuting the Impersonalists
When Shri Ramanujacarya officially became the acarya, he began preaching the cult of Shri Yamunacarya very strongly. In South India, two impersonalist sects are very prominent: Saiva and Sankaracarya. Sankaracarya's followers subscribe to the vedanta-sutras like "sarvam kalvidam brahma" and "tat tvam asi." They think themselves impersonal brahma, and they think everything comes from brahma. The Saiva School considers Lord Siva to be the ultimate truth, and they want to merge into him. This is the basic difference between the two. Shri Ramanujacarya refuted and defeated all impersonalism by his very strong and effective preaching.
Thursday, 13 October 2005
Shri Shrimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja
[February 5, 2017 is the disappearance day of Shri Madhvacharya (in India), our sampradaya-Acharya. Please accept this lecture given by Shrila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja on his appearance day on October 13, 2005 in Mathura. To hear this lecture, please click on this link.]
Today is the appearance day of Shri Madhvacharya, who is the sampradaya-Acharya of our Brahma-Madhva-Gaudiya Vaisnava Sampradaya.*[See Endnote 1] He appeared in a place called Pajaka-ksetra. His father's name was Madhvagaya, his mother's name was Vedavidya, and his childhood name was Vasudeva. He took sannyasa at a very young age, and his sannyasa-name was Purna-prajna. His sannyasa-guru, who followed the mayavada philosophy of impersonalism, was named Shri Acyuta-preksa.
MadhavAcharya took birth in Udupi, and his life was quite astonishing. He was an incarnation of Hanuman, Bhima, and Vayu - so he was very strong.
There was once a businessman who was trading in gopi-candana (tilaka). His boat became stuck in the mud and could not go forward. At that time Shrila Madhvacharya had been bathing in the ocean, and he saw the big ship full of large pieces of gopi-candana there. He was approached by that businessman, and in order to assist him, he pushed the boat - by himself. He was so strong that the boat started moving, and he was offered a very big piece of candana as a gift, in appreciation.
In the meantime, while the boatmen were unloading the candana, that piece was broken, and a very beautiful deity of Krsna manifested from inside. That Deity's name was of Bala-gopala - Dadhi-manthana Gopala. This Gopala Deity carries Mother Yasoda's stick for churning yogurt.
He became very happy. Although the Deity was very heavy, he took the Deity on his shoulder, and, carrying Him to Udupi, he sang a song to Him that came spontaneously from his heart. In other words, as he walked the seven miles to Udupi, he composed the song called Dvadasa-stotra (Twelve Prayers). He carried the Deity there himself, composing many stavas and stutis (hymns and prayers) to Gopala, and after reaching Udupi, he established Gopal there.
Shrila Madhvacharya wrote many books, and especially important are his three commentaries on Brahma-sutra - Brhad-bhasya and two Anubhasyas. In the Brhad-bhasya, he gave evidences for the presentation of his suddha-dvaita-vada philosophy. This philosophy states: Lord Shri Krsna, God, is the supreme eternal, the supreme living entity, the Supreme Self. The purpose of the entire yoga system is to concentrate the mind on this Supreme Self. We are not the Supreme Self. That should be understood. The Supreme Self is God. This is suddha-dvaita-vada - pure dualism. God is different from me. He is supreme and I am subordinate. He is great, and I am small. He is infinite and I am infinitesimal.
In his commentary, Shrila Madhvacharya wrote his own composition in the form of Sanskrit verses, defeating the impersonal conception of Shri Sankaracharya.
All the Vaisnava sampradaya-Acharyas, like Shri RamanujAcharya, Visnusvami and Nimbaditya, have contributed to defeating the theories of Shri Sankaracharya, and Shrila Madhvacharya did this especially with his philosophy of suddha-dvaita-vada or bheda-vada (pure dualism).
The Srutis (Vedic scriptures) have described both principles: that the individual soul is the same as God and also that the soul is different from Him. In most cases, however, prominence has been given to the aspect of difference. In his writings, Shrila Madhvacharya has described five differences: There is an eternal difference between God and the jiva (the infinitesimal living entity), God and maya (the Lords deluding, material potency), maya and the jiva, one jiva and another jiva, and one feature of maya and another feature of maya.
All the four bona fide sampradayas are Vaisnava-sampradayas. This means there is similarity in their goal and object of worship. They all worship Visnu-tattva (The Supreme Lord in His plenary manifestation). The followers of Shri RamanujAcharya-sampradaya worship Shri Laksmi-Narayana, and in the sampradaya of Shrila Madhvacharya there is worship of Bala-gopala Krsna.
Shrila Madhvacharya established four main Mathas (temples). In each of these Mathas there were two sannyasis, so in total there were eight sannyasis. These eight sannyasi Acharyas practiced worshiping Lord Krsna in the mood of the gopis, but this worship was not given to the general population.
Shriman Mahaprabhu saw some lacking in the conception of Shrila Madhvacharya, and He adjusted that. Shri Kavi Karnapura and Shri Baladeva Vidyabhushana have both declared that our Sampradaya-Acharya is Shrila Madhvacharya. In our disciplic succession we see that Shrila Madhavendra Puri took initiation from Shrila Laksmipati Tirtha in the Madhva-sampradaya. Therefore we have a connection with Shri Madhvacharya, although we are especially related with Shrila Madhavendra Puri. Shri Advaita Acharya and Shri Nityananda Prabhu are related with Shrila Madhavendra Puri, and Madhavendra Puri is related with Shri Madhvacharya.
Some people do not accept the position of Shri Madhvacharya - that he is our Sampradaya-Acharya.*[See Endnote 2] Some sahajiyas and caste gosvamis cannot reconcile this. They say that Shrila Baladeva Vidyabhushana was not in our sampradaya, because he was in the Madhva-sampradaya.*[See Endnote 3] But actually, our sampradaya is related to Shrila Madhvacharya. Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura has therefore said very strongly that those who do not accept Shrila Baladeva Vidyabhushana or Shrila Madhvacharya have no relation to pure bhakti. They are kali-chela, disciples of the personality of Kali-yuga .
We must understand all these established philosophical truths. Then we can understand who Shrila Madhvacharya is, and what our relation with him is.
We are Vaisnava sannyasis. We have the sannyasa name "Bhaktivedanta". I want that especially those who are in the renounced order, sannyasis, should learn and remember at least some of the sutras (aphorisms) of Vedanta. They should remember at least twenty-five sutras, together with their meaning and explanation. If you remember at least ten sutras of the Brahma-sutra, from the first one up to the tenth, you will find all philosophy there. In the Shrimad-Bhagavatam's four original verses, the entire Shrimad-Bhagavatam is present, and this is also the case with Brahma-sutra; all the sutras are included in the first ten. You should surely remember them, otherwise you will be defeated by mayavada philosophers.
Gaura-premanande hari hari bol!
Chaitanya Mahaprabhu next arrived at Udupi, the place of Madhvacharya, where the philosophers known as Tattvavadis resided. There He saw the Deity of Lord Krsna and became mad with ecstasy.
Shripada Madhvacharya took his birth at Udupi, which is situated in the South Kanarada district of South India, just west of Sahyadri. This is the chief city of the South Kanarada province and is near the city of Mangalore, which is situated to the south of Udupi. In the city of Udupi is a place called Pajaka-ksetra, where Madhvacharya took his birth in a Sivalli-brahmana dynasty as the son of Madhyageha Bhatta, in the year 1040 Sakabda (A.D. 1119). According to some, he was born in the year 1160 Sakabda (A.D. 1239).
In his childhood Madhvacharya was known as Vasudeva, and there are some wonderful stories surrounding him. It is said that once when his father had piled up many debts, Madhvacharya converted tamarind seeds into actual coins to pay them off. When he was five years old, he was offered the sacred thread. A demon named Maniman lived near his abode in the form of a snake, and at the age of five Madhvacharya killed that snake with the toe of his left foot. When his mother was very much disturbed, he would appear before her in one jump. He was a great scholar even in childhood, and although his father did not agree, he accepted sannyasa at the age of twelve. Upon receiving sannyasa from Acyuta Preksa, he received the name Purnaprajna Tirtha. After traveling all over India, he finally discussed scriptures with Vidyasankara, the exalted leader of Srngeri-matha. Vidyasankara was actually diminished in the presence of Madhvacharya. Accompanied by Satya Tirtha, Madhvacharya went to Badarikasrama. It was there that he met Vyasadeva and explained his commentary on the Bhagavad-gita before him. Thus he became a great scholar by studying before Vyasadeva.
By the time he came to the Ananda-matha from Badarikasrama, Madhvacharya had finished his commentary on the Bhagavad-gita. His companion Satya Tirtha wrote down the entire commentary. When Madhvacharya returned from Badarikasrama, he went to Ganjama, which is on the bank of the river Godavari. There he met with two learned scholars named Sobhana Bhatta and Svami Sastri. Later these scholars became known in the disciplic succession of Madhvacharya as Padmanabha Tirtha and Narahari Tirtha. When he returned to Udupi, he would sometimes bathe in the ocean. On such an occasion he composed a prayer in five chapters. Once, while sitting beside the sea engrossed in meditation upon Lord Shri Krsna, he saw that a large boat containing goods for Dvaraka was in danger. He gave some signs by which the boat could approach the shore, and it was saved. The owners of the boat wanted to give him a present, and at the time Madhvacharya agreed to take some gopi-candana. He received a big lump of gopi-candana, and as it was being brought to him, it broke apart and revealed a large Deity of Lord Krsna. The Deity had a stick in one hand and a lump of food in the other. As soon as Madhvacharya received the Deity of Krsna in this way, he composed a prayer. The Deity was so heavy that not even thirty people could lift it. Madhvacharya personally brought this Deity to Udupi. Madhvacharya had eight disciples, all of whom took sannyasa from him and became directors of his eight monasteries. Worship of the Lord Krsna Deity is still going on at Udupi according to the plans Madhvacharya established.
Madhvacharya then for the second time visited Badarikasrama. While he was passing through Maharashtra, the local king was digging a big lake for the public benefit. As Madhvacharya passed through that area with his disciples, he was also obliged to help in the excavation. After some time, when Madhvacharya visited the king, he engaged the king in that work and departed with his disciples.
Often in the province of Ganga-pradesa there were fights between Hindus and Muslims. The Hindus were on one bank of the river, and the Muslims on the other. Due to the community tension, no boat was available for crossing the river. The Muslim soldiers were always stopping passengers on the other side, but Madhvacharya did not care for these soldiers. He crossed the river anyway, and when he met the soldiers on the other side, he was brought before the king. The Muslim king was so pleased with him that he wanted to give him a kingdom and some money, but Madhvacharya refused. While walking on the road, he was attacked by some dacoits, but by his bodily strength he killed them all. When his companion Satya Tirtha was attacked by a tiger, Madhvacharya separated them by virtue of his great strength. When he met Vyasadeva, he received from him the salagrama-sila known as Astamurti. After this, he summarized the Mahabharata.
Madhvacharya's devotion to the Lord and his erudite scholarship became known throughout India. Consequently the owners of the Srngeri-matha, established by Sankaracharya, became a little perturbed. At that time the followers of Sankaracharya were afraid of Madhvacharya's rising power, and they began to tease Madhvacharya's disciples in many ways. There was even an attempt to prove that the disciplic succession of Madhvacharya was not in line with Vedic principles. A person named Pundarika Puri, a follower of the Mayavada philosophy of Sankaracharya, came before Madhvacharya to discuss the sastras. It is said that all of Madhvacharya's books were taken away, but later they were found with the help of King Jayasimha, ruler of Kumla. In discussion, Pundarika Puri was defeated by Madhvacharya. A great personality named TrivikramAcharya, who was a resident of Visnumangala, became Madhvacharya's disciple, and his son later became NarayanAcharya, the composer of Shri Madhva-vijaya. After the death of TrivikramAcharya, the younger brother of NarayanAcharya took sannyasa and later became known as Visnu Tirtha.
It was reputed that there was no limit to the bodily strength of Purnaprajna, Madhvacharya. There was a person named Kadanjari who was famed for possessing the strength of thirty men. Madhvacharya placed the big toe of his foot upon the ground and asked the man to separate it from the ground, but the great strong man could not do so even after great effort. Shrila Madhvacharya passed from this material world at the age of eighty while writing a commentary on the Aitareya Upanisad. For further information about Madhvacharya, one should read Madhva-vijaya, by NarayanAcharya.
The Acharyas of the Madhva-sampradaya established Udupi as the chief center, and the monastery there was known as Uttararadhi-matha. A list of the different centers of the Madhvacharya-sampradaya can be found at Udupi, and their matha commanders are (1) Visnu Tirtha (Soda-matha), (2) Janardana Tirtha (Krsnapura-matha), (3) Vamana Tirtha (Kanura-matha), (4) Narasimha Tirtha (Adamara-matha), (5) Upendra Tirtha (Puttugi-matha), (6) Rama Tirtha (Sirura-matha), (7) Hrsikesa Tirtha (Palimara-matha), and (8) Aksobhya Tirtha (Pejavara-matha). (Chaitanya-caritamrta, Madhya-lila, 9.246 purport by Shrila Prabhupada Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja)]
"Objection 4: While touring in South India, Shriman Mahaprabhu went to Udupi. There he had a discussion with a tattva-vadi Acharya, who was in Shri Madhva Acharya's sampradaya. Mahaprabhu refuted the views of the tattva-vadis, so He can never be included in that sampradaya.
"Refutation: Shriman Mahaprabhuji did not directly refute Madhva Acharya's ideas about suddha-bhakti. Rather, He refuted the distorted opinions of the tattva-vadis which had entered into the Madhva Sampradaya in the course of time. Readers can understand this simply by looking in this section of Shri Chaitanya-caritamrta (Madhya 9. 276-277)
prabhu kahe,--karmi, jnani,--dui bhakti-hina
tomara sampradaye dekhi sei dui cihna
sabe, eka guna dekhi tomara sampradaya
satya-vigraha kari' isvare karaha niscaye
"Karmis and jnanis are devoid of devotion, and it is seen that both of these are respected in your sampradaya. Still, in your sampradaya there is one very great quality - the form of Bhagavan or Shri vigraha has been accepted. Not only this, but Shri vigraha has also been accepted as Vrajendra-nandana Shri Krsna Himself. He is worshipped in your sampradaya in the form of Nrtya-Gopala."
"This proves that Shriman Mahaprabhu refuted distortions which later entered the Madhva Sampradaya in the course of time. He did not refute Madhva Acharya's opinions on suddha-bhakti or the fundamental conclusions that he expressed in his commentaries. On the contrary, we have already shown that literatures such as Tattva-sandarbha and Sarva-samvadini have been based on the conclusions of Shri Madhva and his disciples and grand-disciples. In this connection we should point out that a difference of sampradaya does not generally arise from some minor difference of opinion. Rather, the difference between sampradaya comes from the differences of theory about the principal object of worship." ((Bhakti Prajnana Keshava Gosvami, His Life and Teachings, pages 423-424)
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu accepted the chain of disciplic succession from Madhva Acharya, but the Vaisnavas in His line do not accept the tattva-vadis, who also claim to belong to the Madhva-sampradaya. To distinguish themselves clearly from the tattva-vadi branch of Madhva's descendants, the Vaisnavas of Bengal prefer to call themselves Gaudiya Vaisnavas. Shri Madhva Acharya is also known as Shri Gauda-purnananda, and therefore the name Madhva-Gaudiya-sampradaya is quite suitable for the disciplic succession of the Gaudiya Vaisnavas. Our spiritual master, Om Visnupada Shrimad Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Maharaja, accepted initiation in the Madhva-Gaudiya-sampradaya. (Chaitanya-caritamrta - Adi-lila 1.19, purport by Shrila Prabhupada Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja)]
"Of the four Vaisnava sampradaya-Acharyas, only Madhva Acharya is celebrated by the name of tattva-vadi. Since Shri Jiva Gosvami has personally established tattva-vada, the Vaisnavas of the Madhva-Gaudiya Sampradaya are therefore tattva-vadis. In the third sloka of the mangalacarana (auspicious invocation) of Tattva-sandarbha, Shri Jiva Gosvami glorifies his guru Shri Rupa Gosvami and his paramguru Shri Sanatana Gosvami as 'tattvajnapakau' (the Acharyas who proclaim tattva). Similarly, the crown of the dynasty of vaisnava Acharyas, Shri Baladeva Vidyabhushana Prabhu, has also designated Shri Rupa and Shri Sanatana as 'tattvavid-uttamau' (the highest of all knowers of tattva) in his commentary on this same sloka.|
"It is clear from this that Shri Jiva Gosvami has offered respect to Shri Madhva Acharya, and that Shri Baladeva Vidyabhushana has followed Jiva Gosvami in honoring Madhva Acharya. Baladeva Vidyabhushana Prabhu has not shown any prejudice towards Madhva Acharya. On the contrary, if we compare Jiva Gosvami with Baladeva Vidyabhushana, we find that Baladeva Vidyabhushana has glorified the two Gosvamis Shri Rupa and Sanatana more than Jiva Gosvami has. There is no doubt whatsoever that Shri Baladeva Vidyabhushana is situated in the amnaya-dhara (the transcendental current of conclusive evidence) or the parampara of Shri Gaura-Nityananda Prabhus and of Shrila Jiva Gosvamipada who immediately follows them. Shri Baladeva Vidyabhushana is in the ninth generation from Shri Nityananda Prabhu according to bhagavat-parampara, and in the eighth generation according to pancaratrika-parampara. Historians have accepted his pancaratrika-parampara as follows; Shri Nityananda, Shri Gauridasa Pandita, Hrdaya Chaitanya, Syamananda Prabhu, Rasikananda Prabhu, Nayanananda Prabhu and Shri Radha-Damodara. Shri Baladeva Prabhu is the initiated disciples of this Shri Radha-Damodara and is also the most prominent siksa disciple of Shri Visvanatha Cakravarti.
"Historians have declared that in no branch of the Madhva guru-parampara were there any brilliant scholars of such widespread fame as Baladeva. In fact, at that time no one in any sampradaya anywhere in India could equal Shri Baladeva's knowledge in logic, in Vedanta and in sastra such as the Puranas and itihasas. It is true that he stayed for some days in the most prominent matha established by Shri Madhva Acharya in Udupi, and that he studied the Shri Madhva commentary on Vedanta; however, the Shri Gaudiya Sampradaya was more of an influence upon him than was the Shri Madhva Sampradaya.
"It is natural for scholarly personalities, who are worshipable throughout the worlds and who are the preceptors of great precepts, to follow in the lotus footsteps of the Vaisnava Acharyas of the very influential Madhva-Gaudiya Sampradaya. Shri Baladeva thoroughly studied the commentary of Madhva, and also made a meticulous study of the commentaries of Sankara, Ramanuja, Bhaskara Acharya, Nimbarka, Vallabha and others. It is illogical to say that he is included in each one of those sampradayas because he had studied those groups of philosophers.
"Shri Baladeva Prabhu has described historical events and quoted the conclusions of the previous Gaudiya Vaisnava Acharyas in many literatures, such as his Govinda-bhasya, Siddhanta-ratnam, Prameya-ratnavali and his commentary on Tattva-sandharba. He has enabled all the philosophers of the world to understand that the Shri Gaudiya Vaisnava Sampradaya is included within the Madhva Sampradaya. In this regard all the scholars of the world, eastern and western, ancient and modern, have bowed their heads in reverence, and have unanimously accepted the siddhanta and opinions of Shri Baladeva Vidyabhushana Prabhu.
"Shri Baladeva Vidyabhushana was sent by Shri Visvanatha Cakravarti to protect the honor of the Gaudiya Vaisnava sampradaya in the Galata Gaddi in Jaipura. There he defeated the objecting panditas of the Shri sampradaya in scriptural debate. There are no second opinions about this. Does this not show that Shri Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura personally inspired his siksa disciple Baladeva Vidyabhushana to prove that the Gaudiya Vaisnavas are in the line of Madhva Acharya? Shrila Cakravarti Thakura sent his diksa disciple Shri Krsnadeva Sarvabhauma with Shri Baladeva to help him. If Shri Cakravarti Thakura had not been so aged and weak at that time, he certainly would have gone to Jaipur in person to take part in this debate about the sampradaya. He would also have established the very same conclusion as Shri Baladeva Vidyabhushana. There is no sound evidence to prove that Shri Baladeva Vidyabhushana was first an Acharya or disciple in the Madhva Sampradaya. There may be hearsay and imaginative rumors, but no one has given any substantial proof." (Bhakti Prajnana Keshava Gosvami, His Life and Teachings, pages 416-419)]
Tridandisvami Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja
North Shore, Hawaii: January 24, 2007
Today is the appearance day of Shri Advaita Acharya. He is Sadasiva. *[See endnote 1] He is non-different from Visnu-tattva, and therefore his name is ‘Advaita’ (non-different). He is also a prominent acarya (teacher and personal example) of preaching the glories of the holy name and giving prema-bhakti along with that chanting, and therefore his name is ‘Acharya’.
Advaita Acharya’s fathers’ name was Kuvera Pandita. Before Advaita Acharya’s birth, Kuvera Pandita performed austerities to please Lord Siva, that is, Sadasiva. After a long time, Siva became pleased with him and told him, “You may ask me for any boon.”
Kuvera Pandita then said, “I want a son like you. I want a son who is as qualified as you.”
Siva replied, “This is impossible, so I will personally come as your son.”
Thus, Sadasiva appeared as his son.
At the time of his birth, Advaita Acharya was given the name Kamalaksa, which means ‘one who has very beautiful lotus eyes’. He was very intelligent, and in a few years he completed his study of all the Vedic scriptures and also Sanskrit grammar.
His father was a servant of the king. One day, when he was about five or six years old, his father took him to the royal palace, where there was a temple of the demigoddess Devi (Kali). There, the king and his father offered their obeisances to Kali, but that boy, Kamalaksa, did not do so. Seeing this, the king became angry,
Kamalaksa’s father said, “The king is angry. I am his servant. Why are you not offering obeisances to Kali? Kali is a very exalted demigoddess, and she can give any boon. Everyone respects her, so you should also respect her and offer your obeisances.
Kamalaksa replied, “If I will do so, Kali will be destroyed.”
Saying this, he offered his obeisances. At once there was an explosion, and the deity of Kali broke into many pieces.
All those who were present began saying, “Oh, who is he?” Why did this happen?” The answer is that Advaita Acharya is Sadasiva and in this world Kali is Lord Siva’s wife. She is his sakti, or power. She feels herself subordinate to her husband and cannot tolerate his bowing down to her. That is why her deity exploded.
* * * *
After some time, Advaita Acharya went to Santipura in West Bengal, and he also had a residence in Navadvipa, near the house of Srivasa Acharya (Srivasa-angana). He used to live in Santipura, but from time to time he would come to Navadvipa, where He would teach boys in a Sanskrit school.
Shri Visvarupa Prabhu, the elder brother of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, used to study at that Sanskrit school. After some time Visvarupa became renounced. He left his house and became sannyasi. Mother Saci-devi became very upset by this, thinking that Advaita Acharya’s close association with her son that influenced him to take up the renounced order. She criticized Advaita Acharya by saying, “His name is ‘Advaita’, meaning ‘non-dual’, but he is not ‘advaita.’ He is ‘dvaita’, meaning ‘dual’ or ‘duplicitous’, because he taught my son, and then my son became renounced.”
After some time, when Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu visited the house of Srivasa Thakura (Srivasa Angana). There, He manifested sata-prahariya-bhava, which means that He was in the mood that: “I am Visnu.” *[See endnote 2] At that time He was giving boons to all present, saying, “Be blessed with prema!” And at once all began to dance and sing and weep.
The devotees requested Him, “Please give this boon of prema to Your mother.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu replied, “I cannot give prema to her. She has committed an offense at the lotus feet of Advaita Acharya. She must go and apologize to him, and then I will give her this boon.”
Mother Saci at once went to Santipura and apologized to Advaita Acharya, who immediately offered obeisances to her. He placed his head on her lotus feet and said, “O Mother, you made no offense, and if there was an offense, I excuse you.”
Mother Saci then returned to Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, who easily gave her prema. *[See endnote 3]
* * * *
For some time, Advaita Acharya was very worried, thinking, “Although Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is the Lord, my Lord, He is always offering obeisances to me.” He could not tolerate this, and one day he had an idea. He went to Santipura and began to explain the Bhagavad-gita according to mayavada-philosophy: Tattvam asi, aham brahmasmi (I am that impersonal God), and sarvam khalv idam brahma (everything is brahma, that impersonal God.)” When Chaitanya Mahaprabhu heard about this, He went to Santipura, where He pulled Advaita Acharya by his beard and began to kick him. Seeing this, Sita devi, Advaita Acharya’s wife told Mahaprabhu, “Oh, do You want to kill this old person?”
Advaita Acharya began to dance saying, “Oh, now I have received a boon: Mahaprabhu has beaten me. The master can beat the servant; The servant cannot beat the master. So now it is definite that He considers Himself my master. He can beat me and punish me as He likes.”
* * * *
Shri Advaita Acharya and Nityananda Prabhu often had some loving quarrels (prema-kalaha) with each other. Once in Santipura, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Advaita Acharya, and all the Lord’s devotees were taking prasadam together. Nityananda Prabhu took some of his prasadam remnants and threw them on Advaita Acharya’s body. Advaita Acharya said, “He is a mad avadhuta. He has no etiquette – none at all. And He has made me impure.”
Nityananda Prabhu then said, “Oh, he thinks Himself a Vaisnava, but he has no knowledge of Vaisnava principles. Maha-prasadam never becomes impure, even if it is touched by the mouth of a dog. Still he speaks like this, so he is an offender of maha-prasadam.”*[See endnote 4] In this way they both used to engage in loving, joking quarrels.
Once, during the time of the Ratha-Yatra festival in Jagannath Puri, after Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s devotees had completed their cleaning of the Gundica Temple, they sported together in the waters of the Indradyumna Sarovara lake. They were all splashing water on each other. Nityananda Prabhu and Advaita Acharya began to throw water on each other, and Nityananda Prabhu defeated Advaita Acharya. He later began to rebuke Nityananda Prabhu, calling Him bad names. In this way, They used to engage in love-filled mock quarrels.
Gaura Premanande! Hari Haribol.
[*Endnote 1 –
In the Puranas it is found that Siva appears sometimes from the heads of Brahma and sometimes from the head of Visnu. The annihilator, Rudra, is born from Sankarsana and is the ultimate fire to burn the whole creation. In the Vayu Purana there is a description of Sadasiva in one of the Vaikuntha planets. That Sadasiva is a direct expansion of Lord Krsna's form for pastimes. It is said that Sadasiva (Lord Sambhu) is an expansion from the Sadasiva in the Vaikuntha planets (Lord Visnu) and that his consort, Mahamaya, is an expansion of Rama-devi, or Laksmi. Mahamaya is the origin or birthplace of material nature.
He also desires only to be a servant of Lord Krsna. Shri Sadasiva always says, "I am a servant of Lord Krsna." Intoxicated by ecstatic love for Lord Krsna, he becomes overwhelmed and incessantly dances without clothing and sings about Lord Krsna's qualities and pastimes. (Chaitanya-caritamrta, Adi-lila 6.80-6.81)]
[Endnote 2 –
One day in the house of Srivasa Thakura, Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu sat down on the bed of Visnu, and all the devotees worshiped Him with the Vedic mantras of the Purusa-sukta, beginning with sahasra-sirsa purusah sahasraksah sahasra-pat. This veda-stuti should also be introduced, if possible, for installations of Deities. While bathing the Deity, all the priests and devotees must chant this Purusa-sukta and offer the appropriate paraphernalia for worshiping the Deity, such as flowers, fruits, incense, arati paraphernalia, naivedya, vastra and ornaments. All the devotees worshiped Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in this way, and the Lord remained in ecstasy for seven praharas, or twenty-one hours. He took this opportunity to show the devotees that He is the original Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna, who is the source of all other incarnations, as confirmed in the Bhagavad-gita (10.8): aham sarvasya prabhavo mattah sarvam pravartate. All the different forms of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, or visnu-tattva, emanate from the body of Lord Krsna. Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu exposed all the private desires of the devotees, and thus all of them became fully confident that Lord Chaitanya is the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Some devotees call this exhibition of ecstasy by the Lord sata-prahariya bhava, or "the ecstasy of twenty-one hours," and others call it mahabhava-prakasa or maha-prakasa. There are other descriptions of this sata-prahariya bhava in the Chaitanya-bhavagata, Chapter Nine, which mentions that Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu blessed a maidservant named Dukhi with the name Sukhi. He called for Kholaveca Sridhara, and showed him His maha-prakasa. Then He called for Murari Gupta and showed him His feature as Lord Ramacandra. He offered His blessings to Haridasa Thakura, and at this time He also asked Advaita Prabhu to explain the Bhagavad-gita as it is (gitara satya-patha) and showed special favor to Mukunda. (Chaitanya-caritamrta, Adil-lila, 17.18 Purport)]
[Endnote 3 –
When the throbbing pain of the first days of Visvarupa's departure had waned to a dull despondent ache, Mother Saci calmly considered the following thoughts, "Advaita Acharya, due to my son's close association with him, must have influenced Visvarupa to take up the renounced order."
Mother Saci never spoke these thoughts aloud, careful not to commit vaisnava-aparadha, she silently suffered her fate. Then gradually, she started finding solace in little Visvambhara. He seemed to understand His mother's grief and did much to give her joy, slowly filling up the emptiness Visvarupa had left behind.
Then, after sometime had passed and Visvambhara had grown up to a young man, He also started to spend more time in Advaita Acharya's company. Visvambhara stayed little time at home with His young and patient Laksmipriya, but was for long hours in Advaita's house. The sad realization dawned on Mother Saci that her son was hardly at home and often to be seen in Advaita's house. She began to think, "Advaita Acharya will also take this son away from me."
So out of desperation and anguish, Mother Saci burst out, exclaiming, "To the world he may be known as `Advaita', non-dual, but to me he is `Dvaita', full of duplicity. He has already driven out my moonlike effulgent first son and now he will not leave this younger one in peace. I am a destitute mother, yet no one has any pity for me. This Advaita has deceived me."
This is all that Mother Saci had said. It is supposed to be so offensive that the Lord deemed her unfit to render devotional service to the Supreme Lord.
Some persons make the grave blunder, for which they will soon suffer, of trying to compare Vaisnavas, calling one a bigger Vaisnava than the other. Shri Chaitanya made His own mother instrumental in teaching the whole world how to avoid and become free from vaisnava-aparadha. If someone does not pay close heed to Shri Chaitanya's warnings and teachings on such vaisnava-aparadha, then he will remain completely ignorant about this offence and thus suffer the terrible consequences. In this context, a few words can be said of why Lord Chaitanya revealed this pastime. Lord Chaitanya, the Supreme Lord, is the knower of past, present and future. He foresaw that some evil-minded persons would try to exploit this situation to their own selfish advantage.
They will wrongly proclaim Advaita Acharya to be the Supreme Lord Krsna, thus violating the instructions of the pure Vaisnavas and thereby committing a grievous offence. These miscreants will protest against those who will rightly declare that Advaita is a `pure Vaisnava devotee'. Although they may claim to be the followers of Advaita Acharya, still no one will rescue them from the jaws of imminent destruction, not even Advaita Acharya himself.
Shri Chaitanya saw this happening soon in the future, so He punished His own mother in the presence of exalted Vaisnavas like Advaita Acharya. If the disciple commits vaisnava-aparadha, even the spiritual master cannot protect his disciple against the wrath of the Lord.” (Chaitanya-bhagavata, Madhya-khanda, Chapter 22)]
[*Endnote 4 –
In this way, by submitting various humble requests, Advaita Acharya made Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Lord Nityananda eat. Thus Chaitanya Mahaprabhu fulfilled all the desires of Advaita Acharya.
Nityananda Prabhu jokingly said, "My belly is not yet filled up. Please take away Your food. I have not taken the least of it. After saying this, Nityananda Prabhu took a handful of rice and threw it on the floor in front of Him, as if He were angry. When two or four pieces of the thrown rice touched His body, Advaita Acharya began to dance in various ways with the rice still stuck to His body.
When the rice thrown by Nityananda Prabhu touched His body, Advaita Acharya thought Himself purified by the touch of remnants thrown by Paramahamsa Nityananda. Therefore He began dancing. Advaita Acharya jokingly said, "My dear Nityananda, I invited You, and indeed I have received the results. You have no fixed caste or dynasty. By nature You are a madman. To make Me a madman like Yourself, You have thrown the remnants of Your food at Me. You did not even fear the fact that I am a brahmana." Nityananda Prabhu replied, "These are the remnants of food left by Lord Krsna. If You take them to be ordinary remnants, You have committed an offense." (Shri Chaitanya-caritamrta, Madhya-lila, 3.92-99)]
Orlando, Florida: February 6, 2003
Tridandisvami Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja
[This year the celebration of Vasanta-pancami is February 1, 2017.]
In India, today is a very auspicious day. It is Vasanta-pancami, the first day of spring. Vasanta means spring and pancami means the fifth lunar day. It is also Shrimati Visnu-priya devi''s birthday, it is the appearance day of Shrila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami, and it is also the disappearance day of Shrila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura.
The climate in India has been very cold until this day, but now spring will begin. The earth there will be covered with yellow flowers and will resemble the pitambara (yellow upper cloth) of Lord Krsna. New, reddish sprouts will now appear on mango trees and the air will become very fragrant. Here there are so many good flowers, but none of them have as good a fragrance as those in Vrndavana. The air in Vrndavana is full of beli, chameli, jui, chatika, malati, lotus and others, and it is so heavy with fragrance that it can hardly move.
During this spring season the vasanta-rasa of Sri Krsna takes place in Govardhana, at Candra Sarovara, where the moon stops his travels for one entire night of Brahma, a duration of trillions of years. He stays there to have darsana of the dance and to hear the singing of Sri Sri Radha-Govinda and the gopis.
Shrila Jayadeva Gosvami has described the vasanta-rasa-lila in his Gita-govinda. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu used to hear this description and weep loudly, with tears rolling down His face and with a melted heart. In Sri Caitanya-caritamrta vasanta-rasa has been described as giving vivid evidence of as the prominency of Shrimati Radhika over millions of gopis.
So today is a very auspicious day, and in India and other places devotees observe a fine festival. We offer Sri Sri Radha and Krsna yellow paraphernalia, yellow cloth, yellow rice, and many other varieties of yellow items, and we also offer puspanna, fancy yellow rice, mango manjaris and fresh barley grass.
For one month Holi kirtanas will be sung, like, "Aje Viraja me hari he rasija". Lord Krsna, along with His friends and all the gopis who are under guidance of Shrimati Radhika take syringes and sport together. The gopis want to defeat Krsna and He wants to defeat them and in this way the very melodious songs of Holi will resound everywhere.
This very same day is also the appearance day of Shrimati Visnu-priya devi, the manifestation of bhu-sakti and Satyabhama, who are themselves expansions of prema-bhakti-svarupini, the embodiment of prema-bhakti. Her separation mood for her husband, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, was very high after He took sannyasa.
Today is also the birthday of Shrila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami. It can be said that he is the siksa-disciple of Sri Svarupa Damodara, and he is especially the siksa disciple of Shrila Rupa Gosvami. He has written many stavas and stutis (hymns and prayers) in glorification of Sri Sri Radha-Krsna and Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, and he has also glorified all the sweet pastime places of Vrndavana like Radha-kunda, Syama-kunda and Govardhana. He was always remembering all the pastimes of Sri Sri Radha-Krsna, and his life is full of the love and affection that the manjaris have toward Shrimati Radhika. He is fully dedicated to Her as Rati Manjari in the pastimes of Radha-Krsna, and in the pastimes of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu he is Shrila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami. His character is so high that is impossible even for an exalted devotee to touch the dust of his lotus feet.
Shrila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami wrote Sri Vilapa-kusumanjali, which expresses a deep separation mood and all varieties of love and affection. He has shown what a sadhaka should do if he wants to enter the sweet pastimes of Krsna, especially in the love and affection of Sri Sri Radha and Krsna. If a sadhaka wants to understand these topics he must read Sri Vilapa-kusumanjali and Shrila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami's other stavas and stutis.
How glorious is his life! He is the embodiment of vairagya, total absorption in krsna-prema wherein one automatically forgets the world and all the needs for sense gratification. The scriptures tell us that our vairagya, meaning renunciation, should not be markata, like that of a monkey * [see endnote 1]. We should not follow that type of renunciation. If we want to have pure love for Lord Krsna in the line of Shrila Rupa Gosvami and Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, we must follow Shrila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami and offer everything to the lotus feet of guru and Bhagavan. Krsna will then be merciful to us and sprinkle us with His highest love and affection otherwise this will not be possible. We should always remember this and determine, I must follow Shrila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami.
When Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, Sri Svarupa Damodara, Sri Raya Ramananda and Sri Gadadhara Pandita disappeared from this world, Shrila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami became totally maddened in separation and wanted to give up his life by jumping in the Yamuna or from the top of Giriraja Govardhana. Why not in the ocean at Jagannatha Puri? The ocean is very deep deep enough to have drowned in but he wanted to be touched by the dust of the lotus feet of the gopis, which can be found only in Vrndavana. Giriraja Govardhana is very merciful. He assists Sri Krsna in His various pastimes; and Yamuna is Shrimati Visakha devi. They can both easily give gopi-prema.
Shrila Rupa Gosvami and Shrila Sanatana Gosvami saw that Shrila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami was totally maddened in love and affection in the mood of separation. They behaved towards him as one would to a younger brother. They told him, If we thought we could achieve krsna-prema by giving up our lives, we would have very easily done that. But that is not the way. You should engage in the proper practices for attaining gopi-prema. They gave him a place at Giriraja Govardhana, specifically at Radha-kunda and Syama-kunda, and he remained there for the rest of his life. He continually wept bitterly, and there he regularly used to write his prayers
When Shrila Sanatana Gosvami and Shrila Rupa Gosvami left this world, Dasa Gosvami became still more restless and overwhelmed. He saw Giriraja like a python and Radha-kunda and Syama-kunda like the gaping mouth of a tiger. He was upset in intense separation.
No one could have written as he did.
One of the verses of his Vilapa-kusumanjali is as follows:
sri rupa manjari kararcita pada padma
gosthendra nandana bhujarpita mastakayah
ha modatah kanaka gauri padaravinda
samvahanani sanakais tava kim karisye
"O Kanaka-gauri (golden complexioned girl)! When You are laying with Your head in Krsna's lap, and Your feet in the lap of Rupa Manjari, and when she is massaging Your feet, will Rupa Manjari, with the corners of her eyes, give me her mahaprasadam seva of gently massaging Your feet, while she is fanning You?" (Sri Vilapa-kusumanjali verse 72)
Playing together, Radha and Krsna become tired, and Shrimati Radhika lies Her head upon the lap of Krsna so that She may take some rest. He caresses Her head and wipes away the perspiration from Her face. How glorious this is. Sri Rupa Manjari is massaging Her and Rati Manjari is fanning her. Shrila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami is praying, When will I be so fortunate that Rupa Manjari will kindly bestow her mercy upon me and say, 'Come on, come on. Take some remnants.' Here remnants means the remainder of the service begun by Rupa Manjari the massage she was doing. Hearing the prayer Rupa Manjari quickly gave her remnants to Shrila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami in his transcendental gopi form. Later, when this pastime disappeared from his vision, realizing the mercy of Sri Rupa Manjari, Raghunatha dasa wept bitterly with a melted heart and wrote:
padabjayos tava vina vara dasyam eva
nanyat kadapi samaye kila devi yace
sakhyaya te mama namo stu namo stu nityam
dasyaya te mama raso stu raso stu satyam
O Devi! I am not praying for anything except that most exalted direct service to Your lotus feet! Time and again I offer pranama to Your sakhitva, a position as Your sakhi, but I swear that my unwavering devotion will always be only for Your dasitva, a positon as Your servant! (Sri Vilapa-kusumanjali verse 16)
On another occasion he wrote: If Krsna comes to me and says, 'You may have any benediction. What do you want?' I will say, 'I am not like Prahlada Maharaja. I want a benediction.' Prahlada Maharaja told Lord Nrsimhadeva, I don't want any benediction, but Raghunatha dasa Gosvami is telling Shrimati Radhika, O Radhika, I want a benediction. I don't want to be your sakhi. I offer millions of obeisances to the lotus feet of sakhis like Lalita and Visakha, but I don't want to be a sakhi like them. I want to serve you like Rupa Manjari and the other manjaris. I want to serve You. I want to be happy in Your happiness, and in Your separation mood I will weep and think how to console and assist You.
He has prayed to Krsna:
ha natha gokula sudhakara su prasanna
vaktraravinda madhura-smita he krpardra
yatra tvaya viharate pranayaih priyarat
tatraiva mam api naya priya sevanaya
[O Natha! O nectar moon of Gokula, whose lotus face is very cheerful and smiles so sweetly! O You whose heart is soft and melting, waiting to bestow mercy on all. Wherever You go to enjoy loving pastimes with Your beloved, please take me there, and allow me to render confidential, loving service to You both. (Sri Vilapa-kusumanjali verse 100)]
The meaning is as follows: I cannot tolerate this separation. O Gokulacandra, O moon of Gokula, take me very quickly to the place where Your Radhika is staying right now, and engage me in Her service otherwise I will die. Without Her service I don't want You; I don't want Vraja. I don't want anything except this. If She is in Dvaraka with You I want to fly there. I do not want to go to Dvaraka, but if Radhika is there, then I will want to go. If you are with Rukmini, Satyabhama and all Your 16,000 queens I don't want to go there. I will never go. If you request me to do so I will reject Your proposal, but if I hear that Radhika my master, my Swaminiji is there, I will very quickly fly there to serve Her.
This is his mood.
asa bharair amrta sindhu mayaih kathancit
kalo mayatigamitah kila sampratam hi
tvam cet krpam mayi vidhasyasi naiva kim me
pranair vrajena ca varoru bakarinapi
[O Varoru (a girl with beautiful thighs)! It is decidedly only with the hope of obtaining the nectarine ocean of service unto You and the vision of Your transcendental pastimes that I have been able to maintain my life thus far with severe difficulty. But if You are not merciful unto me even now, then of what use to me is this life, residence in Vraja-dhama or even Sri Krsna Himself? (Vilapa Kusumanjali verse 102)]
The meaning is this: I have been hopeful that one day I may be able to serve my Svamini Radhika; but now, if that hope is not fulfilled, I will give up my life. If I cannot have Shrimati Radhika's service, I don't want Sri Krsna, Govardhana, Radha-kunda or anything else. This is the exalted love and affection of Shrila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami the highest love.
In Sri Caitanya-caritamrta Shrila Krsnadasa Kaviraja prays,
sri rupa raghunatha pade yara asa
caitanya caritamrta kahe krsnadasa
[Praying at the lotus feet of Sri Rupa and Sri Raghunatha, always desiring their mercy, I, Krsnadasa, narrate Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, following in their footsteps.]
I am writing this Caitanya-caritamrta in order to get the mercy of Shrila Rupa Gosvami and Shrila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami. I only want to please them.
Shrila Narottama dasa Thakura has written:
rupa raghunatha pade hoibe akuti
kabe hama bujhabo se yugala piriti
[When will I eagerly follow the path of Sri Rupa Gosvami and Sri Raghunatha dasa Gosvami? By their instructions I will be able to understand the divine love or Sri Radha and Krsna. (Gauranga Bolite Habe verse 4)]
rupa raghunatha pade rahu mora asa
prarthana koroye sada narottama dasa
[My only aspiration is to attain the lotus feet of Sri Rupa Gosvami and Sri Raghunatha das Gosvami. This is Narottama dasa's constant prayer. (Gauranga Bolite Habe verse 5)]
All the pure rasika Vaisnavas of our guru-parampara want to serve the lotus feet of Shrila Rupa Gosvami and Shrila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami. But we cannot simply jump to that height. We should start from the beginning. First we will have to follow the life and teachings of Prahlada Maharaja.
Shrila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami ki jaya.
Today is also the disappearance day of the manifestation of Shrila Rupa Gosvami, that is, Shrila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura. He repeated the same teachings taught by Shrila Rupa Gosvami that the love and affection of the gopis, called upapati bhava (paramour love) is the highest stage of love of God. Without his contribution the flow of the teachings of Shrila Rupa Gosvami would have stopped. He kindly came and revived these understandings in the world.
[Looking out towards the back of the audience Shrila Narayana Maharaja added at the end of his class:] In India we have seen that only very old people sit down on chairs, but here I see something different. All the young boys seem to be eighty year old men. They can't sit on the floor. It seems they don't want to learn anything. Why are they not sitting near me, hearing and understanding? They should not imitate older persons. They should always be very energetic like Shrila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami. He traveled a one month path in twelve days without eating. He never rested. But I see that here in Western counties old persons are sitting on the ground and children are sitting on chairs.
markata-vairagya na kara loka dekhana
yatha-yogya visaya bhunja' anasakta hana
You should not make yourself a show-bottle devotee and become a false renunciate. For the time being, enjoy the material world in a befitting way and do not become attached to it. (Caitanya-caritamrta Madhya-lila 16.238)
[Shrila Prabhupada's purport:] The word markata-vairagya, indicating false renunciation, is very important in this verse. Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, in commenting on this word, points out that monkeys make an external show of renunciation by not accepting clothing and by living naked in the forest. In this way they consider themselves renunciants, but actually they are very busy enjoying sense gratification with dozens of female monkeys. Such renunciation is called markata-vairagya the renunciation of a monkey.}
Tridandisvami Shri Shrimad Bhaktivedanta Srila Narayana Maharaja
On His Vyasa-puja Day
(A Vyasa Puja Lecture)
Alachua, Florida: February 1, 2003
My heartly dandavat pranama at the lotus feet of my spiritual master, nitya-lila pravista om visnupada Shri Shrimad Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja, my entire guru-paramapara, and my siksa-guru, nitya-lila-pravista om visnupada Shri Shrimad Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja.
Today we are going to observe guru-puja, or Vyasa-puja. First of all we should know what is guru-puja and what is Vyasa puja. Both are the same. Shri Krsna Dvaipayana Vedavyasa divided the one Veda into four. Then to reconcile, because it was difficult to extract the essence of the four Vedas, he wrote Brahma-Sutra (Vedanta-sutra).
Vedavyasa explained that the essence of the meaning of the brahma-gayatri comes from omkara. Gayatri is feminine gender. Who is Gayatri? We hear that she is the wife of Brahma, but you should know what has been told in the gayatri-mantra: "bhargo devasya dhimahi".
Bharga means 'power;' that is, hladini-sakti, or mahabhava-svarupa (Radhika). The supreme reservoir of krsna-prema is Radhika. We learn that Gayatri is the wife of Brahma, but who is she actually? She is a gopi. Krsna had told Yogamaya, "Somehow, try to give this gopi to Brahma; otherwise she cannot be parakiya (My paramour beloved)." All the gopis are married to other gopas. Krsna therefore ordered Yogamaya to also arrange this for Gayatri-devi, so that her love and relationship with Krsna could be parakiya. This is why Gayatri was given to Brahma in marriage. From the beginning she had no love for Brahma; she loved only Krsna. Parakiya mood is the topmost mood, and Gayatri became the maid-servant of Radhika by that mood. We see that the essence of all the Vedic literatures is Gayatri. Gayatri is Radhika, or Her maid-servant, and that mood may come to anyone who serves this mantra.
This is a special truth. My heart told me that I should tell you this secret truth about Gayatri. This is a secret; I never told this before.
The meaning of the gayatri-mantra has been clearly revealed by Srila Vyasadeva in the first verse of Shrimad Bhagavatam. Had he not come to this world, 'everything would have been nothing.' He revealed this gayatri-mantra, as well as the catur-sloki of Shrimad-Bhagavatam and its explanation, and he especially revealed the highest love of the mahabhava of Srimati Radhika. He revealed the meaning of Shrimad-Bhagavatam, he manifested all Puranas and especially the Mahabharata, and the essence of all these scriptures is the same. Srila Vyasadeva first taught his four disciples – Jaimini,Vaisampayana, Paila, and Angira – and he especially taught his dearest one, Srila Sukadeva Gosvami. Sukadeva Gosvami was not only his son, but also his dear-most disciple. Srila Vyasadeva manifested all his knowledge in the heart of Srila Sukadeva Gosvami, who then preached it everywhere.
All acaryas, and also their disciples, in our entire guru-parampara, are so much indebted to those who are in the line of Srila Vyasadeva.
It is therefore essential, therefore, to know the meaning of Vyasa. Suppose there is a circle. If from any point of the circumference a straight line is drawn, passing through the center to the other end, this is called Vyasa (diameter). The diameter is always straight and covers all 360 degrees of the circle. It always divides the circle in half, making it 180 degrees. This is Vyasa.
This Vyasa touches everywhere in the entire world. Srila Vyasadeva revealed the Supreme Personality of Godhead, he revealed Radhika, and he revealed all other knowledge; and we are thus unlimitedly indebted to him. Our whole guru-parampara is indebted to him, and it is for this reason that the mantra of Vyasa-puja is:
naram caiva narottamam
devim sarasvatim vyasam
tato jayam udirayet
["Before reciting this Shrimad-Bhagavatam, which is the very means of conquest, one should offer respectful obeisances unto the Personality of Godhead, Narayana, unto Nara-narayana Rsi, the supermost human being, unto mother Sarasvati, the goddess of learning, and unto Srila Vyasadeva, the author."(Shrimad Bhagavatam, 1.2.4 )]
In other words, this is the mantra for worshipping Vyasa, who is the origin of Vyasa-puja. We first offer pranama to Narayana, who is Krsna Himself: "Narayanam namaskrtya." Then,"naram caiva." Some say that in this connection naram ca means Arjuna, and there is no harm in that* [see endnote1], but generally it means Nara-Narayana Rsi here. Then, "devim sarasvatim," who is Sarasvati Devi. "Vyasam, tato jayam udirayet" means 'and then to Srila Vyasadeva.' By offering pranama in this way, one can then read or explain Mahabharata, Shrimad-Bhagavatam, Vedanta-sutra, and all the Puranas. This mantra has been given in Shrimad Bhagavatam, the Puranas, Mahabharata, and elsewhere.
Today is guru-puja. A disciple can observe this day in honor of any acarya, but it is especially for those following the footsteps of Srila Vyasadeva. It is especially for those who are preaching the glories of Radha-Krsna and pure bhakti everywhere. On that guru's birthday, he performs the puja of Srila Vyasadeva, vyasa-pancaka, krsna-pancaka, panca-tattva, acarya-tattva, guru-parampara-tattva, and so on. By worship of these seven pancakas, one worships his entire guru-parampara from top to bottom. By serving and performing puja of Krsna, everything is completed – tasmin tuste jagat tusta; yet, we will have to give proper respect to all the acaryas, especially the rupanuga-acaryas.
You are saying that today is my birthday; but I do not think it is my birthday. My birthday is on Gaura Purnima, the day my Gurudeva gave me transcendental birth. Still you tell me, and the people of this world think so also, that my birthday is today. We observe Vyasa-puja on this worldly birthday [this is Srila Gurudeva's humility, because the appearance day, or birth day of the bona fide acarya, Shri Krsna's associate, is fully transcendental] but our real birth is that transcendental birth, which has been given by our guru – our father – and our mother is actually mantra. You should think like this.
On his own birthday, a guru, acarya, or disciple offers puja – to please his Gurudeva.
silanam bhaktir uttama
["The cultivation of activities which are meant exclusively for the pleasure of Shri Krsna, or in other words the uninterrupted flow of service to Shri Krsna, performed through all endeavors of the body, mind and speech, and through the expression of various spiritual sentiments (bhavas), which is not covered by jnana and karma, and which is devoid of all desires other than the aspiration to bring happiness to Shri Krsna is called uttama-bhakti, pre devotional service." (Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu 1.1.11)]
What is the meaning of krsna-anukula? Who is the Krsna referred to here? He is asraya-vigraha. He is Krsna, but asraya Krsna. In other words, he is Shri Gurudeva. Through him we can gradually reach the lotus feet of Krsna, Hari, as visaya Krsna. This is the proper channel through which to worship Radha and Krsna or Shri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. If one can please his Gurudeva, not only externally but internally as well, then Vyasa-puja is truly observed. We should try to realize the internal ways in which Gurudeva pleases his Gurudeva.
yasya deve para bhaktir
yatha deve tatha gurau
tasyaite kathita hy arthah
["Only unto those great souls who have implicit faith in both the Lord and the spiritual master are all the imports of Vedic knowledge automatically revealed." (Svetasvatara Upanisad 6.23)]
Apply this sloka (anyabhilasita-sunyam), totally and fully, at the lotus feet of your Gurudeva. I now realize something of the glories of my Gurudeva, and I cannot express the feelings of my heart towards him. He was a great ocean of mercy. He took me from the well of stool, and he wanted to place me in the ocean of rasa – into Shri Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu and Shri Ujjvala nilamani. By his special mercy I touched something of the glory of their truths regarding prema, sneha, maan, pranaya, raga, anuraga, bhava, and mahabhava up to madanakhya. I have understood something, but whose glory is this? I was not a learned person, and I was very insignificant. I know that I had no qualification at all; I was fully ignorant. However, by touching Gurudeva's lotus feet and by hearing his hari-katha, I received from him all the various kinds of knowledge that I am giving to the world. I am not giving it; they are inspiring me, and it is by their mercy that I am doing something.
When I remember this, I become overwhelmed. How glorious is his mercy! If one does not touch the real glory of his Gurudeva and serve him totally, how can he please him?
A true disciple knows that his bona fide gurudeva is like Krsna, as it is written in all sastras. Srila Suta Gosvami has said:
yam pravrajantam anupetam apeta-krtyam
dvaipayano viraha-katara ajuhava
putreti tan-mayataya taravo 'bhinedus
tam sarva-bhuta-hrdayam munim anato 'smi
["Srila Suta Gosvami said: 'Let me offer my respectful obeisances unto that great sage who can enter the hearts of all. When he went away to take up the renounced order of life , leaving home without undergoing reformation by the sacred thread or the ceremonies observed by the higher castes, his father, Vyasadeva, fearing separation from him, cried out, "O my son!" Indeed, only the trees, which were absorbed in the same feelings of separation, echoed in response to the begrieved father.'" (Shrimad-Bhagavatam 1.2.2)]
Gurudeva is sarva-bhuta-sthitam (situated in everyone's heart), like Krsna. Krsna is everywhere, and similarly you can never hide anything from your Gurudeva. You want to hide so many things, like your lust and worldly desires, but Gurudeva knows even more than Krsna, because he is so near to Krsna. You cannot cheat him. If you try to cheat him you will be cheating yourself – so do not try to do so. Reveal your heart to the lotus feet of your Gurudeva. Then you can know how to please him.
Parama-pujyapada Srila Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja knew and followed the order of his Gurudeva, and he preached that mission throughout the world. He has gone everywhere in the world – in jungles, in the midst of oceans, on the top of mountains, and in dangerous places like the middle of swamps (Alachua, Florida).
I went to many paces, like Saranagati and Gita Nagari, and everywhere I saw his glory. I think also that this was the glory of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Prabhupada and Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura. If they had not ordered and inspired him, and if my gurudeva had not given him sannyasa, from where would these qualities have come?* [see endnote 2] Some want to establish him as the adi-guru and last Guru, thinking that before him there were no bona fide Gurus and after him there will be no bona fide Gurus. This is a bogus idea, and an offense in his lotus feet. Srila Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja never said or wrote this. He showed great honor for our guru-parampara, and especially to the rupanuga-acaryas in our line. He has not done anything independently. He has written the translation of Shri Caitanya-Caritamrta and Shrimad-Bhagavatam, and he has glorified Krsna. He has done nothing new; he has given the same wine in a new bottle, just as all our previous acaryas have done. The first wine was given by Srila Vyasadeva; this credit goes to him. He is Narayana; otherwise he could not have done this.
On this day, a disciple or acarya bows down at the lotus feet of Shri Gurudeva, from where he has obtained all kinds of knowledge. You should especially know that tattva-jnana, knowledge of established philosophical truths, is not sufficient. From where will the mood to weep, as the gopis used to weep, come? Srimati Radhika is always weeping, intoxicated in krsna-prema. Krsna laments and suffers for Her, but He does not become so maddened. There are many manifestations of Radha dancing with Krsna, but for Radhika there is only one Krsna. Vyasadeva is himself Narayana, and he has revealed all this.
Perform guru-parampara puja, beginning from your gurudeva, then to the rupanuga guru-varga, and so on. 1) guru-pancaka (Shri Guru, Parama-guru, Paramesthi-guru, Paratpara-guru, Paramaparatpara-guru); 2) acarya-pancaka (Shri Sukadeva, Ramanuja, Madhva, Visnusvami, Nimbaditya); 3) vyasa-pancaka (Shri Vedavyasa, Paila, Vaisampayana, Jaimini, Sumanta); 4) sanakadi-pancaka (Shri Sanaka, Sanatkumara, Sanatana, Sanandana, Visvaksena); 5) krsna-pancaka (Shri Krsna, Vasudeva, Sankarsana, Pradyumna, Aniruddha); 6) upasya-pancaka (Shri Radhika, Krsna, Gaura, Gadadhara, Shri Gurudeva); and 7) panca-tattva (Shri Krsna Caitanya, Nityananda, Advaita Acarya, Gadadhara, Srivasa).
So I want to perform my guru-puja, or Vyasa-puja. We have not learned that we should collect abundant puspanjali from our disciples. A Guru's first duty is to worship his Gurudeva and guru-parampara, as well as the seven pancakas. You should know this and try to follow it. It is not that the guru makes a big "Vyasa-puja" book, glorifying himself, and takes all the money and presentations for himself. This is an offense.
Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura used to say that he would first offer anything given to him unto the lotus feet of his Gurudeva, Srila Gaura Kisora Das Babaji Maharaja. When thousands of disciples used to present offerings at his lotus feet, at the end of the presentation he would say, "I am taking it all and offering at the lotus feet of my Gurudeva. This is not my property."
It is essential to know all these truths. We are not going to follow new, modern devotees of here and there. We want to follow the line of Srila Prabhupada Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Thakura and others in our guru-parampara, like Parama-pujyapada Srila Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja. I want to follow in their footsteps. I want to first do guru-puja, then guru-parampara puja, and then to the others. If you want to make some offerings, I will take it and give to the lotus feet of my Gurudeva.
I am offering whatever you have all offered to me unto the lotus feet of my guru-padapadma and guru-parampara – beginning from Brahma and coming down to Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja – and to the devotees of Shri Caitanya Mahaprabhu who will appear in the future. I am doing pranama to all of them:
hoiyachena hoibena prabhura jata dasa
sabara carana vandon dante kori ghasa
["Holding a straw between my teeth, I submit myself at the feet of all the servants of Mahaprabhu that were or will be." (Shri Vaisnava-Vandana verse 6)]
I request one thing of you. Try to sincerely fulfill the desire of your Gurudeva. You will see that if you are sincere, all the Vedas, and all krsna-tattva, maya-tattva, guru-tattva, radha-tattva, and all other tattvas will enter your heart and you will be pure devotees.
I am now offering all you have offered me – all your sraddha, honor, love and affection – unto the lotus feet of my Gurudeva and guru-parampara.
First, our guru-parampara kirtana should be performed: "Krsna haite catur mukha."
[*Endnote 1– It is stated in Shrimad Bhagavatam (4.1.59): "That Nara-Narayana Rsi, who is a partial expansion of Krsna, has now appeared in the dynasties of Yadu and Kuru, in the forms of Krsna and Arjuna respectively, to mitigate the burden of the world."]
[*Endnote 2 – Of course, Srila Prabhupada's perfection is eternal. This is merely a reference to his naravat-lila, human-like pastimes, in which he is setting example for us conditioned souls. Srila Narayana Maharaja says the same thing about Shri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, regarding His naravat-lila; that if He had not received harinama and gopala-mantra from His gurudeva, Shri Isvara-puripada, He would not have been able to accomplish His mission.]
Tridandisvami Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja
September 1, 2009
[This year, 2016, Srila Jiva Gosvami's DISappearance day is December 31 in West, and January 1st in India. Below is a lecture Srila Gurudeva gave in the 1990s and also a Movie from Perth 1998. ]
Srila Jiva Gosvami's father, Anupama, was the brother of Srila Rupa Gosvami and Srila Sanatana Gosvami. His exalted father and uncles were employed by the Muslim ruler, Srila Sanatana Gosvami as prime minister, Srila Rupa Gosvami as the private secretary, and Sri Anupama as treasurer. All three of them met Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu when He came to Ramakeli, where they lived.
As the only son of the three brothers, Jiva received abundant affection. Srila Rupa Gosvami was always especially affectionate towards him and treated him as if he were his own son. When Jiva was still very young, Srila Rupa Gosvami took him to Mahaprabhu, who blessed him by placing His hand on his head.
During childhood, Jiva studied and soon learned all logic, Sanskrit grammar, and theistic philosophy from the books in his father's home. Before Srila Rupa Gosvami and Anupama left household life to retire in Vrndavana, they divided all the family's wealth and property, allocating sufficient funds for Jiva to continue his studies. All three brothers realized that he was the only son in their dynasty, so they nurtured him with great affection and ensured he had whatever material facility he required.
Jiva had a very soft nature, and as he grew up, he gradually began worshipping Deities of Sri Sri Radha-Krsna. Making garlands for Them and offering puja to Them, he would become immersed in meditation, preferring these activities to playing with other children. When he was about fourteen years old, he went to Navadvipa. By then, Mahaprabhu had returned to the spiritual world and all the devotees of Navadvipa had left and gone elsewhere. Because Navadvipa now brought them all great sadness, Srivasa Pandita, Advaita Acarya, and everyone else had left, and Navadvipa was deserted.
A few days before Jiva's arrival, Sri Nityananda Prabhu had arrived at Srivasangana from Khardaha. When Srila Jiva Gosvami arrived, Nityananda Prabhu was very pleased to meet him. Nityananda prabhu placed His feet on Jiva's head and said, "I came here just to meet with you, otherwise I would have stayed in Khardaha." He showed Jiva all the places of Mahaprabhu's pastimes in Navadvipa, and then showed him great mercy by ordering him to go stay with Srila Rupa Gosvami and Srila Sanatana Gosvami in Vrndavana.
On the way to Vrndavana, Jiva stopped in Varanasi, where he met a disciple of Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya named Madhusudana Vacaspati who was teaching Vedanta, but not the commentary of Sankaracarya, which was famous at that time. Mahaprabhu had refuted that commentary when Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya tried to teach it to Him. Madhusudana Vacaspati was a great scholar and, having studied and understood everything which Mahaprabhu had taught to Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya and Srila Rupa and Sanatana Gosvamis, was teaching it there. Jiva Gosvami went to his home and learned all bhakti-vedanta from him. He also learned Sankaracarya's commentary, because without learning it, he would have been unable to refute it. After studying all of this and fully understanding it, he proceeded to Vrndavana. There in Vrndavana, Sanatana Gosvami placed him in the care of Rupa Gosvami, and he stayed near Rupa Gosvami's hut at the Radha-Damodara temple.
Rupa Gosvami would read everything he was writing to Jiva Gosvami. One day while they were in the midst of reading together, an effulgent, elderly brahmana arrived there. This was most likely, judging from his age and his scholarship, Sri Vallabhacarya, who knew Rupa Gosvami from the time Mahaprabhu was in Prayaga. He was approximately the same age as Sri Advaita Acarya, so Rupa Gosvami would have been the appropriate age to have been his son. He asked, "Rupa, what are you writing these days?"
Hesitating a little, Srila Rupa Gosvami replied, "I am writing a book entitled Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu." Vallabhacarya then picked up the book and, turning the pages, said, "Very good, I will look through it and correct any errors."
At that time Jiva Gosvami was fanning Rupa Gosvami with a leaf from the tala tree, but when he heard Vallabhacarya say this, he felt disturbed; according to him, his Gurudeva was being criticized. Later when he went to the river to fetch water, he met Vallabhacarya, who was just finishing his midday bath. Jiva Gosvami said, "Gosai, you said before that you would proofread the Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu which Rupa Gosvami is writing. If you have found any errors, precisely where are they?"
Vallabhacarya replied, "How can you understand, child? Have you studied Sanskrit grammar?"
"Yes, a little."
"Then what could you possibly understand?"
"Still, please just show me any errors you have detected." When Vallabhacarya showed him an apparent error, a fierce debate commenced between them. Eventually Jiva Gosvami established the point so convincingly that Vallabhacarya could neither refute it nor give any answer.
When Vallabhacarya returned to the Rupa Gosvami's hut, he asked, "Who was that boy who was fanning you? He is very intelligent and extremely learned in the scriptures."
Very humbly and with folded hands Rupa Gosvami replied, "He is the son of my younger brother and is also my disciple. He does not know how to behave."
"No, he is a genius, and in the future he will be very famous."
Soon afterwards, Vallabhacarya left. When Jiva Gosvami arrived with the water, Srila Rupa Gosvami said to him, "You are so intolerant that you quarrel with an elderly, scholarly brahmana who kindly proofread something for my own good? Your behavior is unacceptable; leave now."
Being obliged to obey his guru, Jiva Gosvami left Vrndavana. He went to the village of Bhayagaon to live in a cave infested with crocodiles. There, for some days, he remained in the cave doing bhajana and crying, feeling bereft of his guru's affection. He stopped eating and taking water, and within a short time he became emaciated. After some time, Sanatana Gosvami happened to visit that village as he was wandering around Vraja. The local people said to him, "Baba, we always considered you to be a great bhajananandi (one who is absorbed in bhajana), but a young boy who is even more of a bhajananandi than you has come to our village. Day and night he calls out the names of Radha-Krsna and weeps. We take him food but he refuses it, and he never sleeps either. Day and night he remains immersed in bhajana; we have never seen anything like it."
Srila Sanatana Gosvami could understand that this was Jiva, and immediately went to him. Reunited, they both wept. Sanatana Gosvami then took him back to Vrndavana, where he said to Rupa Gosvami, "The duty of Vaisnavas is to be compassionate to others, yet you renounced this young disciple of yours who is adorned with so many extraordinary qualities. You should be merciful to Jiva, but instead you banished him. This was a mistake and you should correct it. I am ordering you to quickly call him back."
Hearing this, Rupa Gosvami began crying for Jiva, whom he loved so much. When Sanatana Gosvami brought Jiva there and placed him in the lap of Rupa Gosvami, both guru and disciple wept. Rupa Gosvami arranged for Jiva to be treated by the best doctors from Mathura, and gradually Jiva became strong again. From then on, their former practice resumed with Rupa Gosvami giving whatever he wrote to Jiva to proofread.
Later, Srila Jiva Gosvami expanded upon and enhanced the writing of other acaryas. One such acarya, Srila Gopala Bhatta Gosvami, had heard hari-katha directly from Srila Rupa and Sanatana Gosvamis, who he considered to be his siksa-gurus. While studying the writings of ancient Vaisnava acaryas such as Madhva and Ramanuja, Gopala Bhatta Gosvami selected different points in relation to sambandha (establishing one's relationship with Krsna), abhidheya (acting in the dealings of that relationship), and prayojana (achieving life's ultimate goal), and compiled everything in a notebook.
Srila Jiva Gosvami learned all of this tattva from Gopala Bhatta Gosvami. Then, he took the volume which contained all the information on sambandha and enlarged it. He also took from the conceptions given in Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu, Ujjvala-nilamani, Brhad-bhagavatamrta, and the other books composed by Rupa and Sanatana Gosvamis, and composed the first sandarbha.
The word sandarbha means ‘a chest of valuable jewels.' Of the Six Sandarbhas, the first four – Tattva-sandarbha, Bhagavat-sandarbha, Paramatma-sandarbha, and Krsna-sandarbha – all expound sambandha-jnana. They include knowledge of the jiva, the illusory energy, and the objective of the jiva; all of this was explained in the first four sandarbhas.
In the Tattva-sandarbha, the conception of pramana (the body of evidence) and prameya (evidence) is given. What is the meaning of pramana? In any issue, whose words will we accept as authoritative? Suppose a young boy reports that a large fire has ravaged a holy place and everything has been burned. An elderly gentleman, however, reports that a small fire started in a tea shop there, but was easily contained. From these conflicting stories, whose words will we accept as authoritative? Certainly, the man's words are more authoritative because he is older and more mature than the boy.
This conception of pramana relates to many things. Different people may assert their beliefs that this world is real, their status as human beings or brahmanas is real, or that they are masters of their property. All this false identification and proprietorship causes so much fighting and quarreling. Another man will say, "These things are all temporary, so do not bother fighting over them. Instead, do something for your soul and for the Supreme Personality of Godhead; they are permanent." Which of these two opinions will we accept? Analyzing the relationships between the Supreme Lord, the jiva, and material existence, Srila Jiva Gosvami explained where we should place our faith. He wrote that the Vedas are the sole authority, and that any other, so-called authority lacks credibility. That which we perceive with our limited senses and mind may be defective, but the words of the Vedas cannot be so.
In his Bhagavat-sandarbha, Srila Jiva Gosvami writes that everything we see has the same source. The Absolute Truth is one, and He is naturally endowed with inconceivable potency. By the power of this potency, He exists within four forms: svarupa (His original form), tad-rupa-vaibhava (all incarnations, beginning with Baladeva Prabhu), jiva (the living entity), and pradhana (the illusory energy). He is like the sun which also exists in four forms: its original form, the sun disc, its rays, and its reflected light which is compared to maya.
Jiva Gosvami took parts from the book Brahma-sandarbha and wrote his own Bhagavat-sandarbha, in which he analyzes brahma-tattva (the established truth about the Supreme Spirit Whole) and refutes the opinions of Sankaracarya. The jiva is not brahma (an impersonal God). If brahma is the Absolute Truth, which is full in knowledge as some say, then how did it separate into billions of living entities and become bound within material existence? Sankaracarya states that it was covered over by maya, but then where did this separate entity he calls maya come from? If there is no separate entity known as maya and all is the one brahma, where could this other object known as ignorance have come from? Refuting all of Sankaracarya's concepts, Srila Jiva Gosvami proved that Krsna is Parabrahma, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the source of brahma.
He also analyzed paramatma-tattva, and in the Krsna-sandarbha he explained how Krsna alone is the original Personality of Godhead. He explained how Krsna is all-powerful (sarva-saktiman), how He is an ocean of rasa, how from Him the jivas and all else emanate, and how the jivas can achieve His eternal association. He refuted the concept that Krsna is an incarnation of Narayana. Using evidence from the Vedas, Upanisads, and Puranas, he established that Krsna is the original Absolute Truth, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and that all other incarnations are His plenary or partial expansions. On the basis of scriptural evidence, he reinforced Mahaprabhu's conception, which had been established in the literatures of Rupa Gosvami and Sanatana Gosvami. In doing so, he established our sampradaya upon a firm philosophical foundation. He protected the flowing river of rasa by placing large rocks of siddhanta on both its banks; in that way no contaminated water of misconceptions could ever enter it.
In his Bhakti-sandarbha, he explained many subtle aspects of bhakti. He delineated the sixty-four types of bhakti, and he expertly explained guru-tattva. He also described guru-padasraya, the process of taking exclusive shelter of the guru, how it should be done, what are its rules and regulations, and so on. If the guru carefully evaluates the prospective disciple and the disciple carefully considers the guru, then a circumstance will never arise where the disciple will have to abandon his guru. He taught that one should not accept a guru whimsically; one should accept a guru in whom he will never lose faith, otherwise there will be a problem. One should make sure that he only accepts a sad-guru, who is detached from sense enjoyment, who is conversant with all tattva and siddhanta, who is rasika, who is spiritually realized, and who is affectionate towards him. One should examine the guru carefully, even if this process takes as long as a year.
Srila Jiva Gosvami also explained that all bhakti is not the same, just as all varieties of water are not one and the same – there is clean water, purified water, contaminated water, sewage water, and so forth. Jiva Gosvami examined all these issues in depth in his sandarbhas, which one must read in order to understand the true nature of bhakti. Thus, by regularly hearing the knowledge delineated in these books and by associating with advanced Vaisnavas, one's bhakti will gradually become uttama-bhakti. Srila Jiva Gosvami described at length the five types of prema (santa (neutrality), dasya (servitorship), sakhya (friendship), vatsalya (parental love), and madhurya (amorous love)), especially emphasizing gopi-prema and explaining the sadhana for achieving it.
Much of this came in his Gopala-campu, which is a very philosophical book. Srila Jiva Gosvami wrote that book in Goloka Vrndavana and then gave it to this world. He composed so many literatures that we could spend this entire birth immersed in reading them. Moreover, in practicing the sadhana prescribed by them, who knows how many lives we could spend? If we endeavor to enter into these books, and if we examine both the personal conduct and conceptions of Jiva Gosvami and try to personally follow them, our spiritual lives will certainly be successful. May Srila Jiva Gosvami be merciful upon us so we can learn all the instructions he gave, in order to perform bhajana purely.