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Sri Ramanujacarya's Appearance Day

blog-0235365001422484993.jpgSri Ramanujacarya

Mathura, India: April 9, 2000

Tridandisvami Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja

[January 29, 2015 is the divine disappearance day of Sri Ramanujacarya. Kindly accept this lecture, given by Srila Narayana Maharaja a few years ago, as the information is eternal.]

Today is the avirbhava, birthday, of Sri 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 Sri Ramanujacarya.

Sri Ramanujacarya is an incarnation of Laksmana (Lord Rama's youn ger brother), and he accepted the Sri 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

Sri 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 Sri Yamunacarya, and he eventually became Sri 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 Sri 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, without informing Ramanuja, he and his wife left that place and went to Sri Rangam.

When Sri 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."

The Trick

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 late."

Accepting Sannyasa

After his wife left with that brahmana, Ramanuja locked the door of his house and went to Sri Rangam to meet his Gurudeva, Sri Yamunacarya. He wanted to take sannyasa from him, but when he reached Sri Rangam, he found that Sri 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 Sri 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 Sri 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, Sri Ramanujacarya observed, along with all present, that three of Yamunacarya's fingers had now opened. Then and there, Sri Ramanujacarya formally accepted tridandi sannyasa from Sri Yamunacarya.

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.

Sri Ramanujacarya had now formally taken initiation from Sri Yamunacarya. Afterwards, all the disciples of Sri 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 Sri 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 Sri Rangam. Sri 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 Sri Yamunacarya since he had not gotten the opportunity to spend much time with him. After serving and satisfying them, Sri Ramanujacarya commenced his role as acarya of the Sri Sampradaya in Sri Rangam

Sampradaya in Sri Rangam

We should carefully follow Sri 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 Sri Ramanujacarya officially became the acarya, he began preaching the cult of Sri 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. Sri Ramanujacarya refuted and defeated all impersonalism by his very strong and effective preaching.


pancatattva3.jpgTridandisvami Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja
An Excerpt of His Glories
Badger, Jun 1st, 2002

[March 9 and 10, 2018  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. ]

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
aviklava-matir bhutva
harim eva dhiya smaret

(Padma Purana)

"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.


pancatattva2.jpgTridandisvami Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja
July 8, 1999
Turnbridge, England

First of all, I want to give my heartly blessings to Gopi-vallabha prabhu, Citra, Visakha, Madana-mohana prabhu, and all those who are making this very beautiful arrangement for hari-katha – with a very big pandal and facilities for all the devotees.

There may be some lacking here, but I think that you do not care about that. We have not come here for facilities. We have come to hear hari-katha; the pastimes of Krsna, Caitanya Mahaprabhu, and Their associates. There may be some lacking, as there is in our Navadvipa parikrama, where more than 20,000 pilgrims gather, and where you can see only an ocean of heads. There may be so many things lacking there; so many pilgrims being hosted under trees; even without trees, here and there, with no attached bathrooms but only 'international bathrooms'. But you can take bath in the sweet Ganges there.

Thousands upon thousands of pilgrims go to take bath in the Ganges, and they never complain about anything – even regarding whether or not they had taken any prasadam. Sometimes there was even no prasadam, although usually there was plenty. Sometimes there was only kitchari, which is very beautiful and tasteful, and sometimes even sweet rice; otherwise all were satisfied with the kitchari.

So, here also there may be some lacking in the management, but we are managing only so that devotees may hear some hari-katha. We have not come for recreation on the shore of an ocean, or for holidays. We have come only to hear. Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja has brought me here so that you can become stronger and stronger in Krsna Consciousness.

Today is a very sacred day. It is the disappearance day of Srivasa Pandita. In this world a person's disappearance day is considered somewhat of a bad thing, so why do I call this a sacred day? If anyone dies in this world, there is suffering and lamentation; a feeling of separation. We are also feeling separation today, but actually, today is the day that Srivasa Pandita joined the maha-rasa of Krsna, or he went from this world to Vaikuntha to eternally serve his holy master there. He is so happy today.

Where did he go? Did he go to Vaikuntha, or to Ayodhya, or to Dvaraka, or to Goloka Vrndavana? Where did he go?

Sripad Asrama Maharaja: He went to Svetadvipa in the form of Srivasa Thakura, and because he's also Narada Muni, he also went to Vaikuntha.

Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja: Where did he go?

Sripad Madhava Maharaja: He's always in Svetadvipa serving Mahaprabhu, and always in Vaikuntha in the form of Narada Muni. In the form of Madhu-mangala he is serving as the cowherd friend of Krsna and joking with Him in Goloka Vrndavana. Where ever Krsna's pastimes and Mahaprabhu's pastimes are going on, in this planet and so many other planets, Narada is also there.

Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja: Narada Rsi has so many forms. As his worshipful Deity, Krsna, has so many forms everywhere, with so many manifestations, and Narada Rsi does as well. He is everywhere: in this world, in Vaikuntha, in Dvaraka, in Svetadvipa – everywhere. In the form of Madhumangala he is serving Krsna in sakhya-rasa, and he may serve Srimati Radhika as Naradi-sakhi. Srivasa Pandit is the same as Narada. As Srivasa Pandita, Narada Rsi serves Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu

Srivasa Pandita's wife is Malini-devi, who used to serve Nityananda Prabhu like a very little baby. Sometimes Nityananda Prabhu, quite naked, would sit on the lap of Malini-devi and drink her breast milk. At that time he was about twenty five or thirty years of age, but in relation to Malini-devi he always thought of Himself as Baladeva as a little baby. Once, when Malini-devi was weeping, Nityananda Prabhu came to her and asked, "Mother, why are you weeping?" She replied, "I had a silver cup full of ghee . A crow came and took it, and flew away." Nityananda Prabhu called out, "O crow, come on, come on. Return that silver cup." After a short time, that crow returned the cup.

Mahaprabhu once told Srivasa Pandita, "Tomorrow is Vyasa-puja. I know you are poor, but Vyasa-puja will be at your home, so try to make all the arrangements for Vyasa-puja. Srivasa replied, "No problem; by Your mercy, everything is available at my house. All the necessary items such as cloth, rose water, fragrant flowers, sacred thread (upanayana), ghee, betel nuts, and pan leaves are there in my house. I also have the book that describes how to do Vyasa-puja. With great fortune, I will celebrate Vyasa-puja tomorrow."

What is the importance of Vyasa-puja? It is the backbone of all devotees. It is the birthday of Srila Vyasadeva, of whom all gurus are manifestations. All knowledge comes from Vyasadeva – all transcendental knowledge. There was still something lacking after he wrote most of the Vedas, but Narada completed that by inspiring him to write Srimad Bhagavatam.

Vyasadeva divided the Vedas, manifested the Upanisads and so many Puranas, and even the Mahabharata, in which Krsna told Bhagavad-gita (Gitopanisad). He manifested all kinds of required knowledge, but still, he was not happy. His spiritual master, Narada, came and told him what was still lacking in his literary works. Vyasa had not told very clearly that Krsna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He had not clearly written that Krsna was controlled by the gopis. He had not written that Mother Yasoda tied Krsna to a grinding mortar, although He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. One day she refused to take baby Krsna in her lap, saying "Oh, You are a naughty boy; always stealing butter and yogurt from the neighboring gopis." Hearing this, Krsna cried bitterly, rolling on the earth.

Vyasadeva had not written that Krsna used to perform the rasa dance with all the gopis, and that He was especially controlled by Srimati Radhika. Krsna had personally declared, "I cannot repay the gopis, and especially Radhika."

na paraye 'ham niravadya-samyujam
sva-sadhu-krtyam vibudhayusapi vah
ya mabhajan durjaya-geha-srnkhalah
samvrscya tad vah pratiyatu sadhuna

(Srimad-Bhagavatam 10.32.22)

["I am not able to repay My debt for your spotless service, even within a lifetime of Brahma. Your connection with Me is beyond reproach. You have worshiped Me, cutting off all domestic ties, which are difficult to break. Therefore, please let your own glorious deeds be your compensation."]

Vyasadeva had not written about the pastimes Krsna performed in Vrndavana in places like Radha-Kunda. Narada told him that this is what was lacking, and that was why he was not happy. Following Narada's instructions, Vyasadeva then meditated in trance and took shelter of bhakti.

What is the meaning of bhakti? It means total surrender to gurudeva. We usually surrender to gurudeva only by words, not by action, not by pure heart, and therefore we may change our views about him. Sometimes we may even change gurus, just like a man divorces a lady – and you may do so twenty times. Sukadeva Gosvami never changed his guru, Rupa Gosvami never changed, and Raghunatha dasa Gosvami never changed. Every guru in our disciplic line is always in this line of Vyasa.

Vyasa followed his gurudeva, and thus he saw all the pastimes of Krsna from boyhood to the end in Dvaraka in his trance. His teachings were completed by this. So, the meaning of Vyasa-puja is to follow gurudeva as Vyasadeva followed his gurudeva, Narada.

But guru must be like Narada, not like a kali-yuga guru, a fallen guru who has no knowledge or realization of all the teachings of the sastras (Vedic scriptures). A guru must be like Vyasa – expert in all sastras. Such a guru can remove all the doubts of his disciples. If one cannot remove his own doubts, how can he remove others' doubts? If a guru says, "I can remove all your problems, but you should help by getting some money for me," he is not really guru. If he is dependent on his disciples, he is not guru. A real guru will clear all your doubts. He will keep Krsna in your hearts forever.

Diksa means: 'di' = divya-jnanam; transcendental knowledge will manifest in your heart, and then, 'ksa'= all kinds of problems, sufferings, and sorrows will disappear at once, just as all darkness disappears on the arrival of the sun. The service of such a guru is the backbone of a disciple.

So, Mahaprabhu ordered Srivasa Thakura, "You should observe Vyasa-puja here." Srivasa Thakura replied, "Though I am poor, by Your mercy everything is in my house, and tomorrow we will do it." The next morning all assembled there; only Caitanya Mahaprabhu was not there. Nityananda Prabhu was there, and he was also waiting for Mahaprabhu. When Mahaprabhu finally arrived, Srivasa Pandita complained against Nityananda, "I requested Sripada (Nityananda Prabhu) to perform Vyasa Puja." The lotus feet of Krsna are called 'sripada.' "I said, 'Sripada, please begin Vyasa-puja.' But He simply made the sounds: "Hmmm...ummm...haaah...hmmm," like a crazy person. Mahaprabhu then requested, "Sripada, why are you not beginning the Vyasa-puja? You should do it." Nityananda became happy. He stood up, took a garland, and placed it around the neck of Mahaprabhu.

Srivasa Pandit had been requesting Nityananda to put the garland on the neck of Vyasadeva, who was represented by a picture, as Srila Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja's picture is here. He was also represented by a kalasa (pot) that held within it a coconut and mango leaves, and that had painted on it a sacred svastika. In order to invoke the presence of Srila Vyasadeva, during the arcana process wherein he would be worshipped, mantras would be uttered before it, like "Svagatam, svagatam, svagatam (Welcome, welcome)."

Srivasa Pandita had been telling Nityananda, "Give this garland to Vyasadeva," but Nityananda Prabhu was only mumbling, "Hooo...haaa," waiting for Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Nityananda Prabhu wanted to show that Krsna Himself is jagad-guru. Although He is the real guru, husband, beloved and son of all, every soul has their specific individual relationship with Him. He placed the garland on the neck of Mahaprabhu, everyone present became so happy, and kirtana began.

Vyasa-puja means to take an account of how much of our heart we have given to our gurudeva, and to measure our bhakti, to see whether we are advancing in bhakti, or reducing. As businessmen check daily or weekly their gains and losses by reviewing their activities and their results, Vyasa-puja is the day disciples make 'cashbook and ledger.' Are you in gain, or in loss? If you are not taking this gain/loss account on the day of Vyasa-puja, it means you have no respect for your gurudeva, you have no belief in him, no belief in Krsna, and no bhakti. You are a 'show-bottle' devotee.

This Vyasa-puja ceremony was performed in Srivasa Pandita's house. Do you know how strong a devotee he was? He had four brothers, and throughout the whole day and night he would meet with them for kirtana. They would continually chant with their big karatalas, "Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare."

Some of the neighbors complained about Srivasa to the Muslim Kazi. They told him "He thinks he is better than Muslims because he is a Hindu. He is a culprit. If he and the other Hindus have to sing so loudly, it must mean that their God is blind and deaf; He cannot hear well. They spend their entire nights creating disturbances. We cannot sleep. What should we do?"

The Kazi ordered, "Take his house and throw it in the Ganges! Then the other Hindus will be afraid to carry on with their disturbances." He then went with his guards to Srivasa Pandita's house, where he broke the mrdanga, and that place thus became known as Khola-bhanga-danga, the place where the Kazi broke the mrdanga drum. He also threatened the devotees, "In the future, you cannot chant, 'Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna.' You can chant 'Khuda,' 'God,' or 'Allah,' but not so loudly. Don't make so much noise. Don't disturb anyone."

But what happened? One of those guards came to the Kazi, the Muslim governor, only chanting "Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna," as though he had become mad. He wanted to speak something, but nothing was coming out except, "Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna." The Kazi asked, "What happened?" The guard replied, "Oh, Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna." The Kazi asked again, "What happened? Tell me." He replied, "Oh, Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna. Just see how my beard has been burned." The Kazi asked, "Who burned it?" The guard answered, "I don't know who burned it, but it is burned, and now I can't say anything other than 'Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna.'" This strange thing happened repeatedly there.

Caitanya Mahaprabhu soon heard about the Kazi's breaking the mrdanga, and told His associates, "In the evening, burn torch-lights in every home. I shall give protection to everyone. Let us see what kind of Kazi comes to stop our kirtana." He called all His associates for sankirtana, after which hundreds of thousands of devotees came there. All had torches: sticks of wood, with the end wrapped in cloth dipped in kerosene oil and set ablaze.

They all accompanied Caitanya Mahaprabhu to the Kazi's palace, at which time the Kazi thought, "Oh, a rebellion! A revolution! So many are coming like dacoits; and it may be that they will kill me." Seeing this, the Kazi entered his house and locked the door.

When Caitanya Mahaprabhu arrived, He said, "Oh, where is that Kazi?" The devotees totally uprooted the Kazi's garden. Murari dasa was laughing like Hanuman, and jumping here and there with a desire to burn down the Kazi's house. But Mahaprabhu stopped him and said, "The Kazi is like my maternal uncle," and called out, "O Kazi, please come. You are my uncle." [In Krsna's pastimes, the Kazi is Krsna's maternal uncle]

The Kazi came and opened the door, honored Caitanya Mahaprabhu, and they went inside for discussion. Mahaprabhu asked him, "Why do you kill cows? All Hindus consider the cow to be like a mother, because she gives milk to all. She does not discriminate whether one is Hindu, Muslim, or Christian. Hindus consider the cow as their mother and the bull as a father, but you kill them and eat their flesh. Why? Can you show me where in the Koran it has been written that you should do so?" The Kazi replied, "I cannot show you; it has not been written that we should slaughter cows. We should respect them."

Those whose breast-milk you drink are like mothers, and they should be treated as such. But, people all over the world take the flesh of these animals along with drinking their milk. I see here and here and there, especially in America, that those who slaughter cows have now become cows for slaughter. I once saw thousands of cows ready to be slaughtered. At first I became so unhappy, but at the next moment I considered, "Oh, they were previously humans who ate cows. And now, as a result of their actions, they have become cows." So, you should not consume meat, eggs, or wine, etc. Otherwise those animals will surely take revenge – and if they are not taking revenge, then Krsna will make you suffer. All living entities are eternal servants of God. We all belong to His family – brothers, sisters, mothers, an sons – so we should not eat flesh.

Thus, the Kazi told Caitanya Mahaprabhu, "After I went to the Hindu's house, broke the drum, and forbade the performance of congregational chanting, in my dreams that very night I saw a greatly fearful lion, like Nrsimhadeva, roaring loudly, His body was like a human being's and His face like a lion. He jumped upon my chest and began to scratch it. Placing His nails on my chest, the lion said in a grave voice, 'I shall immediately bifurcate your chest as you broke the mrdanga drum." I then prayed to Him, 'Save me, save me! I promise I will never do this again.' He was merciful, but He left the mark of His nails on my chest. From now on, no one in my dynasty will ever kill cows, nor will they create disturbance to the kirtana party." After this incident the Kazi's subjects all became like Hindus.

All this occurred because of Srivasa Pandita; the kirtana had taken place at his home. He was such a strong devotee.

I am seeing that if any small problems arise for you, even very small ones, you become like crazy persons and are bewildered as to what to do and what not to do. You may even give up your mala and kanti-mala. You should try to be like Srivasa Pandita.

After Caitanya Mahaprabhu took sannyasa, He would go to Jagannatha Puri every year for the Ratha-yatra festival. There Svarupa Damodara and Srivasa Pandit would discuss various subjects. Do you remember this? You should explain.

Syamarani dasi: This discussion takes place in the midst of the nine-day Ratha-yatra festival. Five days after Ratha-yatra starts, there's a festival called Hera-pancami. At that time King Prataparudra arranged for Caitanya Mahaprabhu and His associates to see a beautiful drama about Ratha-yatra. In that drama, Krsna of Dvaraka leaves the Goddess of Fortune in Dvaraka, which is represented by the Jagannath Puri temple, and He goes on the pathway pulled by devotees to Puri's Gundica temple, which represents Vrndavana. Lord Jagannatha, who is Krsna of Dvaraka, says to Laksmi, who represents Krsna's 16,108 queens, "I'll be back after a day or two." But now it's been five days and He hasn't returned, so Laksmi becomes angry.

This drama is performed by male devotees dressed up as the Goddess of Fortune, with very, very opulent sari and ornaments, and her maidservants. The maidservants carry Laksmi to Gundica on an opulent palanquin, and then they grab the servants of Jagannatha, tie them with silk ropes, arrest them, and force them to fall at the feet of Laksmi. Laksmi is thinking, "Why should Krsna, who has all opulence, all wealth, and all facilities in Dvaraka, leave all that and join a group of cow-herders in Vrndavana?"

Caitanya Mahaprabhu took great delight in this mock argument between Srivasa Pandita and Svarupa Damodara. Svarupa Damodara is Lalita in Krsna-lila, the most intimate girlfriend of Radhika, who helps facilitate Radhika's pastimes with Krsna. He takes the side of the Vrajavasis, and Srivasa Pandita, who, as Srila Gurudeva mentioned, is actually Narada Rsi, takes the side of the residents of Dvaraka. Narada Rsi's worship is in the mood of opulence. His worshipful Deity is Narayana, Dvarakadisa, Rama, and Krsna in the mood of opulence. Srivasa Pandita complains to Svarupa Damodara on behalf of the Goddess of Fortune, "Why are you so much favoring the gopis? They're just cowherd girls, and they simply boil milk. They're not opulent like my Goddess of Fortune. They just have some trees, some fruits, and some flowers; but no jewels, opulent bedding, gold, valuables, or palaces like my Goddess of Fortune."

Then, on behalf of the Vrajavasis, Svarupa Damodara said, "These cows are not ordinary cows; they're wish-fulfilling cows who fulfill all the desires of the inhabitants of Vrndavana. All the trees there are kalpa-vrksa trees, desire trees. Whereas the devotees in Dvaraka may have desires for opulence, the devotees in Vrndavana have no such desires. They simply want to take the fruits and flowers from the trees and offer them to Krsna. The grass and flowers that are growing in Vrndavana are not ordinary. Even the value of cintamani is surpassed by these flowers. The cintamani stones are worn as ornaments on the feet of the gopis to attract Krsna. Even more valuable are the flowers used by the gopis to decorate themselves and thus attract Krsna, enchant Krsna, and even induce Him to faint."

He explained that in Vrndavana every word is a song and every movement is just like a dance. The gopis far surpass any Goddess of Fortune; millions and millions of Goddesses of Fortune cannot equal the natural opulence, beauty, and sweetness of any one of the gopis. In this way he was defeating Srivasa Thakura, and Srivasa Thakura became so ecstatic because in actuality he also is familiar with the glories of Vrndavana.

At another time, Caitanya Mahaprabhu, in the mood of Krsna, said to Srivasa Thakura, "Give Me My flute." Srivasa Thakura said, "I can't; the gopis have already taken it," and he began to explain to Caitanya Mahaprabhu the beautiful pastimes of rasa-lila, honey-wine drinking, and playing in the Yamuna. In this way, he, too, takes pleasure in hearing and speaking the pastimes of Vrndavana. Therefore, when he heard this from Svarupa Damodara, he became greatly ecstatic and began dancing like a madman.

Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja: Here, Srivasa Pandita is like Narada Rsi – very tricky. All the devotees of Krsna, especially those in Vrndavana, must be tricky like Krsna. Narada is also tricky, and a high class of devotee. He wanted to manifest this siddhanta, this true philosophy, that Krsna of Vrndavana is the Supreme Personality of Godhead; not Narayana in Vaikuntha. Narayana has all kinds of opulence, and no one is His friend or parent. He is superior to all. He receives pranama (obeisences) from everyone, and blesses everyone, saying, "Mangalam bhavatu – may all auspiciousness be upon you."

It is not at all like this In Vrndavana. What will happen there? Krsna's cowherd friends Sridama and Subala say to Him, "Oh shala (a word used as an insult), what are You doing?! You are so naughty and mischevious." If His friends come to His palace and see that He is still in bed, they jump on His bed and say, "The cows are waiting here and there, and you are still sleeping!" They pull Him out of bed.

Sometimes Sridama defeats Krsna, who then smiles and tells him, "I have defeated you." Sridama says, "No, I have defeated You. When one is defeated, his back is flat on the ground." Here Sridama had defeated Krsna and was sitting on His chest, thinking, "I have defeated Krsna." But Krsna told him, "I have defeated you." Sridama asked, "How have You defeated me?" Krsna replied, "My nose is up, and your nose is down."

Can anyone in Ayodhya or Vaikuntha play like this? Never. There are no friends of Narayana, and no father and mother, whereas in Vrndavana there are thousands of fathers and mothers of Krsna. Krsna became the son of all the gopis and gopas during His Brahma-mohana-lila, and He became the husband of so many young gopis and the calves of all the cows. He can play in this way.

Narayana has one very chaste wife, Laksmi – actually there are three [Sri (Laksmi), Bhu, and Nila] but one is prominent, and that is Laksmi – but she can only massage His lotus feet, keeping His feet on her breast and always offering prayers. On the other hand, here in Vrndavana, Krsna has so many consorts, and all are greater, and more beautiful and sweet than Laksmi. They can all control Krsna. They can tell Him, "Oh, You should massage my feet," and Krsna will have to massage them. When the gopis are tired and perspire from dancing and singing during rasa-lila, Krsna takes His pitambara (yellow shawl) and wipes away their perspiration. This is a very beautiful scene; it is the affection and love of Krsna. Such love manifests in Vrndavana, never anywhere else. Who will be so foolish as to not serve Krsna?

Do you know Putana? She was a witch who came to kill baby Krsna by the poison on her breast, but Krsna sucked out the poison and her life, and gave her a position like a mother in her next life. So, who will be so foolish that, giving up Krsna, he will serve others? We must serve Krsna.

By his tricky behavior, Narada Rsi inspires Krsna to display various pastimes, and somehow or other he always manifests the glories of Krsna's devotees. We see in Brhad-bhagavatamrta how he glorified the high classes of devotees and incarnations of God. In this way, he discovered that the gopis are the best devotees, and that Vrajendra-nandana is the Supreme worshipful Deity. We should try to make Narada (Srivasa Pandita in Mahaprabhu's pastimes) our guru.

Do you know how strong a devotee Srivasa Pandita is? One day he was doing kirtana with many devotees in his courtyard, Srivasa-angana. While Mahaprabhu was dancing and singing with His associates, Srivasa Pandita's only son died. All of Srivasa's brothers' wives, and all the neighbors' wives, were weeping while Srivasa was attending the kirtana.

At that time Caitanya Mahaprabhu said, "I'm not feeling so happy. Something is going on. What is it?" No one would tell Him the news because Srivasa Pandita had warned all those who were surrounding the boy and weeping, "If you weep loudly, and if the dancing and singing of Caitanya Mahaprabhu's kirtana is disturbed, I will jump in the nearby Ganges. They continued weeping, but not loudly. One of the devotees approached Mahaprabhu and whispered in His ear, "Today this boy has died, and inside they are all still weeping. The dead body is there." Mahaprabhu stopped His kirtana and asked, "Why did you not tell me this before?" He went inside and said, "O my dear boy, where have you gone? You are sleeping; at once wake up."

A very wonderful thing happened then. By Mahaprabhu's mercy life at once returned in the dead body of the boy. The boy stood up and began to talk. Mahaprabhu asked, "Why have you left your father and mother here? You were okay here."

The boy replied, "I was not happy here. I have had so many hundreds of thousands of fathers and mothers from so many births, and from the beginning of this creation I've been the father or mother of so many. Who is my father? I don't recognize him. I don't want to be here. I have so many facilities now. I want to go to where I have now taken birth."

In this world, those who have taken birth must die. You should realize that this body is not yourself. This world is full of so many problems: birth, death, suffering, and sorrows. Babies will, after some time, become old, like me, and after that, when they will be one hundred, they will not be able to walk. They will say with false ego, "I have become one hundred years old," but they don't consider that their one hundred years have passed. Young people are very energetic, going here and there, taking wine, eggs, and meat, and thinking that they will be very strong by that. But they don't know that very soon they will become old. Their hair will be white, their organs will all be weak, and after some time they will not be able to walk. The government will give them retirement pension, and after that they will have to go to old-age homes. Their children will not care about them, and after some time they will not be able to breathe properly. Overcome by coughing, they will have to die."

This human body is very rare. After millions of births you have received this body, so don't waste it. From this moment, try to become a pure devotee. Follow Krsna Consciousness, always chanting and remembering Krsna under the guidance of a very qualified, realized guru. Thus, come in the process of Caitanya Mahaprabhu and Rupa Gosvami, and be happy forever. This endless chain of birth and death, the reactions of your past activities, bad and good, will be finished by chanting the holy name.

But it is essential to chant the name in the proper process in order that it will become the pure name. If you have any worldly desires while chanting, then your worldly desires will be fulfilled and you will be like zero. Do you understand what I have told? Suppose you are chanting "Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna," but in your heart you are thinking, "Some money should come; wealth should come; a very beautiful girlfriend or boyfriend should come; I should have a very beautiful, powerful car and a very beautiful royal palace; I should always travel in a high-class airplane newly made in France that is faster than the speed of sound." In that case, your youth, and your life, will be ruined.

The son of Srivasa Pandita continued, "Now that I've taken birth, from the beginning of my life I will chant and remember Krsna, so I don't want to return here."

Sripad Madhava Maharaja: Mahaprabhu's pastime is going on at Srivasa Pandita's house, and Srivasa Pandita is an associate of Mahaprabhu, so why leave that situation?

Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja: Because he now took birth in Krsna's pastimes, which is the fruit of association with Mahaprabhu and His associates. He had taken birth from the womb of a gopi, and this was the causeless mercy of Caitanya Mahaprabhu; this is why he did not want to return. If that boy had gone to any other place, certainly he would have wanted to return. He was realizing that Caitanya Mahaprabhu was none other than Krsna Himself, and by His mercy he had come in the womb of any gopi. Therefore, that boy refused to come back.

Let us not waste our time. Let us be fully surrendered, with great faith in Krsna and His name. Krsna has invested all His power, mercy, opulence, and qualities in the name 'Krsna.' In fact, He has made His name even superior to Himself. No one can touch Krsna by any one of the mortal senses. But Krsna has performed a miracle, which is that anyone, even a very wretched or foolish person like Jagai or Madhai, can chant His name whether or not his chanting is pure. That name will become pure by the mercy of the name, as long as the chanter is not committing any offense. If you are not committing offenses, like criticizing a Vaisnava, and you have great regard for all, thinking, "All beings are eternal servants of Krsna, and I am as well," then you can have a relationship with everyone.

We should honor all; we should do pranama to all, as it has been told in Bhagavad-gita and Caitanya-caritamrta. Suppose someone is worshiping Krsna, and taking bath in the Ganges with the understanding that, "This Ganges water is a tirtha; the ocean is a maha-tirtha." Still, if that person is not honoring devotees, not thinking that Krsna is present in all living beings, and not regarding all beings, he is not a pure devotee. Rather, "Sa eva go kharah." He is an animal, and among the animals he is like a donkey. The donkey runs after his wife for sex life, and gets kicked by her hind legs.

When Caitanya Mahaprabhu heard the boy's words, He said to his mother, "Do you want this boy?" She replied, "I have received my son - Yourself. I am happy for that boy. Now he can go anywhere he likes." Everyone became happy. This is a wonderful pastime of Caitanya Mahaprabhu, but it was due to Srivasa Pandita.

If any problem comes to you, always be very strong like Srivasa Pandita. There are so many things to say about him, like how he took birth in his pastimes as Narada Rsi. He was already in Goloka Vaikuntha and Vrndavana, but in the very beginning of this creation, Krsna wanted him to come here. He therefore manifested from the throat of Brahma. What is the meaning behind this? Narada is always playing a very sweet sound on his vina as he chants Hare Krsna: "Narada Muni bhajaya vina, radhika-ramana name."

He is the master of all raga and ragini (Vedic arrangement of musical notes): sa-re-ga-ma-pa-da-ni-sa. All these sounds have come from the strings of his vina, on which he plays so many transcendental songs. From where did he learn all this? Srimati Radhika is his guru – ultimately all ragas and raginis come from Her ankle-bells. He learned from Radhika's ankle-bells.

So, he manifested in this world from the throat of Brahma, and began to chant, "Hare Krsna Hare Krsna." Brahma told him, "O son, I want you to follow my orders. Where are you going?" Narada replied, "I want to follow my brothers, the four Kumaras: Sanaka, Sanandana, Sanatana, and Sanat." As soon as his brothers had been born from Brahma's mind, they were also always chanting Krsna's name, and they wanted to go to the forest to perform austerities. They left, and never followed their father's order that they marry and beget many children to fill the world with human beings.

Then Narada was 'born,' and Brahma ordered that he also enter married life, but he also refused. Brahma repeatedly requested him to remain at home, and when he would become mature, he would marry and have many children. Although Brahma warned him, "If you do not obey me, I will have to give you a curse," Narada did not obey him. He went to the forest to chant Krsna's name, at which time Brahma became very angry and said, "You will take birth in a family of Gandharvas (Heavenly singers) and Kinnaras. There you will have to marry thousands of Apsaras (heavenly angels), and you will be dancing and singing with thousands of wives." Narada replied, "I may go there, but I will not marry."

Thus Narada became a Gandharva of Heaven named Upabarhana. He was there dancing, but always remembering Krsna. One day Brahma ordered him: "I am going to Puskara, and you should come there with your whole family. You will have to dance there as an invocation. Narada went there and began to dance naked, and in a very wrong way. He wanted his father to be angry and give him another curse, so that he would be free from that life. Brahma surely became angry, and said, "You don't remember that I cursed you before, and you had to become a Gandharva? Now I will curse you again. You will go to the Earth now, and take birth from a sudrani, a low-caste woman."

Narada was then born from the womb of a sudrani. As a young boy he received the mercy of his brothers, who instructed him in Krsna consciousness. Soon after he was given a mantra by them, his mother was bitten by a snake and died, and he took this as an opportunity to leave home and go alone to the forest. He went to a very deep, dense forest and continuously chanted that mantra. After some time he became perfect, and Narayana, his worshipful Deity, gave him darsana.

You have been chanting for so many years – some devotees for fifteen or sixteen years, and some for longer – but you are not experiencing a change in your consciousness. You are very weak, always dependent on money or some position. You are not very surrendered. For thousands upon thousands of years you have been attached to family, wife, girlfriend, boyfriend, and you are now also chanting, without the Krsna conscious result. It may be that some worldly happiness will come by such chanting. You can become Indra or a very wealthy person. Or, you can become like Bill Clinton and become attached to any office girl. You cannot control your mind, but still you are chanting "Hare Krsna."

Be like Narada. He was fully absorbed in his chanting, not knowing where he was or who his body belonged to. Krsna came to him, in the form of Narayana, so we should try to do like him. If you are engaged in one-pointed bhajana to Krsna, quite absorbed and having faith in your guru's and Krsna's words, Krsna will surely come and give you darsana. If one knows the mantra for charming a snake and he utters that mantra, a poisoned person's snake poison will go down. Why is our chanting of "Hare Krsna" not giving us perfection?

Krsna's name is so powerful; all powers are there.

namnam akari bahudha nija sarva saktis tatra arpita niyamitah smarane na kalah etadrsi tava krpa bhagavan mamapi durdaivami drsamiha jani nanuragah

(Sri Siksastakam, Verse 2)

What is the meaning?

Sripad Padmanabha Maharaja: Krsna has empowered His holy names with all transcendental sakti, potencies. There are no hard-and-fast rules for chanting these names. Out of kindness and mercy Krsna has allowed us to approach Him through these holy names, but I am so unfortunate that I have no attachment to these holy names.

Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja: Here it is said that the holy name has no rules and regulations. We can chant it during the day or night, sitting on our bed, without taking bath or washing the mouth, in the morning, evening, daytime; at any time, such as when walking. But we should try to follow Srivasa and Narada.

Narada was initiated by his four brothers, the four Kumaras, and Srivasa Pandita was also initiated by a high class Vaisnava with all the symptoms written in the Vedas, Upanisads, and Bhagavatam. If at the time of initiation, you have received the holy name from a pure guru, then that name will be powerful and Krsna will come to you.

For example, Narada's gurus Sanat, Sanatana, Sanaka, and Sanandana gave him a mantra, after which he very easily received the darsana of Krsna. If your guru is like that, and you are following like Narada, then suddha-nama, the powerful transcendental name, will manifest in your heart. On the other hand if your guru is fallen, having no faith in the name and only chanting six rounds, or two rounds, or sometimes not chanting at all, and after some time he also falls externally, that holy name will not be so strong. No potency will be there, and without potency, your chanting can only give you a shadow of the name. Liberation may come, or worldly wealth may come. You will not get Krsna-prema.

Try to follow all these teachings, and be very strong like Srivasa Pandita, even if someone takes your whole wealth and position, and you become poor like him.

One day, Srivasa Pandita said to Mahaprabhu, clapping his hands, "One, two, three." Mahaprabhu asked, "What are you doing?" Again Srivasa Pandita said, "One, two, three." Mahaprabhu inquired, "Why are you doing that?" Then Srivasa Pandit explained, "We are chanting and remembering Krsna throughout the day, and doing nothing for our maintenance. If there is nothing to eat in my house today, then I will wait. On the second day I will also wait. If nothing comes on the third day, no harm; but if nothing comes on the fourth day, I will jump in the Ganges. I will not do anything but chant and remember." Mahaprabhu told him, "This can never happen to a devotee like you. The Goddess of Fortune, Laksmi-devi, may have to beg anywhere, but not My devotees or Krsna's devotees."

You must believe in this. Go on chanting. Krsna's name is more merciful than Krsna Himself; have faith in that. But that name should come from a reliable, or bona fide, guru.

Gaura Premanande!


mahaprabhu.jpgTridandisvami Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja
Murwillumbah, Australia
Feb. 13, 2002

What is the meaning of Navadvipa? The nine islands denote the nine processes of bhakti.

sravanam kirtanam visnoh
smaranam pada-sevanam
arcanam vandanam dasyam
sakhyam atma-nivedanam

"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)." (SB 7.5.23)

This Navadvipa has been addressed as Svetadvipa in the Vedas, Upanisads and so many other Vaisnava literatures.

sriyah kantah kantah parama-purusah kalpa-taravo
druma bhumis cintamani-gana-mayi toyam amrtam
katah ganam natyam gamanam api vamsi priya-sakhi
cid-anandam jyotih param api tad asvadyam api ca

sa yatra ksirabdhih sravati surabhibhyas ca su-mahan
nimesardhakhyo va vrajati na hi yatrapi samayah
bhaje svetadvipam tam aham iha golokam iti yam
vidantas te santah ksiti-virala-carah katipaye

"I worship that transcendental seat known as Svetadvipa, where as loving consorts the Laksmis in their unalloyed spiritual essence practice the amorous service of the Supreme Lord Krsna as their only lover; where every tree is a transcendental purpose tree; where the soil is the purpose gem, all water is nectar, every word is a song, every gait is a dance, the flute is the favorite attendant, the effulgence is full of transcendental bliss and the supreme spiritual entities are all enjoyable and tasty, where numberless milk cows always emit transcendental oceans of milk; where there is eternal existence of transcendental time, which is ever present without past or future and hence is not subject to the quality of passing away even for the space of half a moment. That realm is known as Goloka only to a very few self-realized souls in this world." (Brahma-samhita 5.56)

Srila Rupa Gosvami has quoted this verse, and Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura has also quoted it, along with many such verses. Navadvipa is Svetadvipa. In transcendental Goloka Vrndavana there are two parts: Vrndavana and Svetadvipa. Vrndavana and Navadvipa are parasistha, complementary. Without Navadvipa, Vrndavana is incomplete, and without Vrndavana, Navadvipa is incomplete. Together they are complete, as when separation and meeting mix together, the resultant situation is complete. Where there is no separation mood, meeting is incomplete.

The twelve vanas (forests) and upavanas of Vrndavana are in Navadvipa, within the nine islands: Madhuvana, Talavana, Kumudvana, Bahulavana, Kamyavana, Kadirvana, Badhravana, Bandhirvana, Baelvana, Mahavana, Vrndavana, and Mahavana. All of these forests, in some way, are in Navadvipa.

Don't think that Jagannatha Puri is superior to Navadvipa. Don't think that Godavari-tata, where Mahaprabhu revealed His form and mood of Rasaraja-Mahabhava (Radha-Krsna combined), is superior to Navadvipa. Navadvipa is far superior to both these places. On one hand, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu revealed His transcendental form of Rasaraja-mahabhava at Godavari, and that most high class of hari-katha, Raya Ramananda Samvad, took place there. On one hand, Caitanya Mahaprabhu showed His extreme moods of separation in Gambhira. He jumped in the ocean near there, and He relished Srimati Radhika's moods of separation, with Svarupa Damodara and Raya Ramananda. This may be said, therefore, to be the deepest and highest of the Lord's abodes, but there are so many reasons why it is not.

Jagannatha Puri is a very elevated pastime place, especially regarding the Gambhira-lila of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, but still it is like Dvaraka. There are no forests or sub-forests of Vrndavana there. Neither Gokula, Bandhiravana, Nandagaon, or Varasana is there. These forests are not in Godavari-tata, neither are they in Kuruksetra or Jagannatha Puri. Therefore, Navadvipa must be superior to these places.

Because so many places of Vrndavana are in Navadvipa in a hidden way, Navadvipa is known as Gupta-Vrndavana. One of the nine islands of Navadvipa is Godrumadvipa, and this island is described by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura in his Jaiva Dharma. Godrumadvipa is Nandagaon, nearby Varsana.

The birthplace of Caitanya Mahaprabhu in Mayapura is Mathura and Gokula combined. Caitanya Mahaprabhu is Krsna, with the internal mood and complexion of Srimati Radharani. Krsna took birth in Vrndavana; partly in Mathura, but fully in Gokula, and both places are combined there in Mayapura Yogapitha.

Crossing Ganga from there to Koladvipa, where our Sri Kesavaji Gaudiya Matha is situated, we find Giriraja-Govardhana. There, all the kunjas and caves in which Krsna played with the sakhas and sakhis are situated. Nearby there is Rasauli, or Rasa-sthali, where Candra-sarovara is located at the foot of Giriraja-Govardhana. Nearby there is Rtudvipa, where Radha-kunda and Syama-kunda are situated, and that is Kokilavana. Mayapura is on the East bank of Ganges, where the Ganges itself flows, and Lord Brahma performed thousands upon thousands austerities on that Ganges bank.

In Navadvipa there is Pancaveni, the meeting place of the Ganges, Yamuna, Sarasvati, Godavari, Narmada, Sindhu, and Manasi Ganga. Radha-kunda and Syama-kunda are there, and this is all very wonderful. In Mamagachi (Modadrumadvipa) Bhandiravat is present, and Jahnudvipa is Bhadravana. All these truths have been explained by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura in his Sri Navadvipa Dhama Mahatmya; Vrndavana is in Navadvipa, not in Jagannatha Puri or Godavari.

There is one very important thing to know, and I am explaining it for those who are senior Vaisnavas. They will be able to understand. Junior devotees should note it down, and they should also try to understand. You should know these things very deeply. With regards to Navadvipa being Vrndavana, there are two asta-kaliya-lilas. One is Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu's asta-kaliya-lila and one is Radha and Krsna's asta-kaliya-lila. Mahaprabhu's asta-kaliya-lila takes place in Navadvipa, and it is that asta-kaliya-lila upon which devotees meditate. They do not meditate on His lilas in Jagannatha Puri.

In their Gaura-gayatri mantra, the brahmanas chant, "Gauraya." Why do they utter, "Gauraya"? Who is Gaura? Gaura, or Gauranga, is Krsna, with the intrinsic mood and beauty or golden color of Radhika. He is actually Krsna, but now He is fully absorbed in the mood of Radhika. He feels as though He has become Radhika. But there are three Radhikas. One is Vrsabhanu-nandini Radhika, one is Viyogini Radhika, and one is Samyogini Radhika.

Three Features of Radhika and Mahaprabhu

Vrsabhanu-nandini Radhika never goes out of Vrndavana, and Krsna and Rohini-nandana Rama (Balarama) are always in Vrndavana. If Balarama and Krsna are coming towards Mathura, they will turn back to Vrndavana at the borderline. Rohini-nandana Rama cannot go out of Vrndavana, because He always remains with Krsna. Only Their manifestations, Vasudeva-nandana Krsna and Vasudeva-nandana Baladeva, will go to Mathura and Dvaraka. The pastimes of Krsna in Mathura and Dvaraka are transcendental and everlasting, as are the pastimes of Vrajendra-nandana Krsna in Vrndavana. Vasudeva Krsna plays eternally in Mathura, and in Vrndavana, Vrajendra-nandana Krsna plays eternally.

Similarly, there are three Radhikas. Actually there is only one Radhika, but She has three moods or three features. Krsna will not change when He goes to Mathura, but He will not use His flute and peacock-feather. He will change His father and mother, but not His form. Only His mood will be changed, and mood is the prominent factor of determination. If He takes His flute and peacock-feather and tells everyone, "I am the son of Nanda and Yasoda," then He is Vrajendra-nandana Krsna. On the other hand, if He has no peacock-feather and flute and He tells everyone, "I am the son of Vasudeva and Devaki," then He is present by His prakasa (manifestation). His manifestation is not fully the Supreme Krsna Himself.

In the same way, Vrsabhanu-nandini Radhika is always with Krsna in Vrndavana. In Nandagaon, where Radhika felt so much separation and spoke Brahmara-gita, She is Viyogini Radhika. Actually, She is never in viyoga, in the sense that She is never separated from Krsna. Srila Rupa Gosvami has explained this truth in his Lalita-Madhava and also in Ujjvala Nilamani, and that is why Kavi Karnapura has not discussed the lila of Mathura and Dvaraka. He completes his Ananda Vrndavana Campu just after rasa-lila. Our acaryas can never tolerate the idea that Radhika should be separated from Krsna.

In Her original and complete feature She is called Vrsabhanunandini. She is always with Nanda-nandana Krsna, and the Radhika who feels separation in Nandagaon is Her manifestation, Viyogini Radhika. She is the same Radhika, but She is feeling viyoga. Then, in Kuruksetra, She is Sanyogini Radhika. She goes there for a moment, for one or two days; and, keeping Krsna on the chariot of Her mind, She brings Him back to Vrndavana. Sanyoga means 'always meeting.'

In the mantra 'tan no gaura pracodayat', the name Visvambhara is uttered. Visvambhara never lived in the cave (Gambhira) in Jagannatha Puri, for He is Sacinandana Gaurahari in Navadvipa. From there He gives so much knowledge, so much love and affection, and a very high-class prema to the jivas. 'Visvambharaya dhimahi' means that we meditate on Him in Navadvipa.

In the cave of Gambhira, Mahaprabhu played a role of great opulence. At that time, in the night, no one but Raya Ramananda and Svarupa Damodara (Visakha and Lalita) were able to witness His pastimes. At that time, although Srila Rupa Gosvami was always hearing and knowing all Mahaprabhu's pastimes, even he could not go there. In Godavari, Mahaprabhu manifested His form as Rasaraja-Mahabhava. This is opulence. At that time, even Ramananda Raya began to pray like Devaki or Arjuna, "O, You are that same Supreme Personality of Godhead." This is opulence.

In Navadvipa, however, there is no opulence. In Navadvipa, Sacinandana Gaura-hari played as Krsna played with the girls in Vrndavana. While bathing in the Ganges He would say to the little girls, "Will you marry me? I want to marry you. If you will not marry Me, you will not be happy. Give your offerings of sandesa and bananas to Me." This comes in the category of the asta-kaliya-lila of Caitanya Mahaprabhu, and it is therefore far superior to any lila in Jagannatha Puri. In Navadvipa there is svarasikhi-upasana (meditation and worship of the continual flow of unlimited lilas taking place throughout each twenty-four hour day), whereas in Puri there is mantramayi-upasana (meditation and worship of a specific lila, in this case Srimati Radhika's separation feelings for Krsna).

Now we are going to Godrumadvipa , which is Nandagaon, where Premadasa Babaji performed his bhajana. What is Godruma? Go-druma. The druma means a very big pipal (aswattha) tree, and 'go' refers to the Surabhi cow. After Krsna's pastimes, she brought Indra to this place and performed thousands upon thousands years of austerities in order to receive the darsana of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. At last she received His darsana, when He was performing nagara-sankirtana in mahabhava. It was also in this place that Surabhi gave milk to Markandeya Rsi. So Navadvipa-dhama is not an ordinary or general place. It is the most superior place.

Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura has an abode in Nandagaon, Ter Kadambha, which is so glorious because unlimited very sweet pastimes took place there. During the day Krsna used to play on His flute, calling, "Syamali, Davali, Gange, Yamune, Pisange," and thousands and thousands of cows used to meet Him. During the night His flute called, "Radhe, Lalite, Visakhe!" and they all came to Him. Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura preferred Godrumadvipa, just as Srila Rupa Gosvami preferred to have his bhajana-sthali in between Nandagaon and Yavat. Godruma is the same as Ter Kadambha in Nandagaon. Antardvipa is Mahaprabhu's birth-place and also Krsna's birth-place, Gokula and Mathura. But Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura preferred Nandagaon, because Radha's and Krsna's separation and meeting are both present there.

[Question:] In Kuruksetra, Radharani felt separation from Krsna, even though They were meeting. Why is She called Samyogini here, since 'samyogini' means 'always meeting'?

[Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja:] They are never separated. For lila, They appear to be separated.

radha krsna-pranaya-vikrtir hladini saktir asmad
ekatmanav api bhuvi pura deha-bhedam gatau tau
caitanyakhyam prakatam adhuna tad-dvayam caikyam aptam
radha-bhava-dyuti-suvalitam naumi krsna-svarupam

"The loving affairs of Sri Radha and Krsna are transcendental manifestations of the Lord's internal pleasure-giving potency. Although Radha and Krsna are one in Their identity, They separated Themselves eternally. Now these two transcendental identities have again united, in the form of Sri Krsna Caitanya. I bow down to Him, who has manifested Himself with the sentiment and complexion of Srimati Radharani although He is Krsna Himself." (Cc Adi 1.5)

They have become two for lila-rasa, but They are one, and in this way They are always meeting. In meeting there is also separation, and this is called madanakya-maha-bhava.

[Question:] Is Sacinandana Gaurahari tasting madanakya-maha-bhava in prakata-lila, in Navadvipa, in Srivasa Angam and other places?

[Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja:] Yes, He was, but it was in His heart. Without madanakya-maha-bhava, He is not Caitanya Mahaprabhu. He has become Sacinandana Gaurahari especially for tasting this mood. It was especially for this.

[Question:] He is tasting this in Svetadvipa, but is He also tasting it in prakata-lila (Navadvipa, in this world)?

[Srila Narayana Maharaja:] Yes, either in seed or externally manifest; everywhere it will be so.

[*Endnote: (Holland, June 29, 2002) After speaking in this way, Caitanya Mahaprabhu revealed Himself as Rasaraja Mahabhava, and seeing this form, Raya Ramananda fainted and began to roll on the earth.

What was so special about this form? Ramananda Raya had personally seen both Radhika and Krsna in Krsna's pastimes, (because he is Lalita-sakhi in those pastimes), but now, in this form, he saw that each and every limb of Radhika was covered by each limb of Krsna, and the body of Krsna was covered with the golden complexion of Srimati Radhika. And still, even though He was covered by that golden complexion, some black luster from His body was showing through. Raya Ramananda had never before seen this form.

This means that Caitanya Mahaprabhu is Radhika covered by all the limbs of Krsna, who is covered by the complexion of Radhika. Krsna's beauty is nilamani-kanti, which means it has the beauty and luster of a sapphire pearl. This beautiful luster was covered with a golden luster, and the combined beauty of the two is Rasaraja-Mahabhava.

Krsna is Rasaraja and Radhika is Mahabhava. Here, Rasaraja and Mahabhava are combined, and Raya Ramananda fainted when he saw that form. This siddhanta is the top-most in any history or in any Vedic literature, and it has not even been revealed in Srimad-Bhagavatam.

I know that you cannot understand this elevated mood, but something of it will gradually come to you. Suppose you are trying to take bath, and at the same time all the water is draining out. Still, some of the water touches your body and you feel somewhat refreshed. Similarly, even if you do not fully understand what I am telling you, something will nevertheless come to you. Somewhat of a seed of greed to attain this mood will come to you, and it will become a treasure for you in the future. Try to become very bold and strong, and try to follow my teachings. Actually, these are not my teachings, they are the teachings of my gurudeva and the guru-parampara. ]


The Post and the Person

lord-shiva.jpgTridandisvami Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja
02 July 1997

[Dear Readers,

Please accept our humble obeisances. All glories to Sri Sri Guru and Gauranga. This year, 2018, Siva-ratri is on February 14.  Please accept this lecture spoken by Srila Gurudeva in Holland, 1997. Also, please visit this link to hear more about Gopesvara Mahadeva.]

Sri Narada desired to proclaim the glories of Lord Siva. As previously described, he praised Siva as the greatest devotee of Lord Krsna and most dear to Him, and Lord Siva became upset by hearing those praises. Siva then related a number of incidents which, according to him, were evidence that he was not dear to Krsna at all.

Now Lord Siva compares himself to Sri Prahlada Maharaja, (*See Endnote 1) the famed devotee of Lord Nrsimhadeva described in Srimad-Bhagavatam. He told Narada, "Sri Prahlada Maharaja is superior to me, and it is he who is the dear devotee of the Lord." Even though Lord Siva is superior to Prahlada Maharaja, he told Narada that Prahlada Maharaja is superior. Why? He said this to encourage people to follow Prahlada Maharaja's ideal character and teachings.

However, Prahlada Maharaja cannot enter Sri Krsna's transcendental abode, Vrndavana, whereas Lord Siva resides there eternally as Gopisvara. Siva serves Sri Krsna personally in numerous ways. He and his wife Parvati-devi meditate on asta-kaliya-lila, Lord Sri Krsna's confidential eight-fold daily pastimes. These secret pastimes are very confidential, yet both Siva and Parvati are able to meditate upon them. Siva is hundreds of thousands of times superior to and more worshipable than Sri Prahlada Maharaja, and yet the artful Siva declared Prahlada Maharaja to be superior. Why did he do so? In one sense Prahlada Maharaja is superior, and in another sense he is not.

We can reconcile this by considering the two perspectives from which to understand the identity of Lord Siva: We can see Siva from the point of view of his post, and also from the point of view of his personality. As a personality, separate from his post, he appears as an associate of the Supreme Lord, such as Gopisvara, Hanuman and Bhima. As Gopisvara he resides eternally in Vrndavana. As Hanuman he always associates with and serves Lord Rama. As Bhima he always serves Lord Krsna. And, when Hanuman and Bhima combine together in this present age of Kali-yuga, they become Madhvacarya, our Sampradaya-guru. (*See Endnote 2)

From the point of view of Lord Siva's function as the god of annihilation, and also that of Brahma as the secondary creator of the universe, Siva and Brahma are actually posts. Lord Brahma and Lord Siva are not ordinary human beings, but their posts are like that of the president or prime minister of a nation, wherein the man representing the post has to perform a certain defined job.

Both as the post and the person, Siva is superior to Brahma. Lord Siva is an expansion of Lord Visnu, but sometimes a jiva may become Siva's expansion known as Rudra. If a man purely performs the duties of varnasrama for one hundred births, he may become Brahma.6 In other words, he may attain the position or post of Brahma. In turn, when a person in the post of Brahma carries out his function expertly for one hundred births, he becomes qualified to perform the function of Siva in his manifestation as Rudra. Siva's post is therefore superior to that of Brahma, and this is also evidence that Siva is more powerful than Brahma.

The Duty of Destruction

What is the function of Lord Siva's post, and why is it superior to that of Lord Brahma? One reason is that Brahma cannot execute pralaya, the complete destruction of the universe - a very dangerous thing, whereas Siva can do so.

Siva's function as destroyer is similar to that of a farmer who plants and cultivates a large area of wheat. The farmer carefully waters and nourishes the crop, guarding it from animals, and after five or six months the wheat matures and ripens. Then, either by hand or a machine, the farmer harvests the plants and carefully removes the grains from their shafts. The rest of the plant-matter becomes refuse, subject to rotting and attracting disease, vermin, and snakes. Therefore, the farmer sets fire to it and burns it.

Just as the farmer extracts the grains from the plants, Lord Siva extracts the eternal spirit souls from their material bodies and from the world. At the time of annihilation he creates an inferno, setting the entire universe on fire, but the spirit souls are not destroyed.

There are two kinds of universal devastations: one at the end of Lord Brahma's day and one at the end of his life. At the end of his day (4,320,000,000 solar years) he rests in a mystic sleep within the body of Garbhodakasayi Visnu, and all the conditioned living entities enter as well. (*See Endnote 3)

While the entire universe is submerged in water, the living entities rest in their subtle bodies within the transcendental body of Garbhodakasayi Visnu. They await the start of the next day of Brahma, the next material creation or manifestation. Some of them become liberated, and others do not.

When Lord Brahma completes the one hundred celestial years of his life, Lord Siva again performs this duty of destruction. At that time all the spirit souls enter into the body of Karanodakasayi Visnu or Maha Visnu. At the end of each day of Lord Brahma, all souls enter Garbhodakasayi Visnu, and at the end of Brahma's life, even the millions of manifestations of Garbhodakasayi Visnu enter Karanodakasayi Visnu (*See Endnote 4) along with the spirit souls. At the time of creation, Karanodakasayi Visnu generates innumerable manifestations of Garbhodakasayi Visnu, and at the time of complete annihilation, they enter back into his body. (*See Endnote 5)

Lord Siva is not a living entity, but he is also not in the category of Lord Visnu. He is much more powerful than any living entity, even up to Lord Brahma. However, he is not equal to Lord Visnu. Because he is almost as good as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, he can see the three phases of time: past, present, and future. One of his eyes is like the sun and another is like the moon. He also has a third eye, located between his eyebrows. It is from this third eye that he generates fire and employs it at the time of the universal destruction.

Seen from this perspective - the destroyer - Lord Siva cannot serve Sri Krsna directly, because he is engaged at his post. Those souls who are liberated after hundreds of thousands of lifetimes of devotional practice, having renounced all responsibilities and concerns of the world - including occupations like that of Brahma and Siva - and who constantly hear about, glorify, and remember Lord Krsna, take birth in this world as pure devotees like Prahlada Maharaja. This was told by Lord Siva to Sri Narada.

Prahlada Maharaja has nothing to do with this world; nothing to create or demolish. He rejected all such affairs as insignificant. Although he had inherited a large kingdom, it was controlled and governed by his ministers. His senses were totally absorbed in the transcendental loving service to the Supreme Lord. He was always engaged in hearing the name and glories of the Lord, singing and speaking about his glories, remembering and meditating on him, offering prayers, carrying out the his orders and fully surrendering to him.

Devotees in Prahlada's category have no need to approach Lord Krsna's manifestations like Lord Nrsinhadeva and Lord Rama, for the Lord personally comes to them in these forms. Lord Siva told Sri Narada that because he is always engaged in the post of controlling the universe, he can neither see nor offer services to the Lord daily, as Prahlada Maharaja sees Lord Vamanadeva or Lord Nrsinhadeva. Vamanadeva and Nrsinhadeva are both manifestations of the same Lord, who regularly gives Prahlada his divine association and the opportunity to serve and offer obeisance at his lotus feet.

Although both Brahma and Siva are actually superior in bhakti to Prahlada Maharaja, their posts involve contact with the three gunas, or modes of material nature, namely goodness, passion, and ignorance. The role of Lord Brahma is creation and procreation in raja-guna, the mode of passion. Lord Siva's role of demolition and dissolution is in tama-guna, the mode of ignorance. It is for this reason that they are called guna-avataras, incarnations of the material qualities.

Prahlada Maharaja is nirguna, transcendental to the three modes of nature. He has nothing to do with activities in material goodness, passion, and ignorance, by which this world is shackled. Lord Siva is also beyond the three modes of nature, but he adopts the mode of ignorance (tama-guna) to efficiently perform his function.

The Personal Associate

Regarding Lord Siva's glorification of Prahlada Maharaja, now consider Lord Siva's identity as a transcendental personality - separate from his post.

Sometimes senior Vaisnavas express sincere recognition of the novice, inspiring him or her on the path of devotion. The Vaisnava may say, "Oh, you work so hard and earn money, and with that money you support and nourish me. I have no means at all. I do nothing but visit for a short while, eating, and sleeping at your expense. I would not be able to speak the glories of Lord Krsna at this festival if you had not arranged for the management of all the activities here, so you are superior to me."

Out of sincere humility, gratitude and affection, liberated souls speak in this endearing manner, and at the same time they are fixed in the realization that they are always being personally maintained by the Supreme Lord. The senior Vaisnava has the disciple's personal benefit in mind.

However, Lord Siva was not speaking for Prahlada Maharaja's benefit, but to acquaint aspiring devotees with the stages of devotion. His desire was to facilitate the service of Sri Narada Muni and Srila Sanatana Gosvami (*See Endnote 6), whose mission was to establish in the world the sequence of the grades of devotion and ultimately establish the glories of the gopis. Try to understand all these truths, and seek to gradually become firmly situated in bhakti.

Imagine that you are in a market in which there are thousands of varieties of shops. In some of those shops there are products made of iron, in some shops there are products made of gold, in some there are jewels, and in others cintamani (wish-fulfilling stones). An expert is guiding you through all the shops, pointing out different products and revealing which are superior.

If there are a thousand pounds of iron and only one ounce of gold, the gold has more value. On the other hand, many pounds of gold will not amount to the value of one Kaustubha-mani or a similarly precious stone. Millions of such precious jewels cannot compare with a tiny quantity of cintamani, and even millions of cintamani stones cannot compare with one holy name of Lord Krsna.

Now suppose someone is chanting the name of Lord Krsna alone, and another is absorbed in the name of Radha-Ramana. The name Radha-Ramana, meaning Sri Krsna, the enjoyer of pastimes with Srimati Radharani, has more transcendental taste (rasa) than the name Krsna alone. The person absorbed in that holy name will therefore experience a greater spiritual pleasure.

Regarding the analogy of the shops in a market, that expert tells you, "This shop is good, that shop is better, and this one is the best. Similarly, in his Sri Brhad-bhagavatamrta, Srila Sanatana Gosvami establishes the gradations of excellence of various devotees and their devotion, in order to help his readers determine their spiritual path.

The history of Narada Muni's coming to the abode of Lord Siva and glorifying him was first narrated in this Sri Brhad-bhagavatamrta. Like Srila Sanatana Gosvami, Narada is also that expert described above. He desired to establish pure bhakti in the world, and therefore he played the role of searching for the greatest devotee and recipient of Lord Krsna's mercy. His search had taken him first to the "shop" of a brahmana in Prayaga, and after that to South India, to the shop of a king. Then he traveled to heaven, where he entered the shop of King Indra, and Indra sent him to the shop of Lord Brahma. Brahma sent him to Lord Siva, and Lord Siva is now sending him to Prahlada Maharaja. Gradually, Sri Narada will bring us to the greatest recipients of Lord Krsna's mercy, the gopis. In the form of Gopisvara, Lord Siva is the beloved servant and associate of those gopis.

Once, the great sage Narada Muni traveled to the abode of Lord Siva and began to glorify him, saying, "You are very near and dear to the Supreme Lord Krsna. Not only that, you are Krsna's manifestation; you are non-different from Him. You can give liberation and also krsna-prema, the rare jewel of transcendental love for Krsna." Hearing Narada glorify him in numerous ways, Lord Siva became angry and said, "Your glorification of me is false. I am not at all dear to Sri Krsna."

Lord Siva is actually most dear to Sri Krsna, and therefore Krsna can give him services which He cannot give anyone else. When the demigods and demons were churning the Milk Ocean in order to obtain the nectar of immortality, the first substance produced was a powerful and dangerous poison, burning the entire world. The demigods appealed to Sri Krsna, and He advised them to request Lord Siva to drink the poison. Thus, they worshiped Lord Siva and prayed, "Please save us! Only you can protect us!" Lord Siva collected the poison and took it in his mouth, but he hesitated to swallow it, considering, "Lord Krsna is in my heart. The poison will affect Him." He therefore kept the poison in his throat, which was burned, and his neck turned the color blue.

Now, out of genuine humility, Lord Siva told Narada: "I want to be His beloved devotee, but actually I am not. You know that I always wear ashes from the burial grounds, and a garland of skulls. All my associates are ghosts and witches, so I am not qualified to be Krsna's dear devotee. If I am so dear to Him, why would He have ordered me to engage with the mode of ignorance in the terrible function of destroying of the universe? If I am such a great recipient of His mercy, why would he have ordered me to become Sankaracarya and preach a philosophy that is adverse to Him?"

Actually, although he expressed otherwise, it was because Siva is so dear to Krsna that Krsna was able to give him the difficult task of appearing as Sankaracarya. (*See Endnote 7) Many people had been worshiping the Supreme Lord only to fulfill their selfish purposes, thinking, "Simply by our worship of God, He will be pleased with us and satisfy all our worldly desires." They worshiped Him only so that He would rapidly arrange for all of their needs, not to please Him. Lord Krsna thought, "This is very dangerous." He called Lord Siva and instructed him, "Such false devotees will create great disturbances, so keep them far away from Me. Create a philosophy which teaches, ‘brahma satyam jagan mithya - the Absolute is true, this world is false.' You should preach, ‘All souls are Siva; all souls are Brahma; all are one. You are brahma, the impersonal Absolute. There is no need to worship any other God; you are the Supreme God.' " Reluctant, Lord Siva asked Krsna, "Can you please tell someone else to do this? I am not qualified for this service." Krsna replied, "No, you will have to do this. In the entire world, I see no one else who is as capable."

Feeling ashamed, Lord Siva now told Narada, "At last, I had to agree to follow His order. Appearing as Sankaracarya I preached everywhere, ‘You are brahma, you are brahma, you are the impersonal brahma. The entire world is false.' I am so much regretting this. I know I have committed a great offence by causing so many people to be averse to Lord Krsna. Still, to carry out His order I spread this doctrine. It is clear by the fact that He sometimes gives me such orders that I am not His dearest one."

Cheating the Cheaters

Lord Siva also expressed to Narada his regret in having given benedictions to Lord Krsna's enemies. To fulfill his Lord's desires, he had given benedictions to demons like Ravana, Vrkasura, Salva and Jayadratha, and thus he had performed many activities that were seemingly opposed to Krsna and krsna-bhakti.

Narada Muni said, "Master, please don't try to mislead me. I know that whatever you do is to please Lord Krsna and to assist Him in His pastimes, for the benefit of all beings. You told me that you have many times given benedictions to His enemies. I know that His enemies, as well as the enemies of His devoted cousins, the Pandavas, worship you for ill-motivated benedictions. I also know that you grant them benedictions. But those benedictions are not foolproof; they always have some loophole. Actually, you cheat these beneficiaries in order to please Lord Krsna. You are undoubtedly His dearest friend."

Siva and Narada continued to discuss some historical incidents which, according to Siva, proved that he was not dear to Krsna - but according to Narada, proved the opposite.

A Loophole

The great epic Mahabharata tells of King Jayadratha, one of the many demons who received such a clever benediction from Lord Siva. Duryodhana, the paternal cousin of the five Pandava brothers, had given his sister Dushala in marriage to King Jayadratha, and therefore the king had also become like a brother-in-law of the Pandavas. Once, Jayadratha tried to kidnap the Pandavas' wife, Draupadi, desiring strongly to make her his own wife. As he forced her onto his chariot, she admonished him, crying, "I am the wife of the Pandavas. When they catch you, they will punish you and kill you!"

Jayadratha's arrogance prevented him from hearing her, and he continued his abduction. Meanwhile, the sage Narada approached the Pandavas and informed them, "Oh, I saw Jayadratha taking away Draupadi, and she was weeping!"

Two of the Pandavas, Bhima and Arjuna, immediately chased after Jayadratha. Bhima dismounted his chariot and ran faster than Jayadratha's horses. With his bow and arrows, Arjuna created a fire that surrounded the chariot of Jayadratha, who was then captured and could not move. Severely beaten by Bhima and arrested by Arjuna, Jayadratha was bound to the chariot and taken to where Yudhisthira Maharaja had been staying with Draupadi.

Bhima and Arjuna spoke to Yudhisthira, their respected senior brother. Bhima urged him, "I want to kill Jayadratha. Please order me to kill him."

In support of Bhima, Arjuna said, "Jayadratha has performed a heinous act and should be killed."

King Yudhisthira replied, "The offense was committed against Draupadi. We should take the case to her, and we will do whatever she orders."

When Jayadratha was brought at the feet of Draupadi, she mercifully told her husbands, "Don't kill him; forgive him. He is our brother-in-law. If you kill him, your cousin-sister will be widowed and she will weep for the rest of her life."

Bhima and Arjuna then approached Lord Krsna and appealed to Him: "What should we do? We have vowed to kill Jayadratha, and now Draupadi tells us to forgive him."

Krsna replied, "For one who has been honored, dishonor is worse than death."

Arjuna then shaved King Jayadratha's head, leaving five patches of hair, and he shaved one side of his face, leaving the other side unshaven. Jayadratha felt humiliated, and after being released by Bhima and Arjuna he considered it better to have died. He thought, "I will somehow take revenge." Thus absorbed, he went to Gangotri in the Himalayas and undertook a severe type of penance to please Lord Siva.

After some months he gave up all food, water, and bodily activities, and was about to die. At this point Lord Siva came before him and asked what boon he wanted as a result of his austerity. Jayadratha replied, "I want revenge against the Pandavas. I want to defeat and kill all of them." Lord Siva told him, "You can defeat the Pandavas, but only Yudhisthira, Bhima, Nakula and Sahadeva; not Arjuna." Jayadratha said, "If you cannot benedict me to my full satisfaction, then please grant that neither Arjuna nor anyone else will be able to kill me." Lord Siva replied, "I can grant you this: if your head is severed and falls on the ground, the person who caused this will die immediately. Your life will be saved and your head will rejoin your body. You may be ‘killed' hundreds of thousands of times, but you will not die. On the other hand, if your severed head falls into your father's hands and he throws it on the ground, then you will die." Jayadratha was satisfied, thinking, "My father would never do this."

When the battle of Kuruksetra began, Jayadratha took the side of the Pandavas' enemy, Duryodhana. One evening during the battle, as the sun was setting, Jayadratha's father was absorbed in prayer and making an offering of water to the Sun-god. Arjuna saw this opportune moment. With the skillful release of an arrow, he severed Jayadratha's head from his body and caused it to fall into the hands of his meditating father. Startled and without thought, Jayadratha's father tossed the head on the ground. Then, opening his eyes he exclaimed, "What was that wet thing?" Seeing that he had just thrown his son's head, he began to cry, "Oh my son! Oh my son! You are dead now!"

A Clever Benediction

Envious of Krsna and with a desire for the strength to destroy him, the demon Salva also took shelter of Lord Siva. He performed a severe type of austerity and ate no more than a handful of ashes daily. After one year, Lord Siva became pleased with him and asked him to beg for a boon.

Salva begged from Lord Siva the gift of an airplane, saying, "This airplane should perform as I wish; it should be operated by my mind. On my order it should go to heaven or anywhere I desire. In summer it should be air-conditioned. If there are only two men, there should only be two seats, and if I want to travel with hundreds of thousands of persons, many seats should manifest. It should never crash due to mechanical difficulty, and it should be equipped with all varieties of weapons. It should be dangerous and fearful to the Yadus."

Lord Siva agreed, and Salva was helped by the demon Maya Danava to manufacture a mystical airplane that began to destroy Dvaraka, Lord Krsna's abode. Salva personally attacked from above, and his soldiers attacked on the ground. Headed by Pradyumna, the Yadu dynasty warriors fought with Salva and his army, but they could not defeat him.

Finally, Lord Krsna personally appeared on the battlefield, and after much intense fighting on both sides and many mystic displays by Salva, the Lord took up His disc, cut off the demon's head, and gave him liberation.

In this way, the benedictions given by Lord Siva to the enemies of Lord Krsna always have a weak point - a loophole. Lord Siva is extremely clever, and he is always serving his Lord, Sri Krsna. Narada knew this fact, and he wanted to publicize Lord Siva's glories. Siva is very near and dear to Krsna, and non-different from Him. Try to always honor him, for he is Krsna's greatest devotee.

nimna-ganah yatha ganga
devanam acyuto yatha
vaisnavanam yatha sambhuh
purananam idam tatha

[(Just as the Ganga is the greatest of all rivers, Lord Acyuta the supreme among deities and Lord Sambhu the greatest of Vaisnavas, so Srimad-Bhagavatam is the greatest of all Puranas. (Srimad-Bhagavatam (12.13.16)]

The Principle of Siva

The principle of Siva - Siva-tattva - is extremely complex. The principle of Brahma is not as complicated, because Lord Brahma is always a jiva, a finite spirit soul. Sometimes, when there is no qualified jiva, Lord Visnu (Krsna's expansion) personally takes the post of Brahma, but that is rare. Lord Siva is not like that; he is not a finite soul.

After passing through the eight material coverings, and after crossing the Viraja (the river that divides the material world and the spiritual world) and the planet of Lord Brahma (the highest material planet), one comes to the planet of Siva. There he is known as SadaSiva, a manifestation of Lord Visnu.

Siva-tattva can be understood by the analogy of yogurt and milk. Yogurt is nothing but a transformation of milk. Milk can become yogurt, but yogurt cannot become milk. This analogy is found in Sri Brahma-Samhita and elucidated in Srila Jiva Gosvami's commentary: "Just as milk is transformed into yogurt by contact with a transforming agent, Sri Govinda, Lord Sri Krsna, similarly accepts the form of Sambhu (Siva) in order to accomplish a specific purpose. The example of yogurt is actually given in order to convey the idea of cause and effect, not the idea of transformation. Sri Krsna is reality and cannot be transformed, so it is not possible for Him to undergo any kind of distortion. A wish-fulfilling gem manifests many things according to one's desire, yet its constitutional nature remains untransformed." (*See Endnote 8)

Ramesvara Mahadeva

When Sri Ramacandra was making the bridge to Lanka, he established a Siva-linga (deity form of Siva) called Ramesvara. All the common people began glorifying Lord Siva, shouting, "Ramesvara ki jaya! You are Rama's isvara: you are the lord of Rama." The demigods were unsatisfied by this and announced through an arial voice, "Ramas ca asau isvarah: Rama is God, and Sankara is also God; they are the same." Hearing this, the Siva-linga broke. Lord Siva emerged from the linga and told them all, "You are all foolish; you do not know my tattva, the established truths regarding my identity. Rama is my beloved and my God, and that is why I am called Ramesvara."

Granting Perfect Love

Lord Siva eternally resides in Lord Krsna's abode, Vrndavana, where he manifests many forms to render devotional services to Him. The form of Gopisvara Mahadeva (*See Endnote 9) was manifested by Lord Krsna's desire. When Krsna desired to perform His rasa dance, Srimati Radhika, the embodiment of His pleasure potency, manifested from His left side and Gopisvara Mahadeva manifested from His right side. The form of Siva who lives in Kasi or Kailasa in the material world is a partial manifestation of the original Sadasiva in Vrndavana. The many other commonly worshiped forms of Lord Siva are expansions of Sadasiva. They are not the original. Partial expansions such as Pippalesvara Mahadeva, Bhutesvara Mahadeva, Rangesvara Mahadeva and so on cannot award the benediction that can be attained by the mercy of Gopisvara - the highest perfection of love, namely vraja-prema.

Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami has composed a prayer in his Vraja-vilasa-stava:

muda gopendrasyatmaja bhuja parisranga nidhaye
sphurad gopirvrndair yam iha bhagavatam pranayibhih
bhajadbhistair bhaktyas vamabhilasitam praptam acirad
yamitire gopisvaram anudinam tah kila bhaje

I daily worship Gopisvara Mahadeva, who is situated on the bank of Yamuna. That very Gopisvara was worshipped with deep devotion by the gopis, and he quickly fulfilled their desire to attain a supremely precious jewel in the form of the embrace of the son of Nanda Maharaja .

Srila Sanatana Gosvami, the great Vaisnava saint who resided in Vrndavana near the old Sri Madana-Mohana temple, would go daily to see Sri Gopisvara Mahadeva at his temple. Once, in his older years, Sanatana Gosvami had a dream wherein Gopisvara Mahadeva appeared and instructed him: "Now that you are old, please do not go through so much trouble to see me." Sanatana Gosvami replied, "I will continue to come. I cannot change this habit." Gopisvara Mahadeva said, "Then I will come and stay very near to your residence, manifesting in Bankhandi." The very next day, Sri Gopisvara Mahadeva appeared in Bankhandi, halfway between his orginal temple and Srila Sanatana Gosvami's residence. Seeing this, Sanatana Gosvami became overwhelmed with transcendental ecstasy, and from that day on he visited Bankhandi Mahadeva every day.

Wherever he was, Srila Sanatana Gosvami could not live without his beloved Lord Siva - Gopisvara Mahadeva and Bankhandi Mahadeva in Vrndavana, and Kamesvara Mahadeva in Kamyavana forest. In Govardhana he would stay near his very dear friend, Cakresvara Mahadeva, who acquired the name when he served Govardhana Hill and the Vrajavasis by holding up his trident like a cakra, protecting them from the torrential deluge sent by King Indra.

Prior to this, Lord Siva had asked Sri Krsna for the boon to witness His childhood pastimes. Krsna ordered him to situate himself in Nandagaon in the form of a hill. Siva followed this order and became Nandisvara Hill, and he thus became known as Nandisvara. (Lord Brahma became Brahma-parvata, the mountain in Srimati Radhika's birthplace, Varsana. Because Brahma is so near to Radhika, he is also our Gurudeva.)

We honor Lord Siva as a great Vaisnava and as Guru. We do not worship him separately. We observe Siva-ratri, Lord Siva's appearance day, and we glorify him in connection to his relationship with Sri Krsna. Srila Sanatana Gosvami has written in his Hari-bhakti-vilasa that all Vaisnavas should observe Siva-caturdasi (Siva-ratri). Lord Siva, in whom all good qualities reside, should certainly be honored by the observance of this day.

We offer obeisance to Lord Siva with prayers like this:

vrndavanavani-pate! jaya soma soma-maule
gopisvara! vraja-vilasi-yuganghri-padme
prema prayaccha nirupadhi namo namas te

(Sankalpa-kalpadruma 103)

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 prema for the lotus feet of Sri Sri Radha-Madhava, who perform joyous pastimes in Vraja-dhama, I offer obeisances unto you time and again.

By Siva's Benediction

A brahmana in Kasi Varanasi once prayed to Lord Siva, "I want to give my daughter in marriage, but I have no money. Please give me money." Lord Siva told him, "Go to Vrndavana and meet with Srila Sanatana Gosvami. You can ask him to give you some wealth for your daughter's marriage." The brahmana went to Vrndavana, by foot, and there he asked the villagers there for the whereabouts of a person named Sanatana Gosvami. As they all knew him, they pointed out his residence.

Srila Sanatana Gosvami was practicing bhajana near the Yamuna River at Kaliya-hrada, the former abode of the very poisonous snake named Kaliya. Kaliya-hrada was close to the Yamuna, and therefore its surrounding area was full of sand. Srila Sanatana Gosvami wore only a loincloth. He used to go begging door-to-door for a small amount of prasada (Krsna's food remnants), and would take as his meal only one dry chapatti (flat bread), with no salt.

The brahmana arrived at his cottage and told him, "I went to Sankara Mahadeva, Lord Siva, and he told me to meet you. He said you will give me some wealth for my daughter's marriage." Sanatana Gosvami replied, "I have no possessions. You can see that I have nothing but a loincloth." Then he thought, "Oh, Siva cannot tell a lie. He is my bosom friend." Thinking of Lord Siva and contemplating further, he remembered a touchstone he had once disgarded and then forgotten. Now he told the brahmana, "Go to the Yamuna and remove some of the sand, and there you will find a touchstone. It is somewhere in the sand, though I don't remember where."

The brahmana found the jewel, touched it to iron, and the iron turned into gold. He was very, very happy that Lord Siva had told him to come to Vrndavana, and thought with gratitude, "My prayer has been answered by him." On the way home, however, his greed for money increased and he began thinking, "Why did Sanatana Gosvami keep the touchstone in the sand? It had no use there. He must have still more valuable jewels."

He thus returned, and Sanatana Gosvami asked him, "Why have you come back?" He replied, "I've come because I know that you have more valuable jewels than this." Sanatana Gosvami then said, "Go and throw the touchstone in the Yamuna. The brahmana did so with all his power, and then Sanatana Gosvami told him, "Come here. Come here." He gave him the mantra, "Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare" and said, "I do not have worldly jewels, but I have transcendental jewels. The jewel of Lord Krsna and Sri Radha will come to you in a very short time. So remain here. Your daughter's marriage will take place automatically. Stay here and chant Hare Krsna." That brahmana followed his instruction and became a very elevated saint.

*[Endnote 1] In the hermitage of Sri Narada Muni, Prahlada Maharaja heard the message of Srimad-Bhagavatam while within the womb of his mother. From his birth, Prahlad was fixed in transcendental realization of the all-pervading presence of the Supreme Lord, and he preached love of God to his schoolmates at the tender age of five. Despite efforts by his atheistic father to change his nature - efforts that culminated in repeated attempts to kill him by means of administering poison, putting him in boiling oil, tossing him from the top of a cliff and so on - Prahlada continued to experience great joy by remembering Lord Visnu and chanting his holy names. Prahlada was protected by the Supreme Lord in every situation. Finally, Lord Visnu appeared in the form of a half-man, half-lion and killed his demonic father. When offered a benediction by the Lord, Prahlada simply asked for the liberation of his father, as well as that of all conditioned souls. He is honored in this world by all pure devotees.

*[Endnote 2] "Srila Madhvacarya is the original acarya for those who belong to the Madhva-Gaudiya-sampradaya."(SB 6.1.40.purport) "This Madhva-Gaudiya-sampradaya is also known as the Brahma-sampradaya because the disciplic succession originally began from Brahma. Brahma instructed the sage Narada, Narada instructed Vyasadeva, and Vyasadeva instructed Madhva Muni, or Madhvacarya." (Krsna Introduction).

*[End note 3] "The Vedas say, ‘svadharma-nisthah sata janmabhih puman virincatam eti - One who strictly follows the principles of varnasrama-dharma for at least one hundred births will be rewarded with the post of Lord Brahma.' " (Srimad-Bhagavatam, 5.20.33 purport)

Varnasrama-dharma - the institutions dividing society into four divisions of social life and four occupational divisions of castes.

*[Endnote 4] "At the beginning of Brahma's day, all living entities become manifest from the unmanifest state, and thereafter, when the night falls, they are merged into the unmanifest again. Again and again, when Brahma's day arrives, all living entities come into being, and with the arrival of Brahma's night they are helplessly annihilated." (Bhagavad-gita 8.18-19)

"At the end of the day, under the insignificant portion of the mode of darkness, the powerful manifestation of the universe merges in the darkness of night. By the influence of eternal time, the innumerable living entities remain merged in that dissolution, and everything is silent." (Srimad-Bhagavatam 3.11.28)

"The dissolution of the three worlds is effected by the incarnation of darkness, Rudra, represented by the fire of eternal time which blazes over the three worlds. These three worlds are known as Bhuh, Bhuvah and Svah (Patala, Martya and Svarga). The innumerable living entities merge into that dissolution, which appears to be the dropping of the curtain of the scene of the Supreme Lord's energy, and so everything becomes silent." (Srimad-Bhagavatam 3.11.28 purport)

"It is said that the blazing fire from the mouth of Sankarsana rages for one hundred years of the demigods, or 36,000 human years. Then for another 36,000 years there are torrents of rain, accompanied by violent winds and waves, and the seas and oceans overflow. People forget all these devastations of the worlds and think themselves happy in the material progress of civilization. This is called maya, or ‘that which is not." (Srimad-Bhagavatam 3.11.31 purport)

"Thereafter, at the end of the millennium, the Lord Himself, in the form of Rudra, the destroyer, will annihilate the complete creation as the wind displaces the clouds. This creation is very appropriately compared to clouds." (Srimad-Bhagavatam 2.10.43)

*[Endnote 5] "There are two types of dissolution of the manifested cosmos. At the end of every 4,320,000,000 solar years, when Brahma, the lord of one particular universe, goes to sleep, there is one annihilation. And at the end of Lord Brahma's life, which takes place at the end of Brahma's one hundred years of age, in our calculation at the end of 8,640,000,000 x 30 x 12 x 100 solar years, there is complete annihilation of the entire universe, and in both the periods both the material energy called the mahat-tattva and the marginal energy called jiva-tattva merge in the person of the Supreme Lord." (Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.10.21 purport)

*[Endnote 6] "Karanodakasayi Visnu is the first incarnation of the Supreme Lord, and he is the master of eternal time, space, cause and effects, mind, the elements, the material ego, the modes of nature, the senses, the universal form of the Lord, Garbhodakasayi Visnu, and the sum total of all living beings, both moving and nonmoving." (Srimad-Bhagavatam 2.6.42)

*[Endnote 7] Lord Siva was referring to the long history in relation to Sripad Sankaracarya's propagating the concept of the living entities' oneness with God in all respects. Before the appearance of Sankaracarya fifteen hundred years ago, voidist Buddhism, which rejects the Vedas, was prominent in India. Sankaracarya is an incarnation of Lord Siva, the topmost devotee of the Lord. However, in order to drive away Buddhism and re-establish Vedic authority, he had to compromise with the atheistic Buddhist philosophy and preach a non-devotional doctrine.

*[Endnote 8] "In this case the special transforming agent is constituted of a mixture of maya's aspect of the mode of ignorance, the minuteness aspect of the marginal potency, and a slight degree of the combined knowledge (sahvit) and bliss (hladini) aspects of the transcendental potency. The effulgent subordinate controller in the form of Sambhu-linga, being united with this special transforming agent, is constitutionally the semblance of God's expansion." (Brahma-samhita commentary by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura)

*[Endnote 9] In his original and most pure form, Siva is eternally Gopisvara Mahadeva. Yet, he performed the following human-like pastime in which he ‘became' Gopisvara:

"Lord Siva wanted to become a gopi. He performed austerities, and when Paurnamasi Yogamaya became pleased and appeared before him, he prayed to join Krsna's rasa-lila. Paurnamasi mercifully assisted him in dipping in Brahma-kunda, and he immediately assumed the form of a teenage gopi. He then went to the place where rasa-lila was being performed, and hid there in a grove.

"Krsna and the gopis sensed that someone of a different mood had come. They asked each other, ‘Why are you not so happy today? What is the matter?' After searching, they discovered the new gopi and asked ‘her', ‘Who are you? What is your name? Who are your parents? What is your husband's name? Where is your in-laws' house?'

"When Siva could not reply, they began to slap her so much that her cheeks became swollen and she began to cry, ‘Yogamaya, Yogamaya. Save me. I will never again come to Vrndavana, and I will never dare take part in rasa-lila.' Paurnamasi arrived, and she requested the gopis to show Lord Siva mercy. ‘She is the object of my mercy,' Paurnamasi told them. The gopis then accepted her as a gopi and Krsna named her Gopisvara (she whose isvaras, controllers, are the gopis). He blessed her to become the guard of the rasa-lila and said, ‘Without the sanction of Gopisvara, no one will be able to enter the rasa-lila.' " (Pinnacle of Devotion)


prabhupad4.jpgTrindandisvami 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.


The Glories of Ramanujacarya

ramanuja.jpgTridandisvami Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja
North Shore, Hawaii: January 26, 2007

[[Respected Harikatha Readers, 

This year, 2018, Sri Ramanujacarya’s disappearance day is January 27th (in India). The following is a transcription of Srila Gurudeva's informal darsana, given in North Shore, Hawaii, on January 26, 2007. That informal darsana took place with only the devotees in his traveling party, so we especially thank his personal cook, Madhuvrata dasa brahmacari, for sending us the sound-file. Srila Gurudeva's talk in Hawaii was brief, and therefore we have included excerpts from his lecture given in Mathura, in 2000, in brackets, to fill out the history. To hear the soundfile of this class, please click on this link:  20070126-Hawaii-Ramanujacarya ]

Sri Ramanujacarya was born in South India. He is an incarnation of Laksmana. The word ‘anuja’ means ‘younger brother’. Rama-anuja refers to the younger brother of Lord Rama; therefore, he is Ramanuja. In Kali-yuga, he is the acarya of the Sri (Laksmi) Sampradaya. He is the disciple of Yamunacarya.

As a boy, he was exceptionally intelligent. At a very young age, he knew all Sanskrit grammar (vyakarana), literature (sahitya), and all the deep conclusions of the Vedic scriptures.

[Sri Ramanujacarya is an incarnation of Laksmana (Lord Rama’s younger brother), and he accepted the Sri Sampradaya. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura Prabhupada took many teachings from him, such as the duties of the sannyasi, the duties of the disciple, and the etiquette of the Vaisnava. He utilized one-hundred eight teachings. We follow these teachings, and we have also published them in our Bhagavata Patrika and Gaudiya Patrika (Hindi and Bengali Magazines).]

His teacher, Yadavacarya, was a follower of the Mayavada (the theory that all variety and individuality are illusion) and Advaitavada (the theory that the only truth is impersonal undifferentiated oneness) philosophies. One day, his teacher began to explain his understanding of the beauty of Sri Krsna’s eyes. In this regard Chandogya Upanisad uses the word ‘kapyasam.’ Yadavacarya explained that ‘kapi’ means ‘monkey’, and that the monkey’s rear-end (kapi-asam) is reddish on both sides. He concluded that Krsna’s lotus eyes are like a monkey’s rear-end. Hearing this, Ramanuja began to weep.

Later, when Ramanuja was massaging Yadavacarya, he told him, “The explanation you have given for kapyasam is wrong. ‘Kapi’ can be understood to mean ‘that which takes water from everywhere’. Who takes water? The sun. The word ‘asam’ also means ‘to blossom’, so the word ‘kapi-asam’ can be understood as ‘that which blossoms under the sun,’ or, in other words, ‘the lotus flower’. Thus, we can understand the verse to mean that the Lord’s eyes are as beautiful as the lotus flower.”

[Sri 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 kapyasana, 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-like 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 kapyasana actually means one who brings 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.]

Ramanuja’s teacher became astonished, thinking, “If this boy is so knowledgeable at such a young age, what will he do when he is grown up? If he remains alive, this Mayavada teaching will be finished.” His teacher then planned to murder him.

[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.”]

Thinking to trick Ramanuja, Yadavacarya told him that he was going to travel with all his students to do some preaching, and that Ramanuja should also accompany them. Ramanuja was a very sincere and innocent boy, so he didn’t understand his teacher’s intentions.

Then, when they were all in a very deep forest, they decided that this would be the time to murder him. Govinda, his cousin-brother, told him of their plan, and urged him to quickly flee from there. Therefore, in the middle of the night, Ramanuja told them that he was going to the toilet, and he ran away.

Now alone, he suddenly saw a hunter, along with his wife, holding a hurricane light. The man asked him, “Where are you going?”

Ramanuja answered, “I am going to Kancipuram.”

The man replied, “We are also going there, so come with us.”

When he arrived at Kancipuram, his own village, which was very far away, those persons disappeared. Ramanuja then began to weep. He understood that it was certainly the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Narayana Himself, along with His eternal consort, Laksimi-devi, who had saved his life.

[Throughout the day and night, he passed through the dense forest. It was difficult for him to discern his way, especially at night. The Lord, seeing His dear devotee in such a state, then appeared in the form of Bharadraja and, holding a lantern in His hand, showed Ramanuja the way. Thus, within no time at all, Sri Ramanuja crossed the entire distance of the forest and found that he was standing outside his village.]

Sometime later, Ramanuja’s teacher returned to the village. He had been thinking that perhaps a lion or tiger had eaten Ramanuja, and he was very happy. However, when he arrived, he saw that Ramanuja was alive. He called him and told him to forget everything that had happened, Ramanuja again resumed his Sanskrit studies with Yadavacarya.

[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 Sri Yamunacarya, and he eventually became Sri Yamunacarya’s disciple.] 
Later he married. After his marriage, he began to teach boys in a Sanskrit school, and all the students liked him. 
[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 somehow have to tolerate.]

One day, a disciple of Sri Yamunacarya named Kancipurna came to the house of Ramanuja. He was from a very low-caste family, but he was a very high-class devotee. He came there along with his wife by the order of his Gurudeva, and he now began to give his association to Ramanujacarya.

[A disciple of Sri 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 Ramanujacarya’s wife was drawing water from the well, Kancipurna’s wife was also there drawing water. Some water from the bucket of Kancipurna’s wife fell into Ramanuja’s wife’s bucket. She immediately became very angry and started to insult the wife of Kancipurna with abusive language. When Kancipurna returned, his wife told him of the incident at the well, and he immediately left the house of Ramanujacarya. Upon hearing the reason why his siska-guru had departed, Ramanujacarya began to think, “I should not be with this lady. Somehow, I should give her up right away.”

[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, without informing Ramanuja, he and his wife left that place and went to Sri Rangam. When Sri 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 this.”]

Later, Sri Yamunacarya sent Purnacarya to bring Ramanuja to him in Sri Rangam. However, Yamunacarya was very sick at that time, and, by the time Ramanuja arrived in Sri Rangam, he had departed from the vision of the world. Purnacarya, was sent there to bring him to Sri Rangam. Ramanuja used to give him so much honor – always offering him obeisances and treating him like his siksa-guru. While living with Ramanuja, Purnacarya began to impart the instructions he had received from his Gurudeva, Sri Yamunacarya.

One day, when Ramanuja was teaching at the school, a hungry brahmana came there. Ramanuja told him, “If you go to my house to beg, my wife will give you something.” However, when the brahmana went there, Ramanuja’s very cruel wife said, “I can’t give you anything. Go! Get out of here!” The brahmana returned to Ramanuja, who then told him to go back to his house and tell my wife, “I am coming from the house of your father. He sent me to you, so please take this letter from him.” Ramanuja personally wrote the letter he gave to the brahmana to deliver to his wife. The letter stated, “Your brother will marry very soon, so you must come to your father’s house.” After reading the letter, Ramanuja’s wife began to honor that brahmana, and she gave him a large quantity of delicious prasadam.

[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 late.”]

When his wife left to go to the house of her father, Ramanuja also left that house. He went to Sri Rangam to meet his Gurudeva, Sri Yamunacarya, but Yamunacarya had left his body just before Ramanuja arrived. Ramanuja saw that many devotees were walking with the transcendental body of Yamunacarya. All of his disciples were weeping as they carried his body to be placed in samadhi.

[After his wife left with that brahmana, Ramanuja locked the door of his house and went to Sri Rangam to meet his Gurudeva, Sri Yamunacarya. He wanted to take sannyasa from him, but when he reached Sri Rangam, he found that Sri Yamunacarya had just passed away and his disciples were walking in procession with his divine body. Ramanuja felt very disheartened and sad.]

He told them, “I have accepted Yamunacarya as my Gurudeva. I want to see his face.” Yamunacarya’s disciples stopped and lifted the cloth from his body. Ramanuja could see that three of Yamunacarya’s fingers were folded.

[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.”]

He promised in front of all present, ‘I will write the Sri-bhasya commentary on the Vedanta-sutra.” One of the fingers immediately became straight. He then said, “I will take sannyasa,” and the second finger relaxed. Lastly, he said, “I will preach the mission of my Gurudeva, Yamunacarya”, at which time the last finger relaxed and became straight. Seeing this, everyone present became astonished.

[Ramanuja became silent, and after some time he spoke, addressing Sri 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 Sri 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, Sri Ramanujacarya observed, along with all present, that three of Yamunacarya’s fingers had now opened. Then and there, Sri Ramanujacarya formally accepted tridandi sannyasa from Sri Yamunacarya.]

After Yamunacarya was given Samadhi, Ramanujacarya was elected to become the next acarya, as Yamunacarya’s successor. He immediately said, “I will not become the next acarya right away. Give me time. Give me two years.” He then spent some time with each of the prominent disciples of Yamunacarya. He served them and heard from them what they had learned from their Gurudeva. Only after hearing from them for two years did he accept the post of acarya.

[Sri Ramanujacarya had now formally taken sannyasa initiation from Sri Yamunacarya. Afterwards, all the disciples of Sri 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 Sri 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 Sri Rangam. Sri 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 Sri Yamunacarya, since he had not gotten the opportunity to spend much time with him. After serving and satisfying them, he commenced his role as acarya of the Sri Sampradaya in Sri Rangam.]

Later, the ruler of that country, King Koluttunga II, heard that Ramanujacarya was very strongly preaching his philosophy. Koluttunga II wanted him killed, fearing that if he remained alive, the Saiva Sampradaya (comprised of so-called devotees of Lord Siva) would be finished. He sent a message telling Ramanujacarya to come at once for a debate.

Ramanujacarya and all his associates knew that the king wanted to kill him. His disciple Kuresh told him, “Gurudeva, please do not go. I will go in your place. Please give me your danda and sannyasa cloth.” Insisting, Kuresh took them from him and gave him his own white cloth. He told Ramanuja to leave that place at once. Then, having taken his Guru’s sannyasa cloth and danda, Kuresh went to the palace of the king.

In the palace there was a great debate, during which Kuresh defeated all the king’s pandits. However, Kuresh was alone, so the king’s pandits told everyone that he had been defeated. They forcibly detained him, and only released him after blinding him by plucking out both of his eyes. He then began to search for his Gurudeva, who was now very far away. Fortunately, after some time, he came to the same village where Ramanujacarya was residing.

Within that village there were two disciples – one very rich and one very poor. Ramanujacarya told his disciples to go to the house of the rich devotee, because his group was more than fifty in total, and ask him to prepare prasadam and a place to stay for all of them.

Two of Ramanuja’s disciples went to the rich man’s house and gave him this message. The rich man felt extremely happy and became totally absorbed in preparing for the arrival of Ramanujacarya and all of his devotees. However, he didn’t come back out to share these plans with his two god-brothers at the door. After waiting for some time, those disciples went back to Ramanujacarya and told him that they had gone to the house of that rich devotee, but he had left them waiting and had not come back to them. Ramanujacarya replied, “Oh, then we will all go to the house of that poor man.”

That very poor brahmana used to go and beg for ingredients so that his wife could cook prasadam. He had only one piece of proper cloth, which his wife used, so when he would go begging, he would take the cloth of his wife.

On that particular day, after midday, he could not collect any more, and he decided to return home. In the meantime, before his return, Sri Ramanujacarya, with all of his disciples, suddenly came to his house. His wife was very happy to see her Gurudeva, but she also felt very ashamed because she had no proper cloth to wear. Sri Ramanuja understood this, and he gave her his own chadar. She wrapped this around herself and came in his presence.

After she gave a mat for her Gurudeva and his followers to sit on, she began to wonder, “How shall I arrange prasadam for everyone?” She remembered that one of her neighbors, who was a rich businessman, was very attracted to her and had lusty desires toward her. He had previously told her of his desires, but she was very chaste and had always rejected his proposals. However, in her current predicament, she went to that man and told him that she would fulfill his desire.

She was thinking, “What is the use of my chastity if I cannot serve my Gurudeva? For my Gurudeva, I should be prepared to do anything.” She told that rich man, “I am ready to do what you want, but in return I want you to arrange many ingredients so that I can cook and give prasadam to my Gurudeva and all of his disciples.” Hearing this, the rich man became very joyful and gave her more than what she wanted. Taking all that he gave her, she prepared very good prasadam for all the devotees, and everyone was happy.

While Ramanujacarya and all the devotees were resting after prasadam, her husband returned home. He asked her, “Gurudeva and all his disciples have come. How are we going to arrange for their needs?”

She replied, “I have done everything. There is nothing to worry about. They have all taken prasadam and are resting now.”

Her husband asked, “How did you make all those arrangements?”

She began to tell him the story about the lusty neighbor. She said, “I was thinking that my Gurudeva has come; if I cannot serve him, then what is the use of my chastity? So I went and told that lusty man that if he would give me all the ingredients to make very nice prasadam, then I would offer myself. He did as I asked, so now that it is night I must go to him.”

Her husband told her, “I will come with you.”

It was raining at that time, so they took an umbrella and went to the house of that rich person along with the mahaprasadam. The wife entered his home alone, and the man became very happy. The man asked her, “It is raining heavily tonight, and it appears you have come all alone. Didn’t anyone bring you?” She told him, “My husband came with me,” and she gave him the prasadam remnants of Ramanujacarya. The lusty man took those remnants and became totally transformed. He fell flat at the lotus feet of that lady and begged her, “Excuse me. Excuse me.”

The lady and her husband then returned to their house. The next day, their neighbor came to Ramanujacarya and prayed to him, “I want to be initiated by you.” Ramanujacarya then initiated him.

In the meantime, Kuresh arrived in the village of the poor devotee couple where Ramanujacarya was staying. Seeing Kuresh, Ramanujacarya called out his name. Kuresh went to his Gurudeva and wanted to take his darsana, but he had no eyes. Ramanujacarya put his hand over Kuresh’s wounds and two eyes at once manifested. He could see again.

Afterward, Ramanujacarya went to North India. After traveling for a long time, he eventually arrived in Kashmir. He went to Sarada-pith, the place of Sarada-devi, where he came across the Bodhayana-bhasya (commentary) of Vedanta-sutra. This Bodhayana commentary contained Vaisnava philosophical conclusions, not Mayavada theories. In the library at Sarada-pith he read that commentary, and in the night he took that book. and escaped with Kuresh

They fled from there, but the Kashmiri pandits followed them. Finally, the pandits took the book and returned to their own place. Ramanujacarya was very unhappy, but Kuresh told him, “Gurudeva, do not be unhappy. I have also read that book, and I remember all its contents. I will write them down.” Later he did this, and he gave the writings to Ramanujacarya. Ramanujacarya then wrote his Sri-bhasya on Vedanta-sutra [* See Endnote] and fulfilled the three desires of his Gurudeva, Yamunacarya.

[When Sri Ramanujacarya officially became the acarya, he began very strongly preaching the cult of Sri Yamunacarya. 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 (God), 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. Sri Ramanujacarya refuted and defeated all impersonalism by his very strong and effective preaching.]

Gaura premanande

[*Endnote: Sri Ramanujacarya has also refuted the arguments of Sankara in his own commentary on the Vedanta-sutra, which is known as the Sri-bhasya: "Sri Sankaracarya has tried to equate the Pancaratras with the philosophy of the atheist Kapila, and thus he has tried to prove that the Pancaratras contradict the Vedic injunctions. The Pancaratras state that the personality of jiva called Sankarsana has emerged from Vasudeva, the supreme cause of all causes, that Pradyumna, the mind, has come from Sankarsana, and that Aniruddha, the ego, has come from Pradyumna. But one cannot say that the living entity (jiva) takes birth or is created, for such a statement is against the injunction of the Vedas. As stated in the Katha Upanisad (2.18), living entities, as individual spiritual souls, can have neither birth nor death. All Vedic literature declares that the living entities are eternal. Therefore when it is said that Sankarsana is jiva, this indicates that He is the predominating Deity of the living entities. Similarly, Pradyumna is the predominating Deity of the mind, and Aniruddha is the predominating Deity of the ego.

"It has been said that Pradyumna, the mind, was produced from Sankarsana. But if Sankarsana were a living entity, this could not be accepted, because a living entity cannot be the cause of the mind. The Vedic injunctions state that everything-including life, mind and the senses-comes from the Supreme Personality of Godhead. It is impossible for the mind to be produced by a living entity, for the Vedas state that everything comes from the Absolute Truth, the Supreme Lord.

"Sankarsana, Pradyumna and Aniruddha have all the potent features of the absolute Personality of Godhead, according to the revealed scriptures, which contain undeniable facts that no one can refute. Therefore these members of the quadruple manifestation are never to be considered ordinary living beings. Each of Them is a plenary expansion of the Absolute Godhead, and thus each is identical with the Supreme Lord in knowledge, opulence, energy, influence, prowess and potencies.

“The evidence of the Pancaratras cannot be neglected. Only untrained persons who have not genuinely studied the Pancaratras think that the Pancaratras contradict the srutis regarding the birth or beginning of the living entity. In this connection, we must accept the verdict of Srimad-Bhagavatam, which says, `The absolute Personality of Godhead, who is known as Vasudeva and who is very affectionate toward His surrendered devotees, expands Himself in quadruple forms who are subordinate to Him and at the same time identical with Him in all respects.' The Pauskara-samhita states, `The scriptures that recommend that brahmanas worship the quadruple forms of the Supreme Personality of Godhead are called agamas .' In all Vaisnava literature it is said that worshiping these quadruple forms is as good as worshiping the Supreme Personality of Godhead Vasudeva, who in His different expansions, complete in six opulences, can accept offerings from His devotees of the results of their prescribed duties.

“Worshiping the expansions for pastimes, such as Nrsimha, Rama, Sesa and Kurma, promotes one to the worship of the Sankarsana quadruple. From that position one is raised to the platform of worshiping Vasudeva, the Supreme Brahman. In the Pauskara-samhita it is said, `If one fully worships according to the regulative principles, one can attain the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vasudeva.' It is to be accepted that Sankarsana, Pradyumna and Aniruddha are as good as Lord Vasudeva, for They all have inconceivable power and can accept transcendental forms like Vasudeva. Sankarsana, Pradyumna and Aniruddha are never born, but They can manifest Themselves in various incarnations before the eyes of pure devotees. This is the conclusion of all Vedic literature.

“That the Lord can manifest Himself before His devotees by His inconceivable power is not against the teaching of the Pancaratras. Since Sankarsana, Pradyumna and Aniruddha are, respectively, the predominating Deities of all living entities, the total mind and the total ego, the designation of Sankarsana, Pradyumna and Aniruddha as `jiva,' `mind' and `ego' are never contradictory to the statements of the scriptures. These terms identify these Deities, just as the terms `sky' and `light' sometimes identify the Absolute Brahman.

"The scriptures completely deny the birth or production of the living entity. In the Parama-samhita it is described that material nature, which is used for others' purposes, is factually inert and always subject to transformation. The field of material nature is the arena of the activities of fruitive actors, and since the material field is externally related with the Supreme Personality of Godhead, it is also eternal. In every samhita, the jiva (living entity) has been accepted as eternal, and in the Pancaratras the birth of the jiva is completely denied. Anything that is produced must also be annihilated. Therefore if we accept the birth of the living entity, we also have to accept his annihilation. But since the Vedic literatures say that the living entity is eternal, one should not think the living being to be produced at a certain time. In the beginning of the Parama-samhita it is definitely stated that the face of material nature is constantly changeable. Therefore `beginning,' `annihilation' and all such terms are applicable only in the material nature.

"Considering all these points, one should understand that Sankaracarya's statement that Sankarsana is born as a jiva is completely against the Vedic statements. His assertions are completely refuted by the above arguments. In this connection the commentary of Sridhara Svami on Srimad-Bhagavatam (3.1.34) is very helpful."

For a detailed refutation of Sankaracarya's arguments attempting to prove Sankarsana an ordinary living being, one may refer to Srimat Sudarsanacarya's commentary on the Sri-bhasya, which is known as the Sruta-prakasika. (Sri Caitanya-caritamrta Adi-lila, 5.41 purport by Srila Prabhupada Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja)]



Srila Madhvacarya

sri_madhvacarya.jpgSri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja
12 October 2005

[This year, 2018 January 26, (in India) is the disappearance day of Sri Madhvacarya, our sampradaya-acarya. Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja gave this slecture on his appearance day  October 13, 2005 in Mathura. To hear this lecture, please click on this link.]

Today is the appearance day of Sri Madhvacarya, who is the sampradaya-acarya 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 Sri Acyuta-preksa.

Madhavacarya 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 Srila Madhvacarya 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.

Srila Madhvacarya 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 Sri 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, Srila Madhvacarya wrote his own composition in the form of Sanskrit verses, defeating the impersonal conception of Sri Sankaracarya.

All the Vaisnava sampradaya-acaryas, like Sri Ramanujacarya, Visnusvami and Nimbaditya, have contributed to defeating the theories of Sri Sankaracarya, and Srila Madhvacarya 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, Srila Madhvacarya 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 Sri Ramanujacarya-sampradaya worship Sri Laksmi-Narayana, and in the sampradaya of Srila Madhvacarya there is worship of Bala-gopala Krsna.

Srila Madhvacarya established four main Mathas (temples). In each of these Mathas there were two sannyasis, so in total there were eight sannyasis. These eight sannyasi acaryas practiced worshiping Lord Krsna in the mood of the gopis, but this worship was not given to the general population.

Sriman Mahaprabhu saw some lacking in the conception of Srila Madhvacarya, and He adjusted that. Sri Kavi Karnapura and Sri Baladeva Vidyabhusana have both declared that our Sampradaya-acarya is Srila Madhvacarya. In our disciplic succession we see that Srila Madhavendra Puri took initiation from Srila Laksmipati Tirtha in the Madhva-sampradaya. Therefore we have a connection with Sri Madhvacarya, although we are especially related with Srila Madhavendra Puri. Sri Advaita Acarya and Sri Nityananda Prabhu are related with Srila Madhavendra Puri, and Madhavendra Puri is related with Sri Madhvacarya.

Some people do not accept the position of Sri Madhvacarya – that he is our Sampradaya-acarya.*[See Endnote 2] Some sahajiyas and caste gosvamis cannot reconcile this. They say that Srila Baladeva Vidyabhusana was not in our sampradaya, because he was in the Madhva-sampradaya.*[See Endnote 3] But actually, our sampradaya is related to Srila Madhvacarya. Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura has therefore said very strongly that those who do not accept Srila Baladeva Vidyabhusana or Srila Madhvacarya 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 Srila Madhvacarya 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 Srimad-Bhagavatam's four original verses, the entire Srimad-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!

*Endnote 1:

Caitanya Mahaprabhu next arrived at Udupi, the place of Madhvacarya, where the philosophers known as Tattvavadis resided. There He saw the Deity of Lord Krsna and became mad with ecstasy.


Sripada Madhvacarya 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 Madhvacarya 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 Madhvacarya 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, Madhvacarya 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 Madhvacarya 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 Madhvacarya. Accompanied by Satya Tirtha, Madhvacarya 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, Madhvacarya had finished his commentary on the Bhagavad-gita. His companion Satya Tirtha wrote down the entire commentary. When Madhvacarya 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 Madhvacarya 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 Sri 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 Madhvacarya 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 Madhvacarya 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. Madhvacarya personally brought this Deity to Udupi. Madhvacarya 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 Madhvacarya established.

Madhvacarya 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 Madhvacarya passed through that area with his disciples, he was also obliged to help in the excavation. After some time, when Madhvacarya 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 Madhvacarya 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 Madhvacarya 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, Madhvacarya 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.

Madhvacarya's devotion to the Lord and his erudite scholarship became known throughout India. Consequently the owners of the Srngeri-matha, established by Sankaracarya, became a little perturbed. At that time the followers of Sankaracarya were afraid of Madhvacarya's rising power, and they began to tease Madhvacarya's disciples in many ways. There was even an attempt to prove that the disciplic succession of Madhvacarya was not in line with Vedic principles. A person named Pundarika Puri, a follower of the Mayavada philosophy of Sankaracarya, came before Madhvacarya to discuss the sastras. It is said that all of Madhvacarya'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 Madhvacarya. A great personality named Trivikramacarya, who was a resident of Visnumangala, became Madhvacarya's disciple, and his son later became Narayanacarya, the composer of Sri Madhva-vijaya. After the death of Trivikramacarya, the younger brother of Narayanacarya took sannyasa and later became known as Visnu Tirtha.

It was reputed that there was no limit to the bodily strength of Purnaprajna, Madhvacarya. There was a person named Kadanjari who was famed for possessing the strength of thirty men. Madhvacarya 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. Srila Madhvacarya passed from this material world at the age of eighty while writing a commentary on the Aitareya Upanisad. For further information about Madhvacarya, one should read Madhva-vijaya, by Narayanacarya.

The acaryas 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 Madhvacarya-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). (Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya-lila, 9.246 purport by Srila Prabhupada Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja)]

[Endnote 2:

"Objection 4: While touring in South India, Sriman Mahaprabhu went to Udupi. There he had a discussion with a tattva-vadi acarya, who was in Sri Madhva Acarya's sampradaya. Mahaprabhu refuted the views of the tattva-vadis, so He can never be included in that sampradaya.

"Refutation: Sriman Mahaprabhuji did not directly refute Madhva Acarya'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 Sri Caitanya-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 sri vigraha has been accepted. Not only this, but sri vigraha has also been accepted as Vrajendra-nandana Sri Krsna Himself. He is worshipped in your sampradaya in the form of Nrtya-Gopala."

"This proves that Sriman Mahaprabhu refuted distortions which later entered the Madhva Sampradaya in the course of time. He did not refute Madhva Acarya'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 Sri 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 Kesava Gosvami, His Life and Teachings, pages 423-424)

Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu accepted the chain of disciplic succession from Madhva Acarya, 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. Sri Madhva Acarya is also known as Sri 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 Srimad Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Maharaja, accepted initiation in the Madhva-Gaudiya-sampradaya. (Caitanya-caritamrta – Adi-lila 1.19, purport by Srila Prabhupada Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja)]

[*Endnote 3:

"Of the four Vaisnava sampradaya-acaryas, only Madhva Acarya is celebrated by the name of tattva-vadi. Since Sri 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, Sri Jiva Gosvami glorifies his guru Sri Rupa Gosvami and his paramguru Sri Sanatana Gosvami as 'tattvajnapakau' (the acaryas who proclaim tattva). Similarly, the crown of the dynasty of vaisnava acaryas, Sri Baladeva Vidyabhusana Prabhu, has also designated Sri Rupa and Sri Sanatana as 'tattvavid-uttamau' (the highest of all knowers of tattva) in his commentary on this same sloka.|

"It is clear from this that Sri Jiva Gosvami has offered respect to Sri Madhva Acarya, and that Sri Baladeva Vidyabhusana has followed Jiva Gosvami in honoring Madhva Acarya. Baladeva Vidyabhusana Prabhu has not shown any prejudice towards Madhva Acarya. On the contrary, if we compare Jiva Gosvami with Baladeva Vidyabhusana, we find that Baladeva Vidyabhusana has glorified the two Gosvamis Sri Rupa and Sanatana more than Jiva Gosvami has. There is no doubt whatsoever that Sri Baladeva Vidyabhusana is situated in the amnaya-dhara (the transcendental current of conclusive evidence) or the parampara of Sri Gaura-Nityananda Prabhus and of Srila Jiva Gosvamipada who immediately follows them. Sri Baladeva Vidyabhusana is in the ninth generation from Sri Nityananda Prabhu according to bhagavat-parampara, and in the eighth generation according to pancaratrika-parampara. Historians have accepted his pancaratrika-parampara as follows; Sri Nityananda, Sri Gauridasa Pandita, Hrdaya Caitanya, Syamananda Prabhu, Rasikananda Prabhu, Nayanananda Prabhu and Sri Radha-Damodara. Sri Baladeva Prabhu is the initiated disciples of this Sri Radha-Damodara and is also the most prominent siksa disciple of Sri 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 Sri 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 Sri Madhva Acarya in Udupi, and that he studied the Sri Madhva commentary on Vedanta; however, the Sri Gaudiya Sampradaya was more of an influence upon him than was the Sri 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 acaryas of the very influential Madhva-Gaudiya Sampradaya. Sri Baladeva thoroughly studied the commentary of Madhva, and also made a meticulous study of the commentaries of Sankara, Ramanuja, Bhaskara Acarya, 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.

"Sri Baladeva Prabhu has described historical events and quoted the conclusions of the previous Gaudiya Vaisnava acaryas 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 Sri 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 Sri Baladeva Vidyabhusana Prabhu.

"Sri Baladeva Vidyabhusana was sent by Sri 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 Sri sampradaya in scriptural debate. There are no second opinions about this. Does this not show that Sri Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura personally inspired his siksa disciple Baladeva Vidyabhusana to prove that the Gaudiya Vaisnavas are in the line of Madhva Acarya? Srila Cakravarti Thakura sent his diksa disciple Sri Krsnadeva Sarvabhauma with Sri Baladeva to help him. If Sri 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 Sri Baladeva Vidyabhusana. There is no sound evidence to prove that Sri Baladeva Vidyabhusana was first an acarya or disciple in the Madhva Sampradaya. There may be hearsay and imaginative rumors, but no one has given any substantial proof." (Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Gosvami, His Life and Teachings, pages 416-419)]


camaraguru.jpgSrila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja
25 January 2007

[This year, 2018 the appearance day of Sri Advaita Acarya is on January 23 and 24 (See Calendar). In observance of this holy day, it is recommended to fast until noon, and then honor prasadam with Ekadasi preparations. (More information can be found in the Vaisnava calendar. 
In honor of this auspicious day, we are sending you the following lecture from Srila Narayana Maharaja's Sri Prabandhavali, [A Collection of Devotional Essays.] Movies MP3 Book-content

Advaita Saptami is the day that Sri Advaita Acarya appeared in this world. Sri Advaita Acarya, the cause of the material world, comes first; after that Sri Nityananda Prabhu comes on the day of trayodasi and then Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu Himself, descending into this world with the effulgence of radha-bhava, comes on purnima. In this way the pastimes of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu begin.

vande tam srimad-advaitacaryam adbhuta-cestitam
yasya prasadad ajno api tat-svarupam nirupayet
(Sri Caitanya-caritamrta Adi-lila 6.1)

“I pray to Sri Advaita Acarya, who performs especially wonderful pastimes, that by His mercy I may be able to easily describe this difficult-to-understand philosophical truth.”

What are his wonderful pastimes? Some of them are as follows:

Seeing Sri Nityananda Prabhu, Advaita Prabhu began complaining. “Where has this avadhuta*[see endnote 1] come from? Today He has come to our home and thrown prasada in all directions! He has no knowledge of what caste He belongs to; actually He has no caste at all. We are brahmanas, the best of society, and He has dropped prasada on the bodies of everyone here.”

Then Nityananda Prabhu said, “O offender! You are committing an offence to maha-prasada. You consider it to be mere food, and that it is merely being thrown around? You can’t see that it bestows good fortune, and that whoever’s body is touched by it at once crosses over maya.”

In this way, there was generally some transcendental loving quarrelling between Them. When they would go for bathing there would certainly be quarrelling. At that time Nityananda Prabhu was very young. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu was the youngest, next came Lord Nityananda, and the oldest was Sri Advaita Acarya, whose thoughts are sometimes very difficult to understand.

He sent a mysterious sonnet to Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.

baulake kahiha, - loka ha-ila baula
baulake kahiha – hate na vikaya caula
baulake kahiha – kaye nahika aula
baulake kahiha – iha kahiyache baula

“One madman is sending a message to another madman. There is no longer necessity for rice in the marketplace, so it is time for the shop to be closed.” (Caitanya-caritamrta Antya-lila 19.20,21)

Practically no one could understand this sonnet. Upon reading it, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu appeared a little indifferent. Only Sri Svarupa Damodara could understand a little of Sri Advaita Acarya’s mood; no one else could understand.

He said that one madman, Sri Advaita Acarya who is maddened in krsna-prema, is sending a message to another madman, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, the one who made the world mad with krsna-prema, the original madness. “There is no longer necessity for rice” means that prema has been given by Him to everyone, and now the task is completed. “Therefore the shop should be closed” means, “Your pastimes in the material world should now come to a close.” No one understood this; only Sri Svarupa Damodara could know something of its meaning. In this way, Sri Advaita Acarya's pastimes are mysterious and wonderful.

Although the gist of the Bhagavad-gita advocates bhakti, at the time of Sri Advaita Prabhu’s appearance no one was explaining it in that way. The message of the Gita is full of devotion – visate tad anantaram (Bhagavad-gita 18.55): “Ultimately he enters into Me.” Advaitavadis interpret this to mean that God and the jiva merge and become one. They say that by chanting, “aham brahmasmi” and practicing meditation, the apparent individuality of the souls merge in the end, and that the material world is false. Sri Advaita Acarya first of all gave the explanation of bhakti from these verses: satatam kirtayanto mam (Bhagavad-gita 9.14); ananyas cintayanto mam, ye janah paryupasate (9.22); and labhate bhakti param (18.54) – in the end, we will attain bhakti. By the medium of the precepts described in these verses, we enter into bhakti. It is not that we meet God in Brahman, the undifferentiated light. Visate means that we enter into His residence or abode and attain His service, but some people were trying to change the meaning.

After some time, Sri Advaita Acarya went to Santipura and also started explaining the meaning of visate tad anantaram as “aham brahmasmi: all souls will merge in Brahman.” Hearing of this, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu went to him and pulled His beard and beat Him, until Srimati Sita devi, Advaita Acarya’s wife, came and protected Him. This is also wonderful, because having been beaten, Sri Advaita Acarya became very pleased and began dancing. Previously, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu had been offering respects and services to Him, befitting one’s guru. This was because Sri Advaita Prabhu was a disciple of Madhavendra Puri, Sriman Mahaprabhu’s grand-spiritual master. Mahaprabhu was thinking, “He is a disciple of My parama-guru (grand-spiritual master), so it is My duty to offer obeisances and service to Him. He is worshipable for Me, and therefore I should serve Him.”

For ridding Himself of this situation, Sri Advaita Acarya gave the nirvisesa-vada (impersonal) explanation of the Gita. When Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu became angry and started beating Him, Advaita Acarya said, “Today My life has become successful. I wanted You to accept service from Me, because You are senior to Me. Who can possibly be senior to You?” Mahaprabhu then became shy.

Another time, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu said to His mother, Srimati Saci-devi, “I will not show love to you anymore, because you have disrespected a devotee. You have committed vaisnava-aparadha. You told Sri Advaita Prabhu, “Your name Advaita (meaning non-dual) is not suitable; rather Your name should be called Dvaita (dual). You are not advaita, You are dvaita.” You said that Sri Advaita Acarya brings “duality”, separation in relationships. He separates a mother from her son, a father from his son, a brother from his brother. Advaita Acarya explains the path of devotion, thereby breaking the chains which bind one to the material world. A mother has natural affection for her offspring, but if Advaita Prabhu is able to increase someone’s spontaneous attraction towards Lord Krsna, what could be greater than that? If someone is giving the instruction that the jiva has forgotten God for millions of births, and then establishes knowledge of our true relationship with Him and the final attainment of love for Him, and gives instruction for bhajana which cuts the chains that bind us to the material world, what could be greater?”

Srimati Saci-devi replied, “He separated me from my beloved Visvarupa. He gave such instruction to him that it separated me from my son, who left home and became a sannyasi. Advaita Acarya is that person whom having met once, one will not desire anything within this world. So His name should be “Dvaita”.

Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu said, “Since you spoke to a devotee in this way, none of us will show you love anymore.” As she stood there, everyone present told her the same thing. Saci-devi then went to beg forgiveness from Advaita Acarya, but before she could do so he fell at her feet and said, “You are the mother of the entire world. It is not possible for you to commit any offence. But alright, if someone says that there has been some offence, then I say it is hereby forgiven.” Saci-devi returned to Mahaprabhu and everything was set right. Many wonderful pastimes like this were performed by Sri Advaita Prabhu.

Sri Advaita Acarya was instrumental in bringing Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu to this world. At the end of Dvarapa-yuga, upon completing His pastimes in this world and returning to Goloka-Vrndavana, Sri Krsna thought, “I have three desires which have not yet been fulfilled. Understanding the glories of Radhika’s love, discovering the sweetness that She finds within Me, and tasting that sweetness – without assuming the sentiment of Radhika Herself and the effulgence of Her form, it will not be possible to experience these three things. I have tasted sakhya-rasa (the mood of friendship), vatsalya-rasa (the parental mood), and madhurya-rasa (the mood of a paramour), but as yet I have been unable to experience what Her happiness is upon seeing Me, and what is the nature of Her love for Me.”

At that time, it was necessary for the yuga-dharma (the religious principles for this Age) to be given. The Age of Kali, which lasts for 432,000 years, had come. Ordinarily, at the end of each yuga an incarnation of the Supreme Lord comes, just as at the end of Treta-yuga, Sri Ramacandra came, and at the end of Dvarapa-yuga, Sri Krsna came. Such a yuga-avatara comes when the disorder in the material world has reached its highest limit.

sambhavami yuge yuge

“In order to re-establish the principles of religion, I appear millennium after millennium” (Bhagavad-gita 4.8)

The Supreme Personality of Godhead thinks, “Just see how much sinful activity is increasing, and how the chaos is escalating due to the demons. I should descend.”

There are actually four reasons for Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s descent. Two are primary and two are secondary. The most primary reason is for tasting the prema of Radhika, and the second reason is:

anarpita-carim cirat karunayavatirnah kalau
samarpayitum unnatojjvala-rasam sva-bhakti-sriyam

“By His causeless mercy He appears in the age of Kali to bestow what no incarnation has ever offered before: unnata ujjvala-rasa – the most sublime conjugal mellow of His own service.” (Caitanya-caritamrta Adi-lila 1.4)

Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu wanted to give the wealth of a special love to the jivas, which had never been bestowed by any previous incarnations: unnata ujjvala-rasa – the parakiya-bhava of the gopis. There are two kinds of unnata ujjvala parakiya-rasa. One kind, the sentiment of Radhika, is not ‘giveable’. But the other, the sentiment of the nitya-sakhis and the prana-sakhas who serve Radha, and who, following Her, also serve Krsna – that unnata ujjvala-rasa can be given. Therefore, to bestow the highest prema upon all jivas and to taste the prema of Radhika, Krsna decends as Mahaprabhu.

His third reason for the His coming is to preach the yuga-dharma, nama-sankirtana; and the fourth reason is:

yada yada hi dharmasya
glanir bhavati bharata
abhyutthanam adharmasya
tadatmanam srjamy aham

“Whenever and wherever there is a decline in religious practice, O descendent of Bharata, and a predominant rise of irreligion – at that time I descend.” (Bhagavad-gita 4.7)

These are the four reasons.

Krsna was thinking, “When should I go? To establish the yuga-dharma, it is alright to descend at the end of the yuga, but if instead I preach nama-sankirtana at the beginning of the yuga, the degrading influence of the yuga will have a lesser effect on the jivas. When should I give the sentiment of the gopis, and when should I taste the love of Radhika?” He was considering all of these things.

Meanwhile Sri Advaita Acarya saw that bhakti was gradually disappearing from the world, and He thought, “Now is the appropriate time for Sri Krsna’s incarnation. If He doesn’t come now, what will happen later?” He was thinking this in the form of Karanodasayi Visnu. He was pondering in that place where sattva, rajas, and tamasa (the material qualities of goodness, passion and ignorance) are all in the same position.

There are two causes of the world: one is upadana, the ingredient cause, and the other is nimitta, the efficient or instrumental cause. Lord Maha-Visnu Himself is the nimitta cause, and His part, Sri Advaita Acarya, is the upadana cause. Suppose I were to point to someone and say, “This man is a hooligan, a thief and a liar. Grab him and throw him outside; he should never be allowed in here again.” You may not know him, but by my saying this you throw him out. So, who is the cause of his being thrown out? By my order you grabbed this man and ejected him, so you are the upadana cause and I am the nimitta cause. But who is the real cause of the man being ejected? By his own misbehavior, the man himself is the cause; and this is exactly the situation regarding the creation of the material world.

Karanodasayi Visnu assumes two forms to create the material world: as the efficient or instrumental cause and the ingredient cause. When the two of them come together, countless universes are generated. But if the Lord did not inject His desire, nothing would have transpired. In any activity, there is first the desire for it to take place.

Therefore the desire of Maha-Visnu is the primary cause, and dependent on His desire is the desire of Sri Advaita Acarya, which is the secondary cause. In this way Karanodasayi, Visnu performs the activity of creating the world, and His incarnation is Sri Advaita Acarya.

advaita-acarya gosani saksat isvara
yanhara mahima nahe jivera gocara

“Sri Advaita Acarya is directly the isvara Himself. His glories cannot be comprehended by ordinary living beings.” (Caitanya-caritamrta Adi-lila 6.6)

From mahat-tattva, false ego arises. From false ego comes form, smell, touch, taste, and sound. Next come the eleven senses, and next are the five material elements. That makes twenty-two material elements, and with the intelligence and mind there are twenty-four. Then, adding prakrti, purusa, atma, and Paramatma, there are twenty-eight aspects of tattva altogether. Leaving aside the Supreme Lord and the living entity, only the remainder is accepted by the sankhya and nyaya schools of thought.

ye purusa srsti-sthiti karena mayaya
ananta brahmanda srsti karena lilaya

icchaya ananta murti karena prakasa
eka eka murte karena brahmande pravesa

se purusera amsa – advaita, nahi kichu bheda
sarlura-visesa tanra – nahika viccheda

sahaya karena tanra la-iya ‘pradhana’
koti brahmanda karena icchaya nirmana

“Maha-Visnu performs the function of creation of all the material universes, and Advaita Acarya is directly an incarnation of Him. Creating and maintaining these countless universes by His external energy is His pastime, and by His own will He expands into countless forms and enters into each and every universe. Advaita Acarya is a non-different part and parcel of Maha-Visnu, or in other words, another form of Him.” (Caitanya-caritamrta Adi-lila 6.8-11)

Some say that nature enacts the process of creation by itself, and they give this example: “A cow eats grass, and automatically milk is produced. What is the necessity of anyone else in this process? In this way nature does everything by itself.” To refute this, an innocent, less-educated Vaisnava once said, “The cow eats grass and then gives milk, so why then doesn’t the bull eat grass and also give milk? Does he need to eat more grass?” The scholar of the sankhya school had to think for a moment. Then he said, concerning the upadana or ingredient cause, “To make a house, all elements such as bricks are necessary.” Then the Vaisnava said, “So, if by bricks or cement a house will be made, then here we will place one thousand kilos of cement, ten-thousand bricks, an entire lake of water, and wood and marble also. Will that make a house? By the upadana alone it will not happen, because it needs the nimitta or instrumental cause. There may be a pen and paper, but will they write by themselves? Thus, by the material nature alone creation will not take place. There must also be the desire of the Supreme Lord.”

No action can take place by itself in the material world, and therefore this prakrti-vada philosophy is erroneous. Prakrti is inert matter, and Purusa is conscious; when both come together there is creation. In prakrti there is no action, no innate desire – it is inert matter. However, when it is activated by the Purusa, the task is automatically accomplished. The communists say, “What is the need of God in this? Nature does creation by itself”. But there is no one in the world who can create by himself.

A lame man and a blind man were going somewhere together, and the lame man said, “Take me on your shoulders. Seeing with my eyes, I will tell you to go right, left, or straight on the path, and we will go there with your legs. Otherwise, you will not be able to go there, and neither will I.” Working together, they reached their desired destination. In this example the lame man is conscious, and the blind man is also conscious, and both being conscious, the work was done. In creation, on the other hand, only God is conscious; nature is not. Without at least one conscious being, no work in the world can be done.

These issues may seem dry, but they are actually very important and tasteful points related to bhakti, and Vaisnavas should make an effort to understand them.

In all this tattva, elaboration of established truths, the root cause of the material world is Lord Krsna – because originally He injects His desire. He then becomes two kinds of Sankarsana: first the root or Mula-Sankarsana, and then Maha-Sankarsana. From Maha-Sankarsana He becomes Karanodasayi Visnu, and subsequently He becomes Sri Advaita Acarya as the upadana cause. Some people say that the upadana cause is separate from the Lord, that it is not God. They say that God may be the nimitta cause, but He cannot be the upadana cause. However, besides Sri Krsna there is nothing, so from where has the material world come? From where has the mahat-tattva (the sum-total material ingredients) come? It has also come from the desire of Krsna. There is nothing in all of existence that is separate from Him. Karanodasayi manifests the creation, and the mahat-tattva, nature herself, is thus non-different from Him. To correct the souls that have forgotten God, material nature is manifest by His desire and it gives the jiva an external form. The jiva may consider his placement in that condition of life to be an opportunity for great happiness, but actually it is a punishment. When a crazy man dances around naked, people beat him. Without eating or drinking he wanders about, saying, “I am the King” or “I am the Prime Minister” – and he thinks himself to be happy. Our condition is exactly like that. We may consider ourselves happy, but in reality we are not in a happy condition at all.

Thus Sri Advaita Acarya was thinking, “The world has become atheistic. One after another, people are forgetting God, and for Me to rectify them alone is not possible. To bring devotion to the non-devotees will be very, very difficult work. Without the potency of Lord Krsna Himself, it simply cannot be done.”

Besides devotees, there are many people in the world who are preaching, but they are all preaching maya. They preach twisted philosophies, and seeing this Sri Advaita Acarya thought, “They have no relation with God and they do not preach bhakti. Even when they do preach from the Srimad-Bhagavatam and the Gita, they express only the desires of their minds. They are indifferent to sanatana-dharma and pure devotion, and all of them –especially the mayavadis – will only hear what they want to hear.

“Defeating Ravana was not a very difficult task, and killing Kamsa was also not difficult. These actions could have been done by a Visnu incarnation, but changing the thinking of these mayavadis is very difficult. It will only be possible if Krsna Himself comes into this world.”

Since Sri Advaita Prabhu was at least sixty years old when Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu appeared, He was the oldest of all of His associates. Sri Nityananda Prabhu was approximately five years older than Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.

Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s plan was that He would first arrange for His devotees to appear in the world, and then He would personally descend. Sri Advaita Acarya appeared first, and seeing the condition of the world, He thought, “How will I call Krsna? There are so many types of worship of Krsna, but amongst all of these, the glories of tulasi worship are the greatest. Sri Krsna will be so pleased with anyone who offers Him a tulasi leaf and Ganges water that He will become overpowered.” Thus, He took a tulasi bud – two soft leaves with a manjari in the middle – and with great prema and tears flowing from His eyes, he worshipped Krsna beside the Ganges.

Krsna had originally been thinking, “When will I descend? Maybe in ten or twenty thousand years, or maybe even after one hundred thousand years.” But upon hearing Advaita Acarya's prayer, He came at once. Therefore, Sri Advaita Acarya is another important reason for the descent of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.

At birth, Sri Advaita Acarya was given the name Kamalaksa, because His eyes were as beautiful as lotus petals. He appeared at Sri Hatya in East Bengal. Staying sometimes in Navadvipa and sometimes in Santipura, He began preaching bhakti. He was there in Navadvipa when Sriman Mahaprabhu took birth. Sri Visvarupa, Lord Caitanya’s older brother, attended Advaita Prabhu’s school. One day Mother Saci told Nimai to go and call His brother. When He arrived at the school, Nimai glanced in the direction of Sri Advaita Acarya and said, “What do you see? You called Me here, and you don’t recognize Me? When the proper time comes, you will certainly recognize Me.”

There are unlimited incarnations of Lord Visnu, and they are all non-different from Krsna, but their activities and pastimes are different. Therefore, because Sri Advaita Acarya is non-different from Him, He is ‘advaita’, and because He manifested bhakti in all directions, He is known as ‘acarya’. How did He preach bhakti? If anyone was born in a sudra family, a Muslim family, or any family, and performed devotional service to Lord Krsna with heart, Sri Advaita Prabhu considered him better than a brahmana who didn’t engage in such worship. If there is someone who has taken birth in a high brahmana family, is a big scholar, is of good conduct, speaks the truth and never lies, but doesn’t engage in pure devotion, he is inferior to one who has taken birth in a sudra family or in a family of cremation ground workers, if that person just cries out “Krsna! Krsna!” and does no other spiritual activity whatsoever. That sudra is superior to a caturvedi-brahmana. Sri Advaita Acarya proved this point and preached it.

Srila Haridasa Thakura was born in a Muslim family. At the sraddha ceremony for Sri Advaita Acarya’s father, the highest seat and prasada were to be offered first to the most elevated person. Sri Advaita Acarya was performing the ceremony when the moon was in the appropriate place in the month of Asvina. All the high-class brahmanas were there –Bhattacarya, Trivedi, Caturvedi, Upadhyaya – and all of them were big, big scholars. After washing their feet, Advaita Acarya showed them to their respective seats. In front was an elevated seat, and Advaita Prabhu was standing and thinking, “Who will I seat here?”

All of the scholars were thinking, “I know so many scriptures; certainly I will be offered that seat.” Silently they were all aspiring for it. Advaita Acarya then went outside the house and saw Srila Haridasa Thakura, wearing a langoti (loincloth) and sitting at the door. Srila Haridasa Thakura was thinking, “The brahmanas will take their meal here, so Sri Advaita Acarya will certainly give me a little of their prasada.” He had so much humility that he was thinking that if he would go inside the house would be contaminated. Advaita Acarya at once embraced him and Haridasa Thakura said, “Oh, You are a brahmana and I am a Muslim! Having touched me, you must now go and bathe.” Then, grabbing and taking him inside, Sri Advaita Acarya sat him on the elevated seat, at which time there was a great outcry in all directions. The brahmanas said, “By bringing a Muslim in here, you have contaminated this place and insulted us! We will not eat here!”

Taking their water pots, they all stood up and left. They began insulting Sri Advaita Acarya, saying, “You are opposed to the principles of dharma!” Sri Advaita Acarya said, “Today My birth has become successful, and today my father has attained Vaikuntha. By giving respect to one Vaisnava today, millions of my ancestors have crossed over maya. If Srila Haridasa Thakura will eat here, that will be greater than feeding millions of brahmanas.”

Srila Haridasa Thakura began crying, thinking, “Because of me, all these brahmanas have been insulted and are not eating.” But Sri Advaita Acarya said, “Haridasa, today you will certainly take prasada here. That will be our great good fortune.” Then He said to the brahmanas, “He will stay, and none of you will get prasada. Actually, you should all leave here quickly, because just seeing your faces is a great sin. Srila Haridasa Thakura has great regard for maha-prasada, and therefore he is included within the Vaisnava class. Anyone who doesn’t accept this is an atheist, and one who judges a Vaisnava by his birth is an atheist. You can all go away from here, and then your offences will leave with you. You are offending Haridasa, and offending me as well.”

All the scholars left the house, but once outside, as they were going, they began speaking amongst themselves: “Advaita Acarya is no ordinary personality. He is a great scholar, He knows all the scriptures, and He is an exalted preacher of bhakti.” They continued deliberating, and after fully reconsidering, they returned, fell at Sri Advaita Prabhu's feet and begged forgiveness.

Sri Advaita Acarya had many sons, and one was named Acyutananda. Because some of His other sons didn’t engage in bhajana, He didn’t consider them His sons at all and He renounced them. Only those sons who performed bhajana of Sri Krsna did He make His successors. Especially because of one incident in Jagannatha Puri, Acyutananda was made His successor. The Ratha-yatra procession was going on, and at that time Acyutananda was just a small boy. Some Vaisnavas came and asked Advaita Acarya, “What is the name of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s guru?” He replied, “Kesava Bharati.”

At that time Acyutananda was sitting in his father’s lap, and upon hearing this he began trembling with anger. He was just a small boy; nevertheless, he got up from his father’s lap and started to walk away, saying, “You cannot be my father if you have such an idea. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu is the guru of the entire world! Who can possibly be His guru?”

Tears came to the eyes of Sri Advaita Acarya and He said, “You will be known as my real son. What you have said is correct: Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu is the guru of the entire world. But for His pastimes in human form, He must set the example for others. Otherwise what would happen? How would the people of this world know that it is necessary to accept a guru?”

In this way Sri Advaita Acarya performed many wonderful and instructive pastimes, and he was an assistant to all of the pastimes of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Therefore, today we will offer a special prayer to his lotus feet – that He may be merciful upon us so that we can make steady progress in bhakti and ultimately attain the direct service of Sri Gauracandra.

Gaura Premanande hari hari bol

[*endnote – “The word avadhuta refers to one who does not care for social conventions, particularly the varnasrama-dharma. However, such a person may be situated fully within himself and be satisfied with the Supreme Personality of Godhead, on whom he meditates. In other words, one who has surpassed the rules and regulations of varnasrama-dharma is called avadhuta. Such a person has already surpassed the clutches of maya, and he lives completely separate and independent.” (Srila Prabhupada’s purport to Srimad-Bhagavatam 5.5.30)]


A Celebration of Four Holy Days

gdgov.jpgSri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja
17 February 2002

A lecture on the topics of
1) Vasanta-Pancami
2) The Appearance Day of Visnu-priya devi
3) The Appearance Day of Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami

[This year, 2015, the anniversary of the holiday celebrating Vasanta-Pancami, the appearance days of Srimati Visnu-priya devi and Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami, and the disappearance day of Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura takes place on January 24th and 25th around the world. Please enjoy the following timeless lecture, given in Murwillumbah, Australia, on February 17, 2002, in honor of this holy day.]

Vasanta Pancami

In India, there are many festivals held for the worship of Lord Krsna. There the year is divided into six seasons, each lasting two months. Among the six seasons, the most glorious is Vasanta, Spring. The Vasanta season is very pleasant, for the weather is neither too hot nor too cold at that time. An abundance of fragrant flowers, like beli, cameli, jui and others bloom everywhere, and flowers such as ratkerani (night queen) bloom even at night. Rivers like Ganges and Yamuna are especially clean and pure at that time, looking as though they are simply waiting for Sri Sri Radha and Krsna, and the lands in many places look like yellow carpets because they are full with varieties of yellow flowers. Krsna's garments are also yellow, because His most beloved Srimati Radhika has a yellowish-golden complexion and He wants to be always embraced by Her.

Today is Vasanta-Pancami, the beginning of the Vasanta season, at which time the Rasa Dance of Krsna was performed in Govardhana, in the village of Parasauli, by the lake known as Candra Sarovara.

At that time the gopis were dancing with Krsna for the duration of a night that became billions of years; it became as long as one entire day of Brahma. On that night the moon stood still, not moving from its best view of the sight of the dancing of Radhika and all Her sakhis with Lord Krsna. Such beautiful pastimes were born from an ocean of rasas (sweet, transcendental mellow tastes), saturated with unlimited happiness.

Radha-Gokulanda-Kartika-Oct-12-2006-046In Saradiya, the autumn season, the Rasa Dance was performed in Vrndavana, under the shade of the Vamsivata tree, in the beginning of Kartika month. All classes of gopis participated in that Saradiya rasa-yatra, whereas in this Govardhana Vasanti-rasa, only the highest class of gopis were allowed to participate. In this Spring Rasa Dance, Lord Krsna openly demonstrated the prominence and superiority of Srimati Radhika.

Krsna disappeared in the midst of this Vasanti Rasa Dance, and all the gopis were bitterly crying, "Where is Krsna? Where is Krsna?" The gopis searched for Him everywhere, and after some time they saw Him in His four-handed form, standing like a statue. Coming nearer, they said, "Oh, He looks like Krsna, but at the same time He is not Krsna. Our Krsna is not four-handed. Where is His flute, His peacock feather, and all His other apparel gone? He now carries a conch shell, disc, club, and lotus flower – in four hands!" They prayed to him, "We are very attached to Krsna, and we are searching for Him. We will die without Him. If you are Narayana, please be merciful and tell us which way He went. Be merciful so that we may find Him." Then, after praying in this way, they left and went on their way.

candrasarovaraWhen Srimati Radhika was arriving after the other gopis had left that place, the breeze that had just touched Her veil carried so much fragrance from Her body that it entered the nostril of Krsna and He thought, "Oh, My most beloved is near." He forgot that He was supposed to maintain His four-handed form, and He could no longer hide His original form. Two hands disappeared at once, entering His body, and His original two-armed form reappeared – with His flute in His hands and His peacock feather atop His head.

rasarambha-vidhau niliya vasata kunje mrgaksi-ganair
drstam gopayitum svam uddhura-dhiya ya susthu sandarsita
radhayah pranayasya hanta mahima yasya sriya raksitum
sa sakya prabhavisnunapi harina nasic catur-bahuta

["At the beginning of the Rasa Dance, Lord Krsna hid Himself in a grove just to have fun. When the gopis came, their eyes resembling those of deer, by His sharp intelligence He exhibited His beautiful four-armed form to hide Himself. But when Srimati Radharani came there, He could not maintain His four arms. This is the wonderful glory of Her love." (a quotation from the Ujjvala-nilamani by Srila Rupa Gosvami, as quoted in Sri Caitanya-caritamrta Adi 17.293)]

When Krsna sees Radhika, His most beloved and the embodiment of all love and affection, He forgets everything else. She is no one other than Krsna. She is Krsna Himself, but in the body of Radhika.

In this way, Krsna returned to His own form and quickly embraced Her. This occurred in vasanti-rasa-lila.

In the chapter of Sri Caitanya-caritamrta called Raya Ramananda Samvad, Srila Caitanya Mahaprabhu questioned Sri Raya Ramananda Prabhu, "What is our sadhya (perfection) and our sadhana (the process to achieve that perfection)?" Raya Ramananda replied, beginning from varnasrama-dharma. He told Mahaprabhu, "According to the adherents of varnasrama-dharma, to be in family life and pursue varnasrama-dharma (the execution of the religious duties of the different castes and statuses of life), in order to please Krsna, is the best process to please Him." Mahaprabhu rejected this and said, "In varnasrama there is no pure relationship between the soul and Krsna." After that, Raya Ramananda suggested, "One should offer the fruits of all his activities to the lotus feet of Krsna," but Mahaprabhu rejected this also, and said, "This is external; go further."

After that Raya Ramananda said, "One should take shelter of the lotus feet of Krsna," and he quoted a verse from Bhagavad-gita: "Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me. I shall deliver you from all sinful reactions. Do not fear." (Bhagavad-gita 18.66)] Krsna is saying here, "If you take the shelter of My lotus feet, you will be happy forever." People all over the world think that this is the essence of the Bhagavad-gita, but Mahaprabhu rejected it as external and therefore not the ultimate goal of life, and He told Raya Ramananda, "Go on; continue further.

Raya Ramananda then suggested karma-jnana-misra-bhakti (devotion contaminated by mental speculation and the desire to enjoy the fruits of one's actions), and he uttered the verse: "One who is transcendentally situated by realizing the impersonal brahma never laments or desires to have anything. He is equally disposed toward every living entity. He has the opportunity to realize the Supreme Brahman and become fully joyful if he attains pure devotional service unto Me."(Bhagavad-gita 18.54)]

Sriman Mahaprabhu also rejected both concepts – karma-jnana-misra-bhakti and brahma-bhutah – because they are devoid of pure devotion, and after that Raya Ramananda gradually came to the topic of prema-bhakti. Mahaprabhu replied to this, "This may be the stage of perfection, but please go further." Raya Ramananda then discussed dasya, sakya, and vatsalya-prema (love for Krsna in the moods of servant, friend, and parent) and Mahaprabhu said, "Oh, very good, very good! But please continue further." In bhakti-rasa (intimate devotion to Krsna while thinking oneself in a relationship with Him as an ordinary cowherd boy), Krsna is not anyone's father or mother. In the understanding of pure bhakti, the Supreme Lord cannot be anyone's father or a mother – He may only be a son. We can serve Krsna in any of four relationships, but if we think that He is our father or mother, we cannot serve Him, because fathers and mothers serve their children.

After hearing about these relationships, Caitanya Mahaprabhu told Raya Ramananda, "Please speak further," and Raya Ramananda then said, "Gopi-prema (serving Krsna as a beloved) is the highest attainment, and among the gopis Srimati Radhika is the best. When Mahaprabhu asked Raya Ramananda to give an example of a pastime that reveals Radhika's supremacy, Raya Ramananda first gave the example of Saradiya rasa-lila. He said, "All the gopis were dancing with Krsna, and it appeared that one gopi danced between each two Krsna's and one Krsna danced between each two gopis. Billions of gopis were dancing together with Krsna, but all of a sudden He disappeared. Why did He disappear? He did so to please Radhika. He took Her with Him, and no one knew where He or His beloved had gone."

Mahaprabhu then expressed His doubt: "Because Krsna met with Radhika after His disappearance from the Rasa Dance, it seems that He was fearing all the other gopis. If He openly gives up all the gopis, leaving with Radhika in front of them all, then only it will be shown that the love of Radhika is the highest."

rasalilaSri Raya Ramananda then explained about this vasanti-rasa. He said, "Krsna was dancing with billions of gopis, and meanwhile Radhika thought, 'Krsna always promises: "You are My most beloved." But I see that He is dancing with Me and all the other gopis as well; so perhaps we are all equal in His eyes.' At that time Radhika adopted a sulky mood and became somewhat angry. She thus left the Rasa Dance in front of all the other gopis, and Krsna followed Her.

"Krsna was thinking, 'If Radhika is not here, there can be no Rasa. There can be no meaning to the Rasa. I am performing rasa-lila only for Radhika. She is My half, My whole, My guru and My servant; She is everything to Me. She is My life and soul. In vasanti-rasa, Krsna declared this openly."

Mahaprabhu then said, "Oh, this is good!" and He questioned further, "I want to know about krsna-tattva, radha-tattva, prema-tattva, and rasa-tattva from you." When Raya Ramananda began to deeply describe these topics, however, Mahaprabhu stopped him and said, "Don't say anymore. These subject matters are so elevated that there is no one in this world qualified to hear them. If you continue to speak about them, I will at once enter the mood of Krsna and I will have to give up this form of Sacinandana Gaurahari." Raya Ramananda then stopped speaking.

For us, today is the observance of the anniversary celebration of that very same vasanti-rasa, and for Krsna this rasa is going on eternally. All of His pastimes are eternally manifest in Goloka Vrndavana, and He also displays them throughout innumerable universes as He appears in one universe after another. Here in vasanti-rasa, Krsna declared openly, "My super-most beloved is Srimati Radhika."

There is no difference between Srimati Radhika and Lord Krsna. Krsna manifested Radhika from His left side. If we can make Radhika happy, then Krsna will be happy and He will be controlled quite easily; and this is the purpose of our observance of vasanti-rasa.

The Appearance Day of Srimati Visnupriya-devi

Today is also the birthday of Visnu-priya devi – the wife – the power – the energy – of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. She is one of the manifestations of Srimati Radhika, she is especially a manifestation of Satyabhama, and she is the Supreme Lord's Bhu-sakti.* She had great love and affection for Sacinandana Gaurahari and was married to Him for many years; but Mahaprabhu was always absorbed in Radha's mood, calling out, "Alas, Krsna! Alas, Krsna!" and He had no time to talk with her. Though they were in one family, in one house, He was always absorbed in the ecstasies of Srimati Radhika. Thus, He was sometimes falling down and rolling on the earth, sometimes crying, and sometimes singing loudly like a mad person.

"In the stage of love of Godhead, the devotee is fixed in his vow as an eternal servant of the Lord, and he becomes very much attached to a particular name and form of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. As his heart melts with ecstatic love, he laughs very loudly or cries or shouts. Sometimes he sings and dances like a madman, for he is indifferent to public opinion." (Srimad-Bhagavatam 11.2.40)]

Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu was always acting in this way, and continually weeping. If you want to develop love for Krsna, you will have to follow Caitanya Mahaprabhu and always weep for Krsna. We see that He was weeping throughout His life, from the beginning. This increased further when He took sannyasa and left everything to go to Jagannatha Puri, and it increased still further after He met with Raya Ramananda.

Although Visnu-priya devi was married to Mahaprabhu in His family life, He hardly ever spoke with her, especially when He returned from Gaya, where He took harinama and diksa initiation from His Gurudeva, Sri Isvara-puripada. His personality changed at that time. He was no longer known as Nimai Pandita. Now He became known as Bhavuka Nimai, Nimai who is always absorbed in His ecstatic moods of krsna-prema.

At this time, however, some of the inhabitants of Navadvipa, especially the students and His former teachers in the schools, became somewhat unfavorable towards Him and wanted to control Him. Mahaprabhu thought, "I came to give the supreme medicine for everyone's material disease, but these persons quarrel with Me and insult Me. I should take sannyasa, the renounced order of life, for then they will weep for Me* [See Endnote 2], and thus I will immerse the whole world – including mayavadis like Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya and Prakasananda Sarasvati – in krsna-prema." This is one of the reasons Caitanya Mahaprabhu took sannyasa.

On the day He decided to take sannyasa, Visnu-priya devi went to bathe in the Ganges. While she was on the way there, she accidentally stubbed her toe on a stone, and it was injured and bled. Then, while she was in the midst of bathing there, the nose-ring she had received on her marriage day and which is very auspicious for a wife, fell in the Ganges. Although she searched for it with great endeavor, She could not find it. She began to weep bitterly, "Why are all these things happening today?" Later, when She returned home, Saci Mata asked her, "Oh my daughter, why you are weeping so?" She replied, "Today I went to bathe in the Ganges. My foot was injured and I lost the nose-ring of my marriage day. I don't know what is to be my fate." Her mother tried to console her.

Although Caitanya Mahaprabhu had previously paid practically no attention to her, that night, after taking some prasadam, He decorated her hair and placed betel nuts in her mouth. That morning He had gone to visit and meet with all His associates. He had procured some milk and He had also gotten a loki vegetable from Sridhara, with whom He would always jokingly quarrel. When He returned home in the evening He told Saci Mata, "Mother, please make a lak-laki preparation from these, adding sugar, ghee, camphor and other ingredients, and offer it to Lord Krsna." He later honored that prasada, after which He entered the room of Visnu-priya devi like a luxurious person, in royal dress, as one would dress for a wedding ceremony. Then, with love and affection He asked her, "O, how are you?" He decorated her, gave her a beautiful garland, placed betel nuts in her mouth, and engaged in loving conversation with her.

Visnu-priya began thinking, "What am I seeing? A hurricane light, which burns with kerosene oil, burns brightly when it is just about to be extinguished. It makes the sounds 'buk buk', then 'tuk', and then it becomes dark; it's finished. I see now that my fate may be like this. Considering what happened this morning, and seeing how He is decorating me so lavishly, giving me betel nuts and saying with flattering words, 'My dear-most beloved', I wonder what is my fate. Why is He doing this?"

In the meantime, Yogamaya came and entered Visnu-priya's eyes in the form of sleepiness. She did not want to fall asleep, but by the power of Yogamaya she was forced to do so. Caitanya Mahaprabhu glanced at her once, and then stood up to leave home and take sannyasa.

Without giving up everything in this world, how can one love Lord Krsna totally? If your love and affection is divided between many persons, situations and objects, how you can you love Krsna? We have seen that in India, exalted devotees like Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami and Srila Rupa Gosvami, and also Caitanya Mahaprabhu Himself, quickly gave up their positions, wealth, reputation, father, mother, wife and children. Weeping for Krsna, they left their homes and took sannyasa, not remembering their homes or families at all, and always remembering, "Krsna! Krsna! Krsna!"

When Mahaprabhu was coming out of His home, He saw His mother standing like a dried-up statue, with no tears in her eyes. She couldn't even think of what to do. Air was coming and going from her nostrils, but she had no external consciousness at all – for Mahaprabhu, by His power of Yogamaya, was controlling her. Mahaprabhu did parikrama of His mother three or four times, touched her lotus feet, and told her, "Mother I am going to search for My beloved Krsna." Then, in the middle of that cold and dark night, He jumped in the Ganges, calling out "Oh Krsna!" He came out on the other side of the river, in Kantaka Nagari, and there He went to see Kesava Bharati to take sannyasa from him.

After accepting the sannyasa order, Mahaprabhu went to Jagannatha Puri, and from Puri He returned to Navadvipa on the way to Vrndavana. While there, all the residents came from here and there by boat and other conveyances to see Sacinandana Gaurahari. Even dogs and blind persons came, and Saci Mata also came.

Everyone was present except Visnu-priya. Why was she not allowed to come? This is the symptom of love and affection for Krsna. If you will give up your dear-most object for Krsna, this is the symptom that you have some love and affection for Him. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu taught this by His own example, and for this reason Visnu-priya was not there. Everyone else was allowed to come, but she was not.

What was she doing? She was weeping continuously. She was more attached to Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu than anyone else was, and she was more detached from worldly things than even Caitanya Mahaprabhu Himself. She maintained her life by taking some grains of rice, one by one, and using them as counting beads as she continually chanted, "Hare Krsna Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama Hare Hare." Every time she completed the utterance of these sixteen words, she picked up one grain of rice and placed it on a pile. She would wash the rice grains, one by one, with the water of her tears as she chanted until midday, and then she would cook that rice with some vegetables. She would then give the bhoga to Mother Saci, who would offer it to her Deity, Narayana. After that she would eat very little of it, remembering the pastimes of Sacinandana. Her life was totally absorbed in Lord Krsna and Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, and she chanted Hare Krsna day and night. After some time Mahaprabhu somehow gave her a Deity of Himself, made from neem wood, and that Deity is being worshiped in Navadvipa up to the present day. Visnu-priya used to worship that Deity, weeping bitterly and talking with Caitanya Mahaprabhu, and He would also speak to her in the form of that Deity.

Saci Mata also remembered Caitanya Mahaprabhu always. She used to offer Him prasadam, and He used to come to her house and eat it – although she thought His coming was only her imagination or only a vision. He was bound to come – bound by the love and affection of Saci Mata and Visnu-priya devi.

If one wants to serve Mahaprabhu or Radha-Krsna, he must be like Visnu-priya. She was much more renounced than anyone else, including Mahaprabhu. He was renounced, but not like her. Also, He was always surrounded by so many bhaktas who consoled Him, but she had none to console her.

Today is birthday of Visnu-priya, who is the embodiment of prema-bhakti. She is prema-bhakti itself.

Visnu-priya devi ki Jaya!

[Question:] Gurudeva, you said Visnu-priya devi is Bhu-sakti. So is she like Laxmi?

[Srila Gurudeva:] No, she is like Satyabhama.

[Question:] But we hear that Navadvipa-dhama is non-different from Vraja.

[Srila Gurudeva:] Yes

[Question:] How can Satyabhama be in Vraja-lila?

[Gurudeva:] Radhika has come as Gadadhara Pandita, and Sri Svarupa Damodara and Sri Raya Ramananda have come as Lalita and Visakha. The associates of Nrsimhadeva, Ramacandra, and all other incarnations have also come to Navadvipa, because Sacinandana Gaurahari includes all incarnations. All incarnations are within Him. So Satyabhama may also come to Navadvipa-lila and have the association of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.

[Question:] Is this also true in Svetadvipa (Navadvipa in Goloka Vrndavana?* [See Endnote 3]

[Srila Gurudeva:] Yes, they all can be there also. Everything exists in Krsna, as stated in the Vedanta Sutra: Viruddha dharmam tasmin na cittram – all mutually contradictory characteristics exist harmoniously in Lord Krsna's pastimes, and Caitanya Mahaprabhu is Krsna Himself.

[Question:] So we worship Visnu-priya devi and Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu in the path of arcana – following the principles of sravanam kirtanam, visnu-smaranam, pada sevanam (hearing, chanting, remembering and praying, etc.) in a regulative way, in awe and reverence?

[Srila Gurudeva:] Yes, one serves Visnu-priya devi and Mahaprabhu in arcana-marga (the path of regulative worship), and he serves Gaura-Gadadhara in bhava-marga, that is hearing, chanting, etc. in spontaneous love, following in the footsteps of the gopis.

The Appearance Day of Srila Raghunatha das Gosvami

Today is also the birthday of Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami. If you want to become pure devotees, you will have to follow Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami. You want to follow, but you are weak – as Srila Gour Govinda Maharaja says, "Mr. Dog, Mr. Hog, Mr. Pig." – and some are like camels, tigers or bears. We must try to follow Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami. He was wealthy and he was situated in a high position, but he left everything for Krsna and continually cried, "O Krsna, O Sacinandana Gaurahari." By the mercy of Nityananda Prabhu he quickly received the shelter of Mahaprabhu. Hardly eating anything but somehow maintained his life, He went to Vrndavana after Mahaprabhu departed, and he lived at Radha-kunda.

Without the mercy of the guru you cannot have love and affection for Krsna or Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Guru-krpa (guru's mercy) is essential, and guru-nistha (faith in guru) is the backbone of all kinds of bhakti. When Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami received the mercy of Nityananda Prabhu, all his problems and obstacles quickly disappeared, and he was able to leave home to be with Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Performance of bhajana in one's house, while still living with one's father, mother, wife, and husband, is one kind of bhajana, but that kind of bhajana cannot give the fruit of love and affection for Krsna. One day you will have to thoroughly give this up.

The first symptom of real bhakti, achieved by the austerities of chanting and remembering Krsna, is causeless knowledge and detachment from this world. You will surely become renounced, whether you are in worldly life or in the renounced order. If you are chanting seriously and perfectly, renunciation is bound to come. We have heard that when Guru Nanak (the saint in India who founded the Sikh religion) was young, his father told him, "Go to the market and bring back the ingredients we need to sell at our shop." On the way to the market he came upon many Vaisnavas and sadhus. Seeing that there was no management of prasadam for them, he quickly went to the market and bought all the paraphernalia needed to make a festival for them, and for that purpose he spent all his father's money. He later returned home empty-handed, and his father asked, "Where are the ingredients I told you to buy – the rice, dahl, ghee and other things?"

Guru Nanak replied, "I did the shopping, but I have given all the goods for the service of Vaisnavas. In this way I have done some very good shopping for my future life and for the benefit of my whole dynasty." He had so much strong belief in Krsna; he knew that if one serves Krsna, Krsna will give him everything he needs. We do not have this same belief, and therefore it is even very hard for us to give a penny. Some persons can give some of their wealth, but he gave everything.

Because Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami was chanting and remembering Krsna, having been spiritually brought up by Srila Haridasa Thakura and initiated by Sri Yadunandana Acarya, some good effect was bound to come. He became detached from the world, and he considered Krsna to be his father, his mother, and his everything. All tattvas (established philosophical truths) came in his heart, and he quickly left his home and beautiful wife. He was the only son of his father, who was as wealthy as a king, and his wife was as beautiful as Miss Universe. It would have been very hard for an ordinary person to give up such luxuries.

After leaving home, Raghunatha dasa did not travel on the main road. Hiding, he went on the village route, not eating anything except some puffed rice and some milk, and a journey of one month passed quickly in 12 days. At that time there were no trains or cars, but he ran quickly, without taking any time to bathe.

When he came in Jagannatha Puri he did not go to see Jagannatha, Baladeva, and Subhadra. He came directly to the assembly of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, who was surrounded by many associates like Svarupa Damodara and Raya Ramananda. Someone told Mahaprabhu, "Raghunatha has come," and Mahaprabhu quickly embraced him and said, "O Raghunatha, you have just come from the ditch of stool." Some time before, Mahaprabhu had told him to return home, but now He said, "All worldly life is like stool, and Krsna is so merciful that He delivered you and you have come out from that house." Mahaprabhu then placed him in the hands of Sri Svarupa Damodara, and Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami thus began a transcendental life; always hearing from Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, Sri Svarupa Damodara, Srila Rupa Gosvami, Sri Pundarika Vidyanidhi, Sri Vakresvara Pandita, Sri Gopal Guru, and Srila Haridasa Thakura.

The life history of Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami is one of the jewels in Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, and moreover, much of what Srila Krsnadasa Kaviraja wrote in Caitanya-caritamrta he had heard from the lotus mouth of Raghunatha dasa Gosvami. Try to remember his life and character. If you do, a power will enter within you and you will be able to become a devotee like him – whether you are in worldly life or renounced life. Try to be like him. We cannot be like him without help, and therefore we pray to Nityananda Prabhu to help us.

Gaura premanande.

[Endnote 1– Bhagavan has three potencies – Sri (Laksmi), Bhu (the Goddess of the Earth), and Lila (the Goddess of pastimes). Bhu is the energy that creates the cosmic manifestation (Caitanya-caritamrta Adi 5.27-28 purp.). Bhu-sakti also assists in manifesting Krsna's pastimes in Bhauma-Vrndavana, the place of His pastimes as they are displayed on the Earth planet in this universe and innumerable other universes. The goddess of this Earth, Pritivi devi, is also included within this potency. Without this Bhu potency, Krsna will have no place in which to perform His pastimes.]

[Endnote 2 – In Vedic culture, sannyasis are given honor]

[Endnote 3 – The confidential, innermost region of Goloka, Krsna's own transcendental planet, is divided into two sections: Vrndavana (also known as Vraja and Gokula) and Navadvipa (also known as Svetadvipa).


The Meaning of Vyasa-puja

vyasapuja_2.jpgSri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja
Murwillumbah, Australia: Feb 8, 1997

[Respected Readers,
Please accept our humble obeisances.
This year, 2018, the divine appearance day of Srila Gurudeva Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja is on January 16. Please accept this newly transcribed lecture that he gave on his Vyasa Puja (appearance day) in 1997:] Movies Lectures

Yesterday in evening class, we were all glorifying guru-padapadma (the lotus feet of the spiritual master). To serve Gurudeva, to have very strong faith in the lotus feet of Gurudeva, is the backbone of Krsna consciousness. If anyone’s nistha (faith) in Guru is unsteady – not so strong, always moving here and there, flickering – he cannot develop his Krsna consciousness and one day he will fall down.

Our Gurudeva should be so bona fide, with strong faith in bhakti, some realization of Krsna, and imbued with all the qualities we have told:

trnad api sunicenaa
taror api sahisnuna
amanina manadena
kirtaniyah sada harih

[“Thinking oneself to be even lower and more worthless than insignificant grass which has been trampled beneath everyone's feet, being more tolerant than a tree, being prideless, and offering respect to all others according to their respective positions, one should continuously chant the holy name of Sri Hari.” (Sri Siksastaka verse 3)]

He should have these four qualities. He should know all the scriptures, all teachings. He should have no fear, no worldly desires, no suffering and sorrow. He should always be happy by serving Krsna, keeping a separation mood for Krsna and Guru, very generous to all, and never quarreling. Then he will be Guru, and our faith will remain so strong in him. Otherwise, it will be shaken. If our guru-nistha is somehow harmed, then our whole Krsna consciousness becomes shaky, and at last it dries up and goes away.

Along with having strong faith in the bona fide guru, we honor all Vaisnavas in the line of Caitanya Mahaprabhu and Rupa Gosvami. In fact, anyone who is chanting harinama – even if he is not a first class Vaisnava or second class Vaisnava – we consider that he is in our Gaura family.

We all heard the glories of guru-tattva. I became happy to hear very good siddhanta about guru-tattva. In the end, Govinda-bhakata (now Sripad Asrama Maharaja) said such good things, good siddhanta. I want to give you something, but my English is so poor that I cannot express my ideas fully. I can speak only with my very little weak words.

I agree with all the points except for one, which was that “any good acarya will come and combine all the Gaudiya Mathas, and that that acarya may be Narayana Maharaja.” I am not accepting this, though I agree with their other points. I have never thought that I am acarya. Never. I want to help and carry out the order of my Gurudeva [Srila Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja], Srila Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja, and Caitanya Mahaprabhu. I know that really I am not acarya. I am not Guru, but I want to fulfill the orders of my disciplic acaryas – especially my Gurudeva, nitya-lila pravistha om visnupada Sri Srimad Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja, and especially Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja, as he told me on his last day.

I am trying somehow to carry out their orders. I am so much fortunate to have beheld the Vyasa-puja of my Gurudeva, and of pujyapada Bhakti Dayita Madhava Maharaja, Srila Srauti Maharaja, Srila Vana Maharaja, Pujyapada Sridhara Maharaja, and other prominent disciples of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Prabhupada. Nowadays I attend Vyasa-puja, but I see that there is so much difference; so much difference.

I have heard that at the time of Prabhupada Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, he used to celebrate Vyasa-puja on his birthday. Once, while Vyasa-puja was going on, he told in his speech, “I am not thinking that any of you are my disciples. I think of you as siksa-gurus. By seeing you all here, I am so much inspired to speak krsna-katha, hari-katha.

yanhara darsane mukhe aise krsna-nama
tanhare janiha tumi ‘vaisnava-pradhana

The meaning is, “A first-class Vaisnava is he whose very presence makes others chant the holy name of Krsna.” (Caitanya-caritamrta Madhya-lila, 16.74) If by a person’s seeing a devotee, Krsna’s name comes automatically and that person begins to chant, we should understand that such a devotee is uttama-adhikari.

So, I am seeing you all, and I am inspired in my heart to chant “Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna.” Therefore, I think that you are all my siksa-gurus. You are my gurus. This is the real symptom of the bona fide guru. I have seen how our Guru Maharaja used to worship his Gurudeva, parama-gurudeva, paratpara-gurudeva, up to Brahma. He used to worship all of them. He used to also worship Ramanuja, Madhvacarya, Visnusvami and Nimbaditya – the four great acaryas. He never separated them from our Vaisnava cult. Then, he used to worship the Vrajavasis and all the brahmanas of Vraja.

I have seen practically in my Gurudeva’s Vyasa-puja, and others. On that day, they first worship their Gurudeva and whole guru-parampara, then Gauracandra, Nitai Prabhu. Then Gaura-Gadadhara, Radha and Krsna and Guru.

[The Seven Pancakas: guru-pancaka (Sri Guru, Parama-guru, Paramesthi-guru, Paratpara-guru, Paramesthi-guru); 2) acarya-pancaka (Sri Sukadeva, Ramanuja, Madhva, Visnusvami, Nimbaditya); 3) vyasa-pancaka (Sri Vedavyasa, Paila, Vaisampayana, Jaimini, Sumanta); 4) sanakadi-pancaka (Sri Sanat, Sanat-kumara, Sanatana, Sanandana, Visvaksena); 5) krsna-pancaka (Sri Krsna, Vasudeva, Sankarsana, Pradyumna, Aniruddha); 6) upasya-pancaka (Sri Radhika, Krsna, Gaura, Gadadhara, Sri Gurudeva); and 7) panca-tattva (Sri Krsna Caitanya, Nityananda Prabhu, Advaita Acarya, Gadadhara Pandit, Srivasa Thakura).]

After that, they honor their god-brothers according to seniority of bhakti, not of age. They used to honor all the Vaisnavas – god-brothers and others. When I was once present at the Vyasa-puja observance of Pujyapada Bhakti Dayita Madhava Maharaja, who is my siksa-guru, my Gurudeva’s god-brother, I saw that he was honoring and offering mala (garland), candana (sandalwood paste), and opulent cloth to all the senior Vaisnavas, his god-brothers. I was there. Suddenly he came to me and gave me a mala and candana, garlanded me, and gave so many cloths to me. I was astonished. Why did he do this? I am not qualified to be his disciple. His disciples are more elevated than me, and he is honoring me? My heart became full of honor for him. This is Vyasa-puja.

Nowadays I am seeing that gurus sit on a golden throne and think, “I am Krsna myself.” They collect all the honor for themselves, and they think that there must be any good Vyasa-puja book for themselves, otherwise Vyasa-puja is not there. They want that all glorify them, whether they are good or bad, whether they are bona fide guru or not. This is not Vyasa-puja.

Vyasa-puja is a day when that guru, or that devotee, is offering arcana, puja, and honor and everything to his Gurudeva and his whole parampara. It is not a day to collect honor and all things from his disciples. This is against Vyasa-puja rules and regulations. But nowadays, this is going on.

We should act in this way. This is a day that the guru or the Vaisnava who has taken birth should honor all his guru parampara from Guru to Brahma, and Radha Krsna, and Caitanya Mahaprabhu and Nityananda Prabhu and all Their associates. Not only this. All the gurus who are present at that time should be honored; all the good devotees should be honored, as I have seen.

I am a very shameless person. You are honoring me so much. I am not qualified for this, but still you are giving it. I am taking the honor, and presentations, not for myself. I am taking all the puspanjalis (flowers or flower-like words that represent the offering of one’s heart) in my hands, and offering all your moods, honor, and nistha (strong faith) unto to the hands of my Gurudeva, and praying to him to offer this at the lotus feet of Caitanya Mahaprabhu and Nityananda Prabhu and to Radha and Krsna. This is my duty.

We should try to follow all these principles. If one is not following, but instead taking honor from disciples, he will fall down. It is not due to his credit. Our Gurudeva also used to tell us, “You are honoring me – not due to me, but due to my holy master that I have served him and I have received something from him. So all honor should be given to him, to his worshipful Deity, Radha Krsna, Gaura-Nityananda Prabhu, and Gaura-Gadadhara Prabhu.

There are so many things to be told, which I have heard from the mouths of my guru-varga. But today, time is over. Now it is 8:00 pm, and after arati it will be perhaps 9:00. So, I am requesting all of you that this meeting should be stopped here. From tomorrow, I want to discuss Caitanya-caritamrta, which I began, and it will be so sweet. All siddhanta will come – guru-tattva, krsna-tattva, prema-tattva, and all of Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s pastimes.

I am finishing today. Gaura premanande!


tn Gurudeva navGurudeva-nav.jpgIn Govardhana, at the end of Sri Vraja-mandala Parikrama 2010, Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja personally invited all of us to attend Sri Navadvipa-mandala Parikrama in the holy land of Sri Navadvipa-dhama, for the rest of our lives. On his behalf, we therefore humbly invite you to attend Sri Navadvipa-dhama Parikrama 2018...


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New Year's Blessings for the Soul

Trindandisvami Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja
Hilo, Hawaii: January 1, 2007

I wish you all a happy New Year. The New Year we are now celebrating is according to Western calculation. This mainly affects our physical body and mind, because those in the Western world are very concerned about their physical health and mind – not more than that. Very few persons in the Western world know about the soul. They don't even know where they will go after death. They work at jobs, but they don't know of their goal after retirement, and they become crazy.

We have to celebrate the New Year in such a way that our devotion will increase day by day. We have to know that we are not this gross or subtle body – our mind, ego, and intelligence. We are beyond all these things; we are spirit souls, part and parcel of the Supreme Lord. We have to leave what happened last year, and start anew this year. Our devotion must increase.

The question may arise: "If my devotion must increase, how will I maintain my life?" For maintaining your life, you will continue what you are doing. Whether you want to or not, you must perform some karma.

Bhagavan Sri Krsna told Arjuna in the Gita (3.5):

na hi kascit ksanam api
jatu tisthaty akarma-krt
karyate hy avasah karma
sarvah prakrti-jair gunaih

["Everyone is forced to act helplessly according to the qualities he has acquired from the modes of material nature; therefore no one can refrain from doing something, not even for a moment."]

No one can stay alive without performing some activity. Whether you want to or not, you have to breathe. Whether you are breathing, or holding your breath, this is also karma. If you are standing, sitting, walking, or talking, all these are in the category of karma. So, to maintain our lives, we are forced to engage in some karma.

But this will not give you eternal happiness, or peace and tranquility of mind. For happiness, you must engage in some devotional service, and to cultivate devotion successfully, you must first of all surrender at the lotus feet of a bona fide guru. In good association, under the guidance of Gurudeva, you can progress in devotional life. If you do this, your New Year's celebration will be successful.

In this world there are eight million four-hundred thousand species of life, and among them four-hundred-thousand are human beings. Most of the human population does not know about God. They think they know God, but who is God? What are His qualities? What is His form? They do not know at all. They only want to say "God;" that is enough for them. They don't know more than this. In America the government writes on its dollar bill "In God we trust," but they do not have any conception of God. So, who is God? G is for generator, He who can create this world. O is for operator, He who can nourish and protect us. And D is for destroyer. He who is the owner, creator, and destroyer is Bhagavan, or God.

It is mentioned in the Vedic scripture (Srimad-Bhagavatam, 1.3.28), "Ete camsa-kalah pumsah, krsnas tu bhagavan svayam." Krsna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead; so, we must serve Him, taking a vow from this very day, the New Year's Day. Whatever happened happened . We have to forget all these material things and start afresh our Krsna consciousness. Then our celebration of New Year's Day will be successful.

nr-deham adyam su-labham su-durlabham
plavam su-kalpam guru-karnadharam
mayanukulena nabhasvateritam
puman bhavabdhim na taret sa atma-ha

(Srimad-Bhagavatam 11.20.17)

The human body, which can award all benefit in life, is automatically obtained by the laws of nature, although it is a very rare achievement. This human body can be compared to a perfectly constructed boat having the spiritual master as the captain and the instructions of the Personality of Godhead as favorable winds impelling it on its course. Considering all these advantages, a human being who does not utilize his human life to cross the ocean of material existence must be considered the killer of his own soul.

Nr-deha means the human body. We have received a human body, which is very rare, and now it is easy for us to do bhajana. However, we can see that other living entities do not create weapons of mass destruction, so many arrangements to maintain their lifestyle. If anything happens they will quarrel with each other by their claws and teeth, but at the next moment they forget their quarrelling. But we humans take revenge, and we become more ferocious than the tigers, bears, lions, and other wild animals. Nowhere in the world do we see problems in other living entities. Only humans have problems.

How can we become calm and quiet and peaceful with each other? It is possible only if we do bhajana. So, nr-deham adyam su-labham su-durlabham, plavam su-kalpam guru-karnadharam. This human body is like a boat going from one place to another, in one direction or another. A captain is needed for the boat. Who is that captain? The bona fide guru is the captain of this boat – this human body. We are situated by the ocean in Hawaii. We see every day there are some boats floating on the Pacific Ocean. These boats have sails, and when the sails catch the wind, the boats move very fast. In the same way, sadhu-sanga is the favorable wind. By sadhu-sanga we can advance very quickly in Krsna consciousness. Then our lives will be maintained very easily, and we can be calm and quiet and in harmony with each other. Then our celebration here will be successful.

Generally, people understand the meaning of happiness in terms of the body and mind, health and money, and good sons and daughters. They consider that if they have these, they will be happy. But everyone becomes unhappy in spite of having these things. For a long time – since the creation of this world – we have been coming and going, taking birth and dying, but still we are not happy.

We have forgotten Krsna. We are part and parcel of Krsna, and we have forgotten Him. That is why His illusory maya took us and threw us into this world, and covered our constitutional body, form, and qualities with two bodies – the physical body and the subtle body.

We are trying so hard, here and there, to be happy, but really everyone is unhappy. Only a truly qualified guru can teach us by what process Krsna's service can be achieved. Then, by practice and maturity of bhakti-sadhana, we will become happy.

My blessing is that I am praying to Krsna that He will sprinkle His mercy upon you all, so that you will be happy in every way – by body, mind, and soul.

Are there any questions?

Haladhara dasa: What is the meaning of the name Radha, or Radharani?

Srila Gurudeva: Radha means 'always serving Sri Krsna.' Radha means 'to please Krsna.' Also, She is pleased by Krsna. Radha means 'She runs towards Krsna to serve Him.' Radhika means 'Krsna searches for Her and pleases Her.' Also Krsna means 'very beautiful, with having so many good qualities.' Rupa-madhuri: He is very, very beautiful. Venu-madhuri: His flute playing is very, very sweet. Guna-madhuri: He is full of very sweet qualities. Lila-madhuri: His pastimes are so sweet. By these qualities Krsna attracts all beings in the world and delivers them. All living beings, namely birds, animals, and all other creatures, are attracted to Him, and therefore He is Krsna.

Krsna is the ocean of rasa, the ocean of transcendental relationships, and Radha is the main power of Krsna and the embodiment of maha-bhava. By sweet service to Krsna, She attracts Krsna and controls Him. Though Radha and Krsna are not two bodies, only one, Krsna is the one Supreme Person and Radha is the sakti, or power, within Him. For lila-vilasa, or sweet pastimes, They have become two bodies, but They are one soul.


How To Balance The Day

Gurudeva_balance.jpgSri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja
Wales, July 4, 2000

In this world there are two kinds of human beings. A person of the first kind does not know who God is or who he himself is. He is always absorbed in sense gratification, thinking, “I am this physical body.” Such sensually absorbed persons are also of two kinds. Some are like animals and some are like demons. Demons are always against devotion. Animal-like persons are not against it, but they are not favorable because they are always engaged in their sense gratification. They are fully ignorant. Though their shapes are human, they are like animals, who are also always engaged in sense gratification. Dharme nahina pasubhisumana. They are like cows or other animals. They are like she-hogs, he-dogs, camels, and the most ignorant animals – the donkeys. Those who are not demons, but are not doing bhajana, are like very ignorant donkeys. They are kicked by the hind legs of the she-donkeys and are always taking all the burden of the washerman. Those who do not do bhajana are in this category, even though they have human forms.

Those who are favorable to devotion are also of two kinds. Those of one kind are doing something, but they are not following the process, etiquette, and rules and regulations of devotees or devotion. They are in great numbers, whereas real devotees are very few in number, and even among this small number of devotees there are so many kinds. Some are initiated, but not properly. They are initiated by kula-gurus or fallen, so-called gurus who are not qualified, and third-class bogus gurus who have the false ego of being a guru. These devotees are greater in number.

Those who are initiated by qualified devotees, who have taken diksa but not properly, not by vidva-virudhi (taking the instructions of guru and scriptures in the heart) think, “Oh, my fire sacrifice has been done, and my gurudeva has given me a sacred thread.” And the ladies think, “Oh, gurudeva has given me a name.” They wear big, big tilaka and kanthi-mala, but there is no real diksa, no di – divya-jnana, (reception of realized transcendental knowledge) and no ksa – disappearance of unfavorable and sinful activities. These devotees are greater in number than real devotees, and most of us are in this category.

Some may be above this, but the greater number is of this class. They have no real relation with Krsna; no tattva-jnana of krsna-tattva, bhakti-tattva, jiva-tattva, or maya-tattva. They don’t know who is Krsna, what is the philosophical truth about Krsna, devotion, or rasa. They only sit and act out the moments of saying the mantras, but what they are doing, they themselves don’t know. Or, they may chant some mantras like, ‘aim gurave namah,’ but where are their minds? After ten minutes they catch themselves and think, “Oh, what am I doing?” They were either sleeping or thinking of other things. Next they chant, ‘klim caitanyaya,’ but their mind was absent. Again, after half an hour, they think, “Oh, what am I doing?” They are struggling in this way, and their number is also greater.

Perhaps we are in this category. When worldly affairs come into their mind, like their job or anything else of that nature, they are very careful and cautious. Their minds are always in computers and here and there. They cannot give their energy to the guru-mantra, the Hare Krsna maha-mantra, or any mantra. Some pure devotees may come to visit, and they are then somewhat inspired, but after those pure devotees leave, the inspiration also leaves. Their number is also greater than that of real devotees.

In the category of those who are above this, there is still something lacking. Such devotees cannot follow ‘trinad api sunicena taror avi sahisnuna amanina manadena kirtaniyah sada harih.’ They cannot even follow the instructions of Srila Rupa Gosvami in Upadesamrta (Text 1):

vaco vegam manasah krodha-vegami
jihva-vegam udaropastha-vegam
etan vegan yo visaheta dhirah
sarvam apimam prthivim sa sisyat

[“A wise and self-composed person who can subdue the impetus to speak, the agitation of the mind, the onset of anger, the vehemence of the tongue, the urge of the belly and the agitation of the genitals can instruct the entire world. In other words, all persons may become disciples of such a self-controlled person.”]

I think that so many devotees do not know what this means. They never care about it. You can imagine what kind of devotees they are.

Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu told Srila Sanatana Gosvami in Varanasi, “You should be Bhadra, gentle and sober, by dress.” At that time Srila Sanatana Gosvami had a long beard and hair, and he wore very dirty clothes. He looked like a Muslim street beggar who was going to Mecca to chant “Allah, Hoda.” He at once he went to the Ganges, shaved, and put on tilaka, and now he looked like a Vaisnava. We also see here that there are so many who do not put on tilaka and are not shaved. They wear one strand of neck beads and that one strand does not even touch their necks. This means they have no interest in all these devotional principles. They are coming to classes, and therefore some attraction is there, but they don’t want to follow all the regulations.

Even in the military there are rules and etiquettes. The soldiers must wear military uniform, otherwise they will be punished at once. They have to run two miles with very heavy guns and boots: “Quick march, quick march, double march.” That is discipline. Similarly, there is also some Vaisnava discipline. If we cannot obey and follow Vaisnava etiquette and discipline, how will we obtain this very high-class of Vraja-prema? Vraja-prema is not so easy to attain. It is stated in the scriptures that the chanting of one holy name is sufficient for perfection. We are chanting so many names, but not experiencing any results.

So, you will have to follow all these principles. First Vaisnava etiquette: We see that Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, Sri Nityananda Prabhu, Srila Rupa Gosvami and all their associates are all paramahamsas, and still, all of them followed Vaisnava etiquette. Then why should we not follow? It is not sufficient to simply wear mala, beads. First there must be etiquette, and this is called Vaisnava-sadacara.

For whom was jail created? For persons who are not following rules and regulations, for those who are causing disturbance to others. We have no taste. How will this taste come? If we follow the rules and regulations given by Rupa Gosvami, Sanatana Gosvami, and Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, then taste will come. If we neglect these regulations, however, and do not follow Vaisnava etiquette, how can we hope to attain Vraja-prema? Rather, we will have to be punished.

For those who are following the etiquette, it is said,

vaco vegam manasah krodha-vegam
jihva-vegam udaropastha-vegam
etan vegan yo visaheta dhirah
sarvam apimam prthivim sa sisyat                                                                                                                

If you want to master anything, you must follow some rules and regulations: daily reading, and completing the task given by your professor or teacher. There must be daily attendance, but not only attendance. There must also be careful study and hearing.

Vaco vegam – controlling the tongue. The tongue is very much uncontrolled. It has no backbone. It can twist to this side and that side, and it can become long or short. But it has no bone, and therefore it is uncontrolled. It may be possible to control the air, but not the tongue.

The tongue creates all kinds of problems. Draupadi was a very high-class lady devotee, always following all the rules and regulations. She was able to control herself and even her five husbands. But she once said to Duryodhana, “Blind father, blind son.” She said only these words. Duryodhana became very angry and this caused the whole Mahabharata battle where millions of people were killed. Another example is that of Sita-devi, the wife of Lord Ramacandra. She also did not control her tongue. [She was perfect, but to fulfill her Lord’s mission, she acted in this way. –ed] She said something to Laksmana, and for this reason the whole Ramayana battle took place.

So, try to control your tongue. If you want to be peaceful and do bhajana, don’t quarrel with your wives and husbands, your sons and daughters, and other devotees. I see that so many problems are coming, only due to the uncontrolled tongue. From today onward, you should promise, “I will not quarrel with my husband or wife, children, gurudeva, and all other devotees.” If you control your tongue, anger will also be controlled. Without this, you cannot control your anger.

The tongue also always wants to taste very delicious things. If you do not control it, lust will increase. Your stomach will be destroyed and you will very soon become old and helpless. Srila Rupa Gosvami tells how to control the six urges in the next verse:

atyaharah prayasas ca
prajalpo niyamagrahah
jana-sangas ca laulyam ca
sadbhir bhaktir vinasyati

[“One’s devotional service is spoiled when he becomes too entangled in the following six activities: (1) eating more than necessary or collecting more funds than required, (2) overendeavoring for mundane things that are very difficult to attain, (3) talking unnecessarily about mundane subject matters, (4) practicing the scriptural rules and regulations only for the sake of following them and not for the sake of spiritual advancement, or rejecting the rules and regulations of the scriptures and working independently or whimsically, (5) associating with worldly-minded persons who are not interested in Kåñëa consciousness, and (6) being greedy for mundane achievements.”]                           

Don’t take very rich foodstuff. Don’t engage very much in the activities of your five senses, otherwise this will also be atyaharah. What did I say?

Prema-prayojana dasa: Srila Gurudeva is explaining that the fault of over-eating is not only the fault of the tongue. All five senses can be guilty of ‘over-eating.’ If the eyes are wandering here and there and looking towards material sense-objects…

Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja: You may see a very beautiful teenage lady, and by chance your eyes go there. Take that glance and turn it towards Krsna, the Deities, and the Vaisnavas. If you are looking, looking, looking, and looking, attachment will come and you will become the servant of that lady. You will not be able to control yourself. This is true of all the senses.

‘Atyahara preyasas.’ Don’t try to become astrologers, and don’t read books other than bhakti books. Don’t go to palm-readers, who will tell you, “This is your lifeline, this is your money-line, and this is your son and daughter line.”

Always try to engage all your senses in krsna-bhakti, in the development of your Krsna consciousness, learning how you can please your gurudeva. This is sufficient. If you have not studied in school or college, there is no harm, because only by chanting, remembering, serving, and obeying your gurudeva can you be happy. There are so many examples, as in the lives of Srila Haridasa Thakura and others. You cannot be happy by material endeavors. Don’t try to be expert in worldly things. Try to be expert in krsna-bhakti. Try to develop the pure name.

‘Atyaharah prayasas ca prajalpo.’ Don’t talk prajalpa. Don’t speak about silly things. Only speak about that which is favorable for bhakti. If you are speaking about Krsna and krsna-bhakti, this is okay; but if you are merely criticizing those like Kamsa or Jarasandha, it is not good. What should you do? Give up all these things. Only glorify Nanda, Yasoda, the gopis, gopas, Krsna, and all the devotees. Be far away from all these other things.

Don’t care so much for your life maintenance. You can do something when you are a lower class devotee. When you become more mature, however, you will not have to do anything. Whatever you need will very easily come.

‘Prayasas ca prajalpo niyamagrahah.’ You should think, “I must chant.” How much? One lakh (sixty-four rounds). If you cannot do this, then chant fifty thousand names, or thirty-two rounds – not less than that. If you cannot do that, then somehow chant twenty-five rounds. And if you cannot do that, then go to the ocean and jump in at once. Then, in another life you will be able to chant. If you cannot chant this much in this lifetime, then certainly go to the Pacific Ocean or Atlantic Ocean or the English or Irish Channel.

If you want to be a devotee, then try to follow all these regulations. If you are chanting and in the meantime your gurudeva or any high-class of devotee comes to give a lecture, what should you do? Should you try to continue your chanting and complete your rounds, or should you go and hear your gurudeva’s lecture? What should you do? You should hear. By hearing, your holy name chanting will be very high-class and you can also complete your rounds. You will be able to do many rounds. So don’t do ‘niyamagrahah.’ What is this ‘niyamagrahah’? You should explain the two kinds.

Prema-prayojana dasa: Here Srila Gurudeva is explaining the meaning in the word ‘niyamagrahah.’ ‘Niyamagrahah’ means to not follow the rules and regulations. This point is very clear, but the second meaning of the word ‘niyamagrahah’ is to excessively follow the rules and regulations in such a way that it does not actually enhance your bhakti, but rather becomes an impediment.

Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja: If you want to develop your Krsna consciousness and you want taste in the name and pastimes of Krsna, then you must follow the third verse:

utsahan niscayad dhairyat
sanga-tyagat sato vrtteh
sadbhir bhaktih prasidhyati

[“One can execute the process of bhakti-yoga successfully with full-hearted enthusiasm, perseverance, and determination, by following the prescribed duties in the association of devotees and by engaging completely in activities of goodness.”]

When problems come, we became hopeless and think, “I am chanting the holy name more than sixteen rounds and still so many problems are coming. So I should give up.” Don’t think like this. ‘Utsahat.’ ‘Utsahat’ means with enthusiasm. By that, more than sixty four rounds will be completed. ‘Niscayat’ means the conviction that ‘sooner or later’ I will have krsna-prema. I must have it.”

If you always want krsna-prema, then engage with strong determination in ‘sravanam kirtanam visnoh smaranam pada sevanam,’ especially ‘sadhu sanga, nama kirtana, bhagavat sravana, mathura-vasa, and sri-murtira sraddhaya sevana.’ [“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.”] First complete all these things, and then you can try to do something to maintain your life. The holy name will arrange everything for you.

‘Utsahan niscayad dhairyat, tat-tat-karma-pravartanat, sanga-tyagat’ – don’t associate with bad persons. He may be father, he may be husband, and he may even be guru. If you want to have krsna-prema, you must give up that kind of guru, what to speak of husband, children, and others. Krsna can save you. Krsna is the eternal, complete, and the supreme husband and beloved. But these husbands are cheaters, and these wives are also cheaters. They can never save you. Only because you are very beautiful, you are pleasing your husband. If you have a little desire to be with any other boyfriend, your husband will give you up. If you are in some way ugly, with two or three children, your husband might reject you and take a new wife. And the wife will do the same thing with the husband. These problems are everywhere.

So try to develop your krsna-prema. Utsahan niscayad dhairyat: give up all bad association. Even if he is your guru, father, mother or husband, give him up. Why? There are so many examples; all sastras are full of all these evidences. So try to follow this if you want to have krsna-prema. Vrtti: always try to follow the rules and regulations and the etiquette of Vaisnava sadacara. It is not good that we are thinking, “Oh, we are devotees. Now I should make a factory where various things will be produced and we can sell them and then do hari-bhajana, and my bhajana will not be affected.” You will have to give more energy to your business than to your bhajana. Your whole energy will have to go into the business.

So follow the etiquette of our Gosvamis and other pure devotees, including grhasthas, to see how they maintain their lives. Be with Vaisnavas always. Try to honor and respect them according to their stages: kanistha, madhyama, and uttama (third, second, or first-class devotees). If you have no taste, what should you do? Chanting, and chanting; this is the medicine, this is the diet.

Don’t criticize any Vaisnavas. Never, never. Otherwise an offense will be committed and your bhakti will be uprooted. Don’t offend anyone. It is stated in Text 8:

smrtyoh kramena rasana-manasi niyojya
tisthan vraje tad-anuragi jananugami
kalam nayed akhilam ity upadesa-saram

[“The essence of all advice is that one should utilize one's full time—twenty-four hours a day—in nicely chanting and remembering the Lord's divine name, transcendental form, qualities and eternal pastimes, thereby gradually engaging one's tongue and mind. In this way one should reside in Vraja [Goloka Vrndavana dhama] and serve Krsna under the guidance of devotees. One should follow in the footsteps of the Lord's beloved devotees, who are deeply attached to His devotional service.”]

At once, quickly, do these things. Be in Vrndavana, always under the guidance of the rasika Vaisnavas and guru. Doing what? Make sure your tongue is always chanting, “He krsna karuna sindho dina-bandho jagat-pate gopesa gopika-kanta radha-kanta namo ’stu te. [“I offer my unlimited pranamas unto You, O Krsna! You are the ocean of mercy, friend of the fallen, Lord of creation, and master of the cowherd community! You are Gopi-kanta, beloved of the gopis, and above all You are Radha-kanta, the beloved of Srimati Radhika!] Radha ramana, Rasabhihari, Radha kanta; always chanting. Caitanya Mahaprabhu has given us the highest class of mantra, the maha-mantra, Hare Krsna. Every name is there, all kinds of rasas are there in the mantra. Right now you are not understanding these things; but one day, if you become a high class of Vaisnava, then you can realize.

You should chant. What names? The most beautiful and high class names, like Radha-Ramana, Radha-Rasabhihari – all these names. And, be in Vrndavana under the guidance of rasika Vaisnavas. Your tongue should always be chanting, and your mind remembering the sweet pastimes of Radha-Damodara, Radha-Rasabhihari, and Radha-Ramana. This is the essence of all sastras and teachings.

You will also have to follow Raghunatha dasa Gosvami’s Manah-siksa. Especially the first sloka, beginning gurau gosthe, is very important. If you are initiated into diksa, you must follow this. Don’t neglect the process that your guru has given, for chanting the gayatri mantras, remembering the Deity of that mantra, surrendering, praying, atma nivedanam, and knowing the meanings of all the mantras that he gave us.

We have not come to this world only to manage. If you are managing your preaching center, it is not enough. Why manage a center if you are not following these things? No need of any center. If you are always quarrelling and not obeying, not chanting, remembering, or uttering the mantras – always thinking, “Is he doing this?” or of this building here or there, then there is no need of a center. If you cannot develop your Krsna consciousness, there is no use.

Preaching centers are to help others and to help us. But if you are not helping yourself and so many problems are coming, you should set fire to that preaching center at once. Even the children’s schools and colleges – if they are a problem, then set fire to them also. Now you are seeing very great problems with children who are engaged in quarrels with those who managed the schools. Those schools were built for the betterment of the children, but what has become of them? The opposite.

Try to develop your Krsna Consciousness. Don’t make gita-samsara, thinking: “I cannot maintain everything. Who will look after my Deities? I have no time to chant and to do all these things as well. Who will change Their clothes and do kirtana and do arati three or four times a day? Who will cook for Them? I should have a beautiful wife (or a qualified husband).” And then what happened? There were always quarrelling and problems. What is the need?

Try to follow all these things. Be in Vrndavana.

“Oh, Gurudeva, I cannot be in Vrndavana.”

“Why? Do you want krsna-prema? Why can’t you go? What is the problem? Give up all these things and go to Vrndavana. Why can you not go? For your sense gratification?”

Try to obey at least the first six slokas of Raghunatha dasa Gosvami’s Manah-siksa.

gurau gosthe gostalayisu sujane bhusura-gane
sva-mantre sri namni vraja-nava-yuva-dvandva-sarane
sada dambham hitva kuru ratim apurvam atitaram
aye svantar bhratas catubhir abhiyace dhrta-padah

“Oh my uncontrolled mind. Oh, you are very near and dear. Try to listen to me and obey me. Oh my dear friend, mind.”

Try to remember this first sloka. Always have rati, meaning not only sraddha, but sraddha, nistha, ruci, asakti, and then rati. That class of rati? Your rati should not be divided into fractions: some for the new child who has come and is always crying, so you are always patting him, “O you should sleep.” Do not divide that rati with your wives and husbands, or with anything in this world. Have akhanda-rati (complete, undivided attachment) for guru. Why guru? Because a real, bona fide guru can give you taste and krsna-prema very easily. Have rati for those who have krsna-prema. They are called diksa-guru and siksa-guru.

The places of Krsna’s pastimes are called gostha; have great honor for them. You can go and roll in the dust, weeping, “O dust of Vrndavana, you are transcendental. Please, be pleased with me; be merciful to me.” In this way, be sometimes in Nandagaon, sometimes in Varsana, and especially in Radha-kunda and Syama-kunda, weeping, and be at Giriraja Govardhana or Yamuna.

Also, remember those who reside there. They are gostalayesu. Who is there? Krsna, His mother Yasoda, His father Nanda, the gopas, the gopis, the cows, the peacocks, and all of Krsna’s associates. Try to honor them; also Rupa and Sanatana Gosvamis, and especially Sri Guru.

Also have rati for the brahmanas and for any sampradayic Vaisnava, and for other sampradayic Vaisnavas as well – Ramanuja, Madhvacarya, Visnusvami, and others.

Daily, give respect to the mantras that guru has given: brahma-gayatri, guru-mantra, guru gayatri, gaura-mantra, gaura-gayatri, gopal mantra, kama-gayatri, panca-tattva and maha-mantra – daily.

If some time is there, then you can take your meal. Guru Maharaja [Sria Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja] neglected taking bath and changing his cloth because he considered it took so much time. He had no time for these things. After one month he would take one lota of water and throw it behind him, only touching his sikha and not his body. He had no time at all. Srila Prabhupada Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura was also like this. They had no time to daily take bath.

We should follow them. Always remember with one-pointed mind all these gayatris, and then chant maha-mantra very carefully. Don’t be in a hurry. When chanting gayatri, not looking at your sons, daughters, husband or wife. “My husband must go to the office, so I should chant quickly. To worship the Deities will take one hour, but I want to go to the office (or I want to go to University), so very quickly we should do our chanting.” Bhakti is not like this. So, have so much rati for these things. If you are initiated, try to do your chanting properly and very patiently; not in a hurry.

Indian Vedic rsis have discovered pranayama for this – to make the mind controlled. Have rati especially for Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and Nityananda Prabhu, and in the end to Radha-Krsna conjugal. The result of all our sadhana-bhakti is to have rati for Radha and Krsna. If this is not done, then what is the use of our life?

keno va achaye prana ki sukha paiya
narottama dasa keno na gelo mariya

[“For what happiness does this life continue? Why doesn’t Narottama dasa simply die?” (Gora Pahu Na Bhajiya Mainu, verse 5)]

“Why is Narottama not dying?” He is lamenting, “I want to die, because I cannot do [I have no devotion].” He can do, and is doing, but he is weeping for us.

Try to realize all these things. This is the essence of all teachings. From today, try to follow these principles, if you want to love and serve Radha-Krsna conjugal and Mahaprabhu. There is no other way. Today, or after some days, you will have to follow. Sastra has told that if you are not following, even though you have a human body, you are only a donkey. Don’t destroy your time in engaging in worldly sense gratification. You can never be happy in that way.


Srila Jiva Gosvami

JG.jpgTridandisvami Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja
Perth, Australia: 1998

Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja: All jivas (spirit souls) have a special relationship with Sri Krsna. Some are related with Him in the mood of friendship. Others have a relationship in the mood that "Krsna is my son," and that is called parental mood (vatsalya). Moreover, some have the mood that "Krsna is my beloved." All jivas have their own original, eternal relationship with Krsna. In this material world, that eternal relationship is covered. Sri Guru can see the soul's real form and nature. He knows the specialty of that person's relationship with Krsna, and he bestows this special relationship by mantra.

Did Srila Jiva Gosvami do the right thing when he defeated the arguments of Sri Vallabhacarya and defended his Gurudeva?

Devotees: He was right.

Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja: But what about his Gurudeva, Srila Rupa Gosvami? Was he right or wrong?

Devotees: He was right.

Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja: How is that? If Srila Jiva Gosvami did the right thing, then Srila Rupa Gosvami must be wrong. How can Srila Rupa Gosvami be right?

Devotee: Because he is Guru, he has the qualification that he can correct...

Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja: This is not a good argument.

Devotee: Srila Rupa Gosvami is Guru. He is:

trnad api sunicena
taror api sahisnuna
amanina manadena
kirtaniyah sada harih

["One can chant the holy name of the Lord in a humble state of mind, thinking himself lower than the straw in the street. One should be more tolerant than the tree, devoid of all sense of false prestige and ready to offer all respects to others. In such a state of mind one can chant the holy name of the Lord constantly." (Sri Siksastaka 3)]

Srila Rupa Gosvami wants to respect everyone without desiring respect for himself. But Srila Jiva Gosvami could not tolerate that his Gurudeva was criticized.

Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja: This is not the answer. This logic is not correct.

Devotee: Srila Rupa Gosvami sent Jiva Gosvami away because he wanted to increase Jiva Gosvami's love by making him feel separation.

Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja: No. The answer is that Srila Rupa Gosvami wanted to respect Sri Vallabhacarya, but his disciple, Jiva Gosvami, disrespected him. This was wrong. Srila Rupa Gosvami considered, "Sri Vallabhacarya may think, 'Rupa Gosvami is not openly disrespecting me, but he is disrespecting me through his disciple.'" Therefore, some blame might come to Rupa Gosvami. By punishing his disciple, Jiva Gosvami, Srila Rupa Gosvami was giving respect to Sri Vallabhacarya.

Actually, Srila Rupa Gosvami was right and Srila Jiva Gosvami was also right. A disciple should not tolerate anything against his Gurudeva. Thus, both the guru and disciple were right. Srila Rupa Gosvami wanted to respect Sri Vallabhacarya, and he did.

After Srila Rupa Gosvami told him to leave, where did Srila Jiva Gosvami go? He went to Nandagatha.

(Correcting a devotee who had been called on to speak in the class) Srila Jiva Gosvami's designation is not that he is the son of Anupama. His designation is that he is the disciple of Srila Rupa Gosvami. Don't say this. If you are explaining his life in great detail and you have a lot of time, then you can tell this; otherwise not. This is his glory – his glorification – and nothing else. He is the disciple of Srila Rupa Gosvami.

If we say, "Srila Prabhupada Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura is the son of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura," this is not Srila Prabhupada's glorification. His real glory is that he is the disciple of Srila Gaura Kisora dasa Babaji Maharaja and Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura. Actually he is the disciple of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, but in disciplic line we say that he is the disciple of Srila Gaura Kisora dasa Babaji Maharaja. Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura was his bhagavad-parampara-guru, sravana-guru and bhajana-guru; and Srila Gaura Kisora dasa Babaji Maharaja was his mantra-guru, or diksa-guru.

Sometimes the bhagavad-parampara-guru, the bhajana-guru, is superior to the diksa-guru. If the diksa-guru is also the bhajana-guru, then he is also exalted.

Srila Jiva Gosvami is a brilliant star in our disciplic line. He is a brilliant and learned acarya – the greatest scholar – in the Brahma-Madhava Gaudiya Vaisnava Sampradaya. When Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu was on his way to Vrndavana, he met with Srila Rupa Gosvami and Srila Sanatana Gosvami in Ramakeli, near Kamainatshala.

Jiva Gosvami was only a baby at that time. Rupa Gosvami and Sanatana Gosvami brought that baby and placed him at the lotus feet of Mahaprabhu, who then touched him with His lotus feet. Playing the role of an ordinary sadhaka, Srila Jiva Gosvami said in Navadvipa that he did not remember this so vividly. He said he only had a very vague remembrance of that time when he touched the lotus feet of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.

Srila Rupa Gosvami later made arrangements for Srila Jiva Gosvami's education. He gave money to Jiva Gosvami's family so that they could help him with his studies. Thus, even in boyhood, Jiva Gosvami became a great scholar in Bengali, Sanskrit, Urdu, Arabic and Farsi. He was an unparalleled scholar of Sanskrit, especially of Sanskrit grammar.

When he was about ten years old, Srila Jiva Gosvami left his home and went to Navadvipa. At that time Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu had already left this world. Srimati Saci-maiya, Srimati Visnupriya and Sri Nityananda Prabhu were present in Navadvipa at that time, and they were all weeping for Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. When Srila Jiva Gosvami arrived there, Srila Nityananda Prabhu put His feet on the head of Srila Jiva Gosvami and inspired in his heart all tattva (knowledge and realization). Jiva then began to cry for Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.

Sri Nityananda Prabhu said, "Come with me. I will take you on parikrama of the sixteen krosas (thirty-two square miles) of Sri Navadvipa Mandala." He then took Jiva to the nine islands of Navadvipa: Antardvipa, Simantadvipa, Godrumadvipa, Madhyadvipa, Koladvipa, Rtudvipa, Jahnudvipa, Modadrumadvipa and Rudradvipa. He especially showed him Sri Yogapitha, the birthplace of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, situated on the island called Mayapura.

Srila Jiva Gosvami told Nityananda Prabhu, "I want to stay here, at Your lotus feet." But Nityananda p(P)rabhu said, "Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu told Srila Rupa Gosvami, "I am giving you and your whole family to Vrndavana." So you should also go to Vrndavana, to be with Srila Rupa Gosvami and Srila Sanatana Gosvami.

"On the way you should stop in Varanasi, and there you should study all the Vedanta-darsana (another name for Vedanta-sutra). You should learn the explanations of Sankara, Madhva, Visnusvami, Nimbaditya and Ramanujacarya, and then you should go to Vrndavana."

Thus, Srila Jiva Gosvami went to Kasi (Varanasi), where he met the disciple of Sri Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya named Madhusudana Vidya-vacaspati. This disciple had studied Vedanta under the guidance of Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya. He had learned everything that Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya had received from Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, and he now taught that to Srila Jiva Gosvami.

After Srila Jiva Gosvami became expert in all these topics, he went to Vrndavana and took shelter at the lotus feet of Srila Rupa Gosvami and Srila Sanatana Gosvami. Srila Sanatana Gosvami told Srila Rupa Gosvami, "You should initiate him." So Srila Rupa Gosvami initiated that boy.

Srila Rupa Gosvami then taught Srila Jiva Gosvami about everything he himself had written – Sri Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu, Sri Ujjvala-nilamani, Sri Vidagdha-madhava, Sri Lalita-madhava and so on.

Srila Rupa Gosvami's books are rasa-sastra (scriptures delineating topics regarding Sri Krsna and His beloved associates], and thus Srila Jiva Gosvami became a learned scholar in that as well. When Jiva Gosvami fully mastered all topics taught to him by his guru, Srila Rupa Gosvami engaged him in proofreading his books and checking his writings for grammatical mistakes.

One day Sri Vallabhacarya came to see Rupa Gosvami. They were well acquainted because when Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu had met with Rupa and Anupama in Arhailgrama, their native place near Prayag, Vallabacarya was present. Very good discourses took place at that time.

Sri Vallabhacarya now inquired, "Are you writing any book?"

Srila Rupa Gosvami answered, "Oh yes, I am writing."

Sri Vallabhacarya then asked, "Which book you are writing?"

"Sri Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu," Srila Rupa Gosvami replied.

"Oh, that is a very good book. May I see it?" Sri Vallabhacarya requested.

Srila Rupa Gosvami agreed and Sri Vallabhacarya took the book. Reading it, he saw this verse:

bhukti-mukti-sprha yavat pisaci hrdi vartate
tavad bhakti sukhasyatra katham abhyudayo bhavet

["As long as the witches of bhukti and mukti linger in the heart, how can pure bhakti arise?" (Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu, Purva 2.16)]

Vallabhacarya read Rupa Gosvami's explanation: that mukti (liberation) is not like a witch. It is the desire to achieve mukti that is like a witch. Vallabhacarya did not understand this fact; so, Jiva although a youth of only sixteen years, explained it to him.

Vallabhacarya was impressed. He went back to Srila Rupa Gosvami and said, "Oh, your disciple is such a learned boy." Srila Rupa Gosvami could understand Jiva had defended him, and he told him, "You should have been tolerant. Sri Vallabhacarya is a brahmana. He is learned and he is also Vaisnava. And he is visiting Me. He is my guest. You cannot tolerate that he suggests some corrections?

In this way, the behavior of Srila Rupa Gosvami is correct. On the other hand, it would not have been right for Srila Jiva Gosvami to tolerate the fact that Sri Vallabhacarya was attempting to correct his Gurudeva. He was right to defend his Gurudeva. Srila Rupa Gosvami is not an ordinary Vaisnava. He is the associate of Sri Sri Radha and Krsna in Goloka-Vrndavana. He cannot make any mistake. Srila Jiva Gosvami argued some points and defeated Sri Vallabhacarya, and this was the right thing to do.

If anyone thinks he can correct the writing or teachings of our Gurudeva, we must also act like this, but when we are in the position of Srila Rupa Gosvami, we should honor the other person and say, "You can correct me, no harm." This is the behavior of a Vaisnava. Rupa Gosvami was not angry at Jiva Gosvami from his heart; he only showed some anger externally, and thus told him to leave.

When Sanatana Gosvami heard what had happened, he became very worried for Jiva Gosvami. When he arrived at that place, Nandagatha, all the villagers approached him and said, "Oh, a new baba has come here. He is very young, but he is always weeping and crying out in love for Krsna: "Oh, Krsna! Oh, Radhe, Radhe!" He weeps day and night. He is more qualified than you."

Srila Sanatana Gosvami thought, "Oh, he must be Jiva!" In this way he found Jiva Gosvami and saw that he was about to die. Jiva Gosvami had given up eating and drinking, he did not take baths, and he was continually weeping for his Gurudeva.

Srila Sanatana Gosvami took him back to Vrndavana and hid him somewhere there. Then he went to Srila Rupa Gosvami and asked, "What is our duty to all jivas?" Srila Rupa Gosvami replied, "We should be very kind." Srila Sanatana Gosvami then said, "Well, is this Jiva not a jiva? Why you are so unkind to this Jiva?"

Rupa Gosvami began to weep. Sanatana Gosvami called Jiva Gosvami and put him in Rupa Gosvami's lap. Rupa Gosvami, seeing that Jiva Gosvami had so many diseases and was about to die, embraced him and nourished him. He gave Jiva Gosvami medicine, and after some days Jiva Gosvami became cured. After that, Jiva Gosvami always remained in the service of Srila Rupa Gosvami.

When Rupa Gosvami and Sanatana Gosvami left this world, Jiva Gosvami became the prominent acarya of the Visva Vaisnava Raja Sabha (World Vaisnava Association). This is the real Krsna consciousness movement, which was established by Lord Brahma himself. Sri Narada Muni, Srila Vyasadeva and Srila Sukadeva Gosvami are acaryas of the real Krsna consciousness movement, and later, Srila Jiva Gosvami became its prominent acarya.

I saw a book today, written by Srila Gour Govinda Maharaja. Therein, Srila Gour Govinda Maharaja made a point that I think no one in Iskcon after Parama-pujyapada Srila Swami Maharaja had ever written before. He clearly wrote that Srila Prabhupada Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja did not establish the Krsna consciousness movement. Who is the establisher? It is Lord Brahma* [See Endnote 1].

Moreover, Brahma is also not the establisher; he is also a disciple. Sri Krsna is the root of all gurus. He is jagad-guru (the guru of the entire universe), as is Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. The Krsna consciousness movement is coming from Krsna, and it is therefore called "Krsna consciousness". Parama-pujyapada Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja is not the establisher of Krsna consciousness; he is one of the prominent acaryas in this line.* [See Endnote 2] We should realize all these facts.

After Rupa Gosvami and Sanatana Gosvami disappeared, Jiva Gosvami spread the mission of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu all over the world. He wrote many books, including the Six Sandarbhas and Sarva-Samvadini (Jiva Gosvami's own commentary on his Six Sandarbhas), because he wanted to protect the world from incorrect philosophical conceptions and conclusions.

Try to understand all these topics; and try to follow Srila Jiva Gosvami's philosophy. His teachings are not different from those of Srila Rupa Gosvami and Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami. He is in their line. He has given an explanation of svakiya-vada (Radha-Krsna as a married couple). He did this for the benefit of his unqualified disciples and followers, those who are not qualified for raganuga-bhakti or rupanuga-bhakti. He did this to bring them gradually to this line of parakiya (Radha-krsna as transcendental paramours). I will explain more tomorrow.

Gaura Premanande!

[*Endnote 1: Srila Prabhupada Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja writes in his purport to Srimad-Bhagavatam 2.9.6: "Thus Brahma was initiated by the Krsna mantra, by Lord Krsna Himself, and thus he became a Vaisnava, or a devotee of the Lord, before he was able to construct the huge universe. It is stated in the Brahma-samhita that Lord Brahma was initiated into the eighteen-letter Krsna mantra, which is generally accepted by all the devotees of Lord Krsna. We follow the same principle because we belong to the Brahma sampradaya, directly in the disciplic chain from Brahma to Narada, from Narada to Vyasa, from Vyasa to Madhva Muni, from Madhva Muni to Madhavendra Puri, from Madhavendra Puri to Isvara Puri, from Isvara Puri to Lord Caitanya and gradually to His Divine Grace Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati, our divine master."

"The Hare Krsna movement is not a new movement as people sometimes mistakenly think. The Hare Krsna movement is present in every millennium of Lord Brahma's life, and the holy name is chanted in all the higher planetary systems, including Brahmaloka and Candraloka, not to speak of Gandharvaloka and Apsaraloka. The sankirtana movement that was started in this world five hundred years ago by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu is therefore not a new movement. Sometimes, because of our bad luck, this movement is stopped, but Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and His servants again start the movement for the benefit of the entire world, or indeed, the entire universe." (SB 7.15.72 Purport)

In his Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.9.6-7 purport, Srila Prabhupada lists some of the other prominent acaryas in this movement. He writes: "He (Narada) is the son and disciple of Brahmaji, and from him the disciplic succession in the line of Brahma has been spread. He initiated Prahlada Maharaja, Dhruva Maharaja and many celebrated devotees of the Lord. He initiated even Vyasadeva, the author of the Vedic literatures, and from Vyasadeva, Madhvacarya was initiated, and thus the Madhva-sampradaya, in which the Gaudiya-sampradaya is also included, has spread all over the universe. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu belonged to this Madhva-sampradaya; therefore, Brahmaji, Narada, Vyasa, down to Madhva, Caitanya and the Gosvamis all belonged to the same line of disciplic succession."

Prabhupada confirms in this next quote that he is coming in the line of Caitanya Mahaprabhu. He writes: "Our original sampradaya stems from Madhvacarya. In that sampradaya there was Madhavendra Puri, and Madhavendra Puri's disciple was Sri Isvara Puri. Sri Isvara Puri's disciple was Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Thus we are coming in the disciplic succession from Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, and therefore our sampradaya is called the Madhva-Gaudiya-sampradaya. It is not that we have manufactured a sampradaya; rather, our sampradaya stems from Lord Brahma." (Teachings of Lord Kapila, chapter 14, text 31)]

[Endnote 2: "In Los Angeles many fathers and mothers used to come to see me to express their feelings of gratitude for my leading the Krsna consciousness movement throughout the entire world. Some of them said that it is greatly fortunate for the Americans that I have started the Krsna consciousness movement in America. But actually the original father of this movement is Lord Krsna Himself, since it was started a very long time ago but is coming down to human society by disciplic succession. If I have any credit in this connection, it does not belong to me personally, but it is due to my eternal spiritual master, His Divine Grace Om Visnupada Paramahamsa Parivrajakacarya 108 Sri Srimad Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Maharaja Prabhupada. (Bhagavad-gita As It Is Preface)

"I think that His Divine Grace Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura is always seeing my activities and guiding me within my heart by his words. As it is said in Srimad Bhagavatam, tene brahma hrda ya adi-kavaye. Spiritual inspiration comes from within the heart, wherein the Supreme Personality of Godhead, in His Paramatma feature, is always sitting with all His devotees and associates. It is to be admitted that whatever translation work I have done is through the inspiration of my spiritual master because personally I am most insignificant and incompetent to do this materially impossible work. I do not think myself a very learned scholar, but I have full faith in the service of my spiritual master, His Divine Grace Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura." (Caitanya-Caritamrta, Antya-lila, concluding words).]


Srila Jiva Gosvami's Disappearance Day


Oahu, Hawaii: Jan. 16, 2002 (Evening Part 1)
Tridandisvami Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja

[Respected Readers,
This year, 2017, Srila Jiva Gosvami Prabhupada’s disappearance day is December  21 ( in India). Please accept these two lectures of Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja, given in honor of Srila Jiva Gosvami:]

[Today is a very auspicious day. It is the disappearance day of Srila Jiva Gosvami. We don't observe the disappearance days of Lord Krsna, Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu, Lord Rama or any other incarnation of Bhagavan, but we observe the disappearance days of His associates. By such observance we learn many things about their worshipable Sri Sri Radha-Krsna, Sriman Mahaprabhu and Lord Nityananda Prabhu. We can understand how they practiced bhakti-yoga and how they received the service of Krsna and Mahaprabhu. We can learn from their lives’ examples how they accepted the process of sadhu-sanga, bhajana-kriya and anartha-nivrtti, and how they gradually developed nistha, ruci, asakti and rati. This is more important for us. [Although they are nitya-siddha devotees, they sometimes act as conditioned souls in the beginning, so we can learn how a conditioned soul can become a pure devotee.]

Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, Svayam Bhagavan Sri Krsna Himself who has taken the beauty and intrinsic mood of Srimati Radhika, came to this world, but it was Srila Rupa Gosvami who established in this world His innermost heart's feelings. If Srila Rupa Gosvami had not come, perhaps we would not have known His identity. Srila Jiva Gosvami served Srila Rupa Gosvami, and the credit for all the publishing of Srila Rupa Gosvami's literatures belongs to him. By publishing Rupa Gosvami's literatures, he established his innermost desire. At that time it was very difficult to publish books because the authors had to write all their books with their own pens, as there were no printing presses. Jiva Gosvami wrote down, in his own handwriting, every copy of every book of Srila Rupa Gosvami.

He was the topmost learned person at that time, and he preserved the legacy of Srila Rupa Gosvami. Because he was always with him, he was able to write many commentaries in pursuance of Rupanuga Vaisnavism. If it were not for him, all of Srila Rupa Gosvami's books would have been lost. He also preached, especially to Sri Syamananda Prabhu, Sri Narottama dasa Thakura, and Sri Srinivasa Acarya. Try to practice serving the cause of Caitanya Mahaprabhu's mission as he has done.

So-called gurus hanker to make many disciples. They spend so much money, make so many agents, and tell them, "If you bring five disciples, I will pay you so much." This is going on nowadays, but Srila Jiva Gosvami and the Six Gosvamis did not practice this. How many disciples did Srila Raghunatha Das Gosvami, Srila Sanatana Gosvami, Srila Rupa Gosvami and Srila Raghunatha Bhatta have? Srila Jiva Gosvami did not have any formal disciples at all, but the whole world is his disciple. Sri Syamananda Prabhu was initiated by another guru, Sri Hrdaya Caitanya, Srila Narottama dasa Thakura was initiated by Srila Lokanatha dasa Gosvami, and Srila Srinivasa Acarya was initiated by Srila Gopala Bhatta Gosvami, but they all came under the shelter of Srila Jiva Gosvami. He then explained to them the Vedas, Upanisads, and all other sastras, and he also thoroughly explained to them all tattvas, established philosophical truths.

They wanted to be initiated by him, but he refused. He told them, "There are so many elevated Vaisnavas more qualified than I. Please, you should go to Lokanatha Gosvami, and you should go to Gopal Bhatta Gosvami." They had not intended to go to them; they wanted him to be their guru. Yet, they followed his instructions. Srila Narottama dasa Thakura went to Srila Lokanatha Prabhu and Srinivasa Acarya Prabhu went to Srila Gopala Bhatta Gosvami.

Lokanatha Gosvami refused to give Narottama dasa Thakura initiation, although the Thakura waited for many years. At night, Narottama dasa cleaned the place where Lokanatha Gosvami had passed stool, and finally, seeing his sincerity of purpose, Lokanatha Gosvami was bound to give him initiation. Similarly, Gopal Bhatta Gosvami never wanted to accept any disciples. By the request of Srila Jiva Gosvami he accepted only one disciple – Srinivasa Acarya. However, those two disciples, along with Syamananda Prabhu, went to Bengal and collected thousands and thousands of followers.

Srila Gaura Kisora dasa Babaji also never wanted to accept any disciples. Only by the special request of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura did he initiate his son, Srila Prabhupada Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami. He saw in his own heart that if he did not initiate Srila Sarasvati Thakura, he would die. Srila Babaji Maharaja was therefore bound to give him initiation, but he gave no initiation to anyone else. His disciple, Srila Sarasvati Thakura, performed a miracle. He made disciples in all of Bengal, all over India, and after that all over the world. Thus, who is more merciful: the guru or the disciple? We see that disciples are more merciful than their gurus. This is because they go out to everyone, to invite them to experience the mercy of their guru.

Once, when Srila Lokanatha Gosvami and his disciple Srila Narottama dasa Thakura were both engaged in bhajana, a thirsty person came to them desiring water. He went to Lokanatha Gosvami, who was chanting and absorbed, oblivious to his presence. Then, when he went to Narottama dasa Thakura, that 'baby sadhu' procured some water and gave it to him. Lokanatha Gosvami understood this and later told him, "You are not qualified. You should go at once to your village. I don't want a disciple like you, who has no faith in Sri Krsna Bhagavan’s name. Krsna's name is Krsna Himself. He has manifested all His power, beauty and opulence in His name. That name is more powerful than He Himself, but you have no faith in this truth." [Srila Maharaja explained on another day that in real bhajana, the devotee is personally serving Srimati Radha and Sri Krsna while chanting. Srila Lokanatha dasa Gosvami told Srila Narottama dasa that he was not qualified because he had interrupted his service to Radhika and Krsna, and went to serve an ordinary man. Had Srila Narottama dasa Thakura continued his bhajana, Krsna would have been pleased and the man also would have been pleased. By Lord Krsna's arrangement, he would have gotten water from another source] Srila Narottama dasa Thakura was so faithful that he followed his guru's instructions, and he also initiated thousands and thousands of disciples in the course of his preaching on his guru's behalf.

I think that Srila Narottama dasa Thakura is so much more merciful than his gurudeva. Although Lokanatha Gosvami is a manjari and Narottama dasa Thakura is also a manjari, it appears that Narottama dasa Thakura is more merciful. He had mercy for all, as shown by his extensive preaching. In another way, however, we can see that Lokanatha Gosvami is extremely merciful because he parted with his only disciple, who served him so intimately, just so the people of Bengal could benefit.

There are many teachings to contemplate in this regard. Srila If Jiva Gosvami had not written Sad-Sandarbha, if he had not written Sri Gopala Campu, if he had not revealed his commentaries on Sri Ujjvala Nilamani, Sri Bhakti-rasamrita-sindu and so many other books, we would not be able to know the mercy of Srila Rupa Gosvami. We therefore offer our obeisances today unto the lotus feet of Srila Jiva Gosvami. We pray that we may serve our gurudeva as he served Srila Rupa Gosvami. He manifested both Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and Sri Sri Radha-Krsna. It is very rare for anyone to be like him.


Sri Guru - More Intimate Than Our Atma

gurudeva_vyasasana.jpgSri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami  Maharaja

bhayam dvitiyabhinivesatah syad
isad apetasya viparyayo 'smrtih
tan-mayayato budha abhajet tam
bhaktyaikayesam guru-devatatma

["Fear arises when a living entity misidentifies himself as the material body because of absorption in the external, illusory energy of the Lord. When the living entity thus turns away from the Supreme Lord, he also forgets his own constitutional position as a servant of the Lord. This bewildering, fearful condition is effected by the potency for illusion, called maya. Therefore, an intelligent person should engage unflinchingly in the unalloyed devotional service of the Lord, under the guidance of a bona fide spiritual master, whom he should accept as his worshipable deity and as his very life and soul." (Srimad Bhagavatam 11.2.37)]

What are the causes of fear? Srila Sukadeva Gosvami has explained it. We all fear. Although everyone in all species of life throughout all the material universes only wants peace of mind and happiness, everyone is full of fear.

Happiness and peace of life follow us like a shadow. If we want to take that shadow within our grasp, we will find it to be intangible – with no substance. On the other hand, when we proceed forward, turning away from our shadow, that shadow will follow us. This is the nature of shadows.

Perhaps all of you know the meaning of maya? Maya, in the form of economic development, sense gratification, and impersonal liberation, is like a shadow. When we turn to her and try to enjoy sense gratification, we find sense gratification to have no substance. In other words, the desire for material happiness becomes the cause of pain and grief. There is no happiness in the material world, only distress and suffering, and this suffering is experienced as the endless chain of birth and death. No one is happy to be in maya. On the other hand, if we progress towards Krsna, then all material facility and liberation will follow us.

We are part and parcel of the Supreme Lord, Krsna, and He is an ocean of ananda, unlimited happiness and peace. He is the reservoir of pure ananda, and in fact He Himself is ananda. Because we are His parts and parcels, by our constitutional position, by nature, our bodies are made of pure ananda. This refers to our transcendental body, however, not our material body.

bhayam dvitiyabhinivesatah syad
isad apetasya viparyayo 'smrtih
tan-mayayato budha abhajet tam
bhaktyaikayesam guru-devatatma

Somehow we have departed from that Supreme Lord, the ocean of rasa and ananda, who is ananda Himself, and now we are entangled in illusory maya. Ma – Ya. We are seeing that which is not actually a fact to be a fact. Whatever we see or feel by our sensory perception is maya.

When we first departed from Krsna, when we first forgot Him, maya came at once and attacked us. She defeated us and put us in her jail. What is that jail? It is this body and mind. Actually there are two jails, one within the other. This gross body is the outer jail and the subtle body is the inner jail. We have been suffering and fearing since time immemorial, and we are never free from that.

Pariksit Maharaja asked Srila Sukadeva Gosvami, "How can we come out of this endless chain of birth and death? How can we get free from maya?" Srila Sukadeva Gosvami replied, "Tan-mayayato budha abhajet tam / bhaktyaikayesam guru-devatatma." Being in maya, we cannot become free from maya at once and go to Goloka Vrndavana. It is possible only by the help of Vaisnavas. By the association of pure Vaisnavas, you can have a very pure guru – not an imitation guru or a kan-guru, but a sad-guru. If we take shelter in his lotus feet, he will take full charge of our lives. He will take all kinds of responsibility for our lives, and he will teach how to do bhajana of Krsna.

Guru-devatatma. First, we must think that guru is our atma. Being totally surrendered to him, we must depend solely on him. Tan abhajet. Tan means the Supreme Lord, Krsna. If we serve Krsna under the guidance of sad-guru, then certainly, like magic, we will be out of maya. We will see that our transcendental form has manifested, that we are serving Krsna, and that we are now bathing in the endless ocean of ananda and rasa. At that time we will also be embodiments of ananda, and we will simultaneously be the enjoyers of ananda by serving.

Try to realize all these facts. It is not sufficient to simply hear about this and tell others. We will have to be established in this truth. We are in deep maya, and to the extent we are in maya we are that far away from Krsna. Our only hope is the fact that Krsna has sent sad-guru and Vaisnavas to this world. I realize this; I was a third-class bogus person, but my Gurudeva picked me up and engaged me in this transcendental service.

To give the happiness of direct service to Radha-Krsna Yugala is the mission of Srimad Bhagavatam, Sri Narada Rsi, Srila Sukadeva Gosvami, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, our guru-varga, and especially, in Western countries, Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja – who ordered me to also preach it.

I request you all to understand these eternal truths and be established in them, and to also preach this mission of our guru-parampara to others. If you are practicing but not preaching, you are selfish. Do not be weak. Preach.

It is stated in Caitanya Caritamrta: "Sthane sthitah sruti-gatam tanu-van-manobhir" If you are wearing the saffron cloth of a brahmacari or sannyasi, do not marry and do not fall down. If you are grhastha, then remain grhastha, but after you are fifty years old, try to come out of grhastha life. Do not engage your whole life in the grhastha asrama. If you can be a grhastha like Prahlada Maharaja or the Pandavas, that is fine; but that is very rare.


* [Endnote: "This is a quotation from Srimad-Bhagavatam (11.2.37). It is an instruction given by Kavi Rsi, one of the nine saintly personalities called the nine Yogendras. When Vasudeva, Krsna's father, asked Devarsi Narada in Dvaraka about devotional service, it was mentioned that previously King Nimi, who was the King of Videha, was instructed by the nine Yogendras. When Sri Narada Muni discoursed on bhagavata-dharma, devotional service, he indicated how a conditioned soul can be liberated by engaging in the loving transcendental service of the Lord" (Caitanya Caritamrta Madhya 20.119 purport by Srila Prabhupada Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja).]


Krishna Is Sweet

radharaman2.jpgSrila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja’s
Explanation of the song Sri Madhurastakam by Sri Vallabhacarya
Holland, July 9, 2000

Krishna's beauty is sweet, His mother, Yasoda, is sweet, and His father is sweet. Especially His flute is very sweet when He plays on it and smiles with His very sweet and crooked side-long glance. Even the stick which He uses for cow-grazing is very sweet. His Yamuna is very sweet-crooked, but very sweet, and the dancing of peacocks is also sweet. When Krishna speaks, it is so sweet. Do you know who is the sweetest sweet? The gopis are very sweet. Lalita and Visakha and the other eight principle gopis are so sweet. Among them, Srimati Radhika is the sweetest of the sweet. Krishna's going anywhere for cowherding is very sweet, and His calling of the cows - Kalindi, Davali, Syamali - are so very sweet. Everything about Him is sweet. Even His stick, which is three-folded, that is, bent in three places, is sweet. His glancing is sweet, and it penetrates the hearts of all the gopis.

Why are you not coming? If you want to be sweet - forever - then at once come with us. Don't waste your time. At once. What are you doing? You can relish the sweetness of Krishna. There may be so many reasons for not coming to Vrindavana: you have your job to maintain your life and sense gratification.

You are still not chanting the very sweet, pure Name with rasika Vaisnavas. Vaisnavas are sweet. Their speaking is sweet and their association is sweet - because they are always explaining sweet, sweet and sweet hari-katha. You cannot realize all these things from your platform, so come with the rasika Vaisnavas. Where? To Vrindavana. And be sweet, so that Krishna can relish your sweetness. Try to be qualified for this, and in this way your life will be successful. In Vrindavana there are no problems - in the real Vrindavana. If you go to Vrindavana, where are you going? You are going to be covered by the net of maya. We should try to pray, "O Yogamaya, please take away the net".

We want to relish the sweetness of Krishna. You can only do that there, in the real Vrindavana, where the are no problems. There is no old age, no death, and no pain there. Try to be qualified, and try to be actually in Vrindavana - as Krishna grazes His cows. When He returns from cowherding, all the gopis assemble to see and taste His sweetness. Also, they themselves are so sweet that Krishna wants to taste their sweetness. Be sweet, taste sweet honey, and be honey. Be like this. You should try to chant in such a way that you will become like this.
This song was written by Vaisnava poet Vallabhacarya.

These are not speculations. They are reality. But you will have to come to this stage in order to realize them. Always follow Srila Rupa Gosvami:

smrtyoh kramena rasana-manasi niyojya
tisthan vraje tad-anuragi-jaganugami
kalam nayed akhilam ity upadesa-saram
(Nectar of Instruction, v.8)

"The essence of all advice is that one should utilize one's full time - twenty-four hours a day - in nicely chanting and remembering the Lord's divine name, transcendental form, qualities and eternal pastimes, thereby gradually engaging one's tongue and mind. In this way one should reside in Vraja [Goloka Vrindavana-dhama] and serve Krishna under the guidance of devotees. One should follow in the footsteps of the Lord's beloved devotees, who are deeply attached to His devotional service."

Don't waste a single moment; and then you will realize. Otherwise what will you think? "Oh, this is bogus." Thus, after some time you will give up your chanting and remembering. You should not waste your time. Go on with full strength, strong faith and your whole energy. Now old age is coming, embracing so many of you. Old age could not touch Narada. He jumped out of her embrace. To where? To the transcendental world, from where he could not fall. Death is coming; you have to die very soon. Don't waste time. Follow Srila Rupa Gosvami, and follow your Gurudeva.

I am inviting you to come to Vrindavana for Kartika, which is coming in a few months. Vraja Mandala parikrama, the circumabulation of Vraja Mandala, will begin on October 12; and it will be very sweet. I am also inviting you all to Navadvipa parikrama for Gaura Purnima. You should come there, and we will arrange everything there for you.


If We Want to Read Prabhupada's Books

gurudeva_scarf_450.jpgSri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja
A darsana in Houston
Houston, Texas: June 28, 2005

Devotee: I want to know if it is necessary to discern, as one is reading through the scriptures, what is actually Krsna's desire for us and what is man-made rules and regulations. The reason I ask this question is that there seems to be a lot of negative connotations towards women, and I know that you do not agree with that. Since you don't agree with those statements, I was wondering if maybe there were other things in the scriptures that were more of man-made ancient tradition, that are not applicable today.

Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja:Nothing like this has been written in the scriptures. We are neither male nor female. We are not this body – we are soul. According to the way in which we want to serve Krsna, or the way in which Krsna wants us to serve Him, He gives us our forms.

You know that Lord Rama loves His wife, Sita. You know how He loves Sabari, a very low-born lady. He even ate Sabari's food remnants. You know that Krsna took His flute and peacock feather and placed them at Srimati Radhika's lotus feet, saying, "I will not be able to repay you, even if I live for millions of years."

Devotee: Yes.

Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja: Then how can you think like this? You should not think in this way. Are you initiated by anyone?

Devotee: By you.

Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja: Then why are you thinking like this? Have I told anything like this? Has this been written in the Bhagavad-gita or in Srimad Bhagavatam?

Devotee: In the Gita it says that women are not intelligent and…

Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja: No, you have not understood the meaning.

Yaha bhagavata pada vaisnavera sthane – "If you want to understand Srimad-Bhagavatam," Svarupa Damodara Gosvami said, "you must approach a self-realized Vaisnava and hear from him." (Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Antya 5.131)

If you want to read anything, don't read on your own. Your mind is not controlled, and it is not pure. You should therefore go to any realized person and serve that tattva-vetta purusa (a self-realized soul, who is a knower of all truths). And then hear from him.

tad viddhi pranipatena
pariprasnena sevaya
upadeksyanti te jnanam
jnaninas tattva-darsinah

"Just try to learn the truth by approaching a spiritual master. Inquire from him submissively and render service unto him. The self-realized soul can impart knowledge unto you because he has seen the truth." (Bhagavad-gita 4.34)

You should go to a person who has realized all spiritual truths. Serve him, and after that you may ask a question. With folded hands you may ask him, "If I am qualified to hear, then please explain such and such." Then he will speak, and then there will be no doubt. On the other hand, if you will read by yourself, so many doubts will come. If you will read Mahabharata, you may say, "Oh, Krsna has left His body and died." If you will read Ramayana, you may think that Rama died, Laksmana died and all the monkeys died. This doubt may come; and if it comes, you will be ruined. Your bhakti will disappear. *See endnote

*Endnote 1:

"So if you read different scriptures, you will be bewildered…But there is adjustment. If you go to the authorized person, he can adjust. But you cannot see. You see, you'll see contradiction. So srutayo vibhinnah. Therefore they are considered different, but actually, they are not different. (Srimad-Bhagavatam 6.1.7 lecture, San Francisco, March 1, 1967)

"So Caitanya Mahaprabhu says the medium is sastra, and direction is the guru. Sastra also we cannot understand any book, what to speak of the scripture. Sometimes we find contradiction in the scripture. That is not contradiction; that is my poor fund of knowledge. I cannot understand; therefore assistance of guru, a spiritual master, is required." (Sri Caitanya-caritamrta Madhya-lila 20.353-354 Lecture, New York, December 26, 1966)

"Because the spiritual master is the representative of the Supreme Lord, his direction is directly the direction of the Supreme Lord. The spiritual master, saintly persons and scriptures direct in the same way. There is no contradiction in these three sources. All actions done under such direction are free from the reactions of pious and impious activities of this material world." (Bhagavad-gita 10.3, purport)

"One should taste the meaning of Srimad-Bhagavatam in the association of pure devotees, and one should associate with the devotees who are more advanced than oneself and who are endowed with a similar type of affection for the Lord." (Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya-lila 22.131)


Shrila Gaura-kishora dasa Babaji Maharaja

gaura-kisora.jpgThe Disappearance Day of Shrila Gaura-kishora dasa Babaji Maharaja
(from the book Shri Prabandhavali by Shri Shrimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja)

We cannot touch Shrila Gaura-kishora dasa Babaji Maharaja’s renounced lifestyle and high standard of bhajana, but we can at least accept and follow whatever lower principles that he established for us and practised in his own life. After making sufficient spiritual progress, we may be able to accept the higher things, but we should not desire to follow them in our present condition. Who can possibly follow his extreme renunciation, such as eating the clay of the Yamuna and Radha-kunda and remaining completely dependent on Bhagavan? He felt that if he lived in a mandira many people would come and disrupt his bhajana, so instead he lived in a latrine. People would come seeking his blessings for the purpose of attaining some material benefit, but he considered the stench of the latrine to be preferable to the stench of those people’s words. For us this is impossible, even for one minute. Therefore a kanishtha-adhikari will not easily be able to understand the life of this great uttama-bhagavata Vaishnava. The higher things have been prohibited for us, but we should accept from his life whatever will be favourable for progress in the madhyama-adhikari stage.

As long as we have not attained the mercy of Shri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, Nityananda Prabhu and Navadvipa-dhama, we will not be able to enter into Vraja. Therefore most of our previous acaryas who were performing bhajana in Vrindavana left there and went to Navadvipa to attain prema. Only after submerging themselves in the Ganga of Mahaprabhu’s prema in Navadvipa did they return to Vrindavana to drown in the ocean of krishna-prema. First they performed the bhajana of Gauracandra, and from that what did they attain? The prema of the amorous pastimes of Shri Radha and Krishna. Therefore, in the beginning Gaura-kishora dasa Babaji Maharaja performed bhajana in Vrindavana at Surya-kunda, Radha-kunda, Nandagrama, Varshana and many other places; but in his heart came the feeling that, “The type of prema that I desire is not being attained here.” He was performing kirtana with great prema, calling out “Radha, Radha! Where have You gone? Protect my life because I will die without You! Radha, Radha!” Although he cried out with extreme vipralambha-bhava, he felt that his yearning was not being fully satisfied, so he left Vrindavana and went to Navadvipa. There, to avoid having to come in contact with worldly people, he lived in a latrine. He was such a mahatma that he didn’t even construct himself a hut.
Once, the aristocratic landholder of Kasima Bazar was organising a conference of all the prominent Vaishnavas, and he approached Babaji Maharaja to request him to preside over this conference. He said, “Babaji Maharaja, I am organising a conference of Vaishnavas, and everyone desires that you be the president of this assembly. Being merciful, please give sukriti to us by accepting this entreaty, and I will take you there and bring you back in my own car.”

Babaji Maharaja asked him, “For what purpose are you organising this conference? What is the necessity of doing it?”

The man replied, “It is for the preaching of vaishnava-dharma, so people will hear talks describing Bhagavan and be inspired to take up bhajana.”

Then Babaji Maharaja said, “Alright, then you do one thing: first you do bhajana and forget about others. Leave your home, wife and children, and come to me. I will furnish you with a pair of kaupinas and then you do bhajana. First make your own life meaningful, and then worry about others. Otherwise your conference will only be for your own self-aggrandisement, and there will be no benefit in it for others anyway. First you should come to me and do bhajana for some time; then you should organise your conference.” Hearing this strong answer from Babaji Maharaja, the man was rendered speechless and went away. 

Another time, one man went to Babaji Maharaja and said, “Babaji Maharaja, please be merciful to me! Please be merciful to me!” Again and again he said it. Babaji Maharaja became a little annoyed and said, “You want mercy? Then here – take mercy!” and he handed the man a pair of kaupinas. What is the purport of giving the man a pair of kaupinas? When a guru gives sannyasa to someone, what does he give him? A pair of kaupinas and the mantra. Then that person will at once become renounced, leave all worldly attachments and fully apply his body, mind and words to the service of Krishna. If the guru gives this to someone, what greater mercy could there be? “Here – take mercy!” Hearing this from Babaji Maharaja, that man became frightened, ran away and never returned. 

On another occasion a young boy from a wealthy family ran away from home and came to Babaji Maharaja. He said to Babaji Maharaja, “I want to stay with you and just do bhajana.” Babaji Maharaja did not reply, so the boy began staying with him. He would bring water for Babaji Maharaja and do other services for him also, and he began telling the people, “I am a disciple of Babaji Maharaja.” But in reality Babaji Maharaja had no disciples other than Prabhupada. This boy stayed with Babaji Maharaja for some time but didn’t attain what he expected, so he thought, “I should return to material life.” Many people go to live in a matha, stay for one or two months, and then return to material life, get married and become busy in household duties. Some men leave renounced life even after ten or twenty years, but only because they desired to attain the same things as worldly people: kanaka (wealth), kamini (women) and pratishtha (prestige). They apparently leave their homes to engage in bhajana, but they are really only interested in material gain. Feeling that he had attained nothing by staying with Babaji Maharaja, the boy left and after about two weeks returned to Babaji Maharaja with a beautiful young girl from a wealthy family whom he had married. He offered pranama to Babaji Maharaja and said, “Babaji Maharaja, I have entered the samsara, the material world. Bhaktivinoda Thakura has written in his Gitavali: ‘krishnera samsara kara chadi’ anacara – we should give up our offences and perform bhajana as family men.’ Therefore I have collected a krishna-dasi. Please be merciful to her and to me also so we can engage in bhajana and have a successful material life as well.”

Babaji Maharaja replied, “You have done so well! I am so pleased! You have collected one krishna-dasi? Then you should do one thing: you should offer puja to this krishna-dasi. Every day you should cook an offering for her and offer her pranama and some flowers saying, ‘You are a krishna-dasi and very dear to Shri Krishna.’ But beware: don’t try to enjoy her, otherwise everything will be destroyed for you and you will descend into hell! Beware – don’t try to enjoy her!”
Hearing this, the boy was astonished and was rendered speechless. Frightened, he called his “krishna-dasi” and quickly left. Was deceiving Babaji Maharaja an easy thing? It was not possible to deceive him.

Babaji Maharaja vowed that he would never accept any disciples, but it was Prabhupada’s resolution that, “If I accept a guru, it will be him only.” Prabhupada wrote in his Gaudiya Patrika, “At that time I was very proud. I was thinking that there was no scholar equal to me, that there was no tattva-jnani equal to me, no speaker equal to me and no philosopher equal to me. This paramahamsa Vaishnava, Gaura-kishora dasa Babaji Maharaja, understood this; so he ignored my requests for initiation. Three or four times he told me that he would not accept disciples. He said, ‘What? You are the son of Bhaktivinoda Thakura! You took birth in such a high family that you are worshipful to me! You are such a big scholar, your appearance is so beautiful and you possess all good qualities; so what is the necessity of you becoming my disciple?’ In this way he pulverised my pride. People said that he was illiterate, but he possessed all real knowledge and was a jagad-guru.”

Three or four times Babaji Maharaja ignored him, but Prabhupada had vowed that he would accept initiation only from Babaji Maharaja. In the end he was performing severe austerities to attain Babaji Maharaja as his guru, and seeing that his son’s face was withered as if he would die, Bhaktivinoda Thakura requested Babaji Maharaja, “Please be kind to him.” After this, Babaji Maharaja finally accepted Prabhupada as his only disciple.

Bhaktivinoda Thakura’s ashrama was situated on the banks of the Ganga, and upon hearing “Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare” being chanted very loudly, Bhaktivinoda Thakura would know that Babaji Maharaja was coming. He would chant so loudly that his voice could be heard across the Ganga, and upon arrival at the ashrama, he would hear Shrimad-Bhagavatam and other krishna-katha from Bhaktivinoda Thakura. Babaji Maharaja didn’t associate with other babajis very much. Generally he would only wear a langoti and nothing more, but one day he begged a good quality dhoti, a kurta, a walking stick and a nice turban from someone. Wearing these, he went to Bhaktivinoda Thakura’s ashrama, and upon seeing him, Bhaktivinoda Thakura thought, “See how Babaji Maharaja’s appearance has changed! He has taken the ordinary dress of a grihastha. He is wearing nice clothes now and is carrying a walking stick like a landlord. What has happened to him?”
Babaji Maharaja offered pranama and sat down, and Bhaktivinoda Thakura asked him, “Babaji Maharaja, today I see that your appearance is of a different type. Why is this?”

Babaji Maharaja replied, “These days there are so many babajis, and many of them are such hooligans that if one even mentions their names it will be sinful. They are engaged in such misconduct that a grihastha is thousands of times superior to them. In the name of parakiya-bhajana they engage in mundane activities and they will all go to hell for it. When a babaji obtains some rasagullas or any good quality foodstuff, he should just offer it to a cow. Babajis should not go to any festival, but people invite them and off they go to these festivals simply to enjoy a good meal. Feeding the dogs of the dhama is more beneficial than feeding them. Therefore I think that I shouldn’t remain a babaji. I will wear the cloth of a grihastha, and then people will not look upon me as one of these babajis.”

Bhaktivinoda Thakura said, “You have spoken correctly.” At that time the misconduct of these babajis was so widespread that people hated to even hear the good Vaishnava name, so there was a necessity for a great personality who could preach the pure prema-dharma of Shri Caitanya Mahaprabhu in the world. Then came such a great personality, Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Prabhupada. He preached sankirtana in such a way that in no time the world opinion had changed, and scholars, gentlemen and everyone began to accept vaishnava-dharma. If there had been no Gaura-kishora dasa Babaji, then there would have been no Prabhupada. And if there had been no Prabhupada, then the pure prema of Mahaprabhu would not be preached all around the world as it is now. Therefore the original great personality was our father’s father’s father, our great grandfather, Gaura-kishora dasa Babaji. Today with great pride we declare that he was the guru of our parama-guru, and it is our supreme good fortune that he came to this world.

According to our qualification we will follow the instructions for bhajana and renunciation that he gave, and those who sincerely follow them will be offering the real pushpanjali to his feet. Otherwise, if we don’t offer this real pushpanjali, then we will be just like those people that he sent away. We should not desire to have material pleasures and at the same time beg for mercy as they did. For really achieving his mercy, we should offer this genuine pushpanjali to his feet, follow his instructions in a pure manner, and then we may be able to enter into real bhajana. He is never far away from us; he is with us at all times, and he will certainly bestow his plentiful mercy upon us. Calling out his name, our guruji would cry and say, “He took all of my hardships away.” Similarly he will remove all of our hardships so we will be able to perform bhajana, and to really engage in bhajana there must be no other desire whatsoever in our hearts. But if we leave sadhu-sanga, all will be lost. Therefore, remaining in the association of devotees we will perform bhajana and always remember the ideal that Gaura-kishora dasa Babaji Maharaja showed in his life. Then our lives will be meaningful, and from our bhajana we will get the real benefit. So today we offer a prayer to his feet that he will always be merciful to all of us.

See also:




dayitamadhava.jpgHave I Made a Mistake?

by Śrī Śrīmad Bhakti Dayita Mādhava Gosvāmī Mahārāja

My Doubt

A doubt occasionally arises in my heart. I think, “Have I made a mistake in accepting the shelter of the lotus feet of the Vaiṣṇavas? It certainly seems so. I appear to have made a mistake in taking up bhajana, in accepting the shelter of the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas and, specifically, in taking refuge of the Gauḍīya Maṭha and dedicating all my senses to serving in the Maṭha.

“Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas are not big-hearted. When we perform bhajana under their shelter, we are controlled by so many rules and regulations. If I were to take refuge of some other sampradāya where there is no concern for offences, such as vaiṣṇava-aparādha, nāma-aparādha or dhāma-aparādha, I would feel no such hindrance or botheration. I would not be obliged to develop exclusive devotion for a particular object of worship [such as Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa], nor would my eating habits be curtailed. In the Maṭha, issues like vaiṣṇava-aparādha are raised, and it often impedes my unrestricted sense enjoyment, lawless gossiping and other whimsical activities. It would therefore be better for me to live outside the Maṭha than be governed by such restraints.”

Sometimes I even think it would be best for me to abandon the shelter of a gurudeva as controlling as mine altogether, and to accept the mantra elsewhere, from someone who doesn’t demand that I pay attention to all the rules and regulations. Thus, I occasionally contemplate severing my ties with the Gauḍīya Maṭha completely. What stops me, however, is the thought that if people were to find out that I had broken my connection with Śrī Guru, it could jeopardise my prestige and position.

Discipline and Deceit

The Vaiṣṇavas of the Gauḍīya Maṭha are one pointedly engaged in worshipping Śrī Gaurāṅgadeva and Śrī Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa, under the guidance of Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmipāda and the best among his followers, namely, Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura and Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Gosvāmī. Kṛṣṇa-prema is their only goal and their only practice, or sādhana. There is no absence of affection or devotion in the sādhana of the servants of the Gauḍīya Maṭha. Hence, they will never support any endeavour that is unfavourable to the cultivation of affection for Śrī Kṛṣṇa.

What auspiciousness can a sādhana bring if it can’t offer its practitioner any way to attain his cherished goal quickly, or if it can’t even offer him any certainty that he will realize his worshipable deity at all? This type of sādhana, when propagated, tends only to attract followers. For those content to pass their lives without purpose or restriction, what use is there to accept the lotus feet of sad-guru, a transcendental teacher? But those who can see their own faults and anarthas, and who try to become free of them, develop an urge to become qualified to taste the bliss of prema for Bhagavān. Only they can remain in the shelter of saintly devotees endowed with this prema. They can experience the happiness of being engaged in service to Bhagavān by living under the guidance of such one-pointed devotees and following their instructions. This involves subduing their senses and abstaining from whimsical activities.

Those who make a show of accepting the shelter of the lotus feet of Śrī Guru simply deceive themselves; they pretend to be self-controlled and reformed but internally maintain their previous bad impressions, and especially the tendency to strive to gather followers. In other words, they recruit followers on the pretext of accepting the shelter of Śrī Guru, with the aim of fulfilling their selfish ends through their so-called disciples. The attempts of such arrogant and duplicitous people to attain auspiciousness are endlessly frustrated.

To be a disciple means to be disciplined, or controlled. If a person outwardly accepts the shelter of Śrī Guru but arrogantly maintains the attitude that he knows best about his spiritual life, then he is but a cheater – deceiving both himself and others. Pure Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas are most magnanimous and bestow the highest auspiciousness. If we can become eligible to understand even a single aspect of their exemplary lives we will become attached to sādhana-bhajana and be filled with jubilation and devotion.

Bhakti Lies Beyond Renunciation

Those who possess kṛṣṇa-prema are neither enjoyers nor renunciants. They are not karmīs (fruitive workers); neither are they jñānīs (persons cultivating knowledge of impersonal brahman). Those who perform activities opposed to scriptural injunctions honour karmīs who abide by scriptural injunctions; and when karmīs, who are eager to enjoy the results of their endeavours see the external renunciation of jñānīs and renunciants, they may be attracted to them. However, those who hanker for bhagavat-prema disregard both of these paths. They are attracted only by behaviour that nurtures the cultivation of this prema.

Someone who is not aspiring for prema for Bhagavān will perceive only enjoyment or renunciation in the behaviour of the devotees. If he takes shelter of them upon observing their external renunciation, he may for a while consider himself blessed to be in their company. Kṛṣṇa-prema, however, cannot be attained by external renunciation. Unless one has faith grounded in philosophical truth (tattvika śraddhā), or has affection for the svarūpa of Śrī Bhagavān, he cannot become attracted to the behaviour of Bhagavān’s devotees. The characteristic of such one-pointed devotees is that directly or indirectly they only cultivate love for Śrī Kṛṣṇa:

ānukūlyena kṛṣṇānu
śīlanaṁ bhaktir-uttamā

Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu (1.1.11)

“The cultivation of activities that are meant exclusively for the pleasure of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, or in other words the uninterrupted flow of service to Śrī Kṛṣṇa, performed through all endeavours of the body, mind and speech, and through the expression of various spiritual sentiments (bhāvas), which is not covered by jñāna (knowledge aimed at impersonal liberation) and karma (reward-seeking activity), and which is devoid of all desires other than the aspiration to bring happiness to Śrī Kṛṣṇa, is called uttama-bhakti, pure devotional service.”

One must deliberate upon this verse. The activities of a devotee of Kṛṣṇa, such as establishing a maṭha (spiritual institution), constructing a temple, meeting with materialistic or aristocratic people, hosting festivals with pomp and grandeur, and giving instructions to ignorant or faithless people, are all śuddha-bhakti. To serve Bhagavān and the devotees one may supervise the construction of a temple or the house of a devotee, collect materials, purchase supplies and accept the lowly propensity to beg. Such activities are supremely pleasurable and they nourish one’s bhakti.

What Is True Renunciation?

kuṣṭhi-viprera ramaṇī pativratā-śiromaṇi
pati lāgi’ kailā veśyāra sevā
stambhila sūryera gati jīyāila mṛta pati
tuṣṭa kaila mukhya tina-devā

Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta (Antya-līlā 20.57)

“The wife of a brāhmaṇa suffering from leprosy showed herself to be the topmost of chaste women by serving a prostitute to satisfy her husband. She thus halted the movement of the sun, brought her dead husband back to life and satisfied the three principal demigods [Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Maheśvara].”

We should consider this account in the light of our discussion. That chaste brāhmaṇa wife’s service to a lowly prostitute in the sincere endeavour to please her husband enhanced her glory. She thus became worshipable for the entire world. What’s more, she became very dear to Śrī Bhagavān. If, however, she had performed this service for her own sense, pleasure, or for dharma, artha, kāma or mokṣa, it would have been reprehensible in every respect.

Similarly, activities such as constructing a maṭha, meeting and talking with materialistic or aristocratic people, hosting grand festivals and bestowing the śrī nāma-mantra to faithful persons sincerely desiring to serve Śrī Bhagavān, His devotees and His dhāma (all aspects of Vaikuṇṭha), enhance bhakti and ultimately cause prema to appear. Those same activities, however, bind one to this material world if they are performed with the aim of gratifying one’s senses; accumulating wealth, women and fame; or attaining dharma, artha, kāma or mokṣa.

In this world, renunciation means to relinquish the objects of one’s attachment. But can ceasing to take foods that merely aggravate a disease, for instance, be considered renunciation? Abstaining from foodstuffs that destroy good health and instead accepting foods that increase longevity can hardly be celebrated as a great act of renunciation. Thus, it is hard to see how the act of renouncing one’ father, mother, relatives, friends, wealth, occupation, business or worldly duties performed to gain material comforts, can in itself be glorious. Only when a person renounces the objects of his mundane pleasure for the pleasure of the Complete Entity [Śrī Bhagavān], expecting no sense enjoyment in return, can his renunciation be considered actual renunciation. In other words, true renunciation entails not striving for dharma, artha, kāma or mokṣa, or for wealth, women and adoration.

Ordinarily, it is considered irreligious to forsake the duties the scriptures prescribe for one’s varṇa and āśrama; but if these duties are discarded for the pleasure and satisfaction of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, who is the cause of all causes and the bestower of supreme bliss, then and only then is such renunciation honourable. Indeed, such renunciation, which benefits everyone, is to be revered. To renounce endeavours for sense gratification – that is, endeavours in one’s search for happiness in this world or in the next – is courageous and glorious. But the topmost renunciation is to abandon everything, even one’s independent will and desires, for the pleasure of Bhagavān Śrī Kṛṣṇa and His one-pointed devotees.

Renouncing the mind’s propensity for independence, in other words, the sacrifice of one’s very self, is far superior to renouncing that which is inert and temporary. The glory of one’s renunciation lies truly in the glory of the object of such sacrifice. Śrī Bhagavān and His devotees who possess prema are unlimitedly glorious; and therefore to renounce for their pleasure is supremely noble. Such renunciation is incomparable because it increases the happiness of all living entities by reawakening their relationship with Śrī Bhagavān. It does not admit even the slightest scent of distress. Rather, the renunciant feels increasingly happy at every step. It can therefore be concluded that such renunciation bestows bliss in every respect and is highly esteemed.

Fruitive workers, or karmīs, make sacrifices and perform austerity with the hope of attaining increased mundane sense pleasure in the future. Such renunciation is therefore meagre and does not bestow complete happiness. Jñānīs, who aspire to realize the impersonal brahman , make sacrifices and perform austerity to dispel their own suffering. Their renunciation, also, does not bestow full happiness.

The sacrifices and austerities of Kṛṣṇa’s devotees, however, are meant exclusively for the pleasure of Śrī Hari. Since Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the cause of all causes, such renunciation bestows true welfare upon the devotee and upon others. Therefore Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas greatly honour those activities that promote love of Bhagavān, and they reject activities that hinder it. In this sādhana, any sense enjoyment and renunciation that is favourable to bhakti is highly regarded. Yet devotees are not attracted to sense enjoyment and renunciation in their own right. They are attracted to love for Bhagavān and His devotees. They have no independent or whimsical desire to enjoy or renounce. Yukta-vairāgya, renunciation for the pleasure of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, is their only sādhana. Without understanding bhajana-rahasya, the secrets of bhajana, one will become bewildered by what sense enjoyment is and what renunciation is. Both are impediments in the sādhaka’s cultivation of prema for Bhagavān.

Don’t Waste a Moment

Those who have realized that this human life offers an invaluable opportunity to work towards attaining the supreme goal, prize every moment of it. They are unwilling to waste even an instant in any other endeavour. They know that living entities in other species of life do not have the facility or good fortune to make progress towards the supreme goal, and accordingly, they see no value in living their lives in the manner of the lower species. Hence, upon attaining this extremely rare human life and, on top of that, attaining the fortune to associate with sādhus and developing śraddhā for the supreme goal, they cannot quietly squander a single moment of their lives. Rather, they will accept only what is favourable to the cultivation of affection for Śrī Kṛṣṇa and will reject all activities that are unfavourable to it.

As such, the devotees of the Gauḍīya Maṭha instruct the world to engage only in those practices that are righteous and favourable to the cultivation of kṛṣṇa-prema and to reject unrighteous activities that impede it. Moreover, they never indulge in violence or envy, as this hinders the cultivation of prema.

My Doubt Resolved

Thus, if I am genuinely searching for kṛṣṇa-prema, I have not after all made any mistake in accepting the shelter of the lotus feet of pure Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas. Such Vaiṣṇavas will not fuel our desire for dharma, artha, kāma and mokṣa or our hankering for wealth, women and adoration. The purpose of the Maṭha is to help free us from these anarthas and attain kṛṣṇa-prema. By taking shelter of the lotus feet of pure Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas in the Gauḍīya Maṭha, beggars for kṛṣṇa-prema become qualified to attain their greatest welfare. Moreover, they receive the opportunity to achieve the highest ideal of magnanimity and to ascend to the topmost level of pure vairāgya, renunciation. This is my unshakable conviction. One cannot be deviated from attaining prema for Bhagavān in due course, unless one becomes a severe offender.

One day, by the mercy of Śrīla Prabhupāda, the world will profusely glorify and worship the Śrī Sarasvata Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas [that is, Śrīla Prabhupāda’s followers]. They alone are able to establish the highest ideal of benevolence in the world. Victory will certainly belong to the devotees of the Gauḍīya Maṭha, or those who have taken shelter of the lotus feet of Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas. I have not, therefore, made a mistake in accepting the shelter of the lotus feet of pure Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas. Rather, I have whole-heartedly embraced the good fortune of attaining my highest welfare, and thus I am truly blessed.

Essay originally penned in 1966.
Translated from Śrī Caitanya-vānī by the Rays of The Harmonist team.
Published in English for the first time in Rays of The Harmonist No. 14 Kārttika 2004.

About the Author

One of the shining luminaries of the Gauḍīya sky, Śrī Śrīmad Bhakti Dayita Mādhava Gosvāmī Mahārāja was an initimate disciple of Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhakurā Prabhupāda who soon became renowned for his intense devotion, deep humility and brilliance in spreading the mission of his divine master. Indeed, Śrīla Prabhupāda used to refer to him as “a preacher of volcanic energy.”

Śrī Śrīmad Bhakti Dayita Madhāva Gosvāmī Mahārāja appeared in this world in Kārttika of l904, On the disappearance day of Śrīla Gaurakiśora dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja, in Kanchanpada, present-day Bangaladesh. He accepted the renounced order in 1944, and established Śri Caitanya Gauḍīya Maṭha in 1953, the current ācārya of which is Śrī Śrīmad BhaktiVallabha Tīrtha Mahārāja. One of his most significant contributions was to re-establish the appearance site of Śrīla Prabhupāda in Śrī Jagannātha Purī. This empowered personality who was kind and magnanimous to all, entered nitya līlā in 1979, on the disappearance day of Śrīla Jagannātha dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja.


by Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja

I often received the opportunity to associate closely with our revered śikṣā-guru Śrī Śrīmad Bhakti Dayita Mādhava Gosvāmī Mahārāja. He was serene, tolerant, grave and endowed with many other qualities befitting a Vaiṣṇava. He preached Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s message of Divine Love widely throughout India with great vigour. The special feature of his preaching was that he taught by personal example. He emphasized that we should be humbler than a blade of grass and more forbearing than a tree, and that we should offer respect to everyone without ourselves desiring respect from others. His unique spiritual quality was that he honoured all his godbrothers. This is truly ideal. If we can sincerely follow his teachings, our guru-pujā will be successful.

Excerpt from a speech delivered in Hindi on 17th November 2003
at Śrī Caitanya Gauḍīya Maṭha, Vṛndāvana,
at Śrī Śrīmad Bhakti Dayita Mādhava Mahārāja’s birth centennial celebration.

See also:



Gurudev-and-Vaman-Gosvami.jpgTridandisvami Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja
Govardhana, India: November 13, 2007 PM

[This year, 2017, the disappearance day of Srila Bhaktivedanta Vamana Gosvami Maharaja and Srila Bhaktivedanta Trivikrama Maharaja, the intimate god-brothers and friends of Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja, is on October 22nd & 23rd (see calendar). Please accept the following glorification of him, given on his disappearance day during  Kartika 2007.

During the auspicious month of Kartika, Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja and the assembled international parikrama pilgrims celebrated the disappearance day of Srila Bhaktivedanta Vamana Gosvami Maharaja and Srila Bhaktivedanta Trivikrama Gosvami Maharaja. Srila Trivikrama Maharaja left the vision of this world in 2002, and Srila Vamana Maharaja left on the same day, two years later.

As he does every year at this time, Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja organized a Separation Festival (Viraha Mahotsava) for them, at which time he called on several of their disciples to speak about their glories and offer heart-felt sentiments. Almost everyone spoke in Hindi, as did Srila Narayana Maharaja himself.

The following is a simultaneous translation of Srila Narayana Maharaja’s glorification, given by Akhilesh dasa Adhikari, who spoke into a transmitter. Most of the 700 or so Westerners from various countries present were able to hear the translations in their headphones, because there were also simultaneous translations from English to Russian, Chinese, and so on.

For a great soul there is no difference between his appearance and disappearance days * because he is actually always present to guide and give his blessings. These days are especially powerful occasions to remember them and receive abundant blessings. Therefore, please accept the transcription of the lecture below, given this Kartika, on Srila Vamana Maharja’s disappearance day:]

Today we will discuss the glorious characters of Parama-pujyapada Srila Bhaktivedanta Vamana Gosvami Maharaja and Parama-pujyapada Srila Bhaktivedanta Trivikrama Gosvami Maharaja, and the devotees will offer puspanjali (their flower-like hearts’ offering of glorification) at their lotus feet.

According to the degree of love and affection towards someone, one will experience that much separation for a person. The gopis had so much affection for Sri Krsna, and that is why they felt so much separation when He went to Mathura. We have read about the various stages of their separation in the Srimad-Bhagavatam and other scriptures.

Similarly, the more one is attached to Srila Gurudeva’s lotus feet, the more separation one will feel in his absence. We see the topmost example of this in the life of Srila Ragunatha dasa Gosvami, who had so much affection in his heart towards his siksa-gurus, Srila Rupa Gosvami and Srila Sanatana Gosvami. What was the condition of Srila Raghunatha das Gosvami when their pastimes became un-manifest in this world? He saw Giriraja Govardhana like a python, all of Vraja seemed empty to him, and appeared like the mouth of a very ferocious tiger. Due to his love and affection, this is how he described his separation from Srila Rupa and Sanatana Gosvamis.

According to how much affection you have towards your Gurudeva’s lotus feet, that much separation you will feel. You must understand that the devotee who feels separation from his Guru is very elevated in bhakti, and he will soon attain the lotus feet of Sri Sri Radha and Krsna. Without Gurudeva’s mercy, this is not possible.

I spent more than sixty years with Pujyapada Srila Bhaktivedanta Vamana Gosvami Maharaja and Pujyapada Srila Bhaktivedanta Trivikrama Maharaja. We had a very special relationship, and we were related in so many different ways. I had a first-hand opportunity to observe their guru-seva. I directly saw how Srila Vamana Maharaja was ready to give his life for his Gurudeva, and I understood how my Gurudeva used to feel indebted to Srila Vamana Maharaja for his service. When Srila Vamana Maharaja’s hand was caught in the printing press, Srila Guru Maharaja wept, and he traveled with Srila Vamana Maharaja to the hospital in Kolkata. When you see Sri Guru crying for his disciple, you can understand that his affection towards that disciple is very deep.

I have seen that if there was work which involved a lot of responsibility, my Gurudeva would not give that work to me or Srila Vamana Maharaja, but to Srila Trivikrama Maharaja, and he would not take it easily. He would argue and ask questions, and then he would accept that work and complete it.

Srila Gurudeva always saw Srila Vamana Maharaja as his small child, because he had come to the Matha in his young age, as a very small child. But Srila Vamana Maharaja was expert in performing all kinds of services. From his example, we should all take great inspiration in how he served non-stop and always brought pleasure to his spiritual master and the Vaisnavas. Srila Gurudeva entrusted the more responsible services to Srila Trivikrama Maharaja, not because Srila Vamana Maharaja was not qualified, but because Gurudeva gave that opportunity to Srila Trivikrama Maharaja, who joined the Matha when he was in his mid twenties.

I observed the character of Srila Vamana Maharaja; I saw how he has served Srila Gurudeva. There was nothing he would not do. If someone wants the ability to perform bhajana and service to Sri Guru, he should learn from the life of Srila Vamana Maharaja. Unless and until one has such firm faith in Guru, he cannot perform bhajana.

Wherever Srila Gurudeva went for preaching, I would come along with Srila Trivikrama Maharaja and Srila Vamana Maharaja. For sixty years I had the fortune to reside with Srila Vamana Maharaja. How many days have you (Srila Vamana Maharaja’s disciples and followers present in the audience) remained with him? You have been with him only for a few years, and from at a great distance. I lived with him as a friend, and our lives were so intimately connected that we were like two bodies with one soul. I have seen some of my Gurudeva’s character in Srila Vamana Maharaja, and he helped me write my Gurudeva’s biography.

Before I met my Guru Maharaja, I was never second to anyone in running. I was a very good athlete, and Srila Vamana Maharaja used to walk a lot, but when Srila Guru Maharaja used to walk while residing in various temples, both of us remained behind him. We could no keep up with him because he would walk so swiftly.

Being with Guru Maharaja, Srila Vamana Maharaja and I used to work in the kitchen and engage in many other services. We used to clean the pots in those days, and also write sometimes. We worked at the printing press, publishing Guru Maharaja’s books, and we also traveled with Guru Maharaja when he went to various places for preaching. We were engaged in so much service.

I learned so much from both Srila Trivikrama Maharaja and Srila Vamana Maharaja; they are my siska gurus. What can I tell you about their glorious characters? I remain always indebted to them; I can never become free from their debt.

At the time of Navadvipa parikrama, there used to be thousands of pilgrims, and all of them would come to meet Srila Guru Maharaja. He would speak to all of them, and Srila Vamana Maharaja, with a paper and pen in his hand, was near him. While the large darsans would be going on, Srila Vamana Maharaja would ask Srila Gurudeva to speak something for the publication in the Gaudiya Patrika Magazine, and Srila Gurudeva would say, “Ok, take a pen.” He would then speak fluently for a few minutes, and at which time Srila Vamana Maharaja would write three or four pages, and whatever he wrote would not need to be corrected. When we write, corrections and editing must be done, but this was not the case with Srila Vamana Maharaja.

Just after taking notes and writing the articles, on the same day, the magazine would go to press, and the next morning we would offer it to Lord Narasimhadeva. In this way, Srila Gurudeva and all the devotees who assisted him used to publish the Patrika.

I have firm faith that today, on the disappearance day of Pujyapada Srila Vamana Maharaja and Pujyapada Srila Trivikrama Maharaja, the topics that the devotees have spoken about, the discussions we have heard of their glorious lives and characters, as well as the established philosophical truths that have been told – are not being spoken in the Gaudiya Vedanta Samiti. In fact, it is doubtful that they are observing this holy day. They celebrate the vyasa-puja day of Paryataka Maharaja, but not the vyasa-puja of Srila Vamana Gosvami Maharaja. I know this. There are no people who have such kind of affection for Pujyapada Srila Vamana Maharaja.

Pujyapada Srila Vamana Gosvami Maharaja’s disciples are slowly coming to me. I am very happy that you [Srila Vamana Maharaja’s diksa- and siksa disciples] are all present here today and I am pleased by the way you are respecting and glorifying your Gurudeva. In Gaudiya Vedanta Samiti, they have broken their parampara; they do not even keep the correct photographs of the parampara. Our parampara is perfect; first my Gurudeva, Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja, then Srila Vamana Maharaja, and then myself. This is the parampara. In the homes of my disciples throughout the world, Srila Vamana Maharaja’s photo is placed on their altar.

Therefore, at this place, the pastimes of Srila Vamana Maharaja have been spoken, but there in Gaudiya Vedanta Samiti, everything is spoiled.

You should always follow Guru and Vaisnavas. Always consider that siksa-guru and diksa-guru are non-different. I am very pleased that all of you are progressing in bhakti, and I am very happy with all the speakers.

[Sripad Madhava Maharaja:] So many devotees from Siliguri have come here.

[Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja:] After Navadvipa parikrama I will go there. If we go to Siliguri after Gaura-purnima, and Bangalore in a few days, right after Kartika, then many more devotees will be here next year. I will go to Siliguri for five or six days with all the senior Vaisnavas, and to Shilang also, and many small villages in South of Bengal. I will go to all these places.

[Srila Maharaja requested Srila Vamana Gosvami Maharaja’s senior disciple Uma didi to glorify her Gurudeva, after which he said:] She had the association of Srila Vamana Maharaja since childhood, and she took harinama from him at a young age. When she came to stay at our matha (temple) in Mathura, many of her god-brothers criticized her, saying, “She has left Guru Maharaja and is residing here with Narayana Maharaja.” They disrespected her, but on the other hand, right until the end of his manifest stay in this world, Srila Vamana Gosvami Maharaja had so much affection for her.

[Srila Narayana Maharaja called on Damodara Maharaja to glorify Srila Trivikrama Maharaja, and then he himself spoke:] Whenever Srila Trivikrama Maharaja’s parents would come to our matha, he would treat them in a rude manner and use harsh words. I was unhappy to hear this, so I told him, “You have to respect your mother and father.” He replied, “You don’t understand. If I behave very nicely towards them, then they will come here all the time and disturb my bhajana. They will harass me to come back to their village.”

He was a very good cook, and he was also very renounced. He would almost always wear simply one cloth, which would reach to just above his knees, and a sleeveless shirt – not more than that. He was always serving Vaisnavas and living very simply. In this way he spent his life.

So our adoration, our worship is to Bhaktivinoda Thakura today , because he may bless us to make peaceful progress in Krsna consciousness. Acarya-upasana; simply by the blessings of the acaryas, we can make very rapid progress. Vedesu durlabham adurlabham atma-bhaktau [Bs. 6.33]. Yasya prasadad bhagavat-prasadat. We sing this every day. By the mercy of the spiritual master, acarya, we immediately get the blessings of the Lord. Immediately. (Srila Sac-cid-ananda Bhaktivinoda THakura’s Appearance Day Lecture – London, September 3, 1971]

[Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura passed away from this material world on December 31, 1936, so almost forty years has past. There are two phases: prakata and aprakata, appearance and disappearance. We have nothing to lament on account of disappearance, because Krsna and Krsna’s devotee do not disappear. Not only devotees – even the nondevotees – nobody disappears. Nobody disappears because every living entity is eternal, as Krsna is eternal. This is confirmed in the Vedic literature: “nityo nityanam cetanas cetananam.” (Katha Upaniñad 2.2.13) The description of the Supreme Lord is that He is nitya, eternal, and the living entities are also eternal; but He is the chief eternal.

So spiritually, in appearance and disappearance, there is no difference. Just like in material point of view, suppose you get a son born, you become very happy. When the same son passes away, you become very unhappy. This is material.

But spiritually, there is no difference in appearance or disappearance. So although this is the disappearance day of OmVisnupada Sri Srimad Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, there is nothing to be lamented. Although we feel separation, that feeling is there, spiritually there is no difference between appearance and disappearance. Although this is the Disappearance Day of Om Visnupada Sri Srimad Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, there is nothing to be lamented, although we feel separation. That feeling is there, but spiritually there is no difference between appearance and disappearance. There is a song, Narottama dasa Thakura's song, ye anilo prema dhana-can you sing that song, anyone? I don't remember exactly the whole song. That is all lamentation. (from Srila Prabhupada Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura’s Disappearance Day Lecture, given by Srila Prabhupada Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja, LA, December 13, 1973)]

[People may say, "The devotee is also dying, and the non-devotee, sinful man, is also dying. What is the difference?" There is much difference. The example is given: just like a cat catching a rat in his mouth and at the same time carrying his cubs in the mouth. Superficially, we can see that the same mouth is being used, but one is feeling comfortable being carried by the mother, and another is feeling the death knell. (Bhagavad-gita Lecture 2.13, London, August 19, 1973)]

Similarly, at the time of death, the devotee is feeling that they are being transferred to Vaikuntha, whereas the ordinary sinful man is feeling that the Yamadutas, the constables of Yamaraja, are dragging him to the hellish condition of life.

So one should not conclude simply by seeing that he is dying. No. The process is different. Janma karma ca me divyam (Bg. 4.9). As Lord Krsna's appearance and disappearance are all spiritual, transcendental, they are not ordinary things, similarly, Lord Krsna's devotees, His representative, who is sent to this material world for preaching the glories of Lord Krsna, their appearance and disappearance is also like Krsna's. Therefore, according to Vaisnava principles, the appearance and disappearance of Vaisnava is considered all-auspicious. Therefore we hold festivals. Just like yesterday we had the disappearance day of His Divine Grace Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Prabhupada. So we offered our respects and observed a festival. (Srimad-Bhagavatam Lecture, 6.1.27-34, Surat, December 17, 1970)]


Govardhana Annakuta

annakut2.jpgTridandisvami Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja
Badger, Califiornia
May 18, 2003

Today, Annakuta Mohotsava, is a very auspicious day. This day is observed in India during the month of Kartika. Many of Krsna's other sweet pastimes were also performed in the month of Kartika. In this month, under the guidance of Nanda Baba, the Vrajavasis observed Govardhana puja. They did this, having given up the puja of Indradeva, and that resulted in Krsna lifting Govardhana Hill on His little finger. Yasoda-devi bound Krsna in this very month, which is how the song Sri Damodarastakam originated. Kartika is also the month in which Krsna and the gopis performed Saradiya Rasa (Autumn rasa-lila).

After Krsna lifted Giri Govardhana, Indra understood that his torrential rain would have no effect, and thus he began to repent his actions. He thought that Krsna would punish him, and that the only way to save himself would be to take shelter of Surabhi cow. Surabhi would be able to please Krsna. She would pray to Krsna on his behalf, "Please, excuse him." No one else would be able to achieve this. Krsna considers Himself the servant of the cows and always supports them. It would therefore be easy for Surabhi to please Him. If Surabhi would not go, Krsna would not be pacified and would therefore punish him. Indra thus took shelter of Surabhi, walking behind her, and they both approached Krsna. Krsna said, "O Mother, you have come!" Surabhi said, "Yes. I have brought my son with me. I request that You please excuse him." Surabhi then began to supply large quantities of milk, and Indra, the demigods, and the great sages present began to abhisheka (bathe) Krsna, just as we did here today. Krsna then became very happy and said, "In the future I don't want to have to tolerate your nonsense activities. For your own good you should go to Navadvipa, and there, in the company of Surabhi, perform austerities. In that way you will be excused." Indra thus understood that Krsna was the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

Up until the time of that abhiseka, Krsna was known as Yasoda-nandana and Nanda-nandana Krsna. Now, He would also be known as Govinda. Go indicates gopa, gopi, go (cow), govatsa (calf) and Veda. Krsna gives pleasure to all these gos and He also protects them; therefore His name is Govinda. Govinda and Govardhana are in the same line: He has the same duty, the same function, as Giriraja Govardhana (vardana means to nourish).

Now our Govardhana-puja is completed. Giriraja is Krsna Himself; and moreover, He has come from the heart of Radhika. He can fulfill our every desire very easily, and he can even give krsna-prema. He very rarely does so, but he can.

We should also remember that the Annakuta Mohotsava was also performed by Srila Madhavendra Puripada, as we saw in the drama play. Madhavavendra Puri went to Vrajabumi,Vrndavana, and there he stayed on the banks of Govinda-kunda at Govardhana. One day, after taking his bath, he sat beneath a tree on the banks of Govinda-Kunda. Krsna came there in the form of a cowherd boy and said to him, "Oh, why you sitting here, starving. No one starves here. My mother has sent some milk. Please drink it."

Madhavendra Puri thought, "Throughout my entire life I have never been attracted by any human, and especially to any lady, but now I am attracted to this boy. Who is He?" He took the milk and he began to weep, his heart melting. Then he cried, "Oh! That cowherd boy was actually Krsna, and now He has left me." And he wept bitterly.

In the last part of the night Madhavavendra Puri had a dream. In that dream he saw that same boy, that very Gopala, come to him and say, "I have been here, waiting in this bush for you for a very long time; and now you have come. I'm feeling very hungry and very hot. Please make a temple for Me, and perform My abhiseka ceremony and Annakuta festival (festival in which there is cooked rice that is stacked like a small mountain) so that I shall feel satisfied." When Madhavavendra Puri awoke, he fixed his mind on executing the order of the Lord. After his morning bath he gathered some of the villagers and together they went to the kunja where Gopala was waiting and that kunja is still there today, nearby Govardhana. After clearing away the thick bushes, they very easily dug Him out and took Him to the top of Govardhana Hill. They erected a throne from stones there – one piece for the seat and one to support Him from behind. Then they began to worship Him.

Annakuta was performed for several months. Many wealthy persons from Mathura heard that Gopala had arrived and they became very happy. They brought all types of paraphernalia, such as gold, cloth, scents and bhoga. Cooking was performed for Thakurji daily, and for many months lakhs and lakhs of people honored the maha-prasadam of Gopala at that place.

After 2 years Gopala again came in a dream to Madhavavendra Puri and said, "I'm satisfied by taking all of your offerings, but My body is still hot. Can you bring malaya-candana sandalwood from Jagannath Puri?" Thus, Madhavavendra Puri once again set off to fulfill the desires of the Lord.

We are very lucky to be in the line of Madhavavendra Puri. Every year, in the month of Kartika, we observe the Annakuta Mohotsava (festival) of Giriraja Govardhana, and hundreds of devotees attend. There we worship Giriraja Govardhana Himself, not one piece (as Govardhana-sila). Actually, although a piece of Govardhana and Govardhana Hill Himself are one, still, Govardhana Hill in Vrndavana has a special glory.

In Vrndavana we worship Govardhana with many pounds, not only a little, of milk, ghee, and yogurt, with many types of preparations – even more than here in Badger. Many of you have been to our Kartika-vrata and have personally seen this festival. We are fortunate to take part. We will continue to perform this festival every year; and we will do so until our life in this world is over. We cannot obtain pure bhakti without the mercy of Govardhana.

Many sweet pastimes take place at Govardhana. For example, Srimati Radhika, Lalita and Visakha and the other gopis are on their way to the fire sacrifice of Bhaguri Rsi. During their journey there is a discussion with Krsna. Krsna wants to check them and make them pay a toll tax, the gopis defeat Him, and He has to apologize. There is so much history there, and it is all coming in our mind and hearts.

Wherever you are, you can worship Giriraja by mind and pray:

krsna-prasadena samasta-saila-
samrajyam apnoti ca vairino pi
sakrasya yah prapa balim sa saksad
govardhano me disatam abhistam

"May Govardhana Hill fulfill my deepest desire – to get darsana of Sri Radha and Krsna's lilas. By Sri Krsna's mercy Govardhana became the emperor of all mountains, and received the offerings meant for Indra despite Indra's enmity."

(Sri Govardhanastakam, verse 1)

yatraiva krsno vrsabhanu-putrya
danam grhitum kalaham vitene
sruteh sprha yatra mahaty atah sri
govardhano me disatam abhistam

"Demanding a road tax, Krsna quarreled for several hours at Dan Ghati with the daughter of Vrsabhanu Maharaja. Rasika-bhaktas visiting Govardhana are eager to listen to that sweet prema quarrel. May that Govardhana fulfill my desire that I also can hear that verbal battle." (Sri Govardhanastakam, verse 3)

These prayers will do as much for you as worshipping Govardhana Himself, because there are many moods contained within them. Try to pray in this way. This is bhajana.

Gaura premanande.


Dipavali (The Festival of Lights)

Varsana, Vraj-mandala, India
October 12, 1996

Devotee: Why do we celebrate Dipavali, and in what mood is it celebrated by Vrajavasis?

Srila Bhativedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja: Dipavali means a time of happiness. When Lord Rama defeated Ravana and reached Ayodhya, a big Dipavali festival was performed there. Sri Vamanadeva wanted to cheat Bali Maharaja. He did not cheat him; rather he gave his mercy, although it seemed that he was cheating. When Bali Maharaja was offered a benediction from the Lord, he requested, "Always remain in my home." In this way the Lord Himself was cheated. Lord Vamana was very glad, and he agreed to stay there forever. Due to great happiness, Bali Maharaja then asked all his associates to hold a Dipavali festival, and that was the first Dipavali. When Krsna defeated Duryodhana and returned to Dvaraka, a Dipavali was also celebrated there.

Lord Krsna Himself, along with Mother Yasoda, Nanda Baba and all other Vrajavasis, came here and celebrated this festival with their own hands. In other words they themselves offered dipa (a lighted ghee wick) and rendered many other services.

Divali also means light. If there is no bhajana of Krsna there is darkness, and in Krsna Consciousness there is light. We celebrate this function in order to give up darkness and to bring the light of bhakti, pure devotion. This is the same celebration. Real happiness comes from playing karatalas and mrdangas. If one hears this, and if maya hears, maya will go away at once. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu brought the sankirtana movement to this world to drive out maya. Sri Krsna and Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu do this Themselves, and we should try to follow Them.





The Pond Of The Anger Of Love

mannsarova.jpg[By the mercy of Sri Sri Guru and Gauranga, 2017 Vraja Mandala Parikrama is going on smoothly. Today, the parikrama party went to Maan-sarovara, therefore we are sending out what Srila Maharaja spoke there in 2003:]

You should take acamana * [See endnote 1] from this pond, thinking it to be the very svarupa (form) of Srimati Radhika – and pray for Her mercy.* [See endnote 2] During rasa-lila, Srimati Radhika saw that, "Krsna is dancing with Me, but at the same time He is dancing with all the other gopis. He tells lies like, 'I have given You My heart. You are My most beloved.' But now He is treating Me just like the others." She entered a sulky mood, a very angry mood, and at once began to weep. She left the rasa-mandala (the circle of the rasa dance) in Seva-kunja, crossed the Yamuna, and finally came to this lonely forest to hide Herself here.

Rasa stopped, because Sri Krsna began searching for Her – searching, searching, searching. When He finally found Her He saw that She was weeping, and that a large pond was created from Her tears. Thus, this place is called Maan Sarovara, the sarovara (pond) made from the maan (transcendental loving jealous anger) of Srimati Radhika.

Sri Krsna pacified Her here, although to pacify Her was very hard for Him. He took Her lotus feet upon His head, tried to appease Her in many ways, and He also took a vow: "From now onwards I will never do anything wrong. I accept that I have committed a mistake. I have offended you, but I promise that I will never do this in the future."

You can see how beautiful these forest kunjas are. There were millions of groves and kunjas here at that time. When Srimati Radhika or Sri Krsna were hiding themselves in any kunja, it was very difficult for them to discover where the other was hidden. At that time the trees were not like this. Now they are feeling separation for Srimati Radhika and Lord Krsna and are about to die. These trees know all the sweet pastimes of Srimati Radhika's hiding from Krsna, as well as all other such lilas, and now they cannot see these manifest in this world.

We have brought you all to see how beautiful these kunjas are. At that time these trees were straight and covered with lush creepers, though now they are lying down. No unauthorized person was able see through them, to see who was there or not. At that time the kunjas where so large that rasa-lila and all other related pastimes used to take place in them. Millions of gopis could fit in them. At that time Vrndavana forest was only forest. There were not many houses as there are today. According to the desire of Lord Krsna, the kunjas and land could expand and reduce in size. You are very lucky to come with me to very beautiful places like this one.

Previously we used to perform parikrama by foot. From Balevan we used to cross the Jamuna by boat, and then walk here by the shore of Jamuna in 20 – 30 minutes, and then we would return to Vrndavana. Now I cannot do so, but I want that one day you should also try to do parikrama by foot.

I brought you here to touch this place, and to touch the feet of these trees. These trees are exalted devotees. They previously saw the Lord's pastimes as trees, and now they are performing austerities in this form. One day they will have gopi forms, and at that time they will be able to enter rasa-lila and other such pastimes.

This scenery is so beautiful. If anyone has a camera he should take a picture of it. Birds are sitting here, and the water is very lovely and tasty. You are lucky to have come to this exalted holy place.

Now I request you all to take prasadam. Brahmacaris and sannyasis will sit here on one side and ladies will be on the other side. At once, without delay, please go and sit – because we do not have much time.

[* Endnote 1 – Acamana - a ritual of purification by which one takes bath by mantra and sips water three times. At the holy places one chants the acamana mantra, om kesavaya namah etc., and then prays to the particular pond or river or lake, "You have personally witnessed the pastimes of Radha and Krsna here, so you are qualified to manifest those pastimes in my heart. Please bestow your mercy upon me so that I may one day be qualified to see those pastimes. Please manifest in my heart what you have seen."

[*Endnote 2 – (We asked Pujyapad Madhava Maharaja what Srila Gurudeva may have said at any other time as to why, since both Maan Sarovara and Radha-kunda are both the svarupa of Srimati Radhika, Radha-kunda is superior. He replied, "The midday pastimes took place there at Sri Radha-kunda as well as many other pastimes which are not possible at Maan Sarovara or anywhere else. Therefore Radha-kunda is superior to any other kunda. Still, this place is so sacred and exalted, and is also the very form and identity of Srimati Radhika.

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