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Shrila B.V. Narayana Maharaj

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Shrila B.V. Narayana MaharajShrila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami (birth name: Narayana Tiwari, February 16, 1921, Tivaripur — December 29, 2010, Puri) is a Hindu Vaishnava religious figure, theologian, writer, senior student and successor of Shrila Bhaktipragyana Keshava Gosvami (1898-1968); founder of the "International Pure Bhakti Yoga Society." Being in old age Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami traveled around the world more than 30 times, having been preaching Gaudiya Vaishnavism in many countries of the world. According to data for 2002, the Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami had more than 40,000 students.

Шрила Бхактиведанта Нараяна Госвами (имя при рождении — Нараяна Тивари; 16 февраля 1921, Тиварипур — 29 декабря 2010, Пури) — индуистский вайшнавский религиозный деятель, богослов, писатель, старший ученик и преемник Шрила Бхактипрагьяна Кешавы Госвами (1898-1968); основатель «Международного общества чистой бхакти-йоги». Пребывая в преклонном возрасте Бхактиведанта Нараяна Госвами объехал вокруг света более 30 раз, побывав с проповедью гаудия-вайшнавизма во многих странах мира. По данным на 2002 год, у Бхактиведанты Нараяны Госвами было более 40 000 учеников.

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radhakrishna-raas-lila-mayur-sharma.jpgShri Shrimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja
October 20, early 1990s, year unknown

[This lecture is on the topic of Krishna's rasa-lila.]

Today, October 20th (year unknown), the Vraja Mandala Parikrama party visited many holy places of Krishna's pastimes. Among them, two are especially related to rasa-lila. One of these is Imlitala, where, after Krishna left Shri Radha alone on the night of rasa-lila, He lamented in separation from Her and came to the place known as Imlitala. Here, He was so much absorbed in Her that He lost His bluish complexion and became covered by Her golden complexion.

The second place visited is known as Jhadu-mandala. Here, the tree under which the gopis sang their Gopi-gita, their song of separation from Shri Krishna after He left the rasa dance, is still standing in its full glory. [Thus, we feel that today, the 3rd day of Kartika, is an auspicious day to send you this hari-katha lecture, given by Shrila Naryana Gosvami Maharaja in Vrndavana, in the early 1990s :]

One year after Krishna made His promise to the gopis, on the full-moon night in autumn He looked at the moon and began to play His flute. He considered, "Our forefather, the moon, has a beloved other than his wife, Rohini. His beloved is Purva-disa, the eastern horizon."

The most erudite Shrila Vyasadeva, who knew how to apply all literary metaphors and ornaments (alankara), marvelously described this scene as follows:

Krishna was thinking, "The hands of our forefather, the moon, are smeared with kumkum. Those hands, his rays, are decorating the face of his beloved Purva-disa without any difficulty, and she is shyly accepting that reddish ornamentation. Why should I not do the same?"

In other words, the reddish rays of the moon radiated through-out the forest, bathing the trees and the rivers and everything else in it in a red light.

In that ambrosial atmosphere, thoughts of the gopis came to Krishna's mind, and He remembered His promise to fulfill their innermost desires. He pondered, "By diffusing the reddish hue of his gentle rays and by glowing with the effulgence of newly applied vermilion, Candra (the moon) has reminded Me of My promise and has placed within My heart the inspiration to fulfill it. This is the perfect moment for Me to do so."

Then, on that full moon night of the autumn season, He played a beautiful melody on His flute and the gopis came running to Him. But when they arrived, He told them to return to Vraja. "A lady should serve her husband," He said, "regardless of his qualities. Her husband may be poor or plagued with diseases, but she should serve him under all circumstances."

At first the gopis did not say anything in reply, but within their minds and hearts they questioned, "Does He really mean it or is He joking with us?" They observed Him closely as He tried to cleverly hide His real intention. It seemed that He was honestly expressing Himself in a straightforward manner, but in fact, He was not.

Finally, the gopis said, "You are our guru and, as such, You are giving us so many instructions. We know that even in the presence of God, a person should serve his gurudeva first, so let us first serve You, our gurudeva, before we return to serve our husbands."

In Bhagavad-gita, Krishna says:

ye yatha mam prapadyante
tams tathaiva bhajamy aham
mama vartmanuvartante
manusyah partha sarvasah
Bhagavad-gita (4.11)

"As all surrender unto Me, I reward them accordingly. Everyone follows My path in all respects, O son of Prtha."

Shri Krishna was instructing the gopis and also telling them, "I am God, so you should obey Me".

The gopis replied, "We agree that if You are God we should certainly obey You, but our first duty is to serve our gurudeva. When we have executed that order, we will obey Your instructions to serve our husbands.

"Our second consideration is this. We know that God is our father, God is our real husband, and God is everything; so if You are God, then You are both our husband and our guru. In every way, if You do not accept our service You will be guilty of acting against the principles of religion. You are giving us instructions on religious principles, but You should practice this Yourself."

At last, rasa began. Krishna danced with Shrimati Radhika in the center of the circle of gopis, and at the same time He danced with each of the gopis comprising the circle. It is not that He expanded into as many manifestations of Himself as there were gopis, because in Vrndavana, all His pastimes are free from the mood of opulence (aisvarya). Rather, He danced so quickly, like a firebrand orbiting in a circle, that it simply looked as if He were constantly and simultaneously dancing with each and every gopi. Had He expanded into many manifestations of Himself, this pastime would have been aisvarya-lila. Instead, He was engaged in human-like pastimes (nara-lila).

Many commentators have written that Krishna manifested His kaya-vyuha, direct expansions of His personal form, when He was dancing in the rasa-lila, but Shrila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura says that this is not so. He refutes the idea that the expansions of Krishna's form performed this pastime, asserting that if His expansions had done so, it would be a lila of VaikunTha. He explains that in fact, only Krishna's original form (svayam-rupa) performed this transcen-dental pastime. We thus conclude that Krishna moved like a lightning flash from gopi to gopi, dancing with each one in turn.

Shrimati Radhika saw that Krishna was dancing with Her. Then, as She cast Her gaze over all the other gopis, She saw that Krishna was dancing with each of them as well. Each gopi thought, "Krishna is dancing only with me." Shrimati Radhika alone could see Him with each and every gopi.

Krishna's performance of rasa-lila in this way – manifesting no aisvarya by bringing forth expansions of His form, but in fact whirling from gopi to gopi – was certainly miraculous. Moreover, He performed many varieties of activities with the gopis as they danced together. He asked one gopi if she were fatigued, He gently wiped drops of perspiration from the face of another, and He fastened ankle-bells on the ankles of another. With each and every gopi He engaged in various interactions, and thus each gopi became maddened in their love for Him.

The gopis' madness here, in which they were intoxicated by their own good fortune, is called saubhagya-mada. In this regard Shrimad-Bhagavatam states:

tasam tat-saubhaga-madam
viksya manam ca kesavah
prasamaya prasadaya
Shrimad-Bhagavatam (10.29.48)

"Lord Kesava, seeing the gopis too proud of their good fortune, wanted to relieve them of this pride and show them further mercy. Thus He immediately disappeared."

It is stated here that the gopis as an entire group exhibited both saubhagya-mada and mana. However, if we take a closer look at the meaning, it becomes apparent that mana was only exhibited by Shrimati Radhika. Only She could see Krishna dancing with the other gopis. The other gopis did not see this, and thus they were intoxicated by their good fortune in which they perceived Krishna dancing with them alone.

When a hero (nayaka) is controlled by a heroine (nayika), the heroine thinks herself to be the most fortunate beloved. This for-tune is called saubhaga and, as it evolves, it brings her to saubhagya-mada. Generally mada means intoxication through drinking, but saubhagya-mada means intoxication from the pride of thinking, "In all of Vraja, there is no one equal to me in good fortune."

In this state, the gopis became so proud that if they had been aware of Krishna's dancing with other gopis, they would have developed mana. Then, in that angry and sulky mood, they would have been completely unable to continue participating in rasa-lila with the other gopis. Instead, each gopi was convinced that she had Krishna fully under her control, that He was captivated and controlled by her and obedient to her every command.

Krishna understood this and considered, "I have decided to sport with all the gopis and fulfill all their most cherished desires, but there is no hope of that happening unless they change their mood. Somehow their pride must be removed."

He then saw that Radhika was no longer there in rasa-lila. In Her mana, She had abruptly left that place and was going elsewhere. Then, suddenly, Krishna also disappeared, and all of the gopis began their search for Him.

Some commentators say that Krishna became invisible, but Shrila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura explains that He did not. Rather, He went to a nearby kunja and hid there.

There were four kinds of gopis present in the rasa-lila on the bank of Yamuna: svapaksa, those in Radhika's own (sva) group (paksa); vipaksa, those in the rival group of Candravali; suhrd-paksa, those who are friendly toward Radhika; and tatastha-paksa, those who are neutral to Her party. Actually, svapaksa can refer to either Radhika's group or Candravali's group. For those in Radhika's group, Candravali is vipaksa, and for those in Candravali's group, Radhika is vipaksa. Syamala is friendly toward Radhika, which means she is neutral to Candravali. Bhadra, on the other hand, is friendly toward Candravali and neutral to Radha.

Within these four main groups of gopis, there were hundreds upon hundreds of sub-categories, and all were searching for Krishna. The gopis in Radha's group could not see their yuthesvari (group-leader), Shri Radha, so they were searching for Her as well as for Krishna. All the other gopis were searching only for Krishna.

Shrimad-Bhagavatam's Canto Ten, Chapter Thirty describes the gopis' search for Krishna, and how they all became tadatmika with Him. This means they became so absorbed in remembering His characteristics, such as the way He walked and how sweetly He talked, that they began to think that they themselves were Him.

The gopis became like mad persons, asking the trees, creepers, rivers, deer, and peacocks if they had seen Krishna. They asked the Tulasi plant, but when Tulasi did not respond, the gopis thought, "Oh, Krishna has warned her not to tell us where He is, and because she is His beloved, she refuses to utter a word." They asked the trees, but when they did not reply, the gopis thought, "These trees are male and therefore they are Krishna's friends. He has no doubt told them not to tell us where He is. This is why they are remaining silent." When the gopis saw the creepers laden with flowers, they thought, "Krishna has touched these beautiful creepers with His fingers, and now they are so happy that they have no awareness of anything external. They cannot speak because they have taken leave of their external senses altogether."

At first the gopis concluded that Krishna was not to be found any-where and that He would not return to them. They were somewhat consoled, however, when they finally noted His footprints. They followed His footprints for some distance until, to their surprise, they saw another set of footprints.

The vipaksa gopis (the rivals of Shrimati Radhika) were trying to guess whose footprints these were. They could see that the second set of footprints belonged to some gopi. They guessed that this gopi must have worshiped God, and as a result She had become so dear to Krishna that He took Her with Him and left the rasa dance. They did not think that Her good fortune was the result of Her worshiping Krishna, but worshiping God. Thus they spoke the following words:

anayaradhito nunam
bhagavan harir isvarah
yan no vihaya govindah
prito yam anayad rahah
Shrimad-Bhagavatam (10.30.28)

"Certainly this particular gopi has perfectly worshiped the all-powerful Personality of Godhead, since He was so pleased with Her that Govinda abandoned the rest of us and brought Her to a secluded place."

When Shrimati Radhika's svapaksa gopis saw those footprints, they immediately recognized them, as they were accustomed to serving Her lotus feet and knew the symbols on them. Therefore, seeing Her footprints next to Krishna's overwhelmed those gopis with joy.

After tracing the footprints a short distance, the gopis now saw only one set of footprints instead of two. They could not see the footprints of the gopi; they could only see Krishna's footprints, which were now an inch deeper in the earth. They assumed that when Krishna and this beloved gopi reached this spot, She had become tired and told Him, "I cannot walk any further." He therefore took Her up in His arms and carried Her.

Further on, the gopis noticed that in one spot, the upper parts of the creepers were laden with blossoms, but that the lower part had far less, some having been scattered on the ground. From this they guessed that Krishna had seated His beloved in that place and decorated Her with flowers.

As the gopis proceeded further, they beheld that very gopi. Alone, and completely unconscious of Her surroundings, She was rolling on the ground, bitterly weeping:The Sanskrit word for 'decoration' is srngara, and that place where Krishna decorated Shrimati Radhika in Vrndavana became famous as Srngara-vata.

ha natha ramana prestha
kvasi kvasi maha-bhuja
dasyas te krpanaya me
sakhe darsaya sannidhim
Shrimad-Bhagavatam (10.30.39)

"She cried out: O master! My lover! O dear most, where are You? Where are You? Please, O mighty-armed one, O friend, show Yourself to Me, Your poor servant!"

Shri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and Shrila Madhavendra Puri used to repeat this verse, and as they did so, their hearts full of bhava (transcendental mood), tears would pour forth from their eyes.

All of the gopis – svapaksa, suhrd, tatastha, and vipaksa – then approached Shrimati Radhika and expressed their sympathy, for it is the nature of women to feel compassion for someone weeping. Although Candravali generally feels envy towards Shrimati Radhika, when she saw Radhika weeping and rolling on the ground, suffering more than all the other gopis, even her heart softened.

Another reason Candravali felt sympathy for Radhika is that she is Radhika's sister. Actually, they are cousin-sisters, as their fathers, Candrabhanu and Vrsabhanu, are brothers. Shrimati Radhika and Candravali love each other, but there is also some rivalry between them. Candravali is a little older than Radhika, but Radhika is more beautiful and qualified in every way.

Upon seeing Krishna dancing with all the other gopis, and at the same time dancing with Her, Radhika had left the rasa dance in a sulky mood (mana). Yet, when She was alone with Krishna in the forest, She wanted those gopis to be with Krishna and Her. This is an example of vyabhicari-bhava, in which mana and other bhavas rise up and subside, and sometimes combine with each other. This is likened to one wave rising up and overtaking another wave, thus causing the water from both waves to merge. After that, the same process is repeated and new waves appear. This is similar to the way in which Radhika's mana disappeared due to Her being immersed in Krishna's loving dealings with Her. She then thought that all Her svapaksa gopis should come together, but since all the gopis were searching together, they all came. When the gopis found Shrimati Radhika in this condition, they sprinkled some water on Her lotus face. When She came to external consciousness, they asked Her, "What has upset You? Why are You so overwhelmed and weeping?"

"As I was wandering throughout the forest with Krishna," Shrimati Radhika replied, "I told Him that I was no longer able to walk."

Why had She said that to Shri Krishna? It was not due to saubhagya-mada, the pride in Her incomparable good fortune. Rather, Her deep contemplation was as follows: "My sakhis have left everything for Me. They have no purpose other than to serve Me, yet I am here, enjoying Krishna's company alone. This is not at all fair. If I arrange for all of them to come and join Us, we can all enjoy rasa together. I should not be with Krishna alone." In the meantime, the other gopis had been gradually coming nearer and nearer.

Krishna told Her, "Quickly! Come with Me."

"But I cannot see You!" Shrimati Radhika cried.

Radhika's condition at this time is called prema-vaicittya. Krishna was actually sitting with Her and worshiping Her, yet She felt an intense mood of separation from Him. She was unable to perceive that He was sitting right beside Her.

As the gopis came closer, Krishna thought, "If they see Us alone together, they will become envious of Radhika and everything will be spoiled; there will be no rasa-lila. I cannot let this happen."

At that very moment, Krishna disappeared from that place and hid Himself in a kunja somewhere in the darkness. Radhika fell to the ground in distress and it was then that the gopis found Her. "What happened to You?" they now asked.

Somewhat hiding Her real bhava of selflessly wanting them to also dance with Krishna in rasa-lila, She simply told them. "I became maddened with the pride of My good fortune, just as you did. Now He has left Me as well."

Then, as one collective party, the gopis began to search for Krishna. Finally they decided that the only way He could be found would be through sankirtana, chanting His glories in a mood of deep separation from Him. Thus, they returned to the bank of Yamuna and began to sing jayati te 'dhikam, the first verse of their Gopi-gita.


1c907ecc77cdf6d9c91e2f535768cd12.jpgGovardhana, India: November 5, 2006
Tridandisvami Shri Shrimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja

By the causeless mercy of my Gurudeva, Shrila Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja, my Gurupada-padma (siksa-gurus) and Gandharvika-Giridhari Shri Shri Radha-Vinoda-bihari, our Vraja-Mandala parikrama is very successful in all respects. 

In this very month Shri Krishna was bound by the rope of the vatsalya-rasa (relationship in parental affection) of His mother Mother Yasoda. Actually, He was not bound by a rope, but by vatsalya-rasa. The Supreme Lord Krishna had never been bound before, and I think He will not be bound again. He can only be bound by Mother Yasoda. He has accepted this fact: "I am bound by vatsalya-rasa," and it is for this reason that this month is called Damodara.

Also, the gopis tied the veil of Shrimati Radhika to Shri Krishna's yellow chadar in Ganthuli, and Krishna therefore became known as "Radha-Damodara". This pastime took place in this month.

Especially, the crown jewel of all pastimes, the supreme pastime, rasa-lila, took place in this month. All of Krishna's unlimited pastimes, such as His boat pastimes at Manasi-Ganga *[See endnote 1] and the stealing of His flute, are building up to this rasa-lila.

In this month, Akrura went to Nandagaon and told Krishna and His family members about Kamsa's torturing Vasudeva and Devaki. Hearing this, Krishna and Balarama became like fire. Extremely angry, They told Nanda Baba that They must go to Mathura. They went to Mathura, and there they killed Canura and Mustika, and all of Kamsa's brothers and other associates.

Shri Krishna held Giriraja Govardhana on His pinky finger for 7 days, without Giriraja Govardhana shaking at all. At that time all the Vrajavasis, especially the purva-raga gopis,* [See endnote 2] came very near, and those gopis held up Giriraja Govardhana by their eyesight. Aksaya navami *[See Endnote 3] also comes in this month.

Therefore, this month is very, very auspicious.

I invite you all to come next year, along with more of your friends. I know that our boarding arrangements could not make you happy, compared to the happiness you get by the way you live in your houses - palaces - in your countries. There is not so much facility here. Although we tried, it was not sufficient for you. You are like kings with many palaces.

We can only give hari-katha. The topics we have discussed in this month are very important - what we discussed here in the temple and at the holy places we visited. The places we visited are very powerful - such as Rasa-sthali, Vamsi-vata, Bhandira-vat and many other pastime places.

Try to keep all this hari-katha in your "heart-pocket" and be very strong. I think this hari-katha inspired you all, and I am inviting you all to come next year as well.

All 64 limbs (practices) of bhakti a re performed in this month very easily. Also, I have full confidence in the boon of Narada Muni, given in the form of a request to Shri Krishna: "Please give Krishna-prema to anyone who hears all Your sweet pastimes and goes to the places of those sweet pastimes." I think that Shri Krishna will fulfill Narada's desire, so please try to come each year.

Also, Navadvipa parikrama is coming, and I am inviting you all to come to Navadvipa.

If you have experienced any distress during this parikrama, try to forget it - for Krishna - and excuse me if I have spoken any unpleasant words.

[*Endnote 1: Shri Krishna would play the part of a boatman and perform boating-pastimes (nauka-vilasa) and other lilas while ferrying the gopis across Bhagavati Manasi Ganga. Shrila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura has given a very touching description of this nauka-vilasa-lila in his prayer Shri Govardhanastakam (text 7): yatraiva gangam anu navi radhamarohya madhye tu nimag na-naukahkrisno hi radhanugalo babhau sa, govardhano me disatam abhistam"

"In the middle of Manasi Ganga, Shrimati Radhika was sitting in Krishna's boat. Krishna dressed like the boatman, tried to sink the boat, and the terrified Radhika caught Shri Krishna in Her embrace. May that Shri Govardhana fulfill all my desires."]

[*Endnote 2: In this Bhauma-vrindavana, all gopis - including Shrimati Radhika - experience purva raga, i.e. they feel they have never met with Krishna before in an intimate way, although they had so much strong desire to do so.]

[*Endnote 3: This particular day in Kartika month signifies that any undertaking on this day will be imperishable. Akshaya-tritiya is in April/May, and has a similar meaning.]


Tridandisvami Shri Shrimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja
Badger, California, May 15, 2003

[Shrila Gurudeva spoke the following lecture in Badger, California, on May 15, 2003. Whether it be the appearance day, or disappearance day, of Shrila Madhavendra Puri and Shrila Shrinivasa Acarya – both are the same:]

Madhavendra.jpgMadhavendra Puri

You should know that Krishna was controlled by Madhavendra Puri, who is superior to Shri Prahlada Maharaja in various ways. I think Prahlada Maharaja cannot touch the lotus feet of Madhavendra Puri.

Madhavendra Puripada is the root, or first sprout, of prema-bhakti, the prema kalpataru (the desire tree of love of God). The Deity of Shrinathaji (Krishna, the lifter of Govardhana) manifested to him and gave him constant darsana. Prahlada Maharaja and Nrsimhadeva had association for only a moment, and Bhagavan often gave His association to Bali Maharaja in the planet Sutala, but Madhavendra Puri is a special maidservant of Shrimati Radhika.

Madhavendra Puri has special love and affection for the Divine Couple Shri Shri Radha and Krishna. His devotion is so high. He is the root of Vraja-rasa (the mellow of conjugal love for Krishna), for he brought such love to this world. Shri Isvara Puri received that gopi mood from him and then gave it to Shri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Such wealth was then bestowed upon Shri Svarupa Damodara, Shri Raya Ramananda, and the Six Gosvamis, and it is thus coming down in disciplic succession.

narosrinirama.jpgShrinivasa Acarya

naroShriniramaShrinivasa Acarya was the disciple of Shrila Gopal Bhatta Gosvami, and He was trained by his siksa-guru, Shrila Jiva Gosvami. He introduced many melodies for kirtanas, and he was such an exalted devotee that our Gosvamis depended upon him. They directed him: "You should go and preach in Bengal, and distribute all the literature written by us. Along with his associates, Shrila Narottama dasa Thakura and Shrila Syamananda Prabhu, he took their order and books, bound for Bengal.

Along the way, some dacoits looted all the books. They thought they'd gained a trunk full of jewels. An astrologer had told the dacoits' leader, "This trunk is full of treasure", and for this they had stolen the cart with all the books. The three devotees became mad in separation from the manifest heart of the Gosvamis – their writings. Shrinivasa Acarya sent both his associates to Bengal, telling them, "I'll stay here until I discover the location of the books."

The local king was the leader of all the dacoits, but he was also a devotee. Though he used to loot so many things, he would also meditate and hear scriptures – Shrimad Bhagavatam especially. There was a Bhagavata pandita in his council who read aloud and explained Shrimad Bhagavatam. Shrinivasa Acarya, in a very simple dress, went there one day when a Bhagavata discourse was taking place. He humbly sat in that assembly, hearing from the court pandita. After the Shrimad Bhagavatam discourse was finished for that day, Shrinivasa requested, "May I comment on what he has explained?"

The king said, "Oh yes, very well; you may explain something about these topics." The pandita had been speaking on Bhramara-gita, but he was not able to explain it very deeply.

Shrinivasa Acarya stood up and began to explain it, weeping and making the audience weep. He gave the explanations that were also given by Shrila Sanatana Gosvami and Shrila Jiva Gosvami in their purports to Shrimad- Bhagavatam.

The king at once approached Shrinivasa Acarya and offered dandavat pranams, begging, "I want to take diksa initiation from you, and I want to hear Shrimad-Bhagavatam." Shrinivasa accepted the king and gave him initiation. Then the king offered, "I want to give you some donation for this – guru-daksina. As you like, I can give."

Shrinivasa replied, "Oh, you are promising? Then you should try to arrange to get our cart full of all the books."

The king immediately answered, "Oh, it is with me! It is with me! My astrologers told me, 'three persons are coming, devotees from Vrndavana, with lots of jewels – more than jewels.' And that is why we took the trunk. We could not tell in what way they are jewels; but now, hearing from you, I know that they are so much more than jewels."

Jewels cannot give Krishna-bhakti. They cannot help us. Those books can help us thousands of times more than jewels. You are coming here only by the grace of those books.

In this way, the books of Shrila Jiva Gosvami, Shrila Sanatana Gosvami, Shrila Rupa Gosvami, and all the other Gosvami literature were saved. So this was Shrinivasa Acarya, a very high class of devotee.

We pray to the lotus feet of Shrila Madhavendra Puri and Shrila Shrinivasa Acarya to sprinkle their mercy on us.


gd_arati.jpgShri Shrimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja
Badger, USA, May 7, 2001

From the beginning of our Gaudiya Vaisnava sampradaya line, all our acaryas have given proper respect to Giriraj Govardhan. All devotees have so much respect for Govardhan. So many Govardhan silas have somehow come to them, and they are worshiping those silas. What is the truth as to why our Sampradaya has accepted Giriraj Govardhan? We should know his tattva - Govardhan-tattva. We should know who he is. We should know what process to follow in worshipping him, what should be our goal in this worship, and what we should ask for in our prayers to him.

Syamarani should speak something in answer to these questions.

Syamarani dasi: We follow our disciplic line in order to know how to worship any Deity. We learn from Shri Sanatana Gosvami in his Brhad-Bhagavatamrta how to worship Giri Govardhan. He tells us that Giri Govardhan is addressed by the gopis as Hari-dasa-varya, the best of the servants of Hari, and that we are followers of the gopis. Govardhan can be worshiped as Hari, and he can also be worshiped as Hari-dasa. However, Hari, Krsna, cannot give krsna-prema in the same way as those who possess it. Those who have krsna-prema can easily give it. The servants of Krsna have krsna-prema, and our prayojana, our goal, is only that krsna-prema. Our goal is not Krsna. Kamsa's goal was Krsna, but he was a demon and had no bhakti. Our goal, therefore, is not Krsna, but krsna-prema. We can get krsna-prema from those who are devotees. If we worship Giri Govardhan as a devotee, then he can give us krsna-prema in that form. Shri Sanatana Gosvami therefore prays to Hari-dasa-varya Giri Govardhan, who is worshiped as a devotee by the gopis. The Vedas also worship him as the best devotee, as the tilaka marking of Vraja, and all of our authorities confirm this.

Shrila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami is also our authority.

He tells us that Shrimati Radhika Herself personally gave Giriraj Govardhan the name Hari-dasa-varya. Hari-dasa means servant of Krsna. Maharaja Yudhisthira is a servant of Krsna, so much so that Narada Muni went to his palace, not to see Krsna, but to see him and to glorify him. An even greater devotee is Uddhava, and he is known as Hari-dasa-vara. He is a very great devotee. Krsna wanted to share his sufferings of separation from the gopis with Uddhava. He trusted Uddhava to go to Vraja to console his parents and gopis, and therefore Uddhava is even more intimate than Maharaja Yudhisthira,. Yudhisthira Maharaja was never sent to Vraja. Uddhava is a great devotee, but Hari-dasa-varya, the very, very topmost devotee of Krsna, is Giri Govardhan. He serves in the most intimate ways.

pramoda-madana-lilah kandare kandare te
racayati nava-yunor dvandvan asminn-amandam
iti kila kalanartham lagna kastad dvayor me
nija-nikata-nivasam dehi govardhana tvam

Shrila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami is praying, "O Govardhan, in your caves and kunjas, throughout the twenty-four hours of the day, you are not only witnessing but facilitating the most confidential pastimes of Radha and Krsna and their associates. I therefore beg you to please give me residence near you so that I can also witness and serve their pastimes." It is in this way that we follow our authorities. Shrila Visvanatha Cakavarti Thakura, in his prayers to Govardhan, has a similar message. He is praying for the service of Govardhan and for the service of Radha and Krsna through the mercy of Govardhan. "You facilitated and witnessed the Dana-keli pastimes of Radha and Krsna's love quarrel involving the payment of taxes. I want to witness this delightful quarrel." In this way we follow our authorities, our guru-parampara, to know how to worship Govardhan as Hari-dasa-varya. In addition, we understand that Giriraj Govardhan is the fractional manifestation of the heart of Shrimati Radhika. In all existence, the supreme absolute truth is Radha-Krsna. Radhika is the complete svarupa-sakti, the complete facilitator of Krsna's pleasure. She expands in order to give Krsna pleasure in different ways. She expands as Yogamaya, as Mother Yasoda, as the gopis, as the queens, as the Laksmis, and in so many other ways. In Her beautiful madhurya love, She even expands as the Dhama and Baladeva, and as Giri Govardhan. Ultimately, therefore, even greater than Hari-dasa-varya, Govardhan is a sakhi. Only the sakhis, the gopis, can witness the most confidential pastimes of Radha and Krsna in the kunjas and caves. Even the most intimate sakhas, like Subala and Arjuna, cannot witness these pastimes.

Why is Govardhan in the form of stone? Being stunned is one of the symptoms of asta-sattvika bhava, the eight-fold ecstatic symptoms of love. Giriraj Govardhan is so stunned in seeing these beautiful pastimes, which he himself has facilitated by becoming the caves and kunjas, that he is now like stone. In this way he can witness the pastimes of Radha and Krsna, and at the same time Radhika and Krsna don't feel encumbered or embarrassed by anyone else seeing them. After all, he appears only as stone. In this way, Giriraj Govardhan can be worshiped in more and more intimate ways, for more and more advancement in Krsna Consciousness.

Shrila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja: In what way did Chaitanya Mahaprabhu want to worship Giriraj?

Prema Prayojan das: When Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was staying in Jagannatha Puri, Raghunatha dasa Gosvami was also there under the guidance and protection of Shri Svarupa Damodara and others. One devotee, Shri Sankararanya Sarasvati, returned from Vraja, bringing a Govardhan-sila and gunja-mala, which He gave to Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Every day Chaitanya Mahaprabhu would chant harinama, holding the Govardhan-sila to His heart, sometimes on His eyes, sometimes on the top of His head, and sometimes He was smelling that sila. That sila was never dry because it was always moistened by His tears.

After worshiping this Govardhan sila for some time, Mahaprabhu called Raghunatha dasa Gosvami and said, "O Raghunatha, I want to give you something." He gave him Govardhan sila and told him, "This Govardhan sila is Krsna kalevara. It is the very body of Krsna Himself. You should worship him every day, doing puja in the mode of goodness and in a simple fashion. You should keep him on a wooden platform and, taking a jug of water, you should offer eight very soft and fragrant tulasi manjaris with two leaves on either side. You should do abhiseka of Giriraj and offer the eight tulasi manjaris."

Raghunatha dasa then began to worship Giriraj in this way. After some time Chaitanya Mahaprabhu told him to offer some ghaja, sweets, every day. He said, "When you offer these sweets to Govardhan, they will become more than nectar." Thus, under the guidance of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Svarupa Damodara, Raghunatha dasa Gosvami worshiped Giriraj Govardhan, and he expressed his own realizations. He was thinking, "By giving me this Govardhan sila, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is giving me a transcendental home. And, by giving me this gunja mala, this garland of small berries, He is placing me in the service of the lotus feet of Shrimati Radharani." Even though Chaitanya Mahaprabhu had said that Govardhan sila is Krsna kalevara, still, Raghunatha dasa Gosvami considered, "O Govardhan, you are Hari-dasa-varya."

giri nrpa! haridasa sreni varyeti nama
mrtam idam uditam sri radhika vaktra candrat
vraja nava tilakatve klrpta! vedaih sphutam me
nija nikata nivasam dehi govardhana! tvam

"Your name is Hari-dasa-varya, the best of the servants of Hari. Where did this name come from? It came directly from the lips of Shrimati Radharani." Also, in his Manah Siksa, Ragunatha dasa is praying:

visakham siksali vitarana gurutve priya saro
girindrau tat preksa lalita rati datve smara manah

"O my dear mind, don't forget this. Always worship Giriraj Govardhan. Why? Because Giriraj is that personality by whose mercy one can have the darsana of the pastimes of Radha and Krsna and attain the jewel of rati, deep attachment for Their lotus feet."

From the evidence of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, and from the evidence of Ragunatha dasa Gosvami's own writings, we see that there is some provision to worship Giriraj Govardhan as Krsna Himself. There is no doubt about this. In Shrimad Bhagavatam also, when all the Vrajavasis performed the annakuta mahotsava, Govardhan assumed a very large form, like Krsna, and accepted everything as the Supreme Lord. This is very good, but we see many great Vaisnavas in our line worshiping Govardhan as Hari-dasa-varya, the servant of Hari, not as Hari Himself. There is also evidence for this.

How can we reconcile these two approaches? It is very easy. Shrila Gurudeva has given a simple example. We know Baladeva. Who is Baladeva? He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He is Visnu-tattva, the almighty Supreme Lord, non-different from Krsna. Yet, at the same time, Baladeva is dasa. He is the servant of Krsna. At the same time, all those who go very deeply will know that Baladeva has become Ananga Manjari in order to serve the lotus feet of Krsna in madurya rasa.

In the same way, anyone may see Giriraj Govardhan as the supreme Lord Hari Himself. Anyone who goes deeper may see him as Hari-dasa-varya, the best servant of Hari. And, those who go very deep will think that Giriraj Govardhan is like a sakhi of Shrimati Radhika, having female form in which to serve.

pramoda-madana-lilah kandare kandare te
racayati nava-yunor dvandvan asminn-amandam

"In the caves and kunjas of Govardhan, Giriraj is seeing all of the sweetest pastimes of Radha and Krsna. Who can see them? Can any male person be there and serve at that time? It is quite impossible. Shrila Gurudeva gave an example that in our Guru-gayatri we see the word krsnanandaya. Guru is giving pleasure to Krsna and Krsnaa [Krsna with a long 'a'], Shrimati Radharani. Therefore, if gurudeva is krsnanandaya, giving pleasure to both Radha and Krsna, how can he have a male form in that realm? Surely this mantra is for remembering and praying for the mercy of guru in his sakhi form, as a maidservant of Shrimati Radharani. In the same way, the various conceptions of Giriraj Govardhan can be reconciled.

There are two types of mercy. One type of mercy is called bhagavat prasadaja-krpa, the mercy which comes from Bhagavan Himself. Another kind of mercy is bhakta prasadaja krpa, the mercy which comes from the devotees. Krsna is visaya-vigraha, the object of love and affection, and the devotees who love Him are the asraya-vigraha, the abode of love. Shrimati Radharani's love is so high that Krsna Himself cannot understand it. He had to come into this world as Chaitanya Mahaprabhu to have some idea of what kind of love is in the heart of Shrimati Radharani.

We find in the Bhavisya Purana a verse which states: manasah prakrite jato giri govardhano mohana. From where has Govardhan Giriraj come? Was he brought to Vraja Mandala by Hanuman? This story is there in the Puranas and it is true. Or, was he brought to Vraja Mandala by Pulastya Rsi? This story is also there. However, our acaryas have especially presented this commentary: manasah prakrite jato giri govardhano mohana. Giriraj Govardhan has manifested directly from the heart of Shrimati Radhika in order to facilitate Radha and Krsna's highest and sweetest pastimes.

Rupa Gosvami has written:

vaikunthaj janito vara madhu puri tatrapi rasotsavad
vrndaranyam udara pani ramanat tatrapi govardhanah
radhakundam ihapi gokula pateh premamrtaplavanat
kuryad asya virajato giri tate sevam viveki na kah

"Mathura is higher than Vaikuntha, and higher than Mathura is Vrndavana. Higher than Vrndavana is Govardhan, and the highest place of all these is also at Govardhan - Radha Kunda." Giriraj is serving and providing the playground and facilitating the most wonderful and beautiful pastimes of Radha and Krsna. Therefore, he is very dear to Them.

If we can pray for the mercy of Giriraj by following the prayers and moods of our acaryas, especially Rupa Gosvami, Raghunatha dasa Gosvami and Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura, then Giriraj, being so kind, can bestow upon us the darsana of the highest and most wonderful pastimes. He can also give the chance to serve the lotus feet of Shrimati Radhika in those pastimes.

Shrila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja: We have heard that Giriraj is the highest hari-dasa-varya. What does this mean? It means that he is the highest servant of Radha and Krsna.

What must be the quality of Hari-dasa? If Hari-dasa is a servant, a devotee, he must have some qualities. In what way does he serve, and how can we follow him? Raghunatha dasa Gosvami has written:

sthala jala tala saspair bhuruhacchayaya ca
prati padam anukalam hanta samvardhayan gah
tri-jagati nija-gotram sarthakam khyapayan me
nija nikata nivasam dehi govardhana! tvam

Giriraj gives everything and sustains Krsna in all ways. Shri caitanya mano'bhistam sthapitam yena bhutale / svayam rupah kada mahyam dadati sva padantikam. A guru-sevaka, servant of guru, must know all the moods of his gurudeva. If he does not know his moods, how can he serve him? He can never serve. If gurudeva is telling his servant, "I am very thirsty", and the servant fans him, he is doing the opposite of his guru's desire and he is really not a servant. We should know the wish and heart of our gurudeva, and then we can serve him. If a disciple does not possess this quality, then he is really not a sevaka. He may be a sevaka, but not first class or even second class. He may be a third class bogus sevaka.

A disciple may create many problems for his gurudeva, as did Ramacandra Puri. He was the disciple of Madhavendra Puri, but he was always making problems for him. Madhavendra Puri therefore told him, "I don't want to see your face for the duration of my life. You are bogus, and you should go away from here." On the other hand, Isvara Puripada knew the heart of Madhavendra Puripada. He was always fulfilling his desires. He was a real disciple and sevaka. In return, Madhavendra Puripada manifested everything he had - all his devotion - in the heart of Isvara Puripada.

If the disciple knows the heart of his gurudeva and he is not serving in that capacity, then he should decide for himself at what stage he is in his devotional life. Will gurudeva give his full mercy and his whole mood to that disciple? No, the disciple is not qualified to receive that. What kind of problems will a disciple make for his gurudeva? If the disciple is always running after sense gratification and not totally obeying him, he is not a real disciple, and he will naturally create problems.

Contrary to this, Govardhan is serving fully. In what way is he serving? He knows all the desires of Krsna and He understands how to fulfill His desires. Shrimati Lalita suggested to Shrimati Radhika, "If you want to please Krsna, then you have to serve that person whom Krsna likes the most." Shrimati Radhika Herself is the most dear to Krsna, and if you are serving Her, then Krsna will automatically be pleased. If, on the other hand, you are quarrelling with Radhika, what will happen?

Similarly, if gurudeva has so much love and affection for someone, then, to please him, we should try to serve that person. This is the easiest process to please him. If you are always quarrelling, then after some time you will go away. Govardhan is always serving the most beloved of Krsna - Shrimati Radhika - in so many ways. Not only that, but he has so much honor for those who are related with Krsna in any way.

Govardhan knows that the cows are very dear to Krsna. Krsna Himself, without shoes or an umbrella, without any protection, follows the cows and gives them water. He never uses a stick to beat the cows; His stick is for demons, not for cows and calves. He will never beat them. Krsna personally pours water on their lotus feet and washes them. Govardhan knows all these facts, and therefore his lake known as Kusuma Sarovara supplies very sweet water for the cows.

Green grasses are everywhere on Govardhan. The grasses are not only green, but very tasteful, sweet, and soft. Krsna goes searching for these grasses near Govardhan, near Manasi Ganga, and on the top of Govardhan.

What does Govardhan provide for Krsna's companions, the cowherd boys? He provides fruits everywhere: mangos, jackfruits, oranges, grapes, and so many other varieties. To decorate their bodies, Govardhan supplies an abundance of colors in the form of minerals. If you go to Govardhan near Dan Ghati and do abhisekha, you can see this. There are some hidden Govarhana silas there, and if you simply rub them with your hand, some color may come on your hand. These colors are used for decorating Krsna, His cowherd boys, the cows, and also for the gopis. For the gopis there are also so many groves, so many kunjas, so many caves, and also so many kinds of juices to drink. There are deer with their very fragrant kasturi, musk, and all the Govardhan silas have this fragrance naturally. If you go to Giriraj Govardhan, you will see that his fragrance is just like that of kasturi from a deer.

In this way, Giriraj serves all the friends, all the cows, and all the Vrajavasis. He provides them fruits and vegetables, fragrance, and colors for decorating themselves. Sthala jala tala saspair bhuruhacchayaya ca.

The word Govardhan means that by Govardhan's service to the cows, they are increasing in number. The cows do not only give forty litres of milk. They give unlimited milk and they can fulfill all your wishes. They all do more than any kama denu, wish-fulfilling cow. In this way, Govardhan serves everyone, from top to bottom.

In Vraja, everyone was worshiping Indra. One day, Yasodamaiya was very busy cooking many preparations and, in each and every gopi's house, all were also busy. Krsna went to His mother and said, "Mother, I am very hungry. Perhaps you are preparing all these things for Me?" Mother Yasoda became annoyed and chastised Him, "Oh, go away from here. Go to your father! Don't stay here, naughty boy."

Krsna became upset and, like a sad boy, He went to the lap of His father. Weeping He said, "Father, what is mother doing? She is not in a good mood." Nanda Baba told Him, "Everyone is preparing to worship Indra."

As though not knowing anything, Krsna innocently asked, "Baba, who is Indra and why do we worship him? We should worship someone who can give us many things. So why are we worshiping him?"

Nanda Baba answered, "Indra can give rain, and by rain all kinds of grains are produced. Grasses and sweet water also come, and without this we cannot maintain our lives. It is for this reason that each year we worship Indra on this day. Tomorrow we will all go with many preparations, on lakhs and lakhs of bullock carts, to the middle of Giriraj Govardhan to worship Indra."

Krsna said, "Baba, I think that even in that place where there is no Indra puja, whether there is rain or no rain, still everyone is maintaining their lives. Is that not true?" Nanda Baba replied, "I don't know. Why do You want to know all these things?" Krsna replied, "I think that it will be better to worship Giriraj Govardhan. We maintain our lives by his mercy. Our lives depend on these cows, and Govardhan gives so much good, soft grass, very pure water, and everything else needed to support us. So why should we not try to do puja to Giriraj Govardhan?"

Nanda Baba did not have any logical answer, and by logic Krsna convinced him and he agreed, "Oh, tomorrow we will all worship Giriraj Govardhan."

The next day thousands and thousands of carts were brought and loaded with all the preparations collected from all the 84 krosas of Vraja. Everyone came and assembled at Giriraj Govardhan, in the middle of where the present-day Govardhan town is located, and they were worshiping Giriraj Govardhan as we do today. What we are doing is a very, very, very mini-worship of Giriraj Govardhan, but still it is exactly like what the Vrajavasis did. All the thousands and millions of cows of the whole of Govardhan were there, and they were worshiped by everyone.

After that the Vrajavasis performed full worship of guru, Vaisnavas, and the brahmanas, and then they offered all the preparations. Krsna exclaimed, "O Baba, O Vrajavasis! My friends! O, look at that! Giriraj Govardhan has assumed a huge shape, and with so many long, long arms, he is eating everything from here, from there, from very far away, from everywhere, and still he is not satisfied." His belly was so big, and he was telling them, "Bring more! Bring more! Anore! Anore! Bring more, more, more, more! I want more!"

All the Vrajavasis became puzzled and said, "Oh, what shall we do?" Krsna folded His two hands and prayed to His four-handed form as Govardhan, "O Prabhu, Your belly is so big. We cannot offer anything more. What we have got may fill only one pore of Your body. How can we satisfy You? We cannot satisfy You." Govardhan then took the water from Manasi Ganga, from Kusuma Sarovara, Govinda Kunda, and all the water entered His mouth. Krsna asked him, "We have brought you prasadam, but you have taken everything. So what should we do?" At once they saw that all the preparations were returned to their places, and Krsna told the Vrajavasis, "We have worshiped Indra, but we have not seen him, nor have we seen how he is accepting our offerings, how he is satisfied, and how is giving any boon. On the other hand, we are seeing that Giriraj Govardhan himself is here, and we see that he is now satisfied. He is telling us that he is prepared to give us whatever boon we want."

If anyone is going to Giriraj Govardhan and doing parikrama, Govardhan will give him anything he wants. He can fulfill all desires. Those who have worldly desires bind the branch of a tree with some cloth and pray, "I want to marry a very beautiful girl," or, "I want a very handsome husband." Govardhan will quickly answer this prayer. If you want a house with many storeys, even 130 or 160 storeys, you should pile up some bricks and stones that you find there, one on top of another. However high you make it, Giriraj Govardhan will easily give this to you. However, devotees do not ask for anything and only perform kirtana, singing, "Govardhan jaya Giridhari, Giridhari jaya Govardhan, Giridhari jaya Govardhan" and "Radhe jaya jaya Madhava dayite", Govardhan will be very happy. For such persons Govardhan can give his heart. What is his heart? His heart is the love and affection of Krsna. He will give his heart very carefully, however. He will never give it to lusty persons who engage in sense gratification.

Nowadays this has become very cheap. I don't want to make this subject cheap. This is the most confidential treasure which must be kept only in our hearts. So many times I have told my devotees, my sannyasis, brahmacaris, and preachers, "Be very careful about this. This is not a thing to be given in the fish market or airport or any other such place. Keep it secret." If a woman has love for someone other than her husband, will she tell this fact to her father, mother, husband, or any friend? Try to conceal this, as Mahaprabhu has advised. Otherwise, we will lose what we are getting and lust will come in its place. This is what is going on at the present time.

Now I see that the Iskcon devotees have translated Govinda-liilamrta, Krsna-bhavanamrta, and books that are still more confidential than these. They have translated so many books and they are reading them. It is a very strange phenomenon, and now the same thing is going on here. I want to warn you. Be like Govardhan who concealed everything. He became a stone, and that is why Radha and Krsna and all the gopis have no shame at all in front of him. They have no shame in front of his mountains, hills, and rivers. These entities have life, but they will not disclose anything to others. If you are naked in front of a mirror, is there any harm or any shame? No. This is because a mirror has no life. Similarly, Giriraj becomes like this mirror. He never tells what he has seen of the confidential pastimes of Radha and Krsna to anyone. I therefore request my devotees that they should not broadcast all these high-class subjects. If they are fortunate to hear something, they should keep that in their hearts.

Be like Shri Raya Ramananda, Shri Svarupa Damodara, Shrimati Madhavi devi and others. Even Shrila Rupa Gosvami and Shrila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami were not at the Gambhira. We, on the other hand, have made these topics very, very cheap. We distribute them everywhere in the market. I don't want this. By doing this you will become very lusty. At this stage, don't read all these confidential books. Rather, you should try to follow vaidhi-bhakti and read Chaitanya-caritamrta. Read all the prescribed books, especially those of Rupa Gosvami and Raghunatha dasa Gosvami, like Upadesamrta and Manah-siksa. You can also read the books of Shrila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura and Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura. Shrila Prabhupada was very much against revealing all these topics in public. He knew all these subjects, and he knew that these are the best of subjects, but for beginners they are to be hidden.

While the Vrajavasis were performing the worship of Giriraj Govardhan, Govardhan, in a four-handed form, took all their offerings. After that, when the offerings were finished, all the cooks, Krsna Himself, Mother Yasoda, Nanda Baba, Vrsabhanu Maharaja, Kirtika Maiya, and all others began to do parikrama of Giriraj. Those who were not strong enough to go by foot went by bullock-cart. For the children there were malpua and so many things to eat before doing parikrama.

We have to follow some rules and regulations. Especially in our Indian Vaisnava culture, we should try to give proper honor to aged persons, qualified persons, and the guru-varga. Do you understand? Here in the West I have not seen anything like that. Nowadays, during a class of hari-katha, even very young persons will sit on a chair in front of their guardians, their guru, and old persons, who are all sitting behind them on the floor. It is not proper etiquette that young men or ladies sit on chairs in front of their guardians or their guru-varga. They should give proper respect to senior Vaisnavas and should offer the chair to them, properly and with honor.

Krsna gives so much honor to Baladeva and others, and Shrimati Radhika also gives proper respect to Her guru-jana, elders. Once, when Krsna wanted to meet Shrimati Radhika, a dhuti, messenger, came and told Her, "Krsna is waiting for You. You should come." In the meantime, Dhanistha or any other sakhi came to Radhika saying, "Mother Yasoda is calling You for cooking." Both dhutis came at the same time, and Shrimati Radhika was thinking, "What to do? Should I go to meet Krsna or should I go to Mother Yasoda to cook?" At once She decided, "I must first serve Mother Yasoda." She did not go to meet Krsna.

If you are giving proper respect to seniors, bhakti may come. If you are not giving respect to them and instead you are placing yourself on a high simhasanam (golden throne), how will you get bhakti? At the time of taking prasadam, you should be somewhat humble and make a line, allowing superiors to be at the head. We should satisfy them first, and then we should take prasadam. We should follow the behavior of our guru-varga. When Sanatana Gosvami is approaching, Rupa Gosvami says, "Oh, my Gurudeva has come." And he serves him. What is Sanatana Gosvami saying in turn? "Although he is my younger brother, still he is my Gurudeva because he serves Shrimati Radhika more than I do." They are giving each other proper respect. If you want to have pure bhakti, you should follow the way in which Giriraj Govardhan serves, from top to bottom, those who are very dear to Krsna. According to their 'dearness' to Krsna, he serves all Vrajavasis, and you should serve everyone in the same way.

krsneti yasya giri tam manasadriyeta
diksasti cet pranatibhis ca bhajantam isam
susrusaya bhajana vijnam ananyam anya
nindadi sunya hrdam ipsita sanga labdhya
(Upadesmrta verse 5)

We should know that all those who are chanting are our family members, and we should give them respect by our mind. Why only by mind? Someone may not have been initiated, but he is chanting the holy name, he never associates with Mayavadis and he stays very far away from them, he himself is not lusty, and he is not the friend of any lusty persons. If one has these qualities, we should give him proper respect by mind, but not by doing pranama. Why? This is because he cannot digest such honor. Rather, he will think, "I am more advanced than this person. I am more qualified." He will not understand the humility of the madhyama-adhikari. Those who have taken diksa in the real sense have received divya jnanam, a very strong transcendental relation with Krsna, and all kinds of anarthas have left them. If anyone is such a diksit Vaisnava, we should offer him pranama by both body and mind. Moreover, if there is someone who never criticizes anyone, who is chanting and remembering throughout the day and night, uninterrupted throughout the twenty-four hours, then we should be his servant in all respects. By serving him, you will associate with that high class of devotee:

krsna-bhakti rasa bhavita matih
kriyatam yadi kuto 'pi labhyate
tatra laulyam api mulyam ekalam
janma-koti-sukrtair na labhyate

["Pure devotional service in Krsna consciousness cannot be had even by pious activity in hundreds and thousands of lives. It can be attained only by paying one price - that is, intense greed to obtain it. If it is available somewhere, one must purchase it without delay." (Padyavali 14, quoted in Chaitanya-caritamrta Madhya-lila, 8.70)]

This is Krsna Consciousness. If you find someone whose heart is saturated with love and affection, like that of any of the Vrajavasis or gopis, who possesses the highest type of prema, surrender yourself to that devotee. Fully become his servant. Try to follow him and try to realize his heart. Then your heart will also become saturated with love and affection for Krsna. This is Krsna consciousness.

Shrila Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja, my siksa-guru and your Prabhupada, has also said the same thing. He has given this verse as the definition of Krsna consciousness. Who is really Krsna conscious? A truly transcendental Krsna conscious devotee can never fall away.

We should honor all devotees as Giriraj Govardhan has done. We should follow his example. He is serving the cowherd boys, cows, calves, gopas, gopis, and everyone else related to Krsna. If you want bhakti, try to respect anyone who is related to Krsna, or to Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Nityananda Prabhu, Shrila Rupa Gosvami, Shrila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami, Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, Shrila Prabhupada Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, my Gurudeva Om Visnupada Shri Shrimad Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja, and my siksa-guru Om Visnupada Shri Shrimad Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja.

Don't jump over anyone. Otherwise, eagles are there in the sky, waiting to catch you. I know so many devotees who want to jump in the sky to have this rasa. You should be very careful. Don't jump. Otherwise, lust will come and you will be nowhere. Try to follow vaidhi-bhakti from the beginning, and thus control your activities. I pray to Govardhan that he may be merciful to all of you. For those who have taken part in the arcana of Giriraj Govardhan Annakuta in any way, by preparing, by collecting any ingredient, or by doing kirtana, I pray that Giriraj Govardhan will sprinkle his mercy so that you will become good devotees.

Gaura premanande!


dipavali.jpgShrila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja
03 November 2002

Today we are very fortunate. By the causeless mercy of Shri Guru and Shri Gauranga we have passed fourteen or fifteen days. Our parikrama is going on well due only to their mercy; so, all glories to Shri Shri Guru and Gauranga.

Today is Annakuta mahotsava (the festival of worshiping Shri Giriraja Govardhana), and just before this was Amavasya (the dark moon night, just before the new moon day), which we also call Dhanteras.

What is the meaning of dhanteras? Dhana means wealth, and it specifically refers to the wealth of the Vrajavasis. The Vrajavasis, the residents of Krishna's most intimate abode, love Krishna with all their hearts – that is their wealth. They have given Krishna their hearts and souls, their husbands, wives, children, and everything they possess. They especially do so on that day, and therefore that day is called Dhanteras.

Worldly people don't do this. Rather, they gamble to make money on this day. Maharaja Yudhisthira showed the example; by gambling, he lost his entire property, his kingdom, and also his wife. We devotees observe Dhanteras for krsna-bhakti, pure devotion to Shri Krishna, and worldly people gamble for enjoyment and thus destroy their lives. On this day in India, so many people gamble, take wine, and engage in other forbidden activities.

On the day of Amavasya we observe the festival of Dipavali. What is the meaning of Dipavali? "Tamaso ma, jyotir gamaya – Do not remain in darkness, come to the light." The meaning is that this world is of mahamaya, or illusion, and it is full of darkness. We conditioned souls are all in darkness. But now, by the causeless mercy of Shri Guru and Gauranga, we are trying to come from that darkness into the light.

What is that light? Krishna-bhakti is light. Hladini-sakti (Krishna's pleasure potency, personified as Shrimati Radhika) is light. Under the guidance of Vrajavasis, especially with Shri Caitanya Mahaprabhu's idea of being under the guidance of the gopis, we will serve Shrimati Radhika and Shri Krishna, with an inclination towards Radhika. This is the full light, and ultimately there is no light except this.

The day after Dipavali is called Pratipada, the first day of the lunar cycle. On this day Krishna warned His father Nanda Baba not to worship Indra (the god of the rains). He said, "Indra cannot do anything to help us. We should worship Giriraja Govardhana instead."

What is the meaning of Govardhana? "Go" means cows; "go" means gopas, or cowherders; "go" means gopis, or cowherd damsels; and "go" means veda, all kinds of transcendental knowledge.

Perhaps you know that Shrila Prabhupada Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura gave the name 'Bhakti Prajnana Kesava' to our gurudeva. He gave the name to Gurudeva first in a dream, and after that dream, he gave it through the mouth of parama-pujapada Shrila Bhakti Raksaka Shridhara Maharaja at the time of Shrila Shridhara Maharaja's performing his sannyasa ceremony. [Shrila Prabhupada was no longer externally manifest in the world at that time.]

It is stated in one of Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura's kirtanas that 'bhakti' in this connection refers to prema-bhakti, or visuddha prema-bhakti (the most exalted love for Shri Krishna). 'Prajnana' refers to vijnana (realized knowledge)j, or prakistha rupena jnana, (every kind of knowledge), and therefore it ultimately refers to gopi-bhakti, or krsna-bhakti in the line of the gopis.

annakut2.jpgSo, today is Pratipada, a very, very important day. On this day, on the advice of Krishna, all the Vrajavasis made a great variety of preparations. During the night they had made thousands of preparations that they would generally offer to Indra, and which they would now offer to Giriraja Govardhana. They brought millions of bullock carts from their houses to Giriraja Govardhana. Millions of carts and millions of gopas and gopis assembled all around Govardhana.

Just before this, they performed puja of Vaisnavas like Gargacarya, Sandilya Rsi, and especially Bhaguri Rsi. Bhaguri Rsi was the guru of Krishna. Do you know what mantra he gave to Krishna? The Radha mantra.

As all of the Vrajavasis worshiped the Vaisnavas, we should also worship them. You are very lucky that there are so many exalted Vaisnavas among you to worship.

Next they worshiped the brahmanas, and we have so many brahmanas here. All of you are brahmanas, and we especially have our brahmana Vrajavasi panda, whose name is Giridhari. This matha is also Giridhari – Giridhari Gaudiya Matha. Today we have brought so many 'carts' from all over the world – not only from Vraja – so we will also first worship guru, then Vaisnavas and Vaisnavis, then brahmanas, and then cows. We have a lot of very nice cows here, and after class we will worship a cow by giving flowers to his lotus feet. Why? Because cows are worshiped even by Krishna, who used to serve them daily.

You have all arranged a large variety of preparations, so let us now take them, along with 108 kalases (pots). The ladies will carry these, and we will all carry the many offerings that have been prepared by Premananda Prabhu and his party. We will all take these on our heads and perform kirtana as we go to the same place where we have gone in previous years. After that, we will serve all the Vaisnavas, all the brahmanas, and everyone else the maha-prasadam that has been offered to Krishna. We have also made some dry prasadam that will be given to you all for taking back to your homes to distribute.

We should take a vow that we will never give up all these things. What we are giving in our classes is everything you need to advance in bhakti. Always chant the holy name in the way shown by Shrila Rupa Gosvami:

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

["While living in Vraja as a follower of the eternal residents of Vraja, who possess inherent spontaneous love for Shri Krishna, one should utilize all his time by sequentially engaging the tongue and the mind in meticulous chanting and remembrance of Krishna's names, form, qualities and pastimes. This is the essence of all instruction." (Shri Upadesamrta 8)]

Whether you are here with me, or with other Vaisnavas, or you have returned to your countries, always think, "I am in Vraja" and remain under the guidance of pure Vaisnavas. Always chant and remember, and perform all the activities that we are doing here. Don't be weak. Always remember the words of Shri Jagadananda Pandita (in Prema-vivarta): "Yadi caha pranaya rakhite gaurangera sane, chota haridasera katha thake yena mane – If you wish to associate with Caitanya Mahaprabhu, you must always remember the incident of Chota Haridasa and how he was rejected by the Lord."

This festival is not a marriage party, where you have come to select your wives or husbands. Be very careful to avoid this. Otherwise there will be no place here for you. Leave here and remain very far away from us. I want only pure bhakti here.

Gaura premanande, Hari Hari bol!

Now we will perform puja. We have already worshiped Shri Guru and Vaisnavas. And Giridhari Panda is a Vrajavasi, an actual Vrajavasi. He is chanting, "Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna." His father was the panda of Shrila Prabhupada Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, who used to love him as a dear son. His father was very bold and brave, and he was a wrestler. He gave his son the name Giridhari. We are lucky to have a Vrajavasi panda. He also loves me as a father and guru. I am the representative of all of you and I am now worshiping him. [Shrila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja offered him a shawl and a donation.]

I request that you all give him some pranami (a donation). Not now though. I think it will be better that you give your pranami to Madhava Maharaja, Vana Maharaja, Aranya Maharaja (now Prema-prayojana prabhu), Brajanatha prabhu, and Rasananda prabhu. They will collect this and give it to him.

If you come alone, all other pandas will take not less than 200, 300, 400, or at least 100 rupees from you; they will harass you in this way and that way. But our panda is very good. So try to give at least 5 rupees; and if you can give more, then kindly do so.

This is our puja, and after class we will go to the cowshed and worship a cow.

Anyone who will donate something, prepare something, or even give one grain of rice for this annakuta festival – for his whole life and millions of future lives he will never have to beg for anything. Lakshmi may need to beg, but those who take part in Govardhana Annakuta, especially here, giving even a grain of rice, any paraphernalia, preparing some laddu or anything else, giving any donation to Premananda Prabhu (who is in charge of organizing the cooking), or to me, you will attain krsna-prema – no doubt.

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