Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
  • entries
  • comments
  • views

About this blog

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.

Entries in this blog


kallesh-thippeswamy-narasimha-portraight01.jpgShri Shrimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaj
An Appearance Day Lecture, Badger California, 14 May 2003

Today is the auspicious appearance day of Lord Nrisimhadeva. Who is Nrisimhadeva? He is Krishna Himself - "Kesava dhrta narahari rupa." Krishna Kesava - He is the same Kesava (a name of Krishna meaning that He has fine hair), but not directly. He is none other than Cakra. Krishna's cakra (wheel-shaped weapon) becomes Nrisimhadeva. When there is a temple installation of Cakra, the prayers are offered to Nrisimhadeva.

Lord Nrisimhadeva's main mercy is to protect the devotees. The Cakra who saved Ambarisa Maharaja was Nrisimhadeva himself, and the Cakra who killed Sisupala was also Nrisimhadeva; there is no difference between the two. All the paraphernalia (weapons) in the hands of Krishna manifest as His Visnu incarnations; and it can also be said that His incarnations are manifestations of Baladeva Prabhu.

If you have any difficulties or problems given by demons or others, and you call Nrisimhadeva, He will come and save you. Vaisnavas therefore have a special consideration regarding Nrisimhadeva. We do not worship many other incarnations, like Vamanadeva or Kurmadeva, or Kalki, but we do worship Nrisimhadeva.

Since there will be no cooking in the morning or midday today, I would like all the sannyasis and prominent speakers, one by one, to read continuously from the Shrimad-Bhagavatam Seventh Canto (*See Endnote 1), and to also explain the verses - up to Prahlada Maharaja refusing to accept a material boon from Lord Nrisimhadeva. The readings should include the way in which Prahlada taught all the demon boys and made them maha-bhagavatas. In other words, it should include the chapter in which the verse beginning "guru susrusaya" is included. I would like that all of you attend and hear these readings.

There is no need of taking prasadam before dusk, the time of Nrisimhadeva's appearance. Only children and those who are old and sick, or those whose doctors have advised not to fast - they may take something for their maintenance. If Nrisimhadeva sees that you are all fasting and taking so much trouble, He will be pleased. Otherwise, if you joke and make merry, He will neglect you. It is for Nrisimhadeva that you are accepting this austerity, for all of you to attract his mercy.


Today we do this austerity, as we do on Ekadasi, Caitanya Mahaprabhu's appearance day (Gaura Purnima), Rama-navami (the appearance day of Shri Ramacandra), and other holy appearance days like Janmastami and Radhastami. These austerities are not like those performed by the yogis; these are performed to attract Krishna's mercy, so try to follow.

I now want to begin our glorification of Lord Nrisimhadeva.

Yudhisthira Maharaja once performed a Rajasuya sacrifice. *[See endnote 2] He sent his army, under the guidance of Bhima and Arjuna, to conquer the entire world; but He did not want to kill anyone. He told his leaders that if the kings and princes of the other lands surrender without fighting, they should simply take a tax from them, and those kings and princes who wanted to fight could fight. Bhima and Arjuna traveled everywhere and took taxes from all the kings, and when they returned, a very high class of fire sacrifice was performed.

The question arose at the sacrifice as to who would be worshiped first so that the festival would be successful. Sahadeva proposed, "Krishna should be worshiped first, because He is the Lord of Lords, the Supreme Lord, and He is here."

Bhisma-pitamaha and others supported this proposal, but Sisupala became very angry. At that time Sisupala was the leader of Duryodhana and all the other demons. He was envious of Krishna and wanted to kill Him. He knew about the foretelling at his birth that Krishna would kill him, so he thought that he should kill Krishna first and be saved. He had previously wanted to marry Rukmini, but clever Krishna had kidnapped her in front of him and all the other princes and kings, defeated them all, and then married her.

Krishna is satisfied and complete (purna). He needs nothing in this world and He has nothing to take from anyone. Still, for the enactment of His transcendental pastimes He kidnapped Rukmini and married her, and Sisupala and the others could simply wring their hands. When Krishna was leaving their midst with Rukmini, the other princes and kings had exclaimed, "Alas, this bogus black person, in front of generals like Jarasandha and others, has kidnapped her - and they could not stop Him. He defeated them all and took her away!" Thus, Sisupala wanted to take revenge.

Now, at the Rajasuya sacrifice. he looked at Krishna and began to criticize him and call Him ill names. He challenged, "Who is this person?!" Krishna actually has no father or mother, but Sisupala accused Him that, "This person has two fathers, and no-one knows who His real father is. He has no varna (caste) and no one knows where He is from. He is not only a thief, but a lusty person - very lusty. When He sees any lady He becomes attracted; and somehow, by trick, He brings those ladies to Him. Moreover, He is not satisfied with only one lady; He must have thousands and millions of ladies. Not only this, He once climbed on a tree with the garments of the gopis who were taking bath naked, and He told them that they should come before Him one by one to get their clothes. What is this silly thing?! You have no intelligence; you are so mad that you have selected Him to worship first. As long as I am here, I will not allow this!"


Hearing this, Duryodhana and other demons clapped.

Sisupala considered that as long as he was present, he would not let anyone perform their first worship to Krishna. He said that he would fight for this not to happen, and he thus managed to utter his one hundredth offense.

When Sisupala's mother had given birth to him, he had four arms. At that time an aerial voice announced that the person who Sisupala would see and two of his arms would disappear, that person would later kill him. All the relatives had come to see this beautiful and strong four-handed child. Out of social custom, Krishna took many ornaments for that boy, and being a representative of His father He came to see His cousin-brother. When He came near Sisupala He wanted to take him in His arms, but Sisupala's two arms at once disappeared. His mother began to weep loudly and said, "Krishna, You are my nephew, so I want to request a boon from You. It has been foretold by an aerial voice that whoever my son sees, thus making his two arms disappear, would later kill him. I pray for You not to kill him - even if he offends You." Krishna replied, "Oh yes, I am giving you this boon. I will kill him only when he abuses Me more than 100 times - otherwise I will not." His mother was very happy and said, "He will never do this. I will train him and teach him good behavior."

When Sisupala became older, he learned of this fact. He therefore became angry and continuously abused Krishna. Now, when he had abused Him more than 100 times, Krishna took His Cakra. The Cakra wanted to go very fast - not slowly, as it had moved when it had chased Durvasa. It had been only following behind Durvasa and not killing him. For Sisupala, on the other hand, it sliced off his head at once. A very effulgent light immediately came from Sisupala's body. That light went into the sky and then entered the body of Krishna.

Yudhisthira Maharaja wondered why rsis, yogis and maharsis, after thousands of births of chanting mantras like "so 'ham, so 'ham" still could not attain the destination of sayujya-mukti (impersonal liberation). How wonderful it was, then, that this light entered the lotus feet of Krishna. But where did it go?

Narayana was present within Krishna's body, because all the incarnations are always in Krishna, the Supreme Lord. Sisupala thus returned to Narayana in Vaikuntha and became His doorkeeper Jaya, but this was not seen externally. The entire world is in the stomach of Krishna. Narayana and other incarnations can also easily fit there, but still His stomach can be empty and He can feel hungry.

Yudhisthira Maharaja was not an ordinary person. Bhima was very strong and powerful, and Arjuna was also. However, when we consider who was stronger -Yudhisthira, Bhima or Arjuna - we find that where Arjuna and Bhima were not successful, Yudhisthira Maharaja was successful by his mere glance. Bhima was once wrapped up by the body of a snake, and that snake would not release him. Yudhisthira then came, simply glanced at that serpent, and it left at once. So do not think that Bhima and Arjuna are more powerful than Yudhisthira. Arjuna's bhakti is superior to the others', but dharma was especially present in Yudhisthira Maharaja. That is why he was called Dharmaraja, and that is why he was so powerful.

When Yudhisthira Maharaja saw Sisupala's soul enter Krishna's body, he began to think, "How wonderful! Even a yogi, rsi or muni does not receive this kind of mercy from Krishna." He then asked Narada Rsi, "You know everything and you can remove all my doubts. So please explain this: Krishna has no fear of anyone and He does not want anything from anyone. He is purnatama (complete), atmarama (always happy internally) and aptakama (satisfied and equal to all). So why does He take the side of devotees and demigods? And why does He defeat or kill demons? I want to know why."

Narada replied that the cause of all this is kala (Time) - the results of past activities. Sometimes, like during Satya-yuga, (the Age of goodness), the demigods and others like them become prominent. In Kali Yuga, on the other hand, the demons are more powerful. It seems that Krishna helps certain personalities, but actually the events of this world are controlled by Time. Krishna is equal to all, and everything here is thus due to kala.

You should not be angry or criticize anyone. If you are in distress or disturbed by many problems, it is due to you, yourself:

tat te 'nukampam su-samiksamano
bhunjana evatma-krtam vipakam
hrd-vag-vapurbhir vidadhan namas te
jiveta yo mukti-pade sa daya-bhak

["My dear Lord, one who earnestly waits for You to bestow Your causeless mercy upon him, all the while patiently suffering the reactions of his past misdeeds and offering You respectful obeisances with his heart, words and body, is surely eligible for liberation, for it has become his rightful claim." (Shrimad-Bhagavatam 10.14.8)]

Eva atma krtam. What one has done in the past is now coming back to him. If one is a pure bhakta and the results of all his past activities are finished, why would problems come to him? His so-called problems are due to the mercy of Krishna. Problems are not coming; Krishna is sending them. The Pandavas were praying for great calamity so that Krishna would be with them. Krishna gave them great distress - as he gave to Draupadi when Dusasana tried to remove her clothes - and He did the same to Prahlada Maharaja.

He gave Prahlada so many troubles. Why? He considered, "The entire world should know that My devotees are exalted; they do not care about saving themselves, so I must save them." You can know all these truths by reading Shrimad-Bhagavatam.


You should read Shrimad-Bhagavatam Seventh Canto until 6:00 p.m., at which time I will return, and then we will perform abhiseka (the bathing ceremony) of Nrisimhadeva. Some flowers should also be here for offering.

We will observe today as we do Ekadasi, and we can break our fast after Nrisimhadeva's birth (dusk). If anyone wants to break his fasting before that time, he may take only fruits and vegetables. If anyone wants to fast until tomorrow morning, he can do so very easily. Then, tomorrow we will worship Nrisimhadeva, and after that we will take prasada. Now, bring Seventh Canto and begin.

Gaura Premanande.

[*Endnote 1 (from Shrimad-Bhagavatam 7.8 Summary by Shrila Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada):

Hiranyakashipu was ready to kill his own son Prahlada Maharaja , but the Supreme Personality of Godhead appeared in front of the demon as Shri Nrkesari, half lion and half man, and killed him.

Following the instructions of Prahlada Maharaja, all the sons of the demons became attached to Lord Visnu, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. When this attachment became pronounced, their teachers, Sanda and Amarka, were very much afraid that the boys would become more and more devoted to the Lord. In a helpless condition, they approached Hiranyakashipu and described in detail the effect of Prahlada's preaching. After hearing of this, Hiranyakashipu decided to kill his son Prahlada. Hiranyakashipu was so angry that Prahlada Maharaja fell down at his feet and said many things just to pacify him, but he was unsuccessful in satisfying his demoniac father. Hiranyakashipu, as a typical demon, began to advertise himself as being greater than the Supreme Personality of Godhead, but Prahlada Maharaja challenged him, saying that Hiranyakashipu was not God, and began to glorify the Supreme Personality of Godhead, declaring that the Lord is all-pervading, that everything is under Him, and that no one is equal to or greater than Him.

Thus he requested his father to be submissive to the omnipotent Supreme Lord.

Prahlada tells father about devotion

The more Prahlada Maharaja glorified the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the more angry and agitated the demon became. Hiranyakashipu asked his Vaisnava son whether his God existed within the columns of the palace, and Prahlada Maharaja immediately accepted that since the Lord is present everywhere, He was also present within the columns.

When Hiranyakashipu heard this philosophy from his young son, he derided the boy's statement as just the talk of a child and forcefully struck the pillar with his fist.

As soon as Hiranyakashipu struck the column, there issued forth a tumultuous sound. At first Hiranyakashipu, the King of the demons, could not see anything but the pillar, but to substantiate Prahlada's statements, the Lord came out of the pillar in His wonderful incarnation as Narasimha, half lion and half man. Hiranyakashipu could immediately understand that the extraordinarily wonderful form of the Lord was surely meant for his death, and thus he prepared to fight with the form of half lion and half man. The Lord performed His pastimes by fighting with the demon for some time, and in the evening, on the border between day and night, the Lord captured the demon, threw him on His lap, and killed him by piercing his abdomen with His nails. The Lord not only killed Hiranyakashipu, the King of the demons, but also killed many of his followers. When there was no one else to fight, the Lord, roaring with anger, sat down on Hiranyakashipu's throne.

The entire universe was thus relieved of the rule of Hiranyakashipu, and everyone was jubilant in transcendental bliss. Then all the demigods, headed by Lord Brahma, approached the Lord. These included the great saintly persons, the Pitas, the Siddhas, the Vidyadharas, the Nagas, the Manus, the prajapatis, the Gandharvas, the Caranas, the Yaksas, the Kimpurusas, the Vaitalikas, the Kinnaras and also many other varieties of beings in human form. All of them stood not far from the Supreme Personality of Godhead and began offering their prayers unto the Lord, whose spiritual effulgence was brilliant as He sat on the throne.

Endnote 2 - "After gaining victory in the Battle of Kuruksetra, Maharaja Yudhisthira, the Emperor of the world, performed the Rajasuya sacrificial ceremony. The emperor in those days, upon his ascendance to the throne, would send a challenge horse all over the world to declare his supremacy, and any ruling prince or king was at liberty to accept the challenge and express his tacit willingness either to obey or to disobey the supremacy of the particular emperor. One who accepted the challenge had to fight with the emperor and establish his own supremacy by victory. The defeated challenger would have to sacrifice his life, making a place for another king or ruler. So Maharaja Yudhisthira also dispatched such challenging horses all over the world, and every ruling prince and king all over the world accepted Maharaja Yudhisthira's leadership as the Emperor of the world."]


The Appearance Day of Gadadhara Pandit
05 May 2008, Alachua, Florida
Shri Shrimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaj

Gadadhara Pandit asked Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, "Is there any mahabhagavata in Navadvipa? I want to meet him."

Mahaprabhu told Mukunda, "You should take him to Pundarika Vidyanidhi."

Mukunda took him there. He saw Pundarika Vidyanidhi’s luxurious life, like that of a king, and he lost his faith.

When he returned, Mahaprabhu asked him, "Have you seen that mahabhagavata?"

Gadadhara Pandit replied, "I could not see him as a mahabhagavata."

Mahaprabhu then told Mukunda, "You should read a poem from Shrimad-Bhagavatam to Pundarika Vidyanidhi." Thus, Mahaprabhu again sent Gadadhara Pandit and Mukunda to Pundarika Vidyanidhi. At that time, Pundarika Vidyanidhi was lying on his bed. His hair was oiled. He was wearing expensive clothing and perfume. A king’s spittoon and hookah (water pipe) stood by his bed.

Mukunda dasa recited this sloka:

aho baki yam stana-kala-kutam
jighamsayapayayad apy asadhvi
lebhe gatim dhatry-ucitam tato ’nyam
kam va dayalum saranam vrajema
(Shrimad-Bhagavatam, 3.2.23)

["How astonishing! When Putana, wicked sister of Bakasura, tried to kill child Krishna by offering Him deadly poison on her breast, He bestowed upon her the position of His nursemaid. Could I ever have as merciful a shelter as that of Lord Krishna?"]

Hearing this sloka, Pundarika Vidyanidhi fell down from the bed. He began to roll around and became senseless, absorbed in Krishna. His hair became scattered and his decorations fell off.

Gadadhara Pandit thought, "Really, Mahaprabhu has sent me to a mahahagavata." He fell flat at the lotus feet of Pundarika Vidyanidhi, and then he returned to Mahaprabhu.

Mahaprabhu asked, "Have you met a high-class mahabhagavata?"

Gadadhara Pandit replied, "When I first met him, I had doubts, seeing his luxurious paraphanelia. But now, my doubt has gone. I have committed some offense at the lotus feet of a mahabhagavata. What atonement can I perform?

Mahaprabhu told him, "Go and take mantra-diksa from him."

Gadadhara Pandit went there and took diksa – the gopala-mantra – from Pundarika Vidyanidhi.

Gadadhara Pandit was a friend of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu from childhood. When they became older, they used to study with Gangadasa Pandit.

Gadadhara Pandit, Murari Gupta, and so many others like Jagadananda were classmates. At that time, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu used to speak from the philosophy of nyaya (logic), and the others, especially Gadadhara Pandit, would be bewildered. When Mahaprabhu would go anywhere, and Gadadhara Pandit would see Him in the lanes of the street, Gadadhara Pandit would think, "Oh, Nimai Pandit is coming," and he would go to the other side of the street to avoid Him. But again, Mahaprabhu would approach him.

After they finished their studies, Nimait Pandit went to Gaya. When He returned from there, He became bhavuka (spiritually emotional) Nimai. At that time He told His students in the Sanskrit school, "Now I cannot teach you. Better you bind up the books. Let us start kirtana. He then began kirtana, and Gadadhara Pandit joined also from that time.

Who is Gadadhara Pandit? He is Shrimati Radha Thakurani. Why did he come? To help Mahaprabhu enjoy Radhika’s three moods. From time to time he used to help Mahaprabhu experience these moods. When Nityananda Prabhu went to the house of Nandana Acharya in Navadvipa, Gadadhara went with Mahaprabhu, Shrivasa Pandit, Mukunda, and so many others. They went to where Nityananda was in Nandana Acharya Bhavan. When Mahaprabhu and Nityananda met together and saw each other, they became overwhelmed and embraced each other, and both became unconscious. At that time, Gadadhara Pandit sang:

barhapidam nata-vara-vapuh karnayoh karnikaram
bibhrad vasah kanaka-kapisam vaijayantim ca malam
randhran venor adhara-sudhayapurayan gopa-vrndair
vrndaranyam sva-pada ramanam pravisad gita-kirtih
(Shrimad-Bhagavatam, 10.21.5)

[(Within their hearts, the damsels of Vraja began to see that) Śri Kṛṣna entered the charming forest of Vṛndavana accompanied by His cowherd boyfriends. A peacock feather decorated the top of His head and yellow karnikara (oleander) flowers were resting on top of His ears. He wore a golden yellow garment on His body, and a beautiful, fragrant garland strung from five kinds of forest flowers circled His neck and hung down to His knees. Śri Kṛṣna appeared like the best of dancers performing a supremely captivating drama upon a stage. He filled up the holes of His flute with the nectar of His lips as the cowherd boys followed behind Him singing His glories, which purify the entire world. In this way, the forest of Vṛndavana, which is more charming than the divine realm of Vaikunṭḥa, has become even more splendid from the impressions of His adorable lotus feet, which are marked with all the auspicious symbols like the conch and disc.]

Hearing this, Mahaprabhu and Nityananda Prabhu were overjoyed and began to dance. In this way, Gadadhara Pandit used to help. He would also look after Sachinandana Gaurahai to see if He is was playing the part of Radhika properly or not. He was always watching Mahaprabhu, and seeing if He was correct or not. If He was not correct, then at once he would correct Him.

When Mahaprabhu returned from Gaya and came to Shrivas Pandit’s house, from behind a curtain Gadadhara Pandit uttered the same sloka. Hearing Gadadhara Pandit, Mahaprabhu understood how to increase His mood.

In this way, when Mahaprabhu wanted to take sannyasa, He told only five persons, "I want to take sannyasa. Today I will give up my home, mother, wife, and everything." He told this to Nityananda Prabhu, Gadadhara Pandit, Mukunda, Candrasekara Acharya, and Jagadananda, and His mother knew about this from them.

When Mahaprabhu reached Katwa to take sannyasa, these five also reached there. Candrasekara bore all the expenses of that tridandi sannyasa mahotsava ceremony. He was the husband of Sachimata’s sister, so he in age he was so much elder. He was very near and dear to Mahaprabhu. In that ceremony, when the barber wanted to shave Mahaprabhu’s head, Gadadhara Pandit began to weep.

From there, Mahaprabhu wanted to go to Vrndavana, but Nityananda Prabhu was very tricky. He told a cowherd boy that when Nimai Pandit comes and asks for the way to Vrndavana, he should tell Him that it is very near here – that the Yamuna is here. Then, Nityananda would take Him to Advaita Acharya.

Mahaprabhu thought He was going to Vrndavana. He was in bhava-avesa (lost in ecstasy) singing:

kṛṣṇa! kṛṣṇa! kṛṣṇa! kṛṣṇa! kṛṣṇa! kṛṣṇa! kṛṣṇa! he!
kṛṣṇa! kṛṣṇa! kṛṣṇa! kṛṣṇa! kṛṣṇa! kṛṣṇa! kṛṣṇa! he!
kṛṣṇa! kṛṣṇa! kṛṣṇa! kṛṣṇa! kṛṣṇa! kṛṣṇa! rakṣa mam!
kṛṣṇa! kṛṣṇa! kṛṣṇa! kṛṣṇa! kṛṣṇa! kṛṣṇa! kṛṣṇa! pahi mam!
rama! raghava! rama! raghava! rama! raghava! rakṣa mam!
kṛṣṇa! keśava! kṛṣṇa! keśava kṛṣṇa! keśava! pahi mam!

"O Krishna, where are You? Without You, My heart is broken."

In this way. Mahaprabhu was going. When He saw some cowherd boys grazing cows, He asked them, "In which way should I go to Vrndavana?"

They replied, "You have come very near to Vrndavana. The Yamuna is flowing here.

When He went to ‘Yamuna’ to bathe, He saw Advaita Acharya with a boat. He thought, "Oh, this is Santipura; where is Vrndavana? This is the Ganges, not Yamuna."

Then Nityananda said, "Prabhu, this is really Vrndavana. The Yamuna River is on the west side and the Ganges River is on the east side. So don’t be worried."

Advaita Acharya Prabhu approached and requested, "Please come to my house."

Nityananda Prabhu and others then went there, but on the way Nityananda went to Sachi Maiya in Mayapura and said, "Nimai Pandit has come to Santipura after taking sannyasa. I have brought Him here only for you."

Hearing this, the whole of Navadvipa, many hundreds of thousands of persons arrived in Santipura in many ways – some by swimming, some by making boats of banana leaves, and somehow they all crossed the Ganges and went to the house of Advaita Acharya. Gadadhara Pandit was also there.
Sachi Maiya said, "Advaita Acharya Prabhu, as long as my son is here, please allow me to cook and feed Him."

Mahaprabhu told her, "I am very foolish. I have done wrong. You are old, father left this world, and I took sannyasa, so there is no one to look after you. If you order me, I will give up sannyasa and go back to householder life."

Sachi Maiya was very religious-minded, and she replied, "I don’t want that. Somehow, You have taken the sannyasa order, so I cannot tell You to give it up. One thing I will tell You – Do not go far away to Vrndavana. Go to Jagannatha Puri. Many persons will go there and I will hear about You, and sometimes You can come here."

Shripad Madhava Maharaja: You previously told us that if Mahaprabhu would go to Vrndavana, due to the greatness of its influence, He would forget His mood as Radhika and return to His self-identification as Krishna. Then He would not be able to fulfill His three desires, for which He came to this world: [ - to understand the greatness of Radha’s love which makes Him mad, 2 - what is it about Him that She alone relishes to the highest extent, and 3 - he exaltation of Her happiness in their loving relationship which is thousands of times greater than His] He therefore He inspired Yogamaya to speak through Sachi-mata. "O, my mother ordered me to remain in Puri. So what can I do?" Then He could say to the world, he will manifest Himself as Krishna."

Shrila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja: Gadadhara Pandit went to Puri with Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. . Mahaprabhu began to live in the Gambhira, and Gadadhara Pandit in Tota Gopinatha. What is the meaning of Tota Gopinatha? Tota means garden (in Oriyan language) – garden of Gopinatha. So many trees and beautiful scenery are there. And Cataka Parvata is there. Mahaprabhu used to see these ? know Govardhana Many banyan trees (vatsa) as Mahaprabhu used to think that this was Vamsi-vata. So nearby, in Tota Gopinatha, Gadadhara Pandit used to live.

Chaitanya Mahaprabhu used to go there to hear Shrimad-Bhagavatam from Gadadhara Pandit. Gadadhara Pandit was a very, very sweet Shrimad-Bhagavatam speaker who could recite in such sweet language and melody that all were attracted. So, Mahaprabhu used to go to hear Shrimad-Bhagavatam from his mouth.

One day Mahaprabhu told him, "I want to give you a very, very precious gift. Do you want to take it?"

Gadadhara Pandit replied, "Yes, certainly I want to take it."

Mahaprabhu said, "Dig for it in this place."

When Gadadhara Pandit was digging in the sand, he saw the beautiful form of Gopinatha there; the Deity of Gopinatha came out.

Mahaprabhu said, "Take this Deity and worship Him here."

Then Gadadhara Pandit made a hut and kept Gopinatha there.

In India we see so many deities of Krishna, but all are standing. Only Gopinatha is sitting. If you see Him with a dress, you will think that He is standing, but if you take away some of the cloth, then you will see that He is sitting. He was very tall and He was actually previously standing. After Mahaprabhu left the world, He could no longer reach up to give Him a garland, so from then, Gopinatha sat down to accept the garland from Gadadhara Pandit.

One day Nityananda Prabhu came from Bengal. He brought many cloths and also some nice fragrant rice, and gave them to Radha Gopinatha. He told Gadadhara Pandit, "Please cook this rice along with some tamarind leaves and also spinach from the garden."

Gadadhara Pandit picked up some spinach and brought tamarind leaves and made a very beautiful, tasteful sweet and sour preparation. He offered it to Gopinatha and gave it to Nityananda Prabhu, and said, "We will take prasada."

Just before they began to honor that prasada, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu arrived and said, "Oh, you have so much love and affection for only Nityananda and not for Me? How tasteful are these things you are giving to Nityananda and not to Me."

They divided the prasada into three parts – one dish for Nityananda Prabhu, one dish for Mahaprabhu, and one dish for Gadadhara Pandit. Then they very happily took that mahaprasada.

One day, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu came and was hearing Bhagavata. Hearing Bhagavata, He became mad after Krishna. So many ecstatic symptoms manifested in His body. He ran in the temple of Gopinatha, but He did not return from there. Gadadhara Pandit searched for Him: "Where has Mahaprabhu gone? Where has Mahaprabhu gone?" But Mahaprabhu had merged into Gopinatha, and now Gadadhara Pandit felt so much separation from Him.

After one year Shrinivasa Acharya came from Bengal. He heard that Mahaprabhu had disappeared. Somehow He used to come to take darsana of Svarupa Damodara, Raya Ramananda, and Gadadhara Pandit. But when he reached Jagannatha Puri he heard that Svarupa Damodara had also left this world, and Gadadhara Prabhu also. Then he began to weep and returned to Navadvipa, and from Navadvipa he went to Vrndavana, to the school of Jiva Gosvami.

Gaura Premanande!

Question: Why is this verse "aho bhaki yam" so special. Vyasadeva called to Sukadeva Gosvami with this verse, and Pundarika Vidyanidhi became maddened.

Shrila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja: Even though Putana was taking blood from newborn babies and she went to kill Krishna, He gave her the form of a mother [nursemaid]. So, how merciful Krishna is. No one sloka glorifies the mercy of Krishna and therefore it can be merciful like Him. We must therefore take shelter of? We must take the shelter of merciful Krishna. This is important.

For glorifying the beauty of Krishna, these slokas are uttered:

barhapidam nata-vara-vapuh karnayoh karnikaram
bibhrad vasah kanaka-kapisam vaijayantim ca malam
randhran venor adhara-sudhayapurayan gopa-vrndair
vrndaranyam sva-pada ramanam pravisad gita-kirtih

[(Within their hearts, the damsels of Vraja began to see that) Śri Kṛṣna entered the charming forest of Vṛndavana accompanied by His cowherd boyfriends. A peacock feather decorated the top of His head and yellow karnikara (oleander) flowers were resting on top of His ears. He wore a golden yellow garment on His body, and a beautiful, fragrant garland strung from five kinds of forest flowers circled His neck and hung down to His knees. Śri Kṛṣna appeared like the best of dancers performing a supremely captivating drama upon a stage. He filled up the holes of His flute with the nectar of His lips as the cowherd boys followed behind Him singing His glories, which purify the entire world. In this way, the forest of Vṛndavana, which is more charming than the divine realm of Vaikunṭḥa, has become even more splendid from the impressions of His adorable lotus feet, which are marked with all the auspicious symbols like the conch and disc.] (Shrimad-Bhagavatam, 10.21.5)

This is Brahma’s prayer:

naumiḍya te ’bhra-vapuṣe taḍid-ambaraya
vanya-sraje kavala-vetra-viṣana-venu-
lakṣma-sriye mṛdu-pade pasupangajaya
Shrimad-Bhagavatam (10.14.1)

["O Prince of Vraja, You are worshipable for the whole world. O Nava-Ghanaśyama, Your yellow upper garment beautifies Your dark, fresh raincloud-colored limbs like a steady streak of lightning. Your ears are decorated with ornaments made of guñja berries, and Your head with a crown of peacock feathers. A garland of forest flowers and leaves adorns Your neck, a morsel of rice mixed with yogurt is in Your hand, Your eyes are shaped like lotus petals, and Your appearance with Your flute and buffalo horn is exquisitely beautiful. Your lotus feet, which are the shelter of Lakṣmi-devi, are very soft and full of affection for Your devotees. You are always moving here and there in Vṛndavana forest with Your soft lotus feet to enjoy Your pleasure pastimes. All glories unto You, son of Nanda Maharaja, who tend the cows. Please accept my obeisances."]

The Yajnapatnis saw the beauty of Krishna and uttered this sloka:

syamam hiranya-paridhim vanamalya-barha
dhatu-pravala-nata-vesam anuvratamse
vinyasta-hastam itarena dhunanam abjam

["He is dark-complexioned like a fresh raincloud, and His yellow cloth, which defeats the splendour of gold, shimmers against His body. His head is decorated with a peacock feather, and every part of His body is ornamented with designs that are drawn with various coloured minerals. Sprigs of new leaves adorn His body, and around His neck is an enchanting forest-flower garland of five colours. Dressed in this way, He appears as a fresh, youthful, expert dancer. He rests one hand upon His sakha’s shoulder and with the other He twirls a pastime lotus. His ears are decorated with earrings (kunḍalas), curly locks of hair splash against His cheeks, and His lotus face blossoms with a gentle smile." (Shrimad-Bhagavatam, 10.23.22)]

Lord Brahma has also told about the beauty of Krishna in Brahma-samhita (verse 31):

ratnangadam pranaya-keli-kala-vilasam
syamam tri-bhaṅga-lalitam niyata-prakasam
govindam adi-puruṣam tam aham bhajami

["I worship the original personality, Śri Govinda, around whose neck a garland of forest flowers and peacock feathers swings gently, whose lotus hands hold a captivating flute, whose arms are decorated with jeweled ornaments, who is always madly absorbed in intimate loving pastimes, and whose eternal natural aspect is His graceful threefold bending Syamasundara form.

venum kvanantam aravinda-dalayatakṣam
barhavatamsam asitambuda-sundarangam
govindam adi-puruṣam tam aham bhajami

I worship the primeval personality, Shri Govinda, who is absorbed in playing upon His flute, whose long eyes expand and bloom like lotus flowers, whose headdress is adorned with peacock feathers, and whose unique bodily complexion, which resembles the luster of a dark blue raincloud, bewilders the minds of millions of Cupids.


Tridandisvami Shri Shrimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja
Hong Kong: April 13, 2008

Today is a special and very sacred day. Today, Krishna, in the form of Ramachandra, took birth in Ayodhya.

In ancient times there was a king named Maharaja Dasaratha. He was a very, very strong personality. He conquered all kings in the South, North, East, West, and everywhere. Therefore his name was Dasa-ratha, meaning that his chariot went everywhere in the ten directions – up, down, here, here, here.  He had 360 wives, but no child, no son. Now, half of his life was finished and he was becoming old. Because he had no son, he was very anxious.

One day he went hunting. The whole day he was roaming here and there, and it became night. Now he was very hungry and thirsty, and he wanted to take shelter somewhere for the night. His friend King Kaikeya, the father of Kaikeyi, lived nearby, so he went there. When he arrived, King Kaikeya became very happy.  King Kaikeya told his young daughter, "O my dear daughter Kaikeyi, take care of Maharaja Dasaratha and manage his meals so that he will be happy here." Kaikeyi was very beautiful and very qualified. She served Maharaja Dasaratha in such a way that he became very, very happy.

In the morning, Maharaja Dasaratha went to Maharaja Kaikeya and asked his permission to return to his kingdom, Ayodhya. He also said, "O my brother-king, my friend-king, your daughter served me in such a way that I’m so much happy. So, I request that you marry your daughter to me." King Kaikeya began to laugh. "I cannot give my daughter to you for marriage. I know that you have so many queens. I will give my daughter to any king, under the condition that the son born from her womb will be the next king. Then I can give her; otherwise not." Hearing this, Maharaja Dasaratha began to laugh. He said, "O my friend, I have 360 queens, but I have no son. If your daughter will give me a son, automatically he will be my successor king. Don’t worry about this. I will be very lucky if I will have a son by Kaikeyi." King Kaikeya then gave his daughter in marriage to Maharaja Dasaratha, and Maharaja Dasaratha returned to Ayodhya with her.

After some time, demigods called Maharaja Dasaratha and told him, "You are very powerful. We want to make you commander-in-chief of our army to defeat the demons." So, Maharaja Dasaratha went to heaven, and Kaikayi also went with him. He became the commander-in-chief of the demigods’ army and began to fight with the demons, with Kaikayi as his charioteer. She was very, very brave and powerful.

One day while he was in battle, the axel of his chariot broke. Kaikeyi jumped down from the chariot, took that chariot with her hand, and Maharaja Dasaratha defeated the demons. After the battle, Maharaja Dasaratha was very happy. He said to Kaikeyi, "You have saved me. Because of you, I have won the battle. Now ask for two boons; I want to fulfill your desires." Kaikeyi replied, "I am your wife. It was my duty to serve you like this; there is no need of any boon." Again and again Maharaja Dasaratha insisted, "You must take two boons. First, you were my charioteer, and second, you lifted the chariot. So, you must have two boons." She replied, "When the proper time comes, I will ask for these boons. Keep them as a deposit."

After that, Maharaja Dasaratha returned to Ayodhya, but still he had no son. He therefore engaged Rsi Srnga in a putresthi-yajna, a fire sacrifice for begetting a child. When the sacrifice was completed, a deity came out from the sacrificial fire and gave some sweet rice to Maharaja Dasaratha. The deity said, "Give this sweet rice to any of your queens, and they will definitely have sons."

Maharaja Dasaratha became very pleased. He divided the sweet rice in half. He gave half to Kausalya, and half to Kaikeyi. Kausalya and Kaikeyi then divided their portions and gave some of each to Sumitra. Rama took birth from the womb of Kausalya; from Kaikeyi came Bharata; and from Sumitra came Laksmana and Satrughna.

You should know that neither Krishna, nor Rama, nor any incarnation of Krishna comes from a husband and wife, like a worldly person. That is why the fire sacrifice was done – and through the sweet rice, Krishna Himself came in the form of Rama. Understand? The fire sacrifice was performed in order to show that Rama is not like us – taking birth from a father and mother. Regarding Krishna, He entered by mantra in the heart of Maharaja Nanda, and Nanda gave the mantra to Yasoda. Nrsmhadeva, Varahadeva, and other incarnations also – none of Them came from a father and mother.

After some time, the sons of Maharaja Dasaratha were sent to the gurukula of Vasistha-deva, where they became expert in all sixty-four arts and then returned to Ayodhya. Some time later, Maharsi Visvamitra visited Maharaja Dasaratha and said, "While we are performing sacrifices, the demons are destroying them. So, please give me Rama and Laksmana. They will protect us." Maharaja Dasaratha replied, "Oh, they are only teen-agers. I will go with my whole army to protect you." Visvamitra said, "You cannot; I know. Give them to me; otherwise, I will curse you." Maharsi Vasistha, the guru of Maharaja Dasaratha then said, "O Maharaja Dasaratha, if you give Them, They will learn so many things and They will be very happy." Thus, Maharaja Dasaratha gave his sons.

Visvamitra brought Ramachandra and Laksmana to his asrama on the bank of the Ganges, where my birthplace is. He taught Them about many weapons and about mantras, and Ramsacandra killed so many demons there. Marica was one of those demons. By one of Ramachandra’s arrows, he was hurled 800 miles into the ocean near Lanka.

[Janaka Maharaja invited many kings who came to Janaka-puri to compete for the hand of his daughter, Sita.] He announced in the assembly of kings Whoever will string this bow of Sankara, I will marry my daughter to that person." The bow of Sankara which was so heavy that very strong kings could not pick it up. Even Ravana came at night to try; Banasura came; demigods came; but they could not do it. So many kings from all over the world had come to Janak-puri and wanted to lift it, but they could not.

Ramachandra was also now in Janaka-puri, with Visvamitra and Laksmana, All three were now present in that assembly. At last, by the order of Visvamitra, Ramachandra very easily lifted that bow and began to string it. At once, that bow broke, and Sita-devi was thus married to Shri Ramachandra.

Maharaja Dasaratha was invited from Ayodhya. He came with Bharata, Satrughna, brahmarsi Vasistha, and so many important persons from Ayodhya. Then Rama, Laksmana, Bharata, and Satrughna were married. After that, they all returned to Ayodhya [with their brides].

After some time, Bharata and Satrughna went to visit Maharaja Kaikeya. Meanwhile, Dasaratha called the family and said, "Now I am becoming old. I know my son Rama is very much qualified to be king after me – my successor. I want to give Him the post of crown-prince." Maharaja Vasistha and all persons in the counsel became very happy. They said, "O Maharaja Dasaratha, don’t delay." He asked, "When should I make Him king? " Brahmarsi Vasistha replied, "Tomorrow is a very auspicious day. All the stars are very favorable. Tomorrow it should be done." So Maharaja Dasaratha declared, "Tomorrow I will make Rama the crown prince." Thus, Maharaja Dasaratha told Vasistha, "Prepare all things for the abhiseka of Rama." All became very happy.

In the meantime, the maidservant of Kaikeyi went to Kaikeyi and said, "Really, you are very unfortunate. Tomorrow, Maharani Kausalya will become raja-mata, mother of the king, and you will be Kausalya’s maidservant." When Kaikeyi heard this, she became very happy. She offered her golden necklace to that maidservant, but her maidservant took it and threw it away.

The maidservant said, "You are really very foolish; you are not understanding. Rama will be king, and Bharata will be His servant. Then, you will be the mother of a servant. Still, there is some way out. Why has Dasaratha sent Bharata and Satrughna from here? In their absence, why has he declared that Rama will be the next king? You remember, Maharaja Dasaratha promised that the son from your womb would be king. So, why is He not doing so? Also, you have two boons from Maharaja Dasaratha. You should tell him that your son will be the king, and Ramachandra will go into exile."

Thus influenced, Kaikeyi thought, "If Rama is here, no one will accept Bharata as king. So, He must be sent into exile." She took off all of her ornaments, dawned very dirty clothes, and wept. She sent someone to Maharaja Dasaratha to tell him that she was weeping. Maharaja Dasaratha then came to his dear wife. He wanted to know why she was weeping and why she was wearing dirty clothes. She said, "Do you remember that you gave me two boons? I want to ask for them now; it is the proper time for me." Maharaja Dasaratha replied, "I can give them to you." She said, "Bharata should be king, and Rama should be exiled for fourteen years."

Hearing this, Maharaja Dasaratha became faint and began to weep. He said, "O Kaikeyi, I can make Bharata king, my successor, but why do you want Rama to go into exile? Why do you want to send Him away? Kaikeyi replied, "You should just now promise that you will do these things. I don’t want to hear anything else." Worried and weeping, Maharaja Dasaratha said, "My dear Kaikeyi, don’t send Rama into exile," But she would not change her mind.

Kaikeyi called Shri Rama. Rama asked, "Why is my father not speaking, and why is he crying?" She replied, "He has given me two boons. I asked that Bharata be king and that You should go into exile for fourteen years." Ramachandra became very happy, and said, "From the beginning, I was wondering why, in Indian culture, the eldest son becomes king? Why should it not be divided among all his brothers? I’m happy that you have now asked for this boon from Maharaja Dasaratha. At once I am going into exile."

When He was ready, Sita-devi said, "I must go with you; I will not be able to survive here." Laksmana also said, "I must go with You." So, the three of them, in the dress of sannyasis, went into exile.
I am telling this in very brief.

When Ramachandra went into exile, Maharaja Dasaratha, weeping, told Kaikeyi, "I have now broken my relation with you as my wife; now you are no longer my wife. Moreover, if Bharata comes and accepts the kingdom, I also will reject him as my son. Take me to the palace of Kausalya." There, crying, "Rama, Rama and Ra…!" he left his body.

In the meantime, brahmarsi Vasistha called Bharata and Satrughna from their maternal uncle’s house. When they came, they saw that all the citizens of Ayodhya weeping as a widow would weep. Bharata saw that his mother Kaikeyi was wearing a white dress. He asked her, "Where is my father?" She replied, "He has left his body." He asked, "Where is Rama?" She replied, "He has gone into exile." He asked, "Where are Sita and Laksmana?" She replied, "Also in exile." He asked, "Why?" She replied, "I have done this for you, so that you could be King of Ayodhya." He replied, "I would cut your head off, but my brother Rama would not be happy, so I will not do so. I accept you as a queen, but now you are not my mother."

Bharata then called the counsel and said, "Be ready. I am going to Chitrakuta where my brother Rama is staying with Laksmana and Sita. I will bring Rama back and He will be the king; He is still king." Thus, he prepared to leave with all of the mothers.

When they were getting ready to go, Kaikeyi told Kausalya, "Sister, I also want to go. I will tell Rama that I am taking back my boon, and that He must return to Ayodhya and be king. So, take me with you."

Out of mercy, Kausalya took Kaikeyi with her, and all went to Chitrakuta. There, they requested Ramachandra, "Please return to Ayodhya." Ramachandra heard from them that His father had departed from this world. So, first He performed a ritual ceremony, and then a big counsel took place. Vasistha Maharsi and all rsis were on one side. The father of Janaki, Janaka Maharaja, was also present as the head of the family. Rama, Laksmana, Sita, and others were on another side.

Vasistha Rsi said, "O Maharaja Janaka, I’m very happy that you have come. The boat of Ayodhya is sinking in the ocean; there is no captain to save us. I am happy that now you have come. Tell Rama and Bharata what to do. I cannot tell them, because I am on the side of Bharata, that Rama should return. So, you say what they should do." Then Maharaja Janaka asked Rama, "Will you agree that what I decide You will follow?" Rama replied, "Yes, certainly; you are my father and like my guru." Then Maharaja Janaka asked Bharata, "Will you obey me?" Bharata replied, "Certainly, You are my father now, and like my guru also. I will do what you decide."

In that big counsel, Bharata explained why he thought it better that Rama return to Ayodhya. Maharaja Janaka then offered pranama to his gurudeva, Sankara, and meditated on him. He said, "O Sankara, my Gurudeva, give me inspiration. What should I tell them?"

After that, having received inspiration from Bhagavan Sankara, Maharaja Janaka said, "Bharata has won, and Rama has been defeated. The love and affection of Bharata is very, very deep, like an ocean, and Ramachandra’s dharma is like the Himalayas. Ramachandra can sink in the ocean of Bharata’s love and affection, but He cannot move here and there. This means that Bharata should think about what is real bhakti, uttama-bhakti. Though he has won, he should ask his worshipful Deity how He will be pleased – what He wants – and follow that.

Bharata then became very happy. He folded his hands before Maharaja Janaka and said, "Maharaja Janaka, you are really my guru. You have opened my eyes. Until now, I was looking toward my own happiness. I was thinking that if Rama would come to Ayodhya I will be happy. I never thought about how Rama would be happy. Now you have opened my eyes."

Bharata said to Rama, "My dear brother Rama, how will You be happy? Tell me what You want." Rama replied, "I am defeated; you have won. So I am taking the kingdom of Ayodhya, But I want that for fourteen years you will manage My kingdom – not your kingdom – as My representative. After fourteen years, I will definitely come and take My kingdom." Bharata agreed. He took Rama’s wooden sandals, placed them on his head and returned to Ayodhya.

Shri Ramachandra thought, "This place is very near to Ayodhya. Bharata or other inhabitants of Ayodhya may come here, and then the rsis will be disturbed. So, I must go to the deep forest." Thus, He went to Dandakaranya, and then Pancavati. In Pancavati, He made a cottage on the bank of the Godavari and began to live there.

One day, Ravana’s sister Surpanaka came. She saw Rama, became so much attached, and wanted to marry him. She took the form of a very beautiful lady and approached him. She said, "I am a very young, qualified, beautiful lady and you are a young, attractive person. I want to marry you." Ramachandra replied, "I am married, and Sita is here. Laksmana has no wife here, so you can go to him." Then she went to Laksmana, who told her, "I am His servant. Do you want to be the maidservant of that lady (Sita)? So, go to Rama. He can marry you."

Again she went to Rama, and again He refused. Then she took the form of a very big demon, and wanted to kill and eat Sita. Then Laksmana, by the order of Rama, cut off her nose and ears. Crying, Surpanaka went to Ravana’s brothers, who came with an army to fight with Rama. Rama killed them all.

Ramachandra then told Sita, "I want to fight with the demons and kill them. I want to keep you with the demigod of fire. You will be safe there." Rama called the deity of fire and Sita was given to him. Then a Maya-Sita continued on with Shri Ramachandra.

Surpanaka went to her brother, the very powerful Ravana. She said, "I went to the forest and saw a very beautiful lady. Really, she is very qualified to be your queen. She is more beautiful than your wife Mandodari. But when I went there, they cut off my nose and ears. I want you to take revenge, and somehow take Sita and make her queen here."

Ravana then took one of his servants, Marica with him and went to Dandakaranya, near Pancavati. He was on a flower airplane, which he had taken from Kuvera. He told Marica, "Take the form of a very golden deer and go in front of Sita and Rama. Sita will definitely tell them to bring her that deer. Rama will follow you, and you take Him very far away. When Rama kills you, at that time imitating the voice of Rama, you should say, "Alas Laksmana! Alas Laksmana!"

Marica became a golden deer and  began grazing in front of Sita and Rama. Sita-devi said, "That golden deer is very dear to me. Prabhu, my dear husband Rama, somehow bring that deer to me, either alive or dead. I will present it to Mother Kaikeyi."

Rama had told Laksmana before going, "Stay here and protect Sita. There are so many demons, so you must stay here; don’t come with Me." Rama followed that deer who took Him very far away. When Ramachandra shot that deer, the deer cried [imitating Ramachandra’s voice], "Laksmana, Laksmana! Save me, save me!"

Sita-devi and Laksmana heard this voice. Sita-devi said, "Go and help your brother; otherwise, He will be put to death." Laksmana replied, "I know my brother. No one can kill or defeat Him. So I will not go. Ramachandra has given me the order to stay here and protect you." Sita-devi said, "Oh, you are a hypocrite. You are a spy. You want Rama to be killed so you can become my husband. This can never be." Laksmana became very worried and said, "I am making a circle around this cottage. Don’t cross this circle [for any reason]. Stay there. I am going, but don’t go out of the circle."

In the meantime, Ravana went there in the form of a tridandi-svami, and called out, "Bhiksam dehi, bhiksam dehi (give me alms)." Sita-devi brought him something on a plate. Ravana tried to enter that cottage, but when he approached the circle made by Laksmana, some flame or electricity at once manifested. He could not cross that line. Ravana said, "If I give a curse, Rama will die."

Then Sita crossed the circle – because it was the wish of Rama that Ravana would come and kidnap her. So, when she left the circle, Ravana forcefully took her. He put her on a flying chariot, and at once they went to Lanka. He told Sita, "You should be my queen. You will be more dear to me than Mandodari and others." Sita refused, so he kept her in Asokavana.

When Rama returned with Laksmana to His cottage, He saw that Sita was not there. He became maddened and cried, "O Site [the vocative of ‘Sita’], O Site, where are you!" He began to ask even trees and creepers. He even asked the Godavari River and the animals there.

Rama then went to Kishkinda and met with Sugriva, the king of the monkeys, and made friendship with him. Then Rama killed Bali {the brother of Sugriva who had stolen Sugriva’s wife and made her his own]. Sugriva promised, "For this, I will discover Sita wherever she is, and then you can kill that person [who kidnapped her]."

Then Sugriva told Hanuman: "Search for Sita." Hanuman went to Lanka, crossing the Indian Ocean. He discovered Sita in the Asoka forest with the help of Vibhisana, the brother of Ravana. Ramachandra had given a ring to Hanuman and told him that when he meets Sita, he should give it to her so that she would know that he was His messenger. Sitting on a tree, Hanuman dropped the ring in front of her. Sita-devi saw that it came from a monkey in a tree. Then Hanuman came and said, "I am a messenger of Rama. He has sent me to find you, and [after some discussion said, "Now I will return."

Hanuman then killed many asuras residing there, and also the son of Ravana. Then he entered golden Lanka, set fire, and all were finished. Then, Hanuman returned to Shri Ramachandra.

Now Ramachandra, with the monkey army – Sugriva, Jambavan, Nala, Nila, and others – went to the ocean and made a bridge with the help of Nala and Nila. Nala had a boon that whatever he would throw in the ocean would float. Thus, very soon the monkeys made a bridge and crossed it. There was a very great battle for ninety days, in which Ravana and His whole army were finished.

Then, Ramachandra made Vibhisana King of Lanka, and Vibhisana brought Sita-devi to Rama there. But Rama refused to take Sita. [Although sages, demigods, and Rama’s father appeared there and confirmed Sita’s chastity] He told Her, "I cannot accept you. You can go anywhere you like." Sita-devi then told Laksmana, "Build a fire for me. I will burn; I will not keep my body." Laksmana then made a huge fire, and Sita-devi entered that. This was only a trick, because in Dandakaranya, Rama had given Sita-devi to the care of the deity of fire. Now, by a trick, Rama took Sita-devi from the fire. He went to Ayodhya with Sita, Laksmana, Sugriva, Hanuman, and others. Bharata was waiting there, and went at once to greet Rama. Rama was then given the crown of Ayodhya.

Bhagavan Shri Ramachandra, ki jaya!


Tridandisvami Shri Shrimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja
Navadvipa, March 20, 2008

This class was given during the Navadvipa-dhama parikrama, on the day that devotees went  to Lord Rama’s abode on the island of Modadrumadvipa. This class was transcribed from Shripad Damodara Maharaja’s translation of his Bengali discourse, given in Shri Kesavaji Gaudiya Matha on the island of Koladvipa:]

By the mercy of Shri Shri Guru and Gauranga, today we completed the fifth and final day of our Shri Navadvipa Mandala Parikrama. Even though there are over 17,000 devotees in attendance, we have had no complaints and all are very happy.

Tomorrow is the appearance day of Shri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. We will observe a full fast tomorrow, and engage in the unbroken recitation of Shri Caitanya Bhagavata. We will begin here in the temple, in the morning.

Even though we may have experienced some minor difficulties and discomforts, when we go home we should tell everyone that parikrama was very wonderful; we had very nice prasadam, and there were no difficulties. Otherwise, others will not come next year.

Shrila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami MaharajaNo one could have arranged such a vast parikrama – we did not arrange it. Raising our arms in the air, we simply chanted “Jaya Nitai! Jaya Gaura!” Actually, Shriman Mahaprabhu has been personally making all the arrangements.

Today, we first went to Jahnudvipa. There in Jahnudvipa we heard the story of how Jahnu Rsi drank the Ganges River, which was brought to the Earth planet by Bhagiratha Rsi. Jahnu Rsi then released the Ganges from his thigh, so Ganga-devi is also known as Jahnavi devi.

We then went to Mamagachi, the birthplace of Shri Vrndavana dasa Thakura, who is the Vyasa of the pastimes of Shri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, and the nephew of Shrinivasa Acarya. We took mahaprasadam there. Shri Caitanya Mahaprabhu would go to Mamagachi with all of His associates and perform many pastimes there.

We then went to the place of bhajana of Shri Saranga Thakura. In his old age, Saranga Thakura was ordered by Mahaprabhu to make disciples, to assist him with his services. He replied that there were no qualified disciples. Mahaprabhu told him that he (Saranga Thakura) can make them qualified. Because of Mahaprabhu’s insistence, he vowed to accept as a disciple the first person he would see the next day. The next morning, when he went to bathe in the Ganges, he saw the dead body of a boy floating in the water. Remembering Mahaprabhu’s order, he brought that dead body to the riverbank and recited the diksa-mantras into his ear. As soon as the mantra entered his ear, the boy returned to life and became his initiated disciple.

In Treta Yuga, Lord Ramacandra, Sita devi, and Laksmana went to Mamagachi. Under the shade of a large banyan tree, Sita Devi observed that Lord Rama was smiling mildly.

She inquired, “O Lord, what is the cause of your amusement?”

MamagachiLord Rama replied, “O Devi, this Navadvipa is very dear to Me. In the beginning of the upcoming Kali Yuga, I will come here in the form of Shri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, and You, Sita, will come here as Shrimati Visnupriya. I will take sannyasa and go to Jagannath Puri.”

Then Sita asked, “O Lord, what is the reason for Your taking sannyasa?”

In prema, pure divine love, there is meeting and separation. During meeting there is external meeting, and in that happiness, the devotee forgets everything internal. But during viraha, separation, he or she remembers the pastimes of meeting. Meeting with the Lord is certainly one type of happiness, but separation is another type of happiness. Therefore, sadhakas (practitioners of devotion to Shri Krishna) in this world perform bhajana in the mood of separation by remembering the pastimes of Shri Shri Guru and Gauranga.

What is the condition of Shrimati Radhika when Krishna went to Mathura and Dvaraka? The prema of Radhika is not expressed directly; it is not straightforward. It is very crooked, and therefore it binds Shri Krishna. Especially regarding the condition of maan, transcendental jealous anger, Candravali will not directly express displeasure or say anything contrary at that time. But Radhika may say many things, and Krishna becomes controlled by Her type of maan. A river is not very beautiful when it has only a few waves, but the ocean is very attractive because it contains so many astonishing varieties of waves.

Similarly, in separation there are many wonderful and astonishing moods felt by both the Lord and His beloved. Moreover, the meeting that occurs after separation is especially relishable.

Now Lord Rama told Sita, “O Devi Sita, your father took a vow to marry You to that person who could lift the bow of Lord Siva. Many powerful kings like Ravana came, but they could not lift it. I also came with Laksmana at that time, and that was Our first meeting – in the garden of Janaka Maharaja.”

At that time, Lord Rama and Sita exchanged glances and both captured each other’s hearts. Soon after that, when Ramacandra lifted the bow, Sita was beside Herself with happiness. She wanted to put the vijaya mala, the ‘victory garland,’ around the neck of Lord Rama, but she was feeling such ecstasy that She could not move. Her friends had to lift Her arms and place the garland around His neck.

Later, unknown to Lord Rama, after He abandoned Sita devi, She gave birth to two sons, Lava and Kush, in the asrama of Shri Valmiki Muni. There in his asrama they learned the sixty-four arts.

They once went to the palace of Ramacandra and began to sing the Ramayana that they had learned from Valmiki. There they saw the most astonishing sight: a golden form of their mother. They did not know that their mother was Sita. As they sang the Ramayana in a very sweet voice, everyone began weeping – Rama, Laksmana, and all others.

Rama was especially attracted. He called Laksmana and said, “Please go to these boys and ask them, ‘Who is your mother and father?’” Laksmana took a big container of jewels and gold as a donation for them. Laksmana said, “Lord Rama is very pleased with you two boys. Please, we want to know who your mother and father is.”

Lava and Kush replied, “Oh, considering that You are a brother of Lord Ramacandra, You are not very intelligent. We are brahmacaris, so why are You asking who is our mother and father? All we know is that our Gurudeva is Shri Valmiki; that is all we know. We also have no need of these jewels and gold and silks. We live in the forest and eat roots, shoots, and fruits; we have no need of these at all. If we need some cloth, we take some bark from the trees.”

That day, Lava and Kush returned very late to the asrama of Valmiki. Because they did not know that Lord Rama was their father and that their mother was Sita devi, they said to their mother, “O Mother, today we saw a most astonishing thing. As we sang the Ramayana, and all were vastly attracted, we saw that King Rama had a golden form of a woman who is the exact replica of You.”

Hearing this, Sita began to weep. She could understand that although the King has left the Queen, Rama has not left Sita. She wept bitterly.

During Her separation from Lord Rama when He was in Ayodhya and She was in the asrama of Valmiki Muni, Sita was absorbed in remembering the happiness of Her first meeting with Him, the happiness She felt upon placing the victory garland around His neck, and so many other pastimes with Him. All these pastimes that took place in meeting, She remembered in separation.

When Shri Krishna went to Mathura and then to Dvaraka, Radharani experienced mohan, or mohanakhya-mahabhava, and in divine madness, She chastised a bumblebee. In separation from Krishna, Shrimati Radhika sometimes embraces a tamala tree or the darkness. Therefore, in vipralambha, separation from Krishna, there is great remembrance of the happiness of meeting with Him.

Shrila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura and Shrila Sanatana Gosvami have said that the happiness of separation dances on the head of any happiness that is experienced in meeting.

Sita Rama and Hanuman

Lord Rama now told Shrimati Sita-devi, “O Devi, I will come to this Navadvipa. I will take birth from the womb of Mother Saci, and I will take sannyasa and go to Jagannath Puri – and You will stay here in Navadvipa and worship My murti (divine, worshipful statue).” That murti is here in Navadvipa; it is known as Sona Gauranga.

Separation is such a wonderful thing. Both the devotee and the Supreme Lord taste the astonishing waves of meeting and separation.

Tomorrow is the Janma-utsava (Appearance Day Festival) of Shri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. To respect the Lord, the devotees observe a complete fast until abhiseka (the auspicious bathing ceremony of the Deity), which is at 6 p.m. After Mangala Arati tomorrow, the devotees will begin continuous reading of Shri Caitanya Bhagavata here.

Gaura-premanande! Haribol!


Rama Navami

46761704_278365232867262_1121898433161370195_n.jpgBangkok Thailand - April 11 2003
Tridandisvami Shri Shrimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja

Do you know the history of Ramayana? Maharaja Dasaratha had three hundred and sixty queens, but no sons. One day he went hunting, and in the evening he met a friend of his who was a king. The king had a very beautiful daughter named Kaikeyi, and he engaged her in serving Maharaja Dasaratha. Maharaja Dasaratha was very pleased with both her services and her beauty.

He requested his friend, the king, "Please give me your daughter in marriage." The king said, "My daughter is very precious to me. Only if you promise that the son born from her womb will become king after you, will I give her to you in marriage." Maharaja Dasaratha began to laugh and said, "I have so many queens, but no sons. Therefore, I would be very happy if the son born by her becomes the next king. The king arranged for their marriage and then they returned to Ayodhya.

Many years passed, and still no son was born from any queen. The sage Vasistha told Maharaja Dasaratha, "There is no son in your destiny.

However, if you will perform a sacrifice called putresthi-yajna, a son may come." A fire sacrifice for begetting a son was then performed by a very great sage named Srngi Rsi. Agnideva, the demigod of fire, soon appeared from that fire with some very delicious sweet rice in his hand. He told the king, "If you will give this to any of your principle queens, she will at once become pregnant and soon have a son." King Dasaratha became very happy; he gave half the sweet rice of Kausalya and half to Kaikeyi. The two queens saw that Sumitra had nothing, so they each divided their parts in half and gave that half to Sumitra. Kaikeyi, Kausalya and Sumitra thus gave birth to four beautiful sons - Rama, Laksmana, Bharata and Satrughna.

What is the deep meaning of this sacrifice, wherein the demigod of fire came and gave sweet rice to them? It means that when the Supreme Lord or His manifestations come down to Earth, they don't come through ordinary, mortal persons. Agnideva brought the power of Krishna in the form of Rama, Laksmana, Bharata and Satrughna via the sweet rice, and thus they descended. Rama appeared four-handed, not two-handed, holding a conch shell, disc, lotus and club, and everyone present began to pray to him at that time.

Later, when the boys became about five years of age, they were sent to the Gurukula of Vasistha Muni. After a few years in Gurukula they became very expert in all subjects, and then they returned home. After some time, a saint named Visvamitra Muni came to the palace and requested Maharaja Dasaratha, "Please give me Rama and Laksmana. I want to take them to my asrama, because there are many demons there disturbing me and the other sages in our performances of sacrifices for the world's welfare."

Maharaja Dasaratha replied, "They cannot go. I will go instead, with all my soldiers. Rama and Laksmana are just young boys. How can they guard your sacrifices?" Visvamitra replied, "You will not be able to help in the matter, but your sons, Rama and Laksmana, are qualified to guard and kill all the demons." Maharaja Dasaratha was still not ready to give them, but his guru, Vasistha Rsi, told him, "You should give your sons to Visvamitra at once. This is for the benefit of you, Rama and Laksmana. They are very fortunate to be with Visvamitra, and later on you will realize this.

Following the order of his guru, the king sent his two sons. Later, when the sage began his sacrifices, a lady demon along with her two sons, named Marichi and Bahu came and began creating great disturbances. Lord Rama took hold of his bow and arrow and shot them. The mother and one of her sons was killed, but the other son escaped and fled to the island of Lanka in the ocean. After killing several demons, Rama and Laksmana crossed the Ganges River with Visvamitra Rsi and went to Janakapura, the kingdom of King Janaka. King Janaka was a very learned and advanced spiritualist; He realized brahman, the impersonal aspect of God, and Krishna, the Supreme Lord Himself. He had a very beautiful daughter named Sita. He vowed and announced, "I will marry my daughter to anyone who can lift the bow of Lord Siva, which is in my possession, and shoot an arrow from that bow. Many princes and kings came from various parts of the world and tried to lift the bow - but they could not do so. It was so heavy that even thousands upon thousands of soldiers could not lift it. Even Ravana, the powerful king of Lanka, came and tried; and even demigods could not lift the bow. Visvamitra brought Rama and Laksmana to that place, and Rama very easily lifted the bow. He wanted to shoot an arrow from it, but it broke in pieces as he tried to do so.

Rama was now victorious, and he thus won the hand of Sita devi, the daughter of Janaka Maharaja. She put a garland on the neck of Rama, Rama also garlanded her, and their marriage was performed. Maharaja Dasaratha came from his kingdom in Ayodhya with his other sons to attend the function, and his three sons also got married there. After that, the newly married couples returned to Ayodhya and they all looked very beautiful.

Maharaja Dasaratha had long before given two boons to his wife, Kaikeyi, and she had said at that time that she would ask for them at a later date. By the will of god She now ordered, "My son Bharata should be king and Ramacandra should be sent to the forest in exile." Hearing this, Maharaja Dasaratha became very afflicted by the anticipated separation, and soon after Rama's departure from the palace he died.

Now in exile, Rama, Laksmana and Sita went to Citrakuta and other places. Satrughna and Bharata had not been present in Ayodhya at the time of the exile. They were at their maternal uncle's house. When they returned to Ayodhya and found out what had happened, they went to Citrakuta and Bharata told Rama, "You should return home. I will not be king. I am your younger brother." All the inhabitants of Ayodhya had also gone there to appeal to Rama to return, but he refused to return. He wanted to follow his father's orders. Bharata said, "Then please give me your sandals. They will act as your representative. You will be the king, and until your return I will be like a minister and manage everything for you."

Lord Ramacandra, Laksmana and Sita then traveled to Dandakaranya forest. Ravana later went there and kidnapped Sita devi. Rama became maddened in separation for her, calling out, "Where are you, where are you?" Ravana took her to Lanka, to a very secret place, and practically nobody knew where he had taken her.

Rama then made friendship with the monkeys headed by Sugriva. Sugriva assured him, "I will discover Sita devi's whereabouts." He sent his messenger, Hanuman, to find her. Hanuman went to Lanka by jumping over the ocean - about 100 miles. He discovered Sita and returned to Rama with the news. All the monkey soldiers then came to the ocean, but they did not know how to cross it. The presiding deity of the ocean told Rama, "In your army there are two monkeys, Nil and Nal, who know how to build bridges." These monkeys were very expert. They wrote the name Rama on the innumerable stones, mountains and trees and threw them in the ocean. A very long bridge was soon constructed without pillars - and that bridge can still be seen. It is still seen - about a million years later - though it is lying under the water. It has been discovered by American scientists. [An article about this has been written by Shripad Madhava Maharaja in a recent edition of "The Rays of the Harmonist" magazine.]

By the order of Rama the monkeys, led by Nal and Nil, made a bridge to Shri Lanka. They brought mountains and large stones. They wrote Rama's name on them, threw them in the water - and the stones floated. When half the bridge was completed Rama began to think, "What a powerful name this is! The monkeys are writing my name on the stones and throwing them in the water - and the stones are floating! I should also take a stone and throw it in the water, and I should see if it floats or sinks."

Hanuman began searching for Shri Rama, and finally he saw him from a distance and thought, "Rama is hiding in a grove." He went there and asked, "Why are you here?" Rama replied, "I took a stone and threw it in the ocean, but it sank. When the monkeys write "Rama, Rama" on the stones and throw them in the water they float. Why is that?" Hanuman said, "There is a secret. The monkeys utter your name and then the stones float, but whose name will you call?" What was used in the service of the Lord floated and what the Lord threw away became dead weight.

The holy name is more powerful then Lord Rama or Lord Krishna Himself. Chanting of the name will do everything. Nothing else can save you. If you want to be happy in your life, chant Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare. This is more powerful than Rama. Rama is very powerful, but these names are more powerful.

Lord Rama then crossed the ocean with his monkey army and killed all the demons under Ravana's leadership. He only spared Vibhisana, because Vibhisana was a devotee and favorable to Rama. Ravana and all his sons were killed. When Sita was presented to Rama, he said, "I will not take Sita with me. I am a ksatriya king. I did not come here to take Sita back. I came to destroy all of Lanka, because Ravana kidnapped her, but because she was in the house of Ravana I cannot accept her." He ordered Laksmana to build a fire in order to test her chastity. Sita prayed, "O Agnideva, O demigod of fire, I will enter the fire, and if I am pure I'll not be burned." She entered the fire and Agnideva came out with her and said, "She is pure." The air-god then appeared and said, "I am everywhere. I know Sita is pure." Rama took Sita and returned to Ayodhya with his new associates like Vibhisana and Hanuman. He was given the kingdom on that day, Rama Navami, which happened to be the day he was exiled and also happened to be the same day as his birth. The residents of Ayodhya performed an abhiseka ceremony to install him as king.

Sita had a desire to see the rsis and maharsis. In the meantime, some of the inhabitants of Ayodhya began to say that although she was not pure, Rama still took her back. They concluded, "This is a very bad thing." Rama then sent Sita into exile, although she was pregnant at that time. She went to the asrama of Valmiki, where she gave birth to two sons, named Lav and Kush. Her sons were very strong and powerful. Valmiki was very expert in archery, and under his tutelage the boys became even more expert than Shri Rama. Valmiki also trained them in singing the Ramayana, which he had written before the pastimes of Rama were manifest in this world.

In the meantime, Rama was very distressed in separation from Sita. He was always lamenting and there was no one to console him. Like Sita, he ate only fruits and did not sleep on a bed. Shri Rama told Visvamitra Muni, "I want to perform an asvamedha-yajna (horse-sacrifice). Visvamitra said, "You cannot do this because you have no wife. The wife must be present in order to perform this ceremony. You should bring Sita here." Rama said, "I cannot, but I still want to perform this sacrifice." Visvamitra said, "Then you should marry another lady." Rama replied, "I cannot do this - Sita will be my only queen." A golden statue of Sita was then made and installed, seated on Rama's left, and Rama began to perform the sacrifice. In the morning he arranged for the performance of the fire-sacrifice, and at midday there was hari-katha and recitation of scriptures like the Puranas.

In the meantime, Valmiki told Lav and Kush, "You should sing my Valmiki Ramayana there." The boys were about nine or ten years old, very beautiful and strong, and, as previously mentioned, expert at archery. It has been told that they defeated Hanuman and many other powerful personalities in archery; and even Rama once came and they defeated him. The boys knew that Rama was a king, and they knew that his wife was Sita, but they did not know that Sita was their mother. They only knew of their mother as "Vana-devi". When they arrived at the sacrifice they began to sing in such a sweet and melodious way that all present in the assembly were attracted. All began to weep by hearing that Ramayana. Rama told Laksmana to find out the name of their father, and to give them nice gifts of cloth and golden ornaments. Laksmana told them, "Maharaja Rama wants to know the name of your father and mother." Lav and Kush replied, "We cannot tell. You are supposed to be learned. You should know that brahmacaris do not tell the name of their mother and father; they should only tell the name of their guru. Valmiki is our guru." Laksmana became very ashamed and said, "I want to present you these gifts from Rama." They said, "What will we do with these? Please keep them. In the asrama we eat fruits and wear the bark of trees made into cloth. Return these and tell Rama we don't want them." This made Rama still more impressed.

Rama came to know that Sita was in the asrama of Valmiki and the boys were his sons. He called Valmiki and said, "It seems that they are my sons and that my wife, Sita, is there with you. Please bring her. I want to accept her again. The demigods confirmed it in Lanka and my father also confirmed it, but she will also personally have to produce some evidence that she is pure." Sita came the next day with her two sons. All were weeping and lamenting for Sita when they saw her, and they were discussing amongst themselves that Lav and Kush are the sons of Rama. They said, "The boys are just as beautiful as Rama. The only difference between them and their father is that they are younger."

Rama told Sita, "I know that you are pure; I realized it in Lanka. But I want you to give personal evidence that you are pure." Sita said, "Still, you want evidence? All right, I will quickly give you evidence." She prayed to Mother Earth, "I've come from your womb. Please open up and take me on your lap. If I have not touched anyone in this world by mind except for Rama, then come and take me." After she said this three times, the Earth at once divided, a beautiful golden throne came out, and upon that throne was Prthivi-devi, Mother Earth. She took Sita on her lap and they both went back into the ground. Weeping loudly, Rama called out, "O Sita, where are you? I cannot survive without you." He took out his bow and arrow and said to Mother Earth, "You are the mother of Sita and you are also my mother. But if you do not return me wife, I will shoot and destroy you." Valmiki told Rama, "I have written up to this point, and not after that. Sita has gone to your abode. Go there and see that she is waiting for you. This is only your pastime. The entire world will hear it, weep and remember it. Now the time has come. Please go at once, taking all those with whom you came. They went to the river bank, took bath, and all assumed four-armed Visnu forms. All the inhabitants went to Ayodhya with the four brothers, in the realm beyond this world.


Rama-navami in Mathura

Tridandiswami Shri Shrimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja
Mathura, India: April 12, 2000 (evening)

ramnaumiRama-katha is endless. Sankarsana (Lord Anantadeva) himself continuously sings the glories of Shri Rama, but even with unlimited mouths he is unable to touch the end in any way. We can just relish, and pray that these infinite pastimes may appear in our heart. Tulasi dasa has written Rama-caritra-manasa, which is based on Shri Valmiki's Ramayana. All the pastimes written by Tulasi dasa come from the Ramayana and other Puranas, but the principles of bhakti that he gave there have been taken from Shrimad-Bhagavatam. He presented important selected verses, especially from the eleventh canto, and translated them into Hindi poetry.

Some people consider Tulasi dasa to be a mayavadi, but this is not correct. If we study Rama-caritra-manasa carefully, we can see that Tulasi dasa has written down the same principles that are in Shrimad-Bhagavatam. God is personal, the living entities are His parts and parcels, and our eternal constitutional position is to serve Him with love and affection. Another important point is that Tulasi dasa could not have written Rama-caritra-manasa unless he truly saw all these pastimes of Rama. Just as Valmiki received the mercy of Narada Muni, similarly, when Tulasi dasa sat down in trance, all the pastimes came into his heart. He has certainly received the mercy of Vyasadeva. Only by Shri Vyasadeva's mercy could he have written these pastimes.

The main topic of this class is 'anyavilasita sunyam,' freedom from desires other than the desire to please Krishna. Bharata and Satrughna had gone to their maternal uncle's place, and upon returning to Ayodhya, they noticed that all was silent. Usually the city was cheerful and so many activities were joyfully taking place, but now it was like a lady whose husband is dead and who wears no decorations or ornaments. Seeing these and other inauspicious omens, Bharata and Satrughna became fearful. When they entered the royal palace and went to Kaikeyi's chamber, they were stunned to hear how Rama had gone to the forest for fourteen years and, because of that, their father had died of a broken heart. When Bharata heard this news and the reason for it, he became completely inimical towards his mother. From his heart he disconnected his relationship with her, and because of his pain and shock, he spoke harshly and abandoned her.

Bharata later assembled the citizens of Ayodhya, including Kausalya and Vasistha Rsi, and went to the forest to try to bring Lord Rama back. Because he was now the eldest member of the family, he was responsible for making the decision as to what to do. Maharaja Janaka would be holding a sabha, an assembly meeting, on the next day. To prepare for this, Bharata first went to Mother Kausalya and requested her, "O mother, Rama loves you and always obeys your orders. You miss Him so much, and we all want him back. Please ask him to return and happily rule here in Ayodhya." When Kausalya heard these words she said gravely, "Yes, you are right. I also want this, but I cannot do what you ask. Your suggestion is not against dharma, but now you should look at Rama's position. According to religious principles, He is also trying to execute the order of your father. From your respective positions you are both trying to act righteously. I'm sorry, but I know He will never change His decision, so I cannot do anything."

Disappointed, Bharata now went to his Gurudeva, Vasistha Muni, and made the same request. He said, "If you order Rama, He will come back and you will be the cause of everyone's happiness." Vasistha Muni's answer was similar to that of Kausalya, but he presented an alternative. He said, "Instead of Rama, if you yourself agree to go to the forest, perhaps I can make him return to Ayodhya. Someone must go, so you can do it." Bharata very enthusiastically agreed, but when Vasistha presented the proposal to Rama, he could not change His decision. Again, Bharata was disappointed.

Bharata thought his only remaining shelter was Sunaina devi, the wife of Maharaja Janaka. He visited her on the evening before the sabha, and very politely pleaded at her feet, "Mother, are you not worrying about your daughter? She is so gentle and tender, and She is going to the forest for fourteen years where she must perform severe austerities. I know your heart is so soft and you cannot bear this pain. You must do something to help them." Sunaina replied, "What you are saying is what I also want. But my husband is very strict and he will never change his mind nor hear my words. He will consider both sides as per the principles of religion, and then he will give his decision. He is a liberated soul, and nobody can influence him." Because Janaka Maharaja was a jnani-bhakti, a devotee with some aisvarya, he knew well that there would never be a problem for Rama – anywhere He would be. Bharata was again disappointed, but there was nothing he could do.

The next morning Guru Vasistha convened the assembly. On one side Lord Rama was sitting with Sita devi, on the other side Bharata was sitting with all the citizens of Ayodhya, and Maharaja Janaka was on the asana in the middle, to hear the case and give the decision. The evening before, all had agreed to abide by the order of Maharaja Janaka because he knew religion and was impartial.

He first inquired from Bharata, "What is your proposal? Please speak." With folded hands, Bharata said, "All I want is that Lord Rama shall come back to the kingdom. His father has given his order, but under unfortunate circumstances. Maharani Kaikeyi also became influenced, and she participated in this decision. This should not be considered as the ultimate decision, because now we can see that there is no real purpose for them to go to the forest. I am not going to accept the position of the king. By all evidence it belongs to Rama. This is what all the citizens want, and I also want it. It will be a great injustice if we send Him to the forest and don't give Him this position."

Maharaja Janaka was silent. He then turned to Lord Rama and asked Him to speak. Rama then said, "Yes, you have heard what Bharata said. My father agreed with the order to send Me to the forest and to give the position of king to Bharata. Mother Kaikeyi jointly participated, and my father kept silent. 'Maunam sammithi laksanam. Silence is the symptom of agreement or consent.' Now Kaikeyi wants to retract her statement, but that cannot be accepted. Why? Because my father is here no more. If he would be here and just remain silent, then I could agree. But that is not the situation. That is what I have to say."

Maharaja Janaka closed his eyes and went into silent meditation upon his Gurudeva, Lord Sankara. After coming out of his meditation he very gravely began to speak, "Yes, what Bharata has said is true and is according to religious principles. He is speaking with a pure feeling of love. His prema for Rama is very deep, like an ocean, and Rama's maryada, His adherence to dharma and strictness in following the principles of religion, is like a mountain. Bharata's ocean of love is so deep that the mountain will sink into that ocean. Bharata has won, and whatever is his decision shall be done." When everyone heard that Rama would now come back, they all began jumping in ecstacy, and Bharata was also so happy.

However, Maharaja Janaka had something else to say. All could see that he was still very grave, and they waited to see what would come from his mouth. He then said, "Though the ocean of Bharata's love is so deep that Rama's mountain of maryada has sunk into it, at the same time this mountain is so strong that it will not deviate even an inch, even if it is drowned in water. It will stay in its position. Rama may be overcome by the love of Bharata, but He will not move."

Then he looked to everyone and said, "Now Bharata should consider this point. It is true that his love has won, and there is no comparison to his love, but he should know the principle of love. The current of love does not consider any obstacles on the way. It crosses all the general rules and regulations, and there is no principle of religion which controls it. It has its own law and tradition.

"The heart and theme of love is that one who loves will always be very careful about the desires of his lover. He will not impose his desires upon his lover, but will instead minutely observe what his worshipful deity wants. That is what must be seen and understood. So my question to Bharata is this: Did you try to understand what Rama wants, or did you become overwhelmed with your own desires? Did you think, 'If I am unsuccessful in bringing Rama back, then all the citizens will criticize me. Perhaps for my own reputation I may be doing this.' To be only thinking of what is pleasing to Rama is the principle of real love."

When everyone heard this, especially Bharata, it was as if the earth had slipped from under their feet. For some moments Bharata's breathing stopped, and it was as though he was deaf and dumb. Maharaja Janaka continued, "Now you must decide what to do. Your case is strong and you have won; you must tell Rama what you want Him to do."

Bharata had now gotten the biggest shock of his life. His whole nervous system had broken due to this lesson about love, and his heart and thinking were completely changed. When he approached Rama, who understood the mood and gravity of his feelings, Rama said, "Yes, you have won. You want me to rule the kingdom, so I accept your request. I will now act as the King of Ayodhya. Since I am the king, you must now follow my directions. What should you do? You should let me go to the forest and fulfill the orders of our father. On my behalf, while I am in the forest, you should become My representative and do the needful duties for the kingdom."

Bharata accepted this, and we cannot understand what kind of happiness he was feeling. So many opposite sentiments were coming in his heart and jumping, but he accepted Rama's order because now he understood the meaning of love. Even if one has to drink poison to please his lover, he should do this. This is the evidence of pure love. Similarly, when Kaikeyi was requested by Rama as a child to later banish him and give the kingdom to Bharata, her heart was broken and she cried out, "No, Rama. I cannot do that." Why not? She loves Rama more than Bharata. How could she do that? But Rama compelled her; He forced her, saying, "You must drink this poison, mother, because it is for the welfare of the whole world. This is My purpose for coming here, so you must do this."

Bharata thus took Rama's crown, His wooden sandals, and His rajai. Rajai is a Hindi word. Most people, those who are not dedicated to the personal form of Lord Rama, think that rajai means only 'quilt.' They say, "Just see how Bharata is so cruel. Rama had to go to the forest, and Bharata even took his sandals and his quilt." But here rajai here does not mean quilt. It comes from the word raji, meaning 'to agree.' Bharata took the orders of Rama, to act as His representative and manage the kingdom in His absence.

Here is a very important lesson for all who are practicing bhakti. We hear the sloka beginning "anyavilasita sunyam," and we can very critically look into our hearts and consider, "What am I doing? Am I trying to serve Krishna in the way my mind likes to serve Him?? It is a subtle difference, because the mind is very tricky. If we fail to distinguish between these feelings, then anyavilasa, material desires, will cover our bhakti and there will be no way we can advance. Today, about ninety-nine percent of the devotees are like this. Some do it willfully, and some fail to distinguish the difference. If Gurudeva asks them to do something which is not pleasing to their own mind, they get angry or annoyed with him. That is prevailing in the majority of cases. We have to very carefully observe this and try to kick out this anyavilasa.

Bhakti is not so cheap. We are trying to attain that love which controls both Shrimati Radhika and Krishna, but we must understand what price we have to pay for this. We have to give up everything we consider to belong to us. We do not have any separate existence of our own. The feeling of unconditional, unalloyed surrender is so deep that we become one with the mood of Gurudeva. Then, within our hearts, all aspirations are no longer our aspirations. They are Gurudeva's aspirations, or those of Hari, Guru, and Vaisnava. This is the state we want to achieve, and unless we attain it, there is no way to advance in bhakti.

Whatever position we want to achieve in eternal Vraja, we have to start practicing here with Gurudeva. We have to apply this verse, anyavilasita-sunyam. Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura has written: "I have happily mixed all my desires in Your desires. My desires follow Your desires. There is no difference. They do not go even to a small degree in a different direction. They are completely in line with Your desires." This is what we want.

Maharaja Bharata then returned to Ayodhya with all his citizens, and he brought the sandals of Lord Rama. There was so much pain and grief on his return that he did not enter the kingdom. He acted like a representative and stayed in a village near the city, called Nandigrama. There he made a small hut, like Rama's hut in the forest, and took the dress of a renunciate, like Rama. He did not cut his hair, and he lived only on fruits or whatever was available in the forest. He placed those wooden sandals on an altar and began worshipping them, just as if he was worshipping Rama. He performed arati, offering food, and made all the decisions based on consultation with those wooden sandals. All his ministers also came there to discuss the ruling of the kingdom.

Once Mother Kaikeyi approached him. Now she suffered still more, because she was feeling the separation of two sons. If Bharata was there with her, there would be some consolation, but she had lost two. No one can understand her feeling of misfortune. She arrived in a palanquin and called the guards who were there, because Bharata rarely came out. He was always absorbed in separation of Rama. When he was informed that Mother Kaikeyi had come, he said, "All right, please call Queen Kaikeyi inside." He never called her 'mother.' He only considered her as Raja Mata, not as his mother. When she came before him she began crying in great pain and sorrow, "Please forgive me. I have really committed such a big mistake. My intelligence was covered with ignorance. I failed to use my intelligence. Please come back to Ayodhya and stay there with me." Bharata said, "O Queen Kaikeyi. This is what you deserve. You should taste this more and more. This is the price you must pay."

She said, "Bharata, you don't know my position. I have to stay in this palace, and this palace is biting me like scorpions. It is so painful; I cannot tolerate it any more." Bharata was so strong and dedicated to dharma that he would not agree. Then she said, "At least, please address me as mother. That will give me some solace." Bharata replied, "I cannot utter that word for you any more.  It is not possible." 

'Jinike priye na rama videhi.' This verse from Rama-caritra-manasa is a translation from a verse in the Bhagavatam, which means that one should abandon that wife who is not favorable to bhakti, one should abandon that husband who is acting as an obstruction on the path of devotion, one should abandon that father, that son, that brother and so on. Any relationship that obstructs bhakti should be given up. Vibhisana gave up his brother Ravana, because he had no love for Rama, Prahlada gave up his father Hiranyakasipu, and Bali Maharaja gave up his guru. 

Mirabhai wrote a letter to Tulasi dasa about her circumstances regarding her performance of devotional activities for Krishna. Her family, and especially her husband, the Rana of Mewar, were unfavorable. He would always suspect that she had some illicit connection with a man, but she was absorbed in the love of Giridhari. She wrote, "I cannot tolerate it any more. They are torturing me. They have given me poison, they have tried to have me bitten by a snake, and they insult me. Please guide me." Tulasi dasa wrote this verse to her, and though he did not instruct her specifically, she understood his message. 

One day she was deeply absorbed, dancing and singing in kirtana behind closed doors, with Giridhari there. The King heard her singing in great jubilation, and he also heard someone playing a flute. With great anger, his sword in hand, he tried to enter the room, but she did not hear him. Krishna was playing the flute, so how was it possible for her to have any external consciousness? When the king entered,he saw that no one else was there with her, and Mirabai had fainted. He looked everywhere for the man who was playing the flute. Somehow or other he revived Mirabai, and he asked her with harsh words, "Where is that man you have hidden here?" Mirabai said, "You cannot see Him? He is standing right there." "I cannot see him," he said. Then Mirabai mercifully placed her hand on his eyes and,by the touch of her fingers, the Rana was able to see the three-fold bending form of Krishna playing the flute. Now taking darsana, he was humbled, and he also fainted. In the meantime, Krishna disappeared, and when the Rana returned to consciousness, he so much repented. Lamenting, he fell at the feet of Mirabai and again and again begged for forgiveness. He said, "I was so offensive and foolish." 

Because she had suffered so much, she had no reaction to his words. She had made up her mind that she must go to Vrndavana. She explained that what had happened had happened, and nothing could stop her now. Chanting, "Giridhari Gopal," she left for Vrndavana. There she met Shrila Jiva Gosvami and he took gopal-mantra from him. Was she a real disciple of Jiva Gosvami? No, she was a half disciple, because she ended up in Dvaraka. She said, "I only see Krishna. I don't see anyone else." Her vision was not so broad that she could see the gopis. She failed to accept the guidance of the gopis, and for that reason she could not get any position in Vraja. She went to Dvaraka, and there she entered into the Deity of Dvarakadisa and never came out. 

This is a very important point for those who want the service of the Divine Couple in Vraja, but who think they can achieve it by following all the principles of vaidhi-bhakti.They are meditating on Dvaraka-lila, and yet they want the service of Radha-Krishna in Vraja. Because they have such meditation, they will not get a position in Vraja.

If a husband is somewhat following bhakti, he will be very happy if someone else's wife takes to spiritual life and, becoming completely surrendered, gives up her home. However, if it comes to his wife, he cannot tolerate it. And it is the same with a wife. If someone else's husband becomes so absorbed that he gives up family life, she says, "Oh, this is good. You are so fortunate. You have become a pure devotee and your whole family will be delivered." But when it comes to her own husband, it cannot be tolerated. And it is the same with a son and father. This consideration is very bad and should not be done. No one is going to stay here in this body. We should try to use our power of discrimination to understand the purpose of life.

[For more information about Rama, Laksmana, Bharata, and Satrughna, see Shrimad-Bhagavatam 9.10].


The Appearance Day of Shrivasa Pandit

Tridandisvami Shri Shrimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja

[Respected Harikatha Readers,

Please accept our humble obeisances. All glories to Shri Guru and Gauranga.

This year, 2019 the divine appearance day of Shrivasa Thakura, the intimate associate of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and one of the five glorious members of Shri Panca Tattva, is on March 28th (in India). We pray that you accept our offering to you in honor of this auspicious day – a few excerpts of lectures that our Shrila Gurudeva, Shrila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja, gave throughout the years, in which he glorified this great personality.

Your aspiring servants, The Harikatha team]


Hilo, Hawaii, on January 21, 2004

Shri Vyasa-puja is observed for the purpose of pleasing Krishna, and it has been celebrated since the very beginning of our parampara. Shri Sukadeva Gosvami first performed Vyasa-puja to his Gurudeva, Shrila Vyasadeva himself. Then, Shrila Suta Gosvami performed Guru-puja to his Gurudeva, Shri Sukadeva Gosvami. Just before replying the questions of the sages at Naimasaranya he prayed:

yam pravrajantam anupetam apeta-krtyam
dvaipayano viraha-katara ajuhava
putreti tan-mayataya taravo bhinedus
tam sarva-bhuta-hrdayam munim anato 'smi
(Shrimad-Bhagavatan 1.2.2)

["I offer pranama to Shri Sukadeva Gosvami, who can enter the hearts of all living beings. When he left home without undergoing the purificatory processes such as accepting the sacred thread, his father Shri Vyasadeva cried out, 'O my son!' As if they were absorbed in that same feeling of separation, only the trees echoed in response to his call."]

Shrila Sukadeva Gosvami prayed, "O Shri Vyasadeva, my father and Gurudeva, how marvelous you are! And how merciful! You are causelessly merciful! You dragged me from the forest and from Mayavada philosophy to your lotus feet, and you taught me Shrimad-Bhagavatam. By your mercy I was totally changed." This is the duty of a guru.

The bona fide guru does not consider that his disciples are his property. He does not think, "They are my property." Nowadays I see this going on. So-called gurus think that their disciples are their property; so they accept all their offerings and fall down. A real guru never thinks like that.

At the time of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu there was a meeting in the evening after nagara-sankirtana in the house of Shrivasa Pandit. In the meeting Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu announced, "Tomorrow is Vyasa-puja. Shrivasa, we will observe Vyasa-puja here in your courtyard. Do you have the paraphernalia?"

Shrivasa Thakura replied, "Oh, yes. I have sacred thread, betel nut, rice and all other required ingredients and paraphernalia." Mahaprabhu ordered, "We should be ready at nine in the morning."

All others came on time the next day, but Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu Himself arrived somewhat late, and saw that all were waiting for Him. He asked, "Why are you waiting? Nityananda Prabhu is My guru – My guru-varga (senior). It seems that he is My elder brother, but I see him in relation to his Gurudeva, who is My param-gurudeva (grand spiritual master). Nityananda is My Gurudeva's guru and is still greater; so He will perform Vyasa Puja." [Nityananda Prabhu had taken diksa from Laksmipati Tirtha, the guru of Shri Madhavendra Puri, who was in turn the parama-guru of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Nityananda Prabhu was actually Shri Madhavendra Puri's god-brother, but He accepted him as His siksa-guru.]

Before Mahaprabhu's arrival, Shrivasa Thakura, Shri Advaita Acarya, and all others had requested Shri Nityananda Prabhu to perform Vyasa-puja. They had told Him, "Please begin." Nityananda Prabhu replied, "Yes, yes, I am just about to do it. I will do it right now." But He was not doing it. He simply remained in his seat. Then, when Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu came He at once ordered Nityananda Prabhu, "Why are You delaying? You should begin Vyasa-puja."

Nityananda Prabhu then took a very beautiful, fragrant garland and placed it around the neck of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, saying, "You are the same as Lord Krishna," and then He began to perform the arati and worship of Mahaprabhu.

Shriman Mahaprabhu became ashamed, thinking, "Why is He doing this?" Nityananda Prabhu, who is Baladeva Prabhu Himself, possesses full knowledge of all tattva (established truths). In fact, His lotus feet stand on the head of all tattvas. He replied, "What I am doing is correct. We should try to please the worshipable Deity of Shrila Vyasadeva – Rasamayi Shri Krishna, who is akhila-rasamitra-sindhu (an ocean of the nectar of pure transcendental mellows). This is Vyasa-puja."


New Braja, Badger, CA: June 1, 2002

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 our previous activities. If something comes, that is okay, and if something that you have collected is lost, still you should not 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. Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura quotes in his Bhajana Rahasya:

alabdhe va vinaste va
aviklava-matir bhutva
harim eva dhiya smaret

["The mind of one who has taken shelter of the holy name is undisturbed even if food and clothes are not easily obtained or if they are obtained but then lost. Leaving behind all material attachments, he takes complete shelter of Govinda." (Padma Purana)]

Chant Hare Krishna without any worry.

Remember Shrivasa Pandit and his four brothers. They chanted throughout the night, "Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare" and "Hari haraya nama krsna yadavaya namah." There was nothing to eat in Shrivasa Pandit's house, and Mahaprabhu told him, "You chant Hare Krishna 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."

Shrivasa Pandit 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?" Shrivasa Pandit 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 Krishna' and jump." Mahaprabhu then told all the devotees that those who have sincerely taken shelter 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 their 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 Shrivasa Thakura. You said he was not even concerned when his little son died during the kirtana. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu told him 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 Shrivasa Thakura.

Shrila Gurudeva: Krishna had called him to participate in the pastimes He was performing in prakata Vraja in one of the universes. He was playing with Krishna 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 Shri Rupa Manjari. Why would he want to return? His new situation was the fruit of his serving Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.

sokamarsadibhir bhavair
akrantam yasya manasam
katham tasya mukundasya
sphurttih sambhavana bhavet

["Within the heart of one who is full of anger or pride, or lamentation about the state of his wife or sons, there is no possibility of Krishna being manifest." (Padma Purana)]

What is the meaning?

Shripad Madhava Maharaja: This sloka concerns one whose heart is afflicted by lamentation and anger. Amarsa means anger and soka means sadness. If you loose material things, you become very sad. If you are always absorbed in these two things, then Mukunda, meaning Bhagavan Krishna, will not manifest in your heart.

Shrila Gurudeva: If your mind is disturbed, if your heart is disturbed and thus contaminated by these two things, Krishna will not manifest there. Therefore, try to keep your heart very pure in all circumstances. If you lose anything in this world, what harm is there? Shri Rupa Gosvami and Shri Sanatana Gosvami were highly posted officials in the government, but they left their positions. Why? We want to engage all our property in Krishna's service, but they left their property. So, if your property is later stolen or lost, why lament? Don't lament. Otherwise, your heart will be impure and you will not be able to remember Krishna.

yavata syat sva-nirvahah
svikuryat tavad arthavit
adhikye nyunatayanca
cyavate paramarthatah

["If the devotee accepts those things necessary for the maintenance of his life, it does not mean he is a sense enjoyer. The devotee neither accepts too much nor too little, for that hampers his progress towards his goal." (Naradiya Purana)]

For whom has this sloka been told? It has not been told for the kanistha-adhikari. The kanistha-adhikari should engage his money and everything else for Krishna; but this sloka is for those who have ruci. It is for those like Shrivasa Pandit. They think, "Whatever comes is okay." They chant the holy name and remain undisturbed, and even if death comes they are not disturbed. Rather, they think, "Many diseases may come, or a relative may die; no harm." They are always satisfied and they are always chanting.

bhaktih paresanubhavo viraktir
anyatra caisa trika eka-kalah
prapadyamanasya yathasnatah syus
tustih pustih ksud-apayo 'nu-ghasam

["Devotions, direct experience of the Supreme Lord, and detachment from other things – these three occur simultaneously for one who has taken shelter of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, in the same way as pleasure, nourishment, and relief from hunger come simultaneously and increasingly, with each bite for a person engaged in eating." (Shrimad-Bhagavatam, 11.2.42)]

If you are chanting and remembering but if there is no vairagya (renunciation), it means there is some 'leakage' in your bhakti. If you are chanting and remembering, but you are not satisfied and you are always hankering for worldly things, there is some leakage. Try to repair that leak. Otherwise, it will be as though you are pouring water in a pot, but all the water is pouring out through the many holes in that pot. Anarthas and offences are like holes. You should try to repair the problem. Otherwise, if you do not do so, you will not be able to do bhajana.


[Excerpts from Origin of Ratha-yatra]

While Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was tasting all this katha , He said, "I have never heard anything like this before – that Laksmi has come with her whole party as a commander-in-chief, as if to attack." Laksmi began to beat Krishna's chariot, and Shrivasa Pandit began clapping. He was very happy that the associates of Laksmi were chastising the associates of Vrndavana, imprisoning them, "beating" them, taking a fine from them, taking their garlands and ornaments, and punishing them.

srivasa hasiya kahe, – suna, damodara
amara laksmira dekha sampatti vistara
Shri Chaitanya-caritamrta Madhya-lila 14.203

["At this time, Shrivasa Thakura smiled and told Svarupa Damodara, "My dear sir, please hear! Just see how opulent my goddess of fortune is!"]

vrndavanera sampad dekha, – puspa-kisalaya
Shri Chaitanya-caritamrta Madhya-lila 14.204

["As far as Vrndavana's opulence is concerned, it consists of a few flowers and twigs, some minerals from the hills, a few peacock feathers, and the plant known as gunja."]

Shrivasa Pandit smiled and said, "There are no golden crowns in Vrndavana. There are only flutes made of dry bamboo, and some peacock feathers, and Krishna only wears a pitambara and flower garlands. There is nothing of any value there."

eta sampatti chadi' kene gela vrndavana
tanre hasya karite laksmi karila sajana
Shri Chaitanya-caritamrta (Madhya-lila 14.206)

Laksmi wondered, "Why did Lord Jagannatha give up so much opulence and go to Vrndavana?" To make Him a laughing-stock, the goddess of fortune made arrangements for much decoration. People in the mood of opulence may think like this. They are all on the side of Laksmi-devi. Svarupa Damodara, however, being Lalita in krsna-lila, is of her mood and therefore a pure Vrajavasi.

tomara thakura, dekha eta sampatti chadi'
patra-phala-phula-lobhe gela puspa-badi
Shri Chaitanya-caritamrta (Madhya-lila 14.207)

["Then the maidservants of the goddess of fortune said to the servants of Lord Jagannatha: 'Why did your Lord Jagannatha abandon the great opulence of the goddess of fortune and, for the sake of a few leaves, fruits, and flowers, go see the flower garden of Shrimati Radharani?"]

... ["Your master is so expert at everything. Why does He do such things? Please bring your master before the goddess of fortune." In this way, all the maidservants of the goddess of fortune arrested the servants of Jagannatha, bound them around the waist, and brought them before the goddess of fortune. When all the maidservants brought Lord Jagannatha's servants before the lotus feet of the goddess of fortune, the Lord's servants were fined and forced to submit. All the maidservants began to beat the ratha with sticks, and they treated the servants of Lord Jagannatha almost like thieves. (Shri Chaitanya-caritamrta (Madhya-lila 14.208–11))"]

Here, Jagannatha's servants were the associates of Mahaprabhu, and those who were with Laksmi-devi were also the servants of Jagannatha.

saba bhrtya-gana kahe – yoda kari' hata
'kali ani diba tomara age jagannatha'
Shri Chaitanya-caritamrta (Madhya-lila 14.212)

["Finally all of Lord Jagannatha's servants submitted to the goddess of fortune with folded hands, assuring her that they would bring Lord Jagannatha before her the very next day."]

Jagannatha's servants made this promise, and then Laksmi fined and punished them and returned to her abode. Now Shrivasa Pandit asked Svarupa Damodara the following question: "Do you know that all the gopas and gopis in Vrndavana are very poor? They have no golden ornaments. They only milk cows and make butter, ghee, and similar things, and then they use it all themselves. Vrndavana is not like Mathura and Dvaraka; there are no palaces there, and the residents have only carts and kunjas. All the garlands there are made of flowers, whereas the garlands in Dvaraka are made of pearls, diamonds, and other jewels. So why does Krishna go to Vrndavana?"

Krishna goes to Vrndavana because the natural love and affection there is not found in Dvaraka, or anywhere else. In Dvaraka, love and affection is controlled by rules and regulations, just as the Vedas control by rules and regulations. In Vrndavana there is no control, for the gopis serve Krishna by their parakiya mood. This is possible only in Vrndavana, not in Mathura and Dvaraka.

svarupa kahe, – Shrivasa, suna savadhane
vrndavana-sampad tomara nahi pade mane?
Shri Chaitanya-caritamrta (Madhya-lila 14.218)

Svarupa Damodara then retorted, "My dear Shrivasa, please hear me with attention. You have forgotten the transcendental opulence of Vrndavana."

vrndavane sahajika ye sampat-sindhu
dvaraka-vaikuntha-sampat – tara eka bindu
Shri Chaitanya-caritamrta (Madhya-lila 14.219)

["The natural opulence of Vrndavana is just like an ocean. The opulence of Dvaraka and Vaikuntha is not even to be compared to a drop."]

One flower of Vrndavana can give millions of diamonds and other opulences, though Krishna's associates do not want that. They only make garlands for decoration, and their ankle bells are made of desire stones (cintamani) although they have no need of them. They only use them when they are dancing.

Suppose you are very wealthy and have many millions of dollars, but you are not getting any love and affection; and suppose that somewhere else there is no wealth, but there is love and affection. Where would you prefer to be? As long as there is love and affection, there is no loss in being poor. Similarly, there is no deficiency in Vrndavana because there is only love and affection. Vrndavana is the place of the most elevated love and affection.

Krishna is the Supreme Personality, and therefore He wants to taste supreme love and affection. He is not satisfied with any second-class love. Svarupa Damodara was explaining this, and Mahaprabhu responded, "More, more! I want to hear more!" The topics presented at the Hera-pancami Festival are all very secret topics from Ujjvala-nilamani. Mahaprabhu questioned, and Svarupa Damodara replied with many slokas regarding all the moods of madhya, pragalbha, dhira, adhira, mugdha, and so on. Try to be at least in madhyama-adhikara, and then try to understand all these topics. This is the aim and object of everyone in Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's line.

Why Krishna did not take Laksmi

For advanced devotees, who are conversant with the truths concerning this lila, the Hera-pancami Festival is superior even to that of Jagannatha's riding to Sundaracala. Such devotees know why Chaitanya Mahaprabhu descended to this world. If you are not reading and hearing the Tenth Canto of Shrimad- Bhagavatam, you can never know why He came, and you will be cheated. Try to hear Shrimad-Bhagavatam from elevated Vaisnavas, and do not listen to those who say, "Oh, we should not read the Tenth Canto of Shrimad-Bhagavatam."

Actually, there are three reasons one may say this. The first is that one has no knowledge, and the second is that one is following the order of the good devotees who know everything. These devotees are actually telling us, "You should begin from the First Canto, proceed to the Ninth Canto, and then you can finally come to the Tenth Canto." The third reason is to create an interest. For example, one may close his fist and ask, "What is in my hand? Can you tell what is in my hand?" If someone else hears this, he may become curious to know. Similarly, if anyone says, "Don't read the Tenth Canto of Shrimad-Bhagavatam," an aspiring devotee will automatically become curious and ask, "What is there? I should know."

In my village there was a devotee who used to bathe in the Ganga every day. If anyone said to him, "Rama! Rama!" he would appear very furious and hold his stick up as though he wanted to beat that person. The boys of all the nearby villages used to come to him and say, "Rama! Rama!" and he used to run after them. Why did he do this? It was just to enthuse them to say, "Rama! Rama!" It was like a game. Similarly, if anyone tells you not to read Shrimad-Bhagavatam, you should be curious to know, "What is inside? There must be some jewel there."

If you do not read and hear the Tenth Canto, you will never be able to decide the aim and object of your life and devotion. For example, if you hear about Mother Yasoda, a greed for motherly love may arise. You may begin to think about how she loves Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and how she bound Him with her love and affection. A greed for friendship may arise when you hear that the cowherd boys sometimes play with Krishna, and when you hear that Krishna is their life and soul, and that they cannot remain alive unless they are playing with Krishna; they will die. If Krishna hides behind a tree for a moment, all the cowherd boys wonder anxiously, "Where is Krishna? Where is Krishna?" And, if you hear the most elevated topic in Shrimad- Bhagavatam, the service of the gopis to Krishna – and especially what is told in Gopi-gita, Venu-gita, Bhramara-gita, and other such chapters – you may develop a greed for this service. This is the aim and objective of the most exalted and pure devotees, and it is not possible to develop greed without reading and knowing Shrimad-Bhagavatam.

The first nine cantos create a platform for the Tenth Canto by removing all your unwanted desires, offenses, and worldly requirements and attachments. After that you should read the Tenth Canto, then you should decide how to attain the goal of life, and then you should read the Eleventh Canto.

An even easier process is to follow the essence of Shrimad- Bhagavatam, and that essence is Shri Chaitanya-caritamrta. You will have to read Chaitanya-caritamrta and the books of Rupa Gosvami, Sanatana Gosvami, Jiva Gosvami, Raghunatha dasa Gosvami, Krishnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami, Narottama dasa Thakura, Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura, and Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura. In particular, Narottama dasa Thakura and Bhaktivinoda Thakura have explained the essence of Chaitanya-caritamrta in language that can be understood easily. If you want to be pure and high-class devotees, you must know all the truths presented in their literature.

...Now we are coming again to our subject: Hera-pancami. Jagannatha was not alone when He departed on His chariot. He was with Subhadra and Baladeva. But why did Laksmi become furious? Jagannatha had become indifferent to her and meeting with others. She felt neglected and became angry over this.

You should know the significance of these three places: Jagannatha Puri, Vrndavana, and Kuruksetra. First you should know the significance of Jagannatha Puri. Krishna is the son of Vasudeva and Devaki there. He never has a flute in His hand, He does not wear a peacock feather, and He cannot address Nanda Baba as "Father" or Yasoda-maiya as "Mother." He will have to forget the gopis while He is there. He can think about them in His heart, but He will not tell any of His queens, like Satyabhama, Rukmini, and others, "I love the gopis more than you." He can never say this.

Jagannatha Puri is Dvaraka. All the Yadavas are there, and Krishna sports with all His queens there. Do you know Vimala-devi in the Jagannatha Temple? Rukmini is like Vimala-devi. Laksmidevi is also there, and she represents all the queens, especially Rukmini and Satyabhama. There are no gopis in the Jagannatha Temple or Jagannatha Puri. They can never be there, and that is why it is Dvaraka Puri.

What is Kuruksetra? Krishna has come from Dvaraka to Kuruksetra, and therefore it is part of His dvaraka-lila. There is a speciality there, though, in that Nanda Baba, Yasoda-maiya, all the gopis like Radha, Lalita, Visakha, and most of the other Vrajavasis went there to meet with Krishna. Still, there is immense opulence there, whereas in Vrndavana the gopis freely play with Krishna.

Laksmi-devi thinks, "There is so much opulence here. Why should Dvarakadhisa-Krishna go to any impoverished place?" Krishna never told her, "I am going to Vrndavana." He cheated Her by saying, "I have caught a cold. Now I want to go somewhere to get some fresh air. I want to go to a forest, to get a breath of fresh air and feel rejuvenated." He played a trick so that Laksmi would not think He was going to run off to Vrndavana. To cheat Her, He took along His brother Baladeva Prabhu and His sister Subhadra. He was thinking, "Yasoda-maiya knows them, and Rohini also knows them. I will leave them with Yasoda-maiya and then I will stealthily go to Radha-kunda, Syama-kunda, and Giriraja-Govardhana, where all the beautiful kunjas are situated. I will play with all the gopis there. Baladeva Prabhu and Subhadra will take their meals with Mother Yasoda and be very happy there, and I will go and play. No one will know." He did not tell anyone where He was going, and He ran at once to Vrndavana – Sundaracala. Mahaprabhu's mood has revealed that the Gundica Mandira in Sundaracala is Vrndavana. Before Mahaprabhu, no one knew all these high truths, but now everyone can know.

krsno 'nyo yadu-sambhuto
yah purnah so 'sty atah parah
vrndavanam parityajya
sa kvacin naiva gacchati
Shri Chaitanya-caritamrta (Antya-lila 1.67)

["The Krishna known as Yadu-kumara is Vasudeva-Krishna. He is different from the Krishna who is the son of Nanda Maharaja. Yadukumara Krishna manifests His pastimes in the cities of Mathura and Dvaraka, but Krishna the son of Nanda Maharaja never at any time leaves Vrndavana."]

vrndavanam parityajya padam ekam na gacchati
["Krishna never goes even a step from Vrndavana."]

It is because of Radhika that Krishna never leaves Vrndavana. He stays there only for Her, and both of Them do not go anywhere else. Then who went to Kuruksetra? Radhika will never go there. It was Samyogini-Radhika, who is Vrsabhanu-nandini Radhika's manifestation, and not directly Radhika Herself, who went to Kuruksetra. Vrsabhanu-nandini Radhika will always remain at Radha-kunda and Syama-kunda in Vrndavana. If Radha and Krishna are always together in Vrndavana, why does Radhika feel so much separation from Krishna, and why does She always weep for Him? Sometimes She becomes so absorbed in love and affection in separation from Krishna that even when She sees a tamala tree, She thinks, "O Krishna! O Krishna! Oh, now You are here." She quarrels with "Him," becomes angry with Him, and sometimes She embraces that tamala tree as if it were Him. How can there be a separation mood there in Vrndavana?

There is no actual separation in Vrndavana, but there is some separation mood. In Vrndavana there is the rasa-lila, and Prema-sarovara as well, and Radha and Krishna feel great ecstasy in meeting there. Who experiences the separation mood in Nandagaon? Who met with Uddhava? To whom did Uddhava offer his prayers?

vande nanda-vraja-strinam
pada-renum abhiksnasah
yasam hari-kathodgitam
punati bhuvana-trayam
Shrimad-Bhagavatam (10.47.63)

["Uddhava prayed: 'I forever pray to the dust of the lotus feet of the gopis in Nandagaon. The hari-katha emanating from their lotus mouths in their separation mood purifies the entire universe.'"]

asam aho carana-renu-jusam aham syam
vrndavane kim api gulma-latausadhinam
ya dustyajam sva-janam arya-patham ca hitva
bhejur mukunda-padavim srutibhir vimrgyam
Shrimad-Bhagavatam (10.47.61)

["The gopis of Vrndavana have given up the association of their husbands, sons, and other family members, who are very difficult to give up, and they have forsaken the path of chastity to take shelter of the lotus feet of Mukunda, Krishna, which one should search for by Vedic knowledge. Oh, let me be fortunate enough to be one of the bushes, creepers, or herbs in Vrndavana, because the gopis trample them and bless them with the dust of their lotus feet."]

In Nandagaon, Radhika is Viyogini-Radhika, another manifestation of Vrsabhanu-nandini Radhika. Vrsabhanu-nandini Radhika has practically no separation mood at all, for She and Krishna always meet together and embrace. Her manifestation, Viyogini-Radhika, is present in Nandagaon, and She appears as Samyogini in Kuruksetra. You cannot deeply understand these truths without being constantly in the association of pure Vaisnavas.

At the Ratha-yatra Festival, Mahaprabhu experiences the moods of Samyogini-Radhika in Kuruksetra, not those of Vrsabhanu-nandini. Vrsabhanu-nandini Radhika will never leave Vrndavana and go to Mathura or Dvaraka, even if Krishna weeps bitterly for Her there. Viyogini-Radhika will also not give up Vrndavana to go to Kuruksetra; only Samyogini-Radhika will go there. So at the Ratha-yatra Festival, Mahaprabhu is absorbed in the mood of Samyogini-Radhika, pulling Krishna on the chariot from the Jagannatha Temple – that is, from Dvaraka Puri – to Vrndavana. What can I say more than this? No one can say anything more.

Laksmi came with her associates, riding on a golden palanquin and profusely decorated with golden ornaments. She arrived at the Simha-dvara along with musicians beating drums, and dancing girls who were Jagannatha's deva-dasis. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was sitting very comfortably there, and He listened to the dialogue that ensued.

Why did Krishna not take Laksmi-devi to Vrndavana? She could not go, because she was not qualified. Even Satyabhama and Rukmini were not qualified to go to Vrndavana, and that is why they never went. One may ask, "What harm would there be if Radhika and all the gopis went to Dvaraka?" There would be so much harm; they would not be satisfied there. They would see Rukmini, Satyabhama, and all Krishna's queens with Him, and He would not be able to leave their company. Sometimes Krishna's sons would come to sit on His lap, and Shrimati Radhika would not be able to do anything about it. So She will never go there – never.

If Radhika does not go to Dvaraka, how can Laksmi go to Vrndavana? She cannot go. After she performed austerities in Baelvana for thousands and thousands of years, Krishna came and asked her, "Why are you doing this?" She replied, "I desire a benediction from You. I want to join the rasa-lila." Krishna said, "That is absurd – you cannot." "Why not?" she asked. "I'll tell you why," Krishna replied. "After this birth, you will have to take birth in the womb of a gopi in Vrndavana, and then you will have to marry a gopa. After that you will have to associate with nityasiddha- gopis, and only then you can join the rasa-lila, when you are sufficiently purified." Even a gopi who has come from the womb of a gopi is unqualified if she has any children by her husband. None of the gopis in the rasa-lila have had any children, and they have nothing to do with their husbands.

Krishna continued, "So how can you go? You will have to give up your brahmani body and your chastity to Narayana. You will have to cheat your gopa husband and absorb yourself in parakiya-bhava. Then, in the form of a gopi, you can join the rasa-lila." Laksmi objected, "How can I give up my husband Narayana? I cannot give Him up, I cannot give up my chastity, and I cannot marry a gopa." Then Krishna said, "Then wait, wait. You will obtain this boon from Me when you are able to do all these things." Even now Laksmi is performing austerities, but she is still not qualified.

You may want this gopi-prema, but it is so very high. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was very merciful, and He descended to the material world to give it. It is very precious – more so than anything. It is very difficult to attain even for Narada, Laksmi, Sankara, and all the other great personalities, so what to speak of lesser personalities? However, if someone has pure greed to serve Radha- Krishna Yugala, and to serve in the rasa-lila, he is very fortunate.

Let us say someone has become greedy for a rasagulla, and there is no money in his pocket. Then by grabbing it, stealing it, or by any means he will get it. In the same way, if you have that kind of high-class greed for gopi-prema, an opportunity will come to attain it. Where there is a will, there is a way; the way must come.

Krishna Himself gave the way in His form as Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. He also sent His devotees like Svarupa Damodara, Raya Ramananda, Rupa Gosvami, Raghunatha dasa Gosvami, Krishnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami, Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, Shrila Prabhupada, our gurudeva, and Shrila Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja. I have also come, and I want to give you a little greed for this gopi-prema, which is the aim and object of our lives. I have not come to give vaidhi-bhakti, because so many people coming from India are giving that. They will tell you to serve Jagannatha, Baladeva, and Subhadra, and they will tell you not to read the Tenth Canto of Shrimad-Bhagavatam. I have not come for this. I have come in the line of Shrila Rupa Gosvami, and in the line of Shrila Prabhupada, my gurudeva, and my siksa-guru, Shrila Swami Maharaja.

A person will not hear if he has no greed for the goal of life. He is sleeping now, and he will continue to sleep. If he has no greed or interest, he must sleep like the camels, dogs, hogs, pigs,and especially like the donkeys. I have only come for those who have some taste and greed for this, and I have come to give this greed to those who want it, so that they can advance in the line of Mahaprabhu.

When Shrivasa Pandit heard these topics from Shri Svarupa Damodara, he began to laugh very loudly, "Hee, hee! Ho, ho!" Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was deeply absorbed in the moods of the festival, and He watched silently as Shrivasa Pandit continued to laugh and tell Svarupa Damodara, "You don't know anything. Don't you see the opulence of my aradhya-devi (worshipable deity) Laksmi-devi? She is decorated with golden ornaments, and she sits on a golden palanquin like a commander-in-chief with all her associates. But in Vrndavana, there is nothing. The gopis there can make some garlands, but only from flowers; there is no abundance of diamonds or gold – nothing of the kind. There are no golden palanquins. There are only bullock-carts made of wood and bamboo. There is nothing there; only flowers. There are some cows there, giving milk, and there is forest. Krishna can only graze His cows there. He has no throne to sit on, and He doesn't even have shoes or an umbrella. He goes cowherding barefoot, and if He doesn't do this, His father may chastise Him."

Shrivasa Pandit continued:

vrndavana dekhibare gela jagannatha
suni' laksmi-devira mane haila asoyatha
Shri Chaitanya-caritamrta (Madhya-lila 14.205)

["When Jagannatha decided to see Vrndavana, He went there, and upon hearing this, the goddess of fortune experienced restlessness and jealousy."]

Laksmi, who represents Satyabhama and the other queens, thought angrily, "Here in Dvaraka, my husband is always sitting on a golden throne, and He has so many military commandersin- chief, and so many beautiful queens, and each queen has ten sons and a daughter. Why did Krishna go to Vrndavana?"

I have seen something like this in my boyhood. My mother would give me a slap if she was giving me something sweet and I wanted something else instead. So Laksmi was very unhappy and angry, and she tried to attack her husband to force Him to come under her control. She wanted to defeat Him and bring Him back to Dvaraka by quarreling and attacking Him.

Mahaprabhu smiled somewhat and said, "Oh, Shrivasa Pandit has the nature of Narada. He always glorifies Laksmi and Narayana, and Dvarakadhisa. Svarupa Damodara is a pure Vrajavasi, and that is why he glorifies the gopis. Shrivasa cannot do so."

Almost everyone in this world and universe glorifies Laksmi. Very, very few and rare people glorify the gopis and Krishna. This is true even in India. There are some groups that put forward the view that Shrimad-Bhagavatam is not authentic evidence. They say that someone other than Vyasadeva compiled it; so it is bogus, and therefore the love and affection of the gopis is also bogus. There are many who reject all these topics, and only highclass devotees have a taste for them.

Svarupa Damodara then said, "O Shrivasa, don't you remember that the trees in Vrndavana are kalpa-vrksa (desire trees)? They can give millions of tons of gold, and everything else. Anyone can have whatever he desires from those trees, but the gopis have no personal desires. They simply decorate their hair with the flowers of those trees.

"The ankle-bells of the gopis are made of cintamani, but the gopis never use them for fulfilling their desires; they only wear them to make sweet sounds while they dance with Krishna. The cows are kama-dhenu. What does that mean? They not only give milk, but they give the "milk" of the fulfillment of all desires. They can give anything a person wants, but the gopas and gopis don't want anything from them. They only want milk and butter. You don't know all these truths because you have not gone to Vrndavana. You don't know even the A-B-C's of Vrndavana. The flowers there are more valuable than the parijata flowers of the heavenly planets. They are always fragrant, and they never become stale. They can give anything, but you don't remember this."

He then quoted Brahma-samhita (5.56): "Shriyah kantakantah parama-purusah – in the spiritual world, all the female lovers are goddesses of fortune and the male lover is the Supreme Personality." After Shrivasa Thakura heard all this from Svarupa Damodara, his mood changed. He entered the mood of Madhumangala [See Endnote 5] Krishna's intimate sakha in Vraja, and then he began to dance, remembering the glories of Vraja.

After Mahaprabhu heard Svarupa Damodara's katha, He went to a flower garden and along with the devotees took rest there. Then, after He awoke and bathed, He began singing and dancing with His devotees, absorbed in krsna-prema. Then, when they had performed kirtana throughout the day, Svarupa Damodara tricked Mahaprabhu by telling Him, "Now we are all tired, so please stop Your dancing. Jagannatha-deva has sent very beautiful and sweet prasada, like rice, dahl, puri, kacauri, chena (curd), paida (coconut), pana (fruit juice), sara-puri (a kind of puri made with cream), and many other varieties of preparations." Mahaprabhu began to distribute the prasada Himself, but Svarupa Damodara said, "Everyone is waiting for You. No one will take prasada if You don't take." Then Mahaprabhu sat down and began to taste the prasada, and everyone called out, "Hari bol!"

You can read this discussion between Shrivasa Pandit and Svarupa Damodara in its entirety in Shri Chaitanya-caritamrta [Madhya-lila, Chapter 14]


Shri Shrimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja
Shri Devananda Gaudiya Math, Navadvipa: Mar.12, 2000

Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu appeared in Navadvipa and performed His pastimes there. It is said that after these pastimes were completed, He took sannyasa and went to Puri. Later He went to South India, met Shrila Ramananda Raya, and revealed to him His form as Shri Shri Radha and Krishna combined – Rasaraja-mahabhava. This form of Rasaraja-mahabhava is also described in the Shrimad-Bhagavatam, as the pastimes of Radha and Krishna. Krishna is Rasaraja (the king of all tasters of transcendental mellows) and Radhika is Mahabhava-svarupa (the quintessence of transcendental loving emotions towards Krishna).

In Navadvipa, Shri Gauranga performed sakhya-bhava pastimes with His friends in His naravata, human-like, lila. Some people say that after taking sannyasa in Navadvipa, He left and performed higher pastimes in Puri. After that, on the bank of Godavari He met Ramananda Raya and learned how to taste Krishna in a still more intense mood of separation. It is not actually true, however, that Puri and Godavari are higher than Navadvipa, nor is it true that Shri Sacinandana Gaurahari ever leaves Navadvipa.

It is said that Mahaprabhu was able to taste what He came to this world to taste – only after He met Raya Ramananda, who is Visakha-devi in Krishna-lila. He learned from him how to taste radha-bhava. Do you know why He learned from Ramananda Raya instead of Shrila Svarupa Damodara, who is Lalita-devi in Krishna-lila? Lalita devi is the first expansion of Radharani and Visakha-devi is the second expansion. But Visakha's birthday is the same as that of Shrimati Radharani, so her nature is the same. She has practically the same qualities and the same form. Krishna could not be taught by Lalita-devi because her mood is pragalba, bold and outspoken. Shrimati Radhika and Shrimati Visakha, although also left-wing gopis, are the same as each other – madhya-nayika, heroines who are a mixture of pragalbha and mrdvi (sweet and gentle). Therefore. Mahaprabhu had to learn from Ramananda Raya how to taste Radha-bhava. Because it was at Godavari that Mahaprabhu learned to taste that Radha-bhava, some say that Godavari is higher than Navadvipa.

But this is not so. Navadvipa itself is the highest abode, and it includes Godavari and Jagannatha Puri. We can understand this by a comparative study of aishvarya-mayi-lila and madhurya-mayi-lila ('mayi' means 'consisting of'). What is the difference between aishvarya and madhurya? aishvarya-lila are displays of opulence which cannot be performed by any human being, whereas madhurya-lila are those pastimes which appear human-like, even if there is a great display of opulence. If there is no opulence, activities are simply mundane. So there may be opulence in madhurya-mayi-lila, but that lila still appears sweet and human-like, and so it is called madhurya. Whether opulence is clearly present or not, in madhurya-lila there does not seem to be opulence.

As we see from Krishna's lila, there is more aishvarya in Vrindavan than there is in Vaikuntha, Dvaraka, or Mathura. However, it is covered by so much sweetness that the opulence cannot be tasted. [For clarification an example is given of salt and sugar: There are four cups. The first has 1 ounce of salt and no sugar. The second one has 2 ounces of salt and 2 ounces of sugar. The third has 3 ounces of salt and 6 ounces of sugar. And the fourth has 4 ounces of salt and 100 lbs. of sugar. Although the fourth cup has more salt, one cannot taste it because of all the sugar.] In Goloka Vrindavan the opulence is covered.

Krishna's madhurya-lila includes aishvarya. When Krishna lifted Govardhana Hill, the cowherd boys thought that He must be getting tired. They considered, "We should also help to hold up Govardhana, with our sticks." Others thought, "Because of Nanda Maharaja's austerities, Lord Narayana entered Krishna's body. It is actually Narayana who is holding up Govardhana." The gopis were glaring upon Govardhana and said to him, "If you fall down on Krishna, we will curse you." So these are human-like pastimes. When Krishna was a baby He showed His mother His universal form, and everything was there within His mouth – all incarnations, all universes, all elements, all senses, and so forth. Despite this, Yasoda-maiya could not conceive that her son is God.

Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is Krishna Himself, and His dhama, Shri Navadvipa, is Vrindavan itself. In Navadvipa He was known as Saci-putra and Sacinandana, the son of Saci-mata and Jagannatha Misra. He was also called Visnupriya-pati, the husband of Shrimati Visnupriya-devi. Practically no one there knew that He is the Supreme Lord.

Two of His friends at that time were Jagadananda Pandita and Svarupa Damodara. They were his fellow-students when He attended the school of Gangadasa Pandita, and they all performed their madhurya-lila there. As there are so many human learned scholars or panditas, the residents of Navadvipa considered Saci-putra to be Nimai Pandita, a very good human pandita.

There is no aishvarya in this name Nimai Pandita. It is naravata, human-like. When Kesava Kasmiri, the digvijaya (challenging scholar), came to defeat the panditas of Navadvipa, they decided to make Nimai Pandita their representative. They considered Him to be just a boy. Therefore, if He would lose, they could then say, "He's just a boy." And if He would win, they could consider it a great victory for Navadvipa that their boy-scholar was successful.

Being fellow-students in Gangadasa Pandita's school, Jagadananda Pandita and Nimai Pandita used to have friendly arguments about logic. Sometimes they would argue about the definition of mukti. Jagadananda Pandita would quote the verse beginning, "Atyantya dukha nivritti – Liberation means to be delivered from the miseries of maya." But Nimai Pandita would say, "No. The real definition of mukti is: 'Mukti hitva anyata rupam, svarupena vyavastiti – Mukti is that condition in which one realizes his own svarupa and the svarupa of Krishna, and he realizes his relationship with Krishna. Liberation from all false identifications is only possible when one knows his real identification. When one surrenders to the lotus-feet of Radha and Krishna and serves Them with one's transcendental body and senses, that is mukti. Otherwise mukti is only partial.'" So this is nara-lila – human-like friends arguing together.

In Jagannatha Puri, on the other hand, there were so many opulent pastimes, which everyone knew could not be performed by a human being. For example, when Mahaprabhu jumped in the ocean and was caught in the fisherman's net, His body became elongated and all His joints were separated by eight inches. This is opulence, and this is very deep and hard to understand. After Mahaprabhu completed his talks with Ramananda Raya, He tasted the fruits in Gambhira and only three-and-one-half persons were allowed to enter there – Shri Ramananda Raya, Shri Svarupa Damodara, Sikhi Mahiti, and his sister, Shrimati Madhavi devi.

Dvaraka is full of opulence. There are so many palaces, elephants, horses, and chariots there. Similarly, in Puri there was so much veneration by all Mahaprabhu's devotees, and all were fearful to make proposals to Him. In Navadvipa, on the other hand, Kolaveca Shridhara would have arguments with Nimai Pandita – and Nimai would even steal his vegetables.

In Vraja, Shri Krishna is considered an ordinary cowherd boy. In Navadvipa, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is considered an ordinary brahmana's ordinary son. No one in Navadvipa could conceive of Him being called Mahaprabhu. Only when He went to Puri did He begin to be called Mahaprabhu. In Navadvipa He sucked the breast of Saci-devi. He played with the girls who were worshiping Siva-linga to get a good husband. He also sometimes behaved as a mischievous student. His lila, therefore, is called madhurya-mayi-lila.

Someone may object to this statement, considering that He manifested as Nrsimhadeva and Varaha in Navadvipa. This is true, but hardly anyone saw this. Practically all the devotees always thought He was simply Saci-nandana. Only a few were in the mood of worship, like Murari Gupta (who is Hanuman in Rama-lila) or Shrivasa Pandita (who is Narada Muni in Krishna-lila), understood Him as the Supreme Lord.

Comparing the three features

There is a comparison between the three features of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and the three features of Shrimati Radharani. There is an original Radhika, and Her complete and original form is called Vrsabhanu-nandini Radhika. She never leaves Vrindavan, and She only feels short-term separation from Krishna – as when He goes cow-herding for a few hours each day. Vrsabhanu-nandini Radhika is always experiencing Her nitya-lila, or astakaliya-lila, pastimes with Krishna, which take place twenty-four hours a day – from one early morning to the next. She is actually never separated from Krishna. There is only an abhimana, or self-conception, that They are sometimes separated.

Vrsabhanu-nandini has two manifestations. One is Viyogini Radhika: Radhika feeling separation from Krishna at Uddhava Kyari when Krishna was in Mathura and Dvaraka. Her other manifestation is in Kurukshetra, and that is Sanyogini Radhika. It is Sanyogini Radha who meets with Krishna in Kurukshetra. Just as Dvarakadisa-Krishna and Mathuresa-Krishna are always within purnattama (Krishna's most complete form) Vrajendra-nandana Shri Krishna, so these other two manifestations of Vrsabhanu-nandini Radhika are included within Her original form.

Radhika's full, original form also feels separation, but only at certain times. For example, She may wake up one morning and think, "Oh, what a terrible dream I had. Krishna went to Dvaraka and married so many queens." Also, now and then some conception comes, "Oh, Krishna has left. No, Krishna is here after all." That sentiment or conception takes a tangible form in prakata-lila, Krishna's pastimes as preformed in this material world.

The three features of Shrimati Radhika – Vrsabhanu-nandini, Viyogini, and Sanyogini – are defined in the Sanat Kumara Samhita. Just as She has three features, Shri Sacinandana Gaurahari has three features. Shri Krishna Chaitanya Radha Krishna nahi anya. Mahaprabhu is no one but Radha and Krishna combined.

When Shrimati Radhika is speaking to the bumblebee at Uddhava Kyari, She is Viyogini Radhika.

madhupa kitava-bandho ma sprsanghrim sapatnyah
kuca-vilulita-mala-kunkuma-smasrubhir nau
vahatu madhu-patis tan-manininam prasadam
yadu-sadasi vidambyam yasya dutas tvam idrk
(Shrimad-Bhagavatam 10.47.12)

["O black bee, don't touch me. I know you are a representative of Krishna from Mathura, and you are trying to make some compromise. But I will never compromise with that Krishna. I know that the red of your whiskers has come from the kunkuma which came from the breasts of His beloveds there in Mathura. It was smeared on Krishna's garland when He embraced them, and then came on your mustaches."]

This mood of transcendental madness is of Viyogini Radhika, and this is compared to Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu at Puri. Shri Chaitanya-charitamrta explains that the mood of Shrimati Radhika which was seen by Uddhava was the constant mood of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu at Gambhira.

"Vrindavan parityaja na padam ekam gacchati." Krishna never leaves Vrindavan. Nandanandana is always in Vrindavan. Vrsabhanu-nandini also never leaves Vrindavan, and similarly Sacinandana never leaves Navadvipa.

In Godavari, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu manifested his Rasaraja-mahabhava svarupa. There in Godavari He discussed all tattvas: rasa-tattva, prema-tattva, and radha-tattva. But who saw this? Only Ramananda Raya. This manifestation of Rasaraja-mahabhava was not an ordinary activity. No one else could have shown Himself as Radha and Krishna. Therefore it is an opulence; it is aishvarya, and it is not the highest lila.

Shrimati Radhika's partial moods and forms are included within Her original form, and this is also true with Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. In Mahaprabhu's lila, Puri is like Dvaraka. When He is in Gambhira, He is experiencing Radharani's separation from Krishna at Dvaraka, in the mood of Viyogini Radhika. When Mahaprabhu is in Godavari, He is like Sanyogini Radhika. This aspect of Shrimati Radhika meets Krishna at Kurukshetra in order to bring Him back to Vrindavan. These two aspects of Mahaprabhu are included in Navadvipa.

In Jagannatha Puri, no one accepted the names Sacinandana, etc. Everyone there had a reverential mood towards Mahaprabhu. Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya realized, "Here is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. I've never seen such a person in this world." Shri Chaitanya-charitamrta (Madhya 6. 9-13) states that while examining the body of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Sarvabhauma saw that His abdomen was not moving and that He was not breathing. Seeing this condition, he became very anxious. He then took a fine cotton swab and put it before Mahaprabhu's nostrils. When he saw the cotton move very slightly, he became hopeful. Sitting beside Mahaprabhu, he thought, "This is a transcendental ecstatic transformation brought about by love of Krishna." Upon seeing the sign of suddipta-sattvika bhava, the Bhattacarya could immediately understand the transcendental ecstatic transformation in Mahaprabhu's body. Such a sign could take place only in the bodies of Krishna's eternally liberated associates like the gopis, and especially in Shrimati Radhika. The Bhattacarya considered, "The uncommon ecstatic symptoms of adhiruddha-bhava are appearing in the body of Mahaprabhu. This is very wonderful! How are they possible in the body of a human being?"

Hidden Vrindavan

Navadvipa is gupta (hidden) Vrindavan. Although the twelve forests of Vrindavan are hidden in Navadvipa, they are in a different sequence. Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura has described this as acintya, inconceivable. He has explained that it is the speciality of this dhama. It is hidden and crooked, so it cannot be exactly in the same sequence. This is the nature of hidden prema.

stealing clothesRadha-kunda is not far from Devananda Gaudiya Matha. Because Govardhana is here, Radha-kunda and Syama-kunda must also be here. My Guru Maharaja, nitya-lila pravista om visnupada Paramahamsa Shrila Bhakti-prajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja has fulfilled the innermost heart's desire of Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Maharaja and Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura by establishing this temple in the valley or plain of Govardhana.

Chaitanya Mahaprabhu sometimes stayed here and performed pastimes. One pastime, as explained in Shri Chaitanya-charitamrta, was when some young girls were making offerings to Siva-linga with fruits, flowers, and other paraphernalia of worship. At that time Nimai Pandita forcibly stole the offerings and told the girls that they should not waste their time worshiping Lord Siva. He said, "I am the Supreme Personality of Godhead. You should worship Me. All the demigods and demigoddesses are My servants. If you do not worship Me, I will curse you all to get old, ugly husbands who already have five wives." They were all joking in this way, and they did not believe that He was the Supreme.

All the Vrindavan pastimes are there in Navadvipa. Govardhana and Rasa-sthali are present where we are now sitting, in Koladvipa, at the Devananda Gaudiya Matha. Krishna is dancing here with the gopis. One may say that the highest place in Navadvipa is Yogapitha at Mayapura, because that is where Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu appeared. But actually, Koladvipa is superior. We must consider the siddhanta (conclusive truth). Comparing Navadvipa to Vrindavan, Mathura-Gokula is the place where Krishna appeared. He appeared simultaneously as Lord Vasudeva in Mathura and as a baby in Gokula. But this place in Koladvipa is Govardhana, where Krishna appeared in His original and most complete form, His kaisora (teenage) form, His Radha-Krishna yugala form. This is also where rasa-lila, the highest pastime, took place. It can be concluded, therefore, that this place is so much higher.

Shrila Rupa Gosvami confirms in his Upadesamrta, "The holy place known as Mathura is spiritually superior to Vaikuntha, the transcendental world, because the Lord appeared there. Superior to Mathura-puri is the transcendental forest of Vrindavan, because of Krishna's rasa-lila pastimes. And superior to the forest of Vrindavan is Govardana Hill, for it was raised by the divine hand of Shri Krishna and was the site of His various loving pastimes. And, above all, the super-excellent Shri Radha-kunda stands supreme, for it is over-flooded with the ambrosial nectarean prema of the Lord of Gokula, Shri Krishna. Where, then, is that intelligent person who is unwilling to serve this divine Radha-kunda, which is situated at the foot of Govardhana Hill?"

After class

After the class, at an informal darshana just outside Shrila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja's room, a disciple questioned, "You said this morning that there was no opulence manifestation in Navadvipa. But Chaitanya Mahaprabhu revealed His Virat-rupa, His universal form, there in Navadvipa." Shrila Maharaja replied, "Yes, but only to a few; to Shrivasa Thakura as Narada Muni."

Another devotee questioned, "You said in class that Jagannatha Puri represents Dvaraka and Godavari represents Kurukshetra. How is Godavari Kurukshetra?" Shrila Maharaja replied, "It is not that Godavari is the same as Kurukshetra. This comparison is given because of its display of opulence. When Shrimati Radhika first met Krishna at Kurukshetra, She saw so much opulence: horses, chariots and elephants, and Krishna was dressed as an opulent prince. Similarly, when Mahaprabhu manifested His transcendental form as Rasaraja-mahabhava, this was a great display of opulence. Another thing was that the great happiness Shrimati Radhika felt by meeting Krishna in Kurukshetra after such a long time was only momentary. When She realized that Their meeting and relationship could not be the same as it was in Vrindavan, it became a pathetic scene. Similarly, the opulent display of Mahaprabhu's Rasaraja-mahabhava form was only revealed for a moment.


About Lord Shiva

7-76XDiP-4M.jpgTridandisvami Shri Shrimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja
02 July 1997

Shiva and Narada

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

Now Lord Shiva compares himself to Shri Prahlada Maharaja, (*See Endnote 1) the famed devotee of Lord Nrsimhadeva described in Shrimad-Bhagavatam. He told Narada, "Shri Prahlada Maharaja is superior to me, and it is he who is the dear devotee of the Lord." Even though Lord Shiva 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 Shri Krishna's transcendental abode, Vrndavana, whereas Lord Shiva resides there eternally as Gopisvara. Shiva serves Shri Krishna personally in numerous ways. He and his wife Parvati-devi meditate on asta-kaliya-lila, Lord Shri Krishna's confidential eight-fold daily pastimes. These secret pastimes are very confidential, yet both Shiva and Parvati are able to meditate upon them. Shiva is hundreds of thousands of times superior to and more worshipable than Shri Prahlada Maharaja, and yet the artful Shiva 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 Shiva: We can see Shiva 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 Krishna. 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 Shiva's function as the god of annihilation, and also that of Brahma as the secondary creator of the universe, Shiva and Brahma are actually posts. Lord Brahma and Lord Shiva 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, Shiva is superior to Brahma. Lord Shiva is an expansion of Lord Visnu, but sometimes a jiva may become Shiva'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 Shiva in his manifestation as Rudra. Shiva's post is therefore superior to that of Brahma, and this is also evidence that Shiva is more powerful than Brahma.

The Duty of Destruction

What is the function of Lord Shiva'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 Shiva can do so.

Shiva'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 Shiva 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 Shiva 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 Shiva 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 Shiva cannot serve Shri Krishna 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 Shiva - and who constantly hear about, glorify, and remember Lord Krishna, take birth in this world as pure devotees like Prahlada Maharaja. This was told by Lord Shiva to Shri 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 Krishna's manifestations like Lord Nrsinhadeva and Lord Rama, for the Lord personally comes to them in these forms. Lord Shiva told Shri 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 Shiva 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 Shiva'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 Shiva 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 Shiva's glorification of Prahlada Maharaja, now consider Lord Shiva'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 Krishna 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 Shiva 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 Shri Narada Muni and Shrila 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 Krishna.

Now suppose someone is chanting the name of Lord Krishna alone, and another is absorbed in the name of Radha-Ramana. The name Radha-Ramana, meaning Shri Krishna, the enjoyer of pastimes with Shrimati Radharani, has more transcendental taste (rasa) than the name Krishna 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 Shri Brhad-bhagavatamrta, Shrila 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 Shiva and glorifying him was first narrated in this Shri Brhad-bhagavatamrta. Like Shrila 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 Krishna'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 Shiva, and Lord Shiva is now sending him to Prahlada Maharaja. Gradually, Shri Narada will bring us to the greatest recipients of Lord Krishna's mercy, the gopis. In the form of Gopisvara, Lord Shiva is the beloved servant and associate of those gopis.

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

Lord Shiva is actually most dear to Shri Krishna, and therefore Krishna 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 Shri Krishna, and He advised them to request Lord Shiva to drink the poison. Thus, they worshiped Lord Shiva and prayed, "Please save us! Only you can protect us!" Lord Shiva collected the poison and took it in his mouth, but he hesitated to swallow it, considering, "Lord Krishna 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 Shiva 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 Krishna'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 Shiva is so dear to Krishna that Krishna 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 Krishna thought, "This is very dangerous." He called Lord Shiva 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 Shiva; 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 Shiva asked Krishna, "Can you please tell someone else to do this? I am not qualified for this service." Krishna replied, "No, you will have to do this. In the entire world, I see no one else who is as capable."

Feeling ashamed, Lord Shiva 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 Krishna. 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 Shiva also expressed to Narada his regret in having given benedictions to Lord Krishna'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 Krishna and krsna-bhakti.

Narada Muni said, "Master, please don't try to mislead me. I know that whatever you do is to please Lord Krishna 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 Krishna. You are undoubtedly His dearest friend."

Shiva and Narada continued to discuss some historical incidents which, according to Shiva, proved that he was not dear to Krishna - 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 Shiva. 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 Krishna and appealed to Him: "What should we do? We have vowed to kill Jayadratha, and now Draupadi tells us to forgive him."

Krishna 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 Shiva.

After some months he gave up all food, water, and bodily activities, and was about to die. At this point Lord Shiva 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 Shiva 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 Shiva 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 Krishna and with a desire for the strength to destroy him, the demon Salva also took shelter of Lord Shiva. He performed a severe type of austerity and ate no more than a handful of ashes daily. After one year, Lord Shiva became pleased with him and asked him to beg for a boon.
Salva begged from Lord Shiva 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 Shiva agreed, and Salva was helped by the demon Maya Danava to manufacture a mystical airplane that began to destroy Dvaraka, Lord Krishna'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 Krishna 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 Shiva to the enemies of Lord Krishna always have a weak point - a loophole. Lord Shiva is extremely clever, and he is always serving his Lord, Shri Krishna. Narada knew this fact, and he wanted to publicize Lord Shiva's glories. Shiva is very near and dear to Krishna, and non-different from Him. Try to always honor him, for he is Krishna'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 Shrimad-Bhagavatam is the greatest of all Puranas. (Shrimad-Bhagavatam (12.13.16)]

The Principle of Shiva

The principle of Shiva - Shiva-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 (Krishna's expansion) personally takes the post of Brahma, but that is rare. Lord Shiva 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 Shiva. There he is known as SadaShiva, a manifestation of Lord Visnu.

Shiva-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 Shri Brahma-Samhita and elucidated in Shrila Jiva Gosvami's commentary: "Just as milk is transformed into yogurt by contact with a transforming agent, Shri Govinda, Lord Shri Krishna, similarly accepts the form of Sambhu (Shiva) 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. Shri Krishna 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 😎

Ramesvara Mahadeva

When Shri Ramacandra was making the bridge to Lanka, he established a Shiva-linga (deity form of Shiva) called Ramesvara. All the common people began glorifying Lord Shiva, 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 Shiva-linga broke. Lord Shiva 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

Gopiswava Mahadeva

Lord Shiva eternally resides in Lord Krishna'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 Krishna's desire. When Krishna desired to perform His rasa dance, Shrimati Radhika, the embodiment of His pleasure potency, manifested from His left side and Gopisvara Mahadeva manifested from His right side. The form of Shiva who lives in Kasi or Kailasa in the material world is a partial manifestation of the original SadaShiva in Vrndavana. The many other commonly worshiped forms of Lord Shiva are expansions of SadaShiva. 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.

Shrila 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 .

Shrila Sanatana Gosvami, the great Vaisnava saint who resided in Vrndavana near the old Shri Madana-Mohana temple, would go daily to see Shri 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, Shri Gopisvara Mahadeva appeared in Bankhandi, halfway between his orginal temple and Shrila 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, Shrila Sanatana Gosvami could not live without his beloved Lord Shiva - 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 Shiva had asked Shri Krishna for the boon to witness His childhood pastimes. Krishna ordered him to situate himself in Nandagaon in the form of a hill. Shiva followed this order and became Nandisvara Hill, and he thus became known as Nandisvara. (Lord Brahma became Brahma-parvata, the mountain in Shrimati Radhika's birthplace, Varsana. Because Brahma is so near to Radhika, he is also our Gurudeva.)

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

We offer obeisance to Lord Shiva 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 Shri Shri Radha-Madhava, who perform joyous pastimes in Vraja-dhama, I offer obeisances unto you time and again.

By Shiva's Benediction

A brahmana in Kasi Varanasi once prayed to Lord Shiva, "I want to give my daughter in marriage, but I have no money. Please give me money." Lord Shiva told him, "Go to Vrndavana and meet with Shrila 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.

Shrila 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. Shrila Sanatana Gosvami wore only a loincloth. He used to go begging door-to-door for a small amount of prasada (Krishna'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 Shiva, 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, Shiva cannot tell a lie. He is my bosom friend." Thinking of Lord Shiva 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 Shiva 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 Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna 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 Krishna and Shri 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 Krishna." That brahmana followed his instruction and became a very elevated saint.

*[Endnote 1] In the hermitage of Shri Narada Muni, Prahlada Maharaja heard the message of Shrimad-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] "Shrila 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." (Krishna 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.' " (Shrimad-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." (Shrimad-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." (Shrimad-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." (Shrimad-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." (Shrimad-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." (Shrimad-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." (Shrimad-Bhagavatam 2.6.42)

*[Endnote 7] Lord Shiva was referring to the long history in relation to Shripad 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 Shiva, 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 Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura)

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

"Lord Shiva wanted to become a gopi. He performed austerities, and when Paurnamasi Yogamaya became pleased and appeared before him, he prayed to join Krishna'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.
"Krishna 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 Shiva 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 Shiva mercy. ‘She is the object of my mercy,' Paurnamasi told them. The gopis then accepted her as a gopi and Krishna 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)


sb_saraswati_thakur.jpgShrila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Goswami Maharaja
February 13, 2001 - evening lecture

This is the appearance day of jagad-guru Shrila Bhaktisiddanta Sarasvati Thakura, and therefore we are discussing his glories.

Namah om visnupadaya krsna-presthaya bhutale
srimate bhaktisiddhanta-sarasvatiti-namine

In this pranama mantra it is stated: bhaktisiddhanta sarasvati. Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, the embodiment of bhakti-siddhanta, the personification of the conclusive doctrines of bhakti, manifested as the son of Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura. In Bhaktisiddanta Sarasvati Thakura there is all the knowledge that Krsna gave to Brahma, Brahma gave to Narada, Narada gave to Vyasa, and thus, by disciplic succession, came through the Rupanuga Vaisnavas down to Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura and Shrila Gaurakisora dasa Babaji Maharaja. All the siddhantas, philosophical truths, of the Vedas, Upanisads, and all other scriptures, are embodied in Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Thakura. If any person came to argue philosophy with him, that person was at once defeated and was bound to accept his teachings.

Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati: There are two Sarasvatis. The power of Bramha is Sarasvati, but that Sarasvati is not the real Sarasvati of Goloka Vrndavana. This Siddhanta Sarasvati, however, is the embodiment of para-vidya, transcendental knowledge. Therefore, because of this transcendental knowledge, his name is Shrila Bhakisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura Prabhupada. Why Prabhupada? He is Prabhupada in the real sense, because he preached throughout the world the glorification of his Prabhu. Who is his Prabhu? Radha-Krsna Conjugal, or Gauracandra, Gaura-Gadadhara, and Gaura-Nityananda. He preached Their glories everywhere, and therefore he is really Shrila Prabhupada.

Namah om visnupadaya krsna-presthaya bhutale

He is very near and dear to Krsna – very near and dear – in that male form. But who is he really? In the second sloka of his pranama mantra it is stated sri varsabhanavi-devi-dayitaya. He is really the eternal maidservant of Shrimati Radhika. He is so very dear to Radhika in his form as Nayana-manjari. As Mahaprabhu's associate he is Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami, and as the associate of Radha-Krsna Conjugal he is Nayana-manjari. What is the meaning of the name Nayana-manjari? As one's eyes are very dear to one, Nayana-manjari, who is the personification of the eyes of Shrimati Radhika, is so near and dear to Her. She is always serving Shrimati Radhika.

Thus, he has two forms. One form is as Caitanya Mahaprabhu's associate, not only in this world but also in Goloka Vrindavana, in Svetadvipa. And, in Vrndavana also, as Nayana-manjari, she serves Shrimati Radhika. You have seen in Shrila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami's Vilapa-kusumanjali how the manjaris serve Radha-Krsna Conjugal. Nayana-manjari serves Them in those same ways.

Shrila Sarasvati Thakura is krpabdhaye, an endless ocean of mercy. He is the first acarya in the four sampradayas to desire that all the people in the world, all those who have forgotten Krsna, should realize all the truths of bhakti, and they should be helped to become pure devotees. If Shrila Prabhupada Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Thakura had not sent his disciples here and there, none of you, in any country, would have met pure devotees. Now, by the mercy of Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami, through Shrila Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja and my Gurudeva, krsna-kirtana is everywhere in the world. Everyone knows Caitanya Mahaprabhu and Radha and Krsna only by their mercy. Shrila Prabhupada had the wish, and then sent his arms here and there. Who are his arms? His disciples, his devotees. They are like arms, and they are preaching everywhere.

We are very fortunate to come in their line, but we should try to be very strong. Sometimes, if you are not in good association, you become weak. It may be that when I return to India, you will become weak. Don't be weak. Always realize that our whole guru-parampara, Radha-Krsna, Mahaprabhu, Nityananda Prabhu, and guru are always with you, and they will help you. Don't give up chanting and remembering Krsna.

Krpabhdaye. He is not called an ocean of mercy only because he gave us harinama. He gave so much more. He brought Goloka Vrndavana. He brought the love and affection of the gopis to this world. If he had not brought all these things, we would never have heard of them. He is therefore an ocean of mercy.

Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura taught that there are five kinds of knowledge: pratyeksa, paroksa, aparoksa, adhoksaja, and aprakrta. The knowledge of everything we see and realize by our direct experience is called pratyeksa. But this is false.

Then, paroksa. We don't see Svarga, but we believe in it. There is also a history of Svarga. We accept Svarga, although we don't see it. We hear that if a man is a thief, a dacoit, a debauch, and so on, he will have to go to naraka, hell. On the other hand, if he is pious, he will go to Svarga and there he will be very happy. This knowledge is called paroksa.

Then, aparoksa. This is the knowledge taught by Sankarcarya. One day we will have to die, and we will have to give up everything in this world. Our beauty will go, our body will go, whatever we are collecting will go, and everything else will go. We cannot take anything, neither our pennies nor our pens, from this world. So why are we collecting all these bogus things? Why? An intelligent person thinks about this and becomes detached, but a bogus, foolish person remains attached to sense gratification. He desires only to make his body very beautiful and strong. Nowadays there is a competition for Miss India, Miss America, Miss World, and also Miss Universe. After one year, will Miss India again be selected as Miss India or Miss World? Rather, all will neglect her.

Although engaged in chanting and remembering, many devotees are also engaged in sense gratification, and they cannot give up lust. This is Maya. Therefore, Prabhupada Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura sent his qualified devotees everywhere, to make those weak devotees strong. He wanted to encourage them and say, "You should remember Krsna." It is for this reason that he has sent his arms. I am also coming. He has ordered me to do so. His disciple, Shrila Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja, has ordered me. My Svamiji Shrila Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja has ordered me. So you should not be weak – never and never.

Then, adhoksaja. What is adhoksaja? Adhoksaja is Vaikuntha, that place where there is no kala, time. There is only the eternal present. There is no birth and death, and no suffering and sorrow. Nothing bad is there. In that abode there is so much opulence, and everyone there prays to Narayana.

There is something higher than this, however. Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura has taught that this most superior truth is called aprakrta. Aprakrta is that realm where Vraja-lila is performed. Krsna is sometimes like a baby there. There He is controlled by His father and mother, He is controlled by His beloved gopis, and He is controlled by His friends. No one can ever imagine such very, very sweet pastimes. We should try to know this aprakrta. We should try to serve this aprakrta Krsna who is with so many gopis, with His father and mother, with His sakhas, and with all His cows and very sweet cowherding pastimes. This is the aim and object of our life: service to this Krsna. This is aprakrta-jnana.

Krsna sambandha-vijnana dayine prabhave namah. In this world we have a relationship with our father and mother and our immediate family. We think, "She is my mother, he is my father, and he is my brother." But we are not satisfied with that. We want to be a husband or wife, girlfriend or boyfriend, but still we are not satisfied.

From where have these relationships come? They have come from Goloka Vrndavana. There is actually only one relationship – with Krsna. He is not a father there. He is like a friend, like a baby, or like a beloved. In the constitutional form of our soul there is a relationship with Krsna. We have now forgotten this due to Maya, but we have a relationship. All the relationships of these bodies are false and temporary. They remain only for some days, but the relationship in our constitutional form is eternal.

We want love. We first loved our mother, then our father, then our brothers, then other relatives, and then our neighbors. But we were never satisfied. Then we collected wives or husbands, and when we were not satisfied, we got divorced and changed the old ones for new ones. But still we were not satisfied. You cannot be satisfied. No one can ever be satisfied. When you meet with Krsna and serve Him, then you will be satisfied. This is a transcendental relationship, and this relationship is given by guru. Prabhupada gave this, and this relationship will be forever. It was for this end that he gave the mantra klim krsnaya govindaya.

Madhuryojjvala premadya sri rupanuga bahaktida. He explained all these truths. He actually came only to give this madhuryojjvala-prema, this gopi-prema, which Shrila Rupa Goswami has written about in his books and which Caitanya Mahaprabhu came to this world only to give – the relationship of Krsna as our beloved. He came only to give this and nothing else. Shrila Prabhupada has written in his articles: "I came only to give this, but my whole time was spent in cutting jungles." Shrila Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja also did this in Western countries. He came to this world to give love and affection for Krsna, but to whom could he give it? He was preaching to unqualified people, and therefore he wanted to make a platform for this love, by cutting the jungles of atheist and mayavada misconceptions. He thus fertilized the field by ploughing and cutting jungles, and most of his time went into this. He could not preach as he wanted, but he stored so many deep truths about gopi-prema in his books.

Prabhupada Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura also did this. In Radha kunda, in his last days, he said that if anyone is only cutting jungles, cutting the arguments of mayavadis and so on, and not accepting the mood of the gopis as taught by Rupa Gosvami, not doing worship of Radha-Krsna Conjugal, not following the line of Rupa Gosvami, then even their chanting will not be sufficient to help them. After some time they will become weak and give up all devotional practices. Then they will become nirvisesavadis and mayavadis, as so many are now becoming.

Shri rupanuga bhaktida. Shrila Prabhupada descended to this world, and all our disciplic acaryas also came, only for preaching this rupanuga Vaisnavism. But they had no time. From the beginning, therefore, I was very alert to avoid cutting jungles because our guru varga had already cut them down. I considered that I must do something affirmative. I therefore accepted this and I preached it from the beginning. Now, however, coming to the Western countries, I began to think, "To whom shall I tell?" Now I also have to cut down some jungles. When I am in Vrndavana or Navadvipa, however, I mainly speak about the high class of sweet pastimes of Caitanya Mahaprabhu and Radha and Krsna.

So, Shrila Prabhupada was like an ocean of madhuryojjvala-prema. He wanted to distribute it, and he distributed it. If he did not, then from where have we collected these things? All glories to Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Prabhupada. All glories to all his associates. All glories to Shrila Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja. All glories to all of you devotees.

Gaura premanande, Hari Hari bol.

Sign in to follow this